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[2013-08-18-WWE-Summerslam] Alberto Del Rio vs Christian

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These two men did a phenomenal job of building off of their previous two matches. In this one, Christian once again showed his craftiness, ducking an attempt by Del Rio to jump on him and use the impact to charge Christian as the future WWE HOFer was leaning on the second rope, leaving Del Rio to fall through the ropes and fall back-first on the floor. Del Rio also showed that he had learned from those earlier matches though, with my personal highlight being when Christian attempted to use the turnbuckles for a counter by jumping up, only for Del Rio to counter that with a lung blower. Crowd popped huge for that shit.

Del Rio also stepped up his submission game, finding one way after another to work on Christian's left arm and shoulder to set up for the cross armbreaker. Christian didn't quite sell this throughout the entire match, but it actually did pay off. Christian found himself trapped in Del Rio's finisher and it looked like he was going to escape it to recapture the championship. However, Del Rio rolled and kept it locked on, leaving Christian no choice but to tap out after a tremendous effort. Arguably the best performance of Del Rio's career, and he came out looking like a million bucks. He's such a great in-ring performer when he's left in the mid-card where he belongs. ***3/4

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Del Rio is one of those guys who I forget ever existed. He was a decent hand who looked the part, but was utterly unmemorable in the long run for me. This is coming off his failed face run, but he's not exactly a full heel yet. Christian is finishing up his career and it's hinted that this might be his last ever title match (it's not). Although the World Heavyweight Championship is a glorified midcard title at this point, these two make this feel important by delivering a great back-and-forth match. Del Rio works over Christian's arm in preparation for the Armbreaker and after trading many near falls, Christian goes to put Del Rio away with a spear. He hits it, but his damaged wing prevents him from covering and Del Rio catches Christian in the submission for the win. Del Rio's win and post match promo finally cement him as a full blown heel.

A hidden gem for sure.

★★★¾

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