Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, August 11, 2019

WWE Summerslam 8/11/19 (Not at ALL) Live Report

ER: I've had an unexpectedly long, very much trash day, so am not *really* in the mood to go through this show. But it's good to commit to things, so forgive me if I do not commit to watching some of the matches I'm unexcited for while battling the now-unusable WWE Network.

Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan

ER: Yes sir. This was what got me excited for this card. And there is nothing else that can happen on this card that will take this match away from me. This ruled, and was a killer showcase for both men. We were so excited seeing TAKA Michinoku doing quebradas on WWF TV 20 years ago, so excited for cruiserweight wrestling on our TVs, and now we have evolved to TV cruiserweight wrestling being two guys ripping at beards and punching throats. Look at the things we as a people can do. This was an unhurried an unsanitized version of what these two can do, and it got to happen on (the undercard) of one of the biggest shows of the year, and that's a very cool thing. It was a tidy 9 minutes filled with a dozen cool ideas, and just made me want to see them match up a dozen more times. Gulak slams Lorcan into the ropes in a flat out sinister way, and is practically inventing cruel subs to try to trap him in. Lorcan's aggression is his double edged sword. He flies into everything with abandon, which allowed him to come so close to beating Gulak, but it also meant he lost to Gulak. These guys made me buy into everything they did, moves had consequences, actions lead to finishes. Gulak took on the persona of a big brother who picked on his little brother too long and accidentally pushed him over the edge, and it was great. The look on Gulak's face as Lorcan is grabbing him by the fucking beard and muzzle and slapping him was classic. Both read naked choke spots were great, with the first looking like a genuine finish as Lorcan is not close to the ropes, and Gulak drags the arm closest to the ropes back across Lorcan's throat. That they went back to it soon after and created an organic Lorcan false win showed they understand their characters and the match they were having 100%. I loved Lorcan flipping out of that rear naked and almost getting the "fluke" pin, everything they had done made that finish an absolute possibility. Lorcan's flying uppercuts are a thing of beauty, and I'm not sure I've seen someone just lean into them standing the way Gulak did. It's one of those spots that somehow made both men look tougher, Lorcan flying into Gulak and Gulak absorbing the shots but refusing to show ass. And the finish was great, with Gulak being drug into the ring holding onto the ring skirt for dead life, then at the earliest opening just punching Lorcan in the throat and hitting the neckbreaker. Lorcan's sell of his throat was palpable, and I just want to see these guys continue to crush every opportunity they're given.

Apollo Crews vs. Buddy Murphy

ER: Damn, I thought this was really cool. On paper this didn't do much for me, and it got ended after just a few minutes with a big boss Rowan run in, but I liked what they did with their allotted time. They knew that had 4 minutes to make an impression, and they did! Murphy attacked at the bell with a running knee, making me think it was actually going to be a 5 second match, and the rest played out like a cool Worldwide match. Crews got a couple big throws and showed off his leaps, we got a couple cool things on the floor like Crews getting run into the steps and Murphy hitting a big flip dive, and with that opening knee the whole thing felt like it could end at any time. That's a cool vibe for a match with essentially no stakes. I would actually like to see more of this. And by that I mean more of these guys, making unimportant matches feel important. More guys on the roster should actually work like it matters.

Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross vs. Iiconics

ER: Damn, not only is Colin Delaney better than a large % of WWE's active roster, but now Alexa Bliss is robbing the Buzz Lightyear aesthetic? Give Delaney the run he deserves, you cowards. But I think this match had a lot to like. Iiconics are like a really great WoW team, with similar WoW wrestling ability. I genuinely get excited to see them when they come out, and don't really care that they don't always look great in ring. They entertain me. This match had a couple nice nearfall saves, and Royce catching Alexa's boots in the corner only to get sent absolutely wobbly with an elbow was a fantastic moment. I thought Royce's crumple sell was the best, and the whole spot worked because it was an appropriate sell for the strike. This was quick, fun, and made me appreciate what the Iiconics bring to a telecast even more.

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

ER: I do not fucking care that they are in Canada, it is flat out bullshit that Natalya gets trotted out there entering AFTER the champ. Being Canadian is the one thing Natalya has going for her in this one, and I fully respect this Toronto crowd not giving one shit about Natalya being born thousands of miles away. If WWE actually got self aware and turned Natalya's insufferable nature into her onscreen character (I mean, intentionally), it could actually be good. If we are going to be plagued with Natalya, use her natural unlikability. And I liked this! I didn't really love the finishing stretch, as it was essentially just both getting put all the way into submissions and screaming a lot because they are all the way into a submission, but then just getting out of them and putting their own full submission on. Lynch gets put in a sharpshooter for the better part of a minute, and reverses it by just locking in the Disarm-her and not acknowledging any of the actual work that she's been through. I had a hunch this stip was going to be hard to actually pull off, but it worked better than I thought it would. The work getting to the finish was fun. I liked Natalya's turnbuckle sharpshooter, the superplex looked great, I liked the work around the arm, and thought they moved interestingly into submissions (like Natalya catching Lynch's kick in the corner to slam her leg into the mat). There was a weird moment where Becky was in a sub while her feet where completely hanging off the ring, and another where she was flat out crawling down the side of the ring in a sub, but the ref wasn't breaking the hold. This wasn't No DQ, right? There are still rules. Those kind of things bugged me in the match, but the match still delivered stronger than I was expecting. Toronto fans are sellouts for eventually rooting for Natalya. How low can you get? I understand pride in your country, but have a spine, Canada.

Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler

ER: For some reason I knew they would nail this one. And I am a total rube, because I actually fully bought into that opening match superkick. I don't know why, that just felt like something that could happen, and I dug it. This was worked exactly how it should have been: a couple superkicks, a spear for the ages, big Jackhammer, and Dolph hilariously talking shit after the match to his own detriment. These kind of pieces really liven up a card, really give us a different mix of energy, and this was an easy win.

Ricochet vs. AJ Styles

ER: I cannot remember the last match involving these two that I enjoyed as much as this one. This was incredibly fun, innovative, and economical. It took a simple story of Styles taking out Ricochet's knee, while Ricochet fought through not only that bum wheel but also attempted to fend off Gallows and Anderson. And it worked great! Styles does some nasty things to the knee, and Ricochet hops around that ring on one leg like he was Zack Gowen. AJ would kick his leg out and Ricochet would spill out spectacularly but fight back valiantly. I really liked Ricochet's aggression, made him come off real tough and AJ was good at taking advantage of opportunities. The one legged springboard crossbody was a coconuts thing to pull out, and I liked when Ricochet would deliver a kick but then have to deal with his knee going out. Ricochet made all of AJ's offense look finisher worthy; I don't know if I've seen anyone snap his neck like that on AJ's fireman's carry drop on his knee. The finish was wild, with Ricochet ducking and diving and kicking Anderson/Gallows away, only for AJ to catch his dragon rana and plant him with the Styles Clash. This was super effective, and was able to have a match filled with back and forth action without it ever feel like move trading. This card has been delivering on best case scenarios so far.

Bayley vs. Ember Moon

ER: Man I thought this ruled, too! There is something in the water in Toronto tonight, as I have seen several people on this card now have their most interesting matches in ages. Everybody looks like they're trying to stand out on a card filled almost exclusively with singles matches, and so far, everybody is doing just that. Moon was throwing heavy strikes, kneeing Bayley in the back, jamming her knee in with a bow and arrow, did cool things like break a Boston crab by striking at Bayley's leg,  hit a nice big rana off the top and followed it up with knees to the face. Moon looked like someone that should have a belt, and Bayley had her tightest performance that I can remember. Bayley had a match against Ronda earlier this year that I adored, and I think Bayley has looked sloppy as hell ever since. But I liked her here. The top rope Bayley to Belly was cool as hell, and it was a nice follow up from her nice superplex earlier in the match. And she kept throwing nice cut off strikes throughout, hitting a sharp elbow to the back of Moon's head, stopping a tope with a forearm, focused one shot attacks to stop Moon's flurries. This was another match that over delivered, a sentence I should have just been copying and pasting by this point.

Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens

ER: No time, no time, no time.

Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair

ER: So if my continued use of the word "overdeliver" hadn't convinced you yet, not a soul among you would have guessed this match would be as entertaining as it ended up being. Trish has only a few matches over the past year, and certainly not enough ring time to think she could have a fun 15+ minute match. This was about as miracle match as you can get, and it's great that someone would work this hard to go out in what is probably the best singles match of her career. There were moments she moved a little slower than someone more active, but I thought she did great overall. She added a few painful bumps (loved her big back bump off the buckles to the floor, no non-wrestler needs to be taking drops like that), and she brought big match emotion to something that could have been a real mess. Charlotte handled the match incredibly well, finding the exact notes to hit so that this was not only a successful retirement match for a legend, but it never looked like she was working elderly Baba. Trish didn't get spared for being a non-regular, but Trish has always been good about leaning into everything (remember, this is a Finlay trainee we're talking about here!). The powerbomb turned into a rana off the top rope was an awesome moment, thought Charlotte looked so cool climbing up top with her entire face obscured by the body of Stratus. Stratus got to shine and took a bunch of bumps, Charlotte got to help a WWE legend shine while looking no worse for wear, the whole thing should NOT have worked this well. Full respect for both for putting this together, fuller respect for Trish for going out on top.

Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton

ER: I'm sure they did just fine.

Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor

ER: I thought this was fine, although it might have been a tough part of the card to be put on. I have no real dog in this fight, but I dug the weird Bray Wyatt head lantern, and the match itself was short and sweet.

Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins

ER: My god Paul Heyman has hit 1.0 on the Sorrell Booke scale. The fact he isn't in a white suit means that he has failed every single boy in the back, and every one of those boys has failed him. And this match? Yes yes yes yes YES! What kind of sweaty sorcery has consumed Brock Lesnar, having excellent singles matches with Finn Balor and Seth Rollins in one calendar year? This whole thing ruled, and it wasn't just Brock. Seth threw everything he had at him, and the quantity over quality approach worked, while his ragdoll crumpling body after suplexes was perfect. Lesnar was great at being vulnerable here, he made superkicks interesting and bounced his head off the mat several different ways while taking curb stomps throughout. When he went on offense he looked powerful in a different way than normal. His Germans looked faster and thrown at a lower angle than they typically are, and his rollthroughs after them were smooth as hell. Brock is great at working non-weapon objects into a match, things like angrily removing his gloves, or even running full speed into the ringpost, or even better catching Rollins on a dive and running him as hard as humanly possible into the ringpost, he knows how to integrate available objects in really cool ways that always make a match feel different. I think Brock is fantastic at selling and moving in a way that nobody else in wrestling does, the way he stumbles around and takes non-canon WWE bumps that aren't just fast flat back bumps, it makes all of his matches even more unique than they already are. He took spills for Rollins and always stumbled into taking Rollins' sometimes questionable offense in such a way that he looked beatable. The layout of this was so good, easily the best Rollins match of the year (and probably the best Rollins match of the past three years). I thought this was excellent.

ER: Well, I did a little personal editing to skip past a couple things that didn't interest me, but had I watched them and they were awful, I still would have loved this show. This show started with a great Gulak/Lorcan match and finished with a great Brock/Rollins match, and kept me entertained the entire time in between. This was an awesome show, one that on paper looked flat out bizarrely stuffed with almost all singles matches. It would have been very easy for this show to feel overly same-y, yet I thought everyone on this card did a great job of filling a different niche. Great time all around, great card.

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Blogger Yerfuneral said...

not planning to do more than a brief comment because I ended up missing quite a few matches. That's what happens when you have no real idea what the card was.
I was having network issues through out the night. Not watching live myself. I start 15 to 30 minutes later in hopes of avoiding the issues was having. I would fast forward was lucking in to natural between match breaks yet finding out missed matches later.

Gulak vs Lorcan was a return to what made the preshow matches some of the best on the card.

Crews vs Murphy had two guys being given a chance and ran with it. hope agents paid attention

Womens tag title was the first match I didn't know I missed. Saw Bliss gear on Instagram later and now this review makes me think going to take the time to try and watch it. This match sounds up my alley I am looking for entertainment not the most technical match ever wrestled.

Raw Womens title thought was to cookie cutter to what to expect from a submission map. The ref issues and breaks was another problem glad to see I do understand how rope breaks work. I thought I didn't know the rules.

Goldberg vs Ziggler
Why not have Goldberg come out a 4th time and finish up a 5 match contract. It was fine but could have used just the first take down.

Ricochet and Styles for my tastes was to much lets do this NJPW typical match with there own character moments. Plenty to love if that is your thing but not for me.

Smackdown Women's match was the next match I missed it was like revenge of my fast forwards. I catch all the womens stuff and skip most of the men's stuff on the weekly show.

Owens vs McMahon
Again missed but didn't care they already had a Hell In the Cell if I remember right. So why need to watch this? Figured this was the match they would let a Canadian go over too.

Flair vs Stratus went to long. The build up to it finally getting exciting I was already out of it unfortunately. When it did hit the hot spot do admit this is what you hope to see when a Legend is doing a one off.
Like the NXT main event it took to long to get to something I found exciting but this at least came off natural, not choreographed, and not an hour long.

Kingston and Orton the big shows are suppose to not start what looks to be long feud in the works. I been liking Baszler pretty much a different opponent every ppv but looks like have to be ready for another few ppv matches between these two.

Wyatt and Balor the internet seems to be eating up.
I like character but like the Luchasaurus this is a bit much for me.
It comes up as a swipe of New 52 Joker to me. The little character moments were interesting but like Balor Demon didn't find all that much difference in wrestling styles unlike many on internet. Maybe more out of control clubbing and stuff but same old Wyatt to me.
People read some horror and comic books it wasn't a severed head lantern. It was clearly a skin mask draped over a lantern.

Universal Title match was to much demolition derby then break with bodies lieing around. Seeing the low blow after ref taking the chair away just like the previous nights main event was silly.
It was leaps and bounds better than any Brock/Reigns matches but again just not something that entertains me.

Frustration dealing with the network probably killed my mood a lot and I understand why people loved this show. It was a huge improvement from recent shows and I don't feel like made mistake picking up another Network card. Now if I could actually redeem the thing.
Look forward to see where things go. That's what the big shows need to genuinely do.

3:12 PM  

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