WWE No Mercy 2008 Review
The WWE No Mercy 2008 pay-per-view event marked the end of the best feud of the year between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels.
It was a feud that lasted about six months with a fitting end on this show as the World Heavyweight Title would be placed above the ring and the only way to retrieve the title was by using a ladder. Michaels was known as one of the legends of the Ladder Match thanks to his WrestleMania 10 classic while the champion Jericho wanted to prove he could beat Michaels in the match that Shawn made famous.
No Mercy 2008 did a solid number of PPV buys with 268,000. It beat most of the non-major PPVs of that year. There were some big names missing from the show since John Cena was out with a herniated disc in his neck that required surgery, so he was out until November’s Survivor Series event. Randy Orton was out of action with a collarbone injury as well. Most of the rest of the top stars were a part of this event.
Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:
“Chris Jericho defends the World Heavyweight Championship in a classic Ladder Match against Shawn Michaels. Triple H defends WWE Championship against Jeff Hardy. Undertaker faces The Big Show. Rey Mysterio battles Kane with the stipulation that if Mysterio loses, he must remove his mask.” PG (V)
This event followed Unforgiven 2008.
The poster and DVD looked like this:
WWE No Mercy
From Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon
October 5, 2008
The opening video package hyped up the four major matches on the show with Chris Jericho facing Shawn Michaels, Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy, Big Show taking on The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio had to deal with Kane. They showed some black and white movie footage welcoming us to No Mercy.
Mark Henry entered first with Tony Atlas. Todd Grisham was on ECW commentary with Jerry Lawler, who was filling in for an absent Matt Striker. Matt Hardy got a big pop as the ECW Champion.
ECW Championship: Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas)
Pre-match notes: Matt Hardy was the babyface ECW Champion while Mark Henry was the heel challenger. Matt won the title at Unforgiven one month earlier in the Scramble Match.
Henry with a shoulder tackle followed by forearms to the back and a kick to the chest. Matt avoided a corner attack, kicks to the legs and then Henry decked Matt with a clothesline. Henry wanted a body slam, Matt slipped out, Matt went after the legs and then Henry hit a clothesline. Matt with a chop block to the left knee followed by a knee drop on the left leg. They left the ring with Henry shoved Matt on his back. Maybe he was going for the ring apron or post, but Matt bumped to the mat. Back in the ring, Matt tried wrenching the knee, so Henry kicked Matt into the turnbuckle. Henry used his right leg to hit a boot to the face for two. Henry jumped off the bottom rope for a splash to the chest for two. When you do a move like that, your feet hit the mat first, so Henry’s butt barely even touched Matt when he delivered that move. Henry with a chinlock, Matt broke free, Henry with a bearhug and Matt got out of that. Matt tried a sunset flip, Henry tried a splash, Matt moved and Henry hit the mat. Matt with a kick to the head, then two elbow smashes to the back and Matt hit a Side Effect slam for two. The fans bought that even though it’s a nearfall move. Henry countered Matt’s Twist of Fate attempt by shoving Matt away. Henry hit a running splash, but he was too hurt to cover right away, so Matt was able to kick out of a slow cover. Matt off the ropes, Henry caught him in a slam position, Matt punched the left leg repeatedly, Matt slipped out and Twist of Fate connects! Matt covered for the pinfall win at 8:08.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Hardy
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match. Matt was skilled as a babyface while Henry used his power for most of it as usual. At least they tried to tell a story with Henry selling the knee for most of the match. It was never a bad idea to put babyface Matt in the opener because he was popular with the fans. I liked the finish a lot with Matt escaping the slam attempt and hitting the Twist of Fate to win.
Matt Hardy celebrated the win with the fans cheering for him. That was a strong reaction for Matt.
The Smackdown announce team of Jim Ross and Tazz were on camera talking about Triple H defending the WWE Title against Jeff Hardy later in the show.
The WWE Champion Triple H and Jeff Hardy were interviewed by Eve. Hunter was looking at his phone saying he just voted for himself in a fan vote about who should win the match. Jeff said that Hunter should worry about the challenge standing in front of his face. Hunter said Jeff has every God-given gift and Hunter wants to see him put it all together. Hunter wanted Jeff to bring the best tonight so Hunter knows he beat the absolute best version of Jeff Hardy. Jeff said that Hunter can take pride in knowing Jeff is going to take his title.
Analysis: They were both babyfaces, but Hunter was more cocky and comedic, so he came across as more of a jerk here while Jeff was more likable.
Beth Phoenix entered as the Women’s Champion with Intercontinental Champion Santino. The Raw announce team of Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were on commentary for this one. Candice Michelle entered as the opponent that was there to show us how to move your body according to her song.
Women’s Championship: Beth Phoenix (w/Santino) vs. Candice Michelle
Pre-match notes: Beth Phoenix was the heel Women’s Champion and Candice was the babyface challenger. Beth won her title two months earlier at SummerSlam.
Michelle with a dropkick to the leg and a leg drop. Michelle used her legs for a pin attempt followed by another dropkick for a two count. Michelle hit a lefty enziguri kick to the head. Phoenix finally got control of Michelle and drove her back first into the turnbuckle. Phoenix kicked the left shoulder that Michelle had surgery on. Phoenix sent Michelle into the middle turnbuckle. Beth applied an armbar on the left arm, Michelle countered it into a pin attempt and Candice with a jawbreaker. Michelle with two clotheslines, another dropkick and a spinning heel kick for two. Phoenix grabbed the arm for the single-arm takedown. Phoenix went up top, which was rare for her, so Michelle tripped her up there and Michelle hit a dropkick to the head, but Santino pulled Phoenix out of the ring. Michelle hit Santino, then Santino accidentally put his hand on Beth’s foot, so Candice got a rollup. Candice tried a move, Beth fought out of that and Beth hit the Glam Slam for the pinfall win at 4:40.
Winner by pinfall: Beth Phoenix
Analysis: *1/4 A decisive win to put over Phoenix as a dominant heel champion. I like how Michelle got some offense early on and actually did some moves I don’t remember her doing, but it was good. Santino’s interference led to Phoenix getting the win to keep the title. The Glam Slam was one of the best finishing moves any woman has ever used in WWE.
Kane did a promo in a room with a red light. Kane said that he can already hear Rey Mysterio screaming. Kane said that the façade that Rey calls pride and the charade that he calls courage will all get destroyed. Kane said that “you” (the fans) and Rey will finally see yourselves for what you really are – monsters.
Rey Mysterio entered to a pretty good ovation from the crowd. They showed highlights from Raw two weeks earlier when Kane gave Rey a huge Chokeslam while calling Rey a coward that hides behind a mask. Kane entered to barely a reaction.
Kane vs. Rey Mysterio
Pre-match notes: Kane was the heel while Rey was the face.
If Rey Mysterio loses this match, he must unmask.
Rey went after Kane with punches as well as a springboard dropkick to send Kane out of the ring, but Kane was back in with a boot to the face. Kane sent Rey to the apron, Rey came back with a dropkick to the back and Kane hit a clothesline to take control. Rey with a jawbreaker, then he jumped off the middle rope and Kane caught him. Rey with a headscissors over the top to the floor. Rey jumped over to the top to the floor, Kane caught him, Rey jumped on the back and Kane tossed Rey over the barricade at ringside. Kane drove Rey back first into the ring post. Kane with a body slam. Kane applied a chinlock, let go and hit a running kick to the head for two. Kane with a backbreaker followed by a stretch across the knee. They did this cool spot where Kane lifted up Rey, who countered it into a reverse DDT. That drew a good reaction from the crowd. Kane was trying to take Rey’s mask off, but Rey fought back with elbows and Rey jumped off the top with a moonsault onto a standing Kane. Rey with punches, then bounced off the ropes with a kick and Rey jumped off the top rope with a leg drop to the back of the head for a two count. Rey ran the ropes leading to Kane hitting a sidewalk slam for two. Rey slipped out of a Chokeslam attempt and hit a DDT style counter and Rey hit a splash off the top for two. Rey jumped off the top with Kane stopping that momentum with an uppercut punch to the jaw. Kane went for a running kick, Rey with a 619 kick to the back of the leg and a dropkick into the barricade. Rey jumped off the top to the floor and Kane hit Rey with the chair! Ouch! That led to a DQ finish at 10:10.
