Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Brian Andrews, and I have just survived something terrible. I have not once, not twice, but thrice watched SummerSlam 2005. I feel sorry for myself, and I am regretful that now there is documentation of this terrible experience for the entire world to read. I fear that some of this inherent negativity may somehow transpose itself onto some of you, my dear readers. I apologize for that.
Come with me into a journey of darkness. Read my words and use them as the warning that they are. This is one of the worst shows WWE has produced. I would urge you all to stray from this year’s SummerSlam as best you can. With so much going into it, you would expect something spectacular, right?
Read on, my little padawans, and learn of this dark side of professional wrestling so that you may recognize it, avoid it, and defend yourself from it.
We are just three short days away from the spectacular event known as SummerSlam! Can AJ Lee solidify her return on top of the Diva’s division against the young(er) upstart Paige? Will Y2J keep his momentum going in his return match against The Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt? Can Randy Orton get himself back into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture by taking out Roman Reigns? Just how far are Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins willing to go to settle their differences? All this, and so much more, this Sunday, LIVE on the WWE Network!
Today, we also begin our descent to the present as we look back just nine years ago. I’ve previously regaled you all with tales from my adolescence and childhood, now we take a short look at the MAN known as Brian Andrews.
I was 20 when this particular blockbuster event took place, and I was fortunate enough to catch this bad boy live at my local Primanti Bros., home of the Almost Famous Primanti’s Sandwich. A fitting place for an almost famous person such as myself to sit and watch my favorite sport. I was very excited for this year’s SummerSlam, as I had spent the last year almost shut out from the pro wrestling world, a little bit busy with the military life. I may have been lax on my WWE studies in 2004, but I was determined to double up my efforts for 2005. The fire that burns inside me had dwindled to a mere flicker, but I was pouring gasoline on that mother by the time August rolled around.
Oh, what a year can bring! I won’t get into the finer points of long-term promoting, but I guess the WWE wasn’t kidding when they said “it all begins again” at WrestleMania XX. It did indeed begin again then, and the WWE landscape had changed significantly in the 18 months leading up this hot August night. The WWE that I had walked away from in January of 2004 was not the WWE that I came back to in February of 2005; not by a long shot. We’ll get into some detail in the next 2000 words or so, but one thing is for sure, the future was not bright. It is in this somewhat depressing spirit that we begin SummerSlam 2005.
6. SummerSlam Series, Subsection Three: The Darkest Timeline
|1||Chris Benoit defeated Orlando Jordan (c)||Singles match for the WWE United States Championship||:25|
|2||Edge (with Lita) defeated Matt Hardy||Singles match||4:50|
|3||Rey Mysterio defeated Eddie Guerrero (with Vickie Guerrero)||Ladder match for custody of Dominick||20:19|
|4||Kurt Angle defeated Eugene (with Christy Hemme) by submission||Singles match for Kurt Angle’s Olympic gold medal||4:31|
|5||Randy Orton (with Bob Orton) defeated The Undertaker||Singles match||17:17|
|6||John Cena (c) defeated Chris Jericho||Singles match for the WWE Championship||14:49|
|7||Batista (c) defeated John “Bradshaw” Layfield||No Holds Barred match for the World Heavyweight Championship||9:05|
|8||Hulk Hogan defeated Shawn Michaels||Singles match||21:24|
Once again, Wikipedia provides the free info, but I should note that I omitted the Chris Masters vs. Hurricane match, as it took place on Sunday Night Heat prior to SummerSlam. As is SummerSlam tradition, the Star-Spangled Banner is sung prior to the show starting, followed by a nice video to bring us up to speed on the card at hand. Let’s not waste any time and dive into our first match-up.
Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan for the WWE United States Championship
This match begins with Chris Benoit backing Orlando Jordan into the corner. OJ gives Benoit a cheap shot. Orlando rushes in to capitalize but is met with a German Suplex by Benoit followed by the Crippler Crossface… Benoit wins in 25 seconds and becomes United States Champion.
