For every rivalry that takes place, for every great promo delivered in (and out of) the ring, and for every backstage news that sends fans to Twitter in a frenzy, the most important drama takes place when fireworks disappear and the lights go down. A collar-and-elbow position signals the oldest type of storytelling in the business. It means that two wrestlers are going to finally settle their business, and no matter happens between the opening and closing bells, fans in attendance and at home better buckle their seat-belts. And so with that in mind, we pick the battles that won over our hearts and minds this year…
2013 Match of the Year
Brian Fritz: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk at SummerSlam
The buildup for the match was very well done with Punk wanting to get his hands on his former best friend Paul Heyman who turned on him after Punk had said he didn’t need his help anymore. That did not sit well with Paul who saw it as a slight from his BFF and turned to his hired henchman to keep Punk away from him for good. So it was The Best vs. The Beast at Summerslam it what turned out to be an instant classic with Punk coming so close to getting his hands on Heyman and also defeating Lesnar but coming up short with the odds against him. There were plenty of ups and downs in the match with Lesnar tossing around the smaller Punk who kept fighting back. But in the end, the powerhouse and the brains behind his braun were able to defeat Punk.
Michael A. Wiseman: Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam
As far as in-ring product goes, this was a pretty strong year for major wrestling promotions; every match wasn’t an instant classic, the big moments still delivered when it mattered most. CM Punk and Brock Lesnar really brought the intensity of their feud into the match. However, I can’t help but feel that Bryan and Punk put together some of that wrestling magic that only happens once in a while. I’m not a John Cena fan. But I have to commend Cena for delivering good matches when paired up with the right guy. Bryan pushed Cena to his limit, Cena pushed back, but ultimately, Bryan walked away with the victory. WWE’s resident Superman going over cleanly? Count me surprised. But it’s part of what made this whole ordeal so special… Bravo!
Steven Muehlhausen: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk at SummerSlam
Hands down, the best match of the year. The buildup was so simple as Punk’s longtime friend/advisor Paul Heyman turned on Punk at the MITB PPV when Heyman hit Punk with the ladder to prevent him from winning the briefcase. Heyman then brought out Lesnar the following night to attack Punk, who he had also attacked following the Payback PPV in June. Lesnar and Punk had an absolute war at Summerslam. The two went back and forth and Punk sold everything for Lesnar like a million dollars. Punk had his moments in the match, but Lesnar ended up victorious. An unbelievable match and hopefully one we can see again.
Which match of 2013 was your favorite? Do you think it was a good year to be a professional wrestling fan? Sound off in our comment section below! And get caught up with all the picks from Brian, Michael, and Steve, in our Best of 2013: Professional Wrestling article.