Welcome to the TJR review of WWE SummerSlam. It is one of WWE’s biggest shows of the year. Let’s get to it.
From the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario
August 11, 2019
Here are the results from the Kickoff Show.
The announcers for the Cruiserweight Title match were the 205 Live crew of Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness and Aiden English.
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak vs. Oney Lorcan
Gulak grounded Lorcan with an armbar as English correctly stated that this is more of a hard-hitting match instead of a high flying cruiserweight match. Lorcan with hard chops to the chest, then Gulak came back with a clothesline and a body slam into the ropes for a two count. A SummerSlam commercial aired on the split-screen as Gulak slapped on a knee submission. Lorcan with uppercuts followed by a flipping neckbreaker for two. Gulak left the ring, so Lorcan followed him with more chops to the chest. Gulak slapped on his Gulock submission, but Lorcan managed to get his foot on the bottom rope. They each went for moves, there were escapes and then they did a double clothesline spot. This is where the crowd is supposed to start cheering, but they just didn’t care. They got into a slugfest with Gulak working over Lorcan with punches. Lorcan countered the Gulock into a pin attempt for two. Lorcan with two running uppercuts, then Gulak pushed him and Lorcan hit a third running uppercut. The crowd got into it a bit more after that. Gulak grabbed the ring apron, the referee had to get rid of it, so Gulak punched Lorcan in the throat and Gulak picked up Lorcan leading to the Cyclone Crash for the pin at 8:40.
Winner by pinfall: Drew Gulak
Analysis: **3/4 It was a solid match in front of a crowd that was dead for most of it and they were still filing into the arena. Lorcan hits hard, but he needs a gimmick or character development to make him stand out more. The same goes for Gulak, but at least he’s the champion. I expected Gulak to retain the title because there wasn’t much of a story going into this, so I figured it would just be a basic match. That’s all that it was. They need to get more cruiserweights that are better high flyers if they want fans to care more.
The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves called the next match. This was Murphy’s first time as a competitor on Smackdown Live. He has wrestled on live events for many months, but not on TV.
Apollo Crews vs. Buddy Murphy
Murphy with a running knee to the face for two. Murphy with kicks to the back of Crews. Murphy slapped on a chinlock, Crews broke free and they did a running cross body block collision spot. Crews with a pump kick, leaping clothesline and an enziguri kick to the head. Murphy with an armdrag, boot to the face, Crews caught him and hit a Samoan Drop. Crews with a standing moonsault for a two count. Good sequence of moves there. The crowd was dead for this. Crews tried a press slam, Murphy broke free, kick to the back, superkick against the turnbuckle and a running Powerbomb got a two count for Murphy. Crews came back with a kick to the face, Murphy with a jumping knee and Crew countered a move into a rolling pin for two. Crews went for a moonsault attack on the floor, Murphy moved and Murphy sent Crews into the steel steps. Murphy hit a somersault dive over the top onto Crews on the floor. The fans cheered as the action picked up. Murphy rolled Crews into the ring, then turned around and Rowan showed up and decked Murphy with a boot to the face for the DQ finish at 4:42.
Winner by disqualification: Buddy Murphy
Analysis: **1/4 It was fine while it lasted. There were some cool moves from each guy with the crowd getting into it a bit more as the match went on. Murphy’s striking looks great. Crews has a tremendous mix of speed and power, but is lacking as a character, so WWE doesn’t push him. They are two of the most underutilized guys in WWE today. The ending sucked, but it played into the story from last week on Smackdown when Murphy told Roman Reigns that Rowan was in the area during one of the attacks on Reigns.
Rowan whipped Murphy into the barricade repeatedly. Rowan tossed Murphy across the floor. When Murphy got back up, Rowan hit a running cross body block to knock him down. Rowan picked up Murphy and gave him a Powerbomb into the ring post. Rowan: “You keep my name out of your mouth.” Daniel Bryan was shown watching on a TV backstage. Rowan left.
Analysis: It was an ass kicking with Rowan delivering a message to Murphy about mentioning his name to Reigns. Bryan standing backstage and watching the TV was all that he did at SummerSlam. What a waste of great talent since Bryan is the best wrestler in WWE in my opinion. They should have had him in a match on this show.
Let’s Hear from Elias
Elias was seated in the center of the ring with his guitar as he did his usual “who wants to walk with Elias?” routine while telling the crowd to shut their mouths, so the fans cheered. Elias did a song trashing Toronto for thinking they are the center of the universe because he’s been here a week and he wants to leave in a hearse. Not a great rhyme. Elias said that Toronto has the kind of people that don’t give up because the only thing he doesn’t see here is a Stanley Cup. That led to boos since my Toronto Maple Leafs have not won one of those since 1967. Elias also ripped on the Toronto Blue Jays by saying this place is sold out, which is the opposite of a Blue Jays game. That drew boos. We are rebuilding! He kept on doing his “you really know why I’m in Toronto” routine and said he can’t wait to leave to join his friend Kawhi Leonard in LA. That pissed the fans off too…but he got Toronto an NBA Title, so I can’t hate too much.
It was interruption time and it was…Edge! The WWE Hall of Famer was back home and he got a massive pop for this surprise appearance. He was not advertised to be there. He had my favorite entrance song in wrestling history. The fans popped huge for him.
Edge got into the ring, he didn’t say a word and he stood across from Elias as the fans gave him a standing ovation. Loud “Edge” chant for the popular Canadian. Elias charged, but Edge was faster and he hit a Spear. Edge posed as his music play as Graves said he never thought he would see that again. True statement. Edge left to a standing ovation from the crowd. Edge had a big smile on his face as he left.
