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Biggest Rundown of the Summer

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This blog reflects my subjective views and nothing more. If you disagree with me, feel free to voice your opinion in a civil manner in the comments section.

Hello and welcome to The Weekly Rundown hosted by yours truly, Guy Landau. This is a weekly feature on where I gloss over the important happenings in the week in WWE & TNA as it pertains to the companies' respective major shows, in the form of bulletins for the positive happenings (A.K.A "YES!", prefaced with + signs), the negative happenings (A.K.A "NO!", prefaced with – signs), and the ones I could not decide what they were, but felt they were important enough to comment on (prefaced with ? signs).

This is a special SummerSlam edition of the Rundown – It features the Impact Wrestling before Hardcore Justice, Hardcore Justice, last week’s Smackdown, the go-home RAW and Smackdown to SummerSlam, SummerSlam itself, and the aftermath of SummerSlam RAW.

Also before we start, I would just want to congratulate Darren Young for being the first WWE superstar to come out publically. Young has the opportunity to set a great example and inspire many people around the world, and I hope Darren and WWE will capitalize on that opportunity, by actually not doing much more than just acknowledging it.

Now, without further ado, let's get started.

8/8 Impact Wrestling

? Wow, the opening with Taz and Anderson abusing JB was very reminiscent of WCW NWO circa 97-98.

- If there was ever any doubt Sabin was going to lose his title at HJ, it should be demolished now. I don’t see TNA making Bully lose the right to have any WHC matches ever again.

+ Magnus having a DQ loss makes a lot of sense, his points make him unreachable. The use of Roode was also a nice touch.

- Why did Joe and Magnus come out to MEM music but Angle came out to his own theme? Also, why was Angle/Ortiz an exact copy of Angle/Jackson when Jackson came in?

+ Roode, Kaz and Daniels? Sure, that’s almost Fourtune, I’ll take it.

- Has there been an “X Division” match since Destination X? There was Manik vs. Sabin last week which is absolutely what I want the X Division to be, but considering TNA differs, why hasn’t there been any triple threats yet since Destination X?

8/9 SmackDown!

? I found it interesting that Van Dam didn’t go through the motions in Orton’s comeback sequence. Every clothesline left him down considerably before he got up for the rest of the sequence – either the second clothesline or the missed clothesline into the Powerslam. It stopped the flow but I think it added a lot to the realism of the match.

+ Orton-RVD was very well done.

- There was one guy in the audience I just despised. He would always get up, blocking the view for those behind him. He would proceed to lead the most obscure chants ever, like a “USA” chant during Kofi vs. Fandango, or worse off “USA” chants for Del Rio vs. Christian. Canada vs. Mexico, the crowd chants USA. He also initiated a failed JBL chant. He annoyed me throughout the night.

+ I love the Sandowized briefcase.

? What was the point of putting Christian vs. Del Rio on free TV? It was a good match, but I have to question the idea behind having Del Rio lose all of his recent TV matches.

+ The ending to Smackdown was well done, though it didn’t need a Summerslam preview prior to it, nor did it need Del Rio losing a match.

Go-Home RAW to SummerSlam

- Bryan vs. Barrett again? This is the 4th time in the last month! This is worse than Bryan vs. DiBiase which, by the way, was the series that effectively ruined DiBiase’s career because he didn’t win a single match in the 3 month-long program… That said, Maddox as guest ref is refreshing, I’m just surprised his refereeing experience of old was never brought up by the announcers.

- Barrett bumped in a weird way all throughout Bryan’s comeback. I can see no discernible reason for it, it was just weird. It did look more realistic though, as the bumps weren’t perfectly flat, but it was far less “pretty” than the norm. However, if realism is what Barrett was going for in the comeback (as is also supported by how he changed up his response to Bryan’s sequence than the norm to perhaps avoid making it too obviously contrived), than good job Wade and all the power to you.

- Sandow vs. Orton is yet another recycled match from the past month, if I’m not mistaken happening for the 3rd time since MITB.

+ If you want to learn how to cut a promo effectively, look at Dean Ambrose. He made the title, as well as himself, be as over as words can get you in under a minute.

