SummerSlam is WWE’s second biggest Pay-Per-View of the year. As such, it should constitute a need to get the go-home shows on both RAW and SmackDown perfect. RAW, for its part, did a decent job, but SmackDown, oof, SmackDown had a stinker.
Plodding and predictable segments–until the end– and poor matches really pulled down a show that has been excellent for the majority of the year. For the first time since we have been doing these reviews, “the good” this week has been extremely difficult to find, whereas “bad” and “ugly” were abundant.
Last week, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon put on an excellent in ring segment, and this week, they did it again.
We loved the tension and intrigue built by this segment. First, AJ and Shane buried the hatchet and then ratcheted up the tension before Kevin Owens came out to stir the pot and suck up to Shane.
Unsurprisingly, all this tension led to a brawl between the two combatants with Owens, once again, ducking a fist from Styles that Shane caught. While Shane and AJ have a head-to-head, Owens attempts a super kick, AJ ducks and Shane cops it.
It was a great switch around from last week and really builds up the tension nicely for the match that, at this point, we can’t call either way. It also played to all their strengths on the mic and kept them out of the ring in pointless tag-team matches. Hopefully, the match will live up to the build up and be a proper blow-off.
The question we had when we came to write this article was what was really bad and what was just bad? We’re here to tell you, we struggled.
In the end, we went for the opening segment. Now, we no Jinder is a heel and that his whole schtick is anti-America, but this entire segment was disrespectful. SmackDown aired on Indian Independence day, a hugely important day for India. So, how does the WWE mark the occasion? They manipulate the situation so that, on the most important day of the year, the Indian national anthem and their customs–transmitted through cultural dancing–are not only lightly lampooned, but also booed and jeered.
If roles were reversed and the US national anthem was booed on independence day, there would be outrage.
We have no problem with anti-America or WWE lampooning or using India as a heat tool, but the WWE should have shown slightly more respect on such an important day.
Considering the show was so bad, we would forgive you for assuming we would inundate you with “ugly”. However, there were only a few we could detect, and none particularly awful. First, Naomi’s commentary was very poor. Of course, it takes a special skill to be the fourth commentator, but Naomi was limited to just sound bites and one-word answers.
The burying of Gable was also an ugly watch. Clearly, a talented performer, to see him buried in minutes by Rusev just to set up a sneak attack by Orton was especially disappointing.
Finally, Cena has never been good at applying the STF, but this time, there was clear daylight between his arms and Mahal’s head. No torque, no stretch, just daylight; a truly ugly application of the move.
*Obviously, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the failed cash-in. Failed cash-ins need to happen to keep the angle somewhat of a lottery. Baron’s fail, however, made no sense for his clever character. They should have kept the briefcase with him and bided their time.*