I’m gonna be honest, I went into this weekend expecting SummerSlam to be solid but was still expecting to enjoy AEW: Dynamite and NXT TakeOver: XXX to beat out WWE’s “Biggest Party of the Summer” in terms of overall enjoyment, even after I watched a disappointing AEW I didn’t expect SummerSlam to beat out what was a really solid TakeOver. So imagine my surprise when I found myself saying that not only was SummerSlam really good, but also my favorite show from this jam packed weekend. Of course the talk of the wrestling community wasn’t the outcome of any of the matches but the return of Roman Reigns attacking both The Fiend and Braun Strowman after their Universal Title match, a move that makes me very excited to see what happens on Friday’s edition of SmackDown.
Other highlights of the night include the street fight between Seth Rollins and a debuting Dominik Mysterio, who really held his own in his first official match. The continued saga of Sasha Banks, SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley, and new Raw Women’s Champion Asuka gave us two really fun matches that could’ve gone either way. The card also had a few strange anti-climactic finishes including the initial finish to the Universal Title match and the extremely sudden finish to Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville’s no disqualification/loser leaves town match.
Overall I think SummerSlam might be the first PPV of the “empty arena era” that I might actually go back and watch again. The atmosphere matched the quality of the matches and while the “WWE Thunderdome” still isn’t the best replacement for a live audience, I was impressed none the less. So, let’s break down the good, the bad, and the ugly of SummerSlam 2020.
- Loved the Bayley and Asuka match. Great job storytelling and letting the audience know what was going to be an issue for Asuka in her match against Sasha later.
- Sasha and Bayley going after Asuka after the match was a classic heel move and I’m loving the character development for Sasha. We are watching her start to care more about the gold than anything else.
- I liked the segment with Rey and Dominik backstage. Good set up for the match.
- Glad to see Kevin Owens involved by hanging out on commentary.
- I was pleasantly surprised to see The Street Profits win.
- I loved the bit with Mandy just chucking chairs across the table at Sonya.
- Seth had some great gear.
- Dominik had the most impressive debut match of anyone this weekend.
- Dominik kicked out of a falcon arrow and I popped.
- I loved the street fight. It was brutal and it gets me hyped for what is next with Seth and Rey. This feud got new life with this match which is not something I expected to say.
- Someone had a “Fire Velveteen Dream” sign in Thunderdome. I’m sure they will have to deal with WWE’s legal team but I support this!
- Asuka and Sasha’s match had a frantic pace that really made me wonder what the outcome would be.
- Holy shit! That power bomb off the apron on Asuka was brutal!
- Asuka had a stellar top rope DDT on Sasha.
- I loved that Drew used the figure four leg lock on Randy.
- I’m actually glad that Drew retained tonight. It was his best title defense so far and he deserved the win for that.
- I’m glad that The Fiend vs. Braun was changed to a Falls Count Anywhere match. It made this match a lot more interesting.
- Roman is back! I loved his explosive attack on both Braun and Bray. It really is still his yard.
- I really don’t know why we were shown a retribution video package. They didn’t do anything tonight. I’m glad they weren’t involved but it just felt weird to keep bringing them up.
- The finish to Mandy vs. Sonya felt rushed. Nothing ever really happened with the table that was setup. It felt like it was called really quickly.
- A couple of weird glitches on the Thunderdome screens. Not anyone’s fault but still not good.
- Braun and Bray had a pretty anti-climactic finish. I get why, but they could’ve gone another minute or so to give the match a slightly bigger finish. We didn’t even see anything with Alexa Bliss which I felt was odd.
- I’m sure the production team at WWE was more concerned with keeping the Thunderdome running smoothly, but there were several camera issues and glitches in the visuals. You can’t be so focused on the big shiny thing that you forget to run the show you’ve been running for forever.