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WWE SummerSlam 2004 
August 15, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


The deed is done. Randy Orton is the Youngest World Champion in WWE history.
By my count, one billion good reasons exist to have held off on Orton's breakthrough wins. By my count, none exist to justify tonight's outcome. But perhaps we hold off on all the analyticousity until tomorrow, OK? For now, it's enough to say that the miscalculation of Orton's win and his post-match Handshake of Mutual Respect from Chris 

Benoit was easily evident. WWE desired one response; they got another. And not just from jack-offs like me. A decision made in a WWE boardroom was fairly well exposed, on the grand stage of PPV, as the folly that it is, tonight.

But again, a disappointing anticlimax does not a whole show taint. Tomorrow will come the bitching and moaning! Tonight will come the attempt at level-headed recappening!

Let's get on with the complete segment-by-segment results of the just-completed WWE SummerSlam PPV [with editorial thoughts appended in red italics, as is our custom]....

  • Rob Van Dam probably beat Rene Dupree on Heat. I saw this was the Heat match before I left my house... but en route, I missed the match. But seriously, if Dupree won, I'll eat a bug.
  • The Dudley Family beat Rey Mysterio/Paul London/Billy Kidman. Out of the gate, Paul London was en feugo, making it REAL easy for me to explain to some non-SD!-watching friends why he is quite awesome. But eventually, Bubba and D-Von isolated on him, and he became our Time Compressed Face in Peril.  Hot tag came to Mysterio at about the 5 minute mark, and he did maybe 90 seconds of stuff before tagging out to Billy Kidman.  And once Kidman was in, it was Total Chaos to set up End Game.  In the wild brawling and train-wreck-y-ness, Mysterio hit a 619 on Spike, but Rey wasn't legal... so he was quickly dispatched by Bubba and D-Von, who then hit a 3-D on Kidman (who WAS legal), and that was more than enough for Spike to lay on top to get the three count.  Maybe 8-9 minutes. [Solid opener, without a doubt. I'm surprised they didn't have one of the existing title feuds figure into the finish -- i.e. Bubba/D-Von pin Kidman/London or Spike pin Rey -- but this served a purpose I hadn't thought of: it keeps Asshole Spike Dudley a viable commodity, as he scored a big win, but didn't actually do the work himself. I can dig that.]
  • Kane beat Matt Hardy, and may now wed Lita as a result. Lita came out first, sporting Alleged Maternity Wear (which is part sad and part hilarious, based on how just last week, she was Not Showing At All). Once the match is underway, it's ALL Matt to start, which should pretty much telegraph where we're going for the finish. Climax of the first few minutes was Matt hitting a Twist Of Fate outside the ring, and expecting a count-out win.  But Kane broke it at 9, and it was more of Matt just hammering away on offense for a bit until Lita decided to help out. She fed Matt the ring bell, and then distracted the ref so that Matt could use it to KO Kane (so much for the Lita Heel Turn, I guess?)... but Kane kicked out, and from there started a bit of a comeback.  Kane got in a couple of spots, but then Matt took back over, and was gonna superplex Kane...  but that was a bad idea.  Kane countered the superplex, and turned it into a chokeslam off the top rope for the three count and the win.  Nice big finishing spot to a very bland and unexciting brawl. After the match, Kane reprised his semi-amusing Chuckling Moron Routine from Monday's RAW, and Lita just ran away from the ring and her new fiancÚ (note: all of a sudden, Lita runs like a girl, and we all found that quite funny).  Maybe 5-6 minutes, tops.  [For as much as they sold this as a major storyline on RAW, this was an anticlimactic match. I said on Friday that the "biggest swerve would be no swerve at all," but that doesn't justify how flat this felt.  No explication about Lita, Matt's beat-down to explain his injury hiatus waits till free on RAW, I guess... just nothing to this, AT ALL.]
