Welcome to the TJR WWE SummerSlam 2020 review for the 33rd edition of SummerSlam. Some people might still call it The Summerfest (hey Jeremy Piven on Raw in 2009), but it’s always going to be the “biggest party of the summer” to me. I like to consider myself something of a SummerSlam historian since I have reviewed them all and earlier in the week posted my rankings of every SummerSlam counting down from #32 to #1.
This year’s event is a little unique due to there not being any fans in attendance (as has been the case since mid-March) and it’s the second time we will get to experience the WWE ThunderDome structure at the Amway Center in Orlando after it debuted this past Friday on Smackdown. I'm looking forward to seeing how WWE improves on the ThunderDome experience and going into this show, I think the lineup is pretty good.
The Kickoff Show match saw Apollo Crews beat MVP to retain the US Title in a match that went 6:40. That was the result that most of us were expecting. That the only Kickoff Show match.
The end of the Kickoff Show had a moment where they thanked Renee Young for her WWE career. Renee is moving on from WWE after SummerSlam. It was nice for them to acknowledge it on the air. Best of luck to her!
From WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The opening video package hyped up the big matches on the show along with pushing the phrase “you’ll never see it coming” during the video. Good stuff as usual.
The pyro went off in the Amway Center in Orlando and the ThunderDome screens lit up as we saw fans in their homes reacting to the opening of the show. It sounded louder than what we got on Smackdown, so that’s good. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves welcomed us to the show.
Asuka entered first for the Smackdown Women’s Championship match. It’s her first of two title matches on this show. Asuka did a pre-match promo that was shown on screen as she was in the ring.
Bayley entered for her Smackdown Women’s Title match with Sasha Banks by her side with Cole noting Bayley's been the champion for 317 days. Banks was not in her wrestling gear because she’s not wrestling yet. Bayley and Banks are also the Women’s Tag Team Champions. The women stood in the ring for the championship introductions by great ring announcer Greg Hamilton. Bayley was not happy about having to go first. The fan noise continued to sound better than what it did on Smackdown.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (w/Sasha Banks) vs. Asuka
Asuka with a dropkick followed by some kicks that kept Bayley down as Cole went over the accomplishments of both women that have won a lot in WWE. Bayley was on the apron, Asuka slid low to take her down and Asuka wrenched on Bayley’s arm against the ropes. Asuka with a running hip attack to knock Asuka off the apron to the floor. Asuka jumped off the steps and hit Bayley with a DDT on the floor. That was looked great from Asuka with Bayley selling it really well. Bayley with a neckbreaker against the middle ropes and then Bayley jumped off the ropes with a neck snap against the ropes for a two count. Bayley with a suplex for two followed by a chinlock. Bayley tried to whip Asuka into the ropes, Asuka held on and hit kicks to the body. Bayley came back with the Bayley to Belly slam for a two count because that’s not her finisher anymore. Bayley and Banks were shocked that didn’t win the match. Asuka with an elbow, a kick, a rollup for two and another kick to the head to knock Bayley down. As I have said before, the ThunderDome crowd sounded a bit louder from what we got on Smackdown, but it’s still not like having a real crowd. Asuka with a running hip attack, a rising knee to the face and German Suplex. When Bayley sat up, Asuka hit another running hip attack this time for a two count. They battled on the apron with each woman hitting forearms, Bayley blocked a charging attempt and Bayley drove Asuka knees first into the apron. Nice spot there as Bayley hit a chop block to the left knee when they got into the ring again. You could tell the fans were clapping to try to rally Asuka, so that was cool to see. Asuka got out of a submission hold, Bayley charged and Asuka hit double knees to the face like a Codebreaker for a two count. Asuka went to the middle ropes, she jumped off with a dropkick, Bayley moved out of the way and then Bayley slapped on a kneebar submission. Asuka crawled to the bottom rope to break free. Bayley hit a sunset flip that sent Asuka back first into the turnbuckle. Bayley went up top and went for the elbow drop, but Asuka caught Bayley. Banks was yelling at Asuka, so Asuka kicked Banks down. Asuka hit a spinning back fist on Bayley. Banks tried a swipe, Asuka avoided it, Bayley with a rollup and that got two. Asuka with a running hip attack, Bayley moved and Asuka knocked Banks off the apron to the floor. Bayley got an inside cradle on Asuka for the pinfall win at 11:35.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: ***1/2 A very good match as usual from these two. When they had their most recent match on Raw I rated it a bit higher than this, but I liked the story they told here. Asuka controlled the first part, then Bayley worked on the knee, then Banks got involved and that played into the finish. Banks never touched Asuka, so there was no reason to call for a DQ ending. Bayley winning is what I expected especially because Asuka is a Raw wrestler. Since Naomi pinned Bayley on Smackdown two days earlier, I think Asuka is going to be the woman that takes the title from Bayley soon. Then again, it could be Sasha Banks down the road.
