Conseco Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN
MATCH #1: Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Jeff Hardy
Tazz has replaced Mick Foley as JR’s color commentator. I like that because Tazz is (was) good and Foley is not. It’s a brawl to start and MVP powders early but Hardy is able to pull him back out to the floor and throw him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Hardy gets a one count. He follows up with a body slam and a slingshot legdrop for two. Jeff then slows things down by going for an armbar. This is Jeff’s first SummerSlam match since 2001, when he lost the Hardcore Title to Rob Van Dam. This is MVP’s first SummerSlam match ever. Hardy backs MVP into the corner and the referee breaks it up. Jeff throws him into the other corner and when Jeff comes charging in MVP hits a belly-to-belly suplex into the turnbuckles for a two-count and then he locks on a submission hold. He continues to work on the neck and locks on a camel clutch. JR notes that MVP didn’t become the third-longest reigning U.S. Champion in WWE history by accident; it was because he defended it like once every three months. Jeff tries to make a comeback but MVP grounds him with some kind of heel hook. Jeff comes back and tries a springboard but MVP knocks him out of the air and keeps working on the neck and back. MVP hoists Hardy up on his shoulders and Hardy slips out and hits a neckbreaker. He hits the reverse mule kick and tries a springboard in the corner but MVP kicks him off and gets a near fall. MVP hits a shotgun dropkick to send Hardy into the corner. He goes for the running boot and Hardy comes out of the corner with a clothesline. Hardy hits a Russian legsweep and then the sort of jackknife pin that he does for two. He gets a sunset flip for two. Jeff hits the Whisper in the Wind and goes up top, but he spots Shelton Benjamin on the floor and Jeff jumps on him instead. That gives MVP time to move out of the way of the Swanton and hit the Drive By to score the pin at 10:12. That was a solid opener but it would be nice to see MVP beat someone clean for once.
MATCH #2: Winner Take All Match – Kofi Kingston & Mickie James vs. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix
Kingston has been the Intercontinental Champion since 6.29.08 and this is his fourth defense. Mickie has been the Women’s Champion since 4.14.08 and this is her fifth defense. The women start the match and Mickie tries a headlock takeover but Beth just powers right out of it. Mickie scores a dropkick but Beth is soon back in control and she tags Marella in. She monkey flips him and tags Kingston in. He hits a cross body block, a dropkick, and more that sends Santino to the floor. Mickie sends Beth as well, and when Kofi looks to jump over the ropes Santino jumps into Beth’s arms for protection. They make a great team. They take over on Kingston and work him over in their half of the ring. Kingston comes back and they knock noggins and tag the women in. Mickie unloads on Beth and even knocks Santino to the floor. Mickie hits a nice rana on Beth and goes to the top rope for a Thesz Press. Santino breaks it up and takes a forearm to the face. He is able to avoid Kingston charging at him and the IC Champ goes sailing to the floor. Mickie hits the DDT on Santino but that gives Beth time to recover and hit the Chicken Wing Slam to score the pin and win at 5:39. Beth Phoenix is your new two-time Women’s Champion and Santino Marella is your new two-time Intercontinental Champion. The match was short and surprisingly bad, since I like everyone in it. They get me back a little at the end as Santino rides out on Beth’s shoulders holding both titles up high.
Shawn Michaels Announcement
They show the video package leading up to this announcement, where Michaels hints at maybe hanging up the boots. I love how this feud was able to book a “Shawn Michaels announcement” and have it be one of the most anticipated parts of the show. Shawn comes out with his wife Rebecca, who looks to be crying. Shawn is wearing a goofy shirt with a horse on it. Shawn says that the doctor recommended that he walk away, but that it was ultimately up to Shawn. He says he’s going to heed the doctor’s advice and indeed walk away. The crowd doesn’t like that at all. He starts running through his accomplishments and some chicks in the crowd are crying and they’re why I love wrestling. Of course Chris Jericho has to come out and interrupt. He says he’s not going to allow Shawn to go out this way, on his own terms. He wants Shawn to admit that Chris Jericho is the reason he’s retiring. Jericho is insistent, so Michaels makes him a deal. He’ll admit that Jericho is the reason he’s retiring, if Jericho tells his wife and kids that he will never, ever BE Shawn Michaels. Best feud ever. Rebecca tries to pull Shawn away and Jericho goes for a right hand but Shawn ducks and Jericho NAILS Rebecca instead. The crowd reaction is great, and Jericho even looks upset. Really though Shawn put her in harm’s way. What a great segment.
MATCH #3: ECW Championship Match – Mark Henry vs. Matt Hardy
Henry has been the champion since 6.29.08, and this is his second defense. The new ECW title belt actually fits around Henry’s waist. Hardy starts out with some punches but Henry shoves him back in the corner. He misses a charge and Hardy hits a Twist of Fate but Tony Atlas pulls Hardy to the floor and referee Mike Posey calls for the bell at a lengthy 0:32. What the hell was the point of that? Jeff Hardy comes out to make the save, giving Atlas a nasty looking Swanton off the apron to the floor. The Hardys double suplex Henry on the floor. I really don’t understand the booking there.
