For Your Consideration…SummerFest Sucks It

For Your Consideration…SummerFest Sucks It

That’s right, after all the weeks of smartass comments about SummerSlam being SummerFest and openly mocking some of the poor and questionable build-ups (I’m looking at you, RAW), it’s time to finally see what the WWE can pull out. My Roundtable picks this month were admittedly sloppy and short (kinda like an ex-girlfriend of mine), but that was due to the fact that I was working on a short timetable, not to mention the fact that…well…I pretty much made my thoughts known over the past several weeks. Be sure to head over to Twitter and “follow” me at twitter.com/awheeler316 for all of your “For Your Consideration” updates.

The goal of this show is to put the WWE in a better position than it was in before it. Yes, the goal is that simple. SummerSlam has always been Wrestlemania Part 2, not to mention the unofficial kick-off to the Road to Wrestlemania (yes, this early in the WWE calendar year). SummerSlam is the first big thing to happen in the WWE since the last time we saw Triple H and Randy Orton main event a PPV…I mean a real PPV. The company needs to approach this show as setting up the next few months of television until Survivor Series, so hopefully we won’t have to suffer through bait-and-switch tactics.

I do have some fears before the show begins. My first fear is that the WWE is going to do something insanely stupid like keep the title on Jeff Hardy. Jeff has made it clear over and over again that he wants to leave. He wants a rest. He wants to sit at home with his wife and his guitar and watch the walls melt (that was a drug reference, not a “my house is burnt down” reference). CM Punk on the other hand is willing to work the insane schedule and burn himself out for the chance to become a true headliner. Please WWE, don’t have Hardy go over here and then drop the belt on Smackdown. Give CM a chance to become the true main event heel that he deserves to be.

My second fear is that the WWE is going to turn either Shawn Michaels or Triple H. Some pundits have predicted it, but I think what the WWE needs right now is for a little stability on Monday Night RAW, and lame DX segments provide such. Since ratings are king for USA, having your most over stable of the past decade (sorry U.N.I.O.N.) back on television is the smartest move. Shawn and Hunter can fill two or three segments a show, and free up the WWE to be…gasp…daring. Take the title off of Orton, let him feud with Mark Henry (or a freshly face Teddy DiBiase) and let the champion John Cena feud with Jack Swagger. Sure, Henry isn’t going to electrify the crowd, but let the WWE get it out of their system before they go all Khali with him and put the strap around his waist. With DX as a guaranteed ratings grabber, the pressure is slightly off Swagger to pull in the audience, and maybe, just maybe, Creative can make ONE new star. Then again, that might be too much to ask.

My final fear? That Jerry Lawler gets elected mayor and the WWE taps Michael Hayes to return as Dok Hendrix. Or worse, hires Kevin Kelly and Tony Schiavone to call one of the hours of the broadcast. Or even worse (if it’s possible to go worse than Tony), giving the slot to Abraham Washington.

Yes, that is hopefully the closest Abraham Washington’s name will ever come to SummerSlam.

Mah Gawd, what a naght!

The SummerSlam is “the biggest event of the summer”, which is why we are getting the MTV Movie Awards style opening. You know the fake summer home movies motif isn’t that terrible, so I will give it to the WWE Graphics people. They really stepped it up.

Oh wait, the hilarity is starting early as DX is making shadow puppets over the World Championship graphic. And the ECW graphic. Shawn Michaels makes an Abraham Lincoln hand puppet over Rey Mysterio. DX then turns the Legacy graphic into the Kiss Cam before the entire thing turns into a lame Epcot Center ride.

DX is now on camera in their new t-shirts (paying homage to the time they invaded WCW, even though everyone but Hunter who was there is no longer in the company and not on the shirt). Shawn, using the power of Christ, fixes the opening package, which of course goes to a best of DX montage before…uh oh…it breaks again. See, the fans already paid for this show, so they’re stuck watching whatever Vince wants to show them.

A convenience store brings us SummerSlam, with all the pyro and ballyhoo one can muster. The arena looks sufficiently packed as Jim Ross welcomes us to Los Angeles. According to JR, they are at capacity with an entire Universe of slightly overweight guys wearing way too much Axe bodyspray.

Justin Roberts is in the ring, which means we’re either starting with the ECW Title or the Intercontinental Title. Hopefully it’s the IC strap, because a great opener should keep the crowd hot. If it’s Khali/Kane, most of the Universe is gonna vanish to pee early.

Sure enough, it’s Mysterio and his…ahem…explosive entrance. Rey is wearing suck-up Laker colors as Todd Grisham lets us know that the crowd is raucous. He asks if anyone is more beloved than Rey, which makes me think the commentators are going to start subtly shifting the crowd love off of Jeff and onto the midget in the rubber gloves.

