WWE Raw: The SummerSlam Go-Home
August 16, 2016 11:16 AM - Season 24, Episode 49 - Subscribe

The bifurcated brand comes back together for the granduncle of them all, the last combined PPV until Survivor Series.

Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton: For the second straight year, Brock is in the main event in a non-title match. This time, it's against returning kinda-face-by-default Randy Orton in a Raw vs. Smackdown match. Orton needs some sort of notch on his belt after spending most of the last year on the shelf.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler, WWE World Championship: Rumors are that the Smackdown-exclusive World title is going to be the secondary belt again, so Dolph may pull out a win just for the shock factor.

Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins, WWE Universal Championship: Can the meteoric rise of the Demon King continue all the way to the top of the very universe? Has WWE already shot its load by giving away the demonic reveal on Raw?

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte, Women's Championship: The hotshot title change a couple of weeks ago was rightly hailed as a great match and a better moment, but will Banks be a better face champion than she was at chasing the belt? Look for Dana Brooke to be a factor despite being banned from ringside, possibly with a face turn. (boo to that)

The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods only) vs. The Club, Tag Team Championship: It's been a year since the New Day won the belts, and Anderson and Gallows are pretty much Raw's only legit threats to them short of JeriKO.

The Miz (c) vs. Apollo Creed Crews, Intercontinental Championship: The Miz'z career renaissance has led him and wife Maryse to the top of the midcard. Will the New Era up-and-comer be able to wrest the precious Intercontinental strap away from him? (Odds are that this one goes the opposite of the Rollins-Bálor match.)

Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns, United States Championship: Reigns' demotion to the midcard hasn't slowed his momentum much, as the dickishest face in the business today has scored moral and actual victories over the U.S. titleholder in recent weeks.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles: As noted, Styles is finally in the same place as the Club again, and Cena hasn't won at SummerSlam since he beat the Nexus in 2011. Will the powers that be want Styles to get a clean win to establish him as the top heel on Smackdown?

Enzo and Big Cass vs. JeriKO: Speaking of which, the Cruel Dads are taking on two of the only people on the roster with bigger mouths, and they're doing it in the backyard of the New Jersey Calvin and Hobbes.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus: It's not often we get definitive time limits on placeholder feuds, but here we go. The two kick off a best-of-seven feud for "domination" that should take them all the way to Clash of Champions.

First-day draft picks missing from the card at this time: Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt, Becky Lynch, Baron Corbin, American Alpha, Big Show, Nia Jax, Neville, and Alberto Del Rio.

Ten matches plus Jon Stewart, and NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II the night before to stoke up the already ultra-hot Barclays crowd. Should be fun.
posted by Etrigan (54 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One more match added on SD:

Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Eva Marie, and Natalya: "Oh, we need a women's match from Smackdown? Um, okay... I guess... all of them?"
posted by Etrigan at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2016

The last couple WWE PPVs have been so good that this one has to be a dud, right? I'm hoping that the strength of the Cena/Styles blowoff and the hoss-factor of Rusev/Reigns can hold the show down. I have low hopes for Lesnar and Orton, and the lowest hopes for Ambrose and Ziggler, two guys who can bump and sell all day long, but don't usually throw a ton of believable offense.

I want to believe that Rollins and Balor will tear it down, but I can't quite get there, and I'd really like to see Charlotte and Sasha have a good, clean match, but it probably won't happen.

The worst part is that I was talking up the recent product to a guy who loves wrestling but has been out of the WWE loop for a long time, so I really hope this one doesn't disappoint.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:19 AM on August 17, 2016

The worst part is that I was talking up the recent product to a guy who loves wrestling but has been out of the WWE loop for a long time, so I really hope this one doesn't disappoint.

Just don't let him watch TakeOver first. The only match I'm worried about there is Cien Almas vs. Bobby Roode, and that's just because Roode is four months removed from ring action and might want to work his gimmick harder than the match.

(Okay, maybe No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries too, but that's more because I'm not sold on NWJ yet, but I think Aries can cover it.)
posted by Etrigan at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2016

Aw, man, they're feeding Billie Kay to Ember Moon?
posted by Etrigan at 7:19 AM on August 18, 2016

Eva Marie suspension: work or shoot?
posted by Etrigan at 6:17 AM on August 19, 2016

maybe they've shown this package before and I just fastforwarded through it, but the Orton/Lesnar package they ran during SD had a 10 second montage of Lesnar, Orton, Cena, Shelton and Batista at OVW at the same time and OMG. Hard to believe how long ago that was, actually.

