WWE PLE HITS & MISSES FOR SUMMERSLAM 2022: Reigns vs. Lesnar Last Man Standing, Morgan vs. Rousey, Belair vs. Lynch, Usos vs. Street Profits, more

BY FRANK PETEANI, PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Analysis of the hits and misses for Raw
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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WWE SUMMERSLAM HITS & MISSES
JULY 30, 2022
NASHVILLE, TN. AT THE NISSAN STADIUM
AIRED ON PEACOCK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves (Raw); Michael Cole and Corey Graves (Smackdown. Graves in for Pat McAfee)

I’m Back!

For those that didn’t hear on my latest Pro Wrestling Then and Now episode, I have transitioned to doing the WWE PLE Hits & Misses report, which is a new but familiar feature here at PWTorch.com. I join the ranks of the great contributors who have done Hits & Misses reports through the years. I appreciate

Bear in mind this is purely an opinion-based report. I’m not right, wrong, or indifferent in what I say. It will all be about what I think, and you’re free to agree or disagree.

Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair defeats Becky Lynch to retain.

Given their story started at the previous year’s event and went through a match at WrestleMania, this was one of the matches that had my focus and attention. Not only was I intrigued by the outcome, but I was curious about the layout of the match. With Becky “hitting bottom” recently, would she be desperate and pull out all the stops to defeat the women that was the first to defeat her in over two years and regain her title? Instead, Bianca for all intents and purposes, dominated the match. When she hit K.O.D. on the outside it did make me wonder if she wouldn’t hit it in the ring, and that would be the turning point for Becky. Instead, Bianca kicked out of the Manhandle Slam and hit the K.O.D. for the clean finish.

When you have a big match like this on a big show, it’s always better to give a decisive finish. Pick someone and have them win. It makes the time you invest worthwhile and makes for better conversation moving forward. My time was well invested to see Bianca get the win here. I liked the sportsmanship of Becky post-match, and the apparent return of her to the babyface side of the ledger. It’s where she naturally belongs. I just hope the fans haven’t given up their love for her. I don’t think they have, but you never know. I’ll remain optimistic

Hit or Miss: Hit

Post-Match Return of Bayley and Dakota Kai and the Debut of Iyo Sky

For the past few months, you wondered when Bayley would be making her return. WWE typically likes to wait for the right time to have one of their big stars return. SummerSlam is a perfectly good time. I was shocked to see the returned of the recently released Dakota Kai, and even more shocked to see Io Shirai (now going by Iyo Sky) make her main roster debut. With Triple H at the helm of creative, it shouldn’t have been too much of a shock. Women like Dakota and Iyo didn’t stand a chance under the Vince McMahon regime, but they do now. I thought this return was well done mostly because nobody touched, and you go into Raw wondering what’s going on. I liked Becky standing alongside Bianca and I’m curious about the apparent alignment of Bayley, Kai, and Sky.

One minor quibble is, do we still have to do name changes? I mean, Sky can’t be Io Shirai? WWE may have their reasons but, they’ve changed so many names over the past year. Please, enough with this already.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Logan Paul defeats The Miz

I went into this match with mixed feelings because I must be honest, I couldn’t give two you-know-whats about Logan Paul. I don’t care about how he became an influencer or his YouTube success, or whatever he does ok? That said, he did do a good job at WrestleMania in the tag match with Miz and I looked forward to seeing what he would do in this match, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Look, say what you want about this Miz, and you can say a lot alright. The guy knows what he’s doing out there, and you can tell during the match he was doing what he could to help Logan. That’s why for the most part most new babyface’s first feud is with the Miz, or if you need to keep someone occupied and get them back on track, they put them with the Miz. Miz’s credibility is an issue too, but that’s a separate conversation.

I’m a sucker for the ringside help getting tossed, and I did get a kick out of Ciampa taking a chair and refusing to leave. Side note, here’s hoping under Triple H Ciampa gets a better role. I’m admittedly not his biggest fan, but I can’t discredit what the guy can do.

It SEEMS like Logan won the crowd over with the dive to the table and hitting the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. That said, the crowd’s always going to eat up a table spot, so I don’t know if that was about love for Logan, but we’ll see. I didn’t need Logan saying “that’s how a champion does it,” but it’s heat of the moment. I’m not going to make a big deal.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Maximum Male Models Water Commercial

I got no use for this gimmick. I don’t need the former Mace of Retribution who was trying to destroy the WWE, and Mansoor who looked like a submissive fool to a then-heel Mustafa Ali pouring water all over themselves. I know some people are into this, but stuff like this is not why I started watched professional wrestling 36 years ago. Do this crap on Smackdown, not on a PLE.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Bobby Lashley defeats Theory to Retain the U.S. Championship

These are two guys that to me, just didn’t have any chemistry in this feud. I never got into it, even with the pose down. This isn’t Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude from 1989. In a real fight, Lashley should waste Theory in like two minutes. He did so in under five, so the length here was fine. Theory looked like a weakling attacking Lashley pre-match with the briefcase, and still getting dump-trucked, but what else were they going to do I suppose. The idea was to make Theory look like a threat to cash in later in the evening. After all, he said he would do so like a hundred times on TV!

The finish was decisive, and made sense overall, which is the only reason I score this a hit

Hit or Miss: Hit

Rey & Dominick Mysterio defeat The Judgement Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest); Edge Returns

The match existed. It didn’t do much for me, and the Mysterios required a returning Edge to beat The Judgement Day who aren’t necessarily a protected act. That’s not really the problem. I understand the excitement of returns, but Edge has been on a weird ride this year. He starts out as the loving husband and babyface act for which he is well known. He then turns inexplicably for no good reason, forms a faction, and the faction turns on him basically withing two months. Now he’s what, an enhanced version of his old Brood character? That act was barely mid-card.

That said, I wasn’t into the match. I’m sorry but I just can’t get into anything regarding the Judgement Day. I don’t care how hard they work. My personal investment in the characters has a lot to do with how I feel about matches. It’s not just about “the work.”

Hit or Miss: Miss

Pat McAfee defeats Happy Corbin

Oh, the Corbin matches. Listen, he has place on a wrestling roster, but there’s a reason he hasn’t ascended to a higher spot. He’s not the type of guy that can elevate an opponent, and you wondered heading into the show could he help carry the load for McAfee. I mean he did overall, but I thought Theory did a much better job at WrestleMania. The spot out on the announce table involving Michael Cole was cool. Dare I say, I may start enjoying commentary again, but I digress.

This wasn’t a good match, and the Code Red McAfee hit for the win looked scary. That said, the trash talking in the run-up to the match made me want to see McAfee win the match, and they gave the right finish.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Drew McIntyre Promotes Clash of the Castle Match

Drew sounded like a guy wanting to win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, and I have to admit that very subtly making fun of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar having another match was funny. Drew does have a good sense of humor. The problem is, he ended the segment raising the sword. That’s not what I want to see from a guy challenging for the top company championship.

Hit or Miss: Miss

The Usos defeat The Street Profits to retain the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship with Jeff Jarrett as the special referee.

I’m still wondering why Jarrett was chosen to be the referee for this match. My question was not answered during this show, but so it goes. This was a passable match. I didn’t think the Profits had any shot to win, so it was hard to get into it. That’s a thing for me in that if the winner is a foregone conclusion going into a match, I have a hard time getting invested. It’s not a slam dunk as there are some matches that I want to see the work and the story told. Having seen these teams wrestle multiple times, that also took it down for me.

I do understand this was to portend the potential break-up of the Profits, so having them lose was the way to go. The work was perfectly fine, so I’ll be fair.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Riddle calls out Seth Rollins

Who knows what the real reason their scheduled match was pulled from SummerSlam within two weeks of the event. You know what would be nice? If someone gets called out by another wrestler, just come out without music, especially when heel Rollins’s theme has a sing-along component. You don’t want the crowd singing along the theme of a heel whom they should want to see put down. This is the problem AEW has with Judas for Chris Jericho.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Liv Morgan defeats Ronda Rousey to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Rousey attacks Liv and the referee after the match.

I hated this finish with a passion. Why would WWE run another story with a referee missing something key when they JUST did it with the Usos and Street Profits? Does this mean we need a special ref for a rematch between these two? Anyway, I understand trying to tell stories over time, but this finish was manufactured at best. You’re telling me Liv couldn’t hang on for two more seconds when she saw the referee start the three count? Ronda couldn’t turn her shoulder up? (Ref might have missed that anyway so, who knows.).

As far as the post-match, right on Ronda for attacking Liv and the ref. She had a point, right? Now people might buy this as a heel turn, but I’m not sold that’s happening. In fact, and this is me thinking out of the box, I wouldn’t be shocked if Liv turns heel eventually. I know Charlotte is coming back, so that might not work. We’ll see.

Hit or Miss: Miss

Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in a Last Man Standing match. Theory’s Money in the Bank cash-in is thwarted.

If you’re reading this report, you watched the show, so I don’t have to go through everything that happened, and there was a lot. I don’t think I was alone in being checked out on this feud. After Reigns beat Lesnar at WrestleMania, there was absolutely no reason for anyone to want to see another match between these guys. There were injuries and I know this wasn’t the original plan, but I’m sorry that’s a convenient excuse. Hopefully under Triple H they stop pulling from the past and have a philosophy of moving someone up the card when there’s an injury.

The bottom line is they did what they needed to do to make this memorable, which they typically try to do for SummerSlam. They had to deliver on the Theory cash-in, which they talked about 10,000 times on TV. I didn’t like the Usos interference from the standpoint of why would they wait so long? Why not get involved from the get-go? In addition, if this was the final match between Roman and Lesnar, shouldn’t Roman have won decisively once and for all? This was likely to protect Brock in case they want to do, and I believe it’s possible, another match down the line. I don’t buy this was the last go for these two.

I was annoyed in real time watching the match, but it’s settled a little better on me overnight. I got a kick out of the tractor spot lifting the ring. I enjoyed Cole’s commentary saying “count faster” and everything else he was saying. The Roman legacy continues to get bigger and makes defeating him an even bigger deal when it happens.

Hit or Miss: Hit

Final Score

Hits 7
Misses 5

This was an overall good show as evidenced by there being more hits than misses. I want to watch the Roman vs. Brock match one more time with the benefit of hindsight and everyone’s analysis. Outside of that, there’s nothing I need to see again although I’m fine with what I saw. See you next month for Clash at the Castle!

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!

4 Comments on WWE PLE HITS & MISSES FOR SUMMERSLAM 2022: Reigns vs. Lesnar Last Man Standing, Morgan vs. Rousey, Belair vs. Lynch, Usos vs. Street Profits, more

  1. I completely agree with you on the ridiculous name changes. And the Maximum Male BS needs to go away yesterday for good. Please bring back LA Knight and dump Mace. He has been there for years and still doesn’t have a clue how to wrestle. I have no idea why he wasn’t released 2 years ago. He’s tall but he’s a total clutz.

  2. Not a bad PLE (I do not like that name!), but not the most memorable either. Riddle, Logan, McAfee and The Mysterio’s were pretty good in the “feel-good” category of matches. All of the title matches were adequate but “underwhelming”. Still, the “right people” won (I guess) and we march on to the other PLE’s (yucky name!) and ultimately Wrestlemania. Seeing Bayley back (with her gang) will bring some spark to the women’s division. Of course, this is subject to change as Queen Charlotte is back soon. And as for Ronda, please, please, please keep her a heel or at least a “tweener”, where she can say as little as possible while she absolutely decimates the women’s roster. Personally, I would love to see her team up Bazler and they can reign terror over RAW, SmackDown and NXT. That would be fun and keep them very busy, especially if they become tag-team champions. Theory? I hope they put him in a “USA Belt Versus MITB Contract” match against Lashley. Take that contract away and let him earn his way up the ranks the old-fashion way. After all, “Daddy’s not here anymore!” That was a great line! We shall see.

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