LIVE coverage of “the biggest blockbuster of the summer” – can it possibly live up to the hype? Will Cena and Batista bring the goods? Can CM Punk stay the most improbable World Champ of all time? What’s HBK going to say? And how much is Edge going to hate the Hell in a Cell?
The video recaps during the countdown show are, as always, top notch. The one covering Edge’s recent activity is especially impressive (and rather brutal – I had to shoo my six year old away from the TV).
BTW: I don’t do star ratings. But, I will give my overall impression of each match in 10 words or less after the main write-ups.
First Match: Jeff Hardy vs. MVP Hardy gets a “Michael Phelps-like” pop from the crowd. MVP goes for the Drive-by Kick right off the bat, but Hardy slugs him outside. Hardy bounces MVP off a few random things, tosses him back in for a 1 count. Slingshot legdrop for 2, and Hardy goes to the arm-BAR. MVP tries a couple of counters, but needs to use the ropes to break it. Punching and kicking, until MVP catches Hardy with an overhead belly-to-belly for 2. MVP goes to work on the neck and upper back, including a camel clutch. (Hardy’s facial expressions are somewhat comical.) MVP into a single-leg boston crab, and follows that up with some kicks to the back of the head. Hardy fights back, but gets caught in mid-flight trying to pull another slingshot. MVP with more damage to Hardy’s back, and a 2 count. Hardy tied into the Tree of Woe, and MVP bounces his head off the mat. Another 2. MVP with a backbreaker, but Hardy slips out and gets a neckbreaker. Hardy with a mulekick, and tries for his low dropkick in the corner, but gets nailed in mid-air with a kick from MVP. MVP with another 2 count. Hardy into the corner, and MVP sets up for the Drive-by, but Hardy counters with a lariat. Both men slow to get up, Russian leg sweep and a jackknife leg drop from Hardy for 2. Hardy with another attempt on the low dropkick in the corner, MVP catches Hardy over his shoulder, Hardy with a sunset flip for 2. Hardy back to the corner, Whisper in the Wind. He climbs again, but dives onto Shelton Benjamin, who has showed up on the floor. Hardy up again, Senton misses, Drive-by doesn’t, and that’s it.
Overall: these two work well together, and MVP keeps improving.
Maria and her boobs are backstage. Santino and his unibrow show up, bringing along the Glamazon and her… Glamazoniness. A staredown ensues – me, staring down at Maria’s hypnotic cleavage.
Second Match: Women’s and Intercontinental Champsionships: Micki James and Kofi Kingston vs. Beth Phoenix and Santino Morella Santino wants to start, but Beth tells him no – and that’s pretty much that. So the women start us off: Micki with a go-behind, trying for an abdominal stretch – Beth powers out. Micki off the ropes, dropkick to the knee – another to the face. One count. Beth with a back suplex, and tags in Santino. He taunts Micki, and gets kicked in the head for his troubles. Monkey flip by Micki, who avoids a clothesline and tags in Kofi – who decides to come in with a springboard splash. No cover. Dropkick, punches in the corner, spear in the corner, and a huge European uppercut send The Unibrow out to the floor. Beth yells at him, but gets dropkicked in the back by Micki. Kofi fakes a plancha – which causes Santino to scream and leap into Beth’s arms. A low blow and neck snap over the top rope from Santino gets a two count. Santino with a chin lock, aided by a knee in the back, while Micki leaps all over the damn place on the ring apron. Beth tags in, and hits an impressive kick to the ribs. Santino back in with a snap suplex for 2. Back to the chinlock. Kofi fights up, they collide heads off the ropes, and both women tag in. Micki takes the advantage with some running forearms and a lariat. Micki dropkicks Santino to the floor, and hits a rana on Beth. Micki up top, and hits a flying Lou Thesz press. Santino in to break the count at 2, Kofi sprints at him but goes over the top rope to the floor. Micki nails the screaming DDT on Santino, but loses sight of Beth, who clubs her in the head with a forearm. Beth nails whatever that double-underhook front slam is called. 1-2-3.
Overall: Kinda short, but all of the stories were told well.
Winner: Beth Phoenix and Santino Morella
Santino celebrates in his own inimitable way, and goes back up the ramp – riding on Beth’s shoulders. Holy cow, she is strong.
