Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Brock Lesnar makes some demands, CM Punk fakes intoxication, Edge makes a surprise return, and more
By Ryan Kester
Brock Lesnar and John Cena
Last night was a weird dichotomy for Brock. When they first had him enter the arena and he attacked Josh Matthews, he looked like an absolute beast. Yet when he was in the arena and making his demands, he sounded unsure of himself and he was hurt by being forced to carry that segment.
Imagine how much hotter that angle would have been if Brock was simply leaning back in his chair as a mouthpiece for him was making all of his ridiculous demands? Brock is extremely effective at the pretaped, sit-down promo videos and with his body language. He is nowhere near as effective at these long live monologues and WWE really needs t find a way around making him be the focal point of promos.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had John Cena looking like he had already been on a several month losing streak. When it came to this feud, I couldn't shake the sense that I missed a Raw or two and the intervening buildup. WWE is rushing this storyline far too much, and it's a shame as I like the core idea behind the story they are trying to tell.
Edge's return was a great surprise and the man delivered an excellent promo that only he could deliver for the story between Lesnar and John Cena. He gave us another reminder why it is such a tragedy that he was forced into retirement so early.
However, the timing of this promo could not have felt more rushed. The content and the delivery were superb, but John Cena has not been losing long enough to feel like he is in a crisis and in need of an inspirational kick in the ass.
CM Punk and Chris Jericho
I'm tired of the story Punk and Jericho are telling. I understand what they were going for with Punk turning the tables on Chris Jericho's latest barbs, but the whole story has been losing my interest since the whiskey bottle shattered a few weeks back. Jericho does not feel like a credible threat to Punk's championship, and the segment last night only reinforced that.
Furthermore, my initial excitement over the storyline that spawned this angle before WrestleMania has waned due to last week's "he was in a pub" and this week's "he was pretending to drink." Personally, those directions are not ones I care to see Punk's character to go in as they damage his straight edge ethos rather than strengthen it. Punk looked like an inspirational babyface before WrestleMania; this storyline takes away from that.
Ultimately, last night's Punk storyline was interesting and different, but it was something that simply did not click for me or make me care to see these two wrestle any more than I was before. If anything, it made me care to see that match less.
Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, and Mark Henry
This entire segment was well done. Sheamus got some sympathy from getting the odds stacked against him, Mark Henry looked strong yet sold for the Brogue Kick, and Daniel Bryan got heat by getting the best of Sheamus and outwitting the babyface.
I have been greatly enjoying Daniel Bryan's heel work and I am glad that WWE gave him an opportunity to get the best of Sheamus. Even if Daniel Bryan does not go over on Sunday, they are doing a better job of treating him like a smart threat rather than simply a chickenshit lucky heel like so many of the heels that occupy WWE's roster.
Beth Phoenix did an excellent job of selling the ankle injury in her match with Nikki Bella, and it was one of more effective segments I have seen from the women's division in some time. I am going to avoid any potential spoilers here, but the work that went into this segment was worthy of praise and I am interested in the storylines that could be produced from this angle.
While I am not as critical as some over the return of Albert as Lord Tensai, and I like the idea of a different character being used on modern wrestling, Lord Tensai will get nowhere fast with squash matches ad nauseum. Tensai needs an actual feud, and he needs one quickly.
Heels Losing Heat
I touched on it above with Jericho, but last night featured several heels getting bested in one form or another by the babyfaces they are feuding with. That would be all well and good if WWE plans to have a slew of heels going over on Sunday, but in the mean time they cut out the selling point of people having to pay to see their chosen babyfaces get the better of their heel opponents.
Last night's show was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it was a solid three hours that managed to avoid the usual pitfalls of forced themes and ridiculous filler that usually accompanies a three hour Raw, but as a go home show for Extreme Rules it was extremely ineffective. The final sell for Cena vs. Lesnar fell flat and the show managed to make me less excited about Punk vs. Jericho than I was going in.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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