Written by: Samoa Rowe from DaWrestlingsite.com
-From Pittsburgh, PA. Our hosts are Michael Cole and JBL for Smackdown, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Joey Styles and Tazz for ECW.
United States Championship:
MVP © vs. Rey Mysterio
MVP is in the midst of what would go on to be an 11 month title reign. Rey had nothing better to do this month. Rey quickly escapes MVP’s grappling attempts. Rey shows MVP what’s up with a hurricanrana. The referee prevents Rey from making a dive, so Rey has to jump over him, wiping out MVP in the process. MVP finally counters, dropping Rey head-first into the corner. We get the obligatory heat period, as MVP targets the head. Rey lands on his feet on a press slam attempt and kicks MVP into the ropes. Rey makes his comeback, complete with a springboard lateral press. Mysterio botches a springboard leg senton and might have injured himself in the process. Rey recovers and modifies his offense with a back senton off the ropes. MVP smells blood and nails a hard clothesline. They battle on the top until Mysterio nails a top rope hurricanrana. MVP delivers a big boot for 2. Rey counters with a reverse DDT for another near fall. Rey misses 619 and settles for a hurricanrana off the apron. MVP has had enough and allows himself to get counted out at 11:27. Cheap finish to an otherwise cookie cutter match, **.
Winner via count-out: Rey Mysterio
-Mysterio is upset and beats MVP up a little more.
-Todd Grisham interviews Jeff Hardy, the reigning Intercontinental Champion, backstage. Tonight, Hardy is facing Triple H in a #1 contenders match, and Grisham ponders if this is the biggest match of Jeff’s career. Jeff says he respects Triple H, but he doesn’t fear him. It’s time for Hardy to step up to the next level.
ECW Champion CM Punk and Kane vs. Big Daddy V (with Matt Striker) and Mark Henry
If this match seems random to you… it’s because it is. Punk was playing an underdog champion and therefore had to feud with BDV for a lengthy portion of later ‘07. Punk holds his own in the early going and displays some good team work with Kane. Henry grounds Punk with a standing clothesline to set Punk up as the isolated baby face. The big guys beat Punk up for a few minutes until Henry misses a head of steam into the corner. Kane gets the hot tag and does his thing. Big Daddy V blocks a chokelsam and plants Kane with a sit-out power bomb, which requires Punk’s rescue. Kane is our new isolated baby face, and has to suffer such humiliations including Viscera laying on top of him. The excitement builds with a Mark Henry bear hug. Punk gets a hot tag and uses quick attacks to knock BDV down to one knee. Kane gets rid of Henry as Punk kicks Striker off the apron. Punk springboards into a Samoan drop from Big Daddy V, allowing the Mastadon to gain the victory at 10:37. Formula tag, but I was pleasantly surprised by what an effective team Henry and BDV were, **¼.
Winners: Big Daddy V and Mark Henry
-Vickie Guerrero is wearing a neck brace and is surrounded by balloons, in anticipation of Edge’s championship victory party. Edge checks on Vickie and claims that her love will help him become World Champion.
-Mr. Kennedy comes to the ring for his match against Shawn Michaels, but of course he has to talk first. The only thing that matters to Kennedy is that he beats HBK.
