SummerSlam | August 11, 2019, | Scotiabank Arena | Toronto, Ontario | WWE Network
WWE’s biggest party of the summer has a special place in my heart. SummerSlam 88 was my maiden voyage with professional wrestling and I’ve been a diehard enthusiast ever since. No Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, or Drew McIntyre on the lineup. While there are no must-see matches, this is the first pay-per-view of the Paul Heyman era.
Drew Gulak defeated Oney Lorcan to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Good effort by Gulak and Lorcan. It’s hard to get the fans to care about 205 Live when the brand’s biggest matches tend to open up the pre-show.
Buddy Murphy defeated Apollo Crews is Disqualification:
Murphy dropped Crews with a flying knee right out of the gate. Fast-paced action between the two until Rowan came out of nowhere and beat down Murphy. After power bombing Murphy against the ring post, Rowan yelled: “Keep my name out of your mouth” in response to Murphy dropping Rowan’s name to Roman Reigns on SmackDown.
Elias sang a melody scathing the city of Toronto until Edge made a surprise appearance. Edge claimed into the ring drilled Elias with a spear.
It’s the first time Edge has done anything physical since he retired several years ago due to injury.
Is Edge coming back?
Alex Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated The Iiconics to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles: It was Meleficient versus Toy Story as far as the in-ring attire was concerned. Bliss took advantage of a hissy fit by Peyton Royce and hit Twisted Bliss for the win.
Becky Lynch defeated Natalya to retain the Raw Women’s Championship in a Submission Match:
The Canadian crowd respected Natalya, but they were firmly behind Becky Lynch. Becky went for an armbar early and transitioned into a triangle choke. Natalya went for the ropes, but there are no rope breaks in a submission match.
Natalya threw Becky between the ropes into the post and applied the Sharpshooter from the top rope. This resembled a street fight more than a submission match at times with some brawling outside the ring and Natalya trying to wear down Becky’s leg, which she injured on Raw.
Natalya hit Becky with a top rope superplex. Becky came back and locked Natalya in the Sharpshooter. The pro-Becky crowd booed this one a little bit until Natalya escaped. Natalya returned the favor and applied the Dis-Arm-Her.
Becky broke free but got caught in the Sharpshooter. Becky crawled under the rope and fell to the floor to escape. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter again, but Becky caught her in the disarmed Dis-Arm-Her. Natalya tried to fight it, but she eventually had no choice but to tap out.
I wasn’t sure if this was a good choice to open the show. I was wrong as both ladies set a great pace and told a fun story.
Goldberg pinned Dolph Ziggler:
Ziggler drilled Goldberg with two superkicks out of nowhere, but Goldberg kicked out both times at one. Goldberg came back with a vicious spear and followed up with a Jackhammer for the win in under two minutes.
A beaten Ziggler got the mic and said anyone can get lucky. Goldberg came back and speared Ziggler again. Ziggler said anyone can get lucky twice. Goldberg pretended he wasn’t going to spear Ziggler, only to run off the ropes and leveled him with a final spear.
This match was exactly what it should have been. Gave the fans what they wanted while giving us some post-match action to extend the time the affair without having a long match.
AJ Styles defeated Ricochet to retain the U.S. Title:
Anyone who thought they were going to get a New Japan style wrestling match here was sorely mistaken. Styles worked over Ricochet’s leg with some nice offense between the two. AJ got the win, and a post-match beatdown ensued with Gallows and Andreson hitting Ricochet with the Magic Killer.
Bayley pinned Embar Moon to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship:
This was a good match that was hurt by a severe lack of crowd interest. Ember Moon hit a sweet Stormbreaker/Codebreaker combo for a near fall. Bayley came back with a nice Bayley to Belly off the middle rope for the three count.
Kevin Owens defeated Shane McMahon – Owens Quits if he Loses:
This match had all of the bells and whistles of a high stakes affair involving a McMahon. Elias was announced as the special guest enforcer by Shane. They teased Owens getting disqualified and counted out throughout the match. It was stated that Owens could not hit Elias because he was an officially licensed referee for the evening. Later on, Owens had enough and whipped out Elias and the referee with a cannonball off the apron. The finish came when Owens hit Shane with a top rope senton followed by a top rope frog splash for the pin.
Charlotte beat Trish Stratus vis submission:
This was much better than I anticipated. Trish more than held up her end. Trish tried to beat Charlotte with the figure four leg lock and figure eight. Charlotte ended up making Trish tap out to the figure eight and left the ring for Trish to get the ovation from the crowd in her final outing.
Bret Hart made a cameo appearance wishing Seth Rollins good luck in his match against Lesnar. This got a nice pop from the Canadian crowd. I thought it was funny since Hart has been critical of Rollins’ in-ring work over the years for injuring people.
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton went to a Double Count Out:
This match was worked at a deliberate pace that failed to draw heat from the crowd. There were dueling chants of “Kofi’s Stupid” and “Randy Sucks,” which was surprising. Orton tends to work slower-paced matches these days. In wrestling, the faster wrestler always works to the speed of the slower wrestler. Orton caught Kofi coming off the top rope for an RKO, which popped the crowd.
Orton, however, didn’t go for the pin and Kofi rolled out to the floor. Orton went outside the ring and started taunting Kofi’s family who was sitting in the front row. Both men were counted out as this unfolded. The commentary team ultimately failed this match because they didn’t mention and identify who it was Orton was mocking until after the fact.
Kofi snapped and beat Orton down with a Kendo stick repeatedly and finished him off with Trouble in Paradise. This was one of the more lackluster WWE Championship matches in recent history. It looks like the feud will continue, and hopefully do better next time.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Finn Balor:
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. Well, Bray Wyatt proved them wrong as the spectacle of his new character was top notch. He came out with an eerie severed Bray Wyatt head lantern along with a new version of his theme music. The match was quick. Wyatt dominated. Balor missed the Coup de Grace and got caught in the mandible claw. The fans absolutely loved this.
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar to regain the Universal Championship:
I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. I had no interest in this match, but they won me over. It was all action with big moves. Lot’s of near falls with Lesnar working over Rollins’s injured ribs with seven German suplexes. Lesnar swung Rollins around by the medical tape around his ribs, which made for a great visual. Rollins made a herculean comeback with a top rope splash onto Lesnar through a table. Rollins hit three curb stomps for the win. I didn’t believe putting the Superman cape on Rollins would, however, I was wrong. It came off well, and the crowd loved it.
Final Thoughts: Overall, SummerSlam 2019 was a thumbs in the middle show. Some of the matches that over-promised, under-delivered. On the flip side, some of the matches that under-promised, over-delivered. Rollins ended the show as the hero of the day, and hopefully, WWE can sustain this sentiment long term. Trish Stratus deserves props for the match she put on after being out of the ring (in singles action) for eight years. Bray Wyatt came off like a superstar. This was not the best SummerSlam show, but it was far from the worst.