Live from Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Kicking off SummerSlam, over various platforms, the 205 Live brand were given an opportunity to showcase themselves. Following a promo from Drake Maverick, where he spoke of his gratitude to “The McMahon Family” for putting them on at SummerSlam, it was time for the opener. After Hideo Itami picked up a win over Akira Tozawa ending their rivalry, Cedric Alexander defended his title against Buddy Murphy. Having been the last man standing in the “Winner’s Club” of 205 Live, Buddy Murphy’s run came to an end, as he was defeated by the Cruiserweight Champion in the SummerSlam Kick-Off Show… Main Event!
On to the Main Show, a video package and an introduction from the commentators led into the first match on “The Biggest Show of the Summer!”
Following the match, focussed turned to the rivalry between Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle, and the upcoming match. Explaining the stipulation, the commentators then sent over to a split screen.
On one side of the screen was Kurt Angle, who talked to Finn Balor and Seth Rollins about the importance of not giving back control of Raw to Stephanie McMahon. In the other room, Stephanie McMahon talked to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, saying that they know what it’s like to be screwed by the General Manager. She called tonight their chance to “make things right” by removing Kurt Angle from his position as GM of Raw. Heading into the match, all four competitors were fired up. A video package then recapped the rivalry, going all the way back to WrestleMania. Since then, Stephanie McMahon has looked to overrule Kurt Angle on a number of occasions, as well as keep him in the dark on some of the bigger issues the brand has faced. Having reached the end of his tether, with threats to his job being made, Kurt Angle reminded Stephanie McMahon that it wasn’t her, but her father who made him GM of Raw. As a result, only Mr. McMahon himself could make such threats to the job. Looking to end the rivalry once and for all, Kurt Angle suggested the upcoming match. If Kurt Angle wins, he take full control of match making for Raw and it’s Pay-Per-View contests. If Stephanie McMahon wins, Kurt Angle will lose his position as General Manager of Raw.
In the early parts of this match, the two teams were competing in what would be the expected manner of a tag team match between them. However, as the match went along, the pace slowed down, as it became much more based around the developing story than the match itself. The beginning of this was after a nearfall for Kevin Owens, when Stephanie McMahon came down to the ring. Quickly after, Kurt Angle also ran down, looking to limit the McMahon influence.
As the two team leaders bickered on the outside, the referee became distracted. When his back was turned, Kevin Owens appeared to intentionally throw Seth Rollins into the official, knocking him down in the process. When Sami Zayn joined Kevin Owens in the ring, Finn Balor looked to back up his partner. It was now a face off between the two teams, with neither wanting to make the next move. With the referee down, the match was at a standstill, until Owens & Zayn were joined in the ring by two men who appeared out of nowhere.
While Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn looked just as confused as anybody else, Stephanie McMahon’s smirk suggested that she knew exactly what was going on. With the situation in the ring now a four on two, Kurt Angle ripped off his suit jacket, and joined Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in the ring. The situation was now slightly more favourable, but still saw Kurt Angle outnumbered. The Raw General Manager told The Authors of Pain to get out of the ring, as the commentators put over the fact that they hadn’t been seen since they “no showed” a Raw Tag Team Championships match last month. Akam & Rezar stayed put, as a tense staredown continued in the ring. Eventually the odds would be evened, as Jason Jordan ran down to stand shoulder to shoulder with his father in the ring.
Putting his personal feelings aside, Jason Jordan looked to his father, as well as the two men chose over him to represent Kurt at SummerSlam, saying “lets do this”. The commentators put over a “more mature” Jason Jordan, who had previously been bitter about his lack of inclusion in the SummerSlam match.
However, as Team Angle stepped forward, it became clear that this praise was premature. Staying back, as Finn, Seth and Kurt approached the four men on the other side of the ring, Jason Jordan hit Seth Rollins with a low blow. Kurt Angle turned around in shock, seeing Seth Rollins fall to the ground. However, before he could react to Jason’s betrayal, the Raw General Manager was bundled over by The Authors of Pain. Finn Balor tried to fight them off, but was picked apart by Owens & Zayn. The Authors of Pain then picked both Finn Balor and Seth Rollins back to their feet, hitting them with a Super Collider. They then removed Finn Balor from the ring, throwing him into the Steel Steps. Watching from the ramp, Jason Jordan had a smile on his face that matched the one on Stephanie’s.
