This year’s version of SummerSlam lived up to its hype, producing memorable moments and some great matches. With a lack of build up to this year’s event, I was skeptical if I was going to be satisfied. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. With three title changes and advancements with potential future stories, here is the good, the bad and the awesome from SummerSlam 2014.
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Superman versus the Serpent. Going in convinced I was going to hate this match, Roman and Randy proved me wrong. I’m a pretty big Randy Orton fan, but I’m still up in the air on Reigns. He has the look, and the mic work is improving slowly, but generally, I’m bored by his matches. A lot of simple punches, a lot of headbutts, and then Superman Punch and Spear. I digress.
These two benefited from working so much together over the last three months, because the match ran very smoothly. There were some good spots in the match, none of which was completely jaw dropping. It was a simple match, and sometimes, that is for the best. Orton’s powerful bodyslam delivered to Reigns shook the announcers’ table cover; it was great natural sound for live television. Also, Randy’s powerslam very well may be the best the business as ever seem. It almost looks effortless when he executes. Predictable ending, nothing out of the ordinary, but a solid match nonetheless.
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger, Flag Match
I didn’t understand the concept of the flag match, but it was a good match regardless. The victor’s national anthem played at the end...really, that’s all? I’m glad these two recieved the time to prove that they can work, because I think they’re both great, powerful performers.
Rusev continued to sell the ankle injury, and he sold it so well, you would’ve legitimately thought he was injured if he wasn’t throwing such violent kicks. The facial expressions the Russian monster displayed everytime he locked in the accolade were phenomenal, too. I thought he was going to cry, in fact, I was cheering for him to cry. Rusev showed off more of his athleticism by performing a spinning heel kick, no easy task for anyone, especially when you’re 290 pounds. Unfortunately, the kick missed, so the sheer awe of the move was a bit less.
Swagger’s never give up mentality continued, this time by refusing to tap out, subsequently having him passing out.. Swagger is so relentless and loves this country so much, he refused to give up. This is back to back pay-per-views he’s dominated the course of action, only to lose by being knocked out cold. I don’t know if this is going to culminate into finally going over Rusev, but it is helping him get over as a “Real American” face. A part of me misses the xenophobic American he and Zeb Colter once were, but this change in character is refreshing.
I’m not sure if these two will clash once more at Night of Champions,but if are given one more go at it, I think Swagger will finally pull off the victory.
Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella
Not much to say about this one, but the match did not fall flat on its face, thankfully. They both had a long delay with in-ring performances, especially Stephanie, so simplicity was the best way to go about it.
Nikki turning on her sister was great, sibling rivalries always get the audience’s interest. I like WWE investing in multiple divas’ story lines at once.
Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam
There is not a lot to voice on this match either, but I think it was a great pre-show match to have. Both deserve to be on the card, but the writers were too involved elsewhere to give them a rivalry for the event.
Cesaro’s flurry of uppercuts with RVD perched on the top rope was great, and the distance Van Dam flew for his Five Star Frog Splash was a tremendous display of athleticism.
I hope these two superstars are given stories now that the SummerSlam madness is over.
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho
It pains me to do this, because I’m a huge Jericho fan, but I just cannot get behind this rivalry. This is going to rustle a lot people’s jimmies classifying this as bad, but I haven’t enjoy watching this play out.
I’m one of the few non-Bray Wyatt fans, and after a little of a year of him, I’m pretty much through of his gimmick. As for Jericho, he’s lost another step, especially compared to his run in 2013.
Much needed victory for Bray, the rubber match is coming at Night of Champions, and then we have to say farewell to Jericho again.
Cesaro’s new walkout music
It’s no longer a tornado siren, but an ambulance siren, and I hate it even more.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Championship
I feel mixed emotions about this match. All of Lesnar’s matches during his title reign are going to be one sided, but I resent the fact that its going to be this way. Lesnar is being revered as the most dominant athlete in the history of the company, and I realize he is, but I want to see the rollercoaster ride of a typical wrestling match, not a one-sided German Suplex clinic.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Yes, I’m classifying this match as bad and awesome. The wrestling itself, nothing to rewatch ever again, but the story? Fantastic.
WWE builds Cena up to be the cornerstone athlete in the company, so to watch the 15-time WWE Champ get worked the way he did makes Lesnar literally look unbeatable. The former UFC Champion is going to hold this title until Wrestlemania 31, and he’s going to do it in the most dominant fashion possible. Every match is going to be a cakewalk, he is going to be the perfect villain. Whether it is Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan(don’t count him out) or Dean Ambrose (darkhorse pick, but crowds are really behind him) win the Royal Rumble in 2015, and he goes over Lesnar, his career is forever made.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, Intercontinental Championship
The Internet Wrestling Community has to be happy after this one. Ziggler, being the fan favorite he is, worked his tail off to climb back up the ranks, and at one point, it looked like he was going to make it back. I’m a huge Ziggler fan, I was legitimately stunned that he was victorious last night. Hopefully the result is lengthy title run. He’s arguably a top-3 worker in the company, and this being the “worker’s title”, I’d love to see what he can do with it.
Highlights of the match include: Hollywood Miz’s entrance jacket(very LA, I loved it), Ziggler’s Superkick to “The Money Maker”, and The Miz’s reversal of the Fameasser to Skull Crushing Finale, which I legitimately thought was the end match.
Love watching these two go at it, and I hope the rematch clause is saved for Night of Champions.
Paige vs. AJ Lee, Divas Championship
This match was great. Paige has really come into her own as a heel, and her personality is really beginning to shine. The spots these two pulled off were great
Paige dumping AJ onto the barricade and Lee jumping for the top rope to the outside are two physical moments that divas matches lack. Hair pulling was taken to a new level when Paige lost part of her weave. And Paige’s new finisher, the cradled DDT, is a lot more devastating looking than the Page Turner ever looked.
I think this match was perfectly executed, and these two are going have many, many more classic matches in the future.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Match of the night. Rivalry of the year. These two are great, and even better when squaring off against one another. WWE struck gold when they signed these two indy scene stars; they are the future. I’ve been tuning in every week specifically to see how this rivalry unfolds. I do not know where these go from here, but I hope we get Rollins versus Ambrose part two in five weeks.
The Lumberjack match was utilized perfectly. Being the Lunatic Fringe he is, Ambrose was relentless towards the lumberjacks, attacking anyone who came close to him. His dive off the announcer’s tables will never get old to me, and neither will his recovery move off the second rope. Rollins did an incredible job on selling the Lariat, making his flip look natural, not intentional. If you didn’t watch the match last night, I highly advise you do. It itself is worth the $9.99 you spend for the WWE Network (WOOO, free plug for the Network!)
A part of me wants Rollins to cash in the contract on Lesnar, have a feud with Ambrose that leads into Wrestlemania 31, then having the main event be a triple threat showdown between the three former brethren of The Shield.
Obviously, I was satisfied with the event. All the matches exceeded expectations, and I’m excited for the product going forward. Ambrose vs. Rollins takes the cake for match of the night, with Ziggler vs. Miz coming in second. What did you guys think, what was good and what was bad? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow me on the twittersphere @ttrill_.