10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 8.19.13 (Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H)

Raw (Hartford 2013)

1. We saw John Cena’s new elbow friend a few weeks ago but it’s definitely grown since then. No wonder they kept him off of house shows! Regarding the injury itself, if it’s just a fluid build up, they should be able to drain it and he’ll only need a few weeks for rest before being able to come back full-time. If the fluid build-up IS caused by partial or full triceps tear, he will easily be out for a few months. A full tear would definitely put him into that 4-6 month range he kept talking about but a partial tear may only put him out closer to 2-4, depending on exactly where the tear is and how it affects his mobility. Either way, Cena is notorious for returning from any injury WELL ahead of schedule so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at either Battleground or Survivor Series. I WAS surprised that the WWE had he make a very public and clear announcement about his status and how long he’ll be gone. Love him or hate him, the times that he’s been off of TV have shown that the ratings take a hit. Luckily this time around they have Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and now the McMahons full-time on TV so a ratings drop might not be as much of a concern.

2. This was one of Stephanie’s better promos since returning to television full-time and she was the right player to deliver it. What I found interesting was that she used a lot of the same verbiage that her father used during Stone Cold Steve Austin’s rise. “Not championship material”. “Temper your expectations”. Both were phrases I distinctly remember being delivered by Vince in order to set up the “not good enough to be WWE Champion” ideal that spurred much for the Austin/McMahon rivalry. Now I don’t think that they believe they have another Steve Austin when they look at Daniel Bryan. I do think they realize they have someone their fans can connect with very easily and are willing to ride the hot hand to see how far it can go. They know what they have with CM Punk & can easily keep him in their back pocket if Bryan doesn’t have the staying power but now that Bryan is truly getting that strong, serious main event push, I think he’ll be able to surprise a lot of people with his ability to keep audiences entertained without needing any over the top comedy.

3. I was surprised to see Cody Rhodes versus Damien Sandow again just one night after SummerSlam but the picture became clearer when Rhodes picked up another clean win. We’ll definitely be seeing a match between these two (probably at Hell In A Cell) for Sandow’s Money In The Bank briefcase. Who wins that match is a little more unpredictable. I would like to say Cody Rhodes since I don’t think Sandow is ready for the main event yet but with the way Sandow keeps losing, the only reason why he would lose the briefcase now is if the WWE was REALLY dissatisfied with his performance and was planning on burying him. I don’t think he’s THAT bad so I’m seeing Sandow come out on top at the end of this feud and hopefully be set up enough for the next level.

4. Raw now has Stephanie McMahon, Vince McMahon, Triple H and Brad Maddox all on the same page and essentially playing the same role as the heel authority figure. I think a good move would be to remove the “General Manager” title from Maddox & give him something like “Official Spokesperson of the McMahon Family”. That would at least give his segments more authority because you KNOW these ideas are coming from the McMahons compared to now & how they are trying to play up that these ideas are his own to impress the McMahons.

5. Just last week we were talking about how The Shield seem to have been put on the backburner because there was nothing really left for them to do. This week they’re a part of the main storyline serving as the security force for the McMahon family & surprisingly I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, The Shield started off great as a sole entity that answered to no one and lived by their own code of “justice”. But after they all won gold, they’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for anything important to come their way and it just hasn’t happened. By having them work as the McMahons’ proxy, it puts them back into the spotlight and while they might not be in the center of the spotlight, this situation also sets them up for a huge babyface turn against the corporation if they want to go that route.

6. Ok there was a lot wrong with this next chunk of segments so I apologize if I’m just lumping everything together a little haphazardly. First, the truck stop Mexican flags on the corner posts need to go. If you want to continue that gimmick, go the old “Flag Match” direction and have full-sized flags in each corner. They’re not that hard to install. Next is the human botch machine that is Sin Cara. Yes, I get that you dislocated your finger and it hurts but I have never seen a performer at the level of the WWE completely break character & wave for the referee to come to their rescue. Steve Austin broke his neck in the ring and stayed in character! I’m even fine with the referee or doctor stopping the match. It’s a new day and a new time & injuries should be addressed as soon as they can for the health of all of the athletes involved. But this was utterly ridiculous & I wouldn’t be surprised if Del Rio tried to take a couple liberties on purpose when they were getting Sin Cara out of there. And lastly Richardo Rodriguez and Rob Van Dam. RR + RVD = WTF?! Sure Rob Van Dam has never been the best talker but he’s gotten this far in his career without needing someone besides Bill Alfonso. And it’s not even like Rodriguez is a manager in a way that will benefit Van Dam. He’ll announce him to the ring for whatever reason and then cheer him on from ringside. I think RVD’s been getting over quite well on his own since his return that a cheerleader is a bit unnecessary. I don’t get the pairing and don’t see it playing out well.

7. Except for Zeb Colter mentioning WWE being in the headlines lately there was not one word said about Darren Young and his announcement last week. I think that should great class by the WWE and pretty remarkable restraint for them. I’ve been saying since last week that I don’t believe that Young’s personal life should be worked into his on-screen character or any storylines and the fact that the announcers didn’t even allude to it gives me hope.

8. CM Punk continues to be the one wrestler WWE employs that sells worked injuries the night after a brutal match. If everyone did that, high-spots in matches would be looked at much more dramatically.

9. Woah what the hell was that guy yelling that sent CM Punk over the edge? Granted, sometimes it’s not hard to send Punk that way but that came out of absolutely no where and honestly, if that was anyone else, I don’t think they would have a job today. Ah the joys of live television. That said, once the promo and segment got back on track I thought it was a confusing step to take in this Punk/Heyman rivalry. We have to remember that as of right now, Paul Heyman only has one active “client”, Curtis Axel and CM Punk just laid waste to him tonight. Where does this story go from here? If they are going to continue with this program, a new “client” needs to be brought in to face Punk and preferably someone physically larger than him. The program Punk and Brock Lesnar worked with Punk as the underdog worked perfectly so another big man would be great. You really could put anyone with Heyman as they would need to talk at all. Maybe Ezekiel Jackson or Mason Ryan? If you want to go out of house, Luke Gallows and Matt Morgan are available. None of those options appeal to me greatly but there needs to be someone and right now there’s not. Anyone have anyone else in mind?

10. One of the main things that worried me coming out of SummerSlam was if they were going to ignore the VAST history between Triple H, Randy Orton and the McMahons. There’s been multiple years and multiple feuds between all of these characters and to just ignore all of it would have been a slap in the face to anyone who has been watching the product for longer than 3 years. But they didn’t. Triple H even made it a fairly large part of his promo and I especially liked Michael Cole’s line when Stephanie hugged Orton (“After what Orton has done to this woman all these years!”). It was explained and it was enough for them to move forward with the new story. Although I don’t really think you can call Randy Orton the “future” of the WWE when he’s been a world champion 9 times now. With that being said, they might REALLY have something with Daniel Bryan against the McMahons. It is “David vs Goliath” but if “David” had millions of fans cheering for him, buying his merchandise and ordering PPVs to see him finally defeat the whole “Goliath” family. The best babyfaces emerge when they are faced with unbeatable odds but yet there’s something about them that gives people hope that the babyface can overcome those odds. Crowds are buying into Daniel Bryan right now & if it all plays out the right way, Bryan will emerge from this feud as a WWE main-eventer for years to come.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,