'Corporate' Daniel Bryan inches closer to WWE title

It's the entertainer vs the wrestler.

More generally, it's the WWE Universe vs. the hardcore pro wrestling fan.


Daniel Bryan has played his role perfectly in the build up of his match against John Cena at SummerSlam. He is the darling of the internet wrestling community, the guy every hardcore fan is cheering for -- very similar to when Rob Van Dam, the ECW star, in the middle of a hostile ECW crowd at an ECW reunion event, defeated John Cena for the WWE title. Even in a segment loosely resembling the time Mr. McMahon tried to make Steve Austin more "corporate" during the Attitude Era, Daniel Bryan hit a home run and kept us interested. "The Beard is Here."

It won't be so hostile at SummerSlam, but it will be pretty close. Daniel Bryan will have throngs of fans chanting "YES" and cheering loudly as he inches closer to the WWE title. This week on Raw, Randy Orton was more prominently featured, including a mandatory briefcase "almost" cash-in on John Cena. I still maintain that Randy Orton will be champion by the time SummerSlam goes off the air.

John Cena was also on point tonight, with good rebuttals to Daniel Bryan's points about wrestling vs. entertaining and having matches at "every legion hall and armory across the country." To me, the best rivalries are built on logical point vs. counter point and this has certainly had it's share.

What else you need to know from Raw:

* The McMahon family drama escalated, with Stephanie crying to her husband, Triple H, after her father berated her (unseen). Triple H vowed to settle it, which will likely be seen in the future.

* After losing to Rob Van Dam, Alberto Del Rio beat down the returning Ricardo and wedged his head between the ring steps and the ring post. I'm hoping it's not a "future endeavors" situation and rather the start of a different path for Rodriguez, who evoked much of ADR's sympathy in the past couple of years.

* The Wyatt Family beat Tons of Funk. Kane responded to the Wyatts, and it seems like Bray Wyatt vs. Kane may be an Inferno match at SummerSlam.

* CM Punk and Brock Lesnar are heating up. Punk and Curtis Axel went to a no contest, then Lesnar/Punk traded punches. Next week it's Punk vs Paul Heyman -- maybe!

* The returning Kofi Kingston (now with pants instead of tights) defeated Fandango, who is now two losses away from a program on Velocity ... I mean Shotgun Saturday Night ... I mean Superstars.

- Have to give props to my dear friend and one of the nicest, hardest working guys in the business, Jason Ayers, who made his referee debut on Raw on Monday night. Congrats!

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