SummerSlam is one of the biggest nights on the WWE calendar and for the third straight year, the action will come from a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. As the night rolls on, Tim Fiorvanti, Matt Wilansky and Andrew Feldman will provide recaps of the action match-by-match in real time, and ESPN Stats & Information's Sean Coyle will provide in-depth ratings for each contest on a one-to-five scale.
Brock Lesnar defeats Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman to retain Universal Championship
For a complete recap of this match, click here.
Jinder Mahal defeats Shinsuke Nakamura to retain WWE championship
For a complete recap of this match, click here.
AJ Styles def. Kevin Owens via pinfall
Back and forth they've gone for months. They've taken the United States championship from each other on multiple occasions. And all the while, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens have continued to hate on each other even more.
Still, straight heat was not the only storyline at play in this one. Special guest referee Shane McMahon was here to call the match down the middle -- or was he? The unknown made us wonder: Would a swerve come into play? McMahon, after all, hasn't always been the fairest official. Just ask Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Before the bell even rang Sunday, McMahon had to physically remove Owens from Styles.
The first few minutes of the match saw each competitor engaging in street brawl-like tactics before Owens landed a cannonball on Styles.
Owens soon afterward landed a superkick that seemed to disorient Styles only for the Phenomenal One to recover, climb the top rope and deliver a sweet superplex on Owens.
As the action slowed, Owens and McMahon began barking at each other, a sign of what would come later. McMahon was shoved to the outside of the ring, and, of course, Owens tapped out to Styles seconds later but only to the eyes of the exasperated crowd at the Barclays Center.
What came next was an incredible reversal from a possible superplex into a sideways slam by Owens, but he could get only a two-count. The same as he would seconds later when Owens capitalized on a powerbomb that would have won the match had Styles not had the wherewithal to put his foot on the rope.
Owens missed Styles' last-ditch effort to stay in the match and took his anger out on McMahon, who retaliated and shoved Owens to the mat, a move that nearly cost Owens the match when Styles rolled him up.
While he escaped that, narrowly, Owens couldn't handle a final Styles clash. Game, set, match.
Owens left the ringside area, as did McMahon. Any possible contentious moment with SmackDown's commissioner never materialized, though there was certainly enough bad blood that this McMahon-Owens feud looks like it is just the beginning.
Raw tag team championships: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. Sheamus & Cesaro (c) via pinfall
When two former world champions come together to challenge for tag team titles, let alone two guys with as much history as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, one of two things is going to happen: They're either going to win the titles straight away or things will end in a fiery car crash.
Considering how far Ambrose and Rollins came to get to this point, the former was far more likely, though the latter could have broken Shield fans' hearts all over again in a hurry. It came as little surprise, then, that after an exciting, competitive match against reigning champions Sheamus and Cesaro, Ambrose and Rollins weathered every storm and ultimately emerged as the new Raw tag team champions.
In case any fans were uncertain how these two former mortal enemies were able to patch up their differences, a tremendous video montage (even better than the one that opened up Raw this past Monday, in fact) set the stage for the long, incredible journey Rollins and Ambrose endured to get to this moment and capture gold.
Still, there had to be a couple of doubters, considering Sheamus and Cesaro came out together and Ambrose and Rollins came out separately.
The pendulum swung back and forth in the early stages of the match, swinging dramatically for the first time when Rollins attempted a suicide dive on Sheamus and Cesaro at the same time only to get caught and double bodyslammed to the mat for his troubles.
A gutwrench suplex by Cesaro on Rollins followed, and Sheamus and Cesaro showed off their tag team skills by keeping Rollins isolated. Rollins hit a jawbreaker and a blockbuster on Cesaro, but Sheamus caught him and hit a falcon arrow without falling to the ground.
It was around this time that the WWE fans in Brooklyn succumbed to one of their more reprehensible quirks, with a beach ball launched into the air in the crowd. As the attention turned away from the match, Cesaro noticed and occasionally looked over. When a security guard finally caught the ball on the ground level, Cesaro went charging out into the crowd, grabbed it from him and tore it to shreds. For the fans trying to watch the match, which was most of them, it elicited a tremendous cheer.
Cesaro slowed things way down at this point, allowing the fans to do a 180 and go back to hating him in a hurry. Rollins tried to fight his way out again, failed, and Ambrose finally got fed up. He hit a double axe handle from the turnbuckle to the outside on both Sheamus and Cesaro, eventually giving Rollins the chance to tag out.
