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Charles (Loss)

[2009-08-23-WWE-Summerslam] CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy (Ladder)

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World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk - Summerslam 2009 Ladder Match

My brother and I loved this feud so much in the summer of 2009 that I bought this PPV. During this time when I was in college, I'd only buy on PPV a year if that. The 2009-2010 Straight Edge CM Punk is one of the all time great heel runs. This is one of the few times that Smackdown shone brighter than RAW and they rewarded with a PPV main event which is extra special because it is Summerslam. The CM Punk vs Jeff Hardy storyline based on Hardy's demons and Punk's Straight Edge personality made for great TV.

I have very fond memories of this match delivering in spades, but ultimately all I could remember was the huge spot at the end. I think the match is still great, but not quite as great as I remembered I thought this would contend for match of the year. I thought the transitions held this back as too many times Jeff Hardy would take serious punishment and be right back up delivering offense such as when he took the superplex on the ladder only to deliver a Twist of Fate and then eat knees on a Swanton Bomb attempt. 

I thought the match started off strong enough. Each man tried to climb the ladder, but the other man knocked them off. Each man tried to hit their finish, but neither man could deliver. The first big time spot was Punk catching Hardy in Poetry in Motion and dropping him back first across the back of the chair. OW! That looked like it hurt. Punk kicked ass but failed to hit that big chair shot he was looking for. Hardy paid him back by hitting a home run shot with a chair and then Poetry In Motion on the floor. I liked the escalation and Hardy paying off the earlier shot and succeeding where Punk failed with the chair. Right then Hardy missed the splash from the top rope to the table on the floor. Big Time spot! Punk goes for the climb, but I thought Hardy had too much energy on the climb and end up powerbombing Punk off the ladder. This is when they began trading shots and felt like each spot lost consequence. One spot I really liked after that superplex on the ladder (great selling by Punk) and then the missed Swanton Bomb was Punk when for his high knee/Bulldog Combo but Hardy stopped the Bulldog and just dumped him over the top rope through a table, but you dont see the table so you think Punk is just going to go splat. Helluva a way to break your fall! :P

The lead up to the BIG spot is great as Punk goes for the Chair Halo around Hardy's neck and Hardy just goes ballistic at the thought of being maimed. So he kicks Punk's ass from pillar to post probably the most violent Ive seen Jeff. He really let Punk have it. This all sets up the Spot. Where he does the Swanton off that ridiculous Ladder through Punk and the announce table. Insane. They do a great job milking it. Both men get attention, but Punk squirms into the ring. As Jeff is being loaded onto the stretcher, he realizes he needs to get back into the ring. I love Jeff's punch drunk selling spilling all over the ring as he attempts to prevent Punk from winning the match. I thought the finish was lame. One Punk kick to the injured ribs (assuming the ribs are injured from the death-defying Swanton) and then a punch. I would have liked an eye rake or a punch to the throat. Something more underhanded. It seemed too even for a heel to win that way. I did like The Undertaker appearing to set up the next feud immediately. It made Punk/World Championship feel like a huge deal and that momentum would keep rolling into the school year. 

I thought there were a lot of individually great spots, but not enough connective tissue to tie it together, nor did I think Punk or Hardy delivered a great character performance that really elevates this to a classic level. It was something that entertained me throughout and built to the big spot, but didnt feel like a match of the year contender. ****

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