SummerSlam 2016 was a memorable show, but not all for the right reasons, as the end of the last two matches were so underwhelming, it left a stink that ruined everything that preceded it.
#TLDR: SummerSlam had it’s memorable points, and its down points, and although the good outweighed the bad… this will go down as a weird show, we had two great matches, an ugly belt, an ugly bump or two, a match that never happened… but the sheer length of SummerSlam – six hours if you count the pre-show – placed this firmly in WrestleMania 32 territory as far as being a show where pretty much nothing positive stood out by the end of it.
The Full Review: There’ll be three matches on the pre-show: the Cesaro vs. Sheamus match as they start their best-of-seven series, plus the Neville & Sami Zayn vs. The Dudley Boys and the twelve-man SmackDown tag team match. That might just indicate something is happening with the women’s tag match, which was being advertised as a handicap tag team match after Eva Marie’s suspension.
Your pre-show panel are Renee Young, Lita, Booker T and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Tom Phillips is plugging Sasha Banks for the Social Media Lounge spot later on in this two-hour pre-show. Yeah, we’re not going to cover the pre-show banter.
Backstage segment with Chris Jericho – he’s apparently paid $89.99 to become a Certified G. Kevin Owens lost the certificate though, but he impresses Jericho with his study score for chemistry when he was at school. If only this promo were on Raw… this sold me more on their throwaway tag match more than any of their other segments.
The SummerSlam set has been switched on, and it’s not your generic WWE set. A LOT of LED screens are being used, and from photos that have emerged on social media, it looks like WWE’s added LED screens to some chunkier turnbuckles. There’s a video screen on the floor, a la WrestleMania too… We’re underway with our first pre-show match!
The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch & Aiden English), The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) & Breezango (Fandago & Tyler Breeze) vs. Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley), The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) & American Alpha (Chad Gable & Jason Jordan)
They’re rushing through these intros. On the pre-show… in front of a pretty sparse crowd. Well, it’s a match, I guess? The faces won this on SmackDown last week, and we get the “Gable” song to Kurt Angle’s old theme. Breeze survives a couple of waistlock takedowns, before Gable reverses a wristlock and takes him down into an armbar. The Usos get booed as soon as they came into the match, and that didn’t stop when Aiden English came in. Jey strikes English with an uppercut-like strike, then tagged in Mojo Rawley to ram English with some short shoulder tackles.
English fought free, but took a dropkick from Zack Ryder as he was in the middle of a Rawley suplex. Ryder cuts-off the attempted interference from Simon Gotch, and the ring filled up quickly. American Alpha hit a pair of clotheslines from the top rope to the Ascension, but Breezango took them out, as Zack Ryder took the first bump into the new XXL ringposts… and of course, we have go to commercial.
That WWE Network commercial plugs Holy Foley, a new WWE show called WWE Story Time, and confirms that they’re now 19 PPVs a year. That Ride Along episode with JBL trolling Byron Saxton looks fun though.
Back from a break, Gotch gets a near-fall on Ryder, before grounding him with an armbar. Viktor keeps it grounded with a rear chinlock, before he cuts off Zack from making a tag as Konnor comes in with a corner lariat. Breeze gets a two-count with a legdrop on Ryder, before Breezango lands a single leg crab/slingshot legdrop combo on Ryder for another near-fall. After the face and heel aprons were cleared, Ryder dropped Konnor with an inverted neckbreaker before tagging in Jimmy Uso. Breeze takes an uppercut, then a Samoan drop, before Jason Jordan blind tags in and tosses Breezango across the ring with overhead belly to belly suplexes. Gotch takes an Exploder for a near-fall, before English’s spin-out powerbomb drops Gable. The parade of big moves continues, with an El-Bro drop, a flying knee and a pair of topes from the Usos, before the Grand Amplitude sees Jey Uso get a blind tag in to snatch the win with a big splash. This was what it was, but they went too heavy on big moves and pretty light on selling of them. **¾
Back on the pre-show panel, the inane banter continued as Booker T speculated on the design of the new SmackDown tag team titles. Yes, they’re stretching for material here.
Baron Corbin crashes the Kick-Off Panel, and gets a live mic. Apparently he was meant to be wrestling Kalisto, but the match got thrown off because Kalisto’s injured. He’s mad that Kalisto cost him a payday, and then walks off.
Sasha Banks had her Social Media Lounge Q&A… if you were expecting this to be insightful, then you’re watching the wrong segment. Cesaro’s interview that came next was much more in-depth than Sasha’s three Twitter questions.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Neville & Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn – one half of the match of the night from Battleground – really is an afterthought on the SummerSlam pre-show. Great planning, guys…
Basic stuff early from Neville and Zayn, as they worked over D-Von’s arm, with arm wringers and strikes to the left arm. Neville leapt off of Zayn’s back for a corkscrew moonsault for a near-fall, as Bubba Ray ran in and took a pop-up dropkick from Neville. Zayn prepares to be used as another launchpad, but D-Von cut off Neville, before he landed a spinning back elbow for a near-fall. Another commercial – because D-Von had a neck crank – and we return as Bubba Ray sets up Neville on the top for a draping inverted neckbreaker out of the corner.
D-Von gets a two-count from a legdrop on Neville, and Bubba Ray kept up the assault, taking shots at Neville in the corner. Neville fires back, but he gets dropped with a back elbow, then rolls out of the way of a senton from Bubba Ray off the middle rope. Zayn finally got the tag in and caught D-Von with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall as Bubba Ray broke things up. Zayn took a modified 3D (the back suplex variety) for a near-fall as Neville broke it up, and then he ducked away from a 3D as the Dudleyz again clotheslined each other.
That error allowed Zayn to drop Bubba Ray in the corner with a Helluva Kick, and then Neville landed the Red Arrow for the win. *** Basic WWE pre-show match, but MY GOD, Zayn deserves so much better than this. Neville too.
Sheamus vs. Cesaro
This is the first of their best-of-seven series, so we’re ignoring Cesaro’s two wins on Raw. If we’re expected to care about this, WWE’s clearly not doing a great job by sticking it on the pre-show, below the missing women’s tag match.
A fast-paced start sees Cesaro go for the Giant Swing early, before he just stomps on Sheamus’ chest and tosses him to the outside. An uppercut from Sheamus prevents a dive, as Cesaro gets just a one-count from a dropkick. Sheamus traps Cesaro in the ropes for the clubbing blows to the chest, but a series of headbutts deters the Irishman briefly, before he keeps Cesaro on the mat with a wristlock. Cesaro counters it with an inverted torture rack drop, but Sheamus came back with an elbow and a tiltawhirl slam for a near-fall as we cut to a commercial for Holy Foley. Nope, still not going to watch it live, even if they’ve got the first five episodes up.
Back from the break, Sheamus has Cesaro down in a rear chinlock, and then drops Cesaro with a Finlay Roll. No cover attempt though, as both men try for a suplex and end up crashing over the top rope to the floor in what could have been a scarier bump if they hadn’t gone slowly. Cesaro lights up Sheamus with a series of uppercuts into the corner, before he dumps Sheamus onto the top turnbuckle and dropkicks him down to the apron. Cesaro drops Sheamus into the ring with a superplex for a two-count, before Sheamus countered the Neutraliser with a White Noise for another near-fall.
Sheamus takes Cesaro up to the top rope and lands the Finlay Roll off the second rope, but Cesaro kicked out at two, and Sheamus took too much time in the corner to set up for the Brogue kick. Cesaro countered with one of his own, then a lariat for a near-fall, before Cesaro climbs onto the ringpost for a springboard crossbody for a near-fall. That was inventive! We get a Giant Swing, and then Cesaro gets the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus immediately grabs the ropes.
A countered Brogue kick set up for another Sharpshooter, but Sheamus got out with a thumb to the eye and then landed a Brogue kick for the win. This was exactly what we expected, good action, but this really should have been on the main show. ***½
SummerSlam opens with the usual video package WWE runs for New York, but for hardly any other city they run in. You notice they never say, (for example), “Cincinnati runs in me”?
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
And we start off with a bang! Enzo and Cass always get a show off to a hot start… even when Big Cass does his Frank Sinatra karaoke night. I smell a future career killing gimmick.
Jericho and Owens jumped Amore at the bell, but a diving crossbody from Amore and a clothesline got him a two-count in the early going. Cass tags in and tosses Owens into the match, before unloading on him in the corner with some punches. A knee to the midsection of Amore lets Owens tag in Jericho again, but Jericho ends up getting dropkicked into the corner, where Enzo’s launched into him. Another back suplex launcher sees Cass toss Enzo to the outside, where Jericho and Owens just about caught him.
Jericho chokes at Enzo in the ropes, before Owens runs with a knee to the face before he mocks Enzo’s mannerisms. Enzo tries to land a jawbreaker to end a rear chinlock from Jericho, but to no avail, and then falls back to the same move from Owens after a master troll job. Owens drops Enzo with a frog splash for a two-count, before he misses a cannonball dive into the corner, and finally makes the hot tag to Cass.
Cass boots Owens off the apron, then lands the Empire Elbow to Jericho, who then gets some feet up to block an avalanche from Cass. Jericho jumps off the top and into the path of a big boot, before Cass brings Enzo back in for a Rocket Launcher, only for Owens to crotch Amore on the top rope. Owens tosses Cassady into the ringpost, before a cannonball squashes him against the crowd railings, as Enzo dropped Jericho with a front superplex, and a DDG (DDT off the top rope). Owens broke that pin up too, before launching into a pop-up Code Breaker for the win. A pretty good opener – nothing spectacular, but I’m surprised Jerich-KO won. Yes, they’re good individual wrestlers, but that made little sense unless they’re going to challenge for the tag titles? ***¼
The obligatory GMs segment with Mick Foley (with a “what the hell are you wearing” choice of shirt), Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon backstage is next. Jon Stewart is there with his kid, and Jon berates Foley for working with Stephanie McMahon. Except Steph is right behind him, and this is the cue for two thirds of the New Day to come in to shill their Booty-Os cereal. No Big E, since he’s selling his injured balls. The New Day disappear with Jon Stewart and his kid, and we’re left with all of the authority figures.
WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks (c)
Dana Brooke is banned from ringside here, so I half-expect some shenanigans. After being taken into the corner, Sasha went for a headlock, before going for the Banks Statement early on, with Charlotte slipping out of the ring to get out of the hold.
A slingshot roll-up from Charlotte gets a near-fall as they kept trying to win this quickly, before Sasha used a springboard armdrag to take Charlotte down. Charlotte chokes Sasha across the top turnbuckles, before she’s kicked down, only to drop Sasha with what looked like it was going to be a super backbreaker. That looked dangerous.
Charlotte rolled up Sasha for a near-fall from that, before Sasha was lifted into a Gory Stretch that turned into a backslide. Sasha knee’d Charlotte in the face, then connected with a dropkick, only for Charlotte to connect with an STO-like backbreaker for a near-fall. Charlotte went for the Figure Eight after a superplex was blocked, and then she biel’d Sasha into a Tree of Woe in the corner. After Sasha got to her feet, Charlotte went for a crucifix powerbomb off the top, but turned it into a hurricanrana in mid move, and almost landed on her head in doing so.
