Pruett's Pause: WWE SummerSlam 2013 - Thoughts from inside Staples Center including WWE continuing to make the meta-fans believe using Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Triple H
By Will Pruett
I was up near the rafters of Staples Center last night watching this show. I have not seen the pay-per-view broadcast (and I probably will not for a few days). This is a pure in-person perspective.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how WWE is making meta-fans (or "smart" fans) believe again. This essay is based on the previous one. Read it here!
There was a huge moment of climactic release for me and many others inside of Staples Center on Sunday night. After an epic match filled with amazing false finishes, Daniel Bryan managed to pin John Cena with no interference and no help from anything outside of himself. Daniel Bryan beat John Cena clean. Triple H counted the pin and a sudden wave of shock, surprise, delight, and true emotion rolled through the entire arena. This moment was not for children, who were disappointed about their hero losing. This moment was for the meta-fan.
I am not too proud to admit jumping out of my seat and screaming as the three-count occurred. Many around me did the same thing. Confetti poured down from the sky. Pryo shot off. Bryan had achieved his dream. The man I had seen just a few minutes away in Reseda had come to the Staples Center and taken the WWE Championship from the biggest star in WWE. It was a celebration. It was the highest of highs.
When Randy Orton's music hit, it wasn't a groan, it was a yell. There was a passionate response from every person there. The same passion was shown when Orton walked away, pretending not to cash in when Bryan implored him to bring it on. Triple H's Pedigree to Bryan was a shock. Bryan's moment was taken away just as it had begun. Bryan was robbed and fans were angry.
What do you believe WWE wanted fans to feel at the end of this segment? Emotionally, what response were they gearing fans up for? They took everyone on a ride from the highest of highs to the depths of despair in just a few minutes. WWE wants people to be angry. They want people to hate Triple H after this and believe an authority figure has inserted himself into a place he didn't belong and had an adverse effect on WWE.
The entire idea is building up heat on Triple H and Randy Orton, while also giving Bryan a new mission. Bryan has been scorned just as his fans feel scorned. He wasn't revenge just has his fans want revenge. What is the best way for his fans to get their revenge? It's by living vicariously through Daniel Bryan.
WWE has found something special with Bryan. He is a character adults and children alike are willing to invest in and believe in. He is not divisive like John Cena. He is an Everyman who literally every man can believe in. He is a hero.
Look around the internet and talk to your wrestling friends today about the Bryan and Orton story. They will sound like they believe wrestling is completely real. They'll talk about Triple H ruining a moment and Orton unfairly gaining a championship (which is a prop, but not to them). They'll be upset about how Bryan has been treated by Triple H and the McMahons all along.
WWE is making believers of everyone again. Suddenly the "insiders" are finding out they've been worked just like the people the deride as "marks." Well, everyone, I've got news for you, we're all marks. We're all just fans. Doesn't it feel good to believe again? A good story will do that for you and this might be one of the best stories WWE has told in a long time. There's nothing wrong with believing. I'm happy WWE has created a story that allows me to.
Picking up the pieces:
- This was the absolute best crowd I've ever seen WWE draw in the Staples Center. Most years, Los Angeles is a little on the quiet side and lacking in passion. This year, especially in the top two matches, Staples Center came unglued. This really did help the show and it lead to an amazing atmosphere.
- Rob Van Dam vs. Dean Ambrose was a pretty nice opening match. The Shield is not as popular (in the way heels are popular) as they once were, but Ambrose was great at garnering heat in this match through doing the little things. Van Dam continues to impress me in his WWE return.
- I was confused as to why we were not seeing Mark Henry and Big Show vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. WWE teased this match, even with the promo The Shield cut on Monday night.
- Im not going to lie to you, I was worried when I was in line for a beer and I heard SummerSlam starting, then Miz's music played and I felt good about my choice. I'll gladly get a $12 beer instead of watching The Miz talk.
- I was back in my seat in time for the SummerSlam opening and big pyro display. This is always fun to see live.
- The Ring of Fire match was pretty cool to see live. Yes, it was not super exciting and yes, the gimmick is kind of hurt by The Wyatt Family interfering. However, there was fire around the ring and when it shot up it looked cool. Not a soul in this world could blame me for enjoying this.
- Did The Wyatt Family look really silly as this match went on, or was it just me?
- The end of Kane vs. Bray Wyatt was a great visual. WWE really outdid themselves with the post-match beatdown and the Wyatt's dragging Kane out.
- Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes was a fun match and Cody is starting to connect a little more with the crowd. He wasn't super over, but he is gaining traction. I missed his mustache.
- Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio was the first match of the night to really excite the crowd. I was surprised by how into Christian they were. They were also quite willing to hate Del Rio. This match gave everyone cause for celebration.
- I tried to explain to people in my section why Brie Bella is awesome during her match with Natalya. They weren't having it. I was sad.
- Ryback seems to be unusually angry in catering. Maybe WWE should work on this due to a hostile work environment being created for those around him.
- Brock Lesnar vs. C.M. Punk was an absolutely brilliant effort from both men and Paul Heyman. It was creative, dynamic, and exciting. It made good use of the No Disqualification rules without overplaying them. This wasn't a weapons match, it was a wrestling match occasionally (and logically) involving weapons. I can't praise this match and the story told within it enough.
- On most shows, Lesnar vs. Punk would be the angle I would highlight in my opening essay, but this show had some spectacular story told in the second main event. This is not a criticism of Lesnar vs. Punk.
- This was as close to The Empire Strikes Back episode of WWE programming as we are likely to see. WWE doesn't have heels win big matches on major shows super often, yet heels came out on top in the top two angles.
- My wife and I spent the Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. A.J. Lee and Big E Langston match discussing how little we cared about it.
- Something seemed off when Triple H entered to his "King of Kings" theme song instead of "The Game." This was a nice touch of foreshadowing.
- Daniel Bryan was amazingly over at Staples Center last night. The crowd wasn't just chanting "Yes" because it's fun. They were doing so because they love him.
- Bryan vs. Cena was another entry into the "John Cena can actually have a brilliant match and does so often" file. Who actually believes this guy can't wrestle?
- The false finishes in Bryan vs. Cena were perfect. For the last 15 minutes of the match, I was on the edge of my seat. It wasn't overkill, but it could have ended at any moment. We saw a character transition from Bryan into a more serious person through this process as well.
I'm pretty sure you call all tell how I felt about he end of this show from the above essay. WWE has set themselves up nicely with a really nice array of stories to tell coming out of this show. There are so many reasons to be optimistic about their storyline future.
This was a great show to attend live. I love anytime wrestling comes to town, but getting to see a big show with two brilliant matches is a total joy. I hope those watching at home felt as passionate about this show as I did.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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