8/17 Powell's WWE SummerSlam PPV results and review: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella, Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
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Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Los Angeles, California at Staples Center
WWE SummerSlam Kickoff Show
Renee Young served as host for the pre-show panel that included Booker T, Alex Riley, and Ric Flair. Young asked the panel what they are most looking forward to. Booker said the big main event. Flair said he wants to see Randy Orton solidify himself as the best wrestler in the world. Riley said he wants to see what stars are here, then they all gushed over UFC star Ronda Rousey being in attendance.
The focus went from the main event to the Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella match. A highlight package that recapped the Steph and Brie saga was shown. Booker's "shucky ducky, quack, quack moment" was about the Stephanie match. He once again noted that Ronda Rousey was in attendance and said, "Why do you think she's here?" in a tease that she would help Stephanie...
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL checked in on commentary...
1. Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro. "It's only appropriate, SummerSlam with Rob Van Dam," Lawler said during the entrances. A fan held up a Hall of Fame sign for fired timekeeper Mark Yeaton. Is it in protest or will the guy be really disappointed when someone else pretends to keep time for matches without time limits?
Cesaro ducked to ringside early. RVD went to ringside and stumbled a bit, quickly recovered, and caught Cesaro with a kick. The fans were responsive whenever RVD played to them. Cesaro went on the offensive and they cut to a commercial for SummerSlam (the pre-show is being broadcast on various social media platforms).
After the break, the broadcast team once again spoke about how network subscribers would see every pay-per-view for the remainder of the year. JBL added Royal Rumble to the list. RVD hit a split-legged moonsault for a two count. RVD went up top for his finisher, but Cesaro recovered and cut him off. RVD knocked Cesaro down and set up again for his finisher, but Cesaro stood up and caught him with an uppercut.
Cesaro went for a superplex, but RVD shoved him off. RVD dove off the top rope and Cesaro caught him with an uppercut and covered him for a two count. RVD fought off the Neutralizer, but ate a big boot and once again kicked out at two. Cesaro showed some frustration. RVD missed a spinning kick. Cesaro slapped him. RVD got fired up and hit a couple of kicks. RVD performed a long distance Five Star Frogsplash for the clean win...
Rob Van Dam pinned Cesaro in 8:10.
Powell's POV: A good opener with the live crowd hot for RVD and into the various RVD chants that he led. Cesaro looked good in defeat, but there's only so many times that will matter. Eventually, the fans are going to see him as a jobber to the stars and many probably do already. They really need to get do something big with Cesaro coming out of SummerSlam.
The panel spoke and Cesaro and the referee were there. Cesaro grumbled off mic. It appeared the referee was there only because he helped Cesaro leave the ring. After Cesaro and the referee left, the panel interviewed Mama's Boy for some Totino's sponsorship... A video for the main event was shown to close the pre-show...
WWE SummerSlam Pay-Per-View
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Hulk Hogan, who walked onto the stage with a mic in hand. Hogan said he couldn't think of a better way to kick off SummerSlam in tinsel town than with Hollywood Hulk Hogan. That's definitely a shoot! Hogan said if fans were not in Los Angeles with him, then they were surely watching on WWE Network. Hogan ran through the upcoming pay-per-views and said that was six for $9.99 (per month). Hogan closed by asking whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania and SummerSlam run wild on you...
Powell's POV: A plug for a network that most of the viewers are using to watch the event and most of those who are not probably don't have access to the network yet. Still, it was a nice move to get Hogan on the show since he was already in the area for the weekend panels.
The SummerSlam opening video aired and had a comic book feel to it... Pyro went off the stage to officially kick off the show. Cole, Lawler, and JBL checked in on commentary...
1. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title. Miz wore an odd white jacket that worked for his character as he made his entrance. He said that he possesses something that Drax the Destroyer, Hercules, and everyone in L.A. wishes they had - the moneymaker. Miz said he would turn Ziggler from a star everyone was taking about into a nobody just like the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spanish broadcast team checked in before Dolph made his entrance, and then the four-man German broadcast team checked in.
Powell's POV: A four-man broadcast team? Was it a 12-man broadcast team before the recent budget cuts? Damn.
The match got underway and the broadcast team amused themselves by talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Miz took an early powder to avoid being punched in the face. Cole recalled Rick Martel and Shawn Michaels once having a match where they agreed not to hit one another in the face.
Ziggler was the aggressor and the bulk of Miz's early offense consisted of moving so Ziggler would crash into the corner. Miz threw Ziggler over the top at one point, but Ziggler skinned the cat. Dolph teased a superkick, but Miz ducked to protect his face. Ziggler rolled him up for a two count. Ziggler caught Miz with a punch and a superkick for a two count.
Miz applied the Figure Four at 6:00, but Ziggler reached the ropes to break the hold. Dolph hit the Fameasser, but Miz came right back and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for another good near fall. Ziggler came back with the Zig Zag and pinned Miz clean. Cole hyped that Ziggler is a two-time Intercontinental Champion...
Dolph Ziggler pinned The Miz to win the Intercontinental Title in 7:50.
Powell's POV: A good match with some good near falls. I get a kick out of The Miz's new persona and I'm surprised to see him lose here, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Dolph go over.
The broadcast team hyped the Night of Champions event for September 21... Video footage of Brie Bella being arrested on Monday's Raw was shown...
Backstage, Tom Phillips interviewed Brie Bella, who said she did a lot of reflecting during her incarceration. She said she sat in her cell and thought about all the times that Stephanie smiled while she called Daniel Bryan a B-plus player, tortured Nikki Bella, and put the physical therapist up to lying about having an affair. She said she knows Stephanie doesn't put herself in this position often and she's going to take advantage of it...
Powell's POV: A good promo from Brie that was well received by the live crowd. It started poorly with the silly line about reflecting during her incarceration, but it definitely got better and her delivery was strong.
2. A.J. Lee vs. Paige for the WWE Divas Championship. Paige entered and then footage of the Lee vs. Paige feud was shown. The bell rang and they locked up, then Lee bit Paige's hand and pulled her hair. Paige rolled to ringside and showed off a big clump of hair (extension) that Lee supposedly pulled out. Apparently, there was a second moment where Paige pulled out a matching clump of Lee's hair.
After the network feed at my house went out and was relaunched, Lee dove off the top rope and caught Paige on the floor with a clothesline. Lee applied the Black Widow at 4:35, but Paige reached under and grabbed Lee's arm to break free, then hit a Rampaige DDT for the win. After the match, Paige celebrated with the title, then cradled Lee in her arms and kissed her on the cheek...
Paige pinned A.J. Lee in 4:55 to win the WWE Divas Championship.
Powell's POV: A cool finish with Paige breaking out of Lee's finisher looking realistic, and the wicked DDT causing the live crowd to gasp. It will be interesting to see what happens next with these two.
The video game commercial featuring Sting aired...
3. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Rusev (w/Lana). Roberts and the broadcast team played up the idea that national pride was on the line. Roberts said the flag waving would be a display of the winning country's superiority. Lana cut a pre-match promo and dedicated the match to Vladimir Putin. A U.S. military color guard preceded Swagger and Colter onto the stage.
There was some flag waving before the match. Rusev attacked Swagger, but Swagger put Rusev in the Patriot Lock. Rusev sold an ankle injury as the match got underway. The crowd was into it with USA and "Let's Go Swagger" chants. Rusev went for a superkick at 5:50, but Swagger caught it and turned it into the Patriot Lock, but Rusev kicked him off.
At 6:25, Rusev connected with the superkick and Lana called for him to "crush." Rusev kicked Swagger's lower back and then went for The Accolade. However, he released the hold and clutched his ankle. Rusev reapplied the hold, but kept one knee on the mat. Swagger escaped and immediately applied the Patriot Lock. Rusev teased tapping and then reached for the ropes.
Rusev rolled over on his back and used punches and kicks to break the hold. Rusev threw another kick to knock Swagger down. Rusev performed a running splash and then applied the "full force" Accolade, as Cole described it. Swagger passed out and Rusev was awarded the win.
Afterward, Colter checked on Swagger. Rusev kicked Colter. JBL said that was a grandfather that Rusev kicked. Roberts said that per the rules of the match, they would play the Russian anthem. Rusev stood with his flag in hand and Lana at his side as the Russian flag was raised behind them and the anthem played...
Rusev defeated Jack Swagger in a Flag Match in 9:05.
Powell's POV: This was not the typical flag match where the goal is to retrieve your flag from a pole set up in a corner. Rather, it was a straight up match. It was a well worked match that the crowd was hot for, and obviously the finish was designed to protect Swagger. Where the hell was Nikolai Volkoff for the anthem?
