Way back in April when I wrote my first wrestling column about WrestleMania XXIX, my main theme was that I felt underwhelmed because nothing happened. There were a handful of exciting outcomes that could have happened, namely John Cena potentially turning heel against The Rock, Dolph Ziggler cashing in Money in the Bank for the World Heavyweight Championship or the Shield getting involved in some capacity during one of the main events. But none of those happened and thus the fans were left with the blandest of outcomes- John Cena standing tall at the end of the night.
Somehow, in the span of ½ of a wrestling calendar year (I see WrestleMania as the end of a wrestling season and SummerSlam as the halfway point, even if the months don’t evenly add up) the company has done a complete 180. In the final minutes of last night’s pay-per-view we saw the face of the company, Cena, get pinned cleanly by an internet favorite, Daniel Bryan, followed by a heel turn by Triple H and a Money in the Bank cash-in along with a heel turn by the new WWE Champion, Randy Orton.
Was it obvious? Sure. Were writers predicting this week ago? Yes. But sometimes even when expectations are met the end result is fantastic. And that’s the word I want to use to describe this entire ppv- Fantastic.
To start off, John Cena and Daniel Bryan put on a clinic in the ring for over 25 minutes. They told an interesting story, John Cena showed once again that when pushed to a higher level he can do so much more than the 5 Moves of Doom, and Daniel Bryan proved why the Internet was so hot about Bryan from his time in Japan and Ring of Honor. And I applaud Creative for having Cena lose cleanly instead of giving him an excuse like the injured elbow (which will put him on the shelf because it needs surgery) or outside interference from Hunter or Orton. This is a legitimate Match of the Year contender.
So what’s next for Orton? Well I see two possibilities.
- Orton, Triple H, Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon reveal that they were all in on Bryan getting screwed out of the WWE Championship, starting a new version of The Corporation with Orton playing the role of The Rock from back in the late 90’s.
- Only Orton and Hunter were in on the screw job, leaving Vince and Stephaine as faces to oppose them. There was a certain faction the two were once apart of that I would go ballistic if they reunited- Evolution.
Either way, we have Daniel Bryan chasing for the WWE Championship again. And now that he has proven he can beat the best this company has to offer, he’s on a whole new level of babyface. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Believe it or not, there were other things that happened at SummerSlam.
- Rob Van Dam got screwed out of the United States Championship against Dean Ambrose. I thought for sure they would adjust the preshow into a six-man tag match when Rollins, Reigns, Mark Henry and the Big Show all ran out to the ring, but I guess they’re saving that for Raw (even though that match already happened on Smackdown last week). I wish Creative had more for RVD and the Shield to do, but at least we know we’ll get at least one good match out of this.
- So after months of fantastic vignettes and chilling appearances on Raw, Bray Wyatt’s in-ring debut turned out to be… pretty damn mediocre. The match itself wasn’t anything to talk about and the Ring of Fire stipulation served no purpose other than Harper and Rowan to get in a few comedy spots. How weak does it make Wyatt look that he was run over by Kane and need help from his followers to get any sort of advantage? This guy is competent in the ring yet he looked like Husky Harris again after Kane choke slammed him twice.
- Cody Rhodes’ mustache is gone and it got him a win over Damien Sandow. The announcers offered up the idea the win would put Rhodes in contention for the World Heavyweight Championship, so maybe this match will have a championship involved in the future. If nothing else, this showed how much Rhodes has evolved as a performer since jobbing to DX back at SummerSlam 2009.
- Christian looked great in his World Heavyweight Championship match, but sadly it wasn’t enough to put him over. And Del Rio’s promo afterward reminded me just how badly I want the WHC belt away from him.
- If you had told me right after WrestleMania that Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston would’ve been facing each other, I would’ve been excited. Sadly, I really feel like Ziggler’s concussion screwed up whatever plans Creative originally had for the two, and the result was a ho-hum mixed-tag match. Ziggler deserves a better program than this and needs to get away from the AJ-Kaitlyn ridiculousness.
- CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar. Go find this match. That’s all I can say. There are probably links online, it will be on YouTube at some point this week and if nothing else fails buy the replay and fast-forward to this match. I really can’t say anything else other than this was amazing and you need watch it NOW. Oh yeah, this is also a Match of the Year potential.
- (Pre Show) United States Championship Rob Van Dam def. Dean Ambrose via DQ
- Bray Wyatt def. Kane via pinfall
- Cody Rhodes def. Damien Sandow via pinfall
- World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio def. Christian via submission
- Natalya def. Brie Bella
- Brock Lesnar def. CM Punk
- WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan def. John Cena via pinfall
- WWE Championship (Money in the Bank Cash-in): Randy Orton def. Daniel Bryan
Why should you watch Raw this week?
Fallout from SummerSlam. Need I say more?
Until Next Time!