WWE SummerSlam 2015
by Samoa Rowe & Scrooge McSuck
August 23rd 2015
Part 1: SamoaRowe curtain jerks, with commentary by Scrooge McSuck (SM).
-From Brooklyn, NY. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL. The official Summerslam host, Jon Stewart, opens the show and quickly gets the “WHAT” treatment from the live audience. Stewart plans to confront Brock Lesnar in an interview and introduces his backup, none other than Mick Foley. Foley sheepishly admits that he thought Stewart was planning on interviewing “Rock, not Brock” as he missed the “B” consonant sound when they spoke on the phone. Foley wanted a fun role at Summerslam, not to get destroyed. Stewart tries to appeal to the hardcore legend who fell off the Hell in a Cell, and Foley reminds him that it’s been 17 years. WOW, if I didn’t feel old before. Anyways, this segment goes nowhere and eventually the opening PPV package takes over.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
This feud lumbers on another month, I’m not sure even the writers remember what their beef is about. Sheamus immediately grabs a microphone and argues that he doesn’t look stupid and tells fans to “respect the ‘hawk.” Orton cuts him off and controls the action early on. Sheamus turns it around, hitting a pair of Irish backbreakers. CUE THE CHINLOCK! Orton fires back with uppercuts while the fans chant “How you doin’.” Sheamus reapplies the chinlock while an “Ole” chant breaks out. Orton escapes and delivers some clotheslines on his way to hitting his backbreaker. Orton follows with an exploder suplex over the ropes. Sheamus gets his hair ruffled so he fires back with a power slam. Orton escapes the cloverleaf and nails a power slam for 2. Draping DDT by Orton and the fans get behind him with “RKO” chants. Sheamus foolishly slingshots himself into the RKO but has the good sense to roll out of the ring to avoid a cover. Sheamus avoids the Punt of Death and hits White Noise for a near fall. There’s a loud “You look stupid” chant as Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick. Sheamus blocks the RKO and hits a pair of Brogue Kicks for the surprising clean win at 12:12. Hard match to rate as I’m tired of this feud, but they worked hard to overcome an initially cynical crowd, **¾.
SM: I was fairly surprised this was chosen as the opener. Good match, just tired of the combination. ***
-The New Day cut a routinely awesome promo on their way to the ring about how Brooklyn is dirty and knows nothing about hip hop. They serenade the fans in the ring (complete with kazoos) and pretty much turn themselves babyface with their over-the-top singing. The fans join them in the “New Day Rocks” chant.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
The New Day get cute and attempt to pin themselves to win the match. I might have applauded a finish that ludicrous, but hey, Cody Rhodes once defeated himself to win the tag titles, so all bets are off. Sin Cara monkey flips Kalisto into a cross body for a good near fall on Kofi. Kalisto nails a back handspring kick on Big E. Kalisto outmaneuvers Young as well, but gets tagged out by Kofi. Young gets caught in New Day territory for a heat sequence. Los Matadores, playing subtle heels tonight, help keep the pressure on Young. Xavier is hilarious at ringside, shouting nonsense like “We’re putting a beating on this man in a very entertaining way!” Titus O’Neil gets a hot tag and looks awesome cleaning house, tossing around his smaller opponents with apparent ease. Fernando cuts Titus off with a flying cross body. Sin Cara goes for a suicide dive on Fernando, but Fernando botches an enziguri counter in a scary botch. Woods interferes and catches El Torito in a dive and face plants him on the floor. The match breaks down and Big E spears Young off the apron. A tower of doom spot almost doesn’t materialize but Titus saves it. Titus boots down a Matador, but Kofi steals the pinfall for the titles at 11:19. Some unfortunate botches drag this otherwise exciting spot-fest down to around **½.
The Primetime Players © (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E, with Xavier Woods) vs. Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) vs. Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego, with El Torito)
Winners and new WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day
SM: The poor Lucha Dragons. Felt like every spot they had to shine they just botched, but New Day rules so huzzah. **3/4
-Jon Stewart rubs elbows with Neville and Stephen Amell when the lights suddenly go out. Undertaker just waltzes by as the room fills with smoke. What a crazy world we live in.
Dolph Ziggler (with Lana) vs. Rusev (with Summer Rae)
Man, speaking of feuds I’m completely sick of… this program hasn’t helped anyone involved, except maybe Summer, who’d previously been doing a whole lot of nothing. Ziggler fires the first shot with a head butt. Ziggler’s hot start ends with a missed splash into the corner, allowing Rusev to set the pace. CUE THE BEAR HUG! Dolph escapes only to eat a swinging uranage. Ziggler counters a press slam into a DDT. Dolph mounts a comeback, but Rusev cuts him off with a spin heel kick. Dolph catches Rusev off guard with a top rope face buster. Rusev manages a Saito suplex and back senton for a 2 count. Ziggler bounces back with his patented sleeper and the Fame-asser gets a near fall. Rusev swats Dolph down and delivers a super-kick. Rusev locks on the Accolade but lets go due to Lana slapping Summer Rae off her feet. Rusev drags Ziggler to the floor, distracting Lana from a Summer ambush. Dolph capitalizes with a super-kick, leaving Rusev down and out. They both get counted out at about 11:20, though it looked like Ziggler was supposed to get back into the ring in time. As boring as I find this storyline, the match itself was actually very good. Rusev and Ziggler have a nice chemistry together, so there’s a silver lining to be found, **¾.
No Contest via Double Count-out
SM: The storyline as a whole soured my expectations, but it was OK for what they brought: a non-finish on the undercard of a bloated show. **
The Cosmic Kings (Stardust and King Barrett) vs. The Arrows (Neville and Stephen Amell)
As you’d expect, Neville starts for his team, overwhelming Barrett with a hurricanrana. Stardust tries to intimidate by spring boarding into the ring and demands that Amell tag in. Amell obliges and gets even higher with a springboard entrance. Amell surprises by countering with a hip toss. Amell leap frogs Barrett but gets caught with a super kick to the gut. Stardust is happy to tag in to wear Amell down. Amell is perfectly capable of selling a beat down, even taking bumps like a Stardust suplex. Amell surprises with an enziguri and Neville gets the hot tag. Barrett eats the Red Arrow, but Stardust makes a save. Neville dumps the Cosmic Kings to the floor, setting up a flying cross body from Amell! Neville finishes off Barrett with the Red Arrow at 7:33. Perfectly good celebrity spectacle match, fitting for a place on a Summerslam undercard, **.
Winners: Neville and Stephen Amell
SM: Amell's performance was the make or break aspect, and he more than delivered. **
-Like at Takeover, the Tough Enough geeks are enjoying a first row experience.
Bell rings and Miz immediately retreats to let the monsters wear each other out. Ryback chases Miz right into Big Show for a double suplex. Show climbs the second rope for a freaking rolling senton! Show splashes both opponents in opposite corners, but Ryback cuts him off with a shoulder block. Ryback lands a frog splash on Miz, but Show choke slams him onto Miz as well. Ryback ducks the KO punch and spinebusters Big Show into place for the Meat Hook. Show blocks, so Ryback nails Shell Shock instead! Miz sneaks in for the Skull Crushing Finale for a damn convincing near fall on Ryback! Miz repeatedly tries to pin both opponents to no avail. Ryback focuses on Miz but eats Show’s KO punch for another serious near fall from Miz. KO Punch on Miz, and Ryback clotheslines Show out to gain the convenient pinfall on Miz at 5:31. Match was nonstop action and a lot of fun. Miz playing the opportunistic sleazebag made for a good time, **½.
Ryback © vs. Big Show vs. The Miz
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Ryback
SM: As good as you could hope for, but we're 6 matches deep and nothing has stood out from the crowd. **1/2
-Jon Stewart tries to get past Paul Heyman for a word with Brock Lesnar. Stewart says that wrestling fans weren’t happy when Undertaker’s streak ended, putting Heyman on the spot for being so proud of Lesnar’s accomplishment. When asked to explain himself, Paul just resumes singing his Lesnar tribute song and suggests Stewart is here because David Letterman was unavailable. Cute.
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper) vs. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
Hot start for Reigns and Ambrose as they clear the Wyatts out for an Ambrose suicide dive. They brawl around the ring in rather awesome fashion, with Ambrose sprinting off the announce tables for a flying clothesline on Bray. Back to the ring, Harper falls victim to quick tags and fast clotheslines. The hot streak ends when Bray slams Roman onto the ring frame with an uranage. Ambrose goes for a suicide dive, but gets shoved off into Harper’s big boot and Bray’s lariat. Dean settles in as the face in peril. Ambrose seems dead on his feet while fans chant “Roman’s sleeping.” Ambrose nails his patented clothesline off the ropes and Roman wakes up for the hot tag (to mostly boos). Reigns catches Harper with a pair of suplexes while the crowd continues to turn on him. Bray distracts, allowing Harper to nail a sit-out power bomb for 2. The Wyatts attempt a spiked piledriver, but Reigns fights back with Superman punches. Reigns hoists Bray up for the Doomsday Device! Harper eats a double team power bomb. Dean fends Bray off with Dirty Deeds and Roman finishes with the spear at 10:53. Nicely paced match that maintained its intensity throughout, ***.
