We were twenty-four hours removed from NXT’s best show. WWE once again took over New York with the 2015 SummerSlam PPV. Jon Stewart, fresh off retirement, started the show with an in-ring promo. Crowd gives the mention of John Cena’s name a boo. Stewart brings out none other than the Hardcore Legend himself, Mick Foley! The duo banter back and forth, with Mick confusing Brock for Rock. And they start the show. It was good to see Foley, but a really unnecessary eight minutes wasted right at the start of the show.
Interesting choice to start the show as Randy Orton comes out to fight Sheamus. One would have thought that the four team tag title match would have kicked things off. This match might have been better suited with a stipulation. Crowd starts a “You Look Stupid!” chant and Sheamus gets on the mic calling everyone stupid, but Orton quickly quiets that. A very straight forward, almost stagnant match. Starting the show in such an anti-climatic way is a weird choice, although NXT started with a tag title match last night so Dunn probably didn’t want to copy off of HHH. Orton gets his left eyebrow cut open with a small trickle of blood from a Sheamus boot. Orton hits an RKO but Sheamus rolls out of the ring. Crowd is somewhat into the match despite it not even being good enough for a RAW main event. Orton sets up for the punt, crowd goes wild. He attempts it but misses and Sheamus catches him for White Noise, kick out at two. Brogue Kick off the ropes and Sheamus wins.
A New Day comes out and does a rap in the ring. Terrible b-footage from Smackdown sort of promo. So far, HHH has won the weekend. Lucha Dragons come out followed by Los Matadores and the champs Prime Time Players. Another match that easily could have benefited from a stipulation–maybe a ladder with the titles hanging above the ring. Or at the very least an elimination match considering only two men are allowed in the ring at one time. Mediocre booking by WWE. Four good teams in a poorly pushed division. Titus O’Neal and Darren Young both looked very strong in this match. This bout is much more exciting than Orton/Sheamus, garnering a “This Is Awesome!” chant from the crowd. Kofi Kingston gets a sneaky tag and New Day wins the tag team titles for the second time. Iffy ending on an otherwise solid match. Without the gold, hopefully this is now the time to push Titus as a solo competitor.
Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler up next. (Author’s note: I am currently wearing a throwback Dolph Ziggler t-shirt so this particular paragraph of the article might come across as biased.) This match would have been great as an inter-gender tag match because Lana can actually wrestle. Oh well, maybe someday. Ziggler starts with a headbutt and the fight is on! Both guys really did a fantastic job of selling each other and making one another look great. Fast, brutal action. Lana and Summer did their little squabble outside the ring. And then nobody wins via a double count out? What a terrible finish. Lana and Summer then fight but get separated by Ziggler and Rusev. Crowd heavily booing this and you can’t really blame them. What a dismal ending to a match. Three strikes and you’re out, WWE.
Neville and Steven Amill (aka Green Arrow from CW’s show The Arrow) defeated Stardust and Wade Barrett. And that’s all I care to say about that. 90 minutes in and this is so far one of the worst PPV’s of the year.
Big Show comes out to battle The Miz and Ryback (c) for the IC title. It’s a threeway so technically it’s no DQ, but similar to the fatal four way earlier, it isn’t being utilized. Miz looks like a child compared to the two big men. Ryback and Show look beastly, Miz looks like a pancake. Ryback retains in a quick match that I would have liked to see more of. Jon Stewart shown backstage trying to see Brock Lesnar, but Paul Heyman interferes and the two share a moment.
Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper come out. Dean Ambrose enters and Roman Reigns comes through the crowd as usual. Huge boo for the Royal Rumble winner. Pretty exciting match to start. So far this is the best match of the night. Good action, great moves from everybody both inside and outside the ring. Wyatt Family controlling a large portion of this match. The crowd does not like Reigns at all. All four competitors really turned it up a notch. They managed to feed some energy back into the PPV. Reigns hits three Superman Punches. He really needs a new finisher. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Bray Wyatt but instead of going for a pin, he tags Reigns back in. Reigns hits a spear for the pinfall. Another bad finish to an otherwise good match.
