The WWE’s biggest event of the summer, SummerSlam, is all over after an interesting night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The big stories of the night were Roman Reigns finally beating Brock Lesnar (after three years of trying) to become Raw’s Universal Champion for the first time in his career, while Ronda Rousey got her first taste of WWE gold after easily defeating Alexa Bliss to become the Raw Women’s Champion.

There were also title wins for Seth Rollins, claiming the Intercontinental title again, and Charlotte Flair, reclaiming her Smackdown Women’s Title from Carmella in a triple threat match that may have cost Flair her friendship with Becky Lynch. That was one of the most interesting stories of the night, but I will get to it later. Four title changes on one show is a lot, but I thought all of them made sense.

SummerSlam had a run time of just over four hours on WWE Network with a 7 p.m. ET start time and it ended a few minutes after 11 p.m. ET. I was fearful that they would run to 11:30 or close to midnight, so I’m glad they ended it when they did because you could tell the Brooklyn crowd was quiet for some stuff later in the evening.

There were ten matches on the main card and three on the Kickoff Show. The Kickoff Show results were Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega beating Rusev and Lana, Cedric Alexander retaining the Cruiserweight Title against Drew Gulak, and The B Team keeping the Raw Tag Team Titles with a fluke win over The Revival.

Here are the quick results of the ten matches that took place over four hours.

  • Seth Rollins defeated Dolph Ziggler to win the Intercontinental Title, featuring Dean Ambrose taking out Drew McIntyre outside the ring.
  • The New Day defeated The Bludgeon Brothers by disqualification, so the Bludgeon Brothers are still the Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
  • Braun Strowman defeated Kevin Owens in two minutes to retain the Money in the Bank contract.
  • Charlotte Flair defeated Carmella and Becky Lynch to become Smackdown Women’s Champion by pinning Lynch. After the match, Lynch attacked Flair.
  • Samoa Joe defeated AJ Styles by disqualification after a chair attack by Styles, so Styles is still the WWE Champion.
  • The Miz defeated Daniel Bryan thanks to a foreign object he used to punch Bryan in the head with, which the referee never saw.
  • Finn Balor dressed as “Demon” Finn Balor and defeated Baron Corbin in under two minutes.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the US Title.
  • Ronda Rousey defeated Alexa Bliss easily to become the Raw Women’s Champion. It was a quick match that was over in about four minutes.
  • Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar to become the Universal Champion. Braun Strowman threatened to cash in Money in the Bank, but Lesnar attacked him and Strowman was unable to use his briefcase. Reigns beat Lesnar in about six minutes.

Here are ten takeaways on the ten matches that took place, one per match. Easy enough, right? Let’s get to it.

10. Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler had the match of the night for the Intercontinental Title

I thought it was a good decision to have Rollins and Ziggler go on first. They were featured in the main event of Extreme Rules last month in an Ironman match that was hurt by an annoying crowd, distracted by a clock. This time it was more of a traditional match with a slow pace in the first ten minutes, but then they cranked up the pace and it went 22 minutes to make it one of three matches over 20 minutes.

The key part of the match was when Rollins got on a roll, Drew McIntyre tossed Dean Ambrose into the steel steps to try to make him a non factor, and that allowed Ziggler to come close to winning a few times. Ambrose got back into it, hit McIntyre with his Dirty Deeds DDT on the floor, and Rollins capitalized with The Stomp for the pinfall win. It’s what I thought in the SummerSlam Predictions article when I wrote: “I think Rollins will win the match thanks to Ambrose’s help. Perhaps McIntyre tries to interfere, Ambrose stops it from happening, and Rollins capitalizes with The Stomp on Ziggler to win the title back.”

This will lead to several months of tag team matches between these four guys. While I expect Dean Ambrose to turn heel at some point, I would save it until early 2019 around the Royal Rumble. Let the fans be happy that Ambrose is back for a few months and save the turn for the Rumble so that it can lead to an Ambrose match with Rollins at WrestleMania with Roman Reigns possibly involved as well. There’s no reason to do it now.

9. The New Day failed to win the titles, but they impressed against The Bludgeon Brothers

The pacing of The Bludgeon Brothers’ match against The New Day was very fast. By that I mean they were given about ten minutes, so they worked a hard hitting, aggressive style, and you didn’t see spots like a five-minute chinlock by the heels to build up the hot tag for the faces. All four guys (Big E and Xavier Woods for New Day) busted their asses, put on a very entertaining match, and then it ended abruptly when Rowan of the Bludgeon Brothers saved Harper by attacking the faces with a mallet. Yeah, that’s right, they carry giant plastic mallets to the ring. It’s cheesy, but it sets up a rematch.

