-To be quite honest, I have almost no interest in watching this pay-per-view other than to keep up my streak of reviewing the recent shows. The word of mouth going around the internet is that both main events delivered, so hopefully I’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.
-The opening video package is different than usual, incorporating a 50’s style intro and then transitions into a music video set to "All Nightmare Long" by Metallica (great song, by the way).
-They are airing live from Portland, Oregon. Our hosts for the evening are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Tazz, and Todd Grisham. Matt Striker is missing from action, so Jerry Lawler is filling in for the ECW title match.
-Backstage interview with Triple H and Jeff Hardy, who will be facing each other tonight for the WWE Championship. HHH says the only thing Hardy can win tonight is the Mobile poll asking “Who are you rooting for?” Triple H says he wants Hardy to step up and rise to a new level, so that when he wins he can say he beat the best in Jeff Hardy. Jeff promises to win the title tonight.
-Ric Flair is so awesome, you should order his pay-per-view.
-Kane is brooding in a dark corner of the backstage area. He talks some smack about Rey Mysterio and his “false mask of courage.”
Rey Mysterio vs. Kane
The stipulation of the match says that if Rey loses, he must take off his mask. I would have made it so that if Kane loses, he’d have to put his mask back on, but I digress. Rey uses his speed to get the upper hand in the early going, but he soon runs into Kane’s boot. Rey avoids Kane long enough to get himself together and he hits a springboard drop-kick to the lower back. Kane cuts off Rey’s momentum with a hard clothesline. Rey goes for a head-scissors takedown, but Kane blocks and they end up tumbling to ringside. Kane catches Rey in flight and drops him over the barricade. Kane drives Rey back-first into the ring post. The action returns to the ring, where Kane continues to dominate. Rey eventually counters a power move from Kane and plants him on his back. Kane plants Rey on the top rope, prying at the mask. Rey hits a top rope moonsault. Rey drop-kicks the knee and nails a hard kick. Springboard leg drop by Rey gets a cover for 2. Kane rebounds with a side slam for a near fall. Kane signals the choke slam, but Rey escapes. Springboard DDT by Rey, who seemed to tweak his knee in the process. Top rope splash by Rey gets another near fall. Kane nails Rey in the air for a cover. Kane misses a big boot, and Rey 619’s the back of the leg. Kane is dumped from the ring and smashes a chair into Rey, who was diving off the top rope! That draws on the disqualification at 11:00! Nasty non-finish to a surprisingly entertaining match, **¾. Winner by DQ: Rey Mysterio
-Rey informs the referees that he can’t feel his legs. Ouch.
-Pay a dollar to vote for who you want to win the WWE Championship match on your mobile phone.
-Backstage, MVP is on his cell phone, arguing with an unknown individual. MVP knocks on the GM’s door, and Big Show answers. Show rejects MVP access to Vickie Guerrero. Show warns MVP not to anger him and slams the door in his face.
-Cyber Sunday is only three weeks away, and you won’t want to miss it since the paying customers will be voting for stipulations and the such. I can’t believe they haven’t killed this pay-per-view concept by now.
-MVP heads to the ring, despite not being scheduled to appear. He is annoyed that he doesn’t have a match tonight. His rant is interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton talks down to MVP, which fires him up. MVP reminds Orton that he isn’t on Raw and doesn’t have to answer to Mike Adamle, so he is free to knock him out if he wants. This draws out Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, and Manu. They antagonize Orton on the microphone, which incites a “boring” chant. Cody is smart not to ignore the chants with “Excuse me?” Rhodes accuses Orton of coasting on his reputation. Manu fires back that he couldn’t have done it without them. Orton tells them to talk to him when they’ve accomplished half of what he has. Orton storms out, despite MVP further mocking him on the mic. MVP tries to suck up to the young bucks, but Dibiase dismisses him, since he isn’t the son of a Hall of Famer. MVP brags about making more money than them, to which Dibiase reminds him that he’s the son of the Million Dollar Man. They’ll catch MVP at the next pay-per-view he gets shut out of. MVP is offended and heads off, saying that he’ll remember this. Things heat up, as CM Punk and Kofi Kingston come to the ring. They negotiate with MVP for a minute, and all three of them storm the ring for a brawl. Kingston and Punk were just kidding though, as they stop and allow MVP to enter the ring himself to get his ass kicked. Punk and Kingston use the distraction to their benefit and clear the ring. While I would rather not see these types of segments on $40 pay-per-views, this was actually entertaining.