A commercial aired... The broadcast team hyped the Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose match and then set up a video package for it... Michelle Beadle and Bill Simmons were shown in the crowd. It looked like music producer Rick Rubin is also in the building...
4. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose in a lumberjack match. The lumberjacks consisted of the wrestlers who aren't booked in matches as well as Rob Van Dam and Cesaro. Ambrose was the first of the two to end up at ringside. Fandango and some of the heels put the boots to him while Kofi Kingston and RVD objected. Later, Ambrose suplexed Rollins off the ring apron and onto a group of lumberjacks.
Ambrose threw Rollins over the barricade. Rollins came up holding his ankle. Ambrose tried to go after him, but a group of lumberjacks stopped him. Ambrose returned to the ring and dove onto the lumberjacks, then went after Rollins over the barricade. Ambrose and Rollins fought into the crowd.
Corporate Kane walked to ringside and barked at the lumberjacks. Meanwhile, Rollins and Ambrose fought above one of the concourse openings. Some of the lumberjacks went up and grabbed Ambrose to drag him back to the ring. Sin Cara tried to do the same, but Rollins roughed him up. Rollins tried to leave via the side of the stage, but The Uso Brothers, Stardust, and Big E just happened to know he was going that way and blocked his escape.
Rollins was picked up by a group of wrestlers and carried to ringside. Ambrose dove off the top rope and onto Rollins and the lumberjacks underneath him for a big pop. By the way, Ambrose is not wearing the shoulder tape for the first time in months. The fans chanted "this is awesome" after Ambrose scored a two count on Rollins.
Ambrose hit the Curb Stomp on Rollins. Ambrose went for the pin, but Kane entered the ring to stop it. Goldust got in Kane's face and ended up taking a shot. The lumberjacks entered the ring and brawled. Once most of the lumberjacks had cleared out, Ambrose clotheslined Erick Rowan over the top rope. Rollins hit Ambrose with a briefcase and pinned him...
Seth Rollins pinned Dean Ambrose in 11:00.
Powell's POV: A really fun match and the most entertaining lumberjack match that I can recall off the top of my head. Ambrose lost the match, but he didn't lose anything in the big picture. The fans loved him and the finish protected him. It will be interesting to see if they go back to Rollins vs. Ambrose or if the finish was designed to set up Ambrose in a program with Kane.
The broadcast team set up clips of the Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho feud and face-to-face verbal exchange... Wyatt delivered his town specific intro and then made his entrance as the fans lit up the arena with their cellphones...
5. Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt. Harper and Rowan were banned from ringside per their singles match losses to Jericho. Wyatt wore his brown butcher's apron for his entrance. Jericho had a new light bright jacket that changed to red, white, and blue. Wyatt had a big knee brace on his right knee.
Jericho went on the offensive to start the match and brawled to ringside. Once Wyatt was back inside the ring, Jericho caught him with a cross body block off the top rope. Wyatt caught Jericho on the top rope and shoved him to the floor. There were some chants for both wrestlers, but the crowd was mostly quiet early on as they came down from the previous match.
Wyatt positioned Jericho's head against the ring post and hit him with several punches, then ran at him and caught him with another. Wyatt played to the crowd a bit, then put Jericho in a chin lock and yelled, "Ask him" at the referee. The chin hold looked really loose at one point. Jericho broke free and caught Wyatt with a kick. Jericho caught Wyatt with a running kick to the back of the head.
Wyatt performed a back splash on Jericho for a two count at 6:10. There was another Y2J chant, but it faded quickly. Wyatt charged at Jericho, who caught him with a kick and got a two count of his own. Wyatt came right back with a uranage. Later, Jericho, who had a nasty bruise on his leg, caught Wyatt on the top rope (talked to him for a bit) and performed a huracanrana on him.
Jericho had Wyatt down and was setting up for a move when Wyatt performed the crab walk and stopped Jericho in his tracks. Jericho showed off his scared face. Wyatt yelled that he can't die because he's already dead. Jericho hit the Codebreaker. Wyatt was eying the bottom rope to break the hold, but he was too far away and had to kick out.
Moments later at ringisde, Wyatt jabbed his thumb into Jericho's throat and followed up with Sister Abigail on the barricade. There were loud dueling chants for both wrestlers as Wyatt brought Jericho back inside the ring. Wyatt jawed at Jericho, kissed him, and hit Sister Abigail for the win. Wyatt sang "He's got the whole world in his hands" after the match...
Bray Wyatt pinned Chris Jericho in 13:20.
Powell's POV: Jericho and Wyatt were in a tough spot as far as the match order was concerned. The live crowd seemed pretty spent early on, but they never seemed disinterested. The fans were hot down the stretch. This match was much more entertaining than their Battleground match. Here's hoping there's some compelling mic work heading into the expected rubber match next month.
Another commercial aired... Cole hyped that Staples Center was sold out, then Lawler thanked Teddy Bears for one of the SummerSlam theme songs... A video package set up the Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella match...
6. Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella. Stephanie wore dominatrix-like ring gear. She walked past Ronda Rousey and her friends and held up four fingers, as they refer to themselves as the Four Horsewomen. Triple H and Nikki Bella did not start at ringside despite being advertised as being in the respective corners.
Stephanie was in control early and tried to slap Brie, who blocked it and went for the Yes! Lock, only to have Stephanie flee to ringside. Brie went for an apparent suicide dive, but Stephanie clotheslined her over the middle rope. Stephanie continued to work over Brie inside the ring, causing a "you've still got it" chant to break out.
Brie caught Stephanie with a kick from the mat. Stephanie flashed her mean face and charged, only to have Brie caught her with a Thesz Press. The screen went white for a second, but returned to normal quickly (at least on my end). Brie hit a missile dropkick off the second rope for a two count at 8:35.
Triple H ran to ringside at 8:45 and Nikki Bella was right behind him. Brie put Stephanie in the Yes! Lock, but Triple H pulled the referee out of the ring. Brie ran the ropes and dropkicked Hunter through the ropes. Brie stood over Triple H and led a Yes! chant. Brie confronted Stephanie, who begged off. Suddenly, Nikki Bella hit Brie Bella with a forearm shot. Stephanie hit the Pedigree on Brie and pinned her...
Stephanie McMahon pinned Brie Bella in 11:15.
Powell's POV: A fun match with the finish many of us were dreading. Brie vs. Nikki isn't very appealing to me, but I must admit that I am curious to see how it is handled on Total Divas. Yes, I know I'm in the minority on that one. It was odd seeing Stephanie act fearless until the end of the match. That just seemed very out of place for a non-wrestling heel authority figure. The fact that the fans were chanting "you've still got it" at her should not have happened. Rather, it should have been Stephanie was in fear and getting her ass handed to her for most of the match. At that point, the Nikki turn could have bailed her out. Stephanie kissed (her?) kids at ringside. By the way, doesn't the Daniel Bryan character care about his wife?
A movie commercial aired... The broadcast team spoke about Nikki Bella turning on Brie Bella... A Mama's Boy segment aired with the New Age Outlaws and Bill DeMott training the guy...
7. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton. Reigns wore a black and blue version of his usual style of gear. Orton controlled the opening minutes of the match. He threw his hands up to pose for the crowd and received a mostly positive reaction. Orton performed a superplex and then applied the chin lock of doom. Cole noted that Orton "loves the kind of pace." No kidding.
Reigns broke free and applied a chin lock of his own, but Orton jacked him free. Reigns reapplied the hold, then Orton performed a belly to back suplex. Reigns came back with a nice Samoan Drop at 7:40, but the crowd was still pretty quiet. Later, Reigns performed a second Samoan Drop only this time off the second rope.
At 12:40, Reigns hit the Superman Punch and backed in to the corner. He let out the primal scream and charged at Orton for the spear, but Orton caught him with a power slam for a two count. Nice spot. At 13:45, Orton performed a hanging DDT, which drew the "vintage Randy Orton" call from Cole.
Orton played to the crowd and they responded with cheers. Orton struck the Viper's Pose. "The Roman Empire is about to fall," JBL said. Orton hit the RKO on a charging Reigns and covered him for an excellent near fall. Orton stood over the fallen Reigns and looked out into the crowd. Orton backed up for the Punt Kick. When Orton charged for the move, Reigns swept his leg out from under him. Reigns followed up with a spear and pinned Orton. Cole called it the biggest win of Reigns' career...
Roman Reigns pinned Randy Orton in 16:15.
Powell's POV: This had clunker written all over it early on, but they really picked up the pace and some of the near falls down the stretch were excellent spots. The fans liked Orton, but they liked Reigns even more. They were red hot for the finish.
