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Posted in: The PEN15 Mightier
The PEN15 Mightier (July 15-19) How to Book Cena vs Bryan [+ Orton Hate/Daniel Bryan/Post-MITB] BLOG
By PEN15
Jul 19, 2013 - 2:27:43 PM



July 19 - How to Book SummerSlam’s Main Event

July 17 - Randy Orton Hate is Retarded

July 16 - Post Raw Thoughts (Daniel Bryan)

July 15 - Post Money in the Bank Thoughts




July 19 - How to Book SummerSlam’s Main Event

There is little doubt that WWE has something massive in store for us from the John Cena vs Daniel Bryan match at the next PPV. I’ll be honest, with that main event, the rest of the card can be nothing but Divas matches, I’ll still be ordering. WWE recognizes this. They know that they’ve locked on to one of those rare occasions where the general/casual fanbase is in tune with the ultra-critical Internet Wrestling Community. I’m not saying everyone is excited about every aspect of this match, but I think it’s a safe bet to say that it’s been a couple of years since both ends of the spectrum were excited for a single match (Money in the Bank 2011).

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here: I’m not claiming this is the biggest match WWE has promoted in that time. As little as Rock vs Cena II measured on the IWC interest scale, that mass market appeal made up for everyone of us who pirated or avoided the show to boycott the main event of Wrestlemania this year.

The point is that the fans that tune in weekly (not the annual fans for only Mania or huge promotions) are all on the same page, and it should result in a damn decent buyrate for the PPV. I know I’m not the only IWC voice asking everyone who is interested in this possible change of the guard to put your money where your mouth is. These moments are important, even more important than skipping out on Mania. There are enough fans who haven’t tuned in since 2003 who will replace our money to order a Rock headlined PPV. WWE won’t get that message loud and clear. But there’s no way to hide excitement for new blood by cashing in for SummerSlam.

Again, WWE knows this, so they’ll be looking to capitalize on it. They will want all of us to tune in the next Monday for Raw, and at Night of Champions in September. So you have to expect something important to take place in August at the conclusion of the Summer Spectacular. Everyone is expecting for Randy Orton to cash-in Money in the Bank. And I think that is the right way to go. Everyone is expecting Randy to ruin Daniel’s celebration with the title after defeating John Cena, and then swipe it away.

This is NOT the right way to go.

While I agree that we should be cock-teased in a way of having that moment of satisfaction in Bryan’s WWE title victory, it can be accomplished without ruining that moment like we’ve seen several times before. This time, it should be ruined by it not happening at all.

Randy should not make an appearance before or after the match. Once the bell rings at the end of the match, no matter who wins, the live audience will be staring at the entrance awaiting Orton’s arrival. Nuh-uh. Let Cena and Bryan outwrestle eachother for 20-40 minutes - however long WWE is willing to let these two masters of their craft perform. Give us several false finishes, kick outs, and reaches for the ropes after a submission. Give us the best match possible without giving us a true ending. Because that’s the key to Orton’s victory.

Once both men are exhausted and being counted out by the referee, Randy’s music should hit. Never before has a contract been cashed in DURING another match. Randy should punt one man, RKO the other, and then get the pinfall victory over Cena to end the show.

I honestly cannot think of a better way to get everything accomplished.
You want Orton to turn heel? Check
You want Daniel Bryan to be in the main event after this match? Check
You want a great PPV main event? Check
You want Cena to lose the title? Check
You want less title changes? Check

By not giving us that moment of gratification of seeing Daniel Bryan reach the top, WWE should rip it away from us before it happens instead of just after. How terrible is it that Dolph Ziggler has held the World title twice now, but there’s been no real story to either one? They are meaningless. Short title reigns are not what they once were. We expect them now. So change it up, and make this cash-in happen before the match ends.

Now, think of the future if this is how SummerSlam ends: Orton has 2 credible challengers right away. Both Cena and Bryan will be involved in that. Daniel Bryan hasn’t lost any momentum at all, so we still have time to see him succeed. We all want that moment where Cena puts over Bryan, but do you really think it will happen next month? A month is not enough time to create that magic. Instead, this pushes it out longer, giving WWE more time to continue the Bryan evolution. Some compare the possibility of Cena tapping to D-Bry to when HHH tapped to Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania XX. Benoit earned that moment over a much longer time frame of not getting his chance to prove himself. Daniel Bryan is over, I won’t dispute that. But being over is not the same as being a draw or credible to the WWE title. Especially not when the champ is John Cena.

