Yet another WWE pay-per-view (PPV) has come and gone, this one the SummerSlam event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and while it was nowhere near the level of show it was promoted at there was plenty of fun to be had. You know, if you're into puddles of blood. And red. Lots of red.
Click here to check out the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events.
Considering how often we get 50/50 booking in WWE, it always feels nice to get a definitive finish in a match. The idea of any athletic contest, after all, is to decide who is superior. It's especially visceral in combat -- there's nowhere to place the blame when you fail, and no one else to get credit when you succeed.
To that end, I appreciated Brock Lesnar opening a new hole in Randy Orton's head as his way of rendering him physically unable to compete.
Having said that, this felt more uncomfortable than anything because, well, there were a couple of elbows that actually connected with Orton's head and he was actually bleeding out. If the idea was to make me believe it was real, well, they succeeded.
Because it was real, in its way.
It may have been a little too real.
I don't watch WWE to watch guys get knocked silly. Maybe Orton is just better at selling injury than I've ever given him credit for but he looked legitimately shaken up by those clubbing shots. It was such a strange situation, that looked real enough, that respected wrestling writers aren't entirely sure it was even the planned finish.
I'll always advocate for something fresh, but not at the expense of the health of those involved.
That right there is an ugly championship title. It is as though Stephanie McMahon's children got their hands on the WWE world heavyweight championship, colored it red, and a light bulb when on over her head when she came in to see the mess.
It actually drew "delete" chants from Brooklyn.
They did get the execution of the match correct, however, by using one of the top stars on Raw, Seth Rollins, to very clearly establish another top star in Finn Balor. They can now forever push Finn as the very first Universal champion who beat the first pick in the WWE draft to become that.
He took all of Rollins' best shots, and came out a mile ahead anyway. It put over The Demon, it put over the man behind the paint, and, no, it did not hurt Rollins in any way. From a pure booking perspective, this worked all the way around.
Go listen to the crowd when Balor got the three count. They got him -- and all of this -- over.
How they follow up is key, of course, and NXT showed us there are only so many options for a star like Balor. But they've done nothing but get it right with Finn so far, so they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
Do it with Flair
When the smart money came in and the betting odds turned heavily in favor of Charlotte, I immediately assumed Dana Brooke would get involved and there would be a disqualification. Surely they weren't going to take the title off Sasha Banks so soon. No. They wouldn't do that.
Then, they did.
This was such a shock to the wrestling world, rumors immediately started that she failed a Wellness test and an announcement of a 30 day suspension would be coming. Then websites started running stories that she's been removed from advertising for the next month of shows. Then it was maybe that she was injured -- and that was certainly the story of the match itself.
That's how shocking this was. Any or all of that could be true but it doesn't change the surprise at how this match played out. It was sloppy at first -- my house was holding their breath every time they got anywhere near the second turnbuckle -- but they turned it around to get to that unexpected finish.
It was fun. Scary, but fun. Sad, but fun.
All the best to all the rest
Bully Reigns: I love me some Raging Roman, so when he and Rusev threw hands and just decided they didn't give two shits about having a match and just wanted to kill each other, I was fully on board. They told the right story here -- Rusev is so angry at how his wife has been treated by this awful man, he cared more about hurting him than he did winning any wrestling match. It was one of the issues with the Sasha vs. Charlotte match I didn't mention previously: Sasha demanded Charlotte fight her, and then went for a collar-and-elbow tie up. None of that nonsense here.
COME ON, NIKKI: Our long national nightmare is over, as Nikki Bella made her return, looked fantastic, debuted a new TKO finish that looks great and won't destroy her neck, and SmackDown appears to have just gotten one of the very best women on the roster. This was a win all around. However, I would like everyone to continue to pray for Eva Marie, who is suffering from exhaustion and anxiety. Fans really are too hard on her.
Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler: I suppose we could talk about how this match was a microcosm of Ziggler's entire career but nothing about the match itself makes you want to muster that kind of energy. Isn't this the guy who steals the show? The only thing I remember from the match was how emphatically Ambrose won, and that confidence he had waving the referee over to count the pin. There ain't no coming back from this one. This is it for Dolph in the main event.
Balls out: The New Day and The Club had a match, and it was really just about getting Jon Stewart involved -- that man had a dick on his head and looked like the most miserable human being in existence -- and getting to Big E's return. His balls are no longer contused, folks! This is good! He also drank ball water, so that's cool too.
Bye, John Cena: AJ Styles beat up John Cena in yet another great match between the two. That Cena put Styles over is kind of a big deal, and his career in Hollywood may actually give us the stories we've been hoping they would tell with this character for years now. He lost a feud, clean, and left his "never give up" armband in the ring before leaving. This felt like a milestone moment that we may not have appreciated enough at the time. There are so many opportunities here. What if he just disappears now? What if he says he isn't sure if he has it anymore and THEN disappears? Styles can use this for at least the next year and he's made. This was great.
The Miz def. Apollo Crews: Don't care. Don't lie, you don't either.
JeriKO def. Enzo & Big Cass: The highlight of all this was Kevin Owens mocking Enzo Amore and Big Cass falling over the top rope when he threw Enzo out of the ring. It was about what you could expect from it: Wrestlers who were over having a match with an unexpected result that really shouldn't have seemed all that unexpected. The Pop Up Powerbomb into a Codebreaker was a good idea in theory but looked ugly in execution.
Sheamus def. Cesaro: If nothing else, it will be interesting to see if they can get crowds more invested over the course of their 7 match series. They didn't much have them here, even if the work was good.
Pre-show: The Usos turning heel sounds fun. Sami Zayn getting an actual storyline sounds better.
Final thought: There was some really good stuff on this show, but my god it ran far too long.