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CALDWELL'S WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS PPV REPORT 6/29: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV

Jun 29, 2008 - 9:45:56 PM

By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

June 29, 2008
Dallas, Tex.
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist

They opened with a video package on why the wrestlers sacrifice their bodies: to become a champion. Video then focused on the headline matches of Hunter vs. Cena and Edge vs. Batista.

Live: Jim Ross opened the show with a claimed attendance of 16,151. Ringside, Ross and Foley talked about the opportunity to become a champion tonight.

In-ring: Justin Roberts announced the first match for the WWE Tag Titles. Out came Miz & Morrison together, followed by Finlay and Hornswoggle.

1 -- WWE tag champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. FINLAY & HORNSWOGGLE -- WWE Tag Title match

Ross with plenty of old school references early on in this one. Foley with the obligatory World Class reference equating Hornswoggle's tadpole splash to coming off the top rope like a Von Erich. Hornswoggle was caught on the outside, but he snuck back into the ring and rolled up his sleeves to challenge the champs to a mini-fight. The distraction allowed Finlay to surprise them with a double clothesline, though. After a few minutes of the champs working on Finlay, Hornswoggle took a hot tag and landed offense before taking a knee to the back from Morrison. The champs then effectively built up sympathy for Hornswoggle by working him over in the corner. Finlay eventually took the hot tag at 8:00 and cleaned house. Challengers seemed to have the Celtic Cross and tadpole splash set up for the finish, but Miz knocked out Finlay from behind and Morrison threw Hornswoggle hard off the top rope. Morrison made the cover for the win.

WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 10:00 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Fine opening match. Tag champs clearly established themselves as jerks after building up sympathy for Hornswoggle, leading to a good finish for the champs to retain the belts and reinforce their characters. (*1/2)

Ringside: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler hyped the Raw brand title matches tonight. Lawler said tonight is truly historic between Cena and Hunter. They went back to WrestleMania 22 when Cena made Hunter tap out in the WWE Title match. Cole talked about Cena needing to win tonight to bring the title back to Raw. The text voting for tonight is whether Cena or Batista will bring a title back to Raw.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the U.S. Title match up next. Chavo Guerrero came out first with Bam Neely as Ross talked about the heritage of the Guerrero family and the United States Title. Hardy then came out to a very strong reception.

2 -- U.S. champion MATT HARDY vs. CHAVO GUERRERO -- United States Title match

As expected, Chavo went for the left knee to establish his offensive attack. At 5:00, Chavo wanted an early frog splash, but Hardy moved and nailed a clothesline when Chavo rolled through and popped to his feet. Hardy then avoided a clothesline and hit the side effect for a nearfall. He tried to follow with a move from the second rope, but Chavo yanked him to the mat and slapped on a half-crab. Chavo went for the Three Amigos suplexes, but Hardy suddenly countered the third into the Twist of Fate for the win. Nice. Afterward, ref Posey helped Hardy hobble to the back after the work on the knee.

WINNER: Hardy in 9:00 to retain the U.S. Title. Fine match. Nothing spectacular or memorable, but fundamentally sound. Looks like the makings of a good card tonight. Well, maybe except for the next match. (*3/4)

Ringside: They showed former Cowboys RB Tony Dorsett ringside. ... They showed a video package on the McMoney giveaway, culminating with the disaster to McMahon at the end of Raw. They cut to Adamle and Tazz ringside, where Adamle said the McMahon family will issue a public statement on Raw tomorrow night. They segued into talking about the ECW Title match, which was pretty appropriate considering WWE seemingly tried to kill off the brand with the Draft.

In-ring: Mark Henry came to the ring first for the ECW Title match. Adamle said the only thing missing from Henry's resume is a major championship. After they showed footage of Henry pinning Kane in a non-title match this week, Show came and stared down Henry. Kane then followed to defend the belt.

3 -- ECW champion KANE (Raw) vs. BIG SHOW (Smackdown) vs. MARK HENRY (ECW) -- ECW Title match

First match tonight with the formal ring intros. Adamle is all about the definite article, giving Big Show the label of simply "The Show." He then dated himself comparing this to Jurassic Park. Kane sold a knee injury on the outside, with doctors coming to ringside for a quick check on him. Adamle said Kane was injured at their broadcasting "thing." Tazz reminded him it's a table. After Henry and Show had a few minutes of sluggish action, Kane re-entered the match with a flying clothesline from the top rope on Henry. Kane and Show then battled, with Show landing a chokeslam in center ring for a close nearfall when Kane rolled a shoulder up just before three. Show wanted to go up top, but Kane blocked and landed a superplex after a struggle. Sick. Henry suddenly re-entered the picture and gave Kane a huge splash before making the cover for the win.

