The 30th edition of SummerSlam took place in 2017. The main storyline going into the show was whether Brock Lesnar would retain the Universal Title in a fatal four-way match with top contenders Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman.
Most of us assumed Lesnar was winning because the rumor was that Lesnar would face Reigns at the next WrestleMania (that is what happened), but until you get to the match you never know. Plus, we all know that in today’s WWE, they change plans all the time.
Here’s my live review from when it took place in 2017. I did not add updated thougths to it.
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
August 20, 2017
Here are the Kickoff Show matches. I only watched one of them in full.
Jason Jordan, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas (w/Maryse)
The heel team got the win when Miz pinned Jordan. I didn’t see any of it.
Winners by pinfall: The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas
Analysis: I thought the faces would win again like they did on Raw, but 50/50 booking strikes again as the heels got the victory.
Cruiserweight Championship: Akira Tozawa (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Neville
I turned the show on to catch the last two minutes. Tozawa missed a Senton splash off the top and Neville came back with his Red Arrow splash off the top to win the Cruiserweight Championship again.
Winner by pinfall and New Cruiserweight Champion: Neville
Analysis: I didn’t expect the title change, but I did point out it was possible because there are a lack of heels in the cruiserweight division. It was only a six-day title reign for Tozawa.
The announce team for Smackdown consisting of Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield and birthday boy Byron Saxton set up the Smackdown Tag Team Title match.
The Usos made their entrance. The New Day trio made their entrance and they did a promo on their way to the ring. Kofi Kingston noted Brooklyn is where they began their record breaking tag team title reign.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The New Day’s Big E & Xavier Woods (Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Woods worked over Jimmy early one with a forearm and a corner splash. Jimmy came back with an uppercut punch. Woods went for an attack off the ropes, but Jey distracted him on the apron leading to a punch by Jimmy to take control.
Commercial aired plugging WWE Network.
Back from the break, Jey whipped Woods into the turnbuckle. Woods was on the top rope, headbutt knocked down Jey and a missile dropkick by Woods knocked down Jey. Woods went to tag Big E, but Jimmy pulled Big E off the apron to prevent a tag. Back in the ring, Jey drove the back of the neck of Woods into the turnbuckle. The Usos continued to isolate Woods with Jey hitting a forearm to Woods’ chest. Jimmy slapped on a chinlock. Woods got back to his feet, so Jimmy hit a back suplex that Phillips called “a big back body drop.” Phillips is bad at calling moves, but he knows how to get excited at the right moments. Woods countered a slam into some face first slam on Jimmy. Big E got the hot tag against Jey with the two overhead suplexes and the side belly to belly, which is his usual hot tag sequence. Jey came back with an attack in the corner leading to a uranage slam by Big E. Woods tag in and Big E hit a Powerbomb on Woods on Jey. Big E tagged back in, Woods put him on his shoulders and Big E splashed onto Jey for two. That was unique. Jimmy got the blind tag and The Usos hit a double spinebuster on Big E for two. Jimmy with a running butt splash on Big E against the turnbuckle. Woods got the hot tag, sent Jimmy into Big E leading to a uranage into a backstabber combo for a two count. That was great too. Woods crushed Jimmy with a forearm and then Jimmy hit a forearm. Jey tagged in, Woods sent Jimmy to the ring and Woods knocked Jey out of the ring. Woods took out Jimmy on the floor. Jey off the barricade onto Woods with a forearm. Big E charge, but he ate a superkick. Usos sent Woods in the ring. Jimmy with a splash onto Big E while he was on the middle ropes and Jey hit a Superfly Splash on Woods for two. That was a great nearfall. Fans chanted “New Day Rocks” for New Day. Woods trapped Jey in a submission move on his neck and shoulders. Jey got out of that and Woods hit a Shining Wizard knee strike for two. Woods with a kick to the gut of Jey. Big E tag in, Woods hit a DDT on Jimmy on the floor. Big E had Jey on his shoulders, Woods off the top and they hit the Midnight Hour for a two count as Jimmy broke up the pin. I thought that was it, so great timing by Jimmy there. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Jey launched Jimmy onto Woods on the floor with Jimmy having a rough landing on his shoulder. Big E hit a running dive onto Jey on the floor, which always looks impressive. Back in the ring, both Usos hit double superkicks on Big E twice in a row, so it was four superkicks in a row. Usos hit the double Superfly Splash on Big E for the pinfall win after 20 minutes.
Winners by pinfall and New Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Analysis: **** That was incredible. I can’t remember going four stars (out of five) for a Kickoff Show match before, but this match deserved it. The amount of nearfalls really helped and they kept building to a huge ending where The Usos had to hit four superkicks and two splashes on Big E to win the match. It makes it look like they earned it rather than some fluky win or a cheap finish. Great job by Big E, Woods and both Usos. They deserve a lot of praise for that match and I assume they were motivated even more because they were on the Kickoff Show. I know it doesn’t matter as much in the WWE Network era, but it’s still called the Kickoff Show for a reason. As for the title change, I didn’t expect it, but like with the Cruiserweight Title it’s because there are a lack of heel teams of Smackdown. I’m just not a fan of one month title changes.
WWE SummerSlam Main Card
The opening video package focused on the matches on the main card. Ten matches over four hours.
There was a shot of the live crowd in Barclays Center and it was a packed house. No fireworks to start. I know I don’t have to keep saying that for every WWE show, but it’s still weird to me.
John Cena made his entrance to start the show. Loud reaction for him as always.
The announce team of Phillips, Layfield and Saxton were shown on camera. Calling Saxton “the insider” is ridiculous.
Baron Corbin made his entrance. He’s got some fire graphics on the video screen. Isn’t Seth Rollins the “burn it down” guy? So much fire!
The German and Spanish announce teams were shown on camera. They are at ringside. They said “don’t break our tables, but please visit TJRWrestling.net every day.” Thanks guys.
There was a clip of Corbin’s failed MITB cash in from Smackdown with Cena laughing at him.
John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
Cena left the ring, told JBL that Corbin is shook and thinking about last Tuesday, not tonight. Cena put the JBL’s hat on briefly and went back in the ring. Corbin took control of the match with a thunderous clothesline after his leave the ring, go back in the ring and nail the clothesline spot. Corbin hit a suplex as he continued in control. Cena ran at Corbin, which led to Corbin catching him and slamming Cena. Armbar by Corbin, Cena was clearly talking to him and he just let go to argue with the fans. Cena with a dropkick and Corbin decked him with a punch. Cena did his usual offense with the spinning slam and he missed the Five Knuckle Shuffle attack. Corbin did his run out of the ring, go back in and hit a Chokeslam into a backbreaker for a two count. That was a good spot, but Corbin doing the run out of the ring and go back in spot twice in the first seven minutes is a little much. Cena hit a Tornado DDT followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Deep Six spinning slam by Corbin for a two count. Corbin pounded on Cena with punches. Corbin did the leave the ring, slide back in spot for the third time and Cena decked him with a clothesline. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment and pinned Corbin to win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: **1/4 An average match with a predictable win for Cena. Corbin did the run out of the ring and go back in spot three times, so when he did it the third time it cost him the match. It’s not an exciting story. I’m not surprised by the Cena win because he’s heading to Raw and they want to keep him strong although it’s not like he really needs the win. Corbin is doing the losing streak thing now since he failed to cash in Money in the Bank on Smackdown and he lost easily to Cena.
Post match, Cena celebrated with some people at ringside like comedian Jeff Ross. He hugged Betty Skaaland at ringside too. The wives of Randy Orton and Kurt Angle were sitting together at ringside too.
A video aired for WWE superstars playing Rocket League. I’m not recapping it.
Video aired to show the Natalya vs. Naomi storyline, which isn’t much of a story.
Natalya was wearing a Hart Foundation style jacket that was cool looking and a nice tribute to her dad Jim Neidhart and uncle Bret Hart. Naomi did her “Glow” entrance. Lots of lights.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. Natalya
Natalya got a slap and then Naomi came back with a headscissors followed by a slap. Natalya went to the floor, so Naomi jumped off the ring steps and hit a blockbuster. That was nice. Natalya drove the right leg of Naomi into the top rope. Slingshot by Natalya while on the apron sent Naomi into the ring post. Suplex by Natalya earned a two count. There was a shot of Carmella with her Money in the Bank briefcase and James Ellsworth backstage. The crowd is pretty quiet as Natalya worked over Naomi with a kick to the ribs. Naomi kicked Natalya in the thighs, but Natalya came back with a Michinoku Driver slam for a two count. Abdominal stretch by Natalya. Discus clothesline connected for Natalya. They battled by the turnbuckle, Naomi slipped out and hit a Russian legsweep off the middle rope. Naomi with some forearms, Naomi hit forearms of her own and Naomi hit a spin kick to the head. Naomi with a headscissors using her legs and slammed Natalya into the match for two. Naomi unleashed on Natalya with some kicks, Natalya blocked it and pulled her leg so Naomi did the splits. Kick by Natalya for two. Naomi kicked Natalya in the back and Natalya was against the middle ropes as Naomi did a slingshot into a legdrop for two. Cool spot although silly that Natalya would hold herself on the ropes on purpose to take a move. Naomi got a sunset flip into a cover. Naomi went for a head/arm submission and Natalya countered into a Sharpshooter. Natalya had the Sharpshooter locked on in the center of the ring. Naomi crawled to the ropes and sent Natalya back first into the turnbuckle. Naomi went for the split legged moonsault off the top and Natalya got her knees up. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter and Naomi tapped out. Natalya wins! Yes! It went 12 minutes.
Winner by submission and new Smackdown Women’s Champion: Natalya
Analysis: **3/4 Pretty good match with a finish I wasn’t expecting, but I’m certainly happy about it as a Natalya fan. Natalya was on offense for the majority of the match, I thought Naomi would come back and win, yet it never happened. Clean win for the heel challenger Natalya who was relentless with the Sharpshooter. The crowd wasn’t into it early, but they got into it by the end of it.
That’s three title matches and three title changes. I didn’t predict any of them.
Post match, Natalya celebrated with the title while the camera stayed on Naomi crying about the loss. It went to a commercial, so no cash in by Carmella if you’re wondering.
Analysis: I’m very happy for Natalya. She’s been through a lot in her career from being booked like a joke at times and not being featured enough. She’s consistently good, went through a lot in her career, is reliable and hard working. Congrats to her for that moment. It’s her second Women’s Title win although the first one was when it was the Divas Title and she won it in 2010.
A commercial aired for WWE Shop and Raw’s No Mercy PPV next month.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Booker T and Corey Graves were shown on camera welcoming
Big Cass vs. Big Show is up next. That’s good because I’ve gotta take a big bathroom break.
I legitimately had a bathroom break. Could hear Enzo doing some long promo. Came back and the match was about to begin.
Big Show vs. Big Cass (Enzo Amore is in a shark cage)
Big Show has his right hand/wrist in a cast due to Cass attacking him on Raw.
Show nailed Cass with some lefty punches and chops. Enzo was annoying while in the cage. The crowd is dead for all of this as I start to fall asleep trying to recap it. Show hurt his right hand going for something and Show punched Cass with the right hand for a two count. Show went for a corner attack, so Cass kicked Show in the right hand. Cass punched the right hand of Show and stomped on the hand. Cass did a weak looking armbar leading to “boring” chants. Enzo tried to encourage Show while annoying the hell out of me. Show did a comeback with lefty clotheslines and a running splash in the corner that didn’t wake up the crowd. Cass fought off a Chokeslam attempt and Show hit a lefty Chokeslam for a two count. Cass rolled to the floor. Cass sent Show’s hand into the steel post. Enzo tried to slip out of the cage. He got half of his body out. Enzo pulled off his shorts, reached under his boxers and sprayed oil on himself. Enzo put gloves on. Enzo slipped through the bars out of the shark cage. The crowd cheered that. Enzo lowered himself into the ring and Cass hit Enzo with a big boot. That was my favorite part of the match by far. Big Cass hit a big boot on Big Show for a two count. Cass hit another big boot to the face followed by the Empire Elbow drop for the pinfall after 11 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Big Cass
Analysis: * Boring match as expected. Show did a good job of selling the hand injury, but it just wasn’t a compelling story that people were interested in. Cass winning is no surprise. He’s going to win a lot of matches during his push up the ladder. I’m not a hater, but he’s yet to really impress me as a singles act.
A commercial aired for Tapout.
Kurt Angle, the Raw GM, was on the phone in his office. Daniel Bryan, the Smackdown GM, showed up to talk to him. Bryan said that Smackdown is going to steal the show due to the WWE Title match and Angle said the Universal Title match is going to be epic. They did a bit where they stole eachother’s catchphrases, Angle said “yes” repeatedly and Bryan said “no” repeatedly, so that ended it.
Analysis: It was good to see two of my all-time favorites on screen together. It was mildly funny. Poor Bryan had to try to put over Mahal’s match as being something special when it’s really nothing compared to the main event.
Randy Orton made his entrance and Rusev attacked him before the bell rang. It was a cheap attack that Orton wasn’t ready for. Rusev pounded on him. They went outside the ring with Rusev hitting a slam into the barricade.
Orton staggered to his feet, the ref kept Rusev back and the match began with Orton saying it was okay.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Rusev charged at Orton, there was a duck from Orton and Orton hit a RKO (with Rusev landing face first) for the pinfall after about ten seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Orton celebrated the easy win.
Analysis: No rating because it was so short. I expected an Orton win because he had three straight PPV losses. I didn’t expect it to be that quick.
Commercial for WWE2K18 video game.
Sasha Banks was shown walking backstage. Her buddy Bayley was there to offer a hug for her and wished her the best in her title match.
Sasha Banks made her entrance to a nice ovation. She had on some outfit with feathers. I don’t know how to describe it. They showed the announce teams around the arena. Congrats to them surviving the budget cuts. Alexa Bliss got a nice ovation for her entrance even though she’s a heel.
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks
Bliss with a nice punch to the face early on. Cross body block off the top by Bliss for a two count. Bliss did her stand on the hair spot followed by a chinlock. Bliss did her double knee attack off the ropes and a flip leading to double knees to the ribs for two. Bliss did more of her choking offense and a weak looking headlock. Bliss sent Banks into the turnbuckle repeatedly. Bliss did a headlock while on the turnbuckle repeatedly. Banks flipped Bliss off and hit a running knee attack. Both women were down while talking to the ref to relay moves to come. Banks with two running clotheslines, dropkick and a neckbreaker for two. Bliss sent Banks head into her knee. Banks with a kick to the head. Bliss went for a move out of the corner, so Banks flipped her over and sent Bliss back of the head into the turnbuckle. Banks with a series of knee strikes to the face of Bliss for a two count. Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission. Bliss got to the bottom rope and left the ring. Banks went for an attack on the floor, Bliss pulled the ring skirt and Banks hit her foot on it, so Banks went down. Back in the ring, Bliss dumped Banks out of the ring with Banks selling the left shoulder injury. Banks got back in the ring.
Bliss attacked the left arm of Banks with knee drives to the arm. Arm wringer takedown by Bliss. Bliss went up top and hit a Twisted Bliss splash for a two count. Banks was able to counter a move by Bliss and slapped on the Bank Statement. Bliss pulled on the arm of Banks repeatedly to hurt her bad shoulder. Banks slapped on the Bank Statement again. Bliss tapped out and Banks won the title. It went 13 minutes.
Winner by submission and New Raw Women’s Champion: Sasha Banks
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match without much heat because they didn’t have a storyline going into it. The story of Bliss working on the arm was fine, but it would have helped if she tried a submission on the arm or did something to capitalize on all that work. I picked Banks to win because I think they want to put the title on Nia Jax soon, so it makes sense to have the face Banks win the title to get to that point.
That is the fourth title match of the night and the fourth title change. Four more title matches to come.
The KFC commercial aired featuring Dolph Ziggler, Enzo Amore, Goldust, Mojo Rawley, Becky Lynch, Big Show, Heath Slater and R-Truth. It wasn’t that funny the first time they aired it two hours earlier. They even aired Shawn Michaels as Colonel Sanders from earlier.
Up next is Finn Balor as The Demon vs. Bray Wyatt and they get a video package to hype it up.
Bray Wyatt made his entrance to the usual arena full of cell phone light.
Finn Balor got a huge reaction in his “Demon” Balor gear as expected. He hasn’t gone to that look in a year because he got hurt at last year’s SummerSlam, so it’s good to see it again. It makes him stand out from the pack.
“Demon King” Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
The announcers spent several minutes hyping up Balor as being a stronger force when he’s the Demon. Balor exploded on Wyatt with a chop. Balor aggressively attacked Wyatt on the floor. Balor hit a sweet somersault dive over the top onto Wyatt to knock him down. They did a cool spot where Wyatt grabbed Balor while he was on the floor and hit a suplex on Balor on the floor. The fans chanted for Balor as Wyatt pounded on him in the corner. Wyatt hit a shoulderbreaker followed by a cover, but the ref didn’t count because Balor’s shoulder wasn’t down. That was awkward. Wyatt hit a running splash in the corner. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, Balor countered and hit a double stomp to the chest. Balor did his comeback with forearms to the head, dropkick that sent Wyatt to the floor and the running punt on the apron by Balor. Running attack by Balor off the apron with a double foot stomp to the back of Wyatt. Back in the ring, Balor hit the Slingblade. Wyatt came back with a kick to the face followed by a uranage slam for a two count. Running senton got a two count for Wyatt. Fans chanted for Balor again. Leaping kick by Balor followed by an elbow drop to the chest for a two count. Wyatt left the ring, so Balor hit a running dropkick that sent him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Balor ran right into a Wyatt clothesline for two. Wyatt did his crab walk move, Balor to his feet and he let out a yell with Wyatt selling shock. Slingblade by Balor, then a dropkick and Balor up top with the Coup de Gras for the pinfall win after 10 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match that was back and forth until Balor hit his three moves of doom to get the win. No surprise that Balor got the win after dressing up in that Demon gear. The crowd was into it a bit with chants of Balor, but it was nothing that really stood out.
Post match, Balor celebrated the win and even did some post match crawling since he’s in Demon gear.
A commercial aired for Total Bellas. Looks awful. I’d rather watch Big Show vs. Big Cass in an Ironman Match. Okay so that’s going too far. I take that back.
There was a commercial for the Mae Young Classic women’s tournament.
The Raw announcers talked about how there will be Mae Young Classic “bracketology” show after SummerSlam talking about the women in the MYC tourney.
The Raw Tag Team Title match with Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Rollins/Ambrose is next. Video package aired for it.
Sheamus and Cesaro, the Raw Tag Team Champions, made their entrance first.
Seth Rollins was up next for the challengers wearing a red and black version of his outfit. Dean Ambrose was up next. Both former Shield guys got a nice ovation.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
There was good teamwork by Rollins and Ambrose early on as they cleared the ring by knocking both heels to the floor. They did a spot where Cesaro went after Ambrose on the apron and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Ambrose on the floor. The heels caught Rollins on the floor and did a double body slam like move. Back in the ring, the heels isolated Rollins. That led to Rollins fighting out with a Blockbuster off the middle ropes. Rollins wanted a tag, but Ambrose was still on the floor. Sheamus with a suplex into a slam. The fans were playing with a beach ball, so Cesaro went into the crowd and destroyed the beach ball. Good man, Cesaro. Move of the night. The heels kept working on Rollins as Seth broke free with a kick. Ambrose staggered to his feet in the corner. Cesaro prevented a tag while working on the arm of Rollins. When Rollins got back to his feet, Rollins sent Cesaro to the floor. The heels double teamed Rollins on the floor, so Ambrose went after them and hit a double axe off the top onto the heels. Ambrose got the tag against Cesaro. Running clothesline by Ambrose on Cesaro and a dive to take out Sheamus on the floor. Backslide pin by Ambrose on Cesaro for two followed by a neckbreaker. Sheamus into the ring, Rollins with a leaping clothesline off the top and the faces hit clotheslines to knock the heels out. Double suicide dive by the faces to take out the heels on the floor.
Ambrose held up Cesaro and Rollins hit a Slingblade for a two count. Ambrose got the tag, Sheamus took Rollins out of the ring and Cesaro hit an uppercut on Ambrose for two. Ambrose did his bounce off the ropes clothesline spot. Sheamus tagged in, knocked down Ambrose and they battled on the ropes. Rollins hit Sheamus with a kick to the head. Ambrose hit a superplex on Sheamus followed by a Rollins Frog Splash off the top rope for two as Cesaro made the save. The faces attacked Sheamus with stomps in the corner. The former Shield boys set up Sheamus for a double Powerbomb, but Cesaro made the save. Sheamus rollup on Ambrose for two followed by a powerslam for two. Cesaro got the tag as the legal man and slapped on the Sharpshooter on Ambrose. Sheamus hit Rollins with a rolling senton on the floor. Ambrose nearly got to the ropes, so Cesaro countered into a crossface submission. Ambrose fought out of it, Sheamus kick to the back, Sheamus tag in, top rope and a clothesline off the top by Sheamus earned a two count on Ambrose. Double Razor’s Edge by the heels on Ambrose with Rollins breaking up the pin. Sheamus dumped Rollins to the floor again. The heels pounded away on Ambrose, they went for White Noise and Rollins hit a hurricanrana on Cesaro into Sheamus. Tremendous spot Rollins was a flurry of offense with several kicks for the heels and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for the pinfall win at 19 minutes.
Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Dean Ambrose & Rollins
Analysis: ***3/4 It was solid for nearly 15 minutes and then the last few minutes were excellent. There was a running theme where the heels dominated most of the action, they kept knocking one of the faces to the floor and then Rollins did the superman comeback with kicks for all. That spot where he hit a hurricanrana on Cesaro that sent Cesaro into Sheamus was really well done and started that exciting final sequence. I’m not surprised by the title change because I predicted. The crowd loved the moment and it makes sense to have an Ambrose & Rollins title reign for a few months. It’s good for both guys at this point in their careers since others are in Universal Title picture.
There was a big post match celebration for the new champions. They did a fist pose in the ring while holding the titles as the crowd went wild for them. Cool moment.
That means five title matches and five title changes so far.
The Smackdown announcers mentioned that every title match has had a title change so far. US Title video package aired to set up Styles vs. Owens with Shane McMahon as the referee.
Shane McMahon, Smackdown’s Commissioner, made his entrance wearing a referee shirt with his Shane O’Mac logo on the front of it.
Kevin Owens entered first. I miss the Face of America gimmick for the Owens face that was on the stage that he would walk around instead of walking on his own face.
AJ Styles, the United States Champion, entered to a big ovation since he’s one of the best performers in the company. Screw one of the best. He is the best. I wish he was in the main event, but this is still cool.
United States Championship: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens (Shane McMahon is the referee)
They did a brawling bit to start to have Shane break it up. Huge clothesline by Owens on Styles leading to a flip bump. Nice shoutout by JBL to Ric Flair holding the US Title six times. Owens nailed another huge clothesline and the cannonball attack in the corner. Senton splash for Owens for a two count. Owens continued with a move Edge used to do called the Edgecution for a two count and Owens complained to Shae about the count. Slugfest from Styles and Owens leading to Styles picking up Owens for a facebuster slam. Both guys were down. Owens with a back body drop. Styles went for a Lionsault, Owens avoided it and Owens hit a superkick for two. Styles hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker (Ushigoroshi) for a two count. Fans chanted “AJ Styles” as Styles went to the ropes and Owens shoved Shane to hit the ropes to crotch him. Styles hit a sunset flip Powerbomb out of the corner. Styles hit a 450 Splash off the top and Owens pulled Shane on top, so Styles hit Shane. All three guys were down. Owens sent Styles into the ropes and Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb. Shane was a bit slow to get into position, so it was a bit delayed leading to a two count. Owens complained to Shane about how that was a three. They argued face to face. Owens missed an attack in the corner, which led to Owens hitting the turnbuckle. Styles with a Calf Crusher, so Owens gouged AJ’s eyes to break free. Styles tripped up Owens by the legs, Owens kicked him away, Styles bumped into Shane and Shane bumped to the floor. Styles with a Calf Crusher submission, Owens tapped out and there was no Shane to see it.
Shane slowly got back into the ring. Styles shoved Shane, so Shane shoved back and Owens got a rollup for two. Owens sent Styles face first into the top turnbuckle. Styles came back with a forearm followed by a suplex into the turnbuckle. The wrestlers battled on the top rope, Styles went for a hurricanrana, Owens blocked it and Owens hit a spinning suplex out of the corner for a two count as Styles kicked out. Good nearfall there. They exchanged punches and chops in the ring. Styles went for the Pele Kick, Owens avoided it and hit a superkick. Styles got a boot to the face and Styles hit a Styles Clash for two. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, Owens avoided it and Styles went into the ropes. Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb. Styles had his foot on the rope, Shane counted, hit the three and then noticed Styles’ foot on the rope. Owens got in Shane’s face asking him what he’s talking about. Owens and Shane shoved eachother with Styles getting a rollup for two followed by a Pele Kick. Styles connected with the Phenomenal Forearm off the top. Styles hit the Styles Clash for the second time and Styles pinned Owens to win at 17 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/2 The match was very good as expected from them. It never got to that next level of greatness because the stipulation made it about referee Shane so much that it took away from the match. You knew going into it that something screwy was going to happen, that Owens was going to complain and that Styles was going to retain the title, which he did. It was obvious from the moment they set up this match that it was going to be a Styles win to end the rivalry with Owens blaming Shane for the loss. That’s exactly what happened.
Styles celebrated after the match was over. There wasn’t a post match angle with Shane and Owens.
Analysis: There’s no Smackdown PPV in September, so I think it will be Shane vs. Owens at Hell in a Cell (a Smackdown PPV) in early October.
That’s the first champion to retain on the night, so champs are 1-5 so far.
There was some commercial with Cena that I didn’t pay attention to. I just don’t care, John. Sorry.
Video package aired for Mahal vs. Nakamura even though there’s not much of a story. It was more about their journeys to get there rather than their feud.
There was a violinist on the ramp that played the Nakamura thong before the music hit. Nakamura’s music hit after that and Nakamura made his entrance with the crowd humming along to it as usual.
The Singh Brothers appeared on the ramp to introduce the WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. There are a lot of reasons to criticize Mahal and his push, but I think the presentation for him with that entrance is really well done. It comes across as a big deal, which is what Mahal needs to gain credibility. Present him like a star and people will keep buying into it.
Ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the in-ring intros for both competitors. He does a great job. Best ring announcer in WWE right now. Sorry Jojo and others.
WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal (w/Samir & Sunil Singh) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
They showed the Hindi announce team calling the action. There was a slow start to the match with a lot of stall tactics. Nakamura did his “come on” hand gesture, Mahal charged and Nakamura moved leading to Nakamura bumping to the floor. Corbin was on the apron, so Nakamura knocked him off with a kick. There was a cut to the Japanese announcers calling the action. Nakamura wit ha knee drop. Fans were chanting for Nakamura I think. Nakamura was on the apron, Singhs distracted him and Mahal knocked Nakamura off the apron. Back in the ring, Mahal seized control with some stomping. Mahal took control with his chinlocks. Nakamura missed a spin kick and then caught him with the left leg to the face. Running kick to the face by Nakamura. Hard kicks to the chest by Nakamura followed by a running knee in the corner and a lefty knee lift for a two count. Mahal went for a body slam, so Nakamura countered into an armbar. Mahal managed to get his foot on the bottom rope. Front suplex by Nakamura. Running attack by Nakamura, Mahal moved and got a rollup for two followed by a stun gun by Mahal. Running knee to the face by Mahal for a two count. Nakamura fought out of Mahal’s finisher attempt and Nakamura kicked him in the head. Nakamura hit a running knee to the back of the head. Samir on the apron, Nakamura slammed him down and a forearm on Sunil. Running knee attack by Nakamura on both Singh brothers. Mahal capitalized on that with The Khallas on Nakamura and pinned him to win at 12 minutes. What? Yes. That’s what happened.
Winner by pinfall: Jinder Mahal
Analysis: **1/4 It was fine, but nothing special. The finish was flat because it’s the same ending that they have done in several Mahal matches so far. Maybe I’m just disappointed because I wanted Nakamura to win the title. The finisher for Mahal doesn’t come across as a big move, so when Mahal hits it I’m left to think “that’s it?” rather than believing it as a viable finisher. Also, that was Nakamura’s first pinfall loss on the main roster and it didn’t feel like a big deal like it should have been.
After the match, they cut to shots of fans looking shocked at the result. I had a similar face.
Mahal is the second champion to retain, so champs are 2-5 so far.
Video package aired for the Universal Title match.
Braun Strowman was out first to a nice ovation with the yelling of his name that everybody gets a kick out of.
Samoa Joe made his entrance with the fans chanting “Joe” for him repeatedly.
The fans were booing before Roman Reigns’ music hit. Lots of boos for him when he got out there. I want to boo Cole when he yells “the big dog” every time and I like Roman.
Brock Lesnar was the last man out and he’s the Universal Champion. Big ovation for Lesnar. Lesnar also had his advocate Paul Heyman with him.
Ring announcer Jojo did the in-ring introduction for the three challengers and then Heyman did the awesome intro for Lesnar with the crowd chanting along with it.
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
There are no disqualifications and no countouts in a Fatal 4-Way match. First fall wins. The bell rang at 10:38pmET and the show may end after 11pmET.
Lesnar hit a belly to belly suplex on Joe while Strowman and Reigns fought on the floor. Reigns shoved Strowman into the ring post. Reigns went into the ring for the Brock showdown and Lesnar hit a German Suplex on Reigns. German Suplex by Lesnar on Joe as well. Strowman went into the ring for the confrontation as the crowd went wild, but the other two guys broke it up. Strowman and Lesnar cleared the ring for another faceoff leading to Cole busting out his “electric” line to describe it. Strowman hit a clothesline on Lesnar that sent Lesnar over the top to the floor. Reigns clothesline on Strowman couldn’t knock him out of the ring. Strowman charged at Reigns, who moved and Strowman hit the ring post. Joe with a Coquina Clutch on Lesnar on the floor. Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar that broke the barricade by ringside. Joe hit a slam on Reigns on the announce table. Strowman knocked down by the announce table. Strowman cleaned the announce table off and hit a Running Powerslam on Lesnar through the table. Fans chanted for “Strowman” and Joe hit a running suicide dive with a forearm shot to Roman’s face. Strowman tossed a leather chair and Roman and Joe. Lesnar was getting back to his feet. Strowman cleared off another announce table and Strowman drove Lesnar through that table with a Running Powerslam. Strowman went over to the third announce table and dumped it onto Lesnar. Referees and doctors checking on Brock. Heyman was freaking out. Lesnar was taken away on a stretcher. The fans chanted “na na na hey hey goodbye” as Lesnar was taken away through the crowd.
Strowman picked up the steel steps and destroyed Joe and Reigns with the steps. Reigns got back in the ring to destroy Strowman with the steps. Joe back in the ring with a rollup for two. Joe with a running senton for a two count. Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop for two. Reigns went for the Superman Punch, Joe avoided it and put on the Coquina Clutch. Strowman back into the ring and he hit a double Chokeslam leading to a two count on Reigns. Strowman was bleeding around his ear. All three guys were down. Lesnar walked down the aisle and got back in the ring with punches on Strowman. Lesnar went for a German Suplex on Strowman, but he couldn’t do it. Lesnar slapped on the Kimura Lock armbar and Reigns broke that up with a Superman Punch. Reigns with a Superman punch for Joe. Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar that didn’t look that great and Lesnar got his shoulder up at two. Reigns set up for another Spear, so Joe attacked wit ha Coquina Clutch. Strowman back in with a dropkick on Reigns and Joe. Strowman with a Powerslam on Joe for a two count as Lesnar pulled the ref out of the ring. Reigns with a Superman Punch on Lesnar on the floor. Back in the ring, Reigns with a Superman Punch on Strowman for two. Boot to the face by Strowman on Reigns and a running Powerslam by Strowman for a two count as Lesnar broke it up. Lesnar wanted a F5 on Strowman, but he couldn’t do it. Strowman went for a Powerslam and Reigns hit a Spear on Strowman to send Strowman out of the ring. Lesnar picked up Reigns, Joe back in and Joe sent Reigns out of the ring. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch on Lesnar, but Lesnar fought out of it with a F5 and Reigns broke it up. Reigns hit three Superman Punches on Lesnar to stagger the champion and then knock him down. Reigns set up for the Spear, but Lesnar caught him and hit the F5 on Reigns. Lesnar covered for the win after 21 minutes of action. The crowd cheered the result because they liked Brock and hated Reigns.
Winner by pinfall: Brock Lesnar
Analysis: ****1/2 That was a great match. One of the more memorable WWE matches of the year and one of the best matches of the year. It all depends on what you like. I think when you have a match like this with four power wrestlers and they can make those big moves look more impressive than usual that’s something to use to your advantage. Braun Strowman really stood out with his displays of power and the way he destroyed Lesnar with the Powerslams through the table as well as dumping the third table on him. It’s just cool to see stuff like that because Lesnar isn’t booked to be vulnerable very often, so when somebody does it like Strowman did then it comes off more impressive. I am not shocked by the Lesnar win because that was my prediction and based on what happened here, Lesnar vs. Strowman at No Mercy next month makes a lot of sense. What surprised me the most was that Reigns got pinned clean by Lesnar. I figured it would be Joe that got pinned, so seeing Reigns lose like that was a big surprise. I thought he was going to kick out, but he didn’t and that was it. Strowman looked like a huge winner even in defeat. He was booked so well.
There were replays of the highlights of the match. Lesnar’s music played a Lesnar slowly got back to his feet with Heyman raising his hand. The show signed off at 11:01pmET.
Analysis: I’m glad they didn’t go too far past the top of the hour. It was a long night.
The show had a run time of 3:57:24 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 7
I’m giving that 7 based on the strength of the four best matches being the Universal Title match, both Tag Team Title matches and Styles/Owens. I wish the rest of the show had better matches because a lot of them were average, but it’s still a good show in my eyes. When you can end it with a strong main event that is one of the best SummerSlam matches ever that certainly helps. A problem is the length of the show because it did drag midway through and the crowd was dead for most of it, but when three of the last four matches are strong like we got here it leaves a positive impression by the end of the night.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Braun Strowman
2. Brock Lesnar
3. The Usos
4. New Day
5. (tie) Samoa Joe
5. (tie) Roman Reigns
Best Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe (****1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Big Cass vs. Big Show (* out of 5) – I didn’t count Orton vs. Rusev since it was so quick.
Most Memorable Moment: Strowman putting Lesnar through the announce tables. Lesnar came back to win, but Strowman’s destruction were the big story.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here.
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