Caught in the Ropes- WWE Summerslam Hangover (Cena, Punk, Nash)
by Patrick Spohr on August 15, 2011

Welcome back to Caught in the Ropes! I’m your usual host…blah, blah, blah. Let’s get to talkin’ ’bout Summerslam. It was…a show. Was it everything I and many others hoped it would be? No. I don’t really need to elaborate on that. Instead, let’s go match by match and talk through this mess. Before we get to that, make sure to check out 10 Thoughts on Raw this week where I’ll give you the run-down on tonight’s show.

Kofi/Morrison/Mysterio vs. Miz/del Rio/R-Truth

Filler: that’s the only word I really need to use in order to describe this match. It was okay, but not anything you couldn’t see on any given episode of Raw. Come on, WWE, you can’t be bothered to have an IC or US title match? The only reason I can propose for the WWE including this match, aside from giving their mid- and upper-mid-carders something to do on the second biggest PPV of the year, is to act as a red herring that will give viewers pause-for-thought concerning del Rio using the MITB briefcase at the end of the night. The match itself was your usual six-man tag stuff; not bad. But on the second biggest PPV of the year, the WWE should have found something far more interesting to do.

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus

At Capitol Punishment, Alex Riley got over his mentor Miz in their first real match against one another. I said then that the WWE pulled the trigger too early on A-Ry, and should have booked him to lose that match before getting revenge at Summerslam or MITB. A few months later, Sheamus is losing to Mark Henry, which never should have happened. Sheamus is more or less established in the WWE; A-Ry isn’t. Keeping Sheamus in a feud with Mark Henry is good for absolutely no one, especially since Sheamus’ face character seemed to be getting over with the crowd. Henry is a permanent mid- to lower-mid-carder, and if the WWE wants to push Sheamus back into the title picture, and I think they do, then he should have come away with the victory.

Where do they go from here? I suppose Sheamus could feud for the IC belt, but is that really a step in the right direction? The other option is to pretend the Henry/Sheamus feud never happened and move Sheamus into the Heavyweight title picture, or move both of them into contention. Regardless, this was poor booking on WWE’s part.

Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix

Probably the worst booking decision of the night, Kelly Kelly retains her title. Why? I have no clue. Kelly is about as entertaining as half-a-bottle of Elmer’s Glue and wrestles like one too. One can only assume that the WWE is trying to make Kelly look legitimate until Beth takes the belt off her at Night of Champions. This course of action is, let’s be honest, stupid. No one buys that Kelly Kelly can beat Beth Phoenix in a match…ever. The Divas division will be a joke so long as Kelly has the belt. Not that Beth wearing the belt will automatically cure all of the division’s ills, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan

This was the other throw-away match of the evening. Barrett picking up the win here gets him back on track; Bryan won the MITB briefcase last month, so I don’t think it’s the end of the world that he lost here. Will we see more of this feud? No idea. This was another match that was pieced together at the last minute to fill-out the card, so I say the odds are low that this feud will continue much longer. I’m not sure where the two of them will go from here. Barrett could go back into the IC title hunt, as could Bryan, or both could be shoved into a meaningless feud for next month’s PPV, or they could find themselves in a Heavyweight Championship match. This all really depends on what Creative has in store for Smackdown now that Randal has the belt back around his waist.

Christian vs. Randy Orton

Randal wins…again. The whole lead-up to this match screamed, “Randy Orton victory!” but I’m still a tad disappointed. Christian looked weak during his title run, and who knows if they’re going to keep him in the main-event picture now that this feud is over with. As I’ve mentioned, the road moving forward for Smackdown seems really murky right now. Who’s going to be feuding with Randal next? They could turn him heel and put him in a program with Sheamus, but that seems unlikely; Sheamus’ face turn is still freshly minted, and I don’t think the WWE is ready to hand the reins of Smackdown over to him. Bryan could turn heel and cash-in his MITB contract, which might be a nice break from the, “Aw, shucks!” nice guy he’s playing currently. The ‘E could also square him off against Mark Henry (vomits), or start building towards a Fatal Four-Way match at Night of Champions.

Then again, the WWE could bring someone like Jericho back. Really, there isn’t much to the Smackdown roster as it stands currently. Guys like Bryan and Barrett could be shoe-horned into the main-event picture out of necessity, but those guys need to get a good build-up before a title run to make them seem legit. Unfortunately, the air has been let out of Randal’s feud with Christian, so they can’t go back to the well again and buy themselves some time to line up a new opponent.

CM Punk vs. John Cena

So Punk wins despite Cena’s leg being propped up on the rope, Kevin Nash power-bombs Punk during his celebration, and Alberto picks up his first WWE Championship. Alberto winning the belt is no big surprise, and I see the WWE building to a three-way title match at Night of Champions. The WWE took the easy way out here, pinning the loss on HHH and Kevin Nash rather than on either Punk or Cena. At the very least, HHH didn’t embroil himself too deeply in this storyline; he called the match fairly and missed a call at the end. No heel turn, no shenanigans. Except, the WWE used this storyline a month ago during the Orton/Christian feud. Really, this Summerslam main-event solved the issue of having two WWE Championship belts, but didn’t solve anything between Cena and Punk in the long-run.

