The 22nd edition of SummerSlam took place at a time when some people were calling it “Summerfest” or even “The Summerfest.” Why’s that? Because actor Jeremy Piven served as a guest host on Raw one week and botched his line by calling it The Summerfest, so it became a joke that has existed for nearly a decade now.
This was called the “Biggest Event of the Summer” after using the tagline of “Biggest Party of the Summer” in the past.
One of the big stories going into this SummerSlam revolved around Jeff Hardy. His contract was up at the end of July, but he agreed to extend it for one month to have his match with CM Punk at SummerSlam and the following Smackdown, which was Hardy’s last WWE match until his 2017 return. I remember thinking at the time that Hardy would probably take a break until the end of the year and then come back to WWE on fire in early 2010 for a big match at WrestleMania. Nope. He signed with TNA instead.
This was the first of six years in a row where SummerSlam took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was WWE’s way of going to the second biggest market in the US and drawing a big house every time. Easy money for them, really.
In terms of PPV buyrates, this show did poorly compared to the years before it. I think 2009 was one of the worst years in WWE in terms of on-camera product, especially on Raw. Smackdown was pretty good for most of the year. The show did 369,000 buys, which was down over 100k buys from the 477,000 buys from the year before. One month earlier, UFC had a massive UFC 100 event with former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in a key spot for a show that did 1.6 million buys. I’m guessing that a lot of wrestling fans chose to watch UFC 100 instead of spending on SummerSlam.
It was also the year when I started writing the Raw Deal review column every week. Even though I wrote the Raw column every week, I didn’t write PPV reviews all the time. I wrote this in 2018.
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
August 23, 2009
It began with a TV PG logo with “V” for Violence.
The opening video package listed some of the matches that were going to take place, but then Shawn Michaels and Triple H interrupted with some tomfoolery including shadow puppets that DX loved to do. Shawn and Hunter broke the video. Shawn said he had a gig as a TV repairman, so then the video continued with DX clips. Hunter said that they got the important message that DX is back.
Analysis: The return of DX was a big selling point of the show, so it was no surprise that Shawn and Hunter were featured heavily there.
The pyro went off in the arena and the crowd was loud although the sound could have been fake or dubbed over due to the song that was playing. The attendance was announced at 17,129 people by Jim Ross.
Rey Mysterio entered first. He was the Intercontinental Champion wearing LA Lakers purple and gold colors. Good ovation for Mysterio. The Smackdown announce team of Todd Grisham and Jim Ross were shown on camera. Dolph Ziggler was up next as his opponent. Ziggler was a young heel on the rise that was earning a rep as an exciting in-ring performer that was getting better.
Intercontinental Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Pre-match notes: Mysterio was the face as usual. Ziggler was the heel challenger. Ziggler had the “I Am Perfection” theme song during this initial run. Ziggler was going for his first title in WWE. This was a rematch from the previous PPV. It was a Smackdown match.
Ziggler with a body slam for a two count followed by a rollup for two. Ziggler launched Mysterio to the top rope and Rey came off with a moonsault press for two. That was incredible. Mysterio sent Ziggler over the top to the floor. Mysterio jumped off the apron and gave Ziggler a hurricanrana on the floor. They went back into the ring, Mysterio tried an attack, but Ziggler caught him and hit a Buckle Bomb into the turnbuckle for two. Ziggler worked over Mysterio with an elbow drop followed by a chinlock. Mysterio came back with a drop toe hold that sent Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Mysterio ran the ropes right into a hard clothesline by Ziggler for two. Ziggler with a gutbuster for two. Ziggler with a corner splash attempt, Mysterio moved and Ziggler hit the turnbuckle. Ziggler rollup, but Mysterio came back with a stiff kick to the head for two. Mysterio went for a springboard cross body block, but Ziggler countered with a dropkick to the ribs. Ziggler hit a clothesline that was good for a two count. Ziggler sent Mysterio into the turnbuckle, Mysterio with a kick to the head, Mysterio wanted the 619, so Ziggler avoided it, tripped him up and hit a Fameasser for two. Mysterio with a boot to the face followed by a rollup that got a two count. The nearfalls in this match are pretty awesome. Mysterio hit a Tornado DDT for a two count. Mysterio with a dropkick that sent Ziggler into the ropes. Mysterio connected with the 619 this time. Mysterio went for a splash off the top, Ziggler moved and Ziggler got a cradle for a two count, which drew a huge reaction for the nearfall. Some fans were chanting “Let’s Go Ziggler” for the heel challenger. Ziggler decked Mysterio with a kick while he was on the apron. They battled on the top rope, Ziggler wanted a gutbuster and Mysterio hit a hurricanrana off the top for the pinfall win at 12:26.
Winner by pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***3/4 Great choice for the opener because the crowd is always going to be into a Mysterio match. Ziggler was one of the few guys on the roster that could keep up with the speed of Mysterio. My favorite spot was the awesome 619 counter by Ziggler leading to a Fameasser for a two count. I loved how Ziggler kept going for pins. How many nearfalls in the match? I didn’t count, but it felt like at least 20, if not more. It lived up to the hype as the opener and is one of the better openers in SummerSlam history.
Post match, Mysterio celebrated with the title while Ziggler was frustrated in the ring after he came up short.
Analysis: Mysterio was suspended for 30 days shortly after this due to a Wellness Policy violation, so he dropped the IC Title to John Morrison after a great match on Smackdown a few weeks after this.
Jack Swagger and MVP were interviewed by Josh Mathews in the interview area. Swagger bragged about how he was a future World Champion while MVP was an ex-con that was just a stepping stone for Swagger. MVP said he wished that he had the life that Swagger had growing up. MVP said he made some bad decisions, he broke the law and he paid for those sins. MVP talked about how they did have a culture shock with the spoiled jock against the ex-con and he ended it saying that Swagger’s lesson in reality will be taught by an MVP.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were shown on ringside to call this match.
Jack Swagger entered first to not much of a reaction. He was new on Raw after a run in ECW. He was considered a star on the rise. MVP was established on the main roster for a few years and he was in a face role.
Jack Swagger vs. MVP (Montel Vantavious Porter)
Pre-match notes: Swagger was the heel while MVP was the face that used to be a heel. They were pushing the story that MVP was a good guy that made wrong decisions when he was wrong leading to him going to jail, but now he tries to help kids get on the right path.
MVP hit a sidewalk slam, Swagger bailed to the floor and MVP hit a slingshot attack over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, MVP got a two count. They battled by the turnbuckle with Swagger pulling the leg of MVP to take him down off the second rope. Swagger with a body slam that sent MVP into the turnbuckle. Swagger hit two forearms to the back. Swagger slapped on an abdominal stretch. Swagger hit a slam for two. Swagger with another rest hold as he applied a chin lock. MVP got back up with an Electric Chair Drop slam on Swagger for a two count. The two men exchanged strikes with MVP hitting a big punch followed by a knee to the face. MVP hit the Ballin’ elbow drop for two. Swagger countered the Playmaker attempt by sending MVP into the turnbuckle for two. Swagger went for a splash off the ropes, but MVP got his knees up to hit the ribs of Swagger. MVP hit a running boot to the face followed by the Playmaker for the pinfall win at 6:22. That drew a few cheers, but not a lot.
Winner by pinfall: MVP
Analysis: ** It was just a decent match. They didn’t get enough time to do anything memorable. Both guys were at around the same level in terms of being in the midcard, so the win didn’t help MVP that much. The face run by MVP didn’t take him very far. Swagger ended up winning the next Money in the Bank match and went on to become a World Champion.
They showed a celebrity at ringside: Luke Perry from Beverly Hills 90210 with his family.
A video package aired about the celebrities that served of the Raw guest host. Shaquille O’Neal was by far the best one among the early hosts. The clip aired showing when Randy Orton hit a backbreaker to Freddie Prinze Jr. as well.
They showed Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood in the crowd. She talked to Freddie Prinze Jr., who worked for WWE’s creative team and left the company earlier in the year.
Analysis: This was just filler to kill time while WWE sucked up to celebrities like they loved to do.
The World Tag Team Champions duo of Big Show and Chris Jericho made their entrance. It was noted by JR that they held 43 titles between them in their careers. Jericho ripped on celebrities saying that they are superstars and they are bigger stars than any celebrities in the building. Jericho said their legendary status and greatness is cemented ever. Jericho said he’s the best in the world at what he does while Show is a destroy, a giant and he is better than every one of you. Show said he had something to say, but Cryme Tyme’s intro started up.
Analysis: The team was known as Jerishow (or Jeri-Show as WWE spelled it) by most people although Jericho didn’t like the name. I got a lot of notoriety because I was calling them that from the moment they started teaming a few months earlier. If I recall it was a reader that suggested it to me, but I liked it and was happy to use it. When WWE used it, people messaged me all the time thinking it was my idea. It wasn’t. Really, though, it’s just combining two names together. It’s not THAT creative.
The Cryme Tyme duo of Shad Gaspard and JTG made their entrance to a decent ovation. This is their SummerSlam debut.
Unified World Tag Team Championships: Chris Jericho and Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG)
Pre-match notes: Cryme Tyme were the face challengers that had never been champions before. Jericho and Show were the heel champs.
Jericho with a shoulder block, JTG with a flipping neckbreaker and Jericho slowed it down with a punch. Jericho tried the Walls of Jericho, but JTG fought of it and JTG hit a leaping leg lariat off the middle ropes for two. Jericho knocked JTG down with another punch. Show tagged in with a hard chop to the chest. Show with a headlock followed by another hard chop. JTG boot to the face and Shad tagged in with punches, two clotheslines that did nothing, but Show missed a corner charge. Jericho in, so Shad picked him up with a Gorilla Press slam. When Shad turned around, Show hit a running shoulder tackle that took the big man Shad down. Jericho back in with forearms that took down Shad. Show got back in there with a full nelson on Gaspard, who was about 6’7” and 300 pounds as JR pointed out. Show slammed him down back first. Jericho back in, he missed an elbow drop when Shad moved and Jericho slapped on a headlock followed by his famous “ask him” yelling to the ref to ask Gaspard to give up. Gaspard got back up with a powerslam on Jericho. JTG got the hot tag with a dropkick on Jericho followed by a face first takedown off the turnbuckle. JTG hit the Slingblade takedown for two as Show made the save. Gaspard clothesline sent Show over the top to the floor. JTG rollup got two with the crowd buying it as a nearfall. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring, JTG crawled towards the rope and he got to the bottom rope. Show hit JTG with a KO Punch against the ropes, which the ref didn’t see, so Jericho covered for the pinfall win at 9:42.
Winners by pinfall: Chris Jericho and Big Show
Analysis: **3/4 The match was pretty standard with the heels in control for most of it, Cryme Tyme made the comeback and the heel champs managed to outsmart them to get the win. The finish was creative with Show using the KO Punch out of nowhere with Jericho getting the win for the team. That was well done.
CM Punk was interviewed by Josh Mathews in the interview area. Punk had in his hands a screenplay of the Jeff Hardy story that culminates in Hardy beating Punk at SummerSlam. Punk said it’s fake, phony like everybody in Los Angeles and Punk said he’s the most real guy in the building. He ripped on Los Angeles and Hollywood. Punk said he’s not preachy, he just tells the truth and he’s going to rewrite the ending of the Jeff Hardy story. Punk said the happy ending will be “New World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk.” He dropped the script.
Analysis: Good promo from Punk, who was as good of a talker as anybody in this era. I would say Jericho and Punk were the two best.
Kane made his entrance for a match against Great Khali. A clip aired of Kane hitting Khali in the back and he knocked Kane out of the ring. Kane followed that up with an attack on Ranjin Singh, who was Khali’s interpreter and brother. Khali got revenge on Kane the following week.
The Great Khali made his entrance with Ranjin Singh. They found one kid in the crowd dancing to his song. There was a quiet response otherwise.
Kane vs. The Great Khali (w/Ranjin Singh)
Pre-match notes: Kane was the heel and Khali was the face. This is going to be bad with JR saying it “will be physical, intense and it won’t be pretty.” That part is true. This was a Smackdown match.
Khali with punches and he tossed Kane over the top to the floor. Kane stunned Khali by sending his throat into the top rope, Khali missed a leg drop and Kane hit a low dropkick while Khali sat there waiting for it. Kane wanted a Chokeslam, Khali shoved him off, clothesline and an elbow drop for Khali. Corner clothesline by Khali. The crowd woke up when Khali hit a chop to the chest. Kane went up top and hit a leaping clothesline for a two count. Kane slapped on a headlock. JR had a good line about if Khali said “I Quit” in his language the referee wouldn’t be able to understand it. Khali got back up with an elbow to the face and a boot to the head. Khali chop to the head of Kane for a two count. Khali with a vice grip on Kane’s head, so Kane got to the ropes and brought Ranjin into the ring. Kane with a kick to Khali’s knee when Khali was distracted by that and Kane hit a leaping DDT to pin Khali at 5:56.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: 1/2* Bad match that was boring the moment it started. I’ll give them some credit for working hard enough to go over negative stars. The crowd was dead for most of it. Kane had a pretty good push as a heel on Smackdown. Khali was mostly a dancing comedy character by this point in his career.
There was a shot of Vince McMahon’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
There were celebrities shown in the crowd like Maria Menounos, Slash from Guns N Roses, actor Robert Patrick from Terminator 2 and it stopped there.
The video package aired for Degeneration X vs. the Legacy group that included Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase. The story was that Triple H was on his own taking 2 on 1 beating from Legacy, so he called on his buddy Shawn Michaels to come back from one of his breaks.
The Degeneration X entrance took about ten minutes or at least it felt like that. They have dudes in military outfits and then they entered the arena on a tank. It was cool, but it took a while. It was also a way to do some dick references too. The crowd seemed to dig it, though, so that’s what matters. DX did the pre-match promo with Hunter hyping up the crowd with his “are you ready” bit and Michaels set up the “suck it” ending.
Analysis: That was one of the longest entrances you’re ever going to see.
The Legacy team of Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase (Jr.) made their entrance. They were part of the Legacy group that was led by Randy Orton.
Degeneration X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) vs. Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase)
Pre-match notes: The DX boys were the faces and Legacy were the heels. Michaels was 44 years old while Triple H was 40 years old. Dibiase was 26 years old and Rhodes was 23 years old, so they were the young guys trying to topple the vets. This was a Raw match.
Dibiase started with Hunter leading to Hunter hitting a clothesline, suplex and a knee drop. Dibiase tagged out, Hunter with a high knee to Rhodes and Rhodes slapped Michaels in the face. I always thought it looked awkward when Cody didn’t wrestle with knee pads. It just looked weird. Random thought, I know. Michaels tagged in, another slap by Rhodes and Michaels came back with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Rhodes bailed to the floor, Hunter threw him back in and Rhodes left the other side of the ring. Legacy stalled on the floor to regroup. Back in the ring, Rhodes hit a belly to back suplex. Dibiase back in, Michaels greeted him with chops, Dibiase with a whip into the corner and Dibiase hit a stiff clothesline. Rhodes back in with an elbow drop and a knee drop. Dibiase grounded Michaels with a headlock, Michaels chopped his way out of that and he hit a neckbreaker. Hunter got the tag with punches, Cody kicked him in the ribs and it allowed Dibiase to send Hunter into the turnbuckle. Hunter came back with a clothesline on Dibiase and spinebusters for both heels. Rhodes was in the ring, so Michaels hit a clothesline to take him out. Hunter with a back body drop on Shawn to take out Cody on the floor. The referee was distracted, so Dibiase kicked Hunter in the groin to knock him down. The referee Charles Robinson never saw it. Well played by Dibiase.
