SummerSlam 2015 is in the books and for the most part it was a pretty outstanding event. I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of matches and even though it was a 4 hour even which I think is WAY too long for anything but WrestleMania it didn’t feel like it dragged on too much. Though to be fair, my brother and I started watching the show at 8:00 and zipped through ring entrances and stuff to the point where we were all caught up by the time the 2nd main event started. Just goes to show you how much “fanfare” there really is during a WWE PPV.
I’m often the guy that defends the WWE. There are typically SO many fans who are quick to rip on the product and specifically the writing. Sadly, at least for a couple of matches, which happen to be the main two matches on the card, I’m in that camp today that’s got some complaints. Let’s get into it.
Sheamus Defeated Randy Orton
I’ll be honest here. I don’t really like either of these guys. We’re getting this match for what seems like the 100th time but even so, it was a great start to the PPV. I was very excited to see Sheamus go over clean which I’m hoping will lead to this feud finally being over. Not quite sure where that leaves Orton but I really don’t care. At the very least it’ll clear up Sheamus to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase.
The New Day Won The Tag Titles
The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (with Xavier Woods) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) (c), The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) and Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) (with El Torito). I’m not a big tag team wrestling fan, but this was great. No it was better than great. It was outstanding. The New Day has come into their own and they’re OWNING their gimmick. Don’t forget about the fact that these guys can WRESTLE. I’m really looking forward to this reign especially if they go at it with Freebird rules. This match was tag team wrestling done right. It involved everyone, had a ton of high spots and even with those it didn’t turn into a “spot fest”. I had a buddy text me and say, “Most compelling tag match we’ve seen in a while,” and he’s absolutely right.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev Ended In A Double Countout
Here’s where the garbage booking begins. This is a feud that I 100% couldn’t give a shit about. I feel really bad for both Rusev and Ziggler because both guys are awesome workers and they deserve better. Creative have them saddled with this piss poor storyline where they’re trying to involved Lana and Summer Rae. The “finish” comes with Rusev having Ziggler trapped in his finisher and Lana slaps Summer Rae on the outside. Rusev releases the hold, throws Ziggler out and proceeds to get counted out as well. Pure horseshit. Not only do we not get a finish on PPV but this guarantees that we’ll get yet another match in this series. The only redeeming factor here is the Lana hotness factor. Meh.
Stephen Amell & Neville Defeated Stardust & King Barrett
This far exceeded my expectations. If you’ve been watching pro wrestling more than a minute you knew that Amell & Neville were going to go over. With that foregone conclusion out of the way it was simply a matter of how we were going to get there. I’m happy to say that Amell not only held up his end of the bargain but looked pretty damn good doing it. He needs to work on his selling (he looked like he was lounging at the pool when he was getting stomped on) but you could tell that he took this seriously and did a hell of a job for a non-wrestler. A couple of notes: A) you can really see just how BIG these wrestlers are. Amell is jacked and he looked small standing next to the other 3 dudes. B) it was clear that the wrestlers were taking care of him. Mad props all around.
Ryback Retained The IC Title
Ryback (c) defeated Big Show and The Miz. This was very short for a triple threat match and just over 5 minutes. Not sure why it was this match that got the short end of the stick on a 4 hour card. There were some good things here with The Miz taking the brunt of the offense. He gets a lot of shit thrown at him on the Interwebs but I gotta tell you this guy is a solid worker and deserves more respect than he gets. Glad to see Ryback hold onto the title as I don’t think Show needs it and Miz is better in the antagonist role. Hoping they go in another direction with Big Show but I’m guessing he’ll stake his claim to the title again as he was the one that knocked out Miz.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose Defeated Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
There wasn’t anything “bad” here but this is probably my least favorite match of the night. It’s the Wyatt family vs. The SHIELD with both teams being down a man. I feel bad for these guys as this match, at least in my mind, is the “what the hell are we going to do with these guys” match. If you rewind 6 months all of these guys were better off. Reigns was main eventing WrestleMania, Ambrose was set to main event PPVs and getting a good push, Wyatt was in the ring with Taker and Harper was around both the IC and Tag Titles. All four guys worked hard here with what they had but this feud is nothing more than a holding pattern in my mind. Hoping they find something for all of them to do… quickly.
Seth Rollins Defeated John Cena
This was title for title with John Cena putting his US Championship on the line against Rollins’ WWE Championship. It was billed as a match for the ages and boy did these guys bring it. The New York crowd was decidedly behind heel Rollins (complete with Bee Gees inspired ring gear) but that didn’t take away from the match these guys put on. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again – John Cena will go down as one of the best ever. He’s doing the best work of his career with everyone he steps into the ring with and when you throw in Seth Rollins who has MORE than come into his own the last year this match was gold…. until we got to the finish.
John Stewart of The Daily Show fame was the official host of SummerSlam. He’d had a run in with Rollins a while back and had showed up on RAW to tee off on him. After a TREMENDOUS spot where Cena had Rollins in the figure four and was threatening to tie Ric Flair with 16 world championships with his own move, Stewart proceeds to come to the ring with a steel chair, tease hitting Rollins and then proceeding to his John Cena with god damned worst chair shot in the history of wrestling. This lead to Rollins hitting a Pedigree on the chair and covering Cena to retain his title and to win Cena’s US Title.
