WWE – Summerslam 2014 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 168 minutes approx.
And so we come to the “Biggest party of the summer” as the WWE would have us believe. Well it used to be before the advent of monthly PPVs making these events less special than they used to be yet the Summerslam name is one some fans still attach some reverence towards purely out of nostalgia from being on of the “Big 4” I would venture.
This year’s event saw many of the undercard wrestlers once again tread water, this time buttressed by two new feuds, one involving two former Shield members and another featuring non-wrestler Stephanie McMahon whose bullying of the Bella Twins has been the major long term storyline for the Divas. The card was headlined by Brock Lesnar’s first WWE title shot since 2004, the Authority’s “Plan C” against John Cena.
The show took place on August 17th at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California with a reported attendance of 17, 537 fans. Our commentators as always are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL and while my match review won’t contain any results spoilers (the DVD cover does that instead!), expect plenty of opinion.
Before the action gets underway Hulk Hogan comes out to shamelessly shill the underperforming WWE Network on a show which they hope are many people are watching…on the WWE Network! No mention on how much it costs though…
WWE IC Title Match – The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
The Miz won the vacant IC title in a battle royale at Battleground last eliminating Ziggler hence this match up. A decent fast paced opener although both men should really be higher up the card by now and – especially Ziggler – challenging for the world title instead of the mid card title which could help elevate newer guys. To put this into perspective two years ago at Summerslam, the IC champion was…The Miz!
WWE Divas Title Match – AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige
This is a rematch of the rematch of the rematch. If it wasn’t for the pabulum that is Total Divas occupying the other women, one could be forgiven for thinking AJ and Paige are the only two women interested in the title. That said they work well together and this match is much better than their last encounter at Battleground. Given time they could truly turn heads and cause a rethink about women’s wrestling in WWE.
Flag Match – Jack Swagger vs. Rusev
Right up until bell time they were no clear explanation of the rules for this match, since flag matches are usually won be either capturing your opponent’s flag or your own nation’s flag. As it turned out, this one saw the victor have his flag raised. Another solid match between the two, in which Rusev begins to show a marked improvement while Swagger seems reinvigorated by this surprisingly successful face turn.
Lumberjack Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
An odd choice for Ambrose, who won the right to pick the stipulation, in the age of ladder matches and table matches. Lumberjack matches are hindrance for the wrestlers while serving as an excuse to give others a pay day, but damn it all, Ambrose and Rollins pulled one out of the bag and used the typical multi-man chaos to their advantage and delivered a cracker of a match. A great surprise and proof these two are the future of the company.
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
The third rematch from Battleground but this time Wyatt goes it alone as Jericho eliminated both Harper and Rowan on TV in the weeks leading up to this show, banning them from ringside. An improvement on their first encounter but the chemistry just isn’t quite there between them but kudos to Jericho for working with the younger talent (and not burying them like his contemporaries have a habit of doing).
Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon
Believe it or not this is the second most promoted match on the card (not a surprise when a McMahon is involved) and has been brewing for months, ever since Brie slapped Steph at Payback in May. Since then Brie quit, saw her sister Nikki terrorised by Steph as a result and was rehired after both women had the other arrested on RAW. This was Steph’s first match in over a decade and – while I’m not a fan of hers – did well playing the foil to Brie. Not a great match technically but it told a good story.
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Well, the last few minutes were good. Reigns is being targeted as the next big thing but if this match achieved anything it was to expose that maybe he isn’t quite ready for the main event push. He has the presence, the look and his power moves are over but he is still a work in progress as this long match demonstrates. I’m no Orton fan but as the veteran he didn’t seem able to paper over the cracks as he should have either.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match – John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
Well this was….different. Less a match more a physical dissection of brutal proportions as Lesnar did the unthinkable and literally dominated Super Cena for 18 minutes. Lesnar hit an unprecedented SIXTEEN German Suplexes on Cena who – credit where it is due – probably gave back more in this match than he has in the past ten years. A remarkable scenario to watch but one could question if it would be better served to put someone new over? Still, one of the more memorable main events of the year.
The actual PPV itself may have lost some of its lustre and big event feeling since it is now just one of twelve monthly shows but this year the feeling the wrestlers stepped it up a notch and some rather major developments occurred means some people are still willing to honour the Summerslam legacy.
The biggest news story – aside from the stultifying trajectory of the undercard – is the main event which delivered a suitably game changing result but was it the right one? At the moment we are unable to pass judgement but it created a buzz so we only give the WWE the benefit of the doubt for now.
One of the stronger shows if the year although a far cry from being a classic.
Best Match – Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
A Special Look at the Chris Jericho-Bray Wyatt Rivalry
Summerslam Kickoff Show Match – Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro
Exclusive – What’s Next for Roman Reigns?
Exclusive – Nikki Bella Will Not Be Forgotten
Blu Ray Only:
Monday Night RAW 21st July 2014
4-on-1 Handicap Match – Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox, Cameron, Eva Marie & Rosa Mendes
Stephanie McMahon Gets Arrested
Brock Lesnar is The Authority’s “Plan C”
Monday Night RAW 28th July 2014
John Cena Has More Passion than Brock Lesnar
Monday Night RAW 4th August 2014
Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella Contract Signing
Smackdown 7th August 2014
Dean Ambrose Wants Seth Rollins in a Wall of Flesh
Monday Night RAW 11th August 2014
Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho Face-to-Face
Brock Lesnar Crashes Hulk Hogan’s Birthday Celebration
Rating – ****
Man In Black