WWE Judgment Day 2007 Review
The 2007 edition of WWE Judgment Day (that’s Judgment with no “E”) was the second pay-per-view after WrestleMania 23 and it featured the Raw, Smackdown and ECW brands. The Judgment Day PPV name debuted in October 1998, then in May 2000 it became the name for WWE’s annual May PPV from 2000 to 2009.
There’s not that much to say in terms of pre-show notes. The Undertaker was out of action for about five months after having surgery for a torn biceps in May 2007, which I mentioned in the Backlash review. That meant Smackdown needed a top guy, so Edge cashed in Money in the Bank on Undertaker to win the World Title and that led to Edge having an awesome run on Smackdown over most of the next four years.
This event did a pretty good number in terms of PPV buyrates with 242,000 buys. It’s a bit of a surprise to me that it did better than the last PPV, Backlash, because Backlash was a much better show on paper and Judgment Day beat it by nearly 50,000 buys. I guess this means The Great Khali is a huge draw! No. Not really. I’m just teasing. Sorry to the three Khali fans out there.
The description on WWE Network looks like this:
WWE Judgment Day
14+ (V) | John Cena defends the WWE Championship against The Great Khali. Edge puts the World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Batista. Randy Orton takes on Shawn Michaels. Bobby Lashley takes on Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Umaga. Ric Flair battles Carlito.
The original poster featured Kane, who didn’t even have a match on the PPV, but he did beat William Regal in the dark match before the show.
WWE Judgment Day
May 20, 2007
From Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri
The opening video package did a nice job of setting up the WWE Title, World Title and ECW Title matches coming up later.
There was an impressive pyro display to welcome us to the show. The Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. The ECW team of Joey Styles and Tazz were at ringside to call the lone ECW match. Smackdown’s announce team of Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield were also at ringside.
Ric Flair vs. Carlito
Pre-match notes: Ric Flair was the babyface while Carlito was the heel. Flair was 58 years old at the time of the match while Carlito was 28 years old. Ric wrestled Carlito’s dad Carlos Colon many times in his career. The story was about Flair trying to motivate Carlito.
Flair with chops, then he blocked a sunset flip attempt with punches to the head more chops from Flair with the crowd chanting “WOO” on cue. Flair with a back body drop leading to Carlito rolling to the floor. Carlito took control by wrenching on Flair’s left arm against the top turnbuckle and then he stomped on Flair’s arm. Carlito worked on the left arm of Flair some more with elbow strikes to the left shoulder. Carlito sent Flair shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Carlito continued to work on the left arm by slamming it into the ring post two times. JR on commentary kept on talking about Carlito’s potential because the company was frustrated with his performances. Carlito with a dropkick into the arm against the ring post. Flair got some offense with chops, but then Carlito stretched the left arm against the ropes and a big dropkick from Carlito. There was an armbar by Carlito on Flair as Lawler noted that Carlito turned on Flair and also Torrie Wilson, who Carlito was paired with to try to get Carlito more cheers from the crowd. Flair came back with chops, but Carlito wrenched on the left arm again. The pace slowed down a lot as Carlito slapped on an armbar. Flair broke free with a hiptoss, but Carlito came back with a clothesline. Carlito with another dropkick for a two count. Flair went crazy with several chops to the chest to knock Carlito down as the crowd came alive a bit. Flair charged right into a back body drop for a two count with Flair pulling Carlito’s hair to help with the kick out. Carlito slapped on another armbar for about two more minutes. Flair’s comeback featured…you guessed it…more chops. Flair with a kick, punch to the head and more chops. Flair with a back body drop followed by a chop block to the left knee. More chops and punches from Flair. Carlito with an eye gouge, but when he went for a Backstabber, Flair held onto the ropes. Flair stomped on the knees and then Flair hit a knee drop. Flair slapped on the Figure Four Leglock as the fans popped big for it. Carlito tried to fight it, but then he tapped out after about 15 seconds in the hold. Flair wins by submission at 15:34.
Winner: Ric Flair via submission
Analysis **1/2 It was an average match that did a good job of getting the crowd into the show because it featured all of the usual theatrics that Flair likes to do. I didn’t count how many chops Flair did, but I would guess it was over 30 chops at least. It dragged on a bit too much with Carlito’s offense being repetitive with all of the armbars on the left arm. Carlito didn’t work out as a face, so this was his best role although I think WWE had higher expectations for him. Should the younger guy Carlito have won the match? Probably, but he was in the doghouse and management wanted Flair to help get him going. I don’t it worked.
