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(Disclaimer: These reviews written in March 2014.)


Getting ready for NOLA, so here are three matches I've never watched before.


Unforgiven 2002

WWE Title Match

Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker


This won't get a special star rating for me, but that didn't matter. The story both told was very good. Rare is it to see Taker get manhandled. On the other hand, Lesnar had been established as a legitimate bad-ass, wiping through everyone, so it meant something for Taker to manhandle him in return. The fuck finish shouldn't have been on a $35-40 PPV event, but I understood the story here. Undertaker in a September PPV main event that has a fuck finish, leading to a HIAC main event for the October PPV. Sounds familiar.


No Mercy 2002

WWE Title - Hell in a Cell

Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker


With this match taking place in Little Rock, I wonder how many in the SEC region will have been blessed to see both this and the upcoming WrestleMania XXX match in NOLA live. Going into this, Lesnar had broken Taker's hand with a propane tank, so the Dead Man was permitted to wear the cast, which played as both a gift and a curse for him. Taker, furious over Lesnar and Paul Heyman prying into his personal life, of course used the cast to dominate the former National Wrestling Champion early. Lesnar took a fucking beating in this one. However, he was able to return this beating tenfold, working on Taker's broken hand.


It's a very, very, very rare sight to see Undertaker be put in a position in which he has to deliver hope spots, but he was fantastic here in doing so. He really had the crowd behind him, while the WWE Champion did a great job in making sure Taker was sympathetic. But Taker wouldn't go down without a fight, showing primal instinct and fighting off Lesnar to prevent the cast from being torn off. Lesnar eventually was successful in removing it, going right to work on the bare hand of the Phenom, which felt odd to see since Taker wears gloves in every match.


I also loved Taker grabbing Heyman by the tie through a hole in the Cell, bouncing him on the grating steel until the former ECW owner bled. That showed what Heyman was willing to sacrifice to make sure his meal ticket Lesnar could get time to recuperate and gain an advantage. And speaking of blood, holy shit there was a fuckton in this match. Not only was there a moment in which Taker was down on his knees to gasp for breath, his crimson face pouring buckets of blood on the mat (I'm sure Jay Briscoe had to have gotten that idea for his ROH cage match against Samoa Joe from this), but as the match came to its conclusion, his blood was just dripping everywhere, including different parts of Lesnar's body. It was like Undertaker's head/face was a broken faucet. Absolutely fucking disgusting, and yet beautiful to watch unfold.


What a finish too, with Taker about to hit a Tombstone, but likely dazed from the all the punishment and blood loss, losing balance to Lesnar, the WWE Champion then hoisting the WWE icon on his shoulders and dropping him for an F5 to bring this classic to an end. A phenomenal Hell in a Cell match that defines the genre, just drenching with storytelling and psychology. We're in for a treat at the Superdome. ****1/4


SmackDown! - October 4, 2003

Brock Lesnar & John Cena vs. Undertaker & Kurt Angle


This was a good TV main event, nothing all that special, which was just fine. The majority of the match was Lesnar being a bitch, while he and Cena took turns on Angle. Taker was great when he got the hot tag, a house of fire going back-and-forth on the heels. The most memorable spot of the match by far was when Taker gave Lesnar a big boot to knock him out of the ring. Unfortunately, Lesnar fell like he was diving into a swimming pool, appearing to hit the floor headfirst. No wonder the dude got away from WWE so quickly. ***1/4

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MY ROAD TO NOLA CONTINUES


TLC 2012: The Good Shit


Hardcore Match

Team Hell No & Ryback vs. The Shield




Highly suggest everyone go back to rewatch this, not just for storyline reasons, but because wow Reigns was f***ing green here. This match also had some pacing issues, with the red-hot Brooklyn crowd sometimes becoming silent. HOWEVER, this match was absolutely chaotic and brought back memories of the TLC pioneer days during the Attitude Era. What this did was showcase what an unf***able unit that the Shield was, getting 3-1 on one advantages constantly and being so entertaining and violent in doing so. That bad bump Seth Rollins took through those tables sure seems like it was worth it in hindsight. This was a great choice to start my rewatch. ****


MITB Contract - Ladder Match

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena


Like the other standout match of the evening, this match also had some pacing issues, with patches of silence from the Brooklyn crowd. This was still very entertaining though, Ziggler bumping like a pinball to the crowd's delight. I'm also always a sucker for anytime a crowd turns into smarky/bizarro world and treats a match like it's The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8. Their reaction to AJ Lee betraying Cena to hand Ziggler the win was hilarious too. ***1/2

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CONTINUING THE ROAD


Raw - January 7, 2013: The Good Shit


Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena


Don't love this as much as I did a year ago. However, the crowd was hot and the action was crisp. Just seemed to lack enough substantial storytelling to go with Ziggler's fantastic pacing. ***1/4


WWE Title - TLC Match

CM Punk vs. Ryback


Whereas Ziggler vs. Cena had pacing with little storytelling, this had the storytelling but lacked the pacing. Ryback did his job in showcasing his strength, with Punk of course being the ring general and outsmarting the simple-minded challenger. I didn't mind the Shield's interference because it served multiple storylines. It was obvious that Punk's days as champion were numbered. ***


CM Punk and The Rock confrontation


Punk comes out first to go on a VERY long rant that was fantastic. Just a miserable prick, likely using reality to fuel the gimmick, bitching about WWE being a business over art, and then tying that into how little the fans matter. That of course brought the People's Champion out, and they had a fantastic verbal confrontation. Neither man was afraid of each other whatsoever, both just oozing very different flavors of confidence, only for Rock to leave Punk with a Rock Bottom. Tremendous segment.


SmackDown! - January 11, 2013: The Good Shit


CM Punk and Paul Heyman have a series of promos filmed at SunLife Stadium, just doing a simple yet fantastic job of trolling Miami, Punk believing that The Rock has no chance against him. Awesome.


The Rock's Return to SmackDown!


Another incredible segment here, with the hometown Miami crowd amped to see the Great One, for the first time in a SmackDown! ring after a decade-long absence from the show that had its named inspired by him. Then the Rhodes Scholars come out to have an absolutely splendid verbal confrontation with Rock. This segment worked on every level, and how did the Scholars as I write this become such afterthoughts?


World Title - Last Man Standing Match

Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio


I'm not the biggest fan of LMS matches, because whereas the drama is in the ten-count, that means there can be a bit too much resting and lack of pacing for what I'm accustomed to. However, the story was very good here, and the finish was very, very well-done to get Del Rio over as a babyface while keeping Show strong. ***1/4


Raw - January 14, 2013: The Good Shit


The show opens with Vince McMahon in the ring, and he's interrupted by Big Show, who gets dressed-down while whining about what happened three days earlier. Big Show is just a fantastic heel, so fantastic that I watched this entire segment despite Alberto Del Rio inserting himself into it.


The Rock & Mick Foley have a brief backstage reunion, only for Vickie Guerrero to interrupt and disrespect them. Foley is shocked to see Rock allow himself to be dressed down.


Cage Match

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena


I really just don't care for this series as much as I did a year ago, and I believe I have one reason why Ziggler has become an afterthought: based on this series and his matches before 2013, Ziggler generally seems to base his moves all on high-impact shit. It feels like he is always swinging for a home run, rather than doing the basics, getting on base, and getting some RBIs. Hot crowd as usual though. I am interested in seeing Ziggler as a babyface to see if that work holds up and if his burial was justified or not. ***1/4


The Rock Concert IV


Another amazing segment from the Rock, a sports-entertainment style piece of pro wrestling that any fan or non-fan would enjoy. He's so damn talented at being an entertainer, and delivered an unforgettable receipt to Vickie for her disrespect towards him. This was genuinely amusing without the slightest bit of feeling like low hanging fruit entertainment.


THEN, Rock flipped a switch and showed how much all that time in Hollywood has paid off, becoming completely serious and calling out CM Punk. As Punk would try to laugh off Rock, the challenger was dead serious, oozing an unbreakable confidence when he said Punk's historic WWE Title reign would end at the Royal Rumble. The show even ends with a brawl, which I don't mind. Punk was easily gotten to and with Rock being such a huge star/bad-ass, it was good that although Punk had major chickenshit tendencies, he actually COULD throw down, and perhaps his ego with the expectation of casual fans watching and making an even bigger name for himself at a bonafide movie star's expense gave him the fuel to not back down. Wow I can't wait to rewatch the good shit at the Royal Rumble now.

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THE JOURNEY'S NEXT ROAD STOP


Royal Rumble 2013: The Good Shit


World Title - Last Man Standing Match

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show


Not as exciting as their first LMS match, but still good due to the storytelling. I loved that Del Rio outsmarted Show again. Del Rio really was showing signs for a very brief period of being a top marquee babyface for the WWE. ***


The 2013 Royal Rumble Match


Excellent Rumble match, one of the best ever. This just had so much going for it to make it a classic. Most important is that the match was NEVER dull. That should be so easy to do for this gimmick match, but we've seen so many times that doesn't turn out to be the case (1999, I'm looking at you.) Chris Jericho's return after being fired several months before was a truly amazing moment, and probably the last time he could ever come back to a huge ovation.


Jericho and Dolph Ziggler as the starting entrants were excellent lasting to almost the very end, but there were of course other splendid moments as well. Godfather was a great nostalgia entrant, walking down as the master pimp, stepping in the ring, and immediately being eliminated, landing safely on his feet and receiving a standing ovation as he departed from ringside. Not a bad way to cash them checks. There was also the surprise appearance of Goldust, which of course drew the attention of his brother Cody Rhodes (they were still not friendly at the time of this match.) In a nice piece of storytelling, Cody did the Goldust get-on-your-back-and-throw-an-uppercut to Ziggler, sending a message that only HE could bully his brother.


What also made this match work so well is that the stars were spread out. Jericho to start the match, Sheamus about 10 entrants later, Cena about 10 after that, with other big names such as Rey Mysterio, Ryback, and Randy Orton spread out as well. In addition, Kofi Kingston had a cute spot when he jumped on Tensai's back and ended up on the Spanish announce table to avoid elimination. He then used JBL's chair as a pogo stick to get to the apron. However, being the nitpicker than I am, why didn't Kingston just use ONE foot to move the chair (which had rolling wheels on its legs) to the apron and then he could simply step back into the ring?


The last six were quite stacked for its time, although over a year later, wouldn't be quite so epic right now. Jericho, Ziggler, Sheamus, Ryback, Cena, Orton. And when the finale became Cena vs. Ryback, it was fantastic storytelling, even with the winner being obvious. It was simply best for business for Cena to go on to headline WrestleMania XXIX. A genuine MOTYC. ****1/2


WWE Title Match

CM Punk vs. The Rock


Before the match, Rock cut a timeless Dusty Rhodes styles promo, one of the absolute best of his career. Sure, he was glancing at a card or teleprompter, but I don't mind that. His delivery was just unmatched, explaining why this match, and more importantly the WWE Title, meant so much to him. With this being one of the best promos that the Rock has ever cut, and the Rock being one of if not THE best ever on the stick, this is easily one of the greatest promos in the history of the business.


The match itself has lost its luster to me, although I still enjoyed it. The match was all about the moment, which was the Rock bringing Punk's historic reign to an end finally, and gaining something that still meant so much to him despite moving on to a Hollywood career. As for the work, the storytelling was fine with Punk working on Rock's ribs and midsection. This was great because not only had the Shield mugged Rock days earlier, but Punk could use that to wind down the rustier Rock.


The Shield of course interfered on Punk's behalf with the lights turned out, and Vince McMahon was about to strip Punk of the title, but Rock demanded it to be restarted, insisting on earning the championship. That's when the portion of the match that really mattered happened, very basic yet effective sports-entertainment. One of the most historic moments in WWE history.

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MY NEXT ROAD STOP


Raw - January 27, 2013


The show started with a decent segment, CM Punk coming out to ironically bitch about being screwed. Certainly elevated the importance of the WWE Title. Later in the show, Punk interrupted the Rock's celebration, spewing a totally twisted narrative and demanding a rematch.


All that really matters on this show is the closing segment, in which Vince McMahon reveals video evidence that Paul Heyman had been in cahoots with the Shield and Brad Maddox in the recent few months. Vince was just great in brow-beating Heyman, while Heyman was tremendous in being a sleazy carny who knew the shit was about to hit the fan. Right when he's about to get fired, out comes Brock Lesnar to get in Vince's face, closing the show with an F5 to the chairman.


That was just a completely terrific segment that clicked on all cylinders, with impressive acting and the audience being glued as these three men played their roles to perfection. This needs to be included on the upcoming Heyman documentary/compilation.


Raw - February 4, 2013: The Good Shit


CM Punk opens the show with another fantastic whiny promo.


MizTV

Guest: Paul Heyman


Miz and Heyman have some fantastic chemistry here, with Miz being the lone guy to directly call out Heyman for the bullshit that spews out of his mouth. Vickie Guerrero comes out to announce that she's the one that got Brock Lesnar to return the week before, and has a hilarious attempt at a prayer with Heyman for Vince McMahon. After Miz throws enough criticism, Lesnar gets fed up, crashes the segment, and beats the living fuck out of Miz. Tremendous segment.


Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk


This couldn't measure up to their matches in Toronto, Miami, and Chicago, but that's fine. This was just a good Raw match with some occasional nice counters and star power. ***1/4


The final segment is Brad Maddox calling out the Shield, and he of course gets destroyed. Sheamus, Ryback, and John Cena come clean house, fed up with these assholes and get the upper hand, forcing a powder. The babyface portion of the locker room then blocks the Shield, forcing them to collide with the three juggernauts and take another powder to close the show. Good, solid booking here.


Raw - February 11, 2013: The Good Shit


The show once again begins with a terrific segment. The big media story of the time was the Pope resigning from his position. So Paul Heyman announced that out of fear and intimidation from Vince McMahon, he will resign. This brings out CM Punk, who convinces Heyman to cancel that idea and they verbally jerk each other , pissing off the crowd in the process. Amazing shit here.


Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho


This is an Elimination Chamber qualifier for Jericho, so it was obvious he'd win this. Good but nothing special match, typical for Raw. There were nice counters and submissions, but it lacked the intensity to be something special. I'll throw this suggestion out there: when Jericho finally calls it a career, his farewell match should be on a PPV/supercard against D-Bry. I want these two in a position to deliver an epic. ***

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NOLA Preview on the Road to NOLA


Elimination Chamber 2013: The Good Shit


World Title Shot - Elimination Chamber Match

Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry vs. Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton


A good Chamber match here, but lacked the exciting pace to make it truly memorable. It was truly laughable to see Swagger get such a strong push, especially considering the lineup for this match. ***1/4


The Shield vs. Sheamus, Ryback, & John Cena


Now this one holds up. The babyface juggernauts got a triple vertical suplex right at the beginning, almost equivalent to a football team getting a kickoff return touchdown. But from there, this was all about the Shield. They masterfully cut the ring in half, constantly getting the numbers advantage in their favor. It was non-stop domination, but what made this so compelling is that because of the strong booking of the babyfaces, especially for Cena after all of his years as the face of the industry, it still seemed like at some point they would find a way back in.


