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5 Talking Points from SummerSlam 2022

SummerSlam 2022 was a show under an unusual amount of scrutiny, what with it being the first WWE PPV without Vince McMahon and with Triple H at the helm of creative. And while it wasn’t perfect by any means (Lashley-Theory could have taken place on Raw for what it was, the Mysterios-Judgement Day match was underwhelming until Edge returned), there was enough quality to turn what was a mediocre card on paper into an entertaining show in reality, with a great opener, a solid tag title match and a main event that was massively crazy and massively entertaining in equal measure. While I didn’t perhaps love the show as much as some, I thought the high points were indeed very high and there were a lot of positives to take from it.

Let’s get into the top five talking points from SummerSlam 2022!

1. Becky and Bianca Bring Quality and Surprise

After the pair put on the best match of this year’s WrestleMania, Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch demonstrated their incredible chemistry together in another top-quality encounter that kicked off SummerSlam 2022 in style. The story of the match centered on Becky being able to constantly counter Bianca while working on the arm. In the end, though, it was Bianca’s resilience that saw her through, being able to recover and hit Becky with a big Spanish Fly and the KOD for the win to right the wrong of last year’s SummerSlam ‘match’ between the pair.

What happened next was probably one of the best pieces of WWE storytelling in a good while. Becky offered her hand to Bianca post-match, and after a moment’s uncertainty, Bianca took up the shake and the pair hugged it out. So far, so good. But then a certain former Women’s Champion’s music kicked in.

Bailey’s.

Bailey looked in great shape and genuinely looked happy to be back as she headed to the ring to the astonishment of the crowd. But she wasn’t alone. Nobody expected Dakota Kai to be seen again on WWE programming, but Triple H has a point to make, and it was great to see her not only back but appearing to be part of a big stable with Bailey. But who would make three? It turns out Io Shirai would, joining the other two women in approaching and staring down Bianca. Things looked bleak for the ‘EST’ until Becky Lynch rolled back in and backed Biance up, completing what seemingly is her face turn.

This was excellently executed and told a great story. The mutual respect between Bianca and Becky; the return of Bailey and Dakota; the two sides put into opposition. All very simple but very effective. I hope the rumor that Becky is injured isn’t true; finally, the women’s division has a feud again that looks to be fire.

2. Brock Lesnar Has a Tractor—And He Knows How To Use It!

Hands up who expected Brock Lesnar to come out on SummerSlam in a tractor? No, me neither. And yet, here was ‘The Beast’, like some hillbilly version of Stone Cold Steve Austin, riding out to the ring in the machinery and jumping into the squared circle right onto Roman Reigns to rain down fists onto ‘The Tribal Chief’. It was like it was the year 2000 all over again, and as much as a tonal shift as it felt for current WWE, it was also a blast too.

I didn’t have high expectations for the Last Man Standing main event; yes, Brock and Roman have had good matches together, but their WrestleMania match was awful. So I’m very happy to say they killed it here. A slow-paced brawl, with both men acting the predator and picking their moments to knock their opponent out, it helped to make each moment of brutality stand out and hit harder. Lesnar finally got a measure of revenge, nailing Paul Heyman with an F5 through the commentary table. Lesnar himself tasted the wood on several occasions.

But perhaps the biggest talking point from the match was Lesnar not only using the tractor as a weapon, scooping Reigns up and dropping him from a height into the ring but in an insane moment, the ring was lifted from the corner and held there, forcing Reigns to roll down the ring to the outside with a smack! I’ve seen many things in wrestling but I’ve never seen that before.

This was a marmite match—plenty of people have complained about the tractor and the amount of interference and furniture it took to keep Lesnar down—but I loved it. It felt like a big show-closing main event, and it reminded me of an Attitude Era main event in a good way. Kudos to Reigns and Lesnar: they nailed it here.

Let’s just not talk about Theory’s failed MITB cash-in attempt…

3. Edge Returns in a Blaze of Glory

There has been much speculation over the last month as to who the strange promos airing on Raw have belonged to. While the rumor mongers dropped Bray Wyatt’s name an awful lot, the sensible money was on Edge.

And Edge it was, interrupting a mediocre match between the Mysterios and Judgement Day with a beautiful entrance that nodded to ‘The Rated-R Superstar’s days in The Brood, with the lights dimmed low, eerie entrance music playing and an edgy-looking Edge emerging up through a portal of flame to erupt with a pair of spears on Cameron Grimes and Finn Balor. This was enough to set up the double 619 to give The Mysterios the win. But the real story was how reinvigorated and energized Edge looked after appearing quite tired over the last few months. While the turn on Edge might have come too soon previously, the signs are positive that Edge’s revenge is at least going to be sweet.

4. Seth Rollins Adds Further Injury to Injury

Originally scheduled to be wrestling on the show, Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle had their encounter canceled mid-week due to a kayfabe injury to Riddle caused when Seth Rollins stomped him on Raw.

While it was a shame we didn’t get the match, WWE did a smart thing by giving them a chance to up the ante so that when they do finally clash, there will be more of a story and more heat to their rivalry so that the match will mean something as opposed to feeling thrown together, as it did do before.

Riddle appeared out of nowhere to storm into the ring and demand Seth came out to fight him. Seth obliged, along with several security staff who attempted to break up a spirited brawl. Unfortunately for Riddle, Seth Freakin Rollins was able to double stomp him again, leaving Riddle prone and vulnerable and having to be helped from the ring. The first time might have been accidental, but this time Rollins was deliberately trying to hurt Riddle. So imagine the heat when Riddle comes back for revenge. Again, simple storytelling, but should yield big results come the payoff.

5. Liv Morgan Is An Underdog—But Let Her Get Some Offence In!

Look, I get the underdog champion thing. I can quite clearly remember Mikey Whipwreck as a champion in ECW, getting battered by his opponents before something fluking a win to retain against the odds. The crowd loved him, but yet, somehow Liv Morgan doesn’t deserve the Mikey treatment. Mikey worked because he wasn’t presented as a coward from the start, but as a loveable coward. Liv has been presented as someone who can go in the ring, but just hasn’t been able to translate that into major wins.

So for Rhonda Rousey to spend the majority of their five-minute match throwing Liv around like a rag doll and attempting to break her arm, with Liv getting in a bare minimum of offense, did not seem conducive to making Liv look like a legit champ. Having her tap out at the moment Rhonda’s shoulders just happened to be down for the three count was strange booking. If it leads to Liv eventually defying the odds and beating Rhonda convincingly, then fine. But until it happens, it remains to be seen.

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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