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CALDWELL'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV REPORT 8/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Cena vs. Orton, Hardy vs. Punk, DX vs. Legacy

Aug 23, 2009 - 9:57:00 PM

August 23, 2009
Los Angeles, Calif. at the Staples Center
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

Start Picture: The WWE PPV opened with the Summerslam video, which was interrupted by Shawn Michaels and Triple H doing hand-puppets over the screen. They stopped the video on Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes and scribbled some Kiss Cam graphics over their opponents tonight. Cue up Hunter and Michaels on the set of the green screen after "breaking" the PPV intro video. Hunter and Michaels played the blame game, then Michaels said he had a gig as a TV repair man before the chef bit. He went to fix it, sending the show into a DX video package. All of their hi-jinks in one highlight reel. They broke that too. Michaels said the thing is he only had the TV gig for two weeks. Hunter said everyone got the message anyways. What's the message? We're baaaaack. Hunter told them to start the show already. Cue up the updated DX theme music we reported exclusively this weekend.

Staples Center: Jim Ross did a voice-over while they aired crowd shots. Ross announced 17,129 in attendance.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the IC Title match to start Summerslam. Rey Mysterio came out first sporting Lakers Purple and Gold being in L.A. Rey went through his full ring entrance before Ross and Grisham were shown on-camera hyping the title match. Dolph Ziggler out second for the opener, a re-match from Night of Champions when Rey retained the IC Title.

1 -- IC champion REY MYSTERIO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER -- Intercontinental Title match

Sweet spot early on where Dolph launched Rey onto the top rope, then Rey countered with a sweet moonsault onto a surprised Dolph for a two count. I've figured out Dolph. Combo of Curt Hennig (the gimmick) and Kip James (the boots, walks, and mannerisms). Match moved to the floor where Rey sent Dolph hard into the cameraman with a head scissors. Back in the ring, Dolph grappled Rey and powerbombed him into the corner turnbuckle. Ziggler scored a series of nearfalls after some power offense, then he blocked a turnaround splash with a sweet dropkick in mid-air for another close call. Dolph looking sharp tonight. He blocked the first attempt at the 619, then tripped Rey and nailed a running Kip James-esque rocker dropper. Dolph with the cover, but Rey kicked out to a big crowd pop. Rey then countered a spinning backbreaker into a pinning combo for a two count.

At 10:45, both men collected themselves and Rey dropkicked Dolph to the middle rope. Rey dialed 619 and connected this time. He couldn't follow-up instantly, though, and Dolph moved out of the way of the springboard splash. He tried to follow right up with a pin, but Rey kicked out. Great sequence. Dolph screamed in frustration and Ross said he needs to stay cool. Loud "Let's go Ziggler" chant at this point. Ziggler then blasted Rey in the corner and was reprimanded by the ref, but then caught Rey with a kick to the face. He wanted a top rope gutbuster out of a Samoan Drop position, but Rey countered in mid-air with a huracanrana. Rey covered Ziggler right away to score the pin for the win.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio at 12:30 to retain the IC Title. Awesome opener. Dolph made himself a star in the process of continuing his quest for the IC Title. Crowd buying into Dolph at the end was a nice moment despite him being the heel in the match. Dolph had plenty of offense and clear nearfalls throughout the match to where he didn't lose much by taking the loss. (***1/4)

Backstage: Josh Mathews was wearing a tablecloth for a dress shirt. Mathews brought in Jack Swagger and MVP to hype their singles match tonight. Swagger said MVP is an ex-con who tries to mask his shortcomings. MVP said Swagger is a spoiled jock who had it all good growing up. MVP with a strong promo that Swagger is getting his own dose of reality tonight.

In-ring: Jack Swagger out first for Raw's first match. MVP then came out and Michael Cole hyped MVP visiting kids in Miami and Houston to help them avoid his mistakes. Jerry Lawler said he wants to clean up crime with a three-point plan with grassroots effort and individual funding to create a unique society...okay, he didn't give his "say no to crime" plan for the city of Memphis. Lawler gave some basic bullet points on the MVP vs. Swagger feud before the bell sounded.


Swagger dominated early on with mat holds. Tough spot following that Dolph-Rey opener that really hooked the crowd. Feels like that Swagger-Finlay match from No Way Out 2009 where they followed an Elimination Chamber match and a Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton super-gimmick match. MVP made his comeback at 5:00 and dropped the Lakers/Clippers ballin' elbow drop for a two count. He wanted the Playmaker, but Swagger rammed him into the turnbuckle and rolled up MVP for a two count. Swagger then wanted the running Vader Bomb, but MVP caught him with knees to the gut. MVP followed with a Chono Boot in the corner and the Playmaker for the pin and the win.

WINNER: MVP at 6:21. Okay match. Tough spot on the card for a Raw brand match without any juice behind it after their random 60-second match on Monday. I don't want to write off Swagger based on him taking this clean loss, as Punk lost clean to Kane on the Backlash PPV, and is main-eventing Summerslam three months later, but it shows WWE is prioritizing MVP over Swagger right now. (*)

Ringside: Celebs in attendance - Luke Perry. Well, that was it. Cue up a video package on celebs clamoring to host Raw. ... Justin Roberts introduced Access Hollywood host Nancy O'Dell, who was in the arena to plug Betty's Battle. O'Dell brought in Freddy Prinze, Jr. to talk about Prinze getting roughed up by Randy Orton on Raw. Prinze said he'll strike when Orton least expects it. That was all.

In-ring: A new re-mix of Chris Jericho and Big Show's combined theme musics hit, leading out the Unified tag champs. Jericho took the mic and said he sees a lot of celebs here tonight, but they're just like all of the parasites in the arena tonight. He said they are above the level of being celebrities and are by far the most famous people here. They have over 40 championships between the two of them. They are great and awesome and mighty. "I am the best in the world at what I do," Jericho said. He put over the commodity standing next to him, then handed him the mic. Show has just one thing to get off his chest. Cryme Tyme's music interrupted, though. Ross said LOD won their first WWE tag titles at Summerslam 1991. That was a Street Fight over the Nasty Boys.

3 -- Unified tag champions CHRIS JERICHO & BIG SHOW vs. CRYME TYME (JTG & SHAD GASPAR) -- Unified Tag Title match

JTG held the advantage over Jericho early, then Show tagged in and casually stood on JTG's foot to prevent him from moving anywhere. Show followed with a frying pan-like chop to the chest. Shad took his first tag of the night and worked against Show, who missed with a clothesline. Shad then gorilla press-slammed Jericho, who tried to run into the ring. Shad turned around, though, and took a big spear from Show. Jericho and Show then took turns working over Shad in the ring. Jericho tried a move off the ropes, but Shad countered with a nice powerslam. He made the hot tag to JTG, who ran over Jericho with several moves. Show broke up a pin, though. Shad then clotheslined Show and himself over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, JTG scored a close call on a pin attempt. Jericho then slapped on the Walls of Jericho in center ring. Crowd on their feet as JTG teased tapping out. Big spot with JTG crawling on his stomach to the ropes and doing a big power walk out of the hold to the bottom rope for a break. Nice spotlight on JTG. Suddenly, though, Show blasted JTG with his Big Punch from the outside as JTG rested on the ropes. Jericho then pinned JTG for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Jericho & Show at 9:48. Took a while for the match to pick up, but a very nice finish. JTG had a memorable moment escaping the Walls of Jericho before taking the Big Punch. Good showcase for Cryme Tyme despite taking the loss. (*3/4)

WWE Breaking Point plug: Every match will be submission-style. "I can't be broken," wrestlers said in the video package.

Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in C.M. Punk, who cut a promo on how much he hates fake lifestyles of the rich and famous. He said he's the only real person in the building. Punk said this society promotes spiraling out of control as long as it's cool. He said he's not preachy, he just tells the truth. Punk said he's going to re-write the ending of the Jeff Hardy story with a not-so-happy-ending...well, except for him as new World Hvt. champion. Punk took a look at the "screenplay" in his hand and tossed it on the ground.

