Wrestling Review: WWE SummerSlam (2022)

The biggest part of the summer comes to Music City USA, as Nashville hosts the annual premium live event, WWE SummerSlam. In the main event, the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship is on the line as “The Beast” Brock Lesnar challenges the defending champion “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns in one last match, one last time – Last Man Standing. Anything will be legal and encouraged in this massive main event, where the only way to win will be to make sure your opponent cannot answer the referee’s count of ten. But not just Reigns nor Lesnar have the opportunity to leave with the top gold, as this could also be a big night for Mr Money in the Bank, Theory, who could be leaving the show with three titles. Theory would have to go through the current United States Champion, “The All Mighty” Bobby Lashley, however, which is no small feat in its own right. The Usos have reigned as tag team champions now for 378 days, including unifying the Raw and Smackdown tag team titles, but the Street Profits feel like they were screwed at Money in the Bank as a botched referee call counted Montez Ford down and out, despite his shoulders being off the mat. With special guest referee and WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett stepping up, there is sure to be no controversy in this tag team championship match. For the Raw Women’s Championship, a rematch of an unexpected bout from last year’s SummerSlam event, as Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch run it back one more time. The total match length last year was was 36 seconds, which has proven be the single biggest blemish on the record of defending champion Belair. The SmackDown Women’s title will also be defended as Liv Morgan puts her gold on the line against former champion Ronda Rousey, and with no Money in the Bank shenanigans, Rousey has promised to take Liv’s arm home with her as a souvenir. Following a successful team up at Wrestlemania, Logan Paul and The Miz will instead face off at SummerSlam, after The Miz attacked Paul after their Wrestlemania victory. And last but certainly not least, Pat McAfee and Happy Corbin used to live together when they were rookies in the NFL but now find themselves coming to blows in a sanctioned match at the biggest party of the summer.

+ Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Brock Lesnar (Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship): I don’t believe for a single second that this will actually be the final match between the two, but hot damn, they did their best to absolutely make it seem like it. “Tribal Chief” Reigns has been a massive resurgence for his career, and I think Lesnar as the fan favourite only helps his own already impressive legacy. This was something I think a lot of people are going to remember for a long time
+ Pat McAfee vs Happy Corbin: this was overall okay, but not McAfee’s best. Corbin is a much better and much more believable asshole foil to McAfee than Adam Cole was, but I don’t think anybody will deny that Cole is a better wrestler than Corbin. McAfee missed a few big moments, and almost disastrously missed another, but I suppose he gets some benefit of hte doubt for not being a full time wrestler. Corbin looked the same as Corbin always does, but it’s time for him to ditch this ‘Happy’ character and try something new
+ Logan Paul vs The Miz (w/ Ciampa & Maryse): this was visually impressive, but a bit overdone. Logan Paul was clearly going through some very rehearsed moments, but he has some astonishing athleticism to use. The Miz is a perfectly fine opponent for a match like this, especially where it was certainly not the idea for Miz to look good himself – and thankfully Miz is seemingly willing to take some stiff shots, as Paul was not really pulling his punches. This was a step above Sami Zayn/Johnny Knoxville from Wrestlemania in terms of presentation, but not in terms of excitement
+ Bianca Belair (c) vs Becky Lynch (Raw Women’s Championship): as expected, this was a really good match that has been built up strongly for a long time now. Bianca is an athletic freak and I truly believe she might be on her way to a career that stands about the rest, much the same way her opponent Lynch already has. This was a positive, but a completely nonsensical aftermath did sour me on it a bit

Liv Morgan (c) vs Ronda Rousey (Smackdown Women’s Championship): I like Ronda as a person and a wrestler, but something needs to be done to even the playing field in regards to her as a performer. They continue to treat her like Lesnar, despite her being a full time competitor now, and that doesn’t make for interesting matches. You may notice I’ve not mentioned Liv, and that’s because she was clearly an afterthought in her own championship defence
The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Use) (c) vs The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dakwins) (Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships) (Jeff Jarrett as Special Guest Referee): even with a special ref and a surprisingly solid build up, this was everything we’ve seen before. I don’t know if Jarrett had anything exciting in the match, which I suppose maybe is the mark of a good referee? But he was not meant to be a good referee, he was a special guest referee. The Usos are great but need new competition, the Street Profits are good but never quite felt on the same level, no matter what the outcome of the match may have been. This was a really disappointing missed opportunity
The Mysterios (Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio) vs The Judgement Day (Finn Balor & Damien Priest) (w/ Rhea Ripely) (No Disqualifications): I don’t know how many times various combinations of these four have wrestled each other, but this was another match I feel like I’ve already seen a million times. I hate these no DQ tag team matches where you still have to tag – like, what is the ref going to do? I think this was only made no DQ for the incredibly predictable ending, which itself didn’t really add anything new
Bobby Lashley (c) vs Theory (WWE United States Championship): I like Lashley, and any Money in the Bank teases are always exciting, but what waste of time. This was nothing different than what you’d see on Raw, and I think in fact we already have seen it a few times
– I couldn’t help but notice there were a lot of missing wrestlers, such as AJ Styles, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and the Lads, The New Day, Omos, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Ezekiel and especially the current Intercontinental Champion, GUNTHER. Don’t even try to tell me that GUNTHER murdering some schmuck wouldn’t have been a welcome addition

> Seth Rollins was originally scheduled to face off with Riddle on this show, but Riddle was apparently injured and the match was ‘postponed’. Make of that what you will.

Should you watch this event: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the matches that are relatively rare (or in the case of the main event, the main event) are the ones that are the best, and all of the rematches just continue to fall flat. With new people behind the scenes, I really hope the incessant rematches and three-event streaks of the same feud continuing can be put behind us, and every upcoming premium live event can start to feel unique.

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