Mt. Killamanjaro: 2012 WWE SummerSlam Review

Mike Killam

Brock Lesnar def. Triple H

Brock Lesnar forced Triple H to submit to the Kimura Lock in 18:45.

Brock LesnarWhen I watched this match live I had some pretty harsh criticisms, most of which I said over Twitter. Oddly enough, a lot of people seemed to agree! (or, it's more likely the less vocal majority just didn't respond) I watched the whole show on Pay-Per-View with a few of friends, beers in hand, and for the most part we enjoyed SummerSlam. But this match, and all three of us thought it at the time, was extremely boring…

However, I just now watched it back and found it to be a very compelling story. I think what happened was the crowd was dead – and so were we – after a lot of great action throughout the night. But Lesnar and the Game went back and forth for nearly twenty minutes, and the WWE Universe got what it was promised: a fight. 

Brock Lesnar's match with John Cena at Extreme Rules was more brutal, yes. But by far the more psychological of the two was with Triple H; does that really surprise anyone? Cena is a brawler, so in an Extreme environment, beating the holy hell out of each other with foreign objects and at times, their fists is probably the extent of what you expect out of their collision. But Triple H is a ring general, and that showed this time.

Triple HBrock tried to end the match quickly with a flurry of punches and an early Kimura Lock; Hunter unceremoniously dumped him on his ass. The Game tried to exchange blows with Lesnar; the former UFC Champion proved that wasn't a very smart idea. It was clear that while both guys showed they can exist in the others realm (the poetry of Lesnar's picture-perfect German Suplex following a "you can't wrestle" chant was beautiful), there are clear-cut advantages for each competitor. That storytelling is what really sold the match for me, and I'm happy to say it was a theme throughout the night!

In the end Brock Lesnar gets the win and re-legitimizes himself as a badass. We can put his loss at Extreme Rules to bed (finally), but I can't help but wonder what the greater story here is. Will Triple H return to wrestle? Of course. Will Brock and Paul Heyman take over the WWE with some perceived leverage from this win? Probably not… But there's a story being told, and for now I'm hooked. A job well done, and this showed, if nothing else, that even with all that time away from a relatively short career in wrestling, Brock Lesnar still has an uncanny ability to perform within the ropes. 

Rating: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: 

I realize having five "4/5" ratings on a single card probably seems really lazy. I watched SummerSlam twice in the past 12 hours; trust me, those ratings are justified. Everyone who reviews anything takes a different stance on their ratings system, but to me a "4/5" simply means "solid". It means the match wasn't perfect, but it told a good story and drew me in enough to appreciate it. And that was how the whole of SummerSlam felt to me: solid storytelling, good wrestling matches, but missing an essential "spark" that put it over as a perfect night. 

I don't know that I really could have asked for more, save slightly better booking on Raw going into the WWE Championship match. Everyone, besides maybe Ziggler and Jericho (who by all counts wrestled the match of the night), performed to the peak of what I expect from them; some even exceeded that. 

-Every single match on the card felt like it belonged. 
-CM Punk retained the WWE Championship
-Every match told a story; I can't stress how big a deal this is for WWE Pay-Per-Views
-Every match was good; most were great
-I am legitimately excited for Raw tonight
-Top to bottom, I had no major complaints with anything on the show

The overall score may not reflect it, but I think right now I'm more happy with SummerSlam than any other show of the year. There have been better matches, and probably better full Pay-Per-Views, but the maturity and progression WWE made with SummerSlam fills me with a lot of hope. At least for one night, I think WWE was a lot less "sports entertainment", and a little more "professional wrestling". 

FINAL RATING: 8.5/10 

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