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CALDWELL'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV REPORT 8/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Cena vs. Lesnar

Aug 17, 2014 - 9:53:01 PM
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WWE Summerslam PPV Report
August 17, 2014
Los Angeles, Calif.
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


Live PPV - Hour 1

Summerslam opened with a live shot of the arena and Justin Roberts introducing Hulk Hogan to start the show. Hogan made it to the stage, where he hyped tonight being a big deal. Hogan hyped WWE Network and the $9.99 price tag. He listed the upcoming PPV schedule, stopping at the Royal Rumble in January to capture the idea of a six-month Network commitment for $9.99 containing the next six PPVs. And that was it. Off to the PPV intro video package.

Back live in the arena, fireworks shot off before Michael Cole introduced the show along with JBL and Jerry Lawler. After a pause, The Miz's music played to bring out the Hollywood Heel. On the way to the ring, Miz said he is a real-life, non-CGI movie star. And, he possesses something that everyone from Drax (Batista) to Hercules (Rock) wishes they had ... Miz removed his sunglasses to reveal the money-maker face. Miz said he's going to make Dolph Ziggler like the Lakers tonight.

Miz's music played again, then Roberts formally introduced Miz. Cole and Co. talked on-camera, then introduced the Spanish announce team before Dolph Ziggler's music interrupted. Out came Ziggler, then Cole introduced the German announce team also position ringside. Before the bell sounded, WWE showed Maria Menonous ringside.

1 -- IC champion THE MIZ vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- Intercontinental Title match

Ziggler knocked Miz early on, but Miz regained control back in the ring. "You Can't Wrestle" chant toward Miz, who big-booted Ziggler, then taunted the crowd to loud boos. Miz then climbed to the turnbuckle for a double axehandle attempt, but Ziggler blocked. Ziggler tried to follow with a superkick, but Miz wildly moved out of the way to avoid contact to his face. Ziggler followed up moments later with a slap to the face, then Sweet Chin Music for a very close two count.

"Let's Go Ziggler" chant before Miz bailed to the outside and tried to get his title belt to leave, but Ziggler kicked him through the ropes. But, on the way back into the ring, Miz caught Ziggler with a kick, then slapped on the figure-four leglock. Ziggler fought the hold, then finally stretched to the bottom rope to force a break.

Miz tried to follow up, but Ziggler caught him with the Fameasser out of nowhere. It didn't affect Miz, though, who sprung on Ziggler with the Skullcrushing Finale. Miz covered, but Ziggler rolled a shoulder to escape. Miz sold shock over the nearfall, then argued with the referee. Miz, selling being disoriented, tried a Shining Wizard, but Ziggler ducked and nailed the Zig-Zag. Ziggler, selling a left knee injury, covered Miz for the win.

WINNER: Ziggler at 7:55 to capture the IC Title. Above-expectations solid opener. Well done. Ziggler had to get the win after getting the big spotlight interview on WWE's website during the Summerslam build-up; good to see the pay-off. (**3/4)

Video Review: The "stupid" storyline of Daniel Bryan's character having an "affair," according to Stephanie McMahon and a physical therapist. Then, Brie Bella "arrested" for slapping the p.t. actress.

Backstage: Tom Phillips brought in Brie Bella post-jail time. Brie said she did a lot of reflecting during her jail time, then called the p.t.'s claims "lies" about her marriage with Daniel Bryan. Brie said Stephanie has put herself, her family, and everyone in WWE through hell. She vowed to take out "that she-beast" because it's best for business.

In-ring: Paige was introduced for the Divas Title match up next. Paige skipped down to the ring a la A.J. Lee to mock her before the Divas champ was introduced. She also skipped down to the ring to retort Paige.

2 -- Divas champion A.J. LEE vs. PAIGE -- Divas Title match

Once the bell sounded, the crowd picked up a "C-M Punk chant and Paige extended her hand to adhere to the Code of Fren-emy. A.J. ignored her, then Paige opened in control of the match. A.J. fought back and put Paige in the Black Widow, but Paige reached the ropes to break free. Paige followed right up with with a DDT for the win. Afterward, Paige celebrated while A.J. sold frustration losing to Paige again.

