Summerslam. The biggest party of the summer and second-biggest pay-per-view of the year went down without a hitch. And much like every pay-per-view from WWE, there were some ups and some downs, and I’ll be discussing and rating each match that happened tonight, including matches on the Kickoff Show.
Cruiserweight Championship — Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan: In a truly unremarkable, and possibly the worst match I’ve seen from 205Live, and I haven’t seen a lot so that’s saying something, Gulak would pick up the quick victory over Lorcan after punching Lorcan in the throat when the official’s back was turned, followed with the Cyclone Clash. This match reminds of a time when Enzo Amore called the Purple Brand the “Snoozerweight Division” and I assume these are the matches he was referring to. Grade: F
Buddy Murphy vs. Apollo Crews: Holy crap! Buddy Murphy is finally being used! Unfortunately, the match was over faster than I could type that sentence because Rowan would come down to the ring and begin attacking Murphy. On a side note, it’s a unique way to push this somewhat befuddling Roman Reigns storyline. Rowan would stomp a mudhole into Murphy then powerbomb him into the ring post, telling Murphy “Keep my name out of your mouth,” a fun little play on what Murphy said to Kevin Owens a few weeks back on Smackdown. Grade: C
Elias would come down to the ring and do his usual schtick where he sings a song, insulting (enter city here). To the biggest pop of the evening, Edge would make an appearance and spear Elias. Classic.
Women’s Tag Team Championship — Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) vs. The IIconics: Going to infinity and beyond, Alexa Bliss would come down to the ring with Nikki Cross channeling her inner Buzz Lightyear. This match, interestingly enough, was a last-minute match-up, announced an hour before the Kickoff Show began. The issue with this match is that it didn’t go anywhere and after a handful botches, Bliss and Nikki would pick up the win with Bliss landing the Twisted Bliss on Peyton Royce while Cross dealt with Billie Kay outside the ring. Grade: D
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a dozen times. There is somewhere in the ballpark of 22 women on Smackdown and Raw alone. That’s not including the female talent on NXT. It doesn’t have to be the same eight people over and over again. With NXT moving to FS1 to battle AEW when they debut on TNT in October, that would be a good time to start including more women into the title race. There is an opportunity to make the Women’s Tag Team Titles bigger than the men’s Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Titles.
Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya (Submission Match): Always a great way to start a pay-per-view than with The Man Becky Lynch. Both competitors did a phenomenal job getting the crowd emotionally invested, and nobody in Canada seemed to mind when Lynch locked in the Sharpshooter on Natalya who would later counter with locking in Lynch’s Dis-Arm-Her. The match was far better than I thought it would be with Natalya locking in the Sharpshooter on Lynch multiple times, once from the top rope. After a lengthy Sharpshooter from Natalya, Lynch would counter and lock in the Dis-Arm-Her for the win. Grade: B+
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler: I won’t sugarcoat this match. Unless you’re a die-hard Goldberg fan like I am, then you probably didn’t enjoy this whole thing. Ziggler would come down to the ring and cut an obnoxious pre-match promo about how he’s “the best damn thing to happen to pro wrestling,” which could’ve been a t-shirt for him 10 years ago, but certainly not today. Goldberg would come down to the ring and Ziggler would land a Superkick so quickly, if you blinked, you missed it. He would then land another on Goldberg, but after a quick kick-out, it was all downhill for DZ. Goldberg would cut him in half with his spear and Jackhammer him for the win. From there, things got funny as Ziggler demands Goldberg fight him like a man. Goldberg would walk back down to the ring and spear Ziggler again. BUT TWO SPEARS WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR ZIGGLER! He had to poke the beast once more and Goldberg returned to spear him a third time. Grade: B+
A segment with The New Day getting Kofi Kingston pumped up for his match against Randy Orton would take a comedic twist as Big E and Xavier Woods told Kingston they called in Drake, the rapper, to be there. Instead, we get “Pretty Fly For A White Guy” Drake Maverick coming in.
United States Championship — AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet: Dressed in a full-length bodysuit reminiscent of Nightwing from Batman, Ricochet battle a surprisingly slow match against AJ Styles. Styles, instead of wrestling fast, wrestled smart and spent most of the match focusing his attacks on Ricochet’s leg, which slowed the would-be superhero down. Ricochet would come out hard and fast going after AJ Styles, literally, running over Luke Gallows and Carl Anderson to get to him. In the end, AJ Styles would catch Ricochet from mid-air and land the Styles Clash for the win. Afterward, Gallows and Anderson would pick up Ricochet for the Magic Killer. Grade B+
Smackdown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon: In what I was hoping would be a far better match than it was, this match felt more like it should’ve been aired on Smackdown. The lack of interest from the crowd outside of a few pops from Moon didn’t help matters either. After a few near-falls, Bayley would jump up to the top rope and drop Moon with the Bayley-to Belly for the win. Grade: D+
What grinds my gears about this match, in particular, is the fact that I’ve seen Ember Moon wrestle. I know she’s fast, I know she’s talented, she had a phenomenal rivalry against Asuka back in their NXT days, so there’s no excuse for this kind of match. Of course, Bayley was no help. She is the most unimaginative, unoriginal performer on the women’s roster. When was the last time she showed us a new move?
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon: We’ve heard it a million times already. If Kevin Owens loses, he must quit the WWE. Before the match could begin, Shane McMahon would tip the scales in his favor by bringing down Elias as the ringside enforcer to make sure the match is called down the middle. This match was a little more silly than I expected, with Shane running around and hiding behind Elias when it best suited him. With all the interference from Elias, K.O was nearly counted out a handful of times and missed more than enough pin opportunities. K.O would eventually take out both the referee and Elias with a Running Senton, which gave him more than enough opportunity to layout Elias with a chair. But just as he was about to attack Shane with the chair, the referee stopped him. K.O willingly gave up the chair, but once the referee’s back was turned, he kicked Shane between the legs than delivered a stunner for the win. Grade: B
Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus: In the match that nobody asked for but were somewhat pleased that they got, Charlotte Flair and Trish Stratus spent most of the match not fighting one another, but fighting to maintain the crowd’s attention. Like most crowd’s in places like Canada and Europe, once they start doing their own thing, you may as well let them finish because they won’t stop. Both performers really pushed the physicality of the match to the max. Stratus (43) did well keeping up with Flair, landing both the Stratusfaction and Chick Kick to the fans delight (and my astonishment. Flair is 5’11” and Stratus is 5’4″). In the end, Flair would win with the Figure 8. Grade: C+
WWE Championship — Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton: This match was aggravating. Both Kingston and Orton would have their spots, and after a relatively slow start, momentum would finally start picking up, but as soon as that started happening, they were both counted out. I actually agreed with the crowd who were all chanting bull—- because the ending was a complete rehash of the AJ Styles/Samoa Joe feud last year with Styles’ family. Don’t get me wrong, it was interesting to see Kingston snap on Orton with the kendo stick, but once again Kingston retains the WWE Title by dumb luck. Grade: C
I know we’re setting up a rivalry here, but rehashing an awkward, failure of a storyline is certainly not the way you want to go with this. Instead of creating a gimmick, use the past heat the two have for one another and build from there.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor: This was a fun match on a number of levels. Finn Balor wearing all white to counter Bray Wyatt’s evil was a nice touch. Another nice touch was Bray’s new lantern that was made to look like the head of Bray Wyatt of old. The more physical, explosive wrestling style of “The Fiend.” The only issue I’ve had with this match was Wyatt violently snapped Balor’s neck. Not comfortable with that, but that’s just me. Much like how I predicted though, this was a squash match to push Wyatt. Whether or not we start seeing him on Raw or Smackdown is still yet to be determined. It was a great match regardless. Grade B+
Universal Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins: I’ve never been more pleasantly surprised to be wrong. This match looked like it was going to be another squash match where we’d sit there and watch Lesnar basically murder Rollins for 10 – 15 minutes. Instead, we got a match. Lesnar would constantly perform his Big 3 moves (German Suplex, F5, & Turnbuckle Shoulder Tackle), but Rollins would manage to counter his German Suplexes, then land a Superkick, and Curb Stomp. Rollins would do this multiple times, but it wasn’t enough to keep Lesnar down. Rollins was Lesnar’s rag doll for most of the match, being thrown around every inch of the inside of the ring. Once outside the ring, Lesnar would tear apart an announcer table, but Rollins would Superkick him once more, than climb to the top of the turnbuckle to Frog Splash Lesnar not once, but twice. After the second Frog Splash, that would set Rollins up for another Curb Stomp and the win. Grade: A+
In the end, after everything has been said and done and I managed to will myself to sit down for seven bloody hours to watch all of Summerslam, I certainly wouldn’t say this pay-per-view was the best. It had its moments, but most of the matches just fell flat. The Kingston-Orton match was a disappointment, as well as the Moon-Bayley, and these were two matches I was looking forward to this pay-per-view.
I award Summerslam a low 3 out of 5 stars. If you do not agree with my rating of these matches, then, by all means, reach out to me and share your opinion on Twitter @DK_Hennessy.