WWE Judgment Day - May 17, 2009
-From Chicago, IL. Welcome to the annual event that might as well be renamed “$40 Build to Extreme Rules.”
CM Punk vs. Umaga
Punk is the hometown boy, so naturally the crowd is hot for him and naturally he’s going to lose. Punk uses his quickness in the early going but Umaga is a strong sumbitch and easily turns the tide. Once Umaga takes the upper hand, he hangs on to it, with the match seemingly becoming an extended squash for a long duration. Umaga smartly works the shoulder, weakening it for his claw grip. Punk is kicked off the apron and comes back with a sunset flip attempt, but Umaga blocks and crashes all his weight down on Punk’s chest. The beat-down continues, with Punk showing signs of life here and there. The tide turns after Umaga misses a diving head butt. Punk connects with a dive to the floor and enjoys a nice comeback, with a few near falls sprinkled in. Umaga reverses Go To Sleep with a Samoan Drop and gets 2.5. Punk dodges the Spike and connects with some hard kicks. Punk is too hurt to hit Go to Sleep and eats an onslaught of punishment, with Umaga putting him away with the Samoan Spike at 11:52. This surpassed my expectations by building up to a very hot finish, **½.
-Backstage, Big Show is in Vickie’s office, trying to call off his match with Cena tonight. Show explains that he’s going to put Cena on the injured list, along with Triple H. That’s not good for business, he sez. Vickie says that the company is bigger than any individual, someone would step up to take his place. Show goes to leave and bumps into Edge. Edge wants a moment alone with Vickie, so Chavo hightails it. End scene. Meh.
Christian © vs. Jack Swagger
Christian outsmarts Swagger in the early going. Christian attempts an early Killswitch, causing Swagger to rethink his game plan. Swagger goes for the wear down holds. Christian breaks out and continues to outmaneuver the rookie. Swagger finally turns the tide after kicking Christian to the floor and driving him into the ring post. More wear down holds by the All-American American. Vader-Bomb attempt is thwarted by Christian, who connects with a flying elbow. Swagger gets planted on his back for 2. Christian tricks Swagger with his trademark turnbuckle kicks twice. Swagger blocks and struggles for the cover. The match boils down to Christian’s intelligence vs. Swagger’s power. After a series of reversals, Christian pulls down Swagger’s tights to trap his arms and gains a cover for the win at 9:35. Christian as the crafty baby face is becoming increasingly fun to watch in the ring. The match was uneven at times, but they held it together enough and that finish was great, **½.
Winner and still ECW Champion: Christian
-Chavo has his ear against the door, and Edge catches him as he storms out. Edge is angry that Chavo hasn’t done anything about Santino calling his wife a pig.
Shelton Benjamin (with Charlie Haas) vs. John Morrison
Surprise exploder suplex by Benjamin in the early going sets the stage. Morrison starts to fight back, sending Benjamin to ringside for a breather. Morrison teases a dive (awkwardly) but redeems himself with a springboard 450 to the floor! Morrison is unable to enjoy control for long, as Benjamin kicks him off the turnbuckles and Haas dumps him back to the ring. Shelton takes over for a stretch, using a variety of stretches. Morrison attempts a sleeper counter, but both men end up crashing into each other. Morrison counters a suplex and counters again with a nice drop-kick. Morrison builds some momentum with a series of power moves and a near fall. Backbreaker counter by Benjamin gets 2.5. The crowd wakes up as Morrison hits a flippy kick and a knee to the face for 2. Benjamin botches his powerbomb into the turnbuckle spot, and gets a cover for 2. Benjamin lands on his face on a monkey flip, Morrison knocks Haas off the apron, and Morrison sets up his split legged corkscrew moonsault for the win at 10:20. This might have been really good if not for the unfortunate botches and general sloppiness, **¼.
Winner: John Morrison
-The Miz comes to the ring for the time wasting non-wrestling segment of the evening. The Miz has some real charisma, but his promos are so painfully scripted that he isn’t going to get over the way they would like him to. Miz makes fun of Morrison (um… for winning his match?). Miz calls the fans “ducks” for the “what” chants, and I couldn’t agree more. Miz can’t challenge Cena tonight, so he calls out Alfonso Soriano, claiming him to be very Cena-like. Miz makes some cheap shots toward the Chicago Cubs, which causes Santino Marella to come out and defend his fellow Italian. Santino refers to Miz as “The Fizz” and this leads to a scuffle. Miz comes out on top after hitting a swinging DDT. Chavo Guerrero runs in and nails a frog splash on the weakened Santino, thus cementing Santino’s face turn.
-Backstage, we are treated to a Chris Jericho promo! Jericho runs down the fans as parasitic worms. None of those hypocrites have any faith in him. Jericho runs down Rey Mysterio for pandering to those same worms.
Rey Mysterio © vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho plays chicken shit early on but is the first to gain an advantage. Rey bounces back with a plancha to the floor, but Jericho drives him to the barricade. Jericho gets tied up in the ropes and eats a top rope leg drop. Rey gains a near fall but Jericho trips him on the turnbuckles to regain control. Rey gets a shimmer of hope with a 619 attempt, but Jericho blocks. Rey attempts a swinging headscissors, but Jericho awesomely counters with a backbreaker. Jericho retains control, even going for the mask. Rey nails some desperation blows but can’t put Jericho away. Rey blocks the Walls but eats a backbreaker for 2. A dazzling series of reversals leads to the Walls of Jericho! Rey counters into an inside cradle for 2. Powerbomb for 2 by Jericho. Rey surprises Jericho with a 619 in the corner and nails the springboard splash for the win at 12:38. This was the closest thing to a WCW cruiserweight match we’ve seen in a long time, ***¼.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Rey Mysterio
Randy Orton © vs. Batista
I don’t recall their Armageddon match being particularly good, so let’s hope they can turn it up a notch here. Orton is clearly afraid of Batista and stalls for time in the early going. Orton returns and engages Batista in a very basic, WWE style main event wrestling match. Orton stalls and Batista unloads some power moves. Orton gains an advantage by pulling the tights to toss Batista from the ring and dominates with dickhead heel offense. After a few minutes that feel like an eternity, Batista counters with a back suplex. Orton manages to retake control with a drop-kick to the face and a DDT off the ropes. Batista blocks the death punt with a spear, leading to some back and forth action. Orton plays the coward again, fleeing to ringside for an intentional count-out. Batista has to pry Orton off the ring post to get him back into the ring. Orton cuts off Batista’s momentum with the ropes but his chair shot is thwarted. Flying shoulder block by Batista gets 2.5. Orton grabs the belt and tries to leave. Batista drags Orton back and nails a Spinebuster. Orton blocks the Bomb but the RKO is also countered. Batista misses a spear, colliding with the ring post. Batista blocks the RKO again. Orton blatantly slaps the referee across the face, drawing the DQ at 14:41. Rather than actually punish Orton by letting Batista finish the job, the referee lets Orton keep the title. The match was too long and slow for that finish to be acceptable, *½.
Winner by DQ: Batista
-Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase run in for an attack, but Ric Flair makes his return to save Batista.
Big Show vs. John Cena
Nothing good has ever come from Show and Cena feuding, and Cena has almost always managed to beat Big Show in since 2003. Cena is actually being kind of vague with his selling, as you’d think his back would be killing him, but he’s holding his rib cage. Show goes to work on Cena’s midsection for several minutes, with Cena making mild comebacks here and there, but Show manages to swat him off to resume the beat-down. Show appears to be enjoying himself though, so I’m glad that someone likes this match. Seriously, when I start hearing the “boring” chant in my own head, something is wrong. Cena eventually finds an opening to unload some trademark offense. The story transitions into Cena trying to lock on the STF, but cannot due to Show’s size. Show misses a closed fist and eats the Attitude Adjustment. Cena wins at 14:55. You know, I frequently stand up for Cena and defend his work, but this match is a shining example of why so many people hate him, *.
Winner: John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship:
Edge © vs. Jeff Hardy
Neat, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Undertaker go on vacation and we get main events like this one. They start off with some even back and forth mat-based action. Jeff takes charge, focusing on the arm. After making his “See, I’m not a spot-monkey” argument, Jeff starts breaking out the crowd-pleasing dives. Edge finds an opening after Jeff misses the Whisper in the Wind and methodically beats down the Extreme Enigma. Hardy counters but misses a top rope attack. Edge can’t get the cover but regains control. Jeff finds his second wind and unleashes his trademark moves, but can’t get the pinfall. Jeff locks in a sharpshooter (never thought I’d see that) but Edge gets the ropes. Twist of Fate by Jeff gets 2. Edge counters the mule kick, but Jeff counters back with a sunset flip for 2.5! Sunset flip off the top by Jeff gets another painful near fall. Edge gets mule kicked to the floor and Jeff clears the announce table. Jeff walks the barricade, but Edge leaps off the table to spear Jeff in mid-air! Edge is looking for a count-out victory but Jeff gets back in just in time. Jeff hangs Edge up on the ropes and nails a springboard leg but Edge gets a rope break on the cover. Whisper in the Wind gets a cover for 2.9999! Jeff splashes Edge into the barricade off the ring steps, and they both crash into the audience. The referee doesn’t see Matt Hardy run in and nail Jeff in the head with his cast. Edge rolls Jeff into the ring for a close near fall. Edge misses the spear but Jeff can barely pull himself up the turnbuckles. Edge nails an Edgecution off the top for the win at 19:53. Huh, when was the last time a superplex finished a match? Pretty good main event, though nothing we haven’t seen from these two before, ***.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
Final Thoughts: This was a true middle of the road pay-per-view, where there was a lot of enjoyable stuff, but nothing you have to see. Batista/Orton and Cena/Show were both downright boring as well, and dragged the show down for a while as they were back to back. I’d say the bigger problem is that this show is just so meaningless. It’s three weeks after Backlash and three weeks before Extreme Rules, and so far it seems that almost every match on this card will have a stipulation rematch at the next pay-per-view. So all in all, Judgment Day 2009 isn’t bad, but definitely not worth your $40.
Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.