- Bad News Barrett def. Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall
As much as I’m a fan of Dolph, I had a feeling Bad News was going to come out on top due to some sort of outside interference. I can’t imagine Barrett making a return and losing his first shot at the IC title. They had me for a moment when Ziggler got the first pinfall. But I knew after Kane restarted the match that our favorite outside interferer was going to cause DZ the title. This could be the start of a good feud though.
- The Ascension def. some jobbers via Pinfall
I’m not going to bother looking up the other tag team’s name because WWE didn’t bother to even introduce them. The Ascension cut a great promo before destroying some jobbers in an attempt to get some cheap heat. But despite what they said about The Road Warriors, The Ascension is a throwback to the days of wrestlers like Hawk and Animal and Demolition. I loved their work in NXT and understand that they have to take out a few lower level wrestlers first before they can dominate in a tag team division thirsty for new competition.
- Roman Reigns def. Big Show via DQ
I’m not sure if the crowd isn’t responding to Reigns well, or they just hate watching him wrestle Big Show in matches they know will eventually end without a pinfall. It seems like this feud is going nowhere. I’m not the biggest Reigns fan, but his talent is being wasted here. Nothing against Big Show, but two big guys going at it at a slow pace is kind of boring to watch. But Roman’s Superman promo made me laugh out loud because I know I’m the only one who thought of Cena instead of him. There’s only room for one Superman. You’ll just have to wait your turn Reigns.
- Natalya def. Nikki Bella via Pinfall
Yay for Natalya!! I guess the Paige and Natalya friendship thing they have going on now is a direct reaction to Total Divas, but I’m just glad that the better wrestler won this match. The match itself was pretty short and weak, but that is the Divas division as a whole. I just wish the Divas got the chance to put on great matches like NXT allows their Divas. But maybe that is asking too much as a fan.
- Luke Harper def. Erick Rowan via Pinfall
What can I say about this match other than it was designed to give Erick Rowan an ass whooping? The Authority got their way again in this match.
- Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose via Ambulance match
Another great match in an awesome feud. But Dean needs to score more victories against Wyatt. This feud has been entertaining so far, but it has also hurt Ambrose a little. The win/lose ratio between the two need to be closer to the middle for both guys to walk away from it undamaged. But it has mostly been Dean performing some great spots and moments in matches only to lose to Wyatt almost consistently. I was actually let down by the ending of this one.
- The Miz, Mizdow, and Alicia Fox via Pinfall
I don’t know if Alicia Fox teaming up with The Miz and Mizdow is a one time thing or not, but I can see a lot of potential in her being a regular with the group. She’s too interesting to not do anything with.
- Seth Rollins and Kane def. Ryback via Pinfall
Great match. I wish Ryback could have overcome the odds and scored a victory, but I can respect that it took two Curb Stumps to put him down. I like Ryback. They seem to have figured out how to push him correctly this time. Even after losing this match, they’ve managed to still make him look believably strong. But as for the attention he’s getting from the fans as of late, it’s amazing how much a superstar could connect with fans when he’s given a chance to be himself for a change.
- Big E def. Adam Rose via DQ
A New Day is starting to lose momentum. I like the group, but they’re struggling to get over with fans. I’m not sure if a heel turn would help either. I think they need to connect with another baby face in order to regain some attention. Possibly helping out Cena or Ziggler during an attack or something. Maybe a feud would help. Speaking of that, Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Adam Rose could make that happen. I’m not sure what they are doing with Cesaro anymore. And at this point, I’m afraid it will just disappoint me in the end.
If Survivor Series was A New Hope, then this episode of Raw as The Empire Strikes Back. Okay, it was not nearly as good as Empire, but it had the same feeling of the bad guys winning while leaving the heroes hopeless. This episode would have made a bigger impact if the Authority was off air a lot longer. A true absence of the Authority would have given their return more meaning. But judging this episode for what it was and not for what it could have been, I enjoyed it more than I’ve enjoyed the more recent episodes without the Authority. Welcome back Hunter and Steph. You might have returned a little earlier than expected, but you did deliver some serious payback.