#1 Contenders match:
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Batista
Batista is probably due for another title run, since they can’t just have him keep losing all his title opportunities forever and ever. Or can they? Shawn Michaels has done pretty well for himself since 2002. The match begins with an aggressive smashing contest. Batista takes control and attempts an early victory. JBL gets a big boot, but then runs into a spear while attempting the clothesline from hell. JBL retreats to ringside, while Lawler and Cole make cracks about the stock market crashing in a similar fashion. Batista chases JBL back into the ring, where JBL takes advantage. Cover by JBL gets 2. Swinging Neckbreaker by JBL, and a cover for 2. Cue the chinlock! Batista escapes and they slug it out. Batista drops JBL with a clothesline and pummels him into the corner. Batista slams JBL and signals another spear. JBL blocks the spear and attempts a sleeper. Batista counters with a spine buster. Batista wraps things up with the Batista bomb at 5:19. I’m pleased the match was kept short, as it was much more entertaining and effective than the 20 minute stinkers these two have had in the past, **. Winner: Batista
-A beaten JBL takes the microphone. He whines about how awful his week has been. JBL wants to be honest with his “fans” and admits that his heart wasn’t into the match. Due to the beating Wall Street took, this was the most traumatic week of his life. JBL thanks congress for the bailout, so now he can keep all his money. This was hilarious! Cryme Tyme appears on the titantron, stealing JBL’s limousine. They fill the limo with women and are randomly joined by Sgt. Slaughter.
The Undertaker vs. Big Show
As per usual with the Undertaker’s feuds, the storyline leading to this match is absolutely terrible. It features lots of spooky music, scary lights, and Vickie Guerrero. Anyhow, the match starts wild, as they brawl out of the ring. Taker sends Show head-first into the ring post, and sets him up on the apron for the leg drop. The action returns to the ring, where Taker continues to dominate. Show strikes back with a clothesline that looked like a shoulder block. Elbow drop by Big Show gets a cover for 2. Side Russian legsweep by Show gets another near fall. Taker strikes back and blocks a slam. Show counters Taker and head-butts. Big Show climbs to the second rope and misses a bomb! Goodness, you don’t see Show attempt a move like that every day. Taker unleashes a series of strikes. Show reverses a hard Irish whip, but runs into a big boot. Taker ducks some clotheslines and connects with one of his own. Leg drop by Taker gets a cover for 2. Undertaker goes “old school” but Show counters with a choke slam. Cover by Big Show gets 2.5. They both attempt choke slams, but Taker ends up countering with a DDT. Undertaker gets a very close near fall. The referee is punked out after stopping Taker from going nuts on Show in the corner, allowing Show to use the distraction to uncover a turnbuckle. Show drives Taker into the exposed steel! Show keeps smashing the head until the referee calls for the bell at 10:09. Big Show is declared the winner. This was much better than what I was expecting, as they put on a worthy brawl, **¾. Winner: Big Show
-We are treated to the results of the text poll. Jeff Hardy wins by 72%.
-After the match, Triple H shows his respect to Hardy and is behaving as if he was just in the war of his life. He heads to the back where Arn Anderson congratulates him on the victory. Vladimir Kozlov shows up and gets into HHH’s face and threatens him in Russian. Kozlov offers his own congratulations, but it wasn’t anywhere near as friendly as Anderson’s.
Shawn Michaels sets up the bigger ladder at ringside and beats Jericho repeatedly with the smaller one. That’s nasty stuff, man. Michaels sets Jericho on the Smackdown announce table (in front of the large ladder). Michaels climbs, but Jericho cuts him off. They both fall off and go smashing through the table! It takes a few minutes for them to crawl back into the ring. Jericho counters HBK, drop-kicking the ladder into him on the top rope. Jericho climbs the ladder leaning against HBK and attempts a big superplex. HBK fights him off and sends Y2J crashing to the mat, with the ladder landing on him. HBK nails a risky flying elbow drop, missing the ladder and hitting Jericho. HBK attempts Sweet Chin Music, but Jericho blocks using the ladder. With the ladder laying on Michaels, Jericho hits the lionsault. Jericho pins Michaels with the ladder and attempts the win. Right before Jericho can grip the belt, HBK tips the ladder over, sending Jericho crashing to the floor in an extremely dangerous spot! Jericho appears to have tweaked his knee. HBK climbs and touches the belt, but Jericho crawls back and tips the ladder, causing HBK to land crotch-first on the ropes. They both climb back to the top and trade shots. Jericho gets tied up in the steps, so Lance Cade runs in to make the save. Michaels fights off Cade, but Y2J has his hands on the gold. Michaels races up and they each grab a different side of the belt and are in a tug of war. Jericho nails a head-butt and claims the gold for himself at 22:18! That was a nifty finish. This wasn’t as spotty as ladder matches tend to be, as they focused on using the ladder as a means of revenge from start to finish. Excellent main event, ****¼. Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Jericho
Final Thoughts: There isn’t a single bad match to be found here. The undercard surpassed my expectations at almost every turn, as Henry/Hardy, Kane/Mysterio, and Show/Taker were all much better than what I was expecting. Both main events delivered the goods, with Triple H bringing his working boots, Jeff Hardy was elevated despite the loss, and Jericho and Michaels capped off their feud with a worthy ladder match. This pay-per-view was a vacuum of excitement on paper, but everyone worked hard to put on a great show.
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