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WWE SummerSlam Rocks Detroit, Smashes Records

Labeled "The Party of The Summer", The annual WWE Event Produced Historical Numbers

Roman Reigns (left) and Jey Uso; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

DETROIT -- The center of the multi-billion dollar WWE Universe this past weekend was none other than the Motor City. WWE's 2nd biggest PPV, SummerSlam, was hosted at Detroit's Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) and it was a historical success. It was the brands most purchased SummerSlam ever on PPV, merchandise sells were up 60% from last year's event and a new record, and the 60,000 fans packed in to watch it? A new record from Michigan (non-wrestlemania events).

A night that began on a crowd-high with the uber popular Logan Paul giving a virtuoso performance, ended almost entirely opposite as Roman Reigns retained his championship belt amid help from an unlikely source.

SummerSlam kept the hype train up for WWE, as it climbs back into the national spotlight as THE sports entertainment brand worldwide. Record-setting numbers, great matches, and loads of drama highlighted this years ultimate "party of the summer". A Money In The Bank Suitcase was cashed in, a rising superstar made their biggest mark yet, and a surprising heel turn that will surely set the WWE on a new timeline. Lets jump in:

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

Logan Paul; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

SummerSlam started off strong with a couple high-flyers. Youtube-sensastion-turned-WWE-Star Logan Paul drew one of the loudest roars of the night with his entrance, and his great performance followed it up.

Marquee Moment:This one was action packed and defined by the acrobatics of both wrestlers, but it was the final moments of the match that erupted the crowd. With Ricochet on the ground and being tended to by the referee, Logan Paul slipped on an illegal pair of brass knuckles and used them while delivering his patented over-hand right punch.

Winner: Logan Paul victorious by pinfall.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes defeats Brock Lesnar; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

Brock Lesnar is a certified legend of the sport, so it was no surprise to see just how excited Ford Field was to see him. But it was Cody Rhodes who stole the show with his well-known entrance to the song "Kingdom" by Downstraits, where at various points in the song the audience joins in to scream "whoa!". The roar of nearly 60,00 people chanting the song made hairs stand up on my neck.

The fight itself started off lackluster, with Lesnar literally tossing Rhodes around the ring like a rag doll with a series of suplexes, and frequently shoving him out of the ring, seemingly trying to DQ Rhodes by 10 count. Cody Rhodes, who is the son of WWE Hall Of Famer Dusty Rhodes, turned the tables on Lesnar (with the help of some steel steps) and went on the attack. The match was a great showing for Cody Rhodes as he continues his journey up to WWE Superstardom like his father once had in the 80's and 90's. For Brock Lesnar, what's next is anyone's guess for one of the company's biggest stars of the early 2000's.

Marquee Moment: Cody, after 10 minutes of being tossed around and out of the ring, dodged a spear from Lesnar that sent the WWE Legend out the ring. Then, Rhodes used the steel steps outside the ring to blast Lesnar's arm and body. This turned the match.

Winner: Rhodes delivered his finisher "The Crossroads" and pinned Lesnar.

SummerSlam Battle Royal

LA Knight eliminates The Miz; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

Omos versus the field; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

20 men entered the ring with the goal of being the last man standing in the sold out Ford Field. Rules: Simple, throw everyone over the top rope and onto the ground, and be the last one standing in the ring. The match was dominated early on but Omos, the 7 foot 2 beast of a man who eliminated the first two people of the match before being thrown over by nearly a dozen of the other fighters. The match featured the likes of AJ Styles and Sheamus, but it was the night of a budding star.

Marquee Moment: Omos, who destroyed the field early in the match, was eliminated when nearly a dozen of his opponents grouped together to eliminate the giant Nigerian fighter.

Winner: LA Knight, the slick-talking future superstar of the WWE secured his biggest result to date when he eliminated Sheamus with a clothesline over the ropes.

Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Balszer

Shayna Balszer; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

In what some believe to be Ronda Rousey's last match with WWE, the former UFC and WWE champion took on friend-turned-foe Shayna Balszer in a MMA Rules Match . Essentially, things legal/illegal in a mixed martial arts fight, applied to the WWE match. Both women went at one another, but the match left a lot to be desired, and subsequently took the air out of a buzzing building.

Marquee Moment: At one point in the match, WWE personnel came into the ring to stop the fight and inspect the damage to Shayna's arm. However, Rousey had other plans; she shoved the doctors away from Shayna and continued her assault.

Winner: While Rousey dominated a good portion of the fight, ultimately it was Shayna who put Rousey in a rear-necked choke and putting her opponent to sleep for the win.

Gunther (c) vs Drew Mcintyre - Intercontinental Championship

Gunther finishes Drew Mcintyre; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

The first title fight of the night featured the power-hungry Gunther and fan-favorite Drew Mcintyre. The European fighters took turns beating each other senseless all night, and both hit their challenger with multiple finishers. The fight was one of the best of the night.

Marquee Moment: While jostling on the top rope, Drew Mcintyre appeared to be in position to to lay waste to Gunther with a supplex. However Gunther maneuvered and sent Mcintyre (and his family jewels) on to the ropes.

Winner: Not long after Mcintyre's ball-busting fall, Gunther finished the job with a powerbomb and a 3 count.

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Finn Balor - Heavyweight Championship

Seth Rollin post victory; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

One of the highly-anticipated matches of the night featured two of WWE's brightest stars, currently on opposite ends of the spectrum. Seth Freakin' Rollins, wonderkid and current champion, delivered one of his best performances to date. Finn Balor, not to be outdone, delivered a great performance too. Rollins wasn't in the ring for more than 2 seconds when the two men began pre-bell fighting. The match was a classic back and forth with twist, turns, and surprising changes. Seth Rollins disregarded his safety all night with multiple jumps onto Balor from inside the ring (even once jumping out of ring 3 straight times). Finn Balor tried his best to destroy the champion, delivering a brutal powerbomb while both men battled outside the ring.

Marquee Moment: Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley, and Damian Priest all came out during the fight. The 3, along with Finn Balor, make up what is known as The Judgement Day. Priest hammered Rollins with a punch, and Rhea and Dominik all tried to distract the refs and affect the outcome. Priest (Mr. Money In The Bank) gave Finn Balor his briefcase to use as a weapon, however Seth rollins seen this and stopped it.

Winner: Seth Rollins via his "curb stomp" finisher onto the Money In The Bank Briefcase, retaining his belt with a pinfall.

Asaka (c) vs. Bianca Belair vs. Charlotte Flair - Women's Championship

Unexpected success for Iyo Sky; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

These 3 stalwarts of the Women's Division had an all-out battle for the gold. Asaka, the current champion, brought her quirky wrestling ability into the ring against former champion and superstar Bianca Belair and WWE Royalty and 14-time champion Charlotte Flair. Charlotte, the daughter of WWE super-legend Ric Flair, was the aggressor early on, throwing blows and showing her technical prowess. All 3 of the women showed their willingness to fly high with jumps from the top ropes by Asaka and Belair, and Charlotte delivered a somersault from the ring onto Bianca Belair. The match was a marathon for the 3 women that saw each of them deliver a finisher. Charlotte delivered a "Figure 8" lock, which is her fathers "Figure 4" leg lock she adopted when done to two people. You can coin that, btw.

Marquee Moment: Bianca was thrown out of the ring and it looked like she had blown out her knee. However, while being carried to the back by WWE medical personnel, Bianca jumped up and sprinted back to the ring to continue her bout for gold, and igniting the Ford Field crowd.

Winner: Iyo Sky. You read that right, Iyo Sky, aka Ms Money In The Bank, seized her moment at SummerSlam! After Bianca Belair scored a tough victory to reclaim the belt, Iyo Sky flew out to the ring and cashed in her suitcase, securing her chance to fight for the belt right then and there. Bianca was visibly beaten, and a devastating somersault from Sky made a pinfall easy. New champion , Iyo Sky!

Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso - WWE Universal Championship

Jey Uso winces in pain; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

Solo Sikoa attacks Jey Uso; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

The main event and most hyped match of the summer capped off the night. The biggest name in the WWE of the last decade, Roman Reigns, went head to head with his family member Jey Uso in a "tribal chief" match that would decide who left with the most important belt in the WWE, as well as who left with the all-important title of "Tribal Chief".

A match months in the making, Jey Uso and Roman Reigns were once members of "The Bloodline" a group featuring them and Jey's brother Jimmy. Together they brought more Samoan dominance (Rakishi, The Rock, Yokozuna, Umaga, among others) to the WWE and bcame 3 of the WWE's most recognizable faces. Roman Reigns became the face of WWE and the Uso brothers chartered the longest reign of tag team champions in WWE history.

Jey Uso soars through the air; photo courtesy of Blake Wilson Photography

However, Saturday effectively changed all of that. A match that began slow (neither could get the upper hand on the other), turned into a slugfest that saw both men brutally beat the other in and out of the ring. Roman received early help from Solo Sikoa, one of the mates of The Bloodline. A samoan spike from Solo almost ended the match for Jey Uso but he battled through it, and a distracted Roman Reigns took a spear from Jey Uso to swing the momentum. The match was taken into the audience as Jey Uso took the upper hand with slams and fist. However, the match turned back in Roman's favor with the help of a very unexpected guest...

Marquee Moment: With Jey Uso gaining the upper hand and on his way to a momentous victory, his brother, Jimmy Uso, appeared. He stopped a near-certain 3-count when he pulled his brother from the ring. In one of the most shocking heel turns in recent memory, Jimmy Uso attacked his brother and changed the course of WWE history in the process.. This shocked the entire crowd of 60,000, and led to Roman Reigns retaining both the belt, and the title as "Tribal Chief".

Winner: After a stunning turn of events, shocking even Reigns himself, the champion took advantage and secured the big win.


special thanks to Blake Wilson photography, Lansing, MI.


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