TJR WWE SummerSlam Reviews: 2014 (Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton)

SummerSlam 2014 was the 27th edition of SummerSlam and it took place in a year where there were some big news stories in WWE. The Undertaker’s 21-0 record at WrestleMania 30 ended at the hands of Brock Lesnar, who became the 1 in 21-1 as Paul Heyman told us dozens of times, and Lesnar was set to headline this SummerSlam against the WWE Champion John Cena.

There was also sad news surrounding the two men that played key roles in why SummerSlam 2013 was such a great show: CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Punk quit WWE the day after the 2014 Royal Rumble because he was unhappy, hurt and frustrated and a few months later, WWE sent him his official firing papers on his actual wedding day. Classy move huh? As for Bryan, after his triumph in the main event of WrestleMania 30 to become the WWE Champion, he was sidelined with a pretty serious neck injury that forced him to relinquish the WWE Title. That’s how it ended up in Cena’s hands after he won a Money in the Bank ladder match to claim the vacant championship.

The Shield group that started in late 2012 and was pushed as main event level talent from the beginning ended up breaking up in June 2014. That meant that Seth Rollins would face Dean Ambrose on this show while Roman Reigns was on a main event path of his own. The push of Reigns really started at Survivor Series 2013 when he dominated his elimination match, then the 2014 Royal Rumble when he was the runner up after eliminating the most guys in the match and once The Shield ended, Reigns had a SummerSlam match with a veteran heel in Randy Orton in a match designed to put Reigns over huge.

This was the last SummerSlam in Los Angeles after six years in a row. In 2015 it was moved to Brooklyn and SummerSlam was held there for four years in a row.

It’s crazy how much things can change in a year, but that’s life in WWE. Here’s my full review from when this show took place four years ago. I will add my updated fonts in the red font throughout the review.

SummerSlam Retro Report with “Mean” Gene Okerlund

WWE SummerSlam
From Staples Center in Los Angeles, California 
August 17, 2014 (Twitter @johnreport)

(Here’s the Kickoff Show match.)

Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro

Pre-match notes: RVD was the face and Cesaro was the heel.

They worked a fast pace early on. RVD hit the Rolling Thunder on Cesaro on the floor. Back in the ring, Cesaro hit a gutwrench suplex. They had a break advertising the PPV. RVD hit a split legged moonsault for two and also a moonsault outside the ring. Back in the ring, Cesaro nailed RVD with an uppercut while he was on the top rope. RVD knocked him down again, but Cesaro gave him another uppercut. They did it again with another knock off the top, but Cesaro hit an uppercut a third time. RVD shoved him off, then jumped off the top and Cesaro nailed him with another uppercut. Boot to the face by Cesaro for two. RVD hit a kick to the face. Cesaro was down. RVD went to the top and hit a Five Star Frog Splash. The match went 8:06.

Winner by pinfall: Rob Van Dam

Analysis: ** It was a regular match that you’d see at a house show. No story around it. No build. Cesaro losing is a shame especially considering RVD is a guy in his 40s that is past his prime. Cesaro’s one of the best performers in the company yet he’s been booked poorly for a couple of months now. It’s weird. Maybe the losing streak gimmick will lead to a face turn, but at this point all it is for us fans is frustrating.

(If you thought Cesaro was getting a big singles push after winning the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania, you were wrong. Putting RVD over didn’t make a lot of sense back then, nor does it make sense now.)

Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro: SummerSlam 2014 Kickoff

—--

WWE SummerSlam Main Card

Hulk Hogan started the show. He did a promo on the stage by sucking up to the fans by saying Los Angeles. He said he knew what we paid for WWE Network. The fans chanted “Nine Ninety Nine” with him. I named a fantasy football team that. He mentioned all the other PPVs we can watch. Hulk left, so he was there for about two minutes.

Analysis: It was a promo for WWE Network, which is what a lot of us are watching the show on already. I’m not watching it on the Canadian version that doesn’t have much of an archive. I’m still using the US version on my laptop, which I have plugged into the TV. The quality is great.

(It’s four years later and I still have the US version because the archives are full. Hogan’s shilling was a reminder of WWE shoving the $9.99 price down our throats all the time.)

There was an outstanding opening video package about the force of evil with a Hollywood style commercial. They had nicknames for everybody in the big matches like Reigns as Superman and Stephanie as the Billionaire Baroness. It ended by mentioning “The Beast” Brock Lesnar and “The Champ” John Cena. No surprise that the video was awesome. They always are.

