Best: Dolph Ziggler Vs. Chris Jericho Was Good, I Think?
Before I start, the coin purse is the worst part of that picture. NO, DON’T LOOK FOR IT.
I came into this match expecting something great, mostly based on me loving The Cheerleader and hearing him talk extensively about how important it was for him to have a great match with Chris Jericho and steal the show during the WWE ’13 panel. What I didn’t take into consideration was:
1. Ziggler and Jericho are individually great wrestlers, but they don’t really match up well on paper. Ziggler’s a guy who bumps for big impact offense and looks kinda stupid bumping for stuff that shouldn’t hurt. This is why he can go with Sheamus, but is boring against Kofi Kingston. Jericho’s a guy who has never had great offense, whose finish is a Shark Boy transitional move. Outside of Ziggler bumping like a freak to that springboard dropkick, I shouldn’t have expected Steamboat/Savage.
2. Ziggler’s right: Jericho just doesn’t have it anymore. I mean, in terms of “it” he’s still perfectly fine, because he’s better than most pro wrestlers, but he’s not Best In The World At What He Does Jericho anymore, and treating him as such is a bad idea. Sometimes you get tricked into thinking the guy you’re about to see is the best version of the guy you’ve seen.
3. Jericho’s been pretty consistently disappointing since his epic return in January, sleepwalking through an angle with Punk that should’ve been hot fire and passing off “spiking up my hair” as his only character development since March.
I liked the match and the crowd was hot, but I can’t really remember anything about it. That’s the sign of a match being “that was a good match” on the Derrick Bateman Match Rating Scale and not “that was a GREAT match”. I remember Jericho’s super rana, and that’s about it. When he locked in the Walls Of Jericho, I just kinda did a hand gesture and said “he hasn’t done that reversal he always does where the guy turns and he Rikishi flips yet”, and he just sat down on it and won. Like SummerSlam itself, it was just kinda over before I expected it to finish.
So yeah, I’m giving it a Best while thinking about how much better it would’ve been if we’d done Jericho/Kane and Bryan/Ziggler instead.
Worst: This Kid
I don’t like to talk a lot of shit about children on the Internet, but okay, this kid:
I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for having their own kind of fun at a wrestling show, but this kid had what, fourth row tickets to SummerSlam? I don’t think he watched the ring once. He held his signs at shoulder level and watched the TitanTron, and every time the camera cut in our direction he’d stand up and hold up the sign. When it switched, he sat back down. It didn’t matter if the camera was only on us for five seconds, he’d hold it up and then go right back down, then back up and back down. After about five minutes of the match he got restless that he wasn’t on TV enough and just started moving it up and down when he THOUGHT it was about to switch.
If I’m allowed to be a crusty old man for a minute, the point of signs was originally to have the wrestlers in the ring see them. That’s why I made signs when I was a kid. The Monday Night Wars turned it into a way to get a message on TV, and eventually into a way to find yourself on TV. It’s that same codger shit I pull at concerts, where the people in the front row are recording the show on their phone and watching the phone screen instead of looking up and seeing a performer they love sitting f**king five feet in front of them playing music. Take a picture, hold up a sign, record a little bit, but be there for the show, you know?
In a related story, this kid got on TV like 40,000 times. I’m the one behind him.
Best: My Favorite Wrestler Versus My Girlfriend’s Favorite Wrestler
One of the Worsts of the trip is that Destiny couldn’t come along with me (she went back to Austin and caught a great ACW show featuring Darin Corbin dressed as The Ultimate Warrior and people getting attacked with a shoot Freddy glove), but I felt her presence as I watched her favorite wrestler (Kane) wrestle mine (Daniel Bryan).
I’ve read a lot of conflicting reports about this match, ranging from “it was really good” to “you’re only saying it was really good because you like Daniel Bryan”. I’m probably in both camps. The only Kane match I’ve ever enjoyed from beginning to end was the title challenge against Chris Benoit, and all horrible horrible inferences aside, Kane vs. Daniel Bryan was a lot of the same. They even did the flying headbutt into a chokeslam thing. Kane’s like a big leagues Claudio Castagnoli, working surprisingly well with these little guys who want to drag him down by his arm and tap him with stuff and not as well with the big lumbering dudes he’s always thrown against.
Two major points of discussion for this match:
Best: I Will Never Not Give A Best To Mr. Small Package
Daniel Bryan winning matches with the small package makes me so happy I can barely explain it. It’s the best memories from his Ring Of Honor title win … being so much better than everyone else that he’d wrestle you for 35 minutes and throw bombs at you, then win by just grabbing you and rolling you over into a pin. It’s such a prick move to beat a guy with a small package, and Bryan has perfected it.
Worst: WWE Has Set It Up So That By Cheering Daniel Bryan, I’m Doing Him A Disservice
The YES chants in Miami sorta happened organically. They were already happening, so it’s not like the Miami crowd made it up or whatever, but it was born out of support for a guy we wanted to see wrestle (and eventually didn’t get a chance to). They caught on enough to keep Bryan locked into the title scene for a few months, and we’ve mostly relaxed on that impending feeling of danger every time he loses where we think “this is it, the dream is over” and Danielson has to go back to wrestling the shit out of guys like Jaykus Plisken for the enjoyment of nobody.
My only problem with the YES chants is that AJ kinda-sorta ruined them, turning them into a YOU SUCK-esque thing where people chanting yes are doing so to make Bryan mad. It’s a complicated thing to explain, because I know wrestling is a show and the point is to make ANY noise for a guy, good or bad, but as a completely kayfabed-out fan I don’t WANT to make Daniel Bryan mad. I want him to be happy and know I love him. So I can’t chant “YES” anymore, as fun as it is, and I also feel like I can’t chant “NO”, because he yells it back in anger. He yelled YES with joy. There’s a difference, and I hope you get what I’m saying.
I tried to start a “BEST IN THE WORLD” chant during the match to work in a happy medium, but two horrible things happened: I realized somewhere in the middle of the chant that the audience around me thought I was dumb, because I was using a CM Punk catchphrase for the wrong guy. This filled me with the worst elitist wrestling emotions ever, and that’s not good for anyone.
Also, it turned me into that guy who writes about chants I tried to start in show reports. I guess I’ve come full circle, then. Please enjoy this list of the biggest pops of the night: