PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE UNFORGIVEN REPORT 9/7: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV
Sep 7, 2008 - 9:55:57 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Unforgiven PPV Report
September 7, 2008
By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
The PPV started with a video package on the Michaels vs. Jericho feud to set the stage for tonight's theme of non-forgiveness. Live in the arena, Todd Grisham welcomed us to the show. They’re opening with the ECW Title scramble match. For the first time in forever on PPV, we have an ECW match guaranteed to go longer than two minutes. So, that's good. Matt Striker said there was a random order drawing earlier today to determine the order of participants. Matt Hardy came out first, followed by the hometown boy, The Miz. They're in the first five minutes.
1 -- ECW TITLE SCRAMBLE MATCH -- 20-minute time limit
Striker let us know that Pat Patterson came up with the Championship Scramble concept match, which he claimed we will enjoy for some time. In the first five minutes, Hardy and Miz exchanged control, then Miz hit the Reality Check, but Hardy rolled to the floor to avoid a pin.
At 5:00, Chavo Guerrero entered the ring and quickly dumped Miz to the floor. He then went up top and nailed the frog splash on Hardy to become the current ECW champion. Hardy then went on a tear and nailed the Twist of Fate on Miz to score a pinfall to become the current ECW champion. Chavo was knocked to the outside, then Hardy went to work on Miz.
At 10:00, the ECW champion entering the match, Mark Henry, came out ready to take out the trash. Henry quickly gave Chavo a big front slam and made the quick cover to re-capture his ECW Title. Miz wanted a piece, but Henry lifted him up into the air for a big slam. Henry then worked over Hardy leading up to the final five minutes.
At 15:00, Finlay sprinted to the ring with Hornswoggle, who quickly slid underneath the ring. Finlay worked over Henry with a flurry of offense and scored a few nearfalls. Henry wrapped him up in the bear hug, though, until Hornswoggle ran into the ring to run distraction. Finlay then landed a shillelagh shot to the head on Henry. Finlay and Hardy then dumped Henry over the top rope. Finlay turned on Hardy, though, and picked up the Celtic Cross for a pin to capture the ECW Title. Suddenly, Hardy came to life and nailed a Twist of Fate on Miz to score a pin to become ECW champion.
With 3:00 on the clock, Hardy waited for Henry to get into the ring. The action broke down with Hardy trying to play "fireman" of breaking up pinfalls as the current champion. Of note, Miz was bleeding profusely from the left eye at this point. Hardy continued to break up pins with 35 seconds left, then he dumped folks out of the ring. And time finally expired with the men in desperation mode to score a pin, giving the ECW Title to Matt Hardy.
WINNER: Hardy in 20:00 to capture the ECW Title. Well, it had its moments, but it came across like a pretty cheap way for Hardy to capture the belt. At least it will set up the Henry vs. Hardy return match where Atlas can't interfere or else he'll cost Henry the title. (*3/4)
They aired a promo for WrestleMania 25 in Houston tickets going on-sale Sept. 25. ... Striker and Grisham narrated a recap of the title match with Hardy picking up the win.
Backstage: Matt hugged it up with Jeff and told him to get the Hardy clean sweep tonight.
Split-screen: They showed Triple H and C.M. Punk warming up backstage with tension on their faces after the incumbent Henry lost the ECW Title in the opening match.
Text voting: Should Big Show be allowed in the Championship Scramble?
2 -- World tag team champions CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE, JR. vs. CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & J.T.G.) -- World Tag Title match
Oh my, Michael Cole said pro wrestling on a WWE broadcast. Deal is that Cody Rhodes has "Prince of pro wrestling" on his new black trunks. Cryme Tyme quickly started the match with a double-team maneuver of Shad chucking JTG over the top rope onto the champs, who were regrouping on the floor. After the champs worked over CT for 10 minutes, Shad took a hot tag and the action broke down. Cody surprised Shad with a DDT behind the ref's back, then DiBiase rolled on top of Shad for a pin, but Shad managed to get a foot on the bottom rope.
Cody demanded a tag, then he lined up Shad for a boot to the head, but Shad popped to his feet and nailed a clothesline. JTG then took a tag and the action broke down again. JTG had Cody rolled up, but DiBiase wisely reversed the leverage to push Cody on top of JTG for the pin and the win to retain the tag titles. Cody and Ted then pulled an A.J. Styles and couldn't take their win without having to brag in front of Cryme Tyme. A brawl broke out, then a new Wild Samoan stormed the ring to back up Cody and Teddy. They cleared Cryme Tyme to stand tall. Looks like another second-generation wrestler joining the stable.
WINNERS: Rhodes & DiBiase in 12:00. Slow-paced match that was heavy on Rhodes and DiBiase working on JTG, as expected. Just fine, but not memorable other than the post-match debut. (*1/2)
Backstage: They showed Shawn Michaels getting his left elbow taped up. Trainer told him that he's running the risk of tearing the tendon off the bone. ... They cued up the video package on the Michaels vs. Jericho feud, which means the match is already occurring.
3 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- Unsanctioned match
Lillian Garcia announced ahead of time that both Jericho and Michaels have signed a Hold Harmless agreement with neither man nor WWE held responsible for anything that occurs tonight. As Michaels came to the ring after Jericho, Cole said that Michaels told him to look up Joshua 6:20 from the Bible, which says the Walls of Jericho are coming down. Michaels charged the ring to start things off and he quickly used his boot as a weapon while wincing in pain from his arm injury. They spilled to the outside and into the front row with Jericho coming up bleeding from the nose. Michaels then went for a chair shot to the head, but Jericho ducked and started his offensive attack. Jericho landed a DDT on the floor, then he took Michaels into the ring for a chair shot to the back.
Michaels then made his comeback at 9:00 with a big flying elbow smash from the top rope from a pretty good distance. Michaels tuned up the band at 10:00, but he stopped short and said that's not good enough. Michaels then punched away at Jericho's head before landing successive elbow smashes to the back of the head. He slapped on a Crossface, but Jericho lifted him in the air to fling Michaels into a chair wedged in the turnbuckles. Jericho began his attack, focusing on the previously injured eye. Jericho nailed successive right hand blows to the face, then slapped on the Walls of Jericho. Michaels wanted a rope break, but there is no break in an Unsanctioned match. Suddenly, Michaels found a fire extinguisher while in the hold and sprayed Jericho in the eyes to break the hold.
Michaels then used the extinguisher as a weapon to knock Jericho to the floor where he rammed him into the guardrail on the entrance ramp. Suddenly, Lance Cade came running down the ramp and Michaels blasted him with right hand blows. Michaels then blasted Jericho with a running fist smash near the ring. Cade wasn't done, though, and he came back with a jab to the injured triceps before clotheslining Michaels on the entrance ramp. Jericho and Cade then tried to inflict direct punishment on the injured part. Michaels was great selling the injury and drawing sympathy here. Jericho and Cade then set up Michaels's triceps inside a chair, but Michaels kicked Cade away, causing Jericho to be crotched. Cade tried to charge Michaels, but Michaels smashed him with Sweet Chin Music at 20:00.
Michaels picked up the chair, then he smashed Jericho in the face and Jericho fell off the top turnbuckle through the table on the floor below. Fortunately, Jericho got his hands up to absorb the blow of a chair to the head. His wrists are going to be hurting, though. Michaels went to the floor and used his one good arm to swing the chair repeatedly into Jericho's body. Michaels, enraged, then placed Jericho and Cade on top of the Raw announce table. Michaels went back into the ring, then climbed up top. He measured both men, then came flying off the top with an elbow smash onto both men through the table. Michaels came up with fire pounding his chest, then he sat down against the ring starting to cry as Cole called the intense moment.
Back in the ring at 25:00, Michaels took off his belt and circled around Jericho after dragging him back into the ring. Michaels whipped Jericho across the back several times as Lawler made a point of Michaels trying to think of what else he could do to inflict more punishment on Jericho. Michaels then walked over and knelt down by Jericho. It was almost a compassionate hug, but then he wrapped Jericho's arms in a way where he couldn't defend himself and smashed Jericho with repeated right hand blows to the head. Michaels paused, then he went back for more landing more left hand blows to the point of the ref calling for the bell with Jericho completely out cold.
