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CALDWELL'S WWE SUMMERSLAM REPORT 8/17: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV

Aug 17, 2008 - 9:45:20 PM

By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

WWE Summerslam PPV Report
August 17, 2008
Indianapolis, Ind.
By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

After our friend Jack Korpela and his suit closed the free-for-all preview show by accepting a made-up award, they opened with a movie trailer opening video featuring the stars of Raw, ECW, and Smackdown. Cue up the classic Summerslam logo graphics with plenty of subliminal movie messages to promote WWE Studios. They went to footage of the Edge vs. Undertaker build-up to Hell in a Cell presumably in the main event tonight.

Announcers: Jim Ross set up the show with an announced attendance of 15,997. To fit the movie theme of this PPV, the on-stage set looks similar to the WrestleMania 21 set in Los Angeles.

In-ring: Jeff Hardy came to the ring to start off the show. Typical strong reception for Hardy, which Ross called a "Michael Phelps-like reception." Hardy was definitely favoring his upper body as he grimaced entering the ring. MVP then came to the ring for the opener.


The battle quickly moved to the outside in the opening minute. This match definitely has the intrigue of whether there will be an unusual and/or quick finish with Hardy reportedly injured coming into this match. After Hardy took control of the first three minutes, MVP came back with a snap belly-to-belly overhead suplex with Hardy's neck bouncing hard off the mat as his feet crashed into the turnbuckle. Tazz referenced injuries to Hardy's neck from the repeated Swanton Bombs on Smackdown, then MVP started working on Hardy's neck with mat holds. Every time Hardy tried to make his comeback, MVP had a good counter to continue building heat for the strong comeback. Hardy eventually nailed the Whisper in the Wind at 9:00 and went up top presumably for the Swanton Bomb, but he saw Shelton Benjamin ringside and dove onto him. Hardy then tried to re-group and nail the Swanton Bomb back in the ring, but MVP moved in time. MVP then waited for Hardy to reach his knees and he nailed the big boot to the head for the pin and the win.

WINNER: MVP in 10:00. Nice win for MVP, who needed a credible PPV match victory that he can use to promote his case for a main event push in TV storylines. Finish was relatively clean, as Jeff simply could have ignored Shelton's presence ringside. (**)

Backstage: Maria brought in Santino and Beth Phoenix for an interview. Ah, Santino and Maria together again. Santino said Maria has really let herself go since they broke apart. Santino referenced the Glamarella tandem that has all the tabloids talking. After Maria cracked a joke on Santino's unibrow, Santino said he drives the women crazy with it. He even dropped a manscaping reference. Santino left, leaving Beth and Maria to have a staring contest. Beth told Maria he's all hers.

In-ring: Mickie James and Kofi Kingston came out to defend their respective titles in the winner-takes-all bout. There's a group of cougars present behind Cole and Lawler presumably ready to scream for Batista. Santino and Beth showed unity coming out together after the champions came out with separate entrances. Oh my, Santino sporting the singlet.

2 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES & IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. BETH PHOENIX & SANTINO MARELLA -- Winning team wins both belts

There was a little dissension between Santino and Beth early on, with Beth complaining about Santino ruining things for her. Kofi teased a splash onto both, but Santino hopped into Beth's awaiting arms and Kofi stopped short. Hilarious. Back in the ring, Santino and Kofi battled until knocking heads pretty hard. They quickly made tags out the ladies to get a breather, leading to Mickie getting the upper hand on Beth. Mickie went up top and nailed her Thesz Press, but Santino broke up the pin. Mickie then gave Santino a nice elevated DDT to KO Santino. Mickie was then blindsided by Beth, who smashed her with the seated implant buster for the pin and the win.

Afterward, Beth revived Santino from a state of unconsciousness and handed him his IC Title belt. Santino then hopped on Beth's shoulders and Beth carried him around ringside as Santino shouted that they did it. On stage, Santino claimed he did it all by himself. He then told the belt he missed it very much.

WINNERS: Santino & Beth in 5:00 to capture the IC and Women's Titles. Short match that may have been cut short after that nasty head-to-head collision between Santino and Kofi. Santino was great, as usual. If WWE has original material for the Glammarella tandem, then we should be store in for several weeks of great TV. (*)

Announcers: Lawler and Cole talked about Shawn Michaels's future being addressed tonight. ... They aired a video package on Michaels's eye injury and the subsequent fall-out from that.

