Hey folks! Hope you enjoyed our live coverage of WWE Summerslam last night! The team here at Ring Rap had plenty to say about the show, so let's dive right in and get started.
We will list these in order from winner to loser for our Ring Rap Summer Prediction Tally.
Shanna Harris - NXT Columnist
Summerslam, as predicted by most everyone on this website, was a show for the record books. Storyline wise, most everything was executed to perfection, and there was still room for a few unexpected surprises. Since this was my first live Summerslam in over 5 years, I'm particularly pleased that I was witness to such a strong show. But this year's Summerslam will be remembered for two classic matches, CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan vs John Cena. Both matchups far exceeded my expectations and delivered amazing new stories that will take us into Night of Champions.
But the ultimate point of this is to give a best and worst to my most and least favorite moments in the show. Here's what I think, and feel free to disagree with me in the comments!
Worst: Bray Wyatt vs Kane
I expected so much more from this match. Much more than what I got. You could blame the lack of story, the stipulation or even the crowd going dead during the match. But the bottomline is that it's up to the performers to make the best of whatever television minutes they have. And as sad as I am to say this, Bray Wyatt did not have a very strong appearance in his first match with Kane. The match as a whole was slow, and having to watch out for the fire at ringside caused the action to be far too cautious for my liking.
And if I'm being really honest, I'll say this: Kane isn't as good of a wrestler as I remembered him being. You could almost say that Bray had to come down to his level and match his speed (which wasn't very fast) just to keep the match going. I don't want to say that perhaps Kane should hang it up, but I expected someone in this match to step up the aggression and make more of an impact than what we got. All in all, this match that died in front of the live crowd and won't be remembered by anybody but the few people who enjoyed it.
Best: Daniel Bryan vs John Cena
Now, you're probably asking yourself why CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar wasn't my best moment of the night. And I have the answer for you. Matchwise, I was overjoyed with Punk vs Brock. Punk/Brock was a classic and perfect in just about everyway that you could imagine.. But if I have to pick the moment that stood out the most in my mind, it's Cena vs Bryan that won out for one simple reason: The ending of the match.
Seeing Daniel Bryan hold the WWE championship and getting championship pyro is currently the happiest wrestling moment that I can recall in quite awhile. I was legitimately almost crying with joy when watching Daniel yessing with the crowd and holding his newly won WWE Championship. But just as I was left wondering what Daniel would put on his championship side plated, the ending played out the way that it did and made me so angry that I went on a twitter tirade that began and ended with the words "bullshit" and "motherfucker."
Real, genuine moments that make you feel angry, sad or however you felt at the end of the match are exactly the point of heel/face turns. This turn, though most everyone I talked to predicted how it would end, was a classic example of a heel turn. Daniel had been built up as the man poised to take down Cena, and he did. And then two outsiders came in and ruined that clean win using underhanded tactics. HHH and Randy turned heel in a very effective way. I can't be mad at what happened because it all made sense and was executed in an effective and shocking way.
And, as much as I hate to say this, I have to give credit to HHH. He didn't hog the spotlight. As a matter of fact, at one point I forgot he was special ref, which is a good thing. He stayed out of the way and let the action play out. Which is all that I ever wanted for Cena vs Bryan. People, Daniel Bryan pinned John Cena clean. That alone is fan-fucking-tastic stat to have etched in WWE history.
Again, it doesn't beat Brock vs Punk as far as match quality and the shocks in that match, but I'm a 29 year old woman who was reduced to curse words and pounding my thighs with my hands in frustration at Daniel Bryan being screwed out of the WWE Championship. And honest reactions are the best reactions.
Now, it's time to see what a heel Randy Orton can do as WWE Champion.
Bill Wentz - Senior Columnist
SummerSlam delivered last night, plain and simple. On paper, I felt like the card looked solid and able to produce a sound pay per view and it was. For the first time in a while, the mid-summer party really felt like a true “big four” pay per view for WWE.
The Main Events…
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan was not the match I was looking forward to the most going in, but with the moving parts of the McMahons and Randy Orton being involved it added curiosity to the finish. I am among many who criticize John Cena for mailing it in but when he has the right opponent he is able to have quality matches like this one was.
Do not fear: Daniel Bryan is OVER…way over. He is in a good place right now to continue to chase the title and I think he and Orton can have some good matches going forward. I hope that once Bryan does capture the title the moment will stick as well as what we saw prior to the cash-in.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was the match I was really looking forward to, and…just…damn. This match had some lofty expectations and the two men delivered. The no disqualification stipulation added to this match in spades. This was a very physical brawl between the two men.
