WWE was firing on all cylinders earlier this year with some of the best, most-inspired stuff that they’ve done in years. So of course it was bound to come crashing down and this summer was exactly that. We had three-hour marathon Raws where we felt every second of it, we had filler PPVs that were just that; filler. The bar was reset back to a pretty low point going into Summerslam tonight, but man, did they wipe away a lot of that recent disappointment with this show tonight in a big way.
So let’s get to the highlights.
AJ vs. Paige was a LOT Better
Last month AJ Lee vs. Paige was a bit disappointing. The match was disjointed, strange and didn’t seem to fit either woman in the ring. Both of them are two of the better workers that WWE has in their Diva’s division, so when this match didn’t deliver it was kind of a bummer. So they met again tonight and man was this a better match. Paige went over in a quick match, but it was well worth watching. We would have liked to have seen this get a lot more time.
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose Redefine the Lumberjack Match
The Lumberjack match is one of those gimmicks that nobody is really a fan of in 2014, it’s kind of a bummer of a television match kind of gimmick and these guys went crazy with it. Like the AJ vs. Paige match, this could have gone a bit longer, but hell, this was super fun. Both guys just went full force and the lumberjacks around the ring played a huge part in catching both guys as they went to the outside as well as taking some bumps.
It’s very clear why The Shield had such tremendous matches, because these guys are just magical when they get to work together, as a team or against each other. I want to see them work against each other a million times already. Rollins went over after Kane caused all hell to break loose, using the briefcase to knock out Ambrose. Just so fun.
I can’t think of a better Lumberjack match that I’ve seen in a very long time.
Stephanie McMahon is Probably the Best Performer in WWE, Period
Look, there are some really solid performers on the roster, much like Rollins and Ambrose, but if there is one person on the WWE roster who has the ability to do everything right, that has to be Stephanie McMahon. This match always had the potential to be good, but it also had potential to be a trainwreck. What did it end up being? Probably the best built, legitimate match of the evening. Crazy, right?
Stephanie’s ring generalship is insane. She’s so comfortable in everything that she does, the match was paced almost perfectly, with her working a deliberate match style and just laying in a crazy beating on Brie Bella. Much to Brie’s credit, she sold incredibly and outside of her awkward shouts, her comebacks were great. I can’t really say enough how great this match was. The finish came when Brie had the Yes! Lock on Stephanie and Triple H pulled the ref out. Brie then did a dive onto Triple H and yes, 2014 Triple H sells for the Bella Twins.
Nikki jumped into the ring and we had both Bellas facing down with Stephanie, only for Nikki to push Stephanie out of the way and lay out Brie, much to the shock of the live crowd. Stephanie hits the Pedigree and that’s it, Triple H and Stephanie celebrating while Nikki looks on looking uncomfortable. Man, what a match.
Brock Lesnar Beats the Piss Out of John Cena
This was a squash match. Like, there was just no way around it. This was a squash match and it was John Cena getting squashed. Brock Lesnar hit SIXTEEN GERMAN SUPLEXES on John Cena over the span of the match, the first coming after John Cena kicked out of an F-5 within the first 30 seconds of the match.
This match also highlighted the worst of John Cena, where his comebacks involved him brushing off the fact that he was being squashed to just start running through moves like he was absolutely fine. That’s okay, though, because Brock Lesnar just annihilated John Cena before hitting the F-5 and then it was over. Brock Lesnar is the new champion and my god, this was brutal.
Look, the rest of the card wasn’t exactly bad, by any stretch, it was just that there was so much great that a lot of this stuff didn’t measure up to the greatness.
Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho Don’t Mesh Well Together
Okay, so, yeah. Look, I was a huge, huge, HUUUUUGE Chris Jericho fan for so long. So the idea of him working with one of my current favorites in Bray Wyatt should make magic happen. Last month their match was just disappointing as hell, with a really awkward build and lackluster finish. This time around? Well, the right guy won in Bray Wyatt, but the match still didn’t feel quite right. It wasn’t bad, exactly, it just wasn’t great. It should have been great, but Chris Jericho in 2014 just doesn’t have the ability to make those great matches that he was able to make in the past. Maybe we are too tough on Jericho because of how good he was? I don’t know, but meh, end this feud.
Dolph Ziggler Wins a Belt!
This match was forgettable in so many ways, but man, I don’t know. I think that everyone just wants for good things to happen to Dolph Ziggler and we want to believe, but when good things happen to Dolph Ziggler we all expect it to be taken away very quickly. Remember his World Championship run when Swagger concussed him then he had to drop the belt? Remember all of the talk that they can’t rely on Ziggler to get a push because he’s injury prone?
This was a solid win for Ziggler and a pretty good match, but the ominous feeling is still there that something bad will happen to Dolph soon.
Rusev and Swagger Had a Match
This match wasn’t bad, by any means, but the whole concept of a “Flag Match” was confusing in so many ways. There have been WWE Flag Matches in the past before and this wasn’t that. This was a singles match where the winner’s flag was raised over the ring. That would make a lot more sense if we haven’t seen the huge Russian flag in other Rusev segments, right?
Rusev’s selling was pretty great, with the story of the match being that Swagger hurt his ankle before the match, then he spent the entire match selling how much his ankle hurt. Good selling can’t save this match, though. Rusev wins with the Accolade and I guess we’ll probably see this feud continue.
Cesaro Has Become a Jobber
It’s okay, we all love him, but dear god, this guy went from getting a huge push to losing on the kickoff show to RVD. We’ve seen them work together before and this really wasn’t much different in this. Poor Cesaro.