JR and Toddles are on live television and as soon as Jim gets on camera, he screws up. Toddles tries to cover and AGAIN calls Rey unique. Get the man a thesaurus. Dolph Ziggler is out next, but sadly no Maria. Why give him arguably the hottest woman in the WWE and not have her show up. Mysterio is holding the belt high above his head, and it doesn’t even come to Ziggler’s chin.

Anonymous Referee Jack Doan holds up the belt and we are off for what I can only hope isn’t a bust. Toddles curses the match early by saying that there is no doubt who the fan favorite is. You know what, just for that, I hope that the crowd turns on Mysterio.

Ziggler goes for a quick roll-up with a handful of tights as JR calls his moveset a cavalcade. Hey, at least it’s something new. Grisham is pissing me off by constantly talking about how Ziggler has never held gold in the WWE, when he was a tag champ as a member of the Spirit Squad. Oh well, guess Nicky and Dolph are two different people.

Mysterious leaps onto the top rope and hits a sick looking moonsault to remind us that every once in a while that this guy in the mask used to be one of the greatest high flyers in the history of wresting. You know, before all the gas.

Rey now goes off the top rope but gets caught into a turnbuckle powerbomb, albeit botched as hell. Seriously, I thought he broke Rey’s neck. When you’re in an IC match and a heel, you want to be more Mr. Perfect and less Owen Hart.

The audience is now entertaining themselves with alternating “Let’s Go Ziggler” and “619”. See Todd, this is what happens. Ziggler throws his sweat onto Rey before hitting an elbow, which if he perfects could become quite a heat seeking move. Dolph then locks in a rest hold, which means he’s been studying quite a bit of Randy Orton’s old matches.

The Los Angeles crowd seems restless, which means they need to crank this thing up. Rey hits a drop toehold into the turnbuckle but then Dolph comes back with a clothesline that turns Rey upside down. I hope Rey really sells for him and becomes motivated to put a new guy over. At this point, Mysterio can take losses and keep his heat, so why not add “making Dolph Ziggler” to his list of accomplishments. Maybe it’ll make up for the Filthy Animals. Probably not, but maybe.

Ziggler goes for a splash in the corner but no one’s home and Rey hits the seated senton. Rey goes for a springboard off the second rope but gets hit with a dropkick for two. JR and Toddles do not have that rhythm down pat, as Grisham seems relegated to overselling every move as “it” and “the finish” while JR plays both play-by-play and color commentator.

Rey and Dolph do a bunch of near falls to excite the crowd a bit before another clothesline slows this down again. In the corner of the screen, I swear I see Michael Cole sleeping. This match has been alright so far, but not legendary by any stretch.

Rey goes for the 619 but Dolph becomes the first heel probably ever to realize you don’t have to lay on the rope, so he moves. Then, continuing Dolph’s new habit of imitating the wrong guys, he hits a FameASSer for two.

Dolph and Rey are trying very hard in this match, so I can’t fault either guy, but there are just too many odd lulls so far in the match. Todd AGAIN predicts that the match is over after Rey hits a DDT. Rey now goes for the 619 again and he hits it. Rey then goes for the splash but Dolph moves out of the way but only gets two. The WWE has given Dolph several opportunities for him to win with a quick pin, so my hope is that he is going to win with his finishing move and make it definitive. Unfortunately for the WWE, the multiple near pins have turned the fans entirely pro-Dolph, which does not help sell the myth that Mysterio is the “man” right now.

Ziggler has Rey on his shoulders off the top rope but Rey reverses it into a hurricarana off the top rope…for the pin? What the hell? Why would the WWE not want to pull the trigger and give Ziggler the win on a major show? Remember earlier tonight when I talked about where the WWE needs to go with this show? Ya know, forward. We know that Dolph is going to win the gold eventually, so why not just do it already?

Josh Matthews, wearing a shirt that used to be a picnic tablecloth, interviews Jack Swagger and MVP. Josh calls this a “culture clash” and both MVP and Swagger leap to the occasion to point out the stupidity of that term. Jack points out that he’s a natural athlete and future champ, while Porter is an ex-con. MVP uses flash to mask his shortcomings. Hey, he’s not X-Pac. Porter said he wishes he has Jack Swagger’s life growing up, though I’m sure he meant without the lisp. MVP compares fighting in prison to wrestling in the NCAA, a comparison I think Kurt Angle might learn about in a few months.

Jerry Lawler and a, sigh, Star-Tied Michael Cole are on camera talking about the culture clash as future main eventer Jack Swagger comes to the ring. Please Jack, stop with the push-ups. Cole takes this opportunity to give the token mentions of all of the countries around the world watching the WWE mainly because they are fascinated by the flickering lights.

MVP is out next, and hopefully LA will give him a true welcome. If not, I worry about his future. MVP’s stock has plummeted since his debut on RAW. When he first showed up, he was poised to feud with Randy Orton. Then he sank like a stone and fell to the lower midcard. Porter’s time is limited, and the WWE shouldn’t waste him in the IC level if he has a shot at being a main event player.

