Live from Dayton, Ohio this is the Raw Deal for episode #1017. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport

My Survivor Series recap is available RIGHT HERE in case you missed it. 

The voiceover guy told us what to expect on Raw: The aftermath of the Big Show/Sheamus match for the World Title, CM Punk's 365 day reign as WWE Champion and the three men that made an impact at Survivor Series. Who are they working for? 

The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. 

No music for the intro of the show. Instead we get Ryback. Ryback cut a promo saying he's a predator and that CM Punk, along with the three men that attacked him, are his prey. He wanted them to come down to the ring to face him right now. If they don't come down to the ring then he's going to tear the place apart until they find each and every one of them. Then he led the crowd in "feed me more" chants. 

Analysis: The promo was fine. We don't hear from Ryback too much, but his delivery is solid. 

The Managing Supervisor of Raw, Vickie Guerrero, showed up on the stage. She said Ryback blew his two chances at being the WWE Champion. She told him that if he causes chaos then he would be subject to a fine or a suspension. She set up a match for him. It was Tensai. 

Ryback vs. Tensai 

Ryback decked Tensai with a clothesline early on. Tensai came back with a punch to the jaw, a clothesline and then a charge into the corner. Ryback hit a Thesz Press. Stone Cold Ryback? Then he rammed the head of Tensai into the mat a few times. Tensai hit a double choke slam followed by a running Senton. Ryback kicked out before even a one count. Ryback hit a powerslam. Spinebuster by Ryback. That looked a little sloppy. Ryback hit a clothesline that sent Tensai over the top rope to the floor. Ryback threw Tensai into the side of the security wall. Back in the ring, the crowd chanted "feed me more" as Ryback hit the big Meat Hook Clothesline. Ryback picked up Tensai for the Shellshocked and he got the pinfall victory for the win. Remember when he failed to pick him up that one time? He was fine here. The match went about four minutes. 

Winner: Ryback 

Analysis: *1/2 I enjoy the power offense of Ryback. He's expanded it so it's more than just clotheslines. I was surprised that Tensai got as much offense as he did, but it didn't hurt the match at all. That was a quick way to book Ryback strongly after not winning the WWE Title in his second attempt. 

Backstage, Sheamus was yelling at one of the referees that was involved with his match on Sunday. 

Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett were walking backstage in preparation for a match. 

Later in the show, CM Punk celebrates day 365 (that's one year) as the WWE Champion. 

(Commercial) 

The upcoming match is non-title. Barrett eliminated Kingston at Survivor Series. There was a clip from backstage after Survivor Series with Barrett saying he should be the IC Champion. 

Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett 

Kingston hit a series of punches in the corner followed by an uppercut to put Barrett down for a two count. Barrett caught Kingston with a back elbow to the face. Barrett kicked Kingston in the ribs followed by punches in the ribs. Barrett hit a neckbreaker for two. Barrett knocked Kingston out of the ring with a clothesline. They went to commercial in the vintage floor to commercial spot. 

(Commercial)

Back from break, Barrett had control of the match with a headlock. Kingston fought back up, but Barrett tied him up in the ropes for his spot where he hit a series of knees. Boot to the face by Barrett that sent Kingston to the floor. The announcers were pushing the idea that Barrett poked Kingston in the eye, so the thinking is that Kingston's vision was impaired by this point in the match. Back in the ring, Barrett got a two count after a kick to the ribs. Barrett applied a facelock as the crowd rooted for Kingston to make a comeback. Barrett went for a slam, but Kingston rolled him up for a two count. Dropkick by Kingston sent Barrett to the floor. Back in the ring, Kingston hit some chops followed by a dropkick, clotheslines and then the Boom Drop. After Kingston hit that move, he grabbed his eye. Barrett hit a tilt-a-whirl side slam that I like to call the Bossman Slam for two. Kingston got a boot to the face and then a cross body block off the top rope for a two count. The SOS by Kingston got two. Barrett got a boot to the gut and then he raked Kingston's eye on the top rope. Evil. I like it. That led to the Bull Hammer (formerly known as The Souvenir) forearm/elbow by Barrett for the victory after 13 minutes. 

