After years of paying lip service to the idea that SummerSlam was the second biggest show on the company schedule, the WWE put some effort into building up the 2009 edition with events all weekend long. The card itself had its highs and lows, but it mostly held the interest of a full house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Three matches were advertised as main events, but the powers that be wisely held the TLC Match between World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy and challenger CM Punk for last. In what may have been the swan song — pun intended — for Hardy, neither he nor his entertaining heel foil disappointed in a match with plenty of drama and breathtaking spots.

With a spotlight shining on the belt high above the ring, Punk tore into the champ right after the opening bell, stomping him into one corner. A chair shot followed, but Hardy rallied and took the first shot at climbing a ladder.

Punk kicked him off the ladder but soon had his face introduced to the metal. Hardy tried for Poetry in Motion off a chair, but Punk caught him and dropped him on the back of it.

The challenger enjoyed some uninterrupted offense, punctuating it with a suicide dive to the floor. He tried to come off the steel steps and was greeted by a mid-air chair shot.

Hardy set up the first table on the floor but missed a splash when his foe rolled away at the last second. Punk hustled back to try climbing for the gold, only to have Hardy pass him on the rings and hurl him down to the canvas with a sunset flip power bomb.

Punk got his revenge a moment later, crotching Hardy on the ropes after knocking over the ladder. A painful spot for both men ensued as Punk hit a superplex onto the ladder.

Hardy recovered first and hit a Twist of Fate, but Punk got his knees up to ward off a Swanton Bomb. Punk used a running knee in the corner to set up a bulldog, but Hardy dumped him out to the floor and through a table.

Trying to replay an attack from earlier in their feud, Punk placed a chair around Hardy’s neck and shoved him toward the ringpost, but Hardy stopped himself and went crazy with chair shots. One announce table got torn apart as the champ used the tabletop and one of the monitors as weapons.

With Punk prone on the announce table, Hardy set up a big ladder and dropped a Swanton Bomb from the very top. Stretchers were brought down for both men, but Punk recovered first and headed back to the ring to make another climb.

Hardy raced up the other side and met his challenger at the top. But Punk landed a shot to the gut that sent Hardy hurtling to the mat, and the Straight Edge Superstar grabbed the gold to claim Jeff’s title.

He didn’t have long to celebrate though, as the lights flickered and then went out, accompanied by a familiar sound of a bell tolling. The new champ smirked as the lights returned, until he saw who had replaced Hardy at his feet. The Undertaker made his dramatic return by chokeslamming Punk and sending the L.A. fans home happy.

The RAW main event held no such surprises but did offer up a convoluted finish as Randy Orton defended his title against John Cena in the latest in a long line of meetings between the two men.

Both wrestlers surprisingly started off with mat wrestling moves. It quickly evolved into a fistfight with Orton gaining the early advantage. Cena turned the tide with a bulldog.

Orton quickly recovered, beating Cena down in the corner. Orton then stomped on Cena on the mat and followed with a flying knee drop. Orton hit a backbreaker but could not get the pin. Orton applied a sleeper as the crowd was split down the middle cheering for Cena and Orton.

Cena broke the hold and connected with a sidewalk slam. Orton took the Five Knuckle Shuffle but snapped up, hitting a powerslam to slow down Cena. Orton ducked a cross body, and Cena flew out of the ring.

Orton dropped Cena with a DDT as he tried to re-enter the ring. Cena kicked out at two. Orton stalked Cena, but Cena rolled away from the punt, and Cena countered into the Throwback. Cena connected with a flying leg drop to the back of Orton’s head. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Orton grabbed the ropes.

Orton and Cena took each other out with clotheslines. Both men rose before the ten-count and started trading blows. Cena hit a back body drop. Orton sprung to his feet and pushed the ref, getting himself disqualified.

In the confusion, Lillian Garcia announced Orton as the new champion, but then said Mr. McMahon had ordered the match to resume. She also stated that if Orton got disqualified again, he would lose his title.

Orton knocked Cena to the mat and the rolled out of the ring, grabbed his belt and walked to the back. He was counted out by the ref, seemingly outsmarting McMahon.

