WWE needed a win tonight. Despite their heretofore “head in the sand” response to what AEW is doing, they pulled out some big guns for what is essentially WrestleMania, Part Three in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, questionable booking undermined some legitimately exciting moments.

The greatest father/son team going right now, Dave and Gavin Hillhouse (you thought it was the Mysterios?), bring you tonight’s report. Normally, we comment on both matches together, but scheduling demanded that Gavin cover the first five matches, and Dave finishes up with the rest.

Big E VS. Baron Corbin

Big E starts off with some spears in the corner, but Corbin fights back with a shoulder tackle. Big E delivers a massive belly-to-belly suplex, followed by a back suplex. Mister MITB looks for a Big Splash on the apron, but Corbin moves out of the way and shoves Big E into the ringpost. Big E gets back into the ring, and Baron sends him shoulder-first into the ringpost three times, which gets the former King a 2 count. He drops Big E with a sidewalk slam, but when he looks for a chokeslam, Big E reverses it into the Stretch Muffler.

Baron fights out and hits Deep Six, but Big E kicks out at 2. Corbin leaves the ring and grabs the MITB contract, but Big E follows him and slams him into the announce table. Baron tries to run away once more, but Big E shoves him hard into the barricade. Corbin climbs the apron, and Big E spears him to the floor before bringing him back into the ring and hitting the Big Ending to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: Big E

I’ve said it before: Corbin is proving that he can make just about any take on his character entertaining. Photo: WWE

RK-Bro (Riddle & Randy Orton) VS AJ Styles and Omos (champions) for the Raw Tag Team Championships

The match starts out aggressively, with Orton gaining control using kicks and a suplex. The Viper stomps on the fingers of AJ before tagging in Riddle, who jumps off of Orton’s hands to deliver a Floating Bro for 1. AJ leaves the ring and slams his hands on the announce table in frustration before going back in and tagging Omos. He knocks Riddle down immediately with a hammering fist to the back, before tossing Riddle with a slam. Riddle locks in a sleeper, but Omos tosses him off and hits a running back elbow. He tags in AJ, who hits an assisted Tornado DDT.

Riddle fights back with forearms, but AJ stops him with a backbreaker. AJ locks in a headlock, but Riddle escapes. He hits the Final Flash on Omos before tossing AJ to the outside. He tags in Orton, who tosses AJ with a back body drop and a powerslam. The Viper kicks Omos off the apron and hits his elevated DDT, but when he looks for the RKO, Omos pulls AJ to safety.  Riddle jumps off the apron to attack Omos, but the big man catches him and chokeslams him. AJ hangs Orton up on the ropes, and Riddle slams Omos into the ringpost. AJ hits Riddle with a moonsault reverse DDT, but when he looks for the Phenomenal Forearm on Orton, Orton dodges and looks for the RKO. AJ reverses the RKO into a rollup, but Orton kicks out at 2 and hits the RKO to win the match and the Raw Tag Team Championships.

Winners via pinfall and NEW Raw Tag Team Champions: RK-Bro

Eva Marie (w/ Doudrop) VS Alexa Bliss

Eva dives at Alexa and misses, tumbling out of the ring. Alexa sits down in the centre of the ring and waits for her opponent to re-enter. Eva grabs a waistlock, but Alexa hits a sharp back elbow. Eva retaliates with a right hand and a knee to the gut before grabbing Alexa’s puppet Lily and slapping Alexa with it. Alexa goes nuts, raining punches down on Eva and delivering a standing swanton. Alexa puts Lily back on the top rope and looks for Twisted Bliss, but Eva moves out of the way. Alexa hits Eva with a hard kick to the stomach and a DDT to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: Alexa Bliss

Honestly, one of these two doesn’t belong in the ring. Photo: WWE

After the match, Doudrop grabs a mic and announces Eva as the loser of the match, before putting on Eva’s robe, blowing the camera a kiss, and walking away.

