Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam
Someone in the front row has a whistle for Rob Van Dam. This may be a reoccurring theme. They trade some reversals to start the match and lockup. Orton hits a shoulderblock and the counter off of the ropes. RVD floats over and hits a kick to take Orton down. Orton takes Van Dam over in a side headlock, but Rob fights back. Orton dropkicks him in the back for two. Van Dam answers with a kick but misses a crossbody and takes a tumble to the outside. They brawl outside before Van Dam slams Orton’s face into the steel stairs. Rob drapes Orton over the barricade and hits the spinning legdrop just before the break.
Orton is in control as the match continues, hitting the knee drop and taking Van Dam into the corner for ten punches. Van Dam gets the elbow up in the corner but gets tossed out of the ring from the top rope. Orton hits the back suplex on the crowd barrier and tosses RVD back into the ring. Orton hooks both legs and gets two. Randy goes to the rear chinlock. Rob fights out and hits a couple of clotheslines and a superkick to the chin. Ouch. Rob follows with the split legged moonsault for two. RVD goes up and hits a senton to the standing Orton for two. Orton dodges a corner charge and hits the over the shoulder backbreaker from the second rope for two. Cool spot.
Orton hits a stiff clothesline and stalks before hitting another. RVD misses a clothesline and Orton catches him on the rebound with the powerslam for two. RVD reverses the handing DDT into a northern lights suplex for two. Van Dam looks to springboard at Orton, but gets caught with a dropkick on the way back in. Finally, Orton hits the hanging DDT on RVD, and it looks really good. RVD counters the RKO with a kick to the heat and a cradle for two. RVD steps over and kicks Orton in the face and follows with Rolling Thunder. Orton dodges the frog splash and finishes with the RKO TO THE FACE, for the win.
Final Thoughts: ***3/4, but I might be pushing it. Great stuff here. RVD makes everyone’s offense look like death and tonight was no exception. Orton seemed to get pissed off at the kick that RVD gave him to the throat and chin and answered back like with a couple of stiff clotheslines that led to the powerslam. It was a different way to build to that move, but at the same time, wasn’t. The crowd was great for this, and who knows that they could have down with five more minutes and a couple of finisher kickouts.
-It’s Miz TV with AJ Lee and Big E Langston. Big E is wearing purple tonight, but still needs pants. Miz asks about the relationship between the two of them. AJ puts Big E back into the friendzone. Miz pokes fun at Big E for being in the zone. He better be careful, or Big E will GET WILD IN THE FRIENDZONE! Miz goes on and points out all of her boyfriends, and says that she might just be the problem. A.J. says that those are all bad men and bad friends. Dolph step out onto the stage and walks down to the ring. Here we go again. Dolph says that it’s normal that AJ can’t get over him, and she says that he’s upset he can’t touch her anymore. Kaitlyn comes out and says that she still can, and then the four of them bicker before Miz interrupts and uses his hosting duties for SummerSlam to book a mixed tag match. The four brawl after that, and it ends with Big E pulling Kaitlyn from AJ and telling her to calm down. He gets the Zig Zag for his troubles and then AJ takes a spear. While it’s stupid that Miz can book matches, this was an entertaining segment.
-Alberto Del Rio is in Vickie’s office and complains about his match with Christian before SummerSlam. Vickie justifies the match by pointing out Del Rio’s dastardly actions of late.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Both of them trades strikes and headlocks to start. Kofi leaps over Fandango a few times and catches him with a back elbow and hits a corner splash. Fandango dodges the Trouble in Paradise and dumps Kofi over the top and to the floor. Fandango follows with a snap suplex on the floor and tosses Kofi back in. The referee breaks up the count due to Fandango being under the ropes. Off of the whip, ‘Go hits the back elbow for two and the throws on a chinlock. Kofi floats over on a back suplex and gets a crossbody.
Fandango misses a corner charge and goes into the ring post. Kofi chops him down and gets a dropkick and flying clothesline. Fandango runs away from the Boom Drop. Kofi follows him outside, but Summer gets between Kofi and Fandango, with Kingston perched on the top. Kingston leaps around her anyway and takes down Fandango. Summer feigns an injury and Fandango rams Kofi’s skull into the ringpost. Kofi is knocked out in the ring as Fandango comes off the top with the legdrop for the win.
Final Thoughts: This was alright and about **, I’d imagine. It’s nice that Summer Rae gets involved in the matches so we don’t have to get Fandango walking out of the arena every week. Still, this is the perfect way to stall Kofi’s comeback, unless he’s about to work with Fandango for an extended period of time.
-Backstage, Renee runs into Daniel Bryan and asks him about the corporate makeover. Bryan says that losing the beard was a line he wouldn’t cross, and decided to makeover Wade instead.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
The roof looks to have blown off during Bryan’s entrance. Wade is clean shaven and not happy about it. He brings a shaver down with him to the ring, menacingly. People talk of Wade being boring, but this is the most motivation he’s had for his character in quite a while. They slug away to stat off, with Wade getting the better of it. Bryan flips out of the corner and hits the clothesline. Bryan chops away with kicks and runs to the ropes. Wade follows him and clotheslines him out. On the outside, Wade rams him into the barricade and whips him into the steel steps. Wade is MAD about his beard. It was a good beard.
Wade rolls Bryan back in and gets two. Bryan gets caught in the ropes and takes the knees and big boot for a two count. Wade locks in a resthold. Bryan fights back and trips Wade into the corner. Bryan goes for the dropkick flourish, but Wade catches him with a big Winds of Change. Wade gets distracted and goes outside for the electric clippers. Bryan fights away from them and kicks Wade to the outside and hits the knee from the apron. Bryan goes to the top and hits the headbutt. He follows up with the Yes! Lock for the win. After the match, Bryan stomps the beard trimmer to pieces on the steel steps, to the delight of the crowd.
Final Thoughts: *** for what it was. Once again, I may be overselling this match. The crowd was super-hot with the heat machine not being in use, and Wade brought some intensity with him, as he had motivation to be nasty. This had some spirited action as well, with Bryan giving Wade plenty of offense.
-Damien is backstage with the lovely Renee Young. He does not enjoy the footage of him losing the original case. So, he shows off the new “Sandowized” briefcase of a rich mahogany color. That’s a mighty fine briefcase.
Kane vs. 3MB
I understand that these dudes are jobbers, but Kane isn’t exactly Goldberg in 1998. Kane slugs them down to start. Heath takes a corner clothesline, but Kane takes a big boot from Drew that had some mustard on it. They gang up, but Kane fights back. He tosses them all out of the ring and beats them around on the outside. Drew takes a spill into the steel steps. Heath takes a big bump over the table and slams into the barricade.
Back inside, Kane hits Jinder with the chokeslam for the win. After the match, Wyatt is visible on the tron and likes the idea of the “Ring of Fire” match. Bray cuts a good promo, saying that fire cannot hurt him or his family, as he is already dead. Kane lights up the ringposts in response.
Final Thoughts: Just a quick little squash with some good bumping from the boys. Bray’s promo was terrific, and I’m enjoying where this is going. It helps that Bray and Kane are both such good talkers and actors. It makes you a bit unsettled, which is hard to find in modern WWE. Also, Bray no selling fire at SummerSlam should be freaking awesome.
-Brock Lesnar has an interview video package. Brock addresses that he is not just Paul’s muscle. He hates Punk for claiming that he is the best in the world. Lesnar says that Punk is not a tough guy due to tattoos and beginner MMA classes. Brock says that there is no professional jealousy, as Punk cannot top his accolades. Lesnar gives Punk credit for holding the title for so long, especially for being the guy that he is. Lesnar is going to victimize Punk at SummerSlam, because bigger is better. This was a nice video package, and Brock’s delivery was tremendous. He was menacing in a straight forward way.
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio
I’m not sure about giving the SummerSlam match away here. In fact, I’m against giving these guys twenty minutes. Del Rio beats away to start and tosses on a side headlock. Del Rio holds on tight, before Christian shoves him off. Del Rio gets a shoulderblock and a quick cover. Off of the whip, Christian hits a few shoulderblocks and gets the side headlock for himself. ADR rakes the eyes and puts Christian in the corner. He drives in a few shoulders and snapmares Christian down. He hits a couple of kicks but gets tripped into the second rope. He dodges the right hand but gets tossed on the other side. Christian hits the baseball slide, sending ADR into the announce table as we hit the break.
We return with Del Rio shoving Christian away from a tornado DDT. Del Rio hits a double stomp and gets two. Into the corner, Del Rio charges and slides out. He trips up Christian and tries to pull Christian into the post. Christian shoves him off but misses a splash from the top and goes into the barricade. Del Rio stomps away. Alberto slides Christian in and gets two, locking in the rear chinlock shortly thereafter. Christian fights out but gets pressed high into the air and kicked while he’s down. Christian lies over the apron and Del Rio goes outside and hits a boot to the skull. The crowd chants “USA!” for Christian. Oops. Del Rio lifts Christian and beats away at him in the tree of woe. Del Rio slaps Christian, but receives a couple in turn. They battle at the top, and both split out onto the floor. We hit another commercial break.
We’re back with Del Rio at the second rope. He hits a dropkick for two. ADR follows with the hanging armbreaker over the top rope. Christian meets Del Rio at the top and hits a frankensteiner for two. The two fight from their knees, but Del Rio takes control into the corner. Christian gets the boot up and follows with a dropkick. Christian hits a right hand in the ropes and follows with a crossbody from the top for two. Christian hits the elbow from the second rope and looks for the Killswitch. ADR counters out and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. ADR charges and hits a kick to the ribs. Christian fights out of the corner with a sunset flip but it leads to a reversal sequence where ADR reverses the Killswitch into a backstabber for two. ADR goes for the Si Kick but eats a spear for a close two.
ADR begs off but then tosses Christian into the ring post, shoulder taking the brunt of impact. Christian reverses the crossarmbreaker into the same cradle he used on Del Rio for two. They race to their feet, where ADR kicks Christian’s head off. ADR drags Christian into the middle of the ring, but gets caught with a flash roll up for three. ADR kicks out just after three and throws a minor tantrum on the outside. ADR reenters the ring to beat up Christian, but takes a Killswitch. Christian walks off, and Damien Sandow runs out to cash in! I’m excited to just see the case again. Cody interrupts Sandow and beats him down, standing over him after hitting Cross Rhodes to end the show.
Final Thoughts: While I don’t like them giving this match away like this, it was still an enjoyable ***1/2 encounter. While people were upset at Cody’s logic of having Damien fail on his cash in attempt, there was also no guarantee that he would have his matched changed to a title match at SummerSlam. Still, some good stuff here again.
–Well, that was a quick two hours. You have two, good long matches, a fun little Bryan and Barrett matchup, and storylines moving forward with the mixed tag match being made for SummerSlam and Brock having some words for Punk. I didn’t like The Miz having the authority to make the match, but it was a forgone conclusion anyway. I still don’t like Del Rio and Christian having their match early. Then again, it could be because the SummerSlam match is just going to be an angle of sorts. This was just what was needed after all of the short, abbreviated matches that took place on Raw. This was great, free wrestling in front of a great crowd about ninety miles outside of Chicago.