Wachovia Center â€“ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania â€“ 7.26.09
MATCH #1: Unified Tag Team Championship Match â€“ Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
Jericho has been the champion since 6.28.09, when he won the titles with Edge. Since Edge got injured, Big Show is replacing him, so this is Jeri-Showâ€™s first defense. Legacy does not look happy to be faced with the monstrous former WWE, WCW, and ECW World Champion. Show and Rhodes start the match for their respective teams. That goes the way you would expect, and Rhodes gets a quick shot in and tags DiBiase. Show continues his dominance, and brings DiBiase over to the corner, and then tags Jericho. He works DiBiase over, and then tags Show back in. The champions continue making quick tags and working very well as a team. DiBiase comes back with a quick knee to the gut and then tags Rhodes. Jericho reverses a whip and Show hits Rhodes with an elbow to the back from the apron, and Jericho gets a quick rollup for two. The referee gets distracted by Show, and when Jericho goes to bounce off the ropes DiBiase pulls the top rope down and Jericho crashes to the floor. The challengers take over now and isolate Jericho in their corner.
This goes on for a while, and the crowd is interested but slightly unsure what to do in this heel versus heel matchup. They definitely come alive when Rhodes hits a moonsault off the top rope! Jericho finally comes back with an enziguiri but canâ€™t make the tag. He gets a quick small package on DiBiase for two. DiBiase gets a powerslam for two. A kick to the head for another two-count. Jericho comes back for real this time with the Walls of Jericho, and Rhodes effectively uses Show to distract the referee, and then sneaks in to break up the move with a vicious DDT. Jericho kicks out at two and the crowd is pretty much behind him right now. He makes the tag and Show is a house afire. The crowd loves the champions. Jericho hits a Codebreaker behind the refereeâ€™s back, and Show locks on the Colossal Clutch for the submission victory at 9:33. It was an interesting choice to have Jericho and Show playing the Babyfaces, but the crowd bought it and this match turned out better than I was anticipating. Itâ€™s too bad Rhodes and DiBiase donâ€™t have another great team to feud with on Raw.
MATCH #2: ECW Championship Match â€“ Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian
Dreamer has been the champion since 6.7.09, and this is his third defense. Josh Mathews and Matt Striker are on hand to call the action. Dreamer is the last remaining ECW Original, and Philadelphia is of course the birthplace of Extreme. These two have battled each other and teamed together many times, so theyâ€™re very familiar. Christian earned this title opportunity by defeating Vladimir Kozlov on ECW on July 9. Christian backs Dreamer into the corner, and they exchange slaps. Dreamer gets a knockdown and goes for the first cover, only getting a one-count. Christian comes back with a headlock, but Dreamer quickly pushes him off, and Christian comes back with a spinning heel kick for a zero-count. The crowd is into the match, chanting â€œECW.â€ Meanwhile, Christian hits a European Uppercut off the second rope. Dreamer rolls to the apron, and hits a charging Christian with a shoulder to the gut. He tries to Suplex Christian to the floor, but Christian avoids it and drops Dreamer on the floor, and then hits a running kick to the face. Christian goes for a dive but Dreamer avoids it and hits a somersault off the apron to wipe the challenger out.
Back in the ring Dreamer hits a powerslam for two. Christian comes back and starts attacking Dreamerâ€™s neck. He tries the Killswitch but Dreamer avoids it. He tries a sleeper instead, but Dreamer falls back, knocking the wind out of him. They get back to their feet and Christian goes right back to the sleeper. This time Dreamer goes toward the ropes and both men crash to the floor. Back in the ring Christian goes up top but Dreamer sees him coming and knocks him out of the air. A flapjack gets two, and then he sets Christian up in the Tree of Woe. Dreamer hits the running dropkick, and then goes for a DDT. Christian blocks it, but Dreamer counters with a Sky-Hi for two. Dreamer goes for a pumphandle and Christian counters to a falling inverted DDT for two. Christian hits a dropkick off the second rope and then tries one from the top rope. Dreamer grabs Christian out of the air and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf. Christian breaks the hold but Dreamer catapults him into the turnbuckle. They do a brief Fish Out Of Water spot, and then Christian is able to land the missile dropkick. A series of reversals ends in Christian hitting the Killswitch to get the pin and become a two-time ECW Champion at 8:32. That was a fine TV match with solid heat.
MATCH #3: 6-Pack Challenge for the United States Championship â€“ Kofi Kingston vs. MVP vs. Primo vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. Carlito
Kingston has been the champion since 6.1.09, and this is his third defense. Big Show was originally scheduled for this match, but since heâ€™s otherwise occupied Primo will take his place. Why not Evan Bourne? MVP and Carlito are former champions. I expect this one to have some clustery tendencies, so I probably wonâ€™t call a lot of play-by-play. The first story to emerge is Primo going after Carlito, and the older brother running from his little brother. Swagger and Miz work together a little bit. Bodies are flying everywhere, with everybody going for big moves and pinfalls. MVP and Swagger battle on the floor, and Carlito comes flying off the top rope with a planchas to take MVP down. Back in the ring Kingston battles Swagger, hitting him with a missile dropkick and the Boom-Boom. Miz breaks up the pin and goes after both men. Swagger, Primo, Kingston, and Miz work in a Tower of Doom spot.
Everyone gets dumped to the floor except Carlito and Kingston. Primo joins them in the ring for a couple of quick pinning combinations. The crowd is into it. Swagger starts wrecking everything in his path until MVP cuts him off with a knee to the face. MVP is Ballinâ€™, but when he goes for the Playmaker, Miz hits him with the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Carlito and Primo are working together again, until Carlito hits his brother with the Backstabber. Second later Kingston nails Carlito with the Trouble in Paradise to get the pin and retain the title at 8:37. That was fun chaos, and Kingston wins another multi-man title defense.
MATCH #4: WWE Womenâ€™s Championship Match â€“ Michelle McCool vs. Melina
McCool has been the champion since 6.28.09 and this is her first defense, giving the former champion her rematch. McCool dropkicks Melina off the apron while she is doing the splits. Good for her. Melina is angry and takes the first advantage, as McCool tries to weather the storm and break Melinaâ€™s momentum. Melina hits a series of kicks and then charges at McCool in the ropes, but the champion moves and the challenger crashes to the floor. Back in the ring McCool locks on a half Boston Crab. She releases the hold and sends Melina to the floor. McCool tries charging in with a kick, but Melina moves and she lands on the barricade. They stand up and fight on the barricade, and McCool hits a DDT!
Sadly they blow it because Melina basically no-sells it. They fight out on the floor with Melina in control. Back in the ring Melina hits the running knees to the back, and then rams McCool into the turnbuckle. Melina hits a spinning heel kick for two. McCool comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex for two. Melina comes back with a Thesz Press off the second rope, but McCool reverses the momentum and pushes Melina into a jackknife pin to get the win and retain the title at 6:13. Aside from Melinaâ€™s selling this was a pretty solid match and one of the better womenâ€™s matches Iâ€™ve seen in WWE in a while.
MATCH #5: Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship â€“ Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. John Cena
Orton has been the champion since 6.15.09, and this is his third defense. This is a rematch from WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando. The champion immediately tries to bail, but the challengers will have none of that. He tries to escape into the ring, but they follow him in there as well. Sensing he has no other choice, Orton tries to fight off both men but gets outsmarted by his adversaries. Cena and HHH work as a team to decimate the champion in the early going. Orton once again bails to the floor, and Cena gives chase. HHH joins them in the aisle, and Orton continues to get battered. Cena throws Orton back in the ring, and Orton ends up knocking Cena off the apron right into HHH! Thatâ€™s a good break for Orton, taking out both men at the same time. Back in the ring Orton takes control briefly, before Cena makes the big comeback. Cena hits the Proto-Plex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment but HHH breaks it up and throws Cenaâ€™s shoulder into the ring post. Orton levels HHH with a clothesline and goes to work on him now. HHH makes a brief comeback but Orton cuts him off with a powerslam. Orton tries an RKO, but HHH avoids it and instead hits a DDT.
Both men are down, and Cena is back up now and climbing to the top rope. Cena whiffs on the Cena Slice, and many in the crowd boo him for it. Orton hits Cena with a neckbreaker and Cena rolls to the floor. HHH goes for the Pedigree on Orton but he gets backdropped to the floor instead. They try to get back in the ring and Orton goes for a double DDT, but they reverse it and backdrop him to the floor. Now weâ€™re down to Cena versus HHH for the first time in the match. They slug it out as I remember that these two tore it up at this event last year. They tease finishers until HHH ends that with a spinebuster. HHH follows up with a Pedigree, and makes sure to put his legs as close to the apron as he can so that Orton can pull him to the floor to break up the pin. Orton then whips HHH into the ring steps, and then starts dismantling the Smackdown announce table. HHH goes for the Pedigree on Orton, but Cena breaks it up and dumps Orton into the crowd. Cena then joins HHH on the table, and HHH goes for a Pedigree but Cena reverses it to an STF! Orton breaks that up, and then he and Cena take the battle back inside the ring. He goes for the RKO, but Cena tosses him off. Cena puts Orton on the top turnbuckle but HHH breaks that up, only to get caught by Cena in a catapult, which causes Orton to crotch himself.
As soon as HHH turns around Cena traps him in the STF! Orton recovers and goes for the Punt on Cena and misses. Cena gets a rollup for two, and then Orton levels him with a clothesline. Both challengers are down, and Orton commences with the Orton Stomp on both of them. Eventually Orton misses a knee drop, and the challengers pounce on it. Cena hits Orton with a Proto-Plex, but when he goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle HHH pulls the ropes down and he crashes to the floor. HHH then traps Orton in the Sharpshooter?! Cena rejoins the ring and locks on a simultaneous cross face, and Orton taps out! But the referee doesnâ€™t know who to call the winner! Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase run out to attack both challengers, but this is a no-disqualification match. I did not know that. Cena grabs Rhodes in the Attitude Adjustment, but Orton strikes with an RKO to get the pin at 22:21.
I really liked the match, but I think the finish would have been just as effective if Cena had HHH in the Attitude Adjustment and Orton hit the RKO out of that. Iâ€™m just getting tired for seeing Legacy interfere all the time. But the crowd was hot and the action was quite good. Usually when someone taps out the match is over and they figure out the winner later, usually hold the title up or something like that, but I guess this referee made a judgment call, or something.
MATCH #6: Divas Championship Match â€“ Maryse vs. Mickie James
Maryse has been the champion since 12.26.08, and this is her fourth defense. They engage in a rugged lockup to start, with Mickie playing the aggressor while Maryse tries to avoid her. Mickie gets an Oâ€™Connor roll for two. A dropkick to the face keeps things in Mickieâ€™s favor, until she tries a springboard something, and Maryse kicks her right in the dome. Mickie crashes to the floor. Back in the ring Maryse takes control as a few mouth-breathers chant â€œWe Want Puppies.â€ At least theyâ€™re making any noise, thatâ€™s more than most of the crowd can say. Maryse works Mickie over, tossing her to the floor, and then tossing her back in the ring.
While the refereeâ€™s back is turned, Maryse grabs a can of whatever she sprayed in Mickieâ€™s eyes on Raw. Mickie avoids it this time and tries to use it herself, and the crowd does not care. Back in the ring Mickie tries a leap off the top rope but Maryse avoids it and gets a cover for two. They get off track a bit and Mickie looks legit frustrated. Moments later Mickie hits the Jumping DDT to get the pin and become the new Divas Champion at 8:37. That match felt twice as long due to the lack of interest from the crowd. Not that Mickie and Maryse gave them much to be interested in; they just didnâ€™t seem to be clicking tonight.
MATCH #7: Intercontinental Championship Match â€“ Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Mysterio has been the champion since 6.28.09, and this is his second defense. Ziggler is accompanied by his girlfriend Maria. Jim Ross gets on my good side by noting that Don Muraco, Kerry Von Erich, and Jeff Hardy all won their first Intercontinental Titles in Philadelphia. I like little factoids like that. JR keeps it going by stating that 13 Hall of Famers are former Intercontinental Champions. Just for fun â€“ Pedro Morales, Pat Patterson, Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Tito Santana, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Curt Hennig, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat., and Kerry Von Erich. Ziggler backs Mysterio into the corner at the start, to show his power advantage. They trade quick pinning combinations, as both men approach each other cautiously. Ziggler keeps Mysterio on the ground while his girlfriend cheers him on. Sheâ€™s not the only one â€“ a group can be heard chanting for Ziggler as well as Mysterio. Ziggler counters a rana with a buckle bomb for two. The challenger is firmly in control. As Grisham talks about Mysterio being a former World Heavyweight Champion, I realize Mysterio is one of few guys to win the Intercontinental Title after winning a World Title. Triple H and Pedro Morales are the only other two I can think of off the top of my head.
