The second oldest and second biggest show on the WWE’s calendar is their annual summer bash known as SummerSlam. For the second year running, wrestling’s biggest show of the summer came to Los Angeles’ Staples Centre for the 23rd annual SummerSlam. The entire show was built around a rookies vs. veterans angle between The Nexus and the WWE in an almost nWo-style invasion angle. Find out how well that angle and the rest of the show played out after the jump.
Intercontinental Title Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston ends as No Contest
Tony Chimel sighting! Yes, I mark out over such little things. Should also give an early shout out to Matt Striker who does a great job as a heel commentator against Jerry Lawler’s face commentator and Michael Cole’s… Coleness. Anyway, there was an actual match. Kofi was the very early aggressor, for all of 15 seconds, before Zigler took control of the match. After powering out of a submission attempt, Kofi managed to level things out until he got caught in Zigler’s signature sleeper hold. That’s when The Nexus arrived and beat the crap out of the combatants. That was a good and unexpected twist to the match that built up the main event. The match could have been pretty good if it was about 5 minutes longer but needed to be cut off for the angle.
WWE Divas Title Match – Melina defeats Alicia Fox
Am I the only one that thinks that calling it the “Divas Championship” devalues the title without the booking committee ruining it like it usually does to the women’s division? Also, good history lesson by Striker mentioning Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano at SummerSlam ’94. This match wasn’t much to write home about. The problem was the pace of the match slowed to a crawl after Alicia banged up her nose and Melina tweaked her knee. That brought out how green Alicia was. She should have started working Melina’s knee or leg. Instead she worked the arm. That lack of psychology happens when WWE hires their female wrestlers based on look instead of wrestling acumen. Kudos to Lawler and Striker for attempting to cover but no dice on my end.
3-on-1 Handicap Match – The Big Show defeats The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk, Joseph Mercury & Luke Gallows)
This match was a battle of power and size against numbers. The SES couldn’t match show one-on-one but they could keep him at bay working as a team. However, Show got the upper hand on three occasions as momentum swung back and forth. There was some good psychology as the SES tried to break Show’s hands and prevent him from using his knockout punch and choke slam. Ironically, it was those moves that took out Mercury and Gallows. Gallows was punched out while Mercury was choke slammed on top of him and both were pinned for the win. Handicap matches are hard to do believably with the underdog winning but I think they weren’t unsuccessful. I just don’t think this will be on anyone’s “best of” DVDs.
WWE Title Match – Randy Orton defeats Sheamus (by DQ)
Somehow, they managed to cram those first three matches, some video packages, and some promos in the first hour. Leave two hours to fill between three matches. Anyway, Orton got the drop on the champ but the tables turned quickly with Sheamus dominating a long stretch in the middle of the match. There was a noticeable change of pace when the two switched roles. When Orton dominated, the pace slowed as he was very deliberate with his moves. Sheamus picked up the pace with move after move after move. The finish came when Sheamus knocked down the ref when he tried bringing a chair into the ring and was DQ’ed. It wasn’t a bad match but I hate these bullshit finishes at big pay-per-views. That’s two of the first four matches without clean finishes. Coincidentally, the last WWE PPV that I reviewed, the 2010 Royal Rumble, had Orton beating Sheamus by DQ in a WWE title match. I tell you, the WWE creative team is nothing if not original.
World Heavyweight Title Match – Kane defeats Rey Mysterio
The backstory of this match is that The Undertaker is in a vegetative state. Kane blames Mysterio but Rey thinks Kane is covering his own tracks. The match was speed vs. power. With a match between a luchadore and a seven-foot-tall monster, there aren’t many other ways to book a match, though. Kane controlled most of the match but you always thought that Mysterio could pull off the upset at any moment. The finish came with a great closing sequence of countered chokeslam, countered 619, countered 619, countered chokeslam, hit 619, kickout and hit chokeslam for the win. The finish really brought up the score for this one. Well, it wasn’t quite over yet. Kane was going to throw Mysterio into a conveniently placed casket at ringside but it wasn’t empty. The Undertaker was in it. At first, it looked as if Taker was going to destroy Mysterio but he quickly turned his attention to Kane. Turns out Kane did it all along but Taker didn’t get his revenge but got a Tombstone for his troubles. Looks like it’s time for another Kane/Taker feud.
