Jim Ross and Tazz were doing commentary this week, to sell Jerry Lawler’s injury last week. That was a nice touch to get over the angle. I think as a general policy, if you do an injury angle with someone, they shouldn’t wrestle before the next pay-per-view.
Randy Orton started the show. He said this would be his last time in the ring without the title. He argued that the beginning of the end was when he gave John Cena the RKO on a chair at Saturday Night’s Main Event. He put this over big, which is another nice touch. The events prior to a match should have relevance to the way the match goes. Orton implored Cena to forfeit his title.
That brought out Vince McMahon. To talk about the pay-per-view title match main event, you ask? Why no, to talk about his offspring angle. He said he found out his offspring is male. He said that he hopes his son is more like Randy Orton than John Cena, Stephanie or Shane.
John Cena came out, and said that Vince is arrogant and disrespectful, and he would be ashamed to call Vince father. Cena said he will retain his title at SummerSlam. Vince said that if Cena doesn’t show up, he will be stripped of the title. Vince then said he could have done Cena’s mom. Cena slapped him.
Vince then made Cena vs. “the undefeated Snitsky.” What, do all the jobs he did on Raw before he dyed his teeth and dropped his first name not count? Just for kicks, here are some wrestlers that hold one-on-one victories over Snitsky in the WWE: Shelton Benjamin, Trevor Murdoch, Kenny Dykstra, Matt Striker, Goldust and Eugene. Seriously. If you assume your fans are stupid and don’t remember history, you’re going to end up with stupid fans who don’t care about history.
I hated this opening. The title match was used as a backdrop for this silly offspring angle, when that title match is supposed to be selling pay-per-views this weekend. This has been a recurring problem over a great many years, which is why I don’t like Vince as a performer in spite of his undeniable performance skills. He makes himself the centerpiece of everything, and when he gets enamored with his angle it undermines or buries main event programs, titles, and pay-per-views.
Mickie James and Candice Michelle beat Beth Phoenix and Melina. Candice has remixed ring music and a new entrance. It doesn’t appear to be for the better. She prances around to the point of being kind of obnoxious. William Regal came out and announced a three brand diva battle royal at SummerSlam for a women’s title match against Candice.
Beth used a slingshot suplex on Mickie. Jim Ross said a lot of wrestlers have used that move. I was hoping for a reference to “Heavy Metal” Van Hammer, but instead we only got Tully Blanchard. Candice hit a northern lights suplex on Melina and then a weird rolling cradle on Melina for the pin. The idea seemed to be that Candice is a dominant champion heading into this title shot battle royal, which was an effective idea.
Santino approached Regal backstage. He called Regal a home wrecker, and said that Regal sounds like a limp wristed hairdresser. King Booker backstage said that he would ruin HHH’s surprise. He said HHH would be on this program, and invited HHH to celebrate his coronation. Elsewhere, Val Venis said “hello daddy” to Vince. Daivari tried to convince Vince of their blood relationship. Vince also ran into Mr. Kennedy. During this time, Vince was talking with Coach about his grievances with Shane and what he is looking for in a son.
Cody Rhodes beat Shelton Benjamin. Benjamin worked over Cody. Cody hit a bulldog, but Benjamin kicked out. Benjamin hit a back breaker, but Cody used a botched rollup for the win. After the match, Charlie Haas jumped him and the WGTT laid out Cody. This was not a good match, and it was particularly apparent this week that Cody isn’t ready yet.
Paul London and Brian Kendrick beat Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. Kendrick hit a drop kick and arm drags on Cade. The heels worked over London briefly. London and Kendrick hit simultaneous topes suicidas, at which point Cryme Tyme ran out. They stole Trevor Murdoch’s hat and sold it off for two dollars. This distracted the rednecks, and Kendrick won with the crucifix cradle. There was no pop for the finish, which I didn’t care for. It made the tag titles look like a joke, and it’s unclear who exactly the title contenders are supposed to be.
They ran three main vignettes from the dinner with Maria and Ron Simmons. Santino showed up at the beginning with Jillian Hall. He acted surprised to run into Maria there. He asked if Maria wanted them to join her and Simmons. She said okay. Simmons had increasing difficulty coming up with answers that rhyme with “damn.”
A guy asked for Santino’s autograph. Santino asked if there was anything else the guy wanted to say, and the guy pulled out a pre-prepared statement about how great Santino is and how large he is downstairs. Simmons called this a sham. The end featured Santino threatening to beat up Simmons if Simmons put his hands on Santino again. Simmons then shoved a tray of food on Santino. There were some hits and misses with comedy here, but it was overall pretty darn funny again.
King Booker came out. There were chants for Triple H. The King said that despite Jerome’s efforts, he prevailed as the one true king. He called out HHH, and an imposter came out. He put the crown on Booker’s head, and left. Booker then confronted Jim Ross. He was angry about Ross’ comments last week, and would break out of his kingly speak from time to time. He said that Ross could redeem himself by kissing Booker’s finger. Ross said he wouldn’t do it, so Sharmell pushed his head down to the ring. Booker shoved Ross and left.
I liked this segment in a number of ways. I liked that they teased HHH explicitly to build anticipation for SummerSlam. I like that they didn’t beat up the imposter, because that’s a really tired spot. Most of all, I really enjoy Booker’s performances. He’s so much fun in his role, and yet there’s enough menace to not make it too campy.
Umaga was the guest for Carlito’s Cabana. Carlito said he wanted a title shot. Mr. Kennedy came out and said he wanted a title shot. Sound familiar? Kennedy noted that he did what Umaga couldn’t – beat and destroy Lashley. Umaga attacked Kennedy. Umaga still doesn’t appear particularly over as a face, but there is time left on that one. Regal announced Kennedy vs. Carlito for a title shot at Umanga.
Mr. Kennedy and Carlito battled to a draw. This was a disaster. The beginning in particular was just awful. The match completely fell apart, and they seemed incapable of putting together even the most basic of moves. The crowd began to grow restless, and it reacted with hostility when someone kicked out of a pin from then on. The second half of the match wasn’t that bad, though.
Kennedy threw Carlito into the post and kicked him into the steps. Carlito returned the post favor, and hit a clothesline, drop kick, neck breaker and superplex. They then both cradled each other for a double pin, which was a horrendous finish. Regal of course made a triple threat match for SummerSlam. When two guys say they want a title shot, a match is set up between them to determine the title shot, and there is a draw to set up a triple threat match, it feels off the charts FAKE. It’s just so contrived, predictable and obvious that it hinders your ability to suspend disbelief in the program generally.
John Cena beat Snitsky via DQ. Prior to the match, Snitsky told Vince that he didn’t know his parents, only pain, and that he would bring Cena his pain. He called Vince dad. Snitsky hit a big boot and worked over Cena with basic moves. Cena came back with a top rope rocker dropper. He went for the FU, but Orton ran in and gave Cena two RKOs to end the show.