I wasn't a fan of the build up to the PPV on RAW. Mostly, I hated the lazy "mad chaos' ending that finished the show, putting all wrestlers involved in the top three matches in the ring brawling to end the show. I would much rather be focused on one match to close the show. Put each match into its own spotlight while the show goes on. And they have three hours to do that now! That is just how I personally prefer to do it. To each their own.
And that is how I will get into this preview. There could be some decent wrestling on the show if some matches are given time.
"Santa's Helper" #1 Contenders Divas Battle Royal
This, sadly, will not be one of those matches that will be good if given time. Actually, the less time this match gets the better. Thankfully, this is on the pre-show so not many people will see it. I hate to seem so negative about the Divas Division, but until the WWE gives me a reason to care, I won't. Not many of these women can put on a decent wrestling match to begin with. Eve is a heel, which means a face has to win by default. Kaitlyn has already had her turn, so I'm going to guess the WWE puts Layla back in the Title scene again. Layla wins by eliminating Tamina.
Tables Match: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs Team Rhodes Scholars
Cody Rhodes returned to RAW this Monday to reunite team Rhodes Scholars. He also returned with one of the creepiest mustaches I have ever seen. If that doesn't scream "Hey Kids, there's candy in the back of my van," then I don't know what does. But Cody and Damien Sandow work well together as a team. Sandow is so quick witted on the mic that he can almost never give a bad promo. I still think both guys have singles potential down the line, but for now they work well in the tag team division. Team Rhodes Scholars won a Fatal 4 Way match on RAW to be placed in this match. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio? Well, um, I don't know why they got a free pass. And I don't think it was ever explained on RAW either. I believe Rey has been battling some sort of flu like sickness. And I guess Sin Cara hasn't botched in a while. That must be reason enough to give them a free spot in this match! There's always a risk of injury in this match for the injury prone Mysterio and Cara. I think the WWE has high hopes for the Rhodes Scholars. But I also think they see more of a profit with Rey and Sin Cara. I'm going to pick the faces to win here.
WINNERS: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs R-Truth
Cesaro continues to impress as an in ring worker. This week? The way he caught Kofi mid air was pretty amazing. I just wish his character was getting a bit more heat. That way he could get up the card a little bit more in WWE land. That is one thing that might hold him back in the long run. There's only so many times you can do the "Foreigner Who Hates America" gimmick. Hopefully Cesaro can get away from that a little bit down the line. As far as R-Truth? Well, he' just a placeholder for Cesaro until he moves on to the next guy. Hopefully that feud has a little bit more depth than this one. The way Cesaro has been saying "No American Can Beat Me" almost makes me think that his next feud has to be with a returning Jack Swagger, which I think could make for some decent matches. Cesaro retains here. Lock of the Night.
WINNER: Antonio Cesaro
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett vs Kofi Kingston (c)
I hope these two get some time to work a good match, because I think they can put on an entertaining one. Wade Barrett is destined for the main event scene in 2013. There's no ifs, ands or buts involved with that one. I saw main event potential in him when he was the leader of Nexus. He has the look that Vince loves in his main eventers. Kofi continues to hold his place in the mid card of the WWE. In essence, you could call Kofi the "Main Eventer of the Mid Card." I still think their is some time for Kofi to get elevated. And considering how thin the face side of the WWE is, Kofi could be the next breakout star if done right. You could say the same thing about Daniel Bryan as well. Both men lost on RAW Monday, so no one really has the advantage going into the PPV. I think Kofi has done about everything he can with the IC Title. I'm picking Wade Barrett to win here. Changes up the mid-card scene a little bit.
WINNER: Wade Barrett
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs Big Show (c): Chairs Match
I have a love/hate relationship with this feud. Everything in the build up is very annoying. Sheamus continues to deliver terrible promos making very corny Cena-esque jokes. He's getting dangerously close to Cena levels of bad in the promo department. Big Show's best asset is his promo delivery, but I haven't liked anything he has done in the last few weeks. But as I said, it is love/hate, because I have enjoyed the two matches these two have put on the last two PPVs. I enjoyed the Hell In A Cell Match more than I did the Survivor Series match. But for being two big man matches, they have been quite watchable. And considering the HIAC Match was the match of the night, you know these guys put on their working boots.
Looking ahead, you have to consider where everything is going on the Smackdown side of things. There are far more heels on that show then there are faces. I really don't think this match is going to go to a fourth match. This should be the end of the feud. Very rarely does the WWE carry over programs from one year into the next. And Big Show is not the type of guy I see as a long term investment as World Champion. He's a place holder. It almost seems like his Title reign has been one where the WWE gives a veteran guy that has been with the WWE a long time a run with the World Title. It happened with Kane two years ago and Mark Henry last year. The only difference being Henry's push to the World Title was great.
As far as Sheamus goes, I still think the WWE sees him as their next top star. The problem is, with his promos, the WWE is turning him into their current top star. Sheamus is getting lame and corny, just like Cena. Sheamus was much better when he was the guy who just wanted to fight. I just think the WWE has a set frame of mind on how their top star should act. That is why they are molding Sheamus into the character he is now. But I still think Sheamus wins the World Title here. I see him winning then moving on to a short feud with a mid carder on Smackdown heading into the Rumble, or possibly even a cash in by Dolph Ziggler at some point leading to an extended program. But Sheamus leaves TLC with the World Title.
Ladder Match for the MITB World Title Briefcase: John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler
This may be the worst build match ever. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to it. I know these two can put on a good match in the ring. I'm not worried about that. Ziggler is one of the best workers in the WWE and he is by far the best bumper in the WWE. And Cena, despite not having the best arsenal in the world, defintely brings his A game and can handle himself well in the ring when he is up against the top workers.
But the match itself is just surrounded by so much crap that it shouldn't be. If I'm building this match, I have Ziggler pin Cena in a tag match. Then when Ziggler brags about how he pinned Cena, Cena challenges him to a one on one match. Eventually, Cena also gets Dolph to put his MITB Briefcase on the line. Cena tells Ziggler that if he is truly confident in his abilities, he won't be afraid to put the briefcase on the line. That is how you make Dolph look like a main eventer. He doesn't back down from a challenge and he has already pinned Cena in a match.
The WWE, however, doesn't agree with us. We've already seen a one-legged John Cena pin Dolph Ziggler in a one-on-one match. Oh, and this program has been surrounded in a terrible love storyline with John Cena and A.J., and Vickie Guerrero trying to cause both of them as many problems as possible. I don't know who thought this storyline was a good idea. You want to appeal to your female demographic? I think they may even be turned off by this. I'm pretty sure there is better written storylines on soap operas. A.J. grew as a character and the audience liked her, but the WWE had no idea what to do with her. Lets just keep throwing her together with random guys on the roster. I get that she is suppose to be "crazy," but not even crazy chicks bounce around with this many guys. And I haven't even talked about how I hated how Vince just made this match out of thin air.
Again, lets look at the results each outcome would bring. What good would John Cena winning this match bring? Unless they plan on unifying the Titles at Wrestlemania, it wouldn't make any sense. It would mean Cena has to appear on Smackdown if he wins and Cena is already burned out as it is. You don't want to over expose him. If Ziggler wins, he cashes in and becomes a main eventer. And in an era where the WWE badly needs to make new stars, that is the best outcome. Will A.J. get involved? My guess is yes. I don't think she turns heel and joins Ziggler. That would just make too much sense. A.J. gets thrown in harms way, distracting Cena. This allows Ziggler to climb the ladder and retain his briefcase.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Team Hell No & Ryback vs The Shield
See what happens when you have gimmick matches? You book yourself into a corner. For the first time ever, we get a TLC Match that can end by pinfall. Although if I were WWE, I would have just made the Cena/Ziggler match a TLC Match then made this a six man elimination tables match. That is me. But the WWE felt the need to add ladders to this match for some reason. It is just odd.
I've enjoyed the way that the Shield has been booked so far. It's been much better than the Nexus was the first month they were around. The Shield looks strong. They continue to wreak havoc in the WWE. And both promos they have given so far, the sit down and the joker like promo, have been good. Dean Ambrose will do very well being the leader of the group. I think he has a bright future ahead of him. The group as a whole has looked strong. They took out Randy Orton and have taken out their opponents in this match multiple times.
I can't seem to get fan perception of Ryback. The last two PPVs, his crowd reaction was timid at best. But then the reaction he received on Monday when he came out to end the show was pretty loud. I just can't pin point how over he is with the audience. The WWE is also presented with a problem when it comes to the booking of Ryback. He's lost in the two main events he has been in so far. Yes, one was a screw job and the other he wasn't pinned, but it is still a difficult spot for the WWE. With Team Hell No in this match, it again gives the WWE the option of protecting Ryback again. I do think that Team Hell No is on its last legs, and that they will be losing the Tag Titles sooner rather than later. I really want to see Bryan break out as a top star in the company. I think he is ready as a character and performer.
If the WWE wants to have any long term success with The Shield, they need them to win here. Look what happened with the Nexus. In their first PPV main event, they lost to John Cena. Things went down hill from there. The WWE can again protect Ryback here by not allowing him to take the fall in this match. My guess is Ryback starts to dominate, but C.M. Punk comes out and takes out Ryback with his crutch. This allows The Shield to get the upper hand and pin Kane to pick up the victory.
WINNERS: The Shield
I will cover the show live Sunday. Feel free to follow along.
Until Next Time,
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