The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2021 – 08.21.21
Live from Las Vegas, NV
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the rest.
RAW World tag team titles: AJ Styles & Omos v. RK-Bro
Kind of an odd setup on the stadium here, that kind of reminds me of Seattle’s Wrestlemania, with a curving path to the ring and no Titantron. Orton beats on AJ to start and gets a suplex, and he flips Riddle onto AJ with a senton for two. Over to Omos, who slowly slams Riddle and fights off a sleeper attempt. AJ comes in with a tornado DDT for two and goes to a chinlock. Riddle fights out and hits Omos with a knee on the apron, but somehow can’t make the hot tag to Orton before getting caught. But then he does. That’s dumb, either do a longer heat segment or just make the hot tag the first time. So Orton runs wild and gets the draping DDT, but Omos pulls out AJ to save him from the RKO and then chokeslams Riddle onto apron, which I might remind you is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Riddle manages to send Omos into the post, but AJ moonsaults onto Riddle outside. Back in, Randy hits the RKO and pins AJ to win the titles at 7:00. Well that wasn’t much of a match. Omos was barely even in there for more than 30 seconds and Riddle looked like a complete goof. Felt like a house show opener. **
Eva Marie v. Alexa Bliss
Eva misses a charge and lands on the floor to start, and back in Alexa controls with a drop toehold, but Eva takes her down and slaps the doll around for the big heel heat segment. So Alexa snaps and gets the senton for two. Alexa regains the doll and goes up for Twisted Bliss, but that misses and Eva gets two. This is so bad. They’re just walking around between spots and Eva looks like she can barely remember where to stand. And then Alexa just hits a DDT for the pin at 3:39. And then Deudrop makes fun of Eva for losing and steals her robe afterwards. So why was she even working with her in the first place? Never mind, I don’t care. This was all incredibly stupid. DUD
Meanwhile, former celebrity Mario Lopez interviews RK-Bro. Riddle’s got a big surprise for his partner on RAW.
US title: Sheamus v. Damian Priest
Granted I barely attention to the recaps of RAW as it is, but I had no idea this one was happening and it appears that the entire buildup was Priest randomly beating Sheamus in a non-title match. Thrilling. Sheamus overpowers him to start, but Priest comes back with a falcon arrow for two. They fight to the floor and Priest tries a dive and nearly pulls a Greg Louganis on the apron on the way down, and then slams his tailbone into the floor. So he throws kicks out there but Sheamus catches him and sends him into the post. Back in, Sheamus with a suplex for two. He goes to the chinlock and follows with a backbreaker before going to another chinlock. Priest with a rana, but Sheamus gets a slam for two as the subtle burial of NXT continues, with this apparently being Priest’s “first championship opportunity” even though he was North American champion in NXT. Sheamus beats on him with the forearms, but Priest hits him in the broken nose and gets a DDT to make the comeback. He’s building momentum in his championship opportunity and goes up with a leg lariat for two. Sheamus goes up with the flying clothesline and hits an Alabama Slam for two. They slug it out on the mat, but Priest counters the Brogue Kick and chokeslams him for two. Corey Graves tells us to turn up the volume on our TV and listen to the impact on a replay of a headbutt, and then there’s no sound. Whoopsie. Sheamus counters with a bodypress with the high knee, but that gets two. Sheamus tries the cloverleaf and Priest cradles for two, but Sheamus rolls him into a heel hook. Priest fires up and rips off Sheamus’s Undertaker nose mask and hits the leg lariat, and finishes with the Reckoning at 13:45 to win the title. This was alright, but it didn’t seem like they had much chemistry together. ***
Smackdown World tag team titles: The Usos v. The Mysterios
Is this feud STILL going on? Rey tries the 619 on Jimmy immediately. I think Jimmy needs to do his own version, which he can call the 502. Jey saves Jimmy and the Mysterios hit them with splashes to the floor instead, and Dom gets a springboard bodypress on Jimmy for two in the ring. Dom pays tribute to his biological father with the Three Amigos, but he goes up and Jey shoves him off the top and into the railing outside. Back in, Jey talks some trash and chinlocks Dom as they keep hammering the “over 50,000” attendance figure so that’s probably 40,000 in real life numbers. Jimmy comes in and puts the boots to Dom for two. Dom tries to fight back and Jey slugs him down again and gets a pair of suplexes in between poses. After more stalling, Dom gets his own suplex and makes the hot tag to Rey. Rey with a DDT on Jimmy for two. Jimmy gets a superkick for two and Rey fights him off, but Jey gets his own superkick and goes up with the flying splash for two. Jimmy tries his own splash while Jey takes out Dom on the apron, but Rey fights back with the 619 on Jimmy. And then he misses the frog splash and the Usos do a superkick party on him and Jey finishes with the flying splash at 10:45 to retain. It’s so weird because they did all that work to elevate the Usos with the Roman Reigns storyline, and now they’re just kind of back in the same midcard position they started in again. This was an OK TV match that never really got going. **1/2
Meanwhile, Damian Priest talks with Tiffany Haddish about his new title.
