WWE SummerSlam 2018 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
The Beast defended his Universal Championship against The Big Dog, The Samoan Submission Machine challenged a phenomenal WWE champion for the top prize in the industry and Ronda Rousey sought her first Raw Women's Championship as she challenged Alexa Bliss Sunday night as part of a star-studded 2018 SummerSlam pay-per-view.
Championships were not the only thing up for grabs Sunday.
Pride, bragging rights and even the Money in the Bank briefcase were on the line as the top male and female competitors in sports entertainment battled under the bright lights of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Relive all of the action of the August 19 extravaganza with this recap, including match grades and analysis.
Mixed Tag Team Match: Rusev and Lana vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega
For weeks, Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega have been thorns in the sides of Rusev and Lana. The rivalry between the on-screen pairings kicked off Sunday's festivities as Lana and Rusev battled Almas and Vega in a mixed tag team match.
Almas' athleticism allowed him to take control of the bout, working the left arm of his more powerful opponent with an armbar.
As Rusev attempted a tag, Vega pulled Lana off the apron, ensuring the founder of Rusev Day remained in a difficult situation.
Lana finally received the hot tag and took Vega down with a big headbutt and double knees to the back of her opponent's neck.
The Ravishing Russian delivered a big kick from out of nowhere and was rolling when Almas jumped on the apron. Rusev pulled him out of the way, and the match continued. One more bit of interference from Almas allowed Vega to score a roll-up and use the ropes for added leverage and the win.
Almas and Vega defeated Lana and Rusev
An interesting tag match in that it built to the women receiving the hot tags and to the climactic finish.
Lana was on fire and looked much better than she typically does, but you cannot ignore how much of that was Vega bumping around for her. The timing was just a bit off and Almas and Rusev were almost nonfactors, but all things considered, it was not a horrible match by any stretch of the imagination.
Hopefully, it does spell the end of the program, though, and Almas can move on to better things while Rusev and Aiden English undergo the obvious split that awaits them sooner than later.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak
Drew Gulak has been one of the underappreciated and underrated members of the 205 Live roster since the cruiserweights returned to WWE. The Philadelphia native, clad in a red, white and blue robe that would appear right at home in a Rocky film, challenged cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander in singles competition Sunday.
Alexander tried to increase the pace with a headscissors, but Gulak countered and went for his Gu-Lock submission. The champion escaped and delivered a dropkick. Gulak immediately targeted the head and neck of his opponent, though, delivering a knee to the back of the neck on the arena floor that left the champion writhing in pain.
Alexander fought back but found himself hung up on the top rope. Gulak applied his Gu-Lock with the champion trapped in the ropes. He went back to the hold moments later, but the champion continued to resist the hold.
The action picked up tremendously late in the match, with reversals and pinfall attempts that ultimately saw Alexander stack his challenger up and score the successful title defense.
Alexander defeated Gulak
The storytelling and action made for a damn fine wrestling match from the cruiserweights, who have been one of the brightest spots on WWE television for the last five months.
Gulak looked like the most dangerous man on the roster, targeting the neck of his opponent and locking in his vaunted submission every opportunity he could.
Alexander winning in the manner he did suggests the feud is not over, and that will be a very good thing for the entire 205 Live product.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival vs. The B-Team
The Revival was once considered the best tag team in professional wrestling. The B-Team scored an improbable upset over Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules to win the Raw Tag Team Championships. Sunday night, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder looked to regain their reputations—and win their first main roster titles—by defeating Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.
Dawson and Wilder worked as heels, taking the fight to Dallas while Axel recovered at ringside following an assault by the challengers.
A top-rope neckbreaker by Dallas allowed him to create some separation and finally tag Axel into the bout. The third-generation star unloaded on his opponents, delivering a neck snap reminiscent of the one his father, the late Mr. Perfect, did for so many years.
The finish saw Dawson roll up Axel. Wilder hung up Dallas on the rope, and the former inspirational Superstar fell onto his partner, thus reversing the roll-up. Three seconds later, the B-Team retained their tag titles.
The B-Team defeated The Revival
This was just a lackluster match that continued the mediocrity of the Raw tag team division.
