Sunday, August 23, 2015

SummerSlam Predictions

A prime example of the WWE's lazy booking can be found here. Instead of putting in the effort that it takes to book a competent Tag Team Title program, they just throw darts at team names on the wall and put them in a multi-team match. They did at WrestleMania and they're doing it here again. It's basically just been the three teams trading wins and losses while the champions do commentary. New Day is easily the best thing in the tag team division and should honestly win back the titles. That's what I'm going to pick here.

Winners: The New Day

Remember when Kevin Owens beat John Cena cleanly and everyone thought things were going to be amazing for him? Well, that win over Cena now looks like a complete fluke and he's now in a SummerSlam match that is sure to be good but kind of pointless. How much cooler would this be if Owens, you know, had the US Title? Anyway, I can totally see Owens losing for obvious reasons, but I've picked a lot of faces so far so I'm going with him. The fans will stay behind Cesaro if he loses in a good effort and that's what I see happening here. Should be the match of the night.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Heading to Battleground, I called these two the "oil and water" of the WWE. Both guys are good in their own right, but they almost never produce good matches. Outside of a Hell in a Cell match in 2010 and the Battleground match that turned out pretty good, I like none of their stuff. This should move to the Kickoff show or something. It's tempting me to rip my eyes out. I'll pick Sheamus here since the MITB winner gets jobbed out but wins once in a while and his current record against Orton has to be something like 6-119.

Winner: Sheamus

Remember that amazing Shield vs. Wyatt Family match at Elimination Chamber last year? Well, at SummerSlam this year, we get a diet version of it. I may be down on it but this has potential to be somewhat fun. A lot of people seem to be expecting the Dean Ambrose heel turn and part of me sees it too, but I'm going to pick it. Luke Harper is best suited to eat the pinfall here and I see that happening. Maybe Dean turns a bit later on in the feud.

Winner: Diet Shield

Man, this match just seems like it will suck. The fact that it couldn't happen at Battleground should have been a sign that it shouldn't happen period. But the WWE is sticking to their guns and giving it to us here. Miz is an extremely good heel, but he's had multiple runs with the belt within the past year or so. Big Show is always a possibility, but I have no desire to see that. I get the feeling that Ryback retains since he hasn't been able to have a good reign. Hopefully it turns around after this feud.

Winner: Ryback

Obviously the John Cena program did much more harm than it did good for Rusev. However, he has been far more entertaining in his new role. Honestly, along with Sasha Banks, Stardust and New Day, I look forward to Rusev segments more than anything else on Raw each week. Dolph Ziggler returning makes me feel like it will be a feel good story, but I've picked a ton of faces so far. Not only that, but Rusev has still only been pinned by two guys and I don't think that number grows here. Expect Ziggler and Lana to win the eventual mixed tag though.

Winner: Rusev

This is the right kind of celebrity involvement. You have someone who is a legit fan and is in phenomenal shape. I'm sure he can do whatever bumps are required of him and he should put his all into this considering how much he loves wrestling. Pairing the Green Arrow with the guy who does the Red Arrow makes sense, but King Barrett felt so out of place. Then, they did the Cosmic King thing and I was sold. This is the type of feud that you just enjoy and don't take too seriously. The celebrity wins here.

Winner: Neville and Stephen Amell

 I'm a massive Sasha Banks fan and I love Becky Lynch as well. I'm glad to see them getting a chance to shine but I'm still unsold on this whole thing. Giving them more time and saying "#DivasRevolution" 15 times per match doesn't actually make it a Divas Revolution. There needs to be more defined roles, better character development and for fucks sake, can someone tell the Bella Twins that they are heels? Don't do Daniel Bryan style kicks and try to rally the crowd. Anyway, this could either be fun or a clusterfuck. Either way, I get the feeling that Team PCB wins here. They are the clear faces and, with a heel Divas Champion, someone from that team needs to be next in line. I suspect it's Charlotte.

Winners: Team PCB

The booking of this SummerSlam is all wrong to me. I really wish that John Cena was having a big United States Title match away from the WWE Title picture. It's been refreshing to have him out of the title picture. What's going to happen at the end of this? Will the US Title go away or will they have the winner defend both? Part of me thinks that Seth Rollins will win to even the score after tapping out a few weeks ago but the other part of me is sticking to my guns and sticking to what I said earlier this year. I'm not picking against Cena until he loses one of these big feuds. It's why I picked him all three times in the feud with Owens, the last three times he faced Rusev and why I'm going with him here.

Winner: John Cena

 I think this is a terrible booking decision. Yes, you have the star power that you want on a big show like this, but everything about this feud, outside of the big brawl, has sucked. Brock Lesnar owns the Undertaker so now Undertaker has come back and is pretty much grumpy that he can't beat Brock. So what does he do? He costs him the WWE Title and kicks him in the dick. That sounds really in character for the Deadman. Also, regardless of the outcome, it's bad. If Undertaker loses, what was the point of him coming back here? If Brock loses, what was the point of him ending the streak and killing everything in his path over the last year? He can murder John Cena, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, but when he faces a 50 year old dick kicker, he just loses? Bad decision all around. I say Undertaker wins since Brock has mentioned that he wanted to repay guys like him and Rock for putting him over.

Winner: The Undertaker

2015 Prediction Record: 34-23
2014 Prediction Record: 22-18 (Only five PPVs)

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Review

According to the WWE Universe Twitter account there are 15,000+ on hand and, from what I’ve read, they were red hot for the stuff they’ve already taped. The Pre-Show panel is Renee Young, Corey Graves, Lita, her cleavage and Byron Saxton. From the looks of it, the pre-show is not live. The fans chanted “Full Sail Sucks” to the tune of the “New Day Rocks” chants. There is an exceptional Bayley/Sasha video package. They also tease Lita being the woman to help the Vaudevillains tonight. Finn Balor arrives with Neville and is greeted by Cesaro.

Triple H revealed on Twitter that NXT debuts in the UK in December.

The official show begins with Triple H talking in the ring. He talks about the growth of NXT and how the future is now. He throws his arms up and the lights come up to reveal the largest crowd in NXT history.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Tyler Breeze

Tyler Breeze gets another big entrance with runway models set to a New York theme. He gets a loud pop. Jushin Liger gets “Liger” chants from the start. Breeze knocks him down with a shoulder block and poses on the corner. Liger takes him down and then does Tyler’s corner pose to a loud pop. Tyler charges but gets taken down into a modified surfboard stretch. Tyler gets free but Liger just puts him in a different variation. He monkey flips Breeze, who sells it like John Morrison. Liger takes the selfie stick and takes a poses with it. He lights up Breeze with chops so Tyler goes to remove the mask. He hits the Supermodel kick for two. They mention that Tyler is 1-3 at TakeOver events. He gets two on a leg drop. Tyler connects on a modified lungblower More “Full Sail Sucks” chants now. Liger breaks free of a front face lock but shows the effects of it. He comes out with a rolling kick and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He climbs up but Breeze gets his knees up. Breeze gets a near fall on a crucifix. Breeze gets in some kicks in the corner, but as the referee pulls him back, he just shouts at him. Liger knocks him down and he rolls outside. Liger hits a somersault from the apron and does the Hulkamania pose. Back inside Liger scores with the Liger Bomb and wins.

Winner: Jushin “Thunder” Liger in 8:38

Really solid opener. They looked like they had a lot of fun out there, they didn’t overdo anything and it was crisp for the most part. ***1/2

Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac are in the front row.

Bayley is shown getting ready, with Dusty Rhodes polka dots on her headband. Becky Lynch and Charlotte come up to wish her luck.

A Nia Jax vignette airs.

NXT Tag Team Championship: Blake and Murphy w/ Alexa Bliss vs. The Vaudevillains

The Vaudevillains are out with trenchcoats and top hats. They are pretty over. Their attire is blue and Blake is now wearing trunks. BAMF in general are wearing red and gold. Alexa gets on the mic to say that the Vaudevillains couldn’t find anyone to help. A “We Want Blue Pants” chant starts and she comes out to a massive pop. Simon Gotch starts against Blake. “Blue Pants City” chant. Gotch does some of his fun offense and kicks Blake to the grown before rolling into an armbar. Aiden English gets the tag and continues to work the arm. He manages to double arm drag both of the champions before applying an arm wringer on Murphy. English continues to hit everything moving until Blake pulls him off the apron. The champs cut the ring in half on English now. None of what they do is that impressive, just some wear down holds and basic double teams. They then do a double neckbreaker for two. English manages to get them to bump into each other and make the hot tag. His diving tag is super over dramatic. Gotch busts out his fun, unique offense. THE STRAP IS DOWN! He hits some forearms and dodges from Blake that hits Murphy. English gets tagged back in as they set up a double team, but Murphy gets free and crotches English up top. His superplex is blocked, so Blake joins him, but Gotch powerbombs both of them. English hits the swanton for a very close near fall. Alexa gets on the apron and is chased by Blue Pants. They fight inside , allowing Murphy to send English outside and roll up Gotch for two. They score with the Whirling Dervish to win.

