August 17, 2015
From the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
Your hosts are Byron Saxton, JBL, and Michael Cole
The show starts off with HHH and Stephanie McMahon heading down to the ring. Stephanie puts over the tension in the locker room over SummerSlam and how it is the biggest SummerSlam in history. They mention that SummerSlam is four hours long, because it is so “epic,” and that you can see it on the WWE Network for just $9.99. They run down the top matches, even telling us that both Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker will be here tonight. HHH also confirms that John Cena will be able to face Seth Rollins with both the U.S. and the WWE World Titles on the line and he will be here tonight to sign the contract. HHH then tells us that Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper will happen tonight. Stephanie also tells us that Nikki Bella will face Sasha Banks tonight as this is the declared the beginning of “SummerSlam Week.” But, the big news is that Jon Stewart will be hosting SummerSlam. As that ends, Randy Orton’s music hits as he hits the ring for his tag match. A short segment that went into overdrive selling SummerSlam. I didnt have a problem with it and they did a pretty good job at that.
Randy Orton & Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens & Sheamus
Orton and Sheamus start things off. The crowd is chanting “You Look Stupid” at Sheamus, who ducks outside to avoid Orton. He heads back in and they trade shoulder tackles before Sheamus yet again slides outside. Owens tags and ambushes Orton before he could tag in Cesaro. Orton breaks free and makes the tag as Cesaro hits a delayed vertical suplex while Cole points out the popular “Cesaro Section.” Owens ducks out as we head to break and the action returns with Owens in control against Orton. Sheamus tags and chokes out Orton with his boot while the announcers mention Owens match against Finn Balor at NXT: Takeover this week. Owens is back in and he tosses Orton to the floor but gets dropped back-first on top of the barricade when he follows him out. Orton tries to make the tag but Owens tags in Sheamus. However, Orton escapes and tags as Cesaro runs wild. He hits several European uppercuts on Sheamus before taking him down with a clothesline. Crossbody gets two. Sheamus avoids a swing by reaching the ropes then catches Cesaro with a powerslam. He leaps off of the top but gets caught with a European uppercut. Cesaro gets caught up in the wrong corner after tagging in Orton, who hits Sheamus with the draping DDT. Owens tried to attack Orton from behind but that got blocked. Owens blocks an RKO attempt by shoving him away but that allows Orton to hit Sheamus with the RKO for the win (13:19) **3/4.
Thoughts: Fun match. The crowd was really into both Orton and Cesaro here, which is a great sign.
We get a replay of the Lesnar/Undertaker build up for their match at SummerSlam.
After the break, we get a promo from the Undertaker. It took place backstage with the screen filled with fog. He tells Lesnar when the “reaper calls your name, there is no remorse. Its just over.” The Undertaker walks closer to the camera until we get a closeup of his face, which really makes him look old. Undertaker then tells Lesnar is name has been called and at SummerSlam, he will never rest in peace. I thought this was lame to tell you the truth. It certainly didnt add anything to the Lesnar/Taker feud.
JBL tells us the value of getting the WWE Network to watch SummerSlam for $9.99 opposed to spending $54.99 on PPV.
We get a replay of Seth Rollins fracturing John Cena’s nose last month on RAW.
Backstage, Seth Rollins is with the Authority. Rollins says that this is “perfect” and asks them after he beats Cena for the U.S. Title, if they would consider putting up his statue among the other legends at WWE Headquarters. Stephanie tells him that he would rightfully deserve that if he won at SummerSlam as HHH tells him to consider it done if he does win. HHH and Steph look at each other as Rollins leaves.
Roman Reigns w/ Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper w/ Bray Wyatt
Both Ambrose and Wyatt are on opposite sides of the announcers table. They slug it out to start the match. Harper grabs a chinlock as Ambrose talks about how he has a real friendship with Reigns, unlike Wyatt and Harper. Reigns fights out and clotheslines Harper to the floor in an awkward spot. Reigns tries for his apron dropkick but Harper strikes him in midair as we head to break. We return with Harper working a front facelock in the ring. Harper hits a Michinoku Driver for two then applies another chinlock. The crowd rallies behind Reigns as Ambrose tells us the only three things Reigns and himself are good at is fighting, drinking, and making women falling in love with them. Harper sends Reigns down with a big boot then works another front facelock. Harper then uses the Gator Roll before settling back into the chinlock. Ambrose is starting to become grating on commentary as he just yells at Wyatt, who is sitting near the guardrail. Reigns comes back with a few clotheslines. Harper catches Reigns with a knee and an elbow but ends up getting slammed. Reigns hits a clothesline then pulls the ropes down on a charging Harper. Reigns follows out with a forearm from the apron. They head back in where Reigns gets two with a clothesline. Samoan Drop gets two. Reigns follows Harper outside but eats a super kick. Harper heads back inside then tries a dive but is met with a punch. Reigns charges at Harper but gets caught in a uranage for two. Reigns blocks a powerbomb attempt but eats a super kick. Harper hits a sitout powerbomb for two as the fans chant for Reigns. Harper sets up for the discus clothesline but Reigns comes back with the Superman punch then gets the win with a spear (15:19) **. After the match, the lights go out while Wyatt holds Harper then yells “Follow the Buzzards.”
