WWE SummerSlam 2012: Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and Confusion
SummerSlam has come and gone. As one of the WWE's "big four" pay-per-views there were a lot of expectations surrounding the annual event's 25th anniversary.
Generally, I try my best to keep an open mind and take a positive look at the WWE product. But after it was all said and done, I couldn't help feeling confused.
At the end of the night, my biggest question was, "Where was the payoff?"
Granted, there were plenty of surprises. But at the end of the day, the purpose of a pay-per-view, especially one as big as SummerSlam's 25th anniversary, is to tie it all together and give us some answers.
Chris Jericho wins.
Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler started the show off. No complaints about that. This was a highly anticipated rivalry that saw some great matches on both Raw and SmackDown leading up to the showdown.
Jericho came out with the win after being brutally attacked on SmackDown by both Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. And Jericho didn't just win, he made Ziggler tap out cleanly. No doubt, Ziggler is supposed to be Mr. Money in the Bank. Dolph Ziggler is supposed to be championship material.
What did Jericho gain from this win? He proved to the world that he could still win the big one? I argue that, for Jericho, this wasn't the big one. The big one was facing CM Punk at Wrestlemania 28. The big one was facing CM Punk again at Extreme Rules.
SummerSlam was the big one for Dolph Ziggler.
I'm a huge fan of both Jericho and Ziggler, but a victory can't just be a victory. A victory has to make sense within the storyline. Either Jericho loses to Ziggler and puts him over, or Jericho wins as a heel, so Ziggler can generate increasing support from fans.
Daniel Bryan wins.
This match was really good. But it's purpose is still lost on me. Kane going on a rampage was entertaining, but fans are still left with the question, "What's the point?"
Miz retains his title.
Miz successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship. The match was good. I'm not really a fan of Miz, but he delivered. Rey Mysterio put up a fight, but I can't help but feel Mysterio has been lost in the shuffle. I don't really know where his character fits anymore.
Sheamus retains his title.
Going into this match, I really didn't buy Alberto Del Rio as a threat to the world heavyweight champion. Sheamus has defeated him before. However, I was interested because it really did seem like Sheamus might lose his title this time. Sheamus defeated Del Rio, surprisingly, in unclean fashion. I was pretty lost on its meaning.
Tag Team Champions retain title.
All the hype over the tag team No. 1 contenders, Titus O'Neal and Darren Young, led nowhere. Also unfortunate, the stable recently lost its very entertaining manager, AW. Has WWE management given up on the rising stars?
CM Punk retains title.
I can definitely appreciate everything CM Punk has done to get to where he is today. I'm not arguing his accomplishments. But CM Punk cannot call himself the "best in the world" when he wins a triple-threat title match in such a cheap fashion. It wasn't just disappointing, it wasn't even entertaining. It's not a complete surprise considering triple-threat matches are usually designed for cheap wins, but this was just awful.
Brock Lesnar wins.
The desire for this match, simply put, was a guilty pleasure. Brock Lesnar versus Triple H—it just made sense from a business standpoint. But it also didn't make sense. Lesnar returned, after practically a decade, to WWE to lose dramatically to John Cena. He then went after Triple H, a semi-retired superstar.
What either man had to gain from this match is debatable. In the end, Triple H tapped. After the match, viewers then experienced an awkwardly drawn-out segment in which Triple H apologized to the crowd. I thought perhaps someone was going to come out—Shawn Michaels or even Wade Barrett—but alas it just ended.
I wouldn't say SummerSlam was bad. The matches were pretty good. But I couldn't help noticing the emptiness, the confusion as I raised an eyebrow. Everyone retained their titles (unless you count the pre-show). There were no real payoffs—only questions.
I can't really recall so many questions being raised at so many pay-per-views this often in WWE history. And while some might think this stirs the pot or allows for "unpredictability," I argue that after a while you simply have to give fans closure.
What's happening with John Cena? What's happening with CM Punk? What's happening with Daniel Bryan? What's happening with Dolph Ziggler? What's happening with The Rock? What's happening with Brock Lesnar?
We have no clue. And I'm starting to get tired of guessing.
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