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SummerSlam 2023 recap & reactions: My brother’s keeper

Two new champs, a betrayal for the ages, and Detroit says “YEAH” at this year’s SummerSlam.


Well, that hurt. I don’t know what other word describes my feelings after watching Jey Uso almost overcome every odd thrown at him. But the one obstacle he never prepared for ultimately did him in: Jimmy Uso.

Tribal Kombat—its proper name—started slow and a little too methodical for my blood. But that’s because Roman dominated the first half and relished the beat down. Everything changed when Jey found his edge.

The key for any championship reign, especially one this long, is making the audience believe the champ will lose. With that in mind, Jey made the crowd believe an Uso can beat Roman. Besides the fact that Roman’s reign always involves outside help, Jey put Roman in weakened positions.

He smashed him through a table after they teased who might fall through. He beat Roman like a bongo with a few chairs with Paul Heyman’s cries providing the tune. And he even found a leather strap under the ring and put lashes across Roman’s back.

But Roman always has a plan. Solo Sikoa showed his face and did what he does best. Funny enough, this also made me side with Jey possibly maybe winning. Solo showing up when he did and staying involved with the match convinced me Jey might beat the odds. Especially when the commentators told us about Roman’s inevitable win.

But through all that, Jey survived! He defended himself against two men, made Roman spear Solo, and avenged his brother in the process during my favorite spot. Jey Superkicked Solo onto the commentary table and asked a fan for support when he climbed the barricade. Props to that guy willfully becoming a prop. Jay crashed on top of his little brother in the name of his big brother.

That one moment made Jimmy’s betrayal hurt even more. Jey had Roman dead to rights at that point but Jimmy showed up and kicked his little brother’s teeth down his throat.

Jey, on the cusp of becoming the new Tribal Chief and vanquishing WWE’s chief villain, pulled a knife out of his back with his brother’s name on it. That sucks. Roman didn’t even see it coming as his shock mirrored my own. He got the W and lives another day, but he came close and he knows it. That’s why Paul gassed him afterwards with all those words of affirmation. They both saw the whole the empire slipping away and owe Jimmy their thanks and acknowledgement.

But let’s get back to what matters here: Why, Jimmy? Why? Is it because he thinks the family moves better with Roman leading? Does it go back to his initial unspoken issues with Jey becoming the Tribal Chief? Whatever it is, I hope it makes iron clad sense because an emotional gut punch like that falls apart without logical motivation. Jimmy saved his little brother. He fired the first shot against Roman for his little brother. He stood against Roman all those years ago when this whole thing started.And the only reason we’re even talking about this is because Jey sided with Roman to save Jimmy.

Why, Jimmy? Why?

The fact that I’m asking that proves this match’s worth, and why The Bloodline is still the best thing going today.


Brickmile to Montana

Finn Balor dropped the ball. I know Michael Cole tried broaching that argument’s other side, but it seemed clear what happened during Finn’s match with Seth Rollins.

Damian Priest tried assisting Finn a couple times and the Prince misunderstood. He got so consumed with Damian cashing in on him if he won, he forgot the most important part of that equation: winning.

Damian first, for some reason, used his fist instead of the green metal briefcase in his hand, and sucker punched Seth behind the ref’s back. Finn nailed Seth with a poetic pedigree, but Seth kicked out. Priest then tried handing said briefcase to his partner, but Finn said...nah. Finn bristled at that since it wasn’t “Plan A.” Damian handed Finn a weapon but Finn, I think, thought Damian wanted to cash in? I say I thin because it felt a little unclear and I’m sure they’ll clarify by the time I finish this sentence.

We got an appearance from Dirty Dom and Mami, and for a brief moment, it looked like Finn’s night. Eventually, Damian tried one more after more bickering with Finn. Damian slid the briefcase into the ring right near Finn and got the ref’s attention.

Finn’s paranoia apparently knows no bounds because he reacted slowly and barely got his hands on the briefcase before Seth stomped his face into it. Finn survived one Curb Stomp, but not this one.

Damian’s face said it all: disappointment. He shook his head and looked at his friend in disbelief.

I really dug this match although the ending had too much going on and, like I said, didn’t make everything clear. The one thing I got though is Finn’s paranoia took over and he missed his opportunity. I like that angle and it makes total sense given recent events. I just think the execution missed the mark.

The other thing this made clear? The Judgment Day and their drama is more important than the World Heavyweight championship. That just makes me wish Damian or Finn held the belt but alas.

Seth and Finn delivered here. They wrestled a brutal match with a lot of mind games and callbacks. Seth even rocked the gear he wore seven years ago, if only for a brief moment. But they deserved a better finish. And this feud between them certainly needed a better ending.

Who Knew

IYO SKY finally cashed in her briefcase. What’s more, she did it with Bayley’s help and welcomed back Dakota Kai. Damage CTRL finally accomplished their major goal right on their one-year anniversary too. Perfect timing.

How’d we get here?