King Nakamura comes out to dance with Rick Boogs and that’s apparently the entire segment.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bianca Belair v. Sasha Banks
Apparently Bianca has recovered from whatever kept her out of house shows for the past week. However, the ring announcer randomly announces that Sasha can’t be here, so Bianca defends against Carmella instead. WTF? They couldn’t have announced that before the show?
Smackdown Women’s title: Bianca Belair v. Carmella
But then another plot twist, as Becky Lynch interrupts before the match can start, making her long rumored return. So she attacks Carmella and tosses her out of the ring, beating her up for no particular reason and thus takes the title match for herself.
Smackdown Women’s title: Bianca Belair v. Becky Lynch
Becky offers a handshake and then slams her for the pin and the title at 0:25. Wut? Note to WWE: People want to see Becky do that to CHARLOTTE, not someone people actually like and care about. Unless this was some bizarre “message” for Belair with regards to her missed shows or something.
What a shitshow that was.
Meanwhile, WWE is going back to Saudi Arabia, which the video tries to sell like it’s Wrestlemania at Disneyland or something. Hopefully it can sell enough Peacock subs to pay off the lawsuits from the last one.
Gable Steveson and Tamyra Mensah-Stock join us to celebrate their gold medals in wrestling. You know, for a show that’s supposed to be a on strict time schedule, there’s a shitload of time being wasted here.
Jinder Mahal v. Drew McIntyre
Drew gets a drop suplex right away and sets up the kick, but Jinder runs away and trips him up on the apron. They fight on the floor and Drew gets a suplex out there, so Jinder begs for mercy and then gets a superkick for two. Jinder with a kneedrop for two and he chokes out Drew on the ropes and goes to a chinlock. Drew fights out and gets the Future Shock DDT to set up the Claymore and that finishes at 4:34. OK then. Not sure why this needed to be on a PPV. *1/2
RAW Women’s title: Nikki ASH v. Charlotte v. Rhea Ripley
Nikki gets a monkey flip on Charlotte out of the corner and gets booed right away, and Charlotte tosses her and goes after Rhea instead. Rhea whips Charlotte into the corner for a Flair Flip, but Nikki tries a headlock on Rhea and gets a sunset flip for two. Charlotte returns and throws Nikki around to get rid of her, and then slams her onto Rhea and goes for a moonsault. That misses and Nikki gets two, but Rhea saves and Charlotte boots her down for two. Rhea comes back and tosses Nikki before making a comeback on Charlotte with a northern lights suplex for two. Charlotte fights back and boots her off the apron, but Nikki comes back in with a DDT on Charlotte for two. Nikki tries a bodypress on Charlotte and gets caught, but Rhea suplexes them both in an impressive spot and goes up with a missile dropkick on Charlotte for two. Rhea and Charlotte fight on the floor, clearly moving carefully into position for Nikki to dive onto them. Back in, Nikki and Rhea try a double suplex on Charlotte, but she reverses into a double DDT on them. Charlotte dumps both women and follows with a moonsault to the floor, but Nikki cradles Rhea for two in the ring. Rhea puts Nikki in the cloverleaf, but Charlotte saves with a phantom kick, so Rhea puts her in the cloverleaf instead. Charlotte reverses to the figure-eight, but Nikki makes the save and gets two on Charlotte. Rhea tries the Riptide on Nikki, but that’s reversed to a sloppy DDT and Rhea bails to the floor. Nikki goes up and misses a splash, and Charlotte puts her away with the figure-eight to regain the title at 13:00. What an inspiring storyline that was! You too can almost be good enough to win and then tap out cleanly to lose the belt back to the real champion when it counts! Everyone was working hard here despite some sloppy moments, and it was easily the best match of the show so far, though. ***1/4
Edge v. Seth Rollins
Edge gets the goofy nostalgia award for doing a Brood entrance here, although sadly Gangrel is probably busy working at a Subway or something and thus can’t make it. Seth immediately gets frustrated and takes a walk outside, then goes for a Pedigree in the ring and gets backdropped to the floor. The buildup for this match really highlights the problem with WWE overthinking stuff because they have to fill TV time. They already had the issue set with Rollins interfering in the Reigns match last month and it didn’t really need anything else, but they had four episodes of Smackdown so we had “mindgames” and bloodbaths and all kinds of storyline layers that weren’t needed. Did any of that really make the match more interesting? They fight on the floor and Seth runs him into the stairs and back in for a neckbreaker that gets two and chokes Edge out on the ropes. Sling blade sets up the stomp, but Edge rolls to the ropes to block it. Seth gets another neckbreaker for two and springboards in with the knee for two. Edge fights back and they head to the top, where Seth elbows him down and follows with the frog splash for two. Edge rolls to the ropes again to avoid the stomp, so they fight to the top again and Edge brings him down with a neckbreaker for a double down. Edge makes the comeback with the Impaler for two. Edge-O-Matic gets two. Edge goes up and Rollins brings him down with the superplex into falcon arrow for two. A third stomp attempt misses, and Edge hits a Glam Slam for two. Rollins necks him on the ropes, but Edge dodges yet another stomp and sends him into the post before spearing him off the apron ala Big E. Rollins rams him into the LED board on the ring and that shuts off, but Edge makes the comeback in the ring before walking into a Pedigree for two. Rollins goes up and tries the Phoenix splash, but that misses and Edge spears him for two. Seth beats on the neck and superkicks it to come back again, setting up yet another stomp, but Edge catches the foot on this one and reverses him into the Edgecutioner submission, which he then turns into the crossface. Seth goes after the fingers to break, so Edge rams his face into the mat a bunch of times and taps him out at 21:18. Hell of a match here as Edge has nicely adjusted his style to stay current and keep up. ****
Next year: Money in the Bank comes to Las Vegas. That’s pretty hopeful on their part.
The Miz & John Morrison join us to waste yet more time, as they want to spray everyone with their dripsticks but they both forgot them in the truck, so Xavier Woods shows up and sprays them instead. Next.
WWE title: Bobby Lashley v. Goldberg
We’re going long for a Goldberg match already, as they fight for a lockup and Goldberg hits him with a shoulderblock and powerslam. Goldberg with a corner clothesline, which the crowd boos. They fight over a jackhammer and neither can get it, so Lashley beats him down and goes up, and Goldberg slams him off and sets up for the spear. MVP pulls out Lashley to save, drawing a giant babyface pop, but Goldberg spears him on the floor anyway. Back in, Lashley puts him down again and goes for the full nelson, but Goldberg elbows out and the crowd boos the shit out of him. Goldberg tries…something…and hurts his knee on the way down, so he bails to the floor and Lashley follows him out and runs the knee into the post for good measure. Back in, Goldberg HAS FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP, so the ref calls for the bell at 7:28. Yes, it’s the rarely seen Lifecall finish. Terrible match with a terrible finish. ½* Lashley beats on the knee with a chair afterwards for some extra punishment, but Goldberg Jr. tries to save and gets beat up as well. I’m not sure how many more embarrassing world title matches Goldberg has to lose before they finally admit it’s time to stop booking him.
WWE Universal title: Roman Reigns v. John Cena
Pat notes that “documentaries will be made about this match tonight!” That’s not saying much. They make documentaries on everything. They probably made a documentary on the guy who drove the water truck for the Miz segment earlier. They would make documentaries about the guys making the documentaries if it meant they could fill 20 minutes of TV time or sell content to a foreign market. Cena gets a pair of rollups for two, so Roman slugs him down and goes to a chinlock after beating on Cena. They fight to the floor and Michael Cole notes “Very few people have dominated Cena in this way, but I remember one.” OOOOH FORESHADOWING. Roman runs Cena into the stairs and Roman stops to pose with his title and be acknowledged, but Cena gets a rollup for two. Cena goes for the AA, but Roman escapes from that and beats him down again, questioning where the Five Moves of Doom are. Roman locks in a sleeper after fighting off another rollup, but Cena runs him into the corner and comes back with a clothesline. Cena does indeed make the comeback with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but Roman can indeed see John and guillotines him before putting him down with the superman punch. Peacemaker was no match for Superman there. But then Cena manages to get the five knuckle shuffle and Attitude Adjustment, which gets two. Cena with the STFU, but Roman makes the ropes and then hits Cena with the Drive By kick on the apron. Roman charges, but Cena catches him with an AA through the table and throws him back in for two. Cena goes up and tries something from the top, but Roman catches him with a powerbomb for two. Cena counters the superman punch into a rollup for two, but a second one connects for two. Roman tries the spear and misses, allowing Cena to take him to the top for the avalanche AA, which gets two. Cena decides to try his own spear, complete with tribal yell, but Roman cuts him off and they slug it out until Roman drops him with two superman punches and his own spear at 22:54 for the anticlimactic ending. They went too long with this one and it would have been better served as the Heyman-booked finisher spam in a shorter match. The longer Roman stuff works better in a smaller setting, but for the big stadium show they really needed something faster and more to the point. ***1/4
And then before Roman can properly be acknowledged, Brock Lesnar and his ridiculous new haircut interrupt to set up another part-timer for Roman to put away.
I can’t really call it much more than a very slight thumbs up. The Edge-Rollins match was great but the rest was forgettable even though a million titles changed hands and Brock Lesnar returned from his farm to collect another payday. And there was SO MUCH filler between commercials, video packages, and pointless appearances by the Intercontinental champion and others.