Hey-ho. PK is in Detroit, attending the show live – so I’m here covering the show for rest of ya’ll. I’ll try to keep this as a straight-forward recap (after all, I have to keep material around for my regular Wednesday column, “A Look on the Bright Side”), but we’ll see how well that holds up. Two challenges: the Kane/Khali match, and my growing blood alcohol level during the evening.
Make sure you join myself and the rest of the Pulse Wrestling staff at our post-PPV chat. Don’t miss out on this exclusive chance to tell me how much you think I suck.
Pulse Wrestling Chat
And, of course, my parents show up for an unannounced visit at 6:57pm. Perfect. So, I’ll be a bit behind for a while. Thank God for TiVo.
We are LIVE from Ford Field in Detroit. Big freakin’ place.
We open with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem from Aretha Franklin, and a long, excellent “All Grown Up” promo.
As expected, all three announce teams are in attendance. And, as stated in the previous news item here at Inside Pulse, we open with the Money in the Bank match. Kewl.
Money in the Bank Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Booker T vs. Finlay vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs Matt Hardy vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge This match starts properly at 7:16pm EST. The cameras are having a heck of time keeping up with the action for all eight guys. The action spills outside, and the first big spot comes from Finlay (!!!), who dives on the other 7 guys on the floor from the top rope. This is followed by the first opportunistic climb from, of course, Edge, thwarted by, of course, Matt Hardy. Finlay and Orton do a simulatenous climb, and knock each other off. Jeff Hardy then almost makes it, but gets knocked off by Kennedy. Booker grabs a 3 foot stepladder, which then gets used like a chair by multiple participants. Edge grabs another ladder, and slides it part-way into the ring. Punk is the first to bleed. Edge tries to suplex Punk on the floor, countered by Punk into his own suplex. Booker rolls through everyone: spinebuster to Orton, superkick to Edge, spinebuster to Punk, spinebuster to Finlay. (So far, this pace is almost exhausting to watch.) Booker does a spinerooni, but gets sandwiched between ladders from the Hardys. Hardys set up the “Joey Mercury nose-buster”, but it gets broken up by Finaly, and Edge suplexes Matt onto the ladder, in a nasty looking spot. Kennedy misses a Kenton Bomb on Matt, who was lying on a ladder. Jeff then hits his own senton, and looks to have landed full force on Kennedy’s abdomen. The Hardys then take out everybody with ladders, followed by Matt setting up his own in the middle of the ring and climbing it. If you were wondering, the first Hardy to hit the other is: Jeff. Finlay pushes them both off, and hits a clothesline on Orton, then two more on Punk, Kennedy, and Booker. Edge then hits spears on Finlay, Booker, Orton and Kennedy, Matt and Jeff. He goes for one on Punk, who leapfrogs him, and Edge goes face-to-turnkbuckle. Punk does the Terry Funk “ladder on the shoulder” spot, and takes out everyone – except Edge, who finally gets his spear. Edge goes for the x-tra large ladder, and sets it up in the middle of the ring. Orton catches him, and sends Edge over outside the ring. Jeff gets a face-first suplex on Orton, while Matt puts Edge on a ladder outside the ring. Jeff climbs the xtra-large, and hits a seated body press onto Edge. OH MY GOD. Matt does a nice job afterwards of playing the “Wow, I might have just caused someone to die” afteraffects. The backboards come out, and both guys get dragged out. Inside the ring, Orton stops Matt from setting up a ladder, then gets the RKO on Hardy, Finlay, and Kennedy. Orton takes his good ole time climbing up a ladder, and finally gets caught by Punk. Punks sets up his own ladder, right next to Orton – both of them climb up and fight over it. Orton finally hits an RKO from the top of the ladder – both men seem exhausted by it. Booker slips in, but gets caught by Orton on the ladder. Orton goes for the RKO on the ladder again, but gets hit with a Bookend instead. Booker makes his way up, but Matt catches hm and they slug it out. Sharmell slips into the ring and pulls Matt off. In a lovely bit of psychology, Matt threatens to pull (well, some kind of move) on Sharmell, unless Booker jumps down. Booker struggles over it, but finally jumps down (while JBL flips out on commmentary), and gets knocked out of the ring by Matt. Matt almost makes it to the briefcase, but gets thrown off by Finlay – who is bleeding from his eye, and the top of his head (don’t see that often). Finlay hits a Celtic Cross on Matt, onto a ladder (ouchie – for both). Finlay really, really takes his time setting up the ladder(s) – so The Little Bastard runs out and volunteers to do it for him. (Umm – don’t think that’s going to work out.) Kennedy climbs up, gives some mouth to Bastard – who smacks himi in the face. Twice. Finlay picks him on his shoulders, and… no, c’mon… yup, hits the rolling Samoan Drop from the ladder. Finlay smacks Kennedy with the ladder while he’s celebrating, and sets the ladder himself – but gets dropkicked off by CM Punk (who, honestly, I had forgotten was still around). Punk gets the ladder set up as soon as he can, and…. slooooowly…. climbs up. Kennedy meets him at the top, and they slug it out – won by Punk. However, Kennedy catches Punk in the face with a ladder from the floor, climbs up… and grabs the briefcase. Winner: Mr Kennedy
Afterwards, Finlay checks on Bastard, who seems a bit shaken up.
