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WWE SummerSlam 2020
- Presented on the WWE Network on August 23rd, 2020 from the THUNDER DOME in Orlando, FL. The visual of the mega-zoom call in the audience is... something. I don't like it, but it's not nearly as bad as I anticipated. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, and Samoa Joe is our revolving door of commentators for tonight, depending on which brand is represented. Quick rant: WWE cut somewhere between 20-25 wrestlers, allegedly for money saving purposes, but spent half-a-million to lease the building for 2-months, and an ungodly amount on pyro, which was previously deemed too expensive to use for about 4-5 years. I know, I'm calling a wrestling/entertainment company hypocrites, big shocker.
- Apollo Crews successfully defended the U.S. Championship against MVP on the Kickoff Show. I'd make a joke about MVP being a regular in 2020, but to my knowledge, he hasn't been a negative force on Raw, so I'll just go with "Seriously, MVP is back in 2020. What a whacky year."
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship Match:
Bayley (c) (w/ Sasha Banks) vs. Asuka:
Asuka is in the enviable(?) position of challenging for BOTH main roster Championships on the same night. Bayley feels like she's held the gold forever, and after some research, she's held it for almost a year, and almost all of the last 16-months save for a 5-day reign from Charlotte. Bayley is also co-holder of the Tag Titles with Sasha, holder of the Raw Women's Title. Lockup and Asuka quickly goes to work on the arm. Crisscross and she meets Bayley in mid-air with a dropkick to the sternum. She unloads with kicks to the chest but misses a sliding boot. She regains position, taking Bayley to the canvas with an Octopus stretch, but unfortunately the momentum rolls Bayley safely to the ropes. Asuka with a baseball slide to clip the ankle and follows with the hip attack, sending Bayley to the floor. Asuka follows, coming off the steps with a DDT! Back inside, Asuka with the first pin attempt for a two-count. Bayley turns things around, hanging Asuka up across the top rope for two. Snap suplex for two. She slows it down with a chin-lock, giving her the opportunity to trash talk Michael Cole. Can Kevin Dunn stay on ONE CAMERA ANGLE FOR LONGER THAN 2-SECONDS? Asuka throws kicks but Bayley cuts her off with the Bayley-to-Belly for a near-fall. Asuka fights out of the corner and surprises Bayley with a rolling cradle for two. Asuka comes off the ropes with a pair of shoulder tackles, tosses Bayley to the corner, and connects with the hip attack. Hip toss into a knee strike, followed by a release German Suplex and another hip attack for two. They take the fight to the apron, with Bayley catching Asuka and slamming the knee down on the apron. Back inside, Bayley clips the knee for two. Bayley with a modified Indian Death Lock, but Asuka escapes. Bayley blocks a trap-German but runs into a Code Breaker for two. Asuka with the climb to the top, but the missile dropkick is countered with a knee bar. Bayley with a sunset flip into the turnbuckles. She goes high risk herself and the flying elbow is countered with the cross arm breaker. Asuka takes a shot at Sasha as the action spills out of the ring. Sasha with the distraction, allowing Bayley to roll Asuka up for two. Sasha takes the hip attack for Bayley, allowing her to cradle Asuka for three at 11:36. Post-match, Sasha rushes Asuka and they do a light beat down to soften her up further for the match later in the night. The finish seemed a bit off, doing what was basically the same spot twice, but a really good match with minimal lapses of action. ***1/2
- Highlight package for RETRIBUTION because the group hijacking shows get videos devoted entirely to them. Then we don't see them the rest of the night.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match:
The Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega):
Kevin Owens joins the table to call the action. The Profits have held the gold for most of 2020, and it feels like Andrade is just being wasted at this point. The did a weird segment a few weeks back where Montez Ford may or may not have been poisoned, but it doesn't seem to factor into anything since. I guess Bianca Belair isn't with the Profits anymore, as she's become a regular fixture on "Main Event" (yes, that show still exists). Ford and Andrade start. Ford grabs a waist-lock and pounds on the back. Andrade rocks him with an elbow and knee to the midsection. Whip and Ford with a big flip over the back of Andrade before hitting a diving clothesline. He takes Andrade off the ropes with a Franken-Steiner and sends him to the floor with a clothesline. Garza runs in and gets caught with a flap jack. Ford isn't done, going for a tope con hilo, but he's caught and slammed on the arena floor. Back inside, Andrade with boots to the face. Garza with a basement dropkick, knocking Ford out of the ring. Back inside, Garza grabs an arm bar. Ford fights out of the corner with rights, but Garza dropkicks the knee and finally rips off his warm-up pants. Andrade with the hanging arm bar as the challengers continue to punish the arm. Ford isn't the smallest man in the world, but it looks like he's being rag-dolled on a lot of spots. Garza catches Ford in a tree-of-woe and nails a running kick to the face. Andrade with the assisted double stomp from the top for two. Ford flips out of an atomic drop and nails Andrade with an enzuigiri. Angelo Dawkins in for the first time, hitting Andrade with clotheslines and a diving elbow. 