Make sure to check out the new and improved WWE Raw Rundown for complete coverage of everything that happened on last night’s show.
Daniel Bryan’s corporate makeover proved more entertaining that I initially expected. WWE was smart to lead this segment with a short, but funny, video that captured Bryan’s transformation, and then move the comedy out of the way in favor of Bryan v McMahon drama. Everything that Bryan said about being a “wrestler” further cemented his status atop the mountain. I’m also curious to see where things go with Vince McMahon – while some people are saying his presence isn’t necessary, I think Vince adds an element of unpredictability to the whole affair, and only strengthen Bryan’s chances at winning the gold. Remember how Money in the Bank 2011 played out?
The middle of this segment lost me a little. Why, again, is Wade Barrett coming out to shave another man’s beard? Is he just happy to be on TV? Did WWE really need to make him look so foolish? But Bryan recovered things at the end, and him ripping-off the suit (along with the great “fear the beard” shirt) made for a memorable, crowd-pleasing moment.
Also, while I’m buying the Vince McMahon meddling (mostly in anticipation of a possible Orton heel-turn), I could do without the Triple H/Stephanie McMahon garbage. One McMahon is enough for this, or really any, storyline. My biggest concern is that the Triple H/Stephanie/Vince dynamic is going to result in some weird overbooked angle at SummerSlam, and completely overshadow whatever great moment is in store for the PPV. Sometimes simple storytelling is the best.
John Cena, on the other hand, delivered with another strong promo. He played off of Bryan’s earlier comments niceley, and cemented that he might not be a wrestler, but he is a company man. His passion for WWE seemed believable. By staying away from the “preacher-man” gimmick, and instead simply promising to beat Bryan and prove that he is the best, Cena has sold this matchup as major league. It might be a little bit like the Punk – Cena dynamic of the last two years, but that’s okay. Good stuff all around.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow stood out yet again. While nothing really changed here last night (other than the re-introduction of the briefcase), these two continue to look like superstars. This is my favorite ongoing feud.
While a lot of other stuff happened (Lesnar/Heyman/Punk, Bray Wyatt/Kane, Christian, etc.), one thing that really stood out was the underwhelming return of Kofi Kingston. This guy has been off TV for two months, yet creative simply booked him in a quick victory over Fandango. Really guys? The show was already crowded, so why not hold off on Kingston until AFTER SummerSlam. Better yet, let him surprise attack Ryback and get an ounce of revenge. Kofi Kingston vs. Ryback would be great pre-show fodder.
Overall show was good. WWE has been booking shorter matches in favor of more stuff happening, and while I hate some wrestlers aren’t given long enough to shine, it seems to be working. First, the mid-card finally has some life in it again. Also, the main-event picture has been elevated above everything else with some great mic work by Bryan and Cena. Hopefully this momentum carries up through next week’s RAW and on to Sunday, August 18th – if so, WWE is likely to have one of the best SummerSlam cards in years.
Agree? Disagree? YES! No!? Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter @therealwiseman