TJR Retro: WWE No Way Out 2007 Review (Cena/Michaels vs. Batista/Undertaker)

No Way Out 2007 show was the third WWE pay-per-view of the year. It was mostly a Smackdown brand show, but there were still wrestlers from other brands that were a part of it. That’s because WWE felt like they needed bigger names from Raw like John Cena and Shawn Michaels to be on the show to help boost interest. That’s why the main event was a tag team match featuring WWE Champion Cena and Michaels teaming up against Smackdown’s World Champion Batista and Undertaker since those four guys were in two of the main event matches at WrestleMania 23.

When looking at the card on paper before the re-watch, what stands out is that none of the major titles in WWE were on the line. The three title matches were WWE Tag Team Titles (Smackdown), ECW Title (not coveted) and the Cruiserweight Title. It’s just hard to get that excited about a show like this. With that said, there might be some good matches that a lot of us have forgotten about.

No Way Out 2007 did 218,000 buys on pay-per-view, which was on the low end of WWE PPV buy numbers in 2007, but there were shows with lower numbers.

Here’s the description for the show on WWE Network:

In a special tag team attraction, John Cena & Shawn Michaels battle The Undertaker & Batista. Bobby Lashley defends the ECW Championship against Mr. Kennedy. Kane takes on King Booker. Plus, a Cruiserweight Open to crown a new Champion and much more.

For the last few years, I have been reviewing WWE PPVs starting in 2003 through the mid-2000s. Check out my WWE 2003-2007 PPV archive here if you want to read any of the reviews during that period. Let’s get to it.

WWE No Way Out
February 18, 2007
From Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

This show is rated TV-14+ (D,L,S,V) on WWE Network.

The opening video pushed the main event tag team match that Vince McMahon set up with WWE trying to call it the biggest tag team match in WWE history.

There was an impressive pyro display to start the show and the crowd in Los Angeles was ready to make a lot of noise. The announcers were Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield welcoming us to the show. Cole wanted to introduce the Spanish announcers, which led to JBL ranting they speak English and said “Spanish my ass” and then they did show the Spanish announcers. That was awkward.

The heel team entered for the opening match. It was MVP up first followed by the MNM trio of Nitro, Mercury and Melina, who looked about as good as ever here. Wow. She will always be one of my favorites thanks in part to the greatest entrance in wrestling history. Yeah, I said it. JBL: “Even you would like that, Michael.” Cole: “I love it.” The face team were the Hardy Boyz with Jeff holding the Intercontinental Title from Raw and their partner was Chris Benoit, who was the US Champion on Smackdown.

MVP, Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury (w/Melina) vs. Chris Benoit, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy

Pre-match notes: The team of MVP, Nitro and Mercury were the heels. Mercury was wearing a protective mask on his face due to the brutal facial injury he suffered three months earlier at Armageddon 2006. The team of Benoit and the Hardys were the faces. This was the fourth straight PPV where Jeff was in a PPV match with Nitro with three tags plus a singles match.

Mercury went after Matt with punches and he sent him into the top turnbuckle. Mercury with a hard whip into the corner, Matt with a boot to the face and an elbow to the back of the head. Jeff tagged in to a big pop from the crowd, then Matt was back in and Nitro was met with a hiptoss by Matt. MVP worked over Matt with punches and a body slam. Benoit tagged in with forearms, chops and knees on MVP. There was a snapmare by MVP followed by a kick to the back of Benoit for a two count. After Benoit worked over MVP with hard chops, Mercury and Nitro went to the floor to avoid being tagged in. Benoit continued his offense with a suplex, Jeff tagged in and MVP raked the eyes. Nitro tagged in with punches on Jeff, but Jeff hit a back kick followed by a neckbreaker followed by a double legdrop. The heels distracted the referee, so Mercury sent Jeff back first into the barricade. That meant Jeff was the face in peril as Nitro slapped on a chinlock. Jeff tried to fight back by going off the ropes, but Mercury hit him with a boot to the back. Mercury slapped on a chinlock on Jeff as Melina encouraged her team. MVP was back in the ring with kicks and a suplex for a two count. Nitro with a hard whip that sent Jeff into the turnbuckle. Jeff came back with a twisting attack off the top onto Nitro. Matt tagged with a back elbow on Nitro, a corner clothesline on Mercury and then a neckbreaker/clothesline combo. Matt hit the Side Effect on Nitro for a two count. MVP stopped Matt’s momentum with a belly to back suplex and then it was his turn to slap on a chinlock. MVP hit his Ballin’ elbow for a two count. Mercury put a thumb to the eye of Matt because Joey was wearing a mask due to his facial injury against the Hardys a few months earlier. Mercury with a stiff clothesline on Matt and Nitro was back in with a neckbreaker. Matt got some momentum with a clothesline, Mercury knocked Jeff off the apron to prevent a tag, Matt with a back body drop and Benoit tagged in. Benoit was aggressive with clotheslines, a body slam and he suplexed Mercury onto MVP. Benoit with a double German Suplex on MNM that drew a huge pop for the crowd. The Hardys cleared house and Jeff hit Poetry in Motion on Mercury. Matt hit the Side Effect on Mercury and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb off the top on Mercury. Joey rolled towards the middle of the ring and Benoit hit a top rope headbutt on him for two with MVP breaking up the pin. Nitro hit a diving clothesline on Jeff on the floor. MVP tried attacking Benoit with US Title, but Benoit stopped it and slapped on the Crippler Crossface. MVP wasn’t legal anyway as Nitro broke it up and Nitro sent Matt out of the ring. Jeff with a clothesline to send MVP out of the ring. Mercury with a clothesline on Benoit. Matt took Nitro out of the ring and Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface on Mercury with Joey tapping to give the Benoit team the win at 14:19.

