SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
LECLAIR’S WWE SUMMERSLAM 2022 REPORT
JULY 30, 2022
NASHVILLE, TN AT NISSAN STADIUM
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK (U.S.), WWE NETWORK (Int.)
Announcers: Michael Cole & Corey Graves (Smackdown), Jimmy Smith & Corey Graves & Byron Saxton (Raw)
-The show opened with a narrated video package hyping the show’s major matches.
-A camera flying over the Nashville skyline moved toward Nissan Stadium off in the distance. Jimmy Smith welcomed the audience to the show as the camera faded to the announcers desk at ringside. He immediately turned his attention toward the Raw Women’s Championship match to kick off the show.
-Becky Lynch entered through the basic, corner LED screen entrance stage. She rounded the corner and marched down the ramp, head up high, sporting massive glasses. Corey Graves said there’s nothing more dangerous than a person with nothing left to lose, and that’s Lynch tonight.
Bianca Belair skipped through the entrance way to a strong ovation from the crowd in Nashville. She slapped hands with fans down the ramp. LED screens adorned the entire ringside barriers, rather than just the corners as first introduced at this year’s WrestleMania. Mike Rome introduced the match and the competitors.
(1) BIANCA BELAIR (c) vs. BECKY LYNCH – Raw Women’s Championship match
The two women stood stoically on opposite sides of the ring as the bell rang. They waited a few moments before circling one another and locking up. Becky Lynch broke the lock up and stepped away from Bianca Belair. Belair quickly took control on the second lock-up with a waist-lock takedown. Lynch wrestled herself free and into a front face lock.
Belair walked Becky into the corner. Lynch flipped over Belair’s back, but Bianca telegraphed it and flipped herself out. Lynch was quick to regain control, twisting the champion’s arm and dragging her to the mat. The announcers said Lynch was priming Belair for the Disarm-Her.
Lynch drove her knees into the extended arm of Bianca Belair. She looked around at the stadium, smiling confidently at the crowd. Lynch tried to give Belair an arm drag, but Bianca hit a back handspring off the ropes and took Lynch down with a big dropkick. Becky rolled to the outside to regroup while Belair shook out the injured arm.
The champion followed her challenger to the outside. She backed Becky into the barricade and scooped her up. Lynch slid down Belair’s back into the timekeeper’s area. She held onto the arm and ripped it back, slamming Belair’s upper arm and shoulder into the barricade violently. Lynch followed up with a leg drop on Belair draped across the barricade.
Becky Lynch brought the champion back in the ring. She hit a Bex-ploder and covered for a two count as the match crossed the 5:00 mark. Lynch tossed Belair to the corner and dropped her from the middle rope by the arm for another cover and two count. Lynch wore a scowl on her face as she delivered slow, methodical boots to the injured arm. Belair delivered some weak forearms with her good arm. Lynch threw a kick, but Belair caught the leg. Bianca tried to pull her down, but Lynch managed to fight through it and and trip the champion.
Belair spilled to the apron. Lynch stayed in firm control, beating her down and draping her across the middle rope. Lynch looked for another leg drop, this time off the middle rope. Belair popped up, caught Lynch in mid-air, and connected with a Powerbomb through the middle rope for a really cool spot. Lynch shook it off and knocked Belair to the outside.
Lynch headed outside the ring, where Belair was waiting Bianca scooped her up by the arms and dumped her on the edge of the ring Belair followed up with a clean Suplex on the mats. She tossed Lynch back in the ring and hit a back-spring standing Moonsault on Lynch for a two count. Belair charged at Lynch in the corner as the match approached 9:30. She leapfrogged Becky out of the corner and backflipped out. Becky leapt to the middle rope and dove into the waiting arms of Belair. Becky shook herself free. She climbed to the middle rope, hooked Bianca’s shoulders and jaw and hit Diamond Dust. Lynch covered for a near fall.
The two women met in the center of the ring and began trading forearms. Belair caught Lynch with a big forearm, sending her tumbling into the ropes. Becky grabbed hold of Bianca’s braid and pulled her in. The challenger looked for a ‘rana, but Belair held on. She transitioned into K.O.D. position, but Lynch rolled down the back and grabbed the arm. Becky locked in the Disarm-Her. Belair crawled frantically to the ropes. She slid underneath the bottom, but Lynch didn’t break the hold. Belair hoisted her onto the her shoulders, pulled her out of the ring, and hit the K.O.D. on the outside.
Belair returned to the ring at the referee’s count of eight. Lynch barely answered the count, returning just before ten. Belair set up for another K.O.D., but Lynch flipped out of it. She charged and got caught with a Spinebuster from the champion. Belair dragged Lynch to the corner and climbed to the top rope. Becky shot up and cut her off. The two women traded blows on the top turnbuckle. Belair knocked Becky down, but Lynch grabbed Belair’s braid. She ripped her off the turnbuckle and hit the Man-Handle Slam. Lynch stacked Belair up for a believable near fall at 13:50.
Becky looked for the Disarm-Her again, but Belair countered into a roll up for two. The women worked to the turnbuckle again. Lynch hooked Belair up for the Man-Handle Slam, but Belair countered into a Spanish Fly. Lynch rolled to her feet in a daze. Belair grabbed her and hit the K.O.D. for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Becky Lynch in 15:10 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
After the match, Lynch, dejected and looking as though she was about to cry, clutched her ribs and approached Belair with a meager hand out, asking for a handshake. Belair obliged, and the two women hugged in the center of the ring. Lynch turned the ring over to Belair and left.
As Belair celebrated on the top rope with her music playing, Bayley’s theme cut her off. The crowd popped big. Bayley emerged from the entrance stage and headed to the ring. Bayley stopped just beyond the curve headed toward the ring, and Dakota Kai’s music hit. Kai marched down the ramp. Corey Graves mentioned that she’s not even under WWE contract.
Just as Kai reached Bayley, Io Shirai’s music hit and she joined Bayley and Kai. Graves called her “Io Sky.” The three women marched to the ring together. Belair stayed in the ring, awaiting their arrival. Bayley got in Belair’s face. “You thought I’d come back by myself like an idiot? I brought the best in the whole damn world.” Suddenly, Becky Lynch returned to the ring and stood at Belair’s side.
Lynch and Belair welcomed the challenge. Bayley, Kai, and Io left. Lynch and Belair stood tall in the ring.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Really fun opener. It took a few minutes to really get going, but I thought the final few minutes in particular were just excellent. A really great sequence that showed off how incredibly far Belair has become, and how masterful Lynch is at telling stories in the ring. The Spanish Fly into K.O.D. finish was excellent. My only complaint was that they seemed to lose sight of Belair’s arm injury from earlier in the match as things progressed. I get that they had a particular story they wanted to tell, but I was enjoying that thread and it’s too bad they kind moved away from it.
The post-match angle was very intriguing. Not only did we get the much anticipated Becky Lynch face turn, but Bayley returned and brought two big NXT talents with her. Dakota Kai’s return elected a strong reaction from the crowd, as did Io Shirai, now apparently known as Io Sky. I love this pairing, and Bayley should be great for both of them. Overall, a great first half hour to the show.)
-After a brief promo break, the announcers tossed to a video package for The Miz vs. Logan Paul.
The Miz headed to the ring first, adorned in bright lime green gear. He was flanked by Maryse and Ciampa, both wearing matching gear. Miz was wearing a polaroid around his neck of him giving Paul the Skull Crushing Finale. Logan Paul entered to mostly boos. Smith said he’s a rookie who impressed at WrestleMania.
(2) THE MIZ (w/ Maryse & Ciampa) vs. LOGAN PAUL
Nissan Stadium opened up the match with a “tiny balls” chant. Logan Paul pointed and laughed a The Miz, who went in for a lock up. Miz backed Paul into the corner and patted him on the head, mockingly. Miz and Paul locked up in the center again, with Miz taking Paul down with some chain wrestling. Miz threw a weak boot to Paul’s face, then mocked Logan for covering up.
Miz looked for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Paul flipped through it. He delivered a quick fireman’s carry, then kicked Miz in the face. Miz shook it off and threw right hands. Paul ducked them all and caught Miz with a shot of his own. Paul leapfrogged Miz twice, then rolled him up for a two count. Paul clothesline Miz to the outside. He stepped out onto the apron and connected with a Moonsault onto Miz on the floor.
Jimmy Smith said Paul has been “listening to someone at the PC because he came loaded with offensive techniques.” Paul took Miz to the corner and chopped him so hard that his wrist band came off. Paul leapt to the middle rope, but Miz kicked him in the stomach and then caught him with a Codebreaker off the middle rope. Miz scraped Paul’s face across the ropes. He distracted the referee long enough for Ciampa to punch Paul in the face.
Paul struggled to gain momentum. Miz straddled him and applied a chin lock as the match crossed 5:00. Paul fought free slowly, but Miz still worked him into the corner. Miz taunted the crowd. He charged for a knee, but Paul moved. Miz limped out of the corner and ate a pair of open overhead punches to the face. Paul jumped to the ropes and hit Miz with a Blockbuster. Both men were down. They rose slowly. Paul connected with a pair clotheslines. He grabbed a leg and applied the Figure Four. Miz screamed in agony, pawing at Paul’s face. He reached desperately for the rope and eventually grabbed it.
Miz struggled to stand in the corner. He shot Paul to the apron. Logan climbed to the top rope and connected with a big cross-body, then a standing shooting star press for a cover and a two count. Miz sold the injured knee. He collapsed, drawing the referee’s attention. Ciampa hopped onto the apron, but the referee saw him. He threw Ciampa out. Ciampa refused, grabbing a steel chair and sitting down at ringside.
A.J. Styles’ music hit. Miz looked around in shock. Ciampa paced around the ring. The announcers wondered where Styles was. A.J. appeared out of nowhere, flying onto screen and dropping Ciampa with a forearm. Styles fought Ciampa into the crowd and off screen.
Back in the ring, Logan Paul connected with a Phenomenal Forearm to Miz. He covered for a near fall. Miz rolled to the outside, but Paul followed to retrieve him. Paul tore apart the announcers desk at 12:00. He tossed Miz on the table as Graves pleaded with Maryse to “do something!” Paul climbed to the top rope. Maryse stepped in between he and the table, begging. Paul dove over her, connecting with a huge frog splash on The Miz, collapsing the desk.
