Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can't Win Em All

I went into Sunday's Night of Champions pay-per-view as skeptical as I've ever been. The armfolded curmudgeon saying, "let's see how they fuck this one up." The Punk/Triple H story seemed to be lost in its own self-importance, Alberto Del Rio looked ripe to get thrown through the Super Cena Cycle, and I couldn't get past the feeling that despite Mark Henry's brilliantly orchestrated build up, that he would simply lose to Randy Orton and that would be it. And as I sat and watched with my roommate, I was reminded of the benefit of optimism when it comes to this sport.

My investment in CM Punk has made a transformation over the past few weeks. The real life implications of his fight, those blurring the line between fiction and non-fiction, have developed into a mindset (one that I think is seen all over the internet) that a Punk loss is symbolic of the old order in WWE. The refusal to commit to the change that Punk has proven is desired by the fans. Going into the match my belief was that if Punk were to do anything but win and win conclusively, than the WWE would be effectively killing Punk and his outcries. Choosing to side with business over sport, leaving us with memories of Summer of Punk II and the story that could have been.

This translates to views I and many others have about John Cena and Randy Orton. They represent the status quo. They are the golden boys chosen by the board of directors. When they win its to the delight of the masses and to the ire of those who consider themselves the informed wrestling fans, those who looks at the masses with scorn. The self-anointed purists. My approach to this event, the same as any other purist, was that if Henry, Del Rio, and Punk were to lose than this event was a joke or maybe something worse: a slap in the face.

Maybe it was the first match, or the fact that my roommate and I had just learned that we got the new apartment we'd been hoping for, but my doubts and fears were slowly eased as I settled into watching. By the time we reached the first of the three big matches (Henry vs. Orton) my mind had settled into less of "let's see how they fuck this up" and more into "let's see what they do here." I thought Orton's offensive was too quick, with Henry off his feet within the first minute and Henry looked admittedly sloppy taking a few bumps, but the story of the match was how Mark Henry contained Randy Orton. Even as Orton began to build momentum and reached that mythical "place," Henry did exactly what he needed to do--squashed him. Just like he has been doing for weeks. He fucking stomped on him and that was it. New champion. Henry followed with one of the most impressive promos I've seen. The man is mesmerizing, and with all the convoluted story lines taking place in wrestling today, it speaks volumes of Mark Henry's ability to garner so much response based on his presence as an intimidating and vengeful big man.

Before moving onto the other two matches, I would like to say that what bummed both of us out the most was Kelly Kelly beating Beth Phoenix. Phoenix easily received the biggest pop of the night from the hometown crowd and Buffalo was getting ready to jump out of their seats to see her win the Women's Title. That match was something else and that top rope Superplex was incredible. It would have been nice to see Beth take it, she's the best in the game right now.

The Cena/Del Rio feud had been stale leading into this. After Cena/Punk it was hard to get enveloped in another All American vs. Foreign Fanatic archetype. I think that Cena has taken well to accepting the fact that so many people hate him, and his demeanor in the face of this adversity makes me like him more, but what the fuck is he fighting for? What was unfortunate in this build-up was that Del Rio was forced to take on characteristics that weren't his own. Typical bad guy cowardice even though his ultimate act of poor taste was cashing in the Money In The Bank briefcase on CM Punk, an act which Punk himself said was justified, but for Cena, it's a point of contention. And so here we are, with Cena sent to beat the bad guy again. And that's what he did.

But the match itself was incredible through and through. Both guys looked solid, they worked well together to give us a match longer than expected. I loved Cena's fight to keep Del Rio from locking in the cross arm breaker and the finish, with Del Rio holding out for nearly a minute before tapping. I'll come back to this match when I make my point, and I assure you I have one.

Our main event was chaotic from the outset and we were lucky to see the Triple H of legend and Punk both took the beating half the crowd wanted to see him take and gave the beating the other half needed him to give. The Macho Man elbow drop through the table was as good of a spot I've seen this year. The match is being heavily criticized for being over-booked and convoluted, and while I think everyone agrees it was a little of the latter, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Disappointed in a Triple H win, but the ending made it clear that this story was just beginning to open up.

