Written by: Arnold Furious
You know how this show is going to be extreme? The preview video has SEVEN, count ‘em, SEVEN uses of the word “extreme”. Now if that isn’t EXTREME then I don’t know what is. I attempted to stay up and watch this show live. I made it about as far as the Lashley match and then fell asleep. And I mean asleep. I was out for about 10 hours. I must have needed the sleep. So that screws with my attempt to get the PPV done the morning after as work took precedent.
We’re in Jacksonville, Florida. Hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler for Raw, Joey Styles & Tazz for ECW and Michael Cole & JBL for Smackdown.
Stretcher match – Randy Orton v Rob Van Dam
RVD kicks Orton in the face during his “Rob…Van…” bit. The kick replaces the “Dam”. RVD ends up dominating the early going with no signs of his head injury although he looks a little tentative for some reason. Perhaps he was considering shooting on Randall on his way out. It’s Orton who takes the selling over the top in the opening minutes as RVD repeatedly kicks him in the head. I guess the idea behind that is RVD wants to get a “receipt” for Monday’s kicks to the head. Orton finally gets a shot in and forearms RVD in the head at around 3.30. RVD goes to the confused look I imagine he gets after one too many hits off the bong. He continues kicking but it’s more like he’s on autopilot and when he tries to slingshot himself up top he misses the rope and falls to the floor. That’s a nice little sell. RVD’s selling of the head injury is better than Shawn Michaels selling of the same injury because Shawn’s selling made me laugh. It was comical. RVD’s distant look made me chuckle on Raw but he’s doing a better job with it this time around. I think my initial distaste for the angle was due to it taking one head bump to concuss RVD. He takes head bumps all the fucking time. Why would this one be any different? We get some close up’s of RVD looking around and it’s clear from how he’s reacting that he doesn’t know what’s happening. Which is a very effective sell. Shawn’s was different and I don’t think it worked as well. Of course RVD has never been great at selling because it gets in the way of his high spots and naturally he has some of those lined up. In particular dumping Orton onto the stretcher and then hitting a suicide dive onto him. Orton moves and RVD, being the sick fuck he is, throws himself spine first onto the stretcher anyway. But the stretcher moves and RVD clips the stretcher with his knee. But before we get to that they have the awesome lined up. RVD goes for Rolling Thunder but Orton sees him coming and pops up in the middle of RVD’s roll, so it’s legitimate as he couldn’t see Orton had stood up, and hits a snap powerslam. Just from that I want to see Van Dam wrestle Samoa Joe. Meanwhile Orton isn’t showing the same recklessness as RVD and when he takes a spill off the apron he feels the need to look around for the stretcher before falling. Which unfortunately makes the fall look stupid. It’s right after that move that RVD inserts the dive. As if to prove his commitment to his profession. What gets me is if Orton hadn’t knocked the stretcher as he got off it then RVD would have hit it back first and probably landed his on his head on the floor. He took a look as he was going over the ropes so he was prepared to take that bump. Orton thinks he has it won after that and rolls the stretcher towards the finish line. RVD still has a little left and kicks Orton onto the stretcher. RVD manages to give it that final shove over the line and he wins, in a shock, the stretcher match at 14.33. ***1/4. There were a few nice spots in there and I enjoyed the selling from RVD even if it was somewhat inconsistent. RVD’s selling was entirely in line with his own history of selling so from that it makes sense. Sort of.
POST MATCH Orton decides to kill RVD and DDT’s him off the rail. Bye Rob. Thanks for the memories.
BACKSTAGE Vince McMahon talks to Shane McMahon. He’s looking forward to the match and wants to end Lashley but he has a strange feeling something bad is about to happen to him. Oh no! He’s getting drafted to Smackdown where he’ll have to answer to Vickie Guerrero! What a fuckin’ nightmare!
