Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on August 18th, 2013, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. This marks the first time I’m watching an entire SummerSlam since 2006, and the first time live since 2004. Honestly, the only two matches on the PPV I could even name until thinking it through were the only matches I really care about: John Cena defending the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan, and The Best vs. The Beast between CM Punk and Bock Lesnar. The rest of the card doesn’t even matter, it’s these two matches that earned my $45, and as long as they deliver, the rest of the card can be a spectacular failure.
– Josh Mathews is hosting the Kick-Off Show with a panel consisting of Hall of Famer Booker T, Hall of Fame and Duck Dynasty Cast Member Shawn Michaels, and Smackdown General Manager Vicki Guerrero.
Pre-Show Match for the United States Title:
Dean Ambrose © vs. Rob Van Dam:
Rob Van Dam won a Battle Royale on Monday Night Raw to earn this shot, but smart fans know that RVD isn’t walking out with the belt (as if it matters, anyway). Seems like once the Shield won their Championships, they’ve fallen a bit off the map. They start with some chain wrestling. Ambrose taunts RVD with his own chant of “US Champ”, and RVD responds with a heel kick and his signature “R-V-D” pose. Ambrose controls with a chinlock while the still filing in crowd has dueling RVD/Let’s Go Ambrose chants. RVD counters the Bulldog Driver with a heel kick. He sets up for the Frog Splash, but The Shield, Mark Henry, and Big Show make their ways to ringside as we take a break. We come back, with Ambrose still in control. They take it to the floor, where RVD takes him over with a suplex, drapes him over the rail, and connects with a heel kick from the apron. Back in the ring with a somersault senton for two. Ambrose uses the Shield’s distraction to roll him up with a handful of tights for two. RVD mounts another comeback, hits Rolling Thunder and the 5-Star Frog Splash, but Reigns runs in with a spear to draw a DQ at 13:41. Match was going along nicely. It wasn’t anything outstanding, but followed a decent pace and had a hot crowd.
– Miz reminds us all he’s the SOCIAL MEDIA HOST of WWE SummerSlam. Fandango spends the entire night interrupting him, until Miz finally caves and lays him out with a clothesline. There’s a running joke that no one cared to see.
– Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted.
– “Star” of E! Network’s Total Divas JoJo sings the National anthem. At least there wasn’t any Ghetto scatting… and Jesus Christ, we’re 10-minutes in and still yet to see a wrestling match.
Ring of Fire Match: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Rowan & Harper):
After weeks of promos, attacks, and hype videos, we’re finally getting our first look at Bray Wyatt in action (ignoring he used to be Husky Harris)… and it wasn’t a pretty site. Everything about this match was pretty bad. I’ve long considered a Inferno/Ring of Fire Match as the most handicapping gimmick there ever was, and this match just added to that theory. Both men seemed off their game, missing simple spots left and right, and just having an awkwardness about it. The most “important” parts of the match were Rowan and Harper’s attempts at getting past the fire. Kane eventually gained the upper hand, laying Wyatt out with a pair of chokeslams and signaling for the Tombstone, until the Family finally found their way in through goofy methods and laid Kane out with some crappy offense. Wyatt recovers and finishes Kane off with his form of the Downward Spiral at 7:49. Post-match, they drag Kane to the aisle in front of Wyatt and slam the steps on him in an obvious spot that sees the steps miss the mark with plenty of room to spare. They then take him back to the locker room for the obligatory backwoods sodomy session. Is Kane going on vacation, turning heel, or some other option? Only time will tell.
