Written By: Alexander Settee
Judgment Day 2009, May 17, 2009, Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL
Announcers: The teams of: Todd Grisham & Jim Ross, Josh Matthews & Matt Striker, and Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
Here we are now into another stretch of bang, bang, bang shows only three weeks apart. I’m not really that excited going into this one as although it looks on paper to be a solid show, there’s also nothing that really stands out. I’m expecting the most out of Jericho/Mysterio since they’ve done good stuff together in the past, and Jericho will do all he can to make the story meaningful. Benjamin/Morrison also looks like a potential show stealer, but the rest looks more like “Been there, done that”. So let’s see what we get out of Judgment Day 2009.
Opening Match: CM Punk vs. Umaga
A few weeks back on Smackdown, Punk defeated Edge in a non-title match, and was looking to take advantage by cashing in Money in the Bank right there and then, but Umaga put a stop to those plans with a well timed attack. Punk issued the challenge for the PPV in his hometown, so here we are. Punk is, of course, over huge with the crowd. Kicks to start out have no effect on Umaga, and then Punk gets caught and slammed. Umaga works him over for quite a bit, and manages to cut off several comebacks. Kneedrop gets a 2 count for Umaga. He then boots Punk off the apron into the barrier. Punk tries coming back in with a sunset flip, but gets sat on. Next comeback sees Punk try and fail to get a bodyslam, and Umaga falls on top for 2. Umaga goes to the 2nd rope, but misses a headbutt. Punk then ducks a charge and sends Umaga flying to the floor. Punk then dives on him in the big spot of the match. Back in, Punk retains control with his kicks and knees, but eventually gets run to the corner to go down again. Umaga misses the butt splash though and Punk comes off the 2nd rope with a bulldog for 2. Flying clothesline also gets 2 and leads to a GTS attempt, but he can’t get it. Umaga hits a Samoan drop for 2, but the Samoan Spike misses. Punk kicks him and sets up the GTS again, but still can’t hit it successfully. Crescent kick by Umaga leads to the butt splash, and then the Samoan Spike finishes at 11:53. This was a decent opener, but I don’t like what may happen to this crowd after seeing their local hero go down clean in the first match. You could say that they’re establishing a challenger for when Punk wins the Title, but I’m not convinced that’s even on their mind at this point. Oh and if you ever make it to WWE, tell them you’re from like Laramie, Wyoming, or somewhere they’re never gonna run a show anyways so you can avoid the hometown burial they love to do. **1/2
Backstage now to Vickie Guerrero’s office as Chavo tells her that John Cena has been cleared to wrestle here tonight. Big Show is there as well and tells her that Cena won’t be cleared again when he’s done with him. Vickie lets him know that if necessary, someone will step up and take his place in what must be a message directed at somebody for some reason. Edge then comes in and wants a word with his wife.
ECW Championship Match: Christian vs. Jack Swagger
This is a rematch from Backlash where Christian won the Title under slightly less than 100% clean circumstances. The story they seem to be going for is that Christian is the wily veteran who will outsmart Swagger, but what Swagger lacks in experience, he makes up for in raw ability. Christian ducks a charge and Swagger goes to the floor, where he’s nailed with a dropkick and springboard dive. Getting back in though, Swagger knocks him back to the floor and takes over. Christian gets tossed to the post ribs first, and that’s what area Swagger goes to work on back in the ring. Pump splash hits knees though and Christian connects with a back elbow off the ropes. Swagger catches him, but Christian slips out and cradles for 2. He manages to keep avoiding Swagger and connects with some kicks, but misses a top rope headbutt. Swagger gets a rollup for 1, and then tries the gutwrench powerbomb, but can’t get it. Christian keeps out maneuvering him, but soon gets caught with a belly to belly suplex off the top for 2. Small package by Christian gets 2 and then they clothesline each other. Swagger gets Christian on his shoulders, which Christian slips out of and goes to a sunset flip, but Swagger hooks him and holds him down for 2. Christian is back with an inverted tornado DDT for 2. Swagger rolls him up, hooking the tights in the process, but the ref sees that and stops the count at 2. He sets up the gutwrench powerbomb again, but Christian avoids it for the second time, and pulls down Swagger’s straps in the process. Christian then rolls him up, hooking the tights himself, and gets the 3 count to retain at 9:34. Hooking the tights when the guy is wearing a singlet is not very effective you see, so by pulling the straps down they essentially become regular trunks and thus the strategy works. Good stuff here, but not quite as good as last month. **1/2
Chavo confronts Edge now about what’s going on with him and Vickie, but Edge blows off the idea of any problems between them. He then turns the tables on Chavo and asks what he’s doing about Santino Marella calling Vickie a pig.
