Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE SummerSlam '18 Pay-Per-View Coverage with "Your Kennection" Ken Hill!!!
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Mixed Tag Team Kickoff Match "The Bulgarian Brute" Rusev & "The Ravishing Russian" Lana vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas & Zelina Vega
RESULT: Almas & Vega win via pinfall; Vega pinned Lana with a school boy roll-up and her feet on the ropes.
THOUGHTS: A harmless little opener to kick off SummerSlam, with Vega and Almas picking up yet another win, even with English being firmly told to remain in the back, and listening for once, as he had no factor in the finish here, which kind of surprised me, to be honest. I can only guess that the total dissolution of Rusev Day is coming around the corner rather than tonight.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 1 pt Dan - 1 pt Alison - 0 pts Jaymes - 0 pts
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Kickoff Match Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Drew Gulak
RESULT: Cedric Alexander wins via pinfall; Alexander pinned Gulak with a jackknife cover after a series of reversed pin attempts.
THOUGHTS: A nice hard-hitting little match between Gulak and Alexander, but one I felt like could've used a couple more minutes. The series of reversal into the actual pinfall took me by surprise, as they had finally gotten the crowd into the swing of things and then it just came to a sudden end.
Gulak's focus on Alexander's neck was excellent and stayed true to the storyline aspect of the work Gulak's cohorts Kendrick and Gallagher had done previously. Alexander's awareness and selling of the "Gu-Lock" was great as well. My only real beef here, as I mentioned before, was the sudden end of the match. Hopefully, this feud continues and we get a more spread-out encounter in the coming weeks.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 1 pt Dan - 2 pts Alison - 1 pt Jaymes - 1 pt
RAW Tag Team Championship Kickoff Match The B-Team (c) vs. The Revival
RESULT: The B-Team win via pinfall; Axel pinned Dawson after Wilder sling-shotted Dallas onto Dawson and reversed the inside cradle.
THOUGHTS: This match was actually better than I pictured it going. The Revival used every ounce of the tag team savvy they cultivated down in NXT to neutralize Curtis Axel from the get-go and dissect Dallas for a big chunk of the match, only to fall prey to a rare trash-talking error and the "dumb luck" the B-Team has become known for since toppling The Deleters of Worlds for the red straps.
Dallas and Axel, however, came together better as an underdog champion team tonight rather than simply being a team that fluked into the tag titles a few weeks ago. That said, I feel like this is little more than set-up for an ultra-aggressive AOP to come in and tear away the tag titles from B-Team in the next few weeks.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 2 pts Dan - 3 pts Alison - 2 pts Jaymes - 2 pts
WWE Intercontinental Championship Singles Match "The Show-Off" Dolph Ziggler (c) w/Drew McIntyre vs. "The Kingslayer" Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Seth Rollins wins via pinfall; Rollins pinned Ziggler after a superkick and a Curb Stomp.
THOUGHTS: Fantastic opener from Rollins and Ziggler to kick off the main show. The two men have a solid chemistry with one another and showed as much with fluid exchanges and slick counters to each other's signature holds and maneuvers. Rollins' inverted superplex into a modified Falcon Arrow was a great spot and made for a close near-fall.
They did a great job of keeping the focus in the ring and having Ambrose and McIntyre play subdued roles until things heated up going into the end of the match. McIntyre initially neutralized Ambrose before Dean returned the favor with a Dirty Deeds on the floor, leading into a nice ending with Ziggler cocking the superkick, only for Rollins to pull the trigger first and follow up with the stomp to secure his second IC Title.
Now the question is: Where does this leave the returning Dean Ambrose? Or Ziggler? Or McIntyre? Clearly, having this as the hot opener took any notion of Ambrose's heel turn happening tonight out of the picture. That doesn't mean it's out of the picture for good, as Ziggler has a rematch down the road, and that leaves an open scenario for Ambrose to pull the proverbial trigger himself. By turning on Rollins and allowing Ziggler to regain the title, Ambrose's betrayal should lead to what will be a very interesting roles-reversed feud between him and Rollins.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 2 pts Dan - 3 pts Alison - 3 pts Jaymes - 2 pts
Smackdown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The New Day w/Kofi Kingston
RESULT: The New Day wins via disqualification; Rowan hit Big E in the throat with the shaft of his hammer for the DQ.
THOUGHTS: This was probably the best match we've seen from Harper and Rowan since their "2B" reincarnation, up until the DQ finish. I've gone on record many a time saying that DQ finishes only work in rare situations. This was not one of those situations. The New Day are an established-enough team that they don't need protection with a disqualification.
That aside, I did like the little story they told here, with Xavier taking up the reins this time around as a way to get vengeance on Harper and Rowan for the spine-jarring powerbomb on the steel steps months back that had Woods stretchered out. He showed some great fire here. The DQ finish obviously means this feud must continue.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 2 pts Dan - 3 pts Alison - 3 pts Jaymes - 2 pts
Money In The Bank Match Singles Match "Monster In The Bank" Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
RESULT: Braun Strowman wins via pinfall; Strowman pinned Owens after a running powerslam.
THOUGHTS: Everyone on the WK Krew nailed this one. All the talk of Owens' tactics to get Braun DQ'ed or counted out ended up being for naught as Strowman mowed through KO and beat him in short order. A relatively fresh Strowman with MITB case in hand? Reigns, Lesnar, stay frosty.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 3 pts Dan - 4 pts Alison - 4 pts Jaymes - 4 pts (LOCK)
Smackdown Women's Championship Triple Threat Match "Princess of Staten Island" Carmella (c) vs. "The Queen" Charlotte Flair vs. "The Lass-Kicker" Becky Lynch
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Charlotte Flair wins via pinfall; Flair hit Lynch with the Natural Selection for the winning three count.
THOUGHTS: A surprisingly fun triple threat that played up a similar formula to Miz-Rollins-Balor from WM 34, with the heel champion in Carmella attempting to and for the most part succeeding in sowing dissension between her two face challengers in Becky and Charlotte. Carmella played up her cocky, but concerned role very well, Becky was the resilient challenger fighting up from obscurity and coming close so many times in the match to winning the title, and Charlotte ended up being the friend who capitalized on that aggression of Becky to pick up a win out of nowhere to claim her record-tying 7th Women's Championship.
The real zing of this match came after the end result, with Becky snapping out of rightful frustration, after giving a halfhearted hug to Charlotte, and beating her to a pulp, ending with a resounding biel over the announce table to the chants of "BECKY! BECKY! BECKY!" and a sarcastic "You Deserve It" aimed at the new SD Women's Champion. History may be written by the winners, but Becky's new chapter is just starting.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 4 pts Dan - 4 pts Alison - 4 pts Jaymes - 4 pts
WWE World Championship Singles Match "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (c) vs. "The Destroyer" Samoa Joe
RESULT: Samoa Joe wins via disqualification; Styles drove Joe through a barricade and hit him with a steel chair for the DQ.
THOUGHTS: This was an amazingly intense match between two fantastic in-ring veterans. Joe brought the physicality and mind games, inflicting great punishment while at the same time using AJ's wife Wendy's presence in the audience to constantly undermine AJ's confidence throughout the match.
Styles' emotional fragility was the core of his part of the story, and he played it to a tee. AJ remained relatively calm at first despite Joe's best efforts, remaining ever resilient despite Joe's debilitating offense, before breaking down into a frothing rage near the end when Joe "promised" Wendy to supplant Styles as AJ's daughter's new daddy, bowling Joe through the barricade and blitzing him with a barrage of steel chair shots.
See, THIS is where a DQ finish works, a finish that works in the context of the feud and doesn't disappoint the crowd, but rather leaves them popping and wanting more. The finish means this feud will continue, and HITC looks like the next destination for Styles-Joe, hopefully inside the Cell itself.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 4 pts Dan - 5 pts Alison - 4 pts Jaymes - 4 pts
Singles Match Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
RESULT: The Miz wins via pinfall; Miz hit Bryan with a left-handed brass knuckles shot for the winning three count.
THOUGHTS: The first thing I noticed with this match was that the crowd was unusually subdued for a match that had a lot of history and emotion behind it. I would have rather had a low-value match like Balor-Corbin go on right after Styles-Joe to help wind the crowd down before featuring a match like Bryan-Miz that had a big emotional stake to it.
Regardless of the crowd involvement, I thought this was a great overall match. Miz was his usual great assholish self, going out of his way to prove he could do better than Bryan in every instance, from outdoing him in submissions to hijacking Bryan's vaunted kicks like he did over on RAW throughout 2017. Here, though, Bryan stood defiant, resisting the mocking offense, even leaning into Miz's "It Kicks." The home stretch saw some good back-and-forth before Maryse, conveniently at ringside with Monroe Sky, slipped Miz brass knuckles unseen, allowing Miz to get the loaded left-hand shot for the underhanded win.
