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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE SummerSlam 2008

November 16, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WWE SummerSlam 2008
7
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE SummerSlam 2008  

WWE SummerSlam 2008
August 17th, 2008 | Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana | Attendance: 15,977

The WWE had just changed from TV-14 to TV-PG and people weren’t sure how it would affect the product. That was especially true considering a personal, bitter rivalry going on between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, as well as a planned Hell in a Cell match for this show. This show also featured a first time ever meeting between two of the top stars of the decade. It was the 21st SummerSlam event.

The theme song for the show was “Ready to Roll” by Jet Black Stare.

A Hollywood theme was given to the opening video package, hyping SummerSlam as the biggest blockbuster of the summer.

Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Todd Grisham, Jim Ross, Tazz, and Matt Striker were all on commentary at different times for the show.

Jeff Hardy vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
This was around the time Jeff was getting his monster push. It was also his first SummerSlam since way back in 2001. He was in control early, until MVP caught him with a sweet snap belly to belly into the corner. MVP spent the next few minutes wearing Jeff down. His apparent strategy was to take out Jeff’s legs since he’s a high flyer. It took a while for him to find an opening, which he did with a neckbreaker. As Jeff got going, the United States Champion Shelton Benjamin came out. Jeff took him out with a dive, but still went after MVP with a Swanton Bomb. He missed, and MVP delivered the Drive-By to win in 10:12. That was a wise finish, as it kept Jeff strong and his reckless style cost him just like MVP had been saying coming into this. Quality opener where they had a good, smart worked match that didn’t overdo anything. [***]

Backstage, Maria Kanellis interviewed Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix about their mixed tag match. Santino hilariously said Maria let herself go since they broke up. He was funny and said they were going to make history tonight.

WWE Intercontinental and Women’s Championship: Kofi Kingston [c] and Mickie James [c] vs. Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella
AN ADAMLE ORIGINAL! Winners take all rules for this one. Not a lot of people talk about it, but the women were having some bangers in 2008. They opened with a decent exchange. Apparently, men and women were still allowed to face each other here, as Mickie took Santino over with a monkey flip. Anyway, the story throughout was that the women were relatively evenly matched, but Kofi was clearly better than Santino. Santino broke up a Mickie pin and used Kofi’s own momentum to send him outside. Mickie took him out with the Mick-DT, but it worked to distract her. Beth hit her from behind and used the Glam Slam to capture both titles in 5:39. Harmless fun. Beth and Mickie were good together, while Santino brought a lot of entertainment, and Kofi showcased some of his offense. Exactly what it needed to be. [**¼]

The winners leave with Beth holding Santino on her shoulders. Amazing.

The Shawn Michaels/Chris Jericho feud got a recap. At “The Bash,” Shawn’s eye got busted up badly and he was out of action due to it. Shawn came to the ring with his wife, Rebecca (former Nitro Girl Whisper). He announced that his doctor recommended he retire due to the numerous injuries he’s suffered and how his vision could be impacted by his most recent injury. Shawn ran down all the things he’s known for and said he was listening to the doctors for the first time. Before he could officially retire, Chris Jericho came out. He demanded that Shawn credit him for the retirement and not a slew of injuries. Shawn said he’d tell his kids that it was Jericho’s fault, but only if Jericho could go home and tell his family that he could never be Shawn Michaels. Dang. Jericho went to punch Shawn, but he ducked and Jericho clocked Rebecca. Medics checked on her, Jericho left, and Shawn stared a hole through him. A fantastic segment involving two of the best ever. Rebecca even bumped well. Also, the WWE doesn’t do it nearly enough, but commentary was silent for the moment and that sold it way more than anything Cole could’ve possibly said.

ECW Championship: Mark Henry [c] w/ Tony Atlas vs. Matt Hardy
On the last ECW, Henry hit Hardy with the World’s Strongest Slam onto the title. Despite being battered, Hardy managed to nail Twist of Fate in the opening seconds. Tony Atlas pulled him out when he covered Henry, resulting in a DQ in 0:32. So, that happened. [NR]

Tony Atlas beat on Matt until Jeff Hardy arrived to make the save. He nailed Tony with a Swanton Bomb off the apron. Mark Henry attacked them both, but took a double suplex. Did this lead to the Hardy Boyz against Henry and Atlas? Because if not, it was a waste.

World Heavyweight Championship: CM Punk [c] vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
Ah, this title reign was a wreck. CM Punk cashed in Money in the Bank and proceeded to get called a fluke by everyone, so naturally, it felt like he was one. It didn’t help that he was never “the guy” on Raw. Punk got off to a more aggressive start than most of his title defenses from this time. Cole spent that time trying to explain Punk’s personality and doing a poor job of it. JBL caught him with a big fall away slam that swung the momentum. The portion of the match where JBL wore down Punk was rather dull. Punk couldn’t hit the Go to Sleep because of the damage he suffered throughout the match. He did manage to avoid a Clothesline from Hell with a flying kick. JBL’s head landed on Punk’s and busted him open. From there, Punk survived a bit more before hitting the GTS from out of nowhere to retain in 11:52. It was largely fine and told the story it needed to. Having JBL on offense for too long proved to be too boring to make this a memorable. Resourceful champion Punk was successful though. [**½]

World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H [c] vs. The Great Khali w/ Ranjin Singh
You know how this went. Khali had the big size advantage and battered the champion. Within minutes, he had the Vice Grip locked in, but HHH found a way to fight free. He went after the knees to chop the challenger down to size. STAY CEREBRAL. To “you can’t wrestle” chants, Khali continued to wear down HHH. The champ had wise hope spots, including getting Khali tied up in the ropes. HHH eventually powered out of the Vice Grip and delivered the Pedigree to retain in 10:00. It was about as good as it could’ve been. They told a wise story, it’s just to do anything of interest with Khali. [*½]

Batista vs. John Cena
The two guys who ushered in a new era at WrestleMania 21. It’s a rare first time ever meeting (not counting OVW). Their early exchanges were interesting, because for two power guys, they went different routes. Batista applying a Figure Four, with the idea that he learned it from Ric Flair, was a good idea. Batista could’ve used a submission in this era. There was also a unique atmosphere here, as both guys kind of got booed. I’d say Batista was the slightly more popular one. Speaking of Batista and submissions, he got out of the STF and worked a rear naked choke. I’m telling you, it would’ve been a nice addition to his consistent offense. Things really got going when they began throwing big bombs at one another. That included the spear and FU for near falls. I appreciated how Cena was too hurt to instantly cover after the FU, which helped protect the move. Cena went for the diving Fameasser, but got caught in a midair Batista Bomb for two. That move actually basically broke Cena’s neck. Batista added another Batista Bomb to pick up the win in 14:09. Their WrestleMania XXVI match is better, but this worked as a strong first chapter. It started slow, but they built to it being a battle of two big stars throwing their best at one another, which worked well. [***½]

Hell in a Cell: Edge vs. The Undertaker
Most people are frightened to enter the Cell against the Undertaker. Edge came out looking euphoric and almost delighted. It was perfect character work considering how Mick Foley pushed him to be THE Edge in this match. I always love the way Taker slams the Cell door shut behind him. He beat the hell out of Edge to start, and hit him with Snake Eyes onto steel steps set up in the corner. Edge turned it around with a series of chair shots. In an interesting spot, Edge said, “I UNDERSTAND” before splashing Taker through a table. He was doing all he could to tell a certain story. The spots got ramped up when Edge Speared Taker through the cage. The big spots kept coming, including another Spear through the announce table. Things like a ladder came into play back inside, before the guys began throwing their finishers at each other. One of the highlights was Edge going for “Old School,” which JR called sacrilege. He paid for it when Taker chokeslammed through two tables off the top. Undertaker added Edge’s own offense against him, including a Spear and an awesome Con-chair-to, before winning with the Tombstone in 26:41. Plenty of people have called it one of the best HIAC matches ever and a 2008 MOTY contender. I wouldn’t go that far, but it had some great moments. Edge played every character perfectly, and Undertaker using a Con-chair-to to help finish him was great. However, it felt like a collection of spots at times, as they seemed to just move from one to the next at points. Still, a very good Cell that probably cracks the top 10. [***¾]

La Familia clapped backstage, as Vickie had been having issues with Edge and set this match up. Undertaker went to leave, but turned back around and set up two ladders. He draped Edge on one and climbed one next to it. From there, he Chokeslammed Edge off and through the ring! That would’ve been cool on its own, but it happened with some weird production where the camera quality got all weird and there were creepy kids laughing. Undertaker then proceeded to set the hole in the ring on fire. Surprisingly, Jim Ross was rather calm through this whole thing. A decade earlier, he would’ve lost his mind on that spot.

7
The final score: review Good
The 411
This was a good SummerSlam, that usually gets overlooked. It did have some weak top title matches thrown into the midcard and none of the matches reached four stars, but there’s a lot of good on there. Punk/JBL is solid, while the mixed tag was entertaining. Jeff/MVP was a quality opener. Batista/Cena gave us a strong first entry into a battle of two top stars, while Edge/Undertaker was a fitting end to their rivalry that dominated most of the 2008. Thumbs up.
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