PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE BACKLASH PPV REPORT 4/26: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Cena vs. Edge, McMahons vs. Orton
Apr 26, 2009 - 9:50:59 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE NO WAY OUT PPV REPORT
April 26, 2009
The PPV opened with a video package recapping the top feuds of Edge vs. John Cena and the McMahons vs. Team Legacy. ... Live in the arena, Jim Ross welcomed us to the show with a quick recap.
In-ring: Christian came out first to challenge for the ECW Title. Christian pointed to the peeps on the way to the ring to indicate it's time. Michael Cole then welcomed us to the show calling the Raw matches. Well, actually, it's just Cole, Ross, and Jerry Lawler calling the action tonight. They went to a wide shot of Christian in the ring to show the arena while the announcers set the stage. ECW champion Jack Swagger then came out telling the Swaggerpeeps that it's time right now.
1 -- ECW champion JACK SWAGGER vs. CHRISTIAN -- ECW Title match
Christian scored with a brief amount of offense early, then Swagger slowed own the pace with some mat-based offense before applying a lengthy bear hug. Christian broke free, but Swagger put him up in the air. Christian avoided a backbreaker, but Swagger wrapped him up with a gutbuster for a two count. Christian tried another comeback with the lean-back leg kick in the corner, but Swagger kneed him in the gut. Christian then blocked a Vader bomb and Christian prepped a comeback. He hit a DDT in center ring, but Swagger kicked out just before three. Match moved to the ring apron where Swagger teased a German suplex, but Christian blocked and flipped Swagger back into the ring. Swagger crotched him, though, and flipped him to the mat. Swagger then went all the way up top for a top rope Vader Bomb, but Christian kicked out before three.
At 10:00, Christian scored a real close nearfall when he blocked a running powerslam into a victory roll. Swagger became frustrated with his inability to put away Christian, so he went to the top rope and loosened the pad. Meanwhile, Christian did the same on the other side. Christian then rammed Swagger head-first into the exposed steel and grappled a stunned Swagger for the Killswitch in center ring. Christian made the cover to win the ECW Title.
WINNER: Christian at 10:55 to capture the ECW Title. Nice match. Would have liked to have seen 15 minutes, but it was still a very good opening singles match. Crowd needed some time to get warmed up, but they bought into the nearfalls at the end. (**3/4)
Backstage: After a video package on the Best of the '90s DVD, Christian was shown hugging it up backstage with Evan Bourne, Tommy Dreamer, and Finlay. Christian then spotted someone off in the distance. Christian slowly walked off to reveal...Edge. Five second pose? Nope. Edge asked Christian if he thinks he's better than him now. Christian asked Edge what happened to him. You used to be fun, man! Edge said he used to be a lot of fun until one person, John Cena. Edge said Cena changed him. He turned him into this bitter, raving lunatic. Actually, it was Matt Hardy, but that's too far back in WWE history. Edge said he'll be fun again when he wins the World Title and gets rid of Cena forever.
In-ring: Chris Jericho came out for the second match of the show as the announcers talked up the Jericho vs. Legends program. Cue up Ricky Steamboat's music to face Jericho. Ross said the last time Steamboat participated in a PPV singles match was 15 years ago at the Bash of the Beach against Steve Austin for the U.S. Title.
2 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT
Steamboat played cat and mouse early on as Ross talked about calling some of Ricky's best matches of his career against Ric Flair. Steamboat nailed a plancha on the floor, then took Jericho back into the ring for a round of chops and a deep arm drag. "You still got it" was the chant from the crowd as Steamboat continued on the advantage. Steamboat pulled out another deep arm drag, prompting "Vintage Steamboat!" from Cole. Ah yes, vintage Cole. Jericho then reversed a whip to the ropes and tried to chuck Ricky to the floor, but Ricky skinned the cat back into the ring. Jericho then clotheslined him right back over the top rope to begin his offensive attack at 3:30.
