Every year we look back at the past especially when certain events hit major milestones and it is especially interesting when it is the first event hitting a major milestone. For modern wrestling fans it might be hard to believe that at one point the WWE had only four PPV's during the entire year. The first year that WWE had the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series was 1988 and this is really when the idea of the big four began.
Looking at the card it was nothing special and in my opinion the show got worse as it went on from the first tag match. The two main points of this show was the Mega Powers & DiBiase/Giant as this was the most hyped match from the event continuing from the events of WrestleMania earlier in the year. This was also the height of the Mega Powers run together ahead of the blow up. The other major spot of the show was the Intercontinental Championship match between Ultimate Warrior & Honky Tonk Man. Originally this match was suppose to include Brutus Beefcake but he sustained an injury and was replaced with the Warrior. Going into the match though Honky had his record setting reign as champion and most didn't think this match would be as one sided as it was, but I also think that a lot of fans were happy to see Honky lose after being such a slimy heel for most of his reign.
Overall this show is mostly remembered as just being the first Summerslam ever and was the event that completed the big four for the WWE. Also this event was a steeping stone in the bigger build to WrestleMania that nobody really knew at the time was happening, but looking back we know that now.
Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid draw (time) Jacques Rougeau & Raymond Rougeau
Bad News Brown def. (pin) Ken Patera
Rick Rude def. (DQ) Junkyard Dog
The Barbarian & The Warlord def. (pin) Boris Zhukov & Nikolai Volkoff
The Ultimate Warrior def. (pin) Honky Tonk Man (c) WWF Intercontinental Title (title change)
Dino Bravo def. (pin) Don Muraco
Ax (c) & Smash (c) def. (pin) Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart WWF Tag Team Titles
Big Boss Man def. (pin) Koko B Ware
Jake Roberts def. (pin) Hercules
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage def. (pin) Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase referee: Jesse Ventura
Angle Set for a Return
Last week Raw's commissioner Stephanie McMahon sent current Raw General Manager Kurt Angle on a vacation which leaves Constable Corbin in charge of the red brand. Though Corbin in charge is one story that needs to be told, but that will be saved for another time and place. According to various sites it seems like there was a reason for Stephanie sending Kurt Angle on a vacation and it's tied to him moving out of the office and back in the ring. Now from what I have read it is unclear right now if he will be a full time performer again, but I don't think that is a likely possibility due to well Angle's age and Vince not wanting to chance Angle working as much he did again.
Either way though this report means that Angle will be returning to the ring at some point this year either for a one and done match or for an extended stay in the ring which in my opinion could be a way for him to get his last run. Given the right storyline I think that if this does lead to Angle's last run it would be a great idea, because it would be something that a lot of fans have been waiting for since his return to the WWE. This opens the door to the question of what WrestleMania will be for Angle if he does return to the ring.
The one thing that I am worried about though is how the WWE fans react when things don't go exactly how they think it should be. In recent years it has been clear that the WWE fans are very temperamental nowadays and it has caused a lot of ludicrous crazy rants over some booking decisions. Angle is one of those people that could cause fans to turn on the company making any decision other than a good one. Overall I am excited to see Kurt Angle back in the ring again as he hasn't lost a step, but I am also nervous just based on his status as an active performer or not. Either way though I guess we will have to wait and see what happens next!!
WWE Contract Updates
I couldn't think of a better title for this article as I do want to talk about multiple people instead of just one name. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the expiring contracts of the former New Japan stars that jumped to WWE back in 2016. It is crazy to think that three years have gone by this quick, but the only person that I think is AJ Styles is only person among them that will no doubt resign with the company. This does bring up Shinsuke Nakamura, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows as they are also looking for a new contract like Styles.