Paul slid Miz back in the ring and hooked the leg. Maryse distracted the referee. Paul broke the count, arguing with Maryse and the referee. Miz grabbed the chain attached to his polaroid. He charged at Paul, but Logan ducked. Miz nearly hit Maryse. Paul grabbed Miz from behind and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for a cover and three count.
WINNER: Logan Paul in 14:15
(LeClair’s Analysis: This was better than it really had any business being. Paul looked nervous in the early going, struggling through some basic spots and definitely leaning heavily on Miz to carry him through. As the pace quickened, though, and Paul started getting his big spots in, he flourished. Look, Paul is an incredibly hard guy to like, and I still think that trying to get him over as a babyface is going to be a massive uphill climb for WWE, but there’s no doubt he’s a naturally gifted athlete who has excelled in his first two in-ring appearances. The crowd got into this one as it progressed, but they weren’t outwardly favoring Paul. Instead, they popped for his big spots and booed The Miz’s bravado. If Paul continues with these types of performances, perhaps he’ll win the crowd over, but it’s a hard sell with his demeanor and personality. A special shout out to Ciampa, too, for refusing to leave after being tossed out by the referee, going so far as to grab a chair and take a seat in protest. That got a laugh out of me.)
-Maximum Male Models participated in a pre-recorded ad for Pure Life Water. It featured Mace and Mansoor pouring bottled water all over themselves while Max and Maxine provided voice-overs.
-Following another commercial break, Theory headed to the ring carrying his briefcase and snapping selfies as he walked down the ramp. Graves said Theory could change his career and the course of WWE history tonight by cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Bobby Lashley slapped hands with fans as he entered. Jimmy Smith it’s hard to believe that Lashley’s physique isn’t CGI.
Theory attacked Lashley from behind with the briefcase immediately. The referee pulled Theory to the corner, then went to check on Bobby. The champion gave the referee the okay.
(3) BOBBY LASHLEY (c) vs. THEORY – WWE United States Championship match
Theory went on the offensive quickly, trying to overwhelm the injured Bobby Lashley. Lashley shrugged him off and tossed him away. Theory stayed vigilant, taking Lashley down and mounting him for a series of quick punches. Theory went for a Suplex, but Lashley blocked him, leapfrogged him and gave him a big Chokeslam. “We’re lucky there’s no roof on Nissan Stadium!” Smith said.
Theory left the ring and grabbed his briefcase. He rounded the ring, deciding to leave. Lashley cut him off. Theory threw the briefcase at him, but Lashley swatted it away and tossed Theory into the barricade. Lashley tossed the challenger in the ring. Theory caught Bobby with a perfect dropkick and covered him for a quick two count. The crowd broke into a “Bobby” chant as the two men traded punches. Theory ducked forearm and caught Lashley with a back elbow. Lashley shrugged it off, scooped Theory up and hit a big running Powerslam.
Lashley set up in the corner. He charged at Theory, but the challenger leapt over him. Lashley crashed hard into the turnbuckle. Theory rolled through the middle rope, right into a Military Press. Lashley dropped him right into the Hurt Lock. Theory tapped immediately.
WINNER: Bobby Lashley in 4:43 to retain the United States Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: I get what they tried to do here. Lashley needed to make relatively quick work of Theory in order to keep Theory a viable threat for the main event later. By the same token, though, Lashley looked dominant. Theory got in several shots with the briefcase before the match began, then was largely dominated in relatively short order in an undercard match. With that in mind, it would hardly make sense for him to get the better of the world champion later in the show, weakened champion or not. We’ll see how the rest of the night plays out, but after this, it doesn’t feel like inserting Theory into things later would be a wise move. Nothing much to the match itself, but Lashley looked impressive and certainly had the crowd in the palm of his hand.)
-The Judgment Day entered after a break, getting a new druid AR graphic. Rhea Ripley flanked Finn Balor and Damian Priest. The Raw announcer tossed to a recap of Judgment Day’s attack on the Mysterios from Raw.
Rey and Dominick Mysterio headed to the ring to a strong ovation, slapping hands and sharing headbutts with masked Mysterio fans at ringside. The two teams came to blows as soon as the Mysterios hit the ring.
(4) FINN BALOR & DAMIAN PRIEST (w/ Rhea Ripley) vs. REY & DOMINICK MYSTERIO – No Disqualifications
The Judgment Day took the Mysterios down quickly. They posed in the center of the ring. Graves said Rhea Ripley would be the wild card in the match, given the rules. The Mysterio returned quickly, tossing Balor and Priest to the outside and diving onto them.
Rey Mysterio and Finn Balor began the match officially once the teams returned to the ring. Rey and Dominick made quick tags, working over Balor’s arms. Dominick tried to knock Damian Priest off the apron, but Priest held on and caught Dominick with a spinning kick. Jimmy Smith said Finn Balor resisted the urge to join the Judgment Day for has long as he could. Graves suggested joining Judgment Day as brought Balor his first period of sustained success in WWE, despite being the first Universal champion.
Judgment Day continued to work over Dominick Mysterio. The crowd began an inaudible chant and seemed to be distracted by something going on in the stadium. Finn Balor teased hitting Dominick with the Three Amigos, but raked Dominick’s back instead, then worked him into the corner as the match crossed 4:45.
Balor shocked Dominick and talked some trash. Dominick exploded out of the corner with a dropkick and finally reached his father for a hot tag. Balor tagged in Priest. Rey quickly shot to the top rope and hit a dropkick. He followed up with a seated Senton. He hit a hooking bulldog. Dominick tossed his father a steel chair. Rey cracked Damian in the back. He slid through the bottom rope, riding the chair and crashing onto Finn Balor.
Damian Priest caught Mysterio with a Superkick when he returned to the ring. Priest scooped Mysterio up, but Rey tripped him into 619 position. Balor tagged himself in and hit the ring, kicking Mysterio to the corner and climbing to the top rope for the Coup De Grace. Dominick held onto Balor’s leg. Mysterio climbed to the top and hit a Super-Rana. Rey covered, but Priest broke up the pin just in time.
Priest set Rey up for the Razor’s Edge. Dominick pulled him free. Rey tripped Priest into the ropes. Dominick kicked Balor into position. Father and son hit the ropes for tandem 619s, but Rhea Ripley tripped them both. She called for Priest and Balor to finish them. Priest hit Rey with Sound of Heaven. Balor called for a chair.
Suddenly, the lights cut off and the camera cut to the stairs. What initially sounded like a remixed version of the Brood’s music played. Edge rose from a set of flaming stairs at the entrance. He charged to the ring, first dropping Priest, then spearing Balor in the ring. He tossed Balor to the ropes. The Mysterios hit Finn with double 619s and covered him for a three count.
WINNERS: Rey & Dominick Mysterio in 11:06
The Judgement Day regrouped outside the ring. Edge stood in front of the Mysterios, looking on.
(LeClair’s Analysis: A decent match that never really seemed to hit second gear. The crowd seemed distracted in the early going, and I just felt like I was waiting for Edge’s inevitable return that they’d already spoiled earlier in the night during the pre-show. The announcers seemed shock, but they literally showed a promo the featured his signature “you think you know me” line that said he was coming “tonight.” So, hardly a shock. In any case, it’s great to see Edge back and functioning outside of the colossal failure that is the Judgment Day. I couldn’t help but laugh at Corey Graves trying to sell this thing as some positive for Balor, when clearly it’s been anything but. I’d argue that everyone who has been in, or been involved with that stable, has left worse off.)
-After a break, Michael Cole took to the announcers desk. He was joined by Corey Graves. Cole explained it’s because his usual partner, Pat McAfee, is competing in the next match. He said they won’t be pretending to be impartial, as Graves is close to Happy Corbin, and he’s great friends with McAfee. He tossed to a promo package.
The camera returned to an overhead shot of Nashville, zeroing in on Nissan Stadium. Cole said it was the biggest party city in the country. Happy Corbin headed to the ring first. Before Corbin even rounded the ramp, a chorus of “Bum Ass Corbin” filled the speakers. A choir standing atop the lower concourse of the stadium was revealed with lighting. Corbin was furious as they chanted him to the ring.
Pat McAfee entered, backed by the choir. Samantha Irvin introduced him to a strong ovation. Graves said the city if Pittsburgh refuses to claim McAfee.
(5) HAPPY CORBIN vs. PAT McAFEE
Pat McAfee pumped up the crowd as the bell rang. Happy Corbin talked some trash as the crowd launched into a “Bum Ass Corbin” chant. McAfee threw a Superkick, sending Corbin reeling. he slipped through the ropes to the outside. McAfee followed, stalking him. Corbin caught him by surprise, slamming him into the apron.
“I liked you better when you couldn’t have an opinion,” Graves said to Cole. “That’s changed, a lot’s changed,” Cole replied. McAfee and Corbin worked to the top rope. McAfee backflipped to the mat. Corbin jumped down and delivered a huge dropkick, sending McAfee flying to the opposite corner.
Happy Corbin cornered McAfee in the corner. He yelled to Cole, taunting him. Corbin tossed McAfee to the floor. Graves said he’s treating McAfee like what he is – “just a kicker.” Cole said Corbin views McAfee as a fan. Corbin slid McAfee back in the ring and covered him for a two count at 4:15. Corbin tossed McAfee toward the ropes and connected with Deep Six. He covered for a near fall, then immediately began arguing with Charles Robinson over the count.
McAfee recovered and tossed Corbin toward the corner. Corbin went for his signature round-the-post, but McAfee telegraphed it and caught Corbin with a kick. Corbin recovered and tossed McAfee onto the announcers desk. Cole cheered on Pat. Corbin stole a headset from the desk. He shouted out McAfee’s parents. Cole said Corbin’s parents would be embarrassed. Corbin shoved Cole. The crowd broke into a “Michael Cole” chant.
Corbin tossed McAfee in the ring and climbed to the top rope. Cole called Corbin a bully. McAfee leapt to the top rope. he lost his footing, but recovered. He connected with a Superplex and rolled over for a cover and near fall at 7:20. McAfee willed himself to his feet. He and Corbin traded punches. McAfee briefly got the better of the exchange, but Corbin drove him shoulder first into the corner. Happy charged, but McAfee moved. Corbin struck the ring post.
With Happy Corbin on the outside, McAfee took a moment to pull himself up. He climbed to the top turnbuckle and nearly lost his balance, but he managed to recover and hit a Swanton onto Corbin on the outside. Corbin rolled back in the ring. McAfee climbed to the top rope. Pat dove, but Corbin ducked him. Corbin set up for the End of the Days, but McAfee flipped through it. Corbin stumbled into the referee. McAfee gave Corbin a low blow. “Payback for last night!” Cole screamed. McAfee hit a Code Red off the middle rope and scored a three count.
WINNER: Pat McAfee in 10:38
(LeClair’s Analysis: This wasn’t a pretty match, by any means. McAfee has had better outings, but this was certainly fun. Pat had a couple of near misses that could’ve gone really poorly, but he recovered well and kept thing together for some fun spots. Corbin played his part and told the story effectively through his jawing with Cole in between offense. This was fine for a spectacle match on a big show. McAfee continues to be an incredibly likable character on the show and the crowd treats him like a genuine star. His true friendship with Cole is endearing to both parties, too. The most interesting thing in this whole match, though, was certainly the comment Graves made to Cole early on, and Cole’s response, saying he’s allowed to have an opinion now. Interesting.)
-Cole and Graves talked about Drew McIntyre’s win over Sheamus last night on Smackdown, earning himself a title match at Clash at the Castle.
Samantha Irvin introduced Drew McIntyre, who came down the ramp with his sword in street clothes. He stepped onto a platform mid-way down the ramp. He said Nashville is the home of the new number one contender. He asked the crowd if they saw what he and Sheamus did to each other. He said they beat the hell out of each other and he could barely get out of bed this morning. McIntyre said he wants to talk about Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the first time ever.
McIntyre winced. He corrected himself – “…in Nashville…in Nissan Stadium…for two titles…in front of…” he asked a fan in front of him for his name. “In front of Colt!” A “Colt” chant broke out. McIntyre said he doesn’t care who wins, he’s going to win the title in Cardiff. McIntyre counted down and “raised his magic sword.” Pyro shot from around the stadium.
(LeClair’s Analysis: McIntyre was the likable badass here, but man. ditch the damn sword. It’s time.)
-Michael Cole and Corey Graves turned focus rather awkwardly to the Unified Tag Team Championship match. Samantha Irvin introduced Jeff Jarrett. Cole tossed to the “Xfinity Highlight of the Night,” which was a recap of the Usos vs. Street Profits at Money in the Bank.
After the recap, The Titans cheerleaders came through the entrance for a brief routine. The eventually parted to reveal the Street Profits behind them. They wore Titans-inspired gear and danced their way to the ring.
The Usos entered to a strong reaction, holding their hands up to the sky. The camera cut to a wide shot to display their massive AR graphics over the top of the stadium. They wore their big-match Samoan Leis.
(6) THE USOS (c, Jimmy & Jey) vs. THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) – United WWE Tag Team Championship match, Special Guest Referee: Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett directed traffic, corralling each team to their corner. Jimmy Uso began the match with Angelo Dawkins. Jimmy cornered Angelo quickly, requiring Jarrett to step in for a forceful break up. He got in Jimmy’s face. Jimmy tagged in his brother. The Usos hit a backbreaker/knee combo. Jey covered for a quick two count.
Jey Uso slapped Dawkins into the corner and tagged Jimmy back in. The Usos tried to double team Dawkins again, but Jarrett forcefully pulled Jey away and forced him back onto the apron. Jimmy distracted Jarrett, allowing Jey to throw a sucker punch at Dawkins. Jimmy grabbed a seated chin-lock.
Dawkins pulled himself to his feet as the camera zoomed back in off of a wide shot of Nissan stadium. Jimmy tripped Dawkins back to the mat. Angelo rose to his feet again, but Jimmy tossed him to the corner and hit him with a series of punches. Jimmy started a call and response of “Uso” with the crowd. He hit a running hip check to a seated Dawkins in the corner. He and his brother threw up the “ones”, taunting the Street Profits.
Jimmy looked for another hip check, but Dawkins moved. Both men crawled to their partners. Jimmy got the tag, but Ford did too. Montez dover over the top and onto Jey Uso. He dropped Jey with a big clothesline, then a trio of kicks to the head. Ford hit Jey with a big back Suplex, then a standing Moonsault for a cover and a two count at 5:25. Ford whipped Jey with his own t-shirt. He slapped him hard across the chest. Jey went for a backdrop, but Ford flipped out of it. Jey caught ford with a pair of quick uppercuts. Ford shrugged them off and hit a standing Blockbuster for a near fall.
Montez Ford and Jey Uso traded quick shoves and counters out of the corner. Jey tossed Montez into the air and hit a Neckbreaker for a cover and two count. Jey tagged in Jimmy. They ran at Ford, but Montez dumped them both over the top rope. Ford tagged in Dawkins. Angelo got a running start, then dove onto the Usos on the outside. Dawkins tossed Jimmy back in the ring and hit a spinning Neckbreaker for a near fall.
Jimmy hit Dawkins with a spinning kick. Dawkins stumbled back into his own corner. Ford tagged himself in. Dawkins scooped Jimmy up and tossed him into a slam from Ford. Montez covered for a two count. Cole said Jarrett has been in perfect position. Jimmy caught Dawkins with a Superkick, then stumbled into Jey for a tag. Jey hit a Superkick, then tagged his brother back in. Jimmy hit the splash from the top for a cover and near fall. Jimmy Uso got in Jeff Jarret’s face. Jarrett reiterated it was a two count.
The Usos traded tags again at 10:00. They climbed to opposing turnbuckles and connected with stereo splashes. Jey covered, but Montez Ford shot into the ring and broke up the count. All four men were down in the ring. Jeff Jarrett began to count. They rose at seven. Montez tossed Jimmy to the outside. Jey dumped Ford. Jey threw a kick at Dawkins, but Dawkins ducked. Jey almost kicked Jarrett again, but Jeff caught the leg. Dawkins dropped Jey and tagged Ford in. Ford hit the huge splash from the top rope. He grabbed his ribs and crawled over to cover for a believable near fall.
Ford yelled at Jarrett, believing he got a three count. He tagged in Angelo Dawkins. Meanwhile, Jimmy dragged his brother to the outside. Ford got a running start, looking to dive through the middle rope. He ate tandem Superkicks from the Usos. Angelo Dawkins rounded the ringside corner and got Superkicked as well. The Usos tossed Dawkins back in the ring and delivered the One-D for a cover and definitive three count.
WINNERS: The Usos in 13:23
Jarrett seemed to reluctantly raise The Usos hands, but he did so, and left without incident. The Usos celebrated on the ramp while the Profits sat disappointed in the ring.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Another really good match between two excellent teams, though this one failed to beat their incredible bout at Money in the Bank. Jeff Jarrett’s involvement proved minimal – he called the match down the middle, was in position consistently, and was there for a clean finish in favor of the Usos. One would presume this spells the end of their feud, leaving the Profits to possibly disband in the near future, while the Usos continue their reign. WWE is thin on credible tag teams, so it’ll be interesting to see what the Usos have coming up next, coming off two heavily built, strongly promoted main event-style title defenses.)
-Cole and Graves thanked Kid Rock for one of the show’s theme songs. They showed Kid Rock at ringside. Suddenly, Riddle jumped the rail and grabbed a microphone from the announcers area. Security tailed him as Riddle slid in the ring. He called out Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins’ music hit and he marched through the staging. Adam Pearce, Shane Helms, Jamie Noble, and several referees followed. They tried to stop Rollins. Seth got a running start down the ramp. Riddle headed to meet hi. The two men wound up in the ring, trading kicks and punches.
Officials and security stood around the ring, apparently unable to cross the ropes. Rollins took Riddle down and gave him a Stomp. Security finally rushed the ring and escorted Rollins out. This was supposed to elicit boos, but the crowd sang Rollins’ out instead. Cole said Riddle brought this on himself.
(LeClair’s Analysis: What a strange segment. Riddle called out Rollins, and the cowardly heel not only answered, but rushed the ring looking for a fight. Rollins quickly overwhelmed the injured Riddle. There was referees, doctors, trainers, and company personnel all over the place, but none of them were able to cross the threshold into the ring until Rollins delivered a Stomp. This, I assume, was to supposed to garner Riddle sympathy and some big boos for Rollins, but instead, the crowd just serenaded Rollins on his way out. This just didn’t work.)
-Cole and Graves pivoted to the Smackdown Women’s title, tossing to a video package.
After the video package, the camera pulled back to just outside Nissan Stadium as Ronda Rousey’s music hit. Michael Cole increased the night’s attendance from over 40,000 to over 45,000. Rousey slapped hands with fans as she marched to the ring. She received a mixed reaction.
Liv Morgan was treated to a respectable pop as she emerged from the stage and held up the Smackdown Women’s title. Cole said it’s her first time ever competing at SummerSlam. Graves said that tonight they’ll find out what Liv Morgan is made of as a champion.
(7) LIV MORGAN (c) vs. RONDA ROUSEY – Smackdown Women’s Championship match
Ronda Rousey hopped back and forth as the bell rang. Liv Morgan took a big breath and approached. Ronda caught her with a Judo throw immediately. She backed Morgan into the corner and caught her with quick strikes to the stomach. Morgan burst out with a kick, but Rousey hit another quick throw and covered for a two count.
The champion tried to take Rousey down, but Ronda scooped her onto her shoulders. Liv caught her with quick elbows, then hit a Codebreaker. Rousey looked rocked, but she stood and tripped Morgan to the mat. Rousey grabbed Liv’s arm and tried to work it in the Arm Bar. Morgan rolled Ronda into the Rings of Saturn. Rousey got her hips underneath and lifted Morgan up off the mat. Liv managed to counter into a Crucifix Driver for a cover and two count.
Rousey gave Morgan another Judo throw, then grabbed the arm again. She applied the Arm Bar. Morgan kicked furiously, scooting to the bottom rope. She reached it with her feet, causing the break at 3:15. Rousey went right back to work on the arm, ripping Morgan to the mat and settling into the Arm Bar. Morgan flipped all the way over onto her back and got her foot on the rope again.
Morgan rolled to the corner, clutching her arm close to her body. The referee called for a doctor. He backed Rousey off. Morgan pleaded with him not to call the match off. “I’m good, I’m good!’ Liv screamed. The referee gave Rousey the “all-clear.” Rousey pounced, grabbing the arm again and ripping Morgan to the mat. Ronda extended Liv’s arm fully and bridged her body, creating even more torque. Morgan tapped out of view of the official. Rousey’s shoulders were on the mat and the referee counted to three.