WINNER: Henry in 8:00 to capture the ECW Title. And so the belt stays on ECW. Match had an extended slow period between Henry and Show, but finished strong. Henry as ECW champion means we're in store for another round of slow-paced matches on Tuesday nights. (*1/4)

Backstage: Eve brought in Batista to talk about facing Edge for the World Title tonight. Batista said he's going to beat Edge tonight for the title and become the man on Raw. John Cena then entered the shot and shook Batista's hand. He told Batista that if he wins, he might not be the only champion on Raw. C.M. Punk then entered the scene and said he hopes both of them bring gold back to Raw because this briefcase is getting awful heavy.

In-ring: Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly came to the ring to defend the World Tag Titles. Ted DiBiase, Jr. then came out to some really crappy music about him being priceless. Not one of WWE's better creations. Lillian Garcia then tried to introduce his tag team partner, but DiBiase took the mic and said his partner just texted him that he's running late and ten minutes away from the building. DiBiase said they can start the match and his partner will show eventually.

4 -- World tag champs CODY RHODES & HARDCORE HOLLY vs. TED DIBIASE, JR. & ??? -- World tag title match

The bell sounded and Cody geared up to face DiBiase, but DiBiase asked for Holly. Cody reluctantly tagged out to Holly, then Cody turned on him with a spike DDT in center ring. DiBiase announced his tag partner as Cody Rhodes, then DiBiase tagged in. He slapped on the million dollar dream, then transitioned into a Russian legsweep for the pin and the win. The ref confirmed the outcome to Lillian, who made the announcement. Cody wasn't satisfied, so he announced new tag champs.

WINNERS: Rhodes & DiBiase in 2:00 to capture the World Tag Titles. Predictable, but a good start for the new heel tandem. Fine. (n/a)

Luxury suites: Todd Grisham welcomed in JBL from the luxury boxes atop the arena. JBL said it's his suite and he's shocked by this PPV being called Night of Champions and he's not on the card. Grisham shot back, "It's because you're not a champion." Someone grew a set. JBL turned and slowly took the mic from him. He said in a failing economy where people buy things they can't afford, he is a champion because he's the richest person in the entire WWE. JBL with a local heel promo about the lack of championships hanging from the rafters in Mark Cuban's arena. He touched off a nerve with a promo on the Cowboys losing to his New York Giants. JBL said it's only a matter of when, not if, he holds a title in the future.

In-ring: Lillian Garcia announced an IC Title match up next. Chris Jericho came out to defend his title, but with no opponent announced ahead of time. Jericho said as the currently-reigning champion, he was told to come to the ring to defend against a surprise partner. He said he knows it definitely won't be Shawn Michaels. They showed Lance Cade standing ringside in a vintage jacket. Jericho said Michaels couldn't be bothered to hop on a 30-minute flight because of his eye injury. He cut a promo about working through injuries and missing his children's birthdays to perform for an unappreciative audience. Jericho said he's only saving himself from now on. Suddenly, Kofi Kingston's music interrupted and Kofi came out as the challenger. Jericho was a bit curious by this.

5 -- IC champion CHRIS JERICHO (w/Lance Cade) vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- Intercontinental Title match

It will be weird not hearing Adamle call out Jamaican Me Crazy on Tuesday nights. I already miss it...slightly. Kofi showed off his athleticism early on, so Jericho bailed to the outside to catch a breather. Kofi then flew over the top rope with a splash in front of the broadcasting thing. Back in the ring, Jericho took control and worked over Kofi's mid-section. They picked up the pace when Kofi tried to come back with the boom-boom leg drop, but Jericho grabbed Kofi's legs into an attempted Walls of Jericho. Kofi escaped, though, and nailed a standing leg drop for a nearfall. Jericho cut him off with a clothesline, then landed a Lionsault. He didn't make a cover, however, and opted for the Walls of Jericho in center ring. Kofi was bent like a pretzel, then people in the crowd started screaming as Shawn Michaels ran through the crowd. After dropping Cade with sweet chin music, he hopped up on the apron. Jericho speared him off the apron into the guardrail, then he turned around and took the buzzsaw kick from Kofi. One...two...three, Kofi won the IC Title.

