Biggest Takeaways From 2022 WWE SummerSlam Results
There were questions, even more speculation and genuine intrigue surrounding WWE SummerSlam Saturday night.
The first event under new head of creative Triple H promised to set the tone for his regime moving forward, with every match and outcome closely scrutinized.
If what The Game produced at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee is any indication, WWE fans are in for a fantastic ride.
The show featured returning fan favorites, Hollywood celebrities outshining Superstars, a much-needed babyface turn and a questionable booking decision, just to keep things interesting.
Oh, and a tractor-driving badass cowboy intent on destroying his long-time foe and taking the top prize in WWE.
On a night that can be categorized as one of the most historically significant in recent memory, these are the biggest takeaways from the summertime spectacular.
Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai Inject Life into Raw Women's Division
The Raw women's division got a much-needed injection of life Saturday night with the return of Bayley from injury, Dakota Kai from free agency and Io Shirai's (now Iyo Sky) main roster debut.
The trio confronted Bianca Belair before backing down in the face a united Belair and Becky Lynch, teasing a program for the top prize on WWE's flagship show.
THIS IS AWE-SOME! 👏👏 👏👏👏<a href="https://twitter.com/itsBayleyWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@itsBayleyWWE</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/shirai_io?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@shirai_io</a> AND <a href="https://twitter.com/ImKingKota?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ImKingKota</a> have returned at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> while <a href="https://twitter.com/BeckyLynchWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BeckyLynchWWE</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> Women's Champion <a href="https://twitter.com/BiancaBelairWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BiancaBelairWWE</a> have a newfound respect for each other. <a href="https://t.co/6Gz9Yj653y">pic.twitter.com/6Gz9Yj653y</a>
Kai was never given a shot on the main roster and Sky's NXT run is nearly unrivaled in terms of quality but it did seem she would never have the opportunity to showcase her abilities on Mondays or Fridays.
Throw in Bayley, a future Hall of Famer returning from a devastating knee injury that kept her sidelined for just over a year, and you have an influx of talent that will enhance a roster that also boasts the likes of Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H.
All three are celebrated in-ring performers and will provide any opponent an above-average dance partner with whom to have a great match.
During his time in NXT, Triple H made it a directive to highlight women's wrestling, bringing it to the forefront in a way it never was on the main roster.
Look for a greater emphasis to be put on female talent on Raw and SmackDown, beginning with the introduction of new names and the implementation of a big-time feud.
Speaking of big time...
Babyface Becky Lynch Is Back After Lackluster Heel Run
There was nothing inherently wrong with the Big Time Becks incarnation of Becky Lynch. She worked hard, went all-in with the gimmick and was key in making Bianca Belair the megastar she has developed into.
But that character never felt like her organic self. Not like The Man.
Lynch was cool, confident and even a little cocky, and the fans ate that up. Booing her and everything she had done as one of the leading faces of the women's revolution over the years was not something the WWE Universe really wanted to do.
Switching her back by way of her alliance of convenience with The EST of WWE in a battle with Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai, is the perfect way to return her to the babyface role she never should have left.
❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️<a href="https://twitter.com/BiancaBelairWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BiancaBelairWWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BeckyLynchWWE?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BeckyLynchWWE</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> <a href="https://t.co/8BqHOoE7ED">pic.twitter.com/8BqHOoE7ED</a>
It will be interesting to see if the Big Time Becks persona drops off suddenly and without any real explanation or if there is a slower transformation that sees her gradually return to the no-nonsense Lass Kicker who captivated audiences and headlined WrestleMania 35.
One thing is for certain: This is the best creative move for Lynch at this point and opens up fresh matches for her against Bayley, Kai and Sky.
Logan Paul Proves He Belongs in Win over The Miz
There is not a ton to like about Logan Paul from a personality standpoint.
He has earned every bit of that controversial reputation via his antics away from the squared circle. In it, though, the only reputation he has earned is that of a hellish performer.
Paul showed up, showed out and impressed even his harshest critics with a win over The Miz in which he launched himself from the top rope, crashed down on The A-Lister and drove him through the announce table.
It was that spot that changed the fans' view of Paul, who entered Nissan Stadium to a chorus of boos but exited with the respect of an audience appreciative of the effort he put into his performance.
Like he did at WrestleMania 38, with The Miz against The Mysterios, Paul exceeded all expectations. That's not because he executed a few basic moves really well, but because he worked an entire match against a guy who has been wrestling for nearly two decades and never appeared lost or overwhelmed by the situation.
The YouTuber owned the moment, stole the headlines and proved that no matter the noise beyond the ring, he absolutely belongs in it.
Liv Morgan Booked Weakly in 1st Major Match as Champ
The decision should have been easy: To get to the Ronda Rousey heel turn, Liv Morgan upsets her and ignites the rage her opponent has kept bottled up since losing her SmackDown Women's Championship three weeks earlier at Money in the Bank.
Morgan looks like a tenacious, gritty champion who scored a quick win and Rousey undergoes a heel turn that should have happened two months ago.
Instead, the finish saw the former UFC star dominate the action and nearly tap her out multiple times before Morgan rolled her up. There, in a perfect world is where things would have ended nicely and tidily.
Except Morgan tapped out while trapped in the armbar. Worse, she did it before the referee's hand hit the mat for three.
Instead of booking the finish that made Morgan look like a resourceful, gutsy babyface who overcame her opponent's overwhelming attack, she looked lucky; like a champion who never belonged in the ring with her opponent and who only retained because she sneakily avoided detection while tapping to a superior athlete.
That did nothing to help Morgan. Instead, it hurt her credibility in what was her first major championship defense. Instead of putting her over as this resilient underdog, her win was made to look like a fluke.
That does a great disservice to a character fans have gravitated to because she is passionate and loves what she does. Furthermore, it was a sign of the lack of faith in Morgan by WWE management.
Hopefully, it was just a simple booking misstep that will be rectified moving forward, but one would not be faulted for feeling somewhat pessimistic coming out of Saturday's pay-per-view.
Reigns vs. Lesnar Was Great Way to Usher in Triple H Era
Right about the time Brock Lesnar drove a tractor to the squared circle, it became clear that the showdown we were about to witness would be unlike any we had seen before.
By the time the official counted to 10 to end the Last Man Standing match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in Roman Reigns' favor, it was more like a contest we are unlikely to see again.
The often over-the-top but always entertaining main event washed away the sour taste left with fans dissatisfied over Reigns and Lesnar's recent encounters and instantly ranked among the best, most ridiculous contests in WWE history.
There were tables and chairs, but there was also that damn tractor; a tractor Lesnar proceeded to use to lift the ring in the air and dump Reigns to the floor.
It was a spot never before seen and not likely to be replicated anytime soon. Dominant and destructive, the match felt like The Beast Incarnate's to win.
However, Paul Heyman provided a distraction, putting himself in harm's way and eating an F-5 through the announce table for his troubles. Theory tried to cash in, The Usos got involved, and The Head of the Table buried his opponent under every imaginable piece of ringside furniture to finally keep him down.
It would be easy to view the match through a microscope and pick out everything not to like about it, but what fun is that? It was an Attitude Era-esque brawl between two guys with enough hatred between them to justify the ridiculous violence and comical over-the-top spots.
It was great professional wrestling storytelling, but more importantly, it was littered with Easter eggs.
Lesnar repeatedly tossing Reigns around the ring, only to watch him get to his feet and keep fighting was straight out of their WrestleMania 31 match. The Tribal Chief burying The Beast at the finish was a nod to the SummerSlam 2017 match, when Braun Strowman did the same in an attempt to eliminate Lesnar as a threat.
1️⃣0️⃣!!!!!!<a href="https://twitter.com/WWERomanReigns?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WWERomanReigns</a> retains at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a> against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CowboyBrock?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CowboyBrock</a>! <a href="https://t.co/Adzf31oXmF">pic.twitter.com/Adzf31oXmF</a>
Then there was a potential hint at things to come, with Heyman exclaiming to Lesnar, "He's my (expletive) meal ticket!" in reference to Reigns.
He corrected himself the second time, substituting "Tribal Chief" in there instead, but Heyman revealed to the world in that moment that he knows he is dependent on Reigns and sees him as a means to an end.
He knows The Tribal Chief is his key to stature, relevancy, money and a cozy spot in the main event. A spot he once enjoyed courtesy of his relationship with Lesnar.
Funnily enough, there is another young star looking to make a splash in the form of Theory, who would benefit greatly from Heyman's advice and guidance. Keep an eye on the special counsel and his interactions with Mr. Money in the Bank moving forward.
A brilliant masterpiece of chaos and destruction, the main event of Saturday's show was everything a fan could ask for from a company in transition.
If it's a sign of things to come, everyone should be excited about the attitude injection WWE appears poised to receive.