When SummerSlam went off the air, I had a legit sense of fulfillment and enjoyment. When I woke up this morning, I felt like a wrestling fan again – completely satisfied, impressed and wanting to talk about it with other wrestling fans.
Then I go online, and the Internet Wrestling Community f***ing ruins it for me! I admit, I’m usually the first one to pass judgment or have what may come off as a negative opinion. I like to consider it constructive criticism, or pointing out missed opportunities. But I’m always looking for ways to better the business, and I don’t s*** on everything I see just to have a public voice and opinion. I think the wrestling business, and WWE in particular, ask a lot from the fans. They ask us to invest countless hours on a weekly basis; they ask us to pay top dollar for their live events and merchandise; and, they ask for your loyalty and commitment to their product. That’s asking for A LOT. So in return, I think it’s only fair to DEMAND their absolute BEST.
Have I been critical of their product and creative decisions? Absolutely…but when I’m wrong, I’m the first to admit it…and when there is something worth raving about, I’ll be the first to sell it to anyone willing to listen. And that’s how I feel about SummerSlam 2016.
Did the event have its flaws? They ALL do. And in all honesty, they ONLY one I can really build a case against was the length of the show. If you followed my live tweets on Twitter at @DieHardDerekG (if you’re not following me…the f*** are you waiting for), you may recall me not knowing that the main show was starting at 7pm EST. I had no idea that there was a 2-hour kick off from 5pm -7pm. seriously, what’s the point in a 2-hour kick off for a 4-hour show? It’s not needed; it’s overkill; and it wore out the audience. By the time the featured championship matches came on – the crowd barely had the energy to react and may have dampened the moods of the performers giving it their all. Seth Rollins was quoted on social media in saying that he was disappointed in Brooklyn – perhaps due to the lackluster reaction of his match with Finn Balor, as well as the championship match pitting Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.
Maybe I would have had a different reaction had I sat through the full 6-hour affair – and to be perfectly honest, I’m glad I didn’t. I’m genuinely happy with what I saw and whole-heartedly disagree with the naysayers. Perhaps the polling is giving off the wrong perception because fans weren’t happy with the way the show abruptly ended after Randy Orton’s injury. In my opinion, I feel that it brought reality to the show. The beast known as Brock Lesnar did exactly what he said he was going to do, and beat his opponent to a bloody pulp.
It was a legit injury that left Orton drowning in a pool of his own blood, and required ten staples to close. As a shoot, the match had to be stopped due to the severity of the injury – and in turn painting Lesnar as a ferocious monster. Paul Heyman’s face projected real concern over the injury, and Lesnar’s continued attack was well calculated to continue the story and keep the show moving until a final decision could be made. And if somehow, this was all a work (although I doubt you could plan a hole in the head that size), then it was pulled off flawlessly!
There was so much more to love about this event. Why isn’t anyone discussing the brilliant booking of Roman Reigns vs. Rusev? Had a match actually happened, and Roman walked out of the United States champion, it would have only done more damage to his character. Granted, a program with Rusev seems like a demotion for the former Heavyweight champion, but an immediate win for a 4th string title would have been career suicide for Reigns.
I was very skeptical about the Roman/Rusev angle, and didn’t appreciate that creative pretty much told the WWE Universe that they were giving up on the Roman Reigns push. Rusev is a hell of an opponent, but his placement on the hierarchy and the US title in general is dead weight. Somehow, creative masterfully turned the angle personal. In doing so, they gave Roman a reason to exist in the Universe, and a platform for him to unload his anger and rebuild his reputation. Rather than look at this as a demotion, I see it as a second chance to rebuild and do it right! Roman’s emotion, destruction and that spear he delivered ringside was a thing of pure beauty – and his first step back into the championship picture (way down the road). THIS is the Roman Empire we’ve been waiting to see.
The match between AJ Styles and John Cena was absolute perfection, and easily the match of the year thus far. It proved why these men are global superstars, and recognized as the face of their respective companies. This was the WWE vs. TNA dream match that wrestling fans have always envisioned, and it exceeded expectations. Styles impressively clean victory is also a credit to Cena doing what was best for business and the future of the company.
The championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks was equally impressive as Cena vs. Styles, and a credit to every woman who laces up the boots and aspires to compete at that level. There was a time when men thought women’s wrestling cheapened the product – well, you can tell those misogynistic motherf***ers that the girls are raising the bar and stealing the show!
I won’t spend much time going over the championship matches between Ambrose/Ziggler and Rollins/Balor – but I will say that they were as good as ANY championship match I’ve seen in a long time. Ambrose is all heart; Ziggler proved he’s main event material; Rollins is the future of this company; and Balor is about to change the game. This reminded me of the WWE’s resurgence in the 90’s when they began to shy away from the larger than life stars, and replaced the Hogans and Warriors with Harts and Michaels.
As I mentioned before, the only negative criticism was the length of the show. The crowd grew restless and it clearly impacted the vibe of the championship matches. Other than that, it was superb from top to bottom, and I challenge anyone to try and sell me on WHY SummerSlam sucked. If this wasn’t a step in the right direction, and the perfect blend of sports and entertainment – then what else do you f***ing want? Prove me wrong!
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