TJR WWE SummerSlam Reviews: 2015 (Undertaker vs. Lesnar, Rollins vs. Cena)

The 28th edition of SummerSlam took place in 2015. The show was built around a non-title that was a rematch of one of the biggest stories of the decade: Brock Lesnar beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 in 2014 over a year earlier. The Undertaker cost Lesnar a WWE Title match with Seth Rollins, then they had a memorable brawl on Raw and that set up this match at SummerSlam.

The other big match on the card was John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Title and the US Title in a unification match. The rest of the lineup was okay, but nothing was that big.

This was the first SummerSlam in Brooklyn while this year’s show (2018) is the fourth year in a row where SummerSlam has been in Brooklyn.

Here’s my live review from three years ago with some updated 2018 comments in the red font to let you know what I think of things now.

WWE SummerSlam
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
August 23, 2015

There was a one hour Kickoff Show. I watched the last 20 minutes of it. There were no matches on it, so it was just more video packages, chatter from the panel and interviews to hype up the matches.

The set was basically the same as Raw, so they did nothing to make it look elaborate. That sucks. This is supposed to be the second biggest PPV of the year and they can’t spend money to give it a unique look? That’s a shame.

The great Jon Stewart was in the ring as the host of SummerSlam. He spoke about how he spent 16 years talking about politics and he’s glad to be here. The crowd was chanting “what” after everything he said, so he said wrestler names and they booed when he said Sheamus. The name Seth Rollins earned cheers. Brock Lesnar received the loudest cheer. There were mostly cheers for The Undertaker too. He said he was still upset about The Streak ending at WrestleMania, so he wanted to talk to Brock Lesnar. Before he could do that, he needed the help of a friend: Mick Foley.

Great ovation for Foley, who quickly did a cheap pop mentioning Brooklyn. They did a skit about how Foley thought Stewart wanted him to interview Rock not Brock Lesnar. Foley said he was afraid of Brock Lesnar and the crowd was chanting “Rocky” for The Rock. Stewart mentioned Foley’s famous Hell in a Cell spot and Stewart said he respected all the performers in WWE. Foley yelled at him telling him it was 17 years ago. Foley told Stewart he’s never visited Suplex City and he’s not starting now. Foley told Stewart he’s on his own. Stewart said let’s just start the show.

Analysis: Normally a PPV will start off with a match, but this one began like an episode of Raw with a promo. They tried to do a comedy bit with Stewart and Foley because they are friends. It was mildly funny and I like both guys although it wasn’t that great. Stewart does come across as a guy that is a legit fan of the business rather than a celeb that is just there to get paid, so I don’t mind him being around at all. I assume he’ll be in some vignettes later.

(It was a fine way to start the show. Stewart fit in well on WWE TV and Foley had some good chemistry with him. Decent comedy bit.)

A video package aired hyping up the show with a focus on the top matches like Rollins vs. Cena and Undertaker vs. Lesnar.

The fireworks went off and then they showed the capacity crowd.

Randy Orton entered for the opening match. The announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show. They also had the French and Spanish announce team there. There aren’t any matches with big stipulations, but I still doubt the Spanish table survives the show.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Pre-match notes: Orton was the face. Sheamus was the heel that was Mr. Money in the Bank. The story was they each cost the other man the WWE Championship in matches on Raw.

Shortly after the bell, Sheamus did a promo to say he doesn’t look stupid. Orton went after him, but Sheamus got control quickly and hit a flying knee drop off the top for two. The crowd was happy to boo Sheamus as he dominated Orton early on. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse Backbreaker two times in a row. JBL said Sheamus looked like a warrior as Sheamus played with his hair. Sheamus controlled the action for a few minutes using knee attacks as well as a back elbow. The arena was a bit smoky after the pyro show. Fans were bored, so they chanted “ole ole ole” while it made me miss Sami Zayn. Orton finally got some offense in with clotheslines and then his modified backbreaker. With Orton’s back against the ropes, he picked up Sheamus and dumped him over the top to the floor with an overhead suplex. Sheamus nailed a powerslam for two to get control back. Orton was cut above the eye as ref Mike Chioda put on the gloves. I think he hit the turnbuckle and may have hit the steel part of it. Orton nailed a DDT with Sheamus’ legs draped across the top rope, which drew a nice reaction from the crowd. Fans were chanting “RKO” for Orton.

Sheamus hit a couple of forearm shots and then stopped when the fans chanted with him. With Orton in the ring, Sheamus launched himself over the top and Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere. Sheamus rolled out of the ring to prevent Orton from pinning him. Orton’s cut above the left eye was pretty small. In the ring, Orton teased a Punt, but Sheamus moved and hit White Noise for two. Orton’s not allowed to do the Punt anymore. Sheamus took so long to set up the Brogue Kick that Orton was able to avoid it on first try. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick that sent Orton in the corner and then another one in the middle of the ring. Sheamus covered for the win at 12:28.

