Even with The Authority gone and the WWE supposedly changed forever, what does Raw open with? You guessed it. The Authority. They come out and cut a promo about how they're keeping their heads up and things are going downhill now that they're gone. Things took a turn for the positive when Daniel Bryan shows up to surprise everyone. He does the "Yes!" chant in the face of the Authority as they exit. It's fitting that it would be him to send them off tonight. When the commercial break is over, Bryan is still in the ring and he's in charge tonight. He announces a bunch of matches including Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose, Mark Henry vs. Ryback, Rusev can either defend the US Title in a Battle Royal or recite the Pledge of Alligence and Seth Rollins will get partners chosen by the WWE Universe for the main event. One of the options is Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury, so that's the obvious choice. I enjoyed this even though it ran just about 30 minutes. Seeing Bryan is a treat and the heels got what was coming to them, which is refreshing.
We move into Ryback vs. Mark Henry, as the two guys eliminated first at Survivor Series looked to fix things. So they brawled before the match and, with Henry hurt, he played the brave good guy who wanted to fight and had the referee ring the bell. I don't think that made sense if Ryback is the face. Ryback would win in just under a minute. The Authority are leaving and run into Vince who says that he's disappointed in them. You know that feeling, when your parents aren't mad, they're just hurt. It's the worst.
Daniel Bryan knew what he was doing when he put Dean Ambrose to face Luke Harper as this was the match of the night. The Intercontinental Title was on the line, so I knew that Harper would retain but it was still damn fun. Bryan may still be feeling his CZW hate from his ROH days as he put these two together knowing they'd beat the hell out of each other. I think we should have gotten a similar ending to Bray/Ambrose from Survivor Series, where Ambrose goes nuts with a chair, but instead we got Harper pushing Dean into the ref and getting DQ'ed. Ambrose went to bring in the TLC toys but was attacked by Bray, who buried Dean under the weapons. Fun match, good TLC build. I like it.
Larry the Cable Guy and Santino Marella come out to promote Jingle All the Way 2. It sucked. How dare they besmirch a classic like the original Jingle All the Way? This moves into a WWE Tag Team Title match as The Miz and Damien Mizdow gave the Dust Brothers their rematch. This was a solid tag team match and the story was that The Miz got "hurt" in the middle of the match, so Mizdow had to do the work. Miz would jump in at the last second and steal the pin. Mizdow wasn't upset by it, so maybe the split will take longer than I expected, which is good. I forgot to mention that Bryan made Kane the concessions guy tonight. So Concessions Kane replaces Corporate Kane. We got some okay skits backstage involving him.
Rusev and Lana are in the ring and they decline both the Battle Royal and saying the pledge. Daniel Bryan appears on screen and sends out Sgt. Slaughter to help them with the pledge. Lana starts to recite it for some reason, since I thought Rusev had to do it. Rusev gets upset and backs Sarge into a corner but is saved by Jack Swagger. Swagger forces Rusev out of the ring, so I guess this feud is coming back. I enjoyed their matches but we already know that Swagger isn't going to beat Rusev, so why is this even happening again? Also, it sucked that Rusev got away with not doing the battle royal or the pledge. We move into a rematch from the pre-show last night as Justin Gabriel took on the "new and improved" Fandango. By new and improved, they must mean that now he is somehow Hispanic, still wrestles the EXACT SAME WAY and has the worst dance partner in history in Rosa Mendes. Fandango wins but seeing Rosa on my TV is always shit.
Big Show came out to explain heel turn #423 in his career. He actually says that he wants a "mulligan" on Survivor Series because everyone makes mistakes. As the fans chant "You Sold Out" he becomes the big angry giant again and challenges anyone. Erick Rowan answers and says he doesn't like bullies and knocks Show out of the ring. Rowan barely got a pop at first but eventually received some "Erick Rowan" chants. This could be fun as it is at least different and it looks like we aren't headed towards another Cena/Show feud.
One night after winning the Divas Championship, Nikki Bella would be on the sidelines as her sister Brie took on former Champion AJ Lee. AJ cut a promo before the match, using the "Les-bi-honest" line and calls Brie a bigger skank than Nikki. How come we didn't get any Brie/Bryan stuff tonight? I never liked her weighing down the Kane/Bryan angle, but it would've made sense right? Brie scored the win with a rollup so AJ got on the mic after the match and notes that it takes two Bellas to be champion and that talent is not "sexual transmitted". Shots fired. To be fair, AJ was in her position before she hooked up with Punk, while the Bellas were barely on TV until they started banging Bryan and Cena. Good stuff that furthered this angle. One of my main issues here is that the Bellas seemed friendly again.
Adam Rose and the Bunny took on Tyson Kidd and Natalya in another inter-species tag match. Larry the Cable Guy and Santino were on commentary. Everything about this whole thing blew except for Tyson Kidd. Rose gets tripped by the Bunny by accident so Tyson scores the win, bringing his Raw winning streak to four. Ryback is hungry so he goes to the concessions stand and ends up beating up Kane before he makes a joke about "forgetting your nuts." The saving grace of this batch of segments was a New Day promo featuring all three members! They were dancing, it was fantastic and they debut next week! I can't wait.
Time for the main event as Dolph Ziggler and John Cena took on Seth Rollins and, as the fans voted, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble. The other choices were Rusev and Henry or Harper and Henry. Those choices got a combined 7% of the votes. I love Noble and Mercury though. This was mostly comedy and in the end, the faces stood tall. Daniel Bryan came out as Seth Rollins tried to escape and threw him into the ring where he ate an AA. Good feelings were fine, but I think Dolph needed to be more of a focal point. Commentary kept going on about how Sting got rid of the Authority without giving Dolph enough credit.
After the main event, the chime went off and the Anonymous General Manager will be back next week for Cyber Monday. At least they made it sound like it was a one week thing. Anyway, after a fantastic Survivor Series this was a bit of a let down. Daniel Bryan showing up was a treat but none of the matches, except for Harper/Ambrose really delivered. That being said, they still made me look forward to seeing Raw next week with New Day and a hopefully entertaining Cyber Monday. 6/10.