First and foremost, #SummerSlamTaughtMe that match order matters. After a totally enjoyable experience last night writing the first part of this series, today’s Summer Slam viewing dragggggedddd onnnnnnnnn. I got through the first 45 minutes yesterday and took four pages of notes. I watched an hour tonight (four matches, as opposed to the 2 from yesterday) and barely wrote three pages of comments. Yikes.
While I was very vocal about Orton and Sheamus being a bad choice for match opener, it certainly was a far better option than the two or three matches that followed. AmbReigns and the Wyatts may have worked, but probably only as well as RKO and “The Hawk”. I guess being a veteran dependable hand is another thing that
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that without the video packages setting up each match, most WWE ‘events’ would be only 90 minutes long.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that there is such a thing as too much denim. . . Also, there is such a thing as too many sequins.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that #WorldElite (the stable Josh Petrie and I have been salivating over for months) is closer than ever. Rusev, just like at Wrestlemania, looked like he stepped right off of Josh and my fantasy booking tweets. (@jpetrie18 for a great wrestling fan)
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Dolph Ziggler seems to be asking for concussions, especially with the way he slams his head into the turnbuckles. Orton just showed us that those things can cut you, Dolph, be careful! Or are you trying to make this stand up career a more full time thing?
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that bear hugs are boring. . . Very, very boring. . .
Going off of that a bit, #SummerSlamTaughtMe that while some matches (Orton and Sheamus for one) do not benefit from Twitter (since you need to focus and watch to appreciate them), some matches do. Like this one.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that when bored and without Internet, I doodle while watching wrestling.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Rusev, Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt would make, quite possibly, the greatest stable the world has ever seen. #SentonStable
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Lana is pretty good at being a manager. It’s a shame she’s “Too Russian” to do much talking anymore, but she’s got the little things down. The quiet cheering, the facial expressions, all of it. I think she’s been taking lessons from Heyman.
Truthfully, the main theme of Ziggler vs. Rusev was. . .
that when it comes to this feud, Lana and Summer > Dolph and Rusev, and quite frankly, that shouldn’t be.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that the Cosmic Kings make a good team. Of course, having seen RAW now, I understand that lesson doesn’t really matter anymore.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Edna from The Incredibles was right. No capes!
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE really didn’t intend for this show to be “bigger than Wrestlemania”. If they had, both Neville AND Stephen Amell would have had better entrances. Dim lighting, a spotlight on an arrow in the ground, maybe a zip line, better costumes. . . Really, anything. Jason Moltov said this already, and I’m sure he wasn’t alone - Amell was just “a guy” walking to the ring. Total waste.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Stephen Amell knows his wrestling rules. I give him all the credit in the world for making sure to grab the tag rope before Neville brought him into the match.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Stardust might be Cody Rhodes’ best work so far. Scoff if you must, but its true. While I missed almost the entire rest of Cody’s career during my “Lost Years”, I have to believe that no other part of the younger Rhodes brother’s wrestling life involved this much ‘performance’. He is being crazy while also being very emotional, and I enjoy it a lot. I don’t know what the endgame is for Stardust. . . In fact, since its WWE we can all probably assume there isn’t much of one. . . But this has been incredible.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that the production truck was missing camera cues left and right. We didn’t see Amell’s nip up til the replay, nor did we see the entirety of his arrow pose. Sad.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that while the truck had problems, the storytelling in this match did not. Stephen Amell SHOULD get his ass kicked. The aforementioned Mr. Moltov isn’t very impressed by a guy who only did a couple of moves, and I get that. But if he had done much more than that, it would have just looked weird. Rhodes and Barrett have probably 15-20 years of wrestling experience - They can’t get tossed around by a glorified stuntman.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Neville knows when to kick it into high gear, especially when a match is dwindling. I’ve never seen him do those handsprings faster or those kicks more fiercely.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that wrestling is real. Amell, who is in superior shape, looked absolutely exhausted following his relatively brief match. I’m sure he, like Lawrence Taylor before him, would agree that pro wrestling requires the most energy than any other sport.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Big Show is taking these chants personally. You can see it in his face, but more importantly, you can see it in the extra effort he is putting into those matches. Molasses-level slow as it may have been, Paul Wight has no need to pull off a second rope somersault senton, but he did it, probably just so we’d all shut up.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE, after all these years, can still surprise me. I was SURE. . . TOTALLY SURE. . . that Miz was winning the title following the Shell Shocked and Skull Crushing Finale.
Oh, by the way, #RAWTaughtMe that, too. And then some.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that the Intercontinental title feud we just saw was FAR better than it should have been. I’ve been writing about it for weeks, so its not necessarily new information, but these three guys really made lemonade with a weak title, an injury, and two guys who can have some serious “go home” heat. Well done to all three combatants.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Jon Stewart can cut an excellent promo. . . And then Paul Heyman can trump it with a little bit of singing.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Bray Wyatt’s new jacket is stupid, especially when they only really show it in the dark. I get it, he has horns - Is the uber-shadows supposed to make it better?
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that head bumps looks really, REALLY bad when you don’t fully commit to them.
Look, I get it. People don’t want to get concussions, they don’t want to get hurt. I don’t blame them for that in the slightest. However, everytime Luke Harper, Kane, or most importantly, Big Show, takes a DDT by landing on their knees, I cringe. It looks. . . underwhelming, and even that’s a generous way to describe it.
It looks soft. Not Enzo and Cass soft. Like the Snuggie bear soft. Pillsbury Dough Boy soft. . . Micro-soft.
