-Of the seven men booked for WWE SummerSlam this year, four of them were in WWE in 2002 (Cena, Show, HHH, Lesnar), and two of the other three (Sheamus, Del Rio) play extreme caricatures of the pandering, smiling babyface and smarmy, stereotypical heel respectively. A complete and utter overhaul of the main event scene has never been more needed. Maybe we can get Jericho vs. Flair at this year’s event to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their (not so) epic clash?
-Monday Night RAW is live from San Antonio, where Tony Parker shoots efficiently and Shawn Michaels shoots deer.
Oh, the white pantsuit works just fine. In the Attitude Era, somebody would have sprayed her with a hose by show’s end. She makes Big Show vs. Randy Orton (mehhhh), Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena (alright), and before she can go any further, CM Punk disrupts. Punk says he lives with zero regrets, which includes dying his hair urine-blonde. Okay, I’m just assuming. Punk butters up to AJ, and apologizes for going off last week, trying to sympathize with knowing what it’s like to be disrespected while in a position of authority. Punk tries to get the triple threat match cancelled, and what sounds like severely canned heat blares with the natural boos. AJ refuses to buckle. Punk reminds her that she’s the same nutjob who tried to marry him, and accuses her of being the ‘new evil authority figure’, and this brings out Cena. Cena accuses Punk of changing from his core values, which is like dropping an edgy rap persona to pander to kids. Cena blames Punk for causing the triple threat match to happen (can’t argue there), and innocently hits on AJ. Punk blames Cena for striking him last week, even though it was Show who projected Cena at him. Cena reminds him that champions don’t do well in triple threats, and Punk retorts by declaring he beat Cena last year at Summerslam. And then we get Big Show, and AJ is so disgusted by his presence that she cuts off his entrance, and tells them to save their aggression for their matches tonight. Punk is upset about not having a match, and AJ says he has a match, and the fans will choose between Miz, Kane, and Mysterio as the opponent. The fans chanting for Shawn Michaels are sadly disappointed.
Segment Rating: 4/10. Punk is so out of character with this, and I’m sick already of ‘fan chosen content.’ It’s just hard to take seriously when the company never listens to the fans otherwise, and gives the fans, er, “Universe” such limited choices.
-Mysterio wins the vote, despite Kane receiving 400,000 votes from Teddy Long alone.
Match 1: CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio (Non Title)
Who am I to complain about a free Punk-Rey match? Rey goes for the leg to start and works a legbar, which Punk reverses gamely into a hammerlock. Rey headdrags his way out and kicks away, but takes a shoulder to the buckle, Punk covering for 2. Punk drops a leg and lightly covers for 2. Champ applies a simple figure four necklock. Rey escapes by striking the leg, but falls into a tilt a whirl backbreaker for 2. Punk gets dropkicked to the floor, and Mysterio lands the seated senton off the apron as we go to break. Rey heads up top after the breather, but Punk stuns him with a Mongolian chop. Bob Orton’s Superplex gets 2 for the champ, and he continues the torture session with a body vice. Rey is spilled to the floor, but reverses a sunset flip back inside with a head kick, and nearly scores the pin. Mysterio avoids a GTS attempt, and gets the 619, but lands on the knees with a dime drop. GTS connects, and Punk gets a very clean win.
WINNER: CM Punk via Go to Sleep
Rating: 6/10. Basic, but fun match; what you’d expect out of a throwaway TV match with these two. I like that Punk still wins cleanly, since he’s “tweening.”
-ADR parks his Ferrari in the back. I wonder if Sheamus will borrow Austin’s cement mixer?
-Wade Barrett, underground bearded garage fighter is coming back.
-Del Rio and Ricardo sweet-talk AJ, but an offhanded remark about her craziness leads to him being booked. Dennis Stamp weeps.
Match 2: Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Del Rio is still getting his gear squared on the way to the ring. To the floor early, where Christian eats the post, and Del Rio works the arm back inside. Single arm DDT lands, with not a single mention of Del Rio and Christian’s involvement with a WrestleMania 27 World Title match. Christian comes back with the slingshot punch, and a diving cross body for 2. Series of reversals lead to a jackknife pin attempt by Christian for 2. Back to the shoulder goes ADR, who then misses a layout senton off the middle rope. Spear attempt by Christian runs into a Superkick. Cross armbreaker is blocked with a Killswitch attempt, and in the confusion, a distraction by Ricardo leads to ADR nailing Christian with his loosened boot. Armbreaker hooked, and the Captain taps.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker
Rating: 4/10. Spirited but effective. ADR needed to beat someone other than Santino
-Backstage, Sheamus takes the Ferrari, which Ricardo left the keys in, and drives off with it. Theft is being a star!