4 -- KANE vs. GREAT KHALI (w/Runjin Singh)

This should be interesting. Yeaaaah. Kane tried to back up to the corner to avoid Khali. Two big monsters tried to have a standard wrestling match. This should be a Sumo-style one or two move match where they build tension for seeing them struggle for power and control. WWE is just so set on booking one style of match whether it's two cruiserweights, two heavyweights, or two giants in the ring. Brother Singh watched quietly on the outside as Khali landed a chop on Kane. "Wow, that would re-start a dead heart," Ross quipped. Kane then went up top and landed a flying clothesline the crowd liked. Wait, Kane is the heel here, folks. At this point, crowd going into business for themselves. Khali escaped a mat hold then hit a big boot. He landed the big overhand chop, then made a cover for a two count. Legit crowd pop for the nearfall. Khali teased the Vice, then gripped Kane, who reached the ropes for a break. Kane then dragged Singh into the ring, which distracted Khali. Kane took advantage by kicking Khali in the knees, then he hit a running DDT. Kane made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Kane at 5:58. At least it's over now. Bad match with a decent finish. Lowered the bar so low early that the finish was intriguing and generated a somewhat genuine response from the crowd. (1/2*)

Walk of Fame: They showed Vince McMahon with his star in Hollywood. ... Ringside: More celebrities. Maria Menounos from the Today Show. Slash fro Guns 'n Roses. Robert Patrick from, well, The Marine.

Video package: They ran a video on the DX vs. Legacy feud including DiBiase and Rhodes ruining the DX reunion on Raw.

In-ring: U.S. military personnel led to DX coming out with a WCW Invasion tank on stage. Hunter stood on top of the cannon with a camera shot right down the middle to suggest he has a big unit. Michaels stood over him for crotch chops on stage. They hit the ring to do their full ring entrance. Michaels ran circles in the ring before Hunter took the mic and asked L.A. if everyone is ready. He did the Michael Buffer intro and inserted a promo on Cody and Ted that if they're ready for a war, they have a war to bring them. Get ready to suck it... Legacy's music hit. Cody and Ted confidently strolled to the ring with Hunter staring down DiBiase. Cody opposite his favorite wrestler growing up.


Hunter and DiBiase started against each other. Potential title match down the road in a singles match-up. Hunter exploded out of the corner with a clothesline on DiBiase early on. He followed with a suplex before delivering a crotch chop and a knee to the forehead for an early nearfall. Cody then tagged in and took some offense from Hunter. Cody then realized he was caught in between both members of DX, so he slapped Michaels across the face. Michaels sold that slap and milked it for a while before slowly looking over to Hunter for a tag. Big pop for Michaels's first entry into a WWE match since WM25. Michael Cole quickly pointed that out. Cody and Michaels had a physical exchange and Michaels teased Sweet Chin Music, but Cody rolled to the outside to avoid and recover.

Back in the ring, Legacy worked on Michaels before Hunter tagged in. He went after DiBiase with power offense before giving each man consecutive spinebusters. Hunter teased the Pedigree on DiBiase, but Cody broke it up and Michaels clotheslined Cody to the outside. Hunter started celebrating too early, then he turned around and took a big knee smash to the cannon from DiBiase. That looked nasty. Both men sold the effects, then Legacy started working over Hunter. Babyfaces on the disadvantage, prompting Lawler with the classic sports line about DX becoming complacent, thinking they could just "show up and win" the match. We'll be seeing that the first few weeks of college football season with teams playing Directional State schools.

At 13:00, Hunter back dropped Cody out of a front waistlock. He teased a hot tag to Michaels, but DiBiase stormed the DX corner and blasted Michaels off the ring apron. DiBiase back on the attack on Hunter. They had a nice standing right-hand exchange with Hunter getting the "yeahs" from the crowd. Hunter finally side-stepped DiBiase and dumped him to the floor. He crawled across the desert to Michaels and finally made the hot tag to Michaels, who came in hot on Cody. Michaels landed a series of chops before nailing the flying fist. Cole set it up: "That is vintage." DiBiase cut off the kip-up, though, with a hard clothesline. Hunter and DiBiase then brawled on the outside and Hunter dumped DiBiase over the guardrail to the front row.