Seth Rollins was now left alone, and as the referee came to the match it was all but over. Waiting for Rollins to return to his feet, Kevin Owens hit a Superkick to the Intercontinental Champion. Rollins fell backwards into the corner, and Owens held him in position to receive a Helluva Kick from Sami Zayn. Rollins then stumbled onto one knee, before being picked up and hit with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Victim of a complete screwjob, Seth Rollins was pinned, a defeat that would have far reaching consequences on the future of Raw.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn bt. Finn Balor & Seth Rollins; Kurt Angle is removed from his position as GM of Raw
Coming out of that match, the commentators discussed what had just happened, completely thrown out of sorts by the involvement of The Authors of Pain and Jason Jordan’s betrayal. While they were sure answers would be found in 24 hours, it was time for another match.
Following various promotional packages and discussion from the commentators, the focus turned back to the ring. Sat in the ring was Elias, set up to perform. Stood to either side of Elias was Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel.
When the camera came in close on Elias’ face, it could be seen that his jaw had been wired shut. Elias had not been seen since suffering an injury in a match with Heath Slater and Rhyno. Reading from a sheet of paper, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel spoke in a very serious tone. Making a statement, on behalf of Elias, Axel & Dallas informed the WWE Universe that there would be no performance, saying that they had Heath Slater and Rhyno to thank for that. However, Elias would be staying in the ring, in order to allow the fans to soak in his presence. He would do this in the form of a “silent concert”. Unfortunately for Elias, this would be broken by The New Day.
Coming down to the ring with a selection of percussion instruments, The New Day angered Elias by making lots and lots of noise. Having fun at the expense of the three men in the ring, The New Day looked to entertain the audience. Soon they were joined by Rusev and Lana.
Rusev joined in the fun with The New Day, making a number of comments towards Elias, Dallas and Axel. In a light-hearted mood, Rusev continued to roast the three men until they’d had enough, leaving the ring and heading to the back.
It was then time to get serious, as focus switched to the return of John Cena. Making his first appearance since The Greatest Royal Rumble event, John Cena was called out by Samoa Joe in the build up to SummerSlam. Directly influenced by John Cena’s pursuit of The Undertaker at WrestleMania, Samoa Joe played on John Cena’s ego, and was eventually rewarded as Cena accepted the challenge on the Go-Home Show.
Kicking off the match, the history of the two men was put over on commentary, with them highlighting the fact that the two men came up together almost 20 years ago. Taking the fight to John Cena, the early parts of the match suggested that Samoa Joe may have the number of his opponent. Perhaps suffering from ring rust, John Cena struggled to keep up with his opponent, and it appeared that the match may be one sided. However, as Samoa Joe looked to send John to sleep, Cena showed his power and resolve. Fighting out of Samoa Joe’s clutches, he was able to escape the hold through sheer will power. From here, John Cena was able to establish himself in the match, building some momentum.
As Samoa Joe tried to regain the dominant grasp he had started with, he continued to lose grip of the contest. Being hit with an Attitude Adjustment also did him no favours, and could have cost him the match if Cena hadn’t already had so much taken out of him. From then on, it was a case of Samoa Joe trying to wear down his opponent, and he was relatively successful. Of course, there is always the second wind in John Cena, and when Samoa Joe took his opponent up - seemingly looking to hit a Muscle Buster - “Big Match John” pulled something out of the bag. Fighting out of the corner, John Cena was able to take control of the situation. Then, while still on the second rope, he lifted Samoa Joe onto his shoulder. Hitting a Super Attitude Adjustment, John Cena fell almost directly onto Joe in the aftermath. With both men clearly hurting, Cena was able to drape an arm across Samoa Joe, pinning him for the triumphant return.
John Cena bt. Samoa Joe
Raw Tag Team Championships Match
Despite being a Championship match, this contest didn’t have the most in-depth build going into it, based simply around Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler running through the rest of the division. Like the Smackdown Tag Team Championships match before it, there wasn’t a lot of time dedicated to the match, with Drew McIntyre looking the most dominant of the four competitors. The most cohesive of the two teams however, was clearly The DELETERS of Worlds, and in the end that was enough (regardless of Dana’s presence at ringside). It was a mistake from Dolph Ziggler in the end that decided the match, as he tried a quick tag that caught Drew off guard. In the confusion, Matt Hardy was able to drop Drew McIntyre to the outside. Now alone, Dolph Ziggler was unable to overcome the odds, falling to the wheelbarrow Twist of Fate.
