michael dworkis is bowled over by this week’s WWE television …
W is not just for WWE, but for WOW.
This week has been an absolute stunner. There is a lot to talk about, so I will get right to it.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
With Punk beginning to put distance between himself and Heyman due to the fallout from WWE Payback, it really should not be a surprise to see Brock come out and confront Punk. What was the surprise, in my opinion, a good one, where Brock teased a promo, but instead dropped the mic and F-5’d our Voice of the Voiceless. I am happy Brock spared us from flubbing another tirade and just did what he does best, hurt people. Punk vs. Brock is a guaranteed seller for either Money in the Bank or SummerSlam. I hope it gets saved for SummerSlam, and put Punk against Curtis Axel as the warm-up at Money in the Bank instead. I am sure we would all rather see Punk in a MITB match, but right now, he is bigger than the WWE or World Championship. The boy is beyond main event. He fought Undertaker at WrestleMania 29. Punk has reached the pinnacle of his career, now being paired with people whom WWE believes to be the special stars of the company. Whether fans agree is another point, as I do not see Brock on the same level as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, or The Undertaker, former wrestlers who while claim to be retired, still come back for big pay-per-views. CM Punk may soon be joined by another star who quickly rose to the same level…
What could I say which has not already been said? The guy is incredible. This past Monday night, WWE RAW saw what I believe to be a turning point in his mainstream career. An unbelievable match with Randy Orton. Orton. A guy who suffers from Five-Moves-of-Doom Syndrome. Orton, now throws suplexes. He has to. More on the son of cowboy later. Daniel Bryan, has turned the dial on his intense-o-entertainment meter to Extreme. Every single match is a main event. Put a broomstick in the ring and the match will look good. Put a cardboard cutout and we get a clinic. Put Seth Rollins in there with Bryan and we get a match of the year candidate. On Raw, Bryan went for his signature dive between the ropes, but Orton dodges and Bryan blasted himself, head-first into the crowd barrier. He was knocked loopy. He got back in the ring, and Orton threw him with an overhead Exploder Suplex (eat that Taz!) which Bryan landed awkwardly, visibly clutching his arm. Reports vary as to what transpired in the next few minutes, but from my vantage point, I believe Bryan told the referee he could not feel his arm, and his speech may have been slurred. The trainer came, but Bryan wanted to keep going. Not because of this whole “proving not to be the weakest link” but because this is Bryan Danielson at his finest. He does not quit. You should see some of his 60-minute matches in Ring of Honor. The man does not know the meaning of the word ‘quit’ at all. The match was stopped, respectfully out of concern and safety, which, I am sure fans were unhappy about the result, but I am sure understands the necessity for WWE to look out for their performers. Orton, in a touching moment, hugged Bryan, helping him to the back, likely thanking him for the match of a lifetime.
A day later, we see video on WWE.com where Bryan chews out Triple H for stopping the match. Well, now reality is blended with fiction. Anyone who believes Bryan yelled at, essentially his real-life boss for stopping the match needs to think rationally. Would you yell at your boss at your job? No. This is a work, and WWE is making this real-life incident work for television. Maybe we will get Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at SummerSlam? It would make great TV to the build for a match between them.
The boy is surprising me. First I think the heel turn is coming, now, he starts wrestling, and I mean, wrestling. This is naturally expected when you have to share the ring with Bryan, Kane, Rollins, and Ambrose. The pace has to be picked up. Orton is doing a good job, and his actions Monday night, were pretty damned respectful and I applaud that.
Curtis Axel and Wade Barrett
As the newest Paul Heyman Guy, Axel still has a lot of work to do. I want to see him with a win over a big name, and clean one too. No, Zack Ryder does not count. On SmackDown he defeated Wade Barrett. I am wondering if Barrett is in for another gimmick change. Axel is good, really good, but he needs to go against Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and more solid popular stars currently below main-event level to really get over as a top-notch star. Wins over Sin Cara just make us yawn. Wade Barrett is due for a gimmick change, and I know exactly where he needs to be.
With Swagger out, Colter has recently recruited Antonio Cesaro into the fold. The angle is while Cesaro is a foreigner, he came to America legally, unlike people such as Sin Cara. Wade Barrett would be a perfect fit. He has been on the longest losing streak since Louie Spicolli (R.I.P.) had a run in WWE as Rad Radford. This leads to…
A New Era of Stables
Stables are becoming hot again. Thank to The Shield. For Colter’s Crew… Hey! That does have a nice ring to it. WWE, are you listening? For Colter’s Crew, we will have Cesaro, Barrett, and when he returns, Jack Swagger. 3MB can be the stable the others beat down on. Think about it, if Heyman created a new Dangerous Alliance with Brock, Axel, and someone else, we get another group. In a few weeks, enter The Wyatt Family. This all brings me back to the days of NWA and WCW, where stables were common, and feuds between them were always solid and entertaining. The era of Tag Teams may only have seen a short rejuvenation not too long ago, but a new era of stables will thrust Tag Team wrestling right back into a warm and welcome spotlight.
Alberto del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, and Chris Jericho
Things got interesting pretty fast. Ziggler is the newest chosen son of the WWE Universe, and what seemed to be a natural progression, Ziggler going face while Del Rio is booed relentlessly. This came from their Payback match where Del Rio beat the almighty snot out of Ziggler and the crowd did not like it one bit. Ziggler played the role of underdog defending champion very well and the crowd ate it up. Also notice how AJ Lee and Ziggler have not appeared on camera together since then. If Ziggler is getting the full babyface-turn treatment, then it will not be a surprise to see AJ Lee get dumped by a refreshed Ziggler. Del Rio embraced the heel turn, right away with an arrogant promo cut right after winning back the World Heavyweight Championship. Over to SmackDown, Del Rio and Ziggler tussle after a match between Del Rio and Chris Jericho goes to a DQ, but then Jericho attacks Ziggler! Jericho is set to depart WWE once again towards the end of the summer to go on tour with Fozzy. I just wonder what WWE Creative now has in store for Jericho. Another heel turn? Seems unlikely they would want to push out Jericho again as a heel. Maybe Jericho wants it that way? Who knows anymore.
John Cena, Ryback, and Mark Henry
The giant elephant in the room. Well, if it is pink, then we are talking about a guy who should get on Oscar. Mark “I Still Got Gas in the Tank” Henry. He sure fooled everyone Monday night. The guy cried. Thanked the fans, thanked his family. He spoke for what, 10 minutes? I believed it. The first time I thought this to be a ruse was when Cena handed him the WWE Title while he was speaking. Nothing happened. No way. This is real. Then it happened. At the end, Cena hugged Henry, and Henry hugged back, by entering Cena into the Hall of Pain. Now, if Mark Henry truly is going to retire in the near future, then this would be my plan to make it happen.
John Cena defends the WWE Championship against Mark Henry at Money in the Bank in a Title vs. Career match. Daniel Bryan wins a MITB ladder match. You see where I am going with this yet? Cena loses the WWE Championship to Henry, thus finally giving Henry the one title in his near-20 year career in WWE. Daniel Bryan immediately cashes in, wins the WWE Championship, and thus, per previous stipulation, Mark Henry must retire. Everything gets wrapped up neatly with a little bow on top. Triple H can face Bryan at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship, or let Cena have his rematch. Do whatever you want from there WWE, but I think I just laid out a pretty damn good script for you to work with.
As for Ryback. Well, I got nothing. He lost. Embarrassingly too. No show on Raw. I told you, should Cena beat Ryback, then the big push for the big man is over. Oh.Vee.Eee. Ar. Over. Where Ryback goes from here? Your guess is as good as mine. Pretty sad. I thought he had potential.
I will say, if you thought WWE was starting to slack, think again. This summer might be one of the best for WWE in a long time. They certainly have earned my full attention.