This review is up later than usual because I originally watched the show at a bar with friends, which isn't the most reliable atmosphere for reviewing purposes, so I watched the show again clear headed. 12 hours of total Summerslam viewing, I must be mad.
Kickoff: The Miz & The Miztourage vs Jason Jordan & The Hardy Boyz
Well this match started about 25 minutes into the kickoff show and there were essentially no fans in the arena as they were still queuing to get in. Nothing of note happened here and I can't blame the wrestlers, especially veterans like Miz and the Hardys, for going through the motions. **
Kickoff: Cruiserweight Title - Akira Tozawa vs Neville
Neville has some fetching new white gear. I don't really understand what they were hoping to accomplish here. If they were going to put the title straight back on Neville then they might as well have not had him lose it in the first place. Tozawa gained nothing from the reign and Neville's 8 month run came to an end for no reason. Poor booking. The match itself was good but not up the standard of their Raw encounter. Neville won with a Red Arrow to the back of Tozawa. ***
Elias plays a concert for the good people of New York. He runs down Brooklyn and they ask for an encore. He obliges and runs them down some more. Good stuff.
Kickoff: Smackdown Tag Team Titles - New Day vs Usos
Steal the show at Battleground, end up on the kickoff show for Summerslam. Way to reward your talent WWE. Big E comes out wearing a cape with a big E on the back. Tremendous. This match was probably better than their match at Battleground. New Day is represented by it's best combination, Big E and Xavier Woods. New Day busts out a whole bunch of new moves here including a uranage/backcracker combination that looked great. Not to be outdone the Usos hit a crazy looking double team samoan drop from the ring to the floor. The second half of this match is just spectacular with some wonderful near falls that are helped by the crowd being fully invested in the action. This feud has been a highlight of what has been a weak few months for the WWE. I make no apologies for how much I loved this match and if they continue to keep putting on matches of this quality I will be a very happy man. ****1/2
John Cena vs Baron Corbin
This went pretty much as I expected. Corbin has clearly irked someone backstage and he is paying for it. The match was solid but no better than that. It was the sort of 10 minute match that you would see on Smackdown on any given week. Cena won after making his typical comeback. **1/2
Smackdown Women's Title - Naomi vs Natalya
This was a perfectly fine match. It's not going to blow anyone away but it served it's purpose well and the wrestling was solid. Natalya picked up her second title in 10 years which is absurd really. Hopefully she takes that glowing shit off it. ***
Enzo Amore Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage - Big Show vs Big Cass
Well this was every bit as terrible as it looked on paper. Enzo dances when he is locked in the cage, like the world's lowest quality strip club. He even strips down to his shorts and lubes up to escape the cage. He then gets his face kicked in immediately. Cass hits two big boots and the Empire Elbow to pick up the win. All around awfulness going on here. The solo career of Big Cass has been a train wreck so far. DUD
Randy Orton vs Rusev
Rusev attacks before the bell, they get back in the ring, the bell rings, RKO, Orton wins. 3 seconds. What. The. Fuck! There have been numerous occasions during this year that I have been bewildered by the booking in WWE but nothing has made me so fucking angry as this. Orton has been awful this year and is as boring as it gets. Rusev, on the other hand, has charisma in spades and is good in the ring. Horrendous, short sighted, moronic booking. DUD
Raw Women's Title - Alexa Bliss vs Sasha Banks
Much like the Smackdown women's title match, this was a good match, albeit one you won't remember much from. They started off with a gritty strike exchange, which felt different to any other women's match. Alexa used the apron skirt to trip up Sasha in a nice spot. The finish kind of came out of nowhere, which hurt the match slightly. I feel like this would have been better on a show with less matches on it as they would have more room to breathe. ***
Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt
Balor is in demon form so he is definitely going to win. He makes his entrance, complete with interpretive dance. He is also looking more like Mumm-Ra than ever before.
This match started off promisingly enough but it stumbled when Wyatt took control. I have completely shut off when it comes to Wyatt, he isn't bad but I just can't bring myself to care anymore. He bores me and he could do with an extended break, coming back refreshed in 6 months or so. **1/2
Raw Tag Team Titles - Sheamus & Cesaro vs Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins
Who would think that tag team wrestling would be the WWE's saving grace? This started off solidly enough but the turning point was a strange one. The crowd were throwing a beach ball around but Cesaro is having none of that shit and goes and takes it from the crowd and tears it in half. From that moment on the crowd are fully invested. All four of the men bust their ass too, putting on a great match. I always thought that Rollins & Ambrose would win but they created enough drama and enough good near falls for me to believe that the champs might retain. The finish saw Rollins hit a springboard hurricanrana on Cesaro that sent him into Sheamus allowing the faces to hit the ripcord knee and Dirty Deeds for the win. ****
US Title - AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens (Special Referee Shane McMahon)
This has been a pretty disappointing feud so far, mostly because of some dodgy finishes. This match was the best of the feud but it still didn't hit the heights that these are capable of because it was hamstrung by being more about Shane (with his daft Shane O'Mac branded referee shirt) and Owens than it was about the US Title. At the heart of it it is still a very good match between two great wrestlers and parts of this match are top notch. Owens chatting shit to Shane was great with the best line being 'You fall off buildings but you can't get up to make a count?'. There were a couple of misjudgments on moves too, one of which was expertly covered up by Styles. Weird one to rate really as it was at various times fantastic and pretty annoying. Fuck it. ***1/2
WWE Title - Jinder Mahal vs Shinsuke Nakamura
If you have seen one Jinder Mahal match you have seen them all. Basic match structure, boring heat segment, face comeback, Singh brothers interference, Khallas, pin. This is exactly how this match went too. I can't state this strongly enough but the Nakamura we get in WWE is not the Nakamura I was such a fan of in New Japan and at least some of that has to be put on Nakamura. Having said that, the finish here was shit. Even if he was going to lose he should have kicked out of the Khallas once. As it is he is just like anyone else. I was willing to give Jinder a chance as champion but it hasn't been good at all. This was a poor match. *
Universal Title - Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman vs Samoa Joe
Fuck yes! Big bastards beating the living shit out of each other. I was pumped for this heading in and it didn't disappoint. Every man gets their chance to shine but it is Braun who comes out of this looking like a massive star. He didn't win but that honestly doesn't matter. He was amazing. They waste absolutely no time getting to it. They all rush each other at the bell before Brock hits some suplexes. They head outside and Reigns spears Lesnar through the barricade. Joe then hits a uranage to Reigns on the edge of the announce table only to be bodychecked over said table by Braun. Braun then powerslams Lesnar through one of the announce tables. Joe hits a suicide dive on Reigns and they brawl but Braun isn't happy about not being involved so he throws a chair at them. Wonderful. Lesnar gets up so Braun powerslams him through another announce table then flips over the third announce table onto Lesnar. Braun is immense. Lesnar gets taken out on a stretcher. Reigns uses the steel steps on Braun, busting him open by his ear. They continue to throw bombs at each other until Lesnar makes his inevitable return. Brock heads straight for Braun, takes him down and lays in the blows. From there we move into the finishing stretch of the match with everyone hitting big moves and finishers galore with every pin attempt being broken up by one of the other competitors. In the end there are just Reigns and Lesnar in the ring. Reigns goes for a spear but Lesnar counters it into an F5 and retains his title. This was 20 minutes of fan-fucking-tastic violence and the smile didn't leave my face for the entire match. I loved this, match of the night for me. It was also nice to see Reigns take the fall as I was expecting it to be Samoa Joe. ****1/2
Overall Grade - ?
How in the world am I meant to grade a show like this? It was at times fantastic, woeful, boring, hilarious and stupid. Three matches of ****+ quality and three of * or DUD quality. Tag wrestling and hosses are the pinnacle of WWE apparently. Having shows this long doesn't really help anyone out and if they had cut some of the lesser matches from the card this would have been a far better show.