It’s time for the biggest party of the summer, according to the WWE, and what should be second biggest pay-per-view of the year behind WrestleMania.

For the 20th anniversary show that took place Sunday night at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, the secondary theme could have easily been “many happy returns.” After lengthy absences due to injury, both Triple H and Rey Mysterio returned to action and were warmly greeted by the fans.

Of course it wouldn’t be SummerSlam if titles weren’t on the line, and that was certainly the case this time around. Great Khali continued a running feud with Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, and John Morrison faced another in a seeming endless string of challenges from C.M. Punk. But with Raw still king of the WWE programming hill, the main event saw Randy Orton attempt to end John Cena’s 11-month reign as WWE Champion.

Cena locked in a headlock to start, then went for an early STF-U. Orton fought it off and stomped away at the champ. After being whipped off the turnbuckle, Cena hit a bulldog.

Orton stopped the momentum with a shot to the back of the head. Cena shot off the ropes but missed a cross body. Orton took advantage of Cena resting on the apron, knocking the champ into the announce table.

Back in the ring, Orton applied a sleeperhold. The champ started to fade, but managed to break free. Orton returned to stomping away at the legs of the champ, and then concentrated on the head. Orton power slammed the champ, nearly getting a pin. Orton once again went back to the sleeper, and this time the champ used brute force to escape before running directly into a drop kick.

After another near fall, Orton went back to the well with yet another sleper. This time the challenger added a body scissors, and the champ started to fade. In a last ditch effort, Cena broke the hold by slamming Orton into the turnbuckle. The champ then hit a sidewalk slam and pulled out the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Orton slipped out of an F-U attempt and hit an inverted backbreaker. Orton followed up with a DDT as Cena was hung off the middle rope. Orton made the cover, but the champ kicked out at two.

Orton stalked his prey, but Cena blocked the RKO. Cena charged Orton, but Orton ducked, spilling Cena from the ring. Outside the ring, Orton whipped Cena into the ring steps. The champ kicked out again on the ensuing cover. Cena hit a reverse elbow and followed with a running neckbreaker. Cena climbed the turnbuckle but was cut off. Cena fought Orton off and hit a flying leg drop. Cena set up an F-U, but Orton held onto the ropes.

Orton stalked Cena again, looking for the RKO. Instead, Orton looked for the running kick to the head. Cena ducked the kick and countered with a drop toehold into the STF-U. Orton tried to get to the ropes, barely managing to get there to break the hold. Orton recovered quickly and hit the RKO, though he clutched his left knee in pain. Orton covered, but once again the champ kicked out. The champ picked up Orton and nailed the F-U. This time Orton didn’t get up, and John Cena retained his belt … again.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Unforgiven on September 16th.

If you’ve been with us for the past few years, you know the drill by now. Nick’s comments will be in plain type with Dale’s remarks in italics.

Kane vs. Fit Finlay

I’m sure someone will write in to correct me, but I can’t think of too many matches where they sell an injury to Kane. He has his ribs taped up to make the shillelagh attack by Finlay look like more than, well, a shot by a small wooden stick. Apparently the pain isn’t enough to keep Kane from pulling off an enzuigiri, a move I don’t recall him ever pulling off in the past. As expected, Hornswoggle gets involved, sliding the shillelagh in to Finlay. It’s not enough, as Kane uses a chokeslam to dispatch the Irishman. Way to play through the pain!

Winner … Kane at 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

Match Rating: 5/10

The office for the bigwigs is set up to be party central. Vince McMahon, The Coach, William Regal, Teddy Long and Armando Alejandro Estrada are all on hand. Much speculation is still flying around about the identity of Vince’s son, but we get no clues here. M.V.P. drops in and boasts that all of the people came to see him. He wants to issue an open challenge to Matt Hardy for a competition (but not a wrestling match), and Vince gives him the okay.

Why do we have to see a promo for Rey if they all ready have our money?

Maybe they’re afraid that people will turn the channel even after they’ve paid to watch. Or they just think the fans have short memories, one of the two.

Ken Kennedy (challenger) vs. Carlito (challenger) vs. Umaga (champion) – Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match

Umaga punches the apple right out of Carlito’s match, then chases both men from the ring. Kennedy distracts Umaga, allowing Carlito to kick him out of the ring. Kennedy then kicks Umaga in the shoulder, a la Bobby Lashley. With Umaga still outside the ring, Carlito hits a springboard back elbow on Kennedy. Umaga pulls Kennedy out of the ring, then hits a flying head butt off the second turnbuckle. Umaga slams into the ringpost and Kennedy hits him with a monitor. Carlito kicks Kennedy off the apron but can’t get the pin on Carlito. Umaga counters with a dual suplex. Umaga hits a samoan drop on Carlito and lays out Kennedy with a side slam. Carlito breaks up a pin only to get kicked in the face. Kennedy low bridges Umaga and stalks Carlito. Kennedy hits the Green Bay Plunge, but Umaga picks him up off Carlito, hits the Samoan spike and gets the win.

Winner … and still Intercontinental Champion … Umaga at seven minutes and 23 seconds.

Match Rating: 6.5/10

Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero

I don’t think Chavo gets enough credit. He’s been doing some solid work in the mid-card pretty much the entire time since the WWE bought out WCW. Rey is sporting silver body paint to go with his mask and pants, making him look like a wrestling version of the Silver Surfer. What chance does Chavo have against the Power Cosmic? He gives it his best shot by concentrating his attack on Chavo’s injured knee, but when the Gory Bomb doesn’t put Rey away, it’s pretty much over. Rey escapes from the Three Amigos to hit a spinning headscissors, then uses a 619 and a springboard splash to get the duke.

Winner… Rey Mysterio at 12 minutes and five seconds.

Match Rating: 7.5/10

The Grish interviews King Booker. Book spews something comparing Triple H’s return to a tragedy of Shakespearean levels. The King goes on to say that Triple H will bow down to King Booker.

Diva Battle Royal

Candice Michelle watches the action from in front of the announce table, as the winner gets a shot at Candice Michelle. (Um, can I get in this? Oh, a TITLE SHOT! My bad.) After several tantalizing minutes, Torrie Wilson, Melina, Michelle McCool, and Beth Phoenix are left. Melina is eliminated, and Phoenix takes out Torrie. Beth Phoenix picks up McCool and dumps her out of the ring.

Winner … and women’s number one contender … Beth Phoenix at seven minutes and seven seconds.

Match Rating: 3/10

M.V.P. makes his way to the ring accompanied by a cooler. Even though he’s lowering himself by doing it, the U.S. Champ wants to take on Matt Hardy in a beer-drinking contest. Matt answers the challenge, but reminds M.V.P. that he got Evander Holyfield to be his substitute in the boxing challenge. Hardy figures it’s only fair that he also be allowed to bring in a substitute … and he’s arranged for one of the all-time great beer drinkers to compete against M.V.P. As the crowd has guessed, it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin. After some light calisthenics, Austin saves M.V.P. the trouble of drinking by hitting him with a Stone Cold Stunner.

Cryme Tyme crashes the General Manager party. Big Shad floats the idea that one of them could be Vince’s son, because they like money, money, yeah, yeah. Everyone except for Vince gets caught up in the moment. Regal starts to shake it, and Ron Simmons can only say one thing, “Damn!”

There’s no doubt about it — Cryme Tyme is my favorite non-wrestling wrestling team in quite some time.

CM Punk (challenger) vs. John Morrison (champion) – ECW Title Match

I demand a whole stable of fake Doors members to run around with Morrison. At least I think that’s what John’s gimmick is supposed to be – I’m not quite sure. Both guys have their moments. Morrison hits a cool backbreaker/neckbreaker combo; Punk shows off a moonsault. At the climax, Punk goes for a top rope hurricanrana, but Morrison escapes and uses the ropes to help pin Punk for what seems like the 100th time.

Winner… and still ECW Champion … John Morrison at seven minutes and four seconds.

Match Rating: 7.5/10

King Booker w/ Queen Sharmell vs. Triple H

After a lengthy entrance, Triple H knocks Booker out of the ring to start. Booker fights back with an elbow out of the corner. Triple H takes the fight to the outside, slamming Booker into the security barrier. Sharmell grabs Triple H’s foot, distracting him enough for Booker to get the upper hand. Triple H recovers to lock in a figure four. Sharmell uses an eye rake to break the hold. The fight spills out of the ring with Booker getting slammed into the ring steps. Booker fights off a Pedigree. Triple H ducks an axe kick but can’t dodge the Bookend. Booker hits a sideslam but misses the Harlem Hangover. Triple H finally hits the Pedigree and gets the pin.

Winner… Triple H at seven minutes and 56 seconds.

Match Rating: 7/10

Batista (challenger) vs. The Great Khali (champion) – World Heavyweight Champion

I have official SLAM! Wrestling timekeeper Brian Whorl keep track of how long it is until Batista actually does something. At the 5:34 mark, Batista escapes from what appears to be a shoulder massage and sort of, kind of hits a spinebuster. A few minutes later, Khali grabs a steel chair and gets himself disqualified by using it on the challenger. Yes, the guy who was dominating the majority of the match and is like eight feet tall feels the need to use a chair. Whatever. Batista puts the chair to much better use by beating the tar out of Khali after the bell.

Winner… via DQ… Batista at six minutes and 51 seconds.

Match Rating: 1/10 for the match, 6.5/10 for the post-match beating

Vince is looking for his baby’s mama. Unfortunately, he just finds Mae Young and Fabolous Moolah. Mae just wants to have Vince’s son and jumps him on the couch. Afterwards, Vince admits he kind of liked it.

John Cena (champion) vs. Randy Orton (challenger)– WWE Title Match

Winner… and still WWE Champion … John Cena at 13 minutes and 42 seconds.

Match Rating: 7.5/10

Total Event Time: 2 hours and 46 minutes

Event Rating: 6.5/10

Dale Plummer objects to SummerSlam being billed as the “Biggest Party of the Summer,” because he claims there’s a bigger one and only he knows where it is. Nick Tylwalk is trying hard not to think about what that might mean. Drop an e-mail to or with your best guesses.