Virtue's Rage: WWE SummerSlam Weekend Diary Submitted by Virtue on 08/13/2019 at 11:49 PM
August 13, 2019
WWE SummerSlam weekend in Toronto has already come and gone and another NoDQ meetup is in the books. As an overall experience from Friday evening to Sunday night, I had a great time with great people. Great people are hard to find these days, especially ones that make an effort to like and appreciate your company. As you all know, I can often be over the top with my opinions and views on professional wrestling and many other topics. Sorry, not sorry because that is who I am. I always believe in my convictions, and when I say things, I absolutely mean them. Kudos to the entire NoDQ Crew in attendance: Aaron Rift, Kaitlin, Erin, Noah, Stefan, Jerry, and Amie for having to put up with me for an entire weekend in a foreign country. They are all appreciated more than they may know, and it is no secret I have not had the easiest personal life the last couple of years; however, this team and this forum have been there for me the entire time. I do not want to exclude the other members of the team that were not able to make the trip, so thank you all as well. Now enough of this mushy stuff, it is time to RAGE for the good and the bad regarding this past weekend.
Friday August 9th: I decided to drive to Toronto from Cleveland, OH for the weekend festivities. It was a nightmare crossing the border in Buffalo at the Peace Bridge during commute rush hour. However, I eventually made it to the downtown hotel Bond Place by 6:45 PM. Most of the NoDQ Crew then decided to meet at a joint called Kelly’s Landing for some dinner and beverages. The burger I had was pretty good, as was the cheesecake. For the first time ever, I got to personally meet Kaitlin, Erin, Amie, and Jerry. The pleasure was all mine. As for Aaron, I had previously met him for the first time a couple years earlier in Cleveland, and Stefan in Chicago last year. In this case, the pleasure was all theirs. We spent the better part of two hours there before all heading back to our rooms for a good night’s sleep to rest for the long weekend ahead.
Saturday August 10th: The first big wrestling day would include NXT TakeOver Toronto on Saturday night. But before we would all gather at the Scotiabank Arena, we decided to meet up at the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome. Only Aaron, Kaitlin, and me went up the tower to the observation area. The view was awesome, even though I hate heights. I admit that Toronto is a beautiful city. I know, bizarre coming from me. From there, we would join back up with Stefan and Jerry and travel around the Rogers Centre to the water front where we had to stop and pose for several group pictures. Aaron frequently busted out his handy, dandy tripod. We started having fun with different poses and props which I am sure you can find on social media somewhere. I believe Noah was doing WWE/NXT meet and greets while Erin and Amie were shopping. Soon thereafter, it was time to eat some good food once again, so we all gathered at the Loose Moose (no, not a provocative night club) and got our grub on. I had another fantastic burger, perhaps even better than the one I had at Kelly’s Landing. By the way, my alcoholic beverage of choice up to this point had been Canadian Molson bottles of beer. Not too bad.
Finally, it was time to all meet up for NXT TakeOver Toronto. This is where I finally got to meet the one and only Noah “Just a Simple Man” Foster. Little did I know that at this particular time, Noah and I would go on to form a Simon and Garfunkel like dynamic in the city of Toronto and there are semi-viral videos and pictures on social media to prove it. As usual, WWE delivered with its NXT product and TakeOver Toronto was an easy A- grade for me. I ended up getting 4/5 of my picks correct, only missing the Tag Team Championship match. That is actually good for me when predicting NXT. Nothing against Cryme Tyme 2.0, I mean the Street Profits, but I thought it would have been a good move to put more titles in Undisputed Era to bolster their dominance. Nonetheless, this was very much a hot opener and the “NXT” crowd was in full “NXT” mode. I know, I sat next to Noah, Stefan, and Jerry.
Up next was Io Shirai Vs Candice “Gargano” LaRae. I really love Io’s character development as a heel. I thought she channeled Hideo Itami/Kenta somewhat in this match. Heck, I think she is a better “The Man” now than Becky Lynch. I still think Tessa Blanchard is the best at it, but I digress. Good win for Io, and perhaps Candice can be booked to bounce back from the loss. BRO! Even though Matt Riddle did not have a match, it was good to see him get some mic and brawl time with Killian Dain. It might be time to start pushing Riddle soon. I think his matches are a breath of fresh air for NXT. The NXT North American Championship match was up next, and I thought it was the best match of the night (and not the main event). This was actually a triple threat match where all three participants frequently interacted with one another, rather than have one always playing possum so the other two can do their sequences and spots. Roderick Strong is solid, Pete Dunne is solid, and Velveteen Dream is a potential mega star in the making. He totally gets how to do the perfect blend of pro wrestling with sports entertainment. The Mountie and Toronto Raptors pre-entrance was a nice touch.
I think the people in charge have somewhat been sabotaging Shayna Baszler’s NXT Women’s Championship run. They seem to use her title defenses to be the cooler for the main events. The NXT crowd does actually boo her, which is rare for them to boo anybody, but I have come to realize it may be because they are “bored” with the pace of her matches. At least once in a while, she does get opponents to face that can make her matches exciting at times because of the clashing styles to hers; however, Mia Yim is not one of them. Sorry, not sorry. As for the main event, well, it was damn good, but I feel we have already seen the best of Adam Cole Vs Johnny Gargano. For this very reason, I thought the NXT North American Championship triple threat match was better. Please do not get me wrong, this entire best of three falls match was entertaining, especially live, but it did not seem better than their previous matches to me. As for where I think Gargano should go if he is indeed graduating on from NXT. Well, that’s SIMPLE. 205 Live.
After the event, Aaron went to do his live video with the ladies, so Noah, Stefan, Jerry, and I all decided to go record one of our own. Please enjoy our recap and review of NXT TakeOver Toronto below.
Sunday August 11th: The first thing of the day was meeting at Wvrst at Union Station for the NoDQ Meet-Up. Aaron owed me a drink from a superchat donation the night before during his live recap. Thanks Josh Mansfield for the $5. The interesting thing was, the raspberry flavored beer that I ordered was nearly $28 Canadian. Ooops! Thanks Aaron. I ended up eating a poultry sausage sandwhich with sweet peppers, onions, and mustard on it. It was delicious. I also had some sort of desert roll with cream cheese on it. It too, was delicious. After the meet-up, a few of us and some of the NoDQ Galaxy walked around the city a bit more and Aaron had to bust out his tripod a few more times. I believe Noah made his way to the water front solo to reflect on his epic interactions with me. I can’t blame him either.
Finally, it was time for SummerSlam. If you want to hear my thoughts on every match (including the kickoff show) please see our video recap below. I gave SummerSlam only a C+, even though there were some things I really enjoyed, but no Roman, no Bryan, and no Braun definitely knocked it down for me. It was definitely a fun experience live with the NoDQ Crew, but I have to be fair in how the show not only played to fans in attendance at the arena, but also to the viewers at home watching via the WWE Network. I actually heard of some complaints with the live stream. Even if it did not happen to everyone, that is still a bummer. Before I forget, I want to mention that pyro making its non-WrestleMania and non-Saudi Arabia return to WWE was a small plus. I ended up picking 7/10 of the originally billed matches correct. I missed Bayley, KO, and of course Rollins. Oh well. That is what I get for picking with my heart and not brain. The best part of the kickoff show was Elias doing his usual sports insults to the home crowd, but only to be interrupted and SPEARED by Edge. Sure, it may have been just an average spear, but it still happened. Solid moment.
Becky Vs Nattie was a pretty solid hot opener, but it was obviously predictable. I did surprisingly enjoy the Goldberg Vs Ziggler spot, I mean match, because Ziggler sold like a champ and made Goldberg look better than he obviously is. I think WWE missed an opportunity with not having Ziggler come out as Y2Z to represent the Goldberg Vs Jericho squash match that never happened back in the day in WCW. I really did not care about Ricochet Vs AJ just because I really was not all that invested in it. As for Shane Vs KO, I really expected Shane to win and then they would have had to figure out a way for KO to come back at some point. But I should have known better because WWE does not know how to get themselves out of a painted corner. I was kind of let down by Charlotte Vs Trish as I feel Charlotte had to slow down and work around Trish being a retired wrestler who is a couple steps behind her prime. It was an okay match, but nothing like I thought it would be by being live in Toronto.
Then came the brilliance and masterful camera work by Aaron Rift. During Kofi’s entrance, it appeared as if Aaron was recording it which is what I was going to do so I could once again knock Kofi for flinging pancakes before a WWE title match. Since I thought Aaron was recording Kofi, I put my phone down and let him have at it. Little did I know he was recording Noah’s epic reaction to the New Day entrance and my misery all in the same shot. The original Tweeted video by Aaron now has over 12K views and a couple hundred likes. Memories. Here is one mashup version of the now infamous video:
Of course, Kofi retained the title because of the double count out. Boooo! The official Bray Wyatt Fiend in-ring debut was absolutely fantastic. I loved every second of it and it actually gave me goosebumps during his entrance. Now let’s just hope WWE does not castrate this gimmick. The neck break (kill) was rather cool, but it should have been done after Bray won via the claw. That’s what he should have done to Balor after the match, before he disappeared. Remember, Balor is supposedly going on hiatus, so it would have made sense. Finally, in what was just more or less a rehash of their Mania match, Rollins defeated Lesnar to win back the Universal title. Meh. This was merely done to have Rollins end the show in triumphant victory over the “slain” Beast because the women took that spot at Mania, and we all know Vince McMahon loves ending his shows with his top MEN. Sorry, not sorry. It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
So that concluded my SummerSlam Toronto weekend with the NoDQ Crew. I already can’t wait for the next one. Stay tuned right here to NoDQ.com to find out when the next meet-up might be. You just never know when Noah Foster and I might be coming to your town or city on our Sound of Silence Tour. Be sure and catch all the NoDQ Reviews and other videos on NoDQ.com. Also, do not forget to pick up some Virtue Troll Slayer merch on NoDQ.com/shirts. If you want a hat, troll Aaron Rift telling him to make that a choice in the store. See y’all next time, and remember, if you ain’t trolling, you ain’t trying! Peace!
A homeless man asked me for some change for a cup of coffee while I was in Toronto. I told him I would give him the $4.50 in change from my pocket if he sang a song for me. So he started belting out some Sammy Davis Jr. and it was actually kind of good. I did as I said I would and gave him the change. I guess I am a good-hearted person after all.