*All moving gifs courtesy of ilovewrestlinggifs*
Hello again, dear friends and enemies. Welcome back to the site. If you’re like me (and you’re not, because I’m the incarnation of perfection) then you come here for pro wrestling and/or sports entertainment commentary, insight, witty banter and, of course, the occasional bit of hardcore animal porn. But since the nation of Kickassia has passed the Protection of Oriental Pigeons Act (aka the P.O.O.P. Act) we’ve had to fall back on pure analysis.
But not me, true believers! Never a fan of the status quo or hot bird-on-bear action, I, the Infamous One himself, is proud to bring you ranting! Yes, ranting, pure unadulterated ranting on something we all love to hate: the WWE! As we all know, last night was Summerslam 2012, one of the big four PPVs the company puts out, and the question is simple: “DiZ, you clandestine paragon of forthrightness, what did YOU, in all your greatness and humility that I can never hope to achieve, think of the PPV?”
Since you are so kind to acknowledge my greatness, I’ll tell you. I’ve picked up a bad habit, I’m sorry to say, one that compels me to actually buy the PPVs, fry up some chicken wings, drink Yuengling and Sam Adams and occasionally endure a random appearance by a long-lost friend. The last element within that circle did not occur last night, but just as well. Those long-lost friends are usually casual fans and at a certain point last night they would have felt cheated out of the $0.00 they paid to watch it.
Not that they matter. What did I think? Well we start with the pre-show match between Antonio Cesaro, the man of five languages (and six words) versus the United States Champion (and I use that term loosely) Santino Marella. Just for you, reader, I’ll treat you to highlights from the match via moving gifs which highlight the best parts of the matches. So let us begin.
We all know the reign of Santino Marella as the United States Champion has been stupidly underwhelming. His high point came in the Elimination Chamber match when he was literally the cock of the walk. His inclusion into the PPV, even in the pre-show, is fulfillment of the role of the champion who puts others over. Enter Antonio Cesaro, master of one-word phrases and questionably attractive European women. He’s quickly risen from being Teddy Long’s pseudo-adversary to PPV pre-show talent, and why not? He’s a big Swede who beats people up, kind of like this guy here (only he’s Spanish).
Besides that, with patriotism very high right now (election years will do that to you) a good international heel is needed, and Cesaro fits that bill to a Rocky IV kind of perfection. The match was entertaining, far more than Marella has been in a long time, and his loss came as a sigh of relief to us, the masses. Frankly I think Cesaro can enact a respectable and entertaining run as the United States Champion, and maybe he’ll even bring a little validity back to the title. The big question now is who he feuds with next. I’m hoping for a low-to-mid carder who hasn’t exactly had a chance to shine or, hypothetically, gets thrown into walls by giants.
Match one (two if you want to speak in technicalities) was between the Show Off Dolph Ziggler and Y2J Chris Jericho. I don’t know who said it, but a very wise person said that this match had the potential to be the best PPV opener in the history of the WWE.
I agreed. Jericho versus Ziggler, old versus new, unofficial mentor versus unofficial mentee, Yomi versus Shura (Yu Yu Hakusho fans might get that one), and sure enough it was all that and more. The in-ring psychology of the match suggested to me that Ziggler was like a younger brother to Jericho, desperately trying to earn his elder sibling’s respect through ability, skill and imitation. That, as well as the fact that Jericho’s role in the WWE right now is to put over the next generation of stars, fueled this great match.
We were treated to just over 13 minutes of smooth ring work and flashy bravado that ended, surprisingly, with a Jericho win. The crowd was enthused and, even better, we were treated to the Lion Tamer. Not the Walls of Jericho as many figured, but the Lion Tamer. I explained to one person, “The Walls of Jericho is a renamed Boston Crab. The Lion Tamer is there to crush your skill and snap your back in two.” Big brother wasn’t amused.
But I’m looking past that and to what this match might mean for this feud between Jericho and Ziggler. It seems like many a Superstar right now are playing the shadow game to a wrestler they emulate or idolize, and this is the first time I’m seeing how blatantly this is being shown. I don’t see Jericho doing anything big for a bit and Ziggler may not cash in that briefcase in the near future (or maybe he will; get the belt of Sheamus; oops, spoiler) but we may finally see that almost Rule of Two Sith thing I was hinting at so long enough back when Cena was supposed to join the dark side.
Maybe. I hope so.
