SummerSlam (Aug. 18)
Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. In WWE's 50-year history, those are the five men who have been the true money-drawing "faces" of the company.
That's no disrespect to guys like Shawn Michaels, Batista, CM Punk and Bret Hart, but megastars are few and far between. With a banged-up 36-year-old John Cena as the current top guy, it's well past the time to start looking for a possible successor.
Wrestling, though, has become increasingly ridiculous with authority figures taking up far too much TV time. The search for a new star keeps getting delayed. Management seems to find one excuse after the next not to go all in on someone. This all came to a head at SummerSlam.
Through Bryan's hard work, fun personality and great matches, he was suddenly catching fire as a babyface. This wasn't a guy being forced on us like Bobby Lashley or Ryback. The crowds wanted Bryan. This was despite HHH, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon constantly telling us how weird looking and short he was. The fans didn't care; he was their guy.
During the main event of the show, Bryan defeated Cena cleanly and the crowd erupted. A true main event star appeared to have been born. It was a moment that happens so rarely, but it's the moments like that that keep us watching.
The good times lasted about a minute.
Hunter gave Bryan the Pedigree, and Randy Orton took the title. There was no reason for it. None. HHH did not need to be involved at all, and Orton did not need another WWE title run.
Imagine if when Hulk Hogan defeated The Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden in 1984, President Jack Tunney ran in, gave Hogan a low blow and then had Roddy Piper pin him. Sure, it would have got crowd heat, but it would have ruined the moment and placed that heat on the wrong person.
HHH just can't help himself, and this is terrifying since he will probably run the company someday. Sometimes wrestling just needs to be about active wrestlers, not the guys that used to be wrestlers.
At SummerSlam, the top star in WWE, the guy who never loses cleanly, lost clean. He put over Bryan in a fantastic match. That should have been the story, and that alone. Instead, it was all about The Game.
It was deflating, and it ruined the best wrestling moment of the year. After it happened, some argued that we should wait and see, that HHH would get his. Nope. Still waiting for that one. Meanwhile, Bryan has been feuding with The Wyatts while Hunter seems to have forgotten all about him.
We may now never know if Bryan could have been the true face of the company. He didn't even get the chance. That's what makes that main event so frustrating and idiotic on WWE's part.
Vince McMahon always claims that he listens to the fans and gives them what they want, but no one wanted HHH or Orton involved in that match. Maybe he needs to get a hearing aid.
Well, those are my picks for WWE's worst of the year. Agree? Disagree? What were your personal worst favorites? Sound off below and thanks for reading! Let's hope that 2014 is somehow better.