On paper this is an ending that I was fearing. John Cena is the new champion for the third time since Wrestlemania and Triple H defeated CM Punk. They are not the endings I wanted, there are points worth criticism, but the reaction that I found from the internet was a complete write-off of the quality of the two matches. In this age of speculation, theoretical "where to go from here" ideas, people have gotten far too hung up on their claims for how things should be done. To the extent that they're willing to ignore 99% of a match when they're making their judgment.

I was none too thrilled to see Cena celebrating last night, or Triple H to be the last man standing, but those matches were entertaining from beginning to end and to disregard that fact makes me wonder what these people are watching wrestling for. Is it to be entertained or to be the one that knew how the story would work out all along?

Criticism is a valuable commodity in professional wrestling. There are few examples in modern society where the voice of the consumer is so freely put on display. The business is based on the fan's reaction--we are encouraged to approve or disapprove. But the single-minded detractor, only satisfied with one outcome, achieves nothing for anyone. There was some great wrestling Sunday night, if you missed that part of the show, I'm not sure what good it does you to watch.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Jerry Seinfeld had a great joke about professional wrestling that went something along the lines of: "The one thing I wonder about professional wrestling was if it didn't exist, would you be able to come up with the idea? Could you imagine pitching this? 'I'm telling you it will be great we'll get these huge guys in their underwear, but here's the thing, they won't really fight. And millions of people will watch it.'"

Wrestling no longer exists under the same terms it did when Seinfeld was telling this joke (1992ish). While at it's heart this will always be about two guys pretending to fight, it's not the comic playground of superheros versus treacherous villains. Wrestling personas today, discounting the Great Khalis and the Kanes, are extensions of real life. One of the changes guys like Steve Austin and Mick Foley brought to the game was that if you’re going to sell the fans on your character, you have to sell them on you. What was unbelievable about Foley was that he took on so many characters and presented them all as a side of himself. Mankind was the tortured Mick, Cactus Jack the deranged, and Dude Love the 18 year old who dreamt of being Superfly Jimmy Snuka. We've been given a glimpse behind the curtain, we're aware that these people exist in the same reality as we do and for us to truly get behind Randy Orton the wrestler, we have to feel some connection to Randy Orton the dude, dad, Cowboy Bob's kid, whatever.

A personal connection has been garnered between one guy and hundreds of thousands over the past few months, and the entirety of this relationship has been formed not only without the use of a wrestling ring, but without the use of WWE television. Zak Ryder's Z Long Island Story has not only brought us laughs, catch phrases, and brilliant segments, but it's provided insight into the personal life of a guy whose simply pleading his case for tv exposure. We've learned about Zak's taste in music, from his extensive collection of action figures and memorabilia it's safe to say the guy's been a lifelong fan, we've met his dad.  Over a couple of months we got to know a guy playing a goofy, slightly self-deprecating character whose trying to make his case that he can do more than just make us laugh and when he walked down the aisle this past Monday, we were cheering for both Zak Ryder the character and Zak Ryder the broski.

Ryder can appeal to every member of the audience, from the casual fan to the little kids to the spiteful internet curmudgeons. His attitude is bright and contagious, watch Randy Orton on Episode 29, even he's smiling. My hope is that WWE will begin to rediscover the value of comedy in building that personal connection because I think it's become a lost art. Wrestlers are rarely given the chance to do comedy bits now, talks of conspiracy and "whose running the show?" have brought this overly serious air into every show, and while its important that those questions are answered, there is always room for this is your life. 

I'm wondering, with wrestling's veil slightly removed, with that access that we have been granted by guys like Foley and Austin and The Rock, is there room for wrestling to be ironic? Clearly it's self-aware. When Jim Ross says "how do you learn to fall off a 20 foot ladder," he's acknowledging the public perception that wrestling is not real. But can a business that must take itself seriously to sell you on the whole "two guys in their underwear pretending to fight" be the butt of its own jokes? I feel CM Punk is pushing this when he's bowing at Triple H and referring to Kevin Nash as "Super Shredder" but it's hostile, I think that there is a place for this sort of comedy. I'm not sure it will ever happen, but for now, I'm stoked for my broski Zak Ryder.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Punk, The Kliq, and Alexander Haige

Super SmackDown was uninspired and dull. Cena squashed Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan lost again, a sort of heel turn for Sin Cara, maybe? The Orton/Christian cage match was the only saving grace, followed by Mark Henry's beat down.