Match three was between Daniel Bryan and Kane, more in-ring story for the long (and compelling) arc between AJ, Punk, Bryan and Kane. While the “anger management” angle has seemed to fade a little bit, the sun that is Bryan’s career hasn’t subsided in the least. Easily one of the finest workers in the WWE in a long time, he makes the ring work look good and he plays the crowd to perfection, whether friendly or jerky, aggressive or downright psychotic. Pair him with Kane, another of the great workers in the WWE, and we have a great match.
It is interesting, I think, that this angle has lasted as long as it has, and it all revolves around a Diva, the most powerful Diva on the program, the Diva that did what Eve couldn’t do and did it without any sexual innuendo (the mantra is “I will resist Eve breast, mouth or sex jokes. I will resist…”) and now it seems like she punishing every man that had any relation with her along the way. Look at Punk and his triple threat. Look at Bryan and his psychological evaluations. Look at Kane and his relative third wheel status. Look at Josh Matthews and…
Well to be fair, he was just doing his job. But really, when’s the last time that paid off? That’s not very “Be A Star”-ish, WWE. What does it say when a man who is just trying to do his job gets manhandled and may just suffer from some anal bleeding?
But Bryan won the match via a Small Package (ironic, I know) and AJ has promised retribution and consequences for Kane’s attack. A great match, great work from both Superstars, great tolerance for Josh Matthews. I don’t know WHO he pissed off to get thrown around and beat up as of late but he’s taking it all in stride.
Our fourth match was for the Intercontinental Championship, a real barn burner between token talking Mexican good guy Rey Mysterio and (not a) movie star Mike Mizanin, aka the Miz. I didn’t know what to expect or think of this match but I have to admit: I hate Batman and Bruce Wayne just a little bit more now that we have this image:
Personally I think he’d have been better off coming out as the Riddler, being “Mysterio” and all, or even Bane, because of the similar Mexican heritage, but hey, when you need to impersonate a hero, you impersonate everyone’s favorite psychologically damaged, sexually repressed/confused, forever lonely billionaire! Trust me, I know Batman lore, I’m being VERY nice just saying that.
Like I said, I didn’t have much of an opinion for this match because my only thought was that I wanted the Miz to win. I’m in the minority here but I’m not big on Rey Mysterio for the same reason I’m not big on Sin Cara: I don’t see their styles soar because they rarely face other luchas. When the eventual (and inevitable) battle between him and Sin Cara becomes a reality (not that tag team mess where they look like Double Dragon) I’ll probably enjoy it more. After all, what is Sin Cara in the WWE but in the shadow… of… Rey… Mysterio… do I hear the sweet bells of validation?!
The actual match was surprisingly good. The back-and-forth was clever and enjoyable, and the end of the match actually did feature some serious edge-of-your-seat(-with-a-beer-in-hand) moments. The Miz’s victory pleased me even more because it looked like a hard fought victory, which is the best kind of victory.
Match five was the rather noteworthy Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio 463 (I don’t think the number is that high, but it might as well be). We’ve seen this match plenty of times but despite Del Rio’s in-ring skill he’s just not that fun to watch overall. He’s rather dull on the mic and he’s grown stale. Someone’s left the cap off of the bottle of Senzao if you catch my drift.
Therein lies the issue: the actual match was solid. It was clean. But like the Primetime Players vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth 353 (again, not that many, but might as well be) back when A.W. was their manager, the crowd wasn’t into it. A.W. brought energy to that match, and Ricardo Rodriguez couldn’t do the same for this match.
There was a certain time when the crowd popped though that caught my attention, as shown here:
But that pop actually came BEFORE Sheamus displayed his strength, when Del Rio locked in his finisher. That was curious, but even when Ricardo threw his shoe (you’re missed, A.W.) the crowd just wasn’t into this otherwise solid match. Sheamus retained, but it’s about time we had something new. Sheamus vs. Del Rio has long since overstayed its welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Orton in the WHC title hunt again. Speaking of Orton… no, nothing. I just wanted to get your hopes up. Like I said to Quinn before: he dismantles with arguments and logic. I just hurt people’s feelings. Deal with it!
The next match was the Primetime Players against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, who seemed to be dressed in Superman attire for some reason or the other. You’ll notice the lack of moving gifs for this one. That’s because there are none (or at least I don’t feel like looking). It was a standard match, and the consistent chant of “Kobe” throughout (or maybe “Kofi”, it was hard to tell) was the highlight.
My biggest thing was finally acknowledging that one of the biggest African-American wrestlers in the WWE right now is a Que. That’s gotta be an interesting article in the Oracle I reckon. Kofi and R-Truth (I call them “Good Times” because I think of this song when they come out) retain their titles, but honestly I don’t feel too strongly either way about them right now.
