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It’s the biggest party of the summer, Summerslam 2016 from New York City featuring all titles on the line, 13 total matches, and Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton. …
WWE Summerslam PPV Report
August 21, 2016
Live in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
Summerslam PPV Pre-Show
– The panel this month is Renee Young with Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Lita.
– Tom Phillips is at the Social Media Lounge with special guest Sasha Banks later on the show.
– Later, Phillips was backstage to interview Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, who apologized for calling Phillips by the wrong name all these weeks. “We’re sorry, Phil,” Jericho told him. Jericho then noted that he is a Certified G because he took a test online. Kev, show him the documentation. Oops, Owens said he left it at catering. Jericho wanted to talk chemistry. Owens wanted to talk high school science. Okay, back on track. Owens vowed to end Big Cass and Enzo Amore in their hometown market. He said they will beat them and their families will feel disappointment. Jericho added that they will get … it. Owens smiled and took Phillips’s pocket square.
– Ringside, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, and JBL were shown on-camera representing the Smackdown broadcast team as the arena looked half-full. The Vaudevillains’s music played to start a train of heel teams coming to the ring. The Ascension joined them before Tyler Breeze & Fandango made their entrance.
The face squad started off with the Hype Bros. of Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley. The Usos joined them to a light reaction, then American Alpha were introduced as the final team in this re-match from Tuesday’s Smackdown.
A — AMERICAN ALPHA (JASON JORDAN & CHAD GABLE) & THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) & HYPE BROS. (ZACK RYDER & MOJO RAWLEY) vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS (AIDEN ENGLISH & SIMON GOTCH) & THE ASCENSION (KONNOR & VIKTOR) & TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO — 12-man tag match
The match broke down into a wild brawl three minutes in. Suddenly, The Ascension was alone in the ring after clearing the faces. But, they turned around to find American Alpha flying off the turnbuckle with stereo attacks. The match spilled to the floor with everyone selling or milling around heading to a Network break.
[Break. They ran a hype package for WWE Network expanding to 19 PPVs per year, a new “Story Time” cartoon show, and more Stone Cold podcasts. ]
Back to live action, the heels had Zack Ryder isolated trying to wear him down. The heels talked trash and tried to get Ryder to give up from intimidation as he rested in the heel corner. Ryder eventually wiped out all of the heels, then reached across the corner to tag in Jimmy Uso.
Uso teed off on Tyler Breeze, then Jason Jordan tagged himself in and delivered multiple suplexes, clearing the ring. Exploder suplex to Simon Gotch, but Aiden broke up a pin attempt. Everyone got in their moves in rapid-fire fashion, leaving Gotch alone in the ring. Grand Amplitude to Gotch, but Uso tagged himself in. Uso hit a top-rope splash on Gotch for the pin as American Alpha sold being upset by them taking the win.
Post-match, the faces eventually took a mid-ring curtain call after calming down, with Mojo playing intermediary to separate Alphas from Usos. The Usos acted heelish telling the half-crowd to shush.
WINNERS: Team Usos at 14:32. A basic warm-up trying to set up a follow-through feud between The Usos and Alphas.
Video Package: WWE Title feud between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler.
Pre-Show Panel: Suddenly, Baron Corbin crashed the panel. Corbin, whose eyes made it look like he had not slept in a week, said he was supposed to have a match tonight against Kalisto. But, Kalisto is not medically cleared to wrestle. Corbin said he’s about making money, and Kalisto cost him money tonight. (Nice heel line since Corbin is the one who bullied and injured Kalisto.) So, he hopes Kalisto is comfortable cuddled up with his wife watching right now. Renee wanted to know what he’s doing tonight, but Corbin cut her off and said he’s not here to answer her questions. Corbin stomped off the set.
Social Media Lounge: Tom Phillips sat down with Women’s champion Sasha Banks. Revelations included Charlotte smells in the ring and she is not afraid/scared of Charlotte. A lot of WWE-cleansed soundbytes from Sasha. On the pre-show panel, Lawler said the Women’s Title has gone to Sasha’s head after she sounded full of herself.
Backstage: Cesaro was interviewed about starting his Best-of-Seven Series against Sheamus tonight. Cesaro, dressed in a white tuxedo with bright flower, said it’s about less talk, more wrestling tonight.
Ringside: The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves were shown down at ringside to call Raw brand matches. The Dudleys’s music played to bring out Bubba Ray & Devon back in their home market. Light reaction from the crowd still filing into the building. Neville was introduced first for the face duo, then Sami Zayn joined him as his tag partner.
B — THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) vs. SAMI ZAYN & NEVILLE
The crowd chanted for tables as the teams battled for control. Cole fed to an early break with Devon working on Neville in the ring.
Back from break, the Dudleys continued to work on Neville. Bubba Ray taunted Neville, “C’mon, English boy!” over and over. Neville kind of fired back with flailing right hands, but Bubba smashed him with a blow. Bubba mocked Zayn, then airballed a top-rope senton.
Neville hot-tagged Zayn as Devon also tagged in. Zayn delivered a dropkick to Devon’s knee, then the Blue Thunder Bomb. Bubba broke up a pin attempt, though, and the Dudleys isolated Zayn. They tried the 3D on Neville when he charged the ring, but Neville avoided and Bubba accidentally clotheslined Devon. Zayn hit a corner boot, then Neville came off the top with the Red Arrow to Bubba. Neville covered for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Zayn & Neville at 7:55. Fine pre-show tag match getting in Neville’s finisher. It’s time to go somewhere with the Dudleys’s miscommunication costing them matches.
Pre-show Panel: The panel hyped Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Title on the main PPV.
In-ring: Sheamus’s music played in the arena to bring out Sheamus for Match #1 in a new Best of Seven series. Cesaro was out next in the tuxedo for his James Bond ring entrance. Cole, Saxton, and Graves had the call on this Raw match.
C — SHEAMUS vs. CESARO — Match #1 in Best-of-Seven series
Very quick start with Sheamus trying a Brogue Kick early on, but Cesaro ducked and nailed a corner uppercut. Sheamus responded with a forearm to the back, then he slowed the pace trying to wear down Cesaro. Cesaro blasted him with a big uppercut, but Sheamus shook it off and bodyslammed Cesaro. Sheamus took control heading to break.
Back from break, Cesaro and Sheamus jockeyed for control, then spilled to the floor as Cole posed the question of what happens if this match ends in a draw? Don’t ask questions, Cole, just don’t think about it. Sheamus made it back into the ring at eight and Cesaro dove back in at nine. Sheamus got in Cesaro’s face, and Cesaro responded with rapid-fire uppercuts.
Cesaro teased The Neutralizer, but Sheamus blocked and nailed White Noise for a two count. Sheamus wanted the Brogue Kick, but Cesaro intercepted with a bicycle kick and massive lariat, but Sheamus kicked out. Cesaro wanted the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus thumbed Cesaro in the eye in heel fashion. Sheamus then posted Cesaro and nailed the Brogue Kick. Sheamus fell on top of Cesaro for the pin and the win.
During the post-match replay, Cole killed Sheamus’s heat by saying he “did a good job” with the eye-poke out of the ref’s view before hitting the Brogue Kick.
WINNER: Sheamus at 14:10, up 1-0 in the series. The match started slow, but really picked up at the end. A potential of six more, though? They’re going to have to change up the formula with a quick, surprising match result mid-way through.
Pre-Show Panel: The crew discussed Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton in the presumed main event. A hype package on Lesnar vs. Orton closed the pre-show.
MAIN WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV
After an opening video package on Summerslam, WWE cut back to the Barclays Center for a pyro intro. Michael Cole introduced the show – the 29th annual Summerslam. Then, Enzo Amore’s music played to bring out Enzo & Big Cass to a huge reaction back in their home market. Enzo and Cass were just a little fired-up making their entrance. On the stage, Enzo did the walk-and-talk ring intro.
In the ring, Cass asked New York City how ya doing. Enzo said this match is dedicated to the teachers who told them they would amount to nothing and all the people in the struggle. Enzo and Cass sang “It Was All A Dream,” producing the “Enzooooo” sing-song from the crowd. Enzo and Cass then sang “New York, New York,” with Cass showing off impressive vocal skills.
Enzo got down to business of more money meaning more problems, and Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho have big problems facing them. Cass said they got 99 problems, but JeriKO ain’t one of them. Because there’s only one word to describe them. S-A-W-F-T!
On commentary, Graves heeled on Enzo for running through New York cliches when he’s from New Jersey, then Chris Jericho’s music played. Jericho slowly walked out wearing his $1,000 scarf and sneering toward the audience. Jericho was joined by Kevin Owens, whose music played to a loud reaction. The heels made their way down to the ring sizing up their opponents before jump-starting the match.
1 — ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS vs. CHRIS JERICHO & KEVIN OWENS
After the feeling-out process, Cass knocked Jericho and Owens to the outside. Cass then launched Enzo over the top rope to splash the heels on the floor. Back in the ring, Jericho used a distraction from Owens to take over on Enzo. Owens cheap-shot Enzo from the ring apron, then mocked Enzo’s signature dance move.
Owens tagged in and lit up Enzo with a chop to the chest. Another chop. Tag to Jericho to keep the pressure on Enzo. More tags in and out working over Enzo as Cass paced nervously on the ring apron. Enzo broke free of Owens, then tried a desperation dive to Cass, but Jericho intercepted him in mid-air. Let’s go to Chris for the block.
Owens then tagged in and continued to assault Enzo. But, Enzo avoided a corner cannonball splash from Owens. Hot tag to Cass and Jericho also tagged in for the heels. Cass ran over Jericho and Owens on the ring apron. Empire Elbow to Jericho. Big boot to Jericho’s jaw. Tag to Enzo for the rocket launcher, but Owens broke it up from the outside. Cass chased Owens around ringside, but Owens posted Cass. Owens followed with a cannonball splash against the guardrail.