It’s 9:00PM now and they are about to burn Cena vs Rollins. This early in the night? Before the Divas match? Terrible. Just because The Undertaker crawls out from whatever rock he hides under for 360 days a year, suddenly the World Heavyweight Title doesn’t matter? This match is title vs title, winner take all. I made a declaration earlier in the week to friends that if Cena wins tonight, I stop watching wrestling until the next PPV. I just can’t take it. I can’t. I will delete RAW off my DVR and not listen to any news about WWE until next month. Cena enters to a chorus of boo’s. Rollins enters with a huge pop. Rollins comes out looking like the White Power Ranger. Cena looks like he plays for the Oregon Ducks. Crowd is very much in Rollins’ corner. Crowd starts a “Ce-Na-Sucks!” chant harnessing the New Day clap. Hilarious. Rollins is in control early, looking strong, putting on a wrestling clinic. Very impressive move set. It only took until 9:10, but SummerSlam finally picked up for business. Cena puts Rollins in a figure four leg lock, Rollins reverses it and Cena grabs the rope for the ref break. What. A. Match. I hate John Cena but even I can say well done in this one. Cena goes for an AA but the ref gets knocked out. So much for a clean finish. That’s a damn shame. With the ref out, Rollins knees Cena in the nose. Jon Stewart runs in with a chair. Stewart hits Cena! Rollins lands a Pedigree on the chair and Rollins wins! (Author’s Note: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!) It’s a shame this couldn’t be a clean finish, but at least Rollins wins and now holds both the WHC title and the US title, first person to ever do so. Bow down to Triple H, smarks. He is still king. Crowd starts a “Thank You, Stewart!” chant. I love it. Byron Saxton cried about it after. I loved that, too. Regardless of my feelings on Rollins winning, this ending was also badly booked.
Divas elimination match up next featuring the Bella Twins, Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Charlotte. Paige, Naomi. Everybody but Nikki and Brie look great in this match. Wait. If one gets pinned the whole team is eliminated? What sort of tedious, yawn-inducing stipulation is that? If you have nine ladies, then it should be single person elimination. More bad booking. Team BAD eliminated first. On a sidebar, Brie Bella needs to stop stealing all the moves and gimmicks of her husband. It’s terrible and makes her look as weak as she actually is. Meanwhile, back in the match, Paige takes a beating for a long time. Becky Lynch gets the pinfall eventually. So much for a “revolution.” This was a terrible match for the most part. At least Team Bella didn’t win. Not much else to say about it than that.
Cesaro and Kevin Owens go to war next. Great action right out of the gate. Kudos to Kevin Owens doing back to back PPV’s. These guys came to play. Push both guys to the moon. They are stars. Great action, crowd is really feeling it. Hard to fault this one. We’ll see how the ending goes. A lot of pretty, pretty moves in this match. Owens hit a tornado DDT and Cesaro strong armed his way into many impressive sequences. Plus, a Cesaro Swing. Kevin Owens wins via pop-up powerbomb. Good match, cleanest ending of the night. Would have liked to see that one go about five minutes longer. Great match, guys. Kevin Owens is a badass wrestler who unfortunately is at the whims of Kevin Dunn booking.
Next up, Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker. The rest of the card tonight has me apprehensive. I’m expecting Sting to interfere….or a masked Kane run-in. There’s really no win here for either guy to go over cleanly. We should all be prepared for some sort of shenanigans. And god help us if the big twist is another Paul Heyman turn. Both men come out with equal cheers from the crowd. Lesnar doesn’t even wait for Undertaker to get his trench coat off. He just starts beating on the Deadman. Crowd starts trading “Undertaker!” and “Suplex City!” chants. It doesn’t take long for Lesnar to take the Deadman to suplex city. After a big boot, Lesnar starts bleeding on his forehead. Undertaker looks miles ahead of where he was last year at WrestleMania. Younger, fresher, stronger. But no where near the physical perfection of Lesnar which makes this match hard to swallow. Especially with the devastating suplexes Lesnar keeps delivering. Kayfabe dies every time Lesnar yells, “Suplex City, bitch!” Lesnar clears the announce table and they battle outside the ring. Lesnar hits an F5 on Undertaker through the announce table! Undertaker barely beats the count back into the ring. Lesnar yells, “I’ll kill you, you son of a bitch!” Taker hits a tombstone pile driver but Lesnar kicks out at two. Lesnar sits up, laughing. Undertaker sits up laughing as well! They trade punches, crowd goes berserk. Lesnar lands the Kimora Lock. Undertaker reverses it into a Last Ride. Lesnar again kicks out at two! Lesnar hits another F5, Taker kicks out. This match is excellent, way better than last year’s. Lesnar hits a third F5, but Undertaker kicks out again! Undertaker locks in the Hell’s Gate submission out of nowhere. Lesnar reverses it into the Kimora. The bell starts ringing, Heyman screams, “He tapped him out!” Told ya, shenanigans. Undertaker hits a low blow behind the ref’s back, locks in a Hell’s Gate, and Lesnar flips him the bird. Lesnar “passes out.” More bad booking with a lazy, super lousy ending. Let it be said Lesnar never tapped and was never pinned. During the replay, Undertaker clearly tapped out. Heyman goes and rings the bell and gets on the mic. He calls Lesnar the winner by tap out submission. Crowd boos, but Heyman is right. Lesnar’s music hits and the night is over. Disappointing PPV for my money. Triple H clearly won this battle of the PPV’s. Nice try, Vince, but you came up short.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker