SummerSlam 2004 was the 17th edition of SummerSlam and it was a Raw and Smackdown production about two years removed from the original WWE brand extension. I nearly went to this show because it was two hours from me and I’ve been to dozens of WWE events in Toronto, but I was a broke college student at the time. Plus, I was going to Raw the next night, so I figured I should stay home for this one.
In terms of PPV buyrates, this event was considered a big disappointment with 415,000 buys in North America. That was 50,000 buys less than 2003 and 125,000 less buys than 2002. In looking ahead, it was also 235,000 less buys than the 2005 edition of SummerSlam, which was helped by the dream match of Hogan vs. Michaels. I think this card was hurt because they really didn’t have enough fresh matchups and some key guys were not booked in important matches.
I wrote this live in 2004 and when I re-posted it in 2017 on the site I added comments in the blue font that you will see throughout.
Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario
We start with a summer games promo that is different from the normal WWE show opening promo, but it’s still good. There were highlights shown about the participants in the biggest matches of the night too.
(It was an Olympic year, so that’s why they did it. Triple H vs. Eugene seemed so out of place as a big match.)
The crowd was loud inside the Air Canada Centre. Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler open the show talking about the four Raw matches. They toss it to the Spanish announce table, so those guys can say stuff that I can’t understand. They go to Michael Cole & Tazz at ringside handling the Smackdown matches.
Spike & Dudley Boyz vs. Rey Mysterio, Paul London and Billy Kidman
Dudleys come out first as a trio. They show Spike’s heel turn that set all this up. Dudleys helped Spike win the Cruiserweight Title from Mysterio. Announcers mention that Spike is the “leader” of this trio. Team Mysterio comes out to Rey’s music to a very healthy pop.
(Pre-match notes: Dudleys were the heels with Spike holding the Cruiserweight Champion. Mysterio, London and Kidman were the faces. London and Kidman were the Tag Team Champions on Smackdown.)
Kidman and D-Von start with D-Von getting the advantage in the corner by pounding him. He whips him in, Kidman gets a headscissors, arm drag and dropkick for two. Tag to London, who gets a bag elbow and a moonsault for two. Whip in for D-Von, London with an elbow, dropkick to the head and a dropsault. Into the ropes, Bubba pulls him down. D-Von clotheslines London down for two. Tag to Spike, who comes in with a double stomp off the top. He spits on Rey, then the Dudleys cheat on London. Tag to Bubba who nails a suplex and elbow on London. Tag to D-Von, who hooks on a chinlock. London fights out, but D-Von gets a powerslam for two. Tag to Bubba. London kicks at him to get to his feet, charges the ropes and D-Von catches him. Bubba charges, London ducks and Bubba hits D-Von. Enziguri to Bubba as London tries to tag. Spike gets tagged in, Mysterio gets tagged in. Whip in, Spike ducks and a flapjack. Springboard legdrop gets two. Whip in to the corner a couple of times, Rey puts him on the top for a hurricanrana. That gets two. Whip in, Rey on the apron, Bubba comes in and Rey hits a seated senton on him, then a reverse DDT on D-Von. Whip in, Spike headbutts him in the gut. Kidman tags in, back elbow on Spike and a BK bomb gets only two because Bubba knocks him off. London in with a sidekick on D-Von, then he tosses him. Double dropkick on Bubba. London with a suicide hilo to the floor onto Bubba. Amazing spot. Kidman slingshots Spike onto the middle ropes leading to a 619 for Mysterio. Kidman to the top, Shooting Star Press hits for two because D-Von pulled Spike out. Mysterio’s springboard attempt misses. D-Von with a big clothesline on London on the floor. In the ring, the Dudleys give Kidman a 3D. Spike comes over, rolls Kidman over and gets the pinfall win at 8:06.
Winners by pinfall: Dudley Boyz (Spike, Bubba & D-Von)
Analysis: **1/2 Good opener with a lot of action I just wish it were longer. Eight minutes is way too short for such a potentially great match. If they got another seven or eight minutes they could have really had something special. Finish was well done in terms of giving Spike some more momentum.
(That was fun. Like I said back then, if they got more time it would have helped a lot. The difference was the Dudleys team using their power to beat up the smaller cruiserweights. I don’t remember how long Spike held the Cruiserweight Title, so I looked it up and it was nearly five months. I didn’t remember much about it, but he was booked well here.)
Matt Hardy vs. Kane is up next. A video aired from a week earlier on Raw with Lita telling boyfriend Matt that Kane is the father of her baby.
Lita walks out first and you can see that she looks pregnant. Matt Hardy is out first for the guys and Kane is out next.
(I remember commenting with my friends how Lita wasn’t looking pregnant on Raw, but six days later she was. What a miracle.)
Till Death Do Us Part Match: Kane vs. Matt Hardy (Winner Marries Lita)
(Pre-match notes: Matt was the face, Kane was the crazy heel and Lita
Hardy jumps him on the apron before it starts. He gets a couple of clotheslines, bulldog countered and Matt hits a uranage variation off the middle rope for a good two count. To the second rope, he hits a legdrop to the back of Kane’s head for two. Kane sets him up on the top turnbuckle. Matt counters with a tornado DDT for two. The ref tells Matt to stop punching, so Kane drills him with a hard uppercut. Hardy comes back with a kick, but then eats a clothesline. Choking by Kane. Whip into the corner, Kane hits a clothesline. He pounds him down in the corner. Kane taunts Lita, then charges Matt and misses him because Matt ducks. Matt with a crossbody to the floor followed by the Twist of Fate on the outside. The ref counts with Hardy encouraging the count. Kane sits up at six and rolls through by the count of nine. Back in, Matt gets him with kicks. Lita gets the ring bell then slides it to Matt. She goes around to distract the ref. Matt drills him with the ring bell, but Kane gets his foot on the rope to avoid being pinned. Hardy to the top, Kane catches him and Matt fights out. Kane whips him in, then hits a big boot to the face. Kane climbs to the top, but Matt trips him up. Matt tries to DDT Kane, but Matt ends up getting choked in a HUGE chokeslam off the middle rope. That gets the pinfall for Kane at 6:08.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: ** Disappointing match with a great finish, but it’s understandable due to Matt’s aching knee. For those that don’t know, he’ll be out of action soon with major surgery. How long did the pre-match video and entrances take? Probably three minutes. The match was six. Something to consider.
Post match, Lita runs away from Kane while Kane had a sick smile on his face because he gets to marry Kane.
(Boring match, but the story was interesting at least. When Kane married Lita, Kane gave Matt a Chokeslam off the stage. Matt ended up missing about eight months of action and while he was out, Lita cheated on him with Edge. That led to the real-life Lita breakup with Matt turning into a feud with Edge in 2005 while Matt was actually fired for a few months. It was a huge story at the time. Anyway, this was Matt’s last WWE PPV match for nearly a year.)
Backstage, Todd Grisham is set to interview with Randy Orton. Orton proclaims that one of the youngest WWE superstars will ascend to greatness tonight. John Cena interrupts. Cena tells him this is the night the “franchise” opens up shop on Booker T’s ass. Cena’s sporting a Blue Jays jersey. He thinks Orton’s introduction was for him and he says he’ll get him some merchandise. Cena asks the fans if they like Randy Orton. Most of them boo. He asks if Orton will beat Benoit for the belt. Most of them boo. Cena: “Well, at least you got the people behind you” and Cena left. Orton says he doesn’t care what the crowd or Cena has to say. Orton thinks it’s sad that Cena had to interrupt him for some airtime. Orton says he’ll leave the building as the youngest champion ever.
(I assume this was one of the first times Orton and Cena were on screen together, so that’s why WWE did it. Both guys debuted on the main roster two years earlier and were clearly being positioned as future main event players.)
Booker T. vs. John Cena (Match #1 in Best of 5 Series)
This is match #1 in the best of five series for the US Title. The winner of the series gets the title. Booker is out first. Cena is next. No rap from Cena, which is a surprise.
(Pre-match notes: Booker was the heel champion and Cena was the face.)
