The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2009 – 08.23.09
I went to see the RAW building this show up in Calgary, deep into my phase of completely ignoring the current product at that point. So of course I never actually watched this show. Although there was other “main events”, the actual focus of the show was Shawn and Hunter reuniting as D-X to increasingly diminishing returns. As usual, I’m going into this one completely blind, but they generally do a good job of using video packages to refresh my memory.
Live from Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Todd Grisham and Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Intercontinental title: Rey Mysterio v. Dolph Ziggler
We’re only a few miles from San Diego, which is pointed out by the announcers, so that doesn’t bode well for Rey here. Hometown rule and all. Dolph attacks and slugs away in the corner, but Rey springs out of the corner with a moonsault for two. Dolph bails and Rey follows with a rana off the apron, and they fight back in via the top rope. Rey comes down and botches a rana, which Dolph turns into a corner powerbomb of sorts for two. Ziggler goes to the chinlock and a side slam gets two. Elbow gets two. Rey fights out of the chinlock, but walks into a lariat that gets two. Dolph with a press slam into a gutbuster for two. Back to the chinlock, but Rey fights out with a low kick for two. Springboard bodyblock is countered by a Ziggler dropkick for two. Rey tries a sunset flip and Dolph blocks it for two. Rey fights back with an enzuigiri into the 619, but Dolph escapes and hits the fameasser for two. Blind charge misses and Rey spins him into a rollup for two, and reverses a slam into a DDT for two. Rey dropkicks him into another 619, and this one hits, but Drop the Dime misses and Ziggler rolls him up for two. The crowd actually starts cheering for Ziggler at this point, and he boots Rey to the apron. To the top for an exploding gutbuster, but Rey reverses it to the rana off the top and retains at 12:30. Rey got a hell of a match out Dolph to open the show. ***3/4
Meanwhile, MVP and Jack Swagger bicker to build up their match later tonight. MVP was becoming a hell of a promo at this point and it’s too bad the relationship went south soon after.
Jack Swagger v. MVP
MVP hits him with a clothesline and side slam, but Swagger bails, so MVP follows with a pescado. Back in, that gets two. Swagger slams him into the corner to take over and works the back as the match immediately dies. Crazy that New Japan basically created the Intercontinental title for MVP as a joke midcard title, and it became almost as big as the main IWGP heavyweight title! Swagger works on an abdominal stretch and chinlock, but MVP escapes with an electric chair for two. MVP makes the comeback and slugs away, setting up the Ballin’ Elbow for two. Swagger reverses the Playmaker into a rollup for two. Blind charge misses and MVP finishes with the Playmaker at 6:22. Nothing to this one. *
And now, a special look at the guest host era of RAW. And then Freddie Prinze Jr. gets interviewed at ringside, while the interviewer plugs her charity.
Unified tag titles: JERI-SHOW v. Cryme Tyme
JTG starts with Jericho in the battle of the authors, and JTG gets a back elbow and flip neckbreaker for two. Jericho tries the Walls and JTG escapes to the corner and comes off with a crossbody for two. Show comes in and beats on JTG, but he escapes and brings in Shad, who runs wild with a press slam on Jericho before running into a spear from Show. The champs double-team Shad in the corner and Show goes to a full nelson, which is a move you’d think he’d use more often. Jericho goes with the chinlock to cut off the tag and the crowd just completely doesn’t care about Cryme Tyme. Hot tag to JTG and he gets a facejam out of the corner, which is apparently called “The mug shot”. That gets two. Show dumps Gaspar, but JTG rolls up Jericho for two. Jericho takes him down for the Walls and JTG actually shows good fire and makes the ropes, but then Show just punches him in the face and Jericho pins him at 9:43. Cute finish, another nothing match. **
Meanwhile, CM Punk rails against Hollywood phonies and people who worship celebrities instead of being good parents. He’s no screenwriter, but he’s going to rewrite the Jeff Hardy Story with a better ending. For himself.
The Great Khali v. Kane
JR is apologizing for the match before it even starts, so that’s a good sign. Khali attacks and stomps away in the corner to start, but Kane gets a slow motion necksnap and seated dropkick for two. They fight over a chokeslam and Khali drops an elbow for two. Kane comes back with a flying clothesline for two and we get a lengthy chinlock before Khali escapes and hits the CHOP OF DOOM for two. This sets up the HEAD VICE, but Kane escapes and goes after Khali’s geek manager, which distracts Khali long enough to finish with a DDT at 6:00. JR’s blowing shoe metaphor was a solid one. DUD
D-Generation X v. Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes
Shawn and Hunter enter on a tank, perhaps the very same tank that invaded WCW and won the Monday Night Wars! Or perhaps it’s a replica of the tank. But one thing we know for sure according to WWE history: The tank was real and it really happened. Although Shawn superkicking the little girl was a cute reintroduction, the act was far past its prime and was just something to kill time. Shawn in particular was reduced to HHH’s wacky sidekick. Dibiase goes after HHH in the corner to start, but Hunter drops a knee for two. Cody comes in and runs into a knee, so he wants Shawn instead. Cody slugs away on him, but Shawn gets a Thesz Press and Cody runs away. Back in, it’s over to Dibiase, and Shawn hits him with chops in the corner until Dibiase clotheslines him to take over. Legacy beats on him in the corner and Cody drops a knee for two. Dibiase works a chinlock, but Shawn brings HHH back in. Cody tries a cheapshot from the apron, but HHH swats him away like a gnat and hits Dibiase with a clothesline for good measure. Spinebusters for both Legacy guys and it’s BONZO GONZO, as HHH backdrops Shawn onto Cody outside. This allows Dibiase hit Hunter in his crotch, the very crotch he uses for crotch-chopping, and Hunter is YOUR face in peril. Dibiase beats on him in the corner for two and they get good heat by cutting off the ring and all the usual tag team stuff that I love, including Shawn getting knocked off the apron and getting all ANGRY about it while the heels work his partner over. Finally Hunter wins a slugfest and tosses Dibiase to CREATE SEPARATION, and it’s hot tag Shawn. Shawn is great in either role, so he gets all fired up and makes the comeback on Cody with atomic drops until Dibiase cuts him off with a clothesline to the back. Cody goes up and tries the flying elbow, but Shawn moves and goes up to do his own, only to have Cody cut him off. Shawn fights him off and finishes the elbow, but this time hits Cody’s knees. Cody gets two of that, but Shawn goes to a figure-four and Dibiase has to break that up. Hunter comes in and Cody hits him in the nuts and takes him out with a sling blade, and it’s Crossroads on Shawn for two. HHH saves and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE for Cody, but Dibiase hits Dream Street on Shawn and everyone is out. Both guys fight to their feet and Shawn hits a superkick for the pin at 20:00. Hell of a match. **** They had a rematch at Hell in a Cell later in the year (which I went to go see at the movie theater, hence I never ranted on it) and I liked that one even more.
Although they cut out every other commercial and sponsorship on these Network versions, they leave in a commercial for the Rise and Fall of WCW DVD set for some reason. I must have a copy of that, I’m pretty sure, although I’ve never watched it. One of the soundbites, with Arn Anderson talking about how they sacrificed all their creativity for corporate greed and “anything to make money” mentality, is especially delicious irony considering what a cynical money-making TV product that WWE has become. Anyway, if they put that one on the Network, I might have to check it out.
ECW title: Christian v. William Regal
Just as I’m thinking that they’re short on time with two World title matches still to come, Christian immediately pins him with the Killswitch at 0:08. And then Regal’s goon squad of Ezekial and Kozlov lay out Christian afterwards. What a waste this was.
WWE title: Randy Orton v. John Cena
They had many matches previous to this, and would have many more to come, but this is one of them. They start with the usual and Orton slugs him down to take over, then whips him around the ring. Kneedrop gets two. Cena fights back and walks into the backbreaker, and that gets two. Orton with a sleeper but Cena fights back with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and Orton cuts him off again with the powerslam for two. Cena fights up and misses the shoulderblock, landing on the floor as a result. Back in, Orton gets the draping DDT for two and sets up for the punt, but it misses and Cena makes the comeback. Guillotine legdrop gets two, but Orton escapes the AA and they clothesline each other. They do the boo/yay slugfest and Orton shoves the ref for the DQ at 13:32. Lillian Garcia messes up the announcement and then says that Mr. McMahon has ordered the match restarted with no DQ this time. So we start again, with Cena getting a sideslam and they brawl to the floor, where Orton sends him into the stairs. Back in, Orton gets two, and then grabs the belt and walks out at 17:00. But then the match is nonsensically restarted again, with Orton now unable to be DQ’d or counted out. So we start again, and Orton rolls him up with his feet on the ropes to retain at 18:10. But then another referee runs out to restart the fucking match AGAIN as a sign in the background says “This is why I watch Smackdown”. So we start, AGAIN, and Cena gets the STF out of nowhere and this time some fan runs into the ring and gets tackled by security and taken out. Everyone stands around confused, and finally Orton hits the RKO and pins Cena at 20:45. Are we gonna restart it again? No? OK. According to the Observer the “fan” was another Dibiase kid, who never actually made it to TV after this. What a bunch of overbooked nonsense, like something out of Dusty Rhodes Hell. *1/2 Oddly, I’d heard the match was terrible, but I was mostly enjoying it for the first 10 minutes and was wondering why everyone hated it so much. And then we found out.
World heavyweight title, TLC match: Jeff Hardy v. CM Punk
Punk stomps Hardy down to start and tosses him, giving him some chairshots and making the first climb for the belt off that. Hardy shoves him off with a pretty brutal bump and gets the mule kick in the corner. Hardy climbs and Punk kicks the ladder over, so Jeff shoves him into it as they’ve just decided to see who can out-bump the other, I guess. Hardy dives off a chair into the corner, but Punk catches him and gives him a terrifying slam onto the top of the chair, then drops a ladder on him. Jeff bails and Punk follows with a tope suicida, but Jeff destroys him with chairshots and puts him on a table. Jeff goes up and Punk moves, as Jeff splashes through the table. Punk makes the climb off of that, but Jeff jumps on his shoulders to get past him up the ladder. Punk tries to slam him off, so Hardy reverses to a powerbomb instead. Jeff gets to the belt, but Punk pushes the ladder over and Hardy takes another terrifying bump into the corner in a series of them tonight. And then Punk superplexes him, ONTO THE LADDER, and that looked like it killed both guys. Hardy recovers first and goes up with the swanton, but that hits the knees. Punk goes for the kill, but Hardy dumps him out of the ring with a backdrop suplex and Punk goes through a table on the floor in the process. Hardy climbs, but Punk springboards in with a double axehandle to cut him off and they brawl to the floor. Jeff just lays into him with a chair over and over, then puts him on a table and climbs a GIANT ladder for the swanton to put him through the announce table. Hardy is literally loaded onto a stretcher while Punk gets back in the ring, but Jeff fights off the EMTs and goes to stop the climb. Punk’s expression there is great. They fight on top of the ladder and slug it out, but Punk gives him one last shot to the head, and Hardy goes down flat like Overeem on Saturday night and allows Punk to get the belt at 21:40. And that was it for Jeff Hardy, as this was his last appearance on WWE PPV until he returned earlier this year! And poor Punk doesn’t even get to celebrate, as Undertaker returns from vacation and lays him out to set up a complete disaster of a feud. This wasn’t the best TLC match of all time or anything, but they were determined to bump until they were dead and still had a great one. ****1/4
Three great matches is more than enough for a thumbs up here, but beware the complete clown show that was the Cena-Orton title match. It was an easy show to watch and mostly fun outside of that, however.