High spots rolled out through the closing stages of this match. A stereo suicide dive was followed by a double-team blockbuster. Ambrose hit a rebound lariat, Cesaro got in too many European uppercuts to count, and Ambrose responded with a rebound lariat.
Rollins and Ambrose stomped stereo mudholes in Sheamus, but Cesaro stopped them when they perched Sheamus on the top rope in an attempt to recreate a Shield-esque powerbomb.
Cesaro sent Rollins crashing to the outside, then tagged in and hit a flying crossbody on Ambrose, which got rolled all the way through to a Dirty Deeds attempt. Cesaro flipped it over into a few rotations of a Cesaro swing and quickly turned it over into a sharpshooter. As Rollins tried to get back in, Sheamus thwarted him, and the ensuing scramble led Cesaro to turn Ambrose back over into a crossface.
Ambrose rolled it over for a two count, and the final scramble was on. Cesaro and Sheamus hit a powerbomb/clothesline combo but got only a two-count with Rollins still down on the outside. Sheamus and Cesaro then hit a double razor's edge, but Rollins ran in at the last possible moment to break it up only to get sent right back out.
Ambrose invited significant damage from both men, but it caused enough of a distraction that, while Cesaro had Ambrose up in the air, Rollins came flying in from out of nowhere with an enzuigiri that sent Sheamus crashing into Cesaro.
Rollins immediately grabbed Sheamus and hit his wristlock-driving momentum knee strike straight into a dirty deeds. For the fifth time in five championship matches, the titles changed hands.
There's no telling how long this alliance or title reign could last, but for now, it looks as though it will be hard for anybody to stop Ambrose and Rollins.
Finn Balor def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall
How in the world was this match going to live up to the entrances from both Bray Wyatt and especially Finn Balor?
The latter got a standing ovation for his long, creepy trot down to the ring. Balor, adorned in full Demon King attire, might be the only person on the WWE roster more diabolical than his opponent Sunday night.
But whatever odd spiritual personas they carry to the ring, the more pressing issue is whether they could find a narrative that works for both.
Balor and Wyatt have been relegated from the inner circle -- those performers contending for championships on a week-to-week basis -- in recent months. Each has held respective the top championships on his show, albeit brief ones.
Predictably, this encounter went back and forth to start, with the match moving out to the floor. There were some vicious-looking spots, but as they headed back in, the action slowed to allow Wyatt to channel his inner demons and fend off Balor's attacks.
Just when it looked like Wyatt might start to take control of the battle -- finding new life with his backward bend crab walk -- Balor ended things with a Coup de Grace.
Hopefully, this is the momentum Balor needs to get back to the point where he was a year ago.
At SummerSlam 2016, his first pay-per-view, Balor beat Seth Rollins to win the inaugural Universal title. But a day later, Balor had to forfeit his gold after learning he had severely hurt his shoulder and surgery would be needed.
True, Raw has a plethora of high-end talent, but Balor is worthy of joining the matrix. Sunday's performance was a small step in getting there.
Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss (c) for Raw women's championship
For the full recap of this match, click here.
Randy Orton def. Rusev via pinfall
Did you go get popcorn? Use the restroom? Heck, did you blink?
Because if you did, you missed Randy Orton.
When the timing is right, a squash match out of nowhere is better than a drawn-out, 20-minute battle.
Look at what Goldberg did to Brock Lesnar last year at Survivor Series. Who saw that coming?
Sunday night at SummerSlam, it was Orton, who stunned Rusev just seconds after the bell rang. Rusev attacked The Viper before the match officially began, but as soon as the bell rang, Orton delivered an RKO -- and that was that, one of the shortest SummerSlam matches ever.
For Orton, this kind of high-energy win is exactly what he needed after a worn-out feud with Jinder Mahal. Belt or not, Orton needed a new narrative, and while there was little build to his feud with Rusev, it didn't matter.
Orton gave us reason to get geeked up about his presence again, though the same can't be said for Rusev, who has now fallen to John Cena and Orton in his two pay-per-view events since returning from injury.
Whatever is next for Rusev is hard to say. He doesn't seem like a fit to battle for the United States championship and currently doesn't have enough cachet to begin a storyline for the WWE championship. So ...
On the flip side, Orton immediately thrust his name back into the top tier. And whether he's vying for a title doesn't really matter. Just keep delivering those RKOs and we'll watch.
