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WWE SummerSlam 2011

by Samoa Rowe

August 14th 2011

-From Los Angeles, CA. Our hosts are heel Michael Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler.

-Adam Jones, from TOOL, is here to play the National Anthem on the guitar. WWE earns 10 cool points.

-The story leading into Summerslam 2011 is that there are two WWE Champions. CM Punk won the title from John Cena at Money in the Bank and proceeded to walk out of the company. This might seem like a big problem, as now there is no WWE Champion present in WWE (though there WAS a World Heavyweight Champion in Christian, but it’s not like they could promote him to top star status or anything). A tournament to crown a new champion was held and Rey Mysterio emerged victorious. Rey had an emotional celebration, but apparently he just had to defend it against John Cena the night he won it, because it had only been something like 8 days since Cena had last held the title and he has a Gollum-like need for it. Cena defeated Rey Mysterio and took the title like an opportunistic bully, and had they wanted to turn Cena heel, there would have been no better way to do it. Once Cena was WWE Champion again, CM Punk returned (less than 2 weeks after leaving forever) and made his claim to be the true WWE Champion. And that’s how we got to Summerslam 2011.

-The Miz, R-Truth, and Alberto Del Rio all come down to the ring to complain that they aren’t booked. Fortunately, they’re all dressed to wrestle, and get challenged to a six man tag by Rey Mysterio (who should be pissed at Cena but isn’t), Kofi Kingston, and John Morrison. This manages to get the show off to a slow start.

The Miz, R-Truth, and Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, and John Morrison

Kofi quickly gets a monkey flip on Miz that gets some good air. Morrison and Kofi hit stereo elbow drops to keep the momentum going. Truth walks into a tackle from Morrison and suffers a springboard kick to the head. Miz pushes Morrison off the turnbuckles (in a bit of a miscue as it looked like Truth was preparing a counter) and the bad guys isolate JoMo for the heat segment. Hot tag to Kofi and it’s controlled frenzy time. Boom drop on Miz but Trouble in Paradise misses. Kofi counters back with the SOS but Del Rio saves the match. The match breaks down, and Miz catches Kingston with the Skull Crushing Finale for only 2. Nice, Miz had his finisher kicked out of in a meaningful six man tag. Kingston is our new face in peril for a short while, until the obligatory hot tag to Rey. Truth and Miz get hung up for 619, but Del Rio interferes, earning a dive from Morrison. Kofi hits a high springboard cross body to Miz at ringside, and Rey finishes Truth at 9:34. This match served no purpose other than to get PPV pay-days for the participants, but made for a lively, energetic opener, **½.
Winners: Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, and John Morrison

-John Laurinaitis demands an apology from WWE Champion CM Punk about some nonsense that happened on Raw. Punk gives a sarcastic apology that undermines Laurinaitis in the process. Stephanie McMahon shows up to wish Punk luck, but he doesn’t want to hear it. Stephanie offers a handshake, but Punk refuses because he knows where that hand has been.

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry

Henry was in the midst of the best push of his career and was marching towards the World title. Sheamus is his most credible opponent in a while, and this was a fresh match at the time. Henry controls the action early on, but Sheamus connects with a series of shots to the back of the head. Michael Cole backs off cowardly as the action heads to the floor. Henry enjoys a period in the drivers seat and delivers a methodical beat down. Sheamus sidesteps a head of steam and comes back with a series of strikes. They both go down after bumping heads. Flying shoulder tackle by Sheamus gets a 2 count. Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to the chest that sends Henry tumbling to the floor. Henry rams Sheamus into the ring post and slams him through the barricade! Henry wins via count-out at 9:19. This was a pretty good brawl. Henry had been built up so well that the crowd was invested in Sheamus’ quest to knock him off. This was better than the sum of its parts, **½.
Winner via count-out: Mark Henry

-Josh Mathews interviews World Heavyweight Champion Christian backstage. Christian compares his match with Randy Orton to a summer action movie. Christian is like Harry Potter, while Orton is like the flawed summer blockbuster, Cowboys and Aliens. Cute.

-Musical performance by Cee-lo Green. He’s pretty good, though not my cup of tea.

Divas Championship:
Kelly Kelly © (with Eve Torres) vs. Beth Phoenix (with Natalya)

Kelly is looking for revenge after Beth recently beat her up and called her a bimbo. The truth hurts, kid. Kelly scores a ridiculous spinning head scissors takedown and cartwheels into another head scissors over the ropes. Kelly connects with a flying cross body to ringside. Beth finally hits a clothesline to take control of the match. Kelly works best as a rag doll for Beth and takes some punishment. Kelly starts screaming constantly, but Phoenix blocks her back handspring attempt. Kelly counters the Glam Slam for the win at 6:31. This was about as good as a match intentionally booked as filler featuring Kelly Kelly can be, *¾.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly

-Stephanie McMahon departs from John Cena’s locker room. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?!? Spoiler: nothing.

-R-Truth complains about the conspiracy against him to Jimmy Hart. Jimmy thinks Truth just needs a good manager to take him to the top and offers his services. Truth is about to accept but then amusingly accuses Hart of being Little Jimmy and freaks out. A Lakers player and his daughter react to the spectacle (I don’t know what that is, nor do I care to Google it).

Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan

Barrett is mad that Bryan won the Smackdown Money in the Bank contract and has been gunning for him. This match isn’t as cool as you’d think, as it predates “Bad News Barrett” and “YES! YES! YES!” Barrett uses his size advantage, but Bryan stays in it with a running knee to the gut. Bryan controls the arm and stomps the knees in the surfboard position. A hard kick by Bryan earns a 2 count. Barrett catches Bryan with a hard side slam and takes control of the match. Bryan takes some punishment but drop-kicks Barrett off the apron, setting up a running flying knee! Missile drop-kick by Bryan gets a near fall. Bryan blocks a pump handle slam and chops Barrett down with hard kicks. Bryan counters Wasteland with MMA elbows and applies the Lebell Lock. Wade survives and crotches Bryan on the ropes for a clothesline. Wasteland finishes cleanly at 11:43. Perfectly good match given it’s place on the card. Sadly, this lead to Bryan working dark matches on pay-per-view for the next several months, and Barrett’s push would get derailed as well, **¾.
Winner: Wade Barrett

-Christian thinks he has an ace in the hole: his bestest buddy in the whole world, Edge! Turns out Edge doesn’t approve of Christian’s heel turn and says he’s on his own.

World Heavyweight Championship (No Holds Barred):
Christian © vs. Randy Orton

It’s been 28 days since Orton was champion and it’s clearly taking a toll on him, as his entrance takes forever and a day. This is the fourth consecutive pay-per-view with Orton vs. Christian on it, which is pretty normal for World title feuds (see Sheamus vs. Del Rio in 2012). Orton dismantles Christian for a while, at least until Christian back drops The Viper to ringside. Orton looks for the RKO on the announce table, but Christian escapes and tries to run away with the World title. Orton hauls Christian back to the ring but gets driven into the ring post on a head of steam. Christian attacks with a kendo stick, but has a hard time gaining permanent control as Orton continues to fight back. They trade counters until Orton nails his backbreaker for a 2 count. Christian avoids the death punt but Orton slams his head into the ring post. Orton drags out two tables, one gets left at ringside while Orton superplexes Christian onto the other unfolded one in the ring. Orton leans the cracked table in the corner, but Christian surprises with an inverted DDT. They block finishers and return to the floor, where Christian takes a spill over the ring steps. Orton leans the steps against the apron, but Christian smashes his head into them. Christian clears the Spanish announce table and clocks Orton with a monitor. Orton counters with an RKO through the SAT! Back to the ring, Christian surprises with the Killswitch but ORTON KICKS OUT! Christian grabs a pair of chairs and prepares a one-man Con-chair-to, and spits in Orton’s face. Orton pops up and unleashes a chair shot that sends Christian crashing through the ringside table. The stipulation makes it okay for Orton to lose his temper and he fills the ring with more weapons, including the ring steps. Orton power slams Christian into the leaning table and breaks the kendo stick over his back. Christian suffers a DDT onto a garbage can and desperately hits one last kendo shot to the neck. Orton bounces back with the RKO on the ring steps for the win at 23:36. This was better than I remembered it, with lots of twists and turns in the form of unexpected counters and great stunt bumps. Christian sacrificed everything to make Orton look unstoppable here, ****¼.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton

-Stephanie McMahon is seen chatting it up with Triple H, in referee attire. Just remember, all this foreshadowing is leading to the revelation that Kevin Nash texted himself with Hunter’s phone.

WWE Championship:
CM Punk © vs. John Cena © (Special Referee: Triple H)

They are clearly pacing themselves for a long match as they feel each other out. The crowd is LAVA hot for this one. Cena gains the upper hand, working a chinlock with power moves sprinkled in. Big boot by Punk shifts the momentum to his favor. Punk drop-kicks Cena to ringside and lets him crawl back in for more punishment. Cena powers into a side slam but Punk cuts off his comeback with a knee to the head. Cena is having a hard time connecting with his Five Moves of Doom because Punk counters at various times. They trade submissions, complete with Cena’s goofy looking STF. Punk counters with a back drop, setting up the suicide dive! They struggle back to the ring where they take wild shots at one another. Cena nails a hard drop-kick and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Punk counters the AA, and they exchange pinning predicaments. KO kick by Punk only gets 2. Cena blocks the GTS and power slams Punk for a near fall. Cena goes high risk, but Punk knocks him down for a flying bulldog. Cena dodges a cross body and reapplies the STF. Cena counters into the AA, but PUNK KICKS OUT! Cena’s flying leg drop misses and Punk nails GTS for another close near fall. Punk nails the Macho Man flying elbow, but you guessed it, Cena kicks out. Punk nails a second GTS for the pinfall at 24:03, despite Cena having a foot on the ropes. Suitably epic back and forth match, though that finish is something of a cop-out, ****.
Winner and Undisputed WWE Champion: CM Punk

-The show should have ended right then and there, but Kevin Nash randomly hops the guard rail and puts Punk down with a Jackknife Powerbomb. This, of course, sets up Alberto Del Rio running in to cash in his Money in the Bank contract.

WWE Championship:
CM Punk © vs. Alberto Del Rio

This was such a bone-headed decision. Punk was beyond hot and they needed to capitalize on his momentum, not have yet another unneeded Money in the Bank cash-in. Del Rio hits an enziguri and pins Punk straight away at 0:10. In the aftermath of a lengthy Miz title reign under similar circumstances, this feels like a re-run. Not a match, but I’m giving this a DUD for the bad booking.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio

Final Thoughts: Two **** matches and a strong undercard make this a hard show to dislike, but that booking at the end was so very stupid and unnecessary. Del Rio cashing in and winning is like when you’re really into a great TV show and it ends with a cliffhanger. Then next week, you tune in expecting to see the follow up, but there’s a repeat instead. Summerslam 2011 gets a Thumbs Up in spite of itself.

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