Winners and New NXT Tag Team Champions: The Vaudevillains in 10:14

Much better than I expected since neither team has been able to really deliver great matches on TakeOvers. Granted, it was good, not great, but still a lot of fun. Enjoyable stuff here. ***1/4

Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger

Tye Dillinger has a 10 shaved into his head. The crowd is pumped for Apollo Crews. Tye gets out of the corner and does a cartwheel before flashing ten fingers a bunch. Crews does some flips to get free and does his own “ten” taunt. He then hits a nice dropkick. He tries a springboard but eats a dropkick. Tye pats himself on the back. Tye wears him down and then hits a superkick for two. He’s getting in more offense than I expected. Crews catches the second superkick and hits a jumping kick of his own. He follows with a big corner splash and jumping clothesline. Crews scores with a gorilla press and a beautiful standing moonsault to end things.

Winner: Apollo Crews in 4:40

Tye Dillinger got much more offense than I expected. Still, this accomplished the goal of getting Apollo Crews over. Could have been better, but Crews impressed. **

William Regal announces the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. It will be a massive tag team tournament in Dusty’s honor that starts on 9/2 and ends on 10/7.

Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe goes for the rear naked choke early but Baron Corbin slips out to rest outside. Joe dares him to come back in. Joe hits an elbow and jumping kick in the corner before a dropkick knocks Corbin outside. Joe follows with the elbow suicida but Baron meets him with a forearm. Inside Joe ducks a punch and gets in some shots before rolling into a pin. That gets two and he moves right into a half crab. He then transitions to a crossface but Corbin reaches the ropes. Baron sends Joe outside and goes to the apron but Joe trips him up and tosses him into the guardrail. They go back inside and Baron locks in a heel hook. Commentary does a good job in selling the hold. Joe hits him with a big shot but Baron catches him in a Bossman slam like move for two. He misses a move in the corner but hits Joe with a superkick, only for Joe to retaliate with a kick of his own. Both men are down. Joe hits a series of strikes but Corbin blocks a big one and throws his own. They just trade shots which is exactly what I wanted from these two. Joe looks for the Muscle Buster but Baron fights him off and hits a big boot. He follows with a suplex variation for a near fall. Baron is drawing major heat and playing them up. He tries the End of Days but Joe ducks and tries the choke. Baron counters with a snapmare and hits a chokebomb. Joe kicks out turning it into the rear naked choke. Corbin passes out.

Winner: Samoa Joe in 10:21

Started out slow but really picked up near the end. They started getting stiff and it worked well doing the job it was meant to. **1/2

Baron Corbin is up right after the bell, seemingly arguing that he didn’t pass out.

Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Kana, Naomi and Tamina are all in the front row.

Stephanie McMahon comes out to put over the NXT women’s division and NXT itself. They then play the awesome video package for Bayley/Sasha.

NXT Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bayley

Sasha Banks rides up in a car with security. Security even lifts her into the ring. Sasha is sporting Spider-Man inspired attire. She trash talks to start so Bayley takes her down and they brawl. Bayley hits a back elbow and clothesline for two. Dueling chants from the crowd, which is red hot. Sasha drives Bayley into the top turnbuckle but she HULKS UP and puts Sasha in the tree of woe. She springboards off the bottom rope for an elbow for two. “Sash’a ratche” “No she’s not” chants. Bayley springboards into an arm drag, causing Sasha to rest outside. Either her lipstick is smeared or she cut her lip. Bayley charges outside hitting her corner baseball slide. Sasha comes back with a knee but misses her trademark corner knee drop. She pulls Bayley to the top and kicks her in the knee, knocking her outside. Sasha taunts her and then rubs her face in the mat. She then does Bayley’s back elbow, taunts her again and just straight up slaps her. Sasha works a neck wrench for a bit before changing into a straight jacket choke. They move to the corner, where Bayley hits some strikes. Sasha survives them and Bayley again is ready for the knee drop. She catches her but Sasha just uses her legs to send her right back in the corner. She puts Bayley on the top rope this time and hits the double knees from up there for two. Sasha shouts that Bayley is pathetic but she fights back with some shots. She then hits a drop toe hold and doesn’t do her fun spinning move, instead just pounding away on Sasha. Outside, Sasha rips the tape off of Bayley’s injured hand. She slams it into the steel steps, stomps on it and places it between the steps and apron before kicking the steps into Bayley’s hand. As Bayley gets up, Sasha somersaults out onto Bayley! Inside, Sasha is only able to get two and seems frustrated. She just slaps Bayley again, and runs up the ropes holding Bayley’s hand. She tries to bring it over the top but falls outside. It looked awkward. Sasha gets inside and they blows. Bayley hits a series of axe handles and a shoulder thrust. She then hits a back elbow and suplexes Sasha into the corner. Bayley goes for the finish but Sasha blocks it by dropping to a knee. Bayley goes for a rollup but rolls through for a German. Sasha again blocks it and plants her, locking in the Bank Statement! Bayley gets near the ropes to Sasha stomps on the broken hand. She rolsl through and Bayley counters into her own Bank Statement! Sasha is able to reach the ropes. Bayley goes after Sasha but eats a kick. She then pulls Sasha up right into the Belly to Bayley but Sasha kicks out. Bayley goes to pick up the limp Sasha again, putting her in the corner. She seems to be looking for a super Belly to Bayley but Sasha fights her off. Bayley leaps back up with a forearm. She gets up for a super rana but Sasha holds on and Bayley lands in rough fashion. Sasha leaps down with double knees but Bayley again kicks out. Sasha sets Bayley up top but she elbows her off. Sasha comes back with shots and Bayley hits elbows again. She goes all the up with a SUPER REVERSE RANA! Bayley tightens the hairband and Bayley to Belly wins the belt.

