WWE SummerSlam 2014 Results: Biggest Highlights and Low Points
The results of WWE's SummerSlam 2014 pay-per-view are in, so it's time for us to look back on the evening and break down the highlights and low points that made the event what it was.
WWE always somewhat refers to SummerSlam as the second most important event of the year.
With a card that featured the in-ring return of Stephanie McMahon, Brock Lesnar facing John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship among other stellar matchups, the potential was certainly there.
Did everything live up to the hype or did some things fall flat?
Which segments were not good enough to be on such an important pay-per-view and which ones will go down in history as the big talking points everyone will remember?
Let's break down the positives and negatives of the night, presented to you in order of appearance.
Low Point: Pre-Show Kickoff Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro
This spot would have been better served with a title defense for either the United States Championship or the Tag Team Championship.
One of the faults of the pre-show concept is that it is supposed to hype fans up for the event, but WWE can't afford to waste an important match on it.
As a result, the events are usually preceded by something akin to a throwaway match.
Rob Van Dam and Cesaro had not been building up a proper feud to create excitement for this match, so it became a dud as a result.
Cesaro's career has gone down the drain rather than soaring to new heights, and he continued to go downhill here by losing to Van Dam.
This was nothing more than something you could skip—even on an episode of Raw—and certainly would not be a selling point for the WWE Network.
Highlight: Dolph Ziggler Wins the Intercontinental Championship
Two things that will always help the beginning of a pay-per-view are a good match and a title change.
The Intercontinental Championship match between Dolph Ziggler and the Miz accomplished both in one shot.
This could have easily become a buffer match tossed in the middle of two more important ones in order to give people a break for the bathroom, but it was instead given a chance to shine at the start of the event.
Night of Champions is coming up and there are less titles in WWE than there has been in years, so it's more important than ever for each championship to mean more.
Ziggler is a former World Heavyweight champion, and his association with the Intercontinental title will only help its prestige.
Highlight: Paige Wins the Divas Championship from AJ Lee
After turning heel, Paige has been able to turn her career around.
Before this rivalry, she was struggling to remain relevant, but now that she is the new Divas champion, Paige will be featured more heavily over the coming months.
Her feud with AJ Lee has had its ups and downs, though it is still one of the more in-depth and entertaining programs the Divas division has had in some time.
Despite having seen these two wrestle before, there was enough here to make it an upgrade from their previous encounters rather than a repeat of something everyone has seen before.
Paige winning the championship will only help stir the pot and keep things interesting coming out of SummerSlam.
Low Point: Jack Swagger vs. Rusev
Flag matches may not be the most exciting gimmick stipulations that WWE has to offer, but they should at leastoffer something more than a normal match.
There was nothing to differentiate this from a regular one-on-one bout at all.
Rusev already has the Russian flag fall down after his victories and already carries the flag to the ring and waves it before it starts.
WWE frequently pushes people too far for too long before dropping them completely when they suffer their first loss.
Rusev is on the same doomed path, and this was a missed opportunity to turn it around.
Swagger could have easily won a standard "capture the flag" concept match to spice things up and add more fuel to their feud.
Instead, it became another boring Rusev victory that accomplished nothing.
The post-match celebration was cut short and nothing that fans haven't seen before, rendering the entire build a moot point.
Rusev is no better off having won this match and Swagger's credibility has been hurt significantly as a result of his loss.
Highlight: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
This may have been the first Lumberjack Match to take the battle into the audience rather than actually keeping it in the ring like it was supposed to.
As a result, it became a much, much more entertaining fight.
There was a high probability that the intensity would have been hindered by the stipulation, but the inclusion of the rest of the wrestlers actually helped it out.
Ambrose pulled out all the stops by sacrificing his body multiple times; Rollins played up his heel persona perfectly.
From start to finish, this was a high-energy match with a true edge to it that never once faltered and slowed down.
When it comes to the highlights that will be featured prominently over the next few weeks, this match will without a doubt be replayed quite often.
Low Point: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
Having had this match at Battleground severely hurt the importance of this second encounter.
There was no stipulation to add something to the mix, nor was there anything on the line.
Instead, it was just a standard rematch that featured nothing more than what has already been seen.
A big deal was made out of the most simple characteristics that are not new whatsoever, such as how Wyatt can bend over and walk weird.
Even after the disappointing match, it was followed up with a disappointing promo where Wyatt just repeated his catch phrase about following the buzzards.
If this was supposed to be the second of three matches between Jericho and Wyatt, the third match needs to be a significant step up or this entire feud will have been a bust.
Highlight: Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella
Skeptics had every right to be hesitant to think this would be a good match.
Considering the overall quality of the Divas division and the long time that had passed since Stephanie was last in the ring, it seemed like this was doomed from the start.
However, things turned out much better than could have been anticipated.
Stephanie was in proper shape to pull off what she needed to do in this match and Brie was able to take charge, lead and play up the audience in her own right.
The twist at the end wasn't exactly unpredictable, but some fans were no doubt surprised and taken aback.
There are lots of different directions that this storyline can go from here, which is just a bonus on top of an already entertaining segment.
Highlight: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
This match was captivating from the very beginning, having only taken seconds to get the audience hooked.
Somehow, despite consisting mostly of German suplexes and punches, it was a match that the crowd couldn't get enough of.
It was almost a squash match that failed to be a boring one-sided victory, somehow.
Cena came out of this looking like a tough champion who only lost because he wasn't able to handle a beast like Lesnar.
The WWE Universe now has perhaps its most legitimate looking champion in years and fans can now start speculating about who will eventually take the title away from him.
What do you think were the best and the worst parts of the night? Did anything really surprise you or let you down? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.