The John Cena era was in full swing on the Raw brand in September 2005 as we headed towards Unforgiven 2005. Cena was the WWE Champion that won the gold earlier that year at WrestleMania and it was obvious he was in for a long reign as the champ. His opponent in Unforgiven’s main event was Kurt Angle, who wrestled Cena numerous times on Smackdown, but at least it was a fresh match on Raw.
One of the big matches on this card was Matt Hardy vs. Edge in a Steel Cage Match. It’s a rematch from SummerSlam, which Edge won in quick fashion, so Hardy was looking for revenge.
There was no Triple H on this show because he missed a few months due to a minor neck injury and wanting his body to rest up. He returned to action a few weeks later.
Unforgiven did okay in terms PPV buyrates with 250,000 buys, which was around the average for a non-major PPV event during that period.
I have been reviewing WWE PPVs from the mid-2000s over the last two years. You can check out my retro review archives on TJRWrestling as well as Rajah.com in case you want to find reviews of older shows too. Let’s get to it.
Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
This show gets a TV14 rating plus the “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network.
The opening video package focused on WWE Champion John Cena’s rivalry with Kurt Angle as the challenger to the title.
The crowd was loud in Oklahoma City. We were welcomed to the show by Oklahoma’s own Jim Ross, Jonathon Coachman and Jerry Lawler at the commentary table by the entrance. The Spanish announce team were at ringside talking about how they didn’t want anybody to break their damn table.
Ric Flair got a big ovation for his entrance. Flair was associated with Triple H, who was a heel, but when Flair was on his own he was more of a face due to the respect the fans had for him. Plus, Triple H was off television during this period.
Carlito was up next as the Intercontinental Champion that was a cocky young heel that disrespected Flair in the story leading to this match. A clip aired of Carlito spitting an apple on Flair, which led to Flair kicking his ass.
Intercontinental Championship: Carlito (c) vs. Ric Flair
Pre-match notes: Carlito was the heel Intercontinental Champion while Flair was the face challenger. There was a big difference in age because Flair was 56 years old while Carlito was 26 years old. Carlito was IC Champion for three months going into this match.
There was a slow start to the match with some shoving, strutting and a Flair chop that sent Carlito out of the ring. Carlito took control with a clothesline. Flair came back with an atomic drop followed by a chop. Carlito kicked Flair out of the ring when Flair wanted a Figure Four Leglock. Carlito hit a neckbreaker using the ropes for an assist. Carlito shoved Flair shoulder first into the ring post and Carlito whipped Flair into the steel steps. They went back into the ring with Carlito getting a two count. Carlito worked over Flair with punches. Carlito with a back body drop for two. Carlito with a single arm DDT for two. Carlito slapped on an armbar. JR talked about men that Flair has beaten like Harley Race and Dusty Rhodes with Coach saying that was ancient history. Flair blocked a DDT attempt by holding the ropes, Flair with three chops and a back elbow. Running knee drop by Flair. Flair went up top, Carlito went to slam him off, but Flair punched him and Flair hit a rare punch off the top. The crowd gave a big ovation for that because Flair rarely hits a move in that situation. Flair up top again, he jumped off and Carlito hit a dropkick to the ribs for two. Carlito brought an apple into the ring. Carlito bit the apple, Flair punched him and Flair slapped on the Figure Four Leglock to a huge ovation. Carlito tapped out to give Flair the victory at 11:46 to a massive response from the crowd. Jim Ross was screaming on commentary about how Ric Flair still has it.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Ric Flair
Flair celebrated with the IC Title with the fans cheering. This was the first time Flair won the IC Title.
Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match at a slow pace. The last four minutes were pretty good. Flair didn’t work on the legs at all, but it was fitting that Flair would the IC Title with that move. The crowd was into it because they really wanted Flair to win and when he did, they popped big for it. That was a fun moment with Flair celebrating the move off the top. This was treated like a big title change due to Flair’s popularity, so that was the best thing about it.
Post match, Flair did a promo: “I cannot begin to tell you what a great honor it is for me at this stage of my career to win this most prestigious of all, the Intercontinental Championship.” Flair pointed out that it was his first one. Flair said that this means as many as any of those 16 World Titles. Flair said that his only regret is his best friend and greatest wrestler alive today, Triple H, isn’t there to celebrate. Flair said he’s going to party in Oklahoma City all night long. Flair invited some women that were in the crowd to party with him. One of them had giant boobs, of course. They were plants.
Analysis: That was a good promo from Flair. I looked it up and saw that Flair’s IC Title reign lasted over five months. I forgot that it went that long, but it’s good to see he had a long run with it. As for Triple H, he was back two weeks later at the Raw Homecoming episode.
Carlito was shown backstage after the loss. Todd Grisham tried to interview him. Carlito shoved him and left.
Flair picked two more women out of the crowd to join Flair, so he had the Intercontinental Championship, four women and he said he’s going to do it all night long.
Analysis: One of the women was Flair’s fourth wife (he divorced her a few years after this), but they didn’t say that during the show.
Edge was shown backstage in the locker room. Lita talked about how when Matt was out with his injury, Matt would call to say he loved her, then he’d call Edge to check on his match with Edge noting he was with her and Matt had no idea what was really happening. Lita said she wanted to make Edge happy, so she sat on his lap and they kissed.
The lovely trio of Torrie Wilson, Victoria and Candice Michelle entered for a tag team match. Trish Stratus and Ashley Massaro entered as the opponents. Trish was the Women’s Champion.
Trish Stratus and Ashley Massaro vs. Victoria and Torrie Wilson (w/Candice Michelle)
Pre-match notes: Stratus was off television for about four months due to a back injury. She was the Women’s Champion and she remained the champion even while she was off television. Even though I loved Trish, I thought it was ridiculous that they would keep the title on her while she was off for over four months. Stratus returned to save Ashley from being taunted by the three heels, which set up this tag match. This was Ashley’s first pay-per-view match since winning the Raw Diva Search in the summer of 2005.
Stratus with a forearm and headscissors on Victoria. Stratus with a Thesz Press followed by punches. Massaro tagged in with a weak looking kick to the chest followed by a clothesline. Ashley jumped over Victoria and hit a dropkick, but Wilson broke up the pin and dumped Ashley to the floor. Victoria with a leg drop followed by a leg scissors around the neck. Wilson stomped on Ashley followed by two head whips into the mat and Victoria went back in with a knee to the face. Ashley tagged out, but Wilson distracted the ref, so the ref didn’t see it leading to Victoria hitting a suplex on Ashley. Victoria up top, but Ashley tripped her up to stop it. Stratus tagged in with a headscissors off the top. Wilson grabbed Stratus’ head, Stratus punched her down and Stratus hit a headscissors to take down Victoria. Double clothesline from Stratus and a spinebuster on Victoria, but Candice distracted the referee. Double takedown by Stratus with a headscissors and headlock. Stratus with a Chick Kick on Victoria for the pinfall win after 7:05 of action.
Winners by pinfall: Trish Stratus and Ashley Massaro
Analysis: *1/2 It was a basic tag team match. The best part of it was the three minutes after Stratus got the hot tag with the crowd coming alive for it. Watching Ashley trying to sell and some of her weak offense was a reminder that she was not good in the ring. Stratus going over made sense in her first match back after a long absence.
Flair was shown backstage with the girls as they went up to a limo. Flair kissed one of the women, which was the one that was his wife. She even had on a wedding ring. Fans watching were not told that was really his wife. Flair took some Viagra, then he counted the four women in the limo again and took more Viagra. The fans cheered Flair taking the Viagra and Flair went into the limo to begin the party.
The rock group ZZ Top (Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons) were shown at ringside.
Big Show vs. Gene Snitsky
Pre-match notes: Show was the face that got a nice ovation while Snitsky was the heel in this match. I have no memories of this feud, which is probably for the best.
Show started the match by tossing Snitsky across the ring followed by a headbutt. Snitsky left the ring. Show went after him with a punch to the back and he tossed Snitsky back into the ring. Show with a hard chop to the chest leading to Snitsky going to the floor again. Show went for a clothesline on the floor, Snitsky moved and Snitsky sent Show’s arm into the ring post. Back in the ring, Snitsky with an armbar. Show with a brief choke, Snitsky punched the arm and Show shoved Snitsky into the turnbuckle. Snitsky wit ha kick to the knee. Snitsky with a belly to back suplex on Show that looked sloppy for a two count. Snitsky with a boot to the face for two. Fans chanted “Big Show” for the big man. Snitsky slapped on another armbar on the right arm. Show came back with a weak looking spinebuster. Show did a rope assisted kip up, two clotheslines by Show, a headbutt, corner splash and running shoulder tackle. Show with a Chokeslam for the pinfall win at 6:11.
Winner by pinfall: Big Show
Analysis: *1/4 It was a boring match with a basic story where the face Show came back to win. The best thing about it was that it was kept short at six minutes because if it went longer it would have been worse. I think this was pretty much the end of WWE giving Snitsky a chance as a singles guy.
Post match, Show grabbed the ring bell because Snitsky attacked Show with the ring bell in the weeks leading up to this match. Show went into the ring and hit Snitsky in the head with the ring bell. Show teased leaving. Show picked up the ring bell and hit Snitsky in the upper back with the ring bell to knock him out.
Analysis: The crowd enjoyed Show getting his revenge.
There was a shot of the Flair limo with some smoke coming out of it.
A video package aired about Chris Masters vs. Shawn Michaels while telling the story that nobody has been able to get out of the Masterlock Challenge. That match is later.
Shawn Michaels was shown warming up backstage.
Kerwin White made his entrance driving a golf cart to the ring. This was the short term gimmick for Chavo Guerrero where he colored his hair blonde and dressed like a golfer. Ross ripped on him for doing this and turning his back on his Latino heritage.
Analysis: The gimmick didn’t last that long because Chavo’s uncle Eddie Guerrero died less than two months later, so it was back to being Chavo for him.
Kerwin White vs. Shelton Benjamin
Pre-match notes: Benjamin was the face and White was the heel. White attacked Benjamin with a golf club to set up the match.
Benjamin was aggressive early with punches, a back elbow and a knee to the ribs. Benjamin with a body slam followed by a sliding clothesline. Benjamin launched White into the air and a running clothesline. Benjamin charged in the corner, White moved and White with a chop block to the left leg of Benjamin. The fans chanted “Chavo sucks” and White told them he is Kerwin White. Benjamin fired back with punches, but White hit a headscissors takedown. The fans chanted “Chavo sucks” again with Lawler and Coach wondering who they were talking about. Benjamin with a Samoan Drop while favoring his left knee. Benjamin with a clothesline, back elbow and a modified backbreaker for two. Benjamin with a back body drop followed by a belly to back suplex. Benjamin with a slow climb to the top, White tripped him up and White hit a superplex for two. White with a single leg crap submission. Benjamin with a catapult that sent White into the turnbuckle. White grabbed a golf club, he charged and Benjamin hit a T-Bone suplex for the pinfall win at 8:06.
Winner by pinfall: Shelton Benjamin
Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid match with Benjamin avoiding the golf club attack to get the win. I thought White would have got the win since it was a new gimmick, but putting Benjamin over was fine. Benjamin selling the knee helped tell the story. It was fine for the time given.
Matt Hardy was interviewed by Todd Grisham. Hardy called Lita a bitch. Hardy complained about how Lita cheated on him with his best friend Edge and he’s still angry about it because he lost his dream job with WWE. Hardy said the only thing he cares about is that Edge doesn’t walk out of that steel cage.
The video package aired to set up Matt Hardy vs. Edge with the story being about Lita cheating on Matt with Edge, which led to Matt being fired due to comments he made. Matt was brought back to WWE, Edge beat him at SummerSlam. There was a memorable spot where Hardy hit a Side Effect off the stage that sent Matt and Edge through tables. That set up this blowoff match at Unforgiven inside a Steel Cage.
Edge entered the arena with Lita. Edge had the Money in the Bank briefcase with him. She held it for him as he went into the ring. Lita was looking great as usual.
Matt Hardy got a big ovation for his entrance. This was when Matt was the most popular during his run as a singles wrestler. Hardy looks to be in great shape and more muscular than he was for most of his career.
Steel Cage Match: Matt Hardy vs. Edge (w/Lita)
Pre-match notes: Edge is the heel with Lita while Matt was the face.
The rules for WWE cage matches is that you can win by pinfall, submission, escape by the door or climb out of the cage.
