WWE finished off its summer and kicked off the first full-fledged new era network event with SummerSlam 2016. A solid lineup on paper delivered the SummerSlam many had hoped for albeit the predictable winners. All of the main-events and featured bouts delivered, making this one of the best SummerSlam events top to bottom in years but it was the end of the night that the WWE wants you talking about.
Poor Randy Orton was sacrificed at SummerSlam. This was Lesnar’s most dominating performance in a while, including WrestleMania 32. Brock Lesnar dominated most of the match. He hit seven suplexes on Orton. He had Orton on the announcer’s table when Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere for his first offense of the match. He subsequently hit a DDT on Lesnar when Brock got back in the ring. The advantage didn’t last long. Brock wound up taking his gloves off and pounding Orton. Lesnar opened up a huge cut on Orton with elbows. Orton bled badly as the doctors came in to check on him. Lesnar pushed the doctor off of Orton and went back to pounding on Orton several times, trying to give the idea that this was some kind of a “shoot”. The announcers dubbed it a “SummerSlam massacre”. Shane McMahon came in the ring to call off Lesnar. Lesnar smiled at him and dropped him with an F5 as Heyman yelled, “What did you do?”
I am not quite sure what to make of this. Lesnar went on last for a reason. The reason was that the WWE wants everyone talking about what he did to Shane McMahon, not Finn Balor or Dean Ambrose. I presumed there’d be a big angle here with Goldberg but that never came to fruition. My hunch here is that this progresses with Shane getting a “hired gun” or “bounty hunter” of sorts to go after Lesnar. Is that wrestler Goldberg? If it’s not Goldberg, maybe Samoa Joe? There will be a lot more to come on this one.
Finn Balor defeated Seth Rollins to win the WWE Universal title, also according to the announcers became the first wrestler to win a major singles title in his debut PPV match (that is debatable). This was a real solid match with a real back and forth storyline between the two. I got the feeling they were holding a bit back to save more for their rematches. The finish came when Balor hit the Coup de Grace for the win and the title. Balor also kicked out of the Pedigree during the match, remember that a few months from now. Oh and yes, the Universal title is hideously ugly.
The company is 100% solidly behind Balor. I do wonder if all of these jabs by WWE talent at Conor McGregor’s size will work against Balor. You have everyone in the company discrediting the biggest star in combat sports due to his size, yet you have a junior-heavyweight as your world champion. Don’t misunderstand me, I am a Balor fan, have been for years. But all of this talk about “size” and mocking Conor McGregor for being small could really sabotage Balor’s push.
Dean Ambrose retained the WWE world championship over Dolph Ziggler. Unfortunately this was a bit of a one-sided squash in favor of Ambrose. Ziggler certainly had his comebacks but Ambrose dominated most of the match. One thing to note is that Ambrose was working heel here, mocking Ziggler several times. While I don’t sense a heel turn, I do ponder if that will backfire on him moving forward as a babyface. The finish came when Ambrose countered Ziggler going for the X-Factor off of the top rope and hit Dirty Deeds for the pin.
This was a clean finish here so I don’t feel a rematch is in order. I’d bet that Ambrose is programmed next with AJ Styles but you never know. They could squeeze a rematch out of Ambrose and Ziggler, but I doubt it.
AJ Styles and John Cena had a Match of the Year candidate tonight. While the match was certainly short on psychology it was full of near falls and high spots that made it exciting to watch from start to finish. Style hit the Styles Clash at one point in the match and Cena kicked out. Styles reversed the STF into a cross-face. They traded counters which ended with Styles getting a calf crusher. Cena reversed it back into an STF. Styles later kicked out of a tornado DDT. Cena hit a legdrop off of the top rope for a near fall. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment off the second rope. Styles countered and hit a springboard Frankensteiner. Styles followed up with the phenomenal forearm for a near fall. Cena went back to the Super AA for a near fall. Styles finally hit another Styles Clash and phenomenal forearm.
Great match, again real short on psychology if you are…into that kind of thing. The announcers really put the win over as something big. JBL said there was no asterisk on this one and all of the announcers put over Styles winning the series 2-0 with a decisive win. This likely leads to a program with Dean Ambrose and subsequent title win. My hunch is this all sets up for Cena winning the title from Styles in 2017. Cena took his arm band off after the match, kissed it, and left it in the ring to symbolize him retiring or leaving for several months to film True Grit.
NOTE: There are a lot of rumors floating around about Sasha Banks. What can be confirmed is that she has been pulled from all live events for the next several weeks. I would presume that the official story will be reported on WWE.com in the next 24-48 hours.
Full WWE SummerSlam 2016 winners and match results…
Brock Lesnar defeated Randy Orton via TKO
Finn Balor defeated Seth Rollins to win the WWE Universal Championship
Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE World Championship
AJ Styles defeated John Cena
Rusev vs. Roman Reigns for the United States Championship (Never happened, Rusev jumped Reigns before the bell, brawl ensued, Reigns injured Rusev’s ribs)
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens defeated Enzo Amore and Big Cass
The Miz defeated Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Championship
Gallows and Anderson defeated The New Day via DQ in a Tag Team Championship Bout
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks to regain the WWE Women’s Championship
Natalya, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Bella deafted Carmella, Becky Lynch and Naomi
Kickoff show: Sami Zayn and Neville defeated The Dudley Boyz
Kickoff show: The Usos, The Vaudevillains, Hype Bros defeated American Alpha, Breezango, and The Ascension
Kickoff show: Sheamus defeated Cesaro in the first match of a best-of-7 series