WWE Judgment Day 2007 5/20/2007
May 20, 2007
St. Louis, MO
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles & Tazz
Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeats William Regal (Darren Matthews)
Pay Per View
Fun Fact: This is Missouri’s seventh PPV and second this year, as New Year’s Revolution was in Kansas City. This is St. Louis’ first PPV since No Mercy 2001.
1) Ric Flair (Richard Fleihr) defeats Carlito (Carly Colon) via submission with the Figure Four leglock at 15:35
Fun Fact: As the weeks of 2007 evolved, Carlito began to slowly lose patience and trust in his mentor, Ric Flair and valet, Torrie Wilson. On 4/22, Carlito snapped and told Flair off. The next week, he apologized prior to their tag match with Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas. During the match, Carlito turned on Flair and attacked him, but Flair battled back and the two brawled up the stage. The next week, Carlito claimed that Flair had been holding him back and then decided to shed further baggage, kicking Torrie to the curb and solidifying his heel turn in the process. On 5/14, Flair ran Carlito off through the crowd after Carlito had defeated Val Venis in a match.
Scott: We don’t get many Ric Flair matches on PPV anymore, so even though he’s in the twilight of his career, it still is special when 2001: A Space Odyssey plays and Natch comes out in one of his classic robes. Here he’s taking on a protégé who showed total disrespect of the Man in recent weeks. This comes in the wake of that awesome promo by Flair on Raw when he dressed Carlito down for leaving before the main event of the show and not taking his career seriously. They won a dark match at Wrestlemania as a team and we thought they had a bright future. We were clearly wrong. St. Louis is a classic wrestling city and thus we have a pretty good crowd so far. Carlito spent the early part of the match working Flair’s left arm over with some nice moves, including a drop kick onto Flair’s arm, which was sitting on the ring post. The match was actually paced very well early and Carlito was dictating tempo quite nicely against the future Hall of Famer. In fact other than the occasional chop here and there Carlito pretty much dominated the action. This is exactly how the match needed to go for Carlito to go over, except for the fact that he didn’t win the match. Flair gained control and of course started to work on the legs for the you-know-what. Flair ratchets up the Figure Four and seals the deal. This was a very well-worked, long match that got the crowd going and The Man gets the victory. Grade: 3
Justin: Our opening match features the teacher battling his turncoat student in a fight over respect. Flair felt like he deserved to be respected, but Carlito thought the Nature Boy was washed up and not deserving of his respect. Flair overwhelmed him with strikes early on, but Carlito targeted his arm to turn the tide. Flair kept trying to battle back, but Carlito just kept drilling his arm to cut him off. The crowd tried to rally Flair, but Carlito was focused and looked pretty damn good throughout the match. As the match unfolded, so did the story via commentary. Carlito had decided he wanted no distractions so he could focus on his career and that was why he ditched Flair and Torrie. That played out nicely in the match via Carlito’s aggressiveness and focused attack. The match was well built in the classic style, as it was given plenty of time, most of which saw Carlito build a really good heat segment on Flair, a master of selling, centered on the arm. Flair finally made his comeback, going after Carlito’s knee with his usual arsenal of moves. Carlito tried to fend him off, but Natch would lock in the figure four and Carlito was forced to tap out to a huge pop. This was a fun opener, but I really think Carlito needed the win more than Flair. I know the crowd loved the finish and it was a nice blow off to the feud, but Carlito was just kicking off this heel run and he looked great here, so a win over Flair could have boosted him even more. Regardless, the match itself was well worked and gets the show off to a good start. Grade: 2.5
*** Shawn Michaels is being interviewed backstage, discussing the concussion he suffered at the hands of Randy Orton the previous week on Raw. During the interview, Orton attacked Michaels from behind, knocking him headfirst into the interview set. Later in the show, we would see a doctor imploring Shawn not to wrestle Orton on the show. ***
2) Bobby Lashley defeats Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga (Eddie Fatu) in a Handicap match when he pins Shane with a running powerslam at 1:15; Vince McMahon retains ECW Heavyweight Title
Fun Fact: Following his ECW Title win at Backlash, Vince McMahon continued to taunt the ECW Originals, smearing his reign in their faces. On the 5/1 ECW, an angry Bobby Lashley assaulted the wheelchair-bound Armando Estrada. Later that night, McMahon informed Lashley that he could receive his rematch, but that Vince would decide when and where. He then summoned the Originals to the ring to air their grievances. After hearing them out, Vince put the four of them in an Extreme Rules match, with the winner, Rob Van Dam, earning an ECW title match. When the next week rolled around, McMahon modified the match so that RVD had to face himself, Shane and Umaga in a handicap match instead. Umaga would do most of the damage, but Vince would get the pin to end RVD’s attempt at revenge. Vince also announced that if Lashley put a hand on Vince, he would lose his rematch. That night, Lashley was banned from the arena, but he showed up long enough to again smack around Estrada. On the 5/14 Raw, Lashley squashed Jonathan Coachman and then brawled with Umaga and Shane McMahon. The brawl continued backstage where Shane escaped by diving into a limo. As Lashley turned around, Vince emerged and smacked him with his title belt. The next night, Lashley prepped for his title rematch by beating three New Breed members.
Scott: So this was a colossal waste of time. We get an exact Backlash rematch, but this time it’s nothing more than a charade for the Chairman, and Champion at the same time, to protect his title with his charges next to him. Lashley’s anger and rage came through very quickly. After getting some shots in on Vince, the numbers game kept catching up to him and eventually pins Shane. However, Vince of course changed the rules and because he didn’t get pinned, he keeps his championship. Lashley gets beat down my Umaga, Vince just grabs the title and changed it up. So we get a one-minute match and a pseudo-Dusty finish. I’m surprised this feud is continuing to be honest, but that’s why VKM is in charge. Grade: 0
Justin: This feud rolls on another month as Bobby Lashley wants his ECW title back but Vince McMahon still wants to put the screws to him after his Wrestlemania humiliation. I still found this whole Vince McMahon pissing on ECW’s legacy angle pretty entertaining and I loved his preening and strutting. Lashley was clearly pissed off and looking to finish things quickly as he attacks his opponents off the bell. The storyline pushed by Joey Styles & Tazz centered around whether or not Lashley could finally get his hands on the Boss, who had evaded him for weeks. Lashley kept ducking, dodging and landing heavy blows on both Shane and Umaga, running through both men like a beast. After wiping out Shane, he speared Umaga outside the ring and then polished off Boy Wonder with a powerslam. Lashley celebrated his title win even though he wasn’t able to get his hands on Vince once again. The celebration would be short-lived, however, as Vince grabbed a mic and revealed that because Lashley did not defeat him, the gold did not change hands. It was a perfect swerve and a great way to build even more heat for Lashley’s chase. The match here was booked perfectly and I was happy to see the feud go on, ramping up to what should be a great final blowoff once Lashley finally gets his hands on Vince. Grade: 