SummerSlam is this Sunday so this week’s review is a SummerSlam match. I’m not reviewing a SummerSlam classic because I don’t review classic matches that people have talked about a million times. I’m reviewing a match from CM Punk’s first World Championship reign. Punk is currently my favorite WWE superstar and I will admit that his first World Championship reign was bad. I was going to compare it to Jack Swagger’s World Championship reign, but it’s likely most people don’t remember it. A good comparison is the World Championship reign Dolph Ziggler had this year. I think Ziggler’s short reign might have been slightly better. At least Ziggler lost his championship in a match. Punk was told that the Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels feud that was happening in WWE at that time needed the World Heavyweight Championship. WWE felt that the best way to take the World Heavyweight Championship away from Punk was by having Randy Orton punt Punk in the head during a backstage segment at the 2008 Unforgiven Pay-Per-View. Punk was unable to defend his championship so Punk was replaced by Jericho in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble match and Jericho won the championship. Punk got an opportunity to win back his championship a week later and lost to Jericho on RAW in a steel cage match. Punk’s reign lasted only two months and he defended the title on PPV only two times. There weren’t many good things that happened during Punk’s first reign. I could think of only two. The first was the Orton punt only because when Orton and Punk needed a reason to fight at WrestleMania 27 almost three years later, Punk talked about wanting to get revenge for getting punted by Orton at Unforgiven. They were able to take one of Punk’s worst WWE moments and turn it into an entertaining WrestleMania storyline. The second thing was Punk’s match against JBL at SummerSlam 2008.
- This match happened at the Conseco Fieldhouse (now known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse) in Indianapolis, Indiana. The attendance was 15,977.
- CM Punk’s World Heavyweight Championship was on the line.
- JBL became the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship by pinning Punk in a two-on-one handicap match on RAW on August 4, 2008.
- Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler were the announcers during this match.
- The time length of this match was 11:52.
- This match can be watched on YouTube at http://youtu.be/lfWCzJmHfps.
JBL got CM Punk in a headlock at the beginning of the match. Punk got out of the headlock and JBL knocked Punk down with a shoulder block. Punk got up, hit JBL with some kicks and then dropkicked JBL out of the ring. Punk suicide dived out of the ring and knocked down JBL! Wow, a suicide dive less than two minutes after the match started! Good way to get the crowd excited early in the match. Punk threw JBL back into the ring and he literally (not figuratively) knocked JBL down with a crossbody from the top rope. The literally/figuratively stuff is a reference to one of the CM Punk’s Grammar Slam videos that were recently posted online if you were confused by the last sentence. Check them out on YouTube if you haven’t seen them yet. Back to the match, JBL kicked out of Punk’s pin attempt. Punk bounced off the ropes and Punk got knocked down by JBL’s shoulder. JBL and Punk were on the ropes and JBL hit Punk with a fallaway slam from the second rope. Punk kicked out of a pin attempt. JBL took control of the match. Punk tried to make comeback, but it was quickly stopped by JBL. A few pin attempts by JBL and Punk was able to kick out of them. Michael Cole on commentary was saying that JBL’s strategy was to keep the pace slow and wear Punk down and that’s exactly what JBL was doing. Punk was able to hit JBL with a hip toss and then hit JBL with a running high knee / bulldog combination. Punk tried to go for the Go To Sleep, but Punk’s injuries that he suffered from JBL made it too painful for Punk to get JBL in the GTS position. That’s good selling by Punk which is something he has always been able to do very well. JBL hit Punk with a clothesline and then hit Punk with five elbow drops. Pin attempt by JBL and Punk kicked out. JBL and Punk exchanged punches and the punching brawl was won by JBL after he poked Punk in the eye. Punk hit JBL with a kick to the head. Punk covered JBL and JBL kicked out. Punk did a springboard and JBL hit Punk with a Randy Orton Powerslam in mid-air! Nice spot! That move got a near-fall. JBL bounced off the ropes and Punk hit him with a leg lariat! The replay showed the back of JBL’s head making contact with Punk’s head when JBL was falling down after getting kicked. Ouch! Punk was unable to get over to JBL and cover him. Punk got up and hit JBL with another high knee in the corner, but JBL prevented Punk from hitting the bulldog. JBL lifted Punk onto the top rope and suplexed Punk from the top. Punk was bleeding from the top of his head and another replay of Punk’s leg lariat clearly showed that JBL’s headbutt was why Punk was bleeding. Wrestling is not always fake. JBL covered Punk and Punk kicked out. Punk ducked a clothesline and hit JBL with the GTS! Punk pinned JBL and retained the World Heavyweight Championship.
Winner: CM Punk
***1/2 – Scott Keith (411mania.com, Insidepulse.com and Rspwfaq.net)
***1/4 – Dave Meltzer (Wrestling Observer)
*** – Brett Mix (WrestlingDVDNews.com, BSabres87 on YouTube)
*** – Scott Slimmer (411mania)
*** – Daniel Wilcox (411mania)
**3/4 – J.D. Dunn (411mania)
**1/2 – Chris Lansdell (411mania)
One of my favorite CM Punk moments happened after this match. Punk touched his head where he was bleeding. Punk looked at one of the WWE cameras, raised his bloody left hand and his World Heavyweight Championship and said, “I will bleed for this!”
I found a WWE.com Exclusive video of Punk getting medical attention after the match. It’s a good video and you can see it at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6h71r_summerslam-2008-cm-punk-receives-me_sport. Punk said in the video that he will bleed for the World Heavyweight Championship and unfortunately, Punk would not get another opportunity to bleed for that title on PPV during his first title reign. I like this match for historical reasons. It was the first time Punk was in a World Championship match at a major WWE PPV and according to Dave Meltzer’s star ratings, it was the best singles match Punk had on PPV at that point in his WWE career. I’m not going to say it was a great match or one of Punk’s best matches because it wasn’t. It was the third best match of the night. I will say that it should be remembered and it should be on Punk’s next WWE DVD assuming he gets another DVD. This match was booked well. JBL dominated most of the match, but CM Punk kept kicking out of pin attempts and refused to lose. It made sense for JBL to look strong because Punk is smaller than JBL. Punk barely got the victory, but it was a clean finish and it didn’t look like Punk got lucky. The match was good enough that I think Punk proved to WWE that he was capable of being a good champion. It took less than a year for CM Punk to win the World Heavyweight Championship for a second time. I don’t want this review to be all about CM Punk. I want to give some praise to JBL too. JBL is a good worker, but I didn’t enjoy many of his matches. He was not a bad wrestler. I just didn’t like his style. It was too slow and the JBL matches I did enjoy usually had a stipulation like his Belfast Brawl against Finlay at WrestleMania 24. This match is one of my favorite JBL matches. I liked how JBL tried to wear Punk down and Punk did a great job selling the damage JBL did to him.
This was Punk’s first win at SummerSlam and he has had great success at SummerSlam since this match. At the next SummerSlam, Punk won the World Heavyweight Championship in a TLC match against Jeff Hardy. Punk had wins in WWE Championship matches at SummerSlam in 2011 and 2012. That’s four wins in World Championship matches at SummerSlam. I don’t know if any other WWE superstar has done that at SummerSlam. Cena did it only two times, Steve Austin did it only once and Hulk Hogan never did it. A win over Brock Lesnar this Sunday would make Punk’s SummerSlam resume look even more impressive and Punk should be remembered as one of the greatest SummerSlam performers of all-time.