Evan Ginzburg sent this report in.
Madison Square Garden WWE Raw house show 12/27/12
Reviewed by Evan Ginzburg
New Age Outlaws Def. Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow 3*
Fun match with Road Dogg showing more charisma than other 3 combined
Brodus Clay W David Otunga 0* Dud
Total quick squash with dancers the highlight by far. Otunga looks great physically then showed zip in match.
Brodus Clay W Jack Swagger 1/2*
Another one that was over before you blinked. Swagger solid enough in ring, but needs charisma infusion. I literally didn’t know who he was when he challenged Clay and I’ve seen him dozens of times on TV.
Eve Torres W Kaitlyn Diva’s Championship 1*
They tried anyway but won’t make you forget Sherri Martel or even Moolah for that matter.
Santino Morello W Tensai 0* Dud
Pure comedy from Santino- only for us old school fans it’s not funny, it’s tragic. Tensai later sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in its entirety. Post Christmas no less. That’s giving ringside fans their $100 worth I suppose. The absurdity of it was amusing though, I have to admit.
The Shield W Miz/Kane/Daniel Brian 2*
Considering the tremendous talent in the ring, the biggest disappointment of the night. Felt flat. Mediocre at best. Some brawling. Abrupt end. Instantly forgettable.
Usos W Darren Young & Titus O’Neil 1/2*
This felt like any generic indy tag team match, only worse. I’ve seen far better on local indy shows.
Antonio Cesaro W Zach Ryder US Heavyweight Championship 2 ½*
Solid enough match that heated up towards end, but didn’t touch Claudio/Antonio’s ROH epics.
Ryback W Paul Heyman “NY Street Fight” (only they never actually had a match) UNRATED
Paul E cuts great promo that I enjoyed more than most of the matches on the show. Ryback does Goldberg entrance. Shield jump him. Miz/Kane/Brian return. Brawl ensues. Paul E ultimately ends up pinned and put through table. If only Paul could teach CHARISMA to some of the folk on this show. He’s just great.
John Cena W Dolph Ziggler Steel Cage Match 3 ¼* Real good match with a little bit of everything (except blood of course- wouldn’t want to scare the kiddies or the advertisers). Brawling on top of cage fun ala the old Olympic Auditorium TV intro with Victor Rivera brawling 15 feet above. (Man, am I dating myself). Anyway, tons of outside interference with A.J. and Big E Langston. Went nearly 25 minutes and thoroughly enjoyable, but no real sense that this was a blow off to a great feud, or even that we had any reason to dislike Ziggler, who just comes off as colorful rather than a true heel to be hated/punished in a cage. Winner/loser really irrelevant . Real fun to watch, and glad I caught it, but Bruno-Koloff or Snuka-Muraco this wasn’t.
Comments- File this one under “You Can’t Go Home Again” if you’re a middle age old school fan who loved WWWF at MSG in 70s and 80s. At $25-$100 a ticket, I thankfully had comps, but just felt out of place surrounded by kiddies and their fawning parents. WWE hawking merchandise in ring seemed tacky, too. Felt more like the circus or Globetrotters audience than the ROH, Dragon Gate, Chikara, Extreme Rising and other indy shows I enjoy in person far, far more. In fact, this was the worst match I’ve ever seen Bryan Danielson or Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) in live. Pleasant enough night out, and can’t say I regret going, but I sure wouldn’t want to be the parent who spends hundreds for THIS.