And now, after a 4 month absence, Wrestling-News.Net ,Michael  Taj Gallagher and  Staropramen Czech Lager  present : The Taj Show

Last night, the wrestling community received its annual dosage of the Biggest Party of the Summer, World Wrestling Entertainment’s SummerSlam. Going into this event there was four main matches that were the focus of WWE television: Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho; Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio; CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. The Big Show and, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar. This highlighted that there should have been at least one match that would justify ordering the pay-per-view but, how did these bouts pan out compared to how they looked on paper? Here, for the first time in several months, I do thing that is the fifth best thing I do and deliver an honest review without all the smarkyness that is oh so prevalent in the Internet Wrestling Community.

As always, all opinions expressed herein are exclusively my own opinions and, they do not reflect the views of other staff of Wrestling-News.Net


Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho

For me, this was a weird (but definitely not bad) one to start the night off; especially given that this one was most likely to steal the show. To put your show-stealing match on first will, inevitably, set a very high standard for the rest of the card and can put unnecessary pressure on the rest of a pay-per-view. The match itself was the wrestling master-class that I had anticipated. The chemistry shown between the young up and coming Dolph Ziggler and the perhaps past his best veteran in Chris Jericho was simply terrific and allowed this match to live up to expectations.  There was a very nice flow to the sequences in this match and didn’t look like a bunch of spots with no transition; the several near falls and the selling from both men were second to none and definitely kept the crowd and viewers interested. I doubt that this is the end of this particular rivalry following the Jericho victory and it should, I hope, pick-up again when Jericho returns following his latest stint with Fozzy. Speaking of Fozzy, they have a new album entitled “Sin and Bones” that is currently available world-wide now. I recommend that if you’re a fan of rock and roll or heavy metal that you give this a listen. It really justifies the time Jericho spends away from the squared circle.  This match will most definitely feature on any future DVD that either competitor have as a showcase that: Ziggler can hang in the ring with one of the best wrestlers that WWE has ever seen and that Jericho, even though he spent most of his career in the shadows of all-time greats, was one of the best in the ring until his very end.

 Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

This is the match that I personally would have had open. It had no substantial build to it but, that being said, it probably had enough build boiling over from recent months to justify being on the pay-per-view. These two had a solid match that was no less than I expected. Kane is quite the workhorse and not a clumsy and slow worker like The Great Khali or Kevin Nash, like many claim him to be. With the David vs. Goliath style of match-up, there is always the chance that the competitors’ differing styles will not flow well in the ring here but Daniel Bryan, as he has shown time and time again, can overcome any in-ring obstacle and have a great match with almost anybody. Kane plays the angry, unrelenting, powerhouse so well and, as seen in the past, is never a performer to refuse to put a smaller guy over. Working with Bryan has helped bring out the better side of Kane and has also shown a different side to Bryan’s in-ring performances by seeing him try to overcome his overpowering opponent. The small package that allowed Bryan to get the win (and to also get one over on G.M AJ) was the perfect ending to this match in that it made neither competitor to look weak compared to the result that would have been achieved with a pin-fall or submission. Small packages, or inside cradles, are not as frequently used in modern wrestling so it was nice to see the throwback to classic mat wrestling (something I’m personally a fan of) by the man once known as The Master of the Small Package during his Ring of Honor times.

Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio’s attempt at ruining Batman for me aside, this was yet another solid wrestling match on this pay-per-view. Following his return at the Money in The Bank pay-per-view, The Miz has displayed improved in-ring ability and has rid himself of the “dangerous” moniker that was hanging above him at the start of the year. He now looks like a champion, talks like a champion and all importantly works like a champion. It is plain to see that his time off for filming has allowed Miz to mentally refresh and get on top of his game whilst enjoying his work again. Mysterio, as always, adapts his lucha inspired style to work with his opponent whilst still getting all of his key spots in.  This was almost like a torch passing moment for World Wrestling Entertainment. Whilst Mysterio has been one of the top attractions in WWE for almost a decade, it was plain to see that he can no longer consistently hang at the top due to his many injuries over the years. Miz, on the other hand, can only go up.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

Whilst this feud seemed to be reaching the point of staleness, it seems to be no closer to a finale. The weird finish to this match sets up a continuation to a somewhat boring feud between The Mexican Aristocrat and The Dubliner who just loves to fight. Silly finish aside, this was the best encounter between Del Rio and Sheamus that we have seen to date. The mix of Del Rio like a shark smelling blood going after Sheamus’ arm and Sheamus digging deep to power out time after time showed that these two do not regularly show why they deserve to be in the World Title scene. The evidence was clear as day last night that both Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio are two of the best workers on SmackDown yet are not consistent in their performances with each other. With regards to the finish of this match, Sheamus having the wherewithal to beat Del Rio at his own game was a nice touch but, the pin-fall shenanigans were awfully played out. Obviously the repercussions will be played out on SmackDown and will lead to an eventual rematch for Alberto Del Rio. I would have preferred this to be the closing encounter for this feud to send Sheamus onto better matches, though.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match Kofi & R-Truth vs. The Primetime Players

With the only substantial build for this match being a beat down of Truth on the previous Raw, I was not expecting as much time for this match as it received. That being said, this was a good tag match. It didn’t quite meet the standard as the previous matches on the card but, still a solid outing for all involved. With Kofi and R-Truth retaining, I’m currently at a loss to see where the tag division goes from here as the duo have effectively beaten all competition on the roster.

WWE Championship Match: CM Punk vs The Big Show vs John Cena

This match could have gone two ways; either being an awkward combination of one-on-one spots like some past triple threat matches or, the well worked encounter it turned out to be. In a triple threat match involving Big Show, fans can be forgiven for being dubious on the match quality. WrestleMania 25 is a perfect example of that. The man is known for being lazy but, when he chooses to work, like he did at SummerSlam, he can be a part of some great matches. The match made Show look like the unstoppable force he has been portrayed as in recent months and did well to emphasise Punk’s ever awareness that he could lose the match without being involved in the finish. The false finish in this match was nicely done and the decision to continue the match was the correct one. I’ve come across some fans and writers saying that Big Show should have been eliminated and the match restarted as a one-on-one match between CM Punk and John Cena but, that is simply stupid. First off, King Of The Ring 2001 is an example where the match continued, but that involved the ever beloved Steve Austin so I suppose that is an exception, right IWC? Secondly, why would WWE simply give CM Punk vs. John Cena unannounced? That is a main event that needs time to develop and play-out. The true finish to this match came, in my opinion, a little too quickly after the restart; although I liked the finish itself. It continues CM Punk as the man who will do anything to retain his WWE title, even if he has to lie in wait as the opportunist. WWE could have reduced the camera time for all the celebrities in attendance (read: Fred Durst) and given this match another 2-3 minutes.

Kevin Rudolf Performance

Whilst it is great, for WWE to get popular artists to perform on their pay-per-views, it rarely goes according to WWE’s plan. WWE need to realise that their pay-per-view audience is more mature than their Monday Night Raw audience and, forgive me for being a tad stereotypical, they are generally rock lovers or metal heads. They do not care for the Kevin Rudolfs or the Cee Lo Greens of the music world and this, in turn, kills the atmosphere in the arena despite Michael Coles’ whacky and hilarious dancing.

The Perfect Storm: Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H

This match was built as nothing but a fight and, a fight it was. The main event to the biggest party of the Summer had, as WWE had planned, the feel of a Heavyweight Title Fight in boxing. The encounter, Brock Lesnar, The Baddest Man On The Plane; versus Triple H, The Cerebral Assassin. I had somewhat low expectations to this match. When matches are hyped as “fights” much like the Triple H vs. Kevin Nash match from last year, you expect things to get ugly. Here, things got ugly. But, this time, ugly was good. This fight had a slow, methodical approach to it, and wasn’t the fast paced encounter that John Cena had with Brock Lesnar several months back. Some may not have liked the tempo, but, like WrestleMania it was appropriate for the storytelling involved. The match itself was somewhat one sided in the beginning until Triple H found Brock’s Achilles Heel and a way into the fight. The match might have lacked a flow of spots or sequences at times but you don’t get those in real fights either. When I realised this match was closing, I was expecting Triple H to emerge the victor to send the fans home happy; but Brock Lesnar’s victory just made sense. There was no logical way for Brock to go 0-2 in his WWE return and still be seen as a legitimate threat to anyone, especially if the rumours of a WrestleMania match with The Undertaker are to be believed. The aftermath of the match and the rumours surrounding Triple H’s career was also very well done. Michael was on his game for the entire match and its aftermath, a sign that there is no need for the return of Jim Ross.


Taj Rating: 4/5. Whilst there was a couple of points I disliked about the pay-per-view; it was not detrimental to the overall quality. This was a solid, wrestling-based, pay-per-view that kept me interested from its run time of 1am til 4am.  And, in true WWE fashion, sixty percent of the time; they get their pay-per-view booking correct every time.

That is it for this edition of the Taj Show. Have a topic you would like me to discuss? It can be anything wrestling related and does not have to be WWE specific. If you’d like to contact me for praise, criticism, or just general banter; then feel free to tweet me @MGTAJ.

Until next time, Stay Classy San Diego!