That set up the second part of the match with Legacy working over Hunter like they worked over Michaels earlier. Dibiase grabbed a headlock to keep Hunter grounded and he took him down to prevent a tag. After about a minute of that, Hunter hit a belly to back suplex. Rhodes back in with a quick DDT on Hunter for two. Another long headlock this time from Rhodes. A back body drop by Hunter sent Rhodes across the ring. Dibiase got the tag, he punched Michaels off the apron to prevent the tag and he stomped away on Hunter in the corner. They exchanged punches, Dibiase with an elbow, Dibiase charged and Hunter tossed Dibiase over the top to the floor. Michaels got the hot tag against Rhodes with Michaels hitting an atomic drop, a chop, atomic drop, chop and a flying forearm followed by a kip up, but Dibiase was back in with a clothesline on Michaels. Hunter went over to Dibiase and tossed him over the barricade to get rid of him. Rhodes went up top, he jumped off with an elbow drop, but Michaels moved and Cody hit the mat hard. Michaels went up top only for Rhodes to trip him up on the top rope. Rhodes wanted a superplex, Michaels punched him off and Michaels nailed the patented elbow drop off the top rope, but Rhodes got his knees up to counter for a two count. That was a cool spot. Michaels recovered from that and slapped on a Figure Four Leglock. Dibiase back in the ring to break that up, so Hunter went after him and Rhodes knocked Hunter down to stop his attack. Rhodes with a running clothesline. Rhodes hit the Cross Rhodes on Michaels for the one…two…and Hunter broke up the pin. The referee was distracted by Dibiase, so Hunter hit a Pedigree on Rhodes. When the referee yelled at Hunter about it, Dibiase hit the Dream Street Full Nelson slam on Michaels. Triple H took out Dibiase out of the ring and they went crashing over the announce table. Michaels and Rhodes were both down in the ring. They both got back up at the count of nine, Michaels stepped back to create some space and Michaels hit the Sweet Chin Music superkick for the pinfall win at 20:02.
Winners by pinfall: Shawn Michaels and Triple H
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a quality tag team match that got a lot of time and it was very competitive. I think going 20 minutes is a bit long, but with Shawn and Hunter involved it’s not a surprise because they want to have long matches. I think 15 minutes would have been better. They gave Legacy enough offense to make you think that maybe they’d get the win even though most of us assumed it was going to be a DX win. It was really booked evenly with Legacy scoring some genuine nearfalls. I enjoyed how they took turns cheating at the end too. Michaels destroying Rhodes with the Sweet Chin Music when they were both tired was the perfect finish. This was a very fun old school tag match that surprised me with how good it was. Good job by Legacy for coming up big in the biggest match of their careers.
Post match, Degeneration X celebrated the win with the crowd cheering them.
A commercial aired for a Rise and Fall of WCW DVD three disc set. I remember buying that one. I didn’t buy all of them, but I got that one.
Christian made his entrance as the ECW Champion. He was against William Regal, who had Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov. The announcers for this match were Matt Striker and Josh Mathews.
ECW Championship: Christian vs. William Regal (w/Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson)
Pre-match notes: Christian was the face champion while Regal was the heel that had two big guys as his buddies. The ECW brand was on its last legs by this point.
The bell rang, Christian grabbed Regal, Christian hit the Killswitch (or Unprettier) and covered Regal for the pinfall win after eight seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Christian
Analysis: I’m not going to rate it because it was so short. I’m not sure if it went that short due to time or they just wanted to do it that way as a surprise finish.
Post match, Jackson gave Christian a uranage slam that looked like a rough landing for Christian. Kozlov hit a spinebuster. Regal slapped on the Regal Stretch submission and stood over the champion.
Analysis: They did a rematch on the next episode of ECW where they had more of a match than whatever this was supposed to be.
There was a video package showing WWE stars doing appearances in Los Angeles during SummerSlam weekend.
A clip aired from Raw with John Cena and Randy Orton beating Chris Jericho and Big Show in a tag team match with Cena pinning Jericho. Orton attacked Cena with an RKO after the match. Cena managed to clean house on his own against Jericho and Show.
Analysis: It was very surprising that there was no video package for this Cena vs. Orton match.
John Cena made his entrance to a loud reaction full of cheers and boos. Cena was rocking the green and yellow merch at this point.
Randy Orton made his entrance with the WWE Title around his shoulder. This was during the period when Orton had a shaved head. He slow-walked down to the ring.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. John Cena
Pre-match notes: Orton was the heel champion and Cena was the face challenger. These guys wrestled a lot in their careers. Two years earlier at SummerSlam 2007 they met for the first time in a PPV match. In 2009, the rivalry was back with several more PPV matches between them. Each man had five World Titles at this point in their careers. Cena was 32 years old and Orton was 29 years old.
