The Way Too Long Review of WWE Armageddon 2007

I would like to take the time to answer an e-mail, which I cleaned up to be more readable.  Kris writes…

“I liked the stuff you did when you first started at Pulse, where your reviews were also like historical text books on what led going into each match.  In the last few months your articles have had too much personal commentary in them and not enough of the factoids that made you such a fun read.  I usually agree with your opinions, but you should make your commentary shorter and go back to having more fun facts and “did-you-know?” type of stuff.  You should also come up with a new ratings system since it seems like your readers can’t grasp your version of the star-system even though you’ve spelled it out to them several times.”

Now see, this is the type of constructive criticism that makes people take notice.

Yes, my aim has been off lately and I’ve been going off on too many tangents and ignoring the stuff that got me hired on in the first place.  That said, I’m a critic and this is my column, so if I don’t have any personal commentary all I am is a re-capper.  I choose to add commentary in because the only other regular column I have is a sweet bi-monthly gig for the Wrestling Press, plus my ultra-cool podcast that I will resume just as soon as I can talk straight (should be this Wednesday).  BUT, I admit I have too many personal commentary bits per column and thus will try to limit them.  As for the factoids and stuff, you’re dead right.  I’ve been getting lazy when it comes to that aspect of the Way Too Long feature.  I went back and read some of my earlier stuff and it was clearly better then what I’ve been doing.  So I will try to make it right.  As for the star system, I’m keeping it in place.  If people can’t figure out my system (once again: one star equals 20% of the possible score, five-stars does not mean perfection, it means ‘as good as subjectively possible’) then to hell with them.

I did take up Brad (red29) on his offer to work as my editor.  I’m bad at self-editing.  I think it’s because when I read my own stuff, I see it as I meant to write it, and my brain skips over the mistakes.  It’s because I have a huge messiah complex and my brain believes I’m perfect.  Which I am, don’t get me wrong.  But still, having my own editor makes me seem cool.

So what’s up with this review?  Armageddon 2007?  Random, you say?

Well I actually picked this up along with Unforgiven 2008 for the low price of $7.50 at Wal-Mart.  Why the low price?  Because both of these discs have Batista on the cover, and this was as good a way as any to remind people that Batista has a new DVD coming out on October 20th.  Both sets carried a sticker saying it.  And yes, I will review the Batista set.  It won’t be as painful for me as it would be for some.  I actually like Batista.  I know, that’s not cool.  Well sue me, I like big, dumb muscle heads.  If the WWE ever brings out a Sid set, I’ll be first in line.  Kudos to the WWE and Wal-Mart for this form of vertical marketing.

December 16, 2007 from Pittsburgh.  I see a giant hose for some reason.

It’s a medieval setting, with a big castle for the entrance way that shoots flames.  Suddenly I’m having flashbacks to 1993, when wrestling was populated by wizards, knights, kings, and dragons.  And this was before Lord of the Rings and Warcraft had brought long-dormant nerds out of hiding.

Match #1: United States Championship
(c) M.V.P. vs. Rey Mysterio

MVP gets a takedown to start, and then we have a stand-off.  Circle and lockup leads to nothing and we have another stand-off.  MVP kicks and grabs a headlock, but Rey flips him out of it and knots up the leg.  Shoot off is reversed and Rey gets a head-scissors.  Cradle gets one.  He kicks MVP in the gut and shoots off.  MVP reverses and lowers his head in a kick, and then MVP fumbles his end of an armdrag and tumbles out of the ring pathetically.  Well, that whole sequence looked like ass.  Rey wants to fly at MVP, but the referee stops him, so Rey bounces off the ropes and launches himself over the ref and into MVP.  Back in, Rey kicks away and shoots Monty into the corner.  He charges and MVP catches him and alley-oops him into the turnbuckle.  Cover gets two.  MVP can’t figure out what to do next and covers again for two.  Christ, this guy SUCKS!  Head-lock by MygodthisguysucksVerymuchPoop, then a running kick gets two.  Mounted punches get two.  Head-vise now, which looks like poopie.  Mysterio fights out but MVP hits a face-buster for two.  Stompery and then MVP tries to figure out what to do next.  He hooks in an armbar and vises the neck.  Mysterio looks kind of peeved.  Mysterio escapes but MVP yanks him down by the head for two.  Shoot off and MVP gets Mysterio up for a fireman’s carry, and then tosses him behind his back.  Horrible looking spot as Mysterio lands on his feet, even though it sure looked like that’s what MVP was trying to help him do.  Just really terrible.  MVP bounces off the ropes and charges into a snap-rana.  Double-KO follows.  Mysterio slugs it out and hits a cross-body for two.  Mysterio goes for a seated senton, but he slips off the ropes and crashes into MVP.  He’s selling his knee now.   Mysterio bounces himself off the ropes into a splash for two.  Clothesline by MVP and he loads up for a pancake suplex, but Rey blocks and sets up for a rana, but MVP blocks that and takes him down to the apron in another near disaster looking spot.  Both guys seem to be at a loss for what to do next.  Mysterio finally hits the rana off the top for two.  Mysterio springs off the ropes and charges into a huge big boot for two.  Fans bought that as the finish.  Mysterio turns a reverse suplex into a reverse DDT for two.  Rey sets up for the 619, but MVP bails.  Rana off the apron by Rey hits, but it looks unlikely MVP will beat the count back in.  MVP almost rolls in, then bails and intentionally gets counted out.  Weak ending.  After the match, Mysterio hits a baseball slide, and then hits the 619.
** Last week Pulse Glazer, in one of his rare moments where he agreed with me, conceded that I was right about MVP and that the WWE should just release him.  I believe the term he used was “indy-quality wrestler.”  I don’t think I would have said that.  Mostly because I’ve seen a lot of indy wrestlers that are WAY better then MVP.  He’s been in the company for years now and has shown no skills at putting together matches.  He always has this confused look on his face, like “Okay, what next?  A little help?”  Years after debuting, people are still throwing around the word ‘green’ to describe him.  If you’ve been in the big leagues for years, you’re not green anymore, just plain untalented.  Rey Mysterio actually does have talent, but he’s never had the type of style that could carry someone above and beyond their abilities and get a good match out of them.  Besides, he was sloppy himself here, botching a couple spots and clearly getting frustrated with the lot he had drawn.  I get the frustration, and really think the WWE fired Mr. Kennedy over less then what MVP has been allowed to get away with.  At least Kennedy could get the fans attention on the microphone.  MVP doesn’t even have that going for him.  His continued existence in the WWE is a puzzle.

-Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy talks about his upcoming #1 contender match with Triple H.  Jeff says this will be the biggest match of his career, because it’s the closest he’s ever come to being the WWE Champion.  Um, was he not in a ladder match with the Undertaker for the belt?  I know, like he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning then.

Match #2
Kane & CM Punk vs. Big Daddy V & Mark Henry

I told people for years that there was a good wrestler somewhere in Mabel/Viscera and people looked at me like I was covered in poo.  Perhaps people thought I meant that he had swallowed a good wrestler and thus there was technically a good one in him.  But you know what?  I think his run as Big Daddy V proved me right.  The biggest mistake the WWE made with him was not letting him dress like, and wrestle as, a monster.  As Mabel, he dressed head-to-toe in royal purple and he looked like a big, fat version of Barney the Dinosaur.  Hell, stories circulate that wrestlers would jokingly circle around him and sing the “I Love You” song to him from that show.  Even after he turned heel, he kept the same move set he had as a babyface, which is insane of course.  No matter how big or fat or ugly you are, if you don’t wrestle like a dickhead, you’re not going to get over.  Plus they should have paired him up with guys who could have made him look like a killer.  Diesel and the Undertaker circa 1995 were not going to get the job done.  And don’t even get me started on his run as Viscera.  But I think anyone who watched him on ECW around this period would admit that he actually has talent and a place in the business.  Plus he was paired with guys who could make him look good.  And yes, that includes Kane.  Say what you will about him, but he made a jobber that nobody had ever heard of before (Gene Snitsky) look like a fucking killer at Taboo Tuesday.

To the match, as Punk starts with Henry and gets shoved off.  Punk is the ECW Champion at this point, and he knots up Henry’s leg.  He still can’t get a single-leg takedown with it.  Henry charges and Punk drop-toeholds him into the corner and slugs it out.  He tags Kane who slugs it out.  Henry with some clubbing blows, but Kane hits a dropkick to the knee and tags Punk back in.  Punk looks completely out of place with these giants.  Big dropkick by Punk, but he charges into a clothesline.  I kind of, sort of, like Mark Henry.  I can’t put my finger on why.  He’s a guilty pleasure for sure.  But for the love of Thesz, someone teach him how to throw a clothesline.  Tag to Big Daddy V who peck-slaps Punk.  CM fights back and charges into a body-splash.  V dumps him down, where manager Matt Striker gets a cheap-shot in.  V slings Punk back into the ring and press-slams him.  Tag to Henry who steps on Punk and covers for two.  NICE looking head-butt by Henry (why doesn’t he do that move more often?) and some big kicks in the corner, then a clothesline in the corner, but Punk dodges a charge and makes the hot tag to Kane.  Piston-punches and a running clothesline in the corner from Kane.  Another clothesline and a boot to the face, but Henry does not fall down.  A flying clothesline finally takes him down and he calls for the chokeslam.  He takes Big Daddy V off the apron, but Henry charges him into the corner.  Big Daddy V tags in and Kane tries to chokeslam him, but V turns it into a choke-bomb for two as Punk saves with a dropkick.  V steps on Kane, then fires off a short-arm clothesline.  Big splash by V, then he lays down on Kane and hits clubbing blows.  Tag to Henry, and then V preps Kane in the corner and splashes him.  Kane looks like he has nothing left, so Henry grabs a bear-hug.  Meanwhile, some smart-ass is holding up a sign that says “Get a Beer Match!”  This honestly is not bad at all.  Kane almost muscles his way to the corner, so Henry tags V and splashes Kane in the corner.  V in with a peck-slap, but Kane fights him off.  He can’t shake the cobwebs loose and gets clotheslined down.  Henry tags in but lowers his head into a DDT for a double-KO.  Tag to V, hot tag to Punk.  He throws a few forearms, then kicks away and hits a couple knee-lifts.  He goes for the bulldog, but V shoves off, so Punk hits a running enziguri instead that takes V down to one knee.  Kane and Punk dump Henry, and then Punk climbs.  Matt Striker jumps onto the apron for the distraction.  Punk dispatches him, then goes for a springing something off the ropes.  Big Daddy V catches him and hits the huge Samoan Drop for the pin.
***1/2 I know I’m opening a can of worms on this rating, but what can I say?  I’ll tear up my smart-mark membership card before I say that this match sucked.  Any match that sticks like glue to the standard tag-team formula is almost guaranteed a three-star passing grade under my system.  Everyone did that here, but you have the bonus of Mark Henry and Big Daddy V cutting a very good pace throughout.  Nobody botched a move, the crowd stayed into it as much as you can expect them to for a Henry/V match, and it was just really well wrestled.  I know most people want to hate on Henry and Big Daddy V for the sake of hating, but they deserve props for this, because they carried the match.

