WWE’s summer marquee event delivered two instant classics and continued the long-running Bloodline saga
SummerSlam, WWE’s second biggest show of the year, takes place Saturday night at Ford Field in Detroit. Season 36 features a stacked card, with four main events and four championship matches.
The announced crowd of 59,194 who watched two matches were legitimate contenders for the match of the year, including the WWE Women’s Championship match, which featured not one but two title changes after Iyo Sky suddenly changed Money in the Bank.
Logan Paul vs. Ricochet
Paul and Ricochet started the evening well when “Maverick” wanted to get to Dallas in time to watch Jake Paul’s brother’s boxing match against Nate Diaz. Paul hit his heel early in the match, taunts Ricochet and dashes off the ring. Ricochet soon controlled the game before an elbow strike from Paul moved momentum in his favor. Paul hit a Ricochet turtleneck on his ring apron and mocked Ricochet’s real-life fiance, WWE ring announcer Samantha Irvin. Paul then hit Ricochet with a modified foot drop – a move he calls “Hogan Paul – in homage to Hulk Hogan, who defeated Andre the Giant at the Pontiac Silverdome in WrestleMania III.
Paul and Ricochet performed some high-risk moves – two spanish flies, a clothesline on top, criss-crossing into a standing moonsault – before Paul shoved himself into the ring post. That moment would allow Ricochet to hit a shirt collar off the top rope and gain momentum before Paul lands a beautiful moonsault into a DDT tornado. Ricochet suffered a rib injury before delivering a meteor press that Paul countered by falling to his knees. Paul would hit a frog with the big stirrup to almost fall. Ricochet built up momentum and won the match-up 630 in which Paul got out of his way and was handed brass knuckles by a bystander. Paul would hit Ricochet when the umpire was distracted and score the goal.
Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar
Rhodes did not wait for the bell to strike Lesnar. Lesnar quickly recovered and attacked Rhodes, confusing the Germans. Rhodes hit two Catastrophe Kicks before Lesnar counterattacked a third. Rhodes will eventually evade Lesnar, putting him in the front role in the ring column. A suicide dive forces action outside where Lesnar finally regains momentum. The bout followed the usual Lesnar formula, with the former UFC heavyweight champion dominating thanks to a series of confusing situations. Rhodes would kick off a peg and dash back into the ring during the countdown segments, for Lesnar to taunt him.
Lesnar would eventually force Rhodes out of the ring and follow him to deliver an F5 to the American Nightmare. Rhodes numbered 10 back in the ring, will use the rope to stand and attack Lesnar. Lesnar regrouped and sent Rhodes past the bulletin board with a second F5. Rhodes again defeats No. 10, but is confused by Rhodes. Rhodes will pull the protective padding off one of the swing locks and gain momentum by bringing Lesnar into the post twice and hitting him with steel steps. Rhodes would hit another Catastrophe kick and a pair of Cody Cutters, but Lesnar was eliminated with a score of two. Lesnar will trap Rhodes in the Kimora Lock before the final rope breaks. Lesnar makes an F5, Rhodes reverses and sends Lesnar into the open spin. Rhodes locked himself in a Kimora of his own, but Lesnar broke the submission.