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow:
For those who don’t pay attention to these bottom of the card programs, Sandow won the World Heavyweight Title Briefcase at Money In The Bank, as well as turned on his “close” friend and sometime partner, Cody Rhodes. Rhodes, taking exception to this betrayal, stole the briefcase and tossed it into a river. Now Sandow is walking around with a more sophisticated briefcase, and handcuffs it at ringside for extra protection. No more mustache for Rhodes, making him about 50% less likeable. Back and forth action to start. Rhodes with some of his signature spots, ripped from Goldust, including the uppercut and wheel barrel kick between the legs. Sandow avoids a Disaster Kick and connects with a somersault neckbreaker for two. Rhodes misses a charge to the corner, and a roll up only gets a two count. The finish seems to come out of nowhere, with Rhodes putting Sandow away with the Cross Rhodes at 6:31. Match seemed very suitable for an episode of Raw or Smackdown. It had energy, but little substance to pop.
World Heavyweight Title Match:
Alberto Del Rio © vs. Christian:
Christian is working the “looking for one last shot of Glory” angle, which means his time is probably almost up before he has to settle into retirement. It’s a shame, he still looks capable of going, if maybe a step or so slower. Before the match, Del Rio (no longer using Ricardo Rodriguez) demands Lillian Garcia introduce him in Spanish. Cute way to get heel heat, although you would figure the L.A. crowd would be a tad more tolerant of the request than, say, Nashville. Del Rio is sporting a nasty black eye and blackened ear. Must’ve taken some vicious shots from Daniel Bryan at the last house show. Back and forth to start. Del Rio’s kicks are leaving insta-marks all over Christian’s body. Del Rio misses a charge, falling through the ropes, with Christian following with a plancha from the top rope. Later in the match, Christian goes for a sunset flip-powerbomb, but Del Rio blocks it. Christian manages to dropkick Del Rio on the top rope, and takes him down with a hurricanrana. Christian sets up for a Spear, but eats a dropkick to the face for a two count. Christian ends up hitting the Spear, but still feeling the effects the beating the arm took earlier in the match, allowing Del Rio to take advantage of the situation and lock on the cross armbreaker for the tap out victory at 12:34. Felt a little short, but a solid performance and definitely the sleeper match of the night. I could’ve gone for another 6-7 matches to this one, if not for two piss break matches still to come.
Natalya (w/ Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella:
Piss break match. Literally. I was taking a piss when the match started, and ventured off for a snack. The Axcess video before the match showed highlights of Nattie and Maria Menounos vs. a Bella and Eva Marie, and the baby momma asked if the video was in slow mo. Me: No, that was real time, they were just moving in slow motion (refering to Maria and who gives a fuck, both heels suck). Nattie goes for a quick Sharpshooter, but Brie escapes to the floor. This match is already too long, and I’ve been watching for less than 60-seconds. Crowd chants for JBL, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler, so you know they’re into this match. Now we get a “We Want Tables” Chant. Brie Bella with a hair-pull drop, and yes, that is her high spot of the match. The divas at ringside do a sad attempt at brawling, and Natalya finally puts Brie away with the Sharpshooter at around the 5-minute mark. With the jobbing taking place, that Bella is probably Daniel Bryan’s girlfriend. Match was pretty bad, and the crowd rightfully pissed all over it.
– Ryback is backstage, because he’s no longer important enough to be featured in a match on PPV. He’s also oblivious to what Gazpacho Soup is. Go back to Russia, dumbass!
No Disqualification Match: C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman):
Short and sweet: This match was fantastic. They started off working the predictable David vs. Goliath angle, with Lesnar dominating with his strength, and Punk trying to get a shot in here and there, going for the one-hit knockout to counter Lesnar’s attacks. They get more physical on the floor, with the tables coming into play. Lesnar throwing Punk clean across the Spanish announcers table is a site to see, and him double-stomping the table top and breaking it over the back of Punk was an awesome visual. Mid-match they switched it up to a battle of submission holds, with Lesnar slapping on the Kimura (spelling?). Punk fought through it, locking on the Triangle Choke, with Lesnar powering out and planting him with a running powerbomb to escape. It’s not until nearly the 20-minute mark a chair becomes involved, with Lesnar using it as a shield as Punk dives off the top rope. Punk gains the upperhand again, going low as Lesnar’s about to lay the boom with the chair. Punk to the top with the chair with a super-sized edition of the Macho Man Elbow. Punk finally hits the GTS, but Heyman interrupts. Lesnar goes for the F-5, but Punk counters with a DDT on the chair. Here comes the Anaconda Vice, and Heyman interrupts again, and takes the Anaconda Vice for his troubles, too. Lesnar recovers and SMASHES Punk into oblivion, then finally finishes him off with an F-5 onto the chair for the three count at X:XX. An absolutely fabulous match, building more and more until there was nowhere left to go but go gome with it, and the right finish is what we got: Punk got his hands on Heyman, and Lesnar goes over after a valiant fight. Worth half the price of admission so far.
