MAGIC, MEMORIES & MANIA – Top 10 Wishes To Follow from Summerslam 2016


MAGIC, MEMORIES & MANIA: Top Ten Thoughts on Summerslam 2016
By Shawn Valentino, PWTorch specialist

Summerslam is considered the WrestleMania of the summer for WWE. For years, Summerslam was in my city of LA, and I was able to attend the “biggest party of the summer” in-person. This year, I went to a local bar to see the show, and it was also a festive audience full of rowdy wrestling fans.

Of course, most of you have the WWE Network, but if you have the opportunity, check out if live specials are shown at your local bar because it is an exciting way to watch wrestling with a passionate audience. Just don’t forget to order food and drinks and tip the waiter. Here are my top ten wishes coming out of Summerslam 2016 from the bar.

(10) Jon Stewart Does Not Care

I tend to respect any celebrity that gets involved with pro wrestling even if I do not enjoy their appearance. It is cool to see that somebody gets it enough to become involved in the wild and wacky business, but why are these precious star sightings nearly always so badly done? The Jon Stewart appearances the last couple years have been embarrassing. This year, he looked like he had just woken up from bed and was dressed more like somebody begging for wrestling tickets than a major television star.

If Stewart decides to make more appearances, I would like him to take a more serious approach towards the product and subtract the goofiness and terrible outfit. If not, hopefully this is the end of his run as the Summerslam celebrity other than being relegated to a Pete Rose role of being demolished.

Wish For the Future

I wish that if WWE gets a big-name celebrity to get involved that they utilize them in a manner that is more serious and adds gravitas to the product. For example, Stewart could have shown up in a suit and announced ring entrances after telling the crowd that he has been a fan his whole life. It would add to the pageantry of the event instead of making it all look like a goofy joke. Even if stars want to get physically involved, it should be treated like it is the ultimate risk for them to mix it up with world-class fighters. Obviously WWE will always want mainstream celebrities on their show, but once they sign them, they often get the minimal value from their name value.

(9) New Day: The Modern Day Minstrel Show

WWE has never been good about portraying racial or ethnic groups in an intelligent, respectful manner. I admit that I often enjoy some of their blatant lack of political correctness. New Day is undoubtedly a popular group, but I believe that they are the equivalent of a modern-day minstrel show. For those of you unfamiliar with the heavily racist performances, Wikipedia defines minstrel shows as “lampooning black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, happy-go-lucky, and musical.” The only difference is that traditional minstrel was performed by white actors in blackface while Kofi, Big E., and Xavier Woods are essentially lampooning themselves. While I realize that the act is successful, watching the three goofballs gyrating in the ring at Summerslam with eggs in a jar made me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan, and I was in a room full of fans!

Wish For the Future

All three members of New Day are charismatic and good athletes so why not keep some of the light-hearted fun that makes the faction so popular while giving them serious goals and a less stereotyped portrayal.

(8) Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Colonel Sanders segment

Speaking of the utterly ridiculous, there is no explanation necessary here. That being said, it did have the entire bar transfixed to the screen at the asinine segment.

Wish For the Future

I wish that the “serious segments” WWE attempts could keep fans as glued to the screen as this trainwreck.

(7) Dean Ambrose and Ziggler Show Off an Average Contest

Ambrose and Ziggler are two of the bigger attractions in the WWE that cater to the ardent fan. Ziggler likes to call himself the Showoff for his flashy moves, but it is rare that those risky maneuvers result in a memorable contest. Ambrose is marketed as “the Lunatic Fringe,” but the craziest thing about him has been how lackadaisical his title run has been booked. Obviously, it was a last minute decision based on necessity, but you would think that so many “creative” team members could capitalize on a popular star with a real edge and showcase him as the coolest wrestler in the company.

Wish for the Future

I wish Ziggler would turn heel and be placed in a stable with a valet and a monster, similar to what they started to do a few years ago. Hopefully he is done with the insider statements about being held back and becomes a flashy, arrogant villain that does anything to win. Hopefully, Ambrose returns to the original Shield character when he had subtle mannerisms that gave him an element of raw danger instead of a contrived, zany lunatic.

(6) Rusev and Roman Do Not Reign

Rusev and Roman Reigns has been a strangely booked feud that has not helped either wrestler. This non-match segment would have been much more interesting if there was a more established character dynamic of Rusev as a dastardly heel and Reigns as a conquering hero. Instead Reigns looked like more of a bad guy and Rusev’s character motivations have been too relatable to make him an all-out villain. I would also like Lana to return to the business suits and dominatrix persona that got her over. All of us in the bar were distracted by what looked like a diaper that she was wearing.

Wish For the Future

I wish for the obvious Reigns heel turn. I think Roman has been one of the best wrestlers of the year with numerous great matches, but his persona does not fit his strengths. His natural arrogance and cool factor could make him one of the best bad guys in recent history.

(5) The Rushed Sasha Banks Reign Ends

It was a critical consensus that the Sasha championship win should have been built up much better. Of course, WWE was looking for a shocking moment on the first post-Draft Raw, but at what cost? In the midst of trying to build up the Women’s Division, Banks is arguably the most important asset. She has an attitude and charisma that could make her a major star, especially as a heel. If WWE knew that she was wrestling in pain, she should have never been rushed to the championship. Thankfully, Charlotte has already proven herself as a strong champion to build the division around.

Wish For the Future

I wish that Banks returns and has a run as a heel, which fits her persona better. As we have seen in the past week, a feud between Charlotte and Bayley is on the horizon, and hopefully it will be done right. They have a unique underdog attraction in Bayley, and it will be tremendous foil for the conceited Flair. I would like to see Nature Boy brought back as manager because I enjoyed their chemistry.

(4) The Demon Becomes the First Universal Champion

One of the more breathtaking moments of the show was sitting with a bar full of fans watching Finn Balor come into the ring as The Demon. It is truly one of the most spectacular entrances in history, and I hope WWE maximizes that side of his character by having the demon unleashed at appropriate times. The match itself was solid but was anti-climactic after the best match on the show. Seth Rollins and Balor showcased a real chemistry, and I would like to series of matches between the two in the future. Balor’s Universal Championship victory was another step in making the company’s next big star. The crowd at the bar cheered his win, and he is the flashy character with in-ring skills that should allow him to remain near the top for years. Unfortunately it was destined to be a short reign…

Wish For the Future

I wish that WWE looks at the good and bad of the Balor experiment. The company has done a tremendous job in immediately creating a new star, and hopefully they utilize this template in the future when they have a special talent that fans are thirsting to see succeed. Sadly, it also showcased the negative effects of taking too many unnecessary risks in the ring. Given Balor’s condition, he should not have taken that awkward barricade spot. It does not matter how well a wrestler is booked if they take careless chances in the ring.

(3) Less is More

The show was too long and contained too much filler. Many of us at the bar were checking our watches the last hour of the show.

Wish For the Future

Book a stronger, tighter show with fewer matches and more stakes and drama. This could have been an excellent three-hour show instead of an above average five-hour show.

(2) Brock TKOs Orton

The main event was the most fascinating part of the show. Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar delivered a brutal confrontation that showcased their strengths. Lesnar escaped from Suplex City to inflict some devastating offense. The finish was shocking given the Viper’s excessive bleeding, but it would have been much more impactful if it were not on a show full of unusual endings. I would have preferred if the referee called the match on a TKO after Orton went down and then lifted his head only to see the blood incessantly flowing shocking the audience. This would have eliminated much of the awkwardness and made Lesnar seem like more of a monster. It is obvious that the level of bleeding was unplanned, but the planned booking of this match helped Brock without hurting Orton.

Wish For the Future

I wish that WWE capitalized on this bloodbath and reestablished Lesnar as a brute force, but it was business as usual in the follow-up. I hope that Brock attacks Shane unexpectedly on Smackdown and is deemed an uncontrollable menace and suspended for months. I would like Shane to sell the beatdown and be gone a few months allowing Bryan to be the sole authority figure on the show. It would build Lesnar’s aura even in his absence and hopefully build up to either an Orton rematch or a new dream match. It could be a star-making showcase if Shane brings up someone like Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura to take down the Baddest Man on the Planet.

(1) A.J. Styles Steals the Show

The show was a roller-coaster of ups and downs, but the man that has become the guaranteed high point of WWE PPVs has been A.J. Styles. He did not disappoint as he had the entire bar awestruck by his unparalleled athleticism. He is truly the modern day Showstopper because like Shawn Michaels he has the guaranteed best match of the show. Styles was spectacular in victory, and it is apparent that he is destined to be the champion of Smackdown soon. In a show full of good performances, he was easily the greatest.

Wish For the Future

I wish that Styles will end Ambrose’s dull championship reign and give us a memorable run until WrestleMania because it would result in a phenomenal series of main event matches with the best wrestler in the world.

Please send questions, comments, and feedback to Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @shawnvalentino and please check out my new weekly Top 5 Show at

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