"It's the beginning of the week, and I'm ready.."
Hustle's Monday Morning Mayhem - SummerSlam
Aug 19, 2013 - 8:34:20 AM
Writer's Note: If you haven't already done so, check out LoP Radio's SummerSlam post-show, where bedlam broke out during our review of the main event, when our show basically broke down into a two-on-two argument, featuring myself and former main page columnist YourAyatollah going up against LoP Radio's own Repo and De. That one argument set up tonight's LoP Radio show at 11:30pm EST, where we see if anything has changed in the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton/Triple H saga overnight or not. The first link I post will be the SummerSlam post-show, and the second link will be for tonight's show.
The Rant's End: I Told You So
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. That was, perhaps, the worst possible way to "debut" Bray Wyatt in the ring. Don't get me wrong.. the match wasn't terrible, no matter what Dave Meltzer tries to tell you. However, it handicapped both men, but especially Wyatt, who needed something special to help hook people in after the memorable vignettes and appearances he's made recently. With the fire surrounding the ring, it prevented both men from dipping into their full arsenal. They couldn't do anything that really involved hitting the ropes or heading to the top turnbuckle. They couldn't do little things like rolling to the outside for a breather when things were going rough. They were two big, burly men that were stuck within the confines of a wrestling ring. That doesn't really help Bray Wyatt show people what he can do. Remember, there's a nice-sized chunk of fans out there that have never seen him wrestle before. Those people weren't watching when he was Husky Harris with The Nexus. Those people don't watch NXT now to see how the Bray Wyatt character has been coming together in recent months. This was a completely clean slate. If Bray performed well, those people could become fans of his in-ring work. If Bray performed poorly, those people could give up on him altogether. I've already seen a few people that have basically said things along the line of "That's it? That's the special guy that the smark fans have been praising?", and that's not a good sign. Obviously, it's only one match. They can turn things around, and can do so quickly, but it just wasn't a good start. Perhaps the company was too ambitious in putting the guy in an Inferno-like match in his "first" outing.
2. There might not be anyone happier that Sheamus is out with an injury than Cody Rhodes. With Sheamus gone, with Christian being unsuccessful in winning the World Title, and with the company being up-and-down on whether or not they want to push Dolph Ziggler, Cody could very well be one of the next people in line as a World Title contender. It doesn't matter whether you like Cody or hate Cody, or even if you feel he's ready for a "main event" slot. As of right now, before anything even happens on Raw or at the Smackdown tapings, you have to like Cody's chances. The only other candidate that people were thinking was Rob Van Dam, but he's still dealing with The Shield and that particular feud right now. Don't be surprised if it's Alberto Del Rio VS Cody Rhodes for the World Title at Night Of Champions. I'm just saying.
3. Alberto Del Rio is one step away from being in a full body cast. First and foremost, lol @ the reports that Del Rio got into a legit brawl with Drew McIntyre, of all people, over the weekend, which led to the nasty black eye that ADR had at SummerSlam. A few minutes into his match with Christian, ADR appeared to break his nose, and by the end of the match, it looked like he was developing a shiner on his other eye. His face could very well be an absolute mess once Raw rolls around. Maybe he should get a few days off to recover. Just keep him away from Drew Mac.
4. Apparently, Los Angeles doesn't care about Total Divas. Even with a super credible wrestler like Natalya in the match, that live crowd didn't care about the lame match that was set up because of a Total Divas "storyline". They chanted for everything in the world except for the two women in the ring. It was getting close to matching the post-WrestleMania crowd in New Jersey, and the fans basically took a poop all over what was happening in the ring. I don't see any way that WWE changes plans to push Total Divas-related content on Raw and Smackdown, especially with Total Divas being a ratings smash, but at least one city shares my opinion about WWE pushing Total Divas garbage outside of the Total Divas "world".
5. Any time I see Ryback on my screen these days, I regret it instantly. Out of nowhere, Ryback went from being a monster to a soft character that was literally crying in his matches because he was "hurt". Then, again out of nowhere, he went from the crying character to being a tender friend to a then-fired Vickie Guerrero, helping her feel better. Then, again out of nowhere, he went from tender friend to an elementary school bully, pouring gazpacho on people's heads. I'm not sure if the Creative Team has any idea what to do with Ryback anymore, but their last few decisions have been atrocious. I used to be a fan of the guy, but now, I just want him to go away for a while. I want the writers to come up with something concrete for him, and then put him on TV, instead of throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks once a month.
6. Brock Lesnar is really underappreciated. Yeah, I said it. People look at him and immediately think of his special contract, where he makes a nice chunk of change every year, but only has to make a handful of television appearances, and even less matches, to get that money. However, they continue to fail to realize how unique Lesnar is. Lesnar brings something to the table that nobody else in the company can bring. Brock pretty much wrestles like an ex-MMA fighter that forgets he isn't in MMA anymore. In our little Twitter circle, Brock has gotten the nickname of "YOLO Lesnar" because, when you watch him wrestle, it appears he doesn't give fuck one. He will put his own health and well-being on the line in an attempt to hurt his opponent. All the evidence you need of that is when he nearly killed himself against John Cena, tumbling over the top rope, landing, selling pain for a few seconds, and then hopping back up to his feet and laughing about it all. Lesnar is a legit monster of a man with a "real" fighting background. He's someone that matches up well with smaller workers, as he can just toss them around the ring like children. His matches always turn into fights. Downright brawls. The kind of "must-see television" that is lacking in wrestling right now. There's a perverse curiosity during his matches, as people watch to see if Brock or his opponent gets busted open, or if they end up being injured in some way. Learn how to appreciate him, folks, because he might not be around again until WrestleMania time, and after that, he probably doesn't have many more matches left until he retires to his farm.
7. CM Punk VS Brock Lesnar was a Match Of The Year candidate. You know that whole thing about Brock working well with smaller wrestlers because he throw them around? Yeah.. Punk is a smaller wrestler. With John Cena, it was Cena's strength that helped him match up against Brock's superior size advantage. With Punk, it's his tenacity and striking ability. We got another stiff brawl, but Punk's "it's going to take everything you have to put me away" attitude really helped to make it special. Even though Punk was outweighed by about 100 pounds (don't pay any attention to the listed weights), and several layers of muscle, he stood toe-to-toe and kept fighting. Intensity, believable near falls, counters, a hot crowd that was into everything.. this match had all the makings of a classic. Punk really could have used the win, but I can't complain too much that he didn't get it. As I stated in the first part of FACT or FICTION posted here on the main page, Punk doesn't have the best track record against part-time wrestlers and/or "big man" wrestlers, and a loss to Lesnar here only furthers that. Punk has already gone on record, for WWE.com, to say that his issue with Paul Heyman isn't over yet. Barring a change to Brock's schedule (which I doubt), or the announcement of a new "Heyman Guy", I guess this means Punk has to go through Curtis Axel now. Smell the excitement.
8. John Cena VS Daniel Bryan was everything I told everyone it would be. Even before the match was made official, I told everyone that Cena VS Bryan main eventing SummerSlam for the WWE Title would be a classic if they were given time. Last night, they got 27 minutes of actual match time, and sure enough, it was a classic. Something else I've said repeatedly through the years is that Cena works well against people that are smaller than he is. Like Lesnar, Cena can use his power and it really shows when he's facing a smaller worker. Unlike Lesnar, though, Cena doesn't get to face smaller workers as often. When Cena battles the likes of Rey Mysterio and Daniel Bryan, we get something special. Watching the match, it was pretty clear that Bryan had a lot of say in putting everything together. There was a lot of Japanese Puroresu stylings in the match, from a Puro-style slap battle in the center of the ring to the Busaiku Knee Kick variation to end the match, and at multiple points throughout the match. The crowd was lava hot throughout, not having a single second of silence. They were super amped for everything Bryan did, and super disapproving of everything Cena did. The set up of the match was perfect, taking the crowd on a roller coaster ride. Cena would get a minute or two of offense (booooo), then Bryan would get a minute or two of offense (yayyyyy), then Cena would get a minute or two of offense (booooo), and so forth. Say whatever you want about John Cena's gimmick and the way WWE chooses to book him year in and year out, but when I said he steps up and delivers in "big match" atmospheres, I meant it. If he's half as bad a worker as many people like to say he is, the man certainly wouldn't have the long list of four-plus star matches with a variety of different opponents. He knows what he's doing in the ring. Daniel Bryan also knows what he's doing, of course, and what he has done is become a "made man". Cena has a total of 11 WWE Title reigns, to go along with two World Title reigns. If you look at all 13 of those reigns, last night was the one and only time Cena dropped a title cleanly, without interference, a ref bump of some sort, help from a gimmick match (Tables, Hell In A Cell, etc), etc. This was a straight one-on-one, with no gimmicks.. nothing. Daniel Bryan accomplished something that Edge couldn't. That Randy Orton couldn't. That Triple H couldn't. That Shawn Michaels couldn't. That Batista couldn't. That Chris Jericho couldn't. That CM Punk couldn't. Nobody will ever be able to take that away.
9. I'm holding off my final opinion on the end of the pay-per-view until I see where it's going. Initial reaction, right as it was happening, was nothing but disappointment. I really wanted to see Bryan given a chance to run with the ball, giving the fans what they wanted, in an attempt to lose as little viewers as possible to the NFL, which is returning right around the corner. Nobody is going to prevent Raw's rating from dipping once Monday Night Football officially returns on September 9th, but if you can convince as many casual fans (the ones who like football and wrestling, but aren't set on one or the other when it comes to what they want to watch every week) as possible to stay with you, it benefits everything. I've already talked to multiple people that have told me they, or someone they know, are disappointed in WWE to the point that they don't want to watch anymore. We're talking casual fans here. When you hear a hardcore, smark fan say "I'm done", you know that it isn't true 90% of the time, and that they'll be back the following week. With the casual fans, when they say they're done, they're done. They'll find something else to watch, and they won't turn back. For the millionth time, it really is all about the follow-up here. We've seen how SummerSlam ended, and we can try to predict the "end game" with everything.. "Bryan will get his revenge in this way, and he'll win this match here, then win that match at this show, and do this, that and the other before winning the title again here".. but that obviously doesn't mean it's what we'll see. Bryan could very well become an afterthought here, as all the focus gets placed on the 2013 Corporation/Evolution instead, but Bryan could also very well become the new "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, standing up to "the man" and raging against the machine. Only time will tell, and that makes tonight's episode of Raw one of the more important episodes in a long, long time. This could be a game changer, folks.
