After decimating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, Lesnar walked into SummerSlam as the heavy favorite. But nobody expected him to completely squash John Cena, WWE’s resident superhero. Lesnar obliterated Cena, hitting his F5 trademark finisher seconds into the match. He didn’t get the three count immediately, but dominated Cena the entire way. The former MMA champ knows he’s not the most popular guy on the roster and enjoyed taunting fans throughout the match. He even mocked Undertaker’s classic sitting upright move.
In a sense, Cena wasn’t even really the opponent. It’s like Lesnar was reminding us again that he ended Undertaker’s streak, with Cena just being collateral damage. Despite Lesnar’s epic teasing, Cena’s 50/50 popularity made this a tweener vs tweener match. The WWE viewers are ready to see Cena gone for a while, with at least half of them hoping he never returns. If The Deadman and the leader of Cenation can’t stop The Beast Incarnate, who can? Roman Reigns is a likely candidate after he wraps up his feud with The Authority.
Stephanie McMahon defeats Brie Bella thanks to a sister swerve
Matches like this are why somebody decided the outcome of wrestling events should be staged. This was never going to be a mat classic, nor did it need to be. It was about the storyline, which has been a lot of fun. Steph is arguably the most over heel on the roster right now. It’s been fun to watch her and Brie engage in soap opera style shenanigans. HHH sold a dropkick from Brie as if he’d been shot, proving he does sometimes do “what’s best for business.” That’s right, HHH, the man with clean victories over almost every guy on the roster, sold for Brie Bella. Nikki then showed that The Authority always has a Plan B, turning on her sister. That set up the Queendom herself to hit the Pedigree. It was delicious, the perfect payoff for a SummerSlam storyline. Steph isn’t going to work matches regularly, so the Authority can use another evil diva. I didn’t think Brie and Steph could get any better and I’m glad to be wrong.
Paige defeats AJ Lee to become the new Divas champion
What a great night all around for the divas. The first few matches between these two seemed like they were feeling each other out. This time they really clicked, with some great spots including AJ getting dropped across the barricade. This is the second time she’s ended an AJ Lee title reign, and I’m excited to see where this goes. Tonight had some of the most enjoyable divas stuff since the days of Trish Stratus feuding with Mickie James. I loved Paige picking an unconscious AJ up after the match to “console” her. Just great energy all the way around in this one.
Dolph Ziggler defeats The Miz to become the new Intercontinental Champion
WWE has been making an effort to make us care a little more about the Intercontinental Title. It’s hard to do that since they really don’t push the IC Champion as the no.1 contender for the title anymore. That gimmick has gone to whoever wins the Money in the Bank briefcase. Neither Ziggler or The Miz is getting anywhere near Lesnar as anything other than a sacrifice. But they always deliver a good match, even in a situation like this where they don’t get any time. I’m loving The Miz’s storyline about trying to protect his face more with every match. Ziggler wins, earning him the right to put on more great matches in the middle of card with little thanks.
Seth Rollins defeats Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack Match
Wait for it, wait for it.. The WWE Universe was denied this match at Battleground, a PPV that desperately needed the help. As much as that choice pulled Battleground deeper into the abyss, it was the right move. This match was well worth the wait, Ambrose and Rollins tearing the house down. The lumberjacks periodically forgot how a lumberjack match is supposed to work. The whole point is to keep them in the ring, yet somehow Ambrose and Rollins fought all the way into the crowd. The lumberjacks were probably in awe like everybody else was. Rollins was able to pick up the dirty win with the ol’ Money in the Bank suitcase. MITB cases, ensuring wrestlers won’t need to use their trademark finisher for six months.
Roman Reigns defeats Randy Orton
The crowd wasn’t nearly as invested in this match as it was the other former Shield members’ match. I would have accepted an Orton victory after his awesome counter of the Superman Punch into the RKO. WWE has bigger plans for Reigns though, so he went over here. If you don’t like it when Cena gets beat for 10 minutes, hits two big moves and wins you probably didn’t like it from Reigns either.
Chris Jericho defeats Bray Wyatt
Wyatt needed to win here for this feud to stay interesting. Getting a clean pin with the other members of the family nowhere around is a big deal for Wyatt. The family is obviously over, look at all the cellphones waving during Bray’s entrance. But does WWE have a clear idea of what to do with this momentum? I don’t know, but we’ll continue getting electric mic work from these two.
Rusev defeats Swagger in a Flag Match
They can’t all be great. I shudder to think how many flag matches I’ve seen in my years of watching wrestling. I don’t know what the rules are, nor can I remember any flag matches that really stood out. They’re usually a lot like this, the American hero thumping his chest against a foreign threat. On profanity in comedy, Milton Berle once said the joke better be funny before you add the curse word. With flag matches, the wrestlers better be over before you add the flags. Yes USA and all that, but we remember Swagger was going nowhere before Rusev showed up. The Bulgarian Brawler has already destroyed the much more impressive Big E Langston. Rusev made Swagger pass out with the Accolade. He also delivered a kick to Zeb Colter after the match for a little more heel heat.
Great show overall. As a bonus, the WWE Network price of $9.99 is becoming a catchphrase. Perhaps the not so subliminal messaging will pick up the numbers. What WWE Network truly needs are more PPVs like SummerSlam. Hopefully Night of Champions can follow up.