Winner by pinfall: Sheamus

Analysis: **3/4 They have had so many matches that it’s hard for them to do anything that we haven’t seen before. I like that it was a clean win for Sheamus. He didn’t even cheat like a good heel would. When Orton hit the RKO and Sheamus avoided being pinned, that was the clue that he was going to lose. I picked Sheamus to win because Orton won at Battleground and WWE booking for guys like them is usually even. With that said, Orton losing clean is rare, but I like that because they need to build up heels like Sheamus.

(The match was solid from two guys that worked with each other a lot. I liked the finish because it took two Brogue Kicks from Sheamus to put Orton away. It was also nice to see the Money in the Bank holder win a match since most years they lose matches like this.)

WWE Network: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: SummerSlam 2015

The announcers talked about some contest they did with Draftkings. I play daily fantasy there for NFL, NBA and MLB. I like it more than wrestling. Anyway, they aired a video about two guys that got to experience cool things like meeting wrestlers. They showed Jake and Josh ringside for SummerSlam.

The New Day did a promo prior to the tag team title match. They talked about hip-hop to insult Jay Z since he’s from Brooklyn. They had harmonicas. They did a song about “let’s hear it for New Day.” Some fans had “New Day section” signs. They said “New Day Rocks” to end it.

(The heel New Day shtick was a lot of fun.)

Tag Team Titles: Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) w/Xavier Woods vs. Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) w/El Torito

Pre-match notes: PTP were the face champions, Lucha Dragons were faces, The New Day were heels and Los Matadores were heels.

First pinfall or submission wins. Two guys in the ring at a time. They did a spot where Kofi and Big E each tagged in, then Big E tried to pin him and Cole tried to say that is legal. I’m not even going to waste time talking about how stupid that is. Anyway, Kalisto was on fire early with some kicks. Cole mentioned JBL not having success against a masked superstar and didn’t say Rey Mysterio’s name. Things were pretty hectic early on with a lot of quick tags by the different teams, but then New Day isolated Young in their corner. Woods is fantastic outside the ring ranting about everything like he usually does. Big E applied an abdominal stretch and then a back elbow knocked Young down again. Woods was ranting about Big E’s tricep meat again. Young hit an inverted atomic drop on Kingston, so that led to O’Neil tagging in.

O’Neil was on fire with a big boot to Kingston and then he tossed Kalisto outside the ring. O’Neil hit a big punch and then multiple backbreakers to take out both of Los Matadores. O’Neil clothesline sent Kingston out of the ring and there was a blind tag by one of the Matadores. Fernando got a cross body block off the top for a two count. Sin Cara hit a sloppy headscissors on Fernando and then Sin Cara was met with a Fernando dropkick when he tried a dive outside the ring. That was a pretty crazy spot. Woods knocked Fernando off the ropes. Woods slammed Torito face first outside the ring. The crowd cheered. Young took down Woods with a suplex on the apron. Big E destroyed Young with a Spear through the middle ropes. Pretty much everybody was out either in the ring or outside the ring. Lucha Dragons tried a double team spot, Fernando went down and then they did a huge double suplex with O’Neil doing a Powerbomb in a Tower of Doom spot. Kingston did a blind tag. O’Neil hit Clash of the Titus on Diego. Kingston kicked O’Neil and then Kingston covered Diego for the win at 11:20.

Winners by pinfall and New Tag Team Champions: The New Day

The fans were chanting “New Day” after the win. The three guys did an over the top celebration like they usually do because they’re awesome. They’re not faces, but this crowd loved them.

Analysis: **1/2 It was a bit of a trainwreck at times with guys jumping out to the floor and some things being missed, but overall the effort was good. The story going into the match wasn’t that great. Good work can make up for that, though, so give the credit to the wrestlers for putting on a good show. I’m glad that New Day won the titles again. They were my pick because I feel like they’re the best team in the company and are the team that can carry the division in terms of having a lot of teams to feud with. It was nice that PTP had their first title reign, but I’m glad that The New Day are champs again. They’re so much fun.

(It was a popular finish where the winning heel steals the pin after a move from O’Neil and Kingston got the pin for his team. This was the start of New Day’s record title reign that lasted 483 days. As you can see by the names of the other teams in the match, The New Day were the only great team in this group.)

Jon Stewart was backstage with Neville and Stephen Amell talking about Undertaker. There was a kid with him, which I assume is his son. Lights went out a bit, then Undertaker walked by and some smoke appeared. Amell signed the shirt of the kid.

Dolph Ziggler entered with Lana for his match. Lana had a different look. No business suit – it’s more of a jean jacket and shorts look that say “DZ” on them. Rusev was with Summer Rae, who is in a shinier business suit than what she usually wears.

