RBTR – Summerslam Preview

Mitchell Gadd

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of Reading Between The Ropes. It’s that time of the summer again when WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year rolls around and, with some interesting feuds to talk about on the card, it gives me a chance to assess some of the television we’ve seen in the lead up to Summerslam 2005. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at what this year’s card has on offer for us.

No Time Limit: Kurt Angle vs. Eugene

This feud has crept up on everyone really, and has only come in to prominence in the last few weeks. It’s been a simple set up, really, but one that few of us saw coming. On a personal level, it’s hardly a match I’m desperate to see. Eugene has his place on the roster, but against the likes of Kurt Angle he may be a little out of his depth. Surely Angle could have had a meatier match on the card. This seems very much an undercard match.

The sooner Angle gets his medals back off Eugene, the better. Hopefully that will happen this Sunday. I’d love to see Angle have a heel-heel feud with HHH. With a rumoured Flair-HHH feud on the horizon it seems increasingly unlikely which is a shame, because the two have the great on-screen chemistry and have probably engaged in some of the best heel-heel banter I’ve seen.

But that’s by the by. Sunday it’s Eugene who gets his shot at Angle. I do not expect this match to last a great deal of time, so that could help it moves along quickly and keep us entertained. Eugene definitely has a chance of winning this one, but I see Angle getting some semblance of revenge for his recent embarrassments and taking the win, and his medals. Don’t be surprised, though, if Eugene wins and Angle simply snaps and takes his medals back anyway afterwards.

US Title: Orlando Jordan vs. Chris Benoit

I spoke about the last match creeping up on us, but that assessment applies even more so to this match. I have no idea where this rematch came from. It seems the WWE felt they needed some mid-card title on the line with the lack of IC title match on the card and so they dug this one back out for second helpings. It also smacks of the need to have the card balanced with 4 matches from each brand.

And it’s not as if this was a match that everyone was dying to see again. Their last match was stellar, but not ground-breaking. Much like with Kurt Angle, a great athlete like Chris Benoit just seems wasted in this type of match up. This is another undercard match for a main event calibre athlete.

I would have liked to have seen Christian and Booker T thrown in here to make this a 4-way match. Perhaps Smackdown! will address that issue this coming week. It would at least differentiate the contest from a simple Great American Bash rematch. After all, this is the second biggest PPV of the year, and having a quarter of the card rematches from a very lacklustre July PPV is not exactly the way forward now is it?

Jordan shocked a lot of people by beating Benoit last month. If this contest remains Benoit vs. Jordan in a singles match then I am inclined to say (or hope) that this time Chris Benoit will get the nod and Jordan’s long reign will come to an end.

Matt Hardy vs. Edge

This is a match I’m looking forward to a lot on this year’s card. I think a lot of people are intrigued to see if Hardy, or Edge for that matter, will stiff their adversary in this match. I’m not so sure that will happen. Some of their backstage brawls haven’t exactly looked like the two have been throwing hail Mary’s for real. However, this is PPV and maybe Vince will do what’s “good for business” and let these two beat the crap out of one another, within some kind of reason and booking restrictions.

I expect this contest to be fairly short. I asked for some kind of non-sanctioned parking lot brawl initially, but now this is a sanctioned match in a WWE ring… but I don’t expect it to be that way for any extended period of time. I expect the action to spill all around the ringside area, maybe even in the crowd, and perhaps in the backstage areas later in the night. I expect to see some blood spilt. Dammit, everyone does and, by God, we all want to see it. We want this one settled in a war, not something tame. I think we may just get what we want.

Unless they announce this as a no disqualification match before the event then there is no way that one man is going to win clean over the other. I’m pretty certain it’ll end in a no contest of some sorts. I expect Hardy to snap and crack some object, probably a chair, over Edge’s skull and get himself disqualified. I doubt that will end the action. We may likely see a match that lasts about 2 minutes, and a post-match scuffle that lasts 10. That’ll be a doozy, as they say.

Undertaker vs. Randy Orton

Randy Orton makes his somewhat anticipated return at Summerslam in his first match since the night after Wrestlemania. I think everyone agrees that his face run wasn’t exactly a storming success, and that as a heel he looks far more in his element. The match between these two at Wrestlemania was a good contest and had some pretty exciting passages of action. I can see this match also being well worked.

I think it will probably last about the same period of time as their match in April, if not, only slightly shorter. I don’t expect any Bob Orton run-in this time and if it does happen then feel free to remember the aforementioned comment and scorn on my like of foresight. However, Orton’s going to win this one. Of that I’m sure. Just… how?

Well, without a Bob Orton run-in then is there someone else who could cost ‘Taker the match? I really cannot think of a suitable candidate. Unless Hassan makes some kind of shocking return and we’ve all be fooled then nobody really seems a sensible option. I guess Orton will have to be more resourceful and use some cheap tactic to win rather than relying on someone else. If there is someone else out there who will help him then I feel no shame in not predicting it because that would mean the run-in was from some obscure source who is being primed for a feud with ‘Taker based on no back story.

Ladder Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

Nearly every time these two have stepped in the ring I’ve predicted Eddie Guerrero to get the victory, and each and every time I’ve predicted wrongly. However, for the first time I’m going to predict Rey Mysterio. I don’t like this storyline involving Dominick, and I’d like it to end as quickly as possibly. Rey and Eddie have somewhat disappointed me in their contests in this feud and they’ve had enough match-ups during this run to make one a real blockbuster.

I hope this is the end to this feud. Eddie is really over as a heel, which was something many people doubted when he first turned. People felt the same fate awaited this heel turn as his last one; where his popularity got in the way of him gaining any heel heat. However, he’s played the heel to perfection. He always was a classic heel, but in recent times he’s become far too popular to play it. However, his fantastic performances with the mic have made people forget how much they loved him this time last year.

This should be their most entertaining match in this feud and, probably, their final one. It’s about time these two moved on to different feuds, and I’d like to see the door shut on this Dominick angle. If that is to happen then Rey must win.

WWE Title: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho

The build-up to this one hasn’t captured my imagination by any means. It’s nice to see Jericho in the top feuds again and getting plenty of airtime, but nothing in this feud has stood out and gripped me as a viewer. It’s been solid, but not spectacular. I think the main criticism of this build-up is that it’s been a bit samey. It seems Cena is against the odds in a virtual 2-on1 environment each and every week.

Carlito does not have anything lined up for Summerslam so his duties have been placed with this feud. I see a Carlito run-in during this match. I think everyone sees it. In fact, if it doesn’t happen it would be a total shock, and also very head-scratching. Why wouldn’t Carlito show up and screw Cena? It HAS to happen. It SHOULD happen.

We may even see Bischoff make an appearance as the odds continue to pile up against our champion. However, Cena’s reign is not about to come to an end this Sunday. Despite interference from Carlito, and possibly Bischoff, John Cena will retain his title in a match which will probably be a decent contest.

World Title No Holds Barred: Batista vs. JBL

The match between these two at the Great American Bash was a dire and drab affair. So, throw in a stipulation and suddenly all is solved? Not a chance. Once again JBL is in a gimmick match which will hide his inadequacies in the main event picture. Luckily for Batista this match takes place on a packed joint brand card where matches won’t need to last for as long as usual title matches last. Still, expect to his Batista sweating bullets after 2 minutes of action and sucking wind so band that the front two rows pass out through oxygen deprivation.

I’m sure there till be some entertaining aspects to this match when the weapons and interference and everything else comes in to play to make this match squeeze above disastrous to merely mediocre. The constant gimmick match main events on Smackdown! smacks (excuse the pun) of the WWE not trusting the in-ring prowess of their main event wrestlers. And why should they? Batista hasn’t put on a good main event yet, and the only occasions JBL has entertained in the main event have been when there was some kind of stipulation to hide behind.

As you can tell, this is hardly a match which captures my imagination. I hope it doesn’t last as long as JBL’s match with Undertaker at Summerslam last year which, a) stunk up the arena, b) took away time from other GOOD matches on the card. As for a winner? Batista will retain.

Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels

Michaels has dominated the build-up to this one. I must admit to feeling the anticipation building to when these two finally met in the ring for a confrontation a couple of weeks ago on Raw. The WWE did a good job of hyping it up and I’m sure the lack of Hogan’s presence on Raw for a couple of weeks was a very strong reason for this also.

Bret Hart has been mentioned in the build-up to this match a little too much. Sure, you cannot ignore the admiration a Montreal crowd has for Bret, especially when you’re Shawn Michaels. Michaels’s promo on Raw this past week was one of the best I’ve seen on television for quite some time. What I refer to, however, is Hogan mentioning Hart’s name in the confrontation a week before. Hogan held down Hart and lobbied for Hart to lose to Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 9 when Hart was originally scheduled to win. I hardly think Hogan has any right to label Michaels’s any kind of spot-light hogger.

But the WWE hasn’t ignored that in this feud, and it’s for that very reason that I have enjoyed the build-up to this one. It’s almost had shoot elements to it at times, with Michaels talking about Hogan’s politicking and, depending how you look at it, smart/selfish business decisions. Unless it’s in front of a big crowd then there’s no point in doing it… and all that jazz.

I expect this match to be around 20 minutes long, with a lot of standing around and soaking up the moment mixed in their. Think back to The Rock vs. Hogan at No Way Out. Yep, around the same length as that, but with longer pageantry and entrances. Michaels will be required to do a bulk of the work in his match. If he can pull it off and make this match a good match in terms of WRESTLING action (because it will be entertaining in terms of spectacle and atmosphere, no doubt) then he truly deserves a heap of credit. People talk about HBK as being past his prime. That may be true, but the level he’s at right now is still a lot higher than 95% of the roster and is still worthy of headlining cards.

The crowd will be electric for this one and it should be a memorable atmosphere in Washington on Sunday. I question just how good the wrestling aspect of this match will be, but if these two can put on a good show then that will probably suffice. As for those wondering who will walk out of this match as a winner, well, I had my mind made up on a winner from the moment this match was announced. In my eyes there is no doubt that Shawn Michaels is winning this match. I realise the potential for embarrassment is there if he doesn’t with that remark now, but I am certain in my mind that Michaels will win this match. And he should.

Until next time,

Mitchell L. Gadd

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