They start out slugging away with Booker eventually winning. Whip in, Cena hits a clothesline for two. Armbar for Booker, back elbow for Booker followed by some hard chops. He gets whipped in, Cena counters an arm drag with a clothesline and then hits the throwback for two. Booker picks up Cena, and then drops him nuts first on the top rope. He punches him out to the floor. Double axe on the floor. He tosses Cena back in and hits a back kick as well as a knee drop. They exchange forearms, Cena wins that, but then Booker comes back with a jumping leg lariat. Camel Clutch for Booker leads to Cena picking him up and driving him into the turnbuckle. Whip in, Booker with a spinebuster. Side slam for Booker followed by more pausing by Booker. He then grabs a chinlock. Cena hits a small package out of nowhere, but then eats a clothesline. Boot to the gut, axe kick is missed as Cena rolls out of the way. Cena wins a slugfest, boot the face and another clothesline from Cena, who follows with a high elbow. Booker hits a flapjack out of nowhere, followed by a Spinaroonie. The time he wasted on the spin allowed Cena to get to his feet leading to an FU. Cena covered for the win at 6:25.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: *3/4 That was disappointing. Another six-minute match. The pace of this match was so incredibly slow, especially for such a short one. Cena barely did much aside from throwing a couple clotheslines. There was no sense of pace, timing or psychology at all. I’m a fan of both guys, but this one was very forgettable. Let’s hope the other matches in this series get more time.
(It was a slow paced, forgettable match. As I said, I like both guys a lot, but they just didn’t click here for whatever. I don’t remember their other matches that much. The finale for the best of five was two months later at No Mercy, so I’ll get to review that one soon.)
Backstage, Smackdown GM Theodore Long is interrupted by Raw Eric Bischoff, or as Long called him the “head cracka in charge of Raw.” Bischoff congratulates him on being the GM and says it seems like every time they have one of these PPVs he’s dealing with a different GM. Eric mentions Steph, Heyman and Angle as previous GMs. Bischoff’s advice is to learn as much as he can because by the time there’s another joint PPV, Survivor Series, Eric doubts Teddy will be around. Bischoff says it’s nothing personal, it’s just reality. Long says that he can appreciate that. Long says if Eric ever gets rid of Eugene he’ll sign him to Smackdown just as he would anybody else that’s sick of Bischoff that may want out and Long says it’s not personal, it’s just reality.
(A simple segment to try to show that the brand leaders were not fond of one another.)
They showed where Diva Dodgeball would take place on the Toronto Raptors practice court.
Batista is out first for the IC Title match. Jericho is out next to a huge pop since he’s Canadian. Edge is out next, introduced as “Toronto’s own” to help him get a louder ovation.
Intercontinental Title: Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. Batista
(Pre-match notes: Edge was the face IC Champion that just won the title from Randy Orton one month earlier although he wasn’t loved as a face. Jericho was also a popular face. Batista was a heel that was part of the Evolution group.)
Batista attacks Edge from behind to start, knocking him to the floor. Jericho gets on Batista, booting him. Jericho with chops and fists in the corner. Jericho can’t whip him, so Batista just elbows him down. Shoulder tackles in the corner. Whip into the corner, Batista hits a shoulder block. Jericho charges, Batista catches him and hits a running powerslam. Sets him up for a powerbomb, but here comes Edge to clip him in the knees. Batista whips Edge in, Edge gets the boot to the face, Batista boot to the gut and a snake eyes in the corner. Jericho trips up Batista. When he turns around, Edge dropkicks him out, and then clotheslines him over the top. The crowd boos Edge for some reason. He comes outside, then hits a drop toe hold on Batista sending him face first into the steps. Jericho dropkicks Batista on the floor knocking the back of his head into the steps. Back in, Jericho and Edge go face to face. Jericho wins at the start, then Edge comes back with a knee to the gut. Crowd boos Edge. Jericho takes him down for a Walls of Jericho attempt, but that gets reversed into a cradle for two. Whip in, Jericho gets a crossbody, Edge rolls through and uses the ropes for two. Jericho rakes his eyes, then puts him in the Walls. The announcers finally realize that they’re booing Edge. They’re only about five minutes late. Edge is reaching for the ropes until he finally makes it, but then Jericho pulls him back out to the center. Batista comes in to deck Jericho from behind. He tosses him shoulder first into the ringpost sending Jericho out. Edge hits a Edgecution DDT that JR called a Tornado DDT. How was that a tornado when he didn’t even turn, JR? Know the moves! Edge goes to spear Batista, but Jericho comes in to clothesline him. He turns to Batista, so he spinebusters (it’s a verb now) Jericho. Edge breaks that up. Batista goes for a spinebuster on Edge, but it gets countered for a rollup for two for Edge. Batista ducks a Batista charge sending him out. Jericho rolls up Edge for two. Huge Y2J chant. Edge charges in at Jericho, ducked and Jericho hits a bulldog. Springboard dropkick on Batista on the apron. Edge pops up, hits a spear on Jericho, covers and that’s it at 8:26.
Winner by pinfall: Edge
There was not much of a pop for Edge, who looks totally surprised by the lack of an ovation. JR noted it was a mixed reaction for Edge.
Analysis: **1/4 This is in the same boat as the opener. It had the chance to be a really good match, but was way too short to really be anything special. The finish came out of nowhere, really. Edge popped up pretty quick after that bulldog. It seemed like it was a rushed finish to end a boring match.
(I didn’t make the point well enough in 2004, but the crowd was strongly against Edge even though he was from Toronto. A few months later, Edge turned heel and it was the best thing for him. I think WWE saw him as a face they could push, but the crowd never bought into him the same way. It was smart of WWE to turn him when they did and the best thing for his career.)
Long video package to set up Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle. They had a WWE Title match at WrestleMania 20 that Eddie won. After that, Angle was dealing with injuries and out of the ring for a few months, so he was the GM of Smackdown. When Eddie had a WWE Title cage match challenging JBL on Smackdown, a masked man attacked Eddie and it was Kurt Angle. In the months prior to that, Angle had a leg injury he was faking, so Angle cost Eddie the title. That set up this match, which was Angle’s first PPV match in five months.
Angle is out first with Luther Reigns by his side. Eddie Guerrero is next and he got a big ovation.
(My expectations for this match were high. I missed Angle a lot and was glad he was back. Big fan of Eddie as well. The story was strong going into this match too, so that helps also.)
Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (w/Luther Reigns)
(Pre-match notes: Eddie was the face that was WWE Champion earlier in the year. Angle was the heel that had a bodyguard named Luther Reigns at ringside.)
They jostle a bit at the start as a “Let’s Go Angle” chant starts up. See, us Canadians are smart. We appreciate the greatness of wrestlers. Eddie comes back with a side headlock. Eddie gets a hammerlock until Angle turns him around. Angle hits a German suplex on Eddie, then another, but Eddie ends up countering it with an ankle lock. Angle rolls through, breaking it with the thumb to the eyes. He gets an Angle Slam to follow. Down go the straps for Angle. Angle with an ankle lock, then Eddie grabs Kurt’s ankle only to have Angle roll through and now has Eddie in the ankle lock right in the center. Eddie makes ropes. Luther Reigns drills Eddie with a kick to the back of the head as Angle puts on another ankle lock. Guerrero makes ropes, Angle eats some chops from Eddie only to reach for the ankle again. Crowd is fairly silent for the slow pace here. Eddie gouges his eyes to get out of it. Eddie’s boot is unlaced as it was for WrestleMania and now Angle is holding him in an STF like position. Eddie gets a jawbreaker, ducks a clothesline and hits an Angle slam.
To their feet, Eddie fights back with punches, then tries to make his ankle feel better. He hits the three rolling vertical suplexes, then heads to the top slowly. Angle catches him and throws him off with the belly to belly from the top. Angle slam countered to a DDT for Guerrero. Eddie to the top again, Eddie’s Frog Splash misses and an Angle Slam for Angle gets two. Angle took off Eddie’s boot and grabbed Eddie’s left ankle in the ankle lock position. Eddie grabbed the ref by the foot and sent him into Angle. Eddie drills Angle with the boot and Eddie hits Luther with the boot. Ref wakes up, so Eddie plays possum as he usually does. Guerrero pops up, puts Angle in position and hits a Frog Splash for two. Crowd is shocked that wasn’t the end. Guerrero argues with the ref about the count, Angle grabs Eddie by the injured left ankle and then drops down in the grapevine Ankle Lock. Guerrero tries to fight out of it, but the pain is too much and Guerrero taps out. Match went 13:38.
Winner by submission: Kurt Angle
Analysis: ***3/4 Awesome match with great psychology. Angle working on the ankle a lot played a major part of the finish. I liked their WrestleMania XX about the same as this. I don’t think they connected with the crowd as much as they would have hoped, but this was still a really good match. It’s just that with these two expectations are so high. In that sense, it can be considered a mild letdown. The good news is I think there’s a rematch in their future. The right guy won too since Angle needed the win more at this point than Guerrero since it was Angle’s return to the ring.
