August 22, 2016
From the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
Your hosts are Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, and Michael Cole
We are shown highlights of SummerSlam before the live show begins.
The live show begins with the news that Finn Balor injured his shoulder last night at SummerSlam. We are shown when it happened, which was when Rollins powerbombed Balor into the barricade. Cole then breaks the news that Balor suffered a torn labrum and will require surgery and miss a minimum of six months. They cut away to Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley as they welcome Finn Balor to the ring. Balor smiles and heads to the ring while his arm is in a sling. He soaks in a “you deserve it” chant as he tells the crowd the title represents a lifetime of sacrifice and that you can achieve anything as long as you believe in yourself. Balor then said there was a sacrifice as he thanks the WWE and all of the talent, including Seth Rollins for giving him the match of his life, before thanking the fans. Balor is met with a “thank you Finn” chant as Balor says for now he has to give up the title as the crowd chants no. Balor says when he is healthy and fit he will be back and the first thing he is coming for is the WWE Universal Title. Foley pats Balor on the good shoulder after taking the belt as the fans applaud Balor while Cole said he can always take pride in the fact that he is the first-ever WWE Universal Champion. Balor heads up the aisle where he is met by Seth Rollins, who is smiling. Rollins then heads to the ring and hugs Stephanie before grabbing a mic. He says its a shame what happened to Balor but to not live in the past as we know now who was the true winner at SummerSlam as the crowd boos. Rollins reminds Stephanie about championship celebrations they had in the past as he puts over the WWE Universal Title for looking great as he asks for the belt. All of a sudden, Sami Zayn’s music hits as he heads to the ring but before he can talk Chris Jericho walks down and begs Stephanie & Foley. Kevin Owens heads out then after that we get Enzo & Big Cass. Rollins is by himself looking irked as the others plead their cases why they should be champion then Roman reigns comes out to the ring. Stephanie & Foley break the news that a series will take place and culminate next week with a new winner crowned as Rollins vs. Zayn will kick things off. Rollins then jumps Zayn from behind and beats him down as we head to break.
I really feel bad for Balor as he got hurt right while becoming the first WWE Universal Champion. It really sucks for him and I wish a speedy recovery. As far as the series, they had to come up with something at short notice as news of the torn labrum was on the website shortly before the show. The creative team is also in a tough situation and a series is a safe way to go in crowning a new champion. Plus, it builds up to a big show next week.
Universal Title Series Match: Seth Rollins vs. Sami Zayn
The match officially started during the break. Zayn is chopping Rollins as Cole lets us know that tonight’s theme is #UniversalTitle. Rollins bails then dodges a potential dive and drags Zayn outside. Zayn fights out of a powerbomb and hits a moonsault block off of the barricade. Back inside, Rollins kicks Zayn in the face then stomps him in the corner as he takes control of the match. Zayn comes back with a clothesline after a dueling chant but falls down after a springboard and grabs his ankle. The ref stops the match for a bit then Zayn pulls the ropes down on Rollins and flies out with a somersault plancha as he is clutching his ankle on the floor. Zayn is unable to stand as he rolls outside as we head to break. The match returns with Zayn firing away but his ankle gives out again. Rollins slaps Zayn around then runs into a clothesline as Zayn tries desperately to get back to his feet. Rollins gets out of a Blue Thunder Bomb attempt and hits an enziguiri for two. Zayn fights Rollins up top and pushes him off then Rollins heads up again as Zayn hits a sitout sunset bomb for a nearfall. Zayn then fights out of a Pedigree and hits an Exploder in the corner. Rollins cuts off Zayn with a knee smash then grapevines the leg while applying an ankle lock but Zayn eventually rolls to the ropes. Zayn fights off Rollins again and tries for a Michinoku Driver but Rollins blocks that and gets the win with a Pedigree (12:51) ***3/4
Thoughts: This was one hell of a match and it really picked up after the commercial break. Zayn did some great babyface work here and sold the ankle well. The announcers also put Zayn over strong on commentary by mentioning how he never gives up and sold that he was putting his career on the line by wrestling hurt. If they want an underdog babyface the fans can get behind, Zayn is the answer. This is worth tracking down.
