Best: I Just Saw Claudio Castagnoli Win The United States Championship
In another weird “I’m eating a Daniel Bryan sandwich” moment, I got to see Antonio Cesaro beat Santino Marella and win the United States Championship. Claudio was in the first match at my first-ever Ring Of Honor show (Joe Vs. Kobashi in New York City), and here he is in my first live SummerSlam match. I think I might enjoy him more as Antonio Cesaro than I ever did as Claudio Castagnoli … not that I was a big Claudio fan, but his role on the independent scene, at least for me, was being the guy who was really talented at throwing around his little opponents, offensively or defensively. It’s smart to put him in programs with guys like Santino, so he can deadlift them up into gutwrench suplexes and stuff and highlight what he’s really fantastic at doing.
Additionally, the stuff with Aksana works really fantastically live. It combines three things WWE audiences hate with a passion:
1. Foreign people
2. Foreign languages
3. People kissing
I was on the floor, where you’d assume at least 70 or 80% of the people there would be well-off enough to either be completely disinterested in wrestling or grown up enough to not get bent out of shape about stuff like this, but everyone around me was screaming GET A ROOM, GET A ROOOOOOOMMMM when they started making out. It was big. Claudio’s awkward TV kissing (sorry, Sara Del Rey) was more locally heated than Lesnar. Well, more or less.
Worst: I Just Saw Santino Pull A Snake Out Of His Asshole
This column’s probably going to be low on actual wrestling analysis, but I am so unbelievably happy to see Santino lose his championship. Comedy guys with light legitimacy have a great place in wrestling, but that place isn’t “hold an important midcard title for most of the year”. It’s to get in great hope spots like Santino almost winning the Royal Rumble, or getting a close two count on a roll-up against a guy like Cesaro. I had a paragraph in mind about Cesaro stealing the cobra and ripping it up being the end of a stupid Raw era, and then a few minutes later Santino literally reached into his own asshole to pull out a second snake.
I felt like Hermes Conrad watching Zoidberg’s shell house burn down underwater. He established that the Cobra is his arm, and the snake skin is just a puppet, so when his puppet was lost, why didn’t he just do the hand gestures? Also, does he keep a secondary snake stored in his ass all the time for situations like this, or is he trying to sneak cobras across the border, or … or does he PRODUCE the snake puppets FROM his ass? Does he have weird spider powers and weave those things with his butt?
I don’t know. He lost, that’s what we need to focus on. I’m thinking “there’s a snake in my ass” may follow “all my limbs can be snakes” as the logical conclusion to the Cobra story, but I guess I should prepare myself now for that inevitable moment a few months from now where he vomits up a snake in the middle of the ring and uses it to knock somebody out.
Best: So Wow, I’m On The Floor At SummerSlam
I typed this a few times already, but one of the coolest parts of the trip was being on the floor for the show. Previous to this, the closest I’d ever been at a WWE show was during a Raw in the 90s when Austin drove his truck into the arena. I think I was in like the 25th row or something. At WrestleMania I sat in the middle of the bowl and stared at a palm tree. This is probably one of the reasons why I’ve always gravitated toward independent wrestling … I can drop 12 bucks and sit in the front row of everything.
My biggest professional goal (besides “hug Thora Birch for several minutes” and “actually get my movie out of pre-production during my lifetime”) is “be famous enough for something that WWE lets me sit in the front row for shows, and maybe comes over with a camera for a second so I can make Wolfpac signs and hold up a replica title”. I feel like that’s the life goal I’m working toward. I’m almost there.
Best: Sin Cara’s Family Is Sitting Behind Me
I don’t care who y’are, that’s funny right there.
Best: Sign Of The Night
There were a lot of signs in the audience, mostly just slogans from the t-shrirts written on posterboard (seriously, if you bring a sign to a WWE event and it says BROGUE KICK HOOLIGAN, I don’t care if you’re five, you should be thrown out). Occasionally you find a great one, and though it didn’t get on television, I wanted to represent this lady in Best And Worst:
If you can’t make it out, it says SLATERS GONNA SLATE. I’m going forward believing she made the sign, and wasn’t just forced into holding it by the Me-looking motherf**ker in the Daniel Bryan shirt to her left.