World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio
August 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES – Amid the excitement of The Biggest Event of the Summer, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus overcame Alberto Del Rio to retain his illustrious title, with a finish as controversial as it was clever.
Inside the sold-out STAPLES Center, the matchup between the fierce champion and his unscrupulous challenger proved extremely personal from the opening bell. Within moments, their struggle carried them both over the top rope and down onto the ringside floor. There, recovering from a fierce kick by The Great White, The Mexican Aristocrat roared back, slamming Sheamus’ head into the announce table.
Back in the ring, the intense competitors continued to fight for the advantage, with both Superstars going for their respective finishers early — the Cross Armbreaker and then the Brogue Kick.
They soon found themselves outside the ring for a second time, where Del Rio ultimately slammed Sheamus into the unforgiving steel steps. This set the stage for a major onslaught by the challenger, in which he utilized everything from the top rope to a sound strategy of grounding The Great White on the canvas.
But when Del Rio wasted time mocking Sheamus, by doing his best Celtic Warrior imitation, he ended up charging right into Sheamus’ waiting double axe handle.
Though the Irish World Heavyweight Champion was able to take charge, an effective, top rope maneuver allowed Del Rio to seize control once more. This led to Del Rio locking in the Cross Armbreaker. However, that would not finish off the mighty Sheamus, who used his incredible strength to pick his opponent up while he was still in the hold and send him crashing back down to the canvas for the break!
Though Sheamus went on to hit White Noise, he was miraculously unable to put Del Rio away with one of his best moves. Consequently, Del Rio was able to back away from the earth-shattering Brogue Kick, moments later, to stay alive.
With every minute that passed, the conflict grew more and more intense. But, as explosive as the action got, the biggest fireworks would come in the match’s questionable conclusion.
When the referee was trying to get the always mettlesome Ricardo Rodriguez out of the ring in what proved to be the match’s climatic final moments, Del Rio’s personal ring announcer tried to throw one of his shoes in Del Rio’s direction — presumably so his employer could use it on the titleholder. Instead, Sheamus intercepted the dangerous footwear and smashed his opponent with it.
This set up the devastating Irish Curse Backbreaker. However, when Sheamus was attempting the three-count, he realized that Del Rio had managed to get his foot onto the bottom rope. In spite of the fact that he had already taken both himself and his No. 1 contender to the limit, The Celtic Warrior had the mental wherewithal to swat the troublesome appendage off the rope again before the referee could notice. This simultaneously solidified his triumph and demonstrated the quick thinking nature of a truly cunning World Heavyweight Champion.
As the smoke cleared, not even the most sweltering days of the summer could have matched how hot the visually irate Del Rio became. Truly passing his figurative boiling point, the defeated Superstar took out his displeasure on everyone in sight, screaming at the referee to the WWE Universe.
Later during the pay-per-view, Del Rio interrupted a WWE.com exclusive to scream at referee Mike Chioda for the costly mistake, before lodging a formal protest with SmackDown General Manager Booker T.
Despite his anger, though, it would not change the fact that Sheamus was still in procession of the championship.
The Great White’s SummerSlam World Title Match with Del Rio almost didn’t happen. On the Aug. 6 edition of Raw, Sheamus “borrowed” his affluent challenger’s car, using it to tour San Antonio before bringing it back destroyed.
Four days later, the crafty Del Rio struck back at the first-ever Irish World Heavyweight Champion — using hired guns dressed as police to ambush Sheamus and help him deliver a crippling assault.
In response, a WWE.com exclusive caught up with an outraged SmackDown General Manager Booker T, who snatched away Del Rio’ title opportunity as punishment.
Only when a bandaged Sheamus demanded that the five-time WCW Champion to reinstitute the title match — just two days before the pay-per-view — did the head of the blue brand relent, setting the stage for the monumental showdown.