411’s Instant Analysis 11.19.12: WWE Monday Night Raw
Welcome to this week’s Instant Analysis of Monday Night Raw. I’m your humble reviewer, Chad Nevett and I’m actually doing two of these in a row. Will wonders never cease. Tonight’s Raw is the
follow-up to Survivor Series beginning of the build to TLC. What matches will be booked? Sheamus and Big Show in a Chairs Match? CM Punk and John Cena in a TLC Match? Brodus Clay and Tensai in a Ladder Match? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS AND I AM SO DARN JAZZED UP! LET’S GET TO IT! WHOO! TLC! TLC! TLC!
SEGMENT ONE: Ryback vs. Tensai
Match Result: Ryback pinned Tensai
Match Length: Three and a half minutes
A calculated way to begin the show: Ryback is pissed and gets a chance to beat the crap out of another giant man, thereby gaining back some face after failing, again, to win the WWE Championship. He even managed to hit Shellshock on Tensai without any problems, so there’s another small bit of redemption. Hardly something worthwhile. It was a character necessity, nothing more.
Rating: 4.0 out of 10
SEGMENT TWO: Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett
Match Result: Wade Barrett pinned Kofi Kingston
Match Length: 13 minutes
An entertaining midcard match. It’s a bit of an extended version of what could have been a five-minute match: Barrett just beats on Kingston until Kingston makes a comeback and Barrett shuts him down. Considering his finishing move, Barrett going after the eyes makes a good amount of sense. I didn’t find a lot of progression after the first half of the match, unfortunately.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
SEGMENT THREE: Kaitlyn vs. Aksana
Match Result: Kaitlyn pinned Aksana
Match Length: Three minutes
TV Divas matches are like awkward mini-brawls. It’s hard to call it ‘wrestling’ exactly where it’s just weak strikes and hair pulling. How does one not come off as condescending and demeaning when you see something like this?
Rating: 2.5 out of 10
SEGMENT FOUR: Brodus Clay vs. Antonio Cesaro
Match Result: Antonio Cesaro pinned Brodus Clay
Match Length: Two and a half minutes
FLYING EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! That was fantastic. I know we’re supposed to be impressed by Cesaro’s finisher, but I can’t get enough of his European Uppercuts. I am surprised that R-Truth is still hanging around Cesaro. So far, he’s had short feuds where it built to a title match and Cesaro winning with no rematch in sight. I would prefer that pattern continues. Give Cesaro as much momentum as possible before he drops the belt — and make the guy who wins it look even better by being the one to end Cesaro’s streak of destroying the midcard. R-Truth being out did mean we got that wonderful answer to Michael Cole’s “What kind of dog are you?” question. Does that count as a botch?
Rating: 6.0 out of 10
SEGMENT FIVE: AJ and Cena Make Out
Um… ‘kay? As always, I’m baffled that this has any appeal for anyone. It’s moving at a glacial pace and is actively annoying in its obnoxious story. Bad melodrama that doesn’t even try to be convincing. Everything about it is done with a wink, but, hey, maybe they’ll actually pull the trigger on Cena/Ziggler. If Cena’s ankle is fine. Ouch.
Rating: 3.0 out of 10
SEGMENT SIX: Best Two out of Three Falls Match – Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
Match Result: Randy Orton pinned Alberto Del Rio to win two falls to one
Match Length: A little under 13 minutes
That was a damn fine match. They told a simple story and went for one party dropping the first fall via DQ, but that giving them the advantage in the second fall. Usually, it’s a purposeful, calculated move, but, here, it seemed more like Del Rio simply got lost in the moment. Despite the effect being the same, the difference is a good one and makes the animosity between the two seem more real and heated. Orton sold the arm injury well. He didn’t limit his movements much, preferring to simply show pain after executing something that involved his arm. There was a sense, especially near the end of him simply fighting through the pain. He pounded the mat despite it… Del Rio pounding the mat shows that Orton makes it look somewhat easy. This is probably the end of the feud and it was a good one.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
SEGMENT SEVEN: The Great Khali vs. Primo & Epico
Match Result: The Great Khali pinned… somebody
Match Length: A little over a minute
Well… that was stupid.
Rating: 0.0 out of 10
SEGMENT EIGHT: The Miz vs. David Otunga
Match Result: The Miz pinned David Otunga
Match Length: Six minutes
Watching the Miz wrestle as a face is a little odd. It’s nice to see that things like his jumping clothesline in the corner works as a crowd-popper like it did as an arrogant heel move. He’s obviously not comfortable in the role yet — those punches were pretty strange and awkward looking. He’s a very good heel and naturally leans that way, so we’re probably in for a month or two of mediocre, semi-awkward matches as the Miz figures out how to be a face. But, it should be interesting to watch a bit of trial and error as he grows into the role.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10
SEGMENT NINE: Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
Match Result: Sheamus pinned Damien Sandow
Match Length: 15 minutes
A month and a half ago, these two men fought on Raw and, because I was working, I didn’t see the match. But, I heard many good things. It wasn’t an all-time classic or anything, it was simply a very good match where Damien Sandow delivered his best performance in the WWE to date. This match didn’t seem like a repeat performance. There were some nice moments and I liked Sandow’s character — the way he ducked Sheamus at first and his aggression when we returned from the break. Despite that, this was a by-the-numbers affair. Pulled off well, just lacking something to really engage and draw in. At first, it seemed like this was going to be a pissed off Sheamus steamrolling Sandow and I think that might have been preferable. They already did that with Ryback, though, and Sheamus doesn’t need a squash win at this point. I don’t know… the energy of the first half seemed absent in the second.
Rating: 7.0 out of 10
SEGMENT TEN: Woman in the Locker Room!
Ever since the beginning of the AJ/Cena/Vickie story, I’ve suspected that it’s really AJ and Dolph Ziggler that are an item with Vickie in the dark somehow. This segment possibly kills that theory — though, looking at wrestling’s history, you could say that it seems more likely now. Either way, I’m a little disappointed that there wasn’t a better reaction to AJ bursting into the locker room by the guys in there. I wanted some freak out…
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
SEGMENT ELEVEN: Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio vs. Team Hell No
Match Result: No contest
Match Length: Around ten and a half minutes
The main attraction here was the commentary done by the Primetime Players, specifically Titus O’Neil. It was energetic and funny — not always… coherent, but definitely one of the more lively parts of the show. And, on a night where Jerry Lawler has trotted out one lame cliché ‘joke’ after another, it broke things up. The match, meanwhile, was fun. Sin Cara looked good in there early on against Daniel Bryan, while Kane is a fantastic base for both high flyers. I wish Rey and Sin Cara had a team name. They need one. All in all, a good segment.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
SEGMENT TWELVE: 365
CM Punk has made it a year as WWE Champion and his celebration was… surprisingly muted. With the talk about the Attitude Era, I couldn’t help but think about how this sort of thing would have gone down then. It would have been more outrageous and insane, don’t you think? Not simply Punk cutting a good promo before Ryback comes out and is ambushed by Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns, right? There would have been something that was actually noteworthy… not a simple retread of last night. The promo was good, not great. The ending was anticlimactic and disappointing. An entire night’s build-up and… that’s what we get?
Rating: 6.0 out of 10
Segment of the Night: Two Out of Three Falls Match
Trash Segment of the Night: The Great Khali vs. Primo & Epico
Final Analysis: On paper, this seems like a Raw that I should have enjoyed a lot. There was a lot of wrestling and that’s what I want, right? Well, it is… But… A lot of the stuff we saw was fairly mundane in concept and execution. Your standard fare with the occasional standout moment here and there. Often, one or two per match and that’s it. There was a sense of treading water throughout the night where most progress was, at best, a return to where characters were before last night. There were some new developments like the Barrett/Kingston feud getting its official start, Orton and Del Rio finishing their feud, and the Miz trying to establish himself as a face. However, none really stand out. Instead, we get another chapter the ongoing soap opera of AJ, John Cena, and Vickie Guerrero… more Sheamus/Big Show posturing… the same tag teams mixing it up and trading wins but no one actually standing above… and CM Punk bragging again about his accomplishments before a muted, anticlimactic finish that we saw last night. Disappointing, yes.
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