August 24, 2015
Well, the biggest event of the summer was a hit or a miss depending on who you talk to today. For the first time since 2002, when Brock Lesnar captured his first WWE Championship by defeating The Rock, SummerSlam returned to New York; this time emanating from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The event was headlined by two major main events, and both of them saw some late-match shenanigans, one to the delight of the crowd and one to the dismay of the crowd. Jon Stewart, the host of SummerSlam, would get involved and swerve the entire wrestling and entertainment world in the Title vs. Title match that pitted John Cena against Seth Rollins.
A false finish mired the ending of the second main event, as the bell rang despite referee Charles Robinson never calling for it. In the midst of the confusion, the guy who people thought won the match all of a sudden lost the match. While many people, especially those on social media, weren’t happy with the ending, I think it’s part of a bigger story that’s about to be told.
Now, whether that story is interesting or even worth our time remains to be seen.
The first ever four-hour SummerSlam didn’t feel like it drug on too long, even though they decided not to put a match on the Kickoff Pre-Show, which WWE normally does.
I didn’t do too bad in my predictions last Thursday. Here’s what went down at SummerSlam on Sunday night:
Jon Stewart opened up the show by introducing Mick Foley to help him interview “Brock.” Foley mentions there must have been a bad connection on the phone he was using because he thought Stewart said “Rock” and the duo would be interviewing Foley’s old tag team partner from the Rock & Sock Connection, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. But alas, it was not to be.
I’m not sure if this was one of Foley’s skits from his comedy shows, but it sure as hell seemed like it. It was cheesy, but at least it got him some time on WWE television.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
This match was just kind of there for me. I don’t care about this feud and I don’t care enough about either guy to care who wins this match.
Sheamus had a semi-comedic moment when he left the ring and got the microphone from Lillian Garcia and hopped onto the announce table to let the audience know he didn’t look stupid, and they looked stupid. I enjoyed that bit. Orton wound up coming out and tripping him up, which made sense! Far too often do wrestlers let other wrestlers kind of do whatever they want in the middle of what is being billed as a blood feud, but Orton and Sheamus have done well in their roles. But it’s still not enough to make me care.
The best part of the match would come when Sheamus tried a shoulder block from the ring apron to the inside and Orton caught him with a RKO. Barely able to move, Sheamus found a way to roll outside of the ring so Orton couldn’t pin him. I really enjoyed that. A few series later, Sheamus would counter another RKO attempt and nail Orton with two Brogue Kicks for the win.
Your winner: Sheamus
Prime Time Players (c) vs. The New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. Lucha Dragons
There’s only two tag teams that really belong in this match, but having Los Matadores and the Lucha Dragons as part of the match didn’t really drag it down as much as I thought it would. If WWE’s creative team would put some effort behind those teams, maybe people would take them more seriously. Just my $.02.
The story of the match was that any person can tag anyone at any time, so Kofi Kingston and Big E colluded to try and take a pretty cheap, and amazingly smart, way out. They both tagged in and became the legal wrestlers in the match and almost got the pin before it was broken up. That was a cool segment, but why wouldn’t other teams try to do the same thing? Double-edged sword there.
The ending of the match was pretty great, but the celebration was greater. After Titus O’Neil hit the Clash of the Titus on one of the Matadores, Kingston came in and nailed him with a kick to the face and Big E pushed him out of the ring as Kingston stole the win by pinning the Matador.
Your winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day
The celebration was amazing.
Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana)
This match should have been a mixed tag team match, and something tells me we’ll see one before long. Rusev and Ziggler tried to put on an entertaining match, but the ending really wasn’t conducive to wanting to see another match between these two, or four, at all.
Rusev had The Accolade on Ziggler, when Summer Rae decided to get into it with Lana and Lana slapped the taste out of her mouth. Rusev released the hold and followed Ziggler to the outside, where Ziggler nailed him with a superkick that had him laying across the announce table. Ziggler tried to re-enter the ring before the 10 count was up, but didn’t make it in time, and both wrestlers were counted out.
Result: Double countout
That’s a loss for me.
Neville and Stephen Amell vs. Stardust and King Barrett
Amell didn’t look that bad in the ring with three other professionals surrounding him, but we could still see either the nervousness shine through or just the inability to sell for his opponents the way he should’ve sold. Not to mention he gave a pretty stiff kick to Stardust upon his entrance into the match, which gave me and my friend a pretty good laugh.