A commercial aired for SummerSlam in New York/New Jersey in 2015... The broadcast team spoke at ringside about WWE Network and pimped the price of $9.99 again... A video package aired for the main event... Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance, then John Cena made his entrance for the main event...
8. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Justin Roberts delivered the in-ring introductions for the championship match. Cole noted that only Ric Flair has won more world championships than Cena.
Cena and Lesnar charged at one another and Cena backed Lensar into his corner. They rolled around a it and into Cena's corner. Lesnar hit the F5 at 0:30, but Cena kicked out at two. Lesnar smiled after Cena kicked out. Lesnar jawed at Cena and kicked him. There were loud dueling chants directed at Cena with the "Cena Sucks" chants winning out.
Lesnar hit a couple of German suplexes on Cena. He noted that Cena wanted to do it the hard way in between the suplexes. Lesnar stood over Cena and looked down at him with a smirk on his face. Cena grabbed Lesnar's foot. Lesnar pulled it free and delivered a mocking kick to Cena's head. Lesnar threw a knee into the side of Cena. Lesnar smiled again as Cena coughed and gagged in the ring.
At 4:05, Cena got back to his feet and drove Lesnar into the corner. Cena threw punches at Lensar, who kneed him in the gut and shoved him back to the mat. Lesnar applied a chin lock at 4:55. Cena threw elbows at Lesnar's gut, but Lesnar grabbed Cena by the head and threw him backwards to the mat.
Lesnar threw four more German suplexes around 7:00. JBL said the referee may need to step in. Lawler said you can't count out Cena yet. Lesnar covered Cena for a two count. When Cena kicked out, Lesnar smiled. Lesnar threw another knee to the side of Cena, then used his foot to nudge Cena's face.
Lesnar helped Cena get back to his feet and then threw another German suplex. Lesnar stood up and flashed another smile while Cena sold. Cena sat up and looked around to play up that he was disoriented. Lesnar stood right behind Cena as he struggled to get back to his feet. Lesnar performed yet another German suplex. Lesnar once again stood over Cena and smiled.
Cena came back with a few elbows to the side of Lesnar's head and then hit him with running forearms. Lesnar grabbed Cena for the F5, but Cena slipped away and performed the Attitude Adjustment for a two count at 10:30. Cena stayed down after the near fall to sell the beating he had taken.
Lesnar sat up Undertaker style, smiled, and stuck his tongue out. He got back to his feet. Cena got up and charged at Lesnar, who caught him with a double leg takedown. Lesnar mounted Cena and threw a series of punches at his head. "Ring the bell, sir," Heyman said audibly at ringside.
Lesnar threw four more German suplexes. "Ask him," Lesnar told referee Charles Robinson. "Come on," Lesnar said twice. Robinson checked and then told Lesnar that Cena said no. Lesnar shook his head no and picked up Cena and hit him with three more German suplexes. "Ask him now," Lesnar barked. Robinson checked and again indicated that Cena declined. There was a small group of fans that chanted "boring." Really?
As Lesnar barked at the referee, Cena kicked Lesnar's leg out from under him and applied the STF. "I told you," Lawler said regarding never giving up on Cena. Heyman pounded the mat. Lesnar put his arm up, but then rolled over to break the hold and went back to the ground and pound. Lesnar picked up Cena and hit the F5 for the win...
Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 16:15.
After the match, Heyman entered the ring with the championship belts and dropped to his knees to present them to Lesnar. Brock smiled as he took the belts and then raised them over his head. "For the first time in over ten years, Brock Lesnar is the World Champion of WWE," Cole said. The broadcast team narrated highlights of the match.
The trainers and referees checked on Cena after the match. Lesnar and Heyman stood on the stage. Cole said Lesnar delivered 16 suplexes to Cena. JBL said Cena may never be the same...
Powell's POV: I really liked the match. Cena looked like a warrior for refusing to quit, yet Lesnar looked absolutely dominant with the most lopsided win anyone has over Cena. It's hard to compare this match to the first one because they told two different stories. The first one was an all out war, whereas this one was about telling the story of Lesnar's domination and Cena's heart.
Overall, this was a strong SummerSlam. The event is typically overrated in the minds of fans. There have been some good SummerSlam years and a lot of forgettable years, but this was definitely a memorable with good action from start to finish. I will have more to say in the members' exclusive audio review of SummerSlam later tonight and in the WWE SummerSlam Hit List on Monday. Thanks for watching along with me.
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