Raw opens with Ryback defeating Titus O’Neil. Ryback wins using shell shocked. Ryback stands in the ring and refuses to leave until he gets what he wants. Security comes out and he tosses one of them out of the ring. Vickie comes out and grants him a TLC Match with Punk for the WWE Title at the TLC ppv as long as he leaves the ring.

^If you like Ryback as a top guy then you’ll be very happy with this opening segment. The match was pretty good for how short it was. I like the position that Vickie is in where it seems like she has no real authority after the visit from Vince McMahon about a month ago. This was a surprisingly good opener for the show.

A video is shown of Rosa looking for an apology from Hornswoggle for spraying her last week. Alberto Del Rio and the Great Khali both get involved and it sets up the next match.

^I don’t care for Khali whatsoever, but Hornswoggle is hilarious.

Alberto Del Rio defeats Khali using the cross armbreaker.

^This was short, and I’m thankful for that. I’m not a big Khali fan, but I do enjoy Alberto Del Rio every time he wrestles now. I’d like to think that with a proper character change(or personality adjustment, maybe if he finds one), Del Rio could actually be a top heel World Champion. I guess my major reason for liking the segment is that it puts over what a vicious heel Del Rio is in being able to take the down the giant Khali.

CM Punk is shown arguing with Vickie backstage about booking him in a match with Ryback. She tells Punk to deal with it and books him in a match with either Kane or Dbry tonight; the vote is up to the WWE Universe.

^Once again, it feels like Vickie is under the thumb of Vince McMahon as she continues to book the way the fans would like more so than what benefits the heels most. I actually think WWE wants us to start liking Vickie a little bit by having her operate this way.

Michael Cole’s interview with Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns is shown from earlier today. The group says they are not affiliated with CM Punk. They call themselves the Shield. Reigns ends the interview.

^Ambrose and Rollins talked more than Reigns, and that’s good logic because Reigns seems pretty boring. Ambrose is easily the best mic guy in the group. I’m curious to see these three in action down the road. Right now we just need to appreciate their jump to the main roster and watch this tale unfold. I also think that they’re alliance with Paul Heyman will be revealed sooner rather than later. Good interview overall.

Tamina Snuka defeats Alicia Fox using the superfly splash.

^It was short but it was good for a divas match. I’d like to see Tamina go after the title and work some fresh rivalries. Nice of WWE to remember these ladies exist and start using them properly.

John Cena comes out to talk. Vickie interrupts. AJ eventually comes out. Ziggler interrupts them all and Cena goes to take him out. Vickie stops Cena and books them in a match tonight.

^Lots of drama and I could care less. I wonder how Cena feels making out with a woman ten years younger than him. We got Cena and Ziggler now!

Kofi Kingston defeats Tensai with the crossbody while Wade Barrett watches from commentary. Barrett walks up to Kofi and hands him the IC Title before heading to the back.

^While not the best wrestling match of the night(c’mon, it’s Tensai), Kofi definitely looked strong and carried the entire contest. Barett’s commentary was pretty impressive as well and it’s hard to argue that this guy shouldn’t be a World Champion sometime soon. Despite not loving the match, the segment itself was very effective and now you have to wonder if Barrett is trying to get into Kingston’s head before their match at TLC.

Kane and Dbry argue backstage about who will face Punk tonight. Josh Mathews walks up and reveals that Kane won the vote. Mathews tells Dbry he will face Rey Mysterio tonight.

^Kane won the vote? I find it very hard to believe that this wasn’t rigged. I guarantee more fans would want to see Punk and Dbry again before any other match.

Rey Mysterio defeats Daniel Bryan using the big splash from the top rope.

^Despite complaining about Dbry not winning the vote to face Punk, this was a great wrestling match. Pitting two of the best guys on the roster against one another in such an impromptu way made for an exciting contest. I know a lot of people won’t like Mysterio going over on Dbry, but he’s more of the vet in this situation and Dbry doesn’t need wins to keep his popularity. Losing actually helps Dbry because it adds to the frustration of his character.

