The Rope Break #16: WWE Summerslam 2017 Review!!

By Curtis Suthard – 8/21/2017

 

The Rope Break #16:

WWE Summerslam 2017 Review

Credit: WWE.com

The 30th annual Summerslam has come and gone. I, for one, could not be happier that, after tonight’s RAW and tomorrow’s Smackdown, we won’t have to hear that this was “The Biggest Party of the Summer!” anymore, for at least another eleven months or so. So was the show good? Did it live up to the hype? Well, let’s both take a look back at WWE Summerslam 2017 and see.

Credit: WWE.com

The Miz & The Miztourage with Maryse VS. Jason Jordan & The Hardy Boyz: Aw, yes. A hastily thrown together, multi-person tag match to kick off the Kick-Off show. How could this suck? Well, it kind of did. Granted the Hardys were seemingly setting up for a match with the Revival, but Scott Dawson went ahead and got himself injured, so that had to be called off. There wasn’t really any other opponents for the Hardy Boyz to work with, right? I mean there’s already a scheduled match for the Tag Champs, Sheamus & Cesaro. If only WWE had picked up another Tag Team last year, which could easily fill that gap? *cough* The Club *cough*. But, I guess not.

Credit: WWE.com

Meanwhile, Jason Jordan Angle, has started a little thing with the Miz, which screams to me “Pre-Show Match!” loud and clear. So, color me surprised when this one took so long to get added to the card. Anyway, this was a bit of a throwaway match, which seemingly only about a quarter of the live crowd in attendance got to witness, as this match went on so early that huge chunks of the arena were glaringly empty. Jordan looked decent and pitting him against the Miz, one of the best heels in WWE today, is a logical choice. Dallas and Axel…were, well, there and the Hardy Boyz did the things that the Hardy Boyz normally do. In the end, the heelish Miz slithered in and seized the moment for a win and that was that.

Credit: WWE.com

Neville VS. Akira Tozawa (Cruiserweight Championship): This was a fine little match. That’s really it. This past Monday on RAW, Tozawa managed to pin Neville and win the Cruiserweight Championship. It was a cool moment and an unexpected win that made that episode of RAW a bit better than some of the others that preceded it. Though, I’m not really sure why they decided to pull the trigger on Tozawa getting the win and the Championship less than a week before this match on Summerslam. What was even more surprising and, maybe, just as perplexing was when Neville got the win and stole the Cruiserweight Championship back in this match. I was honestly hoping that Tozawa would have a much longer reign and eventually end up passing the title off to yet another member of the Cruiserweight division. I was also hoping that Neville would start to transition back to the Main Roster, instead of just presiding of the limbo that is 205 Live. I’m sure all of that could still happen in the future, as this feud is probably far from over. But, we will just have to wait and see.

Credit: WWE.com

The Usos VS. The New Day (Smackdown Tag Team Championships): Speaking of perplexing: How in the heck did this match get bumped back to the Pre-Show? I mean history has shown that these two teams are capable of stealing the show with an incredible match. And, this match easily stole the Pre-Show, if not possibly the rest of Summerslam as a whole. Both teams pulled out all of the stops and gave us, the fans, plenty of new spots throughout. It just doesn’t seem right that this wasn’t a part of the main card. This match was very fast-paced, except for an unnecessary commercial break slowing things down, and fun affair. A ton of near falls and some unique double-teaming maneuvers kept this match exciting from start to finish. In the end, the Usos were just that much quicker and craftier than Xavier Woods and Big E, as they surprisingly won the Smackdown Tag titles back.

Credit: WWE.com

Of course, almost all of that was overshadowed by the New Day’s outfits as they paid homage to the Red Lantern Corps. As a comic nerd, I will freely admit to nerding out tenfold when they came walking out. Awesome.

Credit: WWE.com

John Cena VS. Baron Corbin: So, finally, after two hours of Pre-Show okay-ness, we come to the actual show. Things kicked off with one of the more “blah” matches, as Corbin was out for blood due to Cena causing his Money in the Bank cash in to crash and burn on the previous Smackdown. This thing could have been decent had Corbin really unleashed on John Cena and just beat him down, up to and beyond getting DQ’d. I would have been fine with Corbin losing that way. It would have made sense and added something to the guy as opposed to just having him get pinned clean, in the center of the ring, after losing his Money in the Bank briefcase as well as all momentum that he had seemed to have gained.

Credit: WWE.com

Yes, I know. How naïve of me to actually believe that John Cena would lose to the likes of Baron Corbin? But, why not, man? It seems like Cena will be making that jump over to RAW soon, while Corbin will probably just linger around the Smackdown lower-mid-card for the foreseeable future, beating up on Sami Zayn again. Why stifle a guy’s momentum this harshly? I mean it wasn’t the worst of the night, when it came to burying a younger talent, but it was pretty bad.

Credit: WWE.com

Natalya VS. Naomi (Smackdown Women’s Championship): So, the one good thing to come out of Corbin losing his Money in the Bank briefcase already, was the possibility that Carmella would definitely cash her briefcase in. Unfortunately, the “Powers that Be” seemed to not be in the mood for anything too exciting to happen at this Summerslam, as the cash in never came. Instead we were treated to a relatively good match between Naomi and Natalya that ended with a clean submission and Natalya finally earning a Championship. There are really only two things that I have to say about this match. 1) Kudos to Natalya. She is one of the better workers on the Main Roster and has suffered a ton of defeats, yet still goes out there and puts forward a solid effort each and every night. So, I have nothing but respect and good tidings to extend her way. Congrats. 2) This might have been one of Naomi’s best, if not THE best, match she has had. Naomi looked great out there and has nothing to be ashamed of.

Credit: WWE.com

The fact that Carmella didn’t come marching down to the ring and cash in wasn’t a bad thing or even really a disappointment. It just led to a sort of “Uh…okay” kind of moment. Carmella and Ellsworth were featured on the Kick Off show, in a relatively long segment and then were shown hanging out backstage, watching the match. So, why waste all of that time and attention on her if nothing is going to come of it? Maybe, we will see a cash in coming soon, on this upcoming Smackdown, perhaps. But, that just seems like a waste to do it there, as opposed to a huge stage like Summerslam.

Credit: WWE.com

Big Show VS. Big Cass with Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a Shark Cage: So, this one sucked. Enzo jumped the shark for me a little while back, as it became apparent that his in-ring ability wasn’t really improving and this feud between he and his former partner and best pal, Big Cass was getting real old, real fast. Maybe, that was due to the Big Show being included in the feud and stepping in to protect Enzo. Amore came out and attempted to dazzle the crowd with one of his usually entertaining monologues, only this time it came off as a bit lame and rambling on par with one of Bray Wyatt’s worst speeches. Luckily, Big Cass cut it short, when he made his way down to the ring. Enzo hopped in the cage and Big Show slowly made his way down.

Credit: WWE.com

What followed was one of the more ponderously slow and nonsensical matches that WWE has had in the last few weeks. Cass and Show punched and kicked each other, took prolonged breathers and then went at it some more. All the while, Enzo swayed around in the cage, above the ring, shouting and dancing like an idiot. Eventually, things got a bit interesting, as Enzo started stripping down to his boxers and covered himself with baby oil. He then threw on some black gloves and squeezed himself between the not so narrow bars of the Shark Cage. Once free, Enzo lowered himself to the ring and was almost immediately taken out by Cass, who would go on to put down the Big Show and thankfully end the match.

Credit: WWE.com

There were rumors going into this that Enzo would be turning heel and possibly reuniting with Cass. I don’t know if that really makes sense? Why go through all of this trouble of setting up the fake attacks on Enzo and lying about being attacked himself? Cass wanted to get away from the nonstop drama and trouble that Enzo seemed to bring his way. What would be the ultimate goal here? Unless, Cass was right all along and Enzo’s the bad guy! Nah, it’s just bad storytelling, folks.

Credit: WWE.com

Randy Orton VS. Rusev: F@$% you, WWE! That is all.

Credit: WWE.com

Oh, you need more? Well, here’s the deal. Rusev is foreign, so because it is 1983 that means he is bad, right? Wrong! It’s friggin’ 2017 and Rusev is a solid wrestler that has shown real improvement both inside and outside of the ring and deserves a real solid push. So, what to do with him at Summerslam, which I heard somewhere is “The Biggest Party of the Summer”? Well, have him lose a match in a matter of seconds. That’s what!

So, Orton comes out and does his pose off and gets interrupted by an ambush from the Bulgarian Brute, before the bell rings. Rusev throws Orton around the ringside and gives him a good ol’ ‘Murican whippin’, before throwing The Viper back into the ring and demanding that the bell be rung so the match can officially begin. But, no! The ref instead insists on checking on Orton, to make sure he’s fit to go, before calling for the start of the match. And, so, as the referee does just that, finally, Orton immediately pops up and delivers an RKO to Handsome Rusev for the win. So, like I originally said “F@$% you, WWE!”

Credit: WWE.com

Sasha Banks VS. Alexa Bliss (RAW Women’s Championship): So, this was a welcome surprise. I thought, for sure, that Brooklyn was just a little too close to Sasha’s hometown for her to really stand any chance of winning the Championship. But, win she did. Banks was the replacement for the injured Bailey, who had originally earned the match with Alexa Bliss for the title and she didn’t squander that shot. This was a really good match, but coming off of the Asuka/Ember Moon match from the previous night’s NXT Takeover, there was no way that this was going to stand out. I still think that Alexa Bliss is a great heel champion and was a little more than surprised that they decided to have her drop the title like this. Though, if the commercial that was shown for RAW’s next PPV, No Mercy, is any indication of what to expect, it would seem that Alexa is going to get her rematch, possibly with some stipulation for the match. Not a whole lot more to say about this one, really.

Credit: WWE.com

Bray Wyatt VS. Finn Balor: Continuing the trend of matches that were good, but not great and a lack of any real surprises, comes this one between The Demon, Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt. Yes, Balor showed up all painted up and crawling around, which admittedly is fun to see, but a good match it does not automatically make. The match itself was really just a step or two above what I would expect from a decent match on RAW and, besides the body paint and all of the pomp it brings with it, this was a bit of a letdown.

Credit: WWE.com

Both guys did a good job and seem to work very well together, there just wasn’t a whole lot of substance to this match. I was hoping for some more psychological warfare and character stuff in this one, but got next to nothing. Instead, we were treated to a solid wrestling match, which would be great in any other circumstances, but these two characters should have had more story intertwined within the physicality of the match. Balor ended up getting a clean win and then that was it. No Wyatt Family members showed up to attack Finn and give the feud a “To Be Continued” moment. Maybe we’ll get that on RAW, but why wait? So much more could have and should have been done with this one.

Credit: WWE.com

Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose VS. Sheamus & Cesaro (RAW Tag Team Championships): The popular members of The Shield got back together, fisted hard and set their sights on the Tag Team titles and that’s a good thing. Ambrose desperately needed a change of pace, as there were only so many more Ambrose VS. The Miz matches that I could take before going postal. And, Rollins seems to have been squeezed out of the Universal Championship title picture for some inexplicable reason and seemingly left with nothing better to do. So, putting these two guys back together seemed like a truly great idea. Now, let’s just cross our fingers and hope for the inevitable Ambrose heel turn to come further down the line, which could then lead into a great feud between the friends turned enemies turned friends.

Credit: WWE.com

But, before we get there, we lucked out and got a really good Tag Team Championship match. This thing was solid with only a few moments that seemed to drag a bit too long. Ambrose and Rollins worked very well together, not that that was really a surprise, and hit plenty of cool spots as they teamed up to work over the champs. But, Sheamus & Cesaro didn’t go down without a fight and looked great, though it just wasn’t enough, in the end.

Credit: WWE.com

Sheamus looked really good, but Cesaro was great. The Swiss Superman was on fire. Whether he was showing off his incredible agility, hitting one of his amazing feats of strength or just leaping the barrier to run into the crowd and destroy a beach ball, Cesaro stole the show. If this loss eventually leads to the split of Sheamus and Cesaro, I am begging for Cesaro to maybe head to Smackdown and get that push that he greatly deserves. Or, just keep the two together and keep them at the top of the Tag division wherever they are. I’m fine with that as well.

Credit: WWE.com

Kevin Owens VS. A.J. Styles (United States Championship with Shane McMahon as Special Guest Referee): “Maybe this whole show is starting to turn around,” I thought to myself, as I watched this great match between Owens and Styles. I was kind of right. This match was great, as most of the matches between these two guys have been, so far. Adding Shane-O-Mac in there as a Special Referee gave the feud just the right amount of spice to keep things fresh and helped this match stand out from all of the other ones. Shane did a great job as the unpredictable element in the match that could turn things either way, as well as just playing the part of ref.

Credit: WWE.com

Styles and Owens continued to dazzle in the ring, as both guys took it to each other in what may be one of their final encounters in this feud. Styles got the win after countless near falls and a false finish, as Owens pinned Styles for a three count, only to have Shane call it off as he noticed A.J.’s leg on the rope at just the last second. This led to Owens getting distracted and opened himself up for a series of shots that eventually led to a Styles Clash and then the win.

Credit: WWE.com

If rumors can be believed, this loss may be leading to a match between Owens and Shane McMahon, which could be fun, if built up right. Shane is good on the mic and Owens is a heel god, so I can only hope that this is where things are headed. I’m not sure where this will leave Styles? I wouldn’t be shocked if Owens continues to feud with A.J. for a bit longer, but it may be time for someone else to rise up and challenge for that U.S. title. *cough* Rusev *cough* Ahem. Maybe, Sami or some other evil foreigner who just wants to trash America. Oh, Sami is foreign, but actually likes America and Americans? Who knew that there were such people out there like that? As someone whose life revolves around pro-wrestling, I didn’t. (Lest anyone think different, that last little bit should be read with a sarcastic tone to the voice you hear in your head as you read my words. Thanks.)

