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(1) Team Rhodes Scholars def. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara in a tables match to become the new #1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team championships.
WWE puts out yet another solid opening contest this month, this time in the form of a high intensity tag team contest. They've done a really admirable job jerking that curtain in recent months; a PPV-specific gimmick match with championship implications is exactly what we want to see welcoming us to the final show of the year.
Unfortunately, I don't have much to say about either of these teams, except more of the usual. Sin Cara has improved along side Rey Mysterio, Damien Sandow continues to be the internet's new darling, and Cody Rhodes' mustache has once again drawn a bigger pop than the opposing faces. I still refuse to use the "team" in "Team Rhodes Scholars" when referring to them in real life, and they continue to be the best choice for WWE to put up against the current reigning champions. As always, good to see the tag team division highlighted; continuing to move the chains without the champs constantly in the picture is phenomenal for growth, and allows WWE to put over than two teams every month.
See what I mean? More of the same. When "the same" is a vastly improved division and a good opening contest, I really have nothing major to complain about. I could have done with a bit more offense from Rey Mysterio - or really just more time for the match in general - but it's a small complaint when you size up the rest of the night's card.
(2) Antonio Cesaro def. R-Truth to retain the United States championship.
You're not going to find anything here to write home about, nor will it have a channel-changing effect for those still tuning into Sunday Night Football, but both Cesaro and Truth are solid athletes. I've been high on Truth since he came to WWE, regardless of how WWE has handled him. He's shown several times that he has potential in him to be great; the guy can cut a darn good promo and holds his own with the best in the ring. But at this point I've pretty much set aside any hope for Truth to be a major player in the WWE landscape. Antonio Cesaro, on the other hand, is a completely different animal.
He's the kind of wrestler that everyone needs on their roster, because he can turn a five minute spot into a memorable moment. The power of his signature and finishing maneuvers alone is enough to spark a Twitter trend here and there. He's dependable, and has shown marked improvement each week he's held the title. This TLC match wasn't brilliant, but I also find little fault with it. Slightly above average, and thus the rating shall reflect that.
While we're still on the subject of Antonio Cesaro and the United States championship, WWE is on a perfect path towards a Jack Swagger return. I thought it was going to be Survivor Series; when that didn't happen I thought it might be tonight. The commentary team continues to put over that an American hasn't stood a chance against Cesaro, while the champ himself continues to bury the company and the fans he supposedly represents. It's so blatantly obvious that they're building towards Swagger, but it's also the good kind of obvious; the kind you still want to see, and can anticipate.
This is just my opinion, and a little bit of armchair fantasy booking, but if they're going to pull the trigger on this I wouldn't make it a surprise return. I'd push Cesaro even further as an Anti-American heel in the next two to three weeks, and then if I were WWE I'd put out video promos to hype Swagger's return at the Royal Rumble. There should be nothing ambiguous about them. He's Jack Swagger, he's re-focused, better than ever, and now he plays for the good guys. He's the All-American American, and he's coming for Cesaro at the Rumble. That way when his number is called, and his music hits, the crowd will pop and there'll be no speculation as to why he's come back and eliminated himself along with Cesaro; the angle sells itself from that point forward. The two of them could probably - if handled well - sell a feud from the Rumble all the way until WrestleMania and provide a great mid-card title feud.