When you think of the top matches in the history of the WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view, you only need to go back to last year’s event.
CM Pnuk vs. Brock Lesnar could have easily highlighted this article. It was a thrilling fight that led to Lesnar becoming victorious. However, the main event between John Cena and Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship was just as good and set up WWE programming for the past 11 months and beyond.
It all started with John Cena picking Daniel Bryan, the day after he lost in the Money in the Bank ladder match, to face him for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2013. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon did not support the choice while COO Triple H was in support of Bryan.
The bearded superstar would be placed in numerous challenges to prove himself. He faced Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, and Ryback, defeating the first two while winning via disqualification against the latter. Bryan seemed ready to go for the big PPV.
Then Triple H would end up becoming the special guest referee for the match. It did not make too much sense at first, but it was a detail that ended up shaping the company’s shows.
This match became an instant classic. The wrestling styles of both men meshed greatly throughout.
Cena would control the first part of the match, using his power to wear down Bryan from suplexes, to headlocks, and punches. Bryan would start to get momentum through the middle of the match with kick after kick and yes chant after yes chant.
In the end, the action picked up even further. Bryan would counter Cena’s finisher, the Attitude Adjustment (AA), planting him with somewhat of a DDT. He would then counter yet another AA and nearly got the pin-fall victory. The Staples Center was going wild!
After hitting Cena with a kick to the head, he would go to the corner of the ring to set up his running knee finisher. Cena got up and Bryan hit him with it. Triple H counted 1, 2, 3. Daniel Bryan became the new WWE Champion – for a moment. New theme music starts playing.
Enter Randy Orton.
Orton had won the Money in the Bank briefcase just a month earlier in the same match that involved Bryan. The two superstars have a stare down until Orton begins walking away. As he does, Triple H spins Bryan around and hits him with a pedigree! Orton runs straight back to the ring, cashes in the contract, and secures the pin-fall without breaking a sweat to become the new WWE Champion. It capped off one wild night of wrestling.
This incident immediately set up the current “The Authority” story-line that has been going since that event.
Orton and Cena would eventually meet at the TLC PPV to unify the WWE title and World Heavyweight Championship to form the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Orton would win and retain against Cena.
Beginning around the time that CM Punk left the company, Daniel Bryan took his spot in The Authority story-line that would end up being his road to the Wrestlemania 30 main event. The original plan was 2014 Royal Rumble winner Batista to face off against the champion Randy Orton to cap off the show, but with such a negative reaction for Batista after he won the rumble, the company was forced to alter their path. Bryan was the most over superstar at the time, which forced their hand as well. He would go onto convincing The Authority to give him his opportunity at Wrestlemania, but with a catch. Bryan had to beat Triple H in the first match of the show in order to secure his place in the main event. He would have a thrilling match, beat the COO, face Orton and Batista, and win the title. Everything came full circle for the bearded superstar.
While Bryan is still out after neck surgery, The Authority story-line has continued. It circles around John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns’ attempts at destroying their plans as of this day.
The main event of SummerSlam 2013 was a great match that highlighted the show, but also set up the company for its future. It would have been nice to see Daniel Bryan’s journey continue after defending the title for just one month before suffering injury but hopefully he gets his chance again when he returns.
Almost a year later, John Cena has the title with him again. He won it in the first Money in the Bank ladder match for the title itself last month and successfully defended it at the Battleground PPV on July 20th. He is set to face the man who conquered the streak.
What do you guys think of the impact of the SummerSlam 2013 main event?