Mr. Kennedy vs. Shawn Michaels
Kennedy makes some downright goofy facial expressions as he pounds away on Michaels in the early going. HBK chop blocks the back knee and throws some chops. HBK is selling a back injury and is unable to throw a suplex, but he improvises by going after the arm. Both men take a tumble to the floor, but Michaels is able to continue the arm work. It’s refreshing to see a baby face working over a body part. HBK holds onto the hurt arm as Kennedy slugs with his good arm. Kennedy shoves HBK back-first into the ring post to swing the momentum to his favor. Michaels amusingly chops at the hurt arm, but Kennedy returns the favor with a running boot to the face. Kennedy spends some time working over HBK’s back, complete with a backbreaker into a submission. HBK desperately back body drops Kennedy over the ropes! Cue the HBK comeback! Michaels is clearly hurt as he dishes out his bag of tricks. Flying elbow drop by Michaels, but Kennedy counters Sweet Chin Music! HBK blocks the Kennedy Roll and rolls him up for 2. Kennedy catapults HBK into the corner and nails the Kennedy Roll. HBK catches himself in a STO. HBK kicks the hurt hand and follows up with Sweet Chin Music for the win at 15:12! HBK once again proved himself to be an in-ring genius as he lead Kennedy to a stellar performance, ***½.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
-Todd Grisham interviews WWE Champion Randy Orton backstage. Orton takes exception to Grisham’s notion that he might not still be WWE Champion by the time the Royal Rumble takes place. Orton feels his opponent, Chris Jericho, is a virus. Orton doesn’t care if all the fans leave the show disappointed, as long as he’s still the champion. I miss heel Orton and I was certainly underrating his work at the time.
Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H
The winner faces the WWE Champion at the Royal Rumble. Hardy was in the midst of a surprising career revival during this time. The bell rings and they share a tense handshake. Triple H is a more experienced “top guy” so he dominates in the early going. Hardy scores with a series of arm drags, but he loses his balance on the guard rail, so Triple H regains control. Hardy seems reluctant to hurt HHH (for some reason) which only serves to disgust The Game. Hardy gets fired up after a slap and sprints through his bag of tricks. That put a smile on Triple H’s face. Satisfied, Triple H takes control in a more ruthless fashion. HHH shows some heelish tendencies, as he uses the ropes for leverage on an abdominal stretch. Jeff desperately counters a sleeper and nails a missile drop-kick. The match becomes more competitive from here, as Jeff scratches and claws his way back into the fight. Jeff finally scores with a dive over the ropes. Flying cross body by Hardy and the Whisper in the Wind! HHH blocks the Twist of Fate and nails a DDT. They trade counters, which seems to throw Triple H slightly off his game. Hardy drop-kicks the chest but misses the Swanton Bomb! Jeff blocks the Pedigree but gets caught in a spinebuster. Jeff counters the Pedigree again and pins HHH at 15:18! Holy upset! Triple H laughs like this is some sort of cute joke, but Hardy stands tall. Technically sound match here which told a nice story of Hardy stepping up, ***¼.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
-The Great Khali rants and raves backstage. Ranjin Singh is more than happy to translate, turns out Khali plans on doing a bunch of terrible things to Finlay and Hornswoggle. What did I do to deserve this coal of a match?
The Great Khali (with Ranjin Singh) vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle)
To put things in perspective, we’re just a couple months removed from Khali as World Heavyweight Champion (the belt meant something in 2007, as opposed to when I write this in 2012). Also, Finlay recently rescued Hornswoggle “McMahon” from his evil faux-daddy. Finlay isn’t intimidated by Khali, but that doesn’t stop him from getting shoved off his feet. Khali stumbles through putting a hurting on the poor Irishman. Khali misses a wild swing and hits the ring post, giving Finlay an opening. Finlay throws some shots, but Khali regains control. Cue the shoulder vice! Finlay escapes, but Khali hits an admittedly cool looking kick to ground him. Khali goes for the vice grip, but Finlay gets the ropes. Hornswoggle storms the ring and gets easily tossed out. Khali exposes a turnbuckle, while Finlay knocks Singh out. Finlay attempts a shillelagh shot, but the ref catches it. Hornswoggle sneaks in and nails Khali in the junk with a shillelagh of his own! Finlay picks up the win at 6:01! This was the * classic I was expecting.
