WWE Summerslam 2020 Review & Recap: Roman Reigns Returns
It's time for the biggest party of the summer. Every year, WWE celebrates the summer months with one of its largest shows, Summerslam. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic meaning no fans are able to be there live, this year is no different. Summerslam 2020 is loaded with big marquee matches, and it'll all be happening within the ThunderDome, WWE's new home inside Orlando, Florida's Amway Arena.
With eight matches scheduled, including multiple championship bouts and one fight in which the loser has to leave WWE, there's a lot on the line tonight. Naturally, GameSpot's resident Wrestle Buddies, Mat Elfring and Chris E. Hayner, have many thoughts about it all and will be reviewing the show live, as it happens. Take a look at the card for WWE Summerslam below then make sure to keep coming back here for our thoughts on each match as they happen.
- Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
- The Street Profits (c) vs. Andrade & Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championship)
- Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins (Street Fight)
- Apollo Crews (c) vs. MVP (United States Championship)
- Braun Strowman (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (Universal Championship)
- Sasha Banks (c) vs. Asuka (Raw Women's Championship)
- Bayley (c) vs. Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
- Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville (Loser Leaves WWE match)
Summerslam kicks off at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT, with the pre-show beginning at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT. For up to the minute results, GameSpot has you covered.
Apollo Crews (c) vs. MVP (United States Championship)
Winner: Apollo Crews via pinfall
Chris: Short and sweet, just as it should have been. I think there's a huge upside to the Hurt Business stable, but they're being held back by MVP's never-ending feud with Apollo Crews--especially since they always end up on the losing side. This is a group that should be built around elevating Lashley, with MVP as the talker and Shelton as the wild card. As for this match itself, it was a lot like the other meetings between these two. Good enough for the pre-show, but probably wouldn't mean much on the main card of a pay-per-view. The right man won and, hopefully, Apollo moves onto a new challenger.
Mat: MVP wasn't wearing his Black Panther-inspired outfit, which bummed me out. Instead, he chose the Punisher logo, which I wasn't a fan of. Regardless, I love the trajectory MVP is currently on with Shelton Benjamin and Bobby Lashley by his side. I don't think this feud with Apollo Crews adds anything, though. Anyway, the match. It was short. It didn't blow me away. It did get me ready for a whole bunch of rasslin', so it did its job. Do I want more rasslin'? Yes. Anyway, can Renee Young host a late night talk show? She's great. I'm probably going to mention Young a lot tonight since it's her last night at WWE. Below, you'll find a number rating for a match. I miss you already, Renee Young.
Bayley (c) vs. Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
Winner: Bayley via pinfall
Chris: If you're looking for honest analysis, I apologize because Mat's really torn up about Renee Young. I'll still try my best. I go back and forth about the current teaming of Asuka and Bayley. Some days I don't like it, others I hate it. I think Bayley as a heel is very entertaining, but Sasha's character isn't really connecting with me in the same way. I think she'll eventually turn face to feud with her friend, and that'll be great. That said, they both currently just scream at everyone, and it's not that exciting. However, this match between Bayley and Asuka is a dream any day of the week, and I love the story it told. One theme I particularly enjoyed throughout this match was Bayley trying to put her old babyface moves to work in beating Asuka, only for them to backfire and fail. As a villain, she can't hit the same power moves. Instead, it took her being dastardly with Sasha to retain the belt. A great match with a solid story, that leaves me convinced we'll see Asuka defeat Sasha tonight.
Mat: Thanks for everything, Renee Young. Women's wrestling in WWE is on another level. I probably shouldn't be comparing companies to what WWE is doing but no one else is putting on high-caliber women's matches like this--Impact comes close at times. This whole statement may be a tad unfair since it's Asuka and Bayley in the ring, and they just completely sync with each other here. It's a match keeping viewers on the edge of their seats--virtual or not--as the back-and-forth battle between the two women is compelling. Sasha Banks is a weird factor/non-factor here as Asuka bumping into her allowed Bayley to get the rollup and the win. It's flimsy, at best, and I would have much rather seen a clean victory with no shenanigans. The finish is what really bumps this down for me a notch because prior to that, this was a phenomenal match. Also, I wish you the best of luck with your future, Renee Young.
The Street Profits (c) vs. Andrade & Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championship)
Winner: The Street Profits via pinfall
Chris: I like the Street Profits a lot. Their gimmick clearly worked better with a live crowd, and the whole non-wrestling feud with the Viking Raiders wasn't all that good, but they're still firing on all cylinders as tag champs. The excitement over their feud with Andrade and Angel has faded, and I'm hopeful they'll move onto another team after this. That said, I enjoyed this match, for the most part. The jump Montez did to the outside, only to be caught and slammed by Angel and Andrade was such a good visual. The right team won here. Still, after watching these two teams be paired up for so long, there's not much freshness left. Also, just let Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe be the commentary team.