Winners by submission: Chris Benoit, Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a solid tag team match that was all about building up to the hot tag for Benoit. When that happened, the pace really picked up and the faces picked up the win. The Hardys and Benoit worked well together as a popular team that the fans liked. Mercury tapping out was no surprise since he was the least pushed guy on his team. The crowd was hot for most of it. Benoit went on to defend the US Title against MVP at WrestleMania, so that’s why they didn’t want Benoit losing here.

Vickie Guerrero was interviewed backstage by Kristal Marshall. Vickie said she feels great and lately she’s been doing a lot of soul searching. Vickie talked about the opportunity she talked about a few weeks ago is so close to happening. Vickie said she has an opportunity for something on Smackdown while thanking Kristal for her help.

Finlay was backstage with Hornswoggle, who said he was scared. There were times when Hornswoggle was booked like a mute, but not here. Finlay thought that Hornswoggle was scared of Boogeyman, Hornswoggle said no and when Finlay brought up little Boogeyman, Hornswoggle said little people are scary – that’s the joke. Finlay hugged Hornswoggle and then Finlay dumped him into a garbage bin to help him feel safer. When Finlay left, the lights went out and a red light appeared. Hornswoggle was screaming as he ran away with Little Boogeyman appearing in the dumpster.

Analysis: I have no memories of this feud other than it was terrible.

The next match was a Cruiserweight Title gauntlet match that they called a Cruiserweight Open.

Cruiserweight Open for the Cruiserweight Championship

Pre-match notes: The champion going into the match was Gregory Helms, who held the title for 385 days going into this match. If you win you move on and if you lose, you are out.

Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Daivari

Daivari whipped Scotty hard into the turnbuckle and then got a couple of nearfalls. Daivari with a body slam. Scotty came back with punches, Daivari missed a corner attack and Scotty hit the bulldog. That set up Scotty doing the W-O-R-M chop for the pinfall to win this fall in about one minute. That is one of the worst finishers in wrestling history.

Daivari has been eliminated

Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Gregory Helms

Helms was the long-term heel champion that choked Scotty against the ropes. Helms with a slingshot that sent Scotty into the middle ropes. Helms went for a hip toss, but Scotty turned it into a belly to back suplex. Helms sent Scotty throat first into the ropes and Helms hit a jumping knee to the face for the pinfall win.

Scotty 2 Hotty has been eliminated

Gregory Helms vs. Funaki

Funaki is here to almost no reaction. Screw you fans! It’s Funaki! Cheer the man! Funaki got a punch, went up top, cross body block and Helms turned it into a pin where he grabbed the tights to beat Funaki in about 20 seconds. Screw you booking team! I quit forever! Just kidding.

Funaki has been eliminated

Gregory Helms vs. Shannon Moore

If you remember Three Count in WCW then you know Helms and Moore were former allies. They got into wrestling together. Moore hit an impressive hurricanrana on the floor. Helms caught Moore in the ring and hit a spinning backbreaker for two. Moore with a boot to the face followed by a neckbreaker off the middle ropes for two. Helms hit a suplex off the ropes and Helms with a another jumping knee to the face for the pinfall win. It’s like a one knee Codebreaker that Chris Jericho would use later.

