WWE Summerslam Recap and Analysis

This is not going to be a play by play recap. I watched the show on the couch with some friends and family. It allowed me to enjoy it a lot more than I would have if I typing up a recap live like I've done in the past. What you're getting here is a review of everything that went down at Summerslam, including star ratings for the matches. Plus at the end I'll put down my five stars of the night as well as some final thoughts on the show and a final score out of ten. Sound good? I hope so. Let's go.

WWE Summerslam
Washington, D.C.
August 21, 2005

Lillian Garcia sang the national anthem. She did a good job as always. I like the anthem to start out the show.

Chris Benoit def. Orlando Jordan to win the United States Title
This was great. No question about it. Ending the match at just under 30 seconds with Benoit putting on the crossface was a very good idea. You know why? Because now when a guy does a submission early fans might thing that's the end because of what they remembered at Summerslam 2005. Plus, OJ had one of the worst title runs in the history of WWE at any level thanks to the horrible booking of that title.
Rating: 1/2* - The rating doesn't matter a heck of a lot here.

Eddie Guerrero's wife Vicki told him what all the fans know. That he only wants Dominick's custody to hurt Rey, not because he loves him. I thought this planted a seed for what was to come later.

Edge def. Matt Hardy via ref stoppage
This was just okay to me. I understand what they were trying to do here because they tried to portray it as a "real" fight. There is logic problems, though. For example, with Edge being so physical in that match does that mean his punching and kicking in this match was "real" whereas every other person on the roster's punches were fake because they were unable to knock people out the way he did Hardy? I wasn't shocked by a short match because I think there's going to be more to this feud in the future. It's just a shame that they went with this finish out of nowhere because when was the last time a ref has stopped a big match due to somebody "being knocked out." It's just hard to be "real" on the same show when a 52 year old man with shitty offense is winning the main event of the same show, ya know? I don't think Hardy's going to win anything in this feud considering they fired the guy for "having nothing for him" a few months ago. All of a sudden they're going to put him over a future main eventer like Edge? I don't see it happening.
Rating: * - Just okay. Not long enough to really rate.

Rey Mysterio def. Eddie Guerrero in a ladder match
Very good match here, as expected. I think it's a shame that some people are likely going to remember this one as a letdown because of the interference. Forget about that stuff for a minute. Look at the match. Look at the bumps they had. The ladder spots with Rey dropkicking the ladder to knock Eddie down, the springboard senton on the floor while Eddie was holding the ladder out on the floor and that backdrop off the ladder onto the other ladder was just sick. Guerrero did botch a flip powerbomb spot when his hands slipped on Rey's leather pants, but I think he can be forgiven considering how high he was up there while doing that. The athleticism, the hard bumps, the chemistry was all there. It could have been really good had it not been for the interference from Dominick and Vicki, but in many ways they had to be there to add to the story. Dominick trying to knock Eddie off was cool, just the visual of that little boy trying to stop the crazy heel was perfect for the storyline. Of course Eddie could have won the thing, but didn't because he was occupied by the kid. The end with Vicki stopping Eddie was, again, logical. I think the finish could have been something better than her holding Eddie down because if they at least ended it on a spot where Rey put him down it would have been cleaner. You don't see cheap endings in ladder matches very often, but now you have. My buddy Brad, who is clearly a mark, actually said at the end: "That sucked because Eddie didn't do a frog splash off the ladder." I don't think so. Would have been a nice spot, but the match was very good regardless. Everybody in this match including Vicki and Dominick, along with obviously Rey and Eddie, played their parts perfectly.
Rating: **** - Good length on the match at 20 minutes. Finish could have been better wrestling wise although it did fit the story. It'll be interesting to see where both go from here.

Jericho did a promo. I like how when they get serious about pushing Jericho every couple of years they reference him beating Austin and Rock in a night. It was a good promo. Still, nobody believed he was winning.

Kurt Angle def. Eugene
The right booking here. Angle dominated the whole thing even though Eugene hit both a Rock Bottom and a Stunner. This was the right booking for the match. It was under four minutes, it was Angle being very physical and forcing the tapout to win back his gold medal. Post match, Angle brought a chair in, then had the ref put the medal around his neck. That was just great. Also of note was the crowd booing the hell out of Eugene and cheering Angle. That should tell WWE that Eugene as a singles act is boring. Put him in a tag team because he's better in that role.
Rating: * - What they did was pretty good. Now Angle gets to go after Cena for the title, which is beautiful.

The divas were shown washing a limo. We saw the presidential seal and in the limo sat Vince McMahon who asked, "Why not?" Please don’t make this an angle. Just leave it a one time joke in Washington. That's fine. I laughed. If it continues, I'll just groan.

Randy Orton def. The Undertaker
I wasn't that excited for this match. I understand why it was done because it's like Orton is going after Batista after this and he had to get his win back over Undertaker from WrestleMania. The story of the match with Orton working on Undertaker's leg was alright, except Orton barely went for submission holds to finish him off. It was a slow, plodding match as all Undertaker matches are. The spot near the end with Orton hitting a crossbody, then Undertaker rolling through and hitting a chokeslam was really good. Then the cheap ending kicked in with a "fan" coming in the ring, giving Orton time while Undertaker played dumb with the fan before he turned around to eat an RKO. Then post match we saw it was Bob Orton Jr., Randy's dad. This was not a clean win. Just because Bob never hit Undertaker does not make it clean. I liked their match at WM21 better.
Rating: **1/4 - Slow at times, but the finish was pretty good.

John Cena def. Chris Jericho
Was anybody shocked by this finish? I highly doubt it. The crowd made this match seem really huge. The build to the match was okay, but the way the crowd got into it was beautiful. Early chants for Cena, then early chants for Jericho led to a point later in the match where there were "Let's Go Cena! Let's go Jericho!" dueling chants that were great. You could see that Jericho was stalling during all that because he was choking Cena a lot more than usual. Loved some spots in this one like the roll through on the cradle by Jericho into the Walls of Jericho. The drama with the Walls was really good too, even though you knew Cena would win they did a great job in having Cena struggle to make the ropes. I like the finish a lot too. Cena catching him in a sideslam and then Jericho getting up to his shoulders for the FU finish was well done. If this is Jericho's last appearance for a few months then he has something to be proud of because he really put on a good show here.
***1/4 - They told a good story in 15 minutes and ended it the right way.

WrestleMania 22 in Chicago promo. Tickets on sale in October. I might go to that one. I hope.

Batista def. John Bradshaw Layfield in a No Holds Barred Match
It was just sort of there. Their match at Great American Bash last month blew. This one was better because they were able to use gimmicks, it was shorter and the crowd was hotter due to the match being in Batista's hometown. I was surprised by a lack of chair shots in the match considering how they used them in building up the match. The finish was really strong with Batista hitting him with one Batista bomb, then doing another onto the steel steps as the crowd chanted "one more time" at him. I imagine this the end of JBL in main events for a while. He's done a better job than I would have thought a year ago, but I'm ready for somebody newer in his spot.
*3/4 - Physical match that was just okay at about ten minutes.

Hulk Hogan def. Shawn Michaels
Here was the one most of us were looking forward to. I think you have to be impressed by both guys here. Michaels was amazing here, looking like he was 27 years old again instead of 40. Everything Hogan did to him, Michaels sold like he was shot in the ass with a pellet gun, flying over the ropes, into the turnbuckles and landing everywhere. Hogan impressed me as well. Sure, he's slow and his offense is horrible, but they made it work. Hogan was largely on the defensive with Michaels being rabid on offense, cutting Hogan open with punches to the temple and Hogan had a really good cut flowing with his beard turning red because of it.

The finishing sequence was pretty good. The first ref bump was alright, leading to Michaels getting the advantage and going for the Sharpshooter. He didn't sink it in that well probably because Hogan's legs are so huge and obviously he's not very flexible. Hogan, whether by purpose or not I don't know, actually tapped out twice while crawling to the ropes. I wonder if they'll use that or not, or if it was just his mistake since he probably does pay attention to matches ending in submission. The ref got bumped again, Michaels creamed him with a chair shot, then hit the big elbow and the sweet chin music. Of course if you've seen any Hogan match you see how he puts his hands under the guy ready to do the Hulking up sequence and like usual that's what he did. Hogan did the punches, the point, the big boot (that Michaels sold by staggering around before falling down), then he posed for like 10 seconds before hitting the legdrop for the pin. I would have liked to see Michaels kick out of that at the end, then Hogan doing another one for the finish. If Hogan gets to kick out of everything, why can't Michaels kick out of something? It's not like Hogan is getting a weekly title push. If a guy of Michaels caliber kicks of the boot and legdrop it's not going to hurt Hogan's status.

It came in at about 22 minutes in length, which was a bit surprising to me. I thought it would be about 15 minutes or so. They did what made it work. They knew of Hogan's limitations, so they capitalized it by telling a story in the match of Michaels being persistent, bloodying Hogan and cheating by doing things like a lowblow and chairshot. The story of the match will be Michaels' performance though. He really carried Hogan to one of Hogan's best PPV matches, which is a testament to Michaels' ability considering the age of the 52 year old Hulkster.
Rating: ***3/4 - Better match than I envisioned.

Post match, Michaels shook his hand. That saddened me. I wanted him to superkick there to stay heel. Now he might be a face again. I hope not. Keep him heel. Now the questions that remain are will Hogan be used again? If so, against who? Do they save him for Austin at WrestleMania? Personally, I'd keep him away till the new year if they're doing the Austin program. The longer Hogan stays, the more he wears out his welcome.

Five Stars of the Night
1. Shawn Michaels - He was a human pinball machine tonight, selling everything for Hogan in ways I've never seen anybody sell for Hogan before, save for Savage and Hennig in their good days. Really spectacular performance from Michaels here.

2. Eddie Guerrero - Everything he did was right. His work in the ring, his facial expressions and his timing the whole match was perfect. An all around tremendous performance from Guerrero.

3. Rey Mysterio - Some of the bumps he took in this match had to have hurt him pretty bad. I would not complain if this guy had more ladder matches since he can do some unbelievable things in there.

4. Chris Jericho - Did a really good job in the feud, as well as this match with Cena in leading him to one of his better one on one matches this year.

5. Kurt Angle - Honestly, he's only here because of the medal ceremony in the ring. Classic Kurt Angle right there.

Final Thoughts
Pretty good show. Nothing here was bad or unwatchable to the point where you can complain about it for weeks and weeks (like most SD PPVs). There was no match of the year contender on the show, but there were two matches in Eddie/Rey and Hogan/Michaels that are certainly worth the replay. Other matches like Cena/Jericho and Orton/Undertaker were about as good as I expected them to be. I still wish they found spots for deserving talents like Benjamin, Carlito and Christian on the card, but you can't make everybody happy, right?

All things considered, it was an above average show with good booking, some good in ring performances and an ending that left everybody satisfied.

7 out of 10.

Smell ya later,
John C. - oratoryjohn@gmail.com