Jack and MVP start off with some culture clashing offense. Swagger rolls to the outside and MVP actually goes airborne. Unfortunately for these guys, the audience burned themselves out on the previous match, which makes me think that this show is going to be very quiet for the majority of the night. As much as it pains me to say it, the company probably should have stuck the ECW Title match here.

Cole AGAIN calls this a culture clash, as flashbacks to bizarro land flood back. Swagger and Porter are wrestling a physical match, which is fine but hardly flashy. The audience tries half-heartedly for an MVP chant, but nothing’s going. It really seems that the Mysterio win sucked the life out of the crowd. The Ziggler chants far outnumbered the Mysterio chants, and all those “smart” fans are fairly dejected.

Anonymous Black Referee Who Isn’t Teddy Long checks for a submission from MVP as Swagger locks on ANOTHER resthold. Jerry pulls out the old Jake Roberts jokes about MVP’s sketchy past, which is annoying as hell. The WWE really took their time to establish Porter as a highly paid cocky athlete, and all this ex-con nonsense is only going to undo it.

Porter hits a kneelift and is going for the Ballin’ Elbow, which does not get the kind of pop that Vince would have liked. Porter hits it for two. Wait, sorry, Cole has corrected me and calls it 2 and a half. Porter goes for the Playmaker but Jack reverses and goes for a pinfall attempt with the tights. It’s a no-go, but Swagger recovers and goes for the “You’re Going Down” moonsault but it gets reversed into a Yakuza Kick and Playmaker for the pinfall. Well I’m shocked. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger are clearly the future stars of RAW and Smackdown, yet they both job in rapid succession. Hopefully this turns into something for Porter, but I doubt it. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee that these first two matches are going to be seen AGAIN next month on PPV.

WWE says don’t try this at home. And by “this”, they mean sacrificing their future stars for the sake of cheap pops.

We get outside shots of the Staples Center as Cole and Lawler hype all of the stars at ringside. Stars? I see Luke Perry. Wow, talk about relevancy. This of course transitions into a RAW GM package.

Nancy O’Dell, for some reason, is on my screen hyping her charity. The fans, spotting a phony, boo the hell out of her. Nancy introduces Freddie Prinze who promises to get revenge on Orton. The O’Dell nonsense is finally over as we get…

JeriShow with brand new music. Well, if they have new music, there’s no way that they are going to lose. That plus the fact that they should feud with DX starting tomorrow night.

Oh good, Jericho has the microphone. Please, bring some entertainment to this PPV. Chris talks about all the celebrities in the arena, but they are all hypocrites. Jericho and Show are beyond celebrities, but rather superstars and the most famous people in the arena. Considering where Freddie Prinze and Luke Perry are, you can’t argue with that.

Jericho now hands the mic over to Big Show for some reason, thus ending a pedestrian Jericho promo. Show gets out a word before Cryme Time come out. Well, we’ve seen faces go over twice in a row, so hopefully the streak ends here tonight (and not just because my Roundtable is 0 and 2). Jim Ross drops the little bon mot that the Legion of Doom won their first tag gold in the WWE at SummerSlam, thus beginning and ending the comparison between the LOD and Cryme Time.

JTG and Jericho are starting out as the majority of the crowd goes quiet while a vocal minority chant for Jericho. So far, nothing on this show has really screamed PPV Extravaganza. The first match was solid, but we get that every week from Smackdown. The last match was a decent 10 P.M. RAW main event. Now? We’re watching two teams on two completely different skill levels go at it. Hopefully, we get a lot of JTG and a lot of Chris Jericho, and JTG can show someone in the back that he’s got skills.

Big Show is in now and he’s just standing on JTG’s leg. Well, that’s a move that’s hard to botch. Show now goes for the standard chop in the corner as Toddles compares Show’s ring to just slightly smaller than a Coke can. JTG heard someone say Coke, got distracted, and is now stuck in a headlock. Ugh, enough with the restholds tonight. You can’t sell us on the idea that this is Wrestlemania 2 if the wrestlers aren’t conveying that. Oh how I wish I could just fast-forward the main events.

Shad is in the ring now and he’s delivering big clotheslines that don’t knock down the Big Show. Jericho runs in but gets dropped, only for Big Show to hit a spear. Look Show, just because you replaced Edge doesn’t mean you can take his moveset.

Show now hazes Shad with chops in the corner and now JeriShow are double teaming Shad. Thankfully, no one has yet to patronize this match by calling it a culture clash. You know, because the black guys are ghetto thugs who preach the virtues of theft and cheating, while the white guys preach the virtues of acting superior and being dominant. Nope, no subtle racial overtones here.

Big Show has a full nelson locked in as Shad goes for a comeback, only for Show to just throw him down. Smart move, as the audience was almost coming alive. Thankfully, Big tags in Chris to a “Y2J” chant.

