Source: Pro Wrestling Torch
WWE JUDGMENT DAY PPV REVIEW
May 20, 2007
St. Louis, Missouri
By: James Caldwell, PWtorch.com
“Free for All” preview show thought: I have no idea who the new “Josh Matthews” is, but he looks like David Faustino of “Married with Children” fame. They also showed a clip of two nuns praying at a church alter while reciting the Lord’s Prayer when they aired a video package on John Cena’s title match against Great Khali. Didn’t they learn their lesson last year when it came to exploiting Christianity and booking God on PPV?
The PPV opened with a video package saying that we’re all bound to die, but we don’t know what lies on the other side. Ringside, all three announce teams are on hand.
1 — RIC FLAIR vs. CARLITO
Carlito walked into the ring and threw his apple in Flair’s face. Flair answered with a round of chops before Carlito cut him off and went to work on Flair’s left arm/shoulder. Slow, methodical match with Carlito isolating that shoulder for five minutes. The crowd came to life when it appeared that Flair was making his comeback with chops, but Carlito cut him off with a left-arm clothesline and went back to work on the left arm. Carlito continued to cut off Flair’s comebacks before Flair snapped off five or six chops at 11:00. Carlito then caught Flair out of the corner with a back body drop for a nearfall. He went back to work on Flair’s arm and the camera got in close to hear the referee giving Carlito instructions. Flair built up a slow comeback before taking out the back of Carlito’s knee with a chop block. Carlito landed a thumb to the eye, then went for the back cracker, but Flair grabbed the ropes to block the hold. He then went to work on the legs and slapped on the figure four leglock. The fans roared as Carlito tried to fight the hold, but he eventually tapped out.
WINNER: Flair via submission in 16:00. A very basic, standard pro wrestling match. I had no problem with that for an opener featuring Ric Flair, although it was borderline boring with Carlito on offensive at times. Carlito tried to put in an extra effort, as if he were trying to keep his job. Jim Ross was at his best calling this like a sporting event type of match. (**)
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler plugged tonight’s next messaging service question of who has the best shot at winning a title tonight.
They cut backstage where Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels. Before Michaels spoke, they showed a clip from Raw when Michaels beat Edge in the main event, then Orton laid out Michaels. They cut back to Michaels, who said it was rumored that he wasn’t even supposed to be here tonight. Orton then attacked Michaels from behind and threw him head-first into the backstage interview set. Michaels covered his face as Tony Garea checked on Michaels and asked for help.
They showed a video package on the McMahons vs. Lashley feud on ECW. Shane walked out for the ECW Title match, followed by Umaga. Vince came out with the black doo-rag, black sweatshirt, and black jeans. Lashley did his slow entrance as Vince taunted him.
2 — ECW champion VINCE MCMAHON & SHANE MCMAHON & UMAGA vs. BOBBY LASHLEY — ECW Title match
The bell sounded and Lashley fought off the heels after ripping off Vince’s doo-rag to expose his half-bald head. Huge pop. Umaga then went for a splash on Lashley, but Lashley moved and Umaga crunched Shane. Huge pop. Lashley then dropped Shane with a powerslam and scored the win. Huge pop. Lashley was announced as the ECW champion and he celebrated in the ring.
After the match, Lashley and Vince had a staredown, then Umaga jumped Lashley from behind and dropped him with the Samoan spike. Vince then grabbed the ECW Title and brought it back into the ring. He said he’s still ECW champion because Lashley had to pin him to win the belt. Vince announced himself as still ECW champion.
WINNER: Lashley in 1:00 to win the match, but not the ECW Title. Quick squash that got over Lashley as a monster, and the crowd was more responsive than usual to Lashley. Finish sets up the Vince vs. Lashley match at One Night Stand, but if you ordered the PPV strictly based off the ECW TV shows leading to tonight, then you’re walking away very disappointed. (n/a)
Backstage, Dr. Rios checked on Michaels with a flashlight and told him he can’t go out to the ring tonight. Michaels appeared to be in an altered state.
