I was lucky enough to snag my company's box suite at the Sprint Center so the evening was already starting well by the time my friends and I sat down. There was a Superstars taping which started with Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. The Usos and The Bellas. It was a nice opener that got the crowd into it. One funny segment included Sweet T taking a double butt bump from the Bellas while his head was in their ropes. He got up, jumped back into place, and started loudly begging them to do it again, which got a great response from the crowd. The funky crew won and danced for the crowd - but unlike past appearances didn't pull any kids in.
The second match was Alex Riley vs. Damien Sandow. A Ry got in a bit of offense but Sandow won clean in a short but action-filled match.
Raw opened with no pyro straight into the Ryback promo. It came off very well and sold that while him and Cena both had rough nights, Ryback was the man able to walk away from their encounter. During the commercial break they brought out a ladder to help Ryback off the roof of the ambulance which got some entertaining catcalls from the crowd.
Miz and Jericho both received very loud cheers during their entrance. I'm not sure if that's the first time Wade Barrett has used the new music, but it sounded like a much better fit than "I don't care any more". I only saw one or two people try to start fandango's theme during the match, and even they didn't look too enthused. The post match interaction between Jericho and Summer had the crowd cracking up. Massive Y2J chants when he blew her off.
KC was very happy to see Sheamus. However, if we judge popularity solely off the six year old girl in front of me, the Prime Time Players were far ahead. She was doing the Millions of Dollars dance the whole match and it made me smile. Oh, the match itself? It was fine. I think we all knew who was going to win.
I was thrilled with Heyman bringing out Mich-----erm, Curtis Axel. Unfortunately, the crowd was DEAD. Too bad, because I think Perfect Junior is a great wrestler who just has some charisma problems. No better way around that than letting Heyman be his mouthpiece. We had an energetic crowd already but they LOST IT when HHH came out. I really don't think any of us were expecting to see him. When he announced the match it almost blew the roof off the Sprint Center.
I'm starting to ramble so I'll lump together the next three matches. ADR vs. Big E, Layla vs. AJ, and Zach Ryder vs. Cody Rhodes were all just sort of there. This is my second three hour Raw, and just like the first the crowd just starts to lose steam during such long events. This was where things slowed down.
The Shield / Hell No & Kofi match was exceptional. 17 minutes or so, lots of near falls, and the crowd was all over every second of it. Lots of 'This is Awesome' chants, and more than a few standing ovations for the Shield once it was over.
We all new Orton was winning the vote, but when they announced it that may have been the loudest cheer of the night. The match started slowly but received enough time to use that to tell a cool story about Orton really going for high impact against Swagger (going for the hanging DDT 3 times for example) while getting both legs neutralized.
We all knew because it was already 10:00 that something would happen pretty quick in the HHH / Axel match. I knew they were selling HHH's injuries from last nights, but a LOT of people hadn't ordered the Pay Per View and without announcers we also didn't know WWE was playing up a "Not cleared to wrestle" angle with HHH. When he started selling the head injury a lot of people seemed confused and it just sucked the energy out of the crowd. I get it for storytelling purposes but it seemed to bring everything to a screeching halt on what was otherwise a really energetic and fun night.
After they went off the air they tended to HHH for a few more minutes and once he left Cena's music hit. He ended up teaming with ADR vs. Swagger and Ryback. It was a pretty standard tag match, about 5 minutes long, and Cena hit an AA on Swagger followed by one on Ryback. Ryback was...