Summerslam has always been the black sheep of the Big 4 WWE pay-per-view events for me. It’s not as big as Wrestlemania nor does it have a gimmick match like Survivor Series or Royal Rumble. Especially now, with the company running a “big event” each month, there’s really nothing to differentiate Summerslam from something like Payback or Fastlane; it’s just another pay-per-view event like the rest of them.
That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to Summerslam, though. At the very least, the WWE do try their best to make it seem they really care about the show. This year, however, I wasn’t really feeling it. Only a handful of the matches on the card had some meaningful buildup to them and, even then, some of the feuds have overstayed their welcome. Still, like any dutiful WWE Universe resident, I hunkered down and watched it and these are my thoughts on it.
The first thing I have to mention is the new Thunderdome the WWE is using for their shows. Since packed stadiums are taboo nowadays, they decided to go with the virtual route and surround the ring with video screens showing the fans who are watching. I just think this is both a hit and a miss. On one hand, this is much better than what they had previously with the WWE using their “enhancement talent” as audience members since it looked super fake.
On the other hand, however, seeing the fans on screens isn’t that much better. At the very least, can’t the WWE get the long-haired guy and his mother in for free to watch the shows? He’s the only mainstay who deserves to be there! The Thunderdome is a good idea but I would suggest a mix of people and virtual fans in the future. If AEW can get people to go to their shows, why not the WWE?
Anyway, the first thing I have to talk about are actually the matches for the RAW and Smackdown Women’s Championships as they are connected. Both matches featured Asuka going against the Golden Role Models, with Bayley carrying the Smackdown belt while Sasha Banks had the RAW belt. I do love the antics of Bayley and Sasha Banks as they fully embraced their heel duo persona. However, it’s their execution during their matches, specifically the final moments, that had me wanting more. Their Summerslam bouts were no exception.
The matches themselves were excellent and well-paced. I will say the Asuka vs. Sasha Banks match was a little better because there were bigger bumps and just a smidge more drama as this was Asuka’s second match of the night, making her more of an underdog than her first match with Bayley.
My issue, once again, had to deal with how the matches ended. Both of them mirror each other with practically the same circumstances but with different outcomes. During the match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Asuka attempted a hip attack to Bayley but accidentally struck Sasha Banks, who was on the ring apron. This led to Bayley taking advantage of a distracted Empress of Tomorrow by rolling her up for a 3-count to retain her Smackdown Women’s Championship. When it came time for Sasha Banks title defense match, the same thing almost happened but Bayley avoid the hip attack. For some odd reason, this allowed Asuka to get the rollup victory on The Boss to become the NEW RAW Women’s Champion.
The problem I have with this is this shouldn’t be enough reason for Asuka to take the upper hand against Sasha Banks. These were both distractions and I would’ve accepted it if Sasha Banks did something else during Bayley’s match, like push Bayley out of the way to take the brunt of the attack. This just didn’t make logical or even wresting sense to me.
The next match I really want to talk about is the Street Fight match between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville with the loser leaving the WWE. This was a tough match to judge because I just didn’t like it. It was too slow and it looked like both Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose were taking it easy on each other. It seemed as if they didn’t want to hurt each other. As I have been a big backer of Sonya Deville, I really wish this match was better.
However, I do realize they had to perform under difficult circumstances before real life just had to reel its ugly head this past week. For those who don’t know, Sonya Deville had someone break into her house with plans of kidnapping her and doing who knows what to her. It also turns out Mandy Rose was staying with her that night so she could’ve been hurt as well. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt and the police did catch the perpetrator. If it were me, I would’ve been petrified and feel ultra paranoid about going out so the mere fact she performed shows how really brave Sonya and Mandy were during that time.
Still, I do have to kind of review the match as it was and it just wasn’t good. The finish was also plain terrible with God’s Greatest Creation delivering a plethora of running knees to Sonya Deville before getting the pinfall victory. So, in a very unceremonious way, Sonya Deville is “out” of the WWE. They could’ve and should’ve devoted more time to a wrestler losing her employment! Bah.
While we’re on the topic of sloppy finishes, let’s go talk about the match for the RAW Tag Team Championships featuring the Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza. This is a feud which didn’t really have any good heat to it and the reason for the feud is actually kind of stupid as, supposedly, Zelina Vega tried to poison Montez Ford! Not make him sick, mind you. They used the word poison!
Anyway, the match itself was actually pretty good if not just feeling a little bit too standard. The action was well done but it wasn’t anything you couldn’t have seen on RAW. Still, I was enthralled while I was the match but, afterwards, when I had time to think about it, it just wasn’t really pay-per-view worthy.
The finish was also rather dumb but at least is was thrilling. The ending had Garza nailing Ford with a superkick, sending the Street Profit member into Zelina Vega, who was on the ring apron, flying to the outside. Andrade went to check on her so, when Garza went for the tag for some reason, there was no one there. This led to the Street Profits getting the pinfall victory after Ford connected with a twisting frog splash. While I like the actual finishing move Ford did, I just didn’t like how they got there. Having Andrade check on Vega was in character but just too on the nose.
The next match I need to talk about is the Street Fight between Seth Rollins and the debuting Dominik Mysterio. Can I just say this feud has long past its expiration date? I get this is supposed to give a whole lot of stakes for Dominik Mysterio’s first match but I am so tired of this feud, especially since it’s been so one sided. Sadly, the Summerslam match continued the one-sided trend.
I was indeed impressed by Dominik’s debut match. This may be his first official match but he handled himself really well out there. He did get a few licks against Seth Rollins and they looked good. However, he still has to develop his own personal style and in-ring swagger; just relying on being Rey Mysterio’s son isn’t going to cut it for so long unless he can make his own character in the future. Even with that being said, I really liked his overall performance here.
Unfortunately, this was never going to be a clean one-on-one showcase between him and the Monday Night Messiah. This just isn’t the way this feud has been set up. So it was inevitable for Murphy to get involved as well as Rey Mysterio near the latter part of the match, This is sad because I really liked the match until they decided to include too many factors, including Dominik’s mother. This just soured the match for me as putting her in wasn’t needed.
This was basically the start of the end for the match. With Rey handcuffed to the ring ropes, Rollins and Murphy started stalking Dominik’s mother. Dominik did stop them and went on a quick rally but was stopped after Rollins put his knees up as Dominik went for a splash. One Curb Stomp later and we have, once again, Seth Rollins raising his hands in victory and the Mysterios crying in defeat. I understand why they did this ending but the Mysterios have already been through a whole lot and it just seems rather sadistic of them to keep on this storyline if they don’t get any kind of satisfying retribution soon.
Coming into Summerslam, I wasn’t invested in the Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton match for the RAW Universal Championship. There was hardly any buildup and having Orton beat up his old pals does not a good feud make as The Viper’s victims had virtually no connection with McIntyre. Thankfully, the match itself was better than expected but, once again, the finish was less than satisfying. The buildup to it was great and the pacing was really good. There weren’t any really big moments to speak off and both Orton and McIntyre would recover from “injuries” in just a matter of minutes, which did take me out of the moment at times. Even with those issues, the action was very entertaining.
Once again, the big issue I had with the match was the finish. The path to is was exhilarating, with The Viper initially setting up for an RKO but decided to go with his punt kick. The Scottish Psychopath sees it coming and counters with a powerbomb. McIntyre then signals for a Claymore but Orton dodges the kick. Orton then attempts an RKO but McIntyre slides out of in and folds his opponent up with a backslide to get the pinfall victory. Very anticlimactic and really lame if you ask me. After hinting at all these powerful moves that could close out the bout, they end it with a backslide and Orton just looks from the outside in disbelief without having a fit? That’s really lame!
Speaking of lame, we now have Braun Strowman defending the Smackdown World Championship against The Fiend in a Falls Count Anywhere match. I really expected more from this, especially after the buildup we’ve had with Alexa Bliss thrown into the mix. They didn’t do anything with this and, because of the aftermath of the match, it looks like they won’t do anything with this plotline. Sigh.
Thankfully, there were no stupid red lights to obscure the action. I was afraid they were going to bring it back and it would look incredibly stupid because of the glow of all the monitors surrounding the WWE Thunderdome ring. The match itself was okay and pretty much your standard “The Fiend in impervious to pain” schtick. At least Braun sold it well and the brawling around the outside looked good but ultimately very safe. I mean, I expected some fireworks or something when Strowman threw The Fiend into the LED wall but they didn’t go that far, thank God.
The finish was incredibly stupid. With frustration setting in, Strowman went to ringside and got a boxcutter. Was he going to slash The Fiend with the blade to ensure he’ll stay down? Of course not, silly! That would make too much sense and too gruesome for the WWE today! No, he used the boxcutter and slit the ring to expose the plywood under the ring. That makes so much sense instead of just removing the padding from the outside of the ring and powerslamming The Fiend into the concrete! Anyway, The Fiend recovers, slams Strowman into the exposed ring with two Sister Abigails to become your NEW Smackdown World Champion!
The show’s not over as the celebration is cut short by a returning Roman Reigns! Roman Reigns takes out The Fiend with a spear and then pummels the man/monster into submission. The Big Dog then turns his attention to The Monster Among Men and takes him down with a spear! He then yells something to Braun along the lines of Strowman not being a monster unless he, Roman Reigns, is there. The former SHIELD member then takes the Smackdown World Championship and holds it up high to end this year’s Summerslam.
Now, I do like how they closed out the show. I just don’t like how they ended the match itself as it slowed to a crawl as Strowman ripped through the ring. Having Reigns make a bold attack like this really worked and this may set up for a series of Triple Threat matches between the trio. However, I still have to mention about the Alexa Bliss thing as it wasn’t utilized here! I hope they do explore this plot point in the future as, right now, it’s a dangling loose plot thread.
Despite all my gripes, I will say I enjoyed this year’s Summerslam during the moment. I don’t see myself remembering anything about it in a month or so, however. There were no matches of note and even the storylines just seem to lose all steam. It’s good while it lasted but it’s totally forgettable.
Did you watch this year’s Summerslam? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!