The Greek God of Wrestling never realized a few days in Brooklyn could be so much fun. Brooklyn was definitely the center of the wrestling universe last weekend. NXT and Ring of Honor presented shows on Saturday. SummerSlam took over Barclays Center on Sunday, followed by RAW the next night.
It was an amazing stretch for WWE, which sold out Barclays Center for three straight nights (including the NXT show). The shows were worthy of the attention. There were excellent matches and plenty of surprises.
The main attraction was SummerSlam. And the main attraction at SummerSlam was Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker.
With a red-hot crowd, this match was terrific, although Achilles Heel worries about the Undertaker competing in such an intensely physical match at his age.
In the final moments of the match, Lesnar applied a Kimura lock for the second time, referee Charles Robinson positioned himself to see if Lesnar’s shoulders were on the mat as he applied the hold. With Robinson on the other side, Undertaker tapped out – the first time the Greek God of Wrestling can remember Undertaker submitting. The bell rang, but Robinson told the timekeeper, who apparently saw Undertaker tap out, that he didn’t call for the bell and that the match would continue. While Robinson was admonishing the timekeeper, Undertaker hit Lesnar with a low blow and then applied Hell’s Gate, which caused Lesnar to pass out.
Some people felt the ending was a letdown, but the controversial ending made sense. It reinforced the lengths Undertaker would go to – this was his third low blow on Lesnar in six weeks – to get revenge for Lesnar ruining his perfect WrestleMania record. The ending also further bolstered Lesnar’s reputation, making him the man who made the Undertaker give up.
All of this dovetails nicely into a third match in this series. As The Greek God of Wrestling told you last week, this match will likely take place at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium. It could be Undertaker’s retirement match.
The other major occurrence at SummerSlam was Seth Rollins defeating John Cena, adding the United States Championship to his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That match also had a controversial ending.
Before getting to the ending, I must say this was a tremendous match. Rollins was outstanding. And all Cena has done this year is produce exceptional match after exceptional match with a variety of opponents.
The conclusion of this match involved the referee getting knocked down by Rollins feet as Cena lifted him up for the Attitude Adjustment. Celebrity host Jon Stewart ran down to the ring with a chair. Stewart tipped his hand by showing initial uncertainty, but it was still surprising when he drove the chair into Cena’s mid-section and then left the chair for Rollins to use as he applied the match-winning pedigree.
In other SummerSlam news, The New Day regained the tag team championship from The Prime Time Players in an entertaining fatal four-way match that also included Los Matadores and The Lucha Dragons. In the third title match, Ryback retained the Intercontinental Championship in a triple threat match with The Miz and Big Show.
There truly weren’t any bad matches at SummerSlam. They weren’t all great, like the Cena vs. Rollins match, but nothing stood out as bad.
Randy Orton and Sheamus drew a “This is awesome!” chant approximately 10 minutes into the SummerSlam opener, which was won by Sheamus. Kevin Owens and Cesaro should have drawn a “This is awesome!” chant during their terrific match, but they had the unenviable task of wrestling just before Undertaker and Lesnar.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper in a good match. In other matches, Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch won a three-way elimination match against Team B.A.D. and Team Bella; Rusev and Dolph Ziggler fought to a double countout, with Lana and Summer Rae brawling after the bell; and Neville and actor Stephen Amell, who plays the Green Arrow in “Arrow,” beat Stardust and King Barrett. Amell turned in one of the best performances in history by a celebrity wrestler.
SummerSlam, which was expanded to four hours, was solid from start to finish, with the obvious high points being the Rollins-Cena and Undertaker-Lesnar matches.
EARNING HIS KEEP: When WWE signed Brock Lesnar to a limited-dates contract, there were people who complained that he was making too much money for someone not wrestling a full-time schedule. Is there anyone out there who still believes Lesnar isn’t worth whatever WWE is paying him as a special attraction?
RAW SURPRISES: WWE followed up SummerSlam with two big surprises on RAW. First, The Dudley Boys made their return, immediately inserting themselves into the tag team title picture. And then, in a shocking ending to the show, Sting returned, ruining the unveiling of a Seth Rollins statue by taking the statue’s place behind the curtain.
Wrestling fans have become so jaded and privy to what used to be inside information that it’s difficult to truly surprise them. Kudos to WWE for shocking fans not once, but twice during RAW.
