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Yes! Yes! Yes! The Raw Review (#YYYTRR)

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Last week when I raved about the incredible Raw show WWE put on and how pumped I was to see what they would do with their ultimate crowd favourite, Daniel Bryan, I was truly expecting them to follow up that effort by leading into Payback with a bang.

Instead, my success at watching Raw on no more than four hours sleep since Sunday was a complete waste of time. The opening segment was, for lack of a better word, a failure (I’m a fan of a heel McMahon storyline as much as the next guy, but the “corporate politics” were pathetic and laughable). The matches seemed to lack any real reason, with the only worthwhile contest being the Ring of Honor-inspired Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins.

Now that my rant (potentially caused by my lack of sleep, admittedly) is over with, I will try to find something to analyse from this week.

Team RK-No!

I know I spent a lot of my time talking about Daniel Bryan last week, but he seems to be one of WWE’s bigger projects right now. I’m bound to talk about the hot topics in WWE, and WWE expects their fans to do so. The whole point of Daniel Bryan being made to team with Randy Orton begs two questions of me, though:

1. Is what we saw on SmackDown truly the end of Team Hell No? and
2. What does WWE plan on doing with the inevitable defeat of this makeshift team at Payback?

I feel that I can answer both of these questions, but only because it seems like all of the signs are there for any fan to figure them out.

The end of Team Hell No was imminent from the very moment they lost their Tag Team Championship, due mostly to the fact that the team only survived because they were champions, and a semi-quiet split leaves WWE the option to throw them together at random times in the future. This is not the question I wanted to focus on in this section, however.

I want to look at the duo of Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, and the fact that both are looking at an eventful 2013 after Payback.

I outlined last week that I hope to see the rise of Daniel Bryan in a push towards the WWE Championship on the way to SummerSlam, and WWE simply has to pull the trigger with a big moment over a superstar involved in the WWE title picture to make that happen. The real focus of this team is sure to be Randy Orton on Sunday. With fans calling for an Orton heel turn for so long now it seems impossible, WWE is trying to throw us a swerve. The only thing they’ve done wrong is promote the PPV with a trailer which, until Monday night, signalled that Orton still had a mean streak (it is a great promo for the PPV, I must say).

Now with the “accidental” attack on Bryan in their six-man tag last week and the RKO delivered on SmackDown, accompanied with the option to screw Bryan out of the titles he wants back on PPV, an Orton heel turn seems all too possible.

Best of all, he can turn on Daniel Bryan whilst the limelight is on Goatface, the biggest crowd favourite WWE has right now.

Curtis Axel: the problems

The title of this section may suggest that I am not a fan of Curtis Axel, but in fact I am. I love his ability (based on what I’ve seen in the past), the look, the music, and the fact that Paul Heyman has taken him under his wing. I just dislike the way WWE is stereotyping the idea of being a “Paul Heyman guy” as a notoriously bad thing.

Sure, Heyman has some failures under his belt (Matt Morgan is my initial thought), but for WWE to try and convince us that to be a Paul Heyman guy is a bad thing seems insulting. CM Punk ultimately coined the term “Paul Heyman guy” in his infamous promo a couple of years back, and WWE is now using it regularly to promote the inevitable success of Axel.

This, to me, is a problem.

CM Punk and Brock Lesnar made their names by claiming to be “The Best in the World” and “The Next Big Thing” respectively, but there was never as much emphasis on being under Paul Heyman’s wing as there is with Axel.

Also, Axel is yet to claim a clean victory. He may have chalked up three victories (in theory) over Triple H, a win versus Chris Jericho, and a defeat of John Cena, but those victories have been due to a succession of distractions and outside circumstances.

My point is that Axel is yet to show anybody that he is as good as Heyman’s reputation would suggest. His inclusion in Sunday’s Intercontinental Championship match also seems very rushed and should he (likely – this match looks set to be another predictable result, along with the Tag Team, United States, and WWE Championship matches) win the title, WWE needs to take his storyline in a different and more convincing direction.

My initial excitement over Curtis Axel has slowly become an afterthought whilst watching Raw these past few weeks, and it shouldn’t have. Successful Heyman guys have always had an immediate impact, and Axel is not quite making the same waves that his predecessors have.

I’m not looking for a carbon copy of Brock Lesnar or CM Punk, just something more interesting than a series of coincidental victories.

So this week’s Raw was yet another poor final show before a PPV, but I like to think there is always something to take from the WWE product.

This week that something was once again Daniel Bryan. The crowd, albeit a poor one, was only really interested in Bryan. I commend them for helping WWE to further realise that Bryan needs to be pushed very quickly, lest his momentum fizzle faster than the craze of “Fandangoing” once WWE got a hold of it.

I mentioned that a large number of this Sunday’s matches seem like foregone conclusions, and whilst I stand by that I do look forward to Payback. Not only is it the return of CM Punk to the WWE after three months, but those very same predictable matches could be great viewing.

I leave you with a question regarding Curtis Axel – which changes, if any, would you make to his current push up the WWE ladder?

Follow me on Twitter (@SpringerAJ) and leave me feedback using #YYYTRR.

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  1. Kajmere's Avatar
    Not Winning the ic title (which he probably will) and attacking Cena on Raw next night. Perhaps a self DQ w/ HHH earlier in the show then attack Cena as show ends.
  2. grave's Avatar
    I don't see axel win the title, I think the miz is the favorite, but axel won't get pinned to keep his push alive
  3. weems's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by grave
    I don't see axel win the title, I think the miz is the favorite, but axel won't get pinned to keep his push alive
    I do think Axel wins the IC belt. Barrett loses 90% of his matches and needs to either continue being a jobber or get a push. He cannot do either of these effectively while having the IC belt though. Axel cannot continue facing Cena, HHH and other main event guys. By putting the IC belt around his waist, he can continue his push while defeating the mid-carders. Also, I don't want to see the Miz stuck in the mid-card. I would prefer to see him back in the main event scene like he was around WM27. Unfortunately, I think WWE sees the Miz as a "catch-all" guy that can do movies, commentary, Miz TV, tag-team wrestling and singles wrestling anywhere on the card.

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