December 16, 2007
Michael Cole and JBL introduced the show.
1 -- MVP vs. REY MYSTERIO -- U.S. Title match
Cole said there are a lot of people in the locker room and elsewhere who hopes Rey teaches MVP a lesson. JBL ranted about him citing his sources and not relying on hearsay. JBL said Rey isn't just the greatest high-flyer in WWE history, but he's the best in sports entertainment history. The term "sports entertainment" was coined by Vince McMahon to differentiate his product from other pro wrestling products in the 1980s, which include a lot of the companies whose libraries WWE has purchased in recent years. So what exactly is sports entertainment other than WWE? Were the other pro wrestling companies always sports entertainment, or do they become sports entertainment retroactively when WWE buys their libraries of footage? Rey took early control and the crowd was into it. A minute in, MVP bailed out and tried to call for a timeout. Rey dove over the ref and onto MVP on the floor. MVP soon took over and grounded Rey with matwork, primarily an armbar. Rey made a comeback, but landed awkwardly on his knee. He sold it as injured, but still managed to hit an Arabian moonsault for a two count. MVP fired back with hard clothesline at 7:00. Rey came back with a huracanrana for a near fall. MVP hit Rey with a big boot for a near fall. Rey came back with a 619 attempt. MVP moved and bailed out to ringside. Rey jumped onto the ring apron, then leaped off with a headscissors to send MVP to the floor. Rey returned to the ring to beat the countout, but MVP didn't rush and was counted out. Afterward, Rey dragged MVP back into the ring and gave him a 619.
WINNER: Mysterio via intentional countout in 10:00 so MVP retained the title.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Okay opener. Nothing memorable, but the crowd was into the near falls at the end. The finish was flat, but it fit the personality of MVP and "protected" Rey from doing a job.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were shown at ringside. They threw to a video of the Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H storyline. Todd Grisham then interviewed Hardy live. He asked if this is the biggest match of his career. He said of course it is because he's never been this close to a World TItle match. He said he respects, but doesn't fear Triple H. He said he's at a crossroads of his career and he's ready to rock on.
2 -- KANE & C.M. PUNK vs. BIG DADDY V & MARK HENRY (w/Matt Striker)
Joey Styles and Tazz took over on commentary. Styles said no TV is large enough to truly convey the mass of Henry and Daddy V. When Punk bounced of of Daddy V, Tazz said it was like runnin into a water tower. Striker kicked Punk at ringside. Back in the ring, BDV pressed Punk into the air then dropped him to the mat. At 5:00 Punk hot-tagged Kane. Kane tried to knock Henry down, but it took a top rope clothesline to do it. BDV blocked a Kane chokeslam attempt and powerbombed him to the mat. Punk interrupted the ref's pin count. The heels took turns methodically beating on Kane for a long three or four minutes. Kane finally hot-tagged Punk at 10:00. Punk hit BDV with two roundhouse kicks, two running knees in the corner, and another roundhouse kick. Kane and Punk doubled on Henry and threw him over the top rope to the floor. Striker jumped onto the ring apron. Punk kicked him, then springboarded into BDV's arms. BDV turned it into a Samoan drop for a clean pinfall. Punk clutched his ribs afterward.
WINNERS: BDV & Henry in 11:00.
STAR RATING: * -- What you'd expect from this. Not worse, but not better. Punk showed good energy and fire against the two massively larger opponents. Everyone put in an honest effort, but those middle minutes dragged.
-JBL and Cole talked about the World Title match later. Then backstage, Vickie Guerrero and Edge chatted backstage. Vickie told Edge that her pain and suffering with subside for at least a moment when she watches him win the title. Edge said her love gives him the strength of three men. She told him, "Be careful out there, sweetheart." Edge kissed her hand romantically. Vickie looked infatuated and in love.
