This review was originally posted in June 2018, so it was not too long ago. The reason I’m posting this again is because I’m posting all the SummerSlam reviews in order and you can find this review now in our SummerSlam section.
The 2005 edition of SummerSlam was built around a dream match that we had never seen before: Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels. At the time, Hogan was 52 years old and Michaels was 40 years old. They never wrestled before because when Michaels ascended to the top of WWE in the mid-1990s, Hogan left to become the man in WCW. Hogan returned to WWE in 2002, less than a year after WWE bought WCW, and a few months later, Michaels returned to action at SummerSlam 2002 after four years on the shelf due to back surgery. In 2005, with neither man having anything else going on, WWE decided to build this match up as the main event of SummerSlam. It wasn’t about titles or anything like that. It was two legends having a match for the first time. Michaels was incredible as a heel going into the match, which only lasted for about one month of WWE TV and then Michaels was back to being a face after this show. I’ll get more into the build later and the aftermath as well because there was a very interesting behind the scenes story as well.
Another big story going into the show is that Chris Jericho left WWE after SummerSlam. Jericho’s contract was up and he wanted to take a break. Jericho pitched a match with John Cena, which Vince McMahon agreed to, so that’s how they set up the WWE Title match. Jericho signed a one-month extension to be a part of this show.
There were also rumors that Muhammad Hassan was going to face Batista on this show to become the World Champion. Instead, Hassan was released after Great American Bash one month earlier when The Undertaker beat him. As I covered in that review, Hassan was taken off TV due to UPN Network not wanting him to be on Smackdown due to a controversial storyline.
Triple H missed SummerSlam due to some minor neck injury and he wanted a few months off to rest his body. He was back in action in October 2005.
The show was a huge success in terms of making money for WWE. In terms of PPV buyrates, SummerSlam did a whopping 650,000 buys. That was the second best number for WWE in 2005 behind WrestleMania 21. It’s also the second best SummerSlam buyrate number ever trailing only SummerSlam 1998, which did 700,000 thanks to a huge main event during the Attitude Era with Steve Austin and Undertaker in the main event. The 2004 SummerSlam did 415,000 buys, so it’s impressive to see that one year later WWE got over 200,000 more buys for this event. Hogan vs. Michaels was a big time match to a lot of fans watching at home.
MCI Center in Washington, DC
This show got a TV-14 rating with a warning for Sexual Content on WWE Network.
SummerSlam began with Lilian Garcia singing the United States national anthem and she did a great job of it as usual. The fans chanted “USA” at the end of it.
The opening video package focused on the matches on the card with a focus on Hogan vs. Michaels at the end of it because that was the main event.
There was a shot of the packed house in Washington and this obviously dubbed over song played. The song was “Get it Poppin'” by Fat Joe and Nelly, but WWE must not have had the rights to it and they didn’t play it on the Network version of the broadcast.
Jim Ross welcomed us to the show saying 18,176 fans have sold out the arena, which is probably an inflated number, but it looked full. They always lie about numbers. Ross was joined at ringside by Jerry Lawler and Jonathon Coachman, who were the Raw announce team. The Spanish announce team was at ringside. The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz were also at ringside to set up the first match.
Chris Benoit got a big ovation as the challenger to the US Title. Benoit was a popular midcard face after being a main eventer a year earlier. Orlando Jordan was out next. Jordan cheated in his title defense against Benoit one month earlier. Jordan won the title on March 3, 2005 against John Cena, so he had a five month run as the champ.
United States Championship: Orlando Jordan vs. Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: Jordan was the heel US Champion and Benoit was the face challenger.
Benoit drove Jordan into the turnbuckle, cheap punch by Jordan and Benoit came back with a German Suplex. Benoit took down Jordan with a Crippler Crossface and Jordan tapped out to give Benoit the win at 0:25. The crowd popped huge for the title change because it was such a short match.
Winner by submission and New United States Champion: Chris Benoit
Analysis: 1/2* The rating doesn’t matter because it was such a short match. The crowd reaction was telling because they loved Benoit winning in such a dominant fashion. Nobody was sad about Jordan losing the title because he was one of the most boring wrestlers in WWE.
Benoit celebrated with the title as the crowd cheered him and treated the title change as a big deal.
Eddie Guerrero was in the locker room when Vickie Guerrero showed up to talk to him. Vickie said this is really about Eddie wanting to beat Rey Mysterio and Eddie lied by saying that this is about Dominick. Vickie said this is about hurting Rey to be the better man. Eddie said he needed somebody to carry on the Guerrero legacy. Vickie told Eddie she loved him and give him a kiss. She spoke about how Eddie had a heart of gold, but this person won’t let him beat Rey. Eddie was mad that she thinks that he can’t beat Rey, so he told her to support him by leaving the room. Vickie left and Eddie talked to himself about how he’s going to beat Rey Mysterio.