CM Punk/Sandman/Tommy Dreamer v New Breed (Elijah Burke/Marcus Cor Van/Matt Striker)
This is a tables match. Only one man has to be tabled in order for one team to win. Not much doing in this one. Dreamer gets picked off for a beating in the early going, which is pretty much all he’s useful for these days. Well unless we have another big ‘table set on fire’ match lined up. Sandman flapjacks Burke. Did he just hit a move? Crowd enjoys Punk throwing knees at Striker. Especially as he hits an EXTREME bulldog that Striker head spikes. He looked like an exclamation mark. Dreamer & Punk pay homage to the Dudley Boyz by requesting tables. Cor Van stops them so Punk hits a tope on him. Sandman gets his cane but he can’t get any shots off. Why were they making tags btw? That tag dynamic completely breaks down thus rendering the first three minutes of the match pointless. I like how Burke stops off to berate Striker every now and again. The table now comes into play with Striker getting EXTREME. The Originals save a 3 on 1 assault on Punk and that leads to a reversal as Striker is picked off. Sandman looks for the Heinekenrana but Striker pushes him off the top. Dreamer powerbombs Striker. Burke rushes him. Punk kicks him in the head and Cor Van hits the Alphabomb on Punk. They’re sure inserting plenty of high spots in this one. Looks like time was an issue. Sandman finally gets his cane going but doesn’t get any satisfying shots in. Dreamer piledrives Burke. That’s rare. He’s on the table and Punk superplexes Striker onto him for the second babyface win of the night at 7.17. *3/4. It was all a bit rushed but I can understand that on such a crowded card.
BACKSTAGE Edge is getting ready when he’s visited by Randy Orton. He suggests he may get drafted to Smackdown and puts Edge on notice.
Tag titles – Hardys (c) v Worlds Greatest Tag Team
This is a ladder match as we have a night full of gimmicks this evening. Matt starts out with a bulldog making it the third of the evening. Bulldogs are SO extreme. Based on the opening three matches bulldogs are the most extreme move in wrestling. Interesting at the start of this they let Haas double clothesline both Hardys. It’s a nice way to suggest that WGTT are on a par with Hardys in a normal match. Right after that the ladders come in and the Hardys take over with ease. Haas gets sandwiched between two ladders, and then another is thrown on top. Then Shelton. Then a Poetry in Motion. Poor Charlie. Jeff is the first to try for the belts once again suggesting the Hardys are superior at the ladder aspect. Of course he gets yanked off the ladder in short order but its clear the Hardys have an advantage in this match because of their experience in ladder matches. In this one the belts swing a lot more than usual thus eliminating the slow climbing in favour of the swatting at moving belts psychology. It looks marginally less stupid. WGTT try a rolling slam on Jeff but everybody cocks it up and it looks rubbish. Crowd is unimpressed. With WGTT in charge there seems less chance of a big high spot and the crowd senses that. We get a seesaw spot set up in the corner but the Hardys take over and Shelton gets hip tossed onto the ladders. Haas follows him with a double Rocket Launcher. The Hardys decide to bring in bigger ladders. One of those bridges the apron & rail. Haas gets dumped on it. Matt tries to suplex Shelton on it but that’s blocked. Shelton’s reprieve doesn’t last long as he’s backdropped onto the ladder. He just bounced off after landing spine first on that sucker. Shelton gets laid out on the ladder and Jeff goes to do something insane but Haas stops him with a German superplex. Normally that’d be a huge difference maker but not in a ladder match. Matt with a Side Effect and regular moves just don’t get popped when there are ladders around. There hasn’t been great chemistry between these two teams. I think a lengthy feud prior to the big gimmick match would have been a good idea. Haas sets up the WG double team (Star Spangled Stun Gun) only over the top rope off a ladder and onto a ladder. Well that’s using the environment! Haas goes after the belts but Jeff recovers and suplexes him off the top of the ladder. Charlie sure likes a good scream doesn’t he? Jeff goes up after the belts and Shelton slingshots in to dropkick the ladder. That was meant to be a springboard but Shelton slipped off the ropes. Great improvisation. Good job the ladder was that close to the ropes. Shelton goes up after the belts but Matt tips the ladder up. Shelton again falls awkwardly this time into the ropes rather than onto them. Matt sets up two ladders for some reason and everyone goes up them. Why not just one? Even Lawler pokes holes in that logic. The WGTT get shoved off and Shelton in particular takes a really nasty spill over the top and through that bridging ladder. Swanton on Haas and Matt gets the gold down at 17.18. ***3/4. Like I said earlier they should have worked a few matches first before going into the big gimmick match. That said they came up with some interesting stuff. It was only noticeable that they were setting stuff up a few times and after a shaky start WGTT got into the environment. Not MOTY or anything as suggested by people going into the show but a good match.
BACKSTAGE Great Khali once again suggests he can beat Cena anywhere. Yeah, anywhere as long as it’s on NBC.