They exchange some boo/yay strikes, before Sasha locked in a Boston Crab as Charlotte was caught in the ropes. A double knee stomp to Charlotte’s back bends her spine unnaturally, and then Sasha lands a double knee press to the floor as Charlotte had gone to the outside. This is insane! Back inside, a roll-up gets Sasha a near-fall, before Charlotte shakes of a Back Stabber, only for the Natural Selection from Charlotte to get turned into the Banks Statement! Sasha used the ropes to roll Charlotte back into the ring, but she lost the hold and took a neck breaker, before Charlotte got the Natural Selection for a two-count.
Sasha bounded off the ropes and turned a tiltawhirl slam into the Banks Statement, but Charlotte countered by rolling back and ended up snatching the win out of nowhere. What the heck?! This was a weird one. When they were on the same page, this was a fantastic match, but there were too many dangerous moments, and spots where the match threatened to fall apart. It wa sgood for what it was, but it fell apart too much to reach the heights they’d have wanted. ****
Backstage, we’ve got the Club with jars of urine for Big E, Kofi and Xavier. They’re still making joke over Big E’s balls. AJ Styles comes in for a Club re-union after a month apart. Finn Balor gets a monstrous pop when he walks in on them for a Bullet Club reunion, but the crowd audibly moans as he blows them off.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Miz takes Crews to the corner immediately and stomps away on him, and gets a near-fall early with a short DDT. A rear chinlock keeps Crews grounded, but he works free, then counters with a dropkick as Miz came flying off the top. A crossbody from Crews drops the Miz, as does a spinning torture rack drop, before a pop-up powerslam gets Crews a two-count. JBL refers to Crews’ old gimmick of Uhaa Nation (I was surprised it wasn’t Mauro Ranallo who did it!), before Crews caught Miz’ corner clothesline and dropped him with an overhead belly to belly suplex.
Miz kicked out at two after a standing moonsault, but then Miz slips out of the ring and threatens to walk out. Crews follows him and tosses him back inside, before a distraction from Maryse set up for a Skull Crushing Finale. Crews rolled him up for a near-fall, before he missed an avalanche into the corner, and it was academic – Miz wins with the Skull Crushing Finale in a really basic match that ought to have been on Raw. Or the pre-show. **¼
AJ Styles vs. John Cena
Yeah, they were in New York, so no prizes for guessing who got cheered and who got booed. They started with a tie-up and went back and forth, before Styles grabbed a waistlock before the two stood-off. Cena grabs a headlock, before Styles pushes him into the ropes and finally lands a dropkick… which earns him a straight right hand from Cena in return.
Styles takes a turnbuckle chest-first, then again with his back, but then countered an AA on the apron by suplexing Cena onto the edge of the ring. Cena replied with a big back body drop, then a dropkick for a near-fall. A headbutt from Cena drops Styles, and he continues to take down Styles with his five moves of doom – culminating with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Styles lands on his feet from an AA, then hits a Pele Kick before the Styles Clash gets him a near-fall on Cena. Because he’s not winning anything with that move in WWE!
Cena pops up with an AA for another two-count on Styles as we were too busy being shown replays, before he places AJ on the top rope for a super AA. Styles flips out and catches him in a torture rack, then spins him out into a powerbomb for a near-fall. Cena replies by slingshotting Styles into the turnbuckle, before Cena looked to drill Styles with the Big Ending for a two-count. Styles dumps Cena with Hirooki Goto’s ushigoroshi for a two-count after wriggling out of the STF, before missing a springboard 450 Splash.
A Code Red gets Cena a near-fall, before he takes a German suplex, then an atomic drop into a facebuster for another two-count from Styles. Cena catches a Phenomenal Forearm and drags Styles to the mat for the STF, but he slips free and counters with a crossface, but Cena stands up out of it, only for Styles to counter an AA with a Calf Crusher attempt. Cena rolled through though, and got the STF again, before Styles rolled him up for a two-count. An enziguiri sends Cena into the corner, but he rebounds with a tornado DDT for another two-count.
Cena lands the legdrop to the bent-over Styles for a near-fall, then he goes to the top rope for another attempt at a super AA. Styles elbows free, then springboards up off the apron into a hurricanrana on Cena. Styles goes back to the apron and connects with the Phenomenal Forearm for yet-another near-fall. Cena lifts up Styles for an AA, but Styles kicks the leg out from under Cena, before a clothesline takes Styles down again.
We see another attempt at a super AA, but Styles can’t elbow free in time, but he still finds a way to kick out before the three count. Styles drags himself to his feet via the ropes, but he staggers back into another AA, but he slips out and lands another Styles Clash, only to roll away instead of making a cover, with a second Phenomenal Forearm getting the win. That was a work of art – yes, it got a little slow in the middle, but this was a hell of a match. A clean win for AJ over John Cena, and a career-defining win if there ever were one. ****½
Cena actually got a begrudging applause from the Brooklyn crowd afterwards, as Cena left a wristband in the ring as he left.
September 11th is Backlash, with Clash of Champions two weeks’ later? Good lord, there’s going to be way too many PPVs on the calendar soon…
We’ve got a Jon Stewart segment in front of the crowd. This is why Cesaro, Neville or Sami Zayn isn’t on the card. Stewart’s calling back to last year by saying that he’s glad no idiot ran in with a chair like last year. Stewart makes a funny about tucking your shirt in if you’re getting hit with an AA, and this segment is dying. Apparently Stewart’s been asked by the New Day to join them in their corner for tonight’s tag team match. Which is next!
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
The Club come out with a jar full of what’s meant to be Big E pee, and they have ever-smaller jars for Kofi, Xavier and Jon. Visual gags, everyone!
Some good stuff early as Kofi dropped Anderson with an elbow, before a monkey flip from Anderson sees Kofi lands on his feet, before a stomp gets him a near-fall. Anderson takes a chop, then a double-team bulldog for a near-fall. Xavier dropkicks Gallows in the knee, and he’s taken to the corner for the “unicorn stampede” – a series of stomps in the corner as Kofi and Xavier cycle through tags. A baseball slide dropkick sends Gallows to the outside, where Kofi does a Fosbury flop onto him outside.
Anderson distracts Kofi on the top rope, which allows Gallows to bring him to the mat for some stomps, and now the heels work over the arm of Kingston in the corner. Gallows misses a splash, but tags out to Anderson as Woods comes in to drop him with a spinning forearm. Woods dropkicks Anderson in the back for a near-fall, before Woods hits a flying elbow after a brief ropewalk for a near-fall.
A backbreaker/double stomp combo forces Gallows to break up a pin, before he takes out Xavier with a big boot. That left Kofi in the ring alone to take the Magic Killer – and in came Jon Stewart to try and protect Kingston. The Club refused to Too Sweet him, but Stewart remains stubborn, and tucks in his shirt as he expects a beating. The crowd “yes”‘s as they tease ramming him into the ringpost as Xavier and Kofi lay down… but Big E makes his comeback and springs to the ring… he clotheslines Anderson and suplexes Gallows, but that causes the DQ! Anderson’s rammed into the barriers, but this goes down as a win for the Club… but New Day retain the titles. Eh, the Jon Stewart involvement kinda signalled that something funny was going on… and I wasn’t talking about Big E drinking some of the jar of pickled egg that was meant to be his urine. ***
They play an advert for Backlash… three weeks away, folks!
WWE World Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose (c)
Huh, so the title that two months ago was the top of the card, is now firmly in the middle of a four-hour show?! Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are out to do something for this, I guess. Shane and Daniel separate the two guys, and when the bell rings, Ziggler grabs a series of headlock takedowns, before they trade slaps.
The referee has to separate the pair as Ziggler went after Ambrose in the ropes, before dropkicking him into the corner. Ambrose powders to the floor, but all he gets is an avalanche by the crowd barriers then a neckbreaker. Ziggler wriggles out of the Dirty Deeds, but quickly gets dumped on the floor by Ambrose, who follows him out and lands a couple of shots. Ambrose teases a Dirty Deeds off the top, but gets a butterfly superplex instead for a near-fall.
