Survivor Series was last night. Team Foley and Team Ziggler faced off in the ring finally. Two dysfunctional teams put aside their issues to battle each other, and Dolph was left standing alone. How will WWE follow up with this situation? Big Show kept his title, but he did so by getting disquallified. How will Sheamus respond to what happened last night?
The big news though is that CM Punk kept his WWE Championship and as of tonight he'll have had a one year reign. But it was in part due to some invaders. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns had a hand in the main event by attacking Ryback. Where do we go from here? Raw starts at the top of the hour!
WWE programming intro welcomes us to tonight's show. That feeds into a "Previously on Raw" style recap video that talks about the various events of Survivor Series. They highlight the two championship matches in particular.
Ryback comes to the ring to open the show. Cole recaps the attack by the three developmental talents that attacked Ryback and put him through an announce table. Ryback speaks. He says that he was about to feast on the WWE Championship but Punk paid three men to take food from a starving man's mouth. Ryback calls out Punk and his accomplices, and says if he doesn't come out, Ryback will tear the place apart looking for them. He starts a "feed me more" chant.
Vickie Guerrero comes out and says that Ryback blew his two shots at the title. She threatens him with fines or suspensions if Ryback tears anything up. She does like the way he tears things up though, and she wants to find out how big his appetite is.
Match #1 - Tensai vs. Ryback
Typical big man offense in the beginning as the two men jockey for position. Tensai gets some offense in. Ryback gets a Thesz press and slams Tensai's head against the mat. He clotheslines Tensai out then throws him into the security railing while calling him Punk.
Ryback comes back and hits the meathook clothesline. He follows up with the ShellShock after getting the big man up on his shoulders. Ryback puts him away.
Not a full-on squash since Tensai got offense in. Ryback never looked vulnerable, though. The fans are into the Feed Me More thing.
Sheamus is shown arguing with an official about what happened in his match with Big Show last night. The sell the celebration of CM Punk's 365-day title reign coming up later, and they show split screen of Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett walking to the ring. They face off after the break.
Match #2 - Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston
They air a clip from last night where Barrett calls Kofi an embarrassment as an Intercontinental Champion and he should have the title.
They start off with basic kick-and-punch offense. The fans don't seem to be too interested at first. They go to break. After the break, Barrett remains on offense, and rakes at the eye. Kofi starts to make his comeback.
Barrett eats a dropkick but rolls out of the ring. Kingston keeps the offense going, hitting the Boom Drop and a nice cross body. Barrett rakes Kofi's eye on the rope and follows with the Bull Hammer elbow for the win.
I would rather see Barrett head for main events, but this program could do wonders for the IC title if they do it right. The announcers did a good job of telling the story of Barrett working at Kofi's eye and how that helped him win.
The announcers talk at ringside about CM Punk's win last night at Survivor Series, calling him lucky the past couple of pay per view events. They feed it into a video that talks about Brad Maddox and his story leading into the mauling he took from Ryback.
Heyman has a big poster of Punk that he's carrying around. He insults one of the stage hands, telling him to "call his friends if he has any." Heyman walks to Punk's locker room and knocks and out emerges Punk with a "I'm a Paul Heyman Guy" shirt.
Matt Striker shows up and asks what, if any affiliation Punk has with the three men who attacked Ryback. Punk gets indignant and calls it disrespectful. Striker continues and asks about Ryback and Punk gets upset. Heyman interjects and says that it's a night of celebration. Punk asks that Heyman come with him to talk privately.
Match #3 - Aksana vs. Kaitlyn
The announcers talk about Aksana attacking Kaitlyn prior to her match last night. After some clunky action, Kaitlyn hits her knee drop finisher (like a gutbuster) for the win.
Crowd was flat, match was clunky. They did cheer Kaitlyn's win, though.
The announcers hype up the Orton vs. Del Rio two-out-of-three falls match later.
They air an ad for "The Soup Meets WWE" on Wednesday.
Match #3 - Antonio Cesaro vs. Brodus Clay (w/Cameron and Naomi)
R-Truth joins the announce position for commentary. He says Little Jimmy didn't come along this time. They start off with some back-and-forth action, then Clay goes up for a Vader Bomb. Cesaro moves.
