411’s Instant Access 08.18.13: WWE SummerSlam 2013
Posted by Scott Slimmer on 08.19.2013
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan were both great matches, but which one was Match of the Night? Scott Slimmer, Tony Acero, and Michael Benjamin try to figure it out in Instant Access!
Hey kids, I'm Scott, and this is 411's Instant Access: WWE SummerSlam 2013. Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to onetwo THREE writers' thoughts on the show. Here's the team for SummerSlam:
Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let's get to the wrestling.
Kick-Off Show Match United States Championship Match Dean Ambrose (Champion) vs. Rob Van Dam
Match Result: Rob Van Dam defeats Dean Ambrose via disqualification. Match Length: 13:44 Slimmer: This wasn't quite as strong as last month's tag team Kickoff Show match, but it was another in what's become a string of entertaining Kickoff Show matches. More importantly, this match was clearly part of a larger story between the Shield and RVD, Mark Henry, and the Big Show, so it helps to further build the importance and credibility of the Kickoff Show matches. The match itself was solid if unspectacular, and Ambrose definitely held his own with RVD. I'd love to see what these two guys could do with 20 minutes and a real finish. Look for this story to continue tomorrow night on Raw, possibly leading to a WWE Tag Team Championship match between the Shield and Mark Henry & Big Show. Benjamin: These guys delivered a quality pre-show match. Every move was fluid and crisp and the match developed at a nice pace. By the closing stretch, the reversals were hot and heavy and the crowd was eating out of the palm of their hands. The Shield, Show and Henry getting involved was a nice piece of business as well. The crowd was hot for all six men and it made for a great atmosphere. I wouldn't have hated a better ending, as the DQ finishes are getting rather stale but I can understand why it was booked that way. All in all, this was a very solid start to the show. Match Rating: Slimmer: *** Benjamin: *** Average Match Rating: ***
Ring of Fire Match Kane vs. Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
Match Result: Bray Wyatt defeats Kane with Sister Abigail. Match Length: 7:39 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Sure, this was essentially a less threatening version of an Inferno Match, but we're not going to see a true Inferno Match while WWE is still in a PG mindset. You can argue whether or not it's worth having the flames if no one is going to actually be set on fire, and I suppose there are valid arguments on both sides. However, I have to believe that the visual spectacle of the flames really helped create a unique atmosphere for this match, and it played perfectly into both Kane and the Wyatt Family's characters. I would have loved to have seen the flaming kendo stick actually used in the match, but I suppose that a bit too un-PG as well. Having Harper and Rowan find a way to finally get into the ring was somewhat of a cop-out finish, but it protected the Wyatt Family while playing into their ability to act as a cohesive unit. Given that Harper and Rowan took Kane with them when they left, this feud definitely seems to be continuing. Having Kane be held prison could be interesting, but far more intriguing would be for the Wyatt Family to brainwash Kane and induct him into the fold. That's a story I'd love to see. Acero: This was pretty damned bad. It was short and extremely hindered by its gimmick. The right man won, but the match was just disappointing as a whole and not something is ever want to see again. Ok that's mean, I'd def watch Kane vs. Wyatt again, but not with a ring of fire surrounding them. Benjamin: This wasn't exactly a catch as catch can match but it was entertaining nonetheless. They used the spectacle of the fire to their advantage. The Wyatt Family utilized the surrounding fire in a few innovative ways that I personally enjoyed quite a bit including an attempt to light a kendo stick on fire, using a fire extinguisher to try and put out the fire, and laying a carpet over the top of the fire to find their way in the ring. The right man went over and I'm interesting in seeing what comes of them dragging Kane away after the match ended. Match Rating: Slimmer: **½ Acero: DUD Benjamin: **¼ Average Match Rating: *½
The Rhodes Scholars Explode! Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