Mario Lopez interviews the new tag team champs, RK-Bro. Orton promises that their teaming will be smooth sailing from here on out, and Riddle says that he’s got a big surprise for Orton on Monday Night Raw. The biggest surprise of the interview, though, is when Lopez utters the “f word” and refers to the WWF.

Damien Priest VS  Sheamus (champion) for the United States Championship

Sheamus starts off fast with a takedown, but Priest reverses it into a hammerlock. Sheamus escapes and delivers a shoulder tackle, but Priest answers with a flying back elbow. He continues the assault with a right hand and a big boot, followed by a Falcon Arrow for a 1 count. Priest sends Sheamus to the apron, kicks him off, and dives onto him with a swanton. Priest hits a series of strikes on the outside, but Sheamus gains some momentum by slamming the Archer of Infamy into the ringpost. He brings Priest back inside the ring and delivers some petty kicks followed by a big back suplex.

The champ locks in a headlock, and Priest fights out of it, but Sheamus catches him with an Irish Curse backbreaker. He looks for a powerbomb, but Priest turns it into a hurricanrana. Sheamus stems the challenger’s momentum with a powerslam for 2, before delivering the 10 Beats of the Bodhran. Priest gains some traction with a Tornado DDT. The Archer of Infamy hits some big forearms and a bell clap, before climbing to the top rope and hitting a flying spinning kick. He looks for the Reckoning, but the Celtic Warrior turns it into a rolling slam. Sheamus goes to the top rope, and when Priest grabs him, Sheamus hangs him up on the ropes before hitting an Alabama Slam to get a close 2 count.

Sheamus headbutts Priest and looks for the Brogue Kick, but Priest answers with a kick of his own and South of Heaven for a 2 count. Priest looks for a springboard kick, but Sheamus catches him with a bicycle knee for an incredibly close 2 count. The champ locks in a heel hook, but Priest takes Sheamus’ face mask off and throws punches at his nose. Sheamus lets go of the heel hook, and Priest hits a spinning kick to the nose followed by the Reckoning to beat Sheamus and become the new champ.

Winner via pinfall and NEW United States Champion: Damien Priest

The Mysterios (Rey & Dominik) VS The Usos (Jey & Jimmy) for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships

Jimmy tries to get the jump on Rey, but Rey quickly sets him up for the 619. Jimmy rolls to the outside, but Rey hits him with a baseball slide dropkick. Jey tries to interfere, but Dominik sends him to the floor as well, and Rey tags in Dominik before delivering a sliding splash to both Usos. Dominik hits a crossbody on the champs, and he tosses Jimmy back into the ring before delivering a springboard crossbody for 2. Dominik delivers the Three Amigos, but Jey tags himself in, unbeknownst to Dominik. Dominik looks for a top rope maneuver, but Jey shoves him to the floor before slamming him into the ringpost. He brings him back into the ring and locks in a headlock, but Dominik fights out and lands some punches.

Jey tosses Dominik across the ring and tags in Jimmy, and the two deliver a tag team backbreaker. Jimmy taunts Rey before hitting his son with a flying headbutt for 2. He chokes Dominik on the ropes and tags in Jey, and Dominik tries to fight out of the corner, but Jey rattles his bones with an uppercut. He delivers a couple of suplexes, taunting the crowd after each one, but Dominik doesn’t let him deliver the third one, as he reverses it into a neckbreaker. Both men tag in their partners, and Rey attacks with a Tornado DDT for a close 2. Rey hits a seated senton, but Jey distracts him, allowing Jimmy to deliver a superkick.

Dominik Mysterio looks to deliver a direct message to Jimmy Uso. Photo: WWE

Jimmy tags in Jey, and the two look for a tag team maneuver, but Rey reverses it into a hurricanrana. He looks for a springboard splash but Jey catches him with a superkick, followed by an Uso Splash for a very near fall. Jey tags in Jimmy, and they look for a double splash, but Dominik distracts Jey, and Rey moves out of the way of Jimmy’s splash. Rey hits Jimmy with the 619, kicks Jey in the head, and tries for a Frog Splash on Jimmy, but he gets his knees up. Jimmy tags in his brother and the two deliver a double superkick before Jey hits another Uso Splash to pick up the win and retain the tag titles.

Winners via pinfall and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The Usos

Tiffany Haddish interviews the New United States Champion, Damien Priest. Priest says that his victory is proof that WWE is the land of opportunity. Haddish calling him the “National Champion” is proof that not everyone is ready for their opportunity.

Rick Boogs gives us a lovely musical performance to introduce King Nakamura, who truly just came out to wave to the SummerSlam crowd. Great to hear Boogs’ guitar though, so I’m not complaining.

Sasha Banks VS. Bianca Belair (champion) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

If you’d heard the rumours that Banks would not be competing … they were right. Greg Hamilton makes the announcement that Sasha Banks is unable to compete tonight. Instead, it will be …

Carmella VS. Bianca Belair (champion) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Hmmm. They just wrestled on SmackDown, and it was an easy win for Belair. It doesn’t seem pay-per-view worthy. Bianca calls for a microphone as Carmella pretends to soak in the cheers (they’re actually boos). The champ is unimpressed, and barely has time to tell Carmella that she’ll be taking her frustrations out on her when Becky Lynch’s music hits and the crowd explodes.

Lynch takes her time getting into the ring, soaking in what are definitely cheers, before delivering a kick to Carmella and tossing her out of the ring. She tells Belair she’ll be right back, follows Carmella to the floor and runs her into the ring steps. With Mella now disposed of, Lynch gets back in the ring and delivers a challenge for the title. Always down, Belair accepts.

Becky Lynch VS. Bianca Belair (champion) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Becky opens the match with a punch and a Manhandle Slam, which is shockingly enough for the win.

Winner via squash and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch

Wow – it’s too bad that Lynch wasn’t in her Jean Grey-inspired ring gear for this shot. Check out the crowd reaction (and lack thereof). Photo: WWE

Much will be written of this return and match. Becky Lynch was the closest thing the WWE had in their pocket to CM Punk, and they deployed her wonderfully. It was a great moment … that was then ruined at the expense of Bianca Belair. A win that reeks of entitlement is not what Lynch is about. If anything, this match has some “Daniel Bryan/Sheamus” feeling to it, and could lead to a big crowd push for Belair.

Next up, Team America’s Women’s Freestyle Wrestling gold medallist Tamyra Mensah-Stock and Men’s gold medallist Gable Steveson get a moment to walk to the ring and take in more cheers than they did at the Olympics themselves (because of lack of crowds, not because they were heels).

Jinder Mahal VS. Drew McIntyre

Mahal tries the early aggression, but McIntyre picks him up and drives him into the corner, downing him with a clothesline and then calling for an early Claymore. Mahal hears the crowd’s countdown, though, and slips out to the floor. McIntyre follows him and tosses Mahal with an overhead belly-to-belly.

Back in the ring, Mahal pleads for peace for a moment before dropping his former bandmate with a kick to the head and gets a two-count. This gives Mahal a moment to control the match with an extended chinlock. McIntyre busts out with a Glasgow Kiss and throws him over his head from each corner.

A Future Shock DDT and a Claymore take care of business in quick fashion.

Winner via pinfall: Drew McIntyre

Veer and Shanky run down to the ring, and McIntyre is worried about a beatdown so he grabs his sword and threatens to kill them. Normal, athletic competition stuff, that.

Nikki A.S.H. (champion) VS. Rhea Ripley VS. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship

Flair opens with a shove on Nikki, telling her to get out of the ring. Ripley sort of stands up for the champ and lands a dropkick on Flair. Moments later, Flair gets what she wants anyway by tossing Nikki over the ropes. Ripley and Flair renew their hostilities, battling each other evenly before Nikki returns with a cross-body on Flair.

