WWE SummerSlam 2013: The First Truly Unpredictable WWE Title Match in a Year
Ever since former WWE Champion CM Punk turned heel midway through his 434-day reign over a year ago, the WWE title picture has been incredibly predictable to anybody who considers himself to be more than a casual fan of professional wrestling.
Relative newcomer Ryback posed a huge threat to Punk's record-breaking title reign within the realm of kayfabe, but the majority of fans knew that he was merely elevated to the main event scene to fill in for John Cena whilst the latter recovered from a legitimate injury.
"The Human Wrecking Ball" became arguably even less significant an opponent in his recent heel run, challenging Cena for the industry's most coveted prize. Going into his two title challenges at Extreme Rules and Payback, Ryback had been on an inexplicable losing streak at pay-per-view events, meaning that very few fans were able to buy into the character as legitimate championship material.
Furthermore, the three WWE Championship matches in the past 12 months that have involved "The Great One," The Rock, have been, in the eyes of many, sickeningly predictable.
Despite CM Punk's historic title reign, "The Brahma Bull" was always the clear favourite heading into the main event of Royal Rumble back in January, having essentially all but announced the match on the 1000th episode of RAW months prior.
Aside from The Rock and Ryback, others who have received WWE title matches on pay-per-view cards were equally as unlikely to succeed.
Nobody in their right mind can still picture The Big Show as WWE Champion, a title he has not held in over a decade, despite an abundance of opportunities. Moreover, Mark Henry's efforts were never intended to be more than a carryover feud to take the company, John Cena and the WWE Championship to the second biggest pay-per-view of the year.
It could be argued that the last genuinely unpredictable WWE title match was held over a year ago, when John Cena cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on RAW 1000, where many expected "The Champ" to go over Punk on the special edition of WWE's flagship show.
Winds are changing however, as the upcoming SummerSlam main event of John Cena defending against Daniel Bryan is, in this writer's opinion, the hardest to call in over a year.
Predictability is not always a bad thing in professional wrestling, and there is, of course, the argument that suggests we should all stop reading "dirt sheets" if we feel our enjoyment of wrestling is being tainted by having a good idea on who is in line to win or receive a push.
Nonetheless, this year's SummerSlam has finally restored some excitement to the WWE Championship picture.
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