There were some fans in the crowd showing some army veterans that were in the hospital.
A video package aired for Edge vs. Matt Hardy. It was a real-life story with Lita having a six year relationship with Matt Hardy and she cheated on Matt with Edge while Matt was home injured with a serious injury. Matt mentioned the real-life affair. Lita went on Byte This to say she fell in love with somebody else. Matt ended up getting fired for a few months because WWE didn’t like the way he talked about it on the internet. Matt was re-hired, which led to Matt attacking Edge numerous times and they had some memorable brawls leading up to the match.
Analysis: This story was huge at the time. We didn’t have social media in 2005, but it was all over the internet and people used things like message boards to talk about it. Matt had every reason to be mad about what happened and it was ridiculous that WWE would fire him, but it ended up only being about a two month break for him.
Edge walked out first with Lita, who looked amazing wearing an outfit that was essentially a bra to show off her wonderful body. Lita was way hotter during her heel run…at least to me.
Matt walked out to a good pop and then he ran down to the ring.
Analysis: I remember thinking how hard it must have been for Matt to do this match and remain professional, but that was their job. I’m sure a lot of people watched this thinking that maybe it would turn into a real fight.
Edge (w/Lita) vs. Matt Hardy
Pre-match notes: Edge and Lita were the heels while Matt was the face seeking revenge.
They met outside the ring with punches. Hardy destroyed Edge with punches to the face and back. They went into the ring, the bell officially rang and Matt took down Edge with a choke, but Edge got to the ropes to break the hold. Fans chanted “she’s got herpes” at Lita. Classy! Hardy worked over Edge with punches. Edge came back with a stiff headbutt to the face. Fans chanted “she’s a crack whore” at Lita, which the announcers didn’t mention. Hardy was on the apron, Edge charged and hit a Spear through the ropes that took down both guys. Edge rolled Hardy back in. Hardy came back with punches to the head and they went up against the turnbuckle where Edge launched Hardy into the ring post. Hardy bumped all the way to the floor. Fans chanted “Hardy” for Matt. Edge worked over Matt with punches while Matt was busted open from the forehead. Edge punched Hardy repeatedly. Edge worked over Matt with knees to the head while Hardy was selling like he might have been knocked out. Referee Chad Patton checked on Matt as Edge stomped away. The ref called for the bell since Matt was knocked out. It went 4:50.
Winner by knockout: Edge
Analysis: * That was not an outcome that most of us were expecting. I thought Matt should have won or at least come close due to the story and wanting him to get revenge for what Edge did. Instead, Edge won a short match. They ended up having a rematch at the next PPV, which was fine, but I thought we would see more here.
The fans booed that decision by the referee while Edge smiled and posed in the ring. Hardy was a bloody mess in the ring. The announcers mentioned the steel post spot is what likely knocked Matt out. Matt was helped to the back by two referees.
Analysis: I remember a lot of people online were mad about it. They really wanted Matt to win, but instead he was booked like a loser that got knocked out during the match.
The video package aired for Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio in a “Custody of Dominick” Ladder Match. Mysterio beat Guerrero at Great American Bash one month earlier, which continued the story that Guerrero could not beat Mysterio even one time. Guerrero revealed a secret that Dominick was really his son. Mysterio told Dominick it was true. The story was that Eddie had the kid, but he was in a rough point his life, so he let Rey and his wife raise him. That led to this Ladder Match for the custody of Dominick.
Analysis: This was a very personal storyline that was unlike anything we had seen in WWE before. Rey is really Dominick’s dad, but the story worked because we knew that Eddie had a rough life due to his addictions. The crowds were really into this storyline while the TV audience was up whenever they were on particularly for the Latino fanbase.
There was a briefcase hanging above the ring that included the custody papers for Dominick. That’s what the wrestlers would battle for in this match. Tazz said that he was rooting for Mysterio to win.
Eddie Guerrero entered first to boos. Eddie walked over to Dominick, who was in the first row standing beside an actress that they claimed was a social worker. Dominick was about 8 years old. Tazz called Eddie a sick man.
Rey Mysterio got a big ovation for his entrance. Mysterio walked over to his son Dominick at ringside with Cole noting that Dominick didn’t speak to Rey for a few weeks. Mysterio hugged his son and kissed him on the forehead. Cole noted that he adopted both of his sons while saying that just because you are not the biological father doesn’t mean you can’t be a father. Mysterio posed in the ring and Guerrero shook the hand of the social worker at ringside.
Analysis: I was really excited for the match because they were two of the best wrestlers in the two of my favorites as well. The storyline was a bit over the top, but you couldn’t deny the crowd reactions. Dominick is now in his early 20s and training to wrestle.
Ladder Match for the Custody of Dominick: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: Guerrero was the heel and Mysterio was the face. The winner had to retrieve the briefcase from above the ring by climbing a ladder to get it.
The crowd was hot early on with “Eddie Sucks” chants. Guerrero sent Mysterio into the top turnbuckle followed by a belly to back suplex. Mysterio with a monkey flip that sent Guerrero out of the ring. Guerrero whipped Mysterio shoulder first into the steel steps. Guerrero whipped Mysterio into a ladder that was outside the ring. There were a lot of close up shots of Dominick. Guerrero set up the ladder in the ring, Guerrero climbed it and Mysterio hit a missile dropkick to knock Guerrero down while Dominick smiled at ringside. Mysterio dumped Guerrero out of the ring and hit a dropkick into a ladder that knocked Guerrero down outside the ring. Guerrero with a seated senton off the top onto Guerrero on the floor. That was impressive. Mysterio climbed up the ladder, Guerrero went after him, Guerrero got his hand on the briefcase, but Mysterio punched him. Guerrero did a sunset flip Powerbomb off the ladder, but they didn’t execute it perfectly. Guerrero’s hands slipped on Rey’s leather pants. It’s not an easy spot, but they got through it. Guerrero hit Mysterio in the ribs with the ladder and then he drove the ladder against Mysterio against the turnbuckle. Guerrero brought another ladder into the ring and Guerrero dropkicked the ladder into Mysterio against the turnbuckle. Guerrero slammed Mysterio on to a ladder. Guerrero put another ladder on Mysterio. Guerrero jumped over the top rope with a senton splash onto the two ladders. Guerrero set up a ladder again, Mysterio had another ladder, bridged it and climbed up that ladder. Mysterio gave Guerrero a back body drop off the big ladder onto the bridged ladder and then Mysterio crashed onto a ladder too. That looked very painful. Mysterio tried climbing a ladder, so Mysterio dropkicked it and knocked it down. The camera kept showing Dominick for his reactions. Guerrero set up a ladder against the turnbuckle and sent Mysterio sternum first into it.
Guerrero set up a ladder under the ring while Mysterio was writhing in pain. Guerrero was really slow climbing up the ladder, but Dominick went into the ring, which drew a huge ovation. Dominick shook the ladder while Guerrero was near the top, he couldn’t move it at all. Guerrero walked back down the ladder to yell at Dominick for shaking the ladder. Guerrero wanted a hug and Dominick said no. Guerrero told Dominick that he is his new daddy. Guerrero teased hitting Dominick, but Mysterio made the save and hit a back body drop while Dominick went back to his seat. Mysterio whipped Guerrero into a ladder and then Mysterio hit a 619 into a ladder and into Guerrero. Mysterio with a leg drop off the top onto the ladder that was on Guerrero. Mysterio climbed up the ladder, but Guerrero went after him. Guerrero had Mysterio on his shoulders, Mysterio slipped out and hit a Powerbomb off the top of the ladder! Wow. What a great move. That was not easy to do and they pulled it off. Mysterio climbed up the ladder, Mysterio got his hands on the hooks holding the briefcase, Guerrero kicked away the ladder and Mysterio fell into Guerrero’s arm for a stiff Powerbomb by Guerrero. Ouch. Guerrero put the ladder onto Mysterio’s upper body leading to Guerrero climbing. Guerrero was slow during this climb and he got up to the briefcase, but Guerrero was unable to unhook it. Mysterio shoved the ladder out of the way, so Guerrero was hanging off the hook above the briefcase until he crashed to the mat. Eddie started pounding on the mat in frustration about something.
Note: This is where Eddie was yelling “where the fuck was Vickie” speaking about his wife. He was yelling it at Charles Robinson, who was the ringside referee giving the wrestlers the cues. On the WWE Network version, you can’t hear what Eddie said, but I remember on the live version of this show we could all hear it and we all talked about it after it was over.
Guerrero took control with the Three Amigos vertical suplexes with the third one being a suplex that sent Mysterio back first onto the ladder. Guerrero did a slow ladder climb and Vickie Guerrero ran out to the ring to confront her husband. When Guerrero reached the top of the ladder, Vickie yelled at him to stop. Vickie shoved the ladder and Eddie was knocked down and went crashing into the ropes. The crowd cheered that spot loudly. Mysterio climbed the ladder again, Guerrero got up and Vickie pulled Eddie away. Mysterio grabbed the briefcase while Vickie held down Guerrero. The match went 20:19.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: ***3/4 This was an awesome match full of emotion and a hot crowd. There were some mistakes that were hard to ignore, so that hurt the match a bit. There were also some incredible spots that the crowd was really into. The finish was off a bit because Vickie wasn’t there at the right time, which led to Eddie freaking out legit, but it ended up being okay because they did the suplex spot and Vickie got out there shortly after. Listen to the crowd and you can see how much the fans got into it.
