The Wrestling Backfire: Summerslam 2013 Review (John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton)

Bray Wyatt vs. Kane: This was the worst “Inferno match” ever, which is saying something because they have all been pretty horrible. The stipulation is just one of the many wacky Vince Russo on LSD concepts that just will not perish. The fire blistering in the air after every bump became a very irritating nuisance, and I am not sure if the fire played a massive factor in this contest feeling disjointed or it was simply because these two had poor chemistry. This lacked flow and it came across as an assemblage of spots that had little reasoning behind them, for whichever reason.  Bray Wyatt proved in NXT that he is a really good hand in the ring, but it is so difficult to have a good singles match with Kane, especially with a stipulation like this one. The Wyatt family also found a way to interfere, rendering the moot of the stipulation, and then their beat down on Kane received no feedback from the crowd whatsoever. Bray then delivered his finishing move to conclude this appalling match, and the very perplexed crowd did not know how to respond at all. Afterwards, they kidnapped Kane, but they STILL could not get a response out of the crowd.

Quite frankly, the Wyatt family is not clicking with the crowd, and both the match and segment did them no favors moving onward. I like their eerie gimmick, but WWE needs to have them do something that can generate some heat. This felt like something WCW 2000 would have produced, as it was both hokey and cheesy, and the crowd was on the verge of falling asleep. Final Rating: DUD, and a front-runner for the Worst Match of the Year award.

Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow: Rhodes shaved off his legendary mustache, and the announcing team enunciates that we have to watch some YouTube show to discover why he did it. It reminded me of Impact since they would say something like this on PPV, “TUNE INTO IMPACT TO SEE WHY RHODES SHAVED OFF HIS MUSTACHE!” Seriously, people pay enough for these PPVs, stop advertising on so much content on them. Anyway, this only got six minutes, and it felt like these two were sleep walking. Hardly anything to it, as it was a relatively rudimentary, paint-by-numbers contest that had barely any twists or turns.

This feud had the potential of being something special, but the ridiculous build up leading up to this match slaughtered a massive amount of the heat between the two. Sandow is very conformable on the microphone, but he looks hesitant and nervous in the ring. He also feels like a long ways away from being in the World Heavyweight Championship’s main event. Final Rating: * ½

World Heavyweight Championship, Alberto Del Rio © vs. Christian: This was more than just a very good match. It was the match that woke the crowd up. The anticipation for this was not very high, as it had unexceptional build, but through perseverance and diligence, the wrestlers received the response from the crowd that they wanted. This was a very good modern-day WWE style match with a solid amount of highly impulsive back-and-forth action, well-timed near-falls, and counter-for-counter wrestling. It was also flourishingly paced, organized and timed, and the arm-work played into the finish (albeit Christian overselling it a bit). Christian was able to look strong, even in defeat, while Del Rio received an impressing win that he desperately needed. Final Rating: *** ½.

Natalya vs. Brie Bella: This ugly match had bad execution, pacing, and timing. The only highlight of it was the crowd chanting for the announce team and for Ryder. They were clearly trying to impersonate the canniest wrestling crowd ever at the Raw after WrestleMania, but it was still humorous to see them shitting all over this because it deserved to be. It will be funny when Natalya cries on Total Divas because of the crowd. Final Rating: ½*

No DQ, Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. CM Punk:  What is there really to say? The contest was about three professionals who gave it their all and delivered an unbelievable match that told compelling story. This was ruthless, stiff, intense, hateful, and jam-packed with nuclear heat, and definitely the greatest PG-era fight that lacked color. Brock Lesnar is at his best when he can be the monster that tosses his opponents from one place to another like a rag doll. And being the versatile wrestler that he is, CM Punk was an outstanding compassionate protagonist that did everything perceivable to seek his retribution. Punk controlled the beginning of the match, displaying that he could hang with Lesnar.

The Beast eventually gained control, but by implementing hope-spots and comebacks, Punk indicated that he was going to withstand everything to conquer his retaliation. He wore out Lesnar by simply getting the better of him in a slug fest, forcing Lesnar to resort to his MMA background, although Punk out wrestled him on the mat too. But 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. Final Rating: **** ½

Intergender Tag Team Match: Katlyn and Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Lee and Big E Langston: This was just a buffer match to separate the match before from the main event. It was decent for a buffer match. Big E Langston displayed his agility and power, and Ziggler displayed his selling and bumping capabilities. Final Rating: **

WWE Championship: John Cena © vs. Daniel Bryan: A rare exhibition of chain wrestling in the early going, composing a story where Cena showed frustration from being out-grappled by Bryan and conceivably thinking about Bryan calling him an entertainer and not a wrestler last week.I thought that they did a fine job in building the match. It felt like a ROH match where it methodically starts and then everything becomes more intense and chaotic as time goes on. In fact, speaking of ROH, this felt similar to Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA, except Danielson’s opponent had an injured elbow this time and there was better selling in this.

In addition, this had several chapters to it and thoroughly transitioned to each one. First, it was all about Bryan using his technically sound abilities to gain the advantage. Then Cena fought back with his strength to seize the advantage. Bryan later attacked Cena’s injured elbow and utilized his promptness and rapidity to control the bout. And towards the end, both used their fortes to try and put each other away: Cena used his power and strength while Bryan used his elusiveness.

However, I thought the finish, while stiff, was a bit anticlimactic merely because I am so used to WWE having these wild and crazy photo finishes. Nevertheless, it was a shocking moment seeing Bryan cleanly defeat Cena. It was certainly an astronomical star making performance by Daniel Bryan, and I believe 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 and not once slowed him down once. Not too shabby from someone who supposedly “can’t wrestle”. Final Rating: **** 1/4

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan © vs. Randy Orton: For those of you who do not realize the ingenious logic behind this, you simply do not comprehend the business side of wrestling. The objective of Orton cashing is to generate Daniel Bryan into a bigger star than he already is. They are revolving him into a modern day Stone Cold Steve Austin. In other words, he has everything going for him, and the fans love him, but management hates him.Fans are only going to rally behind the deprived Daniel Bryan even more. If you take something away from someone, he or she will only want it more. The segment was well done as it teased those of us who predicted he would cash in. It just seemed like Randy Orton was leg pulling us that he was going to cash in, and the show was going to sign off there with no cash in or Triple H turn.

The camera angle should have been focused on Orton when he was seemingly debating on cashing in, not on what was going in the ring,  and then they should have had the camera quickly shoot what was occurring in the ring. Therefore, we didn’t see Triple H slowly creeping behind Daniel Bryan. Also, Orton should have punted Bryan since he was down because of the pedigree for a long time. It was still a well-executed segment, even if it had some transparent flaws.

Final Thoughts: This was the best WWE PPV of the year, and arguably the best North American one too. It started poorly, but there was one very good match and two MOTYC, and an interesting way to add intrigue heading into the fall. I cannot praise Del Rio and Christian enough for overcoming bad build and turning their ice-cold match into a hot one. The two co-main events obviously deserve kudos as well, for delivering two fantastic bouts that were completely different. I like how this entire Daniel Bryan saga is playing out; I just hope that the McMahon’s do not become too involved and end up overriding Bryan.

Thumbs Way Up for Summerslam 2013.

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