The star ratings for Summerslam 2023, and thing do not look good for Roman Reings.
The main event of the show saw Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso, battling not just for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, but also for the title of “Tribal Chief”.
The Tribal Chief signifies who is the head of the family, and the man who is in control of the rest of the group – namely Solo Sikoa and The Usos.
The bout was also fought under “Tribal Combat” rules – although why that was an issue will become clearly later on.
Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso
Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso main evented Summerslam 2023, coming at the end of a long four-hour show.
Most of the action was great, and received good ratings from fans and journalists alike.
However, when it came to the main event, people were not impressed.
The Tribal Combat match went on far too long, lasting an astonishing 36-minutes. This was far longer than it needed to be, given that the first 20 minutes went by with very little happening.
This has become a trend in Roman Reigns‘ matches. He spends the first 15-to-20 minutes posturing, sauntering around the ring and gazing almost constipation-like toward his opponent.
The actual wrestling he does do is minimal, and hardly impressive.
Then, when things began to get going and Jey Uso looked like he was going to win, Solo Sikoa made his “shock” appearance, interfering in the match and giving Roman the upper hand.
However, Jey Uso got back on top again,and was about to defeat Roman Reigns to become the new champion.
But in a swerve that made zero sense, his twin brother Jimmy Uso ran in to the match, pulling Jey out of the ring and costing him the match.
This made no sense, as it was Jimmy who first turned on Roman Reigns. He should want nothing to do with The Bloodline, yet decided to keep Reigns in power. It was literally nonsensensical.
The match, predictably, got a very low rating from Dave Meltzer. It received a 2.75 Star rating – a decent rating in years gone by, but since the explosion of the 5-star match, a below average score.
This rating, rightfully, makes this match one of the worst title defense in Roman Reigns 3+ year title reign.
The match only ranks ahead of Roman Reigns match with Goldberg at Elimination Chamber 2022, which was only rated two stars in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The biggest issue with this match was simple – Roman Reigns title defenses are the exact same every single time.
Nothing changes. Roman starts a slow, plodding match, snarls for 20 minutes until his opponent gets the upper hand.
Then, some combination of Usos interfere in the match, handing him the win in anticlimactic fashion and artificially extending his boring, never-ending title run.
The same happened in his matches Drew McIntyre, Sami Zayn and Cody Rhodes, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Roman Reigns could be the best wrestler in the world (spoiler: not even close), but booking these kind of finishers every time just cheapens his reign as champion.
I don’t want to watch his matches to see him lose. I just don’t want to watch them.
Despite all the issues with the Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso match at Summerslam 2016 (and there were numerous issues with the match), one of the biggest the use of the match stipulation.
Mainly, the fact that WWE ignored most of the rules that they imposed on the two men in the match.
Prior to Summerslam 2023, WWE made it very clear what the rules of Tribal Combat were. On WWE.com, they posted that the rules for Tribal Combat were as follows:
- No Disqualification
- No Countout
- Anything Goes
- Nobody Can Interfere Until The Match Ends
The existence of the first rule makes the fourth one hard to enforce, but in the world of WWE they could just…not have anybody interfere.
Instead, both Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso interfered on behalf of Roman Reigns – breaking the only rule that differentiates this match from a No Disqualification/No Holds Hard/Hardcore/Street Fight match.
They didn’t even really take advantage of the no disqualification stipulation. There was minimal use of a table, but very little happened that would make fans of hardcore wrestling exciting.
Calling the match a new stipulation (Tribal Combat) was pointless, and was a big let down. It was the same issue the WWE had with the “Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match” between Bray Wyatt and LA Knight at the Royal Rumble.