SummerSlam was a professional wrestling pay-per-view and WWE Network event produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It took place on August 21, 2021, at Allegiant Stadium in the Las Vegas suburb of Paradise, Nevada. It was the 34th event under the SummerSlam chronology and the first to take place on a Saturday since the 1992 event, although it was the first to air live on a Saturday.
SummerSlam is a pay-per-view (PPV) and WWE Network event held annually in 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, referred to as the "Big Four" as they are the promotion's biggest shows of the year produced quarterly. It is considered WWE's second biggest event of the year behind WrestleMania. The 2021 event will be the 34th event in the SummerSlam chronology and feature wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown brands.
On May 28, 2021, WWE announced that SummerSlam would take place live on Saturday, August 21, marking the first SummerSlam to be held on a Saturday since the 1992 event (which was pre-taped on a Saturday and aired on tape delay on a Monday), as well as the first SummerSlam to not be held on a Sunday since the 1994 event, which took place on a Monday. During the 2021 Belmont Stakes' pre-race show on June 5, the Allegiant Stadium in the Las Vegas suburb of Paradise, Nevada was confirmed as the host venue for SummerSlam. While WWE typically hosts PPVs on a Sunday night, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that it was the Allegiant Stadium that wanted SummerSlam held on a Saturday. This will mark the second SummerSlam to be held in a football stadium, with the foremost being the 1992 event at Wembley Stadium in Wembley, London, England, but the first to be held in a National Football League stadium in the United States. Tickets will go on sale on June 18.
On July 22, it was announced that SummerSlam would air in movie theaters across the United States, marking WWE's first PPV to air in theaters. Additionally, following John Cena's return to WWE at the previous PPV, Money in the Bank, the company began a tour titled the "Summer of Cena." The tour has Cena appearing on Raw, SmackDown, and at WWE Live events in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam with the tour culminating with SummerSlam itself.
SummerSlam will also be held on the same night as the Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr. boxing match, which will take place at the nearby T-Mobile Arena. This raised concerns over whether or not fans would be able to attend or watch both shows. According to PWInsider, WWE plans to have SummerSlam end with enough time for fans to leave the Allegiant Stadium and make it over to the T-Mobile Arena in order to watch the main event fight, or for those watching at home, enough time to switch PPV channels.
The show included matches that resulte from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are 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.
Following Roman Reigns' successful defense of the Universal Championship at Money in the Bank, he declared that everyone could now acknowledge him. John Cena then made a surprise return to WWE, marking his first appearance with the company since WrestleMania 36 in April 2020, where he had a brief stare down with Reigns before performing his signature "You Can't See Me" taunt at Reigns. Instead of waiting until SmackDown, Cena appeared on Raw the next night to explain himself, declaring that he wanted to put Reigns in his place. He then officially challenged Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. On SmackDown, Cena appeared to confront Reigns, however, Reigns rejected the challenge and instead accepted a challenge from Finn Bálor, who himself had returned to SmackDown the previous week. The following week, as Bálor attempted to sign the contract for the title match, he was attacked by Baron Corbin, who also attempted to sign the contract; however, Cena came out, attacked Corbin, and signed the contract himself, thus booking the Universal Championship match between Reigns and Cena for SummerSlam.
At Money in the Bank, Nikki A.S.H. won the women's Money in the Bank ladder match, earning a contract for a women's championship match of her choice at anytime of her choosing, while later that night, Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley to win the Raw Women's Championship. The following night on Raw, Flair defended the title against Ripley in a rematch; however, Flair was disqualified after striking Ripley with the title belt, thus Ripley won the match but not the championship. Ripley and Flair then brawled and Ripley performed the Riptide on Flair at ringside. Nikki then ran out and cashed in her Money in the Bank contract on Flair to win the Raw Women's Championship. The following week, Flair and Ripley staked their claims to challenge Nikki for the title at SummerSlam. WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville resolved the matter by scheduling Nikki to defend the championship against Flair and Ripley in a triple threat match at the event.
Following his dominant victory at Money in the Bank, Bobby Lashley (accompanied by MVP) held an open challenge for the WWE Championship on the following night's episode of Raw. The challenge was accepted by a returning Keith Lee, who had been inactive due to an injury since February. After Lashley defeated Lee, Lashley and MVP were confronted by WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg, appearing for the first time since the Royal Rumble in January. Goldberg proclaimed that he would be Lashley's next challenger for the title. The following week, however, Lashley rejected Goldberg's challenge. On the August 2 episode, Goldberg appeared and confronted the champion face-to-face, stating that he would defeat Lashley for the title. The match was subsequently confirmed for SummerSlam.
On Night 1 of WrestleMania 37, Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks to win the SmackDown Women's Championship. On the July 30 episode of SmackDown, both Carmella and Zelina Vega staked their claims to challenge Belair for the title. The two then attacked Belair, who was saved by Banks, making her first appearance since the SmackDown after WrestleMania. Banks and Belair then teamed up and defeated Carmella and Vega in a tag team match. Following the match, however, Banks ambushed Belair from behind, thereby turning heel in the process. The subsequent week, Banks challenged Belair to a match for the title at SummerSlam, which Belair accepted.
After Edge was granted a Universal Championship match at Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins took issue with this decision, feeling that he deserved the opportunity. At the event, Rollins cost Edge the championship and following the match, the two brawled into the crowd. On the following episode of SmackDown, Edge called out Rollins and said that their issues date back to 2014 when Rollins had attempted to injure Edge's surgically repaired neck and definitively put an end to his career. Rollins then came out and said he despised older wrestlers like Edge and John Cena for coming back and taking opportunities from the current wrestlers who earned them. A brawl then ensued. The following week, Rollins attacked Edge during his entrance and declared that if he cannot be Universal Champion, then neither can Edge. On the August 6 episode, Edge challenged Rollins to a match at SummerSlam which Rollins accepted.
On the July 5 episode of Raw, Drew McIntyre faced and defeated his old 3MB stablemate Jinder Mahal (accompanied by Shanky and Veer) after Mahal felt that McIntyre had cost him an opportunity to compete in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match. Following the match, Mahal, Shanky, and Veer attacked McIntyre and stole McIntyre's family sword that he uses for his entrance theatrics. The following week, Mahal, Shanky, and Veer dismantled the sword only for McIntyre to reveal that it was a replica. McIntyre then proceeded to dismantle Mahal's motorcycle. At Money in the Bank, Mahal, Shanky, and Veer cost McIntyre the men's Money in the Bank ladder match. On the following night's episode of Raw, Mahal, Shanky, and Veer gloated about costing McIntyre the match only for McIntyre to attack all three with a steel chair. McIntyre would then defeat Veer and Shanky in matches over the next couple of weeks. On August 13, a match between McIntyre and Mahal was scheduled for SummerSlam.
On the kick-off show, Big E took on Baron Corbin. In the end, Corbin tried to leave the match with the briefcase, but Big E tackled Corbin into the barricade. Big E hit the Big Ending on Corbin to win the match and regain control of his Money in the Bank contract.
In the first match of the pay-per-view, AJ Styles and Omos defended the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship against RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle). In the end, Styles took out Riddle on the outside, but Orton hit the RKO on Styles in the ring to win the titles for himself and Riddle.
Next, Alexa Bliss took on Eva Marie. Eva took Lilly and smacked the doll before hitting Alexa with it. An irate Alexa took down Eva and went for Twisted Bliss, but Eva moved out of the way. Alexa would hit a DDT on Eva to win the match. Afterwards, Doudrop announced Eva as the loser and walked around wearing Eva's robe.
Then, Sheamus defended the WWE United States Championship against Damien Priest. Sheamus caught Priest with a Knee Strike for a nearfall. Sheamus locked in a Leg Lock, but Priest pulled off the protective mask. Sheamus missed a Brogue Kick and Priest hit a Spinning Kick. Priest hit the Reckoning to win his first singles championship on the main roster.
In the fourth match, The Usos defended the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The Mysterios. Rey and Dominick took down both Usos on the outside at the beginning of the match, but The Usos would gain control. Late in the match, Jimmy Uso hit a Superkick on Rey for a nearfall. As Rey went for a springboard maneuver, Jey caught Rey with another Superkick and hit a Superfly Splash for a nearfall. Dominick took down Jey and Rey hit a 619 on Jimmy, but missed a Frog Splash. The Usos hit a Double Superkick on Rey and Jimmy hit a Superfly Splash to retain the titles.
Then, Bianca Belair was scheduled to defend the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship against Sasha Banks. However, it was announced that Sasha was not cleared to compete and would be replaced by Carmella. Before the bell could be rang, Becky Lynch returned from pregnancy and attacked Carmella. Becky challenged Bianca for the title, which Bianca accepted. Becky offered a handshake, hit a forearm and then the Manhandle Slam for the quick win.
In the sixth match, Drew McIntyre took on Jinder Mahal. In the end, McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT and the Claymore Kick to win the match. Afterwards, Veer and Shanky came out to check on Jinder and McIntyre chased all three of them off with his sword.
