SummerFest Countdown: 2004

The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2004
– Live from the Center of the Universe, ON.
– Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.
– Opening match: The Dudley Boyz v. Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman & Paul London.
Apparently London & Kidman have won the Smackdown tag titles in my absence, presumably in a federally-mandated Jobber Affirmative Action program. (Until London opened his big mouth one time too many and fucked it up.)  On the other hand, given the white tights and London’s Latino roots, it might just be another attempt at Strike Force. D-Von hammers on Kidman in the corner to start, but gets dropkicked for two. London comes in for the double-team, and gets two. He jumps out of the corner and dropkicks D-Von for two, but a dastardly cheapshot from Bubba turns the tide, and D-Von gets two. Spike comes in with the flying stomp and pounds London down in the corner, and Bubba comes in with a suplex and drops some elbows. D-Von hits the chinlock and gets a powerslam for two. London fights back with kicks and heel miscommunication (and an enzuigiri) set up the hot tag to Rey. Flapjack and flying legdrop get two on Spike. Top rope rana gets two. He holds off the other Dudz by himself and brings Kidman in with a flying back elbow and some vanilla offense. It’s BONZO GONZO and London hits Bubba with a somersault tope, as Kidman and Rey give Spike a Hart Attack into a 619. Shooting Star Press gets two, as D-Von saves the pin. A 3D kills Kidman dead at 8:07, thus completely killing the previously hot crowd. That takes some REAL booking talent, man. I mean, it’s just a meaningless six-man, how hard would it be to give the faces a win and get the crowd juiced up? Decent, but felt rushed. **
– Matt Hardy v. Kane.
Winner marries Lita. Matt goes on offense to start, getting the corner clothesline and a boot out of the corner, and the Side Effect gets two. Guillotine legdrop gets two. Tornado DDT gets two. Kane slugs him down to take over, however, and gets a clothesline and some choking. Corner clothesline and Kane chokes him down, but charges and lands on the floor. Matt follows him out with a pescado and a Twist of Fate on the floor. Hey, moron, you have to hit that INSIDE the ring. They try the big crowd heat spot with a countout tease, but no one’s buying tonight. (Must be BIZARROWORLD!) Back in, Lita tries giving Matt the bell, and Matt makes good use of it, but only gets two. Matt goes up and gets caught by Kane, and booted back on the mat. Kane goes up and Matt tries to follow with a DDT, but Kane turns it into a chokeslam and that’s it at 6:09. Felt like little more than a RAW match. *
– Booker T v. John Cena.
This is the first match in a best of 5 series. Cena slugs away to start and gets a clothesline for two. Booker goes to the hammerlock and starts throwing chops, but Cena hits him with the Throwback for two. Booker crotches him on the top and dumps him to take over, however. Back in, side kick and kneedrop set up a leg lariat, and Booker hits the chinlock. Cena fights out, so Booker hits him with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER and goes back to the chinlock. Cena gets a quick cradle, but Booker clotheslines him back down again, only to miss the axe kick. Cena makes the comeback with his usual generic stuff, but gets flapjacked by Booker. Cena gets the F-U out of nowhere for the pin at 6:25, however, in a slick finish. Too bad the match sucked. ½*
– Intercontinental title: Edge v. Chris Jericho v. Batista.
