SummerSlam 2020 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brands. It took place on August 23, 2020 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. It was the thirty-third event under the SummerSlam chronology.
The event was originally scheduled to take place at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, but Boston mayor Marty Walsh announced the suspension of all large-scale gatherings and that no permit would be issued for an event that could draw a large crowd before September 7. Since mid-March, WWE has presented the majority of their shows from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando with no fans in attendance due to the pandemic. With the move to the Amway Center, SummerSlam will be the first major WWE event held outside of the Performance Center, although still without fans physically in attendance; fans will instead be able to attend and be seen virtually on LED boards in the venue through a new experience called ThunderDome.
The card comprised eight matches, including one on the Kickoff pre-show. In the main event, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defeated Braun Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere match to win the Universal Championship for a second time. After the match, Roman Reigns made his return following a five-month hiatus and attacked both men. On the undercard, Drew McIntyre defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship, Mandy Rose defeated Sonya Deville in a No Disqualification Loser Leaves WWE match, and Asuka defeated Sasha Banks to win the Raw Women's Championship for a second time after losing her match against Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship in the opening bout. It was also the first SummerSlam since 2011 to not feature Brock Lesnar, as well as the first SummerSlam since 2009 to feature MVP.
SummerSlam is an annual pay-per-view, produced every August by WWE since 1988. Dubbed "The Biggest Party of the Summer," it is one of the promotion's original four pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and Survivor Series, dubbed the "Big Four". It is considered WWE's second biggest event of the year behind WrestleMania. 2020 will be the thirty-third event in the SummerSlam chronology and feature wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brands.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE has had to present the majority of its programming from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida since mid-March with no fans in attendance, though in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience, which was further expanded to friends and family members of the wrestlers in mid-June. SummerSlam, as well as the preceding night's NXT TakeOver: XXX, were originally scheduled to take place in Boston, Massachusetts at the TD Garden. On May 8, the ongoing pandemic forced Boston mayor Marty Walsh to suspend all large-scale gatherings until September 7, effectively canceling WWE's planned events in the city. WWE have yet to officially respond, though wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reported that the promotion would be willing to move SummerSlam to September if it meant having fans in attendance.
The show included matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands, while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.
On the July 27 episode of Raw, Randy Orton cut a promo listing many of his accolades before declaring that he wanted the WWE Championship again. He then issued a challenge to Drew McIntyre for a title match at SummerSlam. Later that night, McIntyre accepted Orton's challenge and then defeated Dolph Ziggler in an Extreme Rules match in a rematch from The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. Following the match, Orton attacked McIntyre with an RKO.
On the July 20 episode of Raw, Andrade and Angel Garza lost to Raw Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins). The following week, Andrade and Garza won a triple threat tag team match to earn a title match at SummerSlam.
After United States Champion Apollo Crews repeatedly declined MVP's offer to join his faction, The Hurt Business, the two faced each other in a non-title match on the June 29 episode of Raw that was won by MVP. After the match, Crews was brutally attacked by Bobby Lashley, MVP's fellow teammate of The Hurt Business. The following week, MVP unveiled a new United States Championship belt and stated that he would face Crews for the title at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. At the event, however, it was revealed that Crews was unable to compete due to failing his pre-match physical thanks to Lashley's attack. MVP then declared himself winner by forfeit and unofficially claimed himself as the new United States Champion. Crews, sporting the older United States title, returned on the August 3 episode of Raw where Crews finally faced MVP in their scheduled title match where Crews retained. Celebrating his victory, Crews later stated in a backstage interview that he would give the old belt to his kids while he kept the new belt MVP introduced. MVP then demanded a rematch for SummerSlam and Crews accepted.
Following several weeks of Seth Rollins tormenting and taunting Rey Mysterio, the two finally faced each other at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules in an Eye for an Eye match in which one has to extract an opponent's eye to win the match; the match was won by Rollins. Mysterio's son Dominik appeared on the July 27 episode of Raw to confront Rollins and his disciple Murphy for Rollins' actions, as well as for Rollins gloating about it. Although Dominik attacked Rollins and Murphy, they eventually overpowered Dominik until Aleister Black came out to Dominik's aid. The brawl, however, resulted in Murphy injuring Black's eye using the corner of the steel steps. The following week, Dominik challenged Rollins to a match at SummerSlam. Later, after Rollins and Murphy taunted commentator Tom Phillips (which led to fellow commentator Samoa Joe defending Phillips), they were both attacked from behind by Dominik with a kendo stick. An irate Rollins would eventually accept Dominik's challenge.
At The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, the Raw Women's Championship match between Sasha Banks and Asuka ended in a controversy when Asuka inadvertently sprayed green mist on the referee's face which led to Bayley removing the referee's shirt and counting the pin as Banks pinned Asuka. The following nignt on Raw, Stephanie McMahon appeared on the TitanTron and stated that Banks nor Asuka won at Extreme Rules and then announced a rematch between the two for the Raw Women's Championship for the following week in a match where the title could be won by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count out. During the ensuing match, Bayley attacked Asuka's tag team partner, Kairi Sane backstage. Distracted by the ambush, a visibly horrified Asuka went backstage to check on Sane and was counted out thus Banks won the title for a fifth time. On the August 3 episode of Raw, Asuka demanded a rematch for the title, however, Banks stated that she has to defeat Bayley to earn the match. The following week, Asuka defeated Bayley to earn the right to face Banks for the championship at SummerSlam.
On the August 7 episode of SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon announced a triple-brand battle royal for the following week, where the winner would face Bayley for the SmackDown Women's Championship at SummerSlam.
At Money in the Bank, Braun Strowman retained the Universal Championship against Bray Wyatt, who wrestled as his Firefly Fun House character. After being absent for a few weeks, Wyatt returned on the June 19 episode of SmackDown, but was interrupted by Strowman. Wyatt stated their rivalry was just getting started before appearing as his old cult leader persona of The Wyatt Family, which formerly included Strowman and from where Strowman had originally made his WWE debut. This lead to a non-title match between the two called the Wyatt Swamp Fight at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, where Wyatt, fighting as his old Eater of Worlds self, defeated Strowman, who disappeared somewhere in the swamp. As Wyatt tried to leave himself, he was pulled back into the water, only for his alter ego The Fiend to appear. On the following SmackDown, Wyatt stated that his old Eater of Worlds self was done for now and that The Fiend had been unleashed. The following week, Wyatt said that The Fiend wanted the Universal Championship and that no one was safe until he got it, which was made evident later that night when The Fiend attacked Alexa Bliss, Strowman's old tag team partner from Season 1 of Mixed Match Challenge. On the August 7 episode, The Fiend tried attacking Bliss again, who seemingly showed affection for The Fiend, causing him to back off. Strowman then appeared on the TitanTron stating he did not care about Bliss and that he emerged a monster from the swamp. Strowman then accepted The Fiend's challenge for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. The following week saw Strowman turn heel as he attacked Bliss to lure out The Fiend, who appeared in the ring to confront Strowman. On Talking Smack on August 22, the stipulation was changed to a Falls Count Anywhere match.
At the onset of 2020, a romance began between Mandy Rose and Heavy Machinery's Otis. They were set to have a Valentine's Day date, however, Dolph Ziggler arrived first, stealing the date with Rose. Prior to WrestleMania 36, it was revealed that Rose's Fire and Desire tag team partner Sonya Deville had conspired with Ziggler to sabotage the date by sending a fake text to Otis that Rose was running late. Otis then defeated Ziggler at the event with the help of Rose, who also attacked Deville. Rose then entered into a months long feud with Deville, who claimed that Rose was all looks and no talent. This culminated on the July 31 episode of SmackDown where Deville attacked Rose backstage and cut some of her hair off. Rose, now sporting shorter hair, then challenged Deville to a Hair vs. Hair match at SummerSlam, which Deville accepted. The following week, Rose had a change of heart, thinking there was still some good in Deville, and asked to put their rivalry behind them. Deville instead raised the stakes and changed the stipulation of their match to a no disqualification match where the loser leaves WWE.
