SummerSlam has come and gone, and it’s hard to say it was enjoyable. Two matches really stood out to me, but the rest were mediocre at best. It was as if creative specifically looked at what were the bad matches and decided that they should be as long as humanly possible. But let’s break down exactly what went down match by match, starting with…
MVP vs. Apollo Crews (c) (United States Championship): The story going into this match has been lacking. Part of it is simply because Apollo wasn’t able to compete at the last PPV, which is no one’s fault. But even discounting that hiccup, the plot has felt like it was just missing that little extra zing to it. The plot surrounding MVP looking to build the Hurt Business has been good, but I just haven’t felt the heat between Crews and MVP.
The match itself mirrored this in a lot of ways. Nothing about this match stuck out to me, and as I edit this the morning after I honestly don’t remember any one particular moment from it. It was the pre-show, though, so I guess that’s not the worst thing in the world.
Auska vs. Bayley (c) (SmackDown Women’s Championship): The first Asuka match was solid. The match started slow and it never really kicked into another gear, but both wrestlers do amazing with in-ring character work which really lets the emotion of the match shine through. I don’t think the outcome of this match was really up in the air and they seemed aware of that. It would have been nice if there was a bit more tension to the match, though.
Street Profits (c) vs. Andrade/Garza (Raw Tag Team Championship): The match was fine, there was a little too much emphasis on holds in the first half, but each hold was broken with some impressive maneuvers. Not to mention the height the Street Profits get with some of those splashes off the top rope were so good.
However, the match did nothing really to forward the progress of the plot, nothing was resolved and it was not like a final showdown between the two teams. This match just was. It was inoffensive and just sort of existed there on the card. Exactly as most WWE tag team matches are on PPVs. I honestly didn’t expect anything more out of it.
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville (No Disqualification, Loser Leaves Town Match): Looking back on things, there were very little weapons used for a no-DQ match, but in the moment I honestly forgot it was no DQ. The emotion and intensity from the two women were absolutely incredible.
Each hit and hold seemed driven by an intense hatred by both women. It let Mandy really show a side of herself we haven’t seen before — her entire character has been perfectly reworked for a more intense, extreme side. I want to see more of Mandy like this.
My one complaint is that the ending didn’t seem like a properly explosive ending for how much this feud was built up. Also, this match was honestly way too short. It could have easily gone on for another 5 or 10 minutes because I just absolutely loved this match so much. I don’t think I can say that enough. I absolutely loved this match.
Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins (No Disqualification Match): We all knew that Dominik wasn’t coming out of this winning. Dominik honestly didn’t look too bad, though, for the part of the match that actually was a match. He slipped and almost botched a move once or twice, but he sold well and his offense for the most part looked good.
After a while, the match just needed to end. I found myself zoning out multiple times, especially after Dominik threw Seth through the table. That was the last offense he really got in and from there it was just a needlessly long beatdown. I get the idea is that Seth is just spending all this time enjoying torturing Dominik, but after a certain point it loses its effect and just because torture for the viewer.
Why didn’t they take the time out of this match and give more time to Mandy/Sonya? Or just end the PPV early? Or just do anything else? Literally anything else?
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Asuka (Raw Women’s Championship): This was by far the better of the two Asuka matches. There were so many tense moments, from the two standing on the ring post leaving you wondering who was going to get the upper hand, to Sasha’s Canadian Destroyer off the apron, which was absolutely insane. The back and forth between the Asuka Lock and the Bank Statement at the end was so well choreographed as well.
This was an amazing match and the heartbreak mixed with the anger on Sasha’s face at the end was palpable. It was the perfect ending and I honestly felt a little bit for Sasha despite her being the heel in the situation. We’ll see where this goes and when they pull the trigger on Bayley and Sasha turning on each other, but I’m honestly not even that interested in speculating on when it will happen. I’d rather just enjoy the ride.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship): Orton in the past couple years always seems to have a match with the current champion to solidify that champion. They build Randy up in other feuds then throw him to a champion halfway through their title run to show that person deserves the title. He never feels like a threat in these matches and they are more of a formality.
So when these kind of strong style matches are lacking any pathos, they really fall flat. High-flyers may have a more difficult time communicating emotions during a match, but can at least pull out cool flips to cover up the lack of character or intensity. With these slow burn matches everything is laid bare, and can’t be covered up. So when it’s done well it can be amazing, but when there’s nothing there it really shows.
In short, the match was fine, I guess, but I don’t regret going to the bathroom and getting another drink halfway through. Also, what a weird way to end it. It probably means they’re going to continue feuding… doesn’t it? Sigh.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Braun Strowman (c) (Falls Count Anywhere – Universal Championship): This was a fine match. I enjoyed it although I wouldn’t have made it the main event if I had done the booking. I feel like most falls count anywhere matches are usually a bit of a letdown, never exploring all their potential, and this was absolutely true with this one. Falls count anywhere with The Fiend in the new fancy ThunderDome and the most they did was wander into one backroom and out again? Come on.
Also, where does Alexa Bliss play into this? Two episodes of SmackDown involved Bliss and the story seemed to be culminating in her being at the center of things. It almost seemed as if they were going to do a beauty and the beast sort of dynamic with The Fiend suddenly falling for Bliss or at least feeling the need to protect her.
Even if the match hadn’t hinged around Bliss, she should have at least made an appearance. But instead… nothing, we got nothing. I might eat my words, but it seems like the story they were setting up with her being strangely captivated by The Fiend is just something they have decided to abandon.
Roman Reigns coming back is exciting, although I hope so much that they’re being good about COVID. I’m kind of worried for him with how terrible they have been. Also, Roman is supposed to be heel, right? Because if he is, they picked the worst way to demonstrate that, by attacking Braun (now a heel) and The Fiend (sure, everyone likes him, but he still is a heel).
And Lastly: So am I to understand that RETRIBUTION is willing to attack multiple times each show, but when there is a PPV they do absolutely nothing? Wouldn’t a group of anarchists who want to take down WWE attack, you know, during a PPV? Is Roman supposed to be leading them? If so, why didn’t they attack with him? RETRIBUTION failing to show up sort of felt analogous for the rest of the PPV and it failing to deliver.
Honestly, I was overall disappointed with this PPV. The good parts were short, the bad parts were way too long, and the promising Fiend/Braun match fell short.
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