Last week, I was very critical in the way Daniel Bryan was just chosen by John Cena for the SummerSlam main event. I felt it was more pandering to the audience. It didn’t feel like Daniel Bryan was seen on the same level of the WWE champion. It was more of a charity case. That was all rectified this week, deep in the heart of Texas from Austin.
The show begins with a drum roll again. (I guess that’s Brad Maddox theme song?)
We have the customary contract signing with the Raw GM and the two competitors. I like this for two reasons. I like this because there was no violence and they solidified why Daniel Bryan deserved the shot in the eyes of both John Cena and Daniel Bryan. I even like the effect of Brad Maddox showing doubts of the bearded wonder thanks to the influence of the higher power. For some reason it was never officially publicly said, but hinted at its Vince McMahon.
(Somehow I think, “It’s me Austin, it was me all along, Austin. Son of a Bitch!” needs to fit in here somewhere.)
Maddox sets up an open-ended gauntlet style main event in which Daniel Bryan should prove himself against his “doubters”. This is how you set up a strong underdog babyface. Have them fight from underneath against adversity. And Daniel definitely fit that bill, way more than John Cena. This was further illustrated in the backstage segment with the WWE champion and his upcoming challenger. Daniel Bryan showing tenacity telling Cena not the interfere in the proceedings of the main event. Stephanie and Triple H give their two cents on this decision saying that Maddox has to get on the right train of thought. I’m still not sure where this is going. I hope they don’t pull the rug out from under Bryan.
This seemed to be the night of persevering babyfaces as the in ring action began with Sheamus losing in a great effort to World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. That contusion on his leg looked on the more nasty with his pale complexion. This is the most sympathetic the character of Sheamus has been in quite some time. No shenanigans, no hooligan behavior which usually makes him look like a dick.
Christian defeats Titus O’Neill in a surprisingly competitive match. I wonder if they’re getting behind pushing Titus as a single considering what they did with his partner and Dolph Ziggler later in the night. Young barely put up a fight as the show off hits the Zigzag rather easily.
The focus of the segment was on DZ and Langston continuing their cat and mouse game. Dolph embarrasses Big E , which I’m not sure of if it’s too quick to make him look that foolish taking some of the luster off the big man. They didn’t really touch on the romantic tension between AJ and Langston. I think that the more interesting angle here. But they look to be on the course for SummerSlam.
Cody Rhodes continues his collision course with Damien Sandow doing the turnbuckle tango with the birthday boy Fandango. The Intellectual Savior of the Masses was on commentary calling himself the uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion. Sandow tries to interfere but gets a Disaster Kick for his efforts. Rhodes capitalizes on the dazed Fandango by hitting CrossRhodes. If they’re not doing something with the briefcase a SummerSlam I will be very surprised.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman have a great back-and-forth as the battered and bruised Best in the World challenges Brock at SummerSlam. It shows that you can make someone a good guy without making him lose his edge. Perseverance and feeling a threat of a looming overpowering force makes a great underneath struggle.
They do an “if you did not see this week’s Smackdown” segment in which they repeat Mark Henry with the Shield and the Usos coming to the rescue of the World Strongest Man. I smell a six man tag coming at SummerSlam because that’s what they do. Especially Teddy Long..
Speaking of Teddy Long, we get a backstage segment the playa playa and Booker T being at odds over their job performance as GM. Does anybody care? What’s the endgame here? This seems like a storyline that just doesn’t seem to want to end. I know they were talking about a Booker heel turn. But now that he’s not in power does it even matter?
Ryback has gone away from being a whiny heel to more of a bully. Ryback looks better in this role, and much more menacing this way. This would play into later on in the night.
We have the worst segment of the night in the Miz TV Total Divas debacle. Apparently, Eva Marie is going to be the bitch on the show and they had to humiliate Jerry Lawler for some reason. The Miz invites the Hall of Famer into the ring, which was bizarre and leads to the King getting slapped. Why couldn’t they do that with the Miz?
(And why couldn’t they get her name right? Eva Marie, is that so hard? Not like it matters, but at least if she’s going to star on your show, you might want to get her name right.)
RVD and Wade Barrett have a less than stellar match together. As the Barrett barrage felt the potato nature of Rob Van Dam with a busted lip. In the end, a Five-Star Frog Splash finishes the contest. They announce, RVD will battle ADR on Smackdown this Friday. I’m still predicting that’s going to be the World Heavyweight Title Match for Los Angeles on August 14.
The main event was something spectacular as I think it really put Daniel Bryan on that next level. The master of The Yes Lock really showed what made him so popular in ROH with two great matches with the real Americans Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro. They gave this last half-hour the show. This was great. When Ryback came out it lost a little bit of luster as after being put through a table Bryan gets saved by John Cena. This leads to a tables match being set up between The WWE Champion and Ryback for next week.
(Didn’t we just see this at Payback?)
Then we go off the air with Vince McMahon influencing Maddox taking a match between Kane and Daniel Bryan for next week’s episode. Two problems. One, do we really want to see this after what we just witnessed ? And two, bring Kane back just out of the blue with no buildup considering the Wyatt family took him out just seems rather foolish.
Speaking of which, where was the Wyatt family? I guess we have to follow the buzzards. And another thing wasn’t The Big Show supposed to return last night? I wonder what’s going on there. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens next week.
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This article was first posted on July 23, 2013