He follows with a twisting uppercut, then Cesaro hits the Neutralizer on Clay for the win.
Obviously not a one-and-done for Truth and Cesaro.
They feed it to a video that showcases Cena's 300th wish with Make A Wish. A mother taks about Cena's wish grant, which was his second grant. "He gave my child something no one else could have."
I don't care what you think of Cena the character - the wish granting thing is worth respect.
Vickie is talking to an unidentified man and woman and Cole tells us she has more allegations against AJ for after the break.
They show an ad for Smackdown, asking who won the title match between Sheamus and Big Show.
They recap the Vickie/Tamina/AJ segment from last night. Vickie makes her way to the ring with the unidentified couple from backstage. The fans are quiet, but when she starts talking, they open up and let her have it.
Vickie says she's going to lay doubt to rest now that she has eyewitnesses. She introduces Wendy Smith, who is a waitress in a hotel in Sacramento. She says Cena and AJ wanted a private table and they were very touchy-feely and whispering to each other. They were clearly talking about more than business.
Vickie introduces the man next, Doug Brady. He is a parking attendant and he says that AJ and Cena were in a car for over an hour in the parking lot. He says a father complained about what Cena and AJ were doing.
AJ's music hits. She says she doesn't know who the people were or how much Vickie paid them. She is sick of Vickie's attempt to create a scandal. AJ told Vickie if she wants to fire her so bad, do it. "If not, then do everyone a favor and shut the hell up." The crowd cheers and Vickie tells AJ she can't accept the truth.
Cena's music hits and he comes out. The witnesses exit. Cena calls everything Vickie is saying a load of crap. Vickie is just using this to give people something to talk about. Cena turns to AJ and says he hopes she doesn't mind and they share a kiss. Cena turns to Vickie to talk but AJ grabs him for another kiss.
Dolph Ziggler hits the ring to attack Cena. He fights Ziggler off and tries for the AA but Dolph escapes and leaves the ring. Cena goes after him but twists his ankle and hobbles to the back after Ziggler.
The first kiss was well received, the second not so much. Partly probably because of Dolph's run in drawing attention. I was a bit embarrassed to see grown men jumping up and down over that kiss. Is this the end of the line of this weekly garbage?
Match #4 - Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez); Two out of three falls
After some back and forth offense, Del Rio works Orton's arm at the ring post. The official calls for the bell and disqualifies Del Rio. Orton wins fall #1 by DQ.
Orton battles back after the break. After some more back and forth, Del Rio is able to lock on the Cross Arm Breaker. Del Rio wins fall #2 by submission.
The referee asks if Orton can continue and Orton tells him to ring the bell. Ricardo gets involved at one point and the official sends him to the back. Orton is watching Ricardo leave, and gets caught with the Backstabber. Del Rio mocks Orton with the Viper pose and tries the RKO. Orton counters and gets the elevated DDT in the ropes and hits his own Viper pose.
Orton tries the RKO, but Del Rio counters and locks on the Cross Arm Breaker again. Orton rolls it over and gets Del Rio in a pinning position for a near fall. Del Rio tries the jumping enzigiri in the corner but Orton avoids. Orton hits the RKO and picks up the win.
Simple and effective, and they used the arm work by Del Rio to advance the match story there. Third fall was good action and the crowd enjoyed it. They're really not doing much to advance Ziggler's win last night and with Orton getting the win here it actually helped a little.
They show highlights of the AJ/Cena/Vickie segment again. The announcers point out the rolling of Cena's ankle or knee as he left the ring to chase Dolph. They show a trainer wrapping Cena's knee backstage while AJ is watching. Cena says he's fine.
Work, or legit? Hmmm. Looks like a work with AJ in the picture and all that.
Match #5 - Great Khali vs. Primo and Epico (w/Rosa Mendes); Handicap Match
Khali is dancing in the ring. Hornswoggle's music hits and here he comes to the ring with flowers. Hornswaggle glares at Rosa, then approaches her for a kiss. He squeezes water at her from the flowers and she gets livid.
Oh by the way, Khali hits the Punjabi Plunge on Epico for the win. Afterward, Khali and Hornswoggle dance.
