With AEW and CM Punk grabbing all the headlines this weekend, it would be easy to forget that WWE was also hosting its second-biggest show of the year in a huge stadium in Las Vegas – a show on the scale of a WrestleMania. Never to be outdone, the WWE roster was clearly amped up for this show and wanted to remind everyone that despite AEW's momentum that WWE is still the biggest show in town. With lots of surprises and some great matches, SummerSlam was quite the event.
Despite being “Mr Money in the Bank”, and presumably a future WWE or Universal Champion Big E found himself off the main show, which is a shame because the story with Baron Corbin is actually quite compelling. Corbin's fall from grace (and his commitment to the story) has been a highlight of recent episodes of SmackDown, including his theft of the briefcase that set up the match here.
The bout between Corbin and Big E was largely pretty good, with Big E dominating the early going, and Corbin leaning into the desperation of his character, even going for a cheap count-out win at one stage. Big E held the advantage early on, but Corbin took control after repeatedly smashing Big E into the ring posts and hitting a big sidewalk slam for a near fall. Big E rallied and applied a stretch muffler but Corbin reasserted himself with the Deep Six for another close two-count. However, as Corbin checked on “his briefcase” and tried to escape with it, Big E was able to hit a pounce into the barricade and a spear off the apron that turned the tide, before nailing a Big Ending for the victory.
Winner: Big E
An entertaining contest to warm up the crowd as the stadium began to fill up, but Big E could definitely have done with being on the main show if WWE have big plans for him, and given Corbin's current character is the most interesting thing he's done to date it would have been a fine reward for his recent work. However, given the lack of tangible stakes, there is certainly a logic to why it was placed here.
On an interesting side note, “celebrity” Logan Paul was present in the front row and was heavily booed by the audience every time he was shown on screen.
RAW Tag Team Championship – AJ Styles and Omos (C) vs RK-Bro
The unlikely odd-couple story of Riddle and Randy Orton has been a real highlight of RAW in recent months, especially in a period where RAW has arguably not been at its creative best. However you may feel about Riddle as a person, his on-screen persona is a great counterpoint to Orton and the goofy, silly elements of that character contrast with the more serious side of “The Viper” incredibly well, providing a fine dynamic. On the opposing side, the RAW Tag Team Champions have done little of note since winning the belts at WrestleMania, and despite Styles' obvious ability and Omos' huge size and presence, their reign has never really fully clicked into gear.
As Riddle and Orton made their entrance, Orton looked intense as usual while Riddle continued to sing Orton's music as Randy looked on bemused. This was a great snapshot of the pairing, and a foreshadowing of the eventual, inevitable Orton turn whenever it occurs. It is worth noting that as this match started Allegiant Stadium was still only around two-thirds full.
Orton and Styles started off together, as Orton took the initiative and went to work on Styles, before hitting a double team with Riddle, which frustrated Styles. AJ tagged in Omos who asserted his power and size advantage immediately as he took control before squashing Riddle with an elbow in the corner. His dirty work done, Styles tagged in and hit an assisted tornado DDT on Riddle for a near fall, as the heels took over and Riddle assumed the babyface-in-peril role. Riddle rallied and hit a step-up knee to Omos on the apron and freed himself of Styles, only to be cut off just as he went for the hot tag, although this only delayed Orton getting into the match as Riddle fended off Styles with a knee and tagged in the “Apex Predator”.
Orton hit a series of clotheslines on Styles, and got a few hits in on Omos in the process before going for his usual offensive repertoire with the snap bodyslam and the draping DDT on Styles, and readied himself for the RKO. However, Omos pulled Styles to the safety of the floor, and then nailed a brutal looking chokeslam to Riddle on the apron, which allowed Styles to snap Orton's neck on the apron and give the heels the advantage momentarily.
As Omos tried to smash Riddle into the ring post, it was reversed, taking Omos out of commission. Riddle wasn't able to celebrate for long, however, as Styles nailed a beautiful springboard moonsault DDT (a move which is never done justice by its description) on the floor.
Naturally, this opened things up for Styles to attempt the Phenomenal Forearm on Orton, which teased the RKO counter that Orton had previously used on Styles to great success. As AJ went for the manoeuvre Orton moved, and went for an RKO, only for Styles to counter into a roll-up with a handful of tights for a close two-count, but as they came out of the pin, Orton then nailed an RKO (yes, out of nowhere) for the win.