It was a slugfest early with a lot of punches thrown by each man. Edge tried to climb out, Hardy pulled him back in and hit a double axe handle to the back. Edge with a belly to back suplex. Hardy with a running shoulder tackle. Edge took control with punches and a kick to the ribs. Running clothesline by Hardy got a two count. Hardy nailed a clothesline off the middle ropes with the crowd cheering loudly. Edge shoved Hardy face first into the steel cage and hit a sitout neckbreaker for two. Edge tried to climb out, Hardy stopped him and Hardy wanted a Side Effect off the top, but Edge sent the back of Hardy’s head into the cage two times. Edge hit a missile dropkick off the top that grazed the back of Hardy’s head. Edge with two belly to back suplexes. Edge sent Hardy into the turnbuckle followed by a running boot to the face with the crowd booing Edge. That led to a big smile on Edge’s face. Edge hit a DDT for two. Edge picked up Hardy and hit a running Powerbomb that sent Matt back first into the cage. That was nasty. Fans chanted “Hardy” for Matt. Edge with Powerbomb into the top turnbuckle known as a Buckle Bomb. Edge with two more running kicks to the head. Lita was happy about it. Edge set up Hardy on the top rope, Hardy tried to fight out of the corner, but Edge hit a Powerbomb off the top rope. That was an impressive move. Edge with a delayed cover that got a two count. Edge teased walking out of the cage, but he chose to continue the attack. Hardy bit Edge’s hand, Hardy sent Edge into the turnbuckle and Hardy with a Side Effect slam for two.
Edge tried crawling out the door, but Matt pulled him back in. Lita gave the Money in the Bank briefcase to Edge. Hardy avoided the briefcase shot and tied up Edge in the ropes leading to huge cheers. Hardy went crazy throwing punches at Edge. Hardy with a slingshot that sent Edge into the steel cage. Hardy with a bulldog on the briefcase. Hardy whipped Edge into the steel cage face first four times in a row. Lita climbed the cage, so Matt pushed her to knock her down. Edge was busted open, so he cut himself during the Lita/Hardy spot. Hardy got some payback with several hard kicks to the face like Edge did to him earlier. Hardy went up top with the briefcase, but Edge countered that by shoving the ref into the ropes to knock Hardy down. Edge with a Spear on Hardy against the cage. Edge tried climbing out, but Hardy stopped him. Hardy hit a Side Effect slam off the top rope. Lita tried to bring a chair into the ring, but ref Jack Doan stopped her. Hardy got a two count because Lita went into the ring to break up the pin. Edge tried to climb out, Hardy stopped him and Hardy blocked Lita’s attempt to use the briefcase. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Late to take her out. Edge with a Spear on Hardy for a two count. That kickout drew a huge ovation. More “Hardy” chants.” Edge tried to climb out, Hardy sent him face first into the cage two times and Edge bumped into the ring. Hardy went up top, he could have climbed down, but he changed his mind. Hardy looked at the fallen Edge and Hardy jumped off the top of the cage with a HUGE leg drop off the cage. JR was yelling about how Hardy shouldn’t do it, but he did it. The ovation for Hardy’s leg drop was massive. Hardy covered with his arm on the chest of Edge for the pinfall win after 21:33 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Hardy
Analysis: ****1/2 Great match with Hardy getting one of the biggest wins of his career. The right man went over. It was violent, bloody and had a very memorable moment with Hardy hitting that insane leg drop off the top rope. The crowd was fully engaged in this match, which you could argue was the real main event on this card. The leg drop off the top was probably the craziest move of Matt’s career. His brother Jeff was known more for doing the crazy moves like that. Edge did a great job as the vicious heel when needed and he took his ass kicking like a man too. This was one of the best matches of the year and it was also one of the best feuds of the year. It was not the match of the year because of matches like Angle vs. Michaels at WrestleMania 21, but this was still an awesome match worth checking out.
Post match, there were replays of the massive Leg Drop from Hardy. It was such an impressive move. Hardy celebrated on the ramp while a bloody Edge was down in the ring with Lita.
Analysis: Even though Matt won this match, he did not win the feud. Edge won a “Loser Leaves Raw” match on the October 3 Raw Homecoming show (Raw’s return to USA Network), so that meant Matt had to move to Smackdown.