Shannon Moore has been eliminated

Gregory Helms vs. Jimmy Wang Yang

Yang with an elbow to the face followed by a moonsault. Yang with punches, then a thumb to the eye and a forward roll into a pin attempt. Yang with a side Russian legsweep into an armbar submission. Helms got out of that, he avoided a moonsault and hit a clothesline. Yang with a hurricanrana into a pinfall to beat Helms. That drew a pop because the fans knew it was the end of Gregory’s long title reign.

Gregory Helms has been eliminated

After Helms was defeated, he attacked Yang with an elbow drop into a neckbreaker.

Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Jamie Noble  

Noble ran into the ring for multiple nearfalls on Yang and Noble hit a clothesline. Cole was losing his voice as he argued with JBL as Noble hit a neckbreaker, body slam and leg drop while JBL yelled at Cole. Yang whipped Noble into the corner, Yang charged, Noble moved and Yang went shoulder first into the post. Noble slapped on a sleeper, but Yang got out of it with a jawbreaker. Noble missed a charge against the ropes, Yang with an atomic drop, two clotheslines and a spin kick for two. Yang charged right into a rising knee to the face by Noble for two. Yang with a front suplex off the top rope and Yang hit a moonsault off the top onto a standing Noble for the pinfall win.

Jamie Noble has been eliminated

There was an announcement that nearly began with Yang announced as the winner, but then Chavo Guerrero showed as the last man in this match.

Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Chavo Guerrero

The announcers said that Chavo was a surprise entry because the match had open invitational rules. Guerrero with a belly to back suplex, kick to the back and stomps against the turnbuckle. Yang came back with a spin kick to the head. Yang with a back body drop over the top to the floor. Yang went up top with a cross body block on Chavo on the floor. Back in the ring, Yang went for a missile dropkick, but Guerrero counted with a dropkick of his own. Chavo did the Three Amigos vertical suplexes like Eddie, which drew boos because the fans don’t like a heel doing that. Yang came back with a hurricanrana from the top rope for a two count. Yang went up top again, but Chavo tripped him up. Yang knocked Chavo down, then Yang went for a spinning splash and missed. Guerrero went up top with a Frog Splash to the back and he pinned Yang to win the Cruiserweight Title. The match went 14:11

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero

Guerrero celebrated with the title. It was his sixth time winning the Cruiserweight Title. The fans booed him.

Analysis: **3/4 That is the rating for the whole match. It was fine, but nothing special. They had a heel champion going in with Helms and then ended it with another heel champion in Guerrero. I liked the booking of Yang in the match because he looked impressive in beating Helms and put up a fight against Chavo, but then Chavo managed to win.  The next man to hold that title? Hornswoggle. The title died shortly after that. We’ll get to that later in the 2007 reviews.

John Cena was interviewed by Kristal Marshall. Cena was the WWE Champion and one half of the World Tag Team Champions with the fans booing him. Cena did promo saying tonight is history because they were the two main events of WrestleMania in the same ring as powers. Cena did one of his talk quiet promos where he also yelled a lot. Cena said he’ll fight with Shawn Michaels just like he’ll fight against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania.

Finlay entered with Lil’ Bastard, which was the official name they introduced him as. It’s Hornswoggle. The Boogeyman entered with Little Boogeyman. JBL said that is like a horror movie, but it’s not a good one. That’s a solid way of summarizing it.

Finlay and Little Bastard (Hornswoggle) vs. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman

Pre-match notes: The Boogeyman duo were faces while Finlay and Bastard were heels. This is going to be terrible.

Boogeyman with a fireman’s carry takedown followed by a punch and he pulled Finlay out of the ring with Boogey hitting a forearm to the chest. Boogeyman sent Finlay into the turnbuckle followed by a powerslam. Little Boogey hit a running splash on Finlay two times. Little Boogey put worms in his mouth, Bastard was under the ring and he showed up in the ring. Bastard faced off with Little Boogey as the crowd popped and Finlay kicked Little Boogey down, so Bastard went under the ring again. Little Boogey with a small package on Finlay with JBL saying they could add Tazz to this. Ouch. Finlay with a splash onto the ribs on Little Boogey and Finlay put on an armbar. Finley tossed Little Boogey out of the ring, so Bastard pulled Boogey under the ring. Boogeyman was under the ring as well, so Finlay brought him into the ring. Boogeyman came back with a shoulder tackle, a clothesline and an atomic drop. Boogeyman with a catapult that sent Finlay into the top turnbuckle, then a running back splash and a corner splash. Boogeyman with a clothesline and he tossed Little Boogey onto Finlay. Bastard broke that up with the shillelagh. Boogeyman wanted to throw worms on Bastard, so Bastard left through the crowd and Finlay hit Little Boogey with the shillelagh to the head (the referee never saw it) and Finlay pinned Little Boogey to win. It went 6:44.