A simple bodyslam gets Ambrose just a one-count, as Ziggler gets caught in a single leg crab in the middle of the ring. Ziggler counters into a pinning combination, but Ambrose again got back on the top rope for an axehandle smash, but meets a dropkick from Ziggler on the way down. Ambrose took a page out of the Ryusuke Taguchi playbook, with a Dodon (double underhook) facebuster for a near-fall, before mocking Ziggler’s superkick… and trying for the Dirty Deeds. This crowd is struggling to invest in this match, as silence seems to be the standard reaction.
Ziggler tossed Ambrose to the outside, before planting him with a DDT as he returned to the ring, before Ambrose became the first man to take a shoulder charge into the XXL ringposts. A Famouser gets Ziggler a two-count, before the two collide with cross bodies at the same time to send each other to the mat. Punches and chops get Ambrose back on top, as does a clothesline, with a top rope elbow getting Ambrose another two-count. Ambrose channels Rick Rude for some reason, but Ziggler catches him with a sleeperhold, which Ambrose counters by diving to the outside. To no reaction.
A headbutt and a superkick from Ziggler almost sends Ambrose into the crowd, as Ziggler rolls him back into the ring instead for a near-fall. Ambrose catches a superkick, but a Dirty Deeds is countered into a Zig Zag for a near-fall. Ziggler locks in a rear naked choke with some body scissors, but Ambrose frees himself and throws Ziggler down, before a rebound lariat drops the challenger. Ambrose goes up top, but gets crotched by Ziggler, and then headbutts free out of a superplex… before Ziggler popped back up to the top rope and headbutted Ambrose. Something happened which looked like they just leapt off the top rope, and went straight to the finish as a Dirty Deeds sealed the win. Well, this was something. This crowd didn’t care at all for this match, and it seemed that these guys just had their match and stuck to it no matter what. ***
They play a video package of the WWE’s week in New York, including last night’s NXT show that featured a hotter crowd than we had for some matches so far tonight.
Naomi, Carmella & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss & Nikki Bella
So, they put the “cool down” match after an ice-cold title match? At least Naomi’s new entrance is pretty funky… The suspended Eva Marie still got her ring entrance, but they announced that she was suffering from exhaustion and stress because of the fans. So she’s been replaced by Nikki Bella! Seven months-or-so from having neck surgery as well? On a heel team? That’s odd placement…
Alexa and Becky get us going, as Becky gets a near-fall from a backslide before Bliss rams a knee into the midsection. Becky bridges up out of a pinning attempt, then drags down Bliss from a leapfrog, as Naomi gets tagged in. Natalya gets the tag too, and Naomi springs off the ropes into a sunset flip for a near-fall, then shakes her rear end in Natalya’s face in the corner. Yeah.
Naomi’s dumped on the mat after a bulldog attempt, before a splits-landing on Natalya gets a near fall. Carmella comes in and takes down Natalya with some flying headscissors, then a clothesline on the floor as Natalya went to shout at some fans. A distraction from Bliss lets Natalya take down Carmella with a powerslam, before Nikki makes her return, and gets a near-fall from a snap suplex. A spinebuster from Nikki gets a two-count over Carmella, as Nikki does the Big Poppa Pump push-ups. In comes Alexa again, but Carmella flips back over her before a backflip into some double knees gets Bliss a near-fall. Carmella gets cornered, and a snapmare from Natalya gets a two-count, before she’s caught in a Razor Ramon-like abdominal stretch.
A hiptoss sends Natalya to the mat, but she again cuts off the tag as Carmella fights out of the heel corner… and finally makes the hot tag to Becky! Lynch drops Natalya with a leg lariat, and an Exploder, before Alexa takes one, and gets sent into the corner for a hattrick of springboard side kicks. Another Exploder out of the corner takes Natalya down, and Becky follows up with an enziguiri before going up top for a legdrop!