John Cena was shown in the trainer’s room getting his ankle taped. Raw GM Eric Bischoff showed up saying that Cena will need a lot more tape when this is over. Bischoff continued talking shit, so Cena got some tape and put it on his mouth. Cena left while Bischoff threw the tape down.
Analysis: As soon as Cena got to Raw earlier in 2005, WWE pushed the idea of Bischoff hating Cena to try to create that McMahon-Austin dynamic.
Edge was shown crawling up the ramp with officials and Lita helping him to the back.
World Tag Team Championships: The Hurricane and Rosey (c) vs. Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade
Pre-match notes: Hurricane and Rosey were the face Tag Team Champions that held the titles for nearly five months going into this match. The heels were Murdoch and Cade, who beat Rosey and Hurricane non-title to earn the title match. Sadly, Cade and Rosey passed away far too soon.
Cade worked over Hurricane early, but Hurricane took advantage with an arm drag followed by headscissors. The heels left the ring to regroup. Hurricane nailed a missile dropkick on Hurricane. Rosey tagged in with a headbutt. Rosey with a running hip attack on Murdoch against the turnbuckle. Cade with a knee drop on Rosey for two. Murdoch left the apron to hit on ring announcer Lilian Garcia. Hurricane went over there to punch Murdoch. Hurricane charged in again and Murdoch hit a DDT off the apron on the floor. Meanwhile, the legal men were still Rosey and Cade with Rosey hitting a belly to back suplex. Rosey with a back body drop, corner clothesline and a punch to Murdoch. Rosey charged, Murdoch saved his partner and Rosey hit the turnbuckle. Murdoch tagged back in for a two count. The trainer and a referee checked on Hurricane at ringside. Rosey was on the floor, so Cade drove Rosey into the barricade. Hurricane was helped to his feet. Cade hit a neckbreaker on Rosey, Murdoch back in and Rosey hit a double clothesline. Hurricane watched on the big screen and he went back to the apron. Hurricane tagged in, he threw punches and was selling like he was hurting. Murdoch with a clothesline and Cade with a chop block for the high/low double team move leading to Murdoch pinning Hurricane to win at 7:40.
Winners by pinfall and New Tag Team Champions: Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade
Analysis: ** It was a decent match with the heels looking smart by taking out Hurricane during the match and isolating Rosey to beat him to win the titles. Hurricane tried to fight back, but he was hurting and that led to the finish. I liked the story. It was the right time to change the titles since Hurricane and Rosey had a long reign as champions. The crowd wasn’t into the match that much since Murdoch and Cade were still new as a team, but it was WWE’s attempt to try to put over some young guys.
Back to the limo in the parking lot, a woman walked out wearing the Flair robe. She said she needs to catch her breath. She went back in. It was the woman that was really Flair’s wife at the time.
Chris Masters was interviewed by Maria in the backstage area. Maria: “Why do you call yourself the masturbate?” He corrected her that it was the Masterpiece. Masters talked about how he was going to beat Michaels.
Analysis: If you’re wondering about the Maria line, her gimmick was that she was really dumb, so they scripted her to say stupid shit all the time.
Chris Masters did his entrance full of posing. Shawn Michaels got the usual loud reaction for his entrance.
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters
Pre-match notes: Michaels was the face and Masters was the heel. There was a big age difference since Michaels was 40 years old and Masters was 22 years old. It’s rare to see guys at 22 on the main roster, but Masters had the look that WWE loved. Michaels debuted on Raw in February 2005.
Masters slapped on the Masterlock (full nelson) as soon as Michaels got in the ring. The bell didn’t ring, so the referee made Masters move back. The bell rang to start the match.
Michaels with a right knee lift followed by a clothesline that sent Masters over the top to the floor. Michaels with a slingshot cross body block over the top to take out Masters. Michaels whipped Masters shoulder first into the steel steps. Michaels grabbed a chair, he went for a chair shot, but the ref took the chair away and Masters kicked Michaels in the gut. They battled on the floor with Masters drive Michaels spine first into the ring post two times in a row. Masters was in control in the ring with a leg drop. Masters hit a delayed suplex. Masters continued to work over the back with two forearms to the back. Masters hit a spinning backbreaker that got a two count. The fans chanted “HBK” for Michaels as Masters hit two more backbreakers plus a submission where he stretched Michaels over his knee. Michaels got back to his feet, he drove Masters into the turnbuckle and a hard chop to the chest. Masters sent Michaels into the turnbuckle, Michaels did an upside down bump and Masters slapped on a Torture Rack submission across his back. Michaels fought out of it with punches and a sunset flip pin for two, but Masters was back up with a clothesline. Masters was bleeding from the nose. Masters with a press slam.
