Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair def. Becky Lynch; Bayley, Dakota Kai and IYO SKY Returned
To no one's surprise, Belair and Lynch had another banger. I still say their WrestleMania match earlier this year was better, but this was an excellent opener, nonetheless. Belair retaining the title was the right call and Lynch turning face by embracing Belair in a hug afterward was a pleasant surprise. That's the perfect way to cap off their story. Then to top it off, the trio of Bayley, Dakota Kai and IYO SKY (the former Io Shirai) showed up and gave us an amazing SummerSlam moment. Not only is Bayley back after a year away due to injury, but Kai has been rehired and Sky decided to re-sign with the company. That's huge all around and I'm extremely excited for their stable as well as the immediate future of the Raw women's division.
Logan Paul def. The Miz
Paul impressed in the tag team match at 'Mania, but this was his first singles match and no one knew for sure how he'd do. Sure enough, he killed it and had the audience behind him by the end, which I didn't think was possible because he's such a natural heel. He and Miz put together a really enjoyable outing and Paul's high-risk maneuvers came off great. I still say he'd be better off as a heel, but he may get over as a babyface after all if he can continue having performances like this.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley def. Theory
These two had a damn good match back at Money in the Bank, but at only four minutes long, this rematch never had a chance to be anywhere near as fun. That said, I didn't mind that they kept it on the shorter side since the focus was on Theory potentially cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase later in the night, so the quick submission made sense. I would have rather seen Shinsuke Nakamura challenge Gunther for the Intercontinental Championship on this show, but I understand that would have made this show even longer than it was if it wasn't as brief as this bout was.
The Mysterios def. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor and Damian Priest) in a No Disqualification Match
Despite the stipulation, this was not contested under tornado tag team rules, which was silly. I mean, why wouldn't Rhea Ripley gotten involved more often to basically make it a three-on-two Handicap match? This was well-wrestled but basically the same match these teams have already had on Raw twice before. Everyone was waiting for Edge to return (it was especially apparent in the arena because they set up the stuff for his entrance long before he came out) and once he did, he cost Judgment Day the win as expected. The remixed Brood entrance music was sweet and I'd have no issue with him keeping that going forward. The Edge vs. Judgment Day program is underway, but does it even matter at this point with how poorly booked Judgment Day have been in Edge's absence?
Pat McAfee def. Happy Corbin
This was the match I was most anticipating coming into this event. Interestingly, it wound up being one of the weaker matches of the night as McAfee's moves weren't as clean as they have been in the past. Don't get me wrong, he had a hell of a performance, but a few spots of his had me worried. All in all, it was a quality contest. Corbin always excels at making his opponents look good. Can Corbin please ditch the "Happy" stuff coming out of this?
Drew McIntyre Addressed the Audience
It was weird that McIntyre vs. Sheamus happened on Friday's SmackDown and wasn't saved for this show, but it was probably for the better since they received way more time there than they would have here. McIntyre coming out in the aisleway and cutting a quick, funny promo about challenging for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship was perfect. It got McIntyre on the show and reminded fans of what they can look forward to in the main event of WWE's next pay-per-view.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. The Street Profits (Jeff Jarrett Served as Special Guest Referee)
Everyone (myself included) had high hopes for this rematch coming off their classic at Money in the Bank, so while they had an enjoyable encounter here, it didn't meet my lofty expectations. Instead, it was rather tame and there wasn't anything overly special about it despite being well-worked. Jarrett didn't add much as the special guest ref, but I suppose that was that point since they wanted clear-cut winners this time. We'll see if Montez Ford's frustration at the end leads to anything substantial, specifically a Street Profits split.
Seth "Freakin" Rollins Attacked Riddle
I was bummed when it was announced on social media earlier in the week that Rollins vs. Riddle was being bumped from the SummerSlam card, but in retrospect, WWE made the right call by holding off on it. This show ran long, anyway, so I doubt they would have been given much time if they did have a match. Plus, this gives them a chance to build their feud a bit more, likely leading into Clash at the Castle. This was a well-done angle and exactly what it needed to be.
SmackDown Women's Champion Liv Morgan def. Ronda Rousey
I was curious to see how this would be booked given how much more legitimate Rousey is than Morgan (in terms of Rousey's UFC accolades, etc.) and with it being a babyface vs. babyface bout. There really wasn't much to it other than Rousey dominating Morgan for for minutes and Morgan barely winning with a fluky pinfall. It didn't exactly make Morgan look strong, but it did protect Rousey in defeat and that was the point. Morgan retaining was key, so I'm glad they accomplished that in a unique way. Rousey seemingly turning heel afterward was also necessary because that's the role she's much more comfortable in as a character.
Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns def. Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match
I think the best way to sum this match up in one word would be "spectacle." Seriously, this was way more fun than it had any right to be considering we've seen Reigns vs. Lesnar what feels like a million times over the years. Lesnar was on his A-game, Reigns played his role perfectly, and they did some stuff we've never seen before. Not only in Last Man Standing matches but just in general. The ring being tipped over by a tractor was an insane visual, especially in person. Yes, there were plenty of shenanigans involving The Usos interfering, but I'd argue all of it added to the match and the uncertainty of the outcome. This was one of my favorite matches all year and an outstanding effort from Reigns and Lesnar. Now let's hope they can end their long-running rivalry on this note and we never see Reigns vs. Lesnar again.
No one knew for sure what to expect from this show with it being WWE's first pay-per-view with Triple H in charge of Creative, and I thought he knocked it out of the pack. I thought everything ranged from good to great and even some of the weaker stuff served a purpose. WWE has been consistently delivering with the pay-per-views all year and SummerSlam kept that streak alive. It opened and closed strong and I was engaged and entertained throughout. If this is a sign of what's to come with Triple H at the helm, then I'm optimistic about the overall product for the first time in a long time.