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WWE SlummerSlam 2023 Reviews

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Rob’s SlummerSlam 2023 Reviews

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

Ricochet jumps on Paul

Opening the night, this was a great spot for this match, and the match delivered with multiple clippable moments. Logan Paul had a couple of moments where he looked out of place, though he was never blatantly unsafe. For Ricochet, this may be his first truly featured match on the main roster, and it was great for wrestling fans. It could have been a career moment for Ricochet, but Paul is clearly the more featured performer by WWE.

Final Grade: 7/10 Good

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Brocl suplexes Cody

This match came surprisingly early in the night, a reminder of how stacked this card was. Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar worked to up their previous matches. Though Rhodes didn’t finish THE story, it seems like he at least finished this story with a win. Aside from the decisive defeat, this was the stereotypical Lesnar match, which makes it hard to praise it. From a booking standpoint, this is a huge credit to Rhodes, who is continuing his year-long push to challenge Roman Reigns again.

Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average

Slim Jim Battle Royal

Slim Jim Battle Royal

All praise LA Knight, the king of our hearts and the king of commercial gimmick matches. The Slim Jim Battle Royal was a lot of fun and a reminder of just how deep WWE’s roster is right now. Excellent wrestlers like AJ Styles, Tommaso Ciampa, Bronson Reed, and more were in this match. In fact, the biggest knock against it was quick eliminations for new wrestlers who should be featured more, like JD McDonough, in favor of promoting feuds gone too long, like Styles and Karrion Kross. The finish between Knight and Sheamus was well orchestrated and built to the appropriate pop from the fans with a Knight win (yeah).

Final Grade: 7/10 God

Shayna Baszler vs. Ronda Rousey

Ronda wrenches Shayna

The MMA Rules stipulation, while it made sense, was a hindrance to this match that featured some of the worst parts of MMA matches, slow exchanges, barely landed punches, and a period of time for medical checks. The savior of this match was a well-built feud, interest in the wrestlers in the ring, and the decision to put Shayna Baszler over. Between those two considerations, it gets a pass.

Final Grade: 5/10 Average

Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre (Intercontinental Championship)

Gunther vs. Drew

Maybe it was their point on the card, but I don’t think this match ever hit the full potential of Gunther or Drew McIntyre. I think the match was also hurt by the fact that we’ve seen these two in a ring on a big stage before. I’m glad that Gunther won because he has a historic reign going, and the person who takes that from him should be someone who benefits from the momentum and credibility.

Final Grade: 5/10 Average

Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor (World Heavyweight Championship)

Seth Stumps Balor

With the added benefit of seven years of storytelling, these two had a great match. They put nice little touches like Seth Rollins wearing the same entrance gear and Finn Balor hitting Rollins with the powerbomb into the barricade. The match hit a high pace toward the middle of the match with just the right amount of false finishes that got the crowd into it. The Judgment Day came out to help Balor, but Rollins valiantly fought them off, and Priest inadvertently cost Balor the match. Priest’s involvement was still awkward but better executed than last time, so there is some ambiguity in his actions. It was a reminder that Balor could still be a main event star today. It was the best Rollins has looked in a few months- the World Heavyweight Championship is building to challenge the WWE Championship. The match set up more storytelling with the Judgment Day too.

Final Grade: 8/10 Great

Asuka vs. Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair (Women’s Championship)

Bianca dives in Asuka and Charlotte

This match had the perfect formula for an excellent women’s match, and the commentators did a great job building all three women in this match. They worked a different style match of anyone on the card with a triple threat style pace and lots of submissions. Bianca Belair injured her knee in the middle of the match, which built a story where she came back and worked through the injury and took the pain of Charlotte Flair’s figure eight. The finish was creative and perfect. Asuka hit Flair with the mist and went to attack Belair, who rolled up Asuka for a shock finish. While I’m not normally a fan of roll-up finishes in championship matches, it stood for everything Belair is as a character, overcoming adversity and finding a way to win against generational WWE talent. It also set up the cash-in from Iyo Sky.

Damage Control reunites

Since Backlash, I was reminded that Sky was perhaps the most talented pure wrestler in WWE’s Women’s Division. She came out with Bayley to take out Flair and Asuka, setting up an insurance attack on Belair and cashing in to win the championship. This was the type of moment that WWE is made for. A year ago, Bayley put together the Damage CTRL faction and handpicked Sky and Dakota Kai to be featured on WWE’s main roster. They were treated like crap by WWE- winning the tag titles with no creative behind them and losing most of their featured matches against trios like Becky Lynch, Lita, and Trish Stratus. A year later, with the Money in the Bank win and the crowd behind her, Bayley’s vision for her faction was actualized, with Kai coming back to enjoy the moment and Sky standing tall as the woman’s champion.

Final Grade: 8/10 Great for the match, 10/10 Amazing for the moment

Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, Tribal Rules)

Jimmy betrays his brother

Coming off of such a big moment and a long show already, it was admittedly really hard to get into this match. I was very happy for Jey Uso, thinking about how huge this moment was for him as a career tag team guy but an excellent wrestler. They worked a slower pace with increasingly bigger spots until Solo Sikoa interfered for Roman Reigns. This really took me out of the match because I thought part of the tribal rules stipulation was that there would be a lack of interference, adding intrigue to the idea of whether Reigns can still win without help and whether Jey is good enough to win on his own.

Jey sits disappointed

To add to that, Jey still fought back 2-on-1 against the champion and the enforcer. It took Jimmy Uso turning on his brother to give Reigns the edge and the win. While I don’t put it beneath Reigns’s character to cheat in this stipulation, I think it was a horrible booking. I loved Jey pinning Reigns in a tag match because tag matches with Jimmy are his specialty. Likewise, it wouldn’t have been unbelievable that Reigns could beat Jey one-on-one (or with just a little help) as a decade-long main eventer and years-long champion. Now, I was reminded that Reigns has been unable to win on his own for over a year, dating back to Sikoa’s debut against Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn, and the big match against Cody Rhodes. Jimmy’s turn on his brother can be saved by a good promo, but there were no clues that made it make sense, so it just seemed like a swerve for the sake of a swerve. Everything combined completely suspended my belief in the sports entertainment. Now, it’s not a question of who can beat the historic champ, it’s a question of which referee is going to be able to enforce no interference stipulations and which star is creative going to allow to end the historic reign.

Final Grade: 3/10 Bad

Reverse Hipster's SlummerSlam 2023 Reviews

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet 9.8/10 A

Logan sits on ricochet

Logan and Ricochet made a statement. If you don't respect Logan Paul at this point, then I can't trust you. He has excellent character work and even better in-ring work. He also made a point about how much of a fan he was. He emulated Hulk Hogan, Nikkita Lyons, Rick Rude, Braun Stroman, and Adam Page by doing their moves.

Spanish fly

Ricochet proved that anybody sleeping on him needs to wake up. Ricochet and Logan Paul proved they were two of the best wrestlers in the entire WWE. They were able to perform their highlight reel matches while also telling a psychological story of two guys who wanted to embarrass each other.

Logan Paul wins

This match wasn't just good. This a match that most other wrestlers in WWE couldn't replicate. They couldn't replicate the moves these two did. It was an amazing opening to Summerslam. The only reason it isn't a 10/10 is because of the ending. Logan didn't need the brass knuckles. I know WWE wanted to protect Ricochet, but the Brass Knuckles kind of undercut the rest of the match a little. However, Richotet's fiance Samantha having to announce Logan Paul as the winner definitely helped this match's rating go back up a bit.

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar 8.94/10 B+

Brock punishes Cody

This match did a lot of storytelling. Cody brought the fight to Brock early, but all that did was gas Cody and lead to Brock throwing him around a lot. Brock beat the crap out of Cody and then just threw him out of the ring over and over again, even planting him with an F5 through the announce table, but Cody wouldn't stay down.

brock Acknowledges Cody

Eventually, Cody had a flurry, but Brock regained dominance and put him in the Kimura lock. Cody again stayed solid, fought through it, and then put Brock in the Kimura lock. The reason this match didn't make it to A status is because of the ending. Even after this trio of matches and all the action leading up to the finish, I just don't believe Cody could beat Brock cleanly. Also, Brock Lesnar is the most credible wrestler in WWE, super protected, and I don't think the three Crossroads should have been enough to finish him. It left me filling like, really, that was the finish?

Slim Jim Battle Royal

8.6/10 B

LA Knight

This Battle Royal was a lot of fun. The biggest praise I can give the match is that it managed to make multiple wrestlers look important. Omos went on a tear, Miz and Grayson Waller teased a tag team, and Chad Gable performed so well I would have understood if he had won. However, WWE made the absolute right move. If they hadn't let LA win, I'd have marked this match down. But WWE went with the guy that the WWE audience has gone gaga over, and it created a great post-match eruption.

Shayna Bazzler Vs. Ronda Rousey MMA Rules 8.1/10 B

Shayna submits Ronda

On the one hand, you can't make the crowd do what you want, but I have to say the crowd really took away from this match. If these same moves happened in an MMA match, the fans would have gone crazy, but WWE fans didn't adjust to the format. They largely ignored the excellent technical match Ronda and Shayna gave them. My biggest criticism of this match was the ending. Ronda and Shayna needed a super quick shock win like one of Ronda's legendary bouts from UFC, or we needed a knockout to put the exclamation point on this match.

Gunther vs. Drew McTyre IC Championship 7.7/10 C

Drew and Gunther grapple

This match was just way too slow and methodical for me. What were the highlights of this match? The time Gunther slapped Drew or when they did their standard finishers? In addition to the journey of this match being boring, the finish wasn't great either. Gunther beat Drew because Drew made a mistake, but once again, it just felt like the finishing move shouldn't have been enough to finish this match. Honestly, Drew is better than just some notch on Gunther's belt.

