Summerslam has traditionally been the third biggest Pay Per View in WWE’s calender after Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble. This is the 25th consecutive annual Summerslam event and the “Party of the Summer” lived up to it’s reputation in this strong and exciting show. The biggest match going into the event was the showdown between Triple H and Brock Lesnar, but this slow and boring match did not live up to the hype. However the undercard more than compensated for the lacklustre main event as feuds continued, blossomed and ended in style.
The first match gets things off to an exciting and fast-paced start as Money in the Bank contract holder Dolph Ziggler attempted to prove to Chris Jericho that he could no longer “Win the big one”, this evenly matched encounter proved that perhaps the now (but for how long) retired “Y2J” is leaving his beloved business in the capable hands of his younger counterpart, perhaps, even, his natural successor?
This is one of those matches that so beautifully opens a pay per view that it can go either way, either the show continues on the high quality of it’s opening bout or suffers because it’s hard to follow. Usually they will attempt to change pace by putting on a Tag Team Match next but instead they continue with two of the hottest stars in the company, with a one-on-one between Daniel Bryan and Kane.
The future (at this point) Team Hell No have fabulous chemistry together (which has become evident as of late) thisworks well in the favour of seasoned veteran Kane who proves he can still have great matches if he is properly motivated. Daniel Bryan is perhaps the best wrestler in the company and continues to bring the best out of every and all opponents. This is an extremely good match-up which the crowd lap up.
The Intercontinental championship is defended next as Champion The Miz takes on legendary Luchador Rey Mysterio who had recently returned from a long and difficult rehabilitation from another knee injury. This now is surely the last run of one of the greatest high-flyers in WWE history and he may have lost a step, but a slower Rey is still fast and he has been rejuvenated by his absence and seems motivated again. His team with Sin Cara is working well but here in singles action, he proves he still has what it takes and he put such prestige on winning the IC belt that it seems important.
Speaking of Luchadors, the next encounter is one in the long feud between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and the Mexican Aristocrat Alberto Del Rio. As I touched on with last month’s review, Summerslam’s bout between the two men is on Del Rio’s terms as we have a Rudo Dos Caras Jr match between the two rivals which is so fun and at times funny. A huge change in pace from the more plodding Sheamus-influenced matches they had been having until this point, this match is the best match the two men had together and they finally seem comfortable in each other’s styles. They hadn’t gelled until now and this match changed everything for me. It made me smile. The ending is so confusingly heelish that the crowd sided with Del Rio and booed Sheamus, which I doubt was WWE’s intention. I think they wanted us to see Sheamus as a cheeky Irish imp, alas no. It’s so strange that it leaves a sour taste in your mouth and Del Rio looks so genuinely upset and frustrated that you feel for him and his desire to be Champion. Thankfully it was (almost) the end to one of the most bizarrely booked feuds in recent WWE history.
The Tag Team Championship is defended next in a decent little match that does everything but what it needed to do, which was pull the trigger on the charismatic team of The Prime-Time Players. They are so hot right now and Kofi/Truth benefit nothing from retaining the gold. This was a missed opportunity, but an enjoyable encounter none-the-less.
A triple threat match for the WWE Championship is in semi-main event position as Champion CM Punk takes on The Big Show and John Cena. Judging by the response of the crowd, this should have gone on last. The match is fantastic, as is always the case when Cena and Punk lock-up. They compliment each other beautifully and always have great matches. They bring the best out of The Big Show too, so much so that by the time the main event begins, the crowd is somewhat burnt out.
The crowd are not completely subdued, mind you, they are into this heated encounter, just not as much as they would have been had they gone on earlier. The match, whilst having brutal spots, is not as good as the Lesnar/Cena one from earlier this year and the end has been edited as Triple H got a ‘Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye’ chant as well as a ‘You Tapped Out’, when they were angling for a legend’s pop. The sound has been sweetened in a number of areas in this DVD too. Quite different from the live event. It is still a worthwhile match, I was just burned out and bored by it after such an exhilarating undercard. You, however, may love it. The important thing that WWE needs to take away from this is that Triple H is a very unsympathetic person and if you want to elicit a heartfelt response in his favour from a live PPV crowd you should probably remember that the only way he ever gets anything resembling sympathy is when he wheels out his Best Friend Shawn Michaels and puts him in peril (Wrestlemania build up and Summerslam Build-up both relied heavily on people loving the Heartbreak Kid). People have empathy for HBK, people don’t really like HHH. Remember this, WWE. It might save some embarrassment next time.
Summerslam was a very strong card that lived up to it’s legacy. The extras are sparse, with only a single interview (with an irate Alberto Del Rio) on the DVD and an episode of Smackdown which is incomplete on the Blu-Ray. So the event scores a eight, the DVD overall can only carry a seven as these ‘special features’ are getting more and more lacking with each passing release. There was a time you’d get a full Raw and Smackdown over two discs (Blu-Ray) which made the event build up more important and otherwise ‘forgotten’ TV shows a part of your collection. I loved that and I miss it.
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
Matt Striker Interviews Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Kane searches for Daniel Bryan
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
CM Punk has words with AJ Lee
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players
WWE Week in Los Angeles
Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship
CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Kevin Rudolf performs “Don’t Give Up”
“The Perfect Storm”
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Home Video Exclusive
Matt Striker Interviews Alberto Del Rio
SummerSlam 19th August , 2012