After bottoming out in the ratings (again) two week ago, WWE saw viewership climb last week and looked to capitalize on that increase by trying to hook viewers through a packed opening half-hour. The question that the ratings might bear out is whether that overstuffed opening will translate into sustained viewership or a bubble that quickly burst before 9 p.m. Its fair to say that Raw hadnt opened with a 16-man match in anyones casual memory, but a main event confrontation between the current world champ and top challenger on the go-home Raw is something weve probably seen 10 times in the past year. Monday, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion took a pinfall loss to his #1 contender, Roman Reigns, in a tag match, which is WWEs favorite way to raise the question of whether the champs title is in jeopardy. Lets face it: Sheamus is not setting the world on fire as champ. In fact, hes going to be viewed as little more than a placeholder unless he starts Brogue Kicking opponents and pinning them cleanly. But his challenger hasnt fared much better. Reigns isnt the guy fans are clamoring for to take the Celtic Warrior down, though you get the feeling fans would accept him a lot more simply because its obvious WWE believes Roman is a top guy. Meanwhile, theres a PPV on Sunday and a card needed to get filled out, which WWE tried to do to varying degrees of success. But hey, its the last PPV of the year and its right before the holidays, so you cant fault them for not being prepared, right? So what climbed the ladder of success and what got put through a table? Lets get to it
Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.