The 23rd SummerSlam took place at a time when WWE felt the need to make some changes…or so we thought. Instead of an established top guy in the main event of the show, there was a team of seven WWE “rookies” in the main event against seven of the best talents that WWE had to offer. It seemed like a no brainer that the young upstarts on Team Nexus would get the win in the main event, but what we learned more than anything is that plans can always change. I’ll get into that more later.
One of the big stories going into the show was the status of Daniel Bryan. When The Nexus made their big Raw debut attacking John Cena and everybody around ringside, Bryan was fired for choking announcer Justin Roberts with a tie. Going into the show, nobody was really sure if he would be brought back in for it, but most of us expected it because there were stories of Bryan cancelling appearances in the indies. Bryan ended up fired for about two months and then made his surprise return here.
I thought 2010 was a down year for WWE. There just wasn’t that much excitement on Raw or Smackdown at this point. The Nexus angle in the summer was a refreshing change, but some of the guys in the group were so boring that it was tough to get excited about it. The product was stale. I know people complain about today’s WWE all the time because that’s their nature, but it was more stale in years like 2009 and 2010.
As a reminder, you can check out all of my SummerSlam reviews here in case you want to know what I think about a particular match whenever you feel like re-watching the shows.
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
It began with a TV PG logo with “V” for Violence.
The opening video package was about change in WWE while focusing on the key matches. The video ended with a clip of The Nexus with the voiceover guy wondering what happens if The Nexus succeeds against WWE.
The pyro went off and the crowd was loud. The crowd was packed with Michael Cole announcing the attendance was 17,463 for this show. The announce team for the show is Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker because the brand split was not much of a thing by this point although it did still exist.
Dolph Ziggler was the Intercontinental Champion that made his entrance with Vickie Guerrero as his manager. A clip aired from nine days earlier showing when Dolph Ziggler won the title thanks to Vickie Guerrero.
Kofi Kingston made his entrance as Ziggler’s opponent. There was a decent response for him.
Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kofi Kingston
Pre-match notes: Ziggler was the heel champion while Kingston was the face challenger. They were Smackdown guys.
Kingston was in control early as he knocked Ziggler out of the ring. Kingston went for a suicide dive, but Vickie pulled Ziggler out of the way and Kingston went crashing to the floor. Back in the ring, Ziggler hit a two count. The fans chanted for Kingston as Ziggler slapped on a headlock. Kingston approached Ziggler near the ropes, so Ziggler sent Kingston into the turnbuckle. Ziggler with a flipping neckbreaker for two. Ziggler with an elbow drop to the back followed by another chinlock. Ziggler whipped Kingston into the turnbuckle, Kingston moved and Ziggler hit the turnbuckle head first. Kingston opened up with chops, a dropkick and a Thesz Press leading to punches for Kingston. Boom Drop leg drop by Kingston. There was a cross body block by Kingston, Ziggler countered to a rollup for two and Ziggler with a Fameasser for two. Kingston up top and he jumped off with a punch to the head. Kingston wanted the Trouble in Paradise kick, Ziggler avoided it and Ziggler slapped on a sleeper. The seven guys from Nexus ran in through the crowd and attacked, so the match was thrown out at 7:05.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: ** It was a decent match that was incomplete due to how it ended. These guys wrestled eachother many times in this era usually with one of the midcard titles one the line. That finish was done to put The Nexus over and show how much of a force they were.
The Nexus guys attacked Ziggler with a Skip Sheffield (future Ryback) clothesline that sent Ziggler over the top to the floor. The seven heels took turns beating up Kingston. Darren Young hit a full nelson into a slam. Barrett picked up Kingston and hit the Wasteland slam off the shoulders.
Barrett did a promo saying that was a taste of what they had in store for WWE. Barrett said that Team WWE is looking for a seventh member, but he didn’t think it would make a difference. Barrett said that the WWE roster was divided and fragmented with their own egos. Barrett ended the promo with the catchphrase saying that you’re either “Nexus or against us.”
Analysis: It was a way to get cheap heat for The Nexus ahead of the main event. What puzzled me with no explanation is that nobody tried to save Kingston. I think if you had most of Team WWE try to make the save, the fans would have loved it, but instead it made Kingston look like a loser with no friends.
The Miz was shown in the locker room with the Money in the Bank briefcase and the US Title. Chris Jericho was there to say that they needed Miz tonight. Edge was also there and he said that Miz needed to seize the opportunity. Jericho said that if Miz accepts the offer then this will be the biggest blockbuster announcement in history – bigger than avatar. Miz said he’s not sure because he has lot on his plate right now. Edge was eating a Slim Jim, Miz took it from him and left.
Alicia Fox made her entrance as the Divas Champion. I really had no memory of her as champion although I knew she was a champ before. Melina made her entrance as the challenger and she got a pretty good pop.
Analysis: This match is famous for a funny reason. On Tough Enough, Steve Austin asked a contestant named Ariane Andrew (later known as Cameron in WWE) what her favorite match is and she said “Melina vs. Alicia Fox.” Austin was stunned by it, but she was serious because she wasn’t much of a WWE fan. The clip is hilarious, so because of that, people will always make Melina vs. Alicia Fox jokes.
