WWE SummerSlam 2018 – Recap/Review

“The Biggest Party of the Summer” was a hot mess.

Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).

The WWE like to proclaim SummerSlam as being “THE BIGGEST PARTY OF THE SUMMER,” a line that they only repeated about 47 million times over the course of the PPV.  If SummerSlam is a party, therefore, then SummerSlam 2018 was the kind of party that goes on forever, kills a pretty good vibe every 20 or so minutes by chasing the coolest party mix with a Fast Food Rockers medley, the host only hangs out with the extremely boring jocks who keep winning rigged games out of little more than spite, everyone actively goes out of their way to prevent definitive memories from being made, two egotistical twits no-one’s seen in forever and who aren’t talking to anybody keep commandeering the mic to pimp their social media profiles, nobody wants to be there, and you’re ultimately left wistfully thinking back to the smaller, hotter, and infinitely better party you went to 24 hours earlier wishing that could’ve just pulled an encore instead.

It was bad.  I don’t want to be That Guy, because it’s basically the hoariest of hoary Internet Wrestling Community clichés to go “NXT is running circles the size of Jupiter around main roster PPVs.”  It also wasn’t as utterly bamboozlingly garbage as many other WWE PPVs have been so far in 2018, often maintaining at least a baseline level of watchability for most of the SIX HOUR PROGRAMME whilst there were a few legitimate high points that need no qualifiers… but this was mostly bad.  SummerSlam 2018 often had quality in-ring storytelling but was ultimately squashed by, fittingly enough, a shockingly high number of squash matches for what the WWE have been trying to position as WrestleMania’s equal, and an absolutely deflating number of stupid or non-finishes that caused almost the entire 3 hours between the Intercontinental bout and Rousey’s demolishing of Alexa Bliss to feel pointless.  I may have only started watching WWE back in the dark ages of 2010, but even I still remember when these Big 4 PPVs were used as feud ENDERS instead of feud STARTERS and feud STALLERS!

Still, I committed to this assignment and I don’t have Twitter anymore so where else am I going to piss and moan about professional wrestling?  Strap in, folks, we’re gonna run down the highs and lows (mostly lows) of SummerSlam 2018!  For a more representative experience, throw your computer down a flight of stairs every time you reach the penultimate paragraph of each segment and then, when you pick it all back up, skip to the next one instead of finishing reading the current bit!  Also remember that Flo Rida is a person who exists for the first time in like half a frickin’ decade!


Keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ UP!

Across the 2-hour SummerSlam pre-show, there were 3 matches, totalling 24 minutes of wrestling bell-to-bell, all of which ended in roll-ups that did absolutely nothing to advance their respective stories, and all taking place in front of a half-empty stadium with a Barclays Center that couldn’t give a toss.  Meanwhile, on the previous night’s TakeOver, across that same 2-hour period there were 4 completed matches, totalling 62 minutes of wrestling bell-to-bell, only one of which ended in a roll-up and all of which were logical decisive endings to that point in their respective stories, taking place in front of a fully-seated white-hot Barclays Center that was into every last second.  Look, I promise that I won’t bring up TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 for the rest of this article, but that’s damning, right?  And I know that somebody’s going to do the whole “apples to oranges” thing, but I want to counter that our main show also had 2 non-finishes to major matches, 3 squashes, 3 goddamn Bella Twin segments, an Elias segment that accomplished literally nothing, and an Hour 2 RAW match.  All on the second-biggest PPV of the year.  Excuse me for feeling salty and trying to hold this company to higher standards.

Right, let’s bash these out quickfire because it’s not like WWE put any effort into them.  Rusev Day fought Andrade Cien Almas & Zelina Vega for the billionth time and, in a shocking diversion from the past months’ worth of storytelling where Rusev Day loses because Aiden English runs out to help but accidentally distracts them, this time English stays backstage when told to and… Rusev Day gets distracted and rolled up for the loss.  Cedric Alexander defended his Cruiserweight Title against Drew Gulak and that was… fine, I guess?  I don’t keep up with 205 Live because there’s already too much wrestling to deal with each week – and that’s all before the Mae Young Classic returns and NXT UK finally starts up – and WWE has done a terrible job of making the poor Cruiserweights feel like they matter, so the miniscule crowd doesn’t care, an advert runs in the middle of the match, and it ends with a goddamn roll-up victory for Alexander that came off super sloppy.  Finally, The B-Team beat The Revival to retain the RAW Tag Team Championships by, get this, lucking into a roll-up within 6 minutes.

