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By Buck Woodward on 2010-12-21 14:01:11

I thought last night's show was an very good Raw, with a nice mix of storyline advancement, in-ring action and comedy. I'm not sure what it says about Nexus, but I didn't miss them at all.  Not even a little.  The show went fine without them, and all the major players on Raw now have storylines, so I don't even know where the group will fit in going forward, unless it is just fighting amongst themselves, or targeting Daniel Bryan's U.S. Title. Anyway, WWE could have been excused for just "mailing it in" this week and waiting until after the holidays to kick things into high gear, but they delivered a really strong show last night, and they deserve to be applauded for that. 

Here's my thoughts on the show, as it happened. 

The opening segment was equal parts excellent and stupid. The excellent part was the way Miz bragged about his recent success, while the announcers pointed out how all of his wins have come under dubious circumstances.  The stupid part was the "ghosts of Christmas" bit, but that's okay, because it was supposed to be stupid.  That was the whole point.  That said, did WWE realize they were dressing everyone as Jacob Marley, and not the ghosts?  Anyway, John Morrison enters to remind Miz that he is the new top contender, and Alex Riley gets physical with Morrison, leading to Sheamus coming out and clipping Morrison's injured leg.  Jerry Lawler pops Riley, and the anonymous General Manager gives us the six-man main event, combining the Lawler-Miz, Miz-Morrioson, Sheamus-Morrison and Miz-Randy Orton issues all in one match.  Nicely done, and the icing on the cake was Randy Orton ambushing Miz.  They did a great job with the finish of this segment. 

Time to figure out a top contender for the Divas Title with a three-way match with Alicia Fox vs. Eve Torres vs. Melina, while Michael Cole keeps heeling Natalya on the mic.  Why, I have no ides.  The match was essentially a lot of pinfall attempts and breakups of those attempts.  Fox hit a nice powerbomb for a near fall on Melina, and Eve did a standing moonsault on Fox for a two count, before the cool finish of Melina rolling up Fox in a Victory Roll to get the pin while also avoiding Eve's bodypress off the ropes.  Post match, we have the Melina heel turn with a slap of Natalya, and no mention of Melina walking off last week after the tag match.  I guess I'm the only one who remembers these things.

A Christmas gift to mat wrestling fans, we have William Regal vs. Daniel Bryan.  I though CM Punk did a great job here in putting over the history between the two, and actually calling the moves, like the cravate, while Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler argued about Bellas and putting themselves over.  Nice forearm exchange between the two, and I liked the way Bryan used elbow strikes to finally get the LeBell lock in at the end.  Regal applauding Bryan was a nice touch, and I'm glad Punk was there to help put it over, since no one else was. Good stuff. 

Randy Orton and John Morrison had a good exchange, and it totally put over the WWE Title as being the ultimate goal for everyone, which is how it should be.

The Santino "walking on the back" bit was worth a chuckle.  So, Ted DiBiase and Maryse are now in a feud with Santino & Tamina?  Things don't appear to be getting any better for DiBiase. 

Mark Henry and Gail Kim are happy Nexus isn't around... not that their absence has gotten them a match on Raw this week.  Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler are there.  This is why no one takes the brand separation seriously anymore.

The mixed tag match was a good, brief comedy bout, with Santino his usual funny self.  Tamina's superkick to Maryse looked bad, with a lot of air between the foot and the face, but her Superfly splash is awesome.  Maybe Santa will bring Ted DiBiase a push for 2011... or 2012.

John Cena is back to being his super-goofy self, which is no surprise, since he has eliminated Nexus.  Most of his replays and antics were boring to me, but he is definitely over with the crowd.  Vickie Guerrero is over too, but in a different way.  It took forever to set up the Cena-Ziggler match, but you can't blame them for using the live, rowdy crowd the way they did.  I still think making fat jokes at Vickie is lame, but it isn't a surprise, given the material Cena usually uses.

Did anyone think Dolph Ziggler had a shot in hell of beating John Cena?  Of course not, but they still had a really solid match.  Ziggler got in a lot more offense than you would expect, and Cena did more than his usual moveset.  I didn't like the way Cena leaned over and telegraphed the Rocker Dropper from Dolph, but that's a minor complaint.  The major complaint would be more Cole-Lawler arguing.  Is Lawler going to end up wrestling Cole at Wrestlemania?  Because if not, we need to get away from this stuff.  The finish, with Dolph trying a deception bit with the turnbuckle, only for it to fail, was well done.  Post match, Punk hits Cena with the chair, and I guess we know what Cena will be doing now that the Nexus feud is over.  Of course, Cena got right up from the chairshots, which is why so many diehard fans hate Cena.  How about selling it for 15 seconds?  A Punk-Cena feud could be great, but I will miss having Punk doing commentary.

Nice backstage bit with Sheamus and Jerry Lawler, and added another angle to the six-man tag.  WWE did a really nice job setting up a multitude of issues within the main event.

Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero vs. John Cena on Smackdown.  Smart move putting Cena on the show to get people to tune in tonight.  I imagine there will be some funny antics with Vickie and Cena during the match.

I almost had a panic attack when I realized Michael Cole was the only announcer left for the main event.  Thank goodness they sent out Josh Mathews too.

Originally I thought there was going to be a lot of time for the main event, but once we past the commercials, intros, Jimmy Fallon clips, and then shortly after the start of the bout, more commercials, it ended up being the usual length.  This was a real good match, with Lawler selling at first, and then a long heat segment built around Morrison selling the injured knee.  Everyone worked hard here, and while the finish looked a tad awkward, I liked the booking of Orton hitting the RKO on Miz and Lawler getting the pin.  Lawler and Orton get some revenge here.  It was a little strange how Morrison sort of faded into the background, selling his knee on the floor after tumbling out with Sheamus, but it made sense given they were setting up Miz vs. Orton on Smackdown.  Post-match, Miz tries another attack, but ends up running away again.   Now, Lawler got his pin on Miz (and I'm sure Cole will complain Lawler had help, and Lawler can counter that Cole helped Orton beat him), Orton is set up for another round with Miz, Morrison is "on deck" for his title shot, and Sheamus still isn't done with Morrison either.  Good finish to the show.

What To Make Sure And Watch If You DVR'd The Show:  The main event, Cena-Ziggler, Bryan-Regal are the highlights.


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