Shelton Benjamin (w/Charlie Haas) vs. John Morrison
Morrison beat Shelton a couple of weeks ago on Smackdown, so the usual Even Steven booking they love to use would dictate that Shelton gets the win back here. Shelton starts with an exploder suplex right off the bat, and then takes Morrison over with a fireman’s carry into an armbar. Morrison makes a comeback, but Shelton cuts it off by sliding out. Morrison fakes him out on a dive, and then comes off the second time with a sommersault. It doesn’t look too good though as he falls short and Shelton just makes it there in time to catch him. Back in, Morrison goes up, but Shelton crotches him and kicks him to the floor. Haas tosses him back in, and Shelton covers for 2. Shelton then maintains control on the mat for quite a bit. The fans aren’t really into Morrison that much as a babyface, which isn’t really surprising considering they didn’t really do anything to establish him as one in the first place. Morrison finally comes back, but it leads to a collision to put them both down. Morrison then falls on top during a suplex attempt for 2. He follows with a dropkick, clothesline and elbow, and then a cool looking headscissors like move into a Russian legsweep for 2. Shelton comes back with an inverted backbreaker for 2. Morrison then gets a dropkick and knee for another 2. Benjamin catches Morrison on a springboard attempt and drops him with a powerbomb for 2. Morrison then drop toehold him to the corner. Haas tries to get involved, but gets knocked down for his troubles and actually accomplishes nothing as Shelton misses his shot in the corner and Morrison then gets a springboard dropkick. Starship Pain (split legged corkscrew moonsault) then finishes Shelton off at 10:09. Another good match here, and so much for the Even Steven theory. Could someone actually be getting a push? ***
Talk segment time as The Miz comes out to draw the cheap heat by insulting the Chicago Cubs. Cubs player Alfonzo Soriano is in the crowd, so Miz challenges him to stand in for John Cena and get in the ring, but no dice on that one. So Miz declares himself to now be 4-0 against Cena. Santino Marella, who has now become a babyface, which really was inevitable as entertaining as he is, comes out to make the verbal save and calls Miz a jackass. This leads to a brawl, with the crowd loudly booing or cheering depending on which guy was in control. Miz then plants him with a DDT, reiterates his 4-0 status and takes off. Chavo Guerrero then runs in and nails a frog splash on Santino. This was a pretty good segment, and if we must have things like this on PPV that’s all you can ask for.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Chris Jericho
In the pre-match interview, Jericho promises that we won’t be seeing a 619 tonight, but we’ll see. Rey sets it up right off the start of the match, but Jericho easily gets out of the ring. Back in, Jericho works him over, and a lot of the crowd is actually behind him here. Rey gets tossed to the floor, but then he outsmarts Jericho and gets him with a dropkick. Vertical press from the apron follows, but then Jericho recovers and sends Rey to the barrier. Getting back in the ring, Rey gets Jericho hooks in the ropes, and then gets him with a top rope legdrop for 2. Rey goes back up, but gets knocked down and the Jericho uses the springboard dropkick to sends Rey to the floor. Ross calls that taking a page out of Rey’s book, but I don’t get how since that’s been one of Jericho’s signature moves for a very long time. Jericho drops Rey on the barrier and then gets him back in and connects with a slingshot splash for 2. Rey comes back with an ensiguiri to setup the 619 again, but Jericho comes out and hits a backdrop. Jericho then gets him with an inverted torture rack backbreaker for 2. He sets Rey on top and goes for the mask, but Rey knocks him back. Rey then comes off with a bodypress for 2 and a kick to the head for another 2. He runs into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker which gets 2 for Jericho, who then tries the bulldog, but gets run to the corner. Headscissors sets up a third 619 attempt, but Jericho avoids it again. He