Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Daniel Bryan hits a reset button, The Wyatt Family loses their direction, Randy Orton randomly loses to Kofi Kingston, Punk learns not to trust Outlaws, and more!
By Will Pruett
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I'm not quite sure how to digest the final segment of Raw. Two weeks ago, I was very excited about where WWE could go with Daniel Bryan as a part of the Wyatt Family. Last week, it was clear WWE was going for a long term approach to see this new team gel. This week, they blew off the team approach, fast-forwarded through the storyline, and had Bryan turn back into the "Yes" driven man he was before.
Basically, WWE hit the reset button.
It's hard to look at how the crowd reacted to Bryan and say this wasn't the right move. Seeing Bryan, perched on top of the steel cage, leading an entire arena full of people in his "yes" chant was amazing. The moment was one of the most dynamic WWE has produced in recent memory. Bryan is over and crowds should be able to cheer him as they wish.
What about the planned story with the Wyatt Family? I'm pretty sure Bryan got 98% of his revenge on Bray Wyatt inside the cage on Raw. What does WWE do with the rest of this story? Where do they go with these characters now left in limbo? WWE is in their most important storytelling season of the year (and one of the most important in their history with the WWE Network launching in the middle of it).
Bryan's future seems less murky, as it seems like WWE knows he is a star. He will be given the position of a star at WrestleMania. The Wyatt Family is in danger here. The motivation-less cult kidnapped Kane, kept on wrestling, and hasn't even mentioned Kane since his return. They then began targeting The Miz, but stopped quickly. They went after Daniel Bryan, seemed to bring him to the dark side, then he left the dark side pretty quickly.
The Wyatt Family is an extremely unique act, but WWE seems clueless as to how to use them. They almost have to exist in another world, separate from what WWE usually presents. They are almost too unique to work. Bray Wyatt delivers his lines well and Rowan and Harper are great in their roles, but the whole package isn't being treated the way it should be.
Going into WrestleMania season without a dedicated feud or a dedicated goal is not a good thing for Bray and company. Hopefully WWE, in the obvious reshuffling they are doing, finds a way to keep The Wyatt Family interesting.
And one for some random thoughts:
- The opening of Raw was really well done. From what I heard it was also the opening of Smackdown, but who actually watches Smackdown?
- Daniel Bryan's face just before Wyatt delivered Sister Abigail was great. Bryan was dreading the pain of the move.
- WWE showed a surprising amount of restraint when it came to the WWE Network. They only showed two video packages about it and the announcers didn't annoy me by mentioning it too much. I'm sure we'll hear a ton about it in the next six weeks, but kudos to WWE for not bugging me this week.
- John Cena's underwear are obviously the signal for Hulk Hogan to show up soon. Why else would his red and yellow boxers be sticking out on a weekly basis?
- Cena vs. Damien Sandow seemed like an attempt to recapture the magic of their Money in the Bank cash in match last fall. Sadly, it lacked the drama of their first match. Sandow has been wasted since he cashed in his briefcase.
- I'm pretty sure Big Show is the worst person in WWE. He indiscriminately knocks out senior citizens for fun. He involves people in matches who shouldn't be. Big Show is not a good person. He should be, but he isn't. It's sad. Why would anyone cheer him?
- The Batista return hype was also understated on this show. There was an Alberto Del Rio promo and some video packages. I expected a little more hype for Batista.
- I'm actually glad The New Age Outlaws walked out on C.M. Punk. They are Triple H's old friends and Punk was probably not the most intelligent guy to trust them. I'm not sure why the Outlaws waited a week to leave Punk high and dry, but we could all just assume Punk was cerebrally assassinated.
- Are the Outlaws really still deserving of their "New Age" monicker?
- I think Emma's appearance on Raw was just a way to get Raw viewers familiar with NXT, now that NXT is going to be on the Network. I don't think she's main roster bound yet.
- The Ultimate Warrior's Hall of Fame speech is going to be worth the WWE Network view of the ceremony all on its own.
- At least Paul Heyman mentioned how horrible of a person Big Show is.
- For a while there, it seemed like Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton were ordered to go to the ring and have the least exciting match in wrestling history. It seemed like Orton actually enjoyed the boring chants raining down on him.
- I was surprised to see Kofi Kingston win, but I feel like it was all to promote him doing a wild near-elimination spot in the Rumble, then being instantly forgotten by the time we get to Elimination Chamber.
- Randy Orton losing doesn't really hurt him, but he is already such a weak heel. Nothing about Orton excites me right now.
- I know it was almost seven years since the last time Orton attack John Cena Sr., but one would think Mr. Cena would be a little more conscious of where Orton is.
- Ryback could never match the level of crazy Ultimate Warrior showed in his heyday. The wellness policy wouldn't allow it.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio was a nice, short match. It's sad to see what Rey is reduced to right now. Hopefully he ends up getting healthy, or hanging it up soon. Leave the memories alone, Rey.
- Punk's confrontation backstage with Kane was nice to see. I'm excited to see him in the Rumble. Punk is one of the few wrestlers I could see winning it.
- The Uso brothers video was really cool. It might have been the coolest thing on Raw all night.
- I'm glad WWE is okay playing up fake heart problems to a guy who had a legitimate heart attack on the air. It's not just tasteless, it's super awkward.
- The end of Raw was the grand reset for Bryan. Hopefully plans for Bryan this time around are better than they have been.
This show was a mixed bag. It didn't blow me away, but it did enough to keep me entertained. The third hour dragged just like it always does. The Royal Rumble seems very far off, even though it is just two weeks away. WWE needs to pump up the hype jams for the Rumble next week.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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