Thursday, 27 August 2015

WrestleRopes Ready For The Weekend: 28th/29th/30th August 2015



As we come off one of the big weekends in the wrestling year, you could be forgiven for thinking that the following weekend would be a quiet one. Well that might be the case for some, but not here in the UK as we have a plethora of events taking place all over our blossoming wrestling scene. Let's take a look at just a few and get Ready For The Weekend.




Up first on Friday night is Revolution Pro Wrestling's event at the Portsmouth Guildhall. RevPro are known for their events featuring the finest talents from the US and Japan and matching them with the greatest that the UK has to offer. This show looks to be no different with multiple international match-ups. One match with a great international flavour will see South Africa's and former WWE star, PJ Black (FKA Justin Gabriel) face one of the UK's most popular names, 'The Modfather' Flash Morgan Webster. Gabriel has travelled all over the world but it's unlikely he's ever faced anyone like Webster. From one on one competition to tag team action, The Wolves' Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards have held championship gold in almost every country they've competed in. Their opponents on August 28th are part of a group that have held nearly every championship in Revolution Pro Wrestling. The Wolves are one of the most seasoned teams in the world. Josh Bodom & James Castle will do anything in the world to win. The main event scheduled to take place at the Portsmouth Guildhall shall see 'The Phenomenal' AJ Styles defend the Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship against 'The Star Attraction' Mark Haskins. Now for anyone who is unaware, these men have a lot in common. Both have travelled extensively in Europe, Japan and been a part of TNA. This might be Styles first defence of the championship but to underestimate the threat that Haskins poses could very well make it his only defence.




Moving on to Saturday and we faced the old problem of picking one show from many so instead we have two. The first event on Saturday is Kamikaze Pro's Brute Force at The Collingwood Centre in Great Barr, Birmingham. The event will see all the championships on the line including Marshall X defending the Relentless Division Championship against Pete Dunne. These men are the opposite of each other in every way. Pete Dunne spent a number of weeks this year in China, improving his craft. Marshall X on the other hand spent his time winning and retaining the Relentless Division Championship by any means he could. However, now it's time to see if that cunning is enough to overpower Pete Dunne, a man who is focused solely on leaving Brute Force with gold once again round his waist. Speaking of gold, The Hunter Brothers will once again be in action defending the Tag Team Championships. Their opponents this time are a team which was born in Kamikaze Pro, The Vulture Squad. The Hunter Brothers have shown in every match why they are one of the best tag teams in Europe. The Vulture Squad have also shown their skills all over the UK as a team and individually. On August 29th we'll see who comes out of this match as the winner in a match that could go either way and steal the show. Another championship that'll be on the line will be the Kamikaze Pro Championship currently held by Robbie X. Robbie has had some big title defences since winning the gold in October 2014. This is quite literally his biggest as he defends against the first ever British World Heavyweight champion, Magnus. Robbie X has been a fighting championship and has never backed down from any opponent. He will need that mentality and all of his skill to overcome the massive Magnus. Magnus will know the challenge ahead of him to dethrone Robbie X. Robbie X will know this is biggest challenge yet.




The second event we are featuring for this Saturday is TNT Extreme Wrestling's Summer Explosion 2015 at The Black-E in Liverpool. Right at the top of the card in the main event we shall see Bubblegum face Stevie Boy in a Ladder Match with the winner qualifying for the heavyweight championship match later this year. Bubblegum is widely regarded as one of the UK's best wrestlers right now. Stevie Boy on the other hand is one of the best wrestlers based in Scotland. That being said, Stevie Boy is no underdog in this match. The fact that Stevie Boy is better known in Scotland than the UK as a whole is no indication of the skill and talent that he possesses. This main event is going to be very hard to call. This match might well introduce them to one of Scotland's wrestling diamonds when he faces one of the best in the UK. Now many people like masked wrestlers. Chris Ridgeway is not one of those people. He has issues with masks, big issues. However the next masked wrestler he faces, could be argued as being his toughest yet as he faces CHIKARA star, Ophidian on August 29th. Ophidian is known for his mastery of hypnosis. He may well need to to stop Ridgeway kicking his mask off and adding it to his growing collection. Many matches are born out of rivalry or quests for gold but not this next match between Wolfgang & Rampage Brown. Both men are classic heavyweights. Big, strong, tough and hard-hitting. This Saturday we're going to see which one is the best. It might destroy The Black-E in the process but even then these men will keep going until one comes out the victor.




Moving on to Sunday and Insane Championship Wrestling are back at The Garage in Glasgow with the next edition of their highly successful Spacebaws events. Championship gold will be on the line Sunday as the New Age Kliq's Stevie Boy faces DCT with the ICW Zero-G Championship up for grabs. DCT is a man on a mission right now after the events of his wedding to Viper and the attack from The 55. This has turned DCT into a man that few have ever seen. He's ruthless and unrelenting in his attacks. His opponent, the current ICW Zero-G champion, Stevie Boy knows all about being ruthless as he's part of the most dominating forces in the UK today. Stevie Boy turned on his own tag team partner before joining the NAK. DCT has claimed that nothing and nobody will stop him. We're going to see two men filled with hatred and anger give out as much as they can. Speaking of the NAK, Kay Lee Ray will also be in action on August 30th. She'll compete in a ICW Women's Championship Tournament Quarter-Final against one of the most decorated women's champions in history, Mickie James. These women have fought before but that was a very different Kay Lee Ray then. Since their last meeting, Kay Lee Ray has competed across the world, been featured on TV and become a completely different person. Mickie James will be a very tough opponent for Kay Lee Ray. Hopefully, Mickie James realises just what she faces in the unforgiving Kay Lee Ray of today. The premise of Spacebaws is to give the young stars of ICW the chance to shine and two men whose stars are shining bright right now are Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faith. While Girvan has been a part of Insane Championship Wrestling for a few years, Aspen Faith has only made himself known to ICW fans in 2015. This match will be a great showcase of what the future and indeed the present has to look forward to in ICW.