Universal Title Series Match: Kevin Owens vs. Neville
Neville peppers Owens with kicks after avoiding a pop-up powerbomb. He takes Owens out with a slide on the floor then hits a 450 splash from the apron. Neville then flies out again shortly after that as Jericho heads out and yells at Neville about Owens being his partner as Owens clotheslines Neville as we head to commercial. We return with Owens using a headlock. Owens sends Neville into the corner but misses a charge then gets hit with a German suplex. Owens knocks Neville down but misses a frog splash then Neville hits a twisting 450 for a nearfall. Neville then deadlifts Owens with a German suplex for another nearfall. Neville heads back up for the Red Arrow and lanfs on his feet. Neville counters with a victory roll then heads back up top after an enziguiri but Jericho distracts the ref. Neville takes Jericho down with a running dropkick from the apron then catches Owens with a kick. He heads back up top but Owens cuts Neville off then hits a TKO for the win (8:30) ***.
Thoughts: Good match. They played up the Owens & Jericho friendship here as those two have wonderful chemistry together. Neville showed off his athleticism and freakish strength here too as he looked impressive in defeat.
The camera cuts to the announcers as they let us know two more matches will take place and they are Big Cass vs. Rusev and Reigns vs. Jericho as the winners of those matches will join Rollins and Owens next week in a Fatal Four Way to crown the new Universal Champion.
Backstage, the New Day are goofing around with a production worker.
After the break, the New Day come out to the ring as the announcers put over their title reign as we get still photos from their match last night at SummerSlam. The crowd is amped as Big E says that he is back while Kofi lets us know they have held the Tag Team titles for 365 days. The New Day then thanks the fans for making it all possible as they stuck with them through the good and bad as Xavier holds up a unicorn pinata and asks the crowd if they know what is inside but Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson interrupt and tell them and the crowd that they are all stupid for celebrating after they lost last night. The crowd gives them the “what” treatment as they demand a Tag Team Title rematch. Gallows tells them all of the props and catchphrases will not mean a thing after they win the titles before saying that Anderson will decapitate Big E tonight. Big E has had enough of the “flim flam” as he promises to show Gallows & Anderson how the New Day rocks.
Big E vs. Karl Anderson
The match started during the break. Big E hits an overhead suplex then applies an abdominal stretch while drumming in sync with New Day rocks. Anderson chop blocks Big E after a distraction from his partner as he goes to work on the leg. Anderson gets a few nearfalls then cuts off a comeback but Big E tosses him to the floor. Gallows catches Xavier with a super kick and takes care of Kofi. Back inside, Anderson cuts off Big E’s apron spear with a knee. Gallows is on the apron waiting for Big E to get up but Kofi & Xavier yank him off and beat him down then Big E catches a charging Anderson and hits the Big Ending for the win (3:35) *1/2. The New Day celebrate after the match while Gallows & Anderson angrily retreat up the aisle.
Thoughts: Short, but the match was fine for what it was. Gallows & Anderson seem to be getting a rematch anyway so the New Day going over here is not the worst thing in the world. However, they have really watered down Gallows & Anderson with the bad comedy and they are no longer perceived as a threat. The comedy is killing the feud, which started off pretty damn good. And, if Gallows & Anderson are not getting a rematch, then they are dead in the water as a top team. I don’t think the latter will happen so quickly but stranger things have happened.
Cole tells us about the Dudley Boyz retiring today as we see a clip of their debut from the 9/2/99 edition of Smackdown to hype up their speech tonight.
We are shown more still photos from SummerSlam.
Titus O’Neill is in the ring. He talks about how last year, the New Day became the Tag Team champions at SummerSlam by defeating Darren Young and himself. Titus then disses the people from Brookyln for asking him if losing the belt was the worst day in his life. He says when he hears this he flashes his million dollar smile as he threw out his dead weight, which was Young. He even said that there was no episode of “Ride Along” with them together as he is the only Prime Time Player. Titus then wants to know how Bob Backlund will make Young great again when he was never great to begin with. Tonight, Titus says he blames Young for why he is not the champion and in the main event as he wants him out here so he can bury him once and for all. The crowd is crapping on the promo then Backlund runs out and puts Titus in the chicken wing. Titus breaks out and slams Backlund as Young runs out to check on his mentor. Titus then hits Young with the Clash of the Titus.
Oh man, this was just awful. First off, the Titus vs. Young feud is heatless and they decided to have Titus go out and cut a long promo in an attempt to garner interest but it backfired as the crowd started chanting for Heath Slater. Oddly enough, Titus & Young have only shown they are useful when teaming together. As singles acts, they stink.
They showed some slo-mo footage of Brock Lesnar beating on Randy Orton. They showed a tweet from Shane McMahon stating how Brock crossed the line last night then Tom Phillips asks Stephanie about the tweet. She agrees and says that she will deal with the issue.
Universal Title Series Match: Rusev w/ Lana vs. Big Cass w/ Enzo Amore
The announcers played up Rusev’s injured ribs, which are taped up, from last night at the hands of Roman Reigns. Cass promises to finish the job that Reigns started last night. The match starts with Rusev attacking Cass before the bell. Cass fights back and sends Rusev to the floor right before the break. The action returns with Rusev working a chinlock as we saw how he regained control during the break with a spinning heel kick. Cass fights out but Rusev takes him back down with a tackle then drops an elbow. The crowd rallies behind Cass as he fights back. Rusev rolls outside then drills Enzo with a super kick. Cass chases Rusev around and catches him with a Polish Hammer. Cass then hits a corner splash and a slam but Rusev rolls outside to dodge the Empire elbow. Cass heads out and reverses an Irish whip and sends Rusev into the steps. They head back inside and trade boots to the face as Rusev rolled out then headed up the aisle with Lana as he gets counted out (8:20) *1/2.
Thoughts: Most of the match was Rusev selling his injured ribs. It was not particularly exciting or even that good but the ending was uninspired. Even if Rusev is costing Reigns his match, you can do something better than this for an ending.
Phillips is backstage with Jericho & Owens. He asks them what will happen if Jericho defeats Reigns tonight but Jericho calls him “Felipe” and says he will win and make a great Universal Champion. They both talk about wanting to be champions and say they both have each other’s back before going back to arguing over who will win the title. It ends with them both making fun of Phillips as Owens steals his pocket square. It seems that this title match will start the rift in the Owens/Jericho friendship as I imagine their split will result in Owens becoming a face. Balor’s injury might accelerate that process.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke, holding up a piece of paper that reads “Where’s the Boss” are walking down the hallway. Dana crumbles up the paper and tosses it over her shoulder.
The show returns with Charlotte & Dana heading out to the ring as the announcers talk about Sasha’s back getting hurt in the match last night. Dana gives Charlotte her own “you deserve it” chant as Charlotte says she does deserve it as she is the greatest female athlete in the world. She then tells the fans Sasha will never hold the title again and if or when she is cleared to return, do us all a favor and stay home as the queen reclaimed her throne. Charlotte’s music plays as she is about to leave but Mick Foley interrupts. Foley congratulates Charlotte, along with Sasha, for raising the bar again as the crowd chants for Bayley, with Charlotte telling them to get over themselves. Foley says that Sasha will get a rematch when she returns as Charlotte wants the night off because no one worthy enough is left. Foley says that Stephanie and himself have signed the hottest free agent of the New Era and that is……………Bayley! She comes out as everyone is happy, expect for Dana & Charlotte. Bayley asks Foley to sign the deal with a hug as Charlotte mocks Bayley for being left behind as part of the Divas Revolution. Bayley asks for a title match but says she is not dressed for a match then says her protege Dana is as Foley believes that to be a fair compromise and says the match will take place after the break.
It was predictable this was going to be Bayley’s debut once Foley came out but regardless, it was a great moment for her. The crowd was jacked and even though Bayley seemed nervous, which was understandable, she still managed to come across as a star.
Dana Brooke w/ Charlotte vs. Bayley
They start off on the mat briefly then Bayley messes around. Bayley hulks up then hits a few moves but Charlotte provides a distraction that allows Dana to kick Bayley to the floor. Back inside, Dana stretches out Bayley while Charlotte looks worried on the outside. Bayley fights out and hits a spinning elbow smash before hitting the Bayley to Belly for the win (4:30) *.
Thoughts: The match was not that good, Dana is still quite limited in the ring, but Bayley got in a lot of her signature offense and still comes off as extremely likable. I liked how Charlotte acted concerned on the outside too to help sell Bayley as a bigger deal than she is willing to admit. Overall, it was a strong debut for Bayley.
Backstage, Phillips catches up with Reigns in the hallway. Reigns says that tonight, he will shut Jericho up with his own scarf or by using his fists. Reigns should always be short, sweet, and to the point on the mic.
We get a video package on a few of the performers in the Cruiserweight Classic such as Rich Swann, Noam Dar, TJ Perkins, and Brian Kendrick. It ends by stating the Cruiserweight Division will debut on September 19th.
Sheamus is backstage with Andrea, who says his second match in the best of seven series against Cesaro will take place next week. Sheamus compares Cesaro as the WWE’s version of Suicide Squad because he is overhyped then makes fun of overrated New York sports teams before leaving.
Byron Saxton is in the ring wih Johnny Knockout, Braun Strowman’s opponent. He is an Independent wrestler based out of New York who actually wrestled on WWE TV as Johnny Andrews for the ECW brand in 2009 when he jobbed to Vance Archer. Knockout says he took this match because he likes “big, sweaty men.” I have no idea why he said that.
Johnny Knockout vs. Braun Strowman
Knockout lands a few punches but runs into a clothesline. Strowman roughs up Knockout before hitting the reverse chokeslam for the win (1:18). After the match, Strowman hits the chokeslam again and demands the referee count to three.
Thoughts: The fact Strowman made the ref count to three after the match was funny as these matches and pre-match interviews continue to entertain.
The Dudley Boyz head out to the ring. We get some “ECW” chants. Bubba talks about not getting emotional often and how one year ago today their pyro went off and they put people through tables as it signaled they were back home in the WWE. He talks about their ups-and-downs but at the end of the day, they knew we all respected them for busting their ass. The crowd chants “testify” at D-Von as he talks about teaming with Bubba for twenty years and creating history, such as the TLC match. The crowd starts a “delete” chant when they mentioned the Hardy Boyz. D-Von talks about doing everything he did all over again and once again thanks the fans as Bubba wants the fans to get up and give themselves a round of applause. Bubba said being able to say goodbye on their own terms is great as they celebrate until the Shining Stars interrupt. They extend the Dudleys an offer to go to Puerto Rico as the crowd chants for tables. Primo then feels bad for all of the people who have to sit next to their fat, sorry asses and make fun of them for being fat but get knocked down. They hit Epico with the 3D then Primo gets hit with the Wassup Drop before Bubba signals for the tables. However, Gallows & Anderson run out and destroy the Dudleys and hit them both with the Magic Killer as the segment ends with the crowd booing. Well, Anderson & Gallows got some needed heat back after the past two nights and the Dudleys got an awesome reaction from the show. Not a bad segment at all, even if no one cared about the Shining Stars.
Universal Title Series Match: Chris Jericho vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns got booed a lot here during his entrance. He takes down Jericho to start then chases him around after getting slapped. Reigns hits a few clotheslines then hammers away. Jericho rakes the eyes as the ref backed Reigns out from the corner as he takes control. Reigns rolls outside as he sells problems with his eye then we head to commercial. The match returns with Jericho still in control as Reigns is still selling his eye. Reigns makes his comeback as he hammers away in the corner after dodging a charge. Jericho cuts it off with an enziguiri that gets two as both men are down. Jericho is up first and heads to the top but Reigns catches him with a punch. Reigns follows with the Drive By then they work a few reversals until Reigns almost puts him away with the Superman Punch. Jericho tries for a Codebreaker but Reigns catches him and hits a powerbomb for two. Owens runs out and gets punched off of the apron as Jericho rolls him up for two. Shortly after that, Jericho puts Reigns in the Walls of Jericho. Reigns reaches the ropes but Owens decks Reigns in his bad eye as Jericho hits the Codebreaker but Reigns is just able to kick out as Jericho & Owens are in disbelief. Reigns gets up and slaps Jericho around then Owens jumps back up on the apron and eats a Superman Punch. Jericho tries another rollup but Reigns rolls through and catches Jericho with a spear for the win (15:00) ***1/4.
Thoughts: This match really became good in the final five minutes after a sluggish start. Reigns fought off both guys and they can use that to fuel a Jericho/Owens split. Reigns got the crowd behind him more as the match went on and the finish looked great.
Final Thoughts: Despite the circumstances regarding Balor’s injury, they were able to put together a decent show. The second hour stunk for the most part but they delivered three good matches and made the best out of the Universal Title situation. Plus, the Bayley debut was awesome as well. She came off like a star. The Dudleys send off, if it was the end, was also done well too as they put people over and got a great reaction from the fans.
Oddly enough, they never really did anything regarding Lesnar tonight other than stating Stephanie would address the situation. And the Titus promo was just putrid. The Tag Team Title feud is turning into too much of a joke too but with Gallows & Anderson laying out the Dudleys they hopefully use that mean streak again when facing the New Day. Plus, the finish to Rusev vs. Cass was dumb, especially since he did not cost Reigns the title here. Maybe it leads to a feud with Cass but why end his feud against Reigns with the SummerSlam segment?
Regarding the title match next week, the two options seem to be either Reigns or Rollins. Cass does not seem ready to be the champion of the brand and this is not the right time for Owens to be the champ either with his feud with Jericho looming. The match should be good and I am looking forward to seeing what happens.
Overall, I thought they made the best out of an unfortunate situation tonight.