WWE SummerSlam 2023: Full match results, grades

SummerSlam, WWE’s second-biggest show of the year, took place on Saturday night at Ford Field in Detroit. The 36th installment of SummerSlam featured a stacked card, featuring four main events and four championship matches.

The announced crowd of 59,194 people were treated to two matches that are legitimate candidates for match of the year, including the WWE Women’s Championship match, which featured not one, but two title changes after a surprise Money in the Bank cash in by Iyo Sky.

Here’s a rundown of all of the action from the Motor City.

Logan Paul vs. Ricochet

Paul and Ricochet were a lock to start the night as “Maverick” wanted to get to Dallas in time to watch his brother Jake Paul’s boxing match against Nate Diaz. Paul worked heel early in the match, taunting Ricochet and ducking out of the ring. Ricochet controlled the match early before an elbow from Paul shifted momentum in his favor. Paul hit a neckbreaker on Ricochet to the ring apron and taunted Ricochet’s real-life fiance, WWE ring announcer Samantha Irvin. Paul would later hit Ricochet with a modified leg drop — a move he calls the “Hogan Paul — paying tribute to Hulk Hogan, who beat Andre the Giant at the Pontiac Silverdome in WrestleMania III.

Paul and Ricochet hit a handful of high-risk moves — two Spanish flys, a top-rope clothesline, crossbody into a standing moonsault — before Paul would send himself shoulder-first into the ring post. That moment would allow Ricochet to hit a neckbreaker off the top rope and gain momentum before a stunning moonsault into a tornado DDT by Paul. Ricochet sold a rib injury before going for a shooting-star press that Paul countered by getting his knees up. Paul would hit a massive springboard frog splash for a near-fall. Ricochet built momentum and went for a match-ending 630 that Paul moved out of the way for and was given brass knuckles by an outsider. Paul would hit Ricochet with the ref distracted and score the pinfall. Grade: B+

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Rhodes didn’t wait for the bell to attack Lesnar. Lesnar quickly recovered and hit Rhodes with a German suplex. Rhodes hit two Disaster Kicks before Lesnar countered a third. Rhodes would eventually evade Lesnar, sending him shoulder first into the ring post. A suicide dive forced the action outside where Lesnar eventually regained momentum. The match followed the usual Lesnar formula, with the former UFC heavyweight champion dominating via a series of suplexes. Rhodes would kick out of a pin at one and rush back into the ring during count-out segments, leaving Lesnar to taunt him.

Lesnar would eventually force Rhodes outside the ring and follow him to deliver an F5 to the American Nightmare. Rhodes beat the 10 count back into the ring, would use the ropes to stand and attack Lesnar. Lesnar regrouped and put Rhodes through the announce table with a second F5. Rhodes again beat the 10 count, only to be suplexed again by Rhodes. Rhodes would pull the protective padding off one of the turnbuckles and gain momentum by sending Lesnar into the ring post twice and hitting him with steel steps. Rhodes would hit another Disaster Kick and a pair of Cody Cutters, but Lesnar kicked out at two. Lesnar would trap Rhodes in the Kimora Lock before an eventual rope break. Lesnar went for a F5, Rhodes reversed and sent Lesnar into the exposed turnbuckle. Rhodes locked in a Kimora of his own, but Lesnar broke the submission. Lesnar again went for an F5 but Rhodes countered and hit a trio of CrossRhodes to secure the win. Grade: B+

SummerSlam Battle Royal

Omos was the last entrant to join the fray, despite the match having already started. The 7-foot-3 behemoth eliminated three people immediately upon entering the ring. Raw Superstars took center stage with The Viking Raiders, Chad Gable and Otis, Imperium, Tommaso Ciampa and Shinsuke Nakamura all furthering their respective feuds on WWE’s flagship show. On the SmackDown side, Santos Escobar and Austin Theory squared off, advancing their storyline involving the United States Championship. Omos would inevitably be eliminated by nearly a dozen other wrestlers, setting up the ending segments. Karrion Kross, after being eliminated, would cost A.J. Styles, leaving just L.A. Knight and Sheamus in the ring. Knight hit the spot of the night so far with a top-rope belly-to-belly superplex before eventually winning. Grade: B

Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler

This match was contested under “MMA rules” which the referee explained before the match. The only way this was going to be won was by knockout or submission. After a sequence of throws and counters, Baszler hit Rousey with two leg kicks and a head kick, sending the former UFC champion out of the ring. Rousey recovered and hit a flying knee to Baszler’s face and locking in a submission. Baszler forced the action to the outside and sold an arm injury. Rousey attacked WWE officials tending to Baszler and then the two women teed off on one another. Baszler landed a suplex and a Kirifuda Clutch. Rousey would reverse into her signature armbar and Baszler would reverse that as well. Baszler eventually locked in the Kirifuda Clutch again and Rousey would pass out, resulting in a TKO win for Baszler. Grade: C-

Intercontinental Championship match: Drew McIntyre vs. Gunther (c.)

The two European brutes stared each other down before a quick collar-and-elbow lock and McIntyre knocking the champion to the mat with a shoulder block. McIntyre controlled the action early before Gunther took control outside of the ring, sending the Scottish star into the ringpost and slamming him onto the steel steps. McIntyre did an excellent job of selling Gunther’s chops and clotheslines before building momentum back himself. McIntyre hit two huge belly-to-belly suplexes, but would whiff on a Claymore Kick. Gunther went for his finishing powerbomb but McIntyre reversed it into one of his own and followed up with a Future Shock DDT and a near-fall. Gunther would escape outside the ring and McIntyre land a senton over the top rope. As action returned to the ring Gunther regained momentum, hitting several high-impact moves — including a rare top-rope splash.

As the match continued, McIntyre and Gunther would exchange vicious chops to one another before a speedy Claymore Kick and near-fall for McIntyre. For the first time, an audible “This is awesome” chant broke out amongst the Ford Field crowd. The closing sequence followed shortly after, with Gunther and McIntyre battling on the top turnbuckle. Gunther pushed off McIntyre onto the ropes, hit a splash, clothesline and powerbomb to pick up the win and retain his Intercontinental Championship. Grade: B

WWE World Heavyweight Championship match: Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (c.)

Finn Balor showed the word “Seven” on his shoulder as he walked to the ring, a reference to the SummerSlam match between these two in 2016 for the inaugural WWE Universal Championship. Rollins would inadvertently injure Balor that night, forcing him to relinquish his championship the very next night. Rollins, ever the showman, wore the same vest he wore at SummerSlam 2016.

Balor attacked Rollins before the bell and the two brawled for a few seconds before the official called for the match to begin. Rollins gained momentum early before Balor snagged the upper hand and began to work on Rollins’ shoulder and arm. After Balor’s early dominance, Rollins hit a flurry of headbutts and kicks and eventually a Falcon Arrow for two near-falls. The action went outside the ring as Rollins landed three suicide dives and sent Balor onto the announce table. Rollins went to the top rope, but Balor countered and sent Rollins’ arm into the ringpost. Balor would then hit Rollins with a powerbomb into the barricade, a callback to the same maneuver that injured him seven years ago.

As the action returned to the ring, Balor locked in an armbar on Rollins, which the champion reversed into a pair of Bucklebombs and a frog splash to nearly score the win. Balor countered a stomp from Rollins and went for his finisher but Rollins countered himself into a superplex. Rollins avoided a Coup de Grace from Balor and hit a Pedigree for a near-fall. As the two exhausted wrestlers remained in the ring, Balor’s stablemate and Money in the Bank briefcase holder Damian Priest made his way to the ring. Priest would hit Rollins with a punch and Balor would score a near fall. Shortly after the rest of the Judgment Day — Rhea Ripley and Dominik Mysterio — came out to distract the referee. Priest and Balor got into an argument and Rollins landed a stomp to score a near fall.

Rollins, distracted by taking out the Judgment Day, was hit with a Slingblade and Coup de Grace, but managed to kick out at two after Balor’s pin. Priest placed the briefcase in the ring and got the referee’s attention. Balor went to grab the briefcase and Rollins capitalized with a stomp onto it to win the match and retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Grade: A+

WWE Women’s Championship match: Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair vs. Asuka (c.)

Asuka quickly took out both Flair and Belair’s knees by utilizing the ropes. As she went back into the ring and tried for a hip attack, Flair caught her and hit her with a belly-to-back suplex and sent the champ outside the ring. After a brief exchange between Flair and Belair, the former went outside the ring to focus on Asuka. Belair utilized a high-flying move to take out the other two women. Asuka hit Flair with a German suplex, sending her out of the ring the champion’s attention turned to Belair. Flair recovered and reentered the match via a top-rope crossbody. Flair sent Belair and Asuka into the corner with suplexes before hitting a splash and double Natural Selection. Flair then went for a combo pin but was unable to secure the win.

Asuka would force Belair outside of the ring briefly, but the EST of WWE would come back in a huge way, hitting a combination neckbreaker and DDT on Flair and Asuka. Belair’s momentum would be stopped as she went for a dual standing moonsault but both Flair and Asuka got their knees up. Asuka snared Flair in the Asuka Lock before Belair would successfully land the standing moonsault this time to break the hold. Belair went to the top rope before Asuka knocked her off and then Flair did the same to the champ. Flair then went for her patented top-rope moonsault. Flair took out Belair, but Asuka was able to kick Flair in the immediate aftermath. Asuka sent Flair back into the ring and landed a top-rope DDT, looking for a pin. Belair, recovered, broke up the pin.

