wwe summerslam - review & rating
WWE

WWE Summerslam – Review & Ratings

WWE Summerslam – Review & Ratings

Welcome to UncleSamsBets WWE SummerSlam – Review & Ratings, and we are in for a real treat at the hottest party this Summer with a stacked card from top to bottom. Like NXT yesterday, every title is on the line and the Big Dog Roman Reigns will be hoping he can finally conquer his long-term rival Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship. On the Smackdown side, AJ Styles has recently celebrated being the longest reigning WWE champion on the Blue Brand. Standing in his way is Samoa Joe, who is possibly AJ’s toughest test to date. Whatever happens, these will both be formidable matches. For the women, Ronda Rousey gets her chance to win her first title since switching over from UFC when she goes against Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship whereas the Smackdown Women’s Championship will be decided in a triple threat match. Champion Carmella goes against half of WWE’s version of the horsewomen in Becky Lynch and daughter of the legendary Ric Flair Charlotte Flair. Putting these prestigious titles on the line will surely be the highlights, alongside Daniel Bryan and The Miz finally getting their hands on one another in a feud that is 8 years in the making but this just scratches the surface with what is on offer tonight. With this in mind, let’s dive right into the action.

Pre-show

Rusev and Lana vs Andrade ”Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

Match report

We start tonight’s proceedings with the mixed tag team match for Smackdown. Almas is a former NXT Champion and Rusev has recently fought for the WWE title so to see them both on the pre-show is disappointing, to say the least. Vega typically is the manager for Almas so will be interesting to see how she does here. Both teams in the ring as the crowd typically chants ‘Rusev Day’. Almas and Rusev start the match, needs to be noted that men and women can only face each other so if a tag is made then both teams must switch. Almas has Rusev chasing him early on before Rusev takes charge. Vega distracts Rusev which gives Almas an opening and uses this to wrench Rusev’s arm around the ring post. Almas still has Rusev in an armbar until the ref breaks this up after Rusev makes the ropes, and Vega attempts to distract Rusev again. Almas fails to hit Rusev with a splash in the corner and Rusev looks to tag in Lana, except Vega gets to her first and pulls her off the apron. Almas continues to dominate the bout, but an attempted tornado DDT is reversed and Rusev makes the tag. Lana goes on a hot streak, with the story being that as Vega is a manager she is not ready for in-ring competition so Lana continues to dominate. Vega is only kept down for two counts as both men continue to stay down on the outside. A comeback from Vega is cut short and Almas tries to get involved, only for Rusev to step in. Almas takes out Rusev and succeeds in distracting Lana to be rolled up for the three count.

Winners – Andrade ”Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega

Verdict

A short match which does not do justice to both Almas and Rusev’s talents. Lana and Vega are both fantastic managers who add a lot of credibility to both men but I would say neither of them should be used for in-ring competition. The match wasn’t bad, but it was very much a filler you would typically see on Raw/Smackdown and was fitting for its place on the pre-show. Quite a funny moment at the end also where Vega attempts to put her feet on the ropes, but only being 5ft she struggled to do so.

Going forward?

I can’t imagine this feud continues. Both men deserve a bigger chance in the spotlight but at least this gave them a chance to be on the card even if it was a short match on the pre-show. Hopefully, both women continue to shine in their managerial roles going forward as well.

Match rating

1.5/5

Cedric Alexander (Champion) vs Drew Gulak WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Match report

The first of our 9 Championship matches starts typically with the Cruiserweight title and Drew Gulak is out first, fresh from his campaigning for a better 205 live. Champion Cedric Alexander out next, and despite its low position on the card both of these men are capable of having an entertaining contest. The match begins with both Cruiserweights jostling for the upper-hand, neither man able to get hold of the other. Gulak has a Dragon Sleeper submission called the Drew-Lock as his finisher and the commentary state that if this is locked in the Gulak will be champion as Cedric avoids the first attempt at this. A nasty looking neckbreaker from Gulak gives him control of the match and he continues to weaken the champion’s neck in an attempt to weaken it for his patented submission hold. The assault on the neck continues until Cedric is able to reverse into a flatliner on Gulak, but the earlier assault seems to be taking its toll. Alexander is starting to get more into the match and hits Gulak with a chop before somersaulting over the top rope when Gulak stepped outside to take a breather. Alexander tries an aerial assault which is countered by Drew and Gulak locks in his Drew-Lock on the ropes which is broken before the 5 count disqualifies him. A second Drew-Lock is desperately reversed, and when both men return to their feet they attempt to get the three with a series of rollups which are unsuccessful until Alexander finally manages to sneak a three count.