-Meanwhile, Vickie Guerrero has balloons already in place for Edge’s victory tonight.  Vickie believes that Edge winning the world title tonight will heal her, even if for only one night.  They’re about to kiss when Edge pulls away and kisses her on the hand instead.  God help me, I actually loved this angle.

Match #3
Mr. Kennedy vs. Shawn Michaels

Sweet.  If anyone could get a good match out of Kennedy, it’s Michaels.  So at this point in his career, Kennedy had pretty much pissed away any hope he had of being a long-term player in the WWE.  He won Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania, then got injured and lost it just days before he would have cashed it in and won the World Heavyweight Championship.  Then he was set to be named Vince McMahon’s bastard son and got pinched for wellness and suspended right before they could do it.  Somewhere in this mess the WWE had decided to not allow his character to make a natural progression towards being a babyface, which would have gone a long ways towards hiding his shortcomings in the ring.  Logically speaking, since Edge had goaded Kennedy into giving up his Money in the Bank, one would think that upon returning his first target would have been Edge, right?  Wrong.  The WWE never paid that angle off.  Not that they had much of a chance of doing so.  Kennedy’s bones seem to have been made of wafers and his muscles out of taffy because every time he so much as made contact with anyone, he would injure something and end up on the shelf.  He’s currently set to be a part of Hulk Hogan’s tour, and then I imagine he’ll debut in WCW 2.0 shortly thereafter.

To the match, where they circle and lock-up.  Kennedy slugs it out with his horrible looking punches, followed by his slightly decent kicks.  Back-elbow gets nothing as Shawn kicks out before one.  More shitty forearms by Kennedy, then a scoop slam followed by an elbow drop.  Back-breaker gets one.  Shawn’s back is hurt (doesn’t explain the one-count) and he tries to bail to the corner, but Kennedy catches him.  Shawn turns it around and chops him, then gets reversed and whipped up and down into the corner.  Kennedy loads up the rolling fireman’s carry but Shawn wiggles out and chop-blocks him.  Shawn chops Kennedy while they’re on their knees, then mounts some punches.  Kennedy lowers his head and Michaels loads up a suplex.  Shawn’s back gives out, so Kennedy loads up the Mic Check, but Shawn blocks and turns it into an armbar-takedown.  Shawn wrings Kennedy’s arm and gets a few shoulder blocks, then grounds an armbar and turns it into a cover for one.  Back to the armbar.  Kennedy stands up and slugs out of it, then yanks Shawn down by the hair.  Shawn won’t let him run the ropes and tugs him down, then grabs the arm again.  Kennedy slugs it out and sends Shawn into the corner, then hits a 360 clothesline to send both guys over the top and to the floor.  Kennedy tries to shove Shawn’s back into the apron, but Michaels counters and shoves Kennedy into the rail.  Kennedy tries to reach for Shawn as Shawn climbs up the stairs, so Michaels stomps his hand.  Back in, Shawn decides to work the hand, ala his match against Mick Foley at Mind Games.  Kennedy seems like he’s at a loss of how to carry his end of it and fumbles through the holds, so Shawn simply drives the hand into the canvas.  Shawn ties up Kennedy in the ropes and squeezes the injured hand.  Kennedy punches loose (using the uninjured hand, thank god) and shoves Shawn into the ring-post.  Thankfully Kennedy continues to sell the bad hand.  Back in the ring, Kennedy slams Shawn into the turnbuckle a few times, and now we have counter-psychology going.  Never thought I would see that in a Kennedy match.  Kennedy gets cocky, so Shawn kicks the bad hand.  Shawn’s still messed up on the ropes, so Kennedy hits a running kick in the corner for two.  Nice spot.  Backbreaker by Kennedy, and in a smart piece of psychology, he lets go of Shawn using the injured hand first.  Nice.  It only gets one.  Shawn’s timing seems to be a bit off.  Kennedy loads up a backbreaker submission hold, and he rubs his injured hand across Michaels’ neck to get circulation back into it.  He releases and fires off a couple elbows for two.  Again, Shawn is kicking out too soon from these moves and it’s hurting the drama.  Scoop slam by Kennedy and he climbs for a… something off the second rope… then he blocks Shawn’s boot, waits for Shawn to roll out of the way, then hits an elbow for two.  This match actually rocks, but the fans are not impressed.  Now to a chinlock by Kennedy, with him releasing it briefly to shake some blood back into his hand, Shawn gets loose and they trade blows.  Kennedy keeps shoving Shawn into the ropes and walking into punches.  Shawn finally backdrops Kennedy over the top rope and to the floor.  Kennedy gets back in and ends up getting the shit chopped out of him.  Shoot off is reversed only for Shawn to move into the FIVE AND A HALF MOVES OF DOOM~!!  Flying forearm, nip-up, atomic drop, atomic drop, scoop slam, and the flying elbow.  I’m only counting the atomic drop as one move.  Anyone that bitches about Bret Hart and his five moves, shat up!  Every wrestler does it.  Shawn tunes up the band but Kennedy turns the superkick into a school boy for two.  Kennedy loads up for the Green Bay Plunge, but Shawn rolls him up for two.  Kennedy is still selling the hand injury this whole time.  Catapult by Kennedy and he loads up and hits the Green Bay Plunge for two.  Kennedy gets in Shawn’s face and jaws with him, but Michaels counters out of the Mic Check.  Shawn tricks Kennedy into punching him with the bad hand, and then hits the superkick for the pin.
****1/4 Very good match, easily Kennedy’s best singles contest of his career.  The fans were shitty, but then again Pittsburgh is always shitty.  Excellent psychology, but they had pacing issues that were no doubt brought on by not getting any read off the crowd.  No complaints otherwise.  If this had been held under a hot crowd, they would have gotten it up into the high fours, easy.

