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WWF SummerSlam 2004
by Samoa Rowe
-From Toronto, Ontario. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Michael Cole and Tazz for Smackdown.
Cruiserweight Champion Spike Dudley and the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) vs. Rey Mysterio and WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Billy Kidman
It’s hard to believe this is a real match. Spike recently revealed his true nature as the calculating, evil leader of the Dudleyz. London and Kidman hold their own against D-Von until Bubba assists from the apron. London gets trapped in Dudley territory. Bubba inadvertently knocks D-Von off the apron, and London fights off Spike to make the hot tag to Mysterio. Rey overwhelms Spike, nailing a top rope hurricanrana for a 2 count. Rey catches Bubba with a seated senton and plants D-Von with an inverted DDT. Spike head butts Rey and Kidman makes a blind tag to continue the momentum for his team. The match breaks down and the Dudleyz get dumped. London connects with a dive, leaving Spike to suffer Rey’s 619 and Kidman’s Shooting Star Press! D-Von pulls Kidman to ringside to save the match and dodges a diving Mysterio. Bubba uses a belt as a weapon and Kidman eats the 3D. Spike pins Kidman at 8:04. Pretty good opener with the right energy, **¼.
Winners: The Dudleyz
-On Raw, Lita had to inform her boyfriend, Matt Hardy, that the father of her unborn child is actually Kane. Oh yeah, this stupid storyline. Later on, Kane tells Matt that he’s more man than he’ll ever be. I like the part where Lita eventually falls for Kane.
Winner Marries Lita:
Matt Hardy (with Lita) vs. Kane
Matt was one of the hottest up and coming acts on Smackdown in 2003, then he got traded to Raw and proceeded to do a whole lot of nothing, at least until this angle came along to… invigorate his career? Matt quickly delivers a Side Effect off the second rope and follows with a flying leg drop to the neck. Tornado DDT by Hardy gets a 2 count. Kane turns it around with a well-timed uppercut but Lita distracts to allow Hardy to set Kane up for a Twist of Fate on the floor. Lita hands the ring bell to Matt and he clocks Kane in the head. Kane comes back with a big boot and a top rope choke slam finishes this at 6:05. The in-ring work was fine, but nobody was buying the stipulation, *¾.
-A distraught Lita runs from the arena while Kane cackles delightfully.
-Todd Grisham interviews Randy Orton backstage. Orton puts himself over as something special, but is interrupted by white boy rapper, John Cena. Cena pretends that Orton was talking about him and polls the live crowd for Orton’s approval rating. Orton promises to become the youngest World Champion anyways.
Best of Five Series: Match One
United States Champion Booker T vs. John Cena
They grade punches and Cena scores first with a clothesline. Cena absorbs some chops and delivers his neck breaker. Booker crotches Cena on the ropes and knocks him to ringside. The match seems to be moving in slow motion as Booker works Cena over. The Ax Kick misses, giving Cena the opening to deliver a series of punches. Booker seems to have cut off Cena’s momentum and shows off with a Spinaroonie, allowing Cena to surprise with the FU for the win at 6:24. This was the WWE style at it’s most basic, *.
Winner: John Cena
-Teddy Long is watching the show and likes what he sees. He’s joined by the “head cracker of Raw” Eric Bischoff. Eric feels like every time they have a joint Raw/Smackdown pay-per-view, there’s a new Smackdown GM and offers some unfriendly advice. Long says he’d be more than happy to sign Eric’s nephew, Eugene, or any Raw star who is sick of dealing with Bischoff and wants out.
Edge © vs. Batista vs. Chris Jericho
Batista cheap shots Edge during his entrance, but Jericho tears into Batista with chops. Batista fights back with shoulder thrusts and delivers a power slam. Edge saves Jericho from the Batista Bomb but suffers Snake Eyes on the ropes. Edge gets booed heavily for dumping Batista to the floor. The fans chant “We want Christian” and “Y2J” as Jericho and Edge square off. Edge plays into the fans by cheating with the ropes, but Jericho catches him in the Walls. Batista saves the match but eats an Edge DDT. Edge signals the Spear, but Jericho cuts him off. Spinebuster on Jericho, but Edge prevents a pinfall. Batista gets dumped and the fans are 100% behind Jericho as he bulldogs Edge. Jericho drop-kicks Batista off the apron, but Edge catches him with the Spear for the win at 8:23. Average, run of the mill, triple threat here, **.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Edge
Kurt Angle (with Luther Reigns) vs. Eddie Guerrero
Angle was in the midst of tweaking his in-ring style to be less damaging to his neck, after missing a few months of action due to injury. It personally annoyed me at the time that this feud was being rekindled minus the WWE title, which I still could not believe was seriously on Bradshaw. The match starts with a mat based exchange of holds as the “bizarro world” fans chant for Angle. German suplex by Kurt, but Eddie counters into an ankle lock! Angle Slam comes out of nowhere and Kurt applies the ankle lock. Eddie gets the ropes but Luther Reigns cheap shots from ringside, allowing Kurt to reapply the hold. Guerrero won’t submit so Angle works on softening up the ankle. Eddie counters with a jawbreaker and steals the Angle Slam (all the while selling an ankle injury). Guerrero musters the Three Amigos but Angle counters the Frog Splash with a top rope belly to belly suplex. Eddie counters with a DDT but misses the Frog Splash. Guerrero barely kicks out after a second Angle Slam! The ref takes a bump as Eddie escapes the ankle lock. Guerrero uses his boot as a weapon to knock down Reigns and finally connects with the Frog Splash on Angle! Kurt kicks out and refuses to let go of another ankle lock! Eddie must tap out at 13:33. GREAT in-ring work here, even if they were just treading water, ***¾.
Winner: Kurt Angle
Triple H vs. Eugene
Eugene was one of the main factors giving WWE an icky feeling in 2004 (in addition to the Divas Search and Lita’s rape baby). I was never truly comfortable with having a handicapped character in WWE, especially when he’d suffer brutal beatings from Evolution. It’s true that the gimmick got over huge for a while, culminating in this match with Triple H. The match starts with Triple H dominating a slugfest. The crowd lets WWE know what they think of this feud as Eugene gets some shots in. HHH uses Lillian Garcia as a shield and retakes control. Eugene reverses a suplex but the fans have completely turned on the match by this point. HHH fakes an injury to make Eugene feel bad and sets up an ambush. There’s a clear “Eugene sucks” chant as Eugene comes back again with the Rock Bottom. HHH blocks the Peoples’ Elbow with a spinebuster and The Game is back in the driver’s seat. Eugene hulks out of a sleeper and hits a back body drop. Eugene flips HHH the bird and hits a Stunner. Ric Flair shows up for the distraction, but Eugene imitates Hogan and nails the leg drop for 2. HHH blocks a Macho Man ax handle but Eugene steals the Pedigree, but Flair saves the match. Flair is tossed out by the ref and William Regal appears on the stage to knock Ric out with his brass knuckles. HHH delivers the Pedigree anyway and wins at 14:03. I’m tempted to go into negative stars with this one, but the match did sort of turn around when Eugene was teasing the upset, so let’s just call it a DUD and be done with it.
Winner: Triple H
Women’s Champion Trish Stratus, Jazz, Molly Holly, Gail Kim, Nidia, Stacy Keibler, and Victoria vs. Joy Giovanni, Michelle McCool, Carmella, Christy Hemme, Amy, Tracie, and Maria
It’s the existing Divas roster vs. the Diva Search contestants. Jonathan Coachman hosts the festivities, held somewhere else in a random basketball court. As you can imagine, this contest is incredibly stupid and wastes a stunning amount of time. You can’t hear the Toronto crowd during this segment, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess that “boring” chants were rampant. The Diva Search contestants actually win, when Michelle eliminates Nidia. If I were rating this, there would definitely be negative stars.
Winners: The Diva Search Contestants
John Bradshaw Layfield © (with Orlando Jordan) vs. The Undertaker
At this point in time, I still could not believe that BRADSHAW was WWE Champion. Every time I turned on Smackdown, it felt like some sort of odd-ball dream that couldn’t be true. After Triple H vs. Eugene and Diva Dodgeball, the live crowd has zero patience for this. The last time Undertaker was on pay-per-view, he murdered Paul Bearer, so even casual fans didn’t quite know what to make of him here. Undertaker controls the action early on, but JBL blocks “old school” for an opening. JBL looks for a quick win, but Taker starts working over his arm. The fans don’t turn on the match like they did with Eugene/HHH, so much as just tune it out by entertaining themselves with the wave and annoying chants. JBL works over the knee while Michael Cole tries to spin the crowd’s wave into support for Undertaker. I’m beginning to get fed up with the commentators’ theme that the fans are rebelling because of unexplainable “bizarro world” reasons and not because this is a poorly booked Summerslam full of idiotic storylines, and stale characters. The fans do not owe it to WWE to react “the right way” it is the responsibility of the promotion to make sure their angles and characters are over enough to earn proper boos and cheers. Even I am tuning the match out to go on side tangents, but the action has been meandering knee work by JBL. Undertaker is clearly frustrated as he makes his comeback to “boring” chants. The Clothesline from Hell gets a 2 count and the crowd boos the match not being finished. Double big boot attempts leave them both down. JBL scores a belt shot to the head and Jordan makes the unconscious referee count for a hilarious near fall. Last Ride by Taker gets a slow 2 count. Undertaker takes the WWE title from Jordan and clocks JBL with it for the DQ at 17:33. Yes, folks, THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE! This was a boring match that nobody wanted to see and featured a f*ck finish to extend it for another two months. I’ll be nice and call this a DUD.
Winner via DQ: John Bradshaw Layfield
-Undertaker bloodies JBL on the hood of his limo and is about to leave when he gets a better idea. I guess murdering Paul Bearer in a tank of concrete has brought out the evil in Undertaker, and he puts JBL through the roof of the limo with a choke slam.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Benoit © vs. Randy Orton
The crowd is so invested in this feud and rivalry that they chant “You screwed Bret” at referee Earl Hebner. Orton prematurely got the rocket strapped to his back for this push because Vince and co. were eager to erase Brock Lesnar as the youngest World champion record holder. Benoit becomes the first wrestler in over an hour to have any crowd support as he walks Orton through the exchanging of holds. Orton reverses the sharpshooter with an impressive roll-through, but Benoit reverses back. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but Orton rolls to ringside and thrusts Benoit into the ring post. Orton goes to work on the arm, but Benoit dishes out a DDT on the ring frame. Benoit misses a suicide dive and takes a nasty spill into the barricade. There’s little doubt in my mind that Benoit suffered a concussion right there. Orton shifts his attacks to the neck and head for a while. Benoit fights back with a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Orton blocks a superplex and connects with a flying cross body for a near fall. Benoit counters into a German suplex and applies the Sharpshooter. Orton survives, only to get caught with rolling German suplexes. Orton counters the Swan Dive with feet to the head (helloooooo, concussion #2). Benoit surprises with the Crippler Crossface but Orton breaks out for the RKO. Orton pins Benoit for the title at 20:04. They worked hard (perhaps too hard, in Benoit’s case) but the result seemed like a foregone conclusion going into it, so there wasn’t much in terms of heat or interest. Orton winning the title at this stage in his game just seemed wrong. I wanted to give this ***, but that feels wrong given all the circumstances, so **¾ is all it gets.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton
Final Thoughts: This is a thoroughly unenjoyable show on many levels. Strongest recommendation to avoid.
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