Sunday, August 17, 2014

The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2014

The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2014

Live for only $9.99, from Los Angeles, CA. Shouldn’t the WWE logo in the corner be changed? They already unveiled the new one in Variety and everything!

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL

Oddly, I tried to watch on a delay on the Xbox One, but it wouldn’t start from the beginning on the live stream and instead plopped me into the middle of the Reigns-Orton match. So I had to switch to the Roku instead. Quite weird. Disappointing, because I find the interface and video quality much better on the XBone version, probably because it has 16 million times the processing power of the Roku. That’s just an estimate, though.

Hulk Hogan is out to pimp the WWE Network, which is only $9.99! Unless you live in Canada, in which case it’s $11.99. Isn’t that kind of a class action lawsuit waiting to happen at some point given how heavily they advertise the $10 price point?

We get a weird, cheesy grindhouse-style video package to start, which doesn’t fit with the UFC atmosphere of the main event at all. But it’s still pretty cool otherwise.

Intercontinental title: The Miz v. Dolph Ziggler

Speaking of wrestlers in the movies, I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend and it was pretty amazing. Might have been one of my favorite of the Marvel movies, even with a property that I had no real experience with beforehand. It’s a tossup whether it or Captain America was the best superhero movie of the year. And yeah, Batista was wooden, but that’s to be expected in his role as the tree.

Oh, wait, he wasn’t the tree? I just assumed. Never mind.

On another note, is anyone else wondering if Marcelo Rodriguez of the Spanish announce team is getting worried about his job given the track record of people with his last name lately? Miz runs away to start, because of the moneymaker you see, and Dolph chases him to the floor and back in for a rollup that gets two. Miz reverses him into the turnbuckles, thus CREATING SEPARATION, and Miz stomps him down for two. We hit the chinlock and Miz boots him down while the crowd informs him that he can’t wrestle. Miz to the top and he misses, so I guess that the crowd was correct. Dolph comes back with a neckbreaker out of the corner for two, but Miz tosses him and Dolph slips back in with a rollup for two. Dolph hits him in the moneymaker and follows with a superkick for two. Miz decides to take a walk, but catches Ziggler with the figure-four on the way back in. Ziggler escapes and goes for the fameasser, but Miz reverses to the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Zig Zag gives Dolph the title at 7:55. DOLPH WINS A MATCH!? Short and fun, but more of a TV match than a PPV match. **3/4

Meanwhile, Brie Bella has been doing a lot of thinking while in jail.

Divas title: AJ Lee v. Paige

The crowd jumps right into the CM Punk chant, but the girls cut it off with a hairpulling war that ends badly for Paige. To the floor and Paige drops her on the barricade to take over. Paige gets nasty with headbutts and it’s chinlock time before they head to the apron for some vicious knees from Paige. Bitches be crazy, am I right? Paige bails to the floor and AJ follows with a clothesline from the top, and back in for the Shining Wizard for two. Paige superkicks her, but AJ reverses the Paige-turner into the Black Widow, and Paige turns that into the DDT for the pin and the title at 5:00. That was quite the finish. Another short but energetic match. **1/2

Flag Match: Rusev v. Jack Swagger

So the rules have changed AGAIN, as now it’s just regular match and the winner gets their flag hung over the ring. Where’s Corporal Kirschner when you need him? That dude was a MACHINE when US pride was on the line! Speaking of which, Swagger gets a military honor guard to escort him out, so maybe they’ll, like, shoot Rusev or something so that he can lose and still stay strong. You know, shoot him in the leg, not KILL him. That would just be excessive. Rusev interrupts Swagger’s flag waving with an attack, so Swagger anklelocks him and the ref freaks out because the match hasn’t officially started yet or something. So when we actually begin, Swagger goes after the leg and Rusev runs away to escape. Swagger’s new gear is pretty badass, actually. Back in, Rusev counters the Swaggerbomb to take over and throws knees in the corner as Michael Cole ponders how Vladimir Putin will deal with someone losing a match dedicated to him. I’m gonna go with “He’s not gonna give a shit”, but that’s just a guess. Rusev with the bearhug and some Russian trash-talking (Translation: “You see that out there? I’m tapping that ass! No, not Zeb Colter!”) but Swagger is enraged by this and comes back with the big boot. Swaggerbomb gets two this time, but he hurts the ribs further. Swagger tries the anklelock, then turns it into a spinebuster instead for two. Rusev kicks him in the ribs again to put him down and RUSEV CRUSH, but his ankle won’t let him crush. So he half-crushes instead and Swagger reverses into the anklelock, forcing Rusev to fight out of it. Leg lariat puts Swagger down again and RUSEV CRUSH at 8:55. YO PUTIN! HE DID IT! Poor Zeb gets kicked down as well and this would seem to be the perfect time for another Real American patriot to make the save. But no, they just play the anthem and raise the flag as the Rusev push continues. Maybe they’re setting him up for John Cena? Match was nothing special, but had some good drama at the end. ** Again, though, Rusev is selling WAY too much if they’re setting him up for a top level run. At this point, who the hell knows what they want for anyone?

Lumberjack Match: Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose

It’s an epic collection of midcard geeks out there tonight, which sadly now includes Cesaro. I have to wonder if Dean Ambrose is the most egregious case of someone having a better real name than wrestling name, as “Jonathan Good” lends itself way better to wrestling than any of his gimmick names thus far. Quick slugfest to start and Rollins tries to run, but the lumberjacks send him back in for more punishment. Rollins dropkicks him to the heel side and they get some abuse in, allowing Rollins to take over. Blind charge misses and Dean goes up, but Rollins brings him down and stomps away in the corner before going to a chinlock. Ambrose comes back and misses a bodypress, but suplexes Rollins onto the lumberjacks anyway. They try to brawl into the crowd and thus give everyone what they want, but the lumberjack buzzkills keep trying to bring them back in. Finally they fight through the job squad and BRAWL INTO THE CROWD. Hells yeah. The lumberjacks thankfully give up the chase and they go fighting up the stairs while Kane the Libertarian comes out to restore order. HE EVEN RUINS MATCHES HE’S NOT WRESTLING IN! #KaneRuinsEverything. Rollins takes a walk, but the babyface geeks drag him back to the ring, and Ambrose hits them all with a dive in an awesome spot. Back in, a rebound lariat gets two and the crowd is going nuts. Ambrose pulls out a curb stomp on him and gets two, but now Kane comes in to wreck things as usual. And it’s CHAOS with a giant lumberjack brawl, but Rollins nails Ambrose with the briefcase for the pin at 10:54. Sucks that they ended it just as it was finally getting somewhere. *** Disappointing given what we wanted out of the match, but they covered it up with enough ga-ga to make it entertaining. I still don’t get why they booked a lumberjack match in the first place, though, especially if you have the babyface pick the stips and then lose the match.

Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt

Slugfest to start and Jericho elbows him down, then goes up with a bodypress for two. They head to the floor and Wyatt takes over out there with a knee to the head on the stairs, and back in for some singing. We hit the chinlock as the crowd is actually kind of torn on who to cheer for. Bray with the running forearm for two, but a blind charge hits boot and Jericho gets two. Bray with the uranage for two. Jericho counters Sister Abby with the Walls, but Bray quickly makes the ropes. Kind of hard to get a submission like that on a guy who can CRAB WALK. Bray rams Jericho’s head into the apron for two as this thing is just dragging something fierce. Back in, Wyatt goes up and misses whatever, and Jericho gets two. You can tell the crowd really wants to like this match but there’s just nothing here for them. Jericho comes back and tries the Lionsault, but Bray freaks him out with the crab-walk. So Jericho hits the codebreaker instead and gets two. I’m thinking that Bray’s mistake there was cutting a promo while Jericho was stunned. They head to the floor again and Bray Abagails him into the barricade, then back in for another one to finish at 12:55. Way long, and Jericho is looking OLD out there. **

Stephanie McMahon v. Brie Bella

Well this should pick up the pace a bit. Cough. Stephanie is a leather-clad super-MILF tonight, totally outclassing Brie on the hotness scale tonight. I have to say I’m shocked how well she’s held up after 10 years and 3 kids. Or maybe it’s because I’m getting old myself, I dunno. Brie gets a pair of armdrags, but Steph stomps her down in the corner and mocks Daniel Bryan. This prompts Brie to take her down, but Steph escapes the ring and then suckers Brie into trying a dive, at which point she clobbers her into the apron. Brie is kind of an idiot. Back in, DDT gets two. Necksnap gets two. What exactly is “Brie Mode”, as displayed on Bree’s boobs? Does it involve being a wrestler for 5 years without learning how to work a match? Brie comes back with a Thesz press and Stephanie is so awesome here that the crowd TURNS ON BRIE! Seriously, Steph’s facials and timing are amazing for a junky match like this. Brie comes back and pounds away in the corner and her timing is all wrong. Missile dropkick gets two. Brie throws “punches” on the mat that are some of the worst ever, and HHH and Nikki join us while Brie gets the Yes-Lock, in a manner of speaking. HHH punks out the referee to save, so Brie goes after him while Nikki chases Steph…and then turns on Brie. CALLED IT. Because obviously that was the worst possible finish so they’d naturally have to go with it. Pedigree finishes at 11:05. This was a magnificent performance from Stephanie, but as a match it was shit. *1/2 And yeah, all those weeks of buildup and the Authority wins…again.

And then for some reason we get 5 minutes of bullshit with some kid who “won” a contest sponsored by chips or something. Whatever it is, we don’t have it here in Canada, so it can fuck right off. Plus a commercial for Sin City. Oh, and a commercial for ANOTHER type of chips. Well, they gotta make up that Network revenue somehow. I recouped my $60 worth out of this network 3 PPVs ago so I can hardly complain about a few commercials.

