Psst, hey also check out this week’s Late Lunch, guest starring me talking about wrestling!
WWE’s Hottest Party of the Summer™ ended up being a pretty fun time. WWE, for all of its many, many faults, really knows how to pace an overly long event. Clocking in at a whopping five and a half hours (including the two hour long Kickoff Show) I still can’t exactly say Summerslam was an easy watch. The biggest obstacle there was the WWE Network stream. I’m not sure why WWE thought it was a good idea to make major changes to their streaming platform right before their third biggest event of the year, but it was a bad call!! The stream was choppy and laggy to an extent that I had to go back and rewatch some of these matches to be able to write this review. WWE! Do better! (The Toronto crowd was also rough, but I will get to that later.)
Cruiserweight Championship: Drew Gulak defeats Oney Lorcan
This was the start of a killer bout. As great as the chemistry and the in-ring work was, it was just too short and too interrupted repeatedly by advertisements and video packages. I was bummed out! Fortunately:
GULAK PUNCHED MY ADAMS APPLE NOBODY PUNCHES MY ADAMS APPLE YOU FRIGGIN SCUMBAG BE A MAN AND GIVE ME A REMATCH ON 205 LIVE
— ONEY LORCAN (@_StarDESTROYER) August 12, 2019
IM GONNA REMOVE GULAKS ADAMS APPLE OUT OF HIS NECK TONIGHT ON 205 LIVE AT 10PM ON THE WWE NETWORK
— ONEY LORCAN (@_StarDESTROYER) August 13, 2019
It’s happening and if it isn’t good, I will apologize to Disney Adults for everything mean I’ve said about them. That’s how confident I am that these two scary little men are going to tear the roof down.
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeat The IIconics
Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss’ first defense against former champs the IIconics wasn’t life altering or something I’m going to go back and watch again, but I was perfectly entertained. I’m never going to complain about watching four charismatic women put on a fun warm-up match with decent wrestling and tons of screaming.
However, Corey Graves saying that the IIconics “spent the last 24 hours locked in the same hotel room in the same bed meshing and melding their energies and emotions” is something I will be watching again and again. I can’t believe I got queerbaited by Corey “the first rule of punk rock is loyalty” Graves.
Also, how about those wild hologram emoji versions of Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross? Definitely something we will enjoy for many years to come.
Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch defeats Natalya
Becky Lynch wore embellished fake leather shorts to Summerslam. In my Summerslam preview and summer fashion trend article, I chose a pair of embellished fake leather shorts for the Becky vs Natty outfit. My point here is that I am a legitimate psychic and precog.
In addition to my great shorts victory, I just genuinely enjoyed this opener. It’s probably my favorite Natalya match I’ve ever seen. I don’t know that I’ve seen very many women’s matches on the main roster this grapply, and it was a very refreshing change. They could have done a better job of making it feel spontaneous, but it was different enough from Becky Lynch’s recent title defenses that I wasn’t bothered.
Goldberg defeats Dolph Ziggler
Can I say that Goldberg and Dolph Ziggler had a good wrestling match at Summerslam? No. Can I say that Goldberg and Dolph Ziggler had a bad wrestling match at Summerslam? Yes, I can absolutely say that. Can I say that Goldberg and Dolph Ziggler had a boring, aggravating, unentertaining match at Summerslam? It would simply be unethical of me to lie to you that way. There was barely a match. Goldberg speared Ziggler and beat him in under two minutes. Ziggler demanded more chances, so Goldberg speared him again, walked away again, got called back again, and then looked at Ziggler in disgust.
That is the exact amount of time I want to spend on a Goldberg/Dolph Ziggler match. Ziggler made Goldberg’s spear look brutal and impressive. It was fun and funny. Goldberg’s entrance seemed a little off, but other than that? A perfect use of these two men. A+.
US Championship: AJ Styles defeats Ricochet
The WWE Network stream was bothering me a little in the Natalya and Becky Lynch match, but it didn’t really get to be a problem until I found myself losing huge chunks of AJ Styles and Ricochet’s fast, athletic encounter to the cruel thief of buffering. Fix! That! Shit! WWE! Fix it!
I went back and watched after the fact, and Ricochet and Styles did some incredible stuff. Ricochet walked on Gallows and Anderson to do a rana on AJ Styles. Ricochet did a one legged springboard. AJ Styles countered Ricochet’s phoenix splash into a styles clash to win. Maybe it did more as a whole live, but their chemistry still leaves me completely cold. Unless you’re a completist, you can get everything you need to get out of this match in gif form and save yourself some time.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley defeats Ember Moon
It’s rare for me to have such a bad experience watching a match this technically good by wrestlers I really enjoy. I was informed that Canada historically does not like Bayley. Great, then plan for that. If you didn’t plan for it, at least roll with it and adjust mid-match to suit the atmosphere in the arena.
Nothing that I have seen of Bayley’s storyline required her to remain purely babyface. Couldn’t she have played a slightly more heelish version of herself, letting fellow babyface Ember Moon get the crowd behind her? Would that have messed everything up? I don’t know, I’m not a wrestler. It seems like it should be pretty easy to do.
Instead, it seemed like they did the match as planned and just muted out the crowd, making it a supremely awkward watching experience. Maybe booing would have been equally as awkward, I don’t know. I just know I had a bad time.
Kevin Owens defeats Shane McMahon
Wrestling matches are like horror movies sometimes in that you know they’re doing something right when you find yourself yelling “DON’T DO IT” or “TURN AROUND” at your screen, forgetting that the person a. can’t hear you and b. is performing a fictional story. Kevin Owens resisting the bait of hitting Shane McMahon with a chair only to wail on Elias with it was just satisfying. Even more satisfying was Owens giving up the chair to the referee and taking advantage of the distraction to get in a low blow. It was a simple story told well by one of the warmest, most naturally magnetic performers in all of wrestling and one of the most repulsive. I got exactly what I wanted.
Charlotte Flair defeats Trish Stratus
Here’s the deal: I didn’t watch wrestling as a kid. The stuff I saw, I thought was stupid and gross. (It was stupid and gross, but also if you think I’m a scold now, you should have seen me at 11 years old!) To my late-in-life wrestling fan eyes, Charlotte Flair and Trish Stratus had a very watchable match. I wasn’t in it as much as I was watching attentively saying things like “wow, that looked good” or “hm, that doesn’t look amazing.” Charlotte Flair is good and Trish Stratus was really impressive for an inactive retired wrestler whose heyday was one of short matches and limited movesets for women.
There was still something missing for me when I watched it. I don’t have the emotional bond that a lot of you have with Trish Stratus, which was the key ingredient that made this match something special. I did go back after Summerslam and watch a couple of classic Trish matches, and okay. I can see why it would be really meaningful to see her have a match this good, this long and taken this seriously.
I guess what I’m saying is: good for her.
WWE Championship: Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton draw
I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this match because I mostly find Randy Orton very boring. I was right, the two of them, despite their strongest efforts and my love of Kofi Kingston, just didn’t do it for me. Maybe they would have if the Toronto crowd hadn’t gone completely off the rails. I don’t know who these people were. I’m imagining row after row of Dougs Ford and Jordans Peterson wearing different shirts like the generated audience in a wrestling video game. Loud chants of “Kofi’s stupid” completely distracted me from what should have been a straightforward good guy versus bad guy wrestling match. It ended in a double count-out, which was confusing.
It’s possible I was just confused because I was so distracted by this vile Toronto crowd. Hey Toronto? Can we talk? Can we talk for a quick second? Entire city of Toronto: what’s your problem? Who boos a dude as lovable as Kofi Kingston? In front of his family? I guess the same people who cheer when a basketball player gets severely injured. What is wrong with you Toronto?
My cool friends in Toronto assure me that the cool people of Toronto are extremely cool, so I am holding off on officially making Toronto my enemy. For now.
I am, however, officially going to have to come down hard against smarks. I’m smark shaming. Don’t boo the faces and cheer the heels just to feel smart and cool. Don’t hijack shows unless it’s for a really, really good cause. (CM Punk is not a really really good cause.) Be a good audience member. Don’t make me track you down and scold you in person.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeats Finn Bálor
Bray Wyatt’s new Fiend character came to the ring with a lantern made of his own (fake) decapitated head. He looked at his hands dramatically and murdered Finn Bálor in a wrestling ring in under four minutes. If that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is.
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins defeats Brock Lesnar
The Summerslam main event really felt like a main event. Brock Lesnar showed up and performed, which is always a fun, pink, sweaty time. The match was big and loud, full of Seth Rollins’ anguished groans and Paul Heyman’s shouts. I had a blast.
Seth Rollins is as cool and engaging wrestling a match like this as he is embarrassing when he uses words. When Brock Lesnar decides to give a shit, he is a perfect lab-grown meat man of aggression. It’s a good combination.
- Mostly good matches
- Even the match that was technically the worst was entertaining
- Elias got beaten up by not one but two iconic Canadian wrestlers
- The Fiend is cool as hell
- Brock Lesnar went to work!
- Charlotte Flair looked jacked and terrifying
- Becky Lynch and I have a psychic fashion bond
- Good use of Goldberg
- Kevin Owens forever
- Everyone I talked to had problems with the stream
- Buddy Murphy and Apollo Cruise was also on this card and I totally forgot about it because I was messing with different web browsers and logging into my PS4 during it. Seriously fix the stream!
- Give the Cruiserweights rights!
- Ricochet did in fact look like a gamer chair
- AWFUL crowd
- Styles and Ricochet still not doing it for me