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Chris Deez’s WWE WrestleMania Weekend Hits & Misses

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Well that was… meh. WrestleMania 34 has passed us by, and with its passing we have had many long standing questions answered with just as many new ones asked. Let’s be realistic here for a second… it wasn’t very good at all. It wasn’t helped by the fact that NXT TakeOver New Orleans was earth shatteringly incredible, but regardless of Saturday nights superior show, ‘Mania once again flattered to deceive. We were presented with the most stacked card in history, but almost every match felt like nothing more than filler for the main event. With that said, post ‘Mania RAW was a blistering success. This was originally due to be a ‘Mania Hits & Misses rundown, but I had to include RAW purely for the fact I could only find 1 or 2 ‘mania Hits which were vastly outweighed by Misses.

Lets crack on shall we?

Hit: Ronda’s Rousing Rendition.

Hands up who expected this? Anybody? No? You at the back there, put your hand down you liar! Far and beyond the best match of the night, Ronda Rousey shocked and impressed the entire world with her performance on the Grandest Stage of Them All. She was far more involved than I ever expected and it was clear to see how much she cared about proving herself. Credit is due for both HHH and Stephanie, who both did everything in their power to put Ronda over in the biggest way possible. What next for Rousey? Well if her appearance on RAW is anything to go by, this feud is far from over and that’s something I’m more than happy to see. She needs at least a couple more months of being built up, plus some more mic work conditioning, before entering the title picture.

Miss: That Fucking Main Event.

Literally the most baffling thing I have ever seen while watching WWE… and I’ve seen ark Henry have a baby hand with Mae Young. Nailed on for an entire year, Roman Reigns was set to finally topple the beast and reward us with a full time champion. What did we get? One of, if not the, worst WrestleMania main events in history. To make matters worse, within 24 hours of Roman’s devastating loss, the instant rematch was announced for the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. That’s right. The challenger lost and got handed a rematch. Without earning it. Who said WWE favour Roman Reigns and force him down our throats? You? Don’t be absurd! He’s great! He’s earnt it!

The only saving grace here was the return of my life long bae Samoa Joe. His appearance and subsequent berating of Reigns was a thing of beauty, and even led to a challenge for Backlash. This rivalry was fantastic the first time around… here’s hoping it leads to big things for Joe.

WrestleMania

Hit: Opening The Show In A Big Way.

While it wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see, the Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor was the perfect way to open proceedings. It’s always nice seeing the best guys the company has to offer starting the show off the right way. Unfortunately the match itself wasn’t even close to being the monumental 5 star extravaganza we expected. Rollins is a worthy winner however, and should go on to have a fantastic reign as champion especially considering the calibre of talent on RAW. Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Elias, Dean Ambrose on his return, Finn Balor and Jeff Hardy could all result in some outstanding matches.

Miss: Rusev Day is On It’s Last Legs.

Who has Rusev upset? His short time in the company has gone from one extreme to another. Since losing his fantastic 1 year unbeaten streak to Super Cena, we have seen Rusev involved in a romantic storyline with Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler, being fed to Randy Orton, becoming the most over guy in the business all by himself with the Rusev Day movement… to being pinned by Jinder Mahal at WrestleMania. I’s genuinely shocked he hasn’t walked away from the company yet. He is phenomenally talented, has the merch sales to give Vince a raging semi (he’s old, its difficult) and has reached almost Daniel Bryan levels of over. What’s next for him? More mid card mediocrity? With the Superstar Shake Up only one week away, Ru Ru desperately needs a change of scenery. Oh I almost forgot to mention. Jinder Mahal is our new United States Champion. Kill me now.

Hit: No Celebrities Or OTT Segments.

Thank. God. The. Rock. Wasn’t. There.

Despite the matches on show not being particularly exciting, barring 1 or 2, at least the focus of this Wrestlemania was on the actual wrestling. It was a nice change of pace to not be slapped in the face with celebrity involvement, unless you count Ronda Rousey of course, and it’s always nice when the talent doesn’t get buried by stars of yesteryear. I’m a sucker for nostalgia as much as the next cynical old fool, but seeing The League of Nations embarrassed by Stone Cold, Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 32 was completely unnecessary.

Miss: SDLive Tag Team Championship Match Placing.

The Uso’s. Tag team of the year 2017. Helped in large by The New Day and their insane rivalry. Surely this match, including the Blugeon Brothers, can only have been 24 carat gold right? Wrong! The match itself was uninspiring and frankly quite dull, but WWE did themselves no favours by placing this one right after Ronda Rousey’s triumphant debut. The crowd didn’t care in the slightest and barely made a sound. Going forward I’m concerned for the division. It was on fire for the longest time, but with Blugeon Brothers being in control for the foreseeable future I can’t see any more 5 star matches like the division was churning out weekly towards the end of 2017.

Hit: Braun Finally Winning Gold.

Strowman was my superstar of the year for 2017, and he won that much coveted award by a country mile. An amazing rivalry with Roman Reigns, months of making Big Show look good, a focal point of the title scene leading into SummerSlam, character development beyond anything we could have expected… he was more than ready to step up and show his potential at the top of a division. The tag team division was a strange place for Strowman to ply his trade, but at the end of the day it was entertaining and it was all we could talk about for weeks leading up to WrestleMania.

WrestleMania

Miss: The Way Braun Won Gold.

The fears I had going into Wrestlemania were somewhat vanquished on last night’s RAW. The Bar in no way deserved to lose their titles after holding the weak division together over the last year, so thankfully Strowman and his unlikely partner 10 year old Nicholas (don’t even…) vacated the titles and handed them over to Kurt Angle. This doesn’t change the fact that winning the titles in the first place was the wrong decision. That’s twice in the last few months that champions have relinquished their titles for no good reason at all and it just reeks of creative not planning for the long term. Braun should have been given an opportunity at a singles title rather than diminishing the value of the tag belts. Sheamus and Cesaro were in danger of looking weak and potentially splitting up, but the announcement of a tag team elimination tournament to determine their opponents in Saudi Arabia has gone a small way to keeping them relevant.

Surprise, Surprise!

Ember Moon. No Way Jose. Bobby Lashley. Jeff Hardy. Samoa Joe. Authors of Pain. Owens & Zayn… now that’s how you book a post ‘Mania RAW! Moon adds legitimacy to a women’s division which was becoming staler and staler by the month and should be a good challenger to Nia Jax’s newly claimed throne. Jose was a fun appearance as he swept aside and unnamed jobber, but hopefully it will turn out to be a one off appearance. Lashley received a great reaction and his interaction with Elias was absolute fire, with him looking more dominating than ever. Jeff’s return was a personal highlight for me, albeit a fairly pointless and confusing one, Unless he is going to be entered into the Intercontinental Championship scene, his appearance achieved nothing.

Samoa Joe has been desperately missed. The best natural heel that RAW has, and his interaction with Reigns was phenomenal. If Reigns wins the title in Saudi Arabia, Joe will be a fantastic first challenger. AOP was a predictable but nonetheless awesome debut. The RAW tag division has desperately needed new blood for a long, long time. Akam and Rezar will certainly bring plenty of blood to the table… other people’s blood. It’ll also be interesting to see the fall out from their dismissal of Paul Ellering… will he take charge of another team? Owens and Zayn was a fun little segment with a great match to boot, and with neither man coming away with a RAW contract it should lead to a few weeks of them invading the show until Kurt Angle eventually gives in and grants them their wish.

An absolutely fantastic episode of RAW.

Miss: The Dream Match Turned Into A Nightmare.

AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura is, on paper, potentially the greatest match ever. So it’s a shame that the end product was completely and utterly average. Horrendous build up for months and months, the lac of interaction between the two and no real intensity really did the match a disservice. The crowd weren’t that into it, it was placed in an unusual slot on the card and was yet another case of WWE flattering to deceive. The saving grace here was Nakamura’s unexpected heel turn, which certainly ignited a little interest for me in an another very standard feud. Face v face never works particularly well in the first place. The Superstar Shake Up is going to have to conjur up something pretty special to make this WWE Championship scene worth watching. Finn Balor anybody?

