All State Arena – Chicago, Illinois – Sunday, June 16, 2013
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
Axel, who is replacing the injured Fandango, has his agent Paul Heyman in his corner. Barrett has been the Champion since 4.8.13, and this is his third defense. Miz is outnumbered as the only babyface, so he dumps Axel to the floor to focus on Barrett. Axel distracts Miz from the floor, so Miz forces his hand by throwing him nback into the ring into Barrett’s waiting arms. Barrett hits Axel with a pumphandle slam for two. The offense is coming from all three men, but Axel takes the most time out of the ring to confer with Heyman. Whatever Heyman says seems to help, as Axel sends Barrett to the floor and flattens Miz with a dropkick. Axel continues to beat on the Miz while Barrett recovers on the floor. The Champion finally makes his way back in to break up a cover. Miz fires up though and throws both of his opponents around, even using them as weapons against each other. And I’ll be damned but the crowd is into him. Barrett catches Miz in the Winds of Change for a two-count. He goes for Wasteland on Axel and swings Axel’s legs into Miz to take him out. Axel reverses to a Perfectplex but only gets two. Miz hits Axel with the Skull Crushing Finale and Barrett hurls Miz to the floor. The resilient Miz pulls Barrett to the floor and covers Axel for a close near-fall. Miz goes after Axel’s knee and tries the Figure-Four Leglock but gets kicked off. Barrett tries to grab Miz out of the air but Miz is able to counter and put Barrett in the Figure-Four after backdropping Axel to the floor. The sneaky Axel comes back in the ring and covers Barrett to steal the pin and win the title at 10:37! That was a shockingly fun opener, and the Chicago crowd really got into it and that always helps. Axel didn’t quite seem ready, but Mr. Perfect’s son winning the Intercontinental Title on Father’s Day is prettey apropros.
MATCH #2: Divas Championship Match – Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
Kaitlyn has been the Champion since 1.14.13, and this is her second defense. AJ has been messing with the Champion for weeks, so Kaitlyn immediately assaults her and AJ seeks solace on the floor. Kaitlyn gives her no such thing by hurling her over the Spanish Announce Table. Back in the ring Kaitlyn continues the beating so AJ bails again. AJ runs away and gets to the apron, where she’s able to hit a nice dropkick to the face. That gives AJ the advantage. AJ wears Kaitlyn down with a variety of offense, and things aren’t looking good for the Divas Champion. Kaitlyn is able to fire back with a dropkick and both women are down. Back on their feet Kaitlyn is a house afire, putting together a string of offense but not enough to put AJ away. AJ comes back with a crucifix for a two-cont. Kaitlyn counters to a gutbuster and then pulls AJ’s belt off. AJ hangs on to the apron, and when the referee goes to fix it AJ decks Kaitlyn with said belt. AJ covers but only gets two. The challenger is frustrated now. AJ goes up top for a cross body block but Kaitlyn catches her, and AJ counters to the Black Widow submission hold. Kaitlyn breaks that and hits a hard backbreaker. She follows with a huge Spear but doesn’t cover right away so AJ is able to kick out. Kaitlyn picks AJ up but AJ slips out and avoids a charge in the corner. AJ then locks on the Black Widow and Kaitlyn taps the title away at 9:55. That was one of the better Divas’ matches in WWE in quite some time, as they were actually given time to tell a story within the match and there was an actual feud built up so they had reason to hate each other. Good stuff here.
MATCH #3: United States Championship Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
Ambrose has been the Champion since 5.19.13, and this is his third defense. The Champ shows no fear and goes right after Kane, but he gets slugged down and suplexed for a two-count. Ambrose continues trying to fend off the Big Red Monster but Kane catches him with a side suplex. Kane dominates until Ambrose delivers a low dropkick and then viciously targets Kane’s legs. Kane comes back with a powerslam and then heads to the top rope. Ambrose joins him but gets knocked back. Kane misses the clothesline and Ambroses lands a diving European Uppercut for two. Ambrose uses a Sleeper but Kane is able to break free. Kane puts together a string of offense but can’t put Ambrose away yet. Ambrose comes back with a hard dropkick for two. He goes for Old School, and that just irritates Kane so he fires up and starts throwing Ambrose around the ring. Kane goes up top and hits the flying clothesline. He signals for the Chokeslam so Ambrose rolls to the apron. Ambrose snaps Kane’s neck off the top rope and Kane responds by kicking him in the face, knocking him down to the floor. The bold Ambrose slaps Kane in the face and laughs about it. Kane doesn’t respond well to that, knocking Ambrose down and getting a table ready. The wily Ambrose catches Kane with a DDT and beats the count back to the ring to earn a countout victory at 9:34. That was not the most exciting match, as Kane’s style tends to be a bit plodding. But at least Ambrose looked good in fighting Kane off, and while it would have been nice for Ambrose to get a clean pin, the way he won at least makes him look smart, and he did take Kane out with a DDT, so it’s not like Kane beat himself or anything.
MATCH #4: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ziggler has been the Champion since 4.8.13, and this is his first defense. He is massively over in Chicago, and he has his girlfriend AJ Lee and his bodyguard Big E Langston with him. This is his first match in five weeks after suffering a concussion. Del Rio goes right after the arm and Ziggler bails. Back in the ring Del Rio goes after the Champ’s arm again, so Ziggler takes another powder. Once again when he goes back to the ring Del Rio takes control while the crowd chants “RVD.” Del Rio starts going after Ziggler’s head, taking advantage of the concussion. Ziggler fires back with a beautiful dropkick. He charges into the corner and gets backdropped to the floor. Del Rio follows him out and continues the head abuse. Big E steps in and gets into a shoving match with Del Rio, so the referee kicks him out! Ziggler throws Del Rio back into the ring, and as he goes to follow, Del Rio levels him with a kick to the head. AJ looks concerned as Del Rio viciously attacks. Ziggler is tenacious and locks on a Sleeper hold and Del Rio is able to break it. Del Rio goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Ziggler counters with a neckbreaker for a near-fall. Ziggler hits the Fame-Ass-Er (sort of) for another two-count. He goes up top but Del Rio stops his momentum and brings him down with an inverted superplex for two! I don’t know if i’ve seen that before. Del Rio continues to target the head as the trainer and AJ both try to convince him to stop. Back in the ring Del Rio is viciously attacking the Champion but Ziggler will not quit. Ziggler is able to catch a quick Zig Zag but he can’t make the cover. Finally Del Rio blasts Ziggler with a superkick right to the head to get the pin at 13:50. They did a really good double-turn there, as one couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Ziggler as he continued to fight against the odds. Del Rio did a good job being a horrible person doing anything to regain the title.
MATCH #5: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
The reaction for Punk in his hometown is massive, obviously. Punk has Paul Heyman in his corner, and it’s clobbering time. This is Punk’s first match since losing to the Undertaker back at WrestleMania 29. These two have faced each other many times before, so there shouldn’t be a ton of surprises on either end. They chain wrestle to start and the crowd is firmly in Punk’s corner. Punk lands a dropkick and keeps Jericho grounded with a side headlock, and then he targets the arm. Jericho fights back blocks a tornado DDT, and then clotheslines Punk to the floor. He hits a baseball slide dropkick and tries the springboard dropkick but Punk catches him and snaps his neck on the top rope. Back in the ring Punk goes to the top and hits a flying ax handle for a two-count. Punk continues to keeo up the pressure, focusing on Jericho’s arm. He misses a flying clothesline off the top rope and Jericho takes advantage. Jericho goes up top and hits his own double ax handle. He takes Punk down with the bulldog. C’mon babay! Jericho tries the Lionsault but can’t connect. Punk hits a neckbreaker for a two-count. He hits the high knee in the corner and goes for his bulldog but Jericho counters and hits the Lionsault for two. Punk tries to come back with Go 2 Sleep but Jericho counters to the Walls of Jericho. The resilient Punk is able to counter with a standing Anaconda Vise, and then he takes Jericho down to the mat, still in the hold. Jericho reaches the ropes to break the hold. Punk signals for Go 2 Sleep but Jericho catches his leg and goes back to the Walls of Jericho and Heyman comes up to the ring apron. Punk breaks out of it and goes for the Go 2 Sleep but gets distracted by Heyman’s presence and Jericho rolls him up for two. Both men pop back to their feet and Punk nails Jericho with a roundhouse kick. Jericho surprises Punk with a Codebreaker for a two-count. Both men rise and trade strikes. Punk wins the battle with a leg lariat. He hits the running knee in the corner again, and pulls him out with a short-arm clothesline. Punk goes up top and hits the big elbow drop, and the crowd is going wild. He hits the Go 2 Sleep and Jericho kicks out! Punk goes for another one but Jericho avoids it. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker but Punk blcoks that and sends Jericho to the floor. Punk then follows him out with a suicide dive. Back to the ring Punk tries a springboard clothesline but Jericho catches him in mid-air with the Codebreaker! Somehow that only gets two. Jericho is frustrated and he delivers a series of elbows to Punk’s face. Punk fights back and tries a rana for some reason, which Jericho expertly counters to the Walls of Jericho! Heyman looks worried but Punk is able to fight his way out of the hold and hit the Go 2 Sleep! Punk hits one more Go 2 Sleep for good measure and that’s enough to get the pin at 21:21. These two have always had good chemistry together, and this match was a reminder of that. There wasn’t a huge storyline going on like they had in 2012, but they just went out there for 20 minutes and had a tremendous wrestling match, with great action and counters, and Punk’s hometown crowd was into it the whole way.