Jericho tried to work over Steamboat on the mat, then Steamboat shoved Jericho into the corner to block a running bulldog. They went up top together and Steamboat executed a textbook backdrop suplex for a two count. Steamboat then fired off a series of martial arts chops and thrusts, but Jericho kicked out. Steamboat nailed a powerslam out of the corner that Cole called a scoop slam. Okay, I'll let the "superplex" instead of a "backdrop suplex" go, but not the second botched move call. Jericho then came back with a bulldog and he wanted a Lionsault, but Steamboat grappled him for the electric chair. Jericho rolled through, though, and slapped on the Walls of Jericho in center ring.
Steamboat reversed at 10:00 and went for a figure four. Took him a second to lock it in, then Jericho sold the hold to make it clear Steamboat had the figure four locked in. Jericho then rolled to the ropes to get a break. Steamboat went up top, Jericho tried to charge, but Steamboat moved and went up top for a crossbody block and a close two count. Steamboat went to the second rope for a dive, but Jericho caught him in mid-air for the codebreaker. Jericho didn't make an immediate cover, then he did, and Steamboat draped his foot across the bottom rope. Jericho argued that it was a three count, then Steamboat rolled him up out of nowhere for a close two count.
Jericho went back to the Walls of Jericho and he slapped it on center ring. Jericho locked it in and squeezed and Steamboat had no choice but to tap out. Jericho locked it in an extra few seconds to make his point, then he released and left the ring. Post-match: Jericho walked to the back and Steamboat took a curtain call in center ring. He pointed to the announce table and clapped toward Ross and Lawler.
WINNER: Jericho at 12:32. Great singles match. Steamboat looked great and Jericho worked a very smart heel match. I don't think Jericho lost anything by giving Steamboat a lot of offense and Steamboat had a fitting send-off, assuming it's a send-off. Steamboat can still go in the ring. Flat out, no doubt. (***1/2)
Backstage: Santino was pacing around the ring, then Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes walked in. Santino pretended to be on the phone with Santina before Beth confronted Santino on just admitting that he dressed as Santina to win the Miss WrestleMania contest. She accused Santino of being stubborn. Santino accused her of being jealous of a younger diva like Santina. They argued about who's kissing the Great Khali tonight, then Beth gave him an ultimatum that no more kissing. She walked off with Rosa, then Santino tried to one-up her that when they're in the beds, he ah fakes you-know-a-what.
In-ring: Kane came out to face C.M. Punk as the announcers talked about Punk and Kane battling for the MITB briefcase at WrestleMania 25.
3 -- C.M. PUNK vs. KANE
They went to the floor early on and Kane teased a chokeslam, but Punk landed on the apron in mid-air to kick Kane. Back in the ring, they had a battle for control. Kane shoved Punk across the ring into the corner, then he dropkicked Punk's back into the base of the ringpost. Punk wanted to make a comeback, but Kane blasted him with a clothesline. Kane wanted a chokeslam, but Punk countered with a single-arm DDT. Punk then executed the high knee lift/running bulldog for a nearfall. Punk went up top and Kane met him with an uppercut for a nearfall. Punk then came back with a cross-arm breaker, but Kane powered to his feet for a sidewalk slam. Punk then tried to come back with a round of kicks, but Kane blocked a kick and lifted Punk up for a chokeslam while Punk had one leg in the air. Kane made the cover for the win.
WINNER: Kane at 9:25. Above-expectations singles match. They laid out a good match to break up the monotony and focus on Kane's power. Shows WWE still has confidence in Kane as a top act, and now he'll be on Smackdown to see what he can do in that role after exhausting potential feuds on Raw. As for Punk, well, there goes the Mania momentum. (**1/2)
Video package: They aired an extended video on the implosion of the brotherly relationship between Matt and Jeff leading to tonight's presumptive blow-off match in the I Quit match. Jeff Hardy then came out first for the match. No face paint tonight. Matt Hardy then slowly made his way to the ring. Lawler with a great piece of analysis that Jeff opted to focus more on the match tonight by not sitting down and putting on the facepaint, which takes a great deal of time. Yes it does.
