One night after NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, the main WWE roster gets it’s turn to shine in the same building. For the first time ever, Summerslam runs for four hours, with a massive TEN matches, including the first meeting of Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker since Wrestlemania XXX, and a multi-title main event between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins versus the United States Champion Josh Cena. Also on the card is a one night only appearance from Stephen Amell (from TV’s Arrow) and a long-time dream match between Kevin Owens and Cesaro (meaning in the WWE, of course).
+ Seth Rollins (c) vs John Cena (c) (WWE World Heavyweight Championship and United States Championship): With a very anti-Cena crowd making themselves heard, Rollins/Cena put on a hell of a match, as they have done a few times in the past. Both competitors pulled out a few new moves, and there were several very well executed close calls and false finishes. With an ending which will leave you screaming (in anger or joy is up to you), this is definitely going to be an ongoing feud
+ Kevin Owens vs Cesaro: This was the technical match of the night, hands down. Though it didn’t have quite the spectacle of either of the main event matches, these two have history from previous wrestling promotions, and this match did not disappoint. Many, many hard hits made for an incredibly rough affair, and I certainly hope these two will get into a few more scrapes before too long
+ Neville/Stephen Amell vs Stardust/Cosmic King Barrett: The hype videos for this feud, and the involvement of Stephen Amell over both Twitter and WWE television has been fantastic from beginning to end. Stardust (aka Cody Rhodes) is able to turn anything he does into gold, and add in Neville and Barrett and you are set with the best long-running story currently in the WWE. I guess the most interesting part of this match was Stephen Amell, and he was passable. Obviously he’d have had limited training, but that really only served to highlight that he was out of his league against the trained wrestlers. Interesting that Stardust’s attire was more Ms Marvel than anything DC.
+ The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) (c) vs The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingstone ) w/ Xavier Woods vs Los Matadores w/ El Torito vs The Lucha Dragons (Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships): this match was… a really enjoyable clusterfuck. Eight competitors, with another two on the outside running interference, and the ability to tag in anyone meant it was full of in-universe foolish decisions. An elimination stipulation would have benefited this match greatly.
+ Randy Orton vs Sheamus: Sheamus is so indescribably more enjoyable when he is playing the asshole, and he does it so well lately that it makes me want to see him get beaten (which I suppose is the entire point). The match was relatively short, but that just meant there was no wasted motions. Not going to be on any match of the year lists, but it was good for what it was
+ Team B.A.D (Naomi, Tamina & Sasha Banks) vs Team Bella (Nikki and Brie Bella & Alicia Fox) vs The Submission Sorority (Paige, Charlotte & Becky Lynch) (Triple Threat Tag Team Elimination): every Diva in this match, aside from Brie Bella, is passable in the ring, so this was always going to be the above average match it turned out to be. I was unaware this was a one-elimination-only match, I thought every divas from each team had to be eliminated. A very out of nowhere finish was surprising, but I think the lack of build up hampered it slightly. Still, very much worth seeing
– Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker: The hype was real. The match was good. The moments were tense and brutal. But the ending was a major letdown. Don’t let that sentence fool you into anything – there was a winner, and there was a theme song played for that winner. It was just a dodgy, dodgy way for it to happen
– Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose vs The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper): these four, as part of the Shield and the full Wyatt Family have had a handful of epic matches in the past, but it would be unfair to expect the same without Seth Rollins and Erick Rowan, respectively. Bray Wyatt has been severely underutilized in his time in the WWE, as he has one of the freshest, most versatile characters, and Harper is probably the best big guy at the moment. Ambrose has been above average, but not great in the ring, but has managed to get himself to huge popularity through his promos and mannerisms. Reigns is still very lacking in terms of timing, and he seemed to just repeat the same few moves for the whole match. This match was fast paced and physical, but ultimately let down by Roman Reigns
– Rusev w/ Summer Rae vs Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana: It boggles my mind that the WWE has the audience raucously chanting ‘we want Lana’ every time she is mentioned or appears, and instead of making it Lana vs Summer Rae, or at LEAST a mixed-tag match, they relegate Lana to the manager role. This entire Rusev/Lana storyline has done nothing positive for either person, and it is dragging Ziggler down with it. I hope this is the end of this entire bullshit story. Match was nothing special, and the stupid ending made the whole thing almost moot anyway
– Ryback (c) vs The Miz vs Big Show (Triple Threat Intercontinental Championship): by the grace of each and every almighty god above, I cannot think of a combination of wrestlers that I would hate to see any more than these three in this exact situation. I cannot stand Big Show, no matter what; I find Ryback literally the worst big man in the WWE right now; and the Miz is, well, The Miz, so he will never win anyone’s popularity contest. This match went exactly as anyone with a brain would think it did, which is far and away the worst way for it to go. Go out of your way to NOT watch this match
> John Stewart was the celebrity guest ‘host’ of Summerslam, and he brought out an unexpected but very welcome guest to start the show. Stewart’s few segments were never continuously well done, and he never stood out like a sore thumb as so many other celebrity guests do.
> The crowd was loud and wild throughout the whole event, but much like the NXT Takeover crowd from the previous night, they sometimes went off track to chant for either themselves or other situations. Generally, they made their opinions known without being as arrogant as the NXT crowd, which was a refreshing change.
Should you watch this event: Based solely on the positive/negative count above, it’s 60/40 in favour of the positives. The event was overall enjoyable, but in the current climate of endless rematches, it can be very safely predicted many of these matches will happen again in the comings weeks, which unfortunately plants this event in the ‘good’ and not ‘great’ category. Go out of your way to see Rollins/Cena, and Owens/Cesaro (particularly if you’ve seen their previous matches in other promotions). Stephen Amell’s involvement is definitely worth at least watching on Youtube. At four hours, it is just too difficult to recommend sitting through the whole thing.