3 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. SHAWN MICHAELS
This is pretty early in a PPV for Michaels to be wrestling, but this show is relatively loaded, but putting it ahead of the women's match, for instance, is more of a pacing issue than a statement of prestige or an attempt to elevate the Women's Title. Before the match, Kennedy said it doesn't matter if he likes him or impresses him, it only matters that he beats him. He declared that would happen in his signature third-person routine with the drop mic. Michaels worked over Kennedy's arm in the early minutes, At 4:00 Kennedy tackled Michaels to the floor, but Michaels stomped on Kennedy's hand on the steps at ringside and focused on his hand and arm back in the ring. They fought on the ring apron at 6:00. Kennedy threw Michaels back-first into the ringpost, knocking him to the floor. Ross pointed out that Michaels missed four years of ring action after back surgery. Kennedy favored his left arm as he took over the match, shoving his boot in Michaels's throat in the corner. Ross speculated that Kennedy's arm maybe broken, although Kennedy was using it enough between selling it to make it clear he had decent use of it. Kennedy got in sustained offense including a chinlock until 10:00 when Michaels made a comeback, catching a charging Kennedy with an elbow, then backdropping him over the top rope to the floor. Both men were slow to get up. Kennedy beat the ten count. Michaels knocked Kennedy down, then nipped up. He hit a top rope elbow, then showed great fire and signalled for his Sweet Chin Music at 12:00. He stomped the mat, but when he went for the kick, Kennedy ducked and schoolboyed Michaels for a believable near fall. Kennedy lifted Michaels, but himself slipped out and leveraged Kennedy's shoulder's down for a believable near fall. Kennedy catapulted Michaels face-first into the ringpost. Kennedy then lifted Michaels again and this time he delivered his finisher for a near fall. Kennedy went for a DDT, but Michaels held the top rope. Kennedy threw a left punch, then recoiled in pain. Michaels suddenly surprised him with a superkick for the three count. Ross said that was the best overall match he's seen Kennedy in.
WINNER: Michaels in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- Very good match. Not great, but very good, especially the final few minutes with near falls. The finish played nicely into the effects of Michaels working over Kennedy's arm in the first half of the match.
-Grisham interviewed Orton backstage. Orton called Y2J a virus. He said the only thing Jericho should be saving them from is empty promises. He said he doesn't care if the fans are entertained. "I don't care if all the fans tonight in this arena leave disappointed as long as I leave the WWE Champion," he said. Great line. That's what a heel should say. He said he has a number for him - RKO18. He said that's the number of World Championships his last three challengers have held - Cena, Triple H, and Michaels. "So Y2J, don't save us, spare us." He said he will face the greatest the industry has ever seen later.
4 -- TRIPLE H vs. JEFF HARDY -- For a World Title shot at Royal Rumble
Ross repeated that Hardy said he's not intimidated by Triple H. When Lawler doubted that statement, Ross seemed a bit moody when he snapped that he was only repeating what Hardy said earlier. Lawler told him, "Don't get hot." He said he was just looking into Hardy's eyes and it looked like he was whistling through a cemetery. Hardy offered a handshake. Hunter paused, looked serious, shook his hand, pulled him in tight, and then shoved him away. Hunter shoulder blocked Hardy to the mat in the opening seconds. Hunter flattened Hardy with a clothesline. Hardy caught a charging Hunter with an elbow, then two armdrags. Hunter bailed out to ringside. Hardy went for a slidekick, but Hunter sidestepped him. Hardy ran the railing, but slipped. Hunter nailed him with a clothesline. Good recovery. Back in the ring, Hardy went for a right. He paused for some reason, so Hunter slapped him hard. Hunter then shouted at him, "Fight me! Fight me! Come on, fight!" Hunter threw Hardy into the corner. They botched a whip out of the corner. Hunter kneed Hardy and then clarified the called spot. (Hardy has a rep for being forgetful and not liking a lot of spots planned out in a match ahead of time). Hardy took Hunter down, legdropped him between the legs, and hit a basement dropkick leading to a pin attempt. Hardy slapped Hunter. Hunter reacted like he was proud of Hardy's aggression. Hunter threw Hardy hard to the floor and pursued him immediately. He whipped Hardy into the steps at ringside, then threw him back into the ring. Hunter went on sustained ofenseuntil Hardy again caught him with an elbow as he charged into the ring. When Hardy went to the top rope, Hunter shoved him to the mat. They would have gone to a commercial at this point if it were Raw. The ref began to count Hardy down. Hunter applied an abdominal stretch for a couple minutes. Lawler said the match was so one-sided, he didn't know if Hardy had any fight left. Hunter stopped a Hardy comeback attempt with a hard clothesline and a two count. Hunter smiled after the kickout. Ross said he thought it was confidence in being in the driver's seat. Lawler astutely said he felt Hunter was proud of the resilience Hardy was showing. It's probably meant to convey both. Hardy hit a dropkick off the ropes. Hardy went for a swinging kick in the corner, but Hunter moved and covered Hardy for a near fall. Hardy hit a top rope crossbody at 15:00 for a two count followed by a Whisper in the Wind for another two count. Hunter fired right back with a DDT. Hardy countered and surprised Hunter with a leverage pin attempt for a near fall. A shocked Hunter threw Hardy into the corner and stomped away at him. Hardy again swing kicked Hunter in the corner with both feet to Hunter's chest. Hardy went for a Swanton, but Hunter moved. Hunter got a two count. Lawler said he couldn't believe Hardy kicked out. Hunter went for a Pedigree. Hardy kicked out and set up a DDT. Hunter countered with a spinebuster. Hunter played to the crowd and got cheered. He approached a knocked out Hardy and lifted him for a Pedigree. Hardy flipped out of it and leveraged Hunter to the mat with a bridge for a three count. Ross sold it big with an, "Oh my God, Jeff Hardy beat The Game!" Hardy jumped into the crowd to celebrate with the fans. Hunter nodded in acknowledgment that Hardy beat him fair and square and put up a great fight. He sold it really well, seeming like a good sport but still frustrated and let down.
