WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Drew Gulak(c) vs. Oney Lorcan - 6.75/10
The story of the match was that Lorcan was able to survive and adapt to the Gu-Lock so Drew had to come up with something else.
They did the best they could in the criminally short amount of time they were given. You've got a two-hour pre-show and you can't even give these guys nine minutes, never mind the fifteen they should have gotten? Or at least not had them interrupted for a hype package that you're going to show at least two other times during this stupid pre-show?
DRAKE MAVERICK VOWS TO NOT LEAVE TORONTO WITHOUT BEING 24/7 CHAMPION - He's back to being an embarrassing 24/7 goof. Truth and Carmella tried to hide in front of the panel's table. Why is this goofball sh*t happening?
BUDDY MURPHY vs. APOLLO CREWS - 3.75/10
These guys did a fantastic job in the time they were given (4:20) as well. The match ended when Rowan came out of the crowd and attacked Murphy. I liked that the announcers aren't just believing Murphy but rather are wondering whether Rowan is doing this because he's angry that Murphy stooged him off to Roman or because Murphy has accused him of perpetrating a crime that he did not commit.
The idea here is fine. Well... mostly fine. Instead of a frustrating DQ, why not let Murphy win a squash and then have Rowan attack him? But either way, this didn't need to happen on the SummerSlam pre-show. You could have just as easily given this time to the Cruiserweight Title match and done this same thing on Smackdown. Aside from giving the Cruiserweight Title match (and, but extension all of 205 Live) more time to shine, it also eliminates the immersion-damaging fact that Murphy's whole gimmick is being upset that he is rarely ever booked on Smackdown, and now he gets booked in a totally cold match on the Smackdown pre-show when the booking demands that someone attack him for the DQ.
THE DRIFTER SINGS - Edge comes out and beats him up. This was cheap heat followed by a cheap pop for the hometown legend.
WWE WOMEN'S TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Alexa Bliss! & Nikki Cross(c) vs. the IIconics - 5.5/10
Billie Kay is wearing an utterly ridiculous headdress that makes her old peacock-esque one look tame. Alexa Bliss!, on the other hand, is in Buzz Lightyear-themed gear and manages to not look ridiculous at all. And holy sh*t I just realized that Peyton Royce's gear is a parody of Alexa's previous gear.
The match was very good for the time it got. The babyfaces won when Alexa pinned Royce after Twisted Bliss. But even Alexa Bliss! retaining a title could not keep my good mood up because... well...
Remember seven months ago when they promised us changes and the only change they made was to announce that there would be no more obligatory champion's rematches? Well not only are we getting one of those here, but the winners of this match will defend their titles tomorrow night on Raw against another team that lost cleanly in the title match where Bliss and Cross won the titles. And that team isn't even part of the Raw roster! Why is this promotion so f*cking bad at basic sh*t like remembering their own rules?
SUBMISSIONS MATCH FOR THE WWE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE:
Becky Lynch(c) vs. Natalya - 6/10
Why are submissions matches no DQs? I can understand not wanting count-outs, but without DQs they're basically I Quit matches. And rope breaks are such a huge part of submission wrestling in WWE that taking them away from the ideal gimmick match between submission experts just seems wrong.
Anyway, they did of work on the body parts and traded big submissions, but it didn't feel anywhere near as big as it should have. Nattie tapped out in her own home country because this is WWE and they hate the fans. Speaking of blonde Canadian women who are going to jobs in their home country tonight...
KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS TRISH STRATUS - A great promo by Trish, but she is, unfortunately, going to wind up looking like a heel who got embarrassed at the end of this rather than a hero proving herself worthy.
DOLPH ZIGGLER PROMO - Oh my G-d just shut up! This a PPV with nine more matches on it. Quit wasting our time with this pointless talking. We don't need to hear Dolph whine about never getting respect even though he "steals the show" every night. We've heard that in basically every promo he has cut for the past five years.
GOLDBERG vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER- DUD!