Winner: Wade Barrett 

Analysis: *** They got a decent amount of time and were able to tell an entertaining story. Kingston was selling the eye injury early on, Barrett used it to his advantaged and he ended it in a decisive manner. That's how you book people strongly. I would assume that Barrett gets an IC Title shot in the near future, possibly at TLC on PPV in December. 

The announcers talked about Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns attacking Ryback at Survivor Series. 

There was a video package highlighting the actions of Brad Maddox last month at Hell in a Cell when he cost Ryback the WWE Title. Then we got clips of his match against Ryback where he got destroyed. They plugged "The Brad Maddox Experience" on Youtube.com/WWE. 

Backstage, Paul Heyman walked around with a portrait of CM Punk. He knocked on Punk's door. Punk had on a "I'm a Paul Heyman Guy" t-shirt. Heyman said he would throw Punk a big celebration. All of a sudden Matt Striker showed up. Striker asked about Rollins, Ambrose & Reigns. He asked about Ryback. Heyman said tonight is a celebration and everybody is invited, even Ryback. Punk asked to talk to Heyman as the camera faded out. 

Analysis: It's smart to build up to the CM Punk celebration for later in the show. It's a big deal. 

(Commercial) 

Back from break, Kaitlyn and Aksana were in the ring. 

Analysis: My immediate reaction was: "Wow they're going to do this match live on Raw? Keep it short. Please." 

Kaitlyn vs. Aksana

Kaitlyn was aggressive early on. Aksana left the ring. She hit a clothesline on Kaitlyn on the floor. They went back into the ring where Aksana rammed Kaitlyn's head into the mat a few times. It's not as effective as when Ryback does it. Aksana gave Kaitlyn an armbar while using the top rope for leverage. The crowd is completely dead for this. Aksana threw Kaitlyn into the turnbuckle. Kaitlyn came back with a boot to the gut followed by a hair whip and then a shoulder block. Flap jack by Kaitlyn. Gutbuster by Kaitlyn earned her the victory. The match went three minutes. 

Winner: Kaitlyn 

Analysis: 1/2* The crowd didn't care, but they tried hard. It was pretty boring, though. I like that Kaitlyn used a Gutbuster as a finisher instead of the reverse DDT. That looks like a more credible finisher for her.    

Coming up later is Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio in a two out of three falls match. I thought the falls count anywhere match two weeks ago on Smackdown was the end of this rivalry. I guess not. 

(Commercial) 

As they returned from break, R-Truth joined the announce team. Brodus Clay made his entrance along with the girls. We found out that Antonio Cesaro was the opponent of Clay, which is why R-Truth was out there scouting. Didn't the feud end on Sunday when Cesaro won clean? 

Antonio Cesaro vs. Brodus Clay 

This is non-title. Clay opened up on offense early, but Cesaro got him down and gave him a double foot stomp to the stomach. Clay came back with a headbutt to the chest. Corner splash by Clay. Clay went for a splash off the middle rope. That didn't work because Cesaro moved. Cesaro went to the middle rope where he hit an uppercut to the face of Clay. Cesaro hit the Neutralizer on Clay. He covered for the victory after three minutes. 

Winner: Antonio Cesaro 

Analysis: * That finishing move was very impressive by Cesaro. Lots of power. I didn't hate this Clay match, which is a testament to how good Cesaro is. He's becoming one of my favorite performers in WWE.  

There was a video clip showing John Cena's accomplishment of granting 300 wishes for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Cena said it's not about a number to him. It's about being able to be there for these kids. He said this is the most important accomplishment of his life. A mother told a story about how Cena's meeting with her son was such a big moment him. That was his second wish granted. 

