Summerslam 2018 Review

Kick off show:

Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega v Rusev & Lana

First of all I should admit Lana has improved in the ring. It was clear to see in this match. Also FYI No Aiden English during the match. He did make a very brief backstage appearance just before in a short segment with Lana and Rusev.

The Barclays Centre is half empty. This makes me sad.

This has been all Almas v Rusev so far. Which is good. With Almas well on top.

During a dual screen with a Lesnar – Roman promotional video Vega pulled down Lana so Rusev couldn’t tag her in.

Rusev using his strength to push Almas off the top.

Lana is in…oh boy… she’s in charge vs Vega, even getting a couple of nearfalls. Until Vega tripped Lana face first into the turnbuckle. Rusev and Almas brawl outside, eventually after Lana slapped Almas, Vega came from behind Lana and pinned her with her feet on the ropes. However as she was so far from the ropes she had to rush to do the spot but thankfully just had her feet on the ropes by the count of 3.

WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT!?!?!

*

Charlie Caruso interviews Paul Heyman backstage… he essentially tells her Brock will get rid of Roman tonight. That he will take down Cormier and beat Roman up too. He was decent on mic as per. Heyman once again claiming to have spoilers. All this promo did was convince me Brock is going to lose.

The 3 gms are backstage. Chatting a whole lot of nothing tbh promoting the show. Zzzzzz……………………….. with Corbin coming in to “banter” with Kurt. Paige and Drake banter him off. Again a whole lot of not much substance tbh.

Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak v Cedric Alexander (C)

Gulak already trying to ‘wrestle’ Alexander to no evail. Cedric using his speed to escape a potential Gu-lock with a dropkick.

Gulak with a hard foot to Cedric before doing a variation of a knee breaker. Gulak in charge now.

Gulak has a rest hold on as they do another dual screen to advertise Joe vs AJ… In the meantime Gulak still in charge.

Crowd, albeit half full, is sooooo dead rn.

Gulak has Cedric in a form of a gorey especiale (I’ve absolutely no idea how to spell what Nigel called it but it was a submission of some form).

Alexander gets in some offence but his neck, still hurting from Gulak’s submission, means he can’t make most of his advantage.

After Cedric goes HAM on Gulak with strikes etc… he flies over the ropes to the outside onto Gulak.

Nigel calls Cedric the very best in the world under 205 pounds… fyi Ricochet is 195… just saying…

Gulak pushes Cedric off the top rope, Gulak has the Gu-lock on Cedric using the ropes for support to damage Cedric’s neck even more. Only a 2 count after mind.

Gulak really has a neck hold locked in but Cedric manages to strike his way out with a big back elbow strike.

Some good chain wrestling from both, lots of nearfalls… eventually after a load of roll up attempts Cedric wins.

I’ve seen a good 20 matches in my time watching 205 live that were way better than that.

**

Samoa Joe does an interview with the panel. And ofc he’s awesome.

Raw Tag Team Championship: ‘The Revival’ v ‘The B Team’ (C)

Revival shatter machine Axel about 20 seconds in. Although he wasn’t the legal guy, Dallas is hurt off a dragon screw. Revival dominating. Good good.

Wider takes out Axel again as he finally goes to get on the apron again. I’ve a terrible feeling he may come in and win the match eventually… Revival still methodically destroy Bo… until he hits a neckbreaker off the rope on Wilder and he eventually finally gets the hot tag to Axel. Dawson is in now too…

Dawson has Axel pinned, but after being hit by Wilder snapping Dallas’ neck on the top rope & he fell backwards into the pin attempt into them and it rolls it over and somehow B team win and retain. FML.

3/4 * (0.75 stars)

Alexa Bliss blows off Caruso who tried to interview her

From the pre show it seems Lesnar vs Roman is going on last. And from what they’re saying I’m so convinced now Roman wins.

MAIN SHOW:

Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose v Dolph Ziggler (C) w/Drew McIntyre

A brilliant show opener. A match that had everything. Superb stuff. Towards the end in particular it was spectacular. Rollins got the fairly suprising win with a superkick followed by the Curb Stomp after Dean Ambrose stopped Drew McIntyre from interfering , giving him a Dirty Deeds on the floor. Seth was busted open at some point towards the end, not sure if it was when he went into a turnbuckle. Highlight of the match though was an Invernted suplex into a sidewalk slam by Seth which was AWESOME. Crowd popped big towards end when Rollins won, although we DID NOT get a heel turn from Dean afterwards.