Match Result: Cody Rhodes defeats Damien Sandow with Cross Rhodes. Match Length: 6:42 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This wasn't the Match of the Night, but it was certainly the best match on a minute-for-minute basis. Rhodes and Sandow put on a hell of a 7 minute match, and I can only image what they could have done with 15 minutes. The both pulled out several unique moves, and it was great to see Rhodes pay homage to Dusty, Goldust, and Bob Holly. Rhodes and Sandow are both stars on the rise, and I'd be happy to see them both as WWE and / or World Heavyweight Champion at some point. Rhodes may have picked up the win tonight, but Sandow still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, so I have a hunch this feud isn't finished. In fact, I could easily see this feud continuing until Rhodes and Sandow have a match with the briefcase on the line, much like Matt Hardy and Edge did in 2005. Acero: These guys are awesome, and it's a damned shame that the feud didn't get the love it deserved. A solid, solid match that fed off of the fact that these two know each other pretty well. Rhodes busted out a damn Muscle buster. It was beautiful, even with the exaggeratory flop Rhodes did. I don't think this feud is over and I think I'm ok with that. Benjamin: CODY LOST THE MUSTACHE! Anyways, this was a pretty heatless match. They didn't get much time to do anything which didn't help matters either. Cody won with the Cross Rhodes out of nowhere after nothing special. This would have been a letdown on Smackdown, let alone on PPV. I have to imagine that this feud is going to continue on the next PPV. Match Rating: Slimmer: ***¼ Acero: *** Benjamin: *¾ Average Match Rating: **¾
World Heavyweight Championship Match Alberto Del Rio (Champion) vs. Christian
Match Result: Alberto Del Rio defeats Christian with the Cross Armbreaker. Match Length: 12:06 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was a solid, entertaining match, but I'm still torn. I can respect the effort that Christian and Del Rio gave, and I can applaud their technical performances, but I've always been left uninspired by their matches. I definitely understand both guys' strengths, and I can even understand why some people give Christian / Del Rio matches rather high ratings. For some strange reason, these guys just aren't my cup of tea when they're in the ring together. I guess I just feel like I've seen it all before from them. Compare this match with both Punk / Lesnar and Cena / Bryan. All four of those guys gave us something we'd never seen from them tonight. All four of those guys found a way to yet again raise their game. Christian and Del Rio had a perfectly decent match, but I'm pretty sure I could dig out some alarmingly similar matches from 2011. Anyway, this feud was built on Christian getting "one more match," so my guess is that Del Rio will be looking for a new challenger on either Raw or Smackdown. Unfortunately, I have no idea who that might be. Sheamus is injured, Orton is the WWE Champion, Christian just had his "one more match," and Sandow is a heel. Could we see Cody Rhodes challenge for the belt, win it, and then lose it to Sandow? Or will Ziggler return from his debacle of a feud with AJ and re-enter the World Heavyweight Championship scene? Acero: The unfortunate thing about a match between Christian and Del Rio is that I have high expectations going in. The other issue is that neither character is the least bit interesting. With that being said, there was a lot to like. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two, and I like how it seems like it's always Christians fault when he loses. Benjamin: Christian and Del Rio delivered a hell of a match. They busted out counter after counter and near fall and near fall. The pace picked up as the match progressed and built to a satisfying finish with Christian tapping clean to the cross arm breaker. The spot that stands out the most is Christian hopping up to the second turnbuckle and attempting a crossbody before succumbing to a backstabber. This was easily the best match of the show at this point. Match Rating: Slimmer: ***¾ Acero: ***½ Benjamin: ***½ Average Match Rating: ***½
Total Divas in Action! Natalya w/ The Funkadactyls vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella and Eva Marie
Match Result: Natalya defeats Brie Bella with the Sharpshooter. Match Length: 5:15 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was nothing more than a way to get all six of the stars of Total Divas on the PPV. It was your typical Divas match, except that it didn't even have the illusion of importance that sorta kinda comes with the Divas Championship being on the line. This was a PPV match designed to get people to watch a reality show. Just let that sink in for a minute. Acero: I was somewhat surprised that this match wasn't all that bad. Granted, it wasn't a great match, just better than I expected. It was certainly average and kind of tainted for me due to the fact that it was essentially a squash match on the side of Bella, until the end. That doesn't sit too well with me but considering this was an end result of the reality show perhaps I've talked about it too much. Benjamin: This was pretty much what I expected going into it. Brie Bella seemed to be moving in pretty uninspired slow motion throughout the match and Natalya couldn't really get much out of her. It was nice to see Natalya get a PPV win though. Perhaps we'll see AJ vs Natalya in the near future? Match Rating: Slimmer: * Acero: *½ Benjamin: * Average Match Rating: *¼