All four of these gifted talents came in to a lot of fanfare and with a lot of high hopes that they would be able to hang on the biggest scale. Right now AJ Styles is the only one among the four that has been given the shot to show exactly how good he still is. Since his heel turn I feel like Nakamura has found a missing piece of himself because I thought that he had lost a step in the ring since his time in NXT. I know I mentioned this before that it's possible Nakamura set the bar to high upon his debut in the company that people only think he's flop because he hasn't reached the level he did in his debut since then. Factoring in his age though and all he accomplished across the Pacific in New Japan I think he's not done in the WWE just yet and will resign when the time comes.
If one could look up the definition of disappointment you would see a picture of the Good Brothers, because after dominating New Japan everyone was extremely excited to see them in the WWE. However, things have not gone at all like anyone thought and though you might be able to blame it on the Brand Split very early in their run I don't think that hurt them to be truthful. Looking at the run that Anderson & Gallows have had the only thing you can blame it being a flop on is the fact that WWE doesn't book most tag teams well. Excluding The Shield and New Day because they are trio's and not tag teams the WWE has mostly booked a bunch of lackluster teams with a few of them being able to be called real successes. The puzzling thing though is why did they sign these two if there was no plan already in place to use them in the best way possible. Comparing these two to AJ would be an unfair comparison, but one I feel like that should be made because AJ was challenging for the World Title within four months of his debut.
Overall I think it is clear that the only two I can't see resigning is Anderson and Gallows, because unless the WWE makes promises like they did with Dolph Ziggler to prevent the Good Brothers from heading to NJPW I don't see why they should stay put. Think about it.... What has Anderson & Gallows done since arriving on Smackdown Live from the Superstar Shake-up, answer well nothing. They haven't done anything worth a note since there short lived alliance last year with Finn Balor that went nowhere. I would love to see Anderson & Gallows be given the opportunity they deserve to succeed in the WWE, but if the company doesn't give it to them then I say either head back to NJPW or I'm sure one either ROH or Impact would open the door. Then again remember once a Bullet Club member always a Bullet Club member.
The Summerslam Mistake
Now it is always fun to "Monday Morning" quarterback old events and wondering how things would have changed if things had been booked differently. Normally a lot of fans look back at runs that talent had and if it was a flop how it could have been done better then it was. Until his return two years ago most fans looked at Goldberg's first run in the WWE as a massive flop due to the poor booking. One of the bigger causes for fans to believe that his run was a flop goes back to Summerslam 2003.
Looking at the card it was a decent show and actually would've been a good show without the featured main event. As I think that Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar would've been more than a capable main event for the show, but then the question becomes when they would've had the second Elimination Chamber. During the early days of the Ruthless Aggression era when Triple H was the top heel in the company and this edition of Summerslam was during the peak of Evolution. This meant that Triple H had a variety of possible opponents that he had a beef with. It didn't matter if it was the never ending feud between Triple H and Shawn Michaels, the developing feud between Hunter and Kevin Nash or the yet touched feud with Goldberg.
Overall it was a surreal moment seeing Goldberg debut in the company that many never really thought he would end up. Goldberg's debut was in the very early days of the post WrestleMania surprises and his was shocking because he was placed right into a feud with The Rock. Basically his momentum started high from the beginning and it continued to grow after beating Rock, Christian and Jericho pretty handily before getting into the feud with Triple H & Evolution. Now I know the question becomes how would I have done it differently to try and keep Goldberg building his momentum.
It's simple really because if you look at the latter half of the year with Kane moving up the card following the removal of his mask. In reality Kane was likely in the feud because they wanted someone to take the fall as oppose to making either Triple H or Goldberg. Well the one plus side of this match is that the Chamber shows the top contenders that could fight for the title. Counting backwards from WrestleMania where Goldberg would've fought the winner of the Royal Rumble which I still think Benoit was the right decision. But I think that Goldberg and Kane at the Royal Rumble would've been something fresh for faces to see especially if for the six months prior we had been building Kane up as a monster that nobody can defeat. Honestly I would've also went with Kane beating Triple H in a multi man match to get the shot as a way for him to get his win back on Hunter. Long story short I think that if the WWE had wanted to give Goldberg the run he "should've" gotten from his first title win as oppose to the one he did get things would have worked out differently. Also though he might have stayed for a little longer the first time around and we could have seen some more dream matches with Goldberg and talent that were more active back then like Undertaker for one.
Rusev & Lana vs Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega
WWE Cruiserweight Championship:
(c) Cedric Alexander vs Drew Gulack
Raw Tag Team Championship:
(c) B-Team vs The Revival
Finn Balor vs Constable Corbin
I don't really have much to say about this match not because of the fact that it seems like these two are very directionless and that after this feud is over I believe there is a question if they will be doing anything. Honestly I don't know what the company has planned for Corbin or Balor, but I will point out that both these men have a bright future to be at least some sort of a reliable opponent for Roman after he wins the World title.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles:
(c) Bludgeon Brothers vs New Day
At this point I think the company is using Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the best way they can because these two have great chemistry with each other. Speaking of chemistry I don't think we have seen a team with more chemistry then the New Day in this decade. I do think that it might be getting to the point where the company needs to begin coming up with ideas for each member once the stable has run it's course because each member will have a lot of momentum once it happens. Overall I think they need to keep building Harper & Rowan's run for right now and that's why they should retain.
Money in the Bank Briefcase on the Line:
(c) Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens
At this point I have to deliver props to the company for really trying to keep this feud going longer then I'm sure most people thought it could. Someone said it best when they said that it seems like WWE is afraid to put the title on Braun Strowman which may impact the match, but I think not giving him a shot would be looked at as major missed opportunity. Much like Roman, Finn, and Baron the futures of these two will be dependent on what happens next with the Brock Lesnar saga. I would like this one going either way, but I will go with Braun getting the win.
WWE United States Championship:
(c) Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jeff Hardy
Finally they are giving Nakamura his fair shot to run with a title belt it just happened that they got some cold feet with him being World Champion and gave him a step below. Though I think the booking of the Intercontinental title has better a lot better then the recent booking for the US Title it has been interesting seeing names like Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, and Nakamura fighting for the title; if only they could mix in some other names I think the title would be better. However, knowing that Jeff might not be 100% I think it might be fair to think he will come up short again tonight. With that being said Nakamura will retain his US Title for now.
WWE Intercontinental Championship:
(c) Dolph Ziggler w/ Drew McIntyre vs Seth Rollins w/ Dean Ambrose
Dolph Ziggler has been directionless and uninteresting for the last couple of years at this point and to see his booking improve as much as it has in recent months is incredible. The change in interest with Dolph shows the magic a pairing can have as I think they have high hopes for Drew and are making Dolph look better because of the future benefits it could provide. When Brock Lesnar leaves the Universal Title picture will blow wide open I think that Seth Rollins could move into one of the free spots. However, the rumor earlier in the year pointed to Dean turning heel to feud with Seth and I hope for Ambrose's sake that is still the plan because his face stick is boring at this point and he needs a change. I have also enjoyed Dolph as IC Champion so far and would like to see where the company will go with him after Seth Rollins. Dolph retains.
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz
I will keep this one short because I think it would be better to talk about this feud in it's own article rather then here so that's what I will be doing at a later date. Looking at this match though it is clear to me that this just the start of the in-ring portion of the feud and it will be ending for a very long time. Though fans might not agree or like it I think this match will also show some evidence to the question of if Daniel will resign, because if he loses that could show everything we need to know right now. However, I will go with logic and I think either way The Miz could get the win, but my popular choice is Daniel Bryan because logical thought isn't WWE's forte.
Smackdown Women's Champion:
(c) Carmella vs Charlotte vs Becky Lynch
For most Carmella's reign as champion has been lackluster I just think that people forgot what it was like to have a heel champion on Smackdown considering Alexa was the last heel Women's champion on the brand and that was a while ago. Looking around though it is good to see one brand booking the women well enough to have a match like this unlike Raw. Speaking of Carmella's reign I think it has reached it's expiration date and that one these other women need the win. My pick is Becky Lynch to really change things up for the division.
