Welcome to the first Year End Sorting Bin, where I put wrestlers in neat little sorting bins based on how much I enjoy their presence on a given show. Unequivocal Hatred is the first category, and it’s reserved for the people that make me want to change the channel, or they’re incredibly terrible in other ways. The time has come to get into the dirt, baby.
Seth Rollins – No one has ever been more ill-equipped to handle the role of top star in WWE. Not even Kevin Nash, whose greatest sin as an anti-draw was that being the hero didn’t suit him, was as bad as a banner carrier than the so-called Architect. His list of sins includes going after Dave Meltzer for no reason, losing a Twitter beef to Will Ospreay, trying to get a hashtag over stating he was cool, and the worst offense, not being good at professional wrestling. Before I stopped watching WWE after Money in the Bank, I can only count on one hand the instances where he sparked joy, and it was just because he went over Brock Lesnar in short order and got him out of the way early at Mania. Otherwise, he can fuck off back to Iowa for all I care.
Will Ospreay – It’d be one thing if he was just a piece of shit who shouldn’t be wrestling and instead reflecting on his life to this point, but he’s a shitty wrestler too. You can be a piece of shit; well, you shouldn’t be a piece of shit. However, if you shuffled all the pieces of shit out of wrestling, well, you get the point. But every Ospreay match except the one where he got dumptrucked by Lance Archer featured so many off-target flippy moves combined with preening that I have to wonder if he’s even in it for the art at all. It’s an unpopular opinion to say Will Ospreay is an awful wrestler, but man, he fucking sucks. Also, I hope Sadie Gibbs kicks him in the balls.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar – Lesnar is a good wrestler, a great one at that. I’m not sure whatever great sprints he has left in him are worth what he brings to WWE. Well, to me, it’s “were,” because he’s a big reason why I stopped watching. Shouts to Heyman for cutting the same promo since Lesnar got back though. He’s an all-time micman though, I believe you when you say this.
Lars Sullivan – He’s been inactive most of the year, but the fact that he wasn’t fired when racist message board posts in the past came up with no real attrition says more about WWE than it does him. Still, I don’t need him on my screen at all.
TJP – Remember when he came back to New Japan during the Super J Cup and people booed him out of the building? I do.
Bully Ray – Honestly, it’s telling the only way he can get relevant anymore is by frogmarching a fan who boos his girlfriend, who’s a heel, by the way. Whether or not that fan was saying lewd shit to women (which if he was would be inexcusable on his behalf) is irrelevant once you decide you want to play Pro Wrestling Secret Police with one of the few people still giving you money. Well, even if he was there for free, that’s not a way to treat a human being, period. Of course, because the company running Ring of Honor is too busy doing President Trump’s local propaganda, nothing happened to him. That’s the frustrating thing out of all this. Shitheads like Bully Ray get to be small business tyrants on steroids and they get away with it because there are no consequences anywhere for anyone who was famous for a minute in this business. Hopefully, his irrelevance is punishment enough, but I mean.
Josh Barnett – They really downgraded giving Bloodsport to this Proud Boys apologist.
EC3 – Honestly, if I were hoarding talent and I just signed the guy who was a cult hero in TNA to sign him, I wouldn’t push him either if he can’t walk without looking like he’s got a poopy in his pants.
El Ligero – I refuse to believe NXT UK is anything more than a tax shelter but hey, if they’re gonna push dudes who didn’t get the message that the El Generico gimmick was racist as hell, well.
Jim Ross – Ross actively brings the booth down on Dynamite. Like, Tony Schiavone is in a similar boat in that he’s not catching up to speed as quickly as possible, but at least he’s trying. What is Ross doing other than cashing a paycheck so he can unabashedly be horny on Twitter?
Michael Elgin – If guys who can skate on credible accusations of abuse don’t suffer any consequences, what makes you think the unicorns who have false abuse/rape allegations against them have their lives ruined?
Lacey Evans – She’s an effective heel and a capable wrestler, but man, I’m sorry, I can’t get past MAGA as a gimmick, one that she kinda lives.
Thomas Latimer – When Nick Aldis says to hire the domestic abuser to your fledgling wrestling TV show, you should probably say no. Besides, what can he do that some beanpole who flunked out of the CZW Academy can’t?
Ronda Rousey – See Lesnar, Brock.
Jimmy Havoc – You wanna know why Excalibur choking him out at Jimmy’s Seafood was so funny? Because Havoc, who is a deathmatch legend in England (like being the best Italian chef in Nunavut), is really not good at imposing himself. He’s a sad little goth with a stapler, and once he’s done stapling someone, the illusion of fear goes away. He’s not Nick Gage. He’s not even Jimmy Lloyd. The total antipathy towards him in the ring is strong.
Corey Graves and Jerry Lawler – Any credit WWE gets for having a focused commentary team goes right out the window with these two windbags.
Marty Scurll – You could say I hate BritWres, and that’s not entirely true. I just don’t like the nonces and the bad wrestlers and the unworthily hyped, and well Scurll hits all three, y’know.
Anthony Carelli – As entertaining as he was as Santino Marella, Carelli’s transphobic comments really take the sheen off whatever he has left. If his match with Simon Grimm at Bloodsport was any indication, it’s not a whole hell of a lot.
Flip Gordon – The Earth is a sphere.
Dolph Ziggler – Can’t this asshole just follow through on his threats to leave wrestling?
Bad Luck Fale – In any given year, he is the most likely wrestler to be a drain on the G1 Climax, and yet he’s always in the fray. I’d literally rather see anyone else in there, even Ospreay. Fuck, can New Japan just give Manabu Nakanishi one last run in there? Please?
Baron Corbin – I’m sure he’s a good guy who entertains people, but if your enumerating reasons why I don’t watch The Fed anymore, well, he’s one of them.
Randy Orton – He wasn’t all that great when he gave a shit, and the last time he did so was in 2013.
Kane – The only thing worse than a bad wrestler is a bad wrestler who holds office as a Libertarian.
Undertaker – The funniest thing is seeing people clutch pearls at him breaking character. He should never work a match again, so I don’t give a shit if he does. He embodies every stupid carny tradition, and the business will be better off when he fucks off to his home in Texas to post on the Fox News boards and donate royalty checks to Ted Cruz.
Jim Cornette – The shame part is that he was a decent color commentator on NWA Powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr but the thing is, does saying words well negate every single toxic element of his personality? The man’s mission is to make sure wrestling doesn’t grow or prosper unless it’s done a way that hasn’t drawn in two decades. It’d be one thing if he were some guy spewing his mouth off. Superstar Billy Graham yells at clouds. Why isn’t he as toxic as Corny? Because Cornette thinks that being racist and sexist and making physical threats to people is normal behavior. Fuck him. Anyone who hires him is a fucking moron.
Vince, Shane, Linda, and Stephanie McMahon – The single most destructive force in pro wrestling is the McMahon family, and it has been since Vince took over for his father. I will expound on this later, probably when Vince finally does everyone a favor and dies, but man, they suck so much.
Triple H – He’s not the subject of the oldest tag on this site for nothing. PS, stop having the longest match at WrestleMania, thx.
