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Summerslam/NXT ’19 Chaos and smart booking reigns

A packed WWE PPV weekend featured some shocks.  How many titles changed hands? A reboot for the ages, a match that featured call backs, and wrestlers attempt to end their careers. Let’s dive into the crazy weekend that WWE provided us.

NXT TakeOver: Toronto.

Tag team fire! Best woman in pro wrestling. The Riddle.

Street Profits retain titles vs the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish.

When fans say that WWE Tag Team is dead, NXT quickly quiets the smarks. Street Profits continue to excel when given the chance to shine and oh boy did they do that. This isn’t a knock on Fish and O’Reilly as they are one the best tag teams in the world, and have been for awhile. However to see the Profits keep rising to the top of the mountain is refreshing. Especially when Ford channels his inner Rock while not making it feel like a copy cat maneuver. Hopefully the Street Profits will stay on the yellow brand for a little bit longer. As it can benefit them, NXT, and the network FS1 when NXT goes to two hours.

Io Shirai defeats Candice LaRea.

Now this is the Io I remember. Ok, the first match I ever saw her in was vs Pentagon Jr (yes against that madman) on Lucha Underground. What I saw was a silent assassin hell bent on destroying Pentagon Jr. Evil Io vs Ultimate Babyface Candice was better than what some of the reviews gave the match. It seemed that people forget that Candice is more than Johnny Gargano’s wife and a very talented performer. Candice’s skill along with Io’s supreme skill set made a very compelling in ring story. As Io did every despicable tactic for the win and Candice showing that “Lionhart” she possess like her husband. This ended making both ladies look strong, a rare feat in WWE lately.

Matt Riddle’s emotions and pride = chaos.

From out the crowd Matt Riddle storms the ring and calls out the repackage Killian Dain for the attack earlier in the week. Finally Riddle gets to start the beating, as it was becoming too one-sided with Dain standing tall. I can’t really wait until these two battle it out, the build for them caught me off guard and it’s fantastic. Even there was collateral damage as one the security guards (future talent) shared a bump with Riddle as Dain just doesn’t care on who is around. When this match finally happens it’s going to be an epic brawl.

A dreamy triple threat. Baszler taken to her limits. Don’t make Johnny angry.

Velveteen Dream retains North American Championship.

When the match ended, I stood up and gave it the “1980’s slow clap” appreciation. It was that damn good. From Dream’s corny Mountie entrance to Roderick Strong’s sly attempts for a pin fall to Pete Dunne being a murder machine. It was all brilliant almost stole the show.. almost, but we’ll get to that later. Numerous spots where displayed that either I have not seen yet or it was done so rarely I can’t remember seeing them. Like a Tower Of Doom spot that turned into an Angle Slam to Arm Drag. Double Strong Holds from Roderick. Velveteen Dream hitting The Purple Rainmaker breaking the pin fall and his body bounces onto of Dunne’s for the win. Amazing.. I can watch this fight all day long. The only thing that may top the fight was the pending fallout of Dream vs Dunne… and that my friend is a Dream match.

Baszler retains Women’s NXT Championship.

Say what you will about Shayna, but the Queen of Spades continues to evolve no matter what. The matter of in which I am speaking of is Mia Yim and her game plan. Yim came gangsta swinging, taking out the Horsewomen and then Shayna’s arm. Thus, limiting her from properly locking the Kirifuda Clutch. So that’s that, right? Wrong. Baszler is a submission machine, she can probably make anyone tap without the use of any of limbs. That is where Mia miscalculated, under estimating Baszler’s knowledge and it was her undoing. However, just like the Io vs Candice match both ladies left looking strong. With Shayna displaying her vast array of holds to Mia’s will do anything to win. My question is, what is left for Shayna? I mean she is on the cusp of Asuka like reign, who will be able to stop her? Maybe Asuka will come back and we can have a battle of the titans, since the main roster has no clue on what to do with her. Time will only tell.

Angry Johnny = a whole lotta hurt for Adam Cole.. BAY! BAY! Adam Cole retains NXT Championship.

