The John Report: WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 Review
WWE Hell in a Cell
October 28, 2013 (Twitter @johnreport)
I did not see it live. I watched the replay. The pre-show match was Damien Sandow defeating Kofi Kingston. Axel vs. Langston was scrapped due to an injury to Axel.
The opening video package focused on Hell in a Cell matches from the past. A lot of them had blood. Not anymore. The set looks cool with flames shooting up by the entrance. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield like usual. Tag titles open the show.
Prior to the tag title match beginning, the announcers mentioned that Big Show has been banned from the building with a restraining order put in place by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rey Mysterio is joining the Spanish announce team Carlos Cabrera and Marcelo Rodriguez for the night.
Tag Team Championship: Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso
No Dean Ambrose at ringside for The Shield. Two guys are in the ring. The others stand on the apron. First pinfall or submission wins. Goldust was on fire against Jey and Cody tagged in with a front suplex for two. Jimmy tagged in to get a nearfall with a rollup. The babyface teams continued to face off while The Shield watched it all unfold. Reigns made a blind tag and tripped up Goldust, which led to him driving Goldust into the side of the ring followed by a leaping clothesline for two. Rollins tagged in to hit a running boot on Goldust for two. They continued to work over Goldust in their corner. Backslide got a two count for Goldust, but Reigns dropped him with a back elbow for two of his own. The crowd chanted for Goldust as he tried to break free. He managed to hit a DDT to create that space, but Rollins (the legal man) gave Cody a dropkick to knock him off the apron. Goldust gave Rollins a back body drop. He went to his corner, but Cody was on the floor. Goldust wanted to tag in the Usos when The Shield guys knocked them off the apron. Reigns was legal now and he dropped Goldust with a suplex. Cody made the save for his brother as Cole mentioned it's No Disqualification in a triple threat. If that's the case why doesn't Cody just stay in there the whole time or use weapons? That's the flaw of No DQ in a tag setting. Powerslam by Goldust.
Goldust tagged in Cody, who hit a missile dropkick on Rollins (now legal). Sweet rollup earned him a two count. Moonsault press off the top earned a two count for Cody. Kick to the midsection by Cody. One of the Usos tagged Cody in the back and hit a cross body block off the top. It's Jimmy, who also hit a running corner butt splash. They did a spot where Goldust and Reigns ended up on the floor, so Jey hit a dive over the top to take them out. Jimmy threw Rollins in the air and brought him down with a Samoan Drop. Awesome spot there. Huge pop for that nearfall. Cody tagged Jimmy, so he was legal against Rollins. Cody fought with Rollins on the top and Cody gave Rollins a suplex onto the other men on outside the ring on the floor. Wow. That was very risky, but it looked awesome. The crowd gave a big reaction to that too. There's the "this is awesome" chant. Cody covered Rollins in the ring, so Jimmy hit a top rope Superfly splash to break that up. Jimmy tried to drag Seth to his corner to tag himself in, but Reigns hit him with a Spear. Jey took out Reigns. Rollins took out Jey. Goldust went back into the ring, Rollins tried to fight off the brothers, but was unsuccessful and fell victim to a Goldust uppercut as well as the Cross Rhodes by Cody. Cody covered Rollins for the win. It went about 15 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
Analysis: ***1/2 That was an awesome opener. The most impressive spot was the suplex onto the floor with everybody getting knocked down. I have a hard time remembering the last time I saw that in WWE. Everything about the match was well done. Goldust did well as the face in peril, Cody was on fire when he made the hot tag and the Usos fit into the match well. The nearfalls were excellent by all three teams. I don't know how long the Rhodes Brothers will be tag champs because I expect The Shield to win them back soon, but this result was what I expected. It may be the match of the night. Good luck to everybody that has to follow it.
The Miz entered the ring for a promo. He spoke about how the Wyatt Family attacked him on Smackdown, so now he's not cleared for action tonight (even though he's dressed in his ring gear). He called out Bray Wyatt and told him to leave his hillbilly buddies. Miz mentioned that Bray always talks about following the buzzards. "I'm right here. Come and get me." The lights went out as Wyatt's song started up and he was in the rocking chair as a video played. He called Miz "Hollywood" at one point. He did a promo about how Miz wouldn't want to see what's behind the eyes of Wyatt. Then he laughed and laughed.
