-It’s time for the WWE.com preshow! Todd Grisham is here to handle the festivities. Jim Ross and Tazz are on commentary. Benjamin will be facing R-Truth, MVP, or Festus. R-Truth wins with 59% of the votes.
United States Championship:
Shelton Benjamin © vs. R-Truth
Benjamin seems to be just as annoyed with Truth’s attempts to get “What’s up” over as a catchphrase as I am. They lock up with Benjamin gaining the upper hand. Truth slugs back and dances around the ring to avoid Benjamin’s offense. Big kick by Truth throws Benjamin off his game. Benjamin fights back with a hard kick to the face, gets a cover for 2. Chinlock by Benjamin. Truth elbows out and trades shots. Benjamin reverses an Irish whip but misses a corner splash. Series of clotheslines by Truth and the corkscrew forearm. Truth goes high risk but Benjamin leaps up. Truth blocks the superplex and connects with a missile drop-kick. Cover by Truth gets 2.5! Truth runs into a leaping DDT and gets pinned at 3:24. Short, but lively, *½.
Winner and still United States Champion: Shelton Benjamin
-The actual pay-per-view kicks off with a clever opening package with a number of wrestlers making cheeky comments about the importance of voting. They are airing live from Phoenix, Arizona. Our hosts for the evening are Jim Ross and Tazz for Smackdown, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Todd Grisham and Matt Striker for ECW.
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
The match stipulation is No Holds Bared, with 39% of the vote. The fight quickly heads to the floor, with Rey hitting an over the ropes plancha. Rey pulls some weapons from the ring and connects with some kendo stick strikes. Kane rebounds with a big boot, slides Rey into the corner, and drop-kicks him against the ring post. Kane uses some cables to bend Rey around the post. Kane slams Rey into the ring post again and tosses him into the ring. Cover by Kane gets 2. Kane slows things down big time with some methodical offense. Rey keeps showing signs of life, but Kane continues to smash his way back into control. Lots of resting by Kane. Rey counters with a bulldog and both men are down. Enziguri by Rey sets Kane up for the 619, but Kane cuts him off with a clothesline. Kane finally remembers that he’s allowed to use weapons and fetches a chair. Rey drop-kicks the chair into Kane’s face and plants Kane. Rey drives the chair into Kane and gets a near fall. Rey goes high risk but flies into Kane’s fist. Cover by Kane gets 2. Kane tosses the steel ring steps into the ring and positions them in the corner. Rey counters Kane and drop toe holds him face first into the steps! Springboard seated senton by Rey gets 2.5. Rey hit’s a series of chair shots. Kane blocks the 619 with a choke slam attempt, but Rey counters back into the 619. Springboard splash by Rey gets the win at 10:22. Awfully tame for “No Holds Barred” and not anywhere near as energetic as their No Mercy bout, **.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
-There is an ongoing Divas Halloween costume contest tonight. Michelle McCool is an army brat, so you better vote for her. Katie Lea looks good as a vampire. Lena Yada is a “sexy ninja.” Candice Michelle is Marilyn Monroe, and I briefly mistake her for Jillian, what with the way she’s singing.
-Chris Jericho approaches Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, and Manu, and tries to sympathize with them for the way Randy Orton has been taking credit for their work. He asks them to do to Batista what they did to CM Punk. They refuse to do Jericho’s dirty work, especially on a night where they might have to defend their titles. Dibiase wishes Jericho luck in his title defense, and they’ll be watching.
Matt Hardy © vs. Evan Bourne
Bourne won the text poll over Finlay and Mark Henry with 69% of the vote. Hardy has a rare size advantage, but wrestles pretty evenly with Bourne in the early going. Bourne hits a drop-kick to restart the match. Hardy tries to force a pinfall but Bourne reverses with a roll-up. Sunset flip by Bourne gets a cover for 2. Bourne connects with some kicks and a head scissors takedown. Bourne springs over the ropes right into Hardy’s forearm and crashes into the floor. Hardy takes control, hitting a hard clothesline for 2. Bourne blocks the bulldog, hits a snapmare, and works the arm. Standing moonsault by Bourne gets a cover for 2. Evan goes back to work on the arm, Hardy fights back and gets kicked in the head for his trouble. Bourne goes high risk, but Hardy rolls well out of the way. Bourne tries to springboard onto Hardy on the floor, but gets tripped. Cover by Matt gets 2. Scoop slams by Hardy and an elbow off the second rope. Evan kicks out but finds himself trapped in an abdominal stretch, transitioned into a surfboard bow and arrow. Bourne escapes but runs into a clothesline. Bourne counters a razor’s edge with a head scissors takedown. Side effect by Hardy only gets 2. Second side effect only gets another near fall. Hardy leaps off the second rope into a heel kick from Bourne. Bourne bounces off the turnbuckle, taking out Matt, getting a near fall. Bourne goes high risk and connects with flying double knee! Bourne gets a cover for 2.5! Roll-up by Matt gets 2. Evan goes top rope, but Hardy climbs up to meet him. Evan knocks him off but misses the shooting star press! Twist of Fate is blocked into a backslide for 2! Matt succeeds with the Twist of Fate and gets the win at 11:06. Good match with a hot finishing sequence, ***.
Winner and still ECW Champion: Matt Hardy
-After the match, Hardy helps Bourne to his feet and shows respect to his challenger.
-The Divas Halloween contest continues. Beth Phoenix is a Spartan warrior! And I think that’s just great. Jillian is Bat Girl and sings a horrible rendition of the Batman theme song. Maria is a stripper rabbit. Kelly Kelly is a sea captain. If I were to vote, Beth would have it right now.
-Time for a tag match. The fans could choose from CM Punk and Kofi Kingston vs. Dibiase and Rhodes, Miz and Morrison vs. Cryme Tyme, or Jamie Noble and Mickie James vs. William Regal and Layla. Cryme Tyme and Miz and Morrison win the vote with 38%. That’s got to be a big ouch for CM Punk, since he was the focus of the advertising for this show.
Cryme Tyme vs. John Morrison and The Miz
JTG and Morrison start the match with a shoving contest. Morrison targets the head. High elbow by JTG gets a cover for 1. JTG targets the throat, and Miz gets the needed tag. Shad tags and is whipped into Miz by his partner. Shad slams Miz, tags JTG, and slams his partner into Miz. Miz targets the face and tags Morrison. Miz and Morrison hit double elbows, giving Morrison control for the time being. Shad gets a tag and drops JTG on Morrison. They throw Miz over the ropes onto his partner. Shad press slams JTG on both Miz and Morrison. Cryme Tyme celebrates their momentum. Back to the ring, Morrison gets a chin breaker and tags Miz. Miz goes to work on Shad’s knee. Miz and Morrison are able to isolate Shad and keep the tags coming frequently. JTG gets the hot tag and cleans house on Miz. Morrison distracts, allowing Miz to knock JTG off the ropes. Cover by Miz gets 2. Morrison and Miz are now keeping JTG isolated, with lots of tags. JTG eventually blocks a double team attempt and gets the hot tag to Shad, who cleans house on both Miz and Morrison. Morrison cuts Shad off with a drop-kick to the knee. Morrison tries to get the cover with his feet on the ropes, but JTG breaks it up. All four men battle in the ring as things go chaotic. Miz assists in setting Shad up for the Midnight Ride from Morrison, getting the win at 10:21. This was solid, as Miz and Morrison were in sharp form and Cryme Tyme didn‘t mess up, **¼.
Winners: John Morrison and The Miz
-The Divas Halloween contest continues. Tiffany is a slutty nun. Brie Bella is Cleopatra. Natalya is a stripper police woman. Okay, I have a new favorite now (Editor's Note: Rowe's got a woooody. Rowe's got a wooooody!). Eve is a ninja turtle and that’s just fantastic.
-Chris Jericho is backstage, pleading with The Great Khali to be in his corner. Khali rants for about a minute, to which Ranjin interprets that Khali simply says “No.” You know, I suggested in joking fashion about a year ago that they should take this approach with him. Khali is comedy gold.
-Make sure you order Survivor Series for the return of John Cena!
-Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix come to the ring. Santino takes the microphone and cuts a fun promo making fun of Arizona and their athletes. He knocks Shaq, right before realizing he’s sitting in the front row. I love how Santino is referring to himself as “Champion of Earth.” It’s time to find out whose career is going to end at Santino’s hands.
Santino Marella © (with Beth Phoenix) vs. Honky Tonk Man
Honky Tonk Man won the fan voting poll over Goldust and Roddy Piper with 35% of the vote. Before the match, HTM takes the microphone and trashes Santino. Even if Santino were to reign for ten years, he would never compare to him. Cue the music and HTM dances for our entertainment. He challenges Santino to dance, and he doesn’t disappoint in doing a horrible jig. Santino cheap shots in mid-dance to start the match. Once the bell rings, Santino wants to stall, but HTM aggressively locks up. Santino hides in the ropes. HTM targets the head and blocks a punch to go back to a headlock. Shoulder block by HTM. HTM goes into the ropes, where Beth trips him for the disqualification at 1:05. I’d say this is an obvious DUD.
Winner by DQ: Honky Tonk Man
-Santino calls Beth a “stupid woman” for getting involved in his match. He’s mad because while he is keeping the match, he did lose. Beth pleads her case and the unhappy couple tries to leave. They are cut off by Goldust. Roddy Piper joins the fray and they corner Santino back to the ring. HTM, Piper, and Goldust take turns getting shots in on poor Santino. This was fun stuff.
-The Divas Halloween contest continues. Maryse is a French maid. Layla is Princess Layla. Victoria is a giant banana and breaks out “It’s peanut butter jelly time!” AWESOME!!~ Mickie James is Lara Croft. Well, this was certainly more creative than I was expecting.
-Chavo Guerrero wheels out Vickie Guerrero to announce the stipulation for the Big Show/Undertaker match. Vickie annoys the crowd with her now trademark “Excuse me!” line. The stipulation ends us being Last Man Standing with 49% of the vote.
Last Man Standing:
The Undertaker vs. Big Show
Slug fest kicks off the match. Show tosses Taker to the floor and they continue to brawl. Taker soon connects with a chair shot and the action returns to the ring. Taker splashes Show in the corner. Clothesline by Big Show and a head butt. Show pummels Taker into the corner. Leg drop by Show causes Taker to not get up until the 7 count. The fight returns to ringside. Show misses a chair shot, and Taker brawls back. Taker braces the chair against Show’s neck and rams him into the ring post! Show gets up at the 8 count. Apron leg drop by Undertaker. The brawl continues in the ring. Both men are down after a Big Show clothesline. Show is up at the 5 count, but Taker is up at 8. Show takes control with methodical smashing. Taker trades head butts with punches. They both attempt a choke slam, but Taker counters with a DDT. Show is up at the 9 count. Show loosens some turnbuckle padding, exposing the steel. Taker counters and pushes Show gut-first into the steel. Clothesline by Taker leaves them both down. They both make it up right before the 10 count. Show drives Taker into the exposed turnbuckle, causing him to tumble onto the ring steps. The brawl heads to the announce tables. Show drives a monitor into Taker’s face and kicks him into the crowd. Show grabs a chair, but Taker punches it into his face. Show grabs Taker and chokeslams him into the table! Taker barely makes it up before the 10 count. The match returns to the ring and they trade shots. Undertaker hits a DDT out of nowhere. Big Show counters “old school” with a chokeslam. Taker makes it to his feet just in time but immediately gets punched in the face. Taker makes it up again, prompting Big Show to grab a chair. Show connects with a chair shot. Show reaches down, but Taker catches him with the triangle choke. Big Show passes out and is unable to meet the 10 count, giving the win to Undertaker at 19:24. The match had some really cool moments, but was really plodding, **½.
Winner: The Undertaker
-Chris Jericho is in Mike Adamle’s office, whining over how unfair his title match tonight is. Adamle won’t back down, so Jericho warns that they will discuss this further at another time.
-Tazz is in the ring to announce the winner of the Diva Halloween costume contest. All the divas come out in their costumes (with Victoria still dancing in her banana outfit). And the winnah is… Mickie James! Victoria got robbed! This results causes tempers to flare and an epic 16 diva catfight breaks out.
Triple H © vs. Jeff Hardy
I guess fans are about as indifferent to Vladimir Kozlov as I am, because they picked the only match option that didn’t involve him. Of course I fully expect Kozlov’s push will continue anyhow, because WWE is stubborn like that. Triple H doesn’t look phased with this result and easily corners Hardy in the early going. Hardy works the arm. Triple H drop toe holds to go after the arm, but Jeff reverses. They go through a fun series of reversals, even attempting their finishers. The match restarts with another series of submission reversals. Hardy goes high risk, but Triple H pushes him off to the floor. Hardy slowly rolls back to the ring, where a hungry Triple H is waiting for him. Roll-up by HHH gets 2, so he works the arm. Triple H cuts off a Hardy comeback attempt and goes back to the arm. Facebuster by Triple H and clothesline by Hardy. Double leg drop by Hardy and a drop-kick gets a roll-up for 2. Facebuster suplex by Hardy gets a cover for 2.5. Triple H counters a corner drop-kick with a Spinebuster for 2. HHH counters the Whisper in the Wind with the crossface. Hardy spends a ridiculous amount of time trapped in the crossface before countering with a pinning predicament for 2. The fight heads to ringside, where Hardy reverse whips HHH into the steel steps. Hardy leaps off the steps to crash into HHH. Back to the ring, Hardy nails the Whisper in the Wind twice. Cover by Hardy gets 2.5. Corner drop-kick by Hardy gets a long 2.5. They counter each other’s finishers, with Hardy getting a bridge for 2.5. Sleeper by Triple H, but Hardy quickly escapes and connects with the Twist of Fate! Hardy’s cover gets a 2.9! Hardy goes high risk and hit’s the Swanton Bomb! Hardy skips the cover attempt to go for another Swanton, but this time it’s blocked! Hardy counters the pedigree, sending HHH to the mat. Springboard splash by Hardy, and the action goes back to the ring. Hardy climbs the top rope, but Triple H pulls him off into the pedigree! That’s enough for the win at 15:44. Another good outing for these two, though it didn’t capture the excitement of their No Mercy bout, ***¼.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Jericho © vs. Batista
Special Referee: Steve Austin
Austin beat out Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels with 74% of the votes to earn the right to referee this bout. Jericho is not pleased at all with the result. Jericho starts the match by slapping his challenger, which only angers Batista, who pummels him out of the ring. Jericho decides to walk out of the match, so Austin takes a microphone. Austin says that if Jericho is DQ’ed or counted out, Jericho will lose the title. Can he do that? It doesn’t matter, as Jericho decides not to call his bluff and returns to the ring. Batista is ready and proceeds to beat the hell out of the champ. Jericho pulls the tights to send Batista to the floor. Baseball slide by Jericho. Batista blocks Jericho’s drop-kick off the turnbuckle, but Jericho traps Batista in the ropes by the knee and takes advantage. Jericho works over the injured knee. Batista fights back, so Jericho goes after his arm. Batista lifts Jericho up on his back and rams him into the turnbuckles. Jericho trips Batista into the corner and mounts, Batista counters into a power bomb attempt, but Jericho counters into a pinning predicament. Jericho goes back to working the leg until getting caught with a big boot. Batista takes control, though his knee is clearly bothering him. Jericho strikes back with the Walls of Jericho! It takes forever for Batista to get the rope break, and Jericho refuses to release. Austin pulls Jericho off by the hair. Jericho mouths off and ends up eating a side slam from Batista for 2. Jericho does everything he can do to block the Batista Bomb and goes high risk. Jericho flies into a clothesline, getting Batista a cover for 2. Jericho dodges the spear and Batista hits the ring post. Jericho tries to superplex Batista to the floor, but gets shoved off. Flying shoulder block by Batista gets a cover for 2.5! Jericho counters the Spinebuster with a DDT and gets a near fall. Jericho ducks and Batista accidentally wipes out Austin. Codebreaker by Jericho, but there’s no ref for the count. Shawn Michaels runs in as the backup, but he counts so slowly that Batista kicks out. Jericho gets in HBK’s face and shoves him. Batista gets the spear, but JBL runs in and attacks Michaels, stopping the cover. Jericho takes out Batista by the knee and fetches a chair. Randy Orton runs in and stops Austin from getting back. Orton knocks down Batista and counts, but Batista kicks out again. Austin is up and hits the stunner on Orton! Spinebuster on Jericho by Batista, who signals the thumbs down. Batista Bomb finishes Jericho, as Austin counts to three at 17:06. The overbooking at the end actually helped this match, as nothing they did before the run-ins really screamed “main event,” ***.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Batista
-Batista celebrates with Austin to finish the show.
Final Thoughts: A bunch of ***-ish matches highlight this event. In other words, there is some good stuff, but nothing I could really recommend, least of all paying $40 for the replay. If you saw No Mercy, you probably should skip this one, as Cyber Sunday felt like a rerun with fan voting, and a lot of the matches on No Mercy were superior to what we got here. The main event ended up being fun though, as Michaels screwing with Jericho and Austin’s stunner on Orton were gold moments.
Thumbs in the middle.