Thursday, 27 August 2009

WWE Summerslam on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It's the biggest show of the summer, as the good and great of World Wrestling Entertainment gather in Los Angeles for Summerslam, shown live on Sky Box Office here in Britain, and headlined by John Cena challenging Randy Orton for the WWE title, and Jeff Hardy defending his World title against C.M. Punk in a TLC match.

Title action begins the show, with Dolph Ziggler challenging Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental title. The creatives needed a strong match to start the show with, and they got it with this one. Ziggler and Mysterio put in a great performance, worthy of the title and worthy of an event the size of Summerslam. Great moves throughout, well, except for the power bomb into the turnbuckles which almost went wrong. This was a whole lot better than their effort last month, with a great storyline and plenty of false finishes, with Mysterio retaining the title after taking Ziggler down with a hurricanrana from the top rope. Nice effort from both wrestlers here. Could this be a dark horse for the various match of the year awards?

Then it's on to a match that promised much - Jack Swagger taking on MVP. While this wasn't as fast paced as the previous match, it was full of good, solid, wrestling action, and featured good performances from those involved. MVP came out on top, taking Swagger down with the playmaker. Not overly flashy, but good nonetheless.

The title action continued with Cryme Tyme challenging Chris Jericho and the Big Show for the Unified Tag Team Championship. This certainly was an interesting match, and it's nice to see WWE giving their somewhat floundering tag team division exposure on a major pay-per-view. Both teams gave a good account of themselves, and Jericho proved once again that he's the best talker in the company at the moment. Action wise it was good, and as in the previous match nothing overly spectacular, with Cryme Time coming up short. After JTG made it to the ropes while in the walls of Jericho, the Big Show clobbered him from ringside with the big right hand. Three seconds later and the champions had retained their title in a solid outing.

The battle of the monsters was next, with Kane facing off against the Great Khali. Well, we all knew that this wasn't going to be a scientific classic. It was two big guys beating the hell out of each other, and it wasn't that pretty to watch. It was okay in parts, but once again Khali looked extremely limited, with Kane getting the win after taking the big man down with a DDT. I guess this won't be on any future best of Summerslam compilations.

Then it was time for the big reunion, with De-Generation X reforming to take on Legacy. To say that DX's entrance was great would be an understatement. Unlike the Spirit Squad before them, Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase looked far more competitive against DX, and at times looked the equals of Shawn Michaels and Triple H, and that's what made this match good. Dibiase and Rhodes looked great as a team, and this was probably their best performance as a unit. Michaels and Triple H were, as always, dependable, putting in a good performance as they attempted to take down the young upstarts. All of these ingredients made for a great match, which saw Legacy counter various finishers at times, before a groggy Michaels finally took Rhodes down with sweet chin music to get the winning pin. Given the way that this one played out, I really hope we haven't seen the last of these two teams against each other.

The title action then continued with William Regal challenging Christian for the ECW Championship. Regal is accompanied by Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson for this one. Just when I was looking forward to seeing a British wrestling ambassador in action, we get the proverbial blink and you'll miss it affair. Within seconds of the bell sounding, Christian took Regal down with the killswitch engage, and a three count later it was all over. The extra curricular activity lasted longer than the match itself, as Jackson and Kozlov took care of the champion. Not really much I can rate here fellas.

Main event time #1, with John Cena challenging Randy Orton for the WWE title, in chapter 421 of their long standing feud. Yep, it would have been nice if someone else began to feud with the champion, wouldn't it? Now, although this was a technically sound battle with hardly any faults, I just couldn't get into this one. Then it dawned on me why, because this is just like Orton's title defences against Triple H. They're just lacking that certain something that should make them special. Perhaps it's because we've seen these two against each other so many times before. Perhaps it's the way that Orton's title reign has been booked. The first ending kind of sucked as well, after Orton got himself disqualified after pushing the referee, and ring announcer Lillian Garcia completely bodged up the announcement, saying that Vince McMahon had sent word that if Orton got himself disqualified, he's lose the title. Orton then got himself counted out, and Cena was declared the winner. But then McMahon sent word to Lillian again that the match would be re-started, and Orton would lose the title if he was counted out. Orton then got the pin with his feet on the ropes, but another referee came down and told the first referee what had happened. The match was then re-started again, and just as Orton was about to tap out to the STF we got had the "fan" running into the ring. After he was carted away it wasn't long before Orton took Cena down with the RKO to get the win. So after multiple finishes the match came to an end. It was over complicated, and unneeded.

Main event time #2, with C.M. Punk challenging Jeff Hardy for the World Championship in a TLC match. Now this was more like it. This is what a main event should be all about, two men going all out to win the gold in an action packed encounter. Punk and Hardy put on one hell of a match, throwing everything they had at each other, and using anything they could get their hands on, tables, ladders, chairs, commentary tables, television monitors. The bumps they took here were incredible. Punk superplexing Hardy off the top rope and onto a ladder was a thing of beauty. Hardy coming off a giant ladder and putting Punk through one of the announce tables with a swanton wasn't far behind, and when officials came out to check on the condition of the combatants it brought back memories of a certain match at the 1998 King of the Ring. But even that didn't keep them down. Punk struggled to get back into the ring as Hardy was being fitted with a neck brace. Hardy got up off the stretcher, pushed the medics out of the way, and got back into the ring, climbing the ladder the same time as Punk, and only missing out by inches as Punk pushed him off the ladder before claiming the title as his own. But then things took an interesting turn. We heard the famous bells, and the lights went out as Punk stood over the fallen Hardy. When the lights came back on, Hardy was gone, and Punk didn't notice at first that he'd been replaced by none other than the Undertaker. Yep, the dead man was back, and he sprang to his feet and took the new champion down with a choke slam. What a way to end the match, and what a way for the legend to return. Everything about this whole match was awesome, just awesome.

In conclusion - the 2009 version of Summerslam was a very good show, well, for the most part. It started off well with the Mysterio/Ziggler battle, and went along in the same vein with the return of DX and the Cryme Time v Jericho/Show encounter. Unfortunately things took a slight downturn with the battle of the big men and the Cena/Orton title match, but thankfully ended on a high note with the epic Punk/Hardy battle and the return of the Undertaker. So in all things turned out better than I thought they would, and although this won't go down as my favourite ever Summerslam (that honour's still taken up by the 1989 show), this will probably be a show I'll enjoy watching again.

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