Del Rio and Rosa share a moment of flirting backstage as she thanks him for beating Khali tonight.

^Vince McMahon thought it was a good idea for Rosa and Del Rio to have a romance. I find it to be pointless and boring.

Josh Mathews interviews Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler says he can’t wait to see the look on AJ’s face when he beats up her boyfriend tonight.

^Ziggler has definitely improved his mic skills as of late, and he proved that no better than last week when he verbally assaulted AJ in the locker room. I’m not invested in the AJ storyline all that much, but I do wonder if some sort of swerve will come from AJ going after Cena.

Cena defeats Ziggler using the AA after both Vickie and AJ distract the referee with their arguing and Ziggler fails to hit Cena with his MITB briefcase.

^I was surprised that this match actually happened, and I’m even more surprised that it hasn’t been booked for the TLC ppv yet. While this wasn’t the dream match I was hoping for, it was still pretty darn good for what it was. Cena going over here doesn’t really hurt Dolph because it’s John Cena, and I honestly believe Ziggler could be booked to defeat Cena the next time around.

Sheamus defeats Antonio Cesaro by count out when he brogue kicks him out of the ring. Big Show comes out as the match is ending and gets into an argument with Sheamus. Sheamus says he will retire Big Show at TLC.

^Two big guys like Sheamus and Cesaro wrestled a solid brawl with one another. What more can you ask for? I like the finish because it keeps Cesaro from looking weak and it keeps Sheamus from getting beat by a mid card guy. Big Show’s music seemed to cue up a bit too soon; I think he was meant to come out after the count out was completed.

Damien Sandow defeats Zack Ryder in a short match.

^I hate seeing Ryder lose, but I still think he has upside for a potentially stellar future in WWE. Sandow continues to impress me every week with or without Cody Rhodes at his side. I could actually see Sandow as a front runner to win the Royal Rumble this year if WWE is smart enough to push him that way. Could you imagine Dbry winning the World Title between now and WrestleMania and having a match with Damien Sandow or even Dolph Ziggler on the biggest stage of them all?

Josh Mathews interviews Paul Heyman. Heyman discusses Punk passing Randy Savage on the all time WWE champion list.

^Good for Punk, but I still think comparing the two is ridiculous when you think of the way things have changed in the business. Savage is someone that can never be duplicated(despite Jay Lethal’s attempts) and his title reign in 1988 was something unique and fresh coming in the middle of the era of Hogan always holding the gold.

Punk defeats Kane clean with the GTS in the main event. The Shield comes from the crowd and attacks Kane. Dbry trys to make the save but gets attacked as well. Ryback comes down and gets the upper hand on the group but eventually gets taken out by them. Punk stands over Ryback with the title held high to close the show.

^I didn’t expect the cowardly WWE Champion(who had been getting help to win all his matches) to over clean on Kane so easily. That said, it’s how Punk should’ve been booked all along. I can definitely see a six man tag coming from this with Team Hell No and Ryback taking on the Shield. I like the fact that the show opened with Ryback looking strong to contend with the champion, and I like even more the fact that the show closed with the Champion looking strong. The main focus of the show should always be the WWE Title and its feud. The ending of the show fit so well because you’re to wonder whether or not the Shield really is working for Punk.

So let’s break this down: You had nine matches with one awful Del Rio/Khali squash. The other eight consisted of four average matches with Sandow/Ryder, Ryback/O’Neil, Kofi/Tensai and Tamina/Alicia. The other four were rated from good(Punk/Kane) to really good(Ziggler/Cena, Cesaro/Sheamus) to excellent(Dbry/Mysterio). As a fan of wrestling, I’m pretty happy about that. As a fan of entertainment, the Shield group continues to develop and the WWE Title rivalry is being pushed properly. The IC Title picture has a fun rivalry going, and the tag team champions continue to amuse. Overall, this was a very good show. I’ll be back with the Rundown this weekend. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!

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