Why it was determined that The B-Team should retain its titles over the significantly better Revival is a question only WWE Creative can answer.
The psychology on the part of the heels was there, but the action down the stretch was messy, and it never really looked like the two teams were on the same page. The perfect conclusion to a subpar Kickoff Show.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dean Ambrose accompanied Seth Rollins to the squared circle for his Intercontinental Championship match with Dolph Ziggler, The Lunatic Fringe tasked with offsetting the presence of the "Scottish Psychopath" Drew McIntyre at ringside.
Ziggler and Rollins sparred early, but a brief tease of interference from McIntyre led to a face-to-face with Ambrose at ringside.
Champion Ziggler targeted the knee of Rollins, looking to exploit the serious injury that kept The Architect out of action for nearly a year in 2015-16. Shifting his focus over time from the knee to the head and neck, Ziggler wore down Rollins with a headlock, looking to rid the challenger of his energy.
A high crossbody block from Ziggler was countered, as Rollins rolled through and delivered a suplex that sent both men over the top rope and crashing to the arena floor.
Rollins recovered and built some momentum for himself, delivering a big blockbuster for a count of two. Ziggler answered by setting up his opponent for a superplex attempt, but Rollins fought out. Before he could answer, Ziggler rolled out of the ring.
Rollins negated that with a suicide dive and a flying clothesline back in the ring. Ziggler countered the electric chair with a sleeper, but Rollins arm-dragged his way out. On the ring apron, the champion sent Rollins back-first into the ring post and then followed with a spike DDT.
Rollins, back in control, delivered a superkick and tried for a frog splash. Ziggler got his knees up and stacked up Rollins for a two-count. Rollins recovered with an inverted suplex off the top rope and followed it with another for an amazing false finish that popped the crowd.
As the challenger built momentum, McIntyre sent Ambrose into the stairs and Ziggler sent Rollins into the ring post. He delivered the Zig Zag and scored a two-count as blood poured from an open wound on the challenger's forehead.
At ringside, Ambrose recovered and delivered Dirty Deeds to McIntyre while Rollins obliterated Ziggler with the stomp for the win and title.
Rollins defeated Ziggler to win the title
If this is a sign of things to come tonight, this might be an all-time SummerSlam.
The match started slow and struggled to get fans invested early, but by the time Rollins and Ziggler turned it up a notch, the fans were living and breathing with every near-fall. A spectacular match that positioned the high spots perfectly and used Ambrose and McIntyre intermittently, to great effect.
This sets a very high bar for the rest of the roster to try to eclipse throughout the remainder of the night.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers
The New Day defeated Sanity and The Bar to earn a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championships Sunday night. Their reward? A date with the heretofore unstoppable Bludgeon Brothers.
Harper and Rowan wasted little time focusing their attack on Xavier Woods, dismantling and dominating the member of New Day described by Tom Phillips as "the expendable member of The New Day" while Big E watched from the apron.
Rowan and Harper attempted to use the ring steps to dish out more punishment to Woods, but Big E made the tag and took both men over with nasty belly-to-belly overhead suplexes. A big splash to Harper back in the squared circle nearly gave way to the Big Ending, but the bearded big man answered with a sit-out slam.
The action broke down at ringside as Woods delivered a dive to Rowan and Big E delivered a spear to Harper through the ropes and to the arena floor. Rowan answered with a crossbody off the ring apron, knocking Big E out of commission.
Harper and Rowan attempted to put Woods away with a powerbomb, but he kicked out as Kofi Kingston riled up the crowd. Re-energized, Woods delivered a massive elbow drop from the top rope to Harper on the floor.
As New Day appeared poised to win the titles, Rowan used one of the mallets to attack Big E and Woods, drawing a disqualification.
New Day defeated Bludgeon Brothers via disqualification
With an actual finish, this would have been a spectacular match. As it is, it was a hot, action-packed bout that exceeded expectations and laid the groundwork for a rematch or two if the booking team desires.
New Day is one of the most consistent acts on the roster, and it really should not be of any great surprise that it delivered a match as good as what we got Sunday night.