Back in the ring, Enzo blocked a superplex, then leaped onto Jericho with a DD-G, but Owens broke up a pin. The ref reprimanded Owens for sticking around in the ring, but Owens ignored him and launched Enzo into the air for a codebreaker. Jericho pinned Enzo for the win, stunning the crowd.
WINNERS: Jericho & Owens at 12:08. Definitely felt like Part 1 of a two-part match story with likely follow-up on Raw in the same building tomorrow night. Therefore, they didn’t pull out everything in their arsenal, just focusing on the heels, Jericho & Owens, ruining Cass & Enzo’s homecoming. (**1/2)
Backstage: Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon were shown walking down the hallway. Mick Foley met them in the hallway to take passive-aggressive digs at each other. Jon Stewart walked in with his son to yell at Foley for working with Stephanie McMahon. Nepotism, abuse of power, etc. She’s right behind me, right? Stephanie was standing there not appreciative of Stewart’s accusations. Steph asked right in Stewart’s face – what good is power if you can’t abuse it? Suddenly, a trombone played. In came WWE tag champions Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to discuss their power of positivity. New Day took Stewart and his son down the hallway. Steph & Foley and Shane & Bryan were left alone in the hallway to sell tension. Foley maintained his position that Steph is misunderstood.
Video Package: The Women’s Title match is slotted second on the card.
In-ring: Charlotte was introduced to the ring first as the Women’s Title challenger. No Dana Brooke since she’s banned from ringside. Cole said Charlotte is 11-0 in PPV singles matches. Sasha Banks was out second to defend the Women’s Title. Jo Jo handled formal ring introductions before the bell sounded.
2 — Women’s champion SASHA BANKS vs. CHARLOTTE — WWE Women’s Title match
They built to a dangerous-looking spot where Charlotte knocked Sasha off the top turnbuckle and Sasha landed neck-first on the mat. Charlotte quickly tried to capitalize with an aggressive attack on the champion. They lost the crowd for a bit with some overly-choreographed sequences. Charlotte tried to get them back with an attempted super crucifix bomb from the top turnbuckle, but Sasha countered in mid-air with a huracanrana, putting both women on the mat. They were an inch away from both landing on their necks.
After a long sell, Charlotte and Sasha battled on the mat, then fought back to their feet trading bombs. Charlotte came up bleeding from her elbow, prompting the ref to put on black gloves to treat the cut. Charlotte then kneed Sasha right in the face, knocking her down cold. Charlotte tried to follow up, but Sasha knocked her down to the floor. Sasha followed with double knees to the face, putting Charlotte on the ground shoulders-first.
Back in the ring, Sasha locked Charlotte in a cross-face in the middle of the ring. Charlotte fought and fought, then found a way to escape out the back door. Sasha sold frustration with giving Charlotte an opening to escape, then took a chop block to the knee. Charlotte got that crazy look and shouted that she’s better than Sasha. That hubris gave Sasha an opening to slap on the cross-face again. But, Charlotte used her weight advantage to shift her body onto Sasha and trap Sasha to the mat for a quick three count.
Post-match, Sasha sold shock as Charlotte received the Women’s Title belt and left the ring. The crowd was hot over the outcome. Refs spilled out to check on Sasha, who sold a back injury. They replayed the finish with Charlotte able to shift her weight onto Sasha to secure a three count.
WINNER: Charlotte at 13:51 to re-capture the Women’s Title. They nearly killed themselves trying to prove they belonged higher on the card. But, why were they so low on the card? Stay tuned. In the end, the story was the heel, Charlotte, did not need help to beat Sasha, which seems counter-productive. It sets up an interesting re-match situation. (**1/2)
Backstage: Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows examined their New Day test samples. A.J. Styles walked into their lab to gloat about running Brooklyn after running Tokyo last year. Styles vowed to beat up John Cena. Suddenly, Finn Balor walked into the shot, popping the live crowd for an unspoken Bullet Club reunion. Styles, Karl, and Doc threw up the Too Sweet, but Balor smiled and walked off.
In-ring: The Smackdown announce crew took over for their first main PPV match. The Miz and Maryse were out first doing an R-Rated Phantom of the Opera ring intro. Apollo Crews was out next to challenge Miz for the Intercontinental Title.
3 — IC champion THE MIZ (w/Maryse) vs. APOLLO CREWS — Intercontinental Title match
They built to Crews blocking the Skullcrushing Finale and Miz blocking the standing moonsault. On commentary, JBL brought up Crews’s indies name of Uhaa Nation. Crews then nailed Miz with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex into the standing moonsault for a close two count.