Winner by disqualification: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: **3/4 This was pretty good with Kane doing a nice job of selling for his smaller opponent, Rey is always fun to watch and they had a very competitive match. I think the finish was lame, but they didn’t want Kane losing while Rey unmasking was unlikely, so I guess WWE’s decision makers probably felt they had to do a DQ ending. The finish was done that way to just show that Kane didn’t really care about winning or losing. Kane was just there to hurt Rey.
Kane was shown walking up the ramp and when he watched the replay, Kane was laughing. Kane enjoyed what he said. Rey said on camera: “I can’t feel my legs.” Three referees checked on Rey.
Analysis: Kane was the mean heel while Rey was the easiest guy to root for. They had well-defined roles as much as anybody in the company.
Montel Vontavious Porter was shown walking backstage and talking on his phone. MVP complained about how he had nothing to do tonight and said he would call that person back. MVP knocked on the Smackdown GM’s door, Big Show opened the door and MVP told Show that he wants to see SD GM Vickie Guerrero. Big Show mentioned Vickie has been through a lot like when Undertaker assaulted her, so she’s busy. Big Show said he was focusing on Undertaker, but if MVP doesn’t get away from him then Big Show will focus on him. Vickie called for Big Show, so Show left and MVP walked away.
Let’s Hear from MVP
Montel Vontavious Porter walked out to the ring in street clothes for a promo. The fans greeted him with boos. MVP complained about how Vickie Guerrero didn’t have a match for him. MVP said maybe The Undertaker hitting a Tombstone on Vickie may have affected her head. MVP claimed that the WWE Universe revolves around him and here comes Randy Orton, who was not in a match on this show. Cole noted that Orton was recovering from a shoulder injury.
Orton got into the ring with MVP with Orton saying he doesn’t think they have actually met. Orton told MVP that what he’s claiming to be is what Orton is. Orton noted that there’s a reason why this happened to MVP every month. MVP said he didn’t recognize Orton without a shoulder sling and a folder with MRI results. MVP said that Vickie is incompetent while MVP is the playmaker and he’s not being given the ball. Orton said that at WrestleMania, he won the main event (not the last match) while MVP lost at that show. MVP said that he is not on Raw and he doesn’t work for Mike Adamle and there are no repercussions for him knocking out Orton right now while adding everybody in the Raw locker room would love MVP for doing it.
The World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase with Manu made their way down to the ring. Cody said that they have figured out who Orton is. The fans chanted “boring” at Cody, who said Orton isn’t boring and said Orton is that guy who graduated high school, but didn’t get into college and hung out in your old town trying to be cool. Cody said that Orton was going to coast on his reputation because that’s all he’s got. Orton asked Cody to ask CM Punk if he’s coasting on his reputation. Manu said that they attacked CM Punk first and then Orton picked up the scraps. Orton said he can tell they are trying really hard to impress him and maybe if they accomplish half of what Orton has done, he’ll begin to take them a little more seriously. Orton left. MVP said maybe Orton will be in a WWE ring near you coming in like 2012.
Dibiase said he knows MVP’s father isn’t a WWE legend like their fathers. MVP said he’s the highest-paid entertainer in the history of Smackdown (heels lie) and he makes more money than others. Ted said he never thinks about money because his dad is the Million Dollar Man. Ted told MVP to get out of their ring and they’ll see MVP at the next PPV that he’s been shut out of. MVP left the ring saying he’ll remember this conversation.
