WWE RAW Review: The Top 5 Things WWE Are Telling Us as Fans This Week (April 16)
Broadcast to us from across the pond, another episode of WWE Monday Night RAW has come and gone.
From a surprisingly good Brock Lesnar video promo to an awkwardly long hug between The Big Show and The Great Khali, this episode did have some ups and downs.
While it was quite a good overall, it was a little down on the quality and excitement we have seen in recent weeks.
But from this week's RAW, what messages are there for us as fans? What is the WWE telling us this week? Here are five things the WWE brass are telling us this week.
For those of you who still haven't seen this week's episode, please know the following slides all contain spoilers.
1. CM Punk Is Beatable, a Genuine WWE Superstar and a Worthy Champion
Over the last couple of weeks, Mark Henry has picked up consecutive victories against CM Punk. Although these came in ways which allowed Punk to remain WWE Champion, we have been allowed to see CM Punk as beatable—human, if you like. This is in contrast to how we have been manipulated to view John "Super" Cena.
While we have recently seen the fallible side of CM Punk, tonight we saw him as a champion who can go to another level when the situation calls for it. These things together will allow him to remain a popular champion for a long time.
With another solid, if not good match against Henry, Punk pulled out victory and retained his title. With this being a no-DQ/Count-outs match, CM Punk avoided a World's Strongest Slam and ended the match with a Macho Man elbow from the top rope, while making use of a steel chair.
What the WWE are telling us here is that Punk is the real deal. He can win clean in epic battles but is not superhuman. He can put on a show and take it to any WWE Superstar, but most importantly, as WWE Champion, he is genuine.
Long may his reign continue.
They have also sent us another reminder that his battle with Chris Jericho is personal and the Chicago Street Fight booked for Extreme Rules is going to be an all-out war. I can't wait for this.
If WWE would just start to build true main events around CM Punk and allow him to become the new face of WWE, I would be happy. I personally would have loved to see Lesnar go after Punk first.
Summary: CM Punk is a genuine WWE Champion and is no easy beat despite his size. Mark Henry is strong, but no Champion.
2. Brock Lesnar Is Actually Going to Destroy Cena
I quite enjoyed Lesnar's promo, albeit on video. Actually, we all know he is well below par on the mic, so a video promo works much better for his credibility. Nevertheless, it was well put together and actually offered a couple of funny moments.
But what did this tell us? The WWE are again reminding us that Brock Lesnar is a success story across all his sporting endeavors and that he was a world champion in the most brutal sport going around today.
They are telling us that he is going to be the one to bring legitimacy back to wrestling and in doing so, he will actually (nothing fake about it) beat the hell out of John Cena at Extreme Rules.
What they are also hinting at, which can be seen in the way Lesnar and Laurinaitis are shaping up and through the promo Cena cut tonight, is that a change for John Cena may well be on the way.
I'm not talking a heel turn here, but anything is better than nothing at this point. I, for one, look forward to this match, but am more curious to see the aftermath.
Summary: Lesnar is actually going to physically bash John Cena and replace him as biggest name in WWE.
3. WWE Is Going to Give Daniel Bryan Some Leeway to Remain over with Fans
Daniel Bryan got a huge pop from the crowd every time he was visible on this episode of RAW. The "YES" chants were out in full force and he has even gone as far as to rename the Lebell Lock, the "Yes" Lock.
Not only did Bryan chant his usual "YES" all the way to the ring, but he did so right in Kofi Kingston's face before their match. The crowd absolutely ate it up.
On top of this, Bryan was given a dominant win over Kingston—so far removed from his cowardly reign as champion, despite his bail out at the sight of Sheamus. This is a new Daniel Bryan.
Don't get me wrong, he is still heel and WWE aren't shying away from that anytime soon. However, he has been given license to use the "YES" chants to his advantage and remain over with the crowd. This would probably also be in a bid to sell more shirts.
So what is it they are telling us? Daniel Bryan has turned a corner. His can now win, his "YES" chant is what everyone is doing, he will be a different animal come Extreme Rules and fans can now pay attention to his rematch vs. Sheamus.
Sheamus' rushed save of Kingston is a worrying message also. WWE are telling us that he is the hero, nice guy, save-the-day character that stinks of John Cena Mach II. Let's hope not, as in all honesty, Daniel Bryan seems more over than both Sheamus and John Cena.
Is it just me, or is the line between the poles of face and heel becoming very blurred? More on that another time.
Summary: Daniel Bryan won decisively, chanted "YES" and had the crowd were well behind him. He is still a heel and Sheamus saved Kofi Kingston. This time around, the World Heavyweight Championship rematch actually matters. Don't expect a squash.
4. WWE Has Nothing for Ziggler to Do and They Don't Value Zack Ryder
What a waste of great talent.
WWE made it very clear during this episode of RAW that Zack Ryder has been fully relegated to jobber. Shame. This is a very obvious message to fans: Ryder is not to be over unless it's the decision of the WWE.
Perhaps in a bigger waste of talent, WWE have sent us another message: They have very little for Dolph Ziggler to do.
On the verge of breaking into the main event scene last year, Ziggler has fallen well into mid-card and practically jobbed to Brodus Clay this week. Although he was DQ'ed and not actually beaten, he was still laid out by the Funkasaurus in impressive fashion.
WWE clearly preserved his credibility by not having him lose clean, but essentially jobbing for Clay and being held back by Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero is a long way from the WWE Championship scene.
Ziggler is one of the best talents in professional wrestling today and WWE have let fans know, in no uncertain terms, that they currently have nothing better for him to do than sell moves for mid-card stars getting their own push.
Summary: Ryder got wiped out again by Kane and is no longer relevant. Ziggler essentially jobbed to Brodus Clay but should still be considered relevant. Let's hope something changes soon.
5. Lord Tensai Is a Real Threat and Is Going to Be Pushed Hard
Lord Tensai pinned John Cena 1, 2, 3! That's right, Albert beat the WWE Poster-boy.
Although the victory came in the form of a David Otunga distraction and a blinding spray of Lord Tensai's mist, it was another loss to the once invincible John Cena.
While many have questioned the routine squash matches in which Tensai has featured so far, there can be no doubting that his push is now legitimate. Nobody beats John Cena and then goes back to squashing NXT stars, surely?
While I wonder what happens to Lord Tensai next, as Cena goes into Extreme Rules against Brock Lesnar, this was definitely an upward push.
The WWE have sent a message here: Lord Tensai is big, strong, frightening and can even beat John Cena. We now have to take him seriously and appreciate what he can do.
I personally still don't much care for Tensai.
Summary: Lord Tensai beat John Cena. Despite it not being a straight-up victory (who could really expect that here?), it paints a pretty clear picture: He is on his way up the card.
While there are always many messages and telling angles to be found in WWE broadcasts, some are more obvious than others. What are your thoughts Bleachers? Agree or disagree with my suggestions?
While I'm sure I have missed some obvious messages and angles here, these are the five main things I felt WWE wanted us to believe, think and take home with us. I would love to hear what you think should have made this list if indeed I've missed anything.
See you next week for another RAW: What The WWE Are Trying To Tell Us!