Winner – Cedric Alexander

Verdict

This writer is a massive Drew Gulak fan so to see him lose is always hard to take although he definitely looked like he outclassed Alexander here. I think Cedric is a great wrestler but doesn’t really have any character of note whereas Gulak has proven his worth and made me a fan with his ‘Make 205 Great Again’ campaigning and PowerPoint Presentations. The match like pretty much every Cruiserweight was solid without being anything special and looked like it was starting to really get going, but the abrupt ending hurt this match and to me, it looked like it may have been slightly botched at the end as well.

Going forward?

With that finish, I would be surprised if the feud is over. Gulak had the better showing and think he will use this to campaign for a rematch which hopefully he will win if only to end Cedric’s underwhelming title reign. It’s easy to forget that Cedric’s had the title since Wrestlemania and I think 205 live is desperate for some freshening up.

Match rating

2.25/5

The B-Team (Champions) vs The Revival Raw Tag Team Championship

Match report

The Revival is out with their theme claiming they ‘go hard all day and night’ and tonight should be no exception, both members looking intense and ready. In contrast, the B Team enter to their dorky entrance music (which is also annoyingly catchy) playing up to the crowd. Dawson for Revival starts against B Teams Bo Dallas, and Dawson tags in Dash Wilder after Bo starts the attack on Dawson. Both men attack Dallas, so his tag partner Curtis Axel runs in for the save only to eat The Revivals finisher The Shatter Machine. This is where Revival is so dangerous, isolating one of their opponents on their half of the ring and constantly tagging each other in to wear down their rival. Axel is still down after that finisher so Bo cannot tag him in despite making it to his corner, and the beat-down on Bo continues. A roll-up out of nothing is close from Bo on Dawson, and Wilder is tagged in and immediately clothesline the now recovered Axel to take him back out of the match. Wilder gets too cocky and Bo takes advantage with a snapmare neckbreaker, and both men tag in their partners as Axel has now recovered. Axel has a flurry and the match breaks-down, Dawson has Axel in a cradle for the three count but the ref is too busy with Wilder and Dallas to notice. Wilder inadvertently causes Dallas to knock backwards into the other two men and the cradle is reversed so that Axel is now pinning Dawson, the ref managing to just count to three for another fortuitous B Team win.

Winners – B Team

Verdict

Two years ago The Revival retained the NXT Tag Team Titles in one of that year’s match of the year contenders at Takeover Brooklyn 2. Two years ago The Revival was considered one of the best tag teams in wrestling. They are now losing to a comedy team on a pre-show match which lasted under 5 minutes. This shows the position in which tag teams are considered to be on Raw right now, and there’s a reason this tag title match is on the pre-show whereas the Smackdown titles aren’t. Now I like both Dallas and Axel and think they are both talented and entertaining, but them being the current champs just represents what the Raw management considers the tag titles to be right now. Interesting note also that all three matches on the pre-show ended in a roll-up.

Going forward?

The RAW tag division has to get better. There’s enough talent there for this to be true but right now they seem a bit light on numbers. The Revival and the Authors of Pain are decorated NXT Tag Champions and should be the ones competing for the titles, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter are the ones to win the titles in dominant fashion to kick off a lengthy reign. As for The Revival, as good as they are I think that this is going to be their position on the card for the foreseeable future. Both Dash and Wilder got injured separately just after debuting which has cost them dearly and I hope for their sake they can regain trust in upper management in order to repeat the excellent matches which they were known for in NXT.

Match rating

0.5/5

Main Show

Dolph Ziggler (Champion) with Drew Mcintyre vs Seth Rollins with Dean Ambrose Intercontinental Championship

