Summerslam 2011 Preview and Predictions
Live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it’s SummerSlam! This show used to be one of the WWE’s “Big 4″ pay-per-views and I guess arguably it still is, however, SummerSlam has been pretty lackluster the past few years. I actually was in attendance at Staples last year and got to see the Undertaker and Daniel Bryan return- it was great! I’ve been to quite a few live events but that was the first “big” PPV I’ve gone to. The card this year looks fairly weak- I’d say of the $55 HD PPV price about $35 of that is for Cena-Punk 2, but what self-respecting wrestling fan would be willing to miss that one? Lots of people buying that wouldn’t normally buy, I’m sure that there’s a lot of people illicitly streaming it, too. No R Truth or Dolph Ziggler? What the heck? I hope Cena/Punk goes an hour or people are gonna be pissed. 5 matches on a card for $55 sucks. Let’s run down the card, shall we?
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. WWE Champion John Cena for the Undisputed WWE Championship
This is obviously the marquee matchup for the show; unfortunately, HHH injected himself into a feud that didn’t need him in it as it was already money. So now, we’ve got Punk with the “real” belt, Cena with the “paper” belt and HHH refereeing the match. On the predictions site I participate in about 75% of people are picking Punk to win and I would absolutely love to see that but this is the WWE and they don’t apparently know how to do a slow burn storyline any more; in my opinion they brought Punk way too early, the tournament for the paper belt should have culminated with Cena winning and Punk’s return tonight. HHH is also a wild card because he just loves to inject himself into the big money feuds. He’s been fairly restrained in his new role as COO but I have a feeling like Cena and Punk are both gonna eat Pedigrees tonight; I’m calling Cena to win via. HHH shenanigans, and then Alberto Del Rio to cash in his briefcase, either successfully or unsuccessfully. Either way, I hope this isn’t the feud they end tonight as it’s the most exciting thing the WWE has done in a long time and I want more pipe bomb promos from CM Punk. Punk vs. Austin at Wrestlemania next year, anyone?
World Heavyweight Champion Christian vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship in a No Holds Barred Match
I hate how Christian won the title, he’s always been a “smarter” wrestler and to do the chickenshit cowardly heel thing and spit in Randy’s face, causing Randy to get himself DQ’ed and become the first wrestler in history to lose the Heavyweight Championship via DQ isn’t really in line with his character. I liked Randy a lot more before he was super over, and I think all the goofy face making and fist pounding has turned him into a very one-dimensional and extremely bland character. So, I don’t like heel Christian, and I don’t like face Randy- perfect, this is the third match, it’s No Holds Barred, it should be the blowoff, right? This should be the end of it? I just hope that WWE doesn’t keep this feud going but kill Cena/Punk; that’d be a bad mistake. I think Christian will retain but only through something insane happening, like hitting RKO with a truck on the way into the building or something. This should be a pretty good match; the matches so far have been very exciting and Christian could carry a broom handle to at least a 3 star outing.
Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship
Um…blurg. There’s like a 0% chance that Kelly Kelly wins this; I think the plan is to have a returning Kharma destroy heel Beth Phoenix at Wrestlemania, so it makes sense to put the stupid pink butterfly Barbie belt on her now and let her run with it for a while. The biggest questions for this match are “did Kelly Kelly finally learn to run the ropes”, “how many sandwiches could Kelly Kelly use” and “how many near-death botches will Kelly Kelly make?” Can you tell I don’t get excited about women’s wrestling? Beth to win this one handily while the crowd gets nachos and has a pee.
Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
This should be interesting, two huge hosses battling it out for no other reason than they are tough guys that…want to battle it out. Sheamus could really use the win to solidify his nascent face turn, but I really like what Mark Henry has been doing lately as well- just bad-ass heeling-it-up, kicking ass and taking names for no other reason than he can. I would like to see Henry win- rumor has it he’s retiring soon and I like to see guys go out on a high note- but Sheamus needs the win more. Make that pale goofy bastard a top face on Smackdown! They need one! Actually, my preferred outcome for this match is that these guys just beat each other to exhaustion and the ref calls it a no-contest. Makes ’em both look good.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
A last-minute addition that isn’t even added to the SummerSlam microsite as of the time of this writing (always budget in site edits wihen you sign a development contract for a microsite, Joey Styles! Come on man!), this match should be pretty good. Bryan is steaily building a following and beating Barrett, who’s really faded into the background after John Cena dropped 23 chairs on him, would help solidify him as a top midcard guy that pops the crowd. They may, however, use the match to reestablish Barrett as a credible heel as Bryan has the Money in the Bank briefcase already and doesn’t need much help.
All in all, it’s not a great looking card, but sometimes those turn out to be the best ones. No one thought Money in the Bank was going to be any good and it’s probably the best PPV the WWE has put on this century so far. I’m looking for something big to happen too- either a major set piece spot or the formation of some kind of a stable. Can’t wait!