Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan.
The dream match everyone wanted to see at some point finally happened at SummerSlam. I was pumped for this match when I was a kid. And at this point, I had started working at my first job so I had the money to buy my own PPVs.
Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestler of all time. I did not see his turn on Hogan coming. I remember it being on the 4th of July RAW from that year. Speaking of, do you guys remember my 4th of July column from this year? No? Well here it is, relishing in America’s greatest wrestling triumphs.
The weather was really bad so no one was out partying. My power went out during RAW. It came back on right as Shawn Michaels was standing over Hulk Hogan. There was no Twitter at the time, so I went right to WWE.com to see what happened.
I was pumped for this match and I thought Shawn Michaels was winning here. I was wise to the business for years by this point but I was just starting to understand the “politics’ side of it. So needless to say, by the end of the night I was livid. But we’ll get there.
Seether’s “Remedy” is the theme song for his show and I kind of like as a rock song.
United States Championship: Orlando Jordan (c) vs Chris Benoit
We get a lock up, some shoving, and Chris Benoit applies the Crossface and Jordan taps in about 30 seconds. This was pretty much the end of Jordan in the WWE.
Matt Hardy vs Edge w/Lita
Ah yes, this whole worked/shoot angle. Just last year at SummerSlam, Matt Hardy lost a “Til Death to Us Part” match to Kane where Kane won the right to marry Lita. Imagine if that was how love triangles were figured out in real life? Just letting two guys or girls fight in a wrestling ring.
I remember Matt Hardy getting a lot of buzz with his comeback appearance on RAW. But after that it slowly started fizzling away. I really didn’t like when he showed up in a limo with Vince McMahon announcing his rehiring. I mean Matt Hardy is a good hand, but he was never going to get propelled to the main event after this angle.
Let me just say that I lovvveeddd heel Lita. Especially as a 16 year old teenager at this time. And she is looking pretty good tonight. Edge and Lita were great together. Some will argue Edge was only relevant and had heat when he was with a woman, but I think he elevated his game after Lita as well.
Both guys start brawling around the ringside area to the start the match. They eventually get back in the ring and the match starts. I’m pretty sure I hear a “She’s a crack whore” chant. Did we jump back to ECW? Edge spears Matt Hardy through the ropes. Seven months later he would be doing that to Mick Foley through a flaming table.
Matt Hardy lands some strong style for arms to Edge and mounts him in the corner. Edge then lifts Matt and drops him right on the ring post head first. Hardy is busted open and Edge immediately goes to work opening up the cut some more. The referee then stops the match and awards it to Edge.
I remember hating this result. I thought it could have gone another 10 minutes before getting here. This match didn’t even get to 10 minutes. Matt would get a little bit of redemption the next month at Unforgiven inside a steel cage. But this brought Matt Hardy’s momentum to a grinding halt very quickly.
Ladder Match for the Custody of Dominic: Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio
The WWE is throwing out a lot of different options on this PPV to settle things outside the courtroom. Now we have a ladder match for the custody of a child! If you remember, it was revealed that Eddie Guerrero was the biological father of Dominic in this story. But yet the WWE fails to acknowledge this on TV today. Young Dominic is at ringside with a social worker.
Eddie throws Rey into a ladder on the outside. Eddie brings the ladder into the ring but Rey springboards off the ropes and knocks Eddie off. Eddie grabs another ladder on the outside but Rey hits a seated senton to the outside as Eddie is holding the ladder.
Both men climb the ladder inside the ring and exchange blows. Eddie goes for a sunset flip powerbomb but either Eddie loses his grip or Rey doesn’t fall fast enough and it is messed up. Eddie its Rey a couple times with a ladder, then sandwiches him between two ladders and hits a senton over the top onto Rey.
Eddie puts a ladder on Rey in the corner and starts to climb. Rey leans his ladder into Eddie’s and climbs up it. Rey backdrops Eddie onto the ladder then the main one falls and Rey falls on it hard. Ouch. Eddie then sets a ladder up across the ropes in the corner. Rey charges and Eddie drops him on it. Again, ouch.
As Eddie climbs the ladder in the ring, Dominic comes into the ring and starts to shake it. What kind of social worker lets a child climb into the ring and get into such a dangerous situation? I hope she was fired after this. Eddie for some reason climbs down and chastises Dominic. Rey starts a comeback and hits a 619 into Eddie who has a ladder in his face. Rey starts climbing. Eddie stops him but this time Rey connects on the sunset flip powerbomb.
Rey climbs the ladder and has the briefcase practially in his hands, but Eddie knocks the ladder away. Rey is hanging there and falls right into Eddie who hits a spinebuster. Eddie climbs the ladder set up over Rey and taunts him. Eddie grabs the briefcase but struggles with it. This time Rey knocks it away and pulls Eddie off, who lands awkwardly. For those that don’t know, Vickie Guerrero was supposed to come out there. Eddie screams and yells “Where the fuck was Vickie” after that but it is edited out of the Network version.
So now these two have to reset as Eddie hits the Three Amigos suplex. Eddie climbs again and NOW Vickie comes out. Vickie pushes the ladder over to a decent smattering of boos. Rey climbs the ladder as Vickie pushes Eddie away and Rey grabs the briefcase for the win.
It is tough to judge this match. You can’t really fault these two for the missed spot at the end. But there were a handful of bad botches. But at the same time, some of those botches made the impact look painful. Sadly, Eddie would be gone two months later.
Eugene w/Christy Hemme vs Kurt Angle
Eugene was well past his expiration date at this time. He won possession of Kurt Angle’s gold medal about a month ago. Kurt Angle was on a tear at this point. He was next in line to fight John Cena after this and the crowd loved him.
Angle goes right at Eugene when he enters the ring and hits him with an upper cut. Eugene hits a spinebuster and goes for the People’s Elbow but Angle pops up and clotheslines him. The crowd bursts into a “Lets Go Angle” chant. The crowd craps on every single possible Eugene comeback.
Eugene does his hulk up and is able to hit a Stunner but Angle kicks out. Eugene applies the Ankle Lock but Angle reverses it and Eugene awkwardly falls into the corner. Angle then hits the Olympic Slam and then taps Eugene out to the Ankle Lock to win and get his medals back.
I never really had an issue with the Eugene character. But as I said above, he was well past his expiration date at this point. Kurt Angle was above this by this point. Kurt makes the ref put his gold medal around his neck while standing on a chair in the ring after.
We cut to the back with Torrie Wilson, Maria, Ashley Massaro, Candice and Stacy Kiebler washing a limo with the “President of the United States” seal. The window is rolled down and it is Vince McMahon and he says “Why Not?” Then his bumper sticker says “McMahon for President.” We kind of have the real life version of that happening in the States today.
The Undertaker vs Randy Orton
This feud pretty much lasted all of 2005 on Smackdown. It would heavily dominate the late part of the year and of course is a rematch of their Wrestlemania 21 match. Orton was heavily rumored to win that match but his backstage attitude and behavior stopped that.
Orton starts with a side headlock and Michael Cole says Orton has been utilizing that a lot as of late. Did he confuse that with chinlocks? This is pretty much a standard match to start, with both guys exchanging blows and Taker hitting his leaping clothesline. But Taker charges at Orton in the corner with a boot and Orton moves out of the way.
Orton slowly and methodically works Undertaker over for a long portion of the match here. It takes awhile for the crowd to start to get behind a possible Taker comeback. Orton starts concentrating on the left leg of the Undertaker. Taker shoves Orton over the top with his good leg then slams him into the steps. In surprising fashion, Taker actually sells the injury as he leg drops Orton on the ropes.
Undertaker continues to sell the leg as he hits Old School. If this was American Bad Ass Taker there would be no chance in hell he would be selling that leg still. Taker hits Snake Eyes but Orton catches him coming off the ropes with a dropkick.
Undertaker blocks the RKO. Both men exchange control for a Tombstone until Orton counters into a neckbreaker for two. Taz is for some reason shocked that didn’t end the match. Orton hits a crossbody off the top. Taker counters it. Some crazy old man comes into the ring and security comes to get him out. Taker walks right into a RKO and Orton gets the win. After the match it is revealed the old man was Cowboy Bob Orton.
These two had a much better match at Wrestlemania and would have better matches later in the year as well. This one just didn’t click at all.
WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs Chris Jericho
If you would have bet me 15 years ago Jericho would still be wrestling and John Cena wouldn’t I would have bet money. And lost. Cena came over to RAW as part of the Draft lottery that year and I remember it being a pretty big deal at the time. I was shocked.
Coach on commentary rips on Cena for saying he grew up on the mean streets. What the hell would Coach know about the mean streets of anywhere?
This match was the first signs of the crowd turning on Cena. Right at the start you can hear chants for Jericho as he takes it to Cena. By this point Cena pretty much lost his rapper side which got him over with the crowd. It wasn’t completely gone but it was starting to get toned down.
Jericho is doing his best in this match to walk Cena through a good performance but you can tell Cena isn’t all the way there yet. Cena goes for a FU but Jericho counters into a DDT and the crowd loves it. This leads to a prolonged “Lets Go Cena/Lets Go Jericho” chant with the vocal males behind Y2J.
Cena starts what would become the traditional Cena comeback. But Jericho gets up before the Five Knuckle Shuffle and applies the Walls and the crowd goes nuts. Jericho pulls Cena away from the ropes but Cena eventually gets there.
Jericho goes to the top. Cena meets him and goes for the FU but Jericho counters into a backdrop for two. As Jericho argues with the ref, Cena gets up and hits the FU for the win. Yes, there was a time when one FU/AA ended a match.
So while Cena wasn’t fully there yet as a wrestler, I would argue this is the beginning of “Big Match John.” Pretty much any Cena match after this for the next few years had the same kind of reactions. Love him or hate him, the crowd reacted to him. I’ve come to like and respect Cena, but as a fan this is when I started to not like him.
No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Batista (c) vs JBL
This was Plan B when it came to the World Heavyweight Championship match at SummerSlam. Originally, Muhammed Hassan was going to fight Batista, and win. But the WWE took a gimmick in Hassan that was working in the way it was booked and messed it up. They had masked men come out and attack the Undertaker in July. It was a pretaped show, but it happened as the London Underground terror attacks occurred three days later.
After that no network wanted a part of Hassan. So Undertaker powerbombed him through the stage at the Great American Bash in July and wrote him out of TV. It sucked for Hassan. He wasn’t the best wrestler but the gimmick was getting good heat.
JBL attacks Batista during his entrance. They brawl for a bit then Batista spears JBL through the barricade. They get back in the ring where JBL catches Batista with a short clothesline. JBL gets a belt and starts choking Batista with it. Batista backdrops out of it and whips JBL. But JBL drops Batista in the corner then hits the Clothesline from Hell and only gets two.
JBL goes to the outside and brings the steps into the ring. He flips off the crowd then goes for the Batista Bomb on the steps. Batista backdrops JBL. Batista connects with a spinebuster and hits a Batista Bomb. Batista gets a crazed look on his face, then hits the Batista Bomb on the steps for the win.
The match was kept short. Both men hit their big moves but it wasn’t much of a match.
Legend vs Icon: Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels
Michaels was great in the build up to this match. We got that awesome Larry King spoof segment where Michaels dressed up as Hogan. Then we had HBK owning the city of Montreal in one promo. Meanwhile, Hogan did jack. It was a one man sell job.
I remember being surprised that the crowd was solidly pro Hogan. I thought for sure with the way the crowd had been acting all night there would have been louder HBK chants. But that didn’t happen.
Both men soak in the crowd noise before they lock up. Hogan shoves HBK down a few times before Michaels goes for a standard lock up. Hogan shoulder blocks Michaels out of the ring and we get our first sign of Michaels over-selling as he bumps to the outside.
Michaels gets back in the ring. Hogan lays him across the ropes in the corner and kicks him in the gut and HBK flies up in the air. HBK lands a thumb to the eye to get the upper hand. But Hogan comes back and clotheslines Michaels to the outside and HBK flips over multiple times on the outside.
After HBK regroups they get back in the ring. HBK goes to slam Hogan into the turnbuckle but Hogan blocks it. So HBK slaps him in the face a few times. Hogan sends HBK back to the outside and slams him on the Spanish announce table. Hogan flips the announce table over for some reason. He then goes to run HBK into the post but HBK escapes and shoves Hogan into it twice.
We get back into the ring and Michaels lands some punches to the head of Hogan, helping Hogan get that blade job fully opened up. Hogan’s blade job is worse than Matt Hardy’s from earlier. Shouldn’t the referee stop the match at this point, given what we have already seen on this show?
Michaels slows things down with a sleeper. Hogan gets out of it but Michaels takes him down with the flying forearm. Michaels misses the elbow drop as Hogan hulks up. Hogan goes for the boot but Michaels flies right into the ref with a forearm. A lot of people thought Bret Hart might get involved in this story, and we hear a “We Want Bret” chant as Michaels applies the Sharpshooter. A second ref comes out and asks Hogan if he gives up. Yeah ok.
Hogan gets to the ropes. Michaels goes to grab Hogan again but Hogan pushes Michaels into the second referee. For what might be the first time in his career, Hogan actually sells the effects of the Sharpshooter. Michaels hits a low blow and grabs a chair. He cracks Hogan over the head then goes to the top and connects on the elbow drop. Michaels hits the Sweet Chin Music but Hogan kicks out at two and Hulks Up.
Hogan lands some punches and hits the big boot, over selling completely in the process. Hogan hits the leg drop and gets the three. After the match HOGAN MUST POSE as HBK shakes his hand and says he just had to know.
So, as I said, I was livid after this match as a huge HBK fan. If Twitter existed I would have been on a rampage. The rumor was that they wanted to get three matches out of this. If not three at least two, with HBK winning here and Hogan winning inside the old school blue steel cage. But Hogan wasn’t having that, brother. And HBK did not want to be a bad guy for an extended period.
As for the show overall, I would call it slightly above average. Of course I watched SummerSlam 2004 last night and this show looks like Wrestlemania 17 compared to that. The crowd was hot most of the night. We got our first signs of Big Match John Cena. And the HBK/Hogan match was still very good.