After Lillian Garcia announced Michaels as the winner, Michaels stepped back to look at Jericho's lifeless body. Nearly in tears, Michaels went back for more blows to Jericho's head. Ref pulled him away, but Michaels remained in the ring. He then gave ref Marty the Sweet Chin Music. Michaels convulsed, then several refs stormed the ring to separate Michaels from Jericho, who remained out cold. Michaels then dropped down to his knees and stared at the scene before him with a bewildered look of passion mixed with remorse. Michaels's music hit as medics checked on Jericho, who wasn't moving. More tight camera shots of Michaels's torn soul appearing on his countenance. After they replayed the finish, Michaels was shown leaving the ring while looking back to his work in the ring.
WINNER: Michaels via ref stoppage in 28:00. What a story. Just right in line with TV, as the story didn't follow a traditional pro wrestling storyline, but it was at a higher level in terms of psychology and intensity. Tough to rate this one based on traditional wrestling standards, but the story was so advanced that it will be remembered at the end of the year. (****1/2)
Backstage: Cody, Teddy, and Wild Samoan Manu were celebrating in the locker room. Randy Orton then walked in and they tried to sell themselves to Orton, who listened until ripping into them for accomplishing absolutely nothing because they were lucky tonight. Orton said he's not impressed and they can go celebrate a lucky win or do something about it to where their skill, not luck, carries them.
4 -- WWE TITLE SCRAMBLE MATCH
Jeff Hardy and U.S. champion Shelton Benjamin started off Smackdown's scramble match for the WWE Title. Plenty of leverage pin attempts early on, but no pinfall for either man. The Brian Kendrick, along with Ezekiel, came out as the third man in the match. TBK took his sweet time entering the fray, which showed his higher level of intelligence. Hardy and TBK had a battle once Kendrick entered the ring, and Hardy busted out a sick reverse-flip powerbomb on Kendrick to score a pin to become current WWE champion.
Just before 10:00, TBK returned the favor by nailing Sliced Bread #2 on Jeff Hardy to become current WWE champion. Kendrick celebrated, then MVP came out as the fourth man in the ring. TBK and Hardy were quickly dumped to the floor, setting up MVP and Shelton to battle in the ring. MVP wanted the drive-by on Shelton, but TBK came out of nowhere with a sick high-kick on MVP that popped the crowd. Hardy then stacked up MVP and Shelton in the corner for the double-foot thrust kick on both men.
And at 15:00, it was time to play The Game against The Brian Kendrick as the current WWE champion. Hunter cleaned house, then he dropped TBK with a big Double A spinebuster in center ring. After dumping MVP to the floor, Hunter measured Kendrick for the Pedigree and connected. He quickly rolled over Kendrick and picked up the pin with 4 minutes remaining. Hunter and Shelton ended up on the outside, allowing Jeff to nail the Twist of Fate on MVP at 2:50 to pick up the pin and become current WWE champion.
Hardy then went up top, but Hunter crotched Hardy on the top turnbuckle. Hunter then quickly picked up TBK and gave him the Pedigree a second time for another pin to become WWE champion at 2:00. Meanwhile, Hardy with the Swanton on TBK to pick up the pin behind Hunter's back. Hunter wanted a Pedigree on Hardy, but Hardy dumped Hunter to the floor. Hardy splashed Hunter on the floor with 1:15 left.
Back in the ring with 1:00 left, MVP and Kendrick battled. Suddenly, oh my, Shelton did a cat leap over MVP onto Kendrick for a big Tower of Doom spot. Hardy then slipped into the ring and gave MVP the Whisper in the Wind. He then nailed Shelton with the Swanton with 20 seconds left. Hunter re-emerged with 15 seconds left and nailed the Pedigree on MVP, but he couldn't make a cover. He then made the cover while Hardy stared at him. Instead of breaking up the pin, Hardy tried to cover Shelton and Hunter picked up the pin on MVP with one second left to retain the WWE Title.
Afterward, Hunter called Jeff's name and brought him to center ring. Hardy said he was right there, then Hunter told him he was that close. Hardy wanted a handshake and Hunter quickly shook his hand before leaving the ring. Ross and Tazz narrated a replay of the finish with the announcers trying to cover for Jeff that he was hurt after the Swanton Bomb and couldn't break up Hunter's pin. They showed Hardy kneeling in the ring in thought about how close he was to the win.
WINNER: Hunter in 20:00 to retain the WWE Title. Very nice concept match. Kendrick has a star-making performance despite the near-comedic double Pedigrees from Hunter, while the focus on Hardy created a nice moment for Hardy to continue his journey toward the WWE Title. Really nicely done with a good dose of athleticism, fresh faces, and close action. (***1/2)
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Shawn Michaels to talk about contentment. Michaels said this is the first PPV in three months where he hasn't spent the night in the hospital. He said he's going to clean up, pack his bags, get on a plane, and go home. Michaels said he's going to get in bed with his wife tonight and comfort his family. "Am I content?" he asked rhetorically. "Yeah. Do I feel a sense of closure? No. No. If I had my choice, I would do what I did to Chris Jericho tonight every night for the rest of my life. He's awoke something inside of me that I don't think I can control. I don't know if I want to. Chris Jericho - the worst is definitely yet to come."
Backstage: Eve brought in C.M. Punk to talk about his Championship Scramble match. Randy Orton interrupted and said the guy holding the title is an absolute fluke. Punk said it just wouldn't be a night if the bitter, injured champion didn't show up to interrupt. He noticed Orton without the sling, but Orton said he's still injured. Orton wanted to continue the conversation from Raw, but Punk said his focus is on retaining his World Title tonight. Suddenly, Cody and DiBiase jumped Punk from behind and threw him into a catering table. Kofi tried to make the save for Punk, but they beat him down. Orton then landed the big punt on Punk, who slumped to the ground. Orton said that - that was impressive.
5 -- Divas champion MICHELLE MCCOOL vs. MARYSE -- Smackdown divas match
Match moved to the floor early on, then Maryse dumped Michelle over the guardrail to the floor. She made one guy's day - or possibly life - by touching the guy's leg to help herself back to her feet. Back in the ring, Maryse went after the left knee with a chopblock before showing off her healthy hair in a heelish way. Maryse continued her attack until Michelle landed a foot to the face for a nearfall. Michelle tried a suplex, but her knee buckled. Maryse couldn't capitalize, so Michelle landed a pancake suplex on her second attempt to score a pin for the win.
WINNER: Michelle in 6:00 to retain the Divas Title. Crowd was a little tough on the divas, who put together a nice match. Wasn't great or memorable, but they held their own in the ring. (*1/4)
Text voting: 77 percent of people believe Big Show should have been allowed in the Smackdown scramble match.
On-stage: Mike Adamle came out on stage and said it appears that C.M. Punk may not be able to compete. He said that if Punk cannot compete, he will have no alternative but to find a suitable replacement. Streeeetch. Adamle assured us that Raw's five-man scramble will take place tonight.
In-ring: After Adamle disappeared, Big Show came to the ring dressed to wrestle. Show made a suggestion that if Adamle needs a suitable replacement, he should look no further than himself. After bashing Vickie Guerrero's management of Smackdown, Show gave a Smackdownyourvote pitch in relation to the Mobile Text voting. He polled the live audience, which applauded. He thanked them, then his music hit. Vickie Guerrero then walked out before Show could leave. Show smiled, then Vickie asked Show if he has trouble understanding English. Vickie called him a big, dumb giant who can't understand instructions, which drew Show's ire. Vickie told him to go back where he belongs, but the druid entrance music hit causing a big laugh from Show.