Miz suddenly left the ring wanting to leave the match. Crews followed up on the outside with a sledgehammer, then Maryse ran a distraction from ringside. Back in the ring, Miz posted Crews, then smashed Crews with Skullcrushing Finale. Miz covered Crews for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Miz at 5:45 to retain the IC Title. This was presented as a filler match to wrap up the first hour and bridge to the main part of the PPV. Four straight heels winning has soured the live crowd on the show. (**)
Video Package: A.J. Styles vs. John Cena to kick off the second hour of the main PPV.
In-ring: A.J. Styles’s music played to reinvigorate the crowd. Styles marched down to the ring and posed in the ring. Once his music stopped, the crowd booed in anticipation of John Cena’s arrival. The “John Cena Suuuuuuucks” sing-song was loud as Cena made his way down to the ring. Cena smirked and held up his “Never Give Up” towel before jogging down to the ring.
4 — JOHN CENA vs. A.J. STYLES
Cena and Styles danced around the ring soaking up loud roars from the crowd and an “A.J. Styles / Let’s Go Cena” chant. They continued to strut around the ring, then locked up. Big-time atmosphere for this match. Cena and Styles took their time getting into the match, letting the crowd set the tone early on. Drop down, leap frog, and textbook dropkick from Styles.
Styles over-gloated, Cena stood up, and Cena smashed Styles in the face when A.J. turned around. Cena told A.J. it’s time to get serious before rocking him in the corner with a right hand blow. The crowd broke into “John Cena Suuuuucks” sing-song trying to throw off Cena. It worked, as Styles blocked a suplex and slammed Cena back-first on the ring apron.
Back in the ring, Cena suddenly caught Styles off the ropes and threw him in the air with a super back body drop. Huge elevation on that move. Cena then delivered a dropkick for a two count. But, Styles came back with the Pele Kick. He followed with the Styles Clash, and he connected. But, Cena kicked out just before three. Styles was slow to follow up, allowing Cena to suddenly toss Styles on his shoulders and deliver an AA. But, Styles kicked out of Cena’s finisher.
Both men recovered from the finisher exchange, then reset at 9:00. Cena took Styles to the top turnbuckle looking for a Super AA, but Styles blocked, put Cena in Torture Rack position, did a little Lex Luger bounce, and turned it into a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. Styles tried a corner attack, but Cena moved and Styles ate the ringpost.
After a reset, Cena gripped Styles, looked into the hard camera like pay attention to this, and Cena delivered a lift-up cutter. But, Styles kicked out. Cena then caught Styles in position for the STF, but Styles quickly wiggled free. Styles suddenly picked up Cena for an AA, turning it into a neckbuster across his knee. But, Cena kicked out.
Styles tried to follow up with a springboard 450 splash, but Cena moved out of the way and Styles crashed down to the mat. JBL said it’s like two home-run hitters just swinging for the fences against each other. Cena tried to follow up, but Styles caught him with a German Suplex, rolled through, and nailed a wheelbarrow facebuster for a close two count.
Styles again went for a springboard 450, but Cena caught Styles in mid-air, dropped him to the mat, and slapped on the STF. But, Styles broke free and rolled Cena into the Calfcrusher. Cena looked for an escape, eying the bottom rope. But, Styles turned him back into the middle of the ring. Styles bent Cena’s leg backwards, but Cena rolled onto Styles’s back to re-apply the STF. Styles slipped underneath to escape.
Back on their feet, Styles nailed an enziguiri kick, rocking Cena. But, Cena came out of the corner with a Tornado DDT for a two count. Both men sold exhaustion as they crossed the 17:00 mark.
Cena got desperate climbing to the top turnbuckle. And, he connected with a leaping guillotine leg drop to the back of Styles’s head for a close two count. Cena got up breathing heavily looking to find a way to put Styles away. Cena climbed up top looking for a Super AA, but Styles elbowed out. Styles then nailed a springboard Frankensteiner, sending Cena across the ring. Styles followed right up with a springboard Phenomenal Forearm, but Cena kicked out just before three, shocking the crowd.
At 20:00, Styles slowly picked up Cena trying to find a way to put away Cena, but Cena gripped Styles to block. Styles elbowed Cena, but ran into a nasty lariat. Cena then took Styles to the top turnbuckle looking for a super AA, but Styles elbowed out again. Cena shook it off, then nailed a Super AA. Cover, and a super-close two count, popping the crowd. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chants from the crowd.
Cena recovered in the corner selling shock over not being able to put away Styles. He looked around like, “What else can I do?” Very reminiscent of his feud with Kevin Owens last year. Cena watched as Styles slowly recovered in the opposite corner. The announcers sold it as Cena feeling what his opponents have felt for a decade.
Cena slowly approached Styles and went for another AA, but Styles turned the tables into another Styles Clash. Styles nailed it, but he couldn’t cover Cena. Styles instead rolled to the ring apron as Cena sold being dazed. Styles removed his elbow pad, then nailed the Phenomenal Forearm right in the face. Styles, with blood coming out of his mouth, scored the three count for the win.