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens had the right to avenge months of torment at the hands of Braun Strowman by not only beating him but also taking away his Money in the Bank contract.
Strowman obliterated Owens from the opening bell, running through and over The Prizefighter and putting him at a disadvantage immediately.
Moments later, Strowman delivered the powerslam and retained his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Strowman defeated Owens
We get it. Strowman is a beast who can run over everyone.
Did Owens really have to endure that type of loss to remind everyone that Strowman is an unstoppable badass?
The worst use of Owens imaginable and a waste of a segment that accomplished nothing.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Carmella
Friendships were tested Sunday night as Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch challenged Carmella for the SmackDown Women's Championship in a Triple Threat match. Would the leaders of the Women's Revolution regain the gold, or would the modern-day diva find a way to retain her title?
Carmella moonwalked at the bell and paid for it, the recipient of an onslaught by her challengers.
Looking to turn the tide in her favor, Carmella pitted Lynch and Flair against each other. The challengers bought it and waged war, the Lass Kicker delivering a few arm-drags and trying for the Dis-arm-her. At ringside, Carmella grabbed Lynch and sent her into the ring steps before mocking the famous Flair strut.
Back inside, she seized control of the bout, applying a headlock to Flair.
Carmella continued to taunt her opponents while staving off defeat, even dodging a Flair boot and sending her into Lynch. Flair recovered and unloaded with a series of chops to the chest of the champion. A belly-to-back suplex had Flair rolling before a double dropkick by Lynch sparked her comeback.
With Flair deposited at ringside, Lynch unloaded on the champion. A Bexploder suplex was countered by a grab of the hair, and Flair exploded with a spear, laying out both women.
Flair applied a figure four to Carmella and Lynch dropped a leg from the top rope, saving the match and title.
Recovered, Carmella delivered a suicide dive to Lynch, and Flair followed with a twisting moonsault that left both lying. Back inside, Lynch countered Natural Selection with the Dis-arm-her, but Carmella broke it up.
Lynch applied the Dis-arm-her to Carmella, but the champ made the ropes. Moments later, Lynch reapplied the hold but ate Natural Selection from Flair, who covered to win the match and the title.
After the match, a frustrated Lynch turned heel, attacking Flair and pummeling her out of the squared circle. She sent Flair into the barricade and then over the announce table.
Flair defeated Lynch and Carmella
The match itself was excellent. It used elements of the previous high-profile Triple Threat match featuring Charlotte and Lynch from WrestleMania 32 while playing to the strengths of each performer. Carmella was not in the way, Lynch and Charlotte delivered their typical in-ring goodness and the result was an entertaining match that never felt like it overstayed its welcome.
The heel turn from Lynch was everything fans wanted out of the Sasha Banks-Bayley storyline earlier this summer but were robbed of. Lynch, frustrated that Charlotte waltzed back to SmackDown and was essentially gifted an opportunity to compete at SummerSlam, took her frustrations out on Charlotte and set up a series of matches in the coming months that will epitomize what the Women's Revolution is all about.
Great booking, a better-than-expected match and a hot crowd helped earn this one its grade.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
AJ Styles defended his WWE Championship against Samoa Joe in a hotly anticipated, emotionally fueled match watched from ringside by the champion's wife, Wendy, and his daughter.
Angered by a pre-match promo that targeted his family, Styles attacked Joe from the bell but soon paid for it as the challenger seized control of the match. Styles, though, fought from underneath and delivered a neckbreaker that left him worse for wear, hobbled by a bad knee.
Joe unloaded with some stiff forearms, but Styles delivered the Styles Clash for a stellar near-fall.
Styles followed up moments later with the Calf Crusher, but Joe countered out with the Coquina Clutch. Styles fought it and tried to break the hold, eventually inching just close enough to drape his foot over the bottom rope.
An enzuigiri from Joe knocked Styles from the top rope to the arena floor. From there, the champion sent Styles into the steel steps. Joe grabbed a microphone and promised to be Wendy's new daddy, infuriating Styles. The champion, bloodied, launched himself at Joe and blasted him with a steel chair, drawing the disqualification.