+ I love the idea of a Battle Royal to decide Ambrose’s #1 Contender, it makes the title look prestigious. I was afraid he was going to get snubbed out of a defense, or The Shield would wind up off the card, but I’m glad that’s not the case.

- Well, the divas’ match finish looked bad. Whose fault it was? From where I’m standing Natalya released the hold too soon. However, she WAS still in physical contact with AJ when AJ tapped, and so it should have counted. There is no set definition of a submission hold, as demonstrated by Chavo Guerrero famously tapping out to a handshake in the beginning of a match in WCW. Therefore the only criteria as far as I can tell for what counts as a submission is continuous physical contact, which was still in place when AJ tapped. So while Natalya released the hold prematurely, the match should have ended then and there.

- Regardless, I don’t get the idea behind having AJ lose to Natalya and especially Khali taking out Big E. Natalya might be in line for a push, but Khali over Big E makes no sense.

+ Triple H as the guest referee really raises the stakes of the match. It will be a very interesting match in which I think we will see at least one turn.

? The divas are getting more exposure, which is good. Their exposure is stereotypical cattiness, which is bad.

+ Miz TV was a very strong segment from all participants.

- What on earth was the point of Fandango/R-Truth?

- The Battle Royal was a dud throughout. I don’t know what it was, but the 5 minutes without a single elimination, followed by about 7 eliminations in a 3 minute span in the commercial break couldn’t have helped the match.

+ RVD vs. Ambrose guarantees to be a great match.

- I found the Punk beatdown of Lesnar, considering how the original plans of it were described, as rather underwhelming. It wasn’t Punk overcoming and decimating Lesnar as expected, it was Punk cheap shotting Lesnar and very quickly moving on to Heyman.

Hardcore Justice

+ The ladder match and its finish were well-booked, as were the other fatal 4 way matches.

+ Thank God Jackson finally put a suit on. His T-Shirt always made him seem not a part of the group. Overall the segment was well-done.

- The hardcore knockout triple threat, however, was not.

- Jackson is trying too hard on the mic, this ain’t MMA. But we a-eady know that, we know that. We a-eady know that.

+ The tables match was also good, if predictable.

- Well, now we know with the utmost certainty – there was no upside to strapping Sabin considering the bigger picture is A&8 and Bully losing potentially at BFG. That just got diminished because he’ll only have a 2 month reign. I get they wanted to be able to say in the future that no one who cashed in lost, but you know what – Sabin could have elected not to cash in that year. They could still do it when the timing is right, but that’s no excuse. And the use of the jacket as a weapon was stupid as well. Have you ever whipped someone with a jacket? And why not? Exactly. It’s a nuisance, but nothing more.

Go-Home Smackdown! To SummerSlam

+ I think we can all agree that out of everything Bray Wyatt has done so far in WWE, by far his most impressive accomplishment is getting the name of the main antagonist from Skyrim to be his nickname – “the eater of worlds”. I know Alduin is technically the “world-eater”

+ Jokes aside, Bray’s opening promo was very strong and very telling of his character in the best of ways.

? I honestly don’t know what to think about the direction RyBack is headed.

+ I said it for RAW and I’ll say it again now – Thank God The Shield got on the SummerSlam card.

- I was afraid The Shield would lose the 6 men tag, and I was right. For some reason WWE has them lose 6 men matches questionably, strictly on Smackdown. After the losses they have racked up recently it made sense for them to lose, it’s just a shame that it got to this point.

- No! NOT Barrett vs. Bryan again! This has gone far enough, this is the 5th(!) time in the past month that we have seen this match!

+ You’ve got to love JBL… “This referee is no stranger to controversy. He’ll tell you on Facebook about it”. Cole was mid-sentence and had to stop to prevent from laughing out loud.

- [Cole, about Barrett vs. Bryan]“Let’s show you how this match came about” – How he should have continued: “It all started when we moved to 3 hours of RAW a week, which burned creative dry. They soon realized that booking the same match on every show for a month requires less effort and puts the ball in the wrestlers’ courts to make each match look different, so they started booking Bryan and Barrett accordingly.” Look, it was a great match, let’s hope it ends this series of Barrett Burials.

