July 30, 2022
Meet our reviewers
Steve Case: Ahhh that fresh post-Vince premium live event air. Tastes…..no different than before does it? If there are changes abound, this would be a good place to start them, but don’t hold your breath. There’s some hope for some good to great matches on this card at least, as well as the glimmer of light that is a Vince-less show. Follow Steve on Twitter @coachcase44 at your own risk.
Jesse Collings: I did not remember SummerSlam was taking place on Saturday night when I agreed to do this review. Seriously, what is up with that? I know Nick Khan thinks because boxing and UFC do Saturday night events, WWE should as well, but I think it totally sucks. Anyway, I’m excited to see the impact this show will have on fans who are optimistic that Vince being gone will turn everything around. Will Triple H’s first PPV in charge embolden those takes; or will they be crushed by typical WWE malpractice? Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseCollings
WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Bianca Belair (C) def. Becky Lynch
Steve: More companies should have entrances without stages. More tunnels, less stages. It’s a great look, and in this stadium on a perfect summer night, it feels like a big deal. Less is more. We just won’t talk about half the stadium being empty.
Do you think Becky likes wearing those floppy, pointy leggings? Feel like they would be annoying as hell and get in the way. Anyway, these two tried to do a lot of ambitious stuff. Some of it landed pretty well. The KOD on the floor was especially good, as was the Spanish fly that led to the finish. The problem is the other parts were very sloppy and the timing just seemed to be quite off. Becky should never throw strikes. They both worked super hard through it all and made a decent little opener. ***
Post-match, ol’ Trips made sure we all know the women’s division is no longer taking a back seat as Bayley returns, Dakota Kai spurned all the AEW fans, and Io Shirai disappointed every joshi fan on earth. The future is NOW.
Jesse: The crowd was dead for the first 95% of this match; before coming alive for the final closing stretch and the big moves at the end. That is a pretty good example of how WWE fans don’t react to wrestling matches in a traditional way. Despite the fact that these are two of the more popular wrestlers on the show; the crowd was quiet for Becky’s control period and didn’t even react that big to Bianca’s comeback. They perked up for the finish, because they’ve been conditioned to think that is the only section of a match that matters.
The match was a big step-down from their WrestleMania match, which was one of the best WWE matches of the year. There was a lot of sloppiness in this match, especially when either woman was throwing a strike. They had a few planned spots on the outside that were the highlight of the match, in addition to the closing sequence. **1/2
The post match put a stamp on this as a Triple H-led show, with Bayley coming back and Io Shirai and Dakota Kai debuting. It’s good these women are all on the main roster and appear ready to feud with Belair and a now-babyface Lynch, but man this segment did nothing for me. The crowd didn’t react big to any of the women (probably more to do with the venue than any fan enthusiasm) and the three women did nothing except stare at Belair and Lynch, and back down from a 3-on-2 assault. It was like no effort was put into the segment at all outside of making sure that they all walked down the entrance ramp.
Logan Paul def. The Miz w/ Maryse & Ciampa
Steve: A wrestling match featuring Logan Paul about the size of Miz’s balls? Screams big money match to me! And oh hey! It’s (Tommaso) Ciampa!
Logan Paul at least looks like a wrestler and projects himself well, but this crowd couldn’t give less of a shit about him. And they should, because he’s better than probably 80% of the wrestlers in this company, and maybe one of the better athletes in the entire company. This was an absolute showcase for Paul. He showed tremendous athleticism with some slick MOVEZ, but more than that, he sold extremely well. He emoted and projected extremely well. This dude is GREAT at this, as much as it pains me to say. Other than the weird Ciampa/AJ thing that happened, this was a lot of fun. ***3/4
Jesse: This match overachieved given that involved a celebrity and The Miz. WWE has done a consistently good job with getting good matches out of celebrities, and Paul is their best natural performer they’ve had…perhaps ever.
The one weakness here is that Paul is working against-type as a babyface, and if he could shed that handicap and work as a heel he would probably have a much easier time finding success. At the same time, do performances of this caliber help build fan appreciation for Paul, and him being a babyface isn’t such a bad idea after all? ***
WWE United States Championship
Bobby Lashley (c) def. Theory
Steve: Outside of a great physique in a sea of great physiques, what could anyone possibly see in Theory? Hopefully, Hunter sees what most see, which is nothing and moves him down the bench accordingly. Bobby Lashley continues to be awesome and rightfully squashed Theory like a bug in a pretty nothing match. We all know what this likely means for later, though I would LOVE if Theory tries to cash in and gets beat easily. Here’s hoping. **1/4
Jesse: There is just nothing there with Theory. He has a decent body and his in-ring work isn’t bad, but there is nothing about him that makes you think he is going to be a big star one day. He works the same style with the same mannerisms that every middling WWE heel has done over the last two decades; there is nothing about him that feels unique or special.