Back in the ring at 15:40, Cody went up top and wanted an HBK elbow drop, but Michaels moved and Cody ate the mat. HBK then went to the corner and wanted a top-rope move, but Cody got to his feet and crotched him. Cody climbed up top and wanted a superplex, but Michaels blocked and punched Cody off the top. Michaels then readied himself, but Cody countered the HBK elbow drop with knees to the back for a two count. Cole really putting over Legacy countering everything. Cody realized his partner was nowhere to be found, then Michaels put Cody in the figure four. DiBiase stormed the ring and broke it up, though. Hunter got involved, but DiBiase blocked a Pedigree. Cody then hit Hunter with a running facebuster. Michaels teased the superkick, but Cody blocked and hit the Cross Rhodes on Michaels. Hunter broke up a close pin attempt. Crowd exhaled as DX was in jeopardy was losing. Nice reaction.

Ref held off DiBiase, allowing Hunter to drop Cody with the Pedigree. DiBiase then gave Michaels his Dream Street finisher. Hunter and DiBiase then took their brawl to the outside for the traditional spot where Hunter and opponent went crashing over the announce table. Left in the ring were Michaels and Cody. They leaned on each other, then Michaels dropped Cody with a superkick. Well, he actually missed Cody and did the "kick sound" on his knee. Crowd bought it, then Michaels fell on top of Cody for the pin and the win. Post-match: Hunter stared down at Cody, who was rolled to the floor. Michaels pulled himself up as they cut to a shot of Nancy O'Dell smiling and clapping ringside. DX then celebrated in the ring while selling exhaustion.

WINNERS: DX at 20:10. Excellent tag match. Easily WWE's best tag team match of the year. Announcers spent ten minutes talking up Legacy's effort to make sure they came out looking strong before taking the loss. DiBiase and Cody blocking and countering DX's signature moves and sequences was very well done to show Legacy was smart enough to block the exact same moves DX always does in their matches. Legacy was elevated, but we all knew DX was winning barring a fantasy heel turn by Michaels. (****)

In-ring: They didn't waste any time going right to the ECW Title match. Out first was the ECW champ, Christian. William Regal then came out with Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson.


Bell sounded and Regal was still taking off his ring jacket. Christian hit the Killswitch and made the pin. Yes, another ten-seconds-and-under ECW Title match. Post-match: Ezekiel Jackson and Kozlov hit the ring to give Christian their finishers to take out Regal's frustrations on them.

WINNER: Christian at 0:07 to retain the ECW Title. Gosh, another ridiculous ECW Title match on WWE PPV. Still waiting for that surprise on the show, which would make up for this. (n/a)

Summerslam video: They recapped everything that happened during Summerslam weekend. Charity work with the L.A. mayor. Tatyana Ali from Fresh Prince. WWE Axxess. Celebrities. Batista making a special appearance. Roddy Piper on the red carpet.

In-ring: John Cena came out first for the WWE Title match. Cole called him arguably WWE's biggest star. WWE champion Randy Orton then came out and Cole talked about Orton winning his first WWE Title at Summerslam five years ago. Of course, no mention he beat Chris Benoit. Of course, also no mention it was in Canada. Jerry Lawler should have interjected a Bizzarroworld reference since that all started at Summerslam '04 in Toronto. Orton slowly made his way to the ring while the announcers plugged Floyd Mayweather hosting Raw tomorrow night. Lilian Garcia handled the formal ring intros. Cena Fans drowned out boos. Orton had the boos and vocal cheers from hardcore fans.

7 -- WWE champion RANDY ORTON vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match

Story at the beginning was Orton going with an unexpected game plan of fists and right hand blows to start. Cena absorbed the blows, then fired off a quick burst of Cena Offense. Orton waited out the flurry, then knocked down Cena to the mat. He started a methodical attack on Cena, who made a quick comeback, but Orton cut him right off with a Freddy Prinze fallaway backbreaker. Crowd hot with dueling chants for Orton and for Cena. Orton continued to wear down Cena, who made a full comeback and did the Cena Routine for Cenation, as Lawler called it. Cena teased the FU, but Orton ducked and hit a powerslam for a two count. Orton started another offensive attack with a series of stomps before airballing a running knee drop. Cena with another comeback that the vocal minority audience booed until he missed with a flying shoulder tackle and rolled to the outside. Orton then dragged Cena into the ring, but stopped him on the ropes to set up his patented implant DDT. Orton so great waiting out the ref's five count before delivering that Jake Roberts DDT with the slap on the back for a close two count.

Orton then stalked Cena for The Punt at 11:00, but Cena moved and did the full comeback. Cena with a facebuster, then he went up top and hit a guillotine leg drop clear across the ring for a two count. Cena then teased the FU, but Orton grabbed the top rope to block. Double clothesline. Both men on the mat. Crowd took a deep breath, then started dueling chants. They came to their feet and did a right hand blow exchange. Mixed Yeahs/boos for Cena, Yeahs for Orton. Suddenly, Orton walked over to the ref and shoved the ref, causing a DQ. Cena sold shock. Orton took his belt and left. Lilian Garcia then took the mic and said she just received word that Randy Orton is the new WWE champion. Um... She corrected herself that she received word from Mr. McMahon that the match must re-start and if Orton gets DQ'ed, he loses the title.

Match re-started with an exchange that led to both men brawling to the outside. Back in the ring, Orton made a cover for a two count. He then went to the outside and demanded the WWE Title belt. He then took his belt and started to walk away as the ref started a ten count. Orton high-tailed it up the ramp and took the ten count to lose. Lilian Garcia then re-introduced Mr. McMahon's word that if Orton gets counted again, he loses the WWE Title. When did McMahon get involved in storylines again, by the way? Orton stormed back into the ring, avoided the FU, then rolled up Cena and put his feet on the ropes to score a pin and the win.

Lilian announced Orton as the winner, his music hit, and Cena sat in the corner stunned. A second ref then hit the ring and told Scott Armstrong that Orton used the ropes. Armstrong called for a re-start. Cena instantly put Orton in the STF. He pulled Orton back into center ring and re-applied, but a fan suddenly ran into the ring and attacked the ref. WWE head of security jumped on the dude and hauled him out of the ring, but everyone just stood there like what the heck? If that was a planted fan, it was a crazy spot. They cut to a second shot of the fan being hauled away. Cena acted stunned. Crowd didn't know how to react. Ref tried to get everyone back into the match, then Orton caught Cena with an RKO across the middle rope and one in center ring to score the pin for the win.

WINNER: Randy Orton at 17:40 to retain the WWE Title. If that was a legit fan who hit the ring, it gives new meaning to "If Cena Wins, We Riot" since Cena was about to score a tap out win. Crowd was into the match, but WWE over-booked the crap out of this match. Fan interference - legit or not - was the icing on the cake. For the record - first stop at 13:31, second stop at 15:34, third stop at 15:50, and finish at 17:40. Looks like an Orton vs. Cena re-match at Breaking Point where only way to win is by submission. (**1/2)

In-ring: C.M. Punk came out first for the main event TLC match. Ross with an ROH reference to Punk as the Second City Saint. Jeff Hardy then came out and stood on one of the ladders in the entranceway. Some seriously disturbing facepaint for this title match. Punk mocked the pre-match "Hardy, Hardy" chants.

