Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers
|Tagline(s)||The Biggest Event of the Summer|
|"You Gotta Move" by Aerosmith|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||August 23, 2009|
|City||Los Angeles, California|
SummerSlam (2009) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on August 23, 2009, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and was the first of six consecutive annual SummerSlam events to take place at the arena. It was presented by 7-Eleven. It was the twenty-second annual SummerSlam event and featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands. Eight matches were contested on the event's card.
The show was what is known as a supercard, which featured more than one main event match. The main events of the evening included: CM Punk defeating Jeff Hardy in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship for a third time, Randy Orton retaining the WWE Championship against John Cena after the match was restarted multiple times, Christian retaining the ECW Championship against William Regal, and D-Generation X's Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeating The Legacy's Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Other matches featured on the show were WWE Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio versus Dolph Ziggler, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) against Jack Swagger, Chris Jericho, and The Big Show defending the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship against Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG), and Kane facing The Great Khali. The event received 369,000 buys, down from the SummerSlam 2008 figure of 477,000 buys.
Tickets for SummerSlam went on sale starting February 13, 2009. The first teaser trailer for the event was shown at WWE's Extreme Rules event. The trailer featured the song "You Gotta Move" by Aerosmith, which was later announced by WWE to be the event's official theme song. As part of the promotion for the event, WWE announced that it would hold its first ever SummerSlam Axxess, a fan convention similar to WrestleMania's fan convention, WrestleMania Axxess. The convention was held at Nokia Plaza in L.A. Live from August 22 to August 23. According to video game publisher THQ, further details of the latest installment of their WWE SmackDown series, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, would also be revealed at the event.
The professional wrestling matches at SummerSlam featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Storylines between the characters were produced on WWE's weekly television shows Raw, SmackDown, and ECW with the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.
Raw's main event was announced on the July 27 episode of Raw by the show's guest host and storyline matchmaker, Shaquille O'Neal. Randy Orton would defend the WWE Championship against the winner of a Beat the Clock challenge, which was determined by who of the five competitors could defeat their opponent in the fastest time: Mark Henry, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), Triple H, Jack Swagger, or John Cena. Henry set the pace by defeating Carlito in 6:49, while MVP, Triple H, and Swagger failed to defeat their opponents. Cena beat Henry's time by defeating The Miz, and become Orton's opponent at SummerSlam.
The main rivalry from the SmackDown brand heading into SummerSlam was between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk in their continuing conflict over the World Heavyweight Championship. Animosity stemmed from Extreme Rules when Punk invoked the guaranteed title match he earned by winning the Money in the Bank ladder match against Hardy and defeated him for the World Heavyweight title. The two faced off at the next two pay-per-view events, The Bash and Night of Champions, with Hardy winning the latter match to regain the title. This also saw a number of conflicts between the two over their respective philosophies in life; Punk is legitimately straight edge, which promotes a drug-free lifestyle, while Hardy, who has had a number of indiscretions with drugs throughout his career, was at odds with the way Punk reprimanded the fans for their potential addictions. Following two assaults on Hardy, SmackDown General Manager, Theodore Long, announced that another match would be held between the two at SummerSlam in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (TLC).
The ECW brand was represented at the show with Christian defending the ECW Championship against William Regal. On the August 11 episode of the program, Christian was a guest on the talk show segment, The Abraham Washington Show, where the eponymous host announced the number one contender for the title would be Regal, leading to both men making statements in the following week until it was announced the two would meet at the event.
On the July 27 episode of Raw, the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show got into a heated confrontation with Shaquille O'Neal. After the two refused to get into a fight with him, O'Neal announced that the champions would fight Shad Gaspard and JTG (collectively known as Cryme Tyme) in a tag team match later that night with O'Neal acting as the match's ringside enforcer, which led to the champions getting disqualified, invoking their adversaries' ire. On the July 31 episode of SmackDown, Cryme Tyme defeated Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith (collectively known as The Hart Dynasty) to become Jericho and Big Show's opponents at SummerSlam.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio had been the target of Dolph Ziggler since July. The two met at Night of Champions, only to see Mysterio retain the title. Ziggler regained his contender status on the August 7 episode of SmackDown by defeating R-Truth, Mike Knox, and Finlay in a fatal four-way.
Stemming from his previous rivalry with Randy Orton, Triple H started to target Orton's Legacy associates, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Triple H failed to win his Beat the Clock challenge to face Orton in a match with Rhodes when DiBiase distracted him for sufficient time to make beating Mark Henry's time impossible. After losing a handicap match against the two the following week on the August 3 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that he was going to get a partner to counteract the two, hinting throughout the show that he intended to reform D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels. A week later, it was revealed that Michaels, who had not been seen on WWE programming since WrestleMania XXV, had been working as a chef at a corporate cafeteria. At the cafeteria, Triple H convinced Michaels to quit his job and return at SummerSlam to face DiBiase and Rhodes in a tag team match.