I really badly want the WWE to be smart enough to not do work-suspensions for wellness violations for one reason: they have a three strikes policy. If they do a work-wellness violation and god forbid that superstar actually fail 2 times then they either have to bury the second offense (which is bad precedent and slippery slope--*cough* Orton Rule *cough*) or they have to terminate someone who only failed twice. Also, the first legit fail would have to be a double long suspension.

There is no reason for Summer Slam not to be amazing, particularly if a person hasn't followed wrestling recently. Your friend won't be "over" anyone who's been "shoved down our throat." Won't be upset that their favorite "indy darling" or "new era up-and-comer" unfairly loses. They can enjoy based on the in-ring storytelling and characters, and this card looks really well setup to have that in spades.
posted by jermsplan at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2016

//NXT spoilerish? Watch the first match of NXT before reading, I think it is a more enjoyable moment if you're not expecting it

oh my god I'm laughing so hard right now. The full sail crowd can be obnoxious, but I swear to god the guy who yelled "FINISH HIM!" towards the end of the Hideo match deserves a Slammy or something. That was too perfect.
posted by jermsplan at 7:47 AM on August 19, 2016

Yeah, I doubt that they would do a wellness-violation work. The stakes are a little bit too high.

And this seems like as good a place as any to ask... how about that CWC, huh? Holy shit. I'm appreciating wrestling qua wrestling more and more these days, which is to say that what happens between the bells is basically the only thing that's interesting to me; you should be able to watch just what happens in the ring and get a good idea of the story. These CWC matches have absolutely killed it in that regard. They're not just spot fests; the really good ones are perfect tension-and-release sequences that are really exciting to watch. Ibushi / Alexander was off-the-charts.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:16 AM on August 19, 2016

Honestly, I want a little more variety in the CWC. The wrestling and the in-ring storytelling has been excellent, but a little of the old out-ring intrigue. That Haitch hug-and-thumbs-up for Alexander was pretty good, but having one of those first-round-loser heels come back and nail someone with a chair would be nice too.
posted by Etrigan at 10:04 AM on August 19, 2016

Jesus god, we've got a twelfth match.

Neville and Sami Zayn vs. the Dudley Boys: They've been teasing a breakup of the Dudley Boys (presumably to get two solo enhancement talent instead of one enhancement tag team) so maybe it'll happen here on the Kickoff. Or maybe Neville still has his Evil Beard and will turn on Sami, and then Sami can team up with Becky Lynch until they inevitably turn on each other simultaneously.
posted by Etrigan at 12:28 PM on August 19, 2016

Been getting back into WWE over the past month or so after 16 years away, so take my opinions with a grain of salt, but:

Zero expectations for Orton/Lesnar. If it ends up being fun, then great. Orton's been doing good work recently, but Lesnar qua Lesnar has never done it for me. Heyman's always amazing, and I loved the Slater bit, but ehhhh.

I think Ambrose/Ziggler is a sleeper for the best match of the card. I've been catching up on this year's PPVs, and Owens/Ambrose at Royal Rumble and Owens/Ziggler at Fastlane were both tremendous. Sure, Owens' impact on both of those matches cannot be overstated, but with Ziggler's improved promo work over the last few weeks, I really think they're building to something big, and I hope they can both deliver.

I put the over/under on number of turns in Rollins/Balor at 1. Double turn with Club assist (after Gallows/Anderson take the tag belts, surely?) seems totally plausible, but Rollins face turn with a post match handshake (win or lose) seems even more likely. I love him as a heel, but with Raw as it stands right now, I think he'd be better utilized as a face.

If Rusev/Reigns doesn't end in a DQ I'll be very surprised.

I honestly have no idea what's going to happen in Charlotte/Banks. It's got to involve Brooke, but I don't know where it's headed. Assuming it's a non-clean finish, I just hope they get at least 8 minutes of good wrestling before hand.

And for the six-woman, man, I'm really curious to see what they do. No way Eva Marie's thing is a work, they would have saved the announcement for her introduction if it was.

Unfortunately, I have to save Summerslam until Monday AM, but I'll be around during Takeover if anyone is gonna be hanging in this thread.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:17 PM on August 20, 2016

Oh, and speaking of NXT, Gargano and Ciampa are really fun to watch and amazing on twitter. Their CWC match was spectacular. Rooting for them so hard tonight.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:18 PM on August 20, 2016

#gloriousbomb is the best bit of acting in all of wrestling right now. Gargano is thinking "Oh, man, are we gonna get yelled at for this?" while Ciampa is thinking, "Oh, man, we are gonna get yelled at for this!"
posted by Etrigan at 3:19 PM on August 20, 2016

Wow. I looked up Ember Moon in advance and saw that her finisher was described as a "diving corkscrew stunner." I was really looking forward to seeing exactly how that looked and was not disappointed!
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:34 PM on August 20, 2016

After watching Roode's match, I'm wondering if they're going to have to ditch his gimmick and turn him face. I really like what they set up for him (basically that he's too big/good for NXT and will elevate it to his standards) and it seems like a great way to draw heat, but I think the theme song and #gloriousbomb stuff has him way, way over.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:05 PM on August 20, 2016

Holy moly.

Tag matches aren't always my favorite, because there are only so many ways to repackage the needed beats of tag match storytelling, but that was so good!
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:24 PM on August 20, 2016

The Revival are unreasonably good, and the NXT tag division has been a real high point for the company. It's real, fluid tag wrestling of the type that WWE hasn't done in a long time.

I think a big part of it is that the heels are real heels and the babyfaces are real babyfaces. The heels are good and strong wrestlers but they always always cheat. The faces are just as good, but never cheat. Will in fact go out of the way not to cheat.

It's a dynamic that we don't get in singles matches anymore, so it feels refreshing even though it's the oldest story there is.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:11 PM on August 20, 2016

I'm trying to think of a more badly bungled yet crazily successful heel intro, and I can't come up with one. I don't see how they make the NXT crowd cheer against Roode at this point.
posted by Etrigan at 6:11 PM on August 21, 2016

I don't see how they make the NXT crowd cheer against Roode at this point.

The only way I can see it happening is if instead of his theme song playing, his entrance is him coming out and cutting a promo on the crowd saying that they don't deserve to hear his music.

Or if they put him in a program against Nakamura. I think he would get heel reactions then. Anybody else though, he's going to be the babyfaace.
posted by sporkwort at 9:12 PM on August 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Finn is relinquishing the Universal Championship due to a legit shoulder injury. Clearly, that stupid thing is cursed and must be thrown into a volcano immediately.
posted by Etrigan at 4:37 PM on August 22, 2016

OH MY GOD PEOPLE. You got two opportunities to have a proper tournament at a PPV with a month-long buildup for your brand-new title, and you fucked it up both times.
posted by Etrigan at 9:02 AM on August 23, 2016

RAW had such a panicked feel to it last night. It was as if they were literally finishing the planning of each segment as the previous one was finishing. My favorite moment was when Cole was all "Alright well now we know how tonight's going to work, here are the matches" and it was actually a still of Orton KO'd from Summerslam. He didn't even say anything for the first ten seconds, and JBL finally swooped in to pick up the slack.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:40 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ha, force of habit, would have been Graves, not JBL.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:47 PM on August 23, 2016

So I guess the "tournament" concept got drafted to Smackdown.
posted by Etrigan at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2016

Okay, so if you're not watching Talking Smack, even just in another window with your headphones in while you do something else, you are missing out. Carmella goes furtherly psycho on Nikki Bella, and then the Miz goes Ape. Fucking. Shit. on Daniel Bryan in one of the best promos ever.
posted by Etrigan at 11:27 AM on August 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ah, thank you for the reminder! I had to wait to watch Smackdown until this morning and had totally forgotten about Talking Smack.

I have adored it over the past few weeks. Bryan was almost breaking kayfabe the past couple of weeks, and the Carmella and Miz segments this week are like, meta-kayfabe. The little detail of having both Renee and Bryan both asking if "Nicole" was okay was so fun. It's amazing how much better Smackdown is doing as a brand.

The AV Club reviews have been really interesting too. The headline from this week's really says it all:

Smackdown Live Dares to Imagine a WWE Where Matches and Storylines Matter
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2016

I like how Smackdown waited until after SummerSlam to unveil the new belts and start their tournaments. It gave it a very post-WM-Raw "Okay, hit the reset button and start anew" vibe. Raw, on the other hand, chose to tumble headlong into "Oh, shit, we have to have a Universal Champion or the UNIVERSE MAY END." The dirt sheets are agreeing with your observation that Raw was being booked very on-the-fly.

Word is that Brian "Road Dogg" James has the Smackdown book, and he has much, much less interference from Vince, and it is showing.

Also, I will take any opportunity to point out that Brian James is probably the highest-ranking actual veteran in WWE (if not all wrestling) history, having led a platoon of Marines in the Gulf War, and he never mentions it in character, making him the most humble Marine in history.
posted by Etrigan at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2016

Wow, that was a lot of wrestling to catch up on after being unable to watch any of it over the weekend. Now I'm extra sad seeing how active the thread was!

Roode is in fact glorious. The happy news is that NXT is definitely the show where they're most likely just roll with it rather than try desperately and fail to make the crowd respond to him the way they want.

I thought the first half of SummerSlam was better than the second half. That was my hot take (which is now a luke-warm take?). I LOVED the Intercontinental Title match, and after watching that rant of Miz's I love it even more.

I almost feel bad for RAW. Everything that could be wrong with the Universal Title is going wrong. I'm with everyone else who seems completely bemused by the desperate need to have a top title holder on RAW, I have to assume that it is Vince getting one day closer to stroke every day his flagship baby doesn't have the big belt, and he's getting close to strangling anyone within arm's reach who isn't actively trying to put a big belt on someone on RAW.

Smackdown, on the other hand, is killing it. I'm actually not a huge fan of the Tag Belts...this colored leather thing isn't doing it for me, but whatever. Team Blue I guess. What is for real though, is that the Smackdown Tag division is awesome right now.

The Revival -- how about the bit where Dawson "accidentally fell into the ring" trying to make a tag? LOL. Top shelf heel stuff, that's what that is.

And the CWC: I'm really enjoying it.
posted by jermsplan at 1:24 PM on August 24, 2016

The Revival -- how about the bit where Dawson "accidentally fell into the ring" trying to make a tag? LOL. Top shelf heel stuff, that's what that is.

Some recapper pointed out that the Revival hardly cheated at all, and somehow became even bigger heels because of it.
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2016

NXT was the usual post-TakeOver show -- a couple of dark matches (SuperOverFaceAdjacent Tye Dillinger over Wesley Blake; Authors of Pain over TMDK61) and a bunch of recap of and backstage reactions to the big show. Austin Aries cuts a pretty good righteously-pissed-off heel promo, Bobby Roode gives a standard-issue "What did I tell you?" promo, and Bayley gives a meh promo and gets a sub-meh attagirl from Ember Moon (who I did not realize is incredibly small; turns out Billie Kay is only 5'8" despite being booked taller).

But damn, that valedictory Bayley video package.
posted by Etrigan at 8:25 AM on August 25, 2016

Yeah NXT felt a little flat but no complaints given the strength of Takeover.

CWC continues to shine. I was very surprised to hear the final won't be on Raw, but I guess they're sticking with taping the whole thing in advance. Regardless, I can already think of half a dozen guys I really hope to see get pulled up to the Cruiserweight division there. I can only hope that influx of talent makes them take a step back and realize they need to better balance out who gets time on that show. They've got three hours to work with, which should be plenty, but when you open with a 20-25 minute promo, it leaves them scrambling to fit the rest in.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:36 PM on August 25, 2016

Okay, Haitch making it all about him is a perfectly legitimate complaint, as his turning on Rollins for no reason.

But I do not care, because the first two Universal Champions were Prince Devitt and Kevin Steen, and I cannot fucking wait to see what KO does with the brass ring.
posted by Etrigan at 8:20 AM on August 30, 2016

Yeah, once Cass was out I started trying to figure out how it would end. WWE seems to have gotten a little bit smarter about how they use Reigns, so I didn't expect him to win it. Having Rollins win, dirty or clean, would give him the opening to keep drawing heat for taking credit for injuring Balor, so that seemed plausible. I knew Owens couldn't possibly win clean, but was having trouble seeing how he'd get through both of those dudes. As weird as the Haitch thing was, it worked for me, and it seems like it might set the stage for the Rollins face turn I've been keeping my fingers crossed for.

