The biggest party of the summer comes to Toronto, Canada, as the Scotiabank Arena hosts its second consecutive night of wrestling action when it tries to contain the hype of WWE SummerSlam. Raw‘s Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, will once again defend his title against old foe Seth Rollins, whilst on the Smackdown Live side, Kofi Kingston has a ten-year rival in Randy Orton to watch out for. New United States Champion AJ Styles will face off against recent foe Ricochet, and Finn Balor will have to contend with the sinister new persona of Bray Wyatt, The Fiend. Both of the Women’s Championships will be on the line, as Bayley defends against Ember Moon, and Becky Lynch will walk into a hostile crowd when she faces the hometown hero, Natalya. All of this, plus Dolph Ziggler versus Goldberg at WWE SummerSlam.
+ Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Championship): I really don’t care for Seth Rollins these days, nor Lesnar as champion, but this was still an exciting match. Some stiff shots, outlandish power and a few crazy moments made for a solid main event
+ Finn Balor vs The Fiend, Bray Wyatt: everything about this was fantastic. From Wyatt’s entrance to segments of the match itself, this made an absolute new star in one match
+ Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus: I am flabbergasted that this went on after both of the Women’s Championship matches, but it was certainly a better match than Bayley/Ember, at least. Stratus looked great, despite her long hiatus, and Charlotte is back to her best as the arrogant bad-girl she was born to be
+ Becky Lynch (c) vs Natalya (WWE Raw Women’s Championship): this was pretty good, in part due to the rules of no DQ and no countout, which I didn’t think was a thing in submission matches. Both women had some good crowd support, which certainly helped the match, and in the end it was a good way to start the main show
+ Drew Gulak (c) vs Oney Lorcan (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): two of my absolute BOYS get stuck on the pre-show for the millionth time. Lorcan my be the best short-match wrestler in the world, and Gulak has such intensity in everything he does
– Kofi Kingston (c) vs Randy Orton (WWE Championship): It’s apropos that Orton’s infamous “stupid, stupid” moment with Kingston has played a part in this story, because I was really enjoying this, up until the stupid ending ruined it all. It’s a shame that this left such a bad taste in my mouth, and that is essentially re-used a story from not even a year ago in another feud
– Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens (if Owens loses, he must quit WWE): this was just frustrating. McMahon’s run as the bad boss has peaked and died months ago, and is just a rotting corpse of what was once an almost worthy successor the Mr McMahon character, and even giving Owens the Stunner is just not enough to bring this back form the dead. Owens should be doing much bigger and better things
– Bayley (c) vs Ember Moon (WWE SmackDown Live Women’s Championship): the crowd was so uncomfortably quiet for this match I wondered if I maybe left my video on mute. Bayley is fine as champion, but her quasi-bad guy shtick against the severely underbuilt Ember Moon meant this was never going to be a particularly heated match
– AJ Styles (c) (w/ Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs Ricochet (WWE United States Championship): truthfully, this really didn’t do it for me. There was not much here we hadn’t seen before, and in recent history no less. Both men are really good in the ring, but we’ve just seen this too often recently for it to be the big PPV match it was at first
– Dolph Ziggler vs Goldberg: I guess this was fine. I don’t know why it had to be on the PPV, though (outside of the name value of Goldberg, obviously)
– Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) vs The Iiconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships): the Iiconics are great characters, but damn, this was not a good match
– Apollo Crews vs Buddy Murphy: “But why?” And then after a few minutes, “Oh, that’s why.”
> where were the tag team champions? Where was Braun Strowman, Cesaro, Aleister Black, Rey Mysterio, Andrade, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan? Where were the Usos, The Revival, Heavy Machinery?
Should you watch this event: The second half of this show was much better than the first, but it still didn’t really feel special as SummerSlam should. Only the Wyatt/Fiend debut was something we hadn’t seen before, and there were lots of people missing from what should have been a ‘all hands on deck’ spectacular.