For a show considered to be the second most important event on the WWE calendar, the 2011 edition of SummerSlam appeared to be placing almost all of its proverbial apples in the basket of the CM Punk-John Cena feud. It didn’t turn out to quite be a one-match show Sunday night thanks to several title changes and a very physical co-feature between Christian and Randy Orton, but the fans on hand at the Staples Center in Los Angeles were clearly anticipating a resolution to the hottest one-on-one angle in some time.
A typically fantastic video package set up the rematch between Punk and Cena to settle who would become the undisputed WWE Champion, this time with WWE COO Triple H as the special referee. Both men had their share of supporters, with Punk receiving a slightly larger share of the cheers.
Triple H set up a distinctly old school vibe by putting both grapplers through a thorough foreign object check. The first few minutes of action were mostly a stalemate thanks to plenty of reversals and quick escapes.
Punk broke out first with a big drop kick that earned a near fall. Cena responded with a gutwrench and fisherman’s suplexes, both of which scored two counts.
Unloading kicks and knees helped Punk gain the upper hand. Cena was guillotined on the top rope and sent out to the floor, then forced to kick out again after crawling back in and getting met by a senton.
A series of reversals and counters left Punk in position to be victimized by a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but he escaped and locked in a leg triangle submission. Cena proved fairly resilient on the mat, exchanging holds several times and forcing Punk to crawl to the ropes to break up an STF.
Punk dumped Cena to the outside again and nailed him with a suicide dive between the ropes. Both men were in danger of getting counted out, but Triple H took matters into his own hands and rolled them back into the ring.
Plenty of big shots were exchanged as Punk and Cena decided to stand and trade blows. Cena came out on top thanks to a huge drop kick, which was quickly followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. An Attitude Adjustment proved one move too many, though, as Punk escaped and hit a kick to the head for a near fall.
Cena caught Punk coming out of the corner and nailed a power slam for two. He tried to follow up by going up top, but Punk put the kibosh on that idea with a high knee and a top rope bulldog for yet another near fall.
Cena rallied quickly to catch Punk coming out of the corner, trapping him in another STF. Punk made it to the ropes again but turned right into the Attitude Adjustment. Triple H almost got to three before Punk kicked out.
Shaking off his incredulity, Cena tried a leg drop off the top turnbuckle but came up empty. Punk struck with the Go To Sleep only to see Cena kick out. Cena’s roll up was good for only two, and after an exchange of shots, Punk hit another GTS. Cena got his foot on the ropes but Triple H didn’t see it, making the three count, and that was that.
Kevin Nash destroys CM Punk at SummerSlam.
Except it wasn’t. Punk didn’t even have time to celebrate his status as undisputed WWE Champion before Kevin Nash came out of the crowd to lay him out. A Jackknife Powerbomb put Punk out cold, leaving Nash to hightail it back through the fans.
Alberto Del Rio saw this opportunity to take advantage of his Money in the Bank title shot, sprinting down the ramp with a referee in tow. That ref called for the bell, and eight seconds later, Del Rio had the title in his possession, ending the show with a confused Triple H looking on helplessly from ringside.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Night of Champions on September 18.
As per tradition, Dale’s comments will appear in italics while Nick’s thoughts are in regular type. Hey, I do most of the typing.
The Miz kicks off the show by thanking the crowd for insisting that he wrestle. R-Truth interrupts the self congratulatory speech by spewing his conspiracy theories.
Rey Mysterio takes to the air to finish off R-Truth.
The Miz, R-Truth, and Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, and Rey Mysterio
Well, so much for Rey Mysterio selling the beating he took on Monday night. Morrison and Kofi double team Miz but can’t get the pin. Truth tags in to fight with his nemesis, John Morrison. Kofi hits his high spots on Miz, flying off the turnbuckle and connecting with the Boom Drop. Miz ducks Trouble in Paradise, countering with the Skull Crushing Finale. Kofi blocks it and counters into the SOS. Del Rio jumps in to break the pin. Mysterio finally tags into the match, hitting Truth with a seated senton. Rey rolls through a sunset flip and kicks Truth in the face. A hurricanrana sends truth into the ropes. Miz tries to interfere, but also gets knocked into the ropes. Miz avoids the 619, but it connects with Truth. Kofi flies over the top rope to take out Miz, and Rey finishes off Truth with the frog splash. Rey covers Truth for the win.
Winners … Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, and Rey Mysterio at 9 minutes 37 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, John Laurinaitis demands an apology from CM Punk, telling him that he will not be disrespected in his role as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Punk gives him what he wants, but Laurinaitis either fails to recognize or chooses to ignore the sarcasm. Stephanie McMahon surprises Punk by stopping by and wishing him luck. Punk is skeptical, but Stephanie claims both Triple H and Vince McMahon wish him luck as well. She offers a handshake, but Punk declines, saying he knows where that hand has been. Ooh, burn! By the way, is it cool if I say that the addition of Laurinaitis helped cool down the Punk-Cena angle? Well, too late, I just did.
Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
This is pretty much what you’d expect, with Sheamus trying to out-bully the bully, as it were. Booker T delivers a memorable line when Henry jumps through the ropes while Sheamus’ neck is on the middle one, saying “Mark Henry just left a skid mark on that boy.” Classy. The end comes after a Brogue Kick puts Henry on the floor. Sheamus chooses to go after him, but Henry slams him back-first into the post and then through a section of the retaining wall. Sheamus can’t make it back to the ring and is counted out.
Winner … Mark Henry at 9 minutes and 19 seconds.
Match Rating: 3.5/10 (but 7/10 for the wall-smashing spot)
Josh Matthews asks Christian about the news that will change everything. Christians says that he has an insurance policy that will not allow Randy Orton walk out of SummerSlam with the World Heavyweight Title.
After a preview for the movie Killer Elite, Cee-Lo Green comes out to perform wearing something that SLAM! Wrestling Timekeeper Brian Whorl says looks like a choir gown that ran into a BeDazzler. We sit through two songs, including the clean version (darn) of “F— You.” After that are two commercials.
I’ll let the movie trailer slide, but why plunk down $55 for a show if you have to sit through commercials?
Kelly Kelly (Champion) w/ Eve vs. Beth Phoenix (Challenger0 w/ Natalya – WWE Diva’s Title Match
Kelly splashes Beth from off the turnbuckle onto the floor. Back in the ring, Beth drops Kelly onto the top rope. Kelly is hung in the tree of woe, but is able to escape by sliding over Phoenix. Kelly counters the Glam Slam with a sunset flip and gets the pin.
I thought there was a real chance there might be a wardrobe malfunction in this one, which is the only thing that kept my attention. Still, I will say the ladies worked hard.
Winner… and still WWE Diva’s Champ … 6 minutes and 26 seconds
Match Rating: 2/10
Stephanie McMahon is shown walking out of John Cena’s dressing room.
I wonder what was going on in there? Crap, Jerry Lawler already beat me to that joke.
R-Truth runs into Jimmy Hart backstage, who tells him to think bigger, perhaps with the Mouth of the South to guide his career. Things seem to be going well until Hart makes Truth think he’s talking about Little Jimmy. Hilarity ensues, I guess. The Artist Who Wants to be the Artist Formerly Known as Ron Artest looks on with his daughter.
Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan connects with a drop kick and locks in a very unique abdominal stretch. Bryan hits another drop kick on Barrett in the corner. Barrett catches Bryan coming off the ropes and plants him with a sidewalk slam. Bryan gets caught in the ropes, and Barrett kicks him out of the ring. Bryan connects with a high knee on the outside, then delivers the missile drop kick off the top turnbuckle. Bryan hooks in a submission and combos into the LeBell lock. Barrett pulls himself to the ropes to break the hold. Barrett picks Bryan up and drops him with Wasteland. Barrett covers for the win.
Winner … Wade Barrett at 11 minutes and 45 seconds
Match Rating: 6/10
Edge addresses Christian.
Christian (champion) vs. Randy Orton (challenger) – No Holds Barred World Heavyweight Title Match
Before the match, Christian says he is a man of integrity and announces that his best friend will be in his corner. The crowd goes nuts as Edge makes his entrance. Edge asks for the microphone, saying that entrance was a lot of fun. Edge reiterates that he is not cleared to compete, but he is happy because he passed the torch to Christian. Edge points out the Christian whined and moaned after he lost the belt, until he won the belt back. Edge doesn’t like that he won the belt back by DQ. Edge says he did everything with style. Edge calls his best friend something that I can’t repeat on this site and walks out on him.
Uh, you can say “whiny little bitch” if it is in the context of the report.
As for the match, Christian and Orton circle each other, with Christian running his mouth. The two trade punches, and Orton is beaten into the corner. The challenger turns the tables and stomps away at Christian on the mat. The fight spills to the floor. Orton tears apart the announce table, but Christian blocks the RKO. The champ grabs his title and tries to escape through the crowd. Orton catches up to him, beating him into the concrete floor. Orton drags the champ back to the ring, punching him into the turnbuckle.
Christian slips out of the ring and grabs a kendo stick. He beats Orton with it and drives it into his throat. Orton dodges another attack, and the kendo stick flies out of the ring. Orton nearly gets a pin with a roll up, but the champ kicks out. Christian delivers a spine buster but only gets a two count. Orton cuts Christian down with a drop kick and follows with a power slam. Orton grabs the kendo stick, but Christian kicks it away. Orton catches Christian on the apron, but the champ counters the DDT into a Kill Switch. Orton counters that with a back breaker. The challenger sizes up Christian for the punt, but the champ rolls out of the ring.
With the champ down, Orton grabs a few tables. Both men fight to the top turnbuckle, and Orton hits a superplex, then sets up a table in the corner. Christian counters Orton with an inverted DDT. Orton leaps over a spear, but is then tossed from the ring. Christian is flipped over the ring steps. Christian smashes Orton’s face into the ring steps. The champ tears apart the Spanish announce table, nailing Orton with a monitor. Christian tries to RKO Orton on the table, but the challenger counters with an RKO of his own through the table. Both men crawl back into the ring. Christian hits the Kill Switch, but Orton kicks out. Christian grabs two chairs and looks for the Con-Chair-To. Christian spits in Orton’s face. The challenger rolls away from the chair shot, nailing Christian with one of his own. Orton knocks Christian out of the ring and through a table. Orton tosses everything into the ring, including the ring steps, chairs, and garbage cans. Christian is scooped slammed into a table. Orton goes to town on Christian with the kendo stick and DDTs him through a garbage can. Christian hits Orton in the face with the kendo stick springboards off the ropes. Orton catches him with an RKO in mid-air that finds it mark on the ring steps. Orton rolls Christian over and covers to win the World Heavyweight Title.
Winner… and new World Heavyweight Champion… Randy Orton at 23 minutes and 27 seconds.
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Special referee Triple H holds aloft both WWE championships before the match between CM Punk and John Cena.
Stephanie and Triple H are talking in the back, though we can’t hear what they are saying.
John Cena (Champion) vs. CM Punk (Champion)– WWE Title Unification Match with Triple H as special referee
Winner … and Undisputed WWE Champion … CM Punk at 24 minutes and 15 seconds
Match Rating: 8.5/10
CM Punk (Champion) vs. Alberto Del Rio (Challenger)– WWE Title Match
Winner … and new WWE Champion … Alberto Del Rio at 8 seconds.
Match Rating: N/A
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 48 minutes
Event Rating: 6/10
- Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003, and is now a roving wrestling reporter after his home was damaged by the scourge of Palmyra, the sinkhole. Nick Tylwalk has been on the job for SLAM! Wrestling for over a decade, currently operating out of the more geographically stable borough of Hummelstown.