That wraps up this week's preview of the weekend's wrestling schedule. Of course, there are many more events taking place over the three days. To find out more about the shows we've highlighted here as well as all the others, check us out at www.wrestleropesuk.wordpress.com for the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list and more.

Over the Border: The Passion for Wrasslin'




I've had the last month to think about what I could write in this edition of Over the Border. Many ideas sprung to mind; should I write about the plethora of young wrestlers that are making a name for themselves recently, like Aaron Echo or Theo Doros. Should I write a show preview? There are many to choose from that I could pick and run down the match card. I had even considered writing about the recent injury angle/ruse by Lionheart in ICW and if playing off real life, life threatening injuries is in good taste.


You see, in Scotland right now, the wrestling world is on fire. A revolution is what I started talking about in the first Over the Border article and that revolution is seeing 5000 people sell out the SECC on 15th November for ICW Fear and Loathing VIII. An incredible feat that is testament to the hard work that promoters, wrestlers, crew members, referees, graphic designers and fans, amongst many other professions and brackets, do to show others how great professional wrestling is in this country.





All of this is just paving the groundwork, this tiny country with the big heart, that I call home is one of the most talked about when it comes to wrestling. Whether it's WrestleZone packing over 1000 people each year into the Beach Ballroom, BCW selling out venues with over 700 screaming fans or ICW making headlines in national papers, it's been great to see the evolution of professional wrestling in this country over the last few years.


As a fan, I've found that it's helped me stay in touch with professional wrestling. I gave up trying to watch WWE and even TNA, I wasn't going to source out Japanese wrestling or Ring of Honor. Sure I keep up to date with WWE and TNA so I can jump back in at any time and not be lost like The Great Khali trying to string a four move sequence together. I found more passionate fans about Scottish wrestling than I knew even existed.





We are blessed, perhaps even spoilt, with events happening nearly every weekend around the country, there is no excuse to not sample Scottish wrestling at the moment. From the far reaches of Caithness to the bustling cities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Edinburgh. There is something for everyone.


While we've seen ICW hit the TV screens with Insane Fight Club (and Insane Fight Club II) the real goal is to see Scottish wrestling on regular television. A goal that is possible with the legions of supporters but they need to let their voice be heard. From what started as a passionate article about Scottish wrestling has turned into a declaration, we must let our voices be heard to take Scottish wrestling to the next level. We are in an age of social media where our thoughts can be noted for the world to see, hashtags trend worldwide, emojis are colon closed bracket, there has never been a better time to get your voice out there.





I'm now standing on my chair while typing, like a homage to William Wallace…I need to sit down.


…there we go…







If you agree with me and countless others then project that agreement. Tweet me @VoiceOfOSW, tweet everyone like Steve Brookstein, Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Jenna Jameson, everyone. Let your voice matter.


Anyway, I better go wipe the saltire facepaint off my face and get back to work…


'Til next time, this has been your friendly neighbourhood wrestling blogger.


- Billy

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Live Review: Fight Club: Pro International Tekkers 2015

Just six weeks removed from Rockstar, which saw MK McKinnan succesful hold onto the Fight Club: Pro over Tyler Bate and Rockstar Spud, Fight Club: Pro was back at the Planet Night Club in Wolverhampton, England to present the 2015 edition of International Tekkers. With a big championship ladder match pitting McKinnan against Clint Margera in the main event, as well as Dan Maloney, Eddie Dennis, KYS, Mike Bird, Moustache Mountain, Ophidian and The Wolves all being on hand for the show. Could Fight Club: Pro prove their Tekkers on the night?








Two performers who produced stand-out matches (End against Adam Cole, Brookes against Zack Sabre, Jr.) on the previous International Tekkers, I was expecting this bout to end up in a similar position and whilst it was a good bout, it didn't quite live up to my expectations heading in. That being said, there was still a lot to enjoy with some good story-telling that saw Brookes focus his attention on the leg of one half of the Sumerian Death Squad, with a number of nice submission holds, which sold very well by End. The highlight of the bout for me was a Diving Double Stomp by End, which saw wXw regular unable to get the pin because of the injured leg. The match felt a little too short to fully reach it's potential (coming in at just over 8 minutes), as End picked up the victory in his first match since dropping the FCP title in May.





The villainous KYS duo of Pete and Damian Dunne took on Dennis and Mike Bird in a quality tag team encounter, with the dynamics of the two teams playing well into each other and both getting a loud reaction out of the Planet. Eddie Dennis was your Pride of Wales in Peril, with KYS's working the crowd well, making it easy to get behind Dennis and will him on to make the tag to Bird, that's what tag team wrestling is about at it's core. The sequence that built to Dennis' hot tag was marvelous, edging into the realm of the OTT but worked well in this environment as Dennis crawled across the ring and fought off both Pete and Damian in order to get the tag. KYS continued their strong run of form with Pete able to get a sneaky roll-up victory like the dirty heel that he is, but not before a superb sequence that saw both of KYS taping out in the middle of the ring, only for the referee to point out that the combinations were wrong and no legal man was taping out another legal man.





