WWE Judgment Day - May 18, 2008
-They are airing from Omaha, Nebraska. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Michael Cole and Mick Foley for Smackdown, and Mike Adamle and Tazz for ECW.
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. John Cena
These two put on a forgotten classic at this event three years ago, but I can’t remember these two ever having a good match otherwise. Slow start with some shoving. Headlock by Cena but JBL makes an uncharacteristically clean break in the corner. Side headlock by JBL. Cena attempts the STFU, but JBL hides in the ropes. JBL snaps Cena’s arm into the ropes and thrusts him into the ring post. JBL continues to work over Cena’s arm. Cena powers out of an armbar in impressive fashion, though he’s selling some major arm pain. JBL resorts to smashing and stomping. Cover by JBL gets 2. Cena fires back despite the pain, but misses a flying leg drop. Cena tries to suplex JBL over the ropes, but JBL counters and drops him on the ropes. JBL knocks Cena off the apron into the barricade. JBL remains in control with his methodical pounding. Bear hug by JBL, because this match wasn’t exciting enough. JBL transitions into a body scissors, also extending the targeted arm. Cena powers to his feet, but gets caught in a full nelson. Cena breaks out and attempts an F-U, but his body gives out. JBL goes back to the body scissors and I’m officially bored. Cena counters with a slam, which required all his strength. They exchange shots but Cena misses a head of steam. Big boot by JBL and some elbow drops to the back. Short-arm clothesline by JBL, who then just stares at his fallen opponent. Cena ducks another clothesline and connects with the F-U for the sudden victory at 15:04. Well, that’s just an obnoxious finish. Far too long for what was accomplished, not to mention a poor opener, *˝.
Winner: John Cena
-The 2008 King of the Ring, William Regal, is watching the event from a luxury seat.
-Michael Cole and Mick Foley care about the fans’ opinions regarding tonight’s Edge/Undertaker match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. If you have money to blow, text your thoughts.
-Mike Adamle and Tazz have a big night ahead of them, as ECW superstars compete for the WWE Tag Team Championship. They air some highlights of Miz and Morrison’s WWE.com show, The Dirt Sheet. Miz, dressed as Kane, admits to wetting the bed. Morrison, dressed as CM Punk, admits that he has tickets to the New Kids on the Block reunion tour. Ouch.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
John Morrison and The Miz © vs. CM Punk and Kane
Kane’s turnbuckle pyro goes off before the match, so you know he’s not winning. Punk and Miz start the match. Punk quickly goes for the kill with a suplex and cover. Kane tags and helps double team Miz. Kane chokes Miz on his back. Miz shoulder blocks and tags Morrison. Kane scoop slams Morrison and kicks the head. Cover by Kane gets 2. Punk tags and drops on Morrison dangling from Kane’s knee. Punk catches Morrison in an illegal submission in the ropes and transitions to the mat. Morrison breaks out and tags Miz for some double teaming. Cover by Miz gets 2. Reverse chinlock by Miz leads to a front headlock. Punk strikes out and tags Kane, who cleans house on Miz. Blind tag by Morrison, who nails Kane with a Neckbreaker. Miz and Morrison make frequent tags, isolating Kane from his partner. Big boot to Miz by Kane, and Punk and Morrison gets tags, with Punk cleaning house. Power slam to Morrison by Punk gets a near fall. Punk nails a bulldog on Morrison while clothes lining Miz off the apron. Springboard clothesline to Morrison by Punk gets another near fall. Miz interrupts a GTS. Punk is distracted and Kane chokeslams Miz on the floor. Unfortunately, Morrison nails his Neckbreaker on Punk for the win at 7:12. The match was alright, but ended right when it was heating up, **.
Winner and still WWE Tag Team Champions: John Morrison and The Miz
-Hype video for Jericho/Michaels. This was an early stage in their rivalry and hadn’t broken down into a blood feud yet. Jericho was accusing Michaels of faking a knee injury during his match with Batista at Backlash, where Jericho was the guest referee. Michaels claims the injury was legitimate, but Jericho was suspicious. Just when Jericho started to believe him, Michaels admitted that he isn’t really hurt and super kicked him in the middle of the ring. This was quality storytelling and it would only get better as summer approached.
