Every summer, the pro-wrestling company WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) hosts the hottest party of the summer: SummerSlam. This pay-per-view is one of their four biggest and most viewed pay-per-views (Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series being the other three) and is one of the favorites of WWE fans.
SummerSlam 2016 was set up to be one of the best pay-per-views of the year, with many big names filling the slots on their six hour long special; two hours for the pre-show and a special extended four hour show. With the likes of John Cena, Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, and Finn Balor all having high profile matches for the night, the show was expected by many to blow away any other show before it.
The answer to this question would differ depending on who you asked. Avid fans of the "internet darlings" of the company (these are the wrestlers that are mainly popular with the Internet Wrestling Community) would most likely say the show was one of the best they've seen. Casual fans would probably tell you it was interesting to see but nothing special. Wrestling fans who watch truly for the wrestling would probably say it was a dismal showcasing of the talent WWE has.
I myself was pretty entertained by the first hour of the pay-per-view, and the pre-show match between Sheamus and Cesaro was incredible; hopefully fans can be patient enough to see where their Best of 7 matches go storyline wise. After the match of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens verses Enzo Amore and Big Cass, I was incredibly hopeful for the way the show was going to go. While I don't personally love Enzo's wrestling, the match was decent and entertaining.
Then things went downhill.
Sasha Banks verses Charlotte for the WWE Women's Championship was nothing short of messy, with Sasha constantly botching almost all of her moves, taking horrible landings, and causing Charlotte to drop her many times throughout. The only thing that saved this match for me was the ending.
Apollo Crews verses The Miz with Maryse for the Intercontinental Championship Belt wasn't necessarily bad, but with the talent both of those men posses, the match should have been much more entertaining to watch than it was. The lack of chemistry and storytelling between the two was apparent, making it difficult to get into the match properly. Very little televised build up between Miz and Apollo also left me wondering: what is the point of this match....aside from the obvious title belt on the line? As much as I love The Miz, I really couldn't get myself to care much about this match.
Finally! A great match I could get behind. Aj Styles verses John Cena was everything I hoped it would be, totally out shining every match before and after. If I were the Creative Team, this would have been my main event match. Cena pulled out some wrestling moves I've never seen him do before; he didn't hold back on Styles at all. AJ, for his part, seemed a little out of sorts but was still enjoyable to watch. There were no dull moments in this match. AJ Styles pulled off a very successful AA (with a nasty knee to the back of John), Cena planted Styles with DDTs he hasn't done in a while. All in all it was a very exciting match even the nasty Brooklyn crowd could get excited for.
The women's three way tag team match of Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Eva Marie (later replaced by the returning Nikki Bella) verses Naomi, Carmella, and Becky Lynch was a complete waste of space in the show. Not only were they not fighting for anything at all, giving the match zero purpose, the actual wrestling was less than entertaining. The most exciting part of the match was when Nikki returned from a neck/back injury she suffered around ten months ago. Other than that, nothing to say. This match should have been switched with Cesaro verses Sheamus. THAT was a fantastic match!
The New Day verses Gallows and Anderson for the Tag Team Championships was decent. Not overly exciting for a title match, but not horribly un-entertaining to watch. It was nice to see Xavier Woods of The New Day wrestle more than he usually does since his teammate Big E was out due to a groin injury (and no....not ringpostitis), and Gallows and Anderson were interesting to watch. I wasn't thrilled with the results but perhaps RAW tonight will fix things.
The Seth Rollins verses Finn Balor for the new Universal Championship Title match was a huge disappointment for me as a wresting fan. I am no Balor fan, but I was willing to let him impress me with a match against one of the better New Era talents Seth. Sadly, not only was I incredibly unimpressed with Balor's wrestling, which was basically him using three different kick moves to fling Rollins around the ring for about fifteen minites, but I wasn't sold with Demon King Finn Balor. The gimmick doesn't seem to resonate with Balor himself past the paint job and costume. He's still Finn Balor in the ring. As for Seth Rollins himself, he was on his game. He made up for Balor's lack of charisma and storytelling in the ring. For a championship match, I was pretty underwhelmed and bored.
Side note: Is anyone else annoyed with the skyrocketing push Finn Balor has gotten? Like, I get he was one of the best in NXT, but this is RAW. He should not be coming out on his first night and beating every single wrestler he's up against. This is probably my biggest problem with Finn. He's uninteresting and was pushed to the top spot too soon. Not even AJ Styles received this treatment, and he definitely deserves it.
Rusev verses Roman Reigns for the United States Championship was....well it was at least entertaining! Without spoiling it for anyone who may not have watched yet, it was basically WWE showcasing Roman's bad guy side. Honestly, this lifted my spirits after the tragedy that was the Universal Championship match. While it didn't really go anywhere, it was nice to see the heel side of Reigns. I hope he goes full heel mode on RAW.
Finally, the big main event match of the night. Two legends meet in the squared circle for a battle people have been waiting fifteen years for. The build up for this match was decent, with Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar attacking each other on their respective flagship shows. It was supposed to end the show with a bang!
I'm going to start by saying I had no high expectations for this match at all. Any match with the current Brock Lesnar promises to be boring to watch wrestling wise and annoying to watch if you're a fan of the guy he's facing. This all said, I was still incredibly disappointed by the match. Randy Orton, of all people, could fairly face Brock Lesnar and give him a run for his money. Instead, all we were given was a total beat down of a WWE legend. It was disheartening to see Randy get destroyed by Lesnar, unable to get to his feet or defend himself from vicious knees and bare-knuckle punches for most of the match. Instead of being the match to make the night, this match left a sour taste in the mouths of most fans watching.
All in all, SummerSlam was pretty average as far as pay-per-views go (this is only my opinion of course). There were no big surprises, no run-ins from anyone outside the match, and only ONE return. I'm hoping for the best and expecting the worst for RAW.
Published by Caitlyn Booth