As soon as Vickie Guerrero screamed "Excuse Me!" from backstage, everyone watching SummerSlam knew the show was going to get started off with a jolt. And indeed, Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler delivered the goods, setting a pretty high bar for the rest of the night.
There was little doubt in everyone's mind, as both Jericho and Ziggler lived up to their billing and tore the house down before anyone else had the chance.
Between Jericho's veteran leadership in calling and guiding the match and Ziggler's ability to sell, the greatest strengths of the generational stars elevated the quality of the match, giving Jericho his first signature win of 2012 and Ziggler another quality performance en route to becoming WWE's next main-event star.
And what better way to cap off the match than an old-school Liontamer?
Forget the Walls of Jericho. We've all seen it degraded to a Boston crab for years in WWE since Jericho is generally matched up with wrestler's much bigger than himself. The WCW days saw Jericho crank back with one knee on the ground and the opponent bent into a pretzel. To see Ziggler bent like the luchadores of the late '90s became the perfect image to end Jericho's run in WWE for now, as a return to touring with Fozzy is likely now with SummerSlam past.
Some might have seen Jericho's victory as a step back for Ziggler, as clearly the Showoff is on the way up in WWE. But a loss doesn't hurt Ziggler in the long run. In fact, with the match leading off the show, it almost felt reminiscent of WrestleMania X where Bret Hart dropped the opening match to Owen Hart only to win the WWE title later in the night.
A cash-in of Ziggler's Money in the Bank contract seemed all but likely with the World Heavyweight title match coming later in the night, but it wasn't meant to be on this pay-per-view, which might be for the best. Ziggler might benefit from at least one more high-profile program before cashing in. And who is to say that we've seen the last of him and Jericho mixing it up in a WWE ring either?
Regardless, the opening match of SummerSlam showcased two men at opposite ends of their wrestling career's but equally up to the challenge of putting on arguably the best match of the night.