The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2007 – 08.26.07
This is yet another major show I’ve never seen, due to not being in much mood for WWE at the time. You know, because of stuff.
Live from “the shadow of the Big Apple”, which is WWE-speak for when they come to New Jersey and don’t want to admit it. They can’t even call it The Meadowlands, it’s the Mustardaise Sandwich Spread Arena or whatever the corporate branding was at that point. Drawing 16,000 for a pretty impressive $1,000,000 gate.
Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL for Smackdown, and JR & King for RAW, and Joey Styles & Tazz for ECW.
Kane v. Finlay
My favorite burn from Twitter recently was someone noting that the new heel Luchasaurus is a lot like Kane, because they both hang out with crazy Christians. Kane has taped ribs due to previous attack from Finlay with the hurty stick that I can never spell. Kane slugs him down and chokes him out on the ropes and then beats on him in the corner. Finlay gets a shot to the ribs and tries to go up to the top, but Kane slugs him down to the floor and follows with a big boot on the floor. Kane goes up and Finlay goes to the ribs again and drops a senton on them for two. JBL declares that this is gonna be a “monkey butt ugly fight” while Finlay grabs a hold on the mat until Kane kicks out of it. Fun fact: Finger 11, who did Kane’s theme “Slow Chemical”, were originally called the Rainbow Butt Monkeys. Finlay cuts off Kane’s comeback by going to the ribs again and gets another senton for two, but Hornswoggle pops out from under the ring and Kane stops to go after him. See, kids are super important to people like Kane until they appear under the ring and interfere in your matches! Finlay goes for the ribs again and undoes the turnbuckle, but Kane slugs him down and goes for the stick, at which point Hornswoggle gives Finlay another stick and a shot to the ribs gets two. Finlay charges and hits the post, and Kane chokeslams him and puts him away like he’s the Supreme Court and Finlay is basic human rights at 9:00. An absolutely awful opener with a dead crowd. ½*
Meanwhile, Vince McMahon struts into the backstage area, which Coach has turned into Party Central, but Vince is all disappointed because there’s no women there. Maybe he should call Johnny Ace. Santino stops by to guess that Vincent is actually “Vincenzo” and thus secretly his father. MVP wants a match with Matt Hardy, and Vince would be proud to be his father, but William Regal thinks he’s actually the son. Vince thinks that’s ridiculous because English women are so ugly.
Intercontinental title: Umaga v. Carlito v. Mr. Kennedy
Umaga slugs both guys down and chases them to the floor, so they decide to team up and that doesn’t go much better for them. One of the dumber things about this show so far is the announcers constantly talking about the “party atmosphere” and all the “sand and palm trees” that Carlito is comfortable around. You know, like they have in NEW JERSEY. Carlito manages to toss Umaga out and cradles Kennedy for two. Springboard elbow gets two. Kennedy comes back with the Stroke, but Umaga yanks him out of the ring and proceeds to hit Carlito with a diving headbutt. He charges and hits the post while Kennedy preps the announce table and hits Umaga with a monitor, but Carlito gets two off that. Carlito convinces Kennedy to work together again, but Umaga suplexes them both and makes the comeback. The spinning uranage gets two, so you know this is 2007. He hits Carlito with a Toni Storm-like hip attack in the corner, and Kennedy tosses Umaga and gets two on Carlito, but Umaga just comes back in and finishes Kennedy with the Samoan Spike at 7:32. Mr. Kennedy was about to go through some stuff and disappear from TV for a while, so it’s a good thing they didn’t put the belt on him here. Match was just some midcard fellas having a midcard match. ** In the crowd is someone with a paper bag on their head and a sign reading “Carlito’s Ashamed Brother”, which could be the low key debut of Primo if true.
Rey Mysterio v. Chavo Guerrero
Apparently there was a feud here with Chavo as a vicious heel stemming from an I Quit match a year before, which I don’t remember at all because it was probably a terrible idea. Rey is coming off yet another knee injury and appears to have had himself literally bronzed like a pair of baby shoes while he was gone. He, we all have our kinks. They trade lucha takedowns to start and Rey sends him to the floor. Back in, Chavo goes after the knee, but Rey tosses him out again and follows with a dive before sending him into the stairs. Back in, Rey hits him with a rana while JBL keeps making reference to Pedro Martinez, who was recovering from rotator cuff surgery at the time. You will note that the shoulder and the knee are completely different body parts but don’t try to stop JBL when he’s got an analogy in his head. Also Pedro’s career was basically over by the start of 2008 and Rey is still going today. Chavo goes after the knee again to cut off Rey and puts the boots to him and goes to work on it. Rey gets a brief comeback and Chavo cuts him off with a half crab, but Rey makes the ropes while JBL yells over Cole and declares the match to be over. Rey reverses a slam attempt for two and hangs Chavo in the Tree of Woe, but the ref pulls him off for some reason instead of counting like he’s supposed to. Rey sends him to the floor and follows with the senton off the apron, and back in for two. Rey with a tornado DDT for two, but he goes up and misses a bodypress, allowing Chavo to hit the Gory Bomb for two. Rey comes back, but misses the 619, and Chavo hits the Three Amigos, back before everyone with Latino heritage did that as a tribute to Eddie. But then Rey reverses out of the third one, follows with the 619, and gets the pin at 12:10. This was fine, if completely unmemorable. **1/2
Meanwhile, King Booker delivers a Shakespearean soliloquy about HHH’s return.
Divas Battle Royale:
Winner of this gets a future shot at prestigious Women’s champion Candice Michelle. We’ve got a bunch of the usual suspects from the time period and you don’t even need to go over the top to lose, you just have to leave the ring and touch the floor. Brooke Adams is the first out in whatever name she was using in 2007 and it just goes downhill faster from there, with people randomly walking around the ring yelling and punching. There’s someone named Crystal who I’ve never even heard of before. She gets thrown out as well. Even Lawler calls out all the “screaming and moaning” in the ring. Eventually we get to the final four after 3 orbits of the solar system, which is 5:00 in earth time, with Melina, Torrie, Beth Phoenix and Michelle McCool. Melina gets thrown out, leaving Beth against Torrie and McCool, but Beth fights off Torrie and throws her out, and then just powers out McCool to win at 7:10. Beth was early in her career and didn’t have the act down yet, so no one cared about this. This would be FAR into the negative stars if I rated battle royales.
And then we get a weirdly abrupt edit (or they just rushed past to the next thing) because before Beth can even get out of the ring, MVP’s music hits and he comes out for his challenge to Matt Hardy. And the women have all disappeared, including Candice Michelle from ringside, so I’m guessing something was cut out of the post-match and they just edited right to MVP.
Beer Drinking Contest:
MVP decides to lower himself to drinking beer to outdo Matt, but Matt comes out and announces that just like MVP substituted in their boxing match, Matt has a substitute for the beer drinking contest: Steve Austin. So of course all the wackiness with MVP was because the new “Wellness Policy” caught a legit heart defect that MVP suffered from, and he was out of action while recovering. So Steve does some pushups to prep for the “contest”, and then gives MVP a stunner to win the contest.
Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme stop by and annoy Vince, leading everyone into a dance while chanting “Money money yeah yeah”. Regal dancing is of course delightful, and it ends, as everything from the mid-2000s does, with Ron Simmons stopping by.
ECW World title: John Morrison v. CM Punk
So Morrison is the guy who got the title and a repackage after stuff happened the month before, and the repackage turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. That being said, Johnny Nitro as a World champion in 2007 was a tough sell. Plucky young babyface Punk takes Morrison down and they fight for holds on the mat, until Punk slams him. Punk dumps him onto the apron and follows with a dropkick, but Morrison takes him to the floor with a neckbreaker onto the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Back in, that gets two. That looked pretty sick actually. Morrison beats him down with forearms for two and goes to a chinlock. Morrison puts him down with a nasty kick for two and goes to a chinlock, but Punk gets a sunset flip for two. Cross body out of the corner gets two, and an enzuigiri gets two. Powerslam gets two. Morrison gets a backbreaker for two, but Punk takes him down and moonsaults him for two. Morrison tries a springboard kick and Punk crotches him and follows with a clothesline and a small package for two. High kick and they head to the top, but Morrison blocks a rana and gets the pin with his feet on the ropes at 7:10. Man, there was something hanging over this one with the crowd and I think we know what it was. Match was pretty decent for the short amount of time given, but no one cared. ***
HHH v. King Booker
This was yet another return for HHH after yet another quad injury after yet another DX reunion, although this didn’t have the impact of his previous returns, quad injuries, and DX reunions. The
“heat” was Booker abusing JR and King after getting drafted to RAW but COME ON. It might as well have been Brooklyn Brawler out there as the opponent. HHH quickly clotheslines him to the floor and Booker comes back in and blocks a blind charge before getting thrown out again. Back in, HHH with a facebuster for two, but Hall of Famer Sharmell trips him up and Booker goes to the leg to take over. I should note this is the second match of the show where the storyline is the babyface returning from a leg injury and the heel targeting it. Hunter turns the tables and clips the knee before going to a figure-four, but Sharmell breaks it up and Booker superkicks him for two. they slug it out and HHH wins that and throws Booker out again for a trip to the stairs. Back in, HHH with a corner clothesline and spinebuster, but Booker hits the leg to escape the Pedigree. Bookend gets two. Booker goes up and misses the Harlem Hangover, and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes at 7:55. Well this was a lot of nothing. ** Pretty much an extended squash for HHH.
Smackdown World title: The Great Khali v. Batista
I cannot imagine this car wreck propping up the show two hours in, but stranger things have happened. JBL uses his favorite phrase, “big fight feel” for this one, even though there’s nothing of the sort. Khali puts the boots to Dave in the corner to start and slugs him down while Cole busts out the “frying pan” metaphor for Khali’s hands. Well I’m sold. Khali with a clothesline and he tosses Batista, but Big Dave fights back in before walking into the BIG CHOP for two. And we go to the dreaded nerve pinch while poor Dave does his best to sell it and make this nonsense look like a real match. So Dave fights out of that devastating shoulder massage, and comes back with a spinebuster, which Khali barely sells. Batista goes up and gets caught in the KHALI BOMB, but it only gets two. So Khali hits him with a chair for the DQ at 7:02 as they somehow find the worst finish possible. What a pile of horse manure this was. DUD
Meanwhile, we get the payoff of the Vince storyline, as the “women” Vince asked for turn out to be Moolah and Mae Young, with Young looking to rape Vince and get impregnated by him. Luckily Regal pulls her off while Vince sells the assault and then Coach claims he couldn’t help because she was “strong as an ox” and offers Vince a Tic Tac to wash the taste out of his mouth. But then Vince realizes he was into it because “old chicken makes good soup”. Hey thanks to the guy who suggested I review this show, I really appreciate it. Just tremendous so far.
WWE title: John Cena v. Randy Orton
There would be many times, but this was their first PPV main event. Orton was coming off the Legend Killer stuff and was a logical contender at least. Cena gets some pretty impressive boos for his entrance, as everyone was getting sick of his act already and we were only 2 years into his run as top guy. They do the dramatic lockup battle to start and the crowd even boos Cena doing a HEADLOCK. That’s cold. Cena quickly goes for the STF, but Orton slugs him down and puts the boots to him. Cena comes back with the bulldog for two, but Orton clobbers him down with a forearm to the neck for two. The crowd is booing everything Cena does but at least this match has some HEAT, unlike literally everything else on the show that wasn’t Stone Cold. Cena tries a bodypress and lands on his face, allowing Orton to toss him out and into the table outside. Back in, that gets two. Orton goes to his speciality, the chinlock, and grinds Cena down with that. Cena fights out, but he charges and takes a Bret Hart bump into the corner, and Orton goes back to work on him with the Garvin Stomp. Powerslam gets two. And we go back to the chinlock, but Cena powers out of that, so Orton dropkicks him for two. Orton takes him down with a headlock and hangs onto that as they engage in an extended conversation about something. I know, Cena calling loud spots on camera, IMPOSSIBLE! Cena powers out of our third extended chinlock and slugs Orton down, setting up the Five Knuckle Shuffle. But then Orton cuts him off with a backbreaker and follows with the draping DDT for two. Orton tries the RKO and Cena shoves him off, but then he charges and Orton dumps him to the floor and runs him into the stairs. Back in, that gets two. Cena fights back with a neckbreaker and they fight to the top rope, but Cena brings him down and follows with the guillotine legdrop. Orton blocks the FU and puts Cena down to set up the punt, but Cena dodges it and puts him in the STFU. Orton quickly makes the ropes and pops up for the RKO, which gets two. Another try, but Cena reverses to the FU and pins him at 21:25 to retain. Kind of slow most of the way but the finish was good. ***1/4 Of course Cena suffered an arm injury shortly after and was out until his miraculous return at the Rumble, and frankly he needed the time off at this point.
It’s tough to attribute collective stuff to entire large groups of people, but if ever there was a show you could point at and say “The entire crowd was still recovering from the Benoit murders”, this was it. The arena was not into anything on this night, and most of the matches were short and forgettable anyway. This one is an easy pass.