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WWF SummerSlam 2014

by Samoa Rowe

Cena vs. Lesnar

August 17th 2014

-From Los Angeles, CA. Our hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Mountain Dew. Not only is there a Spanish announce table, but now there’s a GERMAN announce table too!

-They kick things off with Hulk Hogan coming to the stage to pimp the Network. The general message is, if you paid 54.99 for the pay-per-view version of Summerslam, then you’re an idiot, brother.

-The Miz comes out wearing a hilarious toga-styled white movie star outfit, which matches his Intercontinental title well. Miz puts himself over as a real life movie star, unlike the CGI stars of the summer blockbusters. Oh, and he’s better than the Lakers.

Intercontinental Championship:
The Miz © vs. Dolph Ziggler

Watching this live, I arrogantly predicted to my friends that “Dolph isn’t winning this” to set the tone for my credibility being questioned for the remainder of the night. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. They start by trading counters until Miz flees the ring after escaping a few near falls. Miz desperately nails a hard Irish whip to gain some footing. Ziggler counters a flying axe handle and follows up with a neck breaker for 2. Miz tosses Dolph, who skins the cat back in, and Miz foolishly blocks his face. Ziggler scores a super kick anyway for a close 2. Miz teases a walk-out but angrily applies the Figure Four instead. Dolph survives and hits the Fame-asser, but Miz bounces right up with the Skull Crushing Finale for only 2! Ziggler leaps up for the Zig Zag and pins Miz for the title at 7:46. Hot opener here, that played on our expectations with sudden finishers and unexpected counters, **½.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler

-Video replay from Raw of Brie Bella slapping not-Claire Lynch while Stephanie McMahon mocks her with the Yes! chant. Brie is handcuffed and hauled off to jail for attacking a civilian. Tom Phillips interviews Brie backstage about all the drama in her recent life. Brie takes pride that she took her incarceration with dignity and used the time to reflect on the big picture. She knows that Stephanie paid the physical therapist to lie about Daniel Bryan having an affair. She’s going to end the she-beast later on. Brie said exactly what she needed to in this promo. Good rebound from a shaky Raw.

Divas Championship:
AJ Lee © vs. Paige

Paige seems to be luring AJ in with a handshake offer, but AJ bites the hand. They scuffle and someone lost some hair extensions in the process. Both women display aggression, but it’s Paige who catches AJ in an electric chair slam into the barricade! Paige seductively crawls onto AJ and delivers repeated head butts. AJ pushes Paige off the top turnbuckles for a flying cross body to ringside. AJ hits a not-quite-a-shining-wizard for 2. Super kick by Paige but AJ counters into the Black Widow! Paige counters back with a modified DDT called the RamPaige for the win at 4:54! Even though this was short, it was intense and did NOT feel like filler whatsoever. Good work from both women, **¼.
Winner and new Divas Champion: Paige

-New champion Paige hugs and cuddles the unconscious AJ. No hard feelings, I guess.

-HYPE VIDEO FOR STING, HE’S BACK, OH MY GOD, HE’S… in the new video game. So awesome, but so frustrating.

Flag Match:
Rusev (with Lana) vs. Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter)

In her promo beforehand, Lana refers to Vladimir Putin as the world’s greatest reality star, which raised my eyebrow. Anyone who wants to explain that to me, see the comment section below. Some troops march in for Swagger’s entrance, as if this wasn’t over the top enough. Rusev ambushes Swagger while he’s waving the flag, but Swagger seems to injure the ankle with his Ankle Lock before the match can officially begin. I seriously thought they might be giving Rusev an out to lose the match right there. Rusev wants the match called off, but it’s no good, and Swagger gets a hot start going after the hurt ankle. Rusev counters the Swagger Bomb to aggravate Swagger’s recent rib injury. CUE THE BEAR HUG! Swagger survives long enough to hit a desperate belly to belly suplex. The look on Lana’s face during Swagger’s comeback is hilarious. Swagger huts himself delivering the Swagger Bomb and only gets 2. Jack blocks the Thrust Kick and nails a power slam for 2. Rusev kicks the injured legs and connects with the Thrust Kick. Rusev seems too hurt to apply the Accolade, but Lana shouts at him, so he powers through it. Swagger counters with the Patriot Lock! Rusev escapes and hits a spin heel kick! Rusev head butts the midsection and reapplies the Accolade for the win at 8:53. Swagger never tapped, but passed out. Holy smokes, this was SO much better than it had any right to be. They wrestled a smart match with logical work on injured body parts, and the crowd was incredibly hot for it, *** is high praise.
Winner: Rusev

-Colter checks on his boy and gets super kicked by Rusev. Lana and Rusev have the Russian flag raised and the Russian national anthem plays. Well, I don’t know about you folks, but after this crushing defeat, I’m off to apply for Russian citizenship. We had a pretty good run as America, didn’t we?