I didn’t expect a title change, so it’s fine with me that the Bludgeon Brothers are still the champions. I think the smart thing to do is keep the rivalry going, give them some sort of stipulation match for the next match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and perhaps that’s where The New Day wins the titles. Shoutout to Woods for this crazy elbow drop to the floor.

The Bludgeon Brothers have dominated nearly every match they have had this year, including when they won the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania. I’m glad this was a more competitive match. If these teams get to have a proper 15 minute tag team match on a PPV like event, it’s going to be one of the best matches of the night.

8. Braun Strowman destroyed Kevin Owens in less than two minutes.

I’m going back to my predictions article again because I was right on the mark for this match: “I think Braun Strowman should not only beat Kevin Owens to retain his Money in the Bank contract, but he should do it in short fashion. I’m talking five minutes.” I was off on the time because they only went 1:50 for the whole match, and the video package before the match was about double that length.

Strowman dominated the match, Owens got in one kick of offense, which Strowman shrugged off and Strowman beat him easily. The big spot was when Strowman gave Owens a Chokeslam onto bottom of the steel ramp. It was a rough landing for Owens, who continues to put over Strowman by getting his ass kicked by him repeatedly. I joked on Twitter that Strowman owes Owens a few steak dinners for the amount of punishment Owens has taken.

There is some concern that Owens will be hurt by all of the losses he has suffered at the hands of Strowman. I’m not that worried about Owens because he’s a great all around performer that can have awesome matches and he’s one of the best talkers in the company. I think he’ll be fine. It’s just part of the business when you want to give a guy a superman push like WWE is doing with Strowman. Some people must get their asses kicked sometimes. It’s part of wrestling.

7. Charlotte Flair became the Smackdown Women’s Champion and then she got her ass kicked by her buddy Becky Lynch

The Smackdown Women’s Championship match was a triple threat with Carmella defending her title against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. I got this prediction wrong because I thought Carmella would win by pinning Lynch due to issues between Flair and Lynch. Instead, WWE went another route by having Flair pin Lynch after a Natural Selection that took place while Lynch had Carmella trapped in the Disarmer submission move. It was not a fluke win by Flair by any means, but it caught Lynch by surprise. It should also lead to complaints from Carmella because she was not pinned.

The real story was after the match because after Flair and Lynch hugged, Lynch punched her in the face and the crowd cheered loudly. The fans love Lynch, they wanted her to win the title and they hated that Flair was added to the match and that Flair won the title. Lynch beat up Flair around the ringside area, tossed her over the announce table, and Flair landed hard onto the chairs there. The fans chanted “you deserve it” at Flair because they were so supportive of Lynch, who left looking proud of her work.

On WWE’s Youtube channel after the show, Flair did a tearful promo about how she was happy she was the champion, but she was so sad about losing a friend in Lynch. It was really well done by her. There was a sense of realism to it, although if you watch Flair interviews often enough, she is known as a crier, so that part probably came easy to her.

I’m intrigued by what WWE does with the Charlotte/Becky story on Smackdown. They intended on Becky being the heel, but fans are sympathetic to her, so I’d love to see heel Charlotte cut a promo about how she’s the best, she’s always going to be better than Becky, and so on. It would be such an easy story to tell with Charlotte in her more natural role as a heel and Becky as a likable face trying to beat her. Just because the intent was to have Becky be the one that turns heel doesn’t mean they have to stick with that. Charlotte is more natural as a heel. She likes being a heel. It’s the Flair way. Plus, a heel champ being chased by a face is more interesting.

With all of that said, I would be interested to see Lynch as a heel because she has only been a face on WWE’s main roster over the last three years. I’m sure it would be fun for her to try it and I think WWE could build the story the right way if Lynch was the heel. I just don’t know if they will go that way based on the crowd reaction, and that’s why this week’s Smackdown will interest me.

No matter who the face or heel is, I think Charlotte vs. Becky will be the best women’s feud in WWE this year as long as they get to have two or three big matches together. One of those matches should take place at the all-women’s Evolution PPV in October too.

6. AJ Styles losing his cool allowed Samoa Joe to get the win by disqualification

AJ Styles’ match with Samoa Joe was a slow paced, long match that went about 23 minutes. I don’t think the crowd was into it early because of the emotion of the women’s match before it, but then Styles and Joe busted out some cool moves to get the fans into it more. I was really impressed when Styles hit a Styles Clash on Joe because that’s not an easy move to do on a big guy, but they pulled it off nicely. Joe came close to winning with the Coquina Clutch as well.

In the final minute of the match, Joe grabbed a microphone and trash talked AJ’s wife Wendy, who was in the crowd with AJ’s daughter. Styles has three older sons also, but they were not shown. Joe said to Wendy: “I made you a promise that daddy was coming home, it looks like he is not, but I’ll be your new daddy.” The crowd let out a big “oohhh” for that trash talk, so Styles attacked Joe outside the ring. Styles grabbed a chair and hit Joe with it leading to the DQ finish, meaning that Joe wins, but Styles retains the title. Styles continued the attack after the match and then he apologized to his family in the crowd.

This should lead to another match with Styles and Joe, perhaps as a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Title since the next PPV should have two or three Hell in a Cell matches. I thought Joe would leave SummerSlam as WWE Champion, but it didn’t happen, so maybe the title change will happen at Hell in a Cell. I had a reader point out that maybe WWE will want to keep the title on Styles for a few more months because Styles is on the cover of the WWE 2K19 video game. That theory could be right, but it’s not like they must do it that way. I think Joe is the right guy to be the next WWE Champion to see what he can do with the title.

I liked the match in the same way as the Bludgeon Brothers/New Day match earlier. Doing a DQ finish for a rivalry that is just getting started is fine because it sets up bigger matches for down the road.

5. The Miz used cheap tactics to beat Daniel Bryan in the longest match of the night

This was the match I was looking forward to the most going into the show and though I had high expectations for it, the match fell short a bit. The crowd was quieter than I expected for a big Daniel Bryan match. Perhaps that was because this was about three hours into the show while keeping in the mind the fans were in their seats about an hour before that, so it’s tough to be that interested for every match. They worked hard, went 23:45, and there were plenty of close nearfalls for each guy as well as dramatic submission attempts.

I need to pat myself on the back again for this one because I got it right in the Predictions column: “I’m going with Miz for the win perhaps with an assist from his wife Maryse, who could be seated in the front row or maybe at ringside.”

The finish they went with was The Miz was up against the barricade, Maryse was sitting in the front row, she handed Miz something form her jacket (likely brass knuckles), and Bryan never saw it. The ref didn’t know about it either, but the audience saw it because it was right there on camera. Bryan went for an attack on Miz, which led to a Miz punch with the brass knuckles, and Bryan sold it like he was knocked out. Miz won in cheap fashion.

I thought it was the right finish because it will set up more matches between them. Brie Bella, who is Bryan’s wife, returned at the show along with sister Nikki and it may lead to a mixed tag with Bryan/Brie vs. Miz/Maryse down the road. It should also set up another singles match with Bryan getting the win to even the score, followed by a bigger grudge match down the road. What this should lead to in the immediate future is Miz doing one of his bragging promos that he is so good at. This feud is only getting started, so I’m excited to see where it’s going.

4. Finn Balor emerged as The Demon and destroyed Baron Corbin in under two minutes

There were a few short matches on the Raw side including Finn Balor’s dominant win over Baron Corbin. Balor busted out the “Demon” Balor look for the match, which wasn’t expected, and some people might say it was unnecessary. This didn’t feel like a big match at all, but once the fans saw Balor in that “Demon” look, they were really into it.

Balor hit all of his signature moves and won the match easily. Corbin didn’t get any offense at all. I hope this is really the end of their rivalry because their matches have been so boring, but it’s WWE and they like to repeat things all the time.

The story with Balor’s “Demon” look is that he wins the match every time he uses it, so why doesn’t he use it more often? They never actually ask him that or really address it. Balor didn’t use the look at WrestleMania because he was losing the match, which would mean WWE is trying to protect the look for him. I like Balor and if the crowd likes the look, then he should keep doing it for every PPV match to make them feel special.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura retained the US Title over Jeff Hardy, while Randy Orton chose not to attack Hardy

This match was just average and it felt like a TV match. Once again, the long show factor played a part in it and it was also because the feud hasn’t had that much heat. It was a story of Hardy going for a big move, missing it, and Nakamura winning the match because of Hardy’s failure.

Noelle Foley, daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, posted this video of Jeff Hardy doing a crazy Swanton Bomb onto the apron after Nakamura moved. I thought it was a stupid bump for Hardy to take, and Nakamura finished him off soon after.

After the match, Randy Orton walked out for what we thought would be a cheap attack on Hardy, who was out in the ring after a Kinshasa from Nakamura. Instead, Orton left without attacking Hardy at all. On WWE’s Youtube page, Orton just said it wasn’t the right time and he’ll do it on his own terms. Orton vs. Hardy should be a big feud on Smackdown in the near future.

2. Ronda Rousey won her first championship in WWE by easily defeating Alexa Bliss with an armbar

It was a dominating performance by Ronda Rousey against the Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. The story was that Bliss kept trying to run away from Rousey at the start of the match, so Rousey let her slap on a headlock and then Rousey unleashed her offense from there. Rousey slammed Bliss hard, she worked on the arm, and when Rousey slapped on an armbar, Bliss quickly tapped out. Bliss is double jointed in her arm, so she made it look even more vicious than normal.