Winners: NEW RAW Tag Team Champions – RK-Bro
A hot opener that got the crowd fired up, Styles and Orton continue to be masters of their craft while Riddle and Orton's odd couple act continues to entertain. Omos still looks a little limited, but this match was structured in a way that hid his limitations and played to his strengths. A strong way to start the show, especially with a title change.
After an advert for some limited edition John Cena NFTs and a particularly cringe-worthy WWE credit card advert featuring Charlotte Flair, something even more cringe-inducing was introduced as the build began for Eva Marie vs Alexa Bliss.
Eva Marie vs Alexa Bliss
Poor Bray Wyatt, jobless and an inferior version of his beloved Fiend character essentially given to Alexa Bliss. I appreciate Bliss has done what she can with the gimmick, but it has become a distorted shambles of what it started as, and frankly it should probably be quietly discarded. The build to this match with Lilly the doll giving a CGI wink is among the most egregious things WWE have ever put on television. Eva Marie has done nothing of note since returning, other than introducing Piper Niven and giving her the name Doudrop. Even the direction of that story has been inconsistent at best. Everything about this match felt off going into it, and there was no match on this show that elicited groans when announced as much as this particular combination.
Before covering this match, it feels it would be problematic to omit the detail that as Bliss was on the way to the ring there appeared to be numerous grown men holding Lilly dolls, which without casting aspersions on these men, is certainly an uncomfortable image that doesn't sit well.
Obviously, this was never going to be an all-time classic. After some brief chain wrestling, which was unexpected, this match descended into the true story it was always going to tell, with Eva deciding to slap Lily, which naturally caused an enraged reaction in Bliss. Marie even went as far as to hit bliss with the doll which was hilarious, but not for the intended reasons. This fired up Bliss who hit a series of tackles and rained down punches on Eva Marie followed by a somersault senton for a near fall. Bliss retrieved the doll and put it back in the corner before hitting a big drop toehold to the bottom turnbuckle, but Bliss wiped out on the Twisted Bliss attempt that followed it, which Marie almost used to pick up the victory. However, Bliss quickly recovered and executed a big DDT for the win in a match that was mercifully short.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
After the match, the tension between Eva Marie and Doudrop continued as Doudrop seemed pleased with Eva Marie's loss. Doudrop requested a microphone and announced Eva as the loser of the match and mocked Eva further by wearing Marie's robe as she left her “mentor” at ringside in shock.
This match was not good, but thankfully it was short. Nothing was technically that bad, but it seemed largely pointless and the direction of all three women involved is questionable at this stage.
Mario Lopez of Saved by the Bell fame was backstage in a rather fetching Hart Foundation t-shirt and introduced RK-Bro. Not much to say here, but Riddle teased a surprise for RAW on Monday.
WWE US Championship – Sheamus (C) vs Damian Priest
Damian Priest was out next to a nice reaction from Allegiant Stadium. Priest was one of the big winners coming out of WrestleMania this year, having got a big rub from his pairing with Bad Bunny and the rave reviews for that match against The Miz and John Morrison. Injuries and a return to the Thunderdome set-up in the spring hampered his progress somewhat, but Priest seems to be back to full fitness and both the company and fans seem to be behind him. His opponent Sheamus, is perhaps one of the most underrated wrestlers in WWE today having been a fixture in the company for over a decade and always in and around the upper mid-card or the main event. This was always going to be a physical encounter and definitely seemed like a match that had the potential to be a sleeper candidate for the match of the night, going into SummerSlam.
Both men jockeyed for control early on with Sheamus taking the advantage initially but Priest matched him. Sheamus hit a big shoulder block, but Priest retaliated with a huge elbow. Priest nailed a jumping elbow in the corner followed by a modified Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Sheamus tried to get back into things, charging at Priest but he was back body dropped to the apron, and his attempt at a shoulder barge was countered with a big kick and a forearm that knocked the “Celtic Warrior” to the floor. Priest followed this up with his signature step-up dive to the floor which never fails to impress, only the execution was slightly off here with Priest taking the brunt on his back and Sheamus eating a boot to the face which surely tested the legitimacy of his facial appliance (which is not the term being used here, but fans of New Generation Era WWF may appreciate the reference).