Nikki breaks up the pin before the referee even counted, but the ring cleared as Naomi peppered Bliss with a series of kicks, then misses a split-legged moonsault. Alexa goes up top and crashes and burns from the Twisted Bliss. Carmella drops Bella with a superkick, and the match falls apart for a while. A double dropkick from Carmella takes down Bliss and Natalya, before she turns around into a right hand from Bella, who then finishes her off with a TKO for the win. Well, when the mystery person was unveiled as Nikki Bella, this was academic, but this wasn’t very good, I have to say, not helped by a dead crowd. **
An advert for Clash of Champions follows – that’s on September 25, people!
Maria Menounos interviews Rusev and Lana backstage. Not much of anything, but they’re in the semi-finals slot, because the new Universal title is going to get its first owner next! The Universal champion is basically the WWE title belt with a red background… like the women’s title, but with red leather. Because Raw. I guess Dean’s belt is going to suddenly have a chance encounter with blue paint in the near future.
WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
Balor got his long “Demon” entrance from NXT, and yes, a lot of the crowd knew how to do his pose in time to the music. The crowd booed at the mention of the Universal title, and it looks like this is suddenly a secret no-DQ match, as this can only be won by pinfall or submission. Balor actually got announced as “Finn Balor, the Demon King”. Urgh.
Balor dropkicked Rollins into the corner as he looked for the Coup de Grace early, but Rollins rolled to the outside. After going back inside, Balor chopped away at the left leg of Rollins, before he swept the leg as Balor went onto the apron. Thankfully, the crowd woke up for this, but only to bury the new belt, right as Balor got tossed into the timekeeper’s area… which gave us the perfect shot of him “rising from the deep” for a springboard forearm.
Back inside, Balor tried for a Romero special, but opted to stomp Rollins’ knees instead. Rollins recovered to powerbomb Balor into the barricades on the outside, before following up with a backbreaker in the middle of the ring for a two-count. Balor took a penalty kick to the back of the spine after a snapmare, then got caught in a rear chinlock as it sounded like the crowd mics had been turned all the way down.
Balor elbowed out of the chinlock, but took some crossface punches before Rollins used some wrist tape to wrench at his face some more. A diving knee off the top rope stunned Balor, before a frog splash got a near-fall. Rollins teased a Rainmaker, but Balor ducked it and dropped him with a DDT. A series of forearms takes down Rollins, before Balor runs into the corner with some chops, and then dropkicked Rollins to the outside. A running knee off the apron sent Rollins down again, whilst a Slingblade in the ring had a similar effect.
Rollins dropkicked Balor before he lands on his feet after a Pedigree attempt was countered with a back body drop, only for an overhead kick from Balor to put Rollins down. Balor lands the 1916 (Bloody Sunday) despite Rollins’ attempts to counter it, only to fall into a triangle choke from Rollins, which was broken by the ropes… which apparently was not a rope break in this match. The crowd didn’t figure that out, because they booed… and booed louder when the belt was shown again. Some more kicks from Balor get blocked as Rollins catches him with a buckle bomb, then a kick gets Rollins a near-fall.
Balor pulls himself up using Rollins’ tights, but takes some more forearms to the face, before returning the favour and running into a leaping knee. A small package driver gets Rollins a two-count as he bust out the old God’s Last Gift finisher. Seth gets caught with an enziguiri as he climbed to the top, before Balor runs around the ring and launches him into the barriers with a dropkick. The Coup de Grace connects to the back of Rollins’ head for a two-count, before missing the Coup de Grace and eating a Pedigree for another near-fall.