There was a slow pace early. Cena with a bulldog. Orton with a running back elbow. Lawler said that every single match at SummerSlam was “off the charts” meaning great, which was bullshit, but that’s what announcers are supposed to say. Orton with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Orton did his stomp routine as he stepped on the limbs of Cena. Orton with a running knee drop to the shoulder of Cena. When Cena got some offense going, the crowd booed and Orton hit a backbreaker leading to cheers. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Cena/Let’s Go Orton” for each man. Lawler said when you’re successful like Orton then people are going to respect and admire him. Orton slapped on a headlock for about a minute. Cena broke the hold by sending Orton into the turnbuckle. Cena with two running shoulder tackles and a sitout slam. Cena connected with the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop, Orton slipped out of the FU attempt and Orton hit a powerslam for two. Orton went for another jumping knee, Cena moved and Orton hit the match. Cena missed a running shoulder tackle because Orton ducked out of the way leading to Cena bumping to the floor. When Cena was on the apron, Orton hit the draping DDT off the ropes for a two count. Orton set up for the Punt, Cena moved and hit a flipping neckbreaker. Cena up top and he hit a leg drop to the back of the head with Cena getting a lot of distance on that leap. Cena set up for the Attitude Adjustment, Orton got to the ropes and they did a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down. They did the spot where each guy throws a punch while the other guy staggers a bit with Cena winning that slugfest and hitting a back body drop. Orton went to referee Scott Armstrong and shoved him on his ass. The bell rang.
Lilian Garcia said that Orton was the winner and still WWE Champion. She misspoke because Cena was the winner, but Orton was still the champion. Garcia said that Vince McMahon informed them that the match will restart and if Orton gets disqualified again then he will lose the title.
The match continued with Cena hitting a sidewalk slam for two. Cena with a hard whip into the turnbuckle. They left the ring and Orton whipped Cena into the steel steps. Orton got multiple two counts after that. Orton left the ring, he grabbed the WWE Title from ringside and he walked to the back. Orton was counted out. That was followed by another announcement by Garcia that Vince McMahon said if Orton is counted out then he will lose the WWE Championship.
Orton went back into the ring, Cena tripped him, Orton went for a RKO, Cena slipped out, Cena went for a FU, Orton slipped out and Orton did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win with Orton’s feet on the ropes. Another referee, Chad Patton, showed up to tell referee Armstrong that Orton’s feet were on the ropes. Armstrong restarted the match a third time.
Cena slapped on the STF submission. The crowd was getting loud wanting Orton to tap, but Orton kept fighting as Cena pulled him towards the middle of the ring. A fan in a white t-shirt and jeans went into the ring to jump on referee Armstrong. That led to security getting rid of the fan. Everybody paused as the fan was talking away. The fan was really Ted Dibiase’s brother Brett.
Orton went back in, then he went back out and hit a neckbreaker against the middle ropes. Cena was stunned, so Orton hit a RKO in the win for the pinfall win after 20:44 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ** It was a very slow-paced match with an overbooked finish designed to set up a rematch. I thought it was too much with all the restarts even though I understood that it was only booked that way to set up more matches between them. There were plenty of better Cena vs. Orton matches including their SummerSlam match two years earlier. This was more of a storyline advancing moment rather than something that was memorable as a match.
Replays aired of all the false finishes they had as well as the eventual win by Orton. Orton celebrated with the WWE Title as the camera zoomed in on his crazy eyes.
Analysis: The rivalry continued from here with Cena winning the title at Breaking Point in an I Quit Match, Orton won the title back at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match and Cena got the title back at Bragging Rights in a 60-minute Ironman match.
The video package aired for CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy. A clip aired of Jeff Hardy winning the World Title from CM Punk at Night of Champions. This feud led to CM Punk turning heel while ripping on Hardy for being a guy that liked to drink and use drugs while Punk was a Straight Edge guy that told the fans that they needed CM Punk. There was a promo by Punk saying he had to end Jeff Hardy to help make people see the light.
Analysis: This was the best feud in WWE in 2009. It made Smackdown better than Raw, but also because Raw was hurting due to all the stupid guest host crap. Smackdown was more of a traditional wrestling show and it was cool to see two smaller guys like Hardy and Punk in the main event scene.
The World Heavyweight Title was hanging above the ring. CM Punk made his entrance first as the former champion and the challenger. There was a weird edit on the broadcast when Grisham asked JR for some comments and then for like ten seconds there’s no commentary. I’m not sure what happened that led to an edit. (I looked it up and there was some audio issue with JR’s headset.) Punk was booed during his entrance.
