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RAW: Daniel Bryan Runs The Corporate Gauntlet

Triple H The Shield

The “sell outs in suits” continued their stranglehold of corruption over WWE this week and not a single Superstar could do anything about it. Why? Because Triple H put their jobs on the line. The entire WWE locker room had to stand back and watch, as the COO of the company, his corporate Champion Randy Orton, and the hired goons of The Shield, once again stacked the odds against the valiant Daniel Bryan.

For calling Stephanie McMahon trash last week Bryan was told he would have to face the personal wrath of The Game. You see in Triple H’s Twisted mind, screwing Bryan out of the Championship at Summerslam, and patronizing and humiliating him the night after, wasn’t personal at all. It was simply “best for business”, and Bryan was the one who made things personal and deserves everything he gets.

Though some fans are quick to dismiss this storyline as rehash of Steve Austin vs The Corporation, there are many different elements that make it enjoyable in its own right, not least the nuanced realism that traditionally, Daniel Bryan really is the kind of wrestler that WWE overlooks. He’s the epitome of the small technical internet darling that is rarely showcased alongside the spectacle of WWE’s larger than life characters. And Triple H is the backstage political player, holding down his peers so he can garner the limelight. Whether those things are really true or not is debatable, but a portion of the audience think it is, and WWE know they think that – so they’d be foolish not to make money off it.

Along the same lines the promotion also realises that some fans believe the corporate interests of the company are holding it back creatively. Thus when Triple H rambles off about social media statistics and growth indicators, putting over the corporate face of the company Randy Orton, his words are all the more disingenuous. How dare he overlook the excitement Bryan has brought to the table! How dare he have the gall to say Orton had to grab the “brass ring”, when it truth it was handed to him on a silver platter!

This vapid gloating reached a fever pitch when Hunter rewarded Orton with a brand new Cadillac Escalade!

Cue our protagonist Daniel Bryan, who quite rightly poked through the empty materialism of The Game’s gesture. “It’s a lot nicer than my Honda Fit,” he quipped.

Since tonight seemed to be all about nauseatingly thanking people, Bryan decided to thank John Cena for the opportunity at Summerslam and the WWE Universe for believing in him. He said at Night of Champions, if Orton is the “face of the company” he’s going to rearrange that face, and become the new WWE Champion!

Triple H called Bryan Jiminy Cricket and that his dream of being the Champ is nothing more than a fantasy. Unlike the cute Disney song … “When you wish upon a star Makes no difference who you are” (which Triple H actually sang!) In WWE it does matter who you are, and Bryan is nothing more than “a B at best”.

Since Triple H gave Orton a gift, it was only fair to give Bryan one as well. Tonight he will have to face all three members of the Shield in a gauntlet. In a flashback to more innocent times Triple H patronizingly exclaimed: “I believe in you Daniel”.

While some may have hoped for more from The Shield at this point, there certainly isn’t any rush and their inclusion as the hired heavies in this storyline is a perfect fit. Their cries for “justice” are just as shallow as Triple H’s corporate spiel, and they’ve already done Paul Heyman’s dirty work, so why wouldn’t they don their riot gear and quell the Daniel Bryan revolution?

Daniel Bryan Seth Rollins

There also couldn’t be a more perfect wrestler to work with than Daniel Bryan. He and Rollins tore it up for the short time they had in the ring, with Rollins taking a massive bump over the announce table from the Suicide Dive, and then flying the distance of the ring after being launched off the top rope in a German Suplex. When it was Dean Ambrose’s turn to get involved, an immediate Yes Lock prompted interference from the other two members, and the Gauntlet was cut short.

There was glimmer of Daniel Bryan getting one over on his adversaries, when earlier in the show he destroyed Orton’s new Escalade by painting YES all over it, but with the locker room hanging their heads in shame, the show closed with Bryan taking a Triple Powerbomb and the RKO.

Randy Orton RKO

I haven’t been this entertained by WWE in a long long while. The classic against all odds story, coupled with regular Daniel Bryan matches (which are always awesome) makes for great wrestling TV, however for this to pay off, the company really does have to do what’s best for business. And in my opinion that’s having Bryan emerge as the WWE Champion without any help. It doesn’t have to be at Night of Champions, in fact that’s probably too soon now that the storyline is developing, but if he’s not wearing that gold by Royal Rumble, or has to wait until superhero Cena returns to even the odds, his mega-star potential will have greatly decreased.

August 26, 2013, WWE RAW Results:

– Triple H presented a gift to WWE Champion Randy Orton.

– Cody Rhodes def. Fandango, after The Miz caused the distraction when he emerged dressed as Fandango.

– Cody Rhodes & The Miz def. Damien Sandow & Fandango.

– CM Punk def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, and Heyman the had to face Punk as voted by the WWE Universe. Unfortunately before Punk could get his hands on Heyman, Axel delivered the low blow and out came some handcuffs to keep him incapacitated. What followed was a vicious assault with a Kendo Stick.

– Brie Bella def. Natalya after Eva Marie and Nikki caused the distraction. After the match AJ Lee derided her competition calling them worthless excuses for women.

– RVD def. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio with a roll-up.

– WWE Champion Randy Orton def. Christian, after giving him a thumb to the eye before hitting the RKO.

– Titus O’Neil def. Jack Swagger.

– Daniel Bryan def. The Shield by DQ.


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