** Jack Swagger succeeded in doing his job Monday night: making Sheamus look good. After Punk bailed on the match, Swagger was named as a replacement. The match wasn't bad at all and was built to make the champ look like a beast. Sheamus won with a Texas Cloverleaf-esque submission, a striking change for the brawling Irishman. Afterward, Del Rio hit the ring, but in the end, Ricardo Rodriguez ate a Brogue Kick and the No. 1 contender escaped unscathed.**
Everyone who does commentary during divas matches could take some lessons in calling the action. There has been a growing trend of all the commentary during divas matches being bickering back and forth and ignoring the action going on. Not that the action between Eve and Kaitlyn was all that great, but they tried. The post-match interactions with Eve and Divas Champion Layla make it seem like Kaitlyn's title match at Night of Champions is just passing time before the real match.
** WWE built up a rivalry between Ryback and Jinder Mahal that was unlike anything Ryback had seen to that point, as Mahal seemed to at least have a game plan. That ended with Mahal getting beat in a quick match, barely more than Ryback's other squashes. On Monday night, Mahal once again got manhandled by Ryback. Repetitive matches can be cumbersome, especially when WWE can't even find fresh jobbers to feed to their undercard monsters.
** Perhaps AJ needs to enroll herself in the anger management classes that Bryan and Kane just finished. The Board of Directors ordered her not to touch any other employees, and when Vickie Guerrero physically taunted her, AJ more than held her composure. But when Guerrero left the ring, AJ had a breakdown of sorts. It continues to be impressive that two female non-wrestlers are finding themselves in a rivalry like this.
** United States Champion Antonio Cesaro soundly defeated Santino Marella -- again. Yes, there were more issues between Marella, his arm and Aksana. That story remains unresolved, so I'm led to believe this rivalry will continue, but I hope Cesaro can move on to something better. What is Christian up to these days? I think a Cesaro-Christian program could be very intriguing.
** Heath Slater and Zack Ryder have been having a Twitter war, apparently, and settled it in the ring Monday night. Ryder got the "W" in a quick match that made both guys look good. I hope Slater's street cred hasn't been irreparably damaged, as I think he could be a decent midcard wrestler for the next few years.
** The Miz was a welcome presence on commentary. Despite being a heel, he did a solid job building up all competitors, even Cena. That's a welcome change of pace in WWE. Some people just hate The Miz and anything he does, but for what my money is worth, The Miz's commentary added to the show rather than detracted.**
After his match with Sheamus, Swagger confronted AJ and said he was leaving for an extended time. Not sure what that was all about, but I hope Swagger isn't done with the company. I'd love to see him disappear until the Royal Rumbleand return in top form and pushed as a serious competitor again.
Dolph Ziggler d. Randy Orton
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara d. Tensai and Cody Rhodes
Sheamus d. Jack Swagger
Eve d. Kaitlyn
Ryback d. Jinder Mahal
Antonio Cesaro d. Santino Marella
Zack Ryder d. Heath Slater
Alberto Del Rio d. John Cena in a Falls Count Anywhere match
Monday night's Raw was a mixed bag. There were some really good parts of it -- the main event, the Punk treatment, The Miz on commentary -- and some less-than-thrilling parts. Only three matches on the show seemed as if they had any consequence. Much of the rest was just kind of there. Three-hour shows have been in full swing for a while now, and WWE seems to have the pacing down to a good format; it's just now a matter of making things more compelling with the storytelling. Overall, I give this week's Raw an average rating.
Ring Posts’ Adam Testa has teamed up with My 1-2-3 Cents and All American Pro Wrestling to bring you From the Rafters Radio, a weekly pro wrestling talk radio show airing from 8-10 EST every Thursday on Monster Radio 1150 AM in Southern Illinois and streaming worldwide on wggh.net.