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John Cena hits the ring as the announcers state how he will be in the fight of his life at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar. He is met with a loud and mixed reaction. Cena says that they hired a mercenary in Brock Lesnar to take away his title and even suggested that some of the WWE Universe want to see Brock Lesnar destroy him, which got a decent amount of cheers. Cena continues to talk up Lesnar as an unstoppable monster and at SummerSlam, Lesnar will kick his ass. However, he will fight and will go to SummerSlam and beat Brock Lesnar, just like he did in 2012. Cena then talks about how it will be dangerous for Lesnar to be the Champion as he fights when he wants and does what he wants. Paul Heyman comes out and tells Cena that he will never be victimized like he will be at SummerSlam at the hands of his client, Brock Lesnar. He also praises Cena for his passion and how when he wakes up the day after SummerSlam, he will realize that he has been conquered. Cena then cuts a promo about how wrestling is his life and he shows up time and he will head in to SummerSlam as the champion and that he is walking out with the gold. Great promo by Cena, who by the end turned all of the boos into cheers. Cesaro comes out and acknowledges that he and Heyman have gone separate ways but that he is still his friend then calls Cena a “walking billboard” and jokes how about he can’t wrestle. Shaky mic work by Cesaro here although the bad lines did not help. He then challenges Cena to a match and he accepts. The mic work from Heyman and Cena, who was great here, made this an awesome segment.
John Cena d. Cesaro with an AA from the top rope (13:58) ***1/4
The match started after the break, joined in progress. It was a little sloppy early in the match with an ugly powerslam spot as the low light but was a good match overall. Cesaro took control right before the break when he countered a bulldog. Back from break, Cena managed a comeback but Cesaro countered a back suplex with a DDT. Cesaro set up Cena for the swing but that was countered into a sunset flip. Cesaro took back control when he cut off Cena from the top rope and hit his suplex from the apron spot then finally hit his swing, which had the crowd going nuts. They went back and forth for most of the match with each guy hitting their big spots. The finish saw Cena climb up top and put Cesaro over his shoulders as he hit a Super AA off of the top. Fun stuff that maintained the crowd’s interest throughout.
Steph and HHH are backstage Steph tells him that she cannot go back to jail and is on the verge of tears when explaining how she has to look her daughter in the eyes. She also said how she cannot get the smell of jail out of her nose and said that HHH’s plan better work. Randy Orton interrupts and is pissed that the original plan of him facing Cena for the belt at SummerSlam had been cancelled. HHH said that as long as Roman Reigns is in the picture, he will not have anymore title shots. HHH says that Reigns will be facing Kane tonight as Orton says that not only does he have a problem with Reigns, he also now as a problem with HHH. This furthers the storyline between Reigns and HHH and also positions Orton for a face turn if they want to go that route. Solid segment.
Paige comes out to ring with a big smile. She says that sometimes she lets her emotions get to her but that she thinks of AJ as her best friend in the whole world. She got some “what” chants from the crowd and promises that she will never act that way ever again as AJ comes out to the ring, which triggers the crowd to chant for CM Punk. AJ tells Paige that if she wants to be like her, then she should stop playing games and say things to her face. Paige then swears to AJ that she is her real friend and if she does not believe her, then she is crazy. AJ gets pissed then Paige makes a comment about AJ’s mental health. AJ pretends to be cool then takes her down as they have a cat fight. Paige’s mic work was the best it has been but this whole feud has been terribly constructed so far (no one bought their friendship as they had no history together to begin with) and besides CM Punk chants, I don’t see the crowd reacting much to these two.
