SummerSlam is referred to as “The Biggest Party of the Summer” by many members of the WWE Universe. This is mostly because it is exactly that. It is also the biggest pay-per-view following WrestleMania, and one that the company knows has to deliver.
This year was no different and it seems that of the 13 matches on the card for SummerSlam last night, almost all of them delivered for the crowd inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Every WWE Championship was on the line, except for The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship which will perhaps be on the line tonight instead, but even from the kick off show with the SmackDown Tag Team Championships on the line, it seems that WWE had already set the tone for the night.
WWE had to follow a hugely successful NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III card that saw some of the best matches NXT has ever produced as well as some hard hitting debuts. Rumours circulating around WWE had given fans a lot of hope, as The Undertaker was seemingly spotted heading to New York, but in the end, WWE’s main roster decided to not count on returns or debuts and instead allowed the show to be about the stories that the superstars were telling inside the ring.
Of course, WWE didn’t get everything right last night so the following list looks at all of the things that WWE managed to get wrong at what could now be a history-making SummerSlam event and a few things they also got right.
15. Wrong: The Cruiserweight Championship Changed Hands On The Preshow
It wasn’t so much the fact that Neville managed to reclaim his Cruiserweight Championship as he unveiled his incredible new white attire, it was the fact that once again WWE decided to relegate the Cruiserweight match to the pre-show.
WWE have been complaining for a number of weeks about the fact that the WWE Universe isn’t taking an interest in 205 Live anymore and the ratings have dropped on the Network, and then they can’t even find a place for the Championship match on the main card. It seems that WWE could be standing in its own way when it comes to the Cruiserweights because Akira Tozawa and Neville still managed to have a fantastic match regardless of their positioning on the card. It is unknown why WWE decided to play hot potato with the Championship that Tozawa had only just won, but it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
14. Wrong: John Cena Defeated Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin is a former Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale winner. He was once touted as the future of WWE and a surefire future WWE Champion, which is why it was so predictable that he would win this year’s Money in the Bank contract ladder match.
Over the past week, Corbin has gone from having a shot at the WWE Championship in his grasp, to losing to Jinder Mahal and John Cena in succession to now leave him with no real place on the SmackDown roster. It is thought that Corbin has a lot of heat backstage in WWE right now and WWE made these decisions to knock him back down to size. Cena is at the point in his career where he doesn’t need to be defeating the likes of Baron Corbin, so a victory over him does little for Cena but manages to push Corbin completely over the edge when it comes to his SmackDown Live career.
13. Right: The Miztourage Recorded A Win On Pay-Per-View
It seemed as though it was an afterthought for WWE to decide to put Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in a stable with The Miz, just because it seemed that the duo had nothing better to do on WWE TV because WWE had nothing for them.
After their feud with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose came to an end, The Miz and his two sidekicks were easily steamrolled by Brock Lesnar a few weeks ago, so that he could send a message to his SummerSlam opponents, before they then decided to anger Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, which has kick-started a feud between Miz and his son Jason Jordan. The Miztourage kicked off SummerSlam as the first match on the kickoff show, which has had many fans questioning who Miz managed to annoy this time, but at least a pay-per-view win over Jordan and The Hardys will give them something to cling onto moving forward.
12. Wrong: Rusev Was Pinned In Just Ten Seconds
For the many WWE fans who are new to the product and saw Rusev pinned last night in just ten seconds, there was once a time when Rusev was seen as The Bulgarian Brute. He was accompanied by The Ravishing Russian Lana and he managed to go on a lengthy undefeated streak, one that came to an end at the hands of John Cena.
Ever since Lana joined the Women’s Division and Rusev made his WWE return, he hasn’t looked anything like the brute that once easily ran through the Raw roster like a knife through butter. Rusev was defeated by John Cena at Battleground in a flag match last month and then he decided to pick a fight with former WWE Champion Randy Orton. Logic usually dictates that the heel goes over first if it’s going to be a lengthy feud, but it seems that this isn’t the case for poor Rusev, who didn’t manage to get any offense in before he ate an RKO.
11. Wrong: The Usos Reclaimed Their Tag Team Championships
There were three matches on the card for this year’s SummerSlam event, and many of the WWE Universe have questioned why the SmackDown Tag Team Championships were on the line on the kickoff show, especially since The Usos and The New Day put on such a good match, but the ending wasn’t exactly what the WWE Universe were expecting.
There were a lot of title changes over the entire weekend in Brooklyn, but the fact that The New Day only won the Championships at Battleground last month and have now lost them back to The Usos has made the SmackDown titles look as though they are being played hot potato with as well. The New Day could easily have retained the Championships and the feud between the two teams would finally be over, but instead, it now seems as though it will at least last into the next Pay-per-view as New Day cash in their Tag Team Championships.
10. Right: Natalya Finally Lifted The SmackDown Women’s Championship
It was a nervy match as the crowd fully expected Carmella and James Ellsworth to make their presence known and take the Women’s Championship from whoever the winner of the SmackDown Women’s Championship match was. It was a shock when Naomi tapped to the Sharpshooter and Natalya was the one left standing in the ring holding a Championship that she has worked for now for more than a decade, but it seems that Carmella thought better of messing with the new Champion.
Many thought that they would never see Natalya lift the Championship, given that she is now seen as a veteran in the company and the woman who trains all other female wrestlers who are coming through the ranks in WWE right now. Nattie may be seen as a veteran but she turned back the clock last night when she managed to defeat her former friend and Total Divas co-star for the hottest prize that the women have on SmackDown Live.
9. Wrong: What Was The Point In The Shark Cage?
Big Show and Big Cass collided last night in a shark cage match at this year’s SummerSlam with Enzo Amore hanging above the ring inside the reinforced cage. The match was definitely not going to be one that the WWE Universe would remember weeks afterward, but it wasn’t the worst match of night.
The shark cage didn’t really do its job either as Enzo managed to oil himself up partway through the match, slip through the bars and then drop into the ring only to be kicked in the face by Big Cass for his troubles before Cass then went on to hit Big Show with the same boot before he got the pin off the Empire Elbow. It was a match where Big Show needed to put Big Cass over as the next big giant in WWE and even though he did, it felt like there was something missing.
8. Wrong: Sasha Banks Was Booed In Brooklyn
It must be hard for WWE to keep editing over all of the boos that the stars who are supposed to be faces are receiving. Editing over Roman Reigns‘ boos must be time consuming enough, but it seems that Sasha Banks has become another name on this list since she was booed as she made her entrance in Brooklyn.
The Barclays Center has been a place that has some great memories for Sasha, including her fantastic match with Bayley at the first ever NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event three years ago. Sasha was once considered to be the Internet darling when it comes to her position in WWE and she’s the one that WWE often fall back on when it comes to anyone challenging for a Championship in the Women’s Division, but the fact that she has now been booed out of the Barclays Center shows that the WWE Universe doesn’t rate her very highly anymore.
7. Right: Seth Rollins And Dean Ambrose Won The Tag Team Titles
Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose walked into SummerSlam as the favorites for the Tag Team Championships given the popularity that The Shield’s reunion has given to Monday Night Raw over the past few weeks.
Rollins and Ambrose put on an incredible match against Cesaro and Sheamus to win the titles and allow Ambrose to become the youngest ever WWE Grand Slam Champion. It may have been a night where there were many titles changing hands, but it seems that the one that fans enjoyed the most was the title change from Cesaro and Sheamus, who have reigned their division for long enough, and now the WWE Universe awaits a world where Rollins and Ambrose are Champions together for the first time. It will be interesting to see how these two manage to coexist over the next few weeks, especially since it is likely that Cesaro and Sheamus will cash in their rematch clause for No Mercy.
6. Wrong: Shane McMahon Didn’t Turn Heel
Shane McMahon was made the special guest referee in the match against AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, when it was made clear that a normal official couldn’t contain the duo in a sanctioned match.
Throughout the match last night, Shane managed to get in AJ’s way and it seemed as though Shane was going to turn heel and cost AJ his Championship. Of course, AJ and Shane have already put their differences aside since their match at WrestleMania earlier this year, but it seems that Owens and McMahon could be building over the next few months after Shane did cost Owens a chance to reclaim his title in a round about way. Shane played his part, and the match was one of the best of the night, but Shane looked like he was playing both sides throughout, which didn’t work out too well in the end when he finally did cost Owens.
5. Wrong: NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Stole The Show
Every year, WWE seems to think it’s a good idea to allow NXT to take over the Barclays Center the night before the main roster are given their chance, and every year NXT blow the main roster out of the water.
This year was no different as Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre, Asuka, and Ember Moon all played their part in making Saturday night a memorable one as well as Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole and Bobby Fish all making their presence known to create what seems to be a Ring of Honor invasion of NXT. It’s not that much of a shock that NXT managed to raise the bar, especially since Triple H continues to prove his worth as part of the Developmental process on a regular basis. It would just be nice for the main roster to step it up one year.
4. Right: Finn Balor Defeated Bray Wyatt
The Demon King remains undefeated at SummerSlam, after he was forced to return to his body painted ways when Bray Wyatt gave him a Brood style bloodbath on Monday Night Raw this past week.
The Demon seems to give Finn Balor much more power over his opponents and Bray saw that he should never have played with fire, because he more than got burned on Sunday night when Balor got the pin of a Coupe De Grace. The feud between these strange stars is far from over, and could easily be stepped up in a month’s time for No Mercy if these two are to collide one-on-one once again. It would be interesting to see what strange stipulation WWE can come up with for this showdown, since they have two unique stars at their disposal, so they should take advantage of this. At least Finn avenged his loss on Raw in order to bring the score level between the two.
3. Wrong: Jinder Mahal Retained The WWE Championship
Jinder Mahal’s insane reign as WWE Champion continued after he once again managed to defeat another challenger. This time it was Shinsuke Nakamura that was outnumbered when The Singh Brothers attacked and Jinder then blindsided the former NXT Champion to retain his Championship.
Speculation suggests that this feud is far from over and that the only reason Nakamura didn’t win the title is because WWE thought it was too soon to press the green button on a WWE title reign for him. Nakamura is knocking on the door and the WWE Championship is in his very near future, but it means that until then the WWE Universe will be forced to endure another few weeks with The Modern Day Maharaja holding the biggest title on the SmackDown brand. What does the WWE Universe have to do to convince WWE to take the title away from Mahal? He doesn’t work as Champion and the Universe are already firmly behind Nakamura.
2. Wrong: Sasha Banks Won The Raw Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks wasn’t even supposed to be in the Raw Women’s Championship match this past weekend. Bayley was supposed to challenge Alexa Bliss, that was until she was injured in a match against Nia Jax recently.
The WWE Universe wanted Nia to go on to face Alexa at SummerSlam and not Sasha, which is why she was so heavily booed. It seems WWE can’t bring themselves to put together a meaningful storyline with the SmackDown women, and allowing Sasha to become a four time Champion was just a ridiculous decision. The storyline here is between Nia and Alexa and it seems that pushing Sasha to the Championship could completely overshadow this, which isn’t what anyone wants. Moving forward, it seems that Alexa will challenge Sasha at No Mercy, but Nia could come into the match if there was a decision to make it a Triple Threat. It will be interesting to see where WWE are taking this.
1. Right: Brock Lesnar Retained His Universal Championship
SummerSlam’s event was headlined by the fatal-four-way match between Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe. Braun Strowman is the first man to properly take the fight to Brock and to look as though he could defeat him.
Of course, the added stipulation was that if Brock lost then he would be forced to walk away from WWE. Even though Braun stepped up, he was unable to make it count when he needed to as Roman was the one to take the pin to allow Brock to move forward as Champion. It seems that No Mercy could see Braun and Brock finally collide one-on-one and it will definitely be a blockbuster showdown, but for right now it seems that WWE got it right when they allowed Brock Lesnar to retain in Brooklyn last night, even though the WWE Universe booed when the final pin fall was officially counted.
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