NEW YORK, Aug. 22 (UPI) — History was made at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York Sunday for WWE’s annual August event, SummerSlam.
The biggest party of the summer featured Superstars from both Raw and Smackdown Live in premiere bouts that have ushered in a new era in the WWE.
In Raw’s Women’s division, newly crowned champ Sasha Banks defended her WWE Women’s Championship in a rematch against former title-holder Charlotte. Without her protege Dana Brooke in her corner, Banks was looking forward to a fair, one-on-one match with Charlotte as the two collided in a very physical match that seemed to leave The Boss visibly hurt.
Charlotte took control early as she dropped Banks from the top rope awkwardly onto her back and from there she was never the same. While Banks was still able to put up a valiant effort and leave it all on the line, Charlotte just continued to focus on her back in order to secure a win.
The match came to a head after an exchange of finishing maneuvers that saw Banks kick out of Charlotte’s Natural Selection to then later lock in The Bank Statement but, unfortunately, Charlotte was able to reverse that into a three count for the victory.
“We have a NEWWWWW @WWE #WomenChampion as @MsCharlotteWWE bests @SashabnaksWWE at #SummerSlam #2ndNature,” wrote the company on Twitter alongside a photo of Charlotte smiling as she reclaimed her tittle. Banks was left speechless in the ring.
For main events, Raw’s Seth Rollins and Finn Balor battled to become the first ever WWE Universal Champion. The new belt, which resembles the WWE World Heavyweight Championship held by Smackdown’s Dean Ambrose — who retained it earlier in the night against Dolph Ziggler — is highlighted by a unique red coloring.
Entering the match in his full Demon King persona, Finn Balor early on surprised Rollins with a flurry of high-octane moves that left The Architect reeling. The fast-paced No Disqualification bout kept up the high-energy pace throughout as both Superstars pulled out some of their most unique and high-flying moves.
At one point Rollins was able to hit The Pedigree but, shockingly, Balor kicked out at 2. Shaking his head in disbelief, Rollins was just not able to keep Balor down. After countering a second Pedigree attempt later on in the match, Balor become the first ever Universal Champion when he hit Rollins with the Coup de Grace for the three count.
“HISTORY IS MADE as #DemonKing @FinnBalor celebrates the @WWE #UniversalTitle! #SummerSlam,” wrote WWE on Twitter alongside a look at Balor celebrating in the ring with the new red belt.
To close out SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar met Randy Orton for the first time in a brutal and bloody match that was 15 years in the making.
The dream match, which featured Lesnar’s signature suplex’s and even Orton delivering an RKO onto an announce table, was short-lived however as an enraged Lesnar took things too far and decided to brutalize Orton in the middle of the ring with a series of hard hitting punches and elbows that left The Viper a bloody mess.
As a pool of blood formed in the ring, referees and ringside doctors attended to Orton and tried to keep The Beast at bay while he continued to attack Orton despite their pleas. Even Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman looked on in horror. The match was quickly canceled and Lesnar was declared the winner by TKO.
A distraught Shane McMahon rushed to the ring to check up on Orton and was greeted with an F-5 for his efforts. “#TheBeast @BrockLesnar is inflicting an ALL-OUT ASSAULT on @RandyOrton…,” wrote WWE on Twitter alongside a photo highlighting the assault as doctor’s attended Orton.