Even CM Punk and Triple H fell pretty flat during their contract signing, spending too much time in the ring talking around each other like characters in a Raymond Carver story--talking, but never listening. The core point to each argument is that both of them are seeking what's best for the WWE and it's fans. Despite being in opposition, both men are representing themselves as agents of change, but for the time being personal conflict is standing in the way and the two will have to settle things in the ring. But what about this concept these two are fighting for?

Change is the word of the moment right now, and the words and actions of both Triple H and CM Punk have fought to seek it. Since his takeover Triple H has taken several measures to promote a change in the product, last night's programming, the stage for this conversation, being one of many examples. A change in the product means that there was and is something wrong with the product: a fact that CM Punk opened the floodgates on in May.

Punk returned to the message he gave when he came back, that he was here to "make things fun again." His methodology for being the catalyst to that change is being viewed as reprehensible in the eyes of the executives, but interestingly enough, Punk also faces scorn from the conservative audience. Wichita was decisively anti-Punk, or at least pro-Triple H. While Punk argued that he's seeking change that 100% of the fans can get behind, Triple H received more praise saying that at least some of the people are satisfied--arguing for the status quo. H's declaration that Punk was a self-made martyr, seeking change only at his own benefit was the statement the crowd got behind, not Punk's message that he was trying to make things better for everyone. Punk identified as a fan at heart, seeking what's best for the fans, and yet he wasn't getting much from the crowd and I'm slightly perplexed by that. I think it comes down to tattoos.

The two floundered a bit though, Punk missed an opportunity in calling out Triple H for not seeking the 100% as things got personal. But Kevin Nash came out and not only did he knock Punk around, but he shoved Triple H down to the mat. Nash said nothing in the ring, refused to comment backstage and while his motivation Monday night was clearly to step in on behalf of his friend, what brought him to the ring last night?

When Nash returned to WWE, it was a field day for CM Punk, accusing Triple H of hiring his buddy, quelling change and bringing back the Kliq. But we're still not sure about the actualities of Nash's return. No answer to why he attacked Punk, Triple H said he had nothing to do with it. But what has been clear is that the relationship between Triple H and Kevin Nash hasn't been as stable as the relationship between Kevin Nash and John Laurenaitis who welcomed Nash back and signed him.

While Punk and Triple H have been championing the same cause, they've refused to listen to each other and they've made things personal. Night of Champions they'll have a match that we've all been looking forward to. But is it the battle that they should be fighting? Because I'm starting to think that their enemy is shared. That the forces protecting the structure CM Punk has fought against are also working to undermine Triple H. Somewhere, someone is very happy watching these two fight each other.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Raw 08 28 11

Triple H comes out to start things off with two big announcements to open up the show. The first of which is that we're going to be indefinitely treated to Raw Supershows featuring wrestlers from Raw and SmackDown and the second was that CM Punk and Kevin Nash are [or atleast WERE] going to square off at Night Of Champions. The opening segment wasn't great. Nash still seems to have a hard time keeping up, but he did get in Triple H's face about Punk's comments about Stephanie, asking "what kind of man are you?" He also dropped the bomb that John Laurenitis has signed him to a "lucrative contract."

Based on tonight's show the idea of combining the two lineups was a stroke of genius, case in point being the night's first match between Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton. The Raw roster was starting to feel a little stale and thin and it worked nicely to have a few Raw vs. SD matches to add some spontaneity to the night. Orton and Ziggler worked really well together, the crowd was hot and I really thought DZ was gonna pull it off after a superkick, but Orton bested him.

Cena comes out to address the Del Rio situation but is interrupted by Mark Henry whose definitely over with the Raw crowd. I love Mark Henry's demeanor, even while he's scarier than shit, he's got these deep pensive eyes that command. There's fury when he's enraged, but when he approaches the ring he's eerily calm. Christian and Sheamus enter into the foray and we have ourselves a development. After a commercial break Laurenitis is in back with Charles Robinson standing him like Grover Dill in A Christmas Story. As Triple H enters Laurenitis tells him that he set up a tag team match for the main event between Cena/Sheamus and Henry/Christian. Triple H immediately tells Laurenitis that he already set up that match and to remember whose running the show. (Just for future references: referee Charles Robinson.)

