The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2019 – 08.11.19
Live from Tronna.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and a cast of thousands.
I don’t know if it’s just me or more noticeable because I watch these with headphones on, but the sound is MESSED, sounding like mono that’s way over to the right hand side for some reason.
RAW Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Natalya
Renee and Corey are already bitching at each other DURING THE ENTRANCES. Pace yourselves, guys, it’s a long show. Also, despite the insistence of the announcers that Nattie is a national hero here, Becky is by far the most over babyface. Also, apparently this is a submission match. Not sure why you’d start the program with that. Becky beats her down in the corner, but Nattie fires back with the discus lariat. At this point Renee tells the story of how everyone in Toronto is talking about this match. That’s a lot of people to try and get a reliable sample size from. But the important question is whether people recognize them in the airport and call their friends? Becky gets the Bexploder out of the corner and tries for the armbar, then turns it into a triangle that Nattie has to slam out of. Becky keeps coming with a leglock, but they roll to the apron and Nattie runs her into the barricade to break. Back in, Nattie goes to work on the knee and suplexes her onto the ropes while Renee adds her usual insight. In this case, “OH MY GOD!” Becky fights back with knees, but Nattie runs her into the post and manages to get a form of the Sharpshooter in the corner while sitting on the top rope. Well that’s unique. Becky gets to the floor to escape and runs Nattie into the table and the stairs. Apparently, according to the announcers, and you might want to write this down, an arm injury to Natalya might help Becky build towards her arm submission move. Even when what they’re saying is obvious and totally sensical, they still don’t sound credible. Back in, Nattie fights back with a superplex, but Becky counters a dropkick into her own Sharpshooter. And the crowd boos the SHIT out of that. Come on, it’s not even Montreal, get over it. Natalya powers out of that and faceplants her out of the corner, then puts Becky in her own Disarmer and Becky has to roll out of that. Nattie counters her into the Sharpshooter in the middle, but Becky walks herself to the ropes and grabs the apron to break. Nattie goes for it again, but Becky reverses to the Disarmer and Nattie taps at 12:24. Hell of an opener as they went non-stop for the entire match. The actual psychology was a little weird, especially when they were doing each other’s finishers in situations where it made little sense to do so, but that’s modern wrestling. **** I really wish they had announcers who knew how to enhance the match without sounding like morons.
Meanwhile, Trish Stratus loves the pressure of her match tonight. I enjoy the pressure of her push-up bra on her boobs.
Dolph Ziggler v. Goldberg
If ever we needed another 7 second job for Ziggler, it’s here. Like really, how did we even get here? Dolph immediately gets a superkick for one, and another one for one. And now Goldberg has had enough tonight, and the spear and jackhammer finish this bullshit at 1:46. Dolph stupidly keeps up the trashtalking afterwards, claiming that Goldberg doesn’t have the guts to fight him again, so Goldberg comes back and murders him again. They should just do a spinoff show on USA Network at this point filled with people kicking the shit out of Dolph Ziggler. I’d watch it. And then Dolph cuts ANOTHER promo on Goldberg, claiming he’ll never stay down, while laying on his back in pain, and Goldberg comes out a THIRD time and helps him up gently, before he kills him even harder with another spear. It’s too bad we’re decades past Goldberg’s prime because he looked like the biggest star in the business here and this was awesome. It was like the Sideshow Bob rake gag, where you thought it was time to end it and then they just kept going and made it even better. Million billion stars.
Meanwhile, The New Day brings out Drake….Maverick. As usual, he’s looking for R-Truth, who it turns out is cleverly masquerading as a part of the international announce teams.
US title: AJ Styles v. Ricochet
Ricochet appears to be Nightwing or maybe an Avenger tonight, trying to out-geek Rey Mysterio either way. Ric sends AJ to the floor, and then runs off the backs of the Club and hits a rana onto AJ in an amazing spot. Or I guess they’re now “The OC”.