Masters tried the Masterlock submission, Michaels grabbed the referee Jack Doan’s shirt and Michaels hit a mule kick that hit Masters in the groin. They got into a slugfest leading to Michaels hitting a flying forearm, kip-up, atomic drop, two clotheslines and a body slam. Michaels went up top and connected with the elbow drop off the top. The crowd was going wild for Michaels. Michaels wanted the superkick, Masters ducked it and Masters locked in the Masterlock submission. Michaels kicked off the ropes to try to get out of it, but Masters kept him locked in. The fans chanted “HBK” as Michaels fought out of the submission. Michaels jumped over the top rope to the apron, so Masters had to break the hold since Michaels was by the ropes. That was a clever way to counter it without breaking the hold. Masters argued with the referee, Michaels sent Masters throat first into the top rope leading to Masters bumping again. Michaels up top again, he jumped off, Masters caught him, Michaels avoided a Masterlock again and Michaels hit the Sweet Chin Music superkick for the pinfall win at 16:44.
Winner by pinfall: Shawn Michaels
Analysis: *** The match was pretty good thanks to Michaels carrying Masters to a quality PPV match. They built up to the Masterlock spot well with the crowd reacting in a big way when Michaels was trapped in it. The win was also questionable with Michaels hitting the low blow kick to avoid losing earlier in the match. Some of the Masters offense was really boring to the point that I wanted to hit fast forward, but they got through it fine thanks to the great job of selling from Michaels. It was a clever finish as well, which was typical in a Michaels match.
Post match, Michaels celebrated the win with the announcers heaping a lot of praise on Masters to try to put him over in defeat. They also pointed out that the Masterlock was still not broken.
There was another shot of the Flair limo with the four women emerging from it looking all sweaty. You could see the crack of Flair’s ass as he got out of the limo. The announcers were laughing. Flair drank some champagne and tossed it. Flair tried to say woo, but he did a face first bump on the floor. The announcers laughed. JR: “Something tells me I’ve seen something like that before somewhere.”
Analysis: That was funny seeing Flair doing a Flair flop after his “fun” for a few hours.
The video package aired to set up John Cena vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Title. It started with Cena beating Chris Jericho on Raw leading to Jericho getting fired. Moments later, Angle destroyed Jericho, which led to the match being made for Unforgiven. The story was that Angle was a wrestling machine on top of his game while Cena never backs down.
Kurt Angle made his entrance looking intense with the mouthguard in his mouth along with the gold medal around his neck. Fans greeted Angle with the “you suck” chants. Angle was a four-time World Champion in WWE going into this match.
John Cena got a loud reaction as the WWE Champion with the spinner version of the title. The fans were mostly cheering for him. The boo birds for Cena were not there yet. It was noted by Lawler that this was the third title match of the night and the first two title matches had title changes.
WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Kurt Angle
Pre-match notes: Cena was the face WWE Champion. Angle was the heel challenger. Cena was WWE Champion for over five months at this point. This was their third singles PPV match with the others being at No Mercy 2003 (a win for Angle) and No Way Out 2005 (a win for Cena). Those matches were on the Smackdown brand. Cena’s first match on WWE TV was also against Angle on Smackdown about three years earlier.
Cena with a running hip toss led to Angle bailing to the floor. Back in the ring, Angle slapped on an armbar and Cena countered into a headlock. The announcers wondered if Cena was the underdog as the champion. Cena with two shoulder tackles, so Angle bailed to the floor again. Angle back into the ring with forearms to the jaw. Cena got a boot to the face, a body slam and two elbow drops for two. Cena sent Angle face first into the turnbuckle followed by a sidewalk slam for two. Angle with an eye gouge and a release German suplex. Angle stomped away on Cena against the turnbuckle. Suplex got two for Angle, called ref Mike Chioda a “son of a bitch” for his count. Angle slapped on a chinlock. Cena with a sunset flip, but Angle came back with a hard whip into the turnbuckle and a belly to belly overhead suplex. Angle remained in control with two knee lifts to the Cena’s face. Angle slapped on a waistlock. Angle with a German Suplex that got a two count. Angle with a waistlock, Cena broke free and hit a DDT for two.
