There was certainly enough to whet the appetite in the line up, even if a thirteen match line-up (including three kickoff matches) seemed a little bloated.
If pay-per-view events live and die by their main event, SummerSlam was a winner. Pitting Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman against each other promised violent chaos and that is indeed what we got. There was little finesse involved but boy was there excitement and a white-hot atmosphere. All four men put their best foot forward and didn’t hold back in a match that was heaven sent for the GIF makers. Some will argue about the winner, perhaps a few will even question whether it should have been Roman Reigns who took the pinfall but as a match it was everything you want an A-Show PPV main event to be.
The undercard though, was a decidedly mixed bag. When it was good, it was great. When it was bad, it was abysmal. And unfortunately, there was a lot more bad than good.
The Tag Team match between Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins and Sheamus & Cesaro was a cracker. As well as being a great match in the ring, it had a lot of heat and gave the fans something to sink their teeth into and get behind. To a lesser degree the two Women’s title matches offered entertainment too; on the Smackdown side Natalya and Naomi had a decent match that whilst never quite getting fully going was technically sound whilst on the Raw side, Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks started off well with a realistic brawl but never quite lived up to the promise of the opening moments.
Finn Balor against Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles against Kevin Owens were more “disappointing” than bad. For two guys who should be trying to force their way into permanent main event sports, the former match was simply a little bit boring. It was always watchable but never threatened to really click into top gear. The latter match should have been a certified show-stealer, but the minute that Shane McMahon was added as the special guest referee the focus changed from two of the best workers in the world continuing their feud to the bosses son and his impending feud with Owens. Again it wasn’t a bad match, but (for me at least) SummerSlam was not the time to be limiting what Owens and Styles could have done in order to push Shane’s next match.
Those two were light years ahead of two other big undercard matches though. If the sight of John Cena opening the main card was a surprise, his larking around against the seemingly “in the doghouse” Baron Corbin was not. With enough stalling to cover a week of house shows, the match was pedestrian and boring and did precious little for either the winner or the loser. Whether that match was better or worse that the Jinder Mahal vs Shinsuke Nakumura one is a tough question. Perhaps because you expected nothing from the Smackdown “Main Event” it might have just shaded those honours. It was a by-the-numbers Mahal match (and that is most definitely not a compliment) and if Nakamura wasn’t overly motivated for it you could hardly blame him. For a WWE Championship match on the WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year this was just dreadful.
The main show was rounded out by two more poor matches. Randy Orton beating Rusev in three seconds was just pointless though having just sat through ten minutes of Big Cass against the Big Show you could perhaps be thankful for small mercies. Of course that misses the point that Orton/Rusev could have been a very good match given at least ten minutes of air-time but arguing with WWE logic in a painful task at the best of times.
It’s strange that there seemed to be a lot more entertainment on the Kickoff portion of the show, relatively speaking at least. Although the crowd were still locked outside at this point, the six man pitting Miz & his Miztourage against The Hardy’s & Jason Jordan was ok, Neville against Akira Tozawa was a relatively spirited affair and after a slow and steady start the Uso’s against the New Day turned into a barnstormer that was, main event aside, arguably the match of the night.
There was a bit to love about Summerslam and a fair amount to enjoy. There was also a lot that was disappointing, a lot of missed opportunities and, to be frank, a lot of rubbish. A “B” show might have got away with delivering a show that had it’s moments but it’s very hard to recommend this SummerSlam when it’s supposed to be one of the WWE’s biggest shows of the year.
Photos courtesy: Fetch, Fremantle Media, WWE
Format reviewed: BluRay
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of WWE Summerslam 2017 which is available on DVD in the UK from Monday 9 October. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here