The 30th edition of WWE SummerSlam is in the books. It was a long night of wrestling with a main event that ended things on a high note. Some of the other matches could have been better, but when you end it like they did, that’s a positive thing that WWE can hopefully build on for the future.
If you watched the entire broadcast including the Kickoff Show, then it was a six-hour event. The Kickoff Show started at 5 p.m. ET and the first Kickoff Show match aired a half hour later, even though most of the crowd hadn’t arrived yet. Then the main show started at 7 p.m. ET and they signed off one minute after 11 p.m. ET. The crowd had some hot and cold moments because they were quiet at times, but they were really into the main event, which I’ll get to later.
Here’s a rundown of every match in the order they took place and I’ll also look at what’s next for the performers.
The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas defeated Jason Jordan, Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy (Kickoff Show)
Yeah, #ICChampion's @mikethemiz's mood just changed as he and the #Miztourage pick up the win on #SummerSlam Kickoff! pic.twitter.com/gCiQtQZi27
— WWE (@WWE) August 20, 2017
I say it all the time in my WWE TV reviews: 50/50 booking strikes again. They had the Hardys/Jordan side win clean on Raw, so Miz and his team got the win here. It was so weird watching this because they had to shoot it from the low camera angle due to most of the crowd not arriving. Why would they start this at 5:30 p.m. ET when they had two hours in the Kickoff Show? If they started it at 6 p.m. ET, at least there would have been more people in their seats. Poor planning by WWE.
Anyway, Miz pinned Jordan after a blind tag. I thought Jordan would get the win for his team, but that didn’t happen.
What’s Next: Raw’s next pay-per-view is No Mercy on Sept. 24. I assume it will be Miz defending the IC Title against Jordan at that show. I’m not sure what the Hardys may be doing there, but they need to be featured a lot more than they were at SummerSlam, considering how popular they are.
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville defeated Akira Tozawa to win the title (Kickoff Show)
All it took was a #RedArrow, and @WWENeville regains his position atop the #Cruiserweight division on #SummerSlam Kickoff! pic.twitter.com/jGGzumyBI8
— 205Live (@WWE205Live) August 20, 2017
They did the title change on Raw with Tozawa winning in a big moment. I figured it was time for a new era in the cruiserweight division, but that didn’t happen. They had a decent match where Neville got the title back. Tozawa couldn’t connect with his Senton off the top and then Neville managed to hit his Red Arrow splash to the back of Tozawa leading to the pin. A six-day title reign for Tozawa isn’t impressive at all.
What’s Next: I think WWE knows they don’t have quality heels in the cruiser division other than Neville, so they probably figured they need to put the title back on him. There will probably be a rematch for Tozawa in which he comes up short on winning back the title. Who’s the next challenger? Maybe Cedric Alexander. I like him a lot.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos defeated The New Day’s Big E & Xavier Woods to win the titles (Kickoff Show)
It's DAY ONE…of the @WWEUsos' SECOND reign as #SDLive #TagTeamChampions! WHAT A MATCH on #SummerSlam Kickoff! #TagTeamTitles pic.twitter.com/N6xwdre0ZP
— WWE (@WWE) August 20, 2017
Second-best match of the night and one of the best tag team matches on the main roster this year. It was their third straight PPV match, although this time they didn’t make the main card, which is ridiculous considering how good this match was.
They went about 20 minutes with the heels in control for most of it, then Big E got the hot tag and there were all kinds of crazy near-falls in the matches. One of the coolest spots was Woods putting the larger Big E on his shoulders and Big E did a splash onto one of the Usos. Woods was selling a back injury after. The finish happened after all four guys did some big spots outside the ring. When they went back in, The Usos hit two double superkicks on Big E and a double Superfly Splash (with perfect timing), leading to the win.
I highly recommend watching this match if you missed it. Should this have been on the main show? Of course. I think it’s ridiculous it was bumped, considering some of the other poor matches that followed. I assume the wrestlers had a chip on their shoulders because they were bumped to the Kickoff Show and I hope they proved their point to the creative team that didn’t feel they were worthy of being on the main show.
