Saturday, July 30, 2016

WWE SummerSlam 2015 Review

The biggest party of the summer comes to Brooklyn, New York!

WWE SummerSlam 2015
Brooklyn, New York 8/23/15

Interestingly enough, this four-hour show (with ten matches on the card) didn’t start off with a match, but with an in-ring promo from the host of SummerSlam: Jon Stewart (who recently retired from hosting The Daily Show on Comedy Central). He talks about how happy he is to be here, but then brings up the fact that he’s still upset that Brock Lesnar broke The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Undefeated Streak. Stewart says he wants to interview Lesnar, but he’ll need some backup, and brings out Mick Foley! However, there was a bit of a misundering, as Foley said he thought Stewart said “Rock”, as in The Rock, and not “Brock”, as in Brock Lesnar. Foley says that he’s never been to Suplex City, and that he doesn’t intend on going, telling Stewart that he’s on his own. An….interesting segment. I felt like this would have been a better fit for somewhere backstage, but I can’t complain too much, as I’m a big fan of Jon Stewart.

1.) Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: ***

The opening contest of the night is actually a rematch from Battleground (which opened that show as well). This was fine, but I thought their aforementioned match the previous month at Battleground was significantly. Plus, we’ve seen these two wrestle each other hundreds of times before. It’s not like we’re seeing anything new here. Sheamus would end up getting the win here.

2.) WWE Tag Team Titles - Fatal Four-Way Match - The Prime Time Players vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores (with El Torito) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods): ***½

The New Day cut one of their great heels promos before the match. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young had been WWE Tag Team Champions for about two months at this point. Now, they’re not only defending the titles against their rivals, The New Day, but against The Lucha Dragons & Los Matadores as well. I thought this was a pretty good match. In hindsight, this match should have opened the show. We’ve seen these four-way matches for the WWE Tag Team Titles numerous times over the last few years, but no matter what, you can always count on them to deliver, and they certainly did here. Some very good action throughout this match, and all four teams got a chance to shine. Eventually, following a blind tag, The New Day was able to come from out of nowhere to recapture the WWE Tag Team Titles. What followed was probably one of the funniest post-match celebrations I’ve seen, as Kofi Kingston flopped like a fish on the mat, and the trio eventually started dancing in the ring to thunderous cheers.

3.) Dolph Ziggler (with Lana) vs. Rusev (with Summer Rae): **1/2

So WWE actually went along with the dumb idea of splitting up Rusev & Lana. What followed was Lana pairing with Dolph Zigger, and Rusev attaching himself to Summer Rae. Now, since she’s with Ziggler, Lana is wearing with jean jacket & short skirt, while Summer Rae is dressing more like what Lana used to wear (remember the heights that Rusev & Lana reached going into WrestleMania? Yeah, that’s pretty much all gone). As far as the match goes, it was ok, for the most part. It could have been better if it had gotten a proper finish, but instead, we got a double count-out, which was met with a chorus of boos. Rusev & Ziggler continued to brawl, and then Lana & Summer Rae brawled in the ring. On commentary, JBL mentioned after the fact that he loved the fact that their issues weren’t resolved. What an idiotic comment to make, especially on a major PPV.

4.) Neville & Stephen Amell vs. King Barrett & Stardust: **3/4

So Stardust aka Cody Rhodes had been doing an angle where he was antagonized Stephen Amell, the star of the DC Comics TV Show Arrow (based on DC Comics superhero The Green Arrow) and a longtime wrestling fan. Eventually, this led to a confrontation on RAW where, after being shoved by Stardust, Amell jumped the barricade and attacked him in response! This resulted in a tag team match being booked for SummerSlam, with Amell teaming up with Neville to take on Stardust & King Barrett. I have to say, for what this was, I really enjoyed. It was honestly hard for me to not enjoy it, since I’m a big fan of Arrow (and all of the DC Comics TV Shows on the CW). For what this was, I think it actually turned out pretty well. Amell looked pretty solid in this match. It’s definitely one of the better in-ring performances by a celebrity I’ve ever seen. The match itself was nothing spectacular, but like I said, for what this was, it turned out about as well as it possibly could have. Neville would get the win for his team after hitting the Red Arrow on King Barrett.

5.) WWE Intercontinental Title - Triple Threat Match - Ryback vs. The Big Show vs. The Miz: **1/2

This match was originally scheduled to take place at Battleground, but it had to be called because he had (I believe) a staff infection. It was a relatively quick match (clocking in at just under six minutes), and it was fun for what it was. A completely inoffensive midcard match. Ryback would pin The Miz (who has just received a KO punch from The Big Show) to retain his title.

6.) Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper): ***1/2

Bray Wyatt picked up a win over Roman Reigns at Battleground thanks to interference from Luke Harper. Naturally, Dean Ambrose would step up to the challenge to help his buddy Roman Reigns, and here we have this tag team match. For the most part, I thought it was pretty good. It wasn’t a great tag team match by any means, but I thought all four guys worked hard, and it was just solid from start to finish. I known some people thought that Ambrose might have turned heel here, but that never happened. Reigns would get a measure of revenge on Wyatt, pinning him after a spear to win the match for his team.

7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title vs. WWE United States Title - Seth Rollins vs. John Cena: ****1/4

Both titles are on the line in this match. This was Cena’s first major WWE match since suffering a nasty broken nose in a United States Title defense against Seth Rollins on an episode of RAW at the end of July. It’s actually a little weird that this big title vs title match (which is basically WWE stealing ROH’s idea from two months prior, when they did Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal in a title vs. title match on PPV) is seventh on a ten match card, but whatever. Rollins is wearing all-white gear, while Cena comes out to the fans in Brooklyn singing “John Cena Sucks” along with his theme song. Now for the most part, I thought this match was awesome!! Rollins was fantastic in this match, and really showed what he could do in a big-time championship match that doesn’t involved shenanigans with The Authority. Cena, of course, almost always delivers on the big stage, and this time was no different. Great action from both guys throughout this match. It had the potential to be a MOTYC before the finish. There was a ref bump, which led to Jon Stewart coming out with a steel chair. It looked as though he was going to hit Rollins with it (Rollins & Stewart had been having a “feud”, which included Rollins popping up on The Daily Show twice and Stewart making an appearance on RAW before WrestleMania 31), but instead, he hits Cena with the chair! He runs out of the ring, allowing Rollins to give Cena a Pedigree on a Steel Chair to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Title, and to win the WWE United States Title. Again, I love Jon Stewart, but the finish did hurt the match a little bit. Still, that shouldn’t totally take away the incredible work both Cena & Rollins did in this match.

8.) Triple Threat Trios Elimination Match - Team B.A.D. (Sasha Banks, Naomi, & Tamina) vs. Team Bella (The Bella Twins & Alicia Fox) vs. Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte, & Becky Lynch): **¾

So the “Diva’s Revolution” saw Stephanie McMahon introduce three of NXT’s “Four Horsewomen” (Becky Lynch, Charlotte, & Sasha Banks) to the main roster, and she placed them into teams, pairing Becky Lynch & Charlotte with Paige as Team PCB (originally they were called “The Submission Sorority” but that was dropped when they realized that name was being used by a number of “adult websites” aka probably porn or something of the sort) and Sasha Banks with Naomi & Tamina as Team B.A.D. (which stands for Beautiful and Dangerous). This has led up to a Triple Threat Trios Elimination Match, which also includes Team Bella of The Bella Twins & Alicia Fox. Honestly, I didn’t think this match was as bad as some reviews I’ve seen have made it out to be. Yes, it was a giant cluster, but there were parts of it that I enjoyed, and as a whole, I thought it was fine and relatively inoffensive. Team B.A.D. would be eliminated first, and then Becky Lynch scored the fall on Brie Bella to win the match for Team PCB. Again, I didn’t think this was that bad.

9.) Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens: ***3/4

Kevin Owens was at a very interesting point in his WWE career coming into this show. He was just coming off losing his feud with John Cena (He had lost to Cena on two straight PPV’s after winning the first match at Elimination Chamber, and the night before at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, he failed to regain the NXT Title from Finn Balor in a Ladder Match. He needed a win to bounce back, and he did that here with a victory over Cesaro in a really good match. Honestly, I thought this match didn’t get the attention it probably deserved, because of it’s placement on such a long show, and the fact that other, more important stuff (important in WWE’s eyes, I mean) was going on throughout the show. Still, these two are both fantastic wrestlers, and they put on a really good (bordering on great) match here in the Semi-Main Event slot.

10.) Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker: ****

Of course, Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Undefeated Streak at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans. Then, well over a year later, The Undertaker (now with hair, and wearing gear that was similar to what he wore in 2004-2005), make a surprise appearance at Battleground, costing Lesnar the WWE World Title. Despite the fact that they had an awesome pull-apart brawl on an episode of RAW leading to SummerSlam, I was a little weary about this match going into it, especially since their match at WrestleMania XXX was incredibly disappointing (which wasn’t helped by the fact that The Undertaker got hurt relatively early in that match). However, both guys blew away everyone’s expectations, and had a legitimately great match!! I think that came as a surprise to everyone. I don’t think the consider was more so with The Undertaker than Lesnar, since people were questioning if his body would be able to go through the punishment of a Lesnar match after he got hurt in that fateful match in New Orleans. The Undertaker really showed here that was able to hang with Lesnar, and these two just put on a great match. They just beat the crap out of each other, and it was entertaining to watch. Of course, this match is going to be remember for the….very weird finish. Lesnar had The Undertaker in a submission hold, and then the bell rang. Heyman started celebrating, and it seemed that Lesnar had won, but the referee never called for the bell. Turns out, The Undertaker tapped out, but out of the view of the referee. The match continued, and The Undertaker kicked Lensar low (continuing to muddy the waters of his face/heel alignment), and made a defiant Lesnar pass out in the Hell’s Gate submission hold to “win” the match.

Overall: 8.0/10

This show felt like a bit of a rollercoaster (with a lot of ups & downs), but as a whole, I’d say this was a pretty good show. The show kept going back & forth between stuff was really good to great, and stuff that was….well….average. There really wasn’t anything on the show that was outright bad. The best match on the show was easily Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (despite the finish with Jon Stewart), and right behind that, in terms of match quality was surprisingly Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker (again, despite the finish). Other matches on the undercard that stood out as being pretty good included Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper, and the WWE Tag Team Title Fatal Four-Way Match. Stephen Amell’s appearance was also a personal highlight for me, since I’m a big fan of Arrow. Despite some of the obvious issues, this was a relatively good SummerSlam.