WWE held ‘The Biggest Party of the Summer’ last night.
There were shocks, squashes and splashes galore. So, was the show as good as it looked on paper? Let’s delve into it and find out.
Drew Gulak (C) VS Oney Lorcan- WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Result – Gulak pins Lorcan; Gulak retains the Cruiserweight Championship
Thoughts: This was stiff. When the first move is a John Woo dropkick, you know that this is gonna be a physical match. This was probably the hardest-hitting match in 205 Live history. Both men were determined to inflict as much damage as possible in such a short space of time. This deserved so much better than a half-full arena. Gulak went a little bit heelish at the end, striking Lorcan in the throat before hitting a Cyclone Crash to retain his belt. A good match but deserved better than the pre-show.
Apollo Crews vs Buddy Murphy
Result: Rowan attacks Murphy – Murphy wins by DQ
Thoughts: Before Rowan interfered, these two were putting on a good match. Two of the most underrated wrestlers on the roster, they didn’t get enough time to showcase their obvious abilities. This was done to make Rowan look like a monster, which to be fair, they accomplished.
Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss (C) VS The IIconics- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Result: Bliss pins Peyton Royce – Bliss and Cross retain
Thoughts: This wasn’t great. The Women’s Tag Team titles are basically cursed at this point. This was the first time they’ve been defended on PPV since Wrestlemania, which is just wrong. Bliss and Cross might be the right champions for now, but unless these belts are defended regularly on TV and PPV, these belts will go down in infamy as one of WWE’s biggest mistakes.
Becky Lynch (C) VS Natalya – Submissions match for the RAW Women’s Championship
Result – Becky taps out Natalya-retains her belt
Thoughts: As much as I love Becky, I wasn’t a huge fan of this match, purely because it has Natalya in it. She’s never been that interesting and was the wrong option to face Becky here in my opinion. Despite Natalya being about as interesting as a kettle, this match was decent in the time it got. Becky was booed, which is understandable considering they’re in Canada, but still retained a huge amount of popularity. Hopefully, she gets a good feud on RAW and can regain some lost momentum.
Goldberg vs Dolph Ziggler
Result: Goldberg just murders him, wins by pinfall
Thoughts: Dolph got two superkicks in, Goldberg kicked out of them both by one. Spear, Jackhammer, win. Goldberg then speared him two more times after the match. Let’s all move on.
AJ Styles (C) vs Ricochet – United States Championship match
Result: Styles pins Ricochet, retains the United States Championship
Grade: C +
Thoughts: It was a good match, though, as with Extreme Rules, you just expected more from two of the best in the world. Styles targeted Ricochet’s left foot throughout, supposedly limiting his high-flying abilities. Ricochet still managed to fly about on one leg though and looked great throughout. The finish was amazing though. As Ricochet went for a Whisper in the Wind, AJ Styles caught him and planted him with a Styles Clash for the win. Gallows and Anderson then hit a Magic Killer on him after the match. Up to this point, this was the match of the night. However, you just expected more from the two. It’s strange – it was a fine match but these two can have amazing matches, so why haven’t they had one yet? Answers in the comments, please.
Bayley (C) vs Ember Moon- Smackdown Women’s Championship
Result: Bayley pins Moon, retained her belt
Thoughts: A good match but had to deal with a dead crowd, who were expecting a certain Boss to return. Bayley has been acting very heelish as of late, and it’s great to see more layers being added to her character. She desperately needed some sort of change, and it’s nice to see Bayley being positioned as a major player going forward. Ember has been another victim of WWE not knowing what to do with great talent from NXT. Her gimmick was perfect for the Main Roster, but she was quickly lost in the shuffle on RAW. A shame, because she could have been amazing.
Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon- If Owens loses, he must quit WWE
Result: Owens pins Shane, manages to keep his job
Thoughts: For what this was, this was a fantastic match. Yes, this was goofy and overbooked, but every Shane McMahon match should be. Kevin Owens is the perfect choice to play an Anti-Authority figure and is already one of the most popular superstars in WWE. Owning to the finish of the match (KO gave Shane a low blow behind the ref’s back and then stunned him) Shane will demand a rematch, probably inside Hell in a Cell, but until then, let’s all bask in KO’s victory.
Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus
Result: Trish taps out, Charlotte wins via Submission
Thoughts: Probably the match of the night. The crowd were a bit dead when the match first started, but gradually came around thanks to some great heel work by Charlotte. Trish, in her first singles match in over 12 years, proved that she had very little ring rust on her. She surprised Charlotte several times, including using Charlotte’s own Figure 8 finisher against her, which drew a huge pop from the crowd. It looked like Trish would pick up a huge victory, but she would ultimately fall to Charlotte’s Figure 8 submission. If this truly was Trish’s final singles match, then she went out on a high, with an arena full of fans chanting ‘Thank You Trish’ as she departed the ring for the final time. A fitting end for one of the very best women’s wrestlers in WWE history.
Kofi Kingston (C) VS Randy Orton- WWE Championship match
Result: Double Count Out, Kofi retains his title
Thoughts: Up until the ending, this was a good, old school WWE Championship match. It was clear to everyone who the Face was and who the Heel was. Orton is very good at being an old school heel, and it’s obvious that he revels in it. In Kofi Kingston, he has the perfect opponent to be a dick towards, which resulted in what was a damn fine match. But then the ending happened. Randy wouldn’t stop looking at Kofi’s son, which caused Kofi to snap, which led to the double count-out. Kofi destroyed Orton afterwards and then celebrated with his family. I get that this is all leading to a stipulation match at the next PPV, but the finish felt flat and unexpected. The live crowd hated it, chanting ‘Bulls**t’ throughout Kofi’s’ post-match beatdown of Orton. An underwhelming end to what was a very good match.
The ‘Fiend’ Bray Wyatt vs Finn Balor
Result: The Fiend pins/chokes Balor out
Thoughts: This was incredible. It may have been a squash, but it was so, so effective in making Bray look like an absolute monster. When you have the crowd chanting ‘Holy S**t’ just at your entrance, then you are clearly on the right track. Unfortunately for Finn, he had to be sacrificed here to make Bray look good. Honestly, this match told more of a story in five minutes than most WWE 20 minute main events. It was an amazing debut, now it’s up to WWE to make sure that The Fiend remains the most terrifying thing in WWE right now. If done right, we could have a new megastar on our hands. After many years of trying, Bray Wyatt has finally become the talent we all thought he could be.
Brock Lesnar (C) VS Seth Rollins- WWE Universal Championship match
Result: Seth pins Brock, and becomes the new Universal Champion
Thoughts: This match is proof that if Seth doesn’t open his mouth, or tweet on his phone, he is one of the best wrestlers on the planet. This match was great. Brock obviously went for Seth’s injured ribs throughout the match, which included a great spot where Brock just swung Seth around by the tape on his ribs. Seth was excellent at portraying the hurt babyface, and it genuinely looked like he would rather risk serious injury then go home empty-handed. After two Curb Stomps, it didn’t look like Seth would ever put Brock away. It took a vicious third stomp to finally vanquish The Beast, and for the second time, Seth Rollins pinned Brock Lesnar to become the Universal Champion. Quality work from all involved.
The PPV was…fine. Bar a couple of matches (Flair/Stratus and Fiend/Balor), there was nothing special to write home about. The main event was quite good, and The Fiend was incredible on debut, but the dodgy finish in the Kingston/Orton match and the (at times) dead crowd meant that this PPV doesn’t quite reach the level of greatness, though it was still a solid PPV.
Overall Grade: C+
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!