To me, Summerslam ranks last in the “Big Four” of the WWE’s main pay-per-view line. Wrestlemania will always be the showcase and the big ticket item. The Royal Rumble will always have a lot of surprises and fun moments thanks to the titular match. Even Survivor Series usually has a gimmick with teams having to eliminate each other. But Summerslam? What does it really have going for it? It usually feels like Wrestlemania Lite to me,
Anyway, this year’s Summerslam actually had some potentially fantastic matches. Let’s see how they did this year, shall we?
Match #1: Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
The buildup to this match didn’t make a lick of sense. Thankfully, these four performers are some of the best the WWE has to offer now. So, maybe they can still pull off a good match.
The match as a whole was decent. Jericho and Owens are good performers when they work solo and they were able to suck in the crowd with some of their antics. Enzo and Cass work extremely well together and their ability to execute moves fluidly like a well oiled machine was fun to watch. And, seeing as Summerslam was held in Brooklyn, practically in Enzo and Cass’s very own backyard, the audience got into the match pretty early.
Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last throughout the entire match. I think it was because of the lengthy beatdown on Enzo. It felt a little bit too extended and sucked the wind out of most of the match. Anyway, the finish came when, after Owens took out Cass with a cannonball outside the ring, Enzo tried to mount a comeback on his own. It was all for naught, however, as Owen launched Enzo into Jericho who landed a Codebreaker for the pinfall victory.
Like I said, decent match overall. It just lacked the magic and excitement of a great match for some reason.
Rating: 7 of 10 “How you doin’s”
Match #2: Sasha Banks vs Charlotte for the Women’s Championship
The Women’s division has been white hot as of late. Can Sasha Banks and Charlotte pull the heat for their match in Summerslam?
Unfortunately, the match really couldn’t get in the groove because it looked like Sasha Banks got legit hurt early on. It looked like Charlotte was going for a fallaway slam from the second rope but didn’t get her footing underneath her. This made Charlotte drop Sasha hard on the floor. Sasha did try to power through the pain and the duo still hit some amazing spots afterwards.
The finish came rather suddenly, with Charlotte, while locked in Sasha’s Bank Statement submission hold, rolling her opponent to get the surprise pinfall victory. I really want to say this was an excellent match but, after that sick looking fall, Sasha Banks really couldn’t mount that much offense, nor could Charlotte show the vicious side without aggravating Sasha’s injury.
Rating: 7 of 10 botched fallaway slams
Match #3: The Miz (with Maryse) vs Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Title
Remember when I mentioned that there were some matches I was looking forward to in Summerslam? This wasn’t one of them.
It was just so hard to even try to get interested in this match. I actually don’t blame The Miz because he is actually really good on the mic. The problem for me is actually Apollo Crews. Sure, he’s got the makings of a really good in-ring performer. He’s athletic. He’s powerful. What he isn’t is any good at is getting the audience excited… which is the most important for any WWE “sports entertainer.” Simply put, he still lacks the charisma to be a great WWE “superstar.” Granted, the match was functional for what it was (a way to showcase Apollo Crews’ wrestling ability) with a “star” talent like The Miz. Crews dominated the majority of the match, which did allow the crowd to appreciate his raw wrestling ability, which was the point.
The finish came fairly quickly with The Miz dodging a Stinger Splash. This stunned Crews long enough for The A-Lister to nail the Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall victory. Crews was impressive for the most part but, overall, the match didn’t give a lasting impression at all. Heck, I was more intrigued with what Maryse was wearing! What is that? A leather one piece bathing suit with rhinestones?
Rating: 5 of 10 Maryse’s weird outfits
Match #4: John Cena vs AJ Styles
Now, this was the Summerslam match I was looking forward to!
Say what you will about John Cena. I personally don’t like him but he does know how to pull of great and memorable matches that’s meant to entertain the audience. AJ Styles has been incredible ever since entering the WWE during the Royal Rumble. The two had a phenomenal match in Money in the Bank… but I think this was the better one!
