Powell's WWE SummerSlam Hit List: Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins vs. John Cena match finishes, New Day win the tag titles, Divas Revolution, Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro, Americanized Lana, Divas' faction war
By Jason Powell
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WWE SummerSlam Hits
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar: Looking at this strictly from a match quality standpoint for now, this was so much better than I expected it to be. The live crowd sounded split and it made for a great atmosphere. I really like the way Lesnar attacked while Taker was finishing his great entrance routine, as it set the right tone for the match. And I absolutely loved the way Taker sat up and mocked Lesnar laughing late in the match. This exceeded all expectations and delivered big in the main event slot. More on the match finish in the other section.
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena: I cringed when WWE went back to this feud because I was still burned out on Rollins vs. Cena after seeing it way too many times late last year. However, Rollins and Cena won me over with their Raw match, and this was even better. Rollins is sensational in the ring and they should create a statue in his image regardless of his storyline request. Cena continues to deliver at such a high level, which is simply amazing at this point in his career. The crowd created the expected great atmosphere with the Cena haters hanging on every near fall and jeering the man they love to hate from the moment he entered. Again, more on this finish in the other section.
New Day vs. The Prime Time Players vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores: A fun spot fest match with the right team going over. The rise of New Day has been so fun to watch. They never had a chance to get over as babyfaces due to this gimmick, but it's perfect for them as heels. It's been great to watch their confidence grow and to see them do so many unconventional things such as last night's version of "Empire State of Mind." They look like they are having a blast out there and it's infectious. They will have to work hard and be very creative to turn crowds against them because they are one of the most entertaining acts in the company right now. By the way, major props to the Los Matadores member (I still can't tell them apart) for being so quick on his feet when his tag partner accidentally fell off the ropes. In a savvy veteran move, he replaced his partner without hesitation to keep the pivotal tower of doom spot in play.
Stephen Amell and Neville vs. Stardust and Cosmic King Barrett: You have to grade on a curve when it comes to celebrities working actual matches, and therefore Amell was very good. I loved what Floyd Mayweather did with Big Show, but Amell worked a tag match and did a nice job of selling for the heels before hitting his big dive off the top rope. I was surprised that they didn't have Neville hit the Red Arrow on Stardust and then have Amell take the pin. Instead, Neville pinned the Cosmic King (who is so much better than the one dimensional King Barrett). Maybe there's more to come on Raw tonight?
Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz: A solid five-minute match with rapid fire near falls that kept the crowd engaged. It was nice to hear the hard working and much improved Miz get some love from the crowd when he tried to steal a couple of pins. It was also nice to hear the crowd rally behind Ryback. I expected the "internet fan" backlash to be severe after C.M. Punk implied that he was dangerous in the ring, but crowds in Chicago and now Brooklyn have rallied behind him and chanted his catchphrase. Big Show's second rope senton looked more like a nervous and awkwardly slow summersault.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper: A minor Hit in that the finish served as a crowd pleasing moment at a time when the show needed one. I attended the Wyatt Family vs. The Shield match at Elimination Chamber in 2014. The fans were chanting "this is awesome" during the ring entrances in anticipation of that match. This match never had that type of spark. It felt like just another tag match involving four of the six members, and it didn't help that Ambrose told us on Raw that this wouldn't be the last time these teams would meet. I was surprised to see Bray Wyatt take the pin. At this point, maybe I should't be. They give him so much promo time and he usually delivers, but he never backs up anything he says going into high profile matches.
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: A minor Hit for match quality. I enjoyed the match and I believe the majority of the live crowd did as well. As I mentioned in my live review last night, I suspect that the fans were quiet during the match because they didn't have a strong preference and were simply content with either man winning since nothing was really at stake. Will WWE tell a story with Cesaro losing all of these competitive televised matches or is this simply indicative of what his role in WWE is?
WWE SummerSlam Misses
Big match finishes: I expected one of the big two matches to have a cheap finish. When they gave us Jon Stewart's poorly executed turn on John Cena, I assumed that meant we would get a more decisive finish in the main event. Instead, we got a clunky finish that required a replay for viewers to follow. Taker and Lesnar were having a very good match and that finish sucked the air out of Barclays Center. Sure, it set up a rematch between Brock and Taker, but it was the quality of this match, not the finish, that sold me on the idea of seeing a rematch. And I still hope that the rematch occurs at Survivor Series rather than WrestleMania. They worked very well together last night, but I'd still prefer to see them move on to new opponents at WrestleMania. The only positive thing I can say about the finish is that they had Lesnar lose without damaging him. As for the Rollins vs. Cena match, they clearly went with a finish that would generate mainstream media attention. Does this mean that Stewart will become crazy Pete Rose to Cena's Kane?
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton: The never ending feud continues with Sheamus getting the win this month to set up yet another match between the two. No one cares! It's nothing against either wrestler, but surely even they are tired of rearranging their spots to make the same match look somewhat original. I feel bad for Sheamus. His ass kicker gimmick may have worked if he had been a dominant heel on a winning streak, but it was doomed the moment they took the even steven booking approach with him.
Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler: Americanized Lana would look dated at a Bon Jovi concert filled with middle aged mothers and grandmothers. No one likes a couple that wears matching clothes. What next, Dolph and Lana get matching mall sweatshirts with their picture on it? I am entertained by comedy Rusev, but I continue to feel that he is being wasted in a dead end comedy program when he should still be kicking ass and making money. A double count out? Why not have Ziggler win by count out to at least give the live crowd a little something to cheer about?
PCB vs. Team Bella vs. Team BAD: The only thing I wanted from the faction war was for one of the women to pin Nikki Bella to set up a title match. I assume Becky Lynch will get a title match even though she pinned Brie Bella, but I continue to be frustrated by this faction war nonsense. Can we get to the part where the women have individual characters and tear the house down in singles matches like we saw at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn? And don't give me this crap about using the established Divas to give rub to the NXT newbies. It's a sad way around creative actually taking the time to establish the characters of the new women. We're how many weeks in and so far we know that Charlotte is Ric Flair's daughter, Sasha Banks is The Boss, and Becky Lynch is Irish? Yeah, that's some great character development, WWE. Viva la Revolution.
Prowrestling.net Live with guest analyst Justin Credible and Jason Powell taking your calls is on the air at 3:00 p.m. CT/4:00 p.m. ET at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
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