Stephanie McMahon and Daniel Bryan opened up last night’s show in a very interesting way. It wasn’t what I expected coming out of the Pay-Per-View, but I still really liked it. Putting the McMahon’s on a unified front only makes sense (and makes this story a lot less convoluted). Furthermore, her interactions with Bryan were very, very entertaining. Bryan slapping the microphone out of her hand? Perfect. When Stephanie called for security, I had flashbacks to the ‘Attitude-Era.’ Daniel Bryan really is becoming the internet age Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow delivered an okay follow-up match to their fight at SummerSlam. Otherwise, the actual “wrestling” element of the show was sub-par. We had TWO different 3-on-1 handicap matches, both involving The Shield, and both feeling like storyline-over-form segments. And apparently creative needed some filler because even 3MB made it on the card.
A lot of stuff happened in-between the major segments, and most of it just wasn’t newsworthy. WWE made sure to push its pop-culture stuff, with ‘Total Divas’ being spotlighted in a 5 minute match, and Darren Young picking up the win over The Real Americans. And what about that Footlocker advertisement? Amazing stuff. That’s what a TV-PG rating can do for you!
Paul Heyman and CM Punk delivered a stellar opening chapter for the next part of their feud. Heyman offered the fake olive branch, and Punk turned it down with a fiery vengeance. Axel as the muscle made sense. But I’m glad Punk wiped him out, and things are ready to move forward with somebody new. Heyman needs to recruit some fresh blood in his battle against Punk, and I just don’t think Axel is ready to carry the mantle yet against a bona fide main eventer like CM Punk. Plus, Punk’s rant against that fan in the front row who booed him (poor guy!) was pure money. CM Punk is old school in the best possible way.
The show closed with Randy Orton’s Championship Coronation. This basically just turned into Triple H trying to explain away his sudden heel turned. To be fair, Hunter sold it like a champ. I liked his “best for business” logic (even if did contradict everything he said the last few weeks), and putting Orton out there in front gave the whole group a lot of heat. I’m also glad Triple H touched on his feud with Orton from a few years back. I’m still not completely buying The Shield as McMahon family lackeys, but I guess in pro wrestling heels are bffs.
Overall show was very meh. The promos were solid – especially Punk/Heyman, Bryan/Stephanie, and Triple H. Otherwise, the show lacked the great energy of SummerSlam. Hopefully the product picks back up next week.
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