In those weeks, we have seen HHH and Stephanie in particular get personal. Extremely personal. Sometimes uncomfortably so. So it must be asked. Has this angle actually gone too far, or has it not yet gone far enough?
To understand the limits and boundaries, you must first acknowledge one intent of any angle worth a damn-to get heat on a wrestler or faction, while enabling another wrestler to get over. Sometimes the angle is done more to gain heat or getting someone over, but in this instance, its safe to assume that the true intent is both. In cashing in on the super-hot and over Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, Orton was finally turned heel-much to his satisfaction. In turning him with a massive assist from HHH and making Orton appear to be in the Corporate pocket is putting him over as a monster heel, along with The Shield, Hunter and his wife. The weekly Corporate beatdowns, the on screen neutering of the company’s top faces-all done to continue to get tons of heat against the new Corporation. It is, after all, good for business. You need the monster heels, otherwise, who else would the babyface hero vanquish at some point down the road.
But, speaking of the babyface, eventually at times you must give the face a taste of victory before ending things once and for all. And until the September 9th RAW which saw Bryan cleanly pin Dean Ambrose, avoid a Big Show Knockout Punch and close out the show holding the belt over a woozy Orton, no face has been allowed to enjoy much at all.
They’ve made life hell for a number of superstars. Miz, Ziggler, Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston, for example. Cody Rhodes was “terminated” as a way to give him time off for his nuptuals. Big Show had financial issues aired on national television. Edge, on RAW from Toronto, in front of his home town fans, had his manhood questioned numerous times, with HHH using his tragic neck injury that ended his career to great heel benefit.
Is it too far? I am not really a fan of how personal it has gotten, but it is accomplishing its intent. Bryan is as over as ever. This new Corporate lineup is as hated as the most villainous heels in recent memory. The WWE has also managed to set up opportunities for the Big Show and Cody. In other words, so far, so good.
Will they go further? More than likely. There’s surely more to come within the Rhodes dynasty angle alone. Orton and Bryan will not likely conclude their program with their match on Sunday at the Night of Champions PPV. So I expect things to get even more heated. But should it? As long as certain boundaries of good taste are respected, and as long as the nature of things serves a purpose, I can’t see why not. Eventually, the faces will begin to get their revenge-perhaps some more returning faces a la Edge. Perhaps Bryan or another face claims a title and shifts the spotlight just a bit. WWE has plenty of options at this point, but the key for them is executing wisely. Done right, this will more than likely be your predominant feud until WrestleMania.