The Best vs. The Beast No Disqualification Match CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman
Match Result: Brock Lesnar defeats CM Punk with an F-5 onto a steel chair. Match Length: 22:00ish (stopwatch issues) Match Analysis: Slimmer: Now we're talkin'. Punk has a reputation for stealing the show by outworking everyone else on the roster (with the possible exception of Daniel Bryan). Since his return, Lesnar has been delivering a caliber of brutality that we simply don't see from anyone else on the roster. This match was amazing because it played to both guys strengths, and it allowed them to combine their strengths into something that truly was more than the sum of its parts. Lesnar worked as hard as Punk, and Punk delivered brutality on Lesnar's scale. What WWE has done incredibly well since Lesnar returned last year is to always make his matches feel special. Every match he has that elusive big match feel, and Lesnar is booked as a beast unlike anyone else in the industry. That gives his opponents the opportunity to tell different stories than they could with anyone else, and that's exactly what John Cena, Triple H, and now CM Punk have done. My guess is that we won't see Lesnar in action again until at least Survivor Series (and possibly even WrestleMania), but I'd be more than happy to see him in a rematch with Punk when he does return. Acero: Holy shit. Definite match of the night for me. Amazing. There was a small lull early on in the match and I was frightened that we would be getting an attempt at an MMA style snooze feet. Thankfully that wasn't the case and we got some balls to wall action. I can't say enough good things and considering I'm on my phone to type this up, this is all you get! Benjamin: MOTYC. I should probably point that out right now. The NO DQ stipulation made this match even better than it would have been. This is the type of match we all knew Brock was capable of. It *almost* pisses me off even more that he got wasted on three Triple H matches but I'm on such a high from this bout that I won't dare be negative. This is the type of match that makes me proud to be a fan. These guys wrestle for a long fucking time. They were in the finishing stretch of kick outs, submission attempts, and false finishes for over ten minutes. CM Punk sold Lesnar's offense perfectly and Lesnar sold Punk's offense perfect as well. Their styles complimented each other as good as you could possibly expect. Find this match and watch it. Match Rating: Slimmer: ****½ Acero: ****½ Benjamin: ***** Average Match Rating: ****¾
Mixed Tag Team Match Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & AJ Lee
Match Result: Dolph Ziggler defeats Big E Langston with the Zig Zag. Match Length: 6:44 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match suffered greatly from being sandwiched in between Punk / Lesnar and Cena / Bryan. I mean, it was never destined to be a five star classic, but the dead crowd certainly didn't do it any favors. Mixed tag team matches aren't known for being particularly compelling, and this was no exception. I think we're all just tired of AJ's dating drama at this point, and hopefully this will be the last we see of it for a while. The World Heavyweight Championship scene is in desperate need of top-tier faces, and Ziggler could fit the bill nicely. Acero: Too fast to mean anything, and was it me or did Kaitlyn look a little...unmotivated? Either way, those who I knew were going to look good did just that. Benjamin: The crowd was unsurprisingly quiet for this outing. No shocker here considering the roller-coaster they had just been on. There was nothing special about this but it wasn't actively bad in anyway. It served its purpose to buffer the crowd between the two main events. The right team went over. Kaitlyn gets her win without winning the title. Match Rating: Slimmer: ** Acero: ***** (Editor's Note: AJ Lee makes certain parts of Tony Acero, like his star ratings, grow uncontrollably. It's embarrassing for us all.) Benjamin: ** Average Match Rating: ***
WWE Championship Match Special Guest Referee: Triple H John Cena (Champion) vs. Daniel Bryan