WWE is reminding you that Epico and Primo are main-roster jobbers.
Stagehands are setting up the Punk Celebration. Heyman gets upset because balloons haven't been delivered and tells them to get on it. They show The Miz heading to the ring.
Match #6 - The Miz vs. David Otunga
King plugs his appearance on Inside Edition, which airs tomorrow. Otunga dominates the early going of this one. Cole talks about the clothesline shots that Otunga hits on Miz.
Miz comes back with a sunset flip, then a roll up. He hits a series of strikes then hits the running clothesline in the corner. Miz delivers a double axe handle from the top rope then hits the Skull Crushing Finale to get the win.
Miz got cheered from the Ohio fans, and they likely see Otunga as a local jobber guy.
The announcers talk about the chair shots Sheamus hit Big Show with last night, then hype up the match between Sheamus and Damien Sandow after the break.
Wow, these first two hours have been really...lame. Will this work tonight?
Match #7 - Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
Sheamus comes out with a chair in hand. He says he has something to get off his chest before he knocks the bejeesus out of his opponent. He says that his feud with Show started as two warriors facing off. He was okay with coming up short last month, but Show made it personal by beating up William Regal then dragging the official in front of the Brogue Kick last night.
He says that Show has revealed what kind of person he is. Sheamus says Show always seems to run off. He says he smiled after Hell in a Cell but he's not smiling anymore. He calls out Big Show.
Show's music hits and he hobbles out. The announcers talk about the beating Show took last night with the chair. Show says he and Sheamus have nothing left to settle. He said he would knock out Sheamus at Hell in a Cell and win the title. Sheamus points out the chair is the same one he used last night.
Show puts over Sheamus as being barbaric like his ancestors. Sheamus doesn't deserve the championship. Damien Sandow's music hits and he makes his entrance. Show heads backstage. Cole resets the situation with referee Scott Armstrong, saying he's not fit to officiate right now.
Sheamus gets the better of Sandow early, dumping him to the floor before they go to commercial. Out of the break, however, Sandow has taken control. Sandow plays to the crowd before trying to go for the Elbow of Disdain, but gets an Irish Curse Backbreaker for his troubles.
The crowd wakes up a little and counts along with Sheamus' clubbing blows to the chest. Sheamus hits White Noise, then follows it up with the Brogue Kick for the win.
The crowd was flat, but they got up for Sheamus' signature spots toward the end.
Vickie is with Tamina in her office and AJ storms in. Vickie briefly does an intro for Tamina and AJ and AJ says that they will get to know each other a lot better. AJ complains and says that Vickie sent Dolph out to attack Cena.
Vickie laughs at the notion and Tamina puts her arm up when AJ takes a step forward. AJ points out that Cena is injured and asks what Vickie will do. Vickie says nothing, and AJ insists she will.
This angle really needs to die a quick death.
They run a graphic boasting about Smackdown. The announcers talk about how Smackdown is the #1 Show on SyFy, and hype up the Punk Celebration later.
AJ is heading somewhere in a hurry and Layla is trying to talk her down. She gets to a locker room door and Layla tells her to think about it. AJ responds with "leave me the hell alone" and bursts in the door. There's a group of heel wrestlers in there, and AJ heads right for Ziggler and asks who the hell he thinks he is.
Dolph tells AJ that she's a dime a dozen and she came from nothing. She is nothing, and when someone pays attention to her, she gloms on to them and makes that person her world. At the end of the day, AJ is all alone and she's a shell of a woman. He has known girls like her all his life and they're all the same. He calls her weak, pitiful trash.
Dolph sits down, and AJ flakes out. She starts wailing away on Dolph and Cena barges in to break it up. Cena and Ziggler exchange blows and Ziggler takes a shot at Cena's bad knee. The fight spills into a shower room where they collapse the stalls. Cena holds his knee as the scrum is broken up. The referee calls for a doctor and trainer.
Dolph cut a good promo, but they're doing nothing to follow up Ziggler's big win from last night in Survivor Series.
They recap the situation from moments ago out of commercial. Josh Mathews says Cena was rushed into the training room and he looked to be in a lot of pain. Cena's previous injury has to be much worse.
