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Summerslam 2015

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:36 pm    Post subject: Summerslam 2015 Reply with quote

Summerslam was a mixed bag. They were coming off the best stretch of RAWs since this time last year. They'd built up Lesnar vs. Undertaker so well I didn't mind that it wasn't a match I wanted to see up until now. Also, since the insane hot crowd at Wrestlemania, they seemed to have given the overall product a jolt, and PPV crowds for the past 5 months had been pretty good.

So it was somewhat disappointing that the crowd for this event was so much less hot than the NXT crowd the night before in the same building. They were still buzzing, still into the characters, but quiet or restrained for periods during the matches. It didn't help that the first half of the card was so underwhelming.

But it turned around for the back half and delivered four very good matches that were all memorable. Except for both main events having screwjob finishes. That really diminished the power of a big show (as in, one of the two biggest of the year) for me. I want some resolution after all that hype. I'm trying to look at it as coming with the territory, and hopefully working to set up good things in the future.


Jon Stewart tried to hype up the crowd and they weren't that into it. Maybe they realized how much time WWE would have to fill to make the show four hours. Mick Foley did a cute bit with Stewart. It was clever and understated by WWE standards, but that proved to be kind of a bad thing as far as engaging the crowd.

1. Sheamus v. Orton - I defended their match last month as a good mid-card match. They responded by doing as little as possible this time around, killing the crowd heat right off the bat for the opener. Christian has been chewed out by Vince for a PPV opener that wasn't half this shitty. I guess the build around the finish was allright, and Sheamus did get a legit clean win with two Brogue Kicks, whatever that means in the ossified hierachy of WWE's 50/50 booking.

2. Tag Titles: Prime Time Players v. New Day v. Lucha Dragons v. Los Matadores - New Day are such entertaining heels, the Brooklyn crowd cheered them even when they trolled NYC about having inferior hip-hop music to the South. Xavier Woods was hilarious at ringside bellowing a running commentary at the camera, crowd and wrestlers. He was calling for the crowd to chant "New Day Rocks" instead of "New Day Sucks." The only problem was they were chanting "New Day Rocks." Fans turned New Day heels cause they hated them as faces, now they're doing the reverse only a few months later.

Having a little more time to pace out high spots is a nice luxury for these four teams compared to their TV matches. Unfortunately, a few minutes from the end, they had a series of escalating fuck-ups. Fernando tagged in and had to wait on the apron for Titus to start to leave the ring through the ropes so he could kick him. Then Sin Cara botched a Spinning Headscissors and Fernando had to throw himself out to the floor. Then Sin Cara did a Tope where Fernando met him in mid-air with a Dropkick, but they failed to make contact. The match got back on track with some cool spots (though at one point, they set up a Stacked Up Superplex on one of Los Matadores, he fell off the post, and the other one jumped up to take his place, and I have no idea if it was planned or an accident, though it was pretty funny). Big E did his spear through the ropes, except his target moved but he nailed Darren Young, who was standing on the apron. We got the right ending at least, with The New Day finally regaining the Titles.

3. Rusev v. Ziggler - I was curious to see how two guys with completely different styles, but potential to have strong PPV matches, would work together. Mostly they slowed it down to Rusev's pace, though Ziggler had some plucky Superkick-based comebacks. It ended in a Double Countout, and all the heat was for the post-match catfight between Lana and Summer Rae (which depressingly gets consistently more reaction than the hard working "Divas Revolution" matches, but Lana and Summer are booked much stronger with a clearer program).

This was a minor chapter in a longer program, and something that could have easily been on RAW. Which only contributed to the stale feel of the first half of the PPV.

4. Neville + Stephen Amell vs. Stardust + Barrett - Amell plays Green Arrow on a teen superhero action/soap that I've been told by a lot of people gets really good after the first season. He's athletic and showed it off doing basic moves well. I suppose you're either into seeing a celebrity wrestle or you're not, but it could have been a lot worse.