C.M. Punk came to the ring with tape around the ribs. Great. 10-15 minutes of Burke working on the ribs. Tazz pointed out how big of a target Punk’s ribs are for Burke tonight.
3 — C.M. PUNK vs. ELIJAH BURKE
Burke didn’t waste any time focusing on the ribs with kicks, punches, and forearm blows. Tazz questioned the thinking behind presenting a huge target by taping up the ribs. Punk came back with a high vertical suplex and scored a nearfall. He went for a high knee strike in the corner, but Burke awkwardly dumped him over the top rope into the ring steps. “That was ugly,” Tazz muttered. Back in the ring, Punk went for a sunset flip for a close nearfall. They battled up top and Punk nailed a top rope superplex, but it took energy out of both men. The ref applied a ten count and both men reached their feet at nine. After a standing exchange, Punk landed an enziguri kick, then made a cover foe a nearfall. Punk went for the bulldog out of the corner, but Burke blocked. Punk then went for the GTS, but Burke escaped. Burke then hit the Elijah Experience, but Punk kicked out. Burke recovered and hung up Punk in the corner. He nailed the Elijah Express double knee smash to the back, then made a cover, but Punk was in the ropes. At 16:00, Punk escaped the Elijah Experience and hit the Go To Sleep for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 17:00. Physical match, but the crowd was quiet throughout. Nothing flashy, but it gives them somewhere to go on TV leading to One Night Stand. (**)
Backstage, Krystal interviewed Edge, who showed off his World Hvt. Title. Edge interrupted Krystal and said he’s had the greatest two weeks ever. He said the Rated R era has begun on Smackdown.
Randy Orton came to the ring for his advertised match against Shawn Michaels. He demanded that Justin Roberts announce him as the winner due to Michaels’s condition. Before Roberts could announce Orton as the winner by forfeit, Shawn Michaels’s music hit. Michaels didn’t appear, though. After a few moments, Michaels walked out looking to be in a far, far away place. The referee told him that he didn’t have to do this tonight. Michaels refused to leave, so the ref called for the bell.
4 — RANDY ORTON vs. SHAWN MICHAELS
Orton kicked Michaels in the head, then hit a Spike DDT for a quick nearfall when it appeared that Michaels was KO’ed. Orton then dragged Michaels to his feet and went for the RKO, but Michaels slumped to the mat. Orton then picked up Michaels and placed him on the top turnbuckle. Michaels fought off Orton with a shove, then he tried to balance himself before hitting a staggered top rope elbow smash. Ross said maybe the ref needs to end this match because of Michaels’s condition. Michaels then went to the corner and tried to warm up the band, but he slumped to the mat. The ref checked on him, then Michaels pulled himself up. The ref looked in Michaels’s eyes and decided to call for the bell.
After the match, Michaels tried to recover to his feet, but he kept collapsing. Ross called it a sad moment in the history of WWE. Orton stood and watched as Michaels came to his feet with the ref’s help, then he quietly dropped him with the RKO like a silent assassin. He left, then Michaels’s wife slid into the ring and checked on Michaels. She began crying as medics and agents filled the ring. Michaels was put on a backboard and taken off on a stretcher. The announcers laid out as the cameras followed the stretcher from ringside to backstage.
WINNER: Orton via ref’s decision in 4:00. An uncomfortable situation because the reality of head injuries and concussions in pro wrestling and pro sports is such an important issue to be taken seriously. That said, they needed to write him off TV, and the easiest decision was to play off the recent concussion angle on TV. (n/a)
Backstage, Great Khali, wearing the WWE Title, cut a promo through his translator. The crowd did the “What?” chants when Khali spoke in his language. The translator tried to translate, but it fell flat. Khali told Cena to come get some.
The Hardys came to the ring and we heard from Michael Cole and JBL for the first time since the PPV intro, 78 minutes into the show. And they get to call a match where the feud has been exclusive to Raw.
