By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Jon Stewart Opened the Show
I've seen some reports that indicated the crowd wasn't too loud for Stewart during the opening segment, but from where I was sitting, he got a nice reaction from the Brooklyn crowd because they realize he isn't just another "celebrity" and that he's a real fan. The SummerSlam host always kicks off the show, so this was a fine way of opening the event and Mick Foley showing up was a pleasant surprise. When he name-dropped The Rock, I can tell you many people (myself included) got their hopes up for a Rock appearance, but no such luck.
Sheamus def. Randy Orton
I think just about everyone has had their fill of Sheamus vs. Orton matches, but to their credit, they put forth a good effort and had a quality match. I enjoyed their Battleground match slightly more (likely due to the event emanating from Orton's hometown of St. Louis), but I was shocked the crowd didn't try to hijack this match. There were some people behind me chanting "Same Old Shit!" but that was about it. They could have benefited from a stipulation of some kind, but it was still a solid outing. Sheamus winning clean was shocking but I liked it. He needs credible wins, but I'm sure he'll be back to losing matches on the regular in the next few weeks.
The New Day def. Prime Time Players, The Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores in a Fatal 4-Way Match to Win the WWE Tag Team Championship
For a match that I couldn't have cared less about, this exceeded expectations for being as fun as it was. Then again, these multi-team tag matches are usually thrown together at the last minute and always deliver, so I guess I should have figured that. All four teams played their part well, but The New Day were above and beyond the most over act of them all in this contest (let alone on the entire show!). They're incredibly entertaining on the mic and there were many more "New Day Rocks" chants than "New Day Sucks" chants. The final few minutes were hot and the crowd popped big for the title change. As much as I enjoy the Players, The New Day need the belts right now because their popularity continues to soar.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev Ended in a Double Count-Out
Unlike the previous match, this was another feud I didn't care much for going in and the match still didn't do anything for me. Ziggler and Rusev work well together and they're both very talented, but the crowd was sitting on their hands for most of it because of how awful this program has been thus far. The only time the crowd really came alive was when Lana and Summer Rae went at it at ringside, which should speaks volumes about WWE portrays its women. The double count-out finish certainly didn't do the match any favors as I desperately want to this rivalry reach its end.
Neville and Stephen Amell def. Stardust and King Barrett
Was anyone expecting a little more from Amell's gear? He came out wearing a hood, but he was in standard shorts otherwise. That aside, this match served its purpose and the crowd was impressed by Amell's offense. They put together a nice match, but what might have hurt it was the predictability of the outcome. I'm not saying the heels should have gone over, but the crowd didn't buy into the near-falls down the stretch. Nevertheless, it was a treat to be able to see the Red Arrow in person for the first time and Amell wrestled a better match than just about any other celebrity I've seen step inside the ring.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback def. Big Show and The Miz in a Triple Threat Match
Ryback was over with the audience, The Miz received a mixed reaction, and Big Show was universally hated, so basically what you'd expect. If there was any one match the crowd tried to turn on, it was this one, so it was smart to keep it short and sweet. The feud didn't have much juice, but it was nice to see the title defend at SummerSlam for the first time in years. It was your standard Triple Threat match with everyone trying to steal the pinfall win and I was almost convinced Miz had it won when he hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Ryback. The right person went over, but based off the finish, it looks like Ryback and Show will continue to feud one-on-one going forward.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose def. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
I'd rank this up there as one of the night's more underrated matches. The main events stole the show, but this match got overlooked a little because it took place right before the big title match. All four competitors had strong showings and I love the chemistry each of them have together. It was easily one of the most exciting non-title tag matches I've seen in some time and I appreciated them taking the fight all around the ring. The crowd was very anti-Reigns, which was slightly surprising to me (though I realize this was Brooklyn) if only because his alliance with Ambrose in recent months has helped endear him to the audience. I assumed the babyfaces would win, but was it really necessary to have Wyatt lose as clean as he did? Why not have Harper take the fall? The feud apparently isn't over yet, either, so that's no excuse.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins def. John Cena to Win the United States Championship
I've seen people praise this match as being awesome, but I don't think it's getting the credit it deserves. Maybe it's just because I was there and I felt the energy from the audience, but I thought this was a fantastic match and undoubtedly the best bout these two have ever had against each other. Cena was unsurprisingly booed relentlessly, but Rollins came off like an absolute star with the reactions he was getting. It was amazing. The all-white attire was a nice touch, too. The near-falls were very suspenseful throughout because I bought into the possibility of Cena winning and they incorporated a ton of fresh spots as well (including Rollins hitting the Attitude Adjustment). As for the finish, and I'm well-aware I'm in the minority here, but I didn't mind it one bit. Perhaps it's because I was there and celebrities should usually never get involved in match finishes, but this was a well done swerve (especially given the logical explanation from Jon Stewart on Raw). It was better than a non-finish of some kind and it certainly beat the hell out of Cena win, so look at the positives, people! Rollins holding both belts was a sight to behold and I'd add this to the lengthy list of Match of the Year candidates Cena has been involved in.