Analysis: That was really cool. I enjoyed that. That was a nice surprise to see Edge in his hometown of Toronto (he grew up near the city anyway) and then hitting a Spear. That’s the first physicality I have seen him do since he retired in 2011, so his neck must be doing better. That doesn’t mean he is going to unretire from wrestling although I'm sure people will ask me about that in the future. Edge retired due to spinal stenosis. I don't see him risking his health for one more match when he is in his late 40s. He doesn't need to do it, nor should he.
There was one more match on the Kickoff Show.
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay)
Bliss was wearing some Buzz Lightyear inspired gear. She is a Disney superfan. Bliss tripped up Kay, then acted as if she had a laser on her arm like Buzz Lightyear and Graves ranted about it saying that was embarrassing, so he might turn in his Alexa Bliss fan card. Royce tagged in, Cross charged and hit a bulldog. Cross up top and she hit a cross body block on Royce for two. Royce with a sloppy pin attempt on Cross. Kay choked Cross across the top rope and Royce hit a spin kick leading to Kay getting a two count. Double team kick to the back by the Kay/Royce to cross. Royce grounded Cross with an armbar, then Kay back in and she slapped on an armbar on Cross. Kay with an overhead slam for a two count. Royce back in, Cross with a jawbreaker and they did a double hair whip. Bliss got the hot tag with clotheslines on Kay, a weak looking trip and Bliss with her knees to the ribs combo. Bliss tossed Royce out of the ring and Kay hit a boot to the face for two as Cross broke up the pin. Royce tagged in, Bliss whipped her into the turnbuckle and Cross took out Kay. Bliss avoided a kick, but Royce hit slam while Bliss was on her back. Royce did a crying routine after getting a two count. Bliss with a punch to the jaw of Royce. Cross kept Kay from going into the ring and Bliss hit the Twisted Bliss splash off the top onto Royce for the pinfall win at 6:15.
Winners by pinfall: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Analysis: *1/2 It was a poor match with two heel teams, but Bliss and Cross get some fan support too. Bliss did well after the hot tag with the crowd caring more about Bliss than anybody else in the match. It made sense for Bliss/Cross to retain since they just won the titles last week.
The Kickoff Show panel in the last hour of the Kickoff Show was Jonathon Coachman, Charly Caruso, Booker T and Jerry “The King” Lawler. They talked about the big matches to get us ready for the show. The last match they talked about was Lesnar vs. Rollins. At 7pmET it was time to start the main show.
SUMMERSLAM 2019 MAIN SHOW
The opening video package aired that set up the big matches coming up during the show. This was very well done as usual.
There was pyro in the arena to start the show. The fans in the arena were told about it before it happened so they could be ready. That’s the first time they have had pyro inside the arena for a PPV in a few years. Way to spend that FOX money, Uncle Vince. It looked like a sold out crowd in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena or at least very close to being totally sold out.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Toronto’s own Renee Young were at ringside.
The video package aired for the Raw Women's Title Submission Match between champion Becky Lynch and challenger Natalya. It's a good spot to be on the show when the crowd is hot. When you're in a match hours later in the show, the reactions aren't the same. A lot of wrestlers prefer to go on early for that reason.
Becky Lynch made her entrance first as the Raw Women’s Champion with the fans giving her a big ovation. Ring announcer Mike Rome has white hair now. That’s…odd. Natalya got a big pop as soon as the famous guitar riff started her theme song and she walked out with a Canadian flag in her hands. Natalya gave the flag to a young girl at ringside. The Spanish and German announce teams are also at ringside. The women stood in the ring as Rome did the introductions.
Raw Women’s Championship Submission Match: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Lynch and Natalya got into a slugfest early. They were both dressed in black. Renee already used the “bring the fight” phrase that the announcers are programmed to use. Lynch with an overhead suplex while Renee mentioned bars she has been in where people were talking about SummerSlam, so Graves joked that Renee has become a drunk this summer. Lynch tried a submission on the arm, Natalya rolled to the ropes for leverage and Lynch turned it into a leg submission pulling back on the leg. There are no rope breaks in a submission match along with no countouts or disqualifications. Natalya drove Lynch into the barricade and then swung her into the barricade. A knee to the legs by Natalya followed by a kick to the back of the leg. Natalya with a snap suplex that sent Lynch’s legs into the ropes. Natalya with a hard kick to the ribs. Lynch with an uppercut to get some offense going, but Natalya drove Lynch’s leg into the middle ropes. Natalya sent Lynch shoulder first into the ring post. Natalya slapped on with a Sharpshooter various while standing on the middle turnbuckle. That was a unique looking spot! Lynch broke free and went down to the floor. When Natalya left the ring, Lynch drove her shoulder first into the announce table and Lynch whipped Natalya left shoulder first into the steel steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Lynch went up top, but Natalya hit her with a superplex. After staying down for a bit, Natalya tried her step on the back leading to a dropkick, but Lynch blocked. Lynch slapped on a Sharpshooter on Natalya and it sounded like a mix of cheers as well as well boos for Lynch. The move wasn’t applied perfectly, but that was also because Natalya was crawling to the ropes and Natalya sent the back of Becky’s head into the turnbuckle. Lynch tried a kick, Natalya caught her and put her down by the leg. Natalya slapped on the Disarmer submission on Lynch, but really it was just bending the arm in a normal position. At least they sold it as if it looked painful. Lynch escaped, but Natalya managed to counter into a Sharpshooter right in the middle of the ring. Lynch was screaming in pain. The fans were really getting into it, but Lynch crawled to the ropes and out of the ring to get free. Natalya tried another Sharpshooter, but Lynch pulled her down and slapped on the Disarmher on the injured left arm. Natalya tried to fight it and then after about 30 seconds, Natalya tapped to give Lynch the win at 12:35.
