Written by: Alec Settee
Capitol Punishment 2011, June 19, 2011, Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & Booker T
Up next on the PPV calendar we have Capitol Punishment, with its theme coming from the fact that it’s in Washington, but otherwise it’s just a card of straight matches. It’s not a hot card going in, but I expect Orton/Christian to be really good like their previous matches and we have some good support in Punk/Mysterio and Kingston/Ziggler so it may turn out alright.
Opening Match, United States Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero)
The Setup: Ziggler beat Kofi in a non Title match on Smackdown, so he gets the shot here.
The Action: It’s back and forth early on until Ziggler drops him on the ropes to take over. A dropkick gets 2, but then Ziggler seems unsure on how to follow up. He finally drops an elbow for another 2. Kofi gets a few quick pinfall attempts, but Ziggler keeps kicking out and getting back on him. He gets the sleeper, but Kofi jawjacks out and comes back, leaping onto Zigglers back off the top for 2. Boom Drop hits and he sets up TIP, which misses, but he does hit the SOS for a close 2. They trade a few more nearfalls, but neither can put the other away. The crowd is getting into it nicely here as Kofi goes up again, but he gets crotched. Ziggler can’t get a superplex with Kofi knocking him back and hitting a crossbody for another close 2. Ziggler gets the sleeper again, but Kofi breaks it with a charge to the corner. Vickie gets Kofi in the eyes and Ziggler hooks it again, and this time Kofi can’t get out and Ziggler puts him out to win the Title at 11:05.
The Verdict: This was a good match, but the idea of a ref stoppage is not really over at this point. Everyone, including the announcers was very confused about what was going on. ***
R-Truth arrives with the belt he stole from John Cena and he’s in a great mood. That changes when Eve turns him down, so he just dismisses her and dedicates tonights win to all the Little Jimmys and the Little Jennys.
Todd Grisham then interviews The Miz about whether he can beat Alex Riley. Miz is insulted that anyone would think he can’t win tonight, and when he’s done Riley will have to find someone else’s bags to carry.
The Miz vs. Alex Riley
The Setup: Riley had been Miz’ lackey dating back to their days on NXT, but after one screw up too many, Miz had enough and kicked him to the curb. Riley then finally stood up for himself and unleashed his anger over the abuse to lead up to tonight.
The Action: Riley gets a decent pop coming out due to the Virgil factor, but we’ll have to wait and see if that actually sustains. He takes it to Miz until the ref pulls him back and Miz nails a boot and stomps him down. Riley gets no offence for an extended period and when he finally does he ends up running into the post. The fans seem less into Riley now that he’s getting he ass handed to him. Miz hits an inverted DDT for 2 and follows with his corner clothesline and a double ax for another 2. He goes crotch first to the post on a sliding dropkick and now Riley finally gets on offence. Spinebuster gets a 2 count, as does a kick to the head. They go to the floor where Cole talks too much trash and gets tossed around, but that allows Miz to take over again. He grabs the briefcase, which the ref takes away and that distraction lets Riley hit a DDT for 3 at 10:13.
The Verdict: Miz loses yet another match, but if they’re serious about pushing Riley then he definitely needed to win here. You gotta try with somebody and I won’t fault them for trying to give someone new a serious push. **
Backstage, Sgt. Slaughter welcomes a Barack Obama impersonator. Vickie crashes the scene and wants to sing Happy Father’s Day to him, but she gets hauled off by security.
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show
The Setup: Alberto lured Show into being run over by his car driven by Ricardo Rodriguez. Show then returned and killed several people, including Ricardo Rodriguez, so Alberto has to go it alone.
The Action: Alberto first has to suffer the indignity of being introduced by Justin Roberts, and then Show jumps him from behind in the asile. The beatdown is on until Mark Henry, who was among those laid out by Show, comes back and drops Show through the announce table with the World’s Strongest Slam. Show’s knee injury from the car wreck is reaggrivated. It’s noted that all of that took place before the bell, so Show has to crawl into the ring just to get things started for real. His knee won’t hold up though and Alberto is immediately on it. Show does hit a chokeslam, but can’t follow up. Alberto can’t get the cross armbreaker as Show suplexes out, but he’s still hurt. Alberto targets the knee again and hooks a kneebar, but Show does struggle to the ropes. The hold is broken, but Show can’t stay on his feet and so we get another ref stoppage finish at 4:56.
