At the toll of the opening bell, Gulak charged forward and took control before leveling Lorcan with a dropkick. Looking to keep his challenger subdued, Gulak took Lorcan down to the mat before the two Superstars stood across from one another, each looking to make the next move.
Gulak took the upper hand when he viciously bodyslammed The Boston Brawler into the ropes before once again focusing on Lorcan’s lower extremities. A fired-up Lorcan struck back by overpowering the champion and unloading a series of strikes, uppercuts and an impressive blockbuster. As Gulak retreated to the outside, Lorcan followed, delivering resounding chops and tossing the champion back into the ring.
Gulak took advantage of the slightest of openings and trapped the challenger in the Gulock, forcing Lorcan to expend tremendous energy to break free. The two competitors took each other down with a devastating double clothesline, and after each barely made the referee’s 10-count, Lorcan and Gulak stood toe-to-toe, throwing punches until Gulak again applied the Gulock, only for it to be reversed into near-fall.
Lorcan grabbed the champion by the face before channelling his unbridled rage and forcing Gulak onto the defensive, though The Philadelphia Stretcher took hold of the ring apron while he was back on his heels. When the official turned his back to fix the ring apron, Gulak struck Lorcan’s Adam’s apple, giving him the opening he needed to execute the Cyclone Crash to retain the championship.
Murphy kicked off the bout quickly with a running knee and pin attempt, but Crews kicked out. The rapid attack had WWE’s Best Kept Secret firmly in control, with Crews struggling to get back into the fight.
A surge of momentum from Crews ended with a misplaced moonsault, setting him up for a visit to the steel steps and a plancha, but before Murphy could capitalize, Rowan pounced and began hurling Murphy around ringside and into the ring post. Just days prior on SmackDown LIVE, Murphy implicated the 6-foot-8 monster in the recent attacks on Roman Reigns, and Rowan viciously proved that Murphy made a huge mistake. Rowan screamed, “You keep my name out of your mouth,” as he brutally attacked the former Cruiserweight Champion.
Murphy won by disqualification, but he came to regret ever saying the name “Rowan.”
It’s never a good idea to insult Canada in a WWE ring. More often than not, there’s a locker room full of Legends from The Great White North looking to shut you up.
The six-string slinging Elias had spent more than a few minutes insulting the Toronto faithful during SummerSlam Kickoff, attacking everything from their music scene to his desire to leave the city and head to Los Angeles just like former Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard. And then his crooning was drowned out by one of the great theme song openings ever: You think you know me?
With that, Edge appeared to a deafening reaction from his hometown crowd. The Rated-R Superstar, who has avoided in-ring altercations since retiring due to a neck injury back in 2011, hit the ring to defend his beloved Toronto. And not only did he silence Elias’ music, but he took him out with one of his legendary Spears!
The sight of Edge destroying Elias led to an eruption from the crowd and set the stage for what will most definitely be a rocking SummerSlam.
Six nights after losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship to Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match on Raw, The IIconics suffered another disappointment on the SummerSlam Kickoff, where the new champions proved their title win was far from a fluke.
Intensely focused following the loss of their titles (and the hilarious meltdown that followed), Peyton Royce & Billie Kay isolated Cross in the early goings, showcasing their cohesion as a tandem with frequent tags as they wore down the new champion and prevented The Goddess from entering the fray. But Nikki’s got a friend in Alexa, who donned gear inspired by “Toy Story” spaceman Buzz Lightyear and took the champions to “infinity and beyond” in her team’s first title defense.
As Nikki kept Billie at Bay, Alexa turned the tide in the champions’ favor when she clocked Peyton with a jaw-rattling right hand, then took flight (or was it falling with style?) with Twisted Bliss to score the pinfall victory.
Having now defeated the frustrated former champions, Alexa & Nikki look ahead to Monday Night Raw, where they will put their titles on the line against the immensely competitive tandem of Asuka & Kairi Sane, The Kabuki Warriors. Can Little Miss Bliss and her “bestie” retain their titles twice in two nights?
If you walk into Canada to face a Canadian in a Submission Match, odds are you’re going to lose to a Sharpshooter. It’s not a reflection on your talents; it’s just the rules. Defying all those odds is far from the ordinary outcome, but then again, Becky Lynch is no ordinary Superstar.
Yes, the combined power of a Hart Family scion — Natalya — and the hold that serves as Hart Family heirloom wasn’t enough to relieve The Man of her Raw Women’s Championship in a Submission Match. Instead, the day belonged to the wily Irishwoman and her deeper-than-expected array of submissions. Although Natalya had a very clear game plan going into the match — lock in the Sharpshooter, and dare Becky not to get caught — Lynch had the benefit of varying her arsenal before bell time.
The Queen of Harts wasn’t caught flatfooted by The Man’s ingenuity, as she muscled her way out of Lynch’s early trifecta of an armbar, a triangle and a guillotine. Additionally, Becky’s attempt to use the Sharpshooter did little except to fire up Natalya. (It also considerably ruffled the crowd, which initially welcomed The Man with a deafening ovation.) Natalya wisely targeted the leg she’s savaged over the last few weeks, and the only damage she sustained to her arm was an errant trip into the commentary table.
With Becky finally ensnared in the Sharpshooter, Natalya’s victory seemed all but guaranteed. The Man’s last-ditch escape of the hold freed Natalya’s arm for all of a second, and that was enough for the Irishwoman to sink in a deep, deep Dis-Arm-Her that Natalya tapped to after a struggle to escape.
So, The Man walks out of Canada much the same way she came in: With the Raw Women’s Championship on one shoulder and a chip on the other. Becky may not be Canada’s newest hero, but the Great White North might just have a new signature submission. It’s just the rules.
Upon entering Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, Ziggler grabbed a microphone and doubled down by continuing to insult WWE Legends before the match, going as far as saying the indelible Goldberg was afraid of him. Of course, the WWE Hall of Famer was in the building, and made his iconic entrance in front of the Toronto faithful.
Goldberg, notorious for starting matches fast, got a taste of his own medicine. The Showoff stormed out of the gates with two pinpoint superkicks that each knocked Goldberg to the canvas, but the multi-time World Champion literally shook them off and rocked The Showoff’s world with a match-clinching Spear and Jackhammer combo that nearly imploded the Scotiabank Arena.
Showing little to no common sense whatsoever, a clearly battered-beyond-belief Ziggler twice called Goldberg back to the ring, and the former Universal Champion shattered Ziggler with two more monstrous Spears, displaying even more ferocity than when Vince Carter would shatter backboards with the Toronto Raptors in his prime.
And, as Goldberg left, a tangible sensation overcame the entire arena. Goldberg just did the impossible: He silenced Dolph Ziggler.
With Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson at his back, Styles relished the opportunity to end Ricochet’s quest to reclaim the star-spangled U.S. Title at The Biggest Event of the Summer, but WWE’s resident superhero — wearing all-new ring gear that looked like it was ripped from a DC comic book — refused to relent in the face of villainy.
After Styles’ cruel and consistent assault on Ricochet’s left knee, the challenger was forced to fight much of the match on one leg, but that didn’t prevent Ricochet from unleashing on the champion with incapacitating kicks and dazzling top-rope maneuvers. However, once The Phenomenal One caught Ricochet in the Calf Crusher — doing unimaginable damage to the already injured knee — there was no coming back for the hobbled aerialist.
Fighting through excruciating pain, Ricochet was forced to briefly take his eye off the ball once Gallows & Anderson got involved in the action from ringside. Their momentary distraction helped Styles catch Ricochet off the top rope and ground the challenger with a wicked Styles Clash for the three-count.
The O.C.’s SummerSlam victory celebration kicked off with Gallows & Anderson’s disgusting post-match Magic Killer to Ricochet, reminding the challenger and the entire Raw locker room that The O.C. is “the official, the original, the only club that matters.”
Ember Moon came into SummerSlam looking to thrill the WWE Universe and dethrone Bayley as SmackDown Women’s Champion at The Biggest Event of the Summer. The Shenom accomplished the former, but Bayley had goals of her own when it came to the latter.
The War Goddess pushed the pace, using her dynamic offense to get Bayley reeling as the match entered its second gear. Ember came within a second of capturing the championship on multiple occasions, but when she rolled the dice and attempted to go high-risk by heading to the top rope, Bayley was ready. The titleholder cut her off at the pass with a massive Bayley-to-Belly Suplex from the top rope for the three-count.
Ember came into Toronto wanting to show the WWE Universe member everything she had to offer. She did. But Bayley left with the one thing that The Shenom wanted most — the SmackDown Women’s Title.
In a match that would have either functioned as a humbling of Shane McMahon or sent Kevin Owens to the breadline, the former Universal Champion survived a career-risking stipulation to give “The Best in the World” the beating that Owens has long said he has coming to him. He did so despite a masterstroke of manipulation by Shane-O-Mac, who named frequent co-conspirator Elias as the bout’s “guest enforcer” and largely stood back as The Living Truth tried to rile up Owens to the point of a count-out or disqualification.
The strategy nearly worked. Owens has long been pushed to his limit by Shane’s tendency to elbow more deserving SmackDown Superstars out of the spotlight, and he struggled to keep his cool in the match — especially when Elias slid a chair into the ring, knowing that Owens may well use it and get disqualified. Shane-O-Mac stoked that fire as well, offering Owens his chin and daring him to strike with the steel, but Owens played it cool — until, thanks to a stroke of luck, he got to have his cake and eat it, too.
Following a scrap outside between Elias and the actual official, KO took off with a cannonball from the apron that was intended for The Living Truth but ended up leveling both zebras. With the ref incapacitated, Owens teed off mercilessly on Elias with the chair and would have done the same to Shane had the official not come to and stopped KO at the last second. As the ref turned his back to dispose of the implement, however, Owens uncorked a boot below the belt. A Stunner followed seconds later, and with it, the victory.
“Are you watching? Are you listening?” Owens snarled into the camera as he made his exit. Who his message was intended for, exactly, remains unclear. But it’s safe to say it was broadly received: The will of the WWE Universe won’t be steamrolled quite so easily. Underappreciated SmackDown Superstarswon’t be kept down by divine right. And Shane McMahon will be stuck with Kevin Owens for a good, long time.
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
It’s conceivable that Trish Stratus had some variation of that T.S. Eliot quote racing through her mind as she made the walk down the ramp in front of her hometown faithful in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena for her farewell match against Charlotte Flair. Toronto, of course, was where her WWE journey began almost two decades ago and where it seemingly ended in 2006 when she retired from in-ring competition. It would now be where “The Queen of Queens” would return to scrap with “The Queen of All Eras” in the first match in WWE history to house a former WWE Women’s Champion, NXT Women’s Champion, Raw Women’s Champion, SmackDown Women’s Champion, Divas Champion and WWE Hall of Fame ring under one roof.
Unquestionably the most decorated women’s match of all time, the bout saw both Superstars live up to their accolades in the early goings with Flair looking to rough up Stratus despite the overwhelming hometown support for Trish. Stratus answered right back, busting out several moves that we didn’t even see out of her when she was an active competitor. Trish’s flurry was slowed when Charlotte began to straight-up abuse the seven-time Women’s Champion, first on the outside and then with the unrelenting ground and pound back on the mat.
The heart of Stratus shined through as it always has though, as the Hall of Famer battled back with the fire that she displayed throughout her entire career. Not taking any more of Charlotte’s mockery during the onslaught, Stratus struck Flair with her own patented chops (even giving Flair a “Wooo” for good measure), connected with a dazzling hurricanrana from the top rope and locked in Charlotte’s very own Figure-Eight, bringing the WWE Universe into a state of absolute frenzy.
Stratus looked to be closing in on victory when she avoided a Spear attempt from Charlotte and connected with the Stratusfaction Bulldog, but “The Queen of All Eras” incredibly kicked out. With each running on sheer adrenaline, the two Queens exchanged chops before Trish drilled her opponent with a Chick Kick for the closest of two-counts. Charlotte responded with a kick of her own — her signature big boot — followed quickly by the Figure-Eight. Stratus fought through the intense pain for as long as she possibly could, but she was left with no choice but to tap out.
Charlotte exited with the satisfaction of victory, but Stratus pulled herself to her feet to a massive ovation from her hometown faithful, knowing that she did in the end what she had always done since the beginning: Stratusfy.
If Kofi Kingston’s championship run has been a fairy tale, then Randy Orton is the dragon: The foe whose malevolence left its mark on the hero in his youth and continues to cast a shadow that the champion can’t quite shake.
From that apocryphal “stupid” moment from 10 years ago to the maiming of Ali that opened the floodgates for Kofi’s WWE Title run, Orton’s cruelty was certainly a formative presence for Kofi Kingston as we know him today. The champion made no bones about the personal stakes a match with Randy Orton carries for him. Given the chance to put his tormentor in his place at SummerSlam, however, Kofi didn’t close out, accepting a double count-out to repay Orton for some ill-advised taunting of the champion’s family.