I’m OK with Rollins winning here. In fact it really needed to happen and is certainly what’s “best for business”. What I’ve got issue with his Stewart’s involvement. It’s fucking stupid and leaves them really no where to go. We’re not going to get a Stewart vs. Cena program so that most likely leaves us with Stewart coming down on RAW tonight telling us how much he respects the business and how he couldn’t see Cena tie Flair’s record on his watch. Either that or we get John Stewart Authority member which is even dumber. Completely tarnished a great match.
Team PCB Defeated Team Bella And Team B.A.D.
Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) defeated Team Bella (Nikki Bella, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox) and Team B.A.D. (Naomi,Sasha Banks and Tamina). Let’s just call this was it was… The Diva’s match. With the new Revolution that’s come to the WWE of late, women’s wrestling has taken a HUGE step forward. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting essentially the same match since the new gals made their debut. It’s time to get some singles wrestling back on the card. They’ve started to mention the length of Nikki Bella’s reign as the champion. That tells me that they’re going to keep the title on her long enough for her to outlast AJ Lee as the longest reigning champ. Sure it’s a big old “Fuck you” to CM Punk but it is what it is. But even if that’s the plan, they don’t need to keep going with these 3 way tag matches. Let her defend the belt. Let her win. Make her a champion that’s worthy of leading this new Revolution in women’s wrestling. This match wasn’t bad by any stretch. It’s just that we’ve seen it so many times recently that it once again made the Divas match time to hit the bathroom.
Kevin Owens Defeated Cesaro
It should come as no surprise that these guys tore the house down. Cesaro took the loss but when you lose a match like this it sure as hell isn’t going to hurt you. This match also served to further propel Kevin Owens as a WWE star. If you didn’t think so after his program with John Cena you can’t deny it now. Love the fact that this was a legit clean finish with Owens coming out on top. I’m not quite sure where Cesaro goes from here. Hopefully he’ll insert himself into the IC Title picture or perhaps the US Title picture depending on what Rollins does with that. I’m anticipating either merging the two titles or seeing Rollins vacate the US Title and giving us some sort of tournament or battle royal. Either place would be good for Cesaro. As for Owens, the sky’s the limit. I could see him going after Rollins or even into a program with Lesnar which would be awesome. Speaking of Lesnar…
The Undertaker Defeated Brock Lesnar Via Submission (Sort Of)
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this match going in. I posted on Instagram that I was conflicted as I was wearing my Lesnar shirt while rooting for Taker. I’m happy to say that this match (until the ending) was top notch. Absolutely LOVED that they went the route of the brawl and Undertaker for the most part was able to hold up his end of the match. Lesnar is a beast and has really been growing on me for the past year. He’s got Wolverine-like healing properties as he’ll be bleeding one moment and a minute later there’s no sign of the cut or the blood. He sweats like a whore in church but looks like an absolute monster in the ring. This match was exactly what it should have been – two guys going at it toe to toe. The old gunslinger and the beast incarnate. Loved every minute of it until the finish.
I’m guessing this looked really good on paper. Taker taps, the ref misses it, restarts the match and catches Lesnar who passes out but doesn’t give up. Sadly at least one person (the camera man) screwed the pooch and left us with a very unsatisfying finish. If we would have seen Taker tap and just had the ref miss it, the finish would be been MUCH better. As it was, the bell rang, the ref bitched and never re-started the match but went right back into it. This finish serves to keep Lesnar looking strong as he never gave up similar to the WrestleMania 13 match the propelled Austin to super stardom. The problem here is it was they didn’t NEED to do the screwy finish. Taker and Lesnar both put on an amazing match.
The finish DID accomplish one thing. It gives us grounds for a rubber match. This has GOT to be leading to either a Hell In A Cell or an I Quit match between the two. I’m not sure I’d want to see it though as I think it means Taker has to lose. If I was a betting man I’d say it’d be an I Quit match with Undertaker’s career on the line at WrestleMania 32. The pretty much shoots my Sting / Undertaker idea in the head but it’s a way to go that would make sense and would give Taker and Lesnar the conclusion that they deserve.
The WWE has been saying for years that SummerSlam is its second biggest event of the year behind only WrestleMania. I personally prefer the Royal Rumble to SummerSlam but you can see that between the 4 hour time slot and the way this was booked that they truly did put it all on the line here. Overall this was a solid show. If not for the two finishes it would have been an epic event. The more I think about it the Undertaker finish isn’t quite as bad as I’d originally thought. It was great on paper and just sloppily executed in the ring. The Rollins / Cena finish with the inclusion of John Stewart was complete garbage from the word go. One thing’s for certain – RAW tonight should be interesting.
One more nitpicky thing which I spouted off on Twitter about the other day. Here’s the official SummerSlam poster for this year. The WWE used it in promotional materials and a slew of emails advertising the WWE Network. Couldn’t they have found a picture of the Undertaker from the 2000’s? SMH.
Did you watch SummerSlam? Leave me a comment with your thoughts!