Lots happened at SummerSlam, including the crowning of The Fiend as Universal Champion. But the big news of the night was a surprise: Roman Reigns returned after the main event, spearing the crap out of The Fiend and destroying Braun Strowman. SummerSlam’s tagline was “You’ll never see it coming” and I was shamefully admit — I did not see this coming. It likely all leads to WWE’s next pay-per-view, Payback,. I know, it’s crazy.
It capped off a mixed show. The WWE Championship match was excellent, and saw Drew McIntyre retain over Randy Orton. Asuka won the Raw Women’s Championship in another strong bout. The other key match was Dominik Mysterio against Seth Rollins in a street fight, which ended with Rollins crushing Dominik with a curb stomp.
Everything else on the show was average, including the disappointing SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Bayley and Asuka and the Loser Leaves WWE contest between Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville.
For full SummerSlam results and analysis, scroll below.
The Fiend wins the Universal Championship, gets killed by Roman Reigns
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Braun Strowman in a car crash of a Falls Count Anywhere match to win the Universal Championship. Roman Reigns returned afterwards, spearing The Fiend and destroying Strowman with a chair.
The championship match itself was all big moves. It began with The Fiend hitting a urangage on Strowman. The two ended up outside, with Strowman crashing The Fiend through the barricade. He then tried to slam The Fiend through the announcer’s table, but it didn’t break. Back in the ring, he hit his running powerslam for a two count.
They then went backstage, where The Fiend planted Strowman with a Sister Abigail. Two count. They brawled back to the ring, where they continued to hit big moves on one another. Strowman got a box cutter and cut the ring mat, exposing the wooden planks below.
The Fiend hit him with another uranage and two Sister Abigails to win the title.
Rating: 3.25 stars. Little psychology, lots of impact.
Drew McIntyre pins Randy Orton
Drew McIntyre is still WWE Championship. After an excellent match, he pinned Randy Orton with a rollup.
This was the opposite of the earlier Rollins/Mysterio match. There weren’t any spectacular spots, but a lot of fantastic wrestling. From start to finish, this was smooth, well paced and intense.
It began with Orton playing mind games, evading McIntyre by stalling outside the ring. McIntyre would get frustrated, and Orton would take advantage. The RKO and Claymore were both teased early. It turned into a very strong back-and-forth bout. Orton hit a suplex on the announce table, McIntyre locked in the Figure Four as a nod to Ric Flair. Orton did is patented middle-rope DDT, McIntyre reverse a tree of woe into a suplex and scored a top-rope clothesline.
Both men ended up bloodied up, and both men worked incredible hard. The finish was great because it was a clean pin but not a definitive one. McIntyre won, but not decisively enough that a rematch doesn’t make sense.
Rating: 4.25 stars. This was great, and I’m excited to see the rematch.
Asuka wins Raw Women’s Championship
Asuka tapped out Sasha Banks to win the Raw Women’s Championship in by far the best match of the night so far.
The bout followed the story from the opening match. Asuka’s leg was injured, so Banks went straight for that. Just moments in, Banks hit a gnarly sunset flip powerbomb to Asuka from the apron to the ground. Yet the highlight of the match came as Banks and Asuka traded submission holds — from Asuka Lock to Banks Statement, back and forth — leading to some awesome false finishes.
The actual finish came when Bayley tried to interfere but caught a spinning forearm from Asuka. Banks tried to work off the distraction, a mirror from the Bayley match’s finish, but Asuka countered into the Asuka Lock for the submission.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Great start to finish, if only it was longer.
Seth Rollins pins Dominik Mysterio
As far as first matches go, this was an excellent one for Dominik Mysterio. But as far as feature SummerSlam matches go, this was too long, and had a bit too much smoke and mirrors. With that said, the finish was awesome: Rey Mysterio was handcuffed to the ropes (some of the smoke and mirrors I mentioned), and watched as Rollins curb stomped Dominik for the three count.
Other than Rey being handcuffed, this street fight also saw a cameo appearance by Rey’s wife, interference from Murphy, the extensive use of kendo sticks and a spot that saw both Dominik and Rollins crash through a table.
But the wrestling itself was average. It had to be: This was Dominik’s first match. Rollins is amazing, and Dominik did super well, so it certainly wasn’t bad. It just felt like a lot of filler between spots. It would have been stronger with a third of its length cut. That said, Dominik Mysterio is clearly going to be great.
Rating: 3 stars. Would have been better shorter, and certainly with a live crowd reacting to Dominik’s debut.
Mandy Rose defeats Sonya Deville
WWE’s ThunderDome features piped-in audio to replicate the sounds of a live crowd. This match benefitted greatly from that, because I’m sure it would have died in front of a crowd. Mandy Rose got the win after hitting three running knee strikes on Sonya Deville, and then planting Deville with a pedigree-face buster.
These two women worked hard, but it was ultimately sloppy and a little boring. It was a no disqualification match, which ended up meaning a lot of ringside brawling but not much in the way of spectacle. After the bout, Michael Cole blithely states that Deville must not leave WWE, struggling hard to care.
One upside: It felt like this match was designed to show a tough side to Mandy Rose. That’s a legitimately redeeming quality here, because it gives the bout purpose. It wasn’t exciting to watch, but it still achieved something.
Rating: 1.5 stars.
Street Profits retain Raw Tag Team Championships
Kevin Owens was out for commentary for this match. Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins got the W after Ford hit a wicked Frog Splash on Angel Garza, who was teaming with Andrade.
This bout was a little disjointed at points, but it was a solid tag match. Dawkins is a freak of an athlete, which makes it fun to watch him do basically anything. Andrade is an underrated performer, and was another highlight.
It began with Ford getting the advantage over Garza, but the bad guys quickly turned things around by double teaming and beating down on Ford. Things picked up when Dawkins got the hot tag and cleared house. He had a strong — but too brief — exchange with Andrade. In the end, Andrade would be distracted when Zelina Vega was knocked off the apron, allowing the Street Profits to get the pin on Andrade.
Rating: 2.5 stars. A simple, but decent match.
Bayley beats Asuka
The main show kicked off with Asuka’s first championship opportunity as she took on Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bayley would end up retaining by securing a rollup after interference from Sasha Banks.
It was not a particularly good match. The story is that Bayley, towards the end, put the hurt to Asuka’s knee. This began with Bayley dropping Asuka knee-first into the apron. She then followed with some leg-based submissions. After the match, Banks and Bayley beat down on Asuka further.
In other words, this match was a warmup for the Asuka versus Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship. That is likely to be the better bout. Bayley and Asuka didn’t really click here. There’s also the issue of Bayley’s offence, which is often not convincing. This was noticeable here, where she applied some weak-looking “submission holds” that poor Corey Graves had to try and explain (“it’s a knee bar, sort of, but she hasn’t got it all…”)
Rating: 2.5 stars.
Apollo Crews retains United States Championship
Crews defeated MVP in a short match to retain his US title. He pinned MVP after a spinning powerbomb.