WWE Raw Review: Is Daniel Bryan The PG Era Stone Cold Steve Austin?

WWE-Raw-logo After last week's stellar performance, it seemed WWE was starting to get what was behind the bearded wonder also known as Daniel Bryan. Bryan continues to be one of the most popular superstars of the modern era of the WWE. The "Yes" chant has transcended the world of sports entertainment into popular culture reaching into other venues. T-shirts and other merchandise seems to have permeated through the crowd at WWE events. And his talent and skill go unmatched by few on the roster. The question is why do they want to put him in the mold of a PG Steve Austin? I guess I better start at the beginning. The show begins with Brad Maddox coming out along with the Chairman. Maddox apologizes for his stupid decision of letting John Cena decide his own opponent for SummerSlam. Vince goes into the reasons why Daniel Bryan should not be WWE Champion. He is small, troll like, unstable and not what he envisions as a WWE Superstar. (Other than the fact that Daniel has been on your roster Vince for more than three years and now you don't like him. So far. So good.) Then Daniel Bryan comes out and confronts the Chairman on his beliefs about him. Bryan brings up that John Cena said he deserves it. Vince said Cena lied to him and lied to the audience. McMahon says is Daniel Bryan is foolish if he thinks he can beat Cena. The boss says Cena had Ruthless Aggression when he began in 2002 and doesn't see it in Daniel Bryan. The boss thinks Daniel Bryan won't be able to beat his best friend Kane tonight. (Did he not see the matches last week?) Then Vince says within one minute that John Cena doesn't have that aggression anymore and he wants a new champion. McMahon goes completely insane and says he doesn't want either John Cena for Daniel Bryan to win. McMahon says if he had his wish both Cena and Daniel Bryan would spontaneously combust in the middle of the ring and SummerSlam. Mr. McMahon says that John Cena thinks he runs this place when Vince is in control. Bryan says he respects the honesty of the chairman but he has to listen to the WWE universe when he asks the question does he deserve a title shot. Yes. (So I guess they're playing Vince McMahon as senile now. He goes from hating Daniel Bryan as a small competitor to now hating John Cena for thinking he runs WWE when Maddox made the call not Cena and then goes as far as to say both men should spontaneously combust? Really! If Daniel Bryan is supposed to be the new PG Stone Cold Steve Austin, the interplay between the two is not electric as with the Texas rattlesnake. And is a pale, sometimes vegan really that bad for your corporate image compared to a beer drinking, finger gesturing, foulmouthed redneck. It just doesn't feel like there's enough gas behind it. Austin worked because he was blue collar, relatable, a counterculture force fighting against the corporate mentality. I understand what they're trying to do. I just don't think it's fair to put Daniel Bryan in that mold because it seems like it's doomed to fail.) Enough of my soliloquy, the action kicks right off with six man tag action as The Shield battles the Usos and Mark Henry. Overall, I like this match a lot. Both sides that their fair share of offense although I was skeptical that the babyfaces got a little too much offense in on the beginning. But in the end, Ambrose hits his modified bulldog for the win. After the match Mark Henry comes in and cleans house setting up another encounter down the road. Originally, I thought it was going to a six man match at SummerSlam. Maybe it will be in separate competition instead as Mark Henry would battle Dean Ambrose for the US title and Jimmy and Jey fight once again for the tag titles against Rollins and Reigns. We get a video package looking at the destruction of the Wyatt family over the last few weeks. Then we head backstage Brad Maddox office when Kane is looking for Bray and his band of misfits. Brad said they're not there but is he wants to send a message that he is still monster why not show them against his best friend Daniel Bryan tonight. Now we dance with the devil that brought us as RVD battles Fandango. Not the best match either one of these men has ever had. In the end, RVD wins by count out as the former Johnny Curtis decides to take a powder. Fandango grabs the mic and says his name for no good reason. Nothing really to talk about here. It's sad that last week both men felt they were on an upswing. This week, not so much. We go backstage and have an interesting segment with AJ and Big E. Langston talking about tonight's match with Kaitlyn. AJ says the reason why she got speared by Kaitlyn last week on Smackdown was because Langston was infatuated with her. The divas champion says every time she loses a baby cries and destroys a role model. Really good stuff. (I am glad they finally acknowledged the kiss from a few weeks ago on Smackdown) The match that followed between the two ladies was not their best effort. AJ works on the arm for most of the match, but that really has no bearing on the ending. Kaitlyn wins with a spear out of nowhere setting up for a Divas title rematch. After the match, AJ is going crazy when Dolph Ziggler comes out. The Show Off rubs more salt in the wounds of his former girlfriend and then challenges Langston to a match. Langston dominated most of the match using his power against Dolph. Then the man from Hollywood, Florida began using his speed to work on the shoulder of the big man and used momentum against him. In the end, however AJ interferes costing Langston the match. She does however get some retribution grabbing up pieces of Dolph Ziggler's scalp before the Show Off exits up the ramp. Big E chastises AJ for interference leaving him open for a Zigzag from Ziggler. After that, AJ looks despondent sitting in the corner. We go backstage and see John Cena talk to Daniel Bryan. Daniel asks if what McMahon said earlier was true. Bryan says Vince has never lied to him about anything. Cena calls McMahon a power-hungry promoter that would do anything to get in the psyche of people. Cena asks if Bryan believes he lied. Daniel says nothing as John Cena walks off. (Why is this even a thing? Why can't we have just a one-on-one match. I thought the Bryan character was passed being insecure about his spot and being the weak link. It feels like a step back. Unless they're going to turn John Cena or Daniel Bryan heel which is highly unlikely, what's the point?) (Now I can see at SummerSlam much like we saw at Money in the Bank 2011 , Bryan wins and Vince calls Randy Orton down to cash in making him a heel once again.) Next up, we get a match between Christian versus Alberto del Rio. All in all not a bad match. Great back-and-forth between the two. The story here was whether Alberto del Rio would take Christian as his number one contender going into SummerSlam. Captain Charisma got the victory with a quick pin setting up possible title opportunities. We go into the next step in the side of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Cody defeats Wade Barrett rather easily leading to Sandow coming out and condemning Cody for throwing his briefcase in the Gulf of Mexico. Damien says he filed a complaint with WWE management. The intellectual Savior says save comes from scholars and Cody comes from the Rhodes family and the Carnival and he will send Rhodes back there soon enough. Cody looks to go after Sandow but Damien quickly exits. Kane and Daniel Bryan was up next and without a doubt was the match of the night. These two have great chemistry and it showed in this match. While it was not as good as last week, the match was awesome. In the end Bryan pulls a victory with the second small package in two weeks. After the match Kane showed his monster side hitting the chokeslam on Daniel. As the Big Red Machine goes for his traditional pyro, the Wyatt family appears and attacks Kane. (I like the fact that Kane went right after Bray Wyatt before Harper and Rowan took over. After the Big Red Machine was decimated, Bray Wyatt said that came calls himself the Devil's Favorite Demon and you might want watch calling yourself that. This is most definitely leading to Bray Wyatt versus Kane as SummerSlam.) We then go to our Total Divas segment of the night as Brie Bella battles Natalya. They show a backstage segment in which the twins call the Queen of Harts an ugly duckling. The match itself was nothing special as a chin lock is used as a hold for about five minutes. Just as Natalya is looking for the Sharpshooter, Nikki comes out with a duck call causing Natalya some distracted leading to Brie Bella getting the win. (First off, don't watch Total Divas. It tries to be reality and the shenanigans of WWE universe all at the same time. Not worth it. Secondly, why are they always picking on Natalya. The farting gimmick, the constant talking about the Hart family on camera, being put with the Punjabi Playboy and a leprechaun and now she is the new Piggy James. And I've got to ask why? I understand doing what is ask of you. I respect her dedication to the business but is all this actually worth it? Curtis Axel has a match with R Truth. Heyman gives a great little promo before entering the ringside area. Paul said that their truth is that between Axel, Lesnar and all the others in the Heyman guy portfolio that at SummerSlam Brock Lesnar put an end to CM Punk. Then Axel says he's more perfect than perfection, citing his father's Intercontinental title win in Texas in 1990. Terrible. The real story of the match was the appearance of CM Punk chasing after Heyman during the match causing a no contest. Even with this little bit it got more of a reaction than any other segment of the night. This is how you build the feud. We see backstage segment with the McMahons who are debating about Daniel Bryan. Vince saying he wants someone like Triple H just thirty-three years younger (it was Triple H's birthday on last Wednesday when they taped this episode.) Stephanie has a suggestion, why not give Daniel Bryan a corporate makeover. They all agree. So we are getting that next week. (In the wise words of an old Oklahoman rattlesnakes don't make good corporate pet and I'm pretty sure goats don't either.) In the main event, John Cena defeats Ryback with the Attitude Adjustment through a table in the corner. This was not the greatest tables match. The only interesting thing that happened really was the steel stairs face-off. And that wasn't the greatest. (What do you do with Ryback now? You've made him a bully, but he's already been vanquished by your top guy so where do you go here?) The show ends with tension between John Cena and Daniel Bryan having a stare down and a grab fest over the WWE title.
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Paul Jordan is a handycapable source for all things entertainment. Whether he is watching the guys who go bump in the night with the world of professional wrestling or the latest small or big screen feature you will receive the blunt and honest truth on everything