Hey, Arrested Development jokes, kids still love those, right? Back in, AJ comes back with a beatdown in the corner and works on the knee, but Ricochet fights back with an enzuigiri and heads to the apron for a springboard elbow that gets two. Standing shooting star gets two. He goes up and AJ clips the knee, but Ric falls into a sunset flip and gets two. AJ goes after the knee again and dumps him to the floor, and goes after the knee again in the ring. Ricochet manages to roll into an enzuigiri for two, but AJ rolls him into the calf crusher. Ricochet reverses into an Anaconda Vice, but AJ rakes the eyes to break. Ric comes back with a northern lights suplex, and he rolls into another suplex for two. He stops to take out the Good Brothers outside, but AJ crotches him. Ricochet fights him off, but dives and lands in a Styles Clash for the pin at 12:50. And so the LOCKER ROOM HAS BEEN PUT ON NOTICE. Another disappointing match from these two that was mostly AJ working the knee to a dead crowd. **1/2
Meanwhile, the Street Proffits recap the kickoff show and run into Ric Flair for some wackiness that goes nowhere. Also, I’m confused about the naming, because they’re “Proffits” in NXT but they’re “Profits” here. The double “f” would make more sense from a trademark perspective.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bayley v. Ember Moon
They trade headlocks to start, but Ember gets a running knee in the corner and Bayley follows with her own. And then Ember gets a springboard crossbody for two and a splash for two. Ember tries another springboard and misses, and Bayley takes over with a clothesline for two. Suplex gets two. Bayley stomps a mudhole in the corner while the crowd tries to get a song going, and they fight on the apron until Bayley runs her into the turnbuckles to win that. Elbow out of the Tree of Woe gets two. Inverted Boston crab, but Ember hits her in the leg to break and makes a comeback with a superkick. Bayley cuts her off with a forearm and goes up to the top, but Ember gets a rana off the top and some kind of GTS thing for two. That one got fucked up pretty badly and they didn’t even make contact on the way down. Bayley tries the belly to belly, but Ember powerbombs her for two. Ember goes up to finish, but Bayley gets the belly to belly off the top for the pin to retain at 10:08. This was kind of a disaster and a massive style clash. *
Shane McMahon v. Kevin Owens
Remember, if Owens loses, he must QUIT FOREVER. So it’s some pretty serious high stakes. And we get Elias as special enforcer to really stack the deck. Shane runs away to start, but Owens beats him up in the corner and hits the cannonball, then clotheslines him to the floor. He tries a dive, but Elias blocks him and Shane slams Owens into the barricade. Back in, Shane stomps him down in the corner and unleashes his UFC-level knee strikes (assuming we’re going with CM Punk’s level of UFC) and a DDT for two. Owens gets the powerbomb, but Elias takes the ref and Shane gets a rollup for two. Elias throws a chair into the ring and dares Kevin to use it and thus get DQ’d, but he won’t bite on it. Superkick instead on Shane and the top rope senton set up a frog splash, but Elias takes the ref again to save. So Kevin takes out both referees with a cannonball, but Elias recovers first and attacks him. So Owens beats on him with the chair while the camera shakes and zooms, but now the original ref revives and calls off the chair attacks. So Owens goes low on Shane and finishes with the stunner at 8:57. I’d classify this as “entertaining crap”, as it was ALL smoke and mirrors but had tremendous heat and really woke up the crowd. ***
Charlotte Flair v. Trish Stratus
Surprisingly subdued reaction for Trish, actually. I wonder if they’re gonna be hurt having to follow the Owens ga-ga match? Corey notes that Trish “hasn’t been in the ring in several years”, since I guess that Evolution PPV doesn’t exist anymore. Thankfully Tom Phillips quickly corrects him, but Corey’s stupid shit ratio is getting worse by the show. Trish takes her to the floor with an armdrag and slugs away out there, but Charlotte runs her into the stairs and goes to work on the back in the ring. Charlotte with a suplex and she chokes away on the ropes, but Trish reverses a suplex for two. Charlotte slugs her down again, but Trish comes back and slugs away in the corner. And then Charlotte boots her off the apron for a good bump from Trish. Back in, Charlotte stomps her down, but misses the moonsault and Trish comes back with a downward spiral. Trish with the chops and she adds one with some stank on it, but Charlotte blocks the handstand rana in the corner. They slug it out on top and Trish gets a top rope rana instead, for two. Chick Kick misses and Charlotte boots her down for two. Charlotte goes to the knee and tries the figure-four, but Trish reverses to a rollup for two and then gets her own figure-four. And she even bridges into the figure-eight! God bless yoga. Charlotte makes the ropes and kicks out the knee, but she charges and hits the post. Trish with the bulldog for two off that. Charlotte gives her the trash talk and they slug it out with EMOTIONAL chops, but Trish rolls her up for two. Chick Kick gets two. Trish tries one more, but Charlotte boots her down and gets the figure-eight to end it at 16:40. Rough night for Canadian women here in Toronto. So yeah, this pretty much stole the show and Trish showed that she can hang just as much as any of the Women’s Revolution. ****1/4
