Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers
|Tagline(s)||The Biggest Event of the Summer|
|"You Gotta Move" by Aerosmith|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||August 23, 2009|
|City||Los Angeles, California|
SummerSlam (2009) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on August 23, 2009, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and was the first of six consecutive annual SummerSlam events to take place at the arena.  It was presented by 7-Eleven. It was the twenty-second annual SummerSlam event and featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands. Eight matches were contested on the event's card.
The show was what is known as a supercard, which featured more than one main event match. The main events of the evening included: CM Punk defeating Jeff Hardy in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship for a third time, Randy Orton retaining the WWE Championship against John Cena after the match was restarted multiple times, Christian retaining the ECW Championship against William Regal, and D-Generation X's Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeating The Legacy's Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Other matches featured on the show were WWE Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio versus Dolph Ziggler, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) against Jack Swagger, Chris Jericho and The Big Show defending the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship against Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard and JTG), and Kane facing The Great Khali.
SummerSlam featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw, SmackDown, ECW and WWE Superstars—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated with a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers were from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to a television program of the same name.
The Raw brand's main event was announced on the July 27 episode of Raw by the show's guest host and storyline matchmaker, Shaquille O'Neal. Randy Orton would defend the WWE Championship against the winner of a Beat the Clock challenge, which was determined by who of the five competitors could defeat their opponent in the fastest time: Mark Henry, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), Triple H, Jack Swagger, or John Cena. Henry set the pace by defeating Carlito in 6:49, while MVP, Triple H, and Swagger failed to defeat their opponents. Cena beat Henry's time by defeating The Miz, and become Orton's opponent at SummerSlam.
The main rivalry from the SmackDown brand heading into SummerSlam was between Jeff Hardy and CM Punk in their continuing conflict over the World Heavyweight Championship. Animosity stemmed from Extreme Rules when Punk invoked the guaranteed title match he earned by winning the Money in the Bank ladder match against Hardy and defeated him for the World Heavyweight title. The two faced off at the next two pay-per-view events, The Bash and Night of Champions, with Hardy winning the latter match to regain the title. This also saw a number of conflicts between the two over their respective philosophies in life; Punk is legitimately straight edge, which promotes a drug-free lifestyle, while Hardy, who has had a number of indiscretions with drugs throughout his career, was at odds with the way Punk reprimanded the fans for their potential addictions. Following two assaults on Hardy, SmackDown General Manager, Theodore Long, announced that another match would be held between the two at SummerSlam in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (TLC).
The ECW brand will be represented at the show with Christian defending the ECW Championship against William Regal. On the August 11 episode of the program, Christian was a guest on the talk show segment, The Abraham Washington Show, where the eponymous host announced the number one contender for the title would be Regal, leading to both men making statements in the following week until it was announced the two would meet at the event.
On the July 27 episode of Raw, the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show got into a heated confrontation with Shaquille O'Neal. After the two refused to get into a fight with him, O'Neal announced that the champions would fight Shad Gaspard and JTG (collectively known as Cryme Tyme) in a tag team match later that night with O'Neal acting as the match's ringside enforcer, which led to the champions getting disqualified, invoking their adversaries' ire. On the July 31 episode of SmackDown, Cryme Tyme defeated Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith (collectively known as The Hart Dynasty) to become Jericho and Big Show's opponents at SummerSlam.
WWE Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio had been the target of Dolph Ziggler since July. The two met at Night of Champions, only to see Mysterio retain the title. Ziggler regained his contender status on the August 7 episode of SmackDown by defeating R-Truth, Mike Knox, and Finlay in a fatal four-way.
Stemming from his previous rivalry with Randy Orton, Triple H started to target Orton's Legacy associates, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Triple H failed to win his Beat the Clock challenge to face Orton in a match with Rhodes when DiBiase distracted him for sufficient time to make beating Mark Henry's time impossible. After losing a handicap match against the two the following week on the August 3 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that he was going to get a partner to counteract the two, hinting throughout the show that he intended to reform D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels. A week later, it was revealed that Michaels, who had not been seen on WWE programming since WrestleMania XXV, had been working as a chef at a corporate cafeteria. At the cafeteria, Triple H convinced Michaels to quit his job and return at SummerSlam to face DiBiase and Rhodes in a tag team match.