The Miz did a promo before his match on the way to the ring. He talked about how he was a movie star. He spoke about how everybody wishes they had “The Moneymaker,” which is a reference to his face. He said he’s going to turn Ziggler into an unrecognizable failure, so he will turn him into WWE’s version of the Lakers. Good NBA reference. They have been bad for a few years.

The announce team of Cole, Lawler & JBL welcomed us. They have Mountain Dew on their tables. Two Spanish announcers are taking care of the Spanish announce table. No more Ricardo Rodriguez. The German announce team is there. And it’s four guys.

They showed Maria Menounos at ringside. Michelle Beadle and Bill Simmons of ESPN were also sitting by her at ringside.

Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Pre-match notes: The Miz was the heel IC Champion and Ziggler was the face.

This was a match that I saw over a month ago at a live event where they spent about 15 minutes doing a match without Miz getting hit in the face until the finish. Miz did some heel tactics to avoid attacks early and then slowed things down with a boot to the face. Corner clothesline by Miz. Ziggler punched Miz in the gut after Miz jumped off the top. Neckbreaker by Ziggler for two. Miz tried to throw Ziggler over the top, but Ziggler skinned the cat back in. Big punch to the face by Ziggler followed by a superkick for two. JBL was saying that Ziggler should get DQ’d for hitting Miz in the face. Good line. Miz tried to leave with the IC Title, but Ziggler kicked him. Back in the ring, Miz applied the Figure Four Leglock and Ziggler got to the ropes for the break after about one minute in the hold. Ziggler hit the Fameasser with his good right leg. Miz came back with the Skull Crushing Finale. Ziggler kicked out at two. That was close. Miz was stunned by that. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and he covered for the win at 7:57.

Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler

Analysis: **3/4 That was a very good opening match. The energy was high from the start of the match and they had a lot of chemistry with each other, which isn’t a surprise. Kicking out of a finisher in an opener is rare, but it’s good that they followed it up with Ziggler hitting his finisher. I didn’t think Ziggler would win, but I have no problem with it. Winning the IC Title is significant. It’s nice to see WWE believing in Ziggler again after a year of uncertainty.

(These guys wrestled a lot and are very close friends. Their feud in 2016 was a lot better than their rivalry in 2014, which I don’t remember that fondly. It would have been nice if they got more time because it ended too soon for my liking.)

There was a recap of Stephanie McMahon’s angle from Monday claiming Daniel Bryan cheated on Brie Bella with his physical therapist. Then Brie got arrested.

(Brutal storyline. The physical therapist was an indy wrestler now known as Chelsea Green and as of this writing, she’s the girlfriend of Zack Ryder.)

Brie Bella was interviewed by Tom Phillips backstage. She said when she was in the cell in jail she thought about all the bad things that Stephanie did. Brie said that she’s going to “take out that she-beast because that’s best for business.”

Analysis: Solid promo work by Brie.

Divas Title: AJ Lee vs. Paige

Pre-match notes: Paige was the heel challenger. It was her birthday when she was just 22 years old. AJ Lee was the face Divas Champion.

There were “CM Punk” chants as soon as the match began in honor of AJ’s husband. Paige tried to bit AJ at the start, but AJ fought back. They did a unique spot with AJ on Paige’s shoulders and then Paige dropped her throat first onto the barricade at ringside. That’s an innovative spot. Back in the ring, Paige slowly crawled over the top of AJ, which probably helps some fantasies of men watching at home. Paige was aggressive with headbutts and then some knee strikes. They went outside the ring with AJ knocking her down with a clothesline off the top rope. That was an impressive move. AJ hit a running boot to the face for two. Paige kicked her in the face. Paige took too long to capitalize and AJ hit the Black Widow submission. Paige fought out of it. She cradled AJ in her arms and dropped her with a snap DDT called the Rampaige. The match went 4:55.

Winner by pinfall: Paige

Analysis: ** That was a solid match that was better than their showing at Battleground. They did some cool spots with the barricade attack and AJ’s impressive clothesline outside the ring. That finish was well done too. Paige’s counter was slick while her finisher is impressive. I predicted the Paige win in the preview because I think it’s better for the divas division to have a heel champion. They don’t have enough heel divas right now. With Paige as Divas Champion she can feud with Natalya, Brie, Naomi and women like that.

