This is the first edition of My WWE Soapbox to take place after a PPV and what an awesome PPV it was! This was a pleasant surprise given the fact that two of the best WWE workers of the last five years — Daniel Bryan and CM Punk — were absent from this PPV. Anyway, let’s hop on that soapbox!
1. Rusev vs Swagger
I have to start here. If you follow me on Twitter (@LuchaNerd) you would’ve seen that I gave this match ****1/2. And it deserved every single one of them. The match stipulation was confusing and a little hokey. Justin Roberts seemed to be the only person in the entire WWE Universe that understood how the match stipulation worked, but I am actually glad this match wasn’t the standard “capture the flag” styled stipulation. This was a masterful performance by Rusev, Swagger, and Lana (Zeb was a non-factor, surprisingly, because he is usually the stand out). The match started off hot with Swagger attacking Rusev and injuring the ankle before the match even started. Lana was great in screaming at Rusev to stand up and fight, then realizing the extent of the injury and screaming at the ref that the match is off. Swagger has never been this over in his entire career and he was an excellent babyface in this match. Rusev easily had the best performance of his career. Rusev went from Ryback 2012 status to looking like a true superstar that will be in the main event scene soon and for a long time. Rusev’s selling of the leg injury when trying to put the Accolade on Swagger was one of the best jobs of selling a limb we have seen all year. Lana screaming at Rusev to suck it up was brilliant. The finish with Swagger passing out was stellar. This match was just so good. It’s my list of matches to go back at watch when 2014 comes to an end, and might make my top 10 for the Voices of Wrestling Best Matches of the Year list.
2. The Miz
It was kind of a drag that The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship reign ended so quickly. He has been really, really great in his character performance lately and it is going to be a true waste if the WWE lets him fall off to the wayside now. The better story is the hot babyface on the chase from the sniveling cocky heel, which would have meant that The Miz wins last night via nefarious means, but that’s not what we got. I am assuming The Miz will at least get a rematch at Night of Champions, but will WWE really hot potato the IC title back to him? Either way, it’s been a while since I have been this curious about the direction of the IC title. Normally it’s “Who is the Intercontinental Champion, again?”
3. Rollins vs Ambrose
This was the best lumberjack match in WWE history. Hands down. There were a lot of people on Twitter upset with Ambrose and Rollins escaping the stipulation and fighting in the crowd. They couldn’t be more wrong to be upset! That is the magnitude of how much these guys hate each other! These two are in a blood fueled hatred filled feud and nothing can contain them! This match was worked like a typical Shield PPV match, which could not have been more fitting. This is obviously leading to a match at the Hell in a Cell PPV that is going to be the best HiaC match we have seen in the PG era.
4. Brock Lesnar – The Unstoppable Monster
Brock Lesnar squashed the Golden Boy of the WWE, John Cena. Brock Lesnar has now utterly destroyed CM Punk, The Big Show, The Undertaker, and John Cena in his last four PPV appearances. Who can stop this guy?! And that is the brilliance of this direction that WWE has taken. I have been writing about this every week upon this WWE Soapbox, that the right move is to have Brock defend the title at the next 8 PPV’s through WrestleMania and lose it to an up and coming star at WrestleMania. I originally said Roman Reigns, but now I prefer Daniel Bryan. Bryan is set to come back around the time of the Royal Rumble and if the WWE (for once! Please, Lord!) would book Daniel Bryan as the submission specialist bad ass that he is he can go into WrestleMania in a match akin to Bryan Danielson vs Takeshi Morishima in Ring of Honor. Bad Ass Ultimate Underdog vs The Unstoppable Monster, who has left his last 13 opponents in piles of their own blood, urine, and vomit. Book it!
Also, there has been a lot of talk about Brock Lesnar and if he is good enough to make it into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. What better way to crash his way into the Hall of Fame then putting together a string of 8 excellent matches and boosting the WWE Network Subscriptions up to prove he is a draw? The WWE has a lot riding on his coattails, and it will be interesting to watch how he performs.
5. WWE’s booking
WWE’s booking has been ripped apart for most of 2014. Take a look at this. WWE has successfully created TWO unstoppable monsters with different paths, TWO future breakout stars in Ambrose and Rollins, TWO Divas that are going to usher in the Sara Del Ray era of the Divas divisions, ONE future face of the company in Reigns, and numerous storylines that we are all on our couches with no idea where they are going! This is an exciting time for the WWE.
BUT! It’s important to point out that yours truly was this excited for the WWE product after Summerslam 2013 and then product went south the rest of the year. I really feel like WWE has set themselves up for a successful end to the year though. And I know one member of the WWE Universe who is on for the ride!