Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summerslam: Stephanie vs Brie

This is a feud that really dates back to January of this year between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella. It at first was the side attraction to Daniel Bryan’s feud against the Authority leading into Wrestlemania 30. Since Bryan has been ruled out to injury, it has risen to be arguably the co-main event angle of Summerslam. Part of the interest and intrigue to this event has little to do with Brie Bella. This will mark the first time Stephanie as competed in a WWE in ring in over 10 years. In that time, Stephanie has had three daughters in real life with here husband Paul Lévesque (Triple H) and I think many felt we would never see Stephanie in a ring again.

That all changed when Brie Bella called Stephanie a bitch over her less than really concern for Brie Bella’s husband Daniel Bryan being injured at the time in storyline. It sparked something in people to think that perhaps we would see Stephanie return to the ring in a match. The storyline would be used to deal later with the uncertainty of Daniel Bryan’s now legit injury to his neck and lack of recovery from neck surgery. Stephanie forced Bryan to choose between the WWE World Heavyweight Title and his new wife Brie Bella’s employment with the company. Brie would take the choice out of her husband’s hands by quitting instead and slapping Stephanie in the face on the WWE event Payback.

As things turned out Bryan would legitimately have to forfeit the title, he won as his neck surgery and recovery from it did not improve. The angle would be shifted to Stephanie punishing Nikki Bella as a way of getting at the now unemployed Brie Bella. The feud would heat up again with Brie in attendance to watch her sister wrestle and she would get in a verbal altercation with Stephanie that turned physical when Brie called Stephanie a bitch yet again causing Stephanie to deliver one of her most famous slaps. Mick Foley lays claim to being the first person Stephanie every slapped. He advised her to slap him as hard as she could but not directly on the jaw. Wise advice he gave as Stephanie has been know to lay in quite the slap. Anyway, this slap would land Stephanie in hot water, as she was arrested for assault, as technically Brie was just a fan so she pressed charges. In order to drop the charges she demanded her job back and this match at Summerslam. Stephanie tearfully agreed and than turned on a dime and slapped Brie off the ring apron promising to make Stephanie her bitch at Summerslam.

This angle main evented Raw in back to back weeks and despite Brie being totally outclassed on the microphone by Stephanie this was a match people wanted to see and maybe still do but likely not as much as they did before Monday. What happened on Monday with Stephanie bringing out a physical therapist named Megan Miller having Miller admit to an affair she had been having with her client Daniel Bryan was just going to far with this. Brie would attack Miller and Stephanie leading to her own arrest. It was unnecessary and took away from this great and rare long-term build to a match.

Many have wondered what kind of a match we will get once this match makes it to the ring. After all, it has been 10 years since Stephanie has wrestled and Brie Bella herself has not had a match in several months after this angle driven departure from the company. Call me crazy but I think it will be better than you think. Stephanie has worked out for years with Triple H’s personal real life trainer since having the couple’s third child. She also has taken up Jiu-Jitsu learning it from Rener Gracie the husband of former WWE Diva Eve Torres. Her daughters had been taking a program for kids and Stephanie was said to have taken an interest and learned some things as well. Gracie is also known for working with Ronda Rousey and C.M Punk.

While Brie has been, helped in real life by her husband Daniel Bryan considered one of the best wrestlers in pro wrestling today. She has shown improvements in the ring as a result. Therefore, in theory this could be a decent match and not strictly a cat-fight of hair pulling and slaps. It may turn out to be that but the potential is there for it to be more than that.

At first, many speculated this would be a match for Brie to earn her job back with a victory, as the story has played out this has not been the case. This opens the door widely to the idea of Stephanie actually winning this match. There were rumors that Nikki Bella would actually turn on her sister as part of how this all would take place. Keeping with the rumor mill the WWE has been less than impressed with Brie’s work in the build-up to this feud and it makes you wonder if spinning off into a feud of Bella vs. Bella is a direction the company would still want to go. Also with Stephanie, landing a pedigree on both Bella’s it makes that also seems a little less likely or at least logical.

Another question is when and if we see Daniel Bryan get involved in all this. Bryan now being brought into this angle with his loyalty to his wife questioned makes you wonder if he now appears involved in this. He is not ready to return to the ring to wrestle. In fact may well require more surgery as his neck has not heeled correctly causing him to lose strength in on of his arms. It was also revealed that he since has discovered and injury to his shoulder that also could require going under the knife. I question if him being involved is wise given he really can’t return to active duty in the WWE. Does it not make sense to save such a moment for when he is ready to return and fight?  

Despite all of these issues at the finish line to the build to this angle, I remain very invested and interested in seeing it. Perhaps it is just me but I am not rooting for Stephanie to get was it coming to her. I almost would like to see her win at this point. Which the door is clearly the door is now open too. I also would not mind seeing Stephanie in a match at Wrestlemania against A.J Lee the current and defending Diva’s Champion. A feud between these two would have a lot of real life drama tied to it with A.J being married to C.M Punk and Stephanie being believed to be one of the people behind the scenes glad that he is gone. Add in the fact that at one time and maybe still is, the idol of one A.J Lee. In the past, Lee has talked about how she finds it is hard for her just engaging in a conversation with Stephanie as she is so excited to be talking with her and it brings out the fan in her that idolized her. Sounds like a good idea to me.

What I think we can say, or should say, is that this match with Brie should be a one and done type affair which should mean Brie gets the win. I would not bet the house on it though as the WWE logic might suggest having Stephanie win. If there is a plan in place to have her wrestle again at Wrestlemania she would have some legitimacy to her match against a different female opponent.  Not that she would need it but that is a line of thinking. Brie’s failure to hold up her end of this feud might be a reason to see Stephanie win as well.

Whatever the case you can make the argument this is the most anticipated women’s wrestling match since the retirement match of Trish Stratus in Toronto against Lita at Unforgiven in 2006.

It has been the match most people have expressed interest in seeing, beyond the Brock and Cena battle for the title. We have poll on website here that reflects that.

Check out all the rest of our Summerslam Previews so far below:

Bray Wyatt vs Jericho
Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler 

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