Paradise, NV – WWE SummerSlam 2021, considered to be the second-biggest wrestling event in the company, was filled with mixed action. When it was good, it was good and when it was bad, it was awful. The home of the Las Vegas Raiders hosted over 50,000 fans to the event, being the largest event capacity-wise the WWE has seen since the 2020 Royal Rumble event. Let’s review this year’s SummerSlam with this rendition of the three count
WWE SummerSlam 2021 – The 3 Count
One: Things change, yet they remain the same – the conundrum that is WWE women’s division
Here’s the issue: WWE has some of the absolute best women’s wrestlers on the planet, but they have such a tendency to not believe in the talent that they have outside of The Four Horsemen. Such was evident this past Saturday.
On the Raw side, despite the women’s match actually being one of the better matches of the night, the safe choice was Charlotte Flair winning the Raw Women’s Championship; this extended her title reigns to 14 including the Divas and NXT Women’s Championships respectively. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Flair winning. However, it puts a hamper on Nikki A.S.H.‘s cash-in. From the wrestling fans’ perspective, what was the actual point of A.S.H. cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase if the plan was for her to lose the title a month later?
Despite the mixed reviews of her gimmick, her being a champion in the singles persuasion was a long time coming and a well-deserved crowing. The gimmick was honestly one that could’ve and should’ve been something WWE could market around. The “Almost a Super Hero” gimmick aspect was something cutesy in a sense. Younger fans can be inspired by, but a month-long title reign may have derailed A.S.H’s momentum unless she manages to get the title back as soon as Extreme Rules in Columbus, OH.
As for the Smackdown side, fans of Bianca Belair are extremely disappointed with the result of “The EST” losing the title in the fashion she did against a returning Becky Lynch.
It’s not necessarily Lynch winning the title being much of an issue. However, with the significance of Belair winning the title at WrestleMania 37, losing the title in seconds to “The Man” felt rather deflating in execution, especially the momentum that was being built for Belair since.
This basically puts the spotlight on the pecking order that is The Four Horsewomen versus everybody else.
Two: The Bobby Lashley/Goldberg Post-Match Was Awkward
As SmackDown Color Commentator and Former NFL Punter Pat McAfee stated, Gage Goldberg is a sophomore in high school, meaning he was 15 years old.
This means that Bobby Lashley just attacked a minor. Granted, this was a move to get heat on “The All Mighty.” However, there are two issues. One, the crowd still cheered Lashley due to the part-timer element of Goldberg and not wanting him to be champion. Two, at the risk of sounding repetitive, Lashley attacked a minor.
Goldberg and wife/stunt performer Wanda Ferraton-Goldberg gave the okay for this to happen, yes. However, this was awkward, especially since Gage isn’t an adult. Sure, this will probably be used to enhance the feud moving forward, but this also leads to the issue that Raw is thin at the main event level. This rivalry may continue following WWE SummerSlam 2021 and that’s honestly the fault of WWE.
Kick Out: Edge’s Tribute to The Brood was a Welcome Surprise
Edge bringing back the Brood-style entrance was pretty fun to see. This was a throwback for the fans.
It showed that Edge will always be one of the mire mindful wrestlers in WWE, remembering in a sense where they came from.
Three: Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns Was the Second Most Logical Feud Post-SummerSlam
The reason why Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns is the second most logical feud is the monkey wrench thrown during the buildup between Reigns and John Cena, with adding the former NXT and Universal Champion, Finn Bálor.
Bálor was set to sign a contract for the Universal Championship match. However, due to overbooked shenanigans, Bálor was slighted out of the Universal title picture. With Extreme Rules being 5 weeks away, I don’t think that Lesnar/Reigns will happen there. It would certainly be surprising, but it’s unlikely.
Bálor should be the next feud for Reigns heading into Saudi Arabia and Survivor Series season. Despite Smackdown’s main event being thin, it’s not to the same degree as Raw.
On SmackDown, arguments can be made for Bálor, Seth Rollins, Big E, Kevin Owens, and even Baron Corbin to be in the main event picture.
Note, Lesnar/Reigns happening was indeed inevitable due to the Paul Heyman ties holding that option as a possibility. The question is, why so soon?
The logical reasoning could be tied to Survivor Series. Since WWE dubbed the show “The Thanksgiving Tradition” in 2016, the one night a year Raw and Smackdown go head to head, a heel vs. heel matchup to the higher brass doesn’t seem to make sense.
Let’s look back: a world title has changed hands every year prior to Survivor Series since 2017. AJ Styles winning the WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal, 2018 saw Daniel Bryan end the year-plus long reign of AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, and both Universal and WWE Championships changed as Bray Wyatt defeated then-Universal Champion Seth Rollins at Crown Jewel on Halloween of 2019, and Lesnar winning the WWE Championship against Kofi Kingston on the inaugural episode of Smackdown on FOX.
The possibility could be either Goldberg as WWE Champion vs Universal Champion Roman Reigns to make up for their WrestleMania 36 match. This was supposed to happen but due to the earlier stages of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic in the United States. Reigns being a cancer survivor made him compromised. Therefore, the match was canceled and the future “Tribal Chief” was replaced by then-WWE Superstar Braun Strowman.
Another possibility is current WWE Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion. For most, this is a dream match due to the mixed martial arts pedigree they share. Plus, with Lesnar seemingly being a fan favorite coming out of SummerSlam, smiling more and confronting “The Tribal Chief,” the match makes all the more sense.
All in all, WWE SummerSlam 2021 was a slightly below-average show for what was supposed to be its second-biggest event. In fact, it was outclassed by better shows at the ThunderDome and even as recently as Money in the Bank in Ft. Worth, TX.