Hit: Charlotte Ending The Streak.

THANKYOU CHARLOTTE. WWE’s best decision of the night by far. Asuka is the most overrated wrestler, male or female, of all time in my eyes. I’ve not seen anything to back up everyone’s claims that she is the best thing since sliced sex, regardless of how much you like to jizz over her time wrestling in Japan, and it would’ve been a crying shame to see her defeat the best female superstar of the last decade. This result went a loooong way to back up my long standing opinion that WWE don’t know how to plan for the long term. An Asuka win would’ve done absolutely nothing for SDLive. Charlotte has struggled to impress on the blue brand at times because of the lack of serious competition… so what the hell would Asuka have done?

We also didn’t see a Carmella cash in, which was strange considering she tries to cash it in every 17 seconds on SDLive. What does it mean for her? She isn’t ready to be a champion, shes barely ready to be a superstar at all.

Miss: The Far From Phenomenal Return Of The Phenom.

What the hell was this? I wasn’t expecting a 30 minute epic, nor did I want one to be honest, but this was essentially a squash match. With some of the worst build I’ve ever seen for an Undertaker match, the first hour of WrestleMania was all about seeing John Cena sat in the crowd like a ‘fan’. He even interrupted Charlotte’s absolutely massive moment en route to the back of the arena. Disrespectful on WWE’s part. The worst part of all this mess is that we will likely see a rematch at next year’s event so Cena can try and achieve some sort of vindication akin to HHH and Shawn Michaels in their encounters with The Deadman. The only positive to this match was that Elias got to be a part of something huge and appear at ‘Mania at the same time.

The match didn’t need to happen, and it may aswell not have done. Was the idea to allow Taker to win and make up for losses to Reigns and Lesnar? If so, it didn’t work. 10 more wins wouldn’t work, because at the end of the day his wins could be 50 but the losses will always be 2. WWE have destroyed the legitimacy of arguably the greatest of all time and his legacy means much less than it used to.

WrestleMania


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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 7/22/2018

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Well last week we had a mostly G1 Top 5, and the trend continues into this week. It’s not for lack of trying, since there’s over 15 Honorable Mentions this week, but Japanese tournaments are really hard to top without a PPV. With all of this being said, NXT put up a fight last week. Moustache Mountain vs Undisputed Era, lost to Omega vs Naito by a slim margin.

So with a G1 match taking down last week, and a good chance it might take down this week…that will make this month quite interesting. To all the WWE faithful, I apologize that you may not have seen any of these, but…you probably should.

Let’s see what we’re working with this week.

 

5. NJPW G1 Climax 28: Tomohiro Ishii vs Tetsuya Naito

We’ve seen this match numerous times and it tends to be a fairly even matchup. Trying to go over how many times they’ve wrestled is gonna take a long time, so let’s just say, they know each other well.

Well this was another one for their scrap book. A solid outing of Naito trying to taunt Ishii or disrespect him, met with the stone demeanor and pure aggression of the Stone Pitbull. Naito slapped him, which just pissed him off and brings them to trading strikes…which Naito never really wins.

After a well timed Enzuigiri, Naito would try Destino but get it brushed off and an Enzuigiri in return. Naito drops Ishii on his head with Gloria, and attempts to Destino again, but that gets countered. Ishii goes for his Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but Naito hits the partial Destino counter. Both men try their finishers at least one more time before Naito manages to stagger Ishii after a well timed knee. Giving him the opening he needs to land a clean Destino and pick up the victory.

Winner: Naito via Destino

Rating: **** 1/2

 

4. Impact Slammiversary Hair vs Mask Match: Sami Callihan vs Pentagon Jr

One of the bigger storylines that drove the Pay-per-View this year. Callihan has been harassing the luchadors, and once Pentagon got involved he took his mask at a different show. So that pissed off Pentagon to the point of demanding an old school Mexican stipulation of Hair vs Mask. Callihan accepted, and now we get to see what these two dream up.