So by keeping that moment out of reach, there’s now more time to allow Daniel to get the victories needed. A tap out on Raw a couple of weeks ago over Orton is a good start. But is it enough? I don’t think so. Bryan could definitely use a bit more climbing experience up the mountain, and not to build his skills, but to get the entire WWE Universe believing in him even more. Wanting to see the SummerSlam match is different than thinking he can win.

By having Daniel Bryan hold his own, and keep up with John Cena in a huge spotlight like SummerSlam, and not lose (and also not win), it becomes a major rub. The match isn’t a waste, and the rematch is now even more anticipated. If done right, we could see Bryan make Cena submit 10 years after Benoit did it to HHH, and make that the closing moments of WrestleMania XXX. There are so many options right now.

No one wants to rain on Bryan’s parade, and snatch the title from his hands. But, by not even giving him the title just yet, it creates a much more effective moment for all 3 involved. It’s a win-win scenario, especially for the fans.






July 17 - Randy Orton Hate is Retarded

Yes, I’m using a purposely antagonistic headline to grab your attention. And if you’re reading this, it worked.

I don’t understand the pure hatred for Randy Orton. I completely understand being disinterested in him, because he’s not excitement personified (I’ll get to this again in a minute). But it’s not like he’s doing anything badly. Sheamus gets criticism for being lame and corny, and was booed on Raw from a smarky crowd for it (for the record, I like corny/lame Sheamus, but think they need to mix it up with intensity like he did against Big Show and Mark Henry). But Randy doesn’t have a lame or corny side.

See, Orton is one of the best in ring wrestlers in the world today. You get booked in a match with Randy, and you’re sure to have a chance to steal the show. He delivers each and every time. So wrestling is not one of his faults.

On the mic, he’s been absolutely perfect. Now, when I say this, I don’t mean he’s the best talker in the business. He knows he’s not funny like Cena can be, nor as much of a communicator like CM Punk has been. Randy knows his strengths with a microphone, and nails it every time. He is one of the few modern stars who seems like he’s paid attention to Jake Roberts and his promo style. Orton makes his speaking time short, sweet, and to the point. Everything spit out on the mic is a threat. And by that, he’s perfect.

So why the hate?

I can tell you why. You’re spoiled. You think every face needs to be exciting, and that’s the only thing Randy lacks. Barring his RKO, and the amazing out of nowhere sprints into action with that move, everything about Orton is methodical. And this is where he loses people. For the modern audience used to the Michael Bay style of filmmaking, Randy Orton is boring.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Randy Orton is the No Country for Old Men of wrestlers. He’s drama more than action. Just like Transformers or Marvel/DC super hero movies dominate the box office, wrestling fans pay money to see the John Cenas and Rocks. The Oscar winning films rarely make the same money as the brainless straight forward blockbuster. And Randy doesn’t get the attention of HHH or Undertaker.

I am not trying to convert anyone into becoming fans of Orton. There’s nothing wrong with liking Iron Man more than The Hurt Locker. And there’s nothing wrong with preferring any other wrestler over Orton. But to hate him? It makes little sense to me.

So, I’m excited that he’s Mr. Money in the Bank. While I may have preferred Daniel Bryan to have won it at the time of the PPV, after letting everything sink in, I no longer feel that way. Randy has so many more options than Bryan does. Danielson needed a rub like being chosen by the #1 guy in the company for almost a decade to headline the 2nd biggest PPV of the year. This title shot will mean more to his career than another cash-in.

Orton on the other hand wouldn’t create that buzz with a booked title shot. It’s nowhere near as interesting. But as the holder of the contract who can strike at anytime, it perfectly fits the Viper’s character. And, with a possible heel turn on the horizon if you believe the dirt sheets and his off screen desires for one, his cash-in can be the inception of his villainous run. Imagine Daniel Bryan failing to capture the title for 2-3 PPVs, and finally winning it at the Royal Rumble in a hard fought match, the live crowd going absolutely bonkers. Cena shakes his hand in congratulations.

“I hear voices in my head.”

Randy cashes in and strips Bryan of the WWE championship 18 seconds after winning it.

Tell me you wouldn’t boo Orton for that. Now that would be the time to hate him, but for all the right reasons.

Is the WWE Championship match planned for Wrestlemania XXX a Randy Orton title defense against Daniel Bryan in a rematch for D-Bry to win back his title? Who knows? But I’d love it. These options exist only because someone as versatile and talented as Orton can pull it off as Mr. Money in the Bank.