Big Cass def. Big Show with Enzo Amore in a shark cage above the ring
Enzo Amore came out with a pop and followed with a strong, five-minute promo until finally Big Cass' music hit, quieted the WWE crowd and silenced Amore.
Before the Big Show's music began, Amore was locked into the Shark Cage and lifted above the ring. Sporting tape around his wrist, Big Show made his way into the ring and went face to face with Cass.
Big Show came out with a heavy hand and a few strong headbutts and shoulders. He toyed with Cass for a few more minutes as the two big men worked at a slow, methodical pace.
The first shift in moment came as Big Show went over toward the ropes but couldn't grab and climb easily because of his hand injury. Big Show finally reached the second rope, then jumped backward but missed Cass, who rolled out of the way.
Cass' offense came in the form of targeting Big Show's injured hand. His worked the hand extensively, with stomps, kicks and a submission attempt with a wrist lock.
Big Show didn't relent and mounted some offense of his own. He went for his finishing chokeslam but couldn't lift up Cass with his right hand and successfully hit it with a left-handed slam. Cass kicked out at two and went back to the work on the hand.
That's when things began to get interesting with the man elevated above the ring. Amore began to try and squeeze his way out with no luck. So off came his shirt, his shorts and any additional clothing. Amore then pulled out a lubricating substance and squeezed himself out.
As he finally dropped down to the ring, Cass kicked Enzo in the face to take him out of the equation once again. Cass turned around, kicked Big Show for a two count, then did it once more and followed it up with the Empire Elbow for the three count.
This match hopefully ends a feud with Cass, Show and Enzo. Who knows what's next for the big men of Raw, but for Enzo, maybe a move to the cruiserweights would serve him best.
For a full recap of this match, click here.
John Cena def. Baron Corbin via pinfall
What better way is there to open a pay-per-view than hearing a massive chorus of Barclays Center fans singing in unison, "John Cena sucks"? Perhaps a follow-up "Where's your briefcase?" chant as Baron Corbin makes his entrance?
After Cena cost Corbin his Money in the Bank briefcase Tuesday, the fire in this match seemed likely to spill over with a Corbin outburst. What could possibly be worse than having a free shot at a world title?
It seemed as though it was a moment for Corbin to make a statement by beating Cena to a bloody pulp and start a slow climb to the top that was fully earned. But WWE Is not always what it seems, and instead, we got what seems like a big slapdown for Corbin, who fell clean as a whistle to Cena, to one Attitude Adjustment and little other fanfare.
Cena, like several other notable moments in his career, got to be a bit of jerk and reap no consequences for those actions. He continued to mocked Corbin early, even borrowing JBL's cowboy hat just to tip it toward Corbin, further rubbing in Tuesday's clash that cost Corbin so dearly.
One bright spot for Corbin was a brand-new song, entrance video and logo; the shredding guitar with a metal edge suits Corbin well, although his previous entrance wasn't particularly bad.
Corbin got his licks in throughout the match, to be sure. There were suplexes, a World's Strongest Slam variation and plenty of stomps and punches. It was clearly meant to tell a story of Corbin slowly losing his mind, but for whatever reason, rather than have things end in a DQ and a one-sided beatdown, Corbin continued to heed the referee's instructions.
Cena finally managed to wriggle his way out, with flying shoulder blocks and a tilt-a-whirl slam to set up the five-knuckle shuffle. But Corbin rolled out of the way just in time, slid out of the ring and back in with a flash, leading to a chokeslam pick-up into a backbreaker that was one of several nice moments for Corbin.
They both ended up in the corner with Corbin setting up for a superplex, but a couple of Cena headbutts led directly into a solid Cena tornado DDT from the middle rope.
Cena's "You can't see me" gesture didn't lead to a run to the ropes, but he immediately dropped the five-knuckle shuffle and set up for the Attitude Adjustment. Corbin sent Cena into the ropes and hit Deep Six, his other big spot to shine in the match.
Corbin pulled off his elbow pads and hit a series of forearms and elbows to Cena's face, driving Cena into the corner, and then hit punches that were increasingly vicious and seemed to increase the likelihood of referee Mike Chioda stepping in and ending the match.
But soon after Chioda backed Corbin off, Cena lifted Corbin up for the Attitude Adjustment, hit it clean, the ref counted to three and that was all she wrote.
After picking up some momentum late in 2016, Corbin has lost a lot of his credibility in the past month or so. Whatever he's done to face this humbling week, it's going to take a long road of effort for Corbin to dig his way out of this hole.