Divas Championship: Alicia Fox vs. Melina
Pre-match notes: Fox was the heel champion while Melina was the face challenger. She earned the title shot by beating Fox non-title on the previous Raw. It was noted by Cole that Melina never lost the title, she was forced to give it up back in January due to a torn ACL in her knee, so she missed about eight months. This was a Raw match.
Fox took down Melina with a headlock. Melina came back with a submission move and then she stomped on the back of Fox’s head. Melina hit a double knee attack to the ribs of Fox similar to what Sasha Banks does in today’s WWE. Fox pretended to have a face injury, so Melina showed compassion for that, but Melina came back with a flapjack for two. Melina avoided a corner attack, landed on her feet and favored her left knee, which is the one that was surgically repaired. Melina told the ref she was fine. Melina with a standing side kick on Fox. When they went to the apron, Fox sent Melina face first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Fox hit a knee to the arm and slapped on an armbar. Keep in mind that Melina was selling a knee injury, yet Fox wasn’t going after it and the announcers wondered why. Fox missed a corner charge, Melina with a rollup and Fox kicked out at two. Melina bounced off the ropes with a slopping dropkick. Melina screamed, double knee attack to the back and Melina hit a face first front slam for the pinfall win at 5:20.
Winner by pinfall and New Divas Champion: Melina
Analysis: 1/2* Bad match. It was short, so it was tough for the women to put something together that was memorable in any way. It was so weird hearing the announcers wondering why Fox didn’t go after the knee, which is what the fans would wonder too, but the announcers rarely point out the obvious thing like that.
Melina was interviewed in the ring by Josh Mathews, but then the Laycool duo (Michelle McCool and Layla) from Smackdown made their entrance. They each had half of the Women’s Title. Layla mentioned they had no competition on Smackdown to share in Melina’s special moment. Laycool went into the ring. McCool said this is a moment you want to capture with three champions in the ring. Michelle wanted a photo and to tweet this, so Melina pushed Layla away and knocked down Michelle’s phone. Melina wit ha running tackle on McCool followed by forearms. Layla held Melina’s leg and McCool (or McTaker?) with a boot to the face of Melina. Fox tried to join in, but McCool knocked her out of the ring too. Layla dumped Melina out of the ring. Laycool trash talked Melina and McCool hit a running knee against the announce table.
Analysis: It was a way to get the Laycool team on the show. They were pushed heavily as a heel act on Smackdown at the time. McCool married Undertaker, so that certainly helped her career. Just saying.
There were celebrities shown at ringside: Country singer Trace Adkins, comedian Marlon Wayans and Striker mentioned Michael Clarke Duncan, but he wasn’t shown.
A clip aired from Smackdown with Big Show climbing a ladder and pulling off a mask to show Punk’s shaved head. That led to a funny visual with bald Punk and bald Show on the ladder. Following that moment, CM Punk stomped on Big Show’s right hand repeatedly.
Next up is the 3 on 1 handicap match. It was CM Punk, Joey (they called him Joseph) Mercury and Luke Gallows with Serena as the Straight Edge Society heel group led by Punk. Punk had a shirt that said “I Broke Big Show’s Hand” on it. Big Show was up next to a good ovation during one of his face runs. Show had tape on his right hand.
Analysis: I was a huge fan of the Straight Edge Society and I wish it lasted longer. Sadly, politics got in the way. The group ended way too soon.
Straight Edge Society’s CM Punk, Joseph Mercury and Luke Gallows (w/Serena) vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: Punk’s team were the heels while Show was the face seeking revenge.
Show was ready for the math to begin as the doctor cut the tape to show that Show was fine. Show knocked down Mercury and Gallows early. Punk tossed Gallows out of the ring and a two handed slam on Mercury. Punk held onto the tag rope rather than go back into the ring. Show picked up Mercury and tossed him onto Gallows on the floor. When Punk finally got into the ring, Show hit him with a hard chop to the chest. Show left the ring, Punk tried to stomp on the hand, but Show tripped up Punk on the steel steps. Show went for a chop, Punk moved and Show hit the steel steps with his hand. The SES guys took advantage as they stomped away on Show outside the ring. Back in the ring, Gallows hit a running splash on Show. Punk with a leg drop. There were no tags in this match, so the SES guys just stomped away on Show at the same time. Gallows hit a running splash on Show against the turnbuckle. Show came back with a back elbow, two clotheslines and a splash on Gallows and Mercury against the turnbuckle. Show with a double shoulderblock on Gallows and Mercury. Punk back in with a kick, two knees by Punk in the corner and a third running knee to the jaw. Punk and Mercury hit a double team bulldog for two with Cole calling it a “double DDT” even though it was not that. Punk with punches and elbows for the right hand of Show. Show had Punk on his shoulders, Show with a double clothesline on Gallows and Mercury. Punk left with the lovely, bald Serena. Show picked up Mercury and gave him a Chokeslam onto Gallows. Show covered them with one hand.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: *3/4 It was fine for what it was supposed to be with Show getting his revenge against the group. Punk walking away showed that Punk was really a cowardly leader that wanted nothing to do with Show. The SES group was dead within a few weeks after this.
