18th Aug2014

WWE SummerSlam 2014: Results & Review

by Chris Cummings

Summer-Slam-2014

It has been a trying time for WWE recently. Since the launch of the WWE Network a lot has happened. Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Title, got injured and was forced to forfeit the belt. Cena won the belt soon afterwards. The Shield split up, Roman Reigns began his ascension to the top of WWE and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose began a feud with one another. Bray Wyatt was squashed by John Cena in a crappy feud, and then Chris Jericho returned to WWE, beating Wyatt in his return PPV match. There were a lot of things wrong with WWE television, and still are, with the product becoming stale and the feuds becoming either too long or rehashed too many times. So, we head in to SummerSlam, and a card that isn’t exactly captivating on paper, though has potential to be very good.

SummerSlam, for the sixth consecutive year is held in Los Angeles, California, and we head into the biggest WWE event of the summer for a pre-show match between Cesaro and Rob Van Dam. This match was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill television encounter, and the wrong man won with RVD picking up the victory, not a good start to a show that needs to do something big to entice fans to buy and renew their subscriptions to the Network.

We head into the main show itself with an enjoyable opening video that meshes professional wrestling hype with a grindhouse cinema style, flickering screens with an old school narration over the top of it. The show was underway.

The results:

Pre-show

  • RVD defeated Cesaro

Main show:

  • Dolph Ziggler beat The Miz to become the new Intercontinental Champion
  • Paige beat AJ Lee to become the new Divas Champion
  • Rusev beat Jack Swagger in a Flag Match
  • Seth Rollins beat Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack Match
  • Bray Wyatt defeated Chris Jericho
  • Stephanie McMahon pinned Brie Bella
  • Roman Reigns beat Randy Orton
  • Brock Lesnar pinned John Cena to become the new WWE World Champion

SummerSlam 2014 was a show that did some very good things, but at the same time setting little up for the next event, Night of Champions, rumoured to be a card in which WWE are planning “big things” as a way to bring in subscriptions and renewals to the Network. Still, we have time, on RAW and Smackdown, for things to be set-up, so focusing on this event and this event only, there was plenty to smile about in L.A for “the biggest event of the summer”.

The opening match set up a tone for the show that remained until it went off the air three hours later, the tone in question being an old WWE philosophy of “anything can happen”, and it genuinely felt that way for a change, which made the show enjoyable, exciting and fun for most of its running time.

Dolph Ziggler, a top worker who has been a victim of the dreaded yet not irregular WWE stop/start booking, had a chance to win mid-card gold here, but I, like many others I would imagine, didn’t expect “the show-off” to leave SummerSlam as the victor. The match against The Miz was paced well, the moves all worked, and it felt like a PPV match and not just a typical television one. The ending moments of near-falls were exciting, and the moment Ziggler hit his finish and pinned The Miz made me throw my fist in the air. Ziggler won the Intercontinental belt, perhaps the beginning of a rehabilitation for Dolph and the start of something good for one of the best performers under WWE contract. Nice start, WWE, nice start.

Paige, the Norwich-born “diva” who beat AJ Lee the night after this year’s WrestleMania also lost the belt two months ago to a returning AJ on RAW, so I wasn’t expecting Paige to win here, much-like the opening match, I had a strong prediction of who would win, and yet again, for the second time of the night, I was wrong. The match was short, but the two women pulled off a good match, especially given the scrap of time they were allotted. Paige, after hitting a big drop-DDT move called “Ram-paige” pinned AJ clean, winning the Divas belt for the second time of her short career in WWE, another fine booking decision and a surprising one.

The Rusev/Swagger feud has been the most traditional heel/face feud in WWE since it began, featuring a loud brash heel, Lana, speaking about her country, Russia, and its superiority over America. Enter the American hero, Swagger, along with his pro-USA mouthpiece, Zeb Coulter, and we have a traditional wrestling angle. The feud has worked and breathed life into Swaggs and Zeb in the process. This match was decent, and Rusev sold like a trooper throughout the match, especially when he finally locked on his camel-clutch finish on Swagger. Rusev won when Swagger passed out, an ending that leaves this feud open to more matches in the future.