Winners by pinfall: Finlay and Little Bastard (Hornswoggle)

Analysis: 1/2* This was bad, but not as bad as I thought going into it. It’s still awful, though! At least Finlay was good enough to carry most of the match. I never found the Boogeyman gimmick entertaining and even when they tried to be funny with it, I thought it failed miserably. Putting Finlay over was the right call.

Shawn Michaels was interviewed by Kristal Marshall backstage. Shawn said he gave John Cena and the world that he will watch his back. Shawn said he’ll do everything in his power to make sure nothing happens to Cena between now and WrestleMania. Shawn said he’s got two words for us if you’re down with that and the fans chanted “suck it” to end it.

King Booker made his entrance with Queen Sharmell.

A video was shown from the Royal Rumble match with Kane eliminating Booker, so Booker went back in the ring to attack Kane and that set up their rivalry. Booker got a key to the city of Houston where he lives and Kane ruined the party.

Kane made his entrance as Booker’s opponent. They were on the Smackdown brand.

King Booker (w/Queen Sharmell) vs. Kane

Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and Booker was the heel.

Kane worked over Booker with punches and kicks. Kane always threw a good worked punch. Kane elbowed Booker followed by an uppercut punch and back in the ring with a standing back elbow. Booker got some brief offense with an elbow smash, but Kane came back with a backbreaker. Booker with a neckbreaker using the top rope, but Kane came back with a boot to the face. Kane with a clothesline that sent Booker over the top to the floor. Booker got some offense by sending Kane into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Booker jumped off the top with a missile dropkick for two. Booker grabbed a chinlock. Kane with a clothesline followed by a boot to the face. Kane went up top, he jumped off for the clothesline, but Booker countered with a jumping kick to the ribs. Nice spot there followed by Booker with a standing side kick to the head. Kane tried to get some momentum going with punches, but Booker came back with a jumping forearm to the head. Booker worked over Kane with punches. Kane countered a suplex into a suplex of his own. They both got up at around the same time with Booker connecting with a superkick for two. Kane with punches, then he wanted a Chokeslam, the crowd popped and Booker hit a kick to the gut. Booker went for the scissors kick, Kane moved out of the way and Kane hit a running clothesline with Booker doing a flip bump. Kane sat up, which got a pretty good pop. Kane worked over Booker with punches while up against the turnbuckle. JBL wanted a disqualification for that. Kane hit two running clotheslines followed by a sidewalk slam. Kane connected with the clothesline off the top because he failed to hit it earlier. Kane signaled for a Chokeslam, Sharmell distracted the referee and Kane, so Booker hit a jumping side kick. Booker bounced off the ropes going for a move, but Kane came back with a Chokeslam right after that for the pinfall win at 12:38.

Winner by pinfall: Kane

Analysis: **1/2 The match was okay between two veteran wrestlers that didn’t mesh that well stylistically. There was a simple story with Booker controlling most of it and Kane making the comeback to win. Kane getting the win was because they had him wrestle Great Khali for WrestleMania, so WWE probably felt like he needed the win more.  I don’t remember these two having many matches together in their careers.

After the match, JBL did some complaining saying that Kane scared Sharmell. Kane laughed about his victory.

Batista was interviewed by the lovely Kristal Marshall and Batista was the World Champion at this point. Batista said it’s Smackdown vs. Raw in a battle of WrestleMania main events. Batista said that Smackdown is going to beat up on Raw tonight. They showed a clip of Undertaker giving Batista a Chokeslam on Raw two weeks earlier. Batista said he wasn’t intimidated by The Undertaker, John Cena or Shawn Michaels. That was the end.

Brian Kendrick and Paul London entered for a WWE Tag Team Title match. Deuce and Domino entered along with Cherry, who had roller skates on as part of her gimmick. No reaction for this group that was based on two guys out of the 1970s as if they were characters on the Happy Days sitcom. Google it, kids.

WWE Tag Team Championships: Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs. Deuce and Domino (w/Cherry)

Pre-match notes: London and Kendrick were the babyface tag team champions. They have been champions for about eight months going into this match. Deuce and Domino were heels in their PPV debut. Deuce is the son of Jimmy Snuka. You may also know Deuce as Sim Snuka aka the guy that didn’t catch The Undertaker on that dive at WrestleMania 25 when Sim was dressed as a camera guy. That’s probably what he’s most known for in WWE.

