June 19, 2011
What is it about wrestling PPVs in Washington, DC having stupidity? WCW had Robocop and the Hair vs. Hair match between the bald guy and the guy with the buzz cut. This has the Barack Obama impersonator and Santino getting attacked by the Secret Service.
Dolph Ziggler . . . proves why him and Kofi Kingston deserve a better spot than what they currently have.
Randy Orton . . . steals the show with a great match in spite of (or thanks to?) his concussion.
Evan Bourne . . . makes his first PPV in forever count with a fine match that nobody cared about at all.
KOFI KINGSTON © vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (WWE United States Title)
It’s not exactly a surprise that this winds up being a good opener. Kofi and Dolph have worked together enough that they should probably be able to have at least this a good of a match in their sleep. Kofi brings the flashy offense, Dolph shows that he’s a better overall wrestler, and Kofi sells like Dolph is draining the life out of him. It’s also fun to watch them pull out all sorts of counters on each other, showing how familiar they are at this point, and the fact that the sequences are as smooth as they are is a bonus, especially Kofi catching Dolph’s Rocker dropper in a powerbomb position, and Dolph countering that into a rana. Dolph’s reverse bodyslam being blocked with Kofi doing a seamless counter into the SOS was another great moment.
Some will dislike the finish with Vickie’s interference, but it wasn’t too bad. All Vickie does is give Dolph the opening for the sleeper, which Kofi had blocked (along with the Zigzag), and Kofi still fights it pretty good before going out, so Kofi is protected a bit. I think it’s worse that Kofi and Dolph are still wrestling in the opening match for secondary titles in the opening match. ***1/4
THE MIZ vs. ALEX RILEY
As far as the actual wrestling goes, this isn’t anything special, but the things that Miz and Riley do are good as far characterization and getting over the angle, which makes the match worth the time spent on it. The brawl between them to start things off is as intense and hateful as you’d expect, and it’s even more remarkable because this only had three weeks or so to build. When Miz takes over, his offense itself isn’t anything especially good, but he’s as big of a dick as possible while he’s doing it. A good example is when Riley takes the shoulder bump into the post and falls to the floor. Miz sits him up, takes a minute to savor the moment, and then charges with a running kick. Miz is also all too willing to stooge his ass off for Riley when he mounts the comeback. The finish is a bit abrupt, Riley hits the implant DDT and gets the win, but that’s probably due to Riley having precious few matches since NXT ended and the ones that he did have featured him as Miz’s errand boy, so the crowd isn’t exactly familiar with his work.
THE BIG SHOW vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
This would have been a perfectly fine angle-in-lieu-of-a-match if the writers (or whoever came up with this) hadn’t gotten too cute with the injury angle. Show gets attacked by Mark Henry and his knee injury aggravated. Instead of Del Rio being the jerk who takes advantage and gets the quick and easy win, Show makes the superhuman effort to keep fighting. He lights up Del Rio with chops and even hits the chokeslam, which requires Del Rio to roll to the floor. Del Rio gets a legbar on him, and Show makes the ropes for the break. The match only gets stopped when Show can’t seem to get up on his own. It seems like the people in charge decided that no match on PPV should go less than seven minutes, even though this could have been wrapped up in less than four, and made Del Rio into an even bigger jerk.
WADE BARRETT © vs. EZEKIEL JACKSON (WWE Intercontinental Title)
Aside from a few nice touches from Barrett, this is forgettable. The best description for the match is that it’s a typical late ‘80's Hogan match on fast forward. Barrett controls 90% of the match culminating with Wasteland. Jackson kicks out of the finisher and starts unloading on Barrett with slams and then makes Barrett submit to the torture rack. Again, Barrett had a few nice ideas, such as the Black Hole Slam to halt Jackson’s first comeback attempt, and grabbing the tights when Jackson was blocking the sunset flip to take him over. It’s short, and it doesn’t have the chance to get particularly offensive, but Barrett needed to bring more smart work and Jackson needed to bring more than the minimum to make this work.
CM PUNK vs. REY MYSTERIO
Thanks to Punk, this winds up pretty good. I don’t know if it’s age, injuries, laziness, or a combination of them, but Rey was performing like Misawa when he was at his worst. Rey let Punk control the bulk of things and only really showed up to do his usual stuff, and not bothering to put over Punk tearing apart his ribs and back while he was in control. Punk is mostly fun when working him over, he probably could have jettisoned the body scissors in favor of a hold that was a bit more pleasing to look at, but he made up for that with things like the Earthquake drop and catching Rey in the backbreaker. He smartly hits a big barrage of knees before the first try at the GTS.
