WWE SummerSlam 2014 Results: Worst Booking Decisions from PPV
World Wrestling Entertainment presented its annual SummerSlam pay-per-view Sunday night and gifted fans with a stellar show that will have both short- and long-term effects on the product.
Brock Lesnar's utter destruction of John Cena was one of those moments fans will remember for quite some time, while Nikki Bella's betrayal of sister Brie was one that caught fans off guard. Paige beating AJ Lee and regaining the Divas Championship was surprising and Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had fans begging for more after a chaotic contest.
While the 2014 edition of the summertime spectacular delivered far more good than bad, there were still a few moments that had fans scratching their heads and questioning WWE Creative.
What were those moments, and why are they the worst booking decisions of the night?
Take a look for yourself.
WWE Kickoff Show Match
The opening contest of Sunday's festivities occurred on the WWE Kickoff Show and featured Rob Van Dam taking on Cesaro.
While there was nothing inherently wrong with the action that unfolded between the ropes, it was somewhat of a curious decision to book two guys who had been portrayed as glorified jobbers over the last two months while subsequently leaving United States champion Sheamus and Tag Team champions the Usos off the show, the latter serving only as lumberjacks during Seth Rollins' victory over Dean Ambrose later in the night.
Van Dam won the match, meaning he was less of a loser in the month of August than Cesaro—but little more.
The Usos, Sheamus, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were all far more deserving of an actual match on Sunday's show, so to see them used in such a meaningless role or, in Sheamus' case, not at all, was disappointing and a misstep by WWE Creative.
Ending The Miz's Title Reign
There is no bigger, more perpetual supporter of Dolph Ziggler than this writer, so know that the following is in no way an indictment of him or his win Sunday night. Instead, it is an indictment of WWE Creative.
A month ago, the Miz returned to WWE and captured the Intercontinental Championship in a Battle Royal. Much was made of his new character, that of the overbearing Hollywood type, and it finally appeared as though the former WWE champion was gaining traction with both and audience and writing staff that had left him for dead a year ago.
So why take the title off of him this early in his reign?
The goal may be to make him more obnoxious and overbearing, to have him whine and complain about losing his title and having his moneymaker targeted at the same time but there is far more good that could be done for the character with the title than without.
Instead of rebuilding the credibility of the championship with the assistance of a character that was getting more and more over with every passing week, Miz looks like a fluke who only won the title because of his sneakiness, then failed to successfully defend it on his first opportunity to do so.
The championship is devalued with such rapid title changes, as is Miz, whose legitimacy is now called into question after so many steps were taken to try to correct that problem over the last two months.
Air Ambrose Takes Out The Lumberjacks
One of the best matches of the night pitted Dean Ambrose against Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack match. While the Superstars involved in the match were stellar, the imbeciles around ringside proved to be the worst lumberjacks of all time, leaving many to wonder what their purpose was in the first place.
After all, Ambrose and Rollins had both indicated that the men surrounding the ring would be charged with preventing the competitors from escaping the squared circle.
But Ambrose and Rollins did just that, fighting all the way into the stands.
The lumberjacks were there to roll the Superstars right back into the squared circle if they managed to make it to the arena floor. Nice idea, in theory, but when 20 guys are taken out by a single 220-pound man, it is kind of difficult to believe they are even capable of tying their own shoes, let alone contain the hate-fueled action between Ambrose and Rollins.
Sure, the huge melee that broke out late directly led to the finish, which saw Rollins blast Ambrose with the Money in the Bank briefcase for the pinfall win, but there were other ways to go about getting to that finish (involving just Kane) than booking a Lumberjack match and making half the roster look like putzes.
Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton as the Buffer?
Roman Reigns and Randy Orton had a great match Sunday night. Really, it was an extraordinary match with one of the coolest RKOs fans will ever witness and a finish that established Reigns as the future of WWE.
With that said, it was done no favors by being booked in the middle of the Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon and John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar matches.
After a tremendously hot match between Bella and McMahon, which featured a shocking finish, the crowd needed to recover and did so during the early portion of Reigns vs. Orton. The Viper looked somewhat perturbed by the lack of reaction to the early action—despite it all being very good—but was able to recover nicely by the finish.
Still, despite the fact that fans came alive late and popped huge for Reigns' victory, the Superstars deserved much better than serving as the buffer between the women's match and the marquee bout on Sunday's show.
While some look at being the opening contest of a show as a sign of disrespect, Reigns and Orton likely would have thrived in that spot, especially given the super-hot final minutes they had planned out for the bout.
That they managed to get the fans invested by the finish, despite being booked in the worst position on the card, is a testament to both individuals.