SummerSlam 2014 Review: The Pay-Per-View We Deserved (*spoilers*)
Since Wrestlemania in April, there haven’t been any storylines that have culminated the way neither fans nor I thought they should. WWE consistently seemed to believe that fans had Alzheimer’s with the pumping out of watered down plots that held no real substance.
Every year, SummerSlam is usually the turning point to set up for Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. It’s what tells you the value of the product WWE will be putting out the next six months. For once, I can honestly say I was not disappointed.
Here’s my breakdown SummerSlam, which I enjoyed:
(C) Will be the indicator of the champion heading into the match
Cesaro vs Rob Van Dam
Now this is how you kickoff a show. This had two of my favorites going at it: the always entertaining, highflying (and possibly just plain high) Rob Van Dam put on a great show against the extremely gifted Cesaro, who, in my opinion, is the pound for pound best talent WWE has. It was a great kickoff that was interrupted with WWE vignettes for the Cena/Lesnar headlining match, which I thought was insulting. We are already watching it so why do I need a preview reminder? My only beef with this match is that Cesaro has been built up for quite some time now, yet he was still tasked with doing the kickoff show. If he becomes the next Damien Sandow, I would be upset.
Decent match, nothing over the top but a great segue to the night.
Intercontinental Championship Match
(C) The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
This match. Holy crap. Miz and Ziggler have been putting on some great showings lately on Raw, but this was still a terrific match. The build up was perfect. Ziggler went to war out of the gate, knocking Miz down multiple times and looking strong. Miz would regroup until catching a nice superkick to the face. He tried to run off with the belt but was stopped in his tracks by Ziggler. The two exchanged finishing moves, but neither could close with a three-count. Finally, as Miz tried to deliver a big kick, he missed, setting Ziggler up to execute the “Zig Zag” and win the IC belt for the second time in his career.
Great match from both wrestlers, and a good continuation of the storyline
Divas Championship Match
(C) AJ Lee vs. Paige
I will admit I am usually bored during the women’s matches and use it as a restroom break, however AJ and Paige have been pretty good whenever they have faced off so I watched and again wasn’t disappointed. This blew recent Raw segments and the match they had at Battleground out of the water. AJ opened strong, attacking Paige. Paige managed to slow AJ’s momentum down for a bit until a huge clothesline from AJ diving off the top rope hit her. It looked like AJ would put Paige away with the “Black Widow,” but a great counter from Paige would finish AJ off, allowing Paige to regain the Divas title.
The match was short, quick, and to the point but delivered a great showing for both ladies, and kept the crowd engaged.
Rusev (with Lana) vs. Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter)
I feel like I shouldn’t even review this match. The storyline has annoyed me since day one, with WWE acting like the Cold War was still in full force. I must give credit where it’s due, though. This was the first time Rusev has convincingly sold a match, and this sequence with Swagger as a babyface has been better than almost all of his heel work. Swagger ended up losing due to passing out in the clutches of Rusev’s Accolade, but he really was the reason this match carried out well.
I’d like this storyline to end here, but I know it won’t. Whether Swagger or another wrestler with strong US pride ties takes his place, its getting stale fast.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
How do you include everyone in the locker room on your second biggest pay-per-view? With a lumberjack match, of course! While it was awesome seeing all the superstars that weren’t wrestling that night come out, Ambrose and Rollins stole the show. With the fight continually spilling out into the crowd, it seemed the lumberjacks were not even necessary. At one point, Rollins and Ambrose got their brawl going all the way into the stands of the arena. The use of the lumberjacks in highflying moves as extra bodies to help emphasize the carnage was done perfectly. Finally, when the two wrestlers looked like they were going to take it home, all hell broke loose as Kane, interfering huge on Rollins’ behalf, set off everyone surrounding the ring. Rollins would use his Money in the Bank briefcase as a weapon, smashing it into Ambrose’s face and putting him down for the count.
There is pretty much no wrong that these two can do in the ring.
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho
It was hard for me to watch this one because of the fact that Jericho is one of my all-time favorites. Their Battleground match was lackluster, and this was way better, but it was nowhere near the showing of talent either wrestler has. The match moved seamlessly, but there was no real chemistry between the two in the ring. While the outcome finally fed into the storyline of Bray being the eater of worlds and defeating Jericho, it just felt lackluster. It seems they are going to let the storyline continue, so I am curious to see if these two can find a way to work better with each other.
Nothing to write home about. Entertaining, but nothing special.
Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella
The crowd work both of these women provided were what put this match over. This didn’t move very fast, but it wasn’t dragged out either, and the build up was done perfectly. From Triple H’s interference to the betrayal of Brie at the hands of her sister Nikki, it was a solid showing that built the Authority vs. Daniel Bryan and friends storyline even further, even though he is nowhere near wrestling shape yet while still healing from surgery. Stephanie went on to hit her husband’s signature finisher “Pedigree” and finish off Brie for the win.
Solid outing by McMahon, who hasn’t wrestled in 10 years. Kept a storyline going while a key player is still healing.
Randy Orton vs Roman Reigns
This was a solid match in the classical sense of what you want to see when watching wrestling. A solid use of body language by both wrestlers to emphasize the sequences of the match combined with great wrestling made for an entertaining contest in what I was expecting to be a real snooze fest. A flying, emphatic RKO and the colossal spear Reigns delivered in retaliation to end the match were reason enough to give it a thumbs up.
There were small missing pieces here and there but both wrestlers turned in a hell of a performance.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
(C) John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
The legend of Super Cena appears to be over. Never in the past decade has Cena been made to look weak and powerless. Lesnar spent the entire match throwing Cena around like a ragdoll, delivering a total of 16 suplexes during a match that lasted just over 15 minutes. Lesnar cleanly dominated every minute of this one. From 45 seconds in, when Lesnar hit the F-5 on Cena, you knew this wasn’t going to end pretty for the 15 time World Champ. Lesnar would finally put Cena down emphatically for the three count. Now, the man who ended the Undertaker’s streak six months earlier is the WWE World Champion. It leaves everyone questioning: who can take Lesnar down?
This sends potential storylines in 1000 directions and leaves you wanting to tune in to see what will happen next.
Overall Grade: A
This was a solid pay-per-view from start to finish and it set up a lot of potentially great storylines. It has me reengaged as a wrestling fan and now I look forward to seeing where it goes.
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