Match Result: Daniel Bryan defeats John Cena with a running knee shot to the head. Match Length: 26:56 Match Analysis: Slimmer: People are going to talk about everything that Daniel Bryan did to make this match so great, and Bryan deserves all of the compliments that he'll get. But it would be completely unfair to disregard Cena's effort, because he absolutely stayed with Bryan every step of the way. Cena *wrestled* better than we've seen him wrestle in years, and it was just a reminder of the technical skill that he demonstrated in his early days in WWE. Mock Cena all you want (and I'll admit, it's often a lot of fun), but the truth is that he can tailor his in-ring style to suit his opponent as well as just about anyone in the business. Add to that the subtle heel touches that he sprinkled throughout the match, and I have a hard time seeing how anyone could deny him the respect he's due after tonight's performance (with the possible exception of that time he damn near broke Bryan's neck coming off the top rope). Cena and Bryan had a hell of a match, and my rating is based on their match. Of course, I have to discuss Triple H turning on Bryan and setting up Orton to cash in MitB. The chorus of voices who feel Bryan was robbed is eerily reminiscent of the fury over his loss to Sheamus at WrestleMania last year. Bryan has been set up as the ultimate hardworking underdog, and being screwed by Triple H and Orton only furthers that build. Orton and Triple H obviously have a ton of history, so the fact that they were in cahoots makes perfect sense from a storyline point of view. There will be a ton of heat on Triple H and Orton tomorrow night on Raw, and the crowd will go thermonuclear whenever Bryan shows up. This was smart booking, and I can't wait to see where it's leading. Acero: This match started slow and really upsetting. It being slow isn't what upset me, it was more Cena's demeanor. I know he was essentially heeling it up but it came off as cheesy and eye-roll inducing. Like him tellin' the doc he's ok? Come on....about 5-7 minutes in though, it got much better. Solid, solid match. Of course. The conversation must head to the end cash in. I'm really torn. On one hand, I'd love for Bryan to have kept the title. The win was beautiful and the crowd was molten. On the other hand, the story here was intriguing. I'm very interested to see where this is going. Benjamin: This was another long and solid main event. They worked a methodical yet hard hitting style of match. It's been awhile since I've had a crowd so firmly behind a wrestler in the main event of a WWE PPV. They worked a nice contrast to the other matches on the card and it's very satisfying to see Daniel Bryan finally get his moment. That lasted for about a minute until Orton came down. Triple H turns heel and Pedigrees D-Bry. Orton cashes in and we have our next main event set. I wasn't that big of a fan of the ending but I am excited to hear Triple H's reasoning tomorrow. Match Rating: Slimmer: ****½ Acero: ***½ Benjamin: **** Average Match Rating: ****
Match of the Night: Slimmer: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (****½) AND John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (****½)
There's simply no way I can choose between these matches. They were very different, but they were both brilliant. It's been a long time since we've seen two matches this good on a single WWE show, so I have to give MotN honors to them both. Acero: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (****½)
This isn't just Punk love here, although a lot credit is due to him. Brock looked beastly in there and they handled the entirety of the match well. This match could have gone into a bit of a boring one, and I thought it would be when they did the rest hold spot. My worries were quelled though, because it ended up being a great, great match. Benjamin: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (*****)
This was exactly the type of match I was hoping they would deliver and it didn't disappoint. With Brock Lesnar walking away with the win, we should be getting a rematch and I'm excited for that.
Trash of the Night: Slimmer: Natalya vs. Brie Bella (*)
As I said up above, this was PPV match designed to get people to watch a reality show. That alone is almost enough to earn TotN dishonors, and the forgettable match itself seals the deal. Acero: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (DUD)
I wanted to get behind this match but the fire really hurt it. They tried to be innovative but came off as hokey. I don't think this will hurt Wyatt in the least, but it wasn't anything worth a PPV. Benjamin: NONE
Final Analysis: Slimmer: The Miz opened the show by saying that there were two main events, and he was right. This was a two match show, and both of those matches absolutely delivered. Throw in solid matches from Christian / Del Rio and Rhodes / Sandow, and you have one of the best WWE shows in a long time. This truly felt like a show worthy of being the second biggest show of the year, and the lion's share of the credit goes to Punk, Lesnar, Cena, and Bryan. Acero: SummerSlam was a success for me. I enjoyed the show as a whole and had a great time. The PPV left me wanting more, which is a rarity. The end of the show will divide the IWC and fans alike, but at the very least, it made the turn of Orton's all the more solid. Benjamin: This was one of the best Summer Slams in recent memory. The three main events delivered in a major way and nothing was actively bad. I'm very glad that I paid for this PPV and have it on my DVR. Thumbs way up!
Verdict: Slimmer: **** Acero: **** Benjamin: **** Average Match Rating: ****