Brock went over in this one which was the right call. If they want to go to a rematch, they can when the time is right and it will be money. Punk did get his hands on Heyman momentarily, punching him and locking him in the Anaconda Vice for a moment before Lesnar broke it up.
The follow-ups to both of these matches should be interesting. Will Triple H play his actions as a “purposed heel”, saying he did what he did to prevent Vince from wrecking the main event? Will Punk be satisfied with what he did to Heyman, or will he try to extract more revenge? We’ll find out starting tonight on Raw.
The Rest of the Card…
Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam was a good opener, even if the finish was a bit easy to see coming. As I mentioned in live coverage, it helps continue the story between all six men that ended up getting involved. I’m sure it sold a couple pay per views.
Kane and Bray Wyatt didn’t have the greatest of opening matches. That said the post-match angle where the Family destroyed Kane and carried him off was well done. There’s more story to tell there and it keeps my interest.
Christian and Alberto Del Rio quietly had a solid match as well. The fans bought in to the near falls and it made Christian look good in defeat. Del Rio is such a good heel right now.
All in all, SummerSlam delivered and if I were grading by letters I’d give it an A-, with only the Divas match and the mixed tag bringing that grade down. To be fair, Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E. Langston and AJ suffered a bit from card placement, but was a better than normal buffer before the main event.
Match of the Night: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Worst of the Night: Natalya vs. Brie Bella, simply because the fans just didn’t care.
Jay Ciaravino - Smackdown Columnist
What I liked:
The finish for the Main Event. Not only because I predicted it with such great accuracy, (where's my bonus point Drew?), but, I personally feel like this is the best move going forward. I know everyone is big on Daniel Bryan right now, truth be told though, he would have held the strap for about four weeks before people got tired of him. Vince may get booed for claiming publicly that he knows what the fans want better than they do, this time however, I think he got it right. Bryan will still have plenty of supporters as the story unfolds, and, if and when he does reclaim the title, it will feel even better than you thought it did last night.
What I didn't like:
Bray Wyatt's debut. I was really excited to see Bray's in ring debut to see if his work on the mat could hold up to his work on the mic. Sadly, I was disappointed. Jerry Lawler didn't help things by hyping up Wyatt's in ring style, stating during his entrance that Bray had a very "unique" style. If kicks, punches, clubs to the back, and getting your butt kicked for the whole match is unique, then Lawler is spot on. If Jerry ever offered me a "unique" hamburger, I would politely tell him that I don't eat at Burger King.
A few other things that I didn't like include the U.S. Championship match being on the pre-show, mostly because I know that means that it won't be released on the DVD/Blu-Ray. I was also very upset that neither the tag titles, (those who made a pick for that match should lose a point by default), nor the Intercontinental title was on the line. Who has Curtis Axel even fought yet?
Best match of the night: C.M. Punk vs. Brock Lesnar. Do I really have to explain why?
Overall Score: I give last nights Summerslam a 7.5 out of 10. Personally, I thought it was the best PPV of the year so far. I can't wait for Raw tonight.
Drew Koscelek - Editor in Chief
WWE managed to put together a card that, from top to bottom, delivered. The undercard knew it's place and served to entertain before two blockbuster main events in CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan.
Not much really happened on the undercard, and that's ok. Storylines were advanced where necessary, people were written off TV, and titles did not change hands. And that's ok. WWE is in a holding pattern with the lower card feuds right now as pieces get moved into the right places.
Let's talk about the important stuff.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was an absolutely brutal match from start to finish. I was surprised we didn't see more blood (though frankly it didn't need it). CM Punk looked credible, and Punk walked away as loser not because he wasn't the better man, but because he made a stupid mistake and took his eyes off his real opponent. Revenge is a dish best served cold, until you get F5'd onto a chair.
On the flip side, the Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena match was a slow burn. They built up this story slowly, both men on even ground, but Daniel Bryan eventually bested John Cena clean, fair, and in the middle of the ring. There was no trickery. There was no cheating. Triple H kept his nose out of it during the match. I couldn't have booked it any better.
As a huge Daniel Bryan fan going back into his Ring of Honor days, I'm disappointed that Randy Orton took the win, but I think there's more money in the chase. Orton has been doing really good work, and Bryan has as well. But Bryan is a red hot face that pinned the top guy in the company in the middle of the ring cleanly, only to have his only major moment snatched away from him unceremoniously. Fans will be behind Bryan even more because they are outraged and furious he had his big win taken away from him. And, when Bryan defeats Randy Orton, it will be an even bigger moment, for he will finally have his retribution.
I know Raw is three hours but I'm actually looking forward to it tonight. Well done, Summerslam. Well done.