Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: The Summerslam 2013 Report - Did the WWE Make a Huge Mistake or a Brilliant Move?
By The Doc
Aug 19, 2013 - 12:05:37 AM

The Summerslam 2013 Report

Match 1: Bray Wyatt defeated Kane in 8-minutes (*1/2) (The spectacle of an Inferno match will always be the major talking point coming out of the latest edition unless the wrestlers involved are able to tell a thorough and complete story. Honestly, Wyatt vs. Kane was lacking in many areas. The presentation was OK, but fell flat for me across the board. Wyatt's group benefited, but I do not think that Wyatt, himself, gained much from the match. I'm not sure it's going to matter what he does in the ring until he better defines his purpose in the coming weeks and months. I'm still intrigued by the character, but I was hoping for more out of this. Not bad. Not good. Below average and it took a lot of time to get where it went considering that the match time was under ten minutes)

Match 2: Cody Rhodes defeated Damien Sandow in 7-minutes (**1/2) (This would have made a better choice for the opening match. The WWE would have done well to switch the order of the first two matches. Sandow and Rhodes worked like they had a legitimate beef with each other, selling the intensity of the post-Money in the Bank happenings like they mattered. Rhodes was wise to shave his 'stache, in my opinion. I think it was a fun little side gimmick that got the crowd behind him a bit more, serving its purpose. However, it was time for him to move forward. In this match, he did just that. I think that I will remember Summerslam '13 for having started at 8:30 EST when Rhodes vs. Sandow started. I really liked this match and thought it was the caliber of mid-card bout that needed to step up and offer something above average. Glad to see Rhodes get the win on the second/third most high profile stage that the WWE has to offer. It's his biggest win since Wrestlemania 27)

Match 3: Alberto Del Rio defeated Christian in 13-minutes (***1/2) (I mentioned in my preview column last week that this would be the barometer match for Summerslam. If it delivered something memorable and the two main-events delivered as expected, then Summerslam '13 had the chance to one day be remembered amongst the best in the history of the Summer Classic. Well, mission accomplished. I'm not sure why we should be surprised. As much heat as Del Rio gets from the internet about his bland persona, he brings it in the ring every single month on PPV. He has not had a bad match since his debut and every one of his PPV World title bouts gets the crowd involved by the end because - let's be honest, here - the guy is one of the best in-ring performers in the game right now. From a good start to a middle that keeps the bout interesting to a satisfying, dramatic series of false finishes leading to the conclusion, Del Rio puts together better matches than 95% of the roster. When you put him opposite a talent like Christian, who matches his good friend Edge's historical ability to "close" a match with counter after counter, it's the recipe for what we should have just labeled ahead of time as a "guaranteed" three-star match and called it a day. My crowd wondered aloud if Christian might be retiring soon, thus the rush to get him into the World title scene for one more major PPV - almost like a "Thank You." It would not shock me. He wrestles each match like it's his last)

Match 4: Nattie beat Brie (*1/2) (Not a bad Divas match, but I want to make something clear to the WWE - I care about AJ Lee and whomever she defends her title against; you've done a nice job of making me care about her because of her wrestling TV push. I care about the Divas on Total Divas; I won't lie, I've been enjoying your reality show with my wife every week. However, I do not care about the Divas on any other avenue but Total Divas, unless one of them develops a personality opposite AJ Lee to make for a compelling women's title match. That is all)

Match 5: Brock Lesnar defeated CM Punk in 26-minutes (****1/2) (Holy God did that ever live up to the hype or what? I was on the edge of my seat rooting for Punk, but I figured that Lesnar was going to win. I thought that this was the most unpredictable match on the card and they did a great job of adding layer after layer of drama. Heyman's involvement was well timed and placed. Punk's blood thirsty attitude toward gaining retribution blinded him from the legitimate opportunities that he had to defeat Brock, making him look just as much of a star - if not more - than he looked in defeats at the hands of Undertaker and The Rock earlier this year. I still value victories, though, and think that Punk will need to eventually get a win over one of those all-time big stars with their "name value." I don't have much to complain about. Brock and Punk delivered a Match of the Year candidate and one of the best Summerslam matches of all-time. That's what I wanted to see and that's what I received. To me, the result confirms that Lesnar will face Taker or Rock at Wrestlemania next year, so any comments about Brock taking on a current roster member - unless it's Punk - will likely fall on deaf ears and be met with adamant replies defending positions alternate from your stance. There should be no questioning that CM Punk is a star, now. He will be a major player in the WWE until his body gives out or his attitude gets him fired. If he stays the course, he'll finish his career as one of the top 15 WWE stars of the Wrestlemania Era and eventually main-event a Wrestlemania. I hope that he does, for our sake as fans of his craft. He has become the current generation's Shawn Michaels - he never ceases to deliver in big match scenarios. With him as a top star, we are blessed to receive multiple classic matches per year that we'll all talk about fifteen years down the line in the same breath that we once did the matches of HBK, Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, and others. The Best vs. The Beast was excellent)

