Warning: This article contains major spoilers of WWE SummerSlam.
WWE's "Biggest Party of the Summer" SummerSlam is renowned for making headlines. However, this year those headlines aren't overwhelmingly positive. Taking place in Brooklyn's Barclay Center, this year's SummerSlam pay-per-view was met with a negative reception for its many controversies.
I completely agree with most of those reviews, SummerSlam was disappointing in many aspects. It wasn't the train wreck of a show that some people are calling it, but it failed to meet our expectations. But that doesn't mean there weren't some standout moments. Let's take a look at the highs and lows of the event and see just exactly how they impact the future of both RAW and SmackDown.
Finn Balor Vs. Seth Rollins — Universal Championship
This was a match for the ages. Balor vs. Rollins lived up to every single bit of the hype as the two delivered a classic match for the brand new Universal Championship. All you need to do is check out the official photos for the match to see just how many times these guys defied gravity to take each other out. In the end, it was the Demon King Finn Balor who came out on top, winning the first ever WWE Universal Championship. And by the way, his demonic entrance was incredible.
While some claim that the match could have been slightly better, overall it really doesn't matter because it was the shining light in a disappointing pay-per-view. The two independent stars put on an incredible show and solid "Match of the Year" contender. With Balor and Rollins both carrying the show, RAW is in very safe hands as the brand split rolls on. These guys are the future — and the future looks bright!
John Cena Vs. AJ Styles
In what appears to have been the closing chapter of this rivalry between the wrestler and the superstar, AJ Styles and John Cena put on an incredible match. This right here is another "Match of the Year" contender. While I don't consider myself a fan of Cena, I have to say that he has really improved over the past year and has been a part of some show-stealers lately. Of course, Styles was one of the main reasons why this match was incredible.
Back and forth the whole way throughout, Styles vs. Cena was a highly entertaining and shockingly unpredictable match. Many WWE fans were convinced that the company wouldn't allow their golden boy to lose, but in pleasantly suprising moment, Styles won the match clean.
The best thing about this decision is that it means WWE is finally treating AJ Styles like the star he is. Furthermore, it also leaves John Cena at a crossroads as to where he goes next, especially after he left his "Never Give Up" armband in the ring. Many believe he will disappear for a bit now, while others believe it was beginning to set up his possible WrestleMania match with the Undertaker. Time will tell, but it gives me some hope from an event that was a notorious disappointment.
Sasha Banks Vs. Charlotte
Although I didn't really get the ending of the match, Sasha and Charlotte managed to put on one hell of a show. As they clashed for the WWE Women's Championship, they delivered an emotionally charged match that really told a great story. There were some incredible moments in there too, particularly the high-flying moments as well as the hurricanrana off the top rope.
These ladies continue to prove that the females are just as equipped for the grand stage as the males, and together, they continue to put on performances that quite possibly steal the show. While Charlotte came out on top here and won back her Women's Championship, both ladies walked away as winners because they will lead the women's wrestling of WWE into the future.
- How Did Randy Orton's SummerSlam Outing Compare To Lesnar's Previous Foes
- How WWE's SmackDown LIVE Could Become Better Than RAW
- Deadman Rising: Is The Undertaker Returning To WWE?
Brock Lesnar Vs. Randy Orton
After a long hit and miss PPV, this match needed to be amazing for us to be truly invested in it. But that was not the case. Instead, we got a mere 11 minute squash-fest where Lesnar demolished Randy Orton with a couple of suplexes and bare fists. There were some good moments such as the RKO on the announce table, but overall this shouldn't have been the main event. The controversial and bloody TKO ending had the audience chanting profanities and left everyone feeling kind of empty.
I'm guessing this isn't the end of this rivalry as Orton will likely be out for revenge. However, now that Shane McMahon was F-5ed, could we see another SmackDown challenger step up to take out Lesnar?
The WWE Championship Match
This match looked great on paper and really should have worked. Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler are two of the brightest stars on SmackDown and we were really hoping for a great match. What we got was an average match that was by no means bad, it just didn't live up to the hype. The crowd was completely disinterested throughout, sometimes verging on silent. However, in its defense, the WWE Championship match should not have been treated as a mid-card match. That was a mistake on WWE's part, how do they expect us to take SmackDown LIVE seriously if they won't? And while we're on that note, why on Earth was the U.S. Championship match scheduled after both major title matches?
There were some cool moments, particularly Ambrose's almost heel-like mocking of Dolph Ziggler. Could we be seeing an Ambrose heel turn soon? Furthermore, now that he lost, Ziggler needs to be built up again slowly as a legitimate threat. Rushing him into a title match after years of bad booking didn't make sense and didn't pay off.
The Universal Championship Belt
Who would have though that one of the most controversial aspects of the PPV would be a title belt? Well, the Universal Championship hadn't won many fans thanks to its unusual name, but the belt was completely reviled by the audience. Throughout the match, the crowd kept chanting "that belt sucks," and while that might have been true, it was distracting from the amazing match. Seth Rollins took to twitter to criticize the crowd's vocal response:
Rollins has a point. But so did the audience, we don't need three identical belts.
The Missing Talent
For being WWE's very long, second most important event, it's shocking that so much talent was missing. For some reason, Sami Zayn and the constantly misused Dudley Boyz were on the pre-show while others like Bray Wyatt and Kane were completely absent from the card.
So, to say SummerSlam was controversial would be a major understatement. Bad booking, senseless storylines, missing talent and unusual championships all led to fans heavily criticizing the event. However, some of the incredible matches did help the show's reputation.
With this being the first PPV since the brand split, it's integral that WWE follow up on their mistakes and ensure they don't happen again. I found Lesnar's pounding of Orton to be symbolic as he was practically RAW hammering away on SmackDown, leaving it lying there in a pool of its own blood. SmackDown really suffered at the event and that's a problem that needs to be fixed quickly. They're looking after two shows now and they need to realize that.
What did you think of SummerSlam? Let us know in the comments!