Lumberjack match – Kane v Mark Henry
Lumberjacks are Benoit, Val Venis, Santino, Balls, Stevie Richards, Miz, Kevin Thorn, Masters, Nitro, Kenny, Chavo and Carlito. In particular I think Benoit is likely to be upset about being used in such a manner. If they have him out here he should be wrestling. Most of the other guys are general job guys so it’s no shock. But Benoit? And why is this a lumberjack match anyway? Is one of these guys likely to run away from the other and therefore need to be thrown back in? Nope. Utterly pointless gimmick match, is Russo booking? Cole retroactively suggests Henry injured Rey Jr. I could have sworn that was Chavo. I remember him hanging upside down and Chavo wailing on the knee with a chair. The point of the lumberjacks is once again made null and void as they don’t touch Kane because they’re scared of him and can’t put Henry back in because he’s too powerful. So, again, why is it a lumberjack match? What’s the point? This match is total ass. Henry works the back so it’s not totally pointless but that doesn’t make it any less boring. It’s better than say 9 minutes of clubbering because at least all his offence makes sense. He looks for an assortment of power moves on the back to set up BORE-HUGS. I was thinking the BORE-HUGS were there to string together the little moments of power offence but as it turns out the BORE-HUG was the aim all along. Kane gets flashes of opportunity by using his aerial advantage. He even chokeslams Henry but hurts his back in the process. Some off the heel-jacks run in and Kane fights them off. That just leaves him open to get BORE-HUGGED and that finishes the match off at 9.06 because Kane isn’t responding to the referee. ¼*. Really slow paced and monotonous. Looks like the big Mark Henry push is on. Maybe Cena has another giant killing in him?
BACKSTAGE the WGTT & Hardys get treatment in the same room leading to Shelton accusing the Hardys of not being able to wrestle. They can only do crap like that and not have an actual wrestling match. Jeff has the usual rational response of an asshole and punches Shelton instead of countering with a constructive argument like Matt was. Prick.
ECW title – Vince McMahon (c) w/Umaga/Shane McMahon v Bobby Lashley
The best thing about this match was the commentary. I thought Joey stepped up and had a good night. He’s been quite bland since the WWE tried to re-train him. The actual match was the usual Vince street fight only with far more interference than usual. Lashley decides to take out Umaga first. One small wrinkle in that plan; he’s on the floor. Suicide dive time right? Sort of. Lashley catches his trailing leg on the rope and takes a horrible pisser onto the floor. Crowd doesn’t go for the “you fucked up” because he looks dead. It’s odd during the course of this match just how much Lashley dominates. Is he really that amazing? Vince and Shane have done ok against wrestlers in the past. Shane especially. He’s had 50-50 outings with really strong workers. Usually by using his environment. And then there’s Umaga who’s a monster himself. Umaga has been made to look a total pussy during this feud because Lashley has dominated him. It just doesn’t make logical sense. Lashley hasn’t been dominating THAT much in matches against other people that he can suddenly beat three guys. Because this is so slanted towards the heels and yet so dominated by the babyface this match isn’t any fun to watch. Umaga can’t even get anything when he jumps Lashley. Shane can’t get anything when he has a chair. The tide only turns when all three men attack Lashley at the same time and even then it takes a DDT on a chair to keep Bobby down. I think my biggest issue with Lashley is that I don’t care about him. At all. He has zero personality. He’s not a great wrestler. He doesn’t have a range of skills. He can’t talk. The one thing he has going for him is his million dollar body. And that’s all Vince is seeing because he’s getting these huge pushes with no justification. They’ve pushed him SO hard (he won four matches on one episode of Raw not so long ago) just to get the reaction they want and anyone could have gotten over with this kind of push. It just feels like a huge waste of time because ultimately the crowd only care because Lashley is fighting Vince. I don’t think he’ll ever be able to work against some random guy who’s not over. He just won’t get a reaction. Or is it just me? At least Dave & Cena have the odd decent match and they can both talk. This match really drags because once it’s 3 on 1 it’s just a bunch of choking and punches. There’s no attempt to win the match. It’s really, REALLY boring. Which is odd for Vince McMahon. He usually books something slightly interesting. Lashley hauls Vince in the way of an Umaga slam, once again making the big Samoan look like an idiot, to change the tide. He suplexes Shane over the top and chair shots Vince repeatedly while Joey earns his money and actually gets me back into the match slightly. Dominator earns the immortal “FUHGEDDABOUTIT” call. I love Joey. The weight of numbers means Lashley can’t get the pin though. The heels decide to take it to the next level and set Lashley up on the announce table for Shane to hit a HUGE Savage Elbow off the buckles through the table. That woke the crowd up! Umaga has to wake Vince up and tell him Lashley is dead. Vince gets the pin…for 2. Umaga hits the Buttalanche. Shane tries for the Van Terminator with Umaga holding the can in place but Lashley moves and Umaga gets it. That’s a nice idea. Spear for Shane. Spear for Vince and that’ll do it at 12.24. I thought Umaga had one of those hardened Samoan heads that could survive impact blows? Oh well. **. They worked a few nice spots in there but at least half the match was a complete waste of time. The three on one concept reeked of desperation. They’ve run it three PPV’s in a row now. Lashley has no chemistry with any of the three guys so I guess two stars is somewhat of a miracle. I just hope Umaga gets a decent feud with someone who can make him look good after this so they don’t waste their year of hard work with him.