London started with Domino, then Kendrick tagged in with a double arm drag and Kendrick with an armdrag. London tagged in with a double stomp on Domino’s arm and they sent Deuce out of the ring. Domino was knocked out of the ring too, so the heels regrouped on the floor. Cole was losing his voice more as the night went on, JBL asked what happened and Cole said he had a cold. Deuce tagged in with a backbreaker followed by a clothesline while JBL put over Deuce and Domino for beating London and Kendrick in non-title matches. Domino was bleeding from the mouth. Domino tagged in as Deuce whipped London into double knees by Domino. There was a body slam by Domino and then he pulled back on London’s arms for a submission. Domino hit a double underhook suplex for a two count. Deuce gave London a body slam into the turnbuckle. There was a double team back body drop by Deuce and Domino on London. Deuce punched Kendrick off the apron. London managed to break free with Kendrick getting the hot tag. Kendrick with a dropkick to send Domino out of the ring and Kendrick got a backslide pin on Deuce for two. Deuce came back with a clothesline to slow down Kendrick. Domino tried a clothesline off the top on Kendrick, but Kendrick ducked it and did forward roll into a seated pin on Deuce for the victory at 8:07.

Winners by pinfall: Paul London and Brian Kendrick

Analysis: **1/2 This was just an average tag team match with the champs retaining with some fast-paced offense after London was isolated for most of the match. I liked the finish as a counter move to show the champs could find a way to win. The Deuce and Domino team didn’t stand out much other than doing a gimmick that was from decades earlier.

Post match, London and Kendrick celebrated with the titles with JBL giving them credit for being the standard-bearer for the division.

Analysis: Deuce and Domino would end the 331-day title reign of London and Kendrick on April 17, 2007 on Smackdown. There were only three Tag Team Title changes during this year on the Smackdown brand and all the title changes were on Smackdown rather than PPV matches.

The announcers were on camera with Cole losing his voice more as he continued to talk.

There was a video package about the ECW Champion Bobby Lashley. It showed clips of people that knew Bobby like Lashley including his mother, one of his sisters, some coaches and teammates.

Ken Kennedy was interviewed by Kristal Lashley, who asked for his thoughts on Lashley’s success. Kennedy said his thoughts on Lashley were similar to his thoughts on everybody in LA: “Phony wannabes.” Kennedy asked how many people came to LA to be rich and famous while adding that it got them absolutely squat. Kennedy said he’s standing there while the people in the crowd and at home are watching and paying. Kennedy said he’s going to beat Lashley, he’ll stand in the center of the ring and tell the world that he’s the new ECW World Champion. Bobby Lashley showed up and said “halitosis.” That means bad breath. Lashley blocked a punch and then he punched Kennedy.

Analysis: This was some bad acting. They tried to have Kennedy insult the crowd to get some heat.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance as the ECW World Champion. As Lashley walked down to the ring, Kennedy attacked him from behind. JBL wondered where Kennedy’s video package was and JBL claimed that Teddy Long was trying to keep Kennedy down. Lashley managed to take control and Lashley brought Kennedy into the ring.

ECW Championship: Bobby Lashley vs. Ken Kennedy

Pre-match notes: Lashley was the babyface ECW Champion while Kennedy was a heel. Kennedy was not a regular on ECW, but he got a title shot anyway. There was not much of a story here. These guys were two of the top prospects in the mid-2000s WWE.

Kennedy ran away from Lashley early in the match, but Lashley got a hold of him outside the ring and send Kennedy back in. Back in the ring, Kennedy got an eye poke and Lashley came back with a back body drop followed by a shoulder tackle and body slam. Lashley continued his offense with a clothesline. JBL was ranting about how they can’t afford to lose Kennedy on Smackdown as Lashley hit a delayed suplex. Kennedy with a boot to the face, but Lashley came back with a clothesline. Kennedy did an eye rake followed by a dropkick to the knee and a running knee to the face. Kennedy slapped on a leglock submission with Lashley powering out of it. Kennedy worked over the left knee again, Lashley was throwing punches and Kennedy threw punches to remain in control. Kennedy jumped on the left knee of Lashley leading to a two count. Kennedy slapped on a single leg crab on the left leg with the crowd not reacting to them at all. Lashley got back up with punches, then Kennedy countered a slam and clipped the left leg again. Kennedy hit a dropkick into the left leg against the ropes leading to a two count. When Lashley tried getting momentum going with punches, Kennedy kicked the leg and hit a DDT for two. The crowd wasn’t reacting to them at all and there were “boring” chants with JBL saying that the fans hated that Lashley got his ass handed to him. That’s not why. It’s a boring match. Kennedy picked up Lashley and gave him a rolling senton slam. Kennedy went up top for the Kenton Bomb, but Lashley blocked by getting his knees up to block. Lashley with an overhead belly to belly suplex. Lashley hit a T-Bone suplex and a back body drop for two to no reaction. Lashley went for a Torture Rack submission into a backbreaker for a two count. Kennedy hit a neckbreaker for two. When Kennedy got back up, he stumbled into the referee Mickey Henson intentionally and Kennedy hit a low blow punch to the groin. The announcers didn’t even call it. Kennedy got a chair, the referee was still dazed and Kennedy hit Lashley in the back with it. Lashley grabbed the chair and hit Kennedy in the back. The crowd booed that finish as the match ended by DQ at 15:25.