Priest began favouring his back and after hitting a series of strikes on the floor, like a shark sensing blood in the water, Sheamus countered a kick and rammed Priest back-first into the ring post. This led to Sheamus focusing on the injured back of Priest with kicks, a suplex, and a modified chinlock. Priest tried to get back into things, but Sheamus cut him off with a backbreaker and more kicks, followed by a modified camel clutch. Priest continued fighting off Sheamus, turning a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana, but Sheamus quickly got back on top of things with a big slam that targeted the back of Damian Priest. As Sheamus went for the Ten Beats of the Bodhran, the crowd began counting along, so being the classic heel that he is, Sheamus stopped which was a wonderful touch.
Sheamus' berating of the crowd opened the door for Priest to get back into the match hitting a huge DDT. Strikes and big lariat followed, setting up a huge spinning heel kick from the top rope that woke the crowd up somewhat and garnered a near fall for Priest. Sheamus countered an attempt at The Reckoning and uncharacteristically went to the top rope. Priest looked to have caught him ready for a spectacular chokeslam from the top, but Sheamus dropped to the floor sending Priest throat-first across the top rope. A simple counter, but it's always nice to see performers rail against the predictable. Sheamus kept the pressure on with a top rope clothesline, an Alabama slam and a sick-sounding headbutt.
The end appeared to be nigh for Priest as Sheamus signalled for the Brogue Kick, but Priest countered with a very stiff looking kick to the face and his South of Heaven chokeslam move for a very, very close two-count. The audience suddenly seemed invested at this stage having bought into the near fall. As Priest tried to finish Sheamus he went for a disaster kick from the middle rope, but Sheamus saw it coming and hit a big knee that might have been intended as a Brogue Kick in what appeared to be the finish, but Priest somehow kicked out again. Sheamus went for the cloverleaf, but Priest reversed into a cradle for a near fall. Sheamus went for a heel hook, but Priest hulked up and ripped Sheamus' mask off his face, much to the Irishman's disbelief. As Sheamus tried to protect his face, Priest was able to escape the heel hook, hit a massive kick, and The Reckoning for the win and the US title.
Winner: NEW US Champion Damian Priest
Easily the best match on the show up to this point. Priest and Sheamus both put in a big shift here in a really physical and lively affair. Damian Priest once again looked like a megastar in waiting here, and Sheamus as always did a great job making himself and his opponent look fantastic while telling a compelling story in the process.
Next up was a WWE 2k22 advert with a release date of March 2022 now included, and the game looks like a marked improvement on their last (dismal) effort. There was also an advert for NXT TakeOver, which looks like it could be a very fun show.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships – The Usos (C) vs Rey & Dominik Mysterio
A year on from his debut against Seth Rollins, Dominik Mysterio continues to impress, but in recent weeks there appear to be some edgier traits that are being added to his babyface act, which was teased as friction with his father on SmackDown. Other than that, there isn't a huge amount of backstory going into this tag title match other than a rematch from Money in the Bank (or the pre-show at least) where The Usos captured the belts from Rey and his son. For what it's worth, a grown man giving his diminutive father a piggyback to the ring will never be a strange sight.
However, once the bell rang this was a very solid offering. Rey and Jimmy Uso started at a pretty frenetic pace, with Rey almost hitting a 619 in the opening minute before Jimmy rolled to the floor. A basement dropkick from Rey and a backdrop by Dominik on Jey Uso to the floor set up a big aerial double team as Rey hit a low splash and Dominik landed a top rope plancha to the fallen Usos on the arena floor.
Back in the ring, Dominik hit another big top rope crossbody for a two-count on Jimmy. An attempt to pay homage to his real father Eddie Guerrero (good old 2005 WWF) with the Three Amigos gave Jay Uso the opening to hit a blind tag, and when Dominik went to try the frog splash after the third suplex, Jey was able to blindside him on the top rope and give The Usos the advantage.
From here, it was tag wrestling 101 with The Usos double-teaming Dominik and preventing him from getting the tag, including taunting him, stomping him, making quick tags and generally grinding Dominik down, with the occasional tease of a hot tag and the champions cutting off his attempt at a comeback, even going as far as to mock the scared Three Amigos suplexes, although that also almost ended badly as Dominik blocked number 3 and messed up a suplex, this did lead to the hot tag.
Rey came in full of fire, going for a Quebrada but eventually turning it into a tornado DDT for a two-count. Things continued to pick up with a top rope Thesz press, and a reversal of a roll-up attempt into a big kick, but Jimmy would counter that with a big trademark superkick for a close near fall. Rey countered a powerbomb sending Jimmy to the floor, but Jey caught him in mid-air with a superkick and swiftly proceeded to the top rope landing a huge splash in a very nice false finish with a kick out at 2.9 seconds from Mysterio that again woke the crowd up.
Jimmy tagged in, while Jey and Dominik fought on the apron with Dominik being put out of commission by a suplex on the “hardest part of the ring”. Meanwhile, Jimmy missed a splash from the top in the ring, and Rey took the opening, nailing a 619 before going to the top for a frog splash rather than attempting the pin. Unfortunately for Rey, Jimmy got his knees up and then hit a big superkick, followed by a tag, a stereo superkick and then a huge Uso Splash from the top by Jey for the emphatic victory.
Winners: The Usos
A very good match, and a solid win for The Usos. This match was probably not strictly necessary on an already pretty lengthy show, but all four men delivered a strong tag match and if they are planning on having Dominik go in a darker direction there are a few subtle seeds being planted for that. If not, it provides a good story of friction between philosophies of father and son and Dominik is progressing quite nicely with his in-ring work and certainly seems to be benefiting from a tag team run with his father. Maybe just lose the piggyback, it feels weird.
TV and film star Tiffany Haddish was backstage next, much like Mario Lopez earlier, calling Damian Priest the “national champion”, which isn't incorrect technically but it was a funny thing nonetheless. Nothing too noteworthy here
Back in the ring, Rick Boogz was in a mid-guitar solo in the ring to introduce the Intercontinental Champion King Nakamura. That's quite a sentence. Pat McAfee was up on the desk, rocking out as Nakamura made his way to the ring only for Nakamura to join him in a pretty fun moment, air-guitaring the belt with Boogz in tow. This didn't appear to have any real point to it, but sometimes things don't have to and the audience seemed pretty into it. Although imagine having Shinsuke Nakamura in your company and not having anything more important for him to do on a show like this. Mind-boggling.
Next up, a hype video played for Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks highlighting their history at WrestleMania, Sasha's return and heel turn on Banks and the general set-up for this match. Their WrestleMania main event was a huge moment and this match was one of the things going into this show that was most intriguing for many. However, in the past week, there had been rumours abound that this match might not happen due to injuries, but we would soon find out what WWE had planned and it's fair to say that for whatever reason it happened, this “match” was not what anyone expected.
SmackDown Women's Championship – Bianca Belair (C) vs Sasha Banks
Belair made her way to the ring to a pretty favourable reaction from the audience in the stadium. Suddenly with Belair in the ring, it was announced Banks would be unable to compete and Carmella would be her last-minute replacement. Carmella made her way to the ring as Belair looked on, bemused.
With Carmella in the ring, Belair asked for a microphone and cut a promo on Banks, before turning her attention to Carmella. However, before things could get started, Becky Lynch's music hit to a big pop and a huge reaction as “The Man” arrived. Lynch tossed Carmella to the floor, throwing her into the step before returning to the ring to face off with Belair. A staredown commenced as Lynch asked for a microphone, and challenged Belair to a match, and Bianca accepted.
SmackDown Women's Championship – Bianca Belair (C) vs Becky Lynch
Lynch went for a handshake, only to sucker-punch Bianca and hit a Rock bottom (which Michael Cole referred to as a Manhandle Slam, something that hopefully goes away quickly) for the win and the title.
Winner: NEW SmackDown Women's Champion – Becky Lynch
There's an awful lot to unpack here. WWE doing the bait-and-switch to bring in Lynch makes it seem like Banks was legitimately unable to compete. However, there's also WWE attempting to create some buzz in response to AEW and that's almost certainly a factor. Presumably, the “match” was what it was due to the last-minute nature of Lynch being drafted in and she wasn't 100% ring ready yet, but it was a heel-ish move from Lynch so it's hard to say where that leaves her character moving forward. It's a tough blow for Belair, but I'm sure she'll rebound and the longer-term story will presumably be about her redemption arc.
A video was shown announcing Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia in October, which was expected but surely there are still doubts over whether it can or will go ahead with the spread of the Delta variant. Either way, it's a story to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
In something of a change of pace next out were Olympic Gold medalists Gable Steveson and Tamyra Mensah-Stock to a nice bit of applause from the audience. WWE have been credited with an interest in both, so that makes a lot of sense.
Drew McIntyre vs Jinder Mahal
After an advert for Extreme Rules, Jinder Mahal made his way to ring for his match with Drew McIntyre. Obviously, they have a history as members of 3MB back in the day. More recently Jinder cost Drew the Money in the Bank match and stole his sword. Yes, you read that correctly. This match is hard to describe with much enthusiasm because it's such a boring waste of Drew and a bit of a slap in the face after he carried the RAW brand on his back during the pandemic.
McIntyre took the advantage early on with punches, kicks and suplexes. Really the standard McIntyre playbook. Drew went for a Claymore but Mahal went to the floor and briefly got back into things before McIntyre suplexed him on the arena floor. Mahal reversed a Futureshock attempt into a huge head kick for a near fall giving Jinder the advantage to punch and kick Drew for a while. A rest hold followed, which McIntyre eventually fought out of with a headbutt and then more overhead suplexes. A Futreshock DDT was next, and then another Claymore, this time for the win.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
After the match, Jinder's henchmen arrived to tend to them, and McIntyre threatened them with his sword to no reaction from the audience. Poor Drew.
A match that no one cared about happened, and it was thankfully short. The End. You have to hope for more for Drew, because he does deserve something a bit meatier to do over the coming months. Thankfully it was decisive, so this programme should be at an end.
RAW Women's Championship – Nikki A.S.H (C) vs Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair
Last year; it seemed like Rhea Ripley was a can't-miss future superstar, having pretty much conquered NXT and seemingly destined for dominance on the main roster. While she has had a run as RAW champion having dethroned Asuka at WrestleMania 37, the booking and character development for Ripley has been shambolic during her reign. Her feud with Charlotte seemed to go on forever, and even the insertion of Nikki A.S.H into proceedings couldn't breathe new life into that combination. Speaking of Nikki, her rise from catering dweller to champion has been meteoric, and you have to respect her investment in creating a character and getting it over, and clearly demonstrating her value to the company. Charlotte's role here was what it always was, be Charlotte. Whether you like her or not, she is one of the company's favoured performers and rightly so, because usually on the biggest stage she delivers.
Nikki was out first to a nice reaction, followed by Rhea to a slightly bigger cheer, and finally Charlotte to lots of “Whooooos”. All three looked like major stars in their own way here, despite their booking being individually somewhat questionable in recent months. Flair was in a Thanos-inspired robe, which was a nice touch.
Charlotte and Rhea tried to sideline Nikki in the opening moments, but Nikki got back into things quickly hitting a monkey flip on Flair in the corner and a roll-up on Ripley, followed by a drop toe hold to the previously injured knee of Ripley. As per the usual unwritten structure of the WWE triple threat match, Nikki was then sidelined while Charlotte and Rhea duked it out in the corner for a bit. At one point Flair did the flip in the corner ALA her father Ric before Nikki sidelined Charlotte on the floor and went at it with Ripley. Nikki would go for another roll-up before Charlotte came back and suplexed Nikki taking her out while she went back to fighting Ripley. Nikki was back in with Charlotte, Rhea was sidelined.
In a rare moment of all three women involved, Charlotte stacked women and went for a moonsault only for Nikki to move and Rhea to get her feet up. While Charlotte was dazed Nikki went for a roll-up, but Ripley pulled her away and nailed a Riptide, only for Nikki to reverse it. Shortly after Nikki ate a big boot from Ripley and it was back to Ripley and Charlotte. Flair got a near fall on Rhea with a big boot, but Ripley rebounded and hit a series of short-arm clotheslines before knocking Nikki back to the floor and hitting a low dropkick to a downed Flair.
