Perhaps I was being too critical or perhaps your burger metaphor just made me hungry enough to want to rewatch it.
I really and totally get what you're saying, and I think it makes a lot more sense to me than most of the descriptions from others of the match as damn-near perfect. It was those people I was going for with that sentence. I can (sort of) understand the 4.25 or so ratings but having this as anything more is, imo, ludicrous (5-stars?).
Just some more mayo I forgot to add:
* Selling fear: selling isn't limited to after the move, but it plays an important precursor role, too. One cannot be grabbed into a fireman carry (where the opponent is setting up a devastating move) and lackadaisically let go of any facial expression Johnny Ace style. I noticed Punk did it in the OtL match, and Davey did it a few times in this. Elgin to a lesser extent, though.
* Contrived spots: If Elgin wasn't idiotically ignoring his height advantage on the ankle lock submissions (which killed any suspense for me, as he could have merely extended his gargantuan leg and made the rope-break at any point), he was the one initiating the momentum for them. I realise wrestling is a two-way street, but the choreography needs to be perfect. You cannot have someone that is Elgin's size randomly flipping over without exertion from Davey because the spot calls for an ankle lock. Make it believable, ffs. It wasn't simply limited to these moments (and I realise a lot of wrestling strays down this path, but it is of no excuse) but these do stand out as more WHY?! than the others.
* Random-ass Selling: I'm not sure how it's possible to ignore a barrage of offence only to sell a kick-out pin, but Davey sure as nuts did it. You can argue it was exhaustion that had him fall on his face and lie there motionless long enough for Elgin to get to his feet, but that plays incongruent to everything else, not only in the match but in his other matches, as well. Davey is truly a conditioned machine and doing so that early on in the match doesn't compute with his track-record (unless he's been eating antoniomare007's burgers) or for his energy levels in the rest of the match. I can understand why he did it, I just don't think he smartly did it. If he was going to lie there (out of frustration) at least add that emotion in to the mix, or if he was trying to sell exhaustion (however unlikely it was) make it believable and recoil into a corner showing some sign of life, at least. If he had done so, and added a calculating look (looking for his next plan of offence) I'd have much more enjoyed it. It wouldn't hurt my rating of the match if he didn't, but such little nuances are what I truly enjoy in wrestling - just going that extra mile. Just how I'd have liked a little touch to the selling of his back. An arm gesture (which he kept going at times) that had more continuity would have really made me applaud his work. Such little details, though, are understandably left to those on the upper echelons of talent so they're not a must-do but they are a must-do to have me think this match to be damn-well great/perfect.
I left only one or two examples in each for fear of a much too lengthy paragraph (I have studies to finish off, so perhaps my loathing for final exams are vicariously felt through some of the matches I've been watching the past two days) but I do hope my point is made. I can understand most people finding these points contrived, but it is these "contrived" and "asinine" things that prevent me from giving matches the full toot. If I'm too randomly critical, then so be it. I haven't had a match over 4.25 stars, yet (just varying differences in the rating bracket), so maybe I am.
Either way, I just don't understand how this match can be any amounts greater than Brock/Cena (of which I wasn't a fan, but I can see the sheer greatness in it, hence my rating) or Punk/Bryan. The latter being more obvious, considering they somewhat abandoned the E's style for a more technical, indy-circuit one. Sure, it didn't have the big-time impact RoH moves that Davey/Elgin did (for the HELL YEAH factor) but it did everything else better, imo. Just for a marker, I have that on the lower end of my 4.25 rating spectrum.
I see I re-gave Bryan/Punk's other TV-matches the same rating as Elgin/Davey. I'd love to say I'll rewatch this, but I've said that of many matches before I left for my studies. Many matches I know will still get a better rating than this. So, if I can get through those and the long list of matches I've missed then maybe, maybe I'll rewatch this.
Perhaps, like I said, I was too hard on this (due to displaced frustration) but I don't feel happy enough to give this anything more than the same rating I gave to Steen/Generico (4+).
A) I do appreciate that you don't just throw snowflakes at matches without logic, or just based on how much of a buzz you get from them. I think there's been a star rating inflation with matches like Taker/HHH getting 4.75-5 stars simply because they go a certain amount of time, and incorporating a base line of brutality. Sometimes it seems like a match going 20+ minutes gets and automatic 3.5 stars, and containing a certain number of spots automatically bumps it up to 4. So I do appreciate your method, even if I don't agree with all of it.
B) Your point of selling the fear is valid, but I think you might be expecting a bit much. I like to point to the Danielson/KENTA match for this. Danielson (yes I'm using his old name) was injured, and still could do a number of moves with his legit injured shoulder. I know that selling is based on what the audience expects, and therefore selling to communicate to the audience is more important than "realism", but I think there's a lot of leeway in here. You brought up Punk not selling on getting Bryan in the fireman's carry (at least I believe that's what you were referencing)but I think Punk did a lot of selling the ribs throughout, so I was ok with it. He was slower on climbing the turn buckles etc. Same with Bryan and selling the leg. He brings it out at certain points to remind the audience that he does actually have a leg thing, and that he can only overcome it with an adrenaline burst (like he gets near the end of the match). A lot of people said that Bryan wasn't selling the leg properly, but sometimes I wonder if they were expecting Bryan to not be able to use the leg at all.