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WWE: Evolution 2.0

A new Evolution? Looks like Triple H and Randy Orton are plotting a revival of the hated stable known as Evolution.

A decade ago, Ric Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista formed the heel stable known as ‘Evolution‘. The concept behind it is that Flair, the 16-time world champion, would act as mentor to the then-current champion Triple H, who in turn pass that knowledge to young studs Orton and Batista. Throughout late 2003 and early 2004, Evolution reached its pinnacle when every member held a championship. Though the group gradually dissolved after Orton and Batista’s world title victories, its legacy remains instrumental to the WWE today.

This year, there is a so-called ‘Evolution 2.0’ brewing in WWE. At SummerSlam, Triple H turned heel when he pedigreed Daniel Bryan, helping former Evolution stablemate Orton cash his Money in the Bank contract and win the WWE Championship. In the weeks after Triple H and Orton would humiliate Bryan, in the process bringing along The Shield for protection purposes.

Like the original Evolution, this group played the role of bad guys who love to beat up on their popular babyface counterparts. Moreover, the concept of evolution was emphasized here.  Triple H now acts as the mentor to the WWE Champion Orton, with the Shield playing the role of a younger Orton and Batista. In just two weeks this new band (or stable, if you’re wrestling-conscious) has wreaked havoc within the WWE universe, with their most hated target being Daniel Bryan.

In the coming weeks this unnamed stable will continue to bring nightmares to both Bryan and the WWE universe. And with Triple H pulling the strings in his role as the Chief Operating Officer, the entire WWE roster (heels, faces and tweeners notwithstanding) will only watch helplessly as this stable continues to thwart Daniel Bryan in his quest to regain respect and the WWE Championship.

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Daniel Bryan vs. WWE

 

Daniel Bryan is currently facing the entire WWE, over the McMahons’ claim that he is not superstar material.

SummerSlam last Sunday in Los Angeles provided a glimpse on the twists and turns of WWE storylines. The WWE Championship matches were a shocker, to say the least. John Cena, expected to miss time due to injury, relinquished the title to Daniel Bryan. However, the story didn’t end there. Randy Orton, the Money in the Bank winner, cashed in his shot at the title. Triple H, the special guest referee for the match, provided his former Evolution ally a much-needed opening by nailing Bryan with a Pedigree, culminating with Orton pinning Bryan and winning the WWE Championship.

Over the past few weeks, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, his daughter Stephanie, and son-in-law Triple H, doubted Bryan over his image and capability of winning and honoring the WWE Championship. They claim that the image of Bryan holding the gold is not what WWE wanted, further concluding that Bryan is not WWE superstar material. This started a feud between Bryan and the McMahons, even going as far as sending The Shield to protect the McMahons and the WWE roster from Bryan at the end of Raw the night after SummerSlam. There is no doubt that the crowd was behind Bryan, but the rest of the WWE, led by Orton, were against him.

One particular theory behind the McMahons’ doubt over Bryan came during his ‘No, No, No’ gimmick, where he became a pessimistic and bitter wrestler after he was dumped by AJ Lee in the middle of their wedding ceremony last year. Of course, many knew Bryan’s psychotic gimmick, but Orton once had the gimmick of a psychotic wrestler during his feud with Triple H in 2009. That cancels out this theory. Another of McMahon’s theories is that Bryan’s beard does not fit the corporate WWE image, which led to an attempt to shave Bryan’s beard on Raw several weeks back. However, Orton currently sports a beard too, thus cancelling out this theory as well.

Another one came back in Bryan’s first WWE tenure. Back during his Nexus days, Bryan once strangled ring announcer Justin Roberts during a Raw live show in 2010, leading to his dismissal from the company. Yes, Bryan was fired the first time around, while Orton has remained with the company since his days as ‘The Legend Killer’. That incident alone may have proven the McMahons’ claim that Bryan was never WWE superstar material to begin with because of incidents such as this.

Over the next few weeks Daniel Bryan will continue to feud with the McMahons, Randy Orton, and perhaps the rest of the WWE. Whether or not Bryan is worthy to be a superstar remains to be seen.

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New WWE Feuds for SummerSlam

A Brock Lesnar-CM Punk feud should be the main headline for SummerSlam this August.

The WWE Raw following Money in the Bank was explosive, if not the most shocking. In case you missed Money in the Bank, Damien Sandow and Randy Orton captured the briefcases containing the contract for future world championship matches, while John Cena and Alberto Del Rio retained their respective top championships. Perhaps the most highly anticipated reaction was reserved for Rob Van Dam, who made his return to the company after a four-year stint with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling.