5 — MATT & JEFF HARDY vs. CADE & MURDOCH — World Tag Title match
Matt and Cade started things off with chain wrestling. Cade played up the sportsmanship angle, then asked for a clean break when he ran to the ropes with Matt in control of an arm bar. They reset with Jeff vs. Murdoch, then Jeff ripped off a series of arm drags before tagging out to Matt. Jeff then ran off Matt’s back with a flying leg smash in the corner. Jeff tagged back in and nearly overshot the Whisper in the Wind, but caught Murdoch on the way down. The Hardys then double clotheslined their opponents over the top rope. Cade and Murdoch regrouped on the outside and talked strategy while the ref applied a ten count. Murdoch rolled back in at seven, then clapped it up for the Hardys, showing good sportsmanship. Jeff then knocked Murdoch to the floor and set up for a somersault dive, but Murdoch moved and Jeff ate the floor. Major ouch. Matt checked on Jeff, who showed pain. Apparently, some fans were escorted out of the building, as the ringside fans did the “na na na, goodbye” chant.
Back in the ring, Murdoch worked on Jeff at 10:00. He blocked a jawbreaker with a big boot to the face, then made a cover for a nearfall. Murdoch took a while setting up the Canadian Destroyer on Jeff, then executed it without breaking Jeff’s neck in half. Cade took a tag, then Jeff avoided an elbow drop and made the hot tag to Matt. The action broke down at 14:00 and Matt dumped Murdoch to the floor. Cade then hit a combination Rock Bottom and spinebuster for a nearfall. Matt came back with a side effect, then Jeff went up top and hit the Swanton Bomb on Cade for the pin and the win. After the match, the Hardys celebrated the victory while Cade and Murdoch recovered in the ring. Matt extended a hand to Cade, then Jeff extended a hand to Murdoch. Everyone had a good shake, then Cade caught his breath in the ring. JBL said it’s time to go buy everyone a beer after a hard-fought match.
WINNERS: Hardys in 16:00 to retain the World Tag Titles. Solid tag match. The sportsmanship angle gave the match a new flavor, but it wasn’t a major addition. Hardys continue to just do what they’re expected to do – have good matches and generate crowd reactions. (**1/4)
Hey, look, there’s a One Night Stand PPV in two weeks. It’s all Extreme Rules, apparently.
Ross and Lawler provided an update on Michaels that he’s been loaded on a hospital and taken from the building.
They aired a video package on Edge’s title victory on Smackdown. Edge then came out for the World Title match. Batista followed out with the tape over his right leg. He took his time posing in the ring.
6 — EDGE vs. BATISTA — World Hvt. Title match
Referee Mickie Henson gave the wrestlers their instructions as Batista was getting ancy to start the match. They started the match with Edge trying to avoid a lock-up. Batista drove Edge to the corner, then Edge showed a look of fear. Batista then dumped Edge over the top rope to the floor and followed out. Edge reversed a whip to the ring steps, but Batista recovered and sent Edge into the ring. Back in the ring, Edge drop kicked Batista’s bad leg and followed with a chop block. He then side stepped Batista, who went crashing into the ringpost shoulder-first. Edge went for a double axehandle smash off the top rope, but Batista blocked with a clothesline to the face. Batista followed with a swinging slam to avoid a spear, and scored a nearfall. Edge came back with a spear attempt at 10:00, but Batista answered with a spear for a close nearfall. At 10:00, they picked up the pace after a slow first ten minutes. Batista hit a spinebuster, then called for the end, but Edge escaped a Batistabomb. Batista hit another spear, but he grabbed his leg in pain and Edge rolled him up with a hook of the tights for the win.
WINNER: Edge in 12:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title. Slow developing match. Just when they picked up the pace, they went to the finish. The story of this feud is going to be Edge escaping by the skin of his teeth while Batista dominates for the most part. Doesn’t exactly create a great deal of confidence in the champion from a viewer perspective, but it’s how they’re going to try to get some more PPV matches out of the feud. (*3/4)
Backstage, Krystal stood in front of the roster of WWE divas. She asked Ashley who will win the WWE Title match tonight. Ashley with Cena. Mickie with Khali. McCool with Cena. Candice Michelle with Cena. Jillian doesn’t think Cena is hot; she thinks Khali is hot and he makes her want to sing. Maria said Batista will win. Leyla with Khali. Brooke speaks and goes with Cena. Kelly Kelly with Khali Khali. Victoria and Melina talked it over, then Melina said Khali because he’s big. Really big. Krystal had her Oprah moment and predicted pain. Everyone had a good, forced laugh.
