The biggest party of the Summer is here! With two Women’s championship matches on the line, anything could happen. Both titles could change hands. Neither of them could change hand. Or maybe a cash-in from the first Miss Money In The Bank could take place? Let’s take a look at what actually happened throughout the night!
On the Kickoff show, Carmella joins the panel to discuss the night’s upcoming antics, with James Ellsworth by her side. She repeats her words on SmackDown by stating that both Naomi and Natalya need to be scared of her cashing in on them. She also states that both Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss should be glad that she isn’t on the same brand as them, as she could easily cash in during their match. Feisty words – but will she live up to it tonight? Well, she does sport new ring gear – so who knows?
Before the match, Natalya states that despite how much she “respects” Naomi, it’s “not her time anymore”. And as the self proclaimed “Glow Stopper” (no, seriously) she’s going to end her reign.
Our first match of the night is the SmackDown Women’s championship contest between Natalya and the champ, Naomi!
The match is intense straight away, with hot strikes and a quick back-and-forth. Natalya enforces some dominance, but Naomi is quick to counter and lead.
Some highlights include Natalya reversing the Slay-o-mission into the Sharpshooter, a Nattie-by-Nature turned into a kick to the face, and Naomi’s slam from the top rope.
At one point we see Neidhart insert the Sharpshooter, causing the champ to fight for freedom. And although Naomi gets what she wants, her failed Split-Legged Moonsault that follows is turned into the Sharpshooter, and she taps for forgiveness. All hail the new SmackDown Women’s champion, Natalya! The Queen of Black Harts snatches the title from the referee and boasts to the crowd – almost as if she knew it was going to happen and never doubted herself.
So no Carmella cash in? Okay then!
After her victory, Natalya is introduced backstage by Dasha Fuentes as the “SmackDown Women’s champion”. Neidhart, laughing in victory, forces Fuentes to repeat the phrase – again, and again. Natalya said that it was “time for a change” as Naomi “disrespected [the] championship.” She boasts about how by tomorrow the title will change as “glow time is over.” Strong words.
Onto the next match!
Earlier on in the night Alexa talks to WWE.com and insists that it’s going to do whatever she has to do to walk out as champion. But how is she going to get there? Well, she’s refusing to let us know.
Before the match, Sasha is confronted by Bayley, the woman that was supposed to be facing Bliss tonight. Regardless, her friend gives her well wishes and Sasha is on her way.
Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks, both of whom are looking flawless as ever, make their way to the ring and immediately grab each other once the bell rings. The fight is fierce – and it’s only just started!
Some highlights include Bliss’ Insult to Injury from the middle rope, the pulling off the outside apron that causes Banks to fall, as well as Sasha’s reversals into the Bank Statement (as well as many more).
The match comes to a close however as Banks puts in a Bank Statement – something she attempts to do throughout the match – but this time, Little Miss Bliss is forced to tap out! Four time champion!
And still, no Carmella. Guess she’ll do it another day!
Banks discusses her win backstage and ponders on whether she’s happy about being a four time champion, defeating the curse of winning a title on a pay-per-view, or ending the curse of winning a match in the Barclays centre. But she did it all! She says that it’s “crazy” how opportunities work as it was supposed to be Bayley facing Bliss. But Sasha states that she did it… “for us.”
On the Kickoff Show, Maryse accompanied The Miz and The Miztourage to a victory against The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan.
Thoughts: The first match is wonderful. Naomi and Natalya have brilliant chemistry and this match proved it. The psychology, the characters, the moves – and the (lack of a) build up all played a vital role in making the match what it was.
Natalya managed to be the best heel she’s ever been here. From the start all the way to the finish, she really rocked it. She held her own, constantly belittled Naomi, and even after winning her first championship since 2010, managed to stay in character and look down at a tearful Naomi. This is the best she’s ever been, and it seems that things are looking up from here.
Naomi also played her role well too. She isn’t quite an underdog anymore, she’s a leader. But she also had some feisty competition. She constantly impressed with big moves but also allowed Natalya to look like an actual threat. And the tears at the end – real or not – were the icing on the cake. Her passion and drive was extremely clear, and this came through as her greatest match.
With Naomi’s reign feeling as though it had so much more to offer, it’s far from a shame that the woman lost her title at SummerSlam. In fact, this was the perfect time and place for it.
Title reigns are a great way for a talent to showcase what they can do. When one is holding a title, they’re the face of the division. And as Naomi has been around for so long, this reign was ever so important. Although Naomi’s reign has been entertaining, we don’t want it to become sour for lasting too long. We needed the reign to remain fresh. Naomi is a brilliant competitor, and she will definitely have more and more reigns to come. If everything is put into one of those reigns, then the rest won’t feel as special. And if we contemplate the fact that Naomi is the first woman to win the championship at Wrestlemania, first to defend it at SummerSlam, has the longest reign, is the first black woman to hold the championship and has been the title holder twice, it was a pretty decent run. And she is bound to take back what’s hers – or maybe even have a run with the RAW version?
Alexa and Sasha also killed it. It is odd that the face got the boos whilst the heel got the cheers, but they both got a reaction, and that’s all that matters. The match itself was great. It had the aggression, Alexa managed to lead her final match as champion, and both women came out looking fantastic. But is it the right time to put the belt on Banks? Probably so.
The boos that Sasha got were a huge indication that fans aren’t all that into her anymore. And the obvious guess would be because of her constant pushes. So what do we do with an issue like this? Well, a heel turn would be perfect. After not only taking her best friend’s slot at the second biggest pay-per-view of the year, but also taking the title, it’s gotta sting a little for the Hugger. And with the Fallout video taken into account, Sasha may be feeling a little cocky here. She made the champ tap and she stole a SummerSlam title match at the last minute – it all makes sense. And it’ll be the perfect way to rebuild both Banks and Bayley the way they deserve.
The formula for both matches was pretty weird here, because they felt really similar. It wasn’t in the way of the heel dominating whilst the face picks up a quick win. It felt as though the moves were the same, except tailored to the women’s specific manoeuvres. We had the submission specialists aiming to lock in their submissions – and whilst it worked, their opponents constantly got out of it. But in the end, they both won via that same move. It’s not a huge issue, but as the only two women’s matches on the show, it would’ve been appreciated had there been two completely different stories in the matches.
Overall, the night was great for the women. Both matches were solid and they were some of the best of the night.
What did you think of SummerSlam? Are you happy with the winners? Let us know your views in the comments below!