Written By: Alexander Settee
Summerslam 2009, August 23, 2009, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Announcers: The teams of: Jim Ross & Todd Grisham, Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler, and Josh Matthews & Matt Striker
Opening Match, Intercontinental Championship: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Dolph Ziggler
We right start off with a rematch from what was a pretty decent match at Night of Champions, so I’m expecting a good start to the show. Ziggler gains early control with a rake of the eyes, and then gets a powerslam for 2, followed by a rollup for another 2. He sends Rey to the corner, but Rey leaps up and comes off with a moonsault for 2. Ziggler is back on him, but Rey ducks a charge and Ziggler goes out. Rey hits a rana off the apron and then they get back in where they fight up top. Rey knocks Ziggler down, but gets caught on a leap and dropped on the buckle for 2. Ziggler pounds him down for another 2. Side slam also gets 2, as does an elbow. He then charges at Rey in the corner, but gets drop toed to the buckle. Rey charges into a clothesline though for 2, and then gets hit with a super gutbuster for yet another 2 count. Rey avoids a splash in the corner and hits a vertical press off the top. He then springs off the ropes, but gets dropkicked for 2. Rey goes for a sunset flip, but Ziggler hooks the legs and gets 2 again. He follows with another clothesline for 2. Rey gets out of a suplex and sets Ziggler up for a 619 via an ensiguiri, but Ziggler avoids it, trips Rey up, and then gets him with a Fameasser for 2. Rey gets the boots up on a charge and hooks a spinning rollup for 2. DDT gets Rey another 2. He sets up and hits the 619, but the springboard splash misses and Ziggler gets a close 2 count with a half nelson. The crowd gets some dueling chants going for these guys, which is a good sign. Ziggler then sets Rey on his shoulders on the 2nd rope, but Rey ranas him off of there and hooks the legs for the 3 count to retain at 12:26. It may have something to do with match positioning, but the crowd here was more into them then they were last month, but they also had a better match too. Is Ziggler a breakout star of the future? He very well could be. I liked his storytelling here as you could really feel his determination to take the Title and the frustration that set in once he lost. Stuff like that helps get the belt over as well. ****
Jack Swagger vs. MVP
Before the match we get a face to face promo which pretty much just reiterates the buildup of the spoiled brat vs. the ex-con thing they have going, but it was well done. MVP gets an early sunset flip for 1, followed by a clothesline and side slam. Swagger avoids the Ballin’ elbow by rolling out, so MVP dives on him. Back in, that gets 2. He sets up a tornado DDT, but gets swept off the ropes and dropped on the buckle. Swagger gets an abdominal stretch, which MVP hiptosses out of, but Swagger then hits a clothesline for a couple of 2 counts. To a rear chinlock, which the crowd has no patience for. MVP drops him to break and covers for 2. After a facebuster, the Ballin’ elbow hits, but only gets 2. Playmaker is countered to a rollup by Swagger for 2. He goes for the pump splash, but its hits knees and MVP connects with the Playmaker for 3 at 6:23. Nothing much here, which is a shame because I like both guys. *
Unified Tag Team Championship Match: Chris Jericho & The Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme
Jericho and Show now have a new combined version of their respective entrance themes, which maybe suggests that they are in it together for the long haul. The belts have seen an increase in prestige in recent times, but the problem now is that they don’t have any challengers with credibility, hence this match. JTG and Jericho start off with JTG hitting an elbow and neckbreaker for 2. Jericho nails him and looks to hook the Walls already, but JTG fights too much so Jericho catapults him instead, only to have JTG land on the ropes and come back with a vertical press for 2. The ref pulls JTG away as Jericho is in the ropes, but that lets Jericho get the cheap shot in and he tags Show. JTG is briefly caught, but manages to escape and tag Shad. Shad tries to knock Show down, but can’t quite do it. Jericho comes in and takes a press slam, but that lets Show come back with a clothesline. Tag to Jericho now, who works Shad over until running into a boot. He still manages to keep Shad in his corner though where he and Show double team. Show gets the tag and briefly holds a full nelson before dropping it and tagging back out. Jericho comes off the ropes, but gets powerslammed and that lets Shad make a cold tag to JTG who comes in as the house of ice, I guess. He gets a dropkick, the Mugshot faceplant, and a clothesline for 2 with Show making the save. Shad clotheslines Show to the floor while JTG rolls Jericho up for 2. Jericho ducks a clothesline and hooks the walls. JTG struggles and finally makes the ropes, only to have Show nail the Right Hand of Death as the ref drags Jericho off. Shad has apparently already taken one, which we never saw, but it explains why he’s suddenly out cold on the floor. Jericho then covers the KO’d JTG and gets the 3 to retain at 9:46. It’s kind of funny that the announcers play up Show’s punch as being illegal, which I guess it technically is, but it’s not like this has been an issue for the last several decades of people using closed fists right in front of the ref and not getting DQ’d for it. I wasn’t expecting much out of this match as Jericho is only so much of a miracle worker, and this was right about where I thought it might end up. *1/2
Kane vs. The Great Khali (w/Ranjan Singh)
Boy, we all just couldn’t wait to see this one again, could we? Kane beat up Ranjan Singh as part of the buildup here, and it was then revealed that Singh is Great Khali’s brother as though that’s supposed to make us care. They go back and forth for a bit with neither guy holding an advantage for long. Khali misses a legdrop and takes a seated dropkick for 2. Kane’s chokeslam is blocked, then Khali hits a clothesline and drops an elbow for 2. Kane comes back and gets a flying clothesline for 2. Khali sends him off the ropes and gets an elbow followed by a big boot. He hooks the vice grip, but Kane drags Singh in the ring. He uses that distraction to dropkick the knee and hit a DDT for the 3 count at 5:58. I’m being generous here in calling it a DUD.
Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
So it’s another DX reunion as Shawn returns to the ring for the first time since Wrestlemania. Who knows how many times they can keep going back to the well with this, but we’ll probably end up finding out. Plus after all the times we’ve seen HHH dominate Rhodes and Dibiase one on two, is there really any intrigue here? They did get the advantage recently on Raw, but come on. HHH and Dibiase start with guess who in command. Suplex and kneedrop get a 2 count, but HHH puts his head down on a whip and gets kicked. Tag to Rhodes, who smacks Shawn on the apron, which is the cue for him to be tagged in as well. They go back and forth for a bit until Shawn takes him down and pounds him, prompting a time out. HHH tosses him right back in, so now he rolls out on his own side of the ring. Back in, he gets drop toed and put in a side headlock, but ends up suplexing out. Tag to Dibiase who misses an elbow and gets chopped. Dibiase then hits a clothesline and tags back to Rhodes. Rhodes drops an elbow for 2. Michael Cole makes another of his Hall of Fame comments here as he calls the Legacy attack from last Monday “unprecedented”. Really? Like no heels have ever attacked their babyface opponents before a big match in the entire history of wrestling? Legacy gets a couple of nearfalls with Shawn in their corner, but Shawn comes back with a neckbreaker and tags HHH who beats on both guys. Dibiase gets him from behind and catapults him to the corner, but HHH comes out with a clothesline. Spinebuster for both guys now and then he sets up the Pedigree on Dibiase, but Rhodes saves. Shawn clotheslines Rhodes to the floor, and then has HHH backdrop him onto Rhodes. Dibiase attacks HHH from behind, which has Cole aghast at the supposed illegality of that, but seems to catch himself before it can turn into a real gem of a dumbass comment. Now HHH is the Face in Peril, caught in the Legacy corner as they tag off and pound him down. Dibiase holds a rear chinlock and manages to keep HHH from crawling to the corner. Legacy tags and Rhodes gets a front facelock, which HHH backdrops out of, but Dibiase attacks Shawn to prevent the tag. Dibiase then charges at HHH, but gets tossed. Rhodes helps him back in, but Dibiase goes for his own corner and tags Rhodes first, which allows HHH to make the hot tag to Shawn. Shawn takes on Rhodes with no trouble, hitting a couple of inverted atomic drops and the flying forearm. He kips up, but it’s right into a Dibiase clothesline. HHH comes back in and takes Dibiase out, tossing him and even sending him into the crowd. Meanwhile, Rhodes goes up top, but misses an elbow (Rhodes was trying to steal Shawn’s move there). Shawn goes up now, but Rhodes meets him there and they fight on top. Rhodes gets knocked back, but when Shawn goes for his own elbow, Rhodes gets the knees up. Rhodes looks for the tag, but Dibiase is still down. Shawn hooks the figure four, but now Dibiase is back to break it. They go into a sequence of finishers that ends with Dibiase hitting Dream Street on Shawn only to get taken out by HHH. Rhodes and Shawn struggle to their feet where Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere and that gets the pin at 20:01. So DX wins, but on a good note they managed to do it in a way that didn’t bury Dibiase and Rhodes. In fact, those guys were portrayed at a level just under Shawn and HHH and when you consider the level Shawn and HHH are portrayed at, that’s not a bad place to be. ***
ECW Championship Match: Christian vs. William Regal (w/Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson)
Regal stalls on removing his robe until after the bell rings. As he goes to take it off, Christian comes from behind, hits the Killswitch and gets 3 at 0:08. Huh? Kozlov and Jackson attack post match and Christian is left laying which obviously means that this issue will continue. DUD
WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
So here we are with these guys again. I think enough has been said about the staleness of the main event scene and the repetitiveness of matches, so let’s just move on and see what we get here. My video kind of goes to hell during the introductions so I miss the first bit of the match. It picks up with Orton to the Garvin Stomp on Cena, and then dropping a knee for 2. Cena fires back to a round of boos, but takes a backbreaker for 2. Orton holds a rear chinlock with a bodyscissors for a bit until Cena gets up and backs him to the corner to break. He gets two shoulderblocks and the Protobomb, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Orton avoids the Attitude Adjustment and connects with a powerslam for 2. He gets another Garvin Stomp, but this time the kneedrop misses. Orton ducks a charge and Cena goes flying out of the ring. Back in, Orton gets 2 from that. He sets up the punt, but Cena avoids it and hits the Throwback. Top rope legdrop hits and gets 2. He sets up the AA again, but Orton grabs the ropes to save himself. After a double clothesline, they trade some shots. Orton gets sent off and takes a backdrop, then shoves the ref to draw the disqualification. Lillian Garcia screws up the announcement by calling Orton the winner and new champion, but then also announces that Mr. McMahon has ordered the match to continue with the stipulation that Orton can lose the Title via DQ. Back in the ring, Cena gets a side slam for 2. They brawl to the floor, where my video goes to hell once again, and this time doesn’t return until the match is over. So I only saw about half of this match. Looking up what happened I see that Orton went on to be counted out, but the match was restarted again. Then he got a pin with his feet on the ropes, but they didn’t let that count either. Then with Cena holding the STF, Brett Dibiase runs in and takes out the ref, but they still keep going. Finally after all that, Orton ends up hitting the RKO for the pin to retain the Title. Sounds like they made Cena look real bad there. I can’t rate it obviously, but the action that I did see was no better or worse then any of the previous Cena Orton matches, although I’m certain the finish would have knocked it down a few notches.
Main Event, World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
Well, it’s been no secret that this was going to be Jeff’s last PPV for at least awhile, so that means that he’s likely to lose and to go all out in doing so. The match goes to the floor pretty quickly where Punk uses a chair. Back in, Jeff stomps him in the corner and hits the seated corner dropkick, which on the eve of his departure finally has a name: the Hardyac Arrest. He tosses Punk and climbs, but Punk makes it back to stop him. Punk then sets up the GTS, but Jeff slips out and sends Punk into the ladder. Punk drops him back first on a set up chair, which probably isn’t too comfortable. He then drops the ladder on him several times. They go to the floor, where Punk gets the chair around Jeff’s neck, but Jeff escapes the shot to the post. Punk misses a chairshot and gets sent to the stairs, but he leaps up and comes back off, only to get hit with a chairshot anyways. Jeff then gets Poetry in Motion off the chair in to the barrier. Jeff ends up climbing again, but Punk knocks the ladder over and Jeff crotches himself. They then do a superplex onto the ladder. Hardy recovers first and hits a Twist of Fate, but the Swanton hits knees. Punk sets up the bulldog, but Jeff counters by throwing him over the top through a table. Jeff climbs, but Punk makes it back for the save. On the outside, Punk tries the chair around the neck thing again, but once more Jeff escapes it. He sends Punk to the steps, and then just stars going nuts, beating Punk with everything that isn’t nailed down before finally setting him up on an announce table. He then pulls a huge ladder into position and does a crazy Swanton off the top and onto Punk. They sell that huge by having the EMT’s come out to check on them. Jeff gets carted out on a stretcher, but he sees that Punk is going for the belt, so he pulls the neckbrace off and gets back to make the save. They both end up on the ladder, but it’s Punk who is able to knock Jeff down, and as a result he is able to grab the belt for the win at 19:41. A really good match, as expected, and although it wasn’t quite his sendoff match, it was still a good way to go out for Jeff Hardy. **** Post match sees Undertaker make his return to end the show with a chokeslam on Punk, signaling that he’s coming after the belt now. Unfortunately though I smell a massive screwjob at Breaking Point because the two options would seem to be that Taker wins the Title, which would be a quick turnaround and kill a lot of the progress they’ve made with Punk as a heel, or have Taker submit, which we know will never happen in a million years.
Well, two of the big three matches delivered the goods, plus we got another really good one in the opener. Has I been able to see the full Orton/Cena match with the stupid sounding finish it might drag things down but as it is I can only go with a neutral opinion on that one and I think that means that the show earns itself a Thumbs Up. The rest of the card doesn’t really have anything worthwhile so that part can be skipped if you like, but in particular the opener and the TLC Match are worth seeking out.