HELLO AND WELCOME to The Big Review of WWE SummerSlam 2020!
The actual first pay-per-view at the brand new WWE THUNDERDOME, not last night’s NXT TakeOver – thanks a lot, marketing – has some tantalising matches in prospect. I’m very curious to see how the Bayley/Sasha/Asuka triangulo de la muerte turns out, plus I have a bad feeling about big Drew’s WWE title reign.
Also, Vince McMahon has promised there’ll be something that we’ll never see coming. What could it possibly be?
I’m Mike, and as always, I’ll be doing the written equivalent of live-reacting to the show since I’m about to watch it, start to finish, for the first time. I’m settled down, strapped in and snacked up, so with that said, let’s get cracking into the kickoff show!
Apollo Crews (c) vs MVP
Singles Match for the United States Championship
The common wisdom seems to be that MVP, having lost to Apollo a bunch of times, will finally get one over on his rival and win back the US Title that he incorporated – but I don’t think that would be a good look.
If he had the Hurt Business in his corner then sure, I could see a screwy finish – but with them banned from ringside, do we really want to see a veteran take a belt from an up-and-coming superstar? Not me, says I.
My prediction: Apollo Crews
MVP isn’t in his 20s any more, so the slow pace of this match will suit him just fine. Crews steps on the gas every time he’s on the offensive, but it’s largely MVP who’s in control early on. He hits a semi-release superplex on Crews for two, before Crews puts Porter on the outside and hits a spectacular flip over the top rope to send both men crashing to the floor! Ever amazing agility from Crews, with both guys just making it back into the ring before a ten count.
Crews hits a spinebuster and goes for the toss powerbomb, but MVP reverses into position for the Playmaker… no! Crews reverses him right back, lifts MVP, and smashes him down with the toss powerbomb for the one, two, three.
Winner: Apollo Crews (1/1)
Good, I’m glad. Exactly as it should be. The Hurt Business hit the ring post-match, but Apollo slips away from them fairly easily considering there’s three of them, and we’re done.
That’s the only match on the kickoff show, so with that done and dusted, let’s hit the main card!
Bayley (c) vs. Asuka
Singles Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Okay, I think this’ll be a little bit complicated, so I’ll remain brief. I think Bayley retains with an assist from Sasha Banks. Bayley has looked super vulnerable with the title, especially recently, and Asuka really should beat her, but she won’t – because of what I think is coming later.
My prediction: Bayley retains
The early stages are pretty much all Asuka, especially once the action spills outside the ring and the Empress destroys Bayley with a leaping DDT to the floor. However, once back inside, Bayley manages to hit two stunners on Asuka across the middle rope, one leaping from the top turnbuckle – well played, champ.
The match evens out before suddenly, Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly suplex! From outta nowhere! Randy Orton’s on the phone to gimmick infringement, but it doesn’t stop the champion from covering for one, two… no! I mean, it’s far too early for a decisive fall and the B2B has long been retired as an actual finisher, but still – that was sudden.
After a short recovery, Asuka hits a couple of butt – sorry, hip attacks for two, before the two go back and forth, exchanging big moves, submissions and nearfalls as we push through the mid-match. Suddenly, Asuka catches a Bayley elbow drop attempt and turns it into an armbar – this could be the end for Bayley!
Sasha Banks is on the outside but in extremely close quarters, to the point that Asuka breaks the hold in order to hoof her in the chops. That essentially brings Banks into the match, and after she collects her teeth, she first distracts Asuka before putting herself in harm’s way and eating a further hip attack from the challenger, which allows Bayley to improvise a roll up – one, two… three!! Bayley retains!!
Winner AND STILL: Bayley (2/2)
Ok, good. Good. My prediction is still in play. Post match, the two team up to beat down Asuka and weaken her further for the second match later, but still. The implosion of Bayley and Sasha is on!
The Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Andrade w/ Zelina Vega
Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships
The Street Profits want the smoke, and I want some help with choosing a winner in the majority of matches on this card. For this one, I’m going to go Street Profits to retain because I think they need their revenge for ZelinaVegaPoisonGate, which I’m pretty sure is what all the cool kids are calling it online.
I would much rather see the fractious Garza and Andrade with the titles, but I reckon they’ll get them at the next PPV – not this one. For now, the Profits will keep their hands on those big quarters.
My prediction: Street Profits
The Luchadors eat a few big Montez Ford moves in the early going, before the solo-cup wielding high-flyer is caught on the outside and planted with a double powerbomb – and that sets up a huge face-in-peril situation for the man they call Tez. In fact, he spends several minutes eating pretty much every move in the arsenals of both Garza and Andrade, including a double stomp from the top onto his draped, prone torso for a long two count.
Eventually, after quite a beating, Montez reaches his corner and hits the hot tag to Angelo Dawkins, who cleans up for a relatively short time before he’s stopped short by a sharp elbow from Andrade. He gets the tag back to Ford, who’s recovered remarkably to hit a crazily high cross body on Garza that he turns around into a cover for two. It’s genuinely incredible how much air Montez Ford gets off the top rope.
However, Ford’s presence in the ring spells the beginning of the end for the Poisoners. Zelina Vega makes her way up onto the apron because of course she does, and is accidentally knocked down by Ford – and when Andrade goes over to check on her, he abandons his tag-team partner in the ring for a Cash Out from Dawkins, followed by a massive drifting top rope frog splash from Ford for the one, two, three! Woohoo! Vengeance is delivered, and your boy is three for three.
Winner: The Street Profits (3/3)
Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville
No Disqualification Match – Loser Leaves WWE
Originally a hair vs hair match that I had Mandy Rose down to win because Sonya would look badass with a buzz cut, we now know this is a “loser leaves town” match that, I’m sure you all understand, I still have Mandy down to win.
After Sonya’s personal life was horrifically invaded earlier this week, I’ve got nothing but admiration for her even agreeing to be on the card, but like most others, I think this stip will give her a chance to take time away to deal with what’s happened. Nothing but love in the direction of Sonya Deville. This could be an emotional match.
My prediction: Mandy Rose
Sonya Deville comes out in what looks like an old Matt Hardy jacket, which is a good look for her, in fairness – and when Mandy enters, it’s clear she’s come for a fight. This probably isn’t going to be a technical masterclass.
The action goes outside very early on, as you’d expect in a no DQ, and it’s Mandy Rose who has the early advantage. She launches Sonya into the barricade, the ramp and the ringpost, before leaping a clothesline through Deville from the top of the announce table… and getting a table out from underneath the ring! Blimey, I’m strapping myself down for this one. Mandy ain’t playing.
Just as she sets the table up, Sonya comes out of nowhere with a chair directly into Rose’s ribs, and she takes control. Back in the ring, Deville kicks and knees Mandy into next week before catching her in a Dragon Sleeper, but Rose elbows her way out. Mandy then tries to rake the eyes of Deville but is caught into a triangle submission, but a two-count forces her to break.
The two competitors flirt with the table before it ends up upside-down and out of the equation – shame. However, the match doesn’t have long to run, as back in the ring, Mandy Rose manages to duck under and hit another one of her running knees on Sonya, then another, another, another… and another for good measure! I counted five running knees from Mandy to Sonya, and that’s got to be enough! It is! Mandy gets the three count we all expected.
Winner: Mandy Rose (4/4)
Yeah, I think we all saw that coming. It was hardly a classic, but massive props to both women, Sonya especially, for even being here. Hopefully we see her back in a WWE ring sooner rather than later.
Dominik Mysterio w/ Rey Mysterio vs Seth Rollins w/ Murphy
In short, I think Seth will ultimately win this contest after lots of extremely heavy interference from Murphy, Rey and others due to the stipulation. Same as Adam Cole vs Pat McAfee last night, I think the rookie will look capable and come incredibly close to winning, but ultimately – like with Cole – Seth really has to win. There’s a long way to go for this feud, in my opinion.
My prediction: Seth Rollins
Earlier backstage, Dominik implored his father Rey Mysterio not to get involved in his match with Seth Rollins tonight. Reluctantly, he agrees – thus surely securing his son’s fate, but more importantly, my prediction for the match. Thank you, King.
The match starts exactly as you’d expect: in the ring, Rollins makes everything look easy, swatting Dominik away like a pest. Dom has kept on the padded jacket I thought was going to be only entrance attire, and sadly for him, the hood that’s attached to it keeps flipping up and over his face while he’s both giving and taking offence – it’s distracting for me to watch, so I’ve no idea what it must be like for him.
To be fair, Dominik hits some fantastic cruiserweight moves on Rollins which leave the Messiah stunned, and he goes for a kendo stick to try to even things back up. However, it doesn’t become a factor – and before long, Seth is back in control of this match. It’s going to be a clinic from the four-time former world champion, unless Dominik can get hold of something hard and heavy.
With Rey Mysterio standing right in front of him, Seth dissects his son and screams at him while he does it. He even goes as far as to wishbone Dominik’s fingers before bringing a chair into the ring and unfolding it, with a plan to step up and give his stomp extra height. He sets Dom up, launches into the stomp… but misses, and gets drop-toed face first into the chair! Dominik is suddenly in control – tornado DDT to Rollins for two! Rey tells Dominik to stay calm as he grabs the kendo stick and proceeds to beat fifty shades of snot out of Seth.
He goes to the top to try to press home his advantage, but Seth crotches him and hits what you’ve got to say is a very impressive superplex / Falcon Arrow combo on Dominik, but the youngster kicks out at two! Great sequence.
It’s bad news for Dom now though as Seth has the kendo stick, and he won’t be holding back from a hazing. Rollins screams at Rey to come in and save his son as he obliterates Dominik on the mat, instructing Murphy to bring a table into the ring too. That goes over to the corner, with Dom on the top turnbuckle. It looks like it could be about to be over… but no! Dominik recovers, crotches Seth on the top rope, then clamps him into a side Russian legsweep and launches both himself and his opponent through the table! Dom recovers quickly, climbs back to the top, and hits a perfect Guerrero frog splash on Rollins for two!
Sadly, it just makes Seth upset. He manages to recover from the pinfall attempt to hit a superkick on the prodigal son before destroying him with a genuinely vicious powerbomb that must have cleaned the clock of the youngster. Dominik’s chestpiece is pulled down to reveal his bare skin, and Seth proceeds to go to town on the young man with the kendo stick – it’s another bludgeoning, and there’s more to come.
Murphy has handcuffs. Oh, blimey. Handcuffs are introduced, Rollins is about to put Dominik into them… but what’s this? Rey’s wife Angie is on the ramp! She’s seen enough backstage and she’s out, but her distraction only allows Murphy to come in and hit a rising knee strike to Dominik before taking him down to the ring steps – he’s going to try to take his eye out! We’re back to the eye fetish! Why, goodness why!
Rey Mysterio finally snaps. He attacks Murphy, thumping him away from his son, but it doesn’t work for long – and after a double team, it’s Rey Mysterio that ends up in the handcuffs on the outside, attached to the middle rope. Helpless, Rey can only watch on as Rollins starts to drift up the ramp towards Angie… but Dominik is back, and Dominik is pissed.
He leaps onto Rollins, takes out Murphy, then smashes Seth all around the ring. They end up back inside, where Dominik hits the 619! He’s up top! Frog Splash to finish… ROLLINS GETS THE KNEES UP! Just when it seemed like the fairytale ending was happening, Seth is back in control. Rey is trapped and screaming for his son, reaching out to him as Rollins bounces off the ropes and hits a stomp to the back of Dominik’s head. One, two, three – it’s over.
Winner: Seth Rollins (5/5)
Hugely entertaining feud, this. Dominik knows his way around a ring, he’s willing to put his body on the line, and there’s nobody better than Rollins to be the heel he faces first. Really great stuff. All I want now is a Dominik heel turn to align himself with the Messiah’s faction… but that can come later. I’m not greedy.
Sasha Banks (c) vs Asuka
Singles Match for the Raw Women’s Championship
I think Asuka is taking this one because Bayley deliberately doesn’t interfere to help Banks when she’s in trouble, thus not repaying her favour from earlier and summarily knifing her best friend in the back.
I think this will finally be the turn we’ve all been expecting between these two for so long; Bayley won’t be able to resist the temptation of being the only Role Model with a singles championship, Banks will be overconfident against a weakened Asuka – as a story, it makes total sense to me.
I should also note that I’m writing this before the show starts, so if the first match didn’t go the way I thought, I’m going to look even sillier than usual right now…
My prediction: Asuka becomes Raw Women’s Champion
…phew, I don’t look silly just yet. The commentary team are talking up how much Asuka must be hurting from earlier, but from where I’m sitting, she looks fine – and she takes the early advantages in this match. First a knee bar, then an armbar, the Empress is all over Sasha Banks in a way I really didn’t expect!
Oh, it’s over. Asuka’s advantage is over. Standing on the apron facing the ring, Asuka gets caught by a crippling Banks sunset flip powerbomb that seems to shake the very floor underneath them – sickening from Banks! What a hit. Asuka barely makes it back into the ring to beat the ten count, but once there, she eats a kick from Banks that legit catches her right in the side of the head. If Asuka does keep my prediction train going with a win in this match, I’m not sure she’s going to remember much of it.
Somehow, she does manage to recover – locking in another knee bar on Banks, then an ankle lock, before hitting a big top-rope DDT on Banks for two. Outside, inside, missile dropkick from Asuka for another two-count! This is getting gnarly now. It’s a better match than the one against Bayley earlier, I’ve got to say. I’m on the edge of my seat over how this one is going to end.
Banks hits a double knees before missing a top-rope frog splash – both women retreat to opposite corners. They charge in, collision, Asuka lock! No, reversed into a Bank Statement! NO! Back into the Asuka lock!
Banks escapes, hip attack by Asuka, both Sasha and Bayley – who’s now on the apron – move out of the way, Asuka takes out Bayley, Banks goes for a backstabber… but misses it! ASUKA LOCK! ASUKA LOCK! Bayley is down and out! There’s nobody to save Banks! SHE TAPS! TAP OUT! ASUKA WINS!!
Winner: Asuka (6/6)
YES! I pretty much called it. Where Banks ate the hip attack to help Bayley in the first match, Bayley saved herself in this one – allowing Asuka to dodge the backstabber and recapture the Raw Women’s Championship. It’s not quite the betrayal I wanted, but nevertheless: I am on a tear.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs Randy Orton
Singles Match for the WWE Championship
I hate myself for what I’m about to do. I think Randy Orton is going to win the title tonight – there, I said it.
If you ask me, Drew should be WWE Champion forever. He’s been nothing but an amazing ambassador for WWE and the product during Covidmania, and he’s a brilliant, wonderful top guy. He shouldn’t ever lose anything.
But he’s going to. Randy has all the momentum coming into tonight, his storyline and character are more developed… he’s zooming along in the fast lane, and being Claymored into an emergency stop doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. I just feel like he’s going to win the belt so that Drew can take it back off him in front of an arena full of people once the pandemic is finally over. UGH. I hate this. I actively hope I’m wrong.
My prediction: Randy Orton
Mind games from Orton early doors as he slides out of the ring repeatedly to escape the wrath of McIntyre. He goes for two early RKOs which, for a split second, I think are actually going to hit and this is going to be done very quickly – but no. Drew reverses and escapes, and when he’s back in the ring, he’s throwing bombs at Randy in the corner before plowing through the ringpost shoulder first.
