WWE went rolling right on through the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, last night (Sun., Aug. 18, 2013) withSummerSlam, featuring Daniel Bryan winning the WWE championship from John Cena after a great match only to see Triple H turn heel and cost him the belt in just seven seconds when Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract.
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Let's not waste any more time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- I have never felt so good about such a stiff shot to the gut. Just excruciating to sit and watch Daniel Bryan, the wrestler who, despite the scripted nature of the business, probably deserves the honor of ascending to the height of the industry more than any other, do just that and have it ripped out from under him. I'm upset about it. Like, legitimately feeling down that this had to happen this way. Like, sitting here searching for an answer as to why. I know why, of course. And I know this is exactly what was intended. I'm supposed to feel like this, if I'm worth my salt as a fan. That's why this was such a victory for WWE. I desperately want to be a mark again, a simple thinking, straight forward fan who wants the little guy to triumph over the big bad machine. If only for a while, that's what I've been turned into because I'm literally bummed out for Bryan.
- Don't get me wrong, though, that dude is a much bigger star for this. In fact, this was executed so well, with John Cena giving him a great rub after having as good a match as they could with his injured elbow, that Bryan chasing Randy Orton's title with the McMahon family supporting "The Viper" is going to be enough to carry the promotion into football season. Or at least it should be. It will be with me. Orton may have the backing of the bosses, but Bryan has us. And we will win.
- Looking back, this was always the right call and thank god WWE stuck to it. That swerve idea I had? That would have been terrible in comparison to this. Predictable or not, the execution is what matters, and holy hell did they pull this off. When you think of it, Orton is the PERFECT guy for the McMahons to back as their champion. He's got exactly the right look, the right body, the right corporate demeanor, the right mean streak, and the right history with Triple H. He's just right. Oh, and he's got unreal chemistry with Bryan, as evidenced by their great string of matches WWE made such a big deal about not so long ago. Now it all makes sense.
- And it's glorious.
- Last word on the main event: Triple H didn't bury anybody. If anything, he made Bryan a bigger star, but in this instance, you need to stop thinking of pro wrestling in those silly ass terms and just look at the story. This is great for the story, and therefore great for Bryan.
- This was a two match show and the main event delivered in spades, but what about the co-headlining attraction, Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk? Oh yeah, that was EVEN BETTER than Cena vs. Bryan. No, it didn't have the emotion of a potential Bryan title win, but it had everything else. They remained true to the story while making Lesnar look like the unstoppable monster that he should be and Punk the hero who would have conquered had he not let his lust for revenge against his former friend and mentor get in the way. The match was beautifully brutal, a perfectly paced masterpiece. This was your "Match of the Night" and, as hoped for, it's now a contender for "Match of the Year."
- As a whole, the card was really great because it featured nearly every style of entertainment we get from WWE. From the hokey and the goofy, to the smart and the serious, this one had it all. Dumb angles that were entertaining anyway -- like Fandango trolling every Miz segment throughout the show, which was just the greatest thing -- and great wrestling all mixed together. This was an awesome show.
- Here's where we need to take the blinders off, leave the rose colored glasses behind and get real about it: Bray Wyatt vs. Kane sucked. The flames jumping for big bumps was a nice visual but man, that match was awful. Let's not overreact and say Bray won't be able to hold his own in big matches but you don't ever get another chance to make a first impression. I was really expecting more. The post-match angle, presumably done to write Kane off TV, was really underwhelming and didn't leave me feeling any better about the buzzards.
- Let's continue that theme and also admit Rob Van Dam vs. Dean Ambrose wasn't nearly as good as it could have been, though it was better than Wyatt vs. Kane. The match itself was okay, but the finish sucked. I hate the idea behind stablemates causing DQ's late in matches because it's too easy to get lazy and go back to it every time the opportunity is there. And WWE just loves going back to that well.
- Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow was a match. Rhodes won. So I guess he's a contender whenever Sandow wins the belt? I don't know, this felt off but perhaps that was because they seemed to be rushing to make sure they could give the top two matches plenty of time later on.
- Alberto Del Rio and Christian had a damn fine match, but I still can't manage to care about either of them. And was I the only one who thought Rey Mysterio was going to make his long awaited return during that post-match promo? He was in L.A. for SummerSlam related activities. Too bad.
- Dolph Ziggler, Kaitlyn, Big E. Langston, and AJ Lee probably had the best cool down match in history. That's the best I can say about it, considering the circumstances they were forced to deal with, no different than Rhodes and Sandow.
This was a good show that had its pitfalls but featured plenty of great entertainment throughout the night, two incredibly satisfying matches, and the main event was booked beautifully.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's party.