MATCH #6: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan
Rollins and Reigns have been the Champions since 5.19.13, and this is their second defense. Reigns and Bryan start the match. Bryan is already all fired up but Reigns cuts him off with a hard cltohesline. The Shield takes the first advantage and starts picking Bryan apart in their half of the ring. After a few minutes Bryan is able to catch Reigns with a flying clothesline. Tags are made and Orton is a house afire. Orton hits Rollins with the scoop powerslam and goes for the Rope-hung DDT, but Reigns tries to stop him and ends up taking the move instead. Rollins goes to the second rope but jumps right into a powerslam, which gets a near-fall. Orton then delivers the Rope-hung DDT to Rollins, and then signals for the RKO. The crowd is loving it, but Rollins escapes by rolling to the floor. Orton leans out to grab him and Reigns surprises him with the Superman Punch. The Shield takes over on Orton now, keeping him away from Bryan. This goes on for several minutes until Orton avoids a charge by Reigns in the corner, and then he catches Rollins with an exploder suplex. Bryan gets the tag and he goes right up top, drilling both Champions with a missile dropkick. He goes nuts, hitting IEDs on everyone and covering Reigns for two. Bryan delivers the Yes Kicks and a Knockout Kick to Reigns, but he only gets two. He dumps both Shield members to the floor and goes for the Flying Goat, but they move and Orton takes the hit. Reigns capitalizes with a clothesline, and then brings Bryan back in the ring for a two-count. The Shield appear to set up for Ode to the Bulldogs but Bryan avoids it. Bryan goes up and brings Rollins down with a butterfly superplex! I love that move. Bryan traps Rollins in the No Lock and Reigns breaks it up. Orton gets back in the ring and tries an RKO on Reigns but gets shoved off. He almost knocks Bryan over but stops short. Reigns comes flying in with a Spear and Orton moves, causing Bryan to take the hit. Orton then hits Reigns with RKO. Rollins dumps Orton to the floor and catches Bryan with the Curb Stomp to get the pin at 12:10. As with everything involving Bryan and the Shield (and Orton too), this was really good stuff. The miscommunication between Orton an Bryan felt organic and not forced, and the Shield’s teamwork is second to none. I love the finish and how it played into Bryan’s “weak link” storyline. I could watch combinations of these guys wrestle all day.
MATCH #7: Three Stages of Hell WWE Championship Match – John Cena vs. Ryback
Cena has been the Champion since 4.7.13, and this is his second defense. Stage one will be a lumberjack match, stage two is a tables match, and the third and final stage if necessary is an ambulance match. The two heavyweights immediately start slugging at each other and Ryback scores the first big hit with a powerslam for a two-count. Cena avoids a charge in the corner and unleashes a flurry of offense. Ryback sends Cena to the floor an the lumberjacks do nothing about it. Glad they’re there then. Back in the ring Ryback goes on offense. Ryback hits a backpack stunner for a two-count. Someone needs to use that as a finisher. Ryback dumps Cena to the floor and the heel lumberjacks take a few shots before throwing him back in the ring. Once again Cena gets thrown out and the heels take cheap shots, so the babyfaces come to the rescue, but no huge brawl breaks out yet. Cena throws Ryback out amongst the heels and Ryback just glares at them so no one touches him. Back in the ring Cena dishes out Moves of Doom, but before he can hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle Ryback press slams him into a pile of lumberjacks. Back in the ring Cena returns the favor by throwing Ryback to the floor and finally an all-out melee reaks out on the floor, and Cena goes to the top rope and leaps into the pile. Back in the ring Cena locks on the STF. Ryback powers out of it and hits Shell Shocked to win the first fall at 7:30. The lumberjacks were pretty involved there, and they did the big dive spot with Cena, so that was cool.
