Staples Center – Los Angeles, California – Sunday, August 19, 2012
Michael Cole and Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler is accompanied by Vickie Guerrero. Jericho is coming into this match with taped up ribs. Ziggler immediately bails and Jericho chases him. Jericho is the aggressor in the opening minutes, keeping Ziggler on defense. Ziggler fights back and goes after the injured ribs. Jericho backdrops Ziggler to the floor and tries a springboard dive but misses and crashes hard to the floor. Ziggler takes advantage, focusing on the injured ribs and wearing Jericho down. Every time Jericho tries to make a comeback Ziggler is able to cut him off. Finally Jericho scores with an enziguiri for a two-count. Ziggler comes back and locks on the Sleeper Hold. Jericho breaks it and puts Ziggler on the top rope. He hits 10 punches and then brings Ziggler down with a rana. Jericho crawls over to make the cover and gets two. Ziggler pops up and hits a DDT for a two-count. They slug it out and Jericho hits the Bulldog. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Ziggler gets his knees up. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag and Jericho kicks out! Jericho pops up and hits the Codebreaker! Both men are down. Ziggler rolls to the floor and Jericho goes out to retrieve him. Vickie grabs Jericho’s leg to distract him and Ziggler almost gets the pin with an inside cradle. Jericho throws Ziggler’s shoulder into the ring post and then locks on the Walls of Jericho to get the tap out win at 13:05. That was a tremendous opener, getting the crowd fired up and making both guys look good. They showed off their best stuff and went all-out for the whole match. Not much more you can ask for out of an opening match.
MATCH #2: Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan starts off trying to use his speed and agility advantage, but Kane simply overpowers him. Kane keeps Bryan grounded, and Bryan fights back by going after the big man’s legs. They spill to the floor and Bryan takes Kane out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Bryan hits a missile dropkick for a one-count. Bryan unloads with more kicks and Kane cuts him off with a clothesline. Kane goes up top for another clothesline, and he’s looking dominant now. Bryan tries to escape and makes the mistake of slapping Kane in the face. Kane stomps Bryan down in the corner and Bryan counters with a drop toe hold into the middle turnbuckle. Bryan goes for the “No!” Lock and Kane fights it off so Bryan delivers a knockout kick. He goes up for the diving headbutt but Kane catches him in the Chokeslam! Kane goes for the Tombstone Piledriver but Bryan counters with an inside cradle to get the pin at 8:03. That was perfectly adequate for the time they got, as they worked a nice big man / little man style. Bryan gets a clean win too, which is always nice.
MATCH #3: Intercontinental Title Match – The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio
Miz has been the Champion since 7.23.12, and this is his second defense. Mysterio is himself a former two-time Intercontinental Champion. They go back and forth in the early going, with Mysterio trying to fly and Miz trying to keep him grounded. The battle spills to the floor and Miz is able to drop Mysterio’s midsection across the barricade. Back in the ring Miz wears Mysterio down, even hitting a Shock Treatment for a near-fall. Miz continues the beating until he goes to the top rope and Mysterio knocks him down. Mysterio comes off the top with a seated senton, and then tries a rana but Miz counters with a sitout powerbomb for two. Momentum continues to swing as both men are going for big shots to try and put the other away. Mysterio hits a swinging DDT for two. They fight up on the top rope and Mysterio knocks Miz down. Mysterio comes down with a headscissors that puts Miz in perfect position for the 619. The challenger hits the 619 and then goes for the top rope splash but misses. Miz tries the Skull-Crushing Finale but Mysterio counters with a victory roll for a near-fall. Mysterio charges and gets tosses into the top turnbuckle. Miz connects on the Skull-Crushing Finale to get the pin and retain his title at 9:10. That was a fun little match, following the classic formula and playing to both men’s strenghts. It’s a nice reminder of the contributions Mysterio was capable of.
MATCH #4: World Heavyweight Title Match – Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Sheamus has been the Champion since 4.1.12, and this is his sixth defense. They lock up intensely to start, as this feud has been going on for quite some time. The fight briefly spills to the floor and they trade control back and forth, both trying to establish early control. Del Rio attacks the arm, and is able to remove the pad from one of the top turnbuckles. I’m sure that will come into play later. Del Rio sends Sheamus to the floor, and then brings him back in to hit a shouderblock off the top rope for a two-count. The challenger stays in control, wearing Sheamus down. Del Rio mocks Sheamus and goes for the Brogue Kick but Sheamus blocks it. Sheamus charges into the corner and Del Rio moves, sending Sheamus shoulder-first into the ring post. Del Rio locks on the Cross Armbreaker and Sheamus powers his way out of it. Sheamus hits White Noise for a two-count. He traps Del Rio in the ropes and unleashes with the forearms. Sheamus delivers mounted punches in the corner and Del Rio drops him right on the exposed steel that I said would come into play. Del Rio hits an enziguiri for a near-fall. He gets frustrated and pulls Rodriguez in the ring. Rodriguez tries to throw Del Rio his shoe but Sheamus intercepts it and hits Del Rio in the face with it. Sheamus then hits the Irish Curse to get the pin, even though Del Rio’s foot was on the bottom rope, at 11:23. That was the usual match between these two; they all seemed about the same. The finish ensures that the feud would go on even longer, and no one wanted to see that.
MATCH #5: WWE Tag Team Title Match – Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players
Kingston and Truth have been the Champions since 4.30.12, and this is their fourth defense. Truth and Darren Young start the match, and it’s Truth with the early control. Young fights back and tags in Titus O’Neil, who uses his size and strength advantage to wear Truth down. Truth cuts O’Neil off with a leg lariat and Kingston tags in. Kingston is a house afire, taking O’Neil off his feet and hitting the Boom Drop. He signals for Trouble in Paradise but Young distracts him, allowing O’Neil to roll to the floor. The PTP use some deft teamwork to take Kingston down and resume control of the match. Young and O’Neil keep Kingston isolated for a few minutes, and then Kingston catches O’Neil with a DDT. Tags are made and Truth is a house afire. Truth hits Young with the gourdbuster for two. The referee loses control, and Kingston helps him regain it by sending O’Neil to the floor and wiping him out with a springboard dive. Young goes fo rthe Gut Check but Truth slips out and hits the Little Jimmy to get the pin at 7:08. That was too short to get anything going but they did a truncated version of the tag team formula match and it worked well enough.
MATCH #6: WWE Championship Match – CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show
Punk has been the Champion since 11.20.11, and this is his sixteenth defense. Show dominates right out of the gate, using his size and strength advantage. Punk and Cena have to work together to subdue him, and when they try a double suplex, Show is able to suplex both of them! Show sends Cena to the floor and charges at Punk but gets dropkicked in the knee. Punk hits a few more kicks and then tries Go To Sleep but Show avoids it. Cena comes back in and tries the Attitude Adjustment on Show but Punk knocks them both over. Show continues to dominate and counter everything Cena or Punk try. Even when Punk tries a suicide dive to the floor Show catches him and bounces him off the ropes and back to the floor. Ouch. In the ring Show goes to work on Cena. Finally Punk is able to take Cena out and he lands Hail to the King on Show for a two-count. Punk locks Show in the Koji Clutch and Show breaks out. Cena comes back in and takes Show down with a shoulderblock. He traps Show in the STF and Show powers out. Punk is able to catch Show with three running knees in the corner and he goes for the bulldog but Show pushes him off. That leaves Show in perfect position to hit the Cena Slice. Punk puts Show in the Koji Clutch and Cena adds the STF. Show taps out and the bell rings at 11:37. Both Punk and Cena think they’ve won. RAW General Manager AJ Lee comes out and declares that the match will be restarted. Show picks up both Cena and Punk for a simultaneous Chokeslam, but he can’t pin either man. He calls for the Knockout Punch but Cena ducks and hits the Attitude Adjustment. Punk dumps Cena to the floor and steals the pin to retain his title at 0:59 (total match time 12:36). Show dominated the entire match, and then literally jobbed to one move. As far as the match it was good fun, and the action was fast and never dull. But it was quite short, and I don’t get why Show would dominate that much if the focus was to be put on Cena and Punk.
MATCH #7: No Disqualification Match – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Both men bring the fight right to each other and HHH is able to send Lesnar to the floor. The angry beast comes back in and starts beating on The Game, but HHH is savvy and he sends Lesnar to the floor again. Back to the ring Lesnar goes on the attack again, and when they go to the floor Lesnar is able to slam HHH’s arm on the announce table. That’s the opening Lesnar needed, and now he begins to dissect HHH’s arm that he previously broke just by sheer force of awesome. HHH makes a few attempts at coming back but Lesnar is able to knock him down repeatedly. It becomes total domination for a few minutes until HHH is able to hit a quick suplex. HHH avoids a charge in the corner and tries the Pedigree but Lesnar counters that and Irish whips HHH all the way over the turnbuckles and to the floor. Outside the ring HHH decides to attack the midsection, which is wise given Lesnar’s history of diverticulitis. HHH hits the spinebuster, and after a couple of reversals he’s able to hit the Pedigree but Lesnar kicks out at two! Lesnar comes back with a blatant low blow. He follows with the F-5 but HHH is able to kick out! Lesnar puts on the Kimura Lock and HHH reaches the ropes. They rise and HHH hits another Pedigree, but when he goes for the cover Lesar grabs him in the Kimura Lock! HHH taps out at 18:45. I like how dominant Lesnar was throughout the match, and how HHH tapped out cleanly. HHH had smart strategy in attacking the midsection, but he simply got overpowered by Lesnar, and there’s no shame in that. This wasn’t a classic by any means but it was smartly worked and had the exact right result.
