When it comes to being a WWE fan, it’s tough to get optimistic about things. Go back as far as you would like. How about the Invasion angle? All of the biggest current stars in the world of wrestling under one brand, and the WWE screwed it up. How about bringing in the nWo and Goldberg? Can’t screw up those things right? Wrong. Hey look at this new group Nexus! Finally a shake up to the WWE? And that was done when John Cena beat them at SummerSlam. Notice the pattern? The WWE gives us a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel and then they yank the rug out from under us. I completely understand why WWE fans are hesitant to get behind an idea when many good ones have failed in the past. But like it or not, we keep coming back as fans. At some point, the WWE does something to get our hopes up again. The WWE usually likes to do something big to keep their audience around during the summer. The last three years have produced the following: the Nexus, CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb” promo, and then CM Punk’s heel turn last summer. A big event that gets people talking and tuning in the next week to see the follow up.
Notice, however, that all of those events were one singular event. One thing that the WWE did to get people interested. Sometimes that is all it takes, but you need help from the product around you to keep people interested. CM Punk, while very good at what he does, can’t carry the WWE on his own. No one can. You need a supporting cast with an interesting story to keep people interested the whole show. And while those single events of the last three years were big, it didn’t have the help of supporting storylines. This year, the WWE has changed that. And that is why it could be their best summer yet.
The WWE started off their summer very well with Payback. A lot of people had low expectations going into the PPV, and it instead delivered a better than expected card. They executed a Dolph Ziggler/Alberto del Rio double turn very well. It’s something I never expected them to do, and I give them props for pulling them off. Dolph Ziggler can work as a face. There are always a lot of Dolph Ziggler shirts in the crowd, and it isn’t just IWC smarks cheering for him. Kids and women like him too. Dolph can get over as a face, and people would rather boo Alberto del Rio then cheer him. Del Rio just didn’t work as a face, and that is no one’s fault but the WWE’s.
The next night on RAW, the WWE continued to deliver with newsworthy storylines. Going into the night, everyone thought Mark Henry would be retiring. He sold it very well on Twitter, and you know Henry has been around for a long time. Henry gave a very convincing speech, and had almost all of the audience sold on it. Then the next thing you know, Henry is hitting the World’s Strongest Slam on John Cena. That promo may have been the best work of Henry’s 15+ year career. Some people are shuttering at the thought of a John Cena/Mark Henry feud, but I’m not. Henry, in my opinion, is a very underrated worker and Cena can hold his own in the ring. Should Henry win? That remains to be seen.
And to close the night, we had Brock Lesnar take out CM Punk. That begins the build to their likely match at SummerSlam. Can they stretch it out that long? With Paul Heyman and CM Punk involved, I think they can. This match is the one that almost everyone wanted to see when Lesnar came back. It shows that the WWE has faith in Punk to be in a big time program with Lesnar. He did it with The Rock, and there is no reason he can’t do it with Lesnar. Punk is the one guy you would trust the most to work an actual wrestling match with Lesnar. Punk can tell just as good a story in the ring as he can outside of the ring.
Then there’s the man that is possibly the most over man on the entire roster: Daniel Bryan. Bryan has been stuck in Team Hell No for quite some time, and he’s been ready for a breakout singles push for quite some time. On RAW this past Monday, Bryan hinted at the fact that he wants to be WWE Champion. I still assume that Daniel Bryan will take on John Cena at SummerSlam. How they get there will be interesting. Do they have Bryan win MITB and then cash in at SummerSlam. Do they have Bryan win a #1 Contender’s Match against Kane and Randy Orton? The WWE has a lot of potential in their hands with Daniel Bryan. If you ask me, I think Bryan should win the WWE Title from Cena whenever they do fight. He has enough of a following and fan base to warrant it, and he’s definitely busted his ass in the ring over the last year to get to that point.
I’ve gotten this far and haven’t even mentioned The Shield at this point. When the WWE has other stories going on that are better than The Shield, then you know they are doing something right. We may have gotten a hint at what The Shield may be involved in at SummerSlam. Dean Ambrose brought up The Undertaker on RAW, and Vince told Vickie that he is a fan of The Shield. With the apparent power struggle going on between Vince and HHH, I could see this leading to a tag match at SummerSlam for control of the WWE. The Shield represents Vince, and HHH fights for himself along with Kane and a returning Undertaker.
And finally, you have to at least be a little excited for the potential of the WWE mid-card. Christian is back. Rob Van Dam is returning. The Intercontinental Title is getting some respectability back with Curtis Axel holding it. Antonio Cesaro at least now has a story going with Zeb Colter. The Wyatt Family will be debuting soon. Money in the Bank always gives us a good idea of who might be receiving the next push in the WWE. Even the Divas Division has a somewhat decent story going to it. There are a lot of possibilities out there. Could you imagine if RAW wasn’t three hours? Then some match-ups we see constantly would actually seem fresh.
Right now, this has the look of a really good SummerSlam card:
WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs Daniel Bryan CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar The Shield vs HHH, Undertaker and Kane World Championship: Alberto del Rio (c) vs Dolph Ziggler Sheamus vs Randy Orton Rob Van Dam vs Ryback Rey Mysterio and Christian vs Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro
All of this adds up to a potential great summer for the WWE. Instead of focusing on one big event to get people’s attention, they have several compelling stories going on at once. And that’s what the WWE needs to do to keep people tuned in for all 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of Smackdown every week. One great story creates a lot of buzz. Multiple stories keep people entertained and coming back. The WWE has that in front of them now, and it’s up to them to keep it going and not screw it up.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka
Tags: Brock Lesnar, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, john cena, Mark Henry, Rob Van Dam, Summerslam, The Shield, the undertaker, triple h, WWE