Cena was tremendous playing the Ricky Morton face-in-peril here, and I laugh at anyone who questions this guy's wrestling ability. His selling both in body language and facial expressions was splendid. His hope spots were also great in making the audience believe that his team still had a chance. But the Shield were so focused, never once letting up, finding ways to bail each other out at the slightest hint of trouble. What a finish too to not only get this unit established as a force to be reckoned with, but to build up Roman Reigns. Oh yeah, since this is the big leagues, there weren't any of the stupid tag legalities I see in TNA and the indies. An instant classic. ****1/4


WWE Title Match - No Champion's Advantage

The Rock vs. CM Punk


This was a bit better than the match in Phoenix, probably because Rock was three weeks removed from wrestling rather than 10 months. The storytelling was solid, but with Rock being so focused on his Hollywood career, that takes away his ability to truly be in the standard of ring shape that he set during his prime. I don't blame him for that though. I'm glad we got to get see these two wrestle, as it was a genuine dream match for me since Punk came to WWE. Hope that Rock vs. Cena II is as good on broadcast as it was live. ***

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THE ROAD KEEPS GOING


Raw - February 18, 2013: The Good Shit


The Shield vs. Sheamus, Ryback, & Chris Jericho


Nothing too special here, which was just fine for Raw. A good match though that only solidified what an outstanding unit the Shield is, and marking the only time [as of this review being initially posted] Jericho has mixed it up with any one of them. ***1/4


The Rock's Championship Celebration


Another phenomenal segment from the Rock, coming out to the local university's marching bad, pumping up the Lafayette crowd. He then retires the spinner belt and debuts a bad-ass title belt. The show ends with Cena on-stage to remind the audience that their rematch of the century could be on the horizon, only for CM Punk to ambush Cena from behind with the spinner belt, claiming that he wants the new one.


Raw - February 25, 2013

WWE Title Shot Match

John Cena vs. CM Punk


What made this match work so well is what Michael Cole said once it was over. This match had emotion, drama, and tension. It also had an unbelievable electricity, an atmosphere that felt like a legitimate PPV main event.


Punk started off trying to dominate the match with basic submission holds, such as the sleeper and abdominal stretch. However, with a career-defining rematch on the line for Cena, he was able to negate Punk. Frustrated and also starving to be in THE main event at WrestleMania, Punk quickened the pace, only for Cena to be on par with him every step of the way.


As the match got to its last third, the crowd was in a frenzy. While everyone had to have known Cena would win this, the work these of two men made one believe that maybe we actually were going to get Rock vs. Punk III. They both had to pull out new shit they hadn't used in years, if never in their careers. For Punk, he used a beautiful piledriver, and when Cena kicked out, his face told the story, not knowing what he needed to do next. For Cena, he used a sitdown powerbomb on the smaller Punk, and as the match closed, pulled out a head-scissors. That it wasn't picture-perfect was understandable - these men had given EVERYTHING, so Cena was running on desperation and wouldn't logically to be able to pull that off perfectly. But it got the job done.


This match did its job in reminding the younger audience that Cena would indeed have a chance at redemption against the Rock. But with Punk hardly resorting to cheating (he may not have done so at all actually), it re-established him as a force to be reckoned with after all of the breaks he had gotten the previous several months, so that when his WrestleMania XXIX opponent would be announced, the audience would buy into it. One of the greatest matches in Raw history. ****1/2


Raw - March 4, 2013

The Rock and John Cena verbal confrontation


Another excellent segment from these two, with Rock getting in Cena's head when it was over, completely confident and negating all of Cena's talk.


Raw - March 11, 2013




Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler


These two have natural chemistry, although I'm not sure this says much about Ziggler. You have to be absolutely pathetic to not have chemistry with Bryan Danielson. ***1/4


Raw - March 18, 2013

IC Title Match

Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Chris Jericho


Another fun match here, just good action all around. ***1/4


Raw - March 25, 2013

The Rock and John Cena verbal confrontation


Yet another excellent segment that should've been the go-home segment for WrestleMania XXIX. All of the legends did an excellent job in bringing a new dimension in having Rock and Cena explain why their rematch of the century was so important to them. A flawless segment.

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WrestleMania XXIX: The Good Shit


Undertaker vs. CM Punk


Red-hot match from almost beginning to end, with Punk trying every tactic possible in order to pull off the impossible. This had the story of Taker going after Punk at the beginning, pissed over Punk's disrespect, only for Punk to use an arm-drag when Taker tried the vintage arm-twist ropewalk chop. Other top moments include both men countering each other's finishers, Taker turning a simple pinfall attempt by Punk into a Hell's Gate, and the nearfalls that had the crowd erupting. If this does indeed turn out to be Punk's last ever WrestleMania match, not a bad one to finish with and his best ever on the Granddaddy of 'Em All. ****1/4


WWE Title Match

The Rock vs. John Cena


Another hot match, although not as hot as Taker vs. Punk. This was a significant improvement over Rock's previous matches since his return. They played off of their previous match, with Rock delivering a mockery receipt. Later on, Cena faked an attempted People's Elbow. This became a finisher fest, which was fine for the story told. Ultimately, Rock being predictable and trying so hard to finish Cena off with the Rock Bottom cost him the most prestigious prize in the company.


Post-match, Cena allows Rock his time in the spotlight, in what could have possibly been a farewell for the Great One. If the Rock never wrestles another match again, this was one to be proud of as the finale. ***1/2

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THE JOURNEY KEEPS GOING


Raw - April 8, 2013


This is simply one of the greatest Raw episodes EVER, such a shame a medical emergency kept me from attending it.


John Cena trolls the crowd with his shitty jokes. #heelturn

The Miz and Wade Barrett have a ***1/4 IC Title match, with Barrett winning it back to a raucous crowd that is happy because of his British heritage and he comes across as far more of a man than Miz.

The Shield interrupts Undertaker's promo, causing Team Hell No to come to the rescue.

Sheamus and Randy Orton have a dull, tedious, forgettable match, and the crowd shits all over it, doing waves and chanting for RVD, HBK, JBL, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Randy Savage. Big Show interferes to turn it into a no-contest after what felt like 15 hours instead of 15 minutes if it wasn't for the tremendous crowd. "Thank you Big Show!"

Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger have another match that is nothing special, with Swagger injuring the World Champion's ankle. Out comes Dolph Ziggler to successfully cash in his MITB contract to a huge pop. One of the best moments in Raw history.

In the main event, Ryback comes out to save Cena from a Mark Henry post-match mugging. Moments later, he betrays Cena to another huge pop from the crowd.


Raw - April 15, 2013: The Good Shit


3MB comes out to call out the Shield. They get Brock Lesnar instead, and he destroys them in EPIC fashion. Just a fucking ass-kicking. Paul Heyman then lays down the challenge to Triple H for a rubber match, this time in a steel cage at Extreme Rules 2013. Only Paul Heyman could make the steel cage, which has been decreased in perceived value thanks to Hell in a Cell, War Games, and Elimination Chamber, as well as companies watering them down by booking them too frequently with unsatisfying finishes, mean so much in 2013. His promo was so engrossing that the crowd popped huge at the challenge.


IC Title Match

Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston


Not much here, just a showcase of what they could do together. I wouldn't have booked the title change here, but whatever.


CM Punk comes out with Paul Heyman, devastated over his defeats to the Rock and Undertaker. He abruptly goes silent mid-promo and leaves.


SmackDown! - April 19, 2013

Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio


I'm shocked, but I was engaged by this match, and I wonder why the fuck these two don't show this kind of dedication to their craft this well on a consistent basis. The story was Del Rio's injured left knee and Swagger's injured left elbow. They went to work on each other, showing incredibly submission work. The psychology and storytelling in this was just outstanding. The match also had very good drama, although the pace was a bit too steady to keep it from reaching true greatness. But the work they unleashed on each other was like some good shit from the ROH golden age. ***3/4


Raw - April 22, 2013

Hellacious Destruction vs. The Shield


Not quite the epic many touted this afterwards, but a very good trios match nonetheless. Once again, the Shield did a phenomenal job of cutting the ring in half on Kane and D-Bry. They frequently managed to find a way to get the numbers in their favor. Rollins was also top-notch in this one, taking a moment to talk straight shit to Taker. Taker's facial reactions to that were excellent, fuming in such a way that CM Punk couldn't even get out of him the month before. Rollins is going to be a star in this federation.


Of course, with the babyfaces being an iconic bad-ass, a HOF bad-ass, and one of the greatest in-ring technicians EVER, they managed to get enough advantage to keep this from being a complete squash. With the clout that Taker has, I don't think it's a coincidence that D-Bry's journey to singles stardom started shortly after this. ***1/2


Raw - April 29, 2013: The Good Shit


Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes


Another very good match from these two, as they have natural chemistry. The counters in this were awe-inspiring, and I loved the matwork they did on one another. A nice, solid finish too to get the crowd to have its climatic pop. ***3/4


Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston


These two are also natural opponents, since they both have a video-game style to them. Nothing too special, but they once again showed why they've been booked against each other so many times. ***


John Cena & Team Hell No vs. The Shield


Another good trios match for the Shield, although nowhere near their best. Just good, solid work with sound stroytelling, psychology, and cutting the ring in half. ***


Main Event - May 1, 2013

US Title Match

Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro


THIS is when I would've booked the title change. They got about 20 minutes, and Cesaro brought his fucking working boots in this one, showcasing what has made him one of the top grapplers of the 2010s decade so far. He went to work on Kingston, finally getting some damage on the champion's right knee when it got stuck in the ropes about halfway in the match. But Cesaro didn't make this great all by himself. Kingston put in enough hope spots and did a masterful job with his facial expressions to get babyface sympathy.


Cesaro was just tenacious in going after that right knee, locking in a half-crab multiple times, whereas the champion had to dig down deep to overcome the adversity. Once Kingston got his chance, he hit the Trouble in Paradise with that bad leg, much like athletes in other sports do - you give them just one small crack, and they'll run through that door to the narrowest of victories. Excellent gem of a match here. ****

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Extreme Rules 2013: The Good Shit


Hardcore Match

Big Show vs. Randy Orton


Good brawl here, although would've been better with both men just pummeling it each other instead of occasionally moving through quicksand. Hot finish too with Orton going over in the STL. ***


WWE Title - Last Man Standing Match

John Cena vs. Ryback


A great brawl and power matchup, as both men pummeled the fuck out of each both with weapons and power moves. I liked that both men pulled out the powerbomb successfully, with Ryback throwing Cena down beautifully and with such force that it looked believably painful. Ryback had a few selling issues of course to keep this from reaching greatness (I actually don't mind the finish so that didn't keep this from the greatness), as I wasn't fully convinced he'd have an adrenaline rush for 1-2 minutes after being Death Valley Driver'd through a table. This was some really good stuff, and probably the best match Ryback will ever have. ***1/2


Cage Match

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H


This had the potential to be a classic, but ended up being just very good. Lesnar attempting to knee HHH against the fence, only for the Cerebral Assassin to duck was fantastic, especially Lesnar's selling of the pain. HHH of course went to work, but the former UFC World Champion put up a great fight, too much beast and anger in him. This was some seriously engaging shit, a brutal affair that we don't get to see in cage matches that often anymore. So what kept this from being a classis? That the finishing stretch was a lowblow from Paul Heyman, sledgehammer to HHH's face, and an F5 victory for Lesnar. I'm all for selling, but that finishing stretch was about 2-3 minutes and felt like 2-3 hours. It killed the crowd, who gave zero reaction to the finish. ***1/2

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THE SHIELD & DANIEL BRYAN SHOW~!


Raw - May 20, 2013

The Shield vs. Team Hell No & Kofi Kingston


Excellent trios match as one, a genuine contender for the Shield's best match. While I don't remember everything about this match because there are so many featuring these guys I've watched in the last day or so, this was some truly outstanding shit. Once again, the ring gets cut in half by the Shield, a trait I'm sure Arn Anderson has taught all of them as a producer. There were also two or three hot tags, all of them getting great reactions. Fantastic action of course as expected. This was about the time that the Shield carried themselves with unquestionable confidence, just stealing the show and walking around like they own every spot they walked into. Also important is that this is where Daniel Bryan REALLY started to get over both on offense and when selling. ****


SmackDown! - May 24, 2013

The Shield vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton, & Kofi Kingston


More good shit here of course. Cut the ring in half. Adhere to tag legalities, with even the wrestlers remembering. Intelligently worked and done in exciting fashion to boot. ***3/4


Raw - May 27, 2013: The Good Shit


Tag Titles Match

Seth Rollins & Roman Regins vs. Team Hell No


Much better than the PPV title change match, since this had about twice or triple the length of time. Once again, the Shield look like unstoppable, strategic bad-asses, preying on the cracking chemistry that was showing in Team Hell No due to D-Bry's insecurities. Those insecurities though were causing D-Bry to bring out a fiery side that was allowing the audience to genuinely connect with his work. Loved this match. ***3/4


The Highlight Reel

Guest: Paul Heyman


A great segment in which Chris Jericho trolled Heyman into agreeing to have CM Punk come back at Payback 2013 in Chicago. Heyman was great at trying to avoid discussing his best friend, with a great potshot at Bret Hart (this episode was in Calgary) but Jericho would have none of it. Tremendous back-and-forth here from two of the best promo men ever.


Raw - June 3, 2013: The Good Shit


The Shield vs. Team Hell No & Randy Orton


Not up to par with the usual greatness of the Shield, but this was still good and had a much different purpose in mind, which it accomplished incredibly well. The finish, which is what mattered most, came when the Shield had Orton and D-Bry collide, taking full advantage. D-Bry blamed himself to an irrational degree, whereas Orton said it was just an honest mistake. ***


Ryback vs. Daniel Bryan


This was booked when D-Bry, still upset over the trios match loss, ran into Ryback and challenged him to a match. Easily one of the best matches Ryback will ever have (shocking that's against Bryan Danielson, I know), this did a great job in showing off his power. But most importantly, it showed that D-Bry's technique, talent, and tenacity could go toe-to-toe with someone of great size and power. No matter what Ryback did through, he couldn't put down D-Bry. The former World Champion also did a great job of taking away the base, going after the legs, bringing back memories of his classic series against Takeshi Morishima. The finish came when Ryback, who was frustrated while also mainly concerned with sending a message to John Cena, brought a table into the ring and powerbombed D-Bry through it. ***


Raw - June 10, 2013

Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan


More good work between these two, picking up where they left off four years earlier in ROH. There were admittedly moments in which the crowd was noticeably quiet, mainly during the submission work. I believe that if D-Bry plans to keep using the surfboard as a signature move, he needs to do the "Woah" like he did on the indies. It'll cause the crowd to become more engaged, which is why they're always so happy when he throws strikes now, so that they can yell "YES~!"


Rollins was great once again at being a troll, slapping the head of D-Bry when he locked the surfboard on first. He put forth such a competitive effort that it didn't decrease his stock whatsoever when he fell victim to the small package. I expect these two to feud over the WWE Title in the future. ***1/2


SmackDown! - June 14, 2013

The Shield vs. Team Hell No & Randy Orton


This wasn't quite up to par with the very best of the Shield's trios matches, but it was still good stuff with a magical moment in WWE history. In this one, the Shield never got a true advantage, failing to catch their groove as they were accustomed to doing. D-Bry's intensity set the groundwork, not allowing himself to turn into Ricky Morton.


The finish came when Reigns attempted a spear but Kane moved out of the way, having the Tag Champion ram through a barricade. Kane then chokeslammed Dean Ambrose on top of Reigns, taking both out of the equation. That left Orton to deliver an Ace Crusher to Rollins, who then found himself locked in the LeBell Lock, and almost immediately tapped out from the back-to-back punishment. This got a fantastic reaction from the crowd, and Lilian Garcia acknowledging this as the Shield's first trios loss when announcing the winners made this even more meaningful. It was time for the Shield to show vulnerability as a stable, especially with Kane getting a US Title shot while Orton & D-Bry would be challenging for the Tag Titles against the trio that weekend. ***1/2

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Payback 2013: The Good Shit


Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow


Fun opener here to showcase Sandow, not sure why he's fallen off. The Chicago crowd cheered for his every offense on Sheamus, who was hated by them. I'll take a guess and say that the Windy City doesn't have high tolerance for Diet Cena. Just a fun little match here all around. ***


IC Title Match

Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel


Oh this was fun, just constant action throughout. Much of the story was Paul Heyman telling Axel just to be an opportunist, but Barrett and Miz caught on to this quickly. There was a fantastic pop when Axel got a nearfall via fisherman's suplex. Hot crowd, good pacing, and a great finish. Miz had Barrett in the figure four, and the IC Champ fell down. Axel then swooped in and covered him for the three count to a great reaction. Great sentimental moment with this show being on Father's Day to pay tribute to his father. ***1/2


Divas Title Match

Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee


This was great storytelling, with Kaitlyn furious over Lee's manipulation of her with a fake secret admirer. The champ would use her strength and power, but Lee's intelligence, speed, and technique were too much. The key moment was with the ref fixing the apron, Lee smacked Kaitlyn with her shorts belt, and also Kaitlyn having Lee beat but not going for the finish, caring more about vengeance than retaining the title. That came back to bite her when Lee clamped down with the Widow's Peak. Another great pop for this title change. ***1/2


World Title Match

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio


More great storytelling here, and a somewhat karmic one to boot. Ziggler came into this just cleared from a concussion, and Del Rio went after his head over and over and over again. The crowd, already rooting for Ziggler, completely turned on Del Rio, but he didn't give a shit about their reaction or playing borderline dirty. Ziggler was great with his occasional hope spots, finally using his home run style moves at the appropriate times. Del Rio won and then came back out afterwards to say how happy he was to be the champion of the people just to troll the crowd. Perhaps this was karma for Ziggler, not because of his MITB cash-in, but because his girlfriend mentally fucked with the head of her opponent, and now he physically got his head fucked with by his opponent. ***1/2


Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk


The hottest match of the night for obvious reasons, and this probably should've just been the main event due to the heat. It started off with a feeling out process due to Punk being gone for a couple months, but his skill came through early when he worked on Jericho's left arm and shoulder. The pace just keep gradually picking up as the match progressed, much like a puro main event. The selling was top-notch too, with Punk selling the back after Jericho had gone to work on it.


Punk managed to use his technique and experience to get out of the Boston Crab, then used Jericho's body to lift himself up and lock on the Anaconda Vise, even getting enough leverage to lock it on completely, planting Jericho's back to the mat, and paying off the earlier work on Jericho's left arm and shoulder. Jericho of course got to the ropes, and after some more work, Punk got the Go 2 Sleep on Jericho which was a great nearfall. The action kept going for several more minutes, leading to a phenomenal finish when Punk gave Jericho a Go 2 Sleep, Jericho fell back and bounced off the turnbuckle, and Punk gave him one more Go 2 Sleep for good measure, earning the bragging rights of the Best in the World moniker. ****


Tag Titles Match

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan


This didn't work as a match by itself, with Orton and D-Bry intentionally lacking chemistry as the story of the match. This should've just been after Dean Ambrose vs. Kane, as this match also suffered from following the excellent Jericho vs. Punk match.

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JOURNEY TOWARDS THAT $$$ STOP


Raw - June 17, 2013: The Good Shit


CM PUnk tells Paul Heyman that they'll always be friends, but no longer doing business together and needs his personal space. It appears that Punk did some soul-searching while gone, as his attitude has improved tremendously to offset his scalp and facial hair style decreasing.


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


This was destined to be good, but D-Bry's concussion and residual upper body damage prevented that, causing the match to get thrown out. Worth noting that Orton is all-class in this one. Later in the show, D-Bry tells Kane that he is now aspiring to be a singles star and needs the WWE Championship to validate himself as a legitimate star.


John Cena's Championship Proclamation/Mark Henry's Major Announcement


This is simply one of the greatest segments in Raw history. The first several minutes laid out the scenario perfectly. Cena says that he will be ready at any moment for his next challenger, especially with Money in the Bank 2013 coming up. He will no longer be taken by surprise going forward.


Then Henry comes out, having left tweets earlier in the day that hinted at retirement. He left his boots at the entrance ramp, and walked down that aisle with a tremendous salmon jacket. He told Cena that he wasn't there to attack, to keep his guard down, and wanted the WWE Champion to stay for his major announcement. Henry then gave a tremendous speech, tears coming out of his eyes, the crowd completely hooked with chants such as "Thank you Henry!" and "One More Match!" He also put over Cena as a fantastic WWE Champion, and said his only regret was never winning that title. He then directly said he would retiring from the active roster, and that he was coming home to his family after all these years. Cena came back in the ring to give Henry a hug...


Only for the World's Strongest Man to give him the falling powerslam to one of the biggest pops of the 21st Century!!! Henry then makes it very clear he ain't retiring and that he's coming for Cena's title. Why can't other wrestlers cut promos as convincing as The Rock, CM Punk, Mark Henry, and Paul Heyman? This was captivating from start to finish with a fantastic swerve that made 100% sense.


As the show comes to a close, I get to the end of the Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk match. Del Rio walks away from the ring and gets ambushed by Dolph Ziggler, continuing their feud while allowing Punk to get a countout victory. Before he can celebrate, out comes Brock Lesnar, causing Punk to have his guard up, not knowing what the fuck was coming up. Lesnar grabs a mic and walks into the ring to say something to Punk's face, but then very suddenly drops Punk with an F5!!! Tremendous closing segment.


SmackDown! - June 21, 2013: The Good Shit


Renee Young interviews Paul Heyman to ask about the CM Punk and Brock Lesnar situation, but he completely dodges the question by bullying her about her personal life and bragging about Curtis Axel.


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


Good match here, with solid pacing and fun action, but not quite the epic yet that I knew they had in them. D-Bry is unhappy to win by countout, demanding the match be restarted, but the ref refuses. ***


Raw - June 24, 2013: The Good Shit


The Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match gets thrown out when they are both counted out. D-Bry comes to Vickie Guerrero & Brad Maddox, demanding a rematch TONIGHT. Afterwards, Vince McMahon berries D-Bry for the first time on screen.


Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Jericho


Good stuff here, with fun pacing to engage the crowd and limb work paying off. With both of them having lucha backgrounds, it seemed like these two could have a classic in them should they ever have a monthly supercard match in the future. Good counters too. ***1/4


CM Punk and Paul Heyman air their dirty laundry


Another tremendous segment involving these two, going over their history dating back to 2005. Punk says he's coming for Brock Lesnar after what happened last week, simply stating that he's better than the former UFC World Heavyweight Champion. Heyman swears on his children he didn't provide orders to Lesnar last week to attack Punk, outwardly explaining why it wouldn't make sense for him to do that to their friendship. He tells Punk that by saying Lesnar needed help, he picked a fight with Lesnar. Punk, clouded by their history and friendship, totally buys into Heyman's bullshit. Great stuff.


Hardcore Match

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


PPV quality match here, complete with both men taking stupid bumps, showing off their love for the business and entertaining the fans. This got pretty vicious at times, taking backdrops on the steel steps, multiple kendo stick shots, and going through tables. This had a particularly awesome finish. Orton used the kendo sticks to force D-Bry to break the LeBell Lock. Moments later, D-Bry locked it on again, but when Orton tried the same strategy, D-Bry grabbed the sticks and used them to pull back on Orton's neck, forcing a submission victory. Put this in front of a more vocal crowd than Charleston and this could've been a great match bordering on MOTYC. Orton congratulates D-Bry on the huge victory aftewards, shaking hands. ***3/4


SmackDown! - June 28, 2013

Hardcore Match

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow


Another fun little match between these two, good pacing and elevating Sandow's stock in defeat. He really took it to Sheamus in this one, but the Celtic Warrior had too much experience in this type of environment to be taken down. ***


SmackDown! - July 5, 2013

Christian vs. Randy Orton


These two picked up where they left off after their 2011 feud, once again showing their natural chemistry that they've had since they first wrestled each other in 2005. Christian did a masterful job of avoiding the Ace Crusher, showing off his veteran experience. However, Orton is so crafty that he managed to hit one in sudden fashion for the victory. ***1/4


Raw - July 8, 2013: The Good Shit


Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan


Yet another good match for the summer of 2013. In this one, Sheamus tried using his size and strength to outmatch the red-hot D-Bry and his technical superiority. However, it did appear that Sheamus was losing his balance at times, which is a very bad situation to be in against D-Bry. The finish is great with Sheamus locking on the Texas Cloverleaf, but D-Bry using his technique to get out of it and win via small package. Sheamus shows respect and they shake hands. ***1/4


John Cena and Mark Henry verbal confrontation


Henry uses this segment to say why he threw everything away to make sure he'd get a WWE Title shot. That certainly does put the championship over. Cena is still disgusted by Henry's lack of integrity, which I don't see as a burial of the belt. Many athletes have chosen to never cross a certain line that may have prevented them from winning Super Bowls, World Series, and other championships. Cena says that Henry has put himself in a position in which he must now win because of the lack of integrity. Henry retorts by saying that his lack of integrity makes him more dangerous than Cena. They almost come to blows, but Henry is playing mind games and about to leave, only to jump Cena suddenly and get the last laugh in this great segment.


Also of note after the Kane vs. Christian match is the debut of the Wyatt Family, consisting of their leader Bray Wyatt (the former Husky Harris), Luke Harper (known on the independents as Brodie Lee), and Erick Rowan. They decimate Kane. This lived up to all their hype videos over the previous month or so, and come across as very different styles of characters from the rest of the roster. Kane would be pulled from the WWE Title Shot MITB Ladder Match due to this attack.


SmackDown! - July 12, 2013

Christian vs. Daniel Bryan


Outstanding PPV quality match here. Christian would use his veteran experience to gain occasional advantages, but just like Orton and Sheamus before him, couldn't overcome the red-hot and technically superior D-Bry. Christian spent the majority of the match with a wounded left arm, which of course paid off in the finish when he tapped out to the LeBell Lock. ***3/4

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Money in the Bank 2013: The Good Shit


Tag Titles Match

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. The Usos


Very good stuff here, with the Shield yet again cutting the ring in half on Jey. Before they got the heat though, the Usos did a good job of trying to disrupt the champions' rhythm when the match started. But the Shield are just too fucking good for that to happen for very long. Jimmy was a house of fire when he got the hot tag (who's the fucking moron that had it happen during the pre-show commercial break?) and did a great job of playing off of a hot crowd. But to nobody's surprise, despite some trios losses, the Shield still got the job done when it mattered most. ***1/2


World Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow


Holy shit this was quite the spotfest opener, and the hot Philly crowd certainly helped. What worked so well to me in this one is that there was never a dull moment - once some parties were down, others stepped in, similar to the Dragon Gate trios matches when they first came to the States. I also liked that in this match, there was a damn good reason why guys would be down for minutes at a time. The bumps they took were fucking hellacious. It only made sense both in reality and kayfabe for them to nurse themselves and regain their energy.


Some of the most noteworthy spots that I remember include: Swagger yanking down a participant, and that participant getting a beautiful European Uppercut from Cesaro before hitting the mat. Cody grabbing Cesaro off of the ladder and giving him a musclebuster style drop on a ladder. The Usos and the Shield being outside the ring with numerous other participants as Cody pushed the ladder over and Ambrose fell out of the ring. Great finish too, with the crowd fulling behind Cody but the intellectually superior Sandow taking his friend out of the equation, being the smarmy opportunist and rewarded for a good little feud he had just had with Sheamus. With both the WWE and World Titles since being unified, I wonder if the MITB events going forward will be able to have the killer opening matches that we've been accustomed to. ****1/4


World Title Match

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler


Crowd was hot once again, fully behind Ziggler. This lacked the simple story of the Payback 2013 match, but this had better pacing. Even when AJ Lee came down to ringside with her entrance music blaring, the crowd didn't die at all, still buying into the nearfalls. I can't stress enough just how believable the nearfalls were in this match. Perhaps the crowd was so supportive of Ziggler at this time that they were salivating at every chance he had to regain the title. Too bad Lee actually interfered, as this could've been a great match bordering on MOTYC. ***1/2


WWE Title Match

John Cena vs. Mark Henry


Perhaps his best match, this was the Mark Henry Show, just dominating the majority of the match with size and power. That's something Cena doesn't get enough credit for from supposed smart fans: the HOFer has never had a problem with putting someone over in matches and showcasing them. He doesn't have to do the job to get them over. Cena was also great in this one, failing on multiple occasions to lift the superheavyweight Henry, collapsing on those efforts. I must also mention again how INCREDIBLE this Philly crowd was, they got a great show and responded accordingly. Giving absolutely everything he had, Henry was still ultimately no match for the iconic Cena, who dug down deep and used his superior speed to lock on the STF for the tap out win. Very, very, very good match here. ***3/4


WWE Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Christian vs. Sheamus vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Daniel Bryan


Great main event here, although it couldn't live up to the opener, which is the usual for the WWE Title MITBs compared to the World Title MITBs. Crowd of course went apeshit for Punk and D-Bry, as well as the returning RVD. This one had more resting in it, perhaps intelligently since every participant had held the WWE and/or World Title in the past on multiple occasions. I liked early in the match when Punk and D-Bry actually did some brief technical wrestling, causing the original hometown of ECW and ROH to pop.


Don't get me wrong - I said this was a great ladder match, and for good reason. Some noteworthy spots include: RVD kicking the ladder and Sheamus falling awkwardly on its side with his left knee hitting (well no shit he needed time off after this). Orton giving Punk a T-Bone Suplex on a ladder (again, no fucking shit the guy has felt broken down and might never come back.) Sheamus was also pushed off the turnbuckle and crashed through a ladder that was platformed using the apron and commentary table. I also liked that D-Bry got his kicking spots in the match, allowing the crowd to get their "YES" pops in.


The most important part of the match was the finish, which while deflating, set up the third and final act for what was just an incredible summer for WWE. Curtis Axel came out and knocked out D-Bry, but he was then the victim of a Go 2 Sleep from Punk. Paul Heyman came out and gave a tongue-lashing to the unconscious Axel, saying he wants Punk to win. Punk climbed up with Heyman cheering for him, only for his best friend to come into the ring, grab a ladder, and repeatedly smash Punk with it, causing the future HOFer's scalp to bleed. Punk's facial expressions were fucking FANTASTIC here, his soul completely crushed by the betrayal of his best friend, someone that he stood up for despite being warned for a year to avoid him. This allowed RVD to come in and climb the ladder, only for Orton to take him out of the equation. He checked around for anyone else, and brought the briefcase down for victory. ****

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THE ROAD HITS SOME BAD ASS SCENERY


The Third and Final Act of the 2013 Summer Season


Raw - July 15, 2013: The Good Shit


New Raw GM Greg Maddox opens the show and out comes John Cena to a tremendous negative reaction from the Brooklyn crowd. Maddox says his first major decision is to allow Cena to choose his opponent to defend the WWE Title against at SummerSlam 2013. Out comes Randy Orton threatening to cash in his MITB contract at any moment, but then Fandango interrupts this segment. The Tri-State Area is happy to see him again, that's for sure.


Fandango vs. Randy Orton


This was a good match in front of as I mentioned a great crowd. Good pace, nice action, tremendous atmosphere. One of Fandango's better matches without question. ***


World Title Match

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler


Good Raw match from these two, not coming close to their PPV encounter. The match ended when AJ Lee prematurely rung the ring bell as vengeance for Ziggler dumping her before the match, and Del Rio gleefully taking advantage with a rollup. Poetry: it was in Brooklyn where their romance together started, and it ended here. ***


CM Punk and Paul Heyman Air Their Dirty Laundry


Punk comes out limping from the ladder match the night before, physically and emotionally crushed from what Heyman revealed the night before with the ambush. He cuts one of the greatest babyface promos I've ever head, and Heyman comes out to retort after several minutes. Heyman cuts a genuinely Emmy-worthy promo, detailing his own twisted perception of why he betrayed Punk. He then coldly said that Punk had no family, no other friends, no true social life, just the support of the fans and the goal to regain the WWE Title. Punk then convincingly, without once coming across as cheesy or hokey, made it very clear he would eliminate every single obstacle until Heyman is left standing, and take him out for good.


Heyman said the time for talking was over. He mockingly got down, looked at his watch, and screamed its "Clobbering Time~!" He had the eyes of a killer when he looked back up at Punk and Brock Lesnar's music blasted through the speakers.


Punk stood in the ring, ready for Lesnar to have a go at him, but Heyman walked around and attacked his former best friend from behind, allowing the ridiculously quick Lesnar to get a first shot. Punk however fought back immediately. Lesnar fucking manhandled Punk in this bad-ass fight, but Punk just kept fighting back. He got thrown on the commentary table, only to get back up and leap at Lesnar, who caught him and slammed him back-first in the steel ring post, then put this to an end with an F5. Heyman screamed at the fallen Punk to stay out of his personal life and then thanked Lesnar, who stood tall and proud over what he had done.


This is simply one of the greatest segments in Raw history. No other segment in 2013 can touch this. Lesnar did his job perfectly of being an opportunistic bad-ass. Punk delivered the best babyface promo of his entire career, better than any of his promos on the Embassy or Generation Next. Heyman once again made me wonder why he was never cast on The Wire or Breaking Bad. He's so fucking engrossing and does the spineless sleazeball gimmick to perfection. What also made this work was Punk's appearance - he was dressed in thin MMA hoodie, t-shirt, tennis shoes, and gym shorts. Add in his basic, uncombed hair and he looked like a regular guy who who plays tennis and runs on the treadmill at the local gym. That made him a sympathetic character. Perhaps more importantly, it allowed Lesnar just with his presence to look like even more of a bad-ass, and then the two of them delivered a jaw-dropping brawl, one that felt real. THIS is why so many fans can't fathom that CM Punk is done with wrestling.


Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam


The crowd loved this, so I may be in the minority, but I wasn't impressed with this. Jericho is no longer at a point in his life in which he's dedicated enough to be able to carry someone to a PPV quality match that is stretched out to three segments, especially if that someone is in his early 40s also and recovering 24 hours after a **** ladder match. RVD botched multiple spots in this match and Jericho couldn't manage to disguise them. This was just a showcase for RVD and went on for way too fucking long. This was similar to the bad side of indy wrestling that I hate, only it happened to include vets with each over two decades in the game and it was on Raw.


John Cena's SummerSlam 2013 Decision


With every member of the roster on stage (except for Punk and Lesnar for obvious reasons), Cena comes out and says the fans will help him choose the opponent. He goes through a list of candidates, from Jericho to Orton to Del Rio to Ryback to Jinder Mahal. After several entertaining minutes in which the crowd is LOUDLY chanting "YES~!" and "DANIEL BRYAN~!," but D-Bry never once being acknowledged or even visible on stage, Cena says he has made his decision. He has chosen the best opponent possible, and that it is indeed Daniel Bryan. MASSIVE FUCKING POP FROM BROOKLYN as D-Bry appeared from hiding behind taller guys and jogged in Yes style to the ring, getting in Cena's face to do his Yes pose in excitement. Fantastic segment.


Raw - July 22, 2013: The Good Shit


Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus


Very good match, the best these two have had together to date. Sheamus had a visible bruise on his left leg from that awful landing he took in the MITB main event. Del Rio mercilessly went after that leg, and IIRC also worked on a damaged shoulder to set up the arm bar. Sheamus was great in using his power to create hope spots for himself, keeping the crowd engaged. Not a bad way for Sheamus to go out before he took time off for his injuries. ***3/4


CM Punk in-ring promo


Punk cuts another great babyface promo that gets interrupted by Heyman via satellite. Punk lays down the challenge to Brock Lesnar for SummerSlam 2013, to which Heyman gladly accepts. Punk also pitched the moniker of the "The Best vs. The Beast," which Heyman laughed at, because his best friend, the Beast Incarnate, is the best. This wasn't gonna touch the Brooklyn segment, but that's like saying a match isn't great because it wasn't Danielson vs. KENTA.


Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan


This was part of a gauntlet match laid down for D-Bry to prove himself worthy of headlining SummerSlam 2013. This was great stuff, with Cesaro being showcased to get D-Bry over, but getting himself over in the process too. He was vicious in this one, bringing back memories of his incredible 2011 independent run. But D-Bry of course wasn't gonna go down, as he had too much momentum. Highlights included D-Bry being pushed up and getting hit with a European Uppercut as he was falling, and also taking a fuckton of European Uppercuts. The crowd wasn't used to this kind of action, but for the most part showed a tremendous appreciation for the effort put forth by both men. ****


Raw - July 29, 2013

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian


Good match out of these two, with tremendous storytelling. Del Rio was vicious, and Christian was great with his selling to play off of that. Of course, Christian had a bad left shoulder which Del Rio worked on for his cross arm-breaker. He managed to get it locked on numerous times, but the veteran Christian kept finding ways to reach the ropes. The finish came when Christian once again showed his great veteran experience when he turns an attempted cross armbreaker into a modified cradle for the victory. ***1/2


SmackDown! – August 2, 2013: The Good Shit

Fandango vs. CM Punk


Another good showing from Fandango, with good action to showcase him. But Punk was destined to win this with his important match upcoming against Lesnar. ***


World Title Shot Match

Christian vs. Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam


Good action here, constant action that never stopped. Never once got dull, which is so critical to making these matches work. The obvious highlight was RVD going for the Rolling Thunder on Orton, but the Viper sprung up, caught him, and turned into a picture-perfect powerslam. Christian got the win here, which was smart booking after defeating Del Rio earlier in the week. ***1/4


Raw – August 5, 2013


I catch the end of the Curtis Axel vs. CM Punk match for the obvious reason. Punk went after Paul Heyman and out came Brock Lesnar to have another fantastic brawl. While not as great as their first brawl in Brooklyn, this was still outstanding chaotic shit with Lesnar once again getting the last laugh. Afterwards, Team Heyman gets promo time and Lesnar mocks Punk for proclaiming himself to be the best in the world. He then tells Heyman to “say something stupid.” Heyman lays down a challenge to Punk, for them to fight one-on-one next week on Raw.


SmackDown! – August 9, 2013: The Good Shit


Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam


Another good match here, fun action, kept the crowd engaged, nothing truly special, but wasn’t meant to be. Of course Orton got the win to keep him strong since he’s higher priority as the more important MITB winner. ***




Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian


This is a non-title match, booked because Del Rio keeps being a douche-bag and undermining Vickie Guerrero when she gives him opportunities. This was some phenomenal shit, put in a position to be a PPV quality match and delivering. What made this great was the pacing, it kept building and building much like Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk a couple months earlier. Del Rio never got a true advantage, as while he looked like a million bucks in this, Christian wasn’t as devastatingly damaged as usual in his arm and shoulder region. But Del Rio was showing signs of learning from their match the week before, ducking Christian’s signature apron uppercut attempt.


They had great counters, great nearfalls, and the finish was storytelling magnificence, with Christian showing off his veteran craftiness by rolling up Del Rio for the three count yet again. Christian now has two victories over the World Champion going into their World Title Match. Imagine an NFL team being swept by a division opponent in the regular season and then they faced each other one more time in the postseason. That’s the story of these two going into SummerSlam 2013. ****


Post-match, Del Rio tries to attack Christian, who counters and drops him with the Unprettier. Out comes Damien Sandow to cash in his MITB, but his newfound arch nemesis Cody Rhodes comes out to sabotage that cash-in. What a fucking dipshit that cost himself a great opportunity. Sandow wins the World Title and then Cody likely would’ve gotten a title shot since they were scheduled to face each other at SummerSlam 2013. It probably would’ve been a threeway or fourway, but it’s still a chance to win the World Title and get it from Sandow as retribution for what happened at Money in the Bank 2013.


Raw – August 12, 2013: The Good Shit




MizTV

Guests: John Cena and Daniel Bryan


Awesome segment here, with both men verbally taking Miz out of the equation when tries to stir the pot. D-Bry says he doesn’t care for Cena representing sports-entertainment. Cena then goes into great detail that he’s just as much of a wrestler as D-Bry, and it’s about connecting with the crowd. He then says that D-Bry should be proud of every accomplishment, but has to keep it into perspective, to not rest on his resume going into SummerSlam 2013. D-Bry then questions Cena’s supposed lack of respect for him, because Cena listed off numerous HOFers. Cena then retorts with saying that respect isn’t given, it has to be earned, and it’sll be D-Bry’s time to earn it at SummerSlam 2013.


Around this time I couldn’t help but notice Miz leaned against the ropes in the background. This is definitely the best MizTV segment to date, even better than the one that was interrupted by Brock Lesnar several months prior to this. He had a look on his face that he knew he had the best seat in the house because this was some fucking amazing television.


Anyway, D-Bry mentions that during his time in Japan, he was introduced to a cultural habit in which opponents would smack the hell out of each other at the beginning of a match as a sign of respect. He then says that Cena won’t get to experience that slap because he doesn’t respect him. At this point, Cena was ready to just throw down, but Triple H, announced as the guest ref, came down to calm everything down. The segment ends with Randy Orton appearing on the stage, reminding everyone that he is lying in wait to cash his MITB briefcase in whenever he sees fit. This segment worked on every level.


The show closes with Paul Heyman coming out for his fight against CM Punk, but shows his hand before Punk even comes out, admitting that it was a trap and Lesnar comes out. After several minutes of Heyman just brainlessly talking shit, he finally calls out Punk and they look towards the entrance. Punk shows up from the crowd, grabs a camera and smacks Lesnar with it. He didn’t get his hands on Heyman, but he finally got the upper hand on the former UFC World Heavyweight Champion. Great go-home segment. It’s always great to have one match with tremendous build, but it’s so rare for WWE to have TWO main event matches with builds that are firing on all cylinders.


SmackDown! – August 16, 2013


The only noteworthy thing is the very end. Triple H is the guest ref for Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, and Vince McMahon comes down to ringside to try to screw D-Bry. The story has been that Vince McMahon doesn’t see a main-event player in D-Bry, constantly burying him and trying to make him change to fit his preferred mold. Triple H has no problem with D-Bry, seeing all the positives in him just like the crowd does. When D-Bry wins and does his Yes pose towards Vince, HHH is doing it also and it just looks surreal.


Wow. The summer of 2013 is going to be remembered for years to come. The match quality as well as the storylines for Cena vs. D-Bry and Lesnar vs. Punk will stand the test of time, and I hope fans take the time to revisit this like I’ve done. I cannot wait to watch the good shit from SummerSlam 2013, which I consider to be the season finale of this amazing, amazing stretch. I recently revisited ROH in the summer of 2005, which was the acclaimed Summer of Punk. WWE's stretch throughout summer 2013 to me was overall even better. Highly encourage everyone to watch both periods to compare them.

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SEASON FINALE~!


SummerSlam 2013: The Good Shit


World Title Match

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian


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


No DQ, No Countout Match

Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk


Lesnar is of course accompanied by Paul Heyman. He gets the early advantage on Punk with his size and strength, but gets cocky. The starving-for-vengeance Punk capitalizes on that and gets some strikes in, only for Lesnar to manage to quickly gain the advantage again, telling the former WWE and World Champion that this is Lesnar's territory and he owns him. However, Punk was so fueled with anger and determination that he kept bringing the fight to Lesnar, and it took a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor for Lesnar to get some breathing room.


Once they got back in the ring, they continued putting forth a jaw-dropping collision. Lesnar of course continued to rely on his strength, size, and power, but Punk would show his craftiness. Both men did a superb job of avoiding each other's finishers, and there was a reversal segment in the match that was truly something to behold. Punk had Lesnar lifted for the Go 2 Sleep, and as he dropped him, Lesnar landed on his feet and had the Kimura locked on. Punk found enough leverage to escape that and attempt to get an armbar, but Lesnar escaped that, only for Punk to get Lesnar locked in a triangle hold. I need to pause and explain why this segment of the match so far is fucking brilliant. Lesnar is a former UFC World Heavyweight Champion and NCAA National Wrestling Champion, and had said going into this match that Punk's MMA training was subpar and amateur. This was a great way for Lesnar to have to eat those words.


Continuing with this outstanding reversal segment, Lesnar seemed to show serious consideration into tapping out to the triangle choke. However, he once again resorted to his power and lifted Punk to deliver a powerbomb. In a moment of sheer storytelling genius, Punk kept the triangle locked in, absorbing the pain because of his focus and thirst for revenge. This got Lesnar to undoubtedly consider tapping again, but he overcame the struggle and gave Punk a running powerbomb that would make Jushin Liger proud. That finally broke the triangle, and Lesnar followed up with Eddie Guerrero's Three Amigos suplex chain. This entire reversal segment was not only executed perfectly, but enhanced the story of the match and was captivating from start to finish. But this match wasn't over quite yet.


