The show starts with the national anthem played by Adam Jones of the Prog Metal band TOOL, as we roll into our first match on SummerSlam 2011. It’s August 14th, 2011, and we look into the culmination of the WWE’s lacklustre version of the Summer of Punk.
The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio vs Jon Morrison, Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio
MAGGLE (Michael) COLES Brown-nosing of Miz is insufferable, already off to a rocky start. Del Rio was over despite being the Heel, Ricardo Rodriguez being the hype man helped make him a made act, the story of this match is Miz attacked Rey on the go-home show. Kofi and Miz start, basic lockup, fans chant Miz is awesome (Sure he is.) Morrison tags in, truth tags in after Miz kicks Morrison, (R-truth still looks the same now, a fountain of youth man) Commentary not talking about the match, busy bickering over hair stylists.
Heat on Morrison, Miz tags and puts a REST-HOLD onto Morrison which he eventually escapes and gets the hot tag on Kofi. Kofi starts a house of fire, Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise, but Alberto breaks it up, then kicks Rey, only to be knocked down by Morrison. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for a near fall as the heels get the heat on Kofi now, with Del Rio and Miz cutting him off.
Did I mention Michael Cole is atrocious, let me mention it again. Kofi eventually hits a double stomp, then hot tags Mysterio and fires up on R-Truth, eventually hitting a 619 and a Frog Splash on R-truth for the pin! Overall, a very good match, despite the commentary… A usual complaint in the early 2010s.
CM Punk and Johnny Ace (John Laurinaitis) backstage: Johnny Ace demands an apology for usurping his authority, Punk says sorry in the most insincere way possible, after Johnny Ace walks away, Stephanie pops over to wish Punk luck tonight…
Mark Henry vs Sheamus
Mark Henry going through his HALL OF PAIN phase, arguably the best stage of his career. Both just start just throwing fists and headbutts, really the best way to start this, Sheamus is trying his best to knock him down, however, Mark throws him out the ring with ease, then gorilla presses Sheamus back into the ring. Clothesline then big splash on Sheamus for the pin. Hits a leaping body guillotine, and after a few minutes, Sheamus finally fires up after avoiding a second rope Vader bomb.
Sheamus hits a flying clothesline finally knocking him down, then gets henry between the ropes delivering his Clubbing blows to the chest before both knock each other down in a double clothesline. Sheamus goes to the top, for a flying shoulder block. Attempts a brogue kick, but misses, but finally gets it after avoiding a world strongest slam. Knocking henry outside, as Sheamus went to grab Henry, Henry grabbed Sheamus and after slamming his back into the post, slammed Sheamus through the barricade, as Mark Henry wins by count-out.
Normally I hate these types of finishes, but for a guy to win in that dominant a finish without a pin, is fine. The match was also ok, Mark was never the best worker, for what it was, I was fine with it.
Christian promo backstage, and states that Orton isn’t leaving as the World Heavyweight Champion, stating he has an insurance policy… reminding everyone that the match is No Holds Barred, and for some reason compares himself to Harry Potter and compares Orton to the “Cowboys and Aliens” (I guess they both came out at the same time?).
It’s the 2010s, so we must have a MUSICAL INTERLUDE! Here’s C’Lo Green;
WWE Diva’s Championship – Beth Phoenix vs Kelly Kelly(c)
Jerry Lawler being lecherous over Kelly straight away is already a sign of things to come, and show where the Women’s Division was in 2011. Kelly came out with Eve Torres, While Beth came out with Natalya. This is a far cry from the women’s revolution, Kelly is not good at all, and Beth can only do so much.
Kelly starts a house of fire, Beth finally gets heat, hitting a bad gorilla press onto the ropes. Commentary isn’t talking about the match, Beth stretching Kelly in a backbreaker before Kelly escapes hitting a neckbreaker. Kelly tries firing up, but Beth puts her in a tree of woe as the fans DO NOT CARE about this match. Deathly silent. Why would they? The WWE didn’t bother about this division anyway…
Beth keeps on beating her down before Kelly starts slamming Beth’s head into the ground. Beth counters a gymnastics routine elbow in the corner, before attempting a Glam-Slam that Kelly counters rolling up for the win in 6:42, with Beth dominating 6 of those minutes. Shame.
Stephanie backstage walks backstage exiting Cena’s locker room, meanwhile, R-Truth asks Jimmy Hart for advice, then talking about Little Jimmy… NEXT!
Wade Barrett vs Daniel Bryan
Should be a good match. We’re in the “calling Daniel Bryan a nerd” (Guaranteed Vince line, because he’s vegan) period of Bryans career so you have to struggle with the commentary. Wade gets in the offence early, grinding down, mention their Nexus history.
Fans chanting for Daniel Bryan, Maggle burying Bryan because he’s Vegan (like that matters)
Great technical wrestling, wade escapes but runs into a dropkick, Wade starts getting the heat in the corner, the only thing that’s getting heat with me is Maggle continuously burying Daniel on Vince’s order. Dragon screw by Bryan followed by running dropkick into the corner.