But back to tonight’s Raw. The storyline I’m looking forward to is between Brock Lesnar and CM Punk. Remember, both were managed by Paul Heyman until Punk’s face turn in Chicago at Payback last June. The night after Payback, Lesnar returned and hit Punk with the F-5. Lesnar did not appear on WWE television again until tonight, a decision which I criticized in my previous post because of Lesnar’s drawing power. During Lesnar’s absence, Heyman’s other wrestler Curtis Axel got involved with Punk, and at Money in the Bank, Axel interfered during the Money in the Bank ladder match, costing Punk his opportunity at a third briefcase. Then on Raw, Punk called out Heyman and Lesnar, which led to Lesnar and Punk brawling before another F-5 by Lesnar hit Punk.

The other storyline I’m looking forward to is Dolph Ziggler dumping AJ Lee. Ziggler had turned face at Payback and was trying to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. Unfortunately, Ziggler couldn’t do it at Money in the Bank when AJ hit Del Rio with her Divas’ Championship, causing a disqualification. This led to a backstage involvement on Raw, where Ziggler decided to break up with AJ. During a non-title rematch with Del Rio, AJ distracted Ziggler, and then Big E Langston attacked his former friend, thus providing closure to their relationship.

Also tonight Daniel Bryan got his wish at a WWE Championship match against John Cena at SummerSlam. Bryan had been on a roll of late, trying to prove himself that he was not weak, and during this period crowds started to get behind him, which led to Cena leaving it up to the crowd to decide the No. 1 contender, which became Bryan.

So far the potential matches at SummerSlam would be CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, and Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. I wonder what comes next in the Ziggler-AJ-Del Rio saga. Perhaps it’s either Alberto Del Rio joining forces with AJ and Big E Langston while Ricardo Rodriguez serves his suspension, or that Ziggler and Langston would face off at SummerSlam. Who knows, maybe you can tune in to a couple more episodes of Raw and SmackDown before SummerSlam and see what happens.

As for The Shield and The Wyatt Family, better find a new rivalry fast in order to boost your stock. That’s it for now.

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Brock Lesnar Needs More WWE Airtime

Brock Lesnar’s infrequent WWE appearances have been a headache for fans, who expect a lot more from ‘The Next Big Thing’.

It was in April of last year when Brock Lesnar shocked the WWE Universe with an F-5 on John Cena. Many thought that bigger things would come on his second WWE stint. Instead he has appeared rather infrequently, twice ‘quitting’ in the process before coming back. If Brock Lesnar was to make a statement the second time around, he has to appear more frequently rather than hiding out of the spotlight.

A month into his second stint, Lesnar turned his attention to Triple H, who broke his arm with his Kimura Lock the night after losing to John Cena at Extreme Rules. Unfortunately for the fans, the feud took more than a year to resolve, and twice during the feud Lesnar ‘quit’ for various reasons. Three matches against them took place, at SummerSlam, at WrestleMania 29, and at Extreme Rules, with Lesnar winning two of the three matches. It was during the feud that Paul Heyman, a manager of Lesnar’s early in his first WWE stint, decided to get involved with the legal repercussions of Lesnar’s contract. However, while Lesnar was out for several months, Heyman shifted his attention to CM Punk, then on the verge of the longest WWE championship reign in over two decades.

I thought a new stable led by Heyman would emerge, featuring Punk, Lesnar and The Shield. After all The Shield, whether they deny it or not, helped Punk retain the WWE championship twice against Ryback, Instead The Shield moved on and attacked other wrestlers who stood in their way. Meanwhile Punk got into a feud with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, leading to a pair of matches that eventually ended Punk’s lengthy reign, and Lesnar resumed his feud with Triple H upon returning. However, Heyman accompanied both Punk and Lesnar separately, which kept me teasing on whether or not Punk and Lesnar would get involved. Which led to that fateful WWE Raw episode last June 17.

After Punk decided to move on from the management of Paul Heyman, Lesnar made his return following Punk’s victory over World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, and eventually took him out with an F-5. I felt that was the beginning of a lengthy feud between both of them; however Lesnar has not made return since. Instead of a match between them at Money in the Bank, Punk was booked into the eponymous Money in the Bank ladder match. Meanwhile, Heyman replaced Punk with Curtis Axel, who eventually became Intercontinental Champion. At this point Punk and Heyman were having their differences following the fallout, and the involvement of Axel made it more complicated. Had Lesnar furthered his feud with Punk, that would have made it more interesting.

It remains to be seen whether a Lesnar interference on Money in the Bank would add fuel to the fire in their feud with Punk. Right now, Lesnar’ infrequent WWE appearances were becoming a headache, and many fans wonder what act will ‘The Next Big Thing’ bring the next time.

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