Review: WWE SummerSlam 2017

After last night’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III, the WWE main roster had to put on a PPV to follow up that amazing show. I wouldn’t say they failed to do so, but the show was too damn long.

If you count the pre-show and the main card, it was SIX HOURS LONG! You could watch two NFL football games, or roughly four football matches (I didn’t want to exclude my International readers). It wasn’t as long as Wrestlemania and thank God.

SummerSlam had five title changes, which could be a record. I know Michael Cole mentioned that this show has the most title matches in one night in the history of WWE. It may or may not be correct since WWE announcers have spewed bullshit records in the past (I’m looking at you Matt Striker).

Before I go into all the matches, if you bet on pro wrestling and put money on every underdog, you usually hit on one. Well, SummerSlam saw five underdog bets win on Sunday. The underdogs usually have very long odds, so even hitting on one underdog can be lucrative. Vince can never make up his mind and finishes can be changed the day of the event…and five happened at SummerSlam.

The MIZtourage (The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) pinned The Hardy Boyz & Jason Jordan

This match felt dead due to the fact that the Barclays Center didn’t open the doors until 30 minutes before his match. People were still filing in, buying merch/concession and getting settled in.

The match storyline was to lead to Jason Jordan getting the hot tag. He has plenty of experience doing that when he was in American Alpha. Jordan is definitely athletic and looks smooth in the ring, but he just doesn’t have ‘it’ right now. He needed Chad Gable to get over and he is slowly dying on the vine. He reminds me of Shelton Benjamin. A guy who had all the physical gifts, but he lacked charisma.

The Miz got the pinned when he blind tagged himself in and caught Jordan with the Skull Crushing Finale. This might be the first time Bo and Curt has been part of a winning team in months and months.

Neville submitted Akira Tozawa to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Tozawa won this belt on Monday Night RAW and then lost it six days later. I thought WWE did this so they could at least have one title change at SummerSlam (we later found out that is not true).

The match was pretty good for the short time they were given. Tozawa went for the big senton from the top and Neville put his knees up. Neville hit the Red Arrow on Tozawa’s back and locked in the Rings of Saturn in a nice transition. Tozawa tapped out and lost the title.

The Usos pinned The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) to win the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championshp

Once I saw that Xavier Woods was in the match, I assumed the New Day were losing their belts. He wasn’t the one to take the pin, but it’s never a good sign when Woods gets the spot over Kofi Kingston.

This match was pretty damn good, especially the last five minutes. It started off slow and cranked into overdrive when Xavier put Big E up in an electric chair position and hit a big Splash off Woods shoulders. There were so many near-falls and dives to the outside. 

The finish came when Big E got kicked with about four superkicks and one double superkick. He fell on his back and The Usos hit a double splash to win back their SD Live tag team belts. This match was bonkers and should have been on the main show. I can think of three or four matches that should have been in this spot. I would say this was the second best match of the night.

Before the main card began, the WWE and KFC ruined my childhood. They made ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels DRESS UP AS COLONEL FREAKIN’ SANDERS!

Also, wanted to talk about Elias singing a song at some point during the pre-show. I think he’s actually getting over a bit. He had some nice lyrics about the people in Brooklyn that were condescending, but since they were so creative, it popped the crowd.

John Cena pinned Baron Corbin

It looks like Corbin is continuing to be punished for his disrespectful tweets at John Cena and other WWE wrestlers. He lost his Money In The Bank briefcase in a match that lasted five seconds.

Corbin got some offense, but Cena was a true babyface in this match. Corbin didn’t get the ‘anyone but Cena’ cheers from hardcore fans.

This match was just there. It wasn’t booked to be a good match and Cena won clean after only one Attitude Adjustment. In normal booking of pro wrestling strategy, Corbin should have beaten Cena. Corbin needed the win to establish himself. I didn’t happen and Corbin will now be stuck in undercard hell for awhile. Cena will probably head to RAW to feud with someone on that show.

Natalya submitted Naomi to win the Smackdown Live Women’s Championship

Natalya came out in a Bret Hart-style jacket, which was dope. Naomi had a jacket that changed colors and did her LSD blacklight entrance.

