With WWE's best PPV of the year finished, here's what I learned from watching SummerSlam last night.
1. John Cena can take one for the team. Look, I'm not a fan of John Cena, but the guy just voluntarily took a brutal shellacking from a 300 pound monstrosity. Losing the belts is one thing, and I understand selling Lesnar as a "beast" meant taking a beating -- but what happened at SummerSlam was a colossal ass whooping like we've never seen before. There's much that can be said about Cena's willingness to be Lesnar's rag-doll; so much of a professional wrestling match's limitations stem from how much one worker trusts the other. Spots get cancelled (or never work-shopped in the first place) because of trust, so to see Cena just say, "Go ahead, Lesnar, throw me around for 20 minutes!" deserves respect. Even more so because it's Cena, the face of the company. The head honcho! The guy who can show up for as many Raw's as Lesnar and still be the top guy in the company. The last thing he needs to do is risk injury, and yet that's exactly what he did. At the end of the day, however, Cena still sucks.
2. Randy Orton is the best professional wrestler in the WWE. Or, to hear Ric Flair tell it, Randy Orton is the best professional wrestler in the world. Why argue with the Nature Boy? Many moons ago I posted an article that essentially highlighted many of Roman Reigns flaws as a professional wrestler, and boy did it get heat from the IWC. Well, if you watched Reigns' match with Orton at SummerSlam, you might think Reigns had an amazing performance. Credit Randy Orton for that. The man is as smooth as smooth can be, and there really is no one who makes wrestling seem as effortless as Orton does. Wrestling is literally second nature to him, and in an industry where the most important thing to have is confidence, it's hard not to admire what Orton can do in the ring. He's a legend.
3. Dean Ambrose is the most complete Shield member. Seth Rollins is amazing as well, but Ambrose is something special. Mic skills, in ring talent, great look and character, it's all there, but the "lunatic fringe" element to his persona is what sets him apart from everyone else in the WWE. You see, wrestling psychology plays a huge part in how matches unfold. For the most part, the same "basics" of wrestling psychology can be used for every wrestler in every match -- except when it comes to Dean Ambrose. His crazy "I'll hit anyone because why not?" style allows for some refreshing, rarely seen match layouts from time to time. He might just hit Fandango when you throw him out of the ring, because... uh, why not? He'll even hit faces (like the Usos) because they're in his cone of vision. It's hilarious to watch, and it puts Ambrose in a tier all by himself.
4. Rusev is the most under appreciated wrestler in the WWE. The way he sold that ankle injury during his match with Swagger was simply breathtaking. And for fans of Rusev, you already know it's nothing new. Even during promos (where he usually doesn't say a word) he's often telling an entire story with his face. Little facial nuances make all the difference in the world when it comes to selling a product that relies on storytelling. He deserved to beat Swagger last night, because his character isn't ready to lose yet. There's so much more that can be done with Rusev, I just hope he continues to get booked correctly.
5. Brock Lesnar is a scary man.
6. Bray Wyatt is slowly develop his in ring wrestling style with his gimmick. He's not ever going to be a wrestler, he's going to be a demonic, monstrous villain. A psychopathic backwoods villain doesn't suplex you, he mercilessly beats you whilst talking to himself. This was on full display against Jericho, moreso than ever before, and it's exactly what he needs to continue to do in the future. As Bray continues to develop his in ring style, I truly believe he's going to establish himself as the top heel within the next two years. His gimmick is THAT good. For my money, let him beat Lesnar at WrestleMania for the belts. It would be a lot better than Reigns vs Lesnar. Or just have him wrestle (and retire) Sting.
7. You should look up to Stephanie McMahon. Though it was very rehearsed, her match against Brie went surprisingly well. Should any of us be surprised, though? Yeah, it's been ten years since her last match, but she's Stephanie McMahon. She's perfect on the mic, perfect as a heel...so of course she can deliver a great match after a decade-long absence from actual wrestling. I can't help but appreciate everything she does for the company.
8. You should have the WWE Network. After all, it's only $9.99 (or so I heard).