The lumberjacks have been replace by tables. Ryback strikes first with a shoulder to the gut and he goes out to grab the first table. He goes for a powerbomb and Cena avoids it, but Ryback is still able to take him down with a Spear. A series of reversals ends with Cena sending Ryback to the floor. Cena sets up a table in the corner and goes outside to retrieve Ryback. That backfires when Ryback whips him into the steps. Ryback then throws the steps and Cena back in the ring. He goes to throw the steps at Cena but misses and breaks the table. Cena hits a belly-to-belly suplex and then hits Ryback with the steps. The Champ grabs another table and brings it into the ring. Unfortunately for Cena he gets hit in the face with the steel steps. Ryback tries to put Cena through the table with the steps, but Cena is able to move out of the way. Cena avoids another shot with the steps and hits Moves of Doom, including the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Ryback cuts him off with a spinebuster. He signals for the Meat Hook and flattens Cena with it. Ryback brings in another table and goes for Shell Shocked but Cena slips out and hits the Attitude Adjustment through the table to win the second fall at 7:25 (total match time 16:04). That was a solid tables match with a couple neat spots with the steps thrown in.
Ryback somehow gets up first. Ryback throws Cena to the floor and follows him out. He starts rearranging the furniture and powerbombs Cena through the announce table! They make it back to the ring and the bell rings to officially start the decisive third fall. (39:04)Ryback drags Cena back to the ambulance area and Cena slips out of his arms and pushes him into the vehicle. Cena goes into the ambulance and brings out a pelthora of crutches to use as weapons. Ryback tries to punch Cena in the face but Cena moves and Ryback punches out the passenger side window! Cena slams Ryback’s back into the ambulance, and then whips him into the open driver’s side door, breaking said door clean off. Ryback fights back and breaks off a piece of the ambulance to use as a weapon. He goes for a powerbomb but Cena backdrops him onto the hood of the ambulance. Cena climbs to the top of the vehicle and pulls off the flashing lights to use as a weapon. Ryback grabs a crutch and joins him on top of the ambulance. Cena hits Ryback with the crutch and delivers an Attitude Adjustment that puts Ryback through the roof! That gives Cena the win at 6:02 (total match time 24:34). The finish was certainly unique albeit totally unbelievable. On the whole this match was pretty solid, with lots of action and very little resting. The crowd popped in all the right places too, all in all making for a perfectly acceptable main event.
BONUS MATCH #1: Triple H vs. Curtis Axel, Monday Night RAW, 6.10.13
The gimmick here is that Triple H was severely injured so both his wife and his father-in-law tried to forbid him from competing here. HHH goes right on the attack, unloading on Axel in the corner. He hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. We’re about a minute into the match and Mr. McMahon’s music hits. The match continues on and HHH hurls Axel to the floor. McMahon orders the bell to be rung and has ring announcer Justin Roberts announce Curtis Axel the winner via disqualification at 1:18. Well that was positively thrilling.
BONUS MATCH #2: Triple H vs. Curtis Axel, Monday Night RAW, 6.10.13
Triple H also has match making power, so he orders the bell rung and he wants to have another match. What, after that grueling affair? HHH works a headlock and McMahon comes right back out and has Axel announced as the winner via forfeit at 0:55. Triple H tries to restart the match as a 60-minute Iron Man match, but McMahon will have nothing to do with that, even taking the ring bell with him. This was all just so stupid and did nothing for no one, and as far as I can remember (and this wasn’t even that long ago), it never ended up going anywhere.
BONUS MATCH #3: Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns, Monday Night RAW, 6.10.13
Orton’s reluctant tag team partner Daniel Bryan comes out to be in his corner and watch his back, while Reigns has his tag team championship partner Seth Rollins by his side. Reigns takes the early advantage with his brute strength, but Orton quickly takes over on offense and hits a dropkick for one. Orton stomps away and drops a big knee for another one-count. Reigns rolls to the floor to regroup but Orton follows him out and the brawl continues. Orton drops Reigns spine-first on the barricade. Back in the ring Orton covers for two. Orton delivers more stomps and tries the knee drop again but misses. Reigns takes control now, wearing Orton out with a series of strikes. Orton cuts him off with a Thesz Press. He unloads with more punches, and then sits on the top rope to get a different angle but it doesn’t work out so well when Reigns punches him down to the floor. Time for a commercial break, and when we come back Reigns is controlling Orton with a chinlock. Orton fights back with Reigns catches him with a Stun Gun and then a flying clothesline for two. Reigns goes back to the chinlock and Orton breaks it with a back suplex. Orton is firing up now and he hits Reigns with the scoop powerslam. Rollins gets on the apron to distract but it doesn’t work. Orton hits his backbreaker and Reigns rolls to the apron. People should stop doing that against Orton, so that maybe they won’t get hit with the Rope-hung DDT like Reigns just did. Rollins comes in the ring and tries to help out but Orton pitches him to the floor. Bryan intercedes and takes out both members of the Shield with a suicide dive! The referee finally calls for the bell and for some reason rules it a no-contest at 9:03 (shown) despite the fact that Rollins clearly interfered first. At any rate this was a solid TV match and a good way to help build the tag match on the pay-per-view.
