The John Report: WWE SummerSlam 2023 Review

wwe summerslam 2023 review tjrwrestling

It’s WWE SummerSlam with Roman Reigns-Jey Uso in Tribal Combat, Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes for the third time and a whole lot more.

This year’s SummerSlam is in Ford Field in Detroit in front of 50,000+ fans in attendance, which means it will be one of WWE’s biggest shows of the year. The product is hot right now, that’s for sure. Check out my WWE PPV/PLE review archive, which includes reviews of every SummerSlam ever. Let’s get to it.

There was no Kickoff Show match.

WWE SummerSlam
From Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
August 5, 2023

The opening video package was narrated by singer Kid Rock, who is a WWE Hall of Famer, since he’s from Detroit. They mentioned some past SummerSlam events and then it focused on the matches at this year’s show. Really good video as usual.

There was a wide shot of the crowd with over 50,000 fans in attendance. Michael Cole said there are four main events. It’s Cole on commentary with Corey Graves as usual for the WWE PLE events.

Logan Paul was up first with the fans booing him with Cole talking about his YouTube subscriber and billions of views on his channel. It was a long entrance due to being in a huge stadium. Graves pointed out that ring announcer Samantha Irvin, who is engaged to Ricochet, is wearing colors similar to Logan Paul tonight. The fans were loud and ready to go.

Ricochet vs. Logan Paul

Ricochet hit a dropkick and Logan bailed to the floor. They did a routine of leaps and nearfalls. Paul connected with an elbow smash to knock Ricochet down. Ricochet was sent to the apron, Ricochet with a forearm and Paul choked Ricochet across the top rope. With Ricochet tied up in the ropes, Paul hit a neckbreaker on the apron. Paul kissed his fiancée in the crowd while Paul yelled at Irvin, who wasn’t impressed. Paul worked over Ricochet with punches to the body. Paul hit a running powerslam with Paul yelling “Braun” as a shoutout to injured Braun Strowman, who was Ricochet’s partner. Paul hit a body slam on Ricochet leading to the crowd booing Paul. Paul hit a big boot and running leg drop with Cole saying he calls that the Hogan Paul as a tribute to Hulk Hogan. Ricochet came back with spinebuster, which he doesn’t always down. Ricochet did his own version of a People’s Elbow except he did the People’s Moonsault instead. Paul gave Ricochet a big back body drop. Paul hit a springboard clothesline while Ricochet was on the apron. They teased a Spanish Fly off the apron, but then they both landed on their feet and Ricochet gave Paul a Spanish Fly on Paul on the floor. Ricochet was back in the ring, so Paul pulled Ricochet back out to the floor. Paul hit a somersault flip onto the floor leading to a clothesline. Back in the ring, Paul hit a cross body block off the top and a standing moonsault for two. Paul charged, Ricochet moved and Paul went shoulder-first into the ring post. They went up top with Ricochet hitting a Hurricane Neckbreaker as called by Cole. I believe the ”Hurricane” Shane Helms was the Producer on this match, so nice tribute to him.

Ricochet hit a handspring back elbow off the ropes. Ricochet with a shoulder tackle followed by a springboard clothesline off the top. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press on Ricochet for two. Logan tried to come back with a moonsault off the middle rope, but Ricochet caught him and Paul turned it into a DDT for two. Great move! That was awesome. Paul tried a lifting move, Ricochet with a kick to the jaw and Recoil knees to the face. Ricochet went up top, Ricochet was selling a rib injury and Ricochet jumped off the top with a SSP, but Paul got the knees up leading to Paul getting a two count. Paul hit a Powerbomb release slam while the fans booed him after Paul did a kip up. Paul hit a springboard Frog Splash for a two count. Ricochet got back up with a kick. Ricochet with a kick to the head and Ricochet hit a springboard moonsault for two. Ricochet went for a 630 Splash, but Paul moved out of the way and Ricochet hit the mat. The referee was looking at Ricochet, so one of Paul’s friends put brass knuckles on Logan’s right hand and Logan punched Ricochet. Cole was screaming that he saw the guy earlier hanging out with Paul. The referee didn’t see the cheating. Logan covered Ricochet for the pinfall at 18:02. Cole: “That was a great matchup, but the ending sucked.”

Winner by pinfall: Logan Paul

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a very good match with a cheap ending that was fitting for a heel like Paul. Logan is really talented in the ring, he’s getting a lot better at taunting the crowd and did plenty of that throughout the match. I thought Ricochet should have had some more moments where it looked like he might win. The ending wasn’t something I expected although like I said it fits the kind of heel that Paul is. They put this match on first so Logan could leave and go see his brother Jake Paul’s boxing fight in Dallas.

Logan Paul celebrated the win while taunting Samantha Irvin, who had to announce Logan as the winner.

Analysis: That is Logan’s first singles match win since last year’s SummerSlam when he beat The Miz.

There were some commercials.

They showed Sheamus arriving in a monster truck where he was greeted by his buddies in The Brawling Brutes group.

A lengthy video package aired to set up the third Brock Lesnar-Cody Rhodes match.

Brock Lesnar made his entrance to a huge reaction as usual. It was 21 years ago when Lesnar won his first WWE Title at SummerSlam 2002. Lesnar is still competing at a high level at the age of 46 years old, which is very impressive.

With adrenaline in his soul, Cody Rhodes made his entrance to a huge pop with a lot of fans singing his “Kingdom” song. The “WHOA-OH” part was loud. Cole noted it was Cody’s first SummerSlam appearance in eight years. The announcers put over how big this is for Cody’s career. Cody’s mother was at ringside watching the match.

Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar

Cody tried going after Lesnar right away, but Lesnar fought back and hit a German Suplex. Cody came back with two Disaster Kicks. When Cody went for another one, Lesnar hit him in the ribs to stop that. Lesnar with shoulder tackles. Lesnar charged, Cody moved and Lesnar hit his left shoulder against the ring post. Cody hit a suicide dive onto Lesnar on the floor. Lesnar picked up Cody and drove him back-first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Cody tried going after Brock’s legs, so Lesnar just tossed him across the ring. Cole mentioned Lesnar has beaten 16 Hall of Famers in his career. Lesnar hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Cody across the ring. Lesnar kicked Cody in the ribs followed by a vertical suplex. Lesnar hit a release German Suplex across the ring. Lesnar delivered another German Suplex across the ring as Cody rolled out of the ring to try to get back into it. Lesnar delivered another German Suplex across the ring. Lesnar tossed Cody out of the ring to the floor. Cody was on the apron, so Lesnar knocked him down again. Lesnar was shouting “save yourself” at Cody. When Cody got back into the ring, Lesnar said: “Cody, this is only going to get worse.” Lesnar hit a vertical suplex and sent Cody out of the ring again. When Cody got back into the ring, Lesnar clotheslined Cody over the top to the floor. When Cody got to the apron, Lesnar picked him up and hit an F5 on the floor. Lesnar was shouting at Cody to stay down and told Cole to tell Cody that as well. Cody got back in the ring before the ten count.

Cody got back up by the ropes, Cody delivered punches and Lesnar hit another German Suplex. Cody was on the floor again, Lesnar grabbed him on the floor and Lesnar gave Cody an F5 through the table! The fans chanted “holy shit” for that. Cody managed to get back up while Cole was trying to tell Cody to stay down. Cody snuck back in under the bottom rope to beat the ten count. Lesnar gave Cody a belly-to-belly suplex across the ring. Cody had visible scars on his left side from the table bump. Cody pulled the turnbuckle pad off as Lesnar hit another German Suplex. Cody left the ring again, Cody picked up the steel steps, but Lesnar kicked the steps. Cody shoved Lesnar into the ring post twice and Cody hit Lesnar with the steps. Cody hit a Disaster Kick and a springboard leap into a Cody Cutter. Cody jumped off the top with a Cody Cutter for two. Lesnar sold that so well. Lesnar came back with the Kimura Lock submission on the left arm. After about a minute of that, Cody got the rope to break the hold. Lesnar with a lift, Cody slipped out of that and shoved Lesnar into the steel turnbuckle. Cody took down Lesnar with the Kimura Lock on the left arm. Lesnar was screaming in pain, Lesnar was turning purple and then Lesnar slammed Cody into the mat to force the break. Lesnar tried a lift, Cody got out of that and Cody hit Cross Rhodes. Cody hit Cross Rhodes a second time and Cody hit Cross Rhodes a third time for the pinfall win at 17:34. Lesnar had his shorts torn by the finish somehow, but nothing was exposed at least. Big pop for the win.

Winner by pinfall: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: ****1/4 Awesome match with the right finish. Cody won clean with the Cross Rhodes three times in a row and that’s exactly how it should have ended. I think the part of the match where Lesnar kept sending Cody out of the ring dragged on a bit too much, but that was also done to tell the story that Cody wouldn’t quit. Cody using the Kimura Lock was an interesting choice. We know Lesnar probably wasn’t going to tap there, but it was a way to weaken Lesnar leading up to the finish. I don’t really like a commentary table bump during a regular match because that could be a disqualification, but it’s well established in WWE for decades that it counts as part of the steps. I guess you could say it’s like using the ring post or steel steps. Anyway, I loved the booking of this match. Brock Lesnar in year 21 in WWE after 10 World Titles shouldn’t beat a guy like Cody, who is on his way up in the company. This was probably Lesnar’s best match since last year’s SummerSlam with Roman Reigns while Cody is always putting on great matches like this.

After the match, Lesnar took off his gloves and went face to face with Cody. Lesnar extended his hand. Cody shook his hand. Lesnar hugged Cody and Lesnar raised Cody’s hand for the crowd. That is how you put a guy over the right way. After Lesnar left to the back, Cody celebrated around ringside. Cody hugged his mom to celebrate the win.

Analysis: I loved that post match interaction. That is Lesnar endorsing Cody and telling the fans that Cody is the guy that you need to get behind. Cody beating Lesnar like that will do wonders for his career while Lesnar knew what his role was in this four month story. Great moment. I really liked that.

A commercial aired for the Payback PLE on Saturday, September 2nd.

WrestleMania 40 is in Philadelphia and tickets are on sale soon.

There was a video about Becky Lynch. This is because some Peacock viewers have ads while those of us on WWE Network (and other Peacock users) get this video.

The ring was full of wrestlers as we got to see The Miz and LA Knight’s entrance with the fans popping huge for the megastar. AJ Styles got a televised entrance. There was a short video about battle royal history in WWE. MVP did a promo to introduce Omos in the match.

Slim Jim SummerSlam Battle Royal

Omos was dominant early with eliminations for JD McDonagh and Rick Boogs in the early going. A bunch of guys tried to get rid of Otis, but he fought them off. Otis gave Matt Riddle a Powerbomb. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci eliminated Otis. Chad Gable eliminated Vinci. Gable suplexed Erik of the Viking Raiders and Kaiser kicked Gable. Tommaso Ciampa dumped out Ivar and kneed Erik out of the match. Ciampa fought with Shinsuke Nakamura on the apron, Ciampa hit a Willow’s Bell DDT and eliminated Nakamura. Bronson Reed caught Ciampa and tossed him over the top to the floor. Austin Theory eliminated Ridge Holland. Austin Theory hit an A-Twon Down on Cameron Grimes on the top rope to eliminate him. Santos Escobar clotheslined Theory out. Karrion Kross kicked Escobar to knock him out. Gable used his legs to flip Kaiser over the top to the floor. Chad did a “THANK YOU” with the fans doing it too. Omos lifted Butch and Riddle at the same time to eliminate them. Omos gave Gable a Chokeslam. Grayson Waller was bodyslammed by Omos with Waller selling it like the most powerful move ever. LA Knight got into the action with clothesline attempts on Omos, but then Omos kicked him down. Everybody in the match delivered strikes to Omos including Sheamus hitting a knee and Styles hitting a Phenomenal Forearm. Everybody in the match dumped Omos out together, which drew a big pop. It was eight guys left in the match.

Waller left the ring and hit a Rolling Stunner/Skull Crushing Finale with Miz at the same time on Gable. Miz and Waller looked at eachother since they are big egomaniacs with talk shows. Miz tried to eliminate Knight, but Knight held on and tossed Miz out of the ring. Sheamus with a knee to Waller followed by a clothesline out of the ring to eliminate Waller. Reed with a double clothesline. Styles sent Cross over the top and a Pele Kick knocked Kross off the apron to the floor. Reed gave Gable a back body drop over the top to the floor. Knight avoided elimination against Reed and Knight did a tight headlock to bull Reed over the top to the floor.

The final three were Knight, Styles and Sheamus. Sheamus with a backbreaker to Styles and Sheamus with a powerslam to Knight. Styles with a clothesline on Sheamus. Knight sent Styles to the apron, Kross held onto AJ’s boot and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Styles to eliminate AJ Styles. Kross told Styles this isn’t over. Knight hit a body slam followed by the LA Knight elbow off the ropes. Knight went for BFT, Sheamus got out of that and hit a knee to the head. Sheamus went for a Celtic Cross, Knight slipped out of that and sent Sheamus to the apron. Sheamus went up top, Knight jumped up top with him and hit a belly-to-belly suplex. Cole said it worked tonight because there was a slip on Smackdown when they did it. Knight clotheslined Sheamus over the top to the floor for the win at 11:55. The fans popped for it.

Winner: LA Knight

Analysis: *** A big win for LA Knight. It was the obvious choice, but also the right choice. I don’t mind an obvious result when it’s for a guy like LA Knight, who should absolutely be getting big wins on major shows like this. There wasn’t that much of a story in the match other than Omos dominating and the other guys working together to get rid of the giant. Kross costing Styles furthers that rivalry that has been going on for several weeks. Knight eliminating Sheamus last is smart because Sheamus is a credible name in WWE for a long time. Once again, I’m happy for Knight getting the win here.

There was a video package about the Shayna Baszler/Ronda Rousey match. I don’t think it’s been a great rivalry, but the video package and sitdown interviews worked really well to tell the story.

The announcers talked about the commentary team changes as covered by Variety earlier in the day. Michael Cole and Wade Barrett on Raw while Cole remains on Smackdown with Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick. I’m fine with the changes but it’s a lot of Cole.

MMA Rules: Shayna Baszler vs. Ronda Rousey

The referee Shawn Bennett told both women that the only way to win is by knockout or submission. There are no pinfalls and no rope breaks. Rousey offered to touch gloves, but Baszler did not want to do it and Baszler backed away. They were both wearing MMA gloves.