  • Backstage: Tough Questions Todd Grisham is talking to Randy Orton.  Orton introduces some concepts about a hypothetical young, handsome devil who might do something good tonight at SummerSlam.  Which is John Cena's cue to interrupt and thank Orton for the warm introduction.  Cena says he's the young, handsome devil what will upend Booker T tonight, and further encourages Toronto to voice their disinterest in Orton. Feeling that he's proven that "T-Ont" doesn't like Orton, and that he's made his point about Booker, Cena leaves, and Orton smugly proclaims, retroactively, that Cena's interruption is lame because interrupting the Very Important Randy Orton is the only way Cena got TV time.  Wheee!  And if you think this is not unlike Lesnar/Goldberg at the Survivor Series interview last year, a Winner Is You.... but a Loser Is the Rest Of Us.  [Kinda makes the little Orton vs. Cena debate we had here at OO a couple weeks back more interesting, doesn't it? Too bad I took the Cena Side in the argument, and he made me look like a jack-ass by constantly talking about "T-Ont," which has GOT to be lame, even to those of you IN "T-Ont." Unless you really call it that.  In which case you're all even lamer than Cena.  And you must now call me "R-Sky."]
  • John Cena beat Booker T in Match One of a Best Of Five Series for the US Title.  Kind of a short and not-getting-on-track match, actually...  I don't remember much of the details except that there was one sloppy exchange outside the ring that looked like a total whiff to set up the part of the match where Booker took control....  which was kind of sucky since that was the main part of the match, leading up to the final spot, which was Booker hitting the Scissors Kick (or something), but then pausing too long (he showboated with an unnecessary Spinaroonie), which gave Cena just long enough to recover and hit an F-U out of nowhere for the quick 3 count.  Again, another 5-6 minute (tops) match.  [These two can do better. And they will.  But for Fall One when they've got four more to build to, I can see how this fits into place.  Booker was in control, showboated, and lost. If they do what they should, Booker will "learn," and come back.  And again, I reassert my opinion that in the end, Booker will take the Best of Five.  Because he's not the one what's gotta go make a movie in September.]
  • Backstage: General Managers Eric Bischoff and Teddy Long have a little meet and greet.  Bischoff is in Smug Asshole Mode, noting that it's yet another Joint Brand PPV, and it's yet another new SD! GM... there's been a bunch of them, and yet, he's still in control of RAW since being named GM two years ago.  Nice touch.  Teddy turned the tables by talking about how Bischoff is so into his personal shit that he's missing the Big Picture and isn't doing good business. To wit: if Bischoff makes good on his plan to drive Eugene off of RAW, Teddy says he'd snap Eugene up in a second and make him into a big star on SD!.  And the same goes for any other disgruntled RAW superstar.  Huh.  [Don't know if this actually goes anywhere, but it's a nice little touch, and if nothing else should slow Bischoff down in his vendetta to run Eugene off of RAW.  I loves me some logic and consistency.]
  • Edge retained the IC Title over Chris Jericho and Batista. Almost right away, the fans turn on Edge. Even though Lillian Garcia went out of her way to announce him as a Hometown Boy. And kids, just like that, those magnificent Canuck Bastards have upped the ante. This isn't just Bizarro World, this is the complete mirror universe.  Up is down, white is black, and so forth...  wild.  Edge and Jericho's exchanges have Jericho getting ROUNDLY cheered, which is surprising enough, since he actually instigated things if I recall correctly (with the Bitchslap of Ending the Staredown).  So fans boo Edge against Jericho, and that's surprising enough... but get this: they boo him against Batista, too!  What the holy living fuck is going on here?  Batista got written out about 5 minutes in, and Edge and Jericho paired up for an extended sequence that ended with Jericho locking in The Walls on Edge... but Batista finally got involved to make the save.  Batista then isolated on Edge for a few moments, but just as Batista was getting ready to finish the job, Jericho made the interruption... from there, a quick couple of spots, including mutual Cheap Pinfall Attempts (feet on ropes for one, handful of tights for the other) between Edge and Jericho, and then Jericho seemed ready to score the win.  He put Edge down with a bulldog, and had him lined up for the Lionsault.  But noticing Batista was moving in for the interruption, Jericho switched it up and turned the Lionsault into a springboard dropkick to take out Batista.  Unfortunately, the pause was JUST long enough for Edge to recover and line Jericho up for the surprise spear and the pinfall win.  Edge retains, and again on the shortish side (maybe 8 minutes, if that).  [I had NO idea Edge's hometown would turn on him like this, and that alone was good for a bit of entertainment factor.  Which is good, because this seemed kind of perfunctory, and only a HINT of what the three might have done.  This is a match that would have gotten 15 minutes on an average RAW, but here, it was less a big pay-off than a hiccup.  Not bad... but not as good as it could be.]