Rusev (w/Summer Rae) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Lana)

Pre-match notes: Rusev was the heel with Summer Rae as his valet while Ziggler was the face with Lana.

Rusev dominated early on and slowed things down with a bearhug. It was about four minutes of Rusev in control with the crowd chanting “USA” to try to piss him off. Zigger finally got some offense in when he countered a Gorilla Press into a DDT. Both guys were down selling like they were out even though it’s only about six minutes into the match. Ziggler was on fire with a corner splash and then a neckbreaker fired up the crowd. Rusev went to the top rope like a dummy, so Ziggler nailed a facebuster off the top rope for a two count. I don’t like guys going to the top rope that never does it because then it telegraphs the idea that the move won’t be successful. Rusev hit a nice running splash for a two count. It was a somersault into a splash – that’s very impressive for a nearly 300 pound man to do a move like that. Ziggler avoided a kick and got a rollup for two. Ziggler with a sleeper hold to wear down Rusev. Rusev broke free, then missed a corner splash and Ziggler hit a Fameasser for two. He rarely wins with that move, yet it always generates a good reaction as a nearfall.

Rusev tossed Ziggler up in the air leading to Ziggler bumping on his chest and then Rusev nailed a superkick. Rusev applied the Accolade submission while Lana encouraged Ziggler to fight. Summer went over to Lana, so Lana slapped Summer and Rusev let go. Ziggler rolled out to the floor. Fans were chanting “Lana” while Rusev was mad about it. Summer took down Lana with a clothesline to the back of the head. Ziggler hit Rusev with a superkick that put Rusev on the announce table. The ref was counting them out and Ziggler couldn’t get back into the ring. The ref rang the bell and the crowd booed the finish. The match went 11:50.

Match Result: Double Countout

Post match, Ziggler and Rusev brawled some more. Then the girls went into the ring to roll around a bit too. The guys broke it up and then Rusev/Summer went up the ramp.

Analysis: *1/2 I’m with the crowd as far as booing the finish. I realize that they are building to the mixed tag match, but I think they could have had Rusev get a cheap win to set up a rematch. The work in the match was fine. Other than a few moves, Rusev’s offense was boring. Ziggler didn’t get that much offense and only had one believable nearfall. It just never felt like anything special or anything that we’re going to remember after it was over. Pencil in that mixed tag match for next month.

(I awarded this feud a “coveted” WWE Johnny Award at the end of 2015 for being the worst feud of the year. It was bad and it didn’t really accomplish anything for the wrestlers involved in it.)

A comic book themed video package aired to hype up the Amell/Neville vs. Stardust/Barrett match.

Neville & Stephen Amell vs. Stardust & King Barrett

Pre-match notes: Neville and Amell were the faces while Stardust and Barrett were the heels.

I missed the first few minutes of this. Amell was wrestling shirtless for the match and looks to be in good shape, which is no surprise since he’s an action TV star that has to be in good shape. They replayed a nice leapfrog spot by Amell. Barrett was able to take down Amell in the ring. Stardust and Barrett worked over Amell in their corner, so he’s the face in peril in his first match. JBL was saying that Neville may not see any more action tonight. I think he’s wrong. Amell hit an enziguiri kick on Stardust to break free and here comes Neville. Neville was on fire with a running dropkick on Barrett, who was the legal man. Neville nailed an amazing corkscrew splash off the middle rope. Both heels were on the floor, so Amell went up top and hit a cross body block to take down both guys. Amell rolled Barrett back in. Neville hit the Red Arrow splash on Barrett for the win at 7:35.

Winners by pinfall: Neville & Stephen Amell

Analysis: ** Give a lot of credit to Amell for showing that he belonged in the ring. He didn’t mess up any moves and when he was selling he looked doing it. Neville getting the hot tag leading to the finish was no surprise. I thought that maybe Stardust would get pinned to really end the feud, but Barrett getting pinned suggested that there could be more in the future. If not that’s okay because it ended with the predictable babyface win. I’m 3-0-1 in predictions so far since nobody won the Rusev/Ziggler match.

WWE Network: Neville & Stephen Amell vs. Stardust & King Barrett: SummerSlam 2015

(I don’t have much to add to the analysis there. Amell looked like he belonged and they set up his spots well. Amell and Cody became very good friends leading to Cody acting on the show Arrow while Amell is wrestling at the All In show that Rhodes is promoting in a few weeks.)

There was a commercial for Mountain Dew.

The four Tough Enough competitors were ringside. The finale is on Tuesday.

(All four of them got WWE deals, but only Mandy Rose has made it to the main roster while the other three are out of the company. Rose finished second among the women on the show.)

There was a video package for all of the appearances that WWE stars made during the past week. They love putting themselves over. I wish I timed my pee break for this part.

Intercontinental Title: Ryback vs. Big Show vs. The Miz

Pre-match notes: Ryback was the face Intercontinental Champion, Miz was a heel and Show was a heel too.

Big Show did a double suplex spot and then yelled “I’m a giant” like he hasn’t been on TV for 20 years. Show went off the middle rope and hit a unique back splash. Miz covered for a two count. Show hit some moves on each guy by the turnbuckles, but then Ryback took out his knee. Ryback slam on Miz. Ryback hit a top rope splash on Miz and then Show gave Ryback a Chokeslam onto Miz for a two count. Lawler had a terrible joke: “Ever seen his Polo shirt – it has a real horse on it.” Nobody laughed. Ryback came back with a running splash on Show. Ryback picked up Show and hit Shellshock on Show. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Ryback for two. Then a two count on Show. Miz went for multiple pinfalls and was mad that they kept kicking out. The crowd cheered the effort of The Miz. Show knocked out Ryback with a KO Punch while Ryback had Miz on his shoulders. Show hit a KO Punch on Miz. Ryback clothesline sent Show out of the ring. Ryback covered Miz, who was out after the KO Punch and Ryback got the win. It went 5:33.

Winner by pinfall: Ryback

Analysis: ** It was okay, but it felt rushed. They did all the basic triple threat spots where one guy hits the move, goes for the cover and then the third guy breaks up the pin. I didn’t like that Ryback won the match after a Big Show move. He should have pinned Miz with his own move to make it look more impressive. It doesn’t make Ryback look like a strong champion when he wins after a Show move. One thing I didn’t like is that at one point, Miz hit his finisher four minutes into the match and Ryback kicked out of it. They really don’t protect finishers like they should. I’m 4-0-1 so far. It’s been a very predictable show so far.

(Another reason why I didn’t like Ryback winning after Show’s move is they did a similar finish in the Tag Team Title match earlier when Kingston won off an O’Neil move. Doing it that way felt repetitive. I don’t have a lot of positive memories about Ryback’s IC Title reign. It was not a good time for the IC Title.)

Jon Stewart was walking backstage and he knocked on Lesnar’s door. Paul Heyman walked out. Stewart said he was an Undertaker guy. Heyman bragged about Lesnar beating Undertaker. Stewart talked about how wrestling fans didn’t like when Undertaker and wondered what Heyman felt about fans being mad that Lesnar won. Heyman just said “Glory glory Brock Lesnar.” Then Heyman ended it saying that he guesses they couldn’t get David Letterman to host the event. Crowd let out a big “ohhhh” for that.

Analysis: It was a funny line by Heyman at the end. Other than that, Stewart complaining about a match result from 15 months ago seems lame.

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper entered for their tag match. Dean Ambrose was out first for his team followed by Roman Reigns. I think Reigns would look like a much bigger star with pyro and a more spectacular entrance. He needs to be presented better.

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

Pre-match notes: Reigns and Ambrose were the faces while Wyatt and Harper were the heels.

There was a hectic start to the match as they brawled all around the ring. Ambrose hit a big spot by running across the three announce tables and taking out Wyatt with a leaping clothesline. Back in the ring, Ambrose hit a flying elbow attack on Harper. Wyatt distracted Ambrose, so Harper took him down. Wyatt slammed Reigns back first into the side of the ring, then took out Reigns with a dive and a superkick followed. Boot to the face by Harper. There was a spot where Wyatt nailed Ambrose with a suplex on the floor that the camera missed. They showed the replay and it looked pretty good. The heels worked over Ambrose in their corner for a few minutes. Fans chanting “Roman’s sleeping” with Reigns outside the ring on the floor. Ambrose made the hot tag to Reigns, who was on fire against Harper with a couple of powerful suplexes to take him down. A kick stunned Reigns and then Harper nailed a Powerbomb on Reigns for a two count. Wyatt tagged in, but was met with a Superman Punch and so was Harper. Ambrose tagged in. Reigns put Wyatt on his shoulders and Ambrose nailed a clothesline off the top in a tribute to the Legion of Doom. Two count for that.

Reigns hit another Superman Punch on Harper. Ambrose lifted up Harper and Reigns nailed a Powerbomb on Harper. Wyatt was legal with Ambrose. They had an exchange where Ambrose nailed Dirty Deeds on Wyatt. Reigns tagged back in. Huge Spear by Reigns on Wyatt and that’s enough for the win at 10:55.

Winners by pinfall: Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

Analysis: *** It was a basic tag match that was intense as soon as they got out there. The start of the match was really entertaining as was the finish. The middle part was a basic tag match working over one of the faces. In terms of action, there was nothing wrong with the match at all. They worked hard, the crowd was into it and the good guys got revenge after Wyatt and Harper gave them problems for the last couple of months. The booking leading up to it was weird because Harper was pinned on both Raw and Smackdown this past week, so they lost again. Why put them back together just to have them look like losers? Where it might be considered disappointing is that people thought that Ambrose might turn heel soon, so maybe he’d show signs of that here, but that didn’t happen at all. There was no sign of any problems between them. It was still a good match. It’s just that there was an expectation for more and we didn’t get to see that. I picked the heels to win so I’m 4-1-1 in my predictions at this point.

