Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Randy Orton gets a night's worth of heat, the revived tag division gets put on full display, and CM Punk faces off against Shawn Michaels
By Ryan Kester
WWE set out on a mission last to turn Randy Orton into a detestable heel champion, and they accomplished a great deal of their goal. Orton came across as a jerk that is willing to do anything to hold onto his new title, and his actions in the main event were some of the most heelish he's been since his turn. The little touches like resorting to a bite or taking time to mock the fans will go a long way with this version of the Orton character.
Speaking of that main event, it was one of the most entertaining television matches we've had in some time, and certainly the most entertaining of the Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton series. WWE was wise to get out of the match with the low blow finish as it kept the heat focus on Orton rather than any act that they could have sent to interrupt the match.
Tag Team Division
Last night, and to a lesser extent TLC, WWE displayed the myriad of tag teams it has at its disposal. This is truly the deepest the division has been in years, and it is a prime time for WWE to put more emphasis on its lower tier championships considering they unified the two top titles.
The Rhodes Brothers have been a pleasant surprise as tag team champions. I initially expected them to have a rather short run with the belts and go on to feud for WrestleMania, but they have shown a great deal of chemistry as a team, and Goldust in particular has impressed with his in-ring ability. WWE can easily build the division around them as champions should they choose to put forth the effort; time will tell whether or not that opportunity will be seized or squandered.
CM Punk and Shawn Michaels
While the idea of CM Punk and Shawn Michaels having a heated verbal exchange is exciting, WWE failed to deliver that last night. The exchange between Michaels and Punk was lukewarm at best, and Michaels called out The Shield before the pair had a chance to even establish a rhythm. Teases can work well, but WWE wasted a great fan reaction to the pair's first verbal sparring match on something that was completely unnecessary and insubstantial.
It will be interesting to see what WWE does with Punk in the coming weeks. Common sense dictates that he will be involved in the Rumble match hype, but WWE seems to be planting seeds for a showdown with The Authority in Punk's future. That could very well be a solid story, but Punk's story with Paul Heyman can't really have a proper conclusion until Punk meets Brock Lesnar and emerges victorious. When it comes to a confrontation like that, there's really no better spot for that to happen than WrestleMania.
Last night's episode of Raw was one of the more entertaining of the recent Raws. WWE managed to stay focused on a set of goals throughout the evening, namely putting heat on Orton and showcasing its tag team talent, and it made for a show that flowed well and accomplished what it set out to do.
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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