WWE Summerslam 2021 (Cert 15)

2 Discs DVD/1 Disc Blu-ray (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 241 minutes approx.

Release Date: October 11th

For just the second time in its 33 year history, Summerslam is held in a stadium, the first time of course being 1992’s Wembley Stadium show which drew almost 80,000 fans. Earlier this year, Wrestlemania 37 was a test for fans being allowed back into the venues and just less than two months later, this became permanent so it feels natural that WWE would go big for their major summer event.

But just having the fans isn’t enough, they needed to deliver with a big card to justify this expense and the fans interest and according to WWE logic, this means bringing back faces from the past. As we know, John Cena returned at Money In The Bank to confront Roman Reigns, and in typical WWE fashion, Cena was awarded a title shot despite 14 months away from the company! The more things change…

Elsewhere Goldberg was dragged out of the mothballs to challenge Bobby Lashley and Edge was in a big profile match against Seth Rollins. And there was one more surprise appearance from a long time absent face too. Well two actually, both bringing their own problems with them…

Held on August 21st at the Dickies Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas Nevada in front of 45,690 fans. Commentary is provided by Michael Cole and Pat McAfee for SD and Jimmy Smith, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton for RAW.

Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers as the cover artwork does that, but plenty of opinion and backstories!

 

WWE RAW Tag Title Match – AJ Styles & Omos (c) vs. RK-Bro

The odd couple tag team of Matt Riddle and Randy Orton have been an on-off prospect for a while but this feud with the tag champs saw them come together as a unit. Despite not having any right to work, this pairing does work, mostly because Riddle acts so dumb he is fun to watch, and this is one time where Orton’s robotic stoicism helps him as the straight man.

A surprisingly short bout given it is the opener and a title match, but it is all action, although the fans are still engaged by the giant Omos despite him being a heel. A fun way to kick off the show.

Alexa Bliss vs. Eva Marie

When you consider WWE spent most of Eva Marie’s first run avoiding having her actually wrestle, bringing her back to do the exact same thing five years later is one of their more mind boggling decisions, which covers a LOT of ground. So to have her then be substituted in her matches by Piper Niven, aka Viper aka whatever the hell a Duodrop is, only to put Eva Marie in a PPV match is surely the height of hubris.

Considering Alexa Bliss isn’t a strong enough worker to be carrying anyone yet, this is doubly dangerous, whilst this feud has been based around Lily the doll which fans hate. This match was in fact a test to see if Lily dolls would be their next big merchandise hit – spoiler: It wasn’t. Anyway, this match had no business taking place on TV let alone on a major PPV. At least it was short. Avoid.

 

Backstage an alleged celeb named Mario Lopez, wearing a cool Hart Foundation T-shirt, interviews RK-Bro.

 

US Title Match – Damien Priest (c) vs. Sheamus

Priest earned the right to challenge for the US title by beating Sheamus on RAW in a non-title “Championship Contenders Match” which negates the point of this PPV match since we’ve already seen him win. They worked hard but I’m not a fan of either man, especially Sheamus but at least it got a new face over.

SD Tag Title Match – The Usos (c) vs. Rey & Dominick Mysterio

The first ever father-son tag champions in WWE dropped the belts to serial criminals The Usos in the pre-show match at MITB, but instead of being arrested selling drugs or organ trafficking to ensure they won them back, the Mysterios relied on wrestling instead. Good luck with that chaps.

Quite short for an Uso’s match but fine for what it was, whilst the story is that Dominick is getting too big for his britches (or maybe they are Rey’s) and is annoyed with his dad for losing so much, in what we can assume is a slow burn heel turn for the kid, leading to a father vs. son match at next year’s ‘Mania.  

 

Backstage, another so-called celeb named Tiffany Haddish interviewed Damien Priest but doesn’t seem familiar with the basic principle of holding a mic to her own mouth when talking to someone else.

King Nakamura and his guitarist Rick Boogs came out to play to waste some more time.

 

SD Women’s Title Match – Bianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch

And now, a masterclass in how to cut off a budding career in 30-seconds. This was supposed to be a rematch of Bianca vs. Sasha from WM 37, but Sasha wasn’t cleared to wrestle. The WWE knew this EIGHT DAYS before this show, even puling both from house shows to be sure. To make it worse, they still advertised the match right up to Bianca coming out first, only to announce Banks wasn’t there and brought out Carmella as a substitute.

But before the match started Becky Lynch returned from maternity leave (two months early) as a big surprise, get rids of Carmella and challenges Bianca. 26 seconds and ONE MOVE later, Bianca’s red hot rise to the top is over. Just unbelievable.

 

More time wasting as US Olympic gold medallists in wrestling come out – the woman Tamyra Mensah-Stock has a ton of charisma and presence, the man Gable Stevenson has none, so guess which one the WWE just signed?

 

Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal

Now Drew is not in the title picture he needs a feud so the top choice was his former 3MB teammate Jinder Mahal. Jinder and his henchmen attacked Drew during the men’s MITB match the month before to set this off. Drew got his revenge by wrecking Jinder’s motorcycle, then beat Veer and Shanky to ban them from ringside whilst he is allowed to bring his sword with him.

Again, it was kept short but not even RAW worthy let alone PPV worthy.

