The John Report: WWE Summerslam 2011 Recap
The John Report: WWE Summerslam 2011 Recap
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
I covered this live. It’s not a full play by play of every match, but you’ll get a good summary of all the action.
To open the show Adam Jones, a guitarist from the band Tool, plays the American National Anthem on the guitar. Very cool. Well done.
August 14, 2011
Los Angeles, California
They aired an awesome video package that focused on the Punk/Cena feud as well as Triple H replacing Vince McMahon. They had a domino effect theme throughout, which is interesting. As usual a top not video from WWE. Their video packages are always excellent.
They show the sold out Staples Center. It’s a legit sellout. Over 17,000. Michael Cole welcomed us to the show and I’ve read that he’s joined by Booker T. and Jerry Lawler. No sign of Jim Ross yet. He’s on Twitter talking about it, so hopefully he ends up at the table once we get to the big matches.
The music of The Miz starts us out. He’s in a six man tag that was unadvertised. He comes out and the “AWESOME” balloons are out there like at WrestleMania. He says that he’s at Summerslam and then he thanks the fans for supporting him. That’s not genuine. He claims to steal the show when “The Truth shall set you free” started. Here’s R-Truth. He talks about spiders and the crowd does the “WHAT?” chant. “Don’t what me?” He says spiders start with a S like Summerslam and Cee Lo Green’s name starts with a C like conspiracy. The music of Alberto Del Rio is next. Ricardo Rodriguez introduces him in the spectacular fashion that only he can. I would like him to announce me at my wedding if I’m ever drunk enough to get married. Del Rio came out in a $230,000 Ferrari in case you were interested.
The first man out for the babyface team is Kofi Kingston, who has turned into the Raw jobber of late. They show Lawler, Cole & Booker at the announce desk where Booker can reference how the guitarist of Tool is a fan of Cole. That’s supposed to be funny. John Morrison is next out. They introduce us to the Spanish announcers. That table will be broken. Rey Mysterio is last. We now have our six men for this unannounced match. Why couldn’t they announce the match on Raw? It would have been nice to know. They showed video of Miz attacking Rey on Raw last week, which injured him.
The Miz, R-Truth & Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio, John Morrison & Kofi Kingston
It’s 8:15pmET as the match is about to start. Jim Ross tweeted that it was a game time decision to put Booker T. at the announce desk to represent Smackdown. I guess that means no Ross on the show, which is a shame. There’s lots of fast action early on with Kingston hitting some high flying offense on The Miz. He misses Trouble in Paradise, Miz goes for Skull Crushing Finale, Kofi hits the SOS and Del Rio breaks it up at two. The crowd is cheering the heels like Miz and Del Rio a lot. Truth gets the tag as they focus on Kingston. It should be pointed out that Mysterio has a bad knee that required a MRI test, so I don’t expect him to work too much. Big pop for Del Rio getting the tag. Miz got the tag as they isolated on Kingston some more. The crowd is hot for this opener. Nice double foot stomp by Kingston on Miz. Kingston gets the tag to Mysterio while Truth gets the tag. Mysterio hits a crossbody for two. Nice counter exchange from them that Mysterio wins with a kick to the face for two. Mysterio sets up Miz & Kingston for the 619, but Del Rio stops it. Morrison hits a plancha on Del Rio. Kingston hits a splash on Miz on the floor. Mysterio gets a top rope splash on Kingston for the pin at the 10 minute mark.
Winners: Mysterio, Kingston & Morrison
Analysis: **1/2 A fun opening tag match to start the show. Morrison didn’t have much of an impact at all. They used it as a showcase of Mysterio. Not surprising that Truth took the pinfall considering Del Rio & Miz
Backstage, “Funk Man” John Laurinaitis was talking to CM Punk. He wants an apology for Punk’s kick to the head from last week. Punk sarcastically apologized. Then he smiled like a jackass. Laurinaitis left.
