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Roman Reigns returns at SummerSlam
WWE

Pro Wrestling

WWE SummerSlam came to ThunderDome, and we never saw it coming!

SummerSlam shook the THUNDERDOME with good wrestling, predictable booking, and a monumental return.

It was the biggest Skype Party of the summer last night, and it all took place in the THUNDERDOME!!!

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!

The show was labeled with the tagline “You’ll Never See It Coming,” and barring a single show-defining event at the end of the night, those no-good smarks Jay and Jason largely saw it coming. Join the boys as they answer the questions:

  • Will Randy the Snake Man best the Scottish Psychopath for his 14th title run?
  • Will we see #AuskaAllBelts?
  • Will Dominik Mysterio leave the THUNDERDOME with both eyes?
  • Will the bald train man beat the scary clown man?
  • WILL WE SEE IT COMING? And by ‘It” I mean #RETRIBUTION (All caps)

 

Jason: It’s a shame you don’t watch the pre-show, Jay, as it’s giving me something I didn’t know I wanted: a Renee Young that doesn’t give a f*ck. And Apollo Crews retaining his US Title over MVP in a cogent if underwhelming match in front of a big Zoom meeting, but SNARKY RENEE! In the THUNDERDOME

I’ve got to say, while there’s potential here, I’m not really in love with the THUNDERDOME! Maybe it’s the piped in crowd noise or the bored looks on all the Skypees, but it really isn’t adding anything to this Asuka/Bayley match. Which, I gotta say, was kind of a let down. The action was perfectly cromulent and everything, but that finish was so obvious that it really hurts the whole presentation.

Jay: Wait, what happened with Renee? Is she leaving us for real? Did she drop a pipe-, er, Thunder-Bomb on someone?

Honestly, I am so happy with the ThunderDome. I don’t care if it’s piped in noise or not, but it’s giving me the illusion of a big arena feel and that’s how wrestling is meant to be. The PC was dull, dreary, and depressing. This is a welcome change. 

Jason: I’ll give it a chance, but no promises….uh…what in the blue hell is Zelina wearing? It’s like she made the bra and then had so much material left over that she was like “can you make me a jacket that’s five times too big and completely shapeless?”

Jay: I’ve learned not to question Zelina’s taste in fashion. It’s probably so high-fashion that we can’t appreciate it. Besides, if she hears you she’ll poison you, since she does that now.

Jason: Good thing I’ve been taking iocane powder for the past several years to build up an immunity. I feel for the cleaning staff who thought this would be an easy night but now has to sweep up a couple thousand red solo cups. Damn, Andrade’s being a little snug with my boy Tez in the early going here.

Jay: Can you get Solo cups from the sky in the PC? NOPE! Only in the THUNDERDOME!! It’s glorious. And yeah, Andrade has a chip on his shoulder tonight. I mean, he’s become background dressing to Angel Garza, Charly Caruso, the person from The Bachelor, and poison. That’s like seventh fiddle when you consider Zelina steals the show as it is. I’d be pissed as hell.

Jason: First off, her name is Demi and you know it’s Demi. She lives at the PC now. Second, yeah it’s wild that he’s the least important person in a feud that also involves Angelo Dawkins. Though, to be fair, three out of four of the guys in this match are better than they’ve been allowed to show. Kevin Owens calling Garza’s cheating “Fantastic R3 work” is such a solid video game reference, it almost makes me accept the terrible ending of this match.

Jay: So is Demi allowed in the THUNDERDOME or no? But I agree, the ending was lackluster. Where the hell was Bianca? Did they leave her with Demi at the PC?

Jason: Someone’s gotta be in charge. Just like someone needs to be in charge of the piped in crowd noises. It’s flat — no lulls but no pops. It’s like white noise in the THUNDERDOME! It’s a shame too, because I’d love to hear the crowd’s actual reaction to these awesome-ass Sonya Deville promos.

Jay: OK, we can confirm that they are piping in noise. There is no chance in hell viewers are actually boo-ing Sonya Deville. She rechristened herself as Queen of Dragons on SmackDown when she scorched the earth beneath her this past Friday.

Jason: Sonya Deville, First of her name. Breaker of Barbies and Mother of X-23 cosplayers. I’m really hoping this isn’t it for her. She’s only just showing us what she can really do, and she has so much more of an upside than Mandy and her weird booby onesie.

Jay: Is she going for an X-23 thing? Or is she just wearing black? And I doubt this is it for Sonya. She’s mentioned she wants to try her hand at Hollywood and probably does need time away from the camera considering circumstances, but she’ll be back.

Jason: Jeez, weren’t we supposed to see Mandy as the face here? She’s launching chairs like missiles at her “best friend” with whom she wants to reconcile? Hitting her finish before kneeing her friend in the face a few times is a weird way to show you care. That terrible worm, too? Ugh, Mandy continues to be the worst.

In brighter news, Jay, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Seth vs. Dominik IN THE THUNDERDOME BAY-BEE!!!

Jay: I’m not gonna watch it. I just don’t care. This is so stupid. It’s rare that an angle can offend basic principles of wrestling booking, taste, and medical science all at once. 

Jason: Even after seeing what Seth is wearing to the ring? You’re gonna deny a man with that much panache? Actually, Dom’s gear is also pretty cool. He needs to put some meat on those arms, but once he gets the Prince Mysterio mask, I think he may have the presentation down.

Jay: Seth’s attire makes me sad. It reminds me of how awesome he used to be and how creative he can be. It’s clearly a shot at Rey as it’s mimicking his attire from Halloween Havoc 1997 when he fought Eddie Guerrero in that legendary match. This should be Rey vs. Rollins and they should have done this match on a Raw. They really s--t the bed with this one.

Jason: You say that like this wasn’t absolutely Rey’s decision here. You think Triple H was clamoring to run his chosen successor (the second one at least) against the barely-trained son of one of his employees at their third biggest show of the year? Nah, this has Rey playing hardball written all over it. Plus, in 10 years when Dominik is fighting former Raw Tag team Champion Nicholas Cone for the Ultra Universal Title, you’ll be like “Damn, I should have watched that Seth Rollins match back before the world ended.” 

Jay: Listen, it’s not the Ultra Universal Title, it will be for the Multiversal Title. Did I ever tell you my idea for SmackDown in 2016? Right after Raw introduced the Universal Title, SmackDown should have countered with the Multiversal Title and had Dean Ambrose travel the multiverse in search of a kidnapped Renee Young. And, obviously, each episode would have featured a world patterned after a member of the roster. I’m bringing it up now cause it’s infinitely more interesting than this match. 

Jason: You say that even as Dominik does his real father’s finisher? 

Jay: AND THE ANNOUNCERS DIDN’T EVEN REFERENCE THAT!! Damn it, it’s disappointing on all levels.

Jason: I get that Rey told his son he wouldn’t get involved in the match, but like, why doesn’t he go and kick Murphy’s ass at least? The dude just keeps throwing kendo sticks and chairs and whatnot into the match, why would he let that happen? It took the attempted enucleation on the outside to make him think “Oh yeah, the other guy could be a problem too.”

Say what you will, but that was probably the best ending we’ve had thus far on the show. There was emotion, pathos and a lasting image. It’s the most memorable thing to happen at this show so far. Though, and I know your opinion on it, Adam Cole dragged a barely trained rookie to a much better match on Saturday.

Jay: You have a point. I won’t fault the talent because they did their job and they did it well. Dominik clearly has a future and Seth Rollins is still Seth Freakin’ Rollins. It just could have been so much more. Rey should have been in the ring against Seth fighting to redeem his family because now, where do they go from here? Do they just walk away? I don’t know. 

Ah, Banks vs. Asuka. Bayley vs. Asuka was great earlier in the night, but Banks and Asuka mesh really, really well together. You know, it’s funny though, Sasha has never successfully defended the Raw Women’s Championship. She’s been champ like four times or something but has never had a successful defense. And I don’t think that will change now.

Jason: Here’s hoping. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sasha, but she never should have had the Raw title to lose this time. And yeah, the matches between these two have been stellar. Will this one, however, break the curse of terrible endings that has plagued all but the very first matchup between Banks and Asuka?

Jay: Probably. They did the swap in the first place because of how thin the women’s roster is right now with Charlotte and Becky Lynch out, Alexa doing whatever she is doing with The Fiend, and the powers that be refusing to allow Baszler or Belair some time in the spotlight. So, here’s what we get.

Jason: May have spoke too soon, because that ending was indeed dumb. The right woman won and all, but like why would it be Bayley’s fault for avoiding Asuka’s attack? She still provided the distraction, which was the point. Sasha’s the one who failed to capitalize on the situation. This is supposed to be the thing that sinks the friendship of Banks and Bayley? Unless Bayley is the face in that exchange, it makes Sasha look like a whiner. 

Also this is the exact finish we called in our column on Monday. “Never see it coming” indeed.

Jay: What can we say? We’re cursed with knowledge. But I didn’t think the ending was too bad. Asuka took out Bayley before tapping out Sasha. I didn’t have a problem with it. But while we’re on the topic: I think we’ve both gotten our predictions correct thus far for all the matches. “Never see it coming” has never been more true, huh?

Jason: So we both think Randy’s taking this thing, right?

Jay: Yeah, I think so. The heat they could get on Randy is too irresistible. Plus, they need a tried-and-true draw to help them claw their way back programming normalcy, not to mention how much more adversity would benefit Drew right now. It’s the best move right now.

Jason: Man, a Randy Orton title reign as the means of drawing eyes back to the brand in the year of our lord 2020. As I live and breathe. Admittedly, Orton has been killing it of late, but who would’ve thunk it?

Jay: We take him for granted because we’ve seen him on our TVs for literally 18 years straight with no breaks or lapses in his tenure aside from injuries and suspensions. Think about that, 18 years. They had Hogan for 8, Hart for 9, HBK for 7 and then 8, Austin for 8, Rock for 6, and Cena 15. Orton for 18, Jason. 18 years, and he has always been pretty damn good. 

Jason: Sure, but that just means he’s the “safe option,” not necessarily an exciting one. No one can balk at Randy’s talent out there, but the 9 or so years he spent sleepwalking through his feuds has made this late renaissance all the more surprising. 

Jay: I disagree. Yeah, he didn’t exert himself on a Raw match with The Miz in 2015, but who would? Orton does fire up whenever called upon though. See his title run in 2013-2014 leading to WrestleMania, his feud with Rollins in 2015, his feud with Wyatt in 2016-2017, Jeff Hardy in 2018, and his run on Raw from October 2019 till now and holy crap we were wrong Jason! Drew won!

Jason: Well shut my mouth. WE NEVER SAW THE BACKSLIDE ROLLUP COMING! Also, you mean that 2013 title run where he feuded with Big Show? Where he couldn’t sell a title match with Batista so they had to bring in Daniel Bryan? You mean the feud with Wyatt that produced the House of Horrors and the most laughed at Mania match that didn’t involve a blindfold or chloroform rag?

Jay: Unfair. They could have had Orton face off against The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, a resurrected Andre the Giant and Macho Man Randy Savage, and overlord Cyborg Brock Lesnar from the future and the fans would have still revolted because none of those names were Daniel Bryan. And those Wyatt matches weren’t necessarily due to his lack for trying — more WWE’s production team.

Jason: Boy, they sure couldn’t wait to call up Keith Lee, huh?

Jay: Honestly, I would have loved to see him go up against Kross one more time, but I guess there were no lands left for him to conquer in NXT.

Jason: Sure, and instead he’s off to Raw where he will inevitably feud with the Hurt Business because that show has a one-track mind when it comes to booking. Oh well, time for the Man Train to fight the Murder Clown.

Gotta admit, since I don’t really watch much SmackDown these days, I forgot how awesome the Fiend’s entrance is.

Jay: The THUNDERDOME was built for The Fiend. It’s beautiful. This should be a decent match, but I honestly don’t know who’s the heel here. And since when is it falls count anywhere? 

Jason: Since shut up, that’s when! And the Fiend didn’t stick his nasty fingers in Alexa’s throat, so he’s the good guy. “Train Man don’t care about pretty girl,” was enough to explain this.

Also Cole claiming “I’ve never seen this side of Braun?” Uh, dude was a heel for several years. Shoot, dude nearly killed Brock Lesnar and Kane with a grappling hook!

Jay: I miss grappling hook Braun. That was a missed opportunity at a playset. 

OMG, why is Braun tearing up the THUNDERDOME?!

Jason: I thought I had time to explain but HOLY CRAP ROMAN REIGNS IS BACK! For the first time tonight, I can honestly say I never saw it coming!

Jay: I’m actually smiling. This is great. This is so great. And yes, I never saw this coming. This is the shot in the arm SmackDown needed. He looks refreshed as hell and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Jason: Yeah, right as I was about to crack wise about how we all saw the Fiend going over, Roman Goddamn Reigns looking jacked as hell and with a spiffy new shirt spears everyone the hell out of their boots and we go off the air on a note far more exciting than another Bray Wyatt title reign. It almost redeems the entire show. 

Jay: Yea, almost. Overall it wasn’t a bad night in the THUNDERDOME, eh Jason?

Jason: It was a fine night overall. Perfectly cromulent wrestling, fairly safe and predictable booking and one big return that will be all anyone really talks about from the event. Sad to see Sonya go (for now), but happy to have Roman back. Man, the wrestling world is hype for the return of Roman Reigns? What a day to be alive.

What do you all think? Did SummerSlam deliver the goods? Were there any matches that surprised you? Are you excited for the return of the Big Dog? What does the Train Man do now that he’s the least important person in the Universal Title field?

Sound off on Twitter to let us know!


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