Well, it started with Bianca Belair’s knee. During the triple threat match between Bianca, Charlotte Flair, & Asuka, Bianca favored her knee. During the bout, she crashed that knee into the steel steps. Prior to that, and after that, these three put on a hell of a show. Much like the story leading into the match, Asuka spent time reminding her opponents that she’s the champion since they seemed more concerned with each other. Only after officials took Bianca out the picture did Charlotte truly focus on the champ—because duh—and they paced themselves until Bianca’s Willis Reed moment.

After hobbling back to the ring, Bianca hit the prettiest 450 splash onto Charlotte’s body while the latter held Asuka in the Figure 8.

Great storytelling and a great moment. But possibly an even better moment saw Charlotte put Bianca in the Figure 8, with all that pressure on Bianca’s bad knee, only for Asuka to spit mist in Charlotte’s face. Once again, so focused on each other that they miss the champ.

Charlotte broke the hold, Asuka went in for the kill on Bianca, but the EST rolled her up for the W and the championship.

Or so she thought.

So yeah, that’s how IYO SKY became the new champ after taking advantage of Bianca’s busted knee.

I’m so curious how they play this out with IYO as champ and Bayley as support. And who gets the first shot at the new champ? So many questions and opportunities here.

Good match with an exciting finish.

Bumps and Bruises

This was perfect. Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes told an incredible story about a man who never backed down. And yes, bending the knee made complete sense at several moments throughout brutal beating Brock administered. And yes, Brock dominated most of the way. But Cody kept coming back. Brock punished him with punches, clotheslines, and several trips to Suplex City. He dropped F-5’d Cody on the arena floor and through the commentary table.

And Cody never said die. Brock begged, nay, ordered, Cody to stay down. This became Cody’s endurance test. If “finishing the story” matters that much, then Brock provided his crucible. WWE spent months building up Brock’s “combat athlete” status and how Cody stood no chance against that.

That’s what we got; Cody won because he outlasted Brock rather than outfighting him. The more he got up, the more frustration showed on Brock’s face. Cody even survived the Kimura Lock, a particular genius touch since that same move broke Cody’s arm many moons ago.

It all worked. It all flowed. And it all made sense. All that punishment made Cody’s eventual offensive flurry even more rewarding. Brock’s frustration took over and Cod y took advantage. He even slapped his own Kimura Lock on Brock, completing the circle.

But it wasn’t beauty that slayed the beast; it was three Cross Roads’. Cody finally vanquished the man in his way, and got a handshake from the Beast for his troubles. After Cody survived that beating, Brock acknowledged Cody’s heart and extended his his respect.



You can read that title two ways. It represents the sound Ford Field made when L.A. Knight eliminated Sheamus and won the Slim Jim—snap into it—Battle Royal. It’s also the metaphorical sound that glass ceiling above L.A.’s head just made when he crashed through it.

Yeah, the match continued some beefs, like between IMPERIUM and Alpha Academy. Sure, it created some new drama, like with AJ Styles and Karrion Kross. Oh, and Omos returned too. But none of that matters. L.A. Knight won, and is Slim Jim’s new spokesperson along with Bianca Belair.



Maybe I’m selfish, but this MMA simulation between Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler killed the show’s momentum for me. Like I said, they simulated an actual MMA match and it just felt a little too clever with less than intelligent execution.

Shayna won, which makes me happy because I predicted her W. But other than that? Waste of time.

Maybe that’s just me though. Maybe I’m selfish.

Forth and Back

I don’t think anyone ever thought Drew McIntyre stood a chance here. If I have one complaint about this very physical match that did exactly what I assumed, it’s that GUNTHER never felt true jeopardy. Did he put Drew away easily? Of course not. But the prior narrative focused on GUNTHER not quite on his game. Chad Gable took him the distance a few days ago. I like the fact that Drew made him work, but we needed more drama. Drew standing toe-to-toe with him for a red chest contest is fun, but not exactly what I need here. Especially with GUNTHER approaching history. Make him scratch and claw for that record. More importantly, make me believe someone may beat him before he even gets the chance.

Fine match but lacked the extra gear.

What U See is What U Get

Logan Paul and Ricochet killed it. I expected a lot of spots but surprise, surprise, they didn’t only rely on high maneuvers. And Logan keeps proving every time he steps in the ring that he belongs. I loved his heel work with Samantha Irvin before, during, and after the match. Praise whoever got the message that he’s a heel and not a face. Nobody wants to cheer that man, so let him cook with evil.

And the ending? Perfect. Despite his skill, despite the fact he stood toe-to-toe with Ricochet, Logan still cheated. His frustration with Ricochet not going down boiled over and someone passed him some brass knuckles. You know the rest, and that was it for Ricochet.

Samantha reluctantly announced Logan’s win, and looked extra mad when he told her to announce it again. Logan got the W, Ricochet looks good since Logan cheated, and they even got Samantha involved. No complaints.

Logan and Ricochet set a high bar for the rest of the night.

What an ending. What a start. And what a middle too...for the most part. SummerSlam lived up its lineage. So many questions going into the rest of the month and leading into Payback. But this was a great way to spend a Saturday night when it’s way too hot outside.

But Jimmy has some explaining to do and I wait with bated breath.

Grade: B+

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