The DELETERS of Worlds (c) bt. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler
Going from that match, SummerSlam stayed with Raw, but focus switched to a more personal rivalry. Looking back on the rivalry between Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey, the more experienced WWE Superstar’s targeted verbal assaults on the former MMA star were shown, with Bliss merely expressing a sentiment shared by many of the women’s locker room. Ronda Rousey had simply looked to get her head down and work her way up the division, but has met resistance from Alexa Bliss, and her right-hand woman Mickie James, at every turn. While Ronda Rousey thought she’d dealt with Mickie James at Money In The Bank, she was wrong. Now vowing to show Ronda what a “real WWE Superstar” looks and acts like, Alexa Bliss got the better of Ronda Rousey for the first time this past month, with help from a steel pipe hidden in the sling of Mickie James. Accepting that she would be unable to get Alexa Bliss in a one on one situation, Ronda told her opponent to bring Mickie James to SummerSlam, because she was bringing Shayna Baszler.
What would have been a case of cat and mouse for its entirety, the addition of Shayna Baszler at ringside completely changed the expected dynamic of the match. In fact, it was the presence of Shayna Baszler that kicked the match off with a bang, as she quickly got into a heated confrontation with Mickie James.
Mickie James was not impressed with a warning Baszler gave her early on, and as a result the two became physical. Dropping James at ringside, Baszler ensured that Ronda was able to focus solely on Alexa Bliss. Found between a rock and a hard place, Alexa Bliss had no choice but to try and escape. When this failed, as her path was blocked by the woman on the outside, the time for her to face up arrived.
Predictably, this didn’t go well for Alexa Bliss, and Ronda Rousey quickly looked to make an example of her opponent. Having been told for months that she wasn’t a “real Raw Superstar”, Ronda Rousey clearly had a point to prove. Try as she might, Alexa Bliss was unable to escape the grasp of Ronda Rousey. Eventually, despite a last minute attempt to escape (assisted by Mickie, and thwarted again by Shayna), Alexa Bliss was caught in the middle of the ring. Locking in the Armbar, Ronda Rousey quickly made Bliss submit.
Ronda Rousey bt. Alexa Bliss
Following the match, Shayna Baszler joined her friend Ronda Rousey in the ring. Raising Ronda Rousey’s hand in the ring, Baszler brought her NXT Championship with her. It was suggested that Ronda too would have her eyes on Championship gold soon.
Going into the next match, the 8 and a half year history between Daniel Bryan and The Miz was recapped. Over the last few years, the rivalry took on a completely different, and entirely more personal edge, as The Miz continued in the career that Daniel Bryan had been forced to give up. Taking delight in saying this to his face, a moment on Talking Smack
best exemplified the hatred between the two men, and added fuel to the fire of Daniel Bryan’s desire to return to the ring. Earlier this year, Daniel Bryan was cleared to compete, and from that moment the WWE Universe desired to see one match above all others. Before Daniel Bryan could think about becoming the WWE Champion once again, his focus was taken by The Miz. While The Miz looked to avoid the match at all costs, he continued to fan the flame, until the match was made. The Miz has since vowed to put Daniel Bryan down once and for all, bringing an end the “feel good” return of one of the WWE’s most popular Superstars. On the other side, Bryan sees this as his chance to put his history with The Miz behind him, as he looks forward to the “dream matches” that await him on the Smackdown Live roster.
No Disqualifications Match
Easily the most personal of the rivalries that have been contested at SummerSlam, the anticipation for the match reached fever pitch before the bell. Both competitors were clearly chomping at the bit, and Daniel Bryan flew out of the gate. While The Miz was initially happy to go punch for punch with Bryan, he quickly realised he would have to fight smart. He did this, and eventually it paid dividends. After Bryan’s successful start to the match, the action spilled to the outside. The Miz took advantage of his surroundings, and used them to regain footing in the match. From here, the two men went back and forth, with The Miz bringing weapons into play.
With momentum continuing to swing back and forth, the later parts of the match were built around creating a belief that The Miz could potentially defeat Bryan. While Daniel had come into the match as favourite, it was noted that this was now the longest he had been in the ring since his return. Getting closer and closer, the drama of the match looked to incite the WWE Universe into the belief that Daniel Bryan would lose the match. Of course, this eventually set up to a huge comeback from the fan favorite, with Daniel Bryan eventually getting The Miz right where he wanted him. Almost toying with The Miz by the end, Bryan saw that he had several different options in making The Miz submit. Locking in the Heel Hook that has been his primary finishing move since returning from his involuntary hiatus, Daniel Bryan made The Miz tap out.
Daniel Bryan bt. The Miz
Following his victory, a delighting Daniel Bryan celebrated. Continuing a “YES” chant for as long as he possibly could, Daniel Bryan enjoyed the huge win, having finally given The Miz his comeuppance. The relief was clear on the face of the former Smackdown Live GM, who will now look to the WWE Championship in his future.
Coming down from the Daniel Bryan victory, the focus turned to the back, where Kurt Angle was seen. Having lost his job earlier in the night, after his son betrayed “Team Angle”, the former
General Manager looked completely lost, in a state of shellshock.
Eventually, Kurt reached a room saying “V.I.P” on it. When he approached the door, Kurt was stopped by security who came from inside. Kurt Angle protested that he just wanted to speak to his son, but was denied entry. With the door now open, Jason Jordan could be seen in the V.I.P area, sitting and laughing with Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon.
Kurt Angle continued to protest, but was told sternly “Sir, you don’t work here… I’m going to have to ask you to leave”. Realising that the man was correct, and that he’d lost both his job and his son tonight, Kurt Angle had no choice but to walk away, lonely and dejected.
Ahead of the next match, which was for the WWE Championship, the cameras went to ringside. Sat in the front row, was the returning Randy Orton.
With a smile on his face, Randy Orton looked happy to have the best seat in the house, on his return to the WWE. He clearly had an interest in the WWE Championship match, the final showdown between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
WWE Championship Match; Two out of Three Falls
As well as the two out of three falls stipulation, commentary also put over the fact that the person who lost this WWE Championship match would “never” receive another shot at the title. Given the three falls nature of the match, it was expectedly a long match, one of the longest seen in the WWE for some time. Coming it at almost 35 minutes long, the match kicked off with the two men desperate for that important first fall. Despite AJ Styles having been able to get the better of Shinsuke Nakamura through the rivalry between the two, it was “The Artist” who scored the first fall. This came from a series of attempted roll-ups, which went back and forth. Coming out of it, Nakamura shocked AJ Styles, catching him off guard with a Kinshasa.
Winner of the First Fall: Shinsuke Nakamura
This left AJ Styles under supreme pressure, knowing he was now in a “sudden death” situation.
Fighting back for the second fall, AJ Styles’ desperation to even the score led to a number of near falls, with Shinsuke Nakamura almost securing the WWE Championship on a couple of occasions. Having fallen to the first Kinshasa of the match in the first fall, AJ Styles evened things up with a Phenomenal Forearm. As expected, the match would now go to the final, decisive fall.
Winner of the Second Fall: AJ Styles
Going into this fall, it was put over that this would be the last time one of the two Superstars in the ring would ever compete for the WWE Championship. As has been the case, the two men continually looked to one up each other, and they both kicked out of the signature moves of their opponent. This match took this to the next level, but as the two men began to tire, signs of the finish line began to show. Going back to something which had been a feature of the entire rivalry, Shinsuke Nakamura went for a Low Blow. Partly due to his desperation, partly down to his exhaustion, Nakamura’s plan failed, and AJ Styles blocked the attempt. From here, AJ Styles was able to build his way back into the match. When Nakamura looked to hit a Kinshasa on the WWE Champion, Styles managed to get out of the way. He then came back at Shinsuke, hitting another Phenomenal Forearm. Feeling that the Forearm may not be enough, AJ Styles hit the challenger with a Styles Clash. Again Nakamura managed to stay in the match.
Growing frustrated, AJ Styles looked to yet again hit Nakamura with a Phenomenal Forearm, but was caught by the desperate boot of Shinsuke Nakamura. Looking to take advantage, Nakamura expounded the last of his energy on a flurry of Knee Strikes to the grounded WWE Champion. Shinsuke then set up for the Kinshasa, barely able to hold himself up by the ropes. Running at AJ Styles, Nakamura was unable to connect with the move, as the Champion reversed it. Avoiding the contact, AJ Styles took control of the trailing leg of his opponent. Locking in a Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring, AJ Styles was able to draw the rivalry to a conclusion, leaving Shinsuke Nakamura with no escape, and no choice but to tap out.
AJ Styles (c) bt. Shinsuke Nakamura
Following the match, AJ Styles stood tall in the middle of the ring. Celebrating his victory, it was put over that AJ Styles has won the war, as the Road From WrestleMania came to an end at SummerSlam. Having held the WWE Championship on just one occasion, it was put over that Shinsuke Nakamura would never receive another shot at the title again.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Having been originally scheduled to be the third installment in the Asuka / Charlotte rivalry, Becky Lynch’s Money In The Bank cash in a few weeks ago completely changed the complexion of this match. Seeing the chaos, having not believed she could beat either of the women in a one on one, Carmella took her rematch clause also, looking to take advantage of the situation. Continuing to show the more ruthless side which had seen her become the Smackdown Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch put friendship to the side in this match, desperate to retain her title. While Asuka and Charlotte Flair may well have gone into the match as favourites, it was actually Becky Lynch who showed the requisite cunning and smarts to retain her title.
Waiting until she could isolate Carmella in the ring, Becky Lynch was able to lock in the Dis-arm-her, retaining her title, gaining a quick submission over the “weak link” of the match.
Becky Lynch (c) bt. Asuka, Carmella and Charlotte Flair
Going into this match, the story was built around the seemingly never ending rivalry between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Cashing his Money In The Bank Briefcase in, after the another match between the two was announced, Braun Strowman served as the “voice of the WWE Universe” throughout the duration of the rivalry. Once the match kicked off, it was all action. The chaos in the ring quickly spilled to the outside and throughout the match - as the three Superstars inevitably drifted in and out of the match - there was an attempt to keep a state of disorder with the intention of maintaining the fast-paced momentum up throughout. Continuing, the match became a series of huge spots, with Superstars being put through number announce table and being hit with various ringside objects.
The focus was then on who could take more punishment, and the original Champion and Challenger (Lesnar and Reigns) did the unthinkable by teaming up, looking to take Braun Strowman out completely. This plan came together as Strowman began to set up tables on the outside of the ring. Hitting him with a Spear on the outside, Roman Reigns stepped aside, as Brock Lesnar lifted Braun Strowman up for an F-5. Crashing through the final announcer’s table, Braun Strowman was temporarily out of contention. Dismissively shouting towards the 2018 Money In The Bank winner, Brock Lesnar made it clear that he didn’t see “The Monster Amongst Men” as a genuine challenge to his Universal Championship. Returning to the ring, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns battled it out, with the WWE Universe making their feelings towards the two abundantly clear.
This saw Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns lay out some of the sequences that have been seen in their previous encounters, with the two men showing their unbelievable abilities to survive each other’s “finishing” moves. Again, Brock Lesnar appeared to have the better of Roman Reigns, and after numerous F-5s (the last of which connected with the Steel Steps, which were in the ring), it appeared to be the same old story. But this wasn’t the Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns story, and before Lesnar could pin his opponent, Strowman returned to the ring.
Lesnar fought off the resurgent Strowman, sending him onto the apron. However, as he launched himself towards Braun, running up the Steel Steps, Lesnar was stopped by “The Monster Amongst Men”. Strowman caught Lesnar with what could be called a “lucky” elbow shot, but it did enough to disorientate the Universal Champion. This allowed Strowman to lift Lesnar onto his shoulder, hitting a Powerslam from the apron, down to the table set up at ringside. As Braun Strowman looked to return to the ring, he was hit with a Superman Punch from Roman Reigns. Hanging on to the top rope, Strowman held on, but was hit with another Superman Punch. Strowman looked to be losing balance, as Roman Reigns set up for an insane Spear, which would have sent both men to the outside. However, as Reigns’ head came between the second and top rope, Strowman blocked the attempt. Throwing Reigns back into the ring, Strowman was able to join him. The two battled for control, and Roman Reigns grabbed the Steel Steps. Running at his opponent, Roman Reigns missed Braun Strowman, who dodged the attack. With his momentum continuing, Reigns slammed the Steps into the skull of Brock Lesnar, just as the Universal Champion dragged himself back onto the apron.
The impact of the Steel Steps sent Brock Lesnar backwards, and resulted in Roman Reigns losing his grip of them. Turning back to the middle of the ring, Roman Reigns turned straight into Braun Strowman, who hit him with a Chokeslam to the Steel Steps. Braun Strowman then cleared the ring of the Steps, throwing them towards the ramp. He then removed the straps on his singlet, and grabbed Roman Reigns by the hair. Lifting “The Big Dog” back to his feet, Strowman put Roman Reigns on his shoulder, hitting him with a Running Powerslam. With the Universal Champion down, Braun Strowman was able to pin Roman Reigns, who had taken an unprecedented amount of damage throughout the match. As a result, he was unable to kick out of the Powerslam, and Braun Strowman ended the record breaking Universal Championship reign of Brock Lesnar, after an incredible 505 days!
Braun Strowman bt. Brock Lesnar (c) and Roman Reigns
Having walked into SummerSlam as “Mr. Money In The Bank”, Braun Strowman left it as the new Universal Champion. Managing to overcome the “most dominant Champion in the history of the WWE” and the “longest reigning World Champion of the past 34 years”, Braun Strowman was handed the WWE Universal Champion.
Almost synonymous with Brock Lesnar, the Championship was raised by Braun Strowman in the ring, a moment which signified it’s return as a full-time Championship in the WWE. Ending the show, “The Monster Amongst Men” completed his meteoric rise to the top of the WWE, lifting to title high in the air, letting out his trademark “BBRRRRAAAAAUUUUUNNNN!” to end SummerSlam 2018.