Analysis: There's no question Cena's accomplishments with Make-A-Wish are amazing and I have a lot of respect for him. Hearing that mother talk about what a moment it was for her son to meet Cena was very heartwarming. I'm sure somebody will complain about WWE airing stuff like this on their programming. I have no problem with it. 

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero was shown talking to two random people we don't know. More evidence in the "AJ Scandal" coming up. 

(Commercial)

The Managing Supervisor of Raw, Vickie Guerrero, entered the ring along with two unknown people. I went with "unknown people" as opposed to "local actors." Use whatever term you want. As soon as Vickie spoke, the crowd booed. She said for weeks AJ Lee has made a fool of herself, John Cena and all of us for all of her lies. Vickie said she brought out eyewitnesses. 

The first person Vickie introduced us to was Wendy Smith, who was a waitress from Sacramento when John went on the business dinner with AJ. Miss Smith said that they requested a room in the back of the restaurant. Doug Brady was a parking attendant. He said they were parked in a vehicle for about an hour. He said a father of a family complained to him about what he had seen in the vehicle. 

AJ Lee made her entrance. She's sick of Vickie. I'm sick of this angle. She asked Vickie to do everybody a favor and "shut the hell up." Vickie said that Mr. Brady had photos of the action that was taking place in the car. Instead of the photo, John Cena's music started up. The witnesses left. 

John Cena made his entrance. He told Vickie this was all a load of crap. He said Vickie did all of this to give people something to talk about. Cena took off his hat. Then he said to AJ: "I hope you don't mind." Then Cena started to make out with AJ. He went to talk to Vickie some more, but AJ pulled him back and they made out some more. All of a sudden, Dolph Ziggler showed up and attacked Cena from behind. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Ziggler escaped and ran away. Interesting to note that when Cena ran after Ziggler he looked like he sprained his ankle/knee. He was limping up the ramp as he chased Ziggler. 

Analysis: Cena was granting a wish for AJ there, wasn't he? That was interesting at least. She seemed to approve. I hope that this ends the angle and pushes the idea that if they have a relationship it shouldn't matter. The idea could be that there was nothing there before, but Cena just did that as a way to get Vickie to stop bothering them. I'm not sure what the direction will be exactly, but I'm hoping the "scandal" aspect of this storyline comes to a close very soon. 

Later is Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow. Up next is Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio in a two out of three falls match. 

(Commercial) 

Two out of Three Falls Match: Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez 

Orton got a clothesline early. After some brief Del Rio offense, Orton hit a dropkick. Del Rio came back with a suplex for two. Orton hit a suplex of his own. Del Rio drove his knees into the arm of Orton. He went for the Cross Armbreaker, but Orton shoved him to the floor. With Del Rio on the floor, he used the ropes to attack the arm of Orton. Del Rio slammed the left arm of Orton into the ring post repeatedly. Referee Mike Chioda called for the bell, so Orton won the first fall via disqualification. That took three minutes. Randy Orton wins fall #1. 

Del Rio didn't seem to upset about losing the fall because he had worked over the arm of Orton. They went to commercial. 

(Commercial) 

Back from break, Del Rio continued the focus on Orton's left arm by putting it into an arm bar. Orton broke free with a headbutt followed by a back suplex. Powerslam by Orton. Del Rio was able to come back quickly and he applied the Cross Armbreaker. Orton tapped out. That was the eight minute mark of the match. Alberto Del Rio wins fall #2. 

Orton was regrouping in the corner as they were tied at one fall each. Lawler did a good job of pointing out that Orton tapped out quickly because he knew the match wasn't over. Orton got a quick rollup for two, but then Del Rio focused on the left arm of Orton once again. Running kick into the left arm by Del Rio got him a two count. Del Rio went for an attack. Orton countered it with a backbreaker using the injured left arm. Rodriguez tripped up Orton. The referee ejected Rodriguez from ringside. From behind, Del Rio hit the Back Stabber on Orton for two. Del Rio mocked Orton's pose when he's about to strike. Del Rio went for the RKO. Orton avoided that and hit the DDT off the ropes. Orton smacked the mat and he sold his left arm injury while he smacked the mat. Selling! I like that. RKO attempt was avoided. Del Rio slapped on the Cross Armbreaker again. Orton got out of it. Del Rio missed a running enziguiri and Orton capitalized by hitting the RKO. The match went 14 minutes. 

Winner 2 falls to 1: Randy Orton 

Analysis: ***1/2 If you give these guys that much time they're always going to deliver a three star match. It wasn't as good as the Falls Count Anywhere match on Smackdown in England two weeks ago, but it was above average for a television match. I really liked the focus on the arm especially with Orton doing an excellent job of selling the injury. We've seen them wrestle many times and aside from one cheap Del Rio victory, Orton has won clean when they have faced off. I think these two are ready to move on from this feud. 

The clip aired from earlier when Cena passionately kissed AJ Lee in the center of the ring. The replay also focused on Cena's left knee injury. 

Back in the trainer's room, Cena was getting his left knee taped up by a doctor as AJ Lee stood beside him. All she did was ask if he was okay as they went to break. 

Analysis: Not much dialogue there.   

(Commercial) 

Plug time. We have another edition of TJR Radio on Tuesday at 10pmET. Two hours long with myself, The Ace and Frank The Clown, who was at Survivor Series and Raw. Join us. 

The "did you know" told us that WWE has more Twitter followers than TMZ, Nike, Coca-Cola, HBO, Under Armour, Disney and McDonald's. They're proud of their Twitter followers aren't they? 

Back from break, The Great Khali was in the ring ready for a match against Primo and Epico. Hornswoggle made his way down to the ring with flowers in his hands. 

The Great Khali vs. Primo & Epico w/Rosa 

Khali shoved down Epico. As that was happening, Hornswoggle walked over to Rosa with the flowers. As he got close, one of the flowers sprayed water into Rosa's face. Khali decked Primo with a chop. Punjabi Plunge on Epico. That ended the match in about one minute.

Winner: The Great Khali 

Post match, Hornswoggle danced with Great Khali. The slow motion replay of the water spraying onto Rosa was by far the highlight of this segment. 

Analysis: I can confirm that this match is not a contender for the Match of the Year award in the 2012 edition of the Johnny Awards coming next month.

Backstage, Heyman talked to a guy that was planning the celebration for later. He yelled at the guy. "Balloons! I want balloons! Balloons!" The guy said he would work on it before being run off by an angry Heyman. 

The Miz was shown walking to the ring. 

(Commercial) 

The Miz vs. David Otunga 

Otunga connected on a boot to the face followed by a whip into the turnbuckle. Otunga hit a Russian legsweep followed by a couple of elbow drops. After he hit the elbow drops he flexed his muscles…to no reaction. Otunga applied a reverse chinlock. Otunga got a corner clothesline followed by a shoulder block as Cole said Otunga looked great. I think he did more than usual amount of three moves, so it has thrown off Cole. There were a few "Miz is awesome" chants as Otunga hit a clothesline to no reaction. The crowd is dead. Miz got a rollup, Otunga kicked out and then Otunga decked Miz with a clothesline. Another chinlock by Otunga. Miz ran the ropes and got a rollup for two. Miz made a comeback with punches, which the crowd didn't react to very much. Corner clothesline by Miz drew more of a reaction. Double axehandle by Miz off the top rope. Skull Crushing Finale by Miz ended it after six minutes. 

Winner: The Miz 

Analysis: * The crowd was dead for the majority of the match until Miz made his comeback for the win and even then they weren't that loud. The comeback by Miz wasn't very good, though, so that could be part of the reason why the crowd was quiet for it. Also, Miz wasn't working as a full fledged babyface. You can tell that's the direction they're going in, though. It will be interesting to see who The Miz will be feuding with next. Otunga is one of the worst guys on the roster in terms of making others look good. There are better heels for Miz to beat in TV matches. The best way to sum this up is to say that the chemistry wasn't there. Sometimes that's just how it is. 

