The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #16
WWE is going in to SummerSlam, TNA aired their HardCORE Justice special edition of Impact, and Ring of Honor had its 99th airing. Care to know what happened between the 10th and the 16th in the world of wrestling? Look no further than …
As usual, in order to eliminate the need for correcting news reports, the Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up on i Game Responsibly only deals with what nationally televised USA-based wrestling companies actually put on the air. That is the only criteria necessary to appear in this column, but if, for whatever reason, the columnist is not able to view the regular broadcast, and the alternate viewing method does not show everything that the regular broadcast shows, the column will note it.
- - Daniel Bryan opened RAW, which led to a video recap of Bryan and Wade Barrett’s interaction the previous week. Brad Maddox was the special guest referee in a rematch between Barrett and Bryan. Maddox was somewhat even-handed throughout the match, but then cost Bryan the match with a fast count. Bryan tried to go after Maddox, but Maddox bailed. Bryan then got the crowd to chant, “NO!” in response. Later on, Vince McMahon came out to the ring, and replayed the match result. He brought out Brad Maddox. He had Maddox explain himself. Vince accepted the explanation. Maddox asked to be the referee for the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam, and after some bits of exposition, Vince tried to make Maddox the official. Triple H came to the ring in response. Triple H and Vince had some back-and-forth, and Triple H said that there definitely should be an impartial referee. That man is not Brad Maddox – that man is Triple H. Maddox ate a Pedigree, Vince bailed, and HHH stood in the center of the ring.
- - On Miz TV, The Miz brought out Daniel Bryan and John Cena in order to discuss their match at SummerSlam. Miz asked both men about Triple H as their guest referee. Bryan said that it was great that somebody stood up to Mr. McMahon, and now Cena and Bryan could have the match that the WWE Universe deserves. Cena was also glad that Triple H was the referee, because he would call the match down the middle. Miz asked Cena what his real issues with Daniel Bryan were. Cena said that the only issue was the WWE Championship, since Bryan wants to be the champion, and Cena is the champion. Cena said that Bryan would put up a hell of a fight. Miz interpreted that as Cena saying that Bryan was going to lose. Bryan cut him off, and then said that he wondered why putting on a hell of a fight was all people thought he could do. He then got on Cena about his speech last week, saying that Cena was all style, no substance, and in it for the fame instead of the wrestling. Bryan said that his shirt was a parody of Cena’s shirt, but he wasn’t a parody, because he wanted the belt to prove that when he steps in the ring, there is nobody better than Daniel Bryan. That promted Cena to take off the shirt. Cena gave an empassioned speech about the fact that they were there to entertain the fans, and no matter what else, he was not a parody, he was not a joke, he was the man that was there for every single fan that respected him and believed in him. Cena said that Bryan would always have critics, but Bryan should be proud of what he’s done, but that doesn’t change that Cena is proud of what he’ve done and what he’ve become. That’s because he’s spent the past twelve years wrestling around the world. He then told Bryan to underestimate him, because that’s what all of Bryan’s peers thought, and he out-wrestled them. Bryan asked if Cena said he wasn’t as good as the men he had faced for the belt, and Cena clarified that he hadn’t earned that spot. Bryan noted that it was right there – Cena didn’t respect him. Bryan told Cena that he didn’t understand the hunger, because for Cena, this was just another SummerSlam, but for Bryan, this was the biggest match of his life. Bryan said that there was a tradition in Japan, where, in order to fire somebody up, that person gets slapped in the face. Bryan said he wished he could do that to Cena, but Cena isn’t a wrestler, and doesn’t deserve it. Cena slapped Bryan in response, but Bryan demurred, which brought out Triple H. Randy Orton came out to the stage and simply raised his briefcase, cutting off whatever Triple H was going to say.