Raw Women's Champion:
(c) Alexa Bliss vs Ronda Rousey
Having Alexa shockingly grab the title back from Nia and having her get in the ring with Ronda is a change of pace from Rousey's last match and a great decision. This not to say Nia isn't good it's just that for Ronda to have a good match she needs someone to bump around the ring for her and sell. Both ladies have done an amazing job building this match up and I think it isn't as once sided as some might have thought, but I don't think anyone doubts the outcome. Ronda will win the title tonight.
Universal Championship Match:
(c) Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs Roman Reigns
I think the best thing for WWE to do with this match is to not have it main event the show as then it would allow the actual main event or whatever other matches that are left to win the crowd back. In the build to this match I have talked about the aftermath and the match in general more than any other match in a long time, because this will change things. I'm not sure how WWE will go and I don't think anyone will know for sure until the end of the match because WWE wants it that way. But I don't think that Brock has a chance to keep the title this time around as it would do too much damage to Roman letting Brock keep the gold. Roman will get the win and finally become Universal Champion.
WWE Championship Match:
(c) AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe
The match that I think should be the main event, because the two men involved in the match absolutely earned the honor to do so. It is crazy to think that back in 2005 Joe, Christopher Daniels, and AJ Styles were main eventing a TNA PPV for the X-Division title and now 14 years later 2/3's of that match is in the WWE and fighting at Summerslam for the richest prize in the company, wrestling is incredible sometimes. The ride that we have all been on with these not just since their WWE arrivals, but in some cases since the start of their careers has been incredible to watch and see how far they have come. There is no doubting the WWE has not only protected Samoa Joe, but his choke as well for the last year or so and look no further then his feud with Brock Lesnar when the protecting started. However, I don't think anyone tops the booking of AJ Styles since his arrival in WWE two years ago I mean he has almost been WWE champion for over a year which is incredible to think about. Overall I think that it might be time to give someone new a run on top and the sight of Samoa Joe being WWE Champion is surreal, but I think it will happen. Joe will get the win tonight and become WWE Champion.
The Brock Lesnar centered article will stop after Summerslam you have my word, but there is one thing that some might be missing as to why Brock not being around has been a good thing. Now don't get me wrong I think that World Champion should be around sometimes but not overexposed as the champion should be an attraction more than anything. However, with all the talk about Brock Lesnar leaving the WWE to head back to the Octagon should allow us to start thinking what will happen to Brock after the Summerslam event. Most believe that Brock will be leaving right after the event to begin training for his UFC return which will likely happen in early 2019.
The best thing that the WWE could do at the "Biggest Party of the Summer" is by setting up the top contenders for Roman Reigns following the event. It doesn't matter if it is Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor or even Constable Corbin it is clear that this time around Roman Reigns has fair amount of foil to work with in his title reign. Now there is no doubting the chemistry that Roman has with certain people namely Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens, but it would be very different this time around with Roman holding the championship. Also depending on the booking of Roman he could end up working with fresh talent like Finn Balor and Corbin as they've never actually worked with each other in a long feud.
Overall I think that Roman Reigns as Universal Champion is something that needed to happen just as a test to see if this time around things are different then they were back a few years ago. Based on well this weeks Raw was booked the momentum could continue building forward, but they have to be careful. However, with the lacking appearances of Brock this forced the company to shift focus to the Intercontinental Championship making the title seem much more important then it has been in at least five years. My one hope is that even after Reigns wins the Universal title and the title is featured on the show more that it doesn't change the current booking of the Intercontinental title or Dolph Ziggler as it has been fantastic recently. Looking at the Summerslam card I think that Roman and Brock don't need the main event and I think that AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe would an incredible main event based on the history these two men have and the surreal though of them headling Summerslam for the WWE Championship.
Mae Young Classic is Back
To break up the Brock Lesnar posts in this section of the site I thought we could shift our attention to the second annual Mae Young Classic. Last year this tournament was unlike anything we had ever seen before with another chapter being written in the history of women's wrestling. Honestly looking at this years group for the tournament we can see some familiar faces but also a few unknowns that have the biggest chance to prove themselves on a big scale.
Last year we saw Kari Sane get the win in the tournament which in hindsight it was a great launching pad for the new signing, but in the end her not becoming Women's Champion has knocked off some of the luster. Overall I would like to see Toni Storm get the win in the tournament as she is one of the top female performers overseas and this could be the launching pad for her to take off. Now I know some might be thinking that there is no way Toni could win because she isn't employed by the WWE, but just look at Pete Dune, Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, and other UK talent then answer why Toni couldn't be the female performer that the company invests in. However, there is a new signing in the tournament once again from Japan named Io Shirai and I just hope that the company doesn't go the same route they did last year and we have a different winner.
Since the start of the year all we have heard is rumors of how the WWE was trying to use the Brock Lesnar situation to benefit one guy. However, I think everyone knows that nothing will be able to save this upcoming match at Summerslam. With his move to the UFC all but set in stone it seems to be the time for us to once again begin to start thinking about what the WWE looks like without Brock Lesnar. The first thing you'd probably notice is that the main event picture has suddenly become wide open on Raw and that could allow many different names to come up to fill the spot. Another idea that comes up is the reverse as Brock's absence has really prevented the company from putting together any sort of a long term plan with booking or at least I hope that's the reason the company has drifted away from the long term booking concept.
Let's jump in the wrestling time machine to the year 2012 when the "Beast" first appeared back in the WWE and compare the company from then to now. In my opinion I think that the company is in a better position now then it was when Brock first returned, but his presence is wearing thin in the company. The main difference between the company now and then is the pool of talent now is leaps and bounds better then it was at one point.
Currently, the company has names like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Lashley, and various others waiting to either get back into or debut in the main event. Adding to that the company has Adam Cole, Ricochet, Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Allister Black, and many others waiting in the farm system. In a way I think that Brock leaving will be a blessing for the WWE as it would help open the door for others to step up that otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to. Either way though I think it's time that the WWE begins to set up a plan for the company after Brock walks away. In my opinion the best thing that they can do right now is write WrestleMania on a piece of paper writing down matches and coming up with the best plan and how to get where they want to go. Now I don't think this will happen, but it is fun to think that the WWE has some sort of a plan in place once Brock heads back to UFC.
The World Title Benefit
At one point I heard an old school booker say that the WWE did it right when they only had three titles because it allowed for a narrow spotlight. But when they chose to expand the amount of titles it stretched the spotlight to it's breaking point and those same booker's believe the only way to give titles meaning is to have less of them. However, I don't think that's the case anymore and it's not about putting the magic back it's about creating reasons for fans to care. Recently the WWE has done a fantastic job with creating interest back in the Intercontinental title & with the absence of the Universal title it has become the top title on Raw.
Unfortunately though as I mentioned previously this has hurt the still new Universal championship as it is preventing the company from creating interest and stopping fans from caring about it. Now don't get me wrong I know some "mark" might say well if "Roman wins the title I still won't care about it, because he shouldn't be champion." Well at least if Roman has the title then he can stop challenging for it and it will be on Raw every week or at least a lot more often then it is right now.
The reason I chose the title of this article is that right now the WWE still does have a narrow spotlight with only a handful of championships being booked well enough for fans to care. In my opinion those champions are the: WWE Champion, Intercontinental Champion, Raw Women's Champion and Smackdown Tag Champions. Originally the WWE only had three titles in the spotlight, but now they have four that are being booked well enough for fans to care and pay attention when the champion has the ring. The only real question I have is when or if we will ever be given a serious chance to care about and invest in the Universal Championship as the World title is suppose to be a benefit not a curse for the champion.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present
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