Post-match: Kofi took the belt and left the ring while Jericho collected himself in the ring. Medics checked on Michaels, who was still selling his eye injury. Jericho then approached Michaels on the entrance ramp as officials tried to separate them. He waited for refs to subtly part the red sea, then he smashed Michaels with a right hand to the injured eye. Michaels dropped to the floor and flopped around like a fish out of water as medics checked on his eye.

WINNER: Kofi in 11:00 to capture the IC Title. Good decision here. Kofi can develop as a viable mid-card babyface to be featured each week on TV. Jericho didn't need the belt for his feud with Michaels, so it was the right call. (**1/4)

Backstage: Vickie Guerrero and the wedding planner looked at roses. Vickie asked Edge for his opinion, but Edge wasn't exactly paying attention. Hawkins and Ryder then stepped in and Hawkins didn't exactly endear himself to Edge talking about what happened on Smackdown. Edge said he doesn't need help beating Batista tonight. He vowed to leave him beaten and empty-handed. The picture in the background with Edge and Vickie is simply...priceless. Sorry, couldn't help it.

Ringside: Cole and Lawler excitedly talked about a TV commercial spot with Vince McMahon and John Cena. Before fading to the "national debut" of the spot, Cole quickly tried to interject this was filmed before McMahon's injury. Lame. The spot focused on the Gillette product providing more comfort than the comparable Mach 3. Cena hit McMahon with a folding chair during the demonstration. Ya know, because it's the most-recognizable cliché from the Attitude era.

In-ring: Mickie James came out to defend the Women's Title. Katie Lea followed with big brother Burchill.

6 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. KATIE LEA (w/Paul Burchill)

Katie bailed to the outside early on to regroup with Paul. After Katie returned to the ring, Mickie gave her a double foot kick to the face. Katie came back with a suplex to set up her attack on Mickie's shoulder. During a silent stretch at 5:00, a few fans chanted, "You're a pirate" at Burchill ringside. Mickie came back with a head scissors on Katie, then wanted her leaping DDT finisher, but Katie applied a cross arm breaker. Mickie escaped, then slipped out of a suplex and nailed the leaping DDT for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Mickie James in 8:00 to retain the Women's Title. There were moments of good action here. Maybe slightly below expectations, but still a good showing. (*1/4)

Ringside: Ross and Lawler talked about the title changes that have occurred on the show thus far. The text voting revealed that fans believe Batista will bring a title back to Raw. 32 percent for Batista, 30 percent for Cena, and 31 percent for both will bring titles back. ... A video package aired on the Edge vs. Batista feud, dating back to Edge retiring Undertaker at the last PPV.

In-ring: Edge came out first to defend the title. After his music stopped, they paused for the audience to serenade him with tons of boos. Batista's music hit to a huge pop, then he came out to face to Edge. Ross: "Batista with Leviathan-like strength." Oh, nice. I suppose Cena is the Prototypical WWE champion.

7 -- World Hvt. champion EDGE vs. BATISTA -- World Heavyweight Title match

Justin Roberts handled the formal ring intros, with the bell sounding at 8:49 Central time. They're leaving a good hour for the two main events. Batista and Edge started off quickly, almost like they're having a 15-minute match. The action spilled to the outside where Batista rammed Edge into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Batista went to work on Edge until Edge caught him with a slam across the edge of the ring apron. Edge then dropkicked him across the ECW announce table to wake up Adamle, but Batista beat a ten count back into the ring.

Batista came back at 10:00 and this really turned into an excellent match with several nearfalls for both men following spears. Hawkins and Rider then wheeled Vickie to ringside for a closer look. Batista dropped Edge with a front powerslam, then he made a cover, but Vickie hopped out of her wheelchair and yanked the ref out of the ring to stop the count. Edge then smashed the ref with a right hand to knock him out. Announcers called for a DQ, but Vickie asked for another ref, then Chavo came out sporting a ref t-shirt with Bam by his side. Batista had enough and grabbed Vickie. He brought her into the ring, then press slammed Vickie over the top rope onto La Familia on the floor. Big pop for that. Batista turned around, though, and took a belt shot to the head from Edge. Chavo recovered and slipped into the ring to make a three count for the win.