Jericho locks in a resthold, but saves it by screaming for the ref to “ask him”. I love when heels do that, and I wish more guys would adopt that trait. Jericho eats a slam and now we get the long crawl for the “hot” tag. I put it in quotes because this Los Angeles crowd could give a flying fuck. I praised the WWE for building Cryme Time up as legit contenders, but apparently nothing was good enough for this audience.

Shad and Show eliminate each other as JTG goes for a roll-up for two, but it looks like Chris missed because that was pretty clearly three. Jericho now locks in the Walls of Jericho and the crowd is cheering pretty loudly. One would hope that it was for him to break free, but this sounds like a rabid crowd hoping he’ll tap.

JTG makes it to the ropes, only for Big Show to hit the KO Blow for a three count and a pop. Decent little match, but not necessarily PPV quality greatness. Apparently Big Show is undefeated at SummerSlam. Well, that was certainly an inventive finish, and I can’t complain about who went over.

Next month’s PPV is “Breaking Point”. The promo has a bunch of guys talking about never tapping, which is perfectly logical when you consider the damn thing started with a shot of Cody Rhodes tapping, followed by him saying he never quits. Yup.

Josh Matthews is in the back with CM Punk. Punk pulls out a Jeff Hardy screenplay called “Live for the Moment”. Nothing like a hilarious prop. Wacky. Punk calls the finish of the script fake and phony, unlike wrestling. Punk calls everyone phonies and namedrops Kate from “John and Kate” and “Twilight” (which sadly gets a pop). Apparently they don’t make movies about guys like Punk because he keeps it real. CM then makes his pitch to join WWE Creative by promising to rewrite the ending of the Jeff Hardy script.

Well, it can’t be as bad as this next match, because through hellfire and brimstone, mah gawd, it’s Kane. Please let this match be short. Really short. In fact, let’s hope that Khali tears a quad walking down the aisle.

Sadly, before the nonsense can begin, we get a replay of the Kane/Singh abduction nonsense. JR makes the understatement of the night as he points out there is no escape. And here comes Khali and unfortunately for us, he made it to the ring. Thankfully JR asks us to call Dick Webber, which means break out the bowling shoes.

Kane is overpowered by Khali, which means he’ll be playing the role of the agile underdog. What I would give for the crowd to just turn on this now and let someone in the back end this quickly.

So basically the formula for this match is Kane to bump like a pinball for Khali. Khali takes a minute and a half for a legdrop as Kane moves out of the ring. Jim Ross reminds us that Kane has won fifteen titles, and despite that, he is still booked in crap like this.

Kane is signaling for a chokeslam early, which of course gets blocked. Khali now grabs Kane but this debacle ends in a clothesline and an elbow. Khali straddles Kane and delivers three awkward looking punches. When you can’t even cooperate with gravity, it’s time to call it quits.

Bare in mind that if Vince Russo was booking this, Singh would turn on Khali and align with Kane. Thankfully, that can’t happen because Khali can’t talk on his own. Also thankfully because that means this feud won’t continue.

Kane hits a flying clothesline off the top rope and Khali again takes about thirty seconds to fall. Then, in the pattern of the night, Kane locks in a resthold. This is painful. This resthold is interminable, and the audience that was already circling the drain is now officially dead.

Khali is now back up and hits a boot and is signaling for the chop. Please let it be over. Damnit! When watching a Khali match, I become his biggest fan and mark out like crazy just because I can’t wait for the finish.

The Khali Vice Grip gets broken up in the ropes and Kane grabs Singh and brings him into the ring. Kane then dropkicks Khali’s leg and hits a DDT to end this debacle. Well, we know what that means. This feud MUST continue. See, when I said that the WWE needs to build the new future of the company, I did not mean continue the Kane/Khali feud.

We get a shot of Vince’s star as we cut to a bored shot of Maria Menounos. We also see Slash in the crowd, who gets a nice pop. Also there’s Robert Patrick, who has realized that starring in one WWE movie means he’s stuck with them for life. Like herpes.

Next up, Legacy is looking to…seriously Cole?,,,cement their Legacy. Ugh. We then get a 45-minute recap package of the feud.

Are you ready? Clearly the people who hand out the free glow sticks are. We get the sound of gunshots and helicopters as DX is getting a major entrance. Pyro keeps dropping from the sky as an army jeep pulls into the arena while fake soldiers fire fake guns. This overly choreographed entrance finally culminates in DX riding in on a tank. Well, I bitched long enough about Hunter doing the same entrance, so at least it’s something new. Okay, not new, but new-ish.

Hunter and Shawn pose on the tank, do their DX chop, and I wanna bet money that this entrance will last longer than Khali/Kane. Not that I’m complaining.

Lawler calls their return epic and Cole points out that they are SO controversial. Nothing’s more controversial than a Tony Awards caliber entrance. DX via Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Shawn sprints around the ring, though at his age he might blow up. HBK’s last match was arguable MOTY. This match? Probably not.

People paid their hard earned money for all of Triple H’s DX shtick, so they are gonna get it. Eventually. First, we get the prolonged pop.

