Monday, August 21, 2006

My thoughts on SummerSlam 2006

I HAVEN'T been following WWE closely for a while now - except via the Wrestling Observer - but the strength of the SummerSlam card prompted me to plunk down my money for a change. Four super-heated grudge matches and three championship matches? Hell, how I could I go wrong?
Well, I've just finished watching it and I have to say the event was entertaining in parts, but I couldn't qualify it as a good "wrestling" show. In fact, at the end of proceedings, all I could think to myself was that WWE stood for World Wrestling Elderly: Foley, Flair, the McMahons, DX, Booker T, Hogan. Who would've thought all these post-40 dudes would be the major players in the company's second-biggest PPV of the year? 1996 maybe? But 2006...?
But onto the card itself:
1. Rey Misterio vs Chavo Guerrero: The set-up to this bout and the godawful commentary by JBL and Michael Cole left such a bad taste in my mouth that I could barely concentrate on the in-ring action. For a guy who supposedly liked Eddie Guerrero, JBL's "falling off the wagon" comment was a new low in an angle that's plumbed some pretty low depths in the past nine months. By the way, can't Rey afford a decent mask in WWE? Every time I see him wrestle he's fiddling with the bloody thing, even when he's selling - talk about breaking kay fabe. This time, he gets unmasked from a simple headlock. Jeez! The bout was mediocre and Vicky Guerrero's antics only hindered the match. I hope Vicky, Chavo and Rey are content with their blood money.
2. Big Show vs Sabu (for ECW "world" championship): Show looks tired. I've never seen him look so unwell. Is this health-related or something more sinister? Sabu's been an overrated joke for more than seven years - if any OVW/Deep South rookie f*cked up as many moves as Sabu did, they'd be sacked. This was horrible on every level - and, despite everything, Show going over clean still didn't make sense, as much as Sabu winning would have been pointless as well. At the very least, I expected an RVD run-in/screwjob ending.
3. Hulk Hogan vs Randy Orton: This is the first time I can recall where Hogan gave off the aura of being an old man - the limp didn't do him any favours. It made no sense him pinning Randy - I know there was the "out" earlier in the match with the RKO/foot-on-the-ropes deal, but if Randy can't pin an old guy with two bum knees and an artificial hip (mentioned in the friggin' commentary, for God's sake!), then what good is he? This pretty much killed Orton and the feud (or was this always gonna be just a one-off deal?). I have no desire to see a rematch, that's for sure.
4. Ric Flair vs Mick Foley: Why no back story? We got little video packages on the first three matches, then comes the first bout I genuinely care about and we get bubkus except for a lone Mick interview. This was a bout that warranted a video package. I loved the gore, but I hated Flair taking a bump into tacks - a 57-year-old legend doesn't need to do that. Vince McMahon SHOULDN'T allow it to happen. Any WWE fan who enjoyed the ultra-violence in this match should NEVER criticise CZW, IWA Mid-South or any of the other indy hard-core grapplers 'cos what they saw here was on the same level of your average Necro Butcher/Mad Man Pondo affair. Flair's better than this. Hell, Foley's better than this. OK, having said that, the bout was dramatic and the ending was well done - it appeared designed to turn Foley face and Flair heel. So where does that leave Melina? And will this be followed through on RAW tomorrow night? Or will it be simply forgotten by the retarded writers on that show? I suspect the latter.
5. Batista vs Booker T (Smackdown "minor world title"): Boring match. Batista and Booker T are boring wrestlers, although King Booker's an interesting character at the moment. Horrible ending but at least it keeps Smackdown's only major feud going for another few months. I suspect we'll get a cage match at the next Smackdown PPV to resolve their feud and climax Batista's successful chase for the belt.
6. DX vs McMahons: OK. So we get your RAW tag team champs Spirit Squad reduced to jobber level, then it takes THREE Smackdown heels AND the ECW world champ to put away DX. Talk about devaluing just about every grappler on the roster in one five-minute poop-fest. Oh, and Umaga's been sidelined into a meaningless feud with Kane instead of facing Cena, Triple H and HBK. How the hell did that happen? Still, this match was kinda entertaining. I enjoyed Vince and Shane's "tributes" to Demolition, the Hart Foundation and the Road Warriors. The ending was always predictable - it was hilarious to note that Shane-O Mac was never gonna come close to hitting Hunter with that coast-to-coast dive - but it was still fun to watch. And, thankfully, no-one had to kiss anyone's ass afterwards. Now, please, END. THIS. FEUD.
7. Edge vs John Cena (for the real world championship): Finally, a decent match with genuine crowd heat. Except that it was mostly anti-Cena heat. Talk about perverse. Talk about perversely entertaining. And how the f*ck did Edge retain the title in a belt-changes-hands-on-a-DQ stip? I thought that was the whole reason the stip was included? I thought maybe when Edge was given those brass knucks, he was gonna slip them in Cena's pants, take the FU, get pinned, then complain to the ref, who'd find the knucks and DQ Cena. That's what I THOUGHT would happen. Instead, we get a relatively clean pin. I mean, I'm glad Edge won as I believe he should be given a long run with the title, but I don't understand WWE's thinking, setting everything up for the hometown boy's win (and gaining revenge for his dad), then having him lose? Paint me bamboozled.