Recap of HBK’s situation, who walks down to the ring with his wife Rebecca. (Oh, this isn’t going to end well.) Wow, she’s hot -wasn’t she a Nitro girl? They stand in the ring for a while, soaking up the cheers, and wiping away some (pretend) tears. In short: HBK’s doctor has told him to retire. So, after talking to his wife and “other family members”, he’s decided to hang it up. He thanks the fans for their support, and does a quick review of his career: “I’m known as the guy that screwed Bret Hart”. Umm – wow. He started D-X, put the ladder match on the map, “lost his smile”, and retired Ric Flair. “And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank–” Jericho’s theme breaks out. Jericho walks down to the ring, dressed in a suit and a scowl. Rebecca increases the tears, and stands behind Shawn. Jericho: “No.” HBK: “Excuse me?” Jericho says he won’t let HBK get away with this: he’s walking away because of Jericho, and no other reason. HBK tells Jericho to walk away, and Jericho refuses. Jericho reiterates: he wants HBK to say he’s walking away “because of Chris Jericho”. HBK finally agrees, and calls Jericho a “vile, selfish worthless human being”. Then, he asks Jericho to go home and tell his wife and kids that he “will never be Shawn Michaels”. Rebecca begs Shawn to leave, he turns to go, Jericho swings at HBK, HBK ducks, and Jericho nails Rebecca in the face. Rebecca drops like a stone, HBK freaks out and checks on her, while Jericho stares on from the corner. The crowd really lays into Jericho. HBK is shaking with anger, starts to rise, but Rebecca reaches out to him. Jericho gets out of the ring, and walks back up with ramp, with a rather ashamed look on his face. (Count on Jericho blaming this on HBK on Monday, since HBK ducked and let his wife take the punch.) However this storyline ends, there is going to be a LOT of blood.
Overall: HBK + Jericho + mic = gold.
Third Match: ECW Championship: Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry Tood Grisham and Matt Striker are on commentary. Huge surprise to start: Hardy uses his speed to gain an advantage. I know – I’m as shocked as you are. The usual “big man vs. small man” match starts out – until Hardy hits a Twist of Fate about 1 minute in?? Cover, 1-2-.. Tony Atlas pulls Hardy out. And they ring the bell? WTF? Atlas throws Hardy into the steps. Jeff Hardy runs down, and takes out Atlas with a swanton on the floor. Henry goes after Jeff, but Matt comes to his rescue. They pull a double overhead suplex on Henry on the floor.
Overall: WTF? Was someone hurt?
Winner: Matt Hardy (by DQ)
Video recap on CM Punk and JBL.
Fourth Match: World Championship: JBL vs. CM Punk Extended feeling out process to start. JBL with some punches and forearms, and settling on a headlock. JBL off the ropes with a shoulderblock, misses a lariat, and Punk lays in the kicks. Punk with a flying jalapeno, and knocks JBL to the floor with a dropkick. Punk nails a tope suicida. Back in, Punk up top, splash for just a 1 count. Punk off the ropes, JBL back with another shoulderblock. More punching and kicking, Punk fights back and climbs, but JBL catches him and gets a second rope fallaway slam for 2. JBL focuses in on the back with some big forearms, and a standing bearhug. Punk elbows out, but gets hit by a big boot on a blind charge. Kick to the head, and a 2 count. Belly-to-back suplex for 2. Seated bearhug. Punk elbows out again, JBL with yet another shoulderblock. JBL with an abdominal stretch. Punk hiptosses out. Running high knee, and a bulldog. Punk sets up for the GTS, but his back gives out. Short-arm clothesline from JBL. Series of elbowdrops. Punk back up, and they exchange forearms. Another clothesline attempt for JBL, but Punk ducks and comes back with the three hand strikes. A roundhouse kick to the head brings JBL down, and Punk covers for 2. Punk springboards in, but JBL catches him with a powerslam for 2. JBL tries for the Clothesline from Hell, but Punk springs back up with a leg lariat. (On the way down, the back of JBL’s head slams into the back of Punk’s head hardway, and they’re both hurt – Punk holds the back of his head, and JBL is on the mat, flexing his fingers. I was seriously worried about a concussions for both men. Punk pulls JBL, and they both do a “You okay?” spot.) Punk with another running high knee in the corner, tries for the bulldog – but JBL lifts him up and sets him on the top rope, and lays in some clubbing forearms to the back. JBL climbs, and nails a belly-to-back from the second rope. The camera focuses in on a large bloody spot on the back of Punk’s head, and blood stain on the mat from that last move – oh, that ain’t good. They show a replay from the leg lariat, focusing on the head collision. JBL rolls Punk over, covers, 1-2-no! JBL with another short-arm clothesline attempt, Punk ducks, puts JBL in a fireman’s carry – nails the Go To Sleep! 1-2-3!
Overall: Good story. Gutsy performance by Punk. Hope he’s okay.
Winner: CM Punk
Video recap of the unspeakably lame Khali/HHH storyline.
Fifth Match: WWE Championship: The Great Khali vs. HHH (NOTE: due to an editing mistake, I lost this entire write-up just before the match ended. There is nothing on this planet that could make me sit through this match again, so you’re getting the Reader’s Digest version here.) HHH tries a “stick and move” strategy to start, until Khali catches him off the ropes with the choke-powerslam. Khali with the vice grip, but HHH gets out by kicking the knee, and then a chopblock. Khali to the floor, but nails the chop to the head, and throws HHH into the ringside railing. Back in, kicks and elbows from Khali. Clothesline, arrogant cover for 2. Nerve pinch, bodyslam, leg drop, 2 count. Mild “You can’t wrestle” chant from the crowd. Another nerve pinch, HHH fights out, hits a facebuster, and Khali gets tied up in the ropes. HHH charges, but Khali nails him with a big boot. HHH back up – KICK, WHAM, PEDI– nope, backdropped to the floor. HHH trips up Khali, and slams his knee into the ringpost. HHH up on the apron, smacked down by Khali. Khali back in, HHH charges, Khali catches him with the vice grip. HHH down to one knee, fights back up, goes for the knees, so Khali shoves him into the corner. Blind charge misses, KICK, WHAM… … … PEDIGREE!
Overall: not much to work with, but HHH tried.
Video recap of the Cena/Batista fued, which includes a quick shot of the greatest sign in the history of sports entertainment: “If Cena wins, we riot”.
Sixth Match: John Cena vs. Batista The crowd seems pretty evenly divided. Back and forth to start, Cena gets the first big moves with a hiptoss and bodyslam. Cena with a shoulderblock off the rope, Batista fakes a powerbomb attempt and nails a clothesline and vertical suplex for 2. Cena reverses an Irish whip, kick and fisherman’s suplex for 2. Cena off the ropes, Batista with a side slam for 2. Cena back up, fireman’s carry, Batista slips out and hits a chopblock. Batista sticks with the knee, and actually gets a figure four! (And, in true Ric Flair fashion, puts it on the wrong leg.) Cena slowly makes it to the ropes. Both men up, Cena puts Batista into a fireman’s carry again, shakes his leg in a pain a couple of times, and then FU’s Batista to the floor. And then collapses in pain. Batista back in, Cena hits two shoulderblocks, and a back suplex. Unfortunately, Cena seems to think that “selling” a knee injury means grabbing it and grimacing inbetween moves, but not letting it actually affect anything during the match itself. Cena back up slowly, grabs the knee, limps over to Batista, “You can’t see me”, five-knuckle shuffle. Another fireman’s, Batista elbows out and hits a big boot. Both men up, Batista throws Cena into the corner, shoulders into the gut, Irish whip, corner clothesline, another Irish whip, charges hits elbow. Cena charges – MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. Goes for the Batistabomb, Cena takes him down with a double leg, and hits a leg whip. Cena rolls him over, and locks in the STFU in the middle of the ring. Batista crawls to the ropes, Cena releases, pulls him back into the center of the ring, and locks the STFU back in again. Batista crawls again, and makes the ropes this time. Batista up slowly, limping, Cena again with the firemans, Batista slips out and lock in a rear naked choke with a body vise. Cena fading, but fights out – by elbowing the knee. Both men up – Batista with a SPEAR! 1-2-th-NO! Cena kicks out at 2.99! Batista puts Cena up for a powerbomb, Cena reverses, into a fireman’s – nails the FU! Ref starts the double-count, Cena crawls over.. slowwwwwly… 1-2-no. Cena… goes up top? Batista stops him, exchange of punches, crowd starts up the “YAY..BOO” chant. Cena knocks Batista off, on the top turnbuckle, jumps… Batista catches him with a powerbomb! Cover, 1-2-NO!? Batista with a running kick to the head, sets up for the Batistabomb – nails it! 1-2-3!
Overall: Not one single slow spot. Both brought their A game.
Video recap of Edge/Vicki/Undertaker. Look, I understand that Edge is basically a dick, but holy hell has he been freaking OWNING IT with this storyline.
