Winners: Drew Gulak, Buddy Murphy, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, Becky Lynch, Goldberg, AJ Styles, Bayley, Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair, Kofi Kingston, Bray Wyatt, and Seth Rollins.
The Cruiserweight Championship was, of course, the first match of the night and the first match of the pre-show; Drew Gulak and Oney Lorcan worked a more cerebral, ground-based contest that is unusual for the 205 Live guys. Oney looked to be building some momentum but Gulak soon took control with a shot to Oney’s throat and then put him away to retain the belt. Buddy Murphy and Apollo Crews somehow found themselves on the card as well and, between the two of them, they brought the more energetic, high-flying cruiserweight action. The match ended in a disqualification, however, when Rowan interrupted things to put a beating on Buddy for outing him last week on SmackDown! Live.
SummerSlam officially began with the Women’s Tag Team Championships on the line as Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss randomly found themselves cast as faces by default in their match against the Iiconics. Nikki found herself playing the role of “face-in-peril” until she made the hot tag to Alexa, who pretty much brought things to an end soon after.
This was immediately followed by Becky Lynch putting the Raw Women’s Championship on the line against Natalya; there was a great moment in the match where Natalya tied Becky into the Sharpshooter in the corner, which looked sick. Honestly, Natalya looked better here than she has in a long time, but Becky was ultimately able to grab the ropes when in another Sharpshooter attempt and log in the Dis-Arm-Her until Natalya was forced to tap out.
Dolph Ziggler tried to put Goldberg away quickly with a couple of Superkicks but Goldberg shrugged them off, murdered Ziggler with a Spear, and won with the Jackhammer in just under two minutes. Afterwards, Ziggler decided to provoke Goldberg into burying him some more with a couple more Spears…just because, I guess.
AJ Styles and Ricochet met for the United States Championship once again afterwards; Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were at ringside, but Ricochet was able to wipe them out later into the match. However, despite Ricochet putting in an energetic effort, AJ won with the Styles Clash and, after the match, the O.C, put a good, old-fashioned beating on Ricochet just to put an exclamation point on this feud.
Bayley and Ember Moon were up next; Ember took the fight to the SmackDown! Live Women’s Champion, working her over with strikes and wearing her down with submission moves to make this more of a competitive match and put some of the spotlight on her, for a change. In the end, though, Bayley busted out an Avalanche Bayley-To-Belly to retain the championship.
Kevin Owens took on Shane McMahon, who made Elias the special guest enforcer just to keep the deck stacked against Owens; Elias constantly interjected and interrupted the match, which allowed Shane to take control and get his licks in. Owens eventually beat the shit out of Elias with a steel chair while the referee was knocked down, then kicked Shane right in the dick and pinned him with a Stunner to, hopefully, get his ass off of television and out of the ring for a while.
Trish Stratus returned to the ring to take on Charlotte Flair; Trish struggled with a bit of ring rust in the early going but was soon busting out the Figure Eight and throwing the Stratusfaction and Chick Kick at Charlotte. Of course, Charlotte got out of and kicked out of all three and get the win with the Figure Eight to get even more validation (like she doesn’t have enough already…)
The WWE Championship was on the line next as, in a match that was billed as being eleven years in the making, Kofi Kingston took on Randy Orton; this was mainly Kofi having to overcome his demons and Orton’s cheating ways and to setup Kofi’s dramatic top-rope dive into a wicked RKO. While on the outside, though, Orton threatened Kofi’s family, so Kofi snapped and brawled with Orton until they both got counted out and then beat him senseless with a kendo stick. This was an interesting way to end the match, as it prolongs their feud, but this could easily have been done during Kofi’s feud with Samoa Joe as well, whose gimmick is basically that he threatens his opponent’s family.
Bray Wyatt finally made his in-ring debut as the Fiend to take on Finn Balor next, getting slightly new music and attire to match his new character. This was pretty much all Wyatt, who overpowered Balor at every turn and countered the Coup de Grâce into the Mandible Claw to get the…pin fall victory? Not sure I’ve seen too many people be pinned by the Mandible Claw but it’s still nice to see Bray bringing the move back, and this was a great way to reintroduce him as an unhinged psychopath.
Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins clashed once more time for the Universal Championship in the main event; Seth was bandaged up around the ribs, meaning he was immediately bludgeoned during Brock’s trademark early-offense. After kicked out of the Stomp, Lesnar went to work dismantling Rollins and his ribs with F5s and German Suplexes until Rollins busted out Lesnar’s Kryptonite, the ring post, and dazed Lesnar enough to build enough momentum to weather Lesnar’s storm and once again pin Lesnar (after a couple more Stomps) and regain the belt. While I am ecstatic to see Seth dethrone and beat Lesnar again, it still raises a lot of questions as to why the WWE felt they needed to give Brock such a short, pointless title reign but here’s hoping he stays the fuck away from the main event and World Championship scene going forward.
