It’s the day after Summerslam and I’m about to watch it a second time. It goes without saying there are major spoilers coming and if there is any way you can still see this show before reading this I suggest you do. Trust me, it’s worth it.
We open with a well-produced promo that makes Nexus look great without a hint of what is to come. I watched most of this show with my pal Hugh and he commented a few times that the three-man announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Matt Stryker is overkill. They often talk over each other and can be confusing when their job should be to add clarity.
Our first match is the Intercontinental Title match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. Dolph, the champion, comes out first, which flies in the face of tradition. And it’s just so Vickie Guererro can get in a few “Excuse Me!”s to draw her usual X-Pac heat. Kofi Kingston is more aggressive lately, which probably means he’ll be moving past the Intercontinental belt and entering the main event picture. Cole is repeatedly saying Kofi cant; risk being disqualified because the title can’t change hands on a DQ. But if Kofi loses he doesn’t get the title anyway, no matter how he loses. Shut up Cole. The match is solid, building in pace as it goes. But just when you think you’re entering the really exciting part, as Dolph dodges Trouble in Paradise and locks on a Sleeper Hold, Nexus shows up and beats down both guys for a no-contest. This makes little sense. Nexus hasn’t even gone near Smackdown since their debut. Why start now? Why not focus on taking out more potential RAW superstars who could join Cena’s team?
Backstage, Jericho and Edge suck up to The Miz to try to get him to join Team WWE. Edge is eating a Slim Jim. Miz tells them he still has to think about it then steals Edge’s Slim Jim.
Diva’s Championship is next and, again, the champion enters first. Now they’re just trying to piss me off. I have some friends who are high on Alicia Fox but I don’t see it. She’s not especially attractive, she’s nothing special on the mic, her character is bland and if she’s a great athlete she’s not being allowed to show it. Maybe she would work better as a face. Melina’s outfit is just…weird. She looks like an Aztec princess crossed with a chicken. The announcers consider Melina one of the all time great divas. That’s overselling it. I’m glad to see her back because she has at least some wrestling skill but she’s no Trish Stratus. She’s no Lita. She’s no Fabulous Moolah. And again Cole is saying Melina can’t risk a DQ. She can’t risk a pin either. Shut up Cole. Even by Diva standards this isn’t much of a match. Melina fakes a leg injury then Fox attacks her shoulder. Of course Melina forgets about the injury a minute later anyway. That’s what’s known as a lack of selling. Melina is too dominant before she picks up the win. It makes Fox look Bush league.
For those who don’t look ahead, the next PPV is Night of Champions. Where every belt is defended and/or champions fight champions. So LayCool come out put down Melina. But Melina makes it physical instead. She gets in early offence before, as they say, the numbers game catches up with her. Alicia Fox even joins the beat down but McCool dumps her from the ring as well. This was more entertaining than the match.
When you are proud of the fact Marlon Wayans is attending your show you may just want to stop mentioning celebrities at all. Up next is Big Show versus the Straight Edge Society. Big Show begins the match by removing the protective tape on his right hand to show that he has already healed a broken bone and two severed tendons in about three weeks. The announcers don’t even know that it’s Tornado rules (no need to tag in and out) even though that was announced last week. The Big Show is a giant and Punk et al target Show’s right hand. That’s the story of the match until CM Punk gets fed up and leaves his minions to Show’s mercies. With Punk out of the equation Show destroys the remaining two for an easy win but no closure. I doubt the SES will be together much longer.
Kane talks to his coffin. Sheamus shows up ask to borrow it for Randy Orton. Kane says no. I like the odd heel/heel faceoff. I remember a great HHH/JBL faceoff back in the Evolution/Wrestling God days. This one makes both guys look good.
Here comes The Miz. This is a great promo. Miz says all the members of Team WWE begged him to join. Cena said Miz was the only one who could see him. Bret called him the best there is, was and will be. Morrison admitted The Miz was the Shawn Michaels and Morrison was the Marty Janetty of their tag team. R-Truth wrote him a crappy rap. So yes, Miz will be on the team! And yet, the crowd still hates this guy. Miz has to be one of the best natural heels in the business today.
Orton faces Sheamus now and again the champion comes out first. The crowd is really into this match. Who knew Orton had a shot at being the next Steve Austin? There’s a blown spot where Sheamus is supposed to counter the RKO but, from the camera’s perspective at least, it looks like Orton actually hits the move. And the announcers stumble over each other trying to explain it. This match improved on the second viewing, While most of the offense is pretty basic both guys are very intense and Sheamus really knows how to sell. He has a really expressive face and he knows how to use it. The look on his face when Orton kicks out of the Brogue Kick is awesome. He snaps and gets a chair then shoves the ref off and gets himself disqualified. Sheamus doesn’t even manage to hit Orton with a chair after the bell and Orton kicks him in the junk first. Orton then RKOs Sheamus onto the announce desk. So answer this question, has one feud actually resolved tonight at what is supposed to be the biggest Pay Per View of the summer?
Remember what I said before about pumping up minor celebrities? Now they want us to be impressed by Devon Graves. Sigh. The official Summerslam theme is “Rip It Up” by Jet.
Could they possibly mention The Undertaker more in the promo for Kane versus Rey Mysterio? Now I was under the impression this was a Casket Match. But no. It’s a regular match but Kane promises to put Mysterio in the casket after the match. At last, the champion comes out second. The problem with this match is, in Vince McMahon’s world of fetishized big men, none of us buy that Rey will be allowed to beat Kane. They do a decent job of keeping the crowd entertained. Both guys manage a lot of counters. Kane gets Mysterio in the casket before he wins the match. Kane finally manages to hit a Choke Slam and that’s enough to put Mysterio away. Kane hits two more Choke Slams and a Tombstone Piledriver on Mysterio, but when he again opens the casket for Mysterio, The Undertaker is inside!
Needless to say the fans are overjoyed. But nobody is really surprised. Taker confronts Mysterio, asking him why he did it. So does Taker even know who attacked him? Rey maintains his innocence and Taker believes him. So Taker turns on Kane. Kane reveals it really was him who attacked his brother, but The Undertaker is not back to 100% and Kane takes him out before leaving with his title belt. I’m still not sure we need a Kane versus Taker feud unless Kane is about to retire.
Time for the much hyped main event. Nexus enter first. It’s individual entrances for the faces. Cena comes out first. Edge is number two. R-Truth bounces out third. Wow, Matt Stryker just mentioned R-Truth used to be K-Kwik. Jericho makes four. Morrison may be the least over guy on this team. I’m sorry for him. Bret “Nostalgia” Hart comes out. That leaves The Miz. But, in a shocking twist, Cena doesn’t want him. He couldn’t wait until the day of Summerslam and he found someone else who hates Nexus as much as they do. And that some is…
This just became worth the money. I can’t believe it. Stryker calls him the American Dragon. Cole is instantly offended as he still hates Daniel Bryan and loves The Miz. Nexus are not happy to see Bryan back. A wrestler can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, DQ or countout. Bryan starts against Darren Young. Daniel Bryan almost immediately takes Young out with a Crossface… Wait a second, they fired him for choking someone then they give him Benoit’s finisher?!
Team WWE starts tagging and Justin Gabriel takes a beating for a while. King accidentally uses Daniel Bryan’s real name. John Morrison takes out Michael Tarver with Starship Pain giving WWE a seven on five advantage. The worst wrestlers seem to be going early, which is a wise strategy.
Skip Sheffield has improved in the ring to the point he can handle generic big man offense. Sheffield manages to take out Morrison then R-Truth shortly thereafter. Bret Hart enters the ring and I’m not expecting much. He goes after Heath Slater. I’m surprised he is willing to climb up to the second rope to pound on Slater. Then he hits an elbow drop which I never thought would be safe for him. Then he Scoop Slams Slater! Inverted Atomic Drop! Sharpshooter but Slater is able to tag out while in the move. Someone from Nexus throws a chair into the ring but it’s Bret who uses it on Sheffield and gets disqualified. Nexus now has the advantage. Edge and Cena have not been in the match yet. Edge gets in soon and immediately takes out Sheffield with a Spear.
Justin Gabriel is one of the best wrestlers in Nexus. Barrett might be better, it’s tough to say. But Barrett is the more complete package. Otunga barely spends any time in the ring before tapping out to the Walls of Jericho. The Y2J chants are as loud as when he was a face. But Jericho collides with Edge and Heath Slater attacks him from behind and gets a pin. Edge and Cena argue as to who enters the match and Cena gives in only to have Slater again strike from behind and pin Edge. Edge and Jericho take their frustrations out of Cena before they leave. That means only Cena and Bryan are left on the WWE side. Slater, Barrett and Gabriel now hold the advantage. Cole continues to argue they needed The Miz. He calls Bryan a goofball.
Even as the champion of RAW Cena gets dueling “Let’s Go Cena!” “Cena Sucks!” chants. Cena takes all kinds of punishment before he makes the hot tag to Bryan. Bryan is Rey Mysterio crossed with Kurt Angle. He takes Slater out, again with the Crossface. But The Miz shows himself again and clobbers Bryan with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Nexus easily take out Bryan and it’s down to two-on-one.
If I’m making this match seem long, rest assured, it is. Cena takes a ton more punishment before he dodges Gabriel’s 450 Splash then pins him. Barrett comes in, only to immediately get caught in an STF and tap out in short order. So Team WWE wins. Where does that leave Nexus? They just lost a lot of heat. Can they rebuild? Or will the focus shift to making Daniel Bryan a star?
So there we have it. The outcast returns. Thanks to everyone who chanted Daniel Bryan’s name. Thanks to everyone who sent emails. Thanks to John Cena and the other superstars who went to bat for Bryan. The Undertaker returns, one title changes hands and the Intercontinental title is made to look secondary. Not a perfect show but a really great main event makes this Pay Per View worth the money.