Thursday, 22 August 2013

WWE Summerslam on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It's often billed as WWE's hottest event of the summer. But was it? That's what I'm attempting to find out as we take a look back at Summerslam, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.

The broadcast began with the Ring of Fire match as Kane took on Bray Wyatt, accompanied here Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.

This was the first time I'd seen Wyatt in action, and I have to admit that the guy did pretty well. Granted, he probably won't win any awards for technical classics in his career though.

As for the match it was basically like the Inferno matches of years gone by. The two big guys brawled in the ring, and whenever one of them hit a big move the flames shot a few feet in the air.

The match looked pretty even at first, but then Wyatt sought to take the upper hand when he told his boys to get him a weapon. However, when they found a kendo stick and tried to hand it to him the flames rose again and set the stick alight.

Kane came back strongly moments later, and it looked like he was intent on dishing out the punishment when he took Wyatt down with two choke slams. But then the boys found a fire retardant blanket and placed it over one side of the ring, putting out the fire on that side so they could enter the match and take Kane apart. 

They then held Kane his place as Wyatt made his recover before taking him down with his as yet unnamed finisher for the three count and the win.

But that wasn't the end of things. As Wyatt took his place in his rocking chair his boys clobbered Kane with the ring steps before Wyatt lighted his lantern as his boys dragged Kane away with them.

The grudge match action then continued with Damien Sandow taking on his former tag partner Cody Rhodes.

Now this I liked. It was one of those short and sweet encounters packed with a ton of action, and two good performances as well.

I was really impressed with how much they packed in. It was a keenly-fought contest in which both guys had strong moments of offence, and it was hard to pick out just who was the better man because they were equally as good as each other.

The grandson of the plumber emerged victorious in this one. Having narrowly missed getting the pin after the Disaster Kick he finally secured the victory after taking Sandow down with the Cross Rhodes. Nice stuff.

The first title match of the evening saw Christian challenging Alberto Del Rio for the World title.

You know, I'm really starting to like ADR's new aggressive attitude. It's certainly served him well recently, and it certainly came to the fore in this encounter.

This was billed as Christian's last chance at the big prize, and if it was then he put in a hell of a performance. Despite the fact that he's been wrestling longer than I've been writing about him his performances have always remained fresh, and once again he came across as the ultimate underdog.

These two ingredients made for a fascinating encounter. Del Rio sought to put his challenger away on numerous occasions, but no matter what he did he just couldn't get the job done. Christian's resilience saw him kicking out of pin attempts time and time again, despite the fact that ADR had targeted his previously injured shoulder.

But despite his courage and heart he came up short. When he finally took his man down with a spear he was in so much pain he couldn't go for a cover. This gave Del Rio the chance to recover, and enough time to lock in the cross arm breaker. Christian held out for as long as he could before the inevitable happened and he tapped out to give ADR the title retaining submission win.

The next match, designed to capitalize on the Total Divas show, saw Natalya, accompanied by the Funkadactyls, taking on Brie Bella, accompanied by Eva Marie and her sister Nikki.

This wasn't too bad I suppose. The performances certainly can't be faulted, although it was pretty obvious that those in attendance weren't exactly into this.

Brie controlled most of the action, and we saw the obligatory catfight from the ringside supporters before Natalya took her girl down with an Alabama slam before taking the submission win with a sharpshooter.

Then it was on to the beast versus the best, with Brock Lesnar, accompanied by Paul Heyman, taking on C.M. Punk in a no disqualification match.

I remember when Lesnar first returned to WWE there were some who feared that he'd be unable to have a good match with Punk, who was WWE Champion at the time, and that's why was never put in a title program. Well folks, I think those fears have been unfounded, because this was a classic.

For over twenty minutes these two put on one of the best matches I've seen this year. It was one of those matches that drew you in instantly. It held you in the palm of it's hand from start to finish.

Lesnar, as is his custom, began with some brutal offence, but Punk, playing the part of the plucky underdog to perfection, kept coming back, even putting the monster on the back foot quite a few times, much to the shock and horror of Heyman at ringside.

As the match went on Lesnar looked in complete control. Punk would get in a few moments of offence until Lesnar quickly shut him down. But there were only so many times that Lesnar could do this, and it wasn't long before Punk made a strong comeback. It also helped that he had a steel chair in hand.

At one point, as they jockeyed for position, Punk even threw a few MMA into his offence, with Lesnar almost tapping out to a triangle choke. The beast never said die though, and when he did come close to losing after a GTS Heyman broke up the pin.

In fact Heyman tried to interfere on quite a few occasions, and when he tried to stop Punk from using the chair again he ended up on the receiving end of a big right hand before Punk locked in a hold he'd just used on Lesnar, the anaconda vice.

But Punk's obsession with dishing it out to Heyman led to his downfall. As he applied the vice to his former friend Lesnar clobbered him with the chair, and a few moments and an F5 later Lesnar finally had the three count and the win.

Mixed tag team action followed as Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn faced Divas Champion A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston.

For me this has a similar sort of vibe to the Divas match, a short and sweet encounter that was well executed that probably won't make any match of the year candidates.

There weren't any inter-gender confrontations in this one. It began with Ziggler and Langston pulling off a few good moves before the girls came in and showed why their rivalry has been worth watching in the past few months.

Eventually the fellas came back into the match, and after both Divas got involved and Kaitlyn took Lee down with a spear at ringside Ziggler managed to take Langston down with his zig zag for the winning pin.

The main event saw Daniel Bryan challenging John Cena for the WWE title, with Triple H as the special referee.

To say that this was a good match would be an understatement. To say that this was an awesome match wouldn't be. In fact it may be the best match that either of these guys have had in their WWE careers.

You had two different ideologies in this match, the wrestler challenging the entertainer, and it was a perfect combination. These two took it to each other for what seemed like an age. The performances were tremendous, the psychology was spot on, and everything just made perfect sense.

In fact this match had so much great action it would probably take me too long to list everything I liked. You had numerous submission attempts, excellent back and forth sequences, and in Bryan a guy who wanted to prove that despite everything that's been said about him he was capable of getting the job done.

They threw everything they had at each other, and as time went on they became more and more frustrated at their inability to put each other away, and it got to the point where they slapped each other silly in an attempt to fire each other up.

And after all that, after Bryan countered Cena's Attitude Adjuster and took his man out with a kick to the head he connected with a running knee. A three count later and he'd done. Daniel Bryan was the new WWE Champion.

Then, after Bryan was given the belt and Cena congratulated him with a warm handshake the celebrations began as ticker tape rained down from the rafters and the fireworks went off.

Then it happened. As Bryan celebrated in the ring Randy Orton appeared on the scene with his Money in the Bank briefcase. At first he taunted the new champion with the case before turning his back and walking back up the aisle, but when Triple H attacked Bryan and took him down with a Pedigree Orton rushed down to the ring. He than handed his briefcase to the Game before pinning the fallen Bryan to become the new WWE Champion.

In conclusion - I had heard a ton of things about how good this show was, and I must say that all of them were well justified.

This year's Summerslam was a tremendous show. All of the matches delivered, and the main marquee matches delivered big time, and I wouldn't be surprised if those in the know vote for this as their show of the year.

As for my match of the night no-prize it's going to get split right down the middle and dished out to the Punk/Lesnar and Cena/Bryan matches. Boy were those two good. You had two matches here filled with tension, drama, and a ton of great moves. They're definitely two matches I'd like to see re-matches for, but I guess we'll have to wait for one of them because of Cena's injury.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing to do, and that's to give this year's Summerslam the big thumbs up.

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