After six weeks and a lot of matches we have finally reached the end of the Summer Slam reviews. I’ve been able to watch a lot of great wrestling along the way and there’s some more really good action for me to close on today.
Next week I’ll slog through WCW Road Wild (thankfully it won’t take that long) and after that I’ll either move on to WWF Unforgiven or might take a break from these for a bit until we get to Halloween Havoc/Survivor Series season. We’ll see.
Thank You if you’ve enjoyed this trip down Summer Slam memory lane. Now, let’s turn that corner onto the straight and head for the finishing line!
WWE Summer Slam 2014
World International Global Honoured Super Duper Ultra Unified Heavyweight Grand Prix WWE Championship
Champ: John Cena Vs Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman
They had unified the World and WWE Titles back in December 2013, with Cena eventually getting hold of them thanks to winning a ladder match when Daniel Bryan had to vacate them due to injury. They had done the Hail Mary last gasp attempt to make something of Brock’s second run in the company by sacrificing The Undertaker’s streak to him at WrestleMania XXX, and it had succeeded in giving him a real shot in the arm. Thus they decided the next logical step would be to stick the belt on him, hence this match.
The match itself is essentially just a squash, as Brock destroys Cena by suplexing him all over the place before pinning him clean with an F-5. Cena gets maybe two to three moves in reply, at most, and it’s probably one of the most dominant destructions of a supposed top guy that WWE has ever done. Of course if they’d been smart enough to book Brock like this when he first debuted then they wouldn’t have had to sacrifice the streak to rescue everything, but hey-ho. Losing in such a decisive manner supposedly hurt Cena’s merch sales, so they hastily booked a rematch for the next month where he could look a bit more competitive.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BROCK LESNAR
This was a masterful job in making Brock look like an unstoppable monster, and if they’d kept him this strong and then not gotten cold feet on having Roman Reigns beat him at WrestleMania 31 then they might have managed to turn Roman into the star they’ve always wanted him to be. This isn’t what I’d class as a good Main Event, but it was certainly an effective one. I don’t really hate or even dislike Cena, so this wasn’t the cathartic destruction for me that it might have been for others. After a certain point it just got boring for me if I’m honest.
WWE Summer Slam 2015
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman Vs The Undertaker
This was Taker’s shot at revenge for Brock ending the streak, and the build-up featured him boshing Brock in the knackers on more than one occasion, like he was Cooler fighting Vegeta or something. This one is a fight from the off, and it’s a darn good one too. And hey, people don’t want to see these two trading arm drags anyway, they want to see bombs getting thrown! Brock manages to send Taker to Suplex City, with Taker selling the suplexes well. Things continue to ebb and flow, with Brock even bleeding at one point. I do love a good wild brawl when done well, and these two are definitely doing it well.
Taker ends up taking an F-5 through a commentary table, which the crowd believes to be awesome, and I agree! Brock stops to taunt about it back inside the ring though, and that allows Taker to rebound with the choke slam and Tombstone for a two count. We get the much beloved MEME of both men sitting up and laughing at one another before going to a slug fest, as this match is completely off its noodles in all the best ways!
Taker kicks out of a pair of F-5’s, which leads to Brock finally showing some frustration at not being able to put him away after previously just enjoying himself. Taker catches Brock in the Hell’s Gate, but Brock is able to counter to the Kimura and Taker actually taps out. However, though the timekeeper saw it and rang the bell, the referee didn’t and chastises him for ringing the bell without his permission. Brock celebrates not knowing the match is still going on, which allows Taker to kick him right in the swedes before going back to Hell’s Gate. Brock is trapped but flips the bird at Taker in one last show of defiance before passing out to give Taker the win.
WINNER: THE UNDERTAKER
The finish was screwy, but it set up a Hell in a Cell rematch and the fight was great up to that point. I love this match and still come back to it now and then due to how enjoyable a brawl it is. It’s a shame the streak ending match wasn’t this good to be honest, as it might have taken some of the edge off from Taker doing the job and having the streak broken the match itself was a banger like this one.
WWE Summer Slam 2016
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman Vs Randy Orton
This one came about because it was a match WWE hadn’t done before and both guys had passed through OVW around the same time, so there was a bit of backstory and it was something new they could put on a pay per view. I remember being more intrigued as to how they would work the match as opposed to being particularly excited to watch it, but then again they hadn’t really done much exciting stuff with Orton for a while so it wasn’t like there were a lot of reasons to get pumped up for this one.
Orton sells a lot in the early going, with Brock being nicer than usual with the suplexes due to Orton’s previous history of injuries. Orton sells the beat down well and Brock gets to look strong as usual, at one stage even flinging Orton through one of the commentary tables. The heat isn’t really there for this though, probably because, even though it’s a fresh combination of guys, it’s not exactly a combination that most would consider to be a “Dream” match. It’s also kind of hard to make a guy like Orton a sympathetic figure, which is what he’d really need to be in order to make this story work.
Orton finally wakes up the crowd by countering a Brock powerbomb attempt into an RKO on the commentary table, with the table standing firm and not breaking. Orton gets a flurry on Brock inside the ring, which the crowd perk up for again, but the resulting RKO only gets him two count. The reaction to that near fall isn’t really what you’d expect considering the fact they’ve held off on Orton getting any real sort of offence for so long and the whole match has been building to it. Orton sets up for the Soccer Kick of DOOM, but Brock counters that into an F-5 for two and then does a number on Orton with punches and elbows to win via ref stoppage.
