SummerSlam 2021 was a historic event for WWE. It featured the returns of Brock Lesnar and Becky Lynch, title changes, a couple of instant classic matches, and the largest domestic live audience WWE assembled since WrestleMania 35—all of that on a rare Saturday PPV. In addition to all of the move obvious major happenings at the event, there were a number of hidden highlights and interesting bits of trivia worth considering.
6 John Cena Continues His SummerSlam Main Event Losing Streak
John Cena is one of the biggest stars in WWE history, with more victories on more major stages than almost anyone other wrestler before or since. However, when it comes to working the main event at SummerSlam, it’s not as though he walked into Allegiant Stadium with a very successful record.
Yes, Cena defeated Randy Orton in the main event of SummerSlam 2007 and was the sole survivor in an elimination tag team match against The Nexus in 2010. Before that, however, he lost to Edge at SummerSlam 2006. All the more notably, he also lost to CM Punk in 2011, and consecutive SummerSlam main events to Daniel Bryan in 2013, and to Brock Lesnar in 2014. So it was that Cena continued a losing record and deepened his current losing streak when it comes to closing out this specific event.
5 Brock Lesnar Gives Roman Reigns A Taste Of His Own Medicine At SummerSlam
Roman Reigns defeated John Cena in a crowd-pleasing heavyweight battle in the final match of SummerSlam 2021. It turned out the event wasn’t quite over, however, as The Head of the Table had his celebration cut short by a returning Brock Lesnar.
If a returning megastar crashing a celebration at the end of SummerSlam felt familiar, it’s with good reason. The Undertaker did it to CM Punk in 2009 and Kevin Nash did it to Punk in 2011. And then there’s what happened just last year, after The Fiend defeated Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship. Roman Reigns made his first appearance in months to attack both the new champ and his vanquished opponent, immediately establishing himself as a new top contender and kickstarting a year of dominance over WWE. Turn about was fair play in 2021 as Lesnar crashed Reigns’s celebration, albeit in less violent fashion.
4 The First World Champions Since CM Punk To Retain World Titles Through WrestleMania And SummerSlam
Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley each retained their world titles at SummerSlam, just as they did at WrestleMania 37. These victories were deceptively rare occurrences. It has actually been nine years since a champion walked into WrestleMania, defended and retained, held the title up to SummerSlam, and defended and retained again. The last man to do so was CM Punk in 2012.
Prior to Punk, the only individuals to accomplish this feat were Diesel in 1995, Triple H in 2003, and John Cena 2007. As such, 2021 marked the very first time when two separate world champions both managed to do this.
3 The First Time Becky Lynch Left SummerSlam With The SmackDown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch is quite arguably the biggest name in women’s wrestling, and she has accomplished a great deal in WWE. Her extensive resume includes being the first person to hold the SmackDown Women’s Championship and only person to hold the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championships simultaneously.
For all of her accomplishments, particularly with the SmackDown Women’s Championship, she’s never held that title at SummerSlam before. When she won the title at its inception, it happened at Backlash 2016, a month after SummerSlam. In 2017, Lynch found herself out of the title picture. By 2018, she was back in, and it was Charlotte Flair defeating her and Carmella that sparked Lynch’s heel turn that wound up so instrumental to setting her career on fire. Lynch did successfully defend a title at SummerSlam 2019, but it was the Raw Women’s Championship then, and The Man was out of action due to her pregnancy for the summer of 2020. So, with her big return, Lynch accomplished a noteworthy personal SummerSlam milestone.
2 Even In Defeat, Bianca Belair And Rhea Ripley Keep Up Their Big Four Streak
The traditional big four PPVs of WWE are the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. It has historically been relatively rare for a woman to wrestle at all four, considering WWE’s background in not taking women’s wrestling all that seriously and, even since the Women’s Revolution, often only featuring those women’s matches that have titles on the line on PPV.
In 2021, Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley have emerged as the only women to work the Rumble, WrestleMania, and SummerSlam. Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Cross missed having matches at WrestleMania, and the women who had worked the women’s Royal Rumble and in the tag team division at WrestleMania were shut out of SummerSlam. Belair and Ripley were the final two women left in their Rumble, and each had huge moments winning their respective brands’ titles at WrestleMania. Despite neither emerging victorious at SummerSlam, they kept up their big four continuity for the time being, and we’ll see if they can complete the set for 2021 at Survivor Series. Regardless, working these three events straight in high profile matches affirms Belair and Ripley are among the top young female talents in WWE.
1 Dominik Mysterio Pays Tribute To His “Father”
It’s not all that unusual for wrestlers to pay tribute to Eddie Guerrero by using his moves or bringing back his mannerisms—a testament to how well-liked and influential Latino Heat was within the wrestling business. When Dominik Mysterio delivered the Three Amigos suplexes at SummerSlam, however, it carried all the more symbolic weight.
After all, it was sixteen years ago when Guerrero battled Rey Mysterio in a Ladder Match for the kayfabe custody of young Dominik, after a storyline established Guerrero was the boy’s biological father. Dominik doing one of Guerrero’s signature spots and shimmying motion afterward offered a fine homage to the late legend.
SummerSlam was a memorable event in which WWE certainly got some calls right and some wrong. Regardless, the ramifications of the show are surely going to ripple well into the fall. The subtleties and statistical notes of significance only add to the richness of the event that fans will still be talking about for years to come.