After the match was over, Dominick went into the ring and hugged Rey. Angie, Rey’s wife, walked out for a family hug. Guerrero was pissed off about it in the ring. Mysterio went back into the ring and Mysterio hit Guerrero in the head with the briefcase. Mysterio celebrated with the briefcase.
There were replays of the key spots in the match. Mysterio was shown on the stage getting helped to the back by referee Charles Robinson.
Analysis: It’s so sad to think that Eddie died less than three months after this. After he died, that’s when WWE used Vickie Guerrero as an on-screen character and she ended up being one of the best heel GM’s in WWE history. There was no way of knowing that during this match, but she ended up doing a good job of it. Sadly, there was only one more PPV match for Eddie after this.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Todd Grisham. Jericho said the time is now for Jericho to be WWE Champion. Jericho mocked Cena’s “chain gang” fans and say that they will discard him. Jericho reminded us he is Chris Jericho, who beat The Rock and Steve Austin in the same damn night to be the very first Undisputed Champion in the business. Jericho said Rock and Austin are legendary figures and Hall of Famers like him. Jericho talked about how when he beats John Cena and wins the WWE Title, the true Jerichoholics can finally have a champion they can all be proud of.
Analysis: Jericho was in heel mode here. As I noted earlier, we knew he was only on a short-term deal and he wasn’t going to win, but it was still a good promo.
Eugene entered with Christy Hemme for his match. It was just something for Christy to do and people were starting to boo Eugene because he was boring, so putting Christy with him made the fans care since she was a hot woman. Eugene had Kurt Angle’s Olympic gold medal that he won on Raw a few weeks earlier. Kurt Angle was up next looking serious and fans chanted “you suck” at him. The pyro for Angle’s entrance was off.
Kurt Angle vs. Eugene (w/Christy Hemme)
Pre-match notes: Angle was the heel and Eugene was the face. I hated that they put Angle in a feud with a joke character like Eugene.
Angle walked into the ring and decked Eugene with a punch. Angle slammed Eugene down as JR pointed out that Angle hasn’t lost at SummerSlam and Angle hit Eugene with back to back clotheslines. Eugene came back with a spinebuster, which led to boos. Eugene wanted a People’s Elbow, Angle back up and a clothesline to huge cheers. The fans chanted “Let’s go Angle” leading to two German Suplexes by Angle. Eugene tried to fight back, the fans booed him and Angle hit another German Suplex that got a two count. Angle sent Eugene head first into the turnbuckle, Eugene did his Hulking Up routine followed by a Rock Bottom for two. Angle wanted an Angle Slam, Eugene stepped out of it and Eugene hit a Stone Cold Stunner for two. Eugene put the Ankle Lock on, but Angle countered that by sending Eugene into the turnbuckle. Angle with an Angle Slam. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock and Eugene tapped out to give Angle the win at 4:31.
Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle
Analysis: ** It was a dominant win for Angle. The fans were sick of the Eugene character by this point, so it was the right call to have Angle go over in the way that he did. There were a couple of nearfalls for Eugene, but I don’t think anybody thought that would end the match.
Post match, Angle brought a chair into the ring. Angle tossed Eugene out of the ring. Angle opened up the chair in the ring. Angle stood on the chair and the referee put Angle’s Olympic gold medal around his next. Angle posed while the fans cheered. JR put over Angle’s great performance.
Analysis: The cheers were out of appreciation for the greatness of Angle, who was a heel during this period. Angle moved on to become the challenger for the WWE Title after this.
There was a shot of a limo backstage with Torrie Wilson spraying the car with water. She was in a bikini. Maria was also there in a bikini cleaning the car. Ashley, Candice Michelle and Stacy Keibler were all in bikinis cleaning the car. Candice even put some soap on herself. Lucky soap. Stacy washed the car to reveal a “President of the United States” logo on the side of the limo. The window opened to show Vince McMahon: “Hey, why not?” The camera panned over to a show “McMahon for President” bumper sticker. That ended it.
Analysis: I guess that’s why this show got the “S” for Sexual Content rating. It was just five hot women in bikinis. It was also Vince being cheesy.
The Undertaker made his entrance to a huge ovation. It was noted by Michael Cole that this was the 14th straight SummerSlam where Undertaker was having a match. The crowd was really loud for Undertaker. They were a vocal crowd all night.
Randy Orton made his entrance to his “Hey Nothing You Can Say” song. Orton missed a few months of action post WrestleMania 21 due to a shoulder injury. Orton moved to Smackdown in the 2005 draft lottery.
