I understand that it was done to set up singles clashes between the competitors later on in the show but that could have been achieved without the opening tag bout. In fact the singles matches would have had more time that way, potentially making them more enjoyable.
That they took place was a problem in itself though. Randy Orton v Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus v Chris Jericho are two of the few fresh matches between established main events stars that WWE has at its disposal. That they were so casually booked on free television is worrying. If they had to happen on RAW or SmackDown they could at least have been given a week’s build so as to attract an increased audience.
A better approach with the singles bouts being booked as additional unplanned matches would have been to go with ‘The Viper’ taking on ‘Y2J’, leaving Sheamus to face ADR. Jericho and Orton have faced one another many times before, so there isn’t that feeling of freshness to their matches now, while Del Rio and ‘Great White’ fought on SmackDown just a month ago. Had WWE booked the older bouts it would have felt like far less of a waste.
All that said, the match quality was high and I very much enjoyed seeing Ricardo Rodriquez taking an RKO. At least the booking should have created some interest in the upcoming four man clash at Over The Limit.
Outside of the main event WWE continued doing a fine job of building new stars. I shan’t go into specifics as I’ve done that quite a lot on SmackDown recaps lately. Suffice it to say that WWE has done a commendable job introducing Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, and Ryback to its audiences in such a short amount of time. It’s also worth pointing out that new roles have been found for Aksana, Darren Young, Titus O’Neill, Zack Ryder, Santino, Mason Ryan and Eve (among others) over the last month. That’s an impressive creative output and a good sign that 2012 will be a strong year for WWE newcomers.
A Recap of Monday’s RAW
Tweet 1: Let's chew the Smack...Tweet 2: But first, let's spend seven minutes recapping one RAW match.
Tweet 3: "I beat him most recently" - Chris Jericho
Sheamus and Randy Orton v Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 4: Sheamus has been selling that shoulder for two weeks. It's time to put a stop to it.Tweet 5: Cole is essentially claiming that Orton fluked his way into a World title match. That's not going to encourage people to rally behind him.
Tweet 6: Or buy the pay-per-view for that matter...
Tweet 7: Albertoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Deeeeeeeeeeeel Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiioooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 8: "Chris Jericho, ever the veteran" - Michael Cole, with a sentence that makes no sense
Tweet 9: Remember when SmackDown and RAW had separate referee rosters? I always thought the SmackDown refs' blue shirts were nicely designed.
Tweet 10: This is the second week in a row that SmackDown's started with a match that ends in a DQ.
Tweet 11: Singles matches have been set up involving the tag teams. Just like last week. To quote Booker T, this is ridiculous.
AJ v Kaitlyn, followed by a Daniel Bryan promo
Tweet 12: AJ needs to be pushed as a monster heel.Tweet 13: That was perhaps the sloppiest attempt at a Shining Wizard that I've ever seen...
Tweet 14: Daniel Bryan! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 15: Bryan is looking forward to moving on... to Kaitlyn. #playa
Tweet 16: Where is this storyline going? Is it going to lead to AJ costing Bryan the WWE title?
Tweet 17: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Daniel Bryan v Big Show, followed by a John Laurinaitis promo
Tweet 18: Now let's all watch as Daniel Bryan pulls an entertaining match out of Big Show, proving he's the most talented wrestler in WWE.Tweet 19: Well that match didn't last long.
Tweet 20: Powerful mic work from John Laurinaitis here. Moving stuff.
Tweet 21: Laurinaitis said Show's forty but it sounded like he said four. #Johnnymumbles
Tweet 22: I miss David Otunga.
Ryback v Heath Slater
Tweet 23: Heath Slater thinks his opponent looks like the pinnacle of evolution. Presumably he's facing Ryback...Tweet 24: Yeah, he is. Ryback looks like a caveman.
Tweet 25: Stop Ryback posing! Just have him get in the ring, start throwing suplexes, beat his opponent, and leave.
Tweet 26: What did Ryback shout after he'd beaten Slater? Something about swimming...?
From The Vault
Tweet 27: CM Punk v R-Truth on From The Vault. This bout is from the period when WWE were trying to get Truth over as a singles babyface.Tweet 28: That didn't work because they didn't bother giving Truth a character of any sort. He was just a walking collection of catchphrases.