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Jericho is the Intercontinental Champion, but as per usual, the belt isn’t on the line. Slow start to the match as they feel each other out. Series of reversals, as Michaels tries to protect his knee. Side headlock by Michaels. Series of pinning predicaments and counters. Inverted figure four by Michaels! Rope break by Jericho and the match restarts. HBK slaps Jericho across the face and fends off an angry Jericho in the ropes. Jericho counters a hammerlock with a hard elbow to the face. HBK catches Jericho in an armbar in the ropes. HBK is wrestling like a total heel so far, pummeling Jericho into the corner. Y2J counters a hard Irish whip and takes the upper hand. HBK is planted on the top rope but he blocks a superplex. Michaels attempts a top rope move, but Jericho blocks and attempts the superplex again. HBK counters, sending Y2J crashing to the mat. Jericho counters the flying elbow with his knees! Nasty stuff, man. Abdominal stretch by Jericho. Gut buster by Jericho gets a cover for 2. Michaels blocks a bulldog, sending Jericho crashing into the ropes in a devastating fashion. Atomic drop by HBK and some chopping. Flying forearm by HBK, but Jericho bounces back with the Walls! HBK gets the rope break and nails the Sweet Chin Music on the apron! Back to the ring, Michaels gets a cover for 2.5. Flying elbow drop by Michaels, who then signals more Sweet Chin Music. Jericho can’t get to his feet, which delays the seemingly inevitable super kick. Jericho finally gets up and counters with the Code Breaker! Jericho is slow to get the cover and only gets 2.5. HBK applies a crossface out of nowhere, but Y2J gets the ropes after turning red. Jericho hangs Michaels ribs-first on the ropes. Jericho blocks HBK’s counter of the lionsault and goes for the Walls. HBK counters the Walls with a roll-up and gets the win at 15:42. Terrific match, full of amazing counters and surprising moments, ****.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
-After the match, Jericho offers a handshake. The crowd is expecting Jericho to cheap shot Michaels, but it doesn’t happen (this time, at least).
-Backstage, Todd Grisham is standing by with Women’s Champion Mickie James. She’s feeling confident about her chances in the triple threat against Beth Phoenix and Melina. Since John Cena and Shawn Michaels won their matches, she’s feeling good. Grisham asks her about her date with Cena, and she is at a loss for words. JBL breaks up the interview and challenges Grisham to ask him a question about Cena. Grisham asks if JBL is going after any revenge. JBL tears down Grisham and claims that he beat down Cena for 20 minutes (well, 15) and even though he won, it’s Cena recovering in the training room. JBL says that if Grisham ever asks him a stupid question again, it will be time for his first and last fight.
Mickie James © vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Melina
Beth and Melina have been partners, but their friendship blew up on the last Raw, when Beth accused Melina of hitting her with a boot on purpose. As the bell rings, Beth tells Melina to take a hike because she doesn’t belong in her ring. Melina responds with a kick to the gut, sending Beth crashing to the floor. Mickie tries to take advantage with a victory roll on Melina. Beth pulls the ropes, sending Mickie crashing to the floor, and a clothesline puts her down. Beth and Melina slug it out in the ring. Mickie returns and inventively takes down Melina while bouncing off of Beth. Mickie wears down Beth with a modified sleeper. Melina breaks it up and pummels Mickie into the corner. Mickie takes down Melina and goes high risk. Melina shoves James off the top and climbs up. Beth catches Melina in an electric chair slam. Mickie and Beth counter each other, resulting in Mickie drop-kicking Beth in the face. Melina stretches Mickie on the ropes but gets caught on Beth’s shoulders. Beth lifts both Melina and Mickie on her shoulder for a double body vice backbreaker! Melina bounces back with a Neckbreaker on Beth. Mickie hits a DDT on Melina for the win at 4:52. This was nonstop action and a great outing in particular for Beth, **˝.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Mickie James
-Batista confronts Shawn Michaels backstage. Batista had warned him that if he found out he was lying about the knee injury, he would hurt him. Batista says he’s going to pick the time and place, but he will hurt Michaels. That would end up happening at One Night Stand. This was another great rivalry.
-85% of the fans think Undertaker is going to win the World title tonight. Boy, are they going to be disappointed or what.
-Video package for Undertaker/Edge. The build to this match was ridiculous, as Smackdown head writer Michael Hayes was on suspension for using racist language while attempting to kid around with Mark Henry. The result was an illogical storyline where Vickie stripped Undertaker of the World title, gave him an automatic title shot anyway, and arranged for Edge to steal a match to determine the #1 contender instead of just using her authority to give him the shot. Also, you might notice that this is the ONLY Smackdown match on this entire card, so the blue show was in a total holding pattern (more so than usual).
World Heavyweight Championship:
Edge vs. The Undertaker
Slow start, as Edge is cautious. Taker shoves, sending Edge to ringside to rethink his strategy. Edge dodges a shot and fires away. Taker tosses Edge to the corner and unleashes some shots. Taker chokes and stomps, and the pummeling continues at ringside. Taker goes for “old school” but Edge trips him, causing the Dead Man to get crotched on the ropes. Taker responds by tossing Edge from the apron into the barricade. Edge reverses a whip and sends Taker crashing into the ring steps. Edge baseball slides Taker into the barricade. Back to the ring, Taker misses a big boot and gets caught on the ropes. Cover by Edge gets 2. Series of head butts by Undertaker, but Edge kicks the back of the leg. Edge wraps Taker’s leg around the ring post. Taker slugs back, but Edge connects with a big boot. Cover by Edge is interrupted by Taker going for the gogoplata, but he rethinks in fear of a DQ. Edge steals the “old school” spot, but Taker crotches him on the ropes. A slug fest breaks out and Taker comes out on top. Undertaker chokeslams Edge into the corner and gets a cover for 2.5. Undertaker finally connects with “old school” and signals the end. Hawkins and Ryder run in for a distraction, preventing the tombstone. Edge uncovers a metal turnbuckle. Edge blocks the Last Ride and connects with a DDT. Cover by Edge gets 2.5. Taker counters the spear, sending Edge into the corner. Taker power bombs Edge into the corner, getting a near fall only broken by the ropes. Edge counters snake eyes, ramming Taker into the exposed steel. Taker fights off Edge and connects with snake eyes on the steel. Edge hits a spear out of nowhere and gets a cover for 2.9. They slug it out some more. Edge fights off a chokeslam but Taker ultimately connects. Cover by Undertaker gets 2.5. The fight heads to ringside, where Taker clotheslines Edge (and himself) over the barricade). They struggle to get back to the ring, and only Undertaker makes it back before the 10 count. Taker gets the win at 16:19. Not surprisingly, Vickie Guerrero is wheeled out and announces that since the title can only change hands on pinfall or submission, the title is still vacant. This was another strong outing from these two up until the screw job finish, ***˝.
Winner by count-out: The Undertaker
-Afterwards, Undertaker hits a tombstone piledriver on Edge for good measure. Vickie is horrified and storms out without her wheelchair.
-We are treated to a Randy Orton promo. Orton claims that Triple H was always afraid of him, which is why he never taught him anything while they were in Evolution. Orton promises to take back the WWE title in their steel cage match. The “Age of Orton” will continue!
-MVP comes out to whine about not having a match on the pay-per-view. He makes an open challenge to any top tier talent that want to take him on. Matt Hardy comes to the stage and introduces his returning crack head brother, Jeff Hardy!