Randy Orton © vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho returned to the WWE just weeks prior to this event. At the time, I perceived Orton to be fizzling as WWE Champion, but this reign has aged well (helps that Orton became the legitimate #2 star in the company afterwards). A refreshed Jericho goes toe to toe with Orton in the early going, and gains an edge by targeting the midsection. Orton dodges a drop-kick, but unwittingly sets himself up for a flying cross body to the floor. Jericho blocks a DDT and goes for the Walls. Orton blocks and delivers a DDT. Orton takes control and goes straight for the chinlock. Jericho escapes but both men go down after a bad collision. Jericho builds some momentum but can’t get the pinfall. Orton counters with a power slam to end Jericho’s comeback. Jericho counters with a backslide pin, but it really only angers Orton, who drives him into the ring post. Superplex by Orton! Orton counters the Walls but Jericho nails an enziguri. The lionsault is blocked! Inverted backbreaker by Orton, who signals the RKO. Jericho counters and delivers the lionsault for a painfully close near fall! The fight spills to ringside, where Orton arranges for Jericho to plummet over the announce table, right onto JBL. Back to the ring, Jericho nails a flying club to the back of the head. Orton counters the Codebreaker and gets ready to punt Jericho’s head off. The punt misses and Jericho rolls into the Walls! Jericho is in a winning position when JBL storms the ring and kicks Jericho in the head! That draws the DQ at 15:01. Crap finish to an otherwise exciting, competitive match, ***½.
Winner via DQ: Chris Jericho
-Orton is okay with the outcome, the honorable competitor that he is. Orton puts Jericho down with an RKO, just for good measure.
-It’s time for the Women’s Championship match, but Jillian Hall interrupts Lilian Garcia’s ring introductions. Jillian is here to remind us that she has a hit album on iTunes. Jillian has a gift for the fans, and that’s a live performance of one of her hit singles. She belts out “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in her trademark terrible voice. Fortunately, Mickie James cuts her off.
Beth Phoenix © vs. Mickie James
The story here is that James has an uphill battle against the much stronger Phoenix. James delivers some ineffective shots and her head scissors is countered into a power bomb. Beth takes charge and wears Mickie down. James escapes a Tree of Woe but gets caught in a chicken wing. James mounts John Cena, er, I mean a comeback. Mickie delivers a missile drop-kick for only 2. Beth cuts it off and nails a Fisherman suplex for the win at 4:46. Pleasant divas match here, as these two usually deliver the goods, **.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
-Tazz joins Michael Cole on commentary for the Smackdown main event.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Batista © vs. Edge vs. The Undertaker
Whoa, 2007 was a crazy. It was a time when a World Heavyweight Championship match could still main event a pay-per-view. By 2012, the thought of this championship (or a Smackdown match in general) headlining just seems weird. Edge is the favorite target in the early going. Luckily, Undertaker and Batista can’t seem to agree on who should hurt Edge first, so they start fighting. Edge just enjoys the show for a bit, but Undertaker hasn’t forgotten about him. Taker dominates and Edge looks for the scraps. Batista bounces back and puts a hurting on Edge. Undertaker recovers but Batista prevents a leg drop on Edge. Batista looks for the finish but Edge low blows and nails a DDT. Edge covers, but Undertaker pulls the referee to the floor. Taker finally gets a chance to punish Edge (for putting him on the shelf back in the spring). Undertaker goes for the Last Ride but Batista breaks it up with a spear! Undertaker locks Hell’s Gate onto Batista. Edge rings the bell to confuse Undertaker into thinking he’d won. Taker doesn’t realize what happened and gets caught off guard by a spear from Edge. Batista gets a spear too but Edge can’t get the pinfall. Edge grabs some chairs and sets Batista up for a con-chair-to, but it’s blocked. Taker dumps Edge, but gets blindsided by Batista. Taker counters and superplexes Batista! Batista counters Old School and finds time to spear Edge. Undertaker blocks Old School, but it’s about now that things start getting weird. There’s two Edges laying at ringside. Taker choke slams Batista, but a third Edge runs in and gets choke slammed too. Taker delivers a Tombstone to Batista, but Edge throws some chair shots and pins Batista at 12:58. Surprisingly brief main event, but it packed plenty of action into it. The screwy finish worked here, ***.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
-Edge poses with the belt as the two fake Edges crawl up the aisle. The two fake Edges would go on to become Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.
Final Thoughts: There were no MOTYC’s here, but you got a slew of *** matches and a historic title victory by Edge. That’s enough to warrant a Thumb’s up.