August 21, 2021
Watch: WWE Network or Peacock
Meet Our Reviewers
Garrett Kidney: Hello there, Garrett’s brain is still firmly reliving CM Punk’s AEW debut (with a side of WarioWare) but it’s time for the biggest party of the summer now. Garrett co-hosts You’ve Got To Kidding Me – a TNA history podcast. Follow him on Twitter @garrettkidney!
John Carroll: Yes, I’m reviewing a WWE show. Cry about it nerds. Follow me on Twitter @toshanshuinla or follow my podcast @wrestleomakase. Go subscribe to my Patreon– we talk about old Japanese wrestling, it rules.
Big E def. Baron Corbin
Kelly: I wasn’t going to review this match because it’s on the preshow and, quite frankly, that doesn’t deserve my attention. What changed my mind what the special guest ring announcer that won a TikTok contest. Her voice and delivery was just a wonky and growly as I would expect a WWE ring announcer to be. What a natural. I find it interesting that WWE doesn’t seem to care that the gimmick of one of their wrestlers is that they don’t pay him enough. In a business that has a history of chewing people up and spitting them out, with WWE being one of the worst offenders of all, you would think that they might not want to incorporate that into the program. Though I suppose people and the treatment of them doesn’t really matter in business. Oh well. The match was fine. **
Garrett: The new Baron Corbin character is one of the few actually amusing things in WWE but sadly for some reason they still insist on him wrestling. Very unfortunate. Big E being stuck in a pre-show matches with Corbin doesn’t exactly feel like the important momentum building feud that Big E needs right now to get him ready for his eventual World Title win. He’s still just aimlessly meandering from one forgettable midcard match to another. Big E worked hard and looked good as usual but it was still a Baron Corbin match. **¼
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Riddle and Randy Orton def. Omos and AJ Styles ©
Kelly: If Riddle was just going to walk to the ring, why did he bring his scooter? It was like watching him and Randy walk home from school. Randy’s even got the older brother mustache. This was pretty paint by numbers. Heels control most of the match, but an RKO outta nowhere wins the titles for the faces. While Omos is clearly limited in the ring, putting him in a team with AJ does a good job of ultilizing his positives. Using a giant like a giant, a simple, but praiseworthy choice for this company. Solid opener. **½
Garrett: It’s really weird to think of AJ Styles as part of WWE’s establishment. As the face of TNA for so long, as the top foreign star in New Japan he was always the leader of WWE’s primary competition but now he’s really part of the WWE furniture. They do a great job building these matches around Omos’ limitations – he is very large, never bumps and just does strong things. Excited for when WWE bungles his singles push and makes them their latest very tall comedy character. A perfectly good solid enjoyable tag team opener anchored by a strong Styles performance. ***
John; Leave aside everything else about Riddle for a second (I know, tough to do)- this is the most annoying character maybe in WWE history. Riddle makes peak WWE Rob Van Dam look like an intellectual. I don’t think I’ve ever sympathized or identified more with any character in any form of media more than Randy Orton every single time he looks at this dork with pure disgust. Anyway, this was just very basic tag formula stuff except it was also very quick. Nothing wrong with it, but absolutely nothing of note here either, so it gets the perfectly average rating. **1/2
Alexa Bliss def. Eva Marie w/ Doudrop
Kelly: There is absolutely no reason for this to have been on SummerSlam. Nothing wacky happened. Eva Marie slapped around a doll and had an incredibly basic match. Put this on Raw where it belongs and stop wasting my time. Thanks! *
Garrett: I feel frankly ripped off that this was mostly just a normal wrestling match. There was a large AR Lilly for Alexa’s entrance and I was just imagining if SummerSlam suddenly became a kaiju movie. If you’re gonna do supernatural shenanigans, go all the way. Have Doudrop fight the kaiju Lilly. That would be good shit. Instead they had a wrestling match. Boo. *
John: Having a woman wrestler in WWE who has an entrance theme that repeats the line “I’m a boss chick, I’m a boss chick” over and over again when one of your most famous woman wrestlers in the company is literally nicknamed THE BOSS is so fucking stupid. This would be like having a random wrestler in 1999 who came out to a theme song announcing them as “THE RATTLESNAKE”. Everyone knows that Lilly the Evil Doll is one of the worst things they’ve ever done and all this spooky bullshit is horrible, but nobody ever talks about how dumb Eva Marie’s theme song is, so I wanted to point that out right away. Anyway, the nicest thing I can say about this match is that it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. Sure, Eva Marie looked like a newborn deer in there, couldn’t even take a drop toe hold correctly, and most of her offense consisted of her slapping around a literal doll. But at least there was nothing spooky whatsoever here. I figured going in that Lilly was going to wink at us again or throw up black liquid or something so the fact that she did nothing except get slapped by Eva is obviously a win. Anyway, after the match Doudrop announced Eva as the loser and then put her robe on and left (to Eva’s music), which was kind of funny. Again, this could have been so much worse. *1/4
WWE U.S. Championship: Damian Priest def. Sheamus ©
Kelly: These two had to work hard to get an incredibly dead crowd into this match. Sheamus is one of my consistent MVP’s in the company, always going out there, working hard, and working stiff. Priest did well for himself here, putting aside the bump on the outside he took that looked like it could have broken his back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Priest was hurting after that fall and that was a big part of why the opening half of the match felt so slow. I can’t blame the crowd for being dead, they just had to sit through Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss. Take Sheamus out of this match and I don’t think Priest and another opponent would have been able to get the crowd back in this situation. Sometimes you just need to beat the shit out of your opponent to get the crowd into it. ***¼
Garrett: Sheamus may be one of the very few WWE-proof wrestlers. He is tough and intense and credible while being charismatic enough that he can be funny and silly without coming across as a fool. Because of that he can dress like a goob and wear a face mask and he still comes across like one of the few legitimate tough guys on the roster. Priest on the other hand has a lot less going for him. His offence falls just short enough of being impressive for a guy his size and he’s not the most charismatic guy in the world so it’s going to be an uphill battle for him. But on this night in there with Sheamus – who can make anybody look good winning a tough war – these guys worked really hard and had a match that exceeded expectations. Sheamus rules. ***3/4
John: Look, I don’t watch RAW and I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I do (I actually have watched Smackdown most weeks since crowds came back, but 3 hours of RAW is a bridge too far). With that said, I’m sure I’m not the only person who never watches RAW anymore who’s watching this show, and I can’t say these announcers are doing a great job clueing me into what Damian Priest’s whole deal is here. He “wants to live forever”? What the fuck does that even mean? The face shield thing for Sheamus is also strange- the announcers are making him sound like he’s valiantly fighting through a horrible injury, and he’s….the heel here, I think (they also keep talking about what a bully he is). Just very strange mixed messages here. Perhaps this explains why the crowd was almost 100% dead for this match! I’ve honestly watched shows from Japan with tiny crowds during COVID that are only allowed to clap who made more noise than all 45,000 of the people here or whatever. I mean NO ONE cared. They finally got the crowd to make at least a little bit of noise toward the end I guess, but man did that come after a whole lot of silence. Priest getting the win at the end feels like a nice moment for him. This was fine by the end- a few really good minutes save it after a lot of boredom. ***
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos © def. Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Kelly: Let’s talk about Dominik, shall we? Dominik is a good wrestler if this is his first match, but that’s not the case anymore. He’s been at this for over a year now and he hasn’t improved at all. I’d wager I could make a list of 25 wrestlers that are just as experienced or are less experienced than Dominik that have overtaken him as in ring performers. I think it’s time to hang up the boots. At least you tried, bud. Dominik got beat up and then his dad came in to save him. He also got beat up though, but that’s okay because it was basically a handicap match. The Uso’s and Rey put on a solid match with that anchor trying to drag them under. **¾
Garrett: You know as the self-appointed president of the Dominik Defender club, sometimes life is tough. Sometimes Dominik hits a terrible springboard crossbody and you groan. But I still insist he’s not *as* bad as people make out. They clearly structure these matches to basically wrestle around him too. Rey carried 90% of the work. Poor Dom. Even The Usos vs. Rey portions of this match weren’t all that compelling. The Usos have been the best WWE team of this generation but they don’t particularly interest me as Reigns’ goons. **1/2
John: Every generation gets its Erik Watts. History is an echo. The nicest thing I can say about Dominik is he took some decent bumps I guess- he also did maybe the worst springboard crossbody in televised wrestling history. Once his papa tagged in this became quality professional wrestling of course- I mean, it’s Rey Mysterio and the Usos, what do you think they did? They did good wrestling, duh. Then Dominik runs over and can’t even take a release suplex on the apron correctly- he’s lucky he didn’t tear his knee up. Anyway, this was pretty simple- everything with Rey and the Usos in there was absolutely great, but Dominik sucked (other than taking a few decent bumps I guess). I guess it all events out to “pretty good”, because I had a good enough time with it. They’ve been kinda teasing Dominik turning on Rey on Smackdown and I was a little surprised we didn’t get a post-match angle here- hopefully they hurry up and do the turn so Dominik can do anything else other than “make Rey Mysterio matches worse”. ***1/4
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch def. Bianca Belair ©
Kelly: Card subject to change. Sasha is announced as being out after they play the whole video package for the match. Then Carmella enters the ring to a pretty much non-existent reaction. After a while of everyone acting disappointed, Becky Lynch makes her big return and I edit this match listing again. Fair play to Becky for getting the second biggest return pop of the week. Becky absolutely squashed Bianca with a punch and a slam and it’s over. Quite honestly, this is horseshit. God forbid you don’t mislead your fans three times in a single match. And then the match is followed up with a commercial for a Saudi blood money show. What a shit ass company. What an absolute horrible way to end Bianca Belair’s title run. She deserved better. The fans deserved better. I shouldn’t expect anything else, but here we are. Sasha, you should have just gotten the vaccine. DUD
Garrett: Oh boy. There’s so much to unpack here. First of all, WWE advertising Sasha Banks literally right up to the opening bell – including running video packages before the match and on the pre-show – is so incredibly shameless. It shows their complete disdain for their audience. Then however the execution of the Carmella entrance and Becky return was a solid make good. Then Becky squashed Bianca. Becky won immediately in ten seconds. What an absolutely bizarre baffling decision. Bianca won the Royal Rumble, won the title at WrestleMania in a GREAT match and was one of the few true bright spots in 2021 WWE. And so of course they squashed her. If Becky won a straight up competitive match I don’t think anybody would have really complained. But they squashed her. This is why you don’t invest in WWE because the will always – ALWAYS – betray that investment is the dumbest way imaginable. An unfathomably bad and entirely unnecessary decision. -*****
John: Bianca Belair had one of the greatest WWE matches I’ve seen in the last, god, 4 or 5 years or something. This is just not a company that puts out MOTY-level stuff for me pretty much ever in the modern era, but I thought her match with Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania was a legitimate, four-and-a-half star, match of the year contender. She goes out and steals the show at Wrestlemania, and what is her reward at the next tentpole event, Summerslam? She gets to look like one of the absolute biggest idiots in WWE history. Here she is, all smiley and happy to accept the challenge of the returning Becky Lynch (who specifically tells her that she wants to “tear the house down” with her!), and then the match starts and she gets her ass beat in literal seconds to lose her title. This is the worst, dumbest, most horrible wrestling company that’s ever existed. WCW in 2000 was at least funny every week. This isn’t funny. This just sucks, in every single way. Fuck this company. -Five billion
Drew McIntyre def. Jinder Mahal
Kelly: Shouts out to Jinder’s entrance music and nothing else. I didn’t pay any attention to this. ** sounds right.
Garrett: Mercifully short. **
John: I honestly don’t even wanna watch this show anymore after that Bianca/Becky bullshit. I thought this would be fun, maybe a little funny at times, and this card looked pretty good by 2021 WWE standards going in. I didn’t expect this show to make me actually angry, and somehow they pulled it off. Anyway, they thankfully put out a match next that neither me nor anyone else on earth could possibly care about (including everybody in attendance in Vegas, as this again has absolutely no heat), so I could have a little time to gather my bearings again. But yeah, this was just a normal, standard, everyday bad match. It was short at least. **
Kelly: John, is this your Seth vs. Fiend HIAC?
John: I dunno haha. I never review these things anyway. But this is brutal.
Garrett: You can take The Fiend out of WWE but not The Fiend-like ability to make reviewing WWE PPVs make you want to quit forever.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair def. Nikki A.S.H. © and Rhea Ripley
Kelly: Hey, why isn’t Nikki allowed to be a full superhero? She’s gotta dress up like a complete dork and they don’t even let her be a full superhero. Must be disappointing. I wonder when Vince will let her graduate. While I’m writing this I saw that the situation in the venue is not good with issues at the concession stands, overflowing toilets, and other problems. It’s pretty much par for the course with the rest of the show. That all being said, this was a pretty good match. While it had your typical triple threat match structure, the action was great. I was happy to see that no one broke out the usual WWE plunder. I was fully expecting a kendo stick to come into play for no reason at all. Despite her goofy gimmick, Nikki came off well as a viable winner of this match. This was exactly the kind of match the show needed. Charlotte’s twisting flip is easily the spot of the show. ***¾
Garrett: Charlotte is the least likeable person on earth, Rhea Ripley is horribly miscast totally lacking confidence as a babyface and Nikki ASH is incredibly lame and yet this was a very fun match. They worked a fast pace full of cool moves and well executed sequences with the crowd surprisingly into it. Charlotte winning is what it is, 6 of her 11 reigns lasted less than 27 days including 5, 1 and 0 day reigns so it’s hard to get excited for her as champion. But hey, this match rocked and shook this show out of it’s Bianca losing induced funk. ***3/4
John: Nikki SHIT. Superhero in Training. Rhea Ripley has the most annoying theme music since, I don’t know, fucking X-Factor. Every time that woman on her song screeches “THIS IS MY BRUTALITYYYYYY” into my room I want to change the channel immediately as a reflex, or like throw my soundbar out the window I don’t know. One of those things. The live crowd likes Rhea enough to cheer her pretty heavily during the introductions though, so that’s cool. They boo Nikki SHIT, which is funny. Once the match starts any crowd heat basically dies immediately though, even though the action here is actually pretty good besides the normal three-way nonsense (you get knocked out so us two can fight, then i get knocked out so you two can fight, what are the odds). Charlotte does a very, very nice twisting dive to the outside on both of them. She then submits Nikki for the win, because fake superheroes are bad I guess. This gets a bigger face pop than anything else in the actual match, which is funny. This was EASILY Match of the Night up to this point, as all three women looked great here. I enjoyed this about as much as I can enjoy a dumb WWE three-way. ***3/4
Edge def. Seth Rollins
Kelly: Seth’s pants make him look like an extra at a Ren Faire. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this was a boring match for boring people. They tried their best to make this an epic and your one WWE fan friend will absolutely try to convince you that it was. The match was needlessly long and had more WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO NEXT faces than you’ll know what to do with. I liked the finish well enough, but it couldn’t save the match that came incredibly close to putting me to sleep. I really just want these Edge matches to stop feeling like they’re all an hour long. **¾
Garrett: Your enjoyment of this match will entirely depend on how much you enjoy WWE’s long-standing main event house style. This was like they were trying to create a template example of a big WWE match – the slow pace in the beginning, the long stretches between moves so we can have close ups of shocked and pained faces, the STORY of Rollins trying to hit a move designed to break Edge’s neck again, the desperate attempt to feel epic, the finisher kick outs – it was the most WWE match you’ll see in a while. And if you like that kind of match this will hit the spot for you because it was very well executed. If you don’t like that kind of match, all the standard WWE tropes will drive you nuts. I am not yet too cool for that kind of match and thought this kinda rocked. Edge has been pretty hit or miss for me so far since his return and I find the current incarnation of Seth Rollins a repulsive dork so this massively over delivered for me. Easily Edge’s best match since returning. ****1/4
John: The Brood Edge entrance was obviously pretty cool (although not “one of the best entrances ever”, SEAN). At least they played more than the first three notes of the Gangrel/Brood theme song this time (unlike on Smackdown last night, which felt like a weird tease). Anyway, this match way overdelivered for me. I was expecting total NXT melodrama bullshit, but they didn’t really lean too hard into that other than a couple teases of Seth BREAKING HIS NECK and all that. There were some really cool counter sequences and a lot of great action, and the finish built up really well with Edge going back to his old Edgecuator (is that really what it was called? Sure I guess) submission before ramming his head into the mat repeatedly to set up the crossface for the win. A big surprise for me here, in a pleasant way. Maybe it could have been even better if modern WWE live crowds didn’t suck so bad and sit on their hands for everything until the closing stretch! ****
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley © w/ MVP def. Goldberg
Kelly: I just wanted to see the meat men mash their meat into each other. Instead we got an incredibly boring match where Lashley attacked Goldberg’s knee until Goldberg fell to the mat and asked the ref to call the match. The best part of this match by a mile is when MVP tapped Goldberg’s knee with his cane and Goldberg’s reaction was comically late. I’m really at a loos for what to say about this other than it fucking sucked. Honestly, it was worse than I ever imagined it would be. DUD-LEY DEATH DROP
Garrett: Lashley looked like a total badass and murdered Sonberg. Good stuff. ***
John: Shoutout to the guy who was holding up a sign that said “WWE IS REDNECK ANIME” during Goldberg’s (incredibly long) entrance. I would like to sit him down and have a chat with him. What genre of anime does he think WWE is most comparable to? You might think a traditional fighting shounen makes the most sense, but who knows, maybe it’s actually an isekai. I would compare it to Pop Team Epic because nothing makes sense, but that’s honestly way too flattering to WWE because Pop Team Epic is actually good. You know what wasn’t good? THIS FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MATCH. Why would they pick NOW of all times, when this show is already well over 3 hours long, people in Vegas have to get to another fight, and everyone just wants to see Roman vs. Cena and go home, to do the longest Goldberg match in eons? There’s a universe where this match was like three minutes long and it ruled, and that’s not the universe we’re in tonight. MVP hits Goldberg in the back of the leg with a cane, Goldberg walks forward completely no selling it and then remembers he WAS supposed to sell it and goes “OHHH, MY LEG!” a good five or ten seconds after the actual impact, and the WWE production truck replays the spot! The crowd booed Goldberg and cheered Lashley for beating up him AND his son! His son when he got back up looked bored instead of hurt. Every single thing about this was absolutely, horrifically bad. There was literally nothing good about it. God what a stupid company. -*****
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns © w/ Paul Heyman def. John Cena
Kelly: Now this is the kind of WWE main event epic that I can get into. I thought the pacing was good and there were some great 2.99 nearfalls. While I could do without Roman talking during the match, I’m glad that he kept it to a minimum here. Both Cena and Roman looked kind of rough here, but I thought that worked, giving the match a sort of realistic sloppiness. The match was also helped by the fact that I generally enjoy John Cena as a wrestler. He’s just a fun guy to watch, I don’t know how else to put it. I wouldn’t say that this was an all time classic or anything, but it was good and didn’t put me to sleep. Maybe it was just that I bought into the simple story of the former ace vs. the current ace and I was shocked that they were going with something as simple as that. Rather than coming in for a title run where he’s barely around, Cena let Roman kick out of his strongest offense and then put him over clean. So much better than “ow my knee hurts so bad that I can’t be pinned.” I was very sports entertained by this match. ***½
Overall, this was a bad show. Don’t recommend watching it.
Garrett: The first half of this match was excruciatingly boring. Literally nothing happened. Even Larry Zbyszko would be ashamed of how slow they were working. Then Reigns did two separate monologues and I began to slip into despair. Then they kicked into the standard WWE main event formula of big moves and shocked faces and the match had enough gravitas and buy in from the audience for it to work. Edge vs. Rollins was a much better example of this style of match – more organically intertwining drama without slipping into melodrama. The back half couldn’t make up for how dull the first half was though. Brock is Brock. He is a fun meme at this stage but he’s still WWE’s stopgap. Their in case of emergency break glass. WWE keep having to go back to Cena and Goldberg and Edge and Lesnar because they have nobody else and they’re still not creating anybody else. But there are worse things they can do than run back Brock vs. Reigns I guess. ***1/4
John: I don’t know. I like Roman Reigns and I like John Cena, so I really wanted to like this match a lot. Really, this was the match that made me want to watch this show and review it (both here and on Wrestling Omakase coming up this week, cheap plug!). But I just didn’t love this match. The first half was WAY, WAY too slow, especially at the end of this meandering, brutally long-feeling show. Roman was all Punch, Talk, Punch, Talk, Punch, Talk and it nearly put me to sleep. The second half of this match obviously picked up a lot, but after a while it started feeling absurd to me. I mean, jesus christ, I don’t think I’m some kind of “one finisher must end it” type of person, but did we REALLY need Roman kicking out of a TOP ROPE Attitude Adjustment?? That just felt completely unnecessary. I guess I can see the argument that Cena’s a movie star now and it doesn’t matter if you kill his finisher forever, but when Roman kicked out of that one I wasn’t going “Wow, they really got me, haha!”, I was going “Man this is fucking stupid.” Big difference. Some of the Cena roll-ups didn’t look great either, but execution was never his strong point. The match had big drama though most of the way (which WAS Cena’s strong point), and the second half was a lot of fun, but then that finish just felt SO flat. After all that Roman survived, it really felt like Roman hitting a couple of Superman Punches and a single spear and just getting the pin was a huge anti-climax. I liked the match on balance, but this was absolutely not any kind of classic. And it couldn’t save what was a pretty bad show. ***1/4
After the match, Brock Lesnar came back with a funny beard and ponytail. That was neat, and Paul Heyman did a great job selling it like he saw a ghost, but that couldn’t save the show either. Also, how many months in a row can we do “returning legend comes out to square off with Roman Reigns” to both give the latest PPV anything resembling a satisfying conclusion and cover up for the fact that they’ve built up ZERO new babyface challengers for this guy? Who the fuck do they even have to bring out next? Do you guys realize yet that this Roman vs. Brock match is obviously for the upcoming RIYADH SEASON? So many questions that I can’t answer for you, dear reader. All I can tell you is that this show, for the most part, fucking sucked. There’s a couple matches worth going out of your way to watch, and they’re both right next to each other on the card to make it even easier (the RAW women’s title three-way and Edge/Rollins), but other than that brief bright spot this show was an interminably long monument to dead crowds, bad booking, and all the other shit that makes WWE so bad in this era. See ya.