Thursday, August 17, 2023

The History of WWE SummerSlam (2022)

It's time to look at the first WWE PPV of the Triple H booking era (except Vince set all this up so it was really still his show).

SummerSlam 2022 was kind of the end of an era coming off the heels of Vince McMahon's numerous sex scandals that resulted in his temporarily stepping down from power (of course he'd force his way back in less than a year later but for a while there we had nice things).  Triple H had fully taken control of Creative by this point but he was still obligated to present the lineup Vince had scheduled.  Thus SummerSlam still felt like a Vince offering.  And like most Vince offerings in the 2020s this one was just okay, one match had no business being on the show at all, and the Intercontinental Title was missing completely.  Because Vince hates secondary titles.  

Things started of well with a Bianca Belair-Becky Lynch rematch from WrestleMania, that didn't quite live up to that one.  They got 15 minutes and worked well together as always, and Bianca retained the title after an exciting finishing sequence.  Becky hit a second-rope Manhandle Slam for a nearfall and went up to the top but Bianca countered with a Spanish Fly followed by the KOD to keep the belt.  This marked the end of Becky's ill-concieved heel turn (finally!) as after the match the returning Bayley came out to ringside, flanked by her new stable made up of Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai.  This moment felt like one of Triple H's few contributions to the show.  Anyway, a very good opener and the best pure wrestling match on the show.

Next up was the surprise hit of the evening as Logan Paul made his WWE debut against The Miz, proving himself maybe the best celebrity wrestler of all time.  The match wasn't truly great or anything, but it was very competently worked and exciting, and Paul looked like a natural.  This was a preview of much better things for the YouTube celebrity.  The highlight of the bout was Paul hitting a long-distance frog splash on Miz through the announce table, before finishing him off with his own Skull Crushing Finale.  Not too shabby at all.

Less exciting was the Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory US Title match, which lasted under five minutes and did nothing for Vince's latest pet project.  Once again the Money in the Bank briefcase holder was booked like a jobber so that when he eventually did cash in everyone would be SURPRISED!  Lashley basically ran through Theory and finished him with the Hurt Lock.  Nothing match.

In the fourth slot was a similarly forgettable Judgment Day vs. Mysterios match, one of many times WWE booked the heel stable like a bunch of try-hard losers.  Seriously, Judgment Day got dog-walked basically their entire feud against Team Edge/Rey.  This got about eleven minutes and the returning Edge helped Rey and Dom win by spearing Finn Balor and setting him up for Rey's top-rope splash.  A month later at Clash at the Castle Edge and Rey would beat Finn and Priest and only AFTER the match would Dominik turn on Rey, which made no sense at all.  

Next up was a match whose intended audience escapes me: wrestling fan/tourist-turned-announcer Pat McAfee vs. career hack Baron Corbin.  Seriously, this made the SummerSlam lineup but Gunther defending the I-C Title didn't?  Predictably this was not good, as Pat is no Logan Paul and Corbin has never been more than baseline-competent between the ropes.  McAfee won with a sloppy Code Red to mercifully end the match after ten minutes.

Stale-as-fuck tag champs The Usos were up next, defending against the never-really-a-threat Street Profits with Jeff Jarrett of all people as the guest referee (The show was in Nashville, so...).  This played out like a run-of-the-mill RAW match and The Usos weren't ever in danger of losing, nor was Jarrett given much to do.  Jimmy and Jey won with the 1D and that was that.  Astoundingly The Usos wouldn't drop the titles for another seven-plus months.

The death spot went to the Smackdown Women's Title, as unlikely champion Liv Morgan defended against former champ Ronda Rousey.  This only got a few minutes, Ronda dominated, and the finish was dumb.  Ronda locked on an armbar and Liv rolled her up for the pin but tapped at the same time to necessitate a rematch.  Can't have new people beating the established folks decisively now, can we?  Another nothing match.

The main event was of course Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the thousandth time, except this was a Last Man Standing match.  Brock drove a tractor to the ring and said farming vehicle would factor into the match later.  On the bright side, at this this wasn't the typical finisher spamming fest like every other Roman-Brock match.  On the less bright side it was the typical WWE bells and whistles that I'm beyond tired of.  Late in the match Brock used the tractor to lift up one side of the ring and dump Roman out of it.  Brock then F5'd Paul Heyman through the announce table but ate a spear, which brought out Austin Theory to try and cash in.  Brock F5'd him though to put the kibosh on that.  Roman then kept hitting Brock with the briefcase and belts and getting 9-counts, which became very tedious and is the reason I generally hate Last Man Standing matches.  Finally The Usos came down and helped Roman pile a bunch of furniture on top of Brock to keep him down for ten.  So it was a big dumb spectacle match that was well done, but if you need this much window dressing to help a match between your two biggest stars not suck, you're probably doing something wrong.  By default this was the best thing on the show.

Yeah, this wasn't really my kind of SummerSlam overall.  It was fine, nothing more.  Too many matches I didn't care about, basically nothing of note happening between the second match and the main event, and a typical WWE car wreck main event where spectacle is mistaken for greatness.  Clash at the Castle a month later would smoke this show (though the main event finish sucked).

Best Match: I guess Roman vs. Brock, but I wouldn't go above ***3/4 for it.
Worst Match: Pat McAfee vs. Baron Corbin - get this shit off my TV.
What I'd Change: How do you not have Gunther vs. Nakamura instead?  Who did Shinsuke piss off that he basically never gets PPV matches?
Most Disappointing Match: The Usos vs. Street Profits could've been really good.
Most Pleasant Surprise: How good Logan Paul was in his first match.
Overall Rating: 7/10

And that brings us to the present day.  I hope you've enjoyed our little jaunt down SummerSlam Memory Lane.

Anyway, before I go, let's take a look at the Top Ten SummerSlams in history, and the Top 20 SummerSlam matches, according to me.

Top Ten SummerSlams

10. 1992
9. 2014
8. 2015
7. 2009
6. 1997
5. 1998
4. 2001
3. 2011
2. 2013
1. 2002

Top Twenty SummerSlam Matches

20. Steve Austin vs. Undertaker - 1998
19. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins - 2019
18. The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar - 2002
17. CM Punk vs. John Cena - 2011
16. Undertaker vs. Edge - 2008
15. Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk - 2009
14. Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero - 2004
13. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - 2002
12. Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio - 2002
11. Brain Busters vs. Hart Foundation - 1989
10. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon - 1995
9. Shawn Michaels vs. Vader - 1996
8. TLC - 2000
7. Christian vs. Randy Orton - 2011
6. John Cena vs. AJ Styles - 2016
5. Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton - 2004
4. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar - 2013
3. Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle - 2001
2. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan - 2013
1. Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog - 1992

Thanks for reading - subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook and YouTube!

No comments:

Post a Comment