Randy Orton vs Sheamus
We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Many, many times! This was no different to your average Raw match starring Orton and Sheamus. Yes, they produce decent matches together, but they rarely change the structure of said matches. This match was no different from the rest of their matches. It begs the question: why have this match anyway? So Sheamus could score a pinfall victory over Orton? He could have done that last month at Battleground. Why wasn’t the MITB briefcase on the line? It would have added something extra to the bout. Of course, Sheamus and Orton are both good workers, but nothing in this match held my interest.
VERDICT: 5/10. Seen it all before, nothing new here!
Prime Time Players (c) vs New Day vs Los Matadores vs Lucha Dragons-Fatal 4 Way Match for the Tag Team Championships
An average Fatal 4 Way match enhanced by a thrilling ending. The New Day’s misuse of Jay Z’s ‘Empire State of Mind’ before the start of the match was inspired! The Lucha Dragons brought excitement to the beignning of the match, with their high-flying tag team moves. From then on, the match sagged in the middle until Titus O’Neill received the hot tag from Darren Young and, to steal a phrase, all hell broke loose! There were a few botches as things got out of control, such as a suicide dive supposedly blocked with a dropkick, but there were enough distractions to dampen the effects of the botch. Xavier Woods was backdropped on the apron by Young, Big E brought out his spear through the ropes on Young, people flew to the outside…New Day ‘stole’ the victory after O’Neill powerbombed the Lucha Dragons off the tope rope, and The New Day took advantage. The titles are back where they belong: on The New Day!
WINNERS: (And New Tag Team Champs!) The New Day
VERDICT: 6/10. An exciting start and a thrilling finish were dampened by a dull middle. The tag team division sorely misses Cesaro and Kidd!
Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler
What a waste of a match. This is what happens when a three hour event is turned into a four hour event! An utterly pointless and boring match that turned even worse with the double count out ending. The wrestlers were only there to space out Summerslam. Short and immemorable, there was little to commend about this match. I guess Ziggler’s facebuster on Rusev from the top rope was the highlight of the match, but everything else passed by my vision like so much cheap confetti.
WINNER: No Winner (Double Count Out)
VERDICT: 3/10. Pointless! Boring!
Cosmic King Barret and Stardust vs Steve Amell and Neville
I’ll give Amell his due: he took a few bumps and risked a leap from the top rope to Barret and Stardust on the outside! But at times he looked awkward and unsure of how to take a kick, for example. However, it felt a little more compelling than the usual celebrity wrestling match due to Amell’s commitment, but was still nothing special. Neville entertained with his high-flying moves as usual. At least the match was short and inoffensive!
WINNERS: Steve Amell and Neville
VERDICT: 6/10. Better than average, considering a non-wrestler was involved!
Ryback (c) vs The Miz vs The Big Show-Intercontinental Championship Match
Was anyone looking forward to this match? Why drag Ryback’s IC reign down in a feud with The Big Show? Having said that, the highlight of the match was Show’s second rope senton bomb, which was as awkward as it was stunning to see. Thankfully, like the previous match, it was short and to the point. There isn’t much else to say about it. Ryback hit the Shell Shock on the Big Show, but eventually pinned The Miz for the victory. Ryback needs to see the back of both wrestlers after this feud. He needs fresh victims!
VERDICT: 5/10. Very, very average!
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
As part of my odyssey through the WWE Network’s 100 Matches to See Before You Die, I’ve watched The Fantastics vs The Midnight Express, which is an all-out brawl from the very beginning. This match had a very similar feel to that, minus the foreign objects! Right from the beginning, Ambrose flew to the outside with a suicide dive, and Reigns leaped off the steel steps with a clothesline. Ambrose ran from announce table to announce table to leap onto Wyatt, who was in the crowd! It felt out of control and brutal. Harper suplexed Ambrose, hung on the second rope, to the ringside floor in a particularly hard-hitting move. The pace didn’t let up one bit as the wrestlers flung themselves at each other. Reigns picked up the victory, to even the score with Wyatt from Battleground. Do they keep feuding? I should think so: they’ve produced some very good matches, and this one was no exception.
WINNERS: Reigns and Ambrose
VERDICT: 8/10. A balls to the wall brawl that was out of control as soon as the bell rung! We should be seeing this action in the actual tag team division!
Seth Rollins vs John Cena-WWE World Heavyweight Championship vs United States Championship
Match of the night? Probably! Their match on Raw a month or so was exemplary; this match was even better. Rollins was out to impress, which he did in due time with two suicide dives and a flip over the ropes onto Cena! Compare those three perfect moves to Cena’s botched Springboard Stunner…Cena definitely needs to eliminate that move from his repertoire! Rollins was definitely the MVP of the evening, with his deadlift AA and a standing shooting star press! He also executed his superplex into a Blue Arrow suplex, which is a thing of beauty. This was maybe his best showing thus far in WWE, and that’s definitely saying something. Let’s be fair: Cena wasn’t far behind, either. It takes two people to have a great match! However, all of their good work was ruined by the ridiculous ending (you’ll see me write that again soon…). The referee was knocked out, and Jon Stewart raced to the ring. In a clearly telegraphed move, he hit Cena with a steel chair. Rollins hit the Pedigree on Cena onto the chair and got the victory. Would it have hurt to let Rollins win with a roll up? The ending took all the steam out of the match. Rollins has never looked weaker in victory.
WINNER: Seth Rollins
VERDICT: 8/10. Great match, but I have to factor the ending in to the score. It took a dump on all their hard work, and I had to lower the score as a result. A definite 9/10 with a better ending, though.
Team Bella vs PCB vs Team B.A.D
I’ve recently read that John Cena radically changed the Diva’s Revolution. The original plan was to have Nikki Bella lose the Diva’s Championship straight away to one of the NXT Women on the night. However, he asked for that not to happen. Thus, we have this match, where nothing was at stake. It’s good for the Diva’s division to this much focus, but with Nikki still the champion, what has essentially changed? Nothing. That’s why I couldn’t invest in this match. What bigger event than Summerslam to have the title change hands? From having a Match of The Year contender the previous night, Sasha Banks was eliminated from the match (along with the rest of Team B.A.D) before she could make an impact. Yes, Becky Lynch may have pinned Brie Bella, but Nikki remained untouched. The match itself was good, but it didn’t have any meaning. So Brie is pinned? So what? Give one of the NXT women the title and let them light a fire under the Diva’s division. Don’t wait for Nikki to beat AJ Lee’s title reign.
VERDICT: 6/10. A good match, but nothing spectacular and essentially meaningless.
Cesaro vs Kevin Owens
Given five more minutes, this could have been the match of the evening. Owens just understands professional wrestling. Cesaro is one of the best perfomers in the business today. The only problem is, we saw this match on Smackdown a few months ago and Owens won with ease. Why were they fighting again, on PPV? Shouldn’t there have been something at stake, like a shot at the IC or US Title? Regardless, the two wrestlers put on a great match. Owens, who must have been suffering from his ladder match the previous night, pulled out all the stops. From a cannonball to a Cesaro positioned on the barricade to a moonsault to a somersault leg drop, it seems there is nothing Owens cannot do! Cesaro was just as good, with his always entertaining uppercuts (one that rang out especially was his running around this ring uppercut that sent Owens flying into the barricade! His deadlift gut wrench suplex from the top rope was something to behold as well. Owens and Cesaro pulled out all the stops to deliver at Summerslam. Owens needed the victory after some big losses, but Cesaro looked great in defeat as well.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
VERDICT: 8/10. Great match from two of the best wrestlers in WWE today. Both need to be pushed to the moon!
The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar
This was the match we should have had at WrestleMania 30 (Taker’s concussion put paid to that, though!) An intense brawl that mirrored the match between Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin this previous night (two big men, brawling, hitting big moves, trying submissions etc), but on a far grander scale. Even before Taker had chance to take his jacket off, Lesnar attacked. Taker looked a lot better than he did even at WrestleMania 31, and managed to keep up with the stiff-working Lesnar for the most part. He even took a trip to suplex city a few times! The brawl got hotter and hotter as it progressed, until it reached boiling point. Then, however, the ending cooled the match to freezing point. Taker tapped out to the kimura, but the referee didn’t see it. The timekepper rang the bell, but the referee admonished him. Taker low-blowed Lesnar, and locked in Hell’s Gate. Lesnar passed out, but gave Taker the finger shortly before doing so.
What? Why would the timekeeper ring the bell without a signal from the referee? An ending so dumb it left me wide-mouthed with disbelief. This is how the match that was too big for WrestleMania ended? With a whacky finish? Another gripe I had with the match was its main event position: surely Cena vs Rollins was far more important than a rematch between Taker and Lesnar? Now that they both have a win apiece (during Lesnar’s return to WWE, that is), I guess we will get a rubber match…but is it necessary? No! Lesnar should have beaten Taker here. Taker needs a new opponent! And so does Lesnar.
VERDICT: 8/10. This would have been an easy 9/10 had the ending not deflated the match so much. Gripping from start to a minute before the finish.
OVERALL VERDICT: 7/10. Four great matches in a four hour space, but too many meaningless and average matches. The two best matches of the evening, Cena vs Rollins and Taker vs Lesnar, were mangled by their stupid endings. Summerslam should have been three hours, to cut out matches that added nothing to the card. Overall good, but not great.