Seventh match: Edge vs. The Undertaker Edge looks downright anxious for UT to come down to the ring. The Undertaker: still with the most awesome entrance in the history of this industry. If this guy could have given one single emotional interview in his entire career, then Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock – he would have lapped the field when it came to greatest wrestler ever. Back to the match: Edge puts the “crazy smile” on during UT’s entire entrance, and the beginning of the match. Bell rings – Edge dodges, gets UT in the corner, lays in some shots, climbs the ropes, gets pushed off, charges – big boot. Edge in the corner – UT starts with the striking. Edge over the top rope – which lets UT bash Edge into the surrounding cage a bit. Cheese grater (no blood), and then Edge is thrown into the STEEL steps. Legdrop on the apron. UT pulls the steps into the ring, sets them up in the corner – and Snake Eyes Edge into the steel steps. But, Edge decides to no-sell it – elbows UT, and throws him into the steps. Low dropkick into the steps, followed by a seated spear into the steps. Edge goes under the ring – pulls out a table, sets it up outside. Smacks UT with the steps, and gets another table. Double tables set up just outside the ring. Edge tries to suplex UT through the double tables – UT fights out, gets the chokeslam grab, Edge snaps his neck over the top rope. Edge under the ring again – a chair, which gets rammed into UT’s ribs, then across the back. *Another* table, slid into the ring. Chair shot to the back. Edge back under the ring – a ladder?? Wow, this won’t end well either. Oh – two ladders. Chairshot to UT’s head. UT crawls back up.. another chair shot to the head. UT put onto the table inside the ring, Edge climbs with a chair. Edge with an elbowdrop with the chair – “I understand”! Finally, a nearfall – Edge with a 2 count. Edge pulls 3 chairs into the ring. One goes under UT’s head, Edge stands over him with another – UT with the zombie sit-up and a choke! Edge fights out, but UT takes him down with a big soup bone. Edge on the apron – kicked off by UT, into the chain wall. UT picks up another set of stairs, and rams them into Edge’s head. UT picks up Edge, Edge slips out, UT into the ringpost. Edge sets up the steps, and spears UT – through the cage itself. They are lying on one of the cage walls, which has fallen out to the general area. Oh, and UT’s forearm is bleeding fairly badly, for no reason I can discern. They exchange blows, and bounce each other off the outside railing. Edge smacks UT in the head with a monitor. UT put on top of the Raw table, Edge climbs on top of the ECW table – and UT is speared through the Smackdown table! UT does a shake-off, and challenges Edge to come at him. THey exchange blows, Edge gets thrown back into the ring (which the crowd boos). UT slowly makes his way back in, only to get met with a ladder to the skull. Edge back under the ring – and pulls out.. a WWE camera. Nice continuity – Edge smacks UT with the camera, covers, 1-2-2.8-NO! UT up slowly… Edge does the “c’mon… c’mon” moves… UT up, Edge charges – UT with a chokeslam! 1-2-2.99…NO! UT sets up for a powerbomb… Edge slips out and delivers a very solid crotch-shot. The Impaler DDT – 2-count. Zombie sit-up, UT sees a table outside the ring, decides to move closer to that, does the Last Ride again – Edge slips out and nails the SPEAR. 1-2-no. Into the corner, Edge climbs, starts the 10-punch-countalong… UT grabs him, comes out of the corner – Last Ride! 1-2-NO! UT sets up the steel steps on one side of the ring… picks up Edge, climbs on top of the steps, sets up for the Tombstone… Edge fights out, gets a neckbreaker on UT. 2.8 count. Edge gets an arm bar… twists the arm… starts to climb the corner.. but UT breaks it and knocks him off the top turnbuckle. UT climbs, grabs Edge – and chokeslams him through two tables built up ringside! Edge tossed back in – SPEAR! UT picks up the WWE camera – cracks it across Edge’s head. And.. a con-chair-to. Finally, we pick up Edge –Tombstone. 1-2-… inevitable 3.
Overall: Would’ve prefered an Edge win, but this was great.
Winner: The Undertaker
After the match: UT sets Edge up on a ladder, pulls in another ladder, and knocks the ref out of the ring. UT pulls in another ladder, climbs up, and makes several threatening statement to Edge. (OOOooohhh.) UT forces Edge up one ladder, climbs his own ladder, and chokeslams Edge off the ladder – through the ring apron. Always an impressive spot.
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE