August 20, 2005
SummerSlam lineup looks solid
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
When I was a kid, every wrestling pay-per-view was a must-see event.
Even if the matches were likely to be train wrecks -- and they often were -- the cards were built up so well that I genuinely cared about the results and needed to see how the storylines concluded.
These days, it seems most PPVs are filler shows with dull matches that have been seen a million times before.
The results may be less predictable but that's because the outcomes rarely have any long-term significance and it quite frankly doesn't matter who wins or loses.
Of the 14 WWE pay-per-views each year, at least half come off as glorified episodes of Raw rather than special events worth the $35 price tag.
Well, WWE is big on nostalgia these days and tomorrow night at SummerSlam, the company looks set to give me a taste of my childhood -- A pay-per-view I actually want to see.
The main selling point is the first-time collision between Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels; a clash between wrestling's biggest star of the '80s and the longest lasting star from the boom period of the '90s.
Hogan and Michaels have never wrestled before. They'll likely never wrestle again, or at the very least, we won't see a rematch on Raw the next night.
Not only does it fit the dream match criteria but the angle also has a freshness that WWE has been lacking.
Fans with a little more inside knowledge have the extra incentive of watching the politics play out in the ring. Hogan and Michaels are two of the biggest backstage manipulators in wrestling history and it'll be fascinating to see which one is willing to stare at the ceiling at the end of the match.
At 52 years of age, Hogan has an artificial hip and has evidently been a victim of what Mick Foley once described as a tag team beat-down from Mother Nature and Father Time.
Whether Michaels can carry him to a good match (and in the main event spot, they'll have to go at least 15 minutes) will make it even more fun to watch.
The great thing about wrestling is the old adage that it's sort of like the circus.
If the clowns freak you out and the bearded lady gives you nightmares, you'll still be entertained by the lion tamer and trapeze acts.
That 'something for everyone' mentality will be in effect at Summerslam tomorrow night, with seven other matches announced and at least one more to be added on the pre-game show tomorrow.
If you like intense, shoot-style brawling, Edge and Matt Hardy will beat the odds and put on a killer performance, playing off their real-life feud over Lita.
If you like comedy, Kurt Angle and Eugene have a fun battle planned for Angle's Olympic gold medals.
If you like blood and broken tables, Batista and JBL are set to go at it in a violent no-DQ match for the world title.
If you like solid five-star wrestling, the ladder match between Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero is likely to steal the show.
And if you like bathroom breaks during your pay-per-views, Chris Benoit and Orlando Jordan have a pointless U.S. title tilt which will be a perfect opportunity to visit the kitchen for a snack.
It's been a while since I've genuinely been excited about a PPV. Maybe it's just a case of lowered expectations after a year of miserable B-level events but the build up has been good, the card is solid and unless the WWE writers are sniffing glue when they make the booking decisions tomorrow, SummerSlam has 'must see' written all over it.