For the second week in a row, Raw concluded with Daniel Bryan laying flat and motionless in the ring. Triple H, Randy Orton and The Shield smiled as they looked at the result of their efforts.
Since that big moment at SummerSlam where Triple H helped Randy Orton steal the WWE title away from Daniel Bryan, we have seen an intriguing back and forth. Daniel Bryan, the wronged popular choice on one side, and an unnamed 2013 version of The Corporation on the other side. The "tit for tat" has favored the evil Corporation, lately getting the last laugh and creating the seemingly insurmountable odds for the underdog Bryan, who manages to win small victories (this week, it was defacing Randy Orton's Escalade, gifted to him by Triple H).
This is all an excellent way to create further interest in this storyline. "Booking heat," as it is often called. The antagonists are built up as a giant mountain that the protagonist just can't climb. Until something happens down the line where we believe again that our hero can truly overcome the odds and once again become WWE champion. This moment will happen, and while he may not regain the title right away, our interest will be kept.
The use of the entire WWE locker room was interesting. In a scene reminiscent of the time the entire locker room walked out on the evil leader years ago, the roster assembled on the Raw ramp, not saying a word, not lifting a finger to interfere in fear of their jobs (even Big Show, whose "Iron Clad contract" must have expired). They didn't walk out in unison this time, and the scene added drama to the entire situation.
Daniel Bryan facing The Shield in a Gauntlet match on Raw further cemented Triple H and Randy Orton as the unattainable duo with The Shield acting as a buffer. Bryan must seemingly defeat them convincingly in the coming weeks before he can tackle the head and the face of the "Corporation."
** AJ delivered a pipe bomb, and it was fantastic. After Brie Bella defeated Natalya in a #TotalDivas match, the Divas champ appeared on the Raw ramp and dropped some truth. I recommend you find it and watch it instead of me quoting it here because I won't do it justice. I will say that I don't mind #TotalDivas, I do watch it weekly, but I absolutely love AJ in this position, especially as the Divas champion that isn't featured on that program.
** CM Punk beat Curits Axel. While I understand the victory makes sense in the context of CM Punk getting to Paul Heyman, I dislike that the Intercontinental champion (whoever it happens to be) got pinned cleanly on Raw. In a very ECW-like scene, Heyman ended up getting the upper hand on Punk after an Axel low blow and started hitting the Second City Saint with a kendo stick. "I LOVE YOU!!!" yelled the poignant Heyman. It's almost becoming cliche writing that he hit a home run in his performance.
** Rosa Mendes is back, in Miz's corner. Looks like Fandango vs. The Miz will happen sometime soon.
** More vignettes for Los Matadores ... OLE!
** A very creepy (read: cool) Wyatt Family promo -- this time with reference to "Sister Abigail." Who will she be?
** Rob Van Dam is now the No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight title after pinning the World Heavyweight champion in a non-title match.
** Christian and Randy Orton had a long, great match. Par for the course. Their series of matches in 2011 was beautiful. Orton won.
** Brad Maddox called himself "DJ Maestro Maddox." That's the coolest DJ name since DJ Tanner.
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