Can… can I get a replay of that bit in TakeOver where Tyler Bate deadlift German-suplexed Rodrick Strong whilst Kyle O’Reilly had him locked in a sleeper-hold, please?

Aaaaaaahhhhh, that’s better.


“You should’ve aimed for the head.”

Before we get into it, a quick shout-out to the opening package where Terry Crews channels some of that double-sun power in order to wake up anybody watching at home who nodded off during the pre-show comedy stylings of Peter Rosenberg and JBL.  Can Terry Crews introduce every PPV from now on please?  Maybe even just replace all the commentary teams as well?  Team him up with Andre Braugher for play-by-play, Stephanie Beatriz for the third chair, and then gradually have WWE’s main roster absorbed into Brooklyn Nine Nine?

Fittingly for the WWE’s continuing efforts to elevate SummerSlam to WrestleMania’s illustrious level, the main show opened by having Seth Rollins once again wrestle the best match on the card by far for the Intercontinental Title (or second-best if you’re me).  Rollins and Dolph Ziggler can effectively wrestle this match in their sleep by this point, as is what happens when two ultra-talented guys wrestle each other 71 times in the span of 3 months – which is seemingly a requirement for every Dolph Ziggler feud; I even noticed this back in 2010 when he and Kofi Kingston spent the entire Summer scrapping over the United States Championship – but this time around they at least got to do it without having the crowd needlessly shitting all over 80% of the runtime.  Initially, I felt that it was a little too slow with way too many rest-holds that work against Ziggler and Rollins’ respective strengths as entertainers, but by the end I recognised that this was that all-too-rare main roster match that was given precisely the amount of time it needed and therefore built gradually and naturally to its crescendo, so all is forgiven.

Extra bonus points should also be given to the integration of both Drew McIntyre and the returning Dean Ambrose at ringside.  Contrary to pretty much every other instance in wrestling history of having two guys at ringside, they actually stayed out of the match for all but the finish, letting Dolph and Seth put on their wrestling clinic without unduly stealing the attention for themselves.  Even better, though, is how they weren’t just set dressing designed to placate the audience; running their own parallel story about whether Ambrose, who has gotten properly-jacked and swoon-worthy post-injury, can keep his cool for long enough to avoid throwing hands and costing his buddy Rollins the match.  Each stare-down with McIntyre just oozed tension and it worked as great seasoning for the in-ring stuff.  Even the ending worked, inverting the “face gets distracted by his friend at ringside doing cool stuff” trope by having Rollins beat Ziggler to the draw on the superkick anyway before hitting the Curb Stomp for the win – although it makes Ziggler look like a total goober for not capitalising on the distraction, but a total goober is basically Ziggler’s default state of being so it’s all good.

I must confess, by the way, that I didn’t actually get Seth’s tights being a reference to Thanos’ infinity gauntlet until literally everybody on the Internet pointed it out after the fact, so I hereby rescind my Nerd Card privileges in shame.  Also, savour this asterisk-free praise like water in a desert because it’s almost all varying degrees of downhill from here.


Big E Mallet

The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship was shockingly good to such an extent that I’m starting to think that New Day are actual miracle workers.  I mean, I guess we already knew this because New Day have been putting on high quality tag team matches with literally everybody for at least a year straight now, but there had to be limits to their powers, surely?  The Bludgeons’ reign has largely been, to put it bluntly, crap.  Nothing but useless squash matches and a complete lack of selling that benefited nobody and hurt everyone.  Yet here come The New Day, like the shiny majestic unicorns that they are, to drag something properly great out of Rowan and Harper by, stay with me here, putting together an actual competitive match!  I know, right?  Who would’ve thought that would be what finally got the Bludgies over?

So, the match was great because great tag team wrestling with accompanying tag team psychology is The Best.  The Bludgerigars wrecked shit but found their hardest hits being matched by the never-say-die risk-taking craziness of New Day, so for the first time they actually got properly hurt and were clearly rattled by that fact, unsure of how to respond.  That gave New Day openings to capitalise on and press the advantage, bouncing back from every single shutdown attempt to remain competitive and drag the match out to a length that their opponents just weren’t used to, leading to even more mistakes that Xavier Woods and Big E could build on.  Xavier hit a sick-ass elbow from the top turnbuckle to the outside and the crowd were out of their seats hot-as-hell…

Whereupon Rowan clobbers both of the New Day members with his hilariously unintimidating foam hammer for the DQ loss, immediately killing all heat the match had worked so very hard to cultivate and directly responsible for the first of multiple “oh, COME ON!” sighs of the evening.  It at least makes storytelling sense, since this was the first time The Oaken Family from Frozen had been properly rattled so of course they’d respond by throwing a tantrum with those knock-off toy Thor hammers you buy for your 5 year-old, and it promises at least one more great match between these two in the near-future, but it’s just such a deflating way to go about things.  Especially since the rematch is on this week’s SmackDown, two days after the big PPV match that was supposed to matter – yeah, despite the post-dates, I haven’t actually seen SmackDown at time of writing cos time zones are a bitch – which can’t help but cheapen an otherwise great match, double especially if they pull the trigger and switch the titles there.  A shame that such a great match was smothered by such a shitty ending.

Speaking of which…


CHARLOTTE WINS LOL

Disclaimer: I will immediately rescind this entire rant should SmackDown pull out a promo segment that course-corrects the new alignments to what they truly are.  Charlotte winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Carmella by pinning Becky Lynch in their Triple Threat is the call I would have made given that Evolution is around the corner and Becky FINALLY reclaiming the gold at The Historic First All-Women Pay Per View® would be the biggest, most satisfying crowd pop on the main roster all-year.  After all, Charlotte’s the bad guy in all this.  She is, I’m not being smarky, look at the facts.

  • Becky Lynch spends months turning around a crushing losing streak, working her way back up the SmackDown women’s roster by soundly defeating pretty much everyone and amassing a respectable run that, once Asuka was Bayley-d into oblivion, made her the logical #1 contender to Carmella’s title.
  • Becky then beats Carmella on SmackDown to earn an official title match at SummerSlam, cementing her scratching and clawing back to the top of the card.
  • Charlotte Flair then returns from injury/boob surgery and also gets put into a match against Carmella, somebody who has beaten her cleanly twice before, simply because she’s Charlotte Flair.  Charlotte wins, so now the SummerSlam match is a Triple Threat.
  • Charlotte proceeds to spend the next few weeks casually belittling Becky, her supposed best friend’s, chances of winning the title whilst Becky, who remains as pure a babyface as one could ever hope to find, begrudgingly takes it all on the chin.
  • At SummerSlam, Becky has Carmella dead to rights with the Dis-Arm-Her in the middle of the ring when Charlotte flies in from behind, hits Natural Selection on Becky, and pins her to win the title in a match Charlotte wasn’t even supposed to be a part of.  She didn’t cheat and everything was technically above board, but it’s a dick move nonetheless.
  • Becky, finally having had enough of Charlotte being the worst friend of all-time, beats the shit out of Charlotte whilst the crowd explodes, 15,000 otherwise largely-dead audience members chanting in unison at the weeping Charlotte “YOU DESERVE IT!”

Explain to me, therefore, why commentary is trying like Ol’ Gil to sell the idea that BECKY is the heel in this scenario?  They’re really going for it, too, like three guys trying to bale out the Titanic.  WWE has absurd toxic ideas of how friendship is supposed to work, we know this because Vince McMahon is a horrible person and his ideals infest every facet of the product, but when 15,000 crowd members are booing your alleged babyface champion, ready to riot when the two in the ring are calling for the “emotional Horsewomen” bit, and pop louder than damn-near anything else all weekend at your heel turn – a pop that allegedly has also travelled over to non-smark-infested house shows, so even casual fans know what’s up here… how do you read a room this badly?!  I’m furious but also perversely fascinated by it, it beggars’ belief!

Again, they can fix this immediately.  Literally all that Creative has to do is have Becky cut a promo on Tuesday that just lists those aforementioned facts, have Charlotte come out and feign remorse but in a really condescending way and, when Becky calls her out on it, reveal her true colours and become the superior snobby champ who openly admits she has no respect for Becky and doesn’t think Lynch can beat her.  BAM, there’s your red-hot money feud for Evolution!  For Christ’s sake, Charlotte is a FLAIR!  If you’re booking a Charlotte/Becky feud and the arrangement is literally anything but Charlotte as the snobby heel champ who believes herself to be “genetically superior” and Becky as the scrappy underdog babyface, YOU HAVE OVERTHOUGHT THIS!

Ugh, it’s such a shame that the ending left this bad a taste in my mouth because the match itself was largely great and that’s all thanks to the one woman who is going to get left out of these conversations: Carmella.  Carmella has had the rotten luck of a snivelling opportunistic heel reign at the same time RAW’s women’s division has been strangleheld by same but executed far worse (at least Carmella’s willing to take a few bumps), plus that whole neutering Asuka business, and that’s a shame because ‘Mella, whilst still rather green in the ring (although she’s come on in great strides), does excellent character work.  She has to carry surprisingly long stretches of the Triple Threat and it acts as a welcome showcase for how she can work a crowd and tell a story; the egotistical heel who can’t truly hang with her more-skilled opponents but is determined to prove otherwise, rubbing in any advantage she gets through copious trash-talking that eventually starts to backfire when she gloats for too long a few times too many.  She’s the glue that holds this match together and I hope, with time, we’ll be able to properly credit her improvement here.

In other news: the IIconics continue to rule.


OH, COME THE FUCK ON!

Serious question: is AJ Styles cursed?  Did a creepy old lady from Estonia place a hex on him that draws all the dumbest and/or unsatisfying finishes towards him, making his reign feel honestly kind of a draining bummer?  Is this some giant inside joke that I don’t get?  Is the Earth willing this until AJ finally admits that it’s not flat?

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship is magnificent because, even though they’re not the AJ Styles and Samoa Joe of 10 years ago in TNA, they are still AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.  Have you seen their Triple Threat with Christopher Daniels at TNA’s Unbreakable from 2008 in a while?  That’s not counting all the times they’ve clashed in singles matches over the years, plus the fact that, no matter how badly WWE booking tries to negate this, they are both two of the best wrestlers alive with a ridiculously talented sense for how to build a match, tell a story, and escalate at the perfect speed to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.  They are extraordinarily good at this and the match we get here is pretty much perfect.

Joe is an incredible heel – shout-out to his promo with the pre-show panel where he singlehandedly rescued three weeks’ worth of questionable booking, at a time where I didn’t think they were going to properly payoff the constant invocations of Styles’ family, in 5 deliciously slimy minutes because Joe is SO GOOD on the mic.  Just proper old-school despicable.  He and Styles have wrestled each other on-and-off for almost 2 decades now, which both they and Creative have done a good job of priming everybody for, so the match is logically even-handed as both men know how to reverse or kick out of the other’s hardest hits.  It starts methodical because AJ knows he needs to keep his emotions in check whilst Joe is the kind of guy who is always thinking 14 moves in advance and is deliberately trying to get underneath AJ’s skin.  As the minutes roll on (this was the second-longest match of the night), both men reach deeper into their arsenals yet still can’t put the other away, and now everyone’s on tenterhooks to see what the finish will be, especially since Joe teased a Muscle Buster that Styles just managed to avoid.

Honestly, despite that opening salvo, I’m actually in two minds about the finish – Joe getting on the mic, promising to AJ’s daughter watching ringside that “Daddy’s not coming home” but that he’ll “be [her] new daddy,” leading to AJ losing it and intentionally disqualifying himself in a fit of blind rage.  On the one hand, I kind of loved it because it is exactly the kind of old-school despicable heeling that I am down for, Joe sells the ever-loving heck out of it, we’ve got a natural and logical escalation for the Hell in a Cell rematch, and AJ’s daughter recoiling from her dad and almost tearfully noting “Daddy, you’re bleeding” (AJ got cut open after a nasty bump to the floor) is utter gold to this storyline.  But on the other hand, it kind of murked the momentum of the match coming when it did, Joe kind of came off as an idiot for thinking it wouldn’t backfire as spectacularly as it did, and I still remember 4 months ago when we got a similarly underwhelming finish to a New Japan-style match with promises of greater things down the line yet now I never want to see Styles & Nakamura wrestle in a WWE ring again.  Plus, y’know, AJ’s had screwy finish after screwy finish across this reign and that makes me weary.

We’ll see how this progresses, then.  I think I wouldn’t have been so down on this non-ending, ditto the crowd who were just out of it for the vast majority of the match, had it not followed the biggest failure of a heel turn in years, been chased by a complete non-entity of an Elias segment, and surrounded on all sides by pointless squash matches and heatless filler promos for people who aren’t even active on the main roster anymore.  But I’ll forgive this so long as Joe gets a run with the belt and maybe a whole bunch of hilariously uncomfortable video packages where he replaces AJ as the head of the Styles household.


On this special Sunday edition of Monday Night RAW

Since I’ve brought them up and we’ve still got another 3 proper segments to get through, let’s dispatch with all the filler nonsense in one easy-to-digest bundle, shall we?

