Staples Center – Los Angeles, California – Sunday, August 14, 2011
Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Booker T are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Six Man Tag Team Match – Rey Mysterio, John Morrison & Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio, The Miz & R-Truth
I miss heel R-Truth so much. Kingston and Miz start the match and Kingston takes advantage by flying all over the place. Morrison tags in and the advantage continues for the babyface trio. Miz catches Morrison with a kick to the face and tags Truth, which just fires Morrison up. Momentum shifts back and forth as both sides try to set the pace. Morrison gets beat up for a bit and then makes the hot tag to Kingston, who flies all over the place. Kingston hits Miz with the Boom Drop and signals for Trouble in Paradise but Miz ducks it, so Kingston hits the SOS instead. Del Rio breaks up the cover and then kicks Mysterio off the apron for fun. Kingston gets rid of Del Rio, and bodies are just flying all over the place. Miz catches Kingston in a Snap Mare Driver for a two-count. The heel team isolates Kingston and keeps him away from his partners. After a few minutes Mysterio gets the hot tag and he starts flying. Mysterio kicks Truth right in the head for a two-count. He gets Truth in position for the 619, and then puts Miz there as well. Del Rio stops the move from happening, so Morrison takes him out with a dive. Miz is able to hit Truth with the 619 but Miz avoids it. Kingston takes Miz out with a dive to the floor, while Mysterio hits Truth with a splash from the top rope to get the pin at 9:40. What a terrific opener, with a high flying babyface team teaking on a team of hated heels and everyone just busting ass as much as they could. Mysterio is set for a title shot tomorrow night on RAW so it makes sense for him to get the pin here. This got the crowd right fired up, so kudos to all involved here.
MATCH #2: Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
They trade control back and forth in the early going, doing their best to out slug each other. Henry dumps Sheamus to the floor, and then goes out and press slams him back in. The World’s Strongest Man keeps Sheamus down, flattening him with a splash for a two-count. Every time Sheamus tries to fight back Henry uses his incredible strength to cut him off. Henry goes for a Vader Bomb and Sheamus avoids it, giving the Irishman a small window of opportunity. Sheamus is finally able to put some offense together, and he clubs away at his much larger opponent. He charges at Henry and they bonk heads. Both men are down. Back on their feet Sheamus catches Henry with boots to the face. Sheamus goes up top and hits a shoulderblock for a two-count. He goes for the Brogue Kick but Henry avoids it and takes Sheamus off his feet. Henry goes for the World’s Strongest Slam but Sheamus slips out and hits the Brogue Kick! The force sends Henry all the way to the floor. Sheamus goes out and tries to retrieve his massive opponent, but it backfires when Henry picks him up and rams him into the ring post. Henry then rams Sheamus through the ringside barricade! Henry makes it back to the ring and gets the win via countout at 9:22. Countout wins usually are lame, but at least in this case Henry beat his opponent up so bad that he got counted out, and it was less cheap that way. I probably would have had Henry go over clean, but this was not a horrible way to go. Good power match too, as Sheamus is underrated and Henry was on fire at this time.
MATCH #3: WWE Divas Championship Match – Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Kelly has been the Champion since 6.20.11, and this is her second defense. She has Eve Torres with her, while Phoenix has Natalya in her corner. The challenger tries to use her power game but Kelly successfully thwarts her with her speed and agility. When no one was noticing Kelly became a pretty decent worker. Kelly knocks Phoenix to the floor and wipes her out with a cross body block from the second rope. Back in the ring Phoenix catches Kelly with a hard clothesline and then press slams her onto the top rope for two. Phoenix controls now, dominating the Divas Champion with strength and power. This continues on as Phoenix cuts off all of Kelly’s comeback attempts. Phoenix goes for the Glam Slam but Kelly counters with a victory roll to get the shocking upset pin at 6:48! That was shockingly good, with Kelly playing the plucky underdog perfectly. I almost can’t believe what I just typed, but that match actually could have been longer.
MATCH #4: Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Bryan won Money in the Bank and Barrett did not so they’re fighting about it. They wrestle back and forth in the early going, both men trying to establish the pace and tone of the match. Bryan takes control and hits an IED, uses the surfboard to stomp on Barrett’s calves, and then delivers a hard kick to the chest for a two-count. Barrett comes back with The Winds of Change for a two-count. He keeps Bryan grounded, wearing him down with strikes and submission holds. Bryan comes back with a dropkick that knocks Barrett off the apron and to the floor. He follows with a flying knee to the face from the apron. Back in the ring Bryan hits a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Bryan unloads with more kicks and Barrett is again able to kick out. Barrett avoids a charge in the corner and hits a boot to the face to earn some reprieve. He goes for Wasteland but Bryan turns it into the End Time. Bryan turns that into the LeBell Lock and Barrett is able to reach the ropes. They battle on the top rope and Barrett hits a Nigel McGuinness-like clothesline. Barrett follows up with Wasteland to get the clean pin at 11:47. That was a good back and forth display from two men who came up together on NXT and got a spotlight on pay-per-view. Not sure why the Money in the Bank holder always has to lose leading up to cashing in the briefcase, but they seem to love doing that.
MATCH #5: No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Title – Christian vs. Randy Orton
Christian has been the Champion since 7.17.11, and this is his first defense. Before the match begins, Christian announces that his best friend Edge will be in his corner tonight! That’s a nice surprise. Unfortunately for the Champion, Edge tells his best friend that he’s being a little bitch and leaves him standing there on his own.
The match begins and both men start slugging at each other. Christian lands a diving elbow from the second rope for one. The match quickly spills to the floor and Orton claims control. Orton goes for an RKO on the announce table but Christian is able to avoid it. Christian grabs his belt and tries to run away through the crowd. Orton catches up with him and forces him back to the arena. Back in the ring Christian avoids a charge in the corner and Orton’s shoulder hits the ring post. Christian grabs a kendo stick and uses it to really put Orton on the defensive. Orton fight sback but Christian cuts him off and tries to use the kendo stick again but this time Orton catches him with a dropkick. They trade reversals back and forth and it ends with Orton hitting the Inverted headlock backbreaker for two. Orton sets up for the Punt but Christian avoids it. Christian tries to pull Orton’s groin into the ring post but Orton counters and pulls Christian’s face into the post. Orton brings out a table and puts it in the ring. Christian sets up another table on the floor but can’t do anything about it. Orton pulls Christian up to the apron and brings him in the ring with a superplex right on top of the table! Great spot. Orton props up the damaged table in the corner and tries to throw Christian into it. Christian blocks and hits an inverted DDT. He goes for a Spear but Orton avoids it. Even so Christian is able to toss Orton to the floor. Orton reverses a whip and sends Christian flying into the steel steps. Christian makes a comeback and starts prepping the Spanish Announce Table. He smacks Orton with a monitor and then goes for an RKO, but Orton counters into his own RKO to break the table! Back in the ring Orton goes for another RKO but Christian counters to the Killswitch for a near-fall! That was close. Christian goes to the floor and brings in two steel chairs. He sets up a Con-Chair-Toe, first taking time to spit in Orton’s face. Orton avoids the chair shot and makes Christian pay for the spit with multiple chair shots, one knocking Christian off the apron and through the table! The Viper throws more weapons into the ring, including the steel steps. Orton tries to squash Christian’s head on the steps but the Champ avoids that. Christian charges and Orton catches him in a powerslam through the other table! Orton hits Christian with a kendo stick, and then hits the Rope-hunt DDT right on a trash can! Christian surprises Orton with a kendo stick shot, and he tries to spring off the second rope but Orton catches him in an RKO right on the steel steps! That’s enough to get the pin and regain the title at 23:48! That was an absolute war, and it’s mind blowing that after this feud WWE didn’t see enough in Christian to keep himin a prominent role. These two had great chemistry and beat the crap out of each other for over 20 minutes, creatively using weapons and signature moves. It is rare that two opponents never have a bad match, but that is the case with Orton and Christian. This was probably their best, as it felt the biggest and definitely had an air of finality to it.
MATCH #6: WWE Championship Match – CM Punk vs. John Cena
Punk has been the Champion since 7.17.11, and this is his first defense. Cena has been the Champion since 7.25.11, and this is also his first defense. This match will decide who is the Undisputed Champion. Triple H is the special guest referee. They start with some back and forth chain wrestling, as the crowd disagrees on who to support. Just guess how that breaks down demographically. Momentum shifts several times in the opening minutes. Punk takes the first sustained advantage and scores several near-falls on Cena but is not able to put him away. Cena fights back with Moves of Doom, but Punk cuts him off with a knee to the face. Punk tries the bulldog but Cena counters to the Protoplex. Great sequence. Another great series of reversals ends with Punk putting on a Koji Clutch (I don’t think I’ve seen him use that before), which Cena counters to the STF. Punk counters that to the Anaconda Vise, and Cena re-counters to the STF! They’re too close to the ropes though and Punk reaches them to break the hold. That was a great few minutes of reversals there. Cena charges and Punk backdrops him to the floor. Punk follows with a suicide dive to wipe Cena out. HHH was counting both men out and almost gets to 10, but he decides to go out to the floor himself and bring both men back in the ring. Love it. Michael Cole says the trust thing he’s ever said with “There’s not one person in the world who wanted to see this match end on a double-countout.” Both Punk and Cena get back to their feet and exchange blows. Cena hits a dropkick of all things, and follows with the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Another series of reversals ends with Punk kicking Cena right in the head for two. Cena fires up and hits a powerslam for a two-count. He goes up top and Punk knocks him down with the running knee. Punk comes off the second rope with the bulldog for two. He goes up top and tries a clothesline but Punk sidesteps it and puts on the STF! Once again Punk reaches the ropes. Cena finally hits the Attitude Adjustment but Punk kicks out! A frustrated Cena glares at HHH, and then goes up top for the Cena Slice. Punk avoids it and hits the Go To Sleep, but Cena kicks out at two! Now Punk is the one who is frustrated. Punk goes up top and hits Hail to the King but it only gets a near-fall! Cena takes advantage of Punk arguing with HHH and rolls him up for a two-count. Both men get up and trade strikes, and Punk hits another Go To Sleep. Cena gets his foot on the bottom rope but HHH counts to three anyway and Punk wins at 24:14! That didn’t quite have the stroryline strength or the raw emotion that the Money in the Bank match had, but this was still pretty great. They showed how well they knew each other with great counters and reversals throughout the match, and used everything they could to try and put the other Champion away. This felt big and the crowd was with them the whole way. I don’t see why Cena had to get his foot on the bottom rope; it would have been better for Punk to just go over super clean, but that’s just how it goes. Still, great match.
Rating: **** ½
Triple H offers to shake Punk’s hand and Punk refuses. Instead HHH raises Punk’s hand and applauds him before heading to the back. Then, while Punk is celebrating, Kevin Nash comes in from out of nowhere and flattens Punk with a Jackknife Powerbomb! HHH looks shocked, and then Alberto Del Rio comes out with his Money in the Bank briefcase and a referee in tow!
MATCH #7: WWE Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
Punk has been the Champion since 7.17.11, and this is his second defense. Punk gets to his knees and Del Rio drills him with an enziguiri to score the pin at 0:13. That’s probably the first time since Owen versus Shawn that an enziguiri ended a match.