WWE – Summerslam 2015 (Cert 15)
2 Discs DVD/ 1 Disc BD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 223 minutes approx.
For the first time in its twenty-seven year history, the second big show of the WWE calendar Summerslam has been extended to four hours! Since the show was a part of a three-night stay in Brooklyn at the same venue, it was decided to make this akin to Wrestlemania with the whole Axxess weekend treatment, and it worked as the entire weekend was a success.
It was also given this lofty treatment due to the main event of Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker which was baffling billed as “The Match Too Big For Wrestlemania”. Considering WM is supposed to be the “biggest show of the year” for the WWE this boast is as inaccurate as it is spurious. Hey, it probably sounded good in Vince McMahon’s head and we all know what a scary pace that is these days.
Anyway, Taker returned at the end of the Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins WWE Title Match main event at Battleground costing Brock the title apparently seething at the Beast for ending the streak sixteen months earlier at Wrestlemania 30. Why Taker didn’t do this at Wrestlemania 31 this year when he and Lesnar were at the same venue remains a mystery but this is wrestling so…
Taking place on August 19th 2015, at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York before 15,702 fans, your commentators as always are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL, and while no results will be given away but expect some opinion.
The show actually begins with US TV host Jon Stewart, who worked an angle with Seth Rollins a few months earlier, in the role of official host of Summerslam where he is joined by a New York native Mick Foley for some lame comedy.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
We’ve seen this match a thousand times now so we know what to expect, but in terms of this restarted feud it is essentially the second match. With Sheamus the current MITB holder and Orton having won the last match at Battleground, the result is pretty much inevitable. Fine for what it was and nothing more.
WWE Tag Title Fatal four Way Match – Prime Time Players (c) vs. The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores
A fast paced match with lots of comedy that surprisingly didn’t detract from the quality of the action. Good work from everyone who all got a chance to shine, with New Day being the de facto favourites since Brooklyn is a “Smart” crowd. There is a noticeable botch when one of the Matadores fell off the top rope while setting up a spot so his partner swiftly took his place as if nothing happened. Nice save there. Fun match which held the crowd’s interest.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
This feud is so backwards it gives me a headache trying to work it out. Rusev dumped Lana because reasons, so she hooked up with Dolph Ziggler who then rubbed it in Rusev’s face. Surely that would make Ziggler the heel right? Apparently not. Anyway jealous Rusev wanted Lana back but she refused so Summer Rae took pity on Rusev and became his new Lana, even dressing as her. Lana now has the hump with Summer over this because in the WWE all women hate each other, but as she now has Ziggler why should she care?
Rusev put Ziggler on the shelf by injuring his throat while Rusev himself broke his ankle but they are both back now and ready to fight for…er… their women? This was the debut of Lana in her new white trash outfit which is her usual suits but made of bleached denim. So she has gone from being a unique strong female character to indistinguishable eye candy. Both guys worked hard resulting in a solid mid-card bout spoiled by a lame ending but the fans got their catfight, so go figure.
Neville & Stephen Amell vs. Stardust & King Barrett
Amell is in the TV series Arrow and this came about after Stardust shoved Amell when he was in the crowd for RAW after losing to Neville. A few months later Neville defeated Barrett on RAW when Amell was again in the crowd but this time Amell got his revenge when Stardust and Barrett attacked Neville, leading to this tag match. I’ve not watched Arrow so I can’t comment on Amell’s physical credentials but he worked the whole match and didn’t embarrass himself as previous celebs have been, pulling out some impressive moves.
WWE IC Title Triple Threat Match – Ryback (c) vs. Big Show vs. The Miz
Originally set for Battleground this was nixed when Ryback injured his knee but the Big Guy is back and the match is on. This was actually much better than it had any right to be considering who is involved and was kept short to boot. Big Show did something resembling a Cannonball on Ryback which must have hurt! The last couple of minutes were a frenzy of new falls that genuinely had us guessing who would win.
Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose
From the file marked “Creative has nothing for you”, Reigns, who was supposed to be the heir apparent to Cena but was rejected by the fans, was put into a feud with the going nowhere Wyatt into which Harper interjected himself by rejoining his former mentor. Ambrose was also floundering due to having the temerity to fall in love with announcer Renee Young, so all four were thrown together into this interminable feud. A fun brawl as you might expect with Harper demonstrating what an underrated talent he is, especially for a big guy.
Winner Takes All Match – WWE US Champion John Cena vs. WWE World Champion Seth Rollins
Both titles are on the line yet a new T-Shirt commemorating Cena’s 15 WWE Title reigns was released one week BEFORE this match happened! Spoiler much? As ever Cena was given a warm welcome as the Brooklyn crowd sang “John Cena sucks!” to his music! Rollins is wearing a white version of his outfit, resembling a giant version of El Torito. Both guys went overboard with the big moves which they then constantly kicked out of, a’la ROH but was a good big time match. As it’s a Cena match however an eye rolling screwy finish was almost inevitable and we weren’t disappointed in that respect.
Three Team Elimination Match – Team PCB vs. Team BAD vs. Team Bella
With the addition of Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks to the Divas division, women’s wrestling in the WWE got a shot in the arm in terms of talent but the booking has left a lot to be desired. This three team showdown was inevitable but feels a little anti-climactic after the numerous interchangeable TV matches we’ve seen in the prior weeks.
Unfortunately it has received lukewarm to negative reviews simply because 24 hours earlier at NXT Takeover in the same arena, Banks had a classic MOTY contender against Bayley for the NXT Women’s Title which some fans seemed to expect be replicated here, unable to discern NXT’s booking vs. WWE’s booking (hint: Vince and Kevin Dunn aren’t involved in one of them). That said it was a good fun match but the elimination stipulation harmed it a little when the crowd favourite went first, but overall a vast improvement on previous women’s matches on the main roster.
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro
Owens is the latest victim of the Cena curse – a promising up and coming talent gets to feud with Cena but is beaten in quick fashion and becomes just another face in the crowd as his legs are cut off from under him. Cesaro is another one hitting his head on the glass ceiling despite his ever growing “Cesaro Section” of fans but Vince won’t get behind him because he is Swiss therefore he “can’t connect with the crowd”. Decent match that won the fans over with the hard work of both men, especially Owens who just the night before was in a ladder match against Finn Balor at NXT Takeover.
Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker
Believe it or not Taker is the heel here since his attacks on Lesnar have consisted of low blows. This match doesn’t have the same intensity of the Wrestlemania 30 match as nothing is on the line but it is a hard hitting brawl, made a little better in that Taker wasn’t knocked silly early on. With Lesnar as the default face, he is forced to be on the defensive which he isn’t used to but that doesn’t stop him taking take to Suplex City! Once again the screwy booking is implemented not once but twice to keep both men looking strong but instead incurs our groans. If this matters Lesnar’s defiant middle finger to Taker is blurred out here because PG (although this has a 15 certificate here).
Wrestling wise this was an enjoyable show top to bottom with nothing that stands out as bad, where even the matches with the lowest expectations over-performed. The energy of the show, despite being four hours in length, was helped by a great Brooklyn crowd which didn’t sound burned out from the NXT show the night before (assuming there was some overlap).
Unfortunately the old problem of the younger, up and coming talent not leaving this show with some kind of forward momentum is a glaring issue which Vince McMahon stubbornly refuses to address. Similarly the continuing protection of the old guard like Super Cena continues unabated this time at the expense of the WWE World Champion. There is no way anyone can say that Seth Rollins came out of this match any stronger and this is just one reason why WWE programming has lost almost a million viewers this past year.
If Summerslam 2015 were a film my summary would be “Great acting in spite of a lousy script”.
Best match – John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
Summerslam Kick off Show
Sheamus has Plans For The Viper
Stephanie McMahon Is Anxious For A Divas Revolution
Home Video Exclusives
The New Day Celebrate Their Victory With Positivity
Team PCB Plan to take Over The World
Monday Night RAW – August 17th 2015 – Brock Lesnar Is Face To Face With The Demon
Rating – ****
Man In Black