The self-proclaimed "biggest party of the summer" invaded Toronto on Sunday as WWE unveiled the 32nd annual SummerSlam card on a night that was very much a mixed bag. While WWE certainly sent the sold-out crowd inside Scotiabank Arena home happy with a dramatic and exciting main event, the remainder of the card was either hit or miss, depending on your preference.
For this viewer, it was plainly too safe overall in terms of booking for a show that represents the company's second biggest pay-per-view of the year. In the end, seven titles were competed for over 12 matches on Sunday, and only one changed hands -- in the main event of the show. CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday updating this story with detailed results with analysis and grades along with live highlights at the bottom of the post.
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2019 WWE SummerSlam results, grades
Cruiserweight Championship -- Drew Gulak (c) def. Oney Lorcan via pinfall to retain the title (Kickoff Show): In a short and unspectacular match, Gulak punched Lorcan in the throat with the official's back turned and followed with his Cyclone Crash finisher for the 1-2-3. Grade: D
Buddy Murphy def. Apollo Crews via disqualification (Kickoff Show): Good use of storyline continuity here as Rowan brought an end to a decent start to the match by running in and attacking Murphy outside the ring. The DQ was forced in response to Murphy telling Roman Reigns on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown that it was Rowan who attempted to crush him with a lighting rig the week before. Rowan continued to beat Murphy down as Daniel Bryan watched on a backstage monitor. After being stomped and floored with a running tackle, Murphy was power bombed into the ring post by Rowan and told, "Keep my name out of your mouth." Grade: C+
Edge returns to silence Elias: Sitting in the ring with his guitar, Elias played a song filled with lyrics about his disgust for the city of Toronto. Out came WWE Hall of Famer and Ontario native Edge to a huge pop. Edge entered the ring, made a weird face and dropped Elias with his patented spear.
Women's Tag Team Championship -- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (c) def. The IIconics via pinfall to retain the titles (Kickoff Show): Added to the card just hours before the kickoff show began, this title rematch failed to produce anything close to a big-match feel, in part because of some in-ring sloppiness. Bliss, whose ring gear served as a nod to "Toy Story" character Buzz Lightyear, laid out Peyton Royce with a right hand late in the match before hitting her Twisted Bliss finisher as Cross took care of Billie Kay outside the ring. Grade: C-
Raw Women's Championship -- Becky Lynch (c) def. Natalya via submission to retain the title (Submission Match): Good little piece of business here to begin the main card as the two competitors succeeded in getting the crowd invested emotionally. The intensity that helped make the build so good certainly carried over into the match. Although the Canadian crowd was pro-Natalya to start, Lynch won them over after applying the Sharpshooter on Natalya who countered soon after by putting Lynch in the Dis-Arm-Her. Natalya locked in her own Sharpshooter moments later and held it for an extended period of time until Lynch eventually reversed it into the Dis-Arm-Her to produce a tap that popped the crowd. Grade: B
Goldberg def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall: Unless you're a die-hard mark for the legendary Goldberg, this match was a gratuitous piece of predictable pointlessness. The build was rushed and confusing after Shawn Michaels was teased and The Miz was eventually announced as Ziggler's opponent only for Goldberg to be inserted late. Ziggler cut an obnoxious pre-match promo calling himself "the best damn thing to happen to pro wrestling" and nearly surprised Goldberg with a sneaky superkick off the opening bell that produced a two count. Everything from there on out was straight out of the Goldberg squash playbook as Ziggler hit a second kick but got a one count, eating a stiff spear and a Jackhammer in succession for the pin. From there, things only got more pointless as twice a beaten down Ziggler grabbed the microphone to disparage Goldberg only for the Hall of Famer to return to the ring (once after leaving through the TitanTron area) and flatten Ziggler once again with spears. It's possible this was booked as a make-good for Goldberg, who turned in a sloppy and forgettable main event performance in Saudi Arabia against The Undertaker a few months out. If so, it's a shame Ziggler's character needed to job out so badly for it. Grade: D
"Drake" pumps up New Day: Xavier Woods and Big E told Kofi Kingston they had a great surprise for him and introduced Toronto's own, Drake. But of course, it was Drake Maverick who showed up dressed like the hip-hop star. Maverick said he was told R-Truth would be there, made a couple jokes and then left as Kingston got pumped up for his WWE championship match against Randy Orton. Before the ensuing match, R-Truth and Carmella were dressed up as a foreign commentary team, but they disappeared before Maverick could find them.