WINNER BY STOPPAGE: BROCK LESNAR
This was a good match, but had a disappointing lack of heat even though the work itself was fine. I liked the finish with Brock getting angry at the kick attempt and taking it out on Orton with the elbows, but I’m not convinced they had to go down the ultra-realism route with it all, especially as Orton ended up getting a legit concussion from it all. Still though, there were bits of this I liked and I felt they structured and paced it well, the crowd just wasn’t biting.
WWE Summer Slam 2017
Champ: Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman Vs Braun Strowman Vs Samoa Joe Vs Roman Reigns
By this stage they’d done another brand split and separated the belts again, with Brock beating Goldberg for the Raw one at WrestleMania 33. Brock and Joe had fought one another recently and Roman had been feuding with Braun, so it made sense to combine both of the feuds so that we could have a Kaiju Monster BATTEL come to life before our very eyes!
This one is all about the big lads clobbering one another, with a lot of the focus being on Braun, as he dominates large chunks of it, looking like a huge star in the process and really getting himself over with the crowd. It really is a superb showcase for him. Brock ends up taking two big bumps in the early going, as Roman Spears him through the barricade and Braun then adds to his misery by putting him through a commentary table with a powerslam.
It’s a whole lot of fun and exactly what you’d want from these four big men battling with one another. Braun isn’t done with just one table though and puts Brock through another one before dumping the remaining table on top of him to complete the destruction job. The crowd is having the time of their lives during all of this, whilst Paul does one of his all-time best freak outs as Brock gets carried out on a stretcher. This really would be an excellent time to go the whole hog with Braun and have him win the Title, especially as Brock wouldn’t be pinned and you could logically build to a rematch.
The three remaining guys go at it, with the crowd being merciless in their dislike for poor Roman. Braun continues to look like a monster, whilst Joe plays more of a heel opportunist and Roman fills the role of the gutsy babyface. Brock eventually returns and then suplexes the heck out of Joe and Roman, but Braun is too big and fights him off. Some good near falls follow, with everyone having the chance to win at some stage. Eventually they decide to have Brock retain, but do so by having him pin Roman, which seems like a strange finish when he’s supposed to be the top babyface and they could have easily pinned Joe, who would have lost nothing from taking the fall.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: BROCK LESNAR
This felt like it lost a bit of steam once Brock got carted out on the stretcher, but it was still a very entertaining bout that featured some great monster moments from Braun. If you wanted to get Braun over as much as possible without going that extra step of giving him the belt, then this was the best possible way of doing it.
WWE Summer Slam 2018
Champ: Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman Vs Roman Reigns
Roman had failed to defeat Brock both at WrestleMania 34 and also in a match in Saudi Arabia, so this was essentially his last chance. In order to try and get Roman over as a babyface in the feud the WWE had him cut a lot of negative promos about how Brock was an absentee Champion who didn’t care about wrestling. Rather than get Roman over as a pro-company babyface, it instead just led to fans disliking both men and the feud was pretty awful.
Braun Strowman, the holder of Money in the Bank at the time, comes down to tease a cash-in, but instead says he’ll be staying at ringside to cash in against the winner. Roman quickly attacks Brock with two Spears, but Brock counters a third one into a guillotine choke, which is a counter you could actually do on the N64 THQ/AKI games. Roman survives that, but takes a trip to Suplex City straight afterward as the crowd thinks both men suck.
Braun of course ends up getting involved, as Roman accidentally dives out onto him when Brock moves. Brock adds an F-5 and some briefcase shots to Braun to take him out of commission, which takes the crowd completely out of the match as Braun is the only one of the three they actually like and the promise of him cashing in has been the only reason they’ve not booed this match out of the building already. Roman catches Brock with a Spear when he gets back into the ring though, and that’s enough for the Title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: ROMAN REIGNS
Not much of a match, with an unenthused crowd whose only excitement came from hoping a guy not involved in the match would do something once the match itself was over. The wrestling itself wasn’t especially bad, but the match itself felt flat and was pretty boring to watch.
WWE Summer Slam 2019
Champ: Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman Vs Seth Rollins
Rollins had defeated Brock for the belt at WrestleMania 35, but Brock had since cashed in Money in the Bank in order to win it back and had then done a series of beat downs on Seth to leave him with injured ribs, which are dutifully taped here. Rollins uses his speed in the early going, doing a good job as an underdog babyface, but Brock catches him with an F-5 and then proceeds to lay a whupping on him. Rollins sells it all really well, making sure to take big bumps in order to make Brock look like a killing machine.
It really is a good heat segment, with Brock doing believable looking offence and Rollins selling it all like he’s losing his very life force. And because the crowd actually likes Rollins, they get behind him to fight back. Rollins eventually manages to make a comeback with some suicide dives, only for Brock to catch him on one and then ram his body into the ring post. Brock has everything well in order but decides he wants to put Rollins through a commentary table, but whilst prepping the Spanish one he gets super kicked by Rollins and then splashed through it.
Another splash follows back inside and the Curb Stomp gets Rollins a two in a great near fall. I love how Brock had everything in control but just HAD to go for the table, which gave Rollins the window to fight back and get him on the ropes. Great storytelling. Brock counters another Curb Stomp into an F-5 attempt, but Rollins manages to slip out and follows up with one more Curb Stomp to pick up the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMP: SETH ROLLINS
This was a great example of how to do the Speed Vs Power match and both men played their roles perfectly.
One match aside, everything was good here with three of the matches being great fun. It’s funny to me how WrestleMania Main Events really haven’t been holding up that much since about 2015 whilst the Summer Slam Main Events have mostly remained strong. I think a big part is that they mostly just let the guys go out there and work a good match in front of mostly hardcore wrestling fans at Summer Slam, whilst Mania shows not only tend to be longer but they also have to go for the “stadium style” match, which can be hit and miss.