Monday, August 15, 2011

Rant #559: WWE: WOW!

Look, I make no apologies that I am a professional wrestling fan. Never have, never will.

I go back to the era when Bruno Sammartino was the dominant wrestler, so my interest in pro wrestling goes back to the mid-1960s.

I admit I fell out of the loop a bit, until my son got interested in wrestling.

There are two major organizations, and many, many smaller, regional groups. The main wrestling organizations are WWE--World Wrestling Entertainment--and TNA--now known simply as Impact Wrestling.

Last night, as I traditionally do for my son's birthday, I bought the SummerSlam pay per view. And no, it isn't cheap.

Usually during these pay per views, you see just what you see on the free (or relatively free, since you pay for the shows with your satellite, cable or phone bills) shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night Smackdown.

But last night was something else, mainly because of one match.

I will try to explain the convoluted nature of this match as best I can. John Cena was the WWE champion, having been given the award because his opponent of several weeks ago and the one he lost to for the championship, CM Punk, supposedly left the organization. Punk beat Cena, but then supposedly hung up his WWE jockstrap.

Well, as you know, in the world of professional wrestling, nothing is as it seems.

Punk, who was supposedly suspended for his actions leading up to his leaving the WWE, returned, and claimed that he was the rightful champion. Cena claimed that he was, because he was still there and had the belt.

This led up to a clash between the two champions to determine who actually was the champion.

Sure, that is convoluted, but the buildup to the match was pretty huge. I think the WWE knew that the card that they had for SummerSlam--their biggest pay per view event of the year after Wrestlemania--was fairly weak, and they needed something super for this event to go over with wrestling fans.

Well, let me tell you, it did.

This was one of the best, most exciting matches I have ever seen. Each wrestler pummeled the other for 45 minutes, and you can see that many of the punches, leg kicks, head butts and everything else were hitting the opponents, not like most matches, where the wrestlers miss their opponents by several feet and it is phony baloney all the way.

I am not saying that every hit actually hit the target, but these guys were really going at it.

At one point, each was counted out of the ring, but referee Triple H--who supposedly took over the company from his father in law, Vince McMahon, and officiated because he wanted a fair match and a true champion--wouldn't have it and threw both competitors back in the ring, continuing the match.

Pin after pin was attempted, but none was made until the end, when CM Punk pinned John Cena as the referee missed the fact that Cena had his leg on the rope. When you have your leg on the rope, you have to break your hold or pin, but somehow, Triple H missed this.

So CM Punk was the champ, but it lasted maybe a few minutes. Out of nowhere comes former WWE wrestler Kevin Nash--the 7-footer who most recently was with TNA and is a long-time friend of Triple H--and he beats CM Punk to a pulp.

Then also out of nowhere, Alberto Del Rio rushes out with his "Money in the Bank" suitcase.

Let me explain further. Del Rio, a former Mexican Lucha Libre wrestler and one of the most popular villains in the WWE, won the "Money in the Bank" match at the last pay per view. This entitles him to wrestle for the WWE championship at a point of his own choosing, and he chose this moment to go for the championship.

With CM Punk being spent from the match with Cena and being beat up by Nash, Del Rio didn't have to do much to take the crown away from Punk. It took just a few seconds, but now Del Rio is the WWE champion.

All of this happened as Triple H stared ahead in seemingly complete disbelief as the pay per view ended.

Sure, you have to be a wrestling fan to "get" this. Sure, you know the Nash/Del Rio thing was 100 percent staged. Sure, you know that the whole scenario of the match itself was well planned and thought out.

But the WWE has a way of making this engaging. This is a modern circus, with just one, single ring.

And I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, as did my son.

This match lifted the entire pay per view into another stratosphere, and made the whole night worthwhile.

Congrats to the WWE--they really know how to put on a great, great show.

And I guess congratulations go out to Alberto Del Rio, who is the new WWE champion.

Where the defense of this honor will take him is clearly anyone's guess-- and up to the WWE writers' whims--and in the world of the WWE, just about anything can happen.

CM Punk vs. Del Rio at the next pay per view?

Sounds good to me!

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