World Wrestling Entertainment's SummerSlam event lived up to its reputation of being the biggest event of the season with a show that was equal parts excellent and memorable. Each and every fan who experienced the show either live or via on demand thanks to the WWE Network (only $9.99) can point to a given moment that he or she will always associate with the August 17 show.
Whether it was Stephanie McMahon's triumphant victory over Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar's destruction of John Cena, Dolph Ziggler's Intercontinental Championship win or Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose's wild and chaotic brawl, SummerSlam was chock-full of moments and memories that will endure well into the future.
With that in mind, let's revisit Sunday night's event with a look back at the instant classic moments of the 2014 event.
Lesnar Decimates Cena
There may be no moment from this year's SummerSlam that's as vividly etched into the minds of fans as Brock Lesnar's total annihilation of John Cena in the night's marquee WWE World Heavyweight Championship match.
Lesnar tossed Cena around the squared circle with reckless abandon, showing little concern for the well-being of WWE's franchise player. Worse yet, the fans cheered his brutal assault. It made for easily the most captivating title match in WWE history, a one-sided beatdown of epic proportions.
The Beast Incarnate celebrating over the fallen Cena, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the possession of the most dominant and destructive Superstar in company history, is an image that will forever be associated with this year's extravaganza.
In hindsight, it makes total sense that Nikki Bella would betray sister Brie and cost her a match against Stephanie. After all, it was Brie's selfishness that led to Nikki being forced into scenarios in which she was punished on a weekly basis. Where was Brie when she was being beaten down by four Divas at one time?
Still, when she finally cocked back and delivered a brutal forearm shot to her sister, the fans in Los Angeles could not believe what they had just seen. It was their reaction to the shocking swerve that made the match, and the outcome, that much more effective. Nikki watching from the ramp, a somewhat regretful look painting her face, creates many questions and storytelling possibilities going forward.
"...And New Intercontinental Champion..."
If anyone deserved a Hollywood happy ending, it was Dolph Ziggler, who defeated The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship Sunday night, capping off a tumultuous year that saw him endure an embarrassing losing streak and inconsistent booking on a weekly basis.
That he did so by defeating an obnoxious heel that fans legitimately dislike only helped enhance the response to his victory, making it feel like a truly special moment that could propel Ziggler going forward.
As has been the case throughout his career, he will have to deal with WWE Creative, which has seemingly taken great pride in booking him unevenly, but if he can catch even the slightest break, he could reestablish the championship as one of the most prestigious in wrestling.
Lumberjacks Be Damned
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose competed in a Lumberjack match Sunday night that was specifically designed to keep them in the ring. As it turned out, 20 of the most talented Superstars in the business were unable to contain the hatred between them, and as a result, Ambrose and Rollins found themselves brawling through the crowd and into the stands.
The involvement of the lumberjacks did not hurt the overall quality of the match and, in fact, actually helped enhance what was already a very good match. Everything from Ambrose diving off the top rope and onto a mass of humanity to his kiss and curb stomp to Rollins told a brilliant story that was capped off with Kane's involvement and Rollins' tainted win.
Simply outstanding booking that keeps the feud alive for another month and gives fans a match they can point to in years to come as one of the show's best of the last decade.