Are you ready? Then, for the thousands in attendance, the millions watching around the world, and the girls who want a war. See, because Cody and Teddy are really men, but by calling them girls, they are going to be so emotionally crippled that they might just surrender.

Then, the man who loves Christ will all of his heart, gets small children to scream “Suck it”. Let’s just be thankful he isn’t accosting any of them.

And here comes Legacy, who don’t need a flashy entrance. They’re just thankful they get ANY entrance. Cole reminds us that Legacy were accomplices in all of Orton’s shenanigans and then points out that they will cement their legacy. Because that’s their name. Legacy. If they were Cryme Time, then this would be the time they are going to commit a crime. Just clearing that up for ya.

Teddy and Hunter start off and the crowd that was insanely hot for DX’s return is now really quiet. You know, like EVERY Triple H match over the past few years.

Hunter and Teddy trade punches, which of course Teddy loses. The WWE needs to end Legacy on RAW and let Teddy break free and become a face. This will allow the ultimate fall of Orton to seem that much more epic. This also prevents us from having to see yet another rematch of a SummerSlam match.

Cody is in now and he walks over and slaps Shawn in the face. You do NOT slap a chef! Here comes Shawn Michaels, and Cole warns us that HBK might be rusty. Naw, he’s a young gun and can bounce back quickly. Shawn and Cody run around the ring for a bit before culminating in an HBK Thez press and punches. Shawn then slaps Cody in the face. Michaels goes for the Superkick but he flees, only for Triple H to toss him back into the ring, only for him to escape again. Yet another reminder, this show cost money to watch.

Cole just called Shawn and Hunter performers, officially making me move from hating Cole to wishing harm upon Cole. They are NOT performers. Sure, they are sports entertainers, but not purely performers. Create the slightest amount of credibility, you twit.

Teddy is in now and Cole points out that Teddy looks like a million bucks. Cody is in now, so I guess Cole will say that he wrestles like a dream. Rhodes comes in quickly, wails on Michaels and then tags in DiBiase who locks in a resthold.

My concern here is the complete silence of the crowd. I don’t really care that they have buried most of the matches with indifference, but the main events can only succeed with a hot audience.

Hunter is in now but Legacy double-teams to take advantage. For like thirty seconds. Hunter is now dominating both guys, hitting two spinebusters. Hunter goes for the Pedigree but this thing breaks down (no pun intended).

Hunter launches Michaels onto Cody outside the ring, but he turns around into a blatant and borderline comedic low blow. The ref is administering a ten count, but that gets broken up by a little double-teaming on Triple H. So for those of you playing predictable DX bingo, fill in the space that says “Hunter gets beat on”. It should be right next to your “Shawn Michaels gets beat on” and right under “DX hits their finishing moves and kills their opponents dead”.

Cole for the fourth time this match mentions that this is cementing their legacy. Because this is a culture clash. In bizarro land.

Hunter goes for a tag while in the rest hold, but it doesn’t work. Someone needs to pull Punk and Hardy aside and say that while stealing this show shouldn’t be hard, they need to make sure they just keep going and going and going until they can’t move anymore. Screw pacing, just go all out.

Rhodes is in now and hits the DDT for two. The DDT, by the way, that for the longest time was his finishing move. Now? A quick two-count kick-out for DX. Cody now has a resthold and Hunter tries desperately for a tag.

Cole calls Michaels a 230-pound man in just about the gayest way possible. Hunter drops Rhodes and crawls for the hot tag. Zen moment: If a superstar goes for a hot tag and the audience is indifferent, do they make a sound?

Teddy cuts off the hot tag and Hunter continues his slow moves towards a tag, but then instantly recovers and launches DiBiase over the top rope. “Shawn Michaels is ready to explode off the apron.” I just want to point out that it’s Cole, not me, that is making all of the thinly veiled sexual references.

Michaels is in now and hits the inverted atomic drop and chops. Flying Burrito takes Cody down, but Teddy cuts off the offense…the offense that Cole keeps calling vintage. For some folks, it’s repetitive. For Cole? Vintage.

Cody is climbing to the top rope, goes for a Shawn Michaels elbow and lands on nothing. Michaels now is going up the turnbuckle but Cody cuts him off and drops him on his tabernacles.

Cody is going for a superplex as Cole calls this match career making. You know, like it made the Spirit Squad’s career. And Miz and Morrison. Michaels now goes for the elbow off the top rope but Cody gets his knees up. Rhodes calls this a performance for the ages, making them the Josh Groban of the WWE.

For some reason Teddy is not on the apron and Michaels locks on the figure four. Teddy then runs in from out of nowhere to break it up. Lawler seems flabbergasted that these kids have gotten any offense.

Michaels goes for a Superkick but it gets blocked and Cody hits CrossRhodes but Hunter saves him. Triple H now Pedigrees Cody as Teddy was accidentally distracting the ref, so when Hunter distracts the ref, Teddy hits Dream Street. Hunter and Teddy launch themselves at the Smackdown announce table as the ref begins the 10 count.

At 9 they both make it up and Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music for the pin. “The band is on tour again.” Clearly whoever wrote the Jeff Hardy Story is feeding crap into Cole’s ears. Cole then goes on to call this Legacy’s best match. Even though they lost. They got pinned.

Well, the match was certainly long, but was it really that fantastic? It was your standard DX match, where there was no suspense because you knew who was going to win. Let’s just be thankful Cody and Teddy weren’t made to look like complete clowns.

Wrestlemania NBC promo.

ECW Title time and Christian actually gets a pop as he comes out. Matt Striker and Josh Matthews are on camera and the show seems to come alive a little bit, which is a positive sign.

I take back what I said before, I’m glad that they saved the ECW Title match for this slot. I love having all of the title matches end the show.

William Regal is out next with his brand new stable. Matthews calls the two of them beasts as Strike calls their actions a coup. To be honest, I’d rather have William Regal lose here (probably by having the “beasts” attack Christian) and then have Regal lead a coup d’etat on ECW and overthrow Tiffany.

Regal is taking his drapery off when Christian hits the Killswitch and pins him before he’s even ready. Jackson and Kozlov are now in the ring and they both hit their finishing moves. Regal then synches in the Regal stretch, and YET AGAIN the match at SummerSlam is just a build-up to a future rematch.

I can’t fault the WWE for going this route, because we knew that there was no way to give this a proper match with minimal build-up. Now, Breaking Point has a title rematch where Regal has a newly re-established submission hold (not to mention his “Beasts”).

We get a package about the WWE in Los Angeles and all of the “celebrities” present. Thankfully it transfers to a package about the WWE doing charity work, which is what the company always loves to focus on. Finally, this package shows Fan Axxess and…Batista? Alrighty.

Cole and Lawler are on camera thanking the WWE Universe for coming to free events. They then thank Aerosmith, who I will point out not only is getting publicity, but also getting paid licensing fees for their music.

We now relive the “magic” of the RAW main event, where Cena made the Unified Tag Champs look like bitches before Orton took out Cena. On the plus side, this means TLC is our main event, so yay.

We get the replay instead of a hype package because…uh…there wasn’t really any hype. This is the ultimate “who’s better” kind of match, so hopefully Cena can go over and win the match. Cena gets a nice pop, talks to the camera like Ferris and sprints to the ring. Cole calls him arguably the WWE’s biggest star, and you can’t really argu with that. Cena then throws his ball cap to Robert Patrick’s son. Apparently this PPV is brought to us by Pepsi Max, a soda I thought they stopped making years ago.

Randy “Browner than The Rock” Orton is out next as Cole calls him an apex competitor. In three weeks we get Breaking Point in Montreal. You have to love the brass balls that Vince must possess for him to run a submission-only PPV in Montreal. What’s the over-under on the number of screwjob finishes?

We cut to Freddie Prinze who is glowering menacingly. Don’t mess with Prinze, he’s gonna be working with Jack Bauer and you don’t want that kinda action.

Lillian Garcia is now announcing her last PPV main event ever as she introduces John Cena and Randy Orton. Adios Lillian, you started off as the worst ring announcer and moved up the list to borderline competent…sometimes.

Anonymous Referee Armstrong holds up the title and hopefully this match will last slightly longer than the ECW Title match. Michael Cole attempts to insert an air of legitimacy as he mentions their hometowns.

Cena takes Orton down first with a front facelock, and the future of the WWE rests on the winner of this match. If Orton wins here, we’re probably destined for another round of Orton/Hunter. If Cena wins, he’ll need a fresh challenger, which really opens the door for the WWE to do some different things. Yes, it is true that Orton could have a new challenger like MVP or (in a parallel universe) Evan Bourne, but realistically it would be Mark Henry and I don’t think many folks are clamoring for that.

I wonder if the WWE is going to bother to mention that Orton won his first World Title at a SummerSlam, even if his opponent is erased from existence. Randy is right now hammering away on Cena, delivering Christ Masters-esque punches.

Randy is now stalking Cena, showing that he has perfected the viper slither, something that has added real depth to his character. No one is going to claim that Randy is the best wrestler in the WWE, but he has perfected those heelish mannerisms that make casual fans want to hate him.

Just as I typed that Orton isn’t the greatest wrestler, he pulls out the Garvin Stomp. Let’s just be thankful he doesn’t have hands of stone as well. Randy then drops the knee and Cole calls THAT vintage. Apparently anything someone does more than once is now vintage.

Cena is getting offense and the audience is booing him. That doesn’t seem all that logical since there isn’t a huge Orton following in the crowd. The crowd is alternating between booing Cena and sitting silent for Orton. Now, as Orton locks in a resthold, we get a half-hearted “Let’s Go Cena” and “Let’s Go Orton” chant.

