WWE SummerSlam 2017 — Too Long, Not Bad, Kinda Weird

WWE SummerSlam 2017

For the first post on this blog related to the WWE, I should start off with one I got to watch in a live viewing event. I went with a friend to Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar in Bonifacio Global City, which made the experience a lot more fun. Not only did I get to eat some pretty good baked sisig, but I also watched it with fellow Manila Wrestling Federation guys. The PPV was not bad at all either, which is pleasantly surprising as I expected some really shitty booking.

Smark Henry and PWR organized that viewing event, so props to them. The local wrestling scene is growing, and I’m glad to play a tiny part in it. Personally, I hope to keep it tiny as I prefer remaining a fan rather than taking on a important role I’m unable to fill. In the meantime, I still have the proper “entitlement” as a fan to shit-talk about WWE and how they handle their talent, just like any other smark. I shall do so now with this (super late) write-up on WWE SummerSlam 2017.

(Good thing this isn’t my job. Yet.)

WWE SummerSlam 2017 Main Card

I missed six matches—including the pre-show—as I was trying to get to the venue of the viewing during that time. I underestimated how early it was supposed to be, as the event started at 6AM. I arrived there with my friend as soon as Randy Orton made his entrance.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

It was a squash match. It was so squash-y that it obviously looked like a punishment. I don’t know what Rusev did backstage other than voice his dissatisfaction, but it looks like they may really want him out of the WWE.

Ever since that gaffe with Lana posting that photo confirming her engagement to Rusev on Instagram during that Summer Rae angle, Rusev’s star just started plummeting due to booking him in increasingly depressing angles. Then again, his entry in the WWE was facepalm-inducing to begin with.

If they would only have him show a bit of his true personality in his character, things may get better. Then again, he has to convince officials to give him that kind of a chance.

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss (c)

The plus to the previous match being a squash was more time for this one. Both competitors performed well and it was a pretty good match. It’s good that they’re putting mroe into the Banks-Bliss feud as I do like both of them as performers.

If only I were as high on Sasha’s mic work as I am with her hairline.

My personal theory on the Bank Statement (Taka Michinoku’s Just Facelock) is that it’s kind of a response to the Crippler Crossface. It’s a stupid fan theory, but it does explain a bit of the finish to this match. It’s certainly to my liking.

It’s not easy to make a women’s match watchable for the fickle “WWE Universe” (I’m not a fan of that term), especially with Alexa Bliss being 5-feet-flat.

Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray has my third favorite entrance in WWE, while Finn’s Demon King has my fifth. Yes, I like Bray’s more than Finn’s Demon King, while Finn’s normal entrance is my third favorite. Second goes to Seth Rollins with that “Burn It Down” prelude, while the first goes to Aleister Black in NXT.

The match itself was alright, with Demon King Finn doing certain things that the Undertaker has done to Bray as well. With Bray continuing to fill the role of a heel who tends to get his comeuppance in PPVs, I guess I’m not that surprised with this booking.

I still feel that Bray winning one of these feuds for once can add more to his character, especially since he has a tendency to lose almost every PPV he wrestles in, not to mention lose touch with his family members ever so often.

If they would only explain more in the storyline why Finn can only pull out the Demon King every now and then, I’ll be satisfied with how Finn is being handled. Then again, they’re putting him in the Intercontinental title picture now and nowhere near the Universal title since it’s now in the hands of Brock and was previously held by Goldberg (Oldberg) as well.

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro and Sheamus

This match was all for paying off the weeks of build-up on Dean and Seth’s reunion as Not-Quite-the-Shield. Therefore, it was crucial to have them pull off most of their tag team moves, although they did tease at a Shield-esque double powerbomb from the top rope that got interrupted.

Cesaro and Sheamus may be seen as some to be patsies in this match, but I thought they did admirably as Raw Tag Team Champions thus far. Cesaro is infamously low on Vince McMahon’s personal rankings, so this has been the best spot he has been in for a long while now, especially after that whole League of Nations crap.

There’s now talk on whether Roman Reigns will reunite with Dean and Seth as well, but he’s now busy with John Cena and pursuing the Universal title. Then again, it could garner him the first genuine pop he’ll ever get in years.

This is one of the better booked matches in this PPV, along with the Fatal 4-Way main event and the US Championship title match.

WWE United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Also known as the “Shane McMahon Reaction Cam,” this match was mostly about the special guest referee. Mind you, it didn’t take away from how good AJ Styles and Kevin Owens worked together, but Shane’s reactions to major spots was what really made this worth the price of admission.

In the end, this match felt like it was all about planting the seeds of animosity between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon with AJ Styles retaining the title. It was well-booked and well-executed—certainly one of the better matches of the night.

WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

I know he’s a heel champion, but not letting him pin his challenger clean is defeating the purpose of keeping him champion, in my opinion. I do agree with him defending the belt as it doesn’t seem like Nakamura has made a convincing enough case yet, even if he got a pretty good pop in this PPV.

The top title has to be defended a lot more than it switches hands, so I’m glad WWE is getting that in some way. However, with Mahal retaining with the help of the Singh Brothers yet again, the champion is being made to look somewhat weak. This is nothing new, but it would be nice to see Mahal legitimized since WWE had decided to put their eggs in the Jinder basket.

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

I don’t like 4-way matches. Three is already a crowd, and good booking can make a 3-way quite amazing (like that in PWR Renaissance 2017). But with most 4-ways, what tends to happen is attention becomes split as the action gets split up. Things get worse if two of the wrestlers tussle outside the ring.

That was indeed what happened in this match during the start. However, it became the Braun Strowman show, and it was indeed glorious. The title still had to be protected, so Brock won by being the Beast that he is, recovering from a Braun Strowman powerbomb to the Spanish announcer table, followed by another announcer table falling on top of him.

Meanwhile, Roman Reigns just keeps getting all the heat, even if he’s not a full heel. I still have no idea what Vince really wants with him, after all these years. With the John Cena era effectively passed, the Cenation full of kids from the late 2000s and early 2010s are now in their teenage years, so perhaps it’s through Vinnie Mac’s infinite wisdom that the torch be somewhat passed to an edgier character—the man I like to call Ramen Rinse.

As for Samoa Joe, he was made to look strong by giving Brock a run for his money, but it’s not his time right now. Right now, it’s Braun Strowman’s time, so it looks like Joe has been brushed past. If there’s a real loser in this match, I think it’s him, unfortunately.

The WWE SummerSlam 2017 Matches I Missed (At First)

The Miz and the Miztourage vs. The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan

My brain draws a blank at this. The whole Miztourage thing and Jason Jordan being Kurt Angle’s long-forgotten son is still perplexing to me. I feel that the Miz did have a legitimate reason to be upset, as he showed in Raw the night after.

He was pissed because this match was barely watched. Patrons were still lining up to get in the Barclays Center during this time, and that didn’t only affect him. With Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel, that’s to be expected these days. But for the Hardy Boyz—who are still neither #Broken nor #Woken just yet—and Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son, it’s a blow since they deserve more from a PPV like this.

Stars can fade fast in WWE, and this perceived mishandling can affect one of the most legendary tag teams in WWE and the most consistent performer in recent years. With that, I do share a bit of the Miz’s frustration.

Neville vs. Akira Tozawa (c)

I’m always baffled at the whole “champion loses belt, only to gain it back in the next PPV” booking, but I do understand it paints the challenger as a legitimate threat since he was able to put a chink on the longtime champion’s armor. At least they had some confidence in Tozawa’s talent, and his chemistry with Neville had been in the works since their days in Dragon Gate.

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. The New Day (c)

I had to catch this one since people were raving about how good this was. The Usos’ stock has really risen ever since their heel turn, and their feud with the New Day has been interesting thus far.

Meanwhile, some may say the New Day are now old hat, but I’m amazed at how they’re able to keep things fresh. You’d think they’d get old as more months pass, but they’re still able to hang on to relevance. I do think it’s all due to the mind of Xavier Woods, who is to be respected for being the hyper-productive person that he legitimately is.

The match was dynamic and made the most of both tag teams’ strengths. I can’t say anything bad about it at all.

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

This week in Burying Baron, it’s the Bury-er himself who buries Baron.

I think once you are put down by John Cena, it’s really the beginning of the end.

At this point, the only thing that’ll go up is Baron’s ever-receding hairline.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Natalya vs. Naomi (c)

I don’t know what’s exactly wrong with Naomi. There’s the whole neon lights thing she’s rocking well enough, but the crowd just isn’t behind her. It may seem like her character isn’t as complete as it should be, considering she won the belt. While I’m not that big on Natalya either, she’s a better worker in the ring, so I can get behind her being champion.

Big Cass vs. Big Show

Finally, it’s the “Enzo in a Shark Cage” match. Enzo Amore and Big Cass went from the hottest tag team on the mic to a disaster. Their break-up was meant to happen, but where they went after that was just nuts. Enzo has backstage heat from being a loudmouth who can’t seem to improve his wrestling, while Cass also has backstage heat for being pro-Trump.

And now, Cass injured his knee. He was reportedly screaming “fuck” really loud while being helped to the back after the match, and he’ll be on the shelf for quite some time. With that, the rumored reunion of Enzo Amore and Big Cass as a tag team—due to officials realizing their break-up being a mistake—will most likely fizzle.

(As of this writing, it turns out that Cass suffered a torn ACL. Pretty serious and will most likely take him out for 9 months. Irrelevance and pregnancy have the same gestation period, as we’ve learned over the years.)

Meanwhile, Big Show is Big Show. He’s most likely retiring soon. Yeah, there’s that.

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