SummerSlam Review: WWE finally puts Roman Reigns over

SummerSlam 2018Until the closing credits began to roll on the SummerSlam broadcast, you had to assume that something was going to happen.

No way Roman Reigns was leaving the Barclays Center with the Universal title.

Seriously, after four years, Seth Rollins and Sheamus each cashing in the MITB briefcase, the 2016 Royal Rumble screwjob, the ‘Mania 34 flop, the Greatest Royal Rumble controversy – the chase ends with a simple spear to UFC-bound Brock Lesnar?

WWE at least kept fans at bay by having Braun Strowman appear at the beginning of the main event, promising to challenge whoever would win the title match, then stationing himself at ringside to watch.

Lesnar diverted a Reigns through-the-ropes dive into Strowman, then attacked Strowman with an F5 and a chair, apparently to soften up the big man before finishing off Reigns.

He then walked back into the ring with the chair, at which point Reigns hit him with the spear, which, let’s be honest here, the spear is a Reigns finisher, but it’s not like it’s anywhere near 100 percent effective.

Some matches, you’ll see Reigns need two, three, four spears to put an opponent down for the count.

So, to see the first and only spear, with little other offense, after a brief opening flurry from Reigns that Lesnar had already answered, result in the fall, yeah, not convincing.

As Reigns climbed the ropes to bask in the lack of glow from the Barclays Center crowd, you still expected to see Strowman, depleted as he would have been from the earlier attack, cash in his briefcase, because that’s how WWE books Roman Reigns.

Then the credits began to roll. This was really it. Roman Reigns is the WWE Universal champion.

I’d add, “for now,” except that, WWE has tipped its hand with Strowman, who offered as reasoning for coming out to the ring for the main event that he didn’t need to use his MITB briefcase to sneak up on anybody from behind to try to win the title.

There’s plenty of storyline bad blood between Strowman and Reigns to go on to assume that this will be the next big rivalry in WWE.

I’d expect it to play out over a long arc ending at WrestleMania 35.

Highs and Lows

Ronda Rousey squashes Alexa Bliss for the Raw women’s title

Sick visual with Bliss, who is double-jointed, taking the Rousey arm bar about as far as you will ever see from a WWE performer, without a permanent injury being the end result.

Match of the night: A.J. Styles-Samoa Joe

You had to expect a good match out of these guys based on their earlier matchups in TNA. I like the way it ended, with the DQ, because it means we can look forward to a longer feud, and more good stuff from these two.

Fans not into Daniel Bryan-Miz

I liked the match, and that Bryan and Miz were given plenty of time to tell the story – and that Miz got the win via a foreign object, meaning, as with Styles-Joe, that this was just the beginning of a long story arc. For whatever reason, the fans in the arena were just not into this one. Maybe it was live-event fatigue, and trying to save themselves for the final hour, but the flat live crowd was noticeable to those watching at home.

Review by Chris Graham

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