This was a historic Summerslam for several of reasons. It was the last Summerslam to air on PPV instead of the WWE Network. It was CM Punk’s last Summerslam. It was Daniel Bryan’s biggest match to date. It is also quite possibly the best Summerslam PPV ever.
Bray Wyatt vs. Kane:
This might have been the the worst “Inferno match” ever and that is saying something because they have not been ever good. The stipulation is a zany Vince Russo idea that never worked. The fire blistering after every bump became an irritating nuisance. Not sure if the fire played a massive factor as to why this felt so disjointed or if it was simply because they had poor chemistry. Either way, this lacked flow and came off as as an assemblage of spots that had little reasoning behind them.
Frankly, this was something WCW 2000 would have produced; it was cheesy and hokey, and the crowd was bored out of their mind having to endure it.
Final Rating: DUD, a front-runner for the Worst Match of the Year in 2013.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow:
Rhodes shaved off his mustache, and the announcing team says that we have to watch some YouTube show to see why he did it. It reminded me of an old Impact show, “TUNE INTO IMPACT TO SEE WHY RHODES SHAVED OFF HIS MUSTACHE!” Anyway, this match got six minutes and it felt like they were sleep walking. Not much anything to it. It was a relatively rudimentary, paint-by-numbers contest, which did not have any twists or turns.
The feud had the potential of being special, though the ridiculous build up leading up to this match, slaughtered a massive amount of the heat.
Final Rating: * ½
World Heavyweight Championship, Alberto Del Rio © vs. Christian:
This was more than a very good match. It was a match that woke the crowd up. The anticipation were not very high for this, but through perseverance and diligence, the wrestlers received the response from the crowd they wanted. This was a good, modern day WWE style match, with back-and-forth action, well-timed near-falls, and counter-for-counter wrestling. It was also very well paced, organized and timed and the arm-work played into the finish. Christian was able to look strong in defeat, while Del Rio received an impressing win that he needed.
Final Rating: *** ½.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella:
This match had poor execution, pacing, and timing. The only real highlight of it was the crowd chanting for the announce team and for Ryder. Not good.
No DQ, Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. CM Punk: What’s there to say? The match was about three professionals giving it their all in their respected roles. They delivered an unbelievable match that told a truly compelling story. It was ruthless, stiff, intense, hateful, and packed with nuclear heat. It is without a doubt the greatest PG-era fight which lacked color. Lesnar is at his best when he’s an uber-monster who tosses his opponents around like like a rag doll. Being the versatile wrestler that he was, CM Punk was an outstanding foil for him, a compassionate protagonist who did everything perceivable to gain his retribution.
Punk controlled the beginning of the match and show that he could hang with Lesnar.
The Beast eventually gained control, but by implementing hope-spots and comebacks, Punk showed that he could withstand everything to overcome his retaliation. He wore out Lesnar simply by getting the better of him in a slug fest, forcing Lesnar to resort to his MMA background, yet Punk out wrestled him on the mat too. However, Punk became too concentrated on handing Heyman his justifiable comeuppance he, forgetting that he in combat with Brock Lesnar and that led to his downfall.
This awesome, flat-out war told an incredible story and had three characters playing their roles to perfection. Couldn’t have been better, really.
Final Rating: *****
Intergender Tag Team Match: Katlyn and Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Lee and Big E Langston:
This was a buffer, though it was decent for a buffer match. Big E Langston displayed his agility and power while Ziggler displayed his selling and bumping capabilities. It was fine.
Final Rating: **
WWE Championship: John Cena © vs. Daniel Bryan:
This was a rare showcase of chain wrestling in the early going, constructing a story where Cena was frustrated about being out-grappled by Bryan. He conceivably had to be thinking about Bryan calling him an entertainer, not a wrestler the week before this match. They really did a great job building this. It felt similar to a ROH match, where it begins slow, but everything gradually becomes intenser and chaotic as time passes by. Speaking of ROH, this felt akin to Bryan Danielson and KENTA’s match.
Moreover, this match had many chapters to it and smoothly transitioned to each other. First, it was all about Bryan using his technical prowess to gain the advantage. Then, Cena fought back with his strength to gain the advantage. Bryan later attacked Cena’s injured elbow and used his speed and quickness to control the bout. Towards the end, they used their strong suits to try to put each other away. Cena used his power and strength while Bryan used his elusiveness.
It was a shocking moment seeing Bryan cleanly beat Cena. It was an astronomical star-making performance by Daniel Bryan, and it really helped him come across as a top-tier main eventer. It should also be mentioned that Cena did a great job in keeping up to Bryan’s pace, not once slowing him down once and that isn’t too shabby from someone who supposedly “can’t wrestle”. Great match.
Final Rating: **** 1/4
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan © vs. Randy Orton:
The objective of Orton cashing in was to make Daniel Bryan into a bigger star than he already is. They were revolving him into a modern day Stone Cold Steve Austin, in that he has everything going for him; the fans loved him, though management hated him. The segment was really well done. It seemed as if Randy Orton was pulling our leg that he was going to cash in, but then in a swing of events, Triple H turned on Daniel Bryan in spite being on his team throughout the buildup. This booking helped elevate Daniel Bryan big time, and he finally got his moment at WrestleMania 30. It is too bad that his injuries hampered his career, because the sky was truly the limit for him.
Final Thoughts: This was the best WWE PPV of 2013, and it could be argued as being the best SummerSlam ever. In spite of it starting poorly, there was a very good match, two MOTYCs, as well as a good cliff-hanging moment. Neither Del Rio nor Christian can be praised enough for getting the crowd into the show. Both two co-main events deserve lots of praise as well, of course, for delivering two fantastic matches.