360 avalanche into the corner, but Andrade comes back with a rolling elbow. Dawkins has enough to nail Andrade off the ropes with a spear, but he's slow to get up as well. Ford comes in with a flying body press but Garza rolls through for two. Garza ducks an enzuigiri and drops a knee on the back of the head for two. A Super-Kick knocks Ford into Vega on the apron. Andrade goes to check on her, leaving Garza alone. Dawkins with the Cash-Out spine0-buster and Ford with a twisting splash to retain at 7:51. This felt like Garza and Andrade's match to win, but Vega hopping on the apron was the only mistake the Profits needed to pull some magic out of their cup. ***
No Disqualification; Loser Leaves WWE Match:
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville:
This one has been brewing for months, when it was revealed Sonya sabotaged Mandy and Otis' Valentine's Day date, and things reached a fever pitch when Sonya assaulted Mandy and cut off some of her hair. This was originally intended to be hair-vs-hair, but then real life got in the way, when a crazed fan attempted armed kidnapping at Sonya's (real name Daria Berenato) home. Just a scary situation and thankfully everyone (including Mandy Rose, who was there that night) wasn't harmed. No messing around from Mandy, opting for a clear path to the ring instead of the usual showboating. Mandy quickly goes for the jumping knee strike, but Sonya rolls her up for two. They take it to the floor, with Sonya unloading with knees. Mandy fights her off, sending Sonya into the barricade and the ring steps. Mandy with a suplex onto the ramp before sending Sonya into the post. Another throw into the barricade and Mandy dives off the commentator's table with a clothesline. Mandy pulls a table from under the ring and has a bit of a struggle getting it together. Sonya with time to recover, grabs a chair and bashes Mandy across the midsection. Back in the ring, Sonya with kicks to the chest, followed by a sliding knee for two. Mandy catches a boot and takes Sonya down for some quick ground-n-pound. Sonya blocks the running knee again and grabs a Dragon sleeper. Mandy rolls through, only for Sonya to capture her in a triangle choke, only letting go to avoid a stack-up pin attempt. Mandy fires back from some trash talk and nails Sonya in mid-air with a knee for two. Mandy follows Sonya out of the ring and slides chairs across the table, attempting to take Sonya's head off. Back inside, they go through a series of counters until Mandy hits the knee. Mandy with a second knee strike. Three knee strikes. Mandy with the double-under-hook face-buster and a fourth knee strike finishes Sonya at 10:03. Post-match, Otis (Mr. Money in the Bank) and Mandy celebrate with attempted caterpillars. Good match, and the real question is how long until they do the storyline where Mandy demands Sonya be reinstated. ***
Dominik Mysterio (w/ Rey Mysterio) vs. Seth Rollins (w/ Murphy):
As I'm sure everyone knows, Rollins "took out" Rey Mysterio's eye at Extreme Rules
, and Dominik is on the quest to defend his family's honor, including having his body torn apart by approximately 30 shots from a kendo stick. Just for the sake of being a jerk, Rollins is wearing gear meant to resembles Rey's from Halloween Havoc '97. How weird is it to think back to 2005 when Dominik was a kid, used as a storyline crutch, and now he's making his in-ring debut at the biggest party of the summer. Rollins goes for a waist-lock takedown and paint-brushes Dominik to prove a point. More chain-wrestling from Rollins, show-boating against a rookie. Seth offers himself up and easily escapes a side headlock. Dominik throws rights but is shut down with a knee to the midsection. Crisscross and Dominik with a Lucha-style arm drag. Dominik with two more deep arm drags and some taunting of his own. Rollins cuts the crap, throwing haymakers and stomping Dominik in the corner. Murphy passes Seth a kendo stick, but that buys Dominik time to recover and nail Rollins with a dropkick. He gives chase to Rollins, kendo stick in hand, but Rollins takes advantage of the over-aggressive efforts and disarms him. Seth sends Dominik from corner to corner and throws him with a snap suplex. Dominik tries to take advantage of Seth's arrogance but is quickly cut off with a sling-blade. Seth continues to taunt Rey at ringside while he treats Dominik like an afterthought. Dominik avoids an elevated Curb Stomp and throws rights and lefts, backing Seth up. Rollins attempts a Buckle Bomb, but Dominik throws him into the corner with a hurricanrana. Dominik with a Tornado DDT for a near-fall.