Jeff Hardy was the World Heavyweight Champion and he got a big reaction from the fans. Hardy climbed a ladder that was in the aisle and posed on it. It was noted by Grisham that this was only the 8th TLC match and Hardy has been in five of them.
Analysis: I was happy this was the main event of the show, but it can be argued that the real reason this was the main event was because of what happened after the match.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
Pre-match notes: Hardy was the face World Heavyweight Champion. Punk was the heel challenger. This was a Smackdown match. The World Title was hanging above the ring. The wrestlers had to climb a ladder to retrieve it to win the match.
Punk was aggressive early with punches and kicks. Punk sent Hardy out of the ring followed by Punk hitting Hardy in the ribs with a chair. Punk hit Hardy in the back with a chair as well. Punk set up a ladder, he climbed and Hardy shoved him down. Hardy with two forearms on Punk. Corner dropkick from Hardy. Climb attempt by Hardy, but Punk kicked the ladder to knock him down. Hardy sent Punk into a ladder in the ring. Hardy set up a chair, he jumped, Punk caught him and Punk slammed the back of Hardy into the top of the chair that was opened up. That was nasty. Punk slammed a ladder against Hardy’s back repeatedly. Punk with a running kick to the head. Punk tossed Hardy out of the ring followed by a suicide dive by Punk that connected that took out Hardy on the floor. Punk set up a table in position beside the side of the ring. Punk put a chair on Hardy’s head, but Hardy shoved him off. Punk went for a chair shot, Hardy moved and Punk hit the ring post with the chair. Punk jumped off the steel steps leading to Hardy hitting Punk in the elbow with a chair. Hardy with a leaping leg lariat that took down Punk. Hardy set up Punk on a table on the floor. Hardy went up top and he jumped off, but Punk moved and Hardy went crashing through the table. Punk brought another silver ladder in the ring. Punk wanted to climb, but Hardy got back up and tried to climb over Punk. Hardy got his hands on the title. Punk put Hardy on his shoulder and Hardy countered with a sunset flip Powerbomb off the ladder. That was a great spot.
Hardy did a slow climb for the title, Hardy got his hands on the title, but Punk shoved the ladder and it sent Hardy leg first into the top rope. Ouch. That was a painful looking bump. Punk hit a superplex onto a ladder that was in the ring, so Punk took the bump as well and he delivered the move with Hardy taking the brunt of it. That looked brutal. When they got back up, Hardy managed to hit a Twist of Fate. Hardy went up top, he jumped off with a Twist of Fate and Punk got his knees up to block it. Punk with a knee to the face. Punk wanted a bulldog, but Hardy picked him up and tossed Punk through the table that was by the apron that Punk set up earlier in the match. Hardy tried to climb the ladder, but Punk jumped off the top with a double axe to the back to knock him down. Punk threw Hardy out of the ring. Hardy avoided a Punk attack to send Punk knee first into the steel steps. Hardy destroyed Punk with multiple chair shots to the back. Hardy cleared off the ECW announce table. Hardy hit Punk with a monitor to the head, a chair to the head and he put Punk on the announce table. Hardy with a hard chair to the head of Punk. It may have been the shoulder. Hardy set up a huge 20 foot ladder by the announce table with Punk on it. Hardy climbed up the ladder, both referees held it as he climbed and Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb off the top of the ladder through Punk on the announce table. The crowd was screaming about what just happened with some fans chanting “Hardy” as well. The doctors came out from the back to check on both guys. It was weird watching it because the announcers commentary was shut off for about one minute. I think they just wanted to let the pictures do the talking. Hardy was put on a stretcher and was helped by the doctors, but Punk got back into the ring, so Hardy went after him.
When Punk was in the ring trying to balance the ladder, Hardy stumbled his way into the ring. Punk climbed up with his right leg while favoring the left leg. Both guys were at the top of the ladder. Punk kicked Hardy in the ribs and Punk punched Hardy in the head to knock him down. Punk reached up to grab the World Heavyweight Title to win the match at 21:34.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match. It’s tougher to do a TLC match when it’s one on one when compared to a match with multiple guys, but they told a great story and had a battle for over twenty minutes. There were some nasty spots like the superplex onto the ladder, the Powerbomb onto the ladder and of course that table spot with Hardy jumping off a 20 foot high ladder onto Punk through the table. That was insane. I give them both a lot of credit for busting their asses to put on a memorable match worthy of a SummerSlam main event. Going into this match most of us knew that Punk was going to win because of Hardy’s contract situation. Hardy ended up working one more Smackdown taping before leaving, but we all figured Punk had to win this match. If it wasn’t for Undertaker vs. Michaels at WrestleMania 25 then this would have been in the match of the year discussion, but that match was so great that there was no discussion. It’s still an awesome match that only solidified this rivalry as the best of 2009 and one of the best of the 2000s. I loved this feud.
Post match, as Punk was standing over Hardy, the gong hit. The fans screamed as the lights went out to signal the return of The Undertaker. When the lights came back on, Hardy was gone and Undertaker was the one lying in the ring. Undertaker sat up, picked up Punk and hit a Chokeslam on Punk. The crowd cheered.
Analysis: That was a bit cheesy, but it worked for me and the crowd loved it. I liked it. Good way to end the show on a positive note too since Punk and Orton were both heels that won, so they wanted to end the broadcast with a happy moment.
The Undertaker stared back at Punk, who was still down in the ring. The Undertaker raised his right hand in the air, the fans cheered, pyro went off and Taker went to the back to end the show.
Analysis: That led to a World Title feud between CM Punk and The Undertaker. Punk beat Undertaker in cheap fashion at the Breaking Point PPV in September and then Undertaker won the World Title from Punk at the Hell in a Cell PPV in October.
The show had a run time of 2:51:45 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
Show rating (out of 10): 7.5
– This was a pretty good show with some quality matches. The main event was outstanding with Punk and Hardy having a very physical TLC match with some huge spots that got the crowd into it. The Mysterio/Ziggler opener was the right choice to start the show because that was an exciting match too. I also liked the DX vs. Legacy match that was treated like a big deal since it was the return of DX. The ten-minute intro by DX seemed to take forever, but the fans were into it. The tag title match was solid. What prevents it from being an all-time great show is stuff like Cena/Orton being an overbooked mess, Kane vs. Khali was terrible and whatever the ECW match was ended up being a waste of time. It’s still a good SummerSlam that I rated at 7.5 out of 10. It was also my WWE PPV of the year in the 2009 Johnny Awards too.
– The Punk/Hardy match was outstanding, and I think it helped legitimize Punk as a top guy. When Punk was World Champion in 2008 he really wasn’t booked like a top guy. This time, he got to main event a major PPV and he delivered one of the best matches of the year with Hardy. In 2011, Punk became an even bigger star in WWE, but I think he earned a lot of trust of management thanks to his performance in this feud because he was arguably the best in the world in the summer of 2009.
– I wasn’t a fan of the Orton/Cena booking, but I understand it. They almost never booked Cena to lose matches clean especially in singles during his main singles run, so they had to be creative in order to build to the rematch. We also didn’t know at the time that they would do this match again at three more PPVs in a row. By the end of it, even though the Ironman match was pretty good, I was so sick of Cena vs. Orton matches.
– There was no women’s match on the card. They were going to do Divas Champion Mickie James vs. Gail Kim, but they moved it to Raw instead and it ended up being a terrible match between two good workers. It happens sometimes. There was a 15-woman battle royal before the show with Beth Phoenix winning it. The US Champion Kofi Kingston was also going to have a match against Carlito on the show, but that was moved to Raw too.
– I remember going into this show a lot of people were questioning what was going to go last because most of us assumed Orton and Punk were winning as heels. There was apparently some discussion of the DX match going on last, which would have been a disappointment because it was just a regular tag team match. I think WWE made the right call by putting the best match on last and having that happy moment with Undertaker kicking Punk’s ass.
Five Stars Of The Show
1. CM Punk
2. Jeff Hardy
3. Rey Mysterio
4. Dolph Ziggler
5. (tie) Shawn Michaels/Triple H
5. (tie) Cody Rhodes/Ted Dibiase
Best Match: CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy in a TLC Match (****1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Kane vs. Great Khali (1/2* out of 5)
Most Memorable Moment: Jeff Hardy delivering a Swanton Bomb off a 20-foot-high ladder onto CM Punk through a table.
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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