(Good finish. Short match. I remembered the two quick title changes they did earlier in the year and I thought this match should have been given more time. Instead, it felt rushed. To the women’s credit, they made the most of the time they were given.)

WWE Network: Paige vs. AJ Lee - SummerSlam 2014

There was a commercial for Sting in the WWE 2K15 video game.

(This was edited out of the WWE Network version of the broadcast. At this point, Sting wasn’t under a WWE deal, but WWE was impressed by the reaction to the video game commercial and they decided to bring Sting in at Survivor Series 2014 leading to the WrestleMania 31 match against Triple H in 2015.)

The flag match is next. They said the winner will have his flag hanging over the ring after the match.

Rusev made his entrance with the ravishing Russian Lana. She did a promo ripping on Hollywood and said that there will be no movie-like happy ending for the USA. There was a military presence on stage prior to the Swagger entrance. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter received a nice ovation.

The match didn’t even start and Rusev was attacking. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock. The ref broke it up. Lana said no match because Swagger cheated. The ref rang the bell anyway.

Flag Match: Rusev w/Lana vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter

Pre-match notes: Rusev was the heel that was billed from Russia even though he was Bulgarian. Jack Swagger was a face doing the “We the People” gimmick.

Swagger was aggressive early on with a clothesline outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rusev got his knees up to counter the Swagger Bomb. Rusev was limping around selling the Patriot Lock on his left foot. Knee to the ribs by Rusev and then a kick to the ribs with his right foot. Cole: “How do you think Putin will take it if Rusev loses?” Pretty sure he doesn’t give a shit. The pace slowed down as Rusev was on offense. Swagger made a comeback with a clothesline, then a running splash in the corner and a boot to the face. The Swagger Bomb by Swagger hurt and he grabbed his ribs. Rusev hit a back elbow and he wanted a kick, but Swagger caught him. Belly to belly suplex by Swagger for two. Rusev kicked Swagger in the ribs and then hit a big kick to the face. Lana told Rusev to “crush” so he started yelling. Rusev applied the Accolade, but he couldn’t apply it because his left leg was hurting. Rusev applied a modified Accolade with only his right leg while he was on his left knee. Swagger was able to get out of that and applied the Patriot Lock. Rusev rolled on his back to counter it. Jumping spin kick by Rusev. It didn’t connect well, but Swagger sold it. Rusev hit a splash in the ring. Rusev applied the Accolade submission again and sold pain on his face. Swagger tried to fight it, but he passed out. The ref called for the bell since Swagger was knocked out. The match went 9:01

Winner by submission: Rusev

Analysis: **3/4 That was good for the time given, but they didn’t get enough time to make it great. When Rusev is on offense he’s methodical. It’s not that exciting to watch. However, I don’t mind it. Rusev did an awesome job of selling the ankle injury the whole match, even when he was on offense. Some wrestlers don’t sell even when on offense, but Rusev did a great job of it. The “Flag Match” stipulation was pointless because there was nothing about grabbing a flag or anything like that. It makes sense that Rusev would win since he’s being built up as a strong heel that could be a main eventer while Swagger’s just a midcarder. Rusev is ascending, so he’s going to get booked stronger.

Post match, Lana got in Colter’s face and taunted him. Rusev kicked Colter while he was kneeling down. It wasn’t a hard kick, but it was a cheap shot and JBL got mad about it.

The Russian flag was raised by the ring and the Russian anthem played. Swagger wasn’t moving, yet nobody was checking on him. Good job! Colter wasn’t moving either. The camera cut away near the end of the song, but not at the end. Time for a Mountain Dew commercial. Does that mean there’s a Russia/Mountain Dew feud soon? Probably not.

(These guys wrestled dozens of times and I think Rusev won about 98% of the matches. This was also a match that WWE did way too often as well. Watching it back again today, I was shocked at how much the crowd was into this because it eventually was a dead feud, but at this point, the fans were still into it. Rusev kicking Colter after the match was a good way to get him some quick heat.)

Video package for Rollins/Ambrose, so that’s up next. Rollins turned on Ambrose and Roman Reigns in June, then Rollins won Money in the Bank thanks to Kane’s help and that set up a rivalry with Ambrose.

After Rollins made his entrance, they showed Michelle Beadle at ringside. Then they showed Bill Simmons, who was with his kids. Simmons is my favorite sports writer and somebody that has inspired my writing career. I was reading his work about 15 years ago. He’s been a WWE fan for life, so it’s nice to see him there with his kids.

Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Pre-match notes: Ambrose was the face and Rollins was the heel that was also Mr. Money in the Bank.

It’s a Lumberjack Match because Ambrose picked it as the stipulation. The ring was surrounded by about 20 wrestlers, most of whom were in their ring gear. Damien Sandow was dressed like a lumberjack. They kept getting thrown out to the floor and tossed back in. Ambrose went to the top, but Rollins tripped him up. They did a big spot with Rollins giving Ambrose a suplex outside of the ring that saw Ambrose land on the lumberjacks. Everybody tried to restore order. Ambrose sent Rollins over the barricade and into the crowd. The lumberjacks put Ambrose back into the ring, so he took them out with a dive. Rollins tried to run away. Ambrose ran across the announce tables and took him out with a dive as well as some other guys. With Rollins & Ambrose brawling into the crowd, the match was falling apart.

The Director of Operations Kane walked down to ringside and told the lumberjacks to get the wrestlers back to the ring. The heel wrestlers brought Ambrose back to the ring. Rollins beat up Sin Cara just for fun. It looked like Rollins was going to get away, but he was stopped by babyface wrestlers like the Usos, Stardust and Big E. The babyfaces put Rollins on their shoulders. Ambrose was on the top rope waiting for them and he hit a dive off the tape to take out Rollins as well as the lumberjacks. Back in the ring, Ambrose hit a huge clothesline that Rollins sold by doing a flip and that earned a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for it. Ambrose talked trash and then hit the Curb Stomp, which is Seth’s move. Kane broke up the pin. Goldust got in his face. Kane nailed him with an uppercut. All the lumberjacks went into the ring. They started brawling with each other. They all ended up outside the ring. Ambrose sent Harper out of the ring, then he gave Rowan a clothesline over the top. When Ambrose turned back around, Rollins nailed Ambrose with the Money in the Bank briefcase and the ref didn’t see it. Rollins covered for the win at 10:50.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a fun match. Very entertaining. It wasn’t about the holds or the technical wrestling. It was about having fun and doing a crazy match by utilizing the lumberjacks at ringside. That finish wasn’t the most creative, but it’s going to lead to a rematch. When somebody breaks up a pin the way Kane did it should be a DQ finish, but that didn’t happen. It also could have been a countout finish since they were brawling outside the ring. Rollins was my pick. Expect two or three more PPV matches from them.

(That was well done. The crowd was hot for this one too because the pace was really quick since they knew they were going just over ten minutes, so that meant they were able to go at a faster pace. I think having the lumberjacks at ringside helped tell the story because it meant it was a chaotic situation and everybody got in the ring to set up the finish with Rollins getting the cheap shot with the briefcase.)

There were clips of the Wyatt/Jericho story.

Bray Wyatt just said “Los Angeles I’m here” for his entrance instead of “we’re here” because his buddies Harper & Rowan are banned from ringside for this match. The visual of Wyatt interacting with the fans lighting up the arena with cell phones remains one of the coolest visuals. Jericho’s light up jacket had multiple colors.

Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho

Pre-match notes: Wyatt was the heel that was a younger guy on the rise while Jericho was the veteran face.

Wyatt was the aggressor early on as they went outside the ring and Wyatt drove his knee into Jericho’s face when he was against the steel steps. Jericho was sent into the steel post as the crowd tried to chant “he’s got the whole world in his hands” although they didn’t seem to carry the song well. Wyatt aggressively attacked Jericho outside when Jericho’s head was against the post. Wyatt applied a chinlock. Jericho fought back and hit a forearm to the head. Enziguri by Jericho for a one count, then Wyatt came back with a clothesline and a running back splash for two. Wyatt charged him in the corner, but Jericho hit a dropkick. Wyatt came back again and wanted Sister Abigail. Jericho fought out with a rollup for two. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho, which is more of a Boston Crab since Wyatt’s a bigger guy. Wyatt got to the ropes. Wyatt hit a DDT on the side of the apron outside the ring as JBL pointed out that it’s the hardest part of the ring. Wyatt went to the middle rope. Jericho hit a hurricanrana out of the corner for a two count. Jericho had a noticeable bruise on his left leg. Jericho hit a dropkick and you could see them talking to eachother.

Wyatt popped up doing his crab walk as Jericho was stunned. It looked like Jericho was going for a Lionsault. Wyatt said he cannot die because he’s already dead. Jericho hit the Codebreaker and Wyatt kicked out or he got his foot under the bottom rope. Jericho missed an attack outside the ring, so Wyatt gave him an uppercut punch with his thumb to the throat. Wyatt gave Jericho the Sister Abigail into the barricade. Back in the ring, Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Jericho and he covered for the win at 12:53

Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt

Analysis: *** The match was solid although I was hoping for more time for them so they could build up to a more exciting finish. There were only a couple of believable nearfalls. That finish with Wyatt using the barricade for Sister Abigail and then doing it in the ring was similar to his ending with Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble. That’s not a complaint. It’s a good way to end it decisively. Wyatt winning was an obvious choice. Don’t be surprised if they get a third match because the series is at 1-1 now. Jericho is booked for Night of Champions next month, which is his last show in this current run.

After the match, Wyatt did a promo saying that Jericho found out what it means to follow the buzzards. Wyatt led the crowd in singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands” and they happily joined in while lighting up the arena with cell phone light.

(It was just an average match around the three-star level that was given a good amount of time. It made sense for Wyatt to win as the younger guy while Jericho was in his mid-40s and had no problem putting guys over at the right time.)

Up next is Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella. The story was the Brie got “fired” leading to an angle where Stephanie got arrested after Brie called her a bitch and Stephanie slapped her in the face, so Stephanie was arrested for hitting a fan. The acting was brutal. Stephanie gave Brie her job back if Brie agreed to drop the charges, so Brie challenged Stephanie to a match at SummerSlam.

(This feud was pushed heavily on television. Their talking segments main evented Raw twice in the build-up to SummerSlam. It’s nice to be the daughter of the boss, I guess.)

Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella

Pre-match notes: Stephanie was the heel boss while Brie was the face.

Stephanie had on this cool black and silver full length outfit while Brie had on a “Brie Mode” shirt. Brie was using wrestling holds early on, but Stephanie ended up overpowering her. Stephanie hit some forearm shots and tossed Brie across the ring. Brie came back by trying to apply the Yes Lock, but Stephanie escaped outside the ring. Brie went for a Daniel Bryan-like dive outside the ring, but Stephanie avoided it by grabbing Brie’s head and did some “yes” chants to taunt her. Back in the ring, Stephanie hit a DDT for two and then hit a clothesline. Stephanie did a Mr. Perfect-like neck snap for two as the crowd chanted “you still got it.” Stephanie went for a charge, but “Stone Cold” Brie hit a Thesz Press to counter it. Brie hit some kicks in the corner as the crowd chanted “yes” for all of them. More kicks and more chants. So we can say that her husband is still really popular. Brie hit a missile dropkick off the middle ropes for two. Brie threw some more punches.

Triple H came down to the ring. Brie told him to get off the apron. Nikki Bella also came down to the ring. Brie applied the Yes Lock on Stephanie. She had the match won, but Hunter pulled the ref out of the ring. Brie hit a dropkick on Hunter outside the ring leading to “yes” chants. Nikki went into the ring. Steph wanted no part of that and then Brie stood on the other side, so Steph was trapped in between the Bellas. Nikki looked like he was going to slap Stephanie, but Nikki pulled Steph out of the way and Nikki nailed Brie with a forearm shot on purpose. Stephanie hit the Pedigree and covered Brie for the win at 11:06

Winner by pinfall: Stephanie McMahon

Analysis: **3/4 I give them credit for having an entertaining match. Considering Stephanie hasn’t wrestled in 10 years she did a good job in there. She’s in great shape. The portion of the match before the interference was fine. The heel turn by Nikki was rumored and some people were predicting it, but I wasn’t sure about it would happen. Since they did the turn that means we’ll get that Bella Twin feud and that’s a story that will feel fresh.

(The match was a lot better than expected. There was a lot of emotion involved and the match was laid out well. The heel turn by Nikki was considered a big moment since the Bellas were always allies in WWE before that.)

Nikki Bella turns on Brie Bella at SummerSlam: Total Divas, January 4, 2015

Post match, Hunter smiled at Nikki (along with her cleavage) and then went into the ring with Brie. Nikki just looked on with a serious look on her face. After the replays, Hunter gave Stephanie a kiss in the ring. Nikki just left angrily. Stephanie kissed her three daughters at ringside.

(That set up a Bella Twins feud featuring terrible acting and it was one of the worst feuds of the year. The story ended after a few months when Brie turned heel to align herself with Nikki again while Nikki had a record long Divas Title reign.)

They aired some video package for a guy named Jake Tucker that won a Totino’s Bold “Show Us Your Superstar” contest. I honestly don’t care, but good for this “Mama’s Boy” guy. They showed Mama’s Boy at ringside with his mom.

At this point in the show, heels are 5-1 on the PPV portion of the event with Ziggler as the only babyface win.

Randy Orton entered for his match. They replayed when Orton attacked Reigns a few weeks ago. JBL busted out his line about how that is what a sports entertainer is supposed to look like. Roman Reigns entered through the crowd as usual and had on a vest that was a bit different looking with some blue color along with the black.

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

Pre-match notes: Reigns was the face and Orton was the heel.

Reigns was the aggressor early on, but when they went outside the ring it was Orton that sent Reigns into the steel steps. Back in the ring, chinlock time by Orton. Superplex by Orton for two. Reigns tried a comeback with a sleeper, but Orton dropped back to stun him. Orton countered a chinlock with a back suplex for two. Reigns with a Samoan Drop to get some of his momentum back. They traded punches and Reigns won that. Clothesline by Reigns in the middle, then a clothesline in the corner, then a punch and the running dropkick by the bottom rope. Orton’s girlfriend was right there as they fought by the barricade. Orton threw Reigns into the barricade. Orton slammed Reigns onto the English announce table and then threw him into the steel steps.

Back in the ring, Reigns tried to set up Orton on the top rope. They exchanged some punches up there. Reigns set him up for Samoan Drop and he hit it off the middle ropes. Reigns hit a Superman Punch. My WWE Network feed actually went out for a minute. Reigns ran the ropes and went right into a RKO by Orton. That was a cool spot with Reigns jumping into it. Orton took forever to set up the Punt Kick, so Reigns got right back up, avoided the kick, he ran the ropes and hit the Spear for the win after 17 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

The announcers put it over as the biggest win of Roman’s career. That’s a valid point.

Analysis: **** It was a really good match designed to put Reigns over clean, which is what happened. That was a predictable match with Reigns getting the win. There was no reason for Orton to go over. They could have other matches too, but if it’s the only one then that was fine. When Orton hit that RKO with Reigns in the air it actually drew a few boos from the crowd because some of them might be sick of Reigns getting booked so strongly already. It’s not like it is most of the crowd, but it was noticeable. Reigns making the big comeback looked good. His signature spots are over with the crowd. No doubt about it. I’m fine with the way this one was booked.

(The key spot in the match was Orton hitting that amazing RKO and Reigns kicked out of it. That told the story that Orton was unable to put Reigns away, so Orton thought he had to go to the Punt and Reigns managed to avoid that to win. This was all done to set Reigns on the main event path that led to him winning the Royal Rumble in 2015 with the fans booing him. As you can see in my live review, I mentioned some of the fans booed Reigns during this match, but it was not as bad as it would get at the Royal Rumble in 2015. The commentary in the match told the story that WWE wanted to use this match as a launching point for the rise of Reigns.)

There was a commercial for SummerSlam 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Since WrestleMania is in California next year it makes sense that SummerSlam would be elsewhere.

(That was edited off the WWE Network version.)

The announcers plugged WWE Network and then mentioned that Jessica Alba tweeted about the event because of the Sin City trailer.

(That was also not shown on WWE Network.)

The outstanding video package aired for the Cena/Lesnar main event match. It’s the same one that was on Raw that told the story of Lesnar dominating The Undertaker at WrestleMania while Cena won the WWE Title at Money in the Bank. Lesnar said he was going to leave Cena in a pile of blood, urine and vomit. He’s a very descriptive man.

A special look at the rivalry between John Cena and Brock Lesnar: Raw, Aug. 4, 2014

Brock Lesnar made his entrance along with Paul Heyman. That theme song still makes me pop. I’ve always been a big Lesnar fan. He still got the pyro for his entrance, so the budget cuts didn’t affect that. Heyman was smiling in the ring. The camera focused on Lesnar’s face as he stared out at Cena.

John Cena made his entrance with the two titles around his neck and a lot of merchandise like usual. We got the in-ring intros from announcer Justin Roberts. The bell rang at 10:33pmET.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)

Pre-match notes: Cena was the WWE Champion and Lesnar was the heel challenger.