Mat: Kevin Owens is the best. Sure, he's not in this match, but his commentary makes me smile. He's strangely become a very positive force when he's on TV right now (strange because of how effective a heel he is), and this is something we need. And it works perfectly when he's discussing The Street Profits during the match. This battle for the Raw Tag Team Championships was fine. I like the push The Street Profits are getting and the team of Andrade and Angel is fine, but I'm not feeling the feud between the two. Regardless, these are four exceptionally talented wrestlers, and they put on a fine match… a fine match with another finish where someone interferes and a wrestler gets the win due to the distraction. Sure, it wasn't exactly the same, but can we get some clean wins please? Also, I hope Renee Young moves on to a job in network television.
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville (Loser Leaves WWE match)
Winner: Mandy Rose via pinfall
Chris: This should have stayed as a hair vs. hair match. It's been too long since we've put that stipulation to good use and it provides such a great visual, watching someone get their hair hacked off. That said, I don't blame either one of them for not wanting to go bald. Still, then don't ever promote it that way.
I appreciate how vicious this match is. These two both play the former friends who hate each other's characters well. I believe they want to destroy each other. I can't believe this all started because of Otis who--may I remind you--still has a Money in the Bank briefcase. Anyway, back to this match. It wasn't the most technical match, but it was one of the most exciting so far. It's clear they were both trying hard and this was the most animated the virtual audience has been in a match thus far, which was nice to see. In fact, they seemed downright giddy when Mandy won, Kudos to these two as this was, honestly, one of the bouts I assumed would be a throwaway. How wrong I was.
Mat: Much like Chris, I also wish this had stayed a Hair vs. Hair match. I'm just going to jump the gun--as this match is still going on while I write some of this--and say the loser who "leaves" later shows up as a member of Retribution. So the whole story with Otis breaking them up is dumb. I do not like it. However, the aftermath and Sonya becoming more and more vicious and angry has been a chef's kiss.
Mandy's go-to move was the running-knee, which was used roughly 78 times during the match. And while the match didn't lean into the "No DQ" rules as much it could have, it was a pretty decent balance between in-ring action and weapon use outside of the ring. At times, it was brutal when it needed to be. However, I would have liked this to go on a little bit longer, just to have the sting of Sonya having to leave WWE be a bit more painful. Regardless, great match.
Dominik Mysterio-Guerrero vs. Seth Rollins (Street Fight)
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall
Chris: We here at GameSpot recognize Dominik's true parentage. After losing a ladder match to Eddie Guerrero 15 years ago, Dominik is technically Eddie's son. I've actually been pretty hyped for his first match. Dominik did some of his training with the incredibly serious Lance Storm, and he comes from one of the most iconic wrestling lineages ever. I don't, however, understand why Dominik is wrestling in a hoodie.
So let's be honest here. Dominik isn't ready for this kind of spotlight. He hasn't had enough training, and what's more he hasn't had enough training in WWE's system--and it shows. However, he became far more comfortable as the match went on and ridiculous elements became involved--from a handcuffed Rey to his mom coming to ringside. This was a street fight, and we were given elements of that type of bout in spades--lots of weapons, a busted table, all kinds of outside interference.
I loved Dominik's frog splash in tribute to his dad Eddie. Also, don't think I didn't notice that White Russian Legsweep through the table. Is Sandman also his dad?
Ultimately, this was less a match and more a chance for Seth to be devious and depraved, which is good. Kudos to his WCW-era Rey Mysterio tights. I don't know where the feud goes from here, though. Seth has blinded Mysterio, popped out his eye, and not beaten up his child. What else is there to do?
Mat: It's Dominik Guerrero's first real match in WWE. Are you as excited as I am? However, it is pretty weird that a street fight starts inside a ring. Shouldn't it start--wait for it--in the street? This is a huge first match for any wrestler. You're at one of the biggest PPVs a year, in a match with a main eventer, and your father is Eddie Guerrero.
The match is paced exceptionally slow, most likely because Guerrero's ring skills aren't as advanced as other main roster talent. After every move is a beat, and during this time, Rollins yells a bunch or just walks around the ring. 75% of this match is essentially equivalent to a rest hold.
Regardless, this match is about storytelling over in-ring performance--because it has to be. It's the story of a boy--who once found out his father was biologically Eddie Guerrero--becoming a man and taking the torch from his father in the family business. He's up against tremendous odds and must rise to the challenge--even if the father in this scenario isn't biologically related to him.