Next, Nikki A.S.H defended the WWE Raw Women’s Championship in a Triple threat match against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. At the start, Charlotte shoved Nikki. Both Nikki and Charlotte countered the Riptide from Ripley. Nikki would hit a Crossbody off the top rope onto Ripley and Flair outside the ring. Charlotte would counter a Double Suplex into a Double DDT on Rhea and Nikki and then hit a Moonsault off the top rope on them on the outside. Charlotte locked in the Figure Eight on Ripley, but Nikki hit a Splash to break it up. After moving out of the way of a Splash, Charlotte forced Nikki to submit to the Figure Eight to win her record-breaking sixth time, making her 14th overall singles title in WWE, and her 15th title overall.
In the eighth match, Edge took on Seth Rollins. Edge was raised to the stage with The Brood music before coming to the ring with his regular theme. Rollins targeted the surgically repaired neck of Edge by slamming it into the steel steps. Rollins hit a Frog Splash for a nearfall. As Rollins went for The Stomp, Edge rolled on the apron. On the top rope, Edge hit a Swinging Neckbreaker on Rollins. Edge went back to the top rope and Rollins ran and hit a Superplex and rolled through with the Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Edge countered The Stop and a Pedigree and hit a Glam Slam for a nearfall. Rollins went for The Stomp on the apron, but Edge countered and hit a Spear to Rollins through the rope to the outside. Rollins would counter a Spear attempt by Edge into a Pedigree for another nearfall. Edge moved away from a Corkscrew Moonsault and hit a Spear for a nearfall. Edge countered The Stomp again and locked in an Education and a Crossface, but didn't get the submission. Edge locked in a Bulldog Choke, submitting Rollins to win the match.
Then, John Morrison and The Miz came to the ring to reveal their surprise, the Drip Stick 2000. Xavier Woods came out with the device and sprayed Miz and Morrison out of the ring.
In the penultimate match, Bobby Lashley defended the WWE Championship against Goldberg. Goldberg hit a Spear on Lashley outside the ring. Lashley rolled out the ring and allowed MVP to hit Goldberg in the knee with his cane. Lashley attacked the injured knee with multiple chop blocks and rammed it into the ring post. Goldberg was unable to continue, thus Lashley retained the title. Afterwards, Lashley attacked Goldberg in the knee with a steel chair. Goldberg's son Gage came to his father's aid, but was put in the Hurt Lock by Lashley.
In the main event, Roman Reigns defended the WWE Universal Championship against John Cena with a stipulation that Reigns would leave WWE if he lost. Cena started with a Roll-Up and an Inside Cradle pin attempts. Reigns countered the Attitude Adjustment into a DDT for a nearfall. Reigns locked in a Guillotine Choke, but Cena escaped. Reigns went for a Spear, but Cena countered with a kick and hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle and Attitude Adjustment for a nearfall. Cena locked in the STF, but Reigns got to the rope. Cena put Reigns through the announce table with an Attitude Adjustment and got another nearfall in the ring. Cena went for another AA, but Reigns hit a Superman Punch for another nearfall. Reigns missed a Spear and went into the ring post and Cena hit a Super AA off the top rope for a two count. Cena went for a Spear of his own, but Reigns hit the Superman Punch twice and hit a Spear to retain the title and stay in WWE. Afterwards, Brock Lesnar returned for the first time since WrestleMania 36 and confronted Reigns, who left the ring leaving Lesnar to be cheered by the crowd to end the event.
|Nikki A.S.H. vs. Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley||Preview|
|Roman Reigns vs. John Cena||Preview|
|Bobby Lashley vs. Goldberg||Preview|
|The Usos vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio||Preview|
|Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks||Preview|
|Edge vs. Seth Rollins||Preview|
|Sheamus vs. Damian Priest||Preview|
|Drew McIntyre vs. Jinder Mahal||Preview|
|Eva Marie vs. Alexa Bliss||Preview|
|AJ Styles and Omos vs. RK-Bro||Preview|
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Pre-Show: Big E defeated Baron Corbin (6:33)
- RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) defeated AJ Styles & Omos (c) to win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship (7:04)
- Alexa Bliss defeated Eva Marie (w/ Doudrop) (3:50)
- Damian Priest defeated Sheamus (c) to win the WWE United States Championship (13:47)
- The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (c) defeated Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio to retain the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (10:49)
- Becky Lynch defeated Bianca Belair (c) to win the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship (0:25)
- Drew McIntyre defeated Jinder Mahal (4:38)
- Charlotte Flair defeated Nikki A.S.H. (c) and Rhea Ripley in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE Raw Women's Championship (13:03)
- Edge defeated Seth Rollins (21:15)
- Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) (c) defeated Goldberg via referee stoppage to retain the WWE Championship (7:10)
- Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman) (c) defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Universal Championship (23:00)
Other on-screen talent
- SummerSlam 2021 Official Website
- SummerSlam 2021 Kickoff on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2021 on WWE Network
- SummerSlam 2021 Kickoff at CAGEMATCH.net
- SummerSlam 2021 at CAGEMATCH.net
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