If wrestlers don’t want to take head bumps, STOP DOING THE MOVES THAT REQUIRE THEM. Save the DDT’s for guys like Neville, who can land on the top of his head and ideally not hurt himself, and life will be grand.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that wrestlers thank each other for protecting them. I don’t know if anyone else saw the little tap of appreciation Dean Ambrose gave Bray after the triple table run, but it was very sweet. There is no other explanation for it - it was a “thanks for catching me” moment. Really cool.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper would be an AMAZING tag team, and would be dominant tag team champions. I don’t know what the future holds for the Wyatt Family, especially now with Bram on board. . .
By the way, I’m really upset. Everyone on Twitter said that this guy had signed a new TNA deal, and now he’s in WWE. What gives?
What’s that? . . . . What did you say? . . . Oh, there’s a U in there? Braum?
Bray and Luke might not be booked as a tag team going forward, but they should be. Especially with that spectacled duo who just made a totally surprising WWE return.
Dudleys vs. Wyatts? Shut Up and Take My Money.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE knows how to play with the IWC’s emotions SO EASILY.
When Roman Reigns was down on the outside of the ring, completely out of view, most of us had one of two thoughts running through our head.
Ambrose is TOTALLY going to turn because Roman wasn’t there to help him!
Reigns is TOTALLY going to turn because he’s not there to help him!
Neither of those happened. Well played, WWE!
And finally, for this section anyway. . .
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that the Big 4 “PPV’s” are no longer culminating shows. Remember when Wrestlemania and Summer Slam were when feuds ended? Building for months to this epic zenith of a frenzy of a match at a major event, then both participants move on to other challenges? Yeah, that doesn’t happen anymore.
Night of Champions is more than likely going to feature these matches, all stemming from feuds that happened before Summer Slam.
Ziggler and Lana vs. Rusev and Summer.
Big Show vs. Ryback
Reigns vs. Bray, or AmbReigns vs. the Wyatts plus BraUm.
For these middle of the card matches, Summer Slam was just a piece of the puzzle...
I don’t know how I feel about that.
What do YOU think? Be Heard
If there was a word to describe Summer Slam, “Polarizing” might be a good one. A whole lot of people had a WHOLE LOT of strong opinions on the show. So much so, in fact, that I found myself so busy thinking about the opinions of others that it was hard for me to remember my own - The show got lost in the reaction.
So, to remedy that, I sat down with a pen and a notebook and decided to actually watch the show, jotting down my thoughts along the way. As tends to happen when I do something like that, the theme came along as I went, and since this is the Twitter-world, I gave it a hashtag.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Mick Foley looks a lot like Luke Harper’s homeless uncle.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a Brock Lesnar vs. Cactus Jack match would have been AMAZING. I suppose I didn’t need Summer Slam to teach me that, but I had never considered the matchup until that opening segment.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Jon Stewart respects what wrestlers do SO MUCH. He said it enough times, in fact, that I’m guessing it’ll be part of the rationale behind him turning on Cena. Don’t know exactly how, but we’l figure it out, I suppose.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE has weird ideas of what makes a good opening match. Orton and Sheamus was good, as we’ll get to, but was that really the ideal match to pop the crowd? I can think of 2-3 others that would have made more sense in that spot.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that wrestlers are learning to address the crowd and its chanting, which is an awesome thing. Wrestling is great, among a multitude of other reasons, because it is interactive, and that’s a prime example of that. While I’m on the subject. . .
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that I. . . .HATE. . . CHANTING!!! More specifically, I hate the handful of “cool kids” who think they should just start any chant they want for any reason that they want. I get that Orton and Sheamus dragged in the middle, but was there any reason at all for a Sami Zayn chant? No, no there wasn’t.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sheamus could. . . COULD. . . make an interesting World Champion, especially with this new attitude. Just don’t say “Respect The Hawk” ever again, please.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a lot of wrestlers are expanding their repertoires. Specifically, many talents are adding aerial maneuvers and suplex variations. We saw Sheamus’ diving knee, to go along with Ryback’s splash and Big Show’s. . . Whatever in the world that was. . . and Orton, Reigns and Becky Lynch all have some sort of T-Bone Exploder Saito Suplex. As a fan of the wrestling itself, I dig this a lot.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Michael Cole still needs some lessons on leg-locks. That is an Edge-cution, Michael, not a Cloverleaf. Ask Dean Malenko to tutor you. In fact, ask him to demonstrate.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that apparently you can bleed from hitting the turnbuckles. I’m guessing that he hit the metal part, since that obviously wasn’t a ‘blade job’, but I’d never seen that before.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Orton and Sheamus, despite the feeling that they’ve wrestled 987 times, still can pull out some new moves to surprise us. Sheamus rolling up onto the turnbuckles into an Orton DDT and the Slingshot-to-RKO were both very fluid and fun to watch.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Orton, despite my own personal feelings, can still be a top quality professional wrestler. Until I hear an explanation, I can only assume Randy is a prick, based off of his stupid comments to Owens some weeks back, but he was quite into the match. Passion translates, and while this isn’t on the level of Randy’s feud with Rollins, he’s still bought in, and I can appreciate that.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that a Double Brogue Kick is a pretty cool finishing sequence.
Most importantly, #SummerSlamTaughtMe to try to avoid presuppositions when it comes to wrestling matches. I expected this match to stink, so I didn’t try very hard to watch it. In fact, I basically skipped it the first time around. Both participants put on an excellent match, and while I still don’t think it was the right choice for an opener, it was really entertaining.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that you never. . . EEEEVVVVEEEERRRR. . . take the camera off of New Day during their entrance. In fact, whenever New Day is talking, walking or really, breathing, all eyes should be on them. I’m not sure where they rank on the “wrestle joy” scale, all-time, but it has to be up there.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sin Cara’s flip into the ring, where his hood landed perfectly on his head, was the best contribution he made to that entire match.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that New Day tried something . . . Well, new . . . in trying to pin each other, and what made it good. . . No, this needs to be bigger. . .
Cole and JBL talked about how, while unorthodox, that was within the rules of the Fatal Four Way matchup, and therefore smart strategy! THIS IS WHAT COMMENTARY IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR. . . To add to the match, explain things, and help fans understand what’s happening.
We’ll come back to that. . . multiple times. . . throughout this series.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that when Big E kicks out of a pin attempt by Kalisto in Brooklyn, Kalisto should land somewhere in Queens.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Sin Cara wears a mask so that you don’t see him apologizing all the time for all of his mistakes.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Kalisto could be. . . should be. . .and with all luck, WILL BE. . .a mid-card star in WWE. He was one of the highlights of the night, not just this match, and fans are going to want to see more of him.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that Titus O’Neil, Kalisto and Big E all deserve to get a singles push of some kind in the near future. These three were the stars of the tag title match, and if you put them in a competitive division for the Intercontinental or US titles, fans would be in for a treat.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that I don’t ever want to be splashed by Big E Langston. Ouch.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe, though I knew this long ago, that Xavier Woods needs to be mic’d at ringside.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that El Torito > Sin Cara.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that despite my anger at the fans for chanting stupid stuff, they can make a match more meaningful with their participation. The collective noise for the Tower Of Doom sequence was awesome.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that WWE has a great knack for creative endings. . . WHEN THE ANNOUNCERS HELP TO EXPLAIN IT! I saw Kofi make the blind tag, and THANKFULLY, I saw the referee acknowledge that he had seen the blind tag, but the commentary team was, quite frankly, bumfuzzled about it until after it happened.
Random Aside: Jim Ross was a great commentator because he was the smartest fan in the room. So was Gordon Solie, and so, in his own way, was Bobby Heenan. They knew what was happening and they explained it. . .They taught you how to be a smart fan.
Michael Cole, for all his positives, doesn’t do that. That’s the problem.
“Everyone was confused as to who was legal.” NO, if you were paying attention, you saw what happened. You saw the referee see what happened. Watch the match and call the match.
End of rant.
#SummerSlamTaughtMe that nobody celebrates like New Day. . . Nobody.
We’ll break this up into parts, since I understand the attention span of my readers. Plus, that’s a lot of lessons from the first 45-50 minutes of the show.
What do YOU think? What did you take away from the first hour or so of Summer Slam? Be Heard.
Funny how random things don’t wind up seemingly random, isn’t it?
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned a time or seven, I’m a bit of a nerd. And I like making lists. So, I spent some time updating my list of all the content on WWE Network. . . Because I use my time wisely.
After making sure my dork-OCD levels were topped off for the day, I went to my good friend Random.org in order to decide what I’d watch. . . Isn’t that how everyone watches WWE Network? Pull a random number off a website, look up what Network event that refers to on your spreadsheet, then watch it?
. . . I really should keep these things to myself, I think.
Anyway, the number I picked took me to Summer Slam from 1990. Conveniently enough, I had just finished the Rumble from that same year this morning. Isn’t that a weird coincidence?
. . . Let’s just get to the card.
Highlight: Up until the end, my highlight was going to be the performance of Marty Jannetty. Shawn Michaels was limping as he made his way to the ring, so obviously he had some sort of leg injury, which explains why Hercules and Roma attack before the bell and take the future HBK out of action. Marty did a good job holding his own in a glorified handicap match.
But the real highlight was Power and Glory’s finisher. Hercules hits a Superplex and them Roma hits a top rope splash. How come we don’t see things like that anymore?
Lowlight: I get weary of the “blind” referee thing. Otherwise, this was a solid match given the circumstances.
So What: The Ascension should be watching all of Power and Glory’s matches very closely - that’s about as good a comparative team as I can make for them. One muscle guy, one finesse guy. That finisher P&G uses would be 100 times better than Fall of Man right now.
Highlight: I’ll admit, I marked out a bit for the Von Erich claw. I had also forgotten that Kerry won the IC title for a bit, so that was a nice surprise.
Lowlight: All the Texas Tornado jokes. I’m all for puns, but Von Erich deserved better.
So What: I wonder if it burns Curtis Axel to wake up each morning and know Dolph Ziggler is much, MUCH better at being the heir to the Mr. Perfect legacy than Axel himself. I hope he gets a shot in NXT to turn his career around.
Since the match didn’t happen, neither will my commentary. Just go check my Twitter feed and see the picture of Sherri from this event.
Highlight: Vince and Roddy on commentary. Vince: (Warlord) is big all over.
Roddy: (After a few beats) Is that right?
Lowlight: That this match warranted being on PPV.
So What: I’m really glad Erick Rowan, Sheamus and basically every other big man in the last 24 months didn’t get this Warlord gimmick recycled.
Highlight: This was just a solid tag match start to finish. Double-team moves, quick tags, psychology. The ending built 2 stories, even with a title change. I’m going to include my So What in here too - Take note, WWE tag teams. This is how you do it.
Lowlight: Ax, Smash and Crush look nothing like each other. This is one case where Twin Magic doesn’t work.
Not exactly a wrestling clinic here, so let’s talk about everything BUT the match.
Highlight: Watching Damien the snake try to kill Jake a couple times during his promo.
Lowlight: Watching the very quick shots of the “Harlem Sewer Rat” (which looked like a stuffed opposum), and Damien “relaxing in the shower” (also immobile).
So What: Bray Wyatt needs to sit down and watch Jake’s promos over and over and over again. This is his ceiling if he plays his cards right.
Highlight: Commentary team again. Vince after one of the Express tries to hit Nikolai with a tackle. “That was a dumb move, wasn’t it?”
Piper: “Yep. . . Really dumb.”
Lowlight: This is not the greatest card I’ve ever seen. A lot of Saturday Night Main Event matches on a Sunday night PPV.
