Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers
|Tagline(s)||"The Biggest Event Of The Summer"|
|"Bright Lights, Bigger City" by Cee Lo Green featuring Wiz Khalifa|
|Date||August 14, 2011|
|City||Los Angeles, California|
SummerSlam (2011) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE that took place on August 14, 2011. It was the third consecutive SummerSlam presented by 7-Eleven. For the third consecutive year, SummerSlam was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and it was the twenty-fourth annual SummerSlam event. Six matches were originally scheduled for the event, but a seventh was added during the show when Alberto Del Rio cashed in his "Money in the Bank" briefcase and defeated CM Punk. It was later announced that SummerSlam attracted a sellout crowd of 17,404 fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles, grossing more than $1 million. This marks the highest grossing SummerSlam ever held at Staples Center. The event garnered 296,000 pay-per-view buys, down from 350,000 buys the previous year.
SummerSlam featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that developed on WWE's television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they followed a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The main feud headed into SummerSlam from the SmackDown brand was between Christian and Randy Orton, over Christian's World Heavyweight Championship. At Extreme Rules in May, Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio in a ladder match to win the vacant World Heavyweight Championship for the first time, only to lose it to Orton on the May 3, 2011 tapings of SmackDown (aired on May 6). After two unsuccessful attempts at regaining the title from Orton at the Over the Limit and Capitol Punishment pay-per-views, Christian finally won the championship for the second time at the Money in the Bank event in July, after he spat in Orton's face, provoking the latter to kick Christian in the groin and get himself disqualified; as per pre-match stipulations enacted by Christian, he won the title. At the July 29, 2011 episode of SmackDown, the new Chief Operating Officer of WWE, Triple H, officially announced that Christian would defend his World title against Orton in a No Holds Barred match at SummerSlam.
The main event from the Raw brand for SummerSlam would pit John Cena against CM Punk, both vying for the right of being called the "undisputed" WWE Champion. In the weeks leading to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July on Raw, Punk announced the expiry of his WWE contract on the night of the July 17, 2011 event, en route lambasting WWE for failing to promote him as the "best wrestler in the world", and threatened some high authority figures like WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon, of defeating Cena and leaving the venue with the WWE Championship. At Money in the Bank, Punk pinned Cena to win the title, and even after McMahon tried to have Alberto Del Rio – who had won the Raw Money in the Bank briefcase earlier that night – cash in his contract against Punk. The latter nevertheless left the arena with the championship. The following night on Raw, McMahon dismissed Punk's claim to the title, and announced an 8-man tournament to decide the new WWE Champion. Also, on the same night, Triple H relieved McMahon of his duties, and assumed control over WWE as the Chief Operating Officer. On the edition of July 25, 2011 of Raw, Rey Mysterio defeated The Miz in the finals to become the WWE Champion; however, under Triple H's orders, Mysterio defended his title later on the same night against Cena, who beat Mysterio to win the title for a record ninth time. After the match, Punk returned to WWE with his own title belt that he won at Money in the Bank, thereby establishing two WWE Champions. On the August 1 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that Punk would face Cena in a one-on-one match at SummerSlam to crown the new WWE Champion. On August 8, 2011 episode of Raw, Triple H announced he would be the special guest referee for the Undisputed WWE championship match.
The Divas rivalry heading into SummerSlam was between Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix over the WWE Divas Championship. On the edition of August 1 of Raw, Phoenix won a Divas battle royal to become the #1 Contender for the Kelly's Divas Championship at SummerSlam. After her victory, Phoenix turned into a villainess and attacked Kelly in and out of the ring, and later told Kelly that "her days as the cute, blonde little bimbo are over." On the following week, Phoenix defeated Eve Torres in singles action, but was attacked by Kelly after the match.
The first match of the night was a six-man tag team match, featuring Kofi Kingston, John Morrison and Rey Mysterio against The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio. The match started slowly, but then Morrison and Kigston double teamed Miz. Morrison was then tagged in and nailed Truth with the Flying Chuck. Then Kofi used his aerial attacks on Miz, and hit the Boom Drop and The S.O.S. After a hard neckbreaker to Kofi from Miz, the other team started dominating. But then Mysterio used his aerial techniques to turn the tables and Morrison took out Del Rio, and after a double 619 to Miz and Truth, Kofi took out Miz and finally Mysterio hit a splash from the top rope for the pinfall victory for his team.
Next, Sheamus faced off against Mark Henry. Both the wrestlers attempted to gain momentum, but Henry threw Sheamus out of the ring, threw him back in again and followed up with his series of body splashes. After dodging a second rope slam, Sheamus gained the upper hand, and nailed his powerful clotheslines. After a double clothesline, both wrestlers were down, but then Sheamus hit his top rope shoulder block. He then nailed Henry with a massive Brogue Kick, propelling him out of the ring. But on the outside Henry dominated and slammed Sheamus through the security barricade, breaking it apart. Henry went back into the ring, but Sheamus couldn't get back into the ring by the count of ten. This led to a count out victory for Henry.
The next match features Kelly Kelly defending her Divas Title against Beth Phoenix. Beth dominated most of the match, but Kelly Kelly retained her title after reversing the Glam Slam into a roll up for the victory.