The announcers summarized the World Title situation with the controversial finish. 

(Commercial) 

There was a replay of earlier in the show when Ryback said he was going to tear the arena apart and then Vickie told him he'd be fined or suspended if he did that. 

Sheamus entered the arena along with a steel chair that had a lot of dents in it. He said that he had something to get off his chest. Even though he lost at Hell in a Cell, he was okay with it because of the fight he had. Then Big Show had to take it personal by attacking Sheamus from behind and knocking out William Regal. Then he pulled the referee in front of him on Sunday to prevent Sheamus from winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Sheamus said no matter how hard they fought, Show always found a way to run away. Sheamus said usually he has a smile on his face, but now he's not smiling anymore. 

The World Heavyweight Champion Big Show appeared at the top of the ramp with a microphone in hand. He was moving around in a lot of pain. Sheamus asked him if he remembered the steel chair. Show said they had nothing to settle. At Hell in a Cell he said he would knock Sheamus out. At Survivor Series, Sheamus lost his mind with the chair. Show said that Sheamus didn't deserve the World Heavyweight Championship. He called Sheamus barbaric. Sheamus wanted Show to come down to the ring to see how barbaric Sheamus can be. 

Analysis: I liked the intensity of the promo. Like I wrote in the Survivor Series recap, they're obviously leaning towards having a Chairs Match at the TLC PPV in December. 

The music of Damien Sandow started up. He made his entrance for the match against Sheamus. 

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow 

Sheamus connected on a hard back elbow to the head of Sandow. Then Sheamus gave Sandow a shoulder tackle, which sent Sandow to the floor. Sheamus continued to overpower Sandow with a hard headlock. Sandow used a series of kicks to drive Sheamus in the corner. Hard forearm shot to the face by Sheamus. Sheamus hit a suplex for two. Sheamus dropped a knee to the left shoulder of Sandow. Shoulderblock by Sheamus, then he grabbed Sandow by the beard and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Innovative spot right there! That led to the vintage floor to commercial spot. 

(Commercial) 

Back from break, Sandow took control with a neckbreaker outside the ring. Sandow used a series of elbows to get a two count. Sandow attacked the back of Sheamus as he was propped up against the middle ropes. Sandow drove the point of his knee into the throat of Sheamus. Sandow gave Sheamus a kick to the back followed by another chinlock. This match has really slowed down in terms of its pace. Sheamus tried to fight back, so Sandow grabbed another reverse chinlock. After a brief Sheamus comeback, Sandow gave him a Russian legsweep. Sandow was going for the Elbow of Disdain, but instead Sheamus gave him the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Both guys were down. Sheamus delivered the series of forearm smashes to the chest while Sandow was in the ropes. Suplex by Sheamus followed by the Battering Ram shoulder block off the top rope. White Noise by Sheamus. There are a lot of names for the moves of Sheamus. Brogue Kick by Sheamus. That's it. The match went 15 minutes. 

Winner: Sheamus 

Analysis: **  These two had a really good match on Raw a couple of months back, so I'm glad we got to see it again. However, this one just never reached the level of quality I was expecting. Sandow went for the chinlock way too often. The Sheamus comeback was a lot of fun as it usually is. The fans pop for his offense a lot. That's what happens when you have a match on nearly every episode of Raw and Smackdown and you barely lose. Sheamus is on WWE TV more than anybody. I would have liked to see Sandow get more offense in, but since he's primarily in a tag team and his partner Cody Rhodes is injured then it makes sense that they would use him to lose to Sheamus, who rarely loses on television.

In the locker room, Vickie was talking to Tamina. AJ showed up. AJ said she would get up close with Tamina another time. AJ was mad about Ziggler attacking Cena. Vickie asked AJ if she was going to deny that she was making out with Cena. Then she just laughed at AJ. AJ pointed out that Cena was hurt and asked Vickie what she would do about it. Vickie said nothing, so AJ said she would do something about it. Then she left. 

Analysis: Tamina looks like a giant compared to AJ. So do a lot of people, though. 

(Commercial) 

The announcers talked about the 365 day celebration of CM Punk. 

In the locker room area, Layla was there to talk to AJ Lee. She told AJ to not go inside of a locker room door. A bunch of male wrestlers were in there including Drew McIntyre only in a towel and he also had his cowboy hat. Have to admire his dedication to the gimmick. She walked up to Ziggler. AJ asked him who he thinks he is. Ziggler said AJ is a dime a dozen. He called her desperate and pathetic. Ziggler said he's seen girls like her his entire life, they're all the same: sad, weak, pitiful. He said: "Face it, AJ. You're just trash." She started going nuts on Ziggler with punches to the head. John Cena showed up to pull her off Ziggler. Cena had his left knee bandaged up. Ziggler tackled Cena into the side of a bathroom stall. That broke the bathroom stall. Ziggler attacked Cena with punches. Referee Mike Chioda asked for doctors to come in. 

Analysis: Evil speech by Ziggler. Well done. Nice spear on Cena to break the door on the bathroom stall. Looks like we'll have a Cena vs. Ziggler match in the near future, which is the direction they've been going for a few weeks now. 

(Commercial) 

They replayed what happened before the break with Ziggler calling AJ "trash." Ziggler kicked the knee of Cena before he speared him through the door of the bathroom stall. 

Josh Mathews was standing outside the trainer's room. He mentioned that earlier the doctor said Cena had a partially torn meniscus. Cena was rushed into the room and the fear is that the injury has become worse. 

Darren Young and Titus O'Neil, the Primetime Players, were sitting at the announce table. O'Neil said they saved Cena's life because he was the one that pulled Ziggler off of Cena. 

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane 

This is non-title of course. Sin Cara hit a kick to the head on Kane. Kane knocked down Sin Cara with a shoulder block. Bryan tagged in and the crowd came alive chanting "yes." Bryan missed a knee drop off the middle rope. Sin Cara took down Bryan with a springboard armdrag. Mysterio hit a kick in the back of Bryan at the same time as a Sin Cara kick, which led to a two count. Bryan decked Mysterio with a kick to the chest. Kane tagged himself in and Mysterio took him down with a dropkick to the knee. Kane moved out of the way to avoid the 619. Mysterio hit a running Senton on the floor. Then Bryan hit a running knee attack to Mysterio on the floor. Then Sin Cara hit a dive onto Bryan outside the ring. That was an exciting sequence of moves. All four guys were down, so of course it's time for a commercial. 

(Commercial) 

Kane hit a sidewalk slam on Sin Cara. DYoung: "If your hair is nappy, no one's happy." O'Neil told Lawler not to fall over while he was out there because he's not going to be doing CPR. It's okay to mock Lawler's heart attack apparently. Bryan applied a surfboard on Sin Cara. He followed that up with a series of kicks. Kane hit a boot to the face of Mysterio for two. Bryan applied a reverse chinlock on Sin Cara as the extended "work over the babyface" part of the match continued. Bryan whipped Sin Cara into the corner, but his corner charge was blocked by a Sin Cara kick. Sin Cara hit a spinning DDT out of the corner, which led to the hot tag to Mysterio while Kane also tagged in. Dropkick by Mysterio. Kane hit a couple of clotheslines on Mysterio, but Mysterio countered a powerslam with a reverse DDT. Sin Cara took Bryan outside the ring and hit a dive over the top to the floor. Mysterio went to the top for an attack on Kane. That didn't work because Kane hit an uppercut to his jaw. Mysterio came back with a 619 onto Kane. Mysterio tried to Drop the Dime, but Kane grabbed him by the throat. Young & O'Neil went into the ring to cause the DQ finish at the 11 minute mark. 