Neville does the same awesome flying spots in every match, but in this case he got to tag in and be showcased as the star of the match. So in that sense, teaming with Amell helped him to stand out. He pinned Barrett with the Red Arrow to win.

5. IC Title: Ryback v. Big Show v. Miz - This looked like the Dud of the show on paper, but they kept it simple and short. Also, Show did a rolling dive off the 2nd rope so they got a high spot in. Miz kept trying to steal a pin after someone else's big move, but it ended with Ryback pinning Miz after Big Show gave him the KO Punch.

Super Heavyweights like Big Show and to a degree Ryback are always in their own little zone in the WWE. They're never booked too weak but never pushed as true main eventers or anything really special. They disappear for awhile and then come back and their programs have seemingly little to no long term impact on their careers. (Miz as a comedy heel is approaching a similar zone. He's way more entertaining than the other two, but I don't want to see him with a title again because it just makes the championship picture seem less serious.) Ryback does generally get strong babyface reactions, though. Like Ziggler, it almost doesn't seem to matter how he's booked, fans are just into him.

- Jon Stewart's Excellent Adventure, Part 2 of 3: Stewart went looking to interview Brock, and ran into Paul Heyman. He then lambasted Heyman because of how disappointing it was to see Lesnar break Taker's Wrestlemania streak. Heyman pretty much blew him off. It was a trip to see these two onscreen together, but I found Stewart's character incoherent all night. Maybe he was supposed to be an overzealous wrestling fan who just wanted to get in there with the wrestlers, and finally managed to do it in the Rollins/Cena match. He definitely didn't carry the charm and presence he has on The Daily Show or in his stand-up over to Summerslam.

6. Reigns + Ambrose v. Wyatt + Harper - This woke the crowd up, and basically the show started feeling like a major PPV here, almost 100 minutes in.

I wouldn't have expected this to be a showstealer coming in, but they wrestled a sprint. Reigns & Ambrose kept it moving with a lot of cool double team stuff they don't usually do, including the Doomsday Device. Reigns pinned Wyatt clean with a Spear. The crowd was totally anti-Reigns, but he delivered in his part of the match and seemed completely in his element. Luke Harper was the working MVP of the match, and the announcers put him over for it.

Honestly, looking back a year, all four of these guys are lower on the card and/or have less momentum than I would have expected. But it's how WWE does things. They find a place for wrestlers and if it works, they just deliver that character persistently till they become part of the brand. Right now, these four are in a good place, but not the money making, top draw kind of place where 3 of the 4 probably should be.

Supposedly, this was originally meant to be a 6-man with Sting teaming with Reigns and Ambrose. I would kinda like to see Sting do the Shield entrance coming out of the crowd with the gear. That might be about as good as it gets as far as WWE booking Sting for cool moments. Vince does NOT consider him part of the brand.

7. WWE + US Titles: Rollins v. Cena - I had been waiting for them to give Rollins a match to showcase his wrestling, and they really did that here. He did a series of 3 dives (2 Topes and a Swan Flip-Dive) early, hit a Frogsplash, a Sling Blade, a Standing Shooting Star Press, an AA and attempted a Phoenix Splash.

It was really exciting, and while they went to the big spots and near falls pretty early ala Cena v. Owens, this was also a change of pace from that because it stayed moving, the exchanges were less predictable, and Rollins kept it fluid throughout.

There were a lot of teases of Rollins wrestling babyface, and Cena going semi-heel (smirking at the crowd before moves, constantly guarding his recently reconstructed nose).

Jon Stewart came out with a chair after the ref bump. There was an akward stretch where he had teased hitting Rollins, went to hit Cena, the whole crowd knew it, but Cena hadn't gotten up yet. So he had to kinda repeat the motions. They never explained Stewart's motivation for turning on Cena during the show. It felt pretty goofy to me. Stewart seemed really out of place in the ring. But maybe I'll look back on it as a novelty, or something that helped Rollins in the long run.