The WWE Championship match followed this tag team encounter, and the first thing that caught my attention was the order of appearance. John Cena was first, then the Big Show, and finally the CHAMPION CM Punk. That’s good. It’s progress. Punk wasn’t in the main event but that’s a gripe for another post.
I’ll say this: that match was as good as it could have possibly been. There was a consistent attempt to keep it a one-on-one bout and the double tap out was, predictably I’ll admit, interesting if not a little cliché. Punk’s victory was the icing on the cake because it was both so like him and so unlike him at the same time, which only makes his tweener status (HE’S NOT A HEEL!) all the better.
But you have to wonder: is this part of a grand months long arc like that of Daniel Bryan? We know the Rock is waiting at the Royal Rumble for his match (with no reasonable explanation as to why this match CAN even go down) but what until then? Minor sidestories within? Gaiden? Cheese? The Tahj Mahal? Hammer? I’m actually voting for Hammer. Otherwise, CM Punk is a terrific tweener, in the same vein of Stone Cold himself (SHADOWS! SHADOWS! SHADOWS!) and I like that.
What the people (i.e. – many of thee) don’t understand is that there’s a lot more to the characters you love and hate in the ring. There’s more than just black and white; there is gray, several shades of it, about fifty to be exact. That’s where CM Punk is. That’s actually where a LOT of wrestlers are, but people don’t like to think. There’s black and white, but no gray. Gray SUCKS! So people just think, “Oh, he hit the Rock so he’s a heel!” Shut up, fool, he’s a tweener, between face and heel, adept in both, master of none!
I’m sorry, I got angry because I envisioned your (ADRIAN!) face and just screamed at the computer screen. Let me sum up my feelings on those that feel like CM Punk is a heel with this:
Next we had our Cash Money performance, and being an ardent hater of anything post-2003 from the Cash Money camp that was NOT Teena Marie let’s just apply the above moving gif to my feelings for the performance. There wasn’t enough dancing Layla but there was enough trying to sing Spanish announcers. That made the overall performance about a C+. It would have been a B-, but like I said: not enough dancing Layla.
Finally, my legion of followers, we come to the main event. Brock Lesnar versus Triple H. I’ll offer this disclaimer now: if you’re a casual fan of pro wrestling/sports entertainment, this match sucked. If you’re a deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan, this match was intriguing.
It was like a game of chess, that’s the only way I can describe it. And chess, while interesting, isn’t always something that has your eyes shifting like a game of ping pong. It was like a ballet almost, a psychological struggle between a man with no morals and a man who still thinks he has something to prove after losing a record third time to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
No tables were destroyed, no weapons utilized, just some retrospectively brutal attacks by both combatants. Looking at what this match is truly here to symbolize, you have to wonder if this is all part of the long road (or an extended storyline) leading to the end of Triple H’s in-ring work. He’s been around for a while, staked his claim, and now he’s been emasculated and defeated, both as an athlete (Lesnar’s repeatedly beat him senseless) and professionally (Lesnar didn’t get his way, but he left the scars). Is it time to see the end of Triple H, the wrestler?
Maybe. I have a scenario in mind actually that would be a perfect way for Triple H to leave the ring, but it would need to happen at Wrestlemania. In any case, it was a gentleman’s match, not full of spotfest excitement or bloody indulgence but true, technical, specified brutality. Watching from both a casual and deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment state of mind, I was equally bored/angered and amazed/melancholy, because with the abundance of shadows I’ve spoken of earlier, who exactly is the shadow for Triple H? Stone Cold’s legacy is in the spirit of CM Punk right now. Hogan’s is in Cena. Rey Mysterio’s is in Sin Cara. Jericho’s is in Ziggler, maybe even a few others. Could perhaps Sheamus…
Well, it was a deep match, with Triple H tapping out to Lesnar. He left the ring like a king who had finally taken too many wounds. Classy. Very cool, very classy.
That sums up the PPV for me. Because I’m in the weird habit of paying for these and essentially hosting little private parties for them now, I hold the PPVs, especially the big four, in a higher regard now, and I can say that Summerslam didn’t disappoint. The crowd wasn’t as enthused at all times as they could have been, and the main event is going to be a polarizing thing for many, but by and by I liked it, money well spent, a nice compliment to my many, many beers.
The DiZ gives this PPV a B for a grade. That’s about all I have to say today. You stay classy, San Diego. I’m Ron Burgandy…?