BACKSTAGE Santino Marella hits on Maria. Todd interrupts to ask Maria’s thoughts on the pudding match. That inane grin and nod and starting to get on my nerves. She breaks character for the sudden analysis of the match. Good stuff. Candice arrives to tell them she will be victorious tonight and wants a kiss for good luck. Maria obliges. “I love America” – Santino. In comes Ron Simmons. You know the drill.
Pudding match – Candice Michelle v Melina Perez
This isn’t for the women’s title. And they call this an “extreme” PPV. I want pudding matches to be for the title. Melina doesn’t get a pop for exposing a lot of flesh this week. So much for that theory. She has goggles on, which is pretty smart until she gets dunked under the surface. You can’t really call this at all. It’s just two girls rolling around in pudding. It’s like mud wrestling. That’s the entertainment level. Which is fine if you’re a horny 15 year old. Well, probably not. I dig Candice’s sex pin on the floor. That’s about all. Surely Candice could have ‘accidentally’ lost her bra or something. The girls start getting very tired because they’re fighting the thickness of the substance they’re in. Candice busts out a DDT, which Melina can’t sell because she’d drown. Candice thinks that’d be a whizzer idea and tries to drown Melina thus getting the submission at 2:55.
POST MATCH Maria slinks in for an interview but Melina throws pudding at her provoking Maria to dive in there and make this a three-way pudding brawl. Predictably the ref takes a header into the pudding as well and that’s all the hijinx we have time for. Hilarious I’m sure. If you’re a 10 year old.
Cage match/world title – Edge (c) v Dave Batista
They seem serious about pushing Edge as a fill in for all their injuries as he’s never let them down. The problem with that is that Batista has been a title match loser ever since he lost the belt and that means they can’t keep putting him in those title matches. Because he keeps losing. You can’t keep running those matches. I imagine they’ll try and eek out another match at Vengeance but it’ll mean very little. Edge meanwhile is no miracle worker. He can make people interesting on the mic but in the ring he’s only really as good as his opponent. He’s had some moments where he’s raised his opponent’s game (Flair, Cena) but they’re few and far between. Dave has stopped taping the hamstring. I thought that was supposed to be covering a new tattoo? Don’t believe what you read folks! JBL is starting to annoy me with his “smells like smoke because he’s been through fire” line. It seems forced and out of place every time and what the hell does it even mean? It’s the only chink in his commentary armour. He occasionally comes out with lines that he wants to make into catchphrases and they don’t mean anything. Edge tries to use his speed to get out of the cage and Dave grates at me with how slowly he cuts Edge off. Show a sense of urgency man! He makes Edge look like crap when he doesn’t look concerned about Edge trying to escape. He should be more concerned that he could be about to lose and he doesn’t look interested. When it comes to the wrestling he looks disinterested as well. Edge is playing his usual role of chickenshit heel but Dave isn’t playing along and seems to plod through his offence. Maybe I’m being unfair to the guy but he’s just not engaging me in this match. He’s not making me believe he’s walked into this match to win the world title. The psychology of a cage match is to escape. Edge understands this. Dave seems more inclined to work for the pin. But why? Why not just escape? Is he worried the crowd might not pop so much? It’s winning! It doesn’t matter how you win a cage match. Plenty of babyfaces have won by escaping. Including Hogan and Bret Hart. What really worries me about Dave is that he can’t seem to put together a great match anymore. It’s like he’s forgotten how to be a main event star. His two matches with Edge have been good examples. Again Dave has the chance to escape and instead opts for diving off the top rope, which is something he’s totally inexperience with, and low and behold he’s caught by an Edge dropkick. Why would he do something so stupid? Edge looks for the spear. Dave sees it coming and instead of moving out of the way, yanno the smart thing to do, he shoulderblocks Edge to stop him. Why? That’s just so stupid on so many levels. He ends up hurting himself. What a moron. Dave looks tired. Black Hole Slam connects for 2 regardless. Edge gets