2013’s been a good year for WWE. There were so many great moments, and none of those moments would exist, WWE wouldn’t exist, if they didn’t have the ability to put on great matches.
Here are my top 5 matches of the year:
5. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam
This match was great for so many reasons. Everybody knows Bryan can go in the ring, but Cena’s in-ring skills are very underrated by fans. These two guys told a great story, with Cena at times wrestling like a heel, and Bryan being the little guy who overcame the big guy. It’s a classic that’s been told many times before, but it can still bring an audience to its feet. Bryan was on his hottest run in the WWE, and this win came at a great time. News had leaked about Cena’s injury, thus making the outcome a little predictable, but the talent of these two men, plus the grand stage they were on still made it a great match.
4. Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) at Battleground
This match had a perfect build, and the perfect participants. When Triple H put Rhodes in a match with Randy Orton, with his job on the line, it all came out of nowhere, of course it came out later that he needed time off for his wedding, but that wasn’t known at the time. Rhodes put on a great match with Orton, with Orton selling really well for him, before Orton hit his signature RKO for the victory. The next week, Goldust had appeared, and Triple H put him in a match with Orton, to save his brother’s job. Same story though, he seemed ready to come out on top, until Orton suddenly hit the RKO. A few weeks later, Cody and Goldust jumped the barricade and attacked Triple H’s henchmen, The Shield. The next week, the two men appeared with their father Dusty, in an attempt to negotiate for their jobs back. They got themselves a match at Battleground, if they won, they both got jobs in the WWE, and Dusty’s job at NXT was saved as well. What followed at the pay-per-view was tag team wrestling at its absolute finest. The Rhodes brothers won and are setting the tag team division on fire. It saved a terrible pay-per-view, and started the best tag team run in years. This whole list could’ve been matches involving the Rhodes brothers, but I’ll just go with one, and this is the one. If you haven’t seen the match, do it now.
3. CM Punk vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29
For the past few years, the best match at WrestleMania has been the one where The Streak is on the line. It makes sense, The Undertaker is one of the best ever, not to mention, his opponents, in order, since WrestleMania XXIV are, Edge, Shawn Michaels (twice), and Triple H (twice). All leading up until WrestleMania 29, when The Undertaker took on CM Punk. It all started in a Fatal 4-Way match on Raw. Punk beat Sheamus, Big Show and Randy Orton for the chance to take on The Deadman. That week, The Undertaker’s former manager, Paul Bearer, died suddenly. After his real-life sons gave clearance, WWE used it in the storyline. Punk stole the infamous urn that Bearer and ‘Taker used in the early days of the character. He did not reclaim the urn until WrestleMania, when him and Punk stole the show with an absolute classic. It’s not the best match of The Streak, that distinction belongs to Michaels at WrestleMania XXV, but it is top 3, in my opinion. It’s a pretty basic formula, take two legends and pair them up on the Grandest Stage of them All.
2. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam
SummerSlam has shown itself again on this list. When a show has two main events, and they are both top 5 matches of the year, I’d say it’s pretty easy to call that show a success. Punk and Lesnar told the same story that Cena and Bryan did, with two main differences. For one, Punk-Lesnar was no DQ, so it was much more violent, which suited the two competitors. Second, in this one, the little guy didn’t go over, and the beast triumphed. Going into this one, I was skeptical, Punk was banged up, and Lesnar’s too hard-hitting to put on a good match on his own. I thought without Punk carrying him, Lesnar would find it tough to put on a good match. I couldn’t have been more wrong, not only did Punk come to play, but so did Lesnar. In my opinion, Lesnar actually carried Punk, and The Beast Incarnate is the reason this match is one of the best in SummerSlam history.
1. John Cena vs. CM Punk on Raw
It’s a very simple concept that all sports fans can understand, win and you’re in. We see it in baseball in the new one-game playoff played by the two wild card teams in each league. It happened twice this past Sunday, Week 17 of the NFL season. That was the concept of this match. At the Royal Rumble, Cena won the Rumble match and earned himself a title shot at WrestleMania 29. Also at the Rumble, Punk’s historic WWE Championship run ended at the hands of The Rock. Before the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Cena announced that he would fight for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, no matter who was champion, Rock or Punk. Except, after The Rock retained at Elimination Chamber, Punk demanded a match with Cena, with Cena’s WWE Championship shot on the line. Cena agreed, citing his need to finally get a one-on-one win over Punk. The next week on Raw, Punk and Cena clashed in the main event, and unveiled another classic. If you do not know about this rivalry, please go find their WWE Championship matches at Money in the Bank 2011, and Night of Champions 2012, because they are both classics, and this one falls right in line with the both of them. So it was pretty simple, win and you’re in. Cena won and went on to beat The Rock at WrestleMania to win the WWE Championship. Very few things could possibly overshadow two megastars, like Cena and The Rock, clashing at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, but this match was one of those things.
I stand by my list, and the order of it, but if you somehow missed all of the matches, you need to find Cena and Punk from Raw, and the Rhodes brothers and The Shield from Battleground. While all five matches were great, these two matches were clinics in how singles and tag team wrestling are meant to be done.
So far, we have counted down the top 5 moments, and matches. Superstars are still to come.