I was going to be nice and not give them a dud, simply because this waste of time was not really the wrestlers' fault, but then I realized that this probably actually was Goldberg's fault. Goldberg got to kick out of a superkick at one twice in the hopes that Meltzer will forget that the bald guy kicking out at one is not Ishii and give this match several stars just for that. Then it was spear, jackhammer, pin.
Then we hit the real thing that made me decided to just give this a dud, which was the injured Dolph grabbing a mic and insulting Goldberg and saying Goldberg hit like a baby, just so we could get ye another spear. THEN THEY DID THE EXACT SAME F*CKING THING AGAIN. If I wanted to watch Goldberg hit his two moves and make his mean faces, I'd go to YouTube and type in "Goldberg TitanTron." This whole thing was a gigantic waste of about fifteen minutes of my time, which is really annoying when I have to wake up at 6:15 to get to work on time tomorrow.
NEW DAY BACKSTAGE - Idiotic. More time is wasted with Drake Maverick pretending to be Drake the rapped because this is Toronto. New Day tricked him into participating in their foolishness by lying to him and saying that 24/7 Champion R-Truth would be here.
Speaking of R-Truth and stupid crap, he and Carmella are masquerading as an "English announce team" over with the non-Spanish and non-German foreign language announcers. WWE is apparently completely okay with this, to the point where they set up a table and monitors and working headsets for them, and had Cole pitch to them while he was pitching to all of the others. Thinking this disguise will work makes Truth a moron, and any wrestler who wants the 24/7 Title who isn't over there and attacking Truth within five minutes is even dumber. And the people who came up with and okayed this whole thing are even dumber than that. The fact that morons wind up in positions of power so greatly annoys me.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
AJ Styles(c) vs. Ricochet - 7/10
The story of the match was AJ working over Ricochet's leg to limit Ricochet's aerial abilities. Ricochet was a great babyface, fighting through everything, and the finish was pretty darn epic, even if it didn't fit into the story of the match in any way. After the match, Gallows & Anderson gave Ricochet a Magic Killer, because G-d forbid a feud end with a clean win and just be over.
THE STREET PROFITS WASTE EVEN MORE TIME BACKSTAGE - Annoying. Then Ric Flair showed up to waste even more time with them.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR CRICKET WIRELESS COMMERCIAL - Just as embarrassing as Sasha and Sheamus', but I figured I'd mention this simply because it means they'll probably take the Sasha one out of rotation, eliminating the last trace of her from WWE TV.
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Bayley(c) vs. Ember Moon - 6.5/10
This was an entertaining, back-and-forth "moves" match. Bayley won clean, which is disappointing because we've seen what happens to wrestlers when WWE starts to push them and then gives up, and for someone who has been on the main roster for almost a year and a half and had been treated as a complete and total afterthought until now, this is extremely disheartening to see.
IF KEVIN OWENS LOSES, HE MUST LEAVE WWE:
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens - 5.25/10
Shane made Elias the "special guest enforcer," but Elias came out in a referee's shirt, which was confusing. He acted like a heel manager the whole time, but Graves was insisting to us that he was "a WWE official." They did a bunch of stuff to tease Owens losing by getting DQed because he was frustrated. Owens eventually got to hit Shane with a chair and kick him in the nuts while the ref was bumped and after Owens too Elias out. Why couldn't Owens have just won cleanly?
At one point during the entrances for this match, Corey Graves told his broadcast partners that "you can cry all day... about it not being high quality, but at the end of the day, the boss is the boss, and there is nothing that you, me, or anyone else can do about it." That has to be purposefully trolling us, right? There is no way that "not being high quality" line could have been an accident.
One thing Graves said during this match that I actually did enjoy was when Tom Phillips decried Shane McMahon trying to use a Sharpshooter here in Canada as "disrespectful," Graves immediately asked him why it was okay when Becky did it to Nattie but not when Shane tries to do it to Owens.
TRISH STRATUS vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR - 7.25/10
Trish looked great and they definitely had that "big match" feel they were going for. I think Trish has a lot of potential value to WWE in a part-timer role, but I do think that losing to Charlotte right away diminishes that a bit, simply because it feels like she was brought in to job to Charlotte and they did that, and thus she would need to be rebuilt a bit first before someone else will be able to benefit from beating her.
BRET HART PATS SETH ROLLINS ON THE SHOULDER BACKSTAGE - Segments like this bother me in WWE but not in other places, simply because WWE seems to no longer understand the point of segments like these. They're supposed to confer credibility upon the current babyface via the blessing of the legendary babyface of an age gone by. In WWE, the only things these segments seem to accomplish (and, in fact, the only reason many of them seem to be booked, like the one with Ric Flair earlier) is to get the crowd to pop for seeing the legend, with no benefit being conferred to the current babyface.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Kofi Kingston(c) vs. Randy Orton - 7/10
A great match that got ruined by a terrible double count-out or whatever the f*ck we got here. It's a f*cking world title match at f*cking SummerSlam. Just give us a f*cking clean finish! I don't need to see these two facing off nest month in a Kendo stick on a pole match or a no DQs match or whatever they're going to do. Not every feud has to go for months and months and months. The story of this feud is that Kofi wants to prove his in-ring superiority over a man who tried to keep him down by defeating him in a wrestling match... and that's how the feud needs to end. It doesn't need to have some sort of stupid gimmick match pasted onto it.
FINN BALOR vs. BRAY WYATT - 2/10
I refuse to call it "The Fiend" for two reasons. Firstly, it's an extremely stupid name (although I will reverse my stance on that if there turns out to be an opposite entity called "The Friend," which then necessitates the silly name for artistic reasons). Secondly, and more importantly, so far we have not seen this supposedly "new" character do a single thing that the old Bray Wyatt didn't do just about every week.
Bray Wyatt came out to an angry remix of his old music. He's still got a lantern, which he carries in what I guess is supposed to be a severed Bray Wyatt head but looks more like Blackbeard. There was a lot of light-flashing and camera-cutting. I'm pretty sure Kevin Dunn had an orgasm during this.
Bray still does his stupid spot during matches where he hangs backwards in the corner and his opponent is scared by this for some reason. Balor was dressed in all white for what I'm sure someone in WWE thinks were super-cool artistic reasons. I could speculate on what those might be, but I've learned that when Bray Wyatt is involved, nothing actually means anything so I'm not going to bother. Bray kicked Balor's ass in short order and won with the Mandible Claw. Michael Cole tried to sell us that "this is one of the strangest debuts that I've ever witnessed," but Bray didn't do anything particularly weird, and certainly nothing that we haven't seen others do before.
Bray teleported out of the ring, while Balor sold his throat. The fans chanted "THAT WAS AWESOME" for reasons that I will never understand. Maybe they just hate people with epilepsy and hope Bray's special effects caused some of them to have seizures. That's the nearest I can think of because I found none of this to be in any way cool, interesting, impressive, good, or artistic.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Brock Lesnar(c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Seth Rollins - 7.5/10
Seth's ribs are taped up from the past two weeks of beatings. Brock worked the ribs a bunch, but then it turned into the usual Brock match with guys doing the same moves over and over again. They got away from that towards the end, to the point where I am willing to call it a great match, but this did not have the emotional impact that it should have because this is the third time we've seen Brock supposedly vanquished, including the second by Rollins just this year, and the second straight year they've done this same angle at SummerSlam (also coming off of doing it at Mania for two straight years, and with a Shield member, no less).
This was a bad show from WWE. Pretty much every match on the show felt like it under-delivered (Charlotte and Trish being the exception), and many of the finishes were punch a hole in your wall levels of frustrating. Much like last year's SummerSlam, I find that my feeling coming out of this show is a sort of frustration at the booking and the quality of the show and the entire creative ethos, but tinged with this odd hope that now that Brock is gone and they blew some stuff off, maybe things will change. Then again, that was how I felt coming out of last year's show, too, and the main event of this year's show was once again "our babyface hero will get our belt back from us from the big mean Brock Lesnar who doesn't like to be here." I so badly hope this company actually starts to get better once AEW goes on the air.<<