United States Championship -- AJ Styles (c) def. Ricochet via pinfall to retain the title: With a finish this good, it's a shame these two weren't given more time to deliver a proper classic. Clad in a full-length superhero bodysuit, Ricochet provided the expected amount of death-defying athleticism and complimentary in-ring chemistry opposite Styles. Ricochet launched from the ring apron and used the shoulders of The OC as steps before hitting Styles with a hurricanrana on the floor. While selling an injured left leg, Ricochet also hit a beautiful springboard elbow from the top rope for a near fall. But despite succeeding in fighting off the efforts to interfere from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, the heel tandem caused enough of a delay on their final distraction attempt to have a hand in the finish. Ricochet attempted a Phoenix Splash off the top rope and was caught in mid-air and reversed into a Styles Clash in an incredible spot to finish the match. Afterwards, Styles urged on The OC to hit the Magic Killer on Ricochet. Grade: B+
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Bayley (c) def. Ember Moon via pinfall to retain the title: The lack of crowd interest made this feel more like a match on weekly television than a PPV title bout. Unfortunately, the performance of both competitors wasn't enough to change that reality. Moon held the upper hand for the majority of the second half, hitting a hurricanrana off the top rope for the first of there near falls. But Bayley was able to put the match away with a Bayley-to-Belly suplex from the second rope that wasn't enough to wake up the silent crowd. Grade: C-
Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon via pinfall: The stipulation entering the match was that Owens must quit WWE if he lost to McMahon. Elias served as ringside enforcer, as announced by McMahon, and what followed was a collection of WWE's most predictable booking practices as Owens fought off constant interference that cost him pin attempts and nearly saw him counted out a handful of times. KO appeared to have the match won after he ducked a punch attempt from McMahon that knocked Elias off the apron. He landed a flipping senton from one top rope on McMahon before hitting a frog splash from another until Elias pulled the referee out to avoid the pin. KO took out both Elias and the referee with a running senton outside. After the referee later awoke to see Owens with a chair in his hand, KO waited for the referee to turn his back after taking it before kicking McMahon low and hitting a stunner for the pin. Grade: C+
Charlotte Flair def. Trish Stratus via submission: It took a long time for these female legends of yesteryear and today to get the crowd to buy in to what they were doing, but once they did, there was no shortage of drama and intensity. In what could be called a passing of the torch (or the female version of The Rock-Hulk Hogan from WrestleMania 18 in the same city), the two performers certainly sold out physically to make the most of the match as Stratus rallied from a long beating to eventually put Flair in trouble by applying her own Figure Eight leg lock. A bevy of near falls helped fuel the turnaround late in the match as the 43-year-old Stratus did well to keep up with Flair. Stratus came close to rewarding her home fans in Toronto by hitting both Stratusfaction and a Chick Kick for separate two counts until Flair put the match away with the tap out. Grade: B
WWE Championship -- Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton ends in a double countout: There's nothing like awful booking to spoil what could have been a fun match. Kingston and Orton had their moments in this one and seemed to be building momentum until a double countout finish, spurred on by Orton talking trash to Kingston's kids at ringside. That finish was simply unacceptable (and a complete rehash of the AJ Styles-Samoa Joe match at SummerSlam from one year ago). The fact that Kingston flashed a quasi-heel turn in reaction to Orton's treatment of his children -- by grabbing a kendo stick and beating him in the center of the ring -- failed in getting much of a reaction from a crowd still chanting "bullshit" in regards to the ending. Orton appeared to have the match won late when he intercepted a top rope splash attempt by Kingston and caught him in an RKO. But as Orton took his time laughing on the canvas, Kingston deftly rolled out of the ring to set up the finish. Grade: C-
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt def. Finn Balor via pinfall: The in-ring debut of Wyatt's new persona, The Fiend, saw him enter to a Marilyn Manson-like remixed theme song against Balor (who was aptly dressed in all white to perfectly contrast Wyatt's sadistic evil). It also saw Wyatt get the booking he deserved complete with some strong character development. Wyatt violently snapped Balor's neck with his hands before hitting a uranage. He then set up for Sister Abigail until he appeared to look conflicted following a change of heart. Balor used the opening to rally before succumbing to a pinfall via mandible claw that left him decimated. The lights went out and Wyatt disappeared, putting the proper ribbon on a strong debut match (and even better entrance) for his new character. Grade: B+
Universal Championship -- Seth Rollins def. Brock Lesnar (c) via pinfall: In a better match than expected following a deridingly vanilla build, Rollins captured the crowd's adoration with a gutsy and dramatic performance. Nursing a rib injury coming into the match, Rollins overcame an early beating and a plethora of German suplexes to work his way back into an excitingly physical match against an inspired Lesnar. In the end, he also slayed "The Beast" cleanly for the second time in four months in this rematch from WrestleMania. This time, Rollins didn't need to rely on illegal tactics like low blows to do the impossible as the story of his mid-match comeback was well told.
Although Rollins struggled as a babyface in terms of delivering believable promos in recent weeks, he nailed his performance in this match from the standpoint of delivering fire and passion. He also hit the spot of the match when he leaped off the top rope to frog splash Lesnar through the announce table. After another frog splash inside the ring, Lesnar went on to kick out of a stomp attempt until Rollins reversed out of an F5 and hit a super kick and a second stomp for the 1-2-3. In the end, WWE deserves criticism for how basic the handling of this feud was from Lesnar cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to a handful of carbon-copy attacks from both. But they hit a good high note in this one, even if smart fans exited the broadcast perplexed that the Roman Reigns-Daniel Bryan angle came and went on Sunday without anything more than a kickoff show tease. Grade: B+
2019 WWE SummerSlam live recap, highlights
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