Roman Reigns v. Randy Orton

Slugfest to start and Orton backs off, but they brawl on the floor, and Reigns clotheslines him to the floor again after that. Orton sends him into the stairs, and back in for the chinlock. I should note for those playing at home, my wife watched the entrances and feels like Reigns has disgusting hair that looks like cassette tape and Orton is something of a greek god. So Roman might have that going against his big push. They fight to the top and Orton brings him down with a superplex for two. Reigns fights back with a sleeper, but Orton slams out of it and Reigns goes back to it again. Orton suplexes out this time for two. And it’s another chinlock! The Randy Orton Summerslam tradition continues. Reigns fights out for the slugfest and the boos and yays are not so clear cut. Reigns with the apron dropkick as former WCW World champion David Arquette cheers him on at ringside, but Orton sends him into the post for two. Back in, they fight to the top again and Roman brings him down with a samoan drop and follows with the superman punch. Spear is countered into the powerslam for two, however. Perhaps if he didn’t take 10 minutes to set it up, it would be more effective. But then it’s not like Orton is one to talk. Draping DDT and RKO gets two. Crowd was ready to buy that as the finish. Orton decides that it’s time for the nuclear option with the punt, but Reigns ducks it and finishes with the spear at 16:12. I dunno about this Reigns push, dude. This was a really slow-paced match and the fans were more into Orton’s comeback. I was certainly not particularly invested in the finish or anything. This was certainly not the star-making performance they were probably looking for. **1/2

Next year, Summerslam comes to “the New York-New Jersey area”. Why do they do that shit? Why not just say “New Jersey”? No wonder the entire state has an inferiority complex.

WWE World title: John Cena v. Brock Lesnar

If we don’t get BLOOD, URINE AND VOMIT, we riot. Of course, nothing is said about John’s fiancĂ©e turning to the dark side earlier in the show, because that relationship only exists on Total Divas. And we’re all idiots. You’d think it would be easy storyline for the announcers to be like “Oh man, his future wife is aligned with his enemies! That’s gotta fuck with his head, MAGGLE! $9.99!” Slugfest to start and Brock immediately hits the F5 for two. Well, he definitely doesn’t work by the hour. And the crowd is CRAZY behind Brock. Release german and Cena is down and out on the mat, so Brock hammers his ribs with a knee and follows with a suplex, but Cena fights back in the corner until Brock casually swats him down again like a bug. You OFFEND our Viking Space Lord, John Cena! Brock pounds him with knees and stands on his hand to keep him down, which is a nice touch. Another german suplex drops Cena on his head, and Brock does it three more times to prove a point. That gets two. Cena gets up, so Brock suplexes him again and Cena is nearly out, so Brock does it again. But Cena never gives up because that’s his whole brand, and he fights back with clotheslines and the FU for two. Brock does the ZOMBIE SITUP, however, and he wants more, but John does not. Brock goes ground and pound on him and fires away as Michael and JBL talk UFC history in a weird bit. Brock throws some rolling germans now and Cena is knocked goofy again, so Brock does it AGAIN, but the ref still won’t call it. So Cena takes him down with the STF, as apparently Cena can rise above concussions, but Brock reverses out and finishes with the F5 at 16:02 to win the title. They try for the Undertaker reactions at ringside, but come on. We all knew it was happening. Nowhere near their first match, as it was basically an extremely extended squash for Brock, but major props to Cena for going out and getting destroyed like that. ***1/4 I’m guessing this is the Rocky III deal where Clubber Lang beats him in the first match and then the babyface regroups with a MONTAGE and makes the big comeback later, probably at Night of Champions. And why not, Rocky III is awesome.

The Pulse

Nothing blowaway great on the show, but everything was at least good or very memorable or building someone up, so I’d call it a thumbs up. Seems to be more of a setup for the Night of Champions “Please renew the Network, please please please” show, however.

7 comments:

  1. I'd go more like ** 1/2 for the main, all for the story. It was kind of a 'meh' show honestly -- nothing really bad, but nothing great either.

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  2. "Again, though, Rusev is selling WAY too much if they’re setting him up for a top level run."

    I'm not so sure I 100% agree with your police work there, Lou. I think that was the perfect finish for both guys. Rusev's ankle was getting fucking WRECKED in that match, and he overcame a shit ton to get the win, including locking in The Accolade at full strength while nearly crying in pain. That's an insane fighting spirit spot. Meanwhile, Swagger, who they've been trying to push forever but just can't quite get the reaction they want, is more over than ever with the "passing out but refusing to give up" spot and Zeb playing the role of Mickey Goldmill.

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  3. Dolph did a really good post-match promo about the importance if winning the IC title.

    http://www.wwe.com/videos/dolph-ziggler-comments-on-winning-the-intercontinental-championship-wwecom-exclu-26578099

    Obviously it's still months of jobing to look forward to, but I think he deserves more credit than he gets on the mic.

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  4. The why not would be because unlike a one off movie, WWE needs to build future stars, and sacrificing the streak and destroying Cena just to give that rub back to Cena would tell everyone they have no interest in truly building up anyone new.

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  5. Could be, but I just don't feel like I know where they're going with these guys, and I don't think they do either. Swagger was certainly not in their plans even a month ago as someone who would go anywhere out of this feud.

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  6. DUD for the main. 72 German Suplexes and two F5's and we're done? The crowd was shitting on the match halfway through it because there was no energy at all.

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