Wrestling Review: WWE SummerSlam (2016)


It was fifteen years ago when a pair of young upstarts name Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton joined the WWE. Now, fifteen years later they are going one on on in the main event of the biggest show of the summer, when the WWE spends it’s second consecutive night in the Barclay’s Centre in Brooklyn, New York for SummerSlam. Both world titles will be decided when Dean Ambrose defends against the desparate Dolph Ziggler, and a new Universal Champion will be crowned when Finn Balor faces Seth Rollins. Roman Reigns fights Rusev for the United States Championship, and the Miz looks to retain his Intercontinental Title against the fast-rising Apollo Crews. Not to mention there are tag team titles, women’s title matches, a six-woman tag team match and more, in this six hour extravaganza.

+ John Cena vs AJ Styles: love him or hate him, Cena gets a reaction from any crowd, and going up against AJ Styles was always going to split the crowd. The audience was intensely vocal the entire time, and this was another classic between two of the all time greats
+ Cesaro vs Sheamus: Cesaro is simply fantastic, and far and away one of the best in-ring guys they have at the moment, and should not be confied to the pre-show. This was a good match, but it was also the third match between these two in three weeks, but only counted as the first of their new ‘best of seven’ series. This was good, but hopefully the won’t get too repetitive
+ Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens: another opening match spot for the Brooklyn natives of Enzo and Big Cass, and Owens and Jericho prove why they are two of the best bad guys around at the moment. This was a great match to kick off the show

– Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Randy Orton: the Lesnar appeal has worn off, and a very violent but abrupt ending rendered the last month of buildup entirely moot. Another wasted opportunity
– Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor (WWE Universal Championship): this was far and away the most disappointing match of the night. Between two of the absolute best wrestlers in the world today, this fell completely flat. The crowd was uninterested, and I personally never felt like something ‘big’ was happening, despite crowning a new, first ever Universal champion
– Dean Ambrose (c) vs Dolph Ziggler (WWE World Championship): overlooking the fact this match was in the middle of the card, this was a solid outting for both men but hardly managed to set things on fire like it probably should have. I expected more, and I think they will be able to do more in the certain rematches
– The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (c) vs The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) (WWE Tag Team Championship): with an entire feud centered around the missing New Day’s members testicles it was going to be difficult to have a meaningful match. A celebrity gest being involved made having a good match impossible. This was a waste of everyone’s time
– Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte (WWE Women’s Championship): something about these two have just never clicked for me. All other combinations of NXT’s Four Horsewomen are fantastic, but these two just never manage to get me invested in their matches. This was a somewhat sloppy encounter, with an ending which may leave some people unsatisfied. These two need new opponents, quickly
– Sami Zayn & Neville vs. The Dudley Boyz: the fact Zayn and Neville have been relegated to the pre-show matches, in a throwaway tag match no less, is a travesty. This went about as you’d expect; not bad, but nothing special whatsoever. Everyone involved deserves better
– Becky Lynch, Carmella & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Natalya & TBA: following the suspension of Eva Marie, the new partner was going to either be a huge surprise, or a massive letdown. I fall somewhere in the middle, and the match was about as you’d expect. Carmella and Bliss are new to the WWE, Natalya and Becky works best in one-on-one matches and Naomi is better than throwaway tag matches. This was obviously a filler match and it showed.
– American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley), and The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze), The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor), and The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch): on an already incredibly bloated car, this was an unfortunate case of ‘too many cooks’. There was simply not enough time to get invested in anyone in particular, and as good as all of these teams are, there was just too many people for too little time
– The Miz (w/ Maryse) (c) vs Apollo Crews (WWE Intercontinental Championship): The WWE needs to decide what they are doing with Crews; he is fantastic in the ring, but he needs some sort of character to even compare to the Miz in terms of being a champion. The Miz is one of the best characters in all of wrestling, and he should continue to be so for as long as he can, because damn it is entertaining, but not when matches like this are the norm

> Rusev (w/ Lana) (c) vs Roman Reigns (WWE United States Championship): for one reason or another, this never got started, and the following few minutes was so boring that the crowd spent their time chanting for CM Punk and, of all people, Heath Slater. Absolutely horrendous planning

Should you watch this event: The spread of good to bad matches above should be indication enough that this was not worth anyone’s time in watching. Styles vs Cena was phenomenal, and the Sheamus/Cesaro and opening tag match were both good enough, but three matched from six hours of wrestling is a bad split no matter how you try to sell it.

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