At The Bash, The Great Khali was assaulted with a steel chair by Kane in his match with Dolph Ziggler. The following weeks saw both men interfere in each other's matches with Kane running away from his adversary any time Khali made his way to gain a measure of revenge. On the August 7 episode of SmackDown, Kane attacked Khali from behind before kidnapping Khali's translator, Ranjin Singh. The following week, it was revealed that Kane was holding Singh hostage in a backstage room at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, interrogating and abusing him, before Khali found him, leading to Kane beating down on Khali. It was announced the following week on WWE's official website that the two would meet at SummerSlam.
After Jack Swagger was moved to the Raw brand, he had a verbal confrontation with Montel Vontavious Porter, which led to MVP challenging the former to a fight, which was declined by Swagger on the grounds of his unwillingness to "fight criminals", referring to MVP's previous incarceration. The coming weeks saw Swagger and MVP interfere in each other's business before MVP challenged Swagger on the August 17 episode of Raw. As the match commenced, Swagger got himself disqualified, leading to the announcement of a conclusive match at SummerSlam.
Tickets for SummerSlam went on sale starting February 13, 2009. The first teaser trailer for the event was shown at WWE's Extreme Rules event. The trailer featured the song "You Gotta Move" by Aerosmith, which was later announced by WWE to be the event's official theme song. As part of the promotion for the event, WWE announced that it would hold its first ever SummerSlam Axxess, a fan convention similar to WrestleMania's fan convention, WrestleMania Axxess. The convention was held at Nokia Plaza in L.A. Live from August 22 to August 23. According to video game publisher THQ, further details of the latest installment of their WWE SmackDown series, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, would also be revealed at the event.
Prior to SummerSlam airing live on pay per view, the fans in attendance were shown an untelevised match; it featured the company's female wrestlers, known as divas, in a battle royal, with Chavo Guerrero as the special guest referee. Beth Phoenix won the match by simultaneously eliminating Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly with Guerrero's help.
The show began airing with Rey Mysterio defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. The match was contested at a fast pace with Mysterio gaining an advantage following a backflip body press onto the challenger known as a moonsault before the match descended out of the ring and onto the floor of the arena, where Mysterio kept the offense by catching his opponent with a headscissors, throwing him to the floor from the position called the hurricanrana, while colliding with a cameraman at ringside. As the match returned to the ring, Mysterio attempted jump off the top turnbuckle onto his prone opponent, before Ziggler blocked the effort by grabbing him by the legs mid-air, and connecting a powerbomb into the corner of the ring. As Mysterio tried to gain control, dropping his opponent onto the second rope, setting up for a kick to the face in the ropes (often referred to as the 619), only to have Ziggler dodge the attempt by driving the champion's face to the mat with a leg drop. As the match continued, Mysterio connected with the 619; as he was attempting to execute a body press from the top rope, Ziggler moved out of the way. As Ziggler attempted to defeat his opponent, he ascended the top rope with him hoisted on his shoulders. As Ziggler was going to throw him, Mysterio caught him with another hurricanrana, leading to him pinning his opponent.
Following was the match between Jack Swagger and Montel Vontavious Porter. The match started with Swagger gaining a strong lead by holding MVP on the mat with extensive holds before throwing MVP into the corner of the ring. As his opponent was downed, Swagger ran into the corner, grabbing the top rope before attempting to press himself down on MVP, which was met by his opponent lifting his knees into Swagger's midsection. MVP rallied with a running kick to his cornered opponent before hooking his leg around his head, and twisting him by the head to the mat with a move called the Playmaker, leading to MVP getting the pinfall victory.
Chris Jericho and The Big Show defended the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship next against Cryme Tyme. After JTG outwitted Jericho, the latter made a tag to his partner, who was beaten down upon due to his opponent's size. Once JTG tagged in Gaspard, he neutralized an interfering Jericho only to be tackled by The Big Show. As Gaspard clothesline The Big Show out of the ring with him, Jericho caught JTG with his signature submission hold, the Walls of Jericho; after struggling to reach the bottom rope (that would nullify the chance of Jericho gaining a submission victory), JTG reached it only for The Big Show to punch him in the face for Jericho to pin him.
Next was Kane and The Great Khali's match. This was centered on a heavy brawl between the two before Kane left the ring to pursue Ranjin Singh. After getting Khali's attention, Kane took advantage, and connected with a dropkick to his opponent's knee before grabbing him with a facelock and driving his head to the mat with a DDT to gain the victory.
Main event matches
SummerSlam featured four main event matches. The first was D-Generation X versus The Legacy. The match started with Triple H fighting both Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. When Shawn Michaels made the tag to get into the match, Rhodes left the ring briefly to avoid Michaels's kick dubbed the Sweet Chin Music. Legacy proceeded to beat down on their two opponents. Rhodes eventually ascended the top rope in an attempt to execute a diving elbow drop (one of Michaels's signature moves); Michaels avoided the move by rushing to stop Rhodes, knocking him from the turnbuckle. He then made an attempt at the move, but Rhodes put up his knees to absorb the attack and hurt Michaels. Rhodes caught Michaels in an inverted facelock and dropped him to the mat with the Cross Rhodes. He made an attempt to pin Michaels only for Triple H to halt the effort, and perform his own move, the Pedigree to Rhodes, which prompted DiBiase to interfere by dropping Triple H with his own move, Dream Street. As DiBiase and Triple H took their fight to the floor, both Michaels and Rhodes got up to their feet before the referee made the ten count. At that moment then, Michaels struck Rhodes with Sweet Chin Music to get the pinfall victory.
William Regal was accompanied to the ring by Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson to challenge Christian for the ECW Championship. As Regal was removing his entrance coat, Christian blindsided him and hooked his arms before twisting him into position and driving his face to the mat with a move Christian calls the Killswitch. He pinned his opponent, leading to Jackson and Kozlov entering the ring to slam Christian before Regal applied a leg lock with an abdominal stretch in what's known as the Regal Stretch.
Randy Orton and John Cena for the WWE Championship started with the two trading punches until Orton took down Cena and stomped on him. Cena regained some control, only for Orton to fall out of the ring. As the challenger tried to climb back into the ring, Orton caught him between the ropes and executed a DDT with his feet draped over the second rope. As Orton was about ready to knock the challenger with a punt, Cena mounted a comeback; he hoisted up Orton on his shoulders in attempt to his signature slam, the Attitude Adjustment, Orton countered, and shoved referee Scott Armstrong down, prompting him to get disqualified (a title cannot be lost via disqualification). As Orton was walking away, ring announcer, Lilian Garcia, announced that Vince McMahon ordered the match restart; if Orton were to get disqualified, he would lose the title. As the match progressed, Orton decided he had enough, grabbed his championship belt, and left while the referee counted to ten, which constitutes what's known as a count-out, and would generally have the champion retain the title despite losing. McMahon's order was restated to continue the match. The champion returned to the ring, and pinned Cena with his feet on the ropes to give him illegal leverage. Armstrong reviewed the win, and said the match would restart as Orton cheated. The two continued as Cena grabbed Orton by the leg and applied a sleeper hold for a move called the STF. As Orton was about to submit, a person from the crowd (later revealed as Brett DiBiase) stormed the ring and assaulted Armstrong. After order was restored, Orton grabbed Cena by the head, and dropped him into the second rope to hit his move, the RKO. He pinned him and retained the title.
The show ended with the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Jeff Hardy quickly tried to climb the ladder in order to obtain the belt suspended above the ring, but CM Punk halted that effort only to be set prone in the corner of the ring. Hardy set up a steel folding chair in front of his opponent in order to use a launching point to deliver a leg kick; Punk caught his opponent to drop him on his spine on the back of the chair. The action went to outside again with the challenger throwing out Hardy, and dove onto him. He went for another dive, this time from the steel steps in the corner of the ring, only to have Hardy grab a chair, and hit his opponent in mid-air. From there, Hardy placed Punk on a wooden table, and ascended the top turnbuckle. As he dove off to incapacitate his opponent, Punk dodged, sending Hardy through the table. Punk made an attempt of his own to climb the ladder only to be thwarted by Hardy, who took him off the ladder with a throw known as the sunset flip. As he made another attempt to retrieve the title, Punk capsized the ladder, sending Hardy to the mat. Punk continued his assault by ascending the top rope with his opponent, and performed a suplex from the top rope; the impact of the throw landed was centered onto the ladder laying from Punk's action, causing both competitors to land on it. As the match continued, Punk hoisted Hardy onto his shoulders in an attempt to perform his signature knee strike from said position called the Go To Sleep; Hardy countered and threw Punk over the top rope through a table. As Hardy made another attempt to climb the ladder, Punk returned to the ring by jumping off the top rope and knocked down Hardy once more. The action again went to the outside, as Hardy placed Punk onto the announcer's table, and ascended ladder. He proceeded to dive off with a flip with a move known as the Swanton bomb. The table collapsed, leading to the medical team making their way to ringside to carry out Hardy on a stretcher, but he refused to lose the title. Punk and Hardy slowly climbed the ladder and traded punches until Punk kicked Hardy on his injured ribs and punched Hardy off the ladder. Punk seized the opportunity and climbed the ladder, grabbing the belt to win. As he was celebrating, the lights briefly went out, only for The Undertaker to appear and chokeslam CM Punk.
