January 7, 2007
Kansas City, MO
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
Vladimir Kozlov (Oleg Prudius) defeats Eugene (Nick Dinsmore)
Fun Fact: This is Missouri’s 7th PPV. It’s also Kansas City’s 3rd PPV, first since Backlash 2002.
Pay Per View
1) Jeff Hardy defeats Johnny Nitro (John Hennigan) in a Steel Cage match to retain WWE Intercontinental Title by escaping the cage at 14:41
Fun Fact: on 12/11, Jonathan Coachman approached Johnny Nitro & Melina and asked Nitro to help Umaga in his match with Jeff Hardy later in the night. In return, Nitro would earn an IC title cage match at NYR. The next week, Nitro teamed with Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas to defeat Matt & Jeff Hardy. After the match, Nitro grabbed Hardy’s IC Title and stood over his prone body, taunting him with the gold.
Scott: We begin the 2007 PPV schedule with a match that’s the capper to a great multi-month battle between two young, energetic risk-takers. Jeff Hardy has held the IC Title proudly since returning over the summer. Nitro and Hardy have battled both in singles matches and in tags. At the last PPV, Armageddon 2006, these two men along with their tag team partners battled in one of the greatest ladder matches of all time. So with the Intercontinental Title at stake, both men enter a steel cage and see what interesting things they can come up with to go after each other and entertain the crowd. With Joey Mercury out with severe facial injuries from the Armageddon match, the bookers can now totally focus on Nitro’s singles career. Hardy went to TNA to get his head on straight, and he’s returned prime and back to what he was early in the decade. Both men are trying to get out the door and it leads to some big strikes from off the top two ropes. The pacing of this match was surprisingly slow, but not unwatchable slow. I like when Nitro climbed over Hardy as a stepstool to get to the top of the cage. This leads to an awesome Super Sunset Bomb, a combination of a sunset flip and a power bomb, off the cage top by Nitro. I thought Nitro would win the title right here. There were a lot of cool visuals here, such as Nitro hanging off the top of the cage upside down by his legs. Melina would interfere at times, such as whipping Hardy with her studded belt through the cage. Hardy would eventually hit the Swanton Bomb, but Nitro put his leg on the ropes to avoid the loss. Nitro almost gets over the top of the cage, but Hardy pulls him back by the hair. In the climax, Melina is keeping Hardy from opening the door, while Nitro goes over the top of the cage. Hardy kicks the door open, crotching Nitro in mid-air. Hardy gets through the door and retains his title. A solid match to get the show started and a big win for Jeff Hardy. Grade: 2.5
Justin: We open 2007 with a title match inside the cold confines of a steel cage, as this hot feud rolls on another month. After being involved in the demolition derby at Armageddon, Hardy and Nitro continued their singles feud, with Nitro still pining for his gold. This was a great choice to open the show as you knew these two would deliver yet again, just as they had since Hardy’s return late in 2006. Hardy was aggressive early, but Nitro thwarted him with his nice mix of aerial strikes. Both men would assault the other with high impact offense, stiff cage shots and creative aerial moves and the crowd stayed with them rallying Hardy the whole way through. Melina would try her best to help Nitro, but couldn’t assist too much due to the cage. Hardy would hit a Swanton to a massive pop and that set off a series of great near escapes and painful counters of big move attempts. I really liked the finish here, as Nitro scaled across the cage and was pushing the door shut with his foot as Hardy tried to escape. Hardy finally was able to shove it open and Nitro landed crotch-first on the swinging door as Hardy scampered to the floor. This was another fun gimmick match between two guys that always gave their all and risked their bodies to deliver a great match for their fans. And the best part of this is that this feud is still not over. Grade: 3.5
2) Cryme Time wins a Gauntlet Match to earn a World Tag Team Title Shot
World’s Greatest Tag Team defeated Highlanders at 5:04
World’s Greatest Tag Team defeated Super Crazy & Jim Duggan at 7:59
Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch defeated World’s Greatest Tag Team at 12:30
Cryme Tyme defeated Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch at 19:12
Fun Fact: Jim Duggan made his WWE return on the 10/3/05 USA Raw Homecoming special. It was his first WWE appearance since the Summerslam Spectacular on 8/22/93, when he lost to Yokozuna. Later that year, Duggan joined WCW. He would a long, successful run in Atlanta, winning multiple titles along the way. In 1998, he hit the disabled list as he battled kidney cancer. After successfully winning that war, Duggan returned to the ring later in the year. He would remain in WCW until it folded in early 2001. He would work the Indy circuit until rejoining WWE in 2005. In 2006, he returned to the ring, entering into minor televised feuds and serving as a mentor to Eugene. The two would part ways in November when Eugene snapped and turned on Duggan after a match against the Spirit Squad.
Fun Fact II: The long awaited reunion of the World’s Greatest Tag Team occurred on 12/4. After Shelton Benjamin defeated Super Crazy, Charlie Haas ran into the ring and celebrated with a confused Benjamin. The next week, Cryme Tyme and the Highlanders were playing a game of chance backstage when Haas interrupted and lambasted Cryme Tyme for perpetuating stereotypes. Benjamin then showed up, called them disgraces and announced that TWGTT was reuniting. They would win their first match as a team since 2004 later that night, defeating the Highlanders. On 1/1, Cryme Tyme & Highlanders defeated Benjamin, Haas, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch.
Scott: This was added on the show to fill some time and get the other tag teams on the show. I also think they did this to put added emphasis back on the Tag Team Titles, because many thought Rated RKO holding the titles was nothing more than trinkets to throw around during their feud with DX. Here we have some great teams and some, well wastes of time. The Highlanders had all those vignettes before their debut and some big TV wins, and they have yet to win the titles. As for TWGTT, I’m reminded of their awesome tag run in 2003 and its great that they’ve reunited. They win the first fall over the Rory & Robbie, and then they face the slapped-together team of Super Crazy and, God knows why, Jim Duggan. This is his first WWE PPV match in fourteen years, but what’s even funnier is that JR says Duggan is an SMU alumnus. That drooling idiot went to college? He doesn’t even job either, as Super Crazy eats the pin. Ah, just like the late 80s and early 90s again. Duggan avoids getting pinned. Hey Vince…Duggan had the EZ Widers in the car too! Sorry, just had to say that. We go back to some actual tag teams and the former champs Cade & Murdoch are next. It’s good that the bookers have reunited these teams and beefing up the tag division on Raw. The tag division on Smackdown has been solid with London/Kendrick as champs, but since Rated RKO and DX have been feuding and the tag straps are involved, the division has almost been dormant. Now with some good workers and new teams together, we’re seeing a good plan in place for the tag division. With some chicanery TWGTT is jobbed out by the Rednecks, which leaves the ballers from Brooklyn, Cryme Tyme. The action’s pretty good as Cade & Murdoch cheat their way through and Cryme Tyme works some nice double-team maneuvers. With this match almost twenty minutes, the bookers clearly thought the show would be short. That’s why they added it at the last minute. JR and King are tearing up Marty Elias for his shoddy refereeing, but in the end Cryme Tyme won anyway and will get a future tag title shot. That was very entertaining and a good way to eat up some time. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Hallelujah, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas have been reunited, and yes, it feels so good. Back in their heyday, they were easily my favorite team in WWE and I was pumped to see them back in business. The reunion also helped solidify an already strong tag division. They kick the match off against the Highlanders, another team that I was enjoying. I liked their classic tag look, style and teamwork as they reminded me of a team that easily could have fit right in during the late 80s. Despite their time apart, TWGTT was as crisp as ever in their offense and teamwork. After wiping out the Highlanders, they had to face the unorthodox team of Jim Duggan & Super Crazy. Duggan had actually returned to WWE in late 2005 but this is his first PPV appearance since 1993. Benjamin & Haas picked apart Duggan with precision, but Crazy would make a pretty hot comeback, getting the fans back into the match. Unfortunately for him, it ends with a quick thud as TWGTT picks up a second victory by stealing the pin. The next match was a heel/heel affair as Cade & Murdoch come charging out. Cade was really huge here, looking quite bloated and unhealthy. JR even references it in his own unique way. The great teamwork continued, as this time Cade & Murdoch used their unique arsenal to control the match. Haas battled back and I must say he looked really damn good throughout this whole match. As great as TWGTT looked here, they finally fall to Cade & Murdoch in their third match. I didn’t really like the call here as TWGTT was smoking hot and really building momentum and a clean sweep by them could have set them up for a great run. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, so it comes down to Cade & Murdoch and the big face team of Raw, Cryme Tyme. This would be the longest segment of the bout and Cryme Tyme would make a hot comeback to get the win. I actually enjoyed this match much more than I thought I would. It was fairly long for a filler match and was mainly carried by TWGTT but it successfully shows the depth of the tag division at this point. Cryme Tyme is now officially the top contenders to the gold. Grade: 2.5
