Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: CM Punk and Ryback have a stare down, Sheamus and Big Show have a debate, Daniel Bryan and Kane start to grow stale, and Antonio Cesaro continues to get pushed
By Ryan Kester
CM Punk and Ryback
Once again, CM Punk was the highlight of the show. He appeared numerous times without feeling overexposed, and his promo exchange with Jim Ross was the highlight of the night and one of the more memorable talking segments of the year. I still feel like that slow burn did Punk no favors, but he is doing so well with his fully heel persona that it has become forgivable at this point.
All of that, of course, brings me to Ryback. Ryback received a great boost from defending JR against Punk, and he showed the intensity he needed in his stare down with Punk. I like Ryback and what WWE has done with him thus far, but I fear that they are jumping the gun with him. This is his first real feud and I don't see a way that they can get out of it with his winning streak and by extension his push, intact. Ryback is getting over, but he isn't over enough to take a loss this early into his run as an unstoppable badass.
Sheamus and Big Show
I'm not going to beat a dead horse here too much, as I know my fellows will give the "debate" last night all the thrashing it deserves, but it was certainly bad. Sheamus is lost as a character and Big Show doesn't seem inspired with his current character. He's at his best when he's the big teddy bear and he just doesn’t have the fire with his giant character that he did with his last run with the character.
The World Heavyweight Championship is really floundering as of late, which is a shame considering it was consistently the focal point if the best stories from last year with some of the most fleshed out characters in the company. That has shifted to the WWE Championship at the moment, and in its place the WHC is surrounded by one-dimensional and played out characters. WWE really needs to do something to shake this up as I feel more vested in what's going on with their Tag team and United States Championships more than I am with what's happening with one of their two biggest titles.
Daniel Bryan and Kane
While I am still enjoying the act, I get the distinct impression that WWE is running out of material for these two. Their characters are still working, but they're falling into a bit of a rut with the "I am the WWE Tag Team Champions" shtick and I'm not sure how long they will be able to rest on that. I hope WWE comes up with something to keep the act fresh, as its simple presence in the tag team picture is doing wonders for that division.
By extension, it seems that having a few top tier guys in the tag team division was warranted the division a greater interest from creative. The Tag team tournament has been fun to watch and for the first time in years, I feel optimistic about the tag team titles. While this can certainly go south fast, I am enjoying it for the time being.
Speaking of championships that often get overlooked, I am thrilled to see Cesaro receiving a push. There are a lot of young bucks getting a second look at the moment, but Cesaro is entirely fresh and is unlike the cookie cutter guys WWE has been putting through developmental in recent years. I feel like he could be a key player for WWE going forward, provided they push him well now and continue getting him over.
As far as his opponent goes, Brodus Clay needs to shed the Funkasaurus gimmick. I was one of the biggest supporters of the act in the early stages as I allowed myself to have fun with it, but what fun there was has long since dissipated. Clay can be an amazing heel act if given the opportunity, and I feel like it's time for WWE to pull the trigger on a turn.
Last night's Raw was ok. There were some gems in the show, mostly involving CM Punk, but otherwise the presentation felt uninspired. I expected a renewed vigor from WWE after last week's disappointing ratings, but it seemed like WWE is just resigned to what it gets during football season rather than trying to put forth their greatest effort to keep people glued to their programming.
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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