Rollins goes up top for a Phoenix Splash, but he rolls through and gets a dropkick into the corner, with Balor setting up for another Coup de Grace, but he’s caught and sent down with a superplex, and rolls through into the Pedigree. Balor blocks it and lands a double stomp, before another dropkick into the corner leads to the Coup de Grace… Balor connects, and he wins the ugly red belt! Well, it’s a shame that the crowd turned massively heel on the new belt, because this was a great match that was ruined by a red bit of leather and gold at ringside. ****
We’re back to the kickoff panel as Lita, Jerry Lawler and Booker T fill in some time. We’ve got 35 minutes for two matches, can we afford them to do that?! They then play the KFC advert with “The Colonel” and a chicken – played by Dolph Ziggler and the Miz respectively. This turns into a Family Guy chicken fight, and then a wrestling match. With commentary! Colonel Sanders wins a five star classic with pyro with a superkick. What the hell did I just watch?
WWE United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns… did not happen!
Roman Reigns got his heel reaction back! Rusev gets a pop by jumping him with a knee, and they both go to the outside brawling, and Reigns goes shoulder-first into the steps, before Rusev drills Reigns with the steel steps. But no DQ, since I guess the match didn’t start?
Reigns reverses a throw as he sends Rusev into the timekeeper’s area, before a Superman punch dumps Rusev back into there. The boos (and the shaky camera zooming) returned as Reigns punched away at Rusev, and a bunch of referees came out to try and separate them. That didn’t work, as Rusev got tossed back into the ringside area, before Reigns jabbed Rusev in the midsection with a chair. The chair’s used again on Rusev’s back, and Reigns headbutts away at the champion… and are we even going to get this match?
Doctors tend to Rusev as Roman Reigns – the babyface, remember – jumps back on him, and I guess this match is thrown out before it even starts? Rusev found out the hard way… never stand up for your wife in WWE land.
As Rusev went to the back, Roman Reigns rushed back out and speared Rusev in the aisle. Well, that means we won’t be having as long an over-run for the main event. And that explains why the whole match took place on Raw this past week!
Total Bellas starts on E! on October 5. And if you care about that, I’m sure you’ll have been asleep for the billion plugs for Holy Foley earlier in this show.
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
Both sets of authority figures were shown backstage, and we’ve got a four-man commentary team here: Mauro Ranallo and JBL for SmackDown, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton for Raw. Interesting…
Lesnar takes Orton into the corner with some shoulder charges, but he makes a comeback with a dropkick before Lesnar shoves away from an RKO attempt. A German suplex takes Orton down, as does a second, and a third. A fourth keeps Orton at bay, as do some more shoulder charges, and suplex number five, which seem to get progressively less of a reaction. If anything, you can hear chants of “RKO” above anything else.
Suplex six comes, as do some boos for Brock, but on the outside the pair start trading shots until Orton gets dropped through the commentary table with a powerslam. Orton went into the crowd, and was brought back in – through the SmackDown announce table – with a biel throw. The Raw announce table is next, but Orton pops up and drops Lesnar onto the table… but that too doesn’t break first time around! A draping DDT from Orton takes Lesnar down, and he sets up for another RKO, and lands it!
Lesnar kicks out at two, then drops Orton with an F5 for a near-fall after Orton rushed at him. Lesnar then stops working and drops a bunch of elbows onto Orton that bust him open, and cue the doctors rushing in to try and patch up the Viper (but not after a shot of him spurting blood out). Lesnar shoves the doctor away and does back with more punches, and a second doctor runs in… and of course, more punches… and this match gets thrown out. Brock Lesnar’s announced as the winner by TKO, and this was… something. Not the match we expected, but when you get Brock in Brock Mode, a blood stoppage in 2016 is highly likely. *¾
After the match, Shane McMahon ran out to try and tend to Orton, but Brock got in the way… and gave him an F5 into the blood for his troubles… and then the show ended, with no tease. Just a selling Shane, and a plea for us to stick around for Holy Foley. Well… that was a major letdown if there ever was one.