Randy Orton vs. John Cena: Absolutely the most satisfying WWE main event since SummerSlam, and an excellent way to cap off WWE’s 2013 PPV season. Both guys worked extremely hard in this match, and left this viewer glued to the screen throughout the entire contest. Although I had boldly predicted that Triple H would be the one who walked away with the championship(s) by the end of TLC, I had always firmly believed that if that didn’t happen, Orton was the pick to become “the champion of champions”. There were plenty of cool spots, and the violence level was upped to an “Attitude Era-like” level, which really made this match stand out (more on that later). There are six weeks before the Royal Rumble, which leaves lots of time to build toward who will win, and challenge Orton for the Championship at WrestleMania.
CM Punk vs. The Shield: In the first of two 3-on-1 handicap matches, CM Punk and the Shield delivered exactly what they should have, in a hard-hitting contest, with the right twist at the end. It’s no secret that WWE sees serious money in Roman Reigns as a singles competitor, and Dean Ambrose has a star quality that might actually rival that. Seth Rollins is completely under-rated, and will breakout before the end of 2014 as well. Most importantly, the story told here was believable, simple, and concise, and didn’t fall into the usual pitfalls of an overbooked WWE handicap match. Highly enjoyable opener.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family: In the second of two 3-on-1 handicap matches, Daniel Bryan and the Wyatt Family delivered a different, and equally believable and entertaining match that really shone a light on how good the Wyatt Family will come to be in 2014. Luke Harper carried the workload for his team in this match with a guy half his size and kept the match on the same level for the duration. There is a lot to be said for that talent. In addition, is there a character more captivating right now than Bray Wyatt? He’s absolutely everything that Waylon Mercy should have been when I was younger, but wasn’t. And more fascinating yet, it’s hard to believe that he’s a second generation star, and the son of WWE legend Mike Routundo (aka I.R.S.). Such a polarizing figure that you absolutely cannot take your eyes off of the entire time he’s on screen. Another excellent match.
Big Show/Rey Mysterio vs. The Real Americans vs. Curtis Axel/Ryback vs. The Rhodes Brothers: Goldust’s ridiculously amazing comeback “tour” continues, turning in another instant classic performance. My pick going in were the Real Americans to win, leading to tension between Goldust/Cody eventually leading to a WrestleMania match between the two brothers. What we got instead was a satisfying main-event style tag match, and a great segment towards the end of the match between Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes. This was Mysterio’s best outing yet, since returning from injury, and everyone here worked hard. Cesaro’s giant swing on Goldust was a stand-out moment, but the line of the night came from JBL, post-match, saying to Mysterio/Show and The Rhodes Brothers “if you want to shake hands, and hug, go on Dr. Phil.” Laugh out loud funny.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango: It’s hard to believe how far these two have slid down the scale of importance in WWE over the past year, but this was still good for what it was. It clocked in at just slightly less than 5 minutes long, but was still entertaining. I just hope WWE regains whatever lost faith that they have in both of these guys in gets them back into position next year.
R-Truth vs. Brodus Clay: Not so much a miss for match quality, but moreso a miss for lack of momentum. When Clay was scheduled to debut as a monster heel a few years back, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, transformed into a cartoon character, I was one of the few that was all for it. I actually found the Funkasaurus entertaining…..at first. Nearly 3 years later, it’s dead to me. Absolutely nothing of consequence has happened with Brodus Clay has happened since his debut. Name the best Brodus Clay feud you’ve seen in the past 3 years. Hard to think of one, isn’t it. So, for me, this is too little, too late. And speaking of stale, is there another character more stale than R-Truth? Save for his entertaining heel run in 2011, R-Truth has been doing the exact same character (even so much as rapping to the exact same theme song) SINCE HE WAS IN TNA! If I could steal any character from TNA right now, it would be Bully Ray (or Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian), NOT Ron “The Truth” Killings. Boring beyond boring. I’ll take a pass, thanks.
Alberto Del Rio: What the hell happened to this poor guy? He loses the World Championship to John Cena in October, loses his rematch in November, and then doesn’t even have an appearance in December? Del Rio’s disastrous face turn aside, he has been one of the most reliable and entertaining characters the WWE has had this year, and if you only saw last night’s PPV, you wouldn’t even know he existed. They somehow found time to get The Prime Time Players, Vickie Guerrero, Brad Maddox, Los Matadors, and Great Khali in screen, but not Del Rio. Embarrassing.
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston: WWE has completely half-assed this feud. The Miz is the drizzling shits. The absolute explosively wet and disgusting shits. If there is one WWE Champion that WWE should be embarrassed to have on their record books, it should be him. Not Ultimate Warrior, not Sycho Sid, not anybody but the Miz. He’s the woooorst. And why, exactly, should I care about two mid-card guys, with nowhere to go, and nothing to fight for, fighting? This is RAW filler, not prime time paid content.
WWE’s Ridiculous Head Shot Policy: Alight, I will state again, for the record, I don’t see a problem with the occasional (once or twice PER YEAR) chairshot to the head. To really increase the intensity of a feud, or to put an exclamation point on the intensity of a feud, I think they can find a place. There are ways they can be done safely, and aren’t much more dangerous than being powerbombed, or chokeslammed. But tell me why it’s not okay to hit someone in the head with a chair, but you can blast them in the face with a ladder? This ridiculous policy was on full display again last night, as it has been since the chairshot “ban” was first instituted years ago. No less than a half a dozen full on shots to the face with a STEEL LADDER being thrown by a 250+ pound man. How is this okay? How is it that a chairshot results in a hefty fine and the overall shunning by the industry and it’s insiders, but ladders, trash cans, ring steps and countless other objects just get swept under the carpet? Either man up, and protect your wrestlers (ahem, sports entertainers) fully, WWE, or don’t bother protecting them at all. Your current policy is a complete joke.