The biggest show of the summer is finally in the books. Including the pre-show, we were given five hours of content and, for the most part, the show delivered. Unlike WrestleMania, that gave us huge chunks of promos and bland comedic acts, SummerSlam offered a lot of wrestling and, with that, a lot of solid matches. Apart from one terrible comedic bit that ruined a match, the rest of SummerSlam delivered and we throughly enjoyed it.
However, moving forward, how will SummerSlam affect the WWE? Well, that's what we're going to aim to answer in this article, by looking at 16 huge points that we took away from this event.
We decided not to include an entry on Ziggler being Col. Sanders for a KFC ad during the show, but we wanted to give it a shout out here. It was hilarious and we'd love to see him undergo a gimmick change to become The Colonel. We're just joking... kinda.
Let's get the worst part of the show out of the way first.
When we first heard the name of Raw's Championship, we cringed. The Universal Championship is a terrible name for a Heavyweight Championship and they've decided to pair that terrible name with a terrible looking belt. The belt has a red leather strap, which makes it look like something that hangs on the wall at Hulk Hogan's Beach Shop. Fans immediately let their feelings be heard, chanting "That Belt Sucks!" during the Balor/Rollins match.
Quite simply, the title is embarrassing and already needs a revamp. Rather than have something unique and different, Raw has a weird, red version of the WWE Championship.
It's fashionable to hate on Sheamus, but he and Cesaro put on a great match on the pre-show. While we don't like the fact that this match was on the pre-show, we still enjoyed what we saw and are excited for the rest of the series. If we had to predict it, we'd say that Cesaro will win it by comngn back from a deficit, but no matter what, we think we'll get some good action out of this series.
If you look back to the last best of seven series in the WWE, you'd see that it took place between Booker T and Chris Benoit back in 2005 over the United States Championship. That series helped elevate both stars and we think the same can happen here. While there's no title involved, the stakes are still pretty high for these two as they need to make a statement and we think they'll deliver.
It's been three straight shows (that Enzo and Cass are on) that this tag team opens the show and, we have to admit, it makes a ton of sense. There's no one on the roster that can bring the energy that Enzo and Cass do, making them the perfect act to start the show and get the crowd interested in what's happening. They've been on the main roster for a few months now, but their promos still haven't got stale and the fans continue to lose their mind every time they come out. While they shouldn't open every episode of Raw, they should definitely open many of the Raw PPVs.
Even though they lost the match, fans still love them and they should be in the mix for the Tag Team Championships over the next few months.
Since he's returned from his terrible injury, Neville has been booked positively by the WWE. He was drafted on-air in the sixth round by Raw and hasn't lost a match since he's come back. The beard has added something to his look, making him look more serious, and fans are once again getting behind The Man That Gravity Forgot.
Though he was only on the pre-show, in a throwaway match against The Dudley Boyz while tagging with Sami Zayn, he still won the match and his momentum is continuing forward. If they decide to make him a part of the Cruiserweight Division, he'd instantly make the division credible. They need to keep Neville winning until that point, so that the Division seems important to fans.
You won't find a bigger Sasha Banks fan than this humble writer, so it absolutely pains me to write this. However, she and Charlotte didn't put on a great match, especially when you compare it to the terrific match they had on the first Raw after the brand split. If you also compare this one to the match that Sasha Banks had last time she was in Brooklyn, at TakeOver against Bayley, it was much, much worse.
The match was incredibly sloppy, as there were a variety of botches throughout the match that just sucked the energy from the crowd. While they did manage some incredibly maneuvers, like a top rope Hurricanrana from Sasha Banks, and the match felt like a huge deal, the match itself wasn't great and wasn't the best that these two incredible talents could put on. At least we know we'll see a lot more of these two in the future and they'll likely be a lot better.
On the pre-show, they booked all six SmackDown tag teams to face off in a six on six tag match. While American Alpha and The Usos were on the same team, and won, it definitely seemed like they were hinting at a feud between the two teams in the near future. After American Alpha hit Grand Amplitude on Simon Gotch, Jey Usos snuck a tag and hit a splash on him to get the pinfall, leading to visible tension between the two teams after the match. While it doesn't seem like we'll get a full heel turn from The Usos, even though the fans are firmly behind American Alpha, we'd expect to see these two teams square off for the inaugural SmackDown Tag Team Championships in September and October.
Many predicted that Apollo Crews was going to beat The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, so that they could elevate Crews and also so that they could have a fighting IC Champion. However, it wasn't meant to be, as The Miz prevailed in a decent match.
With that in mind, it appears as though The Miz is going to be IC Champ until at least Survivor Series, as he's already held the belt for 139 days and it looks like they want to this to be a long-lasting and monumental reign. He's always been a terrific hand for the company and he's thriving in this role. We don't think his role will, or should, change for the next few months.
Let's start off by saying that John Cena and AJ Styles had the best match of the night and fans should learn to appreciate John Cena before he decides to leave WWE, which we'll discuss more in another point.
In terms of the match, Styles HAD to win. We've said in the past when wrestlers have faced John Cena in big match and, most of those times, those wrestlers lost and their momentum was squandered. Wade Barrett, anyone?
