10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 7.22.13 (Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk)

Raw (Hartford 2013)

1. It’ll be interesting how long the fans (or the WWE) stays this hot on Daniel Bryan. Bryan is a textbook “everyman” archetype. He’s average height, average weight, average build and average looking. But he undoubtedly has above average wrestling ability and charisma. In essence, Daniel Bryan is everything that the WWE wishes the fans would view John Cena as. Cena’s been pushed as a “man of the people” for over 10 years and hasn’t been able to make the connection Bryan has been able to make in 2. The era of the superhero wrestler is pretty much over and wrestling fans now want to be able to relate to the men in the ring. They want to live vicariously through these men. It’s what made Stone Cold Steve Austin so popular and what has hurt John Cena for so long. Cena’s physique is borderline “Biogenesis testing”-worthy, he never seems to be in a bad mood and always comes out on top. Kids see John Cena as a superhero they want to grow up to be. Teens and adults see John Cena as a guy who has gotten as far as he has on personality & politics. I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that the WWE would rather have John Cena as the face of their company instead of someone the size of Daniel Bryan, that has the attitude of CM Punk or even the tattoos of Randy Orton. John Cena is WWE’s “guy” and will be until he retires. What’s changed now is that guys like Bryan and Punk are MARKETABLE! People want to see them live, they want to buy their t-shirts & action figures and they want to see them win championships. So while John Cena will always be in the mix at the top of the card, WWE now has a multitude of characters that their fans can once again rally behind.

2. I say almost every week how much I don’t like Alberto Del Rio but he is beginning to change my mind. Honestly, Richardo Rodriguez being suspended might have been the best thing for him as Del Rio is now being taken seriously from the moment he appears until he leaves the arena. I love the new viciousness & the way the announcers continue to play up Del Rio attacking the weak or injured parts of his opponents. Hey, that’s what I would do if I was in a fight! And a great finish to the match. Sheamus lost absolutely nothing from taking the pin (even probably gained some momentum for showing his toughness) and Del Rio gains another clean victory by capitalizing on his opponent’s injury, using his intelligence to pick up the win.

3. Notice how Ryback’s renewed “bully” push comes after the “Be A Star” promos stopped airing every 5 minutes?

4. The new program between The Shield and Mark Henry with the Usos is interesting. It doesn’t seem as if the WWE wants to split Dean Ambrose away from the trio quite yet by putting him in a United States Championship program with a typical singles’ star so they’re going to have The Shield & The Usos work with the veteran Henry in order to give them more seasoning. This also helps propel The Usos up another level where they are able to appear as a legitimate threat to the Tag Team Championships.

5. First CM Punk and now Dolph Ziggler? I feel like Darren Young is the 2013 version of Jim Powers, the jobber with offense. Ziggler’s speed is absolutely mind-blowing. Between what he did in his match with Young and then the post match antics with Big E Langston, Ziggler could very well the quickest Superstar on the WWE roster right now. Maybe only Adrian Neville could rival him.

6. Miz is hosting SummerSlam and someone in the WWE listens to the HTC Wrestling Pulsecast. The Miz was my choice as the guy who had the worst debut of a future World Champion by debuting as the host of SmackDown. And this comes after an article on WWE.com featuring airbrushed ring gear a few days after I went off on a tangent on the show about how WWE should just hire a full-time airbrusher now that RVD is returning. I don’t know who it is but I’m on to you!!!

7. For those of you who don’t know, I expect this will blow your mind:

The Real “Wyatt” Family:

The Real Wyatt Family

8. Remember when Cody Rhodes broke his nose and had to wear a mask? He turned that simple piece of protective gear into a gimmick that was arguably the best in the WWE during that time. It was a moment where Rhodes rose to the occasion and capitalized on what most people would have viewed as a hindrance. Cody Rhodes showed what he was capable of & the ball was dropped when he ditched the mask. It looks as if he may be getting another chance to prove himself and here’s hoping he is able to capitalize on what may be his last chance.

9. “The Best vs The Beast” – Fantastic tagline to conclude an impassioned, emotional and intense promo from CM Punk. Punk spoke straight from the heart and damn did it remind me of some of his old independent promos. The difference was that this promo wasn’t aimed at Raven or Samoa Joe, it was for the former WWE & UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar. Did ANYONE, ANYWHERE think that a CM Punk versus Brock Lesnar match would ever be possible outside of a video game? Normally I would say someone the size and style of CM Punk would be out of his element facing off against Lesnar but this is CM Punk. This is the same guy who’s been destroying preconceptions since the day he stepped into a wrestling ring. Their match at SummerSlam will be intense & possibly more importantly, different! If there was ever a clash of styles, this may be it and I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

10. Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro just put on a PPV main event worthy match on Raw and it was fantastic. There’s not been much lately that Daniel Bryan’s touched that HASN’T turned into gold & putting him in the ring with a former adversary with an ample amount of time just equaled magic for these two former indy darlings. What else can I say about Daniel Bryan? The man truly is magic right now & is quickly becoming the top story in all of wrestling. Just the fact that he’s in the main event in WWE’s second largest PPV proves the momentum he’s riding and the right people he’s endeared himself to. I’m not sure if we’ll see a Daniel Bryan WWE Championship win at SummerSlam but it’s definitely in his future (even if I still think Randy Orton is going to cash in his briefcase after Bryan wins).

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