Stephanie and HHH come out to the ring. HHH said that he has never been as disgusted and angry at the fans than he was last week after Stephanie was arrested. HHH asks them if they found it funny as the crowd breaks out in “YES” chants. HHH was great in getting the crowd to keep on cheering and Stephanie trying to hold back from crying was as well. HHH then switches the focus onto Brie Bella and how it was all just a simple misunderstanding, even though Brie was asking Steph to slap her. HHH also said how all of the charges except for the Assault and Battery charge were dropped by Brie and wants Brie to come out so they can put this whole incident behind them. A “jailbird” chant breaks out as Steph grabs the mic. Instead, Chris Jericho’s music hits, looking like a guy attending his 30th High School Reunion who thinks he is going to reunite his former garage band together. Jericho then sings the theme to cops, which although lame, good a surprisingly loud reaction from the crowd. He then beats every prison joke into the ground then questions HHH why he did not go to his wife’s aid when she was arrested. Jericho then pisses off HHH by dissing Stephanie and then the topic switches to Bray Wyatt. Jericho wants him in the ring tonight but HHH says he has to wait until SummerSlam then Seth Rollins hits him from behind with the MiTB briefcase as HHH lets Jericho know that he will be facing Rollins tonight. Not a bad segment but it cooled down some when Jericho came out.
Dolph Ziggler & The Usos d. The Miz & Curtis Axel & Ryback when Ziggler pinned Ryback with the Zig-Zag (10:02) **1/4
The sunglasses look for the Miz is great. It is working and he was really playing the chickenshit heel role well. The heels got heat on Ziggler early on in the match. The camera showed Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi watching backstage on the monitor. Back from break, the crowd chants for Ziggler as Jimmy was getting worked over, with Woods, Big E, and Kofi now watching from ringside. He eventually tagged Ziggler, who cleaned house. The Usos hit their big dive spots then the finish came when Ziggler escaped a powerbomb attempt and hit the Zig-Zag. Decent action but it’s clear that the Usos need some new challengers, which at this point looks to be Kofi and Big E.
R Truth d. Bo Dallas (0:33) NR
Before the match, Bo told R-Truth that he has lost many times in his career and that he could never be undefeated like himself. Bo hit a pair of shoulder tackles then did a victory lap but when he came back into the ring, he continued to celebrate and Truth rolled him up. After the match, Bo told R-Truth that it was okay that he lost then attacked him, showing a lot of aggression. He did his victory lap after the match as well. No idea why the decided to end the streak in this manner (in reality his streak was never going to mean much) but I guess they want to try and get over his sore loser character. Bo was getting a decent reaction doing what he was doing so it remains to be seen how they book him going forward.
Lana and Rusev are in the ring. They are drawing massive heel heat in Houston. Lana tells the crowd that the American flag is now a reminder of the past and how President Obama is a laughable leader then shows George W. Bush before Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter come out. Zeb defends the symbolism of the American flag and talks up America in general as the crowd eats it all up like candy. Swagger the hits the ring and beats on Rusev for a minute but gets overpowered as Rusev rolls Swagger into the ring, with the crowd screaming “U-S-A.” Swagger counters the Accolade with the Patriot lock then sends Rusev retreating. A simple feud that is getting a ton of crowd reaction. I will say that the crowd was more into booing Rusev than they were into cheering Swagger, who when he was on offense, the crowd was not as loud.
Adam Rose d. Damien Sandow (0:10)
Sandow was dressed up as an astronaut. The cameraman seemingly tried hard to find people in the crowd who were into Rose’s act but there were very few in attendance tonight. Rose won very quickly with the Party Foul. The Adam Rose character continues to disappoint.
Tomorrow on Main Event, Dean Ambrose will face Alberto Del Rio
Roman Reigns vs. Kane never took place as Randy Orton attacked Reigns in the crowd during his entrance. Reigns then fought off both guys until Orton attacked him from behind. Reigns hit Orton with the Superman Punch then Kane chokeslammed him. Kane stared down Orton before leaving as Randy destroyed Reigns while yelling at him for screwing him out of a title shot. The camera zoomed in on Orton yelling in the face of Reigns before using the draping DDT off of the guardrail. Randy took everything off of the announcers table and laid Reigns across as he stood up and smiled before Randy hit the RKO. The table did not break then he hit a second one that sent Reigns crashing through the table. I really liked this beatdown and by the end (the table not breaking after the first RKO might have a lot to do with this) the crowd got into it and started booing Orton. One criticism of Reigns is that he needs to work on his selling but here, I thought he did a great job. Orton also excelled at playing the angry psycho and also seemed legitimately pissed off that the table did not break on the first attempt. This was an effective segment that helps build momentum towards their match at SummerSlam.
