HULK HOGAN OPENS THE SHOW
It is always a treat to see Hulk Hogan, I am a sucker for some good nostalgia and the hulkster always delivers that in spades. Now if you wanted me to completely mark out like a pre-puberty little snot, you wouldnhabe thrown another small NWO reunion our way. Hearing that music once wasn’t enough to satisfy me. Anywho, Hulk comes out and greets the crowd and plugs the WWE Network…which you can subscribe to for omly 9.99 a month!!! The network plugging is getting old, nut how can ya get mad at Hulk Hogan for doing so?
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: THE MIZ VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER
You know, it was great seeing an Intercontinental Championship not doomed in pre-show land. We got to see Dolph rocking the ring like only he can, we got to see Miz owning his new hollywood ‘money-maker’ gimmick, we got to see the figure four, and we got to be surprised by Dolph winning the IC championship. People have been clamoring for Dolph to get more exposure, he is just so talented in the ring and now I hope with this he will get to showcase his talents and make the IC title relevant again.
DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP: AJ LEE VS. PAIGE
These two women work incredibly well together, great in ring chemistry. How physical this match ended up being pleasantly surprised me, it is likemthey wanted to show the WWE universe what they could do and pulled out all the stops. One of the matches highlights was definitely AJ heading to the top rope to dive out of the ring onto Paige, thus folding her inside out. Now something I didn’t expect from this match was a title change, which I was also satisfied with as I am a big fan of Paige from what she has shown us so far. Why am I such a fan of Paige? Oh well small things like the last seconds of this match that saw Paige beautifully counter AJ’s submission finisher into a brutal looking DDT to pick up the victory. Not too mention the continued fuel for the feud in Paige’s phony affection for AJ, I mean that kiss on the 😍cheek after the match was gold. Bottom line, it was a great match from my favorite divas and loved the outcome.
FLAG MATCH: JACK SWAGGER VS. RUSEV
When this match was said and done, it was wrestling 101 on how you build enormous heat for a villain. This match was extremely physical, with Swagger managing to lock Rusev in an ankle lock before the bell even rang. Kudos to Rusev for selling that opening throughout the rest of the match BTW, Rusev got his revenge by doing damage to Swaggers ribs throughout the match savagely attacking them most of the time. Towards the end of the match Rusev was again locked in an ankle lock, and naturally you’d think that would be all she wrote but Rusev reached the ropes. Now it was a brilliant move to have Swagger be defeated while keeping him looking strong, no tapping out from The Real American it took Swagger completely passing out for the ref to call it. I have to admit I marked out seeing the Los Angeles crowd jeer Rusev to high heaven as the Russian flag was raised and the Russia national anthem was played. Like I said, beautiful way to build a heel.
LUMBERJACK MATCH: SETH ROLLINS VS. DEAN AMBROSE
Now around the interwebs, the smart mark attitude was that a lumberjack match was poor booking to move this feud along…I was okay with it as I knew this would not likely be the end to the feud. They made the most out of the gimmick for this match and it ended up being pretty entertaining. Highlights of the match for me included Dean attacking the lumberjacks the first time he was thrown out of the ring, perfectly plays to his unhinged character. Dean suplexed Seth outside onto a pile of lumberjacks, and also suicide dove onto every participant in the match, it was a sight to see. At one point the match spilled into the crowd and the lumberjacks didn’t seem to care, I was expecting a big spot that would make a Summerslam moment in the crowd. But no dice on that. Rollins endedmthe match with a victory via a briefcsse to the head after the match descended into lumberjack anarchy, I think this match would have been better served with an Ambrose win, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
BRAY WYATT VS. CHRIS JERICHO
It was great to hear the split crowd reaction throughout this match, Bray Wyatt is one of my favorites to watch these days, he is really coming into his own in the ring and as a character. It was good to see the crowd is back to not being able to ignore there is something unique about this man. It is always a treat to see Jericho wodk a match, he looks better than he ever has and did his share in making them both look like a million bucks. Great psychology was on display here, my favorite bit in the match had Jericho having Bray out in the middle of the ring, setting up one his signature moves only to have Bray pop up with signature spider pose. The lookmon Jericho’s face coupled with Bray’s taunts are why Wyatt is my favorite thing going. To close the match Bray hit a sister abigail on Jericho to the railing outside the ring, literally carrying him back to the ring and hitting him with another for the win. Bray winning was predictable, but very welcome.
STEPHANIE MCMAHON VS. BRIE BELLA
Stephanie McMahon looked great in that ring. She is one of the best heels we’ve seen in years and I appreciate her obvious training to make this match a memorable addition to the card. I have heard complaints that this feud has been given so much attention, closing Raws and such…I have actually been loving it. Itmis great to have the spotlight on some women and the feud has been given great time and development, and that is what I want with my rasslin. Back to the match, this was pretty much a squash in the name of Steph being able to say hey look what I can still do after 10 years, but hey it worked. Now of course, the buzz behind this match is Nikki Bella’s betrayal that most of us saw coming, I dig a good sibling vs sibling story so hey, bring it on. I would like to congratulate Stephanie McMahon on her in ring work, and cultivating a great feud.
ROMAN REIGNS VS. RANDY ORTON
This match sold me more on Reigns than I was, these two put on a great match. Some great spots like an awesome samoan drop from the top rope, yes the top rope. Randy countered one spear with his signature body slam, and countered what was to either be a spear or a superman punch with a perfectly executed RKO for a very close near fall. In a bit of great in ring psychology Randy began to hear the voices in his head that could only mean a punt was coming, but it was not to be and Reigns hit the spear for the win. I heard the early plan for this Summerslam was to have Reigns face Triple H, and I hope that match is still on the horizon as that is the only logical way to go to keep up the momentum Reigns has been building up. Orton is one of the best performers the company has hadnin years, and I am happy that Roman looks like he belongs in a ring with someone of Orton’s caliber. Now I believe Reigns is a main eventer.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: JOHN CENA VS. BROCK LESNAR
Alright, I need time to absorb how this main event went down. When Lesnar hit the F5 not even a minute into the match, I expected this match to be a fast paced brawl, that is not what we got. I would have been more satisfied if Lesnar would have hit more power moves to squash Cena, and not hit 16 german suplexes. I mean I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hit with some bouts of boredom here, even to the point of having bad flashbacks of Lesnar vs. Goldberg. That said, there were some great moments in this match, including after Cena hit an FU for a near fall, only to have Lesnar sit up in a manner mocking The Undertaker. After “brutalizing” Cena, Lesnar hit an F5 to capture the WWE championship. Coming off of ending the legendary undefeated streak, I believe this was the only logical way to end this match, and I am very glad they went for it. It would take a whole other article to cover the question of where they should go with Lesnar from here, but for now they made the right choice. So, the match? Not the best in my opinion. The outcome? Made this PPV end on a good note in my eyes.
OVERALL SUMMERSLAM 2014 GRADE: B+