These are in chronological order and some of them are bigger than others. The idea isn’t how big the story is but rather how much attention it’s been getting. Some of these are going to be shorter than others but they’re all important in one way or another.
We’ll start in Ring of Honor (ROH) where they made a new star in the form of Hangman Page. A few months back, Page took ROH legend Jay Briscoe to the limit in a wild brawl and they had a rematch over the weekend. With a gash taken out of his leg after piledriving Briscoe through a table, Page choked Briscoe out with his noose (hence the hangman moniker) and piledrove him again for the biggest win of his career.
Page has been in a few stables in his ROH career and he’s in another one now but he’s never really done anything special. Of course there’s no guarantee that he’s going to become a star as a result of this win but at least he’s gotten that one huge win under his belt and that’s going to give him a starting point. ROH needs more stars (like any company) and Page is as good as anyone else they could choose.
Later on in the same show, Adam Cole defeated Jay Lethal to become the new ROH World Champion, ending Lethal’s title reign as the fourth longest in company history. Cole is now in his second reign with the title and it’s hard to argue with him getting it back. The win probably should have taken place months ago to really make the Bullet Club feel like a main event stable but the win was clean and the match was great.
It’s off to NXT now and we’ll start with the opening match as No Way Jose again proved that he’s WAY too good to be stuck in this comedy role. His match was strong, the fans cared about him and he doesn’t suffer from losing to a future main eventer in Austin Aries. At the same time though, Andrade Cien Almas is a disaster. His in ring work is passable at best, the character is just there and almost no one cares. Would it be out of line to suggest switching these two? Almas is a regular midcarder with no upside and Jose is looking ready to be a breakout star. Just swap them and have Almas be the jobber he looks like.
After the opener, Aries kept beating on Jose until Hideo Itami came out for the save. Itami was on the fast track to the NXT main event and it’s really not hard to imagine him in Finn Balor’s spot, winning the NXT Title in Japan last year. Now he’s healthy and odds are this is going to be a #1 contenders feud for the NXT Title. There isn’t much else to say on this one but it’s a good idea. Itami and Aries are as good as anyone else for the next new challenger so this is the best idea all around.
In our final NXT entry, Ember Moon is awesome. Really that’s all that needs to be said. She’s young, pretty, has an awesome gimmick and a great finisher. The NXT women’s division is almost barren right now so she can be slotted almost near the top and challenge Asuka fairly soon. I’d definitely call this one a hit.
Now we’re on to the big main event of the weekend with “Summerslam 2016” and let’s get this out of the way: the pre-show is WAY too long. I have no idea who thought it was smart to put on three matches over the course of two hours but they need a harsh reprimanding. It’s really hard to ask the fans to sit through that long of a show and then watch another four hours without them getting burned out.
The pre-show should be trimmed down to an hour at most with two short matches at most. That leaves the fans with more energy for the important stuff and less stuff being crammed in. Just cut the thing down and things get much better in a hurry. Get rid of that Smackdown twelve man tag and put the Intercontinental Title match on the pre-show instead of cramming it into the regular show, thereby getting rid of the needless overrun.
Speaking of the Intercontinental Title match, do you remember the last time a match for that title meant anything? I’ve been a big Miz fan for a long time and I don’t blame the state of the title on him. This match had no build (their final confrontation was shown in a replay on “Smackdown”) and got five and a half minutes on a show that ran over four hours. That match going badly isn’t on the wrestlers and there’s almost no one that could have made that work. It wasn’t even a bad match but rather something that was crippled by the circumstances. Give them something to work with and you might get something back.
By retaining the Tag Team Titles on Sunday, New Day now has the third longest reign in the history of the company, dating all the way back to the first World Tag Team Titles (established in 1971) and it’s going to be second by the weekend. While I don’t think it’s going to happen, it’s really not out of the question for New Day to break Demolition’s record for the longest reign ever in another three and a half months. All this from a team that got booed out of the building about a year and a half ago. Wrestling is funny that way and I love it.
Next up we have the Smackdown World Title match between Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose. Do you remember anything about this match? Probably not, as it was just an extended nothing. The wrestling was fine, but it was nothing you haven’t seen on “Smackdown” or any other time these two might have fought.
