Three Major Mistakes Made at WWE SummerSlam

Michael Patterson
wwe summerslam

(Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

SummerSlam may have provided us with some incredibly memorable moments, but the event also had its drawbacks. While we were in awe of Braun Strowman in the main event, reminiscing about the Shield during Ambrose and Rollins’ match and marking out at the return of the Demon King, it was impossible not to be disappointed by some of the questionable booking decisions that took place throughout the night.

Whether it was the wrong outcome in a match, or the burial of a promising superstar, let’s take a look at everything wrong with 2017’s Biggest Party Of The Summer.

Baron Corbin’s Treatment

Heading into SummerSlam, it seemed like WWE was setting Baron Corbin up to be SmackDown LIVE’s version of Braun Strowman. He was imposing, aggressive and left destruction in his wake, but most importantly: he was Mr. Money In The Bank. But then, the week before his match with John Cena at SummerSlam, Corbin cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on WWE Champion Jinder Mahal – only to immediately lose the match due to Cena’s interference.

While this booking decision was undoubtedly questionable and senseless, there was one way of justifying it – having Corbin dominate Cena at SummerSlam. But instead of that logical idea, we got a typical run-of-the-mill mediocre Cena match, which saw the big bad heel dominate, only to lose after one finisher. Moreover, Cena’s arrogant commentary throughout the match painted Corbin as nothing more than a kid who throws tempter tantrums – a far cry from the monster WWE had been portraying him as.

Don’t get me wrong, Corbin didn’t necessarily need a victory – losing to John Cena doesn’t have to be a bad thing (let’s face it, it happens to almost everybody). He could have just been made to look dominant while coming up a little short. But the moment they took his briefcase from him became the moment that he needed the win. But not only did they refuse to give him the victory, they didn’t even give him the former, and instead allowed him to suffer one of the worst burials in recent memory.

Now John Cena gets to swan off to RAW with another victory on his resume, while Baron Corbin is left far worse off, thanks to this seemingly pointless feud that did neither man any favors. After the WWE veteran had done so much in recent years to help the mid-card flourish, SuperCena returned with a remorseless vengeance at SummerSlam and buried one of the blue brand’s brightest stars.

Randy Orton Vs. Rusev

What is there to say about Randy Orton and Rusev’s match? Since his first monster run was ended by John Cena (ironic, right?) two years ago, the Bulgarian Brute has drifting, unable to reclaim the unstoppable status he had following his debut. WWE tried to recreate the magic last year, but that run wasn’t anywhere near as convincing and was abruptly ended by Roman Reigns (also ironic).
But things were looking up for Rusev when he was moved to SmackDown. The blue brand is considered the land of opportunity and is renowned for making stars out of RAW’s wasted opportunities. Rusev was obviously going to get the same treatment, right? Wrong.

Before his match against Orton, Rusev attacked the Viper and brutally assaulted him outside the ring. With the fire back in his eyes, things were looking up for the Bulgarian Brute…until he ate an RKO in a 10 second match. And this undid Rusev all over again. Much like we saw with the Corbin/Cena debacle, how are we supposed to take this vicious brute seriously if he’s so easy to beat?

Moreover, the match didn’t do Randy Orton any favors either. After a not-so-convincing WWE title run, the Viper found himself on the losing end of three less-than-stellar encounters with Champion Jinder Mahal. So yes, he needed to make a convincing comeback but a 10-second squash match is not the way to regain that momentum.

The “match” was undoubtedly another low point for the evening, and served no purpose whatsoever. Orton didn’t need a win and Rusev didn’t deserve that kind of burial.

Been There, Done That

Another unusual booking decision came in the WWE Championship match, which saw Jinder Mahal defeat Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his title. And it wasn’t Mahal’s victory that made this a lowpoint, it was the way he won – thanks to interference from the Singh Brothers…again.

SmackDown LIVE must be commended for taking a risk and shining the spotlight on a consistently overlooked superstar like Mahal. It’s safe to say that few expected him to win the WWE Championship, but that’s exactly what he did – and he’s thrived ever since. However, SmackDown hasn’t. And it isn’t because of Mahal himself, it’s the repetitive nature of how he keeps retaining the championship.

Back in 2004, when JBL defeated the likes of Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero and Booker T due to outside interference from his cabinet, it eventually came to a head in a Fatal 4-Way match in which his posse was banned from ringside. While Heidenreich’s interference cost the Undertaker the match, JBL managed to win without the help of his cabinet – solidifying him as a defiant but fighting champion.
Similarly, during Seth Rollins’s WWE Championship reign, the Architect managed to defeat the likes of Sting and Kane without the Authority’s help, proving that he could get the job done on his own.

Consistently having Mahal retain his title in the same manner doesn’t do him any favors. He is consistently being portrayed as someone who needs help to win the big matches. And while that’s normal heel behavior, a grand stage like SummerSlam should have been the breaking point – in which he should have either won the match clean or lost the title. The Biggest Party Of The Summer should not have just been another stop on the “Been There, Done That” tour for Mahal and the Singh Brothers.

Without a doubt, the superstars of WWE put on one heck of a show at this year’s SummerSlam. But despite some of the incredible matches and perfect outcomes, these questionable decisions above ended up souring quite a large porton of the evening. With promising careers buried and repetitive storylines, WWE failed to utilize SummerSlam’s full potential. While the whole show should have felt like a mini-WrestleMania, quite a lot of it ended up feeling like one of the many B-shows on the WWE Calendar.

What did you think of WWE SummerSlam? Let us know in the comments below!

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