I can’t tell if its my state of bewilderment after watching the main event of Summerslam 2015 or the sixth cup of coffee in as many hours that’s making me write this at 5am, but here we are. If this was your first time watching WWE, you could be forgiven for wanting to turn off the television and take a nap because this was a real brain-tickler from start to finish.
Take the opening sequence, for example. Where marquee PPVs usually open up with something bombastic and an evident huge waste of fucking money, this year’s Summerslam opened up with two middle-aged men flatlining their way through an awkward script. Mick Foley and Jon Stewart, who was also the host of the event because media attention, should have great chemistry but it just came across as contrived and…weird.
Nevermind, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Randy Orton and Sheamus slogged their way through a match which was difficult to be interested in – this would have been more befitting of Raw. Sheamus picked up the win and incidentally didn’t cash in later on in the night, despite what the internet has been whispering in your ear leading up to it.
Then the confusion started in earnest. Los Matadores vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players sounds puzzling enough at the best of times and isn’t helped by the strange “hot-tag” system wherein only two teams can be in the ring at a time. The New Day picked up the win and the titles despite nobody really knowing who was tagged in at the time. On another note, Los Matadores should really be put to pastures new to freshen up the tag division – they had done nothing to warrant their place whatsoever. Well, if you count looking like they should be taking your orders in a themed restaurant an achievement, then yeah.
Next up was Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler. Double count out. Let’s move on and away from whatever the fuck that was.
If you like WWE because it’s a fantastical escape from reality, Stephen Amell and Neville vs. Stardust and King Barrett was perfect. A television actor outperformed all of this year’s Tough Enough contestants with some impressive spots and ended up prevailing after Neville landed the Red Arrow on King Barrett. Definitely one of the better celebrity appearances in the WWE’s weird history.
WWE’s version of Two And a Half Men hopefully came to an end when Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz reached its conclusion as The Big Guy came out victorious. Although short and sweet, this feud is one of the most pissbrained and lazy to come out of the company in a while, so here’s hoping that Ryback moves on to something meatier soon. Maybe Bray Wyatt can finally have a shot at some gold?
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose happened. Reigns disappeared for a long time, confirming the belief that he can’t wrestle a whole match without having a nap for most of it. As a spectacle, this was fine but essentially a hugely diluted version The Shield vs the Wyatt Family from Elimination Chamber 2014. Reigns and Ambrose prevailed in an instantly forgettable match that really should have had an interesting stipulation.
Now, here’s where things became a little bit mystifying. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena in a title vs title match was a recipe for success that was cooked into a delicious two course meal with a big bowl of Shredded Whats for dessert. Quite why Jon Stewart, a retired political broadcaster, was involved in the finish and ended up turning heel to give Rollins the United States Championship (and probably condemn it at the same time) is nobody’s business but the headline writers tomorrow. If Stewart did it to preserve Flair’s iconic title record, then good on him. Still felt like WCW circa 2000, though.
The much touted #DivaRevolution (the hashtag is mandatory or else it’s all MEANINGLESS) came to a head at SummerSlam with Team B.A.D. vs. Team Bella vs. PCB in an elimination tag match. It was quite a weird move for Creative to sing the praises of these new female wrestlers and then have them team up in unconvincing fashion, meaning this match gave very little chance for individuals to shine. Although far better than most women’s matches on the main roster of late, it was a long way off the precedent set by NXT. PCB picked up the win here.
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens was probably the strongest match on the card overall as the two wrestlers involved are simply fantastic workers. If the internet would champion anyone for the main event scene, it would probably be these two as they lived up to their reputations with fine chemistry and spots. Owens managed to snag a much-needed win after a string of losses of late; here’s hoping we get to to see these guys at the very top of the card sometime soon.
Right. This next match is what made me decide to write 1000 words with just as many cobwebs in my brain. Was this PPV dedicated to Dusty Rhodes? Did his ghost speak to Vince whilst he was taking a shit and tell him to involve the screwiest finish to a match ever? It made absolutely no sense and left a bad impression on what was a decent event overall.
Hyped to the moon and back, Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker was a rematch 15 months in the making after Lesnar had conquered Undertaker’s undefeated Wrestlemania streak and went about bragging about like a teenager who’s just lost his virginity. The match itself was brilliantly worked with both men looking like they wanted to bury the other, although Taker did start gassing quite hard near its end. The way it concluded still has me scratching my head.
With Undertaker trapped in Lesnar’s kimura lock, the bell suddenly rang by the timekeeper to declare the end of the match. The referee protesting the call by someone who has no authority to do so left the audience completely bemused and sucked all the atmosphere out of the arena, which meant that Taker delivering another low blow and rendering Brock Lesnar unconscious with Hell’s Gate was met with more raised eyebrows than excitement. Replays showed that the Undertaker had previously tapped out to Lesnar’s lock and oh why did they do this. With the Undertaker making a quick exit, Paul Heyman acted and declared his client, Lesnar, the winner instead, clearly setting up a “rubber” match.
If you’re going to try and squeeze a third match out of this rivalry, don’t be so cynical about it. We get enough screwy finishes on Raw and Smackdown, making us pay for a small lift of the skirt is an unnecessary tease.