Wrestling Review: WWE SummerSlam (2018)

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York plays host to it’s second consecutive night of wrestling action as WWE presents the biggest party of the summer, SummerSlam. Every single championship in the company is on the line, perhaps none more important than the Universal Championship. Brock Lesnar’s stranglehold on the title may be coming to an end, as a motivated, determined and pissed-off Roman Reigns is on the hunt for the Beast’s championship. Ronda Rousey seeks her first ever championship as she finally gets her hands on Alexa Bliss, with the winner walking out the Raw Women’s Champion. AJ Styles has the unenviable task of facing an angry Samoa Joe with the WWE Championship on the line, in a match that has become severely personal. Both Raw and Smackdown Tag team championships are the line, as The B Team defend against the Revival for Raw, and The New Day try one more time to take the belts from the Bludgeon Brothers. All of this and much more, including Rusev, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and Braun Strowman at WWE SummerSlam.

+ Alexa Bliss (c) vs Ronda Rousey (Raw Women’s Championship): I can’t believe how well Ronda has transitioned to fake fighting, but I guess it makes more sense that going the other direction. I can’t decide who is better looking between the two, but that hardly matters when they are both such good characters. Alexa is such a bad person, and Ronda has the second best mean face in wrestling these days, so it was clear the exact moment Alexa knew she messed up. This was great
+ Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Jeff Hardy (United States Championship): I enjoyed this, and considering how banged up Hardy reportedly is, I enjoyed it even more. Nakamura is such a jerk it is hard not to love him anyway, but Jeff has always been a favourite of mine, so this was a match I was watching with no real preference
+ The Miz vs Daniel Bryan: I’ll understand if there are some complaints made about this match, but for the most part I thought it was pretty good. It was a little bit slow in the middle, but Bryan is just so good, and the Miz is such a good character to hate that this had everything going for it. Bryan probably should be having bigger matches with better wrestlers, but this was great for what it was
+ AJ Styles (c) vs Samoa Joe (WWE Championship): holy smokes. This was a bit of a slow burner, but when it kicked into second gear it was easily the match of the night. Once it then kicked into third gear, it may have been a match of the year contender. Then a post-match moment literally brought a tear to my eye and it sealed this as an all time great
+ Carmella (c) vs Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Live Women’s Championship): any segment with Becky and Charlotte facing each other was great, but as you might expect, any time Carmella got involved the quality dropped drastically. Carmella, therefore, played spoiler for the majority of the match, though I have to say the final few moments were pretty good
+ Dolph Ziggler (c) (w/ Drew McIntyre) vs Seth Rollins (w/ Dean Ambrose) (Intercontinental Championship): this opened the show, and it was a match of two halves. The first half was bland, and felt like nothing more than a retread of every single other match they’ve had over the past months. The final minutes showed that this was a different match type, and the addition of Ambrose was exactly what it needed to be without overstaying its welcome
+ Cedric Alexander (c) vs Drew Gulak (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): another pre-show match, another dead crowd for good action. Gulak is such a good bad guy (and not to toot my own horn, but I said he would be great at being a serious heel even when he was a goof). Alexander is so smooth, though he does seem to rely on the same few sequences a bit too much, but this was good, even if the lie audience didn’t give it the love it deserved
+ Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega vs Rusev & Lana (Mixed Tag-Team Match): Rusev is one of the best characters the WWE has had, and Almas is one of the best in-ring, but the WWE just does not know how to use them properly. This was a good match in front of a near empty, uninterested and quiet crowd

Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Roman Reigns (Universal Championship): they so very nearly solved the Roman Reigns problem, but at the last second they just made it so much worse. This was not the way it should have gone, and while the crowd was involved, it probably wasn’t the way the WWE thought it was going to go. This was another disappointment, but we should be used to that by now
Constable Baron Corbin vs Finn Balor: an unexpected little twist kept it a litle bit interesting, but this was still a crappy match in a crappy feud that I really, really hope is finished with. At least it was short
Braun Strowman vs Kevin Owens (If Braun loses in any way, Kevin Owens wisn the Money in the Bank briefcase): this was ridiculous, and whoever thought it was a good idea deserves to be fired
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) (c) vs The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (w/ Kofi Kingston) (Smackdown Live Tag Team Championships): I’m really sick of The New Day. SAnitY have been brought to SmackDown to do nothing, The Bar would have been a significantly better match up, and even a multi-team match would have been better than this.
The B Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) (c) vs The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (Raw Tag Team Championships): the commentators mentioned that incredible Revival/American Alpha match from NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II and all it did was make it clear how far they’ve fallen. This was just a waste, even if the ending was pretty clever

Should you watch this event: It was a ballsy move to put Reigns/Lesnar on last, and that aspect of the show failed miserably (but it is very clear why nothing else went on last instead). There was a lot of good stuff on this show, but as well, lots of stuff that didn’t need to be here. If they made this an hour shorter and got rid of all the fluff, it may have been one of the best WWE shows in a long time, but as it stands, it was just another far too long slog.


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