Lasting Takeaways from WWE SummerSlam 2019 Match Card
As one of the biggest events of the year, WWE SummerSlam 2019 put a lot of pieces in play for the coming months.
Several champions strengthened their grip on their titles, key Superstars made names for themselves with impressive performances, and some storylines started to take shape.
Whenever one pay-per-view ends, the build for the next show immediately begins. Now that WWE starts to work toward Clash of Champions on September 15, let's break down some of the biggest takeaways from SummerSlam that will set the tone for the rest of 2019.
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan Is Taking the Long Road
It may not last all the way until WrestleMania 36, but the feud between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan is definitely at pace for a slow burn, rather than something that will fizzle out by Clash of Champions.
Granted, it wouldn't make sense for this story to factor into an event with all the titles on the line, as neither Superstar has a belt, but it hasn't even reached the point where they are directly confronting each other.
Rather than a big brawl at SummerSlam, the only advancement in the storyline was Rowan attacking Buddy Murphy, who will face Reigns on Tuesday's SmackDown Live. This means the Australian is being used as a placeholder to stall before The Big Dog locks horns with the two culprits actually responsible for his attacks.
Fans who can't wait to see Reigns take down Big Red and get revenge on Bryan will have to be patient, as the next seven weeks will likely be spent taking detours on the road to a Hell in a Cell match on October 6.
Kevin Owens Absolutely Works as a Babyface
By no means can WWE give Kevin Owens the Stone Cold Stunner, put him in a feud with a McMahon and call it a day in creating the next Steve Austin, but SummerSlam showed he has what it takes to be a great babyface.
KO has been a heel since his debut pay-per-view in NXT in 2014, bar a small test run when he returned to SmackDown earlier this year but quickly turned heel yet again.
Thankfully, WWE decided to give the babyface run another shot. If this had flopped, it would have been disastrous. Instead, though, it was one of the most properly booked segments of the night, and Owens looked like a star.
The Prizefighter has enough edge and attitude to be cool, while not being too villainous that it would be hard to root for him. That is why the crowd applauded his low-blow on Shane McMahon, rather than treating it like another heel turn.
The feud with Shane-O-Mac has to end before it gets too repetitive, but so long as Owens is paired with someone who can play off his passion and be a good foil, he should be more than fine in this new role and a major player going forward.
Charlotte Flair Is Undeniably WWE's Top Female Superstar
Charlotte Flair's win over Trish Stratus is the latest in a long line of accolades that cements her as not just the most premiere women's wrestler of this generation, but also perhaps the greatest of all time.
Yes, there are others who can have better matches on any given day and Becky Lynch is the top player at the moment, but Flair is still on a higher pedestal.
Just look at how she was used at SummerSlam in relation to the SmackDown women's champion, Bayley: Flair beat a WWE Hall of Famer in a match that was more heavily promoted while the titleholder was in a midcard slot.
Ember Moon is no slouch, but she was poorly built as a challenger, and Bayley retaining over her means little compared to Flair beating a legend like Stratus, which makes The Queen seem even above the belt itself.
In the four years since Flair joined the main roster, she's won more championships than anyone and has already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame. She's unparalleled, and SummerSlam proved she ranks even higher than the legends who came before her.
WWE Is Strapping a Rocket to Bray Wyatt
All too often, a Superstar is hyped for a grand return only for any buzz to die off almost immediately, but Bray Wyatt clearly has WWE's full support.
With the amount of detail that went into the production of his entrance as The Fiend alone, it shows how the company is heavily invested in him.
New gear is commonplace, but the change in lighting, his new theme, the lantern, the mask, all the props from the Firefly Fun House and the merchandise being sold around his return is a lot to put into someone without being confident it will pay off.
Wyatt absolutely squashed Finn Balor, too, which means he's being treated like a top-tier Superstar and not just someone who can move T-shirts and toys. Rather, he could be the next universal champion.
Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton Are Destined for Hell in a Cell
Last year, WWE had a nasty habit of booking AJ Styles in feuds where he retained the WWE Championship through disqualifications, draws and other non-finishes in order to stretch out his storylines as long as possible.
Taking a page out of that book, Kofi Kingston could have settled the score against Randy Orton at SummerSlam with a decisive win, but instead they fought to a double count-out, which means this isn't over.
There is enough animosity and bitterness between the two that WWE surely sees this as a Hell in a Cell match in the making and will try to stall the inevitable victory for the titleholder.
Had Kingston beaten Orton, that would have been the end of things. There would be no point in the two fighting anymore, but now the question still lingers as to whether he can prove himself.
If they fight at Clash of Champions, there will be another non-decisive end that will force them to battle it out with some finality inside the cage at Hell in a Cell.
WWE May Have Learned Its Lesson with Brock Lesnar
By putting the Universal Championship back on Seth Rollins, this could be a sign WWE has finally figured out Brock Lesnar is not a good champion for the long haul.
For years, The Beast Incarnate has been given the top title for lengthy reigns that defy logic. He cannot be a draw if he's not there, as people don't tune in unless he's advertised to show up.
Lesnar is a huge star with massive box-office value and perhaps the best credibility of any wrestler in WWE history, but none of that matters if he's absent from regular programming.
WWE could have easily kept the belt on Lesnar and set a course for him lose it at WrestleMania 36. That would have hurt Rollins by proving he was never The Beast Slayer, and the title would have disappeared most likely until Survivor Series.
Maybe SummerSlam's main event is proof WWE is listening to the fans and it will try to keep the Universal Championship as a regularly featured part of Raw.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.