Post match, Banks went into the ring and attacked Asuka with punches. Bayley and Banks picked up Asuka and hit a double team slam on Asuka, who was out in the ring. Banks and Bayley were happy about their actions.
Analysis: It was a way to weaken Asuka ahead of her match with Banks later.
There was a video narrated by Roman Reigns about how they work with Hyundai to do better day in and day out. They showed some video of Roman Reigns talking to some sick kids.
There was a commercial for Cricket Wireless and a WWE Shop commercial.
Dominik Mysterio was shown in the locker room with his mother and father Rey Mysterio. Dominik asked mom to leave so he can talk to dad. Dominik said he wanted Rey to promise him something and Rey said he can’t promise him that. Dominik said that Rey needs to let Dominik handle this on his own and protect the family. Dominik wanted Rey’s word that he can’t get involved. Rey said as hard as this is, he gives him his word. They hugged. Rey told his son he’ll do incredible tonight.
The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe took over for the next match.
There was a video package showing highlights of the chaos caused by Retribution over the last few weeks.
Analysis: I love how WWE doesn’t like Retribution, yet here they are putting them over in a video package. It’s not a great way to get over the idea that they are evil people that have also terrorized the production crew. If you don’t like Retribution or their actions, say that you refuse to show what they have done. That way the storyline makes more sense.
Kevin Owens made his entrance and greeted the fans on the ThunderDome wall. Owens joined commentary for the Raw Tag Team Title match.
The challengers Andrade and Angel Garza entered first with manager Zelina Vega. The Street Profits made their entrance with some red cups visually looking like they were dropping in the building. Street Profits did a quick backstage promo that was shown before the match.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs. Andrade and Angel Garza (w/Zelina Vega)
Andrade got in some shots early, then Ford bounced off the ropes and hit a leaping clothesline. Street Profits were in some green gear as Ford hit a clothesline that sent Andrade over the top to the floor. Double team flapjack by Street Profits on Garza. When Ford tried a somersault dive over the top, the heels caught him and hit a double team Powerbomb on the floor. Good spot there. Ford was put on the apron with Garza hitting a running dropkick. Garza set up Ford against the turnbuckle followed by a dropkick against to the legs. Garza took off the pants, Phillips noted it, Saxton said “thank goodness” and Owens goes: “What?” That was funny. Andrade worked over Ford with an armbar on the left arm. You could hear the crowd cheering to help Ford as Garza tagged back in with a running knee to the ribs for two. Garza with a running kick on Ford against the turnbuckle. Andrade tagged in and jumped off the top with a double foot stomp as Garza held Ford and that got a two count. Ford with a jumping kick on Andrade, Dawkins got the tag with a back elbow (Owens yelled that he was wearing Dawkins shirt) and Dawkins hit a spinning splash on Andrade. There was a spinning back elbow by Andrade, but then Dawkins hit a Spear. Both guys were down. Ford tagged in against Garza with Ford hitting a cross body block, Garza landed on top and Andrade held onto the legs. Vega was distracting on the apron as Garza superkicked Ford into Vega to knock her off the apron. Ford avoided a move, Andrade checked on Vega, Dawkins his the Cash Out on Garza and Ford tagged in with the Frog Splash off the top for the pinfall win at 7:50.
Winners by pinfall: Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
Analysis: **1/2 It was fine for the time given, but it was on the short side since it was under ten minutes. Vega getting on the apron cost the team because she got knocked down, Andrade paid more attention to that than the actual match and that led to Ford getting the win. That Frog Splash from Ford was amazing because he twisted in the air and nailed it on Garza for the win. It was really impressive.
Post match, the Street Profits celebrated by the announce table. The team of Andrade, Garza and Vega argued about what happened.
Kevin Owens noted to the announcers that the "Kevin Owens Show" is back on Raw and he’s inviting Aleister Black to be his guest.
The duo of Bayley and Sasha Banks were interviewed backstage in a ring by Kayla Braxton. Bayley said nothing is going to ruin this historic night. Banks said that Bayley gave Asuka the fight of her life, Banks laughed about how they took out Kairi Sane and Banks said she loves being Two Belts Banks. Sasha said she’ll love tapping out Asuka and you can bank on that. Bayley said tonight will be a clean sweep and she had a broom that she did some sweeping with. Bayley said next week at Payback they’ll retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles and the role model era of dominance with continue.
There was a commercial for WWE’s Good Humor ice cream bars with Becky Lynch talking about how you can find them in the frozen aisle.
A commercial aired for Payback next Sunday night on WWE Network.
The video package aired for Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville, which has been built up for several months.
Analysis: I'm rooting for Mandy and Sonya to do well in their match. They went through a lot in a very scary home invasion incident last weekend and I'm sure it's not easy trying to perform out there. They are professionals that will do the best they can.
Sonya Deville entered first in all black gear as usual for her. Mandy Rose was up next in some gold and white gear that was new for her. This was a Hair vs. Hair Match that was changed to Loser Leaves WWE in a No Disqualification Match.
Loser Leaves WWE - No Disqualification Match: Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose
The action went to the floor right away as they exchanged punches and Rose sent Deville into the barricade. Rose hit a suplex on the steel ramp. Rose whipped Deville into the ring post two times. Rose continued the attack with a clothesline off the announce table onto Deville on the floor. Rose brought out a table from under the ring. Rose had a tough time setting up the table, but then she got it right. That allowed Deville to come back with a steel chair jab to the ribs two times. Deville bounced Rose off the announce table four times. They got back into the ring with Deville getting a two count. Deville with kicks to the chest followed by a sliding knee for a two count. Rose with punches, Deville kicked her off and Rose came back with a clothesline. Rose went for the running knee, Deville avoided it and slapped on the standing dragon sleeper. Deville took Rose down and slapped on the dragon sleeper on the mat along with a body scissors. Rose managed to elbow her way out of that. Deville slapped on a triangle choke like submission where she hooked the arm, Rose had her pinned and Deville kicked out at two. Deville talked trash to her, Rose with punches, Deville with a knee and Rose hit the jumping knee to the face for a two count. They left the ring again with Rose sending Deville’s face into the announce table a few times. Rose placed Deville on the announce table. Rose went to the apron, but then Deville rolled off the table. Rose grabbed a chair from under the ring, she slid it across the table and did it twice with Deville avoiding it both times. Deville hit a jumping kick to the ribs. They went back into the ring with Deville trying a slam, Rose avoided it, Deville with a rising knee, Deville went for Rose’s lifting move and Rose landed on her feet. Rose hit two running knees to the face. Rose hit a third running knee to the face. Rose picked up Deville by hooking the arms and hitting her sitout slam. Rose hit another running knee to the face for the pinfall win at 10:05.
Winner by pinfall: Mandy Rose
Analysis: ***1/4 This was a well worked match that put an end to the rivalry for now with Rose looking strong in victory thanks to repeated knees to the face along with her sitout slam move. The match was too short to be some sort of classic, but they did well in making the most of their time. I liked the intensity shown by both women from the moment it started. It felt like a fight rather than a couple of wrestlers going through their spots. It was weird that they set up the table on the floor for a spot and never used it. I’m not sure why they teased it like that and then went away from it. Mandy winning was the obvious outcome. I don’t think anybody watching this thought Sonya was going to win, nor should they have because it makes sense that she wants to take a break from her career.
Post match, Sonya was emotional and angry at ringside. She left through the back way of the arena.
Analysis: I don’t know when Sonya will be back in WWE, but I hope she does return because she’s very talented and has a bright future. After the very real home invasion situation that happened last weekend, it’s understandable that she takes some time off.
Otis ran out to the ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Otis did his Caterpillar move. Otis hugged his “girlfriend” Mandy and put her on his shoulders. Mandy tried her own Caterpillar move, it didn’t look that good even though she looks great and they celebrated.
Analysis: It might be time to push Mandy into title contention. I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I think she’s gorgeous and that’s appealing, but she’s also improved a lot as an overall performer.
A commercial aired for WWE Network shows.
There was a long video package for the Seth Rollins match against Dominik Mysterio, who is competing in his first official WWE match.
Seth Rollins made his entrance with Buddy Murphy wearing some purple/black gear with the question marks on it like Rey Mysterio wore in a famous match against Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc 1997. That was an amazing match that is arguably the best WCW match ever. Rey was only 22 years old at the time of that match, which shows just how incredible was at a young age. The ThunderDome crowd was booing Rollins.
Dominik Mysterio was shown getting a hug and kiss from his mom Angie in the backstage area. Dominik entered with his father Rey Mysterio by his side.
Street Fight: Seth Rollins (w/Murphy) vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/Rey Mysterio)
Dominik was wrestling in traditional tights and also a top that had a hood on it. Dominik took the hood off to start the match. Rollins was being the cocky heel that was taunting Dominik to start the match. Dominik got some offense going with a headscissors followed by some deep arm drags that sent Rollins across the ring. They paused a bit to regroup with Rollins taking Dominik down with punches and kicks followed by Dominik for a slam. Murphy handed Rollins a kendo stick, but then Dominik managed to get a hold of it. Rollins worked over Dominik with punches to avoid the kendo stick shots and Rollins kicked the stick to the apron. Rollins with a hard whip that sent Dominik into the turnbuckle. Rollins whipped Dominik hard into the turnbuckle. Rollins hit a suplex across the ring. Rollins trash talked Rey at ringside followed by a Slingblade on Dominik in the ring. Rollins brought a chair into the ring. Rey went to the apron, Dominik told him to stay down and Rollins stomped on Dominik some more. Rollins jumped off the chair and went for The Stomp, but Dominik avoided it and hit a drop toe hold to send Rollins into the chair. Dominik worked over Rollins with punches, Rollins tried a Buckle Bomb (which is now banned in WWE apparently) and Mysterio hit a headscissors that sent Rollins into the turnbuckle. Dominik countered a Rollins move with a spinning DDT. That looked awesome! Dominik got a hold of the kendo stick and was able to attack Rollins more with it. Dominik went up top, Rollins went after him, Dominik shoved him down, but then Rollins popped back up with a superplex followed by a Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins worked over Dominik with the kendo stick shots. Murphy grabbed a table from under the ring and gave it to Rollins, who set up the table in the ring. Rollins set up Dominik on the top rope in front of Rey with the table in place nearby. Rollins with another kendo stick shot to the back. Rollins taunted Rey some more, Dominik tripped him up and Dominik did a Russian legsweep off the announce turnbuckle that put both guys through the table. They showed Dominik’s mom Angie watching on a TV backstage throughout the match.
Dominik went up top as Rey rooted his son on and Dominik hit a perfect looking Frog Splash for a two count. Great height on that move by Dominik. Rollins was down in the ring, Dominik slid a chair into the ring, but slid it too far, Rollins pushed it out of the ring and hit a superkick. Rollins hit a stiff Powerbomb in the middle of the ring. Rollins pulled down the top of Dominik to expose more of his skin as Rollins hit Dominik in the chest and back with kendo stick shots. Rey was on the apron, Dominik told him to stay down and we saw Angie reacting backstage too. Rollins worked over Dominik with hard kendo stick shots to the body, which led to scars on Dominik’s back just like we saw on Raw a few weeks ago. Murphy grabbed handcuffs from under the ring, which he gave to Rollins. Seth put the cuffs on the middle ropes and he dared Rey to stop it at any minute. Rollins dragged Dominik towards the handcuffs as Angie walked onto the stage. Rey spoke to his wife in Spanish to try to calm her down. Dominik with a rollup for two. Murphy went into the ring and hit a rising knee to Dominik’s face while Rey was talking to his wife. Murphy set up Dominik by the steel steps, but Rey got involved by going after Murphy. Rollins went after Mysterio with punches. Rollins whipped Dominik into the steel steps. Rollins and Murphy beat up Rey and then they handcuffed Rey’s right hand to the middle rope. Rollins and Murphy each had kendo sticks in their hands, but then Rollins turned to look at Angie on the stage. Rey: “Take me.” Rollins walked towards Angie as Murphy held Rey, but then Dominik tackled Rollins and Dominik tossed Murphy over the barricade. Dominik sent Rollins into the steel steps. Dominik with a back body drop on Murphy and a 619 style kick on Rollins on the apron. Rollins went to the apron and Dominik hit a 619 kick around the ropes. Dominik went up top and went for a Frog Splash again, but Rollins got the knees up to block. Rollins taunted Rey, who was cuffed to the ropes and Rollins hit The Stomp on Dominik. Rollins pinned Dominik right in front of Rey for the pinfall win at 22:35.
Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***3/4 This was an excellent match that lived up to the long build up that they had to this match. Rollins putting on an outstanding PPV match is nothing new, but I have to give a lot credit for having a four-star level match in his first WWE match. I know Dominik has been training for a few years and it’s not like he’s going in there cold. It’s still not easy to have a match at that level, so it’s a testament to the work Dominik put in as well as how awesome Rollins is. Rollins winning was what I predicted and it’s what most people predicted, but I like how close Dominik came to winning a few times. That Frog Splash nearfall worked really well for Dominik. The drama picked up later with Angie getting out there, Rey trying to calm his wife down, Rey getting cuffed to the ropes and that’s what led to the finish. I liked it a lot. Bring in a tag team match between these four guys soon.