Thoughts: Disappointing match. It never got out of first gear and was really clunky at times. Not a good showing by Reigns here.
Tamina w/ Team BAD vs. Becky Lynch w/ Team PCB
The announcers inform us that today is Paige’s birthday and the crowd briefly chants “happy birthday.” Match starts with Tamina overpowering Becky. Tamina gets two with a catatonic slam then works a chinlock. Becky elbows a charging Tamina and fights back. She hits a missile dropkick for a nearfall. Tamina tries another catatonic but Becky counters with the Dis-Arm-Her for the win via submission (4:01) *1/2.
Thoughts: This was fine. They stuck to a basic formula, which is smart seeing as Tamina was involved in the match. There was no post-match antics afterwards as the least popular (or least pushed) of the ladies from their respective teams did okay.
We get a replay of Summer Rae putting Lana in the Accolade on RAW last week.
Rusev w/ Summer Rae vs. Mark Henry
Lana is on commentary. When asked why she is out here, Lana said you need courage but also that she has a plan. Match starts with Henry going right after Rusev. He follows Rusev out and attacks him as most of what he did looked terrible. Back inside, Henry hits a pair of slams but gets sent into the post when he follows Rusev outside. Rusev roughs up Henry before rolling him back into the ring where he drills him with a super kick before getting the win with the Accolade (2:50) 1/4*. After the match, Lana calls Summer into the ring as they were heading up the ramp. Summer gets in and is slapped right down. Lana then calls in Rusev as the crowd chants for Dolph Ziggler, who ends up coming out to a loud reaction. Ziggler comes in and hits Rusev with a floating DDT but pulls up on a super kick attempt when Rusev put Summer in front of her. However, Lana kicks Summer then Dolph catches Rusev with the super kick as the heels scramble out of the ring. Ziggler and Lana then make out while Rusev is flipping out in the aisle.
Thoughts: The match was garbage was Henry doesn’t even belong in the ring at this point. However, Ziggler’s return was done well and got over huge with the crowd and that was far more important than a three-minute match. Hopefully, things change with the Rusev/Ziggler feud as it seemingly got better when Ziggler left.
Jojo asks Lana and Ziggler what they were thinking. Ziggler tells us that he should face Rusev at SummerSlam then gets in a lot of bad jokes at the expense of Rusev and Summer as Lana laughs while Cole wants to know what the Authority thinks of this match request by Ziggler. Good lord, Ziggler is awful when he tries comedy. Bad segment.
A video package featuring stars from past and present talking about the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. They showed this last week.
Ryback vs. Miz
Big Show is on commentary. Ryback destroys Miz in the corner. Miz goes low and tries to work the leg but gets shoved away. Miz goes back to the attack as he stomps on Ryback while Show tells us he is the future Intercontinental Champion. Ryback catches a kick from the Miz and yanks him down. Ryback hits a few clotheslines before hitting the Meathook. Miz holds onto the ropes and kicks free but gets caught trying a crossbody then Ryback puts him away with the Shellshock (2:22) 1/2*. After the match, Ryback tells us he is still hungry and for the Big Show to get into the ring. Show gets up but just walks away.
Thoughts: The way this was booked sort of says that Miz will somehow sneak out of SummerSlam with the belt. Ryback is getting good reactions from the crowd and I hope he keeps the belt longer.
The Authority are in the ring as they welcome Seth Rollins and John Cena into the ring for their contract signing. Rollins is out first and talks about how the fans will witness history and that it is a special time to be part of the audience. He then gets a dig at the Minnesota Twins before he references Minnesota’s own Bob Dylan and how “Times are a Changing.” Rollins calls Cena a villain and how he has been holding the WWE Universe hostage for the past decade. That got some “Yes” chants. Rollins then calls Cena a “disease” and that he is the cure. The crowd boos that one. Rollins then takes offense to Cena referring to his title reign as a joke and promises to crush Cena’s legacy, like he did his face, at SummerSlam. Rollins then calls out Cena for answering his challenge on Tough Enough, cowering next to that “cripple” Daniel Bryan as Cena’s music hits. Cena comes into the ring and tells us he is not in the mood to sit. The crowd does the dueling Cena chant while Cena points out how no one in the crowd is chanting for him as Cena gets the crowd to chant for him while he refers to Rollins as a cheap imitation of himself. Cena then wonders how he can get payback by listing body parts he can break but that he can heal from that. So, he will do something that will haunt him for the rest of his life as he can win the WWE World Title for the 16 time. Cena then tells HHH that he was protecting Ric Flair’s legacy and how Rollins is protecting HHH’s but that there is a difference: HHH was never Flair’s “bitch” and at SummerSlam, he intends to make Rollins his bitch. Cena then leaves as the crowd cheers. Excellent job by both Rollins and Cena here.
A plug for Brock Lesnar appearing on Sports Center tomorrow at 9am. Also, SportsCenter will broadcast from SummerSlam beginning at 10am this Sunday.
Prime Time Players & Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores & New Day
Before the match, the New Day did some mic work and the crowd audibly chanted “New Day rocks” while the announcers tried to pretend otherwise. Match starts with Sin Cara getting beaten down in the corner. Titus tags and tosses around Los Matadores then El Torito and Xavier Woods get into it while Kalisto pins one of the Matadores with a springboard hurricarana (2:10) 1/4*.
Thoughts: Not much to this at all. The only thing interesting was the pre-match antics from the New Day. Once again, the depth of the tag team division is shallow.
The announcers put over the matches at SummerSlam. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev is now official.
We get a look at the events leading to the Neville & Stephen Amell vs. Stardust & King Barrett match at SummerSlam. After that we get a promo from Stardust and King Barrett. We get a lot of wackiness then Stardust gives Barrett some shoulder pads as Barrett declares himself as the “Cosmic King” while Stardust acts like a spaz.
Smackdown this week will feature Randy Orton & Cesaro & Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens & Sheamus & Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt
Nikki Bella w/ Team Bella vs. Sasha Banks w/ Team BAD
Sasha mocks Nikki’s jumping jacks routine after winning a sequence. Nikki comes back with a facecrusher then gets two off of a slingshot suplex. Nikki hits another suplex then works a chinlock as Cole plugs Sasha’s match at NXT: Takeover against Bayley. Sasha sends Nikki into the corner then took her down with a double knee drop as she was laying across the middle rope. We return from break with Sasha working a surfboard. Nikki fights out then comes off of the top with an enziguiri that missed by a mile. Nikki comes back with a corner clothesline then an Alabama Slam for a nearfall. Sasha comes back with a neckbreaker but Nikki rolls through a reverse rollup and hits Sasha with an electric chair drop in a nice spot. Nikki hits a forearm then goes for the rack attack but Naomi hops up onto the apron for the distraction then Sasha hits the Banks Statement and gets the win by submission (10:36) **1/2. After the match, Renee Young is interviewing Team PCB as they seem confident they can win the divas match at SummerSlam.
Thoughts: Solid match. I guess Sasha should be in line for a title shot at some point after this win but the focus is on the three factions, not the title.
Cena will be hosting the 9am hour of the “Today Show” again this Thursday.
Paul Heyman is in the ring. He talks about Brock Lesnar’s accomplishments, including his NCAA title win for the University of Minnesota. Lesnar then comes out as the crowd erupts while confetti drops from the ceiling. A “suplex city” chant echos through the arena then Heyman sings about Lesnar to the tune of “The Battle Hymm of the Republic.” The Undertaker’s bell sounded off and the lights went off but the Undertaker was not present. Heyman then goes off some more but the Undertaker’s bell sounds off and the lights go off but this time the Undertaker attacks Lesnar in the ring. He hits him with a chokeslam as the crowd boos. Undertaker then hits the Tombstone as he lights go off while we get all sorts of thunder and lightning effects as the Undertaker walks off while Lesnar is on the mat looking at him. It looks like they are making Undertaker heel for this match. This didnt get me too excited for the match to be honest and everything besides the pull-apart brawl and the video packages have been underwhelming, including Heyman basically cutting the same exact promo week after week.
Final Thoughts: As far as making SummerSlam seem like a major event, the WWE did an excellent job. With the superb video packages, announcement of Jon Stewart as the official host, and the tie-ins with ESPN, it did give the show a major league feel. However, as far as putting over the actual matches, it was not as successful. It felt like all sizzle and no steak. I thought the Undertaker promo was really corny and the segment at the end of the show didn’t exactly make me anxious to see them wrestle. I liked the contract signing between Cena and Rollins but besides that, no other segment really got me excited for any of the other matches. I think SummerSlam will be a decent show but its hard to see the quality matching its hype.