WINNER: Styles at 23:10. Wow, what a match. It felt similar to Cena’s past duels with rising stars like Kevin Owens, but different in that you could sense WWE ready to really get behind Styles with this match. Like, really get behind Styles. Amazing match, which also allow Styles to pump up his heel persona by gloating heavily about the win over Cena on Smackdown going forward. Overall, the majority of the crowd was pleased by Styles, a heel, winning this match, but it marks five straight heel victories tonight. (****3/4)
Post-match, both men sold the effects of the match as the crowd buzzed. Styles eventually left the ring and celebrated on the stage. Styles’s music stopped, leaving Cena alone in the ring. The crowd initially booed, then cheered Cena, who removed his “Never Give Up” armband and looked at it. Cena left the armband in the ring, then slowly limped out of the ring. Cena looked toward the audience and saluted, then disappeared to the back. WWE cut back to the armband in the ring, zooming in tight before fading to a Network video.
[Intermission. Cricket Wireless sweepstakes winners were highlighted in a video package.]
Intermission continued with Jon Stewart being introduced to the live crowd. Stewart entered the ring and talked up how great A.J. Styles vs. John Cena was. He referenced his role at Summerslam last year, saying he’s so glad no idiot interfered in that match. He said he learned from last year that if you’re going to take an AA, tuck your shirt in. No one needs to see old man belly.
Stewart said he’s out here to throw his support behind New Day. He removed his gray sweatshirt and said he will join New Day for their Tag Title match tonight. Stewart strapped a unicorn horn to his head and introduced New Day, doing Big E.’s intro in his place. Cole noted that New Day have hit one full year as WWE tag champs, dating back to winning the belts at last year’s Summerslam. The Club’s Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were out next in their lab coats with jars. They had an extra jar for Jon Stewart, which was super tiny to suggest Stewart has raisin balls.
5 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & XAVIER WOODS w/Jon Stewart) vs. THE CLUB (KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS) — WWE Tag Title match
Gallows found himself stuck in a mudhole early on, with Kofi and Xavier trading corner stomps to Gallows as Jon Stewart cheered from ringside. Gallows rolled to the outside to recover, then Kofi flew on him with a big dive. Back in the ring, The Club cut off Kofi and isolated him in their corner.
Tag to Xavier, who flew onto Anderson with a tight-rope diving elbow for a close two count. Tag to Kofi, who came off the top turnbuckle with a double foot stomp to Anderson’s chest, but Gallows broke up a pin. The Club dropped Xavier with the Magic Killer, but Jon Stewart entered the ring.
Stewart ran a distraction, then he tucked in his shirt to prepare to take a beating. The Club dragged Stewart to the corner looking to bust his balls, but New Day’s music suddenly played. Big E. ran down to the ring and clotheslined Anderson on the floor, causing the bell to sound, giving Club a DQ win.
Post-match, New Day knocked The Club out of the ring, then Big E. approached the table of ball specimens. Big E. took a swig of the contents holding his sample testicle, then spewed it in the air Triple H-style. New Day and Stewart danced in the ring to celebrate their loss, but title retention.
WINNERS: Club via DQ at 9:09; New Day retained the Tag Titles. Basic tag match getting out of a finish involving Stewart. Club has underwhelmed in their position in the tag division since joining WWE. (**)
Next WWE PPV: Smackdown is live in three weeks with Backlash.
Video Package: WWE Title feud between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler over on Smackdown. And, the WWE Title is lower on the card than Rusev vs. Reigns for the U.S. Title.
Back in the arena, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were standing by in the ring to try to pump up the WWE Title match. Dolph Ziggler was introduced first as the challenger. Dean Ambrose was out next, prompting Shane and Bryan to separate the two men so that Greg Hamilton could do formal ring introductions. On commentary, Mauro Ranallo said this is like trying to separate Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. JBL quickly interjected that the difference is these two are actually adult-sized. Imagine that – Ambrose and Ziggler have been knocked for their height all their careers and now juxtaposed to Insultin’ McGregor, they’re 6’5″ in WWE storytelling.
6 — WWE champion DEAN AMBROSE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER — WWE World Hvt. Title match
The match started hot once the bell sounded. Ambrose teased Dirty Deeds early on, but Ziggler blocked, so Dean tossed Dolph over the top rope to the floor. Dolph slowly climbed back into the ring, where Ambrose continued to wear down Ziggler. Ambrose then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Dolph intercepted his attack with a leaping dropkick.
Ziggler could not follow up, though. Ambrose showed a little personality to engage the crowd by mocking Dolph’s typical warm-up for a superkick. But, he stopped his superkick and comically gripped Ziggler looking for Dirty Deeds, only to have Dolph push off and nail a lift-up DDT for a two count. Dolph followed with the Fameasser for a two count.