3) Kenny Dykstra (Ken Doane) defeats Ric Flair (Richard Fleihr) with an inside cradle at 10:02
Fun Fact: On 12/4, former Spirit Squad member Kenny showed up backstage, trying to form an alliance with Rated RKO, looking for revenge on DX. RKO told him to go out and prove himself first. Later in the night, Kenny helped RKO & MNM defeat DX & Hardy Boys. The next week, RKO & Kenny, now known as Kenny Dykstra, lost a tough match to DX & Ric Flair when Flair pinned Kenny. On 12/18, Kenny got some revenge, pinning Flair cleanly in a singles match. Afterwards, he refused to shake Flair’s hand and strutted off. On 1/1, Kenny teamed with Chris Masters to defeat Carlito & Flair when Kenny again pinned Flair. After the match, RKO came out and worked with Kenny to wipe Flair out, eventually crushing him with a conchairto.
Scott: Kenny was always the standout in the Spirit Squad, and now he’s getting the chance to start his singles career. This feud is an overlap from Flair’s feud with the Spirit Squad and Kenny’s been getting the upper hand, so I thought Flair would win this match no problem. I was wrong. Kenny wasn’t a bad worker in the ring, but this was one of the few times where I say don’t use the greatest of all time as “enhancement talent”. One think Flair should never be is a Jobber to the Stars. Overall the match is pretty standard, as Flair throws his chops and Kenny worked a Boston Crab for about two minutes. Flair gets to the ropes and breaks the hold but Kenny continues to work him over. Sure Kenny deserved to take on someone with Flair’s stature to boost his confidence and resume, but I don’t think he should have beaten him. Not clean anyway. Flair eventually gets the Figure Four hooked up and here Kenny should have tapped out. He didn’t, he reached the ropes. Kenny wins with a low blow and a small package. I’m actually pretty upset here, as Flair shouldn’t be fodder for a kid who hasn’t proven anything yet. Where’s that asshole Hardcore Holly when you need him? Grade: 2
Justin: After the dissolution of the Spirit Squad, only one member remained: Kenny Dykstra. He had been pushed strongly over the last month but this was easily the biggest match he has had to date. A loss here would negate the wins on Raw, but a third win could really help elevate him in the eyes of the fans. After suffering a nasty con-chair-to six days prior, a banged up Flair struts to the ring, looking to shut up the brash young upstart. The crowd was into the Nature Boy early on as he worked his standard offense. Once Kenny took over, he started working on Flair’s back, starting with a nasty suplex on the floor. Flair survived the assault, but more impressively was Kenny weathering the comeback and continuing to maintain control. Flair would fight back again, using his classic offense to set up the figure four. The crowd was hot as the two battled over the hold in the middle of the ring. As would be the story of the match, Kenny survived yet again. In the end, Kenny gave Flair a dose of his own medicine, using a low blow to pick up another win over the Nature Boy. It was a big, and necessary, win for Kenny and kudos for Flair putting him over this strongly in a solid match. Grade: 2.5
*** Backstage, Victoria asks Melina to have her back tonight and in return, she could earn a title shot. Melina thinks it over as Victoria walks off. ***
4) Mickie James defeats Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) to retain WWE Women’s Title with a DDT at 6:50
Fun Fact: On 11/27, Victoria won a Divas battle royal to become the number one contender for the Women’s Title. The next week, Victoria defeated Maria and crossed her name off a list she had. After the match, she beat down Mickie James and left her lying after the Widow’s Peak. On 12/11, Victoria defeated Torrie Wilson and crossed her name off the list too. The next week, the carnage continued as Victoria pinned Mickie in a non-title match. She crossed Mickie’s name off her listed and add World Championship to the bottom of it. Finally, on 1/1, Victoria assaulted Lillian Garcia but Mickie eventually made the save.
Scott: Victoria was on a roll in the ring going into this match, winning a battle royal and then carrying her checklist. It was a list of other Divas and Victoria had mowed through all of them. Now here she gets her title shot against Mickie, who lost to Victoria three weeks earlier in a non-title match. Victoria was looking pretty good here, wrestling in essence in a bikini but had great workrate. Mickie went from crazy pseudo-lesbian to happy-go-lucky babyface who got the crowd behind her after Trish Stratus retired. This continuing thing is going on between JR and King where JR says the referee’s name and King has no idea who it is. It happened with Marty Elias in the turmoil match and it’s happening with Jack Doan here. No clue what’s going on but it’s making no sense. The match wasn’t bad for a title match and Mickie wins it with her patented DDT. I think Victoria should have won which would have set up a great rematch for Wrestlemania with Victoria expanding her checklist during the build. Oh well, both women looked and wrestled great. Grade: 2.5
Justin: This unique Victoria monster push was pretty great to watch evolve as 2006 ended and she seemed primed to strip Mickie of her title. Early on, the two Divas worked some chain offense and you could sense that they had good chemistry right from the start. The pace was a little slow and you could tell they did it so they wouldn’t rush into any mistakes, but I liked it and thought it fit the style well. Victoria worked stiff here, which also helped the pace feel more realistic. As she was beating on Mickie, she also started jawing with Lillian at ringside, playing off of their altercation from the week before. Melina would come down to the ring, fulfilling Victoria’s backstage request, but her efforts were thwarted by Maria and Candice Michelle, who came down to fend her off. As the match wound down, the crowd got pretty hot and was rallying Mickie, who made her comeback and survived with a win and her gold in tact. After the match, Candice, Maria and Lillian all celebrated with Mickie and stood over Victoria. We will see if the push continues or if Mickie moves on to other challengers. As is, this was a nice match and a good finish to an interesting storyline. Grade: 2
5) Rated RKO fought D-Generation X to a non contest at 20:00; Rated RKO retains retain WWE World Tag Team Titles
Fun Fact: On 11/27, Rated RKO fired a major salvo at DX, dragging a bloodied Ric Flair to the ring and leaving him for dead after a pair of conchairtos. The next week, RKO teamed with MNM to defeat DX and the Hardy Boys. On 12/11, DX got some revenge, teaming with Flair to defeat RKO & Kenny. RKO looked to line up Shawn Michaels with a conchairto but Triple H made a save with his sledgehammer. The next week, Edge won a battle royal to earn a WWE Title match, last eliminating Michaels. Edge would receive his title match later in the show, but lost to John Cena thanks to some DX interference. The teams would cross paths again later that night when RKO teamed with Umaga to face DX & Cena. The match ended in a no contest, but RKO stood tall after dropping Michaels on a chair with an RKO and bashing Hunter’s head in with a pair of conchairtos. Two weeks later saw RKO again wipe out Flair after DX had issued a stern warning about the PPV match earlier in the night.
Fun Fact II: For the second time in less than six years, Triple H tears his quadricep in a tag team title match. This time around it was his right leg, but still equally as devastating. Word of the injury quickly leaked out and it was announced that Hunter underwent surgery on 1/9 and would miss a good portion of the year, including Wrestlemania.
Scott: At first I wasn’t crazy about this feud. I thought that Edge and Orton were going to be left as fodder for DX just like the Spirit Squad was. Edge lost the WWE Title in September and really hasn’t sniffed it since. Orton has pretty much floated around aimlessly since Wrestlemania except for that awful feud with Hulk Hogan. Then when Rated RKO won at Cyber Sunday I thought that maybe they’d get their shots in and give it some legs. That went south when DX’s loaded team won easily at Survivor Series. Then came that night on the Cutting Edge when Orton and Edge beat down a defenseless, bloodied Ric Flair. From there the shit was on and this feud officially became a blood feud that was worth watching. Edge and Orton beat DX down in a Raw six-man tag leading up to this match. The only bad thing about this feud was that the tag titles were on the line. You think any of these four guys really gave a shit about the titles? We had that turmoil match earlier in the night with some great, talented teams and now one of those teams has to face one of these? Why bother? But I guess that is really about semantics and we won’t dwell on those. At least we know that this is a straight up title match and it’s been taken to the personal level. DX dominated early, in fact busting Orton open. Some irony here is that Michaels and Triple H have never been tag team champions together, but both have been tag champions with Steve Austin, Michaels in 1997, Hunter in 2001. Edge gets the advantage on a chop block, and now the champions are in control. Edge has really matured as a singles wrestler in the last year. One year ago he shocked the world by cashing in Money in the Bank and winning the WWE Title for the first time. In these twelve months he’s really grown and become of the better workers in the company. Orton? Well I guess he’s learned to be a pretty good heel, but still he was missing that certain something that can make him elite. First off his reputation backstage was dirt from being a complete ass in late 2005 through mid-2006. Michaels became the face-in-peril and also lost some blood. He finally gets the hot tag to Hunter and The Game takes over. Then, it happened. Triple H went for and hit the Double-A spinebuster and his leg got caught underneath Orton. Just like in May 2001, the quad popped. From here, we saw some serious guts from the guy everyone in the IWC loves to hate. He kept the match going essentially on one leg. From here the match went pretty much off the rails. Then, Shawn took over. Orton looked absolutely clueless on what to do. He absolutely could not improvise and figure out what to do. So Michaels says fuck this, he takes over and starts throwing planchas everywhere, throws the referee out of the ring and grabs a steel chair. From there he decimates Rated RKO with chair shots. Then, we clean the broadcast tables off and Triple H hits a one-legged Pedigree, after hitting one in the ring a few minutes earlier, and Shawn dives off the top rope onto Edge on the Spanish table. The champs are a pair of bloody messes outside and DX ends it. It ends in a no-contest but who cares. Shawn even gets that “1997” look of “Fuck this, we’re taking the belts.” Rated RKO are still the champs, but we see an awesome side of Shawn as true ring general, and the guts of Triple H, wrestling the last seven minutes on one leg. Grade: 3
Justin: This long, brutal feud rolls on into another PPV and since Survivor Series it has been Rated RKO in control. DX gets a big pop as usual and the match starts with a wild brawl all around the ringside area. As things settled in, DX was focused in their attack, looking to maim RKO. First they destroyed Edge, beating him from pillar to post and then followed that up by splitting Orton’s head open on the floor. Somehow, RKO stayed alive and took control of the match, focusing on Hunter’s leg. As the bout unfolded, the best way to describe was by saying it was just a professional match. It was just four pros, going at it, working the crowd and putting on a smart, smooth match. The blood continued to flow, as Michaels was cracked open, leading to a great heat segment. Michaels would eventually make the hot tag and Hunter stormed into the match, but things quickly fell apart in a hurry when Hunter snapped his quad during a spinebuster. Just when the natch was cruising to a crescendo, things came to a screeching halt in a hurry. You could tell that everyone in the ring was lost as Hunter stumbled around. Orton tried to hit an RKO, but Hunter collapsed in the middle of it. To his credit, Hunter gutted his way through the rest of the match. After it was clear that the finish was ruined, Shawn just snaps and smacks the referee, causing the match to somehow end in a no contest. The finish was a disaster but they would make up for that mess with a red-hot crazed post match brawl. Orton’s head would be split open even further and he gushed a gross amount of blood as the brawl continued. Triple H even hitting a Pedigree on the announce table, which must have caused searing pain through his leg. DX would lay out a nasty beating using chairs, including more stupid vicious unprotected chair shots to the head of Orton. The crowd was super hot during this and the brawl easily made up for the fucked finish and even bumped my grade up a bit. The feud is effectively over thanks to Hunter’s injury but it would be hard to argue that the feud helped elevate Rated RKO to look like legit heel bad-asses that could hang with the DX super team. Grade: 4
6) Chris Masters (Chris Mordetzky) defeats Carlito (Carly Colon) by sitting down during a Victory Roll attempt at 5:58
Fun Fact: On 11/27, Carlito came down to the ring and cost Chris Masters a match against Jerry Lawler. During this time, Torrie Wilson had began accompanying Carlito to the ring and it was revealed that they were a couple. Two weeks later, Carlito teamed with Lawler to defeat Masters and Viscera. Later that night, after Torrie lost a match to Victoria, Masters showed up and put her in the Masterlock until Carlito made the save. On 12/18, Masters and Carlito squared off, but the match quickly fell apart and they brawled into the crowd. Masters grabbed a video camera and bashed Carlito in the head with it, splitting him open. Two weeks later, Masters teamed with Kenny Dykstra to beat Carlito & Ric Flair.
