SummerSlam 2009 brings us CM Punk facing off against Jeff Hardy for the World Title in TLC Match, Randy Orton and John Cena Competing for the WWE Championship and Christian taking on William Regal for the ECW Gold. All this and so much more in this edition of The Chairshot Classic.
The day is August 23, and “The Biggest Event of the Summer” is upon us. The Staples Center in Los Angeles, California is jam packed with 17,146 eager fans. There are another 369K tuning in at home on PPV, but this number is down about 23% from the previous years SummerSlam (477K). This is a fraction of the UFC 100 PPV from that time, which came in with 1.6 million PPV buys. The UFC card featured Brock Lesnar beating Frank Mir for the Heavyweight Title. This is the second SummerSlam to take place in California, the first being the 2002 edition in San Jose. (More on that here.) The Staples Center would host this event for six consecutive years. The theme for the evening is “You Gotta Move” by legendary rock band, Aerosmith. The sponsor is another legend in its own right, Seven-Eleven. Lets head into the arena and see what they present us with!
The show opens with a package that just runs through all the matches on the card. This is, of course, interrupted by Degeneration-X and their shadow puppets. They stop the camera on The Legacy, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, saying “I think I know them guys from somewhere.” D-X then circles the pairs picture with a heart and concede that it must be from the kiss cam. They break the projector that is displaying this video and soon Triple H and Shawn Michaels appear in front of the white screen. The two continue their sophomoric ways and, after arguing, fix the projector. When it starts again it’s a D-X version of the open. This definitely wasn’t the best open and I didn’t really care for it.
Jim Ross welcomes us into the sold-out arena and introduces his partner, Todd Grisham. It isn’t long before Rey Mysterio enters to defend his Intercontinental Championship. The crowd explodes for him, and so does the pyro. Mysterio stops to greet the kids like he normally does and gives one a mask that he is wearing over his main Lucha face covering. The challenger enters next and Dolph Ziggler gets nothing but heat from the fans. Ziggler earned this spot by winning a Fatal Four-Way match against Finley, R-Truth and Mike Knox, that was for the number one contender spot. I’m just going to go on record and say I am not a fan of how the design of this IC Strap looks.
Once the bell sounds, Ziggler catches Mysterio with a few right hands and pounds him into the corner. This forces an early separation from the ref, causing the match to reset. The two trade some more punches before Dolph whips Rey into the ropes. When Rey returns, Dolph uses the momentum to deliver a brutal powerslam. An early cover is made by Ziggler but Rey quickly kicks it out. After Dolph kicks Rey a few times in the midsection, Mysterio reveres an Irish whip to the corner. Mysterio then leaps over Dolph’s head, lands on the top turnbuckle and moonsaults onto the standing Ziggler. Amazing stuff early here from Mysterio. He then hooks the leg of Ziggler, but the challenger is able to get the shoulder up. After a few more punches are exchanged, Dolph charges Mysterio, but the Champ is able to pull the tope rope down thus sending Ziggler to the outside. Mysterio then gets a running leap off the ring apron and catches Ziggler with a hurricanrana on the outside. Mysterio returns Ziggler to the ring and tries to take to the top rope. Ziggler meets him there and delivers the first blow. Mysterio lands the next few and sends Ziggler crashing to the mat with a headbutt. Mysterio leaps from turnbuckle two, but this backfires when Dolph catches him and mangles Mysterio with a buckle bomb. Dolph then hooks both legs and tries for another cover. Rey narrowly escapes and the match continues.