WWE title: Kofi Kingston v. Randy Orton
We get a unique dueling chant of “Kofi’s Stupid / Randy Sucks” as they trade shots in the corner, and Kofi goes up and gets hurled into the barricade as a result. Orton suplexes him onto an announce table. Back in, Orton works on the arm and they head to the floor again, but Kofi runs up the stairs and hits him with a flying overhead chop. He tries a dive off the apron and misses, however, and Orton suplexes him onto ANOTHER announce table. What is this man’s problem with announce tables? Back in, that gets two. Orton puts him on top and tries a superplex, but Kofi blocks it and reverses to a tornado DDT for two. Kofi comes back while the announcers make strained sporting metaphors, and he declares that it is ORTON who is stupid, not him. Strong words. Trouble in Paradise is countered into a backbreaker, however, and that gets two. Kofi bails to the apron and Orton hauls him in for the vintage DDT, but Kofi backdrops him to the floor and follows with the trust fall. Back in, Kofi goes up with a High Fly Flow for two. Orton catches him with the vintage DDT and does the INTERPRETIVE DANCE OF DOOM, but Kofi gets a backslide for two. He goes up for another bodypress, but Orton catches him with the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE on the way down and Kofi wisely rolls to the floor to escape. And then both guys are suddenly counted out at 16:26, as the referee actually counts at a normal speed for the first time in wrestling history. COME ON NOW. Usual good Kofi match but that was an epic terrible finish. ***1/4
Finn Balor v. THE FIEND
I’m very confused about this whole Bray Wyatt deal, in that he hadn’t even debuted yet with his new gimmick in the ring, but already we’re getting the alternate form? Or is the Fiend supposed to be the gimmick and all the kid’s show stuff was just something to do? I dunno. The new lantern is creepy as fuck, though. The Fiend attacks right away and clubs Balor down, then does the Zeus neck snap on him and hits a uranage before trying to finish, but Balor comes back with a slingblade. Corner dropkick and Finn goes up with the Coup de Grace, but he lands in a mandible claw at 3:25. I mean, I’m glad they’ve found something new for Bray to do, but he’s still the same basic wrestler doing the same match. But with different music now. That’s kind of wrestling in a nutshell, though. But the crowd enjoyed it and it was an impressive entrance and squash, so whatever. It’s just not for me and I’m OK with that. *
Universal title: Brock Lesnar v. Seth Rollins
Brock comes out throwing suplexes, but Seth immediately counters with the curbstomp and gets two. Brock bails and Seth follows with a running knee off the apron. Back in, Seth gets a pair of superkicks, but walks into an F5. And Brock hauls him up by the tape on his ribs, and swings him around like a literal sack of shit in an amazing spot, then it’s suplex time. Seth bails, so Brock beats on him out there, and back in for more suplexes. Seth bails again and manages to sucker Brock into the post, and follows with a flying knee back into the ring. Another one misses and Brock suplexes him again and goes to work in the corner, setting up a bearhug. Little known fact: Brock practices by literally rounding up bears on his farm and hugging them until they submit and agree to work in his kitchen. Brock takes Seth into the corner, but misses a charge and hits the post, allowing Seth to dropkick him to the floor and into a table. Seth follows with the dives, which seems like a bad idea on a lot of levels, and sure enough Brock smashes him into the post on the third dive. WHY WOULD YOU HURL YOUR BODY THROUGH THE AIR AT THIS MAN? He literally fights bears and gives F5s to sharks! I’ve seen photographic evidence! Seth keeps fighting and superkicks Brock onto an announce table, then follows with a flying splash off the top rope to destroy that poor innocent table. Back in, Rollins with the frog splash and the curb stomp, but that only gets two. Seth sets up again, but walks into an F5 like a goober, and then escapes and stomps him AGAIN and gets the pin and the title back at 13:24. This was a total car crash trainwreck special and it was FUCKING GREAT. Did not see Brock laying down for the clean job, either. ****1/2
This was a happy surprise show, because it was both a reasonable length and a hell of a Summerslam to boot, with a molten crowd most of the way. There’s probably a correlation there.
On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, this one gets a solid WATCH IT and a big thumbs up from me.