WINNER: Hardy in 19:00.
STAR RATING: **** -- Excellent match. The match told a great story that totally fit the characters in the match. One of Hunter's better matches in a long time, too.
-The Great Khali yelled backstage. Runjin Singh interpreted his comments. Generic stuff regarding his match.
5 -- THE GREAT KHALI vs. FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle)
Khali overpowered Finlay early. At 2:00 Khali followed Finlay out to the floor. When Finlay stood on the ring apron, Khali stood on the floor and reached up and slapped is chest. Pretty amazing visual. Cole let it go by without comment, so JBL interjected how odd and amazing it was to see someone slapped someone from below like that. Khali caught Finlay with a wheelkick as Finlay ran the ropes, then he applied a nerve hold for several minutes. JBL said he never dreamed he'd see Finlay decimated like this. Khali untied a turnbuckle pad. As the ref retied the buckle, Singh moved toward Finlay. Finlay hit him and then grabbed his shillelagh. Khali caught Finlay with a choke before he could use the stick. As the ref got rid of the shillelagh, Hornswoggle ran in with another and popped Khai between the legs from behind with it. Khali went down and Finlay scored a three count.
WINNER: Finlay in 6:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Actually passable, not counting the three minute nerve hold in the middle. So, in other words, lousy. The finish was probably a crowd pleaser for those who didn't go to the concession stand or bathroom at the start.
-A Tribute to the Troops video aired.
-Lawler and Ross talked about WWE entertaining the troops. Lawler said it's probably the most important thing WWE does all year long. He said from talking to WWE wrestlers who were over there, it was probably the most emotional trip yet. Ross hyped the WWE Title match. A lengthy video recap aired.
6 -- RANDY ORTON vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Jericho got a decent reception, but nothing that stood out. It's obvious because part of his ring intro is playing to the crowd, so you tend to naturally look to see how they react, and they're mostly not. Orton came out second. Orton and Jericho began with a test of strength. Jericho took Orton down with an armdrag. Orton got right up and they circled mid-ring again. Orton outpowered Jericho on a collar and elbow. Jericho came back with another armdrag. Jericho lifted Orton and dropped him gut-first over the top rope. He followed with two kicks to the stomach. He held Orton on the mat for a second, but Orton maneuvered to his feet. Jericho reversed whipped Orton into the ropes, but Jericho caught Orton with a jump spin wheel kick. Orton rolled to the apron and then to the flor. As he pointed at his head to signal how smart he is, Jericho surprised him with a bodyblock off the top rope. Orton caught Jericho returning to the ring with a DDT attempt, but Jericho slipped out and attempted an early Walls of Jericho. Orton escaped and DDT'd Jericho leading to the first two count of the match at 4:00. They continued with back and forth action for several minutes. Orton superplexed Jericho for a two count. Ross referenced that this is a battle over a title that dates back to "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. Jericho stopped Orton with an enzuigiri. Jericho followed with a Lionsault attempt, but Orton lifted his legs and caught Jericho in the gut. Orton came right back with an inverted backbreaker at 10:00. When Orton went for an RKO, Jericho escaped and hit a Lionsault for a two count. Jericho couldn't believe Orton kicked out. Orton knocked a charging Jericho over the top rope to the floor. They fought at ringside where Jericho threw Orton face-first into the ring apron. Jericho charged at Orton, but Orton side-stepped and threw Jericho into the Smackdown announce table. Jericho landed in JBL's lap. JBL looked to take exception to it, the first hint of their pending feud (first reported on two weeks ago in the PWTorch VIP Newsletter "WWE Newswire"). Back in the ring, Jericho flew off the top rope into the back of Orton's head with an elbow. Jericho stalked Orton as he got up and went for his Codebreaker finisher. Orton caught Jericho mid-air and threw him into the corner. Orton set up an Legend Kick, but Jericho avoided it and locked on the Walls of Jericho. The crowd popped for that. Orton crawled toward the bottom rope. Jericho dragged Orton back to the middle. The crowd really popped for that, standing and clapping. JBL entered the ring and kicked Jericho in the head. That prompted the ref to call for the DQ. Ross said a broadcaster had no business getting involved in a match of any kind, especially a WWE Title match. Ross wondered how Jericho would react to being on the verge of becoming WWE Champion and then having JBL take it away from him with one swift kick out of nowhere. After Orton left the ring with his belt, the camera zoomed in Jericho as he came to.
WINNER: Jericho via DQ in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Good match. The finish, which Bruce Mitchell and I called almost exactly in this weekend's VIP audio preview of the event, was the way to keep the belt on Orton, let Jericho save face (as a loss to a heel Orton this soon after his return would really be a momentum killer and establish him as a second-tier player right away), and helped transition into the JBL-Jericho feud.
-Jillian Hall interrupted Lillian Garcia's ring intro for the next match. She said her CD on iTunes is "blowing up." She said it's one of the hottest downloads in the entire world right now. She said the reviews are phenomenal. She said "shyguy3188" said, "Move over Mariah, Christina, there's a new diva in town." She said he was so right. As a holiday gift to the fans, she's going to perform one of her songs off the album right now. She sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Tazz said he wished her microphone would blow up. They showed fans plugging their ears in the ring. Lillian was laughing in the background.
7 -- "GLAMAZON" BETH PHOENIX vs. MICKIE JAMES -- Women's Title match
Glamazon dominated the opening minutes. Mickie came back at 4:00 and scored a two count. She hit a dropkick off the top rope for a near fall at 5:00. As Mckie setup a DDT, Glamazon shoved her aside and then kneed her in the chest followedby a fisherman's suplex for a clean, anti-climactic win. Lawler touted Mickie for taking Glamazon to the limit.
WINNER: Glamazon in 6:00 to retain the Women's Title.
STAR RATING: * - That finish really came out of nowhere, which isn't bad thing now and then, but it hurt this match.
-Tazz joined Cole in a reunion of their many years together on Smackdown. Tazz was filling in for JBL, who Cole said acted despicably and wouldn't be back out for the main event. They threw to a long video recap of the Smackdown World Title storyline.
8 -- BATISTA vs. EDGE vs. UNDERTAKER -- World Title match
The champ, Batista, came out first. Then Edge. And finally Undertaker. Taker and Batista fought over who could get to Edge first. It led to them fighting in the early minutes, which Edge happily watched for a while. Edge moved in eventually, knocked Taker off the ring apron, but then took a charge from Batista. Batista hit Edge with a clothesline in the corner followed by shoulder drives to his gut. Edge came back with a drop toe hold of Batista face-first into the iddle turnbuckle. When he set up an early spear, Batista met him with a front kick and then a running powerslam. Taker yanked Batista out of the ring before the three count. Taker then set up Edge for a gullotine legdrop off the ring apron. Batista stopped Taker, though, with a running clothesline. Edge had control of Batista for a minute until Taker recovered and reentered the ring. Cole said Taker was waiting for his chance at revenge against Edge. Taker gave Edge a snake eyes and a big boot at 6:00 leading to a two count. Taker walked the top rope and came off with a forearm. He set up a Last Ride, but Batista speared Taker. Tazz described it aptly as a car wreck of a move. Batista threw Edge to the floor, then moved in on Taker. Taker turned it into a triangle choke. Edge rang the bell. Taker released the hold. The ref let Taker know he didn't signal for the end of the match. Edge crawled at ringside to avoid being seen. As Taker walked toward the ref angrily, Edge entered the ring and speared him. Edge then speared Batista and scored a near fall. Edge brought two chairs into the ring. Batista upkicked one of them into Edge's face. Taker knocked Edge to the floor. When Taker turned around, Batista nailed him with a clothesline. Batista climbed to the top rope. Taker ran into the ropes to knock Batista off balance. Taker then superplexed Batista to the mat. Taker walked the top rope again, but when he leaped off, Batista caught him and slammed him to the mat. Edge entered the ring. Batista speared hi, then turned back to Taker. Taker drove Batista into the corner. Cole and Tazz acted confused because there were two Edges lying at ringside. Taker chokeslammed Batista in the ring, meanwhile. Taker did the throat-slice indication. The fake Edge leaped off the top rope. Taker caught him and chokeslammed him hard to the mat. Batista set up a Batista Bomb, but Taker escaped and gave Batista a snake eyes. As Taker bounced off the ropes at Batista, Batista met him with a clothesline for a two count. The fake Edge lay in the corner face-down not moving. Taker reversed Batista into a piledriver. The real Edge entered the ring and hit Taker with a chair as he went for the cover, then he covered Batista and scored a three count. There were actually two other fake Edges who crawled up the ramp as Edge celebrated. Undertaker looked on in confusion at the site of three Edges.
WINNER: Edge in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Disappointing match in that it seemed they had ten more minutes in them without overstaying their welcome, as it was good while it lasted. The finish was a fun conversation-stirrer, although WWE has to watch it with the non-clean, cute finishes in World Title matches that they're selling PPVs with. It's made worse by the fact that the show ended at 20 minutes to the top of the hour, shorter than usual.