Before this match we had a House of Hardcore and a 5150 match, neither of which compared to the violence of what we saw here. A few basic spots into the barricade and missing chops that hit the ring post, paled in comparison to the usage of chairs, powder, a baseball bat and tent stakes or spikes. Both men used different items to drive the spikes into the other’s head to make an audible ‘ding’ to get the crowd to react. Even at one point, each had one stake and just kept driving it into the other’s head before they both fell down.

After the afore mentioned powder was used on Pentagon, fun spot was that he couldn’t see the ref and thought it was Callihan. So Pentagon breaks the refs arm, immediately regrets it when he can finally see, but hits a Pentagon Driver on Callihan. The ref yells that he can’t count because his arm is broken, and I’m pretty sure I heard Pentagon say something like “El otro”, which basically means “use the other arm”. But that wasn’t how it was going down, and Callihan takes advantage of the situation to hit Get out of Here on a chair, but still no referee.

Eventually Baby Referee appears and counts only to 2, and the match continues. The Crists attempt to interfere, but Pentagon fights them off, Callihan sets up four chairs to drive Pentagon through, but Pentagon counters and hits Fear Factor through the chairs.  One more Fear Factor, and the match is over, Pentagon wins and Callihan loses his hair.

Winner: Pentagon Jr via Fear Factor

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. Dragon Gate Open the Twin Gate Championship Match: Big R Shimizu & Ben-K (c) vs BxB Hulk & YAMATO

YAMATO and Hulk are two of the older generation of Dragon Gate, as it seems there’s a generational war in both NOAH and Dragon Gate currently. So given that, the younger champions will have their work cut out for them.

As with most tag matches we get a little bit of each competitor, but eventually YAMATO does the better portion of the heavy lifting. Which is taking nothing away from Hulk since he pulled off a few Backflip Kicks, and even a nice elbow to the stomach, kneeling Pele Kick at one point to Big R. This match was really a test of YAMATO’s endurance since he absorbed, numerous Spears from Ben-K and even Big R’s dumb looking Chokeslam.

After some time outside brawling with Ben-K, Hulk finally gets involved at breaking up pinfalls and trying to put something together. YAMATO and Hulk trade off finishers on Ben-K, but he still manages to kick out. Big R hits a modified Leg Capture Chokeslam on Hulk and then when he goes to finish YAMATO, he manages to counter and give them an opening.

YAMATO picks up Big-R for Gallaria and Hulk hits a First Flash style thrust kick to the back of Shimizu’s head for the pinfall victory. So now we have new champions and I swear if Hulk tried as hard in the King of Gate tournament as he did in this match, I wouldn’t have looked so far off picking him to win Block B.

Winner: YAMATO via Gallaria/First Flash Combination

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

NJPW G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Kenny Omega
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: **** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kazuchika Okada vs Hangman Page
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
Raw: Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor vs Drew McIntyre
Winner: Reigns via Spear
Rating: ****
Impact Slammiversary World Championship Match: Austin Aries (c) vs Moose
Winner: Aries via Brainbuster
Rating: ****
ROH Honor for All NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship: Nick Aldis (c) vs Flip Gordon
Winner: Aldis via Kingsland Cloverleaf
Rating: ****
Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate Championship Match: Shingo Takagi vs Masato Yoshino (c)
Winner: Yoshino via Sol Naciente Kai
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Slammiversary 5150 Street Fight Tag Team Championship Match: LAX (c) vs OGz
Winner: LAX via Frog Splash on Thumb Tacks
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Kazuchika Okada vs Togi Makabe
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Slammiversary: Fenix vs Petey Williams vs Johnny Impact vs Taiji Ishimori
Winner: Johnny via Starship Pain
Rating: *** 3/4
MLW Fusion MLW Heavyweight Championship Match: Shane Strickland (c) vs Low Ki
Winner: Low Ki via Switchblade Kick
Rating: *** 3/4
AJPW Summer Action: Jake Lee vs Naoya Nomura
Winner: Jake Lee via Seated Double Arm Facelock
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 3/4
Impact Slammiversary X Division Title: Matt Sydal (c) vs Brian Cage
Winner: Cage via Drill Claw
Rating: *** 1/2
ROH Honor for All: Cody vs TK O’Ryan
Winner: Cody via Cross Roads
Rating: *** 1/2
Lucha Underground Lucha Underground Championship Match: Pentagon Dark (c) vs Brian Cage
Winner: Pentagon via Package Piledriver
Rating: *** 1/2
SmackDown United States Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Jeff Hardy
Winner: Hardy via DQ
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Hangman Page
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Bad Luck Fale vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
Winner: Tanahashi via DQ
Rating: *** 1/4
ROH Honor for All: Marty Scurll vs Vinny Marseglia
Winner: Scurll via Chickenwing
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Toru Yano vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Sabre Jr via European Clutch
Rating: ***
NJPW G1 Climax 28: Togi Makabe vs EVIL
Winner: EVIL via Everything is Evil
Rating: ***
ROH WOH Title Match: Sumie Sakai (c) vs Hazuki
Winner: Sakai via Smash Mouth
Rating: ***

 

2. NJPW G1 Climax 28: SANADA vs Zack Sabre Jr

This is a rematch from the Semi-Finals of the New Japan Cup. Sabre tapped out SANADA with Orienteering with Napalm Death, so it’s all up to SANADA to see if he learned how to combat Zack.

What we have here, is 11 minutes of pure technical mastery. It starts early with SANADA constantly reversing Sabre into a Full Nelson, just to frustrate him. Whatever Zack tries is mirrored and even a little more smoothly from SANADA.

Surprisingly for SANADA, aside from a couple Dropkicks, he stays mostly grounded, proving he can wrestle Zack’s style. Both men go for submissions, but the other gets out of the position. SANADA manages to land Skull End, but Sabre rolls back and turns it into a pin via European Clutch. But we saw SANADA is familiar with this in his last match, so SANADA would reverse it into his own European Clutch for 2 points.

The growth SANADA showed, the technical mastery and the rub ins, by using a Sabre signature against him added to the story in this match.

Winner: SANADA via European Clutch

Rating: **** 1/2

 

1. NJPW G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii

These guys are no strangers to one another, however it has to be said that Ishii hasn’t beaten Goto in 3 years. Coming off of his first single’s loss all year, Goto looks to get back on the winning ways, while Ishii looks to finally put to bed some ghosts of the past.

Umm…okay words. This match was everything the NEVER division was built off of years ago with Makabe, Ishii and Shibata. It was just stiff strikes, full throttle, strong style. Everything people grew to love about Ishii, was on full display.

Some may wonder how an 18 minute fight gets a 5 Snowflake rating, but trust me, this match fits in so much action, it’s just condensed nuclear fission. We saw Ishii counter Goto’s forearm by just stepping in with a headbutt, hell at one point they both hit headbutts. An Avalanche Brainbuster, Reverse GTR, Shouten Kai and a few Sliding Lariats, but these men were still standing. This is the Strong Style that people say New Japan has lost, but it’s alive and well, just needs some space to flourish.

Eventually, Ishii gets the best of the exchanges and as soon as we think Goto is gonna hit a GTR for the win, Ishii rattles off some offense and hits his Vertical Drop Brainbuster

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

Rating: *****

 

As I already said, see, I tried pretty hard to find stuff this week since I figured the G1 was gonna dominate the Top 5. Oddly one other match was an even more obscure Japanese match, but hey, Impact snuck in there after a pretty damn good Slammiversary PPV.

However, that Goto vs Ishii match was just brutally beautiful. Goto has a tendency to get over shadowed, and Ishii isn’t always seen as a main event player. Well this match should turn that narrative on it’s head nicely. So much good wrestling this week, too bad they can’t all be like this.


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Lashley. Reigns. Rollins. Ziggler. Are You Not Entertained?

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Roman Reigns Bobby Lashley WWE Extreme Rules

It was supposed to be everything wrestling fans had asked for. The night was last Sunday. The place was Extreme Rules. And the main event of the evening? Not Roman Reigns vs Bobby Lashley as most had predicted and groaned about, but instead a 30 minute Iron Man Match for the Intercontinental Title between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins. It was exactly what the audience wanted. At least, it was what the internet told us that the audience wanted.

And what happened? An embarrassment on multiple fronts. A crowd that was either unappreciative or uninterested. Disrespectful chants. And two performers in Ziggler and Rollins, both deserving of this spot, probably seeing any future main event opportunities evaporating away.

The cringe worthy crowd response to the main event at Extreme Rules proves two truths in wrestling today, though uncomfortable as they might be to accept.

Number one, despite what the “Internet Wrestling Community” might tell you, they do not represent a majority of the WWE audience. Not only are they not a majority, they don’t even comprise as large a percentage of the general crowd for a WWE show as they might want you to believe. In today’s world, especially with the advent of social media, it would be easy to think that most wrestling fans in 2018 are “in the know.” They scour the dirt sheets for news and rumors, are daily visitors to message boards, stalk wrestlers’ Instagram accounts, and follow anyone and everyone related to the WWE on Twitter. If that were the case, the Extreme Rules main event would have went over like gangbusters!

“Roman Reigns Sucks.”

“Bobby Lashley Sucks.”

“Why Isn’t The WWE Title the Main Event?”

“Seth Rollins Should Be Universal Champion.”

“Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler Is The Only Thing Good About RAW.”

Every message board you might visit was littered with the same sentiments in the build up to Extreme Rules. If the keyboard warriors are to be believed, it is a dark time in wrestling right now. So what does Vince McMahon and the WWE do? They throw everyone a curveball and give them exactly what you wanted! Ziggler vs Rollins in the main event! Heck, Reigns vs Lashley was even in the mid card! It was a smart mark’s dream. And how did these supposed wrestling purists react to this? By crapping all over it. Why? Maybe there weren’t as many smart marks in the crowd frothing at the mouth for thirty minutes of Ziggler and Rollins as we thought there were. Perception isn’t always reality.

The second truth that last Sunday revealed, and perhaps hardest for a longtime fan like me to accept, is that Vince McMahon is right- audiences don’t know what they want. The highly vocal (though apparent minority) of wrestling fans will tell you that they want to go back to the days of true heels and baby faces. They want to see good, technically sound wrestling. They want to see developed storylines and feuds that last longer than two weeks and come to a decisive end. You had all of that in Ziggler vs Rollins! Ziggler is the cocky heel with the muscle in Drew McIntyre to back him up. Rollins is arguably the most popular face on RAW right now. They are two of the best workers in the company and had already had great matches between themselves previously leading up to this Iron Man blow off. Their feud had a background and a story, and was probably the longest running and most developed storyline of any match on the card at Extreme Rules. It was everything today’s jaded fan would want wrestling to return to, and yet it didn’t matter. If we are to believe that these were the things most wrestling fans yearn for, their reaction to getting exactly what they asked for was the biggest disservice they could have done for Ziggler, for Rollins, and for themselves. The crowd was more interested in getting themselves over than either of the superstars in the ring. And therefore, nothing got over. Nothing except for the notion that “Vince Knows Best.”

I’m a fan of both Ziggler and Rollins. I was happy to see them get this spot and opportunity, and it was unfortunate that the crowd reaction was what it was. It’s also unfortunate that so many wrestling fans today like to be negative just for the sake of being negative. It’s perfectly OK to have your own opinions about what you like and don’t like. But then when you are given an alternative to prove your cause and it is met with this kind of response, you are only assuring yourself of getting more of the status quo. But maybe, deep down, that’s really what you want. Because if things were to change, then what would you have to complain about?


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Ranking Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam Matches

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Brock Lesnar The Undertaker SummerSlam

Even though Lesnar has been described as lazy in his latest run, SummerSlam seems to be where Lesnar shines. With that being said, with SummerSlam right around the corner now would be the best time to take a look at each of Lesnar’s outings at the Greatest Party of the Summer.

8. Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton

While not the worst match ever, Lesnar vs. Orton was a contest with little to no stakes to it.  Aside from the ending where Orton was bleeding profusely from the head, the match is forgettable. With the second version of the brand split in effect, this match served as the first cross-promotional match of the New Era. Each competitor would appear on the other’s respective shows and cause chaos, making for some entertaining segments. Even the match itself isn’t bad, but compared to everything else on this list, it’s clear which match brings up the rear.

7. vs. Triple H

A decent match, but when compared to other matches on this list there isn’t much to shout home about. After Lesnar’s loss to John Cena at that year’s extreme rules, he needed a win over a big name. Triple H would become that man, as he and Lesnar would be put into a feud, where the two would fight three times, the first being at SummerSlam. Ever since Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s Undefeated Streak, these three matches have become mute, and this isn’t even the best of the bunch. Nonetheless, the match coined as the Perfect Storm is a fine match you can sit back and enjoy. But if you’re looking fore something with a little more substance, I suggest you look elsewhere.

6. vs. The Rock

When I came up with the idea for this list, I figured I would be putting this match higher on the list than this. As Lesnar’s first World Championship win, this match has gone down in history. However, that is the only truly memorable thing about it. Well, that and it main event what is considered to be the greatest SummerSlam of all time. Anyway, Rock was on his way out, and Brock was on his way up, so there was really only one outcome here. An outcome that turned Lesnar into a star, kicking off a dominating career and a run that made Lesnar a highlight of the early stages of the Ruthless Aggression Era.

5. vs. John Cena

One of the best squash matches we will ever lay witness to. The destruction of John Cena at the hands of Brock Lesnar was spectacular. Coming out of WrestleMania 30, there was no way Lesnar was walking out of the Staples Center without the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It was the way Lesnar ripped the belts from Cena’s hands, however, that makes the match such a spectacle. You won’t find any technical wizardry or awe-inspiring athleticism on display. Rather, you’ll find a slow paced beat don of one of WWE’s top figures. While it was no conquering of the Streak, it was still an impressive feat, laying the groundwork for Suplex City

4. vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman

As the only multi-man match on the list, it has the most variety. That being said, most of the match was big hits and big spots. Even so, it was very entertaining. While Lesnar retaining wasn’t a shock at all, having him battle the three biggest threats to his reign was not a bad idea. Sure WWE may have overdid multi-person matches last year, but this was one of the better ones of 2017. Four power houses battering each other lead to some creative spots. It was also somewhat of a launching pad for Braun Strowman as he decimated Brock and nearly took home the belt. The only downside is that had we known Lesnar’s reign would last as long as it is, the majority of fans would clamor for another victor. One can only hope his next SummerSlam match is as good as this one. Maybe then we can forget about his title reign, even if it is for a moment.

3. vs. Undertaker

There is no doubt in my mind that if this match had a different finish, it would be number one on this list. This brutal encounter was a return to form for the Undertaker after the Streak was broken at WrestleMania 30. Before that, The Undertaker was not stranger to having match of the night in every one of his appearances. It was clear from the start that the feud would be brutal, but little did we know we would be treated to a clinic in hard-hitting brutality. The best part going in was the unpredictability,  While the ending is screwy, what lead up to it was a great back and forth between the most dominant characters of the time.

2. vs. CM Punk

For many, this match is number one, and it is tough to argue. The Best vs. The Beast was nothing short of a dream match, and the two delivered and then some. Not only was there a nice in ring story flowing, but Punk’s relationship with Paul Heyman helped it loads. Because of this, the interference from Heyman were that much more impactful. Looking back, there was no doubt the Beast would take the victory, as this was a continuation of Lesnar’s momentum that would lead him to break the Streak. But at the time, there was no telling would would win. The aforementioned interference from Paul Hayman would tip the scales in Lesnar’s favor, but it would be the last time Heyman would get involved physically in a Lesnar match.

1. vs. Kurt Angle

As I stated in the previous entry, number one and two can be interchangeable. And while that may be true, I’ll go with Lesnar’s match with Angle as his best SummerSlam match. The rivalry of Lesnar and Angel is well documented, with generation defining matches being fought every time they went toe to toe. In the midst of their historic feud, Angle and Brock would meet at that years SummerSlam, where Angle would successfully defend the WWE Championship. Lesnar would win the title a few weeks later in their Iron Man Match. That match, alongside their WrestleMania encounter, may have overshadowed this gem. Even so, this is arguably Brock Lesnar’s greatest SummerSlam Match.

 


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