Winner by submission: Becky Lynch
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a really good match as expected from two of the best technical wrestlers in the women’s division in WWE. I wouldn’t trust most WWE women to have a good submission match, but they did well. They were intense as soon as the bell rang. This felt like a fight from the moment it started, which is how it should be. They did the predictable thing of stealing eachother’s finishing move, then Natalya did the Sharpshooter, she nearly won with it and Lynch came back to win with her Disarmher finisher. Lynch retaining was expected because she’s the most pushed woman in WWE with no sign of that stopping. Natalya was there to have a quality match and she had a strong showing. They should both be proud of this match.
Lynch celebrated with the title while limping around a bit. Natalya was down selling the arm injury.
Trish Stratus was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Trish was looking fantastic. Stratus said she felt great, she was nervous and excited. Stratus said she thrived on pressure and the hardest part has been waiting for the match to begin. Stratus claimed that the pioneers that paved the way are taken for granted. Tonight, she is there to remind Charlotte Flair and prove that Flair couldn’t walk a mile in her boots. Stratus said if Flair is the queen then Trish in the Queen of Queens. That was it.
Analysis: Solid promo from Trish while clearly reciting the lines WWE fed to her since a lot of WWE lingo was in there. She was always a pretty good talker in her career.
A video package aired about Bill Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler even though there wasn’t much of a story other than Ziggler complaining about legends.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance in a denim jacket. Ziggler did a heel promo claiming we always see legends come and go, but DZ is there stealing the show. Ziggler said we all know Goldberg doesn’t tend to show up for matches and we know that Goldberg fears Ziggler. Goldberg’s music hit.
There were “Goldberg” chants as his music played. Goldberg’s door was shown and it didn’t look like he cut his head from headbutting the door, so that’s nice to see. Goldberg got the sparkling entrance on the stage that he had during his prime years. There was a big pop for him.
Bill Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
The fans chanted “Goldberg” as the bell rang. They had a staredown. They separated a bit and Ziggler hit a superkick for a one count. Ziggler hit a second superkick for a one count. Goldberg backed up into a corner leading to a massive Spear. That looked great. Ziggler sold it really well as you would expect from here. Loud “Goldberg” chants again. Goldberg picked up Ziggler and hit a Jackhammer slam for the pinfall win at 1:50.
Winner by pinfall: Bill Goldberg
Analysis: 1/2* It was exactly what I expected and I’m sure most of you thought it would go this way too. I said two minutes or less. That’s what we got. The two superkicks to start was a nice start. It’s all that we need to see in a Goldberg match. Go in there, hit the signature spots and go home. Goldberg doesn’t need to have long matches.
Goldberg went up the ramp in celebration of his victory. Ziggler did a promo telling Goldberg that was like getting hit by a baby. It sounded like Ziggler called him “dipshit” although it was bleeped out. Ziggler kept on ripping him, so Goldberg went back into the ring. Goldberg hit another Spear to put Ziggler down again. Goldberg walked to the back.
Ziggler did another promo saying that anybody can get lucky twice…idiot. Ziggler said he knew Goldberg didn’t have the balls to face him man to man and he called Goldberg a laughingstock in this business while Ziggler is the best. Ziggler said he will never stay down and he’s the best thing going today. Goldberg’s music hit again.
Goldberg walked back down to the ring and he knocked the microphone from Ziggler’s hand. Goldberg helped Ziggler up to his feet, he tapped him on the shoulder, teased leaving and Goldberg ran the ropes leading to another Spear.
Analysis: That was fun. The way Ziggler sold that last Spear was funny because he got back to his feet before flopping back down to the mat like a dead fish. That was also the right way to pop the crowd by having Goldberg hitting his big moves multiple times.
There was a commercial for WWE Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 15.
Kofi Kingston, the WWE Champion, was in the locker room getting ready. Big E and Xavier Woods showed up to talk to their New Day buddy. Big E mentioned that we all know 2019 is when the Toronto Raptors won it all. Woods said they got a good luck charm for him. They said they had Drake, but it was really just Drake Maverick in a Raptors jersey rather than rapper Drake. Maverick complained that they wasted his time since he wanted to find R-Truth for the 24/7 Title. Kingston said you know how much this match has meant to him. They were fired up.
Analysis: The Drake bit was mildly funny. It is a huge match for Kofi, so it’s smart to have a quick New Day segment like that.
The Raw matches continue with a video package for AJ Styles and Ricochet for the US Title. It covered the Styles heel turn that led to him winning the US Title from Ricochet.
Ricochet made his entrance to a good ovation. Ricochet was dressed like Nightwing, which I didn’t know, so I asked. Thanks to TJR reader Nathan Terry for the info.
The international announce teams were there: Portuguese, Russian and Carmella and R-Truth were there in costume with Renee telling Corey his girl (Carmella) was looking good. There were also Japanese (hey Funaki), Hindi, French and Mandarin announcers. Drake Maverick showed up with a referee on announcer’s row, but Truth and Carmella left. Graves said he couldn’t get to his story about hanging out with the announcers (he does it every PPV) due to Maverick.
AJ Styles made his entrance with the United States Title along with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson of The OC (they were Raw Tag Team Champions) by his side.
