Randy Orton cashing in on Daniel Bryan after his match with John Cena was the perfect move? YES: The perfect move in what regard? In terms of storytelling and setting up future programs in WWE for months down the line? Or if we’re kayfabing, are we talking about the perfect move for Randy Orton and Triple H, in that Daniel Bryan already had been through a grueling match against John Cena AND the emotional high of a huge post-match title-win celebration? In either case, the answer is “YES! YES! YES!” Now, I’m going to go all Triple H from Raw here, but there is a bigger picture that many people, in their frustration over seeing Bryan win and then having that taken away, are not seeing clearly. Over the last year, Daniel Bryan has proven himself to be a top tier player. McMahon and company realize that much, otherwise they would not have continued to position him in the upper echelon of their wrestling promotion. Daniel Bryan has actually worked his way into something greater than becoming WWE champion-he has made it into a top position of the WWE. It could be “the” top position for a while, especially in the wake of John Cena’s injury forcing him out of action for up to six months. All that put together, hell yes executing the Money in the Bank Cash-in was the perfect call. EVERYONE wins with this move.
Daniel Bryan will succeed as a top babyface? YES: Daniel Bryan will succeed at pretty much anything that involved the wrestling business. He generates a massive amount of sympathy due to his perpetual underdog factor, but as opposed to Rey Mysterio’s speed-based style, Bryan brings aggression and intelligence to the table, which I think makes him seem much more imposing than the other resident little man. I’d believe it if Bryan beat The Big Show. I’d believe it if Bryan beat Brock Lesnar. I’d believe it if Bryan beat The Undertaker (not necessarily at WrestleMania, but you get the point). All of that is because I think he has one of the most believable movesets and in-ring styles in a long time. What this really boils down to is that I don’t have to suspend my disbelief when watching Bryan, and I think that’s a huge part of being a top star. It’s unconventional that a guy like Bryan would be at the top of the card, but not impossible. He and Punk are the only two guys of the past 3 years to really break through in the same way as Orton, Cena, and Edge before them. And with the way the fans have taken to Bryan, there’s no reason he can’t be the face of the company.
Triple H will be very effective as a heel authority figure? YES: I wasn’t sure how Triple H’s newest heel run was going to go considering he had spent the better part of the last five years as a face (whether as a member of D-X or as the counter-point to Mr. McMahon’s corporate craziness). However, his promo and behavior at the very end of this past Monday’s Raw program alleviated much of my concerns. Triple H cut one of his best promos in years. It was filled with perfect heel justification for his actions in screwing Daniel Bryan out of the WWE championship. I was happy to hear him explain how he swallowed his pride and gave Orton the championship despite his long and bitter past with him (Orton did injure horrifically his wife and father-in-law) and he did it for the betterment of the business and because he thought Orton was the best man for the job of WWE champion. The heel heat he created when talking condescendingly about doing it to ensure everyone’s future was second only to Vickie Guerrero and really, no one is ever going to top the walking heat bomb that is Vickie). Even better was his mocking Daniel Bryan as he attempted to enter the ring-a bullying move given emphasis when Bryan made it into the ring finally, only to be met with an RKO by Randy Orton. This was a fantastic first night out as a heel and indicates that Triple H is going to be a very effective heel authority figure in the future. He has taken a rote and clichéd role and for now has put a fresher twist on the proceedings.
CM Punk & Brock Lesnar had the best match on the SummerSlam card? NO: I mean, can we call it essentially a tie between Punk / Lesnar and Cena / Bryan? Both matches were both soooooooooooooo good. It is very difficult to judge either match significantly better than the other. Punk and Lesnar may have been slightly cleaner in that it Cena did have one botch when dropping Bryan from off the top turnbuckle, but both matches had the crowd going banana. Bryan-Cena could end up being the more historically significant of the two when all is said and done because of its role in setting up the McMahon top angle that carries the company forward heading to the rest of 2013 and Wrestlemania XXX next year. Both matches strategically used MMA moves and submissions to set up suspense. Punk / Lesnar were the more brutally violent of the two matches, but Cena / Bryan was action-packed and physical in its own right. From a personal standing, I loved watching both matches equally for all those reasons above and the obvious joy and pride of seeing two of my long-standing favorites contribute in the marquee matches of one of WWE’s biggest shows of the year. So no, I can’t say Punk and Lesnar had the best match on the card, but I can say that they tied for the best match on the card.