It sure has been a long ass weekend, especially if you managed to take in all 13 hours of wrestling, from this past Sunday through to this Wednesday. Yes, I said that right, 13 hours. Geez WWE…
If you had the time to watch all this, or even if you didn’t, thepoorassgamer is here to give you all the highlights, and mostly lowlights of this SummerSlam Weekend. Seriously, what the hell is WWE’s reason for giving us THIS MUCH CONTENT?!
So you may be wondering, why the title of Slamamania Sandwich? Well, have you ever had a really good sandwich, on some artisan bread, but maybe the contents of that sandwich, the part in-between, is just shit? Here is a helpful image to illustrate this “Wrestlemania part one” weekend:
So let’s start from the beginning and give a review of each PPV
NXT Takeover III Brooklyn
Do all PPV’s need to be qualified by the city that they were in? I’m saying that because I honestly don’t think the title should include the city in the name of the PPV. Why? Because as we saw this past weekend, adding that simple city name can make it appear that the fans of this city have some special preferential treatment. Which, when you look at how most of the fans acted this week (like spoiled children) it’s easy to understand why they think they’re so “special”. It is also important to note that these fans were probably all there for the entire 4 day stretch, which as we’ll see, can drag and get a little boring. So truthfully, I do feel a little for these fans having to watch some boring content, but, as you’ll see, not that much. I’ll get into that rant at the end of this review, but let’s start with each match. Oh and btw, TLDR; Watch NXT Takeover, and Smackdown if you want the long and short of it. SummerSlam and RAW the following day were just a mess, but you’ll see…
Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny “Wrestling” Gargano
WOW! This match, I gotta be honest, on paper, seemed a bit underwhelming. It may stem from the fact that Andrade, although a big enough mid card dude on the NXT roster and a fantastically acrobatic wrestler, really hasn’t seen much in the way of big matches. Johnny Gargano, coming off the heart wrenching break-up with Tommasso Ciampa, (yes wrestlers break up like us too) also had something to show here in what seemed like a long hiatus from his last big singles match.
These guys brought it. Simply put, this was one of my favorite matches of the night, not simply for both of these competitors’ in ring ability, but also because they both SHOULD get more time on TV and big PPVs. Andrade has been pared with Zelina Vega, who is his boo, if you can put it that way. She has been pushing Andrade to be less of the charismatic bad boy type, and in the case of this match it seemed to work in his favor. Andrade, simply put, looked the strongest I have ever seen him since he debuted in NXT.
Johnny of course has always been solid and this match really looked like he was going to pull off the win. However, what I love about NXT is that they are willing to swerve you every once and awhile. Sure, it makes sense for Johnny to win this match, mostly so he can look good going into what will be his eventual revenge match with Ciampa. However, Ciampa hurt his leg, so maybe this is all just a set up so Johnny will have his revenge on Andrade before Ciampa shows up all rested and angro.
This match was great mostly for it’s ending. Zelina Vega thew a #DIY shirt at Johnny right during the wind-up for his super kick. This of course was a great nod to his time as a tag team and his eventual downfall. This resulted in Andrade hooking Johnny with a devastating Hammerlock DDT for the win. All things considered, this was a great opener.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Authors of Pain vs. Sanity
Authors of Pain vs. Sanity. I have to say, out of all the matches on the NXT PPV, even with all the big spots, this match was probably the weakest. When I recall the big moments, I can think back on Alexander Wolf suplexing one of the Authors of Pain, not sure if it was Akam or Rezar, and the sheer strength of this guy is incredible. I think maybe his size is a bit deceiving, as when compared to the monolithic giants that are the Authors of Pain, everyone big looks small by comparison.
I did like the surprise addition of Eric Young. Again, NXT is doing exactly what it should do: spice in an upset, add a little bit of an unexpected tag partner, and well…
Probably a good choice though all and all, I mean, Killian Dain is a big dude, but then it would just be a big dude match which, typically are not that fun to watch. We also had a cool moment when AOP attempted to do the Tower of Doom, meanwhile Nikki Cross grabbed EY and prevented the move from taking place. Well, rather one AOP member powerbombed the other. Then we get a beautiful elbow drop from EY, and Nikki tries to interrupt. The ref gets distracted by Paul Ellering and Nikki proceeds to try and cross body Akam, who is standing on the outside of the ring. I say try because Akam caught Nikki, only to be body checked by the freight train that is Killian Dain, smashing all of the members through an aptly placed table. Whew.
Alexander Wolfe and EY then perform a belly to back suplex neck breaker and pin AOP FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER PEOPLE! So that was a pretty big deal, I mean, Sanity basically won the championship in some shady and tricky ways, but I’m happy to see the folks of NXT giving others a chance. And quite frankly, Sanity may be the only original faction in all of WWE’s current programing. Come to think of it, I can’t recall any others that make any sense (btw, I mean this in regards to their group being more than 3 people, not ignoring The New Day folks…).
OH! I forgot about Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Riley basically dismantling AOP and Sanity. Truth be told, I have no idea who Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Riley are. I saw a match on NXT a few weeks back with Bobby Fish, who looks promising, but there is this odd thing lately with these new additions to the NXT roster: I am not in the know.
I’ve tried to follow ROH, but it’s a bit like having a giant steak after finishing a 3 course meal, I simply do not have the room in my life for another wrestling organization. Although, considering where SummerSlam and RAW left me, I may soon make the room for more.
Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami
Just look at that picture. Take it in. Or as Jericho would say “Drink it in Maaaaan”. Or rather, “Drink through this straw Maaaaan” because that is what Hideo will need to be doing after this brutal match. This to me, was the second best match of the night. Both Aleister and Hideo have a kickboxing background and boy does it show. Seriously, it is kind of astounding to think that in the PG era, where guys are not allowed to hit each other with steel chairs, that somehow, kicking another wrestler extremely hard in the head is the norm.
Aleister Black continues his dominance as a singles competitor, and hey, even Hideo seemed to be getting cheered as an awesome heel. I really feel for Hideo, he has had nothing but bad luck and a string of injuries since entering NXT, but in this match, he really pulled out his heel-y ways. Unfortunately, Hideo just isn’t a great babyface.
This match to me was very reminiscent of a NJPW match, lots of kicks, knees, Warriors Way, all that stuff. If you’re looking for a hard hitting contest, this is it.
Oh, and Aleister obviously won by kicking Hideo’s head off his shoulders.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Ember Moon
Byron, no. They are not simply having fun out there, ever, in any wrestling match, in any organization. The point is to basically incapacitate your opponent to the point of victory.
Wooh, that was a big deviation from the match at hand, the rematch of Asuka vs. Ember Moon. E_HUFFY and I briefly talked over this match, and he had a good point: Ember’s promo the NXT show prior to Takeover, was just really flat. Some wrestlers have all the technical skill and basically outshine all others in the ring. Ember is just like that. But her, on the mic, with Red banshee eyes and all, just didn’t really get me too excited.
However, I was wrong when it came to the match itself. This was a great rematch and again, really makes Asuka into the mega star she already is. I was really surprised by this ending. I mean, it is hard to actually think of the last time WWE really put someone over as much as Asuka, maybe Goldberg? But a more proper analogy would probably be Triple H. In fact, I think if we are going to start chanting STROWMAN, STROWMAN, each time Braun comes out, we should do the same for Asuka. She is a beast and even after it was revealed a day later that she broke her collarbone during this match, it can’t be denied how important a star she is to WWE. Get well soon Asuka.
I’ll put it this way, WATCH THIS MATCH
NXT Championship Match: Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre
So, I have to be honest, this match wasn’t really for me. I may be one of the only people out there that is always saying under his breath “But, but, Bobby Roode just isn’t that great a wrestler!”. And yeah, I complain about this too much, to the point where others leave the room. Then again, we have an opponent whose first name is Drew.
Seriously, the crowd missed a perfect chance to chant “DREW, DREW, DREW”. I just think that sounds so funny. Like, when would you ever chant that? Sounds like you’re chanting for your coworker in the Accounting department. Drew, The Drewster, came out to New York’s finest bagpiper’s and the figurative nails on the chalkboard began for me.
That being said, this match wasn’t that bad to me. The Claymore, which McIntyre used to full effect (another kick to the face) is a pretty devastating move to see, but I also feel like this story was rushed. I also only like Bobby Roode because he is an excellent bad guy and dislike him as a wrestler.
I really think this match should have been Rodrick Strong vs. Bobby Roode, because I think the drum up to their match on NXT, where Roode basically pissed on Strong for being a family man, was just sooo fun to watch. Something about Roode being this elitist, business man prick, just fit so well in comparison to Strong’s trailer park upbringing.
But ultimately, this was a great moment for McIntyre, it’s been a long time coming since Vince McMahon basically anointed him the next big thing, so it was cool to see him finally get somewhere, and, so quickly. The celebration was short lived however, as another ROH dude, Alex Cole, made his NXT debut, destroying the new champion.
Final thoughts: NXT continues it’s simple, yet compelling formula. Keep up the great work of basically showing up all of the other WWE programs which I heretofore am going to trash in our next few sections.
SummerSlam (or the death of humanity itself)
I honestly do not want to put you through all of this. I mean, good GOD. There was like 6 hours of wrestling to watch in one day. The show, technically started around 5:30 PM EST and ended somewhere after 11:00 PM. THE FANS WERE NOT EVEN IN THE ARENA DURING THE FIRST MATCH.
— PWGuru (@pwguru65) August 20, 2017
This may explain why Miz was really pissed off on Monday Night RAW, but hold your horse’s we’ll get to that. I truly do not get this. You know, in the old days, they would CUT some matches and I’m sorry, but just because you have a stranglehold on the wrestling market doesn’t mean you have to jam pack matches for every person on your roster for one PPV. In short:
We’re going to skip the Pre-Show matches, because honestly I don’t even think most people cared that much. Which is a shame, because the pre-show relegated the Miz, The Hardys, Jason Jordan, The New Day, The Usos, and Neville and Tozawa to oblivion. It is unfortunate that WWE created the CWC, revived the Crusierweight title, then, stuck every match on every pre-show for every event. It’s almost like, they don’t give a shit.
Actually I just checked my watch, they legitimately don’t give a shit.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
This match was just funny to watch, mostly because Cena has resorted to corpsing literally every match these days. If you don’t know the term, it means he is actually laughing and making fun of other wrestlers, breaking kayfabe all the time now. He really is a star. I mean, the guy is getting movie deals and still putting over new talent, and also, he’s a really good person.
This match on the other hand is something completely different. John Cena basically steamrolled Baron Corbin because apparently, Corbin doesn’t get that you shouldn’t pick a fight with Dave Meltzer, the guy whose been reporting on wrestling for like, 40 years! The age of Twitter is the new kayfabe, in that wrestlers are purposely picking fights, challenging one another, and generally making asses of themselves to a much wider audience. Hmm, it’s almost like this is learned behavior, from, oh, maybe the leader of the free world? Makes ya think don’t it?
I loved this match because it was retribution to Corbin, which I spent some time on a recent sick day working on this video just to make ya’ll laugh a little:
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi vs. Natalya
I stated from the beginning, before this match even took place: Natalya is winning the title. Not that Naomi isn’t way more technically sound that Natalya (even though Natalya has been wrestling longer than Naomi). It’s just that, boy, being a babyface is so much harder to get over than a heel these days. I watched some of the women’s matches on the Smackdown’s prior to this PPV, and unfortunately Naomi was just really bland sitting at commentary. Whenever she was asked her thoughts, she barely elaborated on anything, just would simply state her thoughts that “Yeah, I’m going to win”.
And seriously, how bland do you have to look when Natalya is more interesting than you in this department. All she ever spouts is Bret’s old, “Best there is, Best there was….” uuuuuhhhh. Natalya, get a new catchphrase please!
Now that I’ve ranted, I do want to state that this was a pretty solid women’s match. I love Naomi’s entrance, and shoot, I bet Jericho is like “WHAT THE HELL!” when he saw this:
Jerichos jacket looks like a shitty Christmas tree in comparison to this glowing LED jacket Naomi sported. Natalya ended up picking up the win with a single sharpshooter, which was the interesting part of SummerSlam: lots of one finisher, one pins or submissions that won the match. That has gone up against years of WWE forcing multiple finishers before the end of a match, which, in this nerds opinion was a welcomed change.
Big Show vs. Big Cass with WWE’s resident jester Enzo Amore in a Shark-tank
Good God. Just watching this for too long should have come with a warning of permanent brain damage. I seriously wondered why a match like The Usos vs. New Day got pushed to the pre-show, and this TURD of a match was put on the PPV. Did someone in the back really think this storyline was that compelling? It was basically this, Enzo can’t actually fight Big Cass, because he is too damn small and any win against him would almost always seem ridiculous. So, let’s shoehorn in the guy that really, is at the end of his career, the Big Show.
Enzo comes out, makes reference after reference that most of the crowd either doesn’t get or doesn’t care about.
Then, he’s put into the shark cage where he continues to muck it up and dance around doing that chicken dance thing he does. Sure, visually, this looked great, however during the middle of the match, Enzo pulls out a bottle of lube from god knows where and proceeds to cover himself in order to squeeze out of the shark-tank. Both myself and E_HUFFY had a good laugh at Matt Fowler’s take on this:
"The guy in the cage is now voluntarily oiling himself” I say to someone who, of course, has decided to watch wrestling for the 1st time rn
— Matt Fowler (@TheMattFowler) August 21, 2017
Enzo falls down, get’s big booted by Cass, then Cass proceeds to do the same thing to Big Show and then an Empire Elbow to end the match. See, here is the problem. For those of us still clinging on to wrestling as a great form of entertainment, we often times want to bring this to our friends and especially to those who have never watched it before. Then, you get something like Enzo oiling himself down. That’s really it. This match was shit.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
So this match lasted 10 seconds. So that’s about as much time we should spend on it. Rusev attacks Randy from behind, Rusev looks away, Rusev takes one of the nastiest RKO’s I’ve ever seen. End of match. Im seriously done talking about Randy Orton for the remainder of my life.
RAW Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
So what is there really to say about this one, other than it was a bit sloppy. I really do like both of these women, Alexa, is a wonderful heel. She is mean, kinda bitchy, and really makes you dislike her. Sasha on the other hand, is really best suited to be a heel. Remember the glory days of NXT when she pulled the sign from Izzy during her match with Bayley? Remember how much heat that garnered her? Well, suffice to say, a babyface Sasha is severely limiting her character.
There were a couple good spots in this match, Alexa loves hitting those double knees for sure. Sasha does her best not to land on her head, as she is often prone to doing. I for one, felt like this match shouldn’t have included Sasha, and maybe should have been given to Nia, but seeing how badly RAW has handled their women wrestlers (*cough* *COUGH* BAYLEY), it’s hard to imagine giving that spot to someone more green.
Sasha ended the match with the bank statement which she proceeded to put on Alexa a few times before winning the match and becoming the 4 time RAW Women’s champion. That title hasn’t even been around that long and she’s already won it 4 times, that speaks to a bit of a talent problem for RAW. Also this:
— Games and Gimmicks (@gamesgmmicks) August 21, 2017
“The Demon King” Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Me thinks you screwed the pooch on this one WWE. Why did you need to advertise that Finn would be the Demon? So, we are to believe that Finn only becomes the Demon when he gets some condiments spilled on him? I wonder how Finn would react if he were at a Carl’s Jr or Hardees and he spills some sauce on himself. It really took the wind out of the sails of this match because again, WWE did not do a good job setting this up at all. It really just ended up feeling like a standard RAW match between these two.
— Games and Gimmicks (@gamesgmmicks) August 15, 2017
Finn won with the Coup De Grace (which I had to look up to make sure I spelled it correctly). Oh, also Finn looked cool. Yay.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
I really wanted to get behind this match, I really did. But oooooh, those Brooklyn fans just wouldn’t let us have anything, now would they? I have to apologize, because I honestly checked out during this match, which isn’t to say that this match wasn’t good, no, that wasn’t it at all. Hmm, maybe something during the match completely took me, the paying customer, out of it….
— Cesaro (@WWECesaro) August 21, 2017
OH YEAH! That’s right, a Beachball showed up for no discernible reason because apparently WWE wants you to think that every PPV is a party and a chance for you, the FAN, to be a star. Sure, you can say that WWE has gone out of their way now to encourage this kind of behavior, but you still have to be the jackass bringing and blowing up a beachball in a crowded stadium. I think a lot of fans are taking what Cesaro did as something fun and jovial. However, I think in the moment, Cesaro was genuinely pissed off. I mean come on, he could tell everyone wasn’t paying attention to the match at hand.
I say this because usually the wave, and bouncing around a beachball means that the fans that paid good hard money to enjoy a show, are literally so bored with the presentation that they needed to find some way to entertain themselves. When did consumers suddenly make up their mind that if a show was boring, they’d decide that in order to make it worth their wild, they would simply try and have fun at the expense of others who just want to watch the show.
Just leave if you are that bored. I know that isn’t a popular thing to say, but come on. It’s like if you went to a movie theater and the film was terrible. If it’s shit, just walk out. Also if this were Hamilton, do you think someone would start bouncing a beachball around? No, they would be promptly thrown out. Maybe I’m harsh, but I’ve already spent too much time on this match and there is STILL, more to come.
Oh yeah, Dean Ambrose became a Grand Slam Champion this night, and him and Seth Rollins won the tag titles. So, there’s that.
United States Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens with Special Guest Referee Shane McMahon
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) August 21, 2017
That tweet perfectly sums up what is a pretty good stand out match. However, the special guest referee stuff, usually just hams up a pretty normal match. Now in this case, you have basically two guys that don’t really want to play fair with each other. Owen will find a way to use the referee to his advantage and then will give us a confusing ending that is like a pin submission type thing. They screwed that up the first time they did it, and then they did it again, this time more successfully. That was all done on other live shows, but all and all I left this match feeling good.
I think it’s mostly because I know that both of these competitors are very good at what they do. I still stop and think “man, isn’t it crazy that AJ Styles is in the WWE?”. I don’t think I’m ever going to get over that. After a bunch of messing round with knocking Shane down, a 3-count that wasn’t a 3-count, and an eventual styles clash to Kevin Owens, AJ retained the US Championship. If both of these guys could compete without all the hokeyness, I’d be more apt to say this was the match of the night. That being said it was a close second.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This match was exactly what we should have expected with Jinder at the helm. I’ve read other reviewers talk about this match, and it seems that Jinder has never really graduated to the level of a main event dude. Sure, he has the look, he has the title, and he has the great heel charisma, but he pails in comparison to the capability of Shinsuke Nakamura. I mean, Jinder does have at least one thing going for him:
So guess what Jinder does again, for the god knows how many times he’s done it? He cheats with the help of the Singh brothers, and produced a lackluster match all around. It’s sad to say, but this performance felt like a match that belonged on the pre-show, even though all the players should be right. Nakamura deserves better.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Fatal Four Way – Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Stroman
This was one of those rare occurrences in a WWE Title match were I actually believe the hype lived up to what we saw. Honestly though, Strowman is the one that came out with all that hype confirmed. I really wanted Samoa Joe to win this match, mostly because he has been putting in the work for WWE for a few years now and really deserves the fame that comes with holding a WWE title.
I do believe that Joe’s time will come, and I am definitely partial to him because of my days going to TNA PPV’s. However, Braun treated Lesnar, who is not a small dude, like a yippy little dog when you kick it off the new couch. Braun proceeded to put Lesnar through, not one, but two commentary tables, then threw another table on him for good measure. Lesnar gets carted out, with Heyman hamming it up for extra credit.
There was a brief moment, where I actually believed that Lesnar would lose, but then again, the internet ruined it for me again (as it usually does) when I found out Lesnar was booked for a few more PPVs this year. Lesnar eventually returned and through some chance, managed to F-5 Reigns and pinned him clean.
In short, Im happy this was a fun match to watch, but they need to get that title off of Lesnar. Granted, he has been more present than ever before, and certainly isn’t taking as many breaks as you would be lead to believe. But Lesnar seems like a placeholder. Like someone they put the belt back on because it was safe. Sure, Lesnar’s popularity reaches beyond WWE, but I think just about anyone in that ring (aside from Reigns) would have been a better choice in the long run.
So there you go. SummerSlam. Are you still with me?
Monday Night RAW
I hated the RAW following this PPV, however, it seems these days that I hate every RAW, regardless of if it follows any big event. Let’s just put it this way, everyone that had something to celebrate, came out, and then met something that they didn’t expect. FOR THE WHOLE SHOW.
Lensar comes out, Heyman does all the mouth piece work so we don’t have to hear Brock’s unnaturally high voice. Or wait, is it because he can’t talk on the mic well, or am I remembering the first time he ever spoke on Smackdown? Oh well, Strowman eases the pain.
So then it’s revealed by Kurt Angle that Brock and Strowman will face each other at No Mercy, a match I am legitimately excited for.
John Cena then shows up and is like “He guys, I’m on RAW now” and because we are still in Brooklyn, we get a JOHN CENA SUCKS chant, even know everyone saw that Cricket Wireless video that made them cry. Girlfriend, Imma cry.
Reigns then shows up and everyone hates him too but still remembers why they hate him: he sucks. So here were are, two guys that want to fight each other and both are not liked by their fans but still liked by their fans. I am so confused.
Samoa Joe then comes out and is like, “Hey, I’m the only legitimate one here, because, well listen to the crowd, they don’t hate my guts like you two *even though I’m a bad guy*”. Finally, the Miz comes out to basically shit all over these guys.
Miz has a good point. He was relegated to an empty arena match, but hey, it’s okay to be in the same company as The Rock and Mankind. Miz goes off on all of them stating that he continues to be overlooked, however he is the only one in the ring with an actual title. You know the one, the one that WWE spent some time trying to highlight its importance. Then they plan a tag match. Woo. Oh, and another fucking beachball showed up again.
— WWE (@WWE) August 22, 2017
Yes. WWE just told fans not to pay attention to the matches. I don’t know what world I am in anymore.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins celebrate too, then have an impromptu match with Jeff and Matt Hardy. The Hardy’s seem to be on the cusp of the “Awoken/Broken” change, which hopefully means they will both make a single’s run after they break up, which seems inevitable at some point.
Sasha also celebrates, Alexa comes out and asks for a rematch. Yay again.
Finally Big Cass and Enzo have a street fight wherein Cass legitimately suffers an injury when getting dumped out of the ring. Enzo wins, but wins the additional prize of being moved to 205 live as punishment. That’s cool, way to remind us you don’t give a shit about Crusierweights Vince.
It’s at this point I turned off RAW and went to bed.
I’m just going to say this, all of Smackdown live seemed concise and actually made sense. I enjoyed every match and we got two great reveals: Bobby Roode has been signed to Smackdown, and the return of Shelton Benjamin to the WWE. Both of these reveals, coupled with a surprise moment where Shane McMahon stopped a legitimate cheating incident during the US Title match. Which, is something he should have been doing all year long if he wasn’t galavanting in crashing helicopters.
Man, that last sentence came off mean didn’t it? Well at this point WWE, after watching 13 hours of your product, I feel they owe me.
I feel like the majority of it was not so good, but definitely there are moments that give me hope in the future. That hope, is that Triple H takes over and Vince steps down. Because ultimately, I feel only then we at least will get back to the core of wrestling: interesting and provocative stories, and awesome wrestling.
Just don’t ever make me watch that much wrestling ever again.
Oh shit, I forgot about Wreslemania weekend.