Rob Van Dam def. United States Champion Dean Ambrose by disqualification (Kickoff Match)
LOS ANGELES – The Biggest Party of the Summer got off to a rousing – and controversial – start, as volatile United States Champion Dean Ambrose lost to Rob Van Dam by disqualification, but retained his star-spangled title in a contentious SummerSlam Kickoff Match.
The back-and-forth battle – which streamed live on WWE.com, the WWE App, YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo!, Samsung SMART TVs, Sony PlayStation 3, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Pheed as part of the hour-long Kickoff show – featured the involvement of not only WWE Tag Team Champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, but also Mark Henry and Big Show.
Van Dam’s high-octane style – which earned him No. 1 contendership with a victory in a Raw 20-Man Battle Royal – and Ambrose’s technical wizardry were on display from the outset in front of a sold-out crowd inside Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center. After a feeling-out process, the “Hound of Justice” took control with his distinctive offense, grounding his high-flying No. 1 contender and turning the match into a gritty brawl. Utilizing elbows, knees and a stinging neckbreaker, the U.S. Champion taunted the WWE fan-favorite as he attempted several pinfalls.
“Mr. Pay-Per-View,” however, proved that he was just as impressive and dangerous, dazing his black-clad opponent with a series of acrobatic kicks. Showing tremendous physical and strategic flexibility, RVD turned a Rolling Thunder attempt into a beautiful crossbody, bringing the WWE Universe to its feet.
After missing a split-legged moonsault, the former WWE Champion nailed Rolling Thunder and was ready to close out the victory with his rib-rattling Five-Star Frog Splash. That is, until the WWE tag Team Champions, Reigns and Rollins, crashed the party, giving Ambrose the distraction he needed to escape the ring.
Before the “Hounds of Justice” could team-up on RVD, however, the challenger got some super-sized back-up of his own, as Mark Henry and Big Show, came out to even the odds.
The massive presence of The World’s Strongest Man and The World’s Largest Athlete helped immediately. When Ambrose tossed RVD from the ring, the behemoths kept Reigns and Rollins from attacking at ringside, giving him an opening to hit Ambrose with an amazing spinning kick off the apron.
As the momentum swung back and forth in the wildly exciting match, a distraction from Rollins nearly led to another pinfall by Ambrose, but RVD kicked out and kept the pressure on. Hitting Rolling Thunder again and following with the devastating Five-Star Frog Splash, he had the U.S. Champion all but finished. Then, out of nowhere, Reigns stormed the ring and nailed RVD with a massive Spear, giving him the disqualification victory, but not the U.S. Title.
After the controversial end to their battle, is a rematch with Ambrose in RVD’s immediate future? And could the WWE Tag Team Champions have some dangerous – and enormous – new adversaries in Henry and Big Show? No matter what unfolds, it’s hard to claim that “justice” was served in the SummerSlam Kickoff Match.
Bray Wyatt def. Kane (Ring of Fire Match)
LOS ANGELES – At The Biggest Party of the Summer, Bray Wyatt proved that he may indeed be the slayer of demons by defeating Kane inside a flame-engulfed squared circle. It didn’t matter that the Ring of Fire Match was designed to keep The Wyatt Family from interfering, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan eventually found a way to ensure Wyatt’s victory.
Though Kane was born in flames, the fire didn’t faze Bray Wyatt in his debut match. Nevertheless, The Big Red Monster was relentless in his quest for retribution against his opponent. The Ring of Fire’s purpose and power was displayed early on as Harper and Rowan tried to enter the ring, only to be prevented by the flames that shot into the air. The elemental danger of the environment was also on display – every time Kane or Wyatt executed a powerful maneuver, flames would suddenly erupt.
Kane maintained momentum throughout the battle, dominating the ambitious and cryptic newcomer as Harper and Rowan frantically tried everything to get inside the ring. An attempt to get a Kendo stick to Bray Wyatt failed when the stick caught fire and one of the firefighters at ringside extinguished the flaming foreign object.
With seemingly nothing stopping him, The Big Red Monster continued to dismantle Wyatt. Following two huge chokeslams, The Devil’s Favorite Demon channeled his brother, The Undertaker, and gestured for a Tombstone Piledriver. However, Harper and Rowan finally overcame the flames using an asbestos blanket and were able to attack Kane.
Attempting to fight them off, Kane was eventually overwhelmed and decimated by Bray Wyatt’s powerful family members. The referee was powerless to stop the match – a victory could only be determined by pinfall or submission. This allowed Wyatt to grab Kane and execute his signature maneuver to secure the victory.
Following the match, Wyatt retreated to his rocking chair and watched as Harper and Rowan used two sets of steel steps to smash Kane’ skull. The lantern-wielding Superstar, with Harper and Rowan in tow, then carried an unconscious Kane away from the STAPLES Center.
Cody Rhodes def. Damien Sandow
LOS ANGELES – Cody Rhodes grew up around wrestling rings. The son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes spent his childhood around his sports-entertainment heroes, learning from the best. So, when faced with the task of facing Damien Sandow at SummerSlam, it could be said that the now mustache-less Rhodes was born for this moment. And it was the former Intercontinental Champion who used his own keen intellect to defeat Mr. Money in the Bank Sunday night.
One month ago, Rhodes and Sandow – who compared each competitor to Sherlock Holmes and Watson – shared a mutual admiration for one another. Team Rhodes Scholars were arrogant, ruthless and most importantly, they were the best of friends. Inside the STAPLES Center, however, they were the bitterest of rivals.
The former tag team partners were very familiar with each other’s habits in the squared circle, resulting in a back-and-forth matchup that saw neither Superstar dominate for any consistent length of time. Near the beginning of the encounter, Sandow landed his Cubito Aequet maneuver, and followed up with a limb-twisting submission hold that was a hybrid between Ric Flair’s Figure Four Leglock and Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter.
Though anguishing on the canvas, Cody channeled the aptitude of his father during Dusty’s legendary wars with The Nature Boy. Seeking to avenge the betrayal at last month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Rhodes powered out of the Figure Four variation and appeared newly energized. The multi-time World Tag Team Champion stormed back with a flawless top-rope missile dropkick. When Rhodes missed his signature Disaster Kick, a second attempt finally sent his opponent reeling after suffering a stiff boot to the jaw.
From there, it was simply … elementary. Cody administered the Cross Rhodes and pinned the Money in the Bank Ladder Match winner. Yet even though Cody may have won the match, Sandow clutched his beloved Samsonite, still in possession of a World Heavyweight Championship contract. Under the bright lights of Tinseltown, the grandson of a plumber shined, cementing his destiny as anything but a common man.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Christian
LOS ANGELES – With the STAPLES Centers packed to the rafters for The Biggest Party of the Summer, World Heavyweight Championship Alberto Del Rio ultimately reigned supreme over the extremely charismatic challenge of Christian.
From the word go, the WWE Universe was treated to a truly epic struggle, which pitted the unrelenting viciousness of a world-class titleholder against the absolute determination of his No. 1 contender. As a result, neither competitor would give an inch in the early stages of the contest.
When Del Rio finally gained an edge, he immediately began to target his opponent’s shoulder, skillfully looking to weaken him for the dangerous Cross Armbreaker submission hold. .
However, every time it looked as if the Mexican champion would finish off his adversary, the resilient Christian would fire back, throwing caution – and his body – to the wind both inside and outside the ring.
Then, in the height of the action, though Christian finally hit the Spear, the pain of his injured shoulder ripped through his body and prevented him from going for the quick cover. Smelling an opening, the resourceful Del Rio turned the tables and locked in the Cross Armbreaker. After struggling with the heart of a true warrior, Christian was left no choice but to tap-out.
Following the match, no one sang the praises of the defending World Heavyweight Champion more as Del Rio himself, who declared himself (in both English and Spanish) a true role model for the WWE Universe.
Now that the sun has set on Christian’s SummerSlam hopes, time will tell if Captain Charisma has gotten his last opportunity at a World Title. But who will step up to challenge Del Rio next? Find out tomorrow on Raw.
Natalya Neidhart def. Brie Bella
LOS ANGELES – After defeating Brie Bella & Eva Marie with the help of Maria Menounos earlier Sunday at SummerSlam Axxess, Natalya rode a wave of momentum into SummerSlam, earning a second victory of the day against The Bella Twin and “Total Divas” co-star.
The Bellas have been at odds with their E! reality show co-star since the show’s July premiere, calling Natalya the Divas division’s “ugly duckling.” Their rivalry has only intensified as “Total Divas” has become E!’s biggest reality success of 2013. With The Funkadactyls in her corner, in-ring veteran Natalya proved once again why she’s one of the most dominant Divas WWE has ever seen. At SummerSlam, The “Queen of Harts” refused to let the devious Bella duo and Eva Marie into her head with their insults and idea that they’re the true stars of “Total Divas.”