The Verdict: Fans aren’t really accepting of this type of finish yet, but if you keep doing it and have your announcers stress that it is a legitimate win, it will get over. The match was, of course, entirely based around the knee injury, so there really wasn’t much to it, but for what it was, it was fine. 1/2*
R-Truth has found a photographer and wants his Championship photos taken now so he doesn’t have to do it after the match, but the photographer spoils everything by pointing out that John Cena’s nameplate is still on the belt. Truth notes that when he wins, this guy will have to take the pictures.
Matt Striker earns his pay for the evening by handing the mic to Wade Barrett who cuts his promo walking to the ring running down America.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson
The Setup: Last month at Over The Limit, Jackson beat him by DQ when Slater and Gabriel ran in, so Jackson gets a rematch here, and since The Corre ceased to exist in the time since, Barrett has no one to help him.
The Action: The crowd chants USA for the Guyanese Jackson, but he accepts it regardless. He goes for the torture rack early on, but Barrett slips out. The announcers note that Barrett has never been alone in his WWE career and so he’s going to have to adjust to not having any backup. There you go. Some nice simple, sensible, storytelling. Barrett gets him with a side slam for 2. The crowd picks this match to protest the lack of Zack Ryder on the show, but obviously that’s falling on deaf ears. Barrett gets a pumphandle slam for another 2 and keeps up the beating until he misses a boot and Jackson connects with some clotheslines. Barrett blocks the bodyslam and hits Wasteland, but Jackson kicks out, so he’s doomed. Jackson catches a boot and starts with the slams to lead into the torture rack which gets the submission at 6:40.
The Verdict: Nothing special here, and again I won’t fault them for trying something with a new guy. *1/2
We get another Obama segment where Santino offers to show him The Cobra, but ends up tackled by security. Lame.
CM Punk cuts a promo acknowledging he’s a politician, but then so is everyone and the difference between him and everyone else is that he’s honest about. He promises that after he wins he’s going to go on to do the most honest thing the fans have ever seen.
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
The Setup: They’ve traded wins on Raw, so this is the rubber match. Nexus is banned from ringside because of their involvement in past matches.
The Action: They trade off to start with Rey going for an early 619, but Punk gets away. He then takes Punk to the floor, but ends up getting necked on the barrier. Back in the ring, Punk takes it to him, getting a couple of nearfalls and holding a bodyscissors. Rey tries fighting back, but can’t really get much going as Punk thwarts him each time. He does finally take Punk to the floor with a headscissors and follows with an Asai moonsault. He then connects with a flying shoulderblock for 2. Punk rolls through a crossbody for his own 2. Rey kicks him in the head for another nearfall. Rey goes up again, but gets crotched and taken down with a back suplex for 2. Punk misses a charge and hits the post, so Rey follows with a 619 that sends him to the floor. He gets him back in teh ring for the splash, but Punk gets the knees up and covers for 2. GTS of countered to a rana for 2, but Punk is right back up with a kick to the head for 2. Punk sets it up again, and gets countered, but he in turn counters the 619 and hits the GTS for the pin at 14:59.
The Verdict: This was a really good match, especially once they got towards the end with all the nearfalls. Hopefully Punk isn’t going anywhere anytime soon because they don’t need to be down yet another great main eventer. ****
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Christian
The Setup: Orton won the belt from Christian and then beat him in a rematch last month, so Christian finally snapped and went full fledged heel on Orton, leaving him with a concussion after a belt shot to the head. He demanded one more match and Orton agreed.
The Action: Orton goes right after him and puts Christian down for a few nearfalls. Christian dropkicks him to the florr, but misses a pescado and Orton regains control, quickly putting Christian back to the floor with a clothesline. Christian rams him headfirst to the steps and Orton sells it big to play off the concussion deal. Christian starts working the neck, and gets 2 off a neckbreaker and a spinebuster. Orton fires back, but continues selling the effects of what he’s taken so far. He gets 2 off a belly to belly suplex and then follows with a superplex for another 2. They trade finisher tries which ends up leading to Orton hitting the hanging DDT. Christian then counters the RKO to an inverted DDT and gets 2. He sets up the spear, which Orton leapfrogs, but Christian gets it on the rebound for another close 2. He comes off the top, but Orton avoids him and nails the RKO for the pin to retain at 14:04. A bit of controversy is stirred up as Christians’ foot was under the ropes. He argues this with the ref, so Orton lays him out with a belt shot.
The Verdict: Yet another really good match from these two, and I would have no problem with this feud continuing for another show. ***3/4
The Bellas (who still get stuck with celebrity escort duty in spite of Brie being the Champion) bring Keith Stone of beer commercial fame down to ringside. Why? I don’t know, but it’s worth noting that he was wearing a Ravishing Rick Rude shirt.
Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
The Setup: An unadvertised bonus match.
The Action: Swagger tries keeping him grounded, but that fails and Bourne is soon flying around. Swagger regains control and hits an inverted powerslam for 2. Backdrop gets another 2 as Swagger continues the beating. Bourne kicks out of the pump splash, but this match has no heat whatsoever. Bourne gets the boots up on a second pump splash and then hits a kick for 2. He runs into a boot, but firs back and hits a tornado DDT for 2. He misses the SSP to lead into the ankle lock, but Bourne rolls through it and cradles Swagger for the pin at 7:18.
The Verdict: There wasn’t much to it, but it was ok. *1/2
They bring Obama out into the arena where the crowd gives him the “What?” treatment and then boos him as he offers good luck to both guys in the main event. He goes to leave, but Booker calls him into the ring for a Barackorooni. Waste of time segment.
Main Event, WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. R-Truth
The Setup: Truth claimed that a conspiracy by the Little Jimmys was keeping him down.. Cena stood up for the fans and agreed to give Truth his shot.
The Action: The feeling out process ends with Truth nailing an elbow. Cena gets the bulldog, but Truth rolls out before Cena can follow up. Back in, he takes over, getting a couple of 2 counts, but no one really seems to believe that Truth is walking out with the belt here tonight as they aren’t hot for the kickouts. Even when he fires back, the crowd doesn’t really get into it. Finally he goes into the usual with the shoulderblocks, Protobomb and Five Knuckle Shuffle to get a reaction, but Truth counters the AA to a jawjacker for 2. Cena gets him in the STF, but Truth makes the ropes and then nails the scissors kick, but Cena kicks out again. He goes for a crossbody, which Cena rolls through to an AA try, but Truth escapes that and hits What’s Up?, but again Cena kicks out, and agin it gets no reaction. Cena rolls to the floor, but instead of following up, Truth goes to taunt a Little Jimmy at ringside, stealing he Cena hat and drink. The kid steals the drink back and throws it in Truth’s face, which leds to Cena tossing him back and and nailing the AA to retain at 14:46. Cena brings Jimmy into the ring to celebrate afterwards.
The Verdict: This was a really weak main event, which is not surprising as they did a really poor job building Truth up as a challenger to the point where no one thought he had a chance of winning. Orton/Christian should have closed the show, but they seem intent on putting Cena on last no matter what. **
Overall Thoughts: Well, what I expected to be good was in fact good, and what I had no expectations for was just average. These PPV’s really seem to be running together lately as we always get a couple good matches, some decent ones, and rarely anything terrible outside of women’s matches (which we didn’t get tonight), but that’s a product of the homogeneity that WWE strives to have. They guys who are good still have the best matches because they’re good, but the guys who aren’t as good are made to look worse because they can’t even try anything that might work for them. I wish they would do something about this, but until then it’s another month, and another Thumbs in the Middle WWE PPV, although tilted slightly up.