I never thought Natalya would win this match. I just thought they were giving a Nattie a match here to throw her a bone. I don’t recall her having many (if any) single matches on SummerSlam.

Naomi took about 80% of the match and hit some cool moves and the two had a couple unique spots. One put Naomi in a splits position and Natalya kicked her. The finish came when Naomi was going for her random lucha submission and Natalya reversed it into the sharpshooter. I don’t think this is the end of this feud. This could be a short reign for the Queen of Harts.

Also, there wasn’t even a hint of a tease of a cash-in by Carmella.

Big Cass pinned Big Show (with Enzo Amore in a Shark Cage)

Enzo’s shtick is getting a bit old. He comes out with a microphone to an above average pop. His line about being ‘the Al Capone of the microphone’ was pretty cool. Big Cass came out and cut Enzo’s promo short (thank God) and Enzo was locked into the shark cage at that point. As the cage was being pulled up, Enzo did a funny dance, which was entertaining.

Big Show came out with his hand wrapped up after Cass put Show’s hand in the cage and crushed it last week on RAW. Enzo was being annoying from up above the ring. He was getting all the heat on himself and not on the match below. The two guys had a pretty basic match with Show selling his hand when he went for his Knockout Punch.

This is when Enzo decided that he needed to get out of the shark cage. He took off his jersey and shorts, put oil on himself and squeezed through the bars. He jumped down into the ring and Cass gave him a big boot in less than a second, Enzo was knocked the EFF OUT. Cass finished Show at that point and pinned him after hitting the Empire Elbow.

The rumor that Enzo has major backstage heat and is annoying as hell. Having him squeeze threw the bars, could have been a rib. It shows how skinny he is and made him out to be a tiny wimp that talks a lot of game, but can’t back it up.

 

Randy Orton pinned Rusev

This was the definition of a nothing match.  Orton his an RKO out of nowhere immediately after the bell rang. Rusev was pinned clean as a sheet. Rusev must still have heat for cutting his hair. He is way down the undercard at this point.

If you have heat in WWE, SummerSlam was used to make a bunch of dudes look like geeks.

Sasha Banks submitted Alexa Bliss to win the RAW Women’s Championship

Sasha came out in this peacock hood, which was a surprise. She didn’t have long to prepare for this match since she replaced Bayley, who suffered a separated shoulder in a match with Nia Jax. Alexa Bliss was next and she was smokin’ hot as always. She looks great with her hair in a ponytail.

Sasha is the better wrestler between the two, so she had to carry Bliss through the match. Banks does suck at selling, which was evident a few times in this match. The finish was a surprise and thought there would be more to this match. Bliss tapped out without much of a rope break tease…she was like a foot from the ropes and just tapped…that was it.

Finn Balor pinned Bray Wyatt

When Balor came out in his paint, Bray Wyatt was outside the ring and actually had a worried look on his face. That was a first for the Eater of Worlds. I know it wasn’t a big match or even one that was marquee, but I enjoyed the mind games in the ring.

Both guys did their odd gestures in the ring to play with the other’s head. Finn got most of the match, which was expected. Finn turned Bray’s Sister Abigail finisher into a Slingblade. He then hit the Coup de Gras for the win.

Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose pinned Sheamus & Cesaro to win the RAW Tag Team Championship

I assumed Ambrose and Rollins would win this match, but I thought Sheamus and Cesaro should win and keep the belts. They’ve worked so well as a team and this Ambrose/Rollins team is going to lead up to some betrayal angle. I bet there will be a full Shield reunion before Ambrose turns on Rollins, since Reigns is also on RAW.

There were a lot of legit near falls in this match. I’m talking 2 & 99/100ths counts. A beach ball found its way into the crowd and it was distracting everyone. You can tell it was pissing off Sheamus and Cesaro. The ball went to an area that Cesaro could run and get it. He got it and ripped it apart…the biggest heat spot of the night (maybe not, but the crowd boo’d)…but awesome heel move by Cesaro.

