Almost exactly 12 years after winning the WWE title for the first time, Brock Lesnar again ended Summerslam standing tall and holding the championship.
Going into the night, it seemed there would be many comparisons to be made between Sunday’s match and that 2002 match. In 2002, a case could be made that more people were rooting for Brock Lesnar than The Rock.
Sunday night, almost certainly more people in the arena were rooting for Lesnar than John Cena. However, that’s where the comparisons end.
The match we saw Sunday night pretty much has no comparisons in the annals of wrestling. It was, quite simply put, a 12-minute beatdown of John Cena. Cena basically only got two offensive moves in the entire match, and Lesnar was brutal in his beatdown.
He delivered an F5 about 30 seconds into the match, and between that F5 and the second one that finished the match, he rained down hammer blows, punches to the gut and face, and of course, delivered 16 German suplexes.
We’ve seen beatdowns in wrestling before, even in main events. We’ve almost never seen a beatdown where one guy basically has no chance from start to finish. It was a stunning sight.
What it did, quite simply, was make Lesnar look like the most dominant force in the history of wrestling. Since he joined the company in 2002, labels like that had been thrown around him, but until now, he never truly showed that.
Even before the match officially started, just when he came out, he looked the part, as he may have been in the best shape of his wrestling career. The only question now is where the WWE goes from here with him.
If they capitalize on this properly, every match with Lesnar becomes must-see, which is something that we haven’t been able to say in wrestling for a while. And, whoever ends up beating him will get an unbelievable rub.
While the match result was never in doubt to most people, the WWE made sure to give us something to remember as the reign of Brock Lesnar begins again.
The rest of Summerslam:
- Roman Reigns beat Randy Orton in the longest match of the night.
Somewhat surprisingly, the crowd was completely dead for this match, which really made an adequate match seem less than it was.
There were a few really nice spots, but there was a bit of an overuse of rest holds. While some crowds might have used that to get behind Reigns, this crowd seemed to fall asleep until the very end of the match.
While the WWE seems intent on pushing Reigns, they need to be careful Reigns doesn’t get exposed, as it seems like he is starting to be. Otherwise, they could end up with a very different reaction to him than they want.
- Stephanie McMahon beat Brie Bella in a surprisingly decent match.
It wasn’t a great match by any stretch, but Stephanie was able to play a dominant, almost monster, heel and did it superbly. Quite frankly, it might have been the best Stephanie has ever looked in the ring.
In the end, Nikki ended up turning on her sister and helping Stephanie win. As mentioned in the preview column when this possibility was brought up, this has interesting ramifications for the WWE, both on the main show and on shows like Total Divas, so I’m curious to see exactly how they handle the Bella vs. Bella feud.
- It wasn't the prettiest match between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho, but it got the job done, and was exactly what was needed for Wyatt, who won cleanly and convincingly.
Bray dominated a good portion of the match, and brutalized Jericho at the end with a Sister Abigail into the barricade, and then hit another in the ring for the win. He needed a high-profile win like that, and to win cleanly will help him.
- The match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins was ridiculously entertaining.
I’m very torn on if it was objectively good or not, but if the purpose of wrestling matches is to entertain, I think this did its job.
The lumberjack stipulation was a little bit odd, especially since they ended up brawling through the crowd anyways, but at times it worked.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the big in-ring brawl you seem to get with every lumberjack match, but it wasn’t unexpected. Rollins ended up getting a cheap win when he hit Ambrose with the Money in the Bank briefcase.
- WWE advertised a flag match between Rusev and Jack Swagger. They gave us a singles match where the winner flew their flag after the match.
If you think about it, this was no different from any of their other encounters. Rusev ended up winning by making Swagger pass out in the Accolade.
- Paige beat AJ to win back the Divas title on her 22nd birthday. Paige continues to unleash moves during her matches that you rarely see during divas matches.
It was a pretty brutal-looking move that resulted in AJ being dropped face-first onto the barricade.
The funny thing so far with this feud is that I think we’ve only started to scratch the surface of what these two can do together. They still haven't been given more than seven minutes for a match, and if given even slightly more time, it seems like they could do some truly special things.
So, hopefully, we get more of this feud in the next few months.
- Dolph Ziggler gave the crowd something to cheer about early when he beat The Miz for the Intercontinental title. It’s the first belt he’s held since he lost the World Heavyweight title to Alberto Del Rio over a year ago.
The match featured a few really nice sequences, and was an overall solid match.
I’m curious to see how long Ziggler gets to run with the belt this time, and exactly what they’re going to do with The Miz now that they’ve seemingly pulled the rug out from under him.
- Summerslam officially started off with a Hulk Hogan promo to shill the Network. I get doing segments like this on RAW, or Smackdown, but when most people who are watching the show already have the Network, this felt like a complete waste of time.
- In the pre-show, Rob Van Dam beat Cesaro. I can only imagine RVD won because of all the heels that were going to win throughout the night, and the WWE wanted to have a few faces win just to balance it out.
It’s brutal to see how far Cesaro has fallen from where he was in April.
- While I did not experience any issues with the WWE Network, I saw many complaints on Twitter and elsewhere that the stream wasn’t working properly. This is the first time I had heard widespread complaints in quite a while for the Network, so that isn’t a good sign when they are harping on subscription buys so heavily.