Finn Balor Vs. Seth Rollins World Heavyweight Championship 8.8/10 B+

Seth enters SummerSlam

This match had levels. The first level was a Finn Balor whooping Seth Rollins's ass. Finn was getting everything he wanted. He was causing serious damage to Seth's arm and even hit Seth's Bucklebomb. The next level of the match was Seth and Finn going move for move, counter for counter with each other.

Damien stares down Seth

Just when it seemed like the match couldn't be any better, Judgement Day entered, and the match went to a third level. Chaos. Judgment Day was causing so much confusion that it was difficult to see who would take advantage of it. However, it turned out to be Rollins, and it was the worst part of the match.

Balor glares

Finn losing his 7-year-old grudge match was bad enough, but losing it in the same way he lost the money in the bank match was even more dissatisfying. So once again, the finish stops a match from reaching its full potential.

Bianca Vs. Asuka Vs. Charlotte Women's World Title match 8.51/10 B

Charlotte figure four

This has to be the toughest 8.5 ever. The woman had so much to overcome. The crowd gave these three nothing. They had to beg every maneuver for the crowd to make any noise. Plus, Charlotte almost had a wardrobe malfunction and had to get her top adjusted during a sequence where she was supposed to be dominating. I know it was a challenging situation, but I wished they called an audible because Charlotte stopping getting adjusted and still dominating them just looked horribly fake.

Bianca leaves injured

Charlotte did hype the crowd briefly in the beginning, but Bianca got the crowd back in it when she went out with a leg injury and ran back in to do a 450 splash on a bridging Charlotte Flair. Side note, Graves took away from the moment by pointing out that Bianca didn't hit her leg on the steps. Bianca flew out of the ring, and we heard a metal clang, and she cried. It was never explicitly stated the metal clang was her leg, but we didn't need to know it wasn't. Sometimes Graves's need to over-explain things takes away from the moment and exposes things that would have otherwise slipped by if he didn't key into it.

Asuka spits in Charlotte's face

The next big move was Asuka spitting in Charlotte's face just when it seemed like Charlotte was about to win, making the crowd pop. However, then Bianca hit Asuka with a surprise roll-up and regained the title. I commend all three of these women. They took the crowd from completely silent to on their feet.

IYO Sky Vs. Bianca Belair Women's World Title match 9/10 A-

Iy celebrates

IYO's music came on and made people jump to their feet just when they felt they were already at the climax of excitement. IYO came in as a force. She and Bayley brutalized everyone on their way to the ring, and then IYO hit her moonsault on Bianca and won the title. It was an excellent cash-in. One year from the day she debuted, she won the biggest prize in the company. IYO will be a big star for years to come, and we will look back and say this was the moment she arrived.

Jey Uso Vs. Roman Reigns Undisputed WWE Universal Championship , Tribal Combat 8.5/10 B

Roman holds title over Jey

From the beginning of this match, something felt off. Maybe it was the wrestlers, the crowd, or maybe it was me. I didn't feel connected to the action; I didn't feel drawn in. The success of this match was that it was able to draw me in with some interesting moments, like Roman being busted open, Solo being speared, and Jey putting Roman through a table.

Roman and  heyman

Roman did sustain an injury during this match early, but he did a pretty good job hiding that. It didn't seem to affect him at all. One thing that definitely hurt the match was the story. Roman should have dominated. It didn't make sense for Jey to dominate most of the match. Roman is the final boss. He is supposed to be the best. He should have an edge in the ring. Jey could have had a big flurry after being beatdown, and I think it would have still worked and even meant more in the end.

jimmy kicks jey

Speaking of the end, Jey getting taken out by his brother was an excellent choice. It was the last thing you would expect, and it definitely makes me wanna tune into SmackDown. Plus, it's a role reversal. When Jey and Roman met in 2020 in their IQuit match, Jimmy came out to help and got choked, costing Jey the match. Three years later and Jimmy cost Jey another match against Roman for the head of the table. Only this time, it wasn't an accident.

Rob’s Final Thoughts

WWE Summerslam started in pretty average PLE territory. Seth Rollins/Finn Balor and the Women’s Championship match tried to pull it out of that territory with great matches and an amazing moment. The main event and the never-ending Bloodline saga pulled it all the way back down. I don’t want to overreact, so I think the main event puts us back where we started.

Overall Grade: 5/10 Average

Reverse Hipster's Final Grade 8.6

SlummerSlam 2023 Reviews are in, and SummerSlam was a strong show. This card was very stacked. Every match had star power. Every match had the potential to knock it out of the park. A lot of matches didn't hit their full potential either because of the crowd or the way the finish was booked. Even that said, if you compare this PPV to last year, you will see that it was better in every single facet. WWE is going in the right direction.

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