It was a big four days as WWE descended on Brooklyn for the Biggest Party of the Summer. There were title changes and shocks aplenty, but what did we think of Summerslam weekend?
TakeOver: Brooklyn III happened on Saturday. So did Summerslam happened on Sunday night. Then we had Monday Night Raw, and Smackdown Live on Tuesday – followed by 205 Live. And then NXT had its TakeOver follow-up episode on Wednesday night. That adds up to 16 hours of wrestling from the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, and I watched every last second of it. But supposing you actually have a social life or friends, what did you miss? I’m being joined by fellow Bubblegummers “Hollywood” Kev Hearne and “Too Smooth” Soham Deb to bring you the very best, and very worst, of the whole Summerslam weekend.
Best Match of the Weekend
James – Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns v Samoa Joe v Braun Strowman
There was real star power in this match, and four huge guys just beat the snot out of each other. There’s not really much to add, it was a cracking match that never slowed down, everyone looked great, and we are finally getting the Braun Strowman v Brock Lesnar match we’ve been teased with for months.
Soham- Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns v Samoa Joe v Braun Strowman
“These are huge men” said Michael Cole describing the participants in this match. For me this was the match of the night. People can say what they want about Brock Lesnar but whenever he fights it feels like a big deal. Braun and Roman came in to Summerslam following their fantastic Ambulance Match at Great Balls of Fire (still a ppv name) and Joe finally found some momentum after a good showing against Brock. The match had some great spots and it goes to show that WWE can still book great matches if they really put their mind to it.
Kev – Asuka v Ember Moon
This was one of the matches that I was looking forward to the most coming into the weekend, and it lived up to my expectations. They threw everything at each other, I was completely sold on how much each of them needed to win, and the crowd ate up everything they did. Asuka was as impressive as ever, but it was a star-making performance from Ember Moon, validated by the ovation she got from the Brooklyn crowd aftwewards. The result also took me by surprise.
Worst Match of the Weekend
Kev – Big Cass v The Big Show
Not a good match at all, and had no business being on the main card, when the likes of the Usos and the New Day have had a series of excellent matches and were relegated to the pre show. There was no point in Enzo being in the shark cage if there was never going to be any payoff. Cass has really been hurt by the breakup of his partnership with Enzo and I don’t think WWE know what they’re doing with him. Hopefully they will have a fresh plan for him when he returns from his injury.
James – Big Cass v The Big Show.
I had very low expectations… and it was even worse. I don’t even know why Enzo was in a cage. If anything, The Big Show is the one who has been interfering in the matches, not Enzo. Show did his best, but this felt like a it would be something that belongs in the middle hour of Raw when they are just killing time. Working a body part is never going to be Big Cass’ strength, so it made his offense tediously dull. Then the match stops for a few minutes while Enzo greases himself up and slithers out of the cage… only to get kicked in the face straight away.
Soham – Jason Jordan and The Hardy Boyz v Miz and the Miztourage
We saw the exact same match on the go-home episode of RAW. Having this match on the Summerslam card again was a bad decision for a number of reasons. The Hardy Boyz went from being one of the best things about Wrestlemania 33 to opening the Summerslam kick off show in under 5 months. The Miz has done a great job of making the Intercontinental Championship seem prestigious and having the Miz wrestle on the kick-off show in front of an almost empty arena does nothing for him or the championship. Jason Jordan being Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son has not gone down well with the WWE Universe with Jordan getting booed even louder with every week. The same match on RAW was comparatively better in my opinion with Jordan having some impressive spots.
Biggest Surprise of the Weekend
Soham – Rusev losing in a squash match
Not only did our boy Ru-ru lose to Randy Orton at Summerslam but the match lasted less than a minute. Consider that Rusev lost to John Cena at Battleground after his comeback, it is no surprise that Rusev has reportedly asked for his WWE release. Even though the Wrestling Observer reports that the quick finish was to further the feud, I don’t understand why a 13 time world champion like Randy Orton needs rebuilding after losing to Jinder. He will not seem like a legitimate threat if he keeps losing to already established stars. Remember Rusev’s undefeated streak? Don’t think creative do.
Kev – Jinder Mahal beating Shinsuke Nakamura
Jinder Mahal’s championship run has not been great television, and it finally looked like Sunday would be the day it would come to an end. It may be that their rivalry has been extended, but Summerslam is the second biggest event on WWE’s calendar, and it seemed like the best time to put Smackdown’s biggest prize on Nakamura. Especially as Cena looks to be on Raw for the foreseeable future, the blue brand needs to create new legitimate stars. I shudder at the thought of another Orton title run.
James – Asuka beating Ember Moon
As ridiculous as it sounds that the dominant NXT Women’s Champion who has reined for over 500 days winning is a surprise, I just didn’t see it coming. Ember Moon was cheated out of victory at TakeOver: Orlando, had to sit out TakeOver: Chicago due to an injury Asuka caused, and when she hits the Eclipse, no-one has got up from it. Until Asuka did on Saturday night. Another remarkable victory for the Empress of Tomorrow. She even won with a broken freakin’ collarbone.
Best Performance of the Weekend
James – Braun Strowman.
Since Brock Lesnar’s return, he has lost matches. John Cena scraped a win in their first match back in 2012. Triple H beat him at Wrestlemania 29 (for some reasons I’m sure made sense at the time). The Undertaker made him pass out with his Hell’s Gate submission hold after a low blow. But no-one has manhandled Brock Lesnar like Braun Strowman did on Sunday night. Putting him through TWO announce table, then dumping a third on top of him, was truly remarkable. Add using his new signature weapon of a flying chair on Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns, and it is clear that the Monster Amongst Men is the most dangerous threat in the WWE.
Soham – Brock Lesnar
I do not understand why Brock Lesnar’s name is never mentioned on any greatest pro-wrestlers lists. Whenever he shows up it feels like something big is about to go down. He brings “legitimacy” to the WWE. He is one of the best sellers in the roster right now. If he is invested in the story line and feels like he can draw money, he will make the opponent look like a star. Remember his Wrestlemania 33 match with Goldberg or his recent match with Samoa Joe? Braun Strowman had a great outing at Summerslam and I think Lesnar is a big reason why. Lesnar made Strowman look like an absolute monster (pun intended) and I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.
Kev – Braun Strowman
It was a real star-making performance for Braun Strowman on Sunday. He was mega over with the Summerslam crowd, and he dominated his fatal 4-way opponents. It is refreshing to see someone treated as an equal to Lesnar, and it has left me excited at the rumoured upcoming feud between the two.
Worst Performance of the Weekend
Kev – Percy Watson
NXT has struck gold with its announcing duo of Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness. They are knowledgeable about the product, love wrestling, and their enthusiasm for the product shines through. It baffles me why they sit Percy Watson next to them. His commentary is so cringeworthy (see the ‘Alexander Black’ match) and he brought nothing to the table. And with the additions of Corey Graves and Jim Ross as guest announcers, he couldn’t get his voice heard.
James – Baron Corbin
Ok, so technically Big Cass and The Big Show put on a worse match, but if you have bad matches with Shinsuke Nakamura AND John Cena on back-to-back shows, you are doing something fundamentally wrong. Corbin has had a rough week, and hopefully can get back on track soon, but he needed a big performance here and just didn’t do anything special.
Soham – Beach balls
Are we not going to talk about beach balls? I think it is silly for someone to pay good money to come watch a wrestling show and then play with beach balls with complete disregard to the fact that the performers are trying to put on the best show possible. THANK YOU CESARO! Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap. Not only did Beachballmania try to spoil the RAW Tag Team Championship match but it came back the next day to haunt the main event on RAW.
Biggest Winner coming out of this week
Kev – Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly
With the loss of Bobby Roode to Smackdown, and more superstars expected to be called up, a gap has been left in NXT’s roster that needs filling. This was immediately addressed by the return of reDRagon, and the hotly anticipated debut of Adam Cole. They destroyed Sanity, AOP and the new NXT champ, and the landscape of the yellow brand has changed spectacularly, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
James – Adam Cole
While there were new champions crowned throughout the weekend, no-one made an impact as Earth-shattering as the former three time Ring of Honour Champion. Flanked by Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, Cole beat down new NXT Champion Drew McIntyre and announced himself straight away as a huge star. Without even having a match, he was the biggest winner of the whole week.
Soham – Sasha Banks
First,let me just say that I haven’t gotten around to watching NXT. Hence, Adam Cole isn’t the first choice for me, babay. Sasha Banks takes the biggest winner spot for me because originally she wasn’t supposed to be in the RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP match . With number one contender Bayley, getting injured in a match against Nia Jax on RAW, WWE didn’t have too many options to give the spot to someone else. Sasha put on a great match against Alexa Bliss and further showcased why she can be trusted to deliver with every given opportunity. Even though I was not expecting Sasha to win, it feels good to know that WWE haven’t lost faith in Sasha and we might actually get to see a potential heel turn against Bayley.
Biggest Loser coming out of this week
Soham – Baron Corbin.
Opening the main card was John Cena vs Baron Corbin. Corbin was the Money In The Bank winner heading in to Summerslam, before unsuccessfully cashing it in on Smackdown last Tuesday. Honestly, I was not expecting Cena to lose this feud with his limited schedule and a possible move to Raw. However, in about a week’s time,Corbin has lost the Money In The Bank briefcase and a feud with the top face in the company. According to Dave Meltzer, there is backstage heat on Corbin due to his aggressive twitter exchanges with other veterans in the business and this might be the reason why his “push” is being hampered. This is not the first time WWE have stopped a push suddenly, remember Mason Ryan? Now, Corbin finds himself at the very bottom of the barrel after two consecutive pay-per-view losses against Nakamura and Cena.
Kev – Baron Corbin
Just two weeks ago, Baron Corbin was potentially one of WWE’s next big stars, and with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand, it seemed it was not a question of if, but when he would become WWE champion. And in the space of just 6 days, he has lost to Jinder Mahal on Smackdown, lost in a disappointing match to Cena on Sunday, and with that has lost any momentum he has built up. The future doesn’t look too bright for Corbin coming out of Summerslam.
James – Rusev.
I don’t get it. Jinder Mahal is our WWE Champion and Rusev is losing in 5 seconds to rebuild Randy Orton, the man won the Royal Rumble AND the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania, and really shouldn’t need rebuilding. Remember when they were in a tag team on Raw earlier this year? I feel like someone accidentally swapped their names around in the booking plans and then just fronted it out like it was the plan all along. Maybe this leads to him reuniting with Lana, or a face turn to allow him to display some of humour (check out his Twitter) but losing streaks NEVER work.
Best Single Moment of the Weekend?
James – Johnny Gargano Is Still Haunted By Tommaso Ciampa
In the very first match of the weekend, “Johnny Wrestling” seemed to be on his way to a victory, when Andrade “Cien” Almas’ manager Zelina Vega threw a DIY shirt at Gargano, distracting him and allowing Almas to come back and pick up the win. It shows Gargano still has demons to deal with, and adds another level of sympathy to one of the purest babyfaces on the entire roster. Plus it makes Almas look like a Grade A dick, using any trick to win. The image of him staring at the blue shirt and backing slowly away was my highlight of the entire weekend for me.
Soham – Braun Strowman destroys Brock Lesnar
Braun Strowman put Brock Lesnar through two announce tables before flipping the third one on him while Lesnar was lying down in pain. Brock might have been pinned before but has never been manhandled (or monsterhandled) in a similar way. This is why it makes Braun Strowman look like the most dangerous superstar in the current roster. WWE have been doing a stellar job of building up Strowman to be the next big thing and have not missed a single trick in the book.
Kev – Killian Dain puts Akam and Nikki Cross through a table
The NXT tag team title match was highly entertaining and better than most people were hoping for, but the moment that sticks out was Akam catching a flying Nikki Cross from the top turnbuckle, only for both of them to be charged through a table by Killian Dain. Mauro Ranallo was ecstatic on commentary, and it was a very impressive looking spot.
Worst Single Moment of the Weekend?