What’s Next: There will probably be more matches between them. Fine with me. The Smackdown Tag Team division doesn’t have a lot of depth right now, especially on the heel side. This was their title rematch, so The New Day will get another rematch at The Usos. Considering the next Smackdown PPV is No Mercy on Oct. 8, I think it would be cool for them to have a tag team Hell in a Cell match. It would be their fourth straight PPV match, so they need to do something to make it special.
John Cena defeated Baron Corbin
Back to the drawing board for @BaronCorbinWWE as @JohnCena picks up the win to kick off #SummerSlam! pic.twitter.com/nMNxl4P6lB
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 20, 2017
It’s weird seeing Cena in an opening match, but it’s happened in the last couple of years. Corbin did the same spot three times as he left the ring, slid under the bottom rope and went back into the ring to hit moves on Cena. When he tried it the third time, Cena was waiting for him and nailed a clothesline. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment to pin Corbin clean after 10 minutes. It felt like the most basic opening match. Not that exciting at all and at no point in the match did it look like Corbin would win.
Starting the #SolarEclipse2017 day early!Headed 2 @TODAYshow w @BellaTwins to talk #TotalBellas then might take someone up on an offer @WWE
— John Cena (@JohnCena) August 21, 2017
What’s Next: Bad week for Corbin after failing to cash in Money in the Bank and losing easily to Cena. Does he have backstage heat? Probably. Corbin was a jerk to some fan on Twitter who was in the military and that’s a big no-no in WWE to insult somebody in the military.
As for Cena, the plan is for him to be a part of the Raw brand tonight since he’s a “free agent.” Cena will also wrestle at the Raw “No Mercy” PPV show next month. As for Corbin, maybe he’ll be the next challenger for AJ Styles or maybe he’ll end up losing every week. Tough to forecast what’s next for him because management has clearly soured on Corbin.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Natalya defeated Naomi to win the title
It's about time this championship found its way into the rightful hands. #QueenOfBlackHarts #GlowStopper #AndNew #SummerSlam ?? pic.twitter.com/SVVaN4GXb0
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) August 21, 2017
This was a good match with a title change I didn’t expect, but as a Natalya fan for many years, I’m very happy about it. If you think about her career, she’s gotten a lot of respect for being a very good in-ring performer. She also spent some parts of her career getting booked terribly (remember the farting gimmick?) or just underused when she was the dancing buddy of Great Khali.
In the last couple of years, Natalya has re-established herself and the heel turn last year was perfect for her too. Anyway, Natalya was on offense for most of it. Naomi tried to do the comeback, but Natalya blocked her attempt at a submission move and the split-legged moonsault. Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter submission, Naomi did a good job of selling it, but ultimately tapped out clean at around 12 minutes. There was a solid reaction to it, although not huge because Natalya is a heel.
What’s Next: There will probably be a rematch where I assume Natalya holds onto the title. From there, Natalya can move on to defending against some good challengers on the face side like Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. I know Charlotte is off the road for the last week because her dad, Ric Flair, is hospitalized. But if he continues to improve, then I can see her getting the next title shot.
Big Cass defeated Big Show (Enzo Amore was in a shark cage)
Well, @real1 somehow ESCAPED the #SharkCage…but it wasn't enough as @BigCassWWE picks up the HUGE victory! #SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/b4ZJopbCth
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
This was the worst match on the show as expected. Bathroom break match too. Show had a cast on his right hand to sell the injuries from Raw. Show used his left hand for a lot of offense, including some punches and a lefty Chokeslam that looked good.
Cass ended up coming back by working on the left hand. Enzo got out of the cage by slipping through the bars (good to be skinny in that case) and walked right into a big boot from Cass. So why even do the spot? I guess it put Cass over. Anyway, Cass beat Big Show with two boots to the face and the Empire Elbow for the win. Using an elbow drop for the finish is pretty lame. He’s not exactly The Rock doing the People’s Elbow and drawing a big reaction with it.
What’s Next: I hope this is the end of this feud and the end of Cass with Enzo. I assume Cass will get the Strowman push where he wins nearly every match for the next year. The difference is Strowman stands out as much more of a star while Cass has a long way to go.
There was a backstage segment with Raw GM Kurt Angle and Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan. They stole each other’s catchphrase, so that was mildly funny. Poor Bryan had to say that he thought the WWE Title match would be better than the Universal Title match, which is pretty ridiculous when you’re talking about a Mahal match.
Randy Orton defeated Rusev very quickly
It only takes ONE! @RandyOrton nails @RusevBUL with a BRUTAL #RKO for the victory at #SummerSlam! pic.twitter.com/1CeW58bYjv
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
Match of the year! Or not. Rusev attacked Orton before the bell. The ref let Orton get back to his feet and Orton said he was ready. Rusev charged, Orton avoided him, Rusev hit the turnbuckle and Orton hit a RKO out of nowhere to win in about 10 seconds. That was it. Rusev landed right on his head. I figured Orton would win after three straight PPV losses to Jinder Mahal, but I didn’t expect it to be that fast.
What’s Next: Orton could move onto a rivalry with Baron Corbin. I’m not sure, though. If WWE were to do a Superstar Shake-up in the near future, then Orton is a guy who should be moved because he hasn’t had a good year on Smackdown in terms of his feuds. As for Rusev, he continues to be booked poorly. I hope things change for the better for him, but I’m not optimistic about it.
Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss to win the title
#TheBoss has DONE IT! @SashaBanksWWE makes @AlexaBliss_WWE tap out to the #BankStatement to become the NEW #RAW #WomensChampion! #SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/ZAj7bantcT
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
Banks and Bliss had a decent match that the crowd didn’t get into that much. They did a shoulder injury spot where Banks was thrown to the floor and was selling her left shoulder. Bliss worked on the arm a bit, but she isn’t good enough in the ring to really make it look convincing.
The crowd never got into it as much as you would think and that’s partly because they only had one week of build. Banks was relentless in applying her Bank Statement submission, which led to Bliss tapping out around 13 minutes. Both women’s matches ended in clean submission finishes. I thought Natalya vs. Naomi was slightly better.
What’s Next: I predicted the Banks win in my preview of the event because I feel like WWE is going to want to get that title onto Nia Jax in the next few months. In order to get there, it makes sense for Banks to win and to put Jax over. Bliss had a decent run as champion, but it was nothing special.
I also think there’s a possibility that Banks becomes an egotistical heel champion who gets a long run and ends up feuding with “best friend” Bayley for the title when Bayley recovers from her shoulder injury. I would save that story until the new year, though. Jax seems like the next Women’s Champion within the next few months.
“Demon King” Finn Balor defeated Bray Wyatt
#TheDemon @FinnBalor stands up to @WWEBrayWyatt and hits the #CoupDeGrace for the victory at #SummerSlam! pic.twitter.com/YT0kWuyIMg
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
Balor busted out the face and body paint for this match after Wyatt beat him and poured some red liquid on him on Raw. The entrance from Balor was cool. We’ve seen it before, but it’s been a year since he did it on the main roster. Wyatt controlled most of what was an average match. Balor came back with his three moves (Slingblade, dropkick into the turnbuckle and double foot stomp off the top) to win easily after about 10 minutes of action. Typical WWE booking where guys trade wins.
What’s Next: Since it’s 1-1 in this series, the feud will probably continue. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not because the matches are just average at best. Perhaps there will be more of a story that gets added to it in the weeks ahead. Wyatt was definitely more scary when he had the Wyatt Family watching his back. He’s lost some appeal as a solo act.
Raw Tag Team Championships: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins defeated Sheamus and Cesaro to win the titles
WHAT A SEQUENCE leading to @TheDeanAmbrose & @WWERollins becoming the NEW #RAW #TagTeamChampions! #SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/CjHhE68iAW
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
There were times in the show where the crowd wasn’t into it much, but they definitely cared about this match. The story going into it was strong, so that helped, along with the Rollins/Ambrose reunion.
There seemed to be a theme to the match with the heel side trying to isolate one of the faces while taking out the other partner outside the ring. At first, it was Rollins as the face in peril while Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Ambrose on the floor. When Ambrose got in there, Rollins was attacked repeatedly by the heel side. The finish was brilliant with the heels looking to finish off Ambrose, so Rollins hit a hurricanrana that sent Cesaro into Sheamus to knock him down. Rollins connected with a flurry of kicks and Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds to win the gold. The crowd popped huge for the title change. It was a cool moment.
I thought The Usos vs. New Day was the better tag match, but this was very good too. Both of them were above average and PPV quality in terms of being better on a bigger stage. They were the second- and third-best matches of the night.
#SwissCyborg @WWECesaro is not amused, @WWEUniverse… #SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/MjOYs4wjtU
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
I also need to point out Cesaro did something great when the fans had a beach ball in the crowd and Cesaro went into the crowd to grab it. I hate when fans bring a beach ball to a wrestling show. Pay attention to the ring, people. Show respect to the talent. Thank you, Cesaro, for that.
This match was the fifth title match on the card and the fifth title change. It was also the last title change of the eight title matches in total, but doing five of them was a lot.
What’s Next: I think Seth and Dean will team up for a few months to keep them busy without putting either in the Universal Title picture. There will probably be a rematch at No Mercy. Raw’s tag team division has another face team in the Hardys and a heel team in Gallows and Anderson, but not much after that with The Revival out for a few months due to injury.
United States Championship: AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens to retain his title (Shane McMahon was the referee)
Every other title that was contested changed hands tonight…until NOW, because @AJStylesOrg didn't want none of that! #SummerSlam #USTitle pic.twitter.com/ZvBGapCgHt
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 21, 2017
Styles and Owens had a good match where the attention was on the special referee a lot because his last name is McMahon. They had Shane take a couple of bumps where it was obvious the moves were coming and he sold it well. That led to Shane arguing with both guys. He had a shoving match with Styles. Each wrestler had a false finish spot where Shane wasn’t there to count in time for Owens or to see the submission win for Styles.
Later in the match, Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb, Shane counted to three and also realized Styles had his foot on the ropes. Owens was furious about it as Shane told him the match would continue. Styles ended up hitting a Pele Kick, Phenomenal Forearm and a second Styles Clash for the win after 17 minutes. I thought there would be a big fight between Owens and Shane post-match, but they are likely saving that for Smackdown. The match was fine, although there was too much of a focus on Shane as the referee.
What’s Next: The feud seems to have ended with that result. I think Owens vs. Shane in a Hell in a Cell match in October is very possible. That seems to be what has been brewing for a few months, so that might be the best place for it.
As for Styles, I’m not sure who his next rivalry may be with. Baron Corbin is definitely an option. I’d like to see a face vs. face storyline against a good worker like Sami Zayn or Chad Gable just to give us some great matches. I’m also ready for Styles to be the WWE Champion again, but that’s not happening this year most likely.
WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his title
The @SinghBrosWWE force the distraction AGAIN as @JinderMahal hits @ShinsukeN with the #Khallas to RETAIN his #WWEChampionship! #SummerSlam pic.twitter.com/1RmCTp7Tj8
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
This felt like a live event match where they just went through the motions and had the most predictable finish possible to have the heel champion retain the title. Mahal’s offense was basic, as usual. His matches really fail to excite me in any way. Nakamura was doing his usual array of strikes. It looked like Nakamura was close to winning when the Singh Brothers predictably jumped on the apron to distract, Nakamura took care of them easily and it allowed Mahal to hit The Khallas slam to win.
I thought for sure Nakamura was going to kick out, but he didn’t. That was Nakamura’s first loss on the main roster in a singles match. Below average WWE Title match.
What’s Next: They could opt to do the match again at Hell in Cell on October 8 and put the title on Nakamura there. I’m not sure if that’s the plan or what they might do, but it would be after the India shows in September. There aren’t a lot of great options for Mahal to face at that event especially with Cena moving to Raw. I want Nakamura vs. Styles for the WWE Title at WrestleMania. I hope WWE is smart enough to do it.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar defeated Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe to retain the title
The #F5 spells the END for @WWERomanReigns as @BrockLesnar survives an INSANE #Fatal4Way #SummerSlam main event! pic.twitter.com/khye5aS4Ss
— WWE (@WWE) August 21, 2017
What a fantastic wrestling match this was. Calling it a “wrestling match” might be the wrong term because it was a wild brawl that saw them battle all around the ringside area and the crowd was hot for all of it.
