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Staples Center – Los Angeles, California – Sunday, August 23, 2009
PRESHOW MATCH: Divas Battle Royal
Chavo Guerrero is the special referee for some reason. The participants are Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Brie Bella, Eve, Gail Kim, Katie Lea, Kelly Kelly, Maria, Melina, Mickie James, Natalya, and Nikki Bella. This is totally clipped up and has lame wuss rock background music. Even from what they show it looks pretty terrible. The final three are Beth, Kelly, and Eve, and for some reason Chavo helps Beth eliminate the other two to give her the win. The other Divas beat Chavo up and bring Hornswoggle in to further humiliate him. Then they all dance. Thrilling.
MATCH #1: Intercontinental Title Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Mysterio has been the Champion since 6.28.09, and this is his third defense. Ziggler beat R-Truth, Finlay, and Mike Knox in a fatal four-way to earn this shot. They start off hot and Ziggler scores a couple of quick near-falls. Mysterio pops up to the top rope for a moonsault press that gets a near-fall. He sends Ziggler to the floor and follows him out with a rana off the apron. Back in the ring they fight up on the top rope and Mysterio tries another rana but Ziggler catches him for a Buckle Bomb. Ziggler covers for two. He continues to wear Mysterio down, keeping the high-flyer grounded. Ziggler misses a Stinger Splash and Mysterio catches him with a springboard seated senton. Mysterio rolls through a sunset flip attempt and kicks Ziggler right in the head for a two-count. He goes for a springboard cross body block and Ziggler cuts him out of the air with a dropkick for a near-fall. Ziggler is back in control now. Mysterio comes back with an enziguiri and he tries the 619 but Ziggler avoids it. Ziggler hits a Fame-Ass-Er for two. Momentum shifts back and forth and the crowd is hanging with them. Mysterio hits a DDT for a two-count. He once again positions Ziggler for the 619 and this time he hits it. Mysterio misses the springboard splash and Ziggler cradles him for two! Great false finish there. They take it to the top rope and Ziggler goes for the gutbuster, but Mysterio is able to counter and bring him down with a rana to score the pin at 12:26! These two were both killing it here, with great intensity, awesome counters and false finishes. This was an ideal opener and a sad reminder of how great Rey Mysterio used to be.
MATCH #2: MVP vs. Jack Swagger
Things start off hot between these two diametrically opposed rivals. MVP takes Swagger down and goes for the Ballin’ Elbow but Swagger rolls to the floor. Swagger gets no break though, as MVP follows him out with a house show dive. Back in the ring MVP covers for two. MVP goes up to the second rope and Swagger pulls his feet out from under him to take control. Swagger uses a rear chinlock, and MVP powers out of that with an electric chair drop for a two-count. MVP fires up and is building momentum. He hits the Ballin’ Elbow for a near-fall. MVP tries the Playmaker but Swagger counters it and rolls him up for two. Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb but MVP hits his knees up. MVP hits the Drive-By and then connects with the Playmaker for the pin at 6:23. They made the most out of the little time that they got, and had a nice little match. I appreciate the clean finish too.
MATCH #3: Unified WWE Tag Team Title Match – Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme
Jeri-Show have been the Champions since 7.26.09, and this is their second defense. JTG and Jericho start the match. They go back and forth and Jericho ends up with the advantage. Show tags in and he goes to work on the much smaller JTG. He tries a charge in the corner but JTG gets his boots up. Hot tag is made and Shad goes right after Show. Jericho tries to intervene but Shad catches him in a military press. That’s enough distraction for Show to decimate Shad with a Spear. The Champions now isolate Shad and keep the big man grounded. After several minutes of abuse, Shad catches Jericho in a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. JTG gets the hot tag and hits Jericho with the Mug Shot. He also takes a shot at Big Show, and then hits Jericho with Sling Blade for a two-count. Show comes in illegally and Shad clotheslines him to the floor, tumbling out with him. JTG rolls Jericho up for a near-fall. Jericho comes back and locks on the Walls of Jericho. JTG reaches the ropes, but that actually proves to be his downfall, as Show reaches in and coldcocks him with the WMD! Jericho gets the pin at 9:45. Cryme Tyme was more over at this time than they ever were, but they still weren’t really threats to the titles. Even so, this was a perfectly solid tag team formula match, and the finish was good.
MATCH #4: The Great Khali vs. Kane
Khali has his brother Ranjin Singh in his corner. The two behemoths start slugging at each other right away. Khali knocks Kane down with a clothesline but then misses a legdrop. Kane dropkicks him in the face and covers for two. He goes for the Chokeslam but Khali fights it off and clothelsines Kane down. Khali drops an elbow for two. Kane fights back and hits a clothesline from the top rope for a two-count. He tries to keep Khali off his feet but the Punjab Playboy gets back up and drops Kane with a back elbow and a big boot to the face. Khali hits the chop to the head for a near-fall. He locks Kane in the head vise. Kane gets to the ropes and pulls Singh into the ring. That’s enough for Kane to hit a low dropkick and a DDT for the pin at 5:58. They kept it short and didn’t try to do too much, so that’s all you can really ask for out of Khali.
MATCH #5: D-Generation X vs. Legacy
Triple H and Ted DiBiase start the match. Just guess how that goes. DiBiase catches HHH with a boot and makes the tag to Cody Rhodes, who immediately gets hit with a “vintage knee.” Rhodes goes over to the DX corner and slaps Shawn Michaels in the face, demanding to face HBK. HHH complies with that request, and Michaels steps into the ring for the first time since losing to the Undertaker at The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania. Rhodes catches Michaels with another slap to the face to embarrass the legend. Michaels fires up but Rhodes is ready for him and unleashes some punches. The resilient HBK fights back with a Thesz Press. Michaels slaps Rhodes and goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Rhodes wisely avoids it. Back in the ring Legacy takes control and starts wearing Michaels down. Once again Michaels is able to fight back but DiBiase cuts him off. Legacy is looking good in the opening minutes of the match. Finally Michaels is able to make a tag and HHH is a house afire. HHH hits Rhodes with a spinebuster and then lets DiBiase have one as well. He goes for the Pedigree on DiBiase and Rhodes breaks it up, so Michaels clotheslines Rhodes to the floor. HHH then backdrops Michaels onto Rhodes. DiBiase blatantly kicks HHH in the nuts while the referee’s back is turned. Legacy now wears HHH down for a good long while and they keep Michaels at bay. After several minutes HHH is able to sidestep a charging DiBiase and dump him to the floor. Rhodes throws DiBiase back in the ring so he can get the tag, but HHH makes the tag too! Michaels is all over Rhodes but DiBiase sneaks in and drills Michaels with a Northern Lariat. HHH then initiates a brawl with DiBiase on the floor and hurls him into the crowd. Back in the ring Rhodes goes up top but misses a big elbow drop. Now Michaels goes up top but Rhodes knocks him down on his crotch. Michaels knocks Rhodes back down and tries the elbow drop but Rhodes gets his knees up! Rhodes covers for two. He goes for a tag but DiBiase is nowhere to be found. Instead Rhodes goes for the Cross Rhodes but Michaels counters to his Figure-Four Leglock. DiBiase makes it back in to break that up. HHH tries the Pedigree on DiBiase but Rhodes breaks it up. Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music but Rhodes catches it and hits the Cross Rhodes. HHH breaks up that cover and finally hits the Pedigree on Rhodes. DiBiase grabs Michaels and this Dream Street. HHH and DiBiase take it to the floor and brawl over the announce table. Back in the ring Michaels and Rhodes struggle to their feet and Michaels hits a Sweet Chin Music from out of nowhere to get the pin at 20:02! That was tremendous tag team formula and veteran versus up-and-comer stuff with great crowd heat. In this case I actually think it was right to give DX the win, as the feud was going to continue and this gives Legacy reason to want a rematch, as they dominated a good part of the match. Legacy legitimately looked great and with this kind of performance against DX I’m surprised they have amounted to a whole lot of not much since then (especially DiBiase).
MATCH #6: ECW Championship Match – Christian vs. William Regal
Regal has Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson in his corner. Christian has been the Champion since 7.26.09, and this is his second defense. For some reason Regal foolishly turns his back and Christian hits an immediate Killswitch to get the pin in 0:11. Regal, Jackson, and Kozlov attack Christian and leave him laying after the “match.” I wonder why they would even schedule that for pay-per-view. It’s hard to give this rating to two guys that I like as much as I like these two, but it is what it is.
MATCH #7: WWE Championship Match – Randy Orton vs. John Cena
Orton has been the Hampion since 6.15.09, and this is his fourth defense. Momentum shifts multiple times in the early going, as Cena goes for a faster pace and Orton tries to keep it slow. Orton’s strategy has more success and he’s able to keep Cena grounded. He hits the Inverted headlock backbreaker and then continues keeping Cena on the mat with a chinlock. Cena powers out and takes Orton down with a flying shoulderblock and follows with the Protoplex. He hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Orton slips out and hits the snap scoop powerslam for two. Orton misses a kneedrop and Cena fires up, but Orton ducks a cross body block and Cena crashes to the floor. Cena climbs back to the apron and Orton brings him in with the rope-hung DDT for a near-fall. Orton goes for the Punt but Cena avoids it and hits the Throwback. Cena goes up top and hits the Cena Slice for a two-count. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment again, but Orton slips out and this time they clothesline each other. Both men get to their feet and start slugging it out. Cena gets the better of it so Orton shoves the referee down for the disqualification at 13:29. Lilian Garcia announces Orton as the winner, but she means that he’s just still the Champion. She then gets word from Mr. McMahon that the match will re-start and if he gets himself disqualified again he will lose the title. Back in the ring Cena continues the advantage, hitting a side suplex for a two-count. They take it to the floor and Orton whips Cena into the steel steps. Back in the ring Orton covers three times but can’t put Cena away. Then, even though he has the advantage, Orton rolls to the floor, grabs his belt, and starts walking away. The referee counts Orton out at 17:02. Lilian announces that the match will re-start once again, and if he gets himself counted out again he will lose the WWE Championship. Back in the ring they trade reversals and Orton gets a rollup with his feet on the ropes to score the pin at 18:06. A second referee comes down and tells the first about the ropes and the match re-starts yet again. Cena locks on the STF and a fan runs in and jumps on the referee! Security pulls the fan out and the commentators go quiet. Orton takes the chance to recover on the floor while everyone tries to regroup. Cena tries to grab Orton through the ropes but Orton hits a modified RKO! Back in the ring Orton hits an RKO for real to finally get the pin and retain the title at 20:44. That was frustrating. As usual with these two the action was pretty good, but the overbooking just killed it. I would have LOVED the finish if Orton had just tried to get counted out and came back and hit the RKO through the ropes like he did in the actual finish. But re-starting the match and having a plant (as we later learned) run in is just too much.
MATCH #8: TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Title – Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk
Hardy has been the Champion since 7.26.09, and this is his third defense. This is the eighth TLC match in WWE history, and this will be Hardy’s fifth time competing in one, and the first time for Punk. Punk slugs away at Hardy and throws him to the floor. He grabs a chair and whacks Hardy with it. Punk puts a ladder in the ring and almost gets the title in less than two minutes but Hardy knocks him down. Hardy takes control and throws Punk back to the floor. He goes for the belt and Punk kicks the ladder over. Hardy shoves Punk into the ladder and then tries Poetry in Motion off a chair, but Punk catches him and slams him down on the chair. Ouch. Punk throws Hardy to the floor and wipes him out with a suicide dive. He tries to take Hardy’s head off with a chair but Hardy fights him off. Hardy whips Punk towards the steps and Punk leaps onto the steps and tries to jump on Hardy but he gets blasted with the chair. Now Hardy hits Poetry in Motion, and then he sets Punk on a table. Hardy goes to the top rope and tries a splash but Punk moves and Hardy crashes through the table. Punk brings a ladder into the ring and climbs up, but Hardy is able to bring him down with a sunset bomb! Hardy climbs up and Punk tips over the ladder for a real nasty landing. Punk puts Hardy on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex right onto a ladder! That was sick. Hardy is able to power up enough to hit the Twist of Fate, and he goes to the top rope. He tries the Swanton Bomb but Punk gets his knees up. Punk hits the running knee in the corner and goes for the bulldog but Hardy stops short and dumps Punk over the top rope and through a table on the floor! Hardy climbs a ladder but Punk brings him down with a springboard axe handle. Punk throws Hardy to the floor and wraps a steel chair around his neck. Hardy avoids getting thrown into the steel post and then unloads on Punk with a chair. He starts rearranging furniture and hits Punk with everything he can find. Hardy decks Punk right in the face with a steel chair. He finds an extremely tall ladder and goes all the way to the top to deliver a Swanton Bomb! Punk and Hardy are both laid out amidst the broken table. Crazy spot. Medical staff comes out to put Hardy on a stretcher while Punk gets back in the ring! Hardy fights his way off the stretcher and stumbles into the ring. Punk climbs the ladder on one leg and Hardy climbs up the other side. With a kick to the ribs and a punch to the face Punk is able to knock Hardy down and finally retrieve the title at 21:33. That was all kinds of awesome, as they built up to spots rather than just doing them for the sake of doing them. They really beat the hell out of each other and kept the crowd into it the whole way. Hardy looks like the ultimate babyface but Punk was just able to outlast him so they both come out looking like a million dollars. Great, great stuff here.
After the match the lights go out and when they come back on the Undertaker is in the ring! Undertaker delivers a Chokeslam. What a badass, attack a guy after a 20 minute TLC match.