After a few close fisted rights, and another kick-out from Mysterio, Ziggler applies the grounded side headlock. When Rey makes it to his feet he is slammed right back to the mat with a spinning sidewalk slam. This quiets the “Lets go Rey” chants and Ziggler tries for another cover but Rey again is able to get the shoulder up. After Ziggler flicks the sweat from his face at Mysterio, he hits him with a jumping elbow drop and tries the cover once again. When Mysterio kicks this one out, Ziggler is right back to work with the side headlock. This is then transitioned into a chinlock and the crowd start to pop when Mysterio stands this up. He is able to land a few punches to the midsection of Ziggler before drop toe holding him into the bottom turnbuckle. Mysterio hits the ropes, but Ziggler bursts from the corner and flattens the Champ with a clothesline. Another cover and yet another near fall for Ziggler. This has Dolph angry and he picks Mysterio into the gorilla press position and drops Mysterio onto his knee or a gutbuster, if you will. He then delivers a series of closed fisted rights to the head of Mysterio until the ref separates them. After a rear naked choke from Ziggler is escaped, Rey finds himself whipped hard into the corner. When Ziggler tries to splash him Rey finally avoids something and Ziggler collides with the turnbuckle. Mysterio then springboards, from the apron, and catches Dolph with the seated senton. After a kick to the midsection, Dolph tries for the sunset flip, but he is unable to pull Mysterio to the mat. Mysterio then delivers a snapping kick to the side of Ziggler’s face. It is Rey who now hooks the leg and tries for the pin. Dolph isn’t done yet and kicks out at two.
When both men return to their feet they both hit the ropes. Mysterio is able to duck a clothesline and try for a springboard elbow. This doesn’t go as planned because Dolph meets him mid-air with a dropkick. Dolph again covers and when Mysterio kicks out this time Dolph works him with stomps. Rey tries for a sunset flip, after reversing an Irish whip, but it is countered by Ziggler into a pin. This is the closest Dolph has got to a three count so far, but near falls avail nothing. After Dolph shoves Rey chest first into the turnbuckle, he attempts to back drop Mysterio. Mysterio is able to flip through it and catch Ziggler with the enziguri. When Ziggler hits the mat, he falls into perfect 619 position. Mysterio attempts the finish but Dolph is able to avoid it and roll from the ring. Mysterio just spins through it and stands back up. Ziggler still maintains the advantage and arm sweeps the legs of Mysterio out from under him. Ziggler slides into the ring and nails Rey with the Fame-asser. JR doesn’t call it such and calls it a “Running Leg Drop”. This must be due to the PG nature of the show I’m guessing. Ziggler hooks the leg once more, but Rey still kicks out. Both men are slow to rise to their feet, and when they do Ziggler whips Mysterio into the corner. Ziggler is met with the boot of Mysterio, and Rey hits the ropes. Mysterio spins around the head of Dolph and backslides into a pin of his own. It is Dolph’s turn to kick-out now and does so in the nick of time. It looks as though Mysterio is going to take a slam next, but he is able to counter it into a tornado DDT. He tries for another cover but Dolph still isn’t done yet. Then men are slow returning to their feet but when they do so, Mysterio nails Ziggler with a dropkick to the back that places him in the 619 position. This time when Mysterio attempts the finish it lands successfully. Mysterio then springboards from the apron and tries for a diving headbutt. Ziggler is able to move, and Rey face plants into the canvas. Ziggler hooks the leg and the crowd explodes when Mysterio kicks out. Dolph is doing some yelling of his own, and drives Mysterio into the corner. He unloads with right hands until the official separates the two. Dolph charges and is met with a back elbow from Mysterio. This doesn’t affect Ziggler much, and he takes Mysterio off his feet with a big boot. Ziggler then goes to the top rope and places Mysterio in the gutbuster position. Mysterio is able to counter this and give Ziggler a hurricanrana off from the top rope. The crowd is sent into a frenzy when Mysterio hooks the leg and the ref counts the three. And Rey Mysterio retains the IC Title. I plan on doing a “Best SummerSlam Opening Match” article after the conclusion of this series and I am hard pressed to believe this doesn’t take that title. On a sidenote, Mysterio would be suspended four days later for “Violation of the Companies Wellness Policy”. Mysterio disputed this saying it was for a drug that he had a prescription for. Regardless, he would serve a 30 day suspension after he dropped the Strap to John Morrison during the episode of SmackDown following SummerSlam. This match was a great start to the career of a young Dolph Ziggler and I think this match may of just stole the show early. Do yourself a favor and check this one out, the ebb and flow here is just amazing. Match Time-12:16