Match report

The main show starts with the returning Dean Ambrose out first to a massive pop from the capacity crowd. Rollins follows to an equal reaction. Big interest in this match as to what role Dean will play and what his intentions are going forward after his return. The heels are now out and despite being champion, Drew is after Ziggler so they enter the ring to the Scotsman music. Both Ziggler and Rollins are incredible athletes and the fans are certainly looking forward to this one, match starting with a slower pace and a series of headlocks. They both attempt a roll-up, possibly owing to the success that this has had so far tonight but both kick out. While this is happening, Ambrose and McIntyre square up to one another for the first of many times I’m sure. A hiptoss sends Ziggler to the outside and Drew squares up to Rollins when he attempts to retrieve him, bringing Dean over to the trio. Back in the ring it starts going back and forth, Ziggler kicking Rollins in his surgically repaired knee to take control of the bout. Ziggler uses the ropes to hurt Rollins while taunting Ambrose on the outside. Like in the majority of Rollins matches, the knee is clearly being targeted by the champ. Match pace is slowed down as Ziggler locks in a sleeper while Drew looks on loving what he’s seeing. Seth eventually manages to break the hold but is tossed to the outside by Ziggler for his troubles. Upon returning to the ring, a crossbody by Ziggler is caught by Rollins and both men go back out of the ring due to a big suplex. Rollins uses this respite to his advantage, catching Ziggler with a Slingblade and running forearms until this is stopped from a roll-up by Ziggler. A 2 count is Zigglers reward, and his second one is receiving a Blockbuster from Rollins. Proper back and forth contest this, neither man looking the more dominant as of yet. Seth Rollins delivers a suicide dive when Ziggler ducks out for a breather and hits with a flying clothesline and superkick for a close 2 count. After a flurry from both men, they both find themselves on the ring apron where Ziggler is able to hit a DDT to floor Rollins. With the help of Ambrose, Rollins escapes the 10 count and counters when Ziggler goes to finish the match and goes to the top rope. The Frog Splash is reversed by Ziggler into a Small Package pin, giving us our closest two count yet. Both men are down and this one is tentatively on a knife edge. A Fame-Asser is caught by Rollins and places Ziggler on the top rope before joining him. A unique faceplant suplex is hit followed by another and Ziggler somehow kicks out whilst the crowd look on in disbelief that that wasn’t it. The ‘this is awesome’ chants begin which are richly deserved. Ziggler starts tuning up the band a la HBK but is distracted when McIntyre on the outside drives Ambrose into the steel steps and Ziggler hits his finisher the ZigZag. This should be it, but Rollins like Ziggler before him somehow kicks out. Sensing its the end, its Ziggler’s turn to start tuning up the band, however the superkick attempt is dodged and Rollins hits Ziggler with a Turnbuckle Powerbomb instead in order to set up for his finisher the Curbstomp. McIntyre, like we’ve seen previously, attempts to enter the match but Ambrose stops him by hitting him with a Dirty Deeds. Rollins is momentarily distracted and Ziggler is up and ready to superkick Rollins, except Rollins hits Ziggler with his own superkick first before finally delivering the Curbstomp. This match is over and the three count is confirmed. Post-match celebrations are in order, Seth parading his newly won title with Ambrose. Dean as his character often does looks on the edge, but nothing comes of it as we fade to black.

Winner – Seth Rollins with Dean Ambrose

Verdict

This was finally the match that we knew Rollins and Ziggler could have. Previous meetings between the two have been a tad underwhelming so for them to deliver that quality of match on a big stage is good to see. It had near falls aplenty, hard hitting moves and the introduction of Ambrose gave the feud a new edge, although it did not overshadow the quality of the ring work.

Going forward?

Rollins should retain in the rematch with Ziggler, then this will open the possibility of many more quality matches with others on the roster. Dean did not turn heel as expected and will probably pursue other opponents rather than going straight after the IC title. As for Ziggler and McIntyre, McIntyre has been in the background so far and I would guess that he will attack Ziggler and use this as a reason to be pushed up the card. I would also say that he will be Rollins next IC title challenger, or at a stretch potentially the next Universal Champion contender.

