Chris Jericho hosts the return of the Highlight Reel.
Excellent segment to kick off the show with WWE Champion CM Punk and John Cena. While Punk's rant on John Laurinaitis was expected, I'm glad he was also to include Dolph Ziggler in the mix to get some heat on his challenger. Cena's interruption came as a bit of a surprise, but the impromptu tag team match that followed did not.
Solid tag team match with WWE Champion CM Punk teaming with John Cena against Dolph Ziggler and United States Champion Jack Swagger. All Superstars were allowed to shine, while Ziggler's pin-fall victory over Punk was a smart move in re-establishing him as a threat going into Sunday. Punk's challenging Laurinaitis to a match later on in the night was also successful in hyping the rest of the show.
Another awesomely booked segment with Chris Jericho, this time hosting the anticipated return of the Highlight Reel and speaking his first words on the mic since his WWE return. The video package of Jericho's career that aired on the Tron was well-done, as was his brief promo that followed. Announcing him as a participant in this Sunday's Royal Rumble match will certainly stir some major speculation that he might be walking out as the victor.
Although it dragged on a bit longer than it should have, Kane destroying Zack Ryder in such a decisive fashion was the best thing we've seen from him in the last month. I'm enjoying Ryder's new take on adding a more serious side to his character, as it made the match seem much more heartfelt and dramatic. Cool spot with Ryder being choke-slammed through the steel grate, but having it take so long to stretcher the former U.S. Champion seemed like it was meant for killing time more than anything else. Keeping Ryder off television for the next weeks would be the best move, reinserting him back in the U.S. title picture upon his return. Sure, Eve is a terrible actor, but her line to John Cena about it being all his fault was fantastic, but Cena really shouldn't attempt to make any more "angry" faces. I seriously broke out in laughter.
Meaningless match with Sheamus once again finishing Jinder Mahal off in minutes. I've officially lost track at this point as to how many times Sheamus has squashed this guy, so executing it once again did no favors for anyone. Meanwhile, Wade Barrett did well on commentary, and seemed like the major highlight coming out of this.
Dolph Ziggler executes a Zig-Zag on CM Punk.
Fun match with Brodus Clay once again demolishing another enhancement talent in Heath Slater. However, it was absolutely hilarious with William Regal on commentary, who not only enhanced the bout and competitors in it, but provided more comedy than Jerry Lawler did the entire show. I hope to see more unfold in the Brodus and Regal rivalry in coming weeks, as well as placing the Englishman behind the announcing booth for a permanent role.
Boring match between The Miz and R-Truth that didn't truly live up to my original expectations. To say the least, this feud has really fallen flat, as the crowd didn't seem interested in the bout whatsoever. Personally, this felt much like a rehash of their rivalry in 2010, so fingers crossed this is the end of the line. Regardless, I liked the idea of the loser of the match entering as number one in the upcoming Royal Rumble, adding somewhat of an incentive to look forward to this contest. The Miz coming out first should without a doubt be interesting come Sunday night.
Strong segment to close the show featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and John Laurinaitis. I did find it a bit odd that they were hyping next week's edition of Raw with the return of Triple H and more on the go-home show for the Royal Rumble, but it was still something to look forward to. I could have waited for Punk to deliver the highly anticipated GTS to Laurinaitis until after the Rumble, but sooner the better I guess. Ziggler's ambush on Punk to close the show was a great visual in the sense that the bleached-blonde Superstar has a chance of capturing the gold this Sunday after all the momentum he's received.
Overall, an entertaining show that had it's good taste of action in addition to several intriguing segments. There was minimal hype for the Royal Rumble show on Sunday, especially for the recently announced World Heavyweight Championship match. On the bright side, they delivered strong on the WWE title match, but the Royal Rumble bout itself could have used some more focus to increase intrigue and excitement despite the announced participation of Chris Jericho and Mick Foley.