Wrestling Review: WWE SummerSlam 2004 feat. Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton

Image Source: The SmackDown Hotel

WWE SummerSlam 2004

After the previous reviews of The Great American Bash 2004 and Vengeance 2004, this is a carry-on into the biggest event of the summer with the 17th annual WWE SummerSlam PPV. Taking place in the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the focus of the show surrounded Canadian World Heavyweight Champion Chris Benoit defending his gold against up-and-coming star and former Intercontinental Champion Randy Orton. Underneath the main event, The Undertaker challenges WWE Champion JBL in his first PPV Title defence following his victory at The Great American Bash, as well as Kurt Angle vs. Eddie Guerrero and Triple H vs. Eugene being the big non-title matches on the show. Orton would gain his opportunity for the World Heavyweight Championship through victory in a 20-man battle royal, whilst The Undertaker (following the departure of “his mercy” Paul Bearer) challenged JBL for the main prize on the blue brand.

The promo package, as well as the entire advertising of this show, surrounded the 2004 Olympics which took place in Athens around the time of this show, with Triple H, Eddie Guerrero, Eugene, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler being shown doing different athletic events. The promo then focused on the card ahead, in particular the World Title matches and Angle vs. Eddie (caused by Kurt costing Eddie the WWE Championship).

The Dudleys vs. Rey Mysterio, Paul London & Billy Kidman

From the main event of the last SmackDown PPV to the opener of this one, the Dudleys with new Cruiserweight Champion Spike faced off against Rey Mysterio & SmackDown Tag Team Champions London & Kidman. The two tag team participants start with London & Kendrick taking control with their high intensity against D-Von until a Bubba clothesline on London would turn the tides. The Dudleys would dominate over London with a D-Von spinebuster being a highlight until London is able to make the tag till Rey Mysterio against Cruiserweight Champion Spike Dudley. Mysterio would dominate hitting a headscissors off the top rope and a seated senton/Standing Sea Fire combo on the former Tag Champs. Mysterio and Kidman would take control with Kidman nearly victorious following a shooting star but a 3D on Kidman would give the brothers the win.

Till Death Do Us Part Match – The Winner Marries Lita
Kane vs. Matt Hardy

The winner of this match will marry Lita, 2004 WWE had its moments and this feud involving the impregnation of Lita by Kane and the anger of Matt Hardy at both Kane and Lita. Matt Hardy would start the match with a rapid pace hitting a leg drop and second rope side effect before a tornado DDT would garner a two count. Kane would gain control of the match following an uppercut but a distraction from Lita would give Matt the opportunity to hit a suicide dive and twist of fate on the outside. Lita would then distract the ref for Matt to use the ring bell for a two count before a big boot and chokeslam off the top rope would give Kane the win. Post-match, Kane would ask for a hug from his future Wife with Lita running off.

Todd Grisham would interview Randy Orton over tonight’s Main Event with Orton claiming he is the future before a John Cena interruption who’d thank Orton for calling him charismatic and that the crowd is against him. Orton would end the interview proclaiming that tonight he will walk out as World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE United States Championship Best Of Five Series – Match One
Booker T (C) vs. John Cena

This series of matches began due to Cena being stripped of the US Championship by former GM Kurt Angle with Teddy Long setting up the best of 5. Booker T started the match in control with a clothesline over the top rope and dropping Cena onto the top rope. The US Champion would follow this up with a Camel Clutch and massive Spinebuster putting Cena on the back foot until a small package and mixed Axe kick would put Cena in control. Cena would then hit the FU out of nowhere giving the challenger a 1-0 lead in the Best of 5 series.

New Smackdown GM Teddy Long and RAW GM Eric Bischoff are shown backstage. Eric would joke at Teddy that by Survivor Series there will be another Smackdown GM as there have been 4 GM’s in 2 years. Teddy Long would tell Bischoff that any Superstar on RAW sick of Bischoff especially Eugene will be a star on Smackdown and “That’s reality”.

Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match
Edge (C) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Batista

This match would be a continuation of the Batista vs Jericho feud from Vengeance with higher stakes with Batista having KO’d both Edge and Jericho in the build. Jericho would start the match controlling Batista after the Evolution member had attacked Edge before the bell. ‘The Animal’ would soon take control of Jericho with his power moves connecting with a powerslam before Edge would blindside Batista to the crowd’s annoyance. Edge and Jericho would then compete one on one with the Toronto favourite Edge being booed and the fans wanting Jericho to become the new Intercontinental Champion. All three competitors would nearly win the match in quick succession with the crowd wanting anyone to win but Edge leading Jerry Lawler to call the crowd “Bizzaro land”, the finish would see Jericho take out Batista before a spear from Edge would lead to a Title retention.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle w/ Luther Reigns

The Wrestlemania XX rematch in which Angle has still not recovered from after Eddie outsmarted, (“Cheated”), Angle. Kurt would claim that Eddie did not know what it was like to lose with Guerrero replying that Kurt cost him the WWE Title. The focus of the match would be that Angle could not beat Eddie without cheating with Latino Heat telling Angle “What if I can?”. Tazz would also ask the very important question of how Eddie could get a low rider in Toronto of all places which is a valid question if you look at it.

The match starts off with the two former WWE Champions grappling with Angle and Eddie both taking each other down. Eddie Guerrero would show his own countering a German suplex into an ankle lock leading to an eye rake by Angle to escape followed by an Angle slam. Kurt would apply his own ankle lock leading to a rope break from Eddie and another ankle lock applied before Eddie reaches the rope. The Olympic Gold Medallist would put the focus of the match on Eddie’s left leg and ankle applying the STF and undoing Eddie’s left shoe to apply more pressure before an Angle slam by Eddie. Kurt Angle would come close to victory with a top rope belly to belly before a second Angle Slam for two following a failed Frog Splash. Following a referee bump Eddie would hit Angle with the untied shoe and hit the Frog Splash for another two count before Angle would apply the Ankle lock on the unprotected left foot with a grape vine for the three.

Triple H vs. Eugene

The focus of this feud would be the manipulation of Eugene by Triple H to try and regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit and failing. This would lead to Evolution leaving Eugene in a bloody pulp and call him “An embarrassment” causing Eugene to cost Triple H the World Heavyweight Championship again and HHH to brutalise William Regal twice.

Eugene took control of the match early on hitting a big back body drop and double Ax handle before Triple H would use Lillian Garcia as a human shield to distract Eugene for the advantage. Triple H would exploit this by faking a knee injury to blindside Eugene. The Toronto crowd carrying on the “Bizzaro land” tour would start to boo Eugene before a Rock Bottom by Eric Bischoff’s nephew. Triple H would slow the match down with a sleeper hold before Eugene started to Hulk up hitting HHH with a Stunner. This would lead to Ric Flair coming out being hit by Flair after a leg drop but the ‘Nature Boy’ would cost Flair the win after stopping Eugene from winning with a Pedigree. Ric Flair would be ejected following this and brass knuckled by a returning William Regal, this would distract Eugene long enough and hit with the Pedigree for Triple H to win.

Diva Dodgeball
Dawn, Amy, Trish, Maria, Christy & Michelle vs. Trish Stratus (Captain), Molly Holly, Jazz, Stacy Keibler, Gail Kim, Nidia & Victoria

This would be a total annihilation with Michelle McCool garnering four eliminations by herself, with Team Diva only getting one elimination for their team. Post-match Trish and Victoria would brawl on the court with Trish upset after her team did not get the job done.

WWE Championship Match
JBL (C) vs. The Undertaker

Undertaker would get a very cool looking entrance to this match with a ring of fire before 4 torches on his left and right. This is JBL’s first WWE Championship PPV Title defence following his victory over Eddie Guerrero over a controversial decision.

Undertaker attempted to take control early on with an old school but would be countered with a side slam and diving shoulder tackle showing the desperation of JBL early on. The Phenom would be able to take control by focusing on the left arm using an arm bar, choke and old school. The “Bizzaro land” crowd would start to have their own fun chanting “You both Suck” and doing the Mexican wave whilst JBL attacked the left leg using Orlando as a distraction for a steel chairshot.

There was some very good technical work in the match with Undertaker rolling a hip toss into a knee bar before the match would go to the outside with the challenger hitting a leg drop on the apron. Undertaker would come close to winning with a superplex but a Last Ride would be countered into a leg lock. JBL would nearly sneak a victory following a surprise Clothesline from Hell after Orlando Jordan interference. Following a referee bump JBL would hit Undertaker with the WWE Championship but still would not get the win. The finish would see JBL victorious after the referee disqualified the Undertaker following a Title shot on JBL.

Post-match, Undertaker would dismantle JBL powerslaming the WWE Champion on the hood of the limo before a chokeslam through the roof of the limo. JBL would be sent off on a stretcher with the crowd giving the WWE Champion the “NA NA Goodbye” song.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Benoit (C) vs. Randy Orton

With Randy Orton having won a battle royal only two weeks ago there was not much build to this match other than Orton becoming the youngest World Heavyweight Champion and Benoit defending in his home country. The match would start with the two feeling each other out before Benoit grounded Orton. Benoit would gain the advantage with a Greco Roman wristlock before applying an armlock after an arm drag. Benoit and Orton would both attempt a Sharpshooter with Orton locking it in to the Toronto crowd’s dismay before Benoit would transition into a Sharpshooter then a Crossface which Orton would break with the ring post.

Benoit and Orton would both try to find an advantage with a Benoit DDT on the apron followed by a low dropkick giving the Champion the advantage until a missed suicide dive which under current circumstances is a hard one to watch. The match would transition into both competitors taking shots off each other with Benoit gaining the advantage with a northern lights suplex with Orton responding with a crossbody off the top rope. After a German suplex Benoit would apply the Sharpshooter but the 6’4 challenger would reach the ropes. Benoit would then hit 6 German suplexes in a row to the delight of the Toronto crowd before Orton would counter the diving headbutt. Benoit would apply the Crossface but after three counters and an RKO outta nowhere we have a NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION in Randy Orton. This would make Orton the youngest World Heavyweight Champion at 24 beating Brock Lesnar two years prior after defeating the Rock.

Post-match, Chris Benoit would confront the new World Heavyweight Champion and offer to “Be a man” and shake his hand which Randy Orton does. The crowing of Randy Orton is achieved.

Overall, WWE SummerSlam 2004 is a pretty good show with three of the main four matches delivering and talent such as Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Booker T and the participants in the Intercontinental Championship match being entertaining. The crowd seemed to want to have their fun on the show and did which could be argued in ruining certain matches such as the three-way and Undertaker vs. JBL, but SummerSlam 2004 is definitely the best 2004 PPV out of the three I have reviewed recently, not only due to the good in-ring action but there being memorable moments, which is what professional wrestling is all about.