When Punk turned around, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsely was there. She wanted to wish Punk good luck. He replied: “I would but I know where that hand has been.” Funny line. Well played. They are teasing that the family is against Punk with a segment like this. Either this lead to something or it’s there just to make people think that.
They aired a video package on the Sheamus/Mark Henry feud.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
Henry dominated early on. Sheamus showed some good babyface fire and the crowd was really behind him. A tweet from Jim Ross in case you’re wondering: “I am at SUMMER SLAM but backstage and not at ringside. Booker adds Smackdown representation not that Cole wouldn’t have. I’m twitter man.” Back to the match, Henry was dominating with his power offense. Sheamus kept making small comebacks, but they weren’t enough to take control. They did a double shoulderblock spot to build the drama. Sheamus to the top rope and he hits a shoulderblock to a standing Henry. That was cool to see. The Brogue Kick by Sheamus is dodged by Henry. He puts him down with a clothesline. Henry goes for his finisher, but Sheamus fights out and hits a Brogue Kick. That sends Henry out to the floor. Sheamus goes after him. Henry picks him, rams him into the ring post and then rams him into the barricade. Sheamus goes crashing through the barricade in an awesome spot the crowd pops huge for. Lawler just called it a “metal barricade.” No it’s not. Please retire, Jerry. Sheamus tries to crawl back in, but referee Scott Armstrong gets to ten before he could do that. Mark Henry wins by countout at the 10 minute mark.
Winner: Mark Henry by countout
Analysis: *3/4 A good brawl that had a memorable finish. It will likely lead to a rematch that will probably build up to Sheamus going over him. I liked their chemistry and Sheamus did very well as a babyface. This is the best booked Mark Henry has been the in his career.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed World Champion Christian. He said that he had an insurance policy that would benefit the entire WWE. He says the match will be an epic summer blockbuster like Harry Potter. He says Orton is like Cowboys & Aliens – an over produced, overmatched, overrated flop. I guess whoever wrote that promo hated that movie. I have seen neither.
They aired a commercial for a Jason Statham movie called Killer Elite.
Ring announcer Justin “Tie Man” Roberts welcomed Cee Lo Green to sing the Summerslam theme song: Bright Lights Bigger City. It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright…and so on. Cue the “I didn’t know Men on a Mission were reuniting” jokes. Now he’s singing the “Forget You” song as the Bellas, Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox dance with him. One of the four is a good wrestler. That’s Alicia. The crowd is pretty dead for all of this. I don’t think this is just me. I’m mad at myself for not timing my piss break better. I don’t know how long this went because I was tweeting jokes. Let’s say five minutes.
They had a commercial for Slim Jim and then the 7-11 commercial with The Miz.
Divas Title: Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Kelly has Eve by her side. Beth has Natalya. I hope Eve doesn’t unleash one of her dropkicks that never connects. Beth’s wearing a “roller derby” type outfit. It’s different for her, but it works. Natalya isn’t wearing the pink that she usually wears. Kelly went into Yelly Yelly mode as she did a headscissors to knock Beth to the floor. She goes to the middle rope and hits a clothesline onto Beth on the floor. That was impressive. Wow. Back in the ring, Beth hits a clothesline and the crowd cheers. Press slam and she drops her throat first on the top rope. Beth and Natalya are going by the name of Divas of Doom for their team, by the way. Beth hits a charge in the corner using her hip, then he rubs her ass in Kelly’s face. More shots of Natalya please. Kelly goes into selling a chinlock by YELLING~! because that’s what she does. Beth puts her on her shoulders, puts her in a backbreaker and leaps as a form of submission. Kelly fights out with a neckbreaker. Beth puts her in the corner, hanging her upside down and leaves Kelly in the Tree of Woe position. Side slam by Beth for two. They’re at about the seven minute mark now. This is the best match I’ve ever seen Kelly have. Not a surprise considering she’s in the ring with somebody as good as Beth. Then Kelly starts YELLING~! and she rams Beth’s head into the mat a number of times. Kelly goes for her carwheel clothesline into the corner. Beth goes for a Glam Slam, but Kelly rolls through and pins her for the three count at the 8 minute mark.
Winner: Kelly Kelly
Analysis: **1/4 That was really solid! I’m surprised at how good Kelly was in the match. Like I said, Beth is as good of an opponent as she could have and they worked a really good match that got a decent amount of time considering how long the women usually get. I enjoyed it although I’m shocked that Kelly retained even if it was on a counter rollup.
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon walked out of a locker room. It says “John Cena” on the door. Lawler wondered what could have happened there.
Backstage, R-Truth wondered about a conspiracy. Jimmy Hart was there. Random legend sighting. He talks about who he has managed. He talks about Truth needing somebody to be by his side. He tells Truth that he needs him. The setup: “You gotta think big…little Jimmy.” Then he went nuts as Hart said he wasn’t Little Jimmy. Then Truth asks “what are y’all looking at?” and it’s LA Lakers forward crazy man Ron Artest with a little girl that I assume is his daughter. It was a fun segment that was designed to get the Little Jimmy line out there.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
The crowd’s really behind Bryan while Barrett had decent heat. Why does Cole have to “rip” on Bryan because he’s a Vegan? They do it in every match. I guess it must be a Vince directive because he doesn’t understand Vegans. Bryan had control early on, but Barrett slowed down the pace. They had an awesome spot where Barrett booted Bryan in the face and DB took the bump all the way to the floor. It’s been a very physical match. This could be a future PPV main event because they both have really bright futures. Bryan avoid the Wasteland on the apron and kicked him to the floor. With Barrett on the floor, Bryan charged in and hit a running knee to the face. That was a fantastic spot with great camera work because they showed us Barrett’s perspective as he took the move. We’re at the ten minute mark now.
Bryan took him down with a barrage of kicks to the ribs and legs. Booker talked about why DBryan is at the top of his fave five. Bryan hit Barrett in the chest with four more kicks and then a hard one to the head. The crowd popped huge for it. I read an interview with Bryan where he said he wanted to get over by having the best kicks and submissions in the business. It’s a great strategy. Barrett put him down with a kick, but Bryan fought out of with a guillotine choke. Then he turned it into a LeBell Lock. The crowd popped huge for the submissions, but Barrett made the ropes. I’m loving this match. DB goes for a hurricanrana, but Barrett crotches him and hits a clothesline to put him down. Barrett hits Wasteland for the win at the 13 minute mark.
Winner: Wade Barrett
Analysis: ***1/4 A very solid match that was 50/50 as the announcers said. I thought the match was over when Bryan had him in the LeBell Lock. Barrett fought out, used his power and got the victory. It’s surprising because Bryan has the Money in the Bank briefcase. However, this could just be the start of a feud that Bryan ultimately wins. I’d like to see more matches from them. Daniel Bryan getting 12+ minutes on PPV should be a monthly thing. He’s arguably the best worker in the world. The future is bright for both guys.
We get a long video package for the Christian vs. Orton feud.
The World Heavyweight Champion Christian came out first. The champ is supposed to come out second. He cuts a promo about the man that is going to be in his corner tonight: “My best friend the Rated R Superstar Edge.” He comes out with shorter hair and a huge babyface pop. I missed that song, I missed that entrance and I missed that man. The crowd is cheering loudly. Edge talks and says he’ll never be physically cleared to compete again. He says when he left he felt like he was passing the torch to Christian. He said he was proud of Christian for finally becoming World Champion. He didn’t think it was fair that Teddy made him defend it five days after winning and then he mentions how much Christian complained for weeks after that. He mentioned that Christian won the title back, “but you did it by disqualification?” He said that he did heinous things, but he did with style. He wasn’t boring and didn’t hide behind suits. He said Christian needed to hear this. Edge says: “I didn’t know my best friend would be a crying, whining, moaning little bitch.” Then he leaves to a huge pop as Christian is furious. Cue Randy Orton’s music.