Winner by disqualification: Ken Kennedy

Analysis: *1/2 This was a boring match that went on too long with a dead crowd that barely reacted to them. There just wasn’t any chemistry between these guys. The story was weak also because Kennedy worked on the left knee throughout, Lashley didn’t sell it that much and they forgot about it later in the match. The ref bump didn’t even look good either. This was a brutal finish to the match. They could have got the crowd back into it with a better ending, but what they went with failed miserably.

Post match, Lashley wasn’t even selling the knee injury anymore as he went after Kennedy with a chair. Lashley hit Kennedy with the chair to the back. Lashley hit Kennedy with more chair shots to the upper body until the producers and referees broke it up. Thank you Irwin R. Schyster for breaking up. Pay your taxes, pal. JBL complained about this, he said that the fans applauded this, but the fans barely reacted to it. Lashley left.

Analysis: This kept the rivalry going by having Lashley get revenge for the initial chair attack, but the crowd didn’t care about it at all. Even though this match and post match attack was boring, they both went on to bigger things at WrestleMania. Lashley would go on to representing Donald Trump against Vince McMahon while Kennedy won Money in the Bank. That was pretty much the peak for Kennedy in WWE. Lashley did have some bigger matches later in the year that I’ll get to in the 2007 reviews.

Diva Talent Invitational

The Miz stood on a stage by the entrance area to host a WWE Diva Talent Invitational. Miz did his stupid “hoo-rah” thing as well. Miz said that divas will show off their talents and the diva(s) with the best crowd reaction would be the winners.

The Extreme Expose trio of Layla, Brooke and Kelly Kelly did one of their dance routines in the ring. They were from ECW. They certainly weren’t bad to look at. All three ended up being solid wrestlers with Layla and Kelly willing titles in WWE while Brooke’s success happened in TNA. This dance lasted about two minutes or so and the crowd gave them some mild applause.

Jillian Hall made her entrance and she was from Smackdown at this point. Jillian was busty and claimed that this was her break while claiming she would wow the Hollywood executives that were there to see her. Jillian said she has written her own song, which led to boos. Jillian tried warming up, which drew more boos from the crowd. Jillian did her “Sliced Bread” song very poorly and Miz said that she’s like the chick version of William Hung, which is a timely joke in 2007. Google his name, kids. Jillian ripped on the fans for thinking Extreme Expose has talent and said that they couldn’t even be her backup dancers and Jillian said she had more talent than all of the divas in the contest. Jillian mocked Candice for doing her twirl while Maria wants to have two girls kiss – nobody wants the see that and the fans cheered that. Jillian called Ariel a freak as well while nothing all of the girls are “talentless bitches.”

That led to Candice, Maria and Ariel (from ECW) to make their way down to the ring. Candice was wearing a bikini type outfit and she tackled Jillian. The seven girls in the ring to into a catfight in the ring. JBL: “I like it! This is fun!” The fans booed the referees going out to the ring to break it up. Maria’s punches on Brooke looked terrible but the outfits make up for the terrible punches.

Ashley Massaro made her entrance to join the party and they unveiled Ashley’s Playboy cover with JBL noting that Playboy came out on March 12. Ashley took off her top and revealed an outfit with Playboy bunny logos covering her breasts. The Miz announced that Ashley was the winner of the Diva Talent Invitational. JBL: “Now that’s talent!” Yes. It is. Ashley left to cheers.

Analysis: This was not a great segment by any means, but all of the women are gorgeous and that makes it bearable at least. The biggest reaction was when the refs broke up the catfight. I guess Ashley’s talent was unveiling a magazine? Sure. The whole point of this was to have Ashley unveil her Playboy issue with the Playboy bunny logos covering her breasts. Ashley had such a great personality and it makes me sad watching this knowing she took her own life last year. I always thought Jillian was an underrated talent because they booked her to do comedy stuff so often, but if she was given a chance to be more serious I think she would have had a memorable career.

