Wrestling Review: WWE SummerSlam (2021)

The odds are looking good, as the WWE takes over Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for the biggest party of the summer, WWE SummerSlam. In the main event, the greatest of his time will face the greatest of all time, when Roman Reigns defends the Universal Championship against John Cena. Cena has never held the Universal title, and if Cena wins he will become the single most decorated champion in WWE history with a record-setting 17 times as champion; Roman Reigns is dead set on not letting that happen, and will ensure that Cena bows down to him and acknowledges Reigns as the Head of the Table. To leave no doubt, Roman Reigns has vowed that he will leave the WWE if he cannot defend his title. On the red side of the ledger, The All Mighty WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley has running through his opponents, but all of his momentum met a brick wall known as Goldberg. Who will win this battle of goliaths in the ring? A grudge match seven years in the making will also take place, as Edge and Seth Rollins will finally meet inside the ring. Rollins has cost Edge the world championship in recent months, and Edge has been forced to go somewhere he never wanted to return to: his days of darkness from The Brood.

The Raw Women’s Championship will also be on the line, as Nikki A.S.H. must contend with noth just The Queen, Charlotte Flair, but also the dominant and brutal Rhea Ripley. Nikki A.S.H. won the gold by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on an already down and out Charlotte the night after winning the briefcase, and btho Charlotte and Rhea have been on a warpath to win back what they each believe is rightfully theirs. Less complicated but just as personal, Bianca Belair will defend her SmackDown Women’s title against the returning Sasha Banks in a rematch from the award winning, history making main event of the first night of WWE Wrestlemania 37. Banks showed her true colours upon returning to SmackDown just a few weeks ago, and the match was made official just a few weeks ago.

Both sets of tag team titles will be on the line in separate matches, as the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, the Usos, defend against former champions Rey & Dominik Mysterio, while the undefeated team of AJ Styles & Omos will face the newly reunited team of Riddle & Randy Orton, collectively RK-Bro. Old friends and even older rivals, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal will come to blows once again, and Sheamus will defend his United States Championship against Damian Priest. And after weeks of supernatural shenanigans, Alexa Bliss will go one on one with Eva Marie.

+ Edge vs Seth Rollins: I really liked this, and it was probably my favourite match on the show. Seth’s character can fluctuate at the best of times, but there is no denying how good he is in the ring. Edge’s duology with Randy Orton were also varying in quality, but this match showed that if he wanted to, he could absolutely still go. There were so many teases and call backs to previous matches each have had, but this was their first match against each other, and it was a banger
+ Nikki A.S.H. (c) vs Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley (Raw Women’s Championship): I have not enjoyed anything about this storyline, and I don’t even care for the winner of this match; it was predictable and has a clear purpose going forward. Despite that, the match was good. Despite her stupid gimmick, Nikki is a great wrestler, and I surely don’t even need to comment on how good Charlotte and Rhea area so of course the action in the ring was good. One huge dive from one competitor nearly went horribly wrong, but thankfully it was just an impressive visual
+ The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (c) vs Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio (SmackDown Tag Team Championships): considering these teams have faced each other a billion times in the last few months, it was very clear what to expect and this was exactly that. The Usos are one of the best tag teams in WWE history for a reason, and Rey is a living legend. Dominik is still only one year into his career, but this was a good match that you’ve seen far too many times before. It was a positive, but please let this be the end of it
+ Sheamus (c) vs Damian Priest (United States Championship): I was looking forward to this one beforehand, and I think it had some real sleeper hit potential. Unfortunately, early on Priest seemed to mistime a dive and hit the ground hard and from that point he was sluggish. This was still good, and certainly a positive for the show, but if there is a rematch I imagine it would be much better
+ AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) (Raw Tag Team Championships): this was a lot of fun, but Omos just should not be in this position just yet. I don’t think he had ever had a move done on him to this point. Still, Orton/Riddle/Styles are good enough to carry the action so overall this was fun. I don’t know the official time, but I’d even say it felt short

Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs John Cena (Universal Championship): these two have had one match previously, and I don’t remember it being very good back then either. The entire match was basically one big move, then a long rest break, then a small flurry of back and forth, then a long rest break. Neither of these two are known for their technical skills; whether they are powerhouses or not, lifting the other is not a powerhouse feat; and they certainly aren’t high flyers. This was carried almost entirely on the crowd reactions to each guy, but the match wasn’t good, the ending was flat, and the aftermath doesn’t bode well for my watching future
Bobby Lashley (c) (w/ MVP) vs Goldberg (WWE Championship): good lord all mighty (hilarious pun intended), this was some garbage. I don’t know why this damn company can’t figure out how to do this, because it’s not difficult
Drew McIntyre vs Jinder Mahal (Veer and Shanky are banned from ringside): yeah, whatever. It wasn’t bad, but it was something I’d expect in the middle of a Raw show. Not sure why this was even here. Drew deserves better
Bianca Belair (c) vs Sasha Banks (SmackDown Women’s Championship): this was not as advertised, and I was a literal rollercoaster of emotions as it all happened live. Looking back on it now, though, I really, really did not like how it went. This company is a disgrace and the way they treat their superstars is a joke
Alexa Bliss vs Eva Marie (w/ Doudrop): I pray to all of the oldest and darkest Gods that these two never talk to each other, face each other, or have anything to do with each other for the rest of the natural life of our universe
Big E vs Baron Corbin: this was relegated to the kickoff, and that makes sense but I would have been interested to hear Corbin’s no-music entrance on the main show. Big E has been spinning his wheels since winning the briefcase, but he’s still good in the ring. This was fine, but it was just nothing. Why wasn’t Corbin facing Finn Balor after the whole contract situation?
– the non-wrestling segments all fell into two categories: (1) horrendous time wasters that nearly caused me to stop watching this entirely, or; (2) nice, but nothing more than an attempt to cash in on other publicity. When you see Miz in the ring, just skip forward like ten minutes and never look back

> at some point in the show, all of the pyrotechnics in the entrances just stopped. I’ll assume there was an issue in the building, but it did really effect some of the entrances, Goldberg in particular

Should you watch this event: This was not a good show. A relatively strong start soon gave way to the same, tired, WWE-style predictability. The way that they feel they can treat their champions, their full time wrestlers and most importantly the fans like me who pay my money to see what they advertise, only for them to completely ignore those advertisements just do something else makes me sick. If you didn’t catch this, seek out Seth vs Edge and maybe Reigns vs Cena, despite its flaws, but otherwise I’m sure there will be rematches and rematches and rematches of everything else on the show.

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