The lights came back on with Luke Harper & Erick Rowan in the ring. They attacked Miz. Harper dropped Miz with a big boot to the face. The crowd chanted "we want Kane" because they knew what was coming. Kane's music started up and he returned to get revenge on the Wyatt Family. He knocked down Rowan with a boot to the face. He went into the ring against Harper. They messed something up, but improvised with Kane throwing Harper over the top to the floor. The Wyatt boys retreated. Kane grabbed Miz by the throat and gave him a Chokeslam.
Analysis: Kane hasn't been around since SummerSlam when he was taken out by Bray Wyatt. Since then he was off filming the See No Evil 2. The crowd was chanting for him during the attack on Miz, so they could see it coming as I'm sure most people watching at home could see it. As far as Kane's Chokeslam on Miz, it's just a way to show that Kane is a loner. He wasn't there to help Miz. He was there to get revenge.
Fandango and Summer Rae entered the ring for a mixed tag match. Fandango did a promo to tell us what his name was. Then they danced some salsa for the Miami crowd. Great Khali and Natalya are their opponents.
Fandango & Summer Rae vs. The Great Khali & Natalya (w/Hornswoggle)
This was set up on Smackdown. Cole said this was Summer Rae's debut because they don't acknowledge her work on NXT. Khali hit a big chop on Fandango, so Fandango tagged in Summer. Natalya entered for her team. Summer hit an arm drag and a jackknife cover, but Natalya countered it to a backslide. Dropkick by Summer. Natalya gave her a drop toe hold, a butt slap and then an arm drag. Fandango tagged in, so Natalya almost put the Sharpshooter on him until he bailed to the floor. Hornswoggle laughed at him. Back in the ring, dropkick to the knee knocked down Khali. When Khali tried to come back, Fandango brought in Summer which meant Natalya had to enter the match. Suplex, body slam and spinning clothesline by Natalya. She wanted the Sharpshooter, but Summer Rae made it to the ropes. Summer stunned Natalya by dropping her throat first on the ropes and then rolled her up. Summer covered for the win. It went about 5 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Fandango & Summer Rae
Analysis: * I'm tired of anything with Great Khali. Why not put Tyson Kidd with Natalya for this so then the match could actually be good? The whole point of this was to put over the idea that Summer can actually wrestle and the announcers talked about how it was an upset that she was able to pin Natalya. Ultimately it doesn't mean much, but it's a way to incorporate her into women's matches on television now. She's been in NXT for a year working mostly as a heel. She's good enough.
The PPV panel spoke: Josh Mathews, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Kaitlyn. I miss when Ziggler was wrestling on PPVs because he's one of the best performers in WWE.
The original kickoff match was supposed to be Langston vs. Axel for the IC Title. Since Axel is hurt (Wrestling Observer says it's a hip injury), Langston gets a US Title shot instead and he gets to be on the main show instead of the pre-show. I don't understand the logic of it, but I'm okay with it.
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Big E Langston
A minute into the match, Langston applied a bearhug. A bearhug by a babyface is not a great move to use. When Ambrose broke free, Langston gave him a back body drop over the top to the floor. Ambrose was favoring his left knee. He drove Langston shoulder first into the side of the ring. While on the apron, Ambrose sent Langston face first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Ambrose hit Langston with a running dropkick while Big E was tied up in the ropes. The crowd tried getting into it, but without any story going it that was a bit difficult. Langston came back with a back body drop followed by a running clothesline. Ambrose moved out of the way of a splash. Langston hit a belly to belly suplex for two. Running body splash by Langston got a two count. Ambrose slipped out of the ring. He went up the aisle, so Langston brought him back into the ring. When Langston tried to get back in the ring, Ambrose kicked the ropes. DDT by Ambrose got a two count. There was some blood under the right eye of Langston. Replay showed it happened when he was delivering a clothesline. Ambrose was on the apron, so Big E tackled him and they both landed outside the ring. Great athleticism by Langston in doing that move. Langston went back into the ring. Ambrose said to hell with this and grabbed his title. He stayed outside the ring so the referee counted him out. The match went about 9 minutes.
Winner by countout: Big E Langston (Ambrose retains US Title)
Post match, Langston brought Ambrose back into the ring. He hit the Big Ending to knock down Ambrose. Langston held up the US Title.
Analysis: *1/2 I hate the "heel walks out for the countout loss" ending that WWE does far too often. I don't think it really helps either guy, but obviously the post match attack was done to make Langston look strong. This feud will likely continue. Ambrose will probably drop the title to Langston because I doubt they're going to have Langston lose a feud when he has to chance to win his first title. He'll either win this title or the IC Title.
Next match is Punk vs. Ryback & Heyman, so the Hell in a Cell began to lower. They showed a replay of Punk winning Beat the Clock two weeks ago and setting up the stipulation for this match. I'm surprised there wasn't a video package of the whole feud.
CM Punk made his entrance. Big ovation like usual. Ryback entered on his own. Paul Heyman was hesitant to enter the match, so he was on some kind of apparatus that drove him to the ring. JBL said it was Heyman's way of having a special entrance like Andre the Giant at WrestleMania 3. Heyman did a promo saying that he was the best in hell. The apparatus lifted Heyman up to the top of the cage as he told us that in WWE he is Satan himself. Heyman walked across the top of the cage where he said that he owned CM Punk. I guess that means Heyman is starting this match on top of the cage.
Handicap Hell in a Cell Match: CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman
Cole pointed out this was the 27th Hell in a Cell match in WWE history and the 5th for CM Punk. These two met at HIAC last year, but WWE doesn't mention that. Heyman was on top of the cage as Punk went at it with Ryback in the ring. Punk attacked Ryback outside the ring. Punk grabbed a kendo stick, but Ryback countered by slamming Punk into the side of the cage a couple of times. Ryback attacked with the kendo stick. In the ring, Ryback knocked Punk down with a back elbow while Heyman looked down from the top of the cell. Hard whip in the corner by Ryback. Punk regained the momentum after Ryback was sent to the floor and into the side of the cage. Punk jumped off the top with a forearm shot to the head. He went for a table, but Ryback shoved him into the steel steps. Ryback slammed Punk into the side of the cage suplex style three times in a row. Back suplex by Ryback for two. Ryback continued to control the action until Punk came back with a cross body block off the ropes for two. Punk hit a running knee in the corner. His springboard attack was countered into a slam by Ryback for two. Punk fought out of Shellshock and attacked with the kendo stick. He hit Ryback in the back along with a shot to the throat. Running knee, clothesline and top rope elbow for Punk earned him a two count. Punk destroyed Ryback with more kendo stick shots to the ribs. Punk grabbed a table from under the ring and brought it into the ring.
Punk took too long, so Ryback put the table on its side and he dropped Punk so that his groin went into the side of the table. Think of a rope crotch except it was on a table instead. Ryback hit a clothesline for two and then he set up the table in the ring. Punk hit a low blow just like he did at Battleground, so Ryback was on the table. Of course he didn't move. I don't like when the guy just lays on the table like that. The person going to the top rope should punch him a few times to daze him a bit at least. Punk drove him through the table with a flying elbow off the top rope. Punk hit Ryback with the kendo stick. Go To Sleep by Punk. He covered for the win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: CM Punk
Analysis: **1/2 I actually thought Ryback had a chance to win in the preview I did, but there was never a point in the match where I thought he would get the victory because of how the match went. There really weren't good nearfalls for Ryback. It was booked in a way to make Punk look very dominant. There were reports this week that management wasn't happy with Ryback, so perhaps this is the end of his push although I'm not sure about that. I just think it was booked this way to give this feud some finality. I'm not that impressed by Ryback personally. I think he had a lot of momentum last year, then he lost far too many matches and has never been able to get that momentum back. Fans don't buy into him as a big deal. As for Punk, look for him to get back into the WWE Title picture where he belongs.
Post match, Punk put a kendo stick in his tights and he climbed up the top of the cell to face off with Heyman. Punk hit Heyman in the ribs with the kendo stick. Heyman fell to his stomach on top of the cell. Punk hit Heyman in the back with the kendo stick about a dozen times. Cole said Heyman deserved it while JBL said that Punk should stop. Punk put Heyman on his shoulders and gave him the Go To Sleep on top of the cell. Heyman was knocked out while Punk was very proud of himself. It's a good thing that WWE has reinforced the cage a lot over the years.
Analysis: That's the end of this feud, most likely. I'm definitely fine with that. I would assume that Heyman gets to take a break from the road for the next month or however long he's going to be out. I think it's important to sell it, but Heyman's such an excellent performer that I hope he returns to TV soon.
They showed replays of Punk's attack on Heyman as he celebrated with the kendo stick.
There was a video of WWE superstars talking about how breast cancer has affected their lives. For more info visit Komen.org/WWE.
The lovely Renee Young interviewed Daniel Bryan backstage. Bryan said all he's ever wanted was a chance to prove that he can be WWE Champion. After months of being screwed around he finally has a chance to show he's better than Orton. He mentioned special referee Shawn Michaels. Bryan said this is the building where, the night after WrestleMania 28, the "yes" phenomenon really was born. He was doing the "yes" thing for months before WM28, but it's fair to say that it really became a big deal on the Raw after WM28. He yelled "yes" repeatedly and of course the fans joined him in chanting that.
Analysis: Short promo that only went about one minute. It was nice of him to acknowledge the Miami crowd that really helped the "yes" chant become a big deal last year.
The announcers talked about the Punk/Heyman ending. They didn't show how Heyman was brought down, but eventually he was removed along with the cage.
It's time for Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans. Zeb Colter did a promo ripping on Los Matadores because they haven't proved they should be legally allowed in the country. He also insulted the fans. He spoke about El Torito attacking him in the past. Zeb called them "border hopping banditos." The crowd joined in with the "we the people" part of the speech at the end of course.
Los Matadores (w/El Torito) vs. Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
Cesaro started with Diego, who hit headscissors on Cesaro, but that momentum ended when Cesaro dumped him outside the ring. Swagger tagged in. He attacked the left knee of Diego outside the ring. Cesaro hit a leaping double foot stomp to the chest of Diego. The heels worked over Diego in their corner. Back body drop by Diego sent Swagger outside the ring. Cesaro hit a big boot to knock down Fernando. Cesaro gave Diego the Cesaro Swing well over 20 times and when it looked like it would end he did even more. JBL said it was 31 times. He covered for a two count as Fernando made the save. Swagger tagged in and so did Fernando, who knocked down Swagger with a forearm shot followed by a swinging DDT. Cesaro broke it up, so Diego took him out, but then Cesaro drove him into the security wall. Swagger clipped the knee of Fernando in the ring. Patriot Lock by Swagger, but Fernando was able to break free. They did a double team spot where one guy slammed Swagger with a flatliner and the other attacked from the back with a clothesline to the back. That was enough for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Los Matadores
Post match, Colter was upset in the ring. Cesaro tried to save him, but Torito knocked Cesaro out of the ring. Torito knocked Colter out of the ring and hit a splash onto Swagger outside the ring. Los Matadores celebrated the victory.
Analysis: ** The winners were predictable because it was their PPV debut. The match was okay. If they had more time those four could have an awesome tag match, but it's mostly about the comedy spots at this point. Cesaro's Swing spot is always fun. It's all he ever has to do anymore.
There was a John Cena video package that was shown on Raw and Smackdown last week hyping up his return to action. The summary of the video is that Cena works really hard and the rest of us are all lazy. That's why he owns 46 cars (I'm estimating). I don't know. I hit FF to be honest.
The World Champion Alberto Del Rio made his entrance. He barely gets a reaction considering he is holding the World Title. They did the long delay thing before Cena's music hit. He received a big ovation that was mostly cheers. This is his first match in two months.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena
Cena's wearing an elbow pad covering up the elbow where he had surgery on the torn triceps. Del Rio went after the left arm right away. Cena hit a shoulderblock and sold the pain in his left arm. Bulldog by Cena earned him a two count. Del Rio regained the advantage with a kick to the left arm of Cena. German Suplex by Del Rio got a two count. Del Rio applied an armbar on the left arm of Cena. Armdrag by Cena followed by a dropkick (busting out the big moves!), but his offense didn't last. Double axehandle by Del Rio for two followed by another armbar. They showed Damien Sandow watching on backstage as Del Rio continued to control the action until he missed a dive that sent him crashing to the floor. Del Rio jumped off the top, so Cena hit a dropkick to counter. Cena hit the shoulder tackles, the spinning suplex and then the You Can't See Me leading to the 5 Knuckle Shuffle because masturbation references are fun. Del Rio came back with the Backstabber for two. Cena hit an impressive Tornado DDT off the middle rope. Cena went up top for the leg drop, but Del Rio hit the running enziguiri to knock him down. Del Rio hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Then he missed a corner charge after Cena avoided it. That set things up perfectly for a Cena cross body block for two. Del Rio applied an armbreaker using his knees to drive into Cena's arm. Cena quickly came back with the STF, but Del Rio made it to the ropes. Del Rio hit a kick to the face for two. He went for the Cross Armbreaker on the injured left arm, but Cena did everything he could to fight out of it. He slammed Del Rio down to break out of the hold. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment. He covered for the victory after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall and New World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
Cole mentioned it was Cena's 3rd World Championship and 14th overall counting his 11 WWE Titles. Cena told JBL that he was wrong about him coming back early. I was thinking it would be a great time for Sandow to try to cash in, but it didn't happen.
Analysis: *** Good match from two guys who know each other well. I wasn't shocked with the booking decision. I'm sure many others felt the same way. They've wrestled so many times in the past that I could call a lot of the moves before they happened. I guess I was overthinking in the preview when I thought Cena wouldn't win because he's above the World Title. Of course the positive of putting it on Cena is that the value of the title will go up because he's holding it. There are some that think that maybe he holds it all the way until WrestleMania for a unification match for both major titles. I'm not sure if that's the plan, but it would make sense if Bryan or Punk walked into WrestleMania 30 holding the WWE Title.
The Survivor Series promo featured the Wyatt Family. Maybe they will actually be on the card unlike R-Truth in the Hell in a Cell promo, who is merely part of the PPV panel. Speaking of them, the PPV panel discussed how great Cena is. Kaitlyn talked about the Divas Title. I'm more interested in Kaitlyn now that she's a brunette. I'm a brunette guy.
Divas Championship: AJ Lee (w/Tamina Snuka) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella)
AJ got the advantage early by using the ropes to assist her in knocking Brie outside the ring. AJ slammed her down to the mat using her hair. AJ tried to wear her down by working on her neck. Brie drove her into the corner to break free. Brie hit a dropkick off the middle rope. Brie hit a couple of dropkicks followed by a weak looking clothesline. Brie groans a lot. Just saying. It's noticeable. Brie was able to counter AJ's offense by rolling through with a half crab. Tamina tried to interfere, so Nikki knocked her down. Brie came running with a knee attack, AJ moved out of the way and Brie accidentally hit Nikki in the head to knock her down. AJ capitalized with the Black Widow. Brie tapped out to give AJ the submission win. It went about six minutes.
Winner by submission: AJ Lee
Analysis: *1/2 They worked hard in the time they were given. I hope this is the end of Brie receiving title shot because I'm getting tired of this story. I picked AJ to win because I think it's the best thing for the divas division to have a dominant champion. The finish with Brie hitting the knee attack on Nikki could lead to some kind of feud between them although I'm definitely not clamoring for a Bella Twin feud. I'm not sure who AJ's next opponent will be since she's beat most of them. There are plenty of free agent women available. Just saying.
The Prime Time Players were backstage playing the WWE 2K14 when Bob Backlund showed up to tell them the kids need to read, write and do arithmetic. They tried to teach Backlund how to dance, so they did the Millions of Dollars dance together.
Analysis: The idea of the promo was good. It wasn't that funny. Of course it was just done to promote the video game.
There was a video package for the WWE Title main event match.
The first man to enter was Shawn Michaels. Randy Orton was next. Last man was Daniel Bryan. Or not. WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H also decided to show up. At least we didn't have to hear a 15 minute Triple H promo on this show. He had the WWE Championship with him. He shook hands with Orton. Bryan didn't want to shake hands with him. Michaels held up the WWE Title as the cell lowered.
Vacant WWE Championship - Hell in a Cell Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (Special Referee is Shawn Michaels)
Bryan hit a missile dropkick early on. Orton came back with a dropkick of his own. Orton gave Bryan a suplex so that Bryan's ribs went into the top rope. He did it twice. Then he knocked Bryan off the apron and into the cage that surrounds the ring. Orton used the steel steps as a weapon against Bryan. Orton propped up the ring steps against the cage and Bryan ended up whipping Orton into them. Back in the ring, Bryan got a two count. He set up Orton so he was upside down in the corner and hit a running dropkick to the chest. Running kick sent Orton over the top and then Bryan did the Flying Goat dive that sent Orton into the cage. He did it a second time, but when he tried a third time Orton moved out of the way so Bryan went crashing into the cage. If there was blood in WWE he'd likely come up bleeding after that spot. Orton drove Bryan groin first into the ring post because he's mean like that. Modified backbreaker by Orton outside the ring. Back in the ring, Orton wanted a suplex. Bryan countered with a sunset flip into a powerbomb. Both guys were down.
They exchanged forearm shots and Bryan won the battle after hitting a running clothesline. Bryan hit two running dropkicks in the corner. Bryan hit a Frankensteiner off the top rope. With Orton down on the mat, Bryan went to the top where he connected with the flying headbutt for a two count. After a nice exchange, Orton was able to get a rollup. Bryan tried the Yes Lock, but Orton escaped to the floor. Bryan threw Orton into the cage four times. Bryan gave Orton a running dropkick into the cage outside the ring. Bryan jabbed Orton in the ribs with a steel chair, then a chair to the back and two more of those. Bryan threw multiple chairs into the ring. The crowd chanted "yes" for every chair toss into the ring. There were about ten chairs in the ring. Bryan hit Orton in the back with another chair shot. Orton used an eye poke to free himself. He attacked Bryan with a chair that earned him a two count. Orton stacked the chairs in the middle of the ring. He put Bryan on the top rope and hit a superplex onto the chairs in the center of the ring. The crowd reacted to it like it was a big deal. It was a big spot that saw Bryan's body smash into the chairs hard. Orton covered for a two count.
Triple H made his way down to ringside. There was an "asshole" chant for him. It's so nice hearing a chant like that. Orton moved the chairs out of the ring. Orton hit an overhead suplex. Hunter was telling Shawn to do a better job while that was happening. Michaels missed the pinfall. Orton told Michaels he had been slow counting him all night. Hunter asked Michaels if he was gonna do it. Michaels just said to let him do his job. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes. Michaels was distracted by Hunter, so when Bryan shoved Orton he (Orton) went crashing into Michaels. Shawn sold it as if he was hit in the head. Hunter asked him if he was alright. Triple H grabbed Dr. Sampson and they opened the door to get into the cell. Bryan hit the running knee to the face of Orton, but Michaels couldn't count because he was still dazed from being hit by Orton. Bryan told Michaels he had to count. Hunter went into the ring. He pulled Bryan away from Michaels. The doctor checked on Michaels. When Triple H turned around, Bryan nailed him with a running knee to the face. Bryan celebrated with "yes" chants. The crowd loved that. When Bryan turned around, Michaels nailed him with the Sweet Chin Music superkick that knocked down Bryan. It honestly didn't look that great. It was off a bit. Orton covered Bryan. Michaels looked down at Triple H and then he reluctantly counted the pinfall. The match went 22 minutes.
Winner and New WWE Champion: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***1/4 I was expecting a better match that this. There was nothing particularly bad about it, but the ending could have been better obviously. It also could have been a faster paced match. Maybe it's wrong of me to expect more out of them. I don't know. It's three PPVs in a row where I thought the match could have been better. It's also three in a row without a truly clean finish, so maybe that's part of it too. Obviously the big story will be about what Shawn Michaels did. Did he kick Bryan in the face because Triple H forced him to do it or because he really wanted to do it? I'm fine with Orton leaving as WWE Champion. It's better than having a vacant title situation.
When it was over, Bryan was helped out of the ring by officials. There were no replays of what happened. It looked like Shawn's kick didn't really connect with Bryan very well, so perhaps that's why they didn't show replays of it. Orton had the WWE Title once again. He helped Triple H get to his feet. Hunter looked out of it, but when Orton showed him the WWE Title he smiled. They were happy. The show ended with Orton posing with Triple H and the WWE Title in their possession.
Analysis: I thought Bryan would win. I should have paid attention to the "look strong on TV, lose on PPV" theory because Bryan was the one with the advantage coming into this match. Since he didn't win, the likely scenario will be that Bryan wins the Royal Rumble and then gets his next title shot at WrestleMania 30. That's when he'll win the WWE Title. It would be a long chase. If that's not the direction they go with him then I'm very confused by their booking in the last three months. Of course there's also John Cena holding the World Title, so perhaps Bryan gets the WWE Title before WrestleMania as part of a unification match. I'm not sure what the plan is. I just hope that long term it's a story that makes Daniel Bryan into a bigger star.
As for the WWE Title picture, Orton will likely feud with Big Show or CM Punk. The rumor is they will do Big Show vs. Triple H at Survivor Series, so I would expect Punk to jump right into the mix now that he's free of the feud against Heyman. I hope that Bryan isn't hurt by all this shady booking. I know some fans will think that he is and I don't blame anybody for that. My only reply to those that are angry is that we have to hope there is a payoff down the road. I'd rather see him get that career defining victory at WrestleMania 30 instead of a forgettable show like this one. Keep that in mind before you get too upset about what happened.
There is something that depresses me, though. It's 2013. The WWE and World Champion are Randy Orton and John Cena. It feels like we've down this road before. A few times.
Five Stars of the Show
1. I liked the tag match the best, but it's hard to single anybody out from it. They're all winners!
2. Daniel Bryan
3. John Cena
4. CM Punk
5. Randy Orton
That's probably the first time I've ever given ten people the "five stars of the show" in a review. That just shows how much thought I put into these things (note: it's really not a lot of thought.)
I give it a 6 out of 10.
There were three matches in the three star range, but none of them were that memorable. I thought the tag match was the best one on the show. Nothing was too bad. There were some segments and matches that really didn't seem necessary.
The tag team title scene is very strong. I look forward to more matches between these teams while also incorporating others as well.
I'm glad that the CM Punk/Paul Heyman feud appears to be over. I don't say that because I think it was bad. I just think there was too much of it. I'm ready for Punk to move on to something else.
The Cena win didn't surprise me. If he's in a match for a major title he's usually going to win. That's just how it is. What's next for him? No idea. They need heels.
Regarding the main event, I'm okay with it. Do I love it? No. I don't hate it either. At this point I'm basically looking at the big picture and hoping for the best. My hope is that Bryan isn't hurt by another screwy finish. If he is, the blame is on the booking. Fans are getting tired of the non-finishes.
It was a slightly above average show. If you missed it you really didn't miss that much. I'd recommend the tag match and the main event. Other than that there was nothing special about it.
Also, I'd like to wish the word "abeyance" the best in its future endeavors.
Ranking the 2013 WWE Pay-Per-Views
Here's the order with the rankings on the 1-10 scale.
SummerSlam - 9
Payback - 8
Royal Rumble - 7.5
Extreme Rules - 6.5
WrestleMania 29 - 6
Hell in a Cell - 6
Battleground - 4.5
The last three PPVs get the three lowest scores of the year. You'll notice that the top three also took place in a row. That's the difference between the time when WWE was really hot (June to August) compared to September & October when the product cooled down significantly.
I'll be back on Tuesday around 1pmET with the Raw Deal review column. Have a great week. Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org