Braun Strowman defended his Money in the Bank briefcase privileges against Kevin Owens.  This match got an extended video package that was approximately twice as long as the match itself.  Prior to the bell ringing, I expressed my belief (to no-one in particular) that this should have ended within 30 seconds when somebody like Jinder Mahal ran out, kicked Owens in the dick, and resultantly, as per the stipulation of “if Braun loses in any capacity…” gifting Owens the briefcase through smart dastardly heel shenanigans.  Instead, the match ended in just under 2 minutes with Braun squashing Owens effortlessly, the latter only getting in one superkick that Braun sold like the former Universal Champion was Nicholas.  Utter garbage.

Finn Bálor stomped Constable Corbin in 90 seconds because he decided to demon-up despite this being a nothing match in a nothing feud with Baron Corbin.  I’ll admit to briefly popping, because I have a Pavlovian response to the best theme song in modern professional wrestling and any and all appearances of the demon, but I just don’t get the “why” with regards to any part of this.  It’s a cheap-ass pop, one that worked given that it resulted in the second-loudest crowd reaction of the entire otherwise-uncomfortably quiet night, in a pointless feud that maybe at least will finally END now?  Best part came in a brief backstage segment in the pre-show when actual Brits Paige and The Artist Formerly Known as Rockstar Spud roasted Corbin by observing that Constables haven’t been a thing in the UK for decades.  Dammit, stop making me give props to the pre-show!

In between AJ/Joe and Bryan/Miz, Elias came out, made to play a song, broke his own guitar, got multiple mumbled uncensored “fucks” onto a TV-PG show before the segment just stopped in 5 minutes of my life I will never get back.  *cue Krusty the Clown “what the hell was that gif*

Meanwhile, on a show apparently lacking in the time and creativity to craft proper endings to 5 separate matches across a 6-hour event, the Bella Twins got 3 prominent segments where they said nothing of any value, got booed out of the building when they emphatically stated that they were too busy focussing on their TV show and YouTube channels to think about going back to wrestling, claimed they were the vanguards of the #WomensRevolution like Jeff Goldblum at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, Brie laughably failed to convince as a real human being when talking to her actual husband, and they celebrated Ronda Rousey’s title win in the ring with her despite the three having shared no on-screen history prior to that moment.  Sasha Banks couldn’t get on the card in any capacity despite the PPV emanating from Brooklyn.  And neither twin had the decency to turn on the other for old time’s sake!  “I WISH YOU’D DIED IN THE WOMB!

Finally, Shinsuke Nakamura defended his United States Championship against broken-down rusted-out jalopy Jeff Hardy in a passable Hour 2 RAW match.  Jeff, despite being 40 and open about how he and his brother Matt are basically crippled by this point from a lifetime of recklessly flinging their bodies off and onto stuff, hit a Swanton Bomb onto the ring-apron – THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING™ – and I just felt kind of ill watching it because he already looks like he might cark it at any second!  We don’t need to increase that likelihood!  Best part was when Randy Orton came out after the match and aborted his run-in on the beaten-down Hardy, deliberately wasting everybody’s time, because Troll Orton is Best Orton.  Added up, that’s an hour of PPV that was absolutely pointless, or half of a 6-hour card if you fold in the pre-show.  Once again, this is supposed to be the second-biggest PPV of the year.

But, and just go with me on this, what if we could bundle all of these negatives together into one segment, introduce some Chemical X into the equation, and come out with a legitimate positive?


ARMBAR!

Goddamn, Ronda Rousey is brilliant at this pro wrestling malarkey!  I hear all of the naysayers’ complaints: this was only her fourth match, she’s been with the company for all of 4 months, she’s leapfrogged all of the more deserving women who have been busting their asses in midcard hell for an eternity, she’s effectively been shown to be invincible, she made the previous head of the RAW Women’s Division look like an ineffectual joke, etc. etc.  I hear them and I understand them.  But, right now, Rousey is absolutely killing to such an insane degree that I’d be singling her out for praise even if she were a homegrown talent, and WWE are booking her perfectly.  I mean, yeah, they are trying their absolute hardest to sour me on her regardless, with literally everybody on the show fawning over her regardless of whether it makes sense for them to do so, but right now Rousey is too good at this to let it drag her down.

Rousey just seems to get pro wrestling.  She gets how to carry herself in the ring, she gets her character (at least until the second bell rings but she can work on that), she gets how to work a crowd, she throws around so much brilliant trash-talk that it’s even covering up for blatant spot-calling because it works for the character – side note: fire Jonathan Coachman and do so yesterday, HOLY SHIT.  She’s got the It factor that you simply cannot teach and if she keeps at this, if she keeps making strides in the ring, if she does a better job at making her Armbar finish not look kind of weaksauce, if she wrestles pretty much every week, and if she ever, god willing, turns heel, I sincerely believe she could become one of the all-time greats in the WWE.  Really.

Her “match” with Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship was exactly what it needed to be given that Bliss is a snivelling heel that has held her division hostage for well over a year, systematically burying everybody except her in the process, and Rousey can both kayfabe and shoot grind her into a fine paste should Rousey so much as breathe on her.  It was what it was and what it was was extremely satisfying.  I am down for champ Ronda so long as we start getting frequent high-quality matches with deserving talents like Sasha Banks and Ember Moon that make everybody look good, and so long as we don’t take an additional 10 minutes out of every Rousey segment to make her the WWE equivalent of Mr. Poopy Butthole.


The Main Event (in our hearts)

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz has been 8 years in the making and a dream match for the past 2 following that still-electrifying worked-shoot Miz gave on Talking Smack (a show whose absence is still mourned every single day).  They’ve been feuding on and off in some capacity since Bryan’s first day on the old version of NXT, when the goddamn American Dragon was positioned as the rookie to the 2010 version of The Miz, but it really took off after Bryan was forced to retire due to injury in 2016.  In his new role as SmackDown GM, he and Miz re-ignited their beef with each other passive-aggressively for months until that fateful day Bryan said that Miz “wrestle[s] like a coward” to his face on live semi-scripted TV.

We, therefore, have had 2 years to fantasy book this match down to the second.  Bryan accuses Miz of wrestling like a coward, terrified to put his body on the line or take a stiff shot, always resorting to shortcuts and basic offense in his matches.  Miz retorts by pointing out that his “cowardly” style means that he has never been seriously injured (unlike Bryan) and is still wrestling high quality matches on a weekly basis (unlike Bryan) whilst Bryan is the true coward for riding out his cushy retirement contract instead of quitting and going back to fighting in bingo halls with laxer health and safety standards.  To rub further salt in the wound, Miz then starts stealing many of Bryan’s signature moves and taunts for himself because Bryan can’t do anything about it, whilst claiming that Bryan owes his WWE career to The Miz and therefore has nothing to prove to him.

Their match, then, would involve the two trying to one-up each other with variations of their signature moves – the Yes/It Kicks, the Romero Hold, the Figure Four Leglock – Bryan wanting to fulfil his promise to punch Miz in the face, Miz trying to prove once and for all that he is a better wrestler than Bryan but coming up short because he’s The Miz, so he takes a shortcut and gets the win with a screwy finish that’s just enough Bryan’s own fault (taking an unnecessary risk giving Miz time to do something shady) that it allows Miz to feel fully vindicated and frustrates Bryan enough to take the loss deeply personally.  That’s the match this needed to be… and, thankfully, that was exactly the match we got.  I loved it, dead crowd be damned!  A valuable lesson that, just because everybody and their smarky dog has figured out something months in advance, sticking to your guns and zigging instead of needlessly zagging can be what’s best for business.  If somebody could travel back 4 months to the main event of WrestleMania and let the Creative of then know about that to save us this interminable extension to the Reigns/Lesnar story, that would be swell.

Excellent match.  Now, please, keep them from throwing hands at each other in a singles capacity until next year’s ‘Mania.  You’re doing so well at this!


Our long (inter)national nightmare is finally over.

In the actual main event Roman Reigns FINALLY vanquished Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.  It wasn’t very good, it ignored the entire story of the feud up to that point, and was executed in the most cynical manipulative manner possible – sticking Braun Strowman at ringside promising to cash in on the winner in order to keep the crowd from alternately rioting and heading out to beat the traffic – but at least it’s FINALLY done.  Lesnar is gone, Reigns has been crowned as the top guy, the Universal Title now gets to be featured on television and defended more than 8 times in 16 months (and not held by 50-year-olds who can’t work for more than 90 seconds before being blown up), and the match was less than 10 minutes long.  It made Braun look absolutely pathetic since, based on his kayfabe feats over the past year, he should have barely staggered from the pre-emptive beatdown Brock laid upon him instead of slinking off in shame without cashing in once the match ended, but IT’S DONE!  It’s FINALLY DONE!  The logical ending FINALLY HAPPENED and we can now at long last all move on with our fucking lives!

So, you know, at least SummerSlam granted me that.


Callum Petch will personally stab you in the eye with a foreign object.

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