Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers.
|Tagline(s)||"The Biggest Party 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 (PPV) event produced by WWE that took place on August 14, 2011. It was the twenty-fourth annual SummerSlam event and the third consecutive SummerSlam at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This was also the last WWE pay-per-view where Raw and Smackdown would be brands until 2016. Six matches were scheduled for the event, with a seventh was added during the show when Alberto Del Rio cashed in his "Money in the Bank" briefcase and defeated CM Punk. SummerSlam attracted a sellout crowd of 17,404 fans at Staples Center in Los Angeles, grossing more than $1 million, marking the highest grossing SummerSlam held at Staples Center. The event garnered 296,000 pay-per-view buys, down from 350,000 buys the previous year.
The professional wrestling matches at SummerSlam featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, WWE. Storylines between the characters were produced on WWE's weekly television shows Raw and SmackDown with the Raw and SmackDown brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.
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, On the May 6 episode of Smackdown, he lost it to Randy Orton. After two unsuccessful attempts at regaining the title from Orton at Over the Limit and Capitol Punishment, Christian finally won the title for the second time at Money in the Bank in July, after he spat in Orton's face, provoking Orton to blow Christian low and get himself disqualified; as per pre-match stipulations enacted by Christian, he won the title. On the July 29, 2011 episode of SmackDown, the new Chief Operating Officer of WWE, Triple H, scheduled a title defense by Christian against Orton in a No Holds Barred match at SummerSlam.
On the July 11, 2011 episode of Raw, CM Punk announced the expiry of his WWE contract, 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 John Cena and leaving WWE 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 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 next night on Raw, McMahon dismissed Punk's claim to the title, and announced an 8-man tournament to decide the new WWE Champion. Later that night, Triple H relieved McMahon of his duties, and assumed control over WWE as Chief Operating Officer. On the July 25 episode of Raw, Rey Mysterio defeated The Miz in the finals to become the WWE Champion but lost it later that night to Cena. After the match, Punk returned to WWE with the title belt he had won at Money in the Bank. As they were now two wrestlers with a claim to the WWE Championship, a match between Punk and Cena was scheduled for SummerSlam to determine the undisputed WWE Champion. On August 8, 2011 episode of Raw, Triple H made himself 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 was a six-man tag team match pitting Kofi Kingston, John Morrison and Rey Mysterio against The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio. Mysterio performed a 619 followed by a slingshot Splash on R-Truth to win the match.
Next, Sheamus faced off against Mark Henry. Sheamus executed a Brogue Kick on Henry but Henry rolled out of the ring. Henry tackled Sheamus through the barricade. Sheamus was counted out, giving Henry the win.
Main event matches
In the SmackDown! main event, Christian defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton in a No Holds Barred match. Christian attempted an RKO through a broadcast table on Orton but Orton countered the move into an RKO through the broadcast table on Christian. Christian executed a KillSwitch on Orton for a near-fall. Orton performed a Snap Scoop Powerslam through a table on Christian and an Elevated DDT onto a Trash Can. Christian attempted a Sunset Flip out of the corner but Orton countered the move into an RKO on the steel steps to win the title.
In the main event, John Cena wrestled CM Punk to determine the undisputed WWE Champion. Triple H served as guest referee. Cena executed the Attitude Adjustment for a near-fall. Punk performed a GTS on Cena for a near-fall. Punk executed a GTS to win the title, despite Cena's foot being under the bottom rope.
As Punk celebrated his WWE Championship win, Kevin Nash returned and attacked Punk with a Jackknife Powerbomb. Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and performed a Step Up Enziguiri on Punk to win the title.
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. The commentators for this event were Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T.
|1D||Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) defeated Alex Riley||Singles match||N/A|
|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 special guest referee||24:07|
|8||Alberto Del Rio defeated CM Punk (c)||Singles match for the WWE Championship
This was Alberto Del Rio's Money in the Bank cash-in match
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