SummerSlam 2020 kicked off with the pre-game show, as per usual. The panel started off with Renee Young confirming the news first broken by PWInsider.com that she is indeed leaving the company after SummerSlam. While I certainly can’t blame Young for being ready to move on, this is a major blow to WWE.
United States Champion Apollo Crews vs MVP
The United States title match was moved to the pre-show. Still trying to get used to the ThunderDome, which I must admit I find distracting, although it is nice to hear crowd noise again. The match here told a good story of the veteran MVP keeping up with the younger, upstart champion Crews (who WWE is FINALLY doing something with). I’m sitting here wondering if MVP’s stable is going to get bigger as part of the finish to this match. Paging Cedric Alexander and Ricochet. Nope, Crews gets a clean pin and retains the gold! Lashley and Shelton hit the ring but Crews escaped before they could inflict any damage. Does this story continue with Lashley now coming for the gold?
The SummerSlam pre-show ended with an acknowledgment of all that Renee’s done with WWE and her thanking everyone and the company on what appears to be her last night. Can’t say enough good things about Renee Young and her body of work.
It’s now time for SummerSlam! We’re treated to a video package which should only be remembered for Vince McMahon’s over pronunciation of “ThunderDome”. Classic Vince. Opening pyro and the WWE “virtual universe” went insane according to Michael Cole and we’re starting things off with the Smackdown Women’s Championship!
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley vs Asuka
With this match going first and Sasha getting Asuka later, I can’t help but wonder if Bayley squeaks out a win here and Sasha is the one to drop the gold? Asuka can’t win both or lose both but hey, its WWE so who knows? Me personally, I’m not taking the title off Bayley just yet but we’ll see what they do.
Asuka starts off hot, bringing her aggressive style of offense to the champ and Bayley is showing why she is such a great heel champ. Still slightly weirded out by the “ThunderDome” but when Bayley took over on offense, the crowd noise cheering the challenger on did make a big difference. I’m sure it did to the competitors too. The crowd sounded hot when Asuka began her comeback and rightfully so – these women are going all out. Bayley’s doing a number on Asuka’s knee which will surely set up the story for Asuka’s match with Sasha later tonight.
The finish saw Sasha taking a hit from Asuka after pulling Bayley out of the way, allowing Bayley to rollup Asuka. Really, really good opener that made me wish I could see these women wrestle each other again soon with no gimmicks and more time.
Winner and still Smackdown Women’s Champion, Bayley!
Backstage, Dominik Mysterio tells his father Rey that he’s got to do this on his own tonight against Seth Rollins.
Next up, a video package looking at all of the damage Retribution has caused. While normally a masked invaders story can be captivating, this one still feels a little flat. We’ll see where it goes from here.
Kevin Owens joins the commentary team prior to the Raw Tag Team Titles match.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits vs Andrade and Angel Garza
These two teams were definitely working hard, trying to make the most out of their spot on their card. The action was fast paced and give and take, making it seem like a title change was within the realm of possibility. The champs did ultimately retain after Vega’s interference backfired.
Winners and still Raw Tag Team Champions, The Street Profits
Kayla Braxton was with Bayley and Sasha, discussing Bayley’s match with Asuka and Sasha’s upcoming match with Asuka. The seeds of discontent have been planted for a long time but if this promo showed us anything, the break-up is coming soon.
Payback is next Sunday. One week before major shows? I don’t get the scheduling either.
Next up is a recap of the feud between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Given the real life story surrounding these two women, it’s no surprise that the “Loser Leaves WWE” stipulation has been added. I don’t blame either one of them for wanting time away.
Loser Leaves WWE, No DQ Match: Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville
The match starts off with Mandy mostly on offense and Deville working snug. They’re trying hard to play up the intensity of this rivalry and Mandy Rose is trying really hard to showcase a more vicious side of her personality. She’s still not quite there yet but she has come a long way as a performer. Deville can absolutely go in the ring and comes across really well as a vicious heel. Mandy as a sympathetic underdog works much better. You feel for her when Deville is inflicting punishment. Mandy did mount a fiery comeback which resulted in a pinfall victory. Mandy and Otis celebrate in the ring as SummerSlam 2020 marks “the end” of Sonya Deville’s career.
Winner: Mandy Rose
A video recap highlights the Seth Rollins and Mysterio family feud as we prepare for Dominik to have his big SummerSlam moment.
Street Fight: Seth Rollins w/ Murphy vs Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio
Seth Rollins wearing what appeared to be a replica of Rey Mysterio’s Halloween Havoc ’97 outfit was a great touch. Announcers referencing the 2005 SummerSlam match between Rey and Eddie Guerrero where custody of Dominik was on the line was another great touch. Oh memories…
Seth toys with Dominik early and I can’t help but think to myself that Dominik’s gear looks strangely like Glacier’s from WCW. The story of this match was that Seth is one of the best in the world and Dominik is all heart, a never say die attitude. A father is forced to watch from the outside of the ring while his son fights for the family honor. All parties involved really amped up the drama here and helped tell a compelling story.
It shouldn’t be understated that Dominik looks good in the ring. He can sell, his offense was good, his timing was solid. This wasn’t a case of Rollins carrying him – Dominik came ready to hold his own here. By the time Rollins began inflicting punishment with the promised kendo sticks, this match felt really, really good. Kudos to WWE for continuous camera shots of both Rey at ringside and his wife Angie backstage, watching their son be beat down. Dominik reversed a second rope tape spot in what made for an excellent hope spot. Could the kid pull it off? Frogsplash and a near fall. Rollins cut the comeback short and ripped Dominik’s top off, wanting to inflict more damage with the kendo stick. Dominik’s parents both were besides their selves as Seth radiated evil. Murphy hands Rollins handcuffs and Rollins taunts Rey, saying he can stop this anytime. Angie Mysterio comes out and Rey begs her to let Dominik finish his fight. Murphy gets involved and that’s when Rey couldn’t take it any longer. All four men are going at it now and Rey winds up getting handcuffed. Rollins begins to go for Angie Mysterio when Dominik cuts him off. Rollins blocks Dominik’s frog splash and with Rey handcuffed, curb stomps Dominik and pins him.
This match was off the charts good and everyone was on their A game here. This was really good stuff here.
Winner: Seth Rollins
I had a brief WWE Network glitch and when I got things working, ring introductions were being made for the next match.
Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs Asuka
The first Asuka match was off the charts good. The crowd is hard for this one, solidly behind Asuka. The injured knee should factor heavily into this match. Here we go. Banks goes for the knee right away and Asuka is trying to fight from the ground before getting a burst of energy. You can’t say enough good things about how Asuka. Same for Sasha and Bayley.
Asuka stayed on offense, taking the fight to the champion for several minutes before Sasha seized her moment with a powerbomb from the apron to the floor. Really stiff looking spot. Sasha’s natural heel charisma took over here. This woman oozes cocky champion and has a mean streak to really accent it. Asuka is showing incredible fighting spirit, taking everything the champ has to dish out. This is great. Asuka escapes and gets Banks in a knee bar but Banks escapes and takes control again. The “ThunderDome” crowd is hot. Asuka with another reversal, this time with a DDT from the top rope. There really needs to be a new champ here. Don’t let Asuka get shutout tonight. Asuka is taking the fight to Banks and I really wish I didn’t have to type right now, the match is that good. Banks with knees to the face but Asuka kicks out!
Banks misses a frog splash and then crawls to Bayley for encouragement. Asuka looks like the toughest woman on the planet as she charges Banks and catches her with an Asuka Lock. Bank reverses into a Banks Statement and Asuka reverses. They’re center of the ring and Asuka with a kick. The crowd is fever pitch. Bayley tries to interfere with Asuka gets the Asuka Lock on anyway. New champ!
This was one helluva match and story. These three woman all went all out tonight and showed exactly how good WWE’s Women’s Division is. This was must see stuff in their two matches.
Winner and New Raw Women’s Champion, Asuka!
Video package for McIntyre and Orton. Looks like Braun and Bray are closing the SummerSlam.
WWE Title Match: Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton
Great touch by Orton staring down the “virtual universe”. He’s treating them like a real crowd, which is a great veteran move. They are boo’ing Orton hard. Orton’s been on one of the best runs of his career and the crowd is completely invested. Quick video message from Shawn Michaels saying he hopes Drew gives Orton a Claymore upside the head. Here comes the champ. This does have a big fight feel and I can’t help but wish this was closing the SummerSlam.
These guys almost feel like perfect rivals in a sense. Orton is the smart, yet tough heel who can both go toe to toe with Drew and get in his head. I don’t think anyone would argue that Drew’s title reign hasn’t been what it could’ve been so far but this match feels special early on as they went back and forth. I really don’t want to see Drew’s reign end so early but Orton is at the top of his game. I don’t envy WWE creative here.
These are two tough physical guys beating each other up. It’s simple, yet effective storytelling. This is “old school” pro wrestling. Orton gets an early advantage outside and suplexes Drew off the announce table. Drew’s in trouble and Orton looks confident as he incorporates his slow, methodical, grinding pace that infuriates the kind of wrestling fans who don’t appreciate this level of psycology. Orton is almost toying with the champ and the crowd hates him for it.
Ok, I take back everything I said about “ThunderDome”. SummerSlam has benefited tenfold because of the crowd element. This is a workable solution for WWE during the times we’re living through.
Drew’s making his comeback and he’s got a figure four leglock on as a shout out to Flair’s involvement in this story. Great touch and Orton is selling the hell out of it. Drew’s got a little blood on his forehead which just seems to be minor. Orton uses the ref to escape and is selling the effects of the figure four. These guys are going strong and the blood on Drew’s face actually appears to be coming from his eye. It’s a nice touch in a match like this. The intensity is picking up as they trade shots back and forth. Drew is picking up steam, throwing Orton across the ring and I’m starting to get a gut feeling that Orton is winning tonight.
The crowd is behind Drew. He’s a guy the company needs to stay behind for years to come. Orton blocks a superplex attempt and Drew is tied up in the ropes but still manages to toss Orton from the top. That’s strength. The crowd wants Drew to finish this as he wipes blood off his face. FutureShock DDT but Orton kicks out. Orton looks like he’s bleeding a little too. These guys are going at it, just two tough guys slugging it out. Drew misses off the top and Orton is in control. Drew blocks the draping DDT and they both spill over the top rope. This is another really good match. This show has defied all expectations.
Orton finally hits his draping DDT as Drew was trying to get back into the ring. Announcers pointed out that Orton isn’t bleeding – that’s Drew’s blood smeared on him. He looks sadistic and is priming up for an RKO. Crowd is way behind Drew. Wait, no RKO, he goes for a punt but Drew caught him. Sets up for the Claymore and the crowd is hot. Orton ducks, Drew ducks the RKO, backslide for the win!
This was perfect. Hard fought, physical match where Drew comes out looking like a million bucks and Orton doesn’t lose a thing. Wow. Great booking here from WWE. SummerSlam has been really, really good.
Winner and still WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre!
I feel bad for Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman having to follow that to end SummerSlam. My money is on some kind of big angle at the conclusion of that match. Could it be Retribution?
Video package plays for Braun and Bray and its time for the main event of SummerSlam.
Falls Count Anywhere Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman vs Bray “The Fiend” Wyatt
Intro for the The Fiend looked great back in a more traditional arena setting. It’s funny how much you appreciate things after some absence. Same can be said for Braun. He looked like a more impressive champ entering this match than he has previously. While the storyline before this match has been…well….bad….here’s hoping the match can be an improvement.
Mind games from The Fiend early and Braun is reeling quickly. The Fiend is going for weapons and the announcers are playing up how this match may not be for the weak of heart. Well the booking prior certainly wasn’t…..Woah, Braun plows The Fiend through the ringside barrior and then slams him off the announcer’s table. Lots of plunder here as these guys taking it to one another. Not going to be a lot of selling in this one folks. Hope you got your fix earlier in the show.
The action hits the backstage and it dawns on me how grateful I am that there were no “cinematic” matches tonight. Sister Abigail only gets a 2 count and these guys are coming back out to ringside. I can’t tell if Braun has a really large bruise on his head or if its blood. Yep, it’s blood. SummerSlam has had more color than expected. The Fiend goes for the Mandible Claw but Braun escapes. More back and forth action between the two. It’s a good brawl.
Braun with a boxcutter and starts slicing up the ring mat. SummerSlam is about to get weird folks. He’s tearing the ring apart, exposing the wood underneath as The Fiend recovers and hits two Sister Abigail’s on the exposed wood for the win! The Fiend has won back the title he lost to Goldberg. As The Fiend takes his title, Roman Reigns out of nowhere lays out The Fiend with a spear and beats the hell out of him, then leaves the ring and hits Braun with a spear. Roman goes for a chair and begins beating Braun down. He’s making a statement. Now he’s back in the ring going after The Fiend. Another spear. Roman picks up the belt and says its always been his and The Fiend is just a freak in a mask. SummerSlam ends with Roman holding the belt high.
All in a all, this was a really fun show. Both Women’s Title Matches, the WWE Championship match and Seth Rollins vs Dominik are all worth going out of your way to see. The Universal Championship match and Roman destroying The Fiend right after he won the title I’m still not entirely sold on (can’t The Fiend ever catch a break?) but we’ll see how it goes. All in all, this was a really good SummerSlam.
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