8 -- World Hvt. champion JEFF HARDY vs. C.M. PUNK -- World Hvt. Title match -- TLC match

Started with some basic holds, but quickly moved to the floor where Punk landed a chair shot to the back. Back in the ring, Hardy teased a quick run up the ladder to retrieve the title belt, but Punk pulled him down. Hardy then smashed Punk into a ladder. Hardy wanted his leaping leg whip running off the seat of the chair, but Punk caught Hardy in mid-air and dumped him onto the edge of the seated chair. Punk knocked Hardy to the floor, then hit a suicide dive. Remember when that meant something? Now it's a transition move. Punk then introduced a table after the fans requested it. Punk then wanted a dive off the ring steps, but Hardy "hit a curveball" with a chair shot to the gut in mid-air. Ross said he hit Punk all the way to Mannywood. Hardy then put Punk on a table and climbed into the ring. Up top he went for a big splash, but Punk moved and Hardy ate the table.

Back in the ring, Punk set up a ladder. He started climbing for the title belt hanging above the ring, but Hardy rolled into the ring and climbed over Punk up the ladder. He was close to grabbing the belt, but Punk caught him and teased the G2S off the ladder. Crowd ooohed, but Hardy countered with a sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder. Nice tease from Punk. Hardy then went up the ladder at 11:00. He got fingertips on the belt, but Punk shoved him clear off the ladder and Hardy nearly broke his leg breaking his fall on the top rope. Punk then went up top and superplexed Hardy right down into a ladder. Punk sold the pain more than Hardy, who internalized the pain. After a recovery period, Hardy suddenly hit the Twist of Fate. He then went up top for the Swanton Bomb, but Punk got his knees up to block. Punk then teased his set-up for the G2S, but Hardy countered by throwing Punk over the top rope through a table on the floor.

At 15:00, Hardy grabbed a ladder. He wanted to climb for the gold. Punk pulled himself up on the floor, meanwhile. Crowd hot, but Punk springboard clotheslined Hardy off the ladder and threw him to the floor. On the outside, Punk put Hardy's head inside a chair, but Hardy blocked a neck crunch and grabbed a chair. Hardy blasted Punk with multiple chair shots to the back before smashing him with the Summerslam announce table cover. He grabbed a TV monitor and used it as a weapon. And a chair shot to Punk. And a chair shot to the head. Why in 2009 is this still happening? Hardy then set up a giant ladder and tossed his shirt into the crowd. Flashbacks to WrestleMania 17 in the Astrodome here. Hardy scaled the giant ladder as refs held it down below for safety reasons. Hardy stood up top for one big glorious moment as the flashbulbs popped. Hardy then came off the top with a giant Swanton bomb through the table onto Punk. Sick spot. Both men sold serious injuries, then medics and WWE officials stormed ringside. Hardy was put on a stretcher with a neckbrace. He refused to be held down. Meanwhile, Punk slithered into the ring. He teased climbing the ladder as Hardy broke free of the medics. Hardy fired himself up and re-entered the ring as Punk looked at him like, "What do I have to do?" Punk started climbing, then Hardy met him on the ladder. They battled and teased grabbing the belt. Punk with a kick strike. He then punched Hardy clear off the ladder and Punk grabbed the World Title belt off the hook to win the title.

WINNER: Punk at 21:34 to capture the World Hvt. Title. Awesome main event title match, albeit with the usual high-risks and chair shots to the head that make you cringe and take a step back from enjoying the action. Drama was great, Punk was great, Hardy was great. Everything was there for a very good main event to conclude the in-ring action and send Hardy off with a match to be proud of if this was indeed his last WWE match before hiatus. (****1/4)

Post-match: Punk stood over Hardy's fallen body with the title belt held high in the air. Punk cocky in celebrating the victory, finally having the upperhand over Hardy with his message. Suddenly, the bell tolled. Lights off. Crowd popped. Lights back on and Taker was nowhere to be found with Punk appearing to still be standing over Hardy's fallen body. Suddenly, Punk looked down and saw that it wasn't Hardy on the mat. His eyes bugged out, then Undertaker suddenly reached up and grabbed Punk by the throat. Taker with a big chokeslam to a huge pop. There's your symbolism. Exit Hardy. Enter Taker. Taker then left the ring and did his salute and evil look on stage to close the show and deliver a "feel good moment" to the end the PPV. Looks like we're getting Punk vs. Taker at Breaking Point with a probable Orton-Cena re-match.

We welcome your 0-10 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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