Was Summerslam Even The Best Pay Per View Of The Weekend?
Brock Lesnar with Manager Paul Heyman. Photo: WWE
On Saturday August 19 WWE held NXT Takeover Brooklyn III in the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York. The next night on the 20th, Summerslam was broadcast live from the same place. Takeover was a good show overrall (most NXT shows are) because it centres around good wrestling matches and talent. The Author of this article scored it a 4 out of 5 rating.
It had great matches, a suprise appearance by new WWE signing Adam Cole and a few title changes. That doesn't mean Summerslam can't out perform NXT, it actually 'should' on paper. The advantages the top show has are many, It runs longer, has more matches and more time to make a fantastic show. Will this be the case though? Let's find out.
John Cena v Baron Corbin
The "John Cena Sucks" chants from the Brooklyn crowd where deafening. Baron's entrance music is now heavier and more intense. This is a good thing. We are shown highlights of Corbin's unsuccessful cash in of 'The Money In The Bank' briefcase against Jinder Mahal. Baron blames Cena because John climbed onto the ring apron and distracted Corbin so Mahal could roll him up for the pin.
John Cena seemed to be in a good mood early. He jumped from the ring to the outside of the ring and can be heard telling commentator JBL "He is not thinking about tonight, he is still thinking about last Tuesday". He then puts on JBL's hat for a few seconds. Baron is very vocal in this match, taunting the crowd, the ref and Cena. After a couple of minutes, Cena still has not done much, easy payday for the sixteen time WWE Champion.
The Chokeslam Backbreaker from Corbin looked awkward and could have hurt Cena (to be fair to Baron, Cena didn't seem to take the move properly). Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment to get the victory after being dominated by Corbin. Nothing to mind blowing in the first bout.
Winner: John Cena
☆☆ out of 5 rating for Cena v Corbin
WWE RAW Womens Champion Alexa Bliss. Photo: WWE
Smackdown Live Womens Championship Match
Champion Naomi takes on veteran challenger Natalya (who has started using Bret Hart's catch phrase). Naomi hits a full on 'Blockbuster' off the ring stairs. Naomi is in great shape and obviously has been working hard. Carmella is shown backstage with the 'Womens Money In The Bank' briefcase. If they continue to tease it all the time it won't be a suprise when she finally 'cashes in'.
Natalya tied the Champion up in a knot that actually looked like it hurt. The daughter of Jim Neidhart is at the top of her game after 10 years in WWE. Naomi countered the Sharpshooter which whipped Natalya's head into the bottom turnbuckle pad. She recovered though to slap on the Sharpshooter again, this time for the win.
Winner and New Smackdown Live Womens Champion: Natalya
It was good to see WWE gave the ladies plenty of time to tell a story. The effort was great from both divas.
☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for Natalya v Naomi
New Champion Natalya. Photo: WWE
Naomi was visibly emotional after the match. She has fought hard to get the title, fought even harder to get it back after injury. Made a pretty mediocre gimmick work, good run from Naomi.
Enzo cut a promo before being locked in the shark cage that will be hung above the ring for the next match. The break-up of Cass and Enzo was a brave move for WWE, if only they would pull the trigger on a John Cena heel turn.
Enzo's little jig sure looked funny while in a rising shark cage!.
Past Summerslam Highlights
Brock Lesnar v Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
AJ Styles v John Cena
Brock Lesnar v The Undertaker
Seth Rollins v John Cena (Winner Takes All: WWE and US Titles)
Brock Lesnar v John Cena
Seth Rollins v Dean Ambrose (Lumberjack Match)
Big Cass v The Big Show
Battle of the seven foot giants. Big Show's punches look really fake in the starting segment of the match. Enzo might have found his destiny... a manager?, he sure is doing alot of gum flapping. It was funny when he said Cass "looks like a starfish" while laying prone on the mat. Big Show selling his 'hurt' hand is just painful to watch, some wrestlers just can't act.
"Boring" chants from the crowd is never good for the athletes but Enzo flapping around in the cage is quite entertaining. Big Show must be superhuman, he is taking so many hits to that 'broken' hand. Enzo oiled himself up with a bottle of the slippery stuff he had conveniently stuffed in his pocket earlier. He manages to squeeze between the bars and climb down to the ring.
Whack!..it is all for nothing because Big Cass hits him with a Big Boot to the face. Big Show gets the exact same treatment just moments later and is put down for the 3 count. Even Enzo's antics couldn't save this match from being mediocre.
