Summer Slam, the second largest PPV of the year, was coming from a sold out Barclays center in Brooklyn New York. With a star-studded card and what may very well be Brock Lesner’s last match in a WWE ring for some time the expectation was high. Like almost every WWE programming it had its high’s and low’s.
Zelina Vega and Andrade “Cien” Almos vs Rusev and Lana
Cien isolated Rusev early and works him over. Vega pulls Lana off the ring curtain just as Rusev is going for a tag. After more isolating Rusev , he’s able to mount a little offense to score the hot tag to Lana. Lana takes out Vega with a headbutt and double knees to almost score the three count. Cien jumps on the ring apron to distract Lana and he’s pulled off by Rusev. This created enough of a distraction for Vega to score the three count with a roll up assisted by her feet on the middle rope.
There wasn’t a ton of time to showcase any of the talent involved in this match. Lana seems to be progressing well in the ring but still has a lot of missteps. Vega’s roll up was a little to far from the ropes and she struggled to get her feet on the ropes before the three count which made it a little sloppy. Cien seems to floundering since is call up which is a big disappointment considering the momentum he had in NXT. I feel like with more TV time for this rivalry and a one on one match could have showcased both men better.
Drew Gulak vs Cedric Alexander (C)
Gulak controls most of the action early with a quick attempt at the Gulock. Gulak works the neck and Alexander plays the injury up really well. Blows are traded back and forth with Gulak connecting with a solid kick to the face. After a well executed flat liner the men trade more blows with Gulak connecting with a very stiff looking slap. They trade near falls back and forth with Alexander getting the pin and retaining the championship.
This was an extremely impressive match from two talented wrestlers. Unfortunately, with the cruiserweights only being showcased on 205 live it’s hard to know any story line without following every week, which I don’t believe most people are. I’d like to see the cruiserweights showcased on RAW like they were at one time. The difference being this time actually letting them have a mic and build storylines.
RAW Tag Team Championship
The Revival vs The B Team (C)
An early shatter machine kept Curtis Axel out of most of this match. With Bo Dallas flying solo The Revival showcased what they are best at, great tag team work. The Revival work over Bo’s leg and constantly take Axel out of the picture at ringside. Bo is able to battle back and hit the hot tag to Axel. The Revival are able to battle through the punishment and catch Axel in a roll up with the ref distracted. Bo falls into the pile pushing Axel into the pinning position to score the 3 count and retain the championships.
WWE seems to not know what to do with the influx of talent coming through from NXT. This was a perfect opportunity to have The Revival take home their first main roster title. Although Miz leaving RAW for Smackdown has been a blessing for Dallas and Axel, their “lucky” wins at the expense of a team that should be the future of the division is getting old. Hopefully this hasn’t buried and credibility that The Revival had left.
Summer Slam Main Card
Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler (C)
A somewhat slow start to a good match. Ziggler controlled the action early with a slow, heel pace. Anytime McIntyre was around the action Dean Ambrose made sure to make his presence known. Rollins fights back and he and Ziggler trade signature offense back and forth. A reverse falcon arrow lands a two count for Rollins. Ziggler hits a Zig Zag to Rollins, while blood pours from Rollins’ head, to land a two count. Ambrose on the outside hits Dirty Deeds to McIntyre to lend enough of a distraction for Rollins to hit a Superkick into a Curb Stomp for the 1-2-3.
This match started at a slow pace that left fans a little disinterested. But by the time both men were delivering their signature style of offense to each other the fans were loving it. I’ve never seen anyone take a spike DDT better than Seth Rollins. This match were two great wrestlers showcasing what have made them both main event talent. No heel turn for Ambrose which still seems like it could be not too far down the road. It was great to see Ambrose return to some action in this match because the WWE has missed their Iron Man.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The New Day vs The Bludgeon Brothers (C)
The New Day went with the somewhat unusual pairing of Big E and Xavier Woods. The Bludgeon Brothers isolated Woods early and showed great tag team chemistry. Woods was able to fight back and score the hot tag to Big E. Big E delivers a great spear off the ring apron and Woods hits an elbow from the top rope to the arena floor. As it looks like The New Day are going to capture another tag team championship, Eric Rowan hits woods with one of their mallets to draw the DQ. New Day win via DQ, Bludgeon Brothers retain the titles
I never enjoy a DQ to end a title match at a PPV. That being said this match seemed a little sloppy. There were missed spots and the two teams didn’t seem to be on the same page. When the action got going there were some big and impressive spots. I’d like to see a rematch between these two teams and a definite ending.
