michael dworkis looks at the summer classic…
Are you confused? I am. John Cena is not in the main event! This makes the 11th pay-per-view where the WWE Title match is not the final match on the card. Tonight, we have Triple H going up against former UFC champ, Brock Lesnar. Why that is the main event, I really have no explanation. The last time we saw Brock, it was in his disastrous comeback match against Cena, which anyone watching saw the worst train-wreck of a match since Scott Steiner vs. Sid Vicious for the WCW Championship.
The line-up looks decent enough, but I have some doubts it will deliver. Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler will likely steal the show, and I hope Ziggler wins it. I love Jericho, been a fan since ECW, but Ziggler is the man of the future, and a big win against Jericho will surely send his stock value soaring. The title undercards seem a bit lackluster. Rey challenging The Miz for the Intercontinental Title will likely be short, and as much as I really want to see a rejuvenation of the tag teams, I have yet to really get behind The Prime Time Players as a legitimate threat to current champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. The triple threat WWE Title match should deliver, and I for one hope Punk retains. Enough of my opinions, time to get to it.
SummerSlam YouTube Exclusive Pre-show: Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella to become the new United States Champion
We all saw this coming. With two consecutive losses to the newcomer and his humorous routines turning stale, it was only a matter of time until the coveted championship changed hands. Maybe now the Cobra gimmick will get dropped, and let the Milan Miracle actually perform in the ring. If he wants to continue being a goof, let him, which is fine by me. I have seen Marella wrestle before WWE, and believe me, he CAN wrestle. Now that Ring of Honor graduate Claudio Castignoli has struck gold in WWE, we can see some better names on the United States Title. No more funny business, please.
Chris Jericho defeated Dolph Ziggler
Did you see this match? DID YOU?! I am disappointed this opened the show, but damn it people what did I tell you? The Fozzy ringleader and the man who I say should be the main eventer, Dolph Ziggler just stole the show. My pick, Ziggler did not win, but these two guys need to go at it again, maybe in a couple of months, after Ziggler becomes World Champion and we could see an awesome title match on our hands. Y2J brought back his arsenal of moves, his backbreaker, a powerbomb, and boy did Ziggler fire back. Look at Ziggler, look at him. He takes a big hit and keeps coming back for more. Maybe he is learning from Mick Foley? Ziggler took a mid-match lead by hammer Jericho down with a series of back breaking moves and fast-flying dropkick which would make Hardcore Holly jealous. Ziggler could be a mix of Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels. My favorite part was the end of the match, why? Jericho did the Walls. The REAL Walls of Jericho where he practically bent the neck of Ziggler at a right angle. In a WWE.com post-match exclusive, Jericho made fun of his SummerSlam opponent, however did admit that Ziggler is a 100% guarantee to be a top star in WWE and have a bright future. Now that is classy.
Daniel Bryan beat Kane
Not the best match, but not the worst. What started as a decently paced match quickly became a typical big man-power move against little guy-fast striking match. Early on, Kane seized control, and hit all of his trademark moves. Sidewalk slam. Top-rope clothesline. Throat thrust setting up the chokeslam, but the former champion avoided a quick defeat. Bryan powered back with a series of kicks to chop the big man down, but the Big Red Monster inevitable shrugged it off, and caught an unfocused, angry Bryan with a flattening chokeslam, yet still could not gain the pinfall. Kane went for chokeslam number two, but Bryan reversed, rolled Kane up and stole the victory. Post-match, Kane tore through the crowd in pursuit of the former “yes-man” of the WWE Universe.
The Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship against Rey Mysterio
I feel bad for Rey, just coming back only to lose in his return pay-per-view appearance, but not that bad. Miz is hot again and having him lose the title just weeks after winning it does no one any favors. Honestly what more does Rey really need to accomplish? He has won it all, so a run with a second-tier title really does not do much for a guy who has been competing since the mid-90’s. For a guy like The Miz, having a title puts him back in the spotlight where he belongs. Yes, he won the WrestleMania main event, yes he was a long-standing WWE Champion, but he was out of action for some time, and frankly, being saddled with a bad gimmick quickly kills fan interest. The Miz is great at what he does, ticking people off, and putting the IC title around his waist is the slow start to doing it once again. As we all figured, the match was short, Rey scoring all his signature moves before a miscalculation, and The Miz took the advantage to spike Mystero with the Skull-Crushing Finale for the pinfall.
Sheamus retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto del Rio
Good lord where was J.R. to call this slobberknocker of a match. I thought the last encounter between these two was intense, but no way, they just took it up another level. Sheamus is the perfect balance of powerhouse and ring veteran. Alberto del Rio is Rick Martel, Ted Dibiase (Sr.), and maybe even a little bit of Eddie Guererro. He can maneuver around the ring, and boy can this guy fight. While it was a great match, I was a bit disappointed at the brawling parts of it. Something felt off, maybe someone got hurt midway through, but something just felt off when the fight spilled to the floor. Back in the ring, del Rio showed off his mat-based acumen and I thought he was just going to pop the arm of Sheamus right off with his arm-locks, and at one point, a serious looking arm-drop. However, The Mexican Aristocrat may want to consider firing Ricardo, since his botched interference nearly cost him the match. Sheamus scored with the White Noise driver, but del Rio kicked out. Sheamus set up for a nasty Brough kick, but again, the crafty challenger avoided the strike and nearly locked Sheamus in the dreaded Armlock submission. After a number of reversals and counters, Sheamus hit the backbreaker known as the Irish Curse, but Alberto del Rio snuck his foot by the bottom rope. The champion, somehow had the wherewithal to push the leg back into the ring and score the three-count, surprising del Rio, Ricardo, and the WWE Universe with the big victory.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth retained the Tag Team Championships against The Prime Time Players
For those of you living under a rock, or for those who skip matches involving The Prime Time Players, I need to catch you up as to why Mr. A.W., Abraham Washington is no longer standing alongside his team. That is because he is no longer employed by WWE. The creative improvisation artist was released after he made a comment on the live broadcast of the July 30th edition of Monday Night Raw, saying that Titus O’Neal was like “Kobe Bryant in a Colorado Hotel room… Unstoppable!” This references the rape charged brought against Bryant in 2004. Not the smartest move. Not only did A.W. get fired, but he went on a Twitter rampage giving everyone the treatment, from C.M. Punk all the way to the top brass, without mentioning the latter by name.
In any event, The Prime Time Players, while showing improvement over the past number of weeks, still could not win the big match, and the titles remained with Kofi and Truth. The match was not particularly good, but a few exciting moments from the champions gave the match life. I am happy that WWE has decided to rejuvenate tag teams in WWE, and they do have plenty to pick from: The Usos, The Colons, Reks and Hawkins, The Prime Time Players, and according to WWE, the team of Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel.
CM Punk retained the WWE Championship against The Big Show and John Cena
Eeehhhhh… While I am very happy Punk retained, something about this match felt very off to me. It was as if no one was on the same page, and the match broke down into Big Show just pounding on everyone, Cena or Punk being tossed to the floor, then make the big comeback to take down Show, then add a confusing scene with Show tapping to both Cena and Punk, then Punk “stealing” the win after Cena levels Show with the Attitude Adjustment.
I would have loved to have given a good break down of this match, but it was punch, kick, kick, kick, punch, chop, failed clothesline, shoulder tackle, shoulder tackle, spinning side slam, Show powers out, Cena gets angry, Punk smirks… I think you get the idea by now.
Punk has a great angle now, although the fact he was quickly turned heel bothers me a bit. All the arguments he made about respect for the WWE Title was made when he was a face, but now as a heel it is somehow different? I am glad he acts like a heel, because he makes a damn good one too. Still, something about this whole angle seems off. I like the fact Punk once again points out the obvious that the WWE Championship should be the main event… after all, it is WWE. However, if Punk is a heel, and he wants the title to be respected… does that degrade the championship? To longtime veteran fans, probably not, and I imagine most of those fans, myself included agree with that. To newer, younger fans… they may say “forget the title” and let Cena main event again. Anyone have thoughts about that?
Brock Lesnar defeated Triple H by submission
SUPLEXES! THERE WERE SULEXES! Brock hit a German Suplex on Triple H! The Game hit a vertical suplex on Lesnar! I got excited, but truthfully, and I have no doubt people will disagree with me, but I did not think this final match on the night was worth the hype. For some reason, this match was dubbed as “The Perfect Storm” to main event SummerSlam, except neither Mr. Perfect nor Lance Storm were in the match. Brock won. Honestly, I do not think anyone cares. It was a brawl. A fight. They could have done this in the middle of the show, or maybe the second-to-last match on the card. It was a fight all over the ring, big clotheslines, Brock trying to make HHH tap, Heyman yelling at ringside, and the latter was probably the saving grace of the match. Heyman is awesome. Did I expect a wrestling match from these two? Not at all. I admit to being caught by surprise, happily I should add, that a few wrestling moves were thrown in there. Suplexes! I love suplexes. I miss them. The ending was alright, with Helmsley scoring the Pedigree on Brock, but the former UFC star just no-sold it and locked on the Kimura Hold until The Game tapped out.
Post-match, there were some boos directed towards Triple H, and you could certainly hear the “You tapped out” chant. Maybe the fans watching live also felt letdown by the end of the show. Is Brock here to stay? Or will he vanish for a few months and Heyman will continue to talk on his behalf? I do not mind the latter, since Heyman is a genius on the microphone and Brock could not talk his way out of a paper bag. I get that this was meant to be an intense match, but halfway through, I forgot what the point of this feud even was. Just like the Brock/Cena match at Extreme Rules, the match, I feel, brought the show to a lackluster and anti-climatic conclusion.
We move onto Monday Night Raw, where Dolph Ziggler will no doubt get some airtime, maybe he and Jericho will have one more go just to keep the fans happy. Perhaps Santino will move on, and I am sure everyone is wondering when T.L. Hopper will return. I wonder where WWE will now take the “respect” angle between Punk and Cena, likely to a match at the next pay-per-view, and if they are thinking what I am thinking, the angle for that should be having the WWE Championship bout as the final match of the show.