Kane was shown with the World Title around his waist as he talked to a casket saying that he was going to end Rey Mysterio’s very existence. Sheamus walked up to him with the WWE Title on his shoulder. Sheamus said that this casket is far too large for Rey Mysterio, but Sheamus thought it was the perfect size for Randy Orton. Sheamus wanted the casket for Orton, Kane said no and Sheamus said that if they were on the same page they would unstoppable. Sheamus said that people everywhere have been calling him the big red monster. Sheamus told Kane to stay out of his way. Kane just laughed at him while saying he has guts while also telling Sheamus his guts will be spilled all over the floor if he ever interrupts Kane again. Sheamus left.
Analysis: It was just a meeting of two current major champions.
Let’s Hear From The Miz
The Miz entered for a promo. He had the US Title around his waist and the red Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand. Michael Cole rooted him on since this was the era where Cole was a heel announcer.
Miz asked the fans if he should join Team WWE, they cheered and he said he didn’t care what the fans thought. Miz talked about how last week on Raw, Bret Hart and John Cena asked him to be on Team WWE. Miz said earlier today at Staples Center, Cena got down on his knees and begged Miz to be a part of Team WWE while claiming that without him, they can’t do it. Miz said that Cena said that Miz is the only superstar that could see him and then he did Bret Hart’s catchphrase about himself. Miz said he threw Jericho’s Fozzy CD in the trash. Miz said that John Morrison is the Jannetty of their tag team and Miz is Shawn Michaels, but only better. Miz claimed that Edge gave him some Slim Jim and R-Truth wrote him a crappy rap.
Miz bragged about how he is WWE’s new hope and then added that he is their only hope. Miz said that he is the future, he’s the US Champion, he’s a future WWE Champion and the fans need to realize that. Miz said this decision is bigger than the Pepsi Challenge, it’s bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger doing Terminator 5, bigger than LeBron James’ spectacle on ESPN that will lead to the Lakers losing the NBA Championship, which drew boos from the LA crowd. Actually, it was Dallas beating LeBron James-led Miami in that season. Eight years later, LeBron is a Laker.
Miz asked the question about if he is going to join Team WWE. Miz took his time answering the question and he said…yes. Miz said he will lead Team WWE to victory. Miz said the WWE Universe will be admitting to what Miz has been saying all along that he’s The Miz and he’s…then he told the fans to not do his catchphrase. Miz finished his “I’m Awesome” catchphrase. Cole said it was awesome news.
Analysis: It was a good promo from The Miz, who was well on his way to becoming one of the best talkers in the company. With that said, I think they could have put on another match on this card because they only did six matches in three hours.
The video package aired for WWE Champion Sheamus defending the gold against Randy Orton. Sheamus was the heel champion while Orton was in a face role, which was rare for him, but he was popular after many years as a heel. The video package showed the destruction Sheamus caused during his run on Raw that included when he took out Triple H. Orton earned the title shot from winning a triple threat with Edge and Jericho. Highlights aired of Orton hitting Sheamus with a backbreaker and then Orton stopped himself from doing a Punt because he wanted to save it for SummerSlam.
Sheamus made his entrance with the WWE Title around his waist. I miss the “lobster head” and “too many limes” theme song. Randy Orton was out next to a pretty good ovation. This was during the period where Orton had the shaved head look.
WWE Championship: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: Sheamus was the heel WWE Champion that was in his second reign as champion. Orton was the face challenger. Orton had the same mannerisms that he did as a heel, but the fans liked him more this time. Orton was looking for his 7th World Championship in WWE. This was a Raw match.
There was some posturing early on until Orton hit a clothesline followed by a knee drop. Sheamus wanted a hip toss, Orton blocked it with a clothesline and Orton hit a clothesline that sent Sheamus out of the ring. Orton with a clothesline that sent Sheamus over the barricade into the crowd. Cole said “the crowd” but years later he was programmed to say “WWE Universe” in that instance. I say programmed because WWE announcers are like robots sometimes. Orton did his stomping routine again. Orton with a catapult that sent Sheamus throat first into the bottom rope. Orton whipped Sheamus back first into the barricade at ringside. Sheamus finally got back in control as he whipped Orton shoulder first into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Sheamus was in control with kicks, punches, a knee drop and a chinlock. Orton came back with a suplex. Orton wanted the DDT off the ropes, but Sheamus countered it and gave Orton a back body drop over the top to the floor.
