NASHVILLE — WWE kicks off its new era Saturday with its No. 2 annual event, SummerSlam, at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium (8 p.m., Peacock).
In what is being billed as their final face-off ever, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will vie for the undisputed WWE Universal Championship in the main event, a rematch of their bout at WrestleMania 38. This time, it’s a Last Man Standing match, and the brutal nature of such a contest has Austin Theory waiting in the wings with his Money in the Bank contract.
The burgeoning star has teased a SummerSlam cash-in, but before he gets the opportunity to become the youngest undisputed champion of all time, he’ll attempt to regain the United States championship in a rematch with Bobby Lashley, who defeated him at Money in the Bank.
Plenty of other titles will also be up for grabs. Bianca Belair defends the Raw women’s championship against Becky Lynch in a rematch of last year’s SummerSlam, while Ronda Rousey attempts to regain the SmackDown women’s championship against Liv Morgan. The Usos will defend their undisputed tag team championship against The Street Profits.
A highly anticipated matchup between Seth “Freakin'” Rollins and Riddle was scrapped due to an “injury” suffered by Riddle on Raw, but there are a pair of singles matches featuring celebrities. The Miz takes on Logan Paul in one such matchup, while former NFL punter and SmackDown analyst Pat McAfee is pitted against Happy Corbin in the other attraction.
A No Disqualification tag-team match featuring The Judgment Day vs. The Mysterios also has plenty of intrigue as Edge, formerly the leader of The Judgement Day, was ousted from the group nearly two months ago and hasn’t been seen on TV since. Will those ominous vignettes that air each week on Raw and SmackDown lead to Edge’s return?
Follow along as Mike Coppinger recaps all the action from Nashville.
Match in progress: Undisputed WWE tag team championship: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
Logan Paul def. The Miz
In his WWE singles debut, social media star Logan Paul defeated The Miz after delivering the Skull Crushing Finale. Of course, that’s Miz’s own finisher, a move Logan Paul learned when he teamed with the A-Lister at WrestleMania to defeat The Mysterios.
The Miz turned on Paul following that April matchup, leading to a rivalry that culminated with this meeting at SummerSlam.
Paul’s match was filled with big spots. He clotheslined The Miz outside the ring to start the action and then nailed a springboard moonsault. Later on, Paul hit Miz with an impressive Blockbuster followed by a running powerslam. Then, he tossed The Miz into another one of his own moves, the Figure Four, and followed it with a flying crossbody from the top rope.
Ciampa, who had been helping the Miz over the past few weeks, interfered and then refused to leave ringside when the referee ejected him. AJ Styles’ music hit and came Paul’s aid. After Styles chased Ciampa out of the picture, Logan hit The Miz with Styles’ finisher, The Phenomenal Forearm. Then, in the biggest spot of the night so far, Paul sent The Miz through the announce table with a Frog Splash.
Once back in the ring, The Miz attempted to punch Logan Paul with a chain wrapped around his wrist, but Logan evaded the shot and hit him with The Skull Crushing Finale for the 1-2-3.
What’s next: Logan Paul once again impressed with his in-ring work, and now that’s he under contract with WWE, he could be featured at either Crown Jewel or Survivor Series in November. The Miz, meanwhile, can seemingly take a loss and not let it affect his credibility. He should return to the mid-card picture, or possibly even a program with AJ Styles. It’s also likely that Ciampa and Styles will take things a bit further.
Raw women’s championship: Bianca Belair def. Becky Lynch
In a rematch of their matchup at last year’s SummerSlam, Bianca Belair turned the tables on Becky Lynch to retain her Raw women’s championship.
Lynch attempted a second Manhandle Slam, this time from the second turnbuckle, only for Bianca to reverse the move into a Spanish Fly. Belair capitalized and then immediately dropped Becky with a second KOD for the pinfall victory.
After the pin, Lynch in an uncharacteristic move for her heel character, embraced Belair and hugged her to close out their long-standing rivalry.
Suddenly Bayley’s music hit. Bayley, who’s been sidelined since last July with a torn ACL, stood on the ramp with a smirk on her face. But she didn’t return alone.
Dakota Kai, who was released by WWE in April, made a surprise appearance alongside the former champion and was also joined by former NXT champion Io Shirai — referenced on TV as Io Sky. Before they could seemingly attack Belair, Becky came to her aid, completing her face turn.
What’s next: Clearly, it’ll be Bayley and Belair feuding over the Raw women’s championship after her long-awaited return. Seemingly, Becky will be involved in a program with either Io Shirai or Dakota Kai, or maybe even a tag-team match with Bianca against the trio at some point.
Pat McAfee def. Happy Corbin
SmackDown analyst and former All-Pro punter Pat McAfee defeated Happy Corbin after he connected with a low blow followed by a roll-up after it appeared he was going for the Panama Sunrise.
Corbin attempted to finish the match with End of Days, but collided with the referee when McAfee escaped, leading to an illegal kick to the groin.
The action kicked off when McAfee connected with a Hurricanrana, but Corbin later rebounded with a shotgun dropkick inside the ring followed by a Deep Six. Corbin took the fight to the outside and attacked McAfee on the announce table in front of his partner, Michael Cole.
McAfee later connected with a Superplex and then a flying Senton to the outside. When the action returned to the ring, Corbin attempted the End of Days leading to the finish.
What’s next: With another feud seemingly concluded, Happy Corbin should move onto a new singles program while McAfee will return to his commentary position on Fridays. Surely, he’ll emerge for another match at Survivor Series in November.
WWE United States championship: Bobby Lashley (c) def. Theory
a rematch of the United States championship bout from Money in the Bank, Bobby Lashley again defeated Theory to retain the title.
Theory attempted a third consecutive Rolling Thunder maneuver, but The Almighty military pressed him and then tossed him in the Hurt Lock for the submission victory.
Before the bell rang, Theory attacked Lashley with his Money in the Bank briefcase and then connected with Rolling Thunder into a Blockbuster. Lashley slammed Theory into the mat before Theory attempted to leave the match, walking up the ramp only to be stopped by Lashley.
Once inside the ring, Theory then hit Lashley with a Rolling Thunder into a dropkick. Moments later they traded punches in the center of the ring before Lashley scooped Theory up for the running powerslam. Lashley proved to be too much for Theory, who still has the Money in the Bank briefcase that looms over the rest of the night.
What’s next: The match wasn’t all that long and the rivalry is now clearly over. Lashley should find a new challenger on Monday Night Raw, while Theory could walk out of SummerSlam with an even bigger prize. After all, he stills holds the Money in the Bank briefcase and has repeatedly teased a cash-in after the main event that pits Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed Universal Championship.
No disqualification match: The Mysterios def. Finn Balor and Damian Priest (The Judgement Day)
Edge returned to exact revenge on his former faction, The Judgment Day, and helped The Mysterios score the victory in a No Disqualification tag team match.
The Mysterios had Finn Balor and Damian Priest set up for a double 619 but were reeling after Rhea Ripley interfered. That’s when Edge, one of WWE’s biggest stars, made his return after approximately a two-month absence from TV.
He did so with a new look — and music — accompanied by fire and brimstone. He hit both Balor and Priest with a Spear before Rey Mysterio scored the pinfall.
As expected there were a ton of high-flying spots from the Mysterios. Dominik Mysterio first connected on a suicide dive, which was followed by his father’s springboard moonsault. Then Dominik hit Balor with a flying crossbody inside the ring.
Rey pulled out a chair to turn the tide after some sustained offense from The Judgment Day, and after hitting Priest, slid with it under his stomach for a splash on Finn on the outside. Rey then hit Finn Balor with a Hurricanrana from the top rope before they attempted the double 619, leading to the conclusion of the matchup and perhaps the rivalry.
What’s next: Edge could enter a singles program with Balor, which has the potential to deliver some incredible matches. The Mysterios, meanwhile, should return to the mid-card tag-team picture.
Still to come:
Last man standing match for undisputed WWE Universal championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE SmackDown women’s championship: Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
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