Team PCB def. Team Bella and Team B.A.D. in a Three-Team Elimination Match
As soon as the women came out, most people started leaving their seats to get refreshments, go to the bathroom, etc. It's a shame because despite this "revolution" going on right now, people are still treating the women's matches as afterthoughts. In this case, I can't say I blame them because the match was mediocre at best and didn't feature anything special whatsoever. It didn't help that Team B.A.D. was eliminated in anticlimactic fashion and Sasha Banks barely got any in-ring time, which upset the audience greatly. It was cool to see Becky Lynch get some shine for a change by picking up the win for her team, but why have her beat Brie Bella instead of the Divas Champion? If this isn't building toward a Divas title match, then these matches are all for nothing.
Kevin Owens def. Cesaro
Don't interpret the silence during this match as the crowd not caring. Rather, Cesaro and Owens were both so beloved that it was difficult to cheer one over the other and most people were just watching contently. They contested a very well-wrestled match, but they were wise to not go all out and deliver an instant classic before the main event because I'm sure this isn't the last we've seen of them in the ring together. Owens needed a win here after coming up short at NXT TakeOver, so having him win clean was good to see.
The Undertaker def. Brock Lesnar
First and foremost, let me just say that you have not experienced life until you have seen the entrances of Undertaker and Lesnar live and in person. It's a surreal thing to be a part of. As for the match, ten seconds in it was already better than their WrestleMania 30 outing. It goes to show that Undertaker really was in bad shape before and/or during their 'Mania encounter because he delivered a hell of a performance here. I loved how it wasn't another one-sided Lesnar squash as his past few matches have been and instead Undertaker took the fight to him. It was highly entertaining... up until the finish. Similar to the WWE title match, it wasn't well-received at all, and many people left the arena disappointed or upset. I, for one, didn't mind it as much because it's obvious they're setting up another rematch. I'm not in favor of that at all and I thought this should have been the blow-off, but again, looking at the bright side, I'm glad Lesnar didn't lose clean. Undertaker looks like a coward coming out of this and I can't say I'm upset with that, but I do have to question why they'd make him a heel going into his rumored retirement match at WrestleMania. At any rate, it was original to an extent because at least they didn't go with a DQ or count-out finish as I feared they might.
Putting my bias aside for a minute, I'd say this was a good SummerSlam. It absolutely wasn't as terrible as some people have made it out to be, but I can see why fans would be frustrated over the finishes to the main event matches. It was a good show on the whole that was made worth watching by the two excellent main event matches alone. The undercard didn't feature anything stellar, but the tag title match and the "family war" match were fun and the right people went over in each bout. Shout-out to the rest of the Brooklyn crowd for creating an electric atmosphere all night long. As my first pay-per-view, I had an absolute blast and left more than satisfied. I look forward to seeing whether WWE can carry this momentum into the fall season as they have failed to do in prior years.