LOS ANGELES - Some young fans may have a hard time sleeping after Brock Lesnar decisively defeated their hero John Cena for the WWE World championship at the WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view on Sunday, Aug. 17.
Paul Heyman led the “Beast Incarnate” to the ring at the Staples Center, which was followed by one of the most dominating performances in sports entertainment history. Lesnar’s F5 finisher in the opening minutes of the match ushered in a trend that continued until the very end. The sold out crowd voiced their appreciation for the massacre with boos heard during Cena’s glimmers of offense and even when officials were trying to help him up after the physical confrontation. This was followed with “nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey, goodbye” chants.
The title change was one of three during the solid event seen on WWE Network and pay-per-view. Dolph Ziggler won the Intercontinental gold against The Miz. Paige regained the Diva’s championship from AJ Lee. Nikki Bella turned on her twin sister Brie, helping Stephanie McMahon get the three-count and her arm raised.
The members of The Shield are not together anymore, but they still continue to excel. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose turned heads in an outstanding lumberjack match. The superstars around the ring actually added to the bout. Even in defeat, Ambrose shined and proved to have benefited most from the breakup of the group. Roman Reigns got the better against Randy Orton with a clean win, free of outside interference.
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The same can be said for Bray Wyatt in his victory over Chris Jericho. The Russian flag stood as the backdrop for the celebration of Rusev (with Lana) who defeated Jack Swagger, who had armed forces men in uniform escort him to the squared circle. Rusev beat up Zeb Colter, after the match.
Rob Van Dam rounded out the card with a pre-show win against Cesaro.
Fishman’s hook, line and thinker
• Many figured Brock Lesnar would win the WWE World championship from John Cena, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be so one-sided. It’s something we normally don’t see, making it all the more memorable. Kudos to Cena for taking it like a champ. He also didn’t deserve the lack of disrespect from the Staples Center after the cameras stopped rolling. There is an element of intrigue when it comes to Lesnar having the gold, which is good.
• The Nikki Bella turn was expected, but adds another element in Brie’s feud with Stephanie McMahon. It’s a diva program that has some legs. At the same time, Paige winning the diva’s title back so quickly has me wondering what AJ Lee’s plan is with WWE long-term.
• The card was solid from top to bottom. Dolph Ziggler/The Miz, Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins and Randy Orton/Roman Reigns were all standouts. I wasn’t sure about the lumberjack stipulation for Ambrose and Rollins, but they created something great. Here’s hoping this rivalry gets extended. I liked Bray Wyatt and Reigns getting big wins over high quality veterans. It helps elevate them going forward, especially if they are grooming The Shield’s former enforcer to face Lesnar.
• I was disappointed that we never got to see a real flag match. There was nothing wrong with Rusev and Swagger’s respective efforts. However, I felt it would have been better if they went that route.
• The $9.99 push for the WWE Network is getting out of hand. There must be a way to promote the endeavor without shoving it down the audience’s throats. Seeing Hulk Hogan was a fun moment, but these live infomercials should not be on big events. I’m waiting for the $9.99 to get its own T-shirt and other merchandise. Fans were walking around holding signs with the price on it. A family even came in their own white shirts with $9.99 on them.
• The stars were out including UFC women's bantamweight champion and “Expendables 3” cast member Rhonda Rousey. Television personality Maria Menounos was also soaking in the sights and sounds of the event. Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, ESPN’s Michelle Beadle and Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding) of “Saved by the Bell” fame were also on the floor. I even ran into WWE Hall of Famer Mike Tyson on the way to my hotel. The boxing champ was just coincidentally in the area, but not for the show.
• It was announced that after six years in Los Angeles, SummerSlam is moving to New York/New Jersey in 2015.
• Visit http://wwe.2k.com for more information and updates regarding the video game.
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• Look for upcoming features on John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Sting and others.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.