MVP vs. Jeff Hardy
Aggressive start from MVP in the early going, who is still mad about losing his coveted U.S. title to Jeff’s brother. Hardy ducks a clothesline and nails a flying forearm. Hardy mule kicks MVP to the floor, as Mick Foley talks about Hardy’s house burning down a couple months ago. The match restarts with MVP trying to force a cover. Hardy works a hammerlock but gets backed to the corner. MVP charges, but Hardy ducks, sending MVP to the floor. MVP catches Hardy in mid-drop-kick and drops him to the floor. Back to the ring, MVP continues to try and force a cover. MVP works the arm. More cover attempts and arm work by MVP, which makes for a really vanilla match. Hardy eats a hammerlock slam and finds himself in another armlock. The arm and shoulder work continues from MVP. Fireman carry press slam by MVP and a boot to the head sends Hardy crashing to ringside. Hardy is rammed into the barricade and directed to the ring for a near fall. More arm work from MVP. Hardy blocks the Playmaker and plants MVP to the mat. They slug it out and Hardy gets the upper hand with a clothesline. Corner drop-kick by Hardy sets up the Swanton, but it misses. MVP runs into a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle and he eats the Whisper in the Wind, allowing Hardy to pick up the win at 9:45. Cookie cutter match that felt like it belonged on an episode of Smackdown. All that tedious arm work by MVP didn’t mount to anything either, **.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
-Video package highlighting the Triple H/Randy Orton rivalry. Triple H had been chasing Orton since he won the Elimination Chamber main event at No Way Out, some three months ago. Triple H finally took the title from Orton in a four-way match at Backlash. Triple H promptly wrote off Orton’s title reign as being irrelevant, motivating Orton to want his rematch right away.
Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship:
Triple H © vs. Randy Orton
Orton tries to slide out the door right away, but HHH stops him, but Orton slams the door into his head. Orton has the early advantage, pummeling HHH all over the ring. Triple H fights back, and a slug fest erupts. Orton ducks a clothesline and runs into a knee lift. They block each other, but Orton gets flung head-first into the steel. Neckbreaker by Triple H gets a cover for 2. Knee drop gets another cover for Triple H. Orton pulls HHH into the steel and then catapults him into the wall. HHH is thrown over the ropes, and his body drags against the wall as he falls. DDT gets a near fall for Orton. Cue the Orton chinlock. Yep, that’s right, this blood feud in the steel cage has a chinlock. Orton follows up with a power slam and gets a cover for 2. Orton methodically stomps on various body parts. Orton misses a knee drop. Triple H eats some punches but chop-blocks the vulnerable knee. Triple H locks in the figure four! Orton gets a rope break (yep, a rope break in a cage match) and HHH is forced to break it. Orton counters the Pedigree with a back drop. Orton tries to climb out the door and grabs a very conveniently placed chair (talk about contrived) but misses the chair shot. Facebuster by Triple H gets a cover for 2.5. HHH goes for a chair shot, but Orton cuts him off with a blatant low blow. Chair shot by Orton, who just stands there stupidly after. DDT on the chair by Orton, earning him a cover for 2.5. Orton sets up the chair and attempts an RKO but he gets shoved into the steel wall. Orton wanders into a drop toe hold into the chair! Cover by HHH gets 2.5. Both men are down, but Orton gets up first and tries climbing over the wall. HHH climbs up and they fight on the top rope. Orton falls on his back and Triple H tries to escape. Orton grabs the leg to cut him off and sends HHH to the mat. Orton was almost out when HHH pulls him back in. Triple H tries to hit a Pepsi Plunge, but it’s blocked and he’s sent to the mat. Orton is over the wall and on his way down when Triple H pulls him back in. Orton gets crotched on the ropes. Spinebuster by Triple H, who then attempts a Pedigree onto a chair. Orton counters, dropping HHH back-first onto the chair. Orton misses his running douche bag punt and eats a chair shot. Pedigree by Triple H gets the win at 21:11. My nitpicking aside, this was pretty good, but not anywhere near as great as these two probably thought it was, ***.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
Final Thoughts: This pay-per-view is the definition of “irrelevant.” This show kept the holding pattern in just about all the storylines so they could build up the One Night Stand show that would take place three weeks later. The HBK/Jericho match was great, but their Unforgiven and No Mercy matches would surpass it. The Undertaker/Edge match was good, but their Wrestlemania, Backlash, One Night Stand, and Summerslam matches were all better. See where I’m going with this? As it’s own show, Judgment Day is pretty good, but in the grand scheme of things it is skippable.
Mild thumbs up.