This was the best match of the first half for me, as Ophidian and Dan Maloney put on a much better match than I had expected going in. That isn't to say that I don't believe in the talents of the two men, I simply wasn't expecting them to gel as well as did here. The two bought a power vs. speed style, as Maloney attempted to dominate the former CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas Champion. The pair bought a different style to anything else on the show, with a superb sequence that saw both men get near falls (Ophidian with a Double Knee attack in the corner and Maloney with a TKO) before both attempted the moves again but had them reversed, with the pace really picking up at this point. It was a big win for Maloney who was picked up the victory with a huge powerbomb and a second TKO, looking impressive doing so.






As has been seen a few times at Fight Club: Pro, putting two babyfaces opposite each other leads to a crowd that doesn't know who to get behind and therefore gets behind no one. This left the match feeling a little bit flat, with no one attempting to get the crowd involved in the action in the ring. The match was rather short, but didn't exactly come across as a squash with Robbie getting plenty of offence in on the bigger Mastiff. There was some interesting elements with Robbie attempting to use his speed, but it was Mastiff's power that came out on top as he caught Robbie with a big lariat after Robbie attempted a handspring cutter. The finish didn't quite look as convincing as it could have and I wasn't expecting the bout to end at that point. Both men are talented but this wasn't their best work.



The big international attraction of the night was The Wolves, who squared off against fan favourites Moustache Mountain. The Wolves quickly took advantage of just how over Tyler Bate and Trent Seven's team is in the promotion, by quickly turning heel, with a sizzling promo about how much of a shithole Wolverhampton is, whilst also making a number of references to their home promotion, TNA. With some fantastic work, the tone was set for the match, with a lively crowd chomping at the bit.





This was a lot of fun to watch, helped along by a red-hot and creative crowd who got on the back of the Wolves throughout the match for their relationship with TNA and especially, Dixie Carter. Edwards and Richards lapped it up and gave it all back to the fans, whipping them up even more and the cycle continued. It was helped, of course, by the fact that Bate and Seven are two of the most over performers in the promotion, and that the Wolves pull out a series of dirty tricks to stay in control of the match, making good use the promotions cage set up.


Whilst the character and crowd work was of the highest quality, the action in the ring was able to match it. Things were very physical inside the ropes with a number of tasty chops and forearms thrown either. With a handful of lovely false finishes for both teams with The Wolves coming close with their version of Chasing the Dragon, whilst the crowd seemed convinced that Moustache Mountain had been able to pull of the victory with a moonsault and splash combination. Davey's "This is For Dixie" Double Stomp was also a nice touch. The Wolves were able to pick up the victory, but Moustache Mountain proved they can hang with one of the most polished tag team duos in the world today.






A marvellously brutal affair, this was a fitting main event of the show, highlighting two of Fight Club: Pro's most prolific performers, MK McKinnan and Clint Margera, in a ladder match for the FC:P Championship. McKinnan's heel persona has developed into one of the most easy to hate anywhere in the country and the fans certainly let him know how they felt about him, with some rather vicious chants at times. McKinnan revelled in it, of course, even getting engaged with the crowd and at one point reminding me that I am indeed a "fat cunt". This character work provided a good groundwork for the pair to batter each other for nearly twenty minutes!


This match was chock-full with sweet highspots, like Margera jumping off the top of the entrance way to put McKinnan through a bit of wood (not quite a table), which looked magnificent inside the Planet. The ladder got plenty of action also, with both men taking some nasty bumps onto the hardware, as well an occasion where McKinnan sent into into the face of Margera on the outside. There was one section however that everyone was talking about post-match, that saw McKinnan's KYS bedfellows get involved and tie Margera's hands behind his back and allow McKinnan to deliver a series of vicious chair shots. This kind of violence in wrestling is either going to Me your bag or it's not, but it certainly made for a great reaction out of the crowd. For me, perhaps this should have been the finish of the match, based on the sheer brutality alone, but Margera getting sent off the top of the ladder to the outside through another bit of wood worked well enough.




Finally...


ATPW Scale Rating - 7.14

Another top notch show from Fight Club: Pro with a good variety of action on display. Dan Maloney impressed in his big match with Ophidian, whilst The Wolves killed their heel persona and knew exactly how to work the crowd opposite Moustache Moutain and the main event ladder match was a true specactle, I wouldn't argue with anyone who suggested either of those three matches as the best on offer.

There's more to come from Fight Club: Pro as they will be back in action on 23rd October. FCP announcing the date of their next show made me a very happy chappy. Find out more about the promotion here.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1161

Heading out of a SummerSlam that left us with plenty of talking points, the 1161st episode of WWE's Monday Night RAW presented us with the prospect of having The Authority's Triple H & Stephanie McMahon unveil a statue in honour of WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion Seth Rollins in the main event segment. With Cesaro, Kevin Owens, PCB, Dean Ambrose and The Lucha Dragons and more in action on the show, could WWE deliver a fitting end to their three night run at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York? (For those wondering this was the version broadcast live on Sky Sports 3 in the UK)





RAW opening with a pre-titles backstage segment was a novel to start the show, with Triple H on terrific form as he congratulated Seth Rollins on his victory from the night before.





Paul Heyman isn't from this world, I'm sure. His handling of the aftermath of his client passing out against The Undertaker at SummerSlam was Malcolm Tucker-esque, making good use of the convoluted finish to truly lay it on thick about The Deadman tapping out earlier in the match. The crowd lapped up every word and popped at the points ("G.F.Y") making this an event better watch at home. The sheer energy that the New Yorker had whilst announcing that Brock Lesnar wanted a rematch with Undertaker right there and then was truly something to behold.


