Metalhead’s Riff: Dissecting WWE Summerslam 2015 PPV: Lana/Ziggler Pairing, Rollins vs Cena, Heyman/Stewart Segment “Brilliant”

Summerslam 2015 came and went and, much like many other WWE events some found it good, some found it bad and a lot were left somewhere in the middles. Let’s take a look at at the good and the bad of WWE’s second biggest event of the year.

Randy Orton vs Sheamus is one of those matches that keeps creeping up on us even if we don’t really want it. You can’t say it was bad, really, just something that has happened so many times before that you’re left wondering why you have to watch it again. Difficult to get in the right mindset in those circumstances. The result was, at least, the right one. Orton didn’t need the win. Sheamus desperately needed one. So while there was little reason for this match to happen (again), something good did came out of it.

The fatal 4-way was rather enjoyable to watch, despite some sloppy spots here and there. And here is the problem with that concept of constantly putting all of your tag teams in three or four-way formula’s. It results in high-spot festivals that sometimes makes it difficult to get involved in the matches or in individual teams. Of course, WWE is hardly the only promotion with that problem (yes, I AM looking at you NJPW). In this case, it was clear it should have been a match between PTP and The new Day. Los Matadors and the Lucha Dragon were there to provide the spectacular spots and be thrown around by Titus a bit. The finish was rather fun though, with Kofi sneaking in and stealing away the victory from PTP. New Day’s celebration as hilariously over the top but that what makes their gimmick amusing. So yeah, it was good, but WWE needs to step away from that formula and start building up the various teams they want to compete for the top prize separately.

I never fully understood the appeal of the Lana/Ziggler pairing, since, for me, they have zero chemistry together. Some people do seem to like it and that’s OK, but, after this match, I’m even more confused. Rusev did work hard, Ziggler was more or less inexistent despite some good spots here and there, but the real problem here is that the focus isn’t actually on them. In typical WWE fashion, the focus is not on the workers but on the extras at ringside. The fact Lana and Summer aren’t really bringing anything to the table (aside from good looks) is apparently irrelevant. Ironically, in this match, everybody was waiting for the moment they would interfere, and everybody was kinda disappointed when they actually did. The booking helped no-one here as the double count-out makes it even less about Ziggler and Rusev as we all now have a mixed tag team match to look forward too. And yes those last three word are to be read with a solid amount of sarcasm.

The battle of a superheroes… and Barrett ended up being rather fun. Stephen Amell acquitted himself well, and the booking wasn’t foolish enough to make it about him actually pinning someone. Of course the match really picked up speed when Neville got the hot tag, but that was to be expected. Overall, this was a totally inoffensive and enjoyable “special attraction” thing. Kudos to Amell for pulling it off much better than most celebs before him and I was glad that Neville got to show how impressive he can be in the closing minutes of this one. My only complaint would be the predictability of Barrett taking the pin. It’s not always good to be King…

I’m still not sure if that was a second rope senton attempt from Big Show or if he saw an hamburger lying on the floor. Whatever it was, it looked rough. The IC title match wasn’t the train-wreck I was expecting. The only reason for that is called The Miz. I know many find him annoying but he was the glue that held this match together and one of the few successful attempts at storytelling during the show. Besides, Miz is SUPPOSED to be annoying so one could say he’s one of the few really successful characters in recent WWE history. Ryback retained and I know lots of fans liked that, but I think they should have put the belt on Miz, to give him even more reasons to be so annoyingly arrogant.

Paul Heyman to Jon Stewart: “I guess they couldn’t get David letterman to host”. Brilliant, highlight of the show so far.

Next match was an entertaining brawl, but the real stars were Ambrose and Harper, not Bray and Roman. Just listen to the crowd’s reaction when Ambrose appeared. Reigns is still in a lot of trouble, all his comebacks were boo-ed out of the buildings, which never fails to amuse me. Not that I don’t like reigns but anything that shows WWE how their way of doings some things sucks entertains me. Don’t get me wrong, this was fine but the biggest problem here was that the expected Reigns victory further served to make this whole thing seem pointless, despite the efforts of all 4 wrestlers involved.

Rollins vs Cena was good, very good even. Some didn’t like the finish, but, when I look on things from a WWE point of view, I can understand and even approve of what they did. Let me explain. Many think that a clean finish would have elevated an excellent match even further, but this is WWE. And that’s not the point. The simple fact that they had Rollins have an highly competitive match with the real face of the company, Cena, AND that they gave him that, for WWE, all important mainstream celebrity rub at the end finally shows that WWE indeed has a lot of trust in Rollins. Turn or twist it as you like, but this is the strongest WWE has booked Rollins since he became a champion. I won’t blame you if you hated the finish, but competitive match against Cena AND celebrity rub? Think about it, in WWE terms that’s a huge endorsement of Rollins. And I can live with that.

At Takeover, Sasha Banks had an universally acclaimed match-up against Bailey which will make its way in more than one Match of the Year list at the end of the year. At Summerslam, Sasha Banks, despite being over with the crowd, was just one of the girls and even went home early when her team was send packing first. Diva Revolution, not on this show. It is true this match was allowed more time than they used to do for Diva matches, but so what? No storyline, bit of a mess at times, no-one really allowed to stand out. Charlotte was also over, but, ultimately it didn’t matter because she didn’t stand out. Becky at least made the pin so we can, hopefully, finally have a singles match between Nikki and one of the new girls at the next PPV, but if they don’t get that they need more than just making up teams for this to work, then the revolution will fizzle out and Sacha and co will be remembered for their NXT matches. And nothing else. Oh, and Brie is downright dangerous at times in that ring.

Very good, solid, physical match-up between Cesaro and Owens. Not exactly on par with the Owens/Balor match the night before, but that was to be expected perhaps. Cesaro/Owens, while at least having had some sort of build-up, was not on the same level as the Owens/Balor rivalry, it’s as simple as that. Regardless this was very enjoyable to watch. Owens taking the win is good, I assume he will be going after the US title in the coming weeks. At first I thought Cesaro should to, but now, I think they need to go their separate ways for a time, so they can have Cesaro pick up some important wins and, perhaps, the IC title. or they have Owens go after the IC title and Cesaro after the US title, whatever, but the point is their dance has to stop for a time. Once both Cesaro and Owens have been properly pushed separately, THEN put them back together for what could be an epic feud.

Oh dear. OK so the match wasn’t bad, I’ll give them that much. But, that finish was truly atrocious, unnecessarily complicated and just an excuse to maintain the status quo on every level until Wrestlemania. Am I supposed to be happy there is gonna be a Lesnar/Taker 3? Well I’m not. And I don’t care what anybody says about the Undertaker proving he could still go, that’s irrelevant. he needs to retire from the main event scene, he needs to retire from wrestling, he needs to find other occupations because as it his now, he’s taking valuable spots at the top of the card and prevents WWE from moving forward. OK its not only his fault, but whatever. It needs to stop.

 

NXT Takeover received universal acclaim and was the talk of the wrestling world for the right reasons. Summerslam 2015 received mixed reviews and the ending was the talk of the wrestling world… for the wrong reasons. Two shows that were booked very differently got very different reactions. I’m not saying WWE should become NXT but they should at least try to identify what they are doing so right with NXT (it isn’t that hard) and attempt to adapt some of those things to the, admittedly, more hectic schedule of RAW, Smackdown and WWE PPV’s. Otherwise the main WWE scene will continue to be a good -looking but mostly empty box.

 

This was all from me this week, see you all later and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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