Wade Barrett faced Daniel Bryan in the next match. The match started slowly but then Bryan nailed a series of drop kicks. After that Barrett dominatated with various slams. Then Barrett threw Bryan to the outside, but Daniel hit a flying knee shot from the apron to Barrett's head on the outside. Back into the ring, Bryan hit a missile drop kick, and followed up with a series of kicks to the skull. Barrett kicked out of the pin attempt, but then Bryan locked in the Lebell Lock. Barrett was able to get to the ropes, and after Bryan had failed top rope maneuver, and was thrown onto the ropes, Barrett hit him with a clothesline from the top rope, and finally hit his finisher, the Wasteland, for the pinfall victory.
Main event matches
The SmackDown! main event featured Christian against Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship in a No Holds Barred match. Christian had Edge return to be in his corner for his title defense against Randy Orton. Edge came down to the ring but was disappointed by the cowardly tactics Christian used to win his second World Heavyweight Championship. Edge berated him before walking out on him. Orton then came into the ring and the match started. Christian hit aerial attacks but Orton retaliated by hitting a high angle back drop. After some time Christian attempted to escape the arena, leaving the match and going into the crowd with the title. But Orton followed him and they fought in the crowd, and Orton took him back into the ring and hit a series of punches in the corner. But Christian drove Orton shoulder first into the steel post and brought in kendo sticks. Christian then began his assault with the kendo sticks, but after dodging a clothesline Orton attempted a roll up only for a two count. Christian then hit a spinebuster, and Orton was visibly bleeding from the mouth. But after countering Christian's top rope kendo stick attack into a drop kick, Randy hit his backbreaker and gained the upper hand. After some time Orton brought in two tables, setting one on the outside, and taking one in. Then Randy nailed Christian with a superplex in the ring, onto an unopened table, and went for the pin only for a two count. After Orton set the table in the corner, Christian gained the upper hand and attempted a Spear through the table, but Orton countered and again the match spilled on the outside. Then Orton threw Christian on the steel steps, but Christian then slammed Orton's head on the steps. Then Christian hit a TV monitor right on Randy's head and attempted Orton's finisher, RKO, on the announce table . But then Orton countered, and nailed Christian with the RKO through the announce table. But back into the ring, Christian hit a KillSwitch, but the challenger still kicked out at two. After this Christian brought in two chairs, spat on Orton's face, and attempted a con-chair-to, but Orton moved out of the way, and then used the steel chair on him, and after Christian was on the apron, slammed into him with the chair, sending him through the table set up on the outside. Orton then brought in steel steps and metal garbage cans, and back in the ring, countered Christian's clothesline into his scoop slam, sending the Champion through the table set up in the corner. Orton then repeatedly hit the Champion with the kendo sticks, and then nailed Christian with his rope hung DDT, but onto the metal garbage can. But at the corner, Christian hit a kendo stick shot, but as he went for a sunset flip, jumping from the turnbuckle, Orton caught him in mid air and blasted him with a thunderous RKO on the steel steps. Following this Orton pinned him, and regained the World Heavyweight Championship. This started Randy Orton's third WHC reign, and was his ninth World Championship overall.
The main event featured WWE Champion John Cena vs WWE Champion CM Punk, to determine the Undisputed WWE Champion. Triple H served as guest referee. The match started slowly and was much reminiscent of their encounter at Money in the Bank. Both the champions tried to gain the upper hand and started hitting their signature maneuvers. At one point in the match, both the wrestlers were outside and were unable to answer the ten count, but Triple H brought them back in as he wanted a definitive undisputed Champion. Later, Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment, but Punk kicked out. CM Punk then attempted his finisher, and nailed Cena with the GTS, but Cena kicked out. After a back and forth match, the end came when CM Punk nailed a second GTS, and followed up for a pinfall, but Cena had his leg on the ropes, which should have resulted in a rope break, but Triple H didn't see that, and thus allowed CM Punk to pin Cena. With this CM Punk became the Undisputed WWE Champion.
As Punk celebrated his WWE Championship win, Cena and Triple H left the ring, and Kevin Nash, a long time friend of Triple H then returned, and attacked CM Punk, and laid out the Champion with a Jackknife Powerbomb. This allowed Alberto Del Rio to hurry down to the ring with a referee to take advantage of the chaos, and he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. After a Shining Wizard to the already fallen Champion, Del Rio pinned him to become the WWE Champion, his first title in WWE and his first World Championship. Thus the night ended with Alberto Del Rio winning the WWE Championship.
Much like the previous year's SummerSlam, WWE promoted the event with its SummerSlam Axxess fan convention, held at the Nokia Plaza in LA Live on August 13 and 14. R&B singer Cee Lo Green performed both "'Bright Lights Bigger City", the official theme song for the event, and his hit "'Forget You" during the broadcast.
|1D||Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) defeated Alex Riley||Singles match||Unknown|
|2||Kofi Kingston, John Morrison, and Rey Mysterio defeated Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) and Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)||Six-man tag team match||09:36|
|3||Mark Henry defeated Sheamus by countout||Singles match||09:22|
|4||Kelly Kelly (c) (with Eve Torres) defeated Beth Phoenix (with Natalya)||Singles match for the WWE Divas Championship||06:33|
|5||Wade Barrett defeated Daniel Bryan||Singles match||11:47|
|6||Randy Orton defeated Christian (c)||No Holds Barred match for the World Heavyweight Championship||23:43|
|7||CM Punk (c) defeated John Cena (c)||Singles match for the Undisputed WWE Championship with Triple H as the guest referee||24:17|
|8||Alberto Del Rio defeated CM Punk (c)||Singles match for the WWE Championship
This was Del Rio's Money in the Bank cash-in match
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