- - They replayed the promotional video from SmackDown that showcased Brock Lesnar talking about his match against CM Punk. After the match, Punk talked about his match against Paul Heyman, noting that Heyman had a plan in a match. Punk said that Lesnar might like to claim that the Beast is the Best, but the truth is, the Best is the Best. Later on, Paul Heyman was shown getting ready for his fight against CM Punk. Curtis Axel asked Heyman if he was nervous, and Heyman said he may be having second thoughts. Heyman eventually went out to the ring, and said that he blamed the WWE Universe for what has happened between him and Punk. He said that he didn’t act alone, however. He had a co-conspirator – BROCK LESNAR. That brought out Lesnar, and led to another promotional video. Heyman then said that CM Punk could definitely come out and fight Paul Heyman – and Brock Lesnar. Punk’s music played, but Punk was behind both men. He ambushed Lesnar by smashing him with a portable camera repeatedly, grabbed a chair, sent Heyman on the run, got Curtis Axel with a chair and a Go To Sleep, and stared down at a vulnerable-looking Brock Lesnar to close RAW.
- - The Shield was backstage. Dean Ambrose said that wrestling was the only line of work where you can come back each day in spite of being lazy and unproductive. Seth Rollins added that the old guard needed to go, because the Shield was the new guard, because they were younger, hungrier, and better. Roman Reigns issued an open challenge for the tag team titles. Ambrose said that nobody could take his title. “Believe that, and believe in the Shield.” Following the battle royal to determine Ambrose’s challenger, Mark Henry showed Rob Van Dam some respect. When The Shield came out, Henry remained in the ring to face them. However, before they could do anything, The Big Show came out, causing Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns to reconsider their attack.
- - A match between Damien Sandow and Randy Orton billed as a clash of Misters Money in the Bank had Cody Rhodes at the announcers’ table. Rhodes talked with the announcers about his situation with Sandow, including a few admissions, such as the fact that Sandow might wind up being the World Heavyweight Champion when he faces Cody at SummerSlam, as well as that Cody and Damien’s roles may well have been switched. Cody’s main point of contention against Sandow was his assertion that, between the two, Sandow is the better man. Near the end of the match, Cody acted like he was trying to take Sandow’s briefcase, which was handcuffed to the turnbuckle, costing Sandow the match.
- - Before his mixed tag match against The Great Khali & Natalya, Big E Langston gave a quick interview about Dolph Ziggler. After the tag match, Langston and AJ Lee tried to ambush their opponents, only to get owned.
- - They showed a quick recap of Christian’s career. After that, the man himself gave an interview, saying that he would beat Alberto Del Rio and prove that all he’s ever needed is one more match. Alberto Del Rio came in, laughing at him. He told Christian (in Spanish) that Del Rio was winning, so after SummerSlam, Christian would still be hanging under the shadow of one more match (I may have paraphrased a bit).
- - We saw a recap video of the recent encounters between the Wyatt Family and Kane. The Wyatt Family came out to the ring, and Kane had a confrontation with them in advance of his Ring of Fire match against Bray Wyatt.
- - Zeb Colter had a speech insulting California, specifically the high number of Latinos, as a preface to the match between The Real Americans and The Usos.
- - There was an impromptu dance-off between Fandango and R-Truth that led to a brawl. Fandango bailed and said his name after he got the worst of both the dance-off and the fight.
- Main Event
- - They had a video about the relationship between CM Punk and Paul Heyman. They noted that there was a mutual respect between both men. That cut to Paul Heyman repeatedly smashing a ladder on to CM Punk, costing him the Money in the Bank match. After that, they had a recap video of what happened between Punk, Heyman, and Brock Lesnar. It ended by promoting SummerSlam. Note: This was a new video not previously aired.
- - Nothing else original aired in terms of story, but they did re-show RAW’s Miz TV.
- - The show opened with The Wyatt Family coming to the ring. A video played of them. Bray Wyatt was in the ring, seated in a rocking chair. He talked about Kane in a roundabout way, talking about a rejected little boy who retreated behind a mask and lived a lie. Wyatt said he was there to end the lies, because he knew who he was. He compared himself to Jesus in a few ways, and eventually said that on Sunday, one man’s hell is another man’s paradise. “Follow the buzzards,” almost immediately had the ring posts erupt in fire. Kane took out Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, then got in the ring with Wyatt. Kane made the throat slash motion, Bray charged, Kane began to own the entire Wyatt Family, Rowan and Harper bailed, and Wyatt ambushed Kane with a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Bray Wyatt watched the beat-down with his head inverted. He then gave Kane the Kiss Good Night, kneeled beside Kane’s prone position, put his hands on Kane’s chest, and yelled, “Follow the buzzards.”
