Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Heels reign supreme as Daniel Bryan gets laid out for the second week in a row, CM Punk gets torn apart by Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel, and the babyfaces on the roster do nothing
By Ryan Kester
Daniel Bryan, Triple H, and Randy Orton
WWE is in full heat building mode for the new Corporation. Triple H is doing his part on the mic and is coming across as absolutely corrupt and evil. The issue remains that he is the one getting the most heat out of the equation, and not enough of it is transferring onto Randy Orton, the man actually being called on to be Daniel Bryan's foil at Night of Champions.
I was surprised to see Bryan take another beat down at the end of Raw. It's certainly consistent with how WWE has built up The Shield and Orton, but Triple H's talk of Bryan proving himself had me worried that WWE was planning to hotshot Bryan's breakout moment and have him overcome The Shield in a gauntlet match. Instead, we got Bryan and Seth Rollins putting on a hell of a show before the rest of the faction fell on Bryan and he was outnumbered. It left the fans wanting more, and it built up more sympathy for Bryan in the process.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman
Punk and Heyman's rivalry took an interesting turn last night. The intensity in their feud has certainly been there from the get go, but Heyman deserves lot of credit for giving a dark and at times uncomfortable performance as he assaulted Punk. It's so rare these days, in a world where heels try to be the coolest people on the roster, that a heel act will show genuine vulnerability. Heyman managed to tap into something different last night, and he displayed his mentality that, if it weren't for his character's actions, would have been tragic. Heyman is doing the best work of his career with this story, and it's a treat to see where he takes things week after week.
Punk played his part perfectly. He managed to transition from looking defiant and fighting back to simply being broken and hopeless by the end of Heyman and Curtis Axel's assault. Punk is embracing the ability of his character to show some weakness, and it's making for a more dynamic act than he's played before. It is only gaining him more and more sympathy from the crowd, and it's making his feuds reach a level higher than they have before.
I'm of two minds when it comes to how WWE has portrayed every babyface not-named Daniel Bryan in the past two weeks. On one hand, I can completely understand what WWE is trying to accomplish. They are painting Bryan out as an underdog that is entirely alone against an authoritative regime that doesn't want or appreciate him, and has their own champion in their pocket. This sets up Bryan to get as much sympathy as possible as they build towards Night of Champions.
I don't disagree with that idea in the slightest. I don't even disagree with the babyfaces remaining quiet and staying out of Bryan's fight. However, if WWE is going to tell this particular story, then they need to find a better way of presenting this story than snippets from the announce team.
The biggest issue with the silence from last night is that the babyfaces that faced repercussions last week for their words didn't have their words shown on television. It would carry a much greater effect if the wrestlers were shown speaking up for Bryan before getting pummeled down. Instead, we have to simply go off of the announcer's word that these events took place, so the subsequent silence last night is the only thing viewers actually see. Without seeing the support and only seeing the silence, fans will only have pictured in their mind that the babyfaces did nothing, rather than seeing that they did something before and got destroyed because of it.
I enjoyed this show. It was a fairly talk-heavy edition of Raw, but there was plenty of story progression and most of the matches were entertaining and delivered some solid in-ring work. It wasn't as hot of a show as we've had in the recent weeks, but the WWE product as a whole is in a better place during this late summer/early fall season than they have in recent years. I can only hope that they manage to keep it up.
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 email@example.com or follow me on Twitter.
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