Flair regained her balance and sent Ripley over the top to the floor, leaving Flair alone in the ring and as Ripley tried to return she ate a big boot on the apron that knocked her back down. To everyone's surprise, this was Nikki's cue to get back in the ring, nailing a big tornado DDT for a near fall. Moments later Ripley would return as Flair went for a fallaway slam, and hit a German suplex on Flair leading to a three-way-suplex-fall-away-slam combo that looked very cool. This took Nikki out of commission and allowed Rhea to go to the top rope for a big missile dropkick on Charlotte for a last-gasp two-count. Ripley and Flair began brawling on the floor which allowed Nikki to “fly” from the top rope and take out both women.
Back in the ring Flair blocked Nikki's suplex, but Ripley helped Nikki double-suplex Charlotte, or at least until Charlotte was vertical in the air when she reversed it into a double DDT followed by a kip-up, which was pretty badass. Flair then chopped both women, but that backfired as they went to again double team Flair, but only momentarily as Flair backdropped both women over the top rope, and Ripley was lucky not to break her leg on her landing. That could have been really nasty. With both women down on the floor, Flair landed a huge corkscrew moonsault on both opponents.
As all three made it back to the ring, Ripley booted Flair in the face, again. Leading to Nikki and Rhea facing off, with Nikki getting a near fall from a cradle. However, Ripley applied a big submission on Nikki, Charlotte tried to break it up but Ripley released Nikki and caught Charlotte in the same submission move only for Charlotte to reverse into the Figure-Eight which Nikki broke up at the last possible second with a splash from the top.
After some more back-and-forth, Nikki found herself in the ring with Flair and went to the top rope only to wipe out on a crossbody, giving Charlotte the opportunity to apply the Figure Eight in the middle of the ring, leaving Nikki no choice but to submit.
Winner: NEW RAW Women's Champion – Charlotte Flair
For what it was, this was a fine match. Unfortunately, it was hampered by the triple threat structure that WWE seems unable to move away from under any circumstances. Charlotte winning is probably the right move, especially if there are continued rumblings of rumours about her wanting to join Andrade in AEW.
Edge vs Seth Rollins
When Edge made his return from retirement at the Royal Rumble in 2020, there were a number of matches that immediately spring to mind as exciting possibilities for the resurgent Rated-R Superstar. One such match was against Seth Rollins, whose entire main roster tenure had come after the retirement of Edge. A natural stylistic match-up between two incredibly dynamic performers and with a built-in history after Rollins assaulted and threatened to paralyse Edge to get his way during an angle in 2014. The route WWE chose for the build-up, and the current direction of the Seth Rollins character may not have been the choice that made the most sense, but this was always going to deliver once the bell rang.
Rollins was out first in a horrendously ugly jacket. Edge brought back his old Brood entrance with the flames in what was a very cool moment before resuming his usual entrance. From the first lock-up, Rollins was going for Edge's neck and that was largely the story of the match. Things were slow at the beginning with both guys trading holds before Edge hit a number of punches and sent Rollins to the floor in frustration.
Back in the ring, Rollins gained a footing, going for the pedigree but Edge countered and again sent him to the floor, bouncing him off the usual furniture at ringside. Edge missed a baseball slide, and Rollins smashed him neck-first into the ring post, and then the stairs repeatedly. While this is part of the story, and I'm sure perfectly safe it did make for uncomfortable viewing at times. Back in the ring, Rollins was back on the attack, targeting Edge's neck with neck breakers and clubbing blows. Edge tried to get back into the match with punches, but Rollins hit a sling blade landing, again on Edge's neck. Rollins went back to the neckbreaker for a near fall.
Rollins stayed on Edge for the next few minutes, before hitting a glancing knee from the top rope. Edge created some separation with a flapjack and a shoulder in the corner before setting Rollins up on the top rope. Rollins reversed with elbows to the neck and frog splash for a close two-count. As Rollins positioned himself for the Curb Stomp, Edge rolled to the ropes but Rollins pressed him and both men ended up on the top rope only for Edge to hit a spinning neckbreaker to the canvas.
Edge began gaining in momentum, hitting clotheslines and an Edge-Ecution DDT for a near fall, but Rollins turned things around again only for Edge to hit an Edge-o-Matic for another close count. Edge went to the top rope but took too long and Rollins recovered enough to hit a superplex rolled through into a Falcon Arrow for a very, very late two-count. Edge avoided a Curb Stomp and reversed a Pedigree into a Glam Slam, a lovely tribute to his wife, but it only yielded a two-count.
