courtesy of WWE.com
by Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big Takeaway: For the first time since 2002, the Undertaker appeared as an outright heel by attacking Brock Lesnar in Lesnar’s homecoming in Minneapolis. Undertaker left Lesnar laying with a tombstone after a chokeslam. The go-home show to SummerSlam also had a great John Cena-Seth Rollins contract signing for the title vs. title match.
HHH and Stephanie McMahon are out first. They started by running down the SummerSlam card. They announced a contract signing for later tonight between Seth Rollins and John Cena. Jon Stewart was also officially announced as the guest host for SummerSlam. And that was it. Took 10 minutes. It was every PPV countdown control center update you saw during syndicated shows in the 90s with Todd Pettengill or Tony Schiavone, except this was live in the ring with the two biggest heels in the company. Or faces, depending on which week it is.
Randy Orton and Cesaro defeated Kevin Owens and Sheamus (12:59)
Randy Orton pinned Sheamus after an RKO. Cesaro made a blind tag to Orton, who tried to give Kevin Owens an RKO, but Owens threw Orton into Sheamus for the finish. Yet another job for Sheamus after he won the Money in the Bank briefcase. The Cesaro Section movement continues as the crowd got into his hot tag. Solid.
The Undertaker will come out for an interview next. The promo was taped in the back with Undertaker emerging from fog with monks chanting in the background. He said when the reaper calls your name, there’s nothing you can do but accept your fate. He said that Lesnar would not rest in peace. We’ll likely see more of the Taker tonight or else this will be one disappointing go home show.
Rollins thanked HHH and Stephanie for coming up with the contract signing idea. Then he asked if he beats Cena on Sunday, he deserves a statue of his likeness at WWE Headquarters, just like Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior. Yep, they’re pissed at Hogan. HHH and Stephanie agreed.
Roman Reigns defeated Luke Harper (14:59)
Good match where Luke Harper looked like the most underrated guy in the company. Roman Reigns won with a Superman’s Punch and a Spear. At various points, Harper used a Michinoku Driver, a stiff Yakuza kick that JBL compared to Bruiser Brody and attempted a tope. Dean Ambrose was out on commentary. Bray Wyatt was at ringside just watching since Ambrose was seated across from him.
Becky Lynch defeated Tamina via submission (4:01)
Becky Lynch won with the DisarmHer. Crowd wanted to like Lynch but they weren’t into the match. Team Bella watched from the back.
Rusev defeated Mark Henry via submission (2:47)
Rusev got the tapout with the Accolade. Even in defeat, Mark Henry picked up Rusev and held him up on consecutive powerslams. Just absurbly strong.
Lana, selling nothing from getting her back bent by Summer Rae with an Accolade last week, was on commentary. That guaranteed Dolph Ziggler would make his return in this segment.
Postmatch, Lana got in the ring and challenged Rae. Lana slapped Rae down. Then Lana challenged Rusev. As Rueev approached her, Ziggler ran down for his return to a big pop. Ziggler hit the hanging DDT and started to hit Rusev with a superkick, but Rusev pulled Rae in front of him. So Lana kicked Rae down, followed by Ziggler giving Rusev a kick. Ziggler and Lana kissed as Rusev fumed.
Ziggler did a promo with Lana backstage challenging the “Bulgarian Bonehead” to a match at SummerSlam. Remind me if Ziggler opens during Adam Sandler’s comeback standup comedy tour to schedule an oil change for that night.
They showed the same terrific hype piece with Lesnar-Undertaker from last week.
Ryback (C) defeated The Miz (2:21) in a nontitle match
Ryback won with the Shellshock. The Big Show was on commentary acting like a total babyface, which was quite the 180 from the past eight months. He promoted his straight to DVD movie “Vendetta” with Dean Cain. Ryback challenged Show to get in the ring, but he just walked off.
The 2nd hour has lost a lot of steam after such a big buildup.
Next up with the Rollins-Cena contract signing. The sign of the night was held up during Rollins’ entrance which read “At least Cena’s nose turned.”