Kevin Owens vs Braun Strowman with the MITB contract on the line
Braun does what Braun does and overwhelms KO with power offense. Braun turns Kevin inside out with two shoulder tackles outside the ring followed by a chokeslam onto the entrance ramp. Braun delivers a running powerslam to KO to get the 3 count and a squash match win.
Why do we have to completely destroy everything KO has built himself to be in WWE? This was the definition of a squash match. KO needed a good showing or a possible win to still have credibility in any form. What he got was the exact opposite. I respect Braun as much as anyone but this was just a poor look from WWE creative. Maybe Vince is still punishing KO for being overweight, whatever it is this was a waste of a match and a main event talent.
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Carmella
Mella tries to bait conflict early between Charlotte and Becky which backfires. Becky and Charlotte concentrate on Carmella. The action is back and forth with a good pace and solid action. Charlotte gets Carmella into the figure four leg lock only to have Becky break it up with a leg drop from the top rope. Becky got Carmella in the Dis-Arm-Her only to have Mella break it up with a rope break. Becky readjusts and delivers the move in the center of the ring only to eat a Natural Selection from Charlotte for the 1-2-3 and another championship for a Flair. Becky then turns on Flair post-match.
This match was a great showcase of what women’s wrestling has become and the future of the sport. The match saw a lot of high flying, fast paced moves. We saw a rare suicide dive from Mella just above the bottom rope and a twisting moonsault from Flair. The heel turn is exactly what Lynch needed to be back in the title picture. It also helps show that it’s lonely at the top for Flair. Lynch now has a lot more options moving forward and I’m excited to see some heel promos.
AJ Style (C) vs Samoa Joe
Joe controls the pace early in this match. He works Styles over and tries to dismantle him slowly. AJ is able to throw Joe over the top rope and hit him with a phenomenal forearm to the arena floor. With the action moved back inside Styles is able to gain control and hit Joe with a Style’s clash for a long two count. Joe battles back and is able to lock the Coquina Clutch in on AJ only for Styles to be able to get the rope for a break. Joe set’s up AJ for what looks to be muscle buster only for AJ to fight back out of it. With Styles on the top rope Joe delivers an enzuiguri knocking AJ to the floor. Joe throws AJ into the ring steps opening up a wound on Styles’ head. Joe then grabs the mic and tells Styles’ wife and daughter at ringside that “he’ll be their new daddy.” This enrages Styles, who grabs a chair and delivers a shot to Joe’s back earning the DQ. Joe wins via DQ, but AJ retains the title.
This was expectedly a match of the year candidate considering the level of talent involved and they’re long standing friendship, and it did not disappoint. The only thing that held this back from receiving an A+ is the false ending. Both these guys are at the top of their game and considering their age that is saying something. These guys have battled for years in TNA and this match just goes to show you what two talented guys who trust each other can accomplish in a ring together. Having AJ’s wife and daughter at ringside was a nice touch considering how personal this program got. It was nice seeing a mean streak from Styles while keeping his face persona intact. This leaves this feud open for another match and I for one am excited to see it.
The Miz vs Daniel Bryan
The Miz gains control of the match early using Daniel’s own offense on him. Bryan is able to regain control from The Miz and shows him how is offense is really supposed to be executed. They trade very stiff blows back and forth which rejuvenates the match and the crowd. Miz hit’s Bryan with a Skull Crushing Finale for only a two count. Miz rolls out of the ring to the barricade where Maryse passes him some brass knuckles. Miz hits Daniel with the knucks, disposes of them and pins him for the 1-2-3.
This was a match 8 years in the making. The build up to this match is something WWE creative needs to do more of. You could feel the hatred between these two guys whether it was fabricated or not. The match was slow at times but typical of most Daniel Bryan matches, it picked up pace when he was able to. This match was almost reminiscent of a New Japan style match, it seemed extremely stiff. The outcome makes since from both characters stand points and it hopefully leaves this feud wide open.
Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor
Corbin comes out in his suit and vest. Balor’s demon music hits and the whole arena erupts. Balor takes complete control of the match. Hits the dropkick to send Corbin into the barricade. The match makes its way back into the ring where Balor hits the dropkick to the corner into the Coup De Grace for the easy victory.
The Demon is back!!! I felt like the Demon wasn’t needed for this feud but it was damn nice to see him break it out again. After all the talk about Balor’s size, Corbin was afraid to get in the ring with the Demon and rightfully so. This was a match that only lasted minutes which saw Corbin get in zero offense. I hate what they have done to Balor as he flounders in the mid card but maybe this is a sign of things to come. With what may lie in the main event tonight maybe we can see Balor back in that title picture.
United States Title
Jeff Hardy vs Shinsuke Nakamura (C)
Hardy and Shinsuke trade blows early which leads to Jeff mocking Nakamura. Hardy hits Nakamura early with a twist of fate and Swanton bomb for a two count. Hardy then sets Nakamura up on the apron for a Swanton that missed and left Hardy reeling. A hard ax kick to the back of Hardy’s head into the Kinshasa finishes Hardy for the 3 count. Randy Orton’s music hits and he slowly makes his way to the ring, only to turn and walk back up the ramp.
This was a slow match that might be showcasing Hardy’s age. The guy has been putting his body on the line for a rough 20 years or more. It was the finish that needed to happen but we really need to see something done to elevate this mid card title. Orton showing up only to leave just seemed out of place and out of character. Hopefully this program is over and we can get some fresh material for both these guys.
RAW Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey vs Alexa Bliss (C)
Natalya comes out first to a huge, much needed, ovation since the death of her father Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Alexa looks like she’s going to take the count out before Ronda turns her back and sits down so that Bliss would come back to the ring. Once back in the ring Bliss applies a chokehold to which Ronda stands up and throws Bliss off of her. Ronda then is able to get Bliss into an arm bar for the quick victory and her first championship in WWE.
I completely understand the draw of Ronda, hell she had one of the biggest pops of the night when her music hit, but this just seems to quick. I get that Alexa is known for winning matches in back handed ways but a squash match like this is a bad look. Ronda needs some more experience under her belt before you throw the championship on her. But then again, they have been booking her like a female version of Lesner and that’s what the match looked like, a Lesner match. I will say Alexa being able to make some of those arm bar attempts look so painful from being double jointed is fun to watch.
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesner (C) vs Roman Reigns
After both competitors are in the ring Braun Strowman’s music hits. He let’s them both know, whoever wins he’s cashing his MITB contract on that night. Strowman then stays ringside which provides an early distraction for Lesner. This lets Reigns hit three superman punches followed by 2 spears. On a third spear attempt Lesner locks Reigns into a guillotine choke. Once broken Lesner rolls out of the ring, he then confronts Strowman and delivers an F5 onto the floor. Lesner then takes the MITB briefcase and chucks it all the way up the entrance ramp hitting the monitors. With Strowman down Lesner then turns his attention to Reigns. Once back in the ring, Reigns hits Lesner with another spear to get the pin fall victory and Universal title.
Well if this wasn’t the most obvious match outcome of the night. With Lesner back in the drug testing pool for UFC and his confrontation with Daniel Corrimer after his last fight, we all knew this was coming. And WWE’s golden boy Reigns walks out with the belt. The addition of Braun on the outside was interesting and watching Lesner throw the briefcase further than Baker Mayfield can throw a football was fun. We all saw this coming and I know most of the WWE universe is tired of Cena 2.0 in Roman Reigns.
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