CELEBRITIES CRUISE: Stephen Amell wasn’t the only celebrity who made an impact during SummerSlam weekend. Jon Stewart, the host for SummerSlam, engaged Mick Foley in an in-ring interview that put over Brock Lesnar as scary and dangerous and took part in some mildly amusing backstage skits with his son. But Stewart’s biggest impact was hitting John Cena with a chair during his match with Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight and United States championships.
Stewart was also terrific on RAW, explaining that he hit Cena with the chair because he didn’t want to see him tie Ric Flair’s record of 16 world championships. Stewart then absorbed a well-delivered Attitude Adjustment from Cena.
KING OF TRIOS MATCHUPS: The first-round pairings for CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament, which is the organization’s 3-day WrestleMania, have been released. The tournament, which takes place at The Palmer Center in Easton, begins with the first round on Friday. The quarterfinals and other matches will take place on Saturday, followed by the semifinals and finals on Sunday.
The following are the first-round matchups: The bWo (Big Stevie Cool, The Blue Guy and Hollywood Nova), one of Achilles Heel’s favorite teams from ECW, faces a daunting first-round challenge from The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive, Max Smashmaster, Flex Rumblecrunch); United Nations (Juan Francisco de Coronado, Mr. Azerbaijan and The Proletariat Boar of Moldova) vs. Team ATTACK (Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, Morgan Webster); The Arcane Horde (Kodama, Obariyon, Oleg the Usurper) vs. Crown & Court (El Hijo del Ice Cream, Ice Cream Jr., Princess KimberLee); Team Fight Club: Pro (Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Daniel Moloney) vs. Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Jakob Hammermeier, Nokken, Soldier Ant); Dasher’s Dugout (Dasher Hatfield, Icarus, “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti) vs. Battleborn (Kevin Condron, Lucas Calhoun, Missile Assault Ant); The Bullet Club (A.J. Styles, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson) vs. Battle Hive (Amasis, Fire Ant, Worker Ant); The Snake Pit vs. The Nightmare Warriors (Frightmare, Hallowicked, Silver Ant); and The Gentleman’s Club (Drew Gulak, Chuck Taylor, Swamp Monster) vs. Team AAA (Aero Star, Drago, Fenix).
The most anticipated first-round bouts are probably The Bullet Club vs. Battle Hive and The Gentleman’s Club vs. Team AAA.
RING OF HONOR IN PHILLY: If you’re looking for Ring of Honor results from the sold-out event at 2300 Arena, you won’t find them here. That show was taped for television, and the Greek God of Wrestling hates spoilers. I will tell you, though, that there were some terrific matches. I was at the NXT event at Barclays Center last Saturday, so I did not see any of the matches from Field of Honor ‘15.
RING OF HONOR IN JAPAN: Ring of Honor announced that it will expand its relations with New Japan Pro Wrestling, holding two cards in Japan next February and taking the inter-promotional shows that started in Philadelphia and Toronto last spring to additional cities next year.
NXT GOES TO ENGLAND: The demand for NXT is growing. NXT will be touring the United Kingdom in December, culminating in a live show from London on WWE Network on Dec. 16.
NEW CHAMPS: Two titles changed hands at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Bayley defeated Sasha Banks to the NXT Women’s Championship. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English, Simon Gotch) defeated Blake and Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Finn Balor retained the NXT Championship in a ladder match with former champion Kevin Owens, who, somehow, was able to recover in time to defeat Cesaro in a physical 15-minute match the following night at SummerSlam. In other bouts at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, Samoa Joe defeated Baron Corbin, Jushin “Thunder” Liger beat Tyler Breeze, Apollo Crews, making his NXT in-ring debut, beat Tye Dillinger,
AS YOU WISH: Congratulations to John Cena for granting a 500th wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children living with life-threatening diseases. Cena is the first celebrity to grant 500 wishes.
AS YOU WISH II: Eric Fisher reports that actor Cary Elwes, promoting “As You Wish,” his book about the filming of The Princess Bride, opened his interview last Saturday at the Keswick Theatre with a funny story about Andre the Giant unleashing a long and powerful fart during filming. The Greek God of Wrestling doesn’t necessarily trust Fisher, but nobody who has spent time with Andre, who was wonderful as the giant Fezzik in the movie, would doubt the veracity of that story.