The week main as much as Saturday night time’s SummerSlam felt notably guarded. A lot of the tales concerning the workings backstage within the wake of Vince McMahon’s “retirement” and Triple H’s taking up of artistic referred to the plans for the corporate’s second greatest present already being locked in. That we wouldn’t see HHH’s affect till after the present, when he might begin anew. Maybe that was simply decreasing expectations, maybe it was simply to make the issues HHH goes to alter pop all that a lot tougher on the present, perhaps a mixture of the 2. No matter it was, you may already see the seeds of the place one Paul Levesque would possibly take the corporate, creatively.
The primary transfer that HHH went for was juicing the ladies’s division, which isn’t any shock provided that the ladies’s revolution on NXT after which the principle roster is mainly what his legacy as a booker will lead off with, and rightly so. Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bayley are family names as a result of HHH’s NXT featured them at the beginning. Bianca Belair is identical. Ladies’s matches have led off PPVs or PLEs earlier than, however this felt a bit totally different.
As they all the time do, Belair and Lynch tore down the home, nevertheless it’s what got here after that signaled a particular departure from what had come earlier than. After the match, Bayley returned from harm, however she was accompanied by Dakota Kai — whom WWE’s earlier management had fired just some months in the past — and Io Shirai (who did get a reputation change to Iyo Sky, however I’m selecting to only not be bothered by that). The previous had been launched by the outdated regime, however was closely pushed by Triple H in her NXT days and was introduced again due to that, and Io/Iyo was one other HHH darling, one who was imagined to be a part of the inaugural Mae Younger Basic earlier than harm. Rumors had been that she was going to run down her deal and return to Japan, partially as a result of she didn’t see a lot of a future in both the brand new NXT or on the principle roster. Clearly, that has modified. The excitement was additionally that this faction was pitched a protracted whereas in the past and fell on Vince’s deaf ears, so HHH instantly instituting one thing that the performers themselves wished is actually a sign to the complete locker room that he’s going to pay attention and adaptability can be a calling card.
One other facet HHH seemingly couldn’t wait to stomp throughout was Becky Lynch as a heel, as she pivoted away from it together with her handshake/hug with Belair after Belair’s win after which backed her up when the beforehand talked about returning trio got here to the ring. Lynch was by no means a heel, followers won’t ever dislike her, and it was folly to even attempt. Tweener sure, Becky can all the time straddle that line. However as a heel? Nope.
So now the Uncooked aspect of the division will get some new faces who can actually go in Sky and Kai (ha! Take a look at that!) in addition to a returning heavy in Bayley. Bayley can take the lead heel function that Lynch was by no means fairly fitted to, and we are able to see another combos moreover simply Lynch-Belair on a regular basis with a sprinkling of Asuka. There’s additionally tag group potential right here with Kai-Sky and Becky and Belair, which can get awfully attention-grabbing every time HHH brings Sasha again (it’s gonna occur and my AEW desires are over). Clearly, HHH goes to take this all a bit extra severely.
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In solely every week on the job, HHH hasn’t been shy about having folks shit on issues he clearly thought had been foolish by proxy. On Smackdown, Roman Reigns taunted Idea by telling him, “Daddy’s not right here anymore.” He had Drew McIntyre reduce a promo throughout SummerSlam about how tedious Brock and Roman dealing with off had gotten. He even had Idea get clowned in the principle occasion, however we’ll come again to that. If nothing else, Journeys has his finger on the heart beat of what followers have been complaining about.
Maybe probably the most refreshing factor about SummerSlam is it felt like feuds and applications ended. Some of the tiring issues about Vince’s WWE is that no PPV or PLE ever felt prefer it introduced something to a conclusion. This is why there have been so many dumb non-finishes as a result of we knew we had been simply going to get the identical match on the subsequent PPV/PLE. It actually didn’t give what’s imagined to be a signature present a sense of being all that essential. It made one surprise why they’d trouble to tune all of it if nothing would ever change in storyline. Most of this card was only a Mania runback, actually.
However Lynch turning face places her on the identical aspect as Belair as a substitute of throughout from her. Bobby Lashley mainly squashing Idea appears like an finish to that. McIntyre is poised to be Roman’s subsequent foil. They made it clear we gained’t be seeing the Usos and Road Income once more. The one factor that appears prefer it would possibly proceed is Seth Rollins and Riddle, however they didn’t also have a match on the present. Perhaps Ronda Rousey will get one other crack at Liv Morgan, or perhaps she’ll be “suspended” and depart us on their lonesome for some time.
Add to that commentary not being afraid to speak like actual folks, or to reference the modifications that everybody is aware of about anyway as a substitute of pretending there’s nothing to see right here, and the entire thing had a brand new really feel. That we are able to tune into PLEs now and watch feuds conclude whereas others start, as a substitute of one other step on a slog to nowhere. You possibly can’t assist however discover that refreshing.
WWE is rarely going to be a work-rate firm, and it’s nonetheless based mostly on memorable moments. In order that’s why Brock tilting the ring with a goddamn tractor is what everybody will take out of it. It’s the sort of silliness and bombast that Vince couldn’t carry himself to creator or didn’t have the humorousness for, at the very least not anymore, however that is what WWE ought to be. Everybody’s speaking about it. It additionally coated for the truth that the remainder of the Lesnar-Reigns match was one more that simply didn’t fairly dwell as much as its billing, although given everybody’s fatigue of this rivalry it in all probability couldn’t have. There have been tons of callbacks to their SummerSlam 2018 match, maybe their final good one, the place they only obtained into the massive spots proper from the bell and didn’t cease. That 2018 match additionally teased a cash-in from Braun Stroman, which was squashed mid-match by Lesnar, as was Idea’s this time round. However at the very least this feud is over, Reigns can transfer on to one thing else that may hopefully free him from his stale state, and Lesnar can return to his Manitoba farm the place he raises greenback payments.
We’ll discover out extra now that HHH can spend the subsequent 5 weeks or so utterly designing the street to a PLE on his personal as a substitute of parachuting within the week earlier than such an occasion. However what we noticed Saturday portends an enchancment, as easy a process as that may have been. However simply because it was easy doesn’t imply it isn’t significantly welcomed.