Sheamus continued the attack on the floor by sending Orton back first into the barricade two times in a row. Back in the ring, Sheamus hit a double axehandle to the face for a two count. Sheamus slapped on a chinlock. Backbreaker by Sheamus got two. Orton tried to fight back, but Sheamus stopped him with the double axe to the head again. Orton came back with a belly to back suplex. Orton followed that up with a modified backbreaker for two. They exchanged strikes, Orton with an uppercut, clothesline and Orton with the snap powerslam as the crowd went crazy for some vintage Orton moves. Sheamus charged in, Orton moved and Sheamus hit the turnbuckle. Orton with a superplex off the top for a two count. Boot to the face by Orton, but Sheamus came back with the Irish Curse backbreaker for two. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, Orton ducked and Sheamus bumped over the top to the floor. That looked painful. Orton came back with the draping DDT off the ropes with the crowd going crazy for him. Orton signaled for the RKO, the fans were getting louder and Orton hit the RKO, but it was Sheamus pushing Orton off him and Sheamus covered for two. That was a cool spot. Sheamus went for the Irish Curse Powerbomb, Orton slipped out of it, Sheamus pushed him into the ropes and Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for one…two…no. That nearfall shocked the crowd as well as the announcers and Sheamus. Sheamus brought a steel chair into the ring. The referee Jack Doan tried to take it away from him, Sheamus pulled it away and Doan bumped to the floor. The ref called for the bell due to the disqualification at 18:55.
Winner by disqualification: Randy Orton (Sheamus is still WWE Champion)
Analysis: *** It was a good match, but not at the level to where I would call it great. They just never got into that next gear. The finish was done to keep the rivalry going because they didn’t want to book Orton to lose a title match clean. The last few minutes were fun with each guy hitting their big moves for nearfalls. The finish was cheap, but it doesn’t bother me to do that occasionally to set up a future match. They could have been more creative with it, though.
After the match, Orton avoided a chair attack and Orton kicked Sheamus in the balls. Orton cleared off the announce table at ringside. Orton put Sheamus on the table and Orton jumped off with a RKO through the table, which did not break even though two grown men landed on it. Sheamus was down in a heap while Orton did a long staredown. Orton did his post match posing while Sheamus was still down by the announcers. Sheamus was announced as the man that was still the WWE Champion and he was helped to the back by officials.
Analysis: This was an angle that was done to get Orton some revenge after Sheamus got disqualified. The next PPV was Night of Champions in September 2010 and Orton won the WWE Title in a six-way match.
A commercial aired for the film Legendary starring John Cena. I actually saw this one. It’s one of the few WWE movies that I have ever seen. It’s not that bad. The actor Devon Graye was shown at ringside. He starred in Legendary with Cena.
The video package aired for the World Title match from the Smackdown side with Kane defending the title against former champion Rey Mysterio. At Money in the Bank, Kane won the briefcase and he cashed in the contract on Mysterio that same night to become World Champion. There was a story about how The Undertaker was attacked and “put in a vegetative state” with Kane claiming that it was Mysterio that did it. Mysterio denied it and he said it was Kane that did it.
Analysis: The “vegetative state” story was silly, but it was WWE’s way of bringing The Undertaker back after one of his breaks.
Rey Mysterio entered first as the challenger to a good ovation. The announcers talked about it with Cole saying that Mysterio may have attacked Undertaker. Kane was booed during his entrance. Kane brought a casket down to the ringside area.
World Heavyweight Champion: Kane vs. Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: Kane was the heel champion and Mysterio was the face challenger.
Mysterio connected with a dropkick to the knee early, Kane avoided a 619 and Kane tossed Mysterio out of the ring. Mysterio was on his feet, he went back in and hit a dropkick. Mysterio with a running senton attack on Kane on the floor. Back in the ring, Mysterio went up top, Kane tripped him up and Mysterio went down hard. Kane whipped Mysterio into the ring post ribs first followed by a dropkick into the post. Kane sent Mysterio back first into the ring post. Kane with a boot to the face that sent Mysterio out of the ring. Kane with a hard whip that sent Mysterio hard into the turnbuckle for two. Kane slapped on a bearhug. Mysterio broke free with a dropkick, kick to the face and a headscissors that set up Kane against the ropes, but Kane came back with a clothesline for two. Kane tossed Mysterio to the floor with Mysterio taking the bump on his chest and landing hard on the floor. Mysterio tried a springboard attack back in the ring, but Kane kicked him back out. Mysterio with a drop toe hold that sent Kane into the barricade. Back in the ring, Mysterio jumped off the top with a headbutt to the body of Kane, but Kane came back with a backbreaker for two. Kane with a submission to the back, Mysterio back up and Kane hit a sidewalk slam for two. They battled on the turnbuckle with Mysterio going for a hurricanrana off the top, but Kane held on, Kane jumped off the top, Mysterio moved and Mysterio with a tilt a whirl reverse DDT. Mysterio with a senton attack on Kane, then Kane caught him and Mysterio countered with a Tornado DDT for a two count. Mysterio back up top with a leg drop to the back of the head for two. Mysterio up top, he jumped off and Kane decked him with a punch to knock him down. Kane opened up the casket to reveal nothing inside of it. Mysterio with a dropkick that sent Kane into the ropes. Mysterio went for a 619, but Kane pushed him into the casket. Mysterio with a springboard dropkick and Kane back up, but Mysterio with another hurricanrana leading to a 619 against the ropes. Mysterio got a cover for two. Kane with a boot to the head. Kane picked up Mysterio with a one handed Chokeslam for the pinfall win at 13:31.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: **1/2 It was okay. There was a clash in styles. I liked the comeback by Rey in the last few minutes because there were a few minutes where he looked like he might win with several good nearfalls. In the end, it was Kane’s size that was too much of a factor and it was no surprise that Kane got the win.