So What: There’s hope for Rusev yet. Want to see him and Swagger teaming up to sing God Bless America like Duggan and Volkoff did.
Highlight: Again, not the greatest quality match here, which is a shame because it could have been. The Dibiase promo was the best part.
Lowlight: Dusty’s entire WWF career.
So What: Why haven’t we seen an updated version of The Million Dollar Man in WWE? Is it because everybody knows all these wrestlers wind up making a decent living?
Sorry, folks, grasping at straws here. We could make a case for Tyson Kidd having good lineage, since he holds Natalya in front of opponents the same way Savage did Sherri. Or we could just move on.
Highlight: Earthquake scaling the top turnbuckle with relative ease. Watching a 400 pound man perched relatively comfortably on the top rope was my favorite point of the whole match, even if it just wound up being a weak jumping punch.
Lowlight: Noticing a random table right next to the ring for no other reason than for Earthquake to be slammed on it at the end of the match. Try a little harder, please. The blue tablecloth didn’t help.
So What: I know a lot of people don’t want to see Hogan get back in the ring. I’m not a huge fan of the idea myself. However, watching this match, there’s only 3-4 things Hogan couldn’t do now as a 61 year old. He mainly just needs to get beat up, Hulk up, go home.
Highlight: Seeing Rude standing on top of the classic blue cage. I love that cage, and had the Ravishing One not just done a jumping punch, that could have become one of the all-time classic moments.
Lowlight: Seeing a piece of Warrior’s face paint hanging from his nose like. . . You know. . . Things that hang from noses.
So What: This main event shows how far WWE has grown - While a decent match, it was in no way a climactic end to the Summer Slam event. Even at its worst, most WWE PPV’s today have some sort of ending people want to talk about.
Have to wonder if, even at this point, Vince McMahon knew the Ultimate Warrior wasn’t going to be “the guy” he had hoped he would be.
Demolition vs. Hart Foundation. While this wasn’t a banner WWF PPV in my book, that match would fit well on any card.
The Ascension should totally steal Power and Glory’s finisher, right?
Does this card make you feel better about the current state of WWE?
There are days where it is hard to be a wrestling fan. If you read the Summer Slam preview Doc Manson and I had late last night, you could tell that for both of us (though Doc is suffering far worse than I), there is a definite vein of pessimism in how we feel about the WWE product. In our minds, too much has been mis-managed, too many worthy superstars are being ignored, and there is way, way, WAY too much being shoved down our throats.
Yet, despite the negativity that can drag me down at times, I have hope. Perhaps its, as @NewAgeInsiders says, just because the relationship I have with WWE is an abusive one. Or perhaps its because, as an actual classroom teacher, hope is sometimes all you can hold on to in order to maintain your sanity. But I think there are opportunities abound here for WWE to start heading in a positive direction.
We all have our ideas on how we’d book it were we a McMahon, so I humbly submit my own thoughts on a few directions WWE could go.
(Disclaimer: All of this is conjecture, based on the information I have gleaned, rumors floating around, or just my best guess. This should not be considered to be anything other than a series of thought experiments, and should in no way be considered entirely original thoughts.)
World Title Picture
Tonight, I want to see Brock Lesnar win the title. I want it to be a competitive match, but mostly controlled by Lesnar, with Cena having to resort to more and more desperate acts to stay in it. In the end, though, Lesnar’s just too big and too bad.
On RAW, I want Heyman to come out and be presented with the new belt. Lesnar would be here, says the Advocate, but frankly, there’s just no reason to be. He dominated Cena, and there is nobody out there who is worthy of a title shot, so Brock’s going on a little vacation.
Heyman than calls out the WWE roster and says, simply. . . “Impress me”. He wants to see somebody step up and make themselves worthy of the honor of being next conquered by The Beast.
The next week, Heyman comes out again, once more condemning the lack of worthy talent. This brings out Chris Jericho, who reminds his good friend Paul, and the rest of the WWE universe, of his track record. Before Jericho can finish, however, he is interrupted by another blast from Heyman’s past, Rob Van Dam, who also seeks to stake his spot as a potential contender.
Heyman, shrewd as he is, begins to pit the two would-be challengers against each other, and a match is made between the two for later that night. Heyman says he will be at ringside to watch, and once again, reminds them. . .”Impress me”.
The winner of that match is irrelevant, really, because Heyman returns the next week to state that while they both have had great careers and are close personal friends, they are still not worthy of the champ. That’s when Jericho and Van Dam get creative. They begin going back and forth on how sad it is to see Heyman in such a position. Paul Heyman, once the creator and lifeblood of ECW, now just shilling for the corporate champion.
Heyman, who was the one to make stars of Austin and Foley. Heyman, who single-handedly began the Attitude Era. Heyman, who created the Three Way Dance.
Heyman, shrewd as ever but swayed by the “ECW ECW” chants that you just know would ring through the arena, begins to cave. “Three Way Dance? You two and BROCKKK LESNARRR in a 3 way dance? That’s really how you want your careers to end, huh? Well, who am I to turn down the last request of a friend. You’re on!”
Night of Champions: Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Title.
Rise of The Undercard
After Heyman’s announcement on the RAW after Summer Slam, we see the Authority backstage. Orton is not happy about feeling like he has to earn a title shot, Rollins is looking smugly at his briefcase with his new protection at his side (more on this later), and Kane just looks like Kane.
Amidst the hubbub, Dolph Ziggler enters the room. He walks up to Triple H and all but demands to be given the opportunity to show his stuff, fully intending to prove his worth to Heyman, Lesnar and the world. He refuses to be “held down” any longer.
The Authority, naturally, finds this hilarious. Triple H, in his weekly poke at the Twitter-verse, asks if Ziggler has been dropped on his head one too many times, daring to come in here like this. But, being in a good mood (with Cena out of the picture), he sets up Ziggler vs. Kane for that night. Ziggler, despite the size and experience advantage, picks up the win.
