The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2011 – 08.14.11
Live from Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Jerry Lawler
The Miz, R-Truth & Alberto Del Rio v. Kofi Kingston, John Morrison & Rey Mysterio
Lots of stuff to unpack here. Michael Cole is still doing the “Miz’s #1 fan” bit at this point, while Truth is ranting about conspiracies and spiders. Soon, however, Miz and Truth would be united as THE AWESOME TRUTH, a team so terrifying that the entire WWE locker room would stage a walkout because they didn’t feel safe. Del Rio was Mr. Money in the Bank during his insane push in 2011 that started with a Rumble win, to establish that he’s in the building tonight. Rey had won a tournament for the interim WWE title after Punk walked out with the belt, but then dropped the title to John Cena THE SAME NIGHT. So then he’s getting a rematch at the winner of Punk v. Cena the next night on RAW. I was 50/50 on whether they would even remember that the next night, but I checked and in fact he did get his rematch, so there’s that. And then he was out for another year with an injury. Morrison hits the Truth with an enzuigiri but gets stomped down in the corner and tossed out. Back in, Truth goes to the chinlock and Miz stomps him down for two. Miz with another chinlock on Jomo, but he escapes with a Pele kick and Kofi comes in and runs wild while Booker tries to do an African accent. Kofi with a crossbody on Miz for two to set up the Boom Drop and the SOS for two. Del Rio takes out the other babyfaces and Miz hits Kofi with a facebuster for two. Truth comes in with a front suplex on Kofi for two. Del Rio with a backdrop suplex for two. Booker notes that Del Rio is like the wind, you can feel him but you can’t see him. Yeah, especially if you’re his girlfriend. Allegedly. Miz with a chinlock on Kofi while Cole breathlessly reads all his accolades from college and the announcers do their weird fake bickering. Rey gets the hot tag and hits Truth with the seated senton for two. 619 on both of the AWESOME TRUTH is broken up by Del Rio, but Miz and Kofi hit dives and Rey pins Truth with a splash at 9:37. Fun opener with a hot crowd. ***
Meanwhile, Big Johnny will not allow CM Punk to impugn his integrity. I KNOW RIGHT? Can you imagine someone trying to make out John to be a bad person? Punk gives him a super sarcastic apology, and then bumps into Stephanie, who wishes him luck. Punk clarifies that he didn’t call her “Vince McMahon’s clueless daughter”, he called her “idiotic”. Fair enough. Steph offers a handshake, but Punk knows where that hand has been. DAMN.
Mark Henry v. Sheamus
Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain continues! They slug it out to start and Sheamus beats him down with forearms, but Mark tosses him out and then presses him back into the ring again. Back in, Henry runs into him and follows with the big splash for two. Sheamus retreats to the ropes and Henry does the sliding necksnap deal that gets a big reaction, and that gets two. Sheamus fights back, but Henry slams him to cut that off and goes to the body vice. Sheamus fights out of that, but Henry runs him into the corner. Pump splash misses and both guys are down, so Sheamus makes the comeback and beats Henry down and does the forearms on the apron. They collide and both are down again, but Sheamus goes up with a flying shoulderblock for two. Brogue Kick misses and Henry tries to finish, but Sheamus gets a second Brogue Kick and puts Mark on the floor. He follows him out there, but Henry runs him into the post and then slams him through the railing, which the crowd goes nuts for. But then Sheamus gets counted out at 9:25 for a not-awesome finish to a pretty underrated hoss fight. ***1/4 Obviously they were protecting Sheamus for bigger things a bit later, but Henry was the real deal at this point and Sheamus should have laid down for the World’s Strongest Slam.
Meanwhile, Christian wants us to know that Randy Orton is not leaving Summerslam as World champion, because he’s got an insurance policy. Is it Luchasaurus? I guess not yet. Christian is Harry Potter and Orton is Cowboys & Aliens, for your dated 2011 reference.
Speaking of dated references, Cee-Lo Green does a couple of songs in the days before his songwriter eclipsed him and became one of the biggest stars in the world.