tries to hooks the Walls of Jericho, but Rey counters that and gets Jericho on the ropes again. This time Jericho catches the legs and gets the Walls hooked. Rey looks to make the ropes, with Jericho dragging him back, but that leaves an opening for Rey to get an inside cradle for 2. Rey goes for a rana, but Jericho powerbombs him for 2. Rey then comes back with a drop toehold to sends Jericho to the buckle, and from there he hits the 619 on the fifth try. The move gets a good reaction, but the setup got none since no one saw it coming. Springboard splash follows and that gets the 3 count for Rey to retain the Title at 12:39. Really good match, with a great story being told, and it was pretty much non stop action. ****
WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Dave Batista
Orton plays coward right away by bailing before contact is even made. When he gets in, Batista controls with his power advantage, so Orton bails again. He comes back to a clothesline and suplex for 1. There are noticeable boos for Batista, but it’s not overwhelming and he is getting cheers as well. Batista works the back for a bit before Orton pulls the tights to send him to the floor. He then dropkicks Batista off the apron and drops him back first on the barrier. In the ring, he covers for 2 and then works Batista over with knees. He gets a couple of near falls in the process. The crowd actually seems to be turning on Batista bit by bit as we go along. Orton kicks him to the apron. Batista hits some shoulders from there, but gets hooked and hit with the hanging DDT for 2. Orton sets up for the punt, but Batista counters with a spear. Slugfest sees Orton gets the cheers when taking his shots, but then Batista drives him to the corner and hits a powerslam for 2. Orton rolls out and demands a countout, but Batista manages to get him back in. Orton runs again, even going as far as hugging the post to keep himself out of the ring, but Batista gets him in again. Clothesline gets 2 for Batista so now Orton goes and grabs a chair, presumably looking to get himself disqualified, but Batista kicks it away. There’s nothing wrong with this angle per se, but the thing is that Orton hasn’t really been in that much trouble thus far. In fact, he’s controlled a good portion of the match. For this to work, Batista would have to have completely dominated so far so that the idea would be that Orton would just barely be escaping. Batista gets a top rope shoulderblock for 2 and sets up the Batista Bomb, but Orton escapes. Orton grabs his belt and looks to run away again, but Batista chases him down and gets him back. Orton tries a belt shot, but Batista ducks and hits a spinebuster. Batista Bomb is setup again, but Orton gets out of it. RKO is also avoided, leading to a Batista charge, but he misses and hits the post. Orton for the RKO again, but it misses. The ref gets in the way at this point, so Orton smacks him and that draws the disqualification at 14:42. Rhodes and Dibiase immediately run in (Why not have them out earlier if you want to get DQ’d, Randy?) and the beatdown is on. Ric Flair makes a surprise return to make the save and he and Batista clear the ring after Orton finally takes the Batista Bomb. Obviously this was looking to setup a rematch at Extreme Rules, which will hopefully be better, because as main event level matches go, this wasn’t really there. **1/2
Big Show vs. John Cena
The internal injuries that Cena suffered when Show chokeslammed him through the spotlight last month at Backlash were played up huge, with Cena apparently only being cleared to wrestle as of today. Indeed he’s already selling that he’s in pain before contact is even made. He tries a hit and run strategy, but soon gets caught and dropped. Show works him over with shots to the gut. He gets a bodyslam, with Cena slipping out of a second one, but then running into a side slam for 2. Cena avoids a boot, but still gets tossed to the floor where Show runs him to the post chest first. Any comeback attempt Cena makes simply gets cut off. Show goes to a bearhug, which Cena manages to power out of, but Show still maintains control. Show misses a splash in the