Welcome to the initial Raw Afterthoughts of 2013!  After a break for the holidays, we're back and live this week.  Feel free to comment and give your own feedback below!

Who Won?

Everyone in the Internet community is buzzing about who won or lost in the Rock/Punk exchange last night.  My answer?

The fans.

The exchange between Rock and Punk went exactly as expected, really.  Rock came out and did his normal fan-friendly routine and hit his familiar lines.  Punk just stared Rock down and took it, then came back with a serious "I'm going to kick your ass."  And that was the ultimate point of this segment.

When you strip down all the gimmick stuff, this is all about Punk kicking Rock's ass, and Rock kicking Punk's ass to take the WWE Championship away.  All of it pointed to the big match coming up in 20 days at Royal Rumble.  It opened up the last build to that match excellently.  Good business and better than the games we saw Rock and Cena play last year.

Tables, Ladders, and Shields...

CM Punk and Ryback had a well-worked TLC match for the WWE Championship.  It wasn't dramatic as I think most people expected Punk to retain his championship  but it didn't take away from the match.  They made use of the stipulation well here.

It was also expected to see The Shield get involved.  That was also a bit ho-hum for me. However, it kept Ryback looking strong in defeat.  This also could be setting up a Ryback spot in the Royal Rumble when he eliminates all the members of the Shield.

All in all, this match would have easily filled the main event slot of TLC as it was slated to before the Punk injury.

Shame-Us

When Sheamus is in the ring doing his playful gimmick as he did last night, he's entertaining.  He grabbed Jinder Mahal by the nose and played a bit of grab-ass with him and it made the match fun to see like it was intended.

However, his promo backstage was atrocious.  Sheamus is much better on the mic when he's fired up and intense, playing it straight.  The singing and falsetto voice stuff he did when he was in an exchange with 3MB backstage was campy and just bad.  I guess it's hard to play hard off of the 3MB act, but it didn't work.

Quick Hits:

  • Eve and Kaitlyn had an effective match and is getting a minor level of interest.  The count-out finish was cheap but got the job done.
  • Worth noting is that Kaitlyn has improved in the ring.
  • It's time to take the straps off of Team Hell No and move them onto an act like Rhodes Scholars.
  • I'm declaring that I am entering the Royal Rumble.  Apparently that's all it takes to get in.
  • The video packages that hyped the 20th anniversary Raw next Monday were great.  That said, why they hyped no other returns than Dr. Shelby...yes, Dr. Shelby...is beyond me.
  • If I never see another poop shower in WWE, it'll be too soon.  I really didn't need to relive that end segment from New Year's Eve.

That's it for this week.  Join us next Monday for the 20th anniversary show!