- It's the first episode of WWE Main Event of 2013, and the first WWE programming to air in 2013, period, and what better way to open the new year than with one of the most exciting Main Event's in the programs short history... Great Khali vs. Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship. I'm sorry, I can't help thinking about the oddball nature behind that one.
- We're taped from Richmond, VA, with Michael Cole and the Miz calling the action. They promise us an update about C.M. Punk's condition for next week's Monday Night Raw, then throw it to a hype video featuring Antonio Cesaro's dominance as United States Champion. This brings Cesaro out, and we get more in the Cesaro/Miz development. I'm sorry, but the Miz needs to turn heel, again. His babyface shtick isn't working, his humor is juvenile at best, and he sounds like an uneducated bum. I have no reason to boo Cesaro and cheer for him during these instances, counter-productive to what they are trying to achieve.
- Hype Video #2, this time for the Great Khali. It barely recognizes his World Heavyweight Title run, or dominance as a heel. It's mostly about his goofy personas over the last few years. We then cut to an interview with Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya... who did she piss off to warrant this inclussion? Oh well, at least she's not pooping herself by farting during matches... She has the nerve to compare Khali to her "Uncle Bret", which makes me want to vomit a mozarella stick.
We return from commercial with Cesaro trying to hang Khali up across the top rope, but this time Khali no-sells it like a former Champion and sends Cesaro back into the corner with a headbutt. He puts the boots to Cesaro and does another chest slap. He sets up for the Hassan-Chop, but Cesaro avoids it and unloads with a vicious uppercut. Cesaro springs off the ropes with a twisting forearm (there's a move I don't see him do often), and then somehow manages to give Khali the Neutralizer for the three count at 10:06 (including one commercial break). Holy hell, this man is strong. I know it's a two man thing, but Khali's push off wasn't the greatest, and Cesaro still gave it to him perfectly. There's one for the highlight videos. Match was watchable, all thanks to Cesaro. I made a comment during the match to my girlfriend that Cesaro was better off wrestling a matress, that's how much Khali was offering here.
- Post-match, we get more bickering from Cesaro and the Miz. Again, how am I supposed to cheer for the Miz when he's acting like a total dicknose, and Cesaro is all "well, why don't you shut up and fight me"? Please don't let this lead to Miz winning the title from Cesaro. I'd rather have given the belt to Khali.
- Highlight #1 from Monday Night Raw: Wade Barrett defeats Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship. That's what Kofi gets for not picking a non-contending joke for a challenger like everyone else did.
- Highlight #2 from Monday Night Raw: C.M. Punk tries to get out of his TLC Match and title defense against Ryback on January 7th, but Vince McMahon says he will be checked by WWE physicians to be medically cleared. Dammit, I wish I saved money for tickets... it's in St. Pete, a mere two hour drive. If Punk can't compete, Ryback will face Paul Heyman... that's grossly unfair.
- NEW Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett comes out to issue an open challenge... a GAUNTLET MATCH. Haven't had one of those in a while...
- Highlight #3 from Monday Night Raw: John Cena interrupts Dolph Ziggler and A.J.'s New Year's Celebration, first making a genuinely funny remark about A.J. being a whore in 2012, and then not-so funny dumping poo on them. Another argument during this: Do they do test-dumpings? In all the years I've watched "stuff fall from the roof", it's never missed... is this luck, or great planning to make sure it hits the mark? Sadly, we don't get Highlight #4, where Mae Young gave birth to Hornswoggle, and Jerry Lawler remark he almost wishes the doctors in Canada didn't save his life.
Yoshi Tatsu comes out first, does some "martial arts" to show how much energy he has, then promptly eats the Bull Hammer and gets pinned at the 14-second mark. Now that's what I call being the bottom of the Jobber Totem Pole.
JTG comes out next, and yes, he's still employed. Barrett immediately starts pounding away on him as he enters the ring. Whip to the corner, with authority. Barrett with choking across the middle rope, followed by a snap suplex for a two count. He goes for the chinlock, but JTG quickly fights out with rights and lefts. He gets his token offense of an elbow and dropkick, but a monkey flip is countered and Barrett finishes him off with the Bull-Hammer at 2:06. That was barely any more competetive than what Tatsu offered.
Justin Gabriel is next, and he quickly sends Barrett to the floor following a dropkick and clothesline. We return from commercial with Gabriel taking Barrett over with an arm drag then grabbing an armbar. Barrett fights back to his feet and sends Gabriel to the floor with a clothesline. Back inside, he continues to pound away on Gabriel and locks on a modified surfboard. Barrett with a superkick to the chest, followed by a pumphandle slam for a two count. Barrett chokes him across the top rope and sends him back to the floor. Back inside, Barrett from the second rope with an elbow drop for another two count. Gabriel mounts his comeback, with a series of heel kicks. He follows Barrett into the corner with a charge, then comes off the ropes with a body press for a two count. The lionsault connects for another two count. Barrett catches another dive into the corner, hangs Gabriel over the top rope, and finishes him off with the Bull-Hammer at 8:39 (including one commercial).
Suddenly Kofi Kingston's music hits, and I guess he's a participant, despite never leaving the announcers table since Barrett issued the challenge. I hate that kind of stuff. Anyway, the surprise allows Kofi to spring in with a big forearm, followed by a dropkick. He comes off the ropes with a jumping clothesline, hits the Boom Drop, and the Trouble in Paradise finishes Barrett off at the 45-second mark. Putting Kofi over doesn't hurt Barrett thanks to him already competing in several matches, and helps build up their rematch. Again, I like me a Gauntlet Match, but that was quite a predictable finish.
Next Week: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler.
Final Thoughts: Solid, entertaining show this week, despite not having a true high profile match. Cesaro pulled the best match you could out of an aging, broken down Great Khali, the gauntlet match was fun and helped add some build to a sudden rematch on Smackdown, and the few recaps from Monday Night Raw saves us the three hours it takes to sit through that nightmare. Only downside is the mind-boggling stupid babyface act from the Miz. Next week I'm sure we'll see a better match in terms of quality, but sometimes solid booking and working towards a future show is just as good.