4 -- JEFF HARDY vs. MATT HARDY -- I Quit match
Sign on the front row: "I want Hardy to win." So subtle. Jeff knocked Matt to the floor early on and landed a plancha. Back in the ring, Jeff landed a top rope leg drop and asked Matt if he wants to give it up. Matt whispered, "No" and Jeff went back to work. Jeff wanted a top rope move, but Matt shoved him off the top rope into the guardrail on the floor. Matt then scooped up Jeff off the floor and wrapped his left knee around the ringpost. Jeff refused to quit, though. Back in the ring, Matt slapped on a figure four and Jeff shouted, "Forget it!" Matt went back to work on the left knee as the crowd chanted for tables. Matt then went back to the figure four, but Jeff refused to quit. Crowd came to life in the middle of a resthold as something was going on in the arena. Seemed like a fight on the hard camera side. Perhaps Patriots fans fighting over the fifth round NFL Draft pick.
At 10:00, Matt continued to tear Jeff apart, but Jeff wouldn't quit. Jeff flung Matt off the top rope, then hit a Whisper in the Wind that knocked both men down. Jeff tried to follow with a Texas Cloverleaf, but Matt refused to quit after crying about it. Jeff released the hold then nailed the Twist of Fate. Jeff went up top and connected with the Swanton Bomb in center ring. Matt wouldn't quit, though. Jeff then nailed another Swanton Bomb. After the second one, Jeff went under the ring and he grabbed the table the fans wanted. Matt took the table into the ring, then Matt rolled to the outside to avoid wood. Jeff followed, blocked a ToF, and nailed a Twist of Fate of his own on the floor.
Back in the ring, Jeff placed Matt on the table and went back under the ring to retrieve some duct tape. Uh-oh. Jeff tied Matt's ankles together, then he tied Matt's arms together as Matt remained out cold on the table. Jeff had another survival tool: a rope. Jeff tied up Matt to the table, apparently showing off his Boy Scouts training, and he yanked the rope tight to put Matt in the straightjacket. Waterboarding, anyone? Sorry, too soon?
Jeff then pulled out a ladder and told Matt what he would do if Matt didn't say I Quit. Matt pleaded with Jeff, then Jeff set up the ladder. "I'm sorry, Jeff, I'm sorry, Jeff!!!" Matt shouted as Jeff climbed one rung at a time up the ladder. "Jeff, I'm sorry about everything," Matt said to boos. Matt said he loves him and told him to listen. "We're brothers, Jeff." Matt talked about the strongest bond being brothers. He told him not to listen to the fans, who only get him in trouble. Jeff stood on the ladder as Matt played the "mom's in Heaven and wouldn't like this" card. He said dad wouldn't like this either. Jeff then stood on top of the ladder ready to fly and Matt said, "I Quit." Fans popped, then booed because they wanted to see Matt eat wood. Jeff climbed down one rung, then he surprised everyone with his split-legged splash over the ladder through the table on Matt anyways. Matt posed over Matt to put the finishing touches on the feud.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy at 19:01. Good integration of the storyline into the match after a slow first-half of the match. I liked this one better than their WrestleMania match, where they jumped into the weapon use way too early. They built to the weapon use at the end and delivered a strong conclusion to the feud, presuming this was the blow-off. As for where they go from here, Jeff gets the final word and is in position for a strong singles push on Smackdown with this possibly being a negotiations tactic from WWE to get him to re-sign a long-term deal. Matt probably shifts to the mid-card on Raw, but that remains to be seen. (***)
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Randy Orton for an interview. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase walked around in the background as Grisham set up his questioning. Orton said he doesn't want to talk about Triple H and Shane McMahon. He wanted to talk to Batista. He said he's been his own man for a while, but Dave is still carrying bags for Triple H after all these years. Orton told Batista not to get DQ'ed tonight because he wouldn't want Triple H to lose his title. That's what's important, right? Orton said after all these years, it's still all about The Game for some people anyways.
In-ring: Runjin Singh led Great Khali to the ring for the Khali Kiss Cam. Singh told Santina to hurry on out and experience a real woman. Rico's music hit and Santina came out playing bashful as the apparently unaware Khali sold excitement. Santina said she would love to kiss Khali, but she's not who she says she is. Khali demanded an explanation. Santina said she's been trying to pass as something she's not ... a single girl. "I'm in love with another man!" Santina said. She said to kiss Khali would betray everything she stands for. Khali didn't get it. Or, whatever. Who is it?
Santina stammered and stammered before blurting out, "J.R." Cut to a shot of Jim Ross at the broadcast table looking so excited to be part of this storyline. "I love you so much," Santina said. "Good for you," Ross said. Lawler chuckled as Ross tried to play it cool. Singh translated that Khali totally understands and he no longer requires a kiss...provided that Santina proves her love...by kissing J.R. right now. "C'mon, Mr. BBQ man," Cole said. Ross mocked Cole then shot back, "Who fed you that line?" Whammo, score one for Ross on Vince McMahon in the headset.
This dragged on forever as Santina pretended to be fainting. Beth Phoenix's music interrupted and she stormed out with Rosa. She's sick and tired of this going on. Beth said Santina never should have been in the battle royale and she wants to challenge for the Miss WrestleMania crown. Khali objected to this occurring, then Beth cut a promo on Khali for being an idiot. Khali smiled down at Beth, then he gave her a playful chop to the top of the head. He then lightly shoved her down and Santina demanded the bell ring.
5 -- SANTINA MARELLA vs. BETH PHOENIX
Santina made the cover for the win. Post-match: Khali cornered Santina and ripped off "her" clothes. Santina sold a wardrobe malfunction trying to cover his/her/whatever nipples. He/she/it ran off as Cole tried to keep the gig going with Ross on commentary.
WINNER: Santina at 0:03. I'd almost take Big Dick Johnson over this any day of the week. Almost. Worst PPV segment ever...other than Ross's line to Cole about who fed him that line. That was classic. (n/a)
In-ring: Shane McMahon came out first for Team McMahon, followed by Batista, and WWE champion Triple H for the six-man tag semi-main event. Rules are that if a person on either team is pinned, submits, counted out, or DQ'ed, then the team loses. Randy Orton's music hit and the triples of Orton, Ted, and Cody came out on stage to form a unified front of the Black Trunks and Black Boots Brigade. Apologies for the alliteration. Cody the only one without black kneepads, though, so that's a difference.
6 -- TEAM MCMAHON (WWE champion TRIPLE H & SHANE MCMAHON & BATISTA) vs. TEAM LEGACY (RANDY ORTON & CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE) -- Hunter's WWE Title on the line
Before the opening bell, all six men brawled in the ring until Hunter dragged Orton to the floor and chucked him backstage. Hunter then ran back down to the ring and the ref started the match with a three-on-two set-up. Cole made the point that Orton could win the WWE Title without even being ringside if his team were to win or if McMahons are DQ'ed or counted out. Apparently Orton really needed to go the bathroom, as this dragged on for a while with the McMahons working over Ted and Cody pretty easily to start things off. Batista teased the Batistabomb at 5:30, but DiBiase scampered to the outside to escape Batista.
Suddenly, Orton ran down the ramp at 5:45 and cracked Batista into the ringpost while Batista was giving chase on DiBiase. Crowd came to life as Orton tagged himself in and went to work on Batista. The announcers played up a possible concussion for Batista with the idea that Batista is just returning from that Punt from Orton. Orton went to work on Batista and gave him the big horizontal DDT off the second rope for a two count. Batista teased a hot tag to Hunter, but Orton cut him off. Batista then fired back with a flying headbutt/shoulder out of nowhere and Shane took the hot tag to start firing off on Cody, who tagged in for Orton.
Shane chucked Cody to the outside, then he followed to the floor and ripped off the announce table cover. Shane pummeled DiBiase on the floor, then Shane saw Cody back in the ring, so he went up top and nailed an elbow drop. Ted yanked Shane to the outside to prevent a cover, then Orton tossed Shane knees-first into the ring steps. Legacy then isolated Shane in their corner to begin another round of attacks. Hunter with some great facial expressions of concern that his brother-in-law is going to cost him the WWE Title with every close nearfall. Shane teased a close hot tag at 18:45, but DiBiase tagged in and pulled Shane back to center ring.
Shane countered the Dream Street cobra clutch/sweep, then he tried to crawl over to his corner for the hot tag to Hunter. Orton tagged in too, setting up a mid-ring collision between Hunter and Orton. Hunter absolutely beat the crap out of Orton with right hands, teasing a DQ, then he shot Orton off to the corner for a knock-down clothesline. He then dumped Ted and Cody over the top rope and caught Orton with a spinebuster mid-ring. Action broke down all over the place as the ref tried to restore order. Shane then took Cody to the floor and into the front row. Cody grabbed a chair while he was on the ground, though, and he cracked the chair into Shane's shoulder/head area. Ref was occupied with Orton and Hunter, though. Orton teased the RKO, but Hunter blocked. He then spotted Batista with a chair in hand ready to strike DiBiase, so Hunter yanked the chair away from inside the ring. He reprimanded Batista for thinking about the chair shot, then Orton smashed Hunter with the RKO. Orton made the cover for a nearfall, but the bell rang accidentally. Ref waved it off as a two count in stride. Orton didn't worry about the miscue and he positioned himself to nail The Punt on Hunter to make the cover for the win to capture the WWE Title.
Post-match: Orton grabbed the title and ran away with Cody and Ted to get out of there with the WWE Title. Meanwhile, Batista was on his knees facing Hunter with a combo of frustration and disappointment. They did an injury angle with Hunter KO'ed on the mat. Hunter wasn't moving, then medics appeared to strap Hunter down. Batista and Shane checked on Hunter as medics positioned him. Shane tried talking to Hunter as Batista wiped his head in frustration. They replayed The Punt, which Hunter did a great job of selling to give the announcers some talking points to describe it as a legit injury.
WINNER: Orton at 22:50 to capture the WWE Title. Great conclusion to the match with the incorporation of all the storyline elements leading to Orton's WWE Title. Apparently this will keep Hunter off TV for a while Batista probably chases Orton for a little while. Very heavy on storyline, very slow middle portion building to Hunter's hot tag, and a strong post-match segment leading to Raw's spring storylines. (***1/4)
Announcers: Cole, Ross, and Lawler talked solemnly about what happened without music or any other noise other than a few whistles in the crowd. Nice post-match discussion among the announcers as Lawler suggested this could tear apart the McMahon family.
Video package: They focused on the Edge vs. Cena feud dating back to New Year's Revolution 2007 when Edge won his first World Title by cashing in MITB on Cena. ... Edge came out first to challenge for the World Title. Cena then came out to a typically strong reception to defend the title.
7 -- World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA vs. EDGE -- World Hvt. Title match -- Last Man Standing
Bell sounded and the two men slowly approached each other. No contact, then they backed away to opposite corners before finally locking up. They played cat and mouse, then back in the ring, each man teased their finishers, but no contact. Edge then took control after the initial feeling out process and the fans briefly chanted, "C.M. Punk." Edge maintained control as the fans came to life consistently for the first time all night with dueling chants of "Let's go Cena" and "Let's go Edge." Cena finally made a comeback from an attack of sleeperholds before setting up the "You Can't See Me" combo, but Edge blocked the face-wave and slapped on the Sharpshooter in center ring. Edge used the ropes for additional leverage to subdue Cena, who eventually reached his feet at five. Edge then bumped Cena off the ring apron into the announce table on the floor.
At 10:00, Edge wanted a Spear on the floor, but Cena moved and Edge at the ring steps. This led to a series of Irish whip reversals that sent the man on the advantage into the ring steps to lose control. Cena then tossed Edge into the ring and he struggled to throw the ring steps into the ring. Edge met Cena back in the ring with a boot to the head, then he kicked the ring steps into Cena's head while he was prone in the corner. Edge then dropkicked the steps into Cena's right shoulder. Cena suddenly came back and chucked Edge to the floor before power-lifting the ring steps over the top rope onto Edge. Impressive looking even if it's gimmicked.
Back in the ring at 15:00, Cena and Edge had a standing exchange of right hand blows with "yeahs" for Edge and "boos" for Cena. Suddenly, both men keeled over in the ring and the ref began his ten count. Edge took the advantage first and he did the "You Can't See Me" with a sneer in Cena's face. Edge bounced off the ropes, but Cena popped up to his feet and slapped on the STFU. Edge tapped out, but that doesn't count in LMS. Edge got up from the STFU at an eight count, though, so Cena tried the FU, but Edge blocked and nailed a spear mid-ring.
Both men were down, then they took it up top. Cena wanted a top rope FU and he connected center ring. Big pop for that move. Ref Robinson picked up another count and Cena made it up at seven, but Edge made it up at nine. Cena then wanted a top rope guillotine leg drop smash on Edge, but Edge caught him in mid-air with a spear that rocked the house. Ref Robinson then started his ten count. Cena made it up at eight, then fell to the floor. Edge capitalized by ripping of the announce table cover and setting up Cena on the table. Cena blocked, though, and FU'ed Edge over the guardrail into the front row of the stands. I hope those were plants. Ref Robinson then started his count on Edge and one of the fans on the front row. Edge made it up at nine, but the fan who took the brunt of it lost with a ten count.
Edge then tried to run away up the grandstands to the top of the arena. Cena chased all the way to the concourse area. Someone grab some merch! Edge came up limping as Cena smashed him back into the arena area. Craziness as Cena chased Edge back down the arena stands near the stage. Cena waited for Edge to tire himself out, then Cena bulldogged Edge off the steps into a hard production table on the floor. Cena walked away as the ref applied his ten count on Edge. Edge made it up at seven, though. He then struck Edge with a weapon, but the battle picked up on the stage and Edge nailed a hard DDT.
At 26:00, both men came to their feet. Edge then ran to the backstage area and re-emerged with a steel chair. Cena took a shot to the back, then Edge delivered the Conchairto on the stage. Cena's head didn't move as he took the blow. Edge told the ref to begin his count as Cena didn't move. Fans screamed out for Cena to get up as Edge watched from a distance. Cena started to stir at seven, then he pushed himself up at eight and he made it at nine. Cena blocked a spear, then he wanted an FU, but Big Show showed up on stage. He grabbed Cena, teased a chokeslam, then he chucked Cena off the stage into a rocket-ship-like spotlight off stage. They didn't go too heavy on the special effects, as Cena was motionless inside the spotlight with broken glass covering him. Ref then began his count and made it to ten to give Edge the win and the World Title.
Post-match: Edge clutched the World Title belt as medics checked on Cena, who was fitted with a neckbrace. Medics and doctors helped Cena to his feet, then put him on a backbrace as he sold paralysis. Ross did a solemn voice-over for Cena as they concluded with Cena strapped to the gurney and Edge's music playing in the background. Wait, one more replay of Cena taking the bump through the spotlight and fire sparkling in the background. Edge's music stopped, Cena was shown being strapped in, Edge continued to stand breathless on stage clutching the title belt, then they faded out with one last shot of Cena on the gurney.
WINNER: Edge at 28:25 to capture the World Hvt. Title. Amazing brawl. Just crazy good, intense, and good use of the LMS gimmick to create an epic World Title match. The finish was pretty much the only way to get a finish out of this match and it presumably sets up a Cena vs. Show feud. Or, a Hunter vs. Cena feud in a hospital room. Edge with the World Title on Smackdown sets up plenty of possibilities. Epic conclusion to a very strong PPV card. (****1/2)
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