WWE Week in Review 8/2-8/8

hree new matches were added to the card at Summerslam this past week (although one has not yet been made “official”). One has the potential to be a classic,...
Three new matches were added to the card at Summerslam this past week (although one has not yet been made “official”). One has the potential to be a classic, another is of surefire solid quality, and another appears underwhelming.


Rollins Revamped

Despite being the World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins was used as a pawn of sorts in WWE’s plans to resurrect the Undertaker. He was thrown into a feud with Brock Lesnar that appeared to make a lot of sense on the surface, considering Rollins stole the title away from Lesnar at WrestleMania. But it was sloppy at times, with the Authority coming and going and it was inconceivable that Rollins could beat Lesnar without their aid.

But, at the same time, the events at Battleground only added fuel to Rollins’ fire. Getting crushed with the title on the line but still managing to make it out as champion as a result of outside interference is probably the most heel-effective way to retain. It also left the door open for a new number one contender, and in perhaps any other year John Cena emerging as just that would have been a massive disappointment. But it’s 2015 and we are smack-dab in the middle of the peak of an already decorated, albeit controversial career.

The general interest in Rollins has appeared to come rushing back as well. It’s no longer about running away from Lesnar or trying to butter up the Authority. It’s about two evenly matched competitors (or so WWE wants us to believe), with each others respective titles on the line. His promos have more purpose and more confidence reminiscent of a legitimate champion. They still feature the same antagonizing humor, but this time without the cowardice.

Cena winning at Summerslam would be incomprehensible, but given his track record, I won’t feel confident in WWE assessing the outcome until Rollins is holding up both belts come two weeks from now.

Familiar Foes

While Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper will be one of the most anticipated matches on the Summerslam card, it’s also one of the safest. These four have a rich history, the height of which came at last year’s Elimination Chamber when the Wyatts defeated the Shield. And, given the quality of their previous matches, there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe. I understand a lot of people will gripe about its lack of originality and creativity, but it’s a match that is almost a lock to deliver.

There’s also a chance that there’s a lot more than what meets the eye here. A Dean Ambrose heel turn is beginning to feel more and more imminent, given the creative team’s less than stellar booking of him recently. The ‘Roman Reigns’ sidekick’ persona started to wear a long time ago. It’s time for Ambrose to form his own identity again. Turning on Reigns would be, as they say, best for business.

Stardust Ascending

Seemingly almost every fan, writer and analyst was disappointed to some degree when Cody Rhodes returned to the ring as Stardust following the death of his father Dusty. The thought process there was obvious, and it would have made a lot of sense. There’s no doubt he would have gotten over tremendously as a babyface, given the circumstances.

But Cody seems hell-bent on proving people wrong. His recent work as Stardust has actually been pretty entertaining and, dare I say, captivating to some extent. What has impressed the most is his recent work on the microphone. He seems to have discovered the character’s purpose, as he’s molded it into some sort of a comic book type villain. His promo following his defeat of Zack Ryder on Smackdown was one of the more memorable moments of the night for me, and the loud gathering of boos following the win assures the creative team that he’s getting over fairly well as a heel.


IC Title Woes Continue

I’ll start out first by saying that, when a title holder gets hurt, it puts the creative team in an extremely unfortunate and difficult situation. Ultimately, the direction they choose to go in depends upon the severity of the injury. With that said, I take no issue with Ryback remaining Intercontinental Champion while nursing a staph infection, although as we’ve now witnessed, they can be tricky and unpredictable.

However, even with Ryback sidelined, not much was done at all in regards to the outlook of the title. There were ways the storyline could have been advanced even with Ryback sidelined. It would have been especially nice to see a new contender thrown into the mix, especially considering the state Big Show is in these days, both in terms of in-ring ability and where he stands with fans. Instead, the creative team froze. And, as loyal customers, we will be rewarded with that triple threat match we were going to use as an excuse for a bathroom break at Battleground. Only now it’s been recycled for WWE’s “biggest night of the summer.” What kind of message does that send?

NXT Talent Wearing Thin

For the most part, NXT has been an excellent addition to WWE programming. It’s harbored a lot of talent over the past few years and provides that intimate, crazed environment every wrestling fan wants to experience first-hand. However, with the recent string of promotions of NXT wrestlers to the main roster, it can be argued that the up-and-coming talent is beginning to dry up and/or become mismanaged. With Kevin Owens, Neville and company now making names for themselves on Mondays and Thursdays, WWE needs to do a better job at replenishing the talent. It doesn’t help that Finn Balor has been used sparingly since becoming NXT Champion, or that Sami Zayn is currently on the shelf, although one has to imagine the latter will be a regular on the main roster not long after he becomes healthy anyway.

Moreover, as a “developmental territory,” it would make sense to see some of the younger guys play more critical roles. And by “young” I’m more or less speaking in terms of notoriety throughout the industry, not necessarily age. The fans aren’t the ones losing when guys like Samoa Joe and Ryna square off. The ones losing are the wrestlers in “development,” such as Baron Corbin, Solomon Crowe and Tyler Breeze. There’s only one way to find out if these guys are ready for the big time or not. You already know what you’re getting in Samoa Joe.

Wrestledelphia.com contributor Tyler Sablich can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter at

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