Druids wheeled a casket down the entrance ramp to the ringside area while Show just couldn't help but crack up with laughter. Show told Vickie that she's going right inside the casket. Undertaker then appeared on the video screen and told Vickie that he's coming for her and that coffin will be her final resting place. Taker asked Vickie if she will go voluntarily or if he has to come to ringside and kill her. Wonderful. Show joked around with Vickie, then Taker's entrance started to play. As Taker walked to the ring, Vickie tried to leave, but Show subdued her and took her back into the ring. Taker then opened the casket and walked into the ring.
Taker slowly stalked Vickie, who was being held by Taker, then Show suddenly turned on Taker with a right hand smash. Vickie retreated to a corner in the ring while Show continued to smash Taker with hard right hand blows to Taker's body. Show rammed Taker hard into the ringpost, then he put a dent in the casket with Taker's body. Show tipped over the casket before continuing his assault on Taker on the outside. Back in the ring, Show landed one clean blow to the jaw that knocked Taker over on his back. Show called Vickie over, then Vickie slapped Taker in the face before spitting at him. Taker slumped to the mat, then Vickie and Show slowly left the ring together. Crowd was stunned in silence. Nice segment for Show's heel turn that's been needed for a while.
Video packages: They focused on Randy Orton taking out C.M. Punk earlier in the show. ... Backstage, the camera "found" Adamle talking to William Regal, who tried to throw his name in the ring to replace Punk. Adamle said he will take it under advisement.
6 -- RAW CHAMPIONSHIP SCRAMBLE MATCH
JBL and Batista are starting things off, with the PPV set to end about five minutes before the top of the hour, which would be one of WWE's longest PPVs in a while. They went about four minutes before Kane came out as the third man in the mix. The big men had a typical big-man battle that dulled the crowd's senses. Kane teased the chokeslam at 6:00, but Batista blocked and teased the Batistabomb, only to have JBL kick him in the head. Kane then ducked a Clothesline from Hell and nailed a chokeslam on JBL to become World Hvt. champion.
At 8:00, Rey Mysterio came out as the fourth man in the match. Rey had a crazy Mohawk going on underneath his mask. He quickly dropkicked Kane over the top rope to the floor, then he gave JBL a spinning head scissors. Kane hopped on the apron and avoided the 619 before blasting Rey with a clothesline. Rey covered, though, and Batista launched him off his shoulders with a big splash on Kane. Batista and Rey set up the shoulder-splash one more time, but Rey suddenly turned it into a spinning victory roll on Batista for a nearfall. Batista and Ray talked out their differences, but JBL attacked Rey and Batista.
At 12:00, Chris Jericho's music hit. Eh? Jericho limped out to the ring clutching his body in pain while the wrestlers in the ring looked shocked. And the 5:00 clockdown clock started. Jericho sold the injuries to the point where he couldn't make it to the ring as he held his body in pain. Batista unleashed spears on Rey, then Jericho, before measuring Kane for a powerslam. Rey then played a pesk by breaking up Batista's pin attempts on various opponents. Batista had enough and wanted a Batistabomb, but Rey slipped out and gave JBL the 619. Kane still champ right now. Suddenly, Rey wanted a springboard move, but Batista smashed him to the floor.
With 1:30 left in the deal, Kane went up top and nailed a clothesline on Batista. He made a cover for some reason, but it was only good for a two count. Kane wanted a chokeslam, but Batista speared Kane out of nowhere. He called for the end, then Batista gave him a spinebuster for a three count with 36 seconds left. Batista is the champ with no one moving except for Batista. Rey suddenly tried to attack Batista, which allowed Jericho to sneak into the ring and cover Kane's lifeless body to score the pin and become new World Hvt. champion as time expired.
Afterward, Batista could only pound his fists on the mat in frustration while Jericho sneered like an angry villain with barely any life in his body. Jericho celebrated with the title belt in hand, then Batista left the ring in frustration.
WINNER: Jericho in 18:00 to become World Hvt. champion. Well, that sets up some amazing TV between Jericho and Michaels, who thought he got the best of Jericho tonight. Sucks for Punk, who wasn't even a factor in the conclusion of his first World Title reign, but the Orton vs. Punk feud could be a strong part of TV going forward this fall. Match wasn't that good with a lot of sluggish moments, but Jericho's surprise win made up for it. (**)
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here.
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