John Cena lost clean.
WWE SummerSlam is in the books, and some of the outcomes—including Cena's loss—are still sending shockwaves through the WWE universe.
There wasn't really a bad match on the card. WWE threw everything it had at its biggest event of the year not named WrestleMania.
As a result, some stellar performances are getting lost in the shuffle—and rightfully so, considering how top-heavy the card was. John Cena and Daniel Bryan clashed for the title in an instant classic, while CM Punk and Brock Lesnar put together a Match of the Year candidate.
Many stars, such as Bryan, are receiving their due credit, but others are getting a bit lost. Here are three Superstars who quietly had outstanding performances at the major pay-per-view.
Let's talk for a moment about rising star Cody Rhodes. Well, let's get to that in a second. First, thank goodness this guy shaved his face.
Anyway, Rhodes put on a quality match with one-time partner Damien Sandow. They wrestled well and did a solid job of telling a story throughout, but it was pretty predictable that this feud is nowhere close to ending.
The good news is these two are dynamite together, but it is Rhodes who has the potential to be the top guy in the company someday.
Rhodes got the big victory. His face push continues, and it's clear he is heading for much bigger things. The match with Sandow was quietly one of the better contests of the night, but the spotlight is on Rhodes.
Yes, Triple H did not officially have a match. Instead, he acted as the special guest referee in the WWE title match between Cena and Bryan.
Still, plenty of Superstars are getting the credit they deserve, while Triple H lurks in the background, underappreciated for his performance.
It's not that Triple H's heel turn—planting Bryan moments after his big win, only to hand the title to Randy Orton—wasn't predictable. But it served its purpose.
Triple H got a reaction—the desired reaction—even from smart fans. That's the beauty of the storytelling here. Not only did he get his desired reaction, but the face vs. face championship also resulted in Bryan having no one to feud with heading into the buildup for Night of Champions.
Now, Bryan has a feud and a purpose, and who knows where this one is headed. All we know is Bryan is the top face in a company that does not want him winning the title. We could even see the return of a major stable with Triple H and Randy Orton reunited.
While much of the focus from SummerSlam has been on the wrestlers themselves, sometimes it is best to step back and look at the bigger picture. That's what the main event and Triple H's actions were about.
Much of the adult WWE universe despises former champion John Cena. The main event at SummerSlam saw him do something fans have not seen in a very, very long time.
John Cena lost clean.
It's hard to fathom. This is the guy who has overcome the odds so many times fans have lost count. His shtick is old, and it bores some portion of the fans. But from a business perspective, it makes sense to keep him as this stale character.
The highlight of the show was Bryan winning the title and the ensuing altercation between the new champion, Triple H and Randy Orton.
Not many paid any mind as Cena shook the new champ's hand and silently walked to the back.
Are you happy with how Cena vs. Bryan turned out?
But fans should. Cena took a big loss—and a clean one—to Bryan in passing-of-the-torch fashion. Regardless of whether Cena was forced into it because of impending elbow surgery—which will take four to six months of recovery time, according to the WWE Universe Twitter feed—the fact remains that he actually did it.
Not to mention that Cena held his own in the ring with one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. Cena is often lambasted for his lack of wrestling skills, but he was stellar in the ring once again, proving he's better than most give him credit for these days.
This is the first time Cena has put over talent in a long time. He put over CM Punk semi-clean fashion back in 2011, but that was only after Cena was distracted and Punk took advantage.
Cena losing clean to Bryan is huge. In one fell swoop, Cena has helped create a top face in Bryan and removed the predictability from the WWE title picture after months and months of boring results.
For once, Cena deserves a huge amount of credit from the entire WWE universe, not just an isolated portion.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling