So here’s a disclaimer/confession right off the bat, I haven’t watched a WWE show since Money in the Bank from a few months ago. Matter of fact, this is the most I have ever been behind on the WWE product since I first became a fan 32 years ago. My intention with 2020 was to give up watching both RAW and SmackDown and stay current on all of the midweek shows such as both NXT and 205 Live since they are both way more straight-up wrestling oriented. So due to a lot of crazy circumstances combined with personal issues and of course the pandemic in general, I have failed to even keep up with the WWE midweek shows that I like so much. I still have every intention with getting back on track and catching up with them but long story long, I said all of that to let you know that i am going into this year’s SummerSlam super cold on the product overall. I decided to dip my toe back in really just because it is a “Big 4” show and there’s still something in my brain telling me that these still matter, and I’m morbidly curious to check out THUNDERDOME!
Let’s get to the pre-show!
Summer Slam: You’ll Never See It Coming!
By the way, for you old guys out there, does anybody else hear Chicago’s “Baby What A Big Surprise” during the WWE fanfare intro?
Your host: Charlie Caruso along with Renee Young passing the torch in her last appearance. Male counterpoint co-hosts are Hall of Famer Booker T, Hall of Fame elect JBL and self-proclaimed “Radio Shlub” Peter Rosenberg.
I have only heard about a few matches on the card going in but initially I am most excited about the Tag Team Championship match, but I am biased towards tag team wrestling.
Video package rolls of The Fiend and Braun storyline where Alexa Bliss gets physically hurt by both parties involved. Weird.
Peter Rosenberg brought up Booker’s feud with the Boogeyman trying to bring it back to the panel while talking about psychology and the Fiend, to which Booker responded, “Imma Bust Your Ass!”
Further proof that NXT doesn’t matter on the “Main Roster,” Angel Garza hitting on random women after a public marriage proposal with his actual fiancee mere months ago. Ugh! Also Zelina Vega supposedly poisoned somebody’s drink.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy cheated to win the Intercontinental Title by hitting A.J. Styles with a metal knee brace. I’m actually pro legalization but Jeff Hardy has recent DUIs, so screw that guy. Wrestling deserves better.
Sonya DeVille is going for hers and I like it, shame that it feels like going into the “Loser Leaves WWE” match that she is going to lose and go away temporarily. If it’s because of recent real life developments then I totally get it, but it is just unfortunate. We’ll see…..
Quick reference as the panel laments about the match between Sonya and Mandy no longer being Hair vs Hair to Booker and Edge’s battle over a shampoo commercial at ‘Mania many moons ago. Ahhh memories.
I actually love the ice cream sandwich commercials with Becky Lynch Sandwich interacting with Cena and Macho Man sandwiches.
Asuka all day, GO ASUKA! I need her to win both titles as a start to make up for her losing to Charlotte in New Orleans two years ago.
Shayna’s got next according to her. Nia Jax was brought up during this segment and my eyes rolled.
Coming to the WWE Network this fall: Everybody Hates Charley.
Retribution is raking up a huge damage bill right now. There’s so many people in the group now it’s probably just going to be the entire SmackDown roster.
I’m not anti-Dominik Mysterio, and have all the respect for his family, but dude’s got a shirt already and hasn’t had one match, and we don’t even know if he’s any good, and meanwhile certain superstars have gone years and even a few wait an entire decade before they get one mediocre non-promoted shirt. Rollins is a great heel by the way, it seems like he has become even more and more despicable since January. That all being said, I still have zero desire to ever watch his program with Rey from this summer.
I keep forgetting they changed a few belt designs this year. I really don’t like the new U.S. Title. I can’t see shit on it other than the word “CHAMPION.” At least a very deserving Apollo Crews is the current holder.
Kickoff Show match for the United States Championship
MVP vs Apollo Crews (US Champ)
MVP leading the Hurt Business with the current 24/7 champion the amazing and ageless Shelton Benjamin and the always super-vanilla Bobby Lashley. I’m conflicted. I have great memories of MVP when he was riding high as U.S. Champ over a decade ago. MVP in even better shape than he was at the Rumble. Comeback of the year?
My first Thunderdome match. Initial reactions are I don’t mind the TV sets but I DO mind the fake crowd noise. Simple as that.
Apollo retains with a toss-up powerbomb. Fun little match.
MVP definitely looked like he belonged in there, and Apollo didn’t seem to run laps around him so pretty enjoyable.