The following Monday night on Raw, Vince McMahon decreed that, since Orton had used illegal means to attempt to retain the title before ultimately winning, John Cena was given one more chance to challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WWE Breaking Point in September. Since the pay per view concept of the show makes all of the main event matches contested under a stipulation that requires the victor to force their opponent to submit, it was announced to be an "I Quit" match, a variation of the no-disqualification match, to keep Orton from getting himself disqualified, which can only be won if one wrestler makes the other one verbally submit to the other; McMahon also announced that if anyone tried to interfere in the match on Orton's behalf, in response to Brett DiBiase's actions, Orton would automatically lose the championship.
On the August 27 episode of WWE Superstars, Dolph Ziggler, Mike Knox, and Finlay competed in a triple threat match with the winner advancing to challenge Rey Mysterio for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Breaking Point; Ziggler won the match, making it his third consecutive month challenging for the title. The match was changed on the September 4 episode of SmackDown after John Morrison won the title from Mysterio (Mysterio was legitimately suspended for violating the company's wellness policy, forcing him to drop the title).
The August 28 episode of SmackDown featured a rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage match; with a the loser of the match would leave the company stipulation. Punk ultimately won the match, leading to the announcement that he would defend the World title against The Undertaker in a submission match.
After SummerSlam, The Legacy continued their antagonizing of D-Generation X; after confronting McMahon, it was announced on WWE's official homepage that the two teams would continue to fight each other with a submission match of their own at Breaking Point; this one, however, would be contested where the submissions could be applied anywhere.
The Great Khali pursued Kane after SummerSlam, leading to Kane avoiding him. It was then announced on the September 4 episode of SmackDown the two would face each other again in a match with legal use of Singapore canes.
Overall reaction to the pay-per-view was good. The Sun gave the event an overall rating of 8 out of 10, and Canadian Online Explorer's wrestling section rating it as 7 out of 10. The opening match between Rey Mysterio and Dolph Ziggler was praised, with James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch declaring it "awesome" and Dave Meltzer calling it a "really strong" match. Writing for The Sun, Mike Aldren, who attended the event live, also praised the match, and said that it was a "great technical opener" with "fluid, crisp back and forth action" from both wrestlers. The match between DX and The Legacy also received praise with Caldwell describing it as "WWE's best tag team match of the year". The main event TLC match between Punk and Hardy was universally praised with Aldren declaring that it was "a guaranteed match of the year candidate". Caldwell concluded that the "drama was great, Punk was great, Hardy was great", and rated the match as 4 and a quarter stars, while Meltzer praised it as a "great match" and touted the moment when Hardy performed the Swanton Bomb on Punk from the top of the ladder as "spectacular".
All the writers criticized the WWE Championship match, however, with Aldren remarking that "everyone in the arena" was confused and Caldwell saying that "WWE over-booked the crap out of this match". The shortness of the ECW Championship match was also criticized, with Caldwell remarking that it was "another ridiculous ECW Title match on WWE PPV". Aldren queried the decision to make it so short, saying that Christian and Regal "could have had one of the best matches on the show", a sentiment echoed by Meltzer. Aldren and Meltzer also criticized the match between Khali and Kane, with Aldren remarking that the crowd "was dead" and Meltzer calling it "pretty bad". Caldwell said that it was a "bad match with a decent finish", as the match "lowered the bar" early enough that the "finish was intriguing".
- The other participants were: Mickie James, Layla, Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Jillian Hall, Melina, Rosa Mendes, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Katie Lea Burchill, Natalya, and Maria.
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