Written by: Alec Settee
Summerslam 2011, August 14, 2011, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, & Booker T
Well, it’s Summerslam, which is supposedly one of the bigger PPV’s of the year, but our top two matches are rematches of the top two from last month, and there’s nothing whatsoever to set this apart from any other show. It should be fine, but man, it’s really hard to get excited for these anymore. In his introduction, Michael Cole calls this “a night that will change WWE forever”, which is of course, a lie as nothing here will matter by next month, just like nothing that happened last month matters here tonight.
Special Bonus Opening Match: The Miz, R-Truth, & Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, & Rey Mysterio
The Setup: This is an unadvertised bonus match.
The Action: The faces take it to Miz early on while the announcers hype that Mysterio will challenge for the WWE Title tomorrow night in San Diego, which will be his rematch for when he lost the Title to Cena. The heels end up getting the heat on Morrison, but the crowd seems more behind Miz then anyone. Kofi gets the tag and hits a high crossbody on Miz for 2, followed by the Boom Drop. He gets the SOS, but Alberto makes the save at 2. Now Kofi gets beat down by all the heels, but they can’t pin him. Again, the crowd’s not really into it, but they do react when Mysterio gets the tag. He’s legit injured, so he’s being careful in there, but does get the 619 in on Truth. Morrison and Kofi lay out the others, so Mysterio follows with the splash on Truth and that gets the pin at 9:37.
The Verdict: Mysterio’s going for the Title on Raw, so he’s the right guy to get the pin here, and Truth was obviously the low man on the heel side, so he goes down, which is also fine. The match was nothing special, but was still a fine way to kick things off here. **1/2
Punk is backstage talking with John Laurinaitis, who wants an apology for getting kicked on Raw, so Punk gives him a smarmy sarcastic one, which I guess satisfies him, because he leaves. Then Stephanie McMahon shows up and wishes Punk luck. She offers a handshake, but he refuses because he knows where the hand has been.
Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
The Setup: Henry has been on a rampage lately, putting Big Show and Kane out of action. Sheamus, now a babyface, stood up to him and the match is on.
The Action: Sheamus goes right at him to start, and has some success, but ends up getting tossed to the floor. Back in, Henry takes over, dropping a big splash for 2. The crowd is much more into this one then the opener, which seems odd given who was involved in each match. Sheamus gets in a few hope spots, but keeps getting cut off. Henry misses a pump splash though and that finally gives Sheamus a real opening to take him down with a running double ax. He goes up, and drops Henry again with a top rope shoulder block. Brogue kick misses, but he comes back with a second one that puts Henry on the floor. He tries dragging him back in, but Henry gets him up, runs him into the post, and then puts him right through the barrier. The crowd cheers Sheamus on wildly, but he can’t make it back in and is counted out (on the third biggest show of the year) at 9:23.
The Verdict: Well, I guess it does put Henry over in a way as Sheamus was counted out as a direct result of what he did rather then something cheap. But considering he’s going for the Title at the next PPV, that’s still kind of lame. Match was not half bad too compared to what I was expecting. *
Josh Matthews is backstage with Christian who is confident he’ll be leaving as champ tonight. He’s got an insurance policy you see, and that will help him take advantage of the no hold barred stip.
I’m skipping over the music segment.
Divas Championship Match: Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya)
The Setup: Beth won a battle royal to become the number one contender.
The Action: Maybe I ought to skip this one too? Beth has new gear, which is a downgrade from what she had on before, and it’s also ironic that with her declaring war on the blonde princess divas, that she now looks more like one of those then ever. Kelly goes right at her with some flippy moves and then a clothesline from the 2nd rope to the floor. Beth takes over with the power moves and grounds her, then bends her in half with a backbreaker. Kelly fights out and hits a neckbreaker, but can’t follow up and gets run to the buckle instead. Side slam gets 2, but she misses a boot and Kelly starts a screaming comeback. She gets caught on a springboard elbow, but escapes the Glam Slam and pins Beth with a cradle at 6:34.
The Verdict: Not awful, but still, Kelly isn’t that good. 1/2*
Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon comes out of John Cena’s locker room. What could be going on there?
Meanwhile, Jimmy Hart is here and offers to manage R-Truth straight to the top. But it’s just a setup for a Little Jimmy joke.
Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan
The Setup: The match was made Friday on Smackdown when Barrett jumped Bryan after a match against Alberto Del Rio, apparently jealous over Bryan winning the MITB briefcase.
The Action: They also bring up Nexus and that these guys were in the Summerslam main event last year against each other. Barrett goes after him, but Bryan gains control and works him over on the mat. He contines using speed to out maneuver Barrett, but ends up caught in a Bossman Slam. So no Barrett takes over and drops him with a flying forearm for 2. Bryan dropkicks him off the apron to the floor and then follows with a flying knee off the apron. Back in, he goes up and hits a dropkick for 2. Byran then lays in the kicks, culminating in one to the head, but Barrett kicks out at 2. Barrett gets the boot up and sets up Wasteland, but Bryan maneuvers him into the LeBell Lock. Barrett makes the ropes, but Bryan maintains conntrol until getting crotched on the ropes. Barrett lays him out with a clothesline and hits Wasteland for the pin at 12:48.
The Verdict: I guess the idea is that since Bryan has the briefcase, they can beat him like a drum and it won’t matter when he cashes in. Then it’ll be his fault when he doesn’t get over as champ. Anyways, the match was really good and that’s all that I can ask for I guess. ***
World Heavyweight Championship, No Holds Barred Match: Christian vs. Randy Orton
The Setup: Christian won the Title last month when he spit in Orton’s face causing him to snap and get DQ’d. Now he gets a rematch where anything goes.
The Action: First, Christian makes the announcement that he’s brought Edge here to be in his corner. Edge comes out to a huge reaction, but then swerves us by saying he doesn’t like Christian’s new whiny attitude, and has no respect for him winning the belt by DQ. So he leaves him to take care of things on his own. Orton outbrawls him to start, bvut Christian cheats to take over. They go to the floor when Christian gets out of the hanging DDT and backdrops him out. Orton preps the table, but Christian gets away, then grabs the belt and runs into the crowd. Orton chases him down and drags him back, but Christian avoids a charge and Orton hits the post. He beats Orton with a kendo stick, but can’t put him away. Orton dropkicks him coming off the top and runs wild, but Christian keeps surviving. He avoids the hanging DDT again, but takes the backbreaker for 2. Orton pulls out a table and puts it in the ring, but Christian nails him coming back out and sets up one of his own on the floor. They fight to the top, where Orton suplexes him onto the table in teh ring. He then puts it in the corner, but Christian counters to an inverted DDT. Christian goes for a spear, which Orton avoids, but he still gets tossed to the floor. They take turn sending eacho ther to the steps and then Christian drags him over to the announce tables again. Orton gets nailed with a monitor and gets him on the table, but after weeks of build Orton is the one who finally gets him through the table with an RKO. They stagger back in the ring, where Christian gets him with the Killswitch, but that only gets 2. Orton fills the ring with all he can find, including the steps, garbage cans, and more kendo sticks, but ends up using the table from earlier as he powerslams Christian through it. The beating continues with the hanging DDT on a garbage can. Christian gets a desperation kendo stick shot in and comes off the ropes, but then he eats an RKO onto the steps. Orton covers, and that gets the pin and the Title at 23:43.
The Verdict: Great match here, and that would appear to blow the feud off for good as Christian goes down clean and decisively. The whole series has been great, and it’s definitely time to move on, but this was a tremendous way to end it. ****1/2
Main Event, WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs. John Cena
The Setup: Punk won the Title last month and left with it (for 8 days). Meanwhile, Cena was crowned as the replacement champion, so when Punk returned, this match was signed to detemine the “undisputed” champ. HHH, who is now running the show, appointed himself as the special referee.
The Action: This “unification” match would probably mean more if there was a longer period of building up the argument over who was the real Champion. Not to mention that Punk has a much stronger claim given that he beat Cena, while Cena took advantage of a weakened Rey Mysterio. They have an extened feeling out process with neither guy really gaining an advantage, while the crowd is going nuts for pretty much all of it. Punk does take over following a springboard dropkick that puts Cena on the floor. Cena keeps ketting comebacks started, but Punk has counters for the shoulderblocks and the Protobomb. They trade submissions, but neither guy is giving up. Punk sends him to the floor and follows with a suicide dive that puts both of them down. HHH starts the count, but when he gets to nine and it appears neither guy is getting in, he just stops counting and puts both guys back in himself. The story on him in this match is that he’s been a completely fair referee, but obviously wants to see a winner. Punk avoids the AA, but eats a dropkick and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He counters the AA again and gets a series of nearfall, but Cena keeps kicking out. He gets a second rope bulldog for another 2 after kneeing Cena off the top. Cena then avoids Punk coming off the top and hooks the STF, but Punk manages to struggle to the ropes. Cena then gets the AA, but Punk kicks out of that too to a big pop. He goes up for the legdrop, but Punk moves and hits the GTS. He covers, but Cena also kicks out. Punk goes up an drops a Randy Savage elbow, which gets 2 and draws a “Randy Savage” chant. The announcers don’t acknowledge that, which kind of sucks. They trade shots again, with Punk catching him and nailing the GTS again. He covers, with Cena getting his foot on the ropes, but HHH doesn’t see it and counts three anyways. So Punk is the “undisputed” champion. Cena argues the point, but not too vigorously and he leaves without incident. HHH offers a handshake to Punk, which goes unaccepted, but HHH raises his hand anyways. Then, out of nowhere, here comes Kevin Nash of all people, and he lays Punk out with a Jackknife. HHH acts confused about what’s going on and goes after him, but he’s quickly gone. Then we get Alberto Del Rio coming out with another referee, so we have one final impromptu match:
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
The Setup: Del Rio is cashing in his MITB briefcase.
The Action: Del Rio kicks Punk in the head and pins him to become the new WWE Champion at 0:13.
The Verdict: The Punk/Cena match was really good, although not to the level of their match at MITB. But like I said, it means nothing because Punk gets a five minute in the end. The match gets ****. For the deal afterwards, the match is a DUD for being that short, but that doesn’t really matter. I don’t think the return of Kevin Nash is good news, especially if it leads to a match with Punk as it appears it will. As far as Alberto del Rio being the champion, I think that’s a good thing as I like him and he’s a legit new star that they’ve created. Hopefully he gets a real shot and isn’t just another Jack Swagger.
Overall Thoughts: All in all, the show was very good, with both main events delivering well, and a couple of good undercard matches thrown in. Thumbs Up for Summerslam 2011.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.