At The Bash, The Great Khali was assaulted with a steel chair by Kane in his match with Dolph Ziggler. The following weeks saw both men interfere in each other's matches with Kane running away from his adversary any time Khali made his way to gain a measure of revenge. On the August 7 episode of SmackDown, Kane attacked Khali from behind before kidnapping Khali's translator, Ranjin Singh. The following week, it was revealed that Kane was holding Singh hostage in a backstage room at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, interrogating and abusing him, before Khali found him, leading to Kane beating down on Khali. It was announced the following week on WWE's official website that the two would meet at SummerSlam.
After Jack Swagger was moved to the Raw brand, he had a verbal confrontation with Montel Vontavious Porter, which led to MVP challenging the former to a fight, which was declined by Swagger on the grounds of his unwillingness to "fight criminals", referring to MVP's previous incarceration. The coming weeks saw Swagger and MVP interfere in each other's business before MVP challenged Swagger on the August 17 episode of Raw. As the match commenced, Swagger got himself disqualified, leading to the announcement of a conclusive match at SummerSlam.
Prior to SummerSlam airing live on pay per view, the fans in attendance were shown an untelevised match; it featured the company's female wrestlers, known as divas, in a battle royal, with Chavo Guerrero as the special guest referee. Beth Phoenix won the match by simultaneously eliminating Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly with Guerrero's help.
The show began airing with Rey Mysterio defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. The match was contested at a fast pace, with Mysterio gaining executing a moonsault before the match descended out of the ring, where Mysterio executed a Hurricanrana. As the match returned to the ring, Mysterio attempted an aerial attack but Ziggler countered with a turnbuckle Powerbomb. Mysterio attempted a 619 but Ziggler countered with a Leg Drop Bulldog. As the match continued, Mysterio executed the 619 and attempted a springboard Splash but Ziggler avoided the move. Ziggler climbed to the top rope with Mysterio and attempted an attack but Mysterio countered with a Hurricanrana to retain the title.
Next, Jack Swagger faced MVP. Swagger applied various holds and attempted a Swagger Bomb on MVP but MVP countered the move. MVP executed a Big Boot on Swagger, who was cornered, and the Playmaker for the win.
JeriShow (Chris Jericho and The Big Show) defended the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship against Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard). After JTG gained advantage over Jericho, Jericho tagged in Big Show, dominating JTG. JTG tagged in Gaspard, who was speared by The Big Show. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on JTG, who tried to reach the ropes, but Big Show executed a KO Punch on him, allowing Jericho to pin JTG to retain the title.
Main event matches
This was Michaels' first match since WrestleMania XXV
D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) faced The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase). The match started with Triple H fighting DiBiase and Rhodes. When Michaels tagged in, Rhodes left the ring to avoid Sweet Chin Music. After Legacy gained the advantage, Rhodes attempted a diving elbow drop but Michaels countered the move. Michaels attempted a diving Elbow Drop but Rhodes countered and executed Cross Rhodes on Michaels. Triple H broke up the pin and executed the Pedigree on Rhodes, leading to DiBiase executing Dream Street on Triple H. As DiBiase and Triple H fought outside the ring, Michaels executed Sweet Chin Music on Rhodes to win the match.
Next, Christian defended the ECW Championship against William Regal, accompanied by Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov. As Regal was removing his coat, Christian executed the Killswitch to retain the title. After the match, Jackson executed The Book of Ezekiel on Christian, Kozlov executed the Iron Curtain on Christian and Regal applied the Regal Stretch on Christian.
Randy Orton defended the WWE Championship against John Cena. The match started with neither man gaining the advantage until Orton executed an Elevated DDT on Cena. As Orton attempted a punt, Cena fought back. Cena attempted an Attitude Adjustment but Orton countered and was disqualified for shoving the referee. Ring announcer Lilian Garcia announced that Vince McMahon ordered for the match to restart with the stipulation that if Orton was disqualified, he would lose the title. As the match progressed, Orton was intentionally counted out but McMahon restarted the match. Orton pinned Cena using the ropes for leverage but the referee reviewed the finish and restarted the match. Cena applied the STF but a person from the crowd (later revealed as Brett DiBiase) assaulted the referee. After the person was removed from the ring, Orton executed an RKO to retain the title.
The final match was the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk. Punk tried to climb a ladder but Hardy stopped him. Hardy set up a chair in front of Punk and attempted a Leg Lariat but Punk countered and dropped Hardy onto the chair. Punk executed a Suicide Dive on Hardy and Punk then attempted another chair shot on Hardy but Hardy countered. Punk tried to run Hardy into the steel steps but Hardy reversed Punk, which Punk jumped on the top step to avoid collision and tried to jump onto Hardy, but Hardy hit Punk with a chair while Punk was in mid-air. Hardy placed Punk on a table and dove off the top rope but Punk avoided Hardy, knocking Hardy through the table. Punk tried to climb a ladder but Hardy stopped him with a sunset flip powerbomb. Hardy tried to climb the ladder but Punk stopped him. Punk executed a superplex onto a ladder on Hardy. Punk attempted a GTS but Hardy countered and threw Punk through a table. Hardy tried to climb the ladder but Punk leapt off the top rope and stopped him. Hardy executed a Swanton Bomb off a ladder on Punk through a broadcast table. Back in the ring, Punk and Hardy climbed the ladder and fought until Punk knocked Hardy off the ladder and retrieved the title belt to win the match. As he was celebrating, the lights briefly went out and The Undertaker appeared, performing a chokeslam on Punk as the event ended.
The following Monday night on Raw, Vince McMahon decreed that, since Orton had used illegal means to attempt to retain the title before ultimately winning, John Cena was given one more chance to challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WWE Breaking Point in September. Since the pay per view concept of the show makes all of the main event matches contested under a stipulation that requires the victor to force their opponent to submit, it was announced to be an "I Quit" match, a variation of the no-disqualification match, to keep Orton from getting himself disqualified, which can only be won if one wrestler makes the other one verbally submit to the other; McMahon also announced that if anyone tried to interfere in the match on Orton's behalf, in response to Brett DiBiase's actions, Orton would automatically lose the championship.
On the August 27 episode of WWE Superstars, Dolph Ziggler, Mike Knox, and Finlay competed in a triple threat match with the winner advancing to challenge Rey Mysterio for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Breaking Point; Ziggler won the match, making it his third consecutive month challenging for the title. The match was changed on the September 4 episode of SmackDown after John Morrison won the title from Mysterio (Mysterio was legitimately suspended for violating the company's wellness policy, forcing him to drop the title).
The August 28 episode of SmackDown featured a rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage match with a stipulation that the loser of the match would leave the company. Punk ultimately won the match, leading to the departure of Hardy from the WWE until his return in 2017. Punk's win also lead to the announcement that he would defend the World title against The Undertaker in a submission match.
After SummerSlam, The Legacy continued their antagonizing of D-Generation X; after confronting McMahon, it was announced on WWE's official homepage that the two teams would continue to fight each other with a submission match of their own at Breaking Point; this one, however, would be contested where the submissions could be applied anywhere.
The Great Khali pursued Kane after SummerSlam, leading to Kane avoiding him. It was then announced on the September 4 episode of SmackDown the two would face each other again in a match with legal use of Singapore canes.
Overall reaction to the pay-per-view was good. The Sun gave the event an overall rating of 8 out of 10, and Canadian Online Explorer's wrestling section rating it as 7 out of 10. The opening match between Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler was praised, with James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch declaring it "awesome" and Dave Meltzer calling it a "really strong" match. Writing for The Sun, Mike Aldren, who attended the event live, also praised the match, and said that it was a "great technical opener" with "fluid, crisp back and forth action" from both wrestlers. The match between DX and The Legacy also received praise with Caldwell describing it as "WWE's best tag team match of the year". The main event TLC match between Punk and Hardy was universally praised with Aldren declaring that it was "a guaranteed match of the year candidate". Caldwell concluded that the "drama was great, Punk was great, Hardy was great", and rated the match as 4 and a quarter stars, while Meltzer praised it as a "great match" and touted the moment when Hardy performed the Swanton Bomb on Punk from the top of the ladder as "spectacular".
All the writers criticized the WWE Championship match, however, with Aldren remarking that "everyone in the arena" was confused and Caldwell saying that "WWE over-booked the crap out of this match". The shortness of the ECW Championship match was also criticized, with Caldwell remarking that it was "another ridiculous ECW Title match on WWE PPV". Aldren queried the decision to make it so short, saying that Christian and Regal "could have had one of the best matches on the show", a sentiment echoed by Meltzer. Aldren and Meltzer also criticized the match between Khali and Kane, with Aldren remarking that the crowd "was dead" and Meltzer calling it "pretty bad". Caldwell said that it was a "bad match with a decent finish", as the match "lowered the bar" early enough that the "finish was intriguing".
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