Professional Wrestling: WWE SummerSlam: John Cena sitting on ropes during match at Barclays Center. Brooklyn, NY 8/20/2017 CREDIT: Chad Matthew Carlson (Photo by Chad Matthew Carlson /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X161332 TK1 )

Damien Barling: Great Main Event Caps Off Fastlane

Its the final Network event (I’m trying to phase out my use of the term PPV. Its obviously not applicable anymore) before Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans. I write these thoughts as the show is happening…

Can we fire the person who said, “Hey lets have the superstars shoot promos selfie style that way they look as stupid as possible.”

Also, please fire the person who said, “Hey, Nakumara, who is in the title match at Wrestlemania, doesn’t have anything to do tonight, lets put him against the most over guy who we think is a heel but the entire fanbase thinks is a babyface so the crowd can be totally split 50/50.”

NAKUMARA VS RUSEV
The match was pretty good though the outcome was never in doubt. It was a filler match. Crowd loves Rusev. Crowd cheered for Rusev. Crowd cheered for Nakumara. Seemed fine with the outcome.

BOBBY ROODE VS RANDY ORTON FOR THE US CHAMPIONSHIP
No match exemplifies the WWE has lost their ability to tell a story like this one. Roode says Randy wants him because of the Smackdown Top 10 rankings (which I don’t understand at all). Orton says its because he’s never been the US Champion. So which is it?
The match was ok. Certainly wasn’t bad. Randy Orton hits an RKO and pins Roode clean. Jinder Mahal made his way to the ring, in his wrestling gear, and stood eye to eye with Randy Orton, and beat him up. Seriously. Bobby Roode made the save and hit his finisher on Mahal and then Orton. The announcers are playing up the people who lose these matches won’t be at Wrestlemania. It’s really obnoxious. Wrestlemania is freakin 7 hours long. Stop. I’m guessing Jinder, Orton, Bobby Roode at Wrestlemania. Which I hate. There’s gonna be a lot of multi-person matches in an effort to get everyone on the show.

THE USO’S VS THE NEW DAY FOR THE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Remember what I just wrote about too many multi-person matches at Wrestlemania? If you forgot, go back two sentences. The match was just getting going when Rowan and Harper came down and absolutely destroyed The Uso’s and all three members of The New Day. DESTROYED!!! Guessing this is your Mania tag title match for Smackdown. They took a VERY long time getting these guys away from ringside.

CHARLOTTE VS RUBY RIOT FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Ok hear me out here. This was a good outing for both women. I thought they told a good story. The Riot Squad and Becky and Naomi all played their roles well. The match wasn’t the story – the post match was. Following Charlotte’s victory Asuka made her way to the ring and the crowd exploded. Then the two came face to face and the crowd got louder. The match is set and I couldn’t be happier. Not just because we’re getting Auska vs Charlotte but I’m comfortable in the thought we’re getting Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss. Which begs the question, why have Nia Jax lose to Asuka? Why not just avoid that match all together? I think I’ve figured it out. Nia and Asuka have both been played up for their dominance. Having Nia lose to Asuka elevates Asuka and removes Nia from the Irresistible Force category. Also, Asuka vs Charlotte sends Asuka to Raw… away from Ronda Rousey. If done properly, and I believe it can be, Ronda Rousey and Asuka will main event (last match) Wrestlemania 35.

KEVIN OWENS VS SAMI ZAYN VS AJ STYLES VS JOHN CENA VS DOLPH ZIGGLER VS BARON CORBIN FOR THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
This match was great and the crowd was super into it. These guys laid this out beautifully. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn battled. It appears we’re going to get another Shane McMahon Wrestlemania match. Corbon and Ziggler don’t belong here. The “rub” did nothing for them in my eyes. Multi-person matches like this are always tricky because several people have to disappear so mini-stories can be told. Zayn and Owens was the main story. Shane interjected himself. Cena was desperate for a win. AJ hit the flying forearm and we’re getting the New Japan main event of AJ Styles vs Shinsuka Nakumara at Wrestlemania.

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