Last Sunday night, WWE presented its 26th annual SummerSlam pay-per-view live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. As WWE's second biggest event of the year, it certainly lived up to the hype and exceeded the expectations of many members of the WWE Universe.
From a brutal battle between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar to an electric WWE Championship match between John Cena and Daniel Bryan, there was a lot to like about this show. Not only was the in-ring action awe-inspiring, but the event managed to produce a number of monumental moments as well.
However, while watching the show, I came across numerous parallels to 2011's installment, which was equally awesome. If they were done on purpose is beyond me, but they seem more like coincidences than anything else.
Then again, the summer of 2011 was amongst the best in recent memory, so it why wouldn't the WWE want to repeat that same success?
For those of you who are aware of my useless wrestling knowledge, I present you with 10 similarities I found that made this year's event eerily comparable to two years ago. In doing so, I'll prove to you why history does indeed repeat itself.
Randy Orton spent the summer of 2011 feuding with Christian over the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton defeated Christian for the title on the May 6 edition of SmackDown and subsequently scored victories over him at the Over the Limit and Capitol Punishment pay-per-views, respectively.
Christian received "one more match" for the prestigious prize at Money in the Bank, where he reigned supreme following a disqualification victory over Orton. They clashed once more at SummerSlam, this time in a No Holds Barred match.
In what was one of the greatest matches of their rivalry, The Viper soundly defeated Christian by utilizing the extreme environment surrounding them to regain the gold for the ninth time in his career.
Orton wasn't booked to compete at last year's SummerSlam installment, nor was he originally scheduled to make an appearance at this year's. However, he shocked the world by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to become the WWE Champion for the first time in nearly three years.
Despite coming of short of capturing the World Heavyweight Championship at both WrestleMania 27 and 2011's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Alberto Del Rio's hopes of one day winning "the big one" remained intact. He came closer to accomplishing that goal by winning Raw's version of the Money in the Bank Ladder match at the event of the same name.
Although he was on the losing end of a six-man tag team match in the opening bout of SummerSlam, that wouldn't be the last time Del Rio would be in action that unforgettable night. He went on to cash in his opportunistic briefcase on CM Punk at the conclusion of the broadcast to fulfill his destiny and become WWE Champion for the first time in his career.
Since WWE Payback in June, Del Rio has been on an absolute roll as World Heavyweight Champion. He was set to defend the strap against Christian at this year's SummerSlam, a familiar foe to the Mexican aristocrat.
Although he seemed to be against all odds, Del Rio was successful in overcoming Christian to remain the world champion. It's also worth noting that this was Del Rio's ninth consecutive victory on pay-per-view.
As previously noted, there were Money in the Bank cash-ins at SummerSlam both in 2011 and 2013. Coincidentally enough, they occurred following the main event match for the WWE Championship after controversy ensued.
In 2011, Alberto Del Rio fulfilled his destiny by successfully cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win his first WWE Championship. Last Sunday, Randy Orton took advantage of a downed Daniel to cash in his opportunistic briefcase to capture his seventh WWE title (and his tenth world title overall).
Not only was Cena involved in both of these cash-ins, but he was the one in possession of the contract around this time last year as well. Like every other Money in the Bank winner before him, Cena won his guaranteed title match against CM Punk, but since it was by disqualification, he wasn't crowned champion.
John Cena and CM Punk were engaged in one of the hottest feuds of the summer of 2011 over the WWE Championship. Eights days after Punk captured the WWE title from Cena at Money in the Bank and left the company, Cena won a tournament on Raw to become "The Champ" for the ninth time in his career.
So, the stage was set for SummerSlam: Cena and Punk would compete against one another to determine the true, undisputed WWE Champion. Despite putting forth a strong effort, Cena was unable to retain the title at the event due to a bad call made by special guest referee Triple H.
As hot as Punk was two years ago, Daniel Bryan found a way to become just as (if not more) popular this summer season, earning the right to contend for the prestigious prize at SummerSlam against Cena. The odds were certainly stacked against Bryan going into the event, but that didn't affect The American Dragon in the slightest.
Similar to Punk and Cena at 2011's biggest party of the summer, Cena and Bryan put on an absolute clinic on Sunday night. Following a vicious knee to Cena's skull, Bryan scored the three count and the WWE title.
Let's not forget the fact Cena worked through this stellar match with an injured elbow, similar to how he competed against Batista with a broken neck at 2008's SummerSlam.
After Edge abruptly retired in April 2011, Christian set his sights on winning the World Heavyweight Championship in his best friend's honor. He finally did so at Extreme Rules in a Ladder match against Alberto Del Rio, but had his strap taken away from him at the hands of Randy Orton on the subsequent edition of SmackDown.
Orton and Christian engaged in a raging rivalry over the title in the months that followed, facing off at four consecutive pay-per-views. Christian regained the gold at Money in the Bank and was scheduled to defend the title at SummerSlam against Orton.
Although I strongly believed Christian would emerge victorious in that brutal bout, it wasn't meant to be, as The Viper was successful in winning back the world title at 2011's biggest party of the summer.