Seth Rollins opened the show this week to talk about the guts and resolve it took for him to defeat Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam; in a twist, he was interrupted by the O.C, with AJ Styles challenging Rollins to prove which of them is the better champion. This could lead to some exciting matches between these two guys, and maybe a real push for the O.C. towards the tippy-top of the card.
Samoa Joe choked out Sami Zayn in less than a minute, apparently cementing Zayn’s face turn? I don’t even know. Dolph Ziggler didn’t exactly fare much better as he lost to the Miz soon afterwards, though he at least put up something resembling a fight; apparently, Ziggler’s new gimmick is talking shit pre- and post-match, getting beaten, and then being attacked after the match.
Elias attempted to sing his stupid song but got predictably interrupted, this week by Ricochet, who dodged getting his head caved in when the referee stopped Elias from hitting him with a guitar and took the win with a sunset flip after a less-than-stellar context. After that, Andrade took on…you guessed it…Rey Mysterio one more time, this time in a two out of three falls match; I have completely lost track of how many times these two have fought but, this week, it was Andrade’s turn to get the win again. Rather than targeting Rey’s mask like before, he just blocked the Frog Splash with his knees and hit the Hammerlock DDT for the victory.
Cedric Alexander continued his recent issues with Drew McIntyre in a bit of a cheeky match; this was basically a showcase for Cedric, who flew all over the place trying to take out McIntyre, who opted to use his strength to overpower and ground Cedric at every opportunity. Although Cedric hit the Spanish Fly, Drew avoided the Lumbar Check, and ultimately fell to the Claymore after an otherwise-impressive showing.
Robert Roode completely squashed No Way Jose, who will no doubt be main eventing Main Event until he is quietly released in two to five years, before the contest between the Revival and the Lucha House Party was interrupted by R-Truth’s 4/7 Championship shenanigans. At the end of it all, Elias smashed him with a guitar to claim the belt, as if that means anything to anyone anywhere, ever.
Natalya, with her arm in a sling, came out all humble to cut a promo that basically turned her face, which was super lucky because my worst dreams came true this week as Sasha-fuckin’-Banks returned and, in attacking Natalya, turned heel in the process.
After the Viking Raiders decimated another local jobber team, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross successfully defeated the Kabuki Warriors in a decent little contest to remind everyone about those otherwise-obscure Women’s Tag team Championships. AJ Styles and Seth Rollins looked to settle their issues in the main event; the O.C. were at ringside, which factored into the finish of the match as, just as these two were really stating to cook on a high heat, they attacked Rollins for a disqualification finish. Luckily, Ricochet came out to save Rollins…except he got mutilated, so Braun Strowman had to take over, which was a bit random but I smell a six-man tag team match brewing!!!
Kevin Owens came out to a well-deserved hero’s ovation for taking Shane McMahon out at SummerSlam; he was right in the middle of predicting a win for himself in next week’s King of the Ring tournament when, you guessed it, Shane interrupted to cry about his loss and to fine Owens $100,000 for attacking Elias at SummerSlam.
Charlotte Flair rode her momentum from defeated Trish Stratus into a win over Ember Moon afterwards; Charlotte worked the leg and the knee to ultimately get the Figure Eight for the victory, which I guess will catapult Charlotte back into the title scene once again, which is…refreshing…
After Daniel Bryan vowed to prove that neither he nor Rowan were responsible for Roman Reigns’ recent mishaps, Roman took on Buddy Murphy in a really well-matched contest. Buddy used his cruiserweight style to bring the fight to Reigns but, obviously, Reigns eventually got the win with the Spear after what was, perhaps, a strangely even contest as Buddy really got a good chance to showcase his talents in a match that probably should’ve been a simple affair for Reigns. A little later, Bryan and Rowan kicked the shit out of Buddy and forced him to admit that he’d lied about them being the culprits so…I guess it’ll turn out to be the Big Show or something.
Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens were up next, with Elias once again as the special guest enforcer; Elias’ involvement went a little better in this match as it led to Owens being pinned by Joe despite seeming to have the match won with the Pop-Up Powerbomb. I dunno how I feel about this as Owens probably needed to keep his momentum going; he could have beaten Elias instead and then been choked out by Joe after the match, or something, but as long as this keeps Shane out of the damn ring.
Randy Orton talked some smack about Kofi Kingston, which led into a six-man tag featuring both mean teamed with the Revival and the New Day, respectively. Orton was largely absent from the actual in-ring action, making this more about the New Day and the Revival, which would be fine if they weren’t on different brands. Anyway, Orton sent a loud and clear message to Kofi by laying him out with a couple of RKOs and then Woods, who got worked over as the face-in-peril earlier in the match, took the loss to the Shatter Machine to keep everything ticking over a little longer.