I popped so hard when Bo Dallas came out instead of The Undertaker, because I knew exactly what was going to happen (and if you didn't you haven't been paying enough attention). Dallas performed his role down to a tee, with his patronising inspirational character poking the proverbial bear, with the excitement building for what was clearly around the corner. The Inspirational Superstar bumped around for Lesnar taking a series of devasting looking German suplexes and it was glorious. Heyman begging Lesnar to deliver for punishment, with the crowd also very insistent, was a nice twist to what we've seen in the past with Heyman attempting to calm down the Beast. Could we see Dallas be Lesnar opponent for the upcoming live special at Madison Square Garden?


Another act I'm getting a kick out of at the moment is Tag Team Champions, The New Day, so when Xavier Woods turned up with a trombone and the trio sang their version of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" I was in my absolute element. Big E and Kofi Kingston's match with The Lucha Dragons was hot from the start, with Kalisto looking impressive heading into the ad break. Whilst there was some more cool stuff in the bout post-break, the match didn't receive enough TV time to get too excited about, with Big E getting the pin in just over 6 minutes. The New Day may have been over with the Brooklyn crowd, but they couldn't compete for the affection of the crowd when The Dudley Boyz made their return to WWE, and proceeded to run through their greatest hits on the Tag Champs! 


A promo for John Cena granting his 500th wish for the Make a Wish Foundation, nothing but respect for the way WWE handled the video and Cena for his work with the foundation. 


Stephanie McMahon and Triple H hiding the statue from Seth Rollins was a cute little backstage segment, although them showing the statue here made it pretty clear that we wouldn't be seeing it later on tonight.


Once again Bray Wyatt wore his funky hoody with horns on and once again we didn't get to fully see it, due to the lighting of his entrance. The first section of the bout Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper's SummerSlam rematch with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns was pretty similar to the opening of their match the night before, with plenty of quick paced action on the outside.





After the break, I found the match much more enjoyable than their SummerSlam clash, with Ambrose revelling as the Lunatic Fringe in peril, whilst the other three also put in a shift in their respective roles. The near falls were done well, with Wyatt coming close off a ura-nage, whilst Reigns seemed to have the match done and dusted with a well-time Jackhammer. Perhaps the stand-out moment of the wrestling content was Harper and Wyatt attempt to mimmick The Shield's triple powerbomb move, which got a nice reaction out of the crowd. It was the finish that will be the talking point however, as SOME GUY arrived with a black sheep mask on and caused the disqualification that would give Ambrose and Reigns the win.


However, it's not like Reigns and Ambrose had to time to celebrate, as the mystery man destroyed the pair with a funky submission hold, in one of the most impressive debuts in recent times. It was that impressive that WWE replayed the moment directly after the break.
 






There were elements of Miz TV with Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch that I found really entertaining. I thought the three women did a sound job of getting their separate characters over in the interview, with The Miz acting as a good personality to bound things off. Team Bella also handled themselves well and the two teams back and forth on the microphone was particularly strong, with Becky and Alicia Fox's interaction standing out. However, the close of the segment with Team Bella awkwardly attacking PCB from behind, after the latter trio rounded on Miz, made them look a little bit stupid and the fact that the comments from their real rivals earlier on weren't enough to start a fight didn't make a whole lot of sense either. It was also disappointing not to see anyone reference the "We Want Sasha" chants, as it could have been a good opportunity for the Bella's to get some more heat.





I have to admit that the section of this match that came before the commercial break (just over 5 minutes worth of action) struggled to hold my attention, with not a whole deal going on. It wasn't that the action was particularly bad or botch, just that there was very little that piqued my interest. However, Charlotte did stand out during her time in the match, putting together some pretty cool stuff with Nikki Bella towards the end of that initial five minutes, including the corkscrew plancha that lead the match into the break.





The second portion of the bout, I was enjoying quite a lot actually, as Team Bella worked the legs of Charlotte, which, of course, meant that he ability to use the Figure Eight submission hold was diminished. Alicia Fox's stretch muffler submission was rather nice, with Charlotte selling well. Of course, this went straight over the head of the Brooklyn crowd who proceeded to do a Mexican Wave and chant "We are Awesome". Doing a Mexican Wave doesn't make you awesome, sit down and shut up, Brooklyn. Charlotte continuing to sell the leg by lying on the apron, after managing a hot tag to Paige, made me a very happy boy. It was surprising to see Alicia Fox pick up the win for her team with an Axe Kick, but with the Bella's back to their cheating ways, I thought that the finish offered even more potential for this feud going forward.



The segment that Stardust turn on his partner King Barrett, before Neville proceed to batter Stardust didn't do a whole lot for me, but I suppose it's one of those things that will improve once a proper explanation is given.





A segment involving John Cena, Jon Stewart and Ric Flair was next, and did exactly what it needed to do. We got a decent explanation to why Stewart got involved in Cena's SummerSlam match with Rollins, an appearance from Ric Flair and then John Cena got his revenge on the 52 year old former Daily Show host with an Attitude Adjustment. There were moments of charm as Cena delivered a decent promo about how stupid Stewart had been, but Ric Flair was simply there because he's Ric Flair, with the Nature Boy kind of just standing around once Cena hit the ring.



It was surprising to see everyone in, what was technically the main event, eight man tag team match get an entrance to the ring, although it, at least, allowed the match to feel like a proper main event and gave the commentary team time to get over the various feud.