-Meanwhile, Randy Orton talks about how shitty Chris Jericho is.  Considering that this was Jericho’s first pay-per-view contest after returning, he wasn’t far off.  This wasn’t the awesome Chris Jericho that’s around right now.  This was Chris Generic-o: glad-handing babyface and catch-phrase shitter.  Orton talks about how his last three victims combined for 18 world title reigns, so he’s not worried too much about a flash in the pan like Jericho.  Yeouch.

Match #4: Winner Faces the WWE Champion at the 2008 Royal Rumble
Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H

By this point, the WWE really did have all the intention of making 2008 the year of Jeff Hardy.  After dropping the title match he would earn here to Randy Orton and a #1 contender spot at No Way Out, he was tentatively penciled in to win Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania 24, take the World Heavyweight Title by June, and beat the Undertaker clean at Summerslam that year.  I think the giant-slayer gimmick would have worked great with him, but a horribly timed wellness violation put an end to what could have been a monster year for him.  He ended up taking the title a year later at this event, but it meant practically nothing by then and everyone knew that he could never be a long-term champion due to his past.  If he had been pinched for wellness for the third time as WWE Champion, it would have meant instant termination.  Unlike someone who is suspended, Hardy would not have been allowed to drop the title in the ring.  I honestly figured that because of that reason, he NEVER would have gotten the title.  It’s very sad that the WWE dangled these carrots for him, showing him that they really wanted to make him a tippy-top star and he still couldn’t stay clean.  It’s not enough for people to ‘just say no’.  Don’t get hooked in the first place.  Jeff Hardy is proof positive of that.