Match Result: No Contest 

Post match, the PTPers went for an attack. It didn't work. Sin Cara hit a kick to the face and then Mysterio hit a 619 on both guys. Kane hit a Chokeslam on O'Neil while Sin Cara hit a Swanton Bomb on Young. The babyfaces prevailed. 

Analysis: **1/2 It was a very entertaining match that lacked a finish. I'm guessing this will lead to a three way or four way match at TLC depending on if Rhodes is cleared to compete by that point. Ladder match? The chemistry between Kane and Mysterio has been there for years while Bryan may have been the best WWE performer I've seen working with Sin Cara, which shouldn't be a surprise considering that Bryan is arguably the best worker in WWE. I should add also that O'Neil was hilarious on commentary. Cole even had a good line saying Lawler suffered his heart attack during a PTP match. It's weird hearing all the Lawler jokes, but I guess if he's okay with it then we shouldn't feel uncomfortable about it. 

Backstage, Heyman thanked Punk for allowing him to do this celebration for him. Heyman said this will be a celebration beyond compare and nobody will ruin it. 

Analysis: Did anybody at home watching this think that nobody was going to ruin it? 

(Commercial) 

There was a replay of John Cena making out with AJ Lee from earlier. Then we saw when Cena hurt his knee running after Ziggler. As mentioned earlier, Cena may have a partially torn meniscus. Looks like he legit hurt his knee, but they could be lying about the seriousness of it of course. Then there was a replay of the locker room incident when Ziggler went after Cena. 

Analysis: I think Cena's injury was a work. He looked like he turned his ankle, yet they taped up his knee. The Wrestling Observer (F4WOnline.com) is saying that it was done to make Cena look weak going into the match against Ziggler. Meanwhile, PWInsider.com is saying that it was legitimate. I don't think it was legit, but it looked like it so either he is a really good actor or he hurt himself trying to make it look real. We'll know more in the coming days, I'm sure. 

In the ring, Paul Heyman introduced himself to us. He was standing in a ring that had a "X" on the mat and three portraits were behind him. Two of them were pictures of Punk while the one in the middle was a listing of the longest reigning WWE Championship reigns of all time with Punk in eighth place. It had a listing of the other names along with how many dates they held the title.

 Heyman said that people cry about wanting the Attitude Era, but when Punk and him give him attitude they boo him. He's referring to last week when they insulted Jerry Lawler. Heyman said that they chant "ECW" at him yet they give him a little bit of extreme you don't like it. Heyman said that even in the most hyper-competitive environment in WWE history, this man stands head and shoulders above the rest. He said it was a celebration of 365 glorious days of the reigning, defending WWE Champion and the best in the world - CM Punk. 

Analysis: That was an amazing introduction. I wouldn't expect anything less from Heyman, who is one of the best hype men in the history of wrestling.

The WWE Champion CM Punk made his entrance. He was wearing his "I'm a Paul Heyman Guy" t-shirt. 

Analysis: Just to put over how awesome Heyman is, he was crying as Punk made his entrance. What a nice touch! 

Punk said that Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, The Rock - couldn't do it. No mention of Stone Cold Steve Austin? He said none of them could do 365 days as WWE Champion. That led us to a video package highlighting Punk's one year reign as the WWE Champion. There were clips of a lot of his victories along the way. Of course there was the clip of him giving the GTS to The Rock on July 23rd. The video ended with: "365 and counting." 

Punk said that it's not about the past. This is about the future. He said he wants to be at the top of everybody's list. He said in July of 2018 he will pass Bruno Sammartino to become the longest reigning WWE Champion in history. Heyman said he knew Sammartino when he was a photographer just starting in the business. He said Sammartino deserves to be in the Hall of Fame just like Punk, but truth be told Bruno Sammartino could never beat CM Punk. He also said that Hulk Hogan could never beat CM Punk. Heyman said another Paul Heyman guy - Stone Cold Steve Austin - could never beat CM Punk. He said that at the Royal Rumble it will be proven that not even The Rock could beat CM Punk. 

Punk said it's hard to come up with what his best victory was. He said his win at Survivor Series was the best win. He said all of the fans thought he was going to lose. I don't think that's counting internet fans. Punk said he survived Survivor Series and cemented his legacy. 

The music of Ryback started up. Before he could get into the ring, he got attacked by Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose. This time Ryback was ready. He threw them into the security wall. They kept coming back at Ryback. Punk was just looking on while all of this was happening. Reigns cleared off the announce table. They picked Ryback up and drove him through the announce table with a powerbomb for the second night in a row.

Punk left the ring as the three men entered the ring. Punk stood over Ryback holding the WWE Championship above his head. He yelled "best in the world." That's how Raw ended. 

Analysis: It was a fun speech by Punk as he bragged about his success in the last year. I would strongly bet against him holding the WWE Championship for six more years though. He probably won't be wrestling in six years.   

As for the show ending angle, Ryback never got his hands on Punk. I liked the attack by Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns again. It left me wanting more in the future because I want to know if they're doing those attacks because they work with/for Heyman/Punk or if there's something else to it. Obviously we think they're with them, but until we get confirmation it's a good way to keep viewers interested in the program. The powerbomb through the table looks like a vicious spot. The key thing is that we haven't seen that spot very often in recent years, so it comes off as fresh as well as devastating. 

I do have one final question: Where were those balloons? Balloons! 

Three Stars of the Show 

1. Randy Orton 

2. Alberto Del Rio 

3. Wade Barrett 

A lot of people did well on this show. Major props to Titus O'Neil on commentary as well! 

The Scoreboard 

7 out of 10 

Last week: 6 

2012 Average: 5.87 

2012 High: 9 (January 30) 

2012 Low: 3 (July 9) 

Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4.5, 4, 7.5, 6 

Final Thoughts 

I liked Raw this week, which is why it gets a score of 7 out of 10. 

The pacing was a lot better than we normally get. There were less squash matches than usual too, which is a nice change. Four matches got over ten minutes. Is it too much to ask that we get that kind of in-ring action every week? The show is three hours long. You can definitely fit that many "long" matches in the show. Aside from the Sheamus/Sandow match, which didn't work for some reason, the rest of them were fun to watch. 

The Cena/Ziggler rivalry really picked up. Obviously they're using AJ and Vickie to get that going, but I don't have a problem with it because it's working. Ziggler feuding with Cena will do a lot to raise Ziggler's profile amongst the fans watching at home. 

It looks like TLC's top matches will be as follows: 

WWE Title: CM Punk vs. Ryback in a Tables Match. This could be a TLC match, but with Ryback getting put through tables on successive shows they may just stick to that stipulation. 

World Title: Big Show vs. Sheamus in a Chairs Match. 

John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler in a TLC Match? Not sure what the stipulation will be there. 

I can see the tag titles being up for grabs in a ladder match too. I think Kingston vs. Barrett for the IC Title will happen although they don't need a stipulation for that one. 

I like where things are headed. I gave Survivor Series a 7/10 and Raw a 7/10. The TLC lineup looks like it has a lot of potential and is generally a fun PPV with the stipulations. I'm cautiously optimistic about things in WWE right now. 

In a totally unrelated note, he's a GIF of the best slide ever by WWE referee Jack Doan.

You're welcome. 

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That's all for this week. TJR Radio on Tuesday at 10pmET. Two hours long. If you miss it live click on that link to listen to it whenever you like. 

To my American friends, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday and over the weekend. I'll be enjoying the NFL games on that day, I can assure you. 

Until next time, thanks for reading.

John Canton - mrjohncanton@gmail.com

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