Match 6: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeated AJ and Big E in 6-minutes (*3/4) (It was what it needed to be. Thank God that Dolph won the match. I hope that it spells a step back up to the World title scene. Del Rio's speech earlier, after he'd won his match, sets up a hero to rise and hopefully claim the title)

Match 7: Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena to win the title in 26-minutes, but then Randy Orton cashed in after Triple H turned heel on Bryan (****1/2) (Was there ever really any doubt that this match would deliver the goods? Bryan was incredible. Cena was awesome. What those two guys did was produce something very memorable that will likely be a candidate - some day once the sting of the final result wears off - for a top 5-10 Summerslam match. I have long enjoyed taking things and putting them into a unique historical perspective. For this match, I think it may take several years before we can really do that. The thing that will make this fondly remembered is the payoff. If Bryan becomes WWE Champion at Wrestlemania, for instance, then the people that will undoubtedly be disappointed in the WWE failing to pull the trigger on Bryan keeping the WWE Championship at Summerslam and beyond will be, then, able to look back at the totality of the situation and smile. Bryan vs. Cena was an outstanding, 4-star plus match. What other possible critical rating could you give them unless you been reading Joe Shit The Ragman's guide on how to rate a wrestling match over the years? That was utterly phenomenal. Bryan was everything that you would expect him to be in a WWE style main-event. He was markedly different from the man who faced CM Punk 15 months ago at Over the Limit '12. All the same battle-tested, indy-hardened work was evident, but he added some flash. He has truly rounded into form as one of the best "WWE style" workers on top of the brilliance that he already brought with him as the best technical wrestler in the game. Cena, as usual, stepped up and added another classic to his resume. That spot where Bryan did the superplex, but held onto the turnbuckle with his legs...that was awesome. I've not seen anything like that in WWE over 26 years as a fan. I think Bryan should start using that running/diving knee to the head as his finisher, by the way. Who could get up from that? The timing of the pin was perfect. After the camera panned to the most lively Los Angeles crowd that I've seen since Warrior vs. Macho Man in 1991, all of them in unison chanting "Yes!" and pointing to the sky, Bryan put down the face of the WWE CLEAN in the middle of the ring)

As for Orton's cash-in and Triple H's heel turn. Well, I think that was many years in the making on the latter and an obvious out for the former. I was watching Trips like a hawk while he stood in that ring. I will say this definitively and without reservation: if the WWE was going to choose to go this route, then they could not have executed it any better. Bryan even had confetti falling around him in one of those moments that usually signified beyond a shadow of a doubt that a major occurrence was being celebrated by a company ready to embrace a slightly different direction. Nice touch. Orton's cash-in tease was perfect. It had me thinking about Night of Champions. When he turned and grinned that sinister grin that Orton does better than anyone else in the business, I again turned my attention to Triple H. That's quite a sight to see Orton and Trips back in cahoots. I have no idea what kind of direction that this McMahon thing will take in the long-term, but the short-term direction of Orton vs. Bryan is very appealing to me. On the surface, my gut tells me that this is the vehicle by which they will push Bryan to the moon and give him the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXX after a long and sustained chase. Tonight was the type of ending to a PPV that they give top babyfaces that mean quite a bit to long-term plans. Time will tell)

All in all…I'm not yet sure how history is going to remember this PPV. I thought it was excellent. With two main-events that delivered 4-star plus performances and a really good mid-card World title match, I think Summerslam pulled right up to the top of the list for most critically significant night since Extreme Rules and Wrestlemania last year. It also leaves us with some very intriguing scenarios moving out of Summerslam that will find me watching tomorrow night's Raw with great anticipation.

Question of the Day: What did you think of tonight's PPV?


I don't think you'll want to miss my conversation with Super Chrisss this Wednesday at 6PM, EST.