Dolph Zigggler and Vickie Guerrero confront Mick Foley.
Strong segment to kick off the show with Mick Foley and Dolph Ziggler. Foley's appearance was a pleasant surprise, and his announcement that he'll be apart of the traditional Royal Rumble match adds a nice hook for the match itself. I'm glad the Hardcore Legend is finally being utilized in a serious manner. With Dolph Ziggler cutting a perfect promo that contained humor as well as intensity, he too is finally being taken as a legitimate threat against the WWE Champion CM Punk.
Short and sweet tag team championship rematch with newly crowned WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico successfully retaining against Air Boom. Of course, it could have gone longer, but what we got was fine for what it was worth.
Good booking with Jack Swagger capturing the United States Championship from Zack Ryder. Although I'm a bit disappointed they ended Ryder's reign as champ so quickly, he was given the excuse given the injuries he suffered last week at the hands of Kane, adding to the fact that Ryder was able to kick out of two previous Gutwrench Powerbombs. Swagger is relevant for the first time in months, not to mention the fact that his gimmick fits the strap perfectly. Keeping Ryder in chase mode for the title in the meantime is a smart move to keep his popularity growing.
Meaningless Divas tag team match that served no purpose, as the Divas Champion Beth Phoenix was once again absent for television for no apparent reason. Perez Hilton was obviously not welcome by the fans in attendance, so thankfully his on-air time was kept brief.
Decent segment featuring R-Truth, The Miz, Wade Barrett and Sheamus that managed to not only further the feuds between the four men, but also hype the Royal Rumble match in two weeks. Sure, they make a poor attempt every year by doing quick battle royals, but this particular match was nothing out of the ordinary as Truth and Sheamus were the ones left standing tall.
Jack Swagger becomes the United States Champion.
Effective segment with John Cena demolishing Jack Swagger before their match even began. Obviously, many people weren't forward to the scheduled contest due Swagger having already competed earlier in the night, so Swagger taking the beat-down didn't due much damage to his character since it's become typical. As always, I continue to be intrigued by Cena's on-going story-line with him "embracing the hate" and his upcoming match with Kane at the Royal Rumble. Unlike last week, their angle was kept limited while progressing it properly.
Shockingly, Brodus Clay's new fan favorite gimmick has quickly won me over given how dedicated he seems to be to the character. These squashes over enhancement talent will help get him even more over with the crowd, which was certainly evident from the Anaheim crowd. As much as I'd love to see him eventually revert back to a monster heel, the Funkasaurous should be the fun for the foreseeable future.
Solid final thirty minutes of the show with much taking place. Daniel Bryan continues to improve on the mic, as he seems to be excel much better as heel with the impressive reaction he received. The six-man tag team match main event was pretty good while it lasted, but Chris Jericho's performance as he walked out from the bout was not only hilarious, but a fresh way of keeping his on-going "silent treatment" going. Bryan and Henry provided hype for their upcoming match on this week's SmackDown, while Mick Foley's surprise appearance at the end of the match was a nice sneak peak at his possible participation in the Royal Rumble match. CM Punk's rant to John Laurinaitis following the match was probably the best edgy promo he's cut since last June, whereas Big Johnny exploding in frustration once Punk walked away was a huge development in his character and the most passion he's ever presented in a promo. Attacking Foley shortly afterwards garnered him major heat, so an eventual match between Laurinaitis has got me excited at this point.
Overall, a fantastic show that managed to keep my interest the entire two hours while also providing significant hype for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in two weeks. Every aspect entertained me, as well as progress various story-lines without overexposing them similar to last week. With the road to WrestleMania 28 in the not-so-distant-future, I'm hopeful that we'll be witnessing more of these excellent shows in weeks to come.
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