Once again, the match was restarted. Cena blocked an RKO and set up the Attitude Adjustment. Orton quickly countered into a rollup and got the pin with his feet on the ropes.

Another official hit the ring to point out Orton’s cheating ways. After the match was restarted, Cena locked in the STF. Out of nowhere, someone from the crowd attacked the official, but was quickly hauled out of the arena with the announcers playing it like it was legit.

After yet another restart, Orton guillotined his challenger from the floor. He followed up in the ring with an RKO and made the quick pin to retain his belt.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Breaking Point from Montreal on September 13th.

There were, of course, other matches on the card. Read on to get the rest of the results, with Nick’s comments in plain type and Dale’s thoughts in italics.

Rey Mysterio (champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler (challenger) – Intercontinental Title Match

Rey comes out in a Lakers-inspired purple and gold outfit, which I hate but the fans love. Mysterio could probably wrestle an inanimate object in Cali and still get cheered. Ziggler certainly has come a long way since he used to get his pay-per-view bonuses by introducing himself backstage, and he holds his own here. He even escapes the first attempt at a 619 and trades near falls with Mysterio, then kicks out of the 619-splash combo. Just when you think they may actually give Ziggler the belt, reality returns in the form of a reversal off the top rope, and Rey covers to keep his title.

Winner… and still Intercontinental Champion… Rey Mysterio at 12 minutes and 25 seconds.

Match Rating: 7/10

Josh Matthews interviews MVP and Jack Swagger, who will be facing each other tonight. Swagger brings up on the ex-con thing and says MVP is a stepping stone. MVP begs to differ and vows to teach him a brutal lesson in reality.

I really don’t like Swagger, but that’s the point, I suppose.

MVP vs. Jack Swagger

MVP connects with a quick clothesline and goes for the Ballin’ Elbow, but Swagger rolls out of the ring. MVP leaps over the ropes, crashing into Swagger. A back elbow slows Swagger, but he is still able to lock in an abdominal stretch. MVP drops the Ballin’ Elbow, but Swagger kicks out. MVP gets the knees up on a splash from Swagger and is able to hit the Playmaker to pick up the win.

It’s kind of a surprise this one didn’t go longer, as it had more of a build than other matches on this card. The crowd wasn’t feeling it like the opener. Sorry Cali, but Rey can’t wrestle in every match!

Winner… MVP at six minutes and 22 seconds.

Match Rating: 4.5/10

Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell joins the SummerSlam festivities to promote a charity, and the L.A. fans boo her (Stay classy, Los Angeles!). O’Dell interviews Freddy Prinze, Jr. in a pointless segment.

Chris Jericho and Big Show (champions) vs. Cryme Tyme (challengers) – Unified Tag Team Championship Match

Jericho says he isn’t impressed by the celebrities at ringside, as he and Show are the most famous people in the arena. Jericho turns the microphone over to Show, who has one thing to say, but he is cut off by Cryme Tyme’s entrance.

That’s going to be my new criteria for who is a celebrity: if they are better known to Joe Blow on the street than Jericho. So, say, Kate Gosselin would be, but would Prinze? Maybe not…

JTG fights out of an attempted Walls of Jericho, then lands on the top turnbuckle when catapulted into the corner. JTG lands a leg drop but doesn’t stay on the offensive long when Big Show tags in. Shad gets the tag, taking it to Show. Jericho runs in and is gorilla pressed for his trouble. Show takes advantage, hitting Shad with a spear. JTG hits the Mug Shot on Jericho, but Big Show stops the count. Shad takes out Big Show, but JTG can’t get the rollup on Jericho, who kicks out. Jericho gets JTG in the Walls of Jericho, but JTG gets to the ropes. That just gets him punched in the face by Big Show, allowing Jericho covers for the pin.

Todd Grisham drops this gem during the finish: “That massive right hand has just ended this match as a contest.” I know he’s still green, but sometimes I wonder if J.R. considers ripping the headset off of him in frustration.

Winner… and still Unified Tag Team Champions… Jericho and Big Show at nine minutes and 47 seconds.