Rousey got a waistlock takedown and Rousey was going for an armbar, but Baszler got out of it. They got back up to their feet with Baszler delivering hard kicks to the legs. Baszler delivered a roundhouse kick to the head to knock Rousey out of the ring. Rousey recovered quickly and got some offense to the body. Rousey went for an armbar. Baszler got back up, went towards the ropes and all the way out of the ring to the floor. Baszler had an injured left arm, so the referee called for WWE Medical personnel to check on her. They were obviously indy guys because all they kept doing was saying “are you okay?” without checking on her. Rousey tossed the two guys down. Rousey and Baszler got into a slugfest. Baszler hit a German Suplex. Baszler got a hold of Rousey in the Kirifuda Clutch submission. Baszler held onto the hold for about two minutes or so with Rousey passing out for the loss. It’s a technical submission win for Baszler. It went 7:30.

Winner by technical submission: Shayna Baszler

Analysis: ** A decent fight. With that said, it wasn’t that interesting. The problem is that both women were heels and while Baszler was cheered for some promos, it’s hard to really root for one of them. When it came to this match, the crowd didn’t care. The crowd was so alive for the LA Knight right before this and then they were asleep for this. I don’t blame the fans. It just wasn’t that interesting of a match. What this means for Rousey after this, we don’t know right now, but she may be wrapping up her WWE run. I think both women tried hard and did the best they could. This match just didn’t work on a major stadium show like this.

The announced attendance from ring announcer Mike Rome was 59,194 people. They always inflate the attendance in WWE, but it was legitimately over 50,000 people in terms of tickets sold. We should get more actual numbers soon.

A video aired for the Intercontinental Title match between GUNTHER and Drew McIntyre.

Drew McIntyre got a big ovation for his entrance. Drew looked ready to go with Graves putting him over as being better than ever. Ludwig Kaiser did his unique introduction of “The Ring General” GUNTHER while the bald guy Giovanni Vinci was there too. GUNTHER is just 32 days away from being the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion of all time.

Intercontinental Championship: GUNTHER vs. Drew McIntyre

They did a lockup to start, Gunther with a shoulder tackle and Drew came back with a shoulder tackle to knock Gunther down. Gunther grabbed a side headlock leading to Drew hitting a belly to back suplex. They were on the floor, Drew sent Gunther into the barricade and back into the ring. Drew hit a Glasgow Kiss headbutt knocking Gunther out of the ring. Drew met Gunther on the floor with Gunther sending Drew into the ring post. Gunther with a belly-to-back suplex onto the steel steps. Back in the ring, they exchanged strikes with Gunther decking Drew with chop. Gunther with a forearm to the chest. Gunther decked Drew with a clothesline and another clothesline. Drew no sold that, then they exchanged clotheslines with about four of them each until Gunther decked Drew with a clothesline. Gunther hit a German Suplex, Drew popped right up and hit a clothesline of his own. Drew with two straight belly-to-belly overhead suplexes. Gunther went for a chop, Drew avoided it and hit a neckbreaker. Drew did a kip-up with the fans cheering that. Drew set up against the turnbuckle leading to a Claymore Kick attempt, but Gunther moved and Gunther dropkicked Drew into the turnbuckle. Drew hit a Powerbomb followed by the Future Shock DDT for a two count. Gunther tried to regroup on the floor, so Drew hit a somersault dive over the top onto Gunther. Drew wanted a Claymore again, but Gunther was back up with a dropkick. Gunther hit a Powerbomb for two. Gunther has won many matches with that move. Gunther went up top and hit a Superfly Splash for a two count.

Gunther was in control as he slapped Drew and shoved him in the face. They got into a chop fest that sounded really loud as the fans shouted “WOO” for all of them. Drew got the upper hand with the chops. Gunther went for another strike, Drew ducked it and Drew ran the ropes with a Claymore Kick for two. Great nearfall there because not a lot of people have kicked out of that. The fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. They battled on the top rope with Drew delivering some chops. Drew teased a move off the turnbuckle, then it turned into a chop fest again and Gunther shoved Drew off the top to crotch Drew onto the top rope. Gunther hit a top rope splash, a clothesline and a Powerbomb for the pinfall win at 13:40.

Winner by pinfall: GUNTHER

Analysis: ***3/4 A great technical match, but it wasn’t the epic encounter that some of us thought it would be. Drew got the nearfall with the Claymore Kick, which was set up really well and the fans could tell it would only be a nearfall instead a win. Anyway, I did like how the finish was set up with Gunther knocking Drew off the top and Drew was crotched on the top rope leading to a sequence of moves by Gunther for the win. This was another match that had a predictable outcome, so that hurts the match a little bit. I just think it never reached the level of an excellent match. Maybe if they had five more minutes they could have got there. It was still very good all around between two talented big guys.

A video package aired for the Seth Rollins-Finn Balor match.

Finn Balor of The Judgment Day was up first looking serious as usual. Seth “Freakin” Rollins was up next as the World Heavyweight Champion with Graves pointing out that Rollins was wearing a vest that he wore at SummerSlam 2016 when he beat Balor. Rollins posed in the ring so that the fans could sing his song even more. It was loud with so many people singing the song while Balor was agitated by it. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin did the introductions when both guys were in the ring. Balor had the word “SEVEN” on his right arm/shoulder that he injured against Rollins seven years ago. Rollins threw his vest at Balor and Balor attacked Rollins before the bell rang. The referee rang the bell.

World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Finn Balor

They were brawling at a fast pace early. Balor got a boot to the body followed by a stomp on the left arm. Balor pulled on Seth’s left arm across the top rope. Balor applied an armbar on the left arm. Balor with a hammer lock on the left arm and he sent Rollins into the turnbuckle. Balor continued on offense pulling on the left arm with a fujiwara armbar, but Rollins made it to the ropes to break the hold. Balor was aggressive with punches. Rollins came back with a clothesline, then kicks to the body and Rollins with headbutts along with kicks and a clothesline for two. Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow slam for a two count. Rollins with a suicide dive sending Balor into the commentary table. Rollins did it three times in a row. Cole said that Balor’s mouth was busted open and we could see it as Balor sent Rollins against the top rope. Balor sent Rollins shoulder-first into the ring post as Seth was down selling the left arm. Balor tired a Powerbomb into the barricade like Rollins did seven years ago, but Balor countered to send Balor into the apron. Balor managed to come back and Powerbomb Balor into the barricade. The problem with the move seven years ago is how Finn landed with his shoulder against the barricade. Anyway, they went back into the ring with Balor hitting a Slingblade neckbreaker and Balor applied an armbar on the left arm. Rollins got back up, Rollins did a Buckle Bomb into a turnbuckle and another Buckle Bomb into another turnbuckle. Rollins went up top and Rollins hit a Frog Splash while selling the left arm on the landing. Rollins got a two count. Balor rolled through to counter a move leading to a stomp to the chest. Balor dropkicked Rollins into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top, but Rollins jumped up and Rollins hit a superplex. Balor with a counter and got a cradle pin for two. Rollins with a jumping kick, but Balor hit an overhead kick. Both guys were down selling as the fans chanted “this is awesome” for them although it wasn’t a loud chant.

Rollins worked over Balor with forearms to the chest and Balor hit a running dropkick. Balor went up top and jumped off with a double foot stomp attempt, but Rollins moved out of the way and Rollins hit a Pedigree for two with Rollins only covering Finn by laying his back across the chest. The crowd stood up because they saw Damian Priest walking out to ringside with the Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. Rollins wanted The Stomp, Balor avoided it and Balor rolled up Rollins for two. Balor tried a sunset flip, Rollins got out of it, Rollins bumped into the ropes and Priest punched Rollins (the referee never saw it). Balor hit a Pedigree on Rollins for a two count. Damian Priest was waving for somebody, which led to Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio showing up to distract the referee. Balor argued with Priest, who wanted Balor to use the briefcase as a weapon. Rollins knocked Balor down and hit The Stomp for one…two…and no! Balor kicked out. Rollins went up top and jumped onto Priest on the floor. Rollins kicked Dominik on the floor and hit The Stomp on Dominik on the floor. Back in the ring, Balor hit Slingblade and the dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor went up top for the Coup de Grace double foot stomp for one…two…no! Seth got his shoulder up at two. The fans cheered and were singing Seth’s song. Priest put his Money in the Bank briefcase into the ring, Priest distracted the referee and Rollins popped back up to hit The Stomp on Balor onto the briefcase! Beautiful. Rollins covered Balor for the pinfall win at 18:33.

Winner by pinfall: Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Analysis: ****1/2 I thought it was an outstanding match. They had the long story of the match with Balor working over Seth’s left arm throughout the match. There were plenty of nearfalls for both guys, especially in the final few minutes. Both guys used the Pedigree for nearfalls since they are both Triple H guys, so it’s fitting that they would use that move. Priest tossing in the briefcase like that for Balor to use and then have it backfire is a brilliant finish. They were all in the right spot and pulled it off perfectly. This was better than their Money in the Bank match by a lot.

Seth “Freakin” Rollins celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title in front of Damian Priest. The announcers argued about whether the loss was Priest’s fault or not.

There was a video featuring Alpha Academy promoting Mike’s Hard Lemonade. The Miz interrupted it saying that he is the only Mike in WWE. They argued over who is a Mike and who is harder. The AA team locked Miz into an equipment case. Nice ad.

A video package aired about the Asuka-Charlotte Flair-Bianca Belair match.

I missed the introductions. Sorry, ladies. A man needs to stretch his legs sometimes with a walk.

WWE Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair

There are no countouts and no disqualifications in a triple threat match. The first pinfall or submission wins.

Flair and Belair did an exchange in the ring showing off their athleticism. Belair hit a dive over the top onto both women on the floor. Asuka hit a running kick on Belair for a two count. Asuka hit Belair with a knee. Flair was back in with a knee to Asuka, but Asuka came back with a German Suplex. Asuka delivered kicks to both women, then Charlotte got a rollup on Asuka and Asuka hit another German Suplex. Belair and Asuka exchanged holds. Flair was back in, she went up top and hit a cross body block on both women. Flair chopped both women followed by overhead throws on both of them. Flair had something wrong with her outfit, so referee Jessika Carr helped her. Asuka and Belair had to wait for Flair. Flair hit double corner splashes on both women followed by Flait hitting a double Natural Selection for a two count on both women at the same time. Flair with a kick to Belair and Asuka hit double knees on Flair for a two count. All three women were up exchanging strikes again. Belair knocked down Flair with a clothesline. Asuka pulled Belair out of the ring with a hair pull. Belair was back with neckbreaker on Charlotte and DDT on Asuka at the same time. Belair went after Flair with a shoulder tackle on Flair followed by punches. Belair with a backbreaker on Asuka and a spinebuster on Flair. Belar with a handspring moonsault, but both opponents got the knees up. Flair with a Spear on Belair. Asuka with a kick on Flair that didn’t touch her and Asuka went for an Asuka Lock submission. Belair hit a handspring moonsault onto both women. Asuka knocked Belair down to the floor and Flair knocked Asuka down to the floor. Flair went up top and jumped off with the moonsault that barely grazed Belair. Asuka kicked Flair. Back in the ring, Asuka jumped off with a DDT on Flair that barely touched her for a two count because Belair broke it up. The replay showed that it was basically just Flair doing a forward roll to try to sell that move.

Belair went for a KOD on Asuka, but Asuka got to the ropes. Flair booted Asuka off the apron to the floor. Belair went for the KOD slam, Flair landed on her feet and then Belair hit an overhead slam on Flair. Asuka back in, she tossed Belair out of the ring and Asuka covered Flair for two. Asuka went for an arm submission. Belair grabbed Belair and hit a Powerbomb. Asuka caught Belair in an Asuka Lock and Flair covered both of them for a two count. Flair knocked both women down in the ring, Flair went up top and Flair hit a moonsault onto both women for a double two count. That looked better than the moonsault on the opponent on the floor that Flair does. Flair sent Belair over the top with Belair selling her right knee. Belair hit the steel steps as well so there was a loud noise. There was medical personnel checking on Belair. Flair went to the turnbuckle. Asuka went after Flair there. Asuka hit a superplex on Flair. Belair was getting helped to the back by the referees and the fake WWE Medical people. Flair and Asuka exchanged blows in the middle of the ring. Asuka with a spinning back fist, Asuka ran the ropes and Flair hit a Spear for a two count. Flair went for the Figure Eight submission while Belair made her way back toward the ring. Belair went up top favoring the right knee injury and Belair jumped ff the top with a 450 Splash on Flair for a two count. Belair nailed that perfectly! You could see Flair staring at the referee to watch the count and get the right shoulder up at the last possible moment. Flair and Belair were exchanging strikes again, Belair put Flair on her shoulders and Flair got out of that. Flair knocked down Asuka onto the floor. Flair applied the Figure Eight submission on Belair’s bad right knee, but Asuka was back up to blow the blue mist in Flair’s face. Belair grabbed Asuka and hooked her for the pinfall win at 20:47.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Analysis: ***1/4 They worked hard and had a pretty good match, but certainly not some epic triple threat match. The crowd had moments where they came alive although for the most part, they weren’t that enthusiastic about it. Belair selling the knee injury made for an interesting story and the finish with Bianca finding a way to win by cradling Asuka to win. I thought Flair might win and have Sky cash in on her, but they opted for Belair instead. All three women are awesome performers that I enjoy watching, but this was an example of how triple threat matches don’t always live up to the hype and singles matches are better in general.

Bianca Belair was handed the WWE Women’s Title. However, the celebration didn’t last because IYO SKY’s music hit!

IYO SKY ran out to the ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Bayley was with Sky as they ran down to the ring. Bayley hit Flair and Asuka with the briefcase to take care of them. Sky hit Belair with the briefcase a couple of times. Sky told the referee she was cashing in Money in the Bank.

WWE Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. IYO SKY

The bell rang while Belair was on the mat. IYO SKY went up top and hit the Over the Moonsault for the pinfall win after about ten seconds. The fans popped big for the title change.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Women’s Champion: IYO SKY

Analysis: No rating because it was just a cash in. I understand why they ring the bell after the cash in like that, but I like it better when both wrestlers are standing and then you start the match. Belair started the match on her back, so it looks too cheap. I guess with a Money in the Bank cash-in that doesn’t matter. I’m genuinely happy for Iyo Sky because she’s a great performer.

IYO SKY and Bayley celebrated with the WWE Women’s Title. Dakota Kai from Damage CTRL showed up at ringside and hugged Bayley & Sky in the ring. They showed replays of what happened. The Damage CTRL trio celebrated in the ring with Sky holding up the WWE Women’s Title. It’s her first time winning a Women’s Title on the main roster. The fans were cheering for Sky even though she’s a heel.

Analysis: It was cool to see Dakota Kai arrive to celebrate Sky’s moment. Kai has been out for several months with a Torn ACL, but I’m glad they brought out Kai to be there with Damage CTRL. Once again, good for Sky and all of Damage CTRL one year after the group was formed.

There was a WWE-Draftkings commercial.

A video package aired about Liv Morgan.

There will be a press conference after SummerSlam that will be on Peacock/WWE Network, YouTube and other places.

It was main event time, but first here’s a lengthy video package about the Roman Reigns-Jey Uso rivalry leading to this match. It was an excellent video as usual because it’s been a three year story that has evolved right in front of our eyes.

Jey Uso was up first wearing a white Lei around his neck. Cole noted that Jey is an eight-time Tag Team Champion, but he’s never held a singles title in WWE. The fans were strongly behind Jey Uso especially when he got into the ring.

Roman Reigns was up next as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion with the gold belt around Roman’s waist. Reigns has been (Universal) champion for 1,070 days. Heyman didn’t have the WWE and Universal Titles with him. Reigns was wearing a red Lei belonging to the Tribal Chief in the family. Heyman was wearing a normal red Lei around his neck. The story was that Jey Uso took out Solo Sikoa on Smackdown, so there was no Solo during the entrance. The Roman entrance took about five minutes like usual. Maybe even longer than that.

Reigns: “Detroit…acknowledge me!” Ring announcer Mike Rome did the introductions while both guys were in the ring.

Tribal Combat for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso (w/Paul Heyman)

Tribal Combat means that anything goes in a match like this. It will end by pinfall or submission. This was Roman’s first televised title defense in four months going back to WrestleMania 39. Reigns told Jey that if Jey beats Reigns then Reigns will hand Jey the red Lei belonging to The Tribal Chief.

Reigns shoved Jey so Jey shoved him back. Reigns ran over Jey with a shoulder tackle. Jey grabbed a headlock, Jey ran the ropes and Reigns knocked him down with a back elbow. Reigns delivered a knee to the jaw. Jey got some offense going with punches, then Jey jumped over Reigns and kicked him in the ribs. Jey knocked Reigns out of the ring leading to a suicide dive onto Roman’s lower back. Jey whipped Reigns shoulder-first into the steel steps. The fans chanted “We Want Tables” so Jey grabbed a table from under the ring. Heyman pleaded to Jey that Roman is the Tribal Chief that loves Jey. Reigns was back up after Jey set up the table on the floor and Reigns sent Jey into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Reigns with a whip into the turnbuckle, Jey jumped over Reigns and Roman sent Jey back-first into the turnbuckle. Jey was against the ropes, so Reigns hit a Drive By dropkick for two. Jey got some offense going with a spinning kick to the head. Reigns was out of the ring, so Jey ran the ropes and Reigns stopped that dive attempt with a kendo stick to knock Jey down. Reigns beat down Jey with multiple kendo stick shots to the body. Reigns did some trash talking, Jey came back with punches and Reigns managed to a come back with a barrage of corner clotheslines. It was a slow paced first ten minutes of the match.

Reigns set up and charged with a Superman Punch, but Jey hit Reigns with a kendo stick to the body. Jey unloaded on Reigns with multiple kendo stick shots to the body. Jey sent Reigns over the top to the floor. Jey ran the ropes leading to a somersault dive over the top onto Reigns. You don’t see Jey hitting that kind of dive to the floor, but it worked. Back in the ring, Jey Uso jumped off the top and Reigns punched him in the face with a Superman Punch for two. Reigns went for the Spear, Jey avoided it and got a rollup for two. Jey hit a superkick. Jey went up top and hit an Uso Splash for a two count. Jey used a steel chair to hit Reigns in the back with it while Heyman pleaded with Jey to stop. Jey hit Reigns in the back again. Jey tossed a bunch of steel chairs in the ring so there were eight or nine of them. Jey Uso wanted to do a superplex onto the chairs, but Reigns fought out of it with a headbutt. Jey hit a step-up enziguri kick. Reigns got a hold of Jey and Reigns gave Jey a Powerbomb onto a few chairs for a two count. Reigns brought a table into the ring and set up against the turnbuckle. Meanwhile, Jey was back up to his feet. Jey charged, Reigns caught him and Jey got out of that predicament to do a neck snap across the top rope. Jey was on the apron near the table on the floor. Jey tried an attack, but Reigns decked him with an uppercut punch. Reigns charged and Jey caught him with a kick to the head. Jey picked up Reigns on the apron and gave Reigns a Samoan Drop through the table on the floor. It’s not a typical table spot, but it works.

Jey Uso grabbed a leather strap from under the ring and hit Reigns with it. Reigns was bleeding from the left arm/elbow probably from that table spot. Reigns went walking into the crowd, so Jey went after him with punches. They found a table near the production area, which led to Solo Sikoa showing up and punching his brother Jey Uso. Solo picked up his brother Jey and gave him a Spinning Solo slam through the table. Reigns instructed Solo to take Jey to the ring. Solo put Jey on his shoulders and carried Jey down to the ringside area. Solo dumped Jey back into the ring as Reigns gave Jey orders on what to do.

Solo gave Jey a Spinning Solo slam in the middle of the ring. Solo picked up Jey going for a combo move, but Reigns hit a Spear on Solo instead. Jey was back up and he hit a Spear on Reigns for one…two…no! Reigns kicked out at two. Jey had another steel chair in his hand leading to chair shots by Jey on Solo and several chair shots to Reigns as well. The fans were cheering as Jey stood tall in the ring. Jey tried to attack Reigns on the floor, but Solo superkicked Jey on the floor. Reigns stared at Solo on the floor while Solo was pointing at his ribs because Reigns hit Solo with a Spear by accident earlier in the match. Jey hit a running Spear on Reigns through the barricade. Solo cleared off the commentary table. Jey slipped out of Solo trying a move. Jey superkicked Solo onto the commentary table and Jey jumped off the barricade with an Uso Splash on Solo through the commentary table. Back in the ring, Jey hit a Spear on Reigns. Jey went up top and hit an Uso Splash on Reigns. Jey covered Reigns, but somebody broke up the pin. It was a guy in a hoodie. It was revealed to be Jimmy Uso. The fans were chanting “f**k you Jimmy” at Jimmy Uso, who superkicked his brother at ringside. Reigns looked at Jimmy with a puzzled look. Reigns gave Jey a Spear through the table that was propped up in the corner. Cole: “This is disgusting!” Cole covered Jey for the pinfall win at 36:06.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **** A long match like usual for Reigns in a spot like this. I wouldn’t call it as good as some of Roman’s other singles matches this year, but still pretty solid for the most part. Jey Uso came close to winning several times and obviously, it was really close at the end when Jimmy Uso showed up, but that’s when the twist happened. I mentioned in the preview that Jimmy Uso returning to cost Jey Uso the match was a strong possibility. I didn’t officially predict it, but certainly thought it was possible. It adds yet another layer to The Bloodline story because now we can see Jey against Jimmy in a lengthy rivalry in the months ahead. I’m not surprised by the result here. Reigns winning makes sense as this lengthy title reign continues.

Roman Reigns celebrated the win while the announcers (especially Cole) trashed Jimmy Uso for his actions. Jimmy walked to the back alone so he wasn’t part of the post match celebration and Reigns acted like he had no idea Jimmy was going to do that. Jey Uso was dejected in the ring.

Analysis: The key point in the Roman-Jey story is that after Jimmy Uso was taken out, Roman & Heyman repeatedly said it was Jey’s fault. Most people likely assumed that when Jimmy came back he would help Jey, but this is pro wrestling and I figured Jimmy would cost Jey just because we have seen this sort of thing happen in pro wrestling before. Jimmy will have to try to explain why he did what he did. Maybe we find out that Heyman convinced him to do it or something like that. That’s the art of storyline. Watch the next Smackdown to find out more.

Reigns was in the aisle with Heyman talking to him as the show ended there.

There was a video package showing highlights of the show.

This event had a runtime of 4:18:09 on WWE Network.


Five Stars of the Show

  1. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
  2. Cody Rhodes
  3. Roman Reigns/Jey Uso
  4. IYO SKY
  5. Brock Lesnar/Finn Balor


Final Thoughts

I’m going with an 8 out of 10 for this show.

I enjoyed SummerSlam. It’s difficult to try to sum things up when a show runs for over four hours. All eight matches got plenty of time and aside from Baszler/Rousey, I thought everything was pretty good while some of matches were great. I rated Rollins/Balor the highest on the show, so that was the best match. The finish of that match was brilliant while both guys performed really well. I also really liked the Rhodes/Lesnar match that was a case of Brock putting over Cody the right way. The post match with Lesnar raising Cody’s hand and hugging him was a nice touch too.

The main event with Roman Reigns beating Jey Uso was the result that was expected, but I don’t know how many people thought Jimmy Uso would turn on Jey to cost him the match. It adds another layer to the story because now we’ll get that Jimmy rivalry with Jey while perhaps Roman can feud with other people on Smackdown. The way they explain Jimmy’s turn will be important, so we’ll see how they follow up on it on TV. I don’t think the Roman-Jey match was as good as some of Roman’s singles matches this year, but it was still pretty entertaining. It was perhaps a bit too long.

I’m also genuinely happy for IYO SKY cashing in Money in the Bank to become the WWE Women’s Champion. It was a fun MITB cash-in moment right after an injured Bianca Belair won the WWE Women’s Title. Gunther’s win over Drew McIntyre was good, but not the epic clash some of us might have been expecting. LA Knight winning that battle royal also was a great decision and I’m glad it was on the card. Knight needed to be on this show and featured with a meaningful win too.

Overall, I liked the show. I rated it 8 out of 10 due to the strong card that WWE presented over 4+ hours. There was some predictability, but that doesn’t really hurt it for me.

My WWE PLE/PPV rankings for 2023 look like this.

WrestleMania 39 – 8.75 (out of 10)

Elimination Chamber – 8.25

Backlash – 8

SummerSlam – 8

Money in the Bank – 8

Night of Champions – 7.75

Royal Rumble – 7.5


As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.

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Twitter/X: @johnreport