Happy Wednesday Everyone!
We’ve got some more SummerSlam opening matches for you today, with a pretty meh batch if I’m going from memory, although 2009 might be good.
MVP Vs Jeff Hardy
MVP had made nasty comments about Jeff’s past in order to set this one up. Ironically MVP was just coming off a long feud with Jeff’s brother Matt. MVP had also cost Jeff a match with Edge on Saturday Nights Main Event. Jeff gets the babyface to start and it’s decent, if a little low on energy for whatever reason, but MVP ends up suplexing Jeff into the corner for the cut off, with Jeff folding himself up in impressive fashion on the bump.
The crowd are into this and get behind Jeff whilst he sells in the heat, whilst MVP keeps it simple with holds and strikes. It’s not the most exciting match ever, but it’s a solid outing for the most part. Jeff eventually gets a neck breaker but his comeback immediately gets cut off, with them telling the story that MVP has Jeff’s number and Jeff can’t get the better of him as a result. For the first big singles match in a feud that makes logical sense as it gives the babyface a reason to adapt and try again.
Jeff finally does manage to get a couple of near falls, and the crowd remains into him. This match has had pretty decent crowd heat considering it’s kind of just been “there” from a work perspective. Shelton Benjamin ends up distracting Jeff, which means he misses the Swanton Bomb and that allows MVP to snap off a Chono Kick for three.
Work was fine and the crowd heat was there, but it was also fought at a pretty tepid pace and I didn’t think the two men had particularly good chemistry together as opponents. Still, not bad for an opening to the show and the finish set up more matches in this feud as well as opening the door for Jeff to wrestle matches with Shelton Benjamin
WWE Intercontinental Title
Champ: Rey Mysterio Jr Vs Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler came close to defeating Rey in a Title match so now we’ve got a rematch. I remember watching this show with a group of friends and the main topic of conversation was how much Ziggler reminded them of Billy Gunn. So of course Ziggler busted out the Rocker Dropper at one stage and the room collectively lost their mind! The match itself is really good, with Ziggler taking a lot of it in order to make him look like a star on Rey’s level. Rey is excellent at selling and bumping of course, so the match is entertaining even though he’s on the defensive so much.
Ziggler actually gets some chants from the crowd, as he was kind of seen as a cool undercard guy who deserved to be elevated amongst the smark contingent (Yeah, Dolph Ziggler was once beloved online) and that type of fan always seems very quick to turn on Rey for whatever reason. Rey really does take some fantastic bumps in order to make Ziggler look good here, although Ziggler also sells Rey’s offence really well when the time comes as well.
The Rocker Dropper ends up being one of Ziggler’s big near falls, with the crowd biting and Rey timing his kick out perfectly. That was a fantastic near fall, as they’re really clicking together well as opponents. Ziggler gets another great near fall when Rey fails to drop the dime, getting a simple amateur styled pinning hold for two, leading to more Ziggler chants from the dudes in the crowd whilst the women and kids continue to cheer for Rey. Rey ends up catching Ziggler with a rana OUTTA NOWHERE and that’s enough for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: REY JR
This was a great match, with the wrestling being good and the crowd being invested in the near falls big time. Ziggler really stepped up and showed what he was capable of doing and Rey was excellent in his role of the gutsy underdog
WWE Intercontinental Title
Champ: Dolph Ziggler w/ Vicky Guerrero Vs Kofi Kingston
These two had many bouts together and the matches were usually good. Vicky ended up costing Kofi the most recent match prior to this one by distracting both Kofi and the ref so that Ziggler could hit the Zig-Zag for three. Vicky cuts her usual ear scratching promo prior to the bout, and as usual it’s turn the channel heat for me. Thankfully Kofi’s music hits before she can screech for too long and the match is on.
Vicky immediately plays dividend in this match as well, as she pulls Ziggler out of the way of a Kofi TOPE SUICIDA, which leads to Kofi selling out on the floor for a bit before crawling back into the ring for some Ziggler heat. They’re trying to push on commentary that Kofi is more intense than usual here, although it doesn’t really come across. His selling is good whilst he’s on the defensive though and the crowd gets behind him.
Kofi eventually makes the comeback and the crowd is into it, with Ziggler selling it all nicely. This hasn’t really felt like a big pay per view opener but it’s been a nice little wrestling match that you could easily put in a featured slot on Raw or Smackdown. The crowd being into Kofi has helped elevate it into something more than the sum of its parts. Sadly it has an all-time WCW-like finish, as Heel fact The Nexus runs in to kill both guys for the no contest, not unlike how the New World Order would do on Nitro.
This was fine until the lame finish, although it didn’t feel like the opener you would have on a “Big Four” pay per view
Money in the Bank Holder Alberto Del Rio and The Awesome Truth (Miz and R-Truth) Vs John Morrison, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio Jr
I think Miz was feuding with Rey, Morrison was feuding with Truth, whilst ADR and Kofi just happened to be there, and hence a match was booked. This is a decent match, with the babyface trio getting a shine until Morrison gets cut off and worked over. Strange I would have picked one of the other two for the heat segment just because Jo-Mo is the biggest guy on his team, but he does a good job in the role at least.
Kofi eventually gets the hot tag and runs wild, looking good in the process, whilst the crowd gets into his offence. Things break down following that, with all six men getting involved, and we appear to be doing another heat segment as Kofi gets cut off by Miz and the Heels start working him over. Kofi sells that well, although it felt like the match was on the path to the closing stretch and they’ve now artificially killed the pace.
Rey (yes, REY) gets our second hot tag and looks good, with both Miz and Truth getting set up for 619’s until ADR stops it. Morrison and Kofi take care of ADR and Miz respectively though and that frees Rey up to get a springboard splash on Truth for three. I knew when I saw Rey rocking royal blue and white that he was sure to prevail!
WINNERS: REY, KOFI & JO-MO
This was a decent opener. Not much else to say really. They had a solid six man tag bout
Money in the Bank Holder Dolph Ziggler w/ Vicky Guerrero Vs Chris Jericho
Jericho had gone babyface for this feud after initially being a Heel and I think Ziggler would eventually send Jericho packing for a bit until Jericho came back for a feud with Fandango. Jericho has a case of DDPitis here, with a taped up mid-section due to Ziggler attacking him backstage on Smackdown. Jericho still shines on Ziggler to start though, as the crowd seems to have a mixture of Ziggler and Jericho fans. The majority seem to be backing Jericho though.
Ziggler eventually decides it would be a smart idea to attack the ribs and starts hitting Jericho there, with Jericho selling well. Jericho eventually makes the comeback, with the match turning into a bit of a near fall extravaganza. It’s entertaining and the crowd responds to the action in a positive manner. Jericho actually busts out a rana off the top at one stage, which he’d normally save for big occasions, and in a nice touch he can’t pin right away due to his ribs hurting, thus allowing Ziggler to kick out whilst still protecting the move.
The crowd bites on quite a few of the near falls, as they’ve built this well as its progressed and the crowd have been into it for the majority of the contest. Vicky of course tries to help Ziggler pick up a cheap win, but Jericho manages to kick out of the resulting inside cradle and then locks Ziggler in the old school Lion Tamer for the submission win. It was cool that Ziggler was flexible enough to take it that way.
WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO
They built that well and it was a hot match by the end. I think Ziggler beat Jericho on TV following this and Jericho had to leave as a result until it was time for him to come back for the big pop again
Ziggler was the star this month with some strong performances. Hopefully I’ll see you all next week for 2013 to 2017