Random aside: Did I mention in my booking, Cena takes a few months off to sell Lesnar’s beatdown? You’re welcome.
The next week, Ziggler appears again, insisting on another match. This week, it is Rollins who is set up against Dolph. As Dolph gets ready for his match, he is approached by a handful of lower-card talent (Woods, Kofi and Big E was my original idea, but you could insert anyone who isn’t where they should be). “You’re fighting our fight,” they tell him, “Fighting for the guys who The Authority won’t let through the glass ceiling. We got your back.”
Despite having his security team with him (wait, friends, your patience will be rewarded), Ziggler once again is victorious, thanks to the assistance of those lower card guys I just mentioned.
The next week, Triple H addresses Ziggler personally, talking about the “little troupe of misfits” he seems to be acquiring. (Which, as we see backstage, has now nearly grown to the entire undercard of the roster.) Despite the dig, HHH does praise Ziggler for taking the ball and running with it, unlike some people he knows, looking dubiously at Orton (who lost to Reigns at Summer Slam.) Maybe Ziggler does deserve a title shot, muses the COO. Orton, naturally, flies into a frenzy, challenging Ziggler to a match at Night of Champions.
Night of Champions: Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
Protectors of the Briefcase / Tag Team Dominance
During the lumberjack match, Big Show and Mark Henry, who had been scaring the bejesus out of Rollins each time he rolled out of the ring, turn heel, attacking Ambrose and helping Rollins pick up the victory. (Also giving Ambrose an out to go become a movie star)
It is revealed on Monday that Big Show and Mark Henry are the newest members of The Authority, had their services bought by Rollins and Triple H in exchange for a tag team title match on RAW. The Usos, though blessed with that all-powerful “Twin Magic”, basically are steamrolled in quick succession, giving the WWE a new dominant pair of Tag Team Champions.
Rollins and the champs come out to the ring the following week (before the Rollins / Ziggler match) to gloat at all of their success, only to be interrupted, oddly enough, by The Wyatt Family. While not officially making a face turn, Bray and his boys do take issue with the “World’s Biggest Tag Team” for taking ‘their titles’, and Bray accuses Rollins of not being man enough to handle his problems on his own, as Bray did by defeating Jericho solo at Summer Slam.
We see a six man tag the following week, and we now have two matches scheduled for our next PPV.
Night of Champions: Big Show and Mark Henry vs. The Wyatt Family (Tag belts)
Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins
(Note: Will move more quickly through the last few, as I don’t want this to become ridiculous in length)
Reign’s Next Roadblock
Reigns comes out following his victory over Orton at Summer Slam to call out The Authority, basically saying he’s toppled every single member, so what’s next? (With a ‘Believe that!’ thrown in for good measure). Triple H comes onto the Titantron and sets up a rematch with Orton for that night. After beating Orton again (this time by DQ), Triple H comes out to say “Oh wait, I forgot. There’s still one more member of the Authority you haven’t beat.” Everyone expects it to be Triple H himself, but then Batista’s music hits, and the Animal runs to the ring and destroys Reigns, starting off their feud.
Night of Champions: Roman Reigns vs. Batista
International Take-Over / Mid-Card Title Relevance
Despite having lost his flag match to Jack Swagger, Rusev’s post-match beatdown assured us we hadn’t seen the last of the Bulgarian Brute. On RAW, Lana comes out and sets their sights on a new target; the United States Championship. Never being one to back down from a fight (at least on camera), Sheamus comes out and accepts the challenge, and we have a US title match on our hands.
During the match, Sheamus is attacked by Cesaro, who seems to have aligned himself with Rusev and Lana. Moving gracefully away from all the pro-Russian banter, this new pairing of “International Mercenaries” (the name needs some work, I grant you) is hungry for respect and power in the WWE. While Rusev continues to go after the US title, Cesaro begins issuing open challenges to anyone. Being relegated to pre-show status for Summer Slam was an insult, and he’s going to force the WWE to notice him.
Meanwhile, The Miz, bragging about being able to hold onto his belt post-Summer Slam, has been getting into it with Jack Swagger. According to Zeb Colter, Miz’s Hollywood lifestyle and cowardly antics are entirely un-American, and its time to honor that title (giving opportunities to promote the history and relevance of the title) by putting it around the waist of a real hero.
Having been beating his opponents (sometimes 2 at a time), Cesaro’s joins this group, declaring himself the rightful heir to the IC title. Zeb can use Cesaro’s ‘betrayal’ of their team as fodder, while Miz can try to set his two opponents against each other and weasel out of the way.
As these three argue, Bo Dallas comes out, saying he’s tired of hearing all this hostility, especially when everyone knows that the real IC champion just has to . . . You guessed it. . . Bo-lieve! I imagine this would be where everyone else beats down Bo, but he winds up in the mix regardless.
Night of Champions: Rusev vs. Sheamus (US title)
Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Swagger vs. Bo Dallas (IC title)
Oh Yeah, the Diva’s Title
Paige beats AJ. Brie beats Steph.
Night of Champions: Brie Bella vs. Paige (Diva’s Title)
Just for Fun: Let’s do the Pre-show, too
The Uso’s vs. The Dust Brothers vs. RybAxel vs. Kofi / Big E for #1 contenders to tag titles.
Summer Slam is less than 24 hours away, and the Number Two Contenders have you covered. Doc Manson and The Teacher are here to discuss matches, angles, predictions and more!
The Teacher: Doc, does it feel to you like this PPV has taken forever to get here? It seems like these feuds have been building (or in some cases, not building) for months!
Doc Manson: Yeah, the build has been pretty slow for almost the entire card. I’m starting to feel like a broken record, always talking about the same stories and wrestlers. Although, a few of those wrestlers I talk about aren’t even on the SummerSlam card.