After a reset, the two men flew at each other with cross-bodies, putting them both on the mat. Back on their feet, Ambrose caught Ziggler with a running bulldog. Ambrose wanted a top-rope move, with a crazy look in his eyes, and he nailed a leaping elbow for a two count. Dean then shook his booty like Ziggler to mock him. That gave Ziggler an opening to slap on a sleeperhold, but Dean tossed both men through the ropes to the floor.
On the outside, Shane & Bryan watched intently as Dolph promptly superkicked Dean across the guardrail. Six count. Seven. Dolph then rolled Dean back into the ring and covered him for a two count. Dolph tried a superkick, but Dean blocked. Dirty Deeds, but Dolph blocked and nailed Zig-Zag for a super-close two count.
Dolph, angered, mounted Dean and landed multiple forearm strikes to the back of the head. Dolph followed with a sleeperhold, but Dean fought to his feet and escaped. Dolph slapped Dean, who rebounded into a massive lariat. Dean then dropped the straps of his tanktop and got a crazy look in his eyes. Dean climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Dolph crotched him. Ziggler climbed to the top looking for a superplex, but Dean headbutted him down to the mat.
Ziggler got right back up and scrambled to the top turnbuckle, then he tried some sort of move, like a facebuster, but Dean blocked on the way down. Dean immediately hit Dirty Deeds. He covered Ziggler for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Ambrose at 15:18 to retain the WWE Title. Just not much heat to this match – Styles-Cena was the peak of the show to this point, Ziggler was a microwave heat-up job as a challenger, and Ambrose was positioned as a tweener against the unlikely underdog title challenger. It was a tough spot for them. (**3/4)
Video Package: Summerslam Weekend in New York. Included was a look at Shinsuke Nakamura winning the NXT Title last night in the building.
In-ring: Naomi did her rave intro to set up Smackdown’s final stand-alone match of the show. Carmella was out next representing Staten Island. Becky Lynch was out third to complete the babyface trio. Then for the heels, Natalya was out first. Alexa Bliss was out second.
And, the mystery replacement for the suspended Eva Marie was … well, Eva Marie. They did the dramatic ring introduction building up Eva Marie’s appearance… and the voice-over man said Eva is suffering from stress, emotional distress, and other ailments from mean WWE fans. So, she’s taking a vacation. And now the mystery replacement is … Nikki Bella. The crowd popped for Nikki’s surprise return. Ranallo said Nikki had career-threatening neck surgery, and now she’s back in the ring. The announcers questioned Nikki’s alignment, but noted that Nikki and Natalya go way back.
7 — NAOMI & BECKY LYNCH & CARMELLA vs. NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS & NIKKI BELLA — six-woman tag match
Nikki waited patiently on the ring apron before entering the match as the other wrestlers traded control back and forth. Nikki eventually tagged in to do a number on Carmella. She cockily did some push-ups to try to get over as a heel, then tagged out to Bliss, who continued to work on Carmella.
Hot tag to Becky, who cleaned house. She stacked up all three heels in the corner and delivered a springboard kick, then a second, then a third to wipe out all three. Fisherman suplex to Natalya, then chaos broke out with all six women in the ring. It came down to Nikki and Carmella, who walked right into a modified Rack Attack, more like a facebuster. It was good for the pin.
WINNERS: Team Nikki at 11:04. This was an odd one, as the heel team was the clear betting favorite all weekend, then suddenly the inside betting flipped to the face trio right before the PPV, but the heel trio won anyways. And, Nikki is back to assert herself as the top women’s wrestler on the Smackdown roster. (**)
Next Raw PPV: Clash of Champions is September 25, with every Raw title on the line.
Ringside: Wale was on the front row with Fabolous.
Video Package: U.S. Title feud between Rusev and Roman Reigns.
Backstage: Maria Menonous from E! News brought in U.S. champion Rusev and Lana to discuss the U.S. Title match. Rusev was angered from losing to Reigns on Raw. Lana said they will not stand for Reigns dishonoring them, and a man will crush anyone who does not honor his wife. Rusev vowed to make Reigns a joke.
But, first, the match to determine the first-ever WWE Universal champion is next, placed below the U.S. Title match, despite Balor and Rollins being picked ahead of Reigns in the WWE Draft.
Video Package: Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins feud leading to this title match.
Back in the arena, the new Universal Title belt was on-display in the middle of the ring. The strap was red for Raw (but an off-red shade), there was a similar Super Bowl ring-like centerpiece as the WWE Title, and assorted bling on the sides. It looked like someone spent too much time at Sam Moon enhancing the design. Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon were down at ringside proudly displaying the title belt.
Seth Rollins was introduced first, then WWE went through the roll call of international announcers in the pit. Back live, a heartbeat played over the Barclays Center, then Finn Balor slithered out on-stage in full Demon mode. Balor proudly stood on the stage as the crowd popped. Balor slid into the ring, then did the lights choreography with the crowd. Balor continued to slither around the ring before crawling toward the hard camera to dramatically remove his headgear. Balor was locked in with darkness written all over him. Seth remained down at ringside trying not to be intimidated or sell for Balor.
