WWE Capitol Punishment: A Match-by-Match Breakdown
For the first time in a long time, we have a WWE Pay-Per-View with plenty of singles action and no gimmicks or special referees to speak of. Most of the card was built strongly (albeit with some interesting and sometimes lackluster booking), thus leaving Capitol Punishment with some good momentum and anticipation. Did the matches live up to the hype, or did any fall flat? Here's the breakdown of WWE's newest PPV, match by match.
(All pictures courtesy of WWE.com)
Kofi Kingston Versus Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship
I figured this match was going to be a great opener.
Kofi = Great, high-octane spots
Ziggler = Energy, move sell-ability, and nice technique
Unfortunately, the ending took the wind out of the entire match.
The match did have the energy and intensity that it needed to start off the Pay-Per-View, with Kofi and Ziggler doing what they do best. There were plenty of great spots (I still love watching Kofi do the top-rope crossbody) and some reversals as well, and multiple misses on the finishers.
The match finally ended when Dolph Ziggler cinched in the sleeper hold after interference from Vickie Guerrero. Kofi went down, and after fighting it, the referee called the match. And that's when things got a little weird.
The announcers seemed quite confused about the ending of the match, wondering if it was really a disqualification for Ziggler since he pushed off the ropes to get Kofi back into the center of the ring. The wrestlers seemed a little confused as well, and it wasn't until the referee handed the belt to Ziggler that it was announced and the celebration began.
Overall, the match was a good way to kick off the PPV, but again, the ending just seemed to really pull the match down. Overall, I would give the match a B after averaging the A of the match and the C of the ending.
The Miz Versus Alex Riley
I had forgotten that Alex Riley was from Washington D.C, which meant they were either going to give the Miz some massive heat or Alex Riley a big push. I'm glad they chose the latter.
This match was pretty Miz-heavy in the early minutes after Riley struck quickly while he was being berated by the Miz. The Miz always had an answer to Riley's advances, and I must say he looked really good as he did. It was also a plus for A-Ri, as it made him look tough as nails for hanging on as long as he did while he was being beaten.
A crotching baseball slide marked the turn-around for Riley, who began to get in his offense. The two starting going back and forth, with Riley connecting with a nice spinebuster. The finish came when Cole got into the mix in attempt to talk sense into A-Ri. Riley promptly tossed him over the announce table, providing just enough of a distraction for the Miz to cheap-shot Riley and get him into the ring.
Before getting in himself, the Miz grabbed a briefcase and brought it to the ring, but the ref took it away from him before he was able to strike. Before he knew it, Riley grabbed the Miz and slammed him with an elevated DDT for the pin.
I'm glad this match turned out the way it did, and both competitors looked pretty good in the showing. I do think Riley needs a better finisher, or at least one that looks a bit more impressive. Other than that, it was a pretty good match and earns another B.
Alberto Del Rio Versus the Big Show
I expected very little out of this match between Del Rio and Big Show, and I feel so glad that the WWE lived up to my expectations.
Alberto Del Rio came out (without Ricardo Rodriguez, which made me sad...), and without warning, the Big Show came barreling down the ramp to attack Del Rio before the match began. For the next minute or so, Big Show decimated Del Rio before Mark Henry came running in as well to attack the Big Show for what happened on Smackdown just two days prior.
Following a World's Strongest Slam through the announce table, the Big Show seemed down and out. Meanwhile, Del Rio was in the ring begging for the ref to begin counting Big Show out. Granted, the match hadn't officially started yet.
Eventually, Big Show would get into the ring and the match began, which was a slow, plodding affair. It was basically a repetition of Del Rio taking out Big Show's injured leg, and then Big Show slamming Del Rio. The match finally came to an end after Del Rio locked in the Cross Armbreaker on Big Show's injured leg. Big Show made it to the ropes and Del Rio broke the hold, but after about two minutes of trying to get to his feet, the ref awarded the win to Del Rio, having determined that the Big Show could no longer fight.
As I said, I didn't expect much out of this match, and I got just that. This one's a C-.
Wade Barrett Versus Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental Championship
This was another match that I didn't expect much out of. I didn't think it was going to be anything memorable, but then I didn't expected to be terrible either, just a Smackdown match at a PPV. I think I called this one right.
The momentum switched back and forth throughout the match, keeping the action fresh. Unfortunately, after the Del Rio versus Big Show match, I think the crowd was out of it. A "We Want Ryder" chant actually broke out in the middle of the match while Barrett had Jackson in a hold.
This match was a lot of corner work and holds, in my opinion. That and bodyslams. Barrett actually hit Wasteland on Jackson, who kicked out of it (much to the surprise of the announcers).
The match ended when Jackson picked up Barrett for four slams before putting him in the torture rack and getting him to tap. Personally, I'm not sure whether or not I like the fact that Jackson kicked out of Wasteland. On one hand, it makes him look dang tough. On the other hand though, it makes Barrett look a little weak.
Anyway, it was like I thought: not a bad match, but nothing special either. I'd give it a C+. It was better than their last match at Over the Limit, but there's still much room for improvement.
CM Punk Versus Rey Mysterio
This was the first match with high expectations, and I think it lived up to them.
There was a lot of back-and-forth action, near-pins, and reversals, and with Rey's energy and Punk's technical expertise, these two put the other matches to shame. Unfortunately, the crowd was out to lunch.
It opened with Punk getting the upper hand on Rey with a variety of holds and reversals. One nice spot occurred when Rey jumped off the ring for either a hurricarana or a seated senton on Punk, who was on the floor. Punk then caught Rey and tossed him over his head and onto the barricade.
Rey hit a HUGE moonsault from the ropes to the floor, and it signaled for these two to really get to work. There were 619 and GTS attempts aplenty, each one getting countered one way or the other. Some more great spots follow as the two chased each other around.
The ending came when Punk got Rey for a GTS, but as he came down, Rey countered into an arm-drag and got Punk on the ropes in the 619 position. As he came around, however, Punk lowered his shoulders, which caused Rey to land on top of him. Punk then stood and got Rey into GTS position yet again, this time connecting.
This was a start-and-stop match in the beginning before kicking into high-gear at the end. And here's where I'm torn: going back and looking at the match, it's an A. Any other day, any other PPV, and I'd agree. But we were four matches in, and I was thoroughly disappointed with the action that had transpired and wanted a really high-octane match with action aplenty. CM Punk is a methodical wrestler and a technical one, which means he'll slow the match with holds and really lay down the punishment. While I love these two, I have to give the match a B+. I wanted more, though this is hard to ask for when you have a match this good.
Randy Orton Versus Christian for the World Heavywight Championship
These two scored match of the night for me at Over the Limit, so the question remained: would they do it again?
I found it funny that Randy Orton turned out to be the aggressor early on. I figured we'd see a desperate Christian who would do anything he could to get the title, but Orton looked like he was the one out there with something to prove.
Again, a lot of back-and-forth action unfolded between the two, including a move I've never seen from Orton that some are calling an inverted neckbreaker, but which I'm just going to call awesome. There were a lot of great spots in this match as well, including the one I just mentioned, a superplex from Orton, and a lot of counters down the home stretch. It was a crazy waltz of RKO—Killswitch—Spear for about two minutes before Christian finally connected with a spear. Orton kicked out, and before he could get up, Christian began scaling the ropes. He jumped, but Orton was able to get out from under him and into the corner. Christian landed on his feet, and as he turned around, he was hit with an RKO and pinned for three.
But what ho? Christian's foot was under the bottom rope! The ref failed to see it, and Christian pled his case to the ref after the match. Orton saw him and stopped celebrating long enough to clock him with the title belt. Something tells me we're not going to hear the end of this. Can anyone say, "WWE Raw Viewer's Choice fiasco?" Me thinks so...
I have the same problem here as I did in the last match. It deserves an A+, though I don't think it was as good as their Over the Limit match. It's my match of the night, but due to my bad mood over the PPV, it's only an A tonight.
Jack Swagger Versus Evan Boune
This match was thrown onto the card because they were running early on the PPV and needed to buy time. I feel these two deserved more than Plan B status, but I was excited by the fact that these two made the show in the end.
This was like the Barrett versus Jackson match: a glorified Raw match. They did their things with Swagger tossing Bourne around like a small child and looking quite strong (it helps that Bourne can sell moves like a boss), and Bourne getting in his token quick offense. The finish came after a HUGE DDT from Bourne laid out Swagger. Bourne went up for the Shooting Star Press, but Swagger moved and countered with a roll-up, which Bourne then reversed for the win.
It was a good filler match, but that's what I wanted. Especially after the past two matches, I'm sure this felt like a waste of time. And that's a shame when these two are fighting. I'd give this match a B- for making due with what time it had.
John Cena Versus R-Truth for the WWE Championship
Here is a match that I was both excited about and deathly afraid of. If played right, this match could hurtle R-Truth onto a whole new level. Played wrong, and Cena could once again come off as a Superman and Truth's push could be dead.
Needless to say, Truth took complete control over the opening 10 minutes of the match. (A side note... why is R-Truth still wearing his "What's Up" jeans?) Truth looked dang impressive during the beat-down as well. He first continued to duck out of the ring as soon as it seemed Cena was gaining momentum, showing that while mentally unstable, he was still a smart fighter. He continued to work on Cena, hitting him with kicks, slaps, and a leg drop following a hilarious dance by R-Truth, playing to the audience.
Eventually, Cena would begin his sequence, leading up to the Five-Knuckle shuffle, but the AA attempt was countered into a stunner that stopped Cena.Truth would get in a bit more offense and a HUGE scissor kick before the STF locked it. Luckily, Truth made it to the ropes. Truth was able to hit his finisher on Cena, but he kicked out and exited the ring, leading then to the most infuriating finish of the night.
R-Truth picked out his Little Jimmy of the night, stole his John Cena cap, and then stole his drink and sipped it while taunting the audience. He then handed the cup back to the kid, who promptly threw it back in R-Truth's face. While R-Truth sputtered, Cena grabbed him, threw him back into the ring, and hit Truth with the AA to get the pin.
Really? After all of that, R-Truth is finished off by a cup of water? Let's look at the amount of damage they did to one another. Cena maybe hit a total of 8 moves on Truth over the course of the match, while Truth worked him for at least 10 minutes. Why do they have to make John Cena out to be a superhuman wrecking machine? He's like the M. Bison of Street Fighter: moves do less damage, he does twice as much as anyone else, and he somehow manages to win.
Just once, I'd like to see John Cena in a back-and-forth match in which both competitors look good with a number of near-falls and finishes. Truth looked good, and then Truth looked weak. In my eyes, Cena did not look good in that match. This match earns a C because it should have been much more than it was.
So to Recap...
All in all, the show was disappointing. A number of bad finishes, a couple of Raw/Smackdown quality matches, and a weak Main Event made for a C+ Capitol Punishment.
The Match of the Night has to go to Orton and Christian again. These two can put on a great show, and the past three title matches have been nothing short of amazing. The runner-up goes to Punk and Rey. No matter how many times these two go at it, I still enjoy every minute of it.
With a 3-hour People's Choice Raw to follow, the amount of fallout to be discussed is questionable, but we can only hope that something is to come out of here that will lead to a better Money in the Bank next month. What does everyone else think? Let me know in the comments below.