WWE SummerSlam 2012: An Outsider’s View Inside the Staples Centre – Part 3

< Part 2

Tout’s annoying. It just is. It annoys me. I’ll be honest, I’m not particularly sure what tout even is, but it’s already annoying me, and the hype video for Sheamus/Del Rio has a lot of tout in it. A brief “We hate tout” chant mumbles up from the back of the stadium and everyone laughs because it annoys them too.

I’m going to have a real problem talking about this match, mainly because I didn’t see it on T.V. This is important, because, live, it seemed like they completely ruined the match, whereas, at home, it’s unclear if this ending was indeed a botch, in which case it would have been hidden, or it would have been painfully hammered home by Michael Cole. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know, but it’s an important part of the night, because it confused EVERYONE and this went on to be something of a turning point.

Just incase you don’t know what I’m talking about, when Sheamus pinned Alberto del Rio, Alberto very, very obviously put his foot on the ropes. The referee looked at said foot, completely, COMPLETELY ignored it, and counted the pin fall. Then things got odd.

Sheamus starts posing all over the place like anyone in the world cares about him, and goes marching off like Captain Babyface. A cheating, non-winning, match stealing baby-face. To add to the confusion, del Rio doesn’t make any obvious attempt to point out the rope break. He makes a fuss, because that’s what heels do, but there’s none of the pantomime body language that we’re all so used to referees and wrestlers communicating with.

Whatever the intention, everyone, EVERYONE is confused.

Sheamus is now universally being booed out of the ring, a fact not helped by the fact that people (and by “people”, I mean “I”) like del Rio because;

One: He has great music.

Two: Ricardo Rodriguez is an amazing man.

It completely over shadows the match, which I’m not going to make any attempt to remember any further than “It was fine”, because this isn’t that sort of thing. What I DO remember is that never before has the phrase, “What the f*ck was that?” said by so many people in so many Central American dialects.

This is one of the strongest cases for commentary I think I’ve ever seen. All this ending needed was either Michael Cole over acting (to confirm it was on purpose) or Michael Cole being confused with the faint sound of Vince McMahon screaming emanating from his ear piece (to confirm that is was a mistake). That said, God knows why I’ve identified Michael Cole as the voice of reason, like anything he’s ever said in his life was his own idea.

Now, I’m aware that now that we’re all living in space, it would be very easy for me to watch the end of this match and clear this up, but, again, that’s missing the point here. The point is that the live audience didn’t have such a convenience at hand and, as such, had absolutely no idea what they’d just seen.

And so, from a live perspective, began the death of SummerSlam.

This moment, more than anything, makes me want to watch the show. Not the moment when Del Rio put his foot on the rope for seemingly no reason, no, the moment when a very, very large part of the audience visibly and audibly gave up on this show.

It makes me want to watch the show because, I’d guess, it’s at this point where the live experience and the viewing experience split aware from each other. So far, all the matches had ranged from good to great, and the audience atmosphere reciprocated the in-ring work in front of it. If you have any idea what happened at the end of this match, I’m sure that trend continued, but we didn’t. We didn’t have any idea, and, in many ways, it popped our bubble, and I think I know why.

Wrestling in 2012 sucks.

Everyone, EVERYONE knows it sucks. Everyone. And that’s not hyper-boil, because I’ve spent the last three days living in an entirely wrestling based atmosphere. I’ve been using the same cab rank as Fit Finlay, I’ve been using the same elevator as Pat Patterson, I’ve been sitting on the same couch as Vince McMahon, I’ve eaten at the same buffet as Steve Austin, I’ve drunk at the same bar as Jack Swagger. The view from my room is a line of WWE production trucks. The view from the swimming pool is WWE Fan Axxess. The view from the hotel entrance is a giant flag with John Cena’s horrible face on it. I have been SURROUNDED by wrestling for days and, more importantly, I’ve been SURROUNDED by wrestling fans. I can’t leave my room without being swarmed by them, in bars, in restaurants, on the street, in stores.

And NONE of them like wrestling anymore. Absolutely none of them.

Everyone is the absolute walking stereotype of an online wrestling fan. Jim Ross is the best commentator alive, CM Punk is the only good thing left, John Cena is Satan and nothing since 2001 has been any good. They hate wrestling. Forget the fact that they’re paying whatever ridiculous amount of money this thing costs to be here, but they hate wrestling.

Or so they think.

The problem is that, so far, this show’s been a huge amount of fun. Every match has been enjoyably, and the laid back West-Coast Summer atmosphere has put everyone in high spirits.

But it all came crashing down with Alberto del Rio’s leg.

At that moment, all the smarks in the crowd (and by that I mean everyone over the age of eight) realized, “Hold on… I’m at a wrestling show… in 2012… WRESTLING IN 2012 SUCKS!”.

It was one tiny, TINY thing; an ignored rope break with no clear expectation and, on T.V., it might have been the best thing ever. It might have been the moment pro-wrestling turned it all around and blasted into the next golden era. With that ignored rope break, T.V. ratings might have doubled, John Cena might have become cool, Vince McMahon might have got his groove back. It’s okay everyone, the industries saved, we’re all going to be okay! Maybe, one day, in Downtown Los Angeles, they’ll build a statue commemorating that moment when the referee didn’t see del Rio’s foot on a rope and the miraculous, universally positive changes that that event made to humanity.

But no one told the live audience.

Maybe it was burn out, maybe the show was too long, maybe it had been too hot that day (it f*cking had), maybe people were just getting tired. But, whatever it was, like the butterfly’s wings that start the tornado, that missed rope break was about to start a chain reaction in the Staples Center that threatened to tear Summerslam apart.

> Part #4

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