Match rating

4/5

The Bludgeon Brothers (Champions) vs The New Day Smackdown Tag Team Championship

Match report

Smackdowns first title match of the evening sees New Day introduce themselves to Brooklyn like they’ve done so many times before. Despite being around for years, The New Day is still as over as ever with the crowd which is a real testament to all three men. In a surprise, it looks like Xavier Woods and Big E will be taking part with Kofi Kingston offering support on the outside. Pancakes are thrown all over Brooklyn. The Bludgeon Brothers are two very serious giants armed with Thor-like hammers and feel like they will not appreciate all the pancake related tomfoolery. The match starts with a big boot from BB’s Luke Harper and gets a two count straight off the bat. Harper and Rowan use their size to beat down Woods, keeping him isolated on their side of the ring. A series of hard-hitting moves are used, including a surprising Senton onto Woods from Harper. They then go after Big E, attacking him to keep him grounded on the outside. BB’s have bad intentions and look to powerbomb Woods onto the steel steps but Woods somehow reverses. Big E is back up on the apron and is tagged in, the powerhouse matching the BB’s strength by Belly-to-Belly suplexing both members. The comeback is cut short by Harper who counters into a sit out powerslam and calls Rowan into the ring to continue the beatdown. Big E ducks under a double clothesline attempt and the match breaks-down, each person in the match getting hit by another’s signature move, including Big E’s suicide dive through the ropes. After all this, its Erick Rowan who comes out on top and Big E is hit with a crucific powerbomb where the pin attempt is broken up by Woods. Both partners get tagged in and Woods is the victim this time, with a powerbomb by Harper but again this is not enough to keep The New Day down. Rowan goes after Kofi on the outside with a big belly drop and is hit himself with a Big-Ending by Big E for his troubles. Inside the ring, Harper is alone with Woods until Big E comes back up on the apron and manages to tag himself in. Harper is able to hit Big E with a big boot before he can enter the fray. Harper and Big E are on the apron and with the help of Woods they manage to hit Harper with a backbreaker. Woods is now in the ring legal, looking for an elbow drop to win the match but Harper rolls out the ring before Woods can jump. This does not alter Woods plans however and he delivers it to Harper anyway before rolling him back in and tagging in Big E. New Day attempt their finisher the Midnight Hour, but Rowan is back with their signature Hammers to lose the match by disqualification but retains the titles. Both Bludgeon Brothers continue the assault before heading to the back.

Winner – New Day by DQ

Verdict

A fun match in what proved to be the BB’s biggest challenge yet. It’s unusual to see a DQ finish at a big stage like SummerSlam but this time I think it was the right decision. The New Day essentially had the match won with a performance which backs why they’ve been the most successful tag team in the modern era, while the Bludgeon Brothers played the dominant monsters perfectly until the New Days comeback. More to come.

Going forward?

With that ending the feud will continue and rightfully so. This match set the foundations and I think both teams are capable of delivering something special. Looking forward to it!

Match rating

3.5/5

Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens Money in the Bank Contract on the line

Match report

Stipulation for this is that if Braun loses in any way such as disqualification or count out Owens will win the Money In The Bank briefcase which is a contract for a World title opportunity. In typical Kevin Owens fashion, he comes out sporting a green ‘KO In The Bank’ T-Shirt. The Monster Among Men comes out as intimidating as ever. Braun usually completely dominates his matches and this is no different, hitting Owens with a splash immediately before shoulder tackling Owens around the ringside. Owens hits a superkick which barely fazes Braun and responds with a chokeslam onto the steel ramp. Owens is rolled into the ring and is hit with a running powerslam before being pinned for three.

Winner – Braun Strowman

Verdict

Typically short and sweet which we have come to expect from Braun matches this match didn’t even need to get going. It told a good story in the feud with Owens and shows how much of a company man Owens is to allow himself be knocked around like that and lose in such quick fashion. This will and has served him well and will continue to do so in the future.

Going forward?

Braun has been booked so dominantly in his run so far and the expectation is that there will be a cash-in later on tonight. I can see it happening even though I don’t think it should happen just yet. What I would love is to see a cash-in a week before Mania to really upset the card and shake up the main event. With the way the cash-in is looking, this writer will probably have to wait at least another year though. As for Owens, I think after losing in this way he needs to go away for a bit and comeback to redefine his character. With the beating he received, they could easily write him off as injured.

Match rating

No rating (due to match length)

Carmella (Champion) vs Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair Smackdown Women’s Championship

