We’re now more than a year into the second WWE brand extension, and so the modern formula of a joint-brand PPV event having a four-hour running time (five for WrestleMania) and a two-hour Kickoff Show containing extra matches has now been well-established. That being said, this hasn’t proven especially popular, with many believing that it results in the overall viewing experience becoming bloated. Fortunately, this DVD release and now UK exclusive Blu-ray greatly condenses the wealth of content by focusing solely on the main card, along with the Kickoff Show bouts thrown in (sans entrances), whilst removing the remaining filler from the preview programme.
The latest release is SummerSlam 2017, which features a whopping 13 matches, 10 of which come from the PPV itself. Though the line-up seemed a little less appealing on paper beforehand than the 2016 edition did, this year’s SummerSlam did promise a mouth-watering Fatal Four-Way main event for the Universal Championship, the reunion of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, the return of Finn Bálor’s Demon character, and other title matches and potentially gripping encounters. But did SummerSlam 2017 live up to expectations, and does the DVD warrant a purchase? Let’s find out!
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
This should have been much better, given that Cena was involved, and since the opening match should always aim to kick off a major PPV extravaganza with a bang. In addition, the result was another setback for Corbin, who had just unsuccessfully cashed in Money in the Bank days earlier on SmackDown.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Naomi (C) vs. Natalya
I enjoyed this match, as Natalya earned what is only her second Women’s Championship of a WWE tenure that has lasted almost a decade. It’s a shame to see the end of Naomi’s “glow” custom title (hey, I liked it!), but this is a strong effort between two long-time members of WWE’s female roster.
Enzo Amore Locked Inside a Shark Cage
Big Cass vs. Big Show
Unfortunately, Big Cass’ injury suffered the following night on RAW negated the progress made here and in the preceding weeks. It still helps to elevate Cass, though it’s not a match I would wish to see again. Also note the difference in Enzo Amore’s crowd pop here compared to when he and Cass opened SummerSlam 2016.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Depending on your point of view, this ten-second match (which is accompanied by a brawl beforehand) is either a way to quickly feature the bout, given the lengthy running time of the show, or a complete waste of the once-undefeated Bulgarian Brute. Either way, this certainly wasn’t Rusev Day!
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks
On the one hand, Alexa and Sasha put together another good match (which could have benefitted from a few more minutes, admittedly), which has a pleasantly surprising result to boot. But on the other hand, Alexa regaining the gold eight days later, and remaining champion since, renders this result rather pointless in hindsight.
Finn Bálor vs. Bray Wyatt
The Demon returned here at SummerSlam, and his entrance is a highlight as always. It’s probably the highlight as far as this match presentation is concerned, with Bray Wyatt taken down fairly quickly and fairly easily (not for the first time by any means), despite some occasional dominance shown by the Eater of Worlds.
RAW Tag Team Championship Match
Sheamus & Cesaro (C) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
What a tag team match this is. The Shield boys reuniting as part of a well-told storyline, some fantastic tag team psychology, plenty of great spots and a huge reaction for the babyfaces winning the titles make this one of the better WWE doubles matches this year. Their rematch at No Mercy was arguably superior, but we’ll cover that in a future review.
United States Championship Match (Shane McMahon is Special Guest Referee)
AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens
Shane McMahon as referee adds a new layer to the AJ Styles-Kevin Owens rivalry, though it really exists to set up a KO-Shane feud. The action is worth watching but, overall, the AJ-KO feud (which ended two days later in a SmackDown rematch) failed to match fans’ expectations, from an in-ring standpoint at least.
WWE Championship Match
Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
On a related note, I’m not sure if Shinsuke Nakamura’s disappointing main roster run is down to Shinsuke himself or due to restrictions placed upon him by WWE. Either way, this match against Jinder Mahal (already an unpopular WWE Champion for the wrong reasons) is another example of that, though Nakamura’s entrance does elicit a tremendous reaction inside the Barclays Center.
Universal Championship Fatal Four Way Match
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
This is as good as it gets when it comes to Fatal Four-Way matches. Everybody shines in their role, most notably Strowman who destroys everything and everyone in sight, putting him on the level of the Beast himself as an absolute bad-ass. The storyline of Lesnar leaving WWE if he were to lose added another element to the match, though Brock came out on top by pinning Reigns (and did the Brooklyn crowd love that outcome!).
The Hardy Boyz & Jason Jordan vs. The Miz & The Miztourage
Why WWE sends talent out in wrestle in front of near-empty crowds so early before a PPV event begins is anybody’s guess. Hopefully, this particular example will prove to be the last time WWE gets the warm-up matches going 90 minutes beforehand. The action here is fine, but nothing special, and one cannot help but notice that hardly anybody is in the arena at the time.
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Akira Tozawa (C) vs. Neville
When the year-end polls come around, and the Best WWE Wrestler category is considered, Neville should be somewhere near the top. His work in the cruiserweight division all year has been exceptional, and this match against Tozawa is another example of how damn good he is (and Akira, for that matter). Akira losing the purple title after six days may have seemed pointless, but Neville enhances his rep further as the King of the Cruiserweights here.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (C) vs. The Usos
This is the best match of the Kickoff Show, and the second best match of the entire night, if not the best. The New Day and The Usos somehow manage to top their previous encounters at Money in the Bank and Battleground, and this is a genuinely classic doubles bout. This is probably the best tag team match that either team has ever had.
SummerSlam 2017 on DVD (and Blu-ray if you can find it) covers the entire quality scale, from brilliant to entertaining to average to poor. Across more than four hours and thirteen matches, the show surely has something in it for anyone, but it’s also a show which may not quite be for everyone, given that the number of genuinely great matches is in the minority.
I personally enjoyed the show, though I can understand those who preferred NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III from the previous evening, which can’t be found here but which was a stronger overall wrestling card (and with a much shorter duration, too). So, it’s understandable if you don’t pick this one up, but if you do, there are enough strong encounters and entertaining moments to warrant your purchase.
Grab your copy of the WWE SUMMERSLAM 2017 DVD (or Blu-ray)…
– United States: NOW! Grab SummerSlam 2017 on DVD right now here on Amazon.com.
– UK/Europe: NOW! Get your SummerSlam 2017 DVD (or exclusive Blu-ray) on Amazon.co.uk.
– Australia: October 25th. Pre-order SummerSlam 2017 on DVD now via Madman.com.au.