In-ring: Shawn Michaels came to the ring with his wife, Rebecca, who tried to stand strong in the ring as Michaels began his speech. Michaels said he's going to get right to it. He said he recently had an appointment with his doctor for a re-evaluation on his eye. Michaels said that the eye injury combined with the assorted injuries he's suffered in his career led to the doctor telling him he should walk away. Boos. Michaels said the doctor left it up to him for his final decision and he's going to heed the advice and walk away. Boos.

Michaels recapped his history going back to Summerslams in the past where he was the headliner and showstopper. He said he's also known as the guy who screwed Bret Hart, formed DX, innovated the ladder match, lost his smile, and retired Ric Flair. He said he can now by a full-time husband and father. Michaels said this ultimately won't be a popular decision, but he knows it's the right one. Before he could finish, Chris Jericho's music interrupted. It was only a matter of time.

Jericho slowly walked out on stage sporting his villain suit and tie. He has the costuming mastered. Jericho locked eyes with Michaels while Rebecca played her part of the concerned wife fighting back tears. Jericho slowly circled around the ring to face Michaels, who returned his stare. Jericho: "No." He said he's not going to allow Michaels to go out this way on his own terms. Jericho said Michaels is walking away from the business because of him and he wants Michaels to admit to that right now. Michaels said that if Jericho has even the slightest bit of human decency, he will get out of this ring right now. Jericho said he's not going anywhere until Michaels admits he put him out of the business. He said Michaels needs to admit to his wife and children why he won't be able to work in the ring anymore. Jericho said he deserves to hear Michaels admit he put Michaels out for good.

Jericho continued on that the headline will show Michaels left the wrestling business because of Chris Jericho. Michaels nodded and said he'll admit that he will go home and tell his family that the reason he can't wrestle anymore is because of the actions of a vile, selfish, worthless human being. He wanted Jericho to do him a favor, though. Michaels told Jericho to sit down with his family and tell them that daddy will never, ever be Shawn Michaels. Oh my. What a line. Fans cheered and chanted, "H-B-K" as both men continued to lock eyes. Rebecca pulled at Michaels's arm to get him to leave and Michaels slowly started to walk away, but Jericho pulled him back. He went for a punch to the face, but Michaels ducked out of instinct and Rebecca took it square in the face.

After the initial giant gasp in the arena, Michaels dropped down to the mat to check on his wife, who slumped down to the mat. Jericho had a slight look of concern mixed with villainous confidence. Michaels had his best performance possibly ever showing the intense character battle within himself on whether to attack Jericho or check on his wife. He fought back his old persona to attack Jericho and opted to keep checking on his wife, who slowly brought her left arm over to Michaels's shoulder for protection. Jericho slowly walked out of the ring maintaining that mix of grief, concern, and no remorse. He locked eyes with Michaels, who kept kneeling over Rebecca's body while medical staff checked on Rebecca. After Jericho disappeared backstage, Rebecca slowly made her way to her feet to a strong ovation. Michaels helped her out of the ring and they embraced with the camera focusing on Rebecca's busted lip. They embraced as the announcers quietly recapped video footage of the punch to the face. Just an amazingly poignant segment. One of the most memorable performances in a WWE angle from all three. It's a challenge for family members to become involved in wrestling angles, but Rebecca played her part perfectly.

After a movie trailer that served as an advertisement for a movie with Keanu Reeves and Cal Poly Pomona's own Forest Whitaker, Matt Hardy came to the ring for the ECW Title match. Tony Atlas then led out Mark Henry for the match.

3 -- ECW champion MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas) vs. MATT HARDY -- ECW Title match

Less than a minute into the match, Hardy nailed the Twist of Fate. He had the pin, but Tony Atlas yanked Hardy out of the ring to cause a DQ. OK? There went four weeks of TV build-up. Fans booed the non-finish, then Atlas tried to beat up Hardy on the floor, but Jeff Hardy stormed the ring to make the save. Henry tried to get involved on the floor, but the Hardys gave him a double suplex square on the floor. They celebrated together as Atlas and Henry regrouped.

WINNER: Hardy via DQ in 1:00; Henry retains ECW Title. Well, another classic ECW PPV match ends before it really even begins. ECW gets a little momentum, then they pull the rug out from under whatever percentage of the audience was looking forward to this match as one of the reasons they bought the PPV. WWE tried to "send 'em home happy" with the post-match, but it was an empty answer. (n/a)

Video package: After they showed clips of the confrontation between Punk and JBL on Raw, they focused on C.M. Punk's background. Nice video package. ... JBL, then C.M. Punk came to the ring for a World Title match to start the top of the second hour.

4 -- World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. JBL -- World Title match

JBL dominated this one to start things off, encouraging the fans to rally behind Punk. JBL slapped on an abdominal stretch after wearing on Punk's ribs for a while, but Punk hip-tossed out of the hold and fired off a high knee in the corner. He teased the G2S, but JBL blocked and absolutely smashed Punk with a clothesline. JBL then landed a series of elbow smashes before making a cover for a nearfall. JBL teased the Clothesline from Hell, but Punk blocked with a leaping strike to the face. On the way down, JBL fell on the back of Punk's head causing some major blood loss. That was a sick knocking of heads. Punk and JBL continued to battle with JBL scoring another nearfall. He went for the Clothesline from Hell, but Punk ducked and hoisted JBL up on his shoulders for the G2S. He connected, then slowly made the cover for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Punk in 12:00 to retain the World Title. Just about at expectations for what kind of match would take place here. JBL had plenty of offense to continue the theme of Punk as an underdog champion who shows grit to pull out the win to keep the belt. (**1/4)

Backstage: They showed Great Khali warming up while Singh shouted encouragement to him. ... Video package focused on the Triple H vs. Khali feud leading to the PPV.

In-ring: Great Khali came out first, followed by Triple H as Ross talked about the history of Triple H's WWE Title defenses and the history of WWE Title matches at Summerslam. Ross and Tazz then debated whether Hunter can nail the Pedigree to win. During the formal pre-match intros, Hunter held the title belt in Khali's face for him to get a good look at the belt.

5 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. GREAT KHALI (w/Runjan Singh) -- WWE Title match

After a mid-ring punch exchange, Hunter teased the Pedigree, but Khali fought him off and nailed the two-hand chokebomb in center ring. Khali celebrated the big move then called for Hunter to get up so he could slap on the vice grip. Khali applied the grip as Hunter tried to fight out and eventually did. He then nailed a chopblock ala Ric Flair that took Khali off his feet to the mat. Khali rolled to the outside and Hunter gave chase, but Khali lured him into a frying pan-like chop to the head. Back in the ring, Khali took his time taking Hunter apart. Fans chanted, "You can't wrestle," but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't affect Khali, who probably had no idea what they were chanting. At least it kept the energy level up while Khali continued to work on Hunter mid-ring.

At 7:00, Hunter came back with a second Pedigree attempt, but Khali backed them up to the ropes and he dumped Hunter over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Hunter appeared to be in jeopardy with Khali slapping on the vice again. Hunter did his big power-up to escape the grip, then ducked a clothesline and kicked Khali in the gut for a third Pedigree attempt. This time, Hunter hooked the arms and nailed the Pedigree to a huge reaction. He then made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Hunter in 10:00 to retain the WWE Title. This was definitely above expectations. They put together a basic, simple-to-understand 10-minute story that eventually led to Hunter escaping the vice and finally hitting the Pedigree. Nothing complicated and the fans were into the action, so all was fine here. (**1/4)

Video package: They went for the "epic movie" feel to hype the Cena vs. Batista feud leading to tonight's match. ... John Cena came out first for the semi-main event match. Big reaction, of course, with some boos mixed in. Batista then came out to a strong reaction that was mainly positive.

6 -- JOHN CENA vs. BATISTA -- No Hype Needed -- First-time Ever

After a brief test of power for the feeling-out process, Batista took a page out of Flair's book and nailed a chopblock before going to a figure four leglock. Cena fought out, then he hoisted Batista up on his shoulders and dumped Batista clear over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Batista blocked an FU attempt and made a comeback with a series of clotheslines. He followed with a spinebuster at 7:00 and wanted to end it, but Cena countered into a nice knee twist into an STFU in center ring. Batista started to crawl to the ropes, so Cena dropped the hold and re-applied it in center ring. Batista broke free, then he slapped on a rear naked choke at 10:00. Very nice opening 10 minutes.

Cena broke free of the choke and both men hobbled to their feet. Batista then nailed a spear out of nowhere and Batista made a cover for a close nearfall. Batista went for a power move, but Cena made an absolutely sick counter into shoulderbreaker position into fireman's carry position into an FU. Cena didn't make an immediate cover, giving Batista time to kick out of the subsequent pin. Cena went up top, then Cena and Batista battled on the top turnbuckle. Cena nailed a combo of punches to knock Batista to the mat, then he went for the guillotine smash, but Batista countered into a mid-air powerbomb. He had the pin, but Cena kicked out just in time for a huge crowd reaction. Batista, frustrated, nailed a big kick to the head before nailing a Batistabomb in center ring. That was Brock Lesnar-esque with the intensity right there. He then made the cover and scored the pin for the win. Cole said Batista was only three seconds better than Cole tonight, and each man gave a five-star effort.

