By Jason Powell
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WWE SummerSlam 2016
Aired August 21, 2016 live on WWE Network
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
A video opened the show and focussed on the top SummerSlam matches… There was a cool pyro display on the special stage. Cole noted that it was the 29th Annual SummerSlam…
Enzo Amore and Big Cass made their entrance to a big ovation. Enzo, who wore a New York Yankees jacket and Notorious BIG on the back, delivered mic work on the way to the ring. Once in the ring, he dedicated the promo to people who said they wouldn’t amount to anything.
Enzo spoke about how Frank Sinatra knew he was looking at the greatest city in the world when he sang “New York, New York.” Cass sang the chorus. Enzo said he and Cass are in an empire state of mind and they are living proof that bright lights can inspire you. Enzo quoted Biggie Smalls saying “mo money, mo problems.” Cass said they have 99 problems and Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens aren’t one of them. Cass delivered the SAWFT line.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens made their entrance. Graves accused Enzo of running through every New York cliche in the book and then pointed out that he’s actually from New Jersey. There was a big pop for Owens…
Powell’s POV: The stage is cool and it’s nice to see WWE go above and beyond for a marquee show rather than using their usual stage. The Enzo and Cass mic work wasn’t particularly memorable, but the New York crowd enjoyed it.
1. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. The Raw broadcast team called the match and introduced the Spanish broadcast team. The fans chanted “Stupid Idiot” early in the match and then sang Enzo’s name. Cole noted that Cass was trained up the road by Johnny Rodz. Graves said at least he’s a real New Yorker unlike Enzo.
Enzo ran the ropes and Cass caught him and threw him onto Jericho and Owens on the floor. At 4:00, Owens mocked Enzo’s dance on the ring apron for a laugh. The heels isolated Enzo, who took a frogsplash from Owens for a two count. The fans got up in anticipation of the hot tag by chanting “Let’s Go Enzo.”
Cass took the hot tag and ended up running into Jericho’s boots in the corner. Jericho went up top and leapt into a big boot from Cass. Enzo and Cass set up for their finisher, but Owens crotched Enzo on the top turnbuckle. Owens worked over Cass on the floor and gave him a cannonball against the barricade. In the ring, Enzo leapt off the top rope and performed a DDT on Jericho. Enzo covered Jericho, but Owens broke it up.
Owens performed the Popup portion of his finisher that launched Enzo into Jericho’s Codebreaker on the way down that looked vicious. Jericho covered Enzo for the win. Jericho and Owens celebrated on the stage and said “I love you” to one another. Funny…
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass in 12:10.
Powell’s POV: Cole sold it as if Jericho caught just enough of Enzo to put him away even though it actually looked nasty in the sense that Enzo’s head snapped back. The outcome is a surprise, but it’s not like they can’t give Enzo and Cass a win in the same venue on Raw tomorrow night.
Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan encountered Mick Foley. Jon Stewart and his son showed up. Stewart questioned how Foley could work with Stephanie and accused her of abuse of power. He figured out that Stephanie was standing right behind him. She asked what good is power if you can’t abuse it. New Day entered the picture and Stewart’s son went from looking bored to excited…
A video package focussed on the women’s title match…
2. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the WWE Women’s Championship. Cole said no female has a better record through her first 15 pay-per-view matches than Charlotte. He also noted that Dana Brooke is banned from ringside. JoJo delivered the in-ring introductions for the title match.
There was an ugly spot on the top rope with Charlotte dropping Sasha, who landed awkwardly on her neck. It appeared Sasha’s legs landing on the top rope may have turned her over enough to avoid major injury. Sasha popped up and seemed fine aside from selling her lower back. Charlotte followed up with a backbreaker.
Later (after some network hiccups on my PS4), Charlotte went for a superplex, but Sasha countered into a huracanrana. Charlotte popped right up and wanted to go for her finisher, but Sasha kicked her away. Charlotte hip-tossed Charlotte into the corner where she was hung up in the ropes and then took shots at her until Sasha sat up. Charlotte went to the middle rope and went for a Razor’s Edge from there, but Sasha countered into a huracanrana.
Late in the match, Charlotte showed frustration over not being able to put Sasha away and told her that she’s better than her. Sasha caught her in a Bank Statement for the third time, but Charlotte rolled onto her, hooked the leg, and got the 1-2-3…
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks in 13:20 to regain the WWE Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: A surprising outcome to the match and surprising placement of the match in terms of it going on second. There were a couple of scary moments, but the match was highly entertaining and the crowd was into it. I’m curious to see where they go from here and if Bayley plays into Charlotte’s future in any way.
