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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE SummerSlam 2004

February 11, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Randy Orton SummerSlam WWE
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE SummerSlam 2004  

WWE SummerSlam 2004
August 15th, 2004 | Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Attendance: 17,640

For the first time ever, SummerSlam emanated from Canada. 2004 was kind of the year of Chris Benoit, and tends to get overlooked for obvious circumstances. This was a historic show that features a moment we don’t see enough of due to those circumstances. The show had a Summer Olympics theme. It also featured both Raw and Smackdown, while hosting a pretty big WrestleMania rematch and two top title matches. It was the 17th SummerSlam.

After a video package that mixed all the Olympic SummerSlam commercial, a video rundown of the card was shown. It sounded awkward, so I’m assuming generic music was dubbed in. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler hosted the Raw side, while Michael Cole and Tazz handled Smackdown.

Billy Kidman, Paul London and Rey Mysterio vs. The Dudley Boyz and WWE Cruiserweight Champion Spike Dudley
This was during Spike’s “boss” era. Sasha Banks looks much better in the role. In the early goings, London got worked over by D-Von. Spike would come in after his brothers did the damage. London continued to play the face in peril for a while until making the hot tag to Mysterio. It came just as the Dudleys were knocked off the apron, so Spike must face Mysterio. Rey kicked his ass and got two on a super rana. The Dudleys returned and things got chaotic. London hit a wild dive onto Bubba outside, getting a big reaction. Rey hit the 619 and Kidman followed with the SSP, only for D-Von to break up the cover. Rey and London were taken out, leaving Kidman to eat the 3D. Spike got the cover at 8:07. This was a solid opener. They worked well with the time given and produced a fun match that furthered the Spike angle. The babyface team was a highlight, bringing a lot of energy. [**¾]

‘Til Death Do Us Part: Kane vs. Matt Hardy
Lita was at ringside, because whoever won got her hand in marriage. I don’t recall, but why would Lita ever agree to that? Matt jumped Kane before the bell because he’s angry about Kane knocking his girlfriend up. This whole storyline was wacky. Matt stayed on Kane, hitting an impressive tornado DDT. Kane turned it around until Matt sent him outside, hit a cross body and the Twist of Fate. Kane beat the count, so Lita slid the ring bell inside. She then distracted the referee so Matt could hit him with it. Kane got his foot on the rope to break the pin. They fought up top, where Kane delivered a super Chokeslam to win in 6:08. I dug that as the finish and I liked the story of a desperate Lita cheating to make sure she didn’t have to marry Kane. I do recall that Matt was rather injured going into this, so that could be part of why the match didn’t do much for me. [*½]

Lita comically ran away from Kane.

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Randy Orton ahead of his World Heavyweight Title match. Randy put himself over until Smackdown’s John Cena interrupted. THE FIRST OF A MILLION MEETINGS BETWEEN THE TWO! Cena showed a ton of charisma in this promo, getting the crowd to boo Randy and cheer him. After Cena left, Orton mostly no-sold him because nothing was more important than himself. It was quite the big segment because you could tell these guys next in line. Unfortunately, they’d run that completely into the ground.

WWE United States Championship Match #1 in Best of Five Series: Booker T [c] vs. John Cena
Cena was unjustly stripped of the title by Kurt Angle earlier in the year. It’s early Cena, so his match starting with a slugfest wasn’t a surprise. Booker slowed the pace and went to a rest hold. Cena surprised him with a small package, but due to Cena’s size, it looked awkward. That’s honestly the case with a lot of Cena offense. He avoided the Scissors Kick, but ran into a flapjack shortly after. SPRINAROONIE! That proved to be a waste of time, though, as Cena hit the FU to win in 6:26. A major disappointment. They’re capable of better. Cena wasn’t at the stage of his career where he put on high quality matches and Booker didn’t seem to give his best. The pace was too slow and dull. [*¾]

Backstage, Teddy Long was oddly satisfied with that match. The “Head Cracker on Raw,” Eric Bischoff, entered and made note of how he’s been Raw GM through four different Smackdown GMs. Bischoff doubted Long would be around by the next brand split PPV. Long’s rebuttal was a threat to sign Eugene or any Raw star that’s sick of Bischoff.

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Edge [c] vs. Batista vs. Chris Jericho
There are 23 World Titles between these three. Despite recently returning from over a year off, just ending Randy Orton’s IC Title reign, and being in his hometown, Edge barely got a pop. Batista knocked him outside before the bell, leaving him and Jericho to go at it. Judging by commentary, this was done to hammer home that Edge could lose the title without getting pinned. Batista’s power allowed him to be in control. He got thrown into the stairs, allowing the Canadians to go at it. Edge’s response became downright negative. They rained boos down on him. Batista got involved again and delivered a big spinebuster to Jericho. Edge broke up the pin and countered a spinebuster for a rollup. Jericho hit him with a bulldog and dropkicked Batista off the apron. Before he could do anymore, Edge took him out with a Spear to retain in 8:26. A good match that never reached the levels I hoped it would. I think it needed a more experienced Batista and a heel Edge. The action was solid and the crowd was into it, even if they were booing the babyface champ. [***]

Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle w/ Luther Reigns
Eddie beat Angle at WrestleMania by untying his boot to escape the Ankle Lock. While Angle was GM, he screwed Eddie out of the WWE Title. In BIZARRO WORLD CANADA, the fans were behind heel Angle. They worked some mat exchanges for a bit before Angle hit a German. Eddie slipped free and applied an Ankle Lock. They trade Ankle Lock attempts, with Angle continuing to attack the leg. The fans were quiet during most of these exchanges. Eddie unlaced his boot, like he did at WrestleMania. He managed to hit Three Amigos with the bad ankle and called for the Frog Splash. He was too slow and Angle followed him up with a super Angle Slam for two. When Eddie kept kicking out, Angle removed his boot and applied the Ankle Lock to the exposed foot. After a ref bump, Eddie hit Angle and Reigns with the boot and played possum. Classic Eddie. He hit the Frog Splash for a near fall that the fans totally bit on. Eddie bickered with the referee, allowing Kurt to pull the exposed foot into the Ankle Lock. Angle dropped to the mat to fully lock it in and Eddie tapped in 13:38. Great psychology. They built this around the ankle and their previous match, which was wise. They didn’t reach the level of their Mania outing, as this had a few moments that didn’t fully click and a lackluster crowd. It was still the best thing on the show so far. [***¾]

Eugene vs. Triple H
What a strange way for Triple H to spend his summer. Feuding with Eugene. The despicable HHH promised to end Eugene’s career. He beat up Eugene early and when Eugene got something going, HHH hid behind Lillian Garcia. Eugene countered a suplex to the outside but HHH stopped due to a knee injury. Obviously, he was faking and jumped a concerned Eugene from behind. Eugene was prepared for HHH’s next attempt at mind games and scored with the EUGENE BOTTOM! His People’s Elbow was cut off by a spinebuster. HHH continued the slow pace until Eugene busted out a Stunner. Ric Flair strolled out as Eugene went into Hogan mode. When that failed, Eugene hit a Pedigree, but Flair put HHH’s foot on the rope. Flair tripped Eugene and got ejected. Eugene’s buddy William Regal showed up and laid out Flair with brass knuckles. During this time, HHH rested up and drilled Eugene with a Pedigree to win in 14:06. The story of HHH using his wits to his advantage was fine, but going fifteen minutes with a comedy character wasn’t a good idea. HHH should’ve handled him in shorter time and without the shenanigans. [**¼]

Divas Dodgeball: Team Diva Search (Amy Weber, Christy Hemme, Joy Giovanni, Maria Kanellis, Michelle McCool and Tracie Wright) vs. Team Diva (Gail Kim, Jazz, Molly Holly, Nidia, Stacy Keibler and Victoria)
Women’s Champion Trish Stratus was on the sidelines as the Divas captain. Not much to say about this. The Diva Search girls won in pretty easy fashion, leading to Trish and Victoria getting into it. [NR]

WWE Championship: John “Bradshaw” Layfield [c] w/ Orlando Jordan vs. The Undertaker
I believe this was Taker’s first shot at the title since returning as the “Deadman.” JBL came out aggressively, even utilizing a shoulder block off the top. JBL went after the leg, wrapping it around the ring post and sending it into the steel steps. Since the match was rather dull, the fans began doing a wave and chanting for the Spanish announce table. Yikes. Orlando Jordan got in some cheap shots as they kept trying to make sure Taker’s legs were out. After JBL bored the crowd some more, Taker began a comeback. He was wise enough to sell the leg throughout. We got a ref bump, leading to JBL using the title, but that only got two. Taker kicked OJ’s ass and took the title, whacking JBL with it. The referee just happened to get up at that moment, leading to the DQ finish in 17:37. That seemed to go on forever. The leg work and selling were both fine, but it never played much of a factor. Things never got that interesting, it went too long and was rather boring. [**]

Post-match, an angry Undertaker Chokeslammed JBL through the roof of his limo. JBL was carted off.

World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Benoit [c] vs. Randy Orton
Triple H could not figure out Benoit, but now his protégé had an opportunity to do so. Lots of grappling exchanges in the early goings, with Benoit having the upper hand and frustrating Orton. Orton applied a Sharpshooter, angering the fans since Earl Hebner was the referee and this was Canada. The match moved outside for a short while, leading to a Benoit DDT on the apron. It didn’t come off cleanly. In a scary moment, Benoit missed a tope suicida and went headfirst into the guardrail. When it comes to Benoit, those are never fun to watch. With that, Orton put the focus on Benoit’s neck. Orton busted out a sweet hanging neckbreaker that I wish he used more often. Benoit rallied and then avoided the RKO. He hit a German and went back to the Sharpshooter, but Orton made it to the bottom rope. Benoit went German suplex happy, hitting six in a row. Orton got his feet straight up on a Benoit diving headbutt (yikes), which looked wild. Orton covered, but Benoit turned it into the Crippler Crossface. Orton slipped free and went for the RKO. Benoit went for the arm and Orton turned it into an RKO in one fluid motion to become the youngest World Champion in 20:08. Great main event. I love that it was clean. No shenanigans or nonsense, just two guys giving their all. Benoit sold the hell out of the neck and Orton’s offense on it wasn’t as boring as he can make it at times. I’ve always had a soft spot for this match and I still love it to this day. [****¼]

Post-match, Chris Benoit returned to the ring and offered a handshake. He shouted for Orton to “be a man” and Orton accepted the handshake.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Not quite what you’d hope for on the second biggest show of the year, but an above average show that mostly flew by. The only times things seemed to go long were for HHH/Eugene and the WWE Title match. If you shave time off those and give it to the IC Title and opener, you’d have a better show. Kane/Hardy and Cena/Booker both underwhelmed, which was disappointing. I enjoyed Eddie/Angle, though they’ve had better. The main event totally delivered, producing both a great match and a historic moment.

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Summerslam, WWE, Kevin Pantoja