For starters, we knew the WWE was seriously about this show, because we finally saw a new stage. Even with the overall results, I feel like the WWE was serious about moving into a new direction, and it was apparent on this show.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs Jeri-KO
Enzo Amore absolutely killed it in that opening promo. They had the crowd in their hands like puddy. I’m convinced that may have been their best promo since moving up to the main roster. Also, it was a great way to open up the show.
These men were lucky that the promo came across as strong, because the same can’t be said for the match. For the most part, the action felt mundane, and formulaic. The actual highlight of this match was Corey Graves on commentary. Throughout the action, I couldn’t stop laughing at his insults towards Enzo. Second to that would be Owens’ many impressions of his opponent.
I can’t be the only one that was shocked about Enzo & Cass losing. It seemed like it was done just for the sake of swerving the fans. Since I’m a big fan of Jeri-KO, I didn’t mind seeing them leave victorious. Plus, it gave us that great looking Code Breaker.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte
Michael Cole mentioning Charlotte’s PPV stats was a nice touch. I wish he’d do that more often, because it definitely adds to the match.
As someone that’s been watching these two since their NXT days, I’m impressed with how they can make each of their matches feel fresh. All of their feuds are essentially the same, yet the two find ways to differentiate them. There were a few moments that didn’t go very smoothly, however they still managed to convey their dislike for one another. They did eventually iron out the wrinkles.
The hurricarna reversal was easily the highlight of this match. Usually spots like that don’t look very smooth, but this one did. There was one moment where they botched the back stabber, and it actually didn’t across as sloppy as it was. Cole did a brilliant job at justifying the botch, and accrediting it to Sasha’s injured back. In that moment, I was able to buy that.
The finish to this match was excellent, and very well done. It didn’t exactly make Sasha look bad, but it made Charlotte look smart. I found it to be a lot better than Charlotte cheating to win, which would have been too cliche.
Apollo Crews vs The Miz
Both of these men are extremely talented in ring workers, and they showcased that well during this match. However, with a lack of build up, I had a tough time caring for it.
It is worth noting that Miz was able to pin Apollo clean, and without the use of cheap tricks. That tells me they’re willing to take him more seriously.
John Cena vs AJ Styles
The slow start to this match was essential, as it only added to the excitement. I loved how the two took their time grappling and then moving to a more power based style. I thought Cena especially looked great. So often does he just take a beating before powering up and winning, but that wasn’t the case in this match. He actually used his strength to dominate AJ, which is much more realistic than what he normally does.
These two did a great job with their use of near falls. I know it’s a typical trope in big matches, but I can appreciate them when done well. Along with that, Cena and Styles knew exactly how to use their finishers. Each competitors signature moves were well spread throughout the match, and that allowed for them to feel more meaningful. That’s exactly why AJ kicking out of a super AA was such a big deal. All of this lead to the perfect finish for their feud. I don’t think there was any better way to end the match than by having Styles win decisively.
The pacing to this wasn’t fast, but it went by really quickly. That’s clearly a sign of how well these two were at drawing in the viewers. Every part of the contest felt fresh, because at no point did they spam their finishers. There was a new move used every single time they locked up.
With this being only the fourth match into the show, these two set the bar extremely high for the others.
The Club vs The New Day
Kudos to the WWE for placing this match directly after Styles vs Cena. The comedic aspect allowed for this to be easier to watch. By wrestling a more chaotic style, these four captured my attention, instead of feeling like an after thought.
Since Big E is my favourite member of the New Day, I completely marked out when he showed up to save John Stewart. I know some people may be upset with the DQ finish, but I thought it flowed well for this match. It pretty much guaranteed that these two teams will continue their feud. I believe this is a program that can go longer.
Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose
These two know how to sell a feud, and they did that perfectly before the bell was even rung. Their willingness to start fighting was smart way to hook viewers from the start. After that, the pace truly slowed down for the first half. To make up for that these two, especially Ambrose, showcased strong ring psychology.
Dean’s attitude was a lot different here than it was before. He carries a new type of confidence, and for the first time, he wasn’t the scrappy underdog. I also liked how Ziggler wasn’t relegated to that role either. This allowed for their back and forth to come across as more even.
To my surprise, these two didn’t overuse near falls, and I thought they definitely would just to tease a title change. That’s fine, because there was still moments they had me on edge. Overall, I thought this was a good title match, and it lived up to it’s expectations.
Becky Lynch, Carmella, & Naomi vs Alexa Bliss, Natalya, & Nikki Bella
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t mark out for Nikki Bella’s return. Seeing her team up with Bliss and Natty just made me realize how bad ass they were together. Her return brought a new energy to this match.
This actually turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. These competitors made this feel important, and all of them wrestled with a ton of intensity. Once everything was over, the Smackdown women’s roster truly came across as the more dominant one. Each one of these wrestlers has a distinct look and personality, so I can’t wait to see the direction for them.
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
One thing I loved about the Demon on this particular show is that he differentiated his style from what he normally does. While he was in NXT, the Demon was no different, and apart from the face paint, he looked the same in the ring. In this match, he started off with a lot more aggression and speed, which isn’t how he normally starts.
Balor and Rollins showcased a graceful match. I couldn’t believe how crisp and clean every move was. Considering that this was their first bout together, their chemistry was amazing. The highlight of this was easily Rollins’ frog splash. It looked great because of how much air Seth was able to catch.When did they announce the no DQ stipulation? The first I was hearing about it was when Seth brought it up during the triangle choke. The match was fine without any weapons, but that is something they could have mentioned before.
While I was convinced that Seth would pick up the win, I found this to be a great way to showcase the Demon. Rollins brought everything he could, and it wasn’t enough to keep down Balor. I can’t believe what I had saw, because it just felt so surreal. It felt like it was just yesterday when he was the NXT champ. As a fan, I couldn’t be more proud.
Rusev/Roman Reigns Brawl
Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to this match whatsoever, because I didn’t think it would be entertaining. Well, both Roman and Rusev proved me wrong. That beat down was amazing, and included the Roman Reigns we all love to see. This segment also gave us arguably the top highlight of the show, and it was Roman’s spear. He looked like bullet, and Rusev sold it as if he was shot.
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton
By this point, so much had happened on the show, and this felt like the cherry on top. Also, I thought having six commentators would be a mess, but they found a way to make it work.
The first half of the match was incredible. There was no slowing down from Brock Lesnar, and he made this look like a real fight. In fact, I don’t think anybody wanted to see a regular wrestling match. Seeing a ton of suplexes and RKOs was the appeal behind this. With all the action that went down, the spot of the match turned out to be a ground and pound from Brock. However, everything that happened after that spot completely confused me. I honestly didn’t know what to think about that finish. Lesnar looked like an even bigger monster, but at the same time Randy dropped down a notch.
One hour later, after having some time to think:
After some thinking, I came to the conclusion that I very much enjoyed the finish. It was different, and was supposed to imitate a real fight. Along with that, we could possibly see a great Orton redemption story. With that being said, I think this finish would have been more effective if it wasn’t in the main event. I feel if it was swapped with Balor vs Rollins, more fans would have enjoyed it. That way they could have concluded the show with the crowning of a new top guy.
Whatever your opinion is about this show, there’s no denying that this year’s edition of Summerslam was arguably the most stacked. I’d say the only downfall of this show was the match placement. I don’t know why they decided to do it the way they did, but to an extent it didn’t fully work. The low point of the show was Crews vs Miz (which wasn’t even that bad), while the high point was Cena vs Styles. Overall, I give this show an 8/10.