Match report

Charlotte Flair is out first followed by Becky Lynch. The underlying story going on here is that Charlotte stole her friend Becky’s spotlight as she was added into the match late and Becky believed that this was her time in the spotlight. Champion Carmella is out last, looking confident as she moonwalks although with the enormity of her task this is more than likely just a facade. The match begins with Carmella being targeted by both Lynch and Flair, although befitting to her character Carmella slaps Becky in the back of the head and plays it off as if Charlotte was the attacker. Carmella hides on the outside as Lynch and Flair trade rollups, neither woman able to get anything other than a 1 count. However, as Lynch takes Flair down on the outside, Carmella enters the action and drives Lynch into the steel steps all the while talking trash. Its Lynch and Carmella in the ring, with Carmella actually getting the upper hand on first Lynch and then Flair when Flair replaces Lynch in the match. Carmella locks in a headlock to Flair while continuously talking smack. Lynch replaces Flair in the ring after the hold is broke and Carmella surprisingly continues to dominate until Flair re-enters the match and inadvertently hits Lynch as Carmella dodges. This takes Lynch momentarily out of the match but makes a comeback to take down both Flair and Carmella. Lynch starts taking control over Carmella with Flair out of the ring, but a mistake gives Carmella an opening from the top rope and gets a two count. Flair re-enters and spears both women and gets a two count on both women also. Flair manages to get Carmella into a figure-four leglock but is broken up by a leg drop from the top rope by Lynch. All three women are momentarily down and the actions continues with Lynch and Carmella, the Princess of Staten Island hitting a diving crossbody to the outside on Lynch before Flair hit a corkscrew moonsault onto both women before dumping Lynch back in the ring. A Natural Selection finishing manoeuvre on Lynch is attempted but Becky reverses this into her submission finisher the Dis-Arm-Her before it’s broken up by the returning Carmella. A urinagi on Flair from Lynch is again broken up before the three count. Carmella thinks the match is won after a superkick, but this time its Flair who breaks up the pin. Another superkick is attempted but Becky counters into a Dis-Arm-Her, but before Carmella can tap, Flair hits an unaware Lynch with a Natural Selection for the win. Becky and Charlotte hug after the match, only for Becky to attack Flair for once again stealing her opportunity and chance at the title. And who can blame her?

Winner – Charlotte Flair

Verdict

Post-match outshone the actual match for me, Becky turning on her friend Charlotte Flair the highlight here although the crowd still stayed fully behind the Irish Lasskicker in spite of this. Charlotte and Becky are both incredible wrestlers and the match itself definitely had its moments but fell victim to the classic issue with Triple-Threat matches where there are only two people in the ring at one time whilst the third is on the outside until it’s their time to re-enter the match. That being said, the action was solid and we got a well-needed character-defining moment from one of my favourite woman’s wrestlers so I’m satisfied.

Going forward?

Carmella still has her re-match but fear she will not be successful in order for the Lynch/Flair feud to properly continue. She is a great character and is constantly improving in the ring so I hope she doesn’t get lost in the shuffle which former champions so often do. As for Lynch and Flair, the matches between the two based on past matches will be something to look forward to.

Match rating

3/5

AJ Styles (Champion) vs Samoa Joe WWE Championship

Match report

Samoa Joe comes out first, followed by the Champion. Joe is introduced, but before AJ can be properly introduced Joe grabs the mic and directly speaks to AJ’s family. This feud is not just about the title, but also has a personal element to it as in the build-up Joe suggested that AJ is not the family man in which he claims to be. AJ takes over the mic and says his family want to see him kick Joe’s ass. These two have wrestled on multiple occasions all over the States so should be very familiar with each other’s style. Cagey opening, neither men really getting any shots in. Styles works Joe down with a headlock which Joe struggles to break until Joe powers out and strikes AJ down. AJ is back up and the match turns cagey again, a big kick from Joe giving him the advantage and follows with a series of jabs. Styles is not down for long however and both men are taking the fight to one another. A few kicks from Styles gives him the advantage temporarily and both are matching each other move for move. Joe goes to the outside and plays possum, stopping the attack and taking Styles down. Neither man can get any momentum together until Joe dives onto AJ from the outside, knocking them both down. This leads to a 2 count for Joe, our first in the match. Now it’s Joe’s time for a headlock, looking to wear the WWE Champ down. Styles escapes and both men exchange blows which knocks Joe to the outside, leaving him in prime position for a forearm to the outside which connects. Back in the ring after a breather, its Joe’s turn to counter but its short-lived as AJ starts to build up some important momentum, most notably hitting a moonsault reverse-DDT for a 2 count. After a flurry, both men are on the top rope and, after knocking down AJ, hits him with a standing leg drop. Joe is able to hit AJ with a uranage and a running Senton for yet another two count. The bigger moves are starting to come out now, proven when AJ takes control by hitting a Death Valley Driver onto his knee. A Styles Clash and Phenomenal Forearm are both reversed, Joe bouncing AJ off the ropes to hit a powerslam for another near 2 fall. A second attempt at a Styles Clash is impressively hit by AJ, albeit not perfect for the closest we’ve been to a 3 count. Joe is rocked so AJ takes the fight to him until Joe recovers to hit him with a massive slam near the turnbuckle. There’s a brief pause in the match only for AJ to get Joe in the Calf Crusher submission, but this is brutally reversed into a Coquina Clutch submission hold. AJ manages to break the hold leaving Joe visibly frustrated. To end the match, Joe tries a Muscle Buster but settles for a big enzugiri instead before driving AJ into the steel steps. While he’s down, Joe again picks up the mic to speak to AJ’s family, saying how he will be AJ’s kids ‘new daddy’ which incenses Styles. Styles drives Joe through the timekeepers’ area and assaults various staff before attacking Joe with a chair to draw the disqualification. AJ continues to assault before stopping due to his family and leaves with them. Joe walks to the back with a nasty look on his face.

Winner – Samoa Joe by DQ

Verdict

A match with much, much more to come. This was starting to get good before it was stopped after Joe had driven AJ too far and can imagine that the matches in this feud will slowly get better. Both men have been in the business for years so know to keep something back for later and this has certainly whetted the appetite for more and a proper finish.

Going forward?

The feud to continue for many months, getting more and more intense as it goes on. Both men are at the top of their game so deserve this spotlight of top Smackdown feud. This one could honestly go either way but will say that Joe will take the title in their next meeting. Hell in a cell is the next big PPV for Smackdown and would be a fitting battleground for this feud to continue in.

Match rating

4/5

Daniel Bryan vs The Miz

Match report

A rivalry billed as 8 years in the making, Miz and Bryan have had a turbulent relationship, almost exploding on an episode of Talking Smack when Miz blew up when Bryan suggested that The Miz wrestled a safe style whilst Bryan was Smackdown GM. Its a feud which blurred the lines between reality and fiction so am particularly looking forward to this one. Miz is out first with his usual showboating to the crowd and kisses his wife Maryse who has front row seats. Daniel Bryan enters, the entire Brooklyn crowd raising their hands shouting ‘YES’ in unison with Bryan. Bryan has promised for years to punch Miz right in his face and raises this as Miz backs away. Both men grapple but Miz sucker-punches Bryan and start to hit Bryan with Bryan’s own moves in which he made famous. Bryan reverses to show Miz how its done but is short-lived. Miz misses with a clothesline and Bryan takes advantage using this as an opportunity to get a few jabs in. Miz is eventually able to counter and continues to mock Bryan by going back to taking moves out of his opponents’ arsenal. As the master of these moves, Bryan counters before locking Miz in his own version of a unique looking hold. A Bryan flurry is cut short by Miz, clotheslining Bryan from the middle rope after Bryan is on the ropes. Miz slows the pace right down with a headlock and Bryan fights back with some chops, although Miz retakes control by hitting Bryan with his variation of a neckbreaker. Miz starts taunting Bryan which gets Bryan fired up, Miz firing off a series of strikes to wear Bryan down which is momentarily successful until Bryan fights back. The crowd as expected fully behind Bryan as he hits Miz with his running dropkicks, Yes kicks and a big hurricanrana for a close 2 count. A comeback from the Miz is attempted but is instead sent out of the ring and Daniel dives onto the Miz from the top rope. Bryan attempts a second move from the top rope which gives the Miz an opening although Miz instead ends up getting Yes Kicked and dropkicked whilst stuck in the Tree of Woe. A massive Belly-to-Back superplex from Bryan gives another close 2 count. Middle of the ring Yes kicks suggests that Bryan is in full control but Miz rallies to deliver a DDT for a 2 count of his own. Its now Miz’s turn to deliver Bryan’s patented Yes kicks but this fires up Bryan again rather than hurt him and Bryan starts slapping the Miz about before delivering a Dragonscrew. Bryan goes for his finishing move the Flying Knee but is reversed and Miz attempts a Figure-four submission hold, only to instead turn this into a slingshot and Skull-Crushing Finale for another close 2 count. Miz continues to mock Bryan by himself going for a flying knee but like his opponent is unsuccessful. The fighting continues on the ring apron, Bryan goes for a flying kick that Miz is able to dodge, sending Bryan’s knee into the ring post. This is taken advantage of by the Miz who locks in a figure-four and looks to be it until Bryan relieves the pressure and Miz breaks up by reaching the ropes. Both men exchange blows and a couple of roll-up attempts on Miz are kicked out of before Bryan is able to lock in his Yes Lock. Again Miz reaches the ropes and falls onto the outside before falling in front of his wife, who we saw earlier and receives a weapon from her. The referee and Bryan are unaware of this as Miz clocks Bryan with the hidden weapon, knocking Bryan out and pinning him for three.

Winner – The Miz

Verdict

The match was probably slower then what we’re used to seeing from a Daniel Bryan match, but both men fit into their roles nicely. As this feud was built up as being one where both men cannot stand each other, I was expecting more intensity but like all the other Smackdown feuds we’ve seen on this main show, this one is not over.

