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WWE SummerSlam 2023 Review: "Old man complaints aside, I enjoyed SummerSlam"


Is anyone else tired from SummerSlam? Wheeeeeeewwwwww!

I love WWE's summer party (though, it was a bit early this year), however, this one was super long. Four and a half hours, well over midnight, the entire thing just felt exhausting and taxing. I know, I'm getting old. However, while the night was entertaining, by the time we got to Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso, I wondered if I had much left to be engaged or to care as much.

I also wonder if the Jimmy Uso turn didn't resonate with me as much because of the fatigue? Ehhh...

So yeah, old man complaints aside, I enjoyed SummerSlam. Some matches really carried the night and that is even more apparent looking back on the lengthy night. 

Here are some quick thoughts and comments on SummerSlam 2023: 

- Often, the official song of a Premium Live Event is something current, but there was the very fitting vibe of "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf as the vibe and sound of SummerSlam. I thought the song was very fitting. 

- I still haven't wrapped my mind around the idea of WWE running stadiums - STADIUMS! - for every premium live event. Business is booming! And it is remarkable to dwell upon to see where the wrestling business is today. 


- I expected Logan Paul vs. Ricochet to be what we got from it - a lot of athletic spots. Surprisingly, I did enjoy the story told from the contest, including the finish. 

Logan Paul continues to have no business being THIS good at this stage of his career. He carried some serious airtime on that springboard frog splash. It's even more impressive considering his size as well. 

Ricochet continues to be a wrestler that I'm enamored with. The dude is insanely talented in the ring. Of course, it's all of the other qualities and intangibles that come with being a top-level pro wrestler that we're looking for from him. I still remember his time as "Prince Puma" in Lucha Underground (yeah, remember that?)  where I initially fell for his insane talents (peep this post from 2015). 

This was the first in WWE (on the main roster) where Ricochet felt more than just a guy out there to pull off a cool spot. This program with Logan gave him something to work with and to push the boundaries on his capabilities. I'm not sure he hit it out of the park, but I think there is enough there to still explore. Of course, I'm not sure where he goes from here after losing to Paul. 


- Brock Lesnar still feels like a huge freakin' deal. After all of these years, Lesnar is still box office at the highest level. 

On the other side of this, Cody Rhodes is the ultimate babyface, and I'm hoping they don't pull something that takes away from that. As of this post, I am all in on Rhodes. Yes, to finish the story, but also, it's just hard to root against the guy.

With that said, while I still don't know exactly why these two have beef (will that be explained now that Brock has given him his respect?), this match is an example of storytelling at its finest. The simplicity of Rhodes continuing to fight and answer the ten-count was gold. 

While the stair use was a bit of a head-scratcher (wasn't that a disqualification?), I genuinely had a moment where I thought Brock would tap to Rhodes. Regardless, Cody gets the win, and most importantly, the handshake and approval from the beast. 

Good stuff - very much enjoyed it. 

- The product placement and advertising throughout this event was in your face - but hey, again, business is booming. It's easy to make the case for wanting Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus in this spot. Especially after the match getting cut became public knowledge this week. 

I wanted to see Becky vs Trish. It's easy to carry that feeling and jump on the first thing that you didn't like, but this battle royal evaded that feeling. 

Pointless? Ehhh, sure. LA Knight getting the win was nice. The match was enjoyable and it was great to see Knight get some shine. 

- I was invested in Rhonda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler. Why? I thought the story was sound, that this match was authentic (from a creative standpoint), and of course, it's the right move if Rousey is, in fact, leaving the WWE. 

Unfortunately, I think Rousey's star with wrestling fans has fallen so far that trying this, at this stage, with that type of connection (or lack thereof) didn't stand a chance. Considering her debut, and how special she felt at one point, this really felt sad in some facets. 

I'm likely in the minority here, but I feel bad for Rousey. You can't say she didn't work hard or try. Her debut was shockingly great, and she picked up wrestling very easily. Beyond the in-ring component is where she became exposed. Personally, Rousey should have never said a word - or at worst, her character should have been limited in verbals. Straight ass-kicker. 

But eh. It's over. We can all break it down someday. It's good to see Baszler back with some oomph as well. 

Maybe, Becky vs. Trish could've replaced this? I know, it's so easy to say. But Rousey vs. Baszler to end Raw could have been better suited - especially for the MMA stipulation. Raw feels like the better medium to try that than a premium live event with casual viewers. "Fake" MMA just comes across as well, umm, weird. 

- Gunther makes me want to put together an updated Pondering 10 list of my most-watched wrestlers today. Spoiler alert, Gunther leads the list. Also, he's made the Intercontinental Championship feel special once again. 

I'm a big fan of McIntyre as well, but I'm thinking a heel turn is imminent? However, I'm dubious on that direction as McIntyre always feels like a natural babyface. 


- Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor was everything I expected. Rollins is just top-notch. He really is. 

I thought the "Seven" on the shoulder of Finn Balor was great storytelling. 

The match itself was what you expected from these two - solid. Mostly, fun. It's easy to be a fan when both guys are doing their thing in this one. 

I don't think I quite understand the involvement of Judgement Day towards the end, but the look on Damian Priest's face was meme-worthy. Great stuff. 

The World Heavyweight Championship still feels secondary. Is it just me? 


- I was not expecting the absolute banger that was the Women's Triple Threat match. I'm not sure why, maybe I began feeling the length of the event?

I loved the constant offense in the match between the three women. Bianca sold that knee so well that I wasn't sure if it was authentic or part of the match. 

The finish was super cool and the cash-in by Iyo Sky added some juice to this fading and fatigued viewer. 

I'd like to see more character development from Iyo Sky going forward. 

Bayley acting as the pseudo-big sister by clearing out as many of the participants as she could was a nice touch. 


- And then there was Tribal Combat. The entire Bloodline storyline has been so well done that it carries high expectations and lofty demands for drama - or as we now say - "CINEMA!". 

The match carried a big-match feel, but the actual match didn't carry that feel through. For me, it felt repetitive from what we've seen throughout this story. Going into the match, I thought the idea of Tribal Combat was that it was pure, honorable, and did not allow interference from members of the family. 

The overall vibe I expected was that this was a tradition steeped in honor of the thrown of the Tribal Chief. The interference, and feel of the garbage weapons, made this feel like your classic overbooked, Mid-South-style contest. Again, good, but not "Bloodline-worthy" which we have come to expect. 

And there was the turn by Jimmy. I'm still dissecting that entire ordeal. It felt too obvious in some ways, but in others, it does make sense as to why Jimmy would be jealous that his brother was chosen as next in line.  

I fully expected this match, if it did carry shenanigans, to debut a new member of the family helping Roman win. I wouldn't call it a misstep, but it does feel like the first time we've encountered the bar not moving higher in this story. Though, it wasn't a step back. I'm just not sure how excited I am for Jimmy vs. Jey off the heels of a "civil war" where both were on the same team. It feels rushed, whereas everything in this storyline has felt organic. 

My other concern is that we're getting to a point where Roman's reign feels less dominant, and more barely getting by - which could be by design. 

Nonetheless, yeah, I guess we'll see. 

---

Overall, SummerSlam was good stuff and I'm still hooked on where we go with a few stories and the continued arch of a few superstars. 

One last time - this event was too long. WWE, can we keep these things to three hours? If I want more, I'll watch the pre-show, thank you. 

Old man complaints over. 

Photos Courtesy of WWE.com

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