Monday 15 August 2011
Duckman Has A Look Back At WWE Summer Slam 2011
“Anticipation has a habit to set you up, for disappointment in evening entertainment...” – Arctic Monkeys – The View from the Afternoon.
Well, well, well. So that’s Summerslam been and gone. I’m writing this on Monday afternoon. I had to work this morning so didn’t get to see the show live. After seeing, what has been, one of the most talked about major WWE PPVs in a while, no doubt there’s a ton of opinion and conjecture seething across the Internet Wrestling Community as I type this – what’s new, right?
I’m not going to do a full review of the show. You’ve probably all seen it by now and there’s people far more qualified than me to give a detailed review. Instead I’m going to give my thoughts on the show as I watched it...call it a running train of thought if you will.
However, before we get started let me pose a question. A question I ask every time I purchase a WWE PPV – was it worth the £15 that I spent? Now, granted, that’s a tough question - especially considering all the things you can buy for £15, for instance:
• 2 texts on my ridiculously expensive and complex Vodafone IPhone Payment Plan.
• 0.05 seconds of CGI footage from Transformers 3.
• A bottle of cheap vodka and a pack of cigarettes in Glasgow.
• 30 minutes with the most expensive hooker in Glasgow.
• 60 minutes with the cheapest hooker in Glasgow...plus a bottle of vodka...and a pack of cigarettes...and a bag of chips.
Look, the point I’m trying to make is did I find Summerslam value for money? Given I’m in the elusive 18-35 male demographic that WWE are desperate to bring back to their product should I be happy with my purchase? Well there’s only one way to find out! So sit back, put on some good tunes and get ready for more fun than you can get for £15 in the red light district of Glasgow, as I bring to you:
Duckman’s Summerslam Snapshots!!
Ok, I’m not a fan of the band Tool...so I don’t know who this old looking hippy is. He’s no Jimmi Hendrix at Woodstock doing the US national anthem, that’s for sure. He hasn’t taken enough acid for a start. Personally I’ve always felt that the song, “America, Fuck Yeah,” from the hilarious Team America: World Police would be a much more fitting song to kick off a WWE show if they want some nationalistic pride. It just seems like a Vince kind of song, he’s probably got it as his ring tone.
Set looks great, crowd sound hot...oh give me a fucking BREAK – Booker fucking T on commentary? Booker T? And NO JR!!! That cheap ass hooker is looking more inviting by the minute. Great, 20 seconds into the show and Cole and Booker have made a joke about one of them being a cheerleader in high school...are these guys sent to personally ruin every WWE PPV I watch? WHERE THE FUCK IS JR?!?!
The six man was a good opener. Got the crowd going and didn’t do too much – exactly what the opening match of a PPV should do. Kofi Kingston gets higher on his moves than Bob Marley on Jamaica Day. Seriously impressive. Speaking of Kofi, what in the hell was Miz trying to do to him with that weird cutter/DDT thing? Apart from drop his height by 4 inches. Nasty.
I know some people don’t like Del Rio but I think he’s awesome. No one in WWE looks more happy with himself after kicking a midget than ADR does each time he kicks Rey Mysterio. Credit to Rey for working the match, you could tell he was hurting and moving slowly but he still hit his spots and looked crisp doing so.
The finish was fun with more dives than a Barcelona vs. Real Madrid game and the crowd were into it by the end. Plus it set up Rey nicely for his WWE Title match on Raw tonight. Job done.
You remember I asked if the show was worth the money? CM Punk just made it worth 2 hours with that nasty Glaswegian hooker. Seriously, what a fuckin LEGEND that man is. His promo with Laurinaitis was great but the follow up with Stephy baby? ONE MILLION BUYS. His comic timing is masterful. That final line was up there with some of the best zingers against Steph by guys like Jericho and The Rock. Ah, happy memories.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry – the man with the World’s Strongest Spandex. I really like Sheamus as an arse kicking babyface and so do the crowd, he seems to be really getting over. As for Henry? Look, he’s been with WWE for 15 years and every now and again they think people have forgotten he’s as boring as cheese on toast, so they give him the big push and what happens? Nothing. That’s not to say he’s terrible, this last run has been quite good. It just highlights how thin WWE are on main event level heels that they’re back to the emergency Mark Henry push.
Ok, Booker T has got to go. I can’t understand a fucking word the guy says. There’s a moment where Henry lands on Sheamus while he’s draped over the ropes. I can’t make out what Booker said but it sounded like, “Ah hee doo da skee that boy.” And to think Vince used to go fucking nuts at Mick Foley on commentary! He must have a damn brain hemmorage every time Booker opens his mouth! Someone needs to explain what Booker T brings to commentary because I sure as shit don’t hear it.
The finish was ok, I suppose. I think a double count out would have been better for both guys or maybe double DQ. The visual of Henry smashing Sheamus through the barricade was ruined only but the horrendously camp actor plants in the front row of the audience. One dude had his hands over his mouth with an expression of utter shock on his face the whole time. He just kept looking at Sheamus and then looking at his suspiciously muscled and good looking friends, then back to Sheamus, like he literally couldn’t believe the carnage he’d just witnessed. You think he’d just seen a basket of kittens thrown out a 12th floor window and land in a wood chipper! Even for wrestling, that was terrible acting – expect that dude to be in the lead in the next Michael Bay movie.
Christian is always good for a promo but man, does Jon Favreau owe someone in WWE money? Talk about a brutal burial of Cowboys and Aliens – that was worse than Nexus at Summerslam last year!
Yay – a 15 minute musical interlude on a wrestling PPV, just what I paid for! I hope this goes as long as Kid Rock at ‘Mania last year... Still, good to see Mo from Men on a Mission still getting a gig. Not the same without Mable though. Some awesome shots of bored looking CM Punk fans texting. Nice to see the B Team Divas out shaking their asses for their PPV money. Oh and speaking of asses, The Bellas? GOOD GOD! Ok Mo, please, please, please say “fuck you” by mistake. Nice suggestive tongue gesture by Mo to finish things off. Lots of parents having to answer awkward questions from the their little Cena clones after that one. I don’t know where you come from, but on the mean streets of Argyll, that gesture means lesbian...or so a big boy told me.
Divas match. Unfortunately I went for a piss towards the end of Mo’s set. How the fuck can Kelly Kelly still not run the ropes? Jesus. I heart Beth’s constantly falling down zip. Ok, Booker finally made me laugh with his ultra creepy line, “look at Eve, just standing there looking...goooood.” Doesn’t make up for the rest of the show, but it’s a start. Anyone else think Kelly was picturing Orton’s face when she went all bat shit crazy? Nice roll up on the finish but the match was below par.
You know what this PPV has that I thought WWE had forgotten how to do? Segments that link a story through the show that build to the main event. Remember when they used to do that? When backstage moments served a purpose? Instead of pointless ‘comedy’ skits to crowbar in some sports dude or actor no one knows...oh, hi R-Truth and tall Basketball player I don’t know...normal service is resumed.
Ok, Barrett vs. Bryan. I’ve been looking forward to this. Not so sure it’s such a good idea to mention last year’s Summerslam main event, considering how far Barrett’s stock has fallen since then. Oh for the love of God can you please just stop burying Daniel Bryan ALL THE TIME! What is the point of any of it? Cocks. Bryan busting out some of his trademark ROH spots. This match is hellish stiff and has had tons of replays of big spots. Crowd pretty dead though. I wonder if that’s because they’ve been conditioning to think of Bryan as a useless nerd?
I love the different style of strikes these guys are using. Bryan’s big kicks spot towards the end probably made most of the kids in attendance cry. Loved this match. A really different, hard hitting and realistic style of offense that you don’t see enough in WWE. You compare that to what Morrison and Kofi do and it’s like night and day. Don’t get me wrong, both styles have their place, I just like this style more.
Here we go. Christian vs. Orton. The ‘Keith Richards feud,’ because just like Keith, this feud can’t be killed by conventional weapons. What is this, like the sixth time these two have faced off in the last five months? If that doesn’t highlight the lack of new, main event level talent, being made in WWE in the last year I don’t know what does. Then again Orton and Cena faced off on 347 consecutive PPVs in the last 5 years. Or at least it felt like it.
Hey it’s EDGE!! What a crowd pop! I sense a swerve coming. Yep, there it is. Poor Christian, he looks really upset. No one does the weasel heel better than Christian and it’s in full force here tonight. Orton’s selling like a demon – great work. Still not sold on him doing that Thesz press. It just totally kills the crowd because it looks so fucking weird. I think it’s the way he splays his legs and arms as he hits it. Something just ain’t right. Oh man, superplex on the flat table! Christian busts out Foley’s steps spot. Yay – the RKO finally broke an announce table. Randy will be pleased.
Ok, this finish is just brutal. I take it back about John Favreau owing WWE money. Christian must’ve mugged one of HHH’s kids! A burial of the highest order. Like, don’t just bury him. Burn the body, then bury the ashes, then set the grave on fire, then bury the graveyard. Holy shit! I don’t think the Spirit Squad got killed to fuck as badly as that. That RKO on the steps was a hell of a visual though.
Up until Christian got put six feet under by Orton that was a fucking awesome match. I loved how it back referenced to the previous matches with the spitting, and the leap off the ropes into the RKO. I loved the aggression of both men, their excellent selling and facial expressions throughout. The total and utter destruction of Christian though? Felt unnecessary – unless he’s taking time off for injuries. If not, say good bye to him ever drawing as a main event level wrestler again.
So, main event time. What’s going to happen? Will the IWC explode in a shower of rage and cheesy poofs if Cena wins? Will the IWC collectively orgasm if CM Punk wins? Will WWE fuck the booking of the match in the A? How much camera time will HHH steal?
The video package should be renamed “WWE – America’s Game.” Seriously, if the NFL don’t send a strongly worded letter about that I’ll be shocked. Cool video though – WWE fighting back in the hype video stakes just when I thought UFC had taken the lead.
Phew, HHH decided not to borrow Shawn Michaels guest referee shorts. You know, the ones he smuggles that Budgie in. That’s one less thing to worry about. Huge reaction to Punk – they cut whatever he said to HHH when he walked across the ring from the reply I’m watching. LAME! Huge reaction for Cena, pretty negative but some cheers. Major heat for this one. Man, has any angle in WWE clicked as well as this one in recent years? Look at all those Punk t-shirts in the crowd! Someone can afford a new tattoo now!
Poor Cena, he tries a few mat exchanges that don’t look that bad and get’s the ‘you can’t wrestle’ chant. I wonder what’s more annoying for the wrestlers, that chant or the ‘what’ thing? Some decent exchanges in this match – the work is smoother than at MITB. They’ve struck gold with that running knee to Cena’s face! They did it three times and each time the crowd popped. I liked the reversals of the submissions, even if Cena was struggling to work out what he was supposed to do. Nice drop kick Mr Cena! Where’s that been hiding all these years? Some great near falls with their finishers.
And there goes all the air out of the arena. The foot on the ropes spot that isn’t seen by HHH? Really? That’s the finish? If this doesn’t telegraph ADR cashing in tonight and they’re going with a 3 way with Cena, ADR and Punk at Night of Champions, nothing does. Look at all the Punk fans with their hands on their heads waiting for the screw job...and here it comes...wait, what? KEVIN NASH?
Ok, I didn’t expect that. Adds a layer of drama to things – did HHH bring him in or maybe Steph? I hope to Christ we aren’t getting a Punk vs. Nash match...no even WWE wouldn’t do that to us.
Here’s ADR. And boom, cash in and new WWE Champion. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Look how happy he is, he’s jumping out the ring and leaping about without the WWE Title! Give him the Title ref. Well then...
So the dust has settled and I’ve had time to think things over. I didn’t like the finish to the WWE Title match at all. That foot on the rope spot is so redundant in 2011. Especially with Cole, Lawler and Booker all screaming, “he had his foot on the rope” and the countless times that finish has been reversed. Never mind the 100 foot high screen they could show a replay on. I know it gives Cena a reason to stay in the Title mix but I’d have thought they’d do something a bit more innovative than that.
I’m not as pissed off at Punk losing the Title as I imagine some people are. I’d kind of accepted it was going to happen. I just hope it leads to Punk and Del Rio because that could be fun. The Kevin Nash run in was WAY out of left field but as it ties in with the HHH/Steph stuff, I’m actually for it. It’s logical if they did hire him and it also works as a nice lead to continue Punk vs. HHH.
So was Summer Slam worth the money? Could my £15 have been better spent? Did I miss a trick and a bag of chips with that hooker? Probably. But it’s WWE – I never entered the deal with hopes of this PPV and the finish to the main event blowing my mind and ushering in a new era in WWE. It was entertaining enough and it does set things up for Raw.
My big concern is whether or not the fans who have sided with Punk are going to stick with him and do the most important thing - spend money and time on him. Be it merch, PPV buys or TV ratings. If Punk’s fans go back to the net and back to ignoring WWE that’ll be the perfect sign to WWE that this experiment didn’t work. That the IWC aren’t worth catering too because they don’t spend money on the product. I did and I do kind of feel a bit disappointed now that I’ve reflected on what I saw.
I’ll watch Raw though, just to see how they follow the whole thing up. I think the 3 way at Night of Champions in the logical step but I can’t help feel that Punk and WWE have had a lot of cold water thrown on them in the last few weeks and it’s all down to how they’re telling this story. But I’m open to be proven wrong.
Anyway, that’s my take on Summer Slam. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I’d love to hear what you all thought of the show. Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and if you don’t already I’ve changed my handle to @WLHDuckman. I’ll be back later in the week with a new article and I hope you’ll all come back to Wrestling’s Last Hope to check it out. Cheers.