Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Daniel Bryan runs the gauntlet, CM Punk calls for "The Best vs. The Beast," and Alberto Del Rio continues to shine as a heel


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Kester Editorials


Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Daniel Bryan runs the gauntlet, CM Punk calls for "The Best vs. The Beast," and Alberto Del Rio continues to shine as a heel
Jul 24, 2013 - 09:40 AM


By Ryan Kester

John Cena and Daniel Bryan

WWE is certainly running with the momentum Daniel Bryan has established. The gauntlet match Bryan endured was a great example of what WWE can do with their three hour format. It was built up all night with a few backstage segments putting over what Bryan would have to go through, and then Bryan was able to showcase his resilience and offense for an excess of thirty minutes. It did wonders for establishing WWE's confidence in the character and the announcers put over Bryan with every other breath.

Earlier in the night, the brief exchange Bryan and Cena had worked. It's good to have Cena assert that he gave Daniel Bryan the shot for the WWE Title because he wants competition and that he won't give up the championship without a fight. I'm not one-hundred percent confident in the way that the match is going to go at SummerSlam, but if WWE is deciding to move the title at SummerSlam it's important for that point to have been established.

CM Punk and Paul Heyman

This program has been everything one could hope for from a split after a long-term collaboration. Punk and Heyman managed to match their intensity from last week and Punk came out of the segment looking like a babyface anyone could rally behind. He put over Lesnar in a big way by establishing him as a threat while promising to take the beating he will endure and just keep coming. It's a simple story, but it's one that works extremely well with the two wrestlers involved.

I think my favorite aspect of the exchanges that Punk and Heyman have had thus far is simply the storytelling involved. A lot of professional wrestling promo exchanges can try can cram too much progression into one night, but Punk and Heyman have taken a very slow burn approach and added extra details that would normally take too long to establish. They did it with the explanation of Heyman's betrayal last week and they took the next step last night with the focus on Punk's current babyface character.

Alberto Del Rio

It's amazing what a few simple tweaks for an act can do to make it fresh. At one point, watching an Alberto Del Rio match required a bit of effort before distractions set in simply because he never seemed fully committed to his character. Luckily, that is no longer the case. Since his heel turn, Del Rio has stepped up his aggression in the ring, and I like the story told last night with Del Rio ruthlessly zeroing in on another existing injury.

WWE has been lacking this type of heel for a while, and I am happy to see Del Rio has managed to find whatever it took to engage with his role and commit to the story he's been given. He's simply more entertaining than he was before.

Overall Show

Last night's Raw was solid. The show was paced well and despite a few groaner segments, WWE delivered an episode of Raw that was paced well and even managed to keep a few stories on the backburner, which only helped ease the sense of burnout that can all-too-often hit the three hour format. WWE is handling this build to SummerSlam better than they have some recent WrestleManias, and it's refreshing to see so much effort being put into the product this late into the summer.

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 ryan.kester@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter.

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