I was incredibly close to vowing off the weekly WWE shows, reading results, and taking a gander at the most interesting bits while only sticking with the Pay-Per-Views. That’s how bad I feel the WWE Television product was becoming. Only moments before I watched this week’s RAW, I was thinking similar thoughts when I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had put together a quality RAW, despite everyone else seeming to think it had stunk. The week before, Smackdown had reached its former glory, giving me high hope for not only Smackdown this week, but the Television product in general. Now that we’ve survived a whole other week without too many slips, will WWE find a way to fuddle it all up? I’m guessing it’s possible.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

Sheamus still has some work to do on his face promos, but the point he makes is good, so it sort of evens out. When he has a tool like Otunga to bounce off, he shreds some of the cheese from his words. Plus, Otunga makes any promo more entertaining, if just to laugh at his self-fulfilling attitude. Del Rio joins the party, and he’s fun on the mic…but he has some enunciation issues. That could be due to a weaker grasp of the English language, but I’ve never heard him sound like he was at such a loss for words. At least they’re letting the World Championship shenanigans continue to open the show and be a main focus.

Heath Slater v Sin Cara (C): Sin Cara has finally returned from his “tragic” injury, and according to live reports and from the looks of this match, he’s returned botch-free thus far. He felt fresh, and a little less reliant on armdrags. Slater was a great opponent to carry him to decent match, and everything meshed well. Had their been a couple more minutes, maybe this would have been something a bit more noteworthy.

Ezekiel Jackson v Damien Sandow (C): Sandow has a great personality, look, and moveset. I’m sure he’ll be great when he’s given something to be involved in, but these glorified squashes can only entertain so much. I love Sandow’s ability to float out of every move, though.

Ryan Shelton & Chris Lyons v Ryback (N/A): I’m still loving the Ryback squashes, but this one wasn’t much different from last week’s. Plus, I still think it’s weak he moved on to Bateman, an actual WWE wrestler, and then back down to no-face jobbers.

Dolph Ziggler v Sheamus (B-): From the beginning, you see Ziggler fighting passionately to show that he not only belongs in Sheamus’ league, but that he’s better than him. They’ve teased Ziggles splitting from Vickie for a while, but it seems this may be the final push towards that ultimate goal, and it’s sorely what Ziggler needs. Ziggler and Sheamus have had good TV bouts before, but this one goes a little above their standard(probably since there’s more at stake for Ziggler in his mind). There was a large spot executed by Dolph that propelled this match to a higher score, but Sheamus brought plenty to the table himself. The finish leaves the decision somewhat questionable, since Swagger’s intervention changed the course of the ending stretch. Ziggler’s solo run must be coming closer…

Punk cuts a promo hyping up his match with Kane, but I can’t be bothered to lie to you and say this is really entertaining. It’s about the most cookie-cutter promo Punk could have cut for himself.

Prime Time Players(Darren Young & Titus O’Neal) v Santino Marella & Zack Ryder (N/A): O’Neal and Young seem to have a new team name, which doesn’t sound contrived, and it’s good to see there seems to be some long-term planning put in to their tag team. Marella/Ryder is nothing more than two comedy characters being paired up, and it’s kind of lazy, but both are good performers in their own lights. This match started nice, but it was over before I could grow any attachment toward the performance, so….yup, no grade. Big Show coming out and destroying the comedy duo afterward was highly entertaining, though.

Bryan is obviously jealous of AJ’s crush on Punk, so he attempts to intervene with her attempts to get with the “Chick Magnet.” AJ realizes his play, but Bryan’s mind-games get through when he gives a hint of maybe having feelings for her.

Cody Rhodes v Tyson Kidd(N/A): This was an opportunity to have a great showcase of WWE’s top ring talent, but instead it was a squash that flimsily progressed Cody’s feud with Christian. For shame.

CM Punk v Kane (NO CONTEST) (B+): Punk wrestles a “Big Man vs. Little Man” match very well, and knows how to make it believable know matter which direction it plays out, but it is a bit strange seeing Punk being on top for the first half of the match. It was intelligently done by him working on an arm and a leg, but Kane doesn’t really sell the arm any once he gets on top, so it sort of destroys the purpose. Looking over that fact(considering Kane’s supposed to be a monster that recovers from anything), the pace is set wonderfully, making for great match drama. It’s also nice to see that while Punk may have built a certain wrestling formula since going face, he’s able to wrestle a different match on any given night, and does so when it matters most. The best part about this match is the longer it went on, the more I found myself engrossed, and I ignored all of my previous complaints. Bryan’s interference just keeps this blossoming storyline burning strong, and the match ends on a high-energy note, complete with the announcement that the WWE Title match at No Way Out will be a Triple Threat involving Punk, Bryan and Kane. To be honest with you…I’m pretty excited for that.

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The show was riddled with squashes and jobs, and every match was generally predictable…but when looking at the two good matches we got, the talent that is being displayed and given SOME chance to shine, and a general glimpse of a new generation taking the reigns…its hard not to enjoy what is being given to us, even if it’s at the lowest level of enjoyment.

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