WWE Summerslam 2017 Review
Kickoff Show: The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan vs. The Miz and the Miztourage
Read that description and this match delivered on what it sounds. It's a serviceable kickoff show match, but that's it. It has enough action to warm up the fans before the show, but that's it.
Miz got the pin over Jordan for the win.
Match rating: 2.25 stars (Out of 5)
Kickoff Show: Neville vs. Akira Tozawa - Cruiserweight Championship
Less than a week after their match was given away on TV, Neville and Tozawa have their rematch on the kickoff show. However, after their surprisingly good match on Raw, Akira is now the defending champion.
While the match on Raw was maybe a little better, this was still a worthwhile affair. Both men brought the flying and spectacle we expect from the cruiserweights.
Neville reclaimed the cruiserweight title with the Red Arrow. I can understand keeping Neville on the top since he is the best thing about the division. However, it seems odd to take the title off of Tozawa so soon.
Match rating: 3.5 stars
Kickoff Show: The New Day vs. The Usos - Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Umm, why was this classic only a kickoff match?
Spoiler alert: It was a lot better than most of the main card.
The beginning was a little slow with rest holds. It picked up, and how! One crazy spot saw Big E powerbomb Xavier Woods onto the Usos. There were plenty of near falls to turn this into a nailbiter of a match. Another cool spot saw a Uranage-backstabber combo.
The Usos won the tag titles after their double splash. Gotta love both teams, so I'm happy to see both guys win. This was worthy of the main card, and for anyone who missed the Kickoff, I recommend checking this one out.
Match rating: 4.25 stars
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
This was a fairly standard match. Part of the problem is that Corbin dominated a little too much of it. It became a little too obvious we were going to get a Super Cena comeback by the end.
Between losing his Money in the Bank briefcase and losing tonight, I wonder if Corbin rubbed someone the wrong way though the highlight of this match was Cena trying on JBL's cowboy hat.
Match rating: 2.25 stars
Naomi vs. Natalya - Smackdown Women's Championship
This was another match where the two combatants did nothing wrong, but nothing special. To Naomi and Natalya's credit, they did pick up the pace in the back half of the match. So there was a little drama when Natalya won with the Sharpshooter.
It does feel like Natalya is only borrowing it before Carmella cashes in. But it is nice to let Natalya hold the gold for a little. Forget being a good worker, Natalya has been dedicated. She toughed it out for years of the company making her a butt monkey.
Match Rating: 2.5 stars
Big Show vs. Big Cass - With Enzo Amore in a shark cage
Months after re-entering his "You've Still Got It" phase, Big Show had one of the slower, less interesting matches he's had in a while. To his credit, he used the injured hand to create a little intrigue.
However, this match felt like it was in slow motion. The lowlight was an interminable hold where Big Cass held a hold on Big Show's knuckles. Couple that with Enzo flapping his jowls early on, and you have a match that's boring and annoying.
To be fair, Enzo escaping the cage was mildly amusing. And the last few minutes were a little excited. But it was too little too late.
Big Cass got the duke, and this match was mercifully over.
Match rating: 1 star
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Rusev ambushes Orton before the match can begin. After some brawling, the ref rings the bell. Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere and wins. Match over.
According to the rumor mill, Rusev is hitting the road. So this match may be a consequence of that. Rusev will be missed, but this match was rubbish. It was a waste of two talented performers that buried an underrated performer.
The temptation is to give this match a zero, but what little action this match had was wild. So that saves it from complete ignominy. But it was bad.
Match rating: 0.25 stars.
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks - Raw Women's Championship
This match was pretty good, but felt a little slow paced for what these women are capable of. Also, the crowd was a little out of it. Hard to tell if it was the last match that just knocked the wind out of them. Surely Alexa Bliss should be able to drum up more intrigue in a match like this.
The two ladies did work to build some intrigue in the match. Both narrowly escaped each others' finishers. There was a cool spot where Alexa did a double flip off the top rope to escape a move.
Eventually, Sasha Banks got the win with the Banks Statement to win the Raw Women's Championship.
Match Rating: 3.25 Stars
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
For the first time in a year, Finn Balor breaks out the Demon. I have mixed feelings about what is easily the best thing Balor has. On one hand, Balor is not the best talker. On the other hand, only doing it every now and then makes it feel like a special event.
This was a fairly solid match. The two did the spots we expect from them. Balor using the Demon gave this match a little more psychology. Balor won, which was a positive in that Wyatt has finally reached a level where he can take a loss like this without completely being buried.
Match rating: 3.5 stars
Cesaro/Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins - Raw Tag Team Championship
This match is an example of the total package. First, there was the intrigue of wondering if Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins could actually function as a team. So we already have good storytelling.
Sheamus and Cesaro have been in the tag division for a while, but looked like real threats to two former world champions. There were many spots where Cesaro and Sheamus had either Ambrose or Rollins isolated and laid waste to them.
Highlights included Cesaro and Sheamus catching Seth mid-dive and dumping him on the floor. The duo hit Ambrose with their own doomsday device. Rollins hit a hurricanrana that knocked Cesaro into Sheamus.
Those were great moments, but the most memorable moment didn't involve wrestling. Mid-match, Cesaro went into the crowd to steal and destroy a beach ball. Why? Who knows? But why not have a little levity in a good match like this?
Dean Ambrose got the pin with Dirty Deeds to capture the Raw Tag Team gold (er silver). This match was off the hook and one of the highlights of the year: serious WWE match of the year candidate.
Match rating: 4.5 stars
A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens - U.S. Title Match With Shane McMahon as Guest Referee
So far, these two had a great match with a screwy ending at Backlash, an underwhelming match at Battleground, and a great triple threat on Smackdown. So where does this fit in?
This was the quality showing we would expect from these two. They didn't break ground by their standards. But for these two, par is still above everyone else's par. The inclusion of Shane McMahon added a little drama and gave Owens a chance for some hilarious trash-talking.
Eventually, Owens got in Shane's face one time too many. AJ hit the Styles Clash, won and retained his US title.
Okay, the two of you redeemed that disaster from Battleground. Wait a minute, that triple threat with Jericho did that... Eh, good to have one great mono a mono from these two.
Match rating: 4.25 stars
Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura - WWE Championship
And the streak of good matches ends. This match ended up being a combination of non-existent build and not enough time to build momentum.
As the main event of a Smackdown, this would have been fine. But as a world title match as Summerslam, this was underwhelming. Also, the ending was botchy.
Mahal won with the Khallas. This may be for the best: Mahal needs some wins against people who are over to gain heat. Like Nakamura or not, it feels a little too soon to give him the top title.
Match rating: 2.5 stars
Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Stroman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe - WWE Universal Championship
Now, THIS was a main event. This was the longest match Lesnar has had in a while (even if there were three other guys to carry the action) and his best match since Fastlane 2016.
Giving credit to the other three men, this match was off-the-hook. It was 20 minutes of almost non-stop action. This match was insane with Joe and Reigns flying around like cruiserweights. Braun threw a desk chair at Joe and Reigns.
Stroman put Lesnar through two tables before burying him under a third table. Lesnar was taken out of the match for a bit on the stretcher. Popular opinion is to say Lesnar's getting lazy. But this made Stroman look like a killer and added drama when Lesnar came back.
This was another nailbiter. All four men got their finishers in and escaped finishers. These men came away looking like they escaped a war.
Brock Lesnar won with an F-5. Honestly, this was the kind of match where either man could have won, and it would have been satisfying. Even in defeat, Joe, Roman, and Braun looked like a million bucks.
Match rating: 4.75 stars
So, Summerslam was a night of peaks and valleys. On one hand, the Raw tag match, the four-way, and the US Title match were all excellent. Fans also owe it to themselves to hunt down the Cruiserweight match and the tag match from the kickoff.
But there was a lot on this card that ranged from mediocre to crap. Rusev vs. Orton and Big Show vs. Cass were two of the worst PPV matches from this year. Even a lot on the card felt only serviceable. In short, use this review as a guide to watch the good stuff and skip the rest.
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© 2017 Alex deCourville