After the match, Kane did a promo telling Mysterio that he’s going to pay with eternal suffering for what Mysterio did to Undertaker. Kane said that Rey will be surrounded forever more by darkness within the casket. Kane opened the casket, which was empty. Mysterio fought back with kicks, Kane shut the casket and Kane hit another Chokeslam. Kane picked up Rey and hit another Chokeslam. Kane picked up Mysterio and hit a Tombstone. This time when Kane opened the casket, The Undertaker was in it and The Undertaker sat up in the casket. Huge pop for Taker, who got into the ring with Kane and Mysterio. Kane pointed out Mysterio, so Taker walked over to Rey and said “have you ever heard of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth?” Taker asked: “Why’d you do it Rey?” Mysterio looked him in the eye and said he swears it wasn’t him. Taker said “I believe you.” Taker picked up Rey by the throat. Kane smiled about it. Taker did the throat slash gesture, he turned around and looked at his brother Kane with a serious stare leading to the crowd cheering. Taker choked Kane, but Kane managed to overpower him because Taker was weak and Kane hit a Tombstone on Undertaker. Kane’s music played. Kane left with the World Title.
Analysis: That was well booked because if you listen to the crowd, they were ready for The Undertaker and when they saw him they went crazy for him. I liked the story of Kane being able to overpower him because Taker was still weak from Kane’s attack on him months earlier. This led to several PPV title matches between them with Kane keeping his title in controversial fashion at Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell and Bragging Rights. It was the first time they feuded where Kane won the rivalry.
There were clips of WWE stars at various activities during SummerSlam weekend in Los Angeles.
The Nexus seven were shown walking backstage for the main event.
There were highlights shown of The Nexus group beating up various WWE stars leading to John Cena saying that he gathered a team of superstars to compete against The Nexus. That was followed by clips of Team WWE arguing amongst themselves with Wade Barrett of The Nexus saying the WWE team had cracks. A clip aired of Khali getting attacked backstage, which took him out of the match. I thank them for that. There was a Raw tag team match with Jericho and Edge against Cena and Bret Hart, who was unable to take a bump. When it looked like heels Edge and Jericho would quit on Team WWE, they ended up fighting with them.
The More You Know: Ten minutes before the main event match aired, there was a link on WWE.com saying that Daniel Bryan was back and on Team WWE. My twitter was blowing up over it. I clicked on the link and there it was with the article saying that Miz came out, then Cena told him to stop and he informed us that Bryan was the 7th man. Sure enough during the intros that’s what happened. Whoever did that at WWE.com must have got a lot of heat for it because a lot of us saw it. Did it ruin the surprise a bit? Sure, but I didn’t care because I was glad that Bryan was back.
Team Nexus made their entrance together. They were: Wade Barrett, Darren Young, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Michael Tarver and Skip Sheffield, who became Ryback. I loved that “We Are One” song they had. It was a great track. Barrett was considered the leader of the group. They all wore the black and yell Nexus t-shirt with the giant “N” on it.
Analysis: The only guy that’s still active as a wrestler in WWE is Slater. Otunga works as an announcer part time. Sheffield as Ryback and Barrett were the most successful.
Team WWE made their entrance with John Cena leading the way for this team. Edge was up next. He was in heel mode even though he had earned the respect of the fans by this point in his career. This was his last SummerSlam because he retired after WrestleMania in 2011. R-Truth was up next. He was not much of a top guy, but they needed guys to fill out the roster. Chris Jericho was up next as one of the top heels in the company. Jericho was the pro for Barrett in NXT season one with Cole pointing out that Truth was the pro for Otunga. John Morrison was up next. He was in the upper midcard and solidified as one of the top faces. Bret Hart got a massive reaction. He returned to WWE earlier in the year, but he was unable to take a bump. They still managed to put him in matches.
The Miz entered last for the team, but John Cena cut him off. Cena said that Miz is way, way, way too late. Cena said they realize how important the match is to WWE, so they couldn’t rely on somebody like him that would decide only on the day of SummerSlam. Cena said it’s not him, Cena said it’s somebody that hates the Nexus as much as them and the seventh member is Daniel Bryan! Bryan got a decent pop for his return with Striker calling him the American Dragon, which was cool.
The WWE team cleared the ring of The Nexus before the match began. Barrett gave his team a pep talk.
Analysis: In the weeks leading up to the match and on the PPV, the announcers talked about how their livelihood was on the line in this match. How? It was just a tag match. If The Nexus won, it would have no affect on anybody’s life and I think the fans knew that. It was just WWE being over the top trying to sell an angle.
Tag Team Elimination Match: Team WWE (John Cena, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Edge, John Morrison and R-Truth) vs. Team Nexus (Wade Barrett, Darren Young, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Michael Tarver and Skip Sheffield)
Pre-match notes: Team WWE were considered the faces even though not all of them were faces. They were all Raw guys, so they could have been called Team Raw too. The Nexus guys were heels.
Bryan started with Young. Cole complained about Bryan being on the team instead of Miz since Cole was a heel against Bryan and supportive of Miz. Bryan worked over Young with kicks and Bryan slapped on a guillotine submission. Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock submission and Young tapped out in the first minute.
Darren Young eliminated by Daniel Bryan
Bryan with a kick to the ribs of Gabriel. Jericho tagged in with a belly to back suplex. Truth tagged in with a flip over Stunner for a two count on Gabriel. Spinning kick to the chest by Gabriel to Truth. Tarver tagged in a barrage of punches on Truth. Tarver whipped Truth into the corner, Truth avoided an attack and Morrison tagged in with a clothesline followed by a dropkick. Morrison with a jumping kick to the face. Morrison with a springboard kick off the ropes. Morrison with a Starship Pain splash on Tarver to eliminate him after about four minutes.
Michael Tarver eliminated by John Morrison
Analysis: I thought Tarver was the worst member of the group. He had the shortest run in the company. There just wasn’t much to him in terms of gimmick and his work in the ring.
Sheffield faced off with Morrison using his power to shove him down. Sheffield with a slam on Morrison. Sheffield whipped Morrison into the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “We Want Bret” for the Hitman as Sheffield hit two suplexes on Morrison. When Morrison got going, Gabriel with a kick to the back of the head and Sheffield hit a clothesline on Morrison to eliminate him.
John Morrison eliminated by Skip Sheffield
R-Truth was back in, he ran the ropes, missed an axe kick and Sheffield hit a clothesline on him to eliminate him. That was around eight minutes into it.
R-Truth eliminated by Ryback
Jericho back in for the WWE side, but Ryback overpowered him quickly wit ha press slam. Barrett tagged in with stomps on Jericho. David Otunga was in there briefly, but Barrett came back in and Jericho greeted him with a missile dropkick off the middle ropes. Hart tagged in, Slater tried a punch, but Hart worked him over with punches. Hart punched Slater against the turnbuckle followed by an eye rake against the top rope. Hart with a punch to the gut and an elbow to the head. Hart with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Atomic drop for Hart followed by a punch. Hart teased a Sharpshooter, he applied it and a chair was thrown into the ring. Hart grabbed the chair and hit Sheffield in the ribs and back with it. That led to Hart being disqualified.
Bret Hart eliminated by disqualification
Analysis: That was a quick appearance for Hart, who like I said earlier he was unable to take a bump. He did some basic things and the crowd cheered the Sharpshooter. Hart was made to look like an old fool by getting disqualified so easily, but it did set up what was up next.
Jericho went into the ring against Sheffield and Jericho hit a Codebreaker. Edge tagged in and hit a Spear on Sheffield. Edge pinned Sheffield to eliminate him. That was around 13 minutes into the match.
Skip Sheffield eliminated by Edge
Analysis: You could tell WWE had high hopes for Sheffield/Ryback since it took a steel chair, Codebreaker and Spear to eliminate him.
It’s 4 on 4 now with Gabriel running into the ring right into a boot to the face by Edge. Running shoulder tackle by Edge on Gabriel against the ropes. Gabriel with a back elbow to the head, Edge with a flapjack and that got two. Gabriel avoided an attack from Edge followed by a spin kick to the head for two. Slater in for the Nexus side, he sent Edge into the turnbuckle and Barrett back in to step on the head of Edge. Barrett slapped on a chinlock. When Edge got back up, he hit a spin kick. Barrett came back with a neckbreaker. Otunga back in, Edge blocked a move and Edge hit a DDT. Jericho tagged in against Otunga with Jericho hitting two shoulder tackles, a kick and a running bulldog. Jericho with the Lionsault on Otunga with the fans cheering him. Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho, then he slipped a bit and managed to lock it in. Otunga tapped out at around 19 minutes into the match.
David Otunga eliminated by Chris Jericho
Jericho knocked Slater off the apron with an elbow smash. Jericho tossed Slater onto the announce table. Back in the ring, Jericho hit a flying elbow off the top onto Slater. Jericho charged, he accidentally ran into Cena to knock him off the apron. Slater capitalized with a neckbreaker on Jericho to pin him.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Heath Slater
Analysis: That elimination was a surprise. I know it was due to Jericho bumping into Cena and Slater capitalizing, but I thought it was weak for Jericho to get eliminated by one move like that.
Edge and Cena argued about who gets to go in next with Cena pointing out that he hasn’t even been in the match yet. Edge shoved Cena, so Cena went to the apron. Slater with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Edge and he eliminated him at around 21 minutes.
Edge eliminated by Heath Slater
Analysis: That ROLLUP OF DEATH~! is so deadly, my friends. That’s why it has that name!
Edge with a Spear that sent Cena off the ropes and to the floor. Jericho kicked Cena in the ribs. They blamed Cena for their eliminations.
