WWE’s Summerslam was a highly anticipated card, and while the majority of the matches were solid but unspectacular, the main event absolute delivered. In my opinion, the main event at Summerslam 2017 was the best match in recent WWE history, as Brock Lesnar retained his WWE Universal Championship in a Fatal Four Way match against Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. It was an incredibly physical match, and exceeded all expectations, every participant involved looked like a legitimate threat to win the title. Let’s break it down.
– There was a lot of pressure placed on “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman in this match, and he excelled in big spots, taking the leap from a monster heel to a legitimate superstar. Braun Strowman became the first person in history (WWE, UFC, NFL) to legitimately manhandle Brock Lesnar, Strowman threw Lesnar around like a rag doll, and it was clear that for the first time ever Lesnar was not the strongest man in the ring. Strowman put Lesnar through two announce tables with his running powerslam, then dumped a third announce table on top of Lesnar, pinning The Beast under the table and causing him to be taken to the locker room on a stretcher. Strowman also threw an announcer chair drilling Reigns and Samoa Joe, and at one point, tossed the “steel” steps with ease from the floor all the way across the ring. WWE asked a lot more than ever before out of Strowman in this match, Strowman took the ball and ran with it, WWE brass has to realize that Braun Strowman is much more than a monster heel after this match. Strowman has mainstream superstar potential.
– Samoa Joe was probably the forgotten man in the match, but his performance was solid as always, and he nearly won the match several times with his Coquina Clutch submission. Of course, winning a Fatal Four Way with a submission should be difficult due to so many participants who can break up the hold, which is exactly what happened. Joe also hit a beautiful “NXT Dive” on Reigns, crashing into Reigns with a thud, it looked impressive to see all the meat of Samoa Joe flying through the air and hitting Reigns with force. (I call that diving shove through the ropes the “NXT Dive” because everybody in NXT does the move, but while it normally looks like a soft shove, Joe crashed into Reigns like a bowling ball).
– Love him or hate him, Roman Reigns had another excellent performance in this match, despite the fact that he took the loss at the end after getting pinned by Lesnar. Reigns nearly won the title multiple times, hit some highlight reel moves including spearing Lesnar through the ringside barrier, and came out of the math looking strong. I’ve been a proponent of the Roman Reigns mega heel turn for a long time, I know the kids love him and he sells a lot of merchandise, but Reigns as a heel would finally have the WWE Universe behind him. It’s time.
– Brock Lesnar, as always, looked like an absolute monster and the baddest man on the planet (except for maybe Braun Strowman). The WWE did a nice job of booking this matched, they used the power of Braun Strowman to mask some of Lesnar’s weaknesses (cardio), Strowman used the table spots (mentioned above) to allow the champ to be stretchered to the back for a breather. Lesnar returned from the back, rallied, and retained his title. Can we get Brock Lesnar versus Braun Strowman for the title now? There is legitimate heat there after Strowman was the first man ever to manhandle Lesnar, if Lesnar is really going to return to the UFC for a superfight with Jon Jones, it would now be believable if he drops the title to Strowman on the way out.
Thoughts on the rest of the card:
– What did Rusev do backstage to deserve this punishment? He lost to Randy Orton in ten seconds after an RKO out of nowhere? I feel like Rusev must have pissed in Triple H’s coffee, he once was being pushed as a potential heel champion, now he is losing in ten seconds to Randy Orton at Summerslam. At least Orton and Rusev both essentially got a nice payday for a night off.
– Ambrose and Rollins beat Cesaro and Sheamus to win the Raw tag team championships, it was a fun match, in which Cesaro destroyed a beach ball which was being knocked around the audience in an old school heel move. Two thirds of The Shield are back together in an uncomfortable alliance, which will likely lead to an eventual heel turn, and another feud between the two. Maybe they turn Ambrose heel this time around.
– Who will feud with Ambrose and Rollins? Cesaro and Sheamus will likely get a rematch, but after that, could it finally be The Broken Hardys? The “Team Extreme” Hardy Boys nostalgia tour has run its course, its time for Broken Matt and Brother Nero in the WWE, it’s what the world wants to see.
– AJ Styles retained the US Title over Kevin Owens with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee, in which was an excellent match, as always. That’s the problem, these two have incredible chemistry, but we have seen Owens and Styles so many times recently it has grown stale. It’s time for fresh feuds for each of these top guys. Nakamura? Corbin? Jinder? A debuting Bobby Roode? There are plenty of options.
– Speaking of Jinder Mahal, the WWE made the right decision keeping the WWE Championship on him, with a victory over Nakamura. Jinder Is not getting enough credit for his current run as heel champion, he has been awesome, and the decision to keep the gold on him was the right one.
– It’s been a rough few days for Baron Corbin’s push, first he became only the second person in history not to cash in his Money In The Bank opportunity on Smackdown last week, then he loses to John Cena at Summerslam. I guess rumors that the WWE was set to strap the rocket ship on Corbin were an exaggeration.
– We have two new Women’s Champions, with Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Title and and Natalya defeated Naomi for the Smackdown women’s title, both going over via submission.
– The Smackdown Tag Team Titles also changed hands, with the Usos defeating The New Day, and a potential feud with Breezango on the horizon.
– Finn Balor beat Bray Wyatt in a solid match, nothing really at stake, but the match was fine.
– There’s a new giant in town, as Big Cass beat Big Show with Enzo Amore suspended above the ring in a shark cage, in a match that the crowd was dead for. Now that Show put over Cass, passing the giant torch, maybe it’s time to get Cass involved in the IC or Universal Title picture to continue his push. Have we see the last of Enzo Amore? Rumors abound that the locker room hates him, and since his high profile feud with his former tag team partner is over, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
– With both Bobby Roode and The Authors Of Pain dropping their titles at NXT Takeover on Saturday, expect both to debut on the main roster of either Raw or Smackdown over the next two nights, Bobby Roode on Smackdown working with guys like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and John Cena seems like a natural fit.