- - After his match, Christian gave Damien Sandow a spear. However, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio ambushed Christian and beat him to the mat. He got on the microphone, saying that this was the end of the line for Christian, and further said that that Christian would never again be World Heavyweight Champion. However, Christian countered a cross arm breaker with a Kill Switch, and stood tall over the champion he is set to challenge at SummerSlam.
- - Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Rob Van Dam. He noted that it has been a long time since he’s had gold around his waist, but that was going to change soon. He then said he wasn’t worried about the influence of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in his match against Dean Ambrose. The camera panned out to show The Big Show and Mark Henry, both of whom had strong words in relation to The Shield.
- - Later on, Renee Young was backstage with Ryback. She asked him if he wasn’t on SummerSlam because of his brutality, and he said that was the obvious reason. However, he stopped himself in order to attack a producer, eventually throwing him over a table in to some other backstage staff. Renee looked like she wanted to rush over, but showed professionalism by staying on set until Ryback said that people are sacred of him.
- - There was a re-airing of the CM Punk/Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar video that was originally shown on Main Event. Later on, after Curtis Axel’s match, Paul Heyman got on the microphone and said that CM Punk out-smarted him and Brock Lesnar. Heyman noted that because of that, instead of Punk having revenge, the dynamic of SummerSlam had switched, with Heyman and Lesnar as the wronged parties.
- - As is required before every match involving Jack Swagger (and, as of late, Antonio Cesaro), there was a speech from Zeb Colter insulting the locals. Near the end of the match, the referee chose to eject Cesaro and Colter from the arena, giving Miz the victory.
- - Before Daniel Bryan’s No DQ match against Wade Barrett, they showed a video recap of how the situation around the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam came to be. During Bryan’s match with Barrett, Vince McMahon came out to the ramp, aping Daniel Bryan. The chairman of the WWE simply observed the match, clearly in Wade’s corner. Just as Bryan got the Yes Lock in, Vince pulled the ref out of the ring. Brad Maddox came out and made a regular count, and Bryan kicked out. However, Maddox did not count the pin. Wade Barrett accidentally took out Maddox with a kendo stick. Vince took off Michael Chioda’s shirt, but HHH came out and called the end cleanly. At the end of the match, Randy Orton came out and held the Money in the bank briefcase high.
- Wade Barrett def. Daniel Bryan via roll up after special referee Brad Maddox made a fast count
- Mister Money In The Bank Battle: Randy Orton def. Damien Sandow via pin fall after an RKO
- Natalya & The Great Khali (w/ Hornswoggle) def. Diva’s Champion AJ Lee & Big E Langston via submission with the Sharpshooter (Khali and Langston never wrestled)
- Kane def. Titus O’Neill (w/ Darren Young) via pin fall after a choke slam
- World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Kofi Kingston via submission with a cross arm breaker
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) def. The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro) (w/ Zeb Colter) with a quick roll-up after a blind tag
- A match between Fandango and R-Truth never started
- 20-Man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal for a shot at the United States Championship: Rob Van Dam def. Tons of Funk, 3MB, Ryback, The Prime TIme Players, The Real Americans, Wade Barrett, The Usos, Justin Gabriel, The Great Khali, R-Truth, Fandango, Kofi Kingston, and Mark Henry, last eliminating Mark Henry via dropping the top rope as Henry fell over it
- Main Event
- Alberto Del Rio def. Cody Rhodes via submission with a cross arm breaker
- The Usos def. 3MB (Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre) via pin fall with a Superfly Splash
- Big E Langston def. Justin Gabriel via pin fall with the Big Ending
- Christian def. Damien Sandow via pin fall with an inside cradle
- AJ Lee & Layla def. Kaitlyn & Natalya via pin fall after a knee roundhouse kick and a Shining Wizard
- Rob Van Dam, The Big Show, and Mark Henry def. The Shield via pin fall after a WMD Punch and a Five Star Frog Splash
- The Miz def. Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter & Antonio Cesaro) via pin fall with a sunset pin
- Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. Zack Ryder via pin fall with the neck breaker face buster
- No Disqualification: Daniel Bryan def. Wade Barrett via pin fall after a flying headbutt
- - They actually gave Barrett and Bryan some time in the ring, and the fact that they kept working without either man going for a pin until the match end was actually quite clever. Sure, it kind of telegraphed the quick count, but Maddox as the referee gave that away anyway. I do appreciate that they noted that Maddox has in fact been a referee in the past.
