Available at Amazon.com
The Great Khali
Studio: World Wrestling Entertainment
Rating: Not Rated
Run time: 160 minutes
Number of discs: 1
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Call it “The Lord of Ring: The Return of the Kings.Ã¢â‚¬Â Such a clichÃƒÂ©, the pseudo title is fitting for the annual summer PPV attraction. This is the event where WWE superstars “The King of KingsÃ¢â‚¬Â Triple H and “El ReyÃ¢â‚¬Â Rey Mysterio returned in dramatic fashion.
For nineteen years SummerSlam has been synonymous with World Wrestling Entertainment. It has been a venue for memorable matches. Great bouts include Bret Hart challenging “Mr. PerfectÃ¢â‚¬Â Curt Henning for the Intercontinental strap in 1991; The British Bulldog taking on Bret Hart in Wembley Stadium in London, England the following year; the HBK/Ramon Ladder Match of 1995; and the first Tables, Ladders and Chair Match in 2000.
Not all of these are worthy of five snowflakes, a ranking that, in some circles, is the equivalent of a four-star movie Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ahem, perfection. But if ever a debate between wrestling fans were to occur, all are worthy of mentioning in the same conversation. Now the question is whether the 2007 event has a match that can be added to the discussion.
Sadly, the answer is no. As one of the four major events WWE presents each year (the other three being the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania and the Survivor Series), the twentieth anniversary of SummerSlam is one of the worst “big eventÃ¢â‚¬Â pay-per-views of recent memory. On paper it looked to have potential. In execution, however, it was terrible. Of the eight matches on the card, the only one to have any lasting impression would be the main event. It’s like the mirror opposite of the events World Championship Wrestling used to have back when the New World Order was running wild. Good undercard, but a bad main event.
Kane vs. Finlay
Decent opener. Kane is nursing some bad ribs after Finlay attacked him with a Shillelagh during a recent episode of SmackDown! Finlay is a master at honing in on an injured body part and going to work. Versus Kane, this is no exception. Hornswoggle makes his presence known near the latter part of the match, much to the delight of the East Rutherford crowd. He’s the pint-sized equivalent of what Mick Foley gets every time he mentions a city on live TV: a cheap pop.
Triple Threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Umaga vs. Ken Kennedy vs. Carlito
Ugh. The combination of these three in one ring spells trouble. Had this been on Raw, okay, maybe it would be acceptable. But this is a PPV. The match is pedestrian at best (something that could describe a number of matches on the card). Besides, comparatively speaking there has been a number of I-C title matches from Monday nights and other PPV’s this year that are so much better.
Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero
It’s the return of Rey Mysterio. Looking like the Silver Surfer, with silver mask, tights and body paint, Mysterio returns to the ring after a 10-month absence. His rivalry with Chavo Guerrero stems before he injured his left knee; the two were bitter rivals for much of the previous summer and fall. The feud culminated in an “I QuitÃ¢â‚¬Â match last October, a match in which Chavo was victorious and Rey had to be carted off. In the months leading up to SummerSlam, Chavo began to imitate the luchador, wearing his masks and making fun.
But there would be no fun and games this night in New Jersey. The crowd was ecstatic to see Mysterio again. Though I bet if the PPV return was in San Jose, the crowd would have been euphoric. Both of these competitors know each other so well; they have faced each other on and off again for many years. Tonight, the ring rust was showing but Mysterio’s a gamer. He and Chavo put on a pretty good twelve-minute match.
Diva Battle Royal Ã¢â‚¬â€œ with Beth Phoenix, Brooke Adams, Jillian Hall, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Layla El, Maria, Kristal Marshall, Michelle McCool, Melina, Victoria and Torrie Wilson
To be honest, I may know like two thirds of the divas in this group. I suspect some are recent winners of WWE’s annual Diva search. Still, as far as this match goes, um, avoid. Apparently the rules for a battle royal are different when the competitors are women instead of men. You don’t have to be thrown over the top rope to be eliminated. Going through the second or bottom rope are good enough.
Even with eleven Divas on your TV screen at one time, there isn’t much else to recommend.
ECW Championship Ã¢â‚¬â€œ John Morrison vs. CM Punk
As the lone ECW match on the card, this is first third-band match I have seen since seeing the vacant title match live at this year’s Vengeance. That was the match in which John Morrison was victorious over the up-and-comer CM Punk. Well known on the Indy circuit, Punk is one of the best talents on the WWE roster.
Johnny’s visage as wrestling’s Jim Morrison works. He’s got the look. When he was victorious against Punk in July and captured the title, it was a bit surprising. In successive rematches Morrison has been able to thwart Punk, cheating to win. Yet, if what I read on the Internet is true, this match for the strap is nowhere as good as their TV encounters. For a seven-minute match, it wasn’t bad, but it lacked drama. It was like seeing a match go on live ten minutes before the show was to end. You don’t expect much, only to be entertained. Make sure to check out the neckbreaker Morrison delivers to Punk on the ring apron.
The Battle of the Kings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ “The King of KingsÃ¢â‚¬Â Triple H vs. King Booker
The last time these two had a major match against each other it was for the World Championship at WrestleMania XIX. Triple H was victorious then, and since he made SummerSlam his homecoming it was pretty much written in stone the outcome of this match. (Pays to be married into the family. I jest, of course.)
With a the recent reimagining of the Bionic Woman, judging by Triple H’s opening video it looks like he gearing up to revamp the Six-Million Dollar Man. Doctors had the technology to repair his damaged leg and jacked up his upper torso so he could do the “crotch shot of doom.Ã¢â‚¬Â Funny, at times I don’t pay much attention to in-ring psychology, but the cerebral assassin did something very peculiar. At one point in the match Booker T hits Triple H in the leg sending him to the canvas. Yet in less than a minute, Triple H is wrapping King Booker in a Figure Four leg lock. Interesting, I thought H would have grimaced in pain, but apparently he was manning up.
Again, another match that would pass as a semi main event for television.
World Championship match Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Great Khali vs. Batista
Ah, Batista. His one big trick is his introduction with pyrotechnics galore. Yes, he can hit a spear and a Spinebuster and a Batista Bomb. Khali has a bomb, too, and he goes old school with a devastating chop to the head and the does the Claw. Say what you will about Kahli’s dexterity, or lack thereof, but the man is a scary beast. A little clumsy he can be, but so was Andre. Still, Kahli is an interesting attraction.
The problem with Khali is that he’s always pitted against big men. Rarely do you get someone who comes from a technical background, who tries to ground him. I’m thinking of the matches Bret Hart had against Kevin Nash, circa 1994-1996.
This is just a match about two behemoths, something that Vince McMahon likes. Why else would he give us such combinations as Undertaker vs. Kane, Kane vs. Khali, etc
Unfortunately, the match ends way to soon and in such horrible fashion, that those in attendance and watching at home can’t help but boo.
WWE Championship Ã¢â‚¬â€œ John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Finally, the match of the night. “The Legend KillerÃ¢â‚¬Â Randy Orton attempts to recapture the WWE Championship; he won his first world title three years ago at the same event. Of late, Orton has proven to be one of the best heels WWE has. His cocky demeanor and his ability to punt his opponents’ heads have made him feared in the locker room.
John Cena, on the other hand, is the type of wrestler who packs a sack lunch and goes to work. Not the greatest worker, he succeeds because of his never surrender mentality. Maybe that’s why he’s been the top dog (champion) since September 2006. In 2007, he’s been in many good main events including the likes of Umaga, Shawn Michaels, and Bobby Lashley.
His feud with Orton had a quick build-up, and as the match played out I new this was only the beginning of a longer program. The two were evenly matched. Orton used his arsenal of chinlocks and restholds to wear down the champ, and at times it seemed slow the tempo and stall the match.
The ending seemed to come out of nowhere. Must be a theme: Triple H is the Six-Million Dollar Man; Cena is Superman. He is able to rebound quickly after Orton’s finisher, drop an FU and get the pin.
All right, forget the psychology and just roll with it.
Besides these eight matches on the card, we get a special beer-drinking contest between Matt Hardy and MVP. Yet Hardy bows out and gets a replacement. Three guesses as to whom.
A/V QUALITY CONTROL
The video comes full screen. The transfer is bright, vibrant and colorful, but the definition is standard quality. It will be interesting to see how WWE pay-per-views and television translate when HD is implemented. Also about the transfer, compression issues pop up at times, if you look closely enough. In the sound department we get English 5.1 and Spanish 2.0 language tracks. The commentary is decent enough with only a few instances where the announcers are competing with the roar of the crowd. In this respect, maybe the crowd in attendance was lukewarm to the matches that transpired.
Only two extras on this twentieth annual SummerSlam spectacular. The first is a clip from the 08/17/07 edition of SmackDown! On the menu page it acknowledges it as being Kane vs. The Great Khali. Yet, it is not the complete match, just the last few minutes plus the aftermath Ã¢â‚¬â€œ both of which help to flesh out two feuds: Kane/Finlay and Batista/Khali. The second clip is the night after SummerSlam from Raw. It is Carlito’s Cabana with Mr. McMahon & Triple H. HHH tries to prove just who is the mother of Vince’s bastard son.
THE INSIDE PULSE
To steal a line from the late Brian Pillman, “Come on, booker man.Ã¢â‚¬Â Come on, indeed. This is one of the big events on the PPV calendar. And if you are not pulling out all the sports-entertainment stops, what’s the point. Six singles matches, a triple threat and a diva battle royal; not a single tag match on the PPV card. Except for the main event, the matches, like many of the move sets of the wrestlers, are pretty vanilla. There was no real drama to speak of, or anything worth reflecting about after the final bell is rung. And the DVD is just bare. You’d think for the twentieth anniversary something a little more special in the features department. Completists will probably buy this in a heartbeat, but fair-weather fans maybe seek a rental if only for Cena and Orton.
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
WWE Ã¢â‚¬â€œ SummerSlam 2007
|RATING(OUT OF 10)|
|4(NOT AN AVERAGE)|