WWE booking is awful.
It’s just awful. Every month, I get more and more frustrated with WWE’s brand of “storytelling.”
And nothing frustrated me more than SummerSlam 2020. The litany of missed opportunities is mind-boggling.
So many characters were booked bass-ackwards that I can barely string together coherent thoughts. And, as with most WWE booking, it leaves the audience asking a question.
“Who benefits from this?”
To illustrate, let’s dive into three epicenters of awful WWE booking from SummerSlam.
So the “loser leaves WWE” match between Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose should’ve written itself. How the WWE booking screwed this up is beyond me.
For some background, Sonya lied to Mandy before WrestleMania, because she thought she was too good for Otis. And they’ve been at odds ever since.
But for reasons I don’t understand, SummerSlam 2020 was their first match against each other. Regardless of what the chimps writing this stuff were smoking, let’s break down why this should’ve been easy.
Sonya Deville, despite WWE’s intentions, got over. She generated buzz for herself with her own personality and persona. Now, if we know anything about WWE booking, it’s one unifying fact. WWE won’t stand for success they didn’t intend. So naturally, Sonya loses. The first time she gets a real shot at Mandy.
There’s a time for a happy ending, and there’s a time for the bad guys to send the good guys limping home. This should’ve been the latter. But we’re talking about WWE booking. I guess logic is too much to ask.
Now, I guess there’s a possibility that WWE is writing Sonya off of TV in the aftermath of the very real kidnapping attempt she dodged last week. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t they have just written her off TV before the match? Like, isn’t that the responsible thing to do?
Oh, wait. “Responsible” and “WWE booking” don’t go together.
Dominik And Rey Mysterio
You know how we talked a minute ago about how there’s a time for happy endings and a time for, you know, not happy endings?
Yeah, WWE booking got Dominik vs. Rollins and Sonya vs. Mandy mixed up.
For context, Seth put Rey’s eye out at The Horror Show At Extreme Rules. Naturally, Dominik wants some revenge. Instead, after a long, hard-fought match, Seth Rollins defeats Dominik Mysterio. After handcuffing Rey to the ropes and threatening Dominik’s stepmom.
Seriously? Like, circumstances handed this to WWE booking on a silver platter. And they still screwed it up! Now, to be fair, the ending to the SummerSlam match hints that the feud isn’t over.
Murphy was there as Seth’s cornerman, just as Rey was there as Dominik’s. It’s natural to assume that WWE booking has a tag match in mind somewhere down the road. Sounds logical, right?
Wrong! No, wrong! See, even a storytelling novice can see that Murphy and Rollins vs. Dominik and Rey is a step toward a final battle between Dominik and Seth.
It goes like this. And get ready for some armchair WWE booking. Seth beats down Rey in front of Dominik on Raw. So Rey faces Seth, with Dominik in his corner, and Seth wins. After the match, Seth and his Disciples turn their attention to Dominik. This leads to the aforementioned tag match, where Dominik – not Rey – gets kayfabe blinded.
So Rey challenges Seth to an eye-for-an-eye match, and we do the same stupid stuff they did at Extreme Rules. And that leads to Dominik vs. Seth, with Dominik closing the book by avenging his father.
See? This stuff isn’t anywhere near as hard as WWE booking makes it.
And we haven’t even gotten to the worst of it.
The Fiend, Braun Strowman, And Roman Reigns
Where to even begin with this nightmare?
If we’re being honest, this one was snakebit coming in. After the swamp fight at Extreme Rules, the Fiend returned. Braun Strowman was shaken by a vision of Alexa Bliss as Sister Abigail, which began his descent into madness.
In subsequent weeks, WWE booking had the Fiend attacking Bliss, and Strowman declaring that he didn’t even care about her. He cared more about beating the Fiend.
And that’s where things went off the rails. See, WWE creative seems to completely forget what the Fiend’s character is. He breaks peoples’ psyches. So there’s no point in even having the match.
The Fiend succeeded in breaking Strowman before the bell even rang. But, WWE booking put it on the page already, so we had to have the match. And the Fiend emerged as the new Universal Champion. Okay, good, we can put all this stupid behind us.
But wait, there’s the returning Roman Reigns. I get why Reigns would attack the Fiend. The Fiend defeated Reigns for the Universal Championship. But he inexplicably attacks Braun Strowman – whose only slight against Reigns was taking the spot at WrestleMania that Reigns voluntarily abdicated.
So we have a title match whose stakes were decided and settled before the match even took place. And then we have Roman Reigns returning, undercutting the new champion, further burying the beaten former champion, and doing no favors for himself.
Again, the question has to be posed about this WWE booking. Who benefits from any of this?
Ratings are in a freefall. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going away any time soon. And WWE booking is putting on nonsensical shows like SummerSlam 2020.
At a time when Vince McMahon is promising investors that he wants to create new stars, what did we get? Sonya Deville loses a “loser leaves town” match. Seth Rollins destroyed a new star in his infancy. And the Fiend, a compelling character despite WWE’s best efforts, gets overshadowed by the “Big Dog.”
We’ve asked a couple times, “Who benefits from this?” The answer is no one.
The incompetence of WWE booking has been an obstacle in the past. SummerSlam 2020 might have just revealed it to be an insurmountable one.
Images courtesy of WWE.