A forgotten Summerslam main event? You think Summerslam main event, you think Bulldog vs Hart, Cena vs Lesnar, Cena vs Bryan, hell, even Lesnar vs The Rocky. But Lesnar vs ‘Taker? I’d forgotten about it myself! No one could forget their ‘Mania XXX match, where Lesnar broke ‘Taker’s undefeated Streak. This is the rematch, slotted into the main event of Summerslam. Their bout at ‘Mania was marred by ‘Taker’s legitimate concussion. He has voiced his disappointment with the bout on many occasions. This was his chance to redeem himself (both in the storyline and in reality). And, to be sure, he did.
In the storyline, ‘Taker wants revenge for The Streak’s end. In reality, Mark Calloway wanted to know if he still could hang with Brock Lesnar AND redeem his awful (yet excusable) performance at ‘Mania XXX. People point to Punk/Taker at ‘Mania 29 as ‘Taker’s last great match (well, outside of a certain Boneyard), yet this match (and the rubber match inside Hell in a Cell) are very good, even great.
This is any unforgiving bout, with ‘Taker taking an inhumane amount of punishment for someone his age, someone in his condition. True, he looks exhausted minutes into the match, but manages to hang with Lesnar for another twenty minutes. It’s one of the longer matches of Lesnar’s second WWE run as well, thus ensuring a well-told story that isn’t just Lesnar spamming suplexes. It’s the old man looking for redemption, against the young (well, young-ish!) beast who humiliated him.
One of the only real flaws of the bout (much like the Cena/Rollins bout earlier on in the card) is the awful and confusing finish. WWE didn’t want a clear finish, hoping to garner interest for a third ‘Taker/Lesnar bout (there were rumours they would collide at the following year’s WrestleMania, but the rubber match happened a lot sooner than that!), but this contrived end deflated and bewildered the crowd (much like the Lesnar/Orton match ending at a later Summerslam). Without the commentary, it’s hard to decipher what has actually occurred. Why didn’t they have a clean finish, with ‘Taker defeating Lesnar? It would simply set up the rubber match without confusing controversy.
Instead, the finish reflects poorly on the rest of the bout. It possibly consigned this bout to the forgotten annals of Summerslam main event history. But if I were you, I’d seek this one out as soon as possible. One of ‘Taker’s last great bouts post-end of The Streak, and one of Lesnar’s second WWE run great bouts.
Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)
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