MATCH #4: World Heavyweight Championship Match – CM Punk vs. JBL
They show a special video package on the Chicago native CM Punk. Too bad they ROH can’t figure out a way to have WWE show some of their footage of Punk. They show a video package for JBL s well. Punk has been the champion since 6.30.08, and this is his fourth defense. He already beat JBL back on the same night he won the title, but JBL earned this rematch by teaming with Chris Jericho to beat Punk in a handicap match.
They lock up and JBL pushes Punk back in the corner. They come out and JBL starts clubbing away and puts on a headlock. Punk uses his quickness to make a comeback and hits a couple of kicks, a flying clothesline and a dropkick to send JBL to the floor. He follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Punk hits a cross body off the top for two. Back to their feet JBL overpowers the champion once again and beats him down in the corner. He then delivers a Super Last Call for a near-fall. JBL then puts on a body vice to continue working on the ribs. Punk fights back but eats a boot in the corner and another one sends him down for a two-count. A suplex with a float over gets two. Saito suplex gets two for JBL, and then he goes back to the body vice. He switches it up to a modified abdominal stretch. Punk hip tosses his way out of it. He hits the high knee in the corner and the bulldog. He goes for Go to Sleep but his ribs are too hurt. JBL responds with a short-arm clothesline and five elbow drops but Punk once again kicks out. They get up and trade blows and JBL gets the better of it. He tries another short-arm clothesline but Punk avoids it and hits a series of strikes for a near-fall. He tries the springboard clothesline but JBL catches him in a powerslam for two. JBL goes for the Clothesline from Hell but Punk hits a leg lariat instead. They crack heads on the way down and Punk is bleeding from the back of the head. Punk hits the high knee once again but JBL blocks the bulldog and sets Punk on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex. That gets two. JBL tries another short-arm clothesline but Punk ducks and hits Go to Sleep to score the pin at 11:52. That was way better than I think most expected it to be. Punk went over squeaky clean and they worked a solid formula. Punk wipes the blood from his head and points at the belt, saying “I’ll bleed for this!”
MATCH #5: WWE Championship Match – Triple H vs. Great Khali
Triple H has been the champion since 4.27.08, and this is his sixth defense. The champion slugs away at the much larger challenger and tries an early Pedigree but no dice. HHH charges and Khali hits the two-handed chokeslam and signals for the head vice. He puts it on and HHH kicks away at the knee to get out of the hold, and then hits a chop block to knock Khali down, and the challenger takes a powder. HHH follows him outside but Khali levels him with a chop to the top of the head. Back in the ring Khali keeps working over the champion in the corner. HHH takes a few minutes of abuse before coming back with a face buster that gets Khali tied up in the ropes a la Andre the Giant. HHH charges and Khali gets a boot up. HHH goes for another Pedigree but gets back body dropped to the floor. He’s able to ram one of Khali’s legs into the ring post, but the Punjabi warrior clubs HHH down. Back in the ring Khali once again grabs HHH’s head in the Vice Grip. He powers his way out of it but Khali grabs him again and shoves him back to the corner. HHH avoids a charge and tries the Pedigree again and this time he hits it. That’s enough to pin Khali and retain the title at 10:00. This was a smartly booked match and kept short, which is really all I can ask for from Khali, and I may be the guy’s biggest fan.
MATCH #6: John Cena vs. Batista
Cena did a great job with the promo building this feud, talking about how Batista overshadowed him at WrestleMania 21 and WrestleMania 23. I would have thought they save this for WrestleMania 25, so I guess we’ll see what happens there. I like how the video package doesn’t even mention that these two held the tag team titles for a week. Michael Cole makes sure to mention it though.
They trade maneuvers back and forth early on with neither man gaining a sustained advantage. Batista gets the first one, slamming Cena and going after the leg, even using the figure-four leglock that he learned from Ric Flair. Cena fights back and puts Batista in the FU position and dumps him over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring Cena is in control now, hitting a few moves including the Proto-Plex. He then hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and tries the FU, but Batista slips out and kicks Cena in the face. Batista unloads now, and hits a spinebuster. Batista tries the Batista Bomb but Cena sweeps the leg and hits a KneeDT and puts on the STFU. Batista reaches the ropes so Cena pulls him back out and reapplies the hold. Batista gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Batista reverses the FU into a rear naked choke. Cena escapes and Batista hits a Spear for a close count. Batista tries a powerslam but Cena awesomely reverses it into an FU. Batista kicks out. They battle up on the top rope, trading punches. Cena knocks Batista down and goes for that legdrop but Batista somehow catches him in a Batista Bomb and Cena kicks out! Batista is pissed now so he hits another Batista Bomb and this one finishes Cena clean at 14:10. I don’t care much for the silly submission stuff; these two guys should just be throwing bombs at each other. The work was mostly really good here and the crowd was hot so this was still really good. I think they could do even better.
