This past week’s RAW could end up being a turning point in WWE history. Gone could be the days where the company relies upon the same tried-and-true superstars to draw money, instead turning to a new generation of up-and-comers. Indeed, this week’s episode felt more like a changing of the guard ceremony than a typical edition of the longest-running weekly episodic television program, as Michael Cole likes to affectionately refer to it as.
It was evident from the moment the program started, which was basically a coronation ceremony for Daniel Bryan. The place was simply electric, with nearly every fan in attendance participating in his signature “Yes!” chant.
What was interesting as the night progressed was that the WWE Universe turned on nearly every “old guard” superstar in favor of younger talent, whether heel or face. This was first seen during the Wyatt Family vs. John Cena, Sheamus, and Big E contest.
Cena was ripped a new one during his entrance and performance, as it seemed like not a single person in the crowd was cheering him. There is usually at least a vocal minority of supporters in even the most anti-Cena crowd, but the New Orleans crowd was completely against him, even singing, “John Cena sucks” to the tune of Cena’s theme song.
The Wyatt Family, on the other hand, were overwhelming crowd favorites even though they have been booked as nothing but heels since debuting. The crowd was singing Wyatt’s now-signature, “He’s got the whole world in his hands” while swaying back and forth. These guys are truly over and it was completely obvious which side the crowd was supporting during the Wyatt’s decimation of Team Cena.
A similar incident occurred later in the night during the Rey Mysterio/Bad News Barrett contest. Barrett has been booked as a heel in recent months, and unlike the Wyatt Family, he has not received any support from the fans. During his contest with Mysterio, however, Barrett had complete fan support and was even celebrating with the fans while Mysterio seemed a bit perplexed at times while he was mercilessly booed. It seemed obvious that the fans are in favor of change instead of the superstars of old.
You know things are a bit off when even Paul Heyman is cheered at one point in the broadcast. Cesaro announced his departure from the Real Americans and shocked everyone by claiming he is now a Paul Heyman guy, a move that set the place on fire. It set up an ironic situation where Heyman was practically booed out of building during his earlier promo with Lesnar but was later cheered after it was announced that he would now manage Cesaro.
The move highlights the popularity of Cesaro, as the crowd does not care who he is paired with as long as he is receiving a push, and the WWE does not usually pair Heyman with guys they are not planning to push. If you can get the crowd to cheer Paul Heyman, you must but doing something right, but after all, Cesaro is the guy who made a stable of immigrant-hating Tea Partiers popular with the crowd. In recent weeks, the crowd has even been chanting, “We the people.”