- - Holy crap! Why did Miz TV not close the show? This was the best hard sell for SummerSlam ever, and they decided to go with CM Punk and Paul Heyman as the close instead. There have been plenty of complaints about how the WWE focused on John Cena instead of CM Punk in spite of Punk being the champion. Now the tables are turned, and it’s just as foolish now as it was then. Don’t get me wrong, the way they closed the show was fine, but the way that they’ve made a slow boil out of Cena and Bryan’s match was really good. It comes down to wrestling or entertainment, and at the end of the day, while Cena retaining the title would be a poor choice, the fans are far more likely to support it.
- - You know what? This is just a blanket statement, but I love the fact that they’re actually bothering to give people other than main eventers some form of rivalries. They billed the Usos versus the Real Americans as a rubber match. Kane and the Wyatt Family are in a huge gimmick match. Okay, Fandango and R-Truth don’t quite fit in here, but it’s still something, so I’ll take it.
- -In a similar note of generalized praise, I definitely appreciate that the WWE is using matches to further their stories. For a very long time, the matches seemed to be more like window dressing. Either because the fans responded positively to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, or because the WWE finally has ventures in other entertainment ventures that are turning a profit, they’re bothering to use that second W to their advantage. When Damien Sandow can go toe-to-toe with Randy Orton believably, and only lose because he got distracted, you’ve done something right in building a worker’s credibility.
- - They managed to give Rob Van Dam some sort of direction beyond, “Hey, this is an awesome return!” I get the feeling that he’s going to get used to further The Shield’s image, but it works for now.
- Main Event
- - Strangely enough, Cody Rhodes got treated as being almost at the same level as Alberto Del Rio. The two worked a match that was definitely main event quality, both men got to look strong, and Del Rio only won because he cheated to get Cody in to the Cross Arm Breaker. Part of me thinks that it’s a way for Cody to save face if they have him lose to Damien Sandow at SummerSlam.
- - Speaking of matches, the Gabriel/Langston match was the shortest one, and that clocked in at about eight minutes or so. I definitely appreciate that Main Event has become a true wrestling show.
- Can I say the whole show? That is really how I feel about this. There was nothing that felt unnecessary, and this was a show where I just had to watch because I didn’t want to miss a thing.
- - I suddenly understand why Natalya is on Total Divas and AJ Lee is not. They already have some contentious ladies, but a skilled wrestler that can actually make a botch (even a referee botch) seem like an opportunity to keep out-performing an opponent deserves a spotlight. However, the botch – and the booking of two people appearing on a pay-per-view to look like weak jokes – really made this segment suck.
- - I understand what they’re trying to accomplish with this Vince/Triple H drama. However, I just don’t think it adds anything to the title match, and it has the potential to detract from the title win, either for Cena or Bryan. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to order the show, but I won’t be ordering it because of Triple H or Vince McMahon.
- - In spite of the fact that we’re getting midcard rivalries and the company is showcasing wrestling, the battle royal showcased just how much talent WWE has, and how much they’re wasting that talent by giving them stop-start pushes and nothing resembling continuity. The final seven men in the match really showed that.
- - The Bellas were on the show, both in a recap and in an interview segment. Only plus side is that Natalya is going to wrestle at SummerSlam. But WWE seems to forget that Total Divas airs at the exact same time as SummerSlam. They are not going to get get cross-over fans, so why bother trying?
- Main Event
- - I really wish that we got more than just the matches and a video for original content on Main Event. If Saturday Morning SLAM can do it, surely they can manage it with Main Event.
- I wasn’t kidding. There was nothing wrong with this show. Well, except for the constant Total Divas advertisements.
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