Capitol Punishment 2011
2011 was a weird year for WWE. It started with The Miz as WWE champion and heading for a showdown with John Cena, Alberto Del Rio winning the Royal Rumble and challenging Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship, and The Rock returning to host Wrestlemania 27.
By the end of the year CM Punk was champion after the whole “Pipebomb” promo/leaving angle/run as champion, Edge had retired, Mark Henry had inducted multiple members of the Hall of Pain, Kevin Nash had returned and left, and they were building towards Wrestlemania 28 with John Cena vs The Rock.
However, in the middle of all this, we had the short but memorable feud between John Cena and the newly hell R Truth. Yes, it’s that show, Capitol Punishment!
So the build-up to the R Truth match started with R Truth winning the right to be part of the title match at the prior month’s Extreme Rules show, only for John Morrison (in what was a bit of a dick move if I’m honest) to question whether Truth could keep up, simply because he had some water mid-match, and then beat Truth for his spot in the match, triggering a heel turn and the “snapping” of the former K-Kwick. This turn brought about arguably the best work of Truth’s career, with him smoking at ringside, ranting about conspiracies against him, railing against John Cena’s popularity and even throwing water in the face of the dad of a young Cena fan. He would even do this…
Honestly, R Truth was a man possessed and ultimately came across in some great build up to this event, even seeming like a vaguely credible challenger to John Cena during a period when he was filling time in until The Rock returned. Even the build up video did a great job of showcasing Truth, with Cena selling his concern that his opponent was certifiably insane.
Unfortunately, when the bell rang this didn’t quite translate to the match it was hyped to be. Don’t get me wrong it was far from terrible, but it also wasn’t anything to really write about, with few highlights and pretty predictable finish. "Little Jimmy" getting involved to get revenge on Truth was a nice touch, but all things told it was pretty forgettable.
A brilliantly built main event, that really didn’t deliver on the night.
The rest of Capitol Punishment was a very hit and miss affair. The opening match between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler showed how far Kingston has come in the intervening years and how little has changed about Ziggler, although the match itself was more than passable. Randy Orton and Christian had a belting match for the World Heavyweight Championship, although their series would continue throughout the summer and they would have better, more memorable bouts later on in 2011. Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio was a glorified angle to push the feud Show had going with Mark Henry. Alex Riley vs The Miz was a great reminder of what could have been, as Riley was really quite over after turning on his former mentor and had massive momentum at this show. Evan Bourne vs Jack Swagger was pure filler material, while CM Punk and Rey Mysterio Jr had a great match, with Punk starting to foreshadow what would happen in the coming weeks running up to Money in the Bank. It feels a bit strange to see a WWE show with no women’s match, even just seven years ago but I suppose that just demonstrates how things have changed.
The weirdest thing on this show was the show-long inclusion of “Barack Obama”. Yes, it was an impersonator, but the commentators and wrestlers never acknowledged that fact, which seemed really awkward. I’m not sure if this was an attempt to make Obama look like an idiot, or discredit him ahead of the campaign for the 2012 election, or if WWE were just attempting to get a bit of a rub from having “Obama” on the show. It feels really awkward, and if I’m honest it just makes everyone involved look really dumb for not acknowledging the imposter. The Spinaroonie segment was just weird.
Capitol Punishment was a decent show, but if I’m honest I’d rather watch Capitol Combat because Robocop > Little Jimmy.