Match Rating: 6/10

Punk’s heel promos are really getting good. He shows Josh Matthews a screenplay that is supposedly about Jeff Hardy’s life story and laughs about the happy ending it has, complete with Jeff winning tonight. As opposed to everyone in the building and the city of L.A., Punk says he is a real person and doesn’t buy into the worship of false heroes like Hardy. To paraphrase an old gimmick that didn’t last very long, he’s not telling you anything you didn’t already know. His attack on our society and its pop culture continues, though it may lose some people when he uses the phrase “den of iniquity.”

Kane vs. The Great Khali

Um, yeah. So there’s this guy I work with that keeps defending Khali when I make fun of him. I’m not sure exactly why. This is what you’d expect, which is to say not great, but not the worst match I’ve ever seen. Kane wins with a running DDT, I guess because picking up Khali would be difficult.

Winner… Kane at five minutes and 55 seconds.

Match Rating: 2/10

In a shocking move, we see Vince McMahon’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Celebrities in attendance tonight include Luke Perry, Slash and Robert Patrick. Are they all better known than Jericho? Debate that with your friends. See, it’s fun!

DX vs. Legacy

DX rides a tank to the ring in one of the most elaborate non-main event entrances ever. Hunter tells Legacy if they want a war, they got a war. Cody Rhodes slips out of the ring to avoid Sweet Chin Music, but Triple H just tosses him back in. Triple H doesn’t take kindly to a cheap shot from Rhodes, but the distraction is enough for Ted DiBiase to get a shot in. Rhodes breaks up a Pedigree but is knocked from the ring. HHH backdrops Michaels out of the ring onto Rhodes. DiBiase nails Hunter with a low blow. Later in the match, DiBiase knocks HBK off the apron so Hunter can’t make the tag. Hunter sidesteps DiBiase and tosses him out of the ring. Rhodes throws DiBiase back in the ring and Cody gets the tag, but so does Michaels. HBK tees off with an inverted atomic drop and a forearm shiver. DiBiase runs in, hitting a cheap shot on HBK. Rhodes climbs the turnbuckle, but HBK rolls away from the flying elbow drop. Michaels climbs the turnbuckle only to get crotched on the top rope. HBK fights Rhodes off, but Cody is able to get the knees up on the elbow drop. HBK locks in a figure four, but DiBiase breaks it up. Rhodes blocks the super kick and scores with Cross Rhodes. HBK kicks out. Hunter runs in hitting Rhodes with a Pedigree. Dibiase runs in and hits HBK with Dream Street. Hunter and DiBiase crash into the announce table, with Rhodes and HBK both down in the ring. Both men get up at nine, and HBK hits Sweet Chin Music. Rhodes is covered and DX picks up the win.

Winner… DX at 19 minutes and 38 seconds.

Match Rating: 7/10

Christian (champion) vs. William Regal (challenger) – ECW Championship Match

In what’s getting to be a new (but not grand) tradition for the ECW title, Christian hits Regal with the Killswitch Engage and gets the immediate pin. Regal’s boys Kozlov and Jackson beat on Christian, and he locks in the Regal Stretch. Could be a set up for a submission match at the next PPV, eh?

Winner… and still ECW Champion… Christian at nine seconds (the WWE says eight seconds).

No Rating

A video package shows highlights of the weekend events that led up to SummerSlam. One of them was a party for charity with celebrities and WWE Superstars, and MVP says he has partying to do with Roddy Piper. That strikes me as not such a good idea.

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

Winner… and still WWE Champion… Randy Orton at 17 minutes and 46 seconds.

Match Rating: 6.5/10

So Breaking Point is going to feature all submission matches, and it’s in Montreal, and Shawn Michaels is most likely going to be on the card. Surely they wouldn’t… no, surely not.

Jeff Hardy (champion) vs. CM Punk (challenger) – World Heavyweight Championship – Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match

Winner… and new World Heavyweight Champion… CM Punk at 21 minutes and 31 seconds.

Match Rating: 9/10

Total Event Time: 2 hours and 53 minutes

Event Rating: 7/10

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003, while Nick Tylwalk has been writing for the site since 1998, when the internets were young and dinosaurs walked the land. Back then, feedback on PPV reports needed to be sent by pterodactyl, but today you can email Dale at or Nick at