Before we begin, apologies for delayed reporting. Currently in Tokyo and Danny Simms said my diligent output was putting him to shame. Top tip for site editors: don’t hire staff more talented than you are, you’ll only begin to feel inadequate. While in Japan, an eye has been kept on WWE, so here comes the first of two reviews.
After choosing the worst name for a PPV, WWE had its work cut out. It was either going to bomb in style or redeem itself on air. Overall, it kinda swung to the latter. Just about.
The theme of the night, for this fan, was how – finally – WWE Creative haven’t been scared to create the correct results. In the case of this PPV, for differing reasons.
First bout of note was Bray Wyatt versus Seth Rollins.
These two have been billed as the future but sold down the river with misdirection. But at this point, a Wyatt defeat would be like serving him his P45 (for non-UK fans, firing him). A man can only claim deity status so many times before it becomes white noise during regular defeats.
Okay, so this wasn’t a classic clash. Which is surprising given the talent on show. But it doesn’t matter. It was always going to be about the result here and they handed the win to Wyatt. He needed an eye gouge but it’s hardly the type of cowardly move that could condemns him.
The Kingslayer has enough in the bank to move on and seek revenge. Wyatt is fighting for his WWE career.
Cesaro and Sheamus against The Hardy Boyz in an Iron Match was further example of WWE investing in the Hardy’s legacy. The result was secondary to allowing them another type of bout added to a career retrospect that’s second-to-none.
The levels maintain throughout the bout were exemplary.
The brothers trailed by a deficit that appeared unattainable . . . until the final minutes. Cue the high-risk spots – one of which left Matt bleedy profusely – and last second drama.
It was the Swiss Superman and the faux Irishman that left with the gold but the Hardys are surely taking slow steps to a Broken story.
The best thing that can be said about Alexis Bliss and Sasha Banks ending in a count-out is that we’ll get to see it again. Nice to see an original gimmick as Bliss used her double-jointed nature to fool opponent and ref.
Dean Ambrose and The Miz is another match that needed the right result, regardless of in-ring quality.
WWE needs to move past these two; The Miz doesn’t deserve to drop a belt only he has made credible in the last year.
So, the only thing that matters, is to say WWE Creative got it right again.
Then they did the unimaginable. They let Braun Strowman beat Roman Reigns in their ambulance match.
It was a brutal bout and Reigns didn’t look weak (golden boy protection). If the shock of the fall wasn’t enough, Reigns did something that was pure heel: he attempted homicide on a live PPV.
After fighting out of the ambulance, he threw Strowman in the back, drove out of the arena into the parking lot and then reversed – at pace – into an overhanging trailer.
The ambulance was partly crushed, Strowman inside.
My beady eye noticed the stunt was pre-recorded but this can be forgiven.
Oh, and The Monster Among Men eventually walked (hobbled) away from the wreck.
Which leaves us the main event. Lesnar v Joe.
Some will say Samoa Joe deserved a chance with the strap. I can’t disagree with the sentiment but we have to remember, he was here through chance. Injuries to others, thus, changes to the programme, meant this was a placeholder.
But Creative allowed Brock to once again appear beatable. Joe took his best, and for a while, traded with Lesnar.
He attacked him before the bell and never let up.
Brock Lesnar left your Universal Champion but the seed has been planted that he can be overthrown.
Expect Joe and those involved in the ambulance match to make that come true at SummerSlam.