Staples Center – Los Angeles, California – Sunday, August 18, 2013
Michael Cole and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.
KICKOFF MATCH: United States Championship Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam
Ambrose has been the Champion since 5.19.13, and this is his fifth defense. For some reason we’re joined in progress with Ambrose holding onto a sleeper. RVD tries to fire up but he gets tossed to the floor. Ambrose has Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as backup, while RVD has Mark Henry and Big Show. RVD is able to suplex Ambrose, and then sets him across the barricade to hit the spinning legdrop off the apron. Back in the ring RVD hits a cannonball off the top rope for two. RVD gets distracted by Reigns but still rolls Ambrose up for a near-fall. Ambrose comes back with a spinebuster for two. He slams RVD and then goes to the top rope to miss a senton bomb. RVD goes up top but gets distracted by Rollins. Ambrose rolls RVD up and almost pins him. RVD fights back and hits Rolling Thunder. He goes up top and hits the Five-Star Frog Splash but Reigns comes in and kills RVD with a Spear for the disqualification at 4:32 (shown). What they showed was good but I have no idea why they cut it down as much as they did on the Blu-Ray. From what I see here and from what I remember I think I can rate it.
MATCH #1: Ring of Fire Match – Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt is accompanied by Erick Rowan and Luke Harper for his debut match. This is like an Inferno Match but with pin and submission rules instead of light your opponent on fire rules. They start brawling right away, and Rowan and Harper try to interfere but the flames keep them at bay. Wyatt looks impressive in beating down the Big Red Machine. Kane fights back with a couple of clotheslines in the corner and a side suplex. Harper finds a kendo stick and tries to pass it to Wyatt but the flames prevent it. Rowan tries to use a fire extinguisher but the flames flame on. Kane hits Wyatt with a Chokeslam, and then hits another one. Rowan and Harper cover the flames with a blanket and finally make their way into the ring. They beat on Kane and set him up for the Siter Abigail, which is enough for Wyatt to win his debut match at 7:49. That was disappointing – I was hoping for more from Wyatt, but he was just like any other heel that needed tons of help to beat Kane. That doesn’t make me particularly afraid of him at all.
MATCH #2: Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
The former partners attack right away. Sandow takes the first advantage and knocks Rhodes to the floor. Back in the ring Sandow continues the abuse, keeping Rhodes grounded. Rhodes almost hits a Cross-Rhodes but Sandow counters it and hits the Cubito Aequet for a two-count. After a few more minutes Rhodes is able to stop Sandow on the second rope and bring him down with a Muscle Buster. That gets a two-count. Rhodes keeps the pressure on, including a springboard missile dropkick. I don’t recall Dusty or Dustin ever pulling that off. Sandow avoids the Disaster Kick and hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. On the second attempt Rhodes is able to hit the Disaster Kick but it only gets a two-count. Moments later Rhodes hits Cross-Rhodes to get the pin at 6:40. That was like the first half of a very good match. They made the most out of the time they had for sure, and it’s a shame they did nothing with this feud after this.
MATCH #3: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Del Rio has been the Champion since 6.16.13, and this is his second defense. These two have had some really good matches in the past so this should be fun. They go back and forth in the early going and Christian sends Del Rio to the floor. Back in the ring they continue to trade momentum, cutting a fairly rapid pace. Del Rio lands a hard enziguiri and that gives him the advantage. He goes after Christian’s previously injured shoulder, which is wise strategy for a guy with a Cross Armbreaker for a finish. Del Rio charges at Christian in the ropes, but Christian avoids him and Del Rio crashes hard to the floor. Christian follows him out with a dive off the top rope to wipe him out. Back in the ring Del Rio goes right back to work on the arm. Del Rio goes to the second rope but jumps right into a boot to the face. Christian goes up and hits a dropkick from the second rope. He follows with mounted punches in the corner, and then avoids another enziguiri. Christian hits a high cross body from the top rope for two. Del Rio begs off but he’s faking it! After a series of reversals Del Rio hits a Backstabber from the second rope for a near-fall. Del Rio misses a senton from the second rope and Christian comes off the second rope himself with a back elbow. They continue to trade momentum and run at a pretty fast pace. Christian hits a rana from the top rope for a near-fall. He goes for a Spear but Del Rio dropkicks him right in the face for two. The crowd is digging this match. Christian hits the Spear but his left shoulder is so damaged that he hurts himself doing it. Del Rio is able to put on the Cross Armbreaker and Christian is forced to tap out at 12:30. For whatever reason Christian always brough out the best in Del Rio, and this match was no different. They kept up a fast pace, had tons of great reversals and counters, and Del Rio worked the arm and then won with his arm submission. Everything about this just clicked and the crowd loved it.
MATCH #4: Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Natalya is accompanied by the Funkadactyls, Naomi and Cameron, and Brie has her sister Nikki Bella and Eva Marie in her corner. They go back and forth to start but it quickly escalates to a slap battle. Natalya takes Brie quickly takes a powder. Nikki and Eva interfere to give Brie the advantage. Back in the ring Brie continues that advantage and beats Natalya down. Natalya comes back with a jawbreaker and a clothesline. She locks on the Sharpshooter and Brie counters out of it. The four women on the floor sort of get into a brawl but nothing really comes of it. Brie goes back to work and tries a sunset flip but Natalya catches her in an Alabama Slam. Natalya then puts on the Sharpshooter and this time Brie taps out at 5:19. That was perfectly decent for the time they got. With the success of Total Divas I can see why they would want to feature it on a big show like this.
MATCH #5: No Disqualification Match – CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Punk charges right in and shows he’s not afraid, but Lesnar simply overpowers him. Lesnar talks trash and Punk uses knees to send Lesnar to the floor, and then follows him out with a suicide dive. Punk dismantles the steel steps but Lesnar rams them back into Punk instead. Ouch. Lesnar tries to drive Punk into the ring post but Punk slips out and shoves Lesnar into the post instead. Punk goes up top and takes him out with an ax handle. He gets up on the announce table and levels Lesnar with a clothesline. Heyman distracts Punk long enough for Lesnar to clobber him from behind. Lesnar simply hurls Punk over the Spanish Announce Table, and then continues to manhandle him with ease. Back in the ring Lesnar continues the dissection of CM Punk. Lesnar works the midsection, squeezing the life out of his opponent with a bearhug. Punk fights his way out of that and goes up top, but Lesnar catches him and hurls him over his head with a fallaway slam. Lesnar puts the squeeze back on and Punk bites his way out of it! Punk goes up top and drills Lesnar with a knee to the face. He follows with the running knee in the corner and then another one. He goes for a third and Lesnar catches him and tries the F-5, but Punk slips out and hits a roundhouse kick! Punk goes up top and hits Hail to the King for two! He tries Go To Sleep and can’t hit it, but he does connect on another roundhouse kick. Punk tries Go To Sleep again but Lesnar catches him in the Kimura Lock! Things look bad for Punk but he’s able to counter into a triangle choke! Lesnar powers out with a huge Liger Bomb and both men are down. The Beast gets up and delivers a trio of suplexes for a two-count. Los Angeles is heavily behind CM Punk tonight. Lesnar goes outside and grabs a chair, but Punk goes to the top rope and jumps on Lesnar and the chair! Punk grabs the chair and levels Lesnar with it. Back in the ring Lesnar catches the chair and looks to murder Punk, but he gets hit with a low blow! Punk goes up top with the chair and drops an elbow! Amazingly Lesnar kicks out. Punk continues to beat on Lesnar with the chair until Heyman gets up and grabs it. Lesnar goes for the F-5 but Punk hangs on to Heyman’s tie! Punk gets the Go To Sleep! Heyman breaks up the cover! That would have been an amazing finish. Punk takes his eye off the ball and chases after Heyman, which results in him running into an F-5, but Punk counters it into a DDT! Again it gets two! Punk puts on the Anaconda Vise and Heyman comes in the ring with a chair. Heyman doesn’t get very far as Punk punches him square in the mouth and then puts Heyman in the Vise. Lesnar comes up from behind and bashes Punk with the chair. He picks Punk up and hits an F-5 right onto a steel chair. That’s enough to finally keep Punk down for the three-count at 25:17. There was a little too much Heyman interference for my liking, but aside from that this was a fabulous match that I believe exceeded everyone’s expectations. This was an absolute war, with both men absorbing tremendous amounts of punishment and both guys selling at the right times and to the right degree. The false finishes were believable and the crowd was hot for the entire match. What an incredible battle, and right up there with the best matches either man has had in WWE.
