Thursday, July 14, 2011

Smarkass Reviews: SummerSlam 2009

It's been a long time since I posted anything here. No good reason for that other than laziness, I suppose. I've been tempted to write about some music, movies, DVDs, books, and so on... but haven't. Shit. Ah well. I'm back and, hopefully, this is something that will continue on beyond this one review of a two-year old WWE PPV that I watched for another purpose completely. However, I have been doing a lot of writing lately for 411mania, including new weekly reviews of Curb Your Enthusiasm season eight. The season premiered this past Sunday, so I've only had one review up. Still, check out my twitter feed for links to future reviews and other writings I do around the internet.


SummerSlam 2009. I got this on DVD for five bucks at Wal-Mart. I haven't seen any cheap PPVs on DVD there since I got this back in the winter, which sucks. Sure, when I have no money, they have many $5 DVDs; when I have money, they dry up. Bullshit. I hadn't actually seen this show before. It came after the local bar where I used to watch WWE PPVs stopped showing them and I realised that going to the movie theatre to watch them was too expensive to do on a regular basis (now, it's not so much a cost thing as a conflict with my work schedule -- though, I will be seeing Money in the Bank on Sunday, because I arranged for the person who works after me on Sunday nights to come in an hour early -- something I've done once before and would like to only do rarely if possible). So, this was all new to me.

Match #1: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match - Rey Mysterio (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
A strong opening match that reminds me of how motivated Rey was in 2009. Hot off his feud with Chris Jericho and before his 411 'free TV match of the year' with John Morrison, he feuded with Dolph Ziggler over the IC belt and, surprisingly, didn't drop it at all. Here, Mysterio did some pretty cool things that he doesn't bust out all of the time and Ziggler was very responsive, lending himself to some inventive counters. Honestly, this is one of the best Ziggler matches I've seen (before or since). He looked in command and wasn't doing his usual routine as much. It's like, in the wake of the Jericho/Mysterio stuff, it wasn't possible to do the same ol' thing with Rey Rey. This has me curious to see their previous match at Night of Champions.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Rey Mysterio [***1/2]

Match #2: Jack Swagger vs. MVP
Remember this feud? It did absolutely nothing for either man and never delivered the sort of match you would expect from the two. This didn't get the necessary time, so it was like watching a highlight video of the full match.
Winner: MVP [**]

Match #3: WWE Unified Tag Team Championship Match - JeriShow (C) vs. Cryme Tyme
The pre-match promo by Jericho was arrogant heel at its best. I remember being so disappointed when Big Show was selected to replace Edge, but, in retrospect, it worked out quite well. Just standing in the ring, these two looked like a team that couldn't be beaten. Technical wrestling at its best and a motherfucking giant! The only thing I remember about the feud with Cryme Tyme was JTG beating Jericho on Smackdown in the run-up to SummerSlam. I didn't like that only because of the way it happened -- I think JTG got in a quick pin after Jericho went for a cover under the ropes and I didn't think that fit with Jericho's character who is far too ring savvy to do something that stupid. Otherwise, I didn't mind JTG getting the win. Jim Ross(!) mention how the Road Warriors won their first WWE Tag Titles at SummerSlam was a nice bit of info that fed into Cryme Tyme never winning any belts. The match itself was decent. Typical Cryme Tyme pattern: JTG gets beat down until making the hot tag to Shad, but they added in a bit with Shad getting beat down only to make the hot tag that changed things up enough. The combination of the Walls of Jericho and the Knockout Punch was a good finish.
Winners and STILL WWE Unified Tag Team Champions: JeriShow [**1/2]

Match #4: Kane vs. the Great Khali
You don't always notice how good Kane is in the ring, but stick him next to the Great Khali and you suddenly can't help but notice how agile and skilled he is. His style doesn't lend itself to impressing fans often, unfortunately. However, he carried this piece of shit of a match. It wasn't good, but it could have been a lot of worse. All of the good parts were because of Kane with Khali looking sluggish and awkward at even the simplest of moves. I must admit, though, that I always enjoy the 'big man tries to Chokeslam another big man only to be goozled by his opponent in return' exchange.
Winner: Kane [1/2*]

Match #5: Degeneration X vs. Legacy
I completely forgot that this was the beginning of the final DX reunion. I have a big soft spot for DX and rather enjoy goofy Shawn and Trips. A lot of people hated their previous reunion along with this one, but I found both entertaining. It's hard not to like two guys who are obviously just having fun goofing around with one another. This match had a really good story: DX hadn't teamed for a long time and Michaels had been out of the ring since WrestleMania, so they couldn't keep up with Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes who had been teaming for two years at that point. Most of the match was DX not getting on the same page, while Rhodes and DiBiase used the most basic of tag team tactics to destroy the veterans. It's surprising how dominant Legacy looked here, countering almost every effort at a comeback Michaels and Triple H could come up with until Trips managed to take out DiBiase on the outside, breaking the rhythm of the duo. There was one spot where Rhodes and DiBiase tag each other in and out every five seconds, just stomping on Trips (or Shawn... I forget) in the corner, making the tag, stomping, tag, stomping, tag, etc. Once the two weren't able to make frequent tags and take advantage of double-teams, things fell apart a little and, eventually, Michaels won the match with Sweet Chin Music that came as a last resort. DX needed to win in their first match back together, but it wasn't a victory that made Legacy look bad. If anything, Legacy came out of this looking great. That wouldn't last, but, right here, it was hard not to look at those two as the best tag team in the WWE.
Winners: Degeneration X [***3/4]

Match #6: ECW Championship Match - Christian (C) vs. William Regal
This wasn't a match with Christian immediately hitting the Killswitch and winning before Regal could take his robe off. Disappointing given how good a match between these two could have been. Why not drop Kane/Khali and give the people something halfway decent?
Winner and STILL ECW Champion: Christian [N/R]

Match #7: WWE Championship Match - Randy Orton (C) vs. John Cena
Watching this match, I couldn't help but admire Randy Orton's skill and concentration. People didn't like him a lot around this period, but are loving him now. How else would he get so good in the ring besides this long period of slow, methodical in-ring movement? I can't imagine how much extra effort it took to always be so slow, so expressive. When he finally turned face, he sped up considerably and you can see him mastering this style in matches like this. The match itself was good until the string of false finishes and restarts that were just plain fucking goofy. I am glad that Orton won in the end, because that's the way it needed to go down: Orton does everything he can to cheat his way to victory only to have it taken away and he still wins (albeit through a different type of cheating). The final five minutes or so of this match killed it, though. Absolutely killed it.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: Randy Orton [**1/4]

Match #8: TLC Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship - Jeff Hardy (C) vs. CM Punk
Ah, the beginning of the Straight Edge Saviour character... is there a better foil for CM Punk when he's playing up his Straight Edge lifestyle than Jeff Hardy? The drugged out fuck up who is more loved than Punk? With Hardy on his way out, the ending to this match was easy to see, but the two men still brought it. Their early work on the outside was rather good with some smart counters and cool moves. The dive off the ladder was insane (though, I could have done without them trying to take Hardy out on a stretcher just so he could get off and prove how 'extreme' he is). The Superplex onto the ladder looked far more painful for CM Punk with Hardy placed to land dead centre, while Punk hit the edge. The finish was good with Punk using kicks to get the advantage on the top of the ladder. The lights flickering as a cue to Punk to make sure Hardy was in position for the Undertaker switch was interesting -- and Punk played that perfectly. A strong ending to the show.
Winner and NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion: CM Punk [****]

Overall thoughts: A lot of quality in this show. Take away the Kane/Khali and Christan/Regal matches and everything was, at the very least, okay. Three matches were very good, even approaching great, and the rest had their moments. Not a classic show, but one well worth checking out if you have the chance.

Rating: 8.0 (out of 10)