There was a lot of anticipation heading into SummerSlam. This was the first WWE PPV in history without Vince McMahon at the helm. Triple H was in charge and there was wonder about what he would do differently with both talent relations and creative control in his hands. At the end of the night, he delivered what was a strong show, book-ended with a series of important returns and a major match filled with memorable moments. If this is an indication of what is to come, WWE’s momentum should continue to grow.
SummerSlam was the type of show that was laid out perfectly to keep fans talking. If this show were left under McMahon’s watchful eye, it is hard to think it would have turned out the same way.
Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair set the tone from the very start. Even though this was another rematch in their continuing saga, they did more than enough to remind wrestling fans of their greatness. Belair retained in what is seemingly the last time they will do battle in this way for a while – at least it should be.
Bayley’s return with Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky (formerly known as Io Shirai) by her side is a major indication that Triple H plans to do things his way. According to Fightful Select, this stable was previously pitched to McMahon but was shot down for reasons not mentioned. The women’s division has suffered greatly under McMahon’s leadership and on a night when he wanted to make a “creative splash” Triple H turned to five of the best professional wrestlers in the world to make an impact. While SmackDown’s women’s division still needs some help, building the group on Raw around these five names is a great start to a solution.
Matches two through seven felt like “filler” in many ways, which has become customary for the WWE product thanks to McMahon’s lackadaisical booking. While nothing of importance really happened until the Liv Morgan versus Ronda Rousey match, the performers still put on a strong showing. Was there stuff to dislike here, plenty, but the show was laid out perfectly that these “meh” moments will not be the central talking point.
Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar’s storied history is over. For 23-minutes the two men tried to destroy each other in a way that hasn’t been seen on WWE television for an awfully long time. The night ended with Reigns keeping both belts, and Lesnar literally buried on screen. While this may not be their last battle, it is hopefully the last time the two men will lock up for years to come.
But what they did in this match was put on such a rousing performance that fans may forget a lot of the bad that happened on this card. Giving fans a strong opening and strong closing is the right way to go about booking a show and an indication of what is to come with Triple H in charge.
Is it OK to be skeptical of WWE after all these years? Of course. But if SummerSlam is any idea of what will happen in this promotion in the weeks, months, and years to come, then the proverbial business is picking up.