Kester's WWE SummerSlam Rundown: Brock Lesnar dominates John Cena, Nikki Bella turns on her sister, and Seth Rollins overcomes Dean Ambrose
By Ryan Kester
John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
This match was special. From the very early F5 to the myriad of German suplexes Lesnar hit, this match had an entirely different feel than the pair's Extreme Rules war in 2012. The approach worked to show the difference between how WWE was utilizing Lesnar with his initial return and the Lesnar they are building now; it's been a long time, if ever, since WWE has had a heel that comes off as indomitable as Lesnar does right now.
I mentioned months ago that I would reserve my judgment on Lesnar besting The Streak until I saw the follow-up. Now that we're here, it's obvious that it was the right call to make. There's no questioning that without that WrestleMania victory, even with the dominant display last night, Lesnar wouldn't be built up to the status he currently enjoys.
If WWE is patient and creative enough to have Lesnar maintain his mystique until WrestleMania, they are well on the way to having back to back WrestleManias with babyface star-making moments.
Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella
This match had a lot going for it. McMahon looked better in the ring than half of the current WWE women's roster, and the crowd was hot for the match throughout. Ultimately, however, the match had two glaring issues.
First, WWE didn't book the match in a way that presented McMahon as a heel. She certainly utilized some heel chokes in the early match, but she entered as a confident fighter sure of her victory rather than someone that hadn't competed for years, which led to the crowd being more excited to see her wrestle than rally behind Brie. When that happens, it undermines the story WWE is trying to tell, and it weakens Brie in the process.
The turn from Nikki Bella let what air remained out of the contest. It felt predictable form the moment she followed Triple H out of the back, and frankly, Nikki just hasn't shown enough of a range, be it in her character or in the ring, to get me excited about seeing a feud between her and her sister.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
I groaned audibly when Ambrose originally announced the lumberjack stipulation for the showdown match. WWE has simply been too lazy with the booking for the matches in the past and the lumberjacks often came off as nonentities. Luckily, Rollins and Ambrose managed to incorporate several spots involving the extra workers at ringside, and the result was the most entertaining lumberjack match I can remember.
The finish went a long way towards protecting Ambrose while continuing to build Rollins as an opportunistic and tactical heel. It's a long way from the cookie-cutter coward they had him portraying after his turn.
Out of interest for both men, I hope WWE moves on to a short-term program between Ambrose and Kane or another one of the lumberjacks that attacked Ambrose to get some distance between him and Rollins. WWE has shown that if they pull back a bit form the feud here and there, it only makes the fans clamor for more from the two, and it would be a mistake to undo that by going back to the well too many times in a row.
SummerSlam was a great night of wrestling. From top to bottom, the show delivered either surprise finishes or matches that lived up to the hype expected from one of WWE's main PPVs. Outside of one excruciatingly awkward commercial, this was one of the few PPVs in recent memory that kept me entertained throughout the entire evening.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter.
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