corner allowing Cena to get a bit of offence in. Cena clips the knee, and then hits the Throwback. Five Knuckle Shuffle also hits. After a DDT, Cena goes for the STF, but can’t hook it due to Show being too large. Show comes back with a clothesline and then hits a pump splash for 2. He tries a second one, but Cena moves and goes for the STF again, but still can’t get it. He does get the top rope legdrop, but then fails for a third time to hook the STF. Show nails a reverse powerbomb and looks for the Knockout Punch, but Cena ducks it, goes for the Attitude Adjustment, which he hits, and gets the 3 count at 14:58. Since Show spent 90% of that time in control, and Cena had to sell like he couldn’t do much at all, this was not a very good match. *
Main Event, World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge vs. Jeff Hardy
Hardy beat Jericho, Mysterio, and Kane in a four way to earn the opportunity here to disappoint his fans one more time. They start out going back and forth with neither guy really taking advantage. For anyone keeping score on this type of thing, they call Edge a former US Champion which means that they do recognize their US Title as being a continuation of the WCW version, and by extension the Mid Atlantic one since Edge only ever held that Title during the Invasion period and not since the WWE version was created in 03. Jeff finally dropkicks Edge off the apron and dives on him to get this thing going. Back in, Whisper in the Wind misses and Edge ends up spearing him off the apron. Edge goes to work on the back, getting a couple of 2 counts in the process. Jeff tries a Twist of Fate, but Edge avoids it and holds control. After more back work, Jeff gets a bodypress off the ropes for 2. He drops Edge with a reverse suplex and goes up, but misses whatever he was going for and Edge covers for 2. Jeff gets a clothesline and seated dropkick for 2. He goes up again, and this time gets a bodypress for 2. Small package gets 2 and then he hooks a Sharpshooter, something Edge has adopted as his own as of late. Edge makes the ropes with little trouble though. Twist of Fate hits, but Edge kicks out at 2. Sunset flip gets another 2 for Jeff. He goes up again, but Edge meets him there. Jeff still manages to sunset flip off of the top and gets another 2 count. He dropkicks Edge to the floor where he preps the announce table for use. After setting Edge on the table he goes to run the barrier, but Edge recovers and spears him down to the floor. The countout is teased, but Jeff manages to make it back in the ring. Edge charges at Jeff on the apron, but Jeff nails him and hits another Twist of Fate on the ropes. Slingshot legdrop gets 2 and then he follows with Whisper in the Wind for another 2. Edge goes to the floor where Jeff uses the stairs to hit Poetry in Motion sending them both over the barrier. Out of nowhere, here comes Matt Hardy, nailing his brother with the cast and then taking off. In the ring, Edge covers, but Jeff kicks out at 2. Jeff then avoids a spear and goes up, but Edge is there again and nails him. Edgecution off the top hits. Edge covers and gets the 3 count to retain the Title at 19:54. Much like Orton/Batista, this was certainly good, but doesn’t really hold up to PPV main event standards, although this was better than Orton/Batista. The crowd was seemingly expecting a CM Punk appearance to close the show by challenging Edge, but nothing was even hinted in that direction. ***
Overall, this was not a bad show, but at the same time it felt like a show that they really could have done without. We’re three weeks after Backlash, which was a good show and therefore a tough act to follow, and only three weeks away from Extreme Rules which looks to be building towards several rematches from this show. Jericho/Mysterio is best match of the night, and I’m looking forward to a continuation of that program, but not so much with some of the others. As for Judgment Day, I’m going to call it thumbs in the middle, but with the exception of the previously mentioned Jericho/Mysterio match, there’s really nothing to go out of your way to see.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.