WWE SummerSlam 2017 Results: Braun Strowman and the MVPs of PPV
A pay-per-view as enormous as SummerSlam needs strong performances from its top stars.
Sunday night inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center, performers from Raw and SmackDown Live delivered when the show absolutely needed it.
From shoring up match quality to turning the crowd at a time when it threatened to go quiet, the MVPs from this year's SummerSlam ensured the event did not fall into the doldrums of mediocrity that often overtake lesser live event specials.
Which competitors were responsible for helping the show succeed to the level it did and why?
The Monster Among Men stole the show Sunday night, seizing the spotlight in the Fatal 4-Way match for the Universal Championship and shining brightest throughout.
He obliterated Brock Lesnar, received the loudest reaction of any of the four men involved and was the crowd's clear favorite to leave victoriously.
The manner in which he manhandled Lesnar was awe-inspiring, as were his feats of strength throughout the main event. He lifted the ring steps overhead and launched them over the top rope and clear across the squared circle. He tossed an announce chair at Reigns. He was a force of destruction and the crowd ate it up.
So much so that he rode that wave of momentum into Raw, laid Lesnar out again and cashed his ticket to No Mercy and a championship clash with The Beast Incarnate.
All in a night's work for wrestling's most captivating big man.
The Usos and The New Day
If it wasn't for Strowman, Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe's chaotic main event, The Usos and The New Day would have stolen the show for the second consecutive pay-per-view.
The SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships were up for grabs on the pre-show in a match that wowed the audience and kept them guessing which team would leave with the titles in their possession, thanks to an array of perfectly timed and executed false finishes.
The chemistry between the two teams is, without a doubt, some of the best in all of WWE. That is why they have been able to work together as often as they have without any sort of staleness permeating the rivalry.
Big E, Xavier Woods, Jimmy and Jey Uso were done a great disservice when they were shoved into the Kickoff Show slot while other, less exhilarating matches were booked for the main card.
Still, they took a disappointing situation and made the most of it en route to another extraordinary performance.
By the time the Raw Women's Championship match took to the squared circle Sunday, SummerSlam's main card was in desperate need of even a halfway decent match. The quality of the show had dipped early and failed to improve.
Thanks to the strength of Sasha Banks' in-ring work, the tide was turned.
The Boss has been in high-profile matches before in Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Her 2015 classic with Bayley at NXT TakeOver is the stuff of legend at this point, while her war with Charlotte Flair last year was one of the most physically intense on the entire card.
This year, Banks worked with Alexa Bliss to deliver a quality championship clash that completely turned the fortunes of the show.
To that point, it looked like a show that was destined to rank among the worst ever. The Boss brought her passion and drive to her match, won the title and reversed the trend of bad matches.
Some may consider that a stretch but go back and watch the show. See how exponentially better the broadcast is from that point and how important her performance in that match was. Without it, there is no telling if the Superstars who followed her could have stopped the proverbial bleeding.
If Banks reversed the trend of bad matches, Finn Balor brought a sluggish audience to life, courtesy of his Demon alter ego.
It had been one year since fans had laid eyes on the face-painted Demon King, and the audience in the Barclays Center reacted with great enthusiasm to the return of the persona.
Balor helped get the audience back into the proceedings. The live audience had been taken out of the show since John Cena's entrance at the start of the main card. Questionable booking decisions and lackluster match quality resulted in a quieter-than-usual Brooklyn crowd.
The charisma with which Balor approaches his in-ring work while under the face paint is obvious and elevates the significance of every bout in which he competes in under the Demon moniker.
The audience responded in kind and set the remainder of the show up for strong fan involvement, something it desperately needed some four hours into the bloated broadcast.