The Biggest Event of the Summer is upon us and holy crap there’s a lot of matches on this show. There weren’t even this many matches at WrestleMania this year. Not including the pre-show (and nobody does) this years edition of SummerSlam consists of ten matches. Every championship will be defended, the first ever Universal Championship will be crowned and Brock Lesnar is here to collect a paycheck and nothing else. There is so much to cover seeing as it’s a four hour show, so I’m going to jump straight into it.
We start off the show with Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens, now known collectively as ‘Jeri-KO’, taking on Enzo & Big Cass who are in their hometown of Brooklyn tonight (Well, technically Enzo is from New Jersey, but Big Cass is in his hometown so that counts). Regardless, Enzo & Cass received a massive ovation to get the crowd pumped up because they’re in for a long night. They do their usual spiel and make some New York song references, it’s all fine.
The match goes roughly ten minutes and was a perfectly adequate way to kick off the show. Enzo & Cass did their usual stuff of Cass using Enzo’s body as a weapon just by throwing him into people throughout the match. Jeri-KO get the win when Kevin Owens launched Enzo into a Codebreaker. Pretty good opener.
As you’ll see throughout the show, the scheduling of the matches is baffling and one of the main events of the show is coming on second as Sasha Banks is defending her WWE Women’s Championship against Charlotte. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written, but I just wanted another excuse to post this.
I spotted Sasha Banks wandering around the streets of Adelaide catching Pokemon the other week during the Australian tour. We briefly spoke about Pokemon and now we’re friends and don’t you dare tell me otherwise. Anyway, I’ll get back to the match now.
Rather early on in the match a scary moment occurs when Charlotte drops Sasha along the top rope and she lands nastily on her neck, which in slow-motion makes me cringe even more. For the rest of the match I was just watching her neck and her nearly land on it multiple times. In a genuine shocker, Charlotte reverses the pressure of the Bank Statement into a pinning situation and scores the win. Charlotte has regained the WWE Women’s Championship. The match went almost fifteen minutes and was once again a great showing from them. It doesn’t quite top their encounter from Raw a few weeks ago, but very good nevertheless.
We’re moving onto the first offering from Smackdown on SummerSlam with The Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship against ‘Mr. Personality’ Apollo Crews. You have to feel sorry for Crews, he has been given no character and this match has received no build. In fact, the only build that this match received was aired during the commercial break and I’m not even joking. The match goes about five minutes and Miz retains off the Skull Crushing Finale. Apollo Crews is on thin ice, he needs something big and needs it soon.
Another main event is about to start prematurely as we finally get the return match, AJ Styles vs. John Cena. Back at Money in the Bank, AJ Styles pinned John Cena with interference from The Club but now that The Club have been separated and put on different shows, this match will be guaranteed to be one on one. The match was easily the best of the night, going almost twenty five minutes and obviously topping their encounter from Money in the Bank.
AJ Styles managed to kick out of the Attitude Adjustment off the second rope, which left Cena in a state of bewilderment. Cena wasted time staring at Styles, which allowed him to hit the Styles Clash followed by the Phenomenal Forearm to pick up the one hundred percent, squeaky clean victory. AJ Styles for the first time, manages to come out of a rivalry on top. Let’s hope that this means he will be moving towards the WWE Championship.
When Gallows & Anderson took out Big E. by driving him groin first into the ring post, they started dressing as doctors and going ‘ball-istic’ on the testicle jokes (yes, I am very proud of that one). Kofi and Xavier will be representing The New Day while Big E. recovers as they defend their Tag Team Championships against The Club. Jon Stewart is at ringside for The New Day because f**k it, why not?
When Jon Stewart jumps into the ring and Gallows & Anderson look like they’re about to replicate what they did with Big E. to Jon Stewart, Big E. returns and attacks The Club, thus causing a disqualification and The New Day retain the Tag Team Championships. Tomorrow, The New Day will have held onto the championships for exactly one year.
If you had told me six months ago that Dean Ambrose would be defending the WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler in one of the main events at SummerSlam, I would have called you a dirty liar and a scoundrel for lying. But in this weird world, that is exactly what’s happening. After miraculously retaining the title in the Triple Threat at Battleground, Dean Ambrose awaited a new challenger when Smackdown properly launched four weeks ago. After several years of floundering, Dolph Ziggler found new life and scored himself a fresh main event push.
Sadly, this match was quite underwhelming. The crowd in Brooklyn didn’t seem particularly interested in it, Dean and Dolph didn’t have a contest that matched the impressive build that the story deserved. Plus, Smackdown really needed this bout to make their main event scene look as big as Raw’s is and they didn’t follow through, which is disappointing.
Eva Marie has been one of the most entertaining aspects of Smackdown these last few weeks. What a sentence that is, it feels weird to type but it’s true. Eva has been doing this gimmick where she finds every excuse not to compete and ironically (and it’s unintentionally hilarious) has been legitimately suspended for violating the WWE Wellness Policy. This just works too easily into the storyline. That means Alexa Bliss and Natalya had to find a replacement in the tag match against Becky Lynch, Carmella and Naomi who has this new gimmick where she’s a literal walking rave. Nikki Bella makes her surprise return after ten months away following neck surgery and gets a hell of a reaction which you can see in the video above.
Nikki Bella needed to find a new finishing move as her previous one is actually what caused her neck issues, and she gets the win for her team with a TKO. I’m so happy to see Nikki again, she worked so hard for the women’s division to be taken seriously and she deserves to be able to be part of a division that WWE is at least attempting to take seriously.
When Dean Ambrose took the WWE Championship to Smackdown, it left Raw without a championship and required them to create a new title. It was announced four weeks ago that at SummerSlam, the first ever WWE Universal Champion would be crowned in a match between Seth Rollins and newcomer, Finn Balor. One of the main talking points is what the new championship would look like and they went with this…
What the absolute f**k is that!? Does Charlotte know that WWE have gone into her bag, taken her title and defaced it? We just got rid of the ugliest title WWE have ever seen in the Diva’s Championship, but I think we’ve got ourselves a new contender for that crown. It looks absolutely hideous. Brooklyn noticed very quickly that the title is ugly as sin, so chants of “that belt sucks” to the New Day Rocks chant and “that title sucks!” to the tune of John Cena’s music. It was quite the burial.
Sadly, the outcry over the championship design distracted from the match itself which was pretty good. It wouldn’t have set the world on fire if the crowd had it’s full attention on it, but it was a decent contest which saw Finn Balor hit the Coup De Grace to pin Rollins and become the first ever Universal Champion. Whenever the title was on screen, the crowd booed it so Finn was wise enough to not raise the title when he was in the middle of his celebration. Congratulation Finn Balor, sorry about your new belt.
Following Roman Reigns’ suspension, he was sent to the mid-card and is now in the hunt for the United States Championship. This show has been dragging for a while now, so mercifully this match doesn’t properly get started and it’s just a brawl all over ringside and Reigns bludgeoning Rusev with a chair. Rusev is trying to defend the honour of his wife and is being destroyed for it, what a good guy Roman is. Anyway, Rusev is still champion and we can finally get to the main event.
Main event time (finally) and if you include the pre-show, it’s been a six hour wait for Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton. This match is exactly what you expected it to be, physical and filled to the brim with German Suplex’s. For weeks Randy Orton has been saying “it only takes one RKO to go to Viperville” while everyone groans, but he delivered an RKO on the announce table and another one in the ring and he still didn’t win. Lesnar goes on a ground and pound attack on Orton and causes him to be busted open and it’s a bad cut. Blood is pooling on the canvas and Randy is in a bad way so the referee calls for the bell. Brock Lesnar wins by TKO.
Just because the match is over doesn’t mean Brock Lesnar stops. Brock Lesnar is a giant, walking, hairless Rottweiler and will not be contained. He keeps on Orton until Shane McMahon comes in the ring, asking him to please stop and leave the ring. Lesnar stares down Shane and hits him with the F5 to close the show. Wait, that was it? Huh.
I’m not mad at you SummerSlam, I’m just disappointed. Going into the show with all the matches that were confirmed, the show had all the potential in the world but it for some reason or another didn’t live up to the hype in most cases. Some of the few highlights included AJ Styles getting a clean win over John Cena which is his most important win of his short WWE career thus far. Finn Balor receiving his crowning moment by becoming the first WWE Universal Champion. Sasha Banks and Charlotte putting on yet another killer match and Nikki Bella making her surprise and successful return.
The negatives far out way the positives today with Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler putting on a thoroughly underwhelming performance. The Intercontinental Championship being a complete after thought. Both the United States and Tag Team Championships ending in disqualification and of course, that absolutely atrocious Universal Championship design. But I think we can qualify the highly anticipated main event ending in a TKO and a tease for a Brock Lesnar vs. Shane McMahon match as just a ‘what the f**k!?’ ending.
I feel a little entitled when I say that I expected more from this pay per view, but I did. Matches ranged from not-so-great to pretty good, the order in which the matches appeared on the card was like WWE just hit the random button and the show ended in a whimper. It’s the second biggest show of the year and WWE have once again missed the mark.
Final Rating: 5/10