TV Reviews

WWE SummerSlam 2018 – Wrestling Review


Disclaimer: I will immediately rescind this entire rant should SmackDown pull out a promo segment that course-corrects the new alignments to what they truly are.  Charlotte winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Carmella by pinning Becky Lynch in their Triple Threat is the call I would have made given that Evolution is around the corner and Becky FINALLY reclaiming the gold at The Historic First All-Women Pay Per View® would be the biggest, most satisfying crowd pop on the main roster all-year.  After all, Charlotte’s the bad guy in all this.  She is, I’m not being smarky, look at the facts.

  • Becky Lynch spends months turning around a crushing losing streak, working her way back up the SmackDown women’s roster by soundly defeating pretty much everyone and amassing a respectable run that, once Asuka was Bayley-d into oblivion, made her the logical #1 contender to Carmella’s title.
  • Becky then beats Carmella on SmackDown to earn an official title match at SummerSlam, cementing her scratching and clawing back to the top of the card.
  • Charlotte Flair then returns from injury/boob surgery and also gets put into a match against Carmella, somebody who has beaten her cleanly twice before, simply because she’s Charlotte Flair.  Charlotte wins, so now the SummerSlam match is a Triple Threat.
  • Charlotte proceeds to spend the next few weeks casually belittling Becky, her supposed best friend’s, chances of winning the title whilst Becky, who remains as pure a babyface as one could ever hope to find, begrudgingly takes it all on the chin.
  • At SummerSlam, Becky has Carmella dead to rights with the Dis-Arm-Her in the middle of the ring when Charlotte flies in from behind, hits Natural Selection on Becky, and pins her to win the title in a match Charlotte wasn’t even supposed to be a part of.  She didn’t cheat and everything was technically above board, but it’s a dick move nonetheless.
  • Becky, finally having had enough of Charlotte being the worst friend of all-time, beats the shit out of Charlotte whilst the crowd explodes, 15,000 otherwise largely-dead audience members chanting in unison at the weeping Charlotte “YOU DESERVE IT!”

Explain to me, therefore, why commentary is trying like Ol’ Gil to sell the idea that BECKY is the heel in this scenario?  They’re really going for it, too, like three guys trying to bale out the Titanic.  WWE has absurd toxic ideas of how friendship is supposed to work, we know this because Vince McMahon is a horrible person and his ideals infest every facet of the product, but when 15,000 crowd members are booing your alleged babyface champion, ready to riot when the two in the ring are calling for the “emotional Horsewomen” bit, and pop louder than damn-near anything else all weekend at your heel turn – a pop that allegedly has also travelled over to non-smark-infested house shows, so even casual fans know what’s up here… how do you read a room this badly?!  I’m furious but also perversely fascinated by it, it beggars’ belief!

Again, they can fix this immediately.  Literally all that Creative has to do is have Becky cut a promo on Tuesday that just lists those aforementioned facts, have Charlotte come out and feign remorse but in a really condescending way and, when Becky calls her out on it, reveal her true colours and become the superior snobby champ who openly admits she has no respect for Becky and doesn’t think Lynch can beat her.  BAM, there’s your red-hot money feud for Evolution!  For Christ’s sake, Charlotte is a FLAIR!  If you’re booking a Charlotte/Becky feud and the arrangement is literally anything but Charlotte as the snobby heel champ who believes herself to be “genetically superior” and Becky as the scrappy underdog babyface, YOU HAVE OVERTHOUGHT THIS!

Ugh, it’s such a shame that the ending left this bad a taste in my mouth because the match itself was largely great and that’s all thanks to the one woman who is going to get left out of these conversations: Carmella.  Carmella has had the rotten luck of a snivelling opportunistic heel reign at the same time RAW’s women’s division has been strangleheld by same but executed far worse (at least Carmella’s willing to take a few bumps), plus that whole neutering Asuka business, and that’s a shame because ‘Mella, whilst still rather green in the ring (although she’s come on in great strides), does excellent character work.  She has to carry surprisingly long stretches of the Triple Threat and it acts as a welcome showcase for how she can work a crowd and tell a story; the egotistical heel who can’t truly hang with her more-skilled opponents but is determined to prove otherwise, rubbing in any advantage she gets through copious trash-talking that eventually starts to backfire when she gloats for too long a few times too many.  She’s the glue that holds this match together and I hope, with time, we’ll be able to properly credit her improvement here.

In other news: the IIconics continue to rule.

Rusev Day (Rusev & Lana) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas & Zelina Vega
Cedric Alexander (c) vs. Drew Gulak – Cruiserweight Championship
The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) vs. The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) – RAW Tag Team Championship
Dolph Ziggler (c) w/Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins w/Dean Ambrose – Intercontinental Championship
The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan) vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi Kingston) – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens – if Braun loses in any capacity, Kevin wins Braun’s Money in the Bank contract
Carmella (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair – Triple Threat for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe – WWE Championship
Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
Finn Bálor vs. Constable Corbin
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Jeff Hardy – United States Championship
Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Ronda Rousey – RAW Women’s Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns – WWE Universal Championship

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