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August 8, 2022 Observer Newsletter: SummerSlam, Ric Flair's Last Match

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The beginning of a new era on PPV, with Paul Levesque in charge of creative, took place with SummerSlam on 7/30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

The show was generally praised. It didn’t feel appreciably different from a Vince McMahon show, with all the video packages and both long and short matches. Logan Paul was the big shock, and he had one of the Miz’s best matches of his career. There were the short matches. Usos vs. Street Profits came nowhere close to their previous match. And it was really all about Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, with Reigns winning the third straight meeting of the series in a last man standing match which featured Lesnar using a tractor to turn over the ring and tons of interference by the Usos. Lesnar kept getting up from spears, briefcase shots and belt shots before he was buried under all kinds of broken tables and chairs so he couldn’t get up. After the show ended, he got up from the debris, got in the ring and took off his cowboy hat to the fans. 

The goal of the match was for Reigns to win but to protect Lesnar and maintain his aura. But in doing those finishes where you don’t want anybody to really lose, there is no satisfaction in getting the win. Here, the idea of the forklift and the visual was done to camouflage that. Most found it entertaining and the best match on the show, although in almost any other case, that kind of interference and a finish to something promoted as a conclusive match in a long series would be taken differently. The finish seemed to work well for most, because of the time and more important, the company.

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