WWE SummerSlam 2013: Grading the Build for Every Match on the Card
Grading the build for each SummerSlam match is like enjoying a fine wine. One must slowly digest it as the flavors change throughout. Eventually, a taste is rendered that either makes you want more or causes you to make a facial expression reminiscent of the late Mac Dre.
But Rob Van Dam is slotted on the pre-show, so clearly not all wine gets better with age.
The criteria used to grade each buildup includes storytelling, length of buildup and how effectively a particular build set up for a payoff.
Not all build-ups are created equally. And they will not all be judged as such.
7. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio: F
This has been one of the worst builds for a world heavyweight title match in recent memories. Maybe WWE's Christian is still rehabbing from injury, because this rendition continues to painfully go through the motions on the mic and in the ring. The delivery of that "one more match" line from Monday's Raw made Linda McMahon's ghastly delivery look like Chris Rock's in comparison.
WWE has failed to show why fans should care about Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio. It is nothing more than a match between a worthy contender and a smug World Heavyweight Champion.
Fans who think wrestling is real complained about Daniel Bryan being gifted a title shot, yet his storyline with John Cena has blown this abomination out of the water.
There is more of a conflict between Del Rio and Rodriguez than Del Rio and Christian. El terrible.
6. Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee: C-
They tried. They really did. But the anticipation for a payoff suffers here, as WWE basically blew its money match between Langston and Ziggler through multiple free matches on Raw.
Now, to add smoke and mirrors to an aging feud, WWE has mixed and matched. AJ and Big E have a creepy on-screen relationship designed to suggest what would be the most awkward physical romance ever.
Ziggler and Kaitlyn have a common enemy and must team together. How creative.
Whatever WWE has planned for the finish will not be nearly as productive as a clean finish between Ziggler and Big E Langston.
5. Natalya (with the Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella (with Eva Marie): B-
This feud gets an uptick mainly because of the brewing tension on Total Divas, where most of the Divas are catty and/or bold (depending on who is heel in your book), and Natalya is one of the few characters who comes off as likable (which is how you should view this scenario).
Viewers have been tuning into the E! hit show in strong numbers. It's safe to say a healthy portion of that audience watches wrestling, making it easier for WWE to add depth to the story of animosity among WWE Divas.
4. Kane vs. Bray Wyatt: B
Fans get to see fire, so that already creates an exciting payoff. Where exactly did that fire come from? Well, that sort of dampens the whole story. The grade for the irony of that revelation, by the way? A+
Sure, Kane is Satan's Favorite Demon. Hellfire and brimstone. All that noise. But to implement fire in a storyline that began with Kane getting his head smashed in is quite disjointed.
Why didn't they shoot an angle where Kane burned their compound to the ground? That would be less lazy,
less PG and more true to his character all while introducing a need for fire.
WWE can't simply expect fans to be distracted by the glowing flames once—Wow! Look at the pretty fire!
3. Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes: B+
The only thing stopping this supreme build from being an A is that the Money in the Bank Briefcase is not on the line. This feud has been built around that interim world championship, yet the payoff will see two guys simply go at it for no reason?
Perhaps the briefcase stipulation is being saved for the more apt Night of Champions. Maybe in a ladder match? That would certainly get this impressive feud into A territory.
2. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar: B+
CM Punk, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman have all played their parts brilliantly for a very evenly paced feud. The story has seen everything from top-notch verbal confrontations between Heyman and Punk to physical showdowns between Punk and Brock.
The "Best vs. The Beast" tagline isn't too shabby either.
Punk got the better of Lesnar this past week on Raw after weeks of being manhandled by him. This leaves the payoff in doubt and makes the storyline more interesting.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena: A
John Cena picked Daniel Bryan to face him just as any promoter would have. This is World Wrestling Entertainment, not the World Wrestling League. Who's hot? Who is filling the arenas? Who is selling pay-per-views? Who is moving merchandise?
Brock Lesnar received a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship in his third match because his name was the answer to all of the questions above.
And that sport is real.
WWE has since brilliantly booked Bryan to have an inferiority complex, eventually turning his second-guessing against Cena as an undersized underdog ready to prove a point.
The go-home promos on Raw were also money on both ends.
With Triple H included as a special guest referee, Randy Orton with
the night off a Money in the Bank Briefcase and Vince McMahon sure to be lurking, there's no telling how exciting this payoff could be. Please don't let it be overbooked.