The summer of Wade Barrett's Nexus looked like a promising one, as seven upstarts (eight prior to Daniel Bryan's outcry-inducing termination in June) wreaked havoc on WWE, knocking over any and all roadblocks, as well as those they believed to be standing on ceremony. All of that goodwill would be flushed come SummerSlam when Super Cena...well, doot DAH-doot doooooo. DOOT doo doot doooooo. You know how it goes.
It's not exactly the most fondly-remembered SummerSlam, due largely to the weak, unmemorable undercard and the questionable decision to have John Cena go over the red-hot collection of establishment-breakers. Seemingly the only individual happy with this show was young Cameron, for whom the Melina/Alicia Fox battle inspired her to follow her dreams of one day pinning her opponents while they lie face down.
10. Minimal Selection
SummerSlam 2010 felt rather skimpy, and for good reason: it has the lowest amount of matches of any SummerSlam main card ever. Just six matches took place on the pay-per-view itself, breaking the collective tie of seven matches apiece set by 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2006, and 2008. The 2011 card would've forced a tie with six scheduled matches, but a show-ending Money in the Bank cash-in pushed it to seven.
Despite the main event of the 2010 show reaching epic length (more on that later), the card does still come off light, with a minimum of variety. When you have six matches on a card, and the first three all roughly time out at seven minutes or less, the Biggest Party of the Summer loses some of its luster.
9. The Subtracted Match
Actually, there *was* to be seven matches on the SummerSlam main card, but one of them would be nixed with just days to go before the pay-per-view. Michelle McCool and Layla were set to face Kelly Kelly and Tiffany (aka Taryn Terrell), but plans would drastically change, thanks to an altercation the week prior to SummerSlam.
At the time, Tiffany was married to Drew McIntyre, and the two were involved in a reported disturbance early on the Monday before the pay-per-view at a Los Angeles hotel. According to The Wrestling Observer, the couple reportedly attended a party at the Playboy Mansion the night before, and then went to the hotel, where police were called after the pair were reportedly in the midst of a loud argument. Tiffany was suspended for her role (she would be released that November), and the SummerSlam match was axed, with no replacement.
8. Trimming The Excess
The opening match of SummerSlam saw Dolph Ziggler defend the United States Championship against Kofi Kingston in what looked to be a rather promising match between two spring-loaded marvels. Sadly, before things could get into full swing, all seven members of The Nexus stormed the ring, laying out both men in an nWo-esque assault.
Dave Meltzer notes that earlier plans for the match (as released to several media outlets) were for it to be a six-way contest, featuring Ziggler, Kingston, McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Matt Hardy, and Christian. It seems unlikely that the cutdown had anything to do with any involvement McIntyre had in the hotel incident, since it wouldn't account for the other three men getting pulled. Most likely, since The Nexus would be causing a non-finish via their beatdown, it was best to have them attack just two men instead of six.
7. Casualty Of Society's Downfall
The Straight Edge Society went out with a pronounced whimper at the 2010 SummerSlam, as Big Show would triumph over CM Punk, Luke Gallows, and Joey Mercury in a three-on-one Handicap Match, pinning Punk's lackeys simultaneously after seven minutes of action. The pride of the movement wouldn't be the only thing badly wounded.
According to Gallows in a 2015 interview, Mercury had suffered a torn pectoral during the course of the match. He would be seen on ensuing episodes of SmackDown with bandaging around his torso, and he would soon fade from view anyhow. His ailment coincided with Punk going off on his own, as well as Serena and Gallows' separate releases in the relatively near future. Mercury would, of course, resurface as one of Seth Rollins' patsy henchmen in 2014.
6. The Call To Return
After two months of treating indy fans to excellent performances once more, Daniel Bryan made his return to WWE at SummerSlam, filling in for Great Khali as the seventh member of John Cena's army. The fan outrage over Bryan's firing didn't go unnoticed by WWE, though the decision to bring him back for SummerSlam was a late one.
According to Bryan, he was contacted for a return by John Laurinaitis the first week of August, which puts it less than two weeks before SummerSlam. He was told straight up that they wanted him to take Khali's spot in the match, returning as a mystery partner that would send shockwaves through the industry. The only issue was the indy dates that Bryan had booked through September, which he was told to honour, sans the ones on SummerSlam weekend.
5. You Ruining Ruiner, You
WWE actually went to great lengths to conceal Bryan's return, as they wanted his re-emergence to be as stunning as possible. When he arrived at the Staples Center on that Sunday, Bryan dressed in attire that camouflaged his identity, and he was kept away from all of the talent, sans a select few participants in the main event match. The Nexus guys were given only basic instructions that didn't name-drop Bryan whatsoever.
For all of the trouble WWE went to make sure that Bryan's return didn't get leaked out, the social media department came down with a bad case of premature tweetulation. More than 30 minutes before WWE warred with The Nexus, somebody in WWE's employ spoiled the return on the official company Twitter and website, and naturally, word spread quickly. Doesn't *anyone* enjoy a surprise anymore?
4. Questionable Ending
So Super Cena did what Super Cena does, and that's make the big comeback on The Nexus, finishing off Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett in succession to save the day for the erstwhile good guys. Chris Jericho says it was Vince's idea to have Cena survive, even as he and others felt Nexus leader Barrett needed to be the one standing tall. Gabriel recalled in an interview that Cena had the finish changed so that he would win.
Another area where Jericho, as well as Edge, differed with Cena was in the setup to the finish. They felt that Barrett shouldn't have DDT'd Cena on the concrete if Cena was just going to shake it off and prevail anyway. Jericho would note that later in the night, Cena conceded that the way the match ended wasn't the right call after all.
3. Seven Years Of Bad Luck
After losing to Batista and Randy Orton, respectively, at the two prior SummerSlams, maybe it was for the best that Cena got to stand tall at the end of the 2010 edition of the show. Given what would be to come for Cena, it was nice that he got at least one win at SummerSlam this decade.
For a man whose professionally identity is tied to always winning, Cena would go on to lose at the next six SummerSlam pay-per-views. In succession, Cena lost to CM Punk, Punk again (via Big Show proxy pin in a triple threat), Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles, with the prior five examples being WWE Championship matches. Cena would end the streak in 2017, when he defeated Baron Corbin in a forgettable opening match.
2. Room To Stretch Out
When a seven on seven elimination match is going to see 13 different eliminations and is the main event, you can expect that said match is going to chew up the clock. The WWE vs. Nexus battle for supremacy would clock in at 35 minutes and 15 seconds, which stands today as the longest match in SummerSlam history.
The previous record holder for longest SummerSlam bout was Bret and Owen Hart's WWE Championship Steel Cage Match at the 1994 show, which finished after 32 minutes, 22 seconds. They're the only two matches in SummerSlam history to have topped the half-hour mark, and go figure - Bret Hart was in both of them. Yeah, his participation in this match was minimal because of his health, but alas, it's just another feather in the overstuffed cap of "The Hitman".
1. Where Are They Now?
What do R-Truth, Heath Slater, and Daniel Bryan have in common? Well, they all took part in the SummerSlam 2010 main event, for one thing. For another, they're the only three men out of the 14 within the match that are active full-time wrestlers on WWE's roster today, and that's kinda scary.
Slater is the only remnant of the seven-man Nexus team that was supposed to represent WWE's future. But check this: Michael Tarver was gone the following year, David Otunga's an inactive staff member, Justin Gabriel left in 2015, Wade Barrett and Skip "Ryback" Sheffield in 2016, and Darren Young 2017. Meanwhile, on team WWE, Cena's a glorified part-timer, Hart was just making a guest appearance, Edge retired, Chris Jericho does as he pleases, and Great Khali left a few years back. Bryan only returned to the ring in April, so the list could've been just Truth and Slater. Hard to believe, no?