This episode of RAW, in many ways, was typical of 3-hour specials in it’s lack of depth, short matches and prominence of the gimmick. However, as the go-home show for TLC, I think it did a good job. I wont discuss the Slammy winners much, but I was pleased to see Punk’s demoralization of the Mysterio family, Nexus’s introduction and HBK-Taker at Wrestlemania all pick up Slammies.
Though the tag team match between Daniel Bryan & Kofi Kingston and Ted DiBiase & Dolph Ziggler was relatively short, there were flourishes of brilliance between Bryan and DiBiase. The TLC card seems full now, but I would love to see a long ladder match between the two. It could make both of them.
I loved that they found ‘Miz Girl!’ The segment was nauseating in a similarly great way to CM Punk’s slammy award winning performance (Punk even asked whether Miz was going to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ next) and really got some heat.
Despite the fact it was a non-match, the Sheamus-Morrison segment was a highlight of the show. It was fantastic build-up for their match at TLC! They couldn’t be contained in a regular match, meaning that officials had to pull them apart. A good sign came when the crowd started chanting ‘Let them fight!’ Hopefully, the atmosphere for their match at TLC will be just as hot.
Edge and Jack Swagger had a pretty good match, showing that Swagger hasn’t fallen from his main event potential grace. Indeed, now Swagger has ditched the Eagle and gotten serious again, I don’t think it’ll be too long before he’s sniffing around the World Title again. It was an unusually uncomplicated finish to the match, with Edge preparing for and hitting his Spear for the win at the first time of asking. That is no bad thing – the fact that it is notable undermines the idea that that makes it overly predictable or formulaic.
I liked seeing David Arquette on the show as a petty heel, receiving the treatment he did from people like Orton. The guy obviously understands wrestling and it was the perfect way to treat him given his infamy in the industry. I wasn’t too keen on the match, but again, it provided further build-up to the Miz-Orton match at TLC. Miz’s champion character is developing quickly. As well as being highly beatable, he is also now a man who never travels without back-up to whom he will happily delegate the ‘dirty work.’ Indeed, on RAW he had a veritable entourage! It wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable but welcome Arquette-through-a-table spot.
Wade Barrett rehired Cena, which, in itself, if a little demoralizing. However, the way he did it, setting the Nexus on him subsequently and insisting on a ‘chairs’ match at TLC, redeemed it somewhat. Later on, Barrett would perhaps plant the seed of a storyline twist by hanging David Otunga out to dry against Cena who was making a statement with chairs against the Nexus’s troublemaker. It was a nice visual parallel to the previous week and a good way of reasserting Barrett’s dominance over the group.