I remember when I got the letter in boot camp with the results from WrestleMania XX. I was elated to learn that Chris Benoit had become World’s Champion. He finally got his due, and we had a real fighting champion; a true professional wrestler to usher in a new era of legitimate competition. I guess that didn’t work out so good. Now he’s beating some guy for some belt in 25 seconds. Zero stars out of five.
Edge (with Lita) vs. Matt Hardy
Do you want to know what happens when the stories become real? Look no further. If you’re reading this then you are probably acutely aware of what went down with Edge and Lita. If you aren’t aware, here is a decent recap on what happened (courtesy of Bleacher Report).
This rivalry was all too real and in my opinion, had dollar signs all over it. I would have imagined this match would be heated and intense, long and bloody, to maximize what these two could bring to the table in a match of this magnitude. We were not given that at SummerSlam.
Everything started just fine. Lots of punches, close punches. These two men wanted to tear each other apart. After Hardy was dumped head-first onto the ring post, it was all but over for the master of Mattitude. Did it seriously have to end by referee stoppage though? I know they continued the feud a bit longer after this, but this is SummerSlam. Let the guys fight a little will ya? One star out of five.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio, Ladder Match for the custody of Dominick
I feel terrible just typing that match header. So many four letter words float around my head when I try to think about how this could have been even considered a viable option for anyone involved. I’m going to skip all of my normal literary highlighting and let you guys see what this is all about.
So now you all know what we’re getting into. This is a ladder match with two of the greatest of all-time, so let’s forget about all of the Dominick BS and try to enjoy the match.
I can look past a crappy story and still enjoy a match. I can even look past some botches and still enjoy a match. I cannot, however, enjoy a bad match, no matter how much I may want to. I did really want to enjoy this match, as it was the only saving grace this mess could have possibly had. The whole match was disjointed and awkward, and there were numerous botches. Vicki missed her cue to come out at the integral climax of the match, and then botched the ladder push. Freaking Dominick interfered… This whole thing was reminiscent of Russo-era WCW, and that is not a good thing. Rey Mysterio grabs the briefcase and wins custody of Dominick because who needs the public court system. Zero stars out of five.
We are not off to a good start. We are three matches into this show and there is still over two hours to go. I really hope the next match can get the ball rolling on what is supposed to be the second biggest show of the year.
Eugene (with Christy Hemme) vs. Kurt Angle for Kurt’s Olympic Gold Metal
Oh. Well, I guess this isn’t much to be excited about. I know Kurt’s going to come into this one with a huge chip on his shoulder, as Eugene is wearing his 1996 Olympic gold metal.
I don’t want to come off as insensitive, but what in the holy hell is Eugene even doing on my television screen? If I get into it, I’m going to say something mean and unnecessary. I will point this out though:
Christy Hemme is doing a cheerleader thing with Eugene, and she has a backwards “E” on her top. I’m sure his name could be typeset that way since he’s, you know, “special”, but is Christy special in the same way? Are the seamstresses special as well? That backwards E is the perfect image to represent what the whole Eugene thing was about. It was about poor taste in retard jokes. Also, maybe some kind of rib on Eric Bischoff? I don’t know.
What I do know is that Kurt Angle is not a man to trifle with. Just having to be associated with Eugene in this manner is trifling as far as I’m concerned. I really hope Kurt doesn’t take it easy for this match.
Well, my hopes are not for naught. Kurt is manhandling Eugene in this one. I almost feel bad for enjoying it this much, but since Eugene is just a guy playing a special needs wrestler, kick his ass. Kick his ass so bad Nick Dinsmore won’t want to be Eugene anymore. Get that garbage off my screen.
Fortunately, Kurt isn’t having anything to do with Eugene’s unique brand of offense and emphatically defeats Eugene. I can really enjoy JR’s commentary post match here as he refers to Kurt as “demonic” in his intensity.
In all seriousness, the post match is the best part. We are treated to an impromptu medal ceremony by Kurt as referee Mike Chioda places the Olympic gold metal where it belongs, around Kurt Angle’s neck. Two and a half stars out of five.
Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker
Wikipedia has Randy Orton listed as “with Bob Orton”, however there is no Bob Orton with Randy on his way to the ring. I guess [SPOILER ALERT] the Cowboy is going to interfere at some point.
If you don’t know how I feel about The Undertaker and his entrances, look no further than my previous entry on SummerSlam 1994 and you’ll understand my feelings on The Undertaker and his excessive theatrics. The Undertaker was once a phenom, but by this time in 2005, his phenominility was in serious question.
There is a rivalry here, I suppose. It wasn’t good. Orton was still trying to come into his own, The Undertaker never got off the blocks as a full-time performer since his return last year (I checked), and the story was that it was his “destiny” to beat The Undertaker? Ugh. Has anybody clued in Randy that professional wrestling is a show? It’s your destiny to go out there and put on a good show. How about doing that for awhile before you talk about beating God-tier talent. The management is just as to blame here. I know we’re doing this youth movement thing again, but it is my feeling that they were jumping the gun on basically ALL of the new stars becoming main-eventers and world champions.
That’s why Randy is a 12-time world’s champion and nobody gives a crap. Sorry to be the one to just put it out there, but it’s the hard truth. You give these kids everything so early and so quickly, there’s no room for elevation. There’s an old saying, “The championship does not make the man, the man makes the championship.”
This match was slow, awkward, and practically devoid of any realistic drama. For God’s sake, Michael Cole is remarking on how Randy Orton took out Kamala with ease. Kamala. He mentions this in a context that suggests that since he can beat Kamala, he could beat The Undertaker. What a load.
This match goes see-saw, see-saw, see-saw, just two guys that aren’t quite sure how to put on a good match with one another going through the motions, until a “fan” comes into the ring and causes a ruckus. I say “fan” instead of just plain fan because if it was an actual fan coming in, he would’ve been disposed of quickly and violently. This distraction is enough for Orton to hit an RKO and pin the deadman. By the way, the “fan” was Bob Orton. LOL got you Undertaker! One and a half stars out of five.
Chris Jericho vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship
If you copy/paste what I said about Randy Orton and put it here about John Cena, and later on in the card, Batista, it would work all the same. I don’t need to get into John Cena or how I feel about him. The best thing about John Cena I can say is that at least he is a positive role model. But let’s not talk about SuperCena, let’s discuss the newly minted WWE Champion John Cena. Let’s get into 2005 mode and talk about the Chain Gang.
I guess it all worked out in the end; you gotta go back and grab the kiddies sometimes to keep the cyclic nature of the business alive. In this generation, though, it was at the direct expense of the long-time fan. I bet Mr. John Bojarski could write up a fantastic article regarding John Cena and his effects on the wrestling industry as a whole, but that’s not why we are here today. We’re here to recall and remember SummerSlam 2005, so how does the new franchise stack up against the first Undisputed WWE Champion in history?
Not so good. Like Randy Orton immediately before him, John Cena seems awkward on top. I have never been able to believe a word that came out of John Cena’s mouth, nor have I been able to believe him in the context of a match. This is true from 2002 all the way to this past Monday night. LOLCENAWINS has been the way to go since WrestleMania 21, and the air is permeating with that spirit here at SummerSlam.
This is a Cena match through and through. What I mean is that Cena absorbs punishment before ultimately unleashing his little comeback and retaining his WWE Championship. The only part I actually was enjoyed was listening to the crowd go crazy for a Jericho victory, only to get Rick Roll’d two minutes later. I guess we’re all just gullible marks after all. Two stars out of five.
JBL vs. Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship
We finish up the “not quite ready for the big time” trilogy with Batista defending his World Heavyweight Championship against the “Wrestling God” JBL. I never thought JBL was a God, but I did think his reign as WWE Champion was well-deserved, and he did a great job of taking on a diverse set of opponents with an equally diverse set of matches.
That being said, JBL’s star was fading fast post-WrestleMania. After solidifying LOLCENAWINS, JBL then moved on to become similar fodder for The Animal, Batista.
That isn’t to say LOLBATISTAWINS was a thing, but it was sickeningly obvious that these three men (Orton, Cena, Batista) were going over just to get over.
