Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Slam (BEDA 15)

Okay, so Summer Slam. I suppose I'll get the good parts out of the way first, because I may very well end up ranting. The show started off decently enough with a six man tag featuring The Miz, R-Truth, and Alberto Del Rio taking on Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, and Kofi Kingston. This was a match made fun thanks to some high flying antics, with Kofi giving us a standout performance.

Next up was the strong-man match, as Sheamus took on Mark Henry. Since turning face, the fans have really gotten behind Sheamus. This match was entertaining enough, but the highlight came at the end, when Mark Henry drove Sheamus through the barricade Kool-Aid Man style. Oh yeah!

The first really good match of the night was the women's match, where Divas Champion Kelly Kelly defended the title against Beth Phoenix. I've been interested in this recent push of Phoenix, as it looks like WWE is finally beginning to take their women's division seriously again. And now that Kharma's out for a year, it's good timing, too, to get the division in decent shape and looking somewhat legit for when she makes her inevitably dominant comeback.

But concerning the actual match, this was a lot better than I would have thought. I expected Phoenix to pretty much bury Kelly, but Kelly actually put up a fight. And not only that, but she actually looked credible while doing it. I was really impressed with Kelly's performance tonight, this Barbie-doll swimsuit model who I could never take seriously before channeled her inner psycho and pulled off one hell of an upset over Beth Phoenix.

Before our two big main events, Wade Barrett defeated Daniel Bryan in a decent, if fairly forgettable, encounter, and we got a musical performance from Cee Lo Green. After hearing so many cool things about some of his performances, I was expecting him to pull out something memorable tonight, though that sadly wasn't the case. However, a cameo from Jimmy Hart... sorry, little Jimmy Hart, managed to bring some laughs courtesy of R-Truth.

Our first main event was for the World Championship, as Christian defended the title against Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred match. But before the match got under way, Edge made a surprise appearance. In an awkwardly placed segment, he essentially called out Christian for being the whiny little bitch that he's been, and questioned the legitimacy of his championship status. I say 'awkwardly placed' because, honestly, this felt like something they should have done on regular TV leading into the show, not as part of the actual Pay Per View just before the match. So that was odd, even though it was nice to see Edge again.

Onto the actual match, this one was really good. A lot better than their previous encounter at Money in the Bank. They pulled out all the stops, bringing just about every wrestling weapon you can imagine into play, tables, chairs, kendo sticks (Steve Blackman swears he wasn't involved with the preparations of this match). You know, the works.

This was a really fun back and forth match, with nice buildup to all of the big spots, and a satisfying amount of violence throughout. Some highlights include Randy Orton actually managing to put Christian through the announce table, as well as his elevated DDT to Christian onto the trash can. And Orton managed to win the title back in the end as well, surprising Christian with a snap RKO onto some steel steps for the pin.

Now here's where I'm about to get a little irritated. The main event was WWE Champion John Cena vs. WWE Champion CM Punk, a match to unify their two WWE titles and determine one undisputed WWE Champion. And Triple H was the special guest referee. The match itself was perfectly fine. Not quite as good as their Money in the Bank match, but still a really good match, and the crowd seemed to be just as into it as well. These two gel really well in the ring, and their constant reversals are so smooth, really a joy to watch.

So the match itself was good, but then came the ending. Punk pinned Cena after hitting the Go to Sleep, one, two, three. The thing was, Cena's foot was on the rope. I figured this would be addressed, but it never really was, as Triple H just shrugged it off, saying he didn't see it. Okay then, so Punk's champ, right? Enter Kevin Nash, who lays out Punk with a huge powerbomb. But shocking as that was, it still wasn't the biggest shocker of the night. No, that came when Alberto Del Rio's music hit, and he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, pinning CM Punk to become the new WWE Champion.

I am not an Alberto Del Rio fan. I absolutely do not understand why he is being pushed this hard by the WWE. He is a midcard level talent at best, and he's perfectly fine in that environment. But everything about him, his wrestling style, his overly scripted promos with that shit-eating grin of his, just his overall gimmick and the way he carries himself, it screams midcarder. He's an up-and-coming wrestler at the very best, and nowhere near the main event level that WWE seems adamant to shove him down our throats as. I don't understand his Royal Rumble win, I don't understand his Wrestlemania World title match, and I sure as hell don't understand why he is currently the WWE Champion.

But he is, and I'm left with a sour taste in my mouth to close out an otherwise good show. After talking with my friend about the possibilities of where they could take this angle, I'm a little intrigued, and just might give them the benefit of the doubt. My gut reaction is that they really dropped the ball, though. But I don't know, I suppose we'll see...

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