WWE ran its annual SummerSlam pay-per-view last night from Toronto, and the biggest headline of the evening may have been that the show ended before 11 p.m. eastern!
WWE has extended the time of its PPV shows over the last two years, including WrestleMania this year lasting more than six hours, if you included the pre-show.
SummerSlam began its pre-show at 5:30 p.m. and many expected the 10-match card to last well past 11 p.m., but the show was off the air by 10:30.
(1) Becky Lynch beat Natalya in a submission match to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
WWE made a solid choice putting this match on first, with Lynch extremely over with the crowd and Natalya a hometown favorite from Canada. The crowd didn’t boo Becky out of the building, which goes to show how over she is as a babyface, going up against a Canadian in her home market.
(2) Goldberg beat Dolph Ziggler
This was the perfect use of Goldberg. Ziggler had some nice spots at the very beginning of the match, hitting two superkicks before Goldberg came back with some spears and a win.
The loss hurts Ziggler, but he’s been hurt enough already (right?) Ziggler has had TV time invested the last several weeks, and it was all set up for this quick match to give the crowd a feel-good moment with Goldberg.
This could turn out to be a big positive for Ziggler, if it comes with a major overhaul to his character.
(3) AJ Styles beat Ricochet to retain the U.S. Championship
A good match. But shouldn’t Styles vs. Ricochet be great? This reminded me a lot of Styles vs. Nakamura from WrestleMania two years ago, in the sense that the match was fine but it should have been a lot better.
(4) Bayley beat Ember Moon to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship
I guess they had to put a title match on the show? Right?
Between the last match and this match, the show started to feel like it was slowing down. Bayley received a clean win on a big show, but this match didn’t feel like a big major happening.
(5) Kevin Owns beat Shane McMahon
The build to this match felt bigger than the match itself. Granted, there are a lot of big matches on the show, but WWE did a nice job of building up this match on SmackDown over the last month, and the match wasn’t as hard-hitting or as aggressive as you would have expected.
(6) Charlotte beat Trish Stratus
Trish looked terrific, despite not wrestling a singles match for a long time. Charlotte getting the win via a tap was the right decision for booking and Trish still was given a hero’s welcome in her hometown.
The match was a little slow, especially at the start, but Trish hasn’t wrestled in years, so that’s to be expected. Charlotte was the right opponent for Trish if she was going to do a 1-on-1 match. Between Ronda Rousey and now Trish (who hasn’t wrestled regularly in a decade), Charlotte has shown over the last year why she’s the best worker in the women’s division.
(7) Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton wrestled to a double count-out in a WWE Championship match
Randy Orton continues to disappoint …
For a major star, when is the last time he had a memorable match on a big show?
This match set up a rematch for Night of Champions well, but they went almost 20 minutes and ended up a double count-out, which felt flat and underwhelming.
(8) Bryan Wyatt beat Finn Balor
Not only did Wyatt win in his re-debut, but he also squashed Balor in about three minutes. Wyatt’s “fiend” character was legitimately terrifying for kids. My 9-year-old left the room when he made his entrance and there were similar stories shared by fans on social media, including one person in the building who said they needed to take their kid to the concourse.
(9) Seth Rollins beat Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship
Match of the night. They told an awesome story during the match, with Seth selling his ribs and injuries and ultimately overcoming to beat Lesnar for the title.
Perhaps even bigger than Seth winning the title is what happens next with Lesnar. He’s now lost to Rollins twice in actual matches this year, while only beating him on a cheap cash-in.
Lesnar vs. Rollins doesn’t make sense for a rematch. So where does Lesnar go?