Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Daniel Bryan faces off against Randy Orton and the McMahons, CM Punk overcomes Curtis Axel, The Shield take one step forward and two steps back, and more
By Ryan Kester
Daniel Bryan and the McMahons
WWE chose to focus on establishing the McMahons as a cohesive heel unit while giving Bryan more crowd sympathy as an underdog fighting as the world around him is against him achieving his dreams. If you're someone that's been following him for years and just want to see Bryan presented as a technical badass, then that story is understandably frustrating, but the underdog story works well for me. Bryan came off extremely well, and I look forward to his chase as he tries to recapture what was lost at SummerSlam.
The McMahon story is feeling more than little recycled from the Corporation days, but I will gladly take this angle over the nebulous bickering that was going on for the past several months. Triple H slipped into the role nicely with his show-closing promo. He drew a great deal of heat, but the trick is going to be getting that heat to transfer to the WWE Title feud.
WWE is going to need to build Randy Orton up better if the plan is to have Bryan and Orton feud long term. He got the RKO in, but for the most part, it feels like Bryan is feuding with Triple H with Orton as wrestling proxy rather than Bryan going after the man that is holding the belt he wants back. This can easily be corrected in the coming weeks, but for Monday night's purposes, Orton's placement in the story left something to be desired.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman
While I am happy to see the feud between Paul Heyman and CM Punk live on, it certainly loses something when Brock Lesnar isn't present. Punk and Heyman still have tremendous chemistry on the mic so their exchanges are entertaining, but Lesnar's proxy, Curtis Axel, simply doesn't work. WWE hasn't done enough with the man to make him come off as a threat to Punk; he feels like an undercard act with a belt that has very little prestige left.
Heyman needs more "Paul Heyman Guys" for the times when Lesnar can't be around, or Axel will continue coming off as a joke.
A lot has been said since Monday night about The Shield's involvement in the core WWE story as the McMahon's muscle. I am on the side that says this is a good thing for the group in the long run, but it's all about how WWE positions them. It certainly isn't out of character for the group to align with heel authorities, as they were previously established to be willing to work with people for money when they served as muscle for Paul Heyman to attack Brad Maddox late last year.
Simply put, this was overexposure for The Shield for very little gain. They got victories in their two matches, but there was three separate circumstances where a single wrestler was able to hold their own for way too long against a group that's sole selling point is their strength in numbers and unity. That's a step back in the booking that doesn't need to happen. If the sudden, quick beat downs from The Shield continue and are given the McMahon backdrop as a reason, then that can work, but every three-on-one handicap match that isn't a complete squash makes The Shield look weaker.
This week's show was alright. It paled in comparison to the hot SummerSlam that preceded it, but it quickly became apparent that WWE wanted to solidify what happened on the PPV and let it set rather than hitting the ground running on Raw. It's an understandable path to take, but it's definitely not the most exciting route possible.
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.
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