Rollins said he can’t wait for the statue is erected in his honor for beating Cena and holding the World Heavyweight Championship and U.S. Championship at the same time. Rollins brought up Bob Dylan, who is from Minnesota. He said “The Times they are a Changin'” and compared it to how he will be the man to replace Cena after Cena spent 10 years on top of the mountain. Rollins said Cena has held the entire WWE Universe hostage for the past decade, which got a fair amount of cheers. Rollins said Cena was a disease and he was the cure. Wow, we’re taking taglines from horrible 1980s Sly Stallone movies now. Rollins signed the contract.
Just as Rollins was about to go into how Cena wouldn’t face him man-to-man at Tough Enough, Cena finally came out to mostly boos. That was disappointing because you would think working the last 5 minutes of a match with a broken nose would earn respect.
Cena did an angry promo and a damn good one about how people may be chanting “Let’s Go Cena” and “Cena Sucks,’ but no one is saying a thing about Rollins. He also said Rollins didn’t even believe that anything that was coming out of his own mouth. Cena said he spent the last two weeks at home wondering what to do in response to suffering a broken nose. Perhaps he would break Rollins’ nose, maybe his arm, maybe his leg. Cena talked about possibly becoming the World Champion for the 16th time. If Rollins lost, that meant that the Authority would lose, because that record belongs to HHH’s mentor, Ric Flair. HHH was stoic up until this point, but he scowled after that one.
Cena finished by saying that HHH was trying to bestow his legacy on to Rollins, but the difference was HHH was never Flair’s bitch. Cena said this Sunday, “I’m going to make you mine.” Even Cena’s detractors loved that one. Cena signed the contract and walked. Great work from Cena.
The Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons defeated The New Day and Los Matadores (2:09)
Finish was Kalisto pinning Diego with a springboard huracanrana. For some reason, El Torito attacked Xavier Woods, even though they were seconds on the same team. This distracted all of the heels. Of course, the most entertaining part of the match was the New Day’s entrance, where Woods was supposed to finish a rhyme by saying “At SummerSlam, we’re going to knock all of these teams out of their socks, and that’s simply because New Day…..always has the odds stacked against them! I mean, we have to face three other teams…” Fans now want New Day as faces.
Stardust and King Barrett did a promo on Neville and Stephen Amell. Naturally, it started weird. It got downright surreal when Stardust presented a levitating cape with chains to Barrett, then wrapped it around his back. Starudst is basically doing the Jack Nicholson routine from the 1990 version of Batman as an overacting villian.
Sasha Banks defeated Nikki Bella (C) via submission in a nontitle match (10:37)
Sasha Banks made Nikki Bella tap out to the Bank Statement after Bankrupt. Nikki was going for the Rack Attack when Naomi jumped on the apron to distract the referee. The match shows they have a long way to go to present the Divas as anything special. Banks didn’t even get a ring entrance. After the match, they cut to Renee Young interviewing Team PCB, and again their gimmick is all of them going “Whoooo!” Show me a 2nd generation superstar who tries to get over by doing his father’s old routine, and I’ll show you Ted DiBiase Jr.
By this point in the show, fans were ready for Lesnar and chanted for him.
Heyman came out with a babyface promo introducing Lesnar for his homecoming. Lesnar came out with pyro, burgundy and gold streamers and a huge hometown reception. Lesnar even broke a smile. Heyman BROKE INTO SONG singing a remake to the tune of “Glory Glory Hallaelujah” when the Undertaker’s dong went off. The lights went out, but Undertaker didn’t show up yet.
Heyman said Undertaker could team with God and the Devil and Lesnar will take all of them to Suplex City. He said ever said the Undertaker has been obsessed with taking revenge against Lesnar since the loss at WrestleMania. Heyman said the Undertaker has never beaten Lesnar, and after this Sunday night he will be able to make the same statement.
Heyman said the Undertaker wasn’t a man this weekend, he was fighting a beast. He said Lesnar offers no respect to the Undertaker’s accomplishments, no resurrection, no retribution….and the lights went out again.
And the Undertaker was in the ring and kicked Lesnar low again. Undertaker choke slammed Lesnar. And he followed with a tombstone, then walked out to his music.
If the goal of this was to make Undertaker a heel, it sure worked it front of this crowd because he got no cheers at all and outright booed leaving.
SUMMARY: The key angles and segments to build up the major matches at SummerSlam were done very well. But the show was lacking after the first hour in terms of quality matches. However, people will want to see Taker/Lesnar and Cena/Rollins on Sunday, and they got great angles leading up to them tonight.