I was afraid Amell would get the pin in this one, but I’m glad he didn’t. Neville would hit the Red Arrow on King Barrett, which is par for the course at this point. This sort of saves Stardust the embarrassment of eating the pin, but I’m not sure there are any winners here except Neville. I think he gets the most out of this match, and who knows if we’ll see Amell in the future? I’m willing to bet we do.
Your winners: Neville and Stephen Amell
Amell had some lasting wounds for him to remember his first match by. It might not be his last.
Ryback (c) vs. The Miz vs. Big Show
I feel really bad about saying this, but I actually changed my course of thinking in the middle of this match and hoped The Miz would walk away from this match with the gold. It just hit me that this isn’t entertaining to me at all and Ryback, while okay as the Intercontinental Champion, doesn’t do much for me at this point.
I did really like the ending, though. I’m not sure if it was planting a seed or not, but Ryback essentially stole a win like I thought Miz would, given his character. Miz actually teased stealing a win earlier in the match, but ultimately ran into a knockout punch from Show, and Ryback clotheslined Show out of the ring and pinned Miz to retain his title. I’m interested to see if this leads anywhere, because Ryback could use some layers to his character at this point.
Your winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Ryback
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Mostly everyone agrees that Reigns and Ambrose will find themselves toiled in a feud with each other by the end of the year, which may or may not include Seth Rollins. I was paying close attention to see if any seeds would be planted during this match to hint at that possibility, but I found nothing.
I thought to myself if Reigns and Ambrose would be victorious, Harper would be eating the pin. That didn’t happen, either. While Wyatt was setting up for a Sister Abigail on Ambrose, the Lunatic Fringe countered with Dirty Deeds and then Reigns nailed Wyatt with a spear for the win.
Your winners: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
Yikes. Not sure why you’d defeat Wyatt here and have him take a clean pin.
Second loss. Predictions: 4/6
Seth Rollins (c-WWE) vs. John Cena (c-US)
The new all-white ring gear for the WWE champion was awesome, and it ultimately makes me believe the dress is white and gold. It’s also worth noting The New Day also wore new ring gear in white and gold, so there may be some type of new stable brewing. We’ll keep an eye on that.
I enjoyed the story of this match as well, that Rollins brought out some new and innovative moves from his arsenal to put away Cena and catch him off guard.
It almost worked. Of course, Cena’s gonna Cena and had a counter for almost every counter Rollins had, and wouldn’t eat a pin. Rollins even landed a picture perfect frogsplash that the late Eddie Guerrero would be proud of, except that seemingly didn’t bother Cena because he rolled through and set Rollins up for an Attitude Adjustment. Rollins countered to hit Cena with an Attitude Adjustment himself, and of course a frogsplash followed by an Attitude Adjustment still wouldn’t put Cena down.
I have to admit, I loved when Cena locked in the Figure Four leglock on Rollins because I could hear a collective “WHAT THE HELL” coming from the Internet Wrestling Community. Rollins wound up reversing the leverage and wrestling fans collected a sigh of relief that Cena would not win his record-tying 16th World Championship by using Ric Flair’s famous Figure Four.
Rollins nailed Cena with a superplex off the top rope and then popped right up on the mat, still holding Cena, and gave him a suplex driver, which did not faze Cena at all. He popped up, landed an Atttitude Adjustment on Rollins, and would have had the pin if the referee didn’t inadvertently get knocked out by the feet of Rollins. Rollins capitalized with another kick to Cena’s nose, this time being very protective of Cena’s face.
That’s when the world turned upside down. Jon Stewart appeared with a chair in hand and ran around the ring, confusing everybody, and likely himself. It became pretty evident after a few seconds that he was setting up to hit Cena with the chair, but Cena wasn’t getting up nearly fast enough. Stewart nailed Cena in the stomach with the chair, allowing Rollins to Pedigree him on said chair and pin the United States Champion to become a double champion.
Your winner and NEW WWE United States Champion and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins
I’m interested to see how they explain the Rollins/Stewart relationship, and if Stewart will be involved in any angles moving forward. I’m also very interested in seeing how WWE books Rollins now as a double champion. Will they have him keep both titles? Will they make him forfeit the United States title and have a tournament? Hopefully we’ll have those questions answered Monday night on Raw.
Team Bella (Nikki, Brie, Alicia Fox) vs. Team B.A.D. (Sasha Banks, Naomi, Tamina Snuka) vs. Team P.C.B. (Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch)
After witnessing one of the greatest matches in wrestling history on Saturday night between Sasha Banks and Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship, I knew this match would be considered a letdown for almost everyone.