In the weeks that preceded this year's SummerSlam, I had my hopes up high that Christian would win his third world title at the same event he lost it at two years prior. Once again, Captain Charisma came up short, coincidentally enough to the man who he beat for the belt the first time, Alberto Del Rio.
One night removed from 2011's epic Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Triple H returned and announced that he was the new COO of the WWE.
He wanted to ensure that there would be no controversy in the WWE Championship match between John Cena and CM Punk at SummerSlam, so he appointed himself the special guest referee for the bout.
However, the exact opposite happened, as HHH inadvertently cost Cena the WWE title by not noticing that the leader of the Cenation's foot was on the rope as he made the three count for Punk.
The Game walked off after raising Punk's hand, looking on as Kevin Nash shockingly ambushed The Voice of the Voiceless, which allowed Alberto Del Rio to successfully cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase and win the WWE Championship.
In a similar situation, Triple H made it clear on last week's Raw that he would be refereeing the match between Cena and Daniel Bryan at this year's SummerSlam. Unlike at 2011's installment, however, HHH waited until after the contest to create chaos.
Moments after Bryan cleanly defeated Cena to win the prestigious prize, HHH delivered an earth-shattering Pedigree and turned heel for the first time since 2006 in the process. Randy Orton took advantage of the opportunity by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to essentially steal the WWE title from Bryan.
Since Christian won the World Heavyweight Championship at 2011's Money in the Bank via disqualification, his rematch with Randy Orton at SummerSlam the following month was held under No Holds Barred rules. This way, Orton would finally have his way with Christian without facing any repercussions for it.
Orton and Christian went to war that night, making great use of the extreme environment that surrounded them. In the end, The Viper ultimately struck Christian with an RKO out of nowhere on the steel steps to regain the gold.
Unlike in 2011, the No Disqualification stipulation for the CM Punk and Brock Lesnar match at SummerSlam this year wasn't announced weeks in advance, but rather on the pre-show mere hours beforehand. Regardless, it only enhanced the matchup, as Punk and Lesnar took full advantage of the stipulation and beat the living daylights out of one another.
Paul Heyman was also well aware that there would be no disqualifications, as it allowed him to legally interfere in the bout and led Lesnar to victory following a fatal F-5 to Punk on the chair below.
Kelly Kelly captured her first Divas Championship from Brie Bella on the June 20 edition of Raw in 2011 and successfully defended her title at the Money in the Bank. Her next challenge came at SummerSlam, where Beth Phoenix contended for the gold.
Nearly no one thought Kelly would walk out of Los Angeles with the title intact, but she still managed to do so. Her overcame the odds and soundly defeated Phoenix at the biggest blockbuster of the summer.
Natalya (who was also present at 2011's SummerSlam) was facing a similar issue, but has instead been bullied by The Bella Twins in recent weeks. She agreed to face the former Divas Champion at this year's installment, not knowing the shenanigans she would go up against.
However, with The Funkadactlys in her corner, Natalya scored a huge victory over Brie Bella on the grand stage and took one step closer to one day becoming the Divas Championship again.
Following his successful WWE Championship defense against John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 27, The Miz thought it was a true crime that he wasn't already scheduled to compete at 2011's SummerSlam pay-per-view. He was, however, added to the card at the last minute a part of a six-man tag team match.
In the opening slot of the show, Miz teamed with Alberto Del Rio and R-Truth to take on the team of Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and John Morrison. Despite constant complaining, The Awesome One was on the losing end of that contest.
Interestingly enough, Miz is still as irrelevant now as he was two years ago. While he wasn't in action at this year's SummerSlam, he was instead named the host of the event and once again kicked off the show.
It's common knowledge that holding a Money in the Bank briefcase ensures bad luck, more so for the SmackDown version than for the Raw version. This especially rang true at SummerSlam both in 2011 and 2013.
Going into 2011's biggest blockbuster of the summer, Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett were feuding over the Money in the Bank briefcase. Bryan knocked off Barrett the month prior to win the title contract, so it only was logical that Barrett was out for revenge.
The two squared off at SummerSlam, where they had an instant classic of a matchup on the grand stage. Despite a valiant effort, Bryan was ultimately a victim of the great Barrett Barrage.
In a similar situation, Cody Rhodes was angry at the fact that Damien Sandow stabbed him the back to capture the blue briefcase at this year's Money in the Bank event. With their once-close friendship a thing of the past, a match between the two was set for SummerSlam.
While the briefcase wasn't on the line, Rhodes still looked to prove to Sandow and to the entire WWE Universe that he was the better man. He accomplished what he set out to do, as he connected with the Cross Rhodes for the victory.
Let's also not forget the fact that Dolph Ziggler, who was the holder of the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase last year, came up short in his match against Chris Jericho at 2012's SummerSlam.
By the end of the night, I really felt I had reordered 2011's SummerSlam pay-per-view as opposed to watching the one I originally bought. While some of the competitors may have altered, the results and the sense of deja vu certainly didn't.
Were WWE's intentions to cause this year's event to be such a rehash? Or are my keen detective skills and memory just too much for them to handle?
Thanks for reading, and make sure to drop a comment regarding your thoughts on last Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view and its similarities to last year. If you feel any corrections need to be made, feel free to drop a comment below with the accurate information.
Read more of my WWE/TNA Fun Fact articles here.