Rollins returned to the ring for JoJo to handle formal ring intros. The most heat was for JoJo announcing the “Universal Title.” The crowd was mixed for Rollins and hot for Balor.
8 — FINN BALOR vs. SETH ROLLINS — match to determine first-ever WWE Universal champion
Balor immediately exploded out of the corner with a double foot dropkick to Rollins. Balor quickly climbed to the top turnbuckle looking for the Coup de Grace, but Rollins rolled to the floor. So, Balor adjusted and nailed a flip dive on the outside. On the floor, Rollins cut off Balor and sent him into the timekeeper’s area. Meanwhile, the crowd chanted “that belt sucks.”
Back in the ring, Balor tried to come back with a surfboard stretch, but Rollins escaped. On the floor, Rollins delivered a running powerbomb into the barricade, bending Balor in half. Back in the ring, Rollins worked on Balor as Cole talked up his Japanese wrestling background. Meanwhile, the crowd continued to note their displeasure with the new title belt.
Rollins slowed the pace working on Balor as the crowd became restless. Rollins climbed to the top turnbuckle and exploded on Balor with a frogsplash for a close two count. Rollins got too cocky taunting Balor, who suddenly nailed Rollins with a DDT. Big exchange, then both men sold on the floor, drawing applause from the ringside fans starting to engage in the match.
Balor dramatically returned to his feet at 12:30, then stalked Rollins for a reverse DDT drop – the 1916 – but it only got a two count. But, Rollins came right back with a triangle choke. Balor forced his way to the ropes, but there was no rope break. Apparently this is No DQ because there must be a winner and first champion.
On the outside, the camera got a glimpse of the title belt, drawing loud boos. Rollins picked up Balor, producing another shot of the belt, drawing more boos. Back in the ring, Rollins superkicked Balor for a two count. Rollins started taunting Balor, who took a knee to the face. Rollins followed with a fisherman buster driver into a small package for a close two count, popping Corey Graves seeing Rollins go old-school.
Rollins climbed to the top turnbuckle at 16:30, but Balor kicked him in the head. Another look at the belt to boos, then Balor charged Rollins for a double-foot kick into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Balor nailed a double foot stomp to the back of Rollins’s head for a close two count.
Balor then placed Rollins in the corner and climbed to the top turnbuckle for the Coup de Grace, but Rollins rolled out of the way. Pedigree in the middle of the ring. Rollins covered, but Balor kicked out in time. Rollins sold disbelief, then started freaking out that Balor escaped. Rollins regrouped, then climbed to the top turnbuckle looking for a Phoenix Splash, but Balor moved. Double foot dropkick into the corner.
Balor to the top. Coup De Grace? No, Rollins popped to his feet and nailed a superplex into The Pedigree, but Balor blocked and stomped Rollins in the chest. Two-foot kick into the corner. Running kick to the opposite corner. Rollins was prone. Balor to the top. Balor with the Coup de Grace in the middle of the ring. Balor covered for the pin and the win. First Champ.
Post-match, Balor left the ring and grabbed the overly-blingy Universal Title belt. Balor posed with the belt in the ring, then knelt down in the ring holding the new belt, processing the title win. After a replay of the high points, WWE cut to Balor continuing to celebrate in the ring. Balor then left the ring and hugged his family on the front row.
WINNER: Balor at 19:24 to win the Universal Title. This started slow with focus on the unpopular title belt, then really picked up in the final five minutes. Balor seems to works better in WWE without the facepaint and just being Finn Balor. Maybe it just needs time to resonate in a long-form match. (***1/2)
[Intermission. The pre-show panel broke down the Summerslam card thus far leading into the final two matches. This led to a pre-taped KFC spot between Dolph “Col. Sanders” Ziggler and Chicken Miz arguing over chicken. Words are not available for this.]
ABC GMA plug: Finn Balor and Charlotte will be on “Good Morning America” Monday morning. JBL is right – no spot for WWE champion Dean Ambrose.
In-ring: Lana was standing by to introduce U.S. champion Rusev, who is seeking revenge against Roman Reigns, who beat Rusev non-title on Raw leading into the PPV. Reigns was introduced next to 90 percent boos.
9 — U.S. champion RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. ROMAN REIGNS — U.S. Title match
Before the bell sounded, Rusev attacked Reigns and smashed him into the ring ropes. Rusev smashed Reigns to the floor and drove him into the ring steps. Rusev attacked Reigns’s left arm to follow up on events from Raw. “This is for my wife!” Rusev declared, but Reigns whipped him over the guardrail to the floor. Reigns then used his good arm to pound Rusev with right hands, drawing boos.
Refs then spilled out to try to get order. Reigns had a chair in hand, which he jabbed into Rusev’s gut. Reigns then cracked the chair over Rusev’s back. Reigns pounded Rusev’s forehead, then officials tried to get separation. But, Reigns assaulted Rusev. The match was waved off as a medic checked on Rusev. Reigns was eventually hauled to the back to boos. The medic checked on Rusev some more, then Reigns made his way to the stage.