With two ad breaks in this one, the first portion was mainly focused on the on-going feud between Dolph Ziggler and Rusev, with all eight men having a stare down on the outside being a good way to enter the first lot of commercials. The second portion continued to focus on Ziggler, as he slotted into the Show-Off in peril, as Rusev, Sheamus, The Big Show and Kevin Owens took it in turn to work over the former 2 time World Heavyweight Champion, whilst throwing in some chuckle-worthy ad libs (Big Show's "Feel the wrath of the Celtic Warrior" being a particular highlight for me)





There was a lot to enjoy in the home straight of the bout, whether that was Ziggler selling his knee after Sheamus kept his in stretch muffler variation (with "Are you not entertained?" addition), the cat-fight between Lana and Summer Rae that would lead to the hot tag, a surprisingly exciting collision between Ryback and Kevin Owens and a sizzling conclusion that saw everyone getting involved, this match turned into a great television main event. Sheamus falling to the pin, after a Big Show accidentally hit him with a Knockout Punch was an intriguing ending, but one that would continue to play out following the match.


Big Show getting beaten down by everyone, firstly after a disagreement with Owens and Rusev (Owens: "I've loved you since I was thirteen years old") followed up the babyfaces getting in on the action was a bemusing segment, it almost seemed as if this was Big Show's last hurrah in WWE.


A recap of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar's bout from SummerSlam was shown for reasons.





Seth Rollins, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are three performers who clearly know their characters down to the ground, as they worked this angle, that saw all three of them trying to one up each other in how much they could put over one of the others. Both Triple H and Rollins had lengthy promos, with The Game explaining why Seth Rollins was now the man, whilst Rollins was focused on thanking the Authority for the opportunities that they had given. The whole build up to the reveal of the statue was quality television, with the trio making it clear in their performances that what was allegedly under the curtain wasn't actually there, making the audience stick around to find out what or who was standing there.
That man was Sting and that pop was thunderous. As soon as the curtain raised and the painted face of the Vigilante was shown, the crowd went absolutely nuts and I'll admit to marking out like a little child also. Sting holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship aloft, with The Authority looking on at the entrance ramp made for a interesting visual, as the commentary teams pushed an interview with Triple H on the WWE Network to follow. Is Sting in the WWE title picture in 2015 something that I particularly wanted to see, no. Did I care when watching this segment close RAW, not one iota.


Finally...


ATPW Scale Rating - 6.4/10


This Raw was akin to the style that WWE uses post-WrestleMania, with plenty of big surprises and a fresh debut. The Dudley Boyz, Sting and Braun Strowman's appearances all got a good reaction out of me.


There might have only been four matches on the three hour show, but they were mostly lengthy tag team match bouts, that were enjoyable, despite the Brooklyn crowd turning on the Diva's Tag Team bout. For me, the main event was easily the match of the show. Whilst there wasn't a lot of in-ring content, the show was book-ended by two superb segments, the first with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman and the closer with The Authority that were both handled well both in terms of creative and performance.


This show has given WWE some momentum heading into Night of Champions next month, with Sting vs. Seth Rollins already confirmed for the main event, it will be interesting to see how WWE builds on this over the coming weeks.


PPV Review: WWE SummerSlam 2015

Having to follow on from NXT's Takeover: Brooklyn was a tough task for this year's SummerSlam, but with the huge Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker rematch as the main event and with Cesaro, Kevin Owens, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, PCB, Dean Ambrose and more on the card, could the main roster pull off the unthinkable? Let's have a look, shall we?






Kick-Off Show




Our panel for this WWE Kick-Off show was the usual suspects, as Renee Young was on presenting duties with 3 time World Heavyweight Champion Booker T, former NXT Tag Team Champion Corey Graves and Byron Saxton on hand to give their thoughts on the matches ahead. 


Dweeb Tom Philips had things locked down in the Social Media Lounge, and did actually show us some pretty cool fan-art based around the Stardust & King Barrett vs. Neville & Stephen Amell match that would be taking place later on. 


The first match under the panels crosshair was Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose teaming up to take on Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper, with Graves making a good point about the different dynamics that both teams possess.


Just in case we weren't sure what show was coming up in less than an hour, there was a trailer for SummerSlam 2015, focused around The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar's main event bout.


The promo for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and United Championship Unification match between Seth Rollins and John Cena was absolutely magnificent, making great use of the different promos that both men have cut over the last month or so. Byron Saxton made a good point, as the panel looked at the bout, as he continues to look at ways to make WWE stories relatable.


A video package focusing on WWE's time in Brooklyn over the weekend is something we're more used to seeing at WrestleMania, it was essentially WWE patting itself on the back for doing some pretty cool stuff for people over the weekend, including John Cena granting his 500th wish for the Make a Wish Foundation.


Cesaro and Kevin Owen's appearance on Miz TV from the 3rd August episode of Monday Night RAW was replayed, as opposed to showing a full on build-up package for the match. Kevin Owens coming out to join the panel was an interesting touch that got a big pop from the crowd, as he came out to confront Byron Saxton, it was clear that this wasn't entirely scripted, and didn't particularly go anywhere.


The Diva's nine person three way elimination tag team match was the next to recieve a promo, although it paled in comparison to the one that aired for Bayley vs. Sasha Banks the previous night. The highlight of the panel's chat about the match was Booker T repeatedly saying PCB, seriously Booker absolutely lost it in this segment.