Daniel is out of this world, but wade finally hits a black hole slam, getting the heat, hitting a side backbreaker. Bryan keeps trying to fire up but gets cut off. Fans get bored, a few chants for CM Punk but it doesn’t catch on. Wade keeps beating him down, numerous chin locks. Daniel finally gets a break as he dropkicks wade off the apron, then a flying knee. Daniel hits a flying dropkick off the top. Pin for 2. Daniel goes for the legs, starts hitting the Yes Kicks, followed by a stiff kick to the head. Another near fall. Wade hits a running big boot after avoiding a move in the corner. Attempts a wasteland, Bryan counters into the Labelle lock, but Wade finally hits a wasteland for the win.
Fantastic technical match, hindsight shows how much they didn’t have faith in Bryan, in his early days. This result didn’t result in any change really, Daniel Bryan cashed in on the Big Show and won the World Heavyweight Title at TLC after Big Show had beaten Mark Henry. It was a time period when they’d beat the MITB holders to death.
World Heavyweight Championship – Christian (c) vs Randy Orton
Before the match starts Christian cuts, a promo inviting Edge out, who got a big babyface reaction. Edge starts cutting a promo burying Christian for his tactics of winning and the crying and moaning he did, this is the first sign to me that Christian is supposed to be the heel.
The match starts as a back and forth, Michael reminds us that it’s a no holds barred match because we’re stupid and need reminding. Christian tries to flee through the crowd after avoiding an RKO through the announce table, this match goes back and forth quite a bit, Christian uses a Singapore cane.
Surprisingly good match, which surprisingly only used one weapon gimmick, that being the cane for the first 11 minutes before randy took some tables out. Orton did do a superplex to Christian onto a non-standing table, which looked painful.
Kept going back and forth throughout the match. Randy hits an RKO through the announce table. Christian spat in Randy’s face before missing a con-chair-to, Randy finally fired up, throwing Christian through two tables, one ringside and one set up in the corner earlier. More weapon shots as the finish saw Randy counter, Christian, doing something off the top into an RKO onto the steel steps. Cool spot, to a good finish.
This Match was solid, both went back and forth pretty frequently, with Orton bleeding in his hand somehow. As with WWE Hardcore Matches, this eventually evolved into the usual weapons mess, with kendo sticks, chairs, tables, and other things not nailed down. In the end, Orton Won, which let the fans be happy and long term, this meant nothing as Mark Henry would beat Orton at Night of Champions the next month! It’s a true sign that Vince didn’t have much faith in Christian being a World Champion, a shame as this match proved he could wrestle at the Main Event level (well this and the countless other examples). Christian would eventually retire and return, much like his long time tag team partner Edge did.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Unification Match
CM Punk (c) vs John Cena (c) – SummerSlam 2011
The story behind this was that CM Punk left after Money in the Bank in 2011 as the champion when his contract expired, which lasted a whole 8 days when he returned with the Championship after Cena had just beaten Rey Mysterio in a match for the “Vacant” WWE Championship. Rey Mysterio had actually won the Championship earlier in the show, in a forgotten Title Reign (Big Babyface John there). Triple H decided they were both Punk’s and Cena’s were legitimate so they would wrestle at SummerSlam with Himself (Triple H) as the guest referee.
By the way, if you watch this match, Punk is the face to these fans and Cena is a face to a portion of the fans and heel to others the usual for the time. Starts with a standard exchange, lock up and knockdown. Fans chant you can’t wrestle at Cena (These fans a clueless). Cena gets the early advantage grinding Punk down. Eventually Punk turns it around, wearing Cena down.
Eventually, Cena goes for his four moves of doom, but they both counter each other’s moves, then they start giving each other submissions, which ends after punk reach’s the ropes. Punk hits a dive on Cena, both guys are on the verge of being counted out, but Triple H refuses to let it end that way.
YAY/BOO back and forth. Cena hits the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, goes for Attitude Adjustment but Punk counters. Finish saw Punk pinning Cena with a 2nd GTS, they gave Cena the out that his foot was on the rope. Fantastic Match and how the show should’ve ended. But… Kevin Nash made his way through the crowd laying out punk with the Jack-knife Powerbomb in the ring. Alberto made his way out and cashed in.
Cash-In: Alberto Del Rio vs Punk
Not a match, a finish, kick to the side of the head for the pin… Alberto becomes the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Looking back now:
They say hindsight is 20/20, it’s clear Punk was rushed back way too early, and the interest that lapsed fans had from the Pipebomb promo dissipated. Also, the end of the show only damaged Punk, and though the Summer of Punk was de-railed, they were a chance it could be repaired, but Punk ended up having to face Triple H at the next PPV and ended up getting pinned clean. That was one of the many catalysts to Punk leaving just over two years later.