United States Championship: AJ Styles (w/Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) vs. Ricochet
Ricochet hit a move off the apron onto Gallows and Anderson the floor at the start of the match. Styles kicked the left leg of Ricochet to keep him grounded. Styles grabbed Ricochet’s leg and drove the knee into the mat. Styles pulled Ricochet’s left leg against the middle ropes to stretch it. Ricochet got back into it with a kick to the head. Ricochet hit a headscissors followed by a jumping kick to the face of Styles and a one-legged springboard attack by Ricochet led to a clothesline for two. That was impressive as because he didn’t use his injured left leg on the ropes. Ricochet hit a leaping neckbreaker and a standing Shooting Star Press got a two count. Ricochet with a knee to the ribs, he went up top, Styles up and Ricochet got a sunset flip pin for two. Styles went back to the knee with a kick to the back of the leg. Styles with a running forearm to the back that sent Ricochet out of the ring. The fans did dueling chants for both guys as Styles hit a running dropkick to knock Ricochet down. Back in the ring, Styles with a fireman’s carry into the knee to the back of the neck for a two count. Ricochet drove Styles into the corner, then to the apron and Styles with a kick to the chest. Ricochet kicked Styles down, then he tried the roll through, he sold the knee injury and Ricochet hit a jumping kick to the head. Styles came back with the Calf Crusher submission on the injured left leg, but Ricochet countered and slapped on the Anaconda Vice submission on the left arm/head of Styles. That’s a finisher that CM Punk used. The crowd wasn’t into the match that much.
Ricochet hit a Northern Lights Suplex followed by a spinning suplex for a two count. That was a cool pairing of moves. Ricochet was selling the left leg injury on the apron, he kicked Anderson and hit a moonsault onto Gallows on the floor. Ricochet went up top, Styles tripped him to crotch him on the top, Ricochet with elbows, Ricochet kicked Anderson down again and Ricochet jumped off the top with a twisting attack, but Styles caught him and hit the Styles Clash for the pinfall win at 12:57. That finish was great.
Winner by pinfall: AJ Styles
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with psychology because Ricochet had his knee worked on during the match, but it was not the outstanding match I was hoping they would have. Styles retaining was what I expected because I think WWE wants to continue to establish The OC as a strong heel group on Raw. They needed more time because this felt like part of a long match without the exciting nearfalls needed to make it stand out more. Ricochet’s selling of the knee injury was well done, but he didn’t get enough offense to make it look like he might win. Gallows and Anderson didn’t even interfere, yet Ricochet kept going after them. I thought they would get more time. That’s the frustrating thing about the WWE main roster PPVs. This had the potential to be something special, but it ended up just being a good match due to not getting more time.
After the match was over, Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer double team move. The OC left after that cheap attack. At some point, Ricochet may have allies that try to save him, but not tonight.
The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins, who are still the NXT Tag Team Champions, were backstage welcoming us to SummerSlam. They talked about some of the matches so far and said “We the North” because that’s what my Toronto Raptors say as their catchphrase. Dawkins tried to hit on Nikki Cross and then Ric Flair showed up to party with them. The fans cheered loudly at the sight of the Nature Boy, who danced with him along with “WOO” chants.
Analysis: That was a fun waste of a few minutes. It’s good to see the Nature Boy doing his thing.
A commercial aired for the FX show Mayans. I don’t watch it.
A commercial aired for Cricket Wireless that featured Charlotte Flair.
Ember Moon made her entrance for the first Smackdown match on the main card. That meant the SD announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton took over. Bayley entered as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Good pop for her.
Smackdown Women’s Champion: Bayley vs. Ember Moon
They did some mat wrestling early on with some nice counters. Each woman hit running strikes and then Moon hit a springboard cross body block for a two count. Moon grounded Bayley with a knee submission to the back. Bayley to the apron for a neckbreaker, Moon shrugged her off and Moon went for the cross body block, but Bayley moved. Bayley with a running knee to the face followed by a clothesline for two. Bayley put Moon on the top rope with Moon’s torso against the rope and Bayley hit a suplex. Moon with a right forearm to the head while Bayley was on the apron. Bayley grabbed the arm of Moon and sent her throat first into the top turnbuckle. Bayley with a sent Moon upside down on the turnbuckle (Moon noticeably trapped her own foot under the turnbuckle) and Bayley hit an elbow drop for two. Bayley with a back elbow, she tried a low clothesline, Moon avoided it and Moon with a kick leading to Bayley going to the floor. Moon charged, but Bayley stopped her with a forearm to the face. Bayley went up top, but Moon caught her with a hurricanrana off the top (Frankensteiner). Moon picked up Bayley on her shoulders and hit double knees to the face for a two count. Good move for a two count. Bayley with a back elbow to the head, she tried her finisher, but Moon fought her off. Bayley on the middle rope, Moon caught Bayley on her shoulders and Moon hit a Powerbomb for a two count. That was close to having Bayley land harder on her neck, but it was a safe landing. Moon up top, Bayley went after her and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex off the ropes for the pinfall win at 9:47.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match. They worked hard with some cool moves from both women, but the crowd never got into it due to the weak story going into the match. Moon got some offense in and the crowd believed in her a bit, but I fully expected Bayley to get the win. That was Moon’s first PPV singles match. She did well, so I hope she gets other chances to show what she can do. Meanwhile, Bayley moves on to a new challenger.
A commercial aired for WWE Shop featuring Roman Reigns.
A video package aired for the Kevin Owens match against Shane McMahon. KO’s promo work in this feud has been amazing.
Shane McMahon made his entrance first to boos from the crowd. Shane posed in the ring as Greg “The Ham” Hamilton did his “Best in the World” entrance. There were loud “Kevin Owens” chants with a few people chanting “Shane O Mac” as well.
Kevin Owens entered to a huge ovation from the Canadian crowd since he’s from the Montreal area. Owens had a KO shirt similar to a Toronto Raptors shirt that I have. I know he’s not a sports fan, but it was smart to wear in front of these fans. Owens has “FIGHT TORONTO FIGHT” on the back of his shirt.
When the match was about to begin, Shane McMahon left the ring to cut a promo. The fans booed. Shane said to ensure that this is a fair contest, the special guest enforcer is Elias, who was in a referee shirt.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
If Owens loses the match, he must quit. Elias is the special enforcer outside the ring.
Shane left the ring near where Elias was, Owens followed, Elias stood in front of Owens and Shane went back in the ring. Shane left the ring again, Owens chased, Elias tripped Owens and Owens got back in the ring before the ten count. Shane with punches, but Owens came back with punches of his own. Owens with a punch to the face followed by a cannonball against the turnbuckle. Owens with a clothesline that sent Shane over the top to the floor. Owens charged, but Elias stood in front of Shane to prevent an attack. Shane tossed Owens off the apron and into the barricade with Owens taking a hard bump on his back. That sounded painful. When Owens got back in the ring, Shane stomped on him. The fans chanted “Shane, you suck” at him. Shane with punches, knee to the ribs and a side Russian legsweep for two. It was sloppy, so I think fans chanted “you can’t wrestle” at him. Owens wanted a Powerbomb, but Shane slipped out and hit a DDT for two. Shane went for a Sharpshooter, the fans booed and Owens fought him off. Owens hit a sitout Popup Powerbomb into a pin, but Elias was on the apron to distract the referee. Shane got a rollup on Owens for a two count. Owens with a clothesline on Shane. Elias tossed a chair to Owens in the ring. Owens grabbed the chair, Shane taunted him, but Owens didn’t do it because then he would lose and have to quit. Shane slapped Owens, but Owens tossed the chair down. Shane charged, Owens moved and Shane punched Elias, who was on the apron. Owens with a superkick on Shane. Owens up top and he hit a Senton Bomb on Shane. Owens to the top again and a Frog Splash got a two count because Elias pulled the referee out of the ring. That should lead to a DQ, but I guess it’s not since Elias is also a referee. Owens with a cannonball onto Elias who also knocked down the main referee. The fans chanted “YES” for Owens to use the chair on Shane. Elias pulled Owens out of the ring, Owens punched Elias in the face and Owens beat on Elias with about six chair shots to the back. Owens tossed Elias over the barricade. Owens had the chair, but the referee went back in the ring. Owens with a kick to the groin while the referee got rid of the chair. Owens with a Stunner on Shane and pinfall win at 9:20. The pop for KO winning was loud.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Analysis: **1/2 It was a fun match with Owens beating Shane as he should have. It wasn’t necessarily a clean win because of the low blow kick at the end as well as the chair attack on Elias, but it was exactly what it needed to be. The fans wanted Shane to get his ass kicked and that’s exactly what we got. As I noted, the reaction for KO’s win was huge because the fans were ready for Shane to get his ass kicked for all the cheap things he has done in the last few months. I’m glad Owens won the way he did because it was exactly what it needed to be. It's not always about star ratings. It's about delivering the right finish to a story and that's what they did here.
When they aired the replays, Graves complained about all the cheating that Owens did that went undetected. Owens celebrated with the fans giving him a big ovation.
A commercial aired for WWE Network that hyped up all the programming they had coming including NXT UK Takeover on August 31, Clash of Champions on September 15, Hell in a Cell in October, Survivor Series in November and TLC in December. They also hyped 365 on Seth Rollins, a WWE 24 documentary on Ric Flair, Ride Along with Rollins/Lynch, Table for 3, WWE Untold about Kane’s debut and plenty more.
A video package aired about Roman Reigns getting attacked backstage, then somebody drove a car into his car and Reigns found out from Buddy Murphy that Rowan might be involved.
Analysis: Reigns, who was on the SummerSlam poster, did not appear during the show. I was shocked that the creative team failed to come up with a storyline for him to get him in a SummerSlam match. The same thing goes for Daniel Bryan too. They should have built them up for a big match on this show.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in her robe along with her purple gear. Trish Stratus got a nice ovation in her hometown for her entrance. They both looked good. I’m surprised there was no video package for this match.
Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair
The crowd sang the national anthem to start the match. Stratus showed off her athleticism with a headscissors, then Flair went for the Figure Eight, but Stratus flipped her over and sent her into the turnbuckle. Flair went for a Powerbomb, but Stratus sent her out of the ring. Stratus with a kick to knock Flair down and she hit a Thesz Press onto Flair on the floor. When they were outside the ring, Flair tripped up Stratus to send her face first into the steel steps. Flair tossed Stratus to break the count and then Flair whipped Stratus back first into the barricade. Back in the ring, Flair with a kick to the ribs and she sent Stratus face first into the mat. Flair put her knee in Trish’s back while pulling back on the arms. Flair sent Stratus face first into the mat. Flair with an overhead suplex across the ring. Flair pulled back on the neck of Stratus against the ropes. Flair picked up Stratus leading to Stratus landing on top for two. Flair with a forearm to the face. Flair with a knee to the back of the head of Stratus. Flair did a lot of trash talk to try to rile up the fans. Stratus sent Flair face first into the turnbuckle followed by punches and Flair hit a kick to the face to knock Stratus off the apron to the floor. When Stratus got back in the ring, Flair stomped on her back to keep her down. Flair went up, she went for a moonsault and Stratus moved, so Flair hit the mat. Stratus hit a spinning flatliner to send Flair face first into the mat. Stratus with a slap to the face, Flair kicked the leg, Stratus with chops, Flair with a boot and Stratus went for her corner attack, but Flair blocked it. Stratus and Flair exchanged punches on the top rope with Stratus sitting on top. Stratus managed to connect with a hurricanrana off the top for a two count. That was a good spot that led to a pop for the nearfall.
