Monday, August 19, 2013

SummerSlam 2013: YEESSSSS!!!!......NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Outside the Staples Center
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

For the fifth straight year, WWE’s “biggest show of the summer” SummerSlam was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For the second year in a row, I attended the show.  When tickets went on sale back in February/March, I was preparing for the annual My123Cents Wrestlemania trip and wasn’t really that excited about what was going on in the WWE Universe so I opted not to get a ticket to SummerSlam. Over the last six weeks, WWE went and did something I wasn’t expecting. They made SummerSlam feel like a must see show.  

After spending a week trying to find a reasonably priced ticket on one of the secondary ticket selling websites, I lucked out and logged into the Staples Center website shortly after they released a few more tickets for the show on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately it meant I was paying even more than what I had wanted to pay because the seat was fifth row on the floor and that fell within the premium seating section. It did mean I was going to get a collectable chair though, so that was a plus.

I’m not going to do a match-by-match review of the show as I’m guessing most people reading this are aware of the results. In case you don’t know what happened, here’s a quick rundown of the show.

Bray Wyatt defeated Kane in a Ring of Fire match.
Cody Rhodes defeated Damian Sandow
Alberto Del Rio retained the World Title over Christian
Natalya Neidhart defeated Brie Bella
Brock Lesnar emerged victorious against CM Punk
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeated Big E. Langston and AJ
Daniel Bryan won the WWE Title from John Cena
Randy Orton cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated Daniel Bryan to walk out of SummerSlam as WWE Champion.

Nice sign, but in the way
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Before I get into my thoughts on the show itself, I need to rant a bit about fan behavior.  As I mentioned, I was sitting fifth row on the floor. Normally I don’t like to sit on the floor and the fifth row is my cutoff point for floor seating. Based on past experiences, anything behind the fifth row and you wind up looking at the back of heads more than in-ring action.  At several points during SummerSlam, everyone would stand up during matches. Usually it was when action spilled to the outside of the ring or during sequences that could have logically led to the end of the match.  After about 30 seconds of people standing, two guys somewhere behind me would shout, “sit down.” 

I had recently read a few online articles and some message board postings about standing vs. staying seated at concerts. My feeling on the subject is the same for wrestling shows; you’re there to have a good time and to get into the show. If there’s nothing-exceptional going on then stay seated. If the action is intense and emotionally captivating then stand up, cheer, and show the wrestlers you care about what’s happening. If you normally don’t stand up during shows and/or don’t like it when people stand then don’t buy a seat on the floor. Buy seats in the stands so you can see over the people who are enjoying the show. 
While I won’t condemn fans for enjoying themselves at shows, I will criticize fans that bring signs and feel the need to hold them up for an entire show. I was seated behind a guy who had the clever idea to write “Marry Me Bellas” on a piece of poster board. I would say on average at least 10 seconds out of every 90 seconds he would hold the sign up. The average was more frequent whenever he would catch a glimpse of our section on the TitanTron.  Whenever he held up his sign, all I could see was a piece of white paper. I tolerated if for the first half of the show. After the Nattie/Brie Bella match, I could see him getting ready to hold it up after the video hyping CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was over. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could lay off holding the sign up as much. He asked if he wasn’t holding it high enough and I told him he was blocking my view. He looked upset not because he was ruining the show for someone else, but because someone was ruining his right to hold up a sign.  Had his sign been relevant to the match inside the ring, I would have reacted differently. Or if he would have held the sign up only at the beginning of the match and then waited until the next match started to hold it up again.  I have nothing against signs. I have taken signs to shows before but I’ve always been conscious of my surroundings and tried to not ruin other fans experience. If you take a sign, be aware that you’re not the only person in the arena. Don’t be a jerk.

My last rant has to do with fans behavior during certain matches.  I was at RAW the night after Wrestlemania 29 and experienced one of the most vocal crowds in recent times. During a match between Sheamus and Randy Orton, the crowd vocally turned on the match and chanted for just about everything known to man with the exception of the two wrestlers in the ring.  That was an organic moment.  During SummerSlam fans tried to do the same thing during the Nattie Neidhart, Brie Bella match and thankfully it didn’t catch on like it did at RAW. The problem I have is instead of chanting to show their non-interest in the match, it felt more like “hey we saw another crowd do this, lets do it too and be cool.”  If you can’t be original, it’s best to sit in silence if you don’t like the match. Not reacting will send a louder message than parroting another crowd.

With the complaints out of the way, lets take a look at the show.  Overall, I would say SummerSlam was a better show than Wrestlemania 29. I could be blinded by my bias of being a Daniel Bryan fan and never wanting to see The Rock in a WWE ring.

Erick Rowan or Chad Smart? You decide
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Out of all of the matches, not counting the Diva’s match because 1) I barely saw any of it and 2) WWE has conditioned me to not care about Diva matches, the only match I feel was a bit disappointing was the Ring of Fire match.  I thought Luke Harper and Erick Rowan’s actions outside the ring were clever, the match though just never seemed to click. I did buy a replica Erick Rowan sheep mask, so at least I got to show my support for deranged cult.

Punk flies
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
All the other undercard matches were entertaining. Christian failing to win the World Title was disappointing, as I’d rather see him as champ than watch Alberto Del Rio do anything.  Brock Lesnar and CM Punk put on a great match.  While I feel this match was rushed in the story telling aspect, both guys brought it and had the crowd eating it up.  The only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint, is the lack of appearance by Curtis Axel.  Since the match was non-DQ, why did Paul Heyman’s latest talent not try to help Brock beat down Punk? I’m glad he didn’t, as overbooking is a serious flaw in today’s wrestling shows.

Victory...for a moment
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Speaking of overbooking, when Triple H was announced as the special referee in the John Cena/Daniel Bryan match, I expected a screw job ending. Truthfully, there were several long stretches during the match where I didn’t even realize Haitch was there. Thankfully, they let Cena and Bryan have all the focus on them and prove why one is the best wrestler in WWE while the other one gets unnecessary “you can’t wrestle” chants. Similar to the Brock/Punk match, Cena and Bryan had the crowd in the palm of their hands and played them like a fiddle.  One aspect I liked about the ending of the match is that it ended with a non-established finishing move.  I think that added surprise and excitement to Daniel Bryan winning the WWE title.

The Viper strikes
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
I’m split on Randy Orton cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase. On one hand I can understand the reasoning having Bryan lose the title so quickly will make him more of a fan supported baby face and fans will pay to see him get revenge.  On the other hand, the crowd died when Orton won the title. I don’t believe you always have to send the crowd home happy, but why trivialize Bryan’s victory celebration.  I am curious as to how Triple H will justify his actions and apparent siding with Orton given that three years ago Orton tried to give Trip’s wife and father in law brain damage by punting them in the head. Or am I not supposed to remember that far back?

Overall, SummerSlam was an enjoyable show. If you didn’t see it, I would recommend ordering the replay or getting the DVD when it’s available. Kevin and I have started making tentative plans for Wrestlemania 30 and dare I say WWE has got me interested and looking forward to what lies ahead in the next six months?  

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