RAW Women’s Title Triple Threat Match – Nikki A.S.H (c) vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair

Since we have two disappointments from the Women’s division, this match has a lot of compensating to do. Oh wait, Charlotte is in the match. Spoke too soon…

Charlotte defeated Rhea at MITB then following the rematch on RAW the next night, babyface (almost a) superhero Nikki cashed her MITB briefcase on Charlotte to win the title. Both Charlotte and Rhea claimed to be no 1 contender, resulting in this triple threat match. It started off a bit clumsy but got really good by the end but as usual, Vince couldn’t help himself and you can guess who won. Yup…

Seth Rollins vs. Edge

Because he felt he should have been in the title match against Roman Reigns at MITB and failed to win the ladder match, Rollins attacked Edge to help give Roman the win. So, Edge wants retribution and here we are.

Edge at first came out to his old Brood music and entrance which was cool, somewhat foreshadowed by Seth being a victim of a (black) blood bath on SD (black cos the show is PG). Arguably the best wrestled match on the show and the second longest, it’s quite an achievement Edge can still go like this after all his injuries. 

 

With the show already nearing the three-hour mark, they send Miz and John Morrison out for an alleged comedy skit in which they planned to soak the crowd with a mega supersoaker. Instead Xavier Woods, dressed as nWo Wolfpac-era Scott Hall, revealed he had pinched it, and gave them a soaking. This segment died more deaths than Kenny in South Park.

 

WWE Title Match – Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Goldberg

No, I don’t know why this match is happening either, especially as Goldberg is the living embodiment of the law of diminishing returns. Goldberg is 54 years-old and still looks menacing but his ring work is a fraction of what it was even 5 years ago, let alone 20 years ago. But Vince wanted a spectacle for one of his title matches and this is it.

It is obvious from the start that Goldberg was hurting just walking to the ring, which was confirmed by how badly he was stumbling around the ring, almost dropping Lashley on his head. Worst still, it fell apart when MVP attacked Goldberg’s knee which he forgot to sell – and they showed a reply of this gaff!!

Since Goldberg never loses and Lashley needs to be kept strong, we get the McBooking lousy finish which would have been fine for TV but not Summerslam, whilst a post match angle with Lashely putting Goldberg’s son Gage in the Hurt Lock drew CHEERS from the crowd. Pretty much a disaster.

Universal Title Match – Roman Reigns (c) vs. John Cena

The so-called “Summer of Cena” came to a close with this match. As it happened, Big Match John’s return did help business somewhat, with SD seeing a slight rise in ratings and the return to the live house show circuit also boosted with Cena headlining in 6-man matches with The Mysterios vs. The Blooodline (although Cena only worked the hot tag and the finish).

In typical illogical fashion, Roman at first refused to accept Cena’s challenge but did accept one from Finn Bálor (recently returned from NXT) but when Finn went to sign the contract, he was attacked by Baron Corbin; Cena ran Corbin off the signed the contract himself. And we’re supposed to cheer this guy after he stole a title match from fellow babyface Finn?

Anyway, Reigns said he would leave WWE if he couldn’t beat Cena which telegraphs the outcome. The match was typical of both men, starting slow then basically 15 minutes of trying to hit their finishers and kicking out of the big moves. Fans were torn between both men since they were used to booing them both but ended up getting behind Roman. However, it was the final big surprise of the night after the match that was the main talking point, for better or for worse…

Bottom Line:

If ever there was an example of the booking sullying the enjoyment and anticipation of a WWE PPV event, especially one of the Big Four, this show is it. People may talk about the big returns but for all the wrong reasons, whilst the usual crutch of going back to the old guard when the new crop are just as capable of carrying things forward, just to create a “moment” is in full operation here.

Granted, it is great to see Becky Lynch back but so was brought back under the worst of circumstances. Had the match gone 15 minutes with Bianca winning, prompting a rematch where Becky has to get her groove back, that would have worked better; cutting Bianca’s legs off in less than 30 seconds for the sake of a big “shock” pop from the crowd was egregious in its tone deafness and counter-productivity.

What leaves the sourest taste is the promoting of Sasha Banks right up until the very last moment knowing she wasn’t going to be there. Announcing this early then sending Becky out would again have been better; there is bait and switch then there is total dishonesty.  

As for the other big return, yes, it got a pop but it is a huge step backwards in terms of building for the future. The truth is, they needed a big match for the return to Saudi Arabia, and they needed something to counter the interest in the big signing in AEW of CM Punk 24 hours before this show which blew up their TV ratings and overshadowed the buzz for this show – but Vince doesn’t see AEW as competition.

Digressing slightly, 48 hours after this event took place, WWE President Nick Khan did an interview here he said “We live in the present, we live in the future, we don’t live in the past”. Having 54 year-old part timer Goldberg in one of your main events, a 44 year-old part timer in the other, a 47 year-old part timer in a key match, both women’s titles being held by the same women as five years ago, and the return of another 44 year-old part timer suggests otherwise.  

Like I said earlier, the more things change…

 

Best match – Edge vs. Seth Rollins

 

Extras:

German Language

Summerslam Kick-Off Match – Big E vs. Baron Corbin

Smackdown August 13th 2021 – Face to Face

RAW August 16th 2021 – Lashley’s Next

Smackdown August 20th 2021 –

Edge’s Revenge

Seeing Red

An Unbeatable Reign

 

Rating – ***

Man In Black

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