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Coulda Been Betta: Daniel Bryan's exit strategy

The whole show last night was very disappointing. But one thing in particular wasn't just bad, it was hideous.

The point behind Betta is to take the best portion of RAW and find ways to improve it, which can sometimes be a difficult task. Today's task is different but no less daunting. Last night, I found less than 40 minutes of content that deserved to be viewed out of a three hour program that felt more like ten hours.

So here was the good. I enjoyed the hell out of the Paige promo video, the same one they ran on Main Event a few weeks ago but still a good way to make the audience care that her match was up next. Paige gets beaten down but goes over in the match to retain the title. The point of this match, as I saw it, was to give Paige the win in the end but to use her to make Alicia Fox stand out. People are going to remember the tantrum and by association, the butt-kicking Fox gave Paige before going under. She won more by going under and it really didn't hurt Paige that much. THAT SAID, Paige needs to move away from the "fluke" or one move victory stuff. It hasn't been a problem yet, but it rarely if ever works long term unless you're Mikey Whipwreck, but never for someone you're pushing as a main portion of your show.

So I enjoyed that, the Daniel Bryan segment was compelling and basically killed the enthusiasm for the night because of what it meant, but it was worth seeing of course. The six man was strong. For what it was, Sheamus segments with Rybaxel was a good showcase for the new US Champion. Shield promo to open was one of their better efforts, particularly Seth Rollins setting up Roman Reigns to speak, really thought that was well-done and a gimmick they could return to fairly regularly.

Here's the bad: Basically everything else.

Adam Rose is nearly done. I hated it last week and felt a little sorry for the former Leo Kruger, and wrote last week how the debut could have been handled much better. He hasn't worked. The party gimmick seems like just that, a gimmick, but with nothing behind it. Swagger was wasted. RVD hit two moves, which was probably a benefit. Sandow and Cody were wasted in a slot that didn't matter and horrendous commentary. Evolution's promo was overly long and did not a thing for me, though the way the cameras were positioned allowed Rollins' run-in to be a nice surprise.

Dolph Ziggler's night consisted of him being in the ring during a long video, waiting for Layla and Fandango, and proceeding to beat him because Fandango was distracted as his dance partner's foot got caught in the ring apron. It had nothing to do with Ziggler being better or a more talented worker. Let me repeat. Dolph Ziggler, who was world champion last April, hit a Zig Zag because Fandango was distracted. After he won, he powdered and the whole thing was about Layla and Fandango's budding love and all of THAT was done, get this, to set up Layla vs. Summer Rae when the latter returns. Are you kidding me?

I'm not even going to comment on the Bellas work pretty much all night. Brie makes me want to see Daniel Bryan less and she even managed to ruin a segment with Stephanie McMahon. No Barrett on the show. No Cesaro on the show. No Paul Heyman on the show. Everybody seems to already be in Europe though most aren't leaving until later tonight.

So how do I improve upon all of this? Well, half of it you don't do. RAW as a three hour product almost never feels like a great show. Two hours, this would have been average. Three hours, this was poor. But here's the biggest piece of nonsense that took place on the show.

With Daniel Bryan's speech, as real as that moment was, the fact that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at no point spoke any word about vacating the Championship and stripping Bryan, quite frankly, makes no sense whatsoever except to remind us that WWE business is 100 percent fake. No one wants to see Daniel lose the title, but I'm sorry, the Authority should have been partying or at the very least, using this news as a loophole to get the gold off the shoulder of the guy they loathe as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

That discussion absolutely, positively, indubitably had to happen. I don't care about the Evolution portion of it or whatever else is going on. The company, at its core, like every wrestling promotion, is centered around its top prize. If it's not, business is in a precarious position. Bryan out six to eight weeks should mean, unfortunately, the title has to move on.

But no once wants to see that right? Well here's the thing, the title actually doesn't have to move. What it means is that the top heels, particularly in their executive on-camera roles, have to TRY and make that happen. Bring Vince back to stop it. Bring Linda back to stop it while executing wooden dialogue. Anyone remember, "It's going to be less formal, more casual at the office...and last but not least...drinking on the job" from 1998? Bring somebody, anybody that makes sense, in to stop it at the final hour, like new evidence just before the switch is pulled in a death row climax.

But because that didn't happen last night, I no longer care in the least about the Daniel Bryan vs. Authority angle, because if I didn't already, I now know that it's just a wrestling storyline. When wrestling blurs the line, when it fools its devoted following, but does so in non-Russo fashion, it works. Similarly, when heels don't act like dastardly jerks, it destroys everything. And they may well do it next week, but I'm sorry, it should have been done immediately, because, well...this is Hunter and Stephanie.

Since winning the Championship and all that great setup, Daniel Bryan has dealt with Kane in bad comedy-horror segments that have mostly been remembered for his new wife screeching like a Banshee, but not the cool Cinemax kind, the annoying monster kind. Now he's on the shelf for a month or two, which is horrible, but if there's not a fight for his title while he's resting uncomfortably in his hospital bed, it's not a missed opportunity.

It's a criminal miscalculation by WWE, period.


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