WINNER: Paige at 5:10 to re-capture the Divas Title. Two-for-two on underdog title challengers flipping to favorites in the betting odds right before the PPV and winning their title matches. Good title match, but they could still pull off a long-form match. (**)

Video Game spot: Sting in the "WWE 2K15" video game. Back live, WWE found a fan on the front row sporting a Sting mask, which got a reaction in the crowd.

In-ring: Justin Roberts announced the rules for the flag match up next. Rusev and Lana were out first. In the ring, Lana hyped Russian president Vladimir Putin, then heeled on Hollywood. Lana was interrupted by military representatives on-stage to play up the patriotism theme of the feud. This brought out Jack Swagger, along with Zeb Colter, to answer Rusev and Lana. Cole said Swagger cannot lose this match.

3 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) vs. RUSEV (w/Lana) -- Flag match

Before the bell sounded, Rusev attacked Swagger and a scrap was on. Zeb and Lana tried to help their men before Swagger slapped on the Patriot Lock. The ref eventually separated both men. Rusev sold an ankle injury before the bell sounded to officially begin the match. Rusev was booked like a babyface fighting through the pain of the pre-match attack to land offense on Swagger. The match flipped to attempted sympathy on Swagger as Rusev worked him over, setting up a big comeback clothesline from Swagger.

Swagger delivered a running Swagger Bomb for a nearfall, then both men sold on the mat. Rusev tried to follow with The Accolade, but he was too injured. Lana sold concern as Rusev tried to recuperate, then he sat down on Swagger with one good leg. Since Rusev didn't have it fully applied, Swagger broke free, then slapped on the Patriot Lock. Rusev fought the hold as Lana shouted in the background, then Rusev kicked free, ending the crowd's enthusiasm. Rusev then kicked Swagger in the face with one good leg and put Swagger in The Accolade. Rusev cried through the pain, Swagger tried to fight the hold, and Swagger started to fade out. No sign of life from Swagger, so the ref called for the bell.

Post-match: The announcers immediately covered for Swagger, saying he passed out, valiantly fought Rusev, and would not give up. Lana then entered the ring to taunt Colter, who checked on Swagger as he rested face-first on the mat. Rusev wasn't done, though, as he kicked Zeb in the head with his one good leg. Per the rules of the match, the Russian National Anthem played as a giant Russian flag was unveiled in the background. Rusev and Lana proudly stood in front of the flag as Swagger and Zeb remained KO'ed on the mat as if they were posing for a picture. JBL said this is a disgusting sight.

WINNER: Rusev via TKO at 8;56. Good roller-coaster storytelling, but Swagger is miscast as a sympathetic babyface. He's just a natural heel both in size, look, and overall demeanor, meaning WWE isn't getting as much juice out of this program as could be had if they had a different babyface in the role. (**1/2)

Live PPV - Hour 2

Video Package: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins feud. Back in the arena, WWE showed various wrestlers surrounding the ring to play the role of lumberjacks. WWE tag champs The Usos were included in the line-up. Dean Ambrose was out next determined to get his hands on Rollins.

4 -- SETH ROLLINS vs. DEAN AMBROSE -- Lumberjack match

The match opened with Rollins getting the worst of the lumberjacks to allow the announcers to talk up the much-maligned stipulation that Ambrose was scripted to select. Rollins quickly gained control and Ambrose nearly found himself on the wrong side of heel jacks, but he scampered back into the ring. Rollins put the boots to Ambrose, though. Rollins tried to suplex Ambrose off the ring apron, but Ambrose reversed and suplexed Rollins into a sea of bodies on the outside.

On the outside, a brawl broke out, which involved "Cousin Eddie" lumberjack Damien Sandow. Other jacks tried to separate people, but a fight broke out again. Ambrose eventually dumped Rollins over the guardrail into the front row. Ambrosse tried to give chase, but heel jacks pulled Ambrose away to boos. So, Ambrose dove onto jacks trying to get his hands on Rollins. Ambrose then started chucking jacks across ringside before chasing Rollins into the belly of the Staples Center.

The fight moved up the arena steps into the crowd as jacks watched off-camera. Corporate Kane eventually walked out and told lumberjacks to chase down Ambrose and Rollins. Meanwhile, Ambrose tried to suplex Rollins into some fans. Jacks eventually climbed into the crowd to drag both men down the steps back to ringside. Complete chaos here. Rollins eventually beat up Sin Cara in the crowd, then decided to bail from the whole match.

