The Big Dog is back!
The Fiend claimed the WWE universal championship by putting away Braun Strowman in the main event, but with SummerSlam having the tagline of "You'll never see it coming," you had to expect something big. And that something was the return of Roman Reigns, who had been out of action since the COVID-19 pandemic struck ahead of his scheduled WrestleMania match with Goldberg.
After The Fiend hit a pair of Sister Abigails on Strowman to collect the win, he was met with a vicious spear from Reigns and a sustained beatdown. But Reigns also had something for Strowman, who ate a spear and multiple chair shots.
The Thunderdome also had an excellent match as Asuka managed to win a title in her two-match feud with Sasha Banks and Bayley. After losing the first match to Bayley, Asuka returned and submitted Banks with the Asuka lock. It also appeared there could be trouble on the horizon for the Golden Role Models.
Drew McIntyre outsmarted Randy Orton to retain his WWE championship while Seth Rollins turned back the challenge of the debuting Dominik Mysterio and made Dominik's father, Rey, watch as he curb stomped him.
Here's how it all went down, with match grades and highlights:
The Fiend def. Braun Strowman for the WWE universal title
Strowman’s run as universal champion has been underwhelming, so this feud appeared to be an effort to give him a much-needed edge. It didn’t matter because this match wasn’t good and was simply a vehicle to get Reigns back.
And that part was awesome. Too bad we had to endure a lame match to get there.
The Fiend went into his old bag of tricks but Strowman cut him off with power moves. It was humorous to hear Corey Graves suggest that he had never seen The Fiend in such peril when Goldberg squashed him earlier this year. Oh, well. They clearly want you to forget about that.
Strowman hit his powerslam for a near fall and then The Fiend took over and dragged the fight backstage. The Fiend hit a Sister Abigail for a near fall and then brought Strowman back ringside, where he attempted the Mandible Claw. Another powerslam by Strowman couldn’t keep The Fiend down.
Strowman used a box cutter to expose the wooden part of the mat but The Fiend attacked and hit a pair of Sister Abigails on the exposed wood for the pinfall.
Just as we were about to be miserable with another title run by The Fiend, Reigns hit the ring and annihilated both The Fiend and Strowman with vicious spears and chair shots.
Now we’re talking. It just took us a while to get to something we can care about.
Drew McIntyre def. Randy Orton to retain the WWE championship
This was a match between seasoned veterans who came into the company young and took completely different paths to where they are today. And that narrative was felt as Orton sought to outsmart the champion while McIntyre was savvy to most of his foe’s tricks.
This match was more methodical than McIntyre’s previous title defenses and played out as a collection of their greatest hits with a little color mixed in as both bled.
There was nothing special about the match, but it wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It felt more like a setup to something bigger later. And that makes sense because McIntyre is in need of a prolonged feud with a reputable opponent.
The end came when Orton finally went for the punt kick but was met with a powerbomb. Orton dodged the Claymore Kick but had his RKO attempt reversed into a backslide for a pinfall.
The method of victory leaves the door wide-open for this feud to continue as Orton recognized that the champion outsmarted him.
Asuka def. Sasha Banks for the 'Raw' women's championship
If Asuka-Bayley was great, this was excellent.
Asuka and Banks have a distinct chemistry that is unlike anyone else's on the roster. They worked stiff and snug throughout in a performance that was worthy of Match of the Night honors.
Coming off the loss to Bayley, Asuka entered her match with Banks compromised by a knee injury. They worked that into the story early as Banks attacked and sought to add to the punishment Bayley began.
These two worked extremely stiff: Banks hit an utterly brutal sunset flip powerbomb on the outside, followed by a wicked kick in the head. It’s amazing that Asuka wasn't concussed after both of those spots. But Asuka returned fire with a reverse facebuster off the top rope.
This match wasn't long but everything they did was meaningful. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that these two are the best women's wrestlers in the world and this short, but sweet, match proved it.
In the final stretch, Asuka locked in an Asuka lock but Sasha reversed into a Bank Statement, which became a series of reversals until Banks escaped. They emulated the hip attack spot from the match vs. Bayley when Banks interfered, but this time Bayley dodged it. Asuka hit a spinning backfist to take out Bayley and cinched in the Asuka Lock to get the submission and reclaim the title.
Bayley being unwilling to take the same bullet that Sasha did for her earlier in the night will surely play into their eventual breakup. For now, though, we can bask in what was a brilliant match.
Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio (Street Fight)
Just like Pat McAfee's match with Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver, Rollins taking on a debuting Dominik Mysterio was far better than it had any business being.
Seeing Dominik Mysterio as a grown man in a wrestling match will never not feel strange. One thing is clear: He has instincts for the business and the athleticism to compete if he wanted to make this his full-time gig.
Fortunately, this wasn’t a 50-50 match as Rollins was often one step ahead of the rookie. However, Dominik found ways to surprise Rollins with a DDT reverse, kip-up dropkick and other moves that felt natural and believable.
Much has to be made of Rollins being a general in this match and making Dominik’s offense look believable while also being an incredible heel who mocked the family the entire way. The added brutality of chairs, kendo sticks and tables was a nice touch as Dominik demanded his father not interfere in the match.
One other thing is clear: Dominik can take a relentless beating.
Business picked up when Dominik followed a Russian leg sweep off the middle rope and through a table with a frog splash. Rollins returned fire with a superkick and a brutal powerbomb. Another prolonged beating with a kendo stick had Mysterio’s mother coming down the ramp. After Dominik nearly rolled up a distracted Rollins, a melee broke out as Rey Mysterio and Murphy brawled on the outside. Murphy and Rollins got the upper hand and handcuffed Rey to the middle rope and then went after Dominik’s mother.
This incensed the rookie and he took out both Rollins and Murphy but couldn’t hit another frog splash.
Rollins hit the curb stomp as Rey watched his son’s face slam into the mat and then secured the win. A job well done in a match that was better than expected.
Mandy Rose def. Sonya Deville (Loser Leaves Town match)
For the record, a Loser Leaves Town stipulation is useless because the loser never actually leaves town. Instead, they disappear and come back repackaged. That’s what we’re getting here.
It feels weird to have this stipulation considering what Deville had to deal with just a week ago. The ending was never in doubt but the match itself was nothing special. For a feud that has lasted this long, it lacked the necessary fire. That could be a result of their lack of chemistry.
Mandy sliding chairs across the table was a cool spot but the match just kind of dragged on until a series of knees put Deville away.
Here's hoping Sonya gets the time off she needs and that we’ll see her back with a gimmick.
Street Profits def. Andrade & Angel Garza
The talent in this match was exceptional but it didn’t quite hit another gear. It also goes without saying, but it has to be reiterated: Montez Ford is a star.
The same can be said for Garza, and it appears that he will strike out on his own sooner than later.
The match itself was fine. It started with Ford showing off his athleticism before an extended control session by Andrade and Garza. Dawkins received the hot tag and hit a brutal spear on Garza.
There was some back-and-forth and Ford was kicked into Vega by Garza, which led to Andrade tending to her on the outside. You can guess what happened next: Dawkins with the Cash Out on Garza followed by a ridiculous turning frog splash by Ford to seal the deal.
The dissension between Garza and Andrade will continue and a breakup is inevitable.
Bayley def. Asuka
With the exception of the silly Beat the Clock challenge, everything about Asuka having to deal with Bayley and Sasha Banks has been excellent. It’s really difficult to have a bad match with Asuka and Bayley has shown great chemistry with the Empress of Tomorrow. This match was no different.
Asuka was in control early and landed a wicked flying DDT on the outside. But Bayley fought back and hit a Bayley to Belly for a near fall. After another shift in momentum that had Asuka gaining the upper hand, Bayley attacked the knee. A beautiful counter on a flying dropkick by Bayley into kneebar. Bayley attempted a flying elbow but Asuka countered into an armbar. Sasha got involved and had her face kicked in for her troubles.
The end came when Sasha saved Bayley by eating a hip attack, which allowed Bayley to roll up Asuka to retain the title. It wasn’t their best match, but it was damn good.
Also, could this be a red herring for Sasha to cough up the "Raw" title on Monday night?
Apollo Crews def. MVP to retain U.S. Championship
I can’t find any rationale behind MVP facing Crews again when Bobby Lashley has been the true thorn in the United States champion’s side. It was Lashley who put Crews on the shelf with a full Nelson and Lashley went over clean on Crews in a tag match a couple of weeks ago. Yet, here we were, with MVP trying to beat Crews again.
As you would expect, this was a short preshow match, but it lacked any drama. Crews wasted little time hitting his powerbomb finisher to (hopefully) put this beef to rest. Maybe now we’ll get Crews vs. Lashley.
WWE SummerSlam 2020 results
- Seth Rollins def. Dominik Mysterio in a Street Fight.
- Mandy Rose def. Sonya Deville in a Loser Leaves Town match.
- Street Profits def. Andrade & Angel Garza to retain the "Raw" tag team championship.
- Bayley def. Asuka to retain the "SmackDown" women’s championship.
- Apollo Crews def. MVP to retain the United States championship