Winner and New NXT Women’s Champion: Bayley in 18:15

An absolutely incredible match. Every single TakeOver, I can’t picture the girls topping themselves but they did it again here. The storytelling, the selling, the emotion, the atmosphere. Everything about this was incredible. Again, they bust out the best women’s match I’ve ever seen. Yea, I’m giving it the perfect score and I don’t even care. *****

Becky Lynch and Charlotte come out to hug Bayley. Sasha Banks gets up and hugs her too. All four women embrace for what may be the final time in NXT history.

NXT Championship Ladder Match: Finn Balor (c) vs. Kevin Owens

As Finn Balor makes his grand entrance, Kevin Owens is sitting outside incredibly unimpressed. Kevin Owens talks smack and shoves Balor before going after the ladder. Finn pulls him back and hits a dropkick. He follows with some running chops in the corners. Owens takes control, throwing Balor around and nailing the cannonball. The crowd chants “Ole” and Owens taunts them by holding his arm in fake pain. Balor takes advantage with a slingblade. They go after the ladder, with Finn knocking Owens over on the ramp. They have a tug of war over it at ringside with Owens winning by shoving Finn into the apron. He sandwiches Finn between the apron and ladder. He charges but slows down and just punches Finn. He’s such a fucking heel. Finn comes back with a shot and they brawl into the crowd. Owens goes for a powerbomb but Finn backdrops him over the railing only to leap into Owens’ arms. He slams him into the rail and tosses him across the announce table. Owens removes the cover and throws it at Finn before mocking Finn. He pulls a ladder out from under the ring but Finn dropkicks it into him. Finn then hits his beautiful front flip dive to wipe out Owens. He starts to climb the ladder but Owens gets in and prevents him from making it to the top before sending him into the ladder. He tries to throw it into Balor but he ducks and hits the Pele. Finn then heads in for the dropkick but is met with a clothesline. Owens drives the ladder into Finn’s ribs. He slams Finn on the ladder and hits a senton. He opens the ladder on it’s side and looks to kill Finn with a powerbomb but gets backdropped onto it. Owens tries to come back but misses the cannonball into the ladder. Finn lays into him with a corner dropkick and nails the Coup de Grace. Finn gets near the belt but Owens pulls him down into a powerbomb! Owens starts the slow climb but Finn tilts the ladder back, sending Owens crashing into the corner. He pulls Finn out and tries the apron bomb but Finn blocks it and kicks him. He then leaps from the apron with the Coup de Grace and Owens moves. He then hits the apron bomb but falls out as well. That basically killed Sami Zayn and John Cena. Owens climbs to the top, but Finn is up and knocks over the ladder. Owens lays him out with a big kick. Finn tries getting up, and Owens just tells him to stay down. Finn doesn’t listen and is hit with another superkick. Owens continues to talk trash and beat on him. He sets up a ladder in between the rung of an open ladder and the bottom turnbuckle. He climbs up and wants to superplex Finn through it but Finn blocks. Owens headbutts him. He tries again but Finn fights him off. He then slams Owens head into the top of the ladder and he falls onto the other ladder. The way Owens bounces is all kinds of bad. The ladder is off center and he isn’t close enough to the belt. Owens tries but is kicked off. Finn still isn’t close enough but sees a downed Owens and hits a super Coup de Grace. Now, he moves the ladder to the middle and retrieves the gold.

Winner and Still NXT Champion: Finn Balor in 21:37

Considering the level of the women’s match, these two had one insanely tough act to follow. It started slow but built towards a really great finish that had me on the edge of my seat. On the level of their Japan match and the best ladder match I’ve seen this year. ****1/4

Originally, I gave this a perfect score coming off of the high of that incredible Women's Title match. Instead, I'll give the show a 9/10. They went 25 minutes over their run time and delivered completely. The opener was fun and used Liger well and the Tag Team Title match was better than it had any right to be. Apollo Crews debut was a solid showcase and Corbin/Joe was a decent hoss match. The final two matches stole the show though. Sasha/Bayley is my new MOTY and this is coming from someone who watched the entire G1 and every WWE show this year. The main event couldn't quite follow it but this delivered big time. After some disappointing NXT shows, they rebounded big time here. Best special since R-Evolution.