Jeff offers up a handshake, which Triple H accepts, then jaws with him and pushes him back.  Circle and a lockup, with Jeff shooting off and eating a shoulder block.  Trips is not taking him seriously, which sounds like a good storyline for a match like this, but that dynamic does not work in this case.  Another shoot-off and Trips gets another shoulder block.  Jeff flips out of a hiptoss but eats a clothesline.  Shoot to the corner by Trips but Hardy gets an elbow up to block a charge.  Arm drags by Jeff, and the fans are kind of split here.  To the outside where Jeff misses a baseball slide, but rams Trips into the rail.  He goes for the rail-runner but slips off thanks to some retarded fan reaching out so they could tell their friends “I TOUCHED HIM!”  I don’t care how old you are, but if the highlight of your day is simply TOUCHING someone who happens to be a WWE wrestler, security should drag your ass to the back and stick an AIDS-infected needle right in your fucking eyeball, because you’re going to amount to nothing in life and deserve to die a slow, agonizing death.  Then again, Jeff should have known better to do that move, considering that 99.9% of the time he would try it, some dipshit would reach out and trip him.  Trips covers for Jeff’s lack of common sense by clotheslining him on the floor.  Back in, Jeff goes for a headlock, and then flips out of a back-suplex.  Trips hauls off and bitch slaps the shit out of him.  Jeff looks like he’s about to cry.  Triple H is screaming at him to ‘fight him’ and by gum that finally got the crowd into things.  Jeff avoids getting locked-up and brawls Trips into the corner.  Triple-combo gets two.  By the way, the triple combo is Jeff’s atomic drop, leg drop between the legs, and dropkick to the face sequence.  It’s three moves, hence “triple combo”.  Jeff then bitch-slaps Trips, and that brings a smile to Hunter’s face.  He shuffle-boards Jeff under the bottom rope and out of the ring, brawls him on the outside, then tosses him back in.  Elbow drops by Trips, then a hard whip on Jeff across the ring, and into the turnbuckle.  Another hard whip, but this time Hardy gets an elbow up and climbs the ropes.  Trips casually shoves him off the top, to the floor and into the rail.  Fans pop huge for that.  Truth be told, Triple H is the clear favorite by the fans here.  Jeff gets hit with an elbow drop while Trips gets back into the ring.  Trips stops a comeback, and allows Jeff to whiff on an attempt at the mule kick.  Elbow drop gets two.  Abdominal stretch now by Trips, and he grabs the ropes for leverage and/or dickery.  He tries it a second time but the referee catches him and forces a break.  Enziguri by Jeff to no reaction from the crowd.  He lowers his head into a face-buster and gets clotheslined down for two.  Shoot off and a sleeper by Trips, but Jeff drives him into the turnbuckle, and then hits a dropkick off the second rope.  Diving clothesline by Jeff, then he slugs it out.  Jeff ducks a few clotheslines and hits a flimsy looking clothesline, then a flying forearm.  Ten-punch and the momentum kick, which misses and Jeff wipes out in harsh fashion.  Trips covers for two.  Trips lowers his head into a kick, then Hardy dumps him to the floor with a clothesline.  Dropkick through the ropes and a plancha by Jeff and suddenly he’s feeling it.  He rolls Trips back into the ring and climbs.  Crossbody hits for two.  Whisper in the Wind gets two.  He goes for the Twist of Fate but Trips turns it into a DDT for two.  Hardy goes for a crucifix for two, turned into a pin for Triple H that gets two.  Trips is taking things seriously now and stomps away in the corner.  Hardy springs over Trips and hits the mule kick, followed by the momentum kick.  He climbs for the Swanton but misses and Trips covers for two.  Trips picks up the limp Hardy and goes for the pedigree, but Hardy pushes off and goes for the twist.  Trips pushes out of that and gets the spinebuster.  He goes to pick up Jeff and loads up the pedigree again, but Jeff takes him down and gets a jack-knife cover for the pin.  Trips immediately laughs off the loss, which I’m guessing didn’t do much to make Jeff seem like a contender.  I’m sure the haters out there will bitch about Trips doing that, but actually the whole storyline and match execution was off the mark.
*** A decent match for sure, but the dynamic kept things from functioning properly.  I think you can look historically and see that Experienced Babyface vs. Up-and-Coming Babyface matches do not work, meaning this match wasn’t the unique situation of Triple H “not putting him over enough” as some have claimed.  For a face-vs.-face match to work, fans have to perceive that both wrestlers are on the same level.  Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior were, more or less, perceived to be as good as one another.  If both guys are not considered to be at the same level, the underneath wrestler winning is considered a fluke and the fans don’t get into him winning, because they know it will not mean anything in the long run.  It’s not forward momentum.  It’s not a step up the ladder.  It feels more like a one-time deal, and thus the fans don’t invest themselves emotionally into the plucky underdog because it’s not worth it.  They know he’s coming back down the card.  Meanwhile, because they can’t let the old-standard (in this case, Triple H) wrestle too heelish, everything gets watered down.  These guys had potential for a good match-up, but the dynamic they chose going into it was all wrong.  The fans needed a reason to believe that Triple H could drop the match by some means other then a total fluke, but instead Jeff Hardy was booked as if he was lucky to get a #1 contender match in the first place.  And yes, I’ll admit that Triple H didn’t make it seem like much more then that during the actual match.  So, three stars with a LOT of “It could have been better” tacked on.

-Meanwhile, Khali is out to threaten Finlay.  I think.  For all I know he could have been talking about how much he loves playing bowling on his Wii.  Uh, you and me both, big guy.

Match #5
The Great Khali vs. Finlay

Call it a hunch, but I don’t think this will be the high point of the show.  I’ve got a sixth sense when it comes to these things.  Hornswaggle was still Vince McMahon’s son at this point.  Makes you wonder if this is what they had planned for Kennedy.  If the best they could have come up with was matching him up with Khali, maybe he dodged a bullet.

Khali shoves Finlay down to start, then shrugs off some punches and slings him into the corner.  Kicks and a back-elbow from Khali, with Finlay taking everything full-force to make this look presentable.  Skillet-chop and a big boot to the face by Khali, and then he dumps Finlay to the floor.  On the outside, Khali slams Finlay into the rail, then into the apron.  Finlay ducks a shot and Khali whacks the post.  Finlay tries to kick Khali off the apron, but gets absolutely plastered by a chop.  That popped the crowd pretty good.  Back in, Khali slaps on a nerve-pinch.  You know, this is usually how a Khali match goes.  You think he’s doing okay for a little bit, and then he gets gassed and grabs a hold.  Finlay escapes only to charge into a spin-kick (!) and get caught in the nerve-pinch again.  This time it goes on forever, and then Finlay grabs the ropes.  Now Khali slaps on the vise-grip but Finlay is already in the ropes and the hold has to be broken.  Khali drags Hornswaggle into the ring and swats him out of the ring.  Big chop and a scoop slam by Khali and the fans hate-hoo the shit out of him.  He unties the turnbuckle, but Finlay knocks out Singh and grabs the shillelagh.  Khali grabs a chokehold, but Hornswaggle comes in and low-blows Khali with his own shillelagh, then Finlay clubs Khali in the head and scores the pin.
**1/2 Nearly presentable.  A little more action and less nerve-pinching and this would have at least earned a passing grade from me.

-Meanwhile, Jim Ross starts to talk in his sad voice as he pimps the next match.  Yeah, Chris Jericho as a babyface makes me want to cry as well.

Match #6: WWE Championship
(c) Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho

Warning: One of those ‘long winded’ rants follows.  If you don’t like your reviews to have actual criticism in them, skip ahead.

To all those people who are calling for my head on a pike for hating Christian, I would like to point out that I used to dislike Chris Jericho equally as much.  I didn’t miss him one bit when he was gone from 2005 to 2007.  And then he came back and was the same exact Rock wannabe that he was before, only this time he looked like he was putting from the rough.  Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of his when he was a heel either.  He had moments, sure, but for the most part he never did anything for me.  And then, miracle of miracles, he caught fire in 2008 when he started feuding with Shawn Michaels, and now he’s like a totally different wrestler.  Every aspect of him that I disliked before was replaced by a different Chris Jericho who on the surface seemed the same.  But this was not the same Chris Jericho.   He looked more confident, more able to stand on his own in the ring, and he actually wrestled more aggressively, which is how a top-level heel should be.  So if you needed proof that I really do want to like every single wrestler, look no further then Chris Jericho.  It took me nine years before I grew to like him, and all he had to do with turn up the tempo just a little bit.  I’m not that hard a guy to please, as should be evident from the ***1/2 I just gave to a Big Daddy V & Mark Henry tag match.  But everything I disliked about Chris Jericho from 1999 to 2007 is the same stuff I dislike about Christian right now: low hitting, poorly paced, psychology free wrestling.  All Christian has to do is turn up the tempo just a little bit and he’s got me on his side.

Sadly, this match features the Chris Jericho that I hated.  Randy Orton is just sort of there for me.  I don’t like him, I don’t dislike him… I’m just totally indifferent to him.  He’s a capable wrestler whose style is easy enough for anyone to get a good match with, but he needs to be carried to it.  Sort of like a modern Lex Luger, not in appearance but in style.  Like Luger, Randy Orton has had many very good matches in his career and will continue to have them as long as the bookers cater to his needs, which are…

1. He can follow almost any pace for a match, but needs someone who can listen to the crowd and dictate the pace to him, and not vice versa.  A good example of this would be his match with Chris Benoit at Summerslam in 2004.  A bad example would be Triple H at Wrestlemania 25.  Triple H is a very talented wrestler… when he’s a heel.  As a babyface, he’s proven on many occasions that pacing is not his strong suit.  Oddly enough, Batista seemed to be better suited for this then John Cena or Triple H, and the proof is in their quality matches from earlier in 2009.

2. He needs someone that he can use his existing tools with in a creative fashion, instead of just running through them like a checklist.  John Cena, who is the closest to Hulk Hogan that anyone has been since the 80s, is not the person to do this with.  Orton had good matches with Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, and their likes.  Guys who are more creatively-minded.

3. Orton needs a guy to bump off him.  Again, Triple H and John Cena are not the right kind of babyface for the type of heel that he is.  Orton’s moves are very fundamental in execution.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  In fact, I actually love that he’s brought back the Garvin Stomp, a move I always felt was unappreciated.  It’s a bully move to just stomp every part of a person’s body.  It’s exactly the type of old-school heelish maneuver that has been due for a comeback under the WWE’s pussified “no piledrivers” era and Orton was the right guy to bring it back.  But for whatever reason, neither John Cena nor Triple H has made the move look particularly devastating.  And it is on them.  I don’t know, maybe they think selling a stomp is beneath them or something.  But after watching Jeff Hardy and other under-card guys sell it like death, it irks me that none of the guys Orton is actually paired with for pay-per-view main events put over that move or any of his other stuff, sans maybe the punt.

Of course, the WWE ultimately are the ones that decide if Orton is used properly or not.  I have no beef with him being the World Champion, but if they’re going to have the belt on him, use him to his fullest potential and match him up against guys that can make him look good.  Otherwise they’re just looking for excuses as to why they’re not drawing.  And given how well their DVDs are selling, it tells me that people STILL will pay to see wrestling, whether or not the economy is in the toilet.  Giving us our 11th John Cena vs. Randy Orton match on pay per view and then blaming the recession on its poor reception is a bullshit cop-out and they know it.

RANT OVER, now back to your regularly scheduled review…

Lockup #1 goes nowhere.  Lockup #2 ends with Jericho getting an armdrag.  Lockup #3 and Orton takes Jericho to the ropes, where he refuses to break clean and slugs it out.  Shoot to the corner is turned into a couple more armdrags by Jericho, and then he grabs an armbar.  Jericho loads up a suplex and then turns it into a hot-shot on the ropes.  That shit always makes me cringe.  A couple kicks to the gut on Orton, and then Jericho bars his arm and punches away at the exposed gut.  Jericho shoots off and lowers his head into a kick, but catches the follow-up charge with a spin kick.  Jericho gets ready for the springboard dropkick and Orton bails, but he doesn’t get far enough and Jericho hits a cross-body off the top and to the floor.  Back in, Jericho gets caught entering the ring and Orton loads up the rope-DDT.  Jericho turns that into a Walls of Jericho attempt, but Orton somehow turns that into a DDT for two.  Orton stomps away at Jericho, drops a fist to his back, and slaps on a rear chinlock.  Remember what I said about Orton needing someone to make his moves look good?  Jericho, to his credit, makes Orton’s signature rest-spot look pretty good here.  Too many guys do nothing with it.  Jericho escapes only to charge into a dropkick for two.  And back to the grounded chinlock.  Orton applies body scissors to change it up.  To their feet, where Orton slugs away and both guys charge into each other in a spot that looked pretty cool.

So naturally the WWE does what it always does when a spot looks awesome: they show it from another angle that shows how phony it really was.  Remember to send those notes to demanding that they cut out instant replays.  If you’ve already done it, make up a fake name and send in another.  We have got to end this shit.

Double-KO follows, and when both guys get up Jericho hulks up.  Shoulder blocks and a clothesline get two for him.  Brawling to the corner, where Jericho hits a dropkick off the ropes for two.  Orton reverses a whip and hits a powerslam for two.  Weak spot sees Orton toss Jericho into the post.  It looked like poop.  Backslide by Jericho gets two, so Orton tosses him into the opposite post, and this time it looked much better.  Orton loads up a superplex and actually hits it for two.  Jericho holds the ropes and causes Orton to whiff on a dropkick, then sets up the Walls of Jericho.  Orton turns it into a small package for two.  Running enziguri and a bulldog by Jericho sets up the lionsault, but Orton gets his knees up on it, and then follows it up with the wrap-around backbreaker.  Orton coils down for the RKO, but Jericho avoids it, and then hits the lionsault for two.  Fans totally bought that as the finish.  Orton knocks Jericho to the apron, and then elbows him off and into the rail.  Jericho fights back and rams Orton into the apron, then charges.  Orton side-steps him and tosses him over the Smackdown announce table and into JBL, who looks a bit peeved by this.  Back to the ring, Jericho hangs up Orton and hits a flying forearm off the top.  Jericho tells Orton to get up, and then goes for the code-breaker.  Orton blocks this by tossing him into the turnbuckle.  Orton measures for the punt, but misses it and Jericho slaps on the Walls of Jericho.  Orton starts to crawl for the ropes so Jericho drags him back to the center.  BUT WAIT~!! because in one of the biggest copout finishes the WWE has run in recent years, JBL comes in and boots Jericho in the face to draw the DQ.  This marked his return to the ring.
****1/4 Another almost certain can of worms opened here, but what can I say?  I totally dug this match, even if the ending sucked shit.  You know what I found most interesting about it?  You would think that with Chris Jericho having returned here, the match would be about building up his moves and character.  Instead, Randy Orton had Jericho’s number on every one of his major moves.  He countered the lionsault, the walls, and the codebreaker, sometimes more then once.  So what should have been a launch platform for Jericho ended up making Orton look like an intelligent wrestler, which isn’t exactly his gimmick.  Either way, I liked what they had going here and I’m actually not too peeved about the ending.  Sure, I think if they wanted to involve JBL, they should have had him KO Jericho and let Randy Orton get the pinfall.

I think DQs in general should be part of a long gone era, back when wrestling was territorial and the champions needed protection because they weren’t going to stick around any one company for too long.  In the modern era, where fans know what’s really going on, I don’t think anyone taking a fall due to inference loses their credibility and thus it should be done away with.  I guess the idea is it will draw heat on both the champion and the person who interfered, but it doesn’t really work that way.  Mostly, people just feel ripped off that the match didn’t end decisively.  But I don’t believe that DQs should be used for anyone to save face with, because the era where people in general believe in wrestling is long gone, and that’s all the DQ was good for in the first place.  Let them just take the pin.

-After the match, Orton hits the RKO, presumably to get his heat back after keeping the title.  See what I mean?  Just let him score the pinfall and save a couple minutes in the process.

Match #7: Women’s Championship
(c) Beth Phoenix vs. Mickie James

But first, Jillian Hall is out to shill her novelty album that was actually put on iTunes.  Then again, my podcast is on iTunes, which shows that actual talent is not required (for the record, I don’t think the TWP Pass is that bad, but I admit I’m still on the sharp end of the learning curve).  Lillian Garcia shakes her head in disbelief, which is funny because Lillian Garcia was the Jillian Hall of ring announcing, only it wasn’t a gimmick.  Jillian then sings, and Joey Styles notes that he’s heard reindeer fart more harmoniously.  Um yeah… who hasn’t?  Well, that was a waste of time.

Lockup and Beth slings Mickie down.  Lockup and Mickie grabs a headlock, then tries to flip off the ropes but Beth tosses off and shoulder blocks her down.  Mickie kicks away, but Beth muscles down to prevent a whip and sends Mickie to the corner.  She blocks a head-scissors and powerbombs Mickie to the canvas, and then stalls before covering for two.  She stomps away and stands on Mickie’s back, then chokes her on the ropes.  Snapmare into a dragon sleeper by Beth, and then she cuts off a comeback by clubbing Mickie down. She rams Mickie into the turnbuckle and leaves her hanging in the tree of woe, but weakly misses a charge and Mickie gets a roll-up for two.  Mickie kicks away but gets caught in the clutched chicken-wing.  Mickie drops out of it and kicks Beth in the face, then flips out of a powerslam and gets her foot up on a charge in the corner.  Nasty rana by Mickie, with Beth bouncing off her head.  Thesz-press and mounted punches, then another Thesz press and some ground-and-pounding by Mickie.  Low dropkick for two.  Neckbreaker by Mickie and she climbs.  Missile dropkick off the top gets two.  She calls for the DDT but Beth escapes, ducks a clothesline, and hits the fisherman’s buster for the pin.
*** Totally acceptable women’s match with no added frills.

Match #8: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) Batista vs. Edge vs. The Undertaker

Edge had to give up the Championship due to injury earlier in the year.  Man, what a bad string of luck the World Heavyweight Championship had in a short period of time.  Undertaker got injured and had to give it up.  Mr. Kennedy, the first choice to win it, got injured and had to give up his spot.  Edge won it, then got injured and had to give it up.  It ended up in the hands of the Great Khali of all people, in what was the low point for the belt.  I have no clue what they were thinking, though I heard people in India were ecstatic.  Batista took it a couple months later, and it finally seemed to find some stability about it.  Yeah, right.  As many people have pointed out, more wrestlers have held the World Championship in the seven years it’s existed then people held the WWE Championship in its first thirty years.

To the match, where Edge bails to start.  Batista and Undertaker don’t care and lock up, where Batista shoves Taker outside and into Edge, who runs for his life.  Taker and Batista both want a piece of him and end up fighting themselves for the right to kill him.  Taker wins out and heads into the ring, where Edge slugs it out, then bails when it looks like Taker is going for a chokeslam.  Batista in to slug it out and slams Taker into the turnbuckle.  Taker lowers his head into a kick, but no sells it.  Clothesline sends Taker to the floor, where he grabs Edge for the chokeslam, but Batista displays STUPID WRESTLER SYNDROME and makes the save.  I mean, presumably if Taker hits the chokeslam on the floor, Edge is done for with the match.  This is what I hate about triple threat matches: they make wrestlers look STUPID!  I mean more so then normal.

Batista seems to have wiped himself out on the baseball slide, so Taker drags him out and slams him into the stairs, then sets up for the leg drop on the apron.  He picks up Batista and loads him up for a battering ram, but Batista wiggles out and shoves Taker into the post.  Edge decides to go for the pin on this and gets two off of it.  He shoulder blocks Taker off the apron, and then gets caught in a side-slam from Batista for two.  Clothesline in the corner by Batista and some shoulder blocks, and then he misses a charge in the opposite corner and gets drop-toeholded into the turnbuckle.  Edge calls for the spear, but Batista boots him in the face and powerslams him for two.  Undertaker saves and drags Batista out of the ring, sending him into the stairs.  He puts Batista in the ring, then drags Edge to the apron and boots him in the head.  He goes for the leg drop on the apron to him, but Batista clotheslines him to the floor.  Shoot off and Batista lowers his head into a kick, but gets a spinebuster.  Batista loads up for the powerbomb, but Edge turns it into the impact DDT for two as Taker drags the referee out of the ring.  Taker slugs it out and splashes him in the corner.  Snake-eyes and a running boot for two.  He winds up Edge for the ropewalk and hits it, then loads up the wedgiebomb.  Batista spears him while he’s loaded up for it, and that looked pretty dangerous.  Batista goes for the pin on Taker, but gets caught in the Hell’s Gate, pre-overness.  Edge channels his inner Eddie Guerrero and rings the bell.  Taker gets pissed at the referee, then turns around and gets speared… for two.  Fans seem to have bought that as the finish.  Edge spears Batista and that gets two.  He’s freaking out now, so he grabs a pair of chairs.  He preps Batista for the con-chair-to, but Taker saves and dumps him.  Clothesline by Batista to Taker (that’s gratitude for you) and he climbs.  Taker crotches him and loads up a superplex off the top.  It hits for two.  Ropewalk to Batista is turned into a spinebuster, and then he spears a fake Edge down.  He loads up for the powerbomb, but Taker drives him to the corner.  BUT WAIT~!! because there’s a third Edge outside of the ring.  Taker chokeslams Batista and calls for the tombstone, but a fake Edge gets caught coming off the ropes and gets chokeslammed.  Taker snake-eyes Batista but gets clotheslined while running the ropes for the boot.  That gets two for Batista.  Batista goes for a powerslam, but Taker turns it into the tombstone.  BUT WAIT~!! because the real Edge comes in with a chair and whacks Taker with it, then covers Batista for the pin and the title.  The fake Edges were Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, of course.
****1/2 They overcame the problems that usually plague triple threat matches by having only one instance of S.W.S.  Edge’s cowardly, opportunistic character really does lend itself more to this style of contest.  There was no wasted time here, which is so important for three-ways.  Even though Edge’s involvement was kept to a minimum, Undertaker and Batista have enough chemistry to be able to have a good match on their own.  Weaving Edge in and out of the mix kept what should have been a stale match-up seem fresh.  I totally dug this match, and it was a perfect way to cap off this show.

BONUS FEATURE: Clips of Vince McMahon naming himself the greatest WWE superstar in RAW’s history, then eating a dozen stunners from Steve Austin for being such a dick about it.  Completely worthless.

BOTTOM LINE: You know, for the life of me I could not remember anything about this show going into it.  I must have slept through it back in December of 2007, because it actually was a really good pay-per-view.  You get eight matches, only two of which are not worth watching.  Three of the eight matches score ****1/4 or better, making this an easy thumbs up.  You can buy it for $7.50 while supplies last at Wal-Mart, along with Unforgiven 2008.  At that price, it’s a steal.  Stay tuned next week for the Way Too Long Review of Breaking Point.

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