After an attempted Kiss of Death from Belair to Asuka failed, Belair went for her finisher on Flair, but was countered. Belair landed a suplex on Flair before Asuka came in to capitalize and pin Flair herself. In a quick flurry, Belair hit a gut-wrench, sit-down powerbomb on Flair and Asuka tried to submit Belair. Flair went for the pin of both women and scored a near fall. Flair would again go for a double pin after hitting a moonsault. Belair was sent outside and landed awkwardly on the steel steps, selling a leg injury that had been referenced several times during the match.

With Belair incapacitated, Asuka landed a superplex on Flair and the two women went toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring. Flair landed a spear for yet another near-fall and she locked Asuka into the Figure 8. Belair ran back into the ring, hobbled and hit a 450 splash on Flair, but Flair would kick out before three. Flair and Belair would exchange blows before Flair eventually locked in the Figure Eight. With the Figure Eight locked in, Asuka returned to the match and hit Flair with the mist. Belair, still in the submission hold, rolled up Asuka for the win.

As Belair celebrated, Iyo Sky’s music hit and she ran to the ring with Bayley. Sky cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase on the injured Belair and with the help of Bayley hit a moonsault and pinned Belair to become the new WWE Women’s Champion. Grade: A+

WWE Undisputed Universal Championship match: Jey Uso vs. Roman Reigns (c.)

Reigns and Uso spent the early portion of the match pacing around the ring, with the champion demonstrating his size and power advantage in winning two collar-and-elbow sequences. The hot crowd in Detroit immediately alternated between “Let’s go Roman” and “Roman sucks” chants.

Uso built momentum after a slow, methodical start from Reigns. After countering a suplex attempt, Uso hit Reigns with several punches and, in a throwback to their relative Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a spit-soaked slap. Uso would force Reigns outside the ring and hit him with a suicide dive before sending the Tribal Chief into the steel steps. As Uso set up a table, Paul Heyman distracted the challenger, allowing Reigns to gain the upper hand again.

Reigns slowed down the action again, hitting Uso with a drive-by kick and scoring a near-fall. Uso would land a step-up enziguri but his momentum would be short-lived as he went for another suicide dive but was met with a kendo stick from Reigns. Again, any offense Uso mounted, Reigns immediately countered and overpowered his cousin.

As Reigns set up for a Superman Punch finisher, Uso countered and used the kendo stick to batter Reigns, sending him to the floor and landing a massive senton over the top rope. Back in the ring, Uso went for a cross body but Reigns countered with a Superman Punch. Reigns would go for a spear but Uso countered, landed a superkick and frog splash, all leading to a near-fall. Uso introduced a steel chair into the match and used it twice on Reigns before tossing several more chairs into the ring. Uso set Reigns up for a superplex onto the chairs, but on his second attempt Reigns countered into a powerbomb and yet another near-fall.

Reigns, again with the advantage, set up a table of his own inside the ring. Uso attempted to turn the tide but after an exchange of punches with Reigns would briefly be taken out. Uso quickly recovered and was able to deliver a Samoan Drop to Reigns through the table he set up outside the ring earlier in the match. As Reigns crawled away, Uso used a leather strap to whip the staggered champion. Reigns attempted to escape through the crowd, but Uso stalked him.

With Uso about to land another devastating Samoan Drop to Reigns, Uso’s brother and Reigns’ running mate Solo Sikoa interfered to take out Uso. Sikoa used a Spinning Solo to put Uso through a table before dragging him back towards the ring. Sikoa would hit Uso with his finisher again inside the ring as he and Reigns ganged up on their battered family member. As the two set up the combo spear and Samoan spike, Uso countered, forcing Reigns to spear Sikoa. A spear from Uso to Reigns led to a near-fall.

Uso, armed with a steel chair again, alternated blows on Sikoa and Reigns before unloading on the Tribal Chief, forcing him to roll outside the ring. As Uso went for another chair blow, Sikoa hit him with a superkick to bail out Reigns again. As Reigns and Sikoa argued over the previous incident, Uso speared Reigns through the barricade. Sikoa turned his frustrations to Uso and looked to put him through the announce table. Uso reversed, landed a superkick and then a splash on Sikoa through the table.

The action quickly returned to the ring, with Uso landing a spear and splash on Reigns and appearing set up to win before a masked Jimmy Uso came out and broke up the pin. Jimmy Uso superkicked his twin brother and fed him back into the ring for Reigns to spear through a table and pin for the victory. Grade: A

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