WWE Network: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper: SummerSlam 2015

(This was during that period where it felt like Wyatt was wrestling against Reigns and Ambrose all the time and those feuds lasted for way too long. This crowd loved Ambrose, but they really didn’t like Reigns much at all.)

There was a video package for Rollins vs. Cena. There was a memorable moment when Rollins hit a knee lift to Cena’s face and broke his nose during a spot that led to a lot of criticism for Rollins. That led to Rollins challenging Cena in a Title vs. Title match to prove that Rollins was not a joke champion like Cena called him in the past. It was very well done.

The US Champion John Cena entered first. The crowd was singing “John Cena sucks” during his entrance. There was a loud reaction that was filled with mostly boos. WWE Champion Seth Rollins entered in some brand new all white gear. The crowd was cheering for him. Big in-ring intros by Lilian Garcia.

Title For Title: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. United States Champion John Cena

Pre-match notes: Rollins was the heel WWE Champion while Cena was the face US Champion.

The crowd was hot for this match. The announcers are pushing the 16x World Titles held by Ric Flair heavily on commentary. Of course, Cena benefited big time from WWE having two World Titles at the same during most of his career. Fans were chanting “Cena Sucks” to the tune of “New Day Sucks” and Rollins hit a neckbreaker. Suicide dive by Rollins took Cena out outside the ring. Rollins did it again. The crowd was cheering. Rollins hit a flip dive over the top to take out Cena. Huge ovation from that. Very impressed by the athleticism of Rollins although it’s not a surprise to me. He just doesn’t always get to show it like this. The crowd was doing the dueling “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. Rollins hit an impressive double foot stomp on Cena off the top rope. Great spot for a two count. Rollins was taunting him, so Cena nailed him with an Attitude Adjustment for a two count. Cena did a slingshot, Rollins stopped himself from getting hurt and then Cena slammed Rollins off his shoulders face first into the mat.

Cena went up top and nailed the legdrop to the back of the head for a two count. They did a spot out of the corner where Cena wanted the AA, but Rollins fought out of it and hit the Powerbomb into the turnbuckle. Rollins went up top and nailed a perfect Frog Splash for a two count. Cena countered into the AA, but Rollins landed on his feet, hit a kick and Rollins rolled through a cross body block. Rollins turned it into the Attitude Adjustment for a two count. Wow that was a fantastic nearfall. Rollins went for a splash, but Cena moved and then Cena applied the STF submission as JBL started with his “big match John” routine. Rollins fought out of that, they exchanged some holds and Cena applied a Figure Four Leglock submission. The announcers were mentioning Ric Flair and the 16-time record. It drew a big reaction, so give them credit for coming up with that spot. Rollins reversed the Figure Four and Cena got to the ropes. Rollins hit a superplex and then gave Cena another suplex in the middle of the ring for a two count. Rollins went up top for the Phoenix Splash, but Cena moved. Cena had Rollins on his shoulders, the ref got bumped (Rollins feet hit him while in AA position) and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment. Cena covered, but there was no ref around. Cena was trying to figure out what to do. While he did that, Rollins hit a knee to the nose just like a month ago when he broke Cena’s nose. Jon Stewart ran down to the ring with a steel chair and teased doing something. He nailed Cena in the ribs with the chair! The crowd cheered that! Rollins hit a Pedigree on the chair, the referee got back into it and Rollins wins at 19:44.

Winner by pinfall: The WWE World Heavyweight Champion and New US Champion Seth Rollins

Post match, Rollins celebrated with both titles. Stewart ran up the aisle after he did the chair shot. The crowd was happy with Rollins leaving with the gold.

Analysis: ****1/4 Great match that was just above four stars out of five. I liked it a lot even with the ref bump and the unpredictable interference from Stewart. At least it was memorable. I thought Rollins was phenomenal as he hit some impressive moves throughout the match. It was well on its way to being a great match when the ref bump happened and it’s still a great match, but it lost some of its appeal due to that finish. Stewart’s involvement was a big time shocker. Helping the heel Rollins win is also surprising, but they did have a history with Rollins appearing on The Daily Show several times in the past. I’m definitely surprised that one of the two guys is leaving with both titles, but I’m glad it’s Rollins because he’s such an entertaining champion. It also makes me think that they’re going to have a rematch for sure. I picked Cena by DQ, so I got that one wrong.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins: SummerSlam 2015: WWE Network

(It was an awesome match with a hot crowd. There was controversy due to the ref bump as well as Jon Stewart’s interference, but I thought the work in the ring was still excellent. I remember the performance of Rollins really got people talking in terms of how well he did in this match. Cena certainly did his part as well. They followed up on the angle the next night on Raw with Cena hitting Stewart with an Attitude Adjustment as payback after Stewart said he didn’t want Cena to tie Ric Flair’s record of 16 World Title reigns. As for the Rollins title reign, he held onto the WWE Title for three more months until he suffered a torn ACL knee injury and had to give up the title.)

They plugged some WWE Network shows. There’s a Stone Cold Podcast with special guests Edge & Christian coming soon. They also advertised Brock Lesnar wrestling in Madison Square Garden on October 3, so they’re broadcasting that house show like they did the Japan show on July 4.

The PPV Kickoff panel discussed stuff that I mostly ignored.

A video package for the divas revolution aired. It showed the three groups of three women with Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch making a big impact when they were called up to the main roster.

(This was back when they said “revolution” all the time and then they changed it to “evolution” instead.)

Team Bella (Nikki, Brie & Alicia Fox) vs. Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte & Becky Lynch) vs. Team B.A.D. (Sasha Banks, Naomi & Tamina)

Pre-match notes: Team Bella were heels with Nikki as the Divas Champion. Team B.A.D. were heels and Team PCB were the face group of the three.

The rules are that if somebody is pinned or submits then the whole team is eliminated. Two women are in the ring while the others are on the apron. Lynch was in there with Brie at the start and then Team BAD worked over Lynch. Fans chanted for Sasha and cheered when she tagged in. That’s because of her amazing match at Takeover against Bayley. Tamina hit a clothesline on Lynch. The action spilled outside the ring with Naomi and Banks hitting dives outside the ring. The Bella Twins each hit suicide dives to take the others out. Fox was shoved off the top rope onto the other girls. Paige went up, then flipped onto the other eight girls and they were all down outside the ring. Brie tagged in and hit a facebuster on Tamina, so Team B.A.D. is eliminated.

Team B.A.D. is eliminated

It’s down to Team PCB against Team Bella with Paige unloading on Nikki with knees to the face. Fallaway slam by Paige. Big move outside the ring as Nikki hit an Alabama Slam on Paige outside the ring. Paige got back in and the Bellas hit a double team flapjack on her. The heels isolated Paige with Brie hitting some Daniel Bryan-like kicks and then yanked down Paige by her hair. Fox hit a Northern Lights Suplex for two and nailed an impressive looking dropkick. Fans were chanting “We Want Charlotte.” Nikki worked over Paige a bit. Fox nailed a kick to the back. Paige finally broke free to tag in Charlotte.

The crowd was on fire after Charlotte tagged in and nailed forearm shots on Fox followed by a Spear. She applied the Figure Eight on Fox, but Nikki broke it up. Paige tackled Nikki out of the ring. Charlotte and Fox each hit a boot to the face at the same time. Lynch got the tag while Brie also tagged in. They exchanged punches, Brie kicked her away and Brie missed her dropkick off the ropes. Pumphandle into a suplex by Lynch on Brie is enough for the pinfall win at 15:20.

Team Bella is eliminated

Winners by pinfall: Team PCB

The three members of PCB celebrated the win as the announcers put over Lynch for winning.

Analysis: *** It was a solid match where all the women worked hard, but it was a little long with the heels working over Paige. The crowd was behind Charlotte more than anybody else by far, so I figured it would be Charlotte that would get the decisive win. I guess they went with Lynch because she’s a solid worker that has had a lot of great matches. The finish felt a bit flat because Lynch winning with that move was a bit of a surprise. I had Team PCB winning, so I’m glad I got that right. Last point is it’s nice to see the divas get more than 15 minutes in a PPV match.

(It was very noteworthy that they were featured in a 15-minute match on a major PPV like SummerSlam. That did not happen normally in the years prior to this. I was right to think Charlotte might get the win for her team because Charlotte was the one that beat Nikki for the Divas Title at the next PPV, Night of Champions.)

The announcers plugged some fans winning a SummerSlam trip courtesy of Mountain Dew.

Cesaro made his entrance and they showed the “Cesaro Section” in the crowd. Kevin Owens was cheered even though he’s a heel. These fans recognize greatness. They showed clips of his match against Finn Balor at Takeover that he lost.

Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens

Pre-match notes: Cesaro was the face and Owens was the face when Cesaro was getting a solid midcard push thanks in part to the “Cesaro Section.”

