Podzilla 1985

Sunday, August 17, 2014

WWE Summerslam - Cenation Crumbles and the WWE Universe is Without a Hero

Just got done watching Summerslam at Double G with "the gang" plus a few extra. I won't do an in depth review, but I will give some thoughts on the action that took place. Spoilers abound, in case you read this before watching the replay.

Overall, I'd put the PPV somewhere in the B- range. Some things came off better than I expected, while other sure things let me down. On to the thoughts!

The party started before we even turned the Network on. I got the call before heading in to the Grounds that old BZ85 contributors Louie Benson and TV's Phil would be attending the show with us. I should have got a picture of all of us together, but this legendary team up will just have to remain an excited whisper on the lips of my followers. Phil joked about writing for the site again, and we shared a laugh. And then I was disappointed in him.

I have to mention the Pizza-fest that was laid before our hungry eyes. Marco's, Papa John's, and Watami for Phil, who just had to be different, meant that we would be watching the PPV as true wrestling fans - unhealthy and loud.

While we watched the PPV on a set of TVs on one end of the TV row, a group of friends elected to play Smash Bros at the other end instead. As if Falco vs. Marth could ever measure up to Cena vs. Lesnar.

After a relatively entertaining pregame featuring Cesaro vs. RVD, in which part time legend Van Dam went over up and coming future Main Event mainstay Cesaro, we were ready for SUMMERSLAM!

But first, as a special treat for the kids and Asa, Hulk Hogan comes out to shill the network and got a $9.99 chant!

Oh, WWE Universe, you'll cheer anything!

I'm sad that my only Hogan moment for the night was for the goddamn network. I understand the importance of pushing the product line, especially when they seem to be hurting for subscriber numbers. It's kind of cute right now how they've turned into a self aware joke, but I'm just worried that before too long they're going to be dipping into a Gamestop style verbal assault every time they get a chance. I can't walk into GS without getting pitched on reserves and subscriptions, and I can't turn on WWE Network without hearing about the WWE Network!

Big surprise early on when Ziggler beat Miz for the IC title. I think we were all expecting Miz to win, since they were pushing his Johnny Cage style character pretty hard. Either he did something stupid behind the scenes to earn him a loss to Dolph Ziggler of all people, or they're finally getting behind the Show Off.

Again. My money is on the former. My prediction is Ziggler loses the IC title to Rusev in a few weeks.

What can I say about Paige vs. AJ? They're both attractive and have a habit of bending at just the right angles. Their match was short but sweet, and, again, I was honestly surprised when Paige took the title. My first thought was that AJ was leaving WWE again, maybe because of those pesky pregnancy rumors that constantly seem to follow her. It's also entirely possible that WWE is going for a back and forth angle that will lead to some awesome final match between the two at, say, Survivor Series. I could watch the two go at it a few more times, but we're going to be getting into Uso/Wyatt territory soon and that isn't good for anyone. Unless they do foxy boxing.

Then there was Swagger vs. Rusev in a flag match that somehow became an ordinary match. It was a pretty decent bout, and my love/hate relationship with Rusev continues. I think he's a great talent and truly a super athlete, but the tacked on Russia gimmick still grates on my nerves. The man is impressive enough to stand on his own, we don't need the constant patriotic crap shoved down our throats. Especially when no one can ever beat the man! I think Vince McMahon must hate America, since he constantly presents American heroes to fight the mighty Rusev, only to lose every single time and have the Russian flag flown high above their fallen bodies!

As a side note, my friend Zach was especially excited for this match, as he had a homemade Swagger shirt he wanted to show off. He arrived just in time to see Swagger pass out to the mighty Steiner Reccolade.

Rollins and Ambrose had the second most disappointing match of the night. It's not that they didn't put on a good show, because they did. It would be hard not to when you have such great talent in the ring together. But, after months of so much hatred an animosity between the two, I was let down by their match. It wasn't nearly as intense or violent as I hoped it would be, except for when Ambrose would do some kind of insane dive. Of course there had to be a screwjob finish, and per usual they called the king of screwjob finishes to come out.

As always, Kane delivered. I'm sorry, it was Corporate Kane this week. It was awesome to see Goldust get in Kane's face, and all out brawl erupted immediately afterward. Rollins uses the briefcase and beats Ambrose. Meh.

Bray Wyatt defeated Chris Jericho in the match I was the least excited for. It was one of those situations where if Jericho won it would completely bury Wyatt, but if Wyatt won it would be too obvious since Jericho was leaving again.

I just don't "get" Bray Wyatt. He's talented enough, but his evil persona has gone from genuinely inspired to comical and nonsensical. I'm not even talking about his promos, which are generally awful but beloved because they're "different," but his gimmick of being a dangerous leader. It would have worked months ago when he was still winning all the time, but he just looks foolish singing his little song after a long list of losses. They'll be sending Windham back to NXT if they don't turn his character around right now.

Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella had the biggest letdown match of the night. I was actually really looking forward to this one, as it had an actual storyline that made you want to see them go at it tooth and nail. I should have known they were out of steam last week when they did the awful angle involving Bryan sleeping with his trainer. I was hoping they could rebound during the actual match, but it just never happened.

I will give Stephanie McMahon props for being in great shape and looking absolutely incredible in that skin tight black suit. Yowch!

The match was itself was just okay and not the brawling catfight I thought it would be after months of build up. WWE has a problem where they present these fights that should be intense brawls between two people that hate each other, but end up just being another match. Ambrose and Rollins had the same problem. There were some decent spots, including a shot where Stephanie blasted Brie as she tried to suicide dive through the rope.

And then there was the heel turn that surprised no one. We called a Nikki Bella heel turn weeks ago, and sure enough, once they had Stephanie alone in the ring between the sisters, Nikki clocked Brie and left her for Stephanie to pedigree and pin. The only redeeming factor here is that the insanely hot Nikki will fight the insanely hot Brie. The downside is that one of the top feuds in the company will be between the Bella twins, for Christ's sake.

Roman Reigns beat Randy Orton. Not much to say on this one, other than Randy Orton does a really nice sleeper hold. The spear reversal and jumping RKO were pretty cool, too. Reigns is another wrestler the WWE fans love, but I just haven't warmed up to. Rollins and Ambrose were so much more entertaining in the Shield, but Reigns seems to be the one primping for the big time. Must be the Rock connection?

And then there was the main event of Cena vs. Lesnar. This was the bout I had insanely high hopes for after weeks of really good promotional videos and segments.

In one corner, you have a true beast of a wrestler, and quite possibly the most believable heel in the history of professional wrestling. Brock Lesnar comes across as a huge deal, and he comes across more intimidating in a simple sit down interview than any other wrestler doing their absolute worst to someone else.

In the other corner was the never say die champion, who came to fight and vowed to leave as champion, even though he knew he was in for a beating.

Well, he certainly was right about the beating. Lesnar F5'd Cena within a minute of the opening bell, and just continued to pummel and destroy the champion for the rest of the fight. Cena had a few close calls with a sudden Attitude Adjustment and STF, but I'm pretty sure that was literally Cena's only offense. Otherwise it was simply Brock Lesnar hitting Cena with German suplex after German suplex. I believe he hit sixteen German suplexes before finishing Cena off with a second F5.

It was brutal. It was absolutely brutal. I had a feeling Lesnar would win, but I honestly expected Cena to put up a fight. He did not. All he could do was survive as long as he could, and that wasn't very long. For the people who wanted to see Cena get destroyed, you certainly got your wish tonight.

Did the main event live up to my expectations? Not at all. I expected a hard fought battle between beast and underdog, not an execution. This was still John Cena, right? This was the guy who fought and beat Lesnar just two years ago at Extreme Rules, right? He may have used a chain to win then, but he still put up a better fight than he did at Summerslam. Still, while it didn't live up to expectations, it was a hell of a spectacle and something I won't soon forget.

But where does the WWE go from here? After eviscerating the Superman of the WWE Universe, who can possibly beat Brock Lesnar? I'm afraid WWE has truly created a monster by building up a threat so credible that there is no one who conceivably beat him.

I feel that whoever WWE chooses to finally beat Lesnar will truly be the WWE's top guy heading in to the future.

I just have this sneaking suspicion it won't be Zack Ryder.

Maybe Hulk Hogan?


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