This match… wow this match!! You can tell it had the fingerprints of HHH all over it. What start out as a best out of three match, became a little match called Three Stages Of Hell. Do you know who were the first contenders in that match? Well, it was Stone Cold Steve Austin….. and HHH. Is that a bad thing? Oh, hell no!! Gargano displayed sadistic traits and some IDGAF attitude during the match. This match had all the call backs from their feud leading up to this match. Matching Super Kicks with fake Super Kicks so Johnny can hit a Headscissors, was brilliant. No matter what though, Johnny can not seem to beat Cole in a straight up fight. So Gargano losses his cool and smacks Adam Cole with a steel chair getting DQ in the first fall. In a Classic Wrestling Match stipulation.

Round 2: Street Fight

Even losing the 1st fall, Gargano is pleased that he hurt Cole, even shrugging his shoulders in a “Oh, well” moment. That was the route Johnny was heading, a nonchalant attitude, an attitude of I’m going to really, really hurt you. Johnny chose this stipulation and it is beginning to show. Johnny Wrestling, turn into Johnny Angel of Death. Now, Cole was no push over and fought back, alas it was too little in the second fall of a 51 min match. AS Gargono scored a fall via Gargano Escape. Have you followed the swerves? Cole wins a Classic Wrestling match by DQ and Gargano wins a Street Fight with a classic wrestling move. I was witnessing pure genius and grand storytelling from these two superb performers.

Final round: Weapon packed Steel Cage match:

At the request of NXT GM William Regal, the cage was lowered. I was close to losing my collective mind, then it was announced that win can only come by pin fall or submission. Yep, lost it there.. no hokey escape from the cage win. This was an utter classic and insane conclusion to a beautiful match. Here is where Johnny went full on madman, clipping barbed wire from on top the cage for a weapon, brandishing a sledgehammer to use on Cole’s broken body (I see you HHH), to the final spot that could of easily be determine the two men’s disregard of life.

When Gargano fashioned the barbed wire in to a weapon, Cole took one look and said to hell with this a attempted to escape the cage. They both battled on a table perched on top of the cage. Then… the duo crashed down, from 20ft in the air onto tables below. Adam Cole barley covers Johnny for the pin fall. The spot didn’t look it went as planned, as they only caught one table and the rest of it was on the mat. So they only had 50% cushion for the fall. This after all the hell they went through before. I was shocked, in disbelief, in total pro wrestling nirvana after witnessing this incredible performance.

The Fallout.

One last thing happened after the match. Johnny finally rose to his feet as the crowd gave a standing ovation and then William Regal walked out congratulating Gargano. What? Was this Johnny Wrestling’s send off match? Will be fully committed to the Main Roster? I said fully, because he already debut on the Main Roster. If so, this was a fantastic, stupendous, amazing, and just down right awesome send off. Johnny Gargano is the epitome of NXT. Overlooked, working hard to gain greatness, shinning brighter then what other thought, inspiring the next generation, and setting the bar. There should be a bronze statue of Johnny Gargano at every NXT event. –David G



Summerslam 2019 came to us live from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on 8/11/19. This was a truly marvelous show with a great many linear stories that saw the proper outcome, one shocking title change and perhaps the greatest entrance in recent history.

The pre-show presented a few matches that wet the whistle of the Toronto crowd.

Drew Gulak retained the Cruiserweight Title against Oney Lorcan, a true fan favorite, after he utilized cheap tactics behind the referee’s back and then he ended the match with the Cyclone Crash to continue his title reign.

Buddy Murphy made his PPV debut for Smackdown, beating Apollo Crews by DQ after an attack from Rowan. Daniel Bryan watched on from a monitor backstage and Rowan had his way with Murphy, who dropped his name as the man who attacked Roman Reigns this past Tuesday on Smackdown. They never did reveal the attacker, although many waited throughout the night for that nugget which will surely be revealed tomorrow night or on Tuesday.

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross retained the Women’s tag team titles, beating The Iiconics with relative ease. The former champs had a few offensive spots, but a Twisted Bliss from Alexa was all that was needed for the unlikely duo to hold onto the gold as Cross kept Kay from breaking up the pin fall.