Post match, Rollins had an evil grin on his face as he left with Murphy. They left the key to the handcuffs. When Rollins and Murphy left up the ramp, Dominik handed the keys to the handcuffs to his father and Rey freed himself from the ropes. Rey checked on Dominik, who was down selling after the grueling match.
Analysis: Rey should be proud of his son after that performance. I’m sure he is. That was damn good for his first WWE match.
A commercial aired for the World of Tanks game that WWE is involved with.
There was a commercial for the WWE 24 documentary about WrestleMania 36 earlier this year. It’s on WWE Network now. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will likely review it at some point during the week.
Sasha Banks entered for her Raw Women’s Title defense with Bayley by her side. We saw highlights of Bayley beating Asuka earlier in the night. Asuka entered as the opponent for her second title shot of the night.
Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (w/Bayley) vs. Asuka
Banks immediately took down Asuka by going after the injured left leg. Asuka hit a spin kick to the ribs to knock Banks down followed by a sliding forearm. Asuka was selling the left leg injury while she was doing moves, which is the right thing to do. Banks left the ring, Asuka went after, Asuka with a kick to the head and Asuka went for an armbar. When they went back into the ring, Asuka went for another armbar on the left arm until Banks got out of that. Asuka with a kick to the chest, then a kick to the ribs and Banks avoided a kick, so Asuka’s right leg hit the ring post. Banks with a kick to the face. Asuka was on the apron and Banks hit a sunset flip Powerbomb on the floor. That sounded and looked painful. They were down selling that for a bit, then back in the ring and Banks got a nearfall. Banks put her foot into the throat of Asuka against the turnbuckle. Banks with a running boot to the face for two. Banks went for a move by the turnbuckle, but Asuka caught her on Asuka’s shoulders and Asuka’s hit a sitout slam that sent Banks face first into the mat. Asuka slapped on a kneebar onto the right leg, which led to an ankle lock, but Banks got out of it by sending Asuka into the turnbuckle. With Banks standing on the middle turnbuckle, Asuka hit a DDT off the turnbuckle! Wow. Great move that got a two count for Asuka as Banks rolled out of the ring. Asuka went after Banks by sending her into the barricade and back first into the ring apron. Asuka was slapping her left leg to sell the injury and Asuka hit a missile dropkick off the top for two. Asuka pulled Banks out of the corner, but then Banks hit double knees to the face to counter that and that got a two count. That was a cool spot. Banks went up top, she jumped off with a Frog Splash and Asuka moved out of the ring. Bayley encouraged Banks by telling her she’s got this. Banks charged, Asuka caught her in the Asuka Lock, Banks managed to get out of it and Banks got a two count out of it. Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission, but Asuka got out of that and slapped on the Asuka Lock again until Banks got out of that as well. Asuka with a kick. Bayley on the apron, Banks moved, Bayley avoided the hip attack and Asuka with a back fist to knock Bayley down. Asuka slapped on the Asuka Lock on Banks and Banks tapped out to give Asuka the title win by submission at 11:20.
Winner by submission AND NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Asuka
The announcers talked about the situation as they said that Bayley didn’t sacrifice herself the way Banks did earlier for Bayley, but I don’t think they got that point across in the match very well.
Analysis: ***3/4 This was a great match that was very entertaining for the time they were given. I would have liked a few more minutes with more nearfalls and submissions, but it was still a well worked match by two of the best women in WWE. Asuka could have sold the knee a bit more although it’s not like it hurt the match that much. I think the finish could have done in a way where it looked like Bayley failed to help Banks more. Instead, it was Asuka avoiding Bayley, taking care of her and then countering Banks leading to Asuka’s clean win. A clean is always good to see especially for the babyface wrestler. Banks losing is what I expected because I predicted Asuka winning back this title and losing the other title match mainly because she’s on Raw with several opponents lined up.
Asuka left with her Raw Women’s Title while Banks and Bayley were sad in the ring.
Analysis: It's time for the Banks and Bayley team to start falling apart as they lost a title here, they might lose the Women's Tag Team Titles next week and maybe Bayley loses her title soon too. As for Asuka, she has plenty of opponents on Raw to face like Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Charlotte Flair when she's back, Natalya, Mickie James and so on.
The video package aired for the WWE Championship match between champion Drew McIntyre and challenger Randy Orton. That means the Universal Title match is going on last.
Randy Orton made his slow walking entrance. Orton seemed to enjoy turning to the ThunderDome crowd and do his posing in front of them to taunt them. They talked to Shawn Michaels at his home talking about how he wants to see Drew McIntyre give Orton the Claymore Kick upside the head.
Drew McIntyre entered next with the WWE Championship. There was a cool entrance for him as the lights went out around him, there was a spotlight on him in the ring and some pyro went off around him. That looked cool with all the screens behind him. I can see a fan with a Scottish flag to support Drew as well. The wrestlers stood in the ring for Raw ring announcer Mike Rome’s championship introductions.
Analysis: I would have preferred that this match goes on last, but it might mean they have something “big” coming after the main event.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
Orton slowed things down right away by bailing to the floor, McIntyre wanted a fight and Orton did it again. Back in the ring, Orton stomped away on McIntyre. Drew ran the ropes, Orton picked the leg a bit causing a stumble and Orton nearly hit an RKO as Drew bailed to the floor. McIntyre took his time getting back in, then did a charge, Orton moved and McIntyre went shoulder first into the turnbuckle/ring post area. Orton whipped McIntyre into the barricade, then into the announce table and into the ring post. Orton cleared off the announce table and slammed Drew onto the table like Orton loves to do, but it’s not hard enough to break the table. Orton went back into the ring to break the referee’s count, then back out and hit another slam onto the table. Orton suplexed McIntyre off the table onto the floor. Orton slowed things down with the dreaded chinlock as we could hear the fans on the ThunderDome clapping to support the babyface champion. I’m not sure if WWE edits that in or how it works, but at least we could hear something. Orton did the stomping on the body parts that he has done for most of his career. Orton did his classic arm pose to the fans on the ThunderDome wall, which led to some boos shortly after. McIntyre sent Orton into the turnbuckle followed by Drew driving the knee into his own shoulder for a kneebreaker like move. Orton kicked the front of the knee of McIntyre to knock the champion down. Orton with some punches, but then when he charged in, Drew was there with a spinebuster. McIntyre slapped on the Figure Four Leglock in tribute to Ric Flair, who Orton recently punted on Raw a few weeks earlier. McIntyre did a nice job of applying the hold while Orton was writhing in pain selling it and they were in the hold for about one minute until Orton grabbed the referee Chad Patton’s shirt and did an eye gouge to break free. That actually led to some blood coming out of Drew’s face near the eye. McIntyre did a very hard chop to the chest of Orton. That was very loud. They exchanged for punches, then McIntyre with two clotheslines and an overhead suplex across the ring. McIntyre with another belly to belly suplex across the ring the ThunderDome crowd cheered in support of the champion. McIntyre went up top and jumped off with a clothesline, which led to a kip up as McIntyre was back on his feet. McIntyre sent Orton into the top turnbuckle, then another hard chop to the chest and McIntyre wanted a superplex (a move that Orton loved to do), but Orton tripped him up. McIntyre was upside down, then curled up and slammed Orton off, which is something we have seen Drew do before.
McIntyre continued the offense by avoiding a clothesline and hitting a Future Shock DDT for a two count. Orton was bleeding above his eyebrow although it’s not like they do blade jobs, so something cut him a bit. It wasn’t a lot of blood. McIntyre went up top, he jumped off, Orton moved and Orton hit a powerslam for a two count. The referee had the dreaded white gloves on since there was some blood on Orton’s head. McIntyre avoided the draping DDT and hit the Glasgow Kiss headbutt (it sounds good because Drew’s hand is hitting the head) and Drew hit a clothesline to knock them both out of the ring. Orton with a boot while McIntyre was on the ropes and there’s the draping DDT by Orton. That led to Orton setting up for the Orton with the mat slapping, but McIntyre stayed down. Orton stepped back, made evil faces and charged with The Punt attempt, but Drew got back up with a Powerbomb to counter it. McIntyre wanted Orton to get up as he set up in the corner, Drew looked intense and McIntyre went for the Claymore Kick, but Orton ducked it. McIntyre countered with a backslide for the pinfall win at 20:36. Phillips said the “never saw it coming” phrase after the win by McIntyre, which was a bit cheesy, but that’s WWE sometimes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre
Analysis: **** Awesome WWE Title match as Drew continues to put on excellent matches with different opponents this year. I thought this was an outstanding wrestling match full of great counters, smart moves by both guys and a finish that was clever because it told the audience that either guy could win a match with multiple moves. We spent nearly 20 minutes waiting for a finisher, but Orton avoided the Claymore Kick while McIntyre avoided the RKO and in the end, it was a classic backslide (but not a BACKSLIDE OF DEATH~!) that got the win for the WWE Champion. This felt like such an even matchup the whole way with McIntyre getting plenty of offense throughout, but then when Orton was in control I thought maybe he would get the win. I got the prediction wrong, but that’s okay because I like McIntyre as the WWE Champion. It’s not like I want the reign to end because I dislike the guy.
Post match, McIntyre celebrated with the WWE Title while Orton was sitting up against the barricade looking on in disbelief. There were more replays of what happened as the wrestlers continued to stare at eachother.
Analysis: There’s going to be a rematch and I still think Orton might be the one to beat McIntyre for the WWE Title in the near future. I don’t know if it’s going to be Payback next week or another show down the road.
There was a video letting us know that Keith Lee is debuting on Raw tomorrow.
Analysis: I’m all for that. When Lee lost the NXT Title to Karrion Kross on Saturday night at Takeover I figured the reason was because he was going to Raw or Smackdown soon. Two days later is pretty soon, of course.
There were commercials for WWE Shop and Payback taking place next Sunday.
The main event is the Universal Championship match between champion Braun Strowman and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. A long video package aired to set up this match.
The entrance of “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt took place. It took a few minutes for him to get there. It was cool seeing The Fiend graphics on the ThunderDome wall behind the ring. Braun Strowman, who is now bald, was up next as the WWE Universal Champion as he had an intense look on his face. Strowman had on a vest as he held up the Universal Championship.
Analysis: The Falls Count Anywhere stipulation was added on Saturday. It’s probably a good idea because this feud deserves a wild brawling type match.
Universal Championship – Falls Count Anywhere Match: Braun Strowman vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
There was no red light for the match like they did previously for some Fiend matches. I’m glad it’s the regular lights, which has happened for the Fiend’s last few matches. Strowman got in some blows, but then Fiend took him down and Fiend did some neck twisting. They left the ring with Fiend hitting Strowman with a tool box. Strowman came back with punches followed by a running shoulder tackle that knocked down Fiend into the barricade. Strowman gave Fiend a Chokeslam on the announce table, which did not break right away and then it fell apart. That looked rough. Strowman with a punch and then Strowman hit Fiend in the head with the steel steps. Back in the ring, Strowman hit a Powerslam for a two count. It’s five minutes into the match with Fiend kicking out of Strowman’s finishing move. Strowman sent Fiend into the barricade at ringside. They went up the ramp with Strowman kicking at Fiend and throwing Fiend into the screen by the entrance area. They went into the backstage area, they were in the control area known as the Gorilla Position and Fiend whipped Strowman into the wall two times. Fiend hit the Sister Abigail on the floor in the Gorilla Position area for a two count. That means they each kicked out of finishing moves although Fiend uses the Mandible Claw too. The wrestlers went back towards the stage with Fiend whipping Strowman into the screen. Fiend went for the Mandible Claw, but Strowman shoved Fiend into the edge of the ring apron. Strowman with a clubbing blow to the chest of Fiend for a two count on the floor. Strowman had some blood on the top right side of his head probably after getting sent into the screen. Strowman picked up Fiend in the ring and hit a Running Powerslam that was only good for a two count. Strowman was frustrated about that. Strowman went to the toolbox and got some boxcutter knife in his hands. Strowman sliced up the mat to pull off some of the cushioning under the mat and exposing the wood that was there. Fiend got back up and gave Strowman the uranage slam on the wood. Fiend hit the Sister Abigail on Strowman as well. Fiend hit the Sister Abigail on the exposed wood of the ring again and covered for the pinfall win at 12:02.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Universal Champion: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Analysis: ***1/4 The match was what I expected as a good brawl that benefitted from the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation. If they did a regular match they would have struggled, but with this stipulation, what they did worked just fine. It was a believable brawl around the ringside area, the backstage stuff was brief and I was surprised they didn’t do more in the backstage area. They each kicked out of finishers. I don’t really like The Fiend as the Universal Champion, but here we are with it again. It would have been nice to see more of a heel Strowman as the champion. I will say that the way they set up the finish by pulling up the ring to set up the series of moves on the exposed wood did look good. I can remember happening before with Brock Lesnar and Undertaker. Anyway, the last title reign for The Fiend wasn’t very interesting at all although at least this one might feel different due to what happened after the match.
The Fiend celebrated with the Universal Championship as he stood back up and Roman Reigns showed up with the Spear on Wyatt. The Big Dog is back! Reigns worked over Fiend with punches. You could hear the ThunderDome crowd cheering. It also looked like Reigns had teeth that were a lot whiter than they used to be. Teeth whitening is a good thing! Anyway, Reigns left the ring and hit Strowman with a Spear as well. Reigns grabbed a steel chair from ringside and beat on Strowman in the back with the chair.
Reigns went back into the ring, Fiend slowly got back up to his feet and Reigns took him out with another Spear. Reigns pointed at his new t-shirt: “Wreck Everyone & Leave.” Reigns picked up the Universal Title and talked trash to Fiend. Reigns held up the Universal Title over his head. Cole said that SummerSlam – you’ll never see it coming and ended it saying we never saw this coming. Reigns continued to pose with the Universal Title as the show ended there.
Analysis: Welcome back to Roman Reigns. This was the first time we have seen him on WWE TV since last March and the reason he was away was because of health concerns since he had young children at home. Reigns has five kids and his wife gave birth to twin sons in February. Maybe now that those sons are six months old he is willing to come back, plus WWE is also doing full Coronavirus testing for a safer work environment. I’m genuinely happy that Roman is back. I think he’s a great man that makes the shows better when he’s on them, so welcome back to the Big Dog.
As for Roman’s actions attacking The Fiend and Strowman, Reigns might be a heel now. This would be his first heel run as a singles guy if that’s the case. I don’t know for sure, but there was definitely an intense look on Reigns that would suggest he’s more of a heel now. What’s confusing is that The Fiend has been a heel in the past, it felt like Strowman was a heel also and now Reigns is attacking both of them, so I’m not convinced about the heel thing. I realize some of you may read that and think I’m wrong to be not convinced, but I’m just saying they had Reigns narrate a video package earlier in the show about WWE charity work with Hyundai and now they want to present him as a heel? I’m not sure about that. Plus, within the last month we've seen The Fiend attack Alexa Bliss and Strowman also slammed Bliss in the ring. Those were not acts of babyface wrestlers. Anyway, it definitely makes me want to check out Smackdown on Friday to see how they follow up on this. Do I think Roman's a heel? For the record, I do not think so. However, they can certainly play the shades of grey thing with a more aggressive Reigns, but to me it's more about Reigns being back in action and sending a message to his top rivals.
This event had a runtime of 3:04:52 on WWE Network. I'm perfectly fine with that as a show length. I think going long past three hours with no fans in attendance is tough on the audience. Going just a few minutes over three hours is certainly fine with me.
Five Stars of the Show
- Asuka – Two very good to great matches. Asuka is awesome.
- Drew McIntyre
- Randy Orton
- Seth Rollins
- Dominik Mysterio, Sasha Banks
I’m going with a 7.75 out of 10 for this show.
This was a very good show overall. There wasn’t a single match that I would call bad and that’s a positive thing for sure because some of the recent PPVs have had plenty of bad matches and dumb moments. While there wasn’t one match that stood out as being some wrestling classic, I thought McIntyre vs. Orton was the best match even with a finish that didn’t see either man hit their signature finishing move. Asuka looked great in her two matches with the second match with Banks standing out more than the Bayley match. I thought Sonya and Mandy did okay, but not great in their match as Sonya takes a break from WWE for now. I was very impressed by Dominik Mysterio in his match with Seth Rollins. It was long, emotional story that was told very well.
The big story coming out of the show is the return of Roman Reigns, who attacked new Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman. Some people might think Reigns is a heel because of the way he acted, but I’m not sure about that. What was noticeable is Reigns has some whiter teeth, so good for him for that! It was funny how many tweets I got about that as soon as Reigns was out there. Anyway, I think WWE will be very happy to have Reigns back and I think The Fiend is not a long term champion, so I expect to see Reigns win the Universal Title soon.
I found it odd that WWE has been using that Retribution group plenty on television, yet they didn’t show up at all at SummerSlam. That was strange. I’m not sure what that’s about.
To sum it up, there were pretty good to great matches all night long. I enjoyed SummerSlam’s as WWE’s best PPV effort since the pandemic started before WrestleMania this year.
My WWE PPV Rankings for 2020 looks like this so far:
Royal Rumble – 8
SummerSlam – 7.75
Money in the Bank – 6.75
WrestleMania 36 - 6.25
Backlash – 6
Elimination Chamber – 6
The Horror Show at Extreme Rules – 5.75
Super Showdown – 3