Soon afterwards, Flair body slams Nikki onto Ripley before doing one of her patented “nowhere close” moonsaults, taking a boot from Ripley to the face instead. Nikki neatly reverses a Riptide attempt, landing on top of Ripley, but a superkick by Ripley takes Nikki out for a spell once again.

Ripley takes the upper hand over Flair with a headbutt and Northern Lights suplex, but Flair throws her to the floor and has to deal with Nikki once again. As Flair hoists her up for an overhead slam, Ripley runs up from behind and sends Flair (and Nikki) flying with a German suplex.

A temporary alliance sees Ripley and Nikki attempt a double suplex on Flair, but it’s countered into a double DDT. Flair sends them both to the floor and bucks the trend of missing moonsaults by instead landing a solid corkscrew version. Somehow, though, it leads to Nikki and Ripley alone in the ring, with Nikki trapped in Ripley’s inverted cloverleaf. Flair attacks to break it up, so she ends up in the submission instead.

Flair quickly reverses it into the figure-eight, forcing Nikki to break it up. Nikki reverses another Riptide, misses a cross-body onto Flair, and ends up tapping out in the figure-eight.

Winner via submission and incessant pushing and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair.

Seth Rollins VS. Edge

Edge goes full-Brood for his entrance, rising up from within a circle of flames before transitioning to his regular entrance. So, he went to the dark place and then left it again?

After a punch-fest opens the match, Edge clotheslines Rollins over the ropes. Rollins paces for a while as Pat McAfee comments on Edge’s 10-pack, but only moments after Rollins returns to the ring he’s backdropped to the floor again. The story repeats once more, but this time Edge tries to attack Rollins on the floor, only to be run into the ringpost a couple of times, and then into the steps several times.

Back in the ring, Rollins hits a sling blade, a neckbreaker, and a springboard knee to Edge’s head. Rollins hits a frog splash, but when he tries to follow with a superplex, Edge turns it into an avalanche spinning neckbreaker. An Edge-o-Matic follows, but when Edge takes his time climbing to the top rope, Rollins leaps up to get him, hitting his superplex/Falcon Arrow combo for a two-count.

Edge brings out the classic entrance for a little dark inspiration. Photo: WWE

Edge rolls away from a Stomp attempt and borrows his wife Beth Phoenix’s Glam Slam for a two-count. With Rollins on the apron, Edge goes for broke and spears Rollins to the floor (everyone is shocked, even though they see Big E do it all the time – including tonight). Back in the ring, Rollins creatively counters a spear with a Pedigree, but it’s only good for two.

Rollins misses a corkscrew moonsault, and Edge hits a close-range spear, but Rollins kicks out. Cue the “this is awesome” chant, which usually happens after a few finishing maneuvers don’t work. Rollins goes back to basics, hammering the back of Edge’s head and neck with forearms and a superkick.

Rollins tries for another stomp, but Edge flips over and catches his foot. He twists Rollins into the Edgucation, then a crossface, before simply ramming Rollins’ face into the mat repeatedly before securing a win with a most basic sleeper hold, to which Rollins taps before passing out.

Winner via old-school (and not dark at all) submission: Edge

In the ring, John Morrison and The Miz are on-hand to introduce the Drip-Stick 2000. Each of them thought the other had it, so where is it? Don’t worry, Xavier Woods heads to the ring sporting the apparatus, and soon The Miz and Morrison are soaked and humiliated … but at least they weren’t consumed by zombies tonight.

Bobby Lashley (champion) VS. Goldberg for the WWE Championship

A flying shoulder-tackle by Goldberg, followed by a body slam and a clothesline in the corner, and already the crowd is restless with boos for Bill. Lashley fights back and thinks about his stalling suplex, and Goldberg tries to turn it into a Jackhammer, but Lashley clumsily reverses that into a DDT.

In an ugly moment, Golberg carelessly tosses Lashley off the top rope, nearly planting him on his head. The crowd cheers as MVP pulls Lashley out of the ring to avoid a spear, but Goldberg just does it out on the floor instead.

MVP strikes Goldberg in the back of the knee with his cane, allowing Lashley to take over with a chokeslam and a couple of chop-blocks, sending Goldberg retreating to the floor. Lashley follows, hoists him up, and runs him into the ringpost. And again.

Lashley shoves Goldberg back into the ring, but as the challenger cannot even stand up, the ref calls for the bell.

Winner via referee’s decision, and STILL WWE Champion: Bobby Lashley

Lashley assaults Goldberg with a chair after the match, but again the crowd is mostly on his side. Goldberg’s son Gage gets in the ring and jumps on Lashley’s back, so the champ puts him in the Hurt Lock until he passes out.

This attempt to solidify Lashley as a monster heel actually made him monstrously popular in Vegas. Photo: WWE

MVP hurries Lashley out of the ring as Goldberg realizes that Gage is down in the ring and promising that he’ll kill Lashley for this.

John Cena VS. Roman Reigns (champion) for the Universal Championship.

Cena tries a few roll-ups, and Reigns responds afterwards with some punches and elbows. A pair of snap suplexes by Reigns nets a two-count each time, and after Reigns throws Cena through the ropes and to the floor, Michael Cole starts making way-too-early comparisons to the match where Lesnar dominated Cena at SummerSlam.

In the ring, Cena tries to slip in an Attitude Adjustment, but Reigns reverses it into a DDT. Cena tries a diving shoulder-tackle, but Reigns again counters with an uppercut. Reigns mocks Cena for pulling out one of his five moves before locking in a sleeper hold to show off his own range. Cena breaks it by backing Reigns into a corner, then clotheslines Reigns to the mat to gain a few moments of recovery.

That allows him to start into his Five Knuckle Shuffle sequence, but Reigns turns it into a guillotine. Cena escapes by flipping over for a cover, and when they both stand, Reigns delivers a Superman Punch. When he tries to follow with a spear, Cena kicks him down and delivers his Five Knuckle Shuffle after all.

This, of course, leads to an AA, but it’s the first finisher in the match so it’s only good for a two-count. Cena switches to an STF, and after Reigns makes sure to part his hair away from his face to show off his agony, he gets to the ropes to break the count.

The fight goes to the floor where Cena plants Reigns on the announcer’s table with a second AA, but by the time he drags Reigns into the ring he can’t secure the three-count. Cena dodges one Superman Punch, but eats the second one. Cena jumps over a spear attempt, though, and lands an avalanche AA from the second rope.

Roman Reigns kicks out, rendering the AA completely useless. Should we believe that a fourth one is going to seal the deal? Hey, the crowd thinks “this is awesome”.

Cena tries to steal Reigns’ spear schtick, but he’s stopped by a boot to the head. Two Superman Punches and a spear and … that’s it.

Winner via pinfall: Roman Reigns.

Michael Cole says it’s time to acknowledge Reigns for defeating “the greatest of all time”. There’s no time to pick apart the ramifications of that sentence, though, because Cena’s time is no longer now … Brock Lesnar’s theme heralds the return of Roman Reigns’ greatest nemesis.

If you were to describe Lesnar’s new look, it would sound silly. Seeing it, though … looks pretty killer. Photo: WWE

No abrupt championship match for this return, though — we get a staredown and a slow retreat by Reigns. Cole again says something unintentionally revelatory: “On a night of surprises, the biggest one came at the end of the night”, thereby diminishing Lynch’s return and title win.


Live SummerSlam an ‘abject failure’


SummerSlam 2021

A 2.5/5 rating because it was a show split right down the middle. Exciting moments, deflating moments. If this keeps up, the WWE’s stance that AEW is not the competition will be spot-on … the WWE will be the competition. Then again, I’ve seen this story before, and at some point, WWE will get its head out of the sand, change their approach, and at least improve the product.