WWE presented the nineteenth annual SummerSlam PPV on Sunday. Although the event itself is not what it was once build to be, this year’s card was rather strong, with what was supposed to be five main-event quality matches. At the end of the night, SummerSlam was definitely not a letdown, and although the show seemed to be pretty interesting, it was nowhere near good. I would classify the PPV as above average for today’s WWE standards, and that’s the sad reality of it. Considering that WWE no longer releases PPV buys, one can’t help but wonder how bad the situation truly is. As the WWE fall continues, UFC continues pounding pro wrestling when it comes to PPV.
There’s absolutely no excuse that there were only two SmackDown! matches at SummerSlam. The idea of the brand split is to drive in more avenue and allow more talent to be showcased, yet take complete advantage of what was before called “The Big Four” PPVs (now down to three) by having the brands share the card. The sad reality of the situation is that the two SmackDown! matches could be considered the lower card of the event, as there’s been absolutely no heat for either storyline. I warned about a month ago in another edition of N & A that this might happen, and that WWE should consider doing inter-promotional matches. Instead we ended up with guys like Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, Fit Finlay, William Regal, Mr. Kennedy, both sets of tag team champions, and even the veteran Undertaker (although he shouldn’t be considered due to the circumstances in his storyline with Khali) not having a match, or anything to do at the PPV. Since WWE wasted a month on free TV trying to figure out who the #1 contender for the Intercontinental (once called Cruiserweight) Championship was, I don’t see why they didn’t have another three way with Carlito, Benjamin, and Nitro, or even the Kane/Nitro match? There’s absolutely no excuse for not using some of the talent above.
In the opener of the evening, Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio had a decent match. This was nowhere close to what the two are capable of, and I can guarantee you that the expectations were high. They had a decent bout, but with such a horrible storyline behind it, and the interference of Vickie Guerrero, the Boston crowd was done with this one pretty early on. The worst part is that this feud is nowhere near close from being done. JBL’s horrendous commentary remarks towards the Guerrero family were nothing short of insulting. JBL had a very bad night on commentary in the two matches he had to announce, which doesn’t speak well of him. There isn’t much Michael Cole can do on commentary because JBL tends to hog all the air-time, and often goes off tangent. While this is okay when it’s a necessity, it’s very bad when there’s action going on. Tazz was very good in that he let Cole do the play-by-play and added to it, instead of focus on being the main attraction.
Booker T’s new “King” character is hilarious. It’s obvious that Booker tries as hard as he can to fit into this weird role, and his interaction with Sharmell has become a lot more viewable from before, when they were two useless heels with no purpose. The segment with Edge and Lita was a nice touch, but having failed to organize anything else between brands, WWE’s weakness was obvious here, also because nobody seemed to care about this segment.
I never thought I’d live the day where the ECW Heavyweight Championship was defended at WWE SummerSlam. I guess it’s true – never say never in this business. Sabu was his usual self, trying to use anything in his way as a trampoline to bounce off of, he was throwing chairs around, and was still missing spots while hitting cool-looking spots. When you have a spotfest, it’s not a big deal to miss a few of them. The match was decent for what it was, and Big Show tried really hard to put the bout over. ECW has become the only brand that’s showing improvement, only because of the debut of CM Punk, and the returns of RVD and Kurt Angle. Although the booking is still horrendous, the delivery the wrestlers do on Tuesday nights is perhaps the best one on WWE TV right now, and they have the potential to make it big.
How about that Diva Initiation with Layla? Layla, welcome to WWE. Prepare yourself for even more ass shots, pulled thongs, and embarrassing moments. You are a beautiful woman, and I hope you make it through this!
When Hulk Hogan came out for barely the third match of the night, you could tell he was pissed. Hogan looked irritated the entire night, and the Shawn Michaels chop he did as a gimmick infringement spoke for itself. Orton did his best here, and with Hogan’s limitations this was decent. They didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but the spots they had they handled. I don’t know what the reason was, but I can assure you Hulk wasn’t happy. It was hilarious, too, because not only did he make sure he won his match, but by night’s end, he had punked DX out completely, making Triple H and Shawn look like sore losers who couldn’t accept the fact they weren’t the loudest pop of the night. When Triple H came out later in the show with Michaels and the pop for DX was nowhere near close that one for Hogan, I laughed. Hunter than reminded me of J.T. from the Diva Search, when she wore that “MILF” tank top on the last week before the winner was selected. Desperation times. The King of Kings had no choice but to go for the cheap Mick Foley pop, and said “I thought this was Boston.” He got a louder pop, but still nowhere near Hogan’s reaction. Triple H was a pissed-off man for the rest of the night.