In the predictions, I noted that it shouldn’t be a long match and suggested maybe it should go eight minutes. I was wrong on the length because it only went about four minutes. I thought that maybe Bliss would get in some cheap offense for a few minutes. Instead, Rousey beat her easily.

After the match, Rousey was hugged by Natalya, Nikki Bella, and Brie Bella. The rumor is that Rousey vs. Nikki Bella will be the main event (or at least a featured match) at the women’s only Evolution PPV in late October. I thought Nikki might attack Rousey there to set that up, but there’s plenty of time for it. WWE may opt to have Nikki challenge her as a face rather than do a heel turn.

I think this is going to be the start of a very long title reign for Rousey that could see her carry that title all the way until WrestleMania. When you think of all the money that WWE is likely paying her, it’s smart for them to invest in her as one of the champions in the company. Plus, she can get them mainstream attention like nobody else right now, so it’s smart to put the title on her.

1. Roman Reigns finally defeated Brock Lesnar to become Universal Champion after Lesnar attacked Braun Strowman

There’s finally a new WWE Universal Champion as Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar to end Lesnar’s 504 day reign as the champ. The match only went six minutes and the crowd didn’t hate it as much as the WrestleMania crowd hated their match, but there was still a “you both suck” chant from the fans.

It was cleverly booked by WWE because right as the match began, Braun Strowman walked out there with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hands. Strowman did the noble babyface thing by saying that he wasn’t going to cash in the briefcase when somebody was knocked out. Strowman said he wanted to do it face to face, so he was going to stand outside the ring to watch the match and then cash in the briefcase. The reason I say it was clever is because the fans love Strowman, so they were more interested in this match than they would be in a normal match because they thought Strowman was going to cash in the briefcase and leave as the champion. They were wrong, but that’s what WWE wanted fans to think.

Reigns ended up unleashing an impressive attack on Lesnar with three Superman Punches, three Spears, and it looked like he was going to win the Universal Title easily. Lesnar came back with his usual series of German Suplexes. Reigns charged at Lesnar, who moved, allowing Reigns to dive onto Strowman. Lesnar took advantage of that by giving Strowman a F5 on the floor. Lesnar also hit Strowman in the back with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Lesnar followed that up by tossing the briefcase all the way up the ramp to take it out of the match. Lesnar grabbed a chair, Reigns used all the time to heal up, and Reigns hit a Spear on Lesnar to win the match and become the Universal champion. I thought maybe Reigns should have hit him with another Spear after that to win, but they opted to end it there.

The story was that Strowman was too hurt to cash in Money in the Bank, so Reigns posed with the Universal Title and the show ended there. It felt a bit rushed because the Reigns celebration was so short, but that was likely by design from WWE because they probably thought that the fans would boo a lot if Reigns got a big celebration.

It could be a very long title reign for Reigns, who took three years to finally beat Lesnar. The Universal Championship has also been on the Raw brand for two years and this is the first time Reigns has held it, so WWE may choose to keep it on him for a while, even though Reigns has held the WWE Title three times in his career. As for Lesnar, he’s probably done with WWE for now, although he’s advertised for Raw in Brooklyn tonight.

Strowman still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, so perhaps WWE may do what I wanted by putting the Universal Title on him soon. I don’t mind Reigns, however. I’m not a hater and I think having Reigns with the title is going to help after having an absentee Universal Champion for the past 500+ days. Let’s see what Reigns can do with it, but I think it’s possible that Strowman holds the title all the way until WrestleMania and sets up a showdown with Reigns there. It could be a lot sooner than that, though.

I think this match and the entire angle went a lot better than the end of WrestleMania because it was booked well. It made sense for Lesnar to lose because he was distracted by Strowman and Reigns took advantage of it to get the title. It was an easy story to tell.

Final Thoughts

I thought SummerSlam was a pretty good show with smart booking all night and some quality matches too. The three long matches were Rollins over Ziggler, Joe over Styles, and Miz over Bryan. All of them went over 20 minutes and I liked them all. The big storyline twist was Becky Lynch attacking Charlotte Flair, which led to a lot of emotion from the fans. I’m intrigued by what is next for them. Roman Reigns and Ronda Rousey picking up big was no surprise because they are the two people WWE wants to build around more than anybody. A new era begins post-SummerSlam. Hopefully the rest of the year is exciting, and I’ll always try to be optimistic about it.

The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell on September 16. It’s a tough time of the year for WWE because the NFL is back in full swing by that point, so that show will be up against Sunday Night Football and there’s much less interest in the WWE product in the last four months of the year. Hopefully, WWE has some interesting stories for us.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at Cheap pop!