A recap of the premiere of The Condemned.
Kennedy gives an intense interview on his recent win.
Batista’s “All Grown Up” segment.
The Great Khali vs. Kane: Khali “manhandles” Kane, and tosses him. Kane catches Khali with a snapshot, but Khali no-sells the punch. Khali hits a clothesline and a bodyslam, and goes to… a nerve pinch? Okay. kane fights out, but gets hit with a headbutt, and some punishment in the corner. Kane fights back, and hits the clothesline, but it’s no-sold. Okay. Khali gets caught in the ropes, Kane lays in some punches, and goes to the outside for the “See No Evil” chain. Khali catches him coming back in, and the trade punches. (Forever, seemingly.) Khali pulls off the turnbuckle with one hand, and then uses the chain to hit a low blow. This is followed by a body slam (accompanied by a nice crowd pop, and Ross pulling out a WM III reference). Kane goes for the chokeslam – Khali reaches for his own. Kane goes off the rope, but gets hit with the double-handed chokeslam. Khali gets the pin with his foot on Kane’s chest. Okay. Winner: The Great Khali
Post-match, Khali wraps the chain around Kane’s neck, and proceeds on a long beatdown.
Women wrestlers “All Grown Up” segment.
Backstage, Eugene is talking with Cryme Tyme, who are trying to settle him down over his recent baldness (“You rockin’ the dome right now”). They decide to cheer him up with the ECW Extreme Expose. This is, however, interrupted by the appearance of Moolah and Mae Young – which draws a happy reaction from Eugene. But *that* is broken up by the appearance of… Slick!! And then another interruption by Dusty Rhodes, rockin’ the tux. Then, a parade of old-timers: Sgt. Slaughter, Jimmy Hart, and IRS. Nostalgia poppin’! And… oh my freakin’ god. Ricky… the f’in Dragon… Steamboat. Mean Gene, Pat Patterson, and Jerry Brisco slip in here somewhere. And of course, this leads to our obvious punchline: “DAMN.”
Detroit Tigers in the hizzy. Hey Pudge.
US Title: MVP vs. Chris Benoit: MVP gets an extended entrace, replete with a small phalanx of cheerleaders. Back and forth to start, with Beniot hitting a legscissors, countered by MVP into a near-Indian Deathlock. (Nice, and suprising.) MVP switches to a headlock, then a shoulderblock off the ropes. Benoit goes for the Germans, blocked by MVP. Benoit then goes for a Crossface, countered by MVP into an armdrag. Benoit and MVP go face-to-face, with lots of fingers-in-the-chest from MVP. Benoit takes him down with a double-leg, and goes for the Sharpshooter, countered by MVP into a headlock, countered by Benoit into another Crossface attempt. Tie-up, take-down from Benoit, countered into an arm-BAR by MVP, roll through from Benoit, fireman’s carry from MVP into a headlock, countered into another Crossface attempt from Benoit. (Wait – I’m enjoying this match? How did that happen?) Benoit sets up MVP in the corner, couple of chops, but MVP counters by jumping off the ropes and yanking Benoit’s arm down on the turnbuckle. Back in, MVP works over the left shoulder, gets a two-count. Beatdown in the corner, short-arm shoulder-blocks, goes for a big roundhouse – countered into the Triple Germans. Benoit goes up, but gets caught. MVP HITS the Superplex, rolled through by Benoit to a 2-count. MVP rams Benoit’s shoulder into the corner (JBL: “Unbelievable! MVP has handed Benoit his own ass!”) Back-body drop by MVP for a 2-count. MVP works on the shoulder, Benoit fights out. Benoit goes off the ropes, MVP goes for the big boot too early, Benoit holds onto the ropes, comes off again, MVP still manages to get off the big boot. (Nice.) MVP fights off another Crossface attempt, and continues on his rapid ascent up my list of favorite wrestlers. (He’s probably stuck somewhere in the low segment of the Top 10 until he faces someone besides Benoit, though.) MVP hits a body slam, eggs the crowd on, and hits The Elbow Whose Name I Will Not Type. MVP misses a big boot in the corner, and gets hit with two of the Triple Germans. Counters the third, goes for his own, countered by that – whips Benoit into the ropes. Benoit hits all three Germans – crowd pop. Benoit climbs the ropes, hits the flying headbutt, 1-2-3. Winner: Chris Benoit
I have gained magnitudes of respect for MVP.
Undertaker “All Grown Up” promo.
Backstage with Donald Trump, who is badmouthing Vince. And is apparently sitting with the former Miss USA, Tara (yup, I saw the pictures too). But, we’re borken up by the appearance of The Boogeyman from behind the couch. Totally no-sold by Trump, but Tara runs out screaming. Trump tries to order a sandwich from Boogey, who slips back behind the couch. “Tell ya what, if you get me a sandwich, I’ll get you some worms.” “How about a worm sandwich?” (Wait, is Trump going off-script?)
Hall of Fame recap.
Fink announces the new inductees to the Hall of Fame, including Mr. Fiji, who comes out in a wheelchair. Well, damn.
And then the promo for… Batista vs. Undertaker? Wow. We’re at 8:17pm EST.
World Heavyweight Championship: The Undertaker vs. Batista: Batista comes out first. Not a good sign. UT’s entrance gets about two dozen druids (who are those guys anyway? just regular WWE office employees?). The match starts properly at 8:29pm EST. Batista with a spear, and shots into the corner on UT. UT throws hiim into the corner, and throws a few soupbones of his own. Batista tosses UT into the corner, and hits a clothesline over the ropes – UT lands on his feet. Outside the ring, lots of punches. UT takes a “Mick Foley bump” into the stairs – that’s pretty impressive when done by a guy who’s about 6’10”. Batista tosses UT back in, climbs to the top rope (!!), and hits a flying shoulderblock for 2. UT hits a boot, Batista comes back off the ropes with a clothesline for 2. Batista hits a body slam, goes for the kick off the ropes, countered into some “BODY BLOW! BODY BLOW!”. They slut it out (Batista punch “BOO!” UT punch “YAY!” Batista:”BOO!” UT:”YAY!” UT: “YAY!” UT: “YAY!” Interesting crowd.) Two corner clotheslines, and a Snakes Eyes by UT, followed by a big boot and a legdrop. 2-count (“BOO!”) UT goes Old School to a monstrous pop. UT motions for the chokeslame, countered by Batista by simply powering out. Batista misses the clothesline, UT hits his for a 2 count. UT punches Batista out of the ring, and rams him into the steps. More beating on Batista, culminating in the legdrop on the ring corner. UT climbs back into the ring, and then hits his tope suicidia on Batista. (Wow, I thought he only pulled that out for matches that he knew were terrible – like, say, last year at WM.) The slo-mo reply is really, really impressive. More beatings outside, and UT rolls in and out of the ring to break the count (I always appreciate that spot from a title challenger.) Batista turns the tide by tossing UT into the timekeeper’s table. And, as if he read my mind (about 30 minutes into the future) Batista breaks up the ref count – TWICE. They work their way into the announcers’ area, with UT lying across the Raw table. Batista picks him up, and hits a powerslam through ECW’s table. Nice. Batista rolls him back in, 1-2-kick out. Batista throws a volley of haymakers for another 2-count. Set-up for the Demon Bomb – UT sends him into the corner, followed by 2 high elbows. Batista counters an Irish whip with a belly-to-belly – 2-count. UT into the corner – Batista climbs the ropes, throwing punches. UT grabs him, and slams him into the Last Ride. UT collapses on top of him, 1-2-kick out. UT with punches, an Irish whip, counted by Batista into the spinebuster. Roar, shake the ropes (crowd boo-ing mercilessly the whole time), punch punch, toss into the ropes. UT reverses, chokeslam. 1-2-kick out. UT gives the “across the throat” sign, crowd pops – setup for the Tombstone, reversed into a spear by Batista. Demon Bomb by Batista, 1-2-… kick-out at 2.9! Set up for another Demon Bomb, countered by UT, kick by Batista, countered by UT into… the Tombstone! Cross-arm cover, 1-2-3! Winner: The Undertaker
Post-match, there’s a lot of posing by The Undertaker.
An incredibly bizarre segment follows, with Vince, Steph (nice to see her again), and a baby carriage (which allegedly holds Steph’s daughter). We even get a camera angle from INSIDE THE BABY CARRIAGE. Oh, c’mon.
This seems as good a time as any to segue into the ECW 8-man, right?
Sabu, The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and RVD vs. Elijah Wood, Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker, and Kevin Thorn: ECW Originals enter through the crowd, while the New Breed take the usual route out of the entrance way. Subtle, but effective. We start with Sabu and Striker, with Striker getting a shot in the mouth off the bat. Sabu hits three moves in a row off the 2nd rope – cross-body, leg lariat, and clothesline. Sabu lays Striker across teh top rope, and Sandman hits a top rope legdrop (!!). 2-count, broken up by Cor Von. Burke tags in, taken down by Dreamer and Sandman, culminating in a double elbow. Ariel jumps up on the apron, but Tommy threatens to go after her, so she immediately goes back down. (Friggin’ girl – haven’t you watched ECW before?) Dreamer takes a shot in the back off teh ropes from Marcus, and gets a clothesline from Burker. Marcus is tagged in, and does some damage. Burke back in, hits the Elijah Express, mocks Tommy’s pose – 2 count. Thorn tagged in, misses a corner charge, but hits a seated powerbomb for 2. Marcus tags in, hits a suplex for 2. Marcus hits a chinlock (in an 8-man?), Tommy powers out, and hits a combination DDT-on-Marcus, neckbreaker on Elijah. Nice. Taz: “ECW… is all grown up!” Striker tagged in, but RVD gets the hot tag. Kick, kick, spinning heel kick on Striker. Forearm on Thorn. Roundhouse kick on Striker. Hop onto the top rope, hits a side-kick onto Thorn (who was running in to interfere). Monkey-flip on Striker, “ROB-VAN-DAM” pose, and Rolling Thunder hits. Marcus pulls RVD out of the ring and takes him, only to be hit by a plancha from Sabug. Dreamer hits a DVD on Striker in the ring, and then his pose – but gets hit by Burke from behind. Sandman does the Mick Foley clothesline on Burke out of the ring. Striker is by himself in the ring, RVD climbs the rope – hits the 5-star frog splash. RVD covers him – 1-2-3. Winner: The ECW Originals
Stone Cole “All Grown Up” promo.
And we’re buildng up for the McMahon/Trump…. I mean Lashley/Umaga match. Here we go. These promos start officially at 9:04 pm EST.
Umaga vs. Lashley: In order of announced entrances: Vince, Umaga, Donald, and Lashley, Austin. Lots of punching to start, with Lashley backing Umage into the corner: long enough for Austin to pull Lashley off, and give him a warning. (Austin does a “point to the head” manuever here, which I’m not sure what exactly it means.) Umaga tosses Lashley into the corner, but misses the charge. Lashley hits a 2nd rope shoulderblock for 2 (assisted by Estrada). Lashley yanks Estrada into the ring by his head, gives him a running powerbomb, and tosses him over the top rope. Umaga misses a cross-body attempt, and flies over the top rope to the floor. Back in, they slug it out. Lashley goes for a spear, but flies through the ropes to the floor. Back in, Umaga hits a splash for 2. Umaga chokes on the ropes, Umaga takes exception, and we get a bit of a staredown with Austin. Umaga goes back for a choke on the rope, Austin counts 5, and then pulls Umaga off by the hair. The crowd is appreciative. (Thus enforcing the fact that Austin is still a bigger star, by far, than either of these guys – despite not having a decent match for 5+ years. Sweet.) Umaga hits a couple of butt-drops off the second rope, Lashley makes a quick comeback, only to get hit in a Somoan Drop for 2. Lashley goes for a body-slam – but falls back, for 2? Okay. Vince jumps up on the apron to cheer, Lashley comes off the ropes, and knocks Vince to the floor… Umaga hits a Stroke-type move. Trump: “Shake it off, Bobby, c’mon!” Umaga climbs to the top, but is thrown off by Lashley, who then hits a vicious clothesline. Austin counts… gets near to 10… then decides, “There’s no countout!” (Okay, I’m cool with that.) Shane comes down to ringside to check on his Dad. Umaga gets a hard strike to Lashley, followed up by some shots in the corner. 5 count is ignored again, so Austin drags Umaga out by his eye. Shane jumps on the apron, Austin chases him back down. Umaga has finally had enough – Samaoan Spike on Austin. Shane climbs into the ring, giving instruction to Umaga. Umaga is still down a bit, so Shane decides to lay a couple of shots on Lashley himself – but gets rudely interrupted by a suplex attempt, broken up by Umaga. (The crowd is dissapointed.) Umaga gets the butt-splash in the corner on Lashley. Shane motions to Vince, who pulls out a trash can from under the ring. Shane motions to set up Lashley for the Van Termnator, with Vince and Umaga holding the trash can on Lashley’s face. And yes – Shane hits it. Shane takes off his sport jacket, and his dress shirt… and exposes a white & black WWE ref shirt. Umaga climbs the ropes, and hits a top rope splash. 1-2-pulled out of the ring by Stone Cold! Austin drags Shane out, and beats him senseless, including tossing him into the steps. Austin steps into the ring, but gets hit with another Samoan Spike. Trump: “What’s going on over here?” Vince lays the badmouth on Austin, but looks up to get.. way-laid by… Trump? The Donald gets in a couple of shots while the crowd cheer. Austin rolls in, Umaga goes for the Samoan Spike but misses, Austin hits the Stunner. Umaga bounces off the rope (does not go down for the Stunner), Lashley hits the spear, 1-2-3. Winner: Lashley
Afterwards, Vince has to be practically dragged into the ring. He resists, and Shane decides to fight Austin. Stone Cold, of course, beats his ass. Vince tries to escape, but Lashley catches up half-way up the aisle and drags him back. They pull him into the table, and Trump and Lashley shave him bald together. (“Don’t do this to me!”) And after the clippers, they throw some shaving cream up there, and shave the rest of it. Lashley throws up a mirror, and Vince does not react well. Donald, Lashley, and Austin all share a beer afterwards. In very, very varying levels. (Wasn’t Lashley in the military? Shouldn’t he be able to pound a few? Eric – defend your fellow servicemen, dammit)
And, in the final swerve, Austin slams a beer against Trump, drinks two in the corner.. and gives Trump a Stunner in the middle of the ring. Lashley is left to do nothing more than stare and pat Trump’s shoulder.
They show scenes from teh pre-WM match: Carlito & Ric Flair vs Chavo and Gregory Helms in a tag-team lumberjack match. Carlito got the pin on Chavo after a back-cracker.
Lumberjill Match: Women’s Championship: Ashley vs. Melina: Melina does the MNM “split-leg” entrance into the ring, but the camera’s barely notice. Damn them. Ashely dominates to start, so Melina rolls out of the ring – only to get tossed right back in by the faces outside. Melina puts Ashely into an airplane spin for 2. Ashley hits a headscissors, and a monkey flip. Ashley attempts a 2nd rope elbow drop, misses, but only gets 2. Ashley attempts a roll-up, only 2, Melina rolls through with a bridge – 1-2-3. Really? Okay. Winner: Melina
All of the women run into the ring and square off. Mickie and Ashley seem to be the only two without a definite opponent. And, Ashley is pissed. Oh well.
