What can we take from the events of Sunday evening's SummerSlam pay-per-view? Answer: A great deal.
Not only was the show packed with superb matches and great crowd reactions, there were some downright shocking developments, too.
In fact, SummerSlam has likely shaped WWE television for months to come. You can even see the seeds being sown for the WrestleMania XXX main event here (Orton/Triple H vs. Vince McMahon and representative of his choosing seeming the most likely).
So, in order of importance and long-term impact, here are the seven biggest things we've garnered from the show.
At the pay-per-view, a bruised and battered Del Rio managed to fight through the pain and retain his World Heavyweight Championship against Christian. The bout itself was very good and had some great exchanges.
Hey, it's hard to have a bad match with Christian.
WWE making the call not to switch the belt to Christian isn't truly surprising, but it is disappointing. It's becoming abundantly clear that Del Rio isn't a good champion—or even a decent one—and it remains to be seen how dragging out his mediocre reign will help anyone.
Of course, this isn't really a surprise. WWE seems intent on making Del Rio a star, no matter how doomed these attempts are. Hence why this is so low on the list.
Sunday night at SummerSlam, The Miz (clad in an absurd 007-style Tuxedo) entered a lively and fun performance as official host of the pay-per-view. He did a great job introducing the matches at the start of the show, and his interactions with Fandango throughout the night were good comedy relief, too.
Acting, hosting, wrestling—Miz is doing everything these days. And he continues to be a big asset to his company.
The third-generation Diva managed to cleanly defeat Brie Bella at event, forcing her foe to tap out to the much-feared sharpshooter move. Granted the match was hindered by a very uncooperative crowd—the fans in Los Angeles were seemingly desperate to chant for anything except the match that was taking place in from of them—but it was perfectly decent by WWE Divas' standards.
Thanks to the success of reality show Total Divas, Natalya has had a career revival in WWE. Can she continue her great run and end up with the Divas Championship? Stay tuned.
Sunday night in the opening match of the pay-per-view, Bray Wyatt beat Kane and likely sent “The Big Red Machine” packing for the foreseeable future. (Per the storyline, the trio seem to have Kane-napped him.)
Really, this was the only logical result. Wyatt absolutely had to win his first major singles match since being called up to the main roster. Besides, Kane is taking time off of television to film the horror sequel See No Evil 2 and needed to be written out of storylines. What good would it have done to give him the victory here?
WWE clearly has huge plans for the Wyatt family, and Sunday night was merely one stepping stone on the group's climb to main event stardom.
Not only did Rob Van Dam get demoted to the SummerSlam pre-show, he also failed to take Dean Ambrose's United States Championship in their match.
Sure, thanks to interference from Shield member Roman Reigns, Van Dam did officially “win” in a DQ result, but that will surely be of little comfort to the former TNA star.
Coming out of the show, Van Dam seems as aimless as ever. Will WWE ever fully commit to him and give him something worthwhile to do?
It would be very easy for Brock Lesnar to coast on his UFC success and phone in his performances. Certainly, there's no pressure on the star to deliver great matches. He'll get the top spots and the huge paychecks anyway.
Regardless, since returning to WWE, Lesnar has gone above and beyond to deliver in the ring. His bouts with John Cena and Triple H in the past have been very good, as was his match Sunday night with CM Punk.
Scarily dominant, physically charismatic and not shy to talking trash—some of his insults to Punk during their match were fantastic—has there ever been a better big man in history? Lesnar is a once-in-a-lifetime performer.
Massively popular babyface Daniel Bryan actually pinned John Cena clean to win the WWE Championship Sunday night. It was a very touching moment—but, alas, it was short-lived.
Orton, as expected, came out with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Then Triple H shockingly turned on Daniel Bryan, pedigreeing him out of nowhere.
After being a babyface for the past four years, Orton finally turned heel when he cashed in on the vulnerable Bryan. Triple H clapping in the corner for the new champ fully established his newly found evilness.
Can you say Evolution reunion?
In terms of short- and long-term impact, Orton—and Triple H's—heel turn absolutely has to take the top spot here. It will no doubt dictate Raw's main storylines for the rest of the year.
Will Bryan get his revenge? What will Cena have to say? And where does Vince McMahon fit in with all of this? There's a lot to talk about regarding this angle.