PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE JUDGMENT DAY REPORT 5/18: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV
May 18, 2008 - 9:50:29 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE JUDGMENT DAY PPV REPORT
May 18, 2008
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
They opened with video of Triple H in the prison uniform trying to break out of the cell walls. They transitioned to quick clips highlighting the top feuds coming into the PPV.
In-ring: We start with JBL's limo pulling up. Ross said he's not fond of the longhorns on the front of the limo. Early shot, but it's all right. I had a good feeling Cena vs. JBL would open, but I don't like the idea of Cena in the opener. Sure, they have to give plenty of breathing room for Cena and Hunter on the card, but Cena doesn't do opening matches. After a noticeable pause, Cena's music hit to a mix of boos and cheers. Mostly cheers once he came out. Ross factoid: Cena is undefeated at Judgment Day. A quarter of Taker's streak at 4-0.
1 -- JOHN CENA vs. JBL
After a brief feeling out process, JBL caught Cena's left arm across the top rope to begin a focused attack on the upper arm and shoulder. They did a spot where Cena tried to dead lift JBL from the mat into the air for a powerbomb, but Cena collapsed and couldn't execute the power move. He continued to sell the arm injury, setting up more attack from JBL. Cena then made a comeback at 6:00 with a shoulderblock and blockbuster. He went for the top rope guillotine, but JBL ducked out just in time to continue punishing Cena.
At 10:00, JBL kept Cena locked in a body scissors on the mat to stretch Cena's upper body. Cena powered to his feet, but JBL slapped on the Masterlock to slow Cena down. Cena broke the Masterlock and tried a quick FU, but his body collapsed and JBL fell to his feet out of harm's way. JBL followed with a boot to the head before slapping on another body scissors. Cena powered out of this one with a body slam, then both men reached their feet at seven to begin a right hand blow exchange. JBL won the exchange with a kick to the head before landing successive elbow drops to the small of the back.
At 15:00, JBL toyed with Cena by putting his boot into Cena's head. He then slowly picked up Cena and attempted a clothesline, but Cena ducked and nailed the FU out of nowhere. Cena with the pin for the win. Afterward, JBL was frustrated before leaving. Cena pulled himself together before celebrating in the ring.
WINNER: Cena in 16:00. They couldn't have done this one in the middle of the show, so it was good to capitalize on the crowd always being hot for the opening match for this kind of slow, methodical match. Fine showcase of how to tell this kind of story of underdog babyface vs. brawling heel. (**1/2)
Luxury suites: They showed William Regal sitting in the suites watching the action closely.
Announcers: Cole and Foley welcomed us to the show. Cole plugged text voting for Taker vs. Edge on who will win the title tonight. He sent it over to Adamle and Tazz. Adamle talked up ECW's standard one match per PPV, then Tazz sent it clips from the Dirt Sheet.
Dirt Sheet: They showed clips of Miz imitating Kane being lactose intolerant. Morrison mocked Punk for having backstage tickets to New Kids on the Block. Miz, mocking Kane, said he's afraid of monsters and wet his bed too.
In-ring: Morrison, then Miz walked out to the ring. They showed clips of Miz and Morrison getting the upper hand on the challengers on ECW this past week. Adamle tried to make an analogy to the Giants and Patriots, but it failed. Punk, then Kane walked out.
2 -- WWE tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. ECW champion KANE & C.M. PUNK -- WWE Tag Title match
Tony Chimel handled formal ring intros, with a few boos for Punk, before Punk and Miz started things off. Adamle said the champs have held the belts for five months. Usually that's the kiss of death. Challengers dominated the first part of the match, then Morrison made a blind tag and quickly attacked Kane's injured left knee. Audio is picking up a lot of in-ring chatter so far tonight. Punk took a hot tag at 5:00 and smashed Morrison with a high knee in the corner before landing a combo bulldog on Morrison and clothesline on Miz, who was on the apron. Nice spot. Punk then flew off the top rope with a clothesline on Morrison for a nearfall. He went for the G2S, but Miz interrupted and Punk knocked him to the floor. Kane gave Miz a chokeslam on the floor, but back in the ring, Morrison with the corkscrew neckbreaker on Punk. He made the pin for the win.
