SummerSlam 2023 recap and grades

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Logan Paul wins and Jimmy Uso shockingly betrays his brother.

The biggest party of the summer certainly lived up to its moniker yet again. An action-packed show from start to finish, with each match trying to outperform the previous one. This show left fans in shock, overjoyed, and heartbroken.

Here are the grades for SummerSlam:

Logan Paul vs Ricochet

Logan Paul seemingly gets better every time he steps into the ring and always puts on a show-stopping performance, while Ricochet is by far one of the best high flyers in the business. The match was fast-paced and featured several viral moments, such as both men landing on their feet after a Spanish Fly off the apron. This match even saw Ricochet break out some old moves like the detonation kick and the 630 senton.

Both men showcased their athleticism in this match and played into the story of trying to outdo one another. However, Ricochet couldn’t land the finishing blow, and while the referee was distracted, one of Paul’s friends slipped brass knuckles to Paul, who then knocked out Ricochet with them. Paul played into the Raw’s storyline and asked the ring announcer Samantha Irvin, Ricochet’s girlfriend, to announce that he had won again. This was a very entertaining match, and the story worked well. As annoying as it can be when heels cheat to win, it was effective in this case.

Logan Paul defeats Ricochet

Grade: A

The American Nightmare vs The Beast

While fans still truly don’t know what Brock Lesnar’s problem with Cody Rhodes is, they were nonetheless excited about this match. The third match in the trilogy between these two men was expected to be a good match, and it lived up to the previous two, arguably being the best of the three matches. There was some messiness within this match, though, like Brock Lesnar suffering a wardrobe malfunction with his shorts completely ripping open and no explanation for how Cody Rhodes was allowed to use the steel steps.

Despite all of that, the story was played out very well in this great match. Rhodes was able to conquer the beast in front of his mother, who a few weeks ago had to witness Lesnar beat down Cody in front of her. Rhodes also used Lesnar’s own submission move, the Kamura Lock, on him. This was the same move Lesnar used to snap Rhodes’s arm. In the end, Lesnar even showed Rhodes respect by shaking his hand and raising his arm in the middle of the ring. A nice touch to cap off one of the most prominent rivalries post WrestleMania.

Cody Rhodes defeats Brock Lesnar

Grade: A-

Slim Jim Battle Royal

At first, this match seemed very random, just a way to get talent like LA Knight on the card or a way to please the sponsor. Nonetheless, it turned out to be an entertaining battle royal. This match also saw the return of Omos. There was really only one logical winner for this match, and it was LA Knight. The fans were firmly behind him the entire time. He is by far the most popular wrestler in WWE, and luckily for him and the fans, he got the much-deserved win.

It will be interesting to see how LA Knight rides this wave of momentum.

LA Knight wins the Battle Royal

Grade: C+

Ronda Rousey vs Shayna Baszler MMA Rules Match

If this wasn’t Ronda Rousey, this match probably would have taken place on Raw. This spot could definitely have gone to Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch, who have had an ongoing rivalry for a while now, or to someone like the Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley.

Professional Wrestling and MMA don’t always mix well together, but this was one of the better matches blending these two styles. Rousey and Baszler are also two of the best in both realms and know each other very well, so it’s no surprise they meshed well together. It was entertaining, but many fans saw it as a bathroom break as the stadium had a lot of people leaving their seats. It’s unfortunate because these are two great competitors who deserve the spotlight. Surprisingly, Baszler scored the win by putting Rousey to sleep in the Kirifuda Clutch. These two most likely aren’t done with each other, but hopefully the next match is a normal wrestling match.

Shayna Baszler defeats Ronda Rousey

Grade: B-

The Ring General vs The Scottish Warrior

Gunther has been on an absolute tear through the Raw roster, destroying any challenger that steps up to him. Drew McIntyre seemed like he might finally be the guy to dethrone Gunther. Gunther was also fighting for more than just the title; he was fighting to break the Honky Tonk Man’s record for the longest Intercontinental title reign, which he is about a month away from breaking. This match was anticipated to be hard-hitting, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The match slowly built up, but once it reached its peak, Gunther and McIntyre were hitting each other as hard as they possibly could.

Imperium also did not get involved, which helped both men solely focus on putting on a great match. It was also great for Gunther because, as fantastic as Imperium is, he can easily stand alone without them. The match was an absolute slugfest, and each man threw everything they had at one another. Gunther even kicked out of a Claymore, something only a few people have done. The match ended brutally, with Gunther landing a big splash, a nasty chop, a huge lariat, and finally a powerbomb. Now it seems like destiny for Gunther to become the longest-reigning Intercontinental champion of all time.

Gunther defeats Drew McIntyre

Grade: A

Seth Rollins vs Finn Balor

The match seven years in the making. These two men find themselves in the same position again, but this time for the World Heavyweight Championship. In their first encounter, Balor secured the win over Rollins, becoming the first-ever Universal Champion. However, in the match, Balor’s shoulder was separated, and he was forced to vacate the title. Balor has had an obsession with Rollins ever since, and it has all boiled over in recent months. The match was sure to have Judgement Day antics, and it was interesting to see what Balor’s stablemate, Mr. Money in the Bank Damien Priest, would do.

Their first Summerslam match was a show-stopper, but they somehow managed to outdo themselves. Things became tense before the match even started because Seth Rollins came out in the same jacket from their last Summerslam match, and Balor attacked Rollins before it even began. Both men were laying it all on the line and playing into their storyline with each other. Two of the best in the business knew exactly what they needed to do in this great match. In the end, The Judgement Day came out to try and help Balor, but Balor was refusing Priest’s help at first. Priest then proceeded to throw the Money in the Bank briefcase into the ring and distracted the ref so Balor could use it, but Rollins stomped Balor on the briefcase before he could do anything.

Seth Rollins defeats Finn Balor

Grade: A+

Asuka vs Bianca Belair vs Charlotte Flair

A highly anticipated match that saw two women striving to reach the mountaintop once more, while Asuka aimed to maintain her position. The match was filled with intriguing storylines, such as Flair seemingly having Asuka’s number and Belair having defeated everyone except Flair. Additionally, the looming threat of Iyo Sky possibly cashing in her Money in the Bank contract added to the excitement.

All three women exhibited great chemistry and demonstrated their ability to work seamlessly together. The match took an unexpected turn when Belair suffered a knee injury against the steel steps. Her injury was severe enough that she had to be assisted to the backstage area. The match then transitioned into a one-on-one contest between Charlotte and Asuka. Flair managed to apply the Figure Eight on Asuka, but Belair persevered through the pain, returned to the ring, and executed a 450 splash on Flair while she was in the Figure Eight position.

As the match continued, Flair had Belair locked in the Figure Eight, and Asuka utilized mist to distract Flair. Belair capitalized on the opportunity and pinned Asuka with a roll-up. While the finish was slightly disappointing, the post-match events generated significant buzz. Damage CTRL stormed the ring, taking out everyone, and Iyo Sky successfully cashed in her Money in the Bank contract to become the new WWE Women’s Champion. Despite being a heel, the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

Belair defeats Asuka and Charlotte Flair, and then Iyo Sky cashes in her Money in the Bank contract to become the new champion.

Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso

Nearly three years ago, it all began. Their first two matches took place, and then the Bloodline was formed. Since then, Jey has been brainwashed and tormented. Roman took Jey’s younger brother away from him, injured his twin brother, and attempted to ruin his career. However, Jey became the first man to pin Roman since his return three years ago. Backed by the fans and riding a massive wave of momentum, Jey had the chance to prove that he could defeat Roman once again and become the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, as well as the new tribal chief, a title also at stake in this match. One of the greatest stories in WWE history reached its climax in this match.

The bout began slowly and methodically, just as Roman prefers it. It followed the typical Reigns match style until weapons entered the picture and Jey gained the upper hand. Jey seemed poised to secure victory, but then Solo Sikoa intervened and attacked Jey. Jey’s younger brother joined in the assault. However, when Roman and Sikoa attempted their Samoan Spike Spear combo, Jey pulled Sikoa into the path of the spear. The miscommunication led to tension between Sikoa and Reigns, allowing Jey to deliver multiple spears, including one on Reigns through the barricade. Sikoa sought retaliation by attempting to put Jey through the announce table, but Jey countered and splashed Sikoa through it, replicating what Sikoa did to Jey’s brother. Jey executed an Uso splash on Roman and appeared to have the match won. Yet, a hooded figure interfered, dragging Jey out of the ring. This figure revealed himself to be Jimmy Uso! Jimmy then delivered a super kick to Jey and tossed him into the ring for Roman to spear Jey through a table, securing the victory and maintaining his position as the tribal chief. The shocking conclusion saw Jimmy Uso betraying his twin brother, concluding Summerslam.

Grade: A+