Winners: Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
SM: Non-stop action, didn't even feel like it was only 11-minutes. The Wyatt/Shield dynamic continues to thrive. ***1/4
WWE World Heavyweight Championship/United States Championship:
Rollins is debuting new white gear for this big occasion. A tentative start quickly leads to Rollins dishing out a burst of quick offense. Cena slows it down with a headlock. Fans chant “Cena Sucks” to the New Day tune, as Rollins fights back with a neck breaker and suicide dive. I can’t help but notice that Seth is wrestling like a total babyface as he nails a flying somersault senton. Cena starts his Five Moves sequence, but Seth cuts him off with neck breakers. They trade counters until Cena botches the Springboard Stunner yet again. Seth’s running SSP gets a 2 count. Seth traps Cena in a tree of woe for a double stomp to the face! Awesome spot, but Cena kind of ruins it by popping up for the AA. Cena is extra protective of his face in a slugfest and delivers a face buster. Cena’s flying leg drop connects but Seth blocks a top rope AA, slipping in his counter but still managing a buckle bomb. Frog splash by Rollins, but Cena pops up into AA position. Seth counters into an AA of his own! Seth misses the Phoenix Splash and gets trapped in an STF. Cena transitions to a Figure Four, looking to tie Ric Flair’s record using the Nature Boy’s move! Rollins reverses and forces a rope break. Rollins catches Cena in a superplex into power bomb for a good near fall. The Phoenix Splash misses again, and Cena wipes out the referee while delivering the AA. Cena gets a visual pinfall, but Rollins revives himself with a leaping knee strike to the previously broken nose. Jon Stewart runs in with a chair, apparently ready for payback on Seth. Cena takes too long to stand up, so Stewart gives away the swerve prematurely, but then cracks the chair over Cena! Rollins finishes with the Pedigree on the chair at 19:20! Tremendous match with great crowd heat , only loses points for a couple sloppy moments and a lame finish, ****.
Seth Rollins (WWE Champion) vs. John Cena (U.S. Champion)
Winner and unified WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion: Seth Rollins
SM: Seth Rollins probably gave the performance of the night, but that finish was something to scratch your head at. I guess it got them pub on real networks, so there's that. ****1/4
Part 2: Scrooge McSuck enters the arena, with digressions by SamoaRowe (SR).
Three-Team Elimination Match:
(Paige, Charlotte, Becky Lynch vs. Nikki & Brie Bella & Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks, Naomi, Tamina)
Team PCB vs. Team Bella vs. Team B.A.D.:
It's a revolution! A revolution comprised entirely of meaningless matches, tire-spinning direction, and shades of grey without a hint of reasoning why we should be cheering or booing any of these nine women. If you want the crowd invested, why not open the show with this instead? Sure, the crowd didn't die for it, but following that Championship match, it's an uphill battle regardless. Becky Lynch plays the first face(?)-in-peril, with Team B.A.D. doing most of the work. Correction, more like Naomi and Tamina, since Sasha appears to be background noise after an outstanding performance at Takeover: Brooklyn. We casually move into a series of high spots, with Sasha and Brie both flubbing their turns. Back in the ring, Brie nails Tamina with the X-Factor to eliminate Team B.A.D. We follow that with another long heat sequence, this time with Paige taking all of the punishment. Charlotte got the hot tag and went for the Figure-Eight (almost blowing the leg crossing), but it's broken up. Heck breaks loose, Brie misses a missile dropkick, and Becky finishes with the Bexplex at 14:40. ** I must've been riding a contact high from the previous match, as my original rating was considerably higher. This was just your standard 6-person tag with little reason to care.
SR: It kills me how much I wanted to enjoy this match, but the dead weight just dragged this one down. Another round of the divas fighting over nothing, other than some vague revolution that hasn't been defined. I can't believe Naomi, Alicia Fox, Tamina, and the Bellas get to be a part of this while Emma and Natalya are twiddling their thumbs somewhere else. **, which I suppose is an improvement over the quality of main roster divas historically.
Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens:
Welcome to the death slot. I'm sure there's a Kevin Dunn Conspiracy Theory™ out there from a handful of people with too much time on their hands. Personally, with how bloated the show has been, I would've pulled a cop-out booking move and not have the match happen because of something like Owens attacking Cesaro before he gets in the ring, Powerbombs him onto the apron, and declares the match a victory for himself via forfeit. Something to get us to the finale. Instead we get a needlessly long midcard match with two guys I highly enjoy, but for burn-out reasons, couldn't get too excited about for the 15-minutes they were out there. Lots of back-and-forth, smash mouth action. Cesaro's giant swing is always impressive, especially on a ticker guy like Owens. He had him in the Sharpshooter, and ever since tapping to Cena, you can never-say-never with Owens tapping, but he thankfully made it to the ropes. Owens ended up crotching Cesaro across the turnbuckle, took him down with the fisherman buster, and finished with the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the squeaky-clean pinfall at 14:12. **3/4 Lacked crowd heat for the work they put on, and the ho-hum crowd reception, despite their hard work, just left me feeling kind of drained and eagerly anticipating the Main Event.
SR: These guys were saved for this death slot just in case the show was running long and something had to be cut. They worked really hard, but the crowd was tired, and personally I was tired just sitting on my couch. It's a tad frustrating that all their hard work evens out to just a *** outing this time, when they've had better matches on normal TV.
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker:
With the exception of Undertaker repeatedly relying on low-blows, I guess this is a face-vs-face encounter. For once, someone interrupts Undertaker's obnoxiously long entrance. I'm not going to lie... my bull-crap finish meter was already flashing, and I was convinced with a pre-bell attack, that maybe they would con their way out of having the match, but Undertaker managed to regroup and knock Lesnar back so that the match could begin proper. Comparing this to their Mania XXX match is like night-and-day. The crowd is way into it and the action feels cohesive. I was sure we wouldn't see much of Broick throwing Taker around, but he ended up taking 5 pretty good looking suplexes. They ended up on the floor, with Taker taking a brutal F5 on top of the Spanish Announcers Table. Again, my senses tingled and I felt like we were going somewhere with an inconclusive finish, but Taker made it back in before the 10 count. They did the "I'm going to kill you/you're gonna' have to" spot with Taker hitting a sweet Choke-Slam for two. Tombstone for a near fall, and we get the bizarre highlight of the night: Lesnar sitting up, laughing maniacally, and Taker doing the same to mock Lesnar. Brock eventually got the kimura locked in securely... then suddenly the bell rings? Referee Charles Robinson dismisses the bell and yells long enough for Taker to recover and low-blow Brock from behind. He slaps on Hells Gate, and Brock passes out, but not before giving Taker a middle finger salute. Time of the fall around 19-minutes. The replay shows us that the time keeper rang the bell because Undertaker actually tapped, but the referee was out of position to see it. SHENANIGANS, but at least it was smartly done. ***1/2 Not a classic encounter, but they went out there and beat the shit out of each other to give the audience its money's worth.
SR: I enjoyed this one quite a bit. This was more lively than I was expecting and featured a lot of entertaining character moments (most notably, Lesnar flipping Taker a "defiant gesture" before passing out). The finish didn't sit well with me at first, but after having a few days to digest it, I don't mind it whatsoever. I like the idea that Undertaker knows damn well that he had tapped out and then having to make a compromise and use a low blow to ensure his official victory. I also like that Undertaker and Lesnar proved they're capable of having a good match together which leaves me feeling more positive about a potential rubber match at Wrestlemania in Dallas, ***3/4.
With a 4-hour, 10-match card featuring nothing below 2-star territory, it would seem unfair to be a bit negative. SummerSlam was a good show, don't get me wrong, but good enough to hold interest for 4-hours? It could've stood from fat trimming or a more balanced card to break up the monotony of every match feeling like it was the same. It wasn't until Rollins/Cena where I finally felt like this was the biggest PPV of the Summer, and not just another show. Most of the undercard finishes were good, Taker/Lesnar was great, and Cena/Rollins was a bit lame. Mild recommendation, but overall disappointing considering the hype.
SR: What Scrooge said. Also, I think Summerslam following Takeover: Brooklyn both hurt and helped my enjoyment of it. On one hand, Takeover felt like such a breezy pleasure to watch that the Summerslam marathon seemed to drag on for eternity. However, the logical booking and satisfying finishes at Takeover made me feel less angry about the f*ck finishes we got at Summerslam. I don't know, it's late, I'm tired, I hear wolves, and I'm ready to move on. Thumbs Up, in spite of itself.
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