The finish came when Rollins hit a the V-Trigger (not sure what Rollins calls it) and Ambrose hit the Dirty Deeds to become the new RAW tag champs.

A.J. Styles pinned Kevin Owens (with Shane McMahon as Guest Referee) to win the U.S. Championship

I have to admit, I actually fell asleep during this match. I had to watch the last hour or so when I woke up this morning. I wouldn’t say this was a boring match, but it was a long show and I was in the sun a lot yesterday. I was just drained.

I was annoyed that this finish could be some McMahon shenanigans or just incompetence as a referee. There wasn’t much of that in this match, but he was involved in a couple spots. Kevin Owens hit a sweet twisting fisherman suplex off the second rope (gif below).

AJ Styles hit the Styles Clash two times and was pinned after the second one. Owens will complain to Shane that he thinks he was screwed. I really hope this doesn’t lead to an Owens/McMahon match…which could be a 4-on-4 Survivor Series match.

Jinder Mahal pinned Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE Championship

Both guys got huge entrances before the match. The documentary-like video before the match about Jinder did make him look important. Also, at the beginning of the match, WWE cut into the Hindi play-by-play commentary and then later in the match they cut into the Japanese commentary team. It did show that the WWE was a global brand.

The match was also ‘just there’ and didn’t expect it to be anything special. I predicted most of the match before it started. The Singh brothers would interfere that would lead to a distraction finish in which Jinder wins with his finisher…which is what happened.

This match made the WWE Championship look weak…especially right before one of the best four-way matches of all-time.

Brock Lesnar retained against Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe & Braun Strowman

This match was bonkers. Everyone hit their finish multiples times and guys were just destroyed at times, especially Brock Lesnar. I loved how they teased the Lesnar vs Strowman showdown and then pulled back and teased it again. The crowd was all lathered up. Strowman just manhandled Brock Lesnar. He literally threw him around the ring. He then powerslammed Lesnart threw two tables and then tipped a table on top of him. Earlier in the match, Strowman threw an office chair at Reigns and Samoa Joe, which was hilarious.

After Strowman tipped the table onto Brock, he sat down on the steps while the EMTs put Lesnar on a stretcher and took him away. Strowman got tired and needed a rest after kicking so much ass. 

Joe and Reigns got some offense on Strowman and he would get bounced out of the ring a few times. Reigns hit Braun with the steps, but he caught the corner of the steps. He cut Strowman behind his ear, which added some extra juice to this match.

Brock comes out from the back. I just assume he kicked all the EMTs’ asses and limped down the ramp. Brock then German suplexed everyone but Strowman, so he put a kimura on him. Reigns broke it up, but Strowman didn’t look like he was ever in danger. Roman hit a ton of Superman punches and spears. Brock was trying to F-5 Strowman, but it didn’t work. Strowman had Brock up for a powerslam, but Reigns speared him. Joe got a choke in on Brock, but he escaped and hit an F-5 on Joe. Reigns broke up the pin which lead to a finish of Lesnar hitting an F-5 on Reigns for the pin. He retained the Universal Championship.

I would be surprised if Brock keeps the title for too much longer. RAW needs their champion on there every week. It does help the company to have a big name like Brock as the champion, but football season is coming up and they are going to take a hit in the ratings. They need all the gimmicks to make sure they don’t fall under 2.5 million viewers every week. Also, if Brock wants to face Jon Jones in the UFC in December, he needs a full camp to train without the WWE distraction.

This show was pretty good. The matches you thought would be good, either met or exceeded your expectations. The matches you had no interest in, were either average or so bad you wonder why it was even on this show (Orton vs Rusev).

If you take away the main event, I would have give the show a C- or a C. The main event really put it over the top and I’m give it a B overall. WWE haven’t had many B or B+ pay-per-views this year, so it’s a step in the right direction.

I am anxiously awaiting the next few weeks. I expect some NXT guys to be called up and some reset on storylines. I want Strowman to keep throwing things and flipping over heavy stuff. He was the MVP of this show.

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sweetbob-author-picAbout the Author…

Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot ClicksGuyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.

 

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