WWE returned to NYC and Madison Square Garden for their Summerslam Heatwave tour on Saturday 7/12. The show drew a healthy house of about 12-14,000.
*Rusev, in his MSG debut, defeated R-Truth with the Accolade. Lots of heat on a Rusev and Lana and tons of USA chants. The act is over. Truth had control early but was cut off and beaten down with power moves. He made a comeback and dropkicked Rusev out of the rig but was nailed with a thrust kick when he returned and locked in the finisher. A solid match that served its purpose, which was to continue to establish the Bulgarian Brute.
After the match, Jack Swagger charged the ring, complete with theme music. They brawled and Swagger clothes lined Rusev over the top to the floor. Zeb came put with an American flag. He cut a promo on Lana. He challenged her to let Rusev and Swagger fight tonight. Then crowd loved this. Lana told Rusev to crush and we had another match....
*Rusev defeated Jack Swagger with the Accolade. They faced off waving flags. Rusev kicked him low when Swagger put his hand on his heart for the "We the People" bit then locked in the submission. Nice way to add some heat going into the PPV as an angle but obviously not much of a match.
*Natalya and Nikki Bella defeated NXT Women's champion Charlotte and Sasha Banks. The BFFs just split in the NXT storylines but they did some stuff to tease dissension. Some nice back and forth wrestling with Charlotte and Natalya early on. Nikki and Natalya hit a double Superplex on Charlotte for a two count. The BFFs took control on Natalya and tagged in and out working her over. Charlotte locked in a forward choke and slammed Natalya down for a two count. a miscommunication allowed Nikki to make the got tag and she cleaned house on Banks. They nailed the Hart Attack on Charlotte and then Nikki nailed Shock Treatment on Banks for the pin. Real good match. Probably one of the better matches Bella has ever had. The NXT girls looked really good in the ring, far more comfortable than a lot of male developmental talents have looked in their Garden debuts.
*In his MSG debut, Bo Dallas pinned Zack Ryder with the BoDog. Bo cut a promo before the match telling the fans the reason the Rangers did so poorly in the playoffs was that the fans didn't Bo-Lieve. Good match. Crowd was into seeing Ryder.
*WWE Tag Team champs The Usos defeated Goldust & Stardust and Ryback & Curtis Axel. Lots of comedy early including a dance off and the tease of Ryback and Axel fighting. Stardust was SUPER over with lots of chants. They did a dive sequence towards the DNS with The Usos' dive bringing down the house. They pinned Axel with a Superfly Splash. Solid stuff.
*WWE United States champion Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio came out on a crutch with his hamstring taped, claiming he was injured as a way to try and trick Sheamus by saying he needed to forfeit. As they were about to Announce it, he attacked Sheamus and beat him with the crutch. ADR beat him around ringside. Sheamus made a comeback but missed a charge in the corner and hit his shoulder on the ringpost. ADR worked over him until ADR missed a move and flew through the ropes. Sheamus pummeled him and went for The Brogue Kick but ADR escaped. ADR escaped White Noise and locked on the cross armbreaker. Sheamus powered out but was caught with White Noise. They went back and forth with some good sequences. ADR caught Sheamus on the top and nailed a belly to back Superplex for a two count. Sheamus ducked a clothesline and nailed the Brogue for the win. Real good match.
*Fans voted for a dance-off between Fandango and Adam Rose. Fandango danced then attacked Rose who laid him out with The Party Foul. Rose had an entourage including the former Rosita from TNA. After, Summer Rae and Layla ran in and beat Fandango down before dancing and teasing kissing each other. Crowd didn't seem to know who Rose was. Crowd was big time into the girls attacking Fandango.
*Chris Jericho pinned Randy Orton. They did some nice back and forth wrestling early. Orton worked over Jericho for some time. Jericho made a comeback with a flying forearm and went to the top for a double axe handle. He went for the Walls of Jericho but Orton kicked him off and nailed a power slam for a two count. Jericho came back with an eCwnziguiri for a two count. They battled on the ropes and Orton was knocked into the ring. Jericho nailed a flying body press for a two count. They battled back and forth. Orton took him down and went for the punt. Jericho moved and locked on the Walls but Orton made it to the ropes. Orton kicked him and nailed the hanging DDT. Jericho shoved off an RKO and hit the Lionsault. Bray Wyatt's signature noise played and the lights went out to distract Jericho. He avoided Orton and nailed the Codebreaker for the pin. Solid, well worked match.
*WWE World Heavyweight champion John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a Lumberjack match with Ric Flair leading the baby faces and Triple H leading the heels. The Lumberjacks were everyone who worked the show plus Mark Henry, Great Khali and Titus O'Neill, so there were 17 total. No Rusev, Jericho or Orton. Triple H and Ric Flair each had their own entrance. HHH tried to cut a promo but Flair took the mic and that led to them grabbing the mic from each other until Bray's entrance began. They went back and forth battling. When Cena was tossed to the outside, the heel lumberjacks all put the boots to him. Bray did it again and Cena had the boots put to him before they tossed him back in. Bray drilled Cena with a DDT for a two count. Cena mounted a comeback but was caught In a sleeper. The loudest reaction all night was the back and forth chants for Cena during this sequence. Cena fought him off and nailed a tornado DDT off the ropes. He backdropped Bray over the ropes and the faces all worked him over. Wyatt was tossed back in the ring and Cena did all his standards but was freaked out by the Wyatt Spider Walk. Bray nailed an Avalanche one the corner and went for Sister Abigail but Cena escaped and went for the AA. Wyatt caught him with a Urange for a two count. Wyatt tossed him out where Henry caught him and out him back in. Cena was nailed with a back sentom splash for a two count. Wyatt attempted a Superplex. Cena slipped down and nailed a sitdown powerbomb but was pulled out by the heels before he could score the pin. The heels attacked him and faced off with the faces. There was a huge brawl. Cena did a dive off the top onto the Lumberjacks. They brawled to the back. Cena went to grab Wyatt but HHH kicked him and nailed a Pedigree. He told Wyatt to make the cover but Flair rolled in and kicked Wyatt low. Flair and Bray faced off. Flair peppered him with punches including a stiff one that busted Bray open above the eyebrow, which began bleeding. He chopped Bray but was taken down with a punch. HHH instructed Bray to pin Cena so he went for Sister Abigail but Cena turned it into an STF and scored the submission. Fun main event with both guys working super hard despite their insane travel the last 24 hours.
After the match, Cena nailed HHH with the AA. He then took the mic and said that after he regained the title, there was a lot of talk about Ric Flair's legacy. He said that without Flair, the title would just be leather and gold but because of him it means something. He have Flair the belt and then did Flair's trademark elbow onto Flair's suit jacket.
Notes: Vince McMahon was backstage watching the show. He rarely attends house shows, but MSG has always been considered a little "more" than just an average live event by McMahon....Byron Saxton was the ring announcer and did a fine job. Why they never use Howard Finkel here is beyond me. It would add something unique and special and Fink was the best of all time, but that's just me....They were selling new shirts for Bray Wyatt and The Usos as well as signed photos of The Usos, John Cena and Sheamus...Michael Hayes worked the show giving music and production cues.....There were a few video flubs early in the show....They had the WWE Network logo On the venue's electronic boards all night but beyond that no real promotional push, which is amazing when you think about it. How they are not running an infommercial before the show on the video screens is beyond me...A woman who won a charity auction was guest timekeeper and celebrated with the babyface Divas after their match...There was also promotion for the charity in memory of Daniel Bryan fan Conor. The video brought down the house......A good house show overall, even with the other crew over in Japan.