John Cena Promo

Cena has his shortcomings, but he is damn good at promos and building up an opponent. In talking about his loss to Nakamura, he did more for him in five minutes than the WWE has in months. He talked about how hard the ‘King of Strong Style’ hits, and gave him the utmost respect. Cena has been toying with his haters since coming back, cheekily calling himself ‘Super Cena’ and relishing in the reaction. He toes the line between younger and older fans with a remarkable grace.

Corbin interrupts

Corbin argues that Cena should respect Corbin instead of Nakamura. Cena challenges him to fight but Corbin states he has the MitB briefcase, while Cena has nothing Corbin wants. He walks back to the dressing room until…

Daniel Bryan joins in

Bryan tells Corbin he may not want Cena, but he’s going to get him at SummerSlam.

Cena worked with the already hot Toronto crowd to start the show off right and built up Nakamura the best I’ve seen since his debut and lackluster followup. The show already has a great energy.

The Usos vs Tye Dillinger & Sami Zayn

This is how to build towards The Usos and New Day’s SummerSlam match. Pitting them in strange singles matches against each other makes the eventual match feel less special and doesn’t play to their strengths as tag teams.

Dillinger and Zayn are both Canadian and loved by smarky audiences, a great pairing for this situation.

The match was intense and fast, both teams seemed fired up to wrestle for Toronto’s usually engaged crowd. The finish involved a sneaky Usos tag allowing them to hit Dillinger with a brutal kick to the knee and a punishing Tequila Sunrise submission, causing Dillinger to tap.

The Usos looked strong, and the submission ending felt great. Dillinger took the loss but was double teamed by a superior group while still getting in tons of exciting offense earlier on.

This was exactly how they should book tag feuds.

Usos post-match in-ring promo

The Usos asked where the New Day was. Big E appeared at the entrance ramp without Kofi and Xavier, who jumped the Usos from behind. The New Day ferociously attacked the twins, even grabbing a chair! One Uso grabbed his helpless brother before the chair could connect and they ran off to safety.

Again, fantastic way to build excitement for their SummerSlam showdown. Both teams looked dangerous and the chair shot tease is how you should use TV to build anticipation for the PPV clash. Is someone new writing?

Horrible Randy Orton interview

Just when the night was really picking up steam, Orton blah blahs his way through an interview with Renee Young (who got a bigger pop than he did).

Orton is useful to put over young guys with his veteran status, but Mahal wasn’t my first choice as a promising, young up and comer. Boring.

Fashion Peaks

How will Breeze do with his second solo week of Fashion Files?

Breeze was going over his dream with the Ascension, who really wanted the pie on Breeze’s desk. They took it and left.

Breeze asked a mirror where Dango was until he appeared behind him, with a tie around his head. He said he was with aliens and didn’t leave because of anal probes…he meant wardrobes.

He claimed he could read the future and stated the next person to walk through the door destroyed Tully the horse.

Arn Anderson walked through the door and admitted to destroying Tully since they should have named the horse Arn after him! (not his brother Tully).

Charlotte Flair vs Lana

Finally, Charlotte in a singles match! Unfortunately it’s with someone who isn’t quite ready for singles matches. I’m not looking forward to her screams.

We see a wwe.com backstage segment showing Lana complimenting Tamina, but wanting her to be more ravishing, and then stating she would challenge Charlotte.

Charlotte laughs as Lana enters the ring.

Flair mostly toyed with Lana but during a sunset flip it seemed like Lana might have accidentally pulled Charlotte’s shorts down. Charlotte seemed shocked and the crowd later chanted ‘Thank You Lana’.

Lana got a bit fired up but it wasn’t long until Flair had her in the Figure Eight Leglock and got the win.

I’m so glad we didn’t have to see another multi-woman tag match just to get everyone involved in a match that rarely improves anyone’s profile. Flair looked great, and maybe this will further Lana’s storyline with Tamina.

Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles promo

The crowd, Owens, and Styles were definitely fired up. It had a big fight feel as the two hopped around, yelling at each other. The crowd chanted both names with home-country Owens getting the advantage.

Owens said that a McMahon had already screwed a legendary Canadian, prompting a ‘you screwed Bret’ chant. Owens cleverly turned it around saying Bret deserved it.

Owens tried to turn Shane against Styles by showing a video of Styles putting him through a car window leading up to their WrestleMania match.

Owens showed another video of Shane not counting Steve Austin’s pin on Mankind at Survivor Series 1998. He mentioned the WWE Network had hours of Shane screwing people as a ref, which got a knowing cheer from the crowd again.

Styles suggested they get rid of Shane and they have the match here tonight.

Owens said he’d rather win the US title in the USA, in a city that actually matters.

They start shoving and Owens gets in a punch while Shane is holding Styles back. Styles retaliated with a Pele kick but hit Shane instead.

Another great example of how to build a feud. Owens and Styles looked like they hated each other and the videos of Shane’s referee exploits sewed the seeds of something to come in their SummerSlam match. Shane stumbled all over his words though and really shouldn’t be involved in so much talking. 

Lana and Tamina backstage

Lana sat dejected after her loss with a noticeable bump on her forehead. They had a back and forth about the loss until Tamina said it was Lana’s ambition that got her multiple title shots, and now Tamina wants Lana to do the same for her.

A bit overly complex but it’s good to see separate storylines in the women’s division and some kind of progress for Lana the loser (of matches).

Naomi vs Carmella

The Women’s division is so small that the MitB holder now faces the Champion just because she asked?

Carmella came out to an alarmingly quiet reaction. Could have been the point of the show when people go to the bathroom, but definitely not what Carmella and the WWE want to hear.

The match ends with a surprise Ellsworth appearance, knocking Naomi off the top rope so Carmella can deliver a weak super kick and get the win.

This match made very little sense. Why wouldn’t Carmella cash in the briefcase immediately after getting the first pin? Or right before since she had enough of an advantage to get a 3-count? Stupid.

Shinsuke Nakamura Interview?

Speaking of stupid, why have Nakamura sit down and talk with Renee Young? Nakamura can be an amazing wrestler, but speaking in English, away from the crowd, is not his strength.

Orton vs Mahal

Mahal got a decent pop for his announcement, since he’s Canadian and Toronto has a large Indian-Canadian population. I’m betting it’ll be better than Orton’s.

I was right, Orton got more boos than anything else when his bland music hit.

The crowd was firmyl on Mahal’s side, booing all of Orton’s dominant offense and loudly cheering for the small amount of Mahal success.

Orton went to RKO Mahal through the announcer’s table but was thwarted.

Orton dominated most of the match, eventually reversing Mahal’s finisher into an RKO, getting the pin. Orton walked out to crowd silence to end the show until

Rusev attacked him!

What the hell was this? The crowd loved Mahal and now hates Orton even more than I do. Mahal the Champion looked like a chump for the entire match. Orton must really have the WWE in his pocket after the concussion incident in his match with Lesnar.

It was nice to at least have Rusev come out and get revenge for the crowd, but treating the Champion like the jobber he was a few months ago is terrible.

Overall

Toronto always makes it exciting and for the most part, WWE was ready to deliver. Several great matches and segments actually build anticipation for the upcoming PPV, something WWE has struggled to do for….years? Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, but the weekly grind of writing short-term booking must be impossible.

Highly entertaining, even with the dud of a main event.