Written By: Mark Armstrong
Running Time: 295 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: October 8 2018
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
SummerSlam 2018 once again emanated from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Not unlike last year, the main talking point concerned Brock Lesnar and the future of both him and his Universal Championship, with the heavy rumours being about him leaving for UFC again. But of course, the man planned to dethrone him, Roman Reigns, was sure to receive scorn from fans for doing so, largely due to WWE’s booking of him going back to 2015. As things turned out, the booking of this title switch on the night was booked perfectly which, along with some top-drawer action and other memorable moments, make SummerSlam 2018 an intriguing show to relive on DVD.
The show opens with a cracking Intercontinental Championship battle between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins; though I feel that Seth has had better bouts this year, this is still one hell of a scrap which has the feel-good ending of Rollins regaining the IC gold. Next, we have a better-than-expected bout between The Bludgeon Brothers and The New Day (though it has a flat ending; they would have a superior No Disqualification match two nights later on SmackDown), and Braun Strowman defeats Kevin Owens in astonishingly quick fashion.
The three-way between Carmella, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch also exceeds expectations, with Carmella in particular looking strong. Charlotte wins the title, which leads to a post-match heel turn by Lynch that was, erm, greeted with massive cheers, as has most of what Becky has done since then. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe is a thrilling WWE Title encounter, and whilst the DQ ending drags things down slightly, the personal nature of their feud meant it couldn’t be terminated after just one supercard encounter (since WWE wasn’t willing to put the top title on Joe).
Next, Daniel Bryan and The Miz put on quite the show, and though it’s not a classic, it is still thoroughly entertaining, despite the crowd not being into it as much as one would expect. Finn Balor unexpectedly resurrects his Demon character for a quick win over Baron Corbin, and while Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy is just okay, it features the gut-wrenching sight of Hardy missing a Swanton Bomb ON THE RING APRON. Ronda Rousey then defeats Alexa Bliss in very quick and dominant fashion to win the Raw Women’s Championship; the post-match celebration has an unnecessary appearance by The Bella Twins, who were booed out of the building.
Now onto Lesnar vs. Reigns. The assumption was that fans would try to hijack the match, as they had with other PPV bouts already this year. But a pre-match promise by Braun Strowman to cash in Money In The Bank immediately afterwards raises spirits no end. A fast-paced burst by Roman to almost win the title within seconds gets a big pop too, and though some negativity starts from the fans when Lesnar begins to hit some suplexes, his attack on Strowman at ringside keeps them engaged before another Spear by Roman ends the match after only a few minutes. So, the fans were mostly invested, Roman finally pinning Brock elicited a very respectable crowd pop, and Braun being attacked kept the MITB briefcase active for future use. All in all, under the circumstances, WWE played it masterfully.
The DVD includes all three matches from the Kick-Off Show as extras. Zelina Vega & Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Rusev Day is alright, whilst The B Team vs. The Revival is nothing special. Much better is Cedric Alexander vs. Drew Gulak, in what is a great Cruiserweight Championship clash. We also get Dean Ambrose’s return to Raw, a SmackDown promise by AJ Styles, and Ronda Rousey’s celebration ceremony 24 hours after SS as further extra material.
Amongst the lengthy and star-packed PPVs of the current WWE product, SummerSlam 2018 is pretty damn good. Three of the matches are well worth watching (four if you include Alexander vs. Gulak), several others are better than expected, and there is a historic feel to the title triumphs of both Rousey and Reigns (and as noted, the main event is a creative success). Add to that other nice moments like the return of The Demon character, and you end up with a thoroughly enjoyable wrestling event, one I would definitely recommend to check out on DVD.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent