WWE Summerslam took place in Toronto, Canada last night; here's our roundup of all the action and the biggest questions coming out of the event. With both NXT Takeover and the G1 Climax to compete with, Summerslam was in danger of being overlooked this week, especially with WWE in a period of significant transition. In reality, WWE delivered a largely impressive pay-per-view, despite a few missteps, and many matches on the card exceeded expectations. There was even a surprise appearance from everyone's favorite R-rated superstar, Edge, and a huge return that fans had been long clamoring for - pyro.
It might be fair to say that much of the Summerslam booking followed expectations, but WWE did offer a few neat surprises along the way, and even the more predictable results have generated questions heading into Monday Night Raw. Two surprise matches were also added to the pre-show at short notice, with Apollo Crews taking on Buddy Murphy to set up a Rowan run-in and new Women's Tag Team champs, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, successfully defending their titles against The IIconics.
One of the biggest controversies surrounding Summerslam 2019, however, was the performance of the newly-updated WWE Network, with many viewers suffering problems with streaming. For those who did manage to watch WWE's self-proclaimed "biggest party of the summer," here are the most important questions from Summerslam 2019.
Will Oney Lorcan Get A Rematch Against Drew Gulak?
Despite being a 205 Live original, WWE's Cruiserweight title eluded Drew Gulak for quite some time, but after a recent gimmick change towards a more serious, aggressive persona, Gulak took the coveted purple belt from Tony Nese. His Summerslam challenger, Oney Lorcan, looked primed for big things after being drafted over from NXT and his first championship bout was certainly no disappointment.
An incredible display of technical acumen, Gulak managed to defeat Lorcan, but did so via a sneaky chop to the throat when the referee's attention was elsewhere. This seems to imply a second Cruiserweight Championship match between these two hard-hitting brutes is on the cards for Clash of Champions, or potentially on a future episode of 205 Live. Can Gulak get the better of Lorcan without resorting to underhand methods?
Is Rowan Trying To Kill Roman Reigns?
In one of the biggest shocks of Summerslam 2019, both Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan had little to no part in the night's events, with the ongoing mystery of Reigns' attacker not directly addressed. However, the pre-show match between Apollo Crews and the snitch who claimed Rowan was the unknown assailant, Buddy Murphy, gave an opportunity for Daniel Bryan's muscle man to get his revenge.
It's not currently clear whether Rowan attacked Murphy for giving away his part in the Reigns attack, or for accusing him of a crime he didn't commit, but this whodunnit looks set to rumble on for some time yet. Did Rowan really set out to hurt Reigns? And, if so, was it all at the behest of another culprit? If only the Fashion Police were still around to investigate.
Has Alexa Bliss Turned Face?
Alexa Bliss has built her WWE main roster career largely upon being a despicable, cowardly villain with a manipulative streak that betrays her short stature. As such, many viewers thought they knew precisely how Alexa's partnership with innocent newcomer, Nikki Cross, would pan out. In actuality, Cross' introduction has subtly turned Alexa Bliss into a babyface character, winning matches fairly and treating her partner as a genuine equal, rather than hired muscle.
While she still displays some of her bad attitude in the ring, Alexa is now arguably more face than heel, and this makes her Women's Tag Team champion status even more intriguing, since Alexa defended her previous belts in a typically sly fashion. Of course, Alexa and Nikki's friendship is destined to fracture at some point, but what looked like a predictable storyline has become infinitely more open.
Does Becky Lynch Have A Genuine Challenger?
The build towards Becky Lynch vs. Natalya at WWE Summerslam 2019 may have been underwhelming, but this Submission match managed to exceed expectations, with several notable spots including a turnbuckle Sharpshooter and a stealing of finishers by both women. With Becky picking up the decisive victory, however, a new challenger for the Raw Women's Championship is not immediately obvious.
Natalya's status as a reliable performer and popular Canadian made her an ideal opponent in Toronto, but there's a distinct lack of viable competitors on the Monday Night Raw roster. Nia Jax and Ruby Riott remain injured, Sasha Banks' future is still in doubt, Sarah Logan has been forgotten and Lacey Evans has fallen out of favor. With Bliss and Cross involved in the Women's Tag scene, a noticeable dearth of competition beckons in Lynch's future.
Is Goldberg Redeemed Following The Undertaker Debacle?
Goldberg and The Undertaker had a stinker of a match in Saudi Arabia, with both veterans looking like they were no longer capable of working safely inside the ring. The Deadman managed to prove himself at Extreme Rules back in July, teaming with Roman Reigns against the duo of Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre in a solid showing. Question marks remained over Goldberg's future, but the announcement of a match against Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam 2019 proved Bill's enduring popularity.
The match went as many predicted, with Goldberg putting a brutal Spear on Dolph after an early flurry of offensive from the Showoff. Always a glutton for punishment, Dolph repeatedly called Goldberg back for more, with each Spear looking increasingly more devastating. For many, this fun squash restored Goldberg's sullied reputation, and WWE also hinted at a future match against NXT's Matt Riddle.
What Next For Ricochet After The O.C. Win Again?
Since reuniting with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, AJ Styles and his cohorts have been on a tear, picking up championships and looking every bit the world-beaters they were as members of the Bullet Club in Japan. Despite coming out in Nightwing-inspired gear, Ricochet failed to halt that momentum, with Styles landing a crunching Styles Clash for the victory. While The O.C.'s trajectory looks to continue upwards, Ricochet's future is less clear, coming off the back of several PPV losses.
It's difficult to see the high-flyer earning yet another bout against Styles for U.S. Championship, but WWE is reportedly very keen in Ricochet, potentially hinting at a move further up the card. Certainly, the Universal title picture could use some fresh blood, and Ricochet would be a welcome presence in the main event.
What's Wrong With Smackdown's Women's Division?
For NXT fans, Bayley vs. Ember Moon is a tantalizing prospect, but evidently this wasn't the case for the crowd in attendance at Summerslam 2019. In fairness, the build to this match has been poor, with Ember Moon not established as a genuine threat in the least and Bayley herself openly courting a match with Trish Stratus instead. In terms of in-ring action, this match deserved a far better reaction, with Ember Moon in particular reminding everyone of her physical prowess.
As with the Raw Women's division, however, the next challenger for Bayley's title is not clear. Carmella might take a break from her shenanigans with the 24/7 Championship, or the pairing of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose could be moved from Tag Team action to the Smackdown Women's Championship scene, but in a roster with Asuka and Kairi Sane, Bayley's lack of potential opponents is worrying. WWE will most likely revert to type and put the belt back on Charlotte Flair before long.
Will Shane McMahon Go Away?
In a feel-good match, Kevin Owens finally got to vent his Shane McMahon-shaped frustrations to a loving crowd, keeping his job in the process. While KO's career was on the line, however, Shane entered the match with nothing to lose and could technically return on Monday night with the same prominence as before. However, the feud between Shane and Kevin Owens was based on fans' genuine belief that Shane's "Best in the World" schtick has outstayed its welcome and it'd be surprising if this defeat didn't lead to an extended break for the boss' son.
Whether WWE has the self-awareness to see this through remains to be seen, but it'd be very strange to see McMahon return immediately with the same patronizing swagger following such a sound defeat.
Was Charlotte The Right Opponent For Trish?
Leading up to Summerslam, there was some skepticism over whether Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus was the right pairing for the latter's farewell match. With multiple title reigns and the prestige of breaking Asuka's win streak, Charlotte is the last person who needs the boost of a victory against an outgoing legend.
While this point remains valid, the decision felt more justified as the match played out. While Trish can certainly still perform, Charlotte led her through the bout admirably, showing experience far beyond her years to take a retiring legend to a very enjoyable match. It goes without saying that someone like Bayley could have benefited more from the victory, but whether or not the Hugger could've brought out the best in Trish is an entirely different matter.
Randy vs. Kofi To Continue To Survivor Series?
In what was perhaps the biggest disappointment of Summerslam 2019, Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston meandered their way to a non-finish. WWE's build and hype towards this WWE Championship match had been very strong, adding a personal, real-life edge to what originally looked like a tired pairing. However, the match itself failed to capitalize on any of this and, aside from an impressive RKO outta nowhere, the action wasn't particularly inspiring.
Even more frustrating was the finish, which saw Randy goad Kofi's family outside the ring, leading both men to be counted out. The crowd in attendance were, understandably, not happy and it seems that this feud is destined to run for the long-term. With their rivalry off to a very slow start indeed, it's possible that Kofi's program with Randy will now culminate in one final match at Survivor Series.
What Will The Fiend Do Next?
The highly-anticipated in-ring debut of Bray Wyatt's Fiend character did not disappoint. After a delightfully creepy entrance that including a lantern in the shape of Wyatt's decapitated head and a remixed version of the "Catching Flies" theme, the Fiend demolished Finn Balor with relative ease, showcasing new additions to his move set including a horrific neck-snapping spot and the new Mandible Claw finisher borrowed from Mick Foley.
It's been widely reported that Finn is set to take some time off following Summerslam, so it makes sense for him to put over the exciting reincarnation of Bray Wyatt. But where will the Fiend go from here? Will he settle into a more traditional feud with another superstar? Or will Bray appear in more Firefly Funhouse segments and save his matches mostly for PPV events.
What Was The Point In Lesnar's Cash-In?
Brock Lesnar cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase at Extreme Rules in July didn't go down well with fans, who were still annoyed by his previous absent Universal title reigns. Given Lesnar's position in WWE, it felt unlikely that Seth Rollins would win back the belt less than a month later and yet that's what happened at Summerslam 2019, with Rollins overcoming the odds to beat the Beast once again.
It's difficult to see what this achieves, other than giving Rollins a more definitive victory over Lesnar than his win at Wrestlemania. Certainly, the short reign hurts Lesnar's stock, and it perhaps would've made sense for him to drop the belt to a new challenger, rather than to hot-shot the championship back to Rollins, who would've benefited more if he had never lost the belt in the first place.
WWE Monday Night Raw airs tonight (August 12th) on the USA Network.