Summerslam failed to live up to its reputation as the “Wrestlemania of the Summer”. Really, there were a few filler matches and a number of poor booking decisions that will only extend some of these feuds until September. As the company’s second biggest show of the year, one would expect more from the WWE. Well, see you next week.

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Patrick Spohr

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  • sdmcc

    Well.. considering how Wrestlemania turned out this year.. it is safe to say that SummerSlam is the wrestlemania of the summer.. at least regarding booking decisions.

  • B Brown

    ^ This.

  • Joey V.

    Actually the fact that it failed to deliver helps it live up to it’s “WrestleMania of the summer” moniker. Weak card saved only by the two mains.

  • Lionshare

    But you know that feuds last more than a month right?, what would be the good in sheamus winning? its stop henry right on the tracks, and win the feud right away. Same with barret and bryan, the faces needed to lose to keep the feud alive.

  • Phil

    Coming on the heels of the dreadful Hardcore Justice, SummerSlam was more than passable.

    Six-man tag; a bonus match, but I expected something like this to be added; it was about in line with a solid TV main-event, nothing too noteworthy, but not a bad way to start the show. Only storyline relevance was Rey getting the pin and gearing up for his title challenge on Raw **

    Sheamus/Henry: The match was back and forth, hard-hitting, I didn’t mind Henry getting a count-out win here; he hit Sheamus with a overpowering move in order to do so; the feud is not settled, my impression was that Henry was being established as a wrecking ball and it would require Sheamus to dig down in order to stop his momentum; that element is yet to come, this was a minor setback and an obstacle for Sheamus to overcome. **

    A note on this match; I can’t believe that Booker actually said that “Mark Henry just left a skid mark on that boy”; I bet that WWE is regretting their decision to select him over JR now.

    Phoenix/Kelly Kelly: Not a bad match, some progress is being made for the division with the storyline and a PPV showing getting close to seven minutes. I expect Beth or Nattie to win the title before long. Kelly needed to win by snatching victory from defeat, so it looks like a fluke. **

    Bryan/Barrett: The match started off a little slow but did pick up steam and featured some nice high-impact maneuvers, submission attempts, and counters. I guess I liked the match better than the general viewer opinion, in spite of how the live crowd reacted to it. I wasn’t bored by the match at all. ***

    Orton/Christian: They did a good job of avoiding an over-reliance of no-holds-barred interaction and created an effective happy medium between this and traditional mat-wrestling. I’m not sure why Christian tried to run away with the belt when he could have just hit Orton across the skull with it instead. Christian came out looking strong by the resolve that he showed after the rug by pulled out from Edge; I wonder if he will take his friends’ words to heart and turn face again; he is likely out of the title picture after the obligatory rematch, which will come and go; I’d be surprised if he won the title again in the near future. A good match; it didn’t necessarily top any of their others at previous PPV’s however. ***

    Cena/Punk: A good main-event; it didn’t have the aura of the MITB match, but that was to be expected; you can’t re-create moments like that, they just kind of happen by themselves. Still good in-ring work from both men; I wouldn’t quite consider it to be an instant classic or anything. I am undecided on the finish; I need to wait to see how everything plays out before I reach a firm conclusion. ***

    Booker T was pretty bad here also; first he says that the match is overly technical for his liking, and then goes on to proclaim that the match is one of the greatest that he has ever seen. (He was mistaken on both accounts) He talks out of both sides of his mouth far too much.

  • Patrick Spohr

    Touche, sir.

    I believe I mentioned in the same paragraph that the A-Ry/Miz feud should have lasted longer. Why do I think Sheamus should have won last night? I believe I answered that as well, but I’ll do it again.

    The feud with Mark Henry is good as far as getting him over as a face, but I don’t see it having much utility beyond that. I’m not as enamored with the new Mark Henry heel as some others are, and the guy is still a drain in the ring. Sheamus needs to feud with someone who can cut a good promo and is a capable wrestler. Mark Henry is neither of these things. I just think that the audience is going to be burned out on this feud because there’s no real storyline reason for it to occur. Mark Henry likes beating people up; Sheamus doesn’t like Mark Henry. This isn’t like Christian/Orton where there’s a good storyline reason to drag this out.

  • Phil

    @Patrick: Come on now Patrick, they (Sheamus/Henry) have been involved in a program for three weeks and have had one match; it is going to be a couple of months from now before this feud would run into what could be considered dragged-out territory; and I say that being only lukewarm to the program myself, but it is not a bad stepping stone for Sheamus as a face before bigger and better things later on; reminds me a little of the brief CM Punk/Umaga program before Punk went on to capture the Heavywieght Title from Hardy, and ultimately ended up in a program of greater significance.

    They spent a few months building up Henry here, having him take out three big guys, so it enhances Sheamus’s stock if he is the one to ultimately knock him off of the mountain, but it can’t be made to look so easy as for him to accomplish that after three weeks and only one match, otherwise the feat has a muted impact.

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