WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (Dec. 16, 2013) from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, featuring all the fallout from the TLC pay-per-view (PPV) that took place this past Sunday night in Houston, Texas.
Click here for full results and the live blog from the show if you missed it. Let's get right to reactions. Remember, these were written as the show moved along with real time reactions to everything that occurred hour-by-hour.
- I don't want to sound like a pig here, but Stephanie McMahon looks amazing these days, doesn't she? It's just impossible not to notice anymore.
- What the hell was the point of that poll asking fans what the new unified champion should be called if WWE was going to go with its own idea anyway? The one time they did a vote on that ridiculous App that seemed to make sense, they went back on the results immediately. This is the kind of thing that creates all the snark and cynicism you likely get so ridiculously tired of from some fans.
- Randy Orton's false sense of strength is so amazing. He's so much better than I ever could have imagined at playing that role. I never used to understand why The Authority switched back and forth between giving the fans what they want and taking it away, but that's never really what it's been about. I was always just too eager to think of them as good guys or bad guys, babyfaces or heels. The reality is they're always hungry and motivated by one thing and one thing alone: power. Orton didn't want to take on Daniel Bryan, he remarked that he was the most powerful guy in the ring, Stephanie and Triple H felt the need to exert their dominance. That's all the motivation they need. Because they certainly don't think Bryan vs. Orton is best for business, not after the past four months, right?
- Babyfaces won a WWE poll? No way!
- Snark aside, the Rhodes brothers vs. Big Show & Rey Mysterio ended up being a fine match. Props to the Dallas crowd for loudly chanting that they wanted Goldust, because at this point every crowd should be chanting that. Maybe not on the level of a Bryan chant, but on some level somewhere near it. Like, Intercontinental level.
- Bad News Barrett makes me sad.
- Dolph Ziggler wins match over Fandango and that's a really big deal because he needed it for "his own confidence", according to Michael Cole. Bit of double bladed sword, but take it how you can get it, I guess.
- I like the Real Americans entrance way more than I should. It's just the right amount of goofy to go with two serious characters.
- WWE kicked off its second hour of Raw with Real American vs. Big E. Langston & Mark Henry. My oh my how things have changed, huh?
- Antonio Cesaro's gimmick is that he's really strong. Like, that's basically the entire appeal of him at this point and you know what? It works. I love it. I also love that a tag match like this would be given the amount of time it was given, so everyone involved can get over with it. A lot of times that's what it takes to get over, folks. Something so simple as time and exposure. Long live the three hour era. This new emphasis on tag teams is a good thing.
- Damien Sandow is the best Santa. AJ Lee is the best elf. Tamina Snuka is Tamina Snuka.
- Brodus Clay is a bad guy, but he's not some jobber, he's a main event playa, you guys. In fact, he's a main event playa on the level enough that WWE booked him to be the second cog in a segment over R-Truth and Xavier Woods goading the Funkadactyls into a dance off. Ridiculous.
- CM Punk's pipe bomb was a really wonderful thing when it happened but we're over two years removed from it, almost three now. The threat of it happening a second time has been used enough now and never come through on that it's played out. He'll never recapture that magic. Ever. Let's stop acting like it, or promoting it, or pretending his microphone is a pipe bomb anymore because it hasn't been that for a very long time now.
- What the hell is Shawn Michaels doing here?
- I loved the interaction between Michaels and Punk but I almost hate how often they bring old HBK back for little guest spots like this because we can be reasonably sure it's not leading anywhere and that doesn't do anything but make me sad for what I'm not getting, as opposed to the stated goal of making me excited for what I am getting. Punk vs. Michaels and Bryan vs. Michaels are two matches that would blow away any other match WWE could make right now. One of those should happen at a WrestleMania. And we'll almost surely never get it. Stop teasing me with it, damn it.
- The Shield vs. Punk & The Usos is almost a generic six-man tag at this point but one I'm not quite ready to stick a fork in if only because I haven't started disliking anything about The Shield yet. Really liked the finish, especially with Dean Ambrose being the guy who continues takign a ton of punishment while Roman Reigns cleans up with the spear. Punk doing the job was absolutely the right call here. This was great.
- I cannot tell a lie, my friends, I missed the space between The Shield defeating Punk and The Usos and the Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton match already being underway. About 15 minutes until 11 p.m. ET, essentially. It looks like a slobberknocker so far.
- It's pretty amazing to think that Bryan and Orton had so many more great free TV matches than they did on PPV. It's not even close either. It just sucks that we got such a shit finish. I'm actually starting to wonder if it isn't a conscious effort on WWE's part to absolutely beat our love for Bryan right out of us, or at least our want to have him challenge for the WWE championship. This felt like a receipt to those fans who hijacked Triple H's promo by going into business for themselves back in Seattle. Oh, we want Bryan in the main event in a WWE world title match? Fine, here you go. We're going to screw him again, and we're going to screw him every time until you stop wanting him to be in this spot. It's working too. I can't care about Bryan challenging for the title again. I just can't.
- In addition to Bryan getting screwed again, which will pass over into downright comedic if WWE does it one more time, they used him to get more babyface heat for John Cena. Like because fans want so badly for Bryan to win that when he gets screwed Cena will go to bat fighting for him and that will make fans want to cheer Cena. As a mark fan, this pisses me off beyond measure. As far as business goes, it makes sense and I can't fault WWE for thinking this way.
This was a fairly good show, but that finish left me feeling awful about the future.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?