Cena with two clotheslines, a shoulder block and a Fisherman’s suplex got a two count. Cena with the FU attempt, Angle slipped out going for an Ankle Lock and Cena hit a spinebuster for two. Angle went running into the turnbuckle after Cena moved, Cena went for the FU, Angle slipped out and Angle hit the Angle Slam for the two count. That was a great nearfall with the crowd getting loud for the kickout for Cena. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock on the left foot, but Cena rolled through and kicked Angle down. Cena with a spinning sitout slam. Cena connected with the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop for two. In future years, Cena’s opponent usually popped up to their feet after that move. Angle went for a clothesline, Cena ducked and Angle hit the ref with the clothesline against the turnbuckle. Cena hit the FU (Attitude Adjustment) and covered, but referee Mike Chioda was down. Angle nailed Cena in the groin with a low blow kick with no ref available to see it. Angle put his gold medal on his right hand and decked Cena with a punch using the medal. Angle with a knee drop on the left ankle. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock as Eric Bischoff went down to ringside to cheer on Angle. Bischoff grabbed the WWE Title and taunted Cena with the title. Cena got to the ropes, so Bischoff kicked his hand. Cena rolled through as Bischoff was about to have the bell rung, which saw Angle bump into Bischoff and send Cena to the floor. Cena hit Angle with the WWE Title in the face. The ref recovered to see Cena do that, so the bell rang and we assume it was a disqualification win for Angle with the ref seeing Cena hit Angle with the title. The match went 17:15.
Winner: Kurt Angle by disqualification (John Cena is still WWE Champion)
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very good match with Angle controlling most of it, Cena making the comeback and a controversial finish. It was not at the level of their other PPV matches, but it’s still pretty good. Angle was always one of Cena’s best opponents. They had a lot of spots that worked well with Angle countering Cena’s signature moves often. The finish was done to keep the feud going because if Cena just won then they would have been hurting for a main event at the next major show. By having it end in a DQ, it set up an obvious rematch. The execution of the finish seemed a bit off because if Bischoff wanted the match to end he could have just done it. Instead, he waited and then was unable to do it, so that could have been booked better.
Bischoff had the microphone telling the referee he should not give the title to Cena. Bischoff tried to say something to Cena, but Cena picked him up and hit the FU on Bischoff. The crowd loved that. Angle got back up with a forearm to the back of Cena.
Angle attacked Cena outside the ring as referee Chioda tried to get Angle to stop. Angle whipped Cena hard into the steel steps. Angle cleared off the Spanish announce table at ringside. Angle wanted the Angle Slam, but Cena countered it into a FU through the Spanish announce table, which broke. Angle was bleeding from the mouth.
Cena celebrated in the ring with the WWE Title as his music played. The announcers were confused about who won the match. Another replay aired of the referee seeing Cena hit Angle with the title for the disqualification.
Cena posed with the WWE Title on the stage as Unforgiven ended.
Analysis: That post match angle was done to keep the feud going. Cena got the upper hand to end the night on a happy note.
This event has a run time of 2:45:05 on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 6.5
I thought Matt Hardy vs. Edge was clearly the best match of the night. They were given the most time as well, which was the right call. They delivered a high-quality match inside that steel cage. It was the most memorable part of the night.
The main event with Angle vs. Cena was good. Like I said, it wasn’t as good as their other PPV matches, but they were always capable of having solid matches together.
There were two matches with significant age differences, yet Shawn Michaels was put over Chris Masters and Ric Flair beat Carlito. That showed that WWE wasn’t ready to push the younger heels although they did get many chances to prove themselves.
Best Match: Matt Hardy vs. Edge (****1/2 out of 5)
Worst Match: Big Show vs. Gene Snitsky (*1/4)
- Matt Hardy
- Shawn Michaels
- Kurt Angle
- John Cena
Next up: No Mercy 2005. It was a Smackdown show that was Eddie Guerrero’s last PPV match.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]
Check out my other retro WWE PPV reviews here as well.