World Heavyweight Title: Christian vs. Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred Match
It’s 9:38pmET as they start the match, which means they should get 20 minutes or so because there’s only one other match left. Why is Lawler talking about stamina issues in this match? It’s not like either guy is fat or out of shape? Christian hits a backdrop over the top to Orton, sending him to the floor. Booker correctly points out that there will be a lot of great counters in the match. That’s for sure. Orton comes back and he takes the cover off the English announce table. I guess he did that to make the Spanish table jealous. Christian shoved him off. The champ grabbed the title and ran into the crowd. They brawl down the aisle. There are grown men wearing those red Cena shirts. What’s wrong with you? They go back into the ring, Orton charges at him and Christian avoids the charge, so Randy goes crashing shoulder fast into the turnbuckle. The crowd is really hot for this match. There’s even a “Let’s Go Christian” chant. The champ goes under the ring and he pulls out a kendo stick.
Christian beats him down with some kendo stick shots to the back. He uses it to choke him for a two count. He gets a couple more nearfalls. Orton is bleeding from the mouth now. He always seems to bleed from the mouth. Christian leaps off the middle ropes with kendo stick in hand, but Orton counters with a dropkick. Great spot. Orton hits the powerslam. He gets the kendo stick, but Christian gets his feet up. Orton counters a dropkick with a jackknife cover for two followed by a Thesz Press. They each counter their finishers and Orton hits his backbreaker for two as we hit the ten minute mark. Orton sets up for the punt, but Christian rolls out. Christian goes for a groin smasher (technical term) on the ring post. Orton powers out. He goes under the ring where he finds two tables. He puts one of them in the ring. Christian shoves him back first into the side of the ring, which allows Christian to set up the table on the floor.
To the top rope, Orton superplexes Christian onto the table. Note that the table wasn’t set up, so it was on the flat table. It’s still a painful bump. The table is partly cracked. Orton sets it up so that it’s propped up in the corner. Christian fights back with a reverse DDT. Christian goes for a spear, Orton leapfrogs him and the champ throws Orton to the floor. Orton whips him into the ringsteps, Christian takes it knee first and goes flying over the steps. He comes back and Orton goes face first into the steps. Christian drags him over to the announce tables. Christian clears the Spanish Announce Table of the cover and monitors that were on it. I’m waiting for the Spanish Announce Table to be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day. So many memorable moments. Christian goes for a RKO, Randy counters it and hits one of his own. The table breaks! The table finally breaks! That was impressive as hell. Huge “Randy” chant as both guys are down at the 17 minute mark. This is a very good brawl right now.
Back in the ring after a minute of selling the beating, they go to a finishing exchange and Christian hits the Killswitch. One, two, no! That was an awesome nearfall right there. Christian had a great facial expression selling his disappointment. Christian grabs two steel chairs. He places one under Randy’s head and he spits on Orton’s face! That’s a nice homage to their Money in the Bank match. Orton dodges the chair shot. He cracks Christian in the back with the chair. Christian stands on the apron, Orton charges with the chair and knocks Christian through the table that was placed outside. Orton throws trash cans, kendo sticks and the steps in the ring. Christian charges in, Orton catches him in the powerslam and puts him through the table that was stacked up in the corner. This is a beating now as Orton beats on him with the kendo stick. Orton hits the DDT off the ropes onto a trashcan. Orton had some blood on his hand, so he wiped it off his face. Now Randy’s setting up for the RKO. Christian hits him with the Kendo stick. Christian leaps off the second rope and Orton counters into a RKO onto the steel steps! Ouch! Orton covers for the pinfall at 24 minutes. Cole says it’s the 9th Championship reign for Orton. I guess that would be WWE and World Titles.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: ****1/2 What a great match this was. It’s another Match of the Year contender from these two. They used the weapons well and they meant something because you don’t see too many matches with weapons these days. After Christian hit the Killswitch and Orton kicked out he was basically on offense the rest of the time. It was a dominating victory from there. It’s a shame that Christian only had a one month title reign. I thought he’d keep it via some kind of interference, but I guess this is the end of the feud unless they do the rematch at the next PPV.
They showed a video of WWE Axxess from the weekend in LA.
Backstage, Stephanie talked to Triple H in a hallway. We can’t hear them, but Hunter gave a kiss and walked off as the announcers led us to the video package.
They aired the same video package from Raw. I love the NFL Films music.
The WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H came out first. He’s wearing a ref shirt and black pants. He’s got the water bottle, but no water spit. He simply tosses it at ringside. “Cult of Personality” strikes up and WWE Champ CM Punk comes out to a huge pop. He plays to the crowd on both sides. “It’s clobberin’ time” says Punk as always at the top of the ramp. He stared at HHH as he entered the ring. Then he sat down in the middle waiting for Cena. The music of the other WWE Champ comes out and Cena gets a mixed reaction.
WWE Undisputed Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena with Triple H as Referee
I’d say Punk got a monster pop when Justin Roberts announced him. Cena’s reaction is loud, but there are more boos than cheers. Cole called it a “flood of emotion.” Triple H held up both WWE Championship Titles. The time of the start of the match is 10:20pmET, which means they’ll get less time than they did at Money in the Bank when they had a 35 minute match.
There’s not a lot going on early, but the crowd is very loud. There’s a dueling “Let’s go Cena” and “CM Punk” chant. Early control goes to Punk, who gets a high knee to the face that leads to a nearfall. The announcers are doing a good job of setting up the match and its importance although I really wish Jim Ross was calling the match. Cena hits a gutwrench suplex for two followed by a fisherman’s suplex. Cue the “you can’t wrestle” chant as Cena looks out at the crowd. That was fun although I don’t necessarily agree. Cena hits a bodyslam followed by an elbow. Punk comes back with a stiff boot to the face. There’s a nice “Get Lost Cena You Suck” sign in the crowd.
Punk gained control by dropkicking Cena off the apron, which sent him crashing to the floor. The announcers did a good job pointing out that Cena’s endurance is excellent. It’s true. He doesn’t tire much at all and that’s one of the things I like about the guy. We’re at ten minutes now as Punk grounds him with a submission. Cena powers out and hits something that looked like a Bossman Slam. That was sweet. Punk counters a shouldertackle with a knee to the face. Awesome counter. Cena counters the running knee, then he hits two shoulderblocks and Punk counters the suplex. Punk hits the knee, goes for his bulldog and now Cena hits his suplex. That was a sweet reversal of moves. Cena goes for the STF, but Punk fights out and puts him in a submission. Cena fights out of it and locks in the STF. Punk counters with a key lock submission. Cena counters that into a Crossface variation. Punk makes it to the ropes. That was a terrific sequence of counter wrestling as we reach 14 minutes.
The action picks up with Punk getting a back body drop on Cena that sends him to the floor. Punk dives through the middle ropes to take out Cena. Triple H counts them out. He gets to nine. He stops there, then goes out to the floor and rolls each of them back in the ring. The crowd cheers that move as the announcers point out that this means that we’ll definitely have a winner. I liked that spot. They did the punch sequence so the crowd could do the “yay” (Punk) and “boo” (Cena). Cena wins the exchange with a picture perfect dropkick that got him right in the face. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena. The AA is countered into a pinfall, then Cena gets one and Punk powers out to kick Cena in the head. They replayed the dropkick by Cena. It was as good of a dropkick as he’s ever done. Cena hits a Stinger Splash followed by a powerslam for two. Cena goes to the top, but Punk counters with a knee and hits a bulldog off the ropes for a two. Punk jumps off the top ropes, but Cena moves and puts Punk into the STF right in the middle of the ring as we reach 20 minutes. Punk fights out of it. He reaches the ropes.
They have another exchange and there’s the first finishing move of the match as Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment. Great nearfall right there. Cena goes up and he misses his legdrop off the top. Punk hits the Go To Sleep. He doesn’t hook the leg. Cena gets his shoulder up at two. Punk to the top, he does a Macho Man Randy Savage pose and he hits a top rope elbow. That gets two. He argues with Triple H. There’s a “Randy Savage” chant. I’m loving this crowd right now. They do another back and forth exchange. Punk hits a knee to the face. Punk hits another GTS although he didn’t connect very well. As Hunter is counting the pin, Cena’s foot is on the bottom rope. He never saw it. The announcers are immediately pointing it out. The camera closes in on Cena talking to Hunter. We can hear Cena say “you missed it.” The match went 25 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Post match, Cena leaves. Hunter wants to shake Punk’s hand. Punk doesn’t shake it. Hunter raises his hand as the winner of the match. Hunter claps and leaves.
Analysis: ****1/2 Another classic match between these two guys. There’s more happening so I’ll get to it.
With Punk celebrating on the top rope, Kevin Nash (dressed in black and with black hair) walks into the ring out of nowhere. He boots Punk down and then he hits a Jackknife Powerbomb. Hunter was up the aisle while this was happening. Cue Alberto Del Rio with a referee.
WWE Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
A kick to the back of head. He covers. He wins the WWE Title in about 10 seconds.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
The show ends with Triple H talking to the referee while Punk tries to recover in the ring. The camera focused on Del Rio celebrating with the WWE Title at the top of the stage. I was disappointed that Ricardo Rodriguez wasn’t there to announce it, but that’s just a minor complaint. I did predict it in the preview although I know I’m not alone in that. Plus, I got destroyed on my picks through the show, so I’m not about to brag about getting one right.
Back to the match, I think Punk & Cena did an even better job this time around although the ending wasn’t as good. That’s why I didn’t rate it five stars, but it’s damn close. They had some awesome counter wrestling exchanges as well as submissions. The nearfalls were good. It was another special match between Cena & Punk. For all the critics of Cena and the “you can’t wrestle” chants the guy proved again that he’s very good in big matches. Yes, Punk is the better of the two and that’s obvious, but they both did an amazing job here.
Now there’s a lot to look forward to on Raw with Del Rio as the new WWE Champ, Cena having a legitimate complaint about losing the match and Punk getting attacked by a returning Kevin Nash. There’s a lot of excitement still in the air over what’s going to happen next. I love it.
Three Stars of the Show
No rankings. There were four major stars: CM Punk, John Cena, Randy Orton & Christian. Those four guys gave us two incredible main event level matches that were among the best in the history of WWE. These two feuds have provided us with some truly amazing matches. Since I gave both matches ****1/2 I guess if I were to rank them I’d put Cena/Punk slightly ahead although I liked the finish of Orton/Christian better.
I’m not sure what the deal is with Nash. I doubt they use him as a full time wrestler again, but it will be interesting to see what they do. It was a shock to see him because he hasn’t been on screen since the Royal Rumble. Is he working on his own, for Del Rio, for Triple H or maybe even for Stephanie because she didn’t like the way Punk talked to her? The possibilities are endless.
8 out of 10 for Summerslam.
I gave Money in the Bank a 9. This gets a small notch below, but it was still an excellent PPV thanks to two incredible major title matches. The ending was also very newsworthy. The midcard was pretty solid although MITB had better matches before their big ones.
I think WWE’s on a roll with their booking. Sure, some things could be better, but for the most part they are headed in the right direction. What’s next? I have no idea. Guess what? I absolutely love that.
I’ll be back for the live Raw Deal on Monday night at thejohnreport.net. Thanks for reading.