For the third time in just over a month WWE entered the pay per view arena as they presented Vengeance, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The show began with title action as Vickie Guerrero’s team of Jack Swagger and United States Champion Dolph Ziggler challenged Air Boom, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne, for the Tag Team titles.
This proved to be a highly entertaining opener. Kingston and Bourne put on their usual stellar performance, and once again Bourne impressed the hell out of me, especially when ZigSwag used him as their personal punching bag.
Ziggler and Swagger continue to grow on me as a team, and this was perhaps their best performance together.
But in the end they didn’t get the job done. After a brief four way brawl Kingston took Ziggler down with his trouble in paradise, with Bourne sealing the deal with his air Bourne move as the champions retained their titles.
Ziggler’s night was far from over though, as he had to immediately defend his United States title against Zack Ryder. Yep, you read that correctly. Zack Ryder actually appeared on pay per view.
A short and sweet encounter saw Ryder dominating early on, but after Air Boom helped Ziggler back into the ring they were promptly banished from ringside by the referee.
Ziggler came back well and continued his evening’s good work, but it took the attempted interference of Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger to get the win, a super kick taking the challenger down for the three count.
The title action continued with Eve Torres challenging Beth Phoenix for the Divas title.
We were given more background story with this one. A segment was shown where Beth attacked Kelly Kelly backstage before the show. Interim Raw GM Johnny Ace then ruled that Kelly and Beth’s buddy Natalya were banned from ringside.
This was a lot better than any of Beth’s matches with Eve’s Barbie doll friend. Eve seemed much more confident in the ring, her moves more fluidic.
Beth’s performance was also top notch, and this made for a highly entertaining encounter, with Eve almost getting the win several times before Beth took her out with the glam slam at the second time of asking.
The big grudge match was next as Christian went up against Sheamus.
Once again these two showed just what great chemistry they have. It was another solid affair between the two rivals, with the Canadian putting in a great veteran-like performance, and the Irishman looking great as always.
It was an intriguing back and forth affair with both guys pulling out all the stops, coming out with their big moves before Sheamus finally took Christian down with the brogue kick for the winning pin.
Now how about getting my fellow European back in the main event picture!
The big tag team match saw the Miz and R-Truth going up against C.M. Punk and Triple H.
While a certain British tabloid decried this as being overlong I found this encounter to be very enjoyable.
All four men put in good and solid performances, and against expectations it was the Game who took the brunt of the punishment as Miz and Truth doubled up on him to good effect.
Triple H eventually got the hot tag, and while Punk was taking care of Miz in the ring Triple H went after Truth on the outside, only for Kevin Nash, fresh from his second legends show appearance in two months, to attack the Game.
So while big sexy was taking out his former buddy Punk prepared to take Miz out with the go to sleep, only for Truth to stop the attack and help take Punk out with a new version of the skull crushing finale for the pinfall ring.
Afterwards Nash dragged Triple H into the ring and took him out with the big power bomb, leaving the COO in the ring as he went back into the crowd.
Then it was the turn of the Viper as Randy Orton took on his former protégé, Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes.
I think the best way to describe this one would be solid but not overly spectacular. It was well executed but given some of the good matches that went before it it seemed a little tepid at times.
Both protagonists put in good performances, with Rhodes once again playing the heel part to perfection, but at a time when an upset win could have really elevated his career he couldn’t get the job done, even after he took Orton out with his cross Rhodes finisher.
In the end not even Rhodes’ bag men could help him as Orton connected with the RKO for the winning pin.
The Smackdown main event saw the battle of the big boys as the Big Show challenged Mark Henry for the World title.
So what were you expecting from these two? This was basically two big guys beating the hell out of each other, and for some strange reason it was quite compelling.
Which can only mean one thing for me, that Mark Henry was actually involved in another good match.
It began with Show beating up Henry, before the champion came back into the match and began working over Show’s previously injured leg.
From there the two behemoths went blow for blow, and with each man kicking out of the other’s finisher drastic action was called for.
After Show took Henry down with a choke slam from the top rope Show went up top himself, only to be stopped by Henry, who took his challenger down with a superplex from the top rope.
But as the two big men hit the mat the ring collapsed (something I’ve experienced first hand a few years ago), with Show being carted away and Henry eventually accepting help as he staggered up the aisle, with the bout ruled a no contest.
Interim Raw GM Johnny Ace then took the microphone and announced that despite the damaged ring the show would go on.
So with that announcement it was on to the Raw main event as John Cena challenged Alberto Del Rio for the WWE title in a last man standing match.
Beginning in a ring that looked like it would collapse at any moment, this match was both intriguing and highly entertaining at the same time.
It seemed odd seeing Cena and Del Rio pulling off moves in the slanted squared circle, but they did pretty well.
Things were certainly turned up a notch when the action spilled out of the ring, beginning when challenger threw champion into the barricade from the ring.
It kicked off a brawl that took in the backstage area, with Cena trying to crush Del Rio under a massive travel case before Del Rio returned the favour by throwing the backstage interview set on him.
When they eventually returned to the arena we saw more of the same, with Cena flying into a giant letter V and Del Rio being put through a table.
Moments later the champion was put through a second piece of furniture as Cena put him through the Spanish announcers table with the attitude adjuster.
Then, as Cena stood in what was left of the ring, preparing to watch the referee’s count, the Miz and R-Truth made their second appearance of the evening, attacking Cena.
The only problem was though that while the referee was trying to get the interlopers to stop their attack he wasn’t counting Del Rio out.
The champion eventually began to stir as the referee counted Cena in the ring, but after the challenger rose to his feet Del Rio clobbered him with the title belt, and ten seconds later it was all over. Cena was out of it, and Del Rio had retained the title.
In conclusion – with WWE having held three pay per views in a five week period I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to put on another quality show in that time. I was wrong.
Vengeance certainly delivered on all fronts. Each match was entertaining in it’s own way, and the situation surrounding the ring towards the end of the show certainly made for interesting viewing, even though some of our esteemed commentary team seemed to forget that such an event has happened before, as Jerry Lawler tried to remind them.
So in all the first show under the Vengeance banner for four years gets the thumbs up. It was a good show, but it was another example of how there are too many pay per views at the moment.
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