7-on-7 Elimination Tag Match – Team WWE (John Cena, John Morrison, R-Truth, Bret Hart, Edge, Chris Jericho & Daniel Bryan) defeats Team Nexus (Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield & Michael Tarver)
Near as I can piece together, the Nexus are a group of rookies who are fighting against the established wrestlers to make a name for themselves. Team WWE got the jump early when they introduced ex-Nexus member Daniel Bryan as their 7th member (in lieu of The Mi). Bryan made a quick mark by submitting Young with a Crippler Crossface which shocked me because I would have thought that move was banned after the Benoit double murder-suicide. That was quickly followed up by a quick slip of the tongue when Lawler caller him Bryan Danielson (not that hardcore wrestling fans would know what that means). Team WWE also got the second fall of the match when John Morrison pinned Young after a springboard corkscrew moonsault.
Team Nexus started to tear into the WWE advantage. First, a little teamwork allowed Morrison to be eliminated by Sheffield. Less than a minute later, R-Truth was sent packing to even the score. Bret Hart was the next out for the WWE. He was disqualified for using a chair before Nexus could but before that he did actually look pretty good in action. Team WWE took advantage of the damage Bret doled out with the chair by nailing Sheffield with Jericho’s Codebreaker and Edge’s Spear to level the match at fours. The pace then slowed down as Edge played face in peril as he was beaten down by the Nexus until he got the hot tag to Jericho. Y2J got in a couple vintage moves with the running bulldog and the lionsault before getting Otunga to tap to the Walls of Jericho. I have to admit that I was quite happy to hear the crowd’s Y2J chant after that elimination. That didn’t last long because a missed running elbow gave Slater the chance to hit an STO to pin Jericho to even the numbers at three a piece. Immediately afterwords, Egde and Cena argue over who should be next in which gave Slater the opportunity to roll-up Edge for a quick pin and give the advantage back to Nexus. After the fall, Edge and Jericho laid a short beating to Cena for screwing things up. And back to being heels for those two. Well, the commentators played up the fact that Team WWE might not be able to work as a cohesive unit. There’s that story taken care of.
Nexus rolls Cena into the ring and now he’s playing face in peril. All the while, Cole decides that he now has a character besides saying “vintage” all the time. Cole’s getting on Daniel Bryan’s case for being a rookie and Cena for picking Bryan over The Miz. The crowd’s also having fun with dueling chants of “Let’s go Cena” and “Cena sucks.” Anyway, Cena gets the hot tag to Bryan and the crowd explodes and he devastates Slater with high impact offense. The best finishing sequence of the match came when Bryan missed a kick which was countered into a roll-up which was countered back into a crossface for the submission elimination of Slater. While the ref was rolling Slater out of the ring, The Miz ran in and clobbered Bryan with a briefcase allowing him to be pinned leaving Cena 1-on-2 with the Nexus. They picked Cena apart but got bit when he rolled out of the way of Gabriel’s 450 Splash and got the pin. Barrett came in and got caught by Cena playing possum as he was wrapped in the STF and tapped out to give WWE the win.
This was a pretty good match that left the Nexus looking strong. Whether the WWE should have won the match is debatable but as long as the Nexus came out looking good, it didn’t matter that much who won. Well, it’s debatable if Barrett came out looking strong. I’ve never thought a clean submission makes you look strong so I don’t agree with the final fall. I think Bryan should have been the sole survivor for Team WWE. It would have catapulted him to an upper mid-card spot but it looks like a feud with The Miz will have to get him there instead. At least he got eliminated without being pinned clean.
When I average out the match ratings, I get about 6.5 out of 10. I can’t really argue with that. I was a good show. It’s one of the better WWE pay-per-views that I’ve watched for a Lowdown Blog review. You’re not going to confuse this show with WrestleMania but the guys fighting to the top of the food chain (Kingston, Kane [even though he’s the World champ], Mysterio and Bryan) put forward good efforts.