So, what’s to hate about that?



July 16 - Daniel Bryan

It’s happened. Daniel Bryan is getting the biggest push of his life.

It’s weird. I don’t know the man behind the character in the slightest, but watching him go down the ramp, chanting “YES!” along with the crowd, doing it in Cena’s face, and on the turnbuckles... I couldn’t help but feel like it’s a fairy tale. I kept expecting him to drop character and smile widely. He finally made it. Whether or not he ever admitted to wanting to be in this position or not (lots of indy guys seem to downplay the idea of headlining a PPV against the biggest star in the sport for the most valuable title possible), you have to know he was gushing with emotion.

Even if he was told 2 months ago of the long term plans, I’m sure it didn’t quite set in until last night. He seems like the type of guy that everyone pulls for, just so genuine and likable. Whether it’s the hardened CM Punk, the always seemingly personable John Cena, or the stoic Randy Orton - you knew they all felt good to have been a part of Daniel Bryan’s rise to this position. Somehow, I even imagine Vince with a smirk backstage, grudgingly admitting to himself or his family: “The vegan did it.”

As a fan, I feel partly part of it. I paid money to see him specifically before. And I’ll definitely be paying to watch SummerSlam next month. I already emailed wwe.com support staff about whether or not ticket sales to view WWE Pay Per View events at the local movie theater ends up calculated into the sales or buyrates of a show. If I find out they do not, I’ll be ordering it over WWE.com and streaming it like I did for Wrestlemania 28. I felt the same way for Money in the Bank 2011 (though I can’t remember why I was not able to watch that live). It’s an important move to make as an online fan who openly pirates WWE on a weekly basis. I am always happy to pay hard earned money to WWE, and it’ll feel like a reward to pay $30-60 to them in support of the Daniel Bryan push.

With the match official (though I wonder if the Vince/Maddox mindgames won’t throw a few twists into the equation) I have to wonder where we go from here. Daniel Bryan is over to a level I can’t imagine anyone in WWE could have ever thought possible. Cena may be their top guy, but with his mixed reactions, it’s never a certainty that he’s the most popular wrestler on the roster. I don’t know if there will be many who boo either man come August, but mostly just enjoy the show. Well, the same loud minority will boo Cena, but less than usual.

My point is it’s going to be a tough decision to figure out the result of this match. While I never believe online reports of the script rewrites, I wouldn’t be shocked if Vince, Stephanie and HHH all change their minds a handful of times heading into SummerSlam as to who should come out on top. I see logic going both ways.

John Cena is their number 1 guy, no question. And as much as I love Daniel Bryan, I don’t see him lasting with the mass market appeal. I hope and could be wrong, but I tend to be right in these circumstances. Does this mean it’s worth the risk of giving us a new WWE Champion? I think so. If the Daniel Bryan experiment fails, it’s easily correctable.

I do feel WWE have dropped the bail several times over the years in not booking guys in a stronger fashion in an effort to find more top stars. Randy Orton is understandable as he’s been dropped from conversation due to his wellness policy violations. CM Punk might have been WWE Champion for record time, but he wasn’t given the same treatment that John Cena had as champion from 2005-2006. Ryback being turned heel ruined all his momentum.

Could any of these guys have unseated John Cena as the number 1 name in WWE? We’ll never know, because they weren’t backed up as strongly as Cena was. I fully agree that with similar booking for CM Punk that Cena received in 2005-2006, he’d be the clear next top star. But, he wasn’t made to look very strong overall, and now his upcoming angle with Brock is making him the extreme underdog, just like at Wrestlemania against the Undertaker. I have no facts to base this opinion off of, but just a strong feeling that he connected well with a majority of the WWE Universe, and could have reached more with better backing from WWE brass.

But, Daniel Bryan? I hate bringing size into it, but I have a really hard time imagining WWE going 100% with Daniel Bryan if they were hesitant with CM Punk. You know that there are some McMahon lackeys somewhere reminding Vince what a failure Chris Benoit was in 2004, or how Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were never truly the type of mass appeal star who could take over for Hulk Hogan. Vince might be out of touch with his belief of hoss appeal, but it’s because there’s still a big portion of the WWE Universe that follows the same mindset. When talking wrestling with a few random casual fans, they blew off Daniel Bryan as the scrawny guy. I’m not agreeing with them, merely pointing out that these people still exist. And they are also part of the WWE Universe and pay money towards Vince and co. If they aren’t buying into Daniel Bryan, I’ll understand that neither would Vince.