Credit: WWE.com

Shinsuke Nakamura VS. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship): What went wrong? Everything was looking bright and shiny. Banks won the RAW Women’s title, Balor and Bray were okay, the RAW Tag match was really good and Styles and Owens did it again, with a solid match. How could everything go so wrong so fast? I mean the lone Violinist guy was there to play Nakamura’s theme live, Shinsuke looked great and surely they wouldn’t squander this moment for one of the greatest wrestlers in the world today to win the WWE Championship in a moment that could be truly memorable, right? Wrong! Nope, just when you thought things were looking up, we reach the point in the show where Papa Vince pulls the rug out from under you and brings you crashing back down to painful reality.

Credit: WWE.com

Now, this match wasn’t bad. Both Jinder and Nakamura did a decent job. I think Jinder looked a bit better in this match then he has in every other match since the first match he had with Orton, where he won the WWE Championship originally. Jinder just isn’t on the same level as Nakamura and that was clearly evident throughout this match. Shinsuke, on the other hand, came off, to me at least, a bit subdued. He almost seems to have a formula that he has been using lately in his matches and he doesn’t deviate too much from the plan. So, it was kind of a letdown and that was before we got to the ending.

Credit: WWE.com

All it took was a little distraction from the Singh Brothers and a very sloppy Coloss-thingie from Jinder to end things, with the champ retaining. It was all a bit of a disappointment. Clearly I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, as the “Powers that Be” decided to rub it in, doing one of my least favorite things, and pointing the cameras at every other goof in the audience who just seemed depressed. Way to go, guys. Stick it to the fans. Nice! Hopefully, this was only the opening salvo in the feud between these two and Nakamura will get his hands on the Championship in the end, but it doesn’t really change the wasted opportunity that I feel many of us saw flash before our eyes this night.

Credit: WWE.com

Braun Strowman VS. Samoa Joe VS. Roman Reigns VS. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Championship Fatal 4-Way): Luckily, after twelve other matches, plenty of ups and even more downs, we come the “Main” Main Event and the Fatal 4-Way for the Universal Championship. I have to say: I didn’t expect too much from this one. Man, was I wrong! This match was really, really good. Each guy got a moment or two or ten in the spotlight, with each gaining the upper hand and seemingly coming within inches of winning it all. And, though, in the end, Brock Lesnar would come out on top and retain the title, the other three competitors proved that they deserve to be in the title picture. Yes, even Roman Reigns.

Credit: WWE.com

The real stand out here was Braun Strowman. Strowman did an incredibly good job and spent more time running things than he did on his back. From slamming Brock through not one, but two announcer’s tables, tipping the third over on top of Lesnar and hurling another chair at Reigns, Strowman stole the show. The guy has just gotten better and better and I actually found myself rooting for him more than once throughout the match.

Credit: WWE.com

Joe and Reigns looked really good, as well, which isn’t too much of a shock really. I’m not the biggest fan of Reigns, but I can see that the guy has got talent and a great look, he just needs work on that character is all. Be a heel or don’t, pick one. The cockiness and arrogance that Reigns displays falls on deaf ears because he has almost always portrayed that attitude, without ever really earning the fans respect first and most people just don’t like being told that they should be cheering for a guy just because. Reigns can and will be great, even if he doesn’t ever have a “real” heel turn. What Reigns needs is that moment of humility. That humble moment where he earns the fans praise. When or if that moment comes, things may begin to turn around. But, it might need to be done sooner rather than later, as the animosity that has built up against the guy is only getting worse and we all know that he’s getting that title eventually, which makes things worse.

Credit: WWE.com

Joe, on the other hand, has earned that respect. Granted, he has also told everyone that he’s just there for titles and paychecks, but at least he has a much longer and storied history in the ring, that fans can look back on and respect the progress that he has made. If Lesnar were to go, Joe is the perfect guy to fill the void that he would leave, in my mind.

Credit: WWE.com

With that being said, it looks like Brock is sticking around a bit longer, possibly heading toward a one-on-one between he and Strowman. Lesnar looked really good in this match and though, he missed a nice chunk of it due to Strowman slamming him through multiple tables, he came back and wrapped things up nicely in what was a really solid finish for the match and the event.

Credit: WWE.com

So, there it is. Summerslam 2017 was a rollercoaster ride that started to even out somewhere in the middle, only to take a major dip, before righting the ship for a spectacular finish. It is for those reasons and more the WWE Summerslam 2017 earns a 3 out of 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

Want to check out what I thought about the previous night’s NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3? Well, you are in luck and can do so BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE!

Credit: WWE.com

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