The main show opens with a fun hype video, and then Michael Cole welcomes us to the 33rd SummerSlam. Fitting we just recently watched the inaugural one for a future retro Super Show review (stay tuned), and another reason why I feel compelled to watch this.
SmackDown Women’s Title Match
Bayley (SD Women’s Champ) w/Sasha Banks vs Asuka
On paper, this has the potential to rival great Summer Slam openers such as Mysterio/Angle, Brainbusters/Harts, and even the underrated D’Lo Brown/Val Venis. Note: Bayley is still tag champs with Banks who also accompanies her to ringside even though she should be barred from ringside realistically. Also Payback, which is already scheduled to happen next week(!), will see Bayley and Banks defend their tag titles so they could lose all the gold in a 7-day period. Within a few minutes of the opening bell, Asuka hits a jumping DDT on the floor to Bayley, and mere minutes after that Bayley hits the Bayley-to-Belly and Asuka kicks out! Askua recovers with a flurry including the running hip attack and the knee to face.
After multiple distractions by Sasha but never connecting physically, Bayley pulls Asuka off of the middle ropes into a small package for the victory. An expected post-match beatdown on Asuka by both role models to soften up Asuka for her 2nd match tonight against Sasha which will make it that much sweeter when she (hopefully) beats her for the title and then hopefully Naomi will get the next shot against Bayley.
Winner and Still Champion: Bayley
Backstage, Dominik asks his dad not to interfere in his match no matter how bad it gets. Still strange that Rey and Eddie battled for his custody in a ladder match at SummerSlam like 15 years ago.
How come nobody goes for the hood masks when they are fighting off Retribution? My theory may be right.
Kevin Owens comes out for RAW guest commentary to accompany Samoa Joe, Phillips and Saxton. Kevin Owens says his wife is on one of those screens. “Hi Honey!” K.O. is the best.
Raw Tag Team Title Match
Andrade & Angel Garza w/Zelina Vega vs The Street Profits (RAW Tag Champs)
The Profits come out to solo cup rain, yes rain. Owens is also wearing a Street Profits shirt with a red tie. Shit hot start to the match with Montez unloading on Andrade with a jumping top rope frankensteiner and a clothesline to the floor but then gets caught on the dive by both challengers and gets double powerbombed for his troubles. At the risk of sounding like a homer, AEW is showing its influence on the in-ring product in my opinion. Fun fast paced match.
Winners and Still Champs: The Street Profits
Bayley is interviewed with a broom predicting Sasha winning and also them retaining their tag titles next week in a……..clean sweep. Get it? I don’t get it.
No DQ Loser Leaves WWE Match
Sonya Deville vs Mandy Rose
If perception is reality, Mandy Rose at least finally LOOKS like a wrestler/fighter. It sounds silly but the shorter, slicked back hair makes her look more legit and less like a showpiece. The match immediately goes to the floor within a minute, and Mandy even kicked Deville straight in the groin! Deville recovers and goes for the submission psychology with a body scissors/dragon sleeper combo and then into a triangle.
The last act was just Mandy all the way. She lands a butterfly driver and multiple knee strikes and then just pins Sonya, and now Deville has to “leave.” I give it six weeks. Post match celebration with Otis and he does the Macho Man/Elizabeth shoulder pick up. Mandy also attempts a caterpillar.
It’s time for Dominik’s debut. No pressure.
Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey vs Seth Rollins w/ Murphy
Dominik is wearing an all blue and black bodysuit with a little bit of D’Lo Brown’s old chest protector. Seth is wearing a parody of Rey’s classic question mark pants. Rollins is already leading on points. Funny commentary moment when Rey was clearly audible in coaching his son in the corner “Tranquillo! Tranquillo! Take your time!” and then five seconds later Saxton claims “Dominik needs to hurry up!” Ha! So here’s the thing, after seeing a portion of this match, don’t expect Dominik to be a lucha-based wrestler. He’s as fast as he looks, but that might not necessarily hurt him in the long run, especially if he tries to model himself after “Uncle Eddie” down the road instead of good old dad. As I type that, Dominik hit a frog splash! Move of the match so far is a White Russian legsweep off the second rope through a table. Thankfully, Rollins rips off Dominik’s top half of his gear, annoying hoodie attachment and all. Dominik gets some fresh kendo welts on his back and this leads to Murphy busting out the handcuffs, hard times and hazing are about to ensue. Angie Mysterio comes out to the top of the ramp distracting Rey and allowing Murphy to get involved. They go for the staircase eye bit on Dominik, but Rey catches them just in time and now the match has turned into a Texas tornado tag match. Rey just got handcuffed to the second rope and it’s tandem kendo stick time. Although it may be on Angie as Seth makes his way up the ramp. Dominik shows up for the save, throws Seth back into the ring, hits a drive by 619 and then a proper 619 but misses a second frog splash and gets Rollins’ knees into his gut.
Dominik never recovers from the knees and gets the curb stomp.
Winner: Seth Rollins.
Better match than I expected with 90% of the credit going to Seth, but not a bad debut all things considering. I’m surprised Seth wasn’t more diabolical in the post match, he just leaves. I guess he has to make way for Orton and The Fiend potentially.
….and now it’s already time for the Raw Women’s Championship match? Realistically, this should be the closer lest we forget WrestleMania?!!?
RAW Women’s Title Match
Asuka vs Sasha Banks (RAW Women’s Champ) w/Bayley
Five minutes or so in as I’m thinking to myself how consistently Sasha’s stuff never looks like it hurts at all, she goes and does a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor on Asuka. Still not a fan of Sasha though. Move of the night so far, Asuka’s super impaler DDT from the second rope onto Banks! Credit where it’s due, Banks pulls a double knee code breaker counter out of the corner but misses the frog splash. That move is clearly not working tonight. ASUKA LOCK! Million dollar dream reverse pin counter by Banks into the Bank Statement! Great series.
They went for a repeat of the same spot that was Asuka’s downfall in her first match. This time Asuka hit Bayley off the apron, Sasha goes for the Bank Statement again but gets reversed into an Asuka Lock, and then she taps. Note: Bayley did not “take the bullet” in the same way Sasha did for her earlier and of course the outcome was different.
Winner …..AND NEWWWWWW Raw Woman’s Champion: Asuka
I’m never going to get excited about Randy Orton chasing yet another world championship, but I gotta say that the WWE video guys hit another home run and they almost got me. So here we go…
WWE Championship Match
Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre (WWE Champ)
Pre-match intro consists of a fireworks golden shower during Randy Orton’s invisible beach ball which is a good visual, and a bonus Shawn Michaels video endorsing Drew to give Orton the Claymore upside the head. Thankfully, Drew gets an equally cool entrance with fireballs. Good tough guy match and both guys were having a “who can hit their finisher first” match, and they both pulled it off with really good psychology and believability.
Aaaaannnnddd NOBODY hit their finisher. Drew goes for the Claymore and misses, then Randy went for the RKO and Drew reversed it into a backslide for the victory. I’m telling you the backslide is still super over in my book ever since Kerry Von Erich beat Ric Flair with it. GREAT FINISH!
Breaking news! Keith Lee is coming to RAW. Let the burial begin?
Payback promo. I’m predicting a Seth/Murphy vs Mysterios match and the Golden Role Models losing their belts and a Finishing Moves Wins title rematch between Orton and McIntyre.
WWE Universal Title Falls Count Anywhere Match
The Fiend vs Braun Strowman (Universal Champ)
Cole warns us this will not be pretty nor will it be a wrestling match, and as if on cue a hardcore match ensues. Barriers broken, stairs thrown, and half-Japanese tables. Three minutes in and Braun’s powerslam finisher fails to put him away. I’m hoping for a Funhouse hallucination at this point. I just saw Sign Guy on the TV! Look for Strowman on a future Botchamania for throwing 6 punches in the row to the side of the Fiend’s head missing him completely and in full view of the camera.
Braun gets out a box cutter knife and opens up the ring mat exposing the wood, but The Fiend turns the tide and does a Rock Bottom and two Sister Abigails for the win.
Winner and Neewwwwwww! Universal Champion: The Fiend Bray Wyatt
Post match shenanigans include a returning Roman Reigns attacking The Fiend and Strowman in a “heel turn.” It’s whatever, but speaking to Roman the man, I worry about someone with a compromised immune system being in this environment. I hope for his sake and his family’s sake that I am wrong.
Overall it was an entertaining enough show and kept my interest.
You really can just drop in any time with WWE (especially during a PPV) and know everything that’s going on in a matter of a few hours, I will give them that. That’s Sports Entertainment!
Match of the Night
I’m going to give it to Asuka for both matches with obviously the Banks match being more satisfying, but honestly the McIntyre/Orton match was super close to stealing it.