Lawler and Cole start to cover this, saying that he has accomplished so much in the WWE that he is bound to have support from the fans. Lawler then compares Orton to Mohammed Ali. Because they are both cocky. And they both tried to get out of military service.

And here’s vintage Cena as he is going for the “You Can’t See Me”, which you would think he would drop since the “Five Knuckle Shuffle” is at best a transition. Cena goes for the FU but it gets reversed by Orton for two. Randy then goes right back to the Garvin Stomps. Guess they are slightly better than rest holds.

Orton finally uses some logic and avoids a shoulderblock and Cena gets launched to the outside. Cena then tries to get in the ring but is now set up for the second rope DDT. In a nice dickish move, Orton waits until the ref is about to count five before hitting it. Orton now sets up for the RKO by pounding the mat, which is less viper and more gorilla.

Randy goes for the Punt but Cena hits the Throwback. John is on the top rope looking for the Rocker Dropper and hits it. It gets an awkward and long two, and Cena is now signaling for the FU. The audience is now settling nicely into just booing Cena as he gets Randy up, but Orton holds the rope. This leads to a double clothesline.

The way this match is going, the entire card is now pretty much a one-fight show; TLC. We get the “boo” “yay” punches to hammer home the fact that the fans don’t like Cena. This is why a guy like Swagger makes sense as Cena’s next opponent, because there’s little chance of the fans turning Jack face.

Randy Orton just struck the referee and we get a DQ. Then, in her FINAL PPV appearance in the WWE, Lillian Garcia botches the call. “Ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the match and NEW WWE Champion…Randy Orton.” Apparently the learning curve for this job is a decade minimum.

Lillian tries again. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have just received word from Mister McMahon that this rematch must restart.” Stop. The. Pain. Apparently now if Orton gets disqualified, he will lose the title. So Vince has now switched back to face.

Orton is all pissed off as we have now all but telegraphed the finish. Do you really think Cena’s jobbing cleanly tonight? Me neither. The match restarts and Cena is back in control. We’re on the outside, and if this thing ends in a countout and another restart then you gotta assume someone’s bound to riot. As for me? I just hope we get another chance for Lillian to blow a call.

Sadly, Orton rolls him back into the ring, so no more Lillian. Randy has now rolled out of the ring and is demanding the gold. He’s leaving! Bah gawd he’s leaving! What a swerve! That wasn’t on my programming sheet! This is almost like a qualifying countout!

Lillian Garcia is back again and “per the original order”…what the hell? Wouldn’t it be great if we found out that Lillian Garcia is just making all of this up and tomorrow night Vince fires her and that’s how they write her out of the company? That would be awesome.

Orton then gets his feet on the ropes and pins John Cena. Raaaandy! Wait…it’s a Dusty Finish as another ref is out. This is fucking retarded at this point. All we’re missing now is for Randy to hold is knee and someone signal for the “X”.

Wait, we restart again and Orton is in the STFU. Wow, working under Vince has finally made Creative snap. Some fan just jumped into the ring and attacked the referee. Well, that happened. The guy is getting carted off to the back. If that was legit, that was really scary. If that was fake, then alrighty then. Orton hits the RKO for the pin and that means the “fan” was fake.

Randy Orton should have tapped but he didn’t, which means this match must be settled…IN A SUBMISSION MATCH! But when are we going to have an all submission PPV? Ah, intrigue.

Well, we get a bunch of replays (except for the fan), so that they can add an air of legitimacy to it (if it was in fact a plant…which I’m guessing it was).

We’ve got one match left, and can it live up to the legacy of Kane/Khali?

We get the overly elaborate TLC set-up on the aisle and it’s clobberin’ time. Sadly, the WWE cuts away so we don’t get to see it. Jim Ross is talking but apparently his headset is malfunctioning. Why couldn’t Cole have had that set?

A bitter JR is now back online and calls Punk a Second City Saint. Somewhere Pulse Glazer is marking out, bless his heart. And here comes Oreo Cookie Face Jeff Hardy. Jeff, high as a kite, climbs the ladder at the top of the entrance. No Jeff, you have to climb the ladder in the ring. Jackass.

“No climbing, no winning.” Thanks Jim. Punk thankfully gets a heel reaction, which for a smartish crowd means his character is pretty well over. Toddles says that he hopes the most extreme man wins as Punk mocks the crowd’s Hardy chant. This is a man who couldn’t be happier. One year ago, he was a paper champion feuding with JBL. Now? He’s main eventing SummerSlam. Sure, it’s been a subpar SummerSlam, but still.

Punk is stomping away on Hardy to start. CM now has a chair and drives it into Hardy’s ribs, followed by a shot to the back. I’ve said it all night that the WWE’s goal is to have the company be in a better position after this show than before. Thus far tonight, we’ve set up yet another Ziggler/Mysterio match without elevating Dolph. We’ve seen MVP go over Swagger, which means not only was Swagger not elevated, but he’s also directionless now. JeriShow and DX both won, so they’re on a collision course, or a culture clash. ECW has got some momentum even though their title match sucked. RAW has established that we’re getting more Cena/Orton. So on the #2 show of the year, we’ve yet to really settle anything.