Rollins composed himself and snapped Edge's neck on the ropes, before attempting a stomp on the apron, but Edge moved and rammed Rollins into the ring post. Before spearing Rollins to the floor. At points in this match, it felt like Edge had a death wish, given his medical history. After smashing Rollins into the LED screen on the ring skirt, Edge went back in the ring and went for a spear that Rollins countered into a modified Pedigree for a massive false finish that the crowd 100% went for. Rollins went to his old bag of tricks as he attempted a phoenix splash, but as Edge moved out of the way he landed on his feet and Edge hit a picture-perfect Spear that Rollins somehow kicked out of, somehow.
Taking a page out of Will Ospreay's book, Rollins hit a hidden blade strike and a kick to the neck before setting up for the Curb Stomp, but Edge reversed by simply turning himself over and blocking the foot. With Rollins' foot in his hand Edge then was able to lock in the Edge-Cator submission. Rollins escaped, but Edge was able to lock in the crossface. Rollins escaped but Edge just smashed his head repeatedly into the mat before locking in a choke forcing Rollins to tap out.
A phenomenal match between two very evenly matched wrestlers who told a fantastic story based around Edge's real-life neck troubles. Seth Rollins and Edge deserve all the credit in the world for putting together this match in the way they did and Rollins especially had some great expressive facial moments which helped tell the story brilliantly.
Before the two big championship matches took place an advert appeared announcing that WWE would run Allegiant Stadium in July 2022 for Money in the Bank, which will be the first time that show has taken place in a stadium, which Covid-allowing could be a huge show for the company.
The Miz and John Morrison were out next for a filler segment about water delivery. Xavier Woods interrupted, dressed as Razor Ramon carrying a water gun and ended up dousing the heels. Nothing to see really, just an opportunity for everyone in the stadium to get a beer or use the toilet.
The build for Goldberg vs Lashley may have been mired in some confusing booking decisions and trying to make it personal with the involvement of Goldberg's son. However, once both men made their respective entrances it no longer mattered, it was just about two big lads having a smash-mouth brawl.
Goldberg and Lashley locked up to start things off before trading shoulder blocks. Goldberg hit a pair of big bodyslams and a slightly weak looking clothesline in the corner, followed by a better one in the middle. Lashley retaliated with big strikes before they both attempted jackhammers while the other man blocked the move. Lashley nailed Goldberg with a big reverse STO before hammering Goldberg's neck with forearms.
Lashley stupidly went to the top rope and got slammed for his troubles, and Goldberg prepared to deliver the spear but MVP pulled him to safety. However, while Lashley recovered Goldberg hit a spear on the floor before lining up for another one in the ring causing Lashley to wisely roll to the floor, and with the referee distracted MVP hit Goldberg in the leg with his cane. With Goldberg injured and taken off his game plan, Lashley hit a chop block followed by a chokeslam.
Lashley went to apply The Hurt Lock but Goldberg powered out, only to again receive a chop block. Goldberg rolled out of the ring, clearly hurt, and sensing victory Lashley ran him leg first into the ring post, and then again. Lashley rolled Goldberg back into the ring, who could barely get to his feet, and as he collapsed in pain the referee was forced to stop the match.
Winner: WWE Champion Bobby Lashley
After the match Bobby Lashley brutalised Goldberg with the chair, repeatedly attacking the knee as he tried to end Goldberg's career. Goldberg's son would try to come to his aid, but Lashley laid him out with The Hurt Lock. MVP tried to excuse Lashley, claiming he didn't know it was Goldberg's son which is presumably being done to elongate this feud into a future match.
This was a weird match. On one hand, it was nice to see a Goldberg match that didn't adhere to the formula created in 2016 against Brock Lesnar. On the other hand, it lacked the explosiveness and excitement of a traditional Goldberg match. Still, it was enjoyable and it did a job in terms of presumably setting up a rematch at Extreme Rules.
WWE Universal Championship – Roman Reigns vs John Cena
The main event of the evening was probably the most anticipated match on this whole show. With Roman Reigns smashing through the SmackDown roster for almost a year now, John Cena coming back to try and win his 17th world title and knock Roman off his perch was very exciting and felt like a proper generation-spanning, big money main event. There's almost nothing else that needs to be said, it sells itself and it did not disappoint. The stipulation with Reigns having to leave if he loses wasn't really necessary but it's understandable that WWE wanted to up the stakes, even if it meant that it telegraphed the result somewhat.
It's still weird hearing John Cena come out into an arena without being roundly booed, but his entrance was surprisingly popular. Reigns looked like an absolute beast and a huge star as he made his way to the ring.
Things started off cagily with both men all smiles, but it quickly got intense and physical. Reigns used his power and size advantage with Cena trying to sneak a pin, which was largely the story of this match. Reigns hit a number of big strikes early on, with Cena continuing to go after the schoolboy roll-up.
After a bit of stalling, things finally moved into second gear as Reigns continued trash-talking Cena, and hit a huge suplex and applied a chinlock. Another snap suplex followed before things spilt out to the floor.
Cena rallied with punches, but Reigns quickly squashed that resurgence by throwing Cena into the ring steps and then ramming his head into those same steps. Reigns then posed for the crowd with the title belt as Cena rolled back into the ring. Cena surprised Reigns with an inside cradle but Reigns kicked out and hit a big lariat. As Reigns talked trash, Cena suddenly lifted him into the Attitude Adjustment but Reigns managed to counter into a DDT.
Reigns apologising to the camera to movie executives for how much he is going to have to beat Cena up was hilarious. Cena again rallied with punches and went for a shoulder block, but Reigns hit him with a big punch in mid-air. Again Cena went for the roll-up, but Reigns kicked out and locked in a sleeper on Cena. Reigns jumped on Cena's back to try and prevent him from powering out, which was a smart strategy. Cena fought out and nailed a big desperation clothesline. Cena began getting into his groove hitting the shoulder blocks and the Blue Thunder Bomb, but as he went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Reigns locked in the guillotine. However, Cena was ready and turned it into a pin for a very close two-count. As soon as he kicked out, Reigns nailed Cena with a huge Superman Punch.
Reigns went to finish the match, trying for a Spear, but Cena blocked with a big kick and hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Reigns before nailing the Attitude Adjustment for the biggest false finish of the night. Every single person in the stadium gasped in unison. Cena applied the STF as Roman tried to reach the ropes, which he did successfully before rolling to the outside. As Cena made his way out to press his advantage, Reigns hit a huge drive-by to regain control of the match. However, as Reigns lined up a spear on the floor, Cena caught him with an AA through the announce table and dragged him back into the ring for another crazily close near fall.
With Cena in control, he went to the top to try for a leg drop but Reigns caught him in a powerbomb for another near fall. Reigns prepared to deliver the Superman Punch, but Cena reversed into another roll-up before going for a third AA, but Reigns escaped and nailed the Superman Punch for another close two-count. Reigns lined up for a spear, but missed and hit the ring post. Cena tried to take advantage and executed the Super AA from the top, but somehow Reigns kicked out at 2.9 seconds.
As Reigns lay prone, Cena tried to gather himself and find a way to beat Reigns. Cena went for a spear, and Reigns kicked him in the face and they exchanged punches before Reigns hit two Superman Punches and finally a Spear to end the match.
Winner: WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
As Reigns celebrated a huge victory after the match, familiar music sounded in the stadium and out marched Brock Lesnar to an enormous pop from the crowd, with Paul Heyman shocked as Reigns and Lesnar stared each other down. Lesnar got in the ring as the two men went nose-to-nose before Roman left with his title as the show went off the air.
Roman Reigns and John Cena put together one hell of a main event. it took a while to get going, but the story they told with Cena no longer able to match Reigns for power, but playing the crafty veteran was well executed. This was a big match in front of a solid crowd that delivered and gave a big post-match surprise that certainly sets up an intriguing feud with Lesnar and Reigns. A very good main event.
Overall, SummerSlam was a very good show from top-to-bottom. The show was longer than necessary, but everyone delivered in the ring and there was plenty of surprises. Most importantly, there are some big interesting questions coming out of the show and for WWE right now, in terms of the product, that intrigue is crucial.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE