Last Sunday Night was SummerSlam 2008. The pay-per-view was dubbed “the biggest blockbuster of the summer”, a title which I perhaps doubted the credibility of (before I saw it). The pay-per-view did have it’s ups and downs and certainly was not perfect.
With regards to the downs, the ECW title “defence” comes to mind. The match was cut short after Matt Hardy hit the Twist of Fate by Tony Atlas and therefore ended in a DQ, with Jeff Hardy coming to save his brother from a beating. This was the ONLY ECW match in the whole pay-per-view, and went to highlight just how under-used the ECW brand is. Two stars in Henry and Hardy were denied what could have been a good match, and ECW fans were left shocked and dismayed.
Another match that comes to mind was the HHH vs Great Khali match. These are two wrestlers that could have had a very good match, HHH being one of the greatest (second to Undertaker perhaps) superstar in the business at the moment, and Khali’s domination gimmick and size making this a much anticipated match. However, after a poor build up on Smackdown over the past few weeks, sometimes not even featuring the Khali-HHH rivalry, this match just seemed rushed and did not do justice to the superstars or WWE title.
WWE’s final flaw was that it seemed like they had given us a short, rushed PPV. Many stars, such as Jericho, Kane, Miz and Morrison, Finlay, DiBiase, and Rhodes, etc., were left out. There was opportunity for tag team turmoil matches or a triple-threat TLC match (like the Summerslam many years ago). Missing out some great superstars from the Card left fans feeling short-changed, and was a wasted opportunity on WWE’s part. There weren’t even any tag title defences nor a USA title defence from Shelton Benjamin.
A couple more matches, like the Jeff Hardy vs MVP match and the Beth Phoenix and Santino vs Mickie James and Kofi Kingston match were hardly great, but were not main event matches either. The pay-per-view really shone with a few matches in particular. The World Heavyweight Title defence of CM Punk against JBL was very entertaining, with some great back and forth action, really demonstrating these two superstars’ ability. However, two matches in particular come to mind.
The Cena vs Batista match was meant to be a classic in the making, something that many WWE fans (including myself) doubted. I still stand by this, the match was hardly a classic. However it was much better than I thought. It was a long and gruelling match, with both superstars pulling out all the stops, with everything from submission, to great feats of strength and was very impressive. In addition, the ending, where Batista seemingly transformed into “The Animal” after loosing his temper, thus picking up the win, was unpredictable and entertaining. WWE made the right choice in making Batista win.
However, what really stole the show was the main event – Edge vs The Undertaker in hell in a cell. This match was phenomenal, and in all of the Hell In A Cells I’ve seen, I would rank this on a par with my two favourites (Cactus Jack vs HHH at No Way Out 2001 and the legendary Undertaker vs Mankind). This match featured blood, a broken Hell In A Cell, a spear across 3 announcer tables and all kinds of weapons. The 2 stars went back and forth and it was entertainingly not one-sided, with incredible performances by both superstars. Perhaps the best innovation was the introduction of the Tables, Ladders and Chairs, combining the Cell with the infamous TLC match. Ending wise, this was very good, with Undertaker going back after winning the match to drive Edge from a ladder through the ring.
So overall, the main events of this pay-per-view delivered, and the mid-card matches did their jobs. However, after hugely disappointing title defences from HHH and Mark Henry, no especially jaw-dropping matches and a huge mistake in leaving out many superstars and title defences, this pay-per0view was certainly not the biggest blockbuster of the summer. Which is why my overall rating of this pay per view is 3/5.