WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 31, 2012) from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., with a taped show for New Year's Eve.
Click here, for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions:
- There was a lot of discussion about what last night's ending meant for everyone involved. If this was the end of John Cena and Dolph Ziggler's feud, I am perfectly fine with it. Pro wrestling works when the face goes over the heel at the end of the feud. Dolph and AJ Lee got a dirty win at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Cena, in turn, got the pair dirty to close out 2012. If this is WWE's way of letting Cena "go over" Ziggler, then it works perfectly. They can go their separate ways and everyone got what they deserved.
- Of course, all bets are off if these two continue facing each other. A victory for Cena in a match doesn't help him, and it would also hurt Ziggler. This is supposed to be the future world heavyweight champion, after all. Now is the time to start building him up as worthy of that title.
- That being said, the whole segment was painful to watch. Cena pretty much came out and called AJ a slut and Ziggler a worthless talent. Dumping fake poop on the couple was dumb, although, I'm sure there were a few fans who found it enjoyable. Cena does not know how to be subtle, or entertaining to fans over the age of 12, and it showed last night.
- CM Punk came out with his personal physician to prove that his knee injury is legitimate. His doctor then informed him on the air, that he cannot allow Punk to compete in next week's TLC match against Ryback. Punk acted shocked, but it was obvious he was simply trying to get out of fighting Ryback. It was a smart plan, up until Vince McMahon came down and informed everyone that if Punk cannot compete, then Heyman will be taking his place. I don't know if this is WWE hedging its bets, or if Punk is actually unable to compete, or just an attempted swerve. If Punk really can't go, then one wonders how much longer he will need to heal. In all honesty, a TLC match is probably the stupidest thing for Punk to be involved in right now. I'm still not sure why that stipulation was chosen.
- Heyman screaming at Brad Maddox to get out of Punk's locker room was brilliantly done. I think we are all confused on what the long-term plan with Maddox is, but one cannot deny that it is at least intriguing.
- Vickie Guerrero set up a handicap match between Ryback and The Shield. Well, she didn't set it up, so much as Punk whispered in her ear and she shouted it to the audience. This is exactly what Vince McMahon did with her a few weeks prior. If that is all it takes to get matches made, I don't understand why the entire roster isn't doing it. Why is Zack Ryder complaining about getting a push when he can just tell Vickie what matches he wants? It's all about going out and getting yours, people.
- I don't have any problem with Ryback, Randy Orton, and Sheamus clearing The Shield from the ring. This is WWE's top three stars going against the invading trio. This will be the litmus test as to how far WWE is going to push The Shield.
- Can we just say that Mae Young giving birth to Baby New Year -- played by the always dependable Hornswoggle -- represented the best and worst of WWE comedy? Young not being able to compete in the Divas Championship match because she is pregnant was funny. The soap opera music they played was pitch perfect. Vickie farting during the delivery was stupid. Hornswoggle popping out in a sash, top hat, and cigar was outrageous. It was campy as hell, but I'm a fan of camp. Your mileage may vary, though.
- Speaking of Divas, Kaitlyn continues chasing Eve Torres for the Divas Championship. It may not be the most exciting of feuds, but it's nice that WWE is showing some consistency for the division.
- Ricardo Rodriguez facing Big Show for the world heavyweight championship just felt special. We all knew how it would end, but the buildup was so beautifully done. Alberto Del Rio played his role perfectly, giving Ricardo his scarf and sports car to help make him look like a champion. I can get behind a face Del Rio, and I want to see more of Ricardo in the ring.
- Wade Barrett won the Intercontinental championship. And there was much rejoicing.
All told, it was an average episode. The good was good, the bad was painful, and if you had plans on New Year's Eve, then you didn't really miss much. With next week being the first show of 2013, that is where WWE is looking to pull out all the stops.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. How did you enjoy the New Year's Eve show? Let me know in the comments below.