HBK “All Grown Up” segment.
Extended promo for HBK/Cena.
D-X entrance for HBK, whose wearing his red&white “Sexy Boy” outfit.
Video of an ’07 Mustang taking off down a Detroit street, then turning a corner, then doing all kinds of crazy shit. Finally, we see one pulling into the parking garage, and then drives through the “WM XXIII” glass. Of course, Cena’s music plays, and the crowd boos like no one’s business. Michaels plays off the crowd reaction, like a smart veteran should: he hops up on the top rope, and eggs the crowd on. Michaels reaches for a handshake, Cena shakes it off, HBK slaps him in the face. They slug it out, Cena gets a nice chop.. crowd seems to… boo? C’mon, Detroit – gimme something to work with here. Some mat wrestling, followed by Cena swinging and missing (multiple times), and HBK connecting. More mat wrestling, highlighted by HBK pulling Cena over in a headlock to a pinning combination (again – me showing my amatuer prejudice). Cena catches HBK in a clothesline, to a huge “BOO” (shades of last year’s WM – nice). (Okay, you’ve all read Scott Keith’s review of HHH/Cena, where he wondered why they didn’t just switch roles and go for it – think it’ll happen this year?) HBK hiptosses Cena out of the ring. Enzuguiri by HBK, then an Asai moonsult onto the Raw announce table (someone has their working boots on tonight). Back in the ring, chops and punches from HBK, Toss into the corner, blind charge, HBK blocks and hits the left knee. Cena sells the knee, and HBK pounces on it – kicking, and wrapping it around the ringpost. Another big chop, Cena sellng like a champ – HBK wrapping Cena’s knee in the ropes. Cena swings and misses, HBK takes another chop block at the knees. HBK gets right into Cena’s face, and starts to give him a load of shit – even the announcers notice it. They go back-and-forth in the corner: HBK chop: “YAY!”, Cena punch “BOO!”, HBK “YAY!”, Cena “BOO!”, etc. HBK finally hits a spear in the corner to stop the comeback.. We repeat this last sequence – but HBK misses the charge, and splits his head open on the corner post Cena hits a couple of shoulder blocks, and his suplex. A five knuckle-shuffle, stopping to soak in the crowd reaction. Set up for the FU, but HBK won’t give into it yet. Toss into the corner, Sweet Chin Music misses Cena but hits the ref. Cena goes for the FU, gets countered into the DDT – no ref. They roll outside, HBK fights up onto the steps, sets up for a piledriver onto the STEEL steps.. and hits it! HBK picks up Cena, who has suffered a “serious, serious injury” according to JR – a small cut somewhere near the back of his head (is the back of the head the new forehead?) Pinfall – no. Elbow, kip, top rope – hits the elbow. HBK tunes up the band, goes for the Superkick… Cena meets him halfway and takes him down with a clothesline. They slug it out – HBK goes off the ropes, Cena tries an FU, HBK goes for a sunset flip. 1-2-kick out. Punch, kick, off the ropes – Cena catches HBK, and hits the FU in the middle of the ring. Several second delay… Cover, pull the leg – 1,2,kickout. (Okay, Cena is also busted open on the top of his head. And HBK has something opened up on the top of his left cheek. What is this – night of the unorthodox bleeding?) HBK comes off the top with a cross-body, Cena rolls through. Cena stands up, flips HBK to a fireman’s carry, tries the FU – but HBK flips over to a standing position. HBK tries Sweet Chin Music, ducked by Cena – into an STFU attempt. Kick out, Cena back into the STFU, roll through, 1-2-kick out. (Crowd is PISSSED.) HBK goes for a kick, grabbed, misses the enzuguiri, Cena drops down into the STFU. Shawn fights, fights.. gets close to the rope.. reaches, but can’t quite…. but makes the ropes. The ref has to pull him off, and warns him against holding it too long. Cena looks pissed, but okay… and then HBK hits the Sweet Chin Music out of NOWHERE. It takes 22 seconds for HBK to finally get an armed draped on Cena (I counted), and of course Cena kicks out. They lift each other up off the mat, struggle a bit, and Cena hits the STFU again. There’s a fight, and….. HBK taps. Winner: John Cena
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE