8/21 WWE SummerSlam Review: Brock Lesnar bloodies up Randy Orton, Brooklyn gets tired on Sunday


WWE SummerSlam Review
August 22, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

Following a successful return to the UFC, Brock Lesnar was set to make his in-ring return against Randy Orton in what was touted as a match that was 15 years in the making.

This, of course, was set to cap off an over four hour long PPV event on the WWE Network featuring five championship matches including a first ever WWE Universal Champion.

Last year was the first experiment of extending SummerSlam to four hours. It’s pretty clear that a year later that experiment should have been put in storage. The Brooklyn crowd was completely spent by the time the main event was set to kick off and understandably so. WWE might be trying to make SummerSlam weekend the next version of WrestleMania weekend, but it doesn’t seem to be working and fans seem to agree.

Brock Lesnar bloodies up Randy Orton

If you saw Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE back in 2012, you witnessed him bloody up John Cena the same way he handled Randy Orton on Sunday night. I gave Cena credit four years ago when he allowed Lesnar to drop serious elbows to his head to bust him open the hard way and I’ll give the same credit to Orton for allowing the same.

I’ve seen speculation that Orton may have been legitimately knocked out at one point from the blows Lesnar threw and maybe went off script. It would be crazy for Lesnar to throw legitimate shots like that without being given the okay first. I’ll allow for the possibility that maybe he took liberty and took it a bit too far. Regardless, it came off great.

One of the biggest issues in pro wrestling right now is a lack of reality and realism. Whether you enjoy or dislike Brock Lesnar, you can’t deny he doesn’t bring that to the table every time he is utilized by WWE. He brings an overwhelming sense of danger that literally no one else on the WWE roster possess. Yes, you can make an argument that by using Lesnar it weakens the rest of your roster. Maybe four years in that argument is wearing a bit thin. I’m still a fan of the presentation and I really enjoyed the story these two told leading up to the bloody ending. Lesnar and Orton had to contend with a crowd that was clearly gassed and I thought they did a phenomenal job keeping interest up until the end.

Finn Balor wins a World Championship in his WWE PPV debut

I noted in my RAW review last week that I was curious to see how Finn Balor would do on a big stage like this in Brooklyn. I was always very underwhelmed by a lot of what I saw from Balor during his run in NXT, especially during big main events. That was not the case on Sunday. Balor stepped up big time and I loved him going full bore right at the beginning of the match at Rollins. It really set a fun pace and Rollins clearly worked hard to make the offense of Balor look top notch. It’s clear WWE wants to usher in a new era and giving Balor the ball to run with this early into his stint on the main roster is a risk that may pay off.

Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler disappoint

No other way to say it: Ambrose and Ziggler just didn’t have a good night in Brooklyn and the crowd wasn’t having any of it. I’m still confused why I should care or be invested in the Dean Ambrose care – let alone that he is the current WWE World Champion. I was pretty surprised by the call to put in Ziggler in a situation like this out of no where and the end result proved that feeling to be overwhelmingly accurate. It just never quite came together between these two. WWE has a lot of work to do if they intend of pushing Ambrose as the face of Smackdown. Right now it’s just not interesting.

John Cena and AJ Styles tear down the house

This match definitely won me over the most. I’m absolutely blown away at the great chemistry Cena and Styles have together in the ring. While I’m not a huge fan of false finishes being constantly repeated, WWE was smart to really space them out between these two and really made you feel like the finish could go either way. It’s incredibly impressive to see how well adjusted Styles has become on the WWE roster and the high quality matches he’s able to be part of. I’m sure a lot of people complained about how Styles won back in June, so getting the clean win really sets up a ton of possibilities for Styles going forward.

Quick Thoughts

* Nikki Bella looked pretty good in her return to WWE.

* Jon Stewart’s appearance just never had a chance of working.

* WWE needs to start doing more with Apollo Crews character wise.

* Charlotte and Sasha Banks was a complete mess. Rare miss between those two.

* Very fun opener with Jericho and Owens vs. Enzo and Big Cass.

Overall Impression

SummerSlam needs to go back to being three hours next year. We tried the experiment in 2015. It didn’t work last year and it didn’t work this year. Between the NXT special the night before, a two hour pre-show and then an over four hour main card, it’s not surprising that the live audience in Brooklyn was completely burned out even two hours into the main show.

It would appear the viewing audience at home felt the same way with 44% of our readers giving the show a thumbs down, 33% thumbs in the middle and 23% thumbs up.

Don’t forget to check out the second episode of Wrestleview Live as I reviewed SummerSlam with Doug Lackey moments after it went off the air on Facebook Live. An audio version is also available on SoundCloud as well.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your SummerSlam thoughts in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview