SummerSlam went about exactly as I had predicted (7-1 if you are keeping score at home). The event didn’t live up to the “You’ll never see it coming” moniker, even if they kept saying it over and over again during the event. The matches were good not great. At major PPV like this one I want a story line to either begin or come to a conclusion. At the WWE’S big four pay-per-views (SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and WrestleMania) stories need to start or finish or it just becomes a fancier version of Monday Night Raw. The fact that they are having another PPV (Payback) next Sunday is proof that creative has zero patients and will not let stories develop. I compare it to when media says pro sports teams in New York can’t rebuild. It’s a bullshit notion. WWE fans, like New York sports fans, are loyal to a fault (see the New York Knicks who still fill Madison Square Garden). If fans see that you are building something logically they will be patient, knowing that good things are coming down the road.
The World Tag Team title Match was solid. Angel Garza, Andrade, and the Street Profits are excellent athletes with bright futures. The match needed a conclusion to either the “who poisoned Montez Ford” or a split of Garza & Andrade. I got neither from this match but The Street Profits did retain. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville’s feud did come to a conclusion. The stipulations went from a “hair match” to a “loser leaves the WWE” match. However, it concluded because of outside factors not story telling. Sonya had a real life event where a stalker attempted to kidnap her. A scary life event is most likely the reason the stipulation changed and Sonya is taking time away from the WWE. Mandy had probably her best career performance beside a little bit of fumbling trying to set up the table. Apollo Crews retained his United State title match vs MVP on the preshow. This could have been a match on Raw and I wouldn’t have known the difference. This was another example of a match that had no conflict resolution. I have never been a fan of putting title matches on the pre show because I feel it deem the belt less than. Give me a action packed cruiser weight type match to get my attention.
The low point of the night came in the Universal Title Match. These two combatants were built as monsters in a falls count everywhere match. Sitting with my son he mentioned that he hated when in these types of matches spend too much time in the ring. Leave it to a twelve year old casual wrestling fan to have more logic than creative does. What is the point of a “falls count anywhere match” between these guys if they don’t end up somewhere crazy for the conclusion. The Fiend pulled out the win after Braun sliced open the ring mat with a box cutter and exposing the wood underneath. It was too long of a set up and The Fiend delivered two of his “Sister Abagail” finishers to regain the title he lost to Goldberg back in February. A big part of this story was Alexa Bliss, who was nowhere to be found the entire night. Why include her in this story if she is not going to be involved? When the best part of the match comes after the three count we have a problem. Roman Reigns returned in a big way at the end of the Main Event. He destroyed both The Fiend and Braun with spears and chair shots. Roman looked like he used his time away wisely and was in great shape. He also looked to be a little edger of a character as well. Creative needs to keep that momentum going in pushing this version of him.
It wasn’t all bad on Sunday night. Asuka’s two title matches were excellent. Along with Sasha and Bayley these three women are the best in the game today. The move of the night came when Sasha gave Asuka a vicious power bomb off the apron to the floor on the outside. Sasha and Bayley friendship has slowly been falling apart. Bayley beat Asuka in the opening match of the night with an assist from Sasha however, Bayley did not return the favor and Asuka captured the Raw Women Title once again. At Payback we may finally see the split with the two putting their tag team titles on the line versuses the odd pairing of Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (the last 2 weeks they have had altercations on Raw).
Much like Pat McAfee the night prior, Dominic Mysterio exceeded my expectation in the first match of his career. Dominic looked smooth in the ring with one of the top guys in the industry. Family dynamics rustled up all the emotions you wanted for this match with Dominic’s father in his corner and mother watching backstage. Rollins was a master heel in this match handcuffing Rey to the ropes. Victory was just out of reach for Dominic when Rollins countered a frog splash and hit his signature curb stomp for the victory right in front his helpless handcuffed father. This feud appears to be over for now with “Retribution” attacking the Mysterio’s on Raw the next night. Rollins should be headed for another title shot in the near future, I’m thinking Survivor Series.
The match of the night was hands down Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. This was a classic back and forth matchup filled with near finishers to start the kept you on the edge of your seat. Orton gained the advantage by slowly beating down Drew with Garvin stomps and grinding headlocks. The match turned on a dime when McIntyre hit a spine buster on Orton. In homage to his fallen friend Ric Flair, Drew slapped on the figure four and holding it on for a long period of time. Both men as the match went on drew blood from one another which added to the drama. To close the match Orton countered a Claymore from Drew and as he attempted the RKO McIntyre shocked the WWE Universe. A reversal into a back slide for the three count would have been the last finish I thought I would see. Like Kerry Von Erich vs. Flair in ’84 or Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog ‘92 a pinning combination earned them McIntyre a hard fought victory. Both man have extremely high impact finishers so a back slide victory added a surprise element this event could have used a lot more of. You’ll never see it coming? I saw most of this event coming from a mile away.