When you think back to WWE Summerslam 2013 compared to where we are today on the eve on this edition, WWE Summerslam 2014 basically a year later. So much has changed in the last year it is quite remarkable. Just stop and think about all that has changed in the span of a year. Daniel Bryan at this time last year was about to start his big run that would lead eventually to him being booked in the main event of WrestleMania 30. Fast forward to today, he is out with an injury to his neck and his status remains very much in the air. Last year at this time, John Cena was in a match and he was the one that was injured as his match with Daniel Bryan that would be his last for a long time. Cena would reveal the next night on Raw that his elbow was blown up with fluid and he had a torn tricep muscle.
We all know how it played out Cena would recover in just over two months which was an injury people projected he would be out close to six months. In the time Cena was gone, the WWE kept teasing giving Bryan the ball and talking it away in a feud with Randy Orton who cashed in on Bryan on at Summerslam after his big victory over John Cena. The match with Cena did not draw to the WWE’s liking and Vince McMahon called it a “swing and a miss” as an attraction. One year later, we have a very typical McMahon type of main event with John Cena and Brock Lesnar on the top of Summerslam this year.
Last year Brock Lesnar was engaged in a feud with the other successful Paul Heyman guy, C.M. Punk. These three guys have had interesting years to say the least. Let us start with Brock and how he went on to beat the Undertaker and end his Wrestlemania streak. Beating that streak has almost give Lesnar a re-birth in his return to the WWE. Many have questioned how he was booked and even if he should have been the guy to beat the Undertaker’s streak. He was a part-timer that did not deserve it. Look ahead three months and far fewer are concerned about Lesnar’s part term status looking to see him destroy John Cena. Part of why some might not be as concerned aside from a hate or dislike of John Cena is the work of Paul Heyman.
Paul Heyman just had a DVD released on his career in the business which is a long and winding road. This past year might have been the best of his work as a performer. He worked a program with Punk who as we later would find out later was not exactly in his “happy place” at this time. He wasn’t able to help Curtis Axel, Ryback and Cesaro get over. Nevertheless, he was able to sell two of the biggest matches of 2014 in the match at Wrestlemania 30 for the streak and this upcoming match with Cena and Lesnar. His importance to this company may never have been bigger than it is today.
We have mentioned C.M. Punk who at this time last year was in one of the major on Summerslam to this year where he has publicly stated that he will never ever return to WWE. Something Paul Heyman say could change in the long term as it did for him. In the short term, it is just highly unlike to happen on both sides of the issue. What that issue or issues are remains a mystery to some degree as no one has stated what happened to cause Punk to leave on the night after the Royal Rumble.
What we do know is Punk’s departure combined with a failed return of Dave Batista changed the future for Daniel Bryan to have is moment at Wrestlemania. His subsequent injury has set the path to John Cena becoming champion. Something that also has happened in this year between events the WWE has unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion. It makes a big difference on who can be considered to be the champion now without a second title. In fact, if the expected happen on Sunday the title itself may not be around. Lesnar is likely to remain to his schedule and contract. Part of the reason for that are the WWE’s financial issues. These are primarily tied to the launch and lack of success of the WWE Network.
Since it being launched in late February the network and its cost and failure to get off to a great start has cost many people their jobs in the company in all areas including some of the talent. It has been the major story for all of 2014, making the whole concept of pay-per-view buys no longer as big a factor. WWE network renewals and attracting new subscribers is the big deal now.
At this time last year both Hulk Hogan and Sting were apart of TNA. They at this time are now part of the WWE. Least at this point, there are no plans that would lead either neither to being in the ring. Sting seems to be pushing for that more. Hogan however has thrown out the idea of one last match with Cena. I personally have no desire to see either. The fact they are both now a part of the WWE is more a blow to TNA. At least in theory it is, but when you think about it, Hogan and Sting like everyone else really failed to move that needle for TNA in terms of ratings.
It was a year ago at the time the now infamous 2K Sports panel took place in which a drunken Ric Flair would take over the show. WWE was furious over this and have since patched things up with Flair who is back in to fold in some form of legends deal. Jim Ross, who would ultimately be blamed for the events of that night, moderated it. WWE rather than they calling it a firing would push Ross into a retirement. Ross has went on to start his own podcast and have a series of successful one man shows as well as trying his hand at calling boxing.
I am sure there is stuff we left out that has changed as well. Like the Shield who are now all separated and on their own after breaking apart months ago. Bray Wyatt basically debuted at this event last year and what a year it has been for him. It has been to say the least an eventful 12 months for the WWE it is a bit tense as the company moves forward in full cost cutting mode heading towards 2015. The business stuff has been all bad news for fans and more so the company. There good news for people looking for new talent to start taking over, that day seems to be on the verge of happening.
Not everything changes though John Cena is still a good guy. Only his shirt colors change. So enjoy Summerslam as you realize now just how much has changed since you did that last year.