BONUS MATCH #4: Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins, Monday Night RAW, 6.10.13
Orton and Reigns remain at ringside. These two tore it up in Ring of Honor on multiple occasions so this should be good. Rollins attacks first and beats Bryan into the corner. Bryan fights out and delivers a flying clothesline followed by a succession of kicks and strikes. He dropkicks Rollins to the floor and baseball slides him into the barricade. Bryan follows with a flying knee off the apron. Back in the ring Bryan covers for two. Rollins backs Bryan into the corner and drives shoulders into his gut. He then pulls Bryan face-first into the middle turnbuckle for two. Rollins locks in a surfboard, but Bryan is able to counter out of it and put on his own painful version of the hold. As Rollins breaks the hold we cut away for a commercial. When we come back Rollins has Bryan on the mat in a chinlock. Bryan fights out of it but runs into a back elbow for a two-count. Rollins continues to work Bryan over but Bryan continues to fight back. When Rollins tries an enziguiri, Bryan catches his leg and locks him in a half crab! Rollins reaches the ropes. Bryan backs Rollins into the corner and hits a pair of IEDs for a near-fall. He unleashes the Yes Kicks, but Rollins is able to land the enziguiri this time and that gets a two-count. Rollins hits the Buckle Bomb but Bryan is able to kick out at two. He charges at Bryan and gets backdropped to the floor. Bryan goes for a suicide dive but Rollins decks him with a forearm. Rollins goes up top but misses a flying knee. Bryan hits a release Chaos Theory and a knockout kick for a near-fall. He goes up top and Rollins knocks him down. Rollins goes up with him and Bryan is able to slip out and try a belly-to-back superplex, but Rollins shifts his body and falls down on top of Bryan. Both men are exhausted. Reigns gets up on the apron but Orton is there to take him out. Rollins tries a Stinger Splash but Bryan avoids it and traps Rollins in the best small package in the busines to get the pin at 12:36! That was a tremendous encounter between two incredible wrestlers. Both guys brought energy and tenacity, executed great moves and counters, and the finish works both in the context of this match and if you’re a longtime ROH fan like me. More of this please.
BONUS MATCH #5: Team Hell No & Randy Orton vs. The Shield, Friday Night SmackDown, 6.14.13
Bryan and Rollins start the match at a fast pace, and Bryan takes the early control. Kane tags in and Rollins is in trouble early on. Ambrose is able to get a tag but he too is in trouble, as Kane and Orton work him over. The Shield is able to take over on Bryan and they isolate him in their half of the ring. Bryan catches Ambrose with a knee lift and makes a tag. Orton is a house afire, throwing powerslams all over. He tries the Rope-hung DDT but the Shield uses teamwork to avoid that and reclaim control as we head to a commercial. When we come back the Shield has Orton under their thumb and isolated from his partners. Orton comes back with the backbreaker on Reigns, and then he avoids a charge in the corner. Kane and Ambrose gets tags and Kane starts cleaning house. Ambrose avoids a flying clothesline and lands a dropkick that sends Kane back to the corner. Bryan tags in and hits Ambrose with a missile dropkick, and when Rollins tries flying in off the top rope Bryan catches him with a dropkick as well. Reigns gets dropkicked off the apron and then Bryan takes Reigns and Rollins out with the Flying Goat. Back in the ring Bryan hits Rollins with a pair of IEDs for a two-count. Bryan follows with a succession of kicks to the head, scoring another near-fall. He goes up top and misses the diving headbutt. Rollins covers but only gets two. The referee loses control as everyone is fighting wherever they want. Reigns takes Orton out with a Spear, and then Kane is able to deposit Ambrose and Reigns over the barricade by the timekeeper. That leaves Bryan and Rollins alone in the ring. Rollins hits a Buckle Bomb and goes up top but Kane pushes him off right into an RKO! Bryan puts on the No Lock and Rollins taps out at 10:09 (shown)! That’s the Shield’s first loss in six-man tag team action. That was non-stop action in front of a hot crowd and a significant finish. The Shield basically had chemistry with any other three-man team, especially if Bryan was involved.