The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: It was a rematch from WrestleMania with the face Undertaker winning that match over the heel Orton. The Undertaker was 40 years old while Orton was 25 years old. One year earlier at SummerSlam, Orton became the youngest World Champion in WWE history.
Undertaker shoved Orton down followed by a hard slap to the face. Undertaker with a shoulder tackle for two. Orton came back with a hip toss, clothesline and Taker came back with a boot to the face. Taker with an armbar, he went for the top rope walk, but Orton took him down with an armdrag for two. Taker worked over Orton with punches against the turnbuckle. Orton fought out of the corner and Taker hit another boot to the face for two. Taker ran the ropes and hit a flying clothesline. Taker slowed the pace down with kicks and punches for a couple of minutes. Taker charged in with a running kick, Orton moved and Taker was crotched against the top rope. Orton kicked the hamstring of Taker to knock him down. Orton with a DDT for two as Taker got his left leg on the bottom rope to kick out. Orton jumped onto the left leg of Taker across the bottom rope. Orton whipped the left knee of Taker against the ring post. Orton with a running knee drop got a two count followed by a boot to the face for two for Orton. They had an exchange where Taker ran the ropes right into a powerslam for Orton. Taker reversed a leg lock by sending Orton’s leg into the mat. Orton ran the ropes and hit a shoulder tackle to the left leg of Taker. Orton slapped on another leg lock submission. Orton jumped onto the leg of Taker, but Taker managed to kick Orton over the top to the floor.
Taker hit his patented leg drop across the throat of Orton. Taker did the rope walk leading to the Old School rope walk into the punch to the shoulder. Taker with a Flatliner for two. Taker sent Orton into the top turnbuckle in a move called Snake Eyes and Orton came back with a dropkick. Orton wanted a RKO, but Taker shoved him off. Taker went for a Tombstone, Orton reversed it, Taker set it up, but Orton slipped out and Orton hit a modified backbreaker for two. Orton went up top, he jumped off with a cross body block, Taker rolled through and Taker hit a Chokeslam. There was a “fan” in the ring. Security went into the ring to get the fan out of there. Taker shoved the guy down. The fan left with security. Taker picked up Orton, that led to Orton hitting the RKO and Orton covered for the pinfall win at 17:17.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average match designed to put over Orton in a very cheap way. Some of the match was boring because Orton worked over the left leg for a lot of it even though Orton didn’t have submission moves to make fans believe he might win. The finish was different than the norm because you don’t usually see them do a fan in the ring spot like that. It was a creative way to put Orton over. The Undertaker rarely lost clean in his career and this was another example of that.
Post match, Orton went over to the “fan” that was in the aisle. Orton hugged the guy in the white suit. Orton took off his glasses and mask to reveal it was Orton’s dad Bob Orton. Undertaker was furious about it, so he limped his way after them and the heels ran away.
Analysis: That was a good reveal. The feud continued from there with Randy using his dad to help him win because he knew he needed something extra to get by Undertaker.
The video package aired for the WWE Title match between John Cena and Chris Jericho. Cena moved to Raw a few months earlier in the draft lottery and Raw GM Eric Bischoff tried to make life difficult for Cena, so it was WWE’s way of doing a McMahon-Austin style storyline. Jericho was the heel working with Bischoff.
Analysis: The feud was built up okay, but not great. It was obvious Cena was going to win too.
Jericho was shown walking backstage. Bischoff was there to wish Jericho good luck. Jericho made his entrance to boos.
John Cena received a big ovation with his spinner WWE Title in his hands. The announcers hyped up this match as a big deal. Cena had his left calf taped up.
WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Cena was the face WWE Champion and Jericho was the heel.
Jericho with a running clothesline against the turnbuckle followed by a suplex. There’s a big blood stain in the ring from Matt Hardy earlier. Jericho with a spinning heel kick. Jericho went for a dropkick with Cena on the apron, but Cena moved and Cena went crashing to the floor. Cena took control in the ring with some punches, but Jericho came back with a dropkick on a charging Cena. Jericho remained in control with a suplex, dropkick and an eye gouge. There was a whip into the ropes and Jericho dumped Cena out of the ring. Jericho with a dropkick off the apron onto Cena on the floor. Jericho choked Cena with a cord off a camera. Back in the ring, Jericho set up Cena for a superplex and he connected with it. Jericho landed hard on the back of his head as he rolled on top for a two count. Cena got back in control with a back body drop, two clotheslines and Cena missed a shoulder tackle because Jericho ducked it. Jericho with a running bulldog. Jericho’s Lionsault attempt failed because Cena moved and Cena countered a Walls of Jericho attempt by kicking Jericho out of the ring. Jericho back in and Cena hit a leg drop to the back of the head for two. Cena went for a FU, but Jericho countered it into a DDT for two. The crowd was really into that nearfall. Good spot.
Jericho worked over Cena by kicking him in the back followed by a backbreaker. The crowd did a dueling chant “Let’s go Cena/Let’s go Jericho” and it was really loud for about one minute as Jericho worked over the back of Cena. Jericho ran the ropes and Cena came back with a running clothesline. Cena with two clotheslines followed by a hip toss and the spinning slam. Cena did the “you can’t see me” hand gesture, but Jericho popped up and slapped on the Walls of Jericho submission. Fans were cheering wanting Jericho to win and when Jericho pulled Cena into the center of the ring, the fans cheered even louder. Cena managed to crawl his way to the bottom rope to break the hold, which led to some fans booing. Cena tried to do a FU off the middle ropes, but Jericho countered with a belly to back suplex for two. Jericho charged in, Cena caught him as if he was going to give him a backbreaker and then spun Jericho up to his shoulders and connected with the FU (later known as the Attitude Adjustment) for the pinfall win at 14:49. That was a very creative finish that drew a huge pop from the crowd.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match with Jericho on offense for most it and Cena made the big comeback for the win. The crowd was really into the match even though I’m sure most of them knew Cena was going to win. The finish was well done. I had forgotten about that spot, but it was very creative with Cena lifting Jericho up over his head for the FU. This was one of Cena’s first major matches where you could tell the fans were starting to not like him. It got worse in 2006 in terms of fans booing Cena, but you could tell that some of them were more interested in booing Cena in this match.
Post match, Cena celebrated with the WWE Title and the fans were cheering him loudly. Jericho wasn’t shown after the match at all while the announcers put over Cena heavily.
Analysis: Jericho left the company the next night on Raw after losing a “You’re Fired” match. His contract was up and he wanted to take a break from wrestling. Jericho returned to WWE in late 2007 and had the best year of his career in 2008. He was missed.
The video package aired for Batista vs. John Bradshaw Layfield for the World Heavyweight Championship on the Smackdown brand. It’s a rematch from the Great American Bash because Batista was disqualified due to using a steel chair that Orlando Jordan brought into the ring. JBL suggested a No Holds Barred match for the World Title. Batista agreed.
John Bradshaw Layfield made his entrance in the white limo as usual. There were bills falling from the rafters that had JBL’s face on them. Tazz: “They’re worthless.” True statement.
Batista got a big ovation because it was in his hometown of Washington, DC. If it was up to me I would have had Batista do an interview mentioning the hometown, but WWE chose to not have him do that.
World Heavyweight Championship No Holds Barred: Batista vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Pre-match notes: Batista was the face World Heavyweight Champion and JBL was the heel challenger. No Holds Barred meant that everything was legal.
Batista did his pose in the aisle, JBL went after him and Batista was ready for him as he hit JBL with the title in the head. They brawled over by the entrance area. Batista hit JBL in the back with a fire extinguisher. JBL came back by whipping Batista into an equipment case. They went brawling towards the ringside area where JBL hit Batista with a chair to the throat. Batista came back with a Spear that broke the barricade at ringside. JBL took over by shoving Batista into the steel ring post. JBL hit Batista with a short clothesline followed by punches. JBL took the belt off timekeeper Mark Yeaton at ringside and hit Batista in the back with the belt three times. JBL choked Batista with the belt around the neck. Batista fought out of it with a belly to back suplex. Batista got the revenge with the leather belt by hitting JBL in the back with it about six times. Batista with shoulder tackles to the ribs, JBL got a boot to the face and JBL hit a Clothesline From Hell that was only good for two. JBL brought the top half of the steel steps in the ring. JBL teased a Powerbomb on the steps, but Batista hit a back body drop to counter. JBL ran right into a Spinebuster by Batista. Thumbs down signal for Batista. Batista picked up JBL and hit a Batista Bomb, but there was no cover. Batista thought about it, looked at the steps and fans chanted “one more time” at him. Batista hit a Powerbomb onto the steel steps. Ouch. Batista covered JBL on the steel steps and that was it after 9:05 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Batista
Analysis: ** It was a solid brawl for the time given. Batista retaining the title was the expected outcome. It was a surprise that they were given under ten minutes, but that could have been because it was a loaded card and the match may have been cut short by a few minutes. It was surprising that they didn’t use more weapons since it was a No Holds Barred match. The only weapons in the ring were a belt and the steel steps. I thought there would have been more. Anyway, the point was to put over Batista in a big way and that’s what happened.
Post match, Batista celebrated with the World Title. Batista ripped up one of the JBL bills that was at ringside. That was the end of their feud.
The video package aired for Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels. It all started when Michaels teamed with Hogan at Vengeance 2005 when they beat Muhammad Hassan and Daivari (not shown in the video). They also beat Kurt Angle and Carlito on the July 4th Raw. After that match, during the celebration, Michaels surprised Hogan with a superkick that shocked the world. For the next month, Michaels was in heel mode by doing some incredible promos ripping on Hogan and his legacy. Michaels even ripped on Bret Hart in the build to this match in an incredible promo in Montreal. The Hogan imitation segment on “Larry King” was hilarious too. Hogan told Michaels if he wanted a match he could have asked, but instead he did a cheap shot on Hogan. Hogan said he would do it for the Hulkamaniacs while Michaels said that Hogan couldn’t touch him in this ring.
Analysis: The promo work by Michaels leading up to this match was some of the best work of his career. A lot of it was heelish, but fans still loved Shawn. It was smart of Michaels to be like more of a heel going into the match. This was the only time Michaels was in a heel role during the second part of his career from 2002 to 2010.
Shawn Michaels made his entrance first to a loud reaction. Jim Ross called it a mixed reaction. It was loud, that’s for sure. JR noted that Shawn had never lost a singles match at a SummerSlam.
Hulk Hogan got a thunderous ovation from the crowd. There was a giant American flag in the background as Hogan made his entrance. It’s not like Michaels was a foreigner, but WWE really wanted to put over Hogan as being an American hero. When Hogan made his entrance, Michaels was pretending like he was shoveling, which could be a reference to Hogan “burying” him in this match.
Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels
Pre-match notes: Hogan was clearly the face. Michaels was normally a face that was in a bit of a heel role going into this match. As noted earlier, Hogan was 52 years old and Michaels was 40 years old at the time of the match.
Hogan shoved Michaels down three times to start the match. Hogan with a shoulder block led to a ridiculous bump out of the ring by Michaels, who was really over the top in selling that. Michaels worked over Hogan with hard chops to the chest. Hogan whipped Michaels into the turnbuckle and Hogan punted Michaels to the top rope leading to some more over the top selling by Michaels. Hogan sent Michaels into the top turnbuckle followed by another silly bump by Michaels. Thumb to the eye by Michaels. Hogan with a back body drop. Hogan with a clothesline that sent Michaels out of the ring leading to even more ridiculous bumping by Michaels as he did a flip on the floor after landing after that. Hogan ducked his head after a whip into the ropes and Michaels kicked him in the chest. Michaels slapped Hogan in the face two times and sent Hogan into the turnbuckle. Michaels was punched out of the ring by Hogan. They battled on the floor with Hogan slamming Michaels on the Spanish announce table, but it wasn’t strong enough to break it. Hogan whipped Michaels face first into the ring post. Hogan picked up Michaels and Michaels shoved Hogan into the ring post. Michaels sent Hogan into another ring post. Michaels punched Hogan in the head several times trying to cut him open hardway, the ref pulled Michaels off and Hogan was busted open. The Hulkster had blood pour everywhere. Hogan likely did the blade job when the ref pulled Michaels away.
The intensity picked up from there with Michaels going after the cut on Hogan’s head. Michaels slapped on a sleeper hold to wear down Hogan. Fans were chanting “Hogan” as Hogan’s blood was all over his face and on Michaels’ arm. Hogan with a belly to back suplex. Michaels came back with a running forearm to the face. Michaels up top, he went for the elbow drop, Hogan moved and Hogan did the finger point. Hogan with the three punches and he went for the boot to the face, but Michaels hit a forearm on Hogan and Michaels hit the referee, which knocked referee Mike Chioda out of the ring. Michaels slapped on a Sharpshooter on Hogan and another ref, Chad Patton, went into the ring. The move was not applied that well. Hogan got his hand on the bottom rope to break it. Hogan kicked Michaels and Michaels bumped into ref Chad Patton to knock him down. With no ref available, Michaels hit a low blow punch to the groin. Michaels brought a chair into the ring and nailed Hogan in the head with the steel chair. That was nasty. Michaels went up top and connected with the flying elbow drop. Michaels woke up referee Chad Patton. Hogan stumbled to his feet and Michaels connected with the Sweet Chin Music superkick. Slow count by the ref and Hogan powered out at two. It was Hulk Up time as Hogan no sold the punches, the point by Hogan, Hogan with punches to the face, the big boot that Michaels oversold by landing and then spinning around before falling. That was hilarious. Hogan hit the leg drop. Hogan covered for the pinfall win at 21:24.
Winner by pinfall: Hulk Hogan
Analysis: ***1/4 The match was good thanks to Michaels bumping his ass off for everything Hogan did even though some of it was ridiculous. I laughed during some of it. The blood by Hogan was a necessary part of the story because it showed that Michaels was able to weaken the Hulkster and Hulk had to make the big comeback while he was bloody. It’s an old school way of telling a story in a big match like this. I’ve never been a big Hogan fan, but give him credit for going over 20 minutes at 52 years of age. It’s a fun match that lived up to the build even though it’s not like it was a match of the year. It didn’t have to be that, but it was a lot of fun.
After the match was over, Hogan did his post match posing while his music played. Michaels shoved Hogan in the back. Michaels said: “I needed to know and I found out.” Michaels extended his hand for a shake. Hogan looked him in the eye and shook the hand. Michaels left, Hogan applauded him and pointed at him as a sign of respect.
Hogan did more posing to the delight of the crowd while his “Real American” song played. The show ended with Hogan’s posing and that was it.
Analysis: The story was that they were going to do three matches with each guy winning one match, then having a stipulation on the third match, but Hogan had creative control and he changed that plan. Michaels was pissed off about it, so he made the match a joke for part of it. Michaels even ripped on Hogan with a very sarcastic promo the next night on Raw. Michaels talked about how Hogan was back on a jet to Florida until the fans can give him what he wants while making the “money” hand gesture.
Here’s an audio clip of Hogan and Michaels talking about the match in different interviews.
I think Hogan is fabricating the truth as usual because he had creative control and he nixed the plans to do two more matches with Michaels. As for Michaels, he admitted he acted like a pain in the ass on the day of the match because he was frustrated about it.
This event has a run time of 2 hours, 52 minutes on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– The one thing that really stood about this event is that the builds to the big matches were great. Maybe the matches didn’t live up to the hype, but I think WWE deserves a lot of credit for making us care about stuff like Hogan vs. Michaels, Mysterio vs. Guerrero and Cena vs. Jericho. I think that played a big part in terms of SummerSlam 2005 drawing the second best buyrate in the history of SummerSlam. They didn’t just say here’s Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels. They gave us a story that made the match more compelling. Often times we are hard on WWE for the lack of a great story. In this case, I think they deserve a lot of praise for improved storytelling.
– There wasn’t a standout match on the card with nothing topping four stars out of five, but three matches around the three-star level makes for an enjoyable show to me. The Eddie/Rey match probably could have been four stars if they did the finish better. It was off by a bit and it’s hard to ignore that.
– A lot of fans hated the Edge/Hardy finish at the time. I mentioned it above, but I remember it well how people wanted Matt to get the win because it made sense for the story. Hardy ended up getting the win at Unforgiven 2005 one month later in what was a much better match.
– I had totally forgotten that Angle faced Eugene at this event. What a waste. Angle is an all-time great that should have been in a meaningful match at SummerSlam. Instead, he was booked with a comedy guy. A year earlier, Eugene faced another top guy in Triple H at SummerSlam. It’s crazy how strongly WWE booked Eugene when the fans considered him nothing more than a joke.
– This is just a guess on my part, but I assume Vince McMahon LOVED the limo sketch teasing him as the President of the United States. Some writer may have pitched it to him, but I think it’s more likely that Vince thought of it himself. He’s not a humble man. That’s okay. We still love ya, Uncle Vinny.
Show rating (out of 10): 7
Best Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan (1/2*) – It was less than a minute, so it’s tough to compare it to the others.
Most Memorable Moment: The end of the ladder match with Guerrero freaking out because Vickie missed her spot will always stand out. It’s not a happy moment, but I remember that freak out by Eddie so well.
Five Stars Of The Show
1. Shawn Michaels
2. Rey Mysterio
3. Eddie Guerrero
4. Hulk Hogan
5. (tie) John Cena
5. (tie) Chris Jericho
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)
Steel Cage: Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart @ SummerSlam 1994 (*****)
Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon @ SummerSlam 1995 (*****)
Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin @ SummerSlam 2001 (****3/4)
TLC: Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ SummerSlam 2000 (****3/4)
Unsanctioned Street Fight: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H @ SummerSlam 2002 (****1/2)
Ladder Match: Triple H vs. The Rock @ SummerSlam 1998 (****1/2)
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar @ SummerSlam 2003 (****1/4)
Shawn Michaels vs. Vader @ SummerSlam 1996 (***1/4)
The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle @ SummerSlam 2000 (****)
Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2001 (****)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 2002 (Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H) – 9
SummerSlam 2001 (The Rock vs. Booker T, Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle) – 8
SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8
SummerSlam 2000 (The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle) – 7.5
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 2005 (Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels) – 7
SummerSlam 2004 (Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit) – 6
SummerSlam 1997 (Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1996 (Shawn Michaels vs. Vader) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 2003 (Elimination Chamber) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5
SummerSlam 1999 (Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H) – 5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5
SummerSlam 1995 (Diesel vs. Mabel, Michaels vs. Ramon) – 4
SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Next up: SummerSlam 2006.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.
Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.