Match 3: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Lawler defends Sheamus’ grand theft auto because he’s a babyface. If he were a heel, er, not so much. Orton clubs at Show, and lands some corner punches, but Show comes back with a side suplex. Show trash talks Orton while grounding him, and then locks him in a chinlock. That’s like hitting Rock with a Rock Bottom. To put Orton in a chinlock on an old Smackdown video game, you need to save, like 3 or 4 icons, and hit L2 and R2. FINISHER THEFT. Orton counter-kicks a corner charge, and then uses a series of clotheslines and a dropkick to bring him down. Orton goes to his dangerous place, but gets chokeslammed before he can get the RKO. However, it only gets 2. Orton throats Show on the top rope, and charges, but is barged back out to the floor. Orton blocks another chokeslam, and Show dumps him back out. Show hits the post outside, but Show runs through Orton with a spear and both men are counted out. Afterward, Show isn’t done, but Orton avoids the WMD and hits the RKO. Uhh, which one of them is in the World Title match?
WINNER: Double Countout
Rating: 4/10. Nothing special, but not as boring as Show/Cena last week.
Match 4: Ryback vs. The Caucasian Violence Connection
Man, how can WWE just GIVE these PPV matches away?!?! Woah, Ryback has pinkeye! He’s gonna KILL Jonah Hill for farting on his pillow! Reks has minimal success before Hawkins gets the tag and gets killed. Hawkins tags a reluctant Reks, who manages to boot Ryback down a few times. CVC gets a double front suplex for 2 as Hawkins takes control. That doesn’t last, as he’s backdropped onto Reks, and then Faarooq-spinebustered. Meat Hook clothesline connects, and Shell Shocked finishes.
WINNER: Ryback via Shell Shocked
Rating: 2/10. Serviceable squash.
Match 5: Prime Time Players vs. Colon Blow
Sucks about what happened with Rosa Mendes and, for the times I’ve made fun of her, I sincerely hope she can get her life sorted out safely. Young backdrops Primo in the corner, who headstands into a kick and a headscissors for 2. Primo soon falls victim to a PTP beatdown in the corner. O’Neil lands a unique pumphandle drop, and then the duo hit a tandem front suplex on Primo. Young tries a back suplex, but Primo counters into a cross body for 2. Young gets a scoop powerslam, and AW makes a far more tasteful Mother Teresa reference. Epico gets the tag, and is a housafiyah, getting rolling back suplex on Young. Titus pulls his partner out to safety, and AW tries to take a walk with his duo, but Ghana Get Got cut them off. Back inside, Epico backstabs Young for the win.
WINNERS: Colon Blow via Backstabber
Rating: 4/10. Decent little match. Nice to have actual teams and weekly matches for a change. It’s better than it has been, right?
-Damien Sandow promises to rid WWE of its foolishness. Good luck.
Match 6: Brodus Clay vs. Damien Sandow
Sandow jumps Clay on the stage and takes the knee out, and stomps it while stretched over the ramp. Sandow assures Clay that he did this to himself.
WINNER: No match
Rating: 3/10. Just because Sandow + Naomi = win.
-AJ profiles Daniel Bryan, who guarantees a win tonight against Cena. AJ books him against Kane at Summerslam, because she’s mean. Yeses and nos ensue. My head hurts. But Bryan’s “NO NO NO” shirt is a nice touch.
Match 7: Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly
Kelly gets her lame screaming offense, and gets a cross body for 2. Kelly sort-of faceplants on a headscissors attempt and Eve slows down an already slow match. Kelly wins with a rana.
WINNER: Kelly Kelly via rana
Rating: 0/10. I assume this is my punishment for trashing Tout.
Talk Segment: Shawn Michaels
Cole and Lawler do the reverent standing ovation thing with the fans, and the crowd’s alive two hours in for a change. After an energetic opening, he gets to the HHH/Lesnar story, and this brings Brock and Heyman out. I’m kinda sad we never got Lesnar and Shawn as a match. Heyman backhands Shawn verbally with condescending remarks about Shawn’s “entertainer” tag, whereas Lesnar is a fighter, above Shawn’s ilk. Michaels gets upset because Heyman merely mentioned HHH’s kids (which translates to “he attacked his family”, I guess), and Shawn picks Triple H to win. Michaels vows to be at Summerslam, in the COO’s corner. Heyman brushes it off, claiming Brock will end Hunter’s career, and Brock cuts him off, trying to goad Shawn into a fight. This brings out MethuselaHHH himself, and Brock’s ready to go 2 on 1. Then he just laughs, declaring he’ll see Hunter at Summerslam….and Shawn before then.
Segment Rating: 6/10. Well, it wasn’t terrible, and Shawn and Heyman are good for a solid promo.
-Sheamus gives a lame Tout about enjoying Del Rio’s car. Man, they’re reaching.
Match 8: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley
Chris Jericho joins the commentary desk in Dolph’s shirt. Remember when Dolph and Riley was a feud last summer? Riley controls a mat exchange early, but Ziggler turns the tide with a picture perfect dropkick. Jericho calls Cole “Mitchell” to harken himself back to 1999, as Dolph dominates with Show-Offense. Ziggler lands a neckbreaker, but gets too arrogant with a pin attempt for 2. Jericho films the match for Tout, making me vomit in my mouth a little, and Riley rolls Ziggler up for the upset.
WINNER: Alex Riley via roll-up
Rating: 4/10. Riley wins! As soon as stories about his depush come out, he beats Ziggler. That’ll learn the sheets.
-Don’t care about Tout. Finesse my swizzle stick, you self-indulgent plebes.
Match 9: Kane vs. The Miz (Non Title)
Miz and Kane exchange offense and Miz takes the leg out with a clip. Stump DDT gets 2. Kane tries to come back, but Miz dropkicks the knee, and gets a low mafia kick for 2. He tries to humble Kane with a camel clutch (blog), but the big man powers his way up. Throat thrust stops Miz, and that’s followed with a scoop slam. Big boot gets 2. Kane eats corner, but blocks the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz dropped onto the buckle, and Kane chokeslams him to win.
WINNER: Kane via Chokeslam
Rating: 3/10. Shoulda made it a handicap match with Kane crushing Miz and Santino. Secondary titleholders: LOSERS ALL.
Main Event: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan
Ten years after the Atrocity on Velocity, it’s the Brawl on Raw! Cena breaks a headlock clean on the ropes, and Bryan takes time to yell at the fans for yesing him. Back inside, Cena hiptosses him for 2, and snares a chinlock. Bryan can’t mount any kind of momentum, and Cena gets a headlock takeover to further wear him down. Bryan works the arm and gets a shoulder stunner, but Cena manages to get free, and a chase ensues around ringside after Bryan is annoyed by the fans again. Cena gets to the apron, and Bryan kicks him off before landing a diving kneebutt. Lawler “bahhing” Bryan is just cringeworthy. After the break, Bryan works a modified hammerlock on Cena, then takes him down with a high kick. Corner dropkick gets 2. Cena manages to turn the tide with a cross-corner reversal, and backdrops Bryan, but Cena is dropped across the middle buckle. Bryan kicks the rope into Cena’s face for 2. Back to the hammerlock, and Cena tries to muscle him into the AA, but Bryan escapes and strikes him down for 2. Bryan misses a kick and Cena goes into the Vince McMandated Shoulder Block Comeback! Five Knuckle lands, but Bryan reverses the AA into a guillotine (CALLED BY COLE!). Cena escapes and tries the STF, but Bryan avoids and takes Cena down with a head kick for 2. Bryan heads up, and lands a three-quarter dive headbutt for 2. Bryan goes into an aggressive kick flurry, but misses the finishing touch and Cena gets the STF. Bryan manages to escape into the Lebell Lock, but Cena avoids being snared, and elevates Bryan into the AA to win.
WINNER: John Cena via Attitude Adjustment
Rating: 8/10. Damn fine match with Bryan shining as a legit threat, and Cena keeping up with everything. Me likey.
-Punk comes out to stare down Cena, and he raises the belt in his face. Show hits the ring and Cena casually throws Punk down, which Punk is more annoyed by. Cena gets Show up for the AA, but Punk takes him down again, similar to last week. Punk gets on the headset, and vows to end every Raw as the last man standing, to get the respect he deserves. He jumps back into the ring to make sure Show stays down, and Show KOs him with the WMD. Cena gets one as well, to give Show his heat back after the double countout earlier.
OVERALL: When you get past Tout and the stupid car theft angle, it was a night with two good matches (Punk/Rey, Cena/Bryan), and enough respectable midcard filler to make it feel like the roster has depth. Getting people involved, I’m all for that.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.