MATCH #6: Mixed Tag Team Match – Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & AJ Lee
The men start it off and Ziggler hits a quick dropkick. Ziggler covers but doesn’t even get a one-count. Langston comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex and a splash for two. He beats Ziggler down until the Showoff hits another dropkick. The women tag in and Kaitlyn goes to work, squashing AJ in the corner and hitting a side suplex. AJ comes back with a spin kick for two. She continues to wear Kaitlyn down, keeping her stronger opponent grounded. Kaitlyn catches AJ with a shoulder tackle and the dudes get tagged in. Ziggler comes in a house afire, hitting another dropkick and dropping multiple elbows. He tries the Fame-Ass-Er but Langston catches him and hits an over the shoulder backbreaker. Kaitlyn breaks up the cover and Langston doesn’t look too happy about it. AJ flies in with a knee to the face, sending Kaitlyn to the floor. Langston squashes Ziggler in the corner but then misses another charge and his shoulder hits the ring post. AJ grabs Ziggler’s leg from the floor, and then gets flattened with a Spear from Kaitlyn! Meanwhile, Langston decks Ziggler and the straps come down. Langston goes for the Big Ending but Ziggler slips out and hits the Zig Zag to get the pin at 6:46. That was the death slot between Punk/Lesnar and the main event, but they did a nice little match out there.
MATCH #7: WWE Championship Match – John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
Triple H is the special guest referee here. Cena has been the Champion since 4.7.13, and this is his fourth defense. He’s coming into this match with an injured elbow, which is heavily taped. They start with some chain wrestling, feeling each other out in this highly anticipated matchup. Bryan scores with a monkey flip and goes for the “Yes!” Lock but Cena rolls out of it and takes a powder. They resume the chain wrestling and Cena tries the Attitude Adjustment but Bryan slips out to the apron. Cena knocks Bryan off the apron and hard into the announce table. He goes out abut suffers the consequences when Bryan throws him into the steps. Bryan brings Cena up on the steps for a suplex but Cena reverses it and suplexes Bryan to the floor. Ouch. Back in the ring Cena covers for two. Cena keeps up the pressure, hitting a sitout powerbomb for a two-count. Bryan fights back with strikes, and the crowd is heavily in his favor and against the Champ. Cena fights back with Moves of Doom, and signals for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Bryan kicks him right in the head! They trade counters and Cena hits the Protoplex and nails the Five Knuckle Shuffle on his second attempt. Cena tries the AA again but Bryan slips out and goes up top for a missile dropkick. That gets a two-count. Bryan takes it to Cena with kicks, and taunts the Champion while he does it. Cena tries to go for the STF but Bryan reverses it and puts Cena in his own hold! Somehow Cena makes it to the ropes so Bryan pulls him up and hits a German Suplex for two. Another German Supelx gets another two-count, and Bryan keeps the arms locked. Cena powers out and tries the AA but Bryan counters to the “Yes!” Lock! The pugnacious Bryan stops Cena from escaping by changing over to the End Time. Cena escapes out and both men are worn down, but Cena is able to hit the AA and Bryan kicks out! The crowd is losing their collective mind. They fight up on the top rope and Bryan hits a superplex, but hangs on to the top rope with his legs! The crowd loves it. Bryan goes back up top and delivers the diving headbutt for a two-count! Cena rolls to the floor and Bryan tries a suicide dive but Cena catches him with a forearm. Then Cena goes up top and hits the Cena Slice but Bryan kicks out again! The look of desperation on Cena’s face is great. Cena looks for a super AA but Bryan fights his way out of it with elbow strikes. Bryan tries a rana but Cena blocks it and brings Bryan down into the STF. Cena dropped Bryan on his head on the way down; that could have been bad. Bryan counters into the “Yes!” Lock and Cena reaches the ropes. Cena gets back to his feet and Bryan pulverizes him with two IEDs. Bryan goes for a third but Cena blasts him with a huge lariat! Both men are down. They rise up and exchange blows. They knock each other down and once again both men are down and out. Back on their feet they exchange strikes and Bryan wins that battle, but when he tries to run up the top rope and flip over, Cena catches him with a huge spinebuster. Bryan recovers first and goes up top for a cross body block but Cena catches him and tries the AA but Bryan counters with an inside cradle for a near-fall! The crowd is going nuts. Bryan delivers a knockout kick to the head and then the Knee-Plus to get the pin at 26:54! What a phenomenal match, absolutely delivering on every level. Bryan and Cena kept up a torrid pace, executed great counters, built up fantastic false finishes, and expertly worked the crowd. Bryan went over clean as a sheet by hitting one big knockout blow, and he looks like a million bucks in doing so. This is just a great, tremendous match that goes down as one of the best in SummerSlam history.
As Bryan celebrates, Mr. Money in the Bank Randy Orton comes down and taunts the new Champion with his briefcase. Referee Triple H spins Bryan around and gives him a Pedigree! Orton decides now would be a great time to cash in!
MATCH #8: WWE Championship Match – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Bryan has been the Champion since 8.18.13, and this is his first defense. Orton simply rolls Bryan over and becomes the new WWE Champion in 0:09. The entire arena just got their hearts ripped out.
