SummerSlam 2013 marked the end of my final “lapse” as a wrestling fan.
As mentioned in our CM Punk retrospective, I was in-and-out when it came to watching WWE. I would pop in to find out what was happening, and I would pop back out.
With this show, however, for better or for worse (yeah, it was for worse), I stuck with it.
As I watched it back in 2013, there were so many things that hooked me. There was the drama surrounding the finish of the main event between Daniel Bryan and John Cena, the brutality of Punk facing off against Brock Lesnar, and connecting with a cast of characters both old and new.
The reason you read these goofy little pieces of mine is, in some measure, the result of SummerSlam 2013.
Oh, right. This was when they were still really obsessed with special hosts for PPVs. The Miz, the host of SummerSlam, comes out and gives a rundown of the card. He gets interrupted by Fandango and Summer Rae, who dance around Miz for no reason.
Ah, the more things change. You know the rest.
Ring Of Fire Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
So a Ring Of Fire Match is a match where the ring is surrounded by fire. Oh sure.
Okay, for this match in particular, why don’t they ever send Bray out with an actual lantern? The little light bulb has always seemed so silly. So silly and ridiculous and weird. Now excuse me while I watch two men pretend to fight each other in a boxing ring surrounded by fire.
This is Bray’s first match on the main roster, and the company had built him up as a game-changing wrestler. Yeah, okay.
Pretty basic back-and-forth stuff to start, with Bray getting much of the early advantage. Kane goes for a chokeslam, but Bray fights out of it. Bray takes a few corner clotheslines from the Big Red Machine, who follows up with a sidewalk slam. Bray calls for help from Harper and Rowan, who can’t pass a kendo stick into the ring through the flames.
Kane manages to nail the chokeslam while Rowan and Harper keep doing a Keystone Cops routine to put the fire out. He hits a second chokeslam and signals for the tombstone piledriver, but Harper and Rowan drape an asbestos blanket over the fire and get into the ring to attack Kane.
Good thing Harper didn’t stub his toe on the way in. Vince might’ve extended his contract through the year 2133.
The Wyatt Family holds Kane up, and Bray hits Sister Abigail for the pin and exits SummerSlam 2013 with his first victory.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
After the match, the Wyatts slam the ring steps down on Kane’s head and drag him away. If you’re wondering what became of that angle, so am I, because it was never spoken of again.
Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes
I miss Damien Sandow so much. This was when he was doing his “obnoxious intellectual” gimmick, predating his “kill time dressed as Magneto” gimmick.
No, seriously. This is a thing that happened. On television. There were cameras and microphones and everything.
Cody Rhodes enters next. I haven’t heard much from the Rhodes kid. He’ll probably go nowhere in life.
At the time of SummerSlam 2013, Sandow was one of two Money In The Bank briefcase holders (there were two world titles at the time), and that worked out wonderfully for him. Ahem.
The story here is that Cody and Sandow had been the tag team, the Rhodes Scholars, but Sandow turned on Cody to win the MITB briefcase. This match is actually pretty good, as both guys were at the top of their games, they were both great workers, and they were hungry.
Funny how WWE’ll beat that out of you.
Cody goes for Crossroads early, but Sandow counters out of it and hits the Elbow of Disdain for a two-count. Sandow goes to lock in a cloverleaf hold, but Cody reverses at the expense of his back. The match stays in Sandow’s favor, as he keeps up the attack on Cody.
After Sandow heads up top, Cody hits him with an electric chair drop thingie (I’m not Meltzer, folks) for two. Sandow goes to dump Cody over the top, but Cody hits the bionic elbow and follows with a missile drop kick. An attempt at a Disaster Kick is thwarted by Sandow, who dumps Cody throat-first into the bottom rope for a two-count.
A little back-and-forth, and Cody nails the Disaster Kick for real but only gets two.
Cody hits Crossroads out of nowhere for the pin. Too short, and the finish was a little too out-of-nowhere, but it was good for what it was.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Michael Cole keeps thanking me for joining him for SummerSlam 2013 on pay-per-view. These words are so old.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Christian
SummerSlam 2013 was pretty much the peak of Christian’s last run with WWE.
Del Rio comes out sporting a black eye courtesy of a Killswitch from Christian suffered on that week’s SmackDown. The champ earns some extra heel heat by demanding that Lillian Garcia introduce him in Spanish.
The match starts with the standard collar-and-elbow tie-up. Christian dumps Del Rio out of the ring after slapping the taste out of his mouth. Geeze, you’d think Del Rio was some WWE social media intern.
(crickets) Too inside?
Del Rio props Christian on the top turnbuckle and delivers a vicious kick to his back, leaving Christian in a tree-of-woe position. On the outside, Del Rio slams Christian shoulder-first into the barricade, aggravating the challenger’s shoulder injury. Back inside, Del Rio keeps up the attack on the shoulder to set him up for his cross armbreaker submission.
