WWE SummerSlam 2012: Why Kane vs. Daniel Bryan Is the Sleeper Match of the Show

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

Photo Credit: WWE.com
Photo Credit: WWE.com

Sunday night, World Wrestling Entertainment will hold its annual SummerSlam event live from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The card will feature Brock Lesnar taking on Triple H, WWE Champion CM Punk defending against John Cena and Big Show in a triple threat match. And Dolph Ziggler will attempt to continue his meteoric rise as he meets Chris Jericho.

That is already a stacked pay-per-view card, but when you factor in the World Championship match and stars such as Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara and Christian not having matches on the card, SummerSlam has the potential to be the most star-studded pay-per-view since WrestleMania.

It may be surprising to some, then, that the sleeper match of the show may just be the one between WWE's resident "Big Red Monster" Kane and former World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan.

Bryan is in the middle of the hottest year in the business, having very good-to-great matches with anyone put in front of him. His top-notch in-ring abilities keep fans interested in his matches even after the "YES" and "NO" chants stop.

After a bumpy return and start to 2012, Kane appears determined to prove himself capable of keeping up with a crop of younger, faster and more talented superstars, led by the likes of Bryan and WWE Champion CM Punk.

Kane has traditionally performed at a high level in matches that employed the classic "big man, little man" formula. In the past, smaller superstars such as Chris Jericho, X-Pac and Chris Benoit have used that formula to great results. X-Pac specifically proved the formula could work, even if the smaller man was the heel.

Add to that Bryan's un-apologetically stiff striking offense and his submission wrestling skills, as well as Kane's well-timed, crowd-popping signature moves, and you have the structure and spots of a match that will keep the crowd hot and steal the thunder of those following it.

The most important aspect of the bout is the ongoing storyline between the two competitors and Raw general manager, AJ Lee. Fans care about the storyline and the creative team has done a great job of intertwining the three performers with one another. As a result, fans are more likely to invest themselves in the match, creating a vocal atmosphere that is often as important to matches as anything going on between the ropes.

Kane and Daniel Bryan have the chance to be involved in the sleeper match of SummerSlam, not only because of the reasons already mentioned, but because expectations are so high for the other matches on the card. The match between these two top-flight performers has no other choice but to surprise.

And that's not a bad thing. After all, some of the best matches in recent history have been ones no one expected to be as spectacular as they turned out.

John Cena versus Umaga, Royal Rumble 2007, I am looking at you.