Longtime WWE fans know that SummerSlam trails only WrestleMania in terms of significance on the yearly pay-per-view calendar. Plenty of historic matches have taken place at previous editions of the August event, but it hasn’t always been able to generate the same can’t-miss aura in recent years.
Thanks to the popular Nexus angle, that wasn’t an issue this past Sunday night. On a night that saw several titles defended and the return of the Undertaker, a crowd of over 17,000 fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was also treated to the latest chapter in the saga of the seven rookies who have been shaking up the promotion.
To that end, the seven-on-seven elimination match between Team WWE and Nexus headlined the show. As expected, Nexus walked out as a team, while Team WWE had individual entrances. The mystery of the seventh team member was cleared up earlier in the night, when The Miz announced he would join forces with John Cena and company.
John Cena has other ideas, though. He told the Miz to take a hike and introduced his replacement, a man who hated Nexus just as much as he did: Daniel Bryan. The fans reacted well to this much-rumored move, though Michael Cole was beside himself over this decision.
The former NXT Rookie joined his team as all 14 men brawled in the ring before the bell rang. Team WWE cleaned house and the match started. Daniel Bryan faced off against Darren Young, who was overmatched. Bryan kicked Young all over the ring before getting him to tap with a guillotine choke under a minute into the match.
Justin Gabriel entered next as Chris Jericho also tagged in. Team WWE took turns beating on Gabriel, who then tagged in Michael Tarver. Morrison stepped up for Team WWE and quickly pinned Tarver after hitting Starship Pain.
After the pinfall, Nexus leader Wade Barrett gathered his troops to regroup outside the ring. Skip Sheffield took point and entered the ring to face Morrison. Sheffield slammed Morrison and followed with a suplex. Morrison fought back but took a cheap shot from Gabriel, and Sheffield hit him with a lariat. Sheffield covered and got the pin.
R-Truth jumped in, only to meet the same fate as Morrison. Sheffield crushed him with a lariat and covered for the pin.
With the match tied up, Chris Jericho finally got into the mix. Sheffield trapped Jericho in the heel corner, where he was worked over by Nexus. Wade Barrett got the tag and locked in a submission. Jericho broke free and connected with a missile drop kick. Barrett tagged in Heath Slater as Bret Hart tagged in for Team WWE.
Hart took it to Slater with a series of punches, forcing Slater into the corner. Hart followed with a scoop slam and an inverted atomic drop. Hart locked in the Sharpshooter, but Wade Barrett slipped a chair into the ring. Hart broke the hold, and Slater tagged in Skip. Hart went to town on Sheffield with the chair and got himself disqualified at the 12-minute mark.
Jericho immediately hit the ring after Hart left, hitting the Codebreaker on Sheffield. Edge tagged in, waited for Sheffield to get to his feet and drilled him with the Spear. Edge covered for the elimination.
Justin Gabriel decided to step in versus Edge. Gabriel caught a shoulder block, but was able to block a second one and hit a reverse elbow. Gabriel followed with a spin kick. Edge was worked over in the Nexus corner after Barrett tagged in but was able to fight off David Otunga and tag in Jericho.
Jericho made quick work of Otunga, getting him to tap in the Walls of Jericho.
Heath Slater forced Jericho into his own corner, knocking him into John Cena. The bump caused Cena and Jericho to have words, allowing Slater to get a quick pin on Jericho.
Edge and Cena argued over who should enter next. Edge won out, only to be pinned immediately by a roll up from Slater. Edge then speared Cena on the apron and followed him to the floor. Jericho and Edge took turns kicking Cena before finally heading to the back.
Gabriel tossed Cena into the ring, not allowing him to make a tag. Barrett worked over Cena, laying him out with a clothesline. Gabriel tagged back in and almost took the Attitude Adjustment, but he was able to counter into a DDT. Barrett tagged back in, hitting a sidewalk slam. Cena blocked a suplex and looked for a tag, but Slater was able to cut him off.
Cena was whipped into the turnbuckle but was finally able to get the tag to Bryan. Slater took a huge drop kick, flying all the way out to the floor. Bryan connected with a suicide dive through the ropes and rolled Slater back into the ring. Bryan connected with a missile drop kick but missed a kick. Slater rolled him up, but Bryan kicked out and into a cross face. Slater tapped out quickly.
Bryan waited for his next opponent only to have his former mentor, The Miz – apparently angry over getting cut from Team WWE – run in and clock him with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Barrett came in and made the pin.
This left John Cena to take on Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel by himself. Cena hit Gabriel with a sidewalk slam and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Wade Barrett made a blind tag as Gabriel was set up for the Attitude Adjustment. Barrett hit a running boot on Cena, sending him to the floor. Gabriel ripped up the padding to expose the concrete, where Barrett hit Cena with a DDT.
Barrett rolled Cena back into the ring and tagged Gabriel in to finish him off. Gabriel climbed the turnbuckle to hit the 450 splash, but Cena was able to roll away and then cover Gabriel for the pin.
Wade Barrett ran in, only to have Cena take him down immediately. Cena locked in the STF and Barrett quickly tapped, giving Team WWE the win.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Night of Champions on September 19.
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.
The Nexus stand over a beaten Kofi Kingston.
Dolph Ziggler (champion) vs. Kofi Kingston (challenger) – Intercontinental Championship Match
The first nice moment of the night occurs when Kofi’s entrance interrupts Vickie Guerrero’s mic time. Kingston misses an early high risk move to the floor, allowing Ziggler to ground him for several minutes. Both men have a chance or two to win, but just after the seven-minute mark, Nexus hits the ring. That’s earlier than I expected. Dolph gets tossed out of the ring and Kofi is surrounded. He bravely tries to fight all seven men and is quickly beaten down. Young and Barrett both hit him with power moves, and Barrett tells the fans to expect more of the same for Team WWE later tonight. Nexus stands united, while Team WWE can’t even get on the same page long enough to sign a Christmas card, let alone oppose the rookies. Nice.
Match Rating: N/A
Chris Jericho begs The Miz to join Team RAW. He says the WWE needs him; Edge tells him to seize the ultimate opportunity. This is bigger than the Money in the Bank. Miz says he has bigger things to worry about.
Like stealing Edge’s Slim Jim, apparently. That’s good product placement!
Alicia Fox (champion) vs. Melina (challenger) – WWE Divas Championship Match
Melina comes to the ring in an over the top costume (she may be looking at Mattel to make an Entrance Greats figure of her). Melina takes the fight to Alicia early, hanging her on the middle ropes in the corner and driving her feet into Alicia. Melina tweaks her knee, and Alicia tries to take advantage, but Melina ducks it and hits a back elbow. Alicia instead focuses on the arm and shoulder. Melina unleashes a primal scream and hits her finisher. Melina covers and gets the win.
Winner … and new Divas Champion … Melina at five minutes and 21 seconds.
Match Rating: 5/10
Josh Matthews tries to get an interview with the new champion when they are interrupted by Lay-Cool. Michelle and Layla hit the ring to “celebrate” with the new champion. Layla wants to pose for a picture, but Melina pushers her away. She then spears Michelle, beating her into the corner. Layla grabs her by the ankle, allowing McCool to kick her in the face. Lay-Cool dumps Melina and Alicia from the ring. Michelle then kicks Melina into the announce table.
For some reason I find the idea of badass female heels unintentionally amusing, unless the females have a physique like Chyna. Or at least Beth Phoenix. Also, the announcers didn’t seem to care much for the beating Melina was taking right in front of their table.
The stars are out tonight in L.A. And by stars, I mean Trace Adkins and Marlon Wayans. Come on WWE, you can do better!
The Big Show is victorious.
The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk, Joseph Mercury and Luke Gallows w/ Serena) vs. The Big Show – 3-on-1 Handicap Match
The S.E.S. seems a little hesitant to engage with Big Show, as they say. Mercury and gallows get a little courage boost when Show misses a punch outside the ring and bangs his “injured” hand off the steel steps. Show rallies back inside the ring but soon falls victim to a series of running knees from Punk. Show kicks out of a double DDT and starts beating on Punk, who decides he’s had enough and heads for the back with Serena in tow. Show chokeslams Mercury onto Gallows to get the win. That wasn’t bad for what it was.
Winner… The Big Show at 6 minutes and 45 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Hey, this is pay-per-view, we shouldn’t have to watch any commercials. Especially for you, Slim Jim – you already got your product placement!
Kane talks (to the Undertaker, or maybe no one in particular) about getting vengeance when Sheamus drops by. He wants to borrow Kane’s casket so he can bury Randy Orton. Kane says no, so Sheamus decides to take his nickname instead.
I think he should be the Big Pasty Monster and not the Big Red Monster, but what do I know?
The Miz makes an unannounced trip to the ring. Mr. Money in the Bank asks the crowd if he should join Team WWE. Miz says he doesn’t care what the crowd thinks, and he has been hearing that he is the missing link for Team WWE. Miz says earlier today, John Cena admitted he was wrong and begged him to be on Team WWE. And so did the rest of the team, but the fans have not. Miz calls himself the WWE’s only hope. Miz draws out his decision but does accept the invite to Team WWE. The Miz then goes off on the crowd for trying to bite off his catchphrase.
I hate to say it, but this promo was the high point of the night so far. Miz had a line where he claimed that Cena told him that he was the only superstar who could see Cena, and that Hart called him the real Excellence of Execution. That’s good stuff.
Sheamus tries to intimidate Randy Orton.
Sheamus (champion) vs. Randy Orton (challenger) – WWE Championship Match
Sheamus does some posturing, and Randy Orton stomps him into the corner. Orton explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, and then drops a knee to the skull. Orton sends Sheamus to the floor with a clothesline, and the fight spills over the security barrier and into the crowd. Orton rolls the champ back into the ring and stomps away at Sheamus. Orton covers after a knee drop, and Sheamus kicks out. On the apron, Orton catapults Sheamus into the bottom rope. Sheamus catches Orton on the outside, but Orton reverses a whip and sends the champ into the security barrier. Orton tries to whip Sheamus into the steps, but the champ reverses it and Orton hits the steel hard. Back in the ring, Sheamus mounts Orton and punches away. Orton powers out of a pin after a short arm clothesline. Sheamus fights out of the elevated clothesline and sends Orton to the floor. The champ smashes Orton into the security barrier. Back in the ring, Sheamus connects with a back breaker. Orton fights out of the corner only to get kicked in the face. Sheamus applies a sleeper, but Orton breaks free with a suplex. He follows with a backbreaker but can’t get the pin. Orton and Sheamus trade punches in the middle of the ring, and Orton hits a European uppercut and a power slam. Sheamus reverses a whip, sending Orton into the corner. Orton sidesteps a spear, and the champ catches the ring post. Orton pulls Sheamus to the top and hits a superplex, though Sheamus kicks out at two. Sheamus hits a back breaker, but Orton powers out. Orton ducks the bicycle kick, sending Sheamus tumbling from the ring. Orton picks Sheamus up on the apron and hits the elevated DDT. Orton looks for the RKO, but Sheamus counters. The champ picks up his challenger, but Orton slips out of the Celtic Cross. Sheamus blocks the RKO, and Orton bounces off the ropes into the bicycle kick. Sheamus covers, but Orton kicks out. Sheamus leaves the ring and gets a chair; the ref tries to stop Sheamus, who tosses him out of the ring. The ref calls for the bell, and Sheamus grins even though he is disqualified.
Winner … Randy Orton at 18 minutes and 56 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
The bell doesn’t stop the champ from trying to hit Orton, but Randy is too quick and nails Sheamus in the Irish potatoes. He drags the champ from the ring and starts to dismantle the announce table. Orton stands atop the table, waiting for Sheamus to get to his feet. Orton promptly drops him with an RKO, without breaking the table.
The consensus here at SLAM! Wrestling South is that it looked like that hurt. Even Jerry Lawler seemed to grimace when the table didn’t break.
Here’s a preview for John Cena’s new movie, Legendary, and… Hey, this looks like a real movie. What gives?
The Undertaker emerges from the casket.
Kane (champion) vs. Rey Mysterio (challenger) – World Heavyweight Title Match
Rey tries to stay elusive early on, as he usually does when fighting giants. Kane gets most of the near falls in the first few minutes and maneuvers Mysterio into a bear hug. Rey escapes and the battle goes out to the floor. Back in the ring, a lengthy series of two counts ensues. Mysterio fails to hit a hurricanrana but does manage to scurry away when Kane comes off the top rope. The Big Red Machine makes another attempt to fly off the top turnbuckle and connects with a big clubbing blow. He opens the casket at ringside and manages to knock Rey into it after a failed 619. Mysterio escapes but Kane counters his second 619. Third time’s the charm, but Rey’s 619 simply leads to a chain of reversals that ends with the little guy catching a big boot to the face. Kane executes the chokeslam and it’s lights out.
Winner … and still World Heavyweight Champion … Kane at 13 minutes and 30 seconds
Match Rating: 7/10
Kane threatens eternal suffering for what Rey did to his brother and threatens to stuff him in the casket, now closed. Kane opens the lid, then closes it and proceeds to hit Mysterio with two chokeslams and a Tombstone piledriver. He drags Rey over to the casket but finds it occupied… by the Undertaker! The crowd erupts as the Dead Man confronts Mysterio, now cowering in the corner. We’re in tight enough to hear Rey plead his innocence and Undertaker say he believes it. But Kane can’t hear it, so he’s mighty surprised when his big brother turns and puts a hand around his neck. A brief scuffle ensues, but Kane emerges victorious, dropping Undertaker with a Tombstone.
Team WWE (John Cena, John Morrison, R-Truth, Bret Hart, Edge, Chris Jericho, and The Miz) vs. Nexus (Wade Barrett, Skip Sheffield, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, and Heath Slater)
Winner … Team WWE at 35 minutes and 18 seconds
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 58 minutes
Event Rating: 7/10
- Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Nick Tylwalk has been at it even longer, typing away in some capacity since 1999. Yes, they had the internet back then. Since Nick has been brought up to speed with current technology, you can follow his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk if you are so inclined. .