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Sports Arena – San Diego, California – June 1, 2008
MATCH #1: Falls Count Anywhere Match – Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga
These two routinely have good matches against each other, including a stellar cage match earlier in the year. Hardy charges but eats an elbow and Umaga goes on offense right away. Hardy counters with a quick Whisper in the Wind (which got the win on MVP just a few weeks prior to this) but Umaga kicks out. Hardy goes up for a top-rope cross body block, but Umaga catches him with a Black Hole Slam (and called as such by JR), but Hardy kicks out at two. Umaga charges Hardy against the ropes, but he ducks and Umaga goes flying to the floor. Hardy slingshots himself over the ropes onto the fallen Samoan and gets a near fall on the floor. Umaga responds by throwing Hardy into the retaining wall around the ring. He follows that up by throwing Hardy into the crowd and going after him. They fight around the set and Hardy tries throwing a traffic cone at Umaga, who no-sells it and hits a kick to the face for two. Umaga tries the butt splash against an anvil case but Hardy moves and sprays Umaga with a fire extinguisher. That sends the fight backstage, and Umaga goes right back on offense. Hardy runs up some stairs and then slides down the railing to deliver a clothesline for two. That was neat. They fight up the stairs now and into the mezzanine area. Umaga gets a near fall by a trash can. They continue the fight outside the arena, with the Samoan Bulldozer still in firm control. He gets a two-count on the asphalt. Hardy makes a comeback by slamming Umaga’s head into a truck door. Since he’s Samoan Umaga soon recovers from that attack. Hardy starts to climb one of the equipment trucks and Umaga goes after him. Hardy kicks him down and continues his ascent. He hits a Swanton (not that we get to see where Umaga landed or how actual move landed) and that gets the pin at 9:27. It’s a little much to ask me to believe that they actually did those moves on the concrete, which means they should have tried to find another finish. The match was fine, but has the same problem a lot of WWE pay-per-view matches have lately – it was nothing different than what we’d seen on TV many times.
MATCH #2: Singapore Cane Match (Winner Gets an ECW Championship Match at Night of Champions) – Big Show vs. CM Punk vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. John Morrison vs. Chavo Guerrero
All five of these men are former ECW Champions; four of them have held the title since it was resurrected in 2006. Chavo is accompanied the ringside by Bam Neely. Morrison is accompanied by his WWE Tag Team Championship belt. Everybody goes after Show, who fights them all off with his substantial power advantage. Dreamer moves out of the way of an elbow drop, giving Punk and Morrison the chance to hit a few kicks to knock the gargantuan Show down. Dreamer hits a DDT, Chavo hits a Frog Splash, and all four men climb up and grab a cane. Show fights Chavo and Morrison off before Dreamer and Punk clothesline him over the top rope and the match breaks down into a big brawl all around ringside. Punk avoids a swinging Chavo and NFL Linebacker Shawn Merriman takes a shot with the cane. He recovers though and Punk helps him get a receipt. Miz comes out to try and help Morrison, but Show tosses him around and tries to throw the steel steps at him, but Morrison recovers and knocks Show down, causing him to take the steps to the face. Back in the ring Punk hits a powerslam on Chavo for two. Morrison hits Punk with the cane, and then Dreamer delivers a pump handle suplex on the Tag Team Champion. Punk tries the Go to Sleep on Dreamer, but Dreamer catches Punk’s leg and puts on a Texas Cloverleaf. Morrison breaks that up, as the camera catches the fact that Show has a cut over his eye and is bleeding now. Morrison sets Chavo up for a superplex, but Chavo fights it off and drops Morrison on his face. Punk tries the superplex then, but Morrison grabs him and powerbombs him in the requisite Tower of Doom type spot. Show has recovered and he looks angry now. He destroys Neely and Miz with a cane and then levels Morrison, who was in the middle of a slingshot body press. Back in the ring Show lays into Punk, Chavo, and Dreamer. Everyone gets tossed to the floor except Dreamer, who eats a chokeslam for his troubles. Show brings Dreamer back to his feet in the corner and grabs a cane again. He destroys Dreamer with a shot to the head and Show gets the pin and earns a title shot at 8:35. The champion Kane was watching in the back, and he likes what he just saw. Show looked suitably dominant, and the match itself was a solid chaotic brawl.
MATCH #3: First Blood Match – John Cena vs. JBL
Cena gets an amazing face pop here. JBL immediately removes a turnbuckle pad, so Cena responds by doing the same. They meet in the center of the ring and start slugging it out, and JBL takes the first advantage. Cena fights back and the battle spills to the floor. They quickly get back in the ring with Cena pounding away. JBL reverses the momentum and tosses Cena to the floor. He attacks Cena’s head, hoping to bust him open. Back in the ring Cena fights up but JBL quickly knocks him back down. They fight back outside the ring as JBL aggressively goes after Cena’s head. Cena throws a few haymakers, so JBL thumbs him in the eye and delivers a boot to the face. JBL goes over and grabs a chair and props Cena up against the ring post, but Cena slips out and avoids the chair shot. JBL responds by nailing Cena on top of the head with the microphone. They head back towards the ring, with JBL continuing to use the microphone on his opponent. JBL talks trash, so Cena fires up and hits a flurry of offense. He hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the FU but JBL slips out and snaps Cena’s neck on the top rope and both men are on the floor again. JBL throws Cena face-first into the ring post, but that doesn’t bust him open. He then tries to throw the steel steps at Cena, who is able to avoid them. Next he rams Cena’s head into the edge of the retaining wall. He then tries a DDT on the steps but Cena holds on and JBL takes the impact on his back. Cena then grabs the microphone and blasts JBL with it. The referee is pretty invasive in his blood checking. Cena rubs JBL’s face against the steps and then throws him back into the ring. Cena brings a chair into the ring but JBL avoids getting hit with it. He rams Cena’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. He tries the Clothesline from Hell but Cena ducks and bulldogs JBL onto the chair. JBL then grabs a steel chain that he had concealed in his towel and punches Cena in the gut with it. He tries to slug him with the chain again but Cena ducks and is able to hit an FU. Both get back to their feet and JBL hits a big boot to the face, which ties Cena up in the ropes Andre the Giant style. JBL goes under the ring and produces a bullwhip. That may be the first time I’ve ever seen that in a wrestling match. He gets cocky though, and Cena kicks JBL in the nuts and locks on a chain-assisted STFU, causing JBL to bleed from the mouth and Cena wins the match at 14:30. This was a bit better than their match at the previous pay-per-view, with some pretty creative spots and good heat all around. It did get hurt a bit though by Big Show bleeding a gusher in the previous match, and then this one getting stopped due to a small amount of blood coming out of JBL’s mouth. Such is life I guess.
MATCH #4: “I Quit” Match – Melina vs. Beth Phoenix
Melina attacks Phoenix and puts on a submission right at the bell. Phoenix escapes but Melina is persistent. Phoenix nails a backbreaker to break the momentum. She hits another one and bends Melina over her knee, trying to force the submission. Melina escapes but Phoenix maintains control, attacking the back. Melina comes back with a face buster from the top rope and then puts on the Indian Death Lock. Phoenix escapes out of that by crawling to the floor. Melina grabs Phoenix and rolls her back into the ring. Phoenix comes back with her power and abuses Melina in the corner. Phoenix then puts on the Canadian Backbreaker but Melina won’t quit. She fights out and tires a head scissors out of the corner but Phoenix blocks it. Melina then rolls Phoenix through into the turnbuckle and then kicks her into the ring post, injuring her shoulder. Melina puts on a Fujiwara Armbar and Phoenix rolls out of it, only to get rolled right back into a cross arm breaker. Phoenix lifts Melina into the air and powerbombs her down hard. She picks Melina up and delivers the chicken wing slam and then locks on a chicken wing submission from a seated position. That looks painful. Phoenix slams Melina’s face down on the mat and then pulls back on her neck and contorts Melina into an even more painful position and Melina gives up at 9:14. I don’t normally care for women’s wrestling but these two did a really good job out there and had a pretty good thing going before Melina’s untimely injury.
MATCH #5: Stretcher Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Batista
The fans like HBK to win this match at 59%, while Batista scored 41% according to those polled. The video package for this match is pretty great. This is an inter-promotional match, and the Smackdown announce team gets to call it. Michaels lunges at Batista and the fight is on right away. Batista slugs him down and tries a Batista Bomb but Michaels slips out, only to be clotheslined over the top rope. Batista follows him out and drops him on the stretcher. Michaels reverses a whip and sends Batista into the steel steps. He then throws him face-first into the ring post. He then hits an enziguiri and sets the Animal on one set of steps. He then runs the ladder into the midsection. He runs it into Batista again, except this time he nails him in the face. Batista fights back and tries a Batista Bomb on the floor but Michaels counters it to a chokehold. He tries to wheel Batista down to the finish line but he gets kicked off and the match will continue. Batista throws Michaels into the steel ring post. He follows that up with dropping Michaels back first onto the ring apron and throws his opponent back into the ring. Batista hits a big clothesline. He then goes to work relentlessly on Michaels’s oft-injured back. Batista tries a spear but Michaels avoids him and throws him shoulder first into the ring post. Michaels hits the flying forearm and follows up with the Savage Elbow, awesomely selling his back on impact. Michaels gets up and tries Sweet Chin Music but Batista hits a clothesline instead. Batista tries to Batista Bomb Michaels over the ropes, but he slips out and hits Sweet Chin Music, and Batista falls over the ropes and right onto a stretcher. He fights off and they go back to the ring where Batista finally lands a Spear and then a Batista Bomb. He puts Michaels on a stretcher and Chris Jericho comes out and tries to get Michaels to fire up; he quickly gets chased to the back by referees. Batista watches this, and then rolls Michaels back into the ring. Michaels meekly tries to hit Sweet Chin Music but collapses. Batista then grabs Michaels by the face and says loud and clear “I don’t love you, and I’m not sorry” before delivering another thunderous Batista Bomb. He wheels Michaels back, and Jericho once again tries to inspire Michaels to get up but he can’t. Batista uses this as an opportunity to deliver a spine buster onto the steel steps and wheels Michaels across at 17:00. That was the exact right finish to have, and it gives Batista a boost to just dismantle a legend like that. But Michaels doesn’t lose anything by this, and it helps further the Jericho feud. The action was a bit slow but I felt like it fit the feud between the two and I think I liked this match more than most people.
MATCH #6: Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship – Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Triple H has been the champion since 4.27.08, and this is his third defense, all of which have been against Randy Orton. They take it to the floor right away and the champion throws the challenger into the steel steps shoulder first to take the first advantage. He also slams Orton off the announce table and then takes him back into the ring for some good solid punching. They go back to the floor and the match continues to be dominated by Triple H. He sets up for a Pedigree on the announce table but Orton blocks it and slips out, and then hits a DDT while HHH’s legs hang on the announce table. Good spot. He gets up at eight and Orton goes right back on the attack. He tries an RKO on the floor but the Game throws him into the ring post, which further injures the shoulder. Back in the ring Orton regains control and works over the champ. He brings the steel steps into the ring and throws them right in HHH’s face. HHH barely gets up, and Orton has gone outside to grab some electrical wire, and wraps it around the Game’s throat. He gets up at eight once again. Orton goes for the RKO and HHH tosses him over the top rope and Orton crashes badly on the floor and breaks his collarbone. That seems like a pretty dangerous spot to even try. Instead of just letting the match end, HHH goes out and beats on Orton some more. He grabs the sledgehammer and hits Orton in the head with it and that finally puts him down for good at 13:15. I understand the weak finish due to the unfortunate injury, but the match wasn’t really going anywhere to begin with.
MATCH #7: TLC Match for the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship (If Undertaker Loses He Leaves the WWE) – Undertaker vs. Edge
The World Title was stupidly vacant at this point. I admit it makes sense to book Edge in this kind of match since it’s his specialty, but the feud was pretty drawn out at this point, the fourth straight PPV match between them. Also, the ridiculous stipulation of Undertaker leaving if he loses just makes it even more irritating. I mean, that probably would have worked in 1994 or something, but come on.
Undertaker takes the early advantage by slugging on Edge and going after the arm right away. He hits the Old School and lands a boot to the face. Undertaker tries to bring a ladder into the ring but Edge kicks it right back into his face. Edge goes for a table and sets one on top of another outside the ring. On the other side of the ring Undertaker recovers and hits Edge with the ladder two times. Undertaker then goes over and makes Edge’s stack of two tables into a stack of four tables. That gives Edge a chance to recover though, and he dumps Undertaker into the steel ring steps. Edge then brings a ladder in the ring and climbs up part way, but Undertaker gets back in the ring and pulls him into the ropes. They take turns throwing each other face first into a ladder set up in the corner. They each get up and try climbing the ladder. Undertaker shoves Edge off first, but Edge comes bouncing back and knocks Undertaker down. Undertaker recovers first and hits Snake Eyes onto a ladder. He follows that with a ladder assisted boot to the chest. They go to the floor and Undertaker hits Edge with a chair a few times. He tries the legdrop on the apron but Edge puts a chair up. Edge goes right after the knee, hitting it again with a chair. He sets up a ladder between the apron and the guardrail, but Undertaker recovers and slugs him. He sets up for the Last Ride but Edge slips out and hits a low blow. He then clobbers Undertaker with a chair shot. He follows it up with another solid shot. Edge brings a table over by the announce table and hits a splash on Undertaker to break the table. Undertaker gets back in the ring only to get hit with a vicious spear. Edge then uses the ladder as a weapon to attack Undertaker’s knee. He uses a chair as well.
Undertaker fights back to his knees and Edge hits him in the face with a chair again. At this point I realize that Mick Foley really is not great on commentary and if I were Vince McMahon I’d yell at him too. Edge goes for another chair shot but this time Undertaker hits a low blow. Undertaker then chokeslams Edge onto the ladder that Edge himself had set up earlier. Undertaker goes to climb the ladder, but Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins come out to interfere. They set Undertaker up between two tables, but he fights them off and throws one of them from the top rope through a table at ringside. Don’t worry, the other one gets one too. Edge Spears Undertaker from the apron to the floor and sets up a stack of two tables. Edge climbs the ladder but Undertaker grabs him and delivers the Last Ride through the table stack. Why would Edge set up those tables like that if he was just going to go for the belt? Stuff like that is so stupid. Undertaker starts climbing now, and this time Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely run out. The crowd is booing not because they have heat, but because this is a lazy, stupid way to do this match. He clobbers them with a chair and goes up the ladder again. This time Edge throws him from the ring through the four table stack at ringside (think Bubba Ray Dudley at SummerSlam 2000). That gives Edge the time he needs to climb the ladder and reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship for a third time at 23:50. The match was good up to a point, but had such obvious setups for the big bumps that the match suffered. The run-ins also got a little irritating, since they’ve relied on them so much. Sadly, the rematches between these two never lived up to what they did at WrestleMania XXIV.