The SmarK Rant for WWE Unforgiven 2008
– Live from Cleveland, OH.
– Your hosts are everyone and their brother.
ECW Scramble: Mark Henry v. Finlay v. Matt Hardy v. The Miz v. Chavo Guerrero
I have to say that I like the current ECW title WAY better than the piece of crap they had been using. Now they just need a WWE title that’s not a total embarrassment and they’re set. So Miz starts with Matt as the announcers again explain the convoluted rules, and Matt works a headlock before Miz hiptosses him for two. Miz goes to his own headlock, but misses a blind charge and yanked out of the corner and into a powerbomb for two. Matt with a clothesline for two. Miz chokes away on the ropes and gets a necksnap for two, and he goes to a neck vice. Matt comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Miz clotheslines him for two. Matt Striker notes that Pat Patterson came up with this stupid idea, so blame him. Or TNA, whichever. Miz gets his neckbreaker, but Matt rolls out to avoid the pin, and Miz has to bring him back in and he gets two. And at 5:00 in, Chavo is the next one in, and he dumps Miz quickly and finishes Matt with the frog splash at 5:30 for the first win. Striker stops to explain the difference between “current” and “official” champions and then explains MORE rules. Miz goes after Chavo, but gets hit with a rolling kick and Chavo dumps him, then follows with a pescado. Matt follows them out with his own dive and sends Chavo back in, and a clothesline gets two. Miz comes back in via the top and they tease a Tower of Doom spot, but Miz fights them off and hits a flying bodypress onto Matt for two. Matt fights back and does the bulldog of Chavo into the clothesline on Miz, and he finishes Chavo at 8:55 with the Side Effect. Matt dumps Chavo and goes to the chinlock on MIz, and Mark Henry is next in. Everyone stops and gangs up on Henry in the corner, but he clotheslines them all and gorilla presses Matt. Powerslam finishes Chavo at 11:51. He tries one on Matt, but Matt escapes and springboards in, so Henry blocks and slugs him to the floor. He faceplants Miz and bearhugs Chavo as the match just gets shittier by the second after a really good first half. Matt jumps in from the top and he gets bearhugged, too, sucking the life out of the match. I mean, the crowd was super hot for the first 10 minutes and the place just goes SILENT as Henry stands there bearhugging Hardy and doing nothing. Finally Finlay (hey, that’s almost an anagram) is in to pick things up, and he beats on Henry and DDTs him for two. Another one gets two. And Henry goes back to his bearhug again. Hornswoggle distracts him to break it up, and Finlay hits him with the club and dumps him, then finishes Matt with the Celtic Cross at 16:22. Miz hits Finlay with a missile dropkick, but Matt hits Miz with the Twist of Fate at 16:48. Now we’re picking up again. Sadly, Mark Henry is recovered, and he boots Matt down and slams Miz for two. Slam gets two on Chavo. Slam gets two on Finlay. Miz rolls up Matt for two, but Mark slams Chavo again for two. My god, TWO bodyslams? How can Chavo still be ALIVE? Finlay tries another Cross on Matt, but Henry breaks it up and splashes Miz for two, as Matt keeps breaking it up. Finlay sneaks it for two on Miz, and Matt runs around breaking up pins with time running out. He dumps everyone and time expires to make Matt Hardy the ECW World champion at 20:00. Man, Mark Henry did his best to kill it in the middle, but the drama at the end to put over the concept was AWESOME and I was way into it. **** I kind of wish they had given Matt his big moment in a singles match, though.
RAW World tag titles: Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase v. Cryme Tyme
JTG starts with Cody and outwits him in the corner, then hits the champs with dropkicks before Shad clotheslines them to the floor. Shad tosses JTG onto them in a spot you don’t normally see from heavyweights. Back in, JTG brings Dibiase into their corner and Shad launches JTG into him for two. Shad misses a blind charge, but recovers with a powerslam, and drops an elbow for two. Dibiase catches him with his head down, however, and it’s over to the heel corner to bring in Rhodes. JTG springboards in with a clothesline, however, and gets two. Cody bitchslaps him and runs away, which allows him to sucker JTG into a clothesline from Dibiase. And back in, JTG is “getting the heat”, as Don West apparently said on national TV recently. Cody goes to work on the arm and they trade off on that in the corner. Dibiase with a dropkick for two and he holds a top wristlock, but JTG escapes with a backdrop suplex. Cody cuts off the tag and drags JTG back to the corner for some double-teaming, which gets two. JTG flips out of a hammerlock, but Rhodes boots him down and slams him in the corner, then goes up. Moonsault misses and it’s hot tag Shad, as he hits Dibiase with an atomic drop and corner clothesline. Snake Eyes into a flying forearm gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and the ref escorts JTG out, but Dibiase hits Shad with a DDT for two. Cody charges in and walks into a clothesline, but the champs break up Cryme Tyme’s double-team attempt, and then Dibiase rolls over a small package attempt by JTG and Rhodes gets the pin to retain at 11:33. Pretty standard formula tag match and both teams stay strong. And then a Samoan guy runs in and beats up Cryme Tyme. OK then. **3/4 Another kid of Afa’s? He’s got the hair for it.
Unsanctioned match: Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels
Jericho’s heel glare is great stuff. Shawn is dressed for a street fight, like he’s ready to fight 2-13 Marines (depending on which side of the story you get) and looking pretty rough. Shawn attacks to start and pounds Jericho down, then takes his boot off already and just UNLOADS on Jericho with it. Spectacular. JJ Dillon would be proud. Jericho bails and Shawn dives onto him and beats on him in the crowd, then catapults him into the post. He grabs a chair, but misses and gets rammed into the table as a result. Jericho DDTs him on the floor and starts setting up tables, but Shawn fights out of a powerbomb attempt. Jericho counters that by dumping him onto the apron instead, and they head back into the ring. Jericho uses a chair for nefarious purposes (thankfully on the back, not the head) and hits a backdrop suplex, then wedges the chair in the corner. He chokes Shawn out, but Shawn whips him into the post to prevent a trip into the chair. Shawn goes after him on the apron, but Jericho wants a suplex through that table, which has the crowd FREAKING out. Shawn fights him off and they head back in, however, and Shawn hits the flying forearm and kips up. He just outright chokes Jericho down and goes up with the flying elbow. He sets up for the superkick, but Jericho collapses, so Shawn beats on him some more and throws elbows on the mat. He opts for a crossface, but Jericho reverses him into that chair which everyone forgot about. NICE. So the eye is in trouble now and Jericho starts pounding on it again and it’s UNSANCTIONED so the ref can’t stop him. Jericho slugs away as Shawn’s selling is just awesome, but Shawn fights back. Jericho whips him into the corner and Shawn comes out with a Thesz Press and then clotheslines Jericho down, but a piledriver attempt is reversed into the Walls of Jericho. Shawn makes the ropes and Jericho points out to the ref that he doesn’t have to let go. Shawn, however, manages to grab a fire extinguisher, and shoots it at Jericho to break. That’s pretty awesome. Notice how the silly “hardcore” spots work again once they’ve been left off TV for a while? Shawn uses the extinguisher to put Jericho on the floor and they brawl out there, as Shawn gets a suplex on the ramp and then is forced to fight off Lance Cade. Cade responds with a shot to the injured arm and clotheslines him, as Shawn does a Marty Jannetty flipping sell of it. Cade & Jericho double-team him and smash the arm into the post, and it’s all legal because it’s UNSANCTIONED. Into the ring, Jericho slaps him around, then smashes a chair into the arm. Good old-fashioned heel heat from the crowd here as Jericho just brutalizes him, but Shawn fights off Cade and manages to knock Jericho off the top rope. Superkick for Cade and he nails Jericho with the chair, knocking him through the table on the floor to pay that off. Then he dramatically wails on him with one-armed chairshots as this gets ugly in the good way, and he preps the announce table. He puts Cade and Jericho on the table and then drops an elbow from the top, putting them both through with one shot. Oh yeah. You’d think that would about do it for Jericho, and Shawn drags him back into the ring, and then takes his belt off and whips him with it. Nice moment as the ref gets in Shawn’s face, and Shawn just GLARES him away. Jericho crawls for the ropes, but Shawn wraps him up on the mat and just beats on the eye with his fist, being almost gentle before going crazy on him. The brutality continues until the ref stops it at 27:00. BOO! Tough one to rate, actually, as it was more of a fight than a match, but it featured some great selling and good violence despite some slow spots in between the big brawling spots. But WHERE’S THE BLOOD? I’m getting sick of this family friendly crap. We’ll play it safe and go with ****. Jericho really should have gone over unless they’re blowing it off here, though. And it was a pretty decisive Shawn win, so I guess they are.
Meanwhile, the tag champs and their new friend Manu (who indeed is Afa’s son) join up with Randy Orton, who is still unimpressed that they got a cheap win instead of a decisive win.
Smackdown Scramble match: HHH v. Jeff Hardy v. THE Brian Kendrick v. MVP v. Shelton Benjamin
And here we start with Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin. Shelton gets a quick rollup for one, and Jeff gets his own in response. Shelton grabs a headlock and shoulderblocks him down for two, but Jeff rolls him up for two. Sunset flip out of the corner gets two and Shelton takes him down with a headlock and holds that on the mat. Jeff tries a high kick, but Shelton catches him and powerbombs him into the corner for two. Suplex gets two. Nitpicking note during the slow portion: JR says that Jeff Hardy would be a Grand Slam champion if he wins the belt here because he’s won every title available, and I’m assuming that he’s talking about the classic World/I-C/European/tag definition of the term, because in modern times you’d have to include the US title, and Hardy has never held that belt. Anyway, Kendrick is next in as Shelton and Hardy wrap up their dull segment and slug it out on the apron. Kendrick knocks Shelton to the floor and gets two on Hardy. Flying forearm gets two. Kendrick slugs away in the corner, but misses a blind charge and gets faceplanted by Hardy for the pin at 7:19. Shelton attacks Jeff and gets forearmed down as a result, and Jeff suplexes him for two. Shelton slugs him down with forearms for two as the crowd is dead and this match is just sucking like crazy for some reason. Hardy with a sunset flip for two, but Shelton blocks the Twist of Fate and hits the Paydirt for two. Kendrick with Sliced Bread on Hardy for the pin at 9:33. We stall for a bit and MVP is next. He goes right after Kendrick and faceplants him, then dumps Jeff and Kendrick. Facecrusher for Shelton to set up the running kick, but Kendrick blocks it with a leg lariat. Hardy gets rid of Kendrick and puts the black contingent in the corner for a mule kick, which gets two on Shelton. Kendrick chokes away on Shelton, but walks into a samoan drop. MVP recovers and goes after Kendrick, but gets caught by a crossbody out of the corner and Kendrick gets a low dropkick. Shelton tries a powerbomb, but Kendrick flips out of it and goes after MVP with another leg lariat as this match is just not clicking at ALL. I think it’s just too many heels. HHH is last out to hopefully save the match, and he dumps Shelton with a clothesline and hits MVP with the facecrusher. Spinebuster for the Kendrick and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE kills him dead at 16:00. Shelton lays him out to interrupt the posing and they brawl on the floor. So Hardy pounds on MVP in the ring and gets the Twist of Fate for the pin at 17:10. The Kendrick recovers with another Sliced Bread attempt, but Hardy blocks and hits a Falcon Arrow instead, then goes up and gets crotched by HHH. So it’s back to his whipping boy, and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE beats Kendrick again at 18:15. Hardy hits Kendrick with a swanton at 18:30, though, and HHH was too busy celebrating. Now he’s pissed and he tries to Pedigree Hardy, but he gets dumped and Hardy follows with a dive to put them both on the floor. In the ring, MVP pounds on Kendrick on the top, but Shelton jumps on MVP’s back and superplexes Kendrick in a cool spot. Hardy comes back in with a crossbody on MVP and the swanton for Shelton, but HHH Pedigrees MVP to retain at “19:59”, which was actually 20:14 if you want to be picky about it. No shock there, although I thought this would have been perfect to pull the trigger on MVP. Silly me. As surprisingly good as the ECW title match was, this was equally surprisingly bad. **1/2 Crowd just wasn’t into it, and you knew once HHH was in last that he’d be retaining. They seem to be building to HHH v. Hardy again, but I don’t know how smart that is given Jeff’s tenuous history.
Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels isn’t satisfied and feels no closure. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry and now Jericho’s going to find out.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton interrupts a CM Punk interview to further their issue, but Evolution 2.0 attacks Punk, setting up Orton’s head kick to put him out.
WWE Tramp Stamp title: Michelle McCool v. Maryse.
I don’t even know who Maryse is and probably couldn’t pick either woman out of a lineup if you put a gun to my head. Really, they’re just a couple of generic blondes with nothing to distinguish them. At least Gail Kim looks different than the other women in the division when she comes in. They do some token wrestling stuff and the crowd is already on them with boring chants. Ouch. McCool puts Maryse on the floor with an armdrag and they fight out there. Back in, Maryse works on the knee and the crowd is done with this already. McCool comes back with her own heel hook, but Maryse makes the ropes. Maryse keeps working on the knee and Michelle kicks her down and follows with a front suplex to finish clean at 5:45. Who gives a shit? Like seriously, they look exactly the same, why should anyone care who wins or loses here? *
Mike Adamle announces that CM Punk is out, so he’ll find a replacement.
Big Show heads to the ring to put his hat into the ring as Punk’s replacement, but Vickie Guerrero comes out and berates him, calling him a “big dumb giant”. Oh no she DIDN’T! And then druids wheel out a casket as Undertaker pops up on the screen and he’s also melodramatic and “flames of hell” and stuff. Could they be any more obvious about using up extra time here? Undertaker comes out to finish her, but then happy-go-lucky Big Show shocks everyone by turning heel again (I don’t even know when he turned face, truth be told) and beats up Undertaker on behalf of Vickie. Good to see a fresh program like Undertaker v. Big Show. Maybe they can really get wacky and do Undertaker v. Kane again, too!
RAW World title: JBL v. Batista v. Rey Mysterio v. Kane v. ????
Batista starts with JBL and overpowers him, then pounds away with shoulders in the corner. Clothesline gets two. JBL responds with a sleeper, but Batista takes out the knee to break and goes to work on it. Figure-four and we get more Flair namedropping, but JBL makes the ropes. They slug it out and JBL dumps him, and they do the slow brawl on the floor with JBL hitting the stairs. 4:00 magically becomes 5:00 as they attempt to shave time down, and Kane is the next one in. Batista catches him with a clothesline out of the corner, but Kane gets the big boot and a low dropkick for two. Blind charge hits elbow, and Batista comes back with a corner clothesline and choke as you can almost literally see the match dying on the screen. Sideslam and Kane goes up and misses his clothesline, and then Batista fights out of a chokeslam. JBL recovers from his apparent death outside and heads back in, but gets chokeslammed and pinned at 7:20. Crowd barely even pops for it. Kane slugs on Batista in the corner and Rey Mysterio comes in at 8:00, but really what’s he gonna do with these stiffs? Kane goes after him, but Rey dropkicks his knee and gets two. Does Mysterio seriously have a Mohawk? Is that Kane’s big torture of him, giving him a bad haircut? JBL attacks Rey and gets bulldogged as a result, but Kane lays Rey out with a clothesline from the apron. Batista lays everyone out and Rey comes off his shoulders with a splash on Kane, which gives Batista two. Another go, but Rey turns on Batista and rolls him up for two. JBL interrupts the argument and slugs them down, then tosses Rey onto Batista and gets two. This match is going nowhere and getting worse by the second. And the final guy in isâ€¦CHRIS JERICHO. YES! He’s still selling the beating from earlier, too. Batista spears him on the way in and then spears JBL for two. Rey goes after Batista and then gives Kane the 619, which gives Batista a near-fall. Batista tries to powerbomb his buddy, but Rey escapes and hits JBL with a 619, but Batista dumps him. JBL hits Kane with the lariat, but Batista gets the spinebuster. Kane comes back and pounds him with elbows and goes up with the flying clothesline for two. Batista comes back with a spinebuster for the pin at 16:43 and there’s no one left, but Jericho sneaks in and pins Kane and ends the match as the new champion at 17:17. Nothing again CM Punk, but there’s only one guy who should be World champion on RAW right now, and it’s Jericho, the hottest heel in the business. Now they need to keep it on him until Shawn can win the Rumble and set up Wrestlemania in Houston. The match itself was AWFUL, though, as they took Punk out for no real reason and the result was four other guys floundering around and doing nothing for 15 minutes. Even Rey couldn’t save it. *1/2
Yeah, the ECW Scramble was pretty great thanks to Matt Hardy working his ass off for multiple people, but the other two were complete failures as matches and showed how hit-or-miss those kinds of multiple man matches can be. I don’t think the concept works, but they’ll probably beat it into the ground until we accept how brilliant it is anyway.
I’d say recommended for Jericho v. Shawn and the ECW title match, but the rest isn’t worth sitting through, and definitely don’t bother with the main event.