SummerSlam was an awesome show, probably the best and most memorable SummerSlam since 2005. You had an incredible match between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, who tore the house down in a vicious and brutal match, and there was a very good match between Christian and Alberto del Rio over the World Heavyweight championship. But the main event, if anything, was more of a straight up grappling contest. For over twenty minutes Daniel Bryan and John Cena fought for the WWE championship, and it seemed that Cena was primed to retain the championship until a flying knee, made famous by NOAH regular KENTA, knocked out John Cena. Bryan got the pinfall, and everyone went off their rockers. Daniel Bryan, who for years was regarded as one of the best independent workers in the United States and spent years climbing up the WWE ranks (which, trust me, they went out of their way making that tough) had won the biggest prize they had. And to top it all off, he beat John Cena clean in the middle of the ring, something that happens on very rare occasions, such as this night. Streamers fell, pyro went off, everything was right in the world as Daniel Bryan celebrated this incredible win. Then, doom approached. Orton came out and teased cashing in the title. Bryan dared him to do so. Orton balked, but as he was leaving Triple H, who for some reason made himself guest referee, jumped Bryan and laid him out with a pedigree. Orton cashed in, and he became champion.
And yes, the IWC freaked the fuck out.
How DARE the WWE ruin this moment for Bryan. Why does Randy Orton need the belt? Why did Triple H have to be there? So on, so forth. Despite the show being awesome and the ending being really damn good, people still lost their shit that Daniel Bryan, the internet darling, was left lying by Triple H and Randy Orton, the IWC’s least favorite wrestlers. People on twitter already swore off WWE forever until the next day at 8 when Raw started. Lots of angry forum posts were started. It’s almost comical the way some people reacted to this angle WWE was doing. Problem is, people should kind of know better and think critically about what WWE was doing.
WWE needs top heels. Ryback has been a flop, Mark Henry has turned, Alberto del Rio is already a champion and they turned Big Show again for whatever reason. Point being, they needed to have a new top heel and Randy Orton, who hasn’t done much of anything in the last year, now has a new role as a top heel. Daniel Bryan, who pinned John Cena clean and has been riding a great wave of momentum during the summer, has now been positioned as the top babyface. As they say, the top babyface chasing the top heel is the most interesting concept in wrestling and that’s what they’re going to do here. Sure, they probably could have done it the next night on Raw. And yes, maybe they could have turned Orton another way. But honestly, do you think it would have had the same impact on Raw as it did at SummerSlam? Nope. The PPV was a perfect setting to pull off something like this and they pulled off the angle perfectly. Now you have the angry underdog who was justifiably screwed out of his big moment by the new top heel and three people with high positions of power that will make sure to make his road back to the title a living hell. It can’t get any better than that.
I know there are going to be problems. Triple H is involved, for one, and we all know how programs with Triple H usually work out. But I think if he isn’t wrestling, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Even if he ends up wrestling Bryan I think it’s going to be fine. Like I previously mentioned, Daniel Bryan is the one who will have to be the top babyface until John Cena returns from his triceps injury. The Rock isn’t due to be back anytime soon and the Undertaker probably won’t be back until Wrestlemania so they can’t fill Cena’s void with any of the part timers. CM Punk is the only viable alternative, but right now he seems to be wrapped up with Paul Heyman still, so he’s probably not gunning for the title in the next couple of months. So unless they just want to use the next six months to completely bury Daniel Bryan I don’t see how this ends up as a negative toward his push. Cena will still be the star once he returns, but Bryan should be up there with CM Punk and Cena by the time this is all over. And even with that, however, ratings are going to be down. Cena’s usually the one that brings them, and when Cena isn’t on the show ratings are down. That, coupled with the NFL starting in a few weeks doesn’t bode well for Raw’s ratings for the rest of the year.
But I think if WWE can look past that, and continue what they are doing now, everything should work well. Bryan is more than capable of having great main event matches and is pretty decent on the microphone. Randy Orton is much better as a heel and is a pretty decent worker. Triple H, Stephanie and Vince McMahon are the interesting ones to watch out for. Are they going to eclipse the angle or make it so that the actual wrestlers who are competing in the main events are able to shine? Time will tell. I can understand why the IWC freaked out over the ending to SummerSlam- they’re worried about another great worker getting the shaft from management when all they want is for someone to succeed. I think given everything he’s gone through since being signed in 2009, Bryan is going to turn out just fine. He has a lot of obstacles to face, both by management and the crowd alike, but he has the ability to be the top guy. It’s just the question of is management is going to feel the same way at the end of the day. And if you ask me, it’s looking good. Just settle down a bit, IWC!