Rank ‘Em Up
Last week was when I covered the undercard. This week, the post SummerSlam rankings are for the top 10 main eventers in WWE.
World / WWE Championship
1. CM Punk [WWE Champion]
2. John Cena
3. Big Show
4. Sheamus [World Champion]
5. Daniel Bryan
8. Dolph Ziggler
10. Cody Rhodes
First off, let me say thank **** Alberto Del Rio lost clean at Money in the Bank, and then removed from SummerSlam. Boooooo that he was put back into Summerslam, but thank **** he lost again. Keep him away from the titles please. In no way am I knocking his ability, but he’s just not entertaining me as a character. You have no idea how insane it is for a talented guy to be so absolutely dreadful to watch because of how little I care about what he does. I pay more attention to Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, or JTG. It’s absolutely pathetic to include him in the main event rankings. Thankfully, I could see him benefitting from a midcard title run, but we’ll see if WWE agrees.
As for the actual ranking, things have obviously changed. This isn’t a shock considering how much Money in the Bank can alter the landscape. Even with rather obvious winners in the 2 ladder matches, we still shook up the roster by associating these guys with contenders for the World and WWE titles.
1. CM Punk [WWE Champion]
2. John Cena
3. Sheamus [World Champion]
4. Randy Orton
5. Big Show
6. Daniel Bryan
7. Dolph Ziggler
8. Chris Jericho
9. Alberto Del Rio
I’m guessing that WWE expected a huge response to this CM Punk heel/tweener turn. Or, maybe they weren’t. Either way, they didn’t get it. The problem is that there are still too many fans that want to cheer Punk, as well as fans who want to cheer against John Cena. I’m sure they expected this, which is most likely why they are slow burning this process. Maybe I’m not the target audience for this angle, but I truly have no interest in CM Punk as a heel… yet. Obviously his potential is higher as a villain, the problem is that I was not only excited to see my favorite wrestler get a huge opportunity (and succeeding at it), but I was interested in seeing how they shifted between Cena/Punk/Orton as their top 3 draws. Instead, they are going back to 15 months ago. It feels like the “Summer of Punk” may have been for naught with such a sudden change. Not that this is a new approach by Vince McMahon. Punk’s adoption of the Randy Savage top rope elbow is perhaps as apt as ever, as his run as fan favorite that started in 1987 didn’t last all too long either. While the actual time as face was longer, WWF moved at a snail’s pace back then compared to today’s twice-weekly TV and monthly PPV environment. I expect the outcome to be the same as well, with Savage putting Hogan over in 89, and Cena pinning Punk in the near future.
I think a big reason this turn by Punk isn’t working for me is because he doesn’t have proper opponents to work with. Had the SummerSlam triple threat involved Rey Mysterio instead of Big Show, Punk’s heel antics would stand out more. Then again, I think blame needs to be put on the booking and performance of John Cena as well. While still the top performer in the company, he hasn’t really done anything of interest for a while. Barring the angle with The Rock, can we honestly say John’s been at the top of his game? Again, he hasn’t had anything creative done with him for too long, but 2012 may have been the worst year yet. The angle with Rock was based on name power alone, but not much was done with it until March. Since then, he was hot shot vs Brock, then feuding against the worst authority figure in WWE history in Big Johnny, and then this angle vs Big Show for the umpteenth time. Cena is a great performer, but he hasn’t done anything interesting for the longest time in his career.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sheamus has been on a true roll. His World Title reign started off badly, but he’s turned things around quite well. I think the secret to that was having Smackdown devoted to him as the star. Without anyone to overshadow him, he’s been given top billing, and been remarkable in that position. I won’t claim he’s the second coming, or the next Cena, but thankfully he’s not expected to be. He’s a charismatic bruiser who can get the fans behind him easily, and can already go at a main event level, with nothing but time to improve. He’s not tremendous in any one regard, but he’s solid in so many, and has a great unique look that counts for so much. He’s got a great future ahead of him, and he’s only lacking a really good angle to solidify his position. He’s carried the angle with Del Rio impressively, and made it entertaining for the most part. While the work with Daniel Bryan may have been overshadowed by the heel’s performance, Sheamus has broken out now to a level that makes every potential angle a lot more interesting than I expected back in April/May. This is a guy who we will see headlining for a long time.