Renee Young steered the conversation towards the Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat, with their main focus being on the idea that Ryback was still injured, I didn't get my hopes up for this being referenced in the match later on.


Rich Brennan's backstage interview with Sheamus turned into the highlight of the show, with The Celtic Warrior cutting a passionate promo about wanting to remove Randy Orton from his path, his use of different levels made this a very easy watch.


Stephanie McMahon's being interviewed by Jo-Jo went less well, with Stephanie spending most of her time speaking about Ronda Rousey, rather than discussing the competitors in the Diva's bout that she was supposedly supposed to be putting over.


The advert for the WWE 2K16 video game, featuring Arnold Schwarznegger aired next, and whilst I'll never get tired of seeing Schwarznegger interact with Dean Ambrose, I'm not sure it actually sells the video game particularly well.


The social media lounge was a buzz with excitement as Tom Philips welcomed Stephen Amell and Neville for an interesting interview, both men handled their questions pretty well with a nice mixture of questions about both WWE and Amell's show Arrow.


The final match to be looked at by the panel was Undertaker and Brock Lesnar's main event collision with everyone just trying to get over how excited they were to see the bout. The Kick-Off show closed with a smashing promo for the main event of the show with a number of current and past wrestlers giving their opinion on the upcoming bout, with Steve Austin being the most interesting of the bunch, this really sold the match for me.



PPV





Now I'm no big Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) fan, to be honest I only really know who he is because of WWE, but I rather enjoyed this opening segment. Stewart bringing out 3 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Mick Foley got a big pop from the crowd and the pair seemed to have some good comedic chemistry on the microphone. The whole idea of the segment was a little convoluted however and could have done with a little bit more thought put into it.


After Stewart and Foley opened the show, it was time for the traditional opening video package, which was mainly focused around John Cena vs. Seth Rollins and The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar bouts, with a large dose of New York based imagery also. 


The French announce team lost their shit during Sheamus and Randy Orton's entrances, whilst Jerry Lawler couldn't get over that one of the Spanish announce team had the same name as him.





This was perfectly acceptable match, but there was nothing that made this match stand out from any other Randy Orton vs. Sheamus match that we've seen over the last few years. The pair ran through their signature moves and did some decent brawling, with a particular highlight being Orton hitting an RKO off a slingshot from Sheamus, although Orton not going straight for the cover was a little mind boggling. At least, The Celtic Warrior is now extremely over with the audience, probably receiving the best heel heat of the night, as the crowd booed almost any time he was on offence, as well as throwing plenty of "You look stupid chants his way". Sheamus picking up the clean win with two Brogue Kicks made me smile as it was a cool call-back to the Money in the Bank holders interview on the Kick-Off show.


Winner - Sheamus via pinfall in 11 minutes, 15 seconds.


Sheamus seems to being readied for his cash-in and becoming the World Heavyweight Champion, following coming out on the winning side of feud with Orton and Dolph Ziggler, when that cash-in comes, I'm quite sure.





I fucking love The New Day and I don't even feel bad about saying it. Their promo/sing-song before the Tag Team Championship Four Way bout was glorious, as they sang their own version of Jay Z & Alicia Keys' 2009 hit Empire State of Mind. The lyrics were funny and well performed by all three, whilst Big E's funky dancing will always be highlight. They've almost become so good at being the annoying heel faction, that a portion of the fanbase wants to chant "New Day Rocks" at them, which is far cry from their face run earlier in the year.





Prime Time Players putting the Tag Team Championship against The New Day, The Lucha Dragons and Los Matadores was exactly what I had expected it to be, plenty of energy and plenty of spots. The regular dives to outside were present with one of Los Matadores blocking a suicide dive attempt from Sin Cara being a stand out moment, as was Xavier Woods planting El Torito's face onto the floor on the outside. The finish was done well with Kofi Kingston managing to tag himself in during a big Tower of Doom spot, before taking advantage of Titus O'Neil hitting his finisher on one of the Matadores and stealing the pin.


Winners - The New Day via pinfall in 11 minutes, 20 seconds *NEW CHAMPIONS*


It was surprising to see The Prime Time Players drop the titles just 70 days after winning them, but I'm certainly happy to see The New Day back with the belts, as they're certainly the most entertaining tag team in WWE right now.


Lana's new outfit was the big talking point before the bell in Rusev's clash with Dolph Ziggler and the change is big departure from her former business suit, with the look much more suited to someone acting as Ziggler's valet.





A Double Countout is such a shitty finish for the second biggest show of the year, isn't it? It's even more shitty considering the build to this match has been going on since the middle of May. The bout itself was building into something quite good, with Ziggler and Rusev putting together some interesting action and Ziggler working the underdog role well, whilst Rusev was busy pulling out a series of new offence, including a beautiful front flip senton. Both Lana and Summer Rae played their own part in the bout, with the pair eventually brawling at ringside, which would cause the double countout after The Bulgarian Brute and the Show Off ended up brawling on the outside also. 


Winner - No one by Double Countout in 12 minutes, 5 seconds.


I'd imagine this is all leading to a mixed tag team match at Night of Champions, a match that I am far less interested in than I was this one.


The promo package for the match pitting Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Neville vs. Stardust & King Barrett may have been the best one of the night, with a heavily stylised comic book theme that got over the previous storyline better than WWE creative have been able to. Capes are in fashion apparently as everyone heading to the ring had one of the bastard things.




For what it was this was an entertaining eight minutes of action, with a structure that played to everyone's strengths and culminated the storyline well. Stephen Amell was much more impressive than I had been expecting, with the Arrow star pulling out a nice enziguiri, as well as dive off the top rope to the outside, although clearly he had a lot of protection from Barrett and Stardust. I was also happy to see Neville get a chance to shine on a big PPV, as when he got the hot tag from Amell, the Geordie took things to the next level, with plenty of pacy action, that would eventually conclude with Neville getting the win for his team with Red Arrow.


Winners - Neville & Amell via pinfall in 7 minutes, 40 seconds


Hopefully Neville will be rewarded for his part in this match, with another big feud heading into Night of Champions, whilst Stardust could also be a factor, it's difficult to imagine WWE trying to do much with King Barrett after having him take the pinfall.


A video package focusing on WWE's time in Brooklyn over the weekend is something we're more used to seeing as WrestleMania, it was essentially WWE patting itself on the back for doing some pretty cool stuff for people over the weekend, including John Cena granting his 500th wish for the Make a Wish Foundation.


With a replay of The Big Show, Ryback (and Daniel Bryan)'s appearances on Miz TV on the 11th August edition of Monday Night RAW, I could barely contain my excitement for the Triple Threat bout for the Intercontinental Championship as these lads made their way to the ring





Thank the wrestling God's that this was the shortest match on the show, because I really couldn't have wanted to see a match much less. To be fair to guys, they did manage to get the crowd onside after about five minutes, with a match that was mainly based around each other's finishing moves and especially Big Show twatting people in the face. Ryback winning the match by throwing Show out of the ring, after Show had delivered a Knockout Punch to Miz didn't sit well with me, considering Ryback was the only babyface in the match!


Winner - Ryback via pinfall in 5 minutes, 40 seconds


I'm praying that this is the end of this feud, as it's done absolutely nothing for, although I wouldn't be surprised to see WWE forge on with another match between Big Show and Ryback for the banter.


Jon Stewart continued to deliver some entertaining content in a backstage segment with Paul Heyman, putting together pretty impressive promo on how he felt about Brock Lesnar ending the streak, whilst Heyman having the last laugh, wondering if David Letterman was busy, was both funny and gave the segment the extra bite it needed.


It was a shame we didn't get to see Bray Wyatt's entrance properly, as he appeared to wear a hood with horns on it, but by the time the light's came on he'd taken it off.





The first two thirds of this match were enjoyable, with the opening section being reminsicent of the style that the two sides used during the Shield vs. Wyatt Family feud back in early 2014. The pace was super high with all four men brawling on the outside and the action going back and forth. I thought having Roman Reigns get taken out with a huge Yurinogi from Wyatt onto the apron, gave the match an intriguing story to tell in the second third of the clash, with Ambrose working well as the underdog fighting against the larger Wyatt and Luke Harper. It was a shame then that the last three or four minutes couldn't capitalise on the good groundwork laid and whilst Ambrose and Reigns hitting a Doomsday Device was pretty cool, the finish of Wyatt being pinned following a Dirty Deeds and a Spear just felt a little flat for me. This was a match that needed another five minutes or so to reach it's full potential.


Winners - Ambrose & Reigns via pinfall in 11 minutes, 10 seconds.


Wyatt continues to struggle to gain a whole lot of traction in WWE, as he continues to come out on the losing side of most of his feuds...maybe it's time to add some members to the Family?


The promo for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and United Championship Unification match between Seth Rollins and John Cena was absolutely magnificent, making great use of the different promos that both men have cut over the last month or so. Whilst Jerry Lawler was rambling about his willingness to shave at ringside, Seth Rollins was debuting a brand new white version of his attire, which looked magnificent as he headed to the ring.




Seth Rollins and John Cena put on a cracking bout over the World Heavyweight and United States Championships, that played well to the Brooklyn crowd. Rollins worked a much more high intensity style than we have seen from him during his heel run and almost worked as a babyface in the bout, pulling out multiple dives to the outside, a Standing Shooting Star Press and attempted the Phoenix Splash twice, with a crowd that was certainly more behind Rollins than they were Cena, it was a good move to switch things up a little here. Whilst there were a few slips (most notably an awkward looking Springboard Stunner from Cena), the pair worked well together as usual to string together a series of exciting sequences, with Rollins copy catting Cena's roll through off a cross body into a Attitude Adjustment being the pick of the bunch.


Oh my, the finish. I'm sure some people absolutely loved it, as Jon Stewart headed to the ring and after some back and forth hit Cena with a chair and allowed Rollins to pick up the victory (Of course, the ref had been bumped minutes earlier), but it didn't do a lot for me, as the finish of a major championship match on PPV. Stewart was also a bit of a mess in the ring, clearly giving away the surprise before it happened, instead of keeping his attention fully on Rollins. Yes, Seth Rollins can continue to gloat about defeating John Cena and holding both titles, but the finish itself just didn't do anything for me.  


Winner - Rollins in 19 minutes, 25 seconds *STILL CHAMPION!* *NEW CHAMPION*


Expect there to be some form of rematch between Cena and Rollins at Night of Champions, but it will interesting to see whether WWE decides to do away with the United States Championship now as well.


A preview for WWE Network in autumn presented some interesting new shows, including Breaking Ground, a documentary series looking at the NXT Performance Center, a new episode of the Stone Cold Podcast with Edge & Christian as the guests, the final episodes of Swerved, the next episode of WWE 24, which will also look at NXT, and my personal highlight another live special, this time from Madison Lies Lies, featuring Brock Lesnar.


The Kick-Off panel were back, with the foursome mainly spending their time putting over Jon Stewart and Stephen Amell's involvement in the show.


The Diva's nine person three way elimination tag team match was the next to receive a promo, although it paled in comparison to the one that aired for Bayley vs. Sasha Banks the previous night. Pre-Divas.





Yes, a Diva's match got over 15 minutes on PPV, but it involved nine women and wasn't actually all that good. The bout offered a real opportunity to tell a story using the unique format of the bout, but that wasn't really picked up on, with the bout opting to go for the regular format of a couple of dives to the outside (which looked good, but we'd seen much better in the tag title bout earlier on) Team B.A.D. getting eliminated after just six minutes with Brie Bella getting the pin, just didn't feel like the time to take one of the teams in the bout out, with the match feeling like it had barely got going.


After the elimination the match became a pretty basic six woman tag, the like of which wouldn't have been misplaced on an episode of Thursday Night Smackdown. It felt like the Bella Twins were holding the match back, with anytime the pair got in the ring that in-ring quality dropping and neither looking particular interested. There was some good stuff with Alicia Fox and Paige in the ring, whilst Charlotte's hot tag was also well done, with Ric Flair's daughter looking great in her short time in the bout. Becky Lynch pinning Brie Bella for the victory seemed like a strange decision also, as having Diva's Champion Nikki Bella get pinned would have opened up a lot more avenues going forward.



Winners - PCB via pinfall in 15 minutes, 20 seconds.


There's so much potential in the Diva's division right now, but until we get to see the end of this faction warfare, I don't think we're going to get the opportunity to really see what everyone can do.


The advert for the WWE 2K16 video game, featuring Arnold Schwarznegger aired next, and whilst I'll never get tired of seeing Schwarznegger interact with Dean Ambrose, I'm not sure it actually sells the video game particularly well.


It was nice to see highlight's of Kevin Owens' match with Finn Balor from NXT Takeover: Brooklyn the night before, as Owens made his way to the ring for his bout with Cesaro.





There was a lot to enjoy in this match, although I don't think it became the stand out bout that many were expecting it to be. The two worked a physical style, with Cesaro especially laying in his uppercuts and Owens not holding back a lot either. Both pulled out some sweet dives to the outside for the show, and Cesaro corkscrew plancha looked particularly impressive here, mainly because he's rarely used the move in WWE. There was also some nice storytelling stuff here with Owens dominating for a while, until Cesaro was fired up with a number of slaps to the face, as Owens continued to show the frustration that was seen from him the night before. A quiet and tired crowd didn't help the bout, but Fisherman's Buster off the top and a Pop Up Powerbomb gave Owens the win worked nicely as the finish, after Owens had attempted the Powerbomb a number of time during the bout.


Winner - Owens via pinfall in 14 minutes, 20 seconds



Owens winning indicates that WWE still have plans for the former NXT Champion going forward, he could offer Ryback an interesting opponent at Night of Champions.


There was a smashing promo for the main event of the show with a number of current and past wrestlers giving their opinion on the upcoming bout, with Steve Austin being the most interesting of the bunch, this really sold the match for me.





I was not hyped for this match at all before the show, but as Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker made their way to the ring, I began to get a little bit excited, because this match had that X Factor, that big match feel, that a lot of the matches on this card had been missing. The brawl before the bell was a solid way to start things off, getting over the fact that these guys detest each other and feeling like a proper grudge match. By the time the bell actually rang I was completely into it and that's a testament to the two supreme workers that Undertaker and Lesnar are.





This match was so so much better than their clash at WrestleMania 30, with The Undertaker looking much more steady on his feet throughout the match. The striking stuff was world class as you'd expect from these two, whilst they both bought a legitimate intensity that was great to watch. Repeating elements of the WrestleMania 30 match that worked, like the multiple F5's from Lesnar, was a nice call-back to that match and Undertaker kicking out of each one built the crowd into a bit of a frenzy. The moment that GIF's were made for when Lesnar and Undertaker laughed at each other in the middle of the ring was the moment of the show for me.


The finish, of course, got the most attention heading out, as Undertaker managed to put Lesnar to sleep with Hell's Gate, but not before Undertaker had tapped out to the Kimura Lock, with the referee missing it, but the time keeper ringing the bell for the bants. It was way more complicated than it needed to be, and it seemed like no one knew what was going for a very long time, with the Brooklyn crowd getting pretty frustrated at what had just happened. It was perhaps inevitable that we were going to get a finish like this, but I'm sure there was a way to make thing much clearer than they actually were.


Winner - Undertaker via referee decision in 17 minutes, 20 seconds




Paul Heyman got Lesnar his shine back with a red hot promo following the bout, so there really was no loser heading out of the bout, which keeps both men strong (or not, considering one tapped out and one passed out) for a potential re-match at WrestleMania 32. I'm expecting there to be a Special Guest Referee for their next bout, with the obvious choice being "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, with the event being in Austin's home state, Texas, as well as the interaction between Austin and Heyman on the WWE Network.



Finally...


ATPW Scale Rating: 6.10/10

SummerSlam was a show that was without a stand-out match for me. Whilst I'd say John Cena and Seth Rollins title bout was the strongest on the show, the finish and the few slip ups prevent the match from entering the upper echelons of SummerSlam bouts. Saying that the majority of the matches on the card were of a good quality, and whilst a few of the matches felt like missed opportunies, from top to bottom the show was very entertaining, with only the Intercontinental Championship bout doing nothing for me at all. 

Tweets by @ATPWrestling