At the same time, if WWE always has John Cena overcome the odds, and goes over every single possible star like Punk, Ziggler, Ryback, Alberto Del Rio, Miz, and Wade Barrett, how will they deal with a Cena-less future? WWE has to start showing some faith in their rising stars. I have a lot of issues with the way they book these guys to fail as heels against the Cenas of the WWE, but then fight their way back into our hearts somehow. They expected Del Rio and Miz to be launched into the new stratosphere, but wrestling fans have much stronger memories than WWE seems to ever give us credit for. Lots of things are forgettable, but major angles and PPV losses to major superstars cannot be included in that list.

I would be fine with Daniel Bryan losing at SummerSlam. Don’t riot just yet, hear me out. I would be fine with it, if the loss leads into an angle where he chases his second chance. It doesn’t have to be a Wrestlemania Moment, where he taps out Cena like HHH tapping to Chris Benoit at Mania XX. But the window must be open for a rematch. And not just a rematch, but an anticipated one.

I always look to Wrestlemania 13, and Bret vs Austin. Stone Cold lost, but the window was open for a rematch down the road. They rushed it, but that open window was a major breakthrough for Steve Austin to become the major star of the Attitude Era. That match ended in a loss where we wanted to see Steve Austin succeed. The story is entirely different, but the end result doesn’t need to be a double turn to play out. If Bryan loses at SummerSlam, it should end with us wanting more. Most Cena wins leave us feeling deflated, ending the story completely. It doesn’t have to be that way. If WWE is willing to put Bryan in a major position at the #2 PPV of the year, they aren’t going to treat him like just some schlub. I might not be the biggest believer in the legacy and importance of SummerSlam, but there’s no denying that pretty much each and every WWE Title defense on the PPV has been contested between WWE’s most go-to superstars (forgetting Khali vs HHH).

I want Daniel Bryan to succeed, and depending on your expectations, there’s no doubt that he will. Expecting him to be the next Cena, Austin or Hogan is ridiculous. But WWE would be best served treating Bryan like a Hitman or Heartbreak Kid. Not every top star needs to be a mainstream breakout mega success. Hogan needed a Macho Man. Austin needed the Hitman. Cena might just need Daniel Bryan.







July 15 - Post Money in the Bank Thoughts


Tag Team Wrestling

I really enjoyed the kick off for yesterday’s PPV. Honestly, the match wasn’t all too special. It was a standard tag team match involving a very over heel champion team, and an only somewhat over but talented face team. It was almost a by the numbers match, but it was so perfectly performed that it got Philadelphia in a roar without any real anticipation built into the feud. Consider how dead the crowd seemed during the rest of the show (if you didn’t watch, it was loud at many points, but eerily quiet for others) and you realize how much credit these 4 men deserved. I’m hoping the Usos got some attention from someone important. I am not saying they should unseat The Shield at SummerSlam, but they shouldn’t be dropped from TV like they’ve been for years now. These guys can wrestle and are exciting.

We need more multi team matches going forward. If we didn’t just come off a ladder match based PPV, I’d suggest a 4 team ladder match for the Tag Titles at SummerSlam. It could still happen, but it’s a lot less likely. Most of the solid or interesting teams are heels, so to get as many of these teams established, we need to see Usos in the mix with the champs, the Real Americans, and Rhodes Scholars (well... maybe not them) so that the Samoan brothers are taken more seriously in the future. Keeping Tons of Funk in the mix, along with the Prime Time Players, and WWE has a very solid tag division. If used right.

Damien Sandow + Cody Rhodes

What’s the real story coming out of the World title Money in the Bank ladder match? I have to vote for Cody Rhodes as the new face. It’s not something I was calling for, but now that I’m seeing it, I’m a fan of the idea. I won’t get crazy and proclaim Rhodes the next big star to catch on like Daniel Bryan. Right now Cody is in an experimental phase as a fan favorite, so I doubt WWE will be giving him too much to work with off the bat. He’ll feud with Sandow to get used to this new position, while Damien will move on to a more main event position.

But Cody as a face will do wonders for the WWE midcard. How many times can we see Miz and Kofi put over the much more interesting and/or talented heels for the US and Intercontinental Championships? Cody will now be in that list. It might not be a big promotion for someone who I feel has a lot more potential than Miz/Kofi, but it’s step one. Cody is still young, and quite versatile. Let him get used to this side of things as a face, and working matches with Curtis Axel, along with everyone else in the World Title MITB match. Things are interesting for him. I wish more would have been done with the duo as a tag team, but I can’t deny that this break up is an interesting way of going about it, and as far as I can think of has never been done.

