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What’s up guys, I’m Kingzak and I’m here with your November Column of the month. So what’s the topic for today, well it is quite simple. I am incredibly nerdy and have a comprehensive stat table of the last decade of WWE PPV matches, based off of various opinions of the match (including several from this very site) so using those I have compiled what are ranked the top ten from each year, I may not agree with them but they have earnt their place.
We are a couple years into the series, having covered the early years of the decade, if you are curious to see the first couple parts here are the links.
You know, if I could relive any year of wrestling from the past decade, I think 2013 would be my pick. Just about everything was fantastic in the year, The Shield were a dominant force, no one hated Brock Lesnar (well we hated him for the good reasons, not for the reasons we hate him now), Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement peaked and we got a ton of fantastic matches dotted throughout the year. And that is what we are here to take a look at, so without further ado, let’s dive in
The Shield vs John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback
Like I said at the end of last part, expect to see The Shield trio a lot throughout this series. throughout their career they had plenty of six man tag matches but this one tends to go a bit overlooked in favour of the Wyatts, their debut or the Evolution matches, and while all three of those are great matches, this too was a very good match, The Shield continued to look dominant and were able to cleanly beat a team that featured John Cena, which is a big deal.
Alberto Del Rio vs Christian
World Heavyweight Championship
SummerSlam 2013 was a phenomenal night of wrestling, outside the two matches you already remember from the show, we also had the debut of Bray Wyatt (not a great match, but a good character) an anticipated match between Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow following their teams breakup at MITB, and the end of the feud between Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee. However one match that has been incredibly overlooked is the World Heavyweight Championship match.
Following his brilliant heel turn and feud with Ziggler, Del Rio was left with no other challengers and would end up facing off against Christian who earned the opportunity by finally pinning Randy Orton (which if intentional is an incredible call-back). The two had a great match with Del Rio targeting the previously injured shoulder of Christian and it would eventually pay off for Del Rio as he picked up the win after a pretty great match. If you’ve never watched this one, it’s definitely worth a look back one of these days.
The Rhodes Brothers vs The Shield
Rhodes bro’s career on the line
Here we have the first of two back to back cases of the PPV-Star score not agreeing with my opinion. Battleground 2013 was as much of a shit show as it sounds, featuring the likes of Curtis Axel, Ryback and The Great Khali across three different matches as well as a drawn main event. The one shining light amongst all of this is this match.
The build to this one is incredibly simple, Triple H’s corrupt regime resulted in Cody Rhodes getting fired and his brother and his dad would come to back him up. And then they were given an opportunity, all three’s careers on the line against the destructive duo of The Shield.
This match was phenomenal in every sense, Goldust was reinvigorated, Cody was his usual fantastic self and Roman and Seth played the heels so very well here. All four came out of this looking incredible. Top this all of with a feel good ending and this match was one of the highlights of the year for most people. The fact WWE couldn’t work out how to properly book Cody just baffles me.
Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship
Of the 34 matches I have wrote about thus far, Del Rio has been in seven of them. Insult his promo skills as much as you want but once that bell rings, the man was fire. I reckon if he did like 20% less promos, he would have been an upper midcard mainstay to this day. This was an incredibly simple match going in, it was very much built as a standard championship rematch, but ultimately the match transpired as something more than that.
Del Rio spent the match targeting Ziggler’s head, working off of his recent concussion to put down the champion. Ziggler fought valiantly but the onslaught soon became too much and Del Rio reclaimed the World Heavyweight title to an arena of boos. Going in Del Rio had been playing the hero while Ziggler was the cocky heel, but coming out the roles had been flipped in one of the best double turns in wrestling history (best still goes to Austin/Hart). It was a genuinely surprising turn as well, I remember at the time that no one was really expecting a title change again or a turn from either man.
The Money in the Banks
Yeah they are good matches, I’ll give them that. These may be some of the better MITB matches from the PPV era, but honestly after talking about two fantasticly engaging matches, it just feels wrong to have this here. Ladder chaos is always fun but it really can’t compete with emotional investment or incredibly smart work.
And now for something completely different
2013 was a good year for the WWE, but elsewhere in the wrestling world things were just as hot as in the E. 2013 was the closest I came to following TNA. It was a perfect storm of things, my friend had spent the past five years hyping TNA up with sentences like “Glass tables on fire” and “through a chair covered in thumbtacks” and “Off a ladder onto a barbed wire table that’s also on fire”, and while I doubted the validity of these statements, the curiosity would get to me. Couple in the fact that my college work only saw me going three days a week so I had plenty of spare time and I ended up checking out and enjoying TNA.
The big matches I remember where mostly from Slammiversary 2013. First of the two is Gail Kim vs Taryn Terrell in a last woman standing match. The match kinda blew me away with how good it was, I knew that it was possible to have good women’s matches but this was genuinely on another level, thankfully at the same time AJ Lee was taking over the “Divas” division in the WWE to try and make it interesting, and NXT came about a year later. But this match was a genuinely fantastic match that actually shocked a young me.
The other match is the main event from that evening; it featured Bully Ray (Bubba Dudley) against Sting for the world title. Bully Ray had taken a more vicious turn as he became leader of Aces and Eights, and had captured the world title after fooling the whole TNA roster into thinking him a good guy. Sting would be his first challenger.
Before the match began, Bully Ray cut a promo talking of the taboo move of wrestling, The Piledriver. It is a genuinely dangerous move where you slam your opponent on their head and if done even slightly wrong can lead to paralysis, it had pretty much been banned from wrestling at this point (with only the tombstone variation still being used), but Bully Ray promised to end Sting that night and made the piledriver the focus move of the match.
Things continued to spiral out of control throughout the brawl, reaching a point where Bully Ray pulls a knife from under the ring and there is a small part of you thinking “is he going to try and stab Sting”. He doesn’t, but he rips the ring mat apart exposing the bare wood and proceeds to piledrive him onto the wood. That spot has stuck in my mind as quite possibly the most viscous spot in wrestling that I have seen, to this day it seem way too far. The match itself continued after that to a bit of an anti-climax but just for the match to that point it has stuck with me.
Now back to your regularly scheduled WWE column.
The Shield vs The Rhodes vs The Usos
WWE Tag team Championship
Hell in a Cell
A fantastic match here, coming off of the BattleGround match, the Rhodes brothers would capture the tag titles from the Shield (with the aid of Big Show) a couple weeks later. The Usos had prior won the number one contendership before this and after a number one contender match gone wrong, The Rhodes Brothers were required to face both in a triple threat.
This match was genuinely amazing to watch, The Usos at that point were far from the tag team staples that they are these days, their only other match of note had come a few months prior when they faced The Shield on the MITB pre-show (a match that narrowly missed being on the list) so they were a relative unknown at this point, the other two teams were great but the big surprise was seeing The Usos shine here. The Rhodes boys walked away with the titles in the end but no one came out of this one looking bad.
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho
You’d think I’d feel something here, but honestly I am struggling for this one. I know it was a good match, we all remember it being a good match on a great-ish night for wrestling. When I think of the Punk/Jericho feud I think more of their 2012 stuff. This one just felt weird going in with Punk not there to actually build up the match, it was all left to Jericho and Punks manager Paul Heyman, Punk had been taking a bit of time off following WrestleMania and it would take a call to arms from Jericho to get him back.
Punk made his return here in front of a raucous hometown crowd and despite having last been seen a heel, he was definitely the hero this night. Maybe that is part of the magic of it. Honestly this really doesn’t rank as high from me, it definitely belongs on the list but not this high up. Punks 2013 was a real rollercoaster ride, varying between great matches and total crap, and this one just isn’t doing it for me.
CM Punk vs Undertaker
Staying with good matches featuring CM Punk and we have this somewhat forgotten gem. It has the historical distinction of being stuck between the final match in a quadrilogy of amazing matches between Taker, Shawn Michaels and Triple H, and coming right before the Streak would end at the hands of Brock Lesnar. So as a match this does tend to pale in comparison to the prior and post, both for very different reasons.
However this was a top quality match, Punk had been exiled from the world title scene and would find himself challenging the Deadman at WrestleMania for a chance to truly become immortal, a long world title reign is good, but beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania is the stuff of dreams.
This wasn’t a simple challenge, Punk made it personal by bringing up the death of Undertaker former manager, Paul Bearer. Now while we can debate the ethics behind this, you cannot deny it being an effective method of building animosity between the two. Punk would use all the mind games in his playbook to try and rattle The Undertaker in the build to their showdown.
As far as a match goes, this was a great match, Taker had developed a streak of stealing the show at WrestleMania from WM23 to here, and both gave their all for this one. Punk really thrives when he is in the spotlight, and there aren’t many lights brighter than here. He may have quit because he never got to Main event WrestleMania, but realistically this was the main event, the other two matches after this were a disappointment and you could turn the show off with this and you’d have a perfectly satisfying wrestling show.
Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
For me this was match of the year. In all honesty this had everything you want from a big time match. John Cena was coming off of a high having beaten The Rock earlier in the year, while Daniel Bryan’s popularity had continued to grow despite WWE’s efforts and it had gotten to the point where Bryan could no longer be denied the title match.
Simply put it was a clash between two of the best wrestlers on the planet for the grandest prize, with both pulling out all the stops to try and secure a victory. The match was great, honestly you’d expect nothing less from the two in the ring. Going in, many were curious to see how the submission specialist would put down the man that never gives up. In the end it would take a brand new finishing move from Daniel Bryan to catch Cena off guard and get the one two three in the centre of the ring. A clean win over John Cena was pretty much unheard of in those days … actually they are still pretty rare now. So this was a big deal.
The aftermath of this one is debatable, but for the briefest of moments, Daniel Bryan was on top of the wrestling world and it was a sweet moment.
CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar
No DQ match
Like I said before CM Punk had a lot of great matches in 2013, it peaked highest and for the last time here, with his clash with Brock Lesnar. Punk had returned a hero after his match with Undertaker and ultimately this would clash with fellow Heyman client Brock’s ideology or something (did we ever find out why Brock attacked Punk?). Heyman would eventually side with Brock and cost Punk Money in the Bank because it just makes sense.
This match wasn’t initially set as a no DQ, it was only announced as that on the pre-show and I honestly think that added a lot to the match. Punk last twenty minutes with Lesnar doesn’t seem likely based on size (I know suspension of disbelief and all that) but when you bring in some weapons then it is a fair fight.
Both men kicked shit out each other here, Brock using his power advantage to try and control the match versus Punk’s speed and ring savvy make this a lot more back and forth than you would think. Punk even had this one won if not for the interference of Paul Heyman in the climactic moments. This would allow Brock to hit the F5 and pick up one of the hardest fought wins of his career. More of this Brock Lesnar and less of what we have now please WWE.
I do disagree with this being number one, but that is purely because of personal preference to the prior match, I love a good hardcore match and this definitely is one of the best ones out there so I have no issue with it being number one, I just prefer Cena/Bryan. That’s one of the good things I find about the PPV-Star format, it is a consensus view instead of just one lone madmans.
PPV-Star Fact: Despite having three of the four top matches of the year, Punk only managed to come third in the yearly rankings, because while he did have these matches, he also had PPV matches with Curtis Axel and Ryback. In the end he was beaten by Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan for the top spots.
So that is the PPV-Star list, but now we move onto Zak’s list, the new entrants are highlighted in gold
The Elimination Chambers 2010
WWE Championship 6 pack challenge: Night of Champions 2010
The Money in the Bank matches 2011
CM Punk vs The Miz vs Alberto Del Rio: TLC 2011
The Shield vs John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback Elimination Chamber 2013
CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio: Over the Limit 2010
Alberto Del Rio vs Christian: SummerSlam 2013
Team WWE/Cena vs The Nexus: SummerSlam 2010
The 2012 Money in the Bank matches
Big Show vs Sheamus: Hell in a Cell 2012
The Shield vs The Rhodes vs The Usos: Hell in a Cell 2013
John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio: Vengeance 2011
Edge vs Dolph Ziggler: Royal Rumble 2011
CM Punk vs Randy Orton: Extreme Rules 2011
Elimination Chambers 2011
The Money in the Banks 2010
John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler: TLC 2012
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho: WM28 or ER 2012
Batista vs John Cena: Extreme Rules 2010
CM Punk vs John Cena: Night Of Champions 2012
The Money in the Banks: 2013
Evan Bourne vs Chris Jericho: Fatal Four Way 2010
Edge vs Kane vs Rey Mysterio vs Alberto Del Rio: TLC 2010
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho: Payback 2013
Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan: Extreme Rules 2012
Christian vs Randy Orton: Over the Limit 2011
CM Punk vs John Cena: Money in the Bank 2011
Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler: Payback 2013
Undertaker vs Triple H: WrestleMania 27
Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler: Bragging Rights 2010
Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk: Over The Limit 2012
CM Punk vs The Undertaker: WrestleMania 29
Brock Lesnar vs John Cena: Extreme Rules 2012
CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar: SummerSlam 2013
The Rhodes Brothers vs The Shield: BattleGround 2013
Christian vs Alberto Del Rio: Extreme Rules 2011
The Shield vs Kane, Daniel Bryan and Ryback: TLC 2012
Undertaker vs Triple H: WrestleMania 28
Daniel Bryan vs John Cena SummerSlam 2013
The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels: WrestleMania 26
Taker and Michaels keep the top spot but with some stiff competition. Elsewhere the Rhodes/Shield match grabs the number 6 spot, with Punk/Lesnar and Punk/Undertaker also claiming top ten spots. But will they last in those spots? We still have half a decade to go and the debut of the best wrestling show in WWE history looms. But for now that is our table, and it is time I bid you all a fond farewell. As always I hope you have enjoyed today’s column and I will see you next time.
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