The Viper is back, and I am quite happy. It seemed obvious to me that before his suspension, Randy Orton was on his way to a face vs face battle with Sheamus on Smackdown. I think this will come back sooner rather than later, even with my idea of Big Show challenging Sheamus. There’s a lot more money in having Orton put over the current World Champion, and then facing the giant, then the opposite. The problem with long term booking the World Title at this point is that there are so many guys that deserve a true shot, while the current champion is doing a wonderful job and is earning a longer reign with every appearance. So while we know Ziggler is one of the next guys, and Wade Barrett is rumored to be pushed big when he returns, and Orton is to the World/Smackdown title as Cena is to the WWE/Raw title. There’s a lot of potential on the blue brand, but even more reason to keep the title on one man. In my perfect world, Orton takes on Sheamus at Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell. And by the end of it Sheamus has his hand raised as champion. After that, Orton should get more involved on Raw. I’m not looking forward to Punk vs Orton again yet, so I think if there’s someone who can give Punk the room as champion, it’ll be Orton by working a big non-title angle vs Cena. He also has an IWC dream feud vs Daniel Bryan that can be utilized at any point. After that, Orton vs Punk post Wrestlemania seems a bit more reasonable.
Moving on, the Big Show is a third wheel in the current Cena/Punk storyline. Granted, he’s a HUGE ****ing third wheel, but he’s still basically shoved in there to extend Punk vs Cena for a few extra months. It’s tough to appreciate what’s he is doing as it’s so unlikely that he’ll walk out of any contest as champion. Sure, he’ll make it a close call a few times, but Punk is still WWE Champion after Summerslam, as everyone predicted (Punk or Cena). And it means the next couple of PPVs will continue in that blueprint. Big Show will most likely move onto the World Title and Sheamus soon enough. He might even win that title, but not the Raw based WWE Championship. He’s been great as the heel giant, reminiscent of his run as ECW Champion. This should continue as a challenge to Sheamus, as the Irish Brawler hasn’t really faced someone who’s a physical threat to him in a long time. He also adds a lot more to that side of the main event, as there’s a lot of fresh options for him, considering the future possible involvement of Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, Chris Jericho, The Miz, Christian…etc. Raw has run dry in a few ways, and he’ll run into that if he stays red branded past the fall.
I am still constantly amazed at what WWE have done with Daniel Bryan. While I was a fan of his for years before WWE, I never in my wildest dreams believed he’d be a main event fixture like he is today. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind his poor win/loss record in 2012. I’m still too shocked and impressed that he’s even in the ring with John Cena. Either way, he’s been highly entertaining with this “NO!” chant craze. This was a genius move by creative to not jump the shark with the “YES” chants. The angle with Kane is a bit of a thrown together feud, with 2 guys they don’t have anything for. But, thankfully Bryan got the cheap victory (first time on PPV since February), plus he’s been included in the Punk/Cena/Show segments more often than not, therefore keeping a high profile even in several losses. His tenure as a heel won’t have a lot of victories, but it will build up to a stronger bond with the audience when he turns face again. And at that point, I expect the win/loss record to be more in his favor, similar to how Rey Mysterio, another smaller top draw, is well booked.
How many times have I, and others, proclaimed Dolph Ziggler’s time is now? As frustrated as I have been, there’s no denying that he’s finally reaching a spot that is fitting to what I feel he’s deserved. Chris Jericho is not the top name he once was, but he’s still a valuable asset to the WWE main event scene, or more accurately, the pre-main event scene. Ziggler has been hot for a long time, but he’s not had that one big victory to really push him deep into the consciousness of the WWE Universe. The real shame is the likelihood of Jericho leaving soon after SummerSlam. There’s not a lot of momentum for Ziggler to come from this single match from SummerSlam’s undercard. There’s a lot more sense in seeing this moving towards October, and giving Dolph a huge victory at some point in that time frame. Instead, it sounds like this barely boiling angle will culminate after only 2-3 weeks of real development. If this is the case, then we need to see Dolph win soon, and win huge. Maybe end it with a new finisher, completely and violently brutalize Y2J post-match, and then just hospitalize Jericho on his way back to rock stardom. It leaves the door open for another Jericho return down the line, since this feud obviously still has juice to it.
It seems like #8 is someone who won’t be around for next months rankings. Chris Jericho won his match against Dolph Ziggler, but I still think he has to stay below him. Jericho has lost too much steam to really move up higher than Mr. Money in the Bank. Maybe I’m holding the rumors of him leaving soon against him? Maybe I’m giving him undue credit by even including him in the top 10? Either way, not much can be said at this point. He’s nowhere near the level of WWE Title credibility. Maybe World title, but there’s still too many above him. Jericho didn’t have a great run in terms of career definition, but he delivered in the ring more often than not, and he helped establish CM Punk as one of the top faces in the company. Was his return worth that? With CM Punk still fighting to main event a PPV since December 2011… I’d say no. Then again, who else did WWE have at their disposal to do what Jericho did? Too many questions, both concerning his future and the past. If he’s about to leave, I hope it’s with a bang. If he came back to put over Punk, maybe he should leave after making Ziggler look like a true threat. I want to see a vicious TV match between the 2. Something that would remain with the WWE Universe for the months until Jericho decides to come back.
Ugh… Alberto Del Rio. I feel so perplexed by this guy. There’s no denying there’s something good, but I never see it. Which is why I’m glad to see him dropped down at this point. It may not be permanent, but I’m hoping WWE finally sees that they need to slow down with ADR. Funny thing, while I watched Ziggler vs Miz vs Jericho on Raw, I really felt that this was the perfect level for Del Rio. I’m hoping the Intercontinental Title is being used as the unofficiall3rd level title (1-WWE, 2-World, 3-IC, 4-US). There’s a long list of guys just ready to burst into the main event, but without a real place among the top stars. Del Rio is PERFECT to be in that fold. I know he’s not alone, but if WWE is so gung-ho on giving this guy something important to do, let him hold the IC title instead of the obviously above him World Title. If the ultimate goal is to make him the Latin/Mexican superstar to replace Rey Mysterio in the future, let us cheer his climb to the top. Del Rio has been booked rather dominantly, with submission victories over several top faces (something not afforded to Daniel Bryan). When he turns face, there’s no real rush to see him rise up. Or rather, not as much of a rush. Again, cheering on Macho Man at Wrestlemania IV was made more important because he had never won the big one before.
Is there a single person in WWE history who has turned heel/face more often than Kane? He hasn’t even done a thing to turn face. He had sympathy from the AJ angle, was attacked by heels on Raw 1000, and then his brother Undertaker confirmed that we should be cheering Kane from now on. He turns a lot, and the turns are rarely well developed. Either way, he’s a great hand in the WWE, especially with the list of upcoming stars he can work with. As mentioned with Big Show, Kane would be a valuable tool when developing the new crop of stars. Dolph, Wade, Cody, Miz, Del Rio…etc: All men who could benefit from a victory over the Big Red Monster. Just like Daniel Bryan.
SummerSlam Thoughts + Personal News
I caught SummerSlam at Dartmouth Crossing Empire Theaters location with my girlfriend last night. It was a good time where I found none of the matches sucked, none of the results bugged me, and I was entertained throughout the entire night. Granted, I left for snacks during Sheamus vs Del Rio, and missed that one on purpose. But other than a lacking main event between Brock and HHH, I found Summerslam to be a solid, if unmemorable, show. It felt like an In Your House event in the sense that the entire show was a build to another one. Nothing ended here, no conclusion to any feud. It’s obvious there’s another chapter to Sheamus vs Del Rio, Jericho vs Ziggler, Cena vs Punk, and Bryan vs Kane. Concerning Brock and HHH, that might be over, and if it is, I’m disappointed.
As for my personal news, I would expect less columns from here on out. I’ve started a new job on top of my current one. I am still doing 36 hours at my current position, but I’ve been hired as a weekend radio announcer in Nova Scotia. From 6 AM to noon local time, I’m hosting the Saturday and Sunday weekend morning show for K-Rock 89.3 in New Minas, Nova Scotia. It’s a 7 hour day, with 2 hours of driving each day, added to my current work schedule… it’ll be tough to write often. I’m not resigning, I have worked too ****ing hard for too ****ing long to get this main page spot to give it up this quickly (sorry Chrisss). But I expect a return to shorter blog style postings. I’ll rarely expand into my lengthier projects of late. I like doing these rankings, and I would expect them to return every 2 months, with tag/midcard one month, and main event the next. Divas… never.
I also plan on bringing back more UFC talk, as they are once again offering a better product than WWE. And I might try to get into TNA again eventually. But, the extra time at work means less time to watch. And with UFC/WWE getting my primary TV hours, TNA needs to do something impressive for me to give them a shot again.
The best writer on LOP is not going anywhere.
And on that note, peace out.
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