10. Time for some match ratings..
- Ambrose VS RVD: 2.75 stars
- Kane VS Wyatt: 1.5 stars
- Rhodes VS Sandow: 2.25 stars
- ADR VS Christian: 3.5 stars
- Natalya VS Brie: Who cares?
- Punk VS Lesnar: 4.5 stars
- Dolph & Kaitlyn VS Big E & AJ: 1.75 stars
- Cena VS Bryan: 4.75 stars
As you can see, there are two classics, one match that came close to being a Match Of The Year contender (and definitely would have if it was given three-to-five minutes more to work with), and another solid match. That's enough to make this the best pay-per-view of the year, and one of the best overall events in years. Needless to say, I give SummerSlam a recommendation if you haven't seen it.
Factoid Of The Week That May Interest Only Me
Looking at the viewership for Breaking Bad in the United States, only one episode in the first four seasons topped the two million viewers mark, with five more episodes ranging between 1.90 and 1.98 million viewers. The first half of season five (the final season) saw all eight episodes top two million viewers, with two episodes coming very close (2.93 and 2.98) to three million. The first episode in the second half of season five saw a whopping 5.92 million viewers. That's an amazing jump, and proof that Breaking Bad Fever is sweeping the nation. People are just excited to see what happens to Walter White and his entire family. The show gets a huge recommendation from me if you're looking for a new show to watch.
Tweet Of The Night
"SummerSlam is on."
Just reading those words isn't quite awe-inspiring, but you have to look at things in context. @SMARKRAGE was replying to Cameron of the Funkadactyls, who was tweeting.. during the fucking pay-per-view.. to plug Total Divas and see who was watching the show. Look here, you stupid heaux.. first, you told the world that your favorite match of all-time was Melina VS Alicia Fox. Then, you didn't know who "Sycho" Sid Vicious was, and tried to play it off like you were joking. Now, you're trying to promote a TV show (albeit a WWE TV show) while a pay-per-view is on. Just tell the world that you're mentally handicapped, that you're not a wrestling fan in the slightest, or both. Stop tweeting. You're embarrassing yourself and the business.
Who I Like Tonight
- One of the most passionate promos of Daniel Bryan's entire career, where he gets to lash out at Triple H and Randy Orton for ruining the "biggest night of his career". Of course, the promo won't be without some sort of response from Trips and/or Orton, possibly even Vince McMahon and/or Stephanie McMahon. Expect another clusterfuck segment. I doubt we'll see this next part, but it would be nice if Bryan got some sort of backup to deal with this. Cena's supposedly taking time off to take care of his injured elbow, Punk is apparently still going to be involved in a storyline with Paul Heyman, Kane has been "abducted" by the Wyatt Family, Mark Henry is involved in a feud with The Shield, Big Show is involved in a feud with The Shield, Rob Van Dam is involved in a feud with The Shield, Kofi Kingston is back to midcard jobber status, Rey Mysterio is still injured, Sheamus is out with an injury.. there really aren't many choices left to align with Bryan and not have the crowd shit all over it. As was mentioned on the LoP Radio SummerSlam post-show, how awesome would it be if The Shield took Bryan's side, to help fight the "injustice" of SummerSlam? There's also the possibility of new call-ups from NXT being brought up, but I don't know if Daniel Bryan and, say, Sami Zayn and Kassius Ohno would have the casual fans think they could overcome the power that is the WWE Champion being aligned with the company's on-screen C.O.O. and possibly even the Raw General Manager and the Chairman.
- I think Christian is coming up on the end of his career, and the first mention of retirement happens tonight. Perhaps in a backstage interview, where he questions whether or not he still has "it".
- I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to see RVD, Henry & Show VS The Shield in a six-man tag. It could be saved for pay-per-view, but Night Of Champions isn't exactly filled with non-title matches throughout the history of the event, so you'd be more likely to see Ambrose VS RVD for the United States Title again, and Reigns & Rollins VS Henry & Show for the Tag Team Titles. Having the six-man on television just makes sense.
- Some lame segment involving the Total Divas cast. Someone will probably get slapped, and we'll see some horrendous acting.
- With Kane out of the picture for the time being, it's time for Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to feud with someone else. It would be nice if they went after someone like a Kofi Kingston that could have a different style of match with them. It's not like Kofi is doing anything important these days.