☆☆ out of 5 rating for Cass v Show
Ratings for WWE's last 5 Pay Per Views
Pay Per View
NXT Takeover Brooklyn III
Great Balls Of Fire
Money In The Bank
NXT Takeover Chicago
Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan are shown chatting backstage. It's a shame we won't see these two ever wrestle each other. It was good to hear Daniel's "No...No...No" chants after a few years of the "Yes" chants.
Randy Orton v Rusev
Rusev sneak attacks Orton before the match even starts. It didn't really matter because Randy hit an "RKO Outta Knowhere" as the bell sounded for the 1...2...3. Was the quick loss a consequence of rumours surrounding Lana and Rusev wanting to leave WWE?. A match containing one move only deserves one star.
☆ out of 5 rating for Rusev v Orton
Sasha is shown walking past an injured and dejected Bayley (who would have been in the RAW Womens championship match if she didn't get injured).
Randy Orton got an easy night at Summerslam. Photo: WWE
RAW Womens Championship Match
Challenger Sasha Banks wore a unique looking peacock outfit to the ring. Good way to be memorable?. Alexa Bliss seems to have more crowd support than babyface Sasha. There is alot of the colour pink when these two lock up, maybe they should be tag partners instead?. The Pinky's?...Pink Parts?!. Maybe not.
Alexa's double knees/moonsault knees are amazing. Bliss being flipped from the top rope was high impact. This match has quite a slow pace for two fast and energetic ladies. 'The Boss' sells a shoulder injury after Banks pulls the ring mat out from under her feet while on the apron. The end of the match contained a good series of kick-outs and counters before Sasha made Alexa tap out to the 'Bank Statement'.
A Christian (ex-wrestler, not the religion) like 'temper tantrum' from Alexa!. The match was slow at times (they didn't even smudge their make up until late in the match) but was given sufficient time for the ladies to pull out a good match.
Winner and New RAW Womens Champion: Sasha Banks
☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for Alexa v Sasha
Why would they dress HBK up like Colonel Saunders? I can understand Dolph Ziggler doing it (he is mid-card) but Shawn Michaels is above this sort of advertising.
Alexa Bliss with no belt. Photo: WWE
Finn Balor v Bray Wyatt
Finn Balor is wrestling as his alter-ego 'The Demon' tonight and he looks extremely focused. Bray takes Finn's legs straight into the head after a suicide dive. The match has a perfect mix of pace and energy in the first five minutes. Balor's Overhead Kick always looks stunning.
Bray is portraying fear beautifully at times, could the 'Eater of Worlds' really be afraid of 'The Demon'. A huge Clothesline from Bray momentarily stifles Balor's momentum. Finn pins Bray after the 'Coup De Grace'. Ideally this match could have went a minute or two longer but the wrestlers pulled off one hell of a match.
Winner: Finn Balor
☆☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for Balor v Wyatt
RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The Shield reunion is turning out to be a long process (If it wasn't happening they wouldn't have bothered teaming up Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose). The big question is will they help Roman later tonight become the Universal Champion?. For now though they take on the champions Sheamus and Cesaro. Everything about the Tag Champs' entrance is cool up until they do 'The Clique' double armed point to each other. We already have the 'Balor Club' doing the NWO hand tap, not very original.
Commentator Michael Cole points out Ambrose, Rollins and Sheamus are former 'Money In The Bank' winners. Not sure if it's good or bad that they are all back in the tag division. Seth does a 'Suicide Dive' but gets caught by the Tag Champs. They proceed to toss him back first onto the mat which would not have tickled.
Cesaro jumped into the crowd and ripped apart a beachball the crowd had been tossing around. This was by far the biggest 'pop' of the night so far. Cesaro takes a big bump on the outside mats after being thrown out by Rollins. A huge Uppercut from 'The Swiss Superman' to Dean Ambrose knocks the sweat off 'The Lunatic Fringe'. A sweet Tilt-A-Whirl slam from The Irishman.
Some great mat wrestling from Cesaro late in the match comes before an awesome segment to end the match including a Hurricanrana, Knee to the face and a Superkick. 'Dirty Deeds' from Ambrose to Sheamus gets the pin for our Shield reunion. Quite a good match overall and the crowd gets the ending they want.
Winners and New RAW Tag Team Champions: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (The Shield?, Can we call them that yet?).
☆☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for Tag Team Championship Match
New Tag Champs Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Can we call them The Shield?. Photo: WWE
US Championship Match
Kevin Owens (who gets his usual babyface cheer even though he is heel) takes on AJ Styles for the last time (Yeh right). We also have special referee Shane McMahon. Shane gets physical with Owens before the bell rings to make things interesting. AJ's athleticism shines in the beginning of this Championship Match.
An Intense exchange includes a Backslam, Face Plant and Superkick. Styles' 450 Splash does damage to all 3 men. Shane taking so many bumps it's becoming comedic. Amazing work on the top rope from both competitors ending in a Suplex with a twist sending Styles crashing to the mat. Shane nearly gives Kevin the victory with a 3 count but realises AJ's foot was on the rope and the match continues.
AJ Styles puts KO away with the 'Styles Clash'. Even with Shanes bumping and distractions these guys still put on a pretty decent match.
Winner and still US Champion: AJ Styles
☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for AJ v KO
Braun Strowman backstage. Photo: WWE
WWE Championship Match
Indian Champion Jinder Mahal takes on the Japanese Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura. Who would have thought, 6 months ago that Jinder Mahal would be in one of the main events at Summerslam. Seeing Shinsuke yell "C'mon!" at his opponent is addictive. The match started quite slow and plodding (Jinder's matches are usually this way).
Shinsuke face planting Mahal was a highlight mid-way. Jinder put Shinsuke away with the most awkward looking 'Khallas' ever. Even Shinsuke couldn't get anything more than an average match out of 'The Modern Day Maharaja'. It understandable that WWE are keeping Jinder the champ, He is the leader of an Indian stable that taps into a huge market. Shinsuke's time as Champion is coming very soon, he also has a market worth tapping into for the promotion and gets the biggest reception (probably only rivalled at the moment by Brock Lesnar).
Winner and still WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal
☆☆ out of 5 rating for Jinder v Shinsuke
And still WWE Champion. Jinder Mahal with the Singh Brothers. Photo: WWE
Fatal 4 Way for the Universal Championship
The stipulation in this one is if Brock Lesnar doesn't win (against opponents Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe) he leaves WWE. The rumour is he is heading back to UFC. Even if this happens it will be more than likely be just for the one fight and he will come back to wrestling. Braun is starting to get some huge babyface receptions from the crowds.
Commentator Booker T pulling no punches describing Reigns as 'The most hated superstar of 2016'. I wonder if Vince was listening?. Samoa Joe is the first to go to Suplex City. The crowd goes wild for Brock and Braun's short face off. Braun throws Lesnar over the top rope with ease then shortly after Samoa Joe squeezes on the 'Coquina Clutch' to Brock. He escapes but Reigns sends Lesnar through the ringside barricade. "This is awesome" chants from the crowd.
Strowman smashes Brock through the announcer's table. Joe hits a suicide dive on Reigns and the action is non-stop!. After putting Brock through a second announcer's table Braun actually picks the third one up and dumps it on top of Lesnar. 'The Beast Incarnate' is put on a stretcher and carted backstage. Braun's ear starts bleeding from the steel ring steps being hurdled into his head by Roman. Lesnar returns to cheers from Brooklyn's wrestling fans. His punches to Strowman are intense.
Braun hits a Powerslam on Joe with the greatest of ease and proves simply Strowman is a friggen monster!. Just when it looks like Roman has Brock beat after a few 'Superman Punches', Brock recovers to hit an F5 on 'The Big Dog' to get the victory. Looks like Brock and Paul Heyman are sticking around a little longer.
This was an amazingly exciting match, the middle part was Total Non-Stop Action (bad choice of words?). Braun stepped up and proved he is a main event star.
Winner and still Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar
☆☆☆☆☆ out of 5 rating for the Fatal 4 Way
Joe v Lesnar v Strowman v Reigns. Photo: WWE
It looks like we have to wait a little longer for a total Shield reunion.
Even with a Five Star Main Event Summerslam could not beat NXT Takeover Brooklyn III as the best Pay Per View of the weekend. It was let down by many poor matches early on and even with more talent and longer time, it wasn't as entertaining as the newer brand.
So WWE's second biggest PPV of the year was outshone by their development brand's annual Brooklyn show. They have a problem with weekly show RAW in general (Smackdown Live doesn't) that bleeds into the Pay Per Views, it goes way to long and utilizes all the roster every week. It need's shortening. Bring back some suprise appearances and make it less predictable. Until this happens NXT will be the 'must watch' brand in WWE.