After exchanging slaps even more vicious than those they traded earlier this week on Raw, Brie tried to wear down Natalya with punishing kicks and holds, yelling at her opponent to “give up.” The third-generation Diva retaliated with a Sharpshooter, but Brie powered her way out.
When Eva Marie and Nikki tried to intervene in the match, Cameron & Naomi stepped in on Natalya’s behalf, bringing the funk right back into the Diva’s corner. After a hard-hitting Alabama Slam, Natalya locked Brie into the Sharpshooter again, this time forcing her to tap out.
This “Total Divas” rivalry will undoubtedly only intensify in the weeks to come, not only on the E! reality hit, but on Raw and SmackDown. Stay tuned to wwedivas.com to get all the latest dirt on Natalya, The Bellas, The Funkadactyls and the rest of the Divas division.
Brock Lesnar def. CM Punk (No Disqualification Match)
LOS ANGELES — ”The Best” had “The Beast” beat.
Blinded by rage, CM Punk succeeded in getting his hands on Paul Heyman at SummerSlam, but his vengeance came at a price — in this case, at the sacrifice of victory against Brock Lesnar.
After going to hell and back with The Anomaly in a No Disqualification Match that lived up to its grandiose “Best vs. The Beast” billing in every way, Punk fell prey to a vicious F-5 onto a steel chair, a brutal impact that interrupted The Best in the World’s attempt to get hold of Heyman
The bout was nothing short of remarkable, a supremely barbaric affair that ravaged the ringside area and left the sold-out STAPLES Center breathless. The addition of the No Disqualification stipulation, agreed to by both individuals, was proposed by Heyman and revealed on the Kickoff event immediately preceding the pay-per-view broadcast. Ultimately, the eleventh-hour curveball was perhaps Punk’s undoing, as Heyman repeatedly broke up pin and submission attempts that appeared seconds away from doing the unthinkable: slaying The Beast Incarnate.
The action started at a breakneck pace, with Lesnar outmuscling his smaller foe and focusing his punishing offense on Punk’s ribs, not yet completely healed from The Beast’s attack on Raw weeks ago. Despite speculation among certain segments of the WWE Universe that Punk would be wholly overmatched, however, The Best in the World proved completely fearless, and his never-say-die spirit, galvanized by the decidedly pro-Punk fans in attendance, allowed him to survive maneuvers that would have undoubtedly downed most Superstars.
Lesnar tossed Punk onto tables, slammed his body with a steel chair and rocketed him overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. The farm-strong Lesnar placed a table cover over a prone Punk and leapt on him. A lariat that landed on Punk’s jaw and neckline prompted Michael Cole to describe the scene as a “sickening assault.”
Still, Punk would not give in. Even when Lesnar clamped on his Kimura Lock, the same maneuver that has broken the arms of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, The Straight Edge Superstar not only avoided submitting, but even reversed the hold into a cross-armbreaker and eventually a triangle hold that nearly made the big man tap.
At ringside, Heyman alternated between mockingly imploring Punk to “stay down” and encouraging Lesnar to “punish him.” It was more than Heyman’s taunting, however, that led to Punk’s downfall. After Punk connected with the Go To Sleep, Heyman broke up the pinfall. The Best in the World got even, punching Heyman and even slapping on the Anaconda Vise, but the brief and sweet moment of retribution was halted by the wallop of chair strikes from Lesnar.
With the upper hand, Lesnar dropped Punk with the match-ending F-5 onto a chair, some 25 minutes after the opening bell.
Before SummerSlam, Heyman had dismissed comparisons of “The Best vs. The Beast” to the tale of David and Goliath, labeling it “preposterous.” And Heyman was correct in saying the analogy was off-point; Goliath didn’t have a scheming, vindictive strategist in his corner.
Despite the loss, Punk’s effort was more than appreciated by the STAPLES Center crowd, which loudly chanted his name as he limped back up the ramp.
Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn def. Big E Langston & Divas Champion AJ Lee
LOS ANGELES – At first glance, AJ Lee and Big E Langston might seem like something of an odd couple. The Divas Champion is a devilish vixen determined to rip apart her rivals emotionally and in the ring. Langston is a behemoth bred from the weight room, seeking destruction to cause around every turn. Despite their differences to the layman, the duo has cultivated a successful partnership throughout 2013. Yet inside the STAPLES Center, this “Felix and Oscar” combo succumbed to a Show Off and a Hybrid in a tag team battle filled with emotion.
For the first half of this year, Big E was Dolph Ziggler’s heavy, flanking the former Mr. Money in the Bank for months. But once Dolph dumped AJ, the vindictive ex countered by siccing the monstrous Langston on her former beau. Ziggler recruited Kaitlyn – AJ’s longtime best friend-cum-rival – to even the odds in a contentious situation fueled by heartbreak, revenge and the desire for victory.
It was speed versus muscle to start off the action, with Big E employing a series of power maneuvers, looking to dissect the former World Heavyweight Champion limb from limb. The impressively strong Langston even dragged Dolph to the corner of the ring, where Ziggler sustained a slap across the face from the erratic AJ.
The tables were turned, however, when the leader of the 8th Militia administered strength moves of her own. Kaitlyn seemed poised to remain in control, but AJ isn’t one to easily relent. The Divas Champion returned with a series of impressive neckbreakers, each more vicious than the last.
The action later moved to the floor at ringside, where Kaitlyn plowed through AJ with a spear that seemed to send the Divas Champion flying straight out of her Chuck Taylors. Back on the canvas, Langston laid out Ziggler with a devastating clothesline, but The Showoff wasn’t about to allow his opponent to show him up at The Biggest Party of the Summer.
Dolph, with his neon shades and bleach-blonde hair, seemed right at home in the shadow of Venice Beach and the Hollywood Hills. The dynamic fan favorite nailed a Zig Zag and pinned his former heavy to pick up the victory. But with neither Kaitlyn or AJ involved in the three-count, matters over the Divas Championship have been left unresolved. Ziggler, on the other hand, can only have one thing on his mind: refocusing his attention on once again becoming a World Champion.
Daniel Bryan def. WWE Champion John Cena; Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Bryan to become WWE Champion
LOS ANGELES – Yes, Daniel Bryan finally did it. The bearded brawler who honed his craft in in the halls of armories and high school gymnasiums, grappling for fifty dollars before crowds of tens, finally battled his way through the highest competition his chosen field has to offer, ascended the McMahon-guarded mountaintop and dethroned the ball-capped Goliath who guarded its peak to become the WWE Champion at SummerSlam.
And if not for the sting of a Viper’s bite and the treachery of a king (of kings), he still would be.
Although Bryan did indeed defy the odds (and The Chairman) by defeating John Cena for the ultimate championship at WWE’s summer classic, the submission master’s stint at the top was a blink-and-you’ll-miss it affair, all thanks to a shocking collusion between Randy Orton and special guest referee Triple H that saw The Viper’s Money in the Bank contracted traded for Bryan’s freshly-procured WWE Championship.
Despite Bryan’s touting of his match with Cena as a battle between a wrestler and an entertainer, The Champ certainly seemed much more in tune with his inner grappler than the former Tag Team Champion gave him credit for in previous weeks. The match began firmly in Bryan’s wheelhouse as The Beard traded catch-as-catch-can holds with The Champ in the contest’s early minutes. The Champ’s uncharacteristically flashy attempts to appropriate Bryan’s style proved ill advised and quickly landed him on the wrong end of a “Yes!” Lock.
The Champ wisely moved the action back into his own comfort zone, settling in a happy medium between power and technique by executing a textbook suplex that lifted his challenger off the steel steps and harshly deposited him onto the floor of the Staples Center. Bryan quickly recovered and flattened The Champ with a revved-up clothesline that turned Cena into a hulking splat on the canvas. The Cenation leader responded by launching into his infamous “Five Moves of Doom”. But, true to his word, Bryan was prepared for everything Cena had in store for him. The submission expert countered the Attitude Adjustment by landing in catlike fashion on his feet and ascending the ropes for a vicious missile dropkick that left The Champ down again.
Cena caught his first major break of the match when he trapped Bryan in the STF, but the challenger, reversed Cena’s maneuver into an STF of his own. The mighty titleholder’s strength saved him from a defeat by his own hold, yet Bryan showed no quarter and instantly transitioned into a pair of belly-to-back suplexes that sent The Champ thudding to the mat like an anvil. Bryan continued to stay one step ahead of Cena countering the Attitude Adjustment into a guillotine submission cinched so tight that The Champ had to toss Bryan’s entire body over his head like a flour sack to escape.
