WWE SummerSlam 2018 had the potential to be one of the best SummerSlam's of the last decade and the pay-per-view certainly did not disappoint.
Four major titles changed hands on the night and the WWE pulled the trigger on some storylines that have been a long time coming.
On the preshow, we saw Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega def. Rusev and Lana, Cedric Alexander retain the Cruiserweight title against Drew Gulak and The B-Team managed to sneak a lucky win against The Revival for the Raw tag team titles.
However, all eyes were on Roman Reigns and Ronda Rousey as they attempted to sit atop of Monday Night Raw be defeating Brock Lesnar and Alexa Bliss for the Universal title and Raw Women's title respectively.
Let's get into the action:
Seth Rollins w/ Dean Ambrose v Dolph Ziggler w/ Drew McIntyre for the Intercontinental title
Dean Ambrose's music hit first to a monster pop and he was closely followed out by Seth Rollins, who earned a response not too far off. A slow start saw Rollins' knee targeted once again - as with the majority of his matches - with Ziggler getting the better of the exchanges. Drew McIntyre angled to get involved a few times, but Ambrose cut him off at the pass every time.
Rollins hit an insane inverted suplex from the top rope straight into an inverted falcon arrow, but McIntyre managed to distract the Kingslayer and that allowed Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag, but he only scored a two count. When Drew tried the same trick again, Ambrose hit him with Dirty Deeds setting up Seth to score Dolph with the Curb Stomp to win his second Intercontinental title.
Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall and wins the Intercontinental title
What a fantastic opening match. Pretty much all you could ask for and the crowd were into it from the jump. Although Ambrose is likely to turn on Rollins down the line, it was smart to have the fairytale comeback in New York and although Ziggler has done a fine job with the strap, Rollins is right man to hold the gold. Some of the sequences were breathtaking.
The New Day v The Bludgeon Brothers for the SD Live Tag Team titles
These two tag teams clearly didn't have that much time and the result was a sprint of a match, but there was so many good spots and it suited the New Day's personas down to the ground.
Big E was the star of the show with a Big Ending on the outside, spearing Luke Harper through the ropes to the outside and hitting overhead belly-to-belly suplexs on both Bludgeon Brothers on the outside.
The Bludgeon Brothers would end up attacking Woods and Big E with their mallets to retain their titles, even though they lost via DQ.
The New Day win via DQ
I mean, this was about as good as they could have made it in the time they had. They made it fun and both teams were going all out to entertain the crowd and they made the SD Live tag team titles seem the most important things in the world.
Big E really, really shone. A true singles run surely awaits him in the not too distant future, but as for Harper and Rowan, one has to wonder what their gimmick really is an if it's connecting. Surely, two brutes like themselves, don't need to resort to that sort of stuff to keep their titles. The only thing that is nice is the fact that they've finally actually used them after like a year of carrying them around.
Kevin Owens v Braun Strowman for the Money in the Bank contract
A total squash. Braun mows him down twice, chokeslams KO on the ramp outside and then nails the running powerslam in the ring to put him to bed. Honestly, that's exactly what happened down to the last detail, except for the fact KO landed one superkick that didn't phase Strowman.
Braun Strowman wins via pinfall
It is what it is. No problem with Strowman looking stong - that's great. It's also a four-hour show with 10 main card matches - you do the match. Still, does someone like KO - who has been taking crazy bumps lately, really deserve this treatment? It's like he's done something wrong and it's hard to see what, because he's one of the most entertaining people in the company. Nothing against Strowman, it's just not beneficial to Owens one bit.
Carmella v Becky Lynch v Charlotte for the SD Live women's title
Carmella wass surprisingly involved in all the early action, getting the best of both Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. The Princess of Stanton Island kept up her usual gig of mocking her foes at every turn and trash talking ridiculously loudly. Eventually, Charlotte and Becky took turns on getting the better of Carmella, but Becky locks her in the Disarm-Her in the middle of the ring.
This allowed Charlotte to be opportunitic and pounce from behind to nail Natural Selection and pick up the win and her seventh title. After the match, Becky and Charlotte hugged as if the Irish Lasskicker understood what her friend had done, but then becky turned heel and viscously attacks Charlotte, holding the title up and showing she's had enough. The crowd goes crazy for Becky, who leaves Charlotte in a heap behind the announcer's table.
Charlotte wins via pinfall and wins the SD Live Women's title
The post-match stuff was amazing. Becky needed this in the worst way and after all her hard work to get here, Charlotte's entry into the match in the first place and the subsequent loss, it had to happen. The match was decent (although it did have a few botches) and Charlotte's top ropes antics were the highlight, but the post-match stuff hightens the grade here significantly.
Samoa Joe v AJ Styles for the WWE title
Samoe Joe cut an amazing promo before the match mocking Styles' wife and daughter, but instead of running to rip Joe's head off, Styles tries to wrestle him with headlocks for some reason. Joe has the better of Styles in the early going with plenty of powerful kicks unsettling the champion. A suicide dive to the outside nails Styles into the table and Joe is in full control.
After both men get their signature/finishing moves in - where it seems as though Styles might pass out in the Coquina Clutch - it breaks down to the outside where Joe picks up a mic and tell's Styles' wife "don't worry, I'll be your new daddy." Styles loses it completely and rugby tackles his former TNA peer off the table and through the barricade before brutally assaulting Joe with a chair, causing the DQ.
Samoa Joe wins via DQ.
Joe's taunting of Styles' family, who were in attendance, was masterful. Any father or husband would be rooting for Styles after that and the way Styles went crazy at the end of the match was the right way to go for both men. The visial of Joe storming up the ramp once he had recovered from the attack was a lasting image, too.
The actual match was very good, too. Styles' second WWE title reign hasn't been as must-see as his first, but this match was very, very good in nearly every way. The physicality matched the storyline and a rematch is coming. Good work.
The Miz Vs Daniel Bryan
As the Miz makes his way to the ring, he gives his wife Maryse a kiss at ringside and we see a baby pram by her side. Miz and Bryan put on a great clinic with plenty of hard-hits and mat-based wrestling with Miz trying to prove something to Bryan and Bryan wanting to hurt Miz.
Bryan hits a top-rope backdrop on The Miz to throw the bout in his favour and he follows that up with plenty of kicks and suicide dives. His final dropkick from the apron sends The Miz to his wife where she sneakily hands him what appear to be some brass knuckles. One punch from The Miz seals the victory he's been waiting eight years for, but this story is far from over.
The Miz wins via pinfall
This was the right decision because this feud has a long way to go. There is so much they can do here and if Bryan had just won and proved The Miz wrong, then what? Now we get the gloating Miz and Bryan's redemption story is a long, exciting one. The action itself was very good too and the constant nods to their feud and that Talking Smack promo were very entertaining.
Finn Balor Vs Baron Corbin
Finn Balor shocks everyone and appears as the Demon Leaving Baron Corbin visibly shook. Balor gets all his offence in at break-neck speed which includes his drop kick into the turnbuckle, the slingblade and, of course, the Coup de Grace and squashes Corbin in a matter of minutes.
Finn Balor wins via pinfall
The commentators went to great effort to talk about how much more successful and powerful Balor is as the Demon and questioned when we were likely to see him again. One has to imagine that means he's going to tap into that persona a bit more, especially since that was the first time fans had seen the Demon since SummerSlam 2017.
The match was what it needed to be for Balor and he certainly had an extra spring in his step. Corbin has been thrown by the wayside, but Balor is certainly the bigger star.
Jeff Hardy Vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the U.S. title
Some interesting visuals early on include Nakamura stunned that Hardy is attempting to imitate him. Hardy gets a good match in and seems to have the upper hand before attempting a Swanton Bomb onto the apron. Nakamura moves and Hardy is basically done for. The Kinshasa puts him to bed, but Randy Orton appears after the match. It seems as though he'll attack Hardy, but he changes his mind and walks away. to the confusion of the Barclays Center.
Shinsuke Nakamura wins via pinfall and retains U.S. title
We haven't seen Jeff Hardy have a decent pay-per-view match in a long time, but an 11-minute match was nice to see. Hardy got nearly all of his patented offence in and, of course, for a lot of fans, seeing that he's still as crazy as ever is great. Those that know his injury problems, though, will have winced at the Swanton Bomb on the apron spot. Hardy is clearly moving onto Orton, so this did the job and was a fun watch.
Alexa Bliss Vs Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women's title
Another squash unfolds. Bliss does her best to avoid the former UFC champion, but a trash-talking Rousey simply dominates her at every turn. Rousey puts on a badass arm breaker that sees Bliss do the double-jointed dislocation trick she did with Becky Lynch back in 2016. A new champion is crowned and she is joined by the Bellas and Natalya after the bell.
Rousey wins via submission and the Raw women's title
Obviously, the priority here is making Rousey look as badass as possible and they have achieved that in her run thus far. It's strange to think Alexa Bliss' character wouldn't have tried to cheat her way out of this match or come up with some kind of plan. Instead, she walked into a slaughter but, in fairness to Bliss, she sold for Rousey brilliantly.
Brock Lesnar Vs Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal title
Before the match, Braun Strowman arrives and says he won't cash in the cowardly way, instead, he will wait for the winner and face them face-to-face tonight. Reigns hits three Super Man Punches and three Spears once the bell has rung, but during the last spear, Lesnar catches the Big Dog in a guillotine, but Reigns powers out. After replicating that spot, Lesnar takes his gloves off and the German suplexes began.
On the outside, Reigns accidentally dives onto the Monster Among Men and then he gets Lesnar's attention. The Beast Incarnate delivers an F5 to the outside before assaulting Braun with the briefcase and a steel chair. Lesnar goes back to the ring with the chair, but walks into a spear that ultimately sees Roman get the 1-2-3.
Roman Reigns wins via pinfall to win the Universal title
There's no doubt in my mind that Lesnar is now gone and whatever happens in UFC will dictate where he goes from there. Reigns needed this moment; if he couldn't beat Lesnar now than, storywise, he never would have. It didn't make the world of sense that one spear would put Brock down after he has survived much, much more in the past, but moment served its purpose. The Strowman tease was a nice swerve to get fans to say invested in the bout and nobody is going to mind Strowman versus Reigns moving forward.
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