Post match, the fans cheered for Flair and showed him a lot of respect for that performance.
Shawn Michaels was about to be interviewed backstage. They showed highlights of Michaels beating Edge on Raw with the story that Michaels was dealing with a concussion. Randy Orton went into the ring after the match and did The Punt to the head of Michaels, who sold it like he had a concussion.
Michaels said that it was his understanding that it was “rumored” that he wasn’t supposed to be there tonight. Shawn said that the fact is that he is there. Shawn said that people think Orton has the upper hand and then Orton showed up to attack Michaels from behind. Orton sent Michaels into a steel structure backstage. Michaels was getting looked at as the camera cut away.
A video package aired to show Bobby Lashley losing the ECW Title to Vince McMahon in a 3-on-1 match at the previous PPV, Backlash. Vince set up a Judgment Day rematch with Vince teaming with Umaga and Shane McMahon again.
ECW World Championship: Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley
Pre-match notes: Vince was the heel ECW Champion. Umaga and Shane were also heels. Lashley was the babyface former champion.
Lashley knocked Umaga out of the ring, Lashley went after Vince, then a hiptoss and clothesline on Shane. Lashley knocked Umaga off the apron. Shane with punches to Lashley, but the Lashley caught him and hit an overhead belly to belly suplex across the ring. Umaga back in the ring, Lashley moved and Umaga splashed Shane by accident. Lashley with a Spear on Umaga and a Dominator powerslam on Shane for the pinfall win at 1:13. Vince was on the floor watching while not even attempting to help.
Winner by pinfall: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: * A dominant showing by Lashley winning a handicap match in just over one minute. The crowd popped for everything.
Lashley celebrated as if he won the ECW Title, but no so fast on that. Lashley had the ECW Title in his hands with the crowd cheering for him heavily. Vince was frustrated at ringside. Umaga punched Lashley in the back and hit a Samoan Spike thumb to the throat. Vince took the ECW Title back.
Vince congratulated Bobby for winning a handicap match. Vince said that Lashley didn’t win that championship because if he wanted to be the champion then he had to beat Vince. That led to Vince saying that he was still the ECW Champion. The fans booed.
Analysis: That stipulation was not announced before the match, but Vince is the boss, so they do things like that to piss off the crowd. This would set up Vince vs. Lashley in a singles match two weeks later at One Night Stand.
There was a shot backstage of Shawn Michaels getting checked on by a doctor, who told Shawn he won’t let him go out there tonight.
CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke
Pre-match notes: This was another ECW match. CM Punk was a babyface on the rise that had his ribs taped up to sell an injury going into the match. Elijah Burke was the heel that was part of the New Breed group, which Punk refused to join.
Burke went after the ribs with forearms to the back. Punk came back with kicks to the leg. Punk with a body slam leading to a chinlock. Burke continued to attack the ribs of Punk with punches and kicks. Punk with a kick to the chest followed by a T-Bone Suplex for a two count. Punk hit a corner clothesline followed by a delayed vertical suplex for another two count. Burke continued to focus on the ribs of Punk with more punches to the ribs. Punk with some forearms and then a cross body block off the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Burke continued to go after the ribs with two shoulder tackles, but Punk connected with a kick. Punk charged in and Burke countered by lifting Punk over the top to the floor. Punk recovered quickly with a shoulder tackle, then he wanted the GTS, but Burke hung on and Punk sent him to the apron where Punk hit a springboard dropkick. Punk ran the ropes leading to suicide dive with a forearm to the face. They found an excited kid in the crowd reacting to that, so that’s always a good thing to see. Back in the ring, Burke with an eye poke, Punk with a back elbow, but then Burke pulled Punk off the turnbuckle. Burke continued the attack with forearms to the back. Burke with a kick to the ribs leading to a two count. Burke with a body scissors on the ribs for about a minute, then a suplex and a belly to back suplex for two. Burke went for the body scissors again, Punk fought back with punches and Burke got an inside cradle for a two count. Burke with a boot to the face, then he went up top and Punk went after him on the top rope. They stood on the top rope with Punk hitting an impressive superplex as Punk sold it by grabbing his ribs. When they got back up after a nine count, they exchanged strikes with Punk hitting two clotheslines and an enziguri kick to the head for two. Burke sent Punk into the turnbuckle, double knees missed, Punk went for GTS, Burke got out of it and hit a STO takedown for two. Burke set up Punk against the turnbuckle and then Burke hit the Elijah Express double knee attack to the back of the ribs while Punk was against the ropes. Burke got a two count after that because Punk got his right hand on the bottom rope. Punk countered the Elijah Experience and Punk hit the Go To Sleep for the pinfall win at 16:50.
Winner by pinfall: CM Punk
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average midcard match featuring two younger guys getting a chance to have a long match on PPV. Punk has always been a great seller and the story of this match was Burke working on the ribs, so Punk did a nice job of selling the attack. Burke’s offense was okay, but there weren’t enough believable nearfalls to make it interesting. The crowd wasn’t into the whole match, but they did pop more in the last few as Punk got the win.
Post match, Punk was selling the ribs after the win as the fans cheered for him as the match winner.
Analysis: I remember several years after this, Punk was asked who he didn’t like to wrestle and he mentioned Burke because he didn’t like their matches.
Edge was interviewed backstage by Kristal Marshall and Edge was the World Heavyweight Title on Smackdown. Edge bragged about winning Money in the Bank and then beating Undertaker for the World Title, which Batista couldn’t do. Edge said that this is not Batista’s championship, it is Edge’s championship. Edge said tonight it stays that way because the “Rated R Era” has begun.
Randy Orton made his entrance to boos in his hometown of St. Louis although I think there were some cheers too. Orton was a top heel in the company at this point, but the fans also appreciated him as a local guy to them. Orton told ring announcer Justin Roberts to announce Randy as the winner and Roberts mentioned Dr. Rios won’t let Michaels compete, so the winner by forfeit…and here comes Shawn Michaels. That led to Michaels slowly walking down the aisle looking as if he was concussed.
Analysis: Great selling by Michaels. That is no surprise since he is one of the best ever not just as a complete wrestler, but in terms of his selling as well.
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton
Pre-match notes: Orton was the heel and Michaels was the face. Michaels was selling a concussion after repeated attacks from Orton.
The referee Marty Elias told Shawn that he didn’t have to do this, but Shawn insisted that the match begins. As soon as the bell rang, Orton decked Michaels with a punch to the head. With Michaels on the apron, Michaels hit a draping DDT off the ropes with Michaels getting his shoulder up at two. Orton went for an RKO, Michaels couldn’t even fight it off and Orton let him go to the mat. When Orton teased an RKO off the top, Michaels gouged the eye to block that. Michaels did another eye gouge and shoved Orton to the mat. Michaels slowly got to the top rope and jumped off with the elbow drop followed by Michaels selling like he was knocked out. Michaels used the ropes to stand up, he teased a superkick and then collapsed to the mat before he could even lift his foot up. The crowd let out a gasp at the sight of that. The referee Marty Elias checked on Shawn, who looked like he was out of it, JR said that the referee should stop the match and right there the referee stopped the match at 4:32.
Winner by knockout: Randy Orton
Analysis: *1/2 The star rating doesn’t matter that much here. It was more an angle than a match to further the story of Michaels having a concussion while looked like a despicable heel by causing more pain to Michaels. Great showing by Michaels in terms of selling the moves from Orton and collapsing when he was doing his own moves as well.
Post match, Orton raised his hand as the winner while the referee tried to help Michaels back up to his feet. When the referee got Michaels to stand, Orton hit an RKO! JR: “Oh you no good bastard!” The fans booed loudly. That led to Shawn’s wife Rebecca (who was Whisper in the Nitro Girls) going into the ring to check on her husband. Orton left. Rebecca was in tears as WWE’s medical team checked on Shawn. The referee kept Rebecca back as WWE’s medical team and EMTs put Shawn on a stretcher. They looked like the legit doctors rather than indy wrestlers that are used sometimes because I recognize one of the doctors from The Undertaker’s documentary in 2020. Michaels was put on the stretcher and the fans applauded in support of Shawn. Rebecca was by her husband’s side as Shawn was wheeled to the backstage area.
Analysis: I thought Shawn was incredible during this entire thing. If you didn’t know about his legit knee injury that led to surgery then you maybe you would have thought he had a legitimate concussion by the way he sold everything. Is Shawn the best seller ever? He just might be.
There were replays shown of some of the head bumps that Michaels took before the match and during the match.
Shawn Michaels Knee Injury
Michaels was out of action for about five months after this. He needed knee surgery, so this was a way to write him out of storylines while putting over Orton in a big way. There were stories about Michaels needing knee surgery earlier in the year, but when Triple H tore his quad, that meant Michaels took his spot in the main event of WrestleMania. There were reports in 2007 that WWE wanted to go back to the Michaels vs. Cena rivalry in the summer 2007 months, but then Shawn hurt the knee even more in the match with Edge on the Raw prior to Judgment Day. That’s when they figured out Shawn needed to have knee surgery. That meant they had four major names out with injury by also including Triple H, Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker. Ken Kennedy was out at this point too, but only for a few months.
Analysis: Shawn was arguably the best performer in the company at the time of this injury, so it was a big loss. That’s a lot of big name talent out of action and in the coming months, other big names like Edge and John Cena had major injuries too. There would also be an unspeakable tragedy one month after this as well. Crazy year in WWE.
The Great Khali was in the locker room with the WWE Championship (that he stole from John Cena) with Todd Grisham there to do an interview and Ranjin Singh was Khali’s translator. Khali spoke in Punjabi as fans chanted “WHAT?” at him. Singh mentioned Khali’s trash talk about how Khali has dominated Cena. Khali spoke some more and said “Judgment Day” so I understood two words.
World Tag Team Championships: The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) vs. Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade
Pre-match notes: The Hardys were the babyface World Tag Team Champions on the Raw brand. Murdoch and Cade were the heel opponents. This was a rematch from Backlash one month earlier. The Hardys won the titles on the Raw after WrestleMania, so this was nearly two months into their title reign. The Smackdown announcers Cole and JBL called this match even though it was a Raw match, but Matt was still on Smackdown.
Cade started with Matt without much going on, Murdoch with an armbar on Matt and Cade with a shoulder tackle. Matt with a forearm, then a back elbow and an elbow drop. Jeff tagged in with a kick on Cade and Murdoch said they were playing by the rules since that was their new philosophy. Murdoch with a hiptoss on Jeff as the fans chanted “Let’s Go Hardys” for the champions. Jeff with two arm drags and Matt came back in leading to a Poetry in Motion Attack by Jeff and a clothesline from Matt for two. Matt worked over the left arm of Murdoch, then another back elbow and Matt jumped off the middle ropes with an elbow to the back for two. Cade got the tag leading to a huge clothesline on Matt for a two count. Cade with an impressive standing dropkick for a big guy. There were quick tags from the challengers as they sent Matt back first into the turnbuckle. Murdoch off the ropes right into a double knee block by Matt, which led to Jeff tagging in. Jeff with a running forearm on Murdoch followed by a corner dropkick for two. The Hardys remained in control with clotheslines on both opponents to clear the ring. The heels regrouped on the floor, Jeff sent Murdoch to the apron and a dropkick to the floor. Jeff did a somersault plancha using the ropes and to dive over the top, but Murdoch moved and Hardy hit the floor hard. That was a brutal bump.
The heels took control with Cade tagging in with a running shoulder tackle on Jeff. Cade with knee drops to the back of Jeff, the fans chanted for Jeff and Murdoch hit a leg drop on Jeff for a two count. After Murdoch applied a chinlock, Jeff hit a jawbreaker and then Murdoch knocked Jeff down again with a kick to the face. Cade tagged back in with a running forearm on Jeff for two. Murdoch hit a Sunset Bomb for a two count as Matt broke up the pin. Jeff with another jawbreaker on Murdoch. Matt got the hot tag against Cade, back elbow, back body drop on Murdoch and a bulldog/clothesline on both heels got a two count by Matt on Cade. The fans were really getting into it as Matt hit a Side Effect on Cade for two because Murdoch broke up the pin. After Matt sent Murdoch out of the ring, Cade hit a sitout spinebuster for a two count. Matt came back with the Twist of Fate on Cade, Matt punched Murdoch off the apron and Jeff jumped off the top with a Swanton Bomb on Murdoch for the pinfall win at 15:02.
Winners by pinfall: The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match between two teams that were familiar with eachother after they had several matches leading into this. The pace really picked up after Matt got the hot tag and then Jeff finished it off for the team. The fans absolutely loved the Hardys as they came alive for the big comeback from Matt and then when Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb to pick up the win. Cade and Murdoch worked very well together as a team and they built up some great chemistry with the Hardys as well.
Post match, the Hardys shook hands with Cade and Murdoch, who were trying to act nicer. That was the story anyway.
There was a poll asking what challenger is most likely to win a Championship at Judgment Day?
Batista – 39%
Lashley – 28%
Khali – 19%
MVP – 13%
Cade/Murdoch – 1%
There were really 19% that thought Khali was going to win? That’s silly. There was only one title change on this show. It hasn’t happened yet.
The Raw announcers Ross and Lawler talked about how Shawn Michaels was at a “nearby medical facility” because they are not allowed to say “hospital” like normal people. They didn’t go into SERIOUS VOICES~! mode like I thought they would.
There was a video produced by Edge (according to Tony Chimel) showcasing Edge’s great week prior to Judgment Day when won Money in the Bank from Mr. Kennedy and then he cashed in on The Undertaker to become the World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown. It featured the Ozzy Osbourne “I Don’t Wanna Stop” song that was the theme of this PPV. Batista told Edge that the title belonged to him and he wanted it back.
Analysis: There wasn’t much of a story here. They just announced Batista as the challenger after Edge beat Undertaker for the World Title nine days earlier.
Edge entered first as the World Heavyweight Champion. This was before Tony Chimel did his famous “Rated R Superstar” introduction. No voice crack during “Superstar” that would become the norm from Chimel in the years that followed. Batista got a big ovation from the crowd. He had his right thigh taped up since he was dealing with a leg injury for a few months.
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. Batista
Pre-match notes: Edge was the heel World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown while Batista was the babyface challenger. Edge was the World Champion for nine days from when the title victory aired.
Batista shoved Edge down, then Edge cowered in the corner and held onto the ropes leading to a break. Batista picked up Edge, sat him on the top rope and the referee made Batista back away. Batista got some offense going by sending Edge face first into the turnbuckle a few times followed by a whip into the ropes and a back elbow. Edge did an eye gouge, then he bounced off the ropes and Batista sent Edge over the top to the floor. Batista went after Edge on the floor, so Edge shoved Batista’s leg into the steel steps. Batista drove Edge spine first into the apron. Back in the ring, Edge hit a dropkick to the front of the right knee and then a chop block to the back of the leg. Batista managed to kick Edge into the turnbuckle. Batista charged, Edge moved and Batista went crashing left shoulder first into the ring post. Batista with punches, but then Edge hit him with a kick to the left arm. Edge slapped on an armbar for about one minute. Batista came back with an armbar, then three shoulder tackles to the ribs and they went to the turnbuckle with Edge knocking Batista down. Edge went for a double axe off the ropes, but Batista hit him with a clothesline. Both guys were down selling. They exchanged rights with Batista hitting a big back body drop and a corner clothesline. Batista hit a powerslam for a two count. Edge got a boot up to block a corner charge. Edge ran right into a Bossman Slam from Batista for a two count. Edge avoided a powerslam and hit the Edgeomatic neckbreaker for two. Edge charged with a Spear, but Batista was ready for it and hit a Spear of his own for a two count. The crowd popped big for the Spear and they thought that was the finish too. Nice nearfall. Batista caught Edge on his shoulders and hit a Powerslam as the crowd fired up for the challenger. Batista wanted a Powerbomb, Edge got out of it and Batista hit a spinebuster. Batista was selling the right leg injury, so Edge did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! for the pinfall win at 10:37. Batista kicked out right after the three to make it look close.
Winner by pinfall: Edge
Analysis: **3/4 Good match that didn’t go too long, but that’s probably for the best since Batista had a leg injury. That was an interesting finish that was surprising because it was relatively clean for a heel champion. It also was the kind of match where they didn’t do a lot of nearfalls. Batista’s flurry of offense in the last two minutes got the crowd really into it and then it ended suddenly with Edge getting the deadly ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to win. That’s not the kind of finish they do in major title matches on PPV, so it was interesting to see it used here. I think it was just a way to show that Edge escaped to set up the rematch at the next PPV.
Post match, Edge left the ring quickly and had a shocked look on his face when he was handed the title from the referee. Batista looked frustrated as he grabbed the right leg that was bothering him. When they replayed the finish, Edge had his hand on the tights briefly, but then he took it off. It was not a cheap finish.
Analysis: The feud would continue from here with matches at the next two PPVs as well.
There was a segment with the divas that was edited out of the WWE Network version of the show. They stood in a line and talked about who they thought would win the Cena/Khali match in the main event. There were no divas matches on this show and they didn’t even leave in the segment with the women talking about the main event. Ouch.
Montel Vontavious Porter entered for the US Title match looking confidence with JBL talking about how people were excited about this match. Chris Benoit entered as the US Champion.
Analysis: This was Benoit’s last WWE PPV match. He was on the next PPV, One Night Stand, but he wasn’t in a match.
United States Championship – 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Chris Benoit vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the babyface US Champion for over seven months going into this match. MVP was the heel challenger that was going for the US Title for the third straight PPV after failing to win at WrestleMania 23 and Backlash.
It was intense right away as they went out to the floor, Benoit with a slap in the face and MVP avoided a Crossface attempt. MVP kicked the left leg of Benoit with JBL mentioning that Finlay hit the left knee with the shillelagh on Smackdown. Benoit hit a belly to back suplex. MVP with a takedown, Benoit went for an armbar and then grabbed the ropes to force the break. MVP sent Benoit into the ropes and dove at the left knee for a takedown. MVP wrenched on the left knee. Benoit came back with chops, MVP blocked German Suplex attempts, but then Benoit hit three straight German Suplexes. Benoit favored the left knee after hitting the third suplex. Benoit with the Crippler Crossface submission, but MVP was near the ropes and got his foot on the bottom rope leading to a rope break. MVP charged with a kick, Benoit moved and MVP hit the turnbuckle. Benoit slapped on the Sharpshooter near the ropes, so MVP got to the ropes to force a break. Benoit with an enziguri kick to the back of the head. MVP stomped on the head. Benoit got MVP on his shoulders, MVP got out of that and hit the Playmaker neckbreaker for the pinfall to get the first fall in the match.
MVP Leads 1-0
The replay showed that Benoit’s knee was bothering him and that’s who MVP managed to slip out leading to the finisher. Benoit was on offense for a bit, but then he favored the left knee again, so MVP hit an elbow drop to the left knee and a double axehandle to the left leg. Benoit with an up kick to the face, but then MVP kicked him again. MVP set up Benoit upside down against the turnbuckle in a tree of woe position, which led to MVP hitting a running boot to the left knee of Benoit. There were some fans chanting “this is boring” as MVP slapped on a leg lock submission, but the chant wasn’t that loud. Benoit kept going for the Crossface, MVP slipped out and MVP put on a submission where he wrapped Benoit’s left leg around the head/shoulder. Benoit sold it like a devastating move until he got to the bottom rope. Benoit went for the Crossface again, MVP elbowed his way out of it and got an inside cradle for two. MVP kicked the knee again, MVP torqued the left knee again and got an inside cradle for the pinfall win at 12:46.
MVP Wins 2-0
Winner 2 Falls to 0 AND NEW United States Champion: MVP
Analysis: *** It’s rare to see somebody win 2-0 in a 2/3 Falls Match like this, but I think it made sense to tell the story that MVP finally figured out how to beat Benoit. The crowd didn’t love this kind of match and they barely made any noise for some of it. I thought it was technically pretty good, so I don’t mind how they told the story. MVP was relentless with his work on the back of the left knee and I thought Benoit was going to get a fall, but instead, they booked it to give MVP a significant victory by winning two straights falls to nothing. The whole point was to have the veteran former World Champion put over the younger guy on the rise. Good stuff.
Post match, MVP celebrated with the US Title. JBL called him the future of Sports Entertainment. Benoit was getting helped at ringside by the referee due to the left knee injury.
The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler mentioned the next PPV is One Night Stand two weeks later.
