The main event at WWE’s SummerSlam featuring Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton caused a lot of controversy, as Lesnar bloodied Orton with a several shots to the head. The match was called as a TKO, and it left a lot of fans wondering what was real and was scripted.
It turns out, fans weren’t the only ones in the dark about the finish. Not only did WWE not tell the rest of the wrestlers what would happen — resulting in a real scuffle between Lesnar and Chris Jericho backstage — but they didn’t even tell Orton what would happen until he arrived to prepare at SummerSlam.
From Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter: (subscription required)
Orton wasn’t told until he got to the arena, as he was planning for a usual main event. He was told when he got there that he was not going to have a normal match, and that the match wasn’t about going back-and-forth and keeping both men strong, but about making Lesnar stronger. The original idea was to be a total destruction for Lesnar, where Orton would be on the ground bleeding. It was supposed to look like Lesnar “went against the script” on him and hurt him.
Meltzer doesn’t stop his damning report against WWE there. According to Meltzer, WWE kept the finish to the match so secret that even the referee of the match, Mike Chioda, and the ringside medical personnel didn’t know what was going to happen.
There will be people denying this most likely, because they have to, but Orton was told that Lesnar knew how to graze him with his elbow to open up a cut without hurting him and was told that was what would happen in the match. As it turned out, Lesnar elbowed the hell out of him, and threw some stiff punches, and Orton was bleeding like crazy from a cut that needed ten staples to close. Orton stayed down and was acting like he was knocked out, as he was supposed to. Medical personnel and the referee acted confused, because they were.
This goes along a lot with Bret Hart said in his reaction to the Seth Rollins and Finn Balor match at SummerSlam. “It’s not real, it’s only supposed to look real, wrestlers are not crash test dummies!” said Hart. While some would say that the blood made the Orton and Lesnar match look real, it definitely goes against Hart’s sentiment that you shouldn’t be out there hurting your opponent.
The fact that Orton wasn’t in on the finish until that day, and that the referee might not have known at all is simply irresponsible. Meltzer says that Orton acted professionally and did the job, but that Orton was “never going to do that kind of a favor again and wasn’t particularly thrilled by it.”
While it can be very entertaining when WWE blurs the lines of what is real and what is scripted, this simply went to far. You can’t be trying to pull one over on your own employees like this, and it is unfair to Orton that he went in preparing for a normal match, and then wound up with ten staples on top of his head because the promotion wanted to go for some shock value.
If WWE does try something like this again, hopefully they at least tell their talent first before it ends up in controversy and backstage fights.