WWE Raw Review: Is The New McMahon-Helmsley Era - Corporate Evolution Or Ruthless Regression?

WWE-Raw-logo There's no doubt there was a lot of outrage on the internet following the conclusion of WWE SummerSlam. There were a lot of questions with Triple H, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan as Raw rolled into Anaheim. In the city of the Anaheim Angels, was there a devil on the shoulder of The Game? What's next for John Cena and is Daniel Bryan's big push over? About a month ago, I asked the question is Daniel Bryan the new Stone Cold Steve Austin? Judging from this weeks episode It definitely seems like that's the case. While he may not swearing or lewd he seems to be set up to be the main protagonist against the new McMahon-Helmsley regime. The show begins with John Cena who comes out and explains that he is just as disgusted by the actions of Triple H. Cena says that Bryan deserves to be champion. He then announces a triceps injury and that he will be out for 4 to 6 months and that he will miss the audience. John Cena them brings out Daniel Bryan says he's a man that has earned his respect. This is definitely a passing of the torch moment as the standard bearer for the company. (I think it will be interesting to see how this will play out as Sheamus and John Cena are now gone until at least the Rumble and Orton is now heel.) Before Daniel can even speak Stephanie McMahon makes her way to the ring and apologizes for her husband actions. She is really playing up the melodrama trying to placate the angry Bryan Bryan comes back with some insults while Stephanie gets more and more angry basically call him not a top talent a B+ at best. The verbal jabs continue to fly until the VP of creative decides to call in security to escort Daniel out of the arena. (Very reminiscent of the moments with Stone Cold back in the day. Minus swearing and the finger. I guess, however doing the yes chant he does does use two fingers salutes. Overall, I liked it.) The action begins with the customary rematches from last night's PPV with Cody Rhodes versus Damien Sandow. Good match. There was a weird storyline throughout the match that commentator JBL gave Sandow some tips. Apparently, those tips from the Bermuda-based cowboy did not bode well for the Intellectual Savior of the Masses. Cody wins again which causes the question to be asked what are they doing with Sandow? Hopefully this is leading to Cody somehow winning the briefcase and becoming the next World Heavyweight Champion. It definitely seems to be headed that way. If not what the point? Next up, we get Paul Heyman with his arm in a sling doing a great promo. Heyman says that he commands CM punk for bringing the fight to Brock Lesnar. Paul says he is tired of this rivalry and he wants to bring the family back together. Heyman says he was more of a father to Punk then his genetic father. And it's time for this all to end. Heyman says he can bring CM Punk back to great glory going even higher they did before to the WWE championship and the Wrestlemania Main Event all he has to do is apologize. (Another great promo from Heyman. It came off really smarmy and disingenuous, which is great.) Brad Maddox is backstage and says that Dolph Ziggler made some comments following SummerSlam saying that he never trusted COO Triple H ever since he got here. (Of course, not remember the Spirit Squad) Maddox says Dolph is welcome to his opinion and the management was to give him a chance to Show Off so he will battle in a one on three handicap match against The Shield. The same thing happened to Big Show later in the night for his comments. While both men looked more than capable the three on one advantage got the better of them. Interesting to see the shield take the role of the new McMahon- Helmsley security. I just feel it takes away from the groups rogue mentality to be subservient to management when they talk about the old guard being brought down. It reminds me a lot to corporate version of D-Generation X during the original McMahon Helmsley regime in 1999-2000. I think it takes away from the aura of the group. All that said, I think it's a smart move to lay out the baby faces set up feuds against the regime going forward on the multiple shows. We get our Total Divas match of the night with Naomi and Cameron against AJ and Layla. Before the match, there was a backstage segment in which the Bella twins told the Funkadactyls not to embarrass the reality show. Naomi and Cameron certainly did not as they got the victory over the divas champion and her new best friend with a nice roll up. Interestingly enough, Naomi continues to be the workhorse of the team and Cameron seems to still be rough from the edges. (I found it was strange though that before the match they aired a preview of next week's episode in which the girls were at odds with each other which means we dealing with two different TV universes. With ratings soaring, The Divas Championship is going to be less and less of a priority as the reality show proves to be the new darling of the WWE programming schedule. You may not like it but it's understandable. And if it gives the women more of a chance to be featured, I say it's all good.) We get a short match between Sin Cara and Alberto Del Rio, which had to be stopped due to a Sin Cara Injury. Cara apparently dislocated his finger doing a dive to the outside ring. After things calmed down Del Rio continues his campaign to be the hero of the Mexican people. It really does seem like they're trying to make him the Mexican version of Bret Hart from 1997 in which will be a hero to be Latino people and a villain everyone else. It's an interesting gambit to make but it may do wonders for the character to make him interesting again. Out comes Ricardo Rodriguez, who comes out and says Alberto doesn't care about the people. He sounds someone who does and brings out Rob Van Dam who goes after ADR in the ring. Van Dam hits a thrust kick knocking Alberto out of the ring and standing strong. (I find it interesting the pairing of Rodriguez and Van Dam, but it looks to be very beneficial to both men. Rob Van Dam has never been the best on the mic and Rodriguez will give him some serious love from the crowd. I wonder if you will get a whistle a caught right down the middle daddy?) The Primetime Players defeat The Real Americans after Zeb Colter does a veiled racist promo about Disneyland. Darren Young gets the victory which seemingly goes to show that WWE will push him at least for now, considering his recent announcement. (I think this is nothing but good news for everyone around. Hopefully the Real Americans will be built up to so the shield has a ton of challengers. And speaking of a ton of challengers, Big Show announced that he and Mark Henry will be challenging Reigns and Rollins for the Tag Titles.) After Big Show gets obliterated by The Shield which I talked about earlier. CM Punk gave his response to Paul Heyman saying the man knows how to push his buttons. And that even though he's feeling the effects of Brock Lesnar saying that doctors have not cleared him to compete. But he is here. Punk says if an apology is what Heyman wants to order to get to the WWE title or Wrestlemania then he will. He apologizes for not keeping his eye on Brock Lesnar and being so focused on getting his hands on Heyman. Punk says he wants his revenge. (I love fired up CM Punk who challenges a fat man in the front row who boos him.) Heyman and Axel appear with the very jovial Paul saying that it is he who apologizes for what is about to happen to him. Heyman tells Axel to go backstage and tape tape up his this for a fight. After the commercial CM punk and Axel brawl in an unsanctioned fight which saw them go all over the ringside area. In the end, CM Punk dispatches the surrogate for Heyman once again. I have to wonder where this is going? Will we see another Brock Lesnar - Punk match at Hell in a Cell? We see product placement for Foot Locker with Justin Gabriel, Zack Ryder with Fandango. It was cute. Plus we see the latest bullying done by Ryback to some no name jobber backstage making him go in the shower with his gear bag and pour water in. Obviously they're going somewhere with this. I would guess a match against Mark Henry again but who knows. They show a video package saying that The Matadores (The masked team are the repackaged Primo and Epico as bullfighters Yes, they turned to Puerto Rican guys into bullfighters. If they're smart, they will team them with WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana. I mean if you are going to go all the way then do it. However, I thought that 3MB should've been paired with Michael Hayes as an homage to The Fabulous Freebirds, but that didn't happen. So they will probably just stick with Rosa in a Spanish SeƱorita outfit. I mean you have all the legends under contract, why not use them to your advantage to get the young guys over?) In other action, Bray Wyatt defeated R Truth in his Raw match debut. And the Miz defeats Wade Barrett by disqualification following interference from Fandango. The dancing superstar sought revenge on the host of SummerSlam, nailing his leg drop off the top rope while the Miz had the figure 4 applied on Wade Barrett. I don't know if they are planning on going for a three-way feud are not but that could be a lot of fun. And then we get to the final segment of the night which saw championship coronation of Randy Orton. Every superstar is seen standing on the ramp while Triple H makes his way to the ring. The Shield is seen at the base of the ramp guarding the ring. The McMahons are one big happy family once again as proceedings commence that Vince is overjoyed by Triple H 's actions last night saying he did the right thing. Triple H says that the fans don't understand he did what was right for business. He did it for his family, he did a for the fans and he did it for the health and well-being of the company. He says he likes Daniel Bryan but he wasn't what the company needs. He says that Orton is finally that diamond and brings out the new champion. Triple H then says they know Bryan is still in the building and for him to come out to the ring so he did get some things off his chest. After some coaxing and taunting Bryan makes his appearance and Triple H invites him into the ring. The COO tells all the other superstars not to interfere in the proceedings as Bryan makes his way to the ring. Before Daniel gets even on the apron The Shield attack, Bryan does his best to battle the three some before getting caught by Roman Reigns and company. The trio looked to go for their triple power bomb but triple H stopped them. He then invites Bryan to get in the ring taunting him every step of the way. And just as he makes it between the ropes Orton hits the RKO. The show ends with the new McMahon- Helmsley era begun and Daniel Bryan left laying. All in all, it was a solid segment. I like the reference to Evolution saying that Orton is a polished diamond paying homage to that original promo all those years ago. However, I feel like company is just in a state of let's repeat the past again with a new McMahon Helmsley era. And I just don't think that works, revisiting things from the past are never as good as they once were. Not to mention, the guy that is your crown jewel your diamond has to wellness policy violations on his record. So if get the third you have to fire him. I know this is the next chapter in a longer story. I just don't know I'm going to like the end. I guess I can take solace in the fact that Daniel Bryan will be in the main event scene for the next couple months. Hopefully, they will do him justice as he really is someone they can build around and tell some great stories with. All in all I would check out the opening segment, the Paul Heyman -CM Punk stuff and the closing segment. Everything else was good but nothing you should go out of your way to check out.
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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