This match had everything! The action was energetic and frantic at times. The moves looked like they really hurt. There were reversal after reversal after reversal. Both of them had the near falls that just added to the drama and unpredictability of who was actually going to get the victory. Heck, both Cena and AJ Styles hit their signature moves a couple of times but were able to kick out at the last second!
The finish was also a thing of beauty. Cena carried Styles over to the corner and climbed the second rope to hit his finishing maneuver, the Attitude Adjustment, from there. Miraculously, Styles kicked out! Like me and the entire audience, John Cena was in shock that Styles managed to kick out! Cena tried to do another AA but Styles reversed the move into the Styles Clash. Styles then went for the Phenomenal Forearm to ensure the pinfall victory, which he got. After the match, Cena sat in the ring and looked at his “Never Give Up” wristband. He then took it off and left it in the ring before exiting, which left me intrigued with what Cena would do now.
Great match and definitely one of the best matches I’ve seen in a while. Both competitors pull off a fantastic showing of true wrestling grit and, more importantly, storytelling. The only teensy, tiny issue I have with the entire match would be that it’s getting a little bit too formulaic. Performing chain reversals may be great now but do it too often and people will get tired of it.
Rating: 9 of 10 Styles kicking out of the AA
Match #5: The New Day (with Jon Stewart) vs The Club
I like Jon Stewart… but he’s definitely no Big E! But, with Big E on the shelf, he’ll have to do? As this was the match that followed the extremely excellent Cena vs. Styles match, I didn’t expect all that much. This was essentially the “cooldown” match to let things simmer down a bit before the other, more high profile matches. Adding Jon Stewart all but confirmed this.
The match itself was fine if not just a tad underwhelming. The wrestling did showcase all the gimmicks and laughs a typical New Day match has (sans Big E) and Anderson and Gallows brutalized their opponents as well. But it was a rather safe event and free of really jump out of your seat moments.
The ending of the match came with Jon Stewart stopping a pinfall attempt on Kofi after the latter got hit with The Club’s Magic Killer finisher. Anderson and Gallows teased throwing Stewart crotch first into the ringpost but Big E rushed in with the save! As Big E wasn’t officially part of the match, The New Day gets disqualified. Nevertheless, Big E runs in and annihilates Anderson and Gallows and the New Day celebrate in the ring.
Like I said, the match was fine for what it was; a cooldown match for the bigger things. It was passable but it definitely wasn’t anything great.
Rating: 6 of 10… why is Jon Stewart here again?
Match #6: Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship
This was actually a match I was looking forward to. Both Ambrose and Ziggler are great in-ring performers and know how to steal the show. The build up was actually all right but the match itself? Well…
At the start, it looked like this was going to be a bloody and brutal match, with Ziggler and Ambrose almost coming to blows before the bell even rang. Ziggler really took it to Ambrose early on with a really hyper aggressive style. Strangely enough, the usually crazy and insane Dean Ambrose was the one who slowed down the match! Ambrose was actually the more methodical of the two! Thankfully, things did pick up soon after.
Still, the entire match felt off kilter at points. There were some interesting spots but the pacing was off because those spots were fan in between each other. The match seemed longer than it should have been as a result. The quick finish didn’t help matters. Ziggler attempted a facebuster from the top rope but Ambrose landed on his feet and then countered with his Dirty Deeds double underhook DDT.
It was actually a good match but I couldn’t really figure out why I didn’t get into it. A lot of it had to do with the pacing as there were a lot of times when nothing was really happening to continue the story of the fight.
Rating: 7 of 10 methodical Dean Ambroses
Match #7: Becky Lynch, Naomi and Carmella vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss and… Oh God, NOOOOOOOO!
The return of Nikki Bella. Boo! Hiss! I can’t imagine that I would be actually praying for Eva Marie to swoop in to take out Nikki Bella… but I was! And, yes, I really hate Nikki Bella.
This match was already a huge waste of time and a misuse of the talent of Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss. It would’ve been much better if Becky Lynch and Carmella tagged against Alexa Bliss and Natalya since the three girls mentioned at the start need the screen time. But they added Nikki Bella to the match, thus making it about her. And that’s something she doesn’t need!
