WWE SummerSlam 2017: Full Grades for Brock Lesnar and Every Superstar at PPV

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23:  Kevin Owens celebrates his victory over Cesaro at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)
JP Yim/Getty Images

WWE's 2017 SummerSlam started slow, but once the lengthy card got rolling, nothing could stop the momentum right into a main event fans won't soon forget. 

The aftermath of this year's marquee summer event, like the chaos outside of the ring after the battle for the Universal Championship, is messy—and that's a good thing. 

Several titles changed hands over the course of the card, putting emphatic ends to some feuds and extending others. There were some dud performances, but the good outweighs the bad, even if it didn't seem like it after the first hour or so.

Below, let's look at full grades for SummerSlam.


WWE SummerSlam 2017

(P) Jason Jordan & The Hardy Boyz(B) vs. The Miz and The Miztourage(B)

(P) Akira Tozawa(B) vs. Neville(B) (Cruiserweight Championship)

(P) The New Day(A) vs. The Usos(A) (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

John Cena(C) vs. Baron Corbin(D)

Naomi(B+) vs. Natalya(B+) (SmackDown Women's Championship)

Big Show(C) vs. Big Cass(C)

Randy Orton(A++. Kidding. D) vs. Rusev (D)

Alexa Bliss(C) vs. Sasha Banks(C) (Raw Women's Championship)

Finn Balor(A) vs. Bray Wyatt(B)

Sheamus and Cesaro(A) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins(A) (Raw Tag Team Championships)

AJ Styles(B) vs. Kevin Owens(B) (United States Championship)

Jinder Mahal(D) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura(D) (WWE Championship)

Brock Lesnar(A) vs. Roman Reigns(A) vs. Samoa Joe(A) vs. Braun Strowman(A+) (Fatal 4-Way, Universal Championship)

Bold indicates winner. () indicates grade. 


SummerSlam Top Performers 

Naomi(B+) vs. Natalya(B+)

This one isn't going to get as much love as it deserves thanks to a stacked card, but Naomi and Natalya did right by the SmackDown Women's Championship Sunday night. 

As expected, Naomi's creative offense incorporating the ropes and otherwise showed off some unique skills and captivated viewers. Natalya kept pace, playing off the offense well and pulling out the sly counter to pick up the victory. 

Given all she has done for WWE over the years and the prestige here, Natalya hoisting the title at SummerSlam has a special feel to it. Loss or not, Naomi isn't going anywhere as one of the top presences on either brand. 


Finn Balor(A) vs. Bray Wyatt(B)

The Demon is back. 

Stunning entrance aside, it was nice to see Finn Balor back in the war paint for an atmospheric battle with a power like Bray Wyatt. He looked faster and was more aggressive than usual, running circles around the bigger Wyatt. 

Granted, one could argue this was a safe match. After all, the go-home point between the two involved Wyatt dumping a bucket of blood on Balor's head. Expecting them to ratchet up the ante at the promotion's second-biggest event of the year when a demon comes out to play wouldn't have exactly been outlandish. 

But playing it safe here worked as well. It was time to reintroduce The Demon. And looking at it from a different angle, Wyatt's end goal was to draw The Demon out—win or lose. Mission accomplished. 


Sheamus and Cesaro(A) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins(A)

It was easy to expect big things going into this match when Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins put the past behind them and gave fans something close to a full reunion of The Shield. 

Sheamus and Cesaro? They've been one of the best overlooked things going on in WWE for a while now—which they showed at SummerSlam by upholding their end of the bargain in an entertaining fight. 

And Cesaro went into the crowd and killed a beach ball, which is always nice. 

This one had it all. Add a little humor above to some of the most gifted stars in the WWE and a proper payoff to one of the best-built stories the company has provided this year, if not over the past few years, and this one stole the show, if this were a show that had a moment capable of stealing. 

Keep in mind, too, it opens up a branching path full of possibilities, leaving fans to speculate about what could come next for both teams. 


Brock Lesnar(A) vs. Roman Reigns(A) vs. Samoa Joe(A) vs. Braun Strowman(A+) 

Throwing around the word classic when it comes to a WWE match can be dangerous. But it's not often a main event this hyped, this unpredictable goes on to live up to expectations and leave fans yearning for more. 

Where to even start? Everyone emerges from the destruction of this match a winner. Roman Reigns looks good and is free to go any which way. Samoa Joe slipped his way into advantageous positions constantly without looking weak and almost stole the title. Braun Strowman didn't just look like Brock Lesnar's only equal—he crushed him repeatedly and sent him away on a stretcher. 

It's hard to complain about anything that happened during the course of this fast-paced affair. The leaving-on-a-stretcher spot is a bit played out and has the predictable outcome, but the journey to it made it all worthwhile. The pacing was exhausting just watching it, making the match feel like one a viewer could only achieve in a video game. 

No complaints about the ending, either. Lesnar was the least-expected option after a flirtation with UFC. Joe and Reigns have plenty of options moving forward, but WWE doesn't capture the lightning in a bottle that is Lesnar-Strowman often. 

How they top this is impossible to say, but that's certainly a compliment when judging SummerSlam now and long into the future with the benefit of hindsight. 


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