Hardy sets up the chair and leaps towards Punk, but Punk catches him and drops him on the chair. That was great. Unfortunately this crowd is pretty spent, so the silence is going to do nothing but take away from what could be an entertaining contest.

Punk whips Hardy into the corner and catches him with a spinning heel kick. If this match ends with Hardy leaving as champion, you’ve really gotta think that SummerSlam was more of a failure than a success, unless Hardy at the last minute signed an extended contract.

Punt hits a suicide dive onto the outside and now Punk has the first table of the night set up. Punk now looks to Pilmanize Jeff’s neck, but Hardy escapes. These two amp it up nicely as Punk goes for the leaping clothesline only to be swatted down with a chair. It seemed to jolt Punk and the crowd, which is great.

For whatever reason, Jeff doesn’t sound as over here as he normally is, continuing the theme of the night that the crowd sucks. Jeff has Punk on a table on the outside and he is now climbing the top rope. Jeff goes for a splash but Punk misses and Hardy is down.

CM Punk is now carrying the ladder on his back like Jesus and the crucifix, so let the “next HBK” talk begin. Punk is now slowly setting up the ladder, giving Hardy enough time to recover. Then, we get slow climb #1 until Hardy shows up. Jeff now starts climbing quickly until Punk turns it into a GTS attempt which Hardy then turns into a powerbomb. Great looking move from both guys. The sweat on Jeff’s face as now turned his Oreo facepaint into a Joker-like mask, which is what he’s been going for since last year.

Hardy now slow climbs and apparently his fire burns. No JR, that’s Punk’s theme. Jeff gets dumped off the ladder and lands in a heap onto the turnbuckle. The insanity of these moves is not being translated by the audience, who should have lost their shit by this point.

Punk has Hardy set up on the top rope and is looking for a superplex and hits it on the fallen ladder. Both guys are hurt and this gets a mild pop. At this point, either the crowd is loud and the audio is set up poorly or these fans just suck. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Punk is back up but eats a Twist of Fate. Rather than try and climb the ladder, Jeff is going for the Swanton but eats two knees to the back. I will point out now that we have not seen Matt Hardy tonight. Just saying.

Punk hits the high knee and is going for the bulldog, but Hardy just lifts him up and tosses him over the top rope through the table on the outside. Make no mistake about it, this will wind up being Match of the Night by default, but I love that they are trying to get a rise out of the fans.

Hardy is setting up the ladder but Punk springboarded off of the top rope and takes Jeff down. We get our first view of the Wile E. Coyote Cam to see the leap. Punk now tries to Pilmanize Hardy again but it gets blocked. Jeff is now whacking Punk with a chair.

The ECW Table is now replacing the Spanish Announce Table as the default table to destroy. Part of me hopes that they just throw caution to the wind and someone blades. Punk has been hit so many times by a chair that if he isn’t bleeding than even suspended disbelief will break.

Jeff has a supertall ladder and is positioning it next to the announce position. He takes his shirt off and some girls squeal. Hardy wants to make sure that his last appearance is memorable, so rather than go for the win, he goes for a Swanton off the ladder onto the announce table. He hits it and WOW that looked cool. That is a really narrow window for him to fall. The medical personnel are now out checking on both men, as Punk and Hardy are dead.

The replay really highlights just how far that fall was. We get three replays in various speeds, but the slow motion really highlights how sick that was.

Meanwhile back in real time, Jeff is getting stretchered out of the arena. There’s a great shot of a shocked old woman. Jeff tries to fight off the paramedics while Punk slithers into the ring going for the ladder. Hardy escapes the EMTs and tries to stumble into the ring to stop Punk. Neither one of these men can really stand, so this looks like two drunk guys trying to race.

Punk is at the top of the ladder, but Hardy meets him and now we get some punches until Hardy gets shoved off the top. Punk grabs the gold and it is over. CM Punk wins “clean” and CM Punk is your NEW World Heavyweight Champion.

The match was good and it was brutal, but it was not necessarily the epic that we’ve seen before. Punk is standing over Hardy and the lights begin to flicker for a bit. Yes CM, there is an Undertaker.

Sure enough, the arena goes completely dark, and the Hardy chapter is over. Punk is now standing over the Undertaker, who has replaced Jeff Hardy. Taker chokeslams Punk.

Say goodbye to straight-up man-to-man feuds and say hello to spooky mindgames and TV-PG shenanigans. So in a match where Jeff Hardy and CM Punk nearly killed each other, the guy leaving with all the heat is…The Undertaker.

Toddles finally gets it right as he warns that dark days are ahead. Dark, illogically dull days are ahead.

This has been for your consideration.

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