Rollins tried to leave, but face jacks The Usos, Cody Rhodes, and Big E. caught Rollins, then dragged him back to ringside. Meanwhile, Ambrose was in the ring ready to come off the top turnbuckle splashing everyone. Kane was beside himself ringside. Ambrose eventually dragged Rollins back into the ring and smashed him with a rebound lariat, but Rollins kicked out to big gasps.

So, Ambrose re-calculated his attack and nailed Rollins's own Curb Stomp finisher on Rollins. Ambrose covered, but Kane hit the ring to attack Ambrose. So, Goldust stepped up to Kane, who uppercutted Goldust. All of the jacks hit the ring and chaos broke out everywhere. In the chaos, Rollins entered the ring with his MITB briefcase and then blasted Ambrose once he turned around. Rollins fell on top of Ambrose for a three count that was booked to be lost in the shuffle of the chaos.

WINNER: Rollins at 10:48. Complete chaos to play up Ambrose's character and distract from Ambrose taking the loss, while also trying to build more heat on Rollins as a top-shelf singles heel. It was definitely a different type of singles match than anything else on the show with some interesting sequences.

Up Next: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt. First, a video review of how they arrived at the match.

On the video screen, Bray Wyatt told Los Angeles that he's here. Bray then emerged in the arena not flanked by Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, who were lumberjacks in the previous match and are banned from ringside. Jericho countered Bray's ring entrance with a multi-colored light-up jacket that popped the crowd.

5 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. BRAY WYATT

The announcers slipped in numerous plugs in the early-going as everyone came down from the chaotic lumberjack match. Bray and Jericho built things back up with Jericho making a comeback after taking a sustained beating. Bray cut him off, though, and shook like Shinsuke Nakamura before charging Jericho, who blocked with a dropkick. But, Bray came right back with a uranage for a two count.

Bray mounted Jericho and pounded on him with right hands before going to the corner to hang upside down. Bray then stalked Jericho for Sister Abigail, but Jericho countered with a small package for a two count. Jericho followed with the Walls of Jericho, but Bray grabbed the ropes for a break. The crowd picked up a dueling chant, then Jericho snapped off a top-rope huracanrana. Jericho couldn't secure a pin cover, though.

Reset at 10:00 with Jericho dropkicking Bray in the face. Jericho teased the Lionsault, but Bray shot up in the crabwalk position to scare off Jericho. Bray extended his arms and shouted at Jericho that he is immortal and he cannot die. So, Jericho tried a Codebreaker, but Bray kicked out.

On the floor, Bray avoided a baseball slide kick, then snatched Jericho for Sister Abigail into the barricade. Bray scooped up Jericho and rolled him back into the ring, but did not attempt a cover. Instead, Bray grabbed Jericho for a second Sister Abigail. Bray covered for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Wyatt at 13:01. Last month, they seemed to be holding something back. This time, they were in a tough spot post-lumberjack brawl and there just doesn't seem to be a natural connection in the ring. The main issue is Bray plays a cool heel and Jericho is the respected legend, so there isn't a passionate crowd response to their issue. If they have a third match at Night of Champions, they'll have to raise the stakes of the match or go a different storyline direction pre-PPV. (**1/2)

Video Package: Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella, which is not getting the semi-main event/buffer spot.

In-ring: Stephanie McMahon was out first dressed in a wild combat costume. Brie Bella was out next and without Nikki Bella. Before the bell sounded, WWE showed UFC Women's champion Ronda Rousey sitting on the front row with the Four Horsewomen.

6 -- STEPHANIE MCMAHON vs. BRIE BELLA

Stephanie dominated the match early on, playing the role of bully continuing her TV domination in recent weeks. Brie fought back and teased the Yes! Lock, but Steph rolled out of the ring to avoid. Brie wanted a suicide dive, but Steph moved and Brie crashed to the outside. Back in the ring, Steph punished Brie as the crowd chanted for Steph, following the lead of the TV build-up positioning the heel, Steph, as the dominant figure. If this is supposed to be a real fight, the crowd is going to rally behind who they know is going to win.

Brie rallied with Yes! Kicks, but Triple H jogged down to ringside. Nikki Bella jogged down after Hunter to try to neutralize him, but Hunter yanked the ref out of the ring when Brie put Steph in the Yes! Lock. So, Brie dropkicked Hunter through the ropes. Brie stood over Hunter doing "Yes!" chants, then the Bellas cornered Stephanie in the ring. But, Nikki turned on Brie with a KO clothesline. Plan B. Steph and Nikki smiled, then Steph dropped Brie with a Pedigree. The ref returned to the ring and counted a win for Stephanie.

On commentary, Cole screamed about Nikki doing this to her sister while JBL defended Nikki's actions after Brie "quit on her." Hunter and Steph gleefully celebrated over Brie, while Nikki glared into the ring from the outside. Hunter and Steph eventually made it to the stage to continue celebrating.

WINNER: Stephanie at 11:48. This was surprisingly a full-length match. Not surprising was Steph getting the win and Nikki turning on her sister after buying into Steph's argument that Brie quit on her and made her life miserable. After all, everyone eventually sees it the McMahon Way and submits. Overall, lots of heels winning tonight.

Video Package: The New Age Outlaws found their way back onto TV training a Totino's contest winner, Mama's Boy, at the Performance Center.

Live PPV - Hour 3

In-ring: Randy Orton was introduced first for the semi-main event. Roman Reigns then came through the crowd to face Orton. Cole called this perhaps the biggest match of Reigns's career.

7 -- ROMAN REIGNS vs. RANDY ORTON

Orton controlled early on, including delivering a superplex for a two count. Orton settled in a trademark chinlock, but Reigns blocked, only to take an Electric Chair from Orton. Reigns sold, then quickly grabbed Orton for a reverse chinlock, but Orton blocked and went back to the reverse chinlock. Reigns broke free, then they exchanged right hand bombs on their feet. Reigns smashed Orton with a punch, then an uppercut before leaving the ring to dropkick Orton in the face.

On the floor, Reigns smashed Orton in front of David Arquette on the front row. Orton reversed momentum, though, and sent Reigns crashing into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Orton tried a top rope move, but Reigns blocked and nailed a top-rope Samoan Drop. Reigns then called for his Superman Punch, and he connected. The crowd was a bit mixed in their reception. Reigns then stalked Orton for a big spear, but Orton countered with a snap powerslam for a two count.

Reset at 13:30 with Orton stalking Reigns, then delivering a DDT. Orton heelishly played to the crowd, which somewhat embraced him as he set up for the RKO. They went to a sequence that ended with Orton nailing a mid-air RKO, but Reigns kicked out just before three. Orton freaked out and threw a fit about the count.

Orton eventually calmed down and stood over Reigns, who remained KO'ed on the mat. Orton then slowly backed up and measured Reigns for a Punt, which the crowd recognized. The crowd bought in, but Reigns avoided The Punt and speared Orton for a clean pin for the win. Cole called it an "absolute statement match" for Reigns. The crowd was in that John Cena territory with women shrieking for Reigns, while vocal males sounded mixed about the outcome.

WINNER: Reigns at 16:13. Dangerous, dangerous territory with Reigns right now. They have to find a way to get him on-track with the entire audience while at the same time trying to accomplish their goals of getting over Reigns's signature offense and moves. Orton almost came out better than Reigns tonight despite the loss. Almost. (**3/4)

Video Announcement: Summerslam is moving to New York/New Jersey next year. Cole said they've spent several years in L.A., and now they're moving to the East Coast next year.

Video Package: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar.

In-ring: Brock Lesnar was out first as the challenger for the WWE World Title. Lesnar was dressed to fight, but did not have the beanie on. Lesnar hit the ring with Paul Heyman standing close behind him, then John Cena walked to the ring with purpose as the defending champion. Cena held up the titles in Lesnar's face, which Lesnar smirked at. Justin Roberts then handled formal ring introductions. Mix of cheers and boos for Lesnar, while Cena was mainly booed. The bell sounded at 7:34 PST, giving them about 20 minutes.

8 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) -- WWE World Hvt. Title match

Cena charged Lesnar right when the bell sounded, but Lesnar fought back with right hands, driving Cena across the ring. Lesnar then hoisted Cena into the air, overpowered him, and delivered an early F5. Lesnar covered, but Cena kicked out just before three. Big smile from Lesnar, who nearly won in 35 seconds. Big buzz for the early nearfall.

"I will kill you!" Lesnar shouted down at Cena before smashing him with a release German Suplex. Lesnar stalked Cena, who clutched his head as Cole said Cena is already out of it. Cena came to his senses as Lesnar continued to stalk and taunt. Another release German, then Lesnar bounced up and down doing his pose. Lesnar stalked Cena again, then put a knee in his gut. Cena tried to fight back, but Lesnar brushed him aside.

