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WWE SummerSlam was a surprisingly enjoyable pay-per-view by most accounts, but that doesn’t mean WWE didn’t make any mistakes while booking Sunday’s show.
There were a couple of genuinely surprising outcomes, the return of a major Superstar who has been gone for several months and some great action.
Before we get into specific booking decisions, here is a rundown of the results:
- Apollo Crews retained the U.S. title over MVP.
- Bayley retained the SmackDown women’s title over Asuka.
- The Street Profits retained the Raw tag titles over Andrade and Angel Garza.
- Mandy Rose defeated Sonya Deville.
- Seth Rollins defeated Dominik Mysterio.
- Asuka defeated Sasha Banks to win the Raw women’s title.
- Drew McIntyre retained the WWE title over Randy Orton.
- Bray Wyatt won the Universal Championship from Braun Strowman.
Let’s look at what WWE did right, wrong and the most ridiculous decisions from SummerSlam.
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We haven’t seen Roman Reigns since a couple of weeks before WrestleMania 36 because he opted not to compete as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He returned Sunday night in a big way.
Immediately after The Fiend defeated The Monster Among Men to win the universal title, The Big Dog speared him out of his boots in the most shocking return of 2020.
He proceeded to beat down both men before posing with the belt he was supposed to fight for at ‘Mania, indicating he wants to pick up where he left off.
This was the best possible way to bring him back into the fold. Having him randomly return on an episode of Raw or SmackDown would not have carried the same weight.
Reigns looked strong and healthy, so the entire SmackDown roster should be on notice. The Big Dog is back to claim his yard, and he isn’t going to let anyone stop him.
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Andrade and Garza have been teaming up for several months, but WWE doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do with the team. They are either always on the verge of breaking up or about to win the titles.
SummerSlam saw them challenge The Street Profits for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The match was a lot of fun, but at this point, they are just punching bags for Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins.
Zelina Vega was there as always, but there was no sign of Bianca Belair. And nobody talked about Ford being poisoned, which was a huge part of this storyline two weeks ago.
Now, Andrade and Garza have lost yet another tag title match. The Profits are great champions, but they are better when pursuing the titles. The best decision would have been to put the belts on the challengers so Ford and Dawkins can go back to chasing the new champions.
With the Raw tag team division suffering from a lack of credible challengers, switching the titles would have allowed WWE to keep this feud going without anyone getting tired of it. If El Idolo and Garza get another shot after this, it means management has no long-term plans for the division.
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The feud between the Mysterio family and Rollins has been a lot of fun to watch. Rey lost an eye, Dominik was beaten to a bloody pulp with kendo sticks and we have seen several entertaining segments featuring all of the participants.
This feud was built up as a potential feel-good story. After months of being tormented by The Monday Night Messiah, Dom was going to be the one to avenge his family and get a huge win to kickstart his WWE career. None of that happened.
Instead, WWE gave one of the biggest heels in the company a win over a rookie that will not benefit him at all. He is a multi-time world champion. What could he possibly gain by beating a newcomer?
Dominik winning would have been one of the biggest talking points of the PPV. It would have been a huge upset, and it would have gotten an up-and-coming wrestler a lot of attention. Some people are going to say Dom still gained a lot even with a loss, and that may be true, but he would have gained more with a victory.
This needs to be the end of this storyline. Management needs to let everyone move on because The Messiah has to be considered a contender for a WWE title shot.
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Deville and Rose have had a long feud that has seen both women gain a lot more respect from the WWE Universe for both their promo ability and their wrestling skills.
Unfortunately, their story was overshadowed recently when a man broke into Deville’s home with the intent to kidnap and potentially harm her and Rose, who was staying with her at the time. Thankfully, both women made it out of the house safely and the suspect was arrested.
This was likely the catalyst for changing the stipulation from hair vs. hair to a Loser Leaves WWE match. Deville may have understandably asked for some time off to deal with this situation.
Rose winning was the best decision regardless of the stipulation. Deville has already shown she can be dangerous, so beating her former friend wouldn’t have done as much for her as it will for Rose.
The Golden Goddess has cemented herself as a babyface, and now that she can move on, we will likely see her enter into a new feud in the coming weeks.
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Orton has built himself back up into one of the most dangerous men on the WWE roster over the past few months. He has reclaimed his Legend Killer name by taking out several Hall of Famers on his way to facing McIntyre for the WWE title at SummerSlam.
The Scottish Psychopath, the same guy who beat Brock Lesnar in a decisive five-minute match at WrestleMania, had to resort to using a backslide to retain his title. It was an anticlimactic ending to what has been an awesome feud.
The Viper is a veteran who shouldn’t be falling for basic pinning combinations like this, and McIntyre is a powerhouse who shouldn’t need to resort to using those kinds of tactics. It made the end of the match lose all of its momentum.
The plan might be for this feud to continue, which means WWE wanted to save a more exciting finish for a future match. That would usually be fine, but we are talking about SummerSlam here. This is the show you save the big moments for, not the show you use to set them up for the future.
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For the past few weeks, a group of masked men and women have been causing havoc at every WWE taping. They call themselves Retribution.
This is one of the strangest angles WWE has booked in quite some time. It’s not weird because of the nature of it. It’s weird because it doesn’t feel like WWE planned anything out after the group’s first appearance.
How are you going to have a stable that is trying to ruin WWE not show up during the biggest PPV of the summer? It makes no sense.
WWE might not have had a match scheduled that it wanted to end because Retribution interfered, but the group at least could have shown up backstage and beat up some nobody or broken some equipment.
What if, at one point, every screen showing a fan around the ring turned into a shot of one of the masked members of the group? It would have shocked everyone and given us a better idea of what they are capable of. If they can hijack WWE’s feed, what else can they do?
Instead, WWE ignored them completely. This concept is losing steam before we even know who is involved. WWE needs to step up with this storyline and reveal a leader and motivation for these attacks before nobody cares about the group anymore.
Did you enjoy SummerSlam? What booking decisions did you like, and which ones would you change?