CM Punk walked out to the ring along with his buddy Kofi Kingston, so Punk tried to convince MVP to fight with them against the three guys in the ring. MVP took off his jewelry and looked like he was going to fight with Punk and Kingston, but then Punk and Kingston stopped on the floor. Poor MVP was all alone fighting three guys, but then Punk and Kingston went after Dibiase and Rhodes in the ring while MVP fought Manu on the floor. Kofi with a jumping kick and Punk/Kingston cleared the ring. MVP managed to get away on his own.
Analysis: This dragged on too long in terms of the promos. I guess it was a way to get a bigger name like Randy Orton on the show and have him brag about how great he is. Also, MVP came off like a whiny heel rather than a heel that should take seriously. Punk and Kingston were there to give Punk some revenge for Cody, Ted and Manu attacking him at Unforgiven 2008, but it was mainly Randy Orton that did the punt that led to Punk forfeiting the World Heavyweight Title. Anyway, it was a long segment. They could have used this time to have a match.
John Bradshaw Layfield entered in his limousine. Batista was up next and got a good reaction from the crowd as usual.
Batista vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Pre-match notes: Batista was the face while JBL was the heel.
This was a number one contender’s match for the World Heavyweight Championship as part of the Raw brand.
Batista with a clothesline, back elbow and a kick to the head. Batista charged at JBL, who got a boot up and then Batista hit a Spear. JBL rolled out of the ring to avoid being pinned. Batista drove JBL back first into the apron. While Batista was standing on the apron, JBL took advantage with punches to the head. JBL with an elbow drop and a chinlock, which Batista turned into a belly to back suplex. They exchanged punches, Batista with a clothesline and a charging clothesline against the turnbuckle. Batista with a powerslam. Batista charged, JBL with a kick and Batista hit a spinebuster. Batista hit the Batista Bomb for the pinfall win at 5:18.
Winner by pinfall: Batista
Analysis: *1/4 That was quick with Batista dominating the match and getting the clean win in a decisive manner. It was near the end of JBL’s in-ring career, so he was slowing down a lot and Batista was still in a main event role.
JBL had a microphone in the ring while selling the ass kicking that he just received. JBL was laying on the mat saying it was the most unbelievable week of his life. JBL said he thought that he was going to beat Batista and beat Michaels or Jericho to be World Champion again. JBL spoke to “my fans” saying he had to be honest because that’s why the fans love him. The fans booed. JBL admitted his heart wasn’t in this tonight and he said that the week on Wall Street this was the most traumatic week of his life. JBL claimed he was the happiest and most blessed man alive. JBL thanked Congress for protecting his money with this bailout. JBL kept on rambling while the fans were booed. JBL told the fans that he loved them and thanked them. JBL: “God Bless America and God bless me.”
JBL was still in the ring selling the attack while the music of Cryme Tyme hit and they were backstage sitting on JBL’s limo. The lovely WWE divas were back there in the parking lot dancing with Cryme Tyme and the girls all went into the limo. Sergeant Slaughter even showed up to go in the limo. Cryme Tyme and Mickie James said “Money Money Yeah Yeah” to end it as the limo drove away. JBL watched all of that on the screen and left angrily.
Analysis: Poor JBL. I guess the bailout story was a big deal in the US at the time. I don’t really remember it, but JBL mentioning it got him a lot of heat as usual. Cryme Tyme and the divas leaving in the limo was a happy way to end it.
A video package aired for The Undertaker’s match with Big Show. They showed the angle from Unforgiven when Big Show protected Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero and Big Show knocked out Undertaker with the KO Punch. Undertaker managed to get his hands on Vickie in the ring and gave her a very safe Tombstone piledriver in the ring. That led to this match.
Big Show was up first. The Undertaker took his time getting out there as usual.
The Undertaker vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was the face while Big Show was the heel.
They started throwing punches right away, Show with a punch to the ribs and a clothesline to the floor. Undertaker on the apron, he drove Show’s neck into the top rope and Show hit a knee to the ribs. Show worked over Taker with punches to the ribs and he whipped Taker into the barricade at ringside. Taker shoved Show into the ring post followed by punches from Taker along with a kick to the head. Taker had Show set up on the apron leading to Taker’s patented leg drop on the apron spot. Taker with a running corner splash two times in a row, but Show came back with a running clothesline a charging Taker. Show with a body slam followed by an elbow drop. Show with a Russian legsweep takedown for a two count. Show with a forearm to the back, Taker came back with punches and went for a submission move, but Show drove Taker to the turnbuckle. Show with a headbutt as fans chanted for Undertaker. Show to the middle rope, he jumped off with an elbow drop and Taker moved out of the way. Show sent Taker into the turnbuckle, Taker ran the ropes and Taker hit a jumping clothesline leading to the sit up from Taker. Leg drop from Taker got a two count. Taker walked the ropes, he jumped off the top, Show caught him (that’s rare from that move) and Show hit a Chokeslam for two. Taker ducked a punch, then they battled over a choke hold and when Show went for a Chokeslam, Taker countered it into a DDT for two with Show getting his left shoulder up. Taker worked over Show with punches, then Taker scared referee Charles Robinson, so Show exposed the top turnbuckle and sent Taker right into it. Show with the KO Punch to Taker’s head. Taker stumbled back up and Show hit another KO Punch to the head. Show grabbed Undertaker by the hair and punched Undertaker in the back of the head. Taker sold it like he was knocked out.
Winner by Technical Knockout: Big Show
Analysis: ***1/4 This was pretty good. I think it was one of their better matches against eachother. There were a lot of strikes throughout the match and they wrestled at a faster pace instead of doing a slow-paced match. Sometimes their matches were hurt by long rest hold spots, but this time it was more action. I liked that counter by Big Show when Taker jumped off the ropes, Show caught him and hit a Chokeslam for a two count. That was really cool because you didn’t see guys do that to Taker very often. Speaking of not doing things very often, Big Show absolutely dominated in that match with the Technical KO for the decisive win over Undertaker. Show took control after the exposed steel turnbuckle spot and then it was the three punches after that.
Big Show left looking proud of himself while Undertaker was selling it like he was knocked out and he had trouble standing up again. They showed Undertaker for a few minutes as he struggled to get back up while the fans cheered for him.
Analysis: The feud would continue after this with Undertaker getting victories in their next two PPV matches together.
The poll results asking the fans who they were rooting for in the WWE Championship match looked like this: Jeff Hardy 72%, Triple H 28%.
The video package aired showing highlights of the Championship Scramble match with Triple H holding onto the WWE Title by getting the final pinfall with one second. Jeff Hardy won a Fatal 4-Way match against MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Brian Kendrick to become the number one contender with Hardy pinning Kendrick. Triple H mocked Jeff a bit saying he has always been one second away from becoming the WWE Champion. It fired up Jeff, who said he was more motivated than ever.
Jeff Hardy was up first as the challenger and got a great ovation from the crowd. The announcers put over the mutual respect between Hunter and Jeff going into the match. Triple H made his slow entrance to a good response from the crowd in Portland. The wrestlers stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Justin Roberts, who always did great job in these big matches.
Analysis: This was part of the long quest of Jeff Hardy trying to become the WWE Champion. I think going into this match, a lot of people might have picked Jeff to win the WWE Title for the first time.
WWE Championship: Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the babyface WWE Champion while Jeff Hardy was the babyface challenger.
I have reviewed hundreds of Triple H matches in my life. He was very tanned for this one. Just saying. They shook hands, Jeff turned his back and Hunter hit him with a forearm to the back. Jeff got a side headlock takedown to take control for a few moments. Hunter with a shoulder tackle, a hiptoss, Jeff kicked Hunter down and Jeff slapped on a headlock again. Jeff off the ropes, shoulder tackle and another side headlock by Jeff. Hunter got back up with a running back elbow to knock Jeff down. Jeff with a headscissors out of the corner followed by a clothesline to send Hunter over the top to the floor. Jeff with a running clothesline off the apron on Hunter on the floor. Back in the ring, Jeff jumped over the top with a leg drop for two and that led to another headlock. Jeff with a kick to the chest, Hunter sent a charging Jeff to the apron and Hunter caught Jeff going for a shoulder tackle, but Jeff fought out of a Pedigree with a back body drop to the floor. Jeff went for a somersault dive over the top, Hunter moved and Jeff landed hard on his back. It looked like a rough landing for Jeff’s lower back especially with referee Scott Armstrong talking to Jeff to make sure he was okay. Hunter rolled Jeff back into the ring for a two count. Hunter worked on Jeff’s back with a backbreaker along with multiple elbows to the back. Hunter with another backbreaker. Jeff tried coming back with punches, but Hunter hit a facebuster into the knee for two. Hunter with a knee drop for two along with shoulder tackles to the ribs. Hunter charged, Jeff with two boots to the face and Hunter applied the abdominal stretch on the back/ribs with Hunter even grabbing the ropes even though he’s a face, but the referee saw him do it, so Hunter broke the hold. Hunter applied a sleeper hold, Jeff broke free with a Slingblade neckbreaker before it was called that with JR calling it like a whiplash lariat. Jeff with a spinning back kick along with a double leg drop for two and a low dropkick for two. Jeff countered a whip by Hunter with Jeff sending Hunter over the turnbuckle, over the top rope and to the floor. Jeff hit a somersault dive over the top onto Hunter on the floor.
Back in the ring, Jeff with a clothesline off the turnbuckle for two. Jeff wanted a Twist of Fate, but Hunter came back with his own clothesline for two. Jeff charged in, Hunter hit him with an elbow and Jeff hit a front suplex for two. Jeff was frustrated that it was only a two count. There was a whip into the turnbuckle, Jeff jumped off the middle rope and Hunter countered Jeff with a move like a spinebuster or something like that where he sent Jeff into the mat for a two count. Hunter hit an impressive spinebuster. Hunter with a Pedigree attempt, Jeff countered with a catapult into the turnbuckle and Jeff hit the twisting Whisper in the Wind diving attack. The crowd absolutely bought that nearfall even though Jeff never won with that move. They just wanted to see Jeff win so badly, but it was only a two count. Jeff continued the offensive attack with a dropkick against the turnbuckle. Jeff went up top, jumped off with a Swanton Bomb and Hunter moved, so Jeff hit the mat. Hunter wanted a Pedigree, Jeff slipped out of it and Jeff hit a Twist of Fate. Jeff up top again, Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb, then he backed over to Hunter to cover for two, but Hunter countered it into a crucifix pin (hooking the arms with his own arms) and covering Jeff for the three count! It went 17:01.
Winner by pinfall: Triple H
Analysis: ****1/4 This was a great championship match. That was even better than I remember it with a lot of drama the entire time. It’s rare to see Triple H win matches clean without a Pedigree, but that’s what happened here with his crucifix pin counter. They told an interesting story with Hunter controlling most of the first half, then Jeff made the comeback and came close to winning a few times. The fans were popping so much for some of Jeff’s signature moves that are used for two counts and the fans know those spots are usually just for two counts, but they thought maybe Jeff could do it with those moves this time. Nope. It was a win by Triple H.
Post match, the announcers JR and Tazz put over how great the match was while showing replays. They were right in talking about how good it was. Triple H was handed the WWE Championship while Jeff shook Hunter’s hand and Hunter left the ring first.
Analysis: Jeff’s pursuit of the WWE Championship would continue after this and two months he won that title at Armageddon 2008.
Triple H was shown walking backstage with Arn Anderson there to offer congratulations to him. Arn said he “almost had you” and Arnold Hunter that’s why he is who he is. When Hunter kept walking, he was met by Vladimir Kozlov, who spoke in Russian and then said “congratulations” to Hunter, who said nothing. Kozlov left.
Analysis: It was a tease for Hunter feuding with Kozlov, but thankfully the next WWE Champion was not Kozlov. Sorry to the Kozlov fans out there. All three of them.
The video package aired for the main event featuring Chris Jericho defending the World Heavyweight Title against Shawn Michaels. At Unforgiven, Michaels beat up Jericho in an Unsanctioned Match and later in the night, Jericho replaced CM Punk in a Scramble Match to become the World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho was informed by Raw General Manager Mike Adamle that he’ll face Shawn Michaels in a Ladder Match at No Mercy. Michaels talked about how he made the Ladder Match famous while Jericho said he had won more Ladder Matches than Michaels had. It was the end of a long story that stretched over six months with multiple matches where each guy won, but this time the stakes were raised since the World Title was on the line in a Ladder Match.
Chris Jericho entered first as the World Heavyweight Champion although he didn’t have the title with him because it was hanging above the ring. Shawn Michaels got a big ovation from the crowd as usual. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions from Lilian Garcia. Jericho’s right arm was taped up.
Analysis: It was the unquestionable feud of the year and it was only PPV they headlined in 2008 because this was the first time a major title was on the line. Jericho has said the feud wasn’t supposed to be that long, but it was so good that it kept on going.
Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
Pre-match notes: Jericho was the heel World Heavyweight Champion while Michaels was the babyface. Jericho was 37 years old (turned 38 a month later) while Michaels was 44 years old.
There were ladders all around the ring. Michaels with a back elbow and he went for a superkick, but Jericho ducked away from it. Michaels with a chop, then he charged, Jericho moved and Shawn went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Jericho hit a Northern Lights Suplex, Jericho with a punch to the head and a clothesline sent Shawn to the apron. Jericho hit a springboard shoulder tackle while Michaels was on the apron. Jericho whipped Michaels towards a ladder, but Shawn climbed it and then jumped onto Jericho. Jericho got back into it by whipping Shawn into the ring post. Jericho got a ladder, but Shawn did a drop toe hold to send Jericho into the ladder. Michaels grabbed a ladder, Jericho tripped him up and applied the Walls of Jericho on the floor. Jericho brought a ladder into the ring, but Michaels hit the end of it so it had a slingshot effect that raised the ladder into Jericho’s head. Michaels set up the ladder for the first climb of the match, but Jericho stopped him. Jericho with a catapult into the ladder, Shawn climbed again, so Jericho shoved the ladder and Michaels went crashing into the top rope. Jericho was bleeding from the mouth. Jericho used a ladder to hit Michaels in the ribs two times. Jericho sent Michaels into the top rope, Shawn did an upside down bump and then Shawn reversed Jericho by whipping Chris into a ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Jericho had his leg trapped in the ladder, so Michaels tossed the ladder down. Michaels drove the left knee of Jericho into the ladder. Michaels with a Figure Four Leglock, Jericho reversed it and kicked the ladder into Shawn’s face. Jericho with a catapult into the ladder that was against the turnbuckle. Jericho sent Michaels face (and eye) first into the ladder. Jericho slammed Shawn’s head against the ladder. Ouch. Jericho tried climbing the ladder, he touched the title, but Michaels was back up to stop the climb, but Jericho was still in control. Jericho wanted to send Michaels face first into the ladder that was against the top rope, but then Michaels reversed it and Jericho went into the ladder. Michaels tossed a ladder onto Jericho on the floor. Michaels hit Jericho in the back repeatedly with another ladder. Michaels cleared off the Smackdown announce table and had a ladder set up beside it. Michaels climbed up part of the ladder, but Jericho was back up to deliver a belly to back suplex only for Shawn to turn it and Shawn landed on top of Jericho as they went crashing through the table. Both guys were down selling for about a minute.