The video package aired to set up John Cena defending the WWE Title against The Great Khali, who was moved to Raw to face Cena. The story was that Khali beat up Shawn Michaels, Edge and Randy Orton, which led to Khali hitting the double Chokeslam on Cena. Khali became the number one contender as WWE tried to tell us that he was Cena’s greatest threat ever.
John Cena entered first even though he was the WWE Champion that should go out last. Cena did not have the WWE Title with him because Great Khali stole it from him on Raw. The Great Khali entered with the WWE Title. The announced size of Khali was 7’3” and 420 pounds. Those numbers are embellished, but he is still a big man. JR mentioned Khali has never been pinned or made to submit. The fans booed Khali during the intros while mostly cheers for Cena.
Analysis: The good thing about Khali facing Cena is that nobody really wanted to see Khali win whereas some of Cena’s opponents are likable guys that fans want to see win. By putting him against Khali, even the fans that hated Cena probably wanted Cena to win.
WWE Championship: John Cena vs. The Great Khali
Khali shoved Cena down followed by a clothesline and a headbutt. Khali with a punch that Cena oversold by bumping under the bottom rope to the floor. Khali left the ring and whipped Cena into the steel steps, which led to a two count as Khali covered with a boot on the chest. Khali with a body slam followed by a leg drop. They replayed the body slam as if that’s an impressive move. Khali whipped Cena hard into the turnbuckle twice followed by another clothesline. Cena avoided a leg drop and hit a flipping neckbreaker for two with Khali doing a power kickout. Cena bounced off the ropes right into a spin kick by Khali. That was a big spot with Cena overselling again as he bumped out to the floor. Khali sent Cena into the top of the announce table two times. Khali with a vice grip submission on the trapezius of Cena. When Cena broke free, he hit Khali with two shoulder tackles that led to Khali getting tied up in the ropes. That’s a classic giant spot that Andre the Giant used to do all the time. Khali came back wit ha boot to the face. Khali went for the big chop, but Cena blocked it and Khali sent Cena out of the ring again. When Khali left the ring, Cena dropkicked the steel steps into the left knee of Khali. When Khali went back into the ring, Cena jumped off the top rope with a leg drop to the back of the head of Khali. Cena slapped on the STFU submission with Khali trying to fight it, but Khali tapped out. Khali’s right foot was under the bottom rope, but the referee didn’t see it. It was the first submission loss for Khali in his WWE career in a match that went 8:15. The fans were really into the finish.
Winner by pinfall: John Cena
Analysis: **1/4 This was decent. It was smart to keep it short. Putting Khali in a longer match would have been a terrible idea. Cena worked his ass off here and sold for everything well while overselling when needed. The match was 90% offense for Khali, which isn’t the most exciting thing to watch, but Cena did a nice job of bumping for him. Cena retaining was the expected outcome here as they built to the finish well and the crowd was into it.
Post match, Cena was very happy about remaining the WWE Champion as he celebrated with the title. They showed replays of the finish as Cena continued the celebration. They didn’t mention Khali’s foot under the bottom rope, but that would be used on TV to set up the rematch.
Analysis: They did a rematch at the next PPV, One Night Stand, two weeks later. That was a Falls Count Anywhere match that was better than this match.
This event had a runtime of 2:35:54 on WWE Network. That’s about ten minutes shorter than most PPVs in this era and as noted earlier, they did edit some things out.
Show Rating (out of 10): 5.5
This was just an average show that was lacking in terms of having memorable matches and moments. Cena worked his ass off with Khali in the main event, but you can only get so much from Khali. The best match was the tag team match involving the Hardys and Cade/Murdoch although it’s not like it was some wrestling classic. I think what I’ll remember most was MVP getting put over in a big way by winning a 2/3 Falls Match with two straight falls. Shawn Michaels did a fantastic job of selling a concussion, which put over Randy Orton more as a sadistic heel. It was very effective as an angle. The way Lashley ran through Vince, Shane and Umaga made the crowd happy, but then the swerve ending pissed them off.
It’s hard for me to recommend this show. There are many better shows, including the two before it and others that took place in the year. It’s too bad they dealt with so many injuries at the time because the roster was talented.
Best Match: The Hardy Boyz vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch (***1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Umaga (*) – As an angle it was fine, but too short of a match.
Five Stars of the Night
- Shawn Michaels – Great selling. He put over Orton huge even without having a regular match.
- The Hardy Boyz
- Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch
That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.
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