The finish came with Nikki hitting the TKO on Carmella. Bah! To be fair, the match wasn’t awful just because of Nikki; it was going to be awful even without her.
Rating: 3 of 10 Nikki Bella… bleargh!
Match #8: Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship
I already know the WWE Universal Championship was a lousy name. Nice to see the WWE decided to make a belt to match its awful name!
Thankfully, the competitors for the title aren’t awful. Finn Balor has been able to consistently pull off great matches and Seth Rollins is, well, Seth Rollins! Both of them really gave it their all and the match was a whole lot better for it. The entire bout was solid from the start with Balor and Rollins really showing what they can do. I honestly think Balor has the potential to be like this generation’s CM Punk. He certainly has the wrestling chops to do so.
It certainly helps that Rollins knows how to sell each and every one of Balor’s moves and vice versa. The pacing was solid with something interesting always happening every minute. The match had a great energy to it and the spots were consistently exhilarating. The finish was an exciting sequence which started with Balor reversing the Pedigree attempt by Rollins. Balor then capitalizes by dropkicking Rollins in to the turnbuckles a couple of times before closing the match with the Coupe de Grace for the pinfall victory.
Really excellent match with both men showing why they deserve to be in the top of Raw. The match could’ve benefited from being just a few minutes longer but it was still a very satisfying thing to see.
Rating: 8 of 10 lousy looking Universal Title belts
Match #9: Roman Reigns vs Rusev (with Lana) for the United States Championship
Wait… is Roman Reigns a bad guy?
I don’t get why Roman Reigns was so mad. He essentially beat up on Rusev for… getting married or something. If Reigns insulted Lana just to get in Rusev’s head, why did he attack the Bulgarian Brute before the match even started? It’s really confusing!
Anyway, the match didn’t even get underway because Reigns jumped the gun and assaulted Rusev. Rusev was apparently injured so the match didn’t get underway. Isn’t that what a heel would do? Terrible, terrible storytelling, WWE! Just terrible!
Rating: 2 of 10 No, really. Is Roman Reigns officially a bad guy?
Match #10: Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
It would’ve been better if this match switched with the WWE Universal Championship match in terms of placement. But, this is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about! As much as I would crap my pants if I ever got into a fight with Mr. Lesnar, sir, I do have to say I’m getting pretty tired of the entire “Suplex City” bit. I liked it better when he was a submission machine!
The match was slow and methodical but still intriguing as we were all waiting for Orton to get his run in. I was hoping Orton would reverse the F5 and turn it into an RKO. But doing it on a table (that didn’t collapse) was okay, I guess.
Even if Orton did try his best, The Beast was just too powerful. The finish came not with a Kimura Lock, an F5 or even 26 german suplexes after. No, it came from a clubbing elbow to opened up Orton’s forehead and… knocked him out? Regardless of the official result, the match was called off. However, Lesnar wasn’t done and continued to beat down on the unconscious Orton. Smackdown General Manager Shane McMahon tried to stop the beating but only got an F5 for his trouble. There will probably be repercussions because of this… but we’ll have to watch Raw and Smackdown to find out, won’t we?
This would’ve been a great match if it were much longer instead of the 5 minute bout we got. Lesnar could’ve ground up Orton with suplex after suplex and then go for the clubbing blow to finish it off. It was a shocking end, yes. But there was virtually no journey to get to it.
Rating: 7 of 10 Randy Orton with a crimson mask
Overall Rating for Summerslam (2016):
This was an okay Summerslam. It wasn’t the worst pay-per-view I’ve seen but it definitely won’t stand the test of time. There were a couple of highlights like the Cena vs. Styles match and the Balor vs Rollins was good, too. But there were too many matches and segments, like the 3-women tag match and the Reigns vs Rusev segment, that just meandered and felt useless. The WWE should consider cutting down their pay-per-views to 3 hours instead of the 4 hours (plus 2 hours of preshow) they’re currently pumping out.
Rating: 7 of 10… Ooh! Holy Foley is next!
What did you think of this year’s Summerslam? Let me know in the comments section below!