A pizza commercial aired…
Backstage, AJ Styles spoke with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson briefly. They did the Too Sweet gesture. Finn Balor entered the picture and they wanted him to join them with the hand gesture, but he just smiled and walked away without joining them…
Powell’s POV: Does this mean my fantasy booking scenario of Anderson and Gallows aligning with new leader Rollins is back in play? I’m still guessing the Demon King won’t lose his first match, but I was wrong about the results of the first two matches.
3. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Title. The Miz wore a bedazzled Phantom of the Opera style mask to the ring. The Smackdown broadcast team called the match. Miz went for a move off the top rope and jumped into a dropkick from Crews. At 3:35, Crews performed a standing moonsault, but Miz put his knees up.
Miz performed his running clothesline into a corner. Crews caught him and slammed him, then followed up with a standing moonsault for a two count. Miz tried to leave moments later, but Crews stopped him. Crews went for a splash in the corner, but Miz moved and Crews hit his head on the giant ring post screen. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win…
The Miz defeated Apollo Crews in 5:40 to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Powell’s POV: Crews performed some impressive acrobatics, but the crowd didn’t seem all that invested in the idea of him winning the IC Title, so I’m fine with the finish. I can’t tell if they intend to build up to that or if this was a one and done. The finish with the post gives him an out that they can play up to set up a rematch, but it’s not like the match received much of a build going in.
A John Cena vs. AJ Styles video package aired…
4. John Cena vs. AJ Styles. They paused before the match to work up the crowd. There was a loud AJ Styles chant with a faint Let’s Go Cena chant as the match started. A cool atmosphere as the match got underway. Cena shoved Styles to the match, and Styles rolled over onto his feet and jawed at Cena. Otunga said he’s nervous, which was not what Styles was trying to convey.
Styles connected with an early dropkick and then stood on the second rope and played to the crowd. He climbed down and Cena was waiting with a punch. A short time later, Styles suplexed Cena on the ring apron. Styles controlled the bulk of the action for the next few minutes. At 7:30, Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Styles landed on his feet and caught Cena with a Pele Kick. Styles followed up with the Styles Clash and covered Cena for a near fall.
At 8:30, Cena came back with an Attitude Adjustment and covered Styles for a near fall of his own. Styles regained control with a spinning powerbomb. Both men stayed down. Cena catapulted Styles into the turnbuckle and then performed a Stunner for another two count at 10:35.
Styles performed a slam onto his own knee and got a two count. JBL was convinced it was Styles performing the Attitude Adjustment, but the replay showed otherwise. Styles went for a springboard 450 that Cena avoided. At 13:40, Styles performed a Facebuster for another two count.
At 14:30, Styles went for a springboard move, but Cena caught him on the way down and applied the STF. Styles escaped it and applied the crossface. Cena powered up Styles onto his back. Styles rolled into the Calf Crusher at 15:30. Cena rolled it over 30 seconds later and applied the STF, which got some boos from the post-Styles fans. Styles fought free and into a pin for two, then stood up and blasted Cena with a kick.
Cena performed a tornado DDT at 17:00 for another two count. Cena followed up with a legdrop from the second rope onto the back of Styles’ head and got another two count. Cena sat Styles on the top rope and set up for an AA, but Styles elbowed out of it, then springboarded into a huracanrana. Styles followed up with the Phenomenal Forearm and got another two count. Mauro could be seen jumping out of his chair in reaction to the near fall.
Styles ran into a big clothesline from Cena at 20:25. Cena put Styles on his shoulders and went to the second rope. Styles tried to elbow his way free, but Cena hit the AA and covered Styles, who kicked out at the last second for a great near fall.
Cena stood up and expressed shock that Styles kicked out of the move. Styles struggled to get back to his feet. Cena held the look as Styles pulled himself up. Cena hoisted up Styles and went for the AA, but Styles countered into the Styles Clash. Styles rolled to the apron and then performed the Phenomenal Forearm and pinned Cena clean.
AJ Styles pinned John Cena in 23:10.
Styles bled from the mouth as the ref held up his hand in victory. Styles left the ring. Cena sat up and removed one of his wristbands, left it in the ring, and then headed to the back while the broadcast team wondered what the symbolism of the wristband was. They also raved about the greatness of Cena, then the camera cut to a shot of the “Never Give Up” wristband in the ring…
Powell’s POV: A hell of a match with some great near falls late. Some of the early near falls just felt a little premature in the sense that it was hard to believe the match would end so quickly, but this was still extremely well done. The best one of the match was Styles waiting until the very last moment to kick out without looking at the referee to time it. This is obviously a huge win for Styles, and I assume he will be facing the winner of the WWE Championship match at the September 11 pay-per-view.