(I liked the story they told with Eddie selling the ankle very well throughout the match. Angle came off as a smart, vicious heel. The point I made in 2004 about the crowd not being into it enough is true. You would think a crowd would be into this match more, but it never got to that level where the fans were going crazy for it.)
Angle celebrated the win with a hug for his buddy Luther.
Video package set up Triple H vs. Eugene. The story was that Triple H played Eugene for a fool and used his stupidity to his advantage to manipulate Triple H. The problem was that Eugene accidentally cost Triple H the World Title against Benoit. That led to Evolution giving Eugene a bloody beating. When Triple H got another World Title shot, Eugene cost Triple H the match on purpose. That led to Triple H brutally assaulting William Regal, who was Eugene’s mentor and that led to Bischoff putting Triple H in a match against Eugene.
(The story was pretty good. I just found it odd that a main eventer like Triple H was in a big SummerSlam match with a comedy character like Eugene.)
Triple H comes out first to a good reaction. Eugene is next. Not a very big pop for Eugene, I must say.
Triple H vs. Eugene
(Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel leader of Evolution and Eugene was the face.)
HHH punks him out to start. They go to the floor, HHH uses Lillian to get the advantage. He knocks her down and she gets carried to the back. HHH clears the Spanish announce table. He goes to suplex Eugene from inside the ring to the floor, but Eugene counters with punches. Crowd is booing Eugene. Ten punches in the corner, he does his jump and the crowd boos that too. Whip in, HHH pulls up, holding his left knee. Ref does the X symbol. HHH gets up, drilling Eugene from behind. He laughs at the ref. Never seen that before. Eugene fights back, hits a back body drop and the crowd boos him. Lawler even mentions it. “Eugene Sucks” chant starts up too. HHH charges him, Eugene does the Rock Bottom and an airplane spin. People’s Elbow time, but HHH comes back with a spinebuster to a big pop. Out on the floor, he whips Eugene into the steps and Eugene’s shoulder is bleeding. Back in, HHH pounds on him in the face. Eugene tries fighting back, but HHH grabs the sleeper. Hunter goes for the Pedigree. Eugene counters with a backdrop.
Eugene starts to do his hulking up as HHH whips him into the turnbuckles. He comes back with punches and the crowd boos him. Atomic drop followed by a clothesline. Eugene catches the boot, gives HHH the finger and hits a Stone Cold Stunner sending HHH to the floor. Eugene rolls HHH back in. Here comes Ric Flair down the aisle. HHH turns him around, Eugene hits a big boot. Eugene does the Hogan ear pose and hits the Hogan legdrop for two. Flair’s up, so Eugene decks him down. Eugene to the top, HHH gets a boot the gut, and a Pedigree reversed to a slingshot. Boot to the gut and a Pedigree for Eugene gets two as Flair puts HHH’s leg on the bottom rope. Flair trips up Eugene, so ref Jack Doan ejects him. Flair walks up the aisle and William Regal is there. Regal drills Flair in the face with brass knucks. Eugene waves to Regal. When Eugene turns around, HHH hits a Pedigree to win by pinfall at 14:06.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
After the bell rang, Regal went into the ring and Triple H got out of there before Regal could get his hands on him.
Analysis: **1/2 The match was alright, but nothing special. It lacked much in the way of psychology. The crowd turned on Eugene completely. Toronto crowds are very smart and they’re not fans of people like Eugene being overexposed. The last few minutes were good. I thought the finish was booked well.
(Looking back on it, I think it was a mistake to go nearly 15 minutes to have Triple H beat a comedy character like Eugene. That’s not a knock on Nick Dinsmore, who played Eugene. I thought Dinsmore did a great job on a consistent basis.)
They’re on the Raptors practice court. The Diva Search team is out first. No Carmella there for some reason. WWE girls are out next. They’re all friends here. So much for storylines, I guess. Trish isn’t competing, so each team has six. Coach tells the WWE Divas that the diva search girls were talking smack. I’m not gonna do play by play. Diva Search team knocked out three girls. Why is this on a major PPV? So boring. The diva search team hit all six WWE girls before any of them got eliminated. Team Diva Search won. It took about three or four minutes and it was about as bad as you’d expect.
Post match, Trish argues with Victoria and punches her down. The other girls break it up. What a waste of time. Lawler mentions the crowd was booing the women. What’s wrong with them? Nothing’s wrong, King. It was a crappy segment.
(Diva Dodgeball was a lame waste of time. The Undertaker must have liked it because his future wife Michelle McCool was in it. I don’t have much more to say.)
The “Tale of the Tape” was shown for JBL vs. The Undertaker. No video package. The Undertaker was out first to a great ovation. JBL second with the WWE Title. Orlando Jordan comes out with JBL wearing a suit.
WWE Championship: John Bradshaw Layfield (w/Orlando Jordan) vs. The Undertaker
(Pre-match notes: JBL was the heel WWE Champion and Undertaker was as popular as ever as the face.)
Undertaker locks up, then tosses him to the floor. Punch by Undertaker and he slams JBL’s left hand into the top of the ring steps. JBL counters the old school clothesline with fists. The top rope old school punch to the face by Taker. Taker puts the triangle choke on JBL. Jordan breaks it up by pulling JBL’s leg under the bottom rope, so Undertaker boots JBL in the face. Orlando gets up to talk with JBL, Undertaker boots Orlando. With Taker’s leg caught on the top rope, JBL trips him down. JBL rams him left knee first into the post. JBL chairs him to the left knee. Ref never saw it even though he was there. I guess Orlando kept him busy. Ref wasn’t looking as the replay showed, but I guess he’s deaf too. Undertaker beats him on the floor. Bored with the match, the fans start doing the wave. Undertaker does a half Boston crab, but JBL gets ropes. Crowd cheers for something going on. Hiptoss is blocked, Undertaker gets a rolling knee bar. Into the ropes, JBL gets punched in the face and sent to the floor. Undertaker boots him there, then drops the elbow on the apron. Crowd starts a “Spanish Table” chant. They rule. Legdrop on the apron for Undertaker.
Undertaker limps around a bit as the crowd again chants for the “Spanish Table.” Tazz acknowledges it. JBL drops him neck first on the top rope. So much for selling that arm, huh JBL? JBL to the top for some reason, Undertaker with what else? Punches. Undertaker with a superplex off the middle rope. That gets two. Undertaker sets him up for a powerbomb, so JBL punches him in the knee, then drops a leg on it and tries to do some leg bar. Undertaker up, he hits a one legged spinebuster for two. Punches for Undertaker, whip in reversed for JBL and Undertaker hits a clothesline. Crowd is chanting something and cheering. They’re not into the match. Limping clothesline splashes for Undertaker in the corner. Snake eyes, run the ropes and a clothesline for Undertaker gets two. Chokeslam gets two for Undertaker. Orlando gets into the ring, so Undertaker knocks him down. JBL drills Taker with the Clothesline from Hell. Undertaker kicks out at two. Cole notices a faint Undertaker chant. Funny how they ignore the crowd completely shitting on the match, but they acknowledge the quiet chants.
Undertaker whips JBL into the turnbuckle, but he hits the ref. A ref bump? Gee, that’s new. Double boot to the face knocks down each wrestler. Orlando gives JBL the belt and JBL drills Taker with it. Orlando comes in, picks up the ref’s hand and counts for him. That gets two. Orlando pounds on Taker, but gets tossed out of the ring by Taker. JBL with a clothesline. Undertaker is back up right away, so I guess that wasn’t from hell. Punches in the corner turned into the Last Ride for Undertaker. We’ve seen that spot many times. Ref wakes up and JBL gets his arm up at two. Orlando charges, Undertaker kicks him to knock him down. Undertaker picks up the belt and drills JBL in the face with it. Ref wakes up. Ref disqualifies Undertaker. Match went 17:37.
Winner: JBL by disqualification
Analysis: ** Boring match. A yawner pretty much from start to finish. The crowd didn’t care for the match and neither did I. It was a cheap ending. JBL didn’t sell things properly. JBL didn’t sell his arm or his knee properly after they were worked on. Undertaker sold his ankle a bit, but it wasn’t that much of a factor. The entire match was just built around the finish where they used the title to play into the finish.
(It was a cheap ending to get out of booking either guy to lose clean and set up an obvious rematch. Their matches were never that good, but they got over the idea that JBL was lucky to be a champion that needed help to keep the title while Undertaker was unable to get the title from him.)