Immediately after this we're told, for the first time of the night, that Miz and CM Punk are gonna have a match. Normally this sort of match would be mentioned at the beginning of the show, with another plug somewhere in between, but they just did it. I love this loose feel, the idea that they're not just going to phone in episodes and expect us to swallow it. Miz comes down with a microphone giving him time to cut a quick promo while not wasting time. Punk and Miz worked pretty well together and I enjoyed the match, even with an awkwardly timed commercial break. Just as Punk's about to gain the edge and possibly the pin, R-Truth comes out and after Punk holds his own for a bit Nash comes out and delivers a Jackknife.

More Swagger/Ziggle/Vicki drama as Ziggler costs The All American American a match against the real Sin Cara.

New tag champs Air Boom take on McGillicutty and Otguna who are once again sporting the ominous backwards hat and a hoodie look. JR and King spend most of the match talking about how boring these two guys are, obviously showing blatant disregard to the tag teams new threads. After Kofi pins McGillicutty the two come out and take issue with Lawler, smacking his head set off and yelling the same thing over and over again. Coupla hoodlums.

Fuck the Bella Twins.

The main event is a disappointment. I don't think it did Mark Henry any good and, well, Christian is supposed to have a World Title match tomorrow and I don't know how we're supposed to expect him to beat Orton after he's pretty much squashed by Cena. BUT cut to backstage and H is watching on TV when Punk walks in. Triple H spoke to the board of directors, the match with Nash is cancelled, CM Punk will be facing Triple H. It seems like all that "what kind of man are you?" talk had an affect. Cut back to the ring and Sheamus and Cena are celebrating in the ring together, which I think fully symbolizes a face turn for the Great White Hope, and I fully support that.

It's hard to be pessimistic about any of this right now. And tomorrow night we get to do it all over again for Super SmackDown!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Raw 08 22

My brain is pretty fried from a lovely summer's night spent drinking Jim Beam and Mt Dew and watching the Cubs strand 15 runners in a shut out loss to the Braves. But we did enjoy some very nice seats. And the whiskey.

Watched Raw at about midnight last night, and how can you walk away from an episode like that feeling anything other than complete satisfaction?

The wrestling ranged from good to great, story lines expanded, and the new tag champions got a HUGE pop. I'm excited at the prospect of actually pushing tag team wrestling again, I think we're going to get some fun stuff from Kofi Kingston and a push for Evan Bourne (even if my brother thinks he's boring). Last night's win probably spells the end for Otunga and McGillicutty, I don't foresee them being used much more if at all.

AND we've already got suitable number one contenders in the tag team division. The Miz/R-Truth promo would've been a 10/10 if they didn't rap at the end. Either way, stellar.

Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger is getting good. I'm still elated that they're giving these two something to do.

More questions than answers in the WWE Championship/CM Punk vs. The World angle. What we do know is that John Cena and CM Punk can give us as good a match in 10 minutes as they can in 30. These two have unbelievable chemistry. The way they're pushing Del Rio seems to suggest that his title run might be a longer one which would be nice to see considering we've had five title changes in the past month and a half. And I can't help but think there's more to his relationship with Triple H than meets the eye.

Helluvan episode. And have you heard of this Breaking Bad show? It's really neat.

Friday, August 19, 2011

CM Punk, Rites of Spring

Drove down to Normal from Chicago last night. Didn't get in til late, but was lucky enough to spend some time with one of my favorite wrestling nuts, having just had good conversations a few hours earlier with one of my other favorite wrestling nuts. There is something beautiful about cutting off the rest of the world in a discussion about the subtleties of art. Especially when shitty beer is involved. This point was brought to my attention, and I mulled over last night while driving back, and even more so while re-watching the end of Summer Slam and Punk/Nash from Raw.

Chris Jericho on the radio show Between The Ropes:
"...I'm sure guys like you and me thought that [Punk and Nash/HHH] but your average person doesn't have a clue about stuff like that. They just know that Punk is doing something he's not supposed to be doing and saying something he's never said before. That's also why I don't think the Nash thing worked out so well this because they went too inside."
My initial reaction, especially within the context of the conversation, was to point out the self-serving aspects of this thought process. Jericho will inevitably be making a return to wrestling at his convenience and it's in his best interest to remain connected in some way to the wrestling world. Being critical of story lines is a way for him to remain relevant while he pursues his other endeavors and he fits this roles very well. He's opinionated and he's got one of the better creative minds in the history of the business.When Orton first beat Christian on SmackDown for the World Heavyweight Title there was a tremendous uproar from fans who thought this was a terrible move, a return to a norm that nobody was interested in. Jericho on the other hand was critical of the reactionary protests, bluntly tweeting "ever consider this to be part of a bigger story?" Of course that story would become one of this year's top feuds. Jericho's criticism while intrinsically motivated to some extent, is astute, he sees the further possibilities of an angle, he's a guy we know to have a sincere adoration for the sport.

His thoughts on the CM Punk angle hit on several interesting points worth considering as this feud, more than anything is forcing WWE to become increasingly self-analytical. One of the beauties of professional wrestling super-fandom is the joy that comes from being a part of infinite number of in-jokes that the rest of the world is either unaware of or trying to forget. A reference to Papa Shango when The Godfather is brought up is a +1. The Hacksaw Jim Duggan twitter is an excellent example of this. The super-fan is very aware of wrestling's history and we revel at the opportunity of bringing it up when the powers at be would rather have it removed from existence.

When we think of the Undetaker's Wrestlemania streak, we're asked to conjure up images of battles with Shawn Michaels, Kane, Batista. Giant Gonzalez and King Kong Bundy are lightly touched upon if at all. And most of these references are in the name of self-deprecation.

When CM Punk performed the "Blue Blood Bow" in front of Triple H it was a direct slap in the face to every achievement Triple H performed as The Game. The physical transformation, the titles, the legacy. The years he spent in working to erase that early history which only sat in the memories of the subset of vocal lifers who remembered Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The guy who wrestled in a hog pen match, the guy who lost his first Wrestlemania match to The Ultimate Warrior in under a minute. Knowing the significance of that gesture, I was in awe at the audacity of CM Punk, and also appreciative of Paul Levesque's humility in allowing it. That bow may still be the best part of this angle so far.

Jericho notes that this awareness is only possessed by a certain section of the crowd, arguing on behalf of those not in the know, specifically in the case of Vinny Vegas, err, Kevin Nash. I'm not sure if I agree with this criticism. It's not uncommon for announcers to use historical significance as a means of putting someone over. It came with the introduction of Jerry Lawler and has come to countless Special Guest Referees, General Managers, and Commissioners. "Don't know who Sgt. Slaughter is? Take our word for it, he's important." Jericho will rely on the same tools whenever he chooses to return, obviously not as heavily as Nash, but like The Rock, you'll have to remember or be told that he was once important. When Nash came out, if you didn't know who he was, the reverence held for him by Jim Ross was enough to sell him. His bit with Punk certainly worked to his benefit, perhaps his own words provided all we really need to know--he "changed the business."

The return of Nash and the current state of WWE has all of us in the dignified circle creaming ourselves with Attitude-era nostalgia. The addition of Nash has certainly helped in fueling this. It's a very special time to be a wrestling fan. The problem with this nostalgia, however, in our glorification of wrestling's history, is our demand for a full-on return to the past. In order for things to be properly put into place Punk must take on the establishment. Cena must turn heel (Cena's response to this demand has been flawless: "Yawn..stop looking at this bizz in black and white. I am not a 'heel' or a 'face', I am me. I find it comical that u truly believe ... That archaic ideology still exists. Today, wwe fans cheer for who they please, which is why I love this company. I should mail u a pair..Of my shorts, because your stuck in 1993."). The vocal subset of super-fans, the impossible to please, are wetting their lips at the thought of being sold the same stories sold in 1998. I don't think we expect CM Punk to shower Triple H will beer, or Pepsi, but many have been calling for the same archetype.

Wrestling has returned to a safe TV-PG format, the same as it was when Diesel was WWF Champion. When Triple H was Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Then the nWo came. Austin and D-X. The demands of the fans are that we do this again with different guys and while I'll admit myself that I would love for this to happen, progress can not be achieved through repetition of the past.  If wrestling is truly going to enter into a new chapter of historical significance, it must do so by continuing to push boundaries. The parallels between right now and the beginning of the Attitude-era are many, but a return to the Attitude-era will be just that, a return. The alternative, is something that's never been done before. The business is looking at itself in the mirror for the first time in years, and acknowledging aspects it would have once chosen to hide.