The ending was a great air-out-of-the-balloon moment, with both Bryan and the audience stunned at the outcome. Bryan's darkest hour has come, unable to put Miz out of his mind, and now has to live with the stinging defeat. It will be VERY interesting to see where things go with both men, where the loss leaves Bryan, and where Miz's victory will lead him to.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 5 pts Dan - 5 pts Alison - 4 pts Jaymes - 4 pts
Singles Match "The Demon" Finn Balor vs. "Constable" Baron Corbin
RESULT: Finn Balor wins via pinfall; Balor defeated Corbin after a corner dropkick and a Coup de Grace.
THOUGHTS: VERY nice to see the Demon King back in action, and with the definitive squash of the confounded Constable, it hopefully signals an abrupt end of what's been an otherwise bland feud.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 6 pts Dan - 6 pts Alison - 5 pts Jaymes - 5 pts
WWE United States Championship Singles Match "The Artist" Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy
RESULT: Shinsuke Nakamura wins via pinfall; Nakamura hit Hardy with a Kinshasa knee strike after a missed Swanton attempt on the ring apron for the win.
THOUGHTS: A solid defense of the US title by Nakamura, not only having to fight off Hardy from a physical standpoint, but a mentally-fresh Hardy who isn't afraid to play the same mind games Shinsuke does. Hardy came close on a couple occasions, even evading Nakamura's signature low blow, but made the crucial mistake of attempting a Swanton on the ring apron (Anyone else amazed he and Matt still wrestle in 2018 with that style?)
Orton's teased post-match beatdown implies he's looking to debilitate Hardy by his hands, not feasting on Shinsuke's leftovers, which means Shinsuke's moving on to other contenders and Hardy is left to contend with a revitalized, refocused "Viper".
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 7 pts Dan - 10 pts (LOCK + Big 4) Alison - 6 pts Jaymes - 6 pts
RAW Women's Championship Singles Match "The Goddess" Alexa Bliss (c) "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey
RESULT: NEWWW Champions Ronda Rousey wins via submission; Rousey trapped Alexa in an armbar for the tap out.
THOUGHTS: This was what we basically expected, with Bliss dodging Rousey as long as she could until Ronda eventually got a hold of her, steamrolled her (literally!) and locked in a sick-looking armbar for the tap out and the squeaky clean win, with Natalya and the Bellas merely there to support her and celebrate with her (much to my and many people's surprise, I'm sure). Congrats to the Rowdy One, mk II.
WK KING OF PPV Ken - 8 pts Dan - 11 pts Alison - 8 pts (LOCK) Jaymes - 7 pts
WWE Universal Championship Singles Match "The Beast" Brock Lesnar (c) w/Paul Heyman vs. "The Big Dog" Roman Reigns
RESULT: NEWWW Champion (finally...) Roman Reigns wins via pinfall; Reigns hit a spear on a chair-swinging Lesnar for the win.
THOUGHTS: There were about three or four different swerves here before the match even started, so I'm sure Russo would be proud. I liked the mindset by Strowman; it made no sense to have Braun, someone as destructively capable in his own right, to cash in on an unassuming opponent. What does he do? Make it clear that he WILL and stay to assure no hasty escapes are made.
That, however, ended up being a moot point with Lesnar having the wherewithal to capitalize on Roman stunning Braun with an errant dive, hitting Braun with a F-5, steel chair shots, and nearly chucking the MITB case through the Titantron. This would only open the door for Reigns to hit a spear and FINALLY end Lesnar's odyessy with the Universal title.
While the match itself was nothing to write home about, the result was short, concise and to the point, and not dragged out to the extent where the Brooklyn crowd may have well turned tail on the match and left early, so I give WWE credit in that regard. It will be curious to see if Strowman bears any ill will to Roman tomorrow night for being the one to bowl him over and open the door for Lesnar to ensure no cash-in would be made.
Ken's Final Thoughts
Overall, SummerSlam was a solid effort in my mind, with plenty of good to great matches, the nicely surprising return of "Demon" Balor, and three big title changes, one of which lead to a long overdue shift in character from Becky Lynch, another leading to a shift in the early WWE career of Ronda Rousey and a VERY long, VERY overdue shift of the Universal Title to a more palpable titleholder in Roman Reigns.
WK KING OF PPV Final Tally
Ken - 9 pts (Big 4 Winner) Dan - 11 pts (NEW King of PPV) Alison - 8 pts Jaymes - 7 pts