Summer Slam Battle Royale
Omos was the last to join the fight, even though the match had already begun. The 7-foot-3 giant knocked out three people as soon as he entered the ring. Raw Superstars takes center stage with The Viking Raiders, Chad Gable and Otis, Imperium, Tommaso Ciampa and Shinsuke Nakamura, all of whom continue their respective feuds on WWE’s flagship show. On the SmackDown side, Santos Escobar and Austin Theory went head-to-head, advancing their storylines regarding the US Championship. Omos will inevitably be eliminated by nearly a dozen other wrestlers, setting up the ending segments. Karrion Kross, after being eliminated, will be AJ Styles, leaving only LA Knight and Sheamus in the ring. So far, Knight took first place of the night with a belly-to-belly superplex before taking the final win
Ronda Rousey vs Shayna Baszler
This match was played according to the “MMA rules” that the referee explained before the match. The only way to win this is by knockout or submission. After a series of throws and counterattacks, Baszler delivered two kicks to Rousey’s leg and one to the head, sending the former UFC champion out of the ring. Rousey recovered and hit Baszler with a knee-kick and locked his surrender. Baszler was forced to act out and was wounded in the arm. Rousey attacked WWE officials who were taking care of Baszler and then the two women got into a fight. Baszler landed confusedly and a Kirifuda Clutch. Rousey will reverse to her signature armbar and Baszler will reverse that as well. Baszler eventually locks onto Kirifuda Clutch and Rousey will pass out, resulting in a TKO victory for Baszler.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Gunther
The two European brutes stared at each other before a quick collar-and-elbow lock and McIntyre knocked the champion out with a shoulder block. McIntyre soon controlled the action before Gunther took control outside the ring, shoving the Scots star into the post and smashing him down the steel steps. McIntyre did an excellent job selling Gunther’s ribs and clothesline before regaining momentum on his own. McIntyre hits two huge belly-to-belly somersaults, but will sniff out the Claymore Kick. Gunther implemented his complete power bomb but McIntyre reversed it into a bomb of his own and was followed by a DDT futuristic shock and a near-fall. Gunther will escape outside the ring and McIntyre lands a guard over the top rope. As action returns to the ring, Gunther regains momentum,
As the match continued, McIntyre and Gunther would exchange dangerous hacks before delivering a speedy Claymore Kick and a near-fall to McIntyre. For the first time, a shout of “Wonderful” resounded through the Ford Field crowd. The closing sequence follows shortly after, with Gunther and McIntyre fighting at the top. Gunther pushed McIntyre onto the rope, hit a splash, clothesline, and powerbomb to win and keep his Intercontinental Championship.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins
Finn Bálor flaunts the word “Seven” on his shoulder as he steps onto the ring, a reference to the SummerSlam match between these two in 2016 for the inaugural WWE Universal Championship. Rollins accidentally injured Bálor that night, forcing him to give up the championship the very next night. Rollins, a former performer, wore the same vest he wore at SummerSlam 2016.
Bálor attacked Rollins before the bell rang and the two scuffled for a few seconds before the referee started the match. Rollins picked up early momentum before Balor gained the upper hand and began attacking Rollins’ shoulders and arms. After Bálor’s initial dominance, Rollins performed a series of headbutts and kicks and eventually a Falcon Arrow in two near falls. The action takes place outside the ring as Rollins lands three suicide dives and brings Bálor to the announcement desk. Rollins went to the top rope, but Bálor counterattacked and brought Rollins’ arm to the pole. Bálor would then hit Rollins with a power bomb into the barricade, a callback to the very move that injured him seven years ago.
As the action returned to the ring, Bálor locked the armband on Rollins, which the champion reversed into a pair of Bucklebombs and a frog flick to nearly score the goal. Bálor counter-attacked a Rollins stomping and hit his shot but Rollins counterattacked into a tumble. Rollins dodged a Coup de Grace from Bálor and hit a Pedigree that nearly fell. As the two exhausted wrestlers remained in the ring, Bálor’s steady friend and Money in the Bank briefcase holder Damian Priest entered the ring. The priest would hit Rollins with a punch and Bálor would almost fall. Right after the rest of Judgment Day – Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio – came out to distract the referee. Priest and Bálor argued and Rollins had a stomp to score a nearly falling goal.
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Rollins, distracted from taking down Judgment Day, was hit by Slingblade and Coup de Grace, but managed to get out two points behind Bálor’s latch. The priest put the briefcase in the ring and drew the referee’s attention. Bálor goes to get the briefcase and Rollins takes advantage with a stomp on it to win the match and retain the world heavyweight title.