WINNER: Liv Morgan in 4:37 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Corey Graves quickly pointed out that Liv Morgan tapped before the pin fall. Rousey immediately began arguing with the referee. Ronda attacked Liv from behind and applied the Arm Bar again. She let the hold go and knocked down the referee, applying the Arm Bar on him, too. Ronda left incensed. Morgan grabbed the women’s title and smiled, clutching her injured arm.
(LeClair’s Analysis: Yikes. I suppose this was the official Ronda Rousey heel turn, but man, it didn’t work well. Ronda clearly won the match after completely dominating Liv Morgan. Morgan only retained because the referee missed her tap. What does that say about the babyface women’s champion? Ronda had every right to be angry, even Cole insisted. This just doesn’t help anyone. Morgan comes out a weak and injured champion. Ronda comes out presumably a heel who now has a very legitimate gripe. There had to be a better way to get to this turn. It’s especially frustrating given how recently and often WWE has relied on bad refereeing to advance a storyline. It’d be one thing if we hadn’t just seen this type of finish twice in the Usos/Street Profits feud. It just feels forced.)
-Samantha Irvin introduced Kane. He announced the official attendance of 48,449 before setting off his signature pyro.
-After a batch of commercials, the hype package for the main event aired.
-Roman Reigns’ music hit. Michael Cole said it’s the first Last Man Standing match in SummerSlam history. The camera pulled back and circled to show Reigns’ AR graphic. Roman Reigns sauntered through the entrance, flanked by Paul Heyman and the Usos. Paul Heyman handed Reigns the Universal title. He held it up high, sending pyro exploding from the upper perimeter of the stadium.
Reigns looked to his cousins, then began his walk to the ring. The Usos held up the “ones” and then left. Heyman held the Universal title up high, staring at the champion with reverence. “The tribal chief is box office,” Graves said. Once in the ring, Reigns asked Heyman for a microphone. “Nashville…SummerSlam…Acknowledge me.” They did. A big “Tribal Chief” chant broke out. Reigns stared, stone-faced into the camera.
Brock Lesnar’s music rang out. Cole said he’s been in more SummerSlam main events than anyone – tonight marked his 9th. Lesnar walked out confidently, grinning. He looked around and hit his signature pose. Pyro shot from around the stadium, Lesnar made it about halfway down the ramp, then turned around back toward the entrance. The camera panned to reveal a massive tractor parked near the lower bowl of the stadium.
Lesnar put on a flannel and cowboy hat. He lifted the tractor’s loader bucket all the way up and drove it to the ring, laughing to himself the whole way. Reigns was furious. Brock climbed into the loader bucket and posed atop it to a roar from the crowd. Mike Rome began Championship introductions with Lesnar still high above the ring in the loader.
Rome was cut off by Brock. Lesnar introduced himself as a “big ass country boy.” He tossed the mic back to Mike Rome, who introduced the champion.
(8) ROMAN REIGNS (c, w/ Paul Heyman) vs. BROCK LESNAR – Last Man Standing match for the Undisputed Universal Championship
Mike Rome barely had a chance to finish his introduction of Roman Reigns before Lesnar dove off the bucket loader and onto Reigns in the ring. Roman quickly spilled to the outside, trying to regroup. Lesnar followed and tossed him into the ring steps. Brock quickly gave Reigns an overhead belly-t0-belly off the steel steps onto the floor. The referee reached a four count.
Lesnar let Roman pull himself up. He clotheslined him hard against the barricade, then dumped him into the front row. Reigns stumbled around near the massive ringside scaffolding. Lesnar Suplexed him onto the support structure of the beam. The referee got to a six count before Reigns stood up. Lesnar set up for an F5, but Reigns slid down his back and shoved Lesnar face-first not the steel scaffolding. Reigns went to Powerbomb Lesnar, but Brock scooped him up and drove him into the steel truss.
The challenger tossed Roman off the support structure, toppling over the camera man in the process. Lesnar tossed Reigns over the barricade to ringside. He leapt onto the barrier, but slipped and had to leap backwards quickly, still impressively landing on his feet. Brock returned to ringside and gave Reigns a German Suplex on the floor. He retrieved a table from underneath the ring and set itup. The crowd popped big.
Paul Heyman intervened to by Reigns some time. He pleaded with Lesnar, dropping to his knees. Lesnar was distracted briefly, allowing Roman to recover enough to scoop Lesnar up and give him a Samoan Drop through the table. Lesnar answered the count at seven. Reigns hit him in the head with the steel steps. Brock stood at six.
Reigns set up another table while Lesnar rose to his feet. Reigns gave Lesnar a Uranagi through the table. Brock stood at seven. Both men rolled in the ring. Lesnar cocked his fist and hit his first Superman Punch. Lesnar stumbled, but didn’t go down. Reigns hit a second one. Brock was only down for a moment. Reigns hit a Spear just before 7:00. Lesnar stood at a count of seven. He went for another Spear, but Lesnar picked him out of the air. Reigns slid down the back and hit the ropes. Brock side-stepped and tossed Reigns clear out of the ring to the floor.
Referee Chad Patton reached a count of seven before Reigns returned to his feet. Lesnar gave Reigns a Spinebuster through a table. Reigns’ head hit the LED board on the barricade. Reigns beat the count while Lesnar moved his tractor. Brock returned and hit Reigns in the head with a piece of broken table. The champion went down limp. Lesnar celebrated, but Reigns reached his feet just before a count of nine.
Brock walked the champion to his tractor and dumped him into the front loader. Lesnar lifted the bucket all the way up, then positioned it over the ring. He dumped Reigns out, then sat back to watch the count. Reigns answered the count at six. Brock returned to the ring and hit a pair of German Suplexes. Reigns pulled himself up by the ropes. Lesnar gave him another German Suplex. Reigns was laid out in the center. The referee got to a count of eight. Lesnar delivered an F5 and took a breather in the corner. Reigns got to one foot just before a ten count, using the ropes to steady himself.
The Beast stalked his prey. He set up for another F5, but Reigns pulled him into the Guillotine. Lesnar struggled for a moment, but broke free and pulled Reigns to the mat into a Guillotine of his own. Reigns passed out. The referee pulled Lesnar away to start the count. Reigns began to stir at seven, then got to his feet with the help of the ropes just in time.
Lesnar paced impatiently while Reigns collapsed to the mat again at 15:05. Lesnar got back on the tractor and put it inverse. He stuck the bucket loader under the apron and pushed the whole ring. Lesnar turned the tractor toward the corner and used the bucket loader to lift the whole ring off the floor. Reigns went tumbling to the floor.
Reigns answered the referee’s count on the outside and used the barricade to stand. Lesnar left the tractor and circled the ringside area. The Usos appeared, attacking Lesnar from behind. Lesnar made quick work of both of them, tossing them overhead. Heyman got involved. He handed Lesnar both titles. “Leave my tribal chief alone!” Lesnar scooped Heyman up and gave him an F5 through the announcers desk.
Lesnar spun around and ate a Spear from Roman Reigns. The referee counted both men. Reigns and Lesnar both rose at nine. Both collapsed after answering the count at 18:30. Theory’s music hit. Theory ran to the ring with a referee in tow. Theory hit Reigns in the head with the briefcase, then handed the briefcase to the referee. Lesnar grabbed Theory and gave him an F5.
The Usos returned and hit Lesnar with a double Superkick. Lesnar answered the count at nine. Reigns gave him another Spear. Brock rose at nine again. Reigns let out a scream. He picked up Theory’s briefcase and hit him in the back with it for good measure. Reigns slammed Lesnar with the briefcase over and over. “Count his ass down!” he yelled.
Brock beat the count again. Reigns sized him up and hit him in the head with the WWE title. Cole implored the referee to count faster. Lesnar got up again. Reigns grabbed the Universal title. “You ain’t welcome here!” He hit Lesnar in the head with it. The Usos began tossing rubble on top of Brock. Reigns tossed a chair. The Usos tipped the broken announcers desk . Reigns put the steel steps on him. The referee finally counted to ten with Reigns standing on top of the wreckage.
WINNER: Roman Reigns in 22:57 to retain the Undisputed Universal Championship
(LeClair’s Analysis: Phew. This was a spectacle. They threw absolutely everything at the wall, which I suppose is fitting, given the stipulation and the hype they’ve built into this match. I think I speak for many when I say the Reigns-Lesnar feud has gone on for far too long, and often times produced lackluster results, but tonight delivered. This was a brawl on the highest end of the Last Man Standing stipulation. I generally really dislike this type of match, and feel like it leads to anti-climactic finishes, but they went all out here to really deliver a major main event. As much as I don’t like the overdone epic “he’s kicking out of everything” trope, it feels like Lesnar earned it here. It feels like I’m making a lot of exceptions here, but occasionally, I’m okay with this style of main event as long as it isn’t overdone. Lesnar looked like a monster, even in defeat. I don’t know what’s left for him in WWE, but if this could potentially be his swan song, it wouldn’t be a bad way to go out. I’d rank this very high on the list of encounters between these two, perhaps only behind the original from WrestleMania 31. Cole called it “quite possibly” the best Last Man Standing match of all time, and while I do think that bar is relatively low, I don’t think he’s being all that hyperbolic.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a fascinating night. Right out of the gate, I was surprised by how pedestrian the staging looked. WWE is usually so hyper focused on presentation, that it felt odd to see no LED boards surrounding the small entrance way. Instead, the wrestlers walked out of a deep tunnel and onto a barren stage covered by black curtains. It was nostalgic in a way, but such a stark contrast to even the more recent modest stadium set-ups. I thought they knocked it out of the park with the show’s bookends. The opening women’s title match and subsequent post-match angle was on the high end of women’s segments all year. Lynch has been re-positioned properly. Belair gets a new ally and a nod of respect, and new a challenger with some talented running buddies. The main event was a spectacle to behold, and, while not for everyone, it felt like an earned final chapter in the storied history of these two. The meat of the show was mostly positive, too. I thought the two attraction matches featuring non-wrestlers played mostly positively, and the Unified Tag title match was strong, albeit not quite at the level of their last encounter. The night’s weakest point came from the Smackdown Women’s title match, which barely got a chance to get going before ending with the very recently overdone bad reffing spot. It put both Rousey and Morgan in precarious positions going forward and hurt the credibility of the title in general. I also give a thumbs down to the Rollins and Riddle segment, which seemed to largely backfire. and fall apart quickly from a logistical prospective. On paper, I felt fairly underwhelmed by this card and the hype surrounding it. Perhaps my low expectations enhanced my positivity toward the show, but I thought this flew by and proved entertaining from start to finish with only a couple minor exceptions.