7 — CHRIS BENOIT vs. MVP — U.S. Title match — 2 out of 3 falls
WWE’s sign guy is back and he’s not a fan of MVP. They had a collar and elbow tie-up, then rolled to the floor with the lock-up maintained. Back in the ring, they exchanged slaps to the face. Benoit went for the crossface in the opening minute, but MVP reached the bottom rope. MVP went to work on the left leg that Finlay took out on Smackdown with a shillelagh blow. Benoit came back with a trio of German suplexes, then he applied the Crossface at 5:00, but MVP reached the bottom rope again. MVP went back to the leg, but missed with a Yakuza kick in the corner. Benoit went for a Sharpshooter, but MVP escaped. Benoit answered with an enziguri kick, then he caught MVP in the electric chair. MVP escaped, though, and hit the Playmaker in one fluid motion for the first fall.
MVP 1, BENOIT 0 in 8:00.
After a 60 second rest period, Benoit went to work on MVP with chops. He came up lame, though, and MVP went to work on the leg again. MVP hung Benoit upside down in the corner, then he gave Benoit a running kick to the knee. Benoit went for the Crossface after ducking a clothesline, but MVP countered with a half-crab with Benoit’s leg over MVP’s neck. Benoit fought off the pain, then MVP released the hold. MVP went for the Playmaker, but Benoit blocked and crawled across MVP’s body to apply the Crossface. MVP escaped, though, and rolled into a small package for a nearfall. He then struggled to roll up Benoit again for the pin and the win. Anti-climatic finish.
WINNER: MVP 2-0 in 14:00 to capture the U.S. Title. Disappointing match. The crowd was dead silent. The second fall was logical, but there was no big feeling of MVP accomplishing something special. The wrestling, in and of itself, was fine, but the crowd wasn’t reacting to anything. (**)
They aired a video package of Biblical proportions on the Cena vs. Khali feud.
John Cena came out first for the WWE Title match and the kids went bonkers. No belt in hand. Ross with the line of the night: “Cena has to compete tonight like Khali just hit his momma with a 2×4.” Khali then walked out alone with the title belt over his shoulder.
8 — JOHN CENA vs. GREAT KHALI — WWE Title match
Justin Roberts handled the formal ring intros. As part of the theme of the night, Khali’s been tanning. He’s also been hitting the weights. The bell sounded and Cena went face to nipple with Khali. Cena tried to land right hand blows, but Khali was unshaken and he ran over Cena with a stiff clothesline. On the outside, Khali chucked Cena into the ring steps. Khali worked on Cena for a few minutes before Cena hit a low-level Blockbuster. He made a cover, but Khali bench press slammed Cena away. Khali then kicked Cena out of the ring to the floor. Back in the ring, Khali applied a nerve hold, then Cena powered out and landed a shoulder tackle to knock Khali in the ropes. Khali was tied up, then Cena landed right hand after right hand. Khali then untied himself and landed a big boot to the face. He went for the big chop, but Cena blocked it. Khali then knocked Cena to the floor at 7:00. On the outside, Cena drop kicked the ring steps into Khali’s left knee. Khali rolled into the ring, then Cena hit a top rope guillotine leg drop. He slapped on the STFU as the crowd went wild. Khali fought the hold for a good 30 seconds before the ref called for the bell and Khali tapped out. Khali rolled out of the ring favoring his knee, then Cena caught his breath, retrieved the WWE Title, and held it high in the air.
WINNER: Cena via submission in 8:00 to retain the WWE Title. A good main event based solely on the dramatics. They kept it short and sweet; got in and got out with Cena getting the giant-conquering victory ala Hulk Hogan as a babyface champion. Cena fans get a satisfying conclusion to a so-so PPV. Final thought: Cena is unbelievably valuable to this company. (**1/4)