+ The main event was overbooked but it had to be. It got the message across, and at the end of the day that was the only goal of the match.


- I have to say RVD vs. Ambrose was a bit “Meh” in my book. It wasn’t bad, but I guess I just expected more out of it.

+ Dang. Jo-Jo’s got some voice on her.

+ I was about to write about how I felt the Ring of Fire was very low-brow and circus-y. How it served no real purpose other than being cool and only limited the ring-work. And then Harper and Rowan covered the flames and entered the ring, symbolically walking through fire for Bray which is not only a strong image but a very artistic metaphor. Well done, creative. I’m willing to ignore the fact that the Wyatts didn’t find the thing to cover the flames with, causing Kane to very clearly stall. He covered for it well though, signaling for a Tombstone after two Chokeslams. The post-match was very good too.

+ I like to think that Sandow saying Sherlock Holmes and Watson in the same sentence as Batman and Robin was a subtle Epic Rap Battles of History nod.

+ This is completely beside the point, but The JBL & Cole Show is really entertaining, and it probably would be advised to watch it this weekend to see why Rhodes lost his moustache.

+ Sandow vs. Rhodes was good for the time and placement on the card it was given, and I was surprised by the result. Here’s hoping this feud lasts longer.

+ As expected, Del Rio and Christian was a great effort. It had great spots, logic and near falls. I did have a couple of nitpicks, as follows:

- Because the match was very logical, the illogical spots in it were very visible and out of place. Those include: Christian’s float over slap in the 3rd act of the match, around 4th gear, when it’s a move he uses to open the match, and an illogical move regardless; Del Rio hooks Christian’s legs too obviously when assisting him to pull off a top rope Hurracanrana. You’d think all those years wrestling in Mexico would teach a wrestler how to do that discreetly; Del Rio again lowered the knee pad before a superkick to a kneeling opponent, as if it made it more deadly. IT’S A KICK! Why would an exposed knee affect how your foot hits the opponent’s face?!; And finally, there was one ref error – Christian had Del Rio rolled up when he was in the Cross Armbreaker, but the ref didn’t count. That is all.

+ As soon as Del Rio said the Mexican people need an idol, I was sure Mysterio will be back within a minute. I was wrong, so well done, WWE, for not squashing this storyline as it starts, and Del Rio will continue saying he’s the role model hopefully at least past tomorrow’s RAW before Mysterio returns to challenge him.

+ I’m so glad Natalya finally got on PPV after a long time of under appreciation from the office. She even had a special robe and entrance, and she even won which is LONG overdue. Hopefully this is going to be a continual trend.

- The divas match was given far too much time for how it was paced. Natalya should have been given more control because in the ring she’s the only one the fans are going to care about.

? Nope, I still don’t know how I feel about RyBack’s new bully gimmick.

+ The video about Punk and Heyman was well done, using actual footage from Punk’s DVD if I’m not mistaken to sell their broken friendship.

+ Punk vs. Lesnar, as expected, was a thing to behold. It was a Lesnar match, and perhaps the best one yet. Lesnar matches since he returned were very different from any other match we are used to seeing. This is what this business would have looked like regularly if it had originated from MMA instead of wrestling.

+ I absolutely love when Cena tries to prove he can wrestle, and Bryan is the best opponent to do that against. Cena succeeds every time he tries by the way, as he pulled some indie chain sequences in that match just to show he can. Cena can chain wrestle with the best of them, he just doesn’t because he doesn’t need to usually. He was actually the clear cut heel in the match, controlling Bryan and not the other way around. This is the first time I’ve seen Cena actively control a match since, I think, he was an actual heel. The match as a whole was a dialog between Bryan’s original indie style of wrestling and Cena’s WWE style, and it was a well done dialog at that. The KO strike finish, the pump-up slaps Bryan mentioned on RAW, the chain, the counters… You saw both men bust out moves that not only do you not usually see them use – you don’t usually see these moves in WWE at all, which perhaps under HHH’s guidance and with Bryan at the helm that soon will change. Bryan used a lot of his indie moveset in the match, and Cena used a lot of the moves he usually refrains from using. There was a botch near the finish that would have been covered up for nicely had the camera not zoomed in on Bryan and Cena talking about how to save the spot, as Cena was supposed to catch Bryan midair when he flips back from the top rope and Bryan then counters with the Small Package, which I suspect was the original finish, but because it wasn’t locked in enough they winged a knee strike finish.