WWE television, for me and many others, has been stale for months, but one thing about the product that has been interesting and worth keeping an eye on has been the feud between ex-Shield comrades, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Here, we finally get the match we’ve been waiting for between the two talented young super-workers. A lumberjack match in which talent like Damien Sandown, Goldust, Stardust, Ryback, The Uso’s and The Wyatt Family were surrounding the ring, Ambrose and Rollins put on a really fun match. They brawled into the crowd, they hit exciting dive sequences, and they wrestled in the ring, and the fans ate it up. The end, in which either man could have won, saw Rollins pick up the victory. The best match of the night, this feud will surely continue.

Last month, Chris Jericho returned to WWE PPV and he pinned Bray Wyatt, a questionable booking decision considering the loss of momentum that the Wyatt character had already suffered in his harmful feud with Cena earlier in the year. Here, this was now or never, do or die, for Wyatt. The match started slow and featured some of the usual Jericho clumsiness that we’ve come to expect from him, but it became an enjoyable and psychological match that was sold well by both men and featured some cool spots. Jericho sold for Wyatt both in terms of pain and intimidation, which is what was needed here. Wyatt decisively picked up the win after hitting Jericho with his finish, an ending that was precise and definitive. Jericho did the right kind of job here, and hopefully Wyatt’s momentum will begin to climb again.

Stephanie McMahon, looking great here, took on babyface Brie Bella, in a match where Brie was fighting for her pride, her husband and her soul against the antagonistic and evil “Billionaire Baroness” Stephanie McMahon. Steph plays a great heel, we all know that, but the booking of this match was a little off for me. Steph was being cheered in portions because her offense looked better and she was fully in charge. The ending, which I saw coming but the crowd didn’t appear to, saw Nikki Bella swerve turn on her sister and take her down with a forearm to the face, allowing Stephanie to pick up the win. Nikki seemed regretful afterwards, so it brings some questions to this feud as to whether Nikki was being made to take her sister out, or if she did it willingly. An okay match, the fans were into this, and it didn’t go too long.

Roman Reigns, the WWE’s new golden boy, continued his storming of the castle here, defeating Randy Orton in what could be Reign’s biggest singles win of his career so far. The match was a slow builder. Orton sold well for Reigns, the two men worked well together and all-in-all it was a good match, but it wasn’t exciting to me, and we have seen these two men wrestle in some form against each other for months. Reigns needs a fresh feud, as does Orton. Reigns winning shows that the Reigns-train is not stopping any time soon. He is, undoubtedly, being groomed for a WWE World Championship “reign”, pardon the pun, within the next twelve months.

The main event is one that I wasn’t looking forward to, but once it began my interest peaked a bit. Lesnar and Cena, both looking intense, no smiles from Cena, no jumping around or saluting the camera, made this match feel different than the usual Cena matches. Lesnar, from the outset, dominated here. In the entire match Cena only hit a couple of offensive moves, the remainder was all Brock. German Suplexes galore, F5’s, knees to the ribs and psychology from both that said, “Brock is a monster, Cena is being overthrown”. Cena didn’t hit a typical Cena comeback this time, instead he put Lesnar over as “The Beast” methodically beat up and defeated him, winning the WWE World Title in the process. A new champion to end the show, I was left with three questions in my head. (1) Why couldn’t Cena put a full-time and young worker over like this. (2) What happens to the fully defeated Cena next, and (3) Will Brock defend the title on each PPV, or will he lose the belt soon? These questions open a few roads that WWE can go down, and I hope they choose some interesting ones for a change.

SummerSlam was enjoyable and I liked many of the outcomes to the matches, in fact, I can’t argue with any of them except for the pre-show loss of Cesaro to RVD. New champions, feud-ending matches, there is a chance we could see some new feuds begin in the coming couple of weeks which could, if done properly, light a fire under WWE again and provide some intriguing storylines for fans to enjoy. As a wrestling show though this exceeded my low expectations, and I had fun with the entire show. More like this, please, WWE.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Off

Comments are closed.