Flair went for a Chick Kick, Flair ducked and Flair hit a boot to the face for a two count. Flair was shocked that it was only a two count. Stratus worked over the left knee of Stratus with repeated knee drops. Status countered a move into a cradle for two. Stratus slapped on the Figure Four Leglock with Trish’s shoulders down and Graves note the referee wasn’t watching her. Stratus bridged into the Figure Eight submission that Flair uses. Flair was screaming in pain and Flair got to the bottom ropes to break the hold. When Flair marched forward, Flair kicked her in the knee and fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Stratus sent Flair into the middle turnbuckle. Stratus bounced off the ropes with the Stratusfaction (her finisher) for a two count. The fans chanted “this is awesome” again. The thing about that move is the person taking the move is doing more work than Trish is, but it’s all about the sell and Flair sold it well. They got into a chop fest with fans chanting “woo” for them and Stratus got a jackknife cover for two. Stratus with a Chick Kick to the head for two. Stratus went for a kick, but Flair came back with a boot to the face. Flair slapped on the Figure Four Leglock and then Flair turned it into the bridging Figure Eight submission. Stratus tried to fight it, but she couldn't go anywhere, so she tapped out to give Flair the submission win at 16:40.
Winner by submission: Charlotte Flair
Analysis: **** That was a great match. It was better than I thought it was going to be because Stratus was in tremendous shape. Stratus got in all of her signature offense, plus that great Figure Eight spot and the crowd believed that she might get the win. Flair ended up hitting that big boot leading to her Figure Eight for the win. It was the right finish because Flair is the active wrestler and Stratus is retired, so the usual thing to expect in a match like that is for the active wrestler to win. I think Flair will likely challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Title at the next PPV and she might win the title again. With all due respect to the other women on the main roster, I think Charlotte is the best in-ring performer of the current group of women. She’s not the talker that Becky is, but in-ring I like her matches the most especially when Flair is a heel.
After the match was over, Flair walked away with a big smile on her face as the victor in this dream match. I'm glad there was no post-match handshake. That wouldn't be right for Flair's character.
Stratus was down on the mat as the fans realized this is probably Trish’s last match and they chanted “Thank You Trish” for her. Stratus stood proudly in the ring in front of her fellow Canadians and got a standing ovation. Stratus posed on the four turnbuckles and her music played. Stratus took a final bow on the stage.
— WWE (@WWE) August 12, 2019
Analysis: Trish said numerous times that this was going to be her last match. She should be very happy with that performance because it was one of the best matches of her career. That’s impressive at 42 years old when you retired as a regular 13 years ago.
Seth Rollins was backstage checking out his taped ribs. Bret Hart walked up to him to wish him good luck as Rollins put on his vest. Rollins thanked him and said that means a lot. Bret said he’ll be watching.
Analysis: There were some harsh comments a few years ago from Bret about how Rollins was unsafe due to injuries in Rollins matches with John Cena and Sting. I thought those injuries were accidents and Bret was too harsh. I think WWE remembered that, so that's what that little interaction was about with Bret endorsing Rollins.
The WWE 2K20 video game commercial aired so far.
The video package aired for the WWE Title match between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton. They didn’t do anything on TV in the last two weeks, but the video packages that aired were tremendous.
Randy Orton made his entrance with the usual serious look on his face. Big E did the introduction for his buddy Kofi Kingston, who is the WWE Champion. Kingston was joined by Big E and Xavier Woods, who went down to the ringside area and then they went to the back to leave Kingston alone for the match. Kingston’s wife and two sons were at ringside. Kingston has some red and purple Toronto Raptors themed gear. Kofi is from Boston, but as a Raptors fan, I appreciate the effort to pay tribute to the Raptors.
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
Orton had a pancake in his hand, Kingston slapped it out of his hand and they locked up. Orton whipped Kingston into the turnbuckle leading to Kingston coming back with a clothesline. Kingston jumped up top followed by a punch to the head. Kingston with punches, but Orton came back with a thumb to the eye. Kingston with a boot to the face, then he jumped up to the top and Orton shoved Kingston off the top rope into the barricade at ringside. The fans chanted “Kofi’s stupid” and “Randy sucks” at them. Orton rolled Kingston back in the ring for a two count. Orton stomped on Kingston’s arm followed by a forearm that sent Kingston out of the ring. Kingston with a running attack off the steel steps leading to a punch to the face on Orton. Kingston went for an attack off the apron to the floor, but Orton moved and Kingston hit the floor. Orton picked up Kingston and slammed him back first onto the announce table, which led to a two count back in the ring. The fans chanted “Kofi’s stupid” and “Randy sucks” chant. Orton set up Kingston on the top for a superplex, but Kingston blocked it and Kingston jumped off the top with a Tornado DDT for a two count. Kingston knocked down Orton with two hard chops to the chest, then a dropkick and a leaping clothesline. Kingston followed up with a Boom Drop leg drop, which led to Kingston shouting “stupid” at Orton. Kingston charged, but Orton caught him and hit a modified backbreaker for two. Kingston sent Orton out of the ring. Kingston up top and he hit his back first trust dive onto Orton the floor. Every time he does that, I worry that the guy isn’t going to be there to break his fall and it’s going to hurt badly, but Orton was in the right spot. Kingston went up top with a frog splash cross body block for a two count.
Orton shoved Kingston to the turnbuckle, Orton blocked the kick and hit the draping DDT off the ropes. That was a nice sequence of moves. Orton set up for the RKO, Kingston got back up and Kofi got a backslide pin for two. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Orton moved and Kingston with a kick to the face. Kingston went up for a cross body block again, but Orton stepped to the side and hit the RKO! Wow that was so great. Orton smiled about it, but Kingston managed to roll out of the ring. Orton took too long to try to cover. Kingston’s oldest son was flexing and Orton stared at him, so Kingston attacked with punches. The bell rang because it was a double countout at 16:45. The fans booed the finish loudly.
Match Result: Double Countout (Kingston retains his title)
Analysis: **3/4 It was a good match for the most part, but what people are going to remember is the finish. The fans don’t like any kind of non-finish like that even though they probably realize that the feud is likely going to continue from here, so that’s why there was not a clean finish. The best part of the match was when Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere when Kingston jumped off the top rope. When Kofi rolled out of the ring, I had the feeling that they were going for a non-finish. The fans are going to hate it, but I have no problem with this rivalry continuing because if Kingston wins that next match it will be good for his title reign if he keeps the title.
The fans chanted “Bullshit” for the finish. Post match, Kingston whipped Orton into the steel steps. Kingston attacked Orton with a kendo stick attack outside the ring and back in the ring. Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise kick to the face of Orton. Kingston celebrated with the WWE Title.
Analysis: Their next match is likely going to be a stipulation match of some kind since Kofi attacked with the kendo stick. Perhaps they will make it a Street Fight or something like that.
There was a video package for Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor. I may have missed something right before that due to a much-needed bathroom break.
Finn Balor made his entrance in his regular look. No sign of the “Demon” Balor here.
Bray Wyatt’s entrance started with the Firefly Fun House song, then the lights went out and it said “LET HIM IN” on the screen. Wyatt walked out holding a lamp while wearing a mask as The Fiend. He had a remixed version of his song with some women singing most of the lyrics, but it was still the same song he used to have. As Wyatt posed against the turnbuckle, the fans chanted “Holy Shit” at him.
Finn Balor vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
The Fiend with a headbutt, a whip into the ropes and a headbutt to the chest. Balor avoided an attack, Fiend did an upside-down pose against the ropes and hit a slam. Fiend grabbed the neck of Balor and twisted the neck of Balor. Fiend with a uranage slam. The fans chanted “Let Him In” at one point. Fiend went for Sister Abigail, but Balor hit the Slingblade and a dropkick. Balor with a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor with a dropkick that sent Fiend into the turnbuckle. Balor up top with the double foot stomp, but Fiend put the Mandible Claw on Balor and Balor passed out, so the referee counted the pinfall win at 3:25.
Winner by pinfall: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Analysis: * Easy win for Wyatt as expected. It was his first televised match in a year, so of course, he was going to get the win as this new Fiend character. Balor got in a bit of offense, but it was obvious he was going to lose here. The presentation of The Fiend and the way it was booked was exactly how it should have gone.
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 12, 2019
Post match, the lights went out, The Fiend was on the ramp with a spotlight on him and the lights went out again. When the lights came back on, The Fiend was gone. Balor was in the ring grabbing his neck and selling the attack. The fans chanted “that was awesome” for that.
Analysis: I agree with the fans. It was awesome. As for Balor, he is expected to be off for at least two months because he requested it and WWE granted it to him. He might be on TV this week, but after that, I hope he enjoys his break.
There was a commercial for the WWE 24 special about Kofi Kingston that is on WWE Network after SummerSlam.
Another commercial aired for the WWE Clash of Champions PPV on September 15.
The video package aired for the Universal Championship match with Brock Lesnar defending against Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event. Rollins was dressed in black with a vest on. There were cheers for him, but it also sounded like some boos as well. When Brock Lesnar’s music hit, it was a mixed reaction for the Universal Champion. When Lesnar did his pose at the top of the ramp, the pyro went off just like it used to during Lesnar’s entrance in the early part of his career.
The wrestlers stood in the ring for the introductions. Rollins took off his vest to reveal the taped ribs. Paul Heyman took the microphone from white-haired Mike Rome and Heyman did his own unique introduction for Lesnar. The fans chanted along with most of it.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Seth Rollins
Lesnar attacked Rollins by hitting shoulder tackles to the ribs of Rollins while he was up against the turnbuckle. Lesnar with shoulder tackles to Seth’s ribs, then he went for a German Suplex and Rollins landed on his feet leading to Rollins hitting The Stomp for two. Lesnar went to the floor. Rollins with a running knee attack off the apron to Lesnar on the floor. Back in the ring, Rollins with a kick, Lesnar with a German Suplex, Rollins landed on his feet and hit two superkicks. Rollins went for The Stomp, but Lesnar caught him and hit an F5. Lesnar was too dazed to cover. Lesnar grabbed the tape on Seth’s ribs and spun him around like a toy. Lesnar with two rolling German Suplexes and there was a release German Suplex. Rollins left the ring, so Lesnar followed with a German Suplex on the floor. When they got back in the ring, Lesnar hit another release German Suplex. Rollins countered a F5 attempt by sending Lesnar into the ring post and he shoved Lesnar into the post again. Rollins with a springboard knee to the face of Lesnar in the ring. Rollins up top, he went for a knee to the face, but Lesnar moved and Lesnar hit another German Suplex across the ring. Lesnar took off his gloves and tossed Rollins across the ring with a suplex. Lesnar sent Rollins back first into the turnbuckle. Lesnar squeezed on the ribs of Rollins with a bearhug and a forearm to the back. Lesnar drove Rollins back first into the turnbuckle. Lesnar charged, Rollins moved and Lesnar went shoulder first into the post. Lesnar may have said a swear word because the sound was muted. I don’t know what it might have been. Lesnar on the apron and Rollins hit a running kick to send Brock into the announce table. Rollins with a suicide dive on Lesnar on the floor, then another suicide dive from Rollins and when Rollins tried it a third time Lesnar caught him. Lesnar drove Rollins back first into the ring post. Lesnar cleared off the Spanish announce table. Rollins kicked Lesnar to put him on the announce table. Rollins climbed to the top, he went to the ring post and Rollins jumped off the ring post with a Frog Splash to put Lesnar through the table! That was impressive. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” as the referee checked on both guys. The referee could have counted them out during all of this, but he wasn’t counting.
When they went back in the ring, Rollins went up top and hit a Frog Splash on Lesnar in the middle of the ring. Rollins set up for The Stomp, Lesnar got to his knees and Rollins hit The Stomp, but Lesnar got his right shoulder up at two for the kickout! They got a really good fan reaction as a girl in the crowd was absolutely shocked by that. Rollins set up for The Stomp again, Lesnar caught him, he went for the F5, Rollins landed on his feet, superkick by Rollins and Rollins hit The Stomp for the pinfall win at 13:27. New champ!
Winner by pinfall and New Universal Champion: Seth Rollins
Rollins is now a two-time Universal Champion with both wins coming against Lesnar at WrestleMania and here at SummerSlam.
Analysis: ****1/4 I thought it was a great match. Whenever Lesnar has a real match with somebody that includes selling, bumping all around the ring and doing more than just German Suplexes, he reminds us of how good he can be. Rollins had an excellent showing. Lesnar made Rollins look like a huge superstar in this match just like he did at WrestleMania. That’s the value of Lesnar. I know people hate Brock because he’s a part-timer, but if you can look past that, you should be able to see how good he is at being a heel pro wrestler. When Rollins put him through the table as well as hitting The Stomp multiple times, the fans went crazy because watching Lesnar get beat up is rare. That’s the value of Lesnar. When Rollins had Universal Title matches with Baron Corbin, it wasn't close to the same thing due to the star power that Lesnar brings and Lesnar’s skill in the ring. I thought the timing of the match was just right at around 15 minutes because they didn’t have the kind of match where there were rest holds to kill time. This was fast-paced, intense and a lot of fun as they got going. I was impressed by both guys. They had a strong showing.
They showed replays of the finish with the key spots being Rollins hitting the Frog Splash followed by The Stomp two times at the end of the match.
After the match, Rollins celebrated with the Universal Title just like he did when he beat Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania. The fans cheered him. Rollins held up the Universal Title on the announce table, fireworks went off on the stage and that was it.
Analysis: Rollins was my pick to win because of the guarantee promo that he did and because I believe Lesnar will be on Smackdown on Fox in October. If WWE is going to go back to staying true to the brand extension then Lesnar had to drop this title. I am not sure who the next challenger will be for the Universal Title, but I expect Rollins to have a long run as the top guy on Raw.
This show had a runtime of 3:27:12 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
- Seth Rollins
- Brock Lesnar
- Charlotte Flair
- Trish Stratus
- Becky Lynch/Natalya
Shoutout to Bray Wyatt too. I loved his entrance and the way he looked.
It gets a 7 out of 10 from me.
It was a solid wrestling show with the standout matches going to Rollins/Lesnar and Flair/Stratus. My third favorite was Lynch/Natalya, so two of the three best matches belong to the ladies. I think the card could have been structured better since we got nine singles matches with only one of them feeling different with the opening Submission Match. The lack of tag team matches hurt. They could have used another stipulation match or two to make other matches stand out a bit more.
I went 9-1 in my predictions with the only loss being the Kingston/Orton match. I doubt many people would have predicted a double countout there. A predictable show doesn’t mean a bad show. Kevin Owens won in exactly the manner he should have as did Goldberg and Wyatt, for example, so I don't mind the outcomes that much. I just feel like WWE’s product could use some more surprises. There are a lot of casual fans that like wrestling because of the surprising angles, which WWE doesn’t do much of anymore. They need to be more creative.
If you look at my PPV ratings this year, a lot of the shows have got scores like 7 or 7.5 out of 10 because they all feel the same. There are a few very good matches on every show, but not many things stand out or grab your attention to make them feel like a “must-see” type of event.
Here are my rankings of 2019 WWE PPVs so far with a score out of 10:
WrestleMania 35 – 7.5
Elimination Chamber – 7.5
Fastlane – 7.5
Royal Rumble – 7
SummerSlam – 7
Extreme Rules – 7
Stomping Grounds – 6.5
Money in the Bank – 6
Super Showdown – 3.5
Thanks for reading this review. My contact info is below. I’ll be back during the week with Raw and Smackdown reviews as usual.