Punk impresses in other areas too. When Rey surprises him with the 619, he flops down to the floor and dead weights him, forcing Rey to use all his energy to roll him into the ring. Rey finally rolls him in and tries to finish him off with the splash, and Punk puts up his knees and shows that he fooled Rey into thinking he was out. One of Rey’s first big comeback spots was a big Asai moonsault that seems to tweak Punk’s arm/shoulder, and he was shaking it out and selling it quite a while after he’d regained control, give Rey a courtesy that Rey wasn’t giving him. Rey finally seems to show up toward the end when he starts busting out counters to the GTS, a rana for a near fall and then an armdrag that puts Punk into position for the 619. Punk has one last ace up his sleeve though, he dodges the 619 and then lifts up Rey (still in the ropes) for the GTS to finish him off. A better performance from Rey would make this match of the night. Instead it’s simply a good match. ***1/4
RANDY ORTON © vs. CHRISTIAN (World Heavyweight Title)
Wow. The match with the potential to be the worst (due to Orton’s concussion, not due to lack of talent) winds up being the best. At first it seems like Orton wants to avenge the concussion by giving Christian a concussion of his own. When he whips him into the corner for the ten-count spot, he’s very slow and deliberate when he throws each punch, as though he wants to make sure he hits a specific point of Christian’s head. He sends Christian to the floor and tries his hanging DDT to the floor and Christian escapes and takes over control. This is where Orton learns the lesson that so many others have failed to learn (and lost because of it). The best revenge on Christian won’t be an eye for an eye. It’ll be by beating him one more time. So Orton drops the revenge aspect and concentrates on winning the match, the Thunderfire neckbreaker was a great near fall, and Orton has always been great about hitting the RKO out of nowhere to win his matches. Orton gets his personal revenge afterwards by nailing Christian with the belt.
Christian makes sure it’s not cakewalk for Randy though. With the scare that Orton may have to miss the match due to the concussion, Christian does everything possible to concuss him and hopefully take the title. It’s smart on Christian’s part (although not exactly the safest way to work the match), it makes his usual spots like the reverse DDT have more meaning than they normal. Christian isn’t quite the dick heel that Punk was, although he has his moments. The shot to the stairs and the spinebuster were both good spots from Christian, and when Orton first hooks up the superplex, Christian almost runs to the top rope, knowing that doing the superplex will hurt Orton just as much as it will Christian. Orton puts over Christian’s gameplan with some nice facials, and by being a half step or so behind his usual pace, evidenced by his slight delay with the powerslam when Christian charges. The finish, with Christian’s foot under the rope is very well done, Christian clearly moved his leg there to break the pin so it wasn’t any sort of fluke for him, and as such, a rematch makes perfect sense. ***1/2
JACK SWAGGER vs. EVAN BOURNE
It’s too bad this got trotted out as the filler match while the crowd went for nachos and got T-shirts, with some more time they could have stolen the show. It starts out looking like a typical Power vs. Speed match, then Swagger starts working over the midsection and it gets really good really fast. Swagger isn’t as big a of a jerk as Punk was about working the ribs, but some of his stuff like the pump splash and the gutbuster was better than Punk’s body scissors. It also helps that Bourne is much better about selling, just watch him nearly crumble to the mat when he gets whipped into the corner.
Bourne also doesn’t forget about the ribs when he gets in his own offense, although it probably helps that he was outsmarting Swagger with a fluke rana and trying to kick his head off to take over. He sells just fine after the jumping knee driver, and is slower than normal when trying for the SSP. The ankle lock reversal for the finish leaves a bit of bad taste since there really wasn’t any build to Swagger going for the hold (although one could argue that’s why the counter worked)m but it made sense in the vein of Bourne winning by outsmarting Swagger. ***
JOHN CENA © vs. R-TRUTH (WWE Heavyweight Title)
The finish is funny, with “Little Jimmy” throwing the drink in Truth’s face, and giving Cena the opening to hit the AA and win, and it’s cool that they played off the angle of Truth antagonizing Cena fans. The match itself is pretty rough most of the way through. It seems like neither of them had any ideas about taking the match anywhere for the fourteen minutes before the finish. Cena mostly just lays on the mat and lets Truth tee off on him with various moves for near falls, the Axe kick near fall was nice though. There do have a few nice exchanges though, Cena isn’t known for being smooth on the mat, which makes his counter of Truth’s body scissors into the STF all the more impressive. There’s a nice spot from Truth when he counters the AA into his facebuster, which makes Cena roll to the floor where they do the finish. The reaction to the angle and finish is great, which more than justifies them doing it, but if neither of them had any ideas prior to that, then they probably should have gone on earlier and let Orton/Christian headline.
Conclusion: Overall, this is a pretty fun outing from the ‘E. There’s no shortage of good matches, and the closest that this comes to having a bad match is the Show/Del Rio deal, which isn’t so much bad as it is overdone. This is an easy recommendation to pick up.