T: I assume you are referring to one of our favorites, Mr. Cesaro, who will be kicking off the card by not wrestling on it. He and RVD are scheduled to face off in the Pre-Show. I’d like to say that having two of the better wrestlers in the company going at it before the PPV means that Summer Slam will be stacked with epic encounters top to bottom, but I just think this is more indicative of some of the lack of quality booking for certain talents.
Cesaro has to win, right? Even if he’s going nowhere.
DM: They can pull the trigger on Cesaro at any time and he will deliver. I don’t think a win or a loss against RVD on the SummerSlam pre-show is going to make much difference in Cesaro’s career.
Guesses on the first match of the night?
T: I think we’ll see Miz and Ziggler start off the show proper. Title on the line (the only mid-card belt being defended, but we’ll get to that later), and featuring two wrestlers who can tell a decent story (If I say Miz is good in the ring, many people on Twitter will call me names).
As much as I like Ziggler’s in-ring ability and potential, I have to believe Miz comes out victorious tomorrow night. Or, at least, with his IC title. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him get intentionally DQ’ed or something.
DM: Agreed. Ziggler can’t catch a break, or win a title. Miz continues on his road to mid-card glory.
Wait a minute, this seems like the place to bring this up. Where is Bo Dallas on this card? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, since he isn’t on the card. I really think this would have been a good place to inject a little Bo into the biggest party of the summer with a three-way dance for the IC title.
T: From what I’ve read, there is a significant lack of Bo-lieving going on backstage, which saddens me.
Also an interesting factoid. This year’s Summer Slam features nothing but singles matches. No three-way dances, no tag matches, nothing.
DM: Gotta make room for two Diva matches… although, I hesitate to describe Stephanie McMahon v. Brie Bella as a Diva’s match.
T: I don’t know, Doc. Haven’t you been seeing all the pictures of Stephanie working out in the gym. She’s going to be in top physical condition for this one!
Let’s get this over with now, because the whole thing is just sad at this point. I’m just adding my voice to the chorus here, but the affair angle from this past RAW totally made the entire thing jump the shark. Steph will be OK in the ring, we’ll likely discover the affair angle was made up, and Brie will come out on top.
Here’s the important question, though. Will Daniel Bryan make an appearance?
DM: Before I get to Daniel Bryan, I just want to talk about that affair angle. The writing here makes Brie look like an idiot. She has absolutely no rational reason to believe any scenario brought to her attention by Stephanie McMahon. Her buying into the story, and slapping Daniel’s mistress, was the action of an empty-headed automaton. Brie had come through so much of this story looking like a smart human being, and they completely destroyed her credibility on Monday night.
Daniel Bryan may be in Brie’s corner. I assume a distraction will see Stephanie picking up the win, and having that mistress lady make kissy faces at Daniel Bryan might be that distraction.
T: Up until Monday, I was enjoying enough about that story to make me actually intrigued with the match. Now, I think I’ll just skip the whole thing. Sad, really.
One match I will not skip, though I still have no earthly idea what the rules are, is the Flag match between Rusev and Jack Swagger. Usually, flag matches end with capturing the flag from the corner ringpost, but from the sounds of it, this one will be slightly different, though we’re not sure how.
I keep going back and forth on this one. On one hand, Rusev needs to maintain his momentum, so he should win. On the other, I can’t see WWE risking the potential backlash of a US flag desecration, which makes me think Swagger wins. Your analysis?
DM: I think Rusev wins. Not waving the American flag at the end of the bout doesn’t equal desecration, so they can get away with it. I’m really starting to cool on the Rusev v. Swagger feud. Lana and Zeb just keep talking, and I feel like each week the feud just loses more and more momentum. Zeb has made it clear that he is still very much that same pro-America, anti-immigration character from before this feud started, and I’m having trouble reconciling them as the good guys here.
T: I’m glad to see you’re getting the same feelings that I am; many of these feuds have gone on too long and need to end. In fact, I’ve been putting on my fantasy booking hat as of late, and trying to plot out where I’d like to see the majority of the roster go from here. In Rusev and Swagger’s case, it’s as far away from each other as possible.
Just for the sake of having some disagreements, I’ll predict Swagger wins, though it will certainly not be by submission. The US comes out on top, but the Bulgarian Brute still looks impressive.
While we are on the topics of feuds that need to end, Chris Jericho takes on Bray Wyatt tomorrow night. Thoughts?
DM: Jericho loses? I mean, right? Why else is he here? Bray comes out on top at the end of this feud, or else it has been a severe misdirection. With Harper and Rowan banned from ringside, this is a good opportunity to show that Daddy Wyatt can take care of business on his own.
T: My thoughts exactly. As soon as the writing was on the wall that the Family was out of the picture, I started guaranteeing on Twitter that Bray comes out on top. I can’t say for sure that Jericho helped get Bray majorly over in this feud, but Y2J needs to be staring at the lights this Sunday.
Quick aside before we move on, since I mentioned the lights. You posted on your own Twitter page (@DocManson, in case you don’t follow him) that you dislike the Wyatt’s entrance, is that right? Care to elaborate on that a bit?
DM: The entrance in nonsensical and contrary to the motivations of the character. Literally, he lights a lantern, blows it out, and then come out in the arena with the lantern lit again. What? And the Foley-esque cheap pop just doesn’t make me feel like Bray Wyatt is a legitimate bad dude. It gives him that soft, comical edge that directly conflicts with the aura of the character.
Don’t get me started about the continued use of “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” a song that entered the Wyatt lexicon as it specifically described John Cena’s position in the WWE. And why is it that Rowan and Harper now come out with that song appended to their entrance music? No idea. Doesn’t make any sense at all.