Lesnar delivered a big suplex, then glared at Cena, angry with Cena for even existing in the same ring with him. Cena tried to fight back with a sudden flurry, but Lesnar knocked him down, then delivered another knee to the gut. Lesnar then sat down on Cena with sort of a standing Camel Clutch. Cena came to his feet to elbow out of the hold, but Lesnar yanked Cena down to the mat.

Lesnar left himself open for punches to the gut from Cena, but Lesnar quickly absorbed and kneed Cena in the gut again. Lesnar went back to a methodical attack picking his spots, including another release German. And a fourth. And a fifth. Lesnar took a break from his work as Cena continued to sell on the mat. Lawler told the announcers not to count out Cena, who kicked out of a light cover.

Lesnar went back to work with another German suplex. "Very uncomfortable," Cole said. Another German, then Cena had a brief conversation with referee Charles Robinson. Lawler wondered aloud what Cena was telling the ref. Lesnar, drenched in sweat, smiled down at Cena. Lesnar wanted another German, but Cena blocked and elbowed. Right hands, then he tried a clothesline, but Lesnar blocked. Lesnar scooped up Cena for an F5, which popped the crowd, but Cena slipped out and nailed an AA. But, Lesnar kicked out of a pin.

Reset with Lesnar laughing as he recovered and Cena dragged himself to the corner. Lesnar bounced to his feet, laughed some more, bounced up and down, and told Cena to come bring some more. Meanwhile, Cena sold having gas. Cena suddenly charged out of the corner, but Lesnar tackled him to the mat and pounded the crap out of Cena. Cena tried to cover up, but Lesnar just pounded and pounded and pounded. The announcers talked Lesnar's UFC career before Lesnar finally got off Cena.

Lesnar stalked Cena for more punishment, this time for a German, and a second, and a third consecutive rolling German. Lesnar kept going, delivering a fourth, this time a release German. "Die!" Lesnar shouted down at Cena. Lesnar shook his head as Cena sold on the mat. Lesnar looked toward the ref to ask him about ending the match, but Robinson said Cena won't quit. So, Lesnar snapped off three more consecutive German Suplexes. Cena refused to give up, though. JBL started to eulogize Cena's career as the announcers wondered about ref Robinson just calling the match to protect Cena.

But, Lesnar left himself open for Cena to trip Lesnar's feet and put him in the STF. Lesnar sold the hold, but suddenly flipped on top of Cena to smash him with punches. Lesnar then hoisted Cena into the air for another F5. Lesnar covered and it was good for the win. Lesnar is the new champion.

Post-match: Cole said Lesnar won in convincing fashion. WWE cut to actor Adam Sandler being stunned, then medics hit the ring to check on Cena. Meanwhile, Heyman entered the ring and bowed down to Lesnar as the announcers continued to hype Lesnar as unstoppable, a beast, and unconquerable. No attempt to cover for Cena losing. Lesnar posed with the WWE Title belts as Cole hyped this being the most dominant year in WWE history with Lesnar stopping The Streak and slaying the WWE champion. On the stage, Heyman told Lesnar that he has conquered the WWE Universe. Cole relayed a stat that Lesnar delivered 16 suplexes to Cena during the match. JBL said Cena may never be the same. Cole said WWE must now deal with Lesnar. A final shot of Cena selling in the ring as the PPV ended at 7:53 PST.

WINNER: Lesnar at 16:06 to capture the WWE World Title. Exactly what was advertised in terms of Lesnar destroying Cena and playing up Lesnar as a monster heel when healthy. He is officially rebuilt after a weak start to his WWE return. And, with the announcers not trying to cover for Cena, it's apparent they're shifting to the next big babyface star going after Lesnar (even though Cena presumably has a title re-match). If it's Roman Reings to get the heat transfer from WM30/Summerslam to WM31, they have a lot of work to do with Reigns. (***1/2)

So, how does WWE handle a part-timer as WWE champ (and not The Rock's boom, boom, boom schedule from the Rumble to Chamber to WM)? Does Lesnar hand over possession of the titles to Heyman while he's off TV? Do they run an angle on Raw? Tournament? Interesting fall-out to come.

===== LIVECAST ALERT ======

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