SummerSlam 2020 has a tough job ahead of it.
This show has to prove that WWE still gives a damn about its own product.
WWE goes on cruise control quite a bit. The money’s already printed, the licencees’ checks already cleared. And with the world on pause due to COVID-19? There’s no reason for WWE not to stay on cruise control.
SummerSlam 2020 is yet another chance to turn that around. Hopefully WWE takes advantage of it.
Because time is ticking away.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match – Bayley (C, W/ Sasha Banks) Vs. Asuka
This is the first of two women’s title matches for Asuka at SummerSlam 2020.
But when this show is over, can we put the two-belts thing to rest, like, forever? It’s dumb.
They lock up to start, but the fight quickly spills into Bayley getting knocked off the apron. Asuka follows to the outside and leaps at Bayley, hitting a DDT on the floor on the way down. The challenger throws Bayley back inside and only gets a two-count.
Bayley fights from the round and forces Asuka onto the apron, between the ropes. She climbs to the second rope and hits a bulldog for two. Okay, they started this SummerSlam 2020 match off with a couple of bangs. Snap suplex from Bayley gets another two-count. Now the champion goes for the chinlock. And she yells at Michael Cole while she’s at it. I mean, who doesn’t wanna do that?
Asuka tries to fight her way up, but Bayley goes for another cover and gets another two-count. Bayley tries to whip Asuka into the ropes, but Asuka hangs on and starts kicking at Bayley’s midsection only to take a Bayley-to-Belly for two. The champ rushes her in the corner, but Asuka manages a roll-up for two, followed by a superkick. Both women are down.
A couple of shoulder tackles from Asuka are followed by a running hip toss. Asuka scores with a knee to Bayley’s gut followed by a German suplex. Another hip strike from Asuka gets a two-count. Bayley heads to the apron for a breather, but Asuka follows. They slug it out, and Asuka rushes only for Bayley to drive her knee into the apron.
The champion rolls Asuka back inside and scores with a chop block for two. Bayley makes up a knee-focused submission on the fly, but Asuka reverses only to take an elbow to the head. But Asuka hits a pair of knees for two. Asuka heads to the top and goes for a splash, but Bayley catches her with a knee bar on the way down. The challenger makes it to the ropes to break the hold.
Bayley rushes Asuka and scores with a sunset bucklebomb. The champion looks for the Macho Man elbow, but Asuka gets the knees up and locks in the armbar. Sasha runs interference, and Asuka breaks the hold to kick her. Babyfaces are dumb. Asuka has to deal with Sasha interference, allowing Bayley to get a roll-up. Not five seconds later, they do the exact same spot, but Bayley gets the pin this time.
Bayley retains, and Sasha rushes the ring to beat down Asuka. The Golden Role Models double-team Asuka and deliver a double powerbomb.
This was good, aside for that finish at SummerSlam 2020. Like, they didn’t even botch the first attempt. They just up and did it again for no reason. Weird.
Winner (And STILL SmackDown Women’s Champion): Bayley
Match Rating: *** 1/2
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Street Profits (C) Vs. Andrade & Angel Garza (W/ Zelina Vega)
Kevin Owens comes out to do commentary for this match at SummerSlam 2020 for some reason. Gee, a match that neither the audience nor WWE itself cares about. I wonder if this’ll be a Retribution segment.
By the way, I’m so glad WWE called Bianca Belair up to Raw to manage Street Profits and then never freakin’ be seen again.
Andrade and Ford start out. Ford goes for a waist lock, but Andrade elbows him into the ropes and makes with the chops. A splash from Ford breaks both guys up for a minute before Ford hits a rana on Andrade off the top rope. In the ring, the Profits double-suplex Dawkins.
Ford jumps over the top at the heels, but they catch him and suplex him into the apron. Back inside, Andrade stomps Ford on the mat. Garza makes the blind tag and hits a running baseball slide to Ford’s face. Garza goes for the cover but only gets two. He transitions into a reverse armbar and keeps Ford in the heels’ corner. Ford gets to his feet and tries to get to his corner, but Garza won’t relent.