Lashley, in comparison, just totally outshines Theory. Even when it comes to physique, Theory’s best attribute, Lashley totally outclasses him. Now, Theory is 24 years old and Lashley is 46, so at some point youth has to be pushed ahead of experience, but Theory doesn’t have any star qualities and consistently beating him like a drum isn’t going to get him to where WWE wants him to be.
The match itself was kept pretty short and there was nothing wrong with it; Lashley did some cool power spots and even sold pretty well as Theory tried to get the advantage earlier by hitting him with the MITB briefcase. **3/4
No Disqualification Match
The Mysterios (Dominik & Rey) def. The Judgement Day (Damian Priest & Finn Balor) (w/ Rhea Ripley)
Steve: Speaking of another person that is never going to happen, here’s Dominik Mysterio! If he was in GCW, maybe Dominik would be an upper mid-carder, but his look, lack of charisma, and clunkiness in everything he does is the opposite of a big time act. During the part of the match where the Judgement Day was getting the heat on Dominik, the crowd could not be heard. No one cared, and probably enjoyed watching him get beat down. Thankfully, as it usually seems to, things picked up and the crowd woke once Rey tagged in, because he’s REY EFFING MYSTERIO. Judgement Day would get the advantage back for a bit, only for BROOD EDGE (the last of the many faces of Edge likely to bomb) to thwart them, leading to a Mysterio family victory. This was a nothing match with a mildly amusing return for all the wrong reasons. **
Jesse: To be a good professional wrestler, a performer needs to be good at one of three things; either they are an excellent in-ring performer, they have projectable charisma, or they look like a million bucks. The perfect pro wrestler would be outstanding in all three categories, but being strong in any one of the categories is usually enough to have a long and successful career.
Dominik is absolutely awful at all three things, which makes him one of the worst pro wrestlers to appear consistently in a major wrestling promotion. He’s bad in the ring; he’s a total black hole of charisma, and his look is embarrassing. This despite the fact that he has been training for years, and has worked consistently on television, mostly with above-average workers.
The match started with a long period of Dominik selling, which nobody cared about. Rey Mysterio got the hot tag and the match got a lot better; since Rey still moves really well and all of his classic offense was over with the crowd. Finn Balor was going to presumably murder Rey with a chair, when Edge made his return walking dramatically down a flaming staircase and wearing some incredibly uncool sunglasses; which swung the match in favor of Team Mysterio. **
Pat McAfee def. Happy Corbin
Steve: People love McAfee. My brother adores Pat McAfee. We are going to Smackdown as part of my bachelor party largely because of that. The bro-dude, frat boy energy is not for me. I much prefer the 30 second clips of his radio show I see on my timeline to listening to the whole thing. His announcing is like listening to nails on a chalkboard. In the ring, the dude is a helluva athlete and has had a few strong performances. This was not one of them, but I don’t think it was Pat’s fault. Corbin is blander than bland. There is nothing interesting about what he does in the ring or his character. In spots it looked like Pat had to slow down for Corbin, the trained pro wrestler. Pat loves this stuff and tries hard, but everything worked like gears without grease here, including the finish. **
Jesse: I thought this match had the potential to be really entertaining. McAfee was maybe the most over person at WrestleMania this year not named Steve Austin, and I figured he would be really over tonight, and a basic match with Corbin would be reasonably good.
However, McAfee really wasn’t over with the crowd; I’m not sure if it is because the show was at the Titans’ stadium and so a former-Colt in McAfee wasn’t a fan favorite, but the crowd didn’t care much for McAfee. That drained all the potential from this match; as boring Corbin heat segments are not going to cut it.
McAfee looking more awkward in the ring than he ever has before didn’t help matters. It also shows that the novelty of seeing a celebrity do wrestling spots does wear off; and McAfee felt like just a guy out there. That might be a bit of a warning for Logan Paul; who was great earlier on the show; but five more matches into his career, is he just going to look like McAfee tonight?
Also, what the hell was going on with the ring gear for these guys? Corbin always has his weird business-casual garb, but McAfee looked like he was at the beach all day. *
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships – Guest Referee Jeff Jarrett
The Usos (c) def. The Street Profits
Steve: I had very high expectations for this match. The last match they had at Money in the Bank wasn’t the match of the year people claim it was, but it was pretty damn good. I thought this would surpass that and maybe reach that match of the year level. Well, it wasn’t. I don’t even think I can call this good. It wasn’t a bad match. The work was fine, just painfully boring. Nothing really happened here. The Montez frog splash nearfall that everyone could see coming a mile away at least felt exciting. The rest was kind of a slog. The crowd was even dead for most of this. It was like we were all waiting for this to kick into gear and it just….didn’t. You could hear the groan as Jeff Jarrett (LOL) counted three for the Usos. They couldn’t telegraph Montez turning more heavily though. Expect that to come on RAW or Smackdown or wherever they are. **1/2
Jesse: These two teams had a pretty good match at Money in the Bank, but this match was a steep step down. The match lacked convincing near-falls, which made The Uso’s calmly hitting their finisher and picking up the win feel anti-climatic. Really, The Street Profits needed to win the titles tonight; they were trending upwards and after coming up juuuussst short at Money in the Bank, now was the time for them to finally beat The Usos.
Instead, fans are given more of the same as The Usos retained the title and didn’t even need to cheat to do it. At this point The Street Profits have no real claim for a rematch, and so it looks like they are going to be shipped back down the card. This had a chance on paper to be one of the best WWE matches of the year, with a real, feel-good moment with The Street Profits finally going over. Instead it was the same thing fans have been taught to expect from WWE. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, and all of that. ***
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Liv Morgan (C) def. Ronda Rousey
Steve: The story of this match was as it should be. Ronda is a killer and Liv is out of her league, but gets a hope spot here and there. The problem is that Liv doesn’t have it yet. Those punches she threw would be laughable against anyone, but then you remember she is throwing them at Ronda Rousey, former UFC champion. Ronda dominated this match, but then we got the fluky finish with the blind tap during Ronda’s shoulders getting pinned. This was bad. Remember how big a deal Ronda was during that first run? Does she even register with anyone anymore? Could you have imagined that before this run started? Horrible. DUD
Jesse: This match sucked. The few minutes it existed were awful; featuring some of the worst punches you will ever see in a wrestling ring from Liv, and then some awkward ground submissions. They did tell a story, where Liv was clearly outmatched and injured by Rousey, but scrapped out the win.
However, they also protected Rousey by having Liv “tap” while pinning Rousey; so when Rousey turned heel later because she thinks she was screwed SHE WAS RIGHT! Another classic WWE story where the person turning heel shows more energy, passion and is even justified in their actions. Rousey was totally dead as a babyface; at least as a heel she can get some heat from the crowd and feels like a more useful asset to the women’s division.
The thing was the match was so bad that I have no enthusiasm for seeing these two wrestle again. They did this finish because they knew they’d get roasted online if Rousey went over Morgan in her first PPV defense, so they bought some time by having Morgan retain via fluke tonight. This is the kind of terrible booking and execution we have come to expect from WWE. DUD
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship – Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) def. Brock Lesnar
Steve: You will often hear people refer to WWE main events as spectacles. Most of the time, its hyperbole. This match was an absolute spectacle. Brock dressed as a cowboy and driving a tractor to the ring should have been a tip off to what we were about to get. He started the match by jumping on to Reigns from the loader above the ring and the match got wilder from there. We had two big dudes throwing each other around and through tables. We had Brock put Roman in the loader and dump him out into the ring in a spot that should have been a lot cooler than it was. We had Brock lift the ring up with the tractor, dumping Reigns to the floor and blocking the view of half the arena with fans actually in the stands. We had Theory try to attempt a cash in, only to be pulverized by Reigns and Brock. Then we had a finish that tried to ruin all this as Reigns couldn’t keep Brock down, so Jimmy and Jey helped Roman pile all the rubble at ring side on top of Brock as they all climbed on to keep him down. Compared to all the slogs and snoozefests these two have had, outside of the Rollins cash in, this actually lived up to the hype of a match these two should have. Thank god for this main event. It didn’t save what was otherwise a boring and meaningless show, but at least it gave us something to remember. ****1/2
Jesse: I don’t know man? If you really like spectacle and stunts and props and seeing almost random bits of action that you’ve never seen in wrestling before, this was probably your jam. At some points the match was very interesting; like as Brock continued to be defiant, beating the count and fighting off multiple enemies. At other points; like when Roman was dropped out of the frontloader, the match felt incredibly weak and melodramatic.
Overall, I would prefer these guys just go out and fight each other without so much smoke and mirrors. The match can be summarized best by the frontloader spot; with Brock painfully placing Reigns in the tractor, then slowly lifting him up and “dropping” him out of it. The spot sucked. Then Brock got in the ring and suplexed Reigns all over the place. That part of it ruled; and I wish they would ditch the gimmicks and have a barnburner mano y mano.
Lifting up a corner of the ring was creative; although I’d be interested in knowing how fans who had their view obscured by the lifted ring felt, as the rest of the match essentially took place behind the ring. For the hardcore WWE fan, I’m sure this match was a big hit because it was a big ugly mess, and those matches tend to get over with that audience. For fans who want more wrestling and less sports entertainment, it probably won’t rate that highly. ***