BONUS MATCH #1: CM Punk vs. Big Show, Monday Night Raw, 8.13.12
They start off slugging at each other and just guess who wins that battle. Show uses his size and power advantage to keep the WWE Champion grounded. Punk tries to fight back but Show slams him down hard. Show targets Punk’s arm, so Punk responds with kicks. Punk avoids a charge in the corner and hits the runing knee. He goes for the bulldog but Show pushes him off and hits a Spear. For some reason Daniel Bryan’s music hits and Bryan makes his way out. Bryan goes to the commentators and demands to be put in the WWE Title match at SummerSlam. Show and Punk continue wrestling, and Punk hits the springboard clothesline for two. Bryan gets in the ring to attack Punk and he puts on the “No!” Lock. The referee calls for the bell at 6:00. John Cena comes to the rescue and clears both Show and Bryan out of the ring. RAW General Manager AJ Lee (remember when that was a thing?) comes out to make a tag team match for later in the show. This match was obviouisly just to set up another match, but it did a fine job of it.
BONUS MATCH #2: The Miz vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler, Monday Night Raw, 8.13.12
Miz is the Intercontinental Champion but the title is not on the line here. Ziggler has Vickie Guerrero in his corner. Jericho takes the early control and sends Ziggler to the floor so he can focus on Miz. After a brief respite Ziggler makes his way back in, and he and Miz join forces to beat on Jericho. That lasts only as long as the first man who goes for a pin, and that allows Jericho to reclaim control. Jericho dumps both opponents to the floor and wipes them out with a dive. He starts rearranging the furniture, but when he goes up to the apron Ziggler knocks him down into the announce table. That’s a good time for a commercial break. When we come back Miz is beating on Jericho in the ring while Ziggler is recovering outside. Jericho fights back and he keeps Ziggler out on the floor. He takes Miz down and hits the Lionsault for two, as Ziggler comes in to break it up. They work in a Tower of Doom spot. Miz goes to the floor as Ziggler and Jericho trade pin attempts. Ziggler hits a Fame-Ass-Er for a two-count. Miz sneaks back in and hits Ziggler with the Skull-Crushing Finale and Jericho breaks up the cover. The action gets fast and furious and Vickie interferes when she can. Jericho catches Miz in the Walls of Jericho and Vickie distracts the referee so he can’t see Miz tapping out. Ziggler comes back in and pulls Jericho off Miz with a Zig Zag to get the pin at 11:15 (shown). These three work well together and the action was fast paced and on target throughout. I don’t recall why Miz got involved with Jericho and Ziggler, or what Rey Mysterio was doing since that’s who Miz was set to face at the pay-per-view.
BONUS MATCH #3: Big Show & Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk & John Cena, Monday Night Raw, 8.13.12
Cena and Bryan start the match, and before much can happen Punk tags himself in. Punk and Bryan go back and forth briefly and then Cena tags himself back in. Take that, Punk! Show wants a tag but Bryan says NO! Finally Show does tag in and he takes it right to Cena. They take a commercial break and when they come back Show is still dominating. Show puts Cena in a bearhug and Bryan tags himself in. Bryan misses an IED and crawls over for the tag, which Punk is happy to oblige. Punk comes in with the springboard flying clothesline, and he keeps up the flurry. Show comes in to break up a pin and Punk tries to tag out but Cena is still recovering on the floor. That allows Show and Bryan to wear the Champion down in their half of the ring, even though they still can’t get along. Show drops down to the floor and takes a rest over by the timekeeper’s area. Punk fires up and takes Bryan off his feet. He starts using Cena’s Moves of Doom, so Cena tags himself in and does some of Punk’s signature moves. Punk takes his belt and bails, allowing Bryan to almost pin Cena with a rollup. JK though, as #LOLCENAWINS with the Attitude Adjustment at 10:22 (shown). This match was pretty much all angle, and since Bryan was the only one of the four not scheduled for the title match it makes sense for him to eat the pin. As a match it was okay enough, and it did work well to put heat on Punk and Cena.
BONUS MATCH #4: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan, Friday Night SmackDown, 8.17.12
Orton scores a couple of knockdowns right away and Bryan gets frustrated. After a dropkick and a one-count from Orton, Bryan rolls to the floor and takes a powder. Bryan gets into a shouting match with a fan, and then gets back in the ring to get beat up some more. Orton misses a kneedrop and Bryan capitalizes, going right to work on it. Bryan heads up top and Orton halts his momentum by bringing him down with a superplex just like his daddy used to do. Time for a commercial, and when we come back the two superstars are slugging it out. Bryan goes back to the leg. Bryan charges into the corner and Orton moves, sending Bryan’s shoulder into the ring post. Orton fires up now and hits the snap scoop powerslam. They take it to the floor and Orton whips Bryan hard into the barricade. Bryan fights back and throws Orton into the steel steps. He brings Orton back in the ring and covers for two. Orton hits the Inverted headlock backbreaker for two. He traps Bryan in the corner and hits the Rope-hung DDT. Orton tries the RKO but Bryan counters out of it and puts on the “No!” Lock. The ring posts light on fire and Kane’s music hits, so Bryan breaks the hold and starts looking for Kane. When Bryan gets back in the ring Orton hits an RKO to get the pin at 10:49 (shown). That was a damn fine match with a damn stupid ending. Bryan and Orton have good chemistry, their back and forth was good, Orton was selling the leg really well, but that finish is so lazy and cliched it took all the wind out of the sails.