Colt Cabana gave a mini-State of the Union on an episode of The Art Of Wrestling once. He told us that, as hard as it might be, come into watching your shows with a non-critical eye and let loose. Don't set your expectations too high and you'll be pleasantly surprised...or at least end up with some laughs.
This is how I feel about Sunday's SummerSlam event.
Once upon a time, SummerSlam meant something. It had the glitter of names like Steve Austin, Mankind, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, and Ultimate Warrior. Furthermore, it had guys who still considered wrestling to be their full-time profession in Triple H, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, and The Undertaker. And in addition to all of that, it had mid-card bouts that would steal the show with guys like Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and Chris Jericho.
When it look at the card this year, I see some potential. Despite the diamonds in the rough of this dirty mine that the WWE has become, the overwhelming majority of this card are shaping up to be lumps of coal.
After the jump, read my prognostications for what to expect from SummerSlam that might burst some bubbles.
- Minimal crowd interaction: I love a good, noisy crowd. It makes everything that much more magical. Football games, fights, you name it. Unfortunately, there are going to be quite a few down spots in the show. With your undercard featuring guys like Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, and The Prime Time Players, there are likely going to be a lot of matches and moments that take the steam out of the building. Also, as sad as it is, the World Heavyweight Championship bout could suffer from this. People are just not into Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio, or their feud that has gone on for what seems like a century.
- Unnecessary cameos/celebrity appearances: Be sure to expect Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler babbling about DJ Pauly D working the SummerSlam after-party...quite a few times. Also, Charlie Sheen could potentially still show up and provide a little fire to the Kane/Daniel Bryan match. These all seem a bit unnecessary and annoying, but be warned that these could be frequent. Heck, we might even get some decrepit legends to show up.
- Match quality: Looking at the card of SummerSlam, I expect some pretty good matches. But in an effort to prepare everyone for disappointment, there will be some potential stinkers. Big guys like Kane and Big Show can slow down the pacing of their matches, although they have very capable workers surrounding them in both cases. Sheamus/Del Rio will be a good match in terms of quality, but the feud is so overblown that you might find yourself nodding off during their usually technical matwork. Also, be aware of the heat killing matches that can make your mind wander.
- Booking: Finally, people need to be aware of the all-too-likely sad booking scenarios. Triple H could very well put himself over against Lesnar. Your new WWE Champion could be the man in puke green, John Cena. Kane could be beating Daniel Bryan to get the crazy Bryan persona over. These are all likely scenarios that will scare the internet wrestling community, but be sure to keep these things in mind when you're in your wrestling bomb shelters.
Fear not, ye of the Cageside masses. I do have some bright spots and potential surprises here for you to keep your eye on:
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho: This is my darkhorse for match of the night. This feud has been hot, despite a deflated Piper's Pit segment, and the payoff here will be a great match that will either end Jericho's losing streak or put Ziggy over.
- Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella: We could have a new European as the US Champion, and I fully welcome that. These two seem to have fun in the ring with each other and I am looking forward to this whetting my whistle prior to the pay-per-view.
- Main event madness: There could be some pleasant surprises in the upper-tier of this card. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan can end up with a good payoff and a little doozy of a match. Daniel Bryan is there, so expect greatness. Lesnar vs. Triple H can also give us an amazing bit of storytelling. Lesnar had one of the most unique matches of the year against John Cena at Extreme Rules, so I expect nothing less. Finally, the WWE Championship can give provide us with a good little match. Big Show and CM Punk seem to work well together, while lack of variety from Cena is covered up in Triple Threat scenarios. Despite the potential endings, I am looking forward to the work these men present.
All in all, the best suggestion I can offer is to not work yourself into an emotional tizzy over the event. Watch the withdrawn eye and enjoy.
What are you Cagesiders looking forward to? Conversely, what are you dreading the most about the biggest event of the summer?