10 Things We Learned From WWE SummerSlam 2007

The crew from Jackass pulled out of The Biggest Party of the Summer...

It's fair to say that 2007 SummerSlam wasn't a particularly memorable event, just a trumped-up B-show with some notable returns for major stars, but little else to write home about. It'd be more accurate to say that it was a summer that WWE would rather have forgotten, due entirely to the Chris Benoit double-murder/suicide, and the ugly media fallout that it birthed. There aren't exactly many shining memories of the WWE product from that time for these reasons.

As for SummerSlam itself, there seemed to be a lack of strong matches, outside of the John Cena/Randy Orton WWE Championship bout. Even then, the show is rarely ever openly ranked with the worst SummerSlams of all time, probably in large part because of the cloud of uneasiness that it was obscured behind. The wrestling product had taken a backseat to the speculation about concussions and roid rage, and all of the old-time wrestlers that made empty appearances on national talk shows, as all of a sudden wrestling was this big green boogeyman.

SummerSlam itself felt like a lower-priority event, due to general focus being elsewhere at the time. But given the reasons at hand, it's easy to understand why the event felt just oh so secondary.

10. Fighting Phenom


So much of WWE's upper card was compromised by injury in 2007. Among the names that would miss longer stretches of time would include Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Edge, and The Undertaker, the latter of whom was preparing to make his return around the time of SummerSlam. In fact, some sources even claimed that Undertaker, who had been injured since early May with a torn bicep, informed WWE officials of his willingness to come back and work the event as a way of boosting the star power.

Ultimately, his offer was turned down. One cited reason for WWE leaving Undertaker off the show was because of the heavy scrutiny they were under in the Benoit aftermath, particularly as the media painted WWE as being callous toward the well-being of their workers. Anyone who was injured needed not rush back too soon, although Undertaker did come back at Unforgiven three weeks later.

9. Literal Stunt Casting


SummerSlam was due to have a celebrity tie-in, as the cast of the irreverent MTV series Jackass was due to take part. The original event poster depicted the castmembers buried up to their necks in beach sand, with an angry Umaga looming beside them. Umaga had previously mauled Steve-O and Chris Pontius on WWE television, the prelude to what was allegedly going to be a handicap hardcore match featuring several Jackass stars against The Samoan Bulldozer.

Plans began to change in light of the Benoit fallout, as suddenly it wasn't so cool to be associated with the WWE product. It was reportedly Johnny Knoxville that had the coldest feet about appearing on company programming, and he began backing out of scheduled appearances on Raw that summer, before pulling out altogether. Once Knoxville washed his hands of the arrangement, WWE decided to scrap the entire union, even though several Jackass members were still willing to appear.

8. No Hardy Party


Seems like Umaga just can't win. Umaga successfully defended the IC gold against Jeff Hardy at The Great American Bash five weeks before SummerSlam, though the original plans were for the Jackass crew to interfere, costing Umaga the belt, thus setting up his SummerSlam battle with the fearless bunch. When those plans were scrapped, Umaga retained the belt, and was set to defend against Hardy in a rematch at SummerSlam.

Those plans changed in late July, when Hardy was sent home prior to a Raw taping for an unspecified violation of company policy. Hardy would be out for 30 days, and would actually win the IC belt from Umaga upon his return in early September. Umaga would instead face Mr. Kennedy and Carlito in a rather unusual all-heel Triple Threat Match.

7. Not Befitting A Hero


Rey Mysterio's WWE tenure has been filled with various instances of himself cosplaying (usually at WrestleMania) as a comic book hero or villain of some sort - Daredevil, The Joker, Captain America, Flash Gordon, you name it. His return at SummerSlam 2007 was just another example of his predilection for playing dress-up, as he donned a silver outfit and matching body paint in his attempt at being Silver Surfer.

Hornswoggle recalled in a shoot interview that Vince McMahon flipped out when he saw the costume, not understanding what Rey was supposed to be. McMahon reportedly expressed his annoyance to Dean Malenko, who was the agent for said match, and demanded answers. When it was explained that Mysterio was dressed as Silver Surfer, McMahon was still reportedly ruffled by the outfit, thinking that it detracted from Mysterio's identity.

6. Some Say Beth Phoenix Started The Women's Revolution


Twelve women across the company's three brands were crammed into a Battle Royal, in which the winner would receive a Women's Title match against then-champion Candice Michelle. Beth Phoenix, at the advent of her run as The Glamazon, would stand tall in the end, eliminating Michelle McCool. Strangely enough, their respective future husbands would face off in the main event of WrestleMania seven months later, because life is weird.

The women's Battle Royal actually marked the first time in seven years that women competed in a match on the main pay-per-view broadcast of SummerSlam. You have to go back to 2000, when Stacy "The Kat" Carter defeated Terri Runnels in the first-ever Thong Stinkface match, for the last time women had a match on SummerSlam's main card. That's progress, right?

5. Farewell To Our Highness


In his return match, Triple H defeated King Booker in a relatively quick match and stood tall while Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were shown giving him an artificial standing ovation. The real story of the match was actually Booker himself, who made what would be his final appearance on a WWE pay-per-view for more than three years.

For reasons that will be highlighted later in this list, not long following SummerSlam, Booker was suspended for 60 days, a ruling that he vehemently protested. He and wife Sharmell gave their notice shortly thereafter and would leave the company in mid-October 2007. Shortly after, Booker and Sharmell both arrived in TNA, and The Bookerman would not resurface on WWE programming until popping up as a surprise entrant in the 2011 Royal Rumble match.

4. For The Love Of God, Make It Quick


Perhaps one reason why most would be inclined to try and forget SummerSlam 2007 was the awful World Heavyweight Title match between Great Khali and Batista. Less than seven minutes would lumber by before Khali got himself disqualified via the use of a steel chair. Certainly, that was airtime well spent.

In that period, WWE, despite putting a major title on Khali, concentrated on keeping his matches short. At house shows earlier in the month, matches between Khali and Batista would only go a few minutes before Finlay, for no storyline reason, would run in to cause a DQ, before the match would turn into a handicap bout (so that Finlay could do the work). In other instances, either Kane or Mysterio would be inserted as Batista's partner, creating a tag team match. Either way, the company knew Khali was short on enjoyability.

3. The First Of Many (And Many)


The night closed out with a WWE Championship bout pitting John Cena, three weeks away from making it to one year with the gold, defending against Randy Orton. By and far, it was the best match of a rather dull event, even if most of the crowd was giving Cena the usual negative response.

It also marked the first of 10 times that Cena and Orton would face each other in a one-on-one match on pay-per-view. In all, not counting Royal Rumble matches, Cena and Orton have been on opposite sides of the ring for 22 pay-per-view matches, but this was the first time that the two squared off in a singles battle. Overall, they're 5-5 against each other, having last faced off at Hell in a Cell 2014 in the event's titular match.

2. The Title Changes That Weren't


As was the case with SummerSlam 2006, none of the title matches at the 2007 show saw a changing of the guard. Batista's match once more ended with him winning via DQ, but not winning the World Heavyweight belt, while Cena retained the WWE Championship over Orton in the closer. It just so happens that both results were opposites of the original plans.

The original idea was to do both title changes, with the idea to put Cena over Orton coming only days before the pay-per-view. The idea of having Cena hurtle past the one-year mark as WWE Champion (the first since Randy Savage 18 years earlier) was apparently enticing to WWE. It's not clear why Batista didn't just win the belt from Khali at SummerSlam, though he would get the gold three weeks later at Unforgiven.

1. The Darkest Timeline


As if the summer of 2007 wasn't enough of a trying time for WWE, word came out just days after the pay-per-view that 11 wrestlers were listed as clients of Signature Pharmacy, an online prescription firm that had been dispensing performance enhancers. In a post-Benoit world, WWE had little choice but to dole out suspensions. Only ten of the 11, however, were punished: Edge, Umaga, John Morrison, Booker T, Mr. Kennedy, Chavo Guerrero, William Regal, Funaki, Chris Masters, and Charlie Haas.

Booker, as mentioned, angrily gave notice to the company, while Umaga and Morrison had to drop their IC and ECW belts, respectively, after each holding onto them at SummerSlam. The eleventh man who went unpunished was Randy Orton, whose path to the WWE Championship continued unabated. This would prove to be interesting in 2012, as Orton was popped for a Wellness violation, receiving what was then his second strike. Had Orton been suspended in 2007 with the listed names, his 2012 fail could have led to termination.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.