Lesnar went to go get a chair, but had a struggle over it with Punk. Punk took full advantage of the rules and gave Lesnar a blatant lowblow that was timed perfectly and kept this excellent story going. After hitting Lesnar with the chair a couple times, Heyman finally stepped in to distract Punk (he had also done that earlier in the match to get Lesnar out of a jam). Lesnar took advantage to attack Punk from behind, and I liked that Punk didn't duck to have the heels collide with each other. Lesnar attempted another F5, but Punk held on to Heyman's tie. Punk would escape the F5 and land another GTS on Lesnar, and was clearly going to win the match until Heyman jumped on him. Punk got his frustrations out on his former best friend, mentor, and manager, including locking on the Anaconda Vise. But Lesnar hit Punk with the chair, then dropped him with an F5 on it, bringing this work of art to a conclusion.


This is definitely better than the Rumble and Cena vs. Punk matches when discussing WWE's MOTY for 2013. This was phenomenally paced, told a fantastic story, and was genuinely captivating. It lived up to its storyline and hype. This was just as great of a babyface performance from Punk as his matches at Joe vs. Punk II, Death Before Dishonor III, and Money in the Bank 2011. He had Lesnar beat and his performance was so fucking excellent that had he won this match, there's nobody with a working brain that wouldn't have bought it. It was convincing. He got a well-deserved standing ovation afterwards from the L.A. crowd. This would have been a great way to end Punk's most recent tenure as an on-screen character, and it's VERY obvious why he was running on fumes throughout his next several months on the active roster.


As for Lesnar, he earned his salary on this night. His selling was also amazing, allowing the much smaller Punk to look like a true star. But Lesnar didn't lose anything from this match at all, even with Heyman's help. He just came out looking like even more of a son of a bitch when this was over. It's too bad the crowd didn't give him a heated reaction, but perhaps the crowd was just in awe of what they just witnessed. To me, this is Lesnar's greatest match, better than his work with the Rock, John Cena, Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero. I'll be amazed if he can ever manage to top this. ****3/4


WWE Title Match

Guest Ref - Triple H

John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan


This was the Daniel Bryan Show, and major kudos to Cena for being so gracious yet again. Cena of course would use his size and strength to get advantages and avoid getting his ass handed to him on the mat. An early La Tatipia surfboard attempt by D-Bry was cancelled out when Cena lifted D-Bry out of position. I was actually openly criticizing D-Bry during this spot because he didn't use his fists on the rear shoulders region of Cena to get the leverage he needed on an opponent of this caliber, strength, and size. I also recall early in the match he gave D-Bry a vertical suplex on the floor. Hey, if you're going to take stupid bumps, this is the match where you fucking do it.


D-Bry got to show the WWE fanbase what so many fans of independent wrestling had enjoyed throughout the 2000s decade. He was constantly finding new ways to get submissions locked on, including a beautiful and poetic STF on Cena. However, I must now mention that Cena came into this match with a torn tricep. It was severe enough that he had a mass on his left elbow because of it. Of course D-Bry took advantage of it, as well as Cena's respective shoulder that had collided with the ring post, getting the LeBell Lock clamped on at various points in the match, and Cena did a great job like Lesnar earlier in the night of making the audience wonder if he was really going to tap out. D-Bry also channeled Punk in that same match against Lesnar when he dropped Cena with a DDT reversal.


Other great moments in the match include Cena blocking an attempted Frankensteiner with a Styles Clash that was almost botched very badly. There was also a spot near the end when D-Bry did his signature running dropkicks in the corner, but on the third one, Cena ran forward to deliver a vicious clothesline much like Cesaro had done to D-Bry the month before. Both times when this clothesline was delivered it brought back memories of D-Bry's series against his greatest opponent Nigel McGuinness.


The finish of the match came when D-Bry reversed an attempted Death Valley Driver into a small package nearfall, then followed that up with a roundhouse kick to Cena's head. He then debuted the Busaiku knee in front of the WWE audience, and achieved his greatest career moment to date, pinning John Cena clean in the middle of the ring for the WWE Championship in the main event of SummerSlam, with Triple H, who had been fair, impartial, and allowed the combatants to be the focus of the match, counting the pin. The new finisher D-Bry used didn't get a huge pop, which I could see some pointing out as a flaw in the match. But it wasn't. D-Bry's new finisher debuted here and took out the biggest superstar in the industry of the 21st Century so far, to establish its lethal effect. And when the day comes on perhaps a much, much, much bigger stage, the crowd will fucking erupt if he so hits it in a certain main event match that will have the WWE Championship on the line.


Post-match, Cena shakes hands and congratulates the new WWE Champion, as does HHH. D-Bry gets several minutes to celebrate his crowning achievement in front of an ecstatic crowd, with confetti falling throughout the Staples Center. This was such a sentimental and bad-ass moment, one that is so rewarding for fans of pro wrestling. This was just as fucking good as when D-Bry won the ROH Title from James Gibson eight years earlier.


After several minutes, Randy Orton interrupts and comes to ringside, teasing that he will cash it in. He walks away but stops, still contemplating on what to do. HHH approaches D-Bry and suddenly gives him a Pedigree, which has the crowd in a stunned uproar! Orton then gets in the ring and gladly cashes in, to which HHH gleefully obliges. Orton gets the successful pin. I must mention here that D-Bry not kicking out of the Pedigree was a BERRIAL. Actually, no it wasn't. As I stated earlier, having that move take him out here after a grueling MOTYC against Cena will build the drama and have the crowd even more appreciative for when that special day comes that D-Bry does kick out of it.


And that's why even though I wasn't as quite in love with this as I was with Lesnar vs. Punk, this segment couldn't have been executed any better. Cena did a great job in reminding the audience of his grit, love, passion, and SKILL for the business and championship. D-Bry did his thing that I'm guessing most who read this post have grown accustomed to over the past decade from him, this time in front of the largest audience possible outside of WrestleMania, and thus elevated the importance of the title with his performance while also elevating his stock in the company.


Triple H was great in being in the background during the main event, making his heel turn, while many expected it, even more devastating. And Orton had finally turned heel too, because D-Bry was the only one the audience had both enough respect and sympathy for to be angry at him for being such a spineless opportunist. What an epic, epic season finale this show was. ****1/2

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Quick star ratings up to Night of Champions 2013.


Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (2/3 Falls) - NXT 8/21/2013 ****

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian - SmackDown! 8/23/2013 ***

Randy Orton vs. Christian - Raw 8/26/2013 ***1/4

Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan - Raw 8/26/2013 ***1/2

Randy Orton vs. The Miz - SmackDown! 8/30/2013 ***

Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes - Raw 9/2/2013 ***1/2

Jack Swagger vs. Sami Zayn - NXT 9/4/2013 ***1/4

Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam - SmackDown! 9/6/2013 ***

Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan - SmackDown! 9/6/2013 ***

Randy Orton vs. Goldust - Raw 9/9/2013 ***

Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan - Raw 9/9/2013 ***1/4

Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston - Main Event 9/11/2013 ***1/2

The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Usos - SmackDown! 9/13/2013 ***

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan - Night of Champions 2013 ***1/2


The match quality wasn't up to par with the incredible summer, but remained consistent. Triple H put in his bid to challenge Paul Heyman for Heel of the Year. His COO gimmick, to me being WWE's take on Walter White, was perfectly cast for him. He was absolutely perfect in this role, as was Stephanie McMahon to back him up as his cold wife. Their smugness, condescending attitude, vindictiveness, manipulation, and verbal daggers were nothing short of amazing, getting tremendous crowd heat.


In this time, the Shield came back into relevance after briefly treading water, now cast as HHH's henchmen and personal security. Just absolutely perfect roles for them as they once again got to work with Daniel Bryan, being natural opponents for him.


Randy Orton was also great in being an entitled, spineless bully.


Also of note was Edge's participation in the go-home week. He was tremendous with his Cutting Edge segments in being completely blunt to HHH and Orton.

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FINDING THE GEMS IN THE BACKBURNER PERIOD


Raw - September 16, 2003

Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler ***

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan ***1/2


SmackDown! - September 20, 2013

The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan & The Usos ***1/2


SmackDown! - September 27, 2013

The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston & Rob Van Dam ***


Raw - September 30, 2013

The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Usos ***


Battleground 2013 - October 6, 2013

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Goldust & Cody Rhodes


I don't recall the exact structure of the match since I've been churning out this rewatch since the go-home week for NOLA is next week, but this was an excellent tag match. From what I can recall, the Shield cut the ring in half as usual, in quick fashion after the Rhodes brothers had the advantage. Dean Ambrose of course would get involved, which Dusty Rhodes wasn't happy with and he took Ambrose out of the equation - no, this was not a berrial.


Preoccupied with the outside activities, Rollins found himself taken out via the Cross Rhodes. This was tremendously built, getting better as the match progressed, with the crowd in a frenzy in the finishing stretch, and popping huge to see the Rhodes family get rehired by WWE. Afterwards the babyface locker room and producers come congratulate the family. Wonderful moment and this should've closed out the PPV. ****


SmackDown! - October 11, 2013

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan vs. Goldust & Cody Rhodes ***1/4


Raw - October 14, 2013

Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan ***


Tag Titles - No DQ Match

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Goldust & Cody Rhodes


Another excellent tag match from these two teams, with Triple H making the No DQ stipulation to give the advantage to the Shield, bitter that the Rhodes family proved him wrong and had the temerity to put a damper on his ego. Something that really stood out to me was the commentators forgetting who was legal when the match became wild in its finishing stretch, but in fact the referees and both teams still remembered who was legal. Little things like that are what I appreciate, because it's simply PROFESSIONAL.


Ambrose of course would get involved, but the Rhodes brothers came fighting, having complete confidence after already defeating the Shield a week ago. Big Show, who had been fired in storytline, came down to the ring and knocked out Reigns, allowing Cody to get the pinfall and bring the Shield's Tag Titles reign to an end in the STL, where it had poetically begun six months earlier. Again, this wasn't a berrial of the babyfaces winning the titles because of outside interference - it was a story in which HHH's strategy to play favorites backfired on him. ****


NXT - October 16, 2013

Bo Dallas vs. Sami Zayn ***1/2 (really good stuff)


SmackDown! - October 18, 2013

The Shield vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, & Daniel Bryan ***1/2


Raw - October 21, 2013

Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan ***1/2


Also on this Raw was a contract signing involving Triple H, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, and guest ref for the Hell in a Cell 2014 main event Shawn Michaels. HBK once again promised he would do the right thing for the fans and questioned HHH's criticism of D-Bry. This is a must-see segment as part of the WrestleMania XXX buildup.


SmackDown! - October 25, 2013

The Shield & Randy Orton vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Big E., & Daniel Bryan ***1/4


Hell in a Cell 2013 - October 27, 2013: The Good Shit


Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. The Usos vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns ***3/4 (great job of incorporating the Usos' spotfest flavor into the Rhodes vs. Shield feud)


Vacant WWE Title - Hell in a Cell

Guest Ref - Shawn Michaels

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


This could've been an absolutely epic MOTYC, I know they had it in them. However, even with this being a $50 PPV, it was a necessary evil to make the storyline sacrifice for a much more important stage, to build to what will be the final payoff of this entire saga. HBK, albeit heat in the moment and stuck in a difficult position, went back on his word and screwed D-Bry, superkicking his former trainee and counting the pin for Orton, disgusted with himself. I think what hurt the reaction both in the arena and on feedback is that WWE has stubbornly only booked short-term programs, ending them within two months. Fortunately, WWE has proven to have a willingness to call audibles and continue programs when there is still plenty of story to tell. ***1/4

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CONTINUING WITH WHAT'S SIMPLY BEST FOR BUSINESS


Raw - October 28, 2013: The Good Shit


World Title Match

John Cena vs. Damien Sandow


Good stuff here with Sandow attacking the still healing left arm of Cena that went under the needle just a couple months earlier and cashing in his MITB briefcase. Cena was really good as usual with his hope spots, however Sandow simply wasn't as engaging as I expected with being the dominant participant throughout most of this match. Perhaps that's why he's become an afterthought after cashing in his MITB briefcase here, or maybe he's one of the many guys Daniel Bryan referred to on CM Punk's biography, the ones who are content with being deep in the background collecting their downside guarantees and getting spare merch change. ***1/4


Also on this show is the continuation of an angle that I really like on paper, that being Big Show hiring David Otunga to file a lawsuit against the Authority for their crimes. Too bad I don't care about it leading to a Big Show PPV main event.


Shawn Michaels comes out to apologize to Daniel Bryan, who will have none of it, completely pissed over his mentor going against everything promised throughout October. I must mention that D-Bry looks completely ridiculous here, and yes, that's a criticism. He looked like way too much of a cartoon character with the long hair, bushy beard, and temper tantrum face. HBK gets fed up and demands a handshake, no longer caring about D-Bry's future and wanting to wash his hands of what happened the night before. The handshake happens, only for D-Bry to apply the LeBell Lock on his former mentor and trainer. Really good segment, and I hope HBK agrees within the next year or so to come out of retirement for D-Bry.


Lastly of note, the Wyatt Family, after having a few months of establishing their gimmicks, at last stepped into relevance by ambushing CM Punk and D-Bry at separate points on the show.


SmackDown! - November 1, 2003

John Cena, Goldust, & Cody Rhodes vs. Real Americans & Damien Sandow


Really good trios action here, don't remember much about it unfortunately since there's a rematch just a few days later that I am of course going to review. ***3/4


Raw - November 4, 2013: The Good Shit


Randy Orton vs. Big E - ***


John Cena, Goldust, & Cody Rhodes vs. Real Americans & Damien Sandow


Even better trios match here, and again I can't recall too much. What I do remember is the heels doing a great job with their segments of cutting the ring in half and being engaging, while the babyfaces did their jobs too of getting sympathy heat with their hope spots and then delivering on hot tags. Excellent match. ****


SmackDown! - November 8, 2013

Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan


Really good storytelling here, as D-Bry had a shoulder taped up due to the Wyatt Family attacking him viciously the week before. Harper went to work with being the monster heel, but D-Bry was excellent in wrestling an aggressive style (reminding me of Chris Benoit) to convincingly still go toe-to-toe with him, something that not many smaller wrestlers have the ability and work ethic to pull off. ***1/4


Raw - November 11, 2013


Nothing on its own really stands out as "good shit," but there are interesting things I must mention. Paul Heyman returned, temporarily being confined to a wheelchair, and cut a basic heel promo putting the blame on everyone else for his scarred relationship with CM Punk. Average promo by Heyman standards, very good by almost everyone else's standards.


Main event was the Shield vs. Punk & Daniel Bryan, which was a fun but meaningless match. What mattered was the post-match when the Wyatt Family came to attack the babyfaces, leading to the first ever collision between them and the Shield. Crowd was fucking NUTS for this, and it certainly had an aura to it that makes me look forward to such a trios match. Both trios realize they've been played and go after the babyfaces, only for Goldust, Cody Rhodes, and the Usos to show up to even the odds to an outstanding reaction to a wonderfully chaotic scene. Great closing segment.


Raw - November 18, 2013

The Shield & The Wyatt Family vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, The Usos, CM Punk, & Daniel Bryan


Another excellent multi-man match from WWE in 2013. I don't believe most die-hards like me would love this as much as me, as it was more focused on a story, but it's a story that got me excited for what would come down the line. The babyfaces were largely just bodies in this match, as the first third-to-half of this match was the heel trios' egos getting in the way of them being a cohesive unit for the night.


I'm not kidding. The Shield just kept tagging each other in for the first several minutes, not allowing the Wyatt Family to have a chance to put in any work. But eventually the trios put their egos to the side and worked together, which was a surreal sight to behold. Seriously, who actually thought a few years ago that Raw would be headlined by a match featuring Jon Moxley, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Brodie Lee, Husky Harris, and Tyler Black, with no signs of John Cena or Randy Orton? You're lying to yourself if you say yes.


The finishing stretch is when the babyfaces came into the focus, doing a great job of standing up to the temporarily aligned juggernaut heel group. There was good storytelling and psychology, plus an incredible pace. The Usos did their highspot thing to bring more spectacle to this contest, getting the crowd even more engaged in the process. And once again, what was most impressive is that because this is WWE and tag team rules matter, this 12 man tag match, despite how wild it got, came down to the legal men. Rey Mysterio also made his return after his millionth injury during the post-match melee. Tremendous Raw main event that IMO should at least be in the conversation with the DX/Radicalz vs. Rock/Sock/Rikishi/Cool tag from February 2000. ****


SmackDown! - November 22, 2013

Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Real Americans - ***1/2 (probably the best of their series, WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T THESE TEAMS JUST FEUD OVER THE BELTS INSTEAD OF HAVING NON-TITLE MATCHES EVERY FUCKING WEEK?)


Survivor Series 2013: The Good Shit


Survivor Series Elimination Match

The Shield & Real Americans vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, The Usos, & Rey Mysterio


Really good stuff here, once it came down to Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. the world is when the shit got engaging. Sure, the early segments had fun stuff, but nothing really all that gripping. The former tag champs did a great job of getting themselves out of the hole they were in, not allowing poetic justice (no pun intended) to be handed to them on their WWE one year anniversary.


Of course, Reigns would be the last team remaining on the heels, and managed to win the match all by himself, finishing the match off with a brutal looking spear on Mysterio. After talking shit to the HOFer during the match, Reigns gave Mysterio respect. This man is going to headline WrestleManias. ***1/2


CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan


More good stuff here, as the babyfaces made sure to let the new monsters on the block look like a million bucks and give them credibility for what was to soon come. ***1/2


Raw - November 25, 2013

The only thing of note on this show was CM Punk shitting on the Authority, and then getting conveniently ambushed by the Shield almost immediately afterwards.


NXT - November 27, 2013

NXT Title Shot Match

Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville


Really good stuff here, maybe not quite as epic as their PWG contests, but this was an obviously more polished version of their tremendous spotfest chemistry. ***1/2


Raw - December 9, 2013: The Good Shit

THE 2013 SLAMMY AWARDS~! LIVE FROM GOD'S GIFT TO PLANET EARTH~!


This is an incredibly well-paced episode that I loved being in attendance for, and just as good on the broadcast. Let's get right to it.


Fandango vs. Daniel Bryan


Tremendous hometown pop for D-Bry, and the home of the 12th Man was loud and proud in showing our support for him. The match isn't remarkable, but damn it is FUN, yet the broadcast version doesn't do justice to what a great time we had live. Of course D-Bry won.


Dean Ambrose vs. CM Punk


Much more engaging than their match the week before, this time not just following up on Punk's ribs (still healing from a vicious Roman Reigns spear done in recent weeks), but working on his left arm as well. By this point, it was clear to me even live that Punk was starting to phone it in, but his sheer talent and natural storytelling habits, as well as Ambrose busting his ass on his end, made this a good match that had the crowd excited at the end. Of note is that the Shield were showing signs of cracking as a unit during this match. ***1/4


Now the noteworthy Slammy Award segments:


The Shield presented the Double-Cross of the Year, which went to Shawn Michaels for his actions at Hell in a Cell 2013. Cute speech from him about how long it took to win this particular Slammy. I don't remember my vote, but I'm sure it went to either Triple H or Mark Henry. The Shield showed signs of cracking during their presentation speech.


Shawn Michaels presented the Superstar of the Year, which went to D-Bry. Great little moment of animosity between them. GET THESE FUCKING TWO TO WRESTLE EACH OTHER DAMMIT. D-Bry cuts a short speech showing his appreciation, ending it with this nice exclamation point: "GO SEAHAWKS~!"


Mick Foley presented the Extreme Moment of the Year, which went to CM Punk for getting the last laugh in his feud with Paul Heyman. Man, once Brock Lesnar was out of the picture, that feud became forgettable. Punk deserved the award, but it should've been for the epic ass-kicking he took from Lesnar in Brooklyn.


Bret Hart presented the Match of the Year, which went to The Rock vs. John Cena for WrestleMania XXIX. Look, that was a very good match that had the crowd engaged, and a couple nominees were great, with Punk vs. Undertaker being most deserving, but this was one lackluster ballot of choices. None of the matches in this vote even crack my top five for WWE in 2013 (although one of my top five is AFTER this show.)


Championship Ascension Ceremony


Everyone present in KeyArena that has ever held the WWE and/or World Title is in the ring, which is quite the cast of characters, from Bret Hart to Great Khali to Triple H to Dolph Ziggler to CM Punk to Jack Swagger (looking quite stylish in his leather jacket btw). HHH & Stephanie McMahon are the MCs, with Randy Orton and John Cena coming down to the ring. Both belts are suspended above the ring.


We here in Seattle, Washington got the bandwagon started that is still going as I type up this review. We loudly and proudly hijacked this segment, chanting over and over again for D-Bry, be it his name or simply yelling "YES~!" This was different than what happened in Miami in 2012, as I was fortunate enough to attend that great episode of Raw too. That was a bunch of die-hards from around the world upset over what happened at WrestleMania XXVIII. Here in the Emerald City, we just wanted everyone to know where the WWE was on this night, and that it was time to stop pussy-footing around with D-Bry.


D-Bry was great taking this all in, supposed to be a background character, but I know that this is a moment he'll never forget being a part of, and I sure as hell fucking won't. Triple H even had to acknowledge it, berrying us and D-Bry with a snide comment. Dude is a total pro, but he would quickly be outshined by the most impressive mic performance I've seen in person to date.


Before I get to that, I must say this: Before Bryan Danielson retires, he NEEDS to headline WrestleMania here in Seattle. I understand that we are a bandwagon market. I understand that the weather around Easter time can be unpredictable. But it's EASY $$$ to make, and would make for an atmosphere that defines the Showcase of the Immortals. Sure, the Rock's WrestleMania XXVIII match against Cena in his hometown of Miami was unforgettable, but D-Bry would make sure it's an artistic classic, and if the event took place at the Clink, I shudder to think what the decibel level would be in a venue designed to enhance crowd noise jam-packed with rabid hometown AND global die-hards. At worst, if the weather were to cause WWE to book Safeco Field again instead, I'd be HAPPY to pay DOUBLE what I usually pay for my WM ticket to make up for the baseball stadium having significantly smaller capacity. And after the bandwagon prices that went for the most recent NFC Championship, I firmly believe many here in SEA would do the same to see their hometown favorite in such a position.


Back to the segment, Cena just completely blew everyone in attendance away, acknowledging D-Bry to get the SEA audience hooked, explaining how hard our hometown guy had worked to get to where he is in the business today, whereas Orton was handed every opportunity to be great. He then said that it's time for Orton to really put up and stop being a patsy, that the upcoming unification match would define what Orton should've already been "ten years ago."


Then the two of them came to blows, resulting in a pull-apart. Orton pie-faced Punk, who then went after the WWE Champion. HHH grabbed Punk and threw him off, not allowing his chosen golden boy to be touched. Punk came after HHH to deliver receipts, only to get superkicked by HBK. Then that was followed with D-Bry giving a Busaiku knee to HBK. Orton approached D-Bry to deliver an Ace Crusher, but was shoved into Steph, who collapsed from the collision. An incensed HHH then dropped Orton with a Pedigree. FUCKING FANTASTIC SEGMENT. We were going nuts in the KeyArena!


Take some time out of your life to watch the 2013 Slammys, it's quite the fun, digestible viewing with a historic hijacking that had a major effect on the road to WrestleMania XXX, as well as a quality matchup, great pacing, and one of the greatest segments in Raw history.


TLC 2013: The Good Shit


Tag Titles - Elimination Match

Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Real Americans vs. Big Show & Rey Mysterio vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel - ***1/2 (good fun but nothing too special)


World Title and WWE Title Unification - TLC Match

John Cena vs. Randy Orton


Good stuff here, with solid storytelling that played off of their previous matches. I really liked seeing Orton win this one fair and square, beating the actual face of the company by outsmarting him. And I also loved Cena successfully scrambling and finding a way to get back in the match while being handcuffed to the ropes. Not exactly how Walter White did it, but it showed Cena's brilliance. ***1/2


Raw - December 16, 2013: The Good Shit


CM Punk comes out to call out Triple H, but gets Shawn Michaels instead. Good back-and-forth here between the two, and I can't help but wonder if HBK were willing to come out of retirement for Punk, if Punk would've stayed put on the roster. Maybe one day it will happen, but I'm not counting on it.


The Shield vs. The Usos & CM Punk - ***


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


And thus I end this portion of the road to WrestleMania XXX with one of the best matches of 2013, one of the best in Raw history. The fine folks of Dallas obviously weren't spoiled enough earlier in the year with another ****1/2 best Raw match ever candidate between John Cena and CM Punk. Nope, they needed another one between the other half of the big four full-time stars of 2013.


I had positive vibes coming out of this match, and now with WrestleMania XXX on the horizon, I certainly feel justified with how much I loved this match on first viewing and with a rewatch.


D-Bry completely outclassed Orton in the first few minutes, reinforcing that he is better than the Authority's chosen golden boy. He went to work on Orton's back at first, which Orton sold, but they never went back to it, so it never became an important part of the story, which is fine. It wasn't devastating enough that moving on would have a negative impact on the match.


D-Bry also started working on Orton's left leg, which would pay off as the match progressed. D-Bry was of course completely engaging while being on offense in this match, whether it was his top-notch submission work or crowd-popping strikes. However, Randy Orton is still Randy Orton, an 11 time WWE/World Champion, so this was certainly not gonna be a squash. He got some leverage on D-Bry, planting the former WWE Champion on his belly and then stomping on the left arm. D-Bry's selling of this was magnificent in his verbal screaming, body language, and facial expressions.


However, D-Bry is one of the absolute best in the game, so he managed to keep the match interesting with his hope spots, including an attempted suicide dive. Orton however would step aside, leaving D-Bry to land on his right shoulder. This would NOT become the story of the match, but I must note that I sure hope all these suicide dives don't leave Danielson with long-term shoulder damage down the road, he seems like one of the decent human beings in the business.


D-Bry would continue selling his LEFT arm that Orton had damaged earlier in the match, and Orton kept going back to work on it. But D-Bry would manage to get the upper hand, left arm be damned, using his strikes (and the crowd reaction that comes with them) to gain momentum. Perhaps my favorite moment in the match is Orton attempting a Thesz press, only for D-Bry to duck underneath Orton, grab the left leg he had been working on earlier, and lock it in a half crab! Amazing storytelling here.


By this point in the finishing stretch, it became obvious that Orton wasn't gonna be able to shut the critics up on this night, and he blatantly low-blowed D-Bry for the DQ. Cena came down to ringside, only to get struck in the head with one of the title belts, leaving Orton standing over both to close out Raw. I LOVED that finish because it only made D-Bry even more of a legitimate star in the company, and I suspected that it would lead to him being the WWE Champion again shortly after this. And I'm probably right about that too. This match worked on almost every level. ****1/2

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THE ROAD HITS A CALM BEFORE THE STORM


Raw - December 23, 2013: The Good Shit

Goldust, Cody Rhodes, & Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family - ***1/4

The Shield vs. Big E, John Cena, & CM Punk - *** (still can't figure out why the ref called for the DQ yet)


NXT - December 25, 2013

William Regal's Last Match

Cesaro vs. William Regal


Very good throwback match here. Regal used his veteran experience of roughly three decades to get the upper hand early, and I particularly popped when he didn't give Cesaro a clean break, playing dirty with the ref in position not to see it. Cesaro got fucking livid after that and turned up the viciousness, showing the mean streak that made him my pick for the best North American wrestler of 2011.


Another highlight became the story of the match. Cesaro had worked on Regal's left leg, so when the former King of the Ring dropped his knees with his right leg landing on Cesaro's left arm, Regal was so damaged from the work that he couldn't capitalize right away. He went to rest on the turnbuckle, and Cesaro came charging for a nasty European Uppercut, only for Regal to get his right leg up, severely hurting Cesaro's right arm. Cesaro worked the rest of the match hardly being able to use the right arm.


They also had a beautiful European uppercut exchange IIRC, and the technical wrestling was superb. What kept this from being a great match was that they tried copying the finishing story of Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXVI, but this match no matter how good or anticipated couldn't tell that story and be as engaging, as indicated by the crowd's silence. Cesaro seemed to forget selling his right arm at the end too. Post-match, Cesaro shakes hands with Regal, signaling a potential babyface turn in the future. ***3/4


SmackDown! - December 27, 2013

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins


This particular weekly show got to close out the year with a fucking bang. Once again, Cena was gracious enough to allow this to be the Seth Rollins Show, who came out looking like a million bucks. Rollins was masterful in DOMINATING this match. There is no way spinning this differently - he was put over in this under-appreciated gem. Everything he did was crisp, had a purpose, and kept the crowd engaged.


Of course, Cena would get his hope spots in to keep this from being a tedious, drawn-out squash. But Rollins would use his quickness, ruthless aggression, and superior technique to keep Cena's offense brief. It was definitely something to behold. And while Cena squeezed out a victory in the kind of fashion that reminds me of Tom Brady, he certainly did his job in raising the stock of Rollins. I fully believe Rollins will be a main-event singles act for WWE. ****


Raw - December 30, 2013: The Good Shit


Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman return, with Lesnar proclaiming himself to be the #1 Contender for the WWE Title.


Luke Harper vs. Daniel Bryan - ***1/2

This was to be a D-Bry vs. Wyatt Family gauntlet match, and it was good, but I'm only rating the singles match. I LOVE the idea of having a soul-crushing ending to close out 2013, as D-Bry's reasons for giving into the faction made complete sense and distinguished him from the unbreakable Cena. Very good storytelling here.


SmackDown! - January 3, 2014

The Shield vs. The Usos & CM Punk - ***1/2


Raw - January 6, 2014: The Good Shit

OLD SCHOOL RAW 2014~!


Ric Flair starts the show for a promo and gets interrupted by Randy Orton, which leads to a tense verbal confrontation. Stating the obvious: there will NEVER be another Ric Flair. John Cena comes out to verbally put Flair over. Not a great segment on its own, but I imagine live it was a tremendous way to pump up the crowd for the night.


Daniel Bryan looks completely ridiculous in his janitor outfit, although he's had much worse wardrobe choices during his time as a pro wrestler.


Piper's Pit

Guests: The Shield


Roddy Piper just stirs shit up, saying that CM Punk already beat Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, and now it's time for Roman Reigns to step up and prove he's the best of the trio. I loved Reigns getting in Piper's face, all-business, not tolerating Piper's choice to pinch his cheek like a child.


Brock Lesnar has a brief bad-ass brawl with Mark Henry, of course winning that one. Big Show then comes out and Lesnar backs down. Once Lesnar tries to ambush Big Show with a Paul Heyman distraction, Show claws his face and tosses him across the ring. Excellent segment.


CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns - ***


Raw - January 13, 2014


All that matters is the very end. Bray Wyatt & Daniel Bryan lost their cage match against the Usos by DQ, and Wyatt said it was time for another initiation. When he grabbed for the Sister Abigail though, D-Bry pushed him away, and the crowd went APESHIT. Once D-Bry got the upper hand and knocked out Wyatt inside the locked cage, it became thunderous. D-Bry getting rid of the janitor outfit and being in unison once again with the #YesManWagon is easily one of the greatest moments in Raw history. I don't give a shit if this was planned, moved forward earlier, etc. This was a great pro wrestling segment.


Raw - January 20, 2014


The Authority break down Randy Orton, who has become whiny and way too high-maintenance during such an important time for the company. After a four year absence, BATISTA returns and directly states that he is coming for the WWE Title.




Big Show and Brock Lesnar have another altercation, with Show having the advantage at every turn. Lesnar spazzes out around the ring out of frustration.


Last thing of note - CM Punk looked absolutely AWFUL in the way he presented himself. He's never been a pretty boy or rocked the corporate look other than to troll the ROHbots during the Summer of Punk, so that's not what I'm getting at. Before this particular week before the Royal Rumble 2014 PPV, he had always had a fire in his eyes, carried a supreme confidence, and styled himself in a way that stood out, whether it was long hair, a mohawk, shaved head, or hair still short but just long enough to make him a sympathetic character. Now his mutton chops just looked like they needed shaved off, and his hair was a complete mess, literally looking like he had just rolled up out of bed.


And now the storm comes...

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THE ROAD HITS A STORMY PATH


Royal Rumble 2014: The Good Shit


Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan


Definitely a candidate for best non-MITB opener in PPV history. D-Bry started the match dominating with his aggression and superior technical wrestling, including working on the left knee of Wyatt. After several minutes, Wyatt gained the advantage when he twisted D-Bry's left arm and slammed it on the apron. Wyatt then showed his aggressive side that we had only seen bits and pieces of, physically decimating D-Bry. However, because this is a match that features a total pro like Bryan Danielson, D-Bry would make sure to keep the crowd engaged and give them hope with his occasional strikes.


Wyatt was quite unorthodox, but D-Bry was so pissed off on this night that he would regain the advantage. My favorite spot of the night is when he dropped Wyatt with a curb stomp to epitomize how livid he was after being harassed for three months by the Wyatt Family, and showing that he had not forgotten his roots on the independent scene. But with the plans for both characters going forward, Wyatt had to go over here. He didn't sell the leg down the stretch as much as I hoped, but it can be argued that enough time had gone by in this instant classic for him to heal during the match. Or maybe, just maybe, these two held back a little bit for a much bigger rematch down the line for the company's top prize should they both go on to achieve their goals at WrestleMania XXX. ****


WWE Title Match

Randy Orton vs. John Cena


Crowd never gave this match a chance, making it clear they want D-Bry to get this position, to be the centerpiece of the promotion. But these two professionals had a good, fun match. The pacing was good and action was solid, and eventually the crowd would get into the match during the finisher fest nearfall extravaganza at the end. Orton did a great job of playing off the crowd to enhance his insecure, high-maintenance gimmick. Of course, because Randy Orton is no Daniel Bryan, he isn't quite special enough to beat John Cena clean right now. As Cena was likely about to win the title, the lights went out and the Wyatt Family appeared, with Orton taking advantage of the distraction for the pin. ***1/4


Post-match, the Wyatt Family decimates Cena and leaves him laying.


The 2014 Royal Rumble Match - CM Punk's Last Match


While coming nowhere near the MOTYC of the previous Royal Rumble match, this one was sure quite interesting. For someone who started the match and got to the final four, CM Punk did very little and seemed like a second-rate background character in this match. I actually wonder if that was intentional on his part and even the company's part. Just seemed too convenient to see him take a backseat and let numerous other participants shine.


There were some definite fun moments in this match. Kofi Kingston had TWO dramatic escapes from near-elimination. JBL was a surprise entrant and was immediately eliminated by Roman Reigns. Sheamus returned from injury to the surprise of nobody. C'mon, Sheamus is a fucking worker like everyone else, so there was no reason to believe him when he said he wouldn't be ready for this show.


I'm gonna take a separate paragraph to mention Kevin Nash's nostalgic appearance. Sure, he did nothing, but that's not my focus. WHY THE FUCK WAS HE ELIMINATED RIGHT BEFORE THE GREAT KHALI WAS THE NEXT ENTRANT SECONDS LATER? They BETTER fucking collide in the WrestleMania XXX battle royale, I want to see them lock horns in a true Showcase of the Immortals. NOLA OR BUST GOD FUCKING DAMMIT.


The most featured act in the match was the Shield, with Seth Rollins starting the match, Dean Ambrose coming in several spots later, and Reigns entering in the middle of the match. They worked together as promised, but the unpredictable, egomaniacal, and hot-tempered Ambrose attempted to eliminate Reigns, which Rollins stopped and questioned. Just fed up for the moment, Reigns eliminated both as well as Cesaro. Speaking of Cesaro, he shined in this match also with numerous giant swings (that's ultimately why he's connecting with the crowd btw), particularly on Rollins. Man Cesaro vs. Rollins is gonna steal a show at some point for WWE.


The last participants of note were Batista and Rey Mysterio. Batista was booed mercilessly, as the crowd sensed he was gonna be in the top spot of the year, which they viewed as belonging to D-Bry. Mysterio was #30 and the crowd became severely agitated, idiotically assuming D-Bry would somehow be in this match. Newsflash: NONE of the six individuals in the singles matches earlier on the card were advertised for this match, nor were any of them gonna participate in it.


The final four came down to Batista, Reigns, Sheamus, and Punk. Punk was taken out by Kane and choke-slammed through a table. Sheamus was eliminated, leaving the Batista vs. Reigns dream collision in a battle of past vs. present. Pretty interesting little preview of what could be a $$$ match in the future, and the crowd got behind Reigns, which is a good sign for his future. There was one disjointed spot, but as Reigns improves (which he has done so well at since TLC 2012 btw) and Batista works off his ring rust, I believe these two could have quite a spectacle. Batista of course won to one of the harshest crowd reactions to close out a PPV in WWE history. ***1/4


I'll just get this out of the way now: Punk stopped working for WWE the next day, not even appearing on Raw. I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. What I saw in his performances the last two months in WWE were not up to par with the standard that he set not only for the audience, but for himself. In particular, his first and to date only singles match against Seth Rollins, a legitimate dream match for fans of independent wrestling, was very sloppy and disappointing, which he noted on Twitter with a blunt "it sucked." He lost the fire in his eyes and had made it crystal-clear that he was burned out, even contemplating retirement later this year. I'm not going to speculate on any behind-the-scenes reasons on why he's not working for WWE right now.


Based on how much Punk put into the business, that he hasn't made a commitment to returning or retirement, and that so many top stars have rekindled their relationships with WWE after going through some hard times, I do not believe that CM Punk is done wrestling. As time goes by, the idea that he would retire with that lackluster performance in the 2014 Royal Rumble match as his unadvertised finale does not compute to me. In the meantime, I look forward to rewatching and catching up to see how WWE's creative and the roster has stepped up in Punk's absence during such an important time for WWE.

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THE ROAD HITS A STORMY PATH


Royal Rumble 2014: The Good Shit


Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan


Definitely a candidate for best non-MITB opener in PPV history. D-Bry started the match dominating with his aggression and superior technical wrestling, including working on the left knee of Wyatt. After several minutes, Wyatt gained the advantage when he twisted D-Bry's left arm and slammed it on the apron. Wyatt then showed his aggressive side that we had only seen bits and pieces of, physically decimating D-Bry. However, because this is a match that features a total pro like Bryan Danielson, D-Bry would make sure to keep the crowd engaged and give them hope with his occasional strikes.


Wyatt was quite unorthodox, but D-Bry was so pissed off on this night that he would regain the advantage. My favorite spot of the night is when he dropped Wyatt with a curb stomp to epitomize how livid he was after being harassed for three months by the Wyatt Family, and showing that he had not forgotten his roots on the independent scene. But with the plans for both characters going forward, Wyatt had to go over here. He didn't sell the leg down the stretch as much as I hoped, but it can be argued that enough time had gone by in this instant classic for him to heal during the match. Or maybe, just maybe, these two held back a little bit for a much bigger rematch down the line for the company's top prize should they both go on to achieve their goals at WrestleMania XXX. ****


WWE Title Match

Randy Orton vs. John Cena


Crowd never gave this match a chance, making it clear they want D-Bry to get this position, to be the centerpiece of the promotion. But these two professionals had a good, fun match. The pacing was good and action was solid, and eventually the crowd would get into the match during the finisher fest nearfall extravaganza at the end. Orton did a great job of playing off the crowd to enhance his insecure, high-maintenance gimmick. Of course, because Randy Orton is no Daniel Bryan, he isn't quite special enough to beat John Cena clean right now. As Cena was likely about to win the title, the lights went out and the Wyatt Family appeared, with Orton taking advantage of the distraction for the pin. ***1/4


Post-match, the Wyatt Family decimates Cena and leaves him laying.


The 2014 Royal Rumble Match - CM Punk's Last Match


While coming nowhere near the MOTYC of the previous Royal Rumble match, this one was sure quite interesting. For someone who started the match and got to the final four, CM Punk did very little and seemed like a second-rate background character in this match. I actually wonder if that was intentional on his part and even the company's part. Just seemed too convenient to see him take a backseat and let numerous other participants shine.


There were some definite fun moments in this match. Kofi Kingston had TWO dramatic escapes from near-elimination. JBL was a surprise entrant and was immediately eliminated by Roman Reigns. Sheamus returned from injury to the surprise of nobody. C'mon, Sheamus is a fucking worker like everyone else, so there was no reason to believe him when he said he wouldn't be ready for this show.


I'm gonna take a separate paragraph to mention Kevin Nash's nostalgic appearance. Sure, he did nothing, but that's not my focus. WHY THE FUCK WAS HE ELIMINATED RIGHT BEFORE THE GREAT KHALI WAS THE NEXT ENTRANT SECONDS LATER? They BETTER fucking collide in the WrestleMania XXX battle royale, I want to see them lock horns in a true Showcase of the Immortals. NOLA OR BUST GOD FUCKING DAMMIT.


The most featured act in the match was the Shield, with Seth Rollins starting the match, Dean Ambrose coming in several spots later, and Reigns entering in the middle of the match. They worked together as promised, but the unpredictable, egomaniacal, and hot-tempered Ambrose attempted to eliminate Reigns, which Rollins stopped and questioned. Just fed up for the moment, Reigns eliminated both as well as Cesaro. Speaking of Cesaro, he shined in this match also with numerous giant swings (that's ultimately why he's connecting with the crowd btw), particularly on Rollins. Man Cesaro vs. Rollins is gonna steal a show at some point for WWE.


The last participants of note were Batista and Rey Mysterio. Batista was booed mercilessly, as the crowd sensed he was gonna be in the top spot of the year, which they viewed as belonging to D-Bry. Mysterio was #30 and the crowd became severely agitated, idiotically assuming D-Bry would somehow be in this match. Newsflash: NONE of the six individuals in the singles matches earlier on the card were advertised for this match, nor were any of them gonna participate in it.


The final four came down to Batista, Reigns, Sheamus, and Punk. Punk was taken out by Kane and choke-slammed through a table. Sheamus was eliminated, leaving the Batista vs. Reigns dream collision in a battle of past vs. present. Pretty interesting little preview of what could be a $$$ match in the future, and the crowd got behind Reigns, which is a good sign for his future. There was one disjointed spot, but as Reigns improves (which he has done so well at since TLC 2012 btw) and Batista works off his ring rust, I believe these two could have quite a spectacle. Batista of course won to one of the harshest crowd reactions to close out a PPV in WWE history. ***1/4


I'll just get this out of the way now: Punk stopped working for WWE the next day, not even appearing on Raw. I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. What I saw in his performances the last two months in WWE were not up to par with the standard that he set not only for the audience, but for himself. In particular, his first and to date only singles match against Seth Rollins, a legitimate dream match for fans of independent wrestling, was very sloppy and disappointing, which he noted on Twitter with a blunt "it sucked." He lost the fire in his eyes and had made it crystal-clear that he was burned out, even contemplating retirement later this year. I'm not going to speculate on any behind-the-scenes reasons on why he's not working for WWE right now.


Based on how much Punk put into the business, that he hasn't made a commitment to returning or retirement, and that so many top stars have rekindled their relationships with WWE after going through some hard times, I do not believe that CM Punk is done wrestling. As time goes by, the idea that he would retire with that lackluster performance in the 2014 Royal Rumble match as his unadvertised finale does not compute to me. In the meantime, I look forward to rewatching and catching up to see how WWE's creative and the roster has stepped up in Punk's absence during such an important time for WWE.

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THE ROAD HITS A WINTER STORM


Raw - January 27, 2014: The Good Shit


The show opens with Daniel Bryan interrupting the Authority, pissed over them going out of their way to keep him from headlining WrestleMania XXX. Excellent segment for an obvious match at the Showcase of the Immortals, far more interesting than Triple H vs. CM Punk would've been.


Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman interrupt a verbal confrontation between Randy Orton and Batista, demanding a title shot. Fuck Orton vs. Lesnar, but Batista vs. Lesnar has to happen at some point in the next year.


WWE Title Shot Elimination Chamber Match Qualifier

The Shield vs. Sheamus, John Cena, & Daniel Bryan - ***1/4 (good stuff but what matters is the Wyatt Family attacking Cena, setting him up to go through the grueling Chamber match while they also pissed off the Shield in the process by screwing them from qualifying)


SmackDown! - January 31, 2014: The Good Shit


After strong persuasion from the Shield, Triple H grants them the trios match everyone has been wanting: the Shield vs. the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber 2014.


