The WWE considers their “Big 4” events as Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam and Survivor Series. Fans anticipate those events to see what surprises, if any, the company has in store. If nothing significant transpires, the following nights Raw is considered “appointment viewing” for potential shocking moments. This year, Summerslam and Raw were held at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Those in attendance, as well as those watching at home were witness to some thrilling action, an awe-inspiring return and a major surprise. One of those moments was the in-ring return of a Toronto favourite.

Trish Stratus participated in her first one-on-one match in seven years. Her opponent was Charlotte Flair. Trish received a great ovation from the Toronto crowd. As the match progressed, fans could see that the hometown favourite was becoming more and more confident. She performed all her moves she became known for, and even countered a few of her opponent’s submission attempts. The end came when Charlotte locked in her Figure Eight submission. Trish tried really hard to overcome this. She lasted as long as she could in the hold, but eventually capitulated.

What a great battle. It was filled with action, excitement and skill. Trish definitely showed up and gave Flair a run. Fans took notice as well. Even though she lost, Stratus was greeted by chants of “Thank you Trish.” I am sure she felt greatly appreciated and loved.

In the main event, Seth Rollins challenged Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. What an intense and hard-hitting showdown! Those two have faced each other on numerous occasions, and were able to counter and escape moves. The crowd went crazy when Brock was positioned on an announcer’s table. Seth ascended to the top rope and landed an immense Frogsplash, which caused both participants to crash through the table. The end came when Brock attempted his F-5 finisher, but Seth escaped. He kicked the champion in the face, and hit the Stomp for the pin. Seth Rollins became the new Universal champion before a raucous and jubilant crowd. I hope Seth keeps the title for a while, and the individual who dethrones him is not someone fans will not see on Raw on a weekly basis. While that match was the main event, and a new champion was crowned, it is not what people will remember most about Summerslam.

In the months leading up to the events, vignettes started popping up on Raw and Smackdown called the “Firefly Funhouse.” Those skits showed Bray Wyatt’s gradual change from a persona that is nice and caring to an evil, demonic and extremely dark character called The Fiend. He made his return at Summerslam and defeated Finn Balor with the Mandible Claw. But, while the match itself was forgettable, the entrance was not. In fact, it was a thing of beauty.

The arena went dark and the words Let…..Him…In… appeared on the screen. The Fiend slowly walked to the ring wearing a terrifying mask and holding a creepy looking lantern. His original theme song was also remixed. When The Fiend entered the ring and the arena lights came back on, the crowd erupted in cheers and chanted “that was awesome.” It was something that fans had not seen in a long, long time. Lead announcer, Michael Cole even asked “What on earth did we just witness.” It was weird, scary and unique. Words cannot do justice to that awesome entrance.

The Submission match between Natalya and Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s title began the night. Despite the challenger walking to the ring with the Canadian Flag, and even though she is related to Bret Hart, most of the crowd seemed to be supporting the champion. The match was exciting and demonstrated the beauty of submission wrestling. The end came when Natalya attempted the Sharpshooter, but Becky countered into the Disarmer to force Natalya to tap out. Becky retained her championship, and it seemed the challenger had an injured elbow. Now, I am sure you are asking why did I wait until the end to talk about Summerslam’s opening match? My answer: It led to a magnificent moment on the following night’s episode of Raw.

Near the beginning of Raw’s third hour, Natalya walked towards the ring with her arm in a sling as a result of Becky’s Disarmer the previous night. When she entered she took the microphone. She admitted she lost and Becky was better. Then she spoke about it being a year since her father, Jim Neidhart, passed away. She became emotional when familiar music hit, and the fans went crazy because Sasha Banks returned. But, why would she interrupt Natalya?

She entered the ring and embraced Natalya. After what seemed like a few kind words, Sasha turned on her “friend.” Banks relentlessly attacked, focusing on the injured elbow. When they went to the arena floor, she rammed Natalya into the steel steps, taunting her in the process.

Once Natalya was rolled back into the ring, Sasha grabbed a chair, and that’s when Becky Lynch entered, and knocked Sasha out of the ring. When Lynch followed Banks to the outside, Sasha grabbed a chair and mercilessly attacked the Raw Women’s Champion. Banks ended the assault by ramming Becky into the steps. Sasha walked up the ramp, and looked back, pleased with the damage she caused. She was greeted with more boos than cheers.

Sasha Banks turned heel that night. And that was the best thing that could happen for her character. Her Legit Boss persona has always been best suited to be a bad girl type. The fans know it as well. And I know Sasha Banks will do her best to make this new change in attitude work to her benefit.

Summerslam Week in Toronto was full of great matches and long-lasting memories for those who witnessed it. In my opinion, the best moments involved the re-emergences of Bray Wyatt and Sasha Banks. I do not know what the company has in store for The Fiend. But, it seems like they have Sasha set up for two rivalries already: Natalya and Becky Lynch. And maybe the Becky Lynch rivalry could set Sasha up for a run as Raw Women’s Champion.

The WWE should be really happy with the way things went during Summerslam Week. They introduced a new character, gave a women’s wrestler a character change and began a couple of new storylines. I am sure the weekly television shows will prove to be intriguing, surprising and full of action.

Azeem Kayum

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