SummerSlam was an uneven show with some questionable booking decisions that had caused some consternation for WWE fans. However, much of that was forgiven after an immensely entertaining main event that ended with Brock Lesnar retaining his Universal title.
The Fatal Fourway main event with Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe was everything fans could have hoped for and more. It was a train wreck in the best sense.
Strowman made it his responsibility to destroy everything and everyone in sight. Tables flew, stairs flew and wrestlers were thrown around. After the initial pairing off of the feuds over the past few months, Strowman became a one-man wrecking crew, eventually focusing on Lesnar.
Lesnar was sent through two tables, and had another table tipped on top of him. This forced medical staff to come out and stretcher out Lesnar, making it seem that we would get a new champion.
However, of course, Lesnar wouldn't be out for long. He made his way back, to the chagrin of the staff who followed him down the ramp, and re-entered the fray. Everyone hit big moves, whether it was Reigns with the Superman punch, or Joe with the Coquina Clutch, or Strowman with the running slams.
The fact so many people were involved made sure that people didn't need to “no-sell” the moves in order to not be pinned, as other wrestlers could come in to break up pin falls. Finally, when the dust settled, Lesnar hit the F5 on Reigns to pick up the pin and retain the title.
The biggest takeaway from the match has to be the performance from Strowman. When he and Lesnar stood in the ring together alone for the first time in the match, the crowd went nuts. And he looked every bit a monster in the ring, one that Lesnar even had issues with putting down.
If there were doubters coming into the match, this match has to be viewed as a star-making performance. The biggest thing? The crowd is responding to Strowman. In a match with a constant favorite in Lesnar, and someone who would get a big response from a Brooklyn SummerSlam crowd in Samoa Joe, it was Strowman getting the biggest reactions of the night.
The crowd wants to cheer for Strowman. WWE would be wise to take notice of this, and proceed accordingly. Everyone assumes the Lesnar storyline is heading toward a one-on-one with Reigns where Reigns will be the one to dethrone the beast. If you want to create a megastar babyface, as unlikely as it would have once seemed, maybe Strowman is that guy.
Strowman getting the spotlight doesn't take anything away from the others, though. This match might not be the typical style of a match that ends up in the Match of the Year conversation.
However, if the purpose of a wrestling match is to entertain the crowd, this was one of the most entertaining wrestling matches, in any company, that I've seen in a while. And all four men made massive contributions to that. It set a new standard for a hoss battle that will be tough to top.
Lesnar walked away from SummerSlam with the title, leaving questions on where WWE goes from here. If Sunday night is any indication, Braun Strowman may be right around the corner.
The rest of SummerSlam:
>>Jinder Mahal retained the WWE title. This match was the second-to-last match of the night, and featured a fairly shocking result. Mahal didn't win cleanly, as both of the Singh brothers got in the ring. But it begs the question as to why Shinsuke Nakamura was in this match in the first place.
He was rushed into the match with no build, and took his first loss since coming up to the main roster. I'll give WWE some credit though, making it go on right before the main event was smart, as the crowd was able to move past it. I suppose this could be the start of a long feud between the two and a Nakamura chase, but the way they did it was rather baffling.
>>A.J. Styles retained the U.S. title against Kevin Owens. This match featured a lot of shenanigans from Shane McMahon. First, after being hit by Styles on a top-rope move, he was slow to count a pin by Kevin Owens.
Then, he was knocked out of the ring as Owens tapped out to Styles. Then he counted three on a pin by Owens to Styles, though he immediately noted that Styles had his foot on the rope, so he didn't call for the bell. Finally, Styles ended up winning. This is clearly heading toward Owens/McMahon down the line, and it was an entertaining way to set it up.
>>There are new RAW tag team champions, and there were five title changes on the show. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins won the tag title from Sheamus and Cesaro in an entertaining match. This makes Ambrose a Grand Slam champion, and by a mere month, the youngest Grand Slam champion in WWE history. Ambrose and Rollins didn't come out together, so it'll be interesting to see if they become fully unified in the upcoming months.
>>With the RAW tag title changing hands, the Smackdown tag titles also changed hands, though it was on the pre-show. The New Day and the Usos had another fantastic match, with tons of false finishes as the teams were able to break up seemingly countless pin attempts.
Finally, the Usos hit tandem splashes on Big E to regain their titles It's sad that this was on the pre-show, as it was one of the better matches of the night. However, it's possible that it wouldn't have gotten as much time on the main card.
>>Both women’s titles also changed hands. First, Natalya beat Naomi to win the Smackdown women's title. This was a cool moment as Natalya hadn't held a women’s title in six years, despite holding down the division for a good chunk of that time.
Then, later in the night, Sasha Banks finally overcame her pay-per-view demons and won the title from Alexa Bliss, forcing Bliss to tap out to the Bank Statement.
>>The other title to change hands? Surprisingly Neville won the cruiserweight title back from Akira Tozawa on the pre-show. I suppose this prolongs the feud between Neville and Tozawa, but it's certainly an odd decision to have Tozawa hold the title for just six days.
>>If there was any doubt that Baron Corbin had fallen out of the good graces of the WWE powers that be after losing the briefcase, the doubts were erased at SummerSlam. He lost cleanly to Cena, going down quite easily to a single AA.
While losing to Cena isn't a bad thing, there wasn't any attempt to make Corbin look like an equal. And Cena was allowed to celebrate all around the ring as Corbin slinked away. It's unclear exactly why it's happening, but Corbin does seem to be in the WWE doghouse.
>>Speaking of odd decisions, Randy Orton beat Rusev in 10 seconds. Yes, that quickly. Rusev jumped Orton from behind, beat on him a little, the bell eventually rang and Orton quickly hit the RKO for the win. It's hard to be shocked with a Rusev loss, but the manner that it happened was baffling.
>>Finn Balor brought out The Demon for the first time since last year's SummerSlam. The entrance was great, featuring an intro with someone singing “You've Got The Whole World” and laughter. The match was never in doubt, as Balor dominated much of the match to avenge his loss on Raw.
>>Big Cass beat Big Show in their match. Enzo provided some entertainment, stripping down and rubbing oil on himself to fit between the bars. However, that was for naught, as he dropped into the ring, and got nailed with a big boot from Cass. Two more big boots and an elbow later, and Cass beat Show, presumably ending the feud.
>>Miz and the Miztourage beat the Hardys and Jason Jordan in the first match of the night on the pre-show. It took place so early that there was basically nobody in the crowd. Legitimately, there were entire sections on the floor where only a few people were there, and any long shots just looked awkward. WWE has to be more careful about how early it starts matches at big events.
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