Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Announcers: Jerry "The King" Lawler, Michael Cole
United States championship
Santino Marella (C) vs Antonio Cesaro w/Aksana
This match took place on the Youtube pre-show. Odd to see two wrestlers of foreign descent battling over the United States championship, but it's not like it means anything anyway. We finally saw the Cobra effectively countered as Cesaro knocked it away and then proceeded to rip it up. His valet Aksana provided the distraction on Santino after he pulled out a back up cobra. Front piledriver from Cesaro and we have a new United States champion. I don't know much about him other than the fact that he can speak five different languages and he doesn't use a sock puppet as a finisher. Consider me a fan.
Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler
Great choice for an opening contest. Jericho had his ribs taped up selling his injuries from Smackdown, but he didn't really sell the injuries too much in the match. I enjoy matches that employ "ring psychology" such as wrestlers targeting the arms or legs to wear down their opponents, but I really just wanted to see these two guys go all out in the ring. For the most part, this is what happened. Great looking Walls of Jericho applied for the victory. It wasn't quite the Liontamer because Jericho never put his knee in the small of Ziggler's back, but Y2J really arched it and Zigs sold it well (obviously).
It was a very good match between the two, but far too short in my opinion. Both wrestlers looked crisp in the ring and the two had great chemistry together. The match reminded me somewhat of the Jericho/Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania match a few years back. However, this time Jericho was the face and Ziggler wasn't exactly looking for respect from his idol growing up. Both wrestlers had their share of fans in the crowd and at one point there were dueling "Let's go Ziggler/Y2J" chants. Because this match went first, there was much speculation that Ziggler would cash in his Money in the Bank contract later on. (Spoiler Alert) That never happened. Besides the main event (which we'll get to later) this was the only disappointing part about the night.
Kane vs Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is without a doubt the most over person on the entire roster. The announcers' attempts to try and convince us that the crowd is against Daniel Bryan is laughable.
Michael Cole: Listen to these fans mock Daniel Bryan by chanting "Yes!" at him.
Thirty seconds later there was a very loud "Daniel Bryan" chant which must have had Cole very flummoxed and confused since the audience was just "mocking" him a moment ago.
Pretty solid match between the two. Daniel Bryan has shown that he can work with any wrestler, heavyweight to cruiserweight. Kane also has similar adaptability. For a "big man" he is very agile and moves around quite well, even at his age. These guys also worked well together in their feud over AJ, so I was not surprised that this match was good. On a side note, I really like when wrestlers actually wrestle Kane and aren't scared that mid match he's going to open up a portal to hell or something.
Daniel Bryan beat Kane with the roll up Kelly Kelly uses to pin Beth Phoenix. It was a quick ending to a match that never really got any build up. Hopefully DB can use this PPV victory as momentum and get back into the World title picture. He's earned it.
Backstage Josh Mathews tried to get a word in with Kane. Big mistake as Kane just tossed him out of the camera's frame. Does Josh not remember Kane setting good ol JR on fire for absolutely no reason? AJ informed us that she would be having a word with Kane on RAW. Kane shouldn't be too worried about getting fired. Worst case scenario, he can always go back to his former profession.
In case you missed it, that was Daniel Bryan and Kane. They had a match. You may have forgotten due to the lack of advertising.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs The Miz
For whatever reason Rey came out in Batman regalia. We would see more super hero fanaticism later on with the tag team match. I was very surprised to see Miz get a clean victory over Mysterio in his home state. This match was given a decent amount of time and both wrestlers performed admirably. In my opinion, Miz continues to impress. He persevered during his long de-push before he went away to film The Marine 3 and now he's being rewarded for it. I'm not sure where each wrestler goes from here. The secondary titles in the WWE continue to mean very little. Miz retaining here is a step in the right direction.
World Heavyweight championship
Sheamus (C) vs Alberto Del Rio
Let's recap for a minute:
-Sheamus blindsided Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania to win the title.
-He stole Alberto Del Rio's car and destroyed it (and possibly took a dump in it)
-He pushes Del Rio's foot off the bottom rope so the referee can't see it
How is this guy not a heel?
Good in ring action with Sheamus reversing the armbreaker and Del Rio kicking out of the White Noise finisher. For the finish, we saw Del Rio pull Ricardo into the ring and as the referee was trying to get him out, RR attempted to throw his shoe to Bertie. Sheamus caught the shoe and nailed Del Rio with it. Apparently shoes are deadly weapons now. But I mean after a tennis racket and cell phone, a shoe is not a bad choice I suppose. Anyway, Sheamus then nailed the Irish Curse (how many finishers does this guy have) and pinned Del Rio. However, before the three count Del Rio managed to get his foot on the bottom rope but before the referee could see it, Sheamus pushed it off. This will most likely lead to a rematch or a triple threat involving Randy Orton at the next PPV.
Sheamus cheated to win, Dolph Ziggler didn't cash in after the bell.....but after reading David Shoemaker's tweet, I was reminded that things could have been worse.
Arquette is holding a replica World Heavyweight Championship belt. That shit's not funny.
Tag Team championship
Kofi Kingston/R-Truth (C) vs the Prime Time players
Very surprised this match wasn't used as a buffer in between the WWE championship match and the main event. Kofi and R-Truth had the Superman "S" emblem on their wrestling attire tonight. Did the WWE sign a deal with DC Comics that I am unaware of? After their war with the pandas, I would think the WWE would be wary of copyright infringement. Champs retain, but the highlight of the match had to be the "Kobe Bryant" chants from the crowd. The "Kobe Bryant" chant combined with the LOP report of security guards confiscating a Vince mocking JR sign has to have Linda McMahon concerned about her Senate campaign.