-Michelle Beadle and Bill Simmons are in attendance! Simmons doesn’t seem to approve of Seth Rollins.

Lumberjack Match:
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose

Lumberjacks include pretty much the entire tag team division, Rob Van Dam, and Cesaro. Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston aren’t hanging out, so I guess that faction is dead. Missing in action here are Sheamus and Adam Rose. It’s a shame Rose isn’t involved, as the Rosebuds would have doubled the number or lumberjacks. I, for one, would like to see Rollins tossed back into the ring by the Bunny.

Ambrose and Rollins start trading punches and IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! I love how Reigns has completely moved on from the dissension of the Shield and is trying to win titles while Ambrose is just stalking Rollins left and right. It’s all Ambrose in the early going, but Rollins DDT’s him into the turnbuckle. Ambrose gets fed to the lumberjacks, where Fandango is surprisingly eager to put the boots to him. Ambrose reverses a suplex over the ropes and sends Rollins crashing onto a pile of lumberjacks! Despite the lumberjacks, Ambrose back drops Rollins over the barricade and has to suicide dive into them and leap off the announce table to continue the brawl! AMBROSE GAINS 10 POINTS OF OVERNESS! Korporate Kane shows up as Ambrose directs Rollins through a brawl all over the arena. The heel lumberjacks catch Ambrose and carry him to the ring while Sin Cara alone tries to catch Rollins. Seth is leaving but the Usos, Stardust, and Big E cut him off. The face lumberjacks carry Rollins as if he was Adam Rose, and Ambrose dives off the top ropes onto all of them! This is so cool it hurts! The match finally returns to the ring, where Ambrose nails a hard clothesline for a near fall. Ambrose steals the Curb Stomp, but Kane saves the match! Goldust confronts Kane and gets knocked down, sparking all the lumberjacks to rush the ring for an epic brawl! The ring clears out, but Ambrose has to dump Harper and Rowan. Rollins ambushes with a shot with the MITB case and wins at 10:46! This was bell to belly crazy, awesome fun. I thought the lumberjack stipulation would hurt, but this was expertly booked, ****.
Winner: Seth Rollins

-Replay of Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho having an awkward little confrontation in a sit-down interview.

Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho

These two had an underwhelming match last month at Battleground, so fingers are crossed for a better outing here. Jericho’s Titantron has been updated with the return of the countdown, so please allow me to mark out for a moment. He’s also sporting a new light-up jacket, which is very important for you to know about. Hot start for Jericho, who shoulder blocks Wyatt off the apron. Wyatt shoves Jericho off the turnbuckles to end his momentum. A good part of the crowd sways and sings “He’s got the whole world in his hands” as Wyatt works Jericho over. Jericho fights back with an enziguri for only 1. Wyatt retaliates with a back senton, but charges into a Jericho drop-kick. One handed uranage by Wyatt, but Sister Abigail is countered into a roll-up. Jericho scratches and claws his way into the Walls! Bray survives and DDTs Jericho onto the apron. Jericho rebounds with a top rope hurricanrana but is slow to cover. Wyatt defiantly spider walks and Jericho looks properly spooked. The Codebreaker connects anyway, but Bray kicks out. Bray thumbs the throat and hits Sister Abigail into the barricade. One more Sister Abigail finishes it at 12:53. There really wasn’t anything wrong with this match, the crowd was into it at times, but the whole thing just felt sort of pointless, **½.
Winner: Bray Wyatt

-Bray gloats over his victory, as now Jericho knows what it’s like to follow the buzzards. He leads the crowd in another rousing rendition of “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

-Ronda Rousey is in attendance! WWE could do some serious business if they brought her in to wrestle a diva or two.

Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella

Looks like Stephanie got her new ring attire from the same place Seth Rollins got his. No joke, it looks pretty bad-ass. #BrieMode seems to have caught on with the crowd, and my friends had to explain that it’s a Total Divas reference to when Brie drinks too much and acts crazy. That Daniel Bryan is a lucky man (and I’m only half-sarcastic). Steph and Brie trade holds competently, and I must say that Stephanie looks right at home when she’s in control. Brie is at her best when she simply has to sell, so the rather one-sided match works well here. Stephanie smashes Brie in the head during a suicide dive attempt, to maintain control. “You’ve still got it” chant as Stephanie hits a nice neck breaker. Brie mounts a comeback, lighting Steph up with Bryan-esque kicks. Brie connects with a missile drop-kick for 2. Triple H and Nikki Bella show up as the finish is looming. Brie is briefly distracted by HHH, but counters Stephanie into the Yes Lock! Triple H pulls the referee out of the ring, but Brie catches him with a baseball slide drop-kick! Triple H sells more for Brie here than he did for half his opponents in 2003. The Bellas get ready to gang up on Stephanie, except NIKKI TURNS ON BRIE! Stephanie is more than happy to finish Brie off with the Pedigree for the win at 11:02. No, it wasn’t always pretty, but this was very smartly booked and had purpose and a story to it, **¾.
Winner: Stephanie McMahon

-Michael Cole complains about the finish while JBL mocks him with “Wah” whenever he takes a breath. Stephanie mockingly does the YES! gesture while Nikki watches emotionlessly. I’m sure Brie and Nikki will go on to have terrible matches with one another, but maybe the Smart Booking Fairy will wave his magic wand again.

