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Summerslam Review

Well, the Fuller Roadhouse is apparently no longer showing WWE pay-per-views, which considering I’m in AA now is probably for the best. The only alternative is either watching it at someone’s house, or going to Hooter’s (which I hate). So, in the week leading up to the event, I decided to order the event at my place and invite a bunch of people. So Ed, McLocks, Dan, Wetsel, Dave, and Ryan came over. It would be an evening of food, merriment, and professional wrestling. Too bad the wrestling was so shitty.

NOTES: Matches are rated on a scale of one star (*) to five stars (*****). Please note that this is not an objective rating, nor is it meant to be. In other words, I’m not Meltzer, so there’s no point in really arguing that a match should’ve been given three stars instead of two and a half when really my rating has no bearing on anything other than my own personal tastes on a particular evening. Now, without further adieu, it’s time for…

THE SUMMERSLAM REVIEW

Da-na-na-naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

We watched the pre-show that airs a half-hour before the pay-per-view. No preliminary match was shown, just Todd Grisham being HORRIBLY FUCKING ANNOYING AND NOT FUNNY (even moreso than usual) and video packages. They also showed one of those Summerslam commercials which featured Chris Masters (suspended but coming back with 50% less body) and others goofing around. I could’ve sworn I saw Christy Hemme in the commercial, and I thought it was just me until someone else said something. Which is notable only because Hemme’s been gone for MONTHS now and is currently working for TNA.

Introooooductions!
They showed all three commentary teams: Smackdown, RAW, and ECW, in that order. Everyone at the arena in Boston was excited. We were a little more cynical. Par for the course.

Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero in a CORPSE-FUCKING MATCH
Seriously, it was worse than when Johnny Carson died and David Brenner went on every talk show imaginable to remind everyone that he was Carson’s guest on the Tonight Show more than anyone else. It really wasn’t a bad match until they started REALLY playing up the Eddy thing. This feud would’ve been fine if it was started by Chavo just being jealous that Rey achieved what he couldn’t, but they had to drag poor Eddy into it. Thankfully, the Boston crowd shit ALL OVER all attempts to invoke Eddy for cheap heat, including but not limited to several instances of pointing to the sky and Rey doing the Three Amigos. Vickie Guerrero (Eddy’s widow) came out and received a huge heel reaction (note – she wasn’t supposed to be booed), and asked them to stop fighting. The corpse-fucking was bad enough, but the overacting made it that much worse. Vickie slapped Chavo at one point, then accidentally crotched Rey onto the ropes as he was getting ready to Frog Splash Chavo. Vickie ran away and Chavo won with his own Frog Splash. If one crowd can kill an angle like Fake Kane, then I hope to God this crowd was able to kill off the whole “I’m doing it for Eddy” “no, I’M doing it for Eddy” angle.
Winner: Chavo Guerrero. Hell, Rey didn’t win a single match when he was champion, what made you think that was going to change now that the belt was OFF him? Although to be fair, Rey’s also having knee surgery soon.
Rating: *1/2 The in-ring stuff wasn’t bad, but the angle is…exploitative. There, I’ll be generous and just say exploitative.

* World Heavyweight Champion King Booker and Sharmell were shown backstage talking in intentionally bad English accents, particularly evoking Shakespearean dialogue. Freaking hilarious. WWE Champion Edge suddenly walked in with Lita. Booker had the line of the night when he looked at Edge in disbelief and said “Who is this ROGUE?!”. What made it particularly funny was his delivery on the word “rogue,” which was intentionally bad so as to make us all giggle like little girls. Edge and Booker made a wager where if one of them loses the title and the other retains, then the one losing the title has to show up on the other’s show and be his servant. Whatever.

* The doorbell rings, and it was the delivery guy. Which segued to:

The Fuller Heels (“King” Kevin Marshall, Ed Lass, Fr. Matt Wetsel, McLocks, Dan “Last Call” Hall, and D&R [Dave & Ryan]) vs. 24 Slices of Cheese Pizza & 24 Wings
The match started out without Marshall, who was busy trying to get glasses, plates, ice, and other plunder ready for the match. It quickly turned into an absolutely one-sided affair. Marshall kept getting distracted, and after having only two slices of pizza and two wings, noticed when he went for more that there were only three wings left and six slices of pizza. He took one wing, two slices of pizza, and before long only one wing was left. The Fuller Heels got cocky, and kept offering the opportunity to finish off the last wing to each other. The Lone Chicken Wing started to recover while the Heels were arguing amongst each other as to who would finish it off, until Marshall finally insisted Ed do the honors.
Winners: Marshall, Ed, Wetsel, McLocks, Hall D&R Really, it was the only finish that would’ve made sense.
Rating: **** The food was very impressive and delicious. However, Marshall could have used more time with the wings to really get it going.

The Big Show (c) vs. Sabu – ECW WORLD TITLE MATCH
The match was under EXTREME rules, which meant that Sabu had an EXTREME number of opportunities to EXTREMEly blow spots. It’s becoming more apparent as time goes on that Sabu shouldn’t be wrestling a full-time schedule, because lately he’s missing more spots than an albino dalmatian. This match was no exception and was an absolute train-wreck. At one point Sabu screwed up running onto a table (yes – all he had to do was run across it and he still managed to fuck it up) while Show just stood there staring at him. Time stood still like two lovers meeting for the first time, except instead of lovers it was two guys in a horribly bad match that was bound to only get worse. Show eventually won it clean.
Winner: Big Show. So…why didn’t Heyman want Show to defend against Sabu? Not that anything regarding Heyman’s on-air character made sense to begin with, but now they got a LOT of ‘splainin’ to doooooooo!
Rating: * The match was a little under ten minutes, and I think five of it was Sabu blowing spots and trying them again while Show just stared at him like a fucking fool.

* They cut to Jim Ross, who said the match we saw was brutal and ugly. That’s JR code for “holy shit. It wasn’t just you…that match was goddamn awful.” He uses it to segue to another brutal and ugly segment, the recap of the 2006 Diva Search. I took the opportunity to go outside, have a cigarette, call Steve and make fun of Sabu and Big Show. When I came back inside, I was told someone showed an ass or something. Idunno.

Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Orton
This match was actually a little better than I expected it to be, what with Hogan blowing his knee out less than two weeks ago when he got up from his couch (no, I’m not kidding). That being said, it made Show/Sabu look like Flair/Steamboat. Not for want of trying on Orton’s part, but Hogan’s finally at the point where he can’t even make what little offense he had to begin with look even remotely good. At one point Hogan sold an Orton strike to his knee by going “OHHHHHHhhhhh” and collapsing awkwardly. We erupted in laughter. As Hogan was getting back up, Orton got down on the mat and started preying on him to set up the RKO…at one point even going so far as to channel my fucking cat and completely roll over on his back. Seriously. It was fucking weird. Anyway, he hit the RKO, but Hogan’s foot was on the ropes. The ref had Lillian Garcia announce that Hogan’s foot was on the ropes and therefore the match would continue, which they really didn’t need to do since everyone saw the ref acknowledge the foot and the bell never rang. Anyways, the match continued. Hogan eventually hit his boot to the face (which is now a boot to the right ribcage apparently) and the legdrop for the finish. The legdrop, since most people assumed his knee was so bad he couldn’t do it, got a big pop.
Winner: Hulk Hogan. Anybody who thought Hogan would willingly put over Randy Orton cleanly needs to run onto a busy highway and NOT expect to get hit by a car. On the same token, anyone who thinks Orton deserves better needs to have his or her head examined. The guy’s a total dick.
Rating: ** The crowd made it passable. Afterwards, Hogan thanked them by posing in the ring until they were fucking dead. I’m talking “sitting on their hands with blank looks on their faces” dead. McMahon needs to have a talk with Hogan the next time he has his annual one-shot match and remind him to quit when he’s ahead, since him flexing with the crowd behind him sitting down and staring into space doesn’t make for a good visual.

* Mick Foley and Melina were backstage. Melina told Mick that she doesn’t think he should do the match, because she’s the Manager of Champions (without Captain Lou Albano’s facial hair unfortunately) and only associates with winners. Mick flipped out at the insinuation that he couldn’t make Flair quit, and vowed to win the match. He left and Melina smiled, since it was all a plan to get him motivated. I wonder if she was in the car with the dude that got physically attacked by Flair after the road rage incident a few months back.

Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley – I QUIT MATCH
It was a pretty standard garbage match, but a somewhat entertaining one at least. The weapons were there and the booking was decent, but it was missing a lot of those intangibles that you expect to be present in a match between these two (regardless of their age). That being said, at this point in the show it was easily the best match of the night. Foley took a SICK bump to the outside (without a table to break the fall) A bunch of trainers, officials, and Melina came down to check on him. The ref said he was done and called for the bell. Flair got on the mic and said that it was an “I Quit” match, not a “Lay On Your Ass” match, and ordered the match re-started. Flair went outside, rolled Foley back in, and the match continued. By the way, the false finish is eerily similar to a match I had watched earlier in the day – the Colt Cabana vs. Homicide “Ghetto Fight” from Ring of Honor’s 4th Anniversary Show – except with some slight variations in the roles. I didn’t bring it up, because nobody else in the room would have any fucking idea what I was talking about. Flair continued beating on Foley until Melina threw in a towel and said “that’s enough, he quits.” The match was stopped, but Flair said that she couldn’t quit for Foley. The match was re-started AGAIN. Flair threatened to hit Melina with a barbwire baseball bat. Foley, not wanting to quit but also not wanting to see his female friend get whacked in the face by gimmicked barbwire, grabbed the mic and screamed “I quit.”
Winner: Ric Flair. Right way to go, since Flair works more consistently for WWE than Foley does.
Rating: **1/2 Like I said earlier, the match was laid out well but something was missing. The booking (where everyone BUT Foley tried to quit for him) was great until the finish…which made Flair look like a heel and Foley like a total dunce. I imagine tonight on RAW the feud will continue, but considering it’s gone on for a few months already, I think this match should’ve been the big blow-off that WWE had promised.

* Vince and Shane talked to Armando. I didn’t really pay attention to this one. Basic gist was to remind people that Umaga was going to be involved in the match against dX at some point.

King Booker (c) vs. Batista – WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
Sharmell came out with Booker, had a mic, and said “all hail King Booker” at least thirty-four times. At that point, the crowd was already dead, and that certainly didn’t help. The match itself was very uninspired, and part of me wondered if they would’ve been better off having Sharmell just yell out “all hail King Booker” for fifteen minutes in its place. Booker and Batista both seemed very tentative, as if neither of them wanted to be in the match. There have been situations in the past between the likes of Benoit/Sullivan and Hart/Michaels where two guys have legit heat with each other backstage, but put it aside to have really good matches. Booker and Batista are not those guys. I went outside for a phone call and missed the finish – apparently Sharmell ran in to cause a DQ. After the match Batista tried to give Booker a Batista Bomb and didn’t quite get him up all the way on the first try. As of this morning, internet fans were already accusing Booker of sandbagging Batista, which is fucking ridiculous. Booker’s been in the business too long to try such a juvenile stunt; more likely, Batista’s just that rusty (and/or getting that old).
Winner: Batista. Since it was via DQ, the title didn’t switch hands.
Rating: *1/2 I expected better from both guys. Needless to say I’m disappointed, but considering the circumstances it didn’t exactly shock me that nothing clicked and they never seemed to get on the same page.

* They showed a vignette hyping Jeff Hardy’s return on RAW (tonight). Over/under on them dropping his ass again after he fails two consecutive drug tests and no-shows a live RAW is three months.

* HHH and Shawn Michaels told someone backstage that they overheard McMahon saying that Umaga was the REAL monster in WWE. They leave, and Michaels says something like “you think it worked?” Then the door slammed shut and we heard what sounded like furniture being thrown. The consensus amongst the group was that it was Kane, while simultaneously we hoped beyond hope that it’d be The Boogeyman.

* A highlight package was shown for the DX vs. McMahons match, complete with DX’s “zany” antics. It seems like everyone but me is amused by them. That’s probably because I’m a pretentious jerk, though, since there’s something about guys in their early forties acting like twelve-year-olds that gets on my mother fucking nerves.

D-Generation X (HHH & Shawn Michaels) vs. The McMahons (Shane & Vince)
HHH and Michaels came out first. It seemed like they were taken aback by the lack of a HUGE pop, but it’s not like they got zero reaction coming out or anything. The McMahons come out, but halfway down the aisle walked back to the entrance. They motioned to it, and The Spirit Squad came out. DX quickly dispatched them. You know, it’s bad enough to tell guys that their gimmick is being killed because there’s no heat behind it anymore, but it’s even worse when you let them just float around aimlessly in that gimmick for the next month and bury them even further. The McMahons motioned again, and Ken Kennedy, William Regal, and Fit Finlay came out (in that order). More than a few of us called Finlay as the third, and it was the most excited I got all night. Seriously. Anyways, DX dispatched them fairly quickly as well, though they were putting up a better fight then The Spirit Squad. Then the McMahons brought out The Big Show and he, Kennedy, Regal, and Finlay beat down DX. They did a table spot on HHH, and he subsequently was out for most of the match. The McMahons thanked Show, Kennedy, Regal, and Finlay as they finally left the ring. Needless to say, Little Bastard didn’t make an appearance. I was totally deflated. The match finally started, with the McMahons beating an already exhausted Michaels. The McMahons did a fun gimmick of doing various tag team finishers from the 80s on Michaels, including the Hart Foundation’s “Hart Attack” and the Road Warriors’ “Doomsday Device,” both of which Jim Ross noted. We then had fun calling other tag team finishers in Jim Ross’ voice: “That was Tekno Team 2000’s finishing move!” “That was the Bushwackers’ battering ram!” “That was Haku and Barbarian’s finisher!” We stopped before it got old. Michaels and HHH started to rally, but Umaga came out, attacked Michaels, and gave HHH the “THUMB TO THE FUCKING THROAT” (which I think sounds a lot better than “The Samoan Spike”). Kane’s pyro hit and he attacked Umaga. We all mourned the lack of Boogeyman. The match ended with Shane teasing the Van Terminator on HHH, but Michaels catching him with a superkick. Shane McMahon did such an awesome job of selling it that at first we were all convinced that he was legit kicked in the face and knocked out cold. I want everyone to let that sink in: Vince McMahon’s son, who has wrestled all of maybe ten matches in his entire life, does a better job of selling than ANYONE that WWE brings up from Developmental. DX wins the match, and I hope that this is the end of it but know deep down that won’t be the case.
Winners: HHH & Shawn Michaels. Hey, show of hands – who thinks the DX/McMahons feud is over? …you poor naive bastards.
Rating: ***1/2 Seriously, best match on the card. They didn’t reach, knew their limitations, and compensated with overbooking where and when it was needed. I don’t know where and when it happened, but Shawn looked like he legitimately tore something or dislocated his shoulder, because he couldn’t lift his arm at all after the match and it just hung there. Which is why you don’t give five-year contract extensions with over $7.5 million to 41-year-olds who have already had injuries that forced them into an early retirement.

* An absolutely TREMENDOUS video package aired for the Cena/Edge match. It was so good that it easily beat all the build they’ve done on TV over the past month.

Edge (c) vs. John Cena – WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The stipulation in this match was that the title could change hands on a Disqualification. Edge played it up PERFECTLY, yelling at Lita every time she tried to interfere in the match. That guy is freaking gold, and if WWE’s smart they’ll give him an extended run with the title until at least the Royal Rumble. Perfectly passable match. In the past few weeks they kept playing up that this match was in Cena’s hometown. Unfortunately, he got the shit booed out of him in his hometown. That’s because he’s SO CONTROVERSIAL! Well, that’s what WWE tells us, anyway. A conversation breaks out in the living room, and the feeling amongst the group is that Cena’s a really nice guy with a lot of charisma who just can’t go in the ring and never seems to show improvement despite his trying. I actually had a similar conversation with my brother today, who compared him to The Rock’s early years since Rocky wasn’t great shakes in the ring at first, which I agreed with initially. Upon further reflection, though, The Rock improved drastically in the first three years of his push, and Cena really hasn’t. Anyway, long story short, Edge totally made this match. At one point Lita slipped brass knuckles to Edge, went to the other side of the ring, and jumped onto Edge when Cena lifted him for the FU. The visual of Cena holding up both Edge and Lita was great. He managed to drop Lita, but Edge slid off Cena and knocked him out with the knucks while the ref tended to Lita. After slipping them into his tights, Edge feigned fatigue and slowly crawled towards Cena, turned him over, and pinned him.
Winner: Edge. Plans are for next month’s PPV to have a Tabble Ladders & Chairs (TLC) match between Cena and Edge. The smart thing to do would be to have Edge retain here, put him in programs with Carlito and Michaels respectively for the Fall, and have Cena start chasing again in December or January. What WWE will most likely do instead is have Cena beat Edge for the title next month, then have him feud with Umaga for the title, and then another feud with Edge since there’s more or less nothing else for Cena to do and no other heels who the fans would buy as potential threats.
Rating: *** The match was a lot better than I thought it would be, seeing as how they’ve done it countless times before. Edge seems to bring out something in Cena that no other opponent has been able to, which I think is more of a testament to how good Edge has been as a main-event heel than any potential Cena might have.

All in all, very blah show. For any other pay-per-view it’d be average, but for Summerslam (which is supposed to be one of the four major events of the year along with Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble) it was far below where it should’ve been. Part of the problem is in playing up every match (with the exception of Chavo vs. Rey) as a main-event caliber match when none of them realistically had the possibility of exceeding people’s expectations. As a result, the crowd was burned out after the Flair/Foley match, which was the fourth on the card. One more undercard match probably wouldn’t have hurt, either.

Additionally, booking Hogan and Orton for Summerslam was a waste. Yes, Hogan can be a draw, if he’s in a match that people care about, for example last year’s match with Shawn Michaels or his match against The Rock at Wrestlemania X8. WWE’s folley was two-fold – one, the assumption that Hogan himself is the draw rather than Hogan facing a certain opponent; two, that Hogan wrestling Randy Orton in particular would garner anything near the level of interest as the two aforementioned bouts.

But whatever. I got to entertain and feed six friends, and we had a good time watching it as we always do despite the quality of the show.

More later…

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