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Hits & Botches: SummerSlam 2016

SummerSlam’s over. I thought I enjoyed the show, but as I was writing out what I deemed to be a hit and what I deemed to be a botch, I realised that I really didn’t enjoy this show much at all. There were so many things that I had gripes with and so many missteps and poor decisions and matches that just didn’t deliver. Thankfully most of the major matches were pretty great, but even so, this was a long, long, long show to sit through.

Hits

AJ Styles vs. John Cena

196_SS_08212016ej_2209--dcc84febe435db36f3ef6802eff3d04aThis was the best match of the show to me, and maybe even a match of the year contender. It was your fairly typical “big match John” performance where they trade big finishing moves back and forth and go near fall after near fall until someone wins – but it had a little more rhythm and meaning to it. Styles was determined not to lose to Cena, and Cena just wouldn’t “give up”. I genuinely bought the near fall when Cena hit the Super AA, and I liked the finish with the Styles Clash and the Phenomenal Forearm. I’d been worried that Styles might’ve been gradually falling back into becoming a 50/50 upper midcard guy like a Ziggler or a Cesaro, but this win helped put him on the map as SmackDown’s top heel. Cena’s send off was nice as well, although I’m sure we’ll see him back before we know it.

Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins

346_SS_08212016ej_3871--fd7df606d20fb5025735da1579bd3460The belt name and appearance aside, this was a great match. It’s unfortunate that the crowd spoiled half of it by trying to get themselves over and booing a belt, but this was a great match. The “Demon King” entrance would have been more effective had they not needlessly given it away last week, and I don’t foresee Balor having a lengthy title reigin, but this was still a really good match and Balor has already become the top babyface on Raw.

Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

149_SS_08212016ej_1183--7d338afca9fed4257ea18e6bff7e3275There were some awkward and nasty botches that plagued the early part of this match, but by the end it was a solid championship match and the crowd was totally into it. People will be mad and upset over Charlotte winning the title back, and the decision surprised me, but Charlotte is genuinely a good heel and it’s more entertaining watching a babyface chase her for the title. She also now has that pay-per-view undefeated singles streak going, so whoever beats her (whether it’s Sasha or perhaps Bayley) will get a nice rub from ending the “streak” and becoming champion. On top of that, with Sasha as champion, there’s really only Charlotte and Nia Jax that can challenge her for the title – and Nia’s not ready for that yet.

Gallows & Anderson vs. The New Day

252_SS_08212016dg_4596--d27236cfa0c8746a9fba08ad511ff3d1Despite the Jon Stewart silliness, this was a perfectly fine match, and I actually wasn’t too bothered by the DQ finish. It saved Gallows & Anderson from having their momentum completely killed with a clean finish, and they got a big pop with Big E coming back. I do think it’s time for The New Day to drop the belts, but that can come next month. This was fine.

Botches

The finish

408_SS_08212016ej_4767--f765126a7b200a294f6ec91dcebbd77eDon’t get me wrong, I kind of like the idea of Brock winning a match by taking his gloves off and pummeling Randy Orton’s face into a fine paste. I thought it was badass and made Brock look that much scarier. But to have that ending come somewhat prematurely, and then follow it up with Lesnar giving Shane an F5 really ended SummerSlam on a downer. I thought we may see Goldberg or a Bray Wyatt run-in or someone appear to challenge Lesnar. Instead, Orton got destroyed (which I’m kind of fine with) and it almost felt like they’re now building up towards a Brock Lesnar vs. Shane McMahon match – and I honestly do not want to see that. Maybe Shane will decide to exact vengeance by hiring Goldberg or Samoa Joe or someone that could beat Lesnar. But this was a fairly cold way to end the show.

The Universal Championship

325_SS_08212016jg_1469--540326b37762b8ce8479d918369cac70A dodgy looking belt to go with a stupid name. I get that someone backstage probably likes the idea of all the titles being kind of uniform and looking identical, but this belt looks bad. It looks like a cheaper, tackier version of the WWE World title.

 

WWE World title match

283_SS_08212016jg_1049--ba7c978bafee49e4e747bc3b7e06d7f5Ziggler and Ambrose were having a perfectly fine match, all the way up until the finish when the match suddenly ended. It’s like they finished just as they started to get going. And the finish to this just solidified Dolph Ziggler as the midcarder that WWE’s been pushing him as for the last two years. This was make or break for him. I’m sure they can turn him heel (which is probably best for him) and maybe give him another shot down the line, but the ship has surely set sail for Dolph Ziggler ever being a main event guy now. A very underwhelming match.

 

Colonel Sanders vs. the Chicken

Speaking of Dolph Ziggler not being a main eventer, this was soooo cringey and hard to watch. Did they really need the #1 contender AND the Intercontinental Champion to dress up as Colonel Sanders and a chicken and do this horrendous comedy spot? You mean to tell me they couldn’t get two jobbers to do this? This is why they shouldn’t have fired Santino and Hornswoggle. This is the stuff they were perfect for.

 

Six-woman tag

304_SS_08212016ej_2989--234bd051d8b44108a5a1f45062f88f6cA bland and weak six person tag. Nikki Bella got a decent pop for her return, and I’m still getting a kick out of Eva Marie’s gimmick. But the rest of this match was complete dark match material. Becky, Natalya and Naomi all worked pretty hard, but this never felt like it belonged on the show. Carmella makes me cringe every time I see her moon walking and dancing out there while the crowd goes mild. Send her (and half the call ups) back to NXT.

 

Jon Stewart

218_SS_08212016dg_4020--582683c99204962442a8b9b9b6a86ecaI like Jon Stewart, but I don’t need to see him trying to be funny on a WWE show. I did laugh when he tucked his shirt in when Gallows & Anderson were about to attack him, but otherwise everything just felt so unfunny. It’s like this whenever WWE gets a celebrity to make a guest appearance, nine times out of ten it’s awkward and this was one of those times.

 

Rusev and Roman Reigns brawl

376_SS_08212016jg_1871--c45fa75ed8f2a47ba215d9f253f051baSo they gave us Rusev vs. Reigns on Raw, to build up to this brawling segment on the pay-per-view? I get that WWE was probably in a bind, they don’t want to take the belt off of Rusev and they don’t want Reigns losing again. But they surely could have had something of a match? This beat down angle was a TV spot. I don’t know where they go from here? Rematch at the next PPV where they’ll probably do a DQ finish or something?

 

Jeri-KO vs. Enzo & Cass

087_SS_08212016ej_0923--0c3f3ee3e008dee847ce31a3506d8996I’m surprised Enzo & Cass lost, but I don’t overly mind. Jeri-KO are entertaining. This match didn’t do it for me though. Enzo is so bad in the ring. He’s just like a rag doll that flops around and nothing he does looks good. He’s such a great promo guy but ugh, he and Cass need each other so badly.

 

The Miz vs. Apollo Crews

181_SS_08212016dg_3065--4f206e6c1ef728a0229f6e301cc32b5cThis was a total TV match. Apollo Crews looked okay, The Miz looked okay. They wrestled an average match, and The Miz won. Why did they call up Apollo Crews again? And why is The Miz the Intercontinental Champion again? Remember back a few months ago when he was defending the title against Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Kevin Owens, and none of them won the belt from him? Why? Is watching Miz have bad feuds and boring TV matches on pay-per-view with a guy that should still be in NXT really what they had in mind when they gave him the belt?

 

All photos via WWE.com

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