Pruett's Pause: WWE SummerSlam 2012 - In person perspective, Triple H taps to Brock Lesnar, C.M. Punk squeaks by John Cena and Big Show, Chris Jericho wins the medium sized one, and more
By Will Pruett
- I was happy to see Antonio Cesaro win the United States Championship from Santino Marella. Antonio is a more serious act that Santino. Antonio can go beyond just comedy. The two of them put together a fun and exciting match, where Antonio was given an opportunity to shine.
- I assumed that Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H would have to be no disqualification and no countout. I don't see Brock having a traditional match in WWE.
- Was Triple H having a regularly scheduled therapy session with Scott Armstrong? I wonder what referees charge for therapy.
- For the first time in a long time Booker T was not on commentary on pay-per-view. I was almost sad that I wasn't at home watching it.
- Chris Jericho's jacket was stunning. It was an early contender for outfit of the night.
- Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho had a great opener with the crowd in the palms of their hands. It was a little clunky at first, but it turned into a fun and exciting contest.
- I wasn't surprised be the Chris Jericho win, simply because I expected him to do the unconventional thing. Jericho lost on the way in and won on the way out. There has been a different structure to this run than is the standard.
- Paul Heyman continues to do some amazing mic work as Brock Lesnar's agent. Brock was a pseudo-babyface prior to Heyman coming in and has really relied on him to get over as a monstrous heel. This is nothing but good for all parties involved.
- While Daniel Bryan is getting a strong live reaction, he really is doing so as a heel. He could very easily transition into being a babyface, but at this moment, fans love getting under his skin. Kane was solidly over as a babyface and the two of them had a good match. Kane and Bryan work well together.
- The Miz and Rey Mysterio may end up being an underrated match. It garnered a nice crowd reaction and featured solid, dynamic action. Mysterio, while he doesn't have the speed or explosiveness that he once did, is still a phenomenally talented performer. Miz seems to rise to the level of his opponent. That combination worked here.
- It seems like WWE is planning something between A.J. and C.M. Punk, but I'm not sure if they are in cahoots or just supposed to be feuding. It's fun to watch it develop, but I'm very curious about what the endgame will be.
- l just don't find Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio compelling as opponents. There is a disconnect in this feud and in seemingly everything Alberto Del Rio does. Del Rio's lack of change seems to be part of this disconnect. He doesn't know that fans need more from him. Del Rio is thoroughly unexciting. Sheamus is being wasted in this program.
- Why continue a feud no one cares about in Sheamus and Del Rio? This feels like a holding pattern no one wants to see.
- I can vouch for the fact that the Kobe Bryant chants were 25% in reference to A.W. and 75% in reference to the fact that L.A. just loves Kobe. A.W. is flattering himself if he thinks they were really about him.
- I still can't get into the Primetime Player's act, so I'm not upset about them not winning the tag titles. Of all the tag teams (all four of them) in WWE, I find O'Neal and Young to be the least compelling and exciting.
- Kofi Kingston is still adored, but it is sad to see him in the same spot on the card as he was in 2009.
- Is anyone surprised about people getting heat stroke at SummerSlam Access? It's 100 degrees outside with no shade and water costs five dollars. It's amazing that anyone survives that awfully planned and executed event.
- John Cena's entrance is always fun to watch live. Seeing people react to him, either positively or negatively proves just how big of a star he is. There is something very special about watching children respond to their larger than life hero live and in person.
- Big Show had his best match in a long time with John Cena and C.M. Punk. This match was but around Big Show looking like a beast. Cena and Punk created movement around Show in a way that seemed legitimate and caused fans to rally behind the two smaller wrestlers.
- C.M. Punk was loved by almost all of Staples Center. It's interesting to see fan reactions to him as he transitions as a character. Punk isn't suddenly turning, rather he is shifting and changing. The more interesting story here is going to take time to achieve its objective.
- The restart into the finish in the triple threat didn't garner the reaction WWE was likely hoping for. Fans wanted to see the match continue, but they weren't exactly passionate about it. Restarts are hard to pull off and the match would have been better without it.
- Punk and Cena's feud continued through the triple threat finish. Was it predictable? Absolutely. Was it the right choice? Absolutely.
- David Arquette showing up with a World Championship belt is genius.
- Concerts at wrestling events rarely work. For me, WrestleMania was the instance where the concerts actually enhanced the show. The concert element of this show was an excuse to sit down and stare blankly at the stage. I understand why WWE wants to enhance the spectacle of the show, but it really hurts the crowd's excitement both live and at home.
- More of this crowd was behind Triple H than Brock Lesnar. He was cheered as the major babyface that he is. I know that will shock some of the Triple H haters reading this, but the guy is over.
- Brock and Triple H's introductions under the simple lighting was awesome. I loved the atmosphere it created. The "Big Fight Feel" is often hard to achieve in wrestling, but they found it here.
- There was a certain physicality to Brock vs. Triple H that is missing everywhere else in WWE. It didn't get as brutal as Cena vs. Lesnar, but it came close. This was as hard-hitting a match as you will ever see.
- The format of the main event was closer to Triple H's WrestleMania 27 match with Undertaker than Lesnar's Extreme Rules match with John Cena. This is a style that requires an extreme emotional investment from the audience, which was not quite there. WWE tried, but the match fell a little flat because that investment wasn't strong enough.
- Is there anything WWE fans are willing to invest in as much as The Streak of The Undertaker?
- Triple H tapping as his arm was snapped was a great moment. Lesnar needed the win to legitimize his current run. Triple H could easily take the loss. The story here was great, especially as the match ended. Lesnar had a great match with Triple H that just fell a little short of transcending.
- I'm not one of those people that will criticize Triple H for taking a long curtain call after the main event. It seems that WWE is telling a story surrounding his loss and that justifies his long walk to the back.
- I will criticize WWE for conditioning their fans to chant "You tapped out" whenever someone taps. They should now begin stating that there is no shame in tapping when the pain is too great.
- The fans around me were emotionally invested in Triple H at the end of the show. The silence that greeted him was more shock and dismay than boredom. Too many wrestling critics are going to say that people didn't care about Triple H's story and that couldn't be more false.
This show was a ton of fun live. It wasn't perfect and it didn't have its low points, but it was fun. All of the in-ring action delivered. The main event was an interesting spectacle that was great to watch, even if it didn't live up to the very high expectations. A few stories were continued in interesting ways, which also worked. This wasn't a show of conclusions, but it did set up a lot of the future.
Going into this show, I talked about WWE being unwilling to tell stories where the bad guy wins and where the good guy has to deal with loss. With Brock Lesnar and Triple H, we may see both of those stories executed (and hopefully well). This is a major victory to me and, as a fan of storytelling, it has me excited to watch for the next few months.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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