Post match, Undertaker beats up JBL on the floor. He takes off the horns from JBL’s limo. Undertaker slams him on the hood of the limo and drops an elbow on him on the limo. JBL’s head is busted open. Undertaker goes to leave, but he comes back. On the top of the limo, Undertaker chokeslams JBL through the moonroof of the limo. Undertaker smears blood on his own chest, and then walks back. JBL gets carted off. Tazz and Cole talk in their serious voices to put over how hurt JBL is.
Analysis: Big post match angle to make fans happy after Undertaker lost. It also seems like this feud is going to continue. Stop the horror! Please!
(I guess it’s fair to say I didn’t like this feud that much 13 years ago. It wasn’t that exciting. When comparing it to Undertaker vs. Heidenreich matches, which are still to come, it wasn’t that bad. Still below average, though.)
Randy Orton comes out first to barely a reaction. Benoit is next with the World Heavyweight Championship. No announced hometown for Benoit for some reason. Why wasn’t there a video package for this?
(There wasn’t much of a storyline here. Orton won a battle royal on Raw two weeks earlier and that gave him the title match. Orton lost the IC Title at Vengeance one month later and he was promoted to the World Heavyweight Title match at the next major show. I remember picking Orton to win just because Benoit’s reign had gone on long enough at five months and I felt like WWE wanted Orton to make history as youngest World Champion ever because the previous youngest World Champion, Brock Lesnar, had quit the company after WrestleMania earlier in the year.)
World Heavyweight Title: Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton
(Pre-match notes: Benoit had been the face World Heavyweight Champion for five months. Randy Orton was the heel challenger that was in the Evolution stable.)
Strong lockup to start. More locking out leading to nothing much. Crowd boos. Test of strength time. Benoit gets out of it with a wristlock to take him down. Orton gets out of it with a jumping knee drop that Benoit rolls out of. Benoit with a wristlock. Orton punches, then hits a shoulder charge, runs the ropes and takes an arm drag. Orton whips him in, Benoit holds on and the dropkick hits nothing. Benoit’s Sharpshooter attempt countered into one of his own for Orton. Benoit counters into one of his own. Crossface attempt, but Orton rolls through the ropes. Orton whips him shoulder first into the ringpost. Out on the floor, another “Spanish Table” chant erupts. Another shoulder whip. He tosses Benoit back in. Orton rams his knee into Benoit’s arm/shoulder. Benoit fights out, now he’s on the apron while Orton’s in the ring. They’re both on the apron, so Benoit drops Orton face first onto the mat. It was a variation of a DDT on the apron. Sliding dropkick for Benoit. He charges through the ropes with the suicide dive, Orton moves and Benoit hits headfirst into the barrier. Ouch. The replays look more painful. His neck must be killing him. Orton goes into a side version of a camel clutch basically.
Benoit gets up with elbows, then eats an uppercut. Orton hits a gut wrench backbreaker over his head that turns into a neckbreaker. The fans cheer that cool looking move. That gets two. Benoit chops Orton, then they charge at eachother and do a double cross body block to knock them both down. They get back up to a standing base, slugging away. Orton clubs him, but Benoit counters with the double fist clothesline, then a backbreaker. German suplex countered by Orton, so Benoit hits a Northern Lights suplex for two. To the top rope, Benoit goes for a superplex, but gets pushed off. Orton to the top, he hits a crossbody for two. RKO countered, Benoit hits a clothesline and a sharpshooter is shoved off by Benoit. Release German suplex for Benoit, then a Sharpshooter near the ropes. Orton’s arm drops twice, but then he gets to the ropes. Three rolling German suplexes, Orton counters a fourth, but Benoit catches him to hit three more. That’s a total of six. JR has never seen that many German suplexes. Go watch Austin/Benoit from Smackdown in May 2001. There was ten.
To the top, Benoit’s headbutt doesn’t connect because Orton gets his knees up. The replay shows that it was the feet, not the knees. Benoit rules. What a great seller. Orton covers for two, but Benoit pops up with a Crossface. Orton rolls through to counter, Benoit grabs the arm again. Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere and he covers for the pinfall. Orton wins. Big pop from the crowd. Match went 20:10.
Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***3/4 The match was very good. I don’t think that it was the type of “blow you away, must see” match that some of us thought it would be. I thought Benoit did a fantastic job of selling the neck. I even think maybe his neck is legit hurt because of that bump he took into the barrier. This was a very good match, but not the kind that could really be called a contender for match of the year. As for the result, I’m not surprised because the win means Orton is the youngest World Champion in WWE history, which WWE wants to brag about since Brock Lesnar left after WrestleMania.
(It was a competitive match without much of a story, so they did what they could in 20 minutes to have a good match and that’s what they did. The finish was well done with Orton countering the top rope headbutt and coming back with that RKO out of nowhere for the win. As for Orton becoming the youngest World Champion in WWE history, as I mentioned back in 2004, it was because of Lesnar quitting WWE and the company wanting somebody current to be able to claim that.)
Post match, Orton celebrates and Benoit looked back at Orton in the ring. Benoit rolls into the ring. He’s still holding his neck. Benoit extends his hand looking for a handshake. Benoit tells Orton to “be a man” and shake his hand. Orton shakes it. Benoit’s music plays. I guess Orton might be going face soon, as rumored. Orton cries in the ring with the belt to a good ovation. Nobody from Evolution joins him. That’s when the show ended.
(The face turn became a reality one night later at the Raw that I was at. They did the Orton vs. Benoit match again, Orton won and his Evolution buddies turned on him. I thought the face turn for Orton was done too soon, but it was likely a decision WWE made when they realized they didn’t have enough top faces on Raw. Orton ended up turning heel again in early 2005 and stayed in that role for most of his career. Orton has always been better as a heel.)
The show had a run time of 2 hours, 42 minutes on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– SummerSlam did not live up to the hype that I had given it as being WWE’s second best PPV of the year. It was average all the way around. The only reason the grade is slightly above average is because there were two really good matches and a couple that were decent. It wasn’t a bad show and it wasn’t a good show that people will remember for years to come. That’s why I would use the term average here.
– I liked the main event due to Orton’s big moment. It wasn’t a match of the year contender, but it was a hotly contested match for one of the most prized possessions in the company. Orton’s reign ended up being very short, which I did not expect. Benoit was arguably the best in the world at this point. It wasn’t a carry job here, though.
– Angle-Guerrero was very good and also a bit of letdown only in the sense that some of us expected a classic. Instead, we got a good match and that should not be forgotten. They are two of the best all-around wrestlers in the history of WWE, but they did not have a match of the year type match together. Most of their matches were around the four star level like this match was, though.
– The Undertaker/JBL match was not the worst match in the sense of star ratings, but it was the worst in the sense that a major championship was involved. They lost the crowd the whole way until the chokeslam through the limo after it was over. The post match angle was done to make up for the crappy match before it because after seeing that Taker Chokeslam through the limo, that’s all people are going to remember anyway. Plus, it was done to keep the feud going.
– Most of the card felt rushed. Couldn’t they give ten minutes to any of those four matches? What a letdown. I wish they cut JBL/Taker in half and gave the opener another seven minutes.
Show rating (out of 10): 6
Best Match: Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton and Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: John Cena vs. Booker T (*3/4)
Most Memorable Moment: The Undertaker giving JBL a Chokeslam through the roof of the limo was pretty memorable.
Five Stars Of The Show
1. Randy Orton
2. Chris Benoit
3. Kurt Angle
4. Eddie Guerrero
5. Triple H
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)
Steel Cage: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart @ SummerSlam 1994 (*****)
Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon @ SummerSlam 1995 (*****)
Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin @ SummerSlam 2001 (****3/4)
TLC: Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ SummerSlam 2000 (****3/4)
Unsanctioned Street Fight: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H @ SummerSlam 2002 (****1/2)
Ladder Match: Triple H vs. The Rock @ SummerSlam 1998 (****1/2)
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar @ SummerSlam 2003 (****1/4)
Shawn Michaels vs. Vader @ SummerSlam 1996 (***1/4)
The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle @ SummerSlam 2000 (****)
Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2001 (****)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 2002 (Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H) – 9
SummerSlam 2001 (The Rock vs. Booker T, Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle) – 8
SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8
SummerSlam 2000 (The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle) – 7.5
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 2004 (Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit) – 6
SummerSlam 1997 (Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1996 (Shawn Michaels vs. Vader) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 2003 (Elimination Chamber) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5
SummerSlam 1999 (Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H) – 5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5
SummerSlam 1995 (Diesel vs. Mabel, Michaels vs. Ramon) – 4
SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Next up: SummerSlam 2005.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.
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