Welcome to another look back at one of WWE’s best pay-per-views of this decade. As I mentioned last time when I posted the Extreme Rules 2012 review, I’m going to be re-posting some of the best WWE PPVs of the last ten years. This version of TJRWrestling (the .net period) started in February 2015. Everything I wrote before that was on the .com site, which unfortunately we lost because I trusted somebody that ended up screwing me over and we lost everything. The good news is I was writing at other sites too, plus I have everything saved going back to around 2006 or so, which means I can re-post older stuff once in a while.
Today, I’m posting my review of WWE SummerSlam 2013 as one of the best WWE PPVs this decade. This review has been in our SummerSlam section of the site for a few years, but in case you haven’t read that, you can check it out below. They aren’t going to be posted in any particular order. I don’t know if I’m going to post five of them or ten of them or what I might do. It’s just a way to look back on a good show. At the end of the month, I’ll post the ranking of the top 10 or maybe 20 WWE PPVs this decade. I haven’t decided how long of a list it will be, but I’ll do it.
Here’s SummerSlam 2013 featuring big matches with John Cena facing Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar against CM Punk. What you’ll see here is the play by play, my reactions at the time, my star ratings and then I’m going to add some 2019 thoughts in blue as well. Let’s roll.
WWE SummerSlam From Staples Center in Los Angeles, California August 18, 2013
(Here’s the Kickoff Show match.)
United States Title: Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam
Ambrose entered alone. RVD got a big ovation. The match started with 25 minutes left on the pre-show, so they have plenty of time. The crowd was hot early on although you could see they were still filing into the arena too. Ambrose was in control early with a boot to the face that slowed down RVD. There was a dueling “Let’s Go Ambrose / RVD” chant. That’s unique. Ambrose got a two count after a dropkick. RVD came back with a nearfall after a cross body block, but Ambrose blocked the split legged moonsault by getting his knees up. RVD hit a spin kick. When RVD went to the top rope, The Shield’s music started up. The match was about six minutes old at that point.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns made their way down to ringside. Before they hit the ring, Mark Henry’s music hit and then Big Show’s music started. They went to some commercials for WWE 2K14 with Ultimate Warrior and Lesnar vs. Punk.
Back from that break, Ambrose was in control of the action as the other four guys were at ringside. RVD came back with a suplex on Ambrose outside the ring. RVD did the spot where he hit a spinning legdrop off the apron while Ambrose was hanging on the guard rail. In the ring, RVD hit a somersault dive for a two count. Ambrose came back with a spinebuster for two. RVD came back with a variety of kicks and then he hit Rolling Thunder. RVD went to the top rope and he hit the Five Star Frog Splash. Reigns ran in and hit RVD with the Spear. The ref rang the bell for the DQ ending after about 14 minutes.
Winner: Rob Van Dam via DQ (Ambrose is still US Champ)
The Shield quickly left before they could get attacked. Smart move.
Analysis: **3/4 Good match on the pre-show for the second month in a row. I think the finish was very predictable considering I got it right and I’m sure many others did too. It was still entertaining with a lot of good nearfalls for both guys. The crowd was very hot for RVD and they didn’t like how the match ended. I think this match could have been on the main show and nobody would have complained, but I’m okay with having a hot match on the Kickoff show too. This feud will likely continue.
(The only thing I remember about Ambrose’s run as US Champion is that he barely defended the title.)
Let’s get to the main card.
The show began with the SummerSlam host The Miz reminding us what the main events were. Fandango came out to dance with Summer Rae.
The video package aired highlighting the Lesnar/Punk and Cena/Bryan matches. Michael Cole announced 17,739 people in the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles. JoJo from Total Divas sang the American National Anthem. She did a great job.
(Jojo went on to be a ring announcer for a few years and then had a son with Bray Wyatt earlier this year.)
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler. The Spanish announce team was there too. No idea what they said, but it was probably something about how they hope nobody breaks their table.
Ring of Fire Match: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt (w/Erick Rowan & Luke Harper)
Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and Wyatt was the heel in his first match on the main roster.
The flames were on the ring apron and they were below the bottom rope except when somebody hit the match, which led to them shooting up. Wyatt hit Kane with a splash in the corner. Running body attack by Wyatt knocked Kane down. Kane was able to hit a sidewalk slam. Harper was going to give Wyatt a kendo stick, but the flames kept going up to prevent Wyatt from grabbing it. Kane knocked down Wyatt with a slam. A fireman used a fire extinguisher to stop the fire that was on the kendo stick. Rowan used an extinguisher on the Ring of Fire. It didn’t totally kill it as the flames shot back up. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Wyatt and then another one. Harper & Rowan used a blanket to cover one side of the ring with the flames. They are a smart bunch of crazy guys. Harper & Rowan destroyed Kane with a slam and then a big splash. The ref couldn’t do anything because there were no rules in a match like this. Wyatt hit his neckbreaker variation (later known as Sister Abigail) for the victory at 7:49.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: * This was the biggest lock of the night. It was more of an angle than a match. It didn’t make sense for Kane to win. Wyatt was in his “debut” match, so it was the right choice to give him the win. Obviously, the interference from the Wyatt Family is what earned him the win. It showed that they will do anything they have to in order to get a victory.
(The match sucked from a technical standpoint and the concept of the match was the main reason for it. It was like an inferno match although I didn’t think those were good either. I think my one star may be generous because it may have been worse than that, but I’ll keep the rating for now. The purpose was to put over Wyatt.)
After the match, Rowan and Harper placed Kane’s body on the steel steps. They picked up another set of steps and slammed them on Kane’s head. The steps had a huge V of empty space, so really nothing hit Kane. They shot it from the side while the announcers sold it as a big deal. The lights went out as Wyatt lit his lamp. Rowan and Harper walked Kane from the ring by dragging him away with his arms around them. There was nobody to help Kane.
Analysis: This is likely the angle that writes Kane out of storylines while he goes to film See No Evil 2 in the near future.
(Wyatt got a huge push on the main roster and Kane was one of the first victims.)
The panel of Josh Mathews, Booker T, Shawn “Beard” Michaels and Vickie Guerrero talked about what we just saw.
They aired the video from Paul Heyman earlier in the night when he informed us that Punk vs. Lesnar is now a No Disqualification Match. Most Lesnar matches have that kind of stipulation, which is smart.
Damien Sandow entered the arena with his Money in the Bank briefcase. He delivered a promo on his way to the ring as he said that Cody Rhodes was his sidekick when they were tag team partners. Sandow called Rhodes and his dad “Dumb and Dumber” because he’s mean like that. In other news, Rhodes no longer has his mustache.
Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes
Pre-match notes: Sandow was the heel that was holding the Money in the Bank briefcase while Rhodes was the face.
Sandow was in control in the early going as he hit the Elbow of Disdain. Rhodes came back with a nice counter into a Samoa Joe-like Muscle Buster while they were in the corner. Rhodes hit a Goldust-like uppercut, then a Dusty Rhodes elbow before hitting a springboard dropkick. Rhodes wanted the Disaster Kick, but Sandow moved and hit a neckbreaker for two. Rhodes was able to connect on the Disaster Kick for a great nearfall. Sandow came back with a rollup out of a corner for two. Rhodes came back to hit Cross Rhodes. He covered to win the match at 6:40.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ** I would have liked to see a longer match that got over ten minutes. It felt rushed. When Rhodes hit his finish, I was surprised that it was done so quickly. I had Rhodes winning in the preview because WWE usually books Money in the Bank holders to lose matches since they are likely going over soon. It builds up future challengers for them. I’m not sure if there will be other matches for them or if this is the end of the rivalry already. I’d like to see more.
(The match was too short. They deserved a chance to have a longer match and tell a better story because this felt rushed. Sandow losing as MITB contract holder was not much of a surprise since that’s how WWE booked MITB contract winners. As for Sandow’s future, he failed to successfully cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. Both of these guys had the tools to become a WWE Champion, but neither man got there. This match should have been longer and this feud should have been given a bigger spotlight.)
There was a video package for Christian prior to his World Title match against Alberto Del Rio.
(This was near the end of Christian’s career. He was a heel for most of his run, so they turned him face to make him a contender for Del Rio’s World Title, which is a title Christian won twice in 2011.)
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Pre-match notes: Del Rio was the heel World Champion that won the title about two months earlier. Christian was a face. Christian won a triple threat match to earn “one more match” for the World Title. Del Rio had a black eye on his left eye.
(The reason for Del Rio’s black eye was that he got into a bar fight on the Saturday night before SummerSlam when he was in a bar with Drew McIntyre. It’s not like WWE was going to mention that, but that’s what happened.)
Alberto made Lilian introduce him in Spanish because he’s mean like that. Apparently #SummerSlam is trending on Twitter, so congrats to those that care about trending topics. Del Rio hit one of his hard kicks to the head to take control early on. JBL does a great job of putting over how aggressive Del Rio is once he realizes his opponent is hurt. Del Rio slammed Christian’s left arm into the security wall (I like calling it that instead of guard rail). Del Rio hit a nice dropkick followed by another attack on the left arm of Christian. Del Rio missed an attack outside the ring, which led to Christian hitting a splash off the top onto the floor. Both guys were down outside the ring before crawling back inside. Del Rio was sporting a black eye. Christian got a boot up to block an attack off the middle rope by Del Rio. Christian avoided a Del Rio kick and hit a cross body block off the top for two. Very good nearfall there. Del Rio hit a huge Back Stabber off the middle rope for a good nearfall of his own. Del Rio’s nose was bleeding, but that didn’t stop him as he hit a running enziguiri kick to the head for two. After Del Rio missed a splash off the middle rope, Christian hit a flying back elbow.
Christian got another nearfall. He set up for a Spear, but Del Rio countered with a dropkick. Uppercut by Christian outside the ring was momentarily successful because Del Rio came back with another kick to the head. Del Rio went for a knee attack, but Christian countered into a nearfall. Christian hit a Spear on Del Rio using his bad left shoulder. He couldn’t cover because he was in too much pain. Del Rio slapped on the Cross Armbreaker. Christian tried to fight it off, but instead, he tapped out. Del Rio wins via submission at 12:30.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an outstanding matchup between two of the best wrestlers in the company. The crowd was into everything they did as each guy got a number of great nearfalls throughout. I thought Christian did an excellent job of selling the left arm injury and it played into the finish as he couldn’t get the cover due to the injury. Del Rio looked great throughout the match and I loved that it was competitive with a clean finish. Those are the kind of matches that make a title look valuable. I picked Del Rio to win, so I am 4 for 4 in predictions so far. I have to brag a bit while I can lol!
(Christian had his last match in March of 2014 and had to retire due to a number of issues including serious concussions, so this was his last SummerSlam. This was a reminder of how both of these guys did the little things right like selling moves the right way. Christian was dealing with the left shoulder injury all match, then he hit a Spear using that shoulder and he still sold it after delivering an offensive move. Del Rio lost the title two months later to a returning John Cena.)
Post match, Renee Young asked Del Rio if he was proud of his victory. He said he was there to represent the Mexican people. He said he’s there for them. He held up the World Title. They don’t usually do promos after wins like that, but I have no problem with it. It’s more of a UFC thing.
They aired some clips from Axxess as Natalya & Maria Menounos beat Brie Bella and Eva Marie. Natalya won via rollup on Eva Marie.
(I miss Eva Marie. I’m not even joking…or maybe I am.)
Backstage, The Miz interviewed Maria Menounos. Fandango and Summer Rae showed up to dance. Miz danced with Menounos to upstage Fandango as the segment ended. Then there was a commercial for Total Divas.
Natalya (w/Naomi & Cameron) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella & Eva Marie)
Pre-match notes: Natalya and the Funkadactyls were the faces. The Bella Twins and Eva Marie were heels. This was when Total Divas first began as a regular WWE reality show.
All six girls are on the Total Divas “reality” show on E! Network. Brie and Natalya took turns slapping each other until Natalya attempted a Sharpshooter. Brie got to the ropes. Natalya was distracted by Nikki and Eva Marie, who pulled the ring apron out. Natalya was tripped up. Brie hit a dropkick that knocked down Natalya. Some fans chanted “JBL” randomly and then a “Jerry” chant. There was even a brief “Michael Cole” chant. In ring, Brie applied an arm submission. Brie hit a clothesline and then she slammed Natalya’s head into the mat. Natalya hit a jawbreaker followed by a clothesline of her own. Natalya successfully applied the Sharpshooter. Brie countered by shoving Natalya into the turnbuckle. Good counter there. The heels tried to attack Natalya, so Cameron & Naomi took them out. Brie was able to get a two count followed by a running knee to the face. Natalya slowed her down with an Alabama Slam followed by another Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Brie tapped out as Natalya won via submission at 5:19.
Winner: Natalya via submission
Analysis: *1/2 It was a basic five-minute match. I was impressed by Brie’s offense. It looked good. Perhaps she has learned something from boyfriend Daniel Bryan. Natalya wasn’t on offense too much, which made sense for her babyface comeback. I thought the involvement of the girls outside the ring was well done. It’s better that they did a singles match here. I’m glad Natalya got a clean win. She deserves it and I hope this means a Divas Title shot for her soon. I’m 5 for 5 in predictions at this point.
(This was when Total Divas started, so it was a way to have the announcers talk about the show to promote it. Putting over the face Natalya was the right call. I had no memory of this match before I just watched it. Nikki looked fantastic. The others were cool too. Getting only about five minutes for a women’s PPV match was standard in those days. It changed in 2015 for the better.)
Backstage, Ryback told a catering guy that the food sucked. Ryback said the soup was cold, so the catering guy told him it was supposed to be cold since it was Gazpacho. Ryback poured the soup down the shirt of the catering guy and then he dumped the bucket of soup on his head.
Analysis: Filler. Ryback has fallen far after getting WWE Title shots a couple of months ago.
(I was never a big Ryback fan, but I think the heel turn hurt his career because the fans liked him a lot as a face. Ryback was so popular when he was a face and the heel run was largely forgettable for him.)
It’s Punk vs. Lesnar time with the theme of the match being The Best vs. The Beast. The video package aired showing Paul Heyman turning heel on CM Punk after they had been allies for years and that led to Heyman’s original “Heyman Guy” Brock Lesnar stepping up to face Punk.
Justin Roberts announced it was a No Disqualification match to a big ovation. Brock Lesnar made his entrance first along with Paul Heyman. Huge ovation for CM Punk’s entrance.
No Disqualification Match: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
Pre-match notes: Punk was the face that had the Wolverine-like facial hair. Lesnar and Heyman were the heels.
Lesnar dominated the action in the first couple of minutes with a series of shoulder tackles in the corner. Punk came back with a running knee followed by a second one that knocked Lesnar outside the ring. Punk hit a dive outside the ring to knock Lesnar down. Punk tried to attack Lesnar with the steps, but Lesnar knocked Punk down instead. Punk drove Lesnar face first into the steel post and then hit a double axe handle off the top onto Lesnar on the floor. Punk hit a clothesline off the announce table. Heyman tripped outside the ring when Punk went after him. Punk grabbed Heyman, which led to Lesnar hitting Punk in the back with a forearm shot. Lesnar gave Punk a two-handed toss over the Spanish announce table as Punk crashed hard on his knees. Lesnar gave Punk an overhead belly to belly suplex outside the ring and then yelled “best in the world.” Back in the ring, Lesnar knocked Punk down with a clothesline. Punk fought out of a bearhug, but then Lesnar buried his knee to the ribs of Punk. Punk came back with some kicks and he went to the top rope. Lesnar caught him and hit a Fallaway Slam. The crowd let out a big “oooohhhh” for that spot. That was sweet. Lesnar got a nearfall after an overhead suplex as we go past the ten-minute mark.
Punk broke free of Lesnar by biting him in the face. Punk rocked Lesnar with some forearm shots and then hit a flying knee off the top rope. Running knee in the corner by Punk. He hit the running knee in the corner again. Punk dropped Lesnar with a roundhouse kick to the head and then he hit a Flying Elbow off the top rope for a two count. That was a very good nearfall. Punk and Lesnar each went for their finisher, but neither hit as Punk hit a roundhouse kick to the head. Punk wanted the GTS, but Lesnar countered it into the Kimura Lock on Punk’s left arm. Punk countered it into an armbar and then a Triangle Choke as they incorporated some MMA moves into the match. Lesnar powered out of it with a slam. Punk applied the Triangle Choke again. The crowd was going wild for this. Lesnar broke free with a running Powerbomb. Wow. What a sequence. The crowd was chanting “this is awesome.” Lesnar hit three vertical suplexes in succession Eddie Guerrero-style. Good tribute to the late Hall of Famer that beat Lesnar for the WWE Title at No Way Out 2004.
Lesnar went outside the ring. He grabbed a steel chair. Punk went to the top rope and jumped onto Lesnar, who held the chair up. That move hurt both guys. Punk hit Lesnar in the back with the chair two times. Lesnar went back into the ring. Lesnar grabbed the chair, so Punk countered with a low blow. Woo! Punk went to the top with steel chair in hand and he drove it into the face of Lesnar. One…two…no! That was an excellent nearfall. Punk hit Lesnar in the back with the steel chair again. Heyman went on the apron to grab the chair from Punk. Lesnar came back and he wanted the F5. Punk held onto Heyman’s tie to block the move. Punk hit the Go To Sleep. Heyman crawled into the ring to break up the pin. It’s No DQ after all. The crowd cheered loudly for the GTS and they were so mad when Heyman broke up the pin. Punk chased Heyman outside the ring. They went into the ring and Lesnar wanted the F5. Punk countered the F5 into a DDT! Holy shit! That was incredible. Only a two count. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice to Lesnar. Heyman slid into the ring with a steel chair. Punk punched Heyman in the face. He applied the Anaconda Vice to him. Lesnar broke that up with a steel chair to the back. He hit Punk in the back three times. Lesnar picked up Punk and hit the F5 with Punk’s face hitting the steel chair. Lesnar covered for the victory at 25:17.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match. It’s one of the best matches this year. I think Punk was a part of three or four of the best of the year with the matches against Cena on Raw and Undertaker at WrestleMania 29 as the other two that come to mind. Lesnar is the perfect bully who has as much credibility as anybody in the history of wrestling. He dominated the first ten minutes of the match, which made Punk’s comeback all the more inspiring because it showed how much heart he had in his ability to keep coming back for more. He also did an amazing job of countering Lesnar’s offense. I also liked how close Punk was to winning not just once via pinfall, but twice via submission. Heyman had to interfere to save Lesnar, which gives Punk an out as far as why he lost. He can just say that he would have won if it wasn’t for Heyman, which is true. I’m not going to say the interference kept it from being a “perfect” match, but it played a small part in why it wasn’t five stars. Really, though, we’re talking about one of the best matches of the year so that’s just a minor gripe. I absolutely loved this match. For the record, I’m 6 for 6 in predictions so far. I just did a Barry Horowitz-like pat on the back for that.
Post match, Lesnar walked away with Heyman as winners who were in a lot of pain. The camera focused on Punk in the ring as he received a standing ovation. It was well deserved.
(It was an outstanding match that holds up very well years later. I like that they made it a No DQ match because it allowed the smaller Punk to compete with Lesnar. It also made sense to do that stipulation because Heyman was so involved in the match. Punk got his payback against Heyman at the PPVs that followed this one. According to the Wrestling Observer after the show, both guys received standing ovations from their peers in the back when they went backstage. They deserved it from the fans and from the guys in the back as well. This was probably Lesnar’s best match during the second part of his WWE run from 2012 to 2019. I liked the Ironman match with Kurt Angle in September 2003 as Lesnar’s best match ever.)
There was a commercial for Night of Champions on September 15 in Detroit. I’ll likely be there since it’s two hours from me.
(I went to the show. It wasn’t that memorable, but we had good seats.)
There was a clip of somebody that won a Doritos contest named Brendan. He took a splash from Mark Henry at Axxess. The winner and three friends got to sit in front of the announce table for this next match.
(The splash doesn’t hurt at all when Henry did it. Henry took the bump on his knees all the time, so they chose a safe move for him to take.)
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston & AJ Lee
Pre-match notes: Ziggler and Kaitlyn were the faces. Ziggler was aligned with former girlfriend AJ Lee and Big E, but they turned on Ziggler and Ziggler became a face as a result. AJ Lee was the Divas Champion that was feuding with Kaitlyn.
I was still writing about Lesnar vs. Punk as this began. Good luck following that match. Ziggler and Langston started it off for a couple of minutes before bringing the girls in. AJ dominated most of the action although the crowd wasn’t that into it probably because of the match before it. Kaitlyn hit a shoulder tackle to break free and tag in Ziggler while Langston also got tagged of course. Ziggler hit a dropkick and then a neckbreaker. He followed that with ten elbows as JBL referenced Lawler’s heart attack, which Lawler acknowledged. Langston was able to come back with a backbreaker. Kaitlyn broke up the pin. AJ took her out with a Shining Wizard. Langston hit a shoulder tackle to Ziggler, but then he missed a second one. Outside the ring, Kaitlyn hit a Spear to take down AJ. Langston hit a clothesline on Ziggler for two. Ziggler fought out of The Big Ending and hit the Zig Zag for the win at 6:45.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn
Analysis: ** It was one of the most predictable matches on the card. The babyfaces needed to get their revenge, so that’s what happened. I’m hoping that Ziggler moves on to the World Title again because he deserves it. This feud is over. I’m now 7 for 7 in picks. No, I’m not the guy that was on Reddit that gave correct predictions. I rarely do this well, trust me!
(The match was fine as something to take up some time in between the two biggest matches on the card. Kaitlyn is a fine looking woman, but her wrestling gear was weird.)
The Miz was trying to deliver a promo when Fandango showed up again. Miz knocked him down with a punch. That’s the end of their “comedy” segments apparently.
The panel talked about the main event. Michaels said thanks to Lesnar and Punk for their match. I agree.
The video package aired for the main event of John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan. The story was that John Cena got to pick who he was going to face for this match and the fans made it clear they wanted it to be Daniel Bryan, so Cena picked Bryan. There were promos from Vince McMahon calling Bryan a dwarf, former GM Brad Maddox calling him a troll and Vince said he didn’t want Bryan to be WWE Champion. Vince wanted Bryan to shave the beard, but Bryan attacked Wade Barrett and shaved part of his beard. Maddox did a fast count to cost Bryan a match and he asked Vince to be the special referee, but Triple H stepped up to say he’ll be the referee.
(They used the Stone Cold Steve Austin philosophy with Bryan with Vince talking about changing his look, which is similar to segment Vince did with Stone Cold about 15 years earlier.)
Triple H made his entrance in a referee shirt. The song that played was “King of Kings” for the record. No water spit because he’s not in a match, but he did have a water bottle on him. He’s even rocking the earpiece that the refs wear. Loud “yes” chants for Daniel Bryan, who entered in his “The Beard is Here” shirt. The WWE Champion John Cena entered last. You could tell it was a very mixed reaction for him. I know that’s the usual, but you could hear it even before his music hit.
WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (Triple H is Special Referee)
Pre-match notes: Cena was the WWE Champion that was a face. Bryan was also a face and Bryan was more popular. Triple H was also a face as the referee…at least going into the match. It was well known that Cena had a serious arm injury that would require arm surgery and cost him a few months of action, so most of us knew Bryan was going to win the WWE Title. I don’t think it hurt the match at all, though.
Triple H showed each man the WWE Title. He shook their hands. Cena had an elbow pad/sleeve on his injured left elbow. Bryan went after it immediately. Cena actually got a nearfall with a bridging pin attempt as Bryan countered with a backslide for two. Cena powered out of Bryan’s surfboard attempt. Bryan was on the apron as Cena charged into him and knocked Bryan into the announce table. The crowd booed that. Bryan took that right in the ribs. Outside the ring, Bryan threw Cena into the steel steps. Loud “yes” chants for that. Cena gave Bryan a suplex off the top of the steel steps onto the floor outside the ring. Hunter really didn’t count them outside the ring, which is nice to see. Cena hit a Powerbomb that almost looked like a Batista Bomb although it was a bit sloppier. That got him two. Bryan hit several kicks in the corner much to the delight of the crowd and then he hit a running clothesline. The crowd chanted “yes” as Bryan had momentum on his side. Bryan hit some kicks to the chest of Cena, but Cena ducked the head kick. Shoulder tackles by Cena followed by the spinning back suplex that we see in every Cena match. Bryan kicked him to counter and then Cena hit another spinning suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena. Bryan countered Attitude Adjustment by landing on his feet. Missile dropkick by Bryan off the top rope for two as we hit the ten minute mark.
Bryan worked on the left elbow injury of Cena with kicks to the arm. Bryan put Cena in the STF as the crowd chanted “yes” for Bryan using Cena’s hold. Of course, it’s not really Cena’s hold because it’s been around for many years, but Cena has used it as a submission move for many years now. Bryan hit a bridging German Suplex for two. He did it again for two. Bryan countered the Attitude Adjustment attempt into the Yes Lock. Cena fought out of it, so Bryan applied another submission using a front facelock. Cena eventually powered out of it by sending Bryan into the turnbuckle. Cena was able to hit a desperation Attitude Adjustment that Bryan kicked out of at two. Loud “yes” chants for that. Cena went to the top rope, Bryan hit a running forearm and Cena shoved him to the mat. Bryan hit a dropkick on Cena while Cena was on the top rope. Bryan gave Cena a Superplex as Bryan did a kip up back to the top rope. Headbutt for Bryan. That got him a two count. That was a great sequence into the nearfall. Cena went to the floor. Bryan wanted the dive, but Cena blocked it with a hard right hand. Cena went to the top and hit an impressive leg drop to the back of Bryan’s head. Great camera shot of that move.
Cena put Bryan on the top rope, he followed him there and Bryan elbowed Cena repeatedly to break free. Bryan wanted a top rope hurricanrana, but Cena was able to power out of it. He almost drove him face first into the mat. Instead, Cena applied the STF right in the middle of the ring. Bryan tried to roll out of it. Bryan was able to break free and apply the Yes Lock. Cena made it to the ropes. Triple H was checking on Cena’s elbow. Bryan hit two dropkicks on Cena in the corner. He went for a third, but Cena came back with a clothesline. Bryan did a flip to sell it. “This is awesome” chant by the crowd is justified. They exchanged punches in the middle of the ring. Each man charged the ropes and they did a mid-air collision as we neared the 25-minute mark.
They got up at the same time as they used each other’s bodies to get their feet. Cena slapped Bryan. Bryan slapped back. They exchanged slaps. Bryan’s beard is like a protective layer, so he won that battle. Bryan countered an Attitude Adjustment attempt into a DDT. Bryan went to the top rope. He jumped off the top, but Cena caught him. Cena wanted the AA only for Bryan to counter that with an inside cradle for two. That was close. Bryan hit a hard running knee to the face of Cena. Triple H counted the pinfall and it was a three count. Bryan won the match at 26:55.
Winner: Daniel Bryan – New WWE Champion
Analysis: ****1/2 It was an excellent match. Daniel Bryan won clean over John Cena for the WWE Title. Wow. I never thought I’d ever write that sentence. It was evenly booked with both guys getting several great nearfalls throughout. When Bryan won the match with that running knee I was almost surprised by it because we haven’t seen him win matches via pinfall with a move like that, but I didn’t care. I was genuinely happy for the guy. I had a smile on my face like so many fans around the world that were rooting for Bryan to get the job done. I know Cena has his detractors (I’m not really one of them), but he put on a great show in keeping up with Bryan. Obviously, he’s not going to be the guy to counter every hold perfectly the way Bryan does. However, he worked his ass off and was part of an exciting main event match with the guy that is arguably the best wrestler in the world. For a guy who “can’t wrestle” according to some people he sure did a hell of a job of wrestling tonight. It didn’t come across as a five star match to me, but it was excellent and very close to being at that level.
(I think Cena deserves a lot of praise for his performance in this match. Not only was it one of the best matches of Cena’s career, but he did it with an arm that required major surgery and he still wrestled for nearly 30 minutes. That shows how tough Cena was. They could have easily told Cena to go out there for like 12 minutes and drop the title, but you could tell Cena wanted to make this a memorable moment from Bryan. Both of them were dating the Bella Twins at the time, so they were closer than most friends at that point. It’s an awesome match. Maybe they went a bit too long, but I think it’s a case of Cena wanting to put over Bryan in a match that was as good as they could possibly do. The running knee that Bryan used was called a “Busaiku Knee” that was popularized by KENTA in Japan, who later became Hideo Itami in WWE.)
Post match, Bryan was celebrating with the WWE Title. Cena grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around. Cena shook Bryan’s hand. Cena shook Triple H’s hand too.
(Cena only missed two months of action after surgery on his arm. He was expected to be out for about 4-6 months, but Cena’s a freak in terms of coming back from injuries quickly.)
Bryan celebrated with the WWE Title. Triple H shook his hand again as Bryan celebrated with the fans chanting “yes” in support of the new WWE Champion. Bryan looked into a camera to thank his mom and dad. Fireworks went off with Bryan leading the crowd in more “yes” chants.
(That was a cool moment to see again especially because Bryan’s dad died in early 2014.)
Randy Orton’s music started up as he walked down the ramp with the red Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand. Bryan turned around to face him. Orton walked away. Bryan chanted “yes” repeatedly as Orton thought about it some more. Orton looked back at Bryan. Triple H grabbed Bryan from behind and Hunter hit Bryan with a Pedigree! Huge heat for that.
Orton went into the ring. Triple H told the timekeeper to ring the bell.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Bryan was still out in the ring. Randy Orton covered Bryan for the pinfall victory. So much for the idea that somebody has to be standing to face a challenger with the briefcase. Orton covered. Triple H counted. That was it. Orton is the new WWE Champion.
Winner: Randy Orton – New WWE Champion
To end the night, Triple H raised Orton’s hand and they posed together. It looks like a heel turn for both of them.
Analysis: There’s the heel turn by Orton that many of us have been thinking about for the last year or so. It has been rumored for so long. This was the perfect setting for it. Bryan won the WWE Title clean, he was celebrating with fans that truly loved him and then it was taken away from him by a babyface like Triple H who happened to have an old friend in Orton standing by with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Predictable? Yeah it was. But so what? It was the right thing to do. Bryan’s quest to gain back the WWE Title will be the story to watch in WWE this fall and I’m excited to see what happens with it.
It was a very memorable ending to the best WWE PPV this year. I won’t forget SummerSlam 2013 ever. That’s for damn sure.
(The angle was executed very well. My immediate thought was that Bryan was going to continue to get screwed out of the title, then he gets in the Royal Rumble, wins it from the number one spot and beats Orton for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 30. Instead, the plan was nothing like that. It ended up being Batista that won the Royal Rumble, Bryan wasn’t even in the Rumble match, which the fans hated, and they had to come up with an alternate route for Bryan to be in the WrestleMania by beating Triple H and then winning a triple threat with Batista and Orton. All of that only happened because CM Punk walked out of WWE after the Royal Rumble due to his frustrations in the company. It turned out okay in the end, but the route from SummerSlam to WrestleMania had a lot of unexpected twists along the way.)
This event had a run time of 2:47:53 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– Two matches made the show. That’s what we expected going in and that’s what we got. Both of them delivered. I gave both of them the same star rating, but I liked Lesnar/Punk a little bit more if I had to make a choice.
– I don’t think I’ve ever got every single match right on a PPV before and if I have I don’t remember. This time I got them all right. I got the Bryan win and the Orton cash-in too. I’m not saying I am the only person to do it. I’m sure others did too. I’m just saying after all these years of doing this I don’t remember going perfect for an entire card that often. Does that make it a bad show if it was predictable? Hell no. It was amazing.
(I left that comment in not because I want to brag about getting predictions right. I left in to prove a point that you can still have predictable shows that are great. We don’t need to be shocked in matches all the time. Do what’s right in terms of the booking.)
– This event had the potential to really be the best PPV ever if Rhodes/Sandow was a longer match that got to the three-star level. If Natalya and Brie got more time it would have helped. If Wyatt and Kane had a regular match instead of a gimmick match perhaps that would have helped. It’s still one the best PPVs ever, but with a few tweaks it could have been on an even higher level.
– I miss the Lesnar that was in that match. In the last few years, he hasn’t had the desire to go long in a match, nor does he want to sell the way he did for Punk. It was such an entertaining battle between them. I wish we got to see more of that Brock this decade.
– The ending was memorable. It’s crazy looking back on it five years ago and thinking about how much things changed at that moment. Triple H became the heel authority figure with Stephanie McMahon as “The Authority” group and Orton was one of the main heels. That led to Seth Rollins turning heel less than a year after this and off they went.
Show rating (out of 10): 9
Five Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. Daniel Bryan
3. Brock Lesnar
4. John Cena
5. (tie) Christian
5. (tie) Alberto Del Rio
Best Match: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena (****1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Kane (* out of 5) – I’m not going to consider Orton vs. Bryan since it was an angle more than a match.
Most Memorable Moment: Triple H hitting the Pedigree on Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton cashing in to win the WWE Title from Bryan.
This is a poll that I ran after the show. You can see what the readers thought of it.
That’s 89% of the responders giving it a score of 8 or higher and most were in the 9 range like me. SummerSlam 2013 was a big success.
There are times when WWE never ceases to amaze; whether it’s putting on a huge spectacle of a PPV that leaves audiences breathless with the high quality of talent on show, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, insisting the WWE Universe wants nothing more than to see Lana’s love life played out as the Raw ‘Main Event’ week after week. Perhaps I’m being disingenuous with that last point, but I honestly don’t know any fans who want to see more of this tepid love triangle. I get the aim is to push Rusev, but if that means having to endure the tawdry, drawn-out saga week upon week, then it’s a hard pass from me.
There are times when WWE strikes gold purely by accident; perhaps a big star gets injured and the last-minute replacement has an epic match or gets the opportunity to deliver the promo of their lives, solidifying themselves at the top of the tree (see Austin 3:16 promo and the unintentional opportunity he was given at that time in the company). I think WWE are close to striking gold again soon, and though both players in this potential feud (Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens) aren’t diamonds in the rough and genuine stars in their own right, I believe it’ll only bear fruit now due to the history both men have with the company, their current standing in the roster and their interaction and perception with the fans. Wrestling fans are a fickle bunch and a wrestler’s stock with fans is as up and down as a roller coaster, but if you strike just a right point, something special can happen.
For whatever reason, Seth Rollins’ face run hasn’t taken off like I, and many fans, would like it to have. I don’t dislike the guy, but there’s an issue that I can’t quite put my finger on that is hindering him from being THE guy for Monday Night Raw. The crowds cheer for his entrance and there’s no doubting his ability, but the connection just isn’t there. I think Roman Reigns had a similar issue when he was pushed as a top guy and the crowd reacted negatively to that quite early in his run. Perhaps they weren’t as much as the sum of their parts when they were The Shield. That ship has long sailed and served its purpose now John Moxley is doing his own thing in AEW, leaving his old persona behind. Maybe the WWE crowd loved The Shield, but aren’t all that keen on the individual members going solo.
I’ve always preferred Rollins as a heel and he can play the chickenshit coward with aplomb, but again, I believe he should be more confident in that role and if he’s going to be the bad guy, be a nasty, vindictive, horrible wrestler who may be bad, but faces his opponents head on. WWE could really do with more of those. Rollins also doesn’t play well with others. The Shield aside, his alliances never last long, always leaving him alone and fighting to climb the ladder once more. This is in stark contrast to Kevin Owens who appears to be equally comfortable with whatever role he’s given. He works well in teams, like when he was paired with Chris Jericho, he can lead others, like in NXT and is simply not afraid to stand on his own two feet and face anyone – even if it means getting his ass kicked. That’s the character of Kevin Owens.
This past Monday, I watched the interaction between Rollins and Owens that kicked off the show and there were several observations I made that want me to see these two go off against one another in a program. Owens transcends with the crowd better than Rollins and that’s no mean feat considering English isn’t his first language. Without harking back to, or comparing him with Steve Austin as I think that wouldn’t be fair, Owens has that ‘everyman’ connection that resonates with fans. Though he’s not going to be beating up his boss anytime soon (he already did that with Shane McMahon), he is positioned (in real life and in the show) as a guy who turns up for work, puts in the hours, gives the best he can give and yet is still somehow not in the spotlight. His hard work and talent going unrewarded in regards to titles.
Rollins thinks of himself as the leader of the Raw locker room. He sees himself as the face of the brand and takes personal responsibility for any failings they have. This is building nicely to his frustrations boiling over and the fans taking the full brunt of his anger. It looks as if his turn is coming, but this is WWE and we can never be sure. Just as every face needs a bad guy to go against, so must every heel have a face to suffer the frustrations and anger within them. It’s one thing to berate and chastise the fans, but to really make their point, someone must feel the repercussions and the fans must bear witness to what the heel perceives they have brought them to. Then that beaten face can start on their long road to revenge and redemption.
The story can write itself, especially if the personal aspect is taken into account. Rollins is perennially positioned as the top guy on Raw. He’s always in or near the title picture. He headlines shows. He’s been ranked top of the PWI 500 this year and he’s on the arm of one of the most popular and beautiful women in the company (Becky Lynch), so from Kevin Owens’ perspective, what has Seth Rollins got to gripe about? Owens doesn’t have the luxury of having his wife by his side when he’s touring the world, he races out of arenas in his ring gear to go home and spend precious time with his family – again, something a lot of fans can relate to. Owens has to switch between brands to get on the card. He aligned himself with his NXT brethren last month and almost blew the roof off the arena. If he’s getting those reactions, why should he not be where Seth Rollins stands?
WWE has a lot of options with this feud. They can continue on pushing Seth as a good guy and have Owens be the heel, but I think the reversals of their traditional roles will play well. The crowd will pop bigger for Owens. Owens can carry the feud verbally and just have Rollins react. Right now it doesn’t need a title, but should Brock Lesnar be dethroned or need some fresh meat to be thrown at him, a wily, sneaky, hard-hitting, popular and fired-up Kevin Owens would be a great choice.
Owens should be the star of Monday Night Raw. He should be one of the biggest stars in WWE, and if that means having to dislodge Seth Rollins to get there, perhaps that could or should be the way forward.
Welcome back TJR readers, did you spend all Black Friday elbowing grandmas for a discounted pressure cooker and missed Smackdown. Maybe you spent all Cyber Monday stalking Amazon for a good deal on a Roomba and didn’t watch RAW. All is not lost as I am back, once again, with The Top Wrestling Stories of the Week to catch you up on what you missed.
10. The WWE Rehires Chris DeJoseph to Creative Team
Chris DeJoseph will be rejoining the WWE creative team, from which he previously worked from 2004 to 2010. Since leaving WWE, DeJoseph has worked as a writer and producer for Lucha Underground and most recently as the executive producer for MLW. DeJoseph gained some on-screen notoriety previously in the WWE by playing the role of the dancing, thong wearing Big Dick Johnson. So I would like to personally remind anybody who chooses the option to complain about what they see in wrestling this week, that it wasn’t very long ago that you’d see him, as pictured below, on your screen every week.(TJRWrestling)
9. Dio Maddin to No Longer Commentate on Monday Night RAW
Dio Maddin has not been seen in the Monday Night RAW commentary booth since November 4th, when he was viciously attacked by Brock Lesnar. It was announced on WWE: Backstage this week that Maddin will no longer be a part of the RAW announce team, instead choosing to return to the WWE Performance Center to continue his training to become a wrestler. Samoa Joe will temporarily take Maddin’s place in the booth while Joe continues to recover from a broken thumb, with it being unknown who will take Joe’s place when he returns to the ring. Let’s hope for Maddin’s sake he can complete his wrestling training before Brock Lesnar attacks him again, and he decides to change his job again to a referee or possibly a popcorn vendor this time.(TJRWrestling)
8. One Hour Long WWE: Starrcade Special Held This Past Sunday Night
Many of the Starrcade shows of the past are looked upon fondly by wrestling fans, however this past Sunday’s one hour WWE: Starrcade special will not be one of those shows. Frustrations began with many of the WWE Universe having problems with being able to even watch the show at all due to issues with WWE Network, causing the WWE to put the show for free on their YouTube channel. Then the advertised main event of the show was scheduled to be Rusev against Bobby Lashley in a Last Man Standing Match, the first singles match in their long-running feud. Instead, the audience got Kevin Owens facing Bobby Lashley, after Lana and Lashley stated that they had another restraining order in place against Rusev, therefore canceling their scheduled match. Eventually, that match came to an end when Rusev came out wearing a Bob Ross shirt and attacked Lashley, possibly trying to turn this gigantic mistake of a show into a happy little tree. (TJRWrestling)
7. Lana and Bobby Lashley Both Get Arrested on RAW
If you thought you were done with the never-ending saga that is Lana, Rusev and Bobby Lashley for this week, you are sorely mistaken. Everybody’s favorite trio continued their storyline this week with Lana and Lashley hiring two detectives to help enforce the restraining order they had against Rusev. To the surprise of no one Rusev came out anyway and attacked Bobby Lashley again, the detectives however just watched all of this occur and did nothing to prevent it. This infuriated Lashley and Lana, who yelled at the detectives for not doing their jobs. One of the detectives responded to this by acknowledging that they knew of the restraining order, but were WWE fans and stated that “they did things differently in Tennessee.” After hearing this Lana and Lashley tried to leave with Lashley brushing against one of the detectives, causing the detective to arrest Lashley. Lana then lost her cool and slapped the detective, getting arrested herself. With adultery, fake pregnancies and multiple arrests this wrestling storyline has had everything a fan could want, well besides an actual wrestling match of course. (TJRWrestling)
6. MJF Reveals He Hired the Butcher, The Blade and the Bunny to Attack Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes came down to the ring this week and offered MJF anything to have a match with him, including a truck, a watch, his shoes and $50,000. Rhodes also stated that if the Butcher and The Blade wanted a match all they had to do was ask, and they could even pick Rhode’s partner. Later on Twitter MJF response to Rhodes challenge stating he will never face him in a match. MJF then went on to choose QT Marshall to be Rhodes partner against the Butcher and the Blade after MJF revealed that he was the one who hired them to attack Rhodes last week. If the Butcher, the Blade and the Bunny can’t get the job done against Rhodes, MJF may have to go with plan “B”. MJF can always hire Knuckleball Swartz, IRS and Brian Blair, otherwise known as the Ballplayer, the Bean Counter and The Bee. (TJRWrestling)
5. NXT to Have Two Title Matches on December 18th Episode
Christmas is going to come early for NXT fans this year, as it was announced last night that there will be two title matches on the December 18th show. First, the women’s title will be defended as Rhea Ripley, coming off her huge Survivor Series weekend, will finally get her match against champion Shayna Baszler. Also on next week’s episode there, will be a triple threat match between Keith Lee, Finn Balor and Tommaso Ciampa, with the winner getting a title shot against NXT Champion Adam Cole on the December 18th show as well. NXT will definitely be stuffing the fans stockings with everything possible this year, including Cole. (TJRWrestling)
4. Sheamus Returns in Vignette On Smackdown
A vignette aired during Friday Night Smackdown announcing the return of Sheamus, after an almost eight-month hiatus due to a neck injury. During the vignette Sheamus stated that the Smackdown roster has become soft and pathetic, taking shots at Shorty G, King Corbin and The Fiend in the process. Neck issues have shortened the careers of many wrestling legends from Edge to Stone Cold Steve Austin, so it is great news to see the multi-time champion Sheamus being cleared to return to the ring. Let’s hope the 41-year-old Celtic Warrior can continue to raise “The Bar” in the WWE for years to come. (TJRWrestling)
3. John Morrison Officially Signs Multi-year Contract With the WWE
Sheamus was not the only superstar who will be returning to a WWE ring very soon. After months of being heavily rumored and reported on this very site in September (TJRWrestling), John Morrison has signed a multiyear contract to return to the WWE. Morrison has not competed in a WWE ring since 2011, but has stayed active wrestling in multiple places including Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling. Morrison’s return was officially announced on Ryan Satin’s “Satin Sheet” segment on WWE Backstage, with Morrison later Tweeting that he “can’t wait to stand again in a WWE ring opposite the most talented people in the business.” Let’s just all pray that one of those people isn’t a large man in a thong. (TJRWrestling)
2. Bray Wyatt Pulls Daniel Bryan’s Hair Out.
Throughout last week it was teased that there would be a new face in Bray Wyatt’s firefly funhouse on Smackdown. During the firefly funhouse segment, however, Wyatt simply challenged Daniel Bryan to another match. At the end of the evening, Bryan responded to this challenge with his famous Yes chant. Wyatt then appeared on the Titantron and told Bryan that he will change him, and is a man of his word as there will be a new face in the funhouse. Wyatt suddenly came through the ring canvas and attacked Bryan, pulling him through the hole in the canvas where he began pulling big chunks of Bryan’s hair out of his head. Longtime wrestling fans have been ripping their hair out for years over WWE’s booking decisions, let’s hope they don’t now start pulling other people’s hair out as well. (TJRWrestling)
1. The “Fiend” Bray Wyatt Debuts His Own Version of the Universal Title
Just two weeks after Bray Wyatt debuted a new blue version of his Universal title, Wyatt’s evil alter ego, “The Fiend”, debuted his own disturbing version of the championship. The Fiend’s version of the title was created by the “Godfather of Gore” Tom Savini and features dark straps with red stitching through them and The Fiend’s face featured prominently as the center plate. The only thing that may be more disturbing than the belt itself is the price tag for a replica of the title on the WWE shop. So if you have an excess of disposable income that you love to blow on useless items, or just love to make poor financial decisions, then rush over to the WWE shop and pick up a replica of The Fiend’s Universal Title for the low low price of $6,499. That’s less than $6,500 for the amazing opportunity to be the guy at the next live event that every other wrestling fan looks at and says “I can’t believe someone actually bought that thing.” (TJRWrestling)
That concludes another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Like always, if you enjoy what I do then please follow me on Twitter @BackseatBookers and listen to my podcast The BackseatBookers (be forewarned it is explicit, as I cursed twice in my letter to Santa this year.)
Former WWE Heavyweight Champion Kofi Kingston recently sat down on Corey Graves Podcast After the Bell along with New Day members Big E and Xavier Woods to discuss Kingston’s monumental rise to becoming the WWE Champion at Wrestlemania this past April. In October on the first Smackdown on Fox episode, Kingston disappointingly losing the title in eight seconds to Brock Lesnar.
Kingston stated that the original plan was not for him to be in the title match at Wrestlemania at all, and that it was actually Daniel Bryan who campaigned for Kingston to win the title at the biggest show of the year.
“[Daniel Bryan] pushed for that to happen. The plans weren’t for me to be at WrestleMania. I’m not sure who it was for Daniel to face, but Daniel went in and went to bat for me and the situation and the title match for us to happen. He had a big part in it too. It’s a testament to his state of mind as far as advancing the business and doing the right thing for the people and best product. I give a lot of credit to Daniel Bryan, who I think is legitimate, like a generational talent. It meant so much more because Bryan was so hot and Bryan is just so damn good in the ring, on the mic, with his character. He was so giving with the build to the story that it meant more.”
While not confirmed, the original plans were for Bryan to face Kevin Owens for the WWE Title at WrestleMania. The plan changed and Bryan ended up facing Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali at Fastlane instead.
Kingston’s WWE Title run came to an abrupt end when he lost the title to Brock Lesnar in eight seconds on the debut episode of Friday Night Smackdown on FOX. Kingston spoke about how he doesn’t understand why people are upset on how his on-screen character reacted to the loss. Kingston stated that he can’t dwell on it and is just trying to push forward in his career.
“A lot of people will be on my social media and be like, ‘Kofi, you’re out there and you’re acting like you don’t care, man! You forget that you were the champion’ and this and that. And I’m like, well look … you’re asking my on-screen character to be angry as if it was my real character. And the reality … I’m a good guy who lost in 8 seconds, so as far as making a case for a rematch …. uhhhhh, like, what would my character have to say? You’re wanting my real-life character to take on this anger and be mad with what happened on-screen. So it’s just this weird conundrum.”
“You can’t dwell on one day. There’s been a lot of days that have been, I guess, negative – for lack of a better term – but if you dwell on those, then all of a sudden you’re miserable. You don’t want to come to work. And for me, I’m just trying to push forward. I appreciate the passion that people have, but I’m puzzled by the anger some people have towards me because I’m not the one who’s making all of those decisions.”
Matt’s Musings: Kingston seems like one of the genuinely good people in the wrestling business. I was lucky enough to be in the arena at this years Wrestlemania when Kingston finally became the WWE Champion. Although the title run didn’t end how anybody hoped it would, it is encouraging to see Kingston keeping a positive attitude throughout it all. Hopefully, Kingston can find his way back to the top of the card real soon.