Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: CM Punk turns heel, Brock Lesnar accepts Triple H's challenge, and appearances by The Rock, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and more
By Ryan Kester
CM Punk turning heel is the best possible thing that can happen for his career at this point. CM Punk was never going to be WWE's number one babyface; not while John Cena is still bringing in the cash flow for the company. If you can't be the biggest babyface in the company, you might as well become the top babyface's foil by being the biggest heel in the organization. Punk proved last time these two feuded that he can fill that role beautifully and that was before he had a year's worth of a push and connection with the fans. The biggest turns and the best heels are born from a fall as a babyface is beloved and Punk had managed to become a darling to more than just the internet fans.
I am excited about this prospect and the direction that Punk's character will take. I hope they don't retread the "I'm straight edge so I am better than you" character as I feel like that would be a step backwards. Anything along the line of Punk being annoyed by being constantly overshadowed by "less deserving" stars would be a very natural progression for Punk's character and could lead to several interesting feuds.
A special kudos has to go out to The Rock for his work selling for Punk. From the shock of the clothesline he took to the way he sold the GTS like he's been shot, Rock put Punk over in a big way.
WWE had a slew of former wrestlers return last night and, for the most part, they did a good job of getting some of the modern talent rub by being associated with the big names. Damien Sandow may have been the fall guy for DX, but he got an opportunity to use his shtick in the most hyped segment of the show. It may not be the most ideal situation for a push, but there are thousands of guys that would kill for that level of exposure.
The Undertaker's return was a nice surprise and although he and Kane dismantled some of the undercarders, WWE was disciplined enough to keep that to a group of guys that are not receiving any push whatsoever. If WWE decided to push these guys next week or anytime down the line, they would have no problem doing so. The cool part here is that Taker, who is the last holdout from the first Raw, also had a moment to shine on the big 1k edition of Raw.
Without a doubt, the most rub given tonight was from The Rock to Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. I already covered The Rock's selling prowess, but Rock's exchange with Bryan did wonders for him. Two years ago when Rock made his return and The Miz was involved in the build for WrestleMania, he was all but ignored by The Rock. That wasn't the case last night as Rock spread the love to two of WWE's biggest stars from the past year.
Brock Lesnar and Triple H
Out of the three hours, this was the only existing feud that really saw any progression. Triple H managed to get some of his heat back from Lesnar and Hunter's initial clash and it was a nice change of pace seeing the heel manager lose their cool and get goaded into putting their client in a match. Normally it's the wrestler looking like a meathead that can't be controlled by their manager.
While I still don't think we're in for a classic match, this feud should be enough to hook some casual viewers into ordering SummerSlam. If nothing else, I am interested to see how Lesnar will fair to see where WWE is going with the character in this limited run with the company.
Last night's show was magnificent. It was easily the most entertaining three hour Raw since the Old School edition a few years back. The show was paced well, the returning wrestlers were well done and memorable, and it all led to an amazing character moment for the WWE Champion that doubles as a hook for viewers to continue watching next week.
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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