Welcome back to another post in the SummerSlam Chronicles. This year’s SummerSlam will be enjoyed live and in person so I am breaking down every match on the card for some of the new fans I will be attending with.
From Raw, we have the Intercontinental title on the line with Dolph Ziggler (champion) vs. Seth Rollins.
Back in the day, when Ric Flair was a young man, there was an elite group of wrestlers who could go all night. Go “Broadway”. As dirty as it sounds what it meant is that these men could wrestle against each other for an hour. Not only once in awhile but many times during the week. This isn’t just an athletic feat to wrestle for an hour, its also a psychological one. They didn’t punch and kick each other for an hour. They told a story. The good guy is winning. The bad guy takes out the knee. The bad guy has every advantage possible and the good guy struggles against everything to narrowly snatch the victory. In the age of short matches for TV time this became a thing of the past. As the need to wrestle for an hour lessened the amount of people who could do it also lessened. These two can do it and have done it.
Its actually a great choice to have these two wrestle each other because they are more similar than either would care to admit, yet their paths have been nearly opposite.
Dolph was an amateur wrestler at Kent State and still holds numerous school records. He did so well, WWE offered him a deal as soon as he was out of college. He then went to WWE’s minor league company to learn the craft and then has been on either Raw or Smackdown ever since. He’s won the tag team titles, Intercontinental, United States, and the World title. He’s done it all. Yet for some reason he has never been seen as “the guy”. Despite constantly learning and bettering himself in order to be the best wrestler on the show. He came out and stole the show week after week, putting himself in the face of writers and decision makers. If you won’t give him the spotlight then he will be the best wrestler on the show and have the best match over and over again thus making it impossible to ignore him. And yet. And yet. He has never been truly given that upper echelon spot.
Then there’s Seth Rollins on the other side. He wrestled in high school gyms in front of 20 people. He drove hours to wrestle and didn’t even get paid enough to make up the gas money. But he went in and tried for years and got better and better, finally getting noticed. He was signed to WWE’s minor league at the time and had to earn every bit. Then he was brought up to the main show and has been all but dubbed the chosen one. He’s won every title, main evented, and one of the truest signs of trust, been the guy to work with celebrities. When a famous person from outside the WWE comes in, and thus that appearance will be covered on mainstream news, the wrestler needs to be someone that won’t embarrass the company. Seth shined in that role. Further, with Brock Lesnar being a part time World champion, Rollins has gone out of his way to be the uncrowned champion of Raw. He has wrestled the longest match in recent WWE history, over an hour in the ring, and this was in the middle of a streak of great matches. Seth Rollins became the must see man for every episode of Raw. Skip the rest of the show if you must, but you have to see his match.
And there’s Dolph in the background. Working just as hard. Having great matches. Similar in so many ways. Yet never getting to that plateau that Rollins stands on. Its the darkness vs the light. Two similar sides of the same coin that can yet never be on top at the same time. It is the match with the highest potential to be match of the night.