Monday, August 20, 2012

8/19/12 SummerSlam

Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella (U.S. Title): N/A (preshow match, did not watch)

Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***3/4

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: **1/2

Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (IC Title): ***

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Title): ***1/2

Titus O'Neil & Darren Young vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (Tag Team Titles): **1/4

CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show (WWE Title): ***1/2

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (Street Fight): ***1/2

As expected, Antonio Cesaro beat Santino Marella to win the U.S. Title. Didn't watch that preshow match.

Good choice to have Ziggler and Jericho start the actual PPV. Jericho with the taped-up ribs. Hot crowd for the opener. Ziggler worked on the ribs through most of the match. Jericho's still got the big moves as Y2J. Check out that top-rope hurricanrana. Zigzag didn't finish Jericho, Codebreaker out of desperation. Lion Tamer wins it. Didn't think they'd have Jericho go over if he really was leaving to go touring with Fozzy, but seems like they could always have Ziggler take Jericho out later to do an injury storyline. Vickie looked like someone stole her prized poodle or something after Ziggler lost.

Cole and Lawler say HBK is not at SummerSlam, but is tweeting instead. Must be pretty good to tweet with one good arm.

So it's the Goat Bryan and Kane next. "YES! NO!" Love how that's gotten over. Just look at the crowd when DB goes to the top rope for the headbutt. Crowd's just going berserk. Great spot from the headbutt to the chokeslam, since DB had to launch himself perfectly into that one. DB wins by countering the tombstone into an inside cradle for three. Not the smoothest finish, but passable. Yup, got that one wrong too. Don't worry, doing pro wrestling predictions isn't my day job anyway.

As if Kane wasn't mentally unstable enough, there you go. Another rampage in the back. Poor Josh Mathews goes flying. GM AJ Lee says she will deal with Kane on RAW.

IC Title match next between Miz and Mysterio. Miz now gets the "Awesome" bubble letters on his ring entrance. Mysterio has a Batman-like mask. Has Miz really evolved his game a lot? Maybe slightly, but not significantly like Undertaker has. Look to Taker for how he has lasted so long. Nice counters here, another solid match. So indeed, it was a fun match that made Miz look good. SCF wins it for Miz.

Punk and AJ with the whole awkward exchange in the back. Vintage trance-like state for AJ!

No bandage on Sheamus' left arm despite all the "damage" ADR's done to it. Hard kicks from ADR for most of the match. Steel turnbuckle ring exposed in the match, so that should play a factor. Sheamus showed great power deadlifting ADR to counter the armbreaker. Sheamus into the exposed turnbuckle and that didn't work, either.

The finish was interesting. ADR went bonkers on Ricardo in frustration. Sheamus used Ricardo's shoe. Ref missed ADR's foot on the ropes. Sheamus knocked ADR's foot off the ropes. Finally, the crowd appeared to boo Sheamus (but many were still cheering). I thought possible double-turn here, but not the case. ADR also tried to tell the ref he got hit with the shoe, but hopefully it was only to get the match restarted or something. DQ win doesn't help you, Alberto. At first, I also thought the ref failed to count to three, but replays showed he did. Either way, ADR gets screwed again. That part could be predictable, but hard to predict Sheamus using the shoe.

HHH tells Scott Armstrong earlier in the day that his match with Lesnar is basically a street fight again, no countouts and no DQs.

No mention of AW as Primetime Players come down for their tag title match. Understandable. Above-average tag match here with a nice ending. Again, I woulda bet the farm PTPs would have won the titles had AW still been with them. Alas, still got that prediction wrong. Seriously now? Kofi and Truth don't even need the titles, get it off them already.

Triple threat WWE Title match next, so again, no main event slot for Punk. Cena out first to mostly boos. At least the fans didn't throw the hat back. Show out second. Punk out last and he still gets the cheers. Punk's lengthy title reign again mentioned. Amazed Cole actually said Punk's last match in the main event slot (last match on the card) was December -- and Punk's been champ the entire time.

Slower pace for a significant portion of the match. Show got a lot of offense in. Cena and Punk had their spots to show strength on Show. Good job putting in spots where Punk could have lost the title without being a factor in the actual pin or submission. Show actually hit one of those Vader Bombs for a change.

I marked seeing Punk use the Koji Clutch on Show. The double submission and "who really won?" spot was a good idea. WWE did a heck of a job booking Show so strongly, even if many smarks knew he wouldn't win. Punk retaining by taking advantage of Cena's work was the right call.

I knew I said Cena would win in my prediction video, but after recording the segment, I could see why having Punk retain still could keep him a more heelish champ. Also, he doesn't have to go full-on bad guy. It's all about two things: (1) Punk needs the title more than Cena, and (2) Punk's title reign should keep going so announcers can keep talking about how it stands up in WWE history. Chances are Punk keeps the title until the Rumble, where he likely loses to Rock. Punk can then set the rematch for WrestleMania. This means the Royal Rumble winner would face the World Heavyweight champ, whomever that may be.

Celebs in the crowd. Fred Durst flips the bird. Classy. David Arquette with the World Title! Or was it his WCW Title. Sorry, I want to keep looking at Maria Menounos.

Footage of the ending to Cesaro's U.S. Title win. Aksana got involved, as one would have expected. Yes, Cesaro personifies greatness.

Since there's no divas match, Kevin Rudolf (who did the all-divas NXT season 3 theme song) and his band performs. Divas all come out to dance. Well, at least it's entertainment filler before the street fight brutality.

Cole mentions UFC by name as Lesnar comes out in his UFC-style gear (but with black boots on as well). Main event intros different this time; lights only on to spotlight Lesnar and HHH (otherwise the other lights remain off).

Lesnar focused on that left arm he "broke" a few months back, but he also showed he hasn't lost any technical wrestling skills. Fairly slow pace, yet very effective moves and a ton of physicality. HHH got to Lesnar's stomach, and we all know the diverticulitis he had a few years back. I'm not a huge fan of having people kick out of finishers barely after the two-count. Lesnar practically no-sold the second Pedigree, then "re-broke" HHH's arm in the Kimura again for the tapout win. HHH refused any medical help. "You tapped out!" chants at the end, but hey, given the spot they planned, HHH had to do it.

Torn on whether it was good to put the spotlight on HHH to close the show. Probably so, since Lesnar won't need to do any more appearances for a long time. Could be a scripted reason for HHH to end his in-ring career, but I'm sure there will be a future match somehow.

Two reasons why I'm happy with Lesnar/HHH. First, Lesnar won, something he desperately needed. Don't want two straight PPV losses in official matches. Second, they really kept it a weapon-free fight. Sure, they sent each other into announce tables, ringposts, and the steps, but we didn't see the kendo sticks, chairs, tables, and other stuff WWE matches may use. This was as physical a fight without weapons as it really could have been.

Overall, I'm very happy with the PPV. A solid showing from top to bottom. ***3/4

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