Michaels was the first guy back in the ring with a ladder. Jericho was in the ring also, Michaels went up top with a ladder, so Jericho dropkicked the ladder into Michaels. Jericho climbed up the ladder against the turnbuckle, Michaels was on the top rope and Jericho teased a suplex, but Michaels shoved him and Jericho fell to the mat. Jericho had the ladder on him, Michaels jumped off and I think he did an elbow drop to the ladder that was on Jericho. When Michaels set up for Sweet Chin Music, Jericho had the ladder again and he hit Michaels in the head with it. Jericho hit the Lionsault onto Michaels, who had a ladder on him. I should point out that referee Mike Chioda was at ringside probably giving them time cues and relaying information to the guys. Jericho placed a ladder on Michaels, who was on the mat, then Shawn shoved the ladder and Jericho landed on his legs on the fall on the floor. That was one of the biggest bumps of Jericho’s career without anything there to break his fall. It was a rough landing on his legs! Jericho was screaming in pain while grabbing the left leg to sell the fall that had just took place. Michaels set up the ladder leading to a slow climb, Michaels had his hand on the title and then Jericho managed to shove the ladder, so Michaels collapsed against the ropes. Jericho climbed up the ladder while selling the left leg injury, so then Michaels climbed up the other side. They were exchanging punches on top of the ladder, Jericho punched Michaels and Jericho had his right leg caught in the ladder. Lance Cade showed up to grab Shawn’s leg and Shawn landed on Cade. Michaels got back up and hit the Sweet Chin Music superkick on Cade to take him out. Jericho climbed up again, Michaels met him at the top and they were both holding the World Title. They each held a piece of the title, they were pulling on it and Jericho was pulling it, but then they met together at the top with Jericho delivering a headbutt! Michaels bumped to the mat and then Jericho grabbed the World Title to win the match! Jericho immediately went crashing to the mat. It went 22:21.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Analysis: ***** This was an incredible match. I’m going five stars for it because it was an exceptional ladder match with a great story from start to finish. They beat eachother up with the ladders, they teased several ladder climbs with believable bumps the entire way. They didn’t do anything too dangerous, but also had several memorable moments like Michaels landing on Jericho through the announce table and Jericho’s crazy bump off the ladder onto the floor where he landed hard on his legs. The finish was unique because I had never seen a ladder match before where both guys were pulling on the sides of the title like that and then Jericho got the win because Michaels pulled so hard that Jericho’s head hit Michaels to knock Shawn down to the mat, leaving Jericho there to grab the title to win. It was a brilliant finish that really elevated the match to that five star level to me. It is definitely one of my favorite singles ladder matches ever just like Shawn’s two ladder matches with Razor Ramon at WrestleMania 10 in 1994 and SummerSlam 1995. It didn’t have the high spots as much as those matches, but it was more of a technical ladder match that was also a physical match as well due to how many times they used the ladder as a weapon. The use of Lance Cade was done to make it look a bit cheap for Jericho, but if you think about it, Michaels did have another chance to win, yet he failed. It’s not like Jericho won just because of Cade. Anyway, it was the right call for the younger guy Jericho to win the feud.
Analysis x2: I wasn’t writing regularly in 2008, but if I was this would have been my WWE Match of the Year and Jericho would have been my pick for Wrestler of the Year. It won Match of the Year in the 2008 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (available via subscription) gave it ****1/2 and so did Bryan Alvarez. When Alex Podgorski reviewed it for us on TJRWrestling he went ****3/4 out of five for it. I’m going five stars. I think I explained myself well above.
Chris Jericho got back up first while limping and with blood all over his face since he was bleeding by the mouth. The replay showed when Shawn pulled back on the title, it led to Jericho’s headbutt.
Jericho left up the aisle with Lance Cade joining him. You could tell that Jericho broke some teeth during the match. Jericho celebrated the win with Cade by his side. Jericho went to the back and that was the end of the show.
This event had a runtime of 2:51:28 on WWE Network.
Show rating (out of 10): 7.5
The last two matches were outstanding, so I highly recommend Jericho/Michaels and Triple H/Jeff Hardy if you’ve never seen them. Some of the other midcard matches were pretty good too. I liked this show a lot. Good stuff here.
1. Chris Jericho
2. Shawn Michaels
3. Triple H
4. Jeff Hardy
5. Big Show/Undertaker
Best Match: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (***** out of 5)
Worst Match: Beth Phoenix vs. Candice Michelle (*1/4)
Most Memorable Moment: Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels fighting at the top of the ladder for the World Heavyweight Title and Jericho hitting a headbutt to knock Michaels down to win the match.
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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