catapulted into the cage and they fuck up the kick out. I’m done rolling my eyes; I just want the finish now. Edge takes another header into the cage. He’s fucked. Just leave the cage Dave. Leave it. Walk away and win. But he can’t do that because of his enormous ego. He misses in the corner and gets speared. Dave kicks out. Edge is bleeding from the face, which is from taking the header. The match could have used blood but not from Edge. Stack those odds against the face. Edge uses the cage to escape the Demonbomb. He gets over the top but Dave grabs him. Edge gets away with THREE low blows. Good stuff. Edge goes over the top and FINALLY Dave decides to go out of the door, which makes him look like an even bigger dickhead for not doing so earlier and Edge takes it at 15.37. *1/2. A perfectly good set up ruined by a bizarre performance from Batista. Honestly they need to sit him down with a tape of this match and ask him what the hell he was thinking. I don’t think he did a single thing that made sense. Possibly using the cage twice but it took him over 10 minutes to figure that out. He’s been in a cage match very recently. Did he learn nothing? You have to ESCAPE the cage. Escape!
POST MATCH Dave FINALLY makes me give a shit about him by pounding his fists on the announce table and collapsing while staring at the title belt. Now why not show some emotion during the actual match? It can’t be because he’s all about professionalism when the bell has rung because he didn’t bother trying to escape the cage and win the match. He lost because he’s an idiot. End of. And now the fans see him as a choke artist after, what, five failed title shots since Wrestlemania?
WWE title – John Cena (c) v Great Khali
This is falls count anywhere. Khali has never been pinned. He totally dominates the early going and clubs away monotonously. I take back what I said about the earlier matches being boring. *This* is boring. JR calls Khali’s offence “bowling shoe ugly”. That’d mark the end of his push then! Khali’s offence consists entirely of punches and kicks. Not good striking even. Just slow paced stuff before they run his spin kick spot and Cena has to run into Khali moving in slow motion. Cena goes up top and Khali strolls over. Cena stays up there waiting. Khali swats him off the top rope and pins on the floor for 2. The first attempted swat, his overhand chop, missed. When you have three moves make sure you can hit all three of them. Being able to make one of his three moves look convincing would be kinda key in him being a main eventer. I don’t bore easy. I’m extremely patience in fact but I am BORED here. Just watching Khali club away for 6 minutes is brutal. He’s just so…bad. If he was normal height he’d have never even made it out of OVW. He misses a kick by about ten inches. Cena doesn’t notice. That’s how much he missed by. I realise being a wrestler is difficult but that’s what makes it great. I’m complaining because I love wrestling. What Khali is doing out there isn’t wrestling. Frankly it’s fucking pathetic. Khali FINALLY shows some strength by throwing Cena onto the crane that’s in the entranceway. That’s all he needs to do. The kicking and punching isn’t intimidating because EVERYONE kicks and punches. Not everyone can press Cena. Khali can. So why doesn’t he do it more often? Cena powers him up and FU’s him off the crane rendering any complaints void as that’s enough to pin the big man at 10.30. DUD. Narrowly avoided negative stars with a decent finish. Can we just take Khali off TV now before he kills someone? Thanks! The first match was way better than this. This match had almost zero psychology. Cena just kept going for the FU the whole match. That was his entire offence; looking for the FU. What kind of game plan is that? Sure, he won with it but wouldn’t it have made more sense to soften Khali up first? He did nothing to weaken Khali to set the finish up. Total waste of 10 minutes. Luckily I slept through the entire match when it was on live.
They lost the great vibe they had over the past two years by doing away with the smaller venue. They probably make more money this way but lost out on the atmosphere. The card was going quite well until the main events kicked in. Well, Orton-RVD and the ladder match were both good. The rest of the card you can keep. Thumbs down but the ladder match was worth checking out. Hopefully RVD will get more appreciation and better bouts in TNA. Good luck to him.
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.