November 13, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWE: SummerSlam 2011
August 14, 2011
Los Angeles, CA
Staples Center

The current WWE champs were as follows:
WWE Champion: CM Punk (7/17/2011) AND John Cena (7/25/2011)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dolph Ziggler (6/19/2011)
World Heavyweight Champion: Christian (7/17/2011)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes (8/12/2011)
WWE Tag Team Champions: David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty (5/23/2011)
WWE Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly (6/20/2011)

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T.

Although there’s no machine gun guitar effects, the lead guitarist from Tool attempts to play the National Anthem Jimi Hendrix-style.

Out comes the Miz and Michael Cole shoots his figurative wad all over your face. On Raw last week, he was crying about not getting a SummerSlam match and then kicked Rey Mysterio’s head into part of the Raw set. Yeah, that’s a perfectly reasonable response. Due to overwhelming fan support, the Miz is here to entertain. R-Truth shows up asking people not to “what” him. He hates spiders and spiders start with the letter “S” and so does SummerSlam. Therefore, he hates SummerSlam. Cee-Lo Green is at SummerSlam. You know what else starts with “C”? Conspiracy. Make sense? Now the most recent Raw MITB winner Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriquez interrupt. Del Rio gets a huge response from the LA crowd. Okay, so this just segues right into the babyface entrances.

Rey Mysterio, John Morrison & Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz, R-Truth & Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriquez)
Miz and Kingston start off the match with some headlocks and shoulderblocks. Then Kingston is all monkey flips and dropkicks. Tag to Morrison for a double flapjack and followed by STEREO KIP-UPS. The break dance leg drop gets two. R-Truth tags and the blood feud rears his ugly head all over him. Flying Chuck gets two. Del Rio distracts the ref while Miz and Truth shove Morrison down off the top. Back inside, Morrison is *your* face-in-peril. He comes back with a PELE KICK on Miz and HOT TAGS Kingston. Makes you think Rey is hurt. Miz blocks the SOS, but takes a double jump flying body press for two. Boom Drop connects, but TROUBLE IN PARADISE is ducked. Miz wants the SKULL CRUSHING FINALE, but Kingston escapes and hits the SOS for 1-2-NO! Del Rio saves and superkicks Rey off the apron. Kingston dropkicks ADR out to Morrison. Meanwhile, Miz drops Kingston with a snapmare driver for two. In comes Truth to pound on Kingston before delivering a sitout front suplex. The heels do another heat segment this time on Kingston. Miz catches Kingston lunging for a tag, but Kofi sunset flips Miz and then delivers a Low-Ki double stomp! HOT TAG TO REY! Seated sentons and springboard crossbody blocks! Buzzsaw kick on Truth gets two. Rey headscissors Truth and Miz into position for the 6-1-9, but ADR grabs his leg. Morrison stops him with a corkscrew pescado. Miz avoids the 6-1-9, but Truth does not. While Kingston springboard planchas onto Miz (the man is almost TOO agile), Rey delivers the flying splash to Truth for the 1-2-3. (9:37) I love matches like this one. Three seemingly random people from two different sides forms a fun six-man tag. It’s so easy that it’s almost silly that you don’t see it happen more often on PPVs. It didn’t need to go real long, there’s some good tag formula worked in here that really warmed the crowd, and the right man went over since Rey gets a WWE title rematch the next night on Raw. ***

In the back, the Executive VP of Talent Relations Johnny Ace (because I’m not even going to try to spell his actual last name anymore) confronts the REAL WWE champion CM Punk about kicking him in the head at the Punk-Cena contract signing. He wants a public apology right now! Punk offers an insincere Mel Gibson apology. Not cool, Phil. Marty Funkhouser will continue to keep his eye on him. As CM Punk starts to turn away, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley comes by to wish him good luck in his match tonight. Punk finds that hard to believe and tells her to go talk to her hubby COOHHH or her daddy Vince McMahon. Anyways, she tells Punk that everybody wishes him the best of luck tonight – even John Cena. She brings up how Punk said she was clueless. He agrees, but the exact word he used was ‘idiotic’. HAHAHA! Stephanie offers a handshake, but Punk refuses because he *knows* where that hand has been. Catch ya later!

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
Somebody is going to get their wig split tonight, folks. At the risk of sounding like most everyone else on the interwebs, I sincerely do enjoy Mark Henry over the past three months and I’m glad he’s the world champ. A clean win to me over Orton says they won’t put the belt right back on him at the next PPV, but who knows. Sheamus tries to BEAT Henry down, but then tries the Irish Curse and gets thrown to the floor just for trying. Henry presses Sheamus back inside the ring and clotheslines him down for a splash. That gets two. The Bossman Straddle slides Henry all the way THROUGH the ropes to appear like he just decapitated Sheamus. Just like Bossman would do, he even punches Sheamus off the middle rope! Cover gets two. Sheamus fires back, but Henry drops him with a backbreaker. Henry hoists Sheamus up for a Canadian backbreaker, but Sheamus breaks free. Henry whips Sheamus hard chest-first into the corner and tries a pump splash, but Sheamus rolls out of the way. Here comes Sheamus! He finally puts Henry on his backside with a bunch of Polish Hammers. He just goes crazy pounding on Henry’s chest. Knee lift, but there’s a double-KO. Sheamus heads to the corner and delivers a flying shoulderblock for 1-2-NO! BROGUE KICK misses, but he slips out of the WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM and sends Henry to the floor with the BROGUE KICK. It looks like Henry is just dead weight, but he’s just playing! Henry picks up Sheamus and drives him straight into the ringpost, then turns around and drives him straight through the barricade. Hey look, there’s Joey Ryan completely freaking out! Henry gets back into the ring, but Sheamus cannot and loses via countout. (9:02) Some countout finishes appear completely contrived and silly, but this one just furthers Mark Henry looking like a total monster heel. Most of the time when they do that spot, it looks by accident because of a wrestler’s overwhelming size. This REALLY looked like Mark Henry knew exactly what he was doing. Great finish to further the character and not a bad match itself. **½

Back in the locker room, Josh Mathews talks with Christian. Since we’re in LA, he makes movie analogies. He’s like Harry Potter – a big summer blockbuster. Randy Orton on the other hand will be like Cowboys and Aliens – an overrated, overproduced, overmatched flop.

Next, Cee Lo Green performs a couple songs and some of the Divas come out to “dance” around. This eats up a good five minutes. Bring back Gnarls Barkley!

Really? Commercials? That seems a little unfair.

WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya)
Ah yes, the Divas of DOOM! I guess it kind of makes up for Awesome Kong getting pregnant. Beth tries to make KK look somewhat decent taking a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a weird handstand headscissors on the apron. To the floor, KK takes a dive from the middle rope. Back in, Phoenix runs KK down with a clothesline and then gives her a gorilla press slam. Butt bump in the corner, followed by a face wipe on the posterior. Apparently KK does this same “move”. Lawler remarks on how much he just loves KK. Of course he does. She’s blond, tan, and more than half his age. For the second time tonight, we see the Canadian backbreaker as Phoenix CRANKS on it. KK escapes and drops Beth with a reverse neckbreaker. However, Phoenix takes over with the tree of woe. More Phoenix violence. KK fights back and gets all KEN SHAMROCK on us as she bounces Beth’s face off the mat. She tries the handspring elbow in the corner, but Phoenix catches her in mid-air. GLAM SLAM? Nope! KK counters into a victory roll for the 1-2-3. (6:34) This was okay, I guess. They need to do something though because no one buys KK over the Divas of DOOM as she’s still upsetting these girls for what appears to be an unnecessarily long title run. *½

Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley is seen walking out of John Cena’s dressing room.

Elsewhere, R-Truth tries to turn his loss in the six-man tag into another conspiracy theory. Hey look, it’s Jimmy Hart! He tells Truth that he needs someone to take him to the top so that he doesn’t get “got” by the conspiracies. Truth needs to think BIG in this business. Anyways, the words ‘little’ and ‘Jimmy’ end up together and Truth goes all crazy on Jimmy. And then the Lakers small forward Ron Artest makes a weird cameo with who I am hoping is his daughter.

More commercials?

Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Bryan won the Smackdown MITB briefcase after kicking Barrett off the ladder at last month’s PPV. Since then, Barrett has been attacking him and so now they will have a match to settle this little feud. Barrett tries to control to start, but then Bryan comes back with European uppercuts. He makes a cool VINTAGE Daniel Bryan wristlock escape and then tries to tear up Wade’s rotator cuff. Bryan continues to dismantle Barrett with a dragon screw leg whip and then delivers the running dropkick in the corner. Looks like he wants the surfboard, but he just stomps down on Barrett’s knees instead. Running kick to the chest gets two. There’s the Tiger Mask moonsault flip, but then he charges into the Black Hole Slam. Cover, 1-2-NO! Slingshot backbreaker gets another nearfall. They exchange running elbow strikes on each other. Barrett takes over with knee strikes and then boots Bryan to the floor. Barrett goes for WASTELAND off the apron, but Bryan escapes and dropkicks him onto the barricade. WHOA! With Barrett staggered on the floor, Bryan delivers a NASTY flying knee strike to the face off the apron! Back in, Bryan delivers the Owen Hart missile dropkick (no kip up though!) for 1-2-NO! Now Bryan unleashes his signature kicks to the legs, to the chest, and then the Buzzsaw kick for 1-2-NO! Barrett tries to come back with WASTELAND, but Bryan counters to a GUILLOTINE CHOKE and then onto the mat for the LeBELL LOCK! Barrett reaches the ropes though. Up on top turnbuckle, Barrett shoves off Bryan to crotch him on the top rope and then LEVELS him with a lariat! Not as cool as when Nigel did that same thing to Austin Aries, but still effective. WASTELAND! Barrett covers for the 1-2-3. (11:47) Probably the most Bryan Danielson-style match I’ve seen from him in WWE. ***¼

World Heavyweight Champion Christian vs. Randy Orton – No Holds Barred Match
So the Orton-Christian feud has come to its finale. It’s been a great summer for both of them. Before the match, Christian brings out Edge. While you would think Edge would give him his total support, Edge tells Christian that he thinks he has become a whiny DOUCHE over the summer. And then Edge just walks out. Well if that doesn’t screw with your mind before the biggest singles match of your career. They trade blows to start. Orton goes for the draping DDT, but Christian backdrops him to the floor where Orton starts tossing him into the barricade all dangerous like. Over at the announce table, Christian shoves off the RKO and grabs his world title belt so he can leave through the crowd. Naturally, Orton gives chase and beats Christian back into the ring only to miss a corner charge and run his shoulder into the ringpost. Christian finds a kendo stick and abuses Orton for a bit. AA spinebuster by Christian and it appears Orton is bleeding from the mouth. Christian tries to come off the second turnbuckle with the kendo stick, but Orton catches him with a dropkick. Christian counters the draping DDT again and goes for the KILLSWITCH, but Orton slips out and delivers the inverted backbreaker for two. Here comes the PUNT, but Christian rolls out of the ring. Orton puts a table in the ring and delivers a superplex on top. Of course it’s folded up so the table doesn’t break or anything. Cover, 1-2-NO! Now Orton sets the table up in the corner and tries to toss Christian through, but he counters with an inverted DDT. SPEAR THROUGH THE TABLE? Orton leapfrogs that, but gets thrown to the floor. Out there, Christian takes the Undertaker knees first bump into the steps. It doesn’t look quite as nasty though. Christian comes back as he smashes Orton’s face off the steps and then drags him over to the announce table. After a shot using the monitor, Christian wants an RKO through the table. It won’t happen though. However, Orton gives Christian the RKO through the table instead! After they sell a while, they head back inside where Christian delivers the KILLSWITCH! Cover, 1-2-NO! Crowd starts to boo. Christian wants the CONCHAIRTO, but Orton moves at the last second. He jabs Christian in the gut with the chair and then cracks it over his back. With Christian rolling to the apron, Orton knocks him off and down through another table. Orton takes half of the ringside steps into the ring and a few other toys. He can’t stomp Christian’s head on the steps, but he can powerslam him through the table that was set up in the corner. He finds retribution using the kendo stick and then delivers the draping DDT onto a trash can. Christian makes one last effort with the kendo stick and springs off the middle rope, but flies right into an RKO ON THE STEPS! Looks like Orton hit his head on the steps while delivering the move. Anyways, that’s enough for Christian as Orton gets the three-count and regains the world title for the third time. (23:43) I always liked seeing them bring out Orton’s hardcore style because it’s really what I enjoy most about him. My favorite match involving Orton was the match he had with Mick Foley at Backlash 2004 and nothing has been really that crazy since then. This was a nice throwback to that Attitude Era and a satisfying ending to the feud as you felt Christian definitely got what he had coming to him. ****

They show more stuff that makes WWE look good.

To add more intrigue to the main event, COOHHH and his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley share a moment and a kiss backstage before he heads off to the ring.

I love the pre-match buildup promo they show here with what sounds like the NFL films voiceover guy. If I could find it on YouTube, I would show it to you.

WWE Champion John Cena vs. WWE Champion CM Punk – Title Unification Match (Special Referee: Triple H)
Since the Money in the Bank PPV, Vince McMahon has been dismissed of his day to day duties in WWE and Triple H takes over the COO position in WWE. Perfectly logical since most everyone knows he’s Vince’s son-in-law. Since CM Punk had left the MITB PPV with the WWE title, the WWE needed a champion and so an eight-man tournament was started by COOHHH. In the finals, it came down to Rey Mysterio defeating the Miz to become the NEW WWE champion. Later that same night, Rey Mysterio would fall to John Cena in a great match; thus ending his first WWE title reign in short fashion. In that very moment, John Cena felt a little vindication for losing to CM Punk – the man who left the company with the WWE title. Directly after Cena’s title victory, of all people out comes CM Punk. Why? COOHHH brought him back because it was simply good business. Now they have to find out who the real WWE champion is and that is why we are here. Punk has also changed his music from Killswitch Engage (my favorite WWE theme song in ten years) to Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” (it fits him). Punk is still beloved and people still have extremely mixed feelings about Cena. Much like at MITB, they go through a feeling-out process. About six minutes in, Punk shrugs off a chinlock and boots Cena down to regroup. Cena escapes a body scissors and tries for the STF, but Punk kicks him off to the apron. They fight over a suplex, but Punk just ends up snapping Cena’s neck on the top rope. The Chris Jericho springboard dropkick takes Cena to the floor. Back in, Punk starts kicking the ribs and delivers the EARTHQUAKE SPLASH for 1-2-NO! Wow, that usually won for John Tenta. Cena is a BEAST! Anyways, he fights out of an ab stretch on the mat and swings Punk around for a side slam. Almost like a Protobomb. He tries to start up the shoulderblocks, but Punk cuts him off with a high knee for two. Punk misses the knee in the corner though and that signals the shoulderblocks. Protobomb gets countered with a headlock takedown and as Cena stands up with his back against the ropes, Punk catches him with the knee. He tries the bulldog, but Cena puts on the brakes and delivers the Protobomb after all! Great stuff! And it continues! They play off the MITB match where Punk kicks away the “you can’t see me” taunt. This time Cena catches the kick and flips Punk over trying for the STF! However, Punk stands up and delivers an STO into the KOJI CLUTCH! Awesome! Even *that* gets countered into Cena’s STF! From that, Punk goes to the ANACONDA VICE! And from *that*, Cena counters this time into a CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! Punk makes the ropes. Cena takes a backdrop to the floor as Punk gives him a tope suicida. COOHHH gets too close to the ten-count, so he just goes out and tosses both guys back inside the ring. They come up fighting for the BOO-YAY exchange. Punk avoids the ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, but runs right into a dropkick. Five Knuckle Shuffle. AA gets countered into a rollup sequence, which ends with the Muay Thai Kick! Cover by Punk, 1-2-NO! Cena comes back with the Emerald Flowsion for 1-2-NO! Punk stops Cena up top with the running knee and then delivers a flying bulldog for two. Cena sees the Springboard Clothesline coming and catches Punk for the STF! Punk makes the ropes and after they trade finisher attempts, Cena gets the AA for 1-2-NO! Flying Famouser misses and Punk hits the GTS for 1-2-NO! Now Punk delivers the MACHO ELBOW for 1-2-NO! Cena tries to fire back on Punk, but he gets caught with a mule kick and another running knee. GTS! Cover, 1-2-3! ( 24:10) Cena had his foot on the bottom rope to save a little face of jobbing twice in two months. He lets COOHHH know about it. There was no way this could live up to the MITB match, nor should you have expected it to. While there wasn’t quite as much heat for this match, the storytelling was fantastic as has been for the past several years in CM Punk’s matches. They made each other look top notch and when I watched this live, I thought Christian-Orton was match of the night because the finish felt like it came out of nowhere. But watching this a second time, I would have to once again give the nod to these two. Just a great match. ****¼

COOHHH lifts Punk’s arm to show everyone who the winner is officially and then leaves Punk to celebrate. It looks like the show is all but over when KEVIN NASH appears out of nowhere and JACKKNIFES Punk! As Nash hurries out of the building, COOHHH comes back down to find out what that was all about. Out comes Alberto Del Rio with his MITB briefcase in hand. People were cheering him in the opener, now they don’t seem quite as happy that he’s cashing in on their hero. ADR cashes in the briefcase and delivers a step-up enziguri to put Punk away as he scores the pinfall to become the new WWE champion. Del Rio has reached his destiny! Cena got screwed! COOHHH is thoroughly confused! Punk is left with nothing! What a crazy SummerSlam.

Final Thoughts: Boy was I wrong about this show initially. While not on the level of the Money in the Bank PPV, this year’s SummerSlam is a great show to watch back to back with that PPV. I’m going to buy this show *again* on DVD, but it’s one of the summer classics I’ve seen in years. Don’t listen to the naysayers. This was a well booked, entertaining show. Thumbs up for SummerSlam 2011.

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