-Quite a bit of time is wasted with a video package highlighting the winner of a Totino’s contest going to wrestling fantasy camp. During the live broadcast, I thought this was a trailer for a new Network show and I was lamenting the downfall of quality programming, but as a one time montage, it’s entertaining enough. The contest winner names himself Mama’s Boy and spends the day hanging out with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Bill DeMott, and Michael Cole, and got to have a superstar entrance at NXT, with Totino’s mascots. I’m starting to get worried that wrestling fans are huge nerds.

Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns

They stare off and Reigns strikes first. They trade punches and Orton gets knocked down with an elbow shot. Roman dominates with punches until Orton reverses a whip into the ring steps. CUE THE CHINLOCK! Reigns breaks out, but Orton slams his head into the canvas and does the douche bag pose. Reigns dodges a knee drop, but Orton musters a superplex to retain control. We get more chinlock goodness but Reigns reverses. Orton drops Reigns off his back, but Reigns reapplies the chinlock. Back suplex counter by Orton gets a 2 count and leads to another chinlock. Romans bounces back with a Samoan drop! They trade blows and Reigns gains the upper hand. Leaping drop-kick to the apron by Reigns, but Orton smashes him into the barricade. Reigns gets slammed onto the announce table and driven into the ring steps. Orton blocks a superplex but Reigns scores a second rope Samoan drop! Reigns nails the Superman punch but Orton counters the Spear with a hard power slam. Spike DDT by Orton and the RKO but REIGNS KICKS OUT! Orton misses the death punt and Roman nails the Spear for the win at 16:12. Man, Orton just put Reigns over with no ifs, ands, or buts about it. This built to a nice crescendo, ***½.
Winner: Roman Reigns

-I must admit, this match has left me feeling a bit emotional. It was ten years ago that Chris Benoit passed the torch to Randy Orton in the Summerslam main event, and I did not think Orton was worthy or would ever be worthy at that time. Now, in 2014, watching Orton pass the torch to the next guy, I can’t help but think that Orton ended up making good on the opportunity he was given. If Reigns does indeed become the next top star in WWE, this match will be an important chapter in his story. I feel better about Roman Reigns in 2014 than I did about Orton in 2004, so big happenings could be right on the horizon.

-Summerslam 2015 is announced for the NY/NJ market, ending the streak of Los Angeles Summerslams. Hey, I might get to go to that!

WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena © vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

It’s time for Lesnar to follow through on his promise to leave Cena laying in a pool of blood, urine, and vomit. The bell rings and Cena charges, but Lesnar nails rapid fire strikes and hits an F5 at the 0:30 mark for a near fall! Lesnar sizes up the damage and nails a German suplex! Lesnar nails a second German and knees the ribcage. Lesnar hits a normal vertical suplex and is already sweating buckets. Cena unleashes a flurry of shots that go nowhere as Brock knocks him back down. Lesnar cuts off another Cena comeback attempt by monstrously standing on his hand! From here, it’s a complete slaughter, as Lesnar methodically strikes and delivers several German suplexes. Cena finds his second wind and knocks Lesnar onto a knee with a shoulder block and nails the Attitude Adjustment for a near fall! Cena’s adrenaline seems to wear off and he collapses. Lesnar gets up with an evil grin on his face and Cena runs right into a takedown. Lesnar pummels the life out of Cena MMA-style. Cue the rolling German suplexes! Cena is dazed and suffers another round of rolling Germans. Cena desperately catches Lesnar with an uncharacteristically tight STF! Lesnar rolls over and delivers more hard shots. A second F5 finishes Cena at 16:01. This doesn’t fit the criteria of what I normally look for in a four star match, but this was surreal and told a hell of a story. **** for the experience.
Winner and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Brock Lesnar

Final Thoughts: This was a top to bottom great Summerslam. When the “worst match” is an entertaining **¼ grudge match between AJ and Paige, you know you have a great show. Not only did almost every match meet or surpass my expectations, but it sets the stage for many interesting storyline directions (at least until Raw ruins it tonight). Thumbs completely up for Summerslam 2014.

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