Christian fights back and splashes Del Rio on the outside, but his left shoulder is just dead weight. Slugfest on the inside, but Del Rio drops Christian on his shoulder again and slaps him while he’s down. Del Rio was such a great heel.
A top rope crossbody from the challenger gets a two count, and Del Rio begs off. He suckers Christian in and goes for a sidewalk slam, but Christian tries to reverse into the Killswitch. Del Rio escapes and hits a backstabber for two. Christian teases the Killswitch again, but Del Rio shoves him into the turnbuckle.
Christian manages to fight out. He goes for a spear, but Del Rio hits a dropkick for two. After a fierce back-and-forth, Christian finally nails a spear, but he connects with the bad shoulder. Del Rio takes advantage and locks in with the cross armbbreaker for the submission to retain.
That was awesome.
Winner and World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio
After the match, Renee Young interviews Del Rio in the ring. Del Rio declares himself the champion and hero of WWE’s Mexican fans and gets a mixed reaction from the Los Angeles crowd. On another note, it’s great to see Renee doing something that isn’t calling matches.
Backstage, SummerSlam 2013 host Miz interviews Maria Menounos about some something or other and gets interrupted by Fandango and Summer Rae. Only this time, Maria and Miz interrupt with a dance of their own. I can’t figure out why it was so hard for Fandango to stay over.
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
You see, kids, this was in the days when Divas matches were just commercials for Total Divas.
Brie is accompanied by Nikki Bella and Eva Marie, and Natalya is accompanied by the Funkadactyls. 2013 was a weird, weird time.
I have no idea what the story was, because I’ve never seen Total Divas. We open with a slapfest, and Lawler cheers it on at the commentary table as if he’s some kind of elderly pervert. Oh, wait.
Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Brie escapes to the outside. Outside the ring, Eva Marie and Nikki beat Natalya up. The crowd is so into it that they’re chanting, “J-B-L” and “Michael Cole.” Man, folks are strange out in L.A, aren’t they?
Brie botches the hell out of a legdrop, landing directly on Natalya’s nose. She locks Natalya in an awkward headlock before slamming her down to the mat. Brie hits something or other on Natlaya. I dunno what it was, but it was awkward. Another headlock, but Natalya counters with a neckbreaker followed by a lariat.
Natalya finally hooks the Sharpshooter, but she reverses and sends Natalya head-first into the bottom turnbuckle. Nikki and Eva Marie start to pound Natalya, but the Funkadactyls fight them off. Back inside, and Brie goes back to her stupid-ass headlock again, but Natalya lifts her up, but Brie rolls through for a small package that gets two.
The crowd is now chanting for Zack Ryder. I can’t argue with them on that one.
Brie leaps at Natalya, but Natalya catches her and locks the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, and Brie taps.
Well, that was certainly something that was on television. Is it mean to be glad that the Bellas aren’t physically able to compete anymore? Yes. Yes it is.
We get footage from earlier in the day at the SummerSlam 2013 catering table. Ryback complains about the temperature of his soup. So he dumps it down the catering guy’s shirt and over his head. Wow. I forgot how bad Ryback was at literally everything.
No Disqualification Match: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Spoiler: This is the match of the night for SummerSlam 2013.
Punk at this time was sporting his Wolverine mutton chops. Lesnar at this time looked like a big roided-out freak.
On commentary, Cole says that Punk is normally free-wheeling and joking around in the locker room. Dude, even Kayfabe News wouldn’t publish that as a headline.
Lesnar starts trying to murder Punk early, but Punk fights back with forearms to the jaw, but Lesnar won’t be deterred. He stomps Punk in the corner, and the crowd is hot for this match. Punk fights his way out of the corner, but his best shots won’t put Lesnar off his feet.
A double-axe handle from Punk puts Lesnar down on the outside, and Punk follows it with a dive from the announce desk. Punk begins to stalk Heyman, but Lesnar runs up behind him and knocks Punk down. Lesnar picks Punk up like a rag doll and throws him over the Spanish announce table, tweaking Punk’s bad knee.
Lesnar finally throws Punk back into the ring, and Punk wakes up, kicking at Lesnar’s knees.
He locks Punk in a bearhug before Punk starts throwing elbows at Lesnar’s nose to break free. He runs at Lesnar but takes a pair of stiff knees to the gut. Punk goes up top and goes for a dive, but Lesnar catches him and throws him over his head.
Lesnar locks in a side headlock, but Punk takes advantage of the No-DQ stipulation and bites Lesnar’s ear to get free.
Punk goes up top again and takes him down with a flying knee but hurts himself in the process. He limps his way to a pair of running high knees. On a third attempt, Lesnar catches him and goes for the F-5, but Punk escapes and nails a roundhouse. He goes back up top again and hits the Randy Savage elbow but only gets two.
A dazed Lesnar starts to climb to his feet, and Punk signals for the GTS. He lifts Lesnar on his shoulder, but Punk reverses for the F-5. Punk escapes again and hits another roundhouse. He goes for the GTS again, but Lesnar counters with the Kimura lock.
Punk reverses into a triangle, and Lesnar teases tapping and the crowd buys it. As the kids say, this is awesome. Lesnar lifts Punk for a powerbomb and hits it, but Punk doesn’t let go of the hold. The Beast teases a tap again, but he lifts Punk for another powerbomb, but Punk starts laying in the elbows on Lesnar’s head. It’s to no avail, though, as Lesnar hits a running powerbomb, and both guys are down.
Lesnar hits a trio of suplexes (not Germans — those come a year later) for a two-count. The Beast heads outside and grabs a chair. On the inside, Punk wakes up and heads up top and goes for a dive, but Lesnar holds up the chair. Now Punk has the chair. He gives Lesnar a pair of wicked shots to the back.
They go back inside, and Punk swings at Lesnar, but the Beast catches it, and Punk hits a Greco-Roman nutshot. Seth Rollins clearly studied this match.
Punk goes up top and hits another flying elbow, this time holding the chair and driving it into Lesnar’s face. He goes for the cover, but Lesnar kicks out. Punk starts wailing away at Lesnar’s back with the chair. He raises the chair again, but Heyman grabs it from behind. Punk grabs him by the tie, but Lesnar sets him up for the F-5, but he still has a grip on Heyman’s tie.
They get broken up, and Punk gets the GTS, but Heyman breaks up the count. Punk does his best Shining grin and chases Heyman around the ring, only to be caught by Lesnar who gets the F-5, but Punk counters into a DDT for two. This is six years old, and it’s exhausting to watch.
Punk locks on the Anaconda Vice, and the crowd goes nuts, but Heyman rushes in with the chair only to have it stepped on by Punk. He lifts Heyman up and cold cocks him in the face and puts the Vice on the advocate. But in the meantime, the Beast was awakened, and now he has the chair. He goes to town on Punk before hitting the F-5 on the chair for the pin.
That was the best match of Lesnar’s career.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
SummerSlam 2013 is a perfect picture of how Brock Lesnar should be used. Give him an opponent who can bump around the ring and still keep it looking like a credible fight. It’s not rocket surgery.
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
This was back in olden times when nobody knew what to do with Big E. Also, I have no memory whatsoever of Kaitlyn.
If I remember right, the history here is that Big E used to be Dolph’s muscle, and AJ was his girlfriend. Or something.
Big E goes for the Abdominal Stretch of Doom before propping him up for a slap from AJ. Ziggler hits a dropkick, and AJ tags in. The women go at it, and Kaitlyn pushes AJ into the corner before nailing a backbreaker. AJ fights back with a spinning kick for a two-count.
She takes Kaitlyn to Side Headlock City. Kaitlyn escapes but eats an elbow from AJ for two. A pair of swinging neckbreakers only gets a two count, but AJ wastes time skipping around the ring. Kaitlyn gets to her feet, but AJ gets another headlock.
AJ rushes at Kaitlyn, but Kaitlyn gets a shoulder tackle and tags Ziggler back in. Ziggler lays in the attack on Big E and hits 10 standing elbows for a two-count. He goes for the Zig-Zag, but Big E catches him with a backbreaker. Kaitlyn breaks up the pin, so AJ kicks her out of the ring.
Big E spears Ziggler into the corner. He goes for another one, but goes shoulder-first into the ring post instead. Ziggler tries to follow up, but AJ holds his leg. Kaitlyn spears her to even the odds. Big E lifts Ziggler up for the Big Ending, but Ziggler gets the Zig-Zag for the win.
Eh. Okay for what it was. The crowd was dead for this one, but how could they not be?
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn
Backstage, Fandango interrupts Miz again, so Miz punches him in the face. Michael Cole outdoes Lawler in the bad pun department and calls him “Fan-DOWN-go.” Sigh.
WWE Championship Match: John Cena (C) vs. Daniel Bryan w/ special referee Triple H
We’ve covered this match in short form before. It’s heartbreaking. Continue with SummerSlam 2013 at your own risk.
Cena gets booed out of the building on his entrance. You can tell it’s a special night, because he’s sporting khaki shorts instead of the standard jorts.
Bryan starts out with an armlock, but Cena reverses to a side headlock. Cena is sporting a baseball-sized welt on his elbow. The challenger breaks free, and we get the babyface staredown. Bryan calls for a test of strength, which kinda makes him look like an idiot considering he weighs about 40 pounds.
The challenger wiggles out and goes for the Yes Lock, but Cena slides to the outside. Back inside, Cena goes for the headlock again, but Bryan gets to his feet only to get bridged by Cena. Bryan powers out and goes for a backslide pin attempt for two.
With Cena on the mat, Bryan goes for a Mexican surfboard, but Cena powers out. Cena goes for the AA, but Bryan slips out over the top rope only to get knocked off the apron face-first into the announce table. On the outside, Cena goes to whip Bryan, but Bryan reverses and sends Cena into the steps.
Bryan climbs the steps and sets Cena up for a suplex only for Cena to reverse it, sending Bryan crashing to the floor. He throws Bryan back into the ring for a quick cover, but Bryan kicks out. Cena lays in the punches in the corner and whips Bryan into the opposite turnbuckle. The champ keeps up the attack and hits a powerbomb for two.
Momentum shifts to Bryan, as he lays in the Yes Kicks to Cena’s sternum. Cena ducks the last one and hits a pair of shoulder tackles leading to a sidewalk slam. He teases the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Bryan kicks him in the head and goes for the Yes Lock. Cena counters, but Bryan escapes only for Cena to hit another slam.
He gets the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the AA, but Bryan takes Cena down and hits a missile dropkick for two. Cena’s eye starts to swell, and Bryan goes after Cena’s bad elbow. Bryan taunts Cena to get up but keeps kicking him back down. He drags Cena to his feet and keeps up the attack on the elbow.
We’re back to the Yes Kicks before Bryan goes after the elbow again, but Cena reverses and goes for the STF, but Bryan reverses into an STF of his own. Cena powers out, but Bryan drags him back to the center of the ring for two German suplexes. He goes for a third, but Cena lifts him up for the AA only for Bryan to escape. He cinches in the Yes Lock, but Cena powers out.
Bryan holds onto the neck, though, and gets Cena in a reverse triangle. The champion powers out and gets to his feet, slamming Bryan into the turnbuckle. Bryan won’t break the hold, though. Cena finally breaks the hold and dumps Bryan on his head.
Cena gets an AA out of nowhere, but Bryan kicks out. The champ goes to the top rope, but Bryan kips up and rushes the corner and dropkicks Cena. He hooks Cena for a superplex, and hangs onto the ropes to avoid taking any impact himself. Smart.
The diving headbutt only gets two, and Cena rolls out of the ring. Bryan goes for a suicide dive, but Cena catches him with a forearm. Cena goes up top again and hits a diving legdrop for two. He carries Bryan to the top rope, but Bryan elbows his way out and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Cena hangs onto his legs and nearly drops Bryan on his head.
Cena locks in the STF, but Bryan rolls out of it and gets the Yes Lock. The champion gets to the rope to force the break, but the damage has been done. Bryan gets two running dropkicks in the corner, but Cena gets a clothesline that turns Bryan 360 degrees before he crashes to the mat.
Champion and challenger trade kicks and punches before taking each other out with colliding clotheslines. Both guys crawl to one another, and Cena does what he does best by audibly calling the next spot. We get a slapfest (Lawler’s less excited by this one), and it turns into a slugfest.
The champ picks Bryan up for the AA, but Bryan counters with a midair DDT. Bryan heads to the top and goes for another dive, but Cena catches him and sets up for another AA, but Bryan escapes and turns it into a pin attempt. It gets two, but Bryan gets a quick kick to the back of Cena’s head.
Cena staggers to his feet, and Bryan hits the running knee for the pin and the title.
Winner and WWE Champion: Daniel Bryan
Cena plays good sport and shakes Bryan’s hand and Triple H’s before leaving the ring. And as confetti rains from the rafters, Randy Orton (the other Mr. Money In The Bank) makes his way out. He teases cashing in, but turns to go to the back. Phew. Crisis averted.
Until Triple H spins Bryan around and nails him with the Pedigree to the shock of the crowd. Orton hands Triple H the briefcase.
WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Randy Orton
Triple H calls for the bell, and Orton covers an unconscious Bryan for the pin to become the new WWE Champion.
Winner and WWE Champion: Randy Orton
Yeah, like I said. Heartbreaking.
SummerSlam 2013 was the best major pay-per-view event of that year from top to bottom. There were a couple of nothing matches on the card, but no out-and-out stinkers. And it’s refreshing to remember that even six years ago, WWE had a tendency to forget that the tag team championship is a thing.
Lesnar vs. Punk alone would’ve made this a must-watch show, but the rest of the card delivered as well. Unfortunately, this began the Authority angle which never really ended.
An easy thumbs-up across the board. It was a show good enough to hook me as a week-to-week WWE fan. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not, but this was an amazing event.
All images courtesy of WWE.