Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WWE Summerslam 2016

The one major positive off the top of my head when it comes to this year's edition of Summerslam is that they kept it properly paced. The show started at 7 p.m. and ended a little under the 11 o'clock mark, which is a good thing. On the other hand, given my general apathy over the main event, I wouldn't have minded this one time if they went into overtime here. That having been said, going into this show, I wasn't too excited about this card. There were only a couple matches at most that I had any real interest in and the rest was just... who cares?

Nonetheless, I went into this with a somewhat open mind and lowered expectations and ended up enjoying some, but not, of the night's festivities. My thoughts, after the break...

Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens defeat Enzo and Big Cass... because that young Jericho fellow needed a win or something. The match was alright; a decent opener to get in the mood of things. And despite my mocking, the story of experience over youth is somewhat represented here. Though, in all honesty, I would've preferred KO scoring the win, but that's picking hairs. I enjoyed this match just fine. I did like the crowd chanting "Stupid Idiot" however. That was a nice bit.

Charlotte defeated WWE Women's Champion Sasha Banks to win the title... well, I guess we can call that title run bankrupt, amirite? Ahem... the match was fine, about as good as their past encounters, I suppose... though I initially question Baby Flair winning it back so soon and figured Sasha failed a Wellness test and is due to be suspended. Turns out Sasha was injured and that caused the title change. But whatever the case, it puts a damper on the "big win" on RAW almost as much as Zack Ryder winning the IC title on PPV and losing it to Miz the next night (which I had to look up for the sake of this write-up... that ought to tell you something.)

Intercontinental Champion Miz defeats Apollo Crews in a forgettable match to retain the title. I had almost forgotten that Miz was Intercontinental champion, which is telling how important that title is being treated. It's a sad aspect when I can recall Intercontinental champions from years past, but I cannot for the life of me recall who's holding the strap. If nothing else, Miz's current stent as IC champ is almost as forgettable as his one stint as WWE Champion... and he even main evented a Wrestlemania FFS.

AJ Styles defeated John Cena... wait a minute, let's try that again.

AJ Styles #BeatUpJohnCena in what was easily the match of the night. A pretty solid, a pretty exciting match between two premier workers. Started off with the lightweight stuff then brought in the hard hitters before eventually throwing out the big guns. And I particularly like the finish where AJ kicked out of Cena's top-rope AA and came back with a Styles Clash and forearm finish for the clean win, which definitely helps cement Styles as kind of a big deal and a big potential star. Because sometimes people like getting behind the guy who gets the big wins and that's the building blocks to long-term potential and interest. It's basic storytelling 101.

It is, unfortunately, the last significant high point of Summerslam this night.

Anderson and Gallows defeated Tag-Team champs The New Day via DQ when Big E interferred. Well, that sucked. Not even worth expanding upon. Also, Jon Stewart is involved for some reason; they mention him being an honorary member of New Day or something to tie in to the earlier segment. I don't care.

WWE World champion Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the title... and the crowd is mild. As expected, this was a pretty solid match, a nice way to keep things going, but the drama was lacking because nobody really expected Ziggler to win. As such, there was little reason to care about this match beyond filling time on a PPV slot. It was a fine TV match, but nothing more than that. You can probably tell that this is just a filler before Ambrose gets to face off against Styles at some point.

Nattie, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Bella (subbing for suspended Eva Marie) defeated Becky Lynch, Carmella, and Naomi when Nikki did her Rack-A-Lamb or whatever her stupid finish is called on Carmella or whoever... eh, it was a thing that happened and let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Finn Balor defeated Seth Rollins to win the inaugural WWE Universal championship... which is essentially the same generic WWE World title design with a red strap and "Universal Champion" in the bottom. I could call this a particularly lazy move on WWE's part to recycle the same title design AGAIN, but I honestly believe this is just another step in trying to make themselves appear to be sort of a UFC-lite, with all the similar looking titles, the Tapout gear, and whatnot. I get that there's a crossover between wrestling fans and MMA fans and WWE is trying to appeal to that group in whatever fashion they can, but they seem to have forgotten that there are wrestling fans watching their show who honestly couldn't give a rat's ass about MMA and this direction isn't going to appease them in the slightest. If anything, it might just turn them off... but I digress.

As far as the match goes, it was fine. It was serviceable. I figured Rollins would've won it because he has some pedigree under his belt - no pun intended, I guess - but having Balor win was fine too, especially considering how much of a big deal they made him out to be from the get-go. I'm sure Vince Russo is going to have a field day with this finish, but from my vantage point, I enjoyed it enough. The crowd, on the other hand, had mixed feelings; cheering Balor for his impressive showing and win, but booing the NBC Universal title because of how stupid it looks.

And then Finn Balor had to surrender the title due to an injury that will see him miss six months of action. I'm guessing he's the modern-age Randy Orton.

The match between US champ Rusev and Roman Reigns never happened as Reigns just beat the crap out of Rusev. So... let me get the story here. Rusev is the heel because his wife was humiliated by Reigns and he's just trying to stand by her, while Reigns is the hero because he interrupts wedding celebrations and beat the crap out of guys with chairs before the match ever happens... why am I supposed to cheer for this fucker again? I can't say I remember.

And finally, Brock Lesnar defeated Randy Orton via knockout when Brock punched Randy a few times causing him to bleed and the doctors stopped the match. Dean Ambrose might've gotten heat from calling Brock Lesnar lazy on the Stone Cold Podcast, but it's hard to argue that point, as this was the same old shit over and over and over again. Randy gets little offense in, Brock gets his usual sleep-inducing German suplexes in, it feels totally one-sided, there is no reason to believe Randy was winning this one, and as such, there was no drama. And drama and anticipation is what drives a story, not suplexes. It was a fine match for those with a fetish for German Suplexes, but as far as storytelling goes, it sucked the proverbial lemon.

And that was this year's Summerslam; a show that started off decent and after having a strong showing from John Cena and AJ Styles, fell off the rails harder than a ton of bricks as there was nothing worth watching after that point. Balor getting his big moment was somewhat sullied by the silly title (and subsequent relinquishment the next night), Brock got the easy money to do his usual brand of fuck all, and all the other matches were there for the sake of being there. It's not a bad show overall and there's some mild enjoyment to be had here, but otherwise there's only one or two really standout matches out of the bunch. On a whole, this is strictly middle of the road leaning towards the lower end.

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