A WWE Network commercial aired (the same one from the pre-show)…
Jon Stewart made his entrance. He said the match with Styles and Cena was magic. “And I’m just happy that some idiot didn’t interfere for no reason by hitting one of those two great competitors with a chair,” Stewart said. The crowd gave him the “What?” treatment. Stewart recalled hitting Cena with a chair last year. He said if you’re ever in a position to be hit with the AA, tuck your shirt in because children are watching and no one needs to see old man belly.
Stewart said he was asked by New Day. He took off his jacket and showed off his New Day shirt and put on a unicorn headband. Stewart said he needed help. He got the crowd to join him in saying Big E’s part of the New Day entrance routine. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods made their entrance. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson made their entrance wearing the lab coats and carrying the jar with the “testicle” in it. They also showed off a small jar that was marked for Stewart and had jars for the other New Day members as well…
5. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Stewart was in New Day’s corner. Kofi performed a cool running double stomp on Anderson around 1:30. Late in the match and with both New Day members down, Anderson and Gallows set up to crotch Stewart. Big E came out and stopped them for the apparent DQ. Big E opened the jar with his “testicle” in it and drank some of the liquid and spit it into the air. New Day and Stewart celebrated together…
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beat New Day by DQ in 9:05.
Powell’s POV: I like Jon Stewart. I like pro wrestling. I like that Jon Stewart likes pro wrestling. I don’t need to see Jon Stewart involved in pro wrestling. Seriously, just have him sit at ringside and enjoy the show like most celebrities. The tradeoff of WWE getting some entertainment website stories out of this isn’t worth having him involved.
An ad aired for Holy Foley debuting on WWE Network… An ad aired for WWE Backlash on September 11. The Smackdown broadcast team spoke about the pay-per-view briefly and then set up a video package for the WWE Championship match…
6. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were in the ring for the introductions and shook hand with both men. Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring intros for the title match while Shane and Bryan tried to keep Ambrose and Ziggler apart. Dolph received some polite applause and some booing. Ambrose received a better, yet mild reaction.
At 5:50, Ambrose performed a face-first slam. A short time later, Ziggler performed a DDT for a two count. At 7:55, Ziggler performed a Fameasser for a two count. Just shy of 10:00, Ambrose hit hit top rope elbow move for a two count.
At ringside, Ziggler caught Ambrose with a superkick on the floor. Ziggler rolled him back inside the ring and covered him for two. Ambrose came back with a Dirty Deeds attempt, but Ziggler countered into the Zig Zag for two. Ambrose blocked Ziggler’s superkick attempt. Ziggler slapped Ambrose, who did his teetering clothesline. Ambrose went up top and was crotched by Ziggler. They fought for position. Dolph ended up going for a top rope facebuster, but Ambrose landed on his feet and hit Dirty Deeds for the win…
Dean Ambrose beat Dolph Ziggler in 15:00 to retain the WWE Championship.
Powell’s POV: The match had bad atmosphere with the live crowd just not getting all that caught up in the drama. This looked like a mid-card match on paper and it was very appropriate that the it started at the midway point of the show.
Video footage aired of WWE talent in New York…
Ring entrances for the six-woman tag match aired. The babyfaces were introduced first. Carmella never did her skit. They introduced the heel team, including Eva Marie. The narrator said she was suffering from anxiety brought on by hostile WWE fans and is vacationing. Nikki Bella’s music played and she made her entrance to join the heel team and received a favorable reaction from the fans…
7. Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Carmella vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Bella. Nikki hugged her partners before the match. Naomi got a few spots in early. Natalya and Bliss ended up isolating Carmella. Eventually, Carmella made a hot tag to Lynch, but the crowd didn’t seem to care despite being hot for Lynch’s entrance. Lynch put Natalya down and went to the top rope and performed a leg drop. She had the pin, but Nikki broke it up.
Naomi tagged back in and threw a nice roundhouse kick to Bliss. She went for a split-legged moonsault, but Bliss moved. Nikki checked in and didn’t get much of a reaction at this point either.All of the women ended up in the ring. The heels cleared Lynch and Naomi, then Nikki threw a big forearm and hit a TKO for the win…
Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Bella beat Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Carmella in 11:10.
Powell’s POV: Did the people who laid out the show really think the crowd needed a buffer after the WWE Championship match? I’m just not sure why else they would have saved this match for this point in in the show. The fans were into the entrances, but they were very quiet during the match. Still, it was nice to see Nikki back after the long layoff from neck surgery.
Wale was thanked for providing the theme song and was shown in the crowd… A video set up the U.S. Championship match… Backstage, Maria Menounos interviewed Rusev and Lana. Rusev is still angry about Roman Reigns ruining their ceremony and the way Reigns smirked and turned it into a joke. Lana said Roman humiliated her. She said a true husband would try to destroy anyone who wrong his wife. Rusev said he will crush Reigns and he will be the joke…
Oddly enough, they said the WWE Universal Championship match was coming up next. Yes, ahead of the U.S. Title match… A video package focussed on the WWE Universal Championship match…
The new red WWE Universal Championship was on a podium. Stephanie McMaon and Mick Foley were positioned by the title belt on the floor. Seth Rollins made his entrance. Finn Balor made his entrance using the Demon King persona. He crawled on the video screen stage and pumped his arms along with the enthusiastic crowd.
Powell’s POV: The belt looks like it was made for Kane. Not a fan, but they have had worse. Meanwhile, a cool entrance for Balor. He’s had better in NXT. Still, this was better than his Raw entrance.
8. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship. JoJo delivered in-ring introductions, so they didn’t have any luck getting the Predator or another famous alien to introduce the Universal Championship match. Rollins went for an early rollup, but Balor rolled through and dropkicked him. The fans chanted “Hey, we want a new belt” early in the match. Funny.
Rollins took offensive control and removed his tape and used it to cover the nose of Balor. The broadcast team emphasized that the match can only be won by pinfall or submission. Rollins performed a long distance top rope splash for a two count. Rollins performed a DDT for a two count at 10:00. There were dueling chants for Rollins and Balor.
Balor went for a Coup de Grace at 13:00, but Rollins was ready and applied a triangle choke. Balor rolled to ringside to break the hold. Whenever the title belt appeared in a camera shot on the floor, the fans in the building would boo. Once Balor was back in the ring, Rollins performed a Buckle Bomb and followed up with a superkick and then covered for two.
Rollins jawed at Balor and told him “this is my ring.” Balor didn’t back down and they traded shots. Rollins performed a small package driver for another two count. Balor came back and caught Rollins with a double stomp for two. He went for the Coup de Grace, but Rollins avoided it and then hit the Pedigree for a near fall.
At 18:15, Rollins went to the top rope and went for the Phoenix Splash. Balor moved, but Balor moved. Rollins came back moments later with a superplex. He set up for a Pedigree, but Balor double stomped him and then performed running dropkicks. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace and scored the clean pin…
Finn Balor defeated Seth Rollins in 19:45 to win the WWE Universal Championship.
Powell’s POV: TNA has the Little Red Toy Belt That Nobody Cares About, and now WWE has the Big Red Toy Belt That People Despise. A good match. It’s a shame that the title belt is so hated that fans were as focussed on it as they were, but hopefully it sent a message to WWE about their taste in title belts. Fortunately, the wrestlers were able to get the fans into their match. This wasn’t a match of the night candidate let along a match of the year candidate, but it was enjoyable and I think the best is yet to come for these two.
The Kickoff Show panel checked in. Renee Young’s hair, Jerry Lawler, Lita, and Booker T spoke about the show. They set up a commercial with Miz in a chicken suit and Dolph Ziggler appearing as Colonel Sanders.
Powell’s POV: Yes, that actually happened. They filmed this at the Smackdown taping.
Cole announced that Finn Balor and Charlotte will appear on Good Morning America on ABC. No such luck for Ambrose…
Lana introduced Rusev for the U.S. Title match. Roman Reigns made his entrance and was booed. Rusev attacked Reigns on the floor. Reigns fought back and worked over Rusev with punches on the floor. Cole emphasized that the match was not officially underway. Several referees pulled Reigns off of Rusev and stopped him from using a chair. Roman eventually broke free and slammed the chair over Rusev’s back, then threw more punches at him.
A trainer checked on Rusev, and Reigns was led up the ramp and backstage by the referees. It was announced that Rusev was unable to compete. Rusev started to make his way toward the entrance ramp when Reigns ran out and speared him…
Powell’s POV: So they gave us the match on Monday because they didn’t intend to give fans the match tonight. Okay, I guess that’s one way to avoid having the Brooklyn fans boo Reigns during a match. Why is Roman so angry with Rusev? Because Rusev attacked him before the bell? Whatever. The crowd chanted “We Want Slater” and “CM Punk” to amuse themselves, but I believe I also heard a “one more time” chant in regards to Roman’s spear. I don’t think this will happen, but I would piss myself due to laughing so hard if they brought out Rusev and Reigns after Lesnar vs. Orton to be the final match on the show.
More WWE Network hype aired and then the broadcast team set up the video package for the main event…
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Steph and Foley were shown watching on a backstage monitor. Heyman handled the introduction of himself and Lesnar, whom he said is from the University of Suplex City. Randy Orton made his entrance. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were shown matching on another backstage monitor.
9. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Randy Orton. The broadcast team for the match was Mauro, JBL, Graves, and Saxton were the broadcast team for the main event. Lesnar flashed a cocky grin at Orton as they came together in mid-ring to start the match. Lesnar threw knees in the corner. Lesnar went for a German suplex, but Orton blocked it and then dropkicked Lesnar. Orton went for the RKO, but Lesnar pushed him away.
Lesnar picked up Orton and gave him the first German suplex. Mauro said it was the 33rd suplex delivered by Lesnar at SummerSlam. Lesnar threw another German suplex. Ranallo said Lesnar is headlining his third consecutive SummerSlam. Orton took another German.
Lesnar performed his fifth German suplex at 3:15, then followed up with another. At 4:30, Lesnar slammed Orton onto one of the broadcast tables. Orton ended up in the front row. Lesnar picked up Orton from inside the barricade and tossed him through the same broadcast table.
Lesnar took the match back to the ring after what sounded like referee Mike Chioda telling him, “Send us home, Brock.” Lesnar took the match back to the ring briefly, then he brought Orton back to ringside and set up Orton on one of the tables. Orton stood up and performed the RKO on the table. Ranallo said Orton is right back in the match.
Back inside the ring, Orton performed a hanging DDT off the middle rope at 7:55. Orton dropped to his knees and pounded the mat. Orton waited for Lesnar to get up and then put him down with the RKO for a near fall.
Powell’s POV: Just how many RKOs does it take to get to Viperville?
Orton backed into the corner for his punt. When Orton charged, Lesnar hoisted him up and brought him down with an F5 that led to a near fall. Lesnar expressed surprise that it didn’t win the match. Lesnar took off his MMA gloves and then through punches at Orton. Lesnar threw a couple elbows and one of them opened Orton big time.
There was a pool of blood next to Orton. The referee called for a trainer to enter the ring. Lesnar stood in the corner while Heyman stood on the apron as the trainer tended to Orton. Lesnar shoved the trainer away and threw additional punches at Orton. The fans chanted “Goldberg.”
Lesnar shoved a referee aside and moved the trainers, then Lesnar threw more punches at Orton. The bell rang to end the match. Ranallo said viewers just witnessed a SummerSlam massacre. JoJo announced Lesnar as the winner by TKO…
Brock Lesnar defeated Randy Orton by TKO at 11:55.
After the match, Lesnar went after Orton again with more punches. Shane McMahon entered the ring to check on Orton. Lesnar blocked Shane’s path. Shane said it was done. Lesnar picked up Shane and put him down with an F5. “What did you do?” Heyman asked. There were a lot of boos as Lesnar made his way up the stage. Shane recovered enough to turn and look toward Lesnar. The trainers were tending to Orton. Shane was shown sitting up and looking at Lesnar, who looked back at the ring again before heading backstage…
Powell’s POV: Well, Booker T did predict blood on the Kickoff Show. I don’t think anyone predicted they would use this SummerSlam main event to tease a Lesnar vs. Shane match, but it appears that’s what they were doing. Lesnar hasn’t looked this ferocious in quite some time. The pool of blood from the Lesnar elbows and then the repeated attacks made him look unstoppable. Is he a heel again? It wasn’t the most satisfying finish for the live crowd, but I like the idea of building up Lesnar as being sadistic. I just don’t like the idea of even teasing that Shane could be the man to put him in his place. Maybe they can sell me on Shane taking a lopsided ass kicking, but I don’t have faith in them to book Shane in a match where he’s not booked to look like Super Shane. Damn, I wish this was leading to Daniel Bryan standing up for Shane, but that’s not happening.
Overall, SummerSlam was a bloated show at just over six hours if you count the Kickoff Show. Things started to go downhill with the tag title match and the show never quite regained its momentum fully. I will have a lot more to say in member exclusive audio tonight. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.