Having completed his own personal “Big 4” odyssey by being in Nashville for the event, Matthew Roberts takes a second look at the show, courtesy of WWE Home Video’s latest Blu-Ray release, Summerslam 2022.
Although Vince McMahon’s fingerprints were still all over the show in terms of build-up it was still historic to think that this was the first ever WWE PPV/PLE where Vince was not in charge. It was sure to be an interesting night whatever way you looked at it.
The card had been panned by some observers in the build-up, with a reliance on rematches and outsiders, but the buzz in the Stadium showed that this was still a show that people were looking forward to and were expecting good things from.
We started off with one of those re-matches. You could take your pick if it was a Summerslam 2021 rematch or a WrestleMania rematch but with two of the biggest stars on the women’s roster in the form of Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch in there we were almost certainly guaranteed something good. And it was more than good. Whilst lacking the shock value of last year’s Summerslam clash and, perhaps, the intensity of their WM clash earlier in the year this was still a very good opener. It was back and forth all the way and not even an injury to Lynch could spoil it. In the end, the result was fairly predictable (Lynch’s heel run was coming to an end in hindsight) but that didn’t make the match itself any the less enjoyable.
Post-match we got signs that this was now Triple H’s baby as Bayley made her long-awaited return, flanked by the shocking return of Dakota Kai and the overdue call-up to the main roster of Io Shirai/Iyo Sky.
The Miz and Logan Paul had to follow that feel-good opener and well-received surprise “returns”. They had been tag team partners at WrestleMania, where Miz had turned on the online influencer (hey, I’m not hip so have no idea what he’s actually famous for) Paul. The “Tiny Balls” chant showed people had been paying attention to Raw and it helped to give Paul a little face heat in the process. Paul was so impressive in his first singles match though that any hostility towards him at the beginning had turned into genuine support by the end. He worked hard and, once again, treated Wrestling with respect.
Bobby Lashley and Theory was another re-match, but probably not one many people were that anxious to see again so soon. It was little more than a Lashley squash win and was wrapped up in less than five minutes. The WWE “jobbing out an inexperienced MITB winner” trope continued. Though with the idea that Theory was a “Vince push” whether this loss was a sign that he will fail to cash in was open to question.
The No Disqualification Match between Rey & Dominik Mysterio and The Judgment Day was next up. It’s tempting to think that the return of Edge might have come before Summerslam if it hadn’t been for Clash at the Castle four weeks later as this match seemed a little flat booking-wise. It was fine for what it was and delivered the result most wanted to see and the return that many were expecting. The interference of Edge seemed about the only thing making use of the no DQ stipulation.
It was “outsider” time again next as Pat McAfee took on his former NFL roommate Happy Corbin. The choir serenading us with a “Bum Ass Corbin” was a neat touch and raised some laughs. Whilst never threatening to be a classic the pair got over a few early stumbles to get to an entertaining final stretch.
After a Drew McIntyre promo from the entrance aisle (he loved his new home of Nashville and was going to walk away from Clash at the Castle as champion) we got another title rematch as The Uso’s once again took on the challenge of The Street Profits. The added bonus this time was Jeff Jarrett as guest referee. It was nothing more than a cameo really and whilst the match itself was decent it failed to reach the heights of previous meetings between the two teams.
After that match, Riddle made his way down to the ring for a promo. He wasn’t medically cleared but wanted to kick Seth Rollins’ ass anyway. Rollins obliged and the two brawled for a brief period. It seemed incongruous that this was on PPV instead of the scheduled match but it was a nice enough interlude.
The Smackdown Women’s Title match was another rematch, although it was a rematch of Liv Morgan’s cash-in at MITB I suppose. The real problem with her match with Ronda Rousey was always going to be how credible it could be if Liv went back and forth with the former MMA star. To that end, the short run time and “controversial” ending did the best job they could with that. Ronda’s post-match outburst was a clear sign that she was going heel, which is best for all concerned.
And so it was time for the main event. And yes it was one we have seen a lot of times but as someone sat in the stadium witnessing it “live” for the first time it had every inch the feel of a big match. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar are still deservedly at the top of the tree. Lesnar’s entrance on a Tractor was a great spectacle and things just went wild from there. The two tussled with a genuine intensity that showed why both men are so special. And whilst they certainly didn’t have the “challenger upturns the ring via a tractor” stuff in Lou Thesz’s time it all added to the riotous spectacle of it all.
Summerslam felt like a great show in the stadium and generally, it lives up to that billing when watching back on Blu-Ray. The show is bookended by two great matches and very rarely drags at any point in the middle. Overall, a great night of WWE action.
The Blu-Ray adds a number of extra’s from the TV build-up with promos and interviews as well as two Smackdown matches which pit The Uso’s & Theory against The Street Profits & Madcap Moss and Ronda Rousey & Liv Morgan against Sonya Deville & Natalya. They round off the package well.