WWE SummerSlam stood agency on Saturday evening within the face of huge expectations that the corporate shakeup would imply main adjustments.
The Largest Occasion of the Summer time walked a memorable stability as a transitional type of occasion creatively—and it positive does not harm that Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar exceeded expectations in the primary occasion.
It was truthful to marvel what a Triple H-led SummerSlam would possibly seem like. A few of it was enterprise as normal with issues like tag commonplace tag matches and little in the way in which of surprises. There wasn’t a surprising look by somebody like The Rock and Principle solely acquired to tease a cash-in of his Cash within the Financial institution briefcase.
However one might nearly really feel the care thrown behind sure artistic selections. On the identical evening, as an example, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey each appeared to show, the previous to help Bianca Belair towards a returning Bayley and the latter right into a extra pure heel position.
Rousey’s newest loss was actually memorable, to say the least. WWE had seemingly booked itself right into a nook by absolutely capitalizing on Liv Morgan with the briefcase cash-in and win towards somebody a lot stronger than her. However Morgan, whereas rightfully trying overmatched, acquired artful and stole a win, retaining her title anyway.
Perhaps that type of suave reserving was already within the playing cards, but it surely’s cheap to tip the hat towards the brand new period as an indication of issues to return. Ditto for extra implausible performances by Pat McAfee and particularly Logan Paul, who flashed indicators of a man who simply may need most important event-level expertise in his win over The Miz.
After which there was the primary occasion itself.
Sure, a number of the spots had been big. However there was a welcome consideration to element. Principle noticed his cash-in try thwarted, which retains the briefcase on a heel who will solely preserve bettering. Lesnar acquired a little bit further revenge on Paul Heyman by sending him via a desk—and Heyman even audibly described Reigns as his “meal ticket” through the match, maybe hinting at a future betrayal.
However sure, the spots. Lesnar within the tractor. Lesnar destroying the ring with the tractor. Lesnar dumping Reigns out of it. Lesnar dropping an Uso brother on his head exterior. Heyman going via a desk. Everybody needing to pile as a lot particles on Lesnar as attainable simply to get the 10-count.
The primary occasion’s remaining 10 minutes devolved into the type of carnage WWE does not throw out usually. It was, frankly, very Angle Period-ish, which could simply be a touch of issues to return after these rumblings of Uncooked transferring to a TV-14 ranking.
Not solely that, however this was additionally the type of match followers would anticipate to see from two downright fashionable legends who, tier list-wise, are grossly extra highly effective than the remainder of the roster. That mentioned, their WrestleMania match lately simply labored via the identical previous drained spots and did not take dangers like that is what made that most important occasion the most important disappointment of the two-night present.
No such drawback right here. Whereas it could have been good to see this feud have these kinds of bouts on a regular basis, it is solely becoming that they pulled this off in what’s supposedly their remaining assembly. From a reserving standpoint, when it comes to perceived energy ranges, the truth that Reigns wanted a lot assist to lastly preserve Lesnar down is a reasonably good readjustment if he is off to only face the traditional members of the roster once more.
Relaxation assured that is one match they may continuously present up-and-comers on the efficiency heart and writers in brainstorming periods. It is the shining instance of how a gimmick or weapons-based match ought to believably be executed, the polar reverse of one thing memorable for the mistaken causes like that horrific Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend debacle.
This is not to say there aren’t issues. WWE might nonetheless merely be stringing the Reigns unified run alongside whereas hoping The Rock can do the subsequent ‘Mania, particularly now that he is roughly a month away from being champion for 2 years.
Primarily based on historical past, followers have each proper to stay skeptical on issues like Morgan conserving her streak going. And it is value questioning if the lengthy hours of weekly programming can preserve this degree of high quality or if this was a one-off that benefited from already-built angles and feuds.
Nonetheless, it is exhausting to not really feel just like the cautious navigation of what may need been unreasonable fan expectations going into Saturday evening is an indication of issues to return. And Reigns-Lesnar ending on a excessive be aware with a number of the most iconic imagery (the decimated ring) of the trendy period, plus these well-seeded story beats and hints of virtually extra mature content material to programming, positive helps.
As a complete, exterior of the primary occasion, SummerSlam won’t go down as probably the most memorable or be seen in hindsight as the main turning level or the brand new Triple H period. However it was one heck of a technique to begin snowballing momentum in the suitable course as two wrestling Mount Rushmore candidates placed on a traditional to finish the present.