Credit: CBS Sports
“Summerslam 2021” was a disappointing pay-per-view. Whether it was the extra hour dragging out the fan’s energy and patience or the questionable booking choices, WWE completely missed the mark.
The night started out slow with the team of Randy Orton and Riddle “RKBro” facing off against AJ Styles and Omos for the RAW Tag Team Titles. I went into this match with low expectations since I am not the biggest fan of RKBro. Seeing Orton not only as a face but in a comedy tag team with Riddle just does not feel right to me. As for the match itself, it was nothing remarkable.
Next up was Alexa Bliss against Eva Marie. This was easily the worst match on the entire card. Not only did you have a sleeper of a feud with Bliss and Marie, but you also had it with Bliss still using her Sister Abigail character, despite Bray Wyatt being long gone from WWE. Plus, the match itself was terrible. It felt like both women were going through the motions, causing the crowd to barely engage with the match.
Following that was Damien Priest taking on Sheamus for the United States Championship. I went into this match hopeful, as both Priest and Sheamus are engaging stars, even with the build up of this match being minimal. Unfortunately, the majority of this match was lackluster. Up until the last quarter, it was average at best, which is not enough considering the quality of the opening matches. The end was strong though, with spots like Sheamus’s midair brogue kick sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Running off the hype of the last match’s ending, Rey and Dominick Mysterio would take on Jimmy and Jey Uso for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. It feels like this feud has been going on for an eternity. Despite this, both teams were great, so I felt good when the match came up. The Mysterios and Usos gave us a solid match with the highlight coming from Jey’s midair superkick on Rey. However, I hope this feud ends soon as it has been dragging on without adding anything new.
Then, we had what was supposed to be Bianca Belair against Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. I was excited for this match. Not only are both these women phenomenal competitors, but it was also a rematch from “Wrestlemania 37,” where they both killed it. However, after Belair entered the ring, everyone was informed Banks could not compete without an explanation. It would then be announced that Carmella would replace Banks. I was really irritated by this initially as I am not the biggest fan of Carmella.
However, before the match could start, Becky Lynch made her grand return after almost 16 months. I was ecstatic to see this. Lynch has carried the women’s division since 2018, being not only a strong competitor, but also being skilled in her promos. She ran in and took out Carmella, then challenged Belair to a match for her title. I was out of my seat in excitement from this. I knew that these two could put on a clinic in the ring and the prospect of this had me on the edge of my seat.
Then, the worst came. Lynch hit a manhandle slam on Belair, ending the match in around 10 seconds. I was speechless for all the wrong reasons. I am certain this was a backstage creative choice. Not only was this a slap in the face to the fans, but also to Belair, who’s loss conjured similar negative feelings of Kofi Kingston’s loss to Brock Lesnar on Smackdown. Just thinking about this match makes me upset.
Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre followed this. With the crowd still reeling from what just happened, it was next to impossible for Mahal and McIntyre to get everyone behind their matchup. Not only that, but this entire feud felt like filler and a waste of time, with dull promos and build up since “Money in The Bank”.The match itself was exactly what I expected: Both competitors going through the motions, with no one in the crowd interested. It is probably a bad thing that the most exciting moment of this match was McIntyre pinning Mahall and ending it.
A triple threat match between Nikki A.S.H., Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair for the RAW Women’s Championship would come next. I was so ready for the event to be over that I was fading in and out of this match. However, upon rewatching it, I am happy to say this was the second-best match of the night.
While the buildup was weak and tiring, given that this feud has been going on since “Wrestlemania Backlash,” the match itself was strong. One of the biggest kudos I can give is that it was a fast-paced match with all three women giving the fans little time to breathe.My favorite spot was Flair’s flip onto Nikki and Ripley outside the ring.
Edge and Seth Rollins were up next. This match interested me the most with this feud dating back to 2014. The pacing felt slow, focusing on Edge’s vulnerable neck. While I was fine with it at first, it made the match difficult to watch after a while. However, some big spots saved this match, such as Rollins’s superplex into a Falcon Arrow or Edge’s spear through the ropes.
Following this was Bobby Lashley defending his WWE Championship against Goldberg. I wrote this match off before it even started due to Goldberg’s recent matches going around two minutes. While he would go on for a little bit longer this time, it was still a very short match, lasting around seven minutes and ending due to Goldberg taking a kayfabe knee injury. It appears this feud will continue, unfortunately, with Lashley putting Goldberg’s son in the hurt lock after the match ended.
Finally came the main event with John Cena challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. While I was excited for this match, I already knew Reigns would retain his title due to him saying he would leave WWE if he lost, which I knew was not going to happen. The start of this match was rough due to Cena’s continuous roll up attempts. After this, Cena and Reigns would give the fans a captivating match, with spots like Cena hitting an attitude adjustment both onto the announcers table and the second rope energizing the crowd.
Reigns went on to win the match. However, this was followed by a returning Brock Lesnar. I am excited to see what these two will do. Excluding Lesnar’s last match against McIntyre at “Wrestlemania 36,” Lesnar can still go the distance, especially with Reigns. Not only that, but this feud brings up an interesting variable with Paul Heyman currently being Reign’s special counsel, despite previously being the advocate for Lesnar.
Overall, “Summerslam 2021” was a rough pay-per-view. My main problem with this entire card was that the good matches, excluding the Raw Women’s Championship and Universal Championship matches, were average at best, while the rest of the card was terrible. The extra hour does not help this problem either. I hope WWE can rebound with “Extreme Rules” next month. I give “Summerslam 2021” a 2.5/5