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Flashback Friday – SummerSlam 2014

Flashback Friday
SummerSlam 2014: Brock Lesnar Destroys John Cena

SummerSlam was held on August 17th, 2014 at the Staples, Center in Los Angeles, California. It saw an attendance of 17,537 people, all of who left the arena satisfied. It isn’t just one of the best SummerSlam Pay-per-views in recent memory, it’s one of the best in general. After the phenomenal previous year, with the Best vs. the Beast in CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, they had a big shadow to get out of. Punk and Lesnar was an unsung classic. Many believe it was robbed of Match of the Year in 2013. So they had to give us something in 2014 that put that match to rest, especially with CM Punk unceremoniously walking away from the company.

Dolph Ziggler raising his newly won Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam 2014 (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Dolph Ziggler raising his newly won Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam 2014 (Courtesy of WWE.com)

They started with Dolph Ziggler and The Miz going at it for Miz’s WWE Intercontinental Championship. Ziggler has been in this weird limbo for years now. He’s too popular to bury, but nobody in the front office likes him enough to put the main title on him. So Ziggler has been constantly winning gold, as he did here, but he’s barely reached the pinnacle. They let him cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on the Monday Night Raw the night after WrestleMania 29, and he won the World Heavyweight Title from Alberto Del Rio, but he dropped it not long after.

Somehow, The Miz got a lot further along than the Showoff, having already Main Evented a WrestleMania, but even he doesn’t have the best standing. This was a good match with two hard workers. Both guys have to be good, though. Night in and night out, those guys have to be interesting, at the very least. They have to maintain fan reaction, so they’re not forgotten about, and that’s exactly what they did here.

The next two matches were fairly quick and passable, but not every match on the card is going to be great. First it was Paige and AJ Lee in a match for AJ’s WWE Diva’s Championship. Surprisingly, the well-liked Paige beat the tremendously over AJ, taking home the gold. After the ladies, it was time for Rusev and Jack Swagger in a Flag Match. Rusev is an easy character to get fans to react to. Americans love to boo Russians, and with the in-ring psychology laid out in front of them, Swagger and Rusev put on a very physical show for the Cali crowd.

Next it was time for the first showstopper of the evening, Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose in a Lumberjack match. The Lumberjack match has been passé for years now. It’s a solid concept that hasn’t been worked well for years. I felt the same way about Hell in a Cell before I saw these two guys go at it at the 2014 Pay-per-view, and these two future superstars managed to change my mind again. This is probably the best Lumberjack match you’ll be able to find.

After the former Hounds of Justice went at it, it came time for Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho to take center stage. In the last few days, I’ve had more than one person ask me why Bray is popular. My favorite came from Dane Curley in the form of a text that read, “Why Wyatt popular? Fat slob.”

Bray Wyatt (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Bray Wyatt (Courtesy of WWE.com)

He was busy. Only had time to text the essentials. I explained to him that it is based purely on his microphone skills and individuality. He is one of a few people in the current WWE locker room that has a gimmick that is even remotely distinguishable from the rest of the pack. He got over entirely on charisma and talent alone, drawing the attention of guys like John Cena and, at SummerSlam 2014, Chris Jericho. Y2J went toe to toe with the head of the Wyatt Family, and did Bray the honor of doing the job for him on one of the WWE’s biggest stages. It’s cool to watch a guy like Jericho, be more than happy to help the young guys get over.

Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella was up after Jericho and Wyatt. This was an interesting match. It was great to see Stephanie McMahon back in the ring after over a decade. The buildup was good, too. The execution could have been better, but there was an actual story there. Brie needed to pick up some of the slack Daniel left behind, so the Daniel Bryan/Triple H feud got transferred over to their wives. Stephanie picked up the win at the summertime extravaganza.

In the second to last match, we had Randy Orton and public enemy number one, Roman Reigns. This is a match that proves how drastic the reaction of the #CancelWWENetwork movement was. Less than a year before Royal Rumble 2015, an entire arena was on the edge of their seats as they waited for Roman to take down The Viper. I agree he may have gotten it too soon, but Lesnar and Reigns at WrestleMania 31 has some potential.

If Reigns vs. Orton doesn’t prove that, the Main Event of SummerSlam 2014 should. The competitors were Brock Lesnar and John Cena, and they were battling for Cena’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In one of the most lopsided Championship matches in history, if not the most lopsided, Brock annihilated John. Cena was only able to get intermittent flurries of offense, as the entire time he was being beaten down.

One of 16 German suplexes Brock delivered to Cena (Courtesy of WWE.com)

One of 16 German suplexes Brock delivered to Cena (Courtesy of WWE.com)

To give you some context, during the match, Lesnar hit Cena with 16 German suplexes. It’s brutal to watch, but amazing at the same time. If Vince McMahon let him do that to his biggest star of the last fifteen years, imagine what he’ll let Brock do to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 31.

It’s going to be a “slobber knocker” of the finest caliber.

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