Batista jumps Edge during his entrance and we’re off. Jericho stomps on Batista in the corner and pounds away, but the POWER OF DAVE is too much and he elbows Jericho down and works him over in the corner. Jericho tries slugging back, but walks into a snap powerslam, which sets up the powerbomb. Edge breaks it up, however, and the crowd dies. Weird. Edge comes off the second rope and lands on Batista’s boot, however, and he sets up for the Russian Sickle, but Jericho trips him up and Edge dumps him. And then the crowd VICIOUSLY turns on Edge, and I have no idea why. (Because it’s BIZARROWORLD!) There seemed to be some booing when Batista did his usual bad job of taking the outside bump, but nothing like the boos for Edge a few seconds later. Next up, it’s Jericho and Edge, and the crowd clearly picks Jericho. They slug it out, won by Jericho, but Edge gets a knee to the gut and the crowd boos him AGAIN. What the fuck? Jericho tries the Walls, but Edge reverses for two. Edge rolls through a crossbody attempt and gets two. Jericho takes him down with the Walls and hangs on tight, but much like Jesus, Batista saves. He gets rid of Jericho and goes after Edge, but gets DDT’d. That gets two for Edge. Edge sets up for the spear, but Jericho saves Batista, only to walk into a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER that gets two for Dave. He tries the same thing on Edge, but gets rollup for two. Batista gets dumped and Jericho rolls up Edge for two. They counter each other and Jericho gets the bulldog, then dropkicks Batista off the apron, but walks into a spear at 8:25 to keep the title on Edge. The crowd is less than enthused, to say the least. Weird, weird, weird. The match itself was a mess, with no real storyline to it and a finish out of nowhere. *1/4  (Batista was on the verge of getting awesome at this point, though.) 
– Kurt Angle v. Eddie Guerrero.
Screw JBL, they should just put the title back on Kurt and be done with it. (He ended up with the other belt again a while later, didn’t he?)  Angle takes it to the mat to start and the crowd sides with HIM. They reverse on the mat and Kurt works the arm, but Eddie fights out of it and grabs an armbar. Angle takes him down with a german suplex, but Eddie reverses him into an anklelock of his own. Huh. Kurt makes the ropes and fires off a quick Angle Slam to escape. They fight on the mat for the anklelock, and Angle wins that battle, but Eddie makes the ropes. Luther Reigns boots him in the mouth to get him away from the apron, and Angle goes back to it again. They slug it out as Eddie makes the ropes, and Angle works the neck a bit before taking it to the mat again and going after the ankle. Eddie counters to a cross armlock, but Angle kicks out of it and takes him back down to the mat and unlaces Eddie’s boot. He chinlocks Eddie, but it’s escaped with a jawbreaker and an Eddie Slam. It’s a double count (at 8 minutes?) and they slug it out, won by Eddie, and he gets the rolling verticals. He goes up, but gets caught with the Pop Up Superplex, and that gets two for Angle. Another Angle Slam is countered with a Hurricane DDT by Eddie, and he goes back up again, but misses the frog splash. Angle Slam gets two. Angle pulls off the boot and puts him back in the anklelock, but the ref is bumped. I don’t get the psychology there – is the move supposed to hurt more without a boot? Because that’s not how it works. (It was referencing their WM20 match, dummy.)  Eddie uses the boot, however, and plays dead, before heading up with the frog splash for two. Angle, himself playing dead, suddenly pops up with another anklelock, and Eddie taps at 13:37. I have to question Angle taking the abuse he did, only to recover for the win without so much as breathing harder, but that’s par for the course with Kurt and his weird psychology. Anyway, the REAL problem with the match was that it was less of a coherent story than a bunch of bits and pieces of better matches thrown together with nothing in between the matwork and big “main event” spots. *** It was like “matwork, bam, Angle Slam, bam, frog splash, etc.” without any suplexes or slams or whatever to carry things along.  (Welcome to WWE Main Event Style, PG-Era.) 
– HHH v. Eugene.