BONUS MATCH #1: Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett, Monday Night RAW, 8.12.13
RAW General Manager Brad Maddox has appointed himself the special guest referee. Bryan and Barrett battle back and forth, and Barrett sends Bryan to the floor. Barrett gets some bad news when Bryan targets his leg and starts to dissect it. Bryan goes to work and Barrett takes a powder. Barrett gets no break as Bryan goes after him on the floor but misses the flying knee and Barrett hits a big boot. Back in the ring Barrett stays in control and wears Bryan down. After a brief time Bryan makes the comeback and sends Barrett to the floor. Bryan follows him out with the Flying Goat. Back in the ring Bryan hits the missile dropkick and unloads with more kicks. Barrett ducks one and rolls Bryan up, and Maddox issues the fastest three-count ever to give Barrett the win at 5:26. The match was okay, but the finish was abrupt and silly.
BONUS MATCH #2: Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow, Monday Night RAW, 8.12.13
Cody Rhodes is guest starring on commentary. These are the respective Money in the Bank winners. Sandow handcuffs his case to the ring post. Sandow starts by working a headlock, but Orton quickly fights back. They trade momentum back and forth and Orton takes control with a dropkick that sends Sandow to the floor. They take a commercial break and when we come back Sandow is shoving Orton off the second rope. Orton tries to fight back from the second rope again and Sandow shoves him to the floor. Back in the ring Sandow covers for two and continues to wear Orton down. Sandow hits the Cubito Aequet for a near-fall. He continues to keep Orton grounded, but Orton CREATES SEPARATION with a belly-to-back suplex. Orton starts BUILDING MOMENTUM but Sandow blocks the powerslam and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Moments later Orton makes good on his powerslam promise. Orton hits the Rope-hung DDT and signals for the RKO but Sandow rolls to the floor. Sandow is able to regain control outside the ring, and he takes Orton back inside for a two-count. He gets distracted when Rhodes starts messing with his briefcase. That’s all Orton needs to hit an RKO and secure the victory at 10:14 (shown). That was really solid, and a sad reminder that WWE used to care about Sandow in some fashion. The finish was a little played but it did help to put heat on Rhodes and Sandow, so that’s fine.
BONUS MATCH #3: No Disqualification Match – Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett, Friday Night SmackDown, 8.16.13
Bryan goes right after Barrett’s leg and takes the upperhand. They quickly spill to the floor and Barrett is able to take control. Barrett whips Bryan into the barricade and goes for a boot but misses and lands on said barricade. Bryan kicks Barrett into the timekeeper’s area and brings out a table. Barrett recovers and slams Bryan off the announce table and then whips him into the steel steps. Back in the ring Barrett brings a kendo stick with him and wears Bryan out with it. When Bryan takes control of it Barrett bails to the floor and Bryan follows him out with a suicide dive. Bryan re-enters the ring with a missile dropkick and then Mr. McMahon’s music hits and the Chairman himself makes his way out. That’s as good of a time as any to take a commercial break. When we come back Barrett has taken control and he leans a table up in one corner. Bryan counters a powerbomb with a rana that sends Barrett to the floor. He follows Barrett out with a flying knee off the apron. Bryan goes for a suplex but Barrett reverses it, much to the delight of McMahon. Barrett whips Bryan hard into the ring post. Back in the ring Barrett destroys Bryan with a steel chair. Barrett covers but only gets two. He continues the steel chair assault and goes to the second rope for a chair-assisted elbow drop but Bryan moves out of the way. Bryan fires up and hits a couple of dropkicks in the corner. He destroys Barrett with a combination of kicks and kendo stick shots, but he misses the knockout kick and Barrett rolls him up for two. Bryan counters that into the “Yes!” Lock and McMahon pulls the referee to the floor. That allows Barrett to hit the Bull Hammer but there’s no official to count. McMahon calls a new referee out and it’s Brad Maddox! This time Maddox makes a reasonable count and Bryan kicks out! Barrett tries a pumphandle slam but Bryan slips out and hits a knockout kick but now Maddox won’t count at all. Bryan yells at Maddox and McMahon gives Barrett the kendo stick. Barrett tries to blindside Bryan but he hits Maddox instead! Bryan connects on an IED and then is able to drive Barrett through the table in the corner! McMahon pulls the referee shirt off one of the refs and goes to get in the ring but Triple H’s music hits and The Game makes his way out with the stripes on! This pleases Bryan, who goes to the top rope and lands the diving headbutt to get the pin at 13:45 (shown). That got pretty crazy by the end and may have seemed overbooked, but for a TV match I thought it was a lot of fun and did a lot to set up SummerSlam and the months that followed. Bryan and Barrett have really good chemistry together.