Monday, August 19, 2013

WWE Summerslam 2013

This was an awesome show - easily the best Summerslam since '05. Not every match was great, but everything that needed to be great was at least that. Punk-Brock hugely over-delivered. My expectations for Brock's matches have been tapered by the HHH ones, but when Brock's not in there with him, he's incredible. I never expected him to do as much in WWE as he has - I figured we'd be getting watered-down NJPW stuff from him, but he has been willing to do a lot.

The timing of this match was interesting given that just the day before it, the man who sent Brock out of the UFC in controversial fashion was exposed more than ever before, while Brock was able to show that he can still be at the top of pro wrestling - even if his body isn't able to handle MMA. The difference between Brock having crossover skills and moreover, actually projecting being a terrifying force of nature compared to what's being done with Rampage, Tito, and King Mo is amazing. WWE gets how to use him - not perfectly, but they get the idea that BROCK LESNAR DESTROYER OF PLANET EARTH draws money. This had him bust out new gear that meshed his old stuff with the MMA board shorts, and break out things he hasn't used in a while like the triple backbreaker, which he then turned into a sweet powerslam. The slickness of it reminded me of Owen's side belly-to-belly in every way - only Brock is THREE HUNDRED POUNDS. Age and illness haven't yet sapped him of his freakish athleticism despite nearly dying, and that's amazing.

Loved the triange>Rampage powerbomb>triangle>RUNNING POWERBOMB OUT OF THE CORNER stuff. This match was worth buying the Blu-Ray for and made Punk look like a physical threat who would have won if it hadn't been for him making the Heyman thing personal. He HAD to get Paul, nothing could stop him. He did get him, but it cost him the match. Great kimura out of the GTS the first time, then the GTS hit TO THE STOMACH and Brock sold it brilliantly.

Might as well cover the rest in order. I liked the U.S. Title match, although I'm surprised they didn't also do the six-man tag here. Sure, they did it on SD, but they could've had the Shield win...and go against the usual faces win rule of the pre-show. Opener sucked, but accomplished its goal of giving Wyatt a big on-paper win. Cody-Sandow was a match. Nothing really memorable about it. This needs to be followed up with a 9 PM main event match on SD - something where they're given time. Christian-Alberto wasn't as good as their SD match, but was still quite good and I loved the arm usage. Christian's arm was attacked, he hit the spear with the bad arm, then tapped to the armbar.  This felt just different enough to avoid having that "same as the other five billion matches" most WWE feuds feel like now. Brie-Nattie was a match. Mixed tag was a match. Dolph's fall from grace really crystalized here as he was in the death slot. At least he won.

Cena-Bryan felt like MITB '11 pt2 with the crowd loving Bryan. He seemed to be tearing up before and hell, I would be too. His journey to not just WWE, but to the top of the card has been fascinating. More technical wrestling from Cena than usual, and I dug them bringing back the bridge>counter>monkey flip spot. Bryan locking on the STF was nice, and set up that move meaning even more than usual later. Loved the MMA elbows to counter a top rope FU. The super Styles Clash attempt from Cena was sickening. Bryan looked like a damned pogo stick in Cena's arms for that. Great bit with Bryan showing he did have RUTHLESS AGGRESSION by kicking the fuck out of Cena's injured elbow. Corner dropkick led to a repeat attempt, and a flip sell off a clothesline for Bryan.

Then there was FIGHTING SPIRIT with slaps, elbows, and kicks. Crossbody off the top led to an FU setup, but he countered into a near-small package for 2. Perhaps if he'd been able to lock it in perfectly, he'd have won. KENTA's flying knee won the title. God bless KENTA - maybe he'll get some royalty checks from Bryan and Punk at some point. I also hope that they've put Evan Bourne's flying knee back into WWE '13 AND MADE IT A FINISHER, so this can be replicated. Seeing Bryan win the world title was one thing, but this is on a totally different level. This felt like what his first world title win should have been, and it's amazing to think that he's now held both of WWE's world titles. Loved the celebration featuring some streamers in the crowd. 

Then he got pyro, confetti, and screwed over. Orton, who lost to Bryan on Raw not too long ago in an amazing (and violent) match, got his revenge thanks to a Pedigree. Orton as WWE Champion now feels so weird after nearly 2 years in purgatory, but I'd rather see him be a solid main eventer instead of being in limbo. Loved this bit of brilliant booking leading to a shot of the Smarten up, Dixie sign. And it all tied in nicely to Vince saying he didn't want Bryan or Cena as champ, but instead wanted a younger HHH. In Orton, the future in Evolution, he has that. This was just tremendous.

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