What To Make Of SummerSlam’s Conclusion
By Neil Borenstein
Wrestling fans worldwide developed plenty of theories leading up to SummerSlam this Sunday night about what was going to happen in the WWE Championship main event between John Cena and CM Punk. The only obvious component of the match was the unlikelihood of a clean result due to Triple H’s convenient involvement as special guest referee. Whether he was going to call it straight down the middle or hand pick the undisputed titleholder remained uncertain, however. And it’s a safe bet that few, if any, envisioned the events that took place at the conclusion of the pay-per-view.
The match itself composed of a decent back-and-forth battle between Cena and Punk. The Monday in the Bank bout was leaps and bounds better. And the crowd in Chicago was simply something that can never be replicated. But Los Angeles was noticeably vocal and the in-ring action was more than adequate considering the circumstances surrounding the match. Triple H also played a fairly impartial referee. He even went so far as the make an unconventional, but well received, decision to avoid a double count out by tossing both superstars back into the ring instead of going all the way to a 10-count.
Regardless of what occurred before the finish, the real intrigue surrounded the match’s finish. Punk drilled Cena with a second Go2Sleep and then moved in for the cover, not realizing how close Cena was to the ropes. Triple H began to count and Cena managed to get his foot on the rope. Triple H missed that, however, and went all the way to a three-count to award Punk the victory and the title of undisputed WWE Champion.
Cena’s plea to Triple H after the bell was to no avail and it appeared as if Punk was walking out of the Staples Center as the sole possessor of the WWE Title. Triple H even tried to shake Punk’s hand, but Punk rejected the gesture and instead allowed Triple H to raise his hand in victory. Triple H exited the ring and Punk moved to the turnbuckles so that he could celebrate for the crowd. Neither man noticed somebody moving in through the crowd and jumping the barricade, however.
As Punk turned around, he was put down with a closeline and then a Jacknife Powerbomb by none other than Kevin Nash. Triple H appeared stunned by Nash’s involvement and made his way back down to the ringside area. Before he could make heads or tails of the situation, Alberto Del Rio bolted down to the ring with a referee and elected to cash in his briefcase. All he had to do was hit Punk with a leaping enziguri to get Punk down in a pinning situation, which he immediately moved in on to get the three-count and achieve his destiny of becoming WWE Champion.
This rounded out to be a rather confusing scenario, to say the least. And it makes the viewing of Monday Night RAW an absolute necessity.
My hypothesis about the finish to SummerSlam was that it was a power move by Triple H, yet not necessarily one that’s egotistical or heel in nature. I do believe that despite his stunned looks, he knew exactly what was happening and even played a major hand in orchestrating it. But this all centers on his authority as the new COO of the WWE and the lack of respect many of the WWE’s top superstars have shown him since taking over. Everybody has their own agenda. And while Punk was the most rebellious, Cena was not exactly willing to play ball either. Triple H needed to acquire an obedient champion and setup an overall environment in which his position within the company was understood and respected.
Del Rio can be that obedient champion, willing to accept the role of being Triple H’s top guy on RAW in return for finally achieving his destiny as WWE Champion. A quick call by Triple H to good buddy Kevin Nash helped facilitate the transition of the title from Punk to Del Rio, as Del Rio has shown an unwillingess to cash in the briefcase against a spry opponent in previous attempts.
Triple H will understandably come out like the bad guy and has quite a few built-in feuds lined up as a result, the most imminent and intriguing of which would be against Punk. And how Helmsley goes about changing from the unknowing party to revealing that he knew all about it would be the true indicator of just how much heat he’ll receive over the ordeal. But Triple H was just doing what he needed to do to build some structure in a fashion acceptable to him within the WWE. It’s his company to run now, and watching people like Punk and Cena call the shots was an obstacle to running the WWE his way.
That’s just my stab in the dark at this whole thing, and I’ll be more than happy to join the mob with a pitchfork should this turn out to be some takeover by the Kliq or another angle involving older guys versus younger ones. But if it goes the way I laid out – Triple H essentially looking for people to respect his position – then the angle should at least be given a chance to develop before deeming it unreasonable. It was different, far from what everybody expected and actually rewarded Del Rio with a championship victory he deserves.