Kester's WWE Raw Rundown: Daniel Bryan returns to his babyface character, Randy Orton continues to look weak, and CM Punk moves into the Royal Rumble picture
By Ryan Kester
Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family
WWE abandoned ship early with this story. Before anything really had a chance to develop, WWE moved on and returned Bryan to the way he was before he joined the Wyatts. Whatever the reason, one can only hope the plan to add a few more wrinkles to Bryan's act remains.
The live crowd made Bryan's return to form a special moment. The intensity of the final segment and the shot of the entire live crowd chanting "Yes!" in unison with Bryan's motions was an amazing sight. Hotshotted or not, this was a huge moment for Bryan.
Orton is in an odd spot. WWE is attempting to call him The Viper and treat him as the sadist that role used to entail, but the product has moved on from when that character truly flourished. Now Orton is stuck playing a Viper that has no teeth, and the result is a frankly boring choice for a unified champion.
Kofi Kingston getting the surprise pin on Orton made for a fun moment, but it did more harm than good. After so many false starts, the idea of Kingston suddenly getting a push from this is virtually nonexistent, so Orton, a weak champion that is playing a character that his storylines are not supporting, now is getting beat by guys that are lucky if they see airtime, let alone doing anything of note. If Orton was playing a weak champion role, then this would have made sense, but WWE is actually trying to push Orton's old sadist role while making him look weak. It simply does not work.
With luck, Punk taking the surprisingly sparingly used Triple Powerbomb from The Shield is a sign he'll stop working with them. Their matches have been entertaining, for the most part, but their feud has gone on far too long with far too little progression.
Punk being in the Rumble is smart. WWE really needs to start building up the Rumble match and its participants' desire to be the last man in the ring, and this gives Punk a great chance to move on from his feud and focus on WrestleMania season endeavors.
Raw this week focused more on building up a few undercard acts and treading water than it did advancing the majority of its stories in a meaningful way. This let the closing segment stand out as more special than it was, but it also left the rest of the show being less substantial than it has in recent weeks.
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