What we got, in the end, was a fine match. Not great, not bad, but not memorable. I'm sure Dominik has a very bright future ahead for him, and I can't wait for that. However, this wasn't the best debut. I was entertained, so there's that.
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Asuka (Raw Women's Championship)
Winner: Asuka via submission
Chris: I honestly can't tell if Asuka is concussed or not in this match. After that powerbomb to the outside, she's had that far away look in her eyes and isn't moving at her normal clip. It might be part of the match storytelling, but if so, it was a little too scary for my liking. The medical staff didn't check on her and the match continued, so here's hoping.
I enjoy the story of this match. Sasha came in confident because Asuka's already been through a rough match, only to get a massive challenge from a tired Asuka. The second half was clearly the more entertaining, as things started very slowly. The home stretch, though, as Asuka did everything she could to tap out Sasha--and her ultimately succeeding--were a great story. Just as interesting was Sasha's reaction to Bayley after the match, seemingly offended that her best friend wouldn't sacrifice like she did earlier in the night. I expect to see their team blow up at Payback.
Mat: Going in, I already feel deflated after Bayley vs. Asuka. And then I got more deflated when Asuka hit her head hard on the outside of the ring. Ouch. Sometimes, it's just hard to be an Asuka fan when she keeps getting trounced in singles competition.
Maybe it was because of that hard hit, but the first half of this match was a bit boring. Luckily, things got back on track, and there was some great back-and-forth between Asuka and Banks as Asuka would try to lock in a submission, and Banks would escape. Luckily, we got the best outcome for this, as Asuka became champion. This will only move the story forward of Bayley and Banks eventually splitting--even though they're tag team champs. So while this match didn't live up to my expectations, it was still fun.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall
Chris: This match was fine. I honestly don't have much else to say. Randy Orton seems to have taken many steps backward into the gimmick of "guy who kicks retired wrestlers in the head." At no point did I believe him to be a credible threat to Drew McIntyre's reign and, what a shock, Drew won.
This match was pretty standard, but I continue to love the personality Drew shows. When he remarked how cool the Thunderdome looked while walking to the ring, he was speaking as a fan--which is a fun trait in a champion. Now give him a great feud.
Mat: Randy Orton's entrance featured a video of HBK at his house talking about whatever. It seemed like HBK was in a horror movie and he was about to be tortured by a masked killer with supernatural powers.
This match isn't for me. I like Drew McIntyre. I'm not a fan of Randy Orton. It's just not interesting to me. Needless to say, it's still a fine match, with lots of solid back and forth action between the competitors. It's just not my cup of tea, and that's fine. Not everything should be for me; otherwise, WWE would be filled with silly, over-the-top gimmicks and awful storylines, and ultimately, would go bankrupt. I'm sure very few people aside from myself are clamoring for Papa Shango to return and have a long-standing feud with Xavier Woods. Actually, that's not a bad idea…
At the end of the day, this match is great for the career of McIntyre, as it makes him look like a strong champion. Because, let's face it, having the title change every other PPV doesn't make anyone look good. Anyway, this was a fine match.
Braun Strowman (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (Universal Championship)
Winner: The Fiend by pinfall
Chris: Why does Braun still have train sounds in his entrance? It doesn't quite fit now that he's bald and mean to Alexa Bliss. I love how hard-hitting this match was right out of the gate. It goes a long way in showing how impervious The Fiend can be to pain, while it lets Braun throw around his immense power.
This was a quick one. They hit hard, Braun literally used a box cutter to tear apart the ring, and The Fiend is the Universal Champion again...For now. Because Roman Reigns is back? Honestly, this is all kind of exciting. WWE needed to do something big heading into Payback--which is in a week--and the return of Roman is it.
But is he a heel? He attacked The Fiend, destroyed Braun with a chair, and his new shirt says "Wreck Everyone & Leave." It sure feels like a heel thing to do and--honestly--I love it. Roman needed to come back fresh with a new edge and he's seemingly done it. I'm excited to see what The Fiend does to him in return.
Mat: I'm still sad WWE didn't pull the trigger on the Strowman Express gimmick and had Braun come out in a conductor outfit, riding a tiny train. This is a match where we wait for something grander to happen. We've seen plenty of wrestling matches, but when you have The Fiend in a bout, something crazy is bound to happen.
After Strowman tore apart the ring with a box cutter--something he could have done with his hands--The Fiend smashed Strowman into the exposed wood a bunch, and got the win. However, the madness didn't end after the match was over. Roman Reigns showed up and beat up both of them… and I was into it.
The match itself wasn't filled with high-impact moves or incredible spots, but it told a great story, and the aftermath was pretty fantastic. I'll gladly take some Roman Reigns at this point, as weird as that feels to say.
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