Sometimes all the feuds and title matches in the world can’t help but be overshadowed by an immortal and an icon.
That was certainly the case Sunday night at Washington’s MCI Center, where the SummerSlam 2005 card flew by with little in the way of surprises or drama en route to the much hyped meeting between Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. The ladder match between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio provided one of the few bright spots on an undercard that ranged from bizarre (Chris Benoit’s 25-second U.S. title win) to just plain dull (the ref stopping Matt Hardy’s fight with Edge after four minutes). The D.C. fans — who seemed to be spit 50-50 supporting the face and heel in a number of matches — deserve a lot of credit for keeping the energy level high until the clash between the WWE’s top stars of the ’80s and ’90s.
Michaels showed signs of early frustration as Hogan landed a number of the right hands he threw so often two decades ago, then crotched the Heartbreak Kid on the top rope. A thumb to the eye gave Michaels his first advantage of the match, and he showed little respect for Hogan’s “Hulk up” act by repeatedly slapping the Hulkster in the face. The fight spilled to the outside, where HBK busted his foe open by slamming his face into the ringpost several times.
With blood streaming down his face, Hogan looked like he might fade to Michaels’ sleeperhold. But the famous waving finger signaled a rally, with the Hulkster hitting a suplex and rolling away from a top rope elbowdrop. The big boot seemed imminent until HBK’s flying forearm shot took out both Hogan and the ref. Taunting the fans chanting “We want Bret,” Michaels locked Hogan in a Sharpshooter until the Immortal One could crawl to the ropes.
After Hogan kicked HBK and knocked out a second referee, Shawn played dirty by landing a low blow and a big chair shot. The big elbow found its mark and the band warmed up, making the impossible seem like a reality when Sweet Chin Music connected. Incredibly, Hogan kicked out at two, and sealed the expected victory a moment later with the big boot and legdrop we’ve seen so many times before. Showing his heel turn was probably temporary, Michaels came back into the ring after the bell to shake Hogan’s hand.
Thanks Nick, and now for the editorial portion of the report. Mainly because I didn’t take any notes during this match, that’s how disgusted I am by this match. When will WWE wake up and realize that constantly putting Hogan on TV will not draw new fans? But, Dale, the fans go nuts in the arenas! That’s because only die-hard fans buy tickets anymore, and most of those fans were fans during the ’80s and still want to see Hogan. I sincerely hope this was Hogan’s last match, but I doubt it.
Taking a cue from WrestleMania, SummerSlam trotted out a lackluster Smackdown! title match. Even though the stipulation was “No Holds Barred”, the Batista-JBL Heavyweight Title match wasn’t all that violent, with JBL’s limo never coming into play, and only two hardcore spots. The first came as the fight spilled into the crowd. Batista speared JBL through the security barrier into the ring area. JBL recovered and made Batista his whipping boy, with a leather belt from ringside. The champ turned the tables with the belt, only to be on the wrong end of a Clothesline from Hell. The champ kicked out, prompting JBL to bring the ring steps into the ring. The plan backfired, as Batista nailed a back body drop off the steps. After a spinebuster, Batista lifted JBL up and finished him off with a Batista bomb. The champ wasn’t content to stop there, as he picked up his challenger and delivered another Batista Bomb, this time driving JBL onto the ring steps. Batista covered for the win, retaining the Heavyweight Championship.
John Cena’s feud with Eric Bischoff’s hand-picked challenger Chris Jericho also came to a head, and the Doctor of Thuganomics had to work a little harder Sunday than he did when he first won the WWE title from JBL at WrestleMania. Y2J countered the F-U with a DDT that almost put the champ away, then proceeded to choke Cena on the bottom rope. Cena rallied with a flurry of offense, but Jericho interrupted the Five Knuckle Shuffle with the Walls of Jericho, and it was all the champ could do to make it to the ropes. An F-U off the top rope was countered by a suplex, but Jericho saw his foe kick out one more time. With Y2J looking for his second bulldog of the match, Cena reversed it into an F-U and held on to retain his gold.
The next WWE pay-per-view is the Raw-only Unforgiven on September 18.
Following a long-standing tradition, Nick’s comments will be in plain type with Dale’s remarks in italics.
Ever the patriot, Vince McMahon has the lovely Lilian Garcia kick things off with a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. A number of soldiers injured in the Middle East are ringside, and a special feed is being sent to their military hospital, which is a classy move.
Chris Benoit (challenger) vs. Orlando Jordan (champion) — U.S. Title Match
Don’t blink. Benoit ducks a punch from the champ, hits a suplex, and immediately slaps in the Crippler Crossface. Jordan taps seconds later.
I’m pretty sure people still in line for concessions just missed an entire title match, and that’s just not right.
Winner… and new U.S. Champion… Chris Benoit at 25 seconds
Match Rating: N/A (I sneezed and missed the whole thing)
Backstage, Eddie Guerrero’s wife pleads with Latino Heat not to go through with his match. Eddie says he loves Dominic and he’s doing this for him, not to hurt Rey. Eddie’s wife tells him she doesn’t think he will hurt Rey by winning the match. Eddie takes that as her doubting his ability to win, and asks her to leave.