I'm just saying -
@wwe just retweeted a convicted rapist a week after firing a guy for making a rape joke.
WWE Heavyweight championship
CM Punk (C) vs John Cena vs The Big Show
Upset of the night: CM Punk, the champion, was actually introduced last in this match up.
Michael Cole let us know that the last time CM Punk main evented a WWE PPV was last December (Triple threat TLC match between Punk, Del Rio and the Miz). And he's been the WWE champion the entire time. Yeah, I think that qualifies as disrespect.
It's an understatement to say that the crowd hated John Cena. They loved CM Punk, abhorred John Cena, and were vastly indifferent to the Big Show. I LOVED CM Punk breaking up John Cena's 5 knuckle shuffle with the flying clothesline ala what he did to the Rock when he went for the people's elbow on RAW.
I liked this match between the three. True, Big Show did slow the match down but he also provided two cataclysmic moments in the match that will help build the CM Punk/John Cena feud into something special.
Near the end of the match, CM Punk locked in his Koji clutch submission to the Big Show, and then John Cena locked in his STFU. Kinda like the triple threat between Austin, Jericho, and Benoit when Jericho had the Liontamer locked in and Benoit had the crossface as well. Jericho should have won because his submission was applied first.
Here, CM Punk clearly applied his submission first, he should have been the winner of the match. After Show tapped, both CM Punk and John Cena thought they were the winner. AJ Pantsuit came down to the ring. Rather than clarify or remedy the situation, she just ordered that the match be restarted. I'm really starting to dislike her as the RAW GM. Removing the Big Show from the equation would have made more sense here, but I guess they didn't want to prematurely shoot their wad on Punk/Cena and had Big Show play the double patsy.
The finish to the match had John Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on the Big Show, but then CM Punk threw Cena out of the ring. With Cena gone, CM Punk covered Show for the victory and retained his title. In essence, Cena did the work, Punk reaped the rewards. I would imagine we'll hear more about this on RAW.
Side note: Controversial ending to the WWE championship match had AJ Lee come down to the ring, yet Booker T was no where to be found after the World Heavyweight championship match?
HHH vs Brock Lesnar
L.A. crowd was HOT all night...until this match up.
Things I liked about the match: Brock Lesnar no selling the pedigree and immediately locking on the kimura lock on HHH for the tap out. The crowd chanting "you tapped out" as HHH stood in the ring not really sure of which arm he was supposed to sell as injured.
What I disliked about the match: everything else.
Whoever's idea it was to have Brock Lesnar shout out "ooooh my stomach" in the middle of this match should be fired immediately. Is that really the actions a previous UFC champion would display? He would let his opponent know his weakness? Utterly ridiculous. This match went exactly as I predicted in last week's RAW review/Summerslam preview. Brock Lesnar got the win, but only after he gave HHH a blatant low blow and only after HHH was made to look like "Super H". This match was a major downer. I was very excited about the possibilities, but H's ego got in the way of this one.
Of course HHH will finally put someone over, but make it so he gets the hero's ovation at the end.
Love how in exchange for putting Brock over, HHH had to get 10 mins of fan appreciation afterwards...
GRADE: A -
FINAL THOUGHTS: I loved the booking of the entire PPV. Every match was given quality time, and every match delivered. However, there was no real "stand out" match. Jericho/Ziggler was very good, but it wasn't a Match of the Year candidate. Hopefully those guys get more work together. I liked the US title switch and Miz retaining his Intercontinental title. Now they have to fully commit to the belts by defending them on TV consistently. Jerry Lawler needs to be fired immediately. The camera panned to the celebrities in the audience and focused on Maria Menounos showing off her Bob Backlund "That's Mr. Backlund to you" t-shirt. King then asked out loud if she was wearing a Pat Patterson shirt. Know the history of the company you work for King. Also....Maria Menounos....damn.
Top 5 Completely Arbitrary
5. L.A. crowd - Kobe Bryant chants. You tapped out chants to HHH. Pro Daniel Bryan, anti Cena. Maria Menounos and even David Arquette, this crowd was awesome. They were involved and active in every match of the night, except for the main event, but who can blame them. They weren't Chicago or Miami at Wrestlemania good, but they were close.
4. The Miz - Retained his title against a face wrestler, wrestling in his hometown while still receiving the "return from injury" push. This is a good sign for Miz fans. It would have been very easy for management to take the title off Miz here, but they didn't. Shows they have faith in Miz.
3. Antonio Cesaro - He won the United States championship against Santino on the Youtube pre-show. I like Santino, but he was a disgrace to the United States title. He never defended it and constantly jobbed to wrestlers in non-title matches. I don't know much about Cesaro. He looked good in his match against Santino and his "Lady in Red" valet, Aksana is certainly easy on the eyes. Hopefully Cesaro defends the title on a consistent basis in order to give some level of credibility back to the belt.
2. Jericho/Ziggler - Best match of the night by far. Great choice as a hot opener.
1. CM Punk - So good, he won the match twice. I'm pretty thrilled they kept the title on Punk here. Cena doing the work and Punk getting the reward will easily transition the Big Show out of this feud and build towards Punk/Cena on future PPVs. Long term booking would have CM Punk keep the title until Royal Rumble to face the Rock, but that PPV is five months away and the Creative team has extreme ADD.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @TheRawLibrarian.
Until next time, enjoy Fred Durst at Summerslam, I know Linda McMahon will.