Becky Lynch (C) def. Natalya – RAW Women’s Championship (Submission Match)
Don’t know about you, but that was the best match involving Natalya I can remember in the longest time. While this wasn’t over-the top spectacular, this was a very hard-worked, well done match to open the show. I loved Natalya and Becky countering each other’s moves, I like the teases that Becky may tap, and I liked how wisely they used their surroundings to weaken their opponent’s limbs.
This may be nitpicky, but it is worth mentioning that the Sharpshooter is designed to put strain on the back and not on the legs, and Becky was selling Nattie’s offense as though she couldn’t walk. If Natalya’s signature submission was the Figure Four, I’d get it. But she should have been clutching her lower back instead of limping around. That aside, a very solid opener. ***1/2
Goldberg def. Dolph Ziggler
This was what it was, and I’m not sure if anyone was reasonably expecting anything else. I will say that those two superkicks were pretty well sold by Goldberg. It was short, sweet and to the point. Did this erase the memory of Goldberg’s trainwreck against Undertaker at Super Showdown? Certainly not. But if it erased that nasty taste out of Goldberg’s mouth, then I suppose it was a success. I will say that the post match bit was good for while, but ultimately a bit overdone. Like, we get it. Ziggler says a lot of nonsense and he sucks. One spear and a Jackhammer is all I need. Match obviously gets no rating.
AJ Styles (C) def. Ricochet – United States Championship
I’d just like to say I found it interesting that Ricochet didn’t have a contingency plan in place to deal with Gallows and Anderson’s interference. I mean, what did he think was going to happen? He lost the title because they interfered, and he didn’t go into the match with a different approach and the same result happened. In addition, I truly believe that Ricochet could have used more vibrainium, as it appears that the Black Panther’s influence didn’t matter in the long run.
All in all, this was another very good match in a series of them between these two. The in-ring work is always crisp and the spots always seem organic, just like Ricochet using Gallows and Anderson as springboards in order to perform a hurricanrana.
I felt the middle portion of the match could have been a bit more engaging. The frequency with which these two have faced off against each other within the past month or so has desentized me to some of their awesomeness. What also hurt the match was that it never truly felt like Ricochet had a chance. He spent most of the match selling the leg and was essentially fighting 3 people at once. He never really took command for an extended period and it made the finish, as clever as it was, a bit anti-climatic.
The finish was never in question and there is a lot to like between these two when they are in the ring. But I think they need a break from each other. ***1/2
Bayley (C) def. Ember Moon – Smackdown Women’s Championship
I don’t know about this one. This just kind of felt like a run of the mill match. This also showcased why making characters look credible is so important. I never felt that Ember was going to defeat Bayley. Why? Look at her the past month. She got a 30 second fluke roll up win over Charlotte, but only after Bayley came out to distract her. She then took a clean loss to Alexa Bliss in a tag team match. Then, Natalya, who isn’t even on Smackdown, heads to the blue brand and has the Sharpshooter locked in forever until Bayley comes for the save.
Do you understand? Ember has only been in a safe space when Bayley, HER OPPONENT has been there to save her. Then, at Summerslam, they have about as regular a match as you can get, and Bayley wins with little difficulty. The match was fine, but there was little heat or intensity behind this match, and the quality of their bout fit the booking this match got. **1/2
Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon
I seriously don’t understand how Owens couldn’t have foreseen Shane trying to pull something like having Elias in his corner. That way, the match wouldn’t have been more overbooked than it should. It helps that the crowd was buying the match because Owens is representing team Canada and Shane is just annoying, but I didn’t really like this match. There was way too much nonsense in between and there was little flow.
In addition, while Kevin winning was quite clearly the right choice, what does this do about Shane? It’s not like he’s going anywhere. He’s a McMahon. He can still arrive at Smackdown and be annoying as he wants. So ultimately, all Kevin Owens won was the opportunity to remain on the show to deal with Shane’s antics a bit longer. We shouldn’t have to jump through so many hurdles to see Shane lose a match in 2019, but here we are regardless. Satisfying as seeing him lose was, it was just a bit too much drama to me. **
Charlotte Flair def. Trish Stratus
Gotta give it to the current 43 year old mother. Trish brought her working boots to Summerslam. While she obviously isn’t as nimble as she used to be, she was more than up to the challenge to make Flair look good. We all know that this match was going to be a symbolic passing of the torch of sorts, so the real question in this match was going to be how well Trish would perform after being away from the ring for so long.
Overall, I loved how the match gradually increased in intensity and how Trish’s fighting spirit kept Charlotte in a sour mood. Flair had the pressure constantly put on her and Trish maintained that same pressure throughout the match. The counters and the counters to the counters were all great. I especially liked how Trish put the Figure Eight on Charlotte (though to Corey Graves’ credit, he pointed out that Trish’s shoulders were on the mat and the referee should have been counting).
Regardless of such, I think this was the most fun match to watch for the night so far. Props to Trish for showing up, and if this was truly her final match, she went out with a bang. ***3/4
Kofi Kingston (C) vs. Randy Orton – WWE Championship (No Contest)
Last year’s WWE Championship match ended in a disqualification because AJ Styles was kicking Samoa Joe’s butt too hard for coming after his family. This year’s Summerslam’s WWE Championship match ends in a double countout after Orton comes after Kofi’s family? What the hell is going on here? Can I say that Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton’s match was actively bad? Absolutely not. It was fine for what it was. But can I say that I…enjoyed it? Not necessarily.