The match with the most hype heading into WWE SummerSlam tonight was by far Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H, as the match had been first set up back in April and it was given the most airtime in terms of in-ring segments and video packages on Raw each week since the match was official. Oftentimes, especially in the case of professional wrestling, a match does not live up to the hype surrounding it; in this case, however, the match, the ending and the storyline surrounding it all delivered exactly what the fans wanted and expected, if not more. Despite my objection to the match’s placement on the card (it was the last match of the night) and how the PPV went off the air, I enjoyed the match and absolutely loved the PPV as a whole. And on a side note, in terms of my predictions as to how the matches would all end, I correctly predicted five of the eight matches.
WWE SummerSlam technically kicked off with the YouTube pre-show, in which two major developments occurred. First, Triple H called the referee for his match into his locker room and demanded that he and Brock Lesnar be allowed to fight and that the match only end in a pinfall or submission, that there be no disqualifications or countouts, a stipulation to which the referee reluctantly agreed. The second major development was that after months and months of Santino Marella holding yet barely defending the United States Championship and making a mockery of it just by being the champion, he finally dropped the title. Although I missed the match because I was at a restaurant to watch the show, my pleas of ABS (Anyone But Santino) were answered as WWE tweeted that, with some distraction by Aksana, Antonio Cesaro defeated Marella to become the new US Champion. Now I would love to see the rest of my prediction come through, as I think Cesaro tossing aside the US Title and bringing back the European Championship would not only be interesting, but make the fans more interested in the US Title with that one move than anything Santino Marella did by having it for nearly a year.
WWE SummerSlam technically kicked off with Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler. As I predicted, the match stole the show, but I incorrectly predicted a Dolph Ziggler win as Chris Jericho walked away with the victory after making Ziggler tap out to the Walls of Jericho Given that Jericho is on his way out to tour with his rock band Fozzy, and the fact that Ziggler is carrying around a MITB briefcase, I am very surprised that he lost the match. Hopefully Ziggler gets his revenge tomorrow night on Raw and ends up winning the war despite losing the battle.
Daniel Bryan defeated Kane in a decent match, one that was not as good as I expected given that Bryan was one of the competitors but that was fine for what it was. I was surprised to see Bryan win clean as he countered a Tombstone Piledriver (after being hit with a chokeslam) and rolled up Kane for the quick pinfall. After the match, Kane went on a rampage backstage looking for Bryan, even going so far as to throw Josh Mathews entirely off camera when Mathews dared to try and interview him.
The Miz successfully retained the Intercontinental Championship against Rey Mysterio, which is the right decision to make given that Miz just won the title last month and it will take longer title reigns, multiple successful title defenses and legitimate contenders with developed storylines to continue to bring the IC Title back to the prominence a title with its history deserves. The win didn’t come clean, as Mysterio was thrown into an exposed turnbuckle before Miz hit him with the Skull Crushing Finale, but that it pretty much in line with Miz’s character. Hopefully Miz is on Raw tomorrow night, either in a match defending his title or setting up a storyline with his next opponent.
A lot of people in the restaurant thought that Alberto Del Rio was going to defeat Sheamus and become the new World Heavyweight Champion, especially since this was the fourth PPV in a row that the two Superstars had wrestled for the title, but I (unfortunately) correctly predicted that Sheamus would retain. At this point I am bored by these two men fighting for the title because, no matter how good the matches are, I’ve seen them wrestle to the same result too many times to care anymore. If they face one last time at Night Of Champions next month, Del Rio has to win, otherwise it’s time for Sheamus to move on to a new opponent (e.g., Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, etc.). I was also pretty unhappy to see Sheamus cheat twice to win (he hit Del Rio with a shoe that Del Rio had tried to hit him with and then knocked Del Rio’s foot off the bottom rope during the pinfall before the referee could see it) and then have the fans cheer him. So in the last three weeks, your good guy champion has stolen a car and cheated to retain his title. Uh huh….
