Last night the WWE put on one of their best beginning-to-end pay-per-view events in years. Before SummerSlam even hit the air, Rob Van Dam and Dean Ambrose put on a tremendous match before it ended in a disqualification. Kane and Bray Wyatt launched the main show with a decent match that did its job of writing Kane off of TV for his reprisal of Jacob Goodnight in “See No Evil 2”. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes kept the show going with an above average match. Alberto Del Rio successfully defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Christian was a match of the year candidate. Natalya and Brie Bella got trashed on the ‘net, but for what it’s worth, it was much better than any RAW Divas match we’ve seen in some time.
After this low-point, 2013 SummerSlam turned on the burners. CM Punk and Brock Lesnar were up next and put on what might be the best pro wrestling match of 2013. Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeated Big E Langston and AJ Lee in another good match, even though it was obviously rushed. Finally, the show closed with Daniel Bryan becoming just the second guy in two years to cleanly pin John Cena’s shoulders to the mat en route to becoming the WWE Champion.
The Internet rejoiced. It was quickly called one of the best pay-per-views in years. A few even rated it as the best SummerSlam of all-time.
And then Randy Orton’s theme song hit.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Randy slowly (technically, I guess his entrance doesn’t have any other speed) made his way to the ring, pondering whether or not he should cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Then he momentarily decided against it and turned around and headed to the back.
Daniel Bryan’s celebration continued and the Internet Wrestling Community let out a sigh of relief. ‘We dodged a bullet’, they thought. The only problem was that Triple H was awkwardly still hanging out in the ring. And that’s when the celebration came to an abrupt ending.
Pedigree on Bryan.
Randy Orton quickly heads back to the ring, cashes in Money in the Bank, rolls over Daniel Bryan, and becomes the new WWE Champion after Triple H makes the three-count.
Suddenly, to many fans, this SummerSlam sucked and dropped from a high A grade all the way down to a B or C. All of the great matches and riveting swerves meant nothing. Despite all of the rumors and much foreshadowing on the WWE’s part that a Randy Orton WWE Title reign was coming, fans were legitimately pissed off that is all of these whispers actually came to fruition.
From the perspective of a fan, I totally can understand why many people feel that way. From the perspective of someone who is taking a look at the bigger picture, it’s crystal clear to me – WWE made the absolute right move by allowing Randy Orton to successfully cash-in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Daniel Bryan.
First, let’s start off with the obvious reason. Television is always more entertaining and performs better in the ratings when it is the babyface chasing the title. Furthermore, Randy Orton flat out sucks as a face and we all know it. For much of the last few years, a fan favorite (yes, I’m including a “heel” CM Punk in that) has carried the WWE Title. During this time, WWE ratings have dropped to record lows. RAW is having trouble even eclipsing the 3.0 mark anymore. If the WWE is still not sold on whether or not Daniel Bryan can be a legitimate draw, these next few months will be when they truly find out what they have in him.
With John Cena rumored to be taking some time off due to elbow surgery, we’re going to see those fans who sided with Cena now side with Daniel Bryan in his quest to get the belt back from Randy Orton. Fans were already behind Daniel Bryan before this. Even more fans will be behind Daniel Bryan because of this. Daniel Bryan will be thee Superstar for the coming months. This is a win-win for the WWE, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton. If Daniel Bryan is going to be the new face of the WWE like many expect him to be, it’s going to be right now. He’s about to be pushed to the moon in the biggest storyline of his life.
This brings me to my next reason Bryan dropping the WWE Title tonight was right…
We’re about to see Daniel Bryan play the role of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The hottest wrestling angle of all-time is about to be modernized with a brand new cast. Many fans are already talking about whether we’re on the cusp of an Evolution reunion. Others are talking about a modern day Corporation. What I think we’re going to see is a combination of the two. We’re going to get Triple H talk about how this company is going to be in his possession very soon and how he doesn’t want a tiny, unshaven, nerdy guy as the face of his company.
Instead, his hand-picked poster-child will be Randy Orton and Triple H will spend the foreseeable future protecting his newest asset. Make no qualms about it – what we saw tonight were two guys working together to finalize something they’ve plotted for some time. What we have now is Daniel Bryan versus the new Corporation. Daniel Bryan is set to be involved in the biggest storyline of sometime, with the biggest names in the company, with the most important title on the line. He’s set to play the “Stone Cold” role of the unlikely character that the WWE Universe gravitates to as he faces off against the McMahon family in his quest to reclaim the WWE Championship.
This brings me to my final reason why Randy Orton successfully cashing in Money in the Bank was the right move…
Daniel Bryan’s “Moment.” One of the biggest reasons that many fans are using to defend their anger is that Daniel Bryan was “deprived of his moment.” I admit, I’m with all of you to a point. I, too, wanted to see all of the confetti continue to drop while “Flight of the Valkyries” blared and Daniel Bryan showed off his brand new WWE Title to a crowd chorus of “YES! YES! YES!”. What we started to get was obviously interrupted and abruptly ended. The rumors suggest that the payoff for this angle will come at WrestleMania XXX when a face Vince McMahon, upset at the notion that his son-in-law is trying to push him into retirement at an alarming rate, chooses someone to face Triple H for control of the company.
Maybe SummerSlam is the long beginning of Vince McMahon’s choice being none other than Daniel Bryan. Winning that match probably won’t earn Daniel Bryan WWE gold quite yet, but what it will do is have Vince McMahon give Daniel Bryan his public stamp of approval as his choice to be the future of the WWE. For a guy that was wrestling in front of 50 people in vacant warehouses just 5 years ago, what bigger moment can he get than beating Triple H at a WrestleMania in the biggest storyline that the company has seen in many years? Trust me – Daniel Bryan will have his moment.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]The roller coaster of emotions that many of us faced tonight surely was exhausting. The animosity, anger, disgust, and that underlying thought of “I am SOOO done with the WWE” may still be there, but the good news is that the best is yet to come. Breaking it down to absolute basics – every story is always better when the hero is chasing after a prize. Daniel Bryan is that hero and the floundering current state of pro-wrestling is what will benefit from the story. Whether you love what happened at SummerSlam or absolutely hate it, the fact of the matter is that pro wrestling and Daniel Bryan are the real winners tonight.
Was Daniel Bryan having his moment taken from him what any of us paid $54.99 to see?
NO! NO! NO!
Was Randy Orton cashing in Money in the Bank and leaving SummerSlam as the WWE Champion the right thing for the WWE?
YES! YES! YES!
Brett Clendaniel, Jr. is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of WrestleChat.net and a member of the CamelClutchBlog family since the first month it opened. Follow WrestleChat on Twitter at @WrestleChatNet.
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[amazon_link id=”B00CS7PJY0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] The Best of WWE at Madison Square Garden[/amazon_link]