Match #8 - Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio
The Prime Time Players are on commentary for this one. Cole tells the Players that he had information that if Rey and Cara win the match, they'd get a tag title shot. That came from Vickie. Mysterio and Sin Cara hit dives on the champs as the show goes to commercial.
There gets to be some commenhatin' going on at the announce position. Titus asks if Lawler took his heart medication before the show. Titus says he won't do CPR, then mocks Lawler for saying wash rag instead of wash cloth.
Mysterio gets Kane down and hits the 619 and then goes for a splash. Kane catches him though and teases a choke slam. Players hit the ring to disrupt the match. Mysterio hits the 619 on both of the PTP, Kane hits a chokeslam on Titus and Sin Cara hits a swanton on Young.
Lots of commenhatin' going on, with Young and Lawler humoring themselves. Cole had to bring them back. The buidling is lifeless at the moment, though the match was fine really.
Heyman hypes up CM Punk for being the champion for 365 days. He says he wants Punk's celebration to be beyond compare. He guarantees no one will tarnish this night. "My champion, your celebration awaits." Punk smiles.
They recap the Cena injury angle and segment backstage with AJ, Ziggler, and Cena.
Heyman is in the ring. He introduces himself to a chorus of boos. There's photos of Punk and a list of the longest title reigns in the ring. Heyman asks if the boos are because of mocking Lawler's heart attack situation last week. He says the fans cry for the Attiude Era but every time they get a taste, they don't like it.
Heyman says the fans can't stand the greatness that stands before them and makes history by raising the bar so high. Heyman says Punk stands head and shoulders above the rest, not just today but for all time. Heyman says this is a celebration of 365 glorious days. Heyman introduces CM Punk.
Punk's music hits and he walks out, with the new "Heyman guy" shirt. Punk bows and holds his arms in the air as Heyman claps in approval. Heyman fakes tears as he gets in the ring. Lawler says his tears are about as real as the heart attack Heyman faked.
Punk says that Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bret Hart, Undertaker and The Rock all couldn't do it. He says it's been 365 days, one calendar year, and points to the Tron. A video plays of all the milestone moments in Punk's title run, including hitting Rock with the GTS. It ends with a graphic of 365 days and counting. Heyman can be heard telling Punk he's the best in the world.
Punk says it's a special day and a night for celebration. He is looking forward to the future though and recognizing his place in history. Punk vows to not stop 'til he gets to the top of the list. His goal is set on July 25, 2018 (adding "the 355th edition of Main Event on Ion"), when he passes Bruno Sammartino as the longest running champion ever.
Heyman points out that he knew Sammartino when he was a kid, and was a fan of Bruno's, but admits Bruno could never beat Punk Heyman points out Hogan's name and says Hogan couldn't beat him. Heyman says that another Heyman guy, Stone Cold Steve Austin, could never beat Punk. He adds it will be proven at the Royal Rumble that The Rock can't beat Punk, either.
Punk thanks Heyman and says that people ask him what his most important win has been. Punk says that beating Ryback and Cena is number one with a bullet because everyone said he couldn't do it. He says two people believed and they are standing in the ring. Punk says the odds were stacked against him like never before.
Ryback's music hits and here comes the Big Hungry. He gets close to ringside but here comes Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. They attack Ryback at ringside. He fights them off at first but eventually the numbers are too much. They beat him down and clear the table at ringside. They deliver the powerbomb through the table in a repeat of last night's performance.
Punk watches with a serious look, then slowly leaves the ring as the trio of NXT'ers enter it. Punk walks to Ryback and looks down and laughs. He holds the belt up and yells "Best in the World!" to close things out.
All the hype and buzz, and we got a repeat angle? They missed a real chance to forward the story but they only emphasized the point that the trio didn't go after Punk again. Maybe that's part of the point and I'll give it a pass, but WWE could have really capitalized on something here and didn't.
This show felt like a whole lot of filler on the night after a pay-per-view during a holiday week. The crowd got into it at times, and the matches were decent enough, but everything felt pretty inconsequential. Really missed it here.
I'll have more to say on this show in Raw Afterthoughts, which will be up late tomorrow due to some travel commitments I have during the day. But stay tuned for that and I'll get it posted as soon as I can. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.