After weeks of building up Ziggler to be something special and different this time around, he just lost clean to Dirty Deeds in a little over fifteen minutes. It’s the same Ziggler that we’ve seen time and time again, thereby defeating the purpose of his character. Ziggler’s complaints have been that he isn’t given a chance. Well now he got one and he lost clean. Maybe he turns heel now, but he certainly can’t keep going with the same talking points after losing that high profile of a match.
Ziggler wasn’t done yet though as we saw him dressed as Colonel Sanders and pinning Miz (dressed as a chicken of course) in an ad for KFC. There’s no big story here. I just want to confirm that it wasn’t actually a horrible dream I had after falling asleep watching so much wrestling in a few days. I know it’s an ad and they have to satisfy their sponsors, but THAT’S THE BEST THEY COULD COME UP WITH? You can direct that at WWE or KFC as they both deserve an eye roll from that.
At about 10:30 pm EST, the show had two matches to go and it was clear that we were heading for an overrun. However, for the first time in way too long, it seems that WWE decided there was a better option than what they had planned as the US Title match was canceled. While this might have been the plan all along, I’m working under the assumption that it was changed on the fly due to time constraints.
This was the best thing they could have done under the given circumstances. We had just seen this same match on “Monday Night Raw” and while that was stupid, it made the impact of the match not taking place here a bit softer. Instead they just did an angle to save time and that probably made people happier. Sometimes you just need to get on with the show and wrap it up already, which really was the case here. The show ended a little after 11pm instead of closer to midnight and that’s a good thing.
That leaves us with the main event and I’m not even sure where to start here. Yeah this was the biggest match of the weekend but it’s not like it’s been mentioned much on TV since then. In what was supposed to be a big deal and a showdown fifteen years in the making, we saw Brock Lesnar basically squash Randy Orton in less than twelve minutes, ending the match in a TKO win as Orton was unable to continue due to blood loss.
In the short match, Orton hit a pair of RKO’s and the elevated DDT onto the floor. Yeah those are big moves, but they’re also the only moves he hit. This was a glorified squash in the vein of Ambrose vs. Lesnar at “Wrestlemania XXXII” earlier this year. At this point, Lesnar squashing people isn’t interesting and it hasn’t been for a long time.
Lesnar has been back in WWE for four and a half years now and has had twenty one televised matches (counting “Wrestlemania XXXI” as one match), one of which was the 2016 Royal Rumble. In the twenty remaining matches, Lesnar is 14-6 with two losses in triple threat matches, one via DQ and one coming off a low blow. His last “clean” loss, which was in a No Holds Barred match, took place over three years ago.
How am I supposed to get excited to watch Lesnar try to break his record for the most German suplexes in a single match? These matches don’t lead anywhere most of the time and it makes everyone else on the roster look like nothing. Orton isn’t Heath Slater. He’s a 12 time World Champion and one of the most successful performers of all time. On Sunday, he was beaten down like any given loser.
Oh wait: it might be leading somewhere as Shane McMahon came out and took an F5, leading to a staredown with Lesnar. So yeah, the best we might get out of Orton getting squashed is McMahon vs. Lesnar, or hopefully McMahon bringing someone in to fight for him (we can only hope).
Either way, Lesnar needs to be challenged. He crushed Undertaker in their match inside the Cell, he beat up current WWE World Champion Ambrose and Orton in less than twenty five minutes combined and he hasn’t lost in two and a half years. At what point does this stop being interesting and start being Lesnar lowering himself to our level? Lesnar needs to do something different because this lost its impact a long time ago and is now hurting people who could be major stars at a time when WWE needs them most. This was a bad decision all around and looks lazy on top of everything else.
There are certainly bigger stories out there from this weekend but you can only talk about Finn Balor winning the Universal Title, Shinsuke Nakamura winning the NXT Title and Bayley’s farewell so many times, especially now that we’ve seen the TV followups. It was a huge weekend for all wrestling fans and there was a lot going on. Just because something wasn’t a top story doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth looking at.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews, check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and pick up my new book, KB’s WWE Grab Bag at Amazon for just $3.99 at:
And check out my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at: