WWE Summerslam 2019 @Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada, August 11, 2019
Rushonrock’s King Of The Ring Andy Spoors rounds-up all the action from Toronto.
WWE played out a memorable Summerslam weekend in front of their noisey neighbours to the north. With NXT tearing the house down one night earlier, the main roster faced the unenviable task of matching the energy and standard set by the yellow and black brand.
Yes, there some deeply personal feuds reaching their conclusions, a huge title change and even the use of pyro in an indoor WWE PPV… but it was another reason why Summerslam will live long in the memory: Bray Wyatt.
Wyatt hasn’t participated on a television match since November 2018, but in April the WWE Universe was welcomed to the Firefly Funhouse. Portraying a deliciously sinister children’s TV presenter, everything Wyatt has been part of, has sent fans into a frenzy. The alter ego that has threatened to become unleashed slowly seeped into the weekly television vignettes.
Summerslam saw the full introduction of said persona, named simply as The Fiend. Boasting a new look physique, wearing a mask straight out of the darkest nightmare and carrying a lantern inside a prosthetic version of his own decapitated head, The Fiend completely stole the show. Paired with a reimagined version of his entrance theme performed by the excellent Code Orange, yet another layer of intrigue was added to one of the best things to happen to not only WWE, but the wrestling industry itself, in a long time.
Questions now remain over where we go from here. Will The Fiend only appear on the bigger events of WWE? Will we see the Firefly Funhouse Bray again? Who is next in line to face the hottest property in the company right now? We might not have the answers, but we can’t wait to see how this unravels. Let’s not downplay the impact this one character is having on an increasingly disillusioned fanbase. Like a shot of adrenaline, Wyatt has provided a level of interest WWE has sorely needed. DO NOT DROP THE BALL NOW…
The rest of the night was, in two words, highly enjoyable. A relatively modest run time of around three and a half hours flew past, with the pacing of the show much better than previously bloated Summerslam events. A shock cameo appearance by Hall of Famer and Toronto’s own Edge on the preshow hinted at a Canadian theme throughout the show.
Stoic Québécois Kevin Owens was afforded a huge reception during his match with Shane McMahon, successfully vanquishing the Smackdown Live boss and keeping his job within WWE in the process. A return to the singles action for the first time since 2011, saw Torontonian Trish Stratus face off against Charlotte Flair. Having moved into the yoga business, Stratus looked more than capable of hanging with one of this generation’s best in Charlotte. She may have come up short in what was billed as a final retirement match, but the emotion on display showed Trish has nothing to be ashamed of.
A special mention has to go to AJ Styles vs Ricochet, who put on a thoroughly entertaining match up of athleticism and skill. One highlight in particular saw Ricochet use Styles’ team mates, Gallows and Anderson’s shoulders as stepping stones into a hurricanrana on AJ. The execution was flawless and the ease of which it was pulled off, simply astonishing.
The main event saw Seth Rollins challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. We have admittedly been fairly critical of WWE’s over reliance on Lesnar, but when he puts together a match like this one, we can have no complaints. A frantic and fast paced match saw both men trade signature moves in the early stages of the bout. After being on the receiving end of multiple beat downs, it feels peculiar that a smattering of boos followed Rollins in the early stages. By the time the referee raised his hand, the jeers had transformed into cheers. A testament to the storytelling of both men in the ring.
Although on paper, it may not have been the strongest or most imaginative card, the performances of everyone involved should be applauded. Slowly but surely, the WWE ship seems to be on a course correction. With a much darker under-current than in recent years, the Universe may be in for a fun ride.
PPV theme: Go – The Black Keys
A laid back effort from The Black Keys with heavy riffs that were easily placed over montages and video packages, somewhat removed from the usual pop/hip hop tracks that have been used. The Canadian thread that was used throughout the night, could have been extended here, but a solid choice all things considered.
Rushonrock Prediction Results (out of ten scheduled matches):
Andy: 10 – Full marks…