Meanwhile Mysterio makes a comeback with some high flying maneuvers, as JR calls his offense â€œAvant Garde.â€ Ziggler hits a powerslam out of nowhere for two. Mysterio comes back by knocking Ziggler to the floor and hitting a seated senton off the apron. Back in the ring Ziggler knocks Mysterio off the top rope and puts him on his shoulders. Ziggler drops Mysterio and goes for a Tiger Driver, but Mysterio avoids it and goes for the 619. That doesnâ€™t connect, and Ziggler pitches Mysterio to the floor. Back in the ring Ziggler continues to wear Mysterio down, even using the Full Nelson. Mysterio comes back by rolling through a sunset flip and kicking Ziggler in the head for a two-count. He goes for a leap off the top rope and Ziggler nails him in the chest with a dropkick for a close near-fall. Ziggler charges into the corner and Mysterio moves out of the way, causing Ziggler to crash into the buckles and then the canvas. Mysterio sets Ziggler up top, but Ziggler counters and lands a super gutbuster for a near-fall that the crowd bought. The champion escapes a powerslam attempt, and then hits the 619 and a springboard splash to get the pin at 14:21. Mysterioâ€™s hot streak continues and Ziggler is wrestling like a guy with something to prove. The result was an excellent match that lends itself to a rematch. Ziggler made an excellent showing in his biggest match to date.
MATCH #8: World Heavyweight Championship Match â€“ CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
Punk has been the champion since 6.7Â¬Â¬Â¬Â¬Â¬Â¬Â¬.09, and this is his third defense.Â¬Â¬Â¬ The promo Punk cut earlier on was amazing, for the record. I love that JR still supports Punk even though he is a heel. Nothing makes an insufferable know-it-all worse than someone agreeing with said know-it-all. Both men are cautious early on, as Punk tries to connect with some kicks. Punk tries grounding Hardy with a headlock, but Hardy escapes and quickens the pace. That doesnâ€™t last too long as Punk is right back on Hardy with a chinlock. Hardy escapes that and charges at Punk, who sidesteps him and the challenger goes crashing to the floor. Punk goes for a suicide dive, but Hardy moves out of the way, causing Punk to crash head-first into the security barricade. Back in the ring Hardy goes for a cover but only gets two. He hits a neckbreaker and goes up top, so Punk rolls to the floor. Hardy goes to jump on him anyway, but Punk moves and this time itâ€™s Hardy crashing into the barricade. He barely makes it back into the ring before the count of 10.
Punk looks incredulous and goes for a quick cover but he canâ€™t keep Hardy down. He unloads with kicks to the back and covers again for two. The champion is firmly in control now, and goes for covers as often as possible. He sets Hardy on the top turnbuckle, but Hardy counters with a gourdbuster off the ropes! Both men get to their feet and exchange strikes. Hardy takes the advantage, knocking Punk around and getting a close near-fall with a dropkick to the face. He goes for Whisper in the Wind, but Punk knocks him down. Punk hits the running knee in the corner but Hardy avoids the bulldog and hits the Whisper in the Wind for two! Hardy hits a bodyslam and goes up top, but Punk avoids the Swanton Bomb. Punk hits Welcome to Chicago Mother Fu***r (donâ€™t see that too often in WWE) and then locks on a Dragon Sleeper. He hits a couple of strikes, and Hardy counters with a Twist of Fate out of nowhere. Hardy goes for the Swanton but Punk gets the knees up and goes for a cover, but Hardy kicks out at two! Punk goes for the springboard clothesline but Hardy avoids it and tries the Twist of Fate, which gets reversed to the Go 2 Sleep! Hardy kicks out at two, so Punk cradles the legs and tries another pin for another two!
The third time is not the charm, as Hardy kicks out again. Pinning him the third time would have been a great finish. The frustrated champion goes to the floor to grab his title and he starts walking to the back. Hardy will have none of that, as he chases Punk down the aisle and throws him back in the ring. He hits Punk with the Twist of Fate and this time hits the Swanton Bomb to regain the World Heavyweight Title at 14:57. The finish kind of came out of nowhere a bit, but the work all the way through was solid. They definitely didnâ€™t do as much â€œstuffâ€ as the guys in the WWE Title match did, so I think the crowd wasnâ€™t as hot as they could have been, but theyâ€™re still really into both guys so it came off well in the end.
The Pulse: Seeing CM Punk versus Jeff Hardy in the main event slot over John Cena versus Triple H versus Randy Orton in a three-way match warms my little Indy Lovinâ€™ Heart, but unfortunately it wasnâ€™t the best match Punk and Hardy had against each other. The two World Title matches are good, the Intercontinental Title match is quite good, and the opener was real solid. That makes this the best Night of Champions to date.