Lesnar brawled with him right away. Lesnar hit the F5 one minute into the match and Cena kicked out. Wow. Hot opening! The crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brock” and then the dueling chants for Cena. Huge German Suplex by Lesnar. There was another German Suplex by Lesnar. After Lesnar hit a knee strike, he hit a vertical suplex. Cena tried to get some offense in, but Lesnar gave him a knee to the ribs. Lesnar’s chinlock ended when he slammed Cena’s head into the mat. The crowd did dueling chants for Cena again. Lesnar hit four release German suplexes in a row. The second one was a bad landing for Cena. He landed on his neck. Lesnar with a cocky cover for a two count followed by a knee to the ribs. With Cena selling it like he was hurt, Lesnar hit another German Suplex that led to Cena landing on his neck again. That’s another German Suplex for Cena, which I think was the eighth of the match.

Cena made a comeback by running the ropes and hit forearm shots to the head. Lesnar caught him with a F5. The crowd stood up! Cena counters with the FU for two. They both stayed down for a bit as Lesnar sat up like the Undertaker and started laughing. That was awesome! Cena looked frustrated. When Cena tried to fight back again, Lesnar took him down. Lesnar pummeled him with punches. The replay of Lesnar sitting up and laughing at Cena was even better than the live version. Lesnar hit three rolling German Suplexes the way that Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit did and then a fourth one that was a release German Suplex. The ref Charles Robinson was checking on Cena to see if he gave up. Lesnar hit three more German Suplexes. The ref checked on Cena again. Since Lesnar was just standing there, Cena tripped him up and gave him the STF. Lesnar rolled through to counter. Lesnar nailed him with punches again. Lesnar hit the F5 and he covered for the win at 16:05.

Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesnar

The announcers put over Lesnar’s dominance with JBL saying that Lesnar was unstoppable.

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a dominant win by Lesnar that is a tough match to rate. Lesnar was on offense for most of it. Cena barely did anything aside from a brief flurry and an Attitude Adjustment for a nearfall. Other than that, this was Lesnar pounding on him repeatedly with punches, knee strikes and German Suplexes. There were a total of 16 German Suplexes by Lesnar in the match. That’s what Cole said on commentary. It’s the kind of performance that people are going to remember because Lesnar looked stronger than any WWE Title match winner we’ve ever seen. They did have the kickout spots a couple of times, but it’s not like we got them all match long. This was the most decisive ass kicking there’s ever been. People that hate Cena probably liked this match more than anything they’ve ever seen. I’m not a Cena hater by any means, but I loved the booking. It was a no doubter. We don’t see those in WWE. Give Cena a lot of credit too. He took a beating when Lesnar hit him with those German suplexes a few times. He made Lesnar look like a dominant WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

 (This is one of the hardest matches to rate with star ratings. I remember Dave Meltzer gave this ****1/2 and I thought that rating was too high. It just didn’t feel like that kind of a match to me. My original rating was three stars, but I boosted it up after watching the whole thing again today. I remember some people hated it because they thought it was boring with Lesnar hitting so many suplexes in the match that it felt repetitive. I understand that perspective too. The energy level in the building was great for the match, so that helped. Like I write above, it was the most decisive ass kicking that you’re going to see in a main event of a major PPV like SummerSlam. Anyway, the story was all about putting over Lesnar in a huge way to make him a dominant champion.)

Post match, Cena was checked on by doctors. JBL said it was the most dominant performance in WWE history. That’s a good way of putting it.

(If you’re wondering, the plan was to do the same booking if Bryan was still WWE Champion. It was all about wanting to put over Lesnar in a huge way.)

Lesnar walked to the back with Heyman and the WWE and World Titles on his shoulders. The show ended with them walking away while Cena was getting looked at in the ring.

Analysis: A rematch will probably happen at Night of Champions since champions usually get rematches and that one will likely have a stipulation.

(That was the end of the two titles for the WWE Champion. It was silly that they had two of them for as long as they did. Lesnar was given the new WWE Championship the next day on Raw.)

This event had a run time of 2:47:24 on WWE Network.

SummerSlam in 60 Seconds: SummerSlam 2014

 

FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS

– It gets a 7.5 out of 10 for being a solid show in terms of the storyline execution. There wasn’t a match of the year contender or anything like that, but the booking was good from top to bottom. At no point was there anything that really sucked or made me want to stop watching. That’s because the storylines were better for SummerSlam than most PPVs in this era.

– It was a dominant night by the heels since they went 6-2 on the PPV portion of the broadcast. Only Ziggler and Reigns won on the babyface side. The Reigns win was obvious while Ziggler winning was a mild surprise.

– The Rollins/Ambrose match was cool to watch although if they got more time they could have really had a classic match. They really didn’t do a whole lot of wrestling in the ring. It was more about involving the lumberjacks to make it a chaotic looking scene. It was well booked.

– I was impressed by Stephanie and Brie. That heel turn by Nikki Bella was well done. There were some people that thought it was going to happen, but that didn’t hurt it. She went about it the right way and didn’t overact like she tends to do. Some of the acting in the build to the match was awful. They did well here.

– After watching this show, it was no surprise that the main event of the next WrestleMania in 2015 was Lesnar vs. Reigns. Lesnar’s win was so dominant while Reigns had more of an even match with Orton, but both men went into the next WrestleMania on a huge roll with a plan to put Reigns over Lesnar at WrestleMania. It didn’t happen that way, but that was the plan.

 

OPINIONS

Show rating (out of 10): 7.5

Best Match: Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (**** out of 5)

Worst Match: Paige vs. AJ Lee (** out of 5)

Most Memorable Moment: I think Lesnar’s destruction of Cena was the most memorable part of the night because of the way it was done. There’s not one thing in particular that sticks out.

 

Five Stars of the Show

1. Brock Lesnar – There’s nobody else like him.

2. John Cena – Took his beating like a man.

3. Randy Orton – Good job by the veteran helping the younger guy look awesome.

4. Dean Ambrose

5. (tie) Seth Rollins

5. (tie) Roman Reigns

Others deserve a lot of praise too.

 

Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:

British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)

Steel Cage: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart @ SummerSlam 1994 (*****)

Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon @ SummerSlam 1995 (*****)

Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin @ SummerSlam 2001 (****3/4)

TLC: Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ SummerSlam 2000 (****3/4)

Unsanctioned Street Fight: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H @ SummerSlam 2002 (****1/2)

No Disqualification: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk @ SummerSlam 2013 (****1/2)

Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Edge @ SummerSlam 2008 (****1/2)

TLC Match: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2009 (****1/2)

Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena @ SummerSlam 2013 (****1/2)

Ladder Match: Triple H vs. The Rock @ SummerSlam 1998 (****1/2)

CM Punk vs. John Cena @ SummerSlam 2011 (****1/2)

Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)

Street Fight: Randy Orton vs. Christian (****1/4)

Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar @ SummerSlam 2003 (****1/4)

Shawn Michaels vs. Vader @ SummerSlam 1996 (***1/4)

The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle @ SummerSlam 2000 (****)

Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2001 (****)

Batista vs. John Cena @ SummerSlam 2008 (****)

John Cena vs. Randy Orton @ SummerSlam 2007 (****)

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton @ SummerSlam 2014 (****)

 

Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)

SummerSlam 2013 (Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena, Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk) – 9

SummerSlam 2002 (Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H) – 9

SummerSlam 2008 (The Undertaker vs. Edge HIAC, Batista vs. Cena) – 8

SummerSlam 2001 (The Rock vs. Booker T, Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle) – 8

SummerSlam 2011 (CM Punk vs. John Cena) – 8

SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8

SummerSlam 2009 (CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy TLC) – 7.5

SummerSlam 2014 (Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena) – 7.5

SummerSlam 2000 (The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle) – 7.5

SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7

SummerSlam 2005 (Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels) – 7

SummerSlam 2004 (Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit) – 6

SummerSlam 2012 (Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H) – 6

SummerSlam 2006 (Edge vs. John Cena) – 6

SummerSlam 1997 (Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker) – 5.5

SummerSlam 1996 (Shawn Michaels vs. Vader) – 5.5

SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5

SummerSlam 2003 (Elimination Chamber) – 5.5

SummerSlam 2007 (John Cena vs. Randy Orton) – 5

SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5

SummerSlam 2010 (Team WWE vs. Team Nexus) – 5

SummerSlam 1999 (Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H) – 5

SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5

SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5

SummerSlam 1995 (Diesel vs. Mabel, Michaels vs. Ramon) – 4

SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4

SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5

 

Next up: SummerSlam 2015.

Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.

Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.

John Canton

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