The match… Jeez. Some basic brawling, some strap action, two Batista Bombs and a successful defense for Dave Bautista. I’m just going to put this out there, the combined time for both world championship holder’s matches was just shy of 24 minutes. If I could hop in a time machine, I’d let everybody know that this is basically as good as it’s gonna get for a very long time. One star out of five.
Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels, Legend vs. Icon
Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes of this SummerSlam. Ladies and gentlemen, our main event of the evening: Hogan vs. Michaels, legend vs. icon! For the first time ever, these two all-time greats are getting it on!
To say that I am biased would be a gross understatement. I’ve been watching professional wrestling consciously since 1988, yet I’ve never been into Hulk Hogan. Nothing against the guy, or his gimmick for that matter, I just never understood why Hulkamania was supposed to be this huge thing. Maybe I was a bit late to the party, but Hogan never really did it for me.
Shawn Michaels, on the other hand, has always been my favorite. He is my favorite of all-time, hands down. Everything that has been said about HBK is true. He is the show-stopper, the main event, and he is most certainly the icon. Perhaps a Shawn Michaels article is in order sometime in the future, but I can tell you this concerning my fandom regarding The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels: I legitimately cried to this:
I lived my life vicariously through Shawn Michaels. Him and I shared a cosmic bond that I could not possibly describe in written word. His accomplishments were mine, and I would spend a great deal of my free time reliving his best moments over and over again. When he won the WWF Championship for the first time at WrestleMania XII, I knew that one day I would do the same thing.
“The dream of a boy turns into the destiny of a man.”
So how do the fates hold for Shawn Michaels on this night? They don’t hold very well, I’m afraid. I’m not big into backstage politics or speculating on this or that, but there is, very clearly, something amiss with this program. Shawn is noticeably upset for the duration of the match, and his reactions lie deeper than kayfabe. He is overselling to a ridiculous degree, and deliberately outpacing Hogan to the point where Hulk himself has to question the referee as to exactly what is going on.
The tension is so thick that it legitimately detracts from the story that was to be told in the ring. Hulk gets cut open in the match, and he bleeds pretty good, but it is not enough to distract from the fact that Shawn Michaels is outright miserable to be out there.
I’m re-watching this match (on the WWE Network) as I write now, because I need to be quadruple-sure of what’s going on. All I see is Hogan putting out the worst offense this side of Eva Marie, and Shawn flipping around as if he were parodying himself. When it’s time for Shawn to doll out the punishment, it’s a chop or two in the corner, or a slap in the face, or some of the most awkward looking mounted punches I’ve ever seen.
Like I said, I’m biased, but there is a clear difference in who is putting forth effort in this match. This whole thing is starting to feel like some vanity trip for the Hulkster, with Shawn wanting nothing to do with it. I would say with some confidence that Shawn is deliberately sabotaging this match.
That’s too bad. You know, if Hulk is physically unable to take the punishment necessary to create the amount of drama needed to make a match believable and enjoyable, then he shouldn’t be wrestling.
Hogan can bleed buckets all he wants, that doesn’t mean a damn thing. What matters is everything else surrounding it. If I were some kind of Marky Mark that thought blood=entertainment, I’d watch CZW. This is not CWZ, this is the WWE, have some standards.
I don’t want to commentate any further on this travesty, everyone that was involved in this should be ashamed. For the record, Hogan was not on Raw the next evening, and did not wrestle again for a year after this. Shawn Michaels remained a full-time performer for nearly five years following this abomination. You don’t have to watch this match to know the outcome: Hulk Hulks up, “Yooouuuuu, punches, big boot, leg drop, doneski.
Hulk Hogan is and will always be one of the biggest names in sports entertainment, there isn’t a person walking God’s green Earth that can dispute that. But on this night, August 21, 2005, Hogan proved what a terrible thing ego can be. One star out of five.
So there you have it. Wow, I feel like I survived this show rather than watched it. Things get pretty bleek for the WWE moving forward, and it will be a long time before business starts picking back up. So many things going wrong for the product as a whole, and not one redeeming thing about this entire show, save for Angle beating up a retard. When it comes down to that, you gotta just get up and walk away. That’s exactly what I’m going to do now, and perhaps it’s what I should have done nine years ago. One star out of five.