MATCH #7: Hell in a Cell Match – Undertaker vs. Edge
Undertaker’s “gone forever” lasted just over two months. At least they had a good excuse to bring him back, as Vickie was trying to get back at Edge. This is Undertaker’s ninth Hell in a Cell match, while Edge is making his first appearance. Edge tries to gain the early advantage but Undertaker overpowers him. He quickly throws Edge to the floor and starts using the cell as a tag team partner. Undertaker hits his legdrop on the apron and brings the steps into the ring. He sets them up in the corner and delivers Snake Eyes. Edge comes back and is able to whip Undertaker into the steps. Edge hits a low dropkick into the steps and then a spear. Edge grabs a table out from under the ring, then goes back in and hits Undertaker with the steps. Edge sets up two tables at ringside and tries to suplex Undertaker on them but Undertaker blocks it and goes for the chokeslam but Edge blocks that. Edge uses a steel chair to clobber Undertaker and now introduces ladders to the fray. He sets Undertaker up on a table and hits a chair-assisted elbow drop off the ladder. That only gets two. Edge tries a con-chair-toe but Undertaker blocks it and knocks Edge down with a punch. Undertaker boots Edge off the apron and he hits up against the cage and then knocks his head on the ring apron. Undertaker rams the steps into Edge’s side, particularly the head. Undertaker tries to ram Edge into the cage again but Edge blocks it and throws Undertaker into the steel post. He then sets up the steps and sets Undertaker against the wall of the cage and he hits a running jumping spear and they break the wall down. They fight outside the cage, with Undertaker holding the advantage. He tries to hit Edge with a TV monitor but misses, but Edge doesn’t miss his. Edge spears Undertaker from one table to the next and that table breaks. Cool spot.
They make it back to the ring and Edge nails Undertaker with a ladder. He grabs one of the ringside cameras and hits Undertaker with that. It only gets two. He goes for a Spear but Undertaker catches him with a chokeslam. Undertaker sets up for the Last Ride but Edge hits a low blow. He follows up with the Impaler for a two-count. Undertaker sits up and goes for the Last Ride. Edge avoids it and hits a Spear for two. Edge does the idiotic corner punches and Undertaker hits the Last Ride or a very close near fall. Undertaker tries a tombstone from the steel steps but Edge slips out and hits the Edge-O-Matic. Edge can still only get two. Edge tries for Old School but Undertaker blocks it and delivers a chokeslam through the two tables Edge had set up earlier. Back in the ring Undertaker hits a Spear. He hits Edge with a camera and then sets up a con-chair-toe. He flattens Edge’s head and delivers a Tombstone Piledriver to get the pin at 26:41.
I saw a lot of wildly variant reviews of this one, but I have to say I really liked it. I love how Edge worked the match, and I like Undertaker giving Edge everything he took himself. It may have been a tad long, but what was there was mostly really good and much better than their TLC match. Undertaker spots Edge moving on the video wall, so he goes back to the ring and sets up a ladder. He puts Edge on the ladder in a terribly stupid looking spot. Undertaker grabs another ladder and climbs it, and the picture quality changes to appear more cinematic, and with video footage of Undertaker’s past. He chokeslams Edge down and the ring breaks. The hole in the ring Edge is in then starts on fire, I guess to simulate Hell. Well the match was good, but that post-match stuff was brutally stupid.
BONUS MATCH: ECW Championship Match – Mark Henry w/ Tony Atlas vs. Matt Hardy, ECW on Sci-Fi, 8.19.08
This is the rematch they showed on TV two nights after the pay-per-view. Henry has been the champion since 6.29.08 and this is his third defense. At least they included this match on the DVD to make up for the 32-second match they had on the pay-per-view. Hardy tries an early Twist of Fate but Henry has it scouted this time. He starts going after the leg instead. He hits an enziguiri for a near fall. Hardy tries to slug Henry down, but that obviously doesn’t work and Henry takes him down with a clothesline. Hardy comes back and tries the Twist of Fate but Henry blocks it and clotheslines him over the ropes and we go to commercial.
During the break Henry hit a big suplex and that is all, nothing else. Henry has Hardy in a neck crank now. Hardy tries the comeback but the champion is able to maintain control. Atlas gets a cheap shot in behind the referee’s back. Hardy comes back with a flurry of offense, including a cross body block from the top rope for a near fall. He then tries the Twist of Fate but Henry reverses to the World’s Strongest Slam. Hardy reverses that to the Twist of Fate and hits it, but once again Atlas pulls Hardy to the floor but the referee didn’t see it. Hardy tries a moonsault but Henry got the knees up. He follows that with the World’s Strongest Slam to get the pin at 14:20. That was a solid TV main event and I’m not sure why they would have even booked what they did for PPV when these guys are perfectly capable of having a solid match together.