When it comes to any art form, awareness and respect of historical precedents is imperative. History itself though, is subjective, and for the first time in memory, WWE has chosen to use history in a way that is self-analytical and at times self-deprecating. It's important to remember though, that while history can be used as a tool for story lines, we are not gaining anything from asking for it to be repeated.

While some may not represent the subtle implications of Kevin Nash's return, what's important is that he's being represented in a way we've never seen before which affords us the opportunity to see him go through a storyline that we thought we'd never see. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Raw 08 15 - "I like Waffle House"

Triple H comes out and seems to be lying through his teeth when he says he doesn't know why Nash attacked CM Punk. I think he's really fitting into his role as COO. He's calm and methodical, much less of the obvious prick that McMahon came to embody.

Del Rio seems to have no involvement with Kevin Nash, destiny just worked that way. Not a terrible interview but a little long.

Morrison and R-Truth (again) in a falls count anywhere match, which is somewhat entertaining, though anticlimactic once again even with Morrison getting the victory. I know that they're pissed at Morrison right now but I would have really been behind this feud if it were allowed to follow through properly. I'm not sure what Morrison's status in the company is but I'm a fan of his work, especially since he dropped the furry boots.

Someone give The Miz an opponent.

Beth Phoenix comes out at the end of Kelly Kelly and Eve's win over the Bella Twins which is a good thing. I'm always impressed with her.

Oh shit, Kevin Nash is here and he's saying Triple H texted him to take out whoever won the title match. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nash get visibly annoyed by the "what?" from the crowd. Punk comes out for what was the best segment of the night. Punk doesn't hold back on the insults taking shots at Nash's reputation for being a pain in the ass backstage, a shitty booker, and a guy whose career is all but finished. Nash tries to hold his own, but he's definitely not as quick witted as Punk. Either way the two have a really good back and forth. I really enjoyed direction here, with Nash in the picture the nWo angle and more importantly the Kliq are now brought into the foray. CM Punk is here to shake things up and with Nash, the new corporate enemy may not be business heads as it was in the Attitude Era, but the wrestlers of the past generation who view a guy like Punk as a threat.

John Laurenitis and Kevin Nash speak privately backstage, the only reason I point this out is because Laurenitis suggests the two go "somewhere more private" and the crowd doesn't let the phrase go untouched.

Jack Swagger and Alex Riley have a match but importantly Dolph Ziggler and Vicki Guerrero are behind the desk for the match in what was a very entertaining bit. The two bickered while Lawler and Cole kept making jokes. Cole at one point is laughing too hard to respond, even when he's trying to be Vicki's line of defense. After the match Swagger talks to Vicki about possibly becoming his manager which will definitely lead to a conflict, maybe for Night of Champions. I think that this has tremendous potential. Swagger and Ziggler are two great talents who haven't had much to do, even with Ziggler holding the US Title. I'm very excited to see where this goes.

Another good interaction between Stephanie McMahon and CM Punk, this time with Steph getting the last word in.

Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne team up to face Otunga & McGillicutty in a non-title match. Not sure if Kingston and Bourne have teamed up before but their partnership was pretty natural. Ross and Lawler spent most of the match pointing out the lackluster tag team division. Lawler called the team "bland" (he's right) and Ross said that Kingston and Bourne could bring some excitement to the divison (he's right). Tag team wrestling has only existed in WWE out of obligation lately and it's starting to show. Hopefully there's a shakeup.

Del Rio and Rey Mysterio for the WWE Championship isn't half bad. Nothing too spectacular but these are two solid workers so it's still good match with Del Rio getting a clean pin. I would like to see Del Rio hold a long title run and a clean victory over Mysterio is a good start for that. After the match Del Rio beats up on Mysterio a bit and Cena comes out for the save. He talks about Del Rio stealing the title and not earning it (CM Punk, in his bit with Nash said that he wasn't pissed at Del Rio).

I thought they did a really good job picking up the pieces from Summer Slam and working the set-up for Night of Champions which is still five weeks away. I like that we have separated into Del Rio vs. Cena and Punk vs. Triple H et al. The latter of these two seems to have a good amount of depth and it may take several weeks to unfold.