Styles unloaded on Joe, his emotions getting the best of him. The champion left with his wife and daughter to close out the segment.
Samoa Joe defeated Styles via disqualification
Much like the New Day match earlier, this would have been even better with an actual finish. That said, it was a fantastic wrestling match, and the finish here actually played into the story being told.
The visual of blood smeared across his forehead, the fire in his eyes and the fury with which he rushed Joe was outstanding and added to the effect of the match. Styles beat the hell out of Joe and set up a rematch that will undoubtedly play on Styles' inability to control his emotions and Joe's manipulative ways.
As it should.
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
A match eight years in the making, Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz finally occurred Sunday night in what amounted to the night's most anticipated bout.
Miz pulled pages from Bryan's book early, mocking the bearded wonder's signature offense before finding himself on the receiving end of a surfboard submission. The leader of the Yes! Movement unloaded with a flurry of kicks before enduring a clothesline off the top rope.
The Hollywood A-Lister worked the head and neck of Bryan, playing up the previous injuries that kept him sidelined for so long.
Shaking off the proverbial cobwebs, Bryan fired off a series of hard right hands and took back control of the match. Two corner dropkicks gave way to more kicks and a top-rope headscissors for a count of two. Bryan launched himself to the outside, wiping out Miz.
Back in the ring, he delivered more kicks and a top-rope side suplex.
Miz dodged another kick and delivered a DDT. Miz, the best heel on the main roster, unloaded with Bryan's own kicks to the chest. Rather than hurting, they fueled Bryan's furious comeback. The defiant babyface fought his way up and open-hand slapped Miz numerous times before obliterating him with a kick to the face.
Bryan's running knee was countered into a figure-four attempt. Bryan tried countering it but was sent face-first into the turnbuckle in a slingshot spot. The Skull-Crushing Finale drew a strong near-fall.
Miz tried for his own running knee, but a big kick from Bryan earned him a two-count of his own.
Bryan unloaded on Miz on the ring apron but missed one and struck the ring post. Miz capitalized and applied the figure four. The babyface fought through the pain and reversed the hold, causing Miz to scream out in pain.
Both men ailed by knee injuries, they took to slugging it out. An exchange of near-falls gave way to the Yes! Lock on Miz, who tried biting his opponent before making it to the ropes to break the hold.
After Miz was knocked into the guardrail, Maryse slipped him a pair of brass knuckles. As Bryan rushed in for a suicide dive, Miz blasted him and scored the tainted victory.
Miz defeated Bryan
This was every bit as awesome as fans had hoped it would be with a finish that, though not clean, allows the program to continue and all but ensures Bryan will remain with the company for the foreseeable future.
Miz took a hellish beating and was clearly bruised following his win. Bryan, on the other hand, did a fantastic job of selling and building crowd support as the match went on.
It was obvious when Miz approached Maryse before the match that she would feature in the outcome, and her inclusion was effective and meaningful.
A great way to propel the feud forward and give us more awesome matches and promo segments between these two.
Finn Balor vs. Constable Baron Corbin
The Demon emerged from the deepest, darkest recesses of Finn Balor's mind as he battled Constable Baron Corbin in singles competition.
Stunned and hesitant to take the ring, Corbin was overmatched from the beginning.
Balor obliterated him in minutes, ending with the Coup de Grace.
Balor defeated Corbin
Corbin spent weeks mocking Balor for his size, but when the latter stepped through the curtain as The Demon, there were no jokes to be made or insults to be hurled.
Balor obliterated Corbin, proving size does not matter.
Simple storytelling and a suitable and fan-pleasing finish.
Exactly what this one needed.
United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Jeff Hardy looked to avenge the loss of his United States Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura at Extreme Rules as they battled in singles competition much later on the card than most expected.
Hardy played mind games with Nakamura early, mocking his mannerisms and throwing off The Artist.
Nakamura recovered, wearing Hardy down and working the head and neck.
Hardy fought out and delivered a half-hearted version of the sling blade to ground Nakamura, who appeared to be favoring his neck. The competitors exchanged strikes, and Hardy delivered an atomic drop, followed by a low dropkick.
Late in the match, Hardy set Nakamura up on the ring apron for a swanton bomb. The champion moved, and Hardy crashed spine-first on the apron. The Kinshasa finished Hardy.
Randy Orton's music played, and he marched to the ring but walked straight back, opting not to attack a fallen Hardy.
Nakamura defeated Hardy
The match was a throwaway, no better or worse than a television bout.
The lack of Orton's involvement or post-match beatdown renders this meaningless and almost makes you wonder why it was on the show, other than to get both guys on the card.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss
Natalya was introduced to the fans before the match. Sporting her father, Jim Neidhart's ring jacket just days after his shocking death, she basked in the applause of the Brooklyn crowd before Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss took to the squared circle for the penultimate match of the night.
Rousey stunned Bliss early, forcing the champion to the floor. Rousey taunted the champion, teasing that she would turn her back or cover her eyes so Bliss had a fair shot.
Bliss took advantage, which only served to piss off Rousey. Rousey escaped a sleeper attempt and flattened Bliss. Rousey took off sprinting around the ring after the champion, who landed a knee to the shoulder. The challenger no-sold the offense and obliterated Little Miss Bliss.
Rousey manipulated the arm of Bliss and tapped her out to an armbar to the delight of the WWE faithful, winning the title in short and dominant fashion.
After the match, Rousey embraced Natalya in a nice moment. The Bella Twins joined in the festivities, drawing a chorus of boos from the WWE Universe. Surprisingly, there was no big angle to be had.
Rousey exited the arena, the title tightly in her grasp.
Rousey defeated Bliss to win the title
Complain about Rosey's inexperience if you want, but this was exactly what it needed to be: a one-sided ass-kicking that saw Rousey finish off an opponent who had no shot at actually winning.
The moment with Natalya after the match was nice, and the Bellas' involvement planted the seeds for something between Nikki and Rousey if the company opts to go in that direction.
Rousey gets the win and title, WWE gets the publicity and all is right with the world.
Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
After a year of frustrations and professional disappointments, Roman Reigns entered Barclays Center for one last shot at dethroning Brock Lesnar as universal champion and ascending the WWE mountain as its true Big Dog.
Before the match could get underway, Braun Strowman marched to the squared circle, his Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. He announced that he would be waiting for the winner after the match because he does things face-to-face.
Reigns exploded with three Superman Punches and two spears before being trapped in a choke. He powered out and delivered a big spinebuster. Lesnar reapplied the hold, hoping to choke out Reigns and retain his title.
Reigns again picked him up and slammed him down, breaking the hold.
Lesnar removed the gloves and answered a Superman Punch attempt with a suplex. A second followed as the commentators welcomed fans to Suplex City. Reigns fought out of an F-5 and charged at Lesnar. Brock moved and Reigns wiped out Strowman at ringside with a suicide dive.
Lesnar dropped Strowman with an F-5, threw the briefcase up the ramp and blasted him with a chair.
As he returned to the squared circle, Reigns caught him with the spear and scored the championship.
Reigns defeated Lesnar to win the title
WWE masterfully booked this thing.
What better way to keep fans from relentlessly booing the match than by bringing Strowman down to announce a Money in the Bank cash-in. Hatred for Reigns tempered by the fact that Strowman would ruin his title win, The Big Dog and Lesnar had the match they wanted to have until Lesnar dispatched of Strowman.
Reigns wins by spear, fans pop for the title win and the show fades to black as quickly as possible.
It was gloriously handled, and the result was the most well-received of Reigns' big-match wins since his title victory in Philadelphia in 2015.
Suddenly, Reigns has a feud waiting for him in the form of Strowman, while Lesnar's next program may also be with The Monster Among Men. Considering the intertwining stories of the three men involved, those bouts should be fun and entertaining.
As for Reigns' win, it needed to happen.
The story has pointed to it for months, and booking something different for the sake of booking something different would have done a disservice to Reigns, who has continuously busted his ass to pay off this thing.
You do not have to like him or the fact that he is champion, but WWE Creative made the right call Sunday night. If only to get it over with so all involved can move on.