WINNERS: Morrison & Miz in 7:00. First off, this was Adamle's best call thus far on ECW. That's not saying a lot, but there were only a few frustrating moments here. Match was fine for giving the babyfaces plenty of offense to counter the loss, but the match won't be remembered by show's end. (*1/2)
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged HBK vs. Jericho for tonight. Its placement on the card probably means more storyline-oriented than focused on stealing the show. ... They aired a video package recapping the feud thus far, including Batista's foreshadowing words.
In-ring: Chris Jericho came out first. If he wasn't wearing the IC Title belt around his waist, I would have completely forgotten he's Intercontinental champion. Ross made it clear the following match is not about the title. Michaels's music hit to strong cheers. They had a faraway camera shot of some seemingly well-adjusted ladies doing crotch chops. Michaels came out to the ring full strength while Jericho looked him up and down.
3 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. IC champion CHRIS JERICHO -- non-title match
After Michaels finished his ring intro, Jericho stared him down like he just found out Michaels isn't Santa Clause. Ross and Lawler debated whether Michaels was duping everyone again on whether he's really hurt and pretending like he's not hurt. They quickly went into an exchange of pin attempts before Michaels applied the inverted figure four. Ross with the line of the night: "The Native American deathlock." Jericho broke free, then pointed his finger at Michaels. Suddenly, Michaels reached back and slapped Jericho hard across the cheek. Jericho got so mad, but Michaels simply smiled at him while Jericho yelled at him. Jericho's retaliation with a hard elbow smash drew boos. Crap, this might steal the show while being storyline-oriented.
Jericho sent Michaels upside down at 5:00, then he started his attack on Michaels. Jericho failed on a top rope superplex attempt, then Michaels tried to follow with a patented elbow smash, but Jericho got his knees up to block. The announcers referenced Michaels's injury on the announce table at WrestleMania while Jericho focused his attack on Michaels's midsection. At 10:00, Michaels scored with a patented flying forearm, then he kipped up, but Jericho smashed Michaels to the mat. He suddenly applied the Walls of Jericho in center ring, but Michaels crawled to the bottom rope for a break.
They went to the ring apron where Michaels suddenly smashed Jericho with sweet chin music, which knocked Jericho clear off the apron to the floor. Michaels could have won by count-out, but he opted to drag Jericho into the ring. He made a cover, but Jericho kicked out before three. Michaels then went up top and nailed an elbow smash. He gasped for air before tuning up the band. Jericho teased getting to his feet, but he never turned around to walk into the superkick. Michaels got frustrated, so Jericho took advantage by suddenly catching Michaels with the codebreaker. Jericho couldn't make a cover right away, then he finally made his way over to get a two count.
At 15:00, Michaels blocked a sidewalk slam and dropped Jericho to the mat for the crossface. Jericho fought the hold in center ring while Michaels cranked it on deeper, but Jericho twisted his way to the ropes for a break. Jericho quickly recovered and slingshot Michaels across the top rope. He went for the Lionsault, but Michaels got his knees up. No worries, as Jericho anticipated that and grabbed Michaels's legs for the Walls of Jericho. Jericho couldn't turn Michaels over, though, and Michaels suddenly leverage pinned Jericho for a three count.
Afterward, Michaels started to leave the ring, but Jericho caught his eye for a handshake. Michaels thought it over, then slowly returned to the ring. Michaels subtly gave Jericho control of this, as he tentatively walked over to Jericho step-by-step. Michaels reached out 90 percent, then Jericho went the other 10 percent for a post-match handshake. They each teased a post-match final move, but Michaels pulled away and left the ring. Ross said respect is earned.
WINNER: Michaels clean in 16:00. Heck of a singles match. I half-expected Batista to show up, but it was nice to see this end with a clean finish. Great drama with the TV storyline applied to the match. Best of both worlds. This type of one-on-one showcase is what TNA was missing last Sunday with all of their gimmick matches and last-second changes to the card. (****)
Backstage: Grisham brought in Mickie James to comment on her Women's Title match. She said Michaels won and Cena won, so she feels pretty good about things. Grisham asked Mickie how things went with John Cena last week. Mickie kinda thought it over, then casually said it went well and Cena is a nice guy. JBL suddenly interrupted and cast Mickie aside. He stared down Grisham and told Grisham to ask him a question about Cena. Grisham said Cena beat him, so what is he going to do in the future to get revenge. JBL stared down at Grisham and said he must not have ever been in a fight. He said he just beat Cena for 20 minutes and Cena is in the training room right now. JBL told Grisham that if he ever asks him another stupid, asinine question again, it will be Grisham's first and last fight. That's a textbook promo for the heel to get his heat back after a loss.
ECW PPV promo: Yes, there is another PPV in two weeks. No, it does not need to occur. ... In-ring: Beth Phoenix came out for the Women's Title match. They showed a clip of Beth killing Melina ass on Raw last week. Melina then came out and stared down Beth, who smiled back at her. Mickie James then came out to a strong reaction.
4 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. BETH PHOENIX vs. MELINA -- Women's Title match
Lillian Garcia handled the formal ring intros with Beth getting all boos. Melina had pretty much all boos. Mickie had all cheers. Ross said the match is first pin wins. The bell sounded and Beth held open the ropes. She told Melina to get out of her ring right now. Melina asked if that's so, then she walked over to Beth and kicked her in the gut to send Beth to the floor. Quick start, with Mickie following up with a roll up on Melina for a nearfall. Beth then yanked Mickie to the floor and nailed a hard clothesline. Back in the ring, Melina and Beth went at it. Mickie came back with a top rope splash on Beth for a nearfall, then a double-foot dropkick to the mush.
At 4:00, Beth grappled both Mickie and Melina in the corner. She set up this awesome-looking backbreaker with Mickie stacked on top of Melina on her shoulders. Looked awesome, but Beth didn't really do much with it, then everyone collapsed to the mat. Beth recovered and grabbed Mickie around the throat, but Melina took out Beth from behind with a neckbreaker. Beth rolled away, then Mickie dropped Melina with a DDT for the pin and the win to retain the belt.
WINNER: Mickie in 5:00 to retain the Women's Title. Man, I really wanted to see that go longer considering the talent in the ring. Beth's double backbreaker will be one of the memorable moments from the show. (*1/4)
Backstage: They showed Shawn Michaels taking his knee brace off. Batista then walked in and Michaels stood up. He repeated his vow to hurt Michaels if Michaels really wasn't hurt. He told Michaels that he's going to dictate when and how he injures Michaels. Batista said he's going to make him wait. Michaels simply stared back at home. Batista's Injury in the Bank > Punk's Money in the Bank.
Announcers: Cole and Tazz talked about the text voting. Taker received 85 percent of the vote on who will win Taker vs. Edge. Oh boy. Probably the same misguided people who were voting for Jason Castro all those weeks on Idol. ... A video package aired on the Taker vs. Edge feud revolving around Vickie Guerrero.
In-ring: Edge walked out alone for the title match. Cole talked about the numerous times the World Hvt. Title has been vacated in recent years. He said never before has the belt been stripped of a champion, however. Taker slowly did his ring entrance, which seemed to last longer than the Women's Title match.
5 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. EDGE -- Match for the vacant World Heavyweight Title
Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros with the crowd clearly for Taker. Cole and Foley finally get a match to call tonight. The match went in and out of the ring early on. At 8:00, Taker instinctively went for the triangle chokehold out of self-defense, but Charles Robinson made him stop the hold. Edge then tried to do Old School on Taker, but Taker slapped the legs out from under him and Edge found himself straddling the top rope. Taker then fired off a series of clotheslines in each corner. He then choketossed Edge into a corner before landing a big boot for a nearfall.