Tweet 29: He's over now because of the Little Jimmy gimmick he's created, which came about while he was a heel last year.
Tweet 30: Sort of indicates that guys should spend time as a heel to develop their acts before being switched face when appropriate.
Tweet 31: I've thought that should be the case for years. Heels tend to have more creative freedom to develop their characters.
Tweet 32: Anyway... this match is a bit tedious isn't it? Even with Punk involved. It's been packed with rest holds so far.
Tweet 33: Meanwhile Striker and Grisham are talking about Punk having filed a grievance against a referee. Doesn't sound like a great storyline...
Tweet 34: CM Punk wins a slow match that the crowd didn't get into by holding the ropes. WWE has matches far better that could've been used instead.
Antonio Cesaro v Alex Riley
Tweet 35: Antonio Cesaro! ‘The Swiss Sensation’ is a great moniker!Tweet 36: I hope Antonio does some flexing...
Tweet 37: I wish the crowd were intelligent enough to start a "Kings of Wrestling" or "Claudio" chant.
Tweet 38: European uppercut! #veryEuropean
Tweet 39: What's the point of this storyline? Any woman would choose Antonio Cesaro over Teddy Long. It doesn't make him a better heel.
Randy Orton v Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 40: Del Rio v Orton and Sheamus v Jericho are both fresh matches. WWE should not be giving them away on free TV.Tweet 41: They should be happening at Over The Limit and the Fatal Four Way should be taking place in June.
Tweet 42: It all feels rushed and they're wasting what few fresh matches they have (which should in theory encourage ratings and PPV buys) on TV.
Tweet 43: No televised entrance for ADR? Poor.
Tweet 44: Not just a veteran but a seasoned veteran.
Tweet 45: Ricardo just attempted a top rope cross body and got hit with an RKO. He's taking big bumps lately.
R-Truth v Jack Swagger
Tweet 46: If R-Truth and Kofi Kingston are kept together they could get over. They're not history making yet, as Booker just claimed.Tweet 47: Ziggler and Swagger v Kofi and Truth at Over The Limit. That will be a great match! WWE needs a tag division with those two teams on top.
Tweet 48: All World watch the match on a monitor in the back.
Tweet 49: If Abraham Washington is managing these guys he's not doing a very good job. They haven't wrestled on TV since they signed with him.
Tweet 50: I'd name Truth's finishing move but they've had it called around seven different things and I no longer keep track.
Zack Ryder and Santino v Titus O’Neill and Darren Young
Tweet 51: Santino and Zack Ryder could get over as a tag team. Both are popular and they occupy a similar position on the roster.Tweet 52: They have far more potential as a unit than Darren Young and Titus O'Neill.
Tweet 53: Why are Darren Young's knee pads so large? Are his knees above average size?
Tweet 54: Darren Young can't even get thrown back into the ring without botching.
Tweet 55: Titus O'Neill slurs his words and Darren Young doesn't know how to talk into a microphone. They should not be cutting post-match promos.
WWE's tag ranks continue to struggle with these two being pushed as a formidable duo
Damien Sandow promo
Tweet 56: Damien Sandow. Now this guy's got star potential.Tweet 57: "This concludes our interview... You're welcome."
Brodus Clay v Hunico
Tweet 58: Funkasaurus! Yes!!Tweet 59: Cole is joining in on the dancing... or having a fit.
Tweet 60: Hunico on the bike!!
Tweet 61: Hunico on the mic!!
Tweet 62: I wonder how people would react if Hunico beat Brodus in this match.
Tweet 63: Brodus gets the predictable quick win. Sadly he didn't celebrate by dancing with kids this week.
Chris Jericho v Sheamus
Tweet 64: Anyone else miss the countdown being part of Jericho's entrance?Tweet 65: Chris, you're forty. Time to dress like it.
Tweet 66: My mistake. Jericho is actually forty-one...
Tweet 67: Jericho beat Austin and The Rock on the same night. Eleven years ago. Move on.
Tweet 68: #askhim
Tweet 69: Jericho v Sheamus ends in DQ after ADR gets involved. That means the original tag match and both subsequent singles matches have ended in DQ.
Tweet 70: That is astonishingly poor booking.
Tweet 71: Randy Orton and Sheamus gaze into one another's eyes as the show goes off the air.