Divas title: Kelly Kelly v. Beth Phoenix
Phoenix and Natalya were the DIVAS OF DOOM at this point, and they’re lucky I wasn’t watching because they’d hear from my lawyer! By which I mean Tommy Hall, who I assume also practices law in between reviewing every wrestling show on TV. Kelly takes Beth to the floor with a headscissors and follows with a dive, but Beth clotheslines her back in the ring. Breaking news: Beth and Nattie are training a new intern on Smackdown, named AJ. Wonder if we ever heard from her again? Beth gets a press slam and chokes away in the corner, then hits a hip attack while Cole and Booker have conversations so stupid that they should be on Being the Elite. Beth with a body vice, but Kelly escapes with a neckbreaker, but Beth runs her into the corner and hangs her in the Tree of Woe. Kelly gets a rollup for two, but Beth puts her down with a side slam for two. Kelly suddenly makes a comeback, which you know because he’s screaming, but Beth blocks a handspring elbow and hits the Glam Slam, only for Kelly to reverse it into a cradle for the pin at 6:42. Beth was pretty much squashing her for the entire match before the banana peel finish. That Kelly Kelly reign was pretty bad. Crowd was totally dead throughout. *1/2
Meanwhile, Truth meets up with Jimmy Hart, who offers him managerial services, but then Truth accuses him of being Little Jimmy and the deal falls apart. That actually would have been a hilarious pairing. And then he bumps into the player who eventually became Metta World Peace, which I actually know because he was on Celebrity Big Brother, the true barometer of the pop culture zeitgeist.
Wade Barrett v. Daniel Bryan
Barrett without the beard is weirding me out. As is Bryan without “Ride of the Valkyries”. Bryan hits him with a knee to the gut and beats on him with forearms, but Barrett slugs him down for two. Bryan takes him down and works the arm, but Wade fights up, so Bryan dropkicks him for two. Another dropkick in the corner gets two and Bryan wraps him up for a surfboard, but then changes his mind and boots him down for two. Meanwhile Michael Cole spends the match taking cheapshots at Bryan and his veganism and lack of gym body. Bryan does the flip in the corner, but walks into the Bossman slam and Barrett gets two. Slingshot into a backbreaker gets two. Bryan comes back with more forearms, but Wade puts him down with a flying forearm for two. Wade chokes him out on the ropes and boots him to the floor, then back in for two. They fight on the apron and Bryan takes him down to the floor and hits a knee off the apron. Back in for the running knee for two, and then the future Yes Kicks get two. Wade puts him down with a big boot and tries for the finish, but Bryan reverses him into a guillotine and then turns it into the Lebell Lock, and Wade makes the ropes to escape. They fight to the top and Wade crotches him, clotheslines him off the ropes, and then finishes with Wasteland at 11:42. Crowd was quiet most of the way but this Daniel Bryan kid did a good job of getting it over by the end. Of course this was the Bryan jobbing tour, leading to his eventual surprise cash-in of the briefcase later in the year. ***1/4
World Heavyweight title, No Holds Barred: Christian v. Randy Orton
This is the rematch from Money in the Bank, where Christian won the title by DQ after angering Orton into kicking him in the nuts. And Christian’s new insurance policy is his best friend, Edge, who had recently retired and provided the inspiration for Christian’s title win. These are the heels, I should remind you. So Edge reminds us that he’ll never been able to wrestle ever again (I wouldn’t say EVER…) and then he had to watch Christian whine about getting title shots and then win by DQ, which he cannot abide. And now Christian is a disgrace to himself who has become a crying little bitch, and thus he’s no longer able to be there for him. I hope Christian can get a refund on that insurance policy. Well they’d make up in the future once Christian was retired, too.
They slug it out to start and Orton wins that handily, and then chases Christian out of the ring with a clothesline. Back in, Christian gets the flying elbow off the middle for two and puts the boots to him, but Orton backdrops him out of the corner to set up the Garvin Stomp. You might think that hold is barred, but it’s NOT. NO HOLDS ARE BARRED. They fight to the floor and Orton preps the announce table, but Christian runs away from the RKO and grabs the belt to make a break for it. So they head into the crowd for a brawl, where Orton beats on him and hauls him back in the ring. Orton slugs away in the corner and they fight to the floor again, but Christian goes under the ring and finds a kendo stick. Christian beats on him with that, like Booker’s mother apparently did to him, as we learn more life details we didn’t need. Christian misses a charge and Orton rolls him up for two, but Christian puts him down with a spinebuster for two. Christian tries another shot with the kendo stick, but Orton dropkicks him to counter and makes the comeback. Christian tries his own dropkick, but Orton catches him with a cradle for two. This sets up the draping DDT, but Orton reverses to the Killswitch, and Orton reverses that to the backbreaker for two. Orton tries the punt, but Christian trips him up and tries to post him, only for Orton to block it. They fight on the floor again and this time Orton finds tables in the magic void under the ring. Back in the ring, Christian goes to the top, but Orton superplexes him onto a folded table for two. That looks like it sucked. Orton sets up the table in the corner, but Christian hits him with the inverted DDT and follows with a spear attempt, which Orton evades. So Christian throws him out, but Orton tosses him into the stairs and Christian takes a nice bump off those, but regroups and runs Orton into them. So now Christian preps the Spanish table, but Orton counters him with an RKO through the table. Both in the ring, Orton tries another RKO, but Christian reverses to the Killswitch for two. This sets up the Conchairto, but Christian makes the mistake of spitting on Orton before trying to bash his head in with a chair, and Orton makes the comeback and returns fire. So Christian goes flying off the apron and through a table, allowing Orton a chance to fill up the ring with whatever weapons are still stashed underneath. Back in the ring, Orton powerslams him through the table in the corner to finally pay that one off, and then beats on him with the kendo stick to set up a flying RKO on the stairs for a crazy awesome finish at 23:41, and Orton regains the title. This was GREAT and Orton as a fired up babyface is terrifying. These two guys are good at this pro wrestling deal. ****1/4
WWE title unification: CM Punk v. John Cena
And of course HHH is your special guest referee to begin one of the strangest and most disjointed storylines of the year. I have no idea how they botched the Summer of Punk so badly, from putting Punk back on TV almost immediately to negating Cena’s title loss by putting a second version of the title back on him just as soon, but here we are. Still, it got me watching wrestling again. Also what’s with CM Punk’s World title reigns getting interrupted by interim champions, AMIRITE? They trade headlocks to start while the crowd is split on who to cheer for, and Cena goes to a chinlock. Punk hits him with a heel kick for two and goes to his own hold on the mat, but Cena hits him with a gut wrench for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Cena drops an elbow for two and goes to another chinlock, but Punk fights out and hits him with a big boot. Punk puts him down with a knee to the gut for two and goes to a bodyscissors on the mat. They fight to the apron and Punk necks him on the top rope and dropkicks him to the floor as we’re already at 10:00 into this thing and nothing really has happened so far. Back in, that gets two.
Punk punts him in the ribs and follows with a buttdrop for two, but Cena powers him into a side slam. Punk comes back and misses the knee in the corner, and Cena tries his own stuff, but Punk hits him with a knee on the ropes, which Cena counters into the Blue Thunder bomb. Punk wraps him up in a Koji Klutch, but Cena reverses him into the STF. Cena reverses to the Anaconda Vice, but then Cena reverses that to a crossface and Punk makes the ropes. They head to the floor again as Punk hits him with a tope suicida, but both guys are out and HHH decides to throw them back into the ring to make sure there’s no countout. Man Gorilla would be rolling over in his grave seeing that kind of overstepping of referee boundaries! They slug it out and Cena pus him down with a dropkick to set up the five knuckle shuffle, but Punk reverses the AA into a sunset flip for two. Punk hits a high kick for two. Punk tries the GTS, but Cena escapes and follows with the Emerald Frosion for two. I forget what wacky name he was using back in 2004 but it had been a while since he pulled it out. Cena goes up and Punk cuts him off with a knee and bulldogs him for two. Punk with the springboard clothesline, but he lands in the STF and Punk has to make the ropes again. They trade finisher attempts and Cena gets the AA for two. Cena goes up and misses the legdrop, and now Punk hits the GTS for two. Punk goes up and drops the flying elbow for two, with the death of Randy Savage fresh in everyone’s mind at the time. Cena rolls him up for two, but Punk hits him with a knee to the gut and they slug it out. Another GTS gets the pin at 24:13, although Cena’s foot was on the ropes and Hunter missed it. This was pretty great, but more in a “two fellas having a great match” way, not the dangerous and edgy way that the MITB match was. ****1/4
And then afterwards, Punk celebrates at ringside and Hunter offers him a handshake, but Punk still doesn’t trust him. And then Kevin Nash comes out of the crowd after Hunter leaves, laying out Punk with the Poochiebomb and then leaving, in a twist that made no sense and was never explained to anyone’s satisfaction. And with Punk out, Alberto Del Rio brings a referee and cashes in the case, hitting the superkick and winning the belt. HHH is all confused, but then later is came out that maybe he was behind it all, but then it turned out he wasn’t? I think? Anyway, Punk would have his day later on.
The two main event matches made this one a strong thumbs up, although there’s nothing bad here and it’s a pretty entertaining show throughout. Punk was decidedly just another guy only a month after a Chicago, though, and that’s kind of a shame given how big it could have been if they had let it breathe even a little bit.