by J.D. Dunn
June 24, 2007
Live from Houston, Texas.
Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles and Taz.
Opening Match, World Tag Team Titles: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. The Hardy Boyz.
Before the match, we see the U.S. Express sitting in the front row. JR traces these tag team titles back to Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler. Huh. Okay. This is the usual Hardyz match that they've been doing ever since they got back together (and before that, really). They clean house on the heels early and hit the Poetry in Motion. Cade & Murdoch bail but get tossed back in. Matt turns his back on Murdoch, though, and gets his leg clipped out from under him, setting up the story of the match. The champs start working over Matt's leg. Jeff gets the hot tag and hits a sleeper drop for two. Murdoch breaks up the Swanton, though, allowing Cade to hit his Sitout Spinebuster at 8:53. Formula match, but a good one. **1/2
Queen Sharmell asks King Booker to be careful tonight. He thinks tonight is his night.
Recap of Eddy Guerrero winning the title.
Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero vs. Jimmy Wang Yang.
Chavo looks a bit distracted early on, for reasons we'd find out the next day. He quickly takes over on Yang. Yang tries a hammerlock for a while and hits the Tiger Wall Flip, but Chavo just tosses him to the floor. Chavo goes up, but Yang enzuigiris him off the buckle. Back in, Chavo hiptosses Yang into the corner and backdrops him for two. Yang comes back with a flying crossbody. Chavo stays on top with the Triple Verticals, but Yang hits a spinning wheel kick. Yang rolls through a Gory Special and gets a close two count. The fans were actually hot for that nearfall. Yang goes up but gets crotched on the top rope. The Frogsplash finishes Yang off at 9:15. Solid-but-unspectacular match. These CW matches just seem to be missing a lot of heart (and heat). **
Recap of Vince McMahon blowing up while in a fugue state. Wow! Does crazy Vince ever look awkward now.
Vacant ECW Heavyweight Title: CM Punk vs. Johnny Nitro.
This, of course, was supposed to be Punk versus Chris Benoit, but we all know how that worked out. Btw, any mention of Benoit on commentary has been expunged, and they just pretend it was always supposed to be Punk versus Nitro. Nitro armdrags him down, so Punk lays into him with kicks and slingshots onto him for two. Nitro comes back with a springboard kick. He hits a nice backbreaker/Armbar DDT combo. Punk comes back with an enzuigiri. Nitro scoops him up for two but gets caught using the ropes. Punk comes back with a clothesline but can't hit the G2S. Punk hits the corner knee into a bulldog, but Nitro avoids the springboard clothesline and hits a rope-assisted DDT for the upset win and the title at 8:02. Not exactly an overwhelming match, but these two are definitely the ones you want to build around if you're ECW. **1/4
Tribute to the Ironman Match at WrestleMania XII.
In the back, Randy Orton tells Mick Foley to be careful tonight because it looked like Mick got a concussion the week before and Randy is an expert at giving concussions.
Ricky Steamboat comes out to soak up some adulation.
Intercontinental Title: Santino Marella vs. Umaga.
Santino tries a schoolboy early, but Umaga blocks and grabs him by the throat. He hops on Umaga's back and fires off forearms, but Umaga just squashes him and hits a thrust kick. Apparently, Santino has both "heart" and "grit," according to JR. Umaga grabs a Trapezes Hold, which would normally be a boring hold, but Marella actually sells it as if he's losing feeling in his arm. See, that's all I ask. It doesn't matter anyway, because Umaga beats down Marella in the corner and refuses to listen to the ref, so he gets disqualified at 2:36. The crowd doesn't like that at all. Umaga hits a flying splash afterward and gets an "Umaga" chant. Not only that, but they cheer him for hitting Santino with a Samoan Spike and then chant, "One more time!" Wow, the crowd is either warming up to Umaga or they absolutely hate Santino. The match was just a squash until the DQ. 1/2*
From Smackdown: Lead Investigator Daniel Beck confirms that there was DNA from McMahon, the limo driver, and "a well-known personality."
Cole and JBL hype the Vince McMahon Memorial Service scheduled for the following Raw, a show that eventually became the Chris Benoit Memorial.
Holy crap! Magnum TA is in the audience, and boy does he look different.
U.S. Title: MVP vs. Ric Flair.
MVP gets right in Flair's grill and gets chopped for it. They talk more trash, and MVP boots Flair to the floor. Flair gets busted open. Back in, MVP tries to put Flair out with a sleeper. Flair comes back with chops and a jawbreaker. He counters another sleeper attempt to a backdrop. He tries mounted punches, but MVP drops his nose right on the turnbuckle. The Kawada Kick misses, and Flair clips his knee. FIGURE-FOUR LEGLOCK…on the wrong leg, but whatever. MVP makes the ropes, goes to Flair's eyes, and finishes with the Playmaker at 8:40. We actually have a "Chris Benoit" mention as Cole notes that MVP has beaten both Benoit and Flair in a month. The psychology was okay, but these guys don't have compatible wrestling styles. **
In the back, John Cena and Edge argue over whether Edge is a "pussbag" or not. The Twin Peaks-ish Investigator interrupts to talk to Edge.
WWE Tag Team Titles: Deuce & Domino (w/Cherry) vs. Sgt. Slaughter & Jimmy Snuka.
Deuce and Domino make fun of Tony Garea and Rick Martel, who are in the audience. Wow, the Model really went bald there. This is father versus son with Snuka versus Snuka Jr.. JBL jokes that he's calling Ron Simmons for a reunion if Sarge and Snuka win the titles. Cole asks us not to adjust our sets because Sarge and Snuka really are in there. Okay, I'm not an expert on televisions, by any means, but is there really something that could be wrong with your television to make you see Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka when they weren't supposed to be there. Tint? By the way, does anyone remember when TVs used to have a scroll knob? Domino falls victim to the Cobra Clutch but backs Sarge into the corner. Snuka gets the hot tag and beats his kid like he forgot to take out the garbage. Oddly enough, there's no mention of their relationship, despite the fact that they acknowledge it on the "Families" DVD. Snuka hits a flying crossbody, but Deuce rolls through for the pin at 6:30. The Flatbush Express attacks the old guys, but Garea and Martel make the save. There's snow on the roof but there's fire in the belly! *
Harley Race is in the house. This is starting to feel like Slamboree.
World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs. Batista.
If Batista doesn't win the title here, he won't get another shot as long as Edge is champion. Batista tries to wrestle early. He charges, but Edge sends him over the top. Batista gets to the apron, so Edge posts his shoulder. Back in, Batista armdrags Edge but posts his own shoulder when he misses a charge. Well, that's just bad luck. Edge works the shoulder over with a crucifix hold. Batista comes back with a clothesline…and another. Then, he gets two off a Bossman Slam. Edge reverses the Demonbomb to the Impaler DDT for two. They exchange nearfalls, and Batista sets up for the powerslam. Edge slips out and hits an Edge-o-Matic. Edge sets up for the spear, but Batista beats him to the punch, as it were. Batista sets up for the Demonbomb, but Edge just hits a blatant low to save the title by DQ at 12:49. Teddy Long won't go for that, so he restarts the match and waives the DQ rule, so if Edge gets DQ'd again, he loses the title. Edge hits a spear for two and grabs a chair. Then, he realizes that he can't disqualified and drops it. See, work the stips. Back in, Batista rolls him up for two and then tosses him to the floor. DEMONBOMB ON THE FLOOR! Oh, but Batista can't get back in the ring in time and gets counted out at 2:06 (or 16:40 total time). Batista gives Edge another Demonbomb to vent his frustrations. A surprisingly good match in spite of its goofy booking. ***1/2
Recap of the Spider-Lady "angle" where Moolah dressed up as the Spider-Lady to steal the title back from Wendi Richter who refused to do the job.
Women's Title: Melina vs. Candice Michelle.
Candice's attire is…interesting. Melina strangles her with a headscissors and then headbutts her. Huh. Candice comes back with a rollup for two. Melina charges but falls over the top rope. Back in, the Go Daddy Elbow gets two. The Jericho Bulldog gets two. Candice's top comes off. Don't get excited. She has a bra on underneath. Candice hits a "spinning kick," which was closer to a back elbow, but it gets the win at 3:21 anyway. Hey, it took a year before people started taking Trish Stratus seriously. Candice is overjoyed. 3/4*
WWE Heavyweight Title: John Cena vs. King Booker (w/Queen Sharmell) vs. Mick Foley vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Randy Orton.
Booker ducks to the floor to get a massage and perhaps a happy ending. Everyone else teams up on Orton. Foley takes him over the top with a Cactus Clothesline. Lashley gets a running no-hand over-the-top plancha. He gets more air, but the Undertaker's has better direction. Lashley sets up the announce table, but he stops to go after Orton, so Cena picks him up and gives him an FU through the table. Booker jumps Cena and whips him hard into the buckle. He hits the Scissors Kick, but Orton makes the save. That triggers a slugfest between Orton and Booker. Cena makes the comeback and sets up for the Dirt Off Your Shoulder Fistdrop, but Orton comes out of nowhere to hit the RKO. SWEET! Foley makes the save. Foley grabs a chair and swings at Booker but takes out Lashley instead. He adds one to Booker and another to Cena before Orton jumps him from behind. Lashley nails him before getting hit with a side kick from Booker. Cena scoops up Booker for the FU, but Booker slips out. Cena snaps his throat on the ropes and hits the FU on Foley instead to pick up the win at 10:08. Surprisingly, short match. It was fun while it lasted, though. Lashley looked like a superstar. ***
Final Thoughts: The wrestling was fine, with the two big title matches delivering quite adequately. The rest is okay too, but nothing to get excited about. Normally, it would be a thumbs-up, but this show will likely be associated with the weekend of the Benoit tragedy. Maybe as more time passes, it will be an easier show to watch, but being less than a month removed makes it harder to judge with clarity.
Mild thumbs up with reservations.