There was a very fast pace to the match with Owens attacking Cesaro outside the ring. Then Cesaro nailed a spinning dive outside the ring to take out Owens. Cesaro charged in, so Owens tossed him into the barricade. Cannonball attack by Owens against the barricade. In the ring, Owens hit two running senton splashes in a row for two. Owens: “And that’s why I’m the man.” He sure is. Cesaro missed a corner attack and Owens nailed a spinning neckbreaker after putting Cesaro on his shoulders. Owens hit a flipping legdrop for two because he’s a great athlete even though he’s a bigger man. Cesaro started a comeback with forearm shots, then put Owens on his shoulders and slammed him down in a move that showed just how strong Cesaro is. Owens was on the top, so Cesaro brought him down with a Gutwrench suplex for two. Owens powered out of a Neutralizer attempt by Cesaro. Owens nailed an amazing Tornado DDT for two. Owens went for a moonsault, but Cesaro moved out of the way. Owens nailed Cesaro with a Superkick for a two count.

Cesaro nailed an impressive looking uppercut outside the ring. Great job of selling it by Owens. Back in the ring, it’s Cesaro Swing time. He stopped after about ten times and then Cesaro applied a Sharpshooter in honor of his injured tag team partner Tyson Kidd. Owens got to the ropes. They battled on the top rope. With Owens seated on the top rope, Cesaro jumped up and connected with a dropkick. That’s so impressive. Owens crotched him on the top rope and then hit the cradle suplex off the middle ropes. Owens followed that up with the Popup Powerbomb at 14:18.

Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens

Post match, Owens celebrated his win. The announcers did a good job of putting it over as a big deal.

Analysis: ***3/4 A very physical match that was exciting from start to finish and could have ended at several different points. They have great chemistry. They’re also two guys with unique offensive moves that look credible. Seeing Cesaro lift Owens over his head is so impressive every time he does it. As for Owens, for a big guy he’s so agile and also mixes in the power too. I liked the finish a lot because Owens needed a few big moves in a row to put him away. If a guy wins with one big move then it can be considered a fluke as a finish. If he wins a move after two big moves in a row it makes him look strong. The second best match on the show so far. I’m glad Owens won because I picked him, but also because I felt like he needed it more. Cesaro needs some big wins too.

(That was a very physical match. I had forgotten about these two having a bit of a rivalry during this period. They had plenty of good matches together, but Cesaro never got the sustained singles push that a lot of us wanted him to have. I liked the finishing sequence a lot with Owens crotching Cesaro on the top, hitting the cradle suplex off the ropes and the Powerbomb for the win.)

There was a commercial for Night of Champions on September 20.

The video package aired for Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker. It focused on Lesnar beating Undertaker at WrestleMania 30 to end The Undertaker’s Streak and how much of a big deal it was. When Lesnar challenged Rollins for the WWE Title at Battleground, The Undertaker showed up for revenge. The video package was excellent, but also repetitive if you watch the weekly shows.

A look at the intense rivalry between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar: Raw, Aug. 10, 2015

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

When Undertaker was on the steps taking off his coat, Lesnar attacked him. Undertaker ended up fighting back and sent Lesnar out of the ring. Very intense beginning to the match. I liked that start a lot. The bell rang as Lesnar took him down. Fans were chanting “Undertaker/Suplex City” for them. When Undertaker went for the Old School Clothesline, Lesnar put him on his shoulders teasing a F5, but Undertaker stopped that teasing a chokeslam. Lesnar hit an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lesnar nailed a German Suplex. Lesnar looked at the camera: “Suplex City, bitch.” Undertaker used momentum to send Lesnar into the turnbuckle. Undertaker nailed snake eyes on the turnbuckle followed by a big boot to the face. Lesnar is bleeding above the eye. Undertaker nailed his legdrop on the apron. They exchanged punches, Undertaker wanted a Chokeslam, but Lesnar fought back with a release German Suplex. There’s another release German Suplex by Lesnar. He nailed another one, so Undertaker rolled outside the ring. Lesnar cleaned off the French announce table. Undertaker stopped him, but Lesnar put him on his shoulders and gave him a F5 through the announce table. The replay showed that Undertaker’s ribs hit the edge of the announce table. The ref didn’t count while they were outside the ring, but then he did after Lesnar hit the move. Undertaker slowly crawled back into the ring before the ten count.

Back in the ring, Lesnar was trash talking Undertaker. Taker said “you’re gonna have to” so I assume Lesnar said he’d kill him. Undertaker nailed a huge Chokeslam that Lesnar sold great. Undertaker hit Lesnar with a Tombstone, but Lesnar kicked out at two. Lesnar laughed at his face. Undertaker sat up and laughed right back at him. Lesnar went for a Kimura Lock, but they were in the ropes. Predictable spot time with Undertaker hitting a Last Ride Powerbomb for a two count. He loves that spot. Lesnar picked up Undertaker and hit a F5 for a two count. That’s the second F5, but the first time that it was in the ring. Lesnar had a shocked look on his face. Lesnar hit the F5 again. Undertaker kicked out at two again. Lesnar was stunned that Undertaker kicked out. Lesnar was stunned by what happened, so Undertaker applied the Hell’s Gate arm/neck submission. Lesnar fought out of it and applied the Kimura Lock armbar submission. Fans were clapping to help Undertaker fight back. Kimura Lock was still on, Lesnar’s shoulders were down briefly although he made a point to get one of them up and then the bell rang suddenly. The ref never called for it. What the hell was that?

Referee Charles Robinson yelled at the timekeeper saying he didn’t call for the bell. While that was going on, Undertaker gave Lesnar a low blow punch from behind. The ref didn’t see that either. Undertaker applied the Hell’s Gate submission hold. Lesnar gave him the middle finger with his left hand while in the hold. Lesnar passed out and the ref called for the bell at 17:50.

Winner by submission: The Undertaker

Analysis: ***1/2 It was an intense match and pretty good for the time given. I didn’t like the finish very much at all. I know they wanted to do something without having either guy lose clean and obviously the goal was to have Undertaker go over to necessitate another match with them, but that was just weird. It’s going to upset fans when you do something like that because they want to see decisive winners at a major show like this one. Instead, we get that. Lesnar did a great job offensively for much of the match. Give Undertaker credit for taking Lesnar’s power moves while always finding a way to come back. Undertaker selling the rib injury was very good too. It’s just that finish left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I doubt there are going to be a lot of people that will call that a great finish. I guess we can just assume there’s another match for them at WrestleMania 32.

After the match, Undertaker went to the back. Replays showed that when Lesnar applied the Kimura Lock, Undertaker did tap out by tapping the leg of Lesnar. The referee was on the other side, so he didn’t see it. Heyman and Lesnar were furious about it.

(I was wrong to think that the match would be at WrestleMania 32 because it took place at Hell in a Cell in October 2015, so about two months after that. Lesnar won that match to put an end to the rivalry for good. As for the match, I think they had to do a cheap finish like that because WWE didn’t want to have Lesnar lose clean. It was weird to see Undertaker cheat to win like that, but it fit the story that he was willing to do anything to get revenge against Lesnar.)

Post match, Paul Heyman had the microphone and was ranting about what happened. He said that Lesnar was the winner by submission. The show ended with Lesnar’s music playing while he left with Heyman. The PPV was over at 10:46pmET.

The show had a run time of 3:44:05 on WWE Network.

 

FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS

– I think to sum it up the best thing to say is the work in the ring was pretty good most of the night, but some of the booking decisions were questionable at best. The talent in the company is there. I just don’t think the creative decisions on this show were the best that they could have been. That’s why I know there will be some people that think I’m being too nice with a 7.5/10, but I have a lot of respect for the wrestlers and they did well.

(Original rating was a 7 out of 10, but I boosted it up a bit.)

– Going into the show I didn’t expect Cena/Rollins or Lesnar/Undertaker to have a clean finish. Both matches had cheap endings. They were tough matches to book. I think with Cena/Rollins they had a fantastic match with a memorable finish because Jon Stewart was a factor in it. That’s going to get WWE a lot of press, which is what they love. I thought Rollins had one of the best performances of his WWE career, if not the best.

– That Undertaker/Lesnar match was better than what they did at WrestleMania 30 last year, but all people will remember is the finish. I’m sure somebody thought it was a clever idea. Not me. I just think they could have done something else even with a dumb ref spot like he gets poked in the eye and misses the low blow before the finish. What they did protects Lesnar, but this is also the third PPV main event match that he has failed to win by pinfall or submission.

(I guess I hated the finish three years ago. After it was explained on Raw, I didn’t mind it as much.)

– After those two matches, the Owens/Cesaro match was a highlight for me just because I’m a huge fan of those guys. I want to see more matches for them. Another highlight was The New Day’s celebration. Love those guys.

– This is a 2018 comment, but I just wanted to point out the crowd was great the entire show. They were very into the big matches like Rollins/Cena and Lesnar/Taker. Some of the other parts were rough in terms of making the crowd care although for the most part I think this was one of the more vocal crowds at a SummerSlam that I can ever remember. When a crowd is into the show that much, it helps the event big time.

 

OPINIONS

Show rating (out of 10): 7.5

Best Match: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (****1/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler (*1/2 out of 5)

Most Memorable Moment: The Undertaker beating Brock Lesnar by using a low blow. Jon Stewart helping Seth Rollins was also memorable.

 

Five Stars of the Show

1. Seth Rollins

2. John Cena

3. Kevin Owens

4. Cesaro

5. (tie) The Undertaker

5. (tie) Brock Lesnar

 

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 @ SummerSlam 2011 (****1/4)

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena @ SummerSlam 2015 (****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 2015 (The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar) – 7.5

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 2016.

Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.

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John Canton

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