The WWE’s new normal has changed again.

After months of holding events at the WWE Performance Center, the promotion has found a semi-permanent place to call home: the ThunderDome, a transformed version of the Amway Center in Orlando. Even though live feeds of fans on LED boards are filling in for live fans, the environment for SummerSlam on Sunday night did feel bigger and more familiar than WrestleMania a few months ago.

Alas, that didn’t mean the card was a thriller from beginning to end, though some of the longer running WWE storylines did take new steps forward. A large chunk of the night was devoted to the Bayley and Sasha Banks saga, which saw both of them enter the event with two belts but only one of them leave a double titleholder by the end.

The SummerSlam tagline was “You’ll Never See It Coming,” and for that, fans had to wait until the main event, which saw Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman close the show for the second straight pay-per-view. The difference this time was that Wyatt was in his alternate persona as “The Fiend,” and that he and Strowman had somewhat switched roles as they clashed in a Falls Count Anywhere affair with Strowman’s Universal Championship on the line.

The Fiend wasted no time taking it to the Universal Champion, with Michael Cole saying it would be “an all-out brawl.” Strowman found no rest on the outside of the ring as The Fiend smashed a toolbox into his midsection, then removed the cover from the announce table. Strowman fought back with right hands and used a running start to drive his challenger through the barricade.

After repulsing a brief rally, Strowman slammed The Fiend onto the announce table — which didn’t break, and followed by slamming the steel steps into his face. Crorey Graves noted how rare it was to see The Fiend in trouble like this before he kicked out at two from a running powerslam. An early look of disbelief crossed Strowman’s face, but he climbed back out to the floor to continue his assault.

Both men brawled up the ramp and into a control room, where The Fiend hit Sister Abigail for a two-count. But things tilted back in favor of the champion as the action returned to the ring, where he scored another near fall even as he began bleeding from the forehead.

Stopping briefly to ponder his next move, Strowman retrieved a boxcutter from the toolbox, using it to cut open a portion of the mat and exposing the wood beneath it. But that proved to be his own downfall as The Fiend caught Strowman with a pair of Sister Abigails on the wood, which were enough to keep the Monster Among Men down for three.

Just as the announcers began talking about the new champ, The Fiend was blindsided by a spear from a returning Roman Reigns. Appropriately wearing a shirt reading “Wreck Everyone and Leave,” Reigns left the ring to deliver a series of steel chair shots to Strowman before returning to spear The Fiend for a second time. The broadcast ended with Reigns holding the title belt and yelling at The Fiend that it belonged to him, not “a freak in a mask” who can’t handle the responsibility.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Payback on Aug. 30, 2020.

WWE SummerSlam 2020 Pre-Show Results

MVP (challenger) vs. Apollo Crews (champion) – WWE United States Championship Match

MVP rolls out of the ring, avoiding a punch, and tries to call a timeout. It pays off, as MVP sends Crews flying over the top rope. MVP gets himself hung up on the ropes in the corner, and Crews capitalizes with a kick to the back of the head. Apollo takes to the sky, flying over the top with a plancha. Both men barely beat the 10 count. Crews hits the toss powerbomb and covers to get the pin.

Winner … and still WWE United States Champion: Apollo Crews by pinfall

After the match, Apollo is able to escape a beating at the hands of the Hurt Business.

WWE SummerSlam 2020 Main Card Results

In keeping with tradition, Nick’s comments are in plain text while Dale’s contributions are in italics. Rumor has it that Dale lost a 13-round game of rock-paper-scissors to decide this, but no one can officially confirm if that’s the case.

Asuka (challenger) vs. Bayley (champion) – WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

It’s strange to me that Corey Graves is still harping on the idea that Bayley and Sasha Banks aren’t really friends so far into their story together. Yes, it’s possible, maybe even probable, that the two women will end up falling out and facing off, but it’s just … weird. Banks takes exception to what the announcers are saying anyway, even as she smiles watching Bayley take it to Asuka. Interestingly, that includes a number of attempts to win by submission, even though that’s more in her challenger’s wheelhouse. Banks ends up taking a bump that helps Bayley secure the victory, then immediately jumps in the ring to beat on Asuka with Bayley gladly joining in. Graves says maybe he was wrong after all.

Winner … and still WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion: Bayley

Rating: 2.5/5

Asuka suplexes Bayley in the opening match of SummerSlam. Photo courtesy of

Rey Mysterio’s son Dominik says that even though it’s a big night for him, he wants Rey to let him handle things on his own. Will Mysterio promise not to get involved? As hard as it is, Rey gives him his word, then a hug.

A video package recaps the rise of Retribution, with mentions of how we still don’t know who is in charge of the group, and that security has been increased and hopefully will prevent them from interrupting tonight’s show. This is unintentionally hilarious for two reasons.

  1. It has to be Vince McMahon in charge of Retribution, right? It’s always Vince.
  2. In the long history of pro wrestling, the number of times security has kept people out of an arena can comfortably be counted on one hand.

Angel Garza and Andrade (challengers) vs. Street Profits (challengers) – WWE Rag Tag Team Championship Match

Kevin Owens joins the commentary team for the match. Montez Ford is showing no ill effects from poisoning two weeks ago. He rips Andrade off the tope turnbuckle with a hurricanrana. Ford gets caught on the outside by Andrade and Garza attempting a plancha. Ford finds himself in the tree of woe, taking a knee from Garza and then the double stomp from Andrade. Garza tries to steal the match with an assist from the ropes on a pin. The ref catches him, though. Ford superkicks Garza, who crashes into Zelina Vega. Garza attends to her, leaving Andrade looking for a tag. Ford hits the Frog splash on Andrade. Dawkins keeps Garza from breaking the pin and Ford gets the pin.

Winners … and still WWE Raw Tag Team Champions: Street Profits by pinfall

Rating: 4/5

The Street Profits enter the ThunderDome to defend the RAW Tag Team titles. Photo courtesy of

Since Bayley and Sasha aren’t getting featured enough in this event, they are interviewed together and

Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose – No Disqualification Match, Loser Leaves WWE

The announce team claims that Daniel Bryan is watching SummerSlam at home and said this match was the one he was looking forward to the most. Call me skeptical on that one. The No DQ stipulation would be ripe for Otis to step in, but that isn’t very face-like. Rose does something cool with a steel chair I can’t recall seeing before, skimming it off the top of a table set up outside the ring and nearly smashing Deville right in the face. It’s pretty straightforward other than that, with Rose getting the win and Deville out of here, possibly to take an understandable break. Otis hits the ring, does a celebratory Caterpillar and inspires Mandy to do one of her own.

Winner: Mandy Rose by pinfall

Rating: 2.5/5

Mandy Rose celebrates her win over Sonya Deville by attempting the Caterpillar. Photo courtesy of

Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins

Backstage, Dominik gets blessed by his mother before heading to the ring. Rollins toys with Dom at the start of the match, taking him down and popping back up to his feet. He lets Dominik apply a head lock. After multiple arm drags, Seth has to start taking Dom seriously. He stomps Mysterio into the corner. Murphy slides in a kendo stick, but Dominik kicks it away. Seth taunts Rey, daring him to get involved. Murphy slides in a chair, but Seth just takes a seat. Dominik struggles to get to his feet as Rey contemplates getting involved. Dom waves him off. Rollins misses a blackout off the chair and Dom drops him onto the chair. Dominic counters a buckle bomb with a headscissors and follows with a DDT. He grabs the kendo stick, breaking it over Seth’s back. Mysterio climbs the turnbuckle, but Seth stops him cold on top. Rollins with a superplex and then a Falcon Arrow, but it’s not enough to get the pin. Rollins returns the favor with the kendo stick and calls for a table. The Monday Night Messiah sets the table up in the corner and takes Dom up the turnbuckle. Mysterio crotches Rollins on the rope and drops Rollins through the table. Dominik connects with a frog splash, but Rollins kicks out. Seth connects with a superkick and follows with a powerbomb. Seth rips off Dom’s top and goes to work with the kendo stick. Murphy passes in a set of handcuffs. Dominik’s mother walks out on stage and Rey begs her to stay away. Dominik uses the distraction to roll up Rollins. Murphy jumps in to break the pin. Mysterio takes out Murphy on the floor, and Rollins goes after Rey. He handcuffs the elder Mysterio to the ring, but then turns his attention to Mrs. Mysterio. Dominik attacks him on the ramp and tosses Murphy into the virtual crowd. He then slams Seth into the ring steps and rolls him into the ring. He hits a 619 and goes for the frog splash. Seth gets his knees up and then taunts Rey. He hits Dom with the Blackout, making the cover as a helpless Rey looks on.

Winner: Seth Rollins by pinfall

Rating: 4/5

Dominik Mysterio takes flight with the frog splash, but Seth Rollins has the knees up for the block. Photo courtesy of

Asuka (challenger) vs. Sasha Banks (champion) – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match

So the narrative here is that Asuka has already been through one title bout, so she shouldn’t be 100 percent for her clash with The Boss. She isn’t any less aggressive early on, though, looking for submissions and raining down strikes. She also takes a vicious looking powerbomb off the apron that bounces her back off the floor, and Banks repays the favor when she is on the receiving end of a stiff move off the turnbuckles. Props to these women for the bumps they are taking. The final sequence is a blur of submission holds and reversals, but Asuka eventually prevails as Banks taps out. But right before that, Bayley has a chance to take a shot on behalf of her friend and repay a similar favor from earlier in the night, and she opts to move out of the way instead. Could that be the crack in the foundation of their friendship that finally breaks it apart?

Winner … and new WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Asuka by submission

Rating: 3.5/5

Asuka slaps on an Ankle lock en route to recapturing the RAW Women’s championship. Photo courtesy of

Randy Orton (challenger) vs. Drew McIntyre (champion) – WWE Championship Match

Before the match, Shawn Michaels offers his hopes for the match. No surprise, he wants Orton to get Claymored in the head. The bell rings and Orton immediately heads to the floor.  He suckers McIntyre in and nearly hits an RKO. Drew tosses Randy into the corner by his throat and throws haymakers. McIntyre misses a charge and catches the ring post. Orton clears off the announce table, slamming the champ into it repeatedly. Orton grinds McIntyre into the mat, trying to frustrate him. McIntyre buys time with a knee breaker.  Drew locks in the figure four.  Orton grabs the ref and is able to break the hold with a thumb to the eye. McIntyre recovers launch Orton across the ring and goes up top. He connects with a flying forearm. Drew kips up and sets Orton atop the turnbuckle. Orton crotches the champ and hangs him in the tree of woe. McIntyre pulls Orton to the mat and hits the Future Shock DDT. Orton dodges McIntyre coming off the ropes and answers with a power slam. Drew avoids the draping DDT; delivering the Glasgow kiss. The two spill to the floor. Orton gets in the ring first and drops the champ with a draping DDT. Orton looks for the punt, but McIntyre counters with a powerbomb. McIntyre goes for the Claymore, but Orton ducks and goes for an RKO. Drew counters into a backslide and gets the pin out of nowhere.

Winner … and still WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre by pinfall

Rating: 3.5

Randy Orton suplexes Drew McIntyre on the floor as the battle for the WWE title. Photo courtesy of

“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (challenger) vs. Braun Strowman – WWE Universal Championship Match

The Fiend delivers the Sister Abigail to Braun Strowman on the exposed mat. Photo courtesy of

Winner … and new WWE Universal Champion … “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

Rating: 3/5

Total Event Rating: 3/5


SummerSlam 2020 - August 23, 2020

WWE ThunderDome at Amway Center, Orlando, FL

A step up in both quality and big event feel from the horror-show-in-the-wrong-way that was Extreme Rules, SummerSlam offered solid if inconsistent in-ring action and some fun bits of storytelling as well. It was a strange choice for Retribution not to be involved at all after the group has been prominent on TV in recent weeks, but with another pay-per-view in just a week — and one called Payback, to boot — perhaps WWE is keeping that in its back pocket for seven days.