Greg DeMarco gives you his immediate reaction to WWE SummerSlam, complete with match ratings and his analysis. See if you agree! (You won’t.)
WWE rolls into Toronto for the Biggest Party Of The Summer, with over 6 hours of action for all to enjoy! I made my picks along with the rest of The Chairshot staff, and you can see those here. Did you enjoy it? Did I? Let’s take a look….
WWE Cruiserweight Championship – Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan (Kickoff)
Drew Gulak, complete with an awesome robe, kick starts the match (and SummerSlam) in a faster way than expected. The match itself was good, and Oney Lorcan did an amazing job getting the crowd invested–considering many were still filing in. Props to both men for tackling one of the toughest spots on the format.
Drew Gulak pinned Oney Lorcan to retain – ***
Buddy Murphy vs. Apollo Crews (Kickoff)
Two amazing talents getting a chance to shine is always a win in my book. Buddy started off hot with a great knee to the head of Apollo, getting the near fall and making me think he was getting the super push win. Apollo also got a chance to shine, but this was the Buddy show. That is, until Erick Rowan interjected himself! Rowan attacked Buddy Murphy and advised he keep his (Rowan) name out of his (Buddy) mouth moving forward. No indication if Buddy will comply. The match was crazy entertaining for what it was.
Buddy Murphy beat Apollo Crews by disqualification (possibly a no-contest–doesn’t matter) – ***1/2
Edge was given a great Toronto reception when he interrupted Elias, further driving the point home that the Kickoff does indeed matter. Edge takes Elias out with a surprising Spear–surprising to me since Edge reportedly could die with one bad bump. Props to Edge for the moment, he looked great.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship – Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) vs. The IIconics (Kickoff)
Nikki Cross has basically the easiest character to play. She can do almost anything and it makes perfect sense within her character. Like touching belts with Alexa Bliss…while they were both wearing the championship belts. This match is a reminder that while The IIconics may not be around for their in-ring abilities, Nikki Cross also can’t hit an effective High Cross Body–despite it part of it being her name.
This match was the first of a whopping FOUR for the women’s division, each with increasing importance. I fully believe Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus should be given serious consideration to go on last tonight. Thankfully this didn’t go on last, as Billie Kay couldn’t even get pulled off the apron in an impressive manner. Alexa and Nikki were the stars of this match, holding it together as best they could.
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross beat The IIconics with Twisted Bliss to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships – **1/2
Submission Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya
Much like the 2019 Royal Rumble, Becky Lynch kicks off a major WWE PPV. I don’t mind that decision at all–she’s not going on last against Natalya, might as well use a big star to pop the crowd (especially since nothing is announced for Roman Reigns).
Both women did a great job utilizing the stipulation but still working that “WWE Main Event Style,” including brawling around the ringside area. Becky sold the correct leg throughout the match, which was better than her entire run this past winter/spring. No one bought Natalya’s chances in this match, but she was both credible and believable from bell-to-bell. Huge pop for Natalya locking the Sharpshooter in late. The right person won–and my only complaint is Shayna Baszler didn’t attack Becky after. 🙂 Match did exactly what it needed to do, and then some.
Becky Lynch forced Natalya to tap to the Dis-Arm-Her to retain the Raw Women’s Championship – ****
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
This is the perfect way to use Goldberg–early attraction against someone who will bump his ass off to give the crowd exactly what they want. Sasha Banks could learn a lot from watching Dolph Ziggler’s entrance, even knowing he’d get crushed, he was all energy and really ramped it up. And good on Ziggler, he knew he was going to destroyed, so he dropped a “pro wrestling” on a live mic before it happened. Go Dolph go.
The pop for Goldberg’s super-sparklers and pyrotechnics should answer any questions as to why he belongs on this card. Nostalgia sells, and this is the second match on the card. Ziggler sold the entire situation like he was a true champion and ready to end Goldberg’s legend. The match was actually better than I expected–with double the moves I expected!
Superkick. Superkick. Spear. Jackhammer. Ziggler masterfully gives the fans the encore they didn’t know they wanted by calling Goldberg back out. Well done, Dolph. And even after the encore, Dolph didn’t stop entertaining.
Goldberg pinned Dolph Ziggler following a Spear and a Jackhammer – *** (purely for entertainment value)
United States Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet
The lower third graphic for The OC is amazing–such a great touch. Also shows that they’re at least a little bit behind this crew. Ricochet doing his best Rey Mysterio with the gear this time out, and I wonder if he’ll make it a tradition.
The early story of the match saw Ricochet neutralizing The OC, until his leg was injured. At that point, Ric put on a selling clinic that would make Mr. Perfect and Dolph Ziggler proud. This included a one-legged Springboard Clothesline and Shooting Star Press. Props to Corey Graves for explaining how he could hit the move and it would still hurt Ricochet to do it–it’s the little things.
The injury of course comes into play when AJ locks in Calf Crusher, but Ricochet counters with an ANACONDA VICE??? Brilliant, even if it spawned some CM Punk chants. I know some don’t like it when Ricochet is booked like an underdog fighting from underneath, but this is WWE and he can make a lot of money that way. AJ wins, and this was a brilliantly planned–and executed–match. Don’t sleep on that finish, it wasn’t just a Styles Clash, but a powerbomb right before. I also loved the post-match attack, as it really helps establish The OC as a top heel faction.
AJ Styles pinned Ricochet following the Styles Clash to retain the United States Championship – ****
Smackdown Women’s Championship – Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
Am I the only one who sees Ember Moon and sees a heel? I can’t be the only one. Bayley was Bayley, and I really thought her title reign was heating up with this. However, it seems like I am wrong, because this match fell really flat. It was a game of connect-the-spots, and the Top Rope Bayley-To-Bayley mercifully ended a match that was even clunky at points. Hindsight is 20/20, but this was better served on the Kickoff. Given it’s placement on the card, people were also starting to hit the restrooms and concession stands. Largely forgettable match.
Bayley pinned Ember Moon with a Top Rope Bayley-To-Belly to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship – **3/4
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon (Owens will quit if he loses)
So I had to step aside to fix a beeping smoke detector upstairs in my daughter’s room. However, when I came back I saw a crowd that was crazy into the action, hinging on everything Owens did. I am giving it a rating for what I saw, and I will go back and watch it and edit things here after I do, later tonight.
As for the result, I picked Shane to win and I was wrong. Hearing the crowd pop for everything Owens was doing showed me that Owens had to win. This was a spot where you give the fans what they want.
Kevin Owens pinned Shane McMahon after a KO Stunner – ***1/2
Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus
Interesting that we didn’t get the video package for this match, instead focusing on the Roman Reigns saga. This match placement also means we are done with the women halfway through the show. For this one, we have a 7-time champion (and Hall Of Famer) against a 9-time champion. For the record, I picked Trish to win, with the idea that Charlotte wins the rematch at WrestleMania 36.
Trish Stratus showed some serious rust in this match, more than she showed at Evolution. Thankfully Charlotte Flair did her best Io Shirai impersonation and carried her to a good match. Charlotte helped Trish go from spot-to-spot early, but once Charlotte went on the offensive I felt like we got more of a story. I also want my prediction to be wrong, because I already don’t want to see a rematch.
Things did pick up, but Stratus seemed outmatched the entire time. Charlotte did a great job making her look good, although most of Trish’s spots seemed contrived while Charlotte’s offense felt natural. Trish Stratus applying the Figure Four backwards is the equivalent of folding your arms the other way. Charlotte carried the match, and rightfully won. The crowd’s investment helped my entertainment value, and thus my rating.
Charlotte Flair made Trish Stratus tap out to the Figure Eight Leg Lock – ***
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Really surprised by the crowd chanting “Kofi’s Stupid!/Randy Sucks!” during this match. I didn’t expect that much support for Orton. I also didn’t expect Randy Orton to look like a giant compared to Kofi Kingston. But here we are. Kofi and Randy delivered a strong match, but one thing I realized is that we had too many methodical matches in a row here. This would have been a good spot to insert a fast paced tag team match to heat the crowd back up.
And for the second straight year, the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam was made to be about the wife of the champion. And it ended in a disqualification. That’s a disappointment. I know they will stretch this out to Hell In A Cell, but there are better ways to do it (in my opinion). Great match up to that point.
Kofi Kingston fought Randy Orton to a double countout and retained the WWE Championship – ***3/4
Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor
Everything about Bray Wyatt’s entrance was bad ass. The music, the effects, and the way it was filmed. He’s automatically like nothing else on the roster. Let’s keep it that way. That said, he’s going to give kids nightmares–make sure he always goes on late! The match? It was exactly what it needed to be. Bray went on an offense tear early, Finn finally fought back like a former Universal and Intercontinental Champion should, but Bray caught him with the Mandible Claw and it was over. The whole thing was beautifully executed.
Bray Wyatt pinned an unconscious Finn Balor after a Mandible Claw – ****
Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Interesting note: when introducing the video package for this match, the announce team never referred to this as the main event. I’ve noticed more, lately, that they are really selective with that term. Honestly, I’ve noticed it going back to Extreme Rules 2018, when they were really particular about not calling the Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler Iron Man Match the main event. Love the all black look for Seth here, but then again I want to see him get his ass kicked and have it lead to a heel turn. Side note: Michael Cole reminded us that Rollins earned this title shot by winning a Battle Royal, meaning both of his title shots this year came by winning a battle royal.
The little things always go a long way. Seth clobbering Brock’s back when Brock was driving shoulders into his midsection is a great example of this. Quickly getting The Stomp was a lot of fun as well. Add on to that Brock swinging Seth around by the rib tape! Classic stuff.
Once Brock went on the offensive, it was Big Boss Brock taking out Seth piece-by-piece. This is what Brock does, and this is why he’s so valuable. He’s the big baddie at the end, the big boss that most can’t beat. Win or lose, it’s the perfect story to tell and it works every time. Also noteworthy was Brock Lesnar hitting a normal suplex, but doing it in a way that tossed Seth Rollins across the ring. Another example of why Brock Lesnar is so valuable.
Seth wouldn’t go down without a fight, and the crowd was into all the near falls. Seth isn’t the best at selling an injury, seemingly forgetting that his ribs were injured at times. Sure, “fighting spirit” and all. But injured ribs means no suicide dives. Surprisingly, Rollins got the win after that ass kicking! Didn’t expect it to go that way, but it’s an intriguing development and I am interested to see where it goes.
That was one hell of a match with an unexpected ending. Well done.
Seth Rollins pinned Brock Lesnar after The Stomp to capture the Universal Championship – ****1/2
WWE has been putting on great PPV events all year, and this was no different. The main event was great, and the surprising ending really drove things home. The card itself was good to great, even the worst parts (looking at you Bayley vs Ember Moon) weren’t atrocious. In a rarity, the final match of the night was my favorite, and you can’t help but feel satisfied.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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