Since it was a Fatal 4-Way, that meant there were no disqualifications and no countouts in the match. That led to Strowman targeting Lesnar with some incredible moves. Strowman drove Lesnar through two of the three ringside announce tables with Running Powerslams. I have criticized that move before as not looking that impressive, but they were executed perfectly here and Lesnar sold it great.
After Strowman put Lesnar through the two announce tables, Strowman went to the third announce table and dumped it on top of Lesnar. Paul Heyman was freaking out at ringside, screaming at the top of his lungs and looking all worried. That’s what a great manager (or advocate) does because Heyman sold the beating as well as anybody. Lesnar was taken away on a stretcher, but if you thought he was done in the match at that point, then you haven’t watched enough WWE in your life. Lesnar was back into it a few minutes later.
Reigns hit everybody with Superman Punches all match long. It didn’t seem like he was interested in doing much else the entire match, although I give him credit for bumping well. Samoa Joe didn’t really come close to winning at any point. Joe slapped on the Coquina Clutch a few times with guys selling it as a big deal. Joe was there to be a supporting player in this match, rather than the focus.
Strowman was the most impressive man in the match and I thought he was the star of the night. He has really improved as an all-around performer in the last year. Strowman got into wrestling a few years ago, WWE signed him up and he has turned out to be a wise investment because he continues to impress on the biggest stage all the time.
I wasn’t surprised by the Lesnar win, but I was surprised by who he pinned because it was Reigns. I thought it was going to be Joe since Reigns is usually protected so much. After Strowman and Joe were sent out of the ring, Reigns hit three Superman Punches on Lesnar. Reigns went for a Spear, but Lesnar caught him and hit a F5 to win. I thought Reigns was going to kick out of that, but that didn’t happen.
It was one of the best WWE matches this year and one of the most fun matches I’ve watched in a long time. Wrestling is supposed to be fun, right? This was a lot of fun.
The match was loved by a lot of people including one of the all time greats, WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin.
Damn what a main event!! Awesome match. Great ride. Hard work. #summerslam @WWE
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) August 21, 2017
The key thing with Lesnar is if he sells things properly and has lengthy matches like this, he adds so much because if he gets his ass kicked, then people will go crazy about it since it’s so rare. Since so many wrestlers fail to do much damage to Lesnar, having Strowman take him out like that adds to the aura that Strowman has around him as a strongman who can do a lot of damage to anybody at any time.
What’s Next: I had no doubt that Lesnar was going to win because he is booked for No Mercy next month. Based on the way that this match was booked, I think they will do Lesnar vs. Strowman there. If not, then maybe they are saving it for another PPV down the road. The crowd reacted to Lesnar’s interaction with Strowman louder than anything else on the show, so really that should be a WrestleMania match. However, I think WWE will probably do Lesnar vs. Reigns again at WrestleMania. Plans can always change, of course, and WWE may want to do Cena vs. Reigns there.
As for Reigns and Joe, they might face off in a singles match at No Mercy. I hope they go with Joe vs. Cena because like I said earlier, Cena’s going to be on Raw starting this week. Cena and Joe started training together in California back in 2000, so there’s a history there. I’m assuming they are still friends who want to work together as well.
It was an above average show to me because the main event was outstanding and I loved the two tag team title matches. The rest of the card was average for the most part with a few stinkers thrown in. It was a newsworthy show because there were eight title matches and five title changes. Too many title changes? Yes, I think so, but that’s WWE booking of late. They seem to want to change their minds on a lot of things and that means short title reigns for people.
I’ll be back during the week with the usual Raw and Smackdown reviews. Raw is building up to No Mercy on Sept. 24 while Smackdown has Hell in a Cell on Oct. 8. Here’s hoping both shows can build to up to great events in the future.
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