Post-match: La Familia quickly skipped out from ringside and high-tailed to the back. Batista slowly recovered in the ring, half-way selling a head injury/concussion. He eventually left the ring while Foley asked why Vickie Guerrero still has a job.

WINNER: Edge in 16:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title. Excellent middle portion of this match with the crowd really into the back-and-forth action. In each big match, Edge constantly reinforces himself as one of the top wrestlers in the company. Batista was very good in what's become the rule and not the exception. An over-done finish to this one can be accepted after clean finishes prior to this match. (***1/2)

Backstage: Grisham caught up with Triple H, who was on the way to the ring. Hunter said he's going to do what he should have done two years ago. Someone spent some time in the tanning bed this week.

Video package: They focused on past major title matches and title memories in WWE, including Austin at WrestleMania 14 and Michaels at WM 12. They transitioned into Cena and Hunter trying to create a moment that transcends time tonight.

In-ring: John Cena came out first for the main event title match. Boos were louder than the cheers here. His music stopped and the high-pitched screams tried to drown out the boos. After a lengthy pause, Triple H's music hit with Cena pacing in the ring. Hunter slowly made his way to the ring before Lillian Garcia handled the formal ring intros. Boos for Cena. Strong mix of cheers for Hunter.

8 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match

Bell sounded at 9:21, giving them a good 20-25 minutes. They started off slow to set a deliberate pace for a lengthy match. After landing a hip toss, Hunter sent Cena a crotch chop. Some fans chanted, "You can't wrestle," which the high-pitched screams tried to drown out. Cena came back with a hard clothesline, then Cena returned the crotch chop with a showboaty salute. Hunter shoved him, so Cena tackled him and landed the fisherman suplex for a nearfall. Hunter then avoided a patented shoulder tackle and Cena fell to the floor, setting up Hunter's methodical attack on Cena. After blocking the you-can't-see-me, Hunter landed a high knee to the face. Cena came back with the mid-ring Blockbuster before going up top to kinda connect with the guillotine drop.

At 10:00, Cena took forever to wave his hand in front of Hunter for you can't-see-me, so Hunter played opossum and caught him with a knee smash. He landed a spinebuster, then wanted the Pedigree, but Cena flung Hunter over the top rope to the floor. Hunter immediately came up holding his right knee, then he switched to holding his left knee. Cena followed up on the outside by smashing Hunter's knee into the ring steps, then ringpost. Back in the ring, Cena wanted the STFU badly, but Hunter writhed and writhed to avoid the hold. Cena went for the FU, but Hunter countered with the Pedigree. He couldn't make an immediate cover with the knee pain, though, and Cena kicked out at two.

At 15:00, Cena waited for Hunter to get up and he nailed the FU. He couldn't make an immediate cover, though, and Hunter kicked out just in time. Both men slowly reached their feet and they exchanged wobbly-kneed boo/yeah right hand punches. Cena took the last few, but ducked a clothesline and nailed a sit-out slam. Cena caught his breath, then called for the Five Knuckle Shuffle for a third time. This time, he connected. Cena tried the FU, but Hunter blocked and went for the Pedigree. Cena blocked, though, and made a sweet counter into the STFU in center ring. Hunter tied to reach the ropes, but Cena pulled him back to center ring. Cena tied the STFU again, but Hunter countered into a modified crossface. Cena faded in the hold, but he powered up to his feet in FU position. Hunter elbowed out, then nailed the Pedigree. Hunter made the cover for the win to retain the title.

WINNER: Hunter in 20:00 to retain the WWE Title. That was a heck of a title match. The deal about Cena not being able to wrestle is a tired claim because he might not be Bryan Danielson in the ring, but he performs exactly what WWE expects for the main event heavyweight style aimed at a mass audience. (****)

Post-match: C'mon, Punk, cash it in! Hunter accepted his WWE Title belt, then hobbled in center ring with his knee pad lowered in pain. Cena then slowly walked out of the ring favoring his right arm. He turned back to look into the ring one last time before leaving through the curtain. Hunter celebrated in the corner while they replayed the highpoints of the match. No Punk tonight. Kofi is your top champion on Raw. Interesting.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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