The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
SummerSlam: Report & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz tells what happened at WWE’s biggest pay per view event of the summer and explores what it all means..
SummerSlam, WWE’s second-biggest pay per view of the year, turned out better than it looked on paper, despite the disappointing Orton-Cena match.
Let’s look at the matches and see what happened – and why – at
Jack Korpella hosted the half-hour pre-show. It featured an array of clips and extensive excerpts from the six-man match involving Cryme Tyme and Rey Mysterio versus Jericho, Big Show and Dolph Ziggler.
<I<SummerSlam opened with DX heckling the videos. Shawn Michaels said his experience as a TV repairman would help him fix it when it broke down, but he was unable to do so.
The Kingfish comments: This was a cute way to use DX – assuming that you have to revive this played-out act in the first place.
Jim Ross welcomed everyone to Los Angeles’ Staples Center for the 22nd SummerSlam.
Rey Mysterio d. Dolph Ziggler
The Story: When you want to make your mark and you’re just starting, a good strategy is to target someone who is already on top. That’s what Ziggler has done, though he has not yet tasted the kind of success he expects. His last match against the Masked Marvel, but he stayed in it until the final bell. He did well enough to earn another shot at the IC strap.
My Prediction: All the build up for Dolph Ziggler is going to be a waste if he doesn’t get a big win in here somewhere. This could be his time to obtain his first taste of gold. Mysterio will get a rematch at the next PPV.
Predicted Grade: B+
Actual Match: Ziggler had things pretty much his own way in the opening section until Mysterio uncorked an eye-popping Springboard Moonsault that nearly brought the match to a sudden, premature end.
When the challenger missed a High Knee in the corner, the Masked Marvel made him pay with a Thesz Press. Ziggler almost maneuvered his foe into a surprise pin, but the champion kicked free in time!
Ziggler evaded a 619 and landed a Legdrop. He couldn’t turn it into a pin. Essentially the same thing happened a couple of minutes later. Ziggler appeared to have the champion well scouted.
The two fought on the top turnbuckle until Mysterio took him to the canvas with a Huracanrana and executed the pinning cover.
Actual Grade: A
The Kingfish comments: This was a terrific “coming out” party for the blond rookie. He and Mysterio started the show with about the best curtain-jerker imaginable.
Now, Dolph Ziggler needs to beat somebody and win something. A good place to start would be a rematch with Mysterio and a victory that gains the Intercontinental Championship.
Josh Matthews interviewed Jack Swagger and MVP. They played up the difference in their backgrounds.
MVP d. Jack Swagger
The Story: Like the feud between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk, this is a clash of lifestyles and attitudes. Jack Swagger has no sympathy for MVP’s rehabilitation after a shady youth. The fans feel very differently about the way Porter has escaped his criminal past.
My Prediction: This looks more like the start of an exciting feud than the climax of one. Accordingly, the match will not have a clean finish. Something, or someone, will interfere so that the All-American American can gain a cheap victory that will lead to a rematch.
Predicted Grade: B+
Actual Match: Swagger deftly executed a Go Behind to an Abdominal Stretch, but MVP refused to surrender.
The All-American American applied a Rear Chinlock that put his foe in a world of hurt. MVP somehow stood up and pulled off an Electric Chair that crashed his tormentor to the mat!
After Swagger missed a couple of moves, MVP nailed him with a Playmaker to win the match.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: This was a good, solid match though it felt like the first in a series. By that I mean that the combatants did a good job but left something in the tank for the sequels.
A long video sang the praises of RAW’s guest hosts.
Nancy O’Dell, an attractive blonde woman, took the mic to introduce celebrities and plug her charity.
The Kingfish comments: Maybe WWE needs this stuff to score brownie points, but it always creates a dead spot in the show.
Chris Jericho & Big Show d. Cryme Tyme
Unified Tag Team title
The Story: Cryme Tyme appears to have gotten their act together and is now in position to challenge the daunting duo of Jericho and Big Show.
My Prediction: Why not a Cryme Tyme victory? WWE’s tendency to undervalue performers of color notwithstanding, it would make a great deal of sense to give JTH and Shad Gaspar. This outcome would free Big Show and Chris Jericho for singles action and propel CT into matches against the Hart Dynasty and Legacy. I’m not sure how this miracle will be accomplished, but it could be something like miscommunication between the champs that allows Cryme Tyme to win the match with superior teamwork.
Predicted Grade: B
Actual Match: Chris Jericho did a lengthy rant from center-ring in which he claimed he and Big Show were the best team in wrestling history.
JTG found himself trapped in the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring, The Cryme Tyme member willed himself to the ropes.
Big Show smashed JTG in the head and Jericho pinned him.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: What a lame ending! It was too much like what Show did to Mysterio on Smackdown
WWE has tried to move Cryme Tyme into a legitimate team instead of a comedy spot. They didn’t need to win this match to forward the process, but it would be a good idea to give them a feud in which they can win some of the matches.
CM Punk showed Josh Matthews a copy of a script of the Jeff Hardy story. He promised to rewrite the ending when he takes the title from him.
Kane d. The Great Khali
The Story: It’s sometimes hard to guess what Kane will do next. His latest obsession is The Great Khali and his brother Ranjin Singh.
My Prediction: Kane will menace Singh and then brutalize the unwary Khali. This has real potential to be the show’s designated Bathroom Break Match.
Predicted Grade: C-
Actual Match: Kane menaced Singh and took an unwary Khali off his feet with a low-altitude Dropkick and then finished him with a DDT,
Actual Grade: D
The Kingfish comments: The worst thing about this match is that there is likely to be a rematch. Khali is a better worker than when he first debuted, but he is no whiz in the ring. Kane can be good, if his opponent is outstanding. That was clearly not the case, so the match ended up tedious and slow moving.
DX vs. Legacy
The Story: When Rhodes and DiBiase attacked Triple H, he started to look for a partner to get some payback. He found the best one you can get in Shawn Michaels. DX rides again!
My Prediction: This is a trial of egos. Legacy should win, because they are an important team right now, whereas DX is just doing a one-shot appearance. The fact that they are appearing at all in these awkward and outmoded characters says all too much about the current state of WWE. The best booking might be to have Orton tip the scales in favor of Legacy, which would then score the win against HBK.
Predicted Grade: A-
Actual Match: Long videos and an elaborate entrance for DX preceded the match. Triple H and HBK rode to the ring on a tank.
Shawn Michaels and Cody Rhodes battled on the top turnbuckle late in the match. HBL threw the Plumber’s Grandson down, but upraised knees thwarted HBK’s Frogsplash.
Triple H jolted Rhodes with a Pedigree, but DiBiase caught The Game with Dream Street, Michaels then hit Sweet Chin Music with no preamble to win the match.
Actual Grade: B
The Kingfish comments: The ending couldn’t completely ruin a decent match, but it came close. Having Legacy lose seems like the wrong way to go, but perhaps WWE will now book a series of strong wins for what is their most promising current team.
Christian vs. William Regal
The Story: Now that Capt. Charisma has solidified his current title reign with back-to-back wins against former champion Tommy Dreamer, William Regal has stepped up to challenge him. Regal is bigger and stronger with lots of veteran know-how. We’ll find out at SummerSlam whether or not that will be enough
My Prediction: It’s hard to tell whether WWE expects us to take this seriously or is just using Regal to give Christian a breather before a run of more grueling matches. William Regal has many good qualities, but he is also slow and showing his age. He is a good mid card guy, but at this point in his career, he’s probably miscast as a legit contender for this title. This should be a clean win for Christian, though the kind-hearted folks at WWE might be willing to let Regal lose by DQ (even though that makes no sense since a rematch is unnecessary).
Predicted Grade: B-
Actual Match: The bell rang, Christian hit his renamed finisher and pinned William Regal to retain the title. The match lasted approximately three seconds.
After the match, Regal, joined by Kozlov and Jackson, beat up the champion.
Actual Grade: No Rating
The Kingfish comments: This match lasted ay least three seconds too long. They might as well have had the trio attack Christian during an interview.
Randy Orton vs. John Cena
The Story: These two have battled each other for a long time. John Cena wants that title and he is going to put everything on the line to get it. Orton has a bag of tricks that seems to have no bottom, so Cena will have to bring his “A” game if he wants to regain the gold.
My Prediction: Randy Orton is running out of viable challengers, which is one reason that John Cena is back to fight him again. Another is that Cena is the most over babyface with the fans and WWE is straining every corporate muscle to prevent an economy-induced slide. John Cena winning the title won’t cure the problems, but at least it might usher in a different set of pairings. Well, after Orton gets one or two televised rematches.
Predicted Grade: A-
Actual Match: After a brief run of mat wrestling, Orton got going and soon beat down the challenger in the corner. Cena erupted out of the corner to give the Viper a taste of his own medicine.
Orton clamped on a Sleeper Hold and a Body Scissors. Cena summoned his strength to stand. Cena pitched backwards in a version of the Electric Chair, to shake loose the tenacious Orton.
It looked like Cena was zeroing in on the title when he landed a couple of Running Forearms and a Plant to set up the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Randy not only blocked the Attitude Adjustment, but turned it into a Powerslam!
Cena survived one of Orton’s vicious, ropes-assisted DDTs and again seemed to have things under control. The champion evidently thought so, too, because he decked the referee in an obvious ploy to get disqualified.
Lilian Garcia, fluffing what might be her final appearance as ring announcer, proclaimed Orton “the new champion.” Then she announced that Mr. McMahon had ordered the match restarted, this time as “No DQ.”
Randy Orton reacted to that by causing a COR. Again, Lilian Garcia announced that Mr. McMahon ordered the match restarted, adding a “No COR” stipulation.
This time, Randy Orton pinned Cena to keep the title.
Actual Grade: C
The Kingfish comments: This match was a major disappointment and well below what fans should expect from the co main event of a pay per view. There are so many ways to achieve what this match accomplished –most of them involving doing the bit on RAW.
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
World Heavyweight Championship
The Story: The feud continues as Punk tries to shame Jeff Hardy.
My Prediction: What we don’t know – the status of Jeff Hardy – may play a crucial role in deciding how WWE decides to book this match. A Punk win would create the basis for additional matches while protecting the company against a sudden decision by Jeff to retire. The win will be tainted, but it’ll be enough to gain the championship for CM Punk.
Predicted Grade: A-
Actual Match: CM Punk wasted no time stomping Hardy and heaving him out of the ring. He grabbed a chair and slowly, menacingly, advanced on the fallen titlist. He rammed it into Jeff’s midsection and then smashed him across the back. Punk set up a ladder, but Hardy toppled it to foil the attempt.
Hardy got some payback when he savaged Punk in the corner. He tried to climb the ladder, but the challenger knocked it out from under him and went back to his striking attack.
The two went at it and held back nothing in this incredible match. Both executed many high spots and made use of all the paraphernalia of a TLC match.
Perhaps the signature moment of the match came after a vicious ringside battle. Hardy put Punk on the announce table, climbed a 20-ft. ladder and jumped onto Punk! The table crumpled, but even Jeff took some damage.
After Punk Superplexed Hardy, they staggered to their feet and went right back to it. Mr. Straight Edge went for a Neckbreaker, which the Enigma blocked. Hardy then turned it into a Twist of Fate that leveled his hated foe. Hardy thought he could cripple Punk with the Swanton, but C< raised his knees in time to give the champion a very painful landing.
Punk charged at Hardy. The younger Hardy calmly Back Suplexed him over the top rope and through a ringside table!
Punk crawled on his belly to get back in the ring. . Hardy, who’d been lying on a stretcher, refused medical attention and lurched back inside the ropes.
Both men looked at the ladder, each calculating his chances. Finally, Punk started to climb. They went up opposite sides of the ladder and battled at the top. Finally, CM Punk threw Hardy to the canvas and claimed the ultimate prize.
The new champion started to celebrate, but the arena lights went out!
When they returned, Punk looked around in bewilderment. Suddenly, the figure on the canvas sat bolt upright!
It was the Undertaker, who had replaced the downed Hardy. He jumped up and Chokeslammed CM Punk to hell!
Actual Grade: A
The Kingfish comments: What a match! This one helped SummerSlam come off better in the arena than it looked on paper, even though the Cena-Orton match was very disappointing.
It sure looks like Punk will soon be facing the Deadman.
Predicted Grade for SummerSlam: B-
Actual Grade for SummerSlam: B-
That’s it for today. I’ll be back on Monday with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I’ll have the recap and analysis of SummerSlam and you’ll be able to laugh at my predictions.
— Arnie Katz