As it stands, the finish was a blemish on what otherwise would've been the match of the night.

8. Team Bella v. Team PCB v. Team BAD - A 15 minute, 9 woman match where no one stood out. There was a surprisingly loud "We Want Sasha" chant, which was great, but it came in the one match where they chose to rest her after her big match the night before. She was only in for a minute or less, though she and Naomi did Twin Flip Dives out of the ring, which is hopefully a sign that she wasn't concussed doing the same move against Bayley on the NXT show.

That came as part of a mid-match cluster where everyone got involved, everyone did dives, and that ended with Brie pinning Tamina to eliminate Team BAD. Right after that, Nikki hit her Rack Attack finisher to Paige and Paige kicked out, in what was well set-up to be a hot nearfall but there was zero crowd reaction. That's one of the bad signs with these Women's matches. The crowd will get into a wrestler or a spot, but rarely at the right time. It doesn't feel like they're on the same wavelength as the wrestlers, even when they're trying to be.

The remaining 8-9 minutes dragged before Becky Lynch pinned Brie. The new girls are getting most of the wins in all these matches, but who scores pins and who gets pinned aren't otherwise consistent enough to tell a story or set up future singles matches.

Tangent: Although it didn't come across here, Paige has been much better this year than in 2014. She always seemed like she had some natural talent and personality, but I guess being young and nervous she messed up spots, promos, pretty much everything. They've stuck with her though and now she's hitting those spots. She's been the best Diva on the mic the last couple of months, and she's getting at least some reactions, kinda taking the place of AJ Lee as the one woman that is regularly over with a portion of the casual audience.

9. Owens v. Cesaro - They started off with pretty wild action for a WWE Heavyweight match. When they had to bring it down for the middle of the match, it was a little weird cause they didn't have any base of grappling or basic moves. But between Cesaro's uppercuts and Owens's jawing with the crowd, they managed some quality filler. But they never got the crowd back quite to the level of the hot opening.

Cesaro sells the effort of everything so much, of lifting an opponent, of standing up when he's been beaten down. He's almost like a Bret Hart for the ADD-era of wrestling. He lifts the level of legitimacy of every part of the match. I loved him doing those Running Uppercuts outside of the ring, like for this match he's not gonna let Owens get away or have a rest on the outside.

Basically that was the story of the match, they were in GO mode for almost 15 minutes. They could probably have a whole different match that's less 2 big guys doing a Cruiserweight style, since they don't want to work at this level all the time. But it was an excellent match, and just fun to see two such talented guys let off the chain for one PPV.

Towards the end there were a lot of attempts and blocks on the turnbuckles till Owens hit a Fisherman's Buster from the middle rope and then a Powerbomb to win.

10. Lesnar v. Undertaker - I liked this better the second time I watched it. Undertaker has an intelligent approach to big matches, he finds ways to accomodate his weaknesses and emphasize his strengths. In a sense, Lesnar is a good dance partner for him because his selling is so good.

There were still a few disconnects for me getting into it, though. One being that Lesnar goes from a character that no-sells top wrestlers like Cena and Rollins to working overtime to put Undertaker over. Even as I appreciated the story of Taker's punches and his big moves being desperation attempts to fend Brock off, and the idea of a tactical matchup, I just can't buy Taker's offense being that strong. Not after seeing Lesnar steamroll so many other top guys. I realize this is kind of the point: That The Undertaker is beyond the regular roster, and beyond the logic of other matches. But even as physical as he was willing to be in this one, parts of the match felt false.

Another thing is both the finish and the build came down to an MMA-style battle of Kimura vs. Gogoplata, and they only spent the last few minutes of the match establishing those moves.

The finish was well executed and Charles Robinson and Paul Heyman both did an excellent job selling it. It just seemed so cute and contrived and above all completely indecisive.

It was a good match for what they had to accomplish. It wasn't really a clash of titans kind of match. It was unique, but below the level of the best Undertaker matches of the last decade and the best Lesnar matches since his return to WWE.
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Steve Yohe

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Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon Stewart working for the WWE..that is sick. So what's next...he shows up at the Republican convention with Walker?

Why put Undertaker in with Brock? He is washed up, he isn't useable anymore and the big guy would hurt him. You really want injury that old man?

This is the three screw finish Brock has worked in a row. Well I guess he beat the jobber in Japan. He only works 5 times a year. The company kills everything they touch.

So they don't care about PPVs anymore, now that they give them away on the network. So all they do is screw finishes. Everything is just a build up for WrestleMania.

I saw the third 3rd Kevin Steen vs Cena match last week, and I thought it great. Best WWE match I've seen in years. Good heat, everything. Steen seems to bring out the best in Cena. So I'm eating tonight reading the WON and they were jobbing Steen every night of the week. To Jerico & Claudio. Why? Jerico has been jobbed out to everyone, who cares.

Then Vince will bitch that the young guy can't get over. Wins & losses are everything. You can't job some guy 5 weeks in a row on TV and then expect them to get over no matter what you do. They're stupid & they trained their fans to be stupid.

On the Battleground PPV I watched the Orton vs Sheamus match. Both have talent & the basic work was fine.....but who cares?? I'm sick on those two meatheads. The crowd didn't respond. I've seen those two lose a million times. Who care? They are burnt out.

I hope Finn Balor never comes up to the main WWE, because I hate the idea of him being jobbed every night like Owens. --Steve Yohe
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 50/50 booking really shows the current WWE's unwillingness to commit to anything. Their model makes money, so why try anything new? Which sounds a little like Bischoff's theory about how to do Nitro circa 97. They're not in as bad hands as that right now, but sluggish ratings do reflect the approach of the past 12 months, especially Summerslam-Rumble '14 which was basically just biding time.

They don't commit to separating anyone from the pack in terms of wins. When they do finally pick a guy, like Lesnar or Roman Reigns, they don't stick with it.

Finn Balor apparently agrees with you. He said he'd like to stay in NXT.

They might be teaching Kevin Owens a lesson cause he hasn't lost enough weight. Or maybe Vince is just amusing himself. He won the PPV match vs. Cesaro, but the way they portray him has totally changed since that first win over Cena.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RAW was a crowd pleaser with a lot of surprises and really had the feel of a post-Wrestlemania RAW.

I was worried I wouldn't get any cool moments with Sting, and they really exceeded my expectations for once. If they're genuinely going ahead with Rollins vs. Sting as singles headliner for Night of Champions, that's pretty crazy and unexpected. It's a little like Tenryu/Okada. Like, I'm in but also WTF?

No closure for Lesnar. He challenged Undertaker but beat up Bo Dallas instead and that's that. I guess we all know it's a long term program, so it's another period of waiting for the next big show and hoping fans don't notice that the stuff inbetween doesn't matter.

There was closure on the Jon Stewart thing. It had more meat to it than any of his stuff the night before, but it was still pretty goofy. "I should've run it by you," he told Ric Flair. "I didn't think it through." You or the writers, Jon. Flair got one ad-lib calling himself God, then he stood there like there was an invisible muzzle on him with a TM Titan Sports logo on it.

The whole Divas thing, match + MIZ TV, was a disaster. Nobody involved is above blame, but the booking and scripting were so bad. I praised Paige for her improvement, but judging by her deleted tweet blaming the fans, this Divas Revolution could be an albatross for her.

For all those complaints, it was a mostly fun show and they have some momentum going so if they can convince fans that everything from now to the Rumble isn't filler, maybe this time next year the ratings will have turned around.
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Steve Yohe

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watch Raw last night just to get an idea what was going on. It's just the same old crap. Nothings changed.

The Jon Stewart thing was stupid & made him look like a moron. Maybe he is one. I guess Donald Trump fooled around with the WWE....why not a little guy like Steward. Nobody does WWE better than Trump!---Yohe
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rollins was sooooooooo great in that match. Cena was in the match.
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