Diego w/ Torito & Summer Rae & Layla d. Fandango with a rollup (1:20) 1/4*
Diego pinned Fandango with a rollup after the latter was distracted by Torito. After the match, Summer and Layla taunted Fandango with capes then Torito speared him off of the apron. Just a continuation of the girls constantly getting revenge on Fandango. And Diego is still employed so he has that going for him.
Stephanie goes to Nikki Bella’s dressing room. Stephanie appears apologetic as Nikki lets her know that Brie will be here shortly and that she hopes that Steph likes the “taste of crap” because she will be eating some tonight.
Backstage, Goldust confronts Stardust about what he is drawing on the chalkboard. Stardust goes off on this wacky tangent about the Cosmic Key that is hilarious. I dont know what the reveal of the Cosmic Key is going to be but the build has been entertaining.
Naomi & Natalya d. Alicia Fox & Cameron when Naomi made Cameron submit (2:42) 3/4*
Match was heatless and sloppy but the girls tried hard. I thought Cameron was going to be dead when Naomi flattened her with a Thesz Press from the apron. The finish saw Naomi make Cameron submit with some sort of a body scissors to get her win back from the Battleground Kickoff Show.
Seth Rollins NC Chris Jericho (13:00) **1/2
The crowd was cold early on as Jericho was in control. He got them back a little bit before the break when he tried to fire up the crowd. Back from break, Rollins was in control as the crowd started a “Y2J” chant. At one point they were fighting up top and Jericho backdropped Rollins. Rollins took control after rolling away from the Lionsault and hitting Jericho with a turnbuckle powerbomb. They both countered each other’s finishers then the crowd woke up. Jericho hit Rollins with a codebreaker as he was in midair but the Wyatt’s hit the ring and assaulted Jericho. The match started slow but was building up well until the finish.
On Smackdown, Chris Jericho will face Erick Rowan
Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring and talks about how he represents the WWE shareholders and corporate sponsors but now, they think she is a common criminal and talks about how her daughter is getting harassed at camp. Brie comes out and calls Stephanie a whiny “rich bitch.” Stephanie talks about how she will treat Nikki fairly and give her a raise as long as she drops the charges. Brie said that is fine but she will drop the charges if she gets her job back. Steph tells her that one Bella is enough in the WWE and Brie goes to walk away but Steph reconsiders and promises to give her job back. However, Brie has one more request, which is a match at SummerSlam. Steph assumes she wants a shot at the title or someone from Total Diva’s but Brie wants the match against her. Steph says she has not competed in over ten years and dedicated herself to her career and family as Brie tells her she will not drop the charges and will see her in court. Steph yells about how it is unfair as the crowd rags on Steph, who gets them to cheer “YES.” Brie reassures Steph that she will drop all charges as long as they have a match at SummerSlam then Stephanie tearfully accepts before slapping her off of the apron then drops the crying act and says at SummerSlam, she will make Brie her bitch. Steph mocks the “YES” chants then Brie attacks her from behind as agents Joey Mercury, Fit Finlay, and Jamie Noble try to break them up. HHH comes out and drags Steph away as the show goes off of the air. Steph was so damn good in this segment and her facial expressions are amongst the best in wrestling. Brie also held up her end of the piece.
Final Thoughts: A highly enjoyable show that did a great job at building towards SummerSlam. Steph and HHH continue to be the best heels in the company too. They always do great job of getting the crowd to cheer against them. In their segments, they played the crowd to perfection. Cena also gave one awesome promo too and shows that when he is serious and passionate, the crowd reacts positively towards him. Also, props to the crowd for being great throughout the show. The other segments involving the major feuds all worked and even most of the throwaway stuff made sense and continued storylines, even if they are not all that popular. The only negative I took away from this show was that the Tag Team division needs a lot more depth but that is a minor complaint. You could also say that Jericho is getting overpushed as his return has not been too smooth. The Cena/Cesaro match was the best on the show. Definitely worth checking out the replay or Hulu version.