Thoughts on SummerSlam 2011
Please excuse my tardiness. I do have a note from my mom if that means anything. Alright then, on with the show!
1. Rey Mysterio/KofiKingston/John Morrison d. The Miz/R-Truth/AlbertoDel Rio
I had to watch this yesterday as I didn’t quite get to see it live. It was a very solid opener featuring a few of my current favorites (I’ll let you all figure out which one I’m not very high on). I loved how the heel team intros kept interrupting one another. It was surprising just how over Del Rio was with a portion of the crowd (and rightfully so, he’s great!). Anyway, nothing really of note, just an entertaining match with guys hitting their “greatest hits” so to speak and the heels cheated pretty well, too. Crowd got into it by the end, especially as Rey pinned Truth after the 619/top rope splash combo for the win.
2. CM Punk Really Likes to Make Fun of Johnny Ace (And Who Doesn’t?)/Ruh Roh!
Oh, how on earth does anyone (that has gone through puberty, that is) not enjoy Punk? Honestly. His mock apology to John Laurinaitis was funny as can be. Then we get surprise return of the dreaded (but hot) Stephanie McMahon in a moment that made me think, “Oh wtf…” as I assumed the worst would be happening in the main event. I know I wasn’t alone. Also, Punk’s parting shot to Steph was quite Chris Jericho-like. They seem to have good chemistry together and that’s a good thing as I think we’ll be seeing these two confronting each other much more in the coming months.
3. Mark Henry d. Sheamus
I was unusually excited for this match. This was a callback to my youth. The setup was simple: these are two very big individuals and they’re going to club each other until one can’t get up anymore! That usually works for me, particularly if it’s two guys who, at the very least, don’t really suck (in reality, both of these two are very good in their given roles). There wasn’t a whole lot pretty about this match, but that’s okay as I thought it was rather good for what it was (as stated before). The ending saw a very cool looking spot as Henry drove Sheamus through the guard rail (which broke apart beautifully) and Henry getting the victory via countout. The ending is fine, people. Did you hear the crowd getting behind Sheamus as he desperately crawled back to the ring, trying to beat the ten count? That’s storytelling, good storytelling at that.
4. Christian Has a Surprise That Will Change WWE Forever (Or We All Love Hyperbole)
I know there were those who would have rather seen Randy Orton turn heel in this feud, but I completely disagree with them. Christian makes for a great “chickenshit” heel: the cocky jerk that’s ultimately a coward. We don’t see that nearly enough these days and Christian pulls it off wonderfully. Back to the subject at hand, just as he did on Smackdown, Christian promised a big surprise before his match with Orton. Gee, I wonder who it could be. However at this point watching it live, I only knew that it had to be someone big. Speaking of someone big:
5. Cee-Lo Green Performance
That was kinda mean. I apologize, Cee-Lo, should you ever read this and (insert deity of your choice here) help you if you’re ever that bored. Live music at wrestling shows always sucks. This is even true with acts I happen to like. It just doesn’t go well for whatever reason. As expected, this was no exception. Cee-Lo performed the SummerSlam theme song “Bright Lights, Big City” as well as “Forget You” while four Divas danced in red outfits behind him. It was what it was. And it was nice of Cee-Lo to make the cunnilingus gesture at the end. I’m sure they (WWE brass) were happy about that. Next.
6. Diva Championship: Kelly Kelly (c) d. Beth Phoenix
While I was not a fan of how this went down, this wasn’t bad at all. My friend Donnie said it best when he asked, “This…doesn’t suck?” And, surprisingly, it really didn’t! I’m not sure where this Kelly Kelly has been hiding, but she did some cool new things that we (the TV audience at least) haven’t seen from her before. I would have much preferred a “Beth smash!” type match, but what they did give us was pretty good. Besides, I’m always for using the Victory Roll as a finish when it makes sense.
7. R-Truth Really Hates Little Jimmy (Featuring Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart)
For me, Truth has been one of the most entertaining characters the past couple of months. He never fails to make me laugh and the streak continued here. The payoff was obvious (Jimmy is little, after all), but the execution was great. Nice cameo by Ron “Meta World Peace” Artest and his daughter, too.
8. Wade Barrett d. Daniel Bryan
Very solid match, if not overly memorable. I’m not sure what was off about it, but something was missing. Bryan is arguably the best wrestler in the company and Barrett is very good in his own right (especially with his William Regal reminiscent character). Again, good match, but these two can and will do better in the future. I’m not too sure about the finish, but I’m just going to assume that Barrett needed the win to go back to feuding with Sheamus. I have to mention that Wasteland is one of the worst finishers in recent memory. A guy like Barrett needs something better.
9. No Holds Barred World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton d. Christian (c)
Before the match, Christian brought out his big surprise: Edge! Man, I love his entrance music and pyro. Naturally, Edge turned the tables on his best friend by stating that the way Christian won the belt wasn’t cool, unlike the way he (Edge) always went about things: with style. Let’s just nod our heads and agree with the Great Opportunist, shall we? We’ll overlook…yeah, just about everything he did during his long run on top. Carry on! Nothing to see here! He then called Christian a little bitch and walked away, leaving a very disappointed Christian to fight Orton alone. Thanks, “friend.”
I would say this was the match of the night. After a lengthy feud, these two really knew each other well (and they clicked from the beginning, too). There were plenty of reversals to go along with all the weapons used (mostly by Orton, but that’s okay). My favorite spot of this bout has to be Orton powerslamming Christian through a table. It just looked awesome. The end came with Orton RKO’d Christian onto the ring steps in another neat looking spot. It’s safe to say that this feud is now over, but it was a pretty good one. I think Christian did come out of it looking better than he did going into it (when he was a very bland babyface), though it would have been nice to see him have some time with the belt, too.
10. Stephanie Sneaks Around Like Nobody’s Business
Earlier in the show, we saw Stephanie leaving Cena’s locker room and now we see her taking to Triple H right before the main event. Dun dun dun! This was just adding to the already high intrigue going into the match (and again, making us all fear for the worst). I’ll talk about this more later on during the RAW overview.
11. WWE Championship: CM Punk (c) d. John Cena (I Don’t Care What They Say, Cena’s Belt Didn’t Count)
This was a great match. It really isn’t fair to compare it with the perfect storm that was Money in the Bank. They decided to do something very different than that match and that was a very smart thing to do. This was a old school style bout that one often saw in the NWA when I was growing up as a kid (and long before my time even). The cool thing was that this wasn’t a fight, something we’ve all come to expect, this was a wrestling match. We saw a lot of reversals (more so than Christian/Orton) and, more importantly, I don’t recall them repeating anything from the previous PPV. This was two guys simply trying to out-wrestle one another. It was a nice change of pace than what is usually the norm for a WWE main event for the past ten plus years. They definitely had their working boots on and it is said that both men were very happy (particularly Cena). They really ought to be.
The only reason this wasn’t the match of the night, in my opinion, was because of the screwy finish. Triple H (the special guest referee for those who have been lost at sea) called the match right down the middle, including a point where it looked like both men were about the be counted out and he stopped counting to allow both men to settle it in the ring. I liked that touch. After Punk hit the GTS, Punk got the pinfall, but Cena’s foot was on the rope. Unfortunately for him, Triple H failed to see it. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, as this storyline has been going so well, that this is part of a bigger story that is slowly unfolding. If it isn’t, this doesn’t quite sit well with me. Otherwise, this was a hell of a match.
12. But Wait! There’s More!
As Punk was celebrating his Undisputed Championship, who should show up through the crowd but Kevin Nash! I doubt there was anyone who saw this coming (on this specific night, at least). He leveled Punk with a clothesline and hit the Jackknife Powerbomb, escaping back through the crowd, to the shock of everyone (including Triple H). This lead to…
13. WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio d. CM Punk (c)
That bastard! This was the opposite of their encounter at Money in the Bank as it was Punk who received a kick and was promptly pinned to lose the title. We all knew this was coming sooner rather than later, but sometimes the obvious thing to do is the right thing to do, especially after the “WTF” moment we just saw with Nash.
14. Final Thoughts
Good PPV, but not great. That’s kind of odd to say when wrestling wise (as we’re going to overlook Cee-Lo Green for these purposes), there was nothing bad about it at all. None of the matches sucked (the World title matches were both great) and many of the storylines were progressed (Henry continues to look unstoppable, the “now what?” feeling for Punk and Cena, and Del Rio fulfilling his destiny). At the very least, it makes one want to tune in on Monday and Friday to see where they’re going to go from here. I think we just have to accept that SummerSlam, while still the second biggest show of the year, isn’t exactly where feuds are blown off anymore as was the case once upon a time. But hey, I’m down to see the reign of Del Rio because, honestly, it’s been long overdue.
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