Sunday Sermon: Looking Ahead to WWE SummerSlam 2016

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Craig Wilson, Jamie Lithgow and Brian Damage.

In today’s Sunday Sermon we cast our eyes forward seven days and share our thoughts generally on SummerSlam and the build to supposedly the summer’s hottest event.

Craig: We’re not just a week away from the hottest wrestling night of the summer and SummerSlam 2016. I think on the face of it it is fair to say that the show looks very different than we could ever have imagined ahead of the brand split.

Dolph Ziggler challenging Dean Ambrose for the WWE title and, in the other main event, Finn Balor facing Seth Rollins. Through in Roman Reigns going against Rusev for the US title and Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens teaming – JeriKO? – and it’s a very surprising.

So, is it too much change or is that fresh start welcome? Do those matches, or Randy Orton vs Brock Lesnar get you excited for the show? Are you surprised there’s nothing for Sami Zayn?

All that and more in this week’s Sunday Sermon.

Jamie: Good point about Sami Zayn. He was a pretty high draft pick, yet he’s not on this show? Granted he has just finished a feud with Kevin Owens, but KO has moved on to pastures new and made it onto the Summerslam card, and he was a later draft pick. Odd.

The Orton vs. Lesnar match aside, I’m quite looking forward to this show. That statement is in direct contrast to several past shows that have featured Lesnar. He used to rescue mediocre PPVs for people like me, but he’s running out of opponents. I mean, who cares about him vs. Orton? That’s not a dream match, that’s just a match we haven’t seen before…or for a while at least.

That one match aside, I like everything about this card. Very interested to see Roman Reigns perform out of the spotlight. That dude has been under a magnifying glass for the last two years, so it’ll be interesting to see him work with Rusev in a mid-card match. Hopefully he loosens up a little and goes with the flow a bit more.

Brian: I’ve got to admit that I am not enthralled with this card. This traditionally is supposed to be the WrestleMania of the summer and thus far I am just not feeling it. Brock Lesnar versus Randy Orton may be really good or it may be really bad. Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor I think will be sensational and Sasha Banks vs Charlotte should be fantastic too but other than that, I will be hard pressed to think of any matches that will stand out as being “must watch.”

I don’t know if it is due to lack of build up or lack of planning but I am just not that excited for this event in my own backyard. The crowd should be great and I am pretty sure the show will be good, I am just not feeling any excitement for it…yet. The NXT Takeover show on the other hand, I think will overshadow SummerSlam by a mile!

Jamie: I’d echo those sentiments from Brian. While I am quite looking forward to this show, I need to remind myself that this is Summerslam we’re talking about. I am also more excited about the NXT show too. While I am interested in almost every match, I’m not chomping at the bit to see any. Typically WWE cards work the other way i.e. a couple of matches to get excited about and an undercard with very little thought behind it.

Maybe this is symptomatic of this ‘new era’? We’ve got Finn Balor, Gallows, Anderson, AJ Styles, Apollo Crews, Enzo and Big Cass all booked in feature matches, and all of them debuted (or re-debuted) in 2016. I guess WWE has to start somewhere, and maybe sacrificing the ‘must see’ feel to this year’s Summerslam will be justified next year?

Brian: I think it’ll take a little time to get some of this new talent up to speed. I guess in a way I am being nitpicky, but I would much rather Cesaro in Roman Reigns spot on the card. While Enzo and Big Cass are “over” with many fans….Enzo dare I say is sloppy in the ring and looks like he can hurt himself or his opponent at any given time. As for Apollo Crews, great worker, but what is he exactly? Why do we care about him?

Again, Apollo is great in ring, but as far as WWE television goes, he is plain and stale. Sami Zayn would’ve been better suited in that spot.

Craig: I join in with ambivalence towards the card. It really doesn’t do much for me. A few things here and there that are alright. But nothing really makes this feel special. Even the appearance of Brock Lesnar seems forced. The company have had to manufacture a feud after announcing the match for heaven’s sake.

It is fair to describe this has having a new look and packed full of the ‘new era’, if you will, of WWE talent but that’s really the only appealing thing. This is the birth of something new but for most fans it’ll be when this all comes together that it’ll be most interesting.

That said, like Jamie, I do have some intrigue in seeing how Roman Reigns performs in a more secondary position within the company. I may be wrong, but it does appear that Reigns is getting a more positive reaction as he feuds with Rusev than he does in general circumstances.

Jamie: That said, isn’t SummerSlam in New York? I still don’t fancy Reigns’ chances with those fans. The one saving grace is that if WWE could cherry pick a crowd for this card then this would be it. Regardless of how sloppy Enzo can be, he and Big Cas will be treated like royalty. Finn Balor, as The Demon, will likely be over huge. Ditto Sasha Banks and AJ Styles. Even Apollo Crews’ NXT background will likely afford him a certain level of cache with the crowd.

For me this is an interesting card, not an exciting one. I’m hoping the excitement comes during the show – because it’s not forthcoming prior – thus it can be viewed as something special in hindsight. This would do the performers involved no end of good, hopefully…

Brian: The show is indeed in Brooklyn, New York…so it should be a wild and woolly crowd. That in itself should help save this show. Other than the fans participation, this card does seem flat. Maybe I am being too hard on it, but I just don’t know yet.

Takeover I feel will be the better show. Nakamura vs Samoa Joe, Bayley versus Asuke just to name a few. That place will be electric.

Craig: I do think this is a card that we’ll look back at in a couple of the years as the start of something but, yeah, it does all feel a bit flat running into SummerSlam. We can only hope it defies expectations.

You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Sermon: Looking Ahead to WWE SummerSlam 2016

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 34 | Ring the Damn Bell

  2. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 35 | Ring the Damn Bell

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