I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it wasn’t nearly as good as the match Saturday night, but as a three-team elimination match, it didn’t need to be. This match was about getting those women the exposure they continually need before finally investing in them as future world champions. At least, we think that’s going to happen.
Team B.A.D. was eliminated first and not long after, Becky Lynch hit Brie with a Bex-Plex (a version of a pump-handle suplex) after a missed missile dropkick attempt for the win.
Your winners: Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro
After losing in his NXT Championship Ladder Match against Finn Bálor on Saturday night, Kevin Owens had something to prove on Sunday night. He walked away from the ring at NXT Takeover in tears and gave a kiss to his son in the front row before being helped to the back.
Sunday night, that was all in the rear-view mirror. Owens showed up during the SummerSlam Kickoff Show when most of the panel predicted a Cesaro win and basically told everyone to stay tuned. And he certainly delivered.
Being put in a prominent position on the card, Owens and Cesaro hit a home run. Heading out to perform in front of a New York crowd before Lesnar and the Undertaker are set to main event is no easy task. Owens and Cesaro certainly made it look easy. Owens and Cesaro should be future stars of the company and used in the same way Cena has been used the last decade.
A great ending sequence put the exclamation point on an excellent match when Owens hit Cesaro with a twisting neckbreaker and then his patented pop-up powerbomb for the win.
Your winner: Kevin Owens
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
In my SummerSlam preview, I noted this would be “one final battle” between Lesnar and the Undertaker. After that finish on Sunday night, I probably spoke too soon.
It’s amazing what a healthy Taker and Lesnar can bring to the audience. This match was light years better than their WrestleMania XXX match, and a lot of that is due to Undertaker not suffering a concussion early in the match and actually looking like he was about 20 years younger not only in his appearance, but his athletic ability as well.
While both wrestlers were hitting some stiff shots, with one of them busted Lesnar wide open, the audience just looked on in intrigue as it became more and more apparent this match was going to ultimately be a lot better than its counterpart a year and a half ago.
Lesnar wound up hitting an F5 on Taker outside of the ring onto the announce table, right onto his ribs. A bit later, Taker hit Lesnar with a chokeslam and a Tombstone piledriver, to which Lesnar somehow kicked out of. Lesnar wound up sitting up and smiling at Taker, like he did one year ago when he faced Cena in the main event of SummerSlam.
Taker also sat up and mocked Lesnar’s laughing with some laughing of his own, and then the brawl was on. Both wrestlers hit each other with punches before Lesnar locked in the Kimura Lock on Taker’s left arm, but Taker countered with a Last Ride powerbomb for a two count. Lesnar hit two more F5’s on Taker, for a grand total of three and the number of F5’s it took to defeat Taker at WrestleMania XXX, but it wouldn’t happen Sunday night. Taker kicked out and applied his Hell’s Gate submission hold, to which Lesnar countered with another Kimura Lock.
This is where things get dicey. While the referee was in position to potentially count Lesnar’s shoulders to the mat, Taker tapped out on the other side, in view of the bell ringer ostensibly as replays would show after the match ended, who rang the bell to signify the end of the match.
Lesnar let go of the hold, thinking he had won the match. Referee Charles Robinson, not seeing Taker tap out, allowed the match to continue and Taker caught Lesnar in Hell’s Gate one more time. Lesnar, in one final act of defiance before passing out, gave Taker the middle finger. A saving grace? Nah.
Your official winner: The Undertaker
I’m not sure this finish is what wrestling fans wanted since it leaves open another match down the road between the two. The match that was supposedly too big for SummerSlam might happen again at Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, or even Hell in a Cell in October. If a third installment of this current feud does happen, it would make sense for it to happen at Hell in a Cell, even though the same feud between the same two men ended the same way back in 2002.
Overall, I liked the show and the involvement of Stewart and the ending of Lesnar/Taker was more entertaining to me than most, probably. I love the new Tag Team Champions and seeing Rollins as double champion will be awesome, unless he relinquishes the United States title. It's good to see Owens back in the winning column and I'm hoping his feud with Cesaro is just getting started. I thought this show lived up to the "big show" hype, but wrestling fans are notoriously never happy. And most of them aren't giving this show the credit it deserves.
WWE’s next special event takes place on September 20th as the company presents the 2015 edition of Night of Champions.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickpiccone