Welcome to the live Richard Reacts to WWE SummerSlam blog here on Richard's Backstage Blog. I'll be posting my reactions of the show throughout the show as the segments and matches unfold. I will also be doing an Audio edition which will be posted in this section later tomorrow. Please check out the links below to interact with me:
The dark match was WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler over Alex Riley. I'm told the work was relatively clean with no notable botches or missed spots. The crowd is said to be ultra hot as there are speakers setup on the stage. Adam Jones of the band "Tool" played the National Anthem on guitar and WWE accompanied it with an awesome video package. It was very well done. Cue the storyline review video to kickoff SummerSlam 2011.
The Miz, R-Truth & Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston, John Morrison & Rey Mysterio in a six-man tag match will open the show. It looks like Mysterio's knee is in fact OK but they probably didn't want to do the single match against The Miz just in case. He will get a WWE Championship match against either John Cena or CM Punk tomorrow night in San Diego.
I haven't had a lot of time to watch the opener as I have been covering the fact that Jim Ross was a late scratch from the SummerSlam announce team. He was replaced by Booker T at the last minute.
Fun opener with the high-flying team of Kofi, Mysterio and Morrison. Mysterio got the pin on R-Truth and his knee looked fine. Both Morrison and Kingston did high risk spots out of the ring as Rey went off the top onto R-Truth. This was a good way to get some deserving names on the pay-per-view without eating up too much time.
Stephanie McMahon offered CM Punk a handshake for good luck backstage and he said he would but he "knows where that hand has been."
Sheamus has clearly turned into a babyface and he had the crowd behind him in this match. Mark Henry got a lot of heat and while any bout involving The Word's Strongest Man is never going to be a classic, this was serviceable. It's too early in Henry's push to have someone go over him but they didn't bury Sheamus by having Henry put him through the crowd control barrier rather than going over clear in the ring. They also let Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick to keep him credible. Sheamus was resourceful with his work, altering his style to create a believable encounter with Mark Henry. Sheamus getting counted out is a better outcome than taking the pin after the World's Strongest Slam.
It's Cee Lo Green time which means time for a bathroom break.
The Divas Championship match with Kelly Kelly stealing one from Beth Phoenix to retain was a great match. I said it and I'll stand by it - a great WWE Divas match. They were given respectable time and they worked well together. Beth debuted new ring gear to go along with her new personality. The crowd still cheered for Beth in some spots and Kelly Kelly had a hilarious "freak out" where she grabbed Beth by the hair and repeatedly slammed her head off the mat. The finish was my favorite part with Beth going for the Glam Slam only for Kelly Kelly to catch her in a roll-up to retain. We all know what Beth can do but Kelly Kelly has worked hard and it shows.
I may sound like a Daniel Bryan mark but he needs to take the entire WWE roster to wrestling school. The key to Bryan's success is he makes a contrived product look real. I don't like Wade Barrett going over, especially with Bryan the Money in the Bank winner. If they would have went home out of the guillotine choke into the LeBell Lock with Bryan going over, I'd be raving. Obviously they want to start building Wade back up but I'd rather see Daniel get the opportunity. He can outwork anyone in WWE with in-ring skills that rival that of Kurt Angle and Bret Hart.
Edge lied to me. I specifically asked him if he would appear on SummerSlam and he told me no. You can still read the transcript at this link. I guess I shouldn't expect him to spoil a surprise but this is why I dislike media interviews. What's the point in asking questions only to get kayfabed?
Are you kidding me? The RKO on the steel steps in the ring from Randy Orton to Christian. Spectacular No Holds Barred Match that resulted in Orton winning back the World Heavyweight Championship. This feud has gone on all summer and what a great way to end it. I found myself sitting here asking myself, how many good matches can they have? The false finishes, the high risk spots, the blood (Orton was busted open in his mouth, on his hand, on his elbow and more) - it was a great match and it's going to be tough for Cena and Punk to top.
Great match but I don't like the fact John Cena's foot was on the ropes for the finish. What does CM Punk have to do to get the same amount of respect as Cena or Randy Orton? Back to the match, I don't know what else one could ask for as there were several noteworthy spots and the bout had the crowd engaged throughout. Things started slow and technical but that's important when you're going to be out there for a long time.
After the match, Kevin Nash ran in from the crowd and delivered a Jackknife Powerbomb to CM Punk. As Punk laid in the ring, Alberto Del Rio came out and "cashed in" the Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE Championship. A lot of people are going to criticize the swerve because Punk didn't walk out the clean champion but now we all have a reason to watch Raw. What's Nash's deal with Punk? Who will feud with Del Rio? I'm encouraged by the variety and it will be interested to see where they go from here.