Dominik grabs the kendo stick and starts lighting up Rollins, smashing the stick into pieces in the process. He makes the climb to the top rope but Rollins straddles him across the turnbuckle. Dominik blocks the super-plex, pushing Seth to the canvas. Rollins pops right up, leaps to the top rope, and hits the combo super-plex and Falcon Arrow for two. Rollins calls for more kendo sticks as we see the wounds across his back. He returns fire, daring Rey to come in and save his son. Rollins calls for a table as the punishment continues. He straddles Dominik across the top turnbuckle with the stick in hand. Dominik surprises Seth with a low strike and hits the White Russian leg sweep through the table! Dominik climbs again and hits a frog splash for two. Dominik fetches a chair, finally seeming like he's in a position of power. He tosses the chair in the ring, but Rollins intercepts, hits Dominik with a Super-Kick, and plants him with a Powerbomb. Rollins removes the ring gear from Dominik's chest and goes back to tearing Dominik up with the kendo stick. Murphy passes handcuffs to Rollins, and it doesn't take much imagination to see where we go from here. He drags Dominik to the ropes, taunting Rey like a Super Villain. Rey's wife comes out, but Rey cuts her off. Dominik gets a hope spot, but Murphy comes in and attempts to pluck the eyeball, finally getting Rey physically involved. Seth and Murphy have the 2-on-1 against Dominik and Rey at a given moment. They handcuff Rey to the ropes and tease using the kendo sticks before they eyeball Angie Mysterio at the top of the ramp. Rey begs for mercy, but here's Dominik to cut Seth off. He tosses Murphy over the barricade and throws Seth knees-first into the steps. Modified 6-1-9 on the apron of the ring from Dominik, followed by the real deal in the ring. He climbs the ropes but meets knees going for a second Frog Splash. Rollins taunts Rey as he toys with Dominik. He gives Dominik a curb stomp to finally put him out of his misery at 22:36. Seth casually drops the key to the handcuffs on Dominik's body before making his exit. Great story told here, and definitely one of those "your mileage may vary" matches that you're either going to love or hate. I loved it. I thought Rollins looked like a grade-A jerk, never really in trouble, playing the mental game, while Dominik showed the heart of a hero who was in way over his head. ****
WWE Raw Women's Championship Match:
Sasha Banks (c) (w/ Bayley) vs. Asuka:
We're back with Part 2 of Asuka's quest, having failed against Bayley thanks to plentiful distractions from Sasha. Speaking of, Sasha won the belt under controversial (and over-booked circumstances) that revolved around writing off Kairi Sane, who's contract was due to expire and committed to going back to Japan to take a break from the ring. Sasha has held something like 3 or 4 belts on the main roster and I think lost each one on the first defense. Sasha targets the knee, hitting a basement dropkick and dropping several elbows. Asuka fights back with a flurry of kicks, but Sasha sweeps the legs to cut her off. Asuka with more kicks and a sliding elbow, sending Banks out of the ring. Asuka blocks a head-scissors on the floor and hooks a knee bar. Back inside, Asuka tosses Sasha into the corner and hits a running hip attack. Snap mare and a kick to the back for two. Sasha fights off a cross arm bar attempt. Asuka meets the post on a wild kick and Banks takes her off the apron with a sunset Powerbomb. *SPLAT* Asuka manages to avoid the count-out, rolling back in at 9. Sasha with a series of pin attempts, never better than a two-count. Sasha with kicks in the corner, including a boot to the side of the head for two. Asuka catches Sasha on the top rope, slamming her face-first to the canvas and hooking an ankle lock. Sasha escapes, sending Asuka into the corner. Asuka blocks a super-plex and hits a DDT from the top rope for two. Asuka gives chase to Sasha and sends her hard into the LED board along the ring. Back inside, Asuka comes off the top with a missile dropkick for two. Sasha counters a sweep out of the corner with a Code Breaker for two. Asuka avoids the frog splash (first Sasha did the sorry-ass apron 6-1-9, and now the Frog Splash. Can she NOT rip off moves from the last match?). Asuka-Lock applied, but Sasha kicks off the ropes and stacks Asuka up for two. Bank Statement applied, but Asuka counters back to the Asuka-Lock. Asuka whiffs on a hip attack, missing both Sasha and Bayley on the apron. Asuka counters another Bank Statement and hooks the Asuka-Lock for the victory at 9:31. Looks like the Sasha Curse continues. I wasn't feeling this one. I didn't like mimicking big spots from the last match and enjoyed the opener much more. **1/2
WWE Championship Match:
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton:
Randy Orton has been on a path of destruction, including assaulting the 71-year old Ric Flair that WWE kept trotting out, knowing they had a COVID-19 scare that hit at least 30 employees. McIntyre's reign has been mostly forgettable, largely due to the pandemic and the company seriously light on star power. Bell rings and Orton quickly powders to get inside Drew's head. Orton catches McIntyre with boots, but can't get the RKO on several attempts, now with McIntyre on the floor. Back inside, McIntyre throws Orton into the corner and unloads with rights. Whip across the ring and McIntyre meets the post on the charge. Orton takes it to the floor, sending McIntyre into the nearby hardware, including a slam onto the announcer's table. Orton tells McIntyre the title comes home with him as he takes Drew off the table with a suplex. Back inside, Orton grabs a chin-lock and works his way through the Garvin Stomp. McIntyre reverses a whip, catches a boot, and snaps the left knee of Orton across the shoulder. Orton takes out the knee of McIntyre to buy himself time to recover. McIntyre knocks Orton silly and applies the Figure-Four Leg Lock in tribute to the master of the hold, The Miz. Orton escapes with a well-placed thumb to the eye.
