- Daniel Bryan is carrying the company.Who would have seen that coming? D-Bry has been stealing the show for a couple months now but WWE have not been subtle with how much they're relying on him. Every week on both RAW and Smackdown the amount of focus and match time he has been getting has been unparalleled.
The crowd reaction has been insane too. I can't remember a wrestler getting as big a pop as him since CM Punk dropped his pipe-bomb three years ago and even then it wasn't as unanimous as the love for Bryan is. He's got every arena in the palm of his hands and JBL is almost masturbating on mic during his matches.
It's all incredibly deserved success and I hope it continues. With his match being called short on RAW I think it shows just how valuable the heads backstage think he is. They were more willing to cut a big match short and protect Bryan than risk injuring him. Daniel was clearly happy to carry on and I believe Randy has the experience to be able to look after him out there but backstage panicked and I think that speaks volumes.
It seems we're all extremely glad he's OK.
- Returns, Returns, ReturnsThere had been so many injuries of late, it allowed a lot of the younger talent to get some longer air-time. However, WWE still doesn't trust (or like) some of its talent enough to give them any matches at all. I'm looking at you, Ryder. It seems they feel they need some bigger, more established names so I'm sure they were thrilled to welcome back Punk, Christian and Mark Henry from injury.
Mark particularly impressed me with his wonderful retirement fake-out. I didn't know he had those acting chops in him! Pork chops, sure... Anyway, I jumped off my couch when he slammed Cena. Henry is one of my favourite heels and I wasn’t aware that he has never held the WWE title. I don't think he'll be able to pry it away from Cena right now but I can't wait to see him fight for it.
Rob Van Dam is back in the frame too. Much like Punk, we will have to pay to see his return. I wasn't particularly impressed with his work in TNA so hopefully he isn't over-the-hill yet. I wonder if he'll team up with anyone. It wouldn't hurt to let Heyman manage him but I'd be surprised if they make RVD a heel on his comeback. These are just random thoughts on my behalf, folks.
- Good or bad?Ok, so here are three major heel/face turns that I can gauge from the past week.
1) Punk is now a face.
2) Ziggler is now a face.
3) Del Rio is now a heel.
Of course, these things happen all the time, but those three particularly pleased me as they were crucial to moving the company forward.
Both Punk and Ziggler were too popular to continue as heels. If someone is going to be the bad guy, half the crowd cheering you on is a problem. This allows for bigger crowd reactions now as they utilize two of their best talents in a more sensible vein.
Del Rio never worked as a face. He was always best as a smug bad guy. Even when he smiles he looks evil. He's much more enjoyable when he's cheating than when he's desperately trying to win over a crowd with terrible promos. I couldn't be happier about the change.
- Do you believe in The Shield yet?Much like Daniel Bryan, The Shield have been making the lives of the show writers a hell of a lot easier.
Don't know what to do with a top wrestler? Feud him with The Shield. Need a main event? 6 man tag match with 3 random wrestlers against The Shield. Don't know how to end a match? Send in The Shield.
They're the Swiss army knives of the WWE. The bonus is they're killing it in the ring. Amazing match after amazing match. It hasn't hurt that D-Bry has been in most of those matches with them, but make no mistake, these guys can carry it on their own too. They've been a massive highlight this year, and while we're only half way through 2013, its theirs as long as the writers don't mess it up.