Going forward?

Miz has the upper-hand, albeit only by being deceitful. Bryan has yet to show the same level in which he was performing at before his retirement which is to be expected so I’m hoping that the eventual second match between the pair will improve upon this one.

Match rating

3.25/5

Finn Balor vs Baron Corbin

Match report

Constable Corbin’s entrance music hits as the least important match of the night begins. Balor, however, comes out in full demon gear much to the shock of the crowd, something that was completely unexpected by everyone for tonight. Finn’s entrance is in full demon mode, the fans joining him with every raise of his arms. Corbin looks the most shocked out of everyone, not sure how to approach this unexpected opponent. Corbin tells the ref to not ring the bell as he did not agree to face the demon and Finn starts by hitting Corbin with all his signature moves all over the ring and outside the ring, before finishing Corbin off with a Coup De Grace.

Winner – Finn Balor

Verdict

Well, this was certainly a welcome surprise! A match where Corbin got less offence in then what Owens did, this was a complete squash. Balor looked intense and Corbin sold well.

Going forward?

Finn Balor is back! The demon, still undefeated, has not been seen since last year and with Finn’s position on the card, a lot of fans including this writer thought that WWE was done with the demon. This is proof that no-one talented is ever truly dead and buried and with a dominant performance like that, Finn suddenly looks like a threat again. Corbin is in a corporate role right now where a loss like that should not affect him too much so he was the perfect man to take this loss.

Match rating

No rating

Shinsuke Nakamura (Champion) vs Jeff Hardy United States Championship

Match report

Hardy is out in full face-paint, looking slightly underwhelming after what we just saw. Nakamura won this title from Hardy in around 6 seconds at the previous Smackdown pay-per-view and enters looking uber confident. Veteran Randy Orton has been involved in this feud also so will be interesting to see what role if any he has here. No sign of him yet, however. Match starts and Hardy has already improved upon his last PPV appearance by lasting a full minute. Both taunt each other by mocking the others unique charisma, and Hardy baits Nakamura into attacking in order to get the first move in. Nakamura quickly takes charge though until a headlock is broken up by Hardy. A mistake from Hardy gives Nakamura an opportunity and he uses his offence to drive his knee into the back of Hardy’s head, getting a two count. Nakamura locks in an arm wrench, citing Jeff’s recent surgery on the same shoulder. Nakamura whips Jeff into the ropes which Hardy uses as a way to counter, knocking the Japanese Artist down. Some classic Hardy offence follows for a 2 count. An Irish Whip is reversed by Nakamura who takes back control of the bout until Jeff hits a Whisper in the Wind for another two count. Hardy goes to the top rope but Nakamura uses this as his way back into the match. Both men attempt their finishers unsuccessfully and a classic low blow is well scouted by Hardy who dodges. A Twist of Fate/Swanton bomb should have been enough for the win, but Nakamura just makes the bottom rope. The second twist of fate follows and Nakamura is down on the ring apron so the Enigma goes for another Swanton which misses From here, it’s all Nakamura where a Kinshasa shortly follows a three count and win for Shinsuke. Orton, as expected, makes his way down to the ring with Hardy still down and Nakamura long gone. Orton however seemingly has a change of heart and returns to the back without really doing anything.

Winner – Shinsuke Nakamura

Verdict

A TV worthy match, this was short and had no real right being on the SummerSlam card. It wasn’t bad per se, just did not achieve anything that couldn’t be done on a Smackdown episode. The Orton part at the end was bizarre also.

Going forward?

Nakamura has lost a lot of momentum since being US Champ and is being treated as an afterthought despite being Champ in this Orton/Hardy feud. He needs his next feud to be electric to really get the fans invested again and I think Andrade Almas fits the bill, although they would have to contend with them both being heels. Orton/Hardy has an interesting storyline going on at the moment, although it looks quite directionless thus far and needs to be explained on the next episode of Smackdown to keep fans invested.

Match rating

2/5

Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs Ronda Rousey Raw Women’s Championship

Match report

Natalya out first, with everyone being told that she is Ronda’s training partner but is a nice touch after Natalya has been recently bereaved of her father, Jim ”The Anvil” Neidhart. Alexa Bliss out next who taunts the Bella Twins in the crowd before entering the ring. Ronda then marches down the ring in full MMA gear looking like she means business. The match gets underway and Alexa’s mind games have begun, avoiding Rousey at all costs until she gets a shot in on Bliss. Bliss then hurries away, wanting no part of Rousey. Interestingly, Ronda responds by sitting in the ring with her eyes shit, tempting Bliss into a headlock which is easily countered. Bliss again takes off, although this time Rousey chases and brushes off Alexa’s punches like they were nothing and starts with her offence. This match is as good as over and one armbar later Bliss taps immediately and Ronda is champ. Ronda and Natalya hug and celebrate in the ring before the Bella Twins join. Stephanie McMahon doesn’t join the celebrations in what is probably the biggest surprise of the night.

Winner – Ronda Rousey

Verdict

Pretty much as we expected in our third squash match of the night, Rousey is a special attraction and I bet WWE cannot believe their luck in signing her. The cynic in me feels that Rousey de-legitimises the rest of the Raw women who has lost to Bliss over the last couple of years, however.

Going forward?

Rousey to be dominant going into the Evolution PPV and its tough to see who will stop her. They may take advantage of fellow UFC horsewoman and NXT’s own Shayna Baszler as the answer. For the time being though, there’s no-one who comes close to being on Ronda’s level. Bliss will use this crushing defeat as a way to rebuild her character, and a match with the legendary Trish Stratus at the evolution PPV is on the horizon for Bliss.

Match rating

2.5/5

Brock Lesnar (Champion) with Paul Heyman vs Roman Reigns WWE Universal Championship

Match report

Tonight’s main event and we’re revisiting the ever-controversial match between Lesnar and Reigns for the third time this year. Going into this one the storyline is how the Raw management is sick of Lesnar never being around and Reigns is our only hope in getting the title back on Raw full time. Reigns is out first to a more apathetic crowd reaction then what we’re used to hearing, potentially at least a step in the right direction. Love him or hate him Reigns does have an aura of a star and tonight is no different. Lesnar comes out with his advocate Paul Heyman and we’re almost ready to go. Heyman gives an intense introduction for his client, emphasising ‘defending’ an awful lot. We’re all ready to go until we hear an unmistakeable ‘BRRRRAAAAAUNNNNNN’! Braun marches to the ring, mic in one hand briefcase in the other. Braun states how he won’t be a coward like the other winners of the briefcase and will cash in right at the end of the match. Roman starts the match going straight after Brock, hitting Brock immediately with three superman punches and three spears but on the third spear Brock catches Reigns with a guillotine choke. Roman powers out only to be locked into another one, Reigns powering out a second time. A superman punch is reversed into a suplex, and Lesnar hits a second for good measure followed by a third. We’re in familiar territory now. An F5 is attempted which Reigns escapes but a spear is dodged and Reigns instead goes into Braun on the outside. Brock meets the other two outside and F5’s Braun before hitting him repeatedly with the briefcase and a chair before launching the briefcase up the ramp. Brock returns to the ring chair in hand only to eat another spear, this time putting Brock down shockingly for a three count. Braun is still down after Lesnars assault, so no cash-in today.

Winner – Roman Reigns

Verdict

A fourth squash of the night? It seemed like one and the main event was designed purely to get the title off of Brock and nothing else. Reigns winning is the natural end to this never-ending feud with Lesnar and I am certainly looking forward to seeing the title weekly by someone who’s head won’t be turned by UFC. The Braun twist was a nice touch in terms of storytelling as Lesnar was so certain he’d beat Reigns yet again he was more worried about Braun. From a company perspective, sending Braun out before the match was a stroke of genius to keep the fans on side as they have been known to not give Reigns and Lesnar a welcome reaction when they’ve fought before.

Going forward?

Two options here. Have Reigns have a lengthy run before losing to a Braun cash-in or Reigns to have an incredibly short run after losing to a Braun cash-in. At the moment these two are the only full time main event talent on Raw so I would personally use the next few months using Reigns and the title to start building up some stars before letting Braun have his run. Based on tonight, Balor would be a good starting feud for Reigns or even someone left field like McIntyre for a solid title defence. With Brock, we won’t see him until at least next years Wrestlemania as he makes his return to UFC.

Match rating

3/5

Final thoughts

A lot to digest here due to the sheer volume of matches, and I think both rosters are in a better position than when we started the night. Roman finally winning the title will only be a good thing from here, and Rousey adds a lot of much-needed star-power to the Raw Woman’s title. On Smackdown, the feuds for most titles will continue and am looking forward to seeing how Lynch does after tonight’s heel turn. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable show and despite clocking in at around 4 and a half hours I did not feel like it was a struggle to watch through which is only a positive.

– Jack McGachie

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