Well, WWE had AJ Styles beat John Cena CLEAN. CLEAN! No one beats John Cena clean unless WWE wants them to do something big with them. The Phenomenal One will be a World Champion in WWE, as it's now a matter of when, not if.
At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, Samoa Joe lost his championship to Shinsuke Nakamura, while Bayley failed to reclaim her championship against Asuka. Since they both lost, it's led to plenty of speculation that they'll soon be emerging on the main roster. While, we'd predict that Samoa Joe will stick around to challenge Shinsuke Nakamura one more time, like Finn Balor did for him, Bayley will more than likely be coming up to the main roster. They allowed her time in the ring after her match, where fans showered her with "Thank You Bayley!" chants. Bayley would be a welcome addition to the Blue Brand, as their women's division leaves plenty to be desired. Bayley and Becky Lynch could put on some great matches for SmackDown's Women's Championship.
We already touched on it, but in case you skipped ahead, John Cena and AJ Styles had an epic and breathtaking match. It wasn't all AJ Styles though, as John Cena was exceptional in the match, showing off incredible moves that we've literally never seen him perform before. He was so good that fans even gave him a standing ovation after AJ Styles had made his way to the back.
Fans have unfairly hated on Cena for years now, even though he's grown to become one of the most complete wrestlers in the company. Cena rarely has a bad match anymore and has had absolute classic matches with Cesaro, Kevin Owens and, now, AJ Styles over the last year. Let's stop pretending that Cena isn't an absolute legend and let's enjoy the great work he's been putting out over the last few years.
If Jon Stewart came back to do The Daily Show again, we'd be all for it and would gladly be excited to see him again. However, when it comes to his association with WWE, and SummerSlam specifically, we hope this is his final chapter.
For the second year in a row, Jon Stewart ruined a great match, with comedy that fans didn't really get behind, to that point that when Gallows and Anderson attacked him, fans were actually chanting "Yes!" In the middle of a great tag match for the Tag Team Championships, WWE decided to ruin that by having Jon Stewart get in the ring and interrupt the match.
Then, before Gallows and Anderson could hurt Stewart, Big E ran out to save him. So, we're supposed to believe that Big E could compete, but that he would stay in the back with his titles on the line, only to come out and save a talk show host? It was terrible booking that took away from a great match. They need to stop shoehorning comedy into these events, as no one enjoys it and it ruins great storylines.
The fact that the WWE Championship was defended at the halfway point of the show demonstrates the fact that this match wasn't highly anticipated. Fans expected Dean Ambrose to defeat Dolph Ziggler and he did. The surprising part was how boring the match was. Despite all the promos that Ziggler cut, where he discussed the fact that he never quits, there were no close finishes and the result was never in doubt.
Perhaps because of that, fans were completely asleep during the match and even booed Ambrose during stages of the match where he was mocking Ziggler. Ambrose getting this kind of lukewarm reaction, at the second biggest show of the year no less, has to worry the WWE.
After the draft, most fans were surprised by the lack of female depth on the SmackDown roster. Well, it appears that Nikki Bella is going to help with that issue as a part of the Blue Brand, as she was the mystery partner in the six man women's match at SummerSlam, with all the other member of SmackDown's women's division.
We're glad that she's back, as she had really improved her in-ring skills before the scary neck injury that almost ended her career. With that in mind, she should win the inaugural SmackDown Women's Championship, before an underdog like Bayley or Becky Lynch takes the title from here. She'd make a great first champion due to her name recognition and she'd build up someone else when she'd lose the belt.
Most fans were excited when Finn Balor was drafted in the first round by Raw. Then, fans were excited when Balor earned a chance to face Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam on his first night on Raw. Fans thought it was going to end there, as most expected Rollins to walk away with the hideous Universal Championship.
Well, The Demon King (we prefer just The Demon) actually won the belt and fans lost their minds after Balor won the match. Balor will actually be the face of Raw and we couldn't be happier about it, even though we love Rollins too. With Styles and Balor winning matches tonight, the New Era is in full swing.
Rusev is one of the best heels in the WWE at generating organic heel heat from the audience. He had been doing that really well over the last few weeks, allowing Roman Reigns to get a little bit of love from the audience by cutting comedic promos at his expense.
Well, if it seemed like Reigns was gaining favor, that didn't seem to be the case at SummerSlam. Reigns and Rusev never had their match, as they fought before the bell rang and Reigns beat Rusev so badly he couldn't compete. During the beating, fans booed Reigns heavily, while chanting for Heath Slater and Cm Punk. Not exactly a ringing endorsement by the fans.
The main event between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton was exactly what we expected. An average match, featuring some german suplexes, broken announce tables and finishing moves. The match ended when Orton got busted open and the referee ended the match, with Lesnar winning by TKO. While it wasn't a terrible showcase match between part-timers, it didn't belong as the main event. Finn Balor being crowned the first Universal Champion should've ended the show, as it was the biggest and most emotional moment of the show. Had someone come out to confront Lesnar as he beat on Orton after the match, like Goldberg or The Undertaker (though we're glad Taker didn't), we could've understood it being the main event of the show. However, due to the bland ending, WWE absolutely chose the wrong main event for this show.
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