The 2016 WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view was headlined by Brock Lesnar defeating Randy Orton after busting him open with repeated elbow strikes to the head. Orton bled heavily while Lesnar continued to attack him until referees separated them. Lesnar won the match via technical knockout.
Former senior WWE referee Mike Chioda recently spoke with James Romero of Wrestling Shoot Interviews and admitted he was surprised that the rough finish was approved by WWE officials.
“Brock gashed him open and I could tell there was something going on, but I didn’t know if it was really Brock towards Randy or if it was just Brock listening to what the office wanted him to do,” Chioda said. “Randy had a little bit of heat at that time. He gashed him open real bad over the forehead. You could tell he was going for it because he was just elbow to forehead. I was kind of shocked that they would do that because concussion protocol was still strong at that time.”
The post-match angle saw Lesnar continue to attack Orton until then-SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon came to the ring. Lesnar got in the way and ended up hitting Shane with the F5.
Orton reportedly needed 10 staples to close a wound on his forehead after the match. It was later reported that there was a backstage altercation between Lesnar and Chris Jericho, who reportedly asked officials if the finish to the match was scripted. It was reported that when Jericho didn’t get a straight answer, he became angrier and was confronted by Lesnar. The two reportedly had words and then briefly locked up against a wall before being separated by Triple H and Vince McMahon, who told Jericho the finish was planned.
Chioda said he’s still unsure about the circumstances surrounding the finish of the match. He suspected something was going on when Lesnar and Orton didn’t interact all day before the match.
“There wasn’t a fallout between Brock and Randy but they just didn’t talk all day, so something was going on,” Chioda said. “I don’t know if it was really from the office or Brock telling them how he wanted it. I don’t think Randy really had too much heat with Brock. He kind of knew what was coming, I think.”
Lesnar later defeated Orton in a rematch on September 24, 2016 at a WWE live event in Chicago. The match was billed as the first-ever Suplex City Deathmatch. They have not wrestled a singles match since then.