Bayley (C) vs. Asuka – SmackDown Women’s Championship
Not surprising that Bayley retained here considering that Bayley has been the one who is planting the seeds of discord between Sasha and herself. I’m thinking those two will be feuding over the SmackDown title sooner than later. But anyway, this was a pretty solid opener to start. Bayley and Asuka worked great together and Asuka countered some of the distraction finishes well, although it is still puzzling faces have yet to counter to that.
The constant distractions ruined what these two could have put on in a neutral environment, but the overall match was solid and I happy with what I saw. Good start. ***1/4
The Street Profits (C) def. Andrade and Angel Garza – RAW Tag Team Championships
Not really much to this one. A lot of the mystique behind the Street Profits is lost without a live crowd. This basically just amounted to your ordinary RAW tag team match. Kind of an interesting decision to have the Street Profits retain the titles here seeing how lukewarm they have been. I suppose I can’t complain too much. Decent enough, but probably better suited for the pre-show. **1/4
Mandy Rose def. Sonya Deville – No Disqualification, Loser Leaves WWE
I believe this match lasted under 10 minutes, but I think this may be the best singles match that either woman has had. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but the violence was appropriate and it was a very good sprint. As a quick aside, I really hope Sonya takes some time to recover from her ordeal. I can’t imagine how traumatic an experience it is nearly being kidnapped. Surely it has taken a toll on her mental health and it is not something to take lightly. Crazed fans are the last thing she should be worrying about right now.
Anyways, these two had great energy, and while I felt like the two could have made better use of the No DQ stipulation, it was pretty solid for what it was.
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio – Street Fight
First, let’s address some of the tiny details that I appreciated. Rollins coming out in the 1997 Halloween Havoc attire and Dominik’s attire was a call back to Mysterio’s Summerslam 2005 attire, the night where we first saw Dominik in person as a young boy. I first want to commend the efforts of Dominik Mysterio here. The dude is clearly talented and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. It might be highly possible that he gets a lot of animosity thrown his way when you consider he gets a marquee match at WWE’s second biggest show while most of the roster jerks the curtain. Nepotism aside, if you’re given an opportunity, you should take advantage of it, and Dominik did just that.
I also don’t think we should understate the work of Rollins here. His character work in this match was deliciously evil. There was one point in the match where he asked Rey if Dominik was his son and not his uncle Eddie’s. That was just brutal. Couple in that with the interactions he had with Dominik’s mom and that told me all I needed to. You have to think that the Mysterio family will have to get their revenge eventually, and maybe something at Payback is lined up. However, this match was fun to watch. The action was non-stop, Dominik looked like he belong in the ring, and the drama and emotion were pitch perfect.
While there was never a point in the match where I felt that Dominik would win, it did tell a great story. Dominik’s debut was a success. ****
Asuka def. Sasha Banks (C) – RAW Women’s Championship
Asuka and Sasha never fail to deliver a well worked match, and they did so once again here. We probably knew that Asuka was walking away with at least one of the titles, and the RAW title was the more obvious choice. That aside, the distractions weren’t really as frequent as they were in the SmackDown title match, but between the near-falls and the constant submission reversals, this was a very good match that I thought would have been well received in front of a live crowd. ***1/2
Drew McIntyre (C) def. Randy Orton – WWE Championship
I predicted that Orton would enter September with the WWE Championship, but wouldn’t win the title at Summerslam, and I was right. Drew needed to defeat Orton to at least cement his title run and validate his reign so far. Randy certainly doesn’t need to win this title at this very moment, and despite the hot run that he’s been on, he could look strong in defeat and I’m glad that WWE did so here. Instead having Orton lose decisively and strongly via a Claymore, Drew caught Orton by surprise and rolled him up. That was ideal booking. You have Drew defeat Orton, and give Orton a reason to want a rematch, which will probably take place at Payback.
The match was maybe Drew’s best of his title run so far. It had such great intensity and great pacing throughout. Your worry about Orton falling into the formula of working a slow, plodding match with an endless procession of foot stomps and chin locks, but he kept the action going great here and forced Drew to match his physicality. I also liked that they veered away from the typical finisher kick-out fest you will see in WWE Title matches. Neither Orton or McIntyre hit their signature finishers, and it featured more of their wrestling abilities here. This feud isn’t over, and Orton is definitely getting a rematch, and will probably win that one. But as for now, this was a great effort by both men, who made each other look strong. ****
The Fiend def. Braun Strowman (C) – Universal Championship (Falls Count Anywhere)
A decent brawl for this main event, although I quickly get bored watching two big men crawling around an arena. What made this different than the Falls Count Anywhere match with Rollins that The Fiend had at Crown Jewel last year was that Seth just hit an endless supply of finishers and there didn’t seem to be any end in sight. This was at least somewhat evenly matched and they just kept going, so I guess I can deal with that.
Now, to address the return of Roman Reigns. Summerslam’s tag line was that we would never see it coming, and it looks like Roman’s return was what the slogan was all about. It’s definitely cool to see him back in action and that he’s healthy, so that’s good at least. And honestly I’m ready to see new faces in the Universal Title picture, because Strowman and Fiend was just not doing it for me. Honestly, just seeing these two men feud for nearly four months was a chore. At least Roman freshens up the scene a bit. Anyway, decent brawl to end the show, although it was a tad underwhelming. ***