+ The way the swerve was executed was brilliant, in that I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen. SummerSlam was one of the best PPVs I have ever seen, if not the best ever. It was an amazing effort from WWE.

? For a more in-depth analysis of ADR-Christian, Lesnar-Punk and Cena-Bryan you can read the piece I posted yesterday – Landau’s Landscape.

Post-SummerSlam RAW

+ Thank God Cena is finally getting the time off he deserves.

+ The opening segment was so well done in my eyes. Bryan’s banter with Stephanie was awesome.

- I hate the god awful acting of the divas… And the stereotypical cattiness. Wait, did I say that already? I feel like this may have come up before…

- I have an issue with how well Ziggler faired against The Shield, considering what an effort it was for him to battle 3MB… in singles matches, mind you.

- Let’s compare, shall we? After losing all feeling in his upper body, Bryan continued a match with Orton until it was stopped by the doctors 10 minutes later. Sin Cara breaks his fingers and won’t even go home quickly. As a wrestler, I completely understand Del Rio’s frustration, and his harmless actions (stomping Sin Cara on the back) after the match was stopped. That stomp got Del Rio a lot of heat, and was well done. Cara probably barely even felt it.

+ Ricardo Rodriguez represents RVD now. If nothing else, this is very interesting. I am all for it.

+ It appears WWE is indeed going in the direction of RVD vs. Del Rio for NoC. That justified RVD going over Del Rio clean a few weeks ago, and it means Del Rio will have some time with the Mexican Hero gimmick to solidify it before Mysterio returns.

- I am kind of disappointed WWE didn’t acknowledge Darren’s coming out live. Instead they inexplicably turned PTP face. They don’t have to make a big deal out of it – in fact, it’s probably better than they don’t – but it is important to acknowledge that Young is openly gay at the very least to inspire people. It should be mentioned once and not made a big deal, but I am of the opinion that it should be mentioned. He got a great ovation, inexplicably so to a casual viewer.

- Wow! Snickers?! I can even dance in them?! THAT’S GREAT! Where can I get them? Oh, footlocker you say! Wow, that’s interesting. Say, doesn’t this completely casual conversation sound believable?

- OK, I’m finally getting to the point where I have an opinion on RyBack’s new gimmick. It better go somewhere, because him being a bully to backstage staff is getting old, quick. Hey Ryback, what are you doing? *throws RyBack’s relevance aside* Go pick it up. What are you doing? Pick it up. Why aren’t you picking it up? Oh, because WWE is having you do the same thing every show?

+ The Shield are incredible. They just make so much sense in the ring, It’s a joy to watch. Their match against Big Show went exactly how it should have.

+ Punk going after that fan was great in terms of keeping true to his character. He was never a clean cut good guy, and when he’s pushed is where it gets expressed.

+ This is the Bray Wyatt from NXT, who unfortunately didn’t get to come out against Kane last night. I love the dance with the opponent before the Sister Abigail finisher.

? I will reserve judgment on Primo and Epico’s new gimmick until we actually get to see it. The TMNT-like eyewear doesn’t bode well for them, though.

- Is it just me or did RAW feel uneventful? For the amount of stuff that happened on RAW, I think there were 3 really relevant segment on the whole show – The opening promo, Punk & Heyman and the Coronation.

+ THAT’S why WWE did those Fandango segments on SummerSlam. I knew there had to be a reason. I’m all for these two feuding.

+ The coronation was well done. I truly understood HHH’s position (you know, before he ordered everyone and their mother to attack Bryan). You’re not supposed to agree with him, but he did make his reasoning believable.

That’s all for this week. Don't forget to come back next week for a new edition of the Weekly Rundown!

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