Down at ringside, Rusev told the medic not to check on him. The crowd of course chanted for Heath Slater. Rusev eventually got up as Lana sold concern from a distance. A “CM Punk” chant broke out, which drew some boos. JoJo announced that Rusev is unable to compete tonight, so there is no U.S. Title match.
Suddenly, Roman Reigns came down ringside and flew at Reigns with a giant spear on the floor. Reigns fired himself up, then talked trash down at Rusev. Reigns started to leave again, then turned around and smirked toward Rusev and the crowd. Lana sold concern as Rusev tried to catch his breath.
WINNER: No Match. That’s one way to get out of Reigns losing is just not having a match. To Be Continued on Raw.
Video Package: Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton hype package. It’s 15 years in the making.
In-ring: Brock Lesnar’s music played to bring out Lesnar for his first WWE match since WrestleMania. Lesnar bounced up and down with Paul Heyman by his side, then hit the ring and paced around ready to beat up Randy Orton. WWE cut backstage to show Stephanie and Foley watching intently.
Paul Heyman had a mic. Heyman introduced himself, then introduced Brock Lesnar fighting, massacring, and conquering out of the University of Suplex City. Brrrrrock Lesssssnar. Brock bounced up and down, then Randy Orton’s music played to bring out Orton. WWE cut backstage to show D-Bryan and Shane watching this intently.
The announcers calling this match were Mauro Ranallo, JBL, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton. Cole and David Otunga were given the rest of the night off. Ranallo said this isn’t going to be a match, but a fight.
10 — BROCK LESNAR vs. RANDY ORTON
Lesnar and Orton danced around the ring before locking up. Actually, Lesnar just tackled Orton into the corner and delivered consecutive shoulder thrusts. Orton tried an RKO out of nowhere, but Lesnar pushed him off and smiled. German Suplex #1. How about two? Make it a triple. How about two more? Five total in the first three minutes.
Orton sold on the mat for a while, selling being worn out from being taken to Suplex City. So, Brock delivered a sixth German, then did the Brock Bounce. Orton rolled to the outside selling the effects, drawing out Brock. Orton fought back, but Brock picked up Orton and dumped him onto the Smackdown announce table. Orton fell into the front row, so Brock picked up Orton and tossed him through the announce table with crazy strength.
Back in the ring, Brock stalked Orton for Suplex #7, and he connected. Brock kicked Orton out of the ring, then cleared the Raw announce table. Brock wanted to end Orton through the Raw table, but Orton suddenly stood up and dropped Brock with an RKO Outta Nowhere onto the table.
Orton slowly rolled back into the ring, then waited for Brock, who walked right into an elevated DDT from the second rope. Orton got fired up looking for an RKO in the ring, and he actually connected. Orton covered, but Brock kicked out just before three. Orton decided he needed to go old-school with a Punt, but Heyman screamed at Brock to wake up. Orton charged, but Brock caught him in mid-air and delivered the F5. Brock covered, but Orton kicked out just in time.
Reset at 9:30 with Brock removing his MMA gloves to deliver unprotected forearms from the mount position. Brock wanted to open up Orton, and he did so. Blood poured out of Orton’s head as Brock just pounded down on Orton with clubbing blows. Orton sold being knocked out from the blows. Orton rolled over and he was bleeding like crazy from the forehead. The ringside medic entered the ring to check on Orton as Brock casually relaxed in the corner consulting with Heyman.
Suddenly, Brock charged out of the corner to pound Orton with right hand blows. More blows. The ref seemed to call off the match, but there was no bell. Brock pounded Orton again. And there was the bell, per referee Chioda. Saxton wanted to know who could stop Lesnar as the crowd chanted Goldberg’s name. JoJo officially announced Brock Lesnar as the winner via TKO.
WINNER: Brock via TKO at 11:45. Well, Brock delivered a beating, as advertised. It was just odd to have the show end on back-to-back non-traditional match outcomes. (n/r)
Lesnar stood tall with his hand in the air as Orton continued to sell being knocked out with blood coming out of his head. Lesnar smirked down at Orton, then more refs spilled out. Brock wasn’t done. Brock pounded Orton with clubbing blows, opening up Orton even more. The announcers said this is too much.
Smackdown GM Shane McMahon then stormed the ring to back up his guy Randy Orton. Brock stood in his way, though. Shane told Brock to get out of the ring. Suddenly, Brock picked up Shane and gave him an F5 in the middle of the ring. Heyman did his classic over-reaction: “What did you just do?!” as Brock smiled at his work.
Brock then left the ring as Shane sold in the ring. Brock walked up the entrance ramp as the trademarks flashed on the screen. Summerslam ended four minutes past the top of the hour with final shots of a victorious Brock, wincing Shane, and blood-stained Orton.
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