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Magic, Memories, and Mania
MAGIC, MEMORIES, MANIA: Valentino's live review of Summerslam 2010 - Despite being in Hollywood, WWE missed the story on Nexus

Aug 18, 2010 - 2:06:10 PM
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By Shawn Valentino, PWTorch Specialist

Recent years have seen an influx of superhero movies from the Hollywood studio system. With WWE in the Entertainment Capitol of the World, it was obvious they wanted to make some connections with the film world this Summerslam.

One of the biggest hits ever to come out of Tinseltown was "The Dark Knight," the epic tale of Batman defending Gotham City against the maniacal Joker. What made the Joker such a strong character in the film, besides a bravura performance from Heath Ledger, was that he had no real motivation for inflicting evil. He describes himself in the film as “an instrument of chaos” reeking havoc for the sake of his own enjoyment. Alfred tells Bruce Wayne that he is the most dangerous type of villain, one that has no logical goals but merely wants to “watch the world burn.”
Nexus_26.jpg

Transferring that theory to the wrestling world, I feel the reason that this Nexus storyline has been so successful and the band of seven renegade upstarts has immediately been accepted as such a serious threat to the establishment is because they have not really expressed any real motives for their heinous actions. They have caused destruction and chaos merely to watch the WWE Universe burn.

This Summerslam was all about one match, and the conclusion of that match was to decide the fate of the company. Of course, we all knew WWE would continue strong as a corporate entity no matter the winner, but they successfully presented a story where it appeared that the very lifeblood of the industry was at stake. They needed to because the rest of the matches on the card left much to be desired. With that in mind, today I wanted to present my live in person review of Summerslam 2010.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston: Intercontinental Title Match

I thought this was an average match while it lasted, but there was nothing about it special enough for me to care that it ended early due to the Nexus interference. Unfortunately, the Intercontinental Title means very little, and it feels like it changes every few weeks so it is difficult to get emotionally invested in these contests. Kingston and Ziggler are talented young stars with the athleticism to get viewers excited, but this failed to ignite the audience.

I felt that Nexus ruining the match set the right tone for the night, and it was consistent with the ominous introduction that there would be dire consequences for the company if the rebellious crew is not stopped. I was surrounded by in the crowd by families with small children, and I heard comments from kids about how “Nexus ruins everything” and how “it is unfair” that they operate as a gang. This proved to me that WWE has done a good job of convincing its current target market that there is a genuine threat to their heroes.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 6
MATCH QUALITY: **

Melina vs. Alicia Fox: Divas Title match

This was atrocious. From that ridiculous (in a bad way) outfit worn by Melina, to the annoying (in a bad way) appearance of Lay-Cool in the end, this was an utter waste of time. Like most Divas matches and segments, the crowd was completely dead. On an underwhelming night with too many bad finishes and lackluster matches, the proverbial “bathroom break” should have been left out. The only entertaining moment was the unintentional comedy of seeing Melina swelling up in tears after this meaningless “contest.”

Personally, I believe WWE should scrap the entire Divas division because it serves no real purpose anymore. The matches and feuds are not compelling enough for fans to be interested in them, and the segments are not titillating enough to appeal to the demographic looking for a cheap thrill. They can keep a couple of the ladies around as valets and promotional models. Just seeing the dead crowd every time they enter the ring should give the company a hint that the division needs to be overhauled or dismantled.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 0
MATCH QUALITY: DUD

Big Show vs. The Straight Edge Society
PunkCMArt_130GG_38.jpg

By this time, the crowd was already bored and waiting for something to wake us up. Unfortunately, we knew this was not going to be it. C.M. Punk was the hottest act in wrestling just a few months ago, but something has gone stale. The lack of chemistry between the Straight Edge Society and Show has resulted in a lackluster feud. In fact, I do not know what it would take for me to get interested in anything Show is involved in right now. I do not have much to say about this one because it was not good enough to be interesting, and it was not bad enough to be campy. This could have been an okay time-filler match on a stronger show, but in an event full of bad finishes and average matches, this only added to the disappointment of the evening.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3
MATCH QUALITY: *1/2

The Miz Promo

When Miz first debuted in WWE, I could not believe that he was even given an opportunity. I thought he looked too goofy, and that he lacked the tools to be a WWE superstar. Slowly, he improved in all areas, but when the Miz and Morrison team broke up, I felt he would fade away. I am happy to admit that I was totally wrong. Miz has been one of the most entertaining acts in wrestling over this last year. Sitting in a bored arena, we needed something to excite us, and this excellent promo from the Awesome One woke up a sleeping crowd. From the moment he walked to the ring, he exuded star quality, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. I loved how he tore into the audience for trying to echo his catchphrase. It is obvious that he has been studying Rock’s promos because this was the highlight of the night for me.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 8

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: WWE Title match
OrtonRandyArt_130GG_90.jpg

If there is one thing that WWE has dropped the ball on this year, it has been taking advantage of the Randy Orton tweener character. Its true that he was in a championship match at their second biggest pay-per-view, but I do not that that they have truly captured the Viper’s full potential. He has a really high “cool factor” that most of the rest of the characters lack. He is the anti-Cena, and I feel that the company should do more to showcase his loner rebel persona to take his star to the next level. In contrast, I feel that the WWE has done a great job of building Sheamus into a viable main event wrestler. He has shown great range of emotions, and his ring-work microphone-work have been really solid.

Unfortunately, these two just do not share good chemistry in the ring. I am all for WWE presenting longer, dramatic matches with good psychology, but this was a dull, plodding affair that failed to ignite the crowd’s interest. We were silent for the vast majority of the match because, although both are good workers, neither wrestler is a particularly dynamic performer in the ring. This match needed Pat Patterson to lay out the action better because it was boring until the last few minutes. There was a strong sequence in the final few minutes, but the awful finish ruined it. The RKO on the table was cool and popped the crowd, but if they wanted a non-finish, they should have had Nexus come in and destroy both Orton and Sheamus, re-establishing their disruptive presence, and drawing further heel heat on them for ruining the championship match.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4
MATCH QUALITY: **1/4

Kane vs. Rey Mysterio: World Heavyweight Title Match

I missed most of this match because I was starving, and I needed to get some over-priced food from the Staples Center. By the way, can you explain to me how McDonald’s “value meal” is over ten dollars? Anyway, the reason I decided to step away during this contest is because this Kane storyline has been an abomination from the outset. Keep in mind, I feel that Kane has done the best with what he has had to work with, and he has done an excellent job playing a deranged psycho, but the writing and plot of this one make the WWE Film Division look Oscar-worthy in comparison.

First of all, we knew from the first day Kane came out and claimed that he would find the one responsible for putting Undertaker in a vegetative state that he himself was the culprit. Now I do not mind predictability if the story is told well, but the very prospect of another feud between the Big Red Machine and the Dead Man was groan-inducing. The fact that it has rarely been established over the years that Kane is actually concerned about the well-being of his brother also hurt the emotional reaction that an angle like this should generate with fans. Finally, the imbecilic twist that it was Rey who had injured Undertaker was downright preposterous.

Given the awful build to this, I gladly forsook its viewing to get robbed by Ronald McDonald in pursuit of quenching my hunger. I did make it back in time for the telegraphed finale of Taker coming out of the casket. I liked how Take appeared weaker and more mortal than his usual supernatural character, but the thought of another feud between the Brothers of Destruction is not at all appealing to me.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4
MATCH QUALITY: N/A

Team WWE vs. The Nexus
CenaJohnArt2_130GG_148.jpg

Now we have finally reached our main event, and by this time I was ready to mail WWE Corporate and ask for a refund. This was arguably the worst live show I had ever attended, and that is including house shows. Like I stated from the opening however, this Summerslam was all about the Nexus and if team WWE could stop these “agents of chaos,” so I was hoping the main event would succeed in sending me home happy. Unfortunately, for me, a happy ending would be seeing the Nexus enhancing their strength by beating Team WWE. I understand the company wanting their top star reigning triumphant to conclude the PPV, especially with their efforts to establish a Hollywood presence, but this was not the right finish for this event.

I will not go over all of the action here, but I wanted to share some thoughts on the match. First of all, one of the hooks for this event was to see who the seventh member of Team WWE would be. I thought Daniel Bryan was a good choice because he is tied in to this storyline, but I thought Cena’s introduction to him was horrible. Again, one of Cena’s weaknesses is his delivery, and I do not think that he did a good job giving Bryan a good intro to get the crowd excited. Then again, that may have been by design because most mainstream fans are not too familiar with him.

I thought most of the match was very well booked and wrestled by everyone involved. I really enjoyed the little involvement Bret had in this, and I felt he looked his best since he has returned. The tension between Jericho and Edge and the rest of the team was teased properly throughout. Both Morrison and Truth were able to get some good spots in. Bryan was excellent, and his athleticism and intensity really stood out. Nobody particularly stood out in Team Nexus, but I felt they all did well, given their experience. The crowd was hot throughout the entire match, and that shows what happens when a wrestling company properly presents an issue between competitors that can be resolved in the ring. Hopefully, TNA was studying this match and the entire program leading up to it.

Unfortunately, I felt the final few minutes nearly ruined a terrific clinic on how to do a multi-man elimination match. Cena performing a superhuman comeback to take out two men after having his skull crash to the cement on a DDT was downright ridiculous. I was hoping that Bryan would have turned on Cena at the end and rejoined the Nexus. It really did not make any sense that he would be aligned with Cena after spitting in his face and then getting fired from the company for being anti-authority.

The story was perfect for a return to Nexus, and Barrett could have easily explained that they always intended to bring Bryan back, and that he had no remorse. This would have given Cena an excuse to losing because he was betrayed and beaten by three men. Nexus would further its reputation as a monstrous entity running roughshod over the establishment. The addition of Bryan would also give them a really strong in-ring worker for their matches against WWE superstars.

Of course, we were treated to a “happy ending” where "the posterboy" John Cena reigned supreme. While the match leading up to the ludicrous conclusion was very good, the ending left very few people happy, as the crowd did not roar with approval as Summerslam went off the air.

LIVE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 8
MATCH QUALITY: ***1/2

Hopefully, WWE takes the proper steps to reestablish the aura of the Nexus. Again, there is a reason the Joker was the main draw that made "The Dark Knight" such an enormous blockbuster. If Batman defeated him in their first encounter, there would be no film. WWE should have taken its cue from Hollywood and further established Nexus as a formidable team of supervillains. This would not only have made for a more satisfying ending, but it would have ensured more intriguing future chapters in this good versus evil saga.

Please send questions, comments, and feedback to valentino.torch@gmail.com and check out my new book, The Showstopper Lifestyle.

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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