T: Seriously, Doc, tell us how you really feel.
We could rant for hours on the lack of logic and sense we see in WWE right now, and I want to get back to Summer Slam. Suffice to say, Bray blowing out an actual lantern and then coming to the ring with an electric one has always irritated me, though I don’t mind the cheap pop. Again, a conversation for another time.
AJ and Paige. Diva’s championship. Paige has come into her own as a heel, and AJ lost to Eva Marie. Why? Who knows! All signs are pointing to Paige regaining the title tomorrow, but I think this is one of the two feuds that lasts post-Summer Slam, if only because there is nobody else who reasonably could vie for the title right now. I think AJ wins, but we see them again at Night of Champions next month.
What say thee, Doctor?
DM: The sportsman in me says that if Eva Marie beat the champion, she deserves a title shot next. I sure hope not though. As far as Paige goes, her entire run as champion and this feud with AJ has been completely mishandled. I get the distinct impression that Paige is not clear on what her character is even supposed to be right now. Worse, I don’t think creative knows what Paige’s character is supposed to be right now. A muddled mess, made more tragic by the potential in Paige.
AJ wins, and the feud continues. Hopefully some good can be made from it in the next few weeks.
T: Doc, I have to say, you sound very down on the whole direction of WWE right now. I certainly hope you plan on doing a Mad Rant about it in the future, so that you can be heard.
DM: I may be too depressed to write about it on my own, but I’ll sure try.
What else is on the card?
T: We have two matches left, my friend. We have yet to mention the lumberjacks!
DM: Yeah. Yeah. About that. Dean Ambrose, the loose cannon, has the ability to make a match with any stipulation that he wants. He could indulge his violent side and have some sort of weapon match. If he was concerned about Rollins running away, Ambrose could have made a Hell in the Cell match. Hell, if Ambrose really wanted to put the screws to Rollins, he could have made the match for the Money-in-the-Bank contract.
But, no. He decides to have a lumberjack match.
Whoopedy do. A complete waste.
Would you believe that this is the match I’m most excited for on this card?
T: I would, because I feel the same way. Just like with AJ and Paige, I think this feud continues. It just can’t end in a Lumberjack match.
I really thought the Last Man Standing match was the way to go. Let these two battle all over the arena, really fight it out, do a couple crazy things. Then Reigns and Kane had one a few weeks ago, and I knew that idea was out the window.
(Random aside: TOTALLY forgot about Reigns and Orton, so we had three matches. Not that it matters.)
I’m hoping Rollins uses his clout with the authority to buy off some lumberjacks. RybAxel would make logical sense, but frankly, I don’t care who it is. Rollins wins in suspect fashion, giving Ambrose another month to terrorize people and basically steal the show each week, and then they can have that cage match or TLC for the briefcase at the next PPV.
Select members of the Twitterverse believe the lumberjack stipulation was given so that Ambrose and Rollins could NOT steal the show, since they were taking so much of the attention away from the last two matches. Hope they’re wrong; fear they’re right.
Reigns beats Orton, right? Do we really need to say much more?
DM: I don’t know. Orton is back to being that psychotic heel character, definitely shifting away from the cowardly character that has been associated with the authority these last few months. I don’t want to see Orton and Reigns continue feuding, but this is only their first singles match against one another, so it makes some sense to try to get some more mileage out of the program they’ve been building. Plus, Orton is one of the top guys in the company. Is Reigns really ready to move on to something bigger just yet?
T: I hate to keep saying this, but if what I’m reading is true, there is something bigger on the horizon for Reigns. Bigger, badder, and now a featured player in a major Marvel movie.
DM: Dear god, I don’t care.
T: OK, main event time. It’s the biggest match in WWE history, unless, you know, you count the hundreds of matches that were more important. John Cena and BROCKKKK LESNARRRRR for the WWE World Heavyweight Unified Single Entity Grand High Poo-bah Championship of the World.
If Lesnar wins, its a new era in wrestling and he is virtually unstoppable. If Cena wins, he is easily the greatest wrestler of all time and we should immediately buy his t-shirts and give the neighbors a 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Who ya got?
DM: Lesnar is the obvious choice, which makes me want to say Cena. It makes zero sense for Lesnar to lose this match, but if he wins what happens next? Who is available to be a credible contender for Lesnar’s title from now until the road to WrestleMania 31? Name a face that you could even conceivably see them trying to sell in a feud opposite a monster heel Lesnar champion.
T: LOOK IN MY EYES! WHAT DO YOU SEE? CULT OF PERSONALITY!!!!!!
DM: As excited as I would be, not a chance. CM Punk is never, ever coming back.
T: He’s definitely not coming back for Summer Slam, but we’ll see him again, I’m sure. Yet another conversation for another day.
There isn’t anyone for Lesnar to face, which is what I would hope Heyman addressed on RAW if Brock does conquer Cena. In my fantasy booking dreamland, Paul comes out by himself and declares that nobody is worthy to face the champion, so Brock’s going on vacation. Meanwhile, Heyman challenges the WWE roster to show him what they’ve got, and over the next few weeks, Superstars battle each other for the right to face The Beast Incarnate.
If that doesn’t work, then we’ll just have Cena and Lesnar again at NOC. ‘Cause that will be fun!
DM: They have months of television to fill. While I can see them getting away with Lesnar not feuding with anyone for awhile, WWE has zero credible main event face characters waiting in the wings, with maybe one exception. Given that they won’t pull the trigger on Reigns until WrestleMania, the only other person I could see would be Dean Ambrose, but he’s tied up elsewhere right now.
T: We’re also assuming Lesnar remains a heel. I don’t know about you, but a methodical beatdown of John Cena that ends with a new champion might result in more cheers than jeers.