HHH slugs Eugene into the corner to start, but gets elbowed. Eugene backdrops him, and the crowd suddenly goes pro-HHH. That’s the dangers of overexposing a hot character, kids. HHH uses Lillian Garcia for a momentary distraction (everyone’s good for something, I guess) and takes over back in the ring. He preps the Spanish table, but Eugene suplexes him back in the ring, and now the crowd is very pro-HHH. Or maybe just anti-Eugene, either way. (Or maybe it’s just BIZARROWORLD!) HHH fakes a knee injury and we get the worked “X” sign from the ref (which REALLY bugs me because then no one buys the real one) and of course jumps Eugene from behind. Backbreaker and the crowd starts chanting “Eugene sucks” as he makes his comeback. Eugene stomps away in the corner, and suckers HHH into a Rock Bottom, which sets up the Retard Elbow, but HHH catches him on the rebound with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. He chokes away and sends Eugene into the stairs. Back in, more choking. They slug it out, but HHH catches him with the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER. Eugene fights out, and backdrops out of a Pedigree attempt. And now, he’s TARDING UP! The crowd doesn’t care. Eugene makes the superman comeback and clotheslines him, and a Stone Cold Stunner finally draws a face reaction. They brawl outside and Eugene gets the best of that, but now Ric Flair comes out for the distraction. Eugene goes for the big boot and legdrop option, but it only gets two. The jokes about Hogan and Eugene are just too easy. HHH tries another Pedigree, but Eugene catapults out and gets his own for two. Since he’s a moron, he thinks he’s won, and the end result, as always, is KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and goodbye Eugene at 14:06. This wasn’t any good, but it was a lot of fun for a HHH match at least. You’ll note, however, the feud consisted of HHH outsmarting and beating up Eugene at every turn, then destroying him cleanly in the blowoff match. That’s why we love HHH here on the internet. **1/2  (This match is just gonna angry up the blood again, so we’ll move on.) 
– Hey, it’s Diva Dodgeball. Rent the DVD if you want to know what happened, because I’ve got better stuff to review, like, um, Undertaker matches. Figuratively speaking.
– Smackdown World title: JBL v. Undertaker.
This is all the more tragic because Bradshaw used to flunky for Undertaker. And speaking of flunkies, Orlando Jordan is now playing the Virgil role, without the snazzy tuxedo tights, after turning on Undertaker. (He’s now playing the Virgil role of sitting alone at autograph booths, I’m betting.)  This apparently was a bad thing to do, although Undertaker himself told Jordan to take whatever opportunity he could find during Jordan’s initial push. Of course, no one watches their own show, so this was forgotten, along with Bradshaw’s days as an Acolyte of Undertaker. They brawl outside to start, and UT works over the arm back in the ring, but Bradshaw slugs back. Sloppy neckbreaker and now Taker slugs back. Sideslam gets two for Bradshaw and he goes up with a flying shoulderblock and an elbow for two. And now UT goes back to the arm and the ROPEWALK OF DOOM. Flatliner gets two. Jordan gets involved, so Taker slugs him off the apron, and that allows Bradshaw to clip him and take over. He works the leg over as the crowd starts DOING THE WAVE. This sort of crowd insolence has not been seen since Wrestlemania VI, ironically during a Dibiase-Roberts match, which of course is ironic because Bradshaw is ripping off Dibiase’s entire schtick. (Hey now, to be fair, JBL also ripped off Stan Hansen.)  Taker comes back with a kneebar, and they slug it out (with no one in the crowd paying attention) and brawl outside. Cole notes that Taker can “mask the pain”. Or as we call it, “forgetting to sell”. Taker does his legdrop on the apron as the crowd chants for the true babyface, the Spanish table. Maybe they should make it the World champion. Bradshaw comes back with a necksnap, but goes up and gets caught with a superplex. That gets two for Taker. Bradshaw blocks a powerbomb and goes back to the leg again, using a spinning toehold. Taker fights out with a spinebuster for two. They slug it out and Taker gets his flying clothesline and corner clotheslines. Snake Eyes and, wait for it, another clothesline gets two. Obviously Taker is busting out the special Summerslam offense tonight, using THREE different styles of clothesline. Chokeslam gets two. He goes after Jordan, and Bradshaw is all “I’ll show you a clothesline!” and gets his own for two. They slug it out in the corner and, shock of shocks, the ref is bumped. Just what we needed. A double boot puts both guys out, and OJ tosses Bradshaw the belt, which he uses for two. Yet another clothesline from Bradshaw, but Taker powerbombs him for a long two from the recovering ref. Taker fights off everyone and uses the belt himself, and that’s a DQ at 17:39, because god forbid Undertaker does a job at 72 or however old he is now.  (You have to keep Undertaker strong before his yearly main event run!  It’s just the law.)  They brawl out, the universal sign of a rematch (whether we want one or not), and Taker slams Bradshaw on the limo. I hope JBL has zombie coverage on his insurance. This match can lick my nutsack and like it. *1/2 When the crowd gets preoccupied with the tables at ringside during the “dramatic” portions of the match, that means IT SUCKS. If I want to see Undertaker and his 15 clotheslines in World title matches again, I’ll send a memo to the front office. Of course, I’d probably be drunk or suicidal or both should I ever write that memo, so it probably wouldn’t be terribly coherent.
– RAW World title: Chris Benoit v. Randy Orton.
They fight for a lockup to start, and Orton pounds on him a bit and grabs a hammerlock. Benoit reverses to a headlock on the mat, and Orton makes the ropes. They do the test of strength, which gives Benoit a chance to show off with the bridge and reversal to the wristlock. Orton escapes and tries a kneedrop, but misses and gets taken back down with the wristlock again. Orton powers him down, but Benoit goes right back to the armdrag and stays on the arm. Orton breaks free and tries the dropkick, but Benoit dodges it and they fight over a Sharpshooter, which ORTON wins. Wrong country for THAT spot, man. Benoit powers out and reverses it, because he’s awesome, and while Orton crawls for the ropes, Benoit suddenly jumps on him with a crossface. Orton tosses him into the post to get rid of him. Benoit, in the spirit of the main event slot, bumps like a maniac, or Dynamite Kid on the REALLY good shit, whichever is crazier.  (Benoit is crazier than both put together, of course.)  Back in, Orton bends the arm in a nasty way and armbars him. Benoit slugs out and then throws the chops, but Orton suplexes him on the top rope and then fights over a suplex on the apron. They slug it out on the apron, and Benoit DDTs him there, and back in we go, where Benoit gets two. Orton scurries out again, so Benoit baseball slides him into the railing and follows with a tope suicida. That misses BIGTIME, and he just KILLS himself on the railing.  (Yeah, yeah…) He’s been watching WAY too many DK tapes lately. (He’s been watching too many MDK tapes more like.)  Talk about letting it all hang out for your art. (In a manner of speaking.)  Back in, Orton gets two. We go to a neck vice, and then Orton does the bodyvice neckbreaker for two. Onto the CHINLOCK OF DEATH, but Benoit fights out and fights back, and they collide for the double KO. Slugfest is won by Benoit with a headbutt and an elbow, but Orton blocks the german suplex, so Benoit turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Nice touch. Back to the chops and they head up top, but Orton fights him off and follows him down with a high cross for two. RKO is blocked by Benoit with a clothesline, but he can’t get the Sharpshooter, so he fires off a german suplex instead. Back to the Sharpshooter, and this time he gets it. Orton makes the ropes, however. Benoit keeps going, hitting him with the rolling germans, TWICE. To the top, and the diving headbutt lands SQUARE on Orton’s feet. Geez, Benoit is going out in a blaze of crazy-ass shit tonight. (The craziest exit was yet to come.)  Orton recovers and gets two, but Benoit just suckered him in, and it’s the crossface. SWEET. Orton rolls out to the middle, and the RKO out of nowhere gives him the World title at 20:09. What happened to the last 10 minutes? Props for avoiding the usual formula, but it felt like there was more match coming and they just lopped it off. ***1/2 I actually liked the rematch on RAW better for build and execution. Benoit, ever the badass, makes Orton shake his hand to really put him over, after already putting him over clean in the middle. I always like to see that.
The Bottom Line:
The show was looking pretty good on paper, but the execution was rushed and some easy good matches ended up not so good. Not to mention the heels winning EVERY match but two (or every match but one depending on how you count Edge these days), and with the only really worthwhile match (Orton v. Benoit) getting given away on free TV the next night, is there really a purpose left to watching this PPV? I don’t think so, and I don’t think there’s enough good here to recommend it, either.
Thumbs down.