Scott: This is nothing more than filler between the two main event matches. There is some backstory here as Masters put Carlito’s girl Torrie Wilson in a Master Lock. These two had a cup of coffee in the main events at the end of 2005 into early 2006, even being in the last Elimination Chamber a year ago. Then after getting essentially squashed by Big Show and Kane at Wrestlemania, they went their separate ways. Masters is the impressive one here, really wrestling a good heel-based match using power moves like slams and clotheslines. It’s funny when someone tries to punch or throw a forearm to Carlito with all that hair in the way. Then at the end of the match, with all the credit I gave Masters, he almost blows the ending by sitting on a Victory Roll attempt, and was supposed to pull the tights in a heel manner. However he almost forgets to pull them and does them pretty much when the three count is over. What a meathead. Grade: 2
Justin: These poor bastards may have had the toughest slot of the show, following a red-hot brawl featuring DX. Still, they gave it a go and ended up having a solid little match. I always enjoy Carlito’s unorthodox offense, as he uses a hybrid of aerial and mat based arsenals. Masters, on the other hand, utilized a full on power-based attack. They would have a nice battle over the Masterlock, which is usually the story of Masters’ matches. Masters would methodically work the back, trying to keep Carlito grounded and weakened for his finisher. As the match wore on and Masters couldn’t hook the Masterlock, he started getting frustrated, but he would eventually use Carlito’s style in his favor. Carlito would go for a victory roll, but Masters blocked it, dropped to his knees, hooked the tights and stole the win. After the bell, Masters finally hooked the Masterlock to really make a statement. This was fine work in a tough spot and I dug the psychology of Masters having to figure out another way to get the win. Grade: 2
7) John Cena defeats Umaga (Eddie Fatu) to retain WWE Championship with a roll up at 17:17
Fun Fact: On 11/27, Armando Estrada officially challenged John Cena to a WWE Title match on behalf of Umaga. Cena accepted the challenge and wanted to fight Umaga, but Armando forced Umaga to walk away. The next week, Umaga assaulted Cena after a match with Chris Masters. On 12/11, Cena defeated Estrada in a match but was attacked by Johnny Nitro after the bell. The next week, Umaga teamed with Rated RKO to battle Cena & DX to a no contest. During the match, Cena and Umaga brawled up the ramp, where Cena threw Umaga through the staging glass. Umaga shook it off, got back up and the brawl continued. On 1/1, Umaga struck again, costing Cena a match against Kevin Federline. Later in the night, Cena was forced to wrestle Umaga, Armando, Nitro and Jonathan Coachman. The match ended quickly when Cena grabbed a chair and bashed Umaga with it.
Scott: I was actually looking forward to this match for a couple of reasons. Number one is that after blowing through competition in 2006, Umaga finally will show his stuff on a big stage in a main event match. Second, this has that old school feel to it, where finally John Cena will face a bona fide monster instead of a guy the crowd still kind of likes even as they’re acting like heels. Think about it. Since winning the title in 2005, here are the guys John Cena has faced on PPV: Chris Jericho, Christian, Kurt Angle, Triple H and Edge. Yeah some others have been sprinkled in, but really he has been facing a guy that even though they’ve acted like heels the crowd clearly likes them more than Cena. Cena’s survived it, and now he gets to face a guy the crowd clearly hates. Still it has that old school feel where the heel has the clear size and power advantage. The match was booked well as the bigger Umaga just bludgeoned the champ with clubbing blows and power moves. Seriously the first seven or eight minutes saw Cena throw maybe two or three punches. Otherwise it was all the Samoan Bulldozer. Cena starts to make some comebacks but the big guy just wouldn’t let it happen. I loved the pacing of this match and the pure psychology of Cena doing everything he can to just survive the match while Umaga was getting frustrated that he couldn’t put Cena away and take the championship. Then out of nowhere Cena sticks his legs up and steals a roll-up to retain his title. Almost an upset, but overall it ended a great package of workrate and psychology. This may not be not Cena’s best in-ring match, but it may have been his best storytelling. There will definitely be a sequel. Grade: 3.5
Justin: John Cena’s first major challenge of 2007 comes in the form of the undefeated Samoan Bulldozer. Umaga has been pushed strong since his debut and was now set up as a major contender to Cena’s title. Thanks to his strong push, Umaga really felt like a legit contender and a serious threat to the gold. For the first time in a while, the crowd here was mainly pro-Cena and that worked well because you knew he would be on the defensive against Umaga’s maniacal offense. Cena would frustrate Umaga early, but the Samoan got rolling and started smacking and tossing Cena all around the ring. From here, the time tested classic match structure set in and Cena’s tremendous selling meshed so well with Umaga’s unique stiff power assault. Cena kept trying to make a comeback, but Umaga cut him off at each pass, keeping the heat building. Cena finally got enough of an opening and went for the FU, but he couldn’t hold Umaga up and would collapse under the weight. Umaga continued his relentless attack, allowing Cena to have no momentum at all. Cena would eventually get an opening and again went for the FU, but Umaga’s weight was still too much and he couldn’t land it. You could tell Cena was getting desperate as his go-to moves were failing him. The structure and psychology here were just tremendous. Umaga just wouldn’t let up his assault, but Cena, out of ideas, lucks out as he runs Umaga over the top turnbuckle and into the ring post and is able to roll him up for the quick win. The finish was brilliant in my eyes and easily kept Umaga strong for a rematch. Umaga wrestled a flawless match that set him up perfectly to become champion, but Cena got one lucky break and stole the win. It was great storytelling and an excellent match that keeps Umaga’s momentum rolling and the gold firmly around Cena’s waist. Grade: 4
Scott: This was a very entertaining show. The undercard was solid with nothing over-the-top great but nothing really unwatchable. Hardy and Nitro put on a solid enough cage match, we had the nice surprise turmoil tag match and some other undercard fluff. The two main events were very entertaining, but we have a major casualty as Triple H goes on the shelf with torn tendons in his thigh and knee. He didn’t tear his quad completely like he did in 2001, but the torn tendons will put him out for an extended period of time. With two more PPVs before Wrestlemania in the Motor City we’re not sure how this injury affects the product or the build to the biggest show of the year, but it must have caused some changes. More on that as we move along. Big kudos to John Cena for telling a great story in his first real title match where he was facing a true monster heel. While there was nothing overly outstanding on the show, it was a steady, fun stream of in-ring action and entertainment. But the question lingers: What will Triple H’s injury mean for the immediate future? Final Grade: C+
Justin: Well, I must say I am pleasantly surprised with this show. I wasn’t expecting much when I fired it up, but it delivered some great in ring matches and good storyline development. The two top matches really brought the goods, and that always helps shows rate highly. The opener was a lot fun as well and in addition, we saw continued pushes for Kenny and Chris Masters in addition to the continued resurgence of the tag division. As much as Triple H’s injury killed the match and opens a hole at the top of the card, in a way it may be a good thing. He can take time away to rehab and freshen up his character and someone new can step up and grab that open spot. Umaga and Cena gave us a great main event and it is clear they are heading towards a rematch. For what many consider to be a filler show, this was pretty damn entertaining to watch. Final Grade: B
MVP: John Cena & Umaga
Runner Up: Rated RKO & DX
Non MVP: Ric Flair
Runner Up: Victoria