When the WWE presents their shows, fans expect drama, hard-hitting action, the occasional surprise and to be entertained. They enjoyed all of that during NXT Takeover, held on August 22, at Summerslam the night after, and during Monday Night Raw, on August 24. These events occurred at the sold out Barclay’s Center, in Brooklyn, New York. The arena was packed for the three nights. In this article, I will discuss my favourite moments as well as some controversies which occurred during the events.
One of the big matches at Takeover was for the NXT Women’s Championship where the champion, Sasha Banks wrestled Bayley. The story heading into the match involved Sasha belittling Bayley. Mean and hurtful things were said. The WWE utilized the heel character in Sasha to create hype and draw fans into the match. The champion did a tremendous job in helping with the build-up. The fans were really invested in the match, and credit must be given. The champ did everything she could to “injure” Bayley’s hand. She even applied her submission the “Banks Statement,” but the courageous Bayley did not surrender. They traded moves and finishers many times and the crowd chanted “this is awesome,” which is rare for a Women’s match in the WWE. It was evident that the promos worked because fans absolutely enjoyed the moves and the drama.
The end of the match came as the girls were fighting on the top rope. Bayley executed a reverse “hurricanrana” flip off the top, and it seemed like Sasha landed on her head, but thankfully, she was not injured. The challenger then concluded the match with a belly-to-belly suplex to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Bayley became emotional after winning. Charlotte and Becky Lynch entered the ring and embraced their friend. Sasha Banks, after collecting herself on the outside of the ring, re-entered and congratulated the new champ. The four women stood in the ring, embraced and displayed the “Four Horsemen” symbol (they call themselves the Four Horsewomen of NXT), to the cheers and adulation of the crowd. The match was fantastic and told a great story. It showed that when given time, a storyline, and if they are booked properly, women’s wrestling can once again become an important part of WWE programming.
The next night at Summerslam, Team Bella (The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox) battled Team B.A.D (Sasha Banks, Naomi and Tamina Snuka) and Team P.C.B (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) in a 9-Diva Elimination match. The main rule of this match was if one member of team was eliminated, so was the entire team. Personally, I never liked that rule because it shortens the match. Tamina was pinned by the Diva’s champion, Nikki Bella and that bothered the crowd because Sasha Banks was also eliminated, and as was evident at NXT, Sasha is a tremendous in-ring performer. Team P.C.B eventually won when Becky Lynch pinned Brie Bella. On the August 24 edition of Raw, the last two teams in the elimination match battled. This time, the crowd turned almost as soon as the match began. They chanted “boring” and “We are awesome! They even did the wave! There were even calls for Sasha Banks. Team Bella won the match, and the fans did not seem to care. The two teams tried their best, but for some reason, the Brooklyn crowd was not interested.
In my opinion, the WWE needs to move away from the multitude of Diva’s tag matches they have been having recently. Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Paige, Nikki Bella and Sasha Banks, and I am sure many more women on the roster, are capable of having tremendous one-on-one matches. I believe that if all the women are put into their own individual storylines and given enough time to tell the stories in the ring, the WWE Women’s wrestlers can have the best matches on the card. That would be great for the organization.
One of the early matches at Summerslam was a Fatal 4 Way match for the WWE Tag Team Titles. The champions, the Prime Time Players fought the New Day, The Lucha Dragons, and Los Matadores. Titus and Big E began the match, but for reasons unknown, the champion tagged Kofi. Both New Day members were legal and when Big E covered his partner, O’Neill realized his error, and broke up the pin. The end came when Kofi Kingston tagged himself into the match as Titus performed his finishing move on Fernando. Kofi got the pin and won the tag titles for the New Day. I believe that the right team won. But, the new champions were in for a major surprise the next night on Raw, and it was a something that nobody saw coming.
The Prime Time Players were doing commentary for a non-title match between The New Day and the Lucha Dragons. It was quite entertaining because Xavier Woods did a lot of talking and was playing a trombone outside the ring. As annoying as the New Day characters can be, they work very well together in the ring and can wrestle. The fans also gravitate toward them. The New Day won the match and began to celebrate. The noise of fireworks distracted fans. At first, I
thought the champions staged it all, because it would go along with their over-the-top characters. But, I was wrong!
On the screen in the arena were the words “Welcome to Dudleyville”. When the fans saw this they erupted into scream and yells to welcome back Bubba Ray and D-Von, the legendary Dudley Boyz. They performed all the moves they were known for, and even put Xavier Woods through a table using the 3-D (Dudley Death Drop). What a moment! The tag team picture has gotten some help with the return of the Dudleyz. I am sure the main idea behind this was to help put over the younger talent. Despite that, I hope the WWE decides to give the Dudleyz one more reign as the WWE Tag Team Champions before they officially decide to call it a career.
The rematch of Wrestlemania 30 between Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker was what it needed to be – a fight. As soon as Taker entered the ring, his opponent attacked him, which showed that Lesnar did not have any fear. My favourite part of the match occurred after Brock kicked out of an Undertaker Tombstone. Lesnar sat up, looked directly at his opponent and laughed. Taker sat up, turned around, faced Lesnar and did the exact same thing. I think it scared Lesnar a little, but it made for a creepy and really cool visual. The match ended in controversy as the bell rang before the referee called for it. This occurred because while Lesnar applied his Kimura Lock on Taker, Taker tapped out, and the referee did not see it. The timekeeper saw what happened, so he rang the bell and confused everyone. The match continued and Taker “low-blowed” Brock, re-applied his Hell’s Gate submission finisher, which caused Lesnar to pass out from the pain. Taker was granted the controversial win. Despite that, Paul Heyman declared that because the Undertaker tapped out, and the bell rang, that Lesnar was victorious. He had a point. This controversy set up the opening of Monday Night Raw.
Lesnar and Heyman entered the ring and Paul stated that Lesnar wanted to fight Taker at that very moment. Of course, the crowd went crazy, knowing very well that Taker is likely injured from the previous night. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Bo Dallas entered. At that point, the crowd knew that Dallas was going to be destroyed. Bo basically stated that Lesnar did not defeat the Undertaker, because he did not ‘Bo-lieve’. Well, that angered Brock. Lesnar went wild and delivered five German suplexes and one F-5. The crowd enjoyed this immensely. Heyman ended the segment by picking up the microphone, looking down at Dallas and saying “Bo, I want you to know that Brock Lesnar Bo-lieves”. This was a great segment because it revealed a few things. It portrayed Lesnar and Heyman as angry men after their Summerslam loss, and rightfully so. It showed Lesnar was willing to take out his frustrations on any wrestler. I also think that helped to set up a future re-match with the Undertaker, if he is healthy enough.
One of the other main events featured the United States Champion, John Cena and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, with both titles at stake. In the weeks leading up to the match, Triple H promised Rollins a statue of himself if he won, as he would be the only wrestler to ever hold the U.S. and the WWE titles. It was a hard fought and exciting match won by Rollins after he used Triple H’s finisher, The Pedigree. Fans at the Barclay’s Center were thrilled with the outcome. As a result, Rollins holds both the WWE and United States Championships. The question heading into Raw was: Would Rollins receive the statue he feels he deserves?
The final segment of Raw featured Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins. Triple H and Steph were ready to lift the curtain to reveal the statue. When they did, they received a surprise. To the shock of everyone, hiding under the curtain was Sting! He and Rollins had a staredown and Seth was the first to react, without any avail. Sting eventually clotheslined Rollins over the top rope. He then stared at and grabbed the WWE title and pointed towards the champion. After Raw, Triple H made the announcement that Sting would face Rollins at Night of Champions for the WWE title.
In my opinion, the WWE should be very proud of the shows they put on during Summerslam weekend. NXT Takeover proved that the future of the company is bright. Summerslam and Raw provided storyline advancement and some surprises. My favourite return involved the Dudleyz. My favourite moment was at the end of the Women’s match at NXT Takeover and the embrace of the “Four Horsewomen”. The only real let down was the six-diva tag on Raw. But, despite that, I hope things will progress positively for the women wrestlers in the WWE. I truly believe that if the storylines are allowed to develop, fans will see fantastic action by the women who would to showcase their talents and growth