Damien is now Mr. Blue Money in the Bank. Nothing wrong with that. I expect this run to last for a bit, because the World Title scene isn’t quite open enough for him to walk in and snatch the championship. I see a decent 3-4 month feud with Cody where both establish themselves as threats going forward, and after that could be his chance. Dolph vs Damien seems like a relatively interesting way to go, though it all feels very Intercontinental more than World title. It’ll be interesting, no doubt. The first promo after cashing in and winning writes itself: “I waited for the most intelligent moment...”

Here’s an idea: Damien puts the briefcase on the line against Cody and loses. Then, after Cody walking around for 2 or 3 months with the briefcase, he is found mysteriously attacked backstage and his contract is stolen. Then within a couple of weeks, Dolph as World Champ is laid out for some reason, and Damien runs out with the case and cashes in successfully. Damien can say his name is still on the original contract, or maybe with the help of Teddy Long or David Otunga he can say possession is 9/10ths of the law and was legally entitled to cash in what he rightfully won originally. This would get him heat, get Cody over as a threat to his World title 6-7 months down the line or whenever the cash-in takes place, and gives Dolph some more guys to work with once he overcomes Del Rio.

Barring the current champion, the World Title scene is really interesting.

ADR vs Dolph

Speaking of which, I have to give credit to the competitors in the World Title match last night for delivering the best singles match of the event. The competition wasn’t fierce, but it was better than I expected it to be. Dolph really is going to be a success as a face in the ring. He already has the acumen to get the crowd behind him every step of the way. In retrospect, he pretty much always wrestled like a fan favorite, but somehow made it work to get booed. Now, he can continue doing what he does, and people will eat it up. He may not have won last night, but he gave a performance that could only confirm he will be World Champion sooner rather than later. Awesome stuff, Dolph.

Del Rio had a great night as well. I watched this match more than most Alberto contests because Dolph sucked me into it more than Del Rio’s normal opponents over the last year (Swagger, Big Show, Sheamus...etc). It was actually nice to enjoy Del Rio work. I always knew he could, but he never made me care to notice. He still didn’t do it last night, but his opponent did and together they delivered a stellar match.

The AJ ending was a great way to extend the feud without it feeling like overkill. Her appearance will also shut up the people who complained of the loose ends of the Dolph/AJ relationship while he turned face. I shouldn’t be shocked that some many people lacked patience, but alas...

Curtis Axel

I don’t hate the guy. He is one of the best wrestlers to have debuted since Daniel Bryan. His future is bright. The problem is that adding Paul Heyman to someone doesn’t automatically get him heat. Axel is certainly capable of working in the ring, but Heyman and he need to work on having his heat extend into the match. The Miz is not hot enough to carry the audience’s interest for 10-15 minutes outside of a few spots. I’m almost ready for WWE to drop the Miz altogether. I sense a tag team in his future. I think he can be a face, but this current run just isn’t working sadly.

Curtis might be working into something with Daniel Bryan. I’m intrigued by this, but unsure of what’s going on. Either way, I’ll be interested to see how it goes tonight on Raw. Brock/Axel vs Punk/Bryan was an idea pitched on LOPforums, and I like that idea a lot, if there’s a solid enough WWE title match main event.

Mark Henry vs John Cena

It’s a shame that such a great segment with Henry faking retirement a few weeks ago was merely to have another “Cena overcoming the odds” story. Cena may be the best overall wrestler in the WWE today, but he’s not the most interesting. And his continued repeating storylines like this aren’t helping.
Where does Mark go from here? I don’t know. I want to care about him, but this loss is a real killer.

Randy Orton as Mr. Red Money in the Bank

My initial reaction was “hmm, really?”
Then I realized how much I like this. I doubt he’ll hold onto the briefcase for long. In fact, Orton vs Cena might be the main event of SummerSlam. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. I long wished for that main event of face Cena vs face Orton, but I expected it with more than a month’s notice. I’m sure WWE might have something up their sleeve if this is the plan, but as it stands I’m unconvinced.

Either way, Orton is a terrific wrestler who deserves another shot to be a top guy. This briefcase is a nice sign that he will. I don’t see how anyone could complain about that.

But I know some assholes will.

And on that note, Peace out

Feel free to email me a comment (Email PEN15). One of the best parts of writing is the discussions that come out of it. My hope is that your response could be used in a column to publicly discuss your comments.
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