The video package aired for the main event of Undertaker and World Champion Batista vs. Shawn Michaels and WWE Champion John Cena. It started at the Royal Rumble when Undertaker beat Michaels to earn a title shot at WrestleMania and Undertaker picked Batista during a segment on Raw. Michaels noted that Cena didn’t have an opponent for WrestleMania. Michaels beat Edge and Randy Orton in a triple threat match to earn the WWE Title shot at WrestleMania when Edge hit a spear on Orton, Michaels hit a superkick on Edge and Michaels pinned Orton to win. Vince McMahon set up the tag team match for No Way Out with plenty of teases for problems between the partners.

Analysis: The original plan for WrestleMania 23’s WWE Title match was Cena defending against Triple H for the second year in a row, but Triple H tore his quad at New Year’s Revolution one month before this. That led to Shawn taking Hunter’s place. The top two WrestleMania 23 matches were Cena vs. Michaels and Batista vs. The Undertaker with the announcers saying both matches were the main event. Cena vs. Michaels went on last.

Shawn Michaels entered to the Degeneration X theme song and got a great ovation. John Cena got a big pop as the WWE Champion. Cena and Michaels were also the World Tag Team Champions on Raw that won the titles on the January 29, 2007 edition of Raw.

Analysis: This was a Smackdown PPV, but as brand exclusive PPVs struggled in late 2006, Vince McMahon felt like he needed John Cena in matches on nearly every PPV so that’s what happened.

Batista was up first as the World Heavyweight Champion and he also got a big ovation along with the most impressive pyro display of the evening. The Undertaker made his slow walking entrance as a huge pyro/fire display took place on the set.

John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista and The Undertaker

Pre-match notes: All four men were babyfaces. Cena was WWE Champion for about five months heading into this match. This was during Cena’s longest WWE Title reign in his career that lasted 380 days. Batista was World Heavyweight Champion for about three months heading into this match. Undertaker and Michaels both turned 42 in 2007. They were in great shape. Cena turned 30 that year while Batista was 38. There was a lot of star power here.

Batista worked over Cena with shoulder tackles. Cena with a boot to the face, then punches, but Batista came back with a rolling senton and a jackhammer slam for two. JBL was saying that people are going to talk about this match for years to come, which wasn’t really true, but it was a way to try to put the match over. Batista missed a corner charge and Michaels tagged in with chops. Michaels with a kick to the chest, but Batista came back with a clothesline for two. Undertaker tagged in as he worked over Shawn’s left arm leading to the old school rope walk into a punch with Shawn doing a flip bump to sell it. Taker worked over Michaels with headbutts, but Michaels came back with a back elbow, Shawn went for corner punches and Taker kicked him in the head to knock Shawn down. Batista back in with a body slam, but the elbow missed and Cena tagged back in. Batista with a back elbow on Cena. Taker with a running knee lift to the ribs of Cena while John was against the turnbuckle. Cena worked over Taker with punches, but Taker blocked a superplex with punches and a headbutt. Cena got back into it leading to Cena connecting with a superplex. That’s not a move Cena did regularly, but it looked good here. Michaels tagged back in with a running forearm followed by a kip up. Undertaker grabbed him by the throat, Shawn ran the ropes and Undertaker gave Michaels a press slam over the top to the floor. Batista sent Michaels face first into the steel steps, which led to a two count for Taker because Cena broke up the pin. Batista with a boot to the face for two. Taker was back in as he whipped Michaels into the corner, but Michaels moved when Taker went for a running kick. Taker managed to come back with a sidewalk slam for two. Batista was back in with three clothesline for two. Batista grounded Michaels with a chinlock. Michaels got back into it bouncing off the ropes with a DDT. I think Cole gave up talking at this point due to his sore throat as JBL took over on his own.

