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September 1, 2013

WWE Summerslam 2013

World Wrestling Entertainment Proudly Presents...

WWE Summerslam 2013

Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews that prefer Winterslam, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as World Wrestling Entertainment jetsets over to the City of Angels for the latest in their yearly exercise in spectacle, WWE Summerslam 2013. Now you may have heard this in one of two places coming into this show, but there's actually this pretty important match going on tonight that has been built up across every WWE television show, and with the full strength of the WWE promotional vehicle behind it. That match is obviously Natalya vs. Brie Bella, but there are probably some other matches on this card too. Let's take a look. Wait, Bray Wyatt in a RING OF FIRE MATCH?! Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena?! CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar?! Alright, which one of you turned on the dream booking machine? Because we owe you a lifetime's worth of high fives for this card, which is easily one of the most exciting in recent memory. Will the torch be passed to Daniel Bryan? Will the Best beat the Beast? And will Big E Langston actually win a match and stop making me sad? Join me, and my mad scientist compatriots Artie and Michael, as we learn all this and more.

So without any further ado, let's do a motherfucking review!

Segment 0 - Introduction

Cewsh: Alright, so here we are at Summerslam, having made it through a WWE summer that, for once, wasn't too bad at all. We'll get to that in a moment, but first I want to give our newest reviewer Artie a chance to introduce himself. You may have caught him on our Money in the Bank review, which was his official tryout, and after nailing that and successfully navigating the Labyrinth of the Sacred Fire, he's now officially the Robin to my Batman for WWE shows. Of course, his second ever review happens to be a BIG damn review, so we also have MichaelC here to help out. But I'm pretty sure that if I let Michael introduce himself again we'll be here all day while he recounts the entire long form history of Doctor Who. So Artie, you're up. Come meet your public.

Artie: Hello all, I am Artie the Hero. I'm like Tyler the Creator, only talented. And Cooler. And not Tyler the Creator.

It's time to watch and review my favorite yearly PPV not named WrestlingMania. Why do I love Summerslam so much? The last few years, Summerslam has been THE big show with some of the best feuds kicking off, continuing, and culminating at the biggest party of the summer. We've seen some absolutely brilliant main event matches on the last 5 or so of these and I love the fact that the build for SS doesn't feel completely set in stone from 2-3 months in advance, as Wrestlemania does. I'll be using the grading system of Professor Stephanie McMahon. With that being said, let's go go GO!!

Segment 1 - Miz and Fandango

Cewsh: The Miz is out host tonight for some reason, Fandango interrupts him for some reason, and WWE thinks we'll care for some reason.

I think that about covers it.

Segment 2 - Ring of Fire Match - Kane vs. Bray Wyatt

Cewsh: Ah, the long awaited arrival of Bray Wyatt. For over a year now we've been touting the potential of the Eater of Worlds, and having him here on the roster making everything just that little bit more awesome is exactly as good as we hoped that it would be. The vignettes they ran for Wyatt were terrific and generated a huge buzz for him, and when both he and his family, (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan,) arrived on the scene to demolish Kane, it was, to put it fancily, pretty fucking sweet. That attack wound up knocking Kane out of the Money in the Bank ladder match, and in the weeks to followed, Wyatt and the Family wrecked havoc on the roster almost completely unopposed.

And Lo, The Sinners Saw Their New King And They Shivered In Fear, Knowing Their Ending Had Come.

But when you mess with the only wrestler around who has supernatural powers, it's going to take more than a beating to put him down for the count. And when Kane came back, he almost sneered at Wyatt for having the gall to challenge him. After all, who was this marsh raised pretender spouting words of all encompassing power? Kane and the Undertaker had seen a million of them come and go. But Kane had something special in store for this one. And with his apparent booking powers firmly in hand, he made a match with Wyatt, and he made it a ring of fire match. With the ring surrounded by rising flames, the Family would be useless at helping their savior. And with a big red monster sharing the ring, for the very first time the power of the Eater of Worlds will be called into action. May the best monster win.

Of course, that's all nice and wonderful if the match that we get is actually good. Before we get to that, though, let me explain what a Ring of Fire match is. Essentially, the set up is the same as an inferno match, where the ring is surrounded by braziers that emit fire. Unlike an inferno match, however, you don't have to set anybody on fire to win. It's the kind of match that could make for an incredible dramatic spectacle if done right. If done right.

Unfortunately, the match that we actually got featured an extremely limited amount of action, while the camera focused primarily on the various ways that Harper and Rowan tried to get into the ring. Nothing much happens until they eventually do figure it out, throwing the mats on top of the flames to create a path into the ring. Then they beat Kane down, Wyatt introduces him to Sister Abigail, and that's all she wrote.

Afterwards, they perform the wrestling equivalent of a ritual execution on Kane and drag him off with them.

I knew coming into this that it would be more about spectacle than anything else, and there's little in wrestling that I adore more than an absurd spectacle successful pulled off. But, much like a Carrot Top show, the props are the focus and after 5 minutes you wish you were watching something else.

55 out of 100

Artie: Okay, what to say, what to say. Now, I love Kane. I love Bray Wyatt. I love, (OH LAWD JESUS IT'S A,) fire.

This was, uhh...certainly something to behold. The match itself was fairly...OK. The ring of FIRE was a cool visual and the story with the Wyatt family doing everything they could to interfere was a bit of fun, but, it almost made the Wyatts look like idiots. Harper and Rowan need to be portrayed as monsters at all times, but here they more closely resembled bumbling southern idiots. The ring work as a bit off, but I assume that has to do with the fact that it was over 100 degrees in the ring and these two were trying not to get accidentally burned. Wyatt got the win, as needed and the family knocked out & kidnapped Kane post-match in a pretty cool assault. That stairs shot still looks like shit, though.

Grade: Solid C

MichaelC: I really dislike Inferno matches. Due to the limitations of the gimmick, they are overly dull matches (despite the flames) unless something goes horribly wrong, and no one, I hope, wants to see that. If one gimmick should have been retired entirely by the PG era, we are looking at it here. Just because Kane and MVP, for example, have risked serious injury to entertain folk in the past in this environment doesn't mean ti should be encouraged. The result is no one seemed to be too keen on the match itself, the crowd was dead, and the Wyatt Family momentum hit its first speed bump.

Kane, as one of the more valuable vets in the company (hey, use that Teflon to your advantage, I say) and Wyatt as the hot newcomer in his first singles match both should have gotten more protection from the company. What they should have been allowed is the environment in which to have a match without worry of major injury. As it was, Kane does the job in about seven minutes that never really set the place on fire. And it looks like this feud isn't over yet.

That said, we'll definitely see far better Wyatt Family matches to come. Preferably those that get on like a house on fire, rather than wrestle in them.

Bray Wyatt Over Kane Following The Sister Abigail.

Segment 3 - Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow

Cewsh: Years from now, when you're all old and grey and I'm hermetically sealed in a chamber to keep me virile for future alien attacks, people are going to look back and feel incredibly bad for Cody Rhodes. Perhaps more than any wrestler in the history of WWE, he has received great pushes to the very precipice of stardom, only to have it snatched away from him through no fault of his own. We saw it in Legacy, where he was a standout performer in major feuds, only to get stomped down the card when WWE decided to push Ted Dibiase instead. We saw it when they turned Orton face after Dibiase didn't work out. We saw it when he developed his Dashing character, and again when he successfully turned himself into a twisted, tortured version of that character. Then we saw it AGAIN when he and Damien Sandow formed the best team that WWE has seen since the end of the Attitude Era, and now here we are one more time.

After his star making performance at Money in the Bank, as he turned face to a great reaction, and his partner, Sandow, betrayed him, it seemed like the sky was the limit. In this babyface starved WWE climate, anyone getting themselves over like that seemed set for life. But a funny thing happened on the way to space camp. WWE forgot what babyfaces are. This isn't the first time we've had that problem. In recent times, Sheamus, Kaitlyn and Chris Jericho have all been major babyfaces who were clearly portrayed as cruel bullies for no good reason. And unfortunately, the deeply lovable Rhodes was tarred by this brush, as he tormented and mocked Sandow in increasingly childish ways, while the heat dried up faster than a wine cellar with a Charlie Sheen infestation.

Just Keep Smiling Through The Pain, Buddy.

This match is an extension of that disappointed build. What should have been a grudge match where fans were out for blood, instead plodded into Summerslam shrugging its shoulders and giving up before it ever began. Rhodes and Sandow had a fine match, but not a memorable one, as the crowd sat on it's hands and waited for something they cared about to happen. And just like that, another promising lead in the career of Cody Rhodes died a sad and meaningless death, leaving Rhodes to try to pick up the pieces and rebuild from the ground floor again. Give the man all the credit in the world for giving it 110% here, as always, and both of these men for having a decent match in arduous circumstances. And then give Cody a hug. It's the least we can do.

71 out of 100

Artie: First off, why is this not for the briefcase? Secondly, where is Cody's mustache? Thirdly, Why is this NOT for the briefcase?!

This entire feud revolves around the fact that Sandow turned on Rhodes at the Money in the Bank Pay-per-view, taking advantage of his friend's trust in order to win the Money in the Bank briefcase. We've seen them cut promos about this, have Cody toss the briefcase in water, and Sandow acquire a new fancier briefcase. Literally, this entire feud is about that god damn briefcase, yet, when it's go-time...the briefcase does not come into play. Wtf booking, cmon.


The match itself was a very by-the-numbers match, with the crowd left in utter confusion as to who was the heel and who was the face. Sandow turned on his friend, but Cody has been a fucking dickhead since and the crowd kind of just sat in silence and watched as these two wrestled for...nothing. What started as a hot feud, quickly fell into booking hell and this was easily the worst/most uninteresting match of the night. The highlight of this whole thing was watching Cody use the musclebuster. That move rocks.

Grade: Fair C-

MichaelC: I was a bit surprised to see Cody win so easily - and what seemed on first viewing to be almost squash like - but then I might be cruel and suggest it is wise to keep the momentum up of the chap who will be moving on. Sandow didn't look like a contender to win the Money in the Bank briefcase, and a month on, looks even less like a potential World Champion. I mean, I liked The Genius like many, but there's a reason he beat Hogan by count out and not for the title. (And not just because The Genius vs The Ultimate Warrior doesn't quite sell WrestleMania 6 as well!) Sandow feels like he's in it for the long haul, but he's nowhere near World title material just now.

But is Cody? With all things, you need talent, self-belief, luck and timing. I'd say Cody Rhodes has always shown the talent to go far, and certainly seems to have some level of self-belief in the way he made the potential WrestleCrap fodder Dashing gimmick work as a break out. It's all about the luck and timing. Some folk look destined to become greats, but suffer the worst luck since Sting tried to pick a loyal tag team partner. Wade Barrett, I'm looking at you as an example here. And timing is as great a deal as anything - who knows if Steve Austin would have been so big had they given him the title in February 1997, instead of making it a necessity for their fans to experience one year later. Or if Jack Swagger would mean anything just now if they'd only held back on his World title reign... and his debut come to think of it.

The trouble with Cody Rhodes is that the WWE sometimes seem to take him for granted. They knew he can be trusted to go out there and steal a Rumble or an Elimination Chamber or any of the big gimmick matches, so they just get used to him going out there and winning the audience with his efforts that not as much time seemed to be put into keeping him over outwith those flashes. It's all well and good to assume someone is a bonafide future WWE Champion, but you have to put the effort into them - not just assume if they are there long enough, the fans will remember how good they are and respond. Even with Bret Hart, as a tag team parallel, he still had a solid year and a half of big name wins over Mr Perfect and Roddy Piper, and the chance to main event a Summerslam before he was given his title shot.

It's all about the timing and the luck. And who knows there?

But of these two, I'd say Cody had the better shot at breaking through. So the right man won.

Cody Rhodes Over Damien Sandow Following The Cross Rhodes.

Segment 4 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship - Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Christian

Cewsh: This is the part of the review where I give you the backstory to this match, but there really isn't one. Christian beat Del Rio clean on television, (because apparently the only way to get a title match is to win an identical match beforehand,) and leading up to the show, they've been showing videos to hype Christian's career. Now, I would love it if WWE's stellar video production department would do this for every feud, because it's infinitely better than watching someone eat a burrito in Del Rio's car and take a dump in the passenger seat. I spoke in a recent mailbag about how the World Heavyweight Championship has become the workrate championship much like the Intercontinental title used to be, and this mini feud drives that point home big time.

Looking at this match in that context, it makes a ton of sense. The crowd doesn't really care about this coming in because Christian isn't over in the slightest in 2013, but they get a solid 15 minutes, and these two can own any crowd on Earth with that much time. And this match is every bit as fun as you'd want it to be. Counters galore, Christian being plucky, Del Rio being an unmitigated dickpocalypse, and a hot finish that works like a charm. This is everything that you could expect from a match between these two, especially Del Rio who is on perhaps the longest streak of great PPV performances of anyone in the world, (Tanahashi included.)

For years I had trouble enjoying World Heavyweight title matches, because they were always contested under the assumption that the man who held the belt was the top guy of an entire WWE brand. In recent years the list of champions features a number of people who have no business carrying a Denny's franchise. But if this is a bigger, shinier IC title, then we couldn't do much better than Del Rio, because dude is absolutely killing it in the ring, even if the crowd hardly cares outside of it.

80 out of 100

Cewsh's Seal of Approval

Artie: Another month, another uninteresting PPV feud for Del Rio, and another stellar PPV performance out of him. I seriously don't get how someone so bland, so boring, and so god damn uninteresting can so god damn good in the ring. The same thing goes for Christian, who is looking old and as threatening as a moldy peach.

Once again, both of these men pull a fantastic contest out of their asses. The match starts with Del Rio forcing Garcia to introduce him in Spanish, which only gets him over with the crowd as a face...c'mon guys, you're in LOS ANGELES. These two start off fast and just start hitting each other hard as all hell. These two sell this feud that's only been going for about 3 weeks as if it's a god damn blood feud over the World title. Del Rio works on Christian's head and shoulder with a combination of stiff kicks and wrestling holds and Christian, as usual, plays the babyface, selling and bumping like an absolute king, while timing his big heat spots just perfectly. There's great little moments like Del Rio just stepping on Christian's face while on the attack and Christian hitting big desperation moves like the frankensteiner and the spear, both unsuccessful in keeping Del Rio down. The ending comes after one last big spear from Christian, hurting the very shoulder that Del Rio was working and the BAM - cross arm breaker for the finish. Loved it.

Grade: Solid A

MichaelC: Seems insane that one year ago, Del Rio was in Billy Gunn territory for yours truly. His 2013 has been phenomenal, and he's been aided not just by the workers he has wrestled but the spark that seems to have lit under him since his face turn at TLC. His series with The Big Show and Dolph Ziggler, especially the latter, have revitalized this man as a key top talent in the WWE.

And this match was awesome. Christian, who I am saddened to admit has looked a bit old at times since his return, ring wise, looked better than he has in years, and that was in no small part to an opponent who couldn't be more on fire now if he was a BP oil spill. (Everything returns to fire tonight! Damn you, Kane!) And the crowd, which had taken a nap for the opener, was waking up quite swiftly, as they seemed to believe Christian could get it done.

Christian was the babyface, darting at all chances, whilst the Champ went for the shoulder. Finally, the Champions work paid dividends. Christian hit the spear, and the entire arena was positive the match was over, but in doing so, he injured the shoulder and arm that Del Rio had worked on so efficiently,and seeing this, the ever resourceful Del Rio summoned the strength to slip on the cross arm breaker. Christian valiantly tries to escape (and nearly pins Del Rio in the effort, though the ref utterly ignores it) but is just too hurt, too weakened, and perhaps not quite what he once was, and has to tap out.

The crowd thought this match was awesome. Or so they chanted.

For a match that barely passed ten minutes, they were right. The story of heel Champion in his element, who goes to all vicious ends to retain his belt, against the older veteran who has lots of fight and heart and knows every comeback in the book. There was a moment where Del Rio's running knee in the corner was dodged, Christian rolled him up, and with the flow of the match, they even had me convinced for the second before the kick out that Christian was actually going to win the bloody thing. Both men came out looking great, and there's not much else you can hope for in a PPV title match.

The fates seem to decry Del Rios title reign will end at the hands of a certain Mr Ziggler, however. The question is when.

Alberto Del Rio Over Christian Following The Cross Armbreaker.

Segment 5 - Natalya vs. Brie Bella

Cewsh: This match grew out of WWE's desire to take viewers of the new show Total Divas and convert them into actual wrestling fans. As such, the women on the show have been feuding haphazardly and are getting a match here to prove that they all actually do work for living. Some people might want to complain about how this doesn't cater to them, but I want you to realize that this could have been an Eva Marie vs. Jo Jo Offerman match and there's nothing we could have done to stop it. By comparison, this is Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat wrestling with cyborgs on the moon.

Natalya and Brie Bella were unexpectedly good here, even in the short period of time they got to wrestle a thankless match on the card. They did great and Brie especially has come a long, long way recently. The moves were crisp, and they crammed a lot of decent stuff into the time they were given. If nothing else, it's hard to remember a time when we had Divas around who could wrestle random matches like this in a watchable manner. It's refreshing.

That's all there really is to say about this match, aside from mentioning that the crowd was ridiculously brutal to them, even though this wasn't even bad. Stay classy, smarks. Stay classy.

68 out of 100

Artie: Ok, I love the Total Divas show and tell everyone to watch it. I understand that this match is here to promote the show. I get it, I really do, I just do not care at all about this one. Neither did the crowd, apparently, as they chanted for JBL and Cole instead of Nattie, as Cewsh slowly died on the inside. There was some nice heel work from team BAD GURLZ and i'm happy that Nattie won, but I was very much more interested in my pizza than this match.

Grade: Eh. D+

MichaelC: It was surprising, and nice, to see Natalya back on PPV after so long. It was even more surprising to see her win. It was even more surprising to see that Brie Bella was, at the very least, carried to decency. The match was no bad at all, the right person won, and the crowd? Well, Cewsh talked about the crowd.

I've not watched Total Divas at all, and have no intention to. It's not marketed in anyway to be interesting to me, but that's absolutely fine. It's clearly interesting to a load of other people who would scoff at a night of Jimmy Stewart films, and there's enough room in this world for all kinds of different interests, I say, as long as they don't hurt innocent people or animals.

Natalya Over Brie Bella Following The Sharpshooter.

Segment 6 - Ryback Isn't Familiar With Gazpacho

Cewsh: Backstage in catering, Ryback is trying to eat some soup. Apparently the soup is not to his liking, because he goes up to a man in an apron and starts hassling him about it. Ryback says that his soup is cold while seriously violating the man's personal space. When the man explains that the soup is gazpacho and it's supposed to be cold, Ryback gets even angrier and dumps the soup down the guy's shirt before storming off.

Actually, He Seems To Be Enjoying That A Little Too Much.

Ryback's new gimmick appears to be that of a bully from an 80s teen movie. How we got here from him being  potential top babyface at this time last year is baffling, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't entertained by this. If handled right, this could really make an underdog babyface down the line. Maybe one who is in NXT right now blowing the roof off every night. One whose name rhymes with Bami Pain.

Segment 7 - No Disqualification - CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar

Cewsh: Once upon a time, there was a monster and a man. The monster, raised from birth to be an unstoppable tool of havoc and destruction, was a weapon unlike any other the wrestling industry has ever seen. The man was born to fail and clawed his way out of the margins of the world. At six feet and three inches, the monster towers over the man, and at nearly three hundred pounds of muscle, he dwarfs him as well. Thanks to his inconceivable natural athleticism and tireless training, the monster is inhumanly strong and incredibly fast. The man is just a man. At one time, both the monster and the man were part of an extended family, each led by a charismatic trickster who whispered platitudes in their ears as they bore him to fame and fortune. Together, the monster and the man conquered all they they surveyed, and became great champions and warriors. But the man wanted more. He wasn't content to be merely a monster on a chain, and he strove to make his own name mean something. But the trickster was not pleased to lose his grip, and was not accustomed to being taken for granted. So he summoned the monster.

A Reader Made This For Us. Because Our Readers Are Awesome.

And so the trickster set the man up for a great fall, and ended their partnership with a resounding betrayal. And then he went into the kennel, took the monster by it's leash, and brought it out to play. And now the man, tempered by years of struggle and possessing the finest skills in all the world has to stand up to a beast that has trampled every threat ever placed before it. To get his revenge he must face the greatest danger he has ever known. He's just a man, facing down a monster. But he is not afraid.

Artie: In one corner, you've got CM Punk, my all-time favorite wrestler and one of the absolute best in the world. In the other corner, you have Brock fucking Lesnar, a man who i'm pretty sure hunts animals with his bare hands. In Lesnar's corner is the best manager in professional wrestling and god damn brilliant heel, Paul Heyman. When you take this much talent and throw it into not only a no disqualification match, but one that's built upon an absolutely red hot feud...does it live up to the hype?

You bet your god damn shiny ass it lives up to the hype.

The match starts with Punk just lunging at Lesnar, only for Lesnar to catch him and run him into the turnbuckles like he weighs absolutely nothing. Punk starts giving Lesnar some knee shots, only to get overpowered again and tossed into the corner once more. From there, Punk hits Lesnar with a huge from across the ring, which sends the big man out for Punk to suicide dive onto him. Lesnar regains control, only to be driven into the ring post by Punk, who then ascends to the top turnbuckle and splashes down on the beast. After a tiny bit of brawling, Lesnar just RAGDOLLS Punk right over the Spanish announce table, before picking him up and doing it again on the main table.

"Nice To Meet You Punk, Have You Met Michael Cole?"

Having knocked off the top portion of the table with the Summerslam logo on it, Lesnar places it on Punk and stomps the fucking thing right into his back.

Following that, Lesnar lets out a maniacally evil laugh and drags Punk into the ring who immediately counters with kick after kick after kick, only to be shut down by a wee clothesline. Lesnar toys with Punk in some big bear hugs, before Punk elbows the absolute shit out of the big man to break free. Following a big sternum kick, Punk goes up top only to get caught and tossed clear across the ring. Lesnar locks in a chin lock and CM Punk BITES Lesnar in the face to break free, slaps the shit out of Lesnar, and goes up top to hit a big knee on Brock.

Following 2 big running corner knees from Punk, Brock counters a third, only to meet a big boot to the face. Punk hits the Macho Man elbow and goes for the GTS, which is quickly countered into a Kimura from Brock. Punk, who trains with the Gracie family, whips out a nice armbar counter, which he turns into a brutal triangle choke, only for brock to pick him up into a big nasty powerbomb. HOLD UP A MINUTE, CM Punk keeps the god damn triangle choke on and Lesnar feeds him an absolutely disgusting running powerbomb.

I Can't Stop Watching This. It's Basically A Car Crash.

After that, Brock whips out a familiar move from his past, as we see the trademark Eddie Guerrero three amigo suplex sequence. Following that, Brock grabs a chair from ringisde, only for Punk to jump right onto the big fucker. Punk hits Lesnar and shrieks out a battle cry to show he is ready to end this. Once they're back in the ring, Lesnar snatches the chair from Punk only to get low-god-damn-blowed and eat a top rope elbow drop with the chair. After 2 more chair shots from Punk, Heyman grabs the chair, dsitracting Punk enough for Lesnar to engage for the F5, but Punk counters into a big DDT. Punk locks in the anaconda vice and Heyman breaks it up, eating a big right hand from Punk and vice of his own. Brock takes this advantage and MURDERS CM Punk with a couple of stiff chair shots and a big F5 on the chair for the 3 count.


Punk finally got his hands on Heyman, but it cost him the match.

This, my friends, is what I call a perfect wrestling match. We saw everything from brawling, to high spots, to hardcore wrestling, right down MMA holds. This match had the right mix of brutality, unpredictability, and drama. I am not Dave Meltzer, but I give this 5 stars, 10/10, 100%, and most definitely a Solid A++. Just amazing work here.

Grade: Solid A++

Cewsh: I want to start this review by spoiling the end of it. I gave this match a perfect score. That makes this only the third match in our history to obtain that honor, and I don't give it easily. The previous two matches are ones I found genuinely moving, (Michaels vs. Undertaker II and Triple H vs. Undertaker II,) and while this isn't on that level emotionally, this is as close to the perfect WWE style wrestling match as it is possible to get. Everything is here. There's the shady manager trying to interfere, the monstrous unstoppable heel, the never-say-die babyface, great finisher teases, convincing near falls, a white hot crowd, a restrained and brilliant use of weapons, and so much more. If you were writing a checklist of all the best parts of the best WWE matches, you could pick them all out of this one with room to spare.

Brock Lesnar, who is so fucking good at wrestling at this point that it doesn't even make sense, delivered a performance here that ranks him among the finest in ring talent of all time. As weird as it is to say, he may be the finest professional wrestler on the planet Earth, despite having about 5 matches in the past 10 years. He always had the ability, that Kurt Angle-like knack to pick things up at lightning speed, but the thing that sets him apart here is his understanding of the little things. Exactly how close to tapping to get to put the crowd on the edge of their seats, exactly when to cut Punk off on a comeback, exactly the perfect way to sell each and every single move so that he stays a monster but gives the fans hope.

Sweaty, Sweaty Hope.

It's stunning. But don't think Punk doesn't deserve praise here too. Punk has conquered the WWE main event style amazing fashion since his rise to the top. We knew he could do it as a heel, but for the first time as a babyface he absolutely crushed his role in every way, making you believe that he had an impossible task and wouldn't stop until he achieved it.

The interplay of these characters who have been built up for so long and through so much, gave this match an atmosphere of importance that rivaled even the paradigm shifting main event. And while that match saw the hero win in cathartic fashion, this is the match that I had the biggest grin on my face after. When it comes to rating things, so many of us get bogged down in what gets what rating for what reason, and it can be a serious pain in the ass to consider and justify. Lucky for me, then, that these two made my job easy.

100 out of 100

Cewsh's Platinum Seal of Approval

MichaelC: Oh my me!

Dear WWE,

Please book Brock Lesnar v CM Punk II immediately. For whatever show you feel like (WrestleMania sounds good to me, but its your call, obviously.) These two have chemistry like hydrogen and oxygen.

Lesnar is a freak of nature in the WWE. Six months into his original run, he was taking on the pillar of the WWE, The Undertaker, inside a Hell in a Cell and absolutely demolishing him. Nary a year into his full time career, he was the equal of a wrestling prodigy like Kurt Angle. After a successful run in MMA, he returns as a machine that destroys everything in its path. The crowd react in that way because of his aura - its known that to beat Lesnar, you need to crash a jumbo jet into the ring, and even then, it might be a near fall. CM Punk is the chap who goes out there to steal the show each night, and win every match by being better than his opponent. He never seems to give up, and he's spent a career beating larger men.

Brock Lesnar took the biggest beating of his WWE return here, which only puts over CM Punk more. He also kept getting up, like a wrestling Terminator. The ability to look like he could legit destroy Lesnar made Punk look even greater than he did before stepping into the ring. The ability to withstand one of the heaviest beatings in WWE in years and keep standing up again made Lesnar look every bit more the unstoppable monster.

And that's not to say the beating was one sided. Oh no. Lesnar gave it to Punk too, with the kind of offence that would put your average Joe into a coma. Punk kept rising, however, refusing to lose to this monster, and the crowd were going absolutely BANANA. The No DQ stip really aided things, as both men went over the top trying to end things. You sensed they didn't just want to end the match, they wanted to end the other person! Late on in the match, Punk actually has the giant felled. A swift GTS would have had a three, if not for Heyman interfering. So we see that not only is CM Punk not inferior to Lesnar, but he can beat him. But he doesn't. Going for Heyman leaves him open to several nasty chair shots, and a final F5 onto the chair - which looked like it hurt badly - ended what was probably the Match of the Year.

I refer to the 1962 Best Actor Oscars. Peter O'Toole had one of his finest career performances in Lawrence of Arabia, much like Cena and Punk had their fine performance on RAW in February. Jack Lemmon produced a heart breaking performance in Days of Wine and Roses which would have won the award in any given year, much like Zigglers desperate attempts to hold the title in the match Del Rio won. And Burt Lancaster was his traditonial, counted on self in Birdman of Alcatraz, just as the WWE counts on Undertaker to produce MOTYC each year at Mania. But in 1962, for as great as all these performances were, no one was beating Atticus Finch. Gregory Pecks standout role not only the greatest of his great career, it made all the other great performances that year pale in comparison.

Brock v Punk is Gregory Peck in 1962. That isn't shameful for the other contenders, but shows just what a bloody great year this has been in the ring, despite all the moaning yours truly has done about a certain chap who likes to main event.

Brock Lesnar Over CM Punk Following The F-5 Onto A Chair.

Segment 8 - Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ

Cewsh: This match is filled to the brim with incredible talent that is pretty much just biding its time until they get something worthwhile to do. I don't know when that will be, and hell, I don't even know when they intend to actually give Big E Langston a fucking win in a wrestling match. But when these guys and gals get a chance, they run with it. So it's just a matter of time until they give us something to be excited about.

With about 4 minutes and little build, this wasn't it. But it wasn't meant to be. Something has to be the forgettable meat in the sandwich of all time classics on this show. And there aint much meatier than Big E.

66 out of 100

Artie: Phew, after that last match, we definitely needed a breather. This poor match got saddled between two absolutely massive ones and the crowd, who were drained from Punk/lesnar and saving up for Bryan/Cena, did their damn best to give this some energy, but they were burned out. Really good little filler match that crossed together a couple of different feuds and gave everyone a chance to show off for a bit. I love that Dolph got the big win here. Hopefully this helps him build momentum to another title reign.

Grade: B- Breather

MichaelC: AJ is really good. Kaitlyn is not. Ziggler is pretty good, and Big E is interesting. This was not the match or the environment for these though, so Ziggler got his win over Big E within five minutes.

Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn Over Big E Langston and AJ Following A Zig Zag.

Segment 9 - WWE Heavyweight Championship - John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan w/ Special Referee Triple H

Cewsh: This is the moment.

It's been 10 years since John Cena showed up in WWE. It's been 8 years since he became the unquestioned face of the company. And it's been 7 years, 364 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes since a whole lot of you started looking for who would be next. Over those years, internet message boards have overflowed with debate about John Cena, and demands for WWE to build another star so that the shows wouldn't revolve so heavily around him. WWE tried, oh yes they did, with people like Batista, Bobby Lashley, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy and a whole host of others. WWE gave opportunity after opportunity to people, to knock John Cena out of the top spot. But they didn't. And they couldn't. Either through bad booking, lack of fan reaction or weird circumstances, everyone who has approached the top spot has faded down the stretch.

Meanwhile, an upper midcard talent with great wrestling skills, and all the WWE marketability of a brick with "cockbarn" written on it, was starting to get over. The knock on Daniel Bryan was that he had never had much personality, but through a series of funny skits with Kane, he developed a character that crowds immediately responded to, and through that team, he built goodwill for himself that rivaled anyone in the company. When the Shield arrived, it was Bryan who time and again led the charge against them as crowds exploded in joy to see this little guy with big skills take on all comers. It could never have been imagined that anything would really come of this, after all, a tiny, bearded guy with great wrestling skills seems like the textbook definition of midcarder. But the cheers and chants just grew louder, and louder and louder until they couldn't big ignored any more. And when this match was made for Summerslam, a kind of fever started to set in among mark and smark alike. Could this be the moment where we see a changing of the guard? Could this be the moment where history changes? Could this be the moment that we've all been waiting for?

This is the moment. Let's enjoy it.

And the match was pretty incredible too.

94 out of 100

Cewsh's Seal of Approval

Artie: Wow wow wow. Very rarely do we see a show on which there are two great matches, much less two absolutely amazing top 5 of the year matches. Daniel Bryan and John Cena brought so much passion, emotion, and story into this one match that it's sort of amazing. Not only does this match follow the story of their current feud of "true" wrestler vs sports entertainer, but it goes on to display so many of Bryan's skills that he's picked up around the world and some of the ones that Cena's picked up in his 10 years in the WWE. There are a few brilliant little call backs to a match they had on Velocity a damn near decade ago and i'll explain why that's so important. Ya see, back when these two met on Velocity, John Cena was in the very, i mean VERY, beginnings of his "rapper" persona. Generic entrance theme, hideous yellow pants, the whole nine. Bryan, wearing white trunks and sporting a clean cut look. After this match, these two went very different routes. Cena eventually became the top dog in the WWE and Bryan went on to rule the independent wrestling scene. Ten years later, both men are well-traveled veterans with two completely different personalities, ideologies, and move-sets.

These two had a fantastically hellacious match, without going over the top and violent like the Punk/Brock one from earlier. Cena and Bryan busted out new moves and showcased each other's (and their own) talents to the absolute best. Towards the end of the hard fought battle, our story concludes thanks to the moves that Bryan picked up from one of his fiercest rivals: KENTA.

Their two different paths led Cena to many world championships, but it was the moves that Bryan picked up on his journeys through Japan that allowed him to beat the unbeatable. Simply amazing storytelling here. Fantastic match and superb end to the show. Seriously... the confetti, streamers, and pyro are just a beautiful way to end this.

Grade: A+ 

MichaelC: I knew Cena was injured, but I assumed shenanigans of some sort would be required. Never in a million years did I expect to see Daniel Bryan beat John Cena clean as a whisker. The match itself was pretty great, but I want to refer to the afters.

Bryan wins, the crowd go nuts, and Cena shakes his hand. Confetti rains down as the fans and Bryan go nuts with the "YES! YES! YES!" etc.

And Triple H is still there, doing his ref bit. He seemed to call the entire match without any hindrance. Slightly strange.

Daniel Bryan Over John Cena Following A Busaiku Knee Kick.

Cewsh: Well, that's all she wrote, folks. A new era begins, a new champion crowned, everything is great and puppies and kittens and the world is a wonderful place. Now let's just go ahead and wrap this up and...what's that? Something else? Well what else could be left on the card?

Segment 10 - WWE Heavyweight Championship - Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Randy Orton w/ Special Referee Triple H

Cewsh: Uh oh.


Cewsh: Randy Orton comes down to the ring to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and the tension is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. But before he can make it to the ring, Triple H whirls Bryan around, kicks him in the gut and plants him with a Pedigree to the shock and horror of all. Orton leisurely rolls in and pins Bryan, stealing the championship from him before he ever even gets to see his name on it. And as the show goes off the air, Triple H raises Randy Orton's arm high, cementing a double heel turn which is every bit as awesome and it is tragic for Bryan fans.

Artie: Fuck. Ok. Well, that's certainly a downer. We all saw it coming, but I was really hoping it wouldn't. Good for Orton and Hunter for finally turning heel. Sucks that this happened at DB's expense, but I assume that's only because they have bigger things planned. Oh well. Still a great show.

Cewsh: Mrs. Cewsh's reaction when she saw Orton turn heel is one that can only be compared to a child handed a blank check and painted at a toy store. And I'm not far behind. Orton has been languishing for so long in his face role, and its as a heel that he truly comes alive. Same with Triple H, who goes on from here to establish himself as a new Vince McMahon character that I couldn't love more. And while many decried this in the moment as being unfair to Daniel Bryan, in many ways this is the best thing they could have done. The company betrayed Bryan right in the moment of his triumph, and now as he goes on his long quest to win his title back, the fans are with him more than ever before.

I told you the moment was here. And this just cemented it. The next few months are going to be fucking amazing.

MichaelC: The tease of the cash in before the cash in was brilliant, but even more so was how they did it, as Triple H, like a literal version of Chekhov's Gun come to life, snapped into action and Pedigreed the bejeesus out of the new WWE Champion. The crowd were stunned, the Viper slithered into the ring, and the cash in gave us a new champion to stunned boos.
So we've reset the clock four years and Randy Orton has suddenly become interesting again. Triple H turns heel after seven years as one of the most over men in the company. And what's more, he hands the belt to Randy Orton.

Flash back to Evolution, when Triple H told everyone Randy Orton was the future, right up to the point Orton won the gold belt and Hunter was unable to deal with the prospect of being made the past. The friendship broken, and the rivalry turned nasty over the next decade, as houses were broken into, spouses threatened, and injuries caused on both sides.

And now, at a Summerslam, after 9 years of being at each others throats, that hatchet is buried in Daniel Bryan's moment. The scar that disintegrated Evolution...repaired.

Triple H, via use of Vince McMahon as a smokescreen, has announced who his idea of the perfect WWE Champion is. And its Orton.

This Is As Literal As Wrestling Gets.

We are through the looking glass.

WWE took a moment which could have been gimmicked to hell - the cash in here - and turned into a moment that made so much sense, the complete synergy and syzygy moment took place.

We have closure on one of the longest running feuds in WWE history, and in that moment, we have an awakening of our own. For created in the midst of treachery, we have ourselves a bonafide new main eventer.

Daniel Bryan, the champion elect of the people, robbed by the Corporation.

In the midst of blackmail and renewal and the thirst to see vengeance, we have the maelstrom which comes out of one of the best WWE events in years, and a concoction of a kind that could last into making WrestleMania 30, so far in the distance, one to remember.


Cewsh's Conclusions:

Cewsh: Two matches on this show are fuckbustingly, asscrackingly, dickmagnetizingly amazing. The rest of the show wasn't perfect, but it was solid throughout and certainly kept my attention. Hell, we might well have seen a new era of WWE born here tonight, and even if we didn't, we saw something special. What else is there to say? Are you guys accepting money for Night of Champions yet?

Cewsh's Final Score: 76.3 out of 100

Artie's Analysis:

Artie: Overall, weird PPV to rate. On one hand, I did not like Sandow/Rhodes or Nattie/Brie, but I enjoyed Christian/ADR, the pre-show, and the mixed tag. Not to mention, I absolutely LOVED the two main events. Some have called this a two-match show, but both of those matches were absolutely amazing. Even if i discount those two and just rate the rest of the show, the good very much outweighs the bad. A definite must-watch show and another great Summerslam.

Artie's Final Grade: Solid A, 96%

Well that'll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the biggest party of the summer, (aside from the one at Cewsh Reviews headquarters where we all dress up like Repo Man.) Next week we're off and running finally with our coverage of the hot new British promotion on the rise, PROGRESS WRESTLING. We're going to have near-exclusive coverage of their latest DVD, as well as an interview with one of the promotion's owners to give you insight into the oft mysterious British wrestling scene, and what it takes to get an indy promotion off the ground. So until then, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.


Anonymous said...

I went to this show and that was the best show I have ever been too.

The reaction too Bryan was the biggest and loudest reaction I've ever been apart of. I've seen Stone Cold (albeit not during the AE), Undertaker, The Rock, etc and none of them got anywhere near Bryan's. Everyone in the arena was doing the yes chant (arm movements too). Utterly insane.

The ending to the Cena/Bryan match caught us off guard, didn't expect Bryan to win like that. HHH turning heel shocked us, all of us were fooled by the confetti and Orton walking away. We could barely process what just happened.

The chants for JBL, Cole and Jerry all started in the same area and I'm surprised you could hear it. Jerry's was the only one that really got a big chant going.

We would have been into the Ziggler/Kaitlyn vs AJ/Big E but we were worn out. Odd that the divas match wasn't in between the main events.

Shocked at how good and how much we were into the Christian/Del Rio match. Wish RVD was in this to make it a triple threat but the match was still great.

After the Wyatt match ended, there was a huge reaction for the lights going out because we all thought Undertaker was coming out.

Couple of side notes. There were guys above us talking about the Reddit guy spoiler stuff. Why would you want to have all the matches spoiled, especially to a show you are going to? Makes no sense as to why anyone would look at his crap. I like wrestling but fans of it make me embarrassed. At axxess they had a thing where you get into a ring and imitate a wrestler and immediately a bunch of adults started to jump up and down begging to be picked instead of little kids. Two out of the four that were picked had to be cut off cause they were taking forever. The 13 year old kid lost to about a 30 year old in a fan vote which was sad. This is the kind of crap is why I never tell anyone I'm a wrestling fan. There was a forty something year old that was by himself dressed like a guy from the Shield. Not only is that sad but it also kind of looked like he was wearing a bomb vest. Also had a really drunk person yell at my sister for being a Cena fan (not in a friendly joke way but he was legit pissed) and then he spilled his beer on us (on purpose and security later removed him) Don't get me wrong, my brother, sister and I had a blast and like wrestling but why can't more normal people (like the fine reviewers here at cewsh) go to wrestling events?

frank said...

I wish i had liked SS13 as much as everyone else. I was really tired when I saw it, so this is a good vicarious enjoyment piece, esp. the last bit. And the follow up has been as awesome as promised, so far.

Unknown said...

Summerslam 2013 drew 60,000 buys LESS than last year's show. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

WWE PPV of the year 2013. Flaming start to backstabbing end. Just one word: Epic!

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