It’s three for Nexus (Barrett, Slater and Gabriel) versus two for WWE with Cen and Bryan. Gabriel rolled Cena into the ring with Cole complaining about how if Miz was there then maybe WWE would have a chance. Barrett worked over Cena with punches. Cena fought back, but Barrett hit him with a clothesline to knock him down. Gabriel went in for the team with a DDT on Cena. The announcers were bickering thanks to Cole’s annoying commentary. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Cena/Cena sucks” leading to Barrett hitting a sidewalk slam on him. Cena with a suplex on Barrett. Cole said the entire future of the company could be on Daniel Bryan’s shoulders. Why? There was nothing at stake in the match, so the commentary was so bad. Slater whipped Cena into the turnbuckle. Cena and Slater did a running double clothesline collision spot. Bryan tagged in, he hit a German Suplex on Slater and hit a running dropkick. Bryan worked over Slater with kicks to the chest. Bryan with a running clothesline on Slater. Bryan ran the ropes and hit a suicide dive to take out Slater on the floor. Back in the ring, Bryan with a missile dropkick on Slater. Bryan wanted a kick, Slater avoided it, Slater rollup and Bryan slapped on the LeBell Lock to make Slater tap out at 29 minutes into the match.
Heath Slater eliminated by Daniel Bryan
The referee helped Slater get out of the ring, so The Miz ran down with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Miz hit Bryan in the back with the briefcase. The referee never saw it. The fans booed Barrett covered Bryan and eliminated him.
Analysis: It set up a Miz vs. Bryan feud for the US Title with Bryan winning the title from Miz.
Daniel Bryan eliminated by Wade Barrett
The last man left for Team WWE is John Cena against Barrett and Gabriel of The Nexus. Gabriel worked over Cena with a punch followed by a corner splash. Cena avoided a splash attempt by Gabriel, Cena with two shoulder tackles and the spinning slam. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop on Gabriel. Barrett tagged in with a punch to Cena’s head. Barrett and Gabriel stomped away on Cena against the turnbuckle. Barrett with a big boot that knocked Cena out of the ring. Gabriel took off the mats at ringside to expose the concrete. Barrett picked up Cena and hit a DDT on the concrete. The announcers were all sad thinking this was the end of WWE. Barrett rolled Cena into the ring. Gabriel tagged in, he set up for the 450 Splash off the top rope and jumped off, but Cena moved out of the way. Cena covered Gabriel to eliminate him at about 35 minutes into the match.
Justin Gabriel eliminated by John Cena
Barrett was stunned by it. Barrett went into the ring, Cena tripped him up and Cena slapped on the STF and Barrett tapped. That was the end of the match at 35:15.
Wade Barrett eliminated by John Cena
Winners: Team WWE’s John Cena
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a long match that was good at times, but also boring at other times. I hated the finish because it should have been a win for The Nexus. Instead, it was another example of Super Cena coming through. It was ridiculous to have them do a major spot like a DDT on the cement only for Cena to get two eliminations within a few minutes. The right booking would have been a win by Nexus. I think everybody that understands wrestling booking would have had the heels go over, but WWE got it wrong. Apparently, it was due to Cena getting the finish changed, which I’ll cover shortly. Something I hated about this match was that the announcers kept on trying to convince us that a WWE loss would hurt the company in a big way even though that’s not true at all. Cole’s heel commentary was also bad.
Highlights aired of the key spots in the match.
Cena celebrated the win with the crowd cheering him and that was the end of the show.
The show had a run time of 2:55:39 on WWE Network.
More Info On Booking of the Main Event
On a Chris Jericho podcast in December 2013 with Edge as the guest, the two talented Canadians talked about what happened in the main event. Here is what they said:
Jericho: “It was WWE Team vs. Team Nexus…and the finish boiled down to you [Edge] and me [Jericho] were in there, but it was Cena against a couple of them. John wanted to do things a certain way and we told him ‘you’re wrong’. Remember that? And he did it anyways, and it sucked. And then afterwards he came over to us and said ‘I should have listened to you, but I wasn’t seeing it that way. And sometimes you just don’t see it that way, you know?”
Edge: “It’s one of those things…where he was adamant about what he wanted to do. And I remember, I was like, ‘fine, I’m out of the match by that point’.”
Jericho: [Laughs] “Exactly. He wanted to get DDT’d on the floor by Barrett, then kick out and beat them both. And you and I were like, ‘that’s the dumbest thing. That’s just throwing it away for no reason’.”
Edge: “They should have gone over because they were so hot.”
Jericho: “We were fighting for Barrett to go over. And, in all fairness, where’s Wade Barrett now? They should have listened to us.”
Justin Gabriel, who was one of the two Nexus members in at the end of the match, commented on the situation in an interview with WrestlingInc. Here’s what he said:
“There was a back and forth between Jericho and Cena about what should happen. We should have changed the finish, but being rookies we didn’t want to be pushy. We all knew we should have changed it. Everything from that point went downhill. It should have ran for at least a year and put more of an emphasis on some of the characters. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if the powers that-be got bored or if someone got in their ear or what.