  • Kurt Angle defeated Eddie Guerrero by submission. Again, Toronto is acting strangely, chanting "Let's Go Angle" from the get-go.  Hey, I love him, too, but I like Kurt enough to know the nicest thing I can do is tell him he sucks!  C'mon, Canada!  All manner of Chain Wrestling Goodness to start, with neither guy really coming out on top for about 2-3 minutes.  And then they QUICKLY accelerrated things, as Eddie snatched an Ankle Lock, but then Angle reversed it and got an Angle Slam. But it was early, his ankle hurt, and he couldn't make the cover quickly enough, so Eddie kicked out.  Angle came back again with an Ankle Lock of his own, and that set up the main story of the match: Eddie toughed out the ankle lock and wouldn't tap out, but the damage was DEFINITELY done.  I swear, it's not even the 5 minute mark yet, and all this stuff has happened... Eddie finally gets out of the ankle lock, and also has to escape a chinlock before firing up enough to get some separation from Kurt.  After that, he reprised WM20 by untying his boot; they did the next 4-5 minutes with Eddie's boot barely hanging on, but going back and forth, and Eddie able to get a few sustained offensive moves in.  In the action, the ref got bumped (maybe around the 12 minute mark?), and Eddie took THAT chance to take off his boot, finally, and used it to KO both Angle and Luther Reigns when Luther tried to get involved.  His cheating done, Eddie got a huge pop by lying down and pretending to be hurt just as the ref came to...  of course, once the ref was up and convinced Eddie couldn't have cheated, Eddie popped up first, and decided to finish things off with a Frog Splash.  And he hit it.  But Kurt kicked out... from there, it was just a quick bit of back-and-forth before Angle shocked everybody with ANOTHER ankle lock.  And this time, Eddie was hurt too badly to fend it off.  After being dragged back to the center of the ring, Eddie had no choice but to tap out.  About 15 minutes, and quite good.  [A nice counter-point to the WM20 match, but rather than being a step up in terms of quality/intensity, this was at best a step to the side...  which is not what I expected.  Little was done to build on the mutual respect/"be a man" element from their Thursday face-to-face, and instead, this just felt like they did the same thing from WM, except this time, Eddie's attempt to cheat failed. It makes Angle look strong that he overcame that, but it almost buries Eddie TOO much given that the match wasn't THAT long or grueling or memorable....  good stuff, but not the blow-away outing I think I'd worked myself up for.]