One other option, though it’s a long shot, would be to use Y2J, if only for the next month. He could be Lesnar’s first challenger, verbally spar with Heyman for a few weeks, lose to Brock at Night of Champions and ride off into Fozzy-land for another year or so. Like I said, a long shot, but a possibility.
Well, folks, that’s your Summer Slam card, such as it is. I wish we had a more positive spin to put on it, but it seems like Doc and I have some serious issues with WWE. Perhaps we’ll discuss them further next week, once the dust of the biggest party of the summer has cleared.
Any final thoughts, Doc, before we say our farewells?
DM: Lot’s of negativity, but there should be some solid performances at SummerSlam. Hopefully the writing will start to match up with the potential of those performers in the near future.
T: Couldn’t agree more.
Thank you for joining us, friends. Hope you enjoy Summer Slam! For Doc Manson, I’m the Teacher, class dismissed!
As almost every single pair of eyes who reads this knows, I, The Teacher, have been pretty addicted to Twitter since the birth of the Number Two Contenders. One thing I’ve been fascinated with is how the social media age allows everyone to share their feeling right as things happen. This gives us a primal sense of how people are feeling, since from the looks of it, most people don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about their tweets before sending them into the Inter-ether.
Which got me thinking. . . With Summer Slam around the corner, what would the history of this huge WWE event look like if Twitter had existed since its inception. . . Quite the thought experiment. . . I humbly submit some of what I believe we’d have seen in the last 20 years.
MegaPowersRule: Can’t believe we’re getting a 4th #WWF PPV! Can’t wait to see MegaPowers SLAM MegaBucks! #Hulkamania #OhYeah
MillionDollarBaby: @MegaPowersRule - No way! Everybody has a price, and Dibiase and Andre can’t be stopped! #MoneyMoneyMoney
WrestlingIsReal87: WTF? Time limit draw? How boring for a PPV opener! Bulldogs should have won!
RudeAwakeningz: Putting somebody else’s wife on your tights is so cool; Rude is the man!
WarriorsWoman: OMG Warrior just won the IC title in 30 seconds!! He’s so amazing!!! I luv him so much!!!!
AxAndSmashYaaa: Here comes the Ax! There go the Harts! Demolition 4 the win!
OnlySmartFanIn88: Doesn’t everyone know Virgil is Dusty Rhodes’ real name?
WrestlingIsReal87: @OnlySmartFanIn88 - Shut up, fool. Dusty’s name is Dusty, and he’s amazing. Stop spreading lies!
MegaPowersRule: Here we go! I am a real American! I said my prayers, let’s do this!!!
PsychicGuyMcGee: Ventura is calling this match so well, he should be a politician someday.
The Entire Twitterverse: OMG did you just see Elizabeth’s undies!!! SO HOTTT CAN’T HANDLE ITTT
MegaPowersRule: Never doubt the MegaPowers, including the leggy Liz #OHYEAHDIGIT
WWFNumber1UKFan: #SummerSlam from #London? Can life get any better?
DCWrestlingFan: @WWFNumber1UKFan - Shut up, you stupid Brit.
BiggestHartOnForBret: So sad 2 c Hart family torn like this. They may never b the same.
OnlySmartFanIn88: Hope Bulldog’s staph infection doesn’t get in the way here.
OhhhhWhatARush: I guess Money can’t buy a victory! #LODWins!
The Entire Twitterverse: Nailz and Virgil made it onto a #WWF PPV? Seriously?
MrsMartel92: OMG did you see The Model’s butt? Sooo hotttt.
MrsMichaels1992: @MrsMartel92 - Ewww, no way, HBK’s tush was SO much cuter!
(Editors note: This continued for hours and got very hostile.)
PsychicGuyMcgee: This tag title match may be bad, but at least we’re seeing the titles defended at #SummerSlam. Looking at you, 2014!
MachoMadness17: Flair, you dirty bastard, Randy’s going to kick your ass. Perfect, you too!
SmartMarkLevesque: Why is Kamala getting a World title shot? What’s he ever done? Why is his handler named after Korean cabbage?
WWFNumber1UKFan: OMG Bulldog won! Bulldog won! This is Britain’s greatest moment!
BiggestHartOnForBret: My guy just showed total class and honor. #AlwaysMyChampion!
PsychicGuyMcGee: @BiggestHartOnForBret - Yeah, Bret’s a #WWF guy for life. . . #Sarcasm
SummerSlamSam: It’s the biggest party of the summer. Mankind’s tough, but with Paul Bearer at his side, how can #Undertaker fail?
NotYetTheTeacher: Love the bikini blast beach party, but why are all these guys getting in the way of Sunny and Sable?
OnlyGuyWatchingFreeForAll: OMG did u see Yoko break the ropes? #Fatty
The Entire Twitterverse: You know, this #SummerSlam kinda sucks.
ForAllMankind96: Alright, Boiler Room Brawl time! This is going to be EPIC! #CactusJack
MistressDeadman: @ForAllMankind96 - It is, but your boy is going to get beat down!
WhatTheHellsIsECW: You know, this match is wicked violent. Where did this come from?
TheFirstHeymanGuy: This match don’t got nothing on Sandman and Raven, biatches!
The Entire Twitterverse: WTF just happened? Paul Bearer turned on ‘Taker? What? BOOOOO!!
(Editors note: Nobody bothered tweeting about Michaels and Vader after the Brawl)
The Entire Twitterverse: OMG Owen Hart breaking Austin’s neck in the ring is the worst thing that can ever happen at a live wrestling event.
PsychicGuyMcgee: @Everyone - Don’t say that. . . Just. . . Don’t say that. . .
The Entire Twitterverse: OMG Cena sucks, good thing he won’t be main eventing forever.
PsychicGuyMcgee: @Everyone - Don’t say that. . . Just. . . Don’t say that. . . #CenaWinsLOL