If it wasn’t a “stupid” decision, it was a curious ending. For a champion who made it clear that this was a match he absolutely, 100 percent had to take, why would he take a less-than-decisive outcome? The answer, as always with Orton and Kofi, lies in the psychological warfare that served as the undercurrent of the match. Kingston was more off-the-handle than usual, adopting an atypically aggressive style while Orton was his usual, clinical self, waiting for the champion to play directly into his hands. The Viper’s strategy paid off, as Kingston — seemingly revving up for a match-ending maneuver from the top rope — instead crossbodied himself straight into an RKO outta nowhere.
Here, however, is where Orton’s gameplan failed him. Instead of making the cover, the challenger laughed to himself on the mat, content in the knowledge that Kofi had yet to learn his lesson. It was enough of a breather for Kofi to roll out of the ring, in full view of his family’s seats next to the barricade. Orton followed, with designs on adding insult to injury by humiliating Kofi in front of his wife and children. It proved to be his first — and most — ill-advised maneuver.
Energized by Orton’s disrespect, Kofi snapped, raining blows on the challenger with both his fists and a Kendo stick. He was so fired up he didn’t even seem to notice (or care) that the referee had called a double count-out just before the mayhem started, but he wasn’t about to let a little thing like the bell stop him either. The champion waited for Orton to stagger to his feet before knocking him to his back with Trouble in Paradise — a final, decisive maneuver that proved two things at once: Kofi Kingston is definitely a different Superstar than the young man Orton admittedly held down 10 years ago. And he’s nowhere near over it, for better or worse.
For months, the WWE Universe has been left to wonder what it would look like when The Fiend finally stepped into the ring for a match. It happened at SummerSlam … and it was equal parts destructive and horrifying.
Finn snapped out of his early funk and fired back, attempting his Coup de Grâce for the brief moment he had “The Fiend” down, but Wyatt countered with the Mandible Claw, smothering Finn to the mat and knocking him out for the three-count.
We all let The Fiend in at SummerSlam. Welcome to our new nightmare.
He did it again. With battered ribs, half-crushed hopes and seemingly no chance to his name, Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar for the second time to once again snatch the Universal Title from The Beast’s greedy clutches, marking one of the all-time most rousing conclusions to a SummerSlam.
As if to underscore the grittiness of the victory, Rollins didn’t even resort to the low blows he needed to slay The Conqueror at WrestleMania, instead, on operating on pure adrenaline that seemed to kick in when he found a narrow opening at the start of the match and drilling the unsuspecting champion with a Stomp. That maneuver only got him two, but it boosted Rollins’ confidence into hyperdrive. From there, the challenger blasted the champion with superkicks and suicide dives while The Beast grew purple-faced with frustration that this irksome fly wouldn’t stay swatted.
Lesnar, of course, gave as good as he got. It was only a matter of time before Rollins went to Suplex City or found himself swept up in an F-5, but the champion’s desire to make an example of his defiant challenger undoubtedly cost him down the stretch. After planting Rollins with his signature move, Lesnar made the cover and instead swung Rollins around by his bandages like a piece of luggage — an awesome visual, but definitely an indulgence Paul Heyman probably wishes his client had avoided.
By the time Lesnar decided he’d had enough, Rollins had seemingly made the decision that he simply would not stay down. When the champion prepared an announce table for smashing on Heyman’s urging, Rollins instead struck with a superkick, splaying The Beast out in preparation for a jaw-dropping Frog Splash that reduced the table to splinters. Rollins followed up with a second Frog Splash in the ring and a second Stomp that only netted two. And when Lesnar hoisted Rollins up for an F-5 that was a lot more last-ditch than it perhaps seemed, the challenger evaded the maneuver, landed a superkick to bring Lesnar to his knees and administered a third and final Stomp to earn the three-count.
The closing images of SummerSlam were polar opposites for champion and challenger. Rollins was teary-eyed in the ring as he held close the title he’d risked body and soul to regain. Lesnar, meanwhile, all but vanished from view, having suffered a spoiler he didn’t see coming. And the match that was supposed to reflect Lesnar’s enduring dominance instead highlighted his and Heyman’s fundamental misunderstanding of what makes Seth Rollins run. If Lesnar really wanted him gone, he shouldn’t have broken his ribs; he should have ripped out his heart.