The segment between Melina and Mick Foley in the back was a good set-up for the I Quit match and served its purpose. The match itself was way too short, and having in mind they’re not fighting again, I’m not sure why they chose that route. This was, without a doubt, the match of the night, and the real main event of the PPV. In perhaps the feud of the year, the two had amazing build-up for the match, thanks to their brilliant skills when it comes to talking. I didn’t like Melina’s interfering during the match, but it had to end somehow, and it set up the angle they did on RAW the night after. Ric Flair should not be doing the things he’s doing at his age, and it’s amazing that the two guys over 50 (Hogan and Flair) got a win at SummerSlam and outshined everyone else.
Of course, they had to get the McMahons on TV before their match and they did so in a segment with Armando. Estrada has done a very good job with his character. I can actually see him getting over years ago, when managers meant a lot to this business.
Batista and Booker was a train-wreck. Boy, did Booker try hard to carry Batista. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and the crowd died quick for this. The DQ finish was necessary and I was okay with it because it was 1) the only DQ of the night, and 2) Batista does not deserve the title. This was a good booking decision. Ever since he’s come back, Batista hasn’t quite proven himself up, and I can’t see him carrying the brand when they move to the CW Network. With his new gimmick and role, Booker has tried really hard to carry on with the title, and deserve to keep it for now. Things on SmackDown! are getting out of hand quickly, and the ratings are slipping big time to the point I’d question the future of the brand. The nearly-botched spot at the end could have resulted in a broken neck. I guess once you’re off steroids, things become a little different. Just check out a recent picture of Chris Masters, and you’ll see what I mean.
DX talked to their “giant monster” in the back, once again acting like juveniles and burying other talent. No, it wasn’t The Great Khali.
DX defeated The McMahons, the Spirit Squad, three of SmackDown!’s top stars, and the ECW heavyweight champion next. To me this was just absolutely hilarious because it was so ridiculous. From the no-selling of spots, to the complete burial of the people involved, this classic match went on forever. The egos are running wild in WWE once again. I really don’t have much to say. I think it’s a good idea to bring in some stats for you here. Our current Top Story Poll (updated at www.tblwrestling.com with every update of the site) is Do you think the McMahons/DX storyline should continue? 83% have answered No as of this writing, while 17% say Yes. Going into the SummerSlam, at our TBL Poll that you can find on any page of the site other than the main page, the question is what is the most anticipated match going into SummerSlam, and the current winner is DX/McMahons. That should speak volumes of how much damage the bout at SummerSlam did. Shawn Michaels suffered a stinger in his shoulder, but seems to be alright after the incident.
John Cena and Edge probably had one of their best matches with each other at SummerSlam. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no heat for the bout, and the Boston crowd had turned on its hometown hero. I really have to join the crowd out there that questions some of WWE’s audience. I don’t understand why people are booing Cena now. While I understand why that was the point a few months ago when he was getting stale, a lot has changed since then. Yes, he’s limited when it comes to wrestling, but looking at the recent guys WWE has pushed, he’s the best talker, the most charismatic character, and he is in no way the worst wrestler of them all. (Anyone who claims Batista or The Great Khali has more to offer in the ring than Cena is lying to themselves.) At any rate, I’m glad they kept the title on Edge, who has managed to cement himself as a legit superstar on RAW. Had he lost, he would have truly become a transitional champion. It’ll be very interesting to see how they book Edge’s next title defense, as the next RAW PPV – Unforgiven – is in his hometown of Toronto. The latest I’ve heard is that it was supposed to be him and Cena in a TLC match, but in WWE, things change by the minute these days.
Overall, it was a decent effort by WWE, but nothing spectacular. So don’t fret if you missed this year’s SummerSlam.
I hope to come back later this week with my weekly TV review, and the latest news in pro wrestling. Thanks for reading.