At 10:00, Taker went for Old School and connected with the axehandle smash. He called for the end, but Hawkins and Ryder ran to ringside to run distraction. Meanwhile, Edge removed the top turnbuckle padding. He then got caught in an attempted Last Ride, but Edge slipped out and nailed an elevated DDT for a nearfall. Edge missed with the spear, then Taker gave Edge the Last Ride powerbomb into a corner turnbuckle for a nearfall when Edge draped his foot on the bottom rope. They teased spots in the turnbuckle with the exposed steel, then Taker gave Edge snake eyes into the steel. Taker then ran off the ropes, but Edge caught him with a spear for a close two count.
At 15:00, they had a standing exchange of right hand blows. Taker seemed to be reeling, but he grabbed Edge around the throat and delivered a chokeslam. Taker couldn't make a pin right away, however. He then draped a hand over Edge's chest for a nearfall. Taker clotheslined Edge to the outside, then he rolled to the floor to follow. Taker took Edge over the guardrail to the front row with a clothesline while ref Charles Robinson began his ten count. Both men struggled back to the floor before Taker yanked Edge into the guardrail at eight. He then rolled into the ring and beat the ten count to win the match and the belt.
Fans didn't pop huge, as they expected a twist on the finish. Vickie Guerrero was wheeled out to huge boos. Huge boos. She kept trying to make an announcement, but the fans drowned her out. After a lengthy round of boos while Hawkins and Ryder tried to console her, Vickie tried to talk, but she got booed out again. She seriously could not talk over the boos. Just huge heat. She stopped and said again that she's here to make an announcement, which drew even louder boos.
Vickie said it's common knowledge a title can only be won by pinfall or submission. Therefore, the title remains vacant. Vickie told Taker he is not the new champion. Huge boos. Cole said he knows a title can't change hands by count-out or DQ, but there's nothing on a belt being won via one of those two ways. Taker threw down the belt, then grabbed Edge and yanked him into the ring. Taker dropped Edge with a Tombstone in center ring to a huge pop. Vickie then called Taker a son-of-a-b(bleep). Fans continued to boo Vickie while Hawkins and Ryder dragged Edge out of the ring. Taker then picked up the title belt and dropped it in center ring. He stared down at Edge, who was being dragged away from ringside.
WINNER: Taker by count-out in 17:00. So, pay another $40 for another World Hvt. Title match in two weeks. Yeah! Other than that, two things stand out. One is the huge heat for Vickie post-match. It's as if the fans were just going to keep booing until the PPV ended to prevent the inevitable announcement. Other thing that stands out is yet another awesome second-half to a Taker vs. Edge match. They have great chemistry and they delivered yet again. (***3/4)
Pre-taped promo: They showed Randy Orton standing in front of a red backdrop to talk about his title history. He said he's winning the belt tonight.
In-ring: MVP walked out to the ring much to Cole's surprise, as he was expecting the cage match for the title. Foley said he can't get over the stench of injustice from Vickie tonight. MVP started talking about the injustice of being left off the card tonight. He said like it or not, he is in the record books for having the longest U.S. Title reign in WWE history. MVP said it's bad for business for him to be left off the card, so he wants a match tonight. He asked for a top tier talent to show up and expel him from the ring. After a long pause with MVP asking for someone to show up, Matt Hardy's music hit. He walked out in street clothes and MVP told Hardy to walk on down here and bring him his title. Matt said he already proved he's better than MVP, so he has someone else to prove it. Fans figured it out and popped before Matt introduced Jeff to challenge MVP. Huge pop for Jeff, who did a victory lap around the ring before entering the ring to face MVP.
6 -- MVP vs. JEFF HARDY
Foley said they're in bind calling this because they don't like MVP, but he represents Smackdown. MVP quickly beat down Hardy and dominated the first five minutes. Hardy tried to come back with a back kick from the corner, but MVP put on the brakes and Hardy crashed to the mat in the corner. MVP continued to beat on Hardy until Hardy finally had some offense at 9:00 with a double foot kick in the corner. He then tried to finish off MVP with a top rope Swanton, but MVP moved out of the way. MVP tried the Chono boot, but Hardy countered into a drop toe hold. He then hopped up top and nailed the Whisper in the Wind on MVP for the quick pin and the win.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy in 10:00. They really slowed this one down. Made sense because it's MVP's style, but we didn't see much from Hardy in the first eight minutes. (**)
Video package: They aired clips from Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo" movie. He did an interview on making Rambo, which comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 27. ... A second video package aired on Triple H winning the WWE Title at Backlash three weeks ago.
In-ring: Randy Orton's new music hit and Orton strolled out to survey the cage. Geez, this music is just ugh. I guess it makes him more like a heel that you groan as soon as his music hits, but it's really annoying. Orton finally entered the cage and checked out the scene. After a noticeable pause, Hunter's music hit and he slowly walked out on stage. Maybe it's the lighting, but Hunter looks larger than he's been in a while. Ross inserted some history from 45 years ago when Bruno Sammartino beat Buddy Rogers in MSG to become WWWF champion. He said Hunter has held the belt more times than anyone else. Well, Bruno held that belt for eight years straight from '63 to '71. Heck, if they booked as many title changes back then as they have in the Attitude era to the current, Bruno would have been a 35-time champion. That's why Hunter's 12-time title deal or Dudleys with the 20-time tag title reigns is completely absurd as a statistic to be recognized.
7 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON -- WWE Title match -- Steel cage match
Match started with Hunter in control. Orton came up bleeding from the mouth at 3:00, then Hunter kicked him in the mouth. Orton came back with a quick kick to the gut before starting his prolonged attack. Still not sure why this match is in a cage to begin with, but it's not really helping the match seven minutes in. They showed Regal watching intently from the suites as Orton did his methodical stomp for a nearfall. Hunter then took out Orton's knee with a chopblock and slapped on a figure four. After Orton escaped, Hunter tried the Pedigree, but Orton back dropped out. He then did the crawl across the desert to the cage door to escape, but Hunter yanked him back inside. But, on the way back in, Orton managed to grab a chair that was on the floor. Orton measured Hunter, but Hunter blocked of course. He followed with a facebuster for a nearfall. Hunter then tried a chair shot, but Orton nailed him with a low blow. He then followed with a chair shot to Hunter's back and a DDT into the seat of the cage. Orton rolled Hunter over and made the cover for a two count.
At 13:00, Orton set up the chair in center ring. He wanted to RKO Hunter into the chair, but Hunter shoved him into the cage wall and nailed a drop toe hold into the seat of the chair. Hunter then knocked Orton off the cage wall and tried to climb over the cage, but Orton pulled him back down to the mat. He tried to escape, but Hunter recovered and tried to give Orton a Pedigree off the top turnbuckle. Orton shoved him off, however, and surveyed the scene. He hopped over the top of the cage and swung both legs over. Hunter quickly followed him and Orton's legs dangled in mid-air before Hunter pulled him back inside the ring.
Hunter powered up at 19:00 with a spinebuster. He then picked up the chair and set up Orton for the Pedigree, but Orton dropped him back-first onto the chair. Orton tried to punt Hunter in the face, but Hunter moved just in time. He then smashed Orton in the face with a chair shot. (Actually, Orton got both hands up to block, so it's not that bad. Well, actually on replay, it worked worse than live.) Hunter quickly capitalized with the Pedigree on the chair for the pin and the win. Afterward, Hunter stood tall on top of the cage to close the show.
WINNER: Hunter in 21:00 to retain the WWE Title. Just an OK cage match. The first-half was typical Hunter vs. Orton fare. Second-half was the traditional WWE cage spots with the tease of the heel climbing over the top before the babyface yanks him back into the ring and scores a pin using a weapon to win. Not a memorable main event, but it wasn't a disappointing match. Fans go home happy. (**3/4)
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