During the SummerSlam Kickoff pre-show, Apollo Crews defended the United States Championship against MVP with MVP's stablemates Bobby Lashley and Shelton Benjamin banned from ringside. In the end, Crews performed a Powerbomb on MVP to retain the title. Following the match, Benjamin and Lashley came down to the ring to attack Crews, however, Crews escaped.
The actual pay-per-view opened with Bayley (accompanied by Sasha Banks) defending the SmackDown Women's Championship against Asuka. In the end, Asuka attempted to attack Bayley who was teetering on the ring ropes, however, Bayley moved out of the way and Asuka inadvertently knocked off Banks who already stood on the ring apron. Bayley perfomed a roll-up on Asuka to retain the title. Following the match, Bayley and Banks attacked Asuka.
In a backstage promo, Dominik Mysterio said that he will be fighting for his family while his father Rey Mysterio and his mother wished him good luck.
Next, The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) defended the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against Andrade and Angel Garza (accompanied by Zelina Vega). The climax saw Vega stand on the ring apron to distract the referee. Garza performed a superkick on Dawkins who bumped into Vega knocking her off the ring apron. Dawkins perfomed a Powerbomb on Garza and Ford performed a From The Heavens splash on Garza to retain the title.
After that, Mandy Rose faced Sonya Deville in a No Disqualification match where the loser will leave WWE. During the first half of the match, Rose and Deville fought at ringside where Rose performed a flying lariat on Deville off the announce table. Deville attacked Rose with a chair and slammed her head on the announce table. Rose performed four Running knees on Deville to win the match. Following the match, Otis came out to celebrate with Rose where Rose performed her own rendition of The Caterpillar, Otis's finisher.
In the next match, Seth Rollins (accompanied by Murphy) fought Dominik Mysterio (accompanied by his father, Rey Mysterio) in a Street Fight. This was Dominik's first match as a WWE wrestler. In the end, Rollins performed a Stomp on Dominik to win the match.
Next, Sasha Banks (accompanied by Bayley) defended the Raw Women's Championship against Asuka. In the culmination of the match, Asuka applied the Asuka Lock on Banks, forcing her to tap, thus winning the title for a second time.
In the penultimate match, Drew McIntyre defended the WWE Championship against Randy Orton.
The main event saw The Fiend and Braun Strowman go back & forth, until the final moments where Wyatt was able to perform two consecutive Sister Abigal's to the broken canvas, and claiming the win. During The Fiend's celebration, Roman Reigns returned, spearing The Fiend and demolished him with a series of punches, and also performed a spear on Strowman, along with hitting Braun with multiple chair shots. Reigns then returned to the ring to execute another spear on The Fiend before picking up the Universal Championship, taking SummerSlam off the air.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Pre-Show: Apollo Crews (c) defeated MVP to retain the WWE United States Championship
- Bayley (w/ Sasha Banks) (c) defeated Asuka to retain the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship
- The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) (c) defeated Andrade & Angel Garza (w/ Zelina Vega) to retain the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
- Mandy Rose defeated Sonya Deville in a No DQ Loser Leaves WWE Match
- Seth Rollins (w/ Murphy) defeated Dominik Mysterio (w/ Rey Mysterio)
- Asuka defeated Sasha Banks (w/ Bayley) (c) to win the WWE Raw Women's Championship
- Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship
- "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt defeated Braun Strowman (c) in a Falls Count Anywhere Match to win the WWE Universal Championship
Other on-screen talent
- SummerSlam 2020 Official Website
- SummerSlam 2020 Kickoff on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2020 on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2020 Kickoff at CAGEMATCH.net
- SummerSlam 2020 at CAGEMATCH.net
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