Date: August 23, 2020
Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe
It’s finally time to try this out and yes it’s another Thunder Dome show, which may or may not mean anything to you if you’re reading this in 2273. Basically there are no fans live in the arena, but there are pictures of several of them scared to move because of all of the conditions WWE has included to allow them to be shown on screen. Other than that, we have two World Title matches and something we’ll never see coming, which kind of negates the idea of a surprise. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: US Title: MVP vs. Apollo Crews
Crews is defending and the rest of the Hurt Business is banned from ringside. A quick sunset flip gives Crews two and MVP wants a breather on the floor. Back in and MVP uses a distracted referee to get in a cheap shot but Crews is right back with a dropkick. MVP is ready for a charge in the corner though and sends Crews over the top and face first onto the steps for a nasty crash.
Back in and MVP misses a big running boot in the corner but he’s fine enough to crotch Crews on top. A superplex brings Crews back down with MVP slipping a bit on the fall before getting two. Crews is fine enough to clothesline MVP to the floor and that means a big running flip dive, which seems to hurt Crews’ back again. Back in and Crews wins a slugout before ripping off MVP’s nasal strip. That sets MVP off enough that he tries the Playmaker but Crews reverses into the Toss Powerbomb to retain at 6:35.
Rating: C. This could have been on any given Raw and that isn’t the most surprising thing. The bigger story here would seem to be Crews vs. Bobby Lashley down the line and letting Crews get the Summerslam win on the way there is a nice boost for him. Other than that, there isn’t much to see here, but it was just a Kickoff Show match.
Post match Lashley and Shelton Benjamin run out for the beatdown but Crews slips away.
The opening video presents Summerslam as a huge production, including the lights, camera action line. Each match gets a quick look as well.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Bayley
Bayley is defending and has Sasha Banks in her corner. Asuka forearms Bayley in the shoulder to start and hits a running dropkick. The sliding dropkick misses but Asuka can get a seated Octopus hold. Thankfully this cuts off Cole’s explanation that the big difference between their careers is Asuka has won the Women’s Royal Rumble. Not that Asuka has never lost a singles match to Bayley, including beating her twice in the last month and a half, but their Women’s Royal Rumble record.
The hip attack sends Bayley to the floor and Asuka hits a jumping DDT from the steps to knock Bayley silly again. Back in and Bayley grabs a quick suplex for a breather and the stomping is on in the ropes. The Bayley to Belly gets two more so Asuka kicks Bayley in the head for the double knockdown. Another hip attack rocks Bayley and there’s the release German suplex to send Bayley flying. They head to the apron with Bayley dropping Asuka knees first, much to Banks’ delight.
Back in and Bayley gets two off a chop block, followed by something like an Indian Deathlock. That’s broken up so Bayley grabs another leglock with Asuka going to the ropes this time. Bayley goes up for the top rope elbow but Asuka pulls her into the cross armbreaker instead. Asuka lets go to kick at the screaming Banks though and they head outside with Asuka hitting Bayley in the face. Back in and Bayley grabs a rollup for a close two but Asuka’s running hip attack hits Banks by mistake. That’s enough for Bayley to small package Asuka to retain at 11:21.
Rating: B-. It was good for Bayley to win, even if it has no bearing on her Royal Rumble history. Bayley retaining again is interesting, though that would give you more of a reason to believe that Asuka is taking the other title later. Either way, they had a solid match here as they tend to do, as Asuka can have good matches with almost anyone. It was a good effort here and they even helped set up the other title match later.
Post match Bayley and Banks lay out Asuka again.
Dominik Mysterio asks Rey Mysterio to let him do this himself against Seth Rollins and not get involved. Rey agrees and they hug.
Recap of Retribution’s carnage.
Kevin Owens comes out for commentary, complete with a red tie. He also waves to his wife watching in the crowd.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Angel Garza/Andrade vs. Street Profits
The Profits are defending and Zelina Vega is here with the challengers. Ford flips over Andrade to start and hits a jumping clothesline. A jumping hurricanrana off the top freaks Vega out and Andrade is sent outside. Dawkins comes in for a double flapjack to Garza but Ford’s running flip dive to the floor is countered into a double powerbomb. Back in and Ford gets sent into the corner, allowing Garza to TAKE OFF HIS PANTS!
Andrade armbars Ford over the ropes, setting up the Alberto double stomp for two more. Ford avoids a charge and brings in Dawkins to clean house, including a spear to Andrade. It’s back to Ford, who is grazed by the basement dropkick to the head for two. Zelina gets on the apron but is knocked down in a hurry, leaving Ford to escape the Wing Clipper. The Cash Out into the (spinning) frog splash pins Garza to retain the titles at 7:49.
Rating: C. Another Raw level match here, though maybe a little bit better than that. I doubt this is over between the teams, because it’s not like there is anyone else for the Profits to defend against at the moment. The Owens inclusion was a little odd but he has enough of a story history with Vega and company to make it work.
Post match Owens congratulates the champs and announces the return of the KO Show tomorrow night, with Aleister Black as his guest.
Bayley and Sasha Banks don’t like Kayla Braxton’s questions. Banks knows she can beat Asuka, and Bayley knows it too. Tonight Asuka is tapping out and then next week they’re retaining the Tag Team Titles.
We recap Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville. They used to be best friends and then Sonya got sick of Mandy getting all of the attention and turned on her. Then Sonya cut her hair and challenged her to a hair vs. hair match, which was seemingly derailed by someone wanting to actually murder Sonya, so instead it’s No DQ, Loser Leaves WWE.
Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville
No DQ, Loser Leaves WWE. Mandy punches her in the face for an early knockdown and they head outside with Sonya being whipped into various things. A suplex onto the ramp drops Sonya again and Mandy dives off the announcers’ table with a clothesline. Mandy grabs a table but Sonya gets in a shot and takes it inside. Back in and Mandy misses a running knee, allowing Sonya to slap on a dragon sleeper.
Sonya grabs a triangle choke but Mandy is smart enough to stack her up for two to force the break. The trash talk is on but only causes Mandy to slap away. Now the knee gives Mandy two and they head back outside, with Mandy shouting about being the soccer mom. Mandy throws the chairs at Sonya’s head but walks into a pump kick instead. Back in and Mandy hits a pair of knees, followed by a third as she goes half Kenny Omega. Angel’s Wings plants Sonya and a fourth knee to the face finishes her off at 10:00.
Rating: D+. Yeah believe it or not, I’m not exactly getting behind the idea of a blonde bombshell who got all of the attention being called out for getting all of the attention. Sonya stole the show in the entire feud and while things got turned upside down this week (completely fair enough), I was really wanting to see how far Sonya can go after everything she has been doing lately. Or to see Mandy bald for some reason. The No DQ stuff changed almost nothing here.
Post match Sonya is devastated as Otis comes out to celebrate. He does the Caterpillar and Mandy fails completely in her attempt.
We recap Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins, which is fallout from Rollins going after Rey Mysterio, including taking his eye out twice. Dominik is here to fight for his dad’s honor in his debut. They’re making it a street fight to help Dominik out a little bit.
Seth Rollins vs. Dominik Mysterio
Street fight and Rollins, with Murphy, is in Rey Mysterio WCW inspired ring gear. Rey is here with Dominik to even things out. Dominik looks nervous to start and Rollins seems more interested in toying with him. Rollins even sticks his head out so Dominik can grab a headlock. Instead of punching Rollins in the face, Dominik grabs a headlock and is shoved down almost immediately. Some armdrags into a front flip have Rollins a little staggered so he slams Dominik down.
Rollins demands and receives a kendo stick from Murphy but Dominik is up with a dropkick. That means Rollins has to run from the kendo stick until Rollins catches him with some stomping back inside. The neck cranking goes on but Rollins lets go to yell at Rey. Dominik’s feeble comeback is cut off with the Sling Blade and Rollins puts the knee on his face. The chair is set up inside and Rollins tells “Papa” to come on. Dominik reverses the buckle bomb and grabs a tornado DDT for two.
The kendo stick shots have Rollins in trouble for a change but he crotches Dominik on top. That means the superplex into the Falcon Arrow for two and Rollins wants his own stick. Dominik gets beaten down and Rollins calls for a table from Murphy. Rollins loads up said table in the corner but takes too long going up, allowing Dominik to hit a super Russian legsweep through the table for two. Dominik’s frog slash gets the same, plus a million versions of the same jokes about Eddie being his dad.
Dominik takes too long getting a chair and walks into a superkick, followed by a powerbomb. A bunch of kendo stick shots have Rey clutching his own chest and now we go old school with handcuffs. Before they go on, cue Rey’s wife to try to call this off but Rey stops her. Murphy comes in for the knee to Dominik and tries to take the eye out, finally drawing Rey in for the save.
Rollins and Murphy double team Rey and handcuff him to the middle rope. They both grab kendo sticks but turn to look at Rey’s wife instead. Since she’s on the stage and Rollins is at ringside (and since she can’t MOVE), Dominik makes the save. Something like a 619 sends Rollins into the barricade and there’s the regular version. Another frog splash hits knees though and Rollins makes Rey watch as he….just kind of holds Dominik. The Stomp finishes Dominik at 22:35.
Rating: D+. I’m not sure what to think here, other than it went WAY too long. The match itself was ok enough as Dominik has some skill and has clearly been trained well, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch this for twenty two minutes. It felt like a lot more of the same, with Rollins trying to be vicious but coming off as a heel wrestler instead of anything especially violent. This feud has gone on way too long and odds are we get a tag match next so they can keep trying to get the big emotional moment which hasn’t come yet. Dominik looked pretty good (all things considered), but not ready for Summerslam good.
Post match Rollins leaves the keys with Dominik and watches as he has to crawl over and free Mysterio.
Raw Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Sasha Banks
Banks, with Bayley in her corner, is defending. Asuka has a bad knee coming in and Banks goes straight for it in a smart move. Back up and Asuka hits a weakened version of the sliding forearm to put Banks on the floor. That means a leglock on the floor to even up the knees a bit, followed by a kick to the back for two on the champ. Asuka heads to the apron and Banks grabs a spinning powerbomb to the floor, freaking Bayley out in the process.
That’s good for nine so Banks kicks her in the chest for two more. Asuka pulls her down into an ankle lock but Banks rolls out in a hurry, sending Asuka onto the middle rope. That’s fine with Asuka, who hits a middle rope DDT for the slightly delayed two. The missile dropkick gets the same and Banks falls into the corner. Asuka tries to pull her out but Banks grabs a Codebreaker for two in a cool counter.
Banks misses her own frog splash and the Asuka Lock goes on but Banks flips backwards for two. Asuka has to let go and Banks gets the Bank Statement. She tries to flip into the center and gets switched into the Asuka Lock, which is broken again. Bayley gets on the apron and gets elbowed down, allowing Banks to try a rollup ala Bayley earlier. This time Asuka reverses into the Asuka Lock for the title at 11:31.
Rating: B. Better than the first match and I can always go with someone who learns from an earlier match. This made good sense after earlier and they had to do something to get some of the gold away from Bayley and Banks. The action was pretty hard hitting here and Banks works with Asuka better than Bayley, so this was a nice improvement over the opener and the best match of the night so far.
Banks is distraught post match and Bayley doesn’t know what to do.
We recap Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the Raw World Title. McIntyre won the title back at Wrestlemania and Orton has been on a roll in the last few months. This of course meant we needed Ric Flair to be involved because he has to be in on a big story a year. Anyway, McIntyre has worked his way to the top and doesn’t think much of Orton skating by on talent over the years. Orton on the other hand doesn’t think much of McIntyre at all and is taking the title because he can. Oh and he Punted Flair because it’s Flair.
Raw World Title: Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew is defending and Orton bails to the floor at the bell. After the stalling ensues, Orton goes back in, gets punched once, and heads outside again. The chase is on this time and Orton stomps away as Drew gets back in. Orton misses a pair of RKO attempts but the second one sends Drew outside for a breather. The champ gets back in again and unloads on Orton in the corner. Orton can’t hit the RKO for a third time but he can avoid a charge to send McIntyre shoulder first into the post.
McIntyre falls outside and Orton drops him hard onto the announcers’ table for a big crash. He does it again to make McIntyre’s back even worse and there’s a suplex off the table. That’s good for one back inside and we hit the chinlock. Orton starts stomping away at the ankle and leg but McIntyre gets in something like a Stunner to Orton’s knee. As a fan holding up a Twitter sign is replaced, Drew puts on a Figure Four in the middle of the ring.
Orton is in trouble but gets smart by pulling the referee in and poking McIntyre’s eye for the break. They get back up and slug it out with Orton still not being able to hit the RKO. McIntyre snaps off an overhead belly to belly and then does it a second time. A top rope clothesline drops Orton and McIntyre is fired up. McIntyre loads up a top rope superplex but gets dropped down into the Tree of Woe.
That doesn’t slow McIntyre down that much as he pulls himself up for a choke throw to put Orton back down. The Futureshock gets two and Orton’s head is busted open. McIntyre goes up top but misses a shot to the head, allowing Orton to hit the powerslam for two. The hanging DDT is countered and McIntyre hits the Glasgow Kiss.
They fall out to the floor together and Orton hits the hanging DDT on the way back in. Orton loads up the Punt but walks into a powerbomb. The Claymore is loaded up but Orton ducks, only to miss the RKO again. McIntyre grabs a backslide for the pin to retain at 24:38. Phillips: “Orton never saw it coming!”
Rating: B+. They took their time here and I got into it pretty quickly. I like the idea of having McIntyre win without some kind of a screwy ending and if that’s the only thing we didn’t see coming, it might be quite the upgrade. It was a very nice back and forth match and Summerslam main event worthy, so well done on living up to the hype.
Tomorrow: Keith Lee is on Raw.
We recap Braun Strowman vs. the Fiend. They have been feuding for months now with the Fiend reemerging from the swamp at Extreme Rules. During their fight, Alexa Bliss appeared and tried to convince Strowman to join Bray Wyatt again. Strowman said no, but it became clear that Strowman still thought something of Bliss, and maybe vice versa. Strowman said she meant nothing to him though and he even gorilla press slammed her on Smackdown. Strowman has had it with Wyatt and the Fiend in particular so it is time for the big fight.
Smackdown World Title: The Fiend vs. Braun Strowman
Strowman is defending and falls count anywhere. Fiend is knocked down to start but comes right back with a release Rock Bottom. They head outside with Fiend sending him into various things and hitting Strowman in the ribs with a toolbox. Fiend loads up the announcers’ table but gets chokeslammed onto it for his efforts. A spear sends Fiend through the barricade and a shot with the steps makes it worse.
Back in and the running powerslam gives Strowman two, meaning it’s time to fight up the ramp. They go into the gorilla position with Fiend hitting Sister Abigail for two. Fiend pokes the eyes and takes it back to the stage, where he slithers over to Strowman. The Mandible Claw goes on near ringside but Strowman shoves him into the LED ring skirt.
Another running powerslam gives Strowman two back inside and frustration is setting in. Strowman goes to the toolbox and pulls out a box cutter so he can cut up the mat. Some of the wood is exposed but Fiend gets up and hits another Rock Bottom. Two Sister Abigails onto the wood makes Fiend champion again at 12:01.
Rating: C+. This was feeling big to start and then wound up being Strowman losing because he was stupid and took forever to set up….something while the supernatural monster was left laying there. Fiend winning was the only possible outcome here as there was nothing left for Strowman to do as the failed champion. Either way, it was better than I was expecting, but it still wasn’t great.
Post match ROMAN REIGNS returns and hits a spear to take Fiend down and hammer away. Reigns spears Strowman down too and shouts that Strowman isn’t a monster without him. He unloads on Strowman with chair shots and spears Fiend down again before shouting that the title was always his. I know supervillains are supposed to have weaknesses, but football players who played college ball in Georgia and use spears is as specific as I’ve ever heard. Also, Reigns was WAY more aggressive than usual here and felt as close to a heel as he’s been since the original Shield run. He might not have turned, but it wasn’t far off.
Overall Rating: C. This show was looking outright dreadful until Banks vs. Asuka (though I could see people liking Rollins vs. Mysterio) and the rest of the show bailed the first half out as much as it could have. Reigns being back is a great thing as Smackdown (and Raw for that matter) needs all of the star power it can get. It’s not a great show, but it jumps up in quality in the second half and that saved it from being a nightmare.
Bayley b. Asuka – Small package
Street Profits b. Andrade/Angel Garza – Frog splash to Garza
Mandy Rose b. Sonya Deville – Running knee
Seth Rollins b. Dominik Mysterio – Stomp
Asuka b. Sasha Banks – Asuka Lock
Drew McIntyre b. Randy Orton – Backslide
The Fiend b. Braun Strowman – Sister Abigail onto exposed ring boards
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