WWE Summerslam 2017 (Review)

Threatening to leave the company if he loses his Universal Championship, Brock Lesnar defends against three other men. Jinder Mahal seeks to make his WWE Championship more legitimate, as he faces challenger Shinsuke Nakamura. The biggest party of the summer awaits…


John Cena
vs.
Baron Corbin
2star
(Winner via pinfall: John Cena)

Naomi (C)
vs.
Natalya
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
2half_star
(Winner via submission, and new champion: Natalya)

Big Show
vs.
Big Cass
with Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage
2star
(Winner via pinfall: Big Cass)

Randy Orton
vs.
Rusev
0-5
(Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton)

Alexa Bliss (C)
vs.
Sasha Banks
WWE RAW Women’s Championship
3half_star
(Winner via submission, and new champion: Sasha Banks)

Finn Balor
vs.
Bray Wyatt
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Finn Balor)

Sheamus & Cesaro (C)
vs.
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
4star
(Winners via pinfall, and new champions: Rollins & Ambrose)

A.J. Styles
vs.
Kevin Owens
with Shane McMahon as special guest referee
WWE United States Championship
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: A.J. Styles)

Jinder Mahal (C) (with the Singh Brothers)
vs.
Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE Championship
2star
(Winner via pinfall: Jinder Mahal)

Brock Lesnar (C)
vs.
Roman Reigns
vs.
Samoa Joe
vs.
Braun Strowman
Fatal-4-Way for the WWE Universal Championship
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Brock Lesnar)


Review

If you ever wondered if Vince McMahon worries about how to top the NXT show that always precedes his big PPV’s, then Summerslam 2017 absolutely confirmed that he does not. He’ll just do what he always does, because he’s Vince McMahon, and I’m sure he feels he has nothing to prove. Sadly, in 2017, he does, and someone needs to tell him that his PPV audience are looking for workrate, not spectacle. As always, Vince confuses the two, and seemingly forgets that spectacle is for casuals, casuals who no longer watch his product.

If that opening paragraph suggests to you that I was disappointed by Summerslam 2017, then you would be correct. From questionable match orders (why the hell were two significant title matches on the pre-show in front of an embarrassingly empty crowd, when Big Show and Big Cass got what felt like 20-25 minutes of PPV time?), to confusing booking (why did Neville win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship back 6 days after losing it, and why did Orton/Rusev last about 10 seconds?), this show felt underwhelming from start to finish, with very few moments to excite. Thankfully, they did get some things right, but even those seemed weak in execution, such as the Sasha Banks title win that was a nice match but could’ve done with a bigger build to its finish.

Enzo Amore, as theatrical as he is, needs to be sent back to drama school. What he was doing, with all his shouting from the cage, is called upstaging, and it is NOT a good thing. Thankfully though, it distracted from the dire match taking place underneath him. WWE need to realise that beating Big Show doesn’t do anything for anyone anymore.

I liked seeing Natalya win the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship. The match was surprisingly one-sided, but truthfully, that’s how it should have been. Naomi cannot wrestle, and never should’ve been near that belt in the first place, let alone being allowed to turn it into a shiny toy. It’s back on a wrestler now, so hopefully that championship can start regaining some legitimacy.

Styles and Owens had a nice match, but too many Shane bumps ruined it a little, in my opinion. They were happening from the start and I just didn’t buy that. All the men put in good work though, as you’d expect. Hopefully, this feud is now over and both competitors will move onto something new. Four months was too long for this rivalry.

Ambrose and Rollins now have the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship, which I think we all expected, although it’s sad to see Sheamus and Cesaro lose the straps so quick. The heels are on a great run right now, and I hope that’s allowed to continue after this feud with Ambrose and Rollins is over. I still believe we are headed toward an Ambrose/Rollins match at Wrestlemania 34, but the journey there is going to be fun.

If you ever had any doubts, Jinder Mahal’s championship run is an unmitigated disaster. He’s faced top talent, and not put on any good matches. Shinsuke Nakamura deserves some blame, because he’s yet to put in the kind of performances that made him famous prior to signing with WWE, but this now Mahal’s third PPV title defence, and all have failed to impress. The only positive here was that it went on as the co-main event, rather than early on the card, as often happens to Smackdown’s world championship match at the big PPV’s.

The main event was as entertaining as expected, and Braun Strowman was incredible. MVP for sure. Why wasn’t this a Brock Lesnar/Braun Strowman singles match, because that’s what this four way turned into on several occasions, and it was superb viewing. If Lesnar doesn’t go one on one with Strowman during his title run, someone in the back needs to be fired.

The decision to have Lesnar return after being stretchered out was an interesting one, which seemed slightly pointless. It works for the smaller babyface, but someone like Lesnar doesn’t need it to make him look strong. I was genuinely surprised to see him retain, deanas this match always felt as though it was designed to take the championship off him without having him take the loss himself, but if he is going to make more title defences, then keep it on him. Delighted to see Reigns take the pin too, which I’m sure very few thought would happen.

All in all, Summerslam 2017 was okay. Not great, not awful, but passable. The first half of the card was underwhelming, but it was saved by some big matches later on. Four hour shows are fine for the big events, but someone needs to tell Vince McMahon that it shouldn’t be four hours of padded out matches, it should be four hours of solid entertainment. Trying to squeeze everyone onto the show is silly, and meals we get dross like Big Show and Cass, or even the poor John Cena verses Baron Corbin.

Less is more, sometimes.

Match of the Night

Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins

Rating

2half_star

You can watch this event at WWENetwork.com, or via the WWE Network app.
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