Edge vs. Matt Hardy
There’s no reason this shouldn’t be the hottest feud in the business right now, but the WWE managed to suck some of the life out of it right off the bat. The fight starts in the aisle and carries into the ring, with Hardy landing a majority of the shots and using a rear naked choke. Edge spears Hardy off the apron to turn the tide, then pulls off a painful looking spot by dropping Hardy face-first on the ringpost. A bloody Hardy gets pummeled until the ref decides he’s had enough and stops the match. What is this, a boxing match? The temperature of this feud just got a few degrees colder.
Winner … Edge at four minutes and 47 seconds.
Match Rating: 2/10
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero — Ladder Match for Custody Papers
This will definitely win the “Best Match with the Dumbest Premise” Award. The match starts off a little rough with Eddie blowing a sunset flip off the ladder, but the two men eventually get in sync. Eddie counters what looks to be a tilt-a-whirl move, slamming Rey torso first into a waiting ladder. Latino Heat starts to climb toward the briefcase, when Dominic hops the rail, and tries to shake “Uncle Eddie” off the ladder. Guerrero climbs down and scolds the boy, giving Rey an opportunity to do some damage. Rey Rey hits the 619 into a ladder in front of Eddie, and then drops a dime with a ladder on him. Mysterio climbs the ladder, and Eddie follows him up. Eddie lifts Rey on his shoulders, but Mysterio counters an electric chair into a powerbomb. Mysterio climbs the ladder, but has trouble getting the briefcase. Eddie kicks the ladder away, leaving Rey hanging. Mysterio loses his grip, and falls into a powerbomb. Guerrero hits Rey with the Three Amigos, with the last one connecting with a ladder. Guerrero is set to grab the briefcase, when his wife intervenes. Vicki Guerrero pleads with her husband to stop. When he doesn’t, she pushes him off the ladder. Rey recovers, and Vicki ties up her husband long enough for Mysterio to grab the briefcase. After the match, Dominic hits the ring, and Rey’s wife also comes to ringside to celebrate. Rey slides back into the ring to clock Eddie with the briefcase, before heading to the back with his family.
Winner … Rey Mysterio at 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
Match Rating: 8.5/10
Todd Grisham gets his pay-per-view time by interviewing Jericho, who’s drawing inspiration from Cena’s entrance music when he says the time is now for him to become the WWE champion. Chris did, after all, beat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night to become the first undisputed champion. Yeah, I guess he did, but that was the long-haired Jericho. I don’t think the short-haired version can get it done.
Eugene vs. Kurt Angle — No Time Limit
Eugene wants to shake hands, but Kurt is having none of it, going right after the wrestling savant. Weathering the storm until he can hit a spinebuster, Eugene tries a People’s Elbow but gets clotheslined for a two count. Angle gets another near fall with a trio of German suplexes, but Eugene hulks up to score with a Rock Bottom. He also hits a Stone Cold Stunner and tries to apply Angle’s own Ankle Lock, only to be foiled when Kurt counters with an Angle Slam. Angle shows the proper way to apply an Ankle Lock and Eugene is forced to tap out. I’m sure glad we made this one no time limit since it lasted less than two minutes more than a regular Kurt Angle (or Eugene) Invitational.
Winner … Kurt Angle at four minutes and 29 seconds.
Match Rating: 3/10
McMahon for President? Could be if the bumper sticker on Vince’s limo tonight is to be believed. I’m pretty sure a scenario like that has played itself in my dreams already … my bad dreams.
Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker
Undertaker immediately goes to work on Orton’s shoulder. The Dead Man goes for Old School early, but Orton counters with an arm drag. The match finally picks up steam after Orton dropkicks ‘Taker after getting hit with snake eyes. Undertaker counters the RKO, and goes for a tombstone. Orton reverses it, only to have ‘Taker reverse it back, and then Orton finally counters with a neck breaker. Orton climbs the turnbuckle, and hits a flying cross body. Undertaker rolls through it, and gets to his feet holding Orton around the neck. Before ‘Taker can hit the choke slam a “fan” hits the ring. Security gets the “fan” clear, and Orton takes advantage of the distraction. He hits ‘Taker with the RKO and gets the pin. After the match, Orton meets up with said “fan”. He pulls away a wig, and facial prosthetics to reveal his father, Cowboy Bob Orton.
Winner … Randy Orton at 17 minutes and 17 seconds.
Match Rating: 4/10
Chris Jericho (challenger) vs. John Cena (champion) — WWE Championship Match
Winner … and still WWE Champion… John Cena at 14 minutes and 50 seconds.
Match Rating: 6.5/10
JBL (challenger) vs. Batista (champion) ? World Heavyweight Championship Match
Winner … and still World Heavyweight Champion… Batista at 9 minutes and five seconds.
Match Rating: 5/10
Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan — Icon vs. Legend Match
Winner … Hulk Hogan at 21 minutes and 23 seconds.
Match Rating: 7/10
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes
Event Rating: 6/10
- Nick Tylwalk and Dale Plummer are the tag team champions of SLAM! Wrestling’s TV reporter division. Nick is hoping that Dale gets promoted soon so he can end his self-imposed exile and save Nick from covering any more Smackdown. Discuss this situation with Nick at [email protected] or send an APB to Dale at [email protected]