Orton takes control outside the ring. He fires Drew’s big meaty head into the ringpost before back-dropping him twice across the announce table, which doesn’t break either time! I’m not sure it was meant to, but can we have a quick moment to appreciate the sturdiest announce table in WWE history?
Orton takes control back inside the ring, hitting (among other things) his trademark ground stomps before falling victim to a knee breaker by Drew – but striking back with a kick to the knee of his own. Both men are now on semi-busted wheels. Will that play into the finish?
A deep Scottish Spinebuster sets Drew up for a figure-four leg lock, presumably as revenge for the man that Randy punted on Raw a couple of weeks ago. McIntyre seems to be bleeding slightly from his forehead, but that doesn’t play into Randy’s escape from this hold: he pulls the referee down to the mat, and while he can’t see, Orton thumbs Drew in the eye. However, McIntyre follows up with a brutal Glasgow Kiss that puts both men down for a moment. If his head wasn’t bleeding before, my life, it is now.
It’s time for a flurry of offence straight outta Ayrshire. McIntyre blocks another RKO attempt by going on the attack with two huge lariats, two overhead Bayley to bellies, then another clothesline off the top rope for two. He then perches Orton on the top, presumably looking for the Cowboy’s superplex, but ends up in the tree of woe with Orton up above him. It looks bad for the Scot, but suddenly, he does a 180 degree sit up that I can only dream about, throws Orton off the top, then hits the Futureshock DDT! DDT on Orton! One! Two! No. That would have been a shocking ending. Interestingly Drew’s bleeding seems to have stopped, but now Randy has a flash of red on his forehead instead. It could be Scottish scarlet – it certainly looks well-oxygenated.
Both men are pulling out all the stops here. Another Tuesday afternoon headbutt from Drew followed by a clothesline that takes both men outside the ring, which Orton quickly turns into his trademark draping DDT back inside. However, he waits far too long to follow up, looking for the punt – which Drew turns into a powerbomb before setting up for the Claymore! He misses! Orton goes for another RKO, Drew turns it around into a backslide! Backslide cover! One, two… THREE! That’s three! McIntyre retains with a simply lethal backslide!
Winner: Drew McIntyre (6/7)
Well, my SummerSlam streak is over, but as I said early doors – I’m glad to have been wrong. I didn’t want Drew to lose, and he hasn’t. Interesting to see where we go from here, but I’m 100% sure that this isn’t over, and Orton will take the title at some point down the line. Who would have thought a backslide was deadlier than both the Claymore and the RKO?
I don’t usually mention non-match stuff in these reviews, but can we just take a second to appreciate the advert for KEITH LEE ON RAW TOMORROW NIGHT?! Keith Lee is coming to Raw!! Yes! YES!! Ooh, I’m excited to see him make a huge splash before sinking down into midcard obscurity because nobody knows how to book him. Oh… I made myself sad.
Braun Strowman (c) vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere Match for the Universal Championship
Rightyo, I’m going with a slightly outlandish prediction for this one. I think this is going to be what Vince McMahon said we’d “never see coming” – and by the way, if I’ve got this right then I did see it coming and I expect to have a WWE writer’s job offer on my desk first thing tomorrow morning.
I think it’s going to be revealed that Vince has been puppeteering Wyatt/The Fiend all along. Don’t ask me why – I haven’t decided yet.
I also think he’s going to be behind Retribution, and they’re going to attack and distract Strowman throughout this match – along with “Sister Alexa”, who I think has a large part to play – and the end result will be that Strowman is hypnotised by Alexa into eating a Mandible Claw and relinquishing his Universal Title to the Fiend. However, I also think he’ll close the show standing behind Wyatt, Bliss, Retribution… and Mr McMahon. It’s the Corporate Ministry all over again! Let’s flippin DO this.
My prediction: The Fiend, Bray Wyatt
The Fiend starts strongly, as you’d imagine, with a very impressive Uranage to Strowman inside the ring before clubbing him with a toolbox on the outside. The Strowman Express then runs the Fiend through the guard rail, before hoisting him up and attempting a chokeslam through the announce table – BUT THE TABLE WON’T BUDGE! Wow, what a solid performance from the announce table. Someone give it an honourary title.
The match quickly turns into a classic Fiend encounter, where he pretty much eats offence for the whole match but just won’t go away. Strowman crushes him with the ring steps before hitting his running powerslam finisher – but the Fiend kicks out on two. It’s going to need a lot more than that, big man.
The two battle up to the top of the ramp and through to the back, where Strowman continues the offensive until the Fiend turns it around – slamming Braun’s head into the wall twice, then hitting Sister Abigail on the floor! Sister Abigail, so early in the match! One! Two! NO, kick out by Strowman. I mean, again, that would have been a surprisingly quick end to this match, but still – both men are hitting their stored finishers all over the shop.
Strowman’s head has a big red dent in it as the Fiend wellies him back out onto the ramp. He goes for a mandible claw as the rubble reaches ringside, but Braun blocks it – and back in the ring, Strowman hits another running powerslam for two. I always feel a bit cheated when a falls count anywhere match ends up back in the ring. Show me Mr McMahon’s office! A parking lot! The boiler room where Mick Foley lives!
The action takes a turn as Strowman leaves the prone Fiend and heads back to that toolbox from earlier, taking a Stanley knife from inside and moving back to the ring. It looks like this is going to get super dark before Braun actually starts slicing up the ring mat, taking away the covering and the thin layer of foam underneath to reveal the wooden slats that comprise the actual ring floor. Whenever I see it, it always amazes me that the men and women of pro wrestling are happy to continually smash themselves into it for our amusement.
Unfortunately for Braun, he’s taken a little too long over his impromptu arts and crafts project, and in the meantime, the Fiend is up, and staring him down.
“Why won’t you die!” Strowman screams as if that isn’t his job, and the Fiend responds with another Uranage – this time onto the exposed wood – followed by Sister Abigail on the wood too! But it’s not over yet – the Fiend gets Strowman back up for another Sister Abigail onto the exposed boards inside the ring… cover, one, two… three! Three! The Fiend wins the Universal Championship, just like that!
Winner: The Fiend, Bray Wyatt (7/8)
Blimey. I really didn’t expect that to be the finish, and to be honest, I’m feeling pretty whelmed – especially about Braun, who must be congratulated for one of the worst tactical plans in the history of no-DQ matchups. However, I’m very happy to tell you that Bray Wyatt is now a three-time WWE world champion, just like it should be.
Post match, there’s a big surprise in store. A dark figure enters the ring and spears Wyatt out of his boots – it’s Roman Reigns! We haven’t seen Reigns for months, time he’s clearly spent having his teeth done, and after a number of brutal chair shots to Strowman on the outside, he hits another crushing spear on the Fiend inside the ring, picking up the Universal title and telling the Fiend that “this has always been mine, you’re just a freak in a mask”. Very heelish words and actions from the Big Dawg – what’s in store for this week’s Smackdown? I’m genuinely looking forward to finding out!
Well, fair enough Vinny. I most certainly didn’t see that coming – what I imagined was far more stupid.
For me, SummerSlam was a decent show overall. There weren’t any truly stand-out matches – Dominik vs Rollins brought the most drama and was the one I couldn’t take my eyes away from because there was so much that could have happened. It was really well put together by a spunky young rookie and a heelish opponent at the top of his game.
Elsewhere, I thought Drew/Orton was good but with a strange finish; the two women’s title matches were good – the second was better – but both were more about angles than action; and the Universal title match was not quite what I wanted, but still a decent effort from both guys. I’m happy with the result, but the match itself really didn’t follow up the absurd but entertaining Swamp Fight these two had at Extreme Rules.
I am interested to see both Raw and Smackdown this week, and with another pay-per-view , Payback, running next weekend, I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes from here.
I’ve been Mike, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!