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth retained the Tag Team Championships against The Prime Time Players, and despite being bored by this result for the same reason as the Sheamus/Del Rio match, this tag team match was proof as to how good these matches, and the division as a whole, can be when the competitors are not only given time to build storylines, but the matches are set up and announced in advance and given lots of time in the ring. Hopefully, however, the champs drop the titles soon to keep things interesting, otherwise I’m afraid fans might lose interested no matter how good the matches are. It’s not like there are a lack of teams for them to drop the titles to anymore, which is a great thing if the WWE takes advantage of it.
For the ninth PPV in a row, meaning every single PPV in 2012, the WWE Championship match did not close the show. In the past, it has been because John Cena has been in a different match and God forbid his match not be last. For this PPV, with John Cena fighting for the title and with my prediction of him winning the match, I assumed that it would be the main event and that Lesnar/HHH would go second-to-last. Well, I was wrong on both counts as the CM Punk/John Cena/Big Show triple threat match for the WWE Championship went on second-to-last and, surprisingly, CM Punk retained his title. Now, I am not complaining about incorrectly predicting the outcome of this match because I am always happy to see John Cena lose, especially when it’s for a title, and even more so when it means that Punk is still the champ. And, on top of that, the ending was actually pretty cool and something different, as Big Show tapped out while both Punk and Cena had him locked into two separate submission holds, leading to Raw General Manager AJ Lee coming out and restarting the match. After unsuccessfully trying to lobby AJ to award each of them the title, Punk and Cena turned around and got his with a double chokeslam from Big Show, but Big Show was unable to pin either man. Instead, Cena hit Big Show with the Attitude Adjustment but then got thrown out of the ring by Punk, who pinned Big Show to retain the title. This most likely will lead to Punk and Cena fighting for the title between now and January, when whoever is the champion going into the Royal Rumble will defend it against The Rock. I just hope that, if Cena vs. Rock II is going to happen, it happens at the Royal Rumble, which I will be watching on TV, and not at Wrestlemania 29, which I will be at live.
There were two benefits to announcing seven matches in advance. First, it meant that every match had a purpose and, in my opinion, every match was good. Second, it meant that we didn’t get any random throwaway matches like Jindar Mahal vs. Ryback or Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara. Instead, we did get a performance by the artist who performs the SumemrSlam theme song, which I would have normally used as my bathroom break expect that all of the Divas came on stage to dance. I guess having them on stage dancing is better than nothing, though instead of the performance at all I would have liked to have seen a Divas match. The benefit to the Night of Champions PPV next month is that every title has to be on the line, which means that the WWE will have no excuse not to have the Divas Champion defend her title. Whether or not they put any effort into that match remains to be seen over the next four weeks.
The main event of the evening, as I already noted, was Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H. As I noted in my SummerSlam preview, Lesnar had to win this match to make any subsequent match between him and any opponent at all interesting. However, between the fact that it was going on last and that Triple H has the biggest ego of any WWE Superstar today and the power backstage to get his way, I was very nervous that he would refuse to lose to Lesnar. However, in the end, he took the loss when Lesnar put him in the Kimura Lock and Triple H tapped out when Lesnar cinched in the hold and broke his arm. Before then the match was as hard-hitting a fight as you would expect, with Lesnar getting in most of the offense but taking quite a beating at the same time. Of course, Triple H may have agreed that the best business decision was for him to lose, but it didn’t mean that the spotlight wasn’t going to be on him when the show went off the air. After the match, Lesnar quickly retreated to the back while Triple H stayed in the ring and sold the broken arm. When he finally got up, he muttered that he was sorry to the crowd and slowly made his way up the ramp. This was very reminiscent of the past two Wrestlemania matches between him and The Undertaker, when despite losing both matches, in the first one it was Undertaker who was carried out on a stretcher and in the second one he, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker all celebrated together at the top of the ramp. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a cool image, but it’s just interesting that Triple H is 0-3 in his last three big money matches but always seems to make sure the spotlight is still on him. As my friend Pete noted, it was just unnecessary self aggrandizing that served no purpose and will probably lead to nothing. As for Brock Lesnar, now that he won the match and can look ahead to his next opponent, the question that remains is who it will be and to where it will all lead….