With control of the match slipping from his grasp, Cena went for a 1-2 punch of the AA and a top-rope attack, but again, Bryan would not be denied. The No. 1 contender rose to his feet and met Cena atop the post to attempt a superplex. Twice Cena swatted Bryan down, and twice Bryan returned to try again. The third time, Bryan switched up his attack and nailed The Champ with a dropkick that finally weakened Cena enough for the No. 1 contender to execute the superplex.
In one of the most memorable moments from a match full of them, Bryan hung upside down from the turnbuckle and hulked up before the WWE Universe’s eyes, building his rage to a fever pitch and taking to the skies with a flying headbutt. Cena quickly rolled for cover outside the ring, and this time it was his turn to cut Bryan off with a shoulder to the submission expert’s face mid-suicide dive. With Bryan dazed into a stupor, The Champ climbed the turnbuckle and finally found home, planting Bryan with the same top rope leg drop that nearly decapitated The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII. Even that, however, only earned him a two-count, and Daniel Bryan remained alive.
With his reserves of strength finally running dry, The Champ resorted to an outlandish series of improvisations as he attempted to put Bryan away for good. First up was a would-be Attitude Adjustment from the top rope that Bryan reversed into a hurricanrana, though Cena displayed some chain-wrestling ability of his own by stopping the maneuver short and transitioning into an STF, which he accentuated by rolling over into his side. Though the modified submission seemed to finally put Bryan out, the No. 1 contender sprang back to life and escaped, plying Cena with a “Yes!” Lock that, although not match-ending, aggravated Cena’s elbow enough that referee Triple H momentarily stopped the action.
Bryan, however, showed less mercy than the rulebook and pounded Cena with a pair of running dropkicks that left The Champ staggering. But as Bryan reared for the finishing blow, Cena charged from the corner and clotheslined Bryan, catapaulting the No. 1 contender into a full-flip. Having thrown move after move at each other, the two combatants staggered up and went brutally back to the basics, unloading with kicks, punches and elbows and finally a “Rocky II”-style collision of shoulder blocks that left both men motionless on the mat. Yet again, the two men clamored to their feet and, in a brutal twist on the Japanese custom Bryan referenced six days earlier, laced into each other with open-palm slaps that certainly did their job and brought out the best of each man in the match’s waning moments.
What followed was the stuff legends are made of, as Bryan reversed yet another AA attempt into a DDT and ascended for a second flying headbutt. Cena snatched the No. 1 contender out of the sky and, proclaiming the contest “over,” went foranotherAA that Bryan rolled into an old-school cradle for a two-count. With “YES!” chants showering him from the sold-out Staples Center, Bryan struck with a kick to Cena’s head and leveled The Champ with a hard-to-watch running knee smash to the face for the historic 1-2-3. As confetti rained upon the newly-minted champion, it seemed for a moment that Cena would deck Bryan out of frustration. He instead offered his challenger words of wisdom that only Bryan could hear before clasping his hand in a show of respect. Acknowledging The Game’s fulfilled promise to call the match down the middle, Cena shook Triple H’s hand as well.
In hindsight, this might have been premature.
With Bryan’s title reign in its infancy, Randy Orton quickly emerged from the locker room and slithered through the falling confetti with his Money in the Bank contract in hand. The new champion, however, was more than ready and even more willing to tangle with The Viper, daring Orton to attempt his promised cash-in. Ever the tactician, The Viper wanted no part of an able-bodied WWE Champion … but he was more than happy to face one who had just been Pedigreed.
Moments after Bryan had repelled The Viper, The Game shocked the WWE Universe and their new champion by cutting down Bryan with a Pedigree. With a smile, The Game beckoned Orton to the ring and happily accepted his Money in the Bank contract, counting the pinfall and handing Orton his first WWE Title in 3 years without a single drop of sweat spilt.
And so ended Daniel Bryan’s reign as WWE Champion, with the people’s chosen hero splayed across the mat and a pair of men entrusted to do the right thing celebrating over his body. What this means for the future of Orton, Triple H and the WWE Title is anyone’s guess, but this much is clear: Having come this close to reaching the peak, Daniel Bryan will find his retribution in the long run. As this match showed, he doesn’t take defeat lying down. Though, at the biggest party of the summer, it seemed he was left with no other choice than to take “No” for an answer. 14 years and one day.
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