WINNER: Batista in 14:00. Just an awesome match for a mass WWE audience. Perfectly fine on several levels to deliver a great first match between the two and generate demand from the audience for a re-match, considering they only went about 14-15 minutes. Batista had a superstar-reminding effort while Cena had a really good showing, especially with that counter into the FU. Crowd involvement pushed this to a near-four-star level. (***1/2)

Text voting: 78 percent of Mobile peeps said the Edge-Vickie relationship will end in divorce. ... Ross set up a video package on the Edge vs. Undertaker feud as the Hell in a Cell structure was lowered to the ring.

In-ring: Edge came out first and he took his time getting to the ring so he could lock eyes with the Cell and gaze into its potential destruction. Classic Edge right there. He looked confident after entering the Cell, but the lengthy pause with no sign of Taker's entrance music made him a little nervous. Taker's music hit, then Edge cracked a demented smile. And now bathroom break time as the live audience enjoys Taker's ring entrance. Just about ten minutes into the third hour, so they have a good 30-35 minutes of PPV time for the match.

7 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. EDGE -- Hell in a Cell match

Undertaker dominated to start things off, taking Edge hard into the ring steps early on. They showed La Familia backstage watching the match on a monitor. Vickie was almost enjoying Taker taking apart Edge. In the ring, Taker tried to smash Edge into ring steps, but Edge blocked and fired up with a hard whip into the steps. He then dropkicked Taker into the base of the stairs before spearing him back-first into the steps. After gaining momentum, Edge began bringing out weapons from under the ring. One such weapon was a folding chair, which was used repeatedly on Undertaker's back and face. Other such weapons were a ladder and a table, and Edge hopped up the ladder to smash Taker with a chair through the table.

At 10:00, Taker made a comeback with a hard right hand to the forehead. He then sent Edge crashing hard into the Cell wall with a boot off the apron. A second hard smash into the cage wall sent Edge through the Cell to the outside at the base of the announce table position. Edge cracked a TV monitor over Taker's head, then he speared Taker clear off the Raw announce table through the ECW announce table. Ouch. Good to see the ECW announce table used for something tonight. Taker and Edge eventually made their way back inside the Cell where Edge met Taker with a ladder shot between the eyes. Edge then went for a spear, but Taker blocked and nailed a big chokeslam that only resulted in a two count.

At 20:00, Edge nailed an impaler DDT for a nearfall, then Taker sat up in classic form. He set up for the Last Ride next to a table, but Edge slipped out and nailed a spear in center ring. Edge made the cover, but Taker kicked out. Taker made another comeback attempt with the Last Ride powerbomb and he connected this time, but only for a nearfall. Taker took Edge onto the steps for another powerbomb attempt, but Edge slipped out and hit a reverse DDT on the steps. Edge then wanted Old School, which set off the crowd and led to Taker crotching Edge on the top turnbuckle. Taker then grabbed Edge around the throat and chokeslammed him off the top turnbuckle through two tables on the floor.

Back in the ring at 25:00, Taker nailed a spear and picked up a cameraman's camera to smash across Edge's face. Ross called it HD - Human Devastation. Nice. Taker then set up a Conchairto and connected. The camera focused on a cut on Edge's back that was producing a little bit of blood. Nothing like Bob Holly's huge gash on ECW a while ago. Taker then finished off Edge with a Tombstone Piledriver in center ring. He made the cover for the win. In Vickie's office, they showed La Familia clapping for Taker's victory.

WINNER: Taker in 27:00. Just what you expected here - a very good battle built around a great TV storyline. They stretched out the spot sequences to fit the time, so it wasn't as action-packed and intense as the Cena-Batista match, where it seemed like the finish could come at any time. This was more of a methodical Undertaker match where the outcome was a little ways down the road. Solid story, but Edge didn't quite get to that level where his TV character was at. He was just classic heel Edge. (***1/2)

Post-match: Taker started to leave the Cell, but then he spotted Edge moving around back in the Cell. He did a 180 and stormed back to the ring where Edge flopped around like a fish out of water. Taker set up a ladder and he placed Edge's lifeless body on the ladder. Taker introduced a second ladder and he climbed that ladder to stare down into Edge's eyes. He signaled for the end, then Taker push/chokeslammed Edge off the ladder through a soft spot in the ring. Edge disappeared from sight after landing with a thud, then fire emerged from the spot where Edge was. Essentially, they were giving a visual of the flames of hell that Edge had descended to. The announcers didn't sell it like Edge had to have been badly burned or even died in the fire, but rather just a wrestling angle of Taker giving symbolism for what he was trying to accomplish.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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