Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail than can be during a live broadcast. Feel free to comment or ask your own questions below, or hit us on Twitter!
I watched the show via DVR, and not live. So, here's my hits and misses list from the show.
The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Goldust, and Cody Rhodes
This was a very entertaining affair, and it felt like it gave the show some promise in the early going. Roman Reigns got featured a bit again and he looked like a monster. I am happy to see that they didn't feature him to the point that they may have telegraphed a possible split of Reigns from The Shield. It's too soon for that, as there is still money to be made with them as a group.
Punk and Bryan vs. The Wyatts
I enjoyed the match these guys had. The best part of this segment though was the post-match angle. The Wyatts hauled Bryan off, and The Shield speared Punk and put him down with the triple powerbomb. The intrigue now is if Punk and Bryan are heading off to their own programs with the two factions. Will they each battle their own trios, or will they team up to take on all six men? The one thing that was lacking was how they handled the Wyatts taking Kane away at Summerslam. Had we gotten a better follow up to that story, the Wyatts carrying Bryan away would have meant more.
Big E. Langston and Mark Henry vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
I give this a minor hit for a logical match based on where these talents are heading in current programs. The fans liked seeing Mark Henry on Raw for the first time in a while now. I am wondering where they're going with Langston and Henry. They billed them as "the world's strongest team" at one point. I don't think that's a good thing to do with Langston, but it could set up a good program with him and Henry down the road.
Divas Survivor Series Rematch:
WWE really pushed their luck here. While the match ended up being better than my low expectations, there was no purpose to it. All they did was fill time with this. In Sunday's rendition, they tried to put the shine on Natalya it seemed, but I guess they just wanted to put the Sharpshooter over because Bret Hart was there. Last night, the Bellas got the shine along with Eva Marie, who was getting booed out of the building. Ultimately, Brie is the better worker of these three and I hope that's where the focus shifts to. And leave the Worm out of it.
Xavier Woods vs. Heath Slater
I really enjoy Consequences Creed. Woods (his new name) has a lot to give to the product I think. But I really don't care for another smiling, happy, undercard face and he's better than that anyhow. His look doesn't seem right to me either.
Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler
Two weeks, two hardcore matches. I have to admit, these guys are working hard and trying to make something of this series (it would seem), but they're getting zero storyline support. These matches just feel thrown together with no logic, then the announcers just yukk it up during the match. These two are just better than this and it's a waste of their talent.
Miz TV featuring NY Giants All-Pro Michael Strahan
If ever I wanted to grab someone in creative by the scruff of their neck and scream that simplicity works better, it was after this segment. WWE really seemed to go far afield of the basics of pro wrestling for this segment.
I thought Titus did a decent job spoofing Michael Strahan. But the silly hip toss stuff was just dumb from any perspective, and Miz essentially ending the scene with an emcee-like "Michael Strahan, everyone!" was even worse. WWE felt for that moment like they are only a few steps short of having Vince, Steph, or Triple H come out with the roster in tow at the end of every broadcast and start waving at the fans and hugging. WWE needs to get back to the core of their roots - pro wrestling - and stop being a variety show with an athletic theme.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton - One Champion
I don't know about you, but my guard is up. We've had screwball finishes since SummerSlam in just about every pay per view match involving the WWE Championship. Almost all of those screwball finishes have come at the hands of Triple H. So when he comes out and says that two titles will be hanging above the ring, the very first thing that goes through my mind is that we have yet another screwjob finish coming. Will each man keep their individual title? Will one man come away with both? Or will they flip-flop titles? And will someone like the Authority find a way into it to affect the finish?
If WWE has something in mind here to truly create one undisputed title or champion (not going to the full on "unification" talk here), then they need to come out and set it firmly. Otherwise, viewers' guard has to be up.
This overall show was a miss for me. Creative just feels like it is in a really bad place right now. I wish I could blame the flat show on the fact that this is a holiday week, but that's not what was going on here. Usually they come out after a pay per view with a sound show, but the flaws of all of the previous weeks are still hanging around.
WWE needs a big jumpstart from somewhere but I don't see that happening until Wrestlemania season, if even then. Between bad creative and the three hour format, the product has really suffered and fans are suffering through it looking for that bright spot. I have to wonder if they can get it on track going into Wrestlemania at this point.
That's it for this week. I'll be back in the saddle next Monday for Raw live coverage right here on Ring-Rap.com.