WWE staged a solid Summer Slam Sunday night.
The company’s annual summer classic has no gimmick (like Royal Rumble or Survivor Series), so instead it has to rely on putting on a good show. Effectively, it is WrestleMania in August, with way less hype and a much smaller arena. This seems to work out, since Summer Slam as of late has been much better than, say, Survivor Series (where the classic 5-on-5 Survivor Series match hasn’t generated any interest for years).
In this case, I found stuff to enjoy from every match, which is a lot more than I could say for the Battleground pay per view last month.
Rather than write a recap, I figured I’d write my thoughts as the show played out before my eyes. Recaps can be great, but I think the reader can miss the spirit of the show, or at least the little things that make the show more fun. This also is a good opportunity to highlight the fun stuff that gets lost in the recap shuffle (or just to highlight thoughts as they come to the writer).
- Hogan comes out. Good choice to hype the crowd. First thing’s first, he’s a salesman. He spent his entire time putting over the WWE Network and its price. This was much to the delight of the people in the audience holding up $9.99 signs.
- A Miz match first makes sense, given his Hollywood gimmick. At this point, there’s no reason to “hate” Miz. He’s a capable ring performer, good on the mic and is good at getting heat. Now, they just need to stop giving him face turns when the audience gets tired.
- There’s a German announcers table? Was das beste fur unternehmen.
- Dolph Ziggler chants. Generally a good thing. New IC champion? Also very good, and gets a good pop.
- Paige and AJ? Pretty cool. Still no interest for women’s wrestling, but you have to have it.
- So, that’s two title changes in a row? “I’m still your friend.”
- Sting commercial (for video game)! Sting mask in audience! Where’s Sting?
- Does a flag match seem unnecessarily 1980s for anyone? I mean, I like Rocky IV as much as the next guy, but it seems like an outdated concept. Then again, Vladmir Putin is a little outdated himself. Like we need another cartoonish Russian/Eastern European dictator in 2014. Still, can’t go wrong with the classics.
- Wow, Swagger’s t-shirt adds another to the list of WWE t-shirts that have good concepts but fail big time in execution.
- Dutch Mantell is a legend, but Lana is more fun to watch.
- I don’t want to be cynical (or, worse, a mark), but I don’t know if I’d necessarily want Rusev to go over Swagger at Summer Slam under these conditions. Again, if you’re going to go for the flag match, the implications are going to come with it. At Summer Slam, Swagger goes over. At Battleground/Vengeance/Over the Limit, Rusev goes over.
- Duck calls and NASCAR (sigh). Well, at least Lawler likes drinking Diet Mountain Dew.
- The only reason to hold lumberjack matches is to underhandedly fit more guys on the card. In this case, it seems that either the recent talent cuts left WWE with very few lumberjacks or someone forgot to call NXT headquarters for assistance.
- Bill Simmons needs a shave.
- Finally, fun with lumberjacks. “The lumberjacks haven’t done their job! What are they doing?” This was a lot more fun than those lumberjack matches from SmackDown. Ambrose vs. Rollins makes a difference.”This is awesome” chants to boot.
- Whenever Chris Jericho makes his annual comeback, just assume he will lose. He’s got a big ego, but he knows was das beste fur unternehmen. He loves putting newer guys over and making them look great in the process. Well, it didn’t work out so well for Fandango (who beat Jericho at WrestleMania 29) in the longer run. Jericho beat Ziggler at Summer Slam two years ago, but lost the next night on Raw in a retirement match (Ziggler has had his share of struggles since then, too).
- If we can’t have the Undertaker, I think its almost safe to say Bray Wyatt can take his role. At least in terms of having a great entrance. He gets a good pop and the cell phones come out.
- Slam City on Hulu. A second rate program on a second rate streaming service.
- Dueling chants. “Let’s go Wyatt; Y2J!” Always a good sign for both guys when there are dueling positive chants.
- “I cannot die because I am already dead!” Theatrics + Rotunda eyes = crazy delicious. WWE, please don’t screw up or bury Wyatt in the near (or far) future. He’s a real winner.
- Stephanie McMahon wrestles for the first time in 10 years. That adds something. Plus, this match is a good reminder that Daniel Bryan still exists.
- How does Daniel Bryan watch his wife’s major wrestling match? “I guarantee you he’s watching it on the WWE Network.”
- Heel turn! Now, the audience has to pay attention, since the divas are faces or heels for one match depending on what the storyline demands. Not so easy when Nikki is a heel and Brie is a face.
- Was there really any demand for Sin City 2?
- I thought Bill DeMott was fired (?)
- Orton still is a bit stale, but I can’t really blame him. He’s doing all of the “right” things, they just aren’t really connecting. I’d like him to go back to being the cocky “Legend Killer” or back to being a total psycho like when he first became “the Viper.” The methodical thing comes across as boring.
- Good call on Reigns getting the win. I don’t like him as much as Ambrose (or even Rollins), but he’s got the look, size and heritage to make it huge. Plus, the crowd got hotter near the end when he started taking over a bit more and the action happened more quickly. “The Roman Empire has begun.”
- Summer Slam moving to New York (and New Jersey) next year? A change is nice. The show has been in LA since 2009. I like the idea of a show having a home base in theory, but if we are going to bill Summer Slam as the biggest show of the summer, I’d like to see it travel around more. And, it would be fun as an outdoor show, to emphasize the summer aspect. It never will get as much attention as WrestleMania, so football stadiums are out of the question. But, baseball stadiums … that’s the way to go. They are smaller, and you really can go for the “summer” feeling.
- More WWE Network advertising…
- Sure, Brock Lesnar is “bad” on the mic, but that just makes him more hate-able when he does cut a promo (those video interviews are great for him). Plus, being “bad” on the mic means we get to see more Paul Heyman, and that’s not a bad thing; that’s a good thing.
- On the other hand, John Cena is “good” on the mic, but he does not get a chance to show it off too much. Humble Cena, Even-handed Cena and Funny for the Kids Cena all blow. Vicious Semi-Rapping Cena is great, yet we rarely see him. We need him with blood on his teeth demanding a fight, like when he first fought Lesnar in 2012.
- #brockvscena, #rockvscena, #onceinalifetime, #fourtimesayear.
- I can’t say I’ve ever had a Jimmy Johns sandwich. I doubt Mr. Lesnar has had one either.
- This was a pretty good match. Seemed a bit short, but it was nice and hard-hitting. Lesnar looked great, and he allegedly hit Cena with 16 suplexes. I would have liked it to be vicious like Brock vs. Cena from Extreme Rules 2012. It also was rare to see Cena get so little offense. He got plenty, but it’s Cena we’re talking about, so …
- Brock Lesnar as champion was das beste fur unternehmen? Well, he’s had the appearance of being more of a full-time guy, and we need that for a champion. I love the Rock, but his title run in 2013 was too calculated and he only was on TV every three weeks. Lesnar brings a lot of attention to WWE. However, I doubt Lesnar will be a long-term champion. I’d say the longest he carries it is Survivor Series. That particular pay per view would be a good time for him to drop it, since it is one of the “big four.”
- As long as Lesnar carries the belt(s), Seth Rollins will not cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. I just don’t see it.
- Three title changes and a heel turn? I’d say that qualifies as eventful.