**** 1/2

The Bella Twins did a backstage interview. They’re teasing being at Evolution… hmm… and also said they’ll be front row for Ronda later …

Smackdown Tag Team Championship: ‘The New Day’ (Big E & Xavier Woods w/Kofi Kingston) v ‘The Bludgeon Brothers’ (Harper & Rowan) (C)

New Day win by DQ. Some great moves throughout this one, including a great lookig elbow frop from Xavier to the outside off the top rope. It looked like New Day would hit their finish until Rowan came in and used the mallet. Harper did the same after the match. A fine match kinda ruined by a lame finish. Sets up a rematch though for sure.

*** 1/2

MITB Briefcase: Kevin Owens v Braun Strowman (H)

Braun squashes KO in a matter of minutes. Ok

N/A

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch v Charlotte Flair v Carmella (C)

In the best match of Carmella’s career the least likely of the 3 to win won.

Becky was super super over. A good good good match. For the finish Becky had Carmella in the dis-armher until Charlotte hit the natural selection on Becky for the win. CHARLOTTE NEW SD WOMEN’S CHAMPION!

*** 3/4

After the match after initially appearing to congratulate her friend Becky then attacks her. Crowd go wild, Charlotte devastated and actually in tears after the attack.

WWE Championship: Samoa Joe v AJ Styles (C)

An awesome match ends in dq. This was great. Both men executed their A game. Highlights included Joe doing a tope as well as kicking out of a Styles clash. He even teased doing a Muscle Buster! AJ during the Styles Clash seemed to lose control of Joe before locking his 2nd arm before the drop, so instead hit pretty much a 1 armed move which I admired the quick thinking.

Towards the end Joe absolutely launched Styles into the Steel Steps which busted Styles open. AJ’s Wife and Daughter (as Joe referred to on mic at the start of the match and again here) were sat in the crowd. And then Joe got the heat when stood on the announce table, he got the mic again and said “Hey Wendy, I made you a promise, Daddy was coming home. It looks like he’s not but I’ll be your new Daddy!” Crowd popped big for this as AJ snapped;

He tackled Joe off the table and then charged at him through the barricade and eventually Styles was DQd after attacking Joe with a chair. Eventually AJ went into the crowd to see to his wife and daughter, and although after she intially appeared reluctant to see him (as he was bleeding) Styles hugged his daughter and walked off through the crowd with his family. Whrn he marched to the back after Samoa Joe looked very angry indeed! Joe solidified his place as the best talker in the company. And as a proper heel asshole challenger.

This set up the rematch I’m almost certain in Hell In a Cell (next ppv) for sure.

**** 1/2

Elias came out for his “performance”. But after his initial usual stuff he went to play his guitar and it snapped in half! He was angry and messed up his ‘set’. And that was it. No interference, little reference after it by commentary. Why? Elias with an f bomb here too.

Miz backstage with B Team. Claims to them he’ll beat Bryan. B Team say B stands for “Bryan” etc…

The Miz v Daniel Bryan

OKish match. Finish when Maryse (sat in crowd) handed Miz brass nucks… Miz hit him. 123 Miz WINS! This (considering its likely to be the first in a series) was a real fine match story wise. Lots of imitations of Bryan by Miz troughout, fairly even match with Daniel Bryan kicking out of a Skull Crushing Finale also. Although once again Miz seemed to outsmart Bryan and even got some (very low level) cheers at the finish.

*** 1/2

‘Constable’ Baron Corbin v DEMON FINN BALOR

In a complete suprise Finn came out as the Demon (not seen since TLC in October 2017). The live crowd went absolutely wild during the red light flashing of the early part of the entrance as this suggested the Demon. Finn’s paint looked absolutely fantastic. Everyone was losing their mind and Corbin was selling it great (looking terrified). If you were going to return the Demon (as a suprise) then it was the right way to go. Demon Balor won in 86 seconds and suddenly feels like a megastar again (this character certainly does). Hopefully it’s kept up somehow…

N/A

Dbryan and Brie backstage. Bryan is PISSED at losing as Brie tries to pep talk him.

United States Championship: Jeff Hardy v Shinsuke Nakamura (C)

Nakamura wins a fairly short-ish but fun match. Jeff had both a tOFf and also a Swanton. He went for a Swanton on Nakamura on the apron but Shinsuke moved. It was horrific to see. Nakamura eventually hitting a Kinshasa for the win.

** 3/4

After the match Orton comes down, teases attacking Jeff, then walks back. Jeff applauds crowd. I presume Orton will go back face to feud with Nakamura and Jeff will go away to heal.

Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey v Alexa Bliss (C)

After the pre-match video Natalya came out wearing her Dad’s old jacket. She was sat ringside for the match. It was as if she was guest of honour for it. I should also mention that throughout the show a number of superstars (Carmella, Bliss, AJ, Charlotte off the top of my head) wore some form of pink/purple attire in tribute/support of Nattie and her Father which was legitimately a lovely touch.

Bliss and Rousey (who MARCHED to the ring) then came out as The Bellas were indeed at ringside. In the early part of the match Bliss ran away from Ronda, eventually Ronda (who really played up to the crowd here, way more than she has done before) squashed Bliss with the tap out off the armbar after a series of Judo throws and spinning-Fireman’s carries for the win. Once again a match on this show was short but this one needed to be.

After the match Natalya came in and hugged Rousey. Then The Bellas came in (and got booed), they joined in the celebrations, and Ronda also went into the crowd to celebrate with her husband. There was no turn or any hint of future angles here, which given Natalya was involved it was the ethical thing to do. Ronda and Natalya celebrated on the ramp to end with.

Match was perfect for what it was, a short glorified squash match.

N/A

Universal Championship: Roman Reigns v Brock Lesnar (C) w/Paul Heyman

Roman and Lesnar come to the ring (Roman whilst not a huge ovation didn’t get the worst reaction I’ve ever heard him get, Brock’s reaction seemed mixed but more boos than cheers). Heyman does his introduction for Brock, when Braun Strowman comes to the ring and essential outlines that he will stand ringside for the match, then cash in on the winner (he was putting across how he wouldn’t sneak up on someone to cash in, he’d do it face to face instead).

Roman hits a series of Superman Punches and Spears as the bell rings, Brock then took Roman to Suplex City and also countered Roman’s spears with Gullotine holds.

Roman would power up and slam Lesnar each time before Brock sidestepped out the way of a Roman Spear and he went flying into Strowman on the outside with an inadvertently tope suicida.

Brock then comes to the outside but attacks Braun instead of Roman with an F5, before launching Braun’s MITB case to the very top of the entrance ramp. Lesnar I THINK called Braun a “Fucking Son of a Bitch” at one point too. Something was definitely dubbed out and my limited lip reading skills picked up that.

Brock got back in the ring, still holding a chair he had just attacked Braun with… but immediately Roman hits the Spear… 1 2 3!!!

FINALLY!!! ROMAN REIGNS HAS PINNED BROCK LESNAR! ROMAN REIGNS IS THE NEW UNIVERSAL CHAMPION!

Crowd tried at times to shit on this but the action with Lesnar on Strowman quickly stopped that at points.

This was maybe the shortest ppv main event since Goldberg v Lesnar Survivor Series 2016. And before that who knows how long. Also should be noted there was no confetti or anything, the show went off the air unusually soon after the finish. Which tbh may have been for the best.

When Roman won me and those I was watching with all cheered wildly. Mostly out of relief that FINALLY it had happened.

And I’ll whisper this… but I’m actually really pleased for Roman after everything that has gone on before this moment. Whatever happens now he has him pinning Lesnar to win the title forever.

Difficult to grade tbh.

***

Overall this was like Wrestlemania in that it was Eventful and LONG . But where it differed was that the sustained momentum from the beginning of the main show didn’t dramatically die anywhere. There was a lot of crowd pleasing moments, really good matches, wonderful storytelling and BIG historic moments. Many many MANY moments. And whilst some will bemoan this show as SQUASHMATCHSLAM, 3/3 roll up wins on the kick off show, and 2 DQ finishes they all individually made most sense for me.

This was by far the best WWE PPV of the year so far, which given how long it was is impressive.

Josh.

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