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston & A.J. Lee:
Poor Ziggler… goes from earning the sympathy as a potential top underdog babyface, to a piss break match with two Divas. Speaking of the Divas, WHAT the FUCK is up with Kaitlyn? Maybe it’s her ring attire, but she’s looking extra beefy here. She’s sporting Roger thighs and Stan Smith hang-over gut. I’m all for a healthy sized woman, but wear something more flattering than something that shows you’ve skipped your turn at the Gym. Paint by Numbers match the whole way. Langston dominates Ziggler, except for a spurt here and there. Kaitlyn and A.J. do their little match, and we finish with the men. On the floor, Kaitlyn wipes out A.J. with a spear, while Ziggler puts Big E. away with the Zig Zag at 6:46. Sorry for the lack of detailed PBP, but I was still burned out from the previous match and nothing really caught my attention here. Again, poor Ziggy.
WWE Championship Match:
John Cena © vs. Daniel Bryan:
Triple H is YOUR Special Guest Referee. We all knew there was going to be a screwy finish to this match, it was just a matter of when, and the severity of John Cena’s elbow injury. It’s Wrestler vs. Entertainer, but overall, I don’t feel any real tension between the two, which honestly hurt my enjoyability for this match. Don’t get me wrong, they worked the match I expected them to work: Bryan with his no-bullshit style offense, and Cena hitting his Five Moves of Doom™. They did some chain wrestling, Bryan worked the “injured” arm, and Cena more often than not countered with his obvious strength advantage. Triple H’s non-involvement in the match makes you wonder just when he is going to make his impact on the match. Bryan comes close to victory with his various arsenal of Chris Benoit moves, such as German Suplexes, the swan dive headbutt, and Crossface, but Cena fights through all of it. Just find some Kryptonite and smack him in the face with it. Those expecting to see countless finishers being kicked out of would be disappointed that Cena only hit one F-U and only applied the STF once. The finish practically came out of nowhere, with Bryan KO’ing Cena with a running knee to the face, and getting the three count at 26:57 for his first WWE Championship. Post-Match, Cena offers a handshake and Triple H hangs around while Bryan celebrates. Suddenly, to what should’ve been a surprise to no one, Randy Orton shows up and teases to cash in, but walks away… then Triple H lays Bryan out with the Pedigree, Orton cashes in, and we have another NEW WWE Champion at a whopping 9-seconds. Randy Orton stands tall to end the show.
Final Thoughts: Hmm… Punk vs. Lesnar was fan-friggin-tastic, the WWE Title Match was a solid outing from all involved and ended with a moment that brought out a real emotion of disappointment for Bryan and hatred for Orton. Filling out the rest of the card, Del Rio and Christian brought the goods, and while unspectacular, Rhodes and Sandow was perfectly acceptable wrestling. The only black-eyes on the show (other than Del Rio’s) is the Natalya/Bella match, and the Ring of Fire Match. Only the latter deserves any slack. Kane isn’t a bad worker, and from what I’ve seen of Wyatt before, neither is he, but both men seemed to fuck up every spot and never got out of first gear. Overall, a very enjoyable show, unless you were expecting Daniel Bryan to leave as Champion. Then you’re just a fool for not seeing that finish coming. Thumbs up, catch a replay or buy the DVD.