“[The finish was] something we found out a couple of hours before. You try to work stuff out and a lot of guys will try to get stuff changed. We were new, so we knew we had to it. We didn’t have the balls to do it. A guy stood up for us and said we should, and the guy who was adamant about not doing it got his way. A few weeks later he stood up and said we were right, and that he should have done that.”
The “he” that he referred to at the end there was Cena.
Skip Sheffield, later known as Ryback, blamed Cena a lot more on one of Ryback’s podcasts in 2016:
“It (The Nexus) was not used properly mainly because of John Cena…f–king marks, that’s your headline for the f–king week. And it’s a fact across the board. Everybody knows it and he did not want that to go any further than what it was going to go past because it was working, because it was eight guys getting over naturally. That’s why. God forbid guys get over naturally. That’s what happens when you get a non-competitive athlete in the top position who’s not used to competing in real life. That’s what happens.”
Here’s Wade Barrett talking about it during an Inside the Ropes show with my buddy Kenny McIntosh. I’m not going to write out the quotes, but here’s the clip where you can hear Barrett explain it. The short version of the story is that they were initially told they were going over, then Wade talked to Vince about it and Vince said that SummerSlam needs to have an ending to send the fans home happy. Barrett said he knew he was being lied to and it was a nonsense reply. Barrett thought it was a terrible idea. Watch the whole clip here:
Here’s how Cena explained it during a rare Q&A session in 2017:
“This has been a topic of debate amongst really hardcore WWE fans for quite some time because it is their sentiment that I should have lost that match. Why did I win that match? Because that is what we did. It’s difficult for me to blur the lines on this… but I show up to work and do what I’m told. I will give you the gratification of this: I don’t pick how the story is told, I get told that. But I do pick what goes on in the story.”
“In that particular moment, it was too much. I think if presented in another way, it could have been a little more palatable. But I can’t change the television show, I’ve never had that power and that’s something I don’t do. If you look at a laundry list of my opponents, you can tell that it’s exactly how I operate. I guessed wrong on the way that the story was told, and I guess that’s why people are so up-in-arms about it. But we tell so many stories. I was wrong once. And I’m very open enough to admit that I was wrong.”
It sounds like Cena wasn’t willing to blame himself too much for the booking decision even though others did call him out on it. At least he admitted that he was wrong, so that’s something.
What would I have done? Cena loses to Barrett and Gabriel. Perhaps they cheat to win. I don’t care. Just have the Nexus win to give them credibility. They needed it and Cena didn’t. Cena was wrong like he said.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– I thought it was an average show at best that was pretty boring at times. They spent all night setting up Team WWE vs. Team Nexus, but the match was just average and I think the booking was terrible because there was no reason for Team WWE to win. The other matches were fine, but when you only have two matches around the three star level that’s not a strong enough show to me. That’s why I gave SummerSlam 2010 a score of 5 out of 10.
– There were not enough matches. Six matches are too few for a show like this. I don’t think the Miz and Nexus in-ring promos were necessary. They could have been done in backstage interview segments.
– The tag team titles were completely ignored, which happened a lot in this era. I hate when WWE would do that, but that’s how they are with tag teams. Sometimes they are booked well and other times it’s as if they don’t matter at all.
– I liked Kane’s heel run during this time in terms of the promos he did and his acting skills. In terms of matches, they were usually not good. The angle with Undertaker worked in terms of getting the crowd into it. The “vegetative state” stuff was silly and I remember making a lot of jokes about it, but when you hear the pop Taker got here you can tell that it worked.
– It was cool seeing Daniel Bryan’s return. I haven’t watched that in a very long time. He looked so different and a lot younger even though he’s still not even 40 years old yet. He was 29 years old here. It’s just different without the huge beard he has had for years.
Show rating (out of 10): 5
Best Match: Team WWE vs. Team Nexus (***1/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Melina vs. Alicia Fox (1/2* out of 5)
Most Memorable Moment: John Cena beating two guys in 30 seconds after he took a DDT on the cement. That’s not a good memorable moment either.
Five Stars Of The Show
- Chris Jericho
- Daniel Bryan
- Wade Barrett
- Randy Orton
Sorry Cena, I can’t put you over for this one.
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)
Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Edge @ SummerSlam 2008 (****1/2)
TLC Match: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2009 (****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 (****)
Batista vs. John Cena @ SummerSlam 2008 (****)
John Cena vs. Randy Orton @ SummerSlam 2007 (****)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 2002 (Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H) – 9
SummerSlam 2008 (The Undertaker vs. Edge HIAC, Batista vs. Cena) – 8
SummerSlam 2001 (The Rock vs. Booker T, Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle) – 8
SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8
SummerSlam 2009 (CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy TLC) – 7.5
SummerSlam 2000 (The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle) – 7.5
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 2005 (Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels) – 7
SummerSlam 2004 (Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit) – 6
SummerSlam 2006 (Edge vs. John Cena) – 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 2007 (John Cena vs. Randy Orton) – 5
SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5
SummerSlam 2010 (Team WWE vs. Team Nexus) – 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 2011.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.
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