For our second installment of Scholar Vision, I found myself in New York City for two Pro Wrestling events on consecutive nights at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The main event was SummerSlam 2015 on Sunday August 23rd, WWE’s second largest pay per view of the year (behind Wrestlemania) and the undercard was NXT Takeover on Saturday Night. For the non-wrestling enthusiasts out there, NXT is WWE’s developmental promotion which typically films out of Fulsale University in Florida. NXT Takeover in Brooklyn at The Barclays was the first major NXT event held outside of Florida, and boy was it a smashing success. In fact, the best match of the weekend, and quite possibly the match of the year across any Pro Wrestling promotion took place during the NXT Takeover event, a Divas match featuring two outstanding young women who are primed to takeover (pun intended) the industry in the coming years. More on that shortly.
Accompanied by my lovely girlfriend, we arrived in New York early Saturday afternoon and checked into a hotel on Orchard street in Manhattan’s the Lower East Side, about a 20 minute train ride from The Barclay in Brooklyn. Though due to circumstances that forced us to alter our original plans for the weekend it was a last minute booking, it turned out very well for us as all things considered the two night stay ended up being very affordable for us and featured an extremely comfortable bed and a beautifully fantastic view of both The Freedom Tower out of one main window and the Empire State Building out the other. Orchard street and the surrounding area featured a bevvy of bars, restaurants, bodegas, and places to shop, so though we were on a fairly tight schedule to ensure we were at The Barclays for the two events, we were able to enjoy the town. If you ever end on Orchard st., I highly recommend the burgers at the Hair of the Dog bar. At half price beers for a good chunk of the weekend and featuring a couple of Beer Pong tables, it’s a fun place to hang out.
Our trip also featured a day spent at Coney Island, taking in the boardwalk, amusement park rides, and some good eats. For some reason I never knew that people actually swam at the beach at Coney Island. I had just assumed it was the rides and the restaurants, so given the fairly warm late Summer Sunday, it was nice to walk out onto the pier, watch people enjoy the ocean water, and take in the Coney Island experience. We had some good food at Tom’s Coney Island (the Cherry Lime Rickey was delicious, I could’ve drank 4 of those things), got on a ride, and walked out onto the pier to take in the sites of people fishing, selling waters and mangoes, and just enjoying a beautiful day. All in all, it was the perfect pre-game for the main event of the weekend, SummerSlam 2015 which at four hours was the longest SummerSlam in WWE history. With special guest host Jon Stewart in the fold and featuring a main event between future WWE Hall of Famers, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, we were surely in for a treat. And truth be told it was wildly entertaining.
WWE Superstars always save their best work for the big events and SummerSlam was no different. The Seth Rollins vs. John Cena “title for title” match (with Seth as the WWE Champ and John Cena as the US Champ each putting their championship on the line) was a great display of athleticism and ended with a Seth Rollins victory by way of a Jon Stewart chair attack on John Cena. Both The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar have great entrances. Watching them both live was awe-inspiring, especially The Undertakers’. The ending of that match was a bit perplexing as Brock got Taker to tap out to his patented Kimura Lock submission maneuver, but the ref didn’t see it. The Bell Keeper did see it however, rung the bell, causing the ref to run over to that side of the ring to advise that no pin was made and the match had to continue, giving Undertaker just enough time to hit Brock with a low blow while the ref wasn’t paying attention.