The main card begins. Crowd favorites.  Ziggler is stupid. Feature classic match.

The main show began with “The Man” Becky Lynch successfully retaining the Raw Women’s title in front of Natalya’s hometown crowd after she forced the submission via the Disarmher. These two put on a fine contest and the crowd was actually quite behind Lynch instead of their hometown Natalya as the match progressed. What’s next for Lynch? We shall see. She has ran roughshod through the Raw roster since winning the title.

Goldberg made short work of Dolph Ziggler, who sold a spear like a dead man, with a Jackhammer following seconds later. Ziggler clamored for Goldberg to return and fight him like a man and he ate two more spears as a result of such.

AJ Styles and Ricochet crushed it in one of the most competitive matchups of the evening. The champion retained the title after a brilliant counter which saw him catch Ricochet coming off the top rope with a somsersault plancha, which he turned into a Styles Clash for the three count. Ricochet looked strong, even hitting a spot where he walked over the shoulders of Gallows and Anderson at one point. This feud should continue, as Ricochet was attacked after the match. Who will help him out?

Bayley goes beast. KO is a hero. Which queen will reign supreme?

Bayley defeated Ember Moon to keep the Smackdown Women’s title around her waist after giving Ember the opportunity to compete for the belt a few weeks back. They had a solid match and the end came when Bayley hit an avalanche Bayley-To-Belly suplex off the top for the victory. Bayley’s next challenger might be more clear after a later matchup’s end result.

Kevin Owens dominated Shane McMahon, who enlisted Elias as a guest enforcer for their matchup. Owens teased a chair-shot several times, which would have led to his disqualification, but he listened to reason. After ousting Elias from the match, a low blow and a stunner put McMahon away and hopefully off of television for some time to come. We need fresh stories and a bigger focus on talent.

Charlotte Flair submitted Trish Stratus in a matchup that showcased that the Hall of Famer hasn’t lost a step. Trish utilized some of her signature spots. Even employing new ones such as a Topei STO that she hit on Charlotte, coming back into the ring. Stratus almost forced Charlotte to tap to her own move. But Flair eventually made the comeback, slapped on the figure eight and forced Stratus to tap. Hall Of Famer Trish Stratus got a great ovation after the match and this was terrific.

Ending a feud? The greatest reboot ever. Shockingly outcome.

Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton’s story will continue after a double count out. They traded spots throughout the match, with Orton even catching Kingston coming off the top rope with his signature RKO. Orton stared down Kingston’s young son and family at ringside. Which after the double count out, sent Kingston into a rage where he caned Orton viciously and chased him off. This feud has a great history and even though the crowd hated the ending, it should and will rightfully continue into next month’s “Clash Of Champions”.

There are about four great entrances in the history of WWE wrestling. The Undertaker’s debut in the early 90’s, Nakamura’s NXT debut against Sami Zayn and AJ Styles showing up in the Royal Rumble in 2016. We have a fourth.

The best reboot in recent years.

“The Fiend” was let in for a submission victory over Finn Balor with a mandible claw, but as he dominated the bout. There was a brief moment that had you questioning if Balor would win after an offensive flurry. It was short lived once the claw was applied with the “hurt” glove. This entrance was eerie, spooky, breathtaking and brilliant. It featured a remix of the Wyatt Family theme and featured the severed head of “Bray Wyatt” made into a lantern. He has to be booked for the world title quickly and the main event might see that to fruition.

The most shocking result of the night was just as quickly as they put the Universal Title on Brock Lesnar, they took it off of him. Seth Rollins sold his rib injuries throughout the match and he took a brutal beating from “The Beast”. He was able to strike quickly as he did at WrestleMania. After a timely counter, Seth hit a third stomp and pinned the now former champion to regain the belt.

How he is booked going forward is everything. Is there to be another match with Lesnar? Will he meet a young star such as Cesaro or Ricochet? Or do we pull the trigger right away, letting “The Fiend” in for a title shot and ultimate victory? After a great SummerSlam, I believe that many fans who have been indifferent for months. Are excited to tune in tomorrow night for Raw? Let us know in the comments!-Joel Reser

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