The Shield vs. Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, & Rey Mysterio - ***1/2


Raw - February 3, 2014: The Good Shit


The Wyatt Family cut another great on-screen promo on the Shield.


Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan


This is the first of a five-match series Orton has against his Elimination Chamber match opponents for being so fucking high-maintenance towards the Authority. Excellent match of course. D-Bry worked on the left leg over and over again, but Orton would damage D-Bry's right shoulder to get the heat back and gain control. Now without any help, D-Bry FINALLY gets his major non-gimmick match victory over Orton. This didn't have the crowd energy of their previous Raw match, but this was great stuff, with phenomenal storytelling and the drama building as the match progressed. ****


SmackDown! - February 7, 2014: The Good Shit

Cesaro vs. Daniel Bryan - ***1/2

Randy Orton vs. Christian - ***1/4


Raw - February 10, 2014: The Good Shit


Real Americans vs. Christian & Sheamus


This was great tag team wrestling, complete with a hot crowd, cutting the ring in half to build to hot tags, and hard-hitting action between the Europeans. ****


The Shield and the Wyatt Family have a standoff that has the crowd rocking. No physicality, just two established bad-ass trios in an Old West style segment to build to the collision.


Randy Orton vs. John Cena


Just as good as their match a couple weeks earlier, this time with a much more receptive crowd due to the crowd just seeing Daniel Bryan right before this match, so the crowd wasn't starving to hijack this match in his favor. These two have good chemistry, but I do hope this is it for them colliding in singles matches. This isn't Rock vs. Austin or Danielson vs. McGuinness. ***1/4


SmackDown! - February 14, 2014: The Good Shit


The Shield vs. Christian, Sheamus, & Daniel Bryan - *** (what matters most is Christian accidentally taking the Yakuza kick from Sheamus to give the Shield the win)


Randy Orton vs. Cesaro


I enjoyed this WAY more on second viewing, and for good reasons. The crowd wasn't into this at first, which is understandable. Cesaro had never done anything to make the audience believe that he was on Orton's level. Cesaro did dominate early with his technical wrestling, causing Orton to ease back and regroup. Orton would gain the upper hand thanks to his veteran experience at the top and ruthless aggression, but perhaps he was looking past Cesaro, who had proven since the Kings of Wrestling reformed in 2010 that he too has some fucking ruthless aggression in him.


Orton couldn't put Cesaro away, and Cesaro kept getting closer and closer to pulling off the upset. The crowd got more and more into this too as it went along, sensing they were about to see a special moment. They were going insane for the nearfalls. And what a reaction when Cesaro got his biggest career victory to boot. This was definitely a breakout match, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's nowhere near Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, or Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries, but it's really good and proves why SmackDown! matters. ***3/4


Raw - February 17, 2014: The Good Shit


Christian vs. Daniel Bryan - ***1/4


John Cena vs. Cesaro


One of my favorite Raw matches ever, and just as good on second viewing. Similar to Cena vs. Seth Rollins, this was Cena once again letting the new blood shine. However, this was better than that Rollins match. The pacing in this was phenomenal with some tremendous storytelling to go with it. Enough of the thesis, let's get to why this match is an instant classic.


Cesaro dominated not with technical wrestling, but with his great conditioning, tenacity, strength, and aggression. However, Cena was outstanding with his offense too when he would get his hope spots in. The first time Cesaro went for the giant swing, Cena countered into an an attempted STF. Cesaro blocked that attempt and put himself in position to successfully drop Cena with a gut-wrench suplex.


Cesaro also evaded an attempted Death Valler Driver, shoving Cena to bounce off the ropes and then lifting him for a devastating European uppercut. Later in the match, Cena went for his shitty top-rope leg-drop that is going to shorten his career, but Cesaro got up and delivered another deadly European uppercut, this one so hard that it knocked Cena to the outside of the ring. Cesaro then channeled Michael Elgin moments later and delivered an apron superlex as I like to call it. By this point the crowd was just rocking.


Cena would counter Cesaro's next giant swing attempt, doing a sit-up and dropping Cesaro with a DDT. By this point the crowd knew they were witnessing something special. The match just kept becoming more visually dazzling, the drama intensifying with each minute. The third time would be the charm for Cesaro and the crowd was marking out tremendously when he got the giant swing on Cena. The audience had to sense Cesaro was going to top his peak victory over Randy Orton just the week before, but Cena managed to squeak out another victory. Outstanding match. ****1/4


SmackDown! - February 21, 2014: The Good Shit

The Wyatt Family vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, & Rey Mysterio - ***1/2

Christian vs. Sheamus - ***1/2

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THE STORM KEEPS BREWING


Elimination Chamber 2014: The Good Shit


IC Title Match

Big E vs. Jack Swagger


Really good opener here. Hot crowd, good pace, nice action, never got boring. ***1/2


The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family


The crowd is historically hot for this match, giving it the Joe vs. Kobashi treatment. That means the fans were already expressing their pure bliss at these two juggernaut units colliding before they even laid hands on each other.


What makes this such a special match is that it was probably the wildest we'll see from WWE in 2014. The past couple years, that nod has gone to Brock Lesnar's classics with John Cena and CM Punk. But this was chaotic, a true spectacle in every sense of the word.


Both trios did an absolutely phenomenal job of cutting the ring in half, with Seth Rollins stepping up to play a tremendous sympathetic babyface. It was a sight to behold seeing the Shield get a true taste of their style, often succumbing to the numbers game. In particular, Rollins's delivery and timing of his hope spots legitimately reminded me of Shawn Michaels.


While the Shield had come into this match with tension within their own unit, the Wyatt Family was quarterbacked by Bray Wyatt, calling the plays for Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. It was a wonderful contrast. Wyatt's disciples did a wonderful job in dominating this match.


But this was no squash. The hot-headed Dean Ambrose brought his chaotic sabotaging to what the Wyatts were doing, with Roman Reigns of course getting in his power moves. As the match kept going, the crowd never died, and rallied behind the Shield even while popping for the segments in which the Wyatt Family got the upper hand.


Ambrose and Wyatt brawled to the crowd, with only Wyatt returning, and then ordered his disciples to put Rollins through a table. Reigns put on a great solo performance once again, but this time couldn't capture the magic he had at Survivor Series 2013. As he went to spear Wyatt, Harper jumped in the ring and took the fall, allowing Wyatt to finish Reigns off in a beautiful example of teamwork.


This match will stand the test of time. Yes, it was something meant for WrestleMania. But it happened here, and it was a work of art, a piece of magic that these two teams may never duplicate together, even though I actually sense they could do better in a gimmick match environment. This was a mixture of Chikara gimmicks with golden age ROH/PWG action, complete with WWE producers' polishing. ****3/4


WWE Title - Elimination Chamber Match

Randy Orton vs. Christian vs. Sheamus vs. Cesaro vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan


Another excellent match for the night, and a major improvement over the prior year's Chamber match.


Here's why this worked much better than the year before: Nobody gave a shit about a Jack Swagger push. Here, the fans actually gave a shit about the majority of the competitors, D-Bry in particular.


Sheamus and Cesaro once again brought their throwback brutality to each other to start the match, just awesome shit. And the match just kept being engaging, the action never getting boring. Most important are the moments that lead to WrestleMania XXX though of course. The Wyatt Family took out Cena, allowing Orton to pin him (and also reinforcing Sister Abigail as a legit finisher). Kane came out and D-Bry gave him a receipt for what happened six days prior (D-Bry getting his left shoulder fucked up, needing it taped for this match.) Orton once again got another dirty win, with D-Bry yet again getting screwed.


But what made this so special, and will be loved more as the years go by, isn't just how great the action was and the tremendous Twin Cities crowd it was in front of. In the post-match, Michael Cole absolutely went berzerk about D-Bry, and while Cole had of course been defending D-Bry since turning face after Jerry Lawler's heart attack in 2012, this signaled how valuable D-Bry had become in the WWE hierarchy, and it was nice for Cole to do a complete 180 in his passionate commentary when it comes to Daniel Bryan. ****

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THE ROAD COMES TO AN END


Raw - February 24, 2014: The Good Shit




Daniel Bryan gets in Triple H's face and lays down the furious challenge to collide at WrestleMania XXX. I love HHH's amused reaction to this.


Kane vs. Daniel Bryan - ***


In the main event segment, out come Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman to reveal that the Authority denied the WWE Title shot demands, instead offering an open-contract for WrestleMania XXX. They refuse the offer, only for Undertaker to return after a 10 month absence and Lesnar immediately accepts in his own unique fashion, signing the contract but then shoving the pen on Taker's chest. Taker replies by stabbing his hand with the pen, signing it while still impaled, and then dropping Lesnar through the table with a chokeslam.


NXT ArRival: The Good Shit


Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn


I loved these two's singles matches in ROH and PWG. They were some amazing spotfests, and I'm sure stand the test of time. But with years removed from those indy classics, and now under WWE guidance, they finally put on the absolutely best match they could to date here. And you know what really makes me giddy? I believe these two have a flawless masterpiece in them once Zayn debuts on the big stage. BTW, I'm sticking to my prediction that I've had for months: he debuts on the April 7, 2014 Raw in New Orleans.


These two built off of their previous NXT matches AND their indy matches. When Zayn went for his through-the-ropes tornado DDT, Cesaro knew it was coming and delivered a perfectly timed European uppercut to stop his momentum. Cesaro also worked on Zayn's left leg in devastating fashion. Of course, Zayn was fucking selling that leg in this match, delivering his hope spots, and making the crowd believe he could pull off the upset. Remember, Cesaro had just beaten WWE Champion Randy Orton two weeks before this, pulling off his own upset. Imagine if Zayn had then pulled off that upset here to kinda get that rub.


Highlights of this instant classic include Cesaro doing a beautiful Stretch Muffler to continue damaging Zayn's left knee, and the two of them having their signature head scissors into a full rotation sunset powerbomb spot. Cesaro won this, but in the process Zayn was truly elevated, earning his rival's respect in the process. Tremendous match that will get better and better as time goes by. ****1/2


NXT Title - Ladder Match

Bo Dallas vs. Adrian Neville - ***1/4


SmackDown! - February 28, 2014

The only noteworthy segment is Batista going Kanye again. FUCK. YES.


Raw - March 3, 2014: The Good Shit


Paul Heyman comes out to CM Punk's music, trolling the Chicago crowd. He then cut one of the best promos of his career, blaming the audience for persuading Punk to end their friendship, making it seem like perhaps if they had stayed together, Punk would have never left. He then also blames the Undertaker because that's where the dissension started, and now he would get his vengeance with Brock Lesnar ending the Streak.


Lesnar came out not to talk shit, but ready for a fight. Out came Mark Henry, only to get his fucking ass kicked again. Fantastic segment to kick off this highly anticipated Raw.


Batista is interviewed about his main event against D-Bry, completely berrying him. KANYE FUCKING BATISTA IS BEST FOR FUCKING BUSINESS~!


The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family


Another wild match with an even better crowd, but this wasn't the timeless spectacle of their original. The action was definitely great, but what mattered was that the Wyatts had so badly gotten to the Shield that Ambrose & Reigns weren't in their corner when Rollins went for the hot tag, having suffered another Ricky Morton style tag team beating. Minutes later, Rollins refused to tag in and walked out on the match, watching his teammates crumble, feeling all the bit conflicted. ***1/2


Daniel Bryan comes out to the ring and demands to face HHH at WrestleMania XXX. The Authority come out and do a work-of-art troll job, being completely condescending towards D-Bry to hide their fear of facing him at the Showcase of the Immortals. What made this even better is that the heat was FUCKING NUCLEAR, and they just kept smirking and going on with their condescending jabs. Amazing segment.


John Cena comes out to remind everyone that he's the measuring stick for anyone who wants to change WWE. That may sound heelish on paper, but this was a great babyface promo.






Now I'm just going to list all the ***+ matches remaining for the month of March, and then touch on key angles/segments.


Christian vs. Sheamus (Hardcore) - Raw 3/10 ***1/4

AJ Lee vs. Natalya Neidhart - Main Event 3/11 ***1/2

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (No DQ) - Raw 3/17 ***1/2

Luke Harper vs. John Cena - Raw 3/24 ***

Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Real Americans - Raw 3/24 **** (PHENOMENAL tag match)




The Taker vs. Lesnar build was so-so and thus disappointing, but nobody will care once they have a ****+ match in New Orleans. I'm not worried about that match at all.


The Shield came back together immediately, showing that their issues could bend them, but wouldn't break them. They also turned into anti-hero babyfaces in the process. I'm definitely intrigued on what happens going forward with them, and I hope they have something better to do than their current WrestleMania XXX program next month. This was a great call to make since Reigns isn't ready yet in the ring to be on his own.


Cena vs. Wyatt has been an exceptional feud, with Wyatt in his own unique way saying that Cena is a sham that is also worn down from all the years on top. Cena has REALLY been selling this, and it does so much as I'm about to detail in another WrestleMania XXX feud when someone shows that they've been gotten to. Wyatt needs to go over this Sunday.


HHH vs. D-Bry has by far been the greatest feud, and become interlocked with Orton vs. Batista. The Occupy Raw segment was fantastic in D-Bry finally getting the upper hand, squeezing the Authority and bringing out their true colors. HHH in its aftermath has been amazing too, with top-notch verbal jabs thrown at both Batista and Orton.


HHH vs. D-Bry being a WWE Title Shot Match is also brilliant in every facet. YES (pun not intended), D-Bry is going to have his crowning moment this weekend. But there's that small doubt in everyone's head that it won't happen. This has been a tremendous feud the past several months, much better than Punk vs. HHH would've been, and I absolutely love that HHH's past has been used to create that doubt, that his clout known by the smarks backstage is being acknowledged to add drama to this.


And like Walter White, we saw just what a son of a bitch HHH truly is in his response to Occupy Raw.


Orton and Batista have been phenomenal in their roles too. All three members of the former Evolution have delivered great potshots, with HHH being fed up over his "Face of the WWE" project being a disappointment, Orton trying to politic and be high-maintenance, and Batista just being a fucking asshole. All of this chaos between three pieces of shit all because someone they look down upon is simply better than them. And he will prove it at WrestleMania XXX.




The Road to WrestleMania XXX: Top Ten Matches in Chronological Order

(Starts with WrestleMania XXIX)


Undertaker vs. CM Punk - WrestleMania XXIX ****1/4

Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow - Money in the Bank 2013 ****1/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian - SmackDown! 8/9/2013 ****

Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk - SummerSlam 2013 ****3/4

John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan - SummerSlam 2013 ****1/2

Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn - NXT 8/21/2013 ****

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan - Raw 12/16/2013 ****1/2

John Cena vs. Cesaro - Raw 2/17/2014 ****1/4

The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family - Elimination Chamber 2014 ****3/4

Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn - NXT ArRival ****1/2


This now concludes this project, as The Road to WrestleMania 31: The Good Shit will begin with me reviewing the entire WrestleMania XXX event.

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