He props Ford on the top rope, and goes after Ford’s legs. Andrade tags back in and cinches an armbar with the ropes as leverage. So wait, are we going after the legs or the arm? It’s the arm, I guess, as Andrade cinches in an armbar in the center. Ford finally gets to his feet, but Andrade rushes him into his corner, where Garza hits a running knee.
Another cover, another two-count. He props Ford in the Tree of Woe and hits another running knee. Now Andrade is back in, and he hits a double stomp for two. The heels make another tag, and Garza is back in. He goes after Ford’s arm and immediately tags Andrade back in. Andrade goes for a suplex, but Ford dodges and manages to tag Dawkins in. Dawkins cleans house and hits a spinning splash in the corner. He goes for a suplex, but Andrade scores with a back elbow.
But Dawkins recovers and hits a spear, putting both guys down. Dawkins makes the hot tag (wasn’t Ford getting killed for, like, half an hour?). Ford hits a soaring splash and goes for the pin, but Andrade drags Garza to the ropes. Zelina argues with the referee on the apron, but Garza superkicks Ford into her, knocking her off.
Garza goes for the jumping DDT. While Andrade is tending to Zelina, the Profits score the win to retain. This was actually pretty good. Again, the “leg vs. arm” psychology was wonky. And so is the notion of Dawkins, after being in the match for all of 90 seconds, desperately making a hot tag to Ford. Weird.
Winners (And STILL Raw Tag Team Champions): Street Profits
Match Rating: ** 1/4
Oh, and there was no point to KO being there except to plug an interview segment for Raw.
No-DQ – Loser Leaves WWE: Sonya Deville Vs. Mandy Rose
Here we go. The only match at SummerSlam 2020 with any real heat behind it. And the one clue as to whether or not WWE has real interest in making new stars.
Big match staredown to start. Sonya strikes first with a shove, and she goes for an immediate pin. It only gets one. The fight spills to the outside, where Sonya gets chucked into the barricade. Quick, somebody throw a virtual beer at her! Are you allowed to drink beer while you’re in the THUNDERDOME? Anyway.
They fight up toward the entrance, where Mandy hits a suplex onto the ramp. Mandy brains Sonya on the ringposts and makes with the punches. She throws Sonya into the barricade and climbs on top of the announce desk and hits a diving clothesline. Mandy climbs onto Sonya and punches away before searching under the ring for Ye Olde Plunder. She pulls out a table. For some reason, it takes forever to set up.
That allows Sonya time to grab a chair, and she drives it into Mandy’s gut. Sonya plants Mandy’s face into the announce table a few times and throws her back into the ring. She goes for a cover, but it only gets two. A running knee from Sonya gets another two-count. Sonya props Mandy in the corner and scores with a couple kicks, but Mandy catches it and takes her down to the mat.
Sonya fights out of it only to get knee in the corner. Mandy goes for a running knee, but Sonya cinches in a dragon sleeper. She manages to elbow her way out of the hold, but Sonya turns it into a triangle submission. Mandy puts Sonya’s shoulders down for two, forcing her to break the hold. With Mandy still reeling on the mat, Sonya knees her in the face.
But Mandy fights back and lays in some elbows to the head followed by a running knee for two. These girls love knees as much as the Bucks like superkicks. On the outside, Mandy introduces Sonya to the barricade and smacks Sonya’s face into the announce desk. She lays Sonya across the folding table (which is already bending in the middle).
Sonya rolls off of the table, and Mandy slides a chair across the table at Sonya’s face. And again. Sonya throws the table out of the way and hits a running kick to Mandy’s gut.
Back inside, Sonya sets Mandy up for a fireman’s carry, but Mandy reverses into a double underhook. But Sonya escapes and reverses into a double underhook of her own, and Mandy hits another running knee. And another one. Enough! Nope, a third one. Mandy hits a double underhook driver followed by another knee for the pin.
Um. That was kind of out of nowhere and way too short. Also, it’s clear now. SummerSlam 2020 blew its shot to make us think they care. No matter what Vince McMahon tells the investors, WWE has absolutely no interest in making new stars.
Sonya Deville is over like rover. But because she got herself over on her own, that can’t go on. WWE sucks.
Winner: Mandy Rose
Match Rating: ***
Street Fight: Dominik Mysterio (W/ Rey Mysterio) Vs. Seth Rollins (W/ Murphy)
I certainly didn’t see this one coming! See what I did there? It was, like, a play on the SummerSlam 2020 tagline and the whole Rey Mysterio eyeball thing. I’ll see myself out.
Heh. I dig Seth’s tights, mocking Rey’s WCW look. Wait, why is Rey coming out with Dominik? Didn’t Dominik tell Rey not to interfere, like, 40 minutes ago? Ah, whatever. If they don’t care, I’m not gonna care.
Rollins takes Dominik down with a waist lock to start. Seth calls for another lockout, but because he’s evil, he immediately takes Dominik down to the mat. More stalling, because Dominik doesn’t know what he’s doing. Rollins allows Dominik to get him in a headlock, only to toss him off. Man, Rollins is a great heel. Why did they force him to be a heel through all of last year?
Another lockup, as Rollins trash-talks at Rey. Rollins wrenches Dominik’s arm for a couple minutes, but Dominik slugs his way out only to get shut down by Rollins. Dominik comes off the ropes and hits a lucha-inspired armdrag. Another couple of armdrags followed by a kip-up for Dominik. Okay, not bad.
Rollins calls for another lock up and starts wailing on Dominik. He stomps Ye Olde Mudhole in the corner before hitting a scoop slam. Murphy hands Rollins a kendo stick. Dominik kips up again and hits a dropkick. Now Dominik has the stick, and he starts swinging it blindly. He chases Rollins around the ring, but Rollins makes with the punches and kicks the stick away. He whips Dominik into the corner, and Dominik hits it spine-first.
Dominik gets to his feet only for Rollins to whip him into the other corner. Rollins hits a snap suplex and cinches in a rear chinlock. But Rollins breaks the hold to trash-talk Rey, and Dominik lays in a couple punches only to eat a sling blade. Murphy slides in a chair for Rollins. Oh, right, this is a street fight. Rollins sets it up and has a seat. Dominik crawls toward Rollins. Rey tries to interfere, but Dominik waves him off.
Rollins tries to use the chair for a curb stomp, but Dominik nails a drop toe-hold to put Rollins’s face into the chair. Dominik gets set up for a bucklebomb, but Dominik escapes and sends Rollins into the corner. Rollins goes for a suplex, but Dominik hits a tornado DDT for two. The kid has some moves.
I like Rey on the outside playing Mickey. That’s a Rocky reference. Now Dominik has the kendo stick, and he goes to town on Rollins with it. Just like in Rocky.
Dominik goes up top, but Rollins intercepts and crotches him. Rollins goes for a superplex, but Dominik blocks and pushes Rollins off. But Rollins rushes up and hits the superplex and holds on into a Falcon Arrow. It only gets two. Murphy slides in a pair of kendo sticks for Rollins, and he smacks away on Dominik.
Rollins keeps taunting Rey to run in and save his son. Now Rollins tells Murphy to get him a table. Make sure to actually use it this time. Rollins sets up the table in the ring before laying in one more kendo stick shot. He positions Dominik for a German suplex, but Dominik reverses and they both backdrop through the table.
Dominik goes up top and hits a frog splash (just like his real old man – deep cut), but it only gets two. He heads outside to grab a chair and slides it into the ring, but Rollins hits a powerbomb. Rollins strips Dominik’s shirt off to mirror the kendo attack from Raw. He starts wailing on Dominik with the stick, and the welts start to form.
Murphy hands Rollins a pair of handcuffs. Rey’s wife walks out on the ramp, and she and Rey yell at each other. Dominik manages to sneak in a roll-up for two. Murphy runs in and beats Dominik down and teases putting out Dominik’s eye. But Rey runs up from behind to pull Murphy off. Now Rollins and Murphy are double-teaming Rey.
Rollins throws Dominik into the barricade, and they go after Rey again. Like an idiot, Rollins hooks Rey up to the handcuffs and tease beating him down. But Rollins turns his attention to Rey’s wife and walks up the ramp. But Dominik runs up from behind and throws Murphy over the barricade. He throws Rollins into the ring steps. Dominik throws Rollins back inside and hits a 6-1-9 and goes for the frog splash. But Rollins gets the knees up.
With Dominik on the mat, Rollins teases dragging him closer and closer to Rey. He hits the curb stomp to end it.
This was actually pretty good. I don’t get the booking at all, though. I guess this means Rey and Dominik against Rollins and Murphy at some point? But that seems backwards – that should’ve been a set-up match for this. I don’t get it.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Match Rating: *** 1/2
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (C, W/ Bayley) Vs. Asuka
Here we go again. Variety, SummerSlam 2020 ain’t. Seriously, AJ Styles hasn’t been on PPV since May. And we’re having people do double-duty?
Sasha goes right after the legs, but Asuka fights back with some kicks. The challenger hits a sliding forearm, sending Sasha to the outside. She tries to bail, but Asuka goes to drag her back in. Sasha hits a weak pseudo-6-1-9, but Asuka recovers and gets a knee-bar on the outside. Um. You’re the challenger, Asuka. That’s dumb.
Back inside, Asuka hits the flying hip on Sasha in the corner, followed by a snapmare and a kick to the back. The challenger covers, but it only gets two. Now Asuka goes for the armbar, but Sasha blocks it. The fight spills onto the apron, and Asuka goes for a kick. But Sasha dodges it, and Asuka’s bad leg goes into the post. Sasha hits a powerbomb off the apron and onto the floor. That was sick.
Asuka just beats the count and gets back inside. Sasha immediately goes for a cover, but it only gets two. Another attempt, another two-count. Sasha kicks Asuka’s head in and goes for a cover, but the challenger kicks out again. Sasha hits some shoulder tackles in the corner. She lays Asuka cross the ropes and goes for the double-stomp, but Asuka catches her and hits a flapjack into a kneebar into an ankle lock. But Sasha fights out.
Sasha perches Asuka on the top rope and goes for a superplex, but Asuka reverses into an avalanche DDT. It only gets two. Sasha rolls to the outside. Asuka follows and slams her into the barricade and throws her into the apron. Back inside, Asuka heads to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick for two.
Asuka tries to flapjack Sasha out of the corner, but Sasha manages to hit a codebreaker for two. Sasha drags Asuka into position and heads to the top rope. She goes for the frog splash, but Asuka rolls out of the way and Sasha eats the mat. They charge at each other, but Asuka catches Sasha with the Asuka-lock, but Sasha fights out of it and turns it into a pin. Asuka kicks out, but Sasha reverses into the Banks Statement.
Sasha tries to use the ropes for leverage, but Asuka reverses into the Asuka-lock again. The champion fights out, but Asuka hits a kick to Sasha’s gut. Bayley climbs onto the apron. Asuka pushes her off. Banks tries to roll her up, but Asuka cinches in the Asuka-lock again, and Sasha taps.
Asuka reclaims the Raw Women’s Championship, Bayley didn’t lift a finger to help, and we inch a little closer to the Golden Role Models’ breakdown.
Winner (And NEW Raw Women’s Champion): Asuka
Match Rating: ****
WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre (C) Vs. Randy Orton
I genuinely don’t know who’s coming out of this SummerSlam 2020 match with the belt. Drew hasn’t cooled off since claiming the title at WrestleMania. And Orton is as hot and as good as he’s ever been.
Orton immediately rolls out of the ring to stall. McIntyre goes for a headlock, but Orton retreats to the corner, forcing a break. The champ goes for a punch, but Orton dodges. McIntyre goes for him again, but Orton slides out of the ring again. The champ gives chase, but back in the ring, Orton puts the boot to him. Orton goes for the RKO early, but McIntyre takes him down with a shoulder-tackle.
McIntyre comes off the ropes, and Orton goes for the RKO again. The champion heads to the outside for a breather. Back inside, Orton goes for a kick, but McIntyre throws him into the corner and makes with the strikes. He whips Orton into the other post and goes for the Claymore. Orton goes for the RKO, but McIntyre dodges only to get thrown shoulder-first into the post.
On the outside, Orton throws McIntyre shoulder-first into the barricade before throwing him face-first into the announce desk, into the post, and to the desk again. The challenger starts taking apart the announce desk and hits a side suplex. But the table doesn’t break, and Orton slides back inside to restart the count.
Orton heads back outside to continue the assault and suplexes McIntyre onto the desk again. The challenger then hits a snap suplex on McIntyre, off the table onto the floor. Orton throws McIntyre back inside and goes for a cover, but the champion kicks out at one. The challenger cinches in a rear chinlock. McIntyre starts to fight out, but Orton puts him right back down on the mat, stomping at the champion.
The challenger poses for the TVs in the audience, and McIntyre fights back into it only to get stomped back down. Orton goes to whip the champ into the corner, but McIntyre reverses and hits a knee-breaker on Orton. Orton comes back with a kick to McIntyre’s knee. The challenger continues the attack and punches McIntyre while he’s down. Orton comes off the ropes, but McIntyre hits a spinebuster. Both guys are down.
McIntyre goes for the figure four. Orton blocks it, but McIntyre manages to cinch it in. But the challenger manages to reverse the pressure only for McIntyre to roll through to the center of the ring. Orton grabs the referee’s shirt. And with the ref distracted, Orton pokes McIntyre in the eye to break the hold. Um. Shouldn’t grabbing the referee have caused the DQ? Anyway.
The champion comes back with a giant chop. Damn, that drew blood over McIntyre’s eye. A slugfest ensues, and Orton goes for the RKO, but McIntyre hits a succession of clotheslines followed by an armdrag into an overhead throw. McIntyre heads to the top rope and hits a diving clothesline. The champion kips up and pulls Orton up. McIntyre props the challenger on the top turnbuckle and goes for a superplex, but Orton crotches him.
The champion gets stuck in the tree of woe and still manages to throw Orton off the top turnbuckle by the neck. But it only gets two. McIntyre hits the Future Shock, but Orton kicks out at two. Orton is busted open, and McIntyre sets him up in a fireman’s carry position, but Orton escapes. McIntyre goes to the top again and goes for another clothesline. But Orton hits the powerslam for two.
McIntyre crawls to the apron for no reason other than to let Orton set him up for the draping DDT. But McIntyre fights out and hits the Glasgow Kiss. He clotheslines Orton over the top. Now both guys are down on the outside. Back in the ring, Orton catches McIntyre climbing in and hits the draping DDT. Orton calls for the RKO before changing his mind. With McIntyre face down on the mat, the challenger teases the punt.
But McIntyre counters with a powerbomb. The champion calls for the Claymore, but Orton dodges and goes for the RKO. McIntyre backslides Orton for the pin to retain. That was a good match, but a pretty weak finish, I thought.
Winner (And STILL WWE Champion): Drew McIntyre
Match Rating: *** 3/4
WWE Universal Championship – Falls Count Anywhere: Braun Strowman (C) Vs. The Fiend
Okay, I don’t get the dynamic of this feud. Yes, by all means, the Fiend should break Braun’s psyche. After the match. During the match, I need a clear-cut person to cheer for. Like, Storytelling 101 tells even an idiot that the Fiend already won the feud. Oh, wait, I answered my own question. Anyway, on with the SummerSlam 2020 main event.
Braun goes after the Fiend in the corner, but the Fiend literally laughs it off. The Fiend hits a Rock Bottom and hits a pair of necksnaps. On the outside, the Fiend continues the assault and pulls a toolbox from under the ring. He rams it into Braun’s gut before hitting him across the back. He throws the toolbox, full of sharp things and – you know – tools, in favor of taking apart the announce desk.
But Braun throws the Fiend through the barricade. The Fiend pops right back up, only for Braun to chokeslam him onto the table. Braun screams, because he doesn’t know how else to do transitions. The Fiend goes after Braun’s knee, but Braun smacks him in the head with the steel steps.
Braun throws the challenger back inside. He hits a splash in the corner and hits the Fiend with a running powerslam. It only gets two. The Fiend staggers to the outside, and Braun follows. The champion chucks the Fiend into the barricade again before taking the fight up the ramp. He throws the Fiend into the video wall.
The fight spills to the backstage area. Fiend hits Sister Abigail back in the Gorilla Position, but it only gets two. I like the addition of a Joker laugh to the Fiend’s repertoire. A little on-the-nose, though. The Fiend drags Strowman by his beard back to the stage and throws him into the video wall. They fight back toward the ring, and the Fiend goes for the Mandible Claw, but Braun fights it off.
Braun throws the Fiend into the ring apron. A club to the Fiend’s chest follows, and Braun goes for the cover. The Fiend kicks out. Braun throws the Fiend back into the ring and goes for another powerslam, but it only gets two. The champion freaks out and starts punching the Fiend in the head. Braun goes outside and heads for the toolbox. He chooses a box-cutter as his instrument of choice.
The champion cuts up the mat to expose the wooden planks under the ring. But the Fiend is back on his feet and hits a Rock Bottom onto the wood followed by Sister Abigail. The Fiend picks Braun up and hits another one. He gets the pin and the Universal Champion.
Well, at least the Braun Strowman experiment is over. Now go somewhere interesting with the Fiend and the title.
Winner (And NEW Universal Champion): The Fiend
Match Rating: ** 3/4
But after the match, Roman Reigns comes out of nowhere and destroys the Fiend before spearing Braun. Then he wrecks Braun with a chair. Back in the ring, Roman spears the new champion. Rendering the last ten minutes and any heat anybody might’ve earned meaningless.
Good for Roman, nice to have you back. But so much for doing anything interesting. And so much for new directions. Any momentum to be gained by the Fiend winning the title? It’s dead now. DEAD.
WWE cannot get out of its own damn way, and I’m sick of it. I’m really, really sick of it.
You can’t fault SummerSlam 2020 from an in-ring perspective. The matches were solid, with a couple of exceptions.
But the writing on the wall has never been clearer.
“WWE: New stars aren’t welcome here.” They had a chance to cement Sonya Deville as a genuine, top-level heel. Nope. They had a chance to conclude the Mysterio angle and to at least give Dominik a big PPV moment. Nope.
No matter what Vince says, WWE does not want its stars reaching for the brass ring. They want them to wait patiently in the lobby. Someone will be with them soon.
At this rate, though, it’ll be WWE itself in the lobby, waiting for the fans to come back. And when they don’t, they’ll act like it’s a surprise. It isn’t a surprise. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
SummerSlam 2020 will be the epitaph for WWE. “You’ll never see [opportunity] coming.”
I’m so, so sick of this company.
All images courtesy of WWE.
- Asuka was a machine on this show
- Orton's still got it.
- Opportunity to make Sonya Deville a huge deal? Squandered.
- As for Dominik Mysterio, see above.
- The tag titles match should've gone on the preshow
- Ridiculous amounts of nonsensical booking. Even for WWE.