McIntyre with a hard chop as Tom Phillip quotes a 30-year old Garth Brooks song (#50plusDemo). They trade hard hitting rights with McIntyre in control. He blocks another RKO and takes Orton over with a belly-to-belly suplex. McIntyre with a flying clothesline and nip up. Now he's HBK? I guess he's paying tribute to another legend Orton attacked. He straddles Orton across the top rope but is straddled himself going for a super-plex. McIntyre pulls himself out of the tree of woe to throw Orton from the top rope for a near-fall. McIntyre with the future-shock DDT for two. Orton slips off the shoulders of McIntyre and tosses him over the top rope. Drew recovers, climbs the ropes, and whiffs on a clothesline. Orton with the snap powerslam for two. McIntyre escapes the Draping DDT and takes Orton (and himself) over the top rope with a clothesline. Back inside, Orton hits the DDT on the second try. He sets up for the RKO, then audibles in favor of the Punt. McIntyre avoids the kick, countering with a Powerbomb. Orton avoids the Claymore. McIntyre blocks the RKO and takes Orton over with a back-slide for three at 20:36. REALLY? BACK SLIDE? I mean, I guess it works. Good match, though I've long lost giving a crap about Orton in high profile matches. ***1/2
WWE Universal Championship; Falls Count Anywhere Match:
Braun Strowman (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt:
This entire run of Strowman as the Champion needs to be taken out back and given the Old Yeller treatment. I could go intro great detail about this feud, but then I'd hate life and myself, so believe me when I say it's the same "Fiend" mind-games and over-produced cinematic nonsense we've seen month after month, and Strowman needs to go away for a long time. Michael Cole warns us to turn away if we have a weak stomach. It's OK, AEW Dynamite is the cure for everything WWE. Strowman attacks, backing Wyatt into the corner. The Fiend laughs off the headbutt and hits Strowman with a uranage! They take it to the floor, as the Fiend bashes Strowman across the spine with a TOOLBOX. Strowman comes back with rights and shoulder checks the Fiend through the barricade. Chokeslam onto the table, and it doesn't break. OUCH. The Fiend continues to push, shrugging off all attacks. Back in the ring, Strowman hits the corner avalanche and powerslam for a one-count. They make their way up the ramp, with the Fiend being thrown into the entrance jumbo-screen. They go through gorilla, with the Fiend throwing Strowman into the wall and hitting Sister Abigail for two. They stumble their way to ringside, with Strowman clumsily sending Wyatt into the LED board at ringside. Back in the ring, Braun hits another powerslam for two. Strowman with hammer firsts that miss by a good 3-4 inches. Braun grabs a box cutter from the toolbox and cuts apart the ring. Totally not what ECW has trained me to expect. The Fiend has to stand there like a goof, waiting for Braun to finish whatever the hell he's doing. Uranage onto the exposed board, and the Fiend finishes with Sister Abigail at 11:59. I think this makes the Fiend the first repeat Universal Champion other than Brock Lesnar. Worst match of the night by a country mile. Started OK, then turned into a lumbering bore. *
- Post-match, the celebration of the new Champion is interrupted by the return of ROMAN REIGNS, laying out both Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman and posing with the Universal Championship as the show ends. Good, WWE needs all the stars back that they can get.
Final Thoughts: I had zero expectations coming in and to my surprise, most everything was a success, including a well-done smoke and mirrors match between Seth Rollins and Dominik Mysterio. The show ended with a clunker, but thankfully it was short, and the return of Roman Reigns is something to get interested in now that Braun has been knocked off his pedestal. Coming in at just over 3-hours, I'm glad they kept this from being a bloated card and delivered with most of the 7 matches presented.
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