Cena got the tag with two clotheslines on Batista followed by a blockbuster neckbreaker. Cena went up top and hit a leg drop to the back of the head, but Undertaker broke up the pin. Cena with a running shoulder tackle on Taker and Cena clotheslined Taker out of the ring. Cena with the spinning sitout slam and the crowd reacted in a big way as Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Cena wanted the FU, but Undertaker broke it up with a kick to the head. Michaels knocked Taker out of the ring. Michaels jumped on Taker, but Taker caught him and drove Michaels back first into the ring post. Batista with a body slam on Cena. Batista wanted a Batista Bomb, but Undertaker sent Michaels into the ring and Michaels clipped the leg of Batista. Michaels tagged back in with knee strikes to the ribs of Batista and Cena kicked Batista in the face followed by Michaels hitting a lefty clothesline. Cena tagged back in with an elbow drop for two. Batista came back with a boot to the face, but Cena hit a clothesline and Taker broke up the pin. Michaels back in with chops and an enziguri kick for two as Batista got a shoulder up to kick out. Michaels grabbed a tight headlock, Batista powered out of that and Cena was back in to a mixed reaction. Cena grabbed Batista in a headlock and it looked like Batista had a busted nose that was bleeding as Batista hit a back body drop on Cena.  Batista walked right into a STFU submission from Cena, the crowd was getting loud and Taker broke up the submission with a kick to the head after about 20 seconds. Cena with a body slam on Batista, Michaels back in and Shawn hit the elbow drop off the top rope. Michaels did the DX chop at Taker, Michaels wanted the superkick, but Batista avoided it and Batista hit a spinning slam. Huge pop as Taker tagged in against Cena with Taker hitting punches on both opponents. Taker with a snake eyes on Shawn followed by a boot to the face with Shawn doing a spin bump to sell it. Taker ran the ropes leading to a leaping shoulder tackle on Cena. Taker with running corner clotheslines on both guys and Batista hit a spinebuster on Taker while Taker hit a Chokeslam on Cena. When Taker looked like he was going to finish off Cena, Batista grabbed Taker hit a spinebuster…to huge boos from the crowd! It was not a heel turn from Batista. It was payback for Undertaker attacking Batista previously. JBL ranted about Batista costing the team. Taker slowly got back up leading to Michaels hitting the Sweet Chin Music superkick right into the FU from Cena as Cena covered Taker for the pinfall win at 22:09. Batista watched the whole thing from ringside without attempt to help Undertaker.

Winners by pinfall: John Cena and Shawn Michaels

Analysis: ***3/4 This was a very good main event tag team match featuring four top guys. The finish was great with the crowd reacting to it exactly as WWE would want them to. The story of the match was about who was going to have teamwork issues first and that was Taker/Batista, which led to Cena and Michaels winning. This was an evenly booked match the whole way and they delivered with a quality matchup in a big spot. It was also a good storyline ending because Batista’s actions cost his team the win because Batista wanted to get payback for Undertaker attacking him a few weeks earlier. There was no dissension from Cena and Michaels at all, so that’s why they won. It’s an easy story to understand.

Post match, Cena and Michaels left happily as the winners. Batista went into the ring to stand over a fallen Undertaker as fans booed Batista, who held up the World Heavyweight Title over Undertaker. Batista’s music played even though he cost his team the win. It was noted by JBL that Batista said, “Payback’s a bitch” previously and that’s what Batista did to Taker here.

The Undertaker sat up in the ring and he stared at Batista, who was by the entrance with the World Title in his hands. The Undertaker and Batista had a staredown to tease their WrestleMania match as the show ended right there.

Analysis: I remember thinking at the time of this match that they should say that the team that wins gets to go on last at WrestleMania, but they never said that. It ended up turning out that way since Cena vs. Michaels was the last match at WrestleMania. Anyway, they did a good job of getting people excited for Batista vs. Undertaker with the way this show ended.

This event had a run time of 2:40:30 on WWE Network.

They also did this match again on Raw six days before WrestleMania 23 and you can watch that here.

FULL-LENGTH MATCH - Raw - The Undertaker and Batista vs. John Cena and Shawn Michaels

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show Rating (out of 10): 6

It was a pretty good show that was lacking a truly great match, but I think the main event delivered enough as a big match due to Batista turning on Undertaker to cost his team the win. Those two worked well together with Cena and Michaels. The negative side of those four in the same match meant there was no WWE or World Title match. The opener was the second best match and the crowd was really into it.

There were also some bad matches on the show that helped kill the crowd midway through. Normally LA crowds are vocal, but I don’t blame them for being silent at times because there were some stinkers here. I’ll also remember this show for Michael Cole losing his voice before the night was over. JBL managed to carry the main event just fine. I know the two PPVs that followed this were excellent, so I’m looking forward to writing about them (WrestleMania 23 is already done, but I will be adding more comments).

Best Match: John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista and The Undertaker (***3/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: Finlay and Little Bastard (Hornswoggle) vs. Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman (1/2*)

 

Five Stars of the Night

  1. Shawn Michaels
  2. The Undertaker
  3. John Cena
  4. Batista
  5. Jeff and Matt Hardy

Next up: WrestleMania 23.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – [email protected]

Twitter @johnreport

Check out my other retro WWE PPV reviews here as well.