Kev – Rusev losing in 5 seconds
I think we were all expecting Randy Orton to pick up a win against Rusev on Sunday, but it was especially disappointing to see it over after just one move. Winning does nothing for Orton at this stage of his career, and this only served to further damage Rusev’s credibility. It’s incredibly frustrating as he has so much more to offer the Smackdown brand, and should never have been made to look like such a loser.
James – Jinder Mahal hits a terrible looking Khallas to beat Shinsuke Nakamura.
Just everything about that sentence is wrong. Mahal using every distraction and shortcut to beat Orton and win the title for the first time was one thing, but using Nakamura to build JINDER MAHAL is ridiculous. The Singh brothers storm the ring, get beaten up, Mahal doesn’t quite grab Nakamura properly but hits an awkward looking version of his finisher anyway for an incredibly anticlimactic win. Cue shots of the crowd looking… well, slightly disappointed. We’ve seen it time and again, and any shock factor of Mahal winning has long worn off. To make matters worse, on Smackdown Live on Tuesday night, Nakamura destroyed the Singh brothers, showing that their feud will continue. Nakamura is coming close to just being another wrestler at this point. They almost botched AJ Styles before giving him the title, please don’t wait too long on Nakamura.
Also, why couldn’t WWE have built the Singh Brothers as a tag team and have them featured in a title feud? Imagine Cesaro and Sheamus beating them down every week, but they just won’t give up, until finally they win the titles at the one live event they have planned in India. Instead we have months of sub-par main events on Smackdown.
Soham – Jinder Mahal winning after Singh Brothers get involved.
Same picture as the last answer. Can you guess why? How many times have we seen the same finish with Jinder? If you have missed the last few weeks of WWE programming, this is how Jinder wins his matches: Singh Brothers distract opponent; Jinder uses this to his advantage and hits his finisher; Jinder wins. It is just lazy booking. I was expecting Nakamura to win this match considering that he pinned John Cena clean to become the number one contender. If WWE want to get Jinder over as a dominant heel, they have to come up with new ways for him to win and give him more freedom in his promos rather than having Jinder mumbling the same words every week.
Anything else to add?
James – Xavier Woods has really impressed me in the last two New Day v Usos matches. For a long time he was the third man of the group, unsurprising as both Big E and Kofi Kingston had lots of individual success before the Power of Positivity took hold. His role seemed to be running interference on the outside, or getting reactions from the crowd with Francesca. But while we may never actually get to see The New Day get serious (if they didn’t do it against The Wyatt Family, I don’t think they ever will), Xavier Woods has cut out the shenanigans and put in two quality performances over the last few months.
Neville had a hilariously deadpan appearance on the NXT TakeOver pre-show panel, won back the Cruiserweight title at Summerslam, successfully defended it on 205 Live, and was then confronted by Enzo Amore. It’s an interesting time for the King of the Cruiserweights, and some well deserved time in the spotlight for a man who has totally reworked his gimmick, mannerisms, and wrestling style.
And finally, Bobby Roode is on Smackdown.
Booker T is a better wrestler than a commentator. During Roman Reigns’ entrance Booker T calls Roman ” the most hated superstar in 2016″. Firstly, its 2017 and has been for about 8 whole months and secondly calling Vince’s main guy “hated” isn’t going to go well backstage for Booker. Shucky Shucky Quack Quack. The RAW commentators also made sure that we know The Demon King is actually Finn Balor by repeatedly calling him Finn or Balor.
Kev – Kudos to Alexander Wolfe. I have been particularly impressed by his vast improvement over the last month or so. It seemed that with Eric Young as the leader of SAnitY, and Killian Dain as the powerhouse, Wolfe was simply there to make up the numbers. But he was the star of the tag team title match at Takeover, and is turning into the next Luke Harper.
I felt that it wasn’t a great weekend for the four horsewomen. Yes, Sasha Banks won the Raw womens championship, but it was clear from many boos from the Brooklyn Crowd that they were very much pro-Alexa Bliss. And with the fans continued (and harsh) negative reactions to Bayley, and the complete absence of Becky Lynch and Charlotte, I am concerned for the best four womens wrestlers this side of NXT.
And so, those are our thoughts on what went down last weekend in the world of WWE. What were your highlights? Let us know!
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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