  • Triple H beat Eugene.  The Bizarro World continues, as HHH is a fan favorite to a significant minority, and I'm positive I heard at least one "Eugene Sucks" chant.  In this case, this is merely an amplification of something that exists even here in the States, though (and problematic when it comes to what WWE has deluded themselves into thinking will by the dynamic between HHH and Orton, but that's another story).  Brawl went outside early, and HHH took control, courtesy of a spot where he used Lillian Garcia to distract Eugene and then tossed her down hard.  [And kids, I hate to say this, but at this moment, I knew Orton was gonna win the title, if they were going to the trouble of eliminating the line-fumbling Lillian from the Announcement Equation, so that the sure-tongued Howard Finkel might be called in to crown the line-fumbling Randy Orton New Heavyweight Champion of the World.]  Eugene entered a phase of having his ass handed to him, which would have worked better if the fans were more behind him... but they weren't.  His first attempted fire-up was with a Rock Bottom (cheers), but then he tried to follow up with a People's Elbow (morphing into boos), and HHH caught him.  Next Eugene Fire Up was Hogan-esque, and ended with a Leg Drop o' Doom... but HHH escaped, and this is when Ric Flair decided he'd come on out to help out.  So they got the edge back on Eugene for a few moments... until the hands-down Spot Of The Night (so good that Toronto was WAY into Eugene for at least the next 30 seconds): Eugene blocked the Pedigree, and gave HHH the Middle Finger of Extreme Insubordination, and then his the KICK-WHAM STUNNER~! to a huge pop.  HHH bumped hard, and flopped to the outside, and when he got back in the ring, Eugene tried to follow up, Doppleganger Style, with a Pedigree... but Flair got involved, forcing the referee to eject him from ringside.  On his way out, Flair was met by William Regal, who donned the Brass Knuckles of Power, and KO'ed Flair.  Unfortunately, Eugene was watching all this, and started jumping up and down in glee at Regal's antics... which was more than enough for HHH to recover and sneak up from behind for a quick Pedigree and the pinfall win.  About 15 minutes. [Really fun stuff, and to my surprise at least as (if not more) entertaining than Angle/Eddie, despite the Canadian fans twisted behavior. I'm HHH's biggest fan on the internet, but I still don't see how the fans at large can have turned on Eugene this much this quickly...  he held up his end quite nicely here, and this was a lot of fun.]
  • The Diva Wannabes beat the RAW Divas in Dodgeball. I took a piss break right as this was being introduced, and I had it explained to me upon my return: apparently Trish did NOT play, merely "coached," and to even the sides, apparently Vapid Waste of Space Carmella was not present, either.  I don't know, I was too busy looking at the RAW girls and appreciating the fact that somebody finally sent my Memo To Molly, and she was sans wig.  The RAW divas were eliminated pretty quickly, and I actually think it was My Michelle McCool who eliminated both Gail Kim and Victoria second to last and last, respectively.  Since Victoria was the last to go, Trish got in her face and accused her of letting down the team and the two brawled to close out the bit.  [People, this was not good or particularly useful. I admit that.  But it was also light years from bad, and was not only short, but also pushed ahead with Trish vs. Victoria, which is a noble goal.  No complaints here, all things considered.]
  • John Bradshaw Layfield beat the Undertaker by Disqualification to retain his WWE Title.  Hate to sound like a broken record here, but... Canada, WHAT IN THE BLUE FUCK ARE YOU DOING CHEERING JBL?!?!  Taker was the nominal heel for a good third or so of the audience, and it was distracting at times....  most of the early part of the match was Taker-centric, which him working a lot of submission-y type stuff that I actually thought was coming off pretty well considering that the only thing I'd come in WANTING to see was a quick-and-dirty brawl.  Orlando Jordan finally interjected himself enough for JBL to get some sustained offense in after the 10 minute mark, and actually from that point on, the match was surprisingly strong, with both guys kicking out of finishers and basically looking good thanks to the way the match was laid out.  Taker kicked out of a Clothesline From Hell, JBL kicked out of a chokeslam.  We eventually got to a ref bump, and at that point, Jordan brought the WWE Title belt into the ring for JBL to use as a foreign object.  Mission accomplished.  But the ref was still down.  So OJ grabbed the ref and used his limp arm to make the pinfall... but Taker STILL kicked out (wasn't paying attention, but I HOPE Tazz said something about how Taker was on Pure Instinct to kick out of a fake pinfall, otherwise, this was kinda silly and unnecessarily-face-save-y to have Taker kick out at all).  From here, Taker started a little comeback while the ref was still down, and took out OJ.  Then, seeing the WWE Title belt, he picked it up and used it to blast JBL in the head.  Bad idea: the ref had JUST regained consciousness and saw the blow, and DQ'ed Taker for using the belt.  Huh, kind interesting way to get the finish, there...  [Maybe 16-18 minutes, and both longer and better than I'd have guessed. Again, it might have had a bit more drama/impact if the crowd wasn't being so openly mutinous, but with the sound down and just trying to have a good time, Taker and JBL gave us enough material to enjoy this match more than I thought we would.]
  • After the match: Taker decided to deliver a beating on JBL.  He slammed him on the roof of his own limo, and then chokeslammed him through the roof of the limo.  This was an embarrassingly-bad-looking spot, as the roof had been so obviously doctored that no idiot would think that JBL "crashing" through the thin paper roof could possibly hurt, but whatever... 10 points for attempting the visual, I guess, but minus several million for looking like something even 2000-era WCW would have vetoed for too high a Cheese Factor.  They made it worse by selling JBL's bump with a stretcher job, even as we were laughing at how stupid the fake-roof bump looked.  Oy.
  • Randy Orton beat Chris Benoit to win the World Heavyweight Title. Back and forth stuff early, and finally in the Main Event, Toronto decided to Do The Expected, and within minutes was clearly (a) on Benoit's side, (b) not cheering Orton, and (c) riding referee Earl Hebner for screwing Bret any time he made a ruling even moderately in Orton's favor.  OK, so we're back in the Real World; it took 2 hours, but we're here.  Back and forth ended with Orton getting heat for attempting a Sharpshooter, but Benoit countered it and got one of his own, and then followed up for a few minutes... and THAT ended with a wicked fucking bump as Benoit did an no-hands plancha, but Orton dodged, and Benoit ate a TON of ringside barrier.  He took it head first, and of course, that's License To Mention The Surgically Repaired Neck, which JR certainly opts to exercise.  And for once, one of Orton's myriad Chinlocks of Doom seems utterly appropriate, compelling, and useful!  Benoit would escape, but Orton would come back with another variant on neck-related offense, and I am NOT complaining here.  This goes on for a good five minutes or so.  Finally Benoit started the superman comeback.  Step one was a single German Suplex (YAY!), then some other stuff, and then when Benoit REALLY started feeling it, it was a series of SIX Germans, which certainly jellied my muffin.  Benoit, however, went against my STRICT and SHOUTED orders, and didn't go for the crossface: instead, he decided to go up top to try the swandive headbutt.  IDIOT, LISTEN TO ME~!  Orton countered with a pair of boots to Benoit's face in a cool spot, and then it was not much longer before a quick bit of reversiness resulted in Orton escaping a Crossface and seconds later hitting an RKO out of left fucking field for the clean pinfall win.  About 20 minutes.  
  • After the match: Benoit left the ring for a second, and then came back.  And extended the Handshake of Mutual Respect to Orton.  And folks, make a note: the crowd PROPERLY booed Benoit for the unjustified show of respect and sportsmanship. They can shove him down our throats all they want, but NOBODY, least of all fans in Canada, are gonna buy Randy Orton as the equal of Chris Benoit, or worthy of his respect.  After the handshake, they play Benoit's music as he leaves the ring.  Because he lost?!?  I just don't know people.  A confused and confusing finish to an otherwise perfectly good PPV.  [Good match, yes, and indisputably so.  Wrong finish, and just as indisputably.  Unless they wanted it to fit in completely with the rest of Orton's ill-conceived push, in which case it was perfect: random, pointless, unconvincing, and exactly what nobody wanted to see.  But again, I'll save the ranting and analysis for tomorrow's OO.]

Good fun show, despite the finish that left me wondering if it would be any more possible for WWE's front office to be any more disconnected with what fans want.  Well worked in almost every match, few lulls, just one very confounding booking decision in the main event.  I'm not gonna complain about SummerSlam as a whole.

But I'll complain plenty about Orton.  So come on back for that and additional SummerSlam fall-out tomorrow in OO!  See you then...


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