As the WWE Universe cools down after a blistering-hot SummerSlam event, fans are beginning to understand that a new day may have dawned on the entire WWE roster.
Some of the most established and decorated Superstars on the roster were left on the losing end when the dust settled, and things may be spiraling out of control for at least one Superstar.
Heading into SummerSlam, recent events had breathed new life into the career of former world champion Jack Swagger. With a more direct attack, and one that fans seemed to actually be supportive of, Swagger and his manager, Zeb Colter, were beginning to change fans' opinions of them.
The patriotic stance they took against Rusev and his mouthpiece, Lana, was resonating with fans, and Swagger was hearing cheers for the first time in a very long time.
Swagger never gave up and never officially quit, but he ended up with a mark in the loss column at the end of the night. And while it looked like he would be able to rebound on Raw the following night, he ended up on the wrong end of things again with a loss to Cesaro.
Add to that the post-match "pep talk" by Bo Dallas, and it seems Swagger may soon be relegated to the role of midcard enhancement talent as opposed to the savior of all things American.
Another Superstar who relies heavily on pride is former Divas champion AJ Lee, who saw herself defeated by Paige at the heavily hyped event.
Even though AJ has remained a thorn in the side of the new champion since the event, she finds herself chasing the coveted prize and the up-and-coming British Superstar who has possession of it.
If history is any indication of how things will go for AJ, fans will wildly cheer for her no matter what happens. While she remains popular with fans and is a constant presence on television, is it time for fans to realize that her time has passed all too quickly?
It might be that Paige will now be the face of the Divas division, not AJ, who handled that responsibility incredibly well, adding intrigue to an element of the WWE product that had been severely lacking in recent years.
But with an impressive pool of talent that includes Paige, Emma and Natalya—not to mention the yet-to-debut talents in NXT, such as current NXT Women’s champion Charlotte—is AJ’s time as the dominant force in the Divas division beginning to wane?
While AJ's run at the top might be ending far too soon, another Superstar who has had many years of being "the" guy might also be nearing the end of a storied career.
They say pride comes before the fall, and no Superstar exemplifies that fact better than John Cena.
Cena looked completely overmatched in his championship match with Brock Lesnar, and while he never quit, he also got completely demolished. Many people, including Lesnar's advocate Paul Heyman, were impressed by Cena’s willingness to continue on in the match, especially when he was at such a tremendous disadvantage.
However, the loss may signify that the 37-year old Cena is beginning to wind down his oppressive in-ring schedule.
Sure, he will always have an open door to do what others such as the Rock, Batista and even Lesnar do, which is come in anytime they please, stay for a few months and then promptly leave again, only to begin the cycle anew months or years later.
But what that means for fans is that they can begin to get used to the idea of other Superstars having the top spot. Cena has occupied that place for a very long time and, in some ways, will always enjoy the comfort of being able to fall back into it anytime he chooses.
But what the company should do, and what it has been doing on a smaller scale, is begin to elevate promising younger talents. When legendary heroes do eventually decide to hang up their boots—or sneakers, in Cena’s case—the company will not have a shortage of impressive Superstars waiting in the wings to fill those spots.
Unfortunately for Randy Orton, that might be exactly what is happening to him.
Orton, another former world champion, has seen his forward momentum completely halted in recent times due to the emergence of Roman Reigns, who seems able to persevere no matter what the wily veteran throws at him. And he looks mighty impressive in the process.
Like Cena, Orton has had many years of being a top guy, and while he has not yet reached the end of his usefulness, his days of being a top-level guy are seemingly coming to a close. His recent trouble with Reigns could be a big sign to the WWE Universe that the Viper might be losing his dangerous instincts.
Orton has always made his bones by being unpredictable and cunning. But in Reigns, he has found an opponent he cannot intimidate. Reigns is younger, more physical and more resilient than the 12-time world champion. It might be just a matter of time before Orton finds himself in a position similar to the one Swagger is currently in.
The WWE Universe needs to understand that times do change. No matter how established a star is, there is always someone else waiting in the wings who is poised to pounce if the opportunity arises.
And unfortunately for many of the veterans currently on the WWE roster, they are no longer the predators who prey on weaker opponents.
They now find themselves being hunted by an ever-growing and more dangerous presence that will become the next generation of WWE Superstars.
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