And yeah, Owens is gonna do great things with the strap, I think. Jericho feud seems to be a given, but I suspect that's just the beginning.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2016

Taking a jump back a week, I only just watched the post-Takeover NXT. I think it's interesting how differently NXT and RAW/SD do PPV recaps. NXT runs really well cut highlight reels of the Takeover matches with exciting slowmo and all the best looking impacts. RAW/SD still do the short cuts of live action with lots of stills and images of people about to deliver their finisher or about to make impact or whatever. I assume this is still due to the belief that they can't giveaway the PPV highlights for free or no one will pay for them, but how true can that still be in the 9.99 era? And honestly, if you showed me back to back recaps of Takeover and SummerSlam, I feel like there's a really strong chance I'd be more interested in seeing Takeover because it looks like it was filled with amazing moments that would be cool to see in context and which I can only assume included other awesome moments. The SummerSlam recap doesn't give me that same feeling.
posted by jermsplan at 9:09 AM on September 1, 2016

"Longest reigning Universal Champion in history" is making me laugh every time.
posted by Etrigan at 6:14 AM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Incidentally, I figured that I would just go on with new posts for Raw-branded PPV go-home shows, since so far they're scheduling the Raw PPVs later in the month and more aligned with the co-branded PPV schedule.
posted by Etrigan at 8:17 AM on September 6, 2016

Definitely a down week for both shows. 6-woman tag was the unquestionable highlight, though I'm worried they're setting up Nikki to pin Carmella to take the title at Backlash, which would be a shame. Lowlight is that Old Day promo from Raw which was unbelievably bad. Styles is really flourishing on Smackdown, but they seem totally lost on how to use Gallows and Anderson now.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:06 PM on September 6, 2016

Oh also, the first Smackdown after Backlash next week is in Philly, and I'm going! First show in almost seventeen years. I plan on bringing Slater's Kids signs to handout.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:00 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

hope you get a good show, SpiffyRob. I haven't been to a live event in a few years, I should make an effort next time they come through NC.

I agree, both shows were a bit boring this week. I enjoyed Smackdown more, even though it had the easy excuse of being a go-home technically, so it could have been more talking and less wrestling. I'm sad to hear that American Alpha really is hurt and out of the tag finals. I think it's silly to have an Usos/HypeBros match to see who faces Slater/Rhyno, since S/R just crushed HypeBros. In the world of wrestling it seems like Usos demanding the spot of the team they'd injured would not be without precedence.

Anyone know, will Backlash still have a preshow and be 3 hours long? I'm not convinced the card can support that, might be in for a lot of video packages. I don't mean to disparage the card, it's actually a pretty decent lineup considering it's pulling from half the roster, and the B show at that.
posted by jermsplan at 12:59 PM on September 8, 2016

Anyone know, will Backlash still have a preshow and be 3 hours long? I'm not convinced the card can support that, might be in for a lot of video packages.

Right now they have six matches. The last three PPVs (Battleground, MitB, Extreme Rules) averaged eight matches each, with average total bell times of 90, 120, and 90 minutes (MitB was the outlier, thanks to a 26-minute Rollins-Reigns and 24 minutes of MitBery). Backlash has three matches that can easily go 20: Ambrose-Styles, the Women's Championship match, and Miz-Ziggler (if Miz does a lot of heelish stalling and running away). Ten each for the others, and it won't be thin at all.

Of course, there are some people who aren't currently on the card: Baron Corbin, Kane, Kalisto, the Ascension, Apollo Crews, Breezango, the Vaudevillains, and Erick Rowan. That's all the heel tag teams, but any combo of the solo guys could kill another 10 minutes.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on September 9, 2016

Wondering if we'll get something like Corbin/Crews added last minute with some Kane involvement, because it sure seemed like they were working towards starting off a Kane/Corbin feud a couple of weeks ago when they had a staredown while Corbin was making his way to the ring to face Ambrose.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:15 AM on September 9, 2016

This was a really solid PPV, with no serious clunkers (even Kane-Wyatt at least moved the storyline along and showed that Big Red can still go when you need him to).

The Women's Championship match did just what it needed to: establish a credible champion, advance the Nikki-Carmella feud, and give the other three their moments to shine. Alexa Bliss's Harley Quinn getup is a much better look for her, and I wish they'd done it way back when they really needed to differentiate her from Dana Brooke.

The tag team tournament matches were good and crisp -- I am more interested in heel Usos than I thought I would be (which is to say, at all), and I was genuinely surprised by the ending and how much I liked it. Especially because as soon as it happened, I realized that they wouldn't end the night with three face champions out of four.

The Miz just keeps upping his game. Call him a coward? Fine, he'll do a couple of crazy-ass dives and tease a countout ending.
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on September 12, 2016

I was watching Backlash with a friend who hasn't watched in years, and in giving Miz's backstory I realized how on board with him I've gotten in recent weeks. Like, we all know it, but there's something about saying, out loud: "Yeah he was on The Real World and would always talk about wanting to be a professional wrestler and already was more or less the character he is today and then he went on a reality show to become a professional wrestler and lost but got a shot anyway and has now been consistently around for ten years and has won the world championship but is pretty strictly an IC guy now..." Like, it makes his character just WORK. The whole thing. And his execution in that match, and the on the spot contract negotiation before-hand, it was just such classic excellent heel.

My only question is where they're going to go with him antagonizing Daniel Bryan. Like, that needs to eventually reach resolution, but if DB really can't wrestle anymore?

Ambrose/Styles was everything it needed to be. While the ending was a little off because it took him so long to set up the Styles Clash, everything else about that match was awesome. Styles really elevates everyone he meets in the ring. Maybe Ambrose's best looking suicide dive to date!

Thought the women's match and tag matches were all really good too. That Naomi/Natty headscissors over the rope spot though. :/

Very excited for tonight. We're about 20 rows back from the ring right as it starts to turn the corner towards the timekeeper's area.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:47 AM on September 13, 2016

You're taking a "HELLO FANFARE" sign, right?
posted by Etrigan at 7:53 AM on September 13, 2016

Got the old school powder blue MeFi shirt on, so hoping that'll catch the eye. On the non-televised side, but hoping to catch the crane camera at some point. Pics from seats will be coming, regardless.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:46 PM on September 13, 2016

Besides, I had my moment of glory years ago.
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:53 PM on September 13, 2016


Busses seemed to be mostly empty by the time I got to the parking lot, but Simon Gotch was glad-handing the crowd gathered around in a big way. And he was wearing a Rick and Morty shirt!
posted by SpiffyRob at 3:45 PM on September 13, 2016

One would hope he at least thinks of it as "Richard and Mortimer".
posted by Etrigan at 4:24 PM on September 13, 2016

I came, I saw, I Smackdowned.

Not too much to report beyond what you all saw at home. Don't know how it played out on TV, but there was X-Pac Heat/severe disinterest when Ascension came out to face Slater/Rhyno. A "CM Punk" chant got pretty good traction for that.

Otherwise, there was some predictable but serious agony/ecstasy around Ellsworth and then Miz in the main event. Miz has legit heat and it's wonderful to behold. All I wanted was a Phenomenal Forearm in my general direction, but alas! All in all, a really fun show and I'll be back for Raw in December!
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:51 PM on September 13, 2016

Don't know how it played out on TV, but there was X-Pac Heat/severe disinterest when Ascension came out to face Slater/Rhyno.

Yeah, it was definitely a "Really?" vibe. I can't find the Cageside Seats blog about how the WWE tag team product is at an all-time low, but it's true. The fact that those two guys were supposed to strike some form of fear into even Heath Slater is just... bad.
posted by Etrigan at 7:00 AM on September 14, 2016

Since it's something we touched on earlier, I wanted to drop a link to Rolling Stone's article on wrestling podcasts you should be listening to. Though, they didn't mentioned Not Your Demo (which I have been enjoying, thanks Etrigan), so who knows how useful this list is.

Years ago I would have said that without question Cena was going to tie and then break Flair's record. By accident, if not on purpose. He was just too constantly in the title picture, too constantly winning or losing the belt. Then he had some injuries, and this long dry spell, the run with the US Title, and then when he threw in the armband against AJ I legit thought that maybe he had come to a personal decision that he never wanted to break The Man's record, so he would spend the rest of his days taking it easy, being the part-timer, giving the rub to the new generation of up and comers, whatever.

After that promo he cut on Smackdown, though, I'm not only sure he'll break that record some day but I'm actually kind of excited for it? I don't know. More of that "I don't want it when you're forcing it on me, but I love it when it doesn't feel that way" feeling there seems to be so much of in the WWE lately. I've also always thought it would be nice, if he was going to do it, to do it while Flair could still give some sign of approval, as opposed to after he was dead or so mentally gone that there's no difference.
posted by jermsplan at 2:02 PM on September 15, 2016

Yeah I forgot to mention it (it wasn't particularly memorable) but Cena cut a quick dark promo after Smackdown went off the air on Tuesday. Pretty standard stuff from him (I'll never stop fighting, keep believing in me, etc etc) but it definitely supports the idea that he's legitimately back in the world title picture.
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:26 PM on September 15, 2016

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