This is the Slammy Awards yearly edition of Raw but we won't be covering those mountebank frauds. Our passion for the pro wres is at an all-time high so just felt like doing a random rev of something on that current tip. This is a loose co-review done late in the week with little to no notes taken so its coherency is not certified.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Fandango - B: 4 A: 4
Brian: Seattle was raucous for their hometown boy Bryan. Daniel's Tajiri headkick whiffed. I liked Fandango countering the missile dropkick with a sitdown powerbomb -- too bad it looked crummy.
Adam: Surprised they are starting Raw off with a match and not some lengthy gab segment. Some pretty solid action here, liked Fandago catching Bryan from the top into a sit-out powerbomb. I’ve really enjoyed Fandango this year, his act has been a nice bit for fresh air. Fandango crashed and burned on the top rope legdrop. Buisaku knee finished off this one. A really fun match to kick off the show.
2. Santino Marella vs. Damian Sandow - A: 1 B: 1
Adam: Too bad a man of Sandow’s intelligence has to deal with a joker like Santino. Santino’s schtick is so old and tired. Nice to see Sandow pick up the win. Match did absolutely NOTHING for me.
Brian: I liked Santino's face-plant bump off the legsweep. Sandow was going through the motions.
3. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz - B: 2 A: 3
Brian: Dug the match-opening running dropkick to Miz's face. Kofi's back roundhouse kick he's just started busting out the last few weeks is a vicious treat. A couple meaty running kicks to a downed Miz. Kofi showing more aggression was a nice touch. Roll-up finish came too early and extends this ersatz program further to the thrill of none. Miz has never been more flat as a character.
Adam: Hey look, it’s the Miz! Somewhere, there are crickets chirping. Liked Kofi kicking Miz right in his face numerous times, with the last one especially hard. Miz needs a haircut and a character reboot. Miz grabbed the trunks for a cheap win to the the delight of no one. Liked Kofi’s offense and him at least trying to make the match passable, to which he succeeded. Miz could disappear off my TV and I wouldn’t even notice.
4. Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Big Show, and Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, Ryback, and Curtis Axel - A: 4 B: 4
Adam: The resurgence of the tag division throughout the year has really been a pleasant change from the usual. Goldust has been really awesome in his comeback this year and I’ll be damned if he didn’t have a damn good face-in-peril strectch. Cody’s missle dropkick was nice. Big Show knocked people over like bowling pins. Some solid work on the heel side but things really felt like they were being rushed.
Brian: Adam hit the nail on the head (he can also hammer a nail with the head of his penis -- it's a great party trick!). Goldust is looking trim and is working hard. After reading his lousy book wasn't sure he'd ever have another run in him but he's been a real treat on the this year's back-end. Mysterio needs a new tailor.
5. Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio - B: 4 A: 2
Brian: I wasn't as down on this as Adam yet I did have some serious and legit reservations about the whole ordeal. The mood lighting is shit. Let's establish that for starters. It tells your audience: "Hey! This guy is different! Isn't he not like the other WWE superstars? He's different, right?" which is exactly the opposite of what Mistico needs (but is that even him since the return two weeks ago this guy looks puffier and has a regretful tattoo -- could it be Hunico again?). The light gimmick never was over and now just feels like a tired insult or endurance test. You could see the crowd's eyes literally glaze over. Anyhow, Del Rio, coming off a major title run, putting Cara over clean two straight weeks is interesting TV despite their best efforts to ruin it. I'd love to see them get a legit, hate-fueled feud. Also, that shitty Swanton to end was painful to watch. You've got your opponent dead to rights right beneath you and instead of just splattering him you overshoot him and the hairs on the back of your neck leisurely graze his left shoulder and that's supposed to be a buyable finish? Left a worse taste in my mouth than that shoe did in Werner Herzog's.
Adam: Please no mood lighting, please no mood lighting … damn it, there’s mood lighting! Crowd is instantly bored and starts chanting for the Seahawks. Sin Cara got thrown into the railing really hard. This feels like a mass execution because they’ve just killed this crowd. JBL called this match of the night, not sure what he’s watching. Nasty looking flip powerbomb from the top just destroyed Del Rio. That was the about the highlight of this mess. Two lucha guys working a slow WWE-style match isn’t exactly something I’m interested in.
6. Brodus Clay vs. Xavier Woods - A: 0 B: 1
Adam: I love Woods looking like a sleazy Rick James. Shit, it’s over just like that? Damn. What was it Chris Tucker said in Friday? “You just got knocked the fuck out!!”
Brian: A point for stiffness. Liked Xavier peppering Brodus' head with shots before getting pulverized. Too bad JAPW is gone (or is it? Who can keep track?) as that's where Clay belongs. Or All Japan. Just not on Monday nights.
7. C.M Punk vs. Dean Ambrose - B: 5 A: 5
Brian: Not sure if I'd rank this above their match the previous week on SmackDown! 12/6/13 but it's awfully damn close. Definitely match of the show by a mile. Myself and many others criticize Punk for a guy that's supposed to have all this kick-based offense has really shitty-looking kicks but his high-kick late here looked like a legit Stipe Miočić KO. Moxley was great as the slimy charmer during the Shield presentation of some obtuse Slammy Award.
Adam: Yes, please! I would glady pay money to go see this match. Punk working over the arm was really nice. I’ve been a huge Ambrose/Jon Moxley fan for a while now since he started headlining HWA shows way back in 2006. Local boy done good! Punk’s selling of his ribs was really good. Ambrose got all mouthy in the ring and then went right back to hitting Punk in the ribs. Punk’s cross-body looked like shit but lead to a bunch of really good nearfalls. If that Sin Cara match was a mass execution, then this could be called a ressurection as the crowd finally woke up and got really into the nearfalls. GTS finished this off. Probably the best match of the show thus far.
8. The Usos vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan - A: 4 B: 3
Adam: Uso’s start off fast and hit a really nice double team dive. The Wyatts have been one of my favorite new acts of the year. Love the creepy backwoods demeanor they bring to the table. Yeah, I know, a lot of people are down on their in-ring work but I don’t mind it that much. Bray Wyatt is a hell of a mouthpiece and Rowan and Harper have improved quite a bit to me since their debut. Finish was chaotic, but in a good way. Good nearfall off a top-rope splash from Uso #1 (don’t ask which is which because I can’t remember), Uso #2 gets a vicious face full of table, and Harper comes back and just absolutely murders and Uso #1 with a clothesline to get the pin. Fun little tag match.
Brian: Usos in my opinion may be most improved in not just WWE but anywhere in 2013. They went from a fairly generic Samoan team to two guys doing balls-out offensive bursts rivaling the best stuff on the planet. Mixing athleticism with innovation and thrills they're making must see TV. I'd love to see them against Evolution (Joe Doering and Suwama). I dig Harper (longtime Brodie Lee fan) and Rowan (to a lesser extent) just wish they'd give them longer matches to tell some in-ring stories. Rowan has Daniel Bryan tonight (12/13) on SD! and on the Troops show later this month so I'll be looking forward to those.
9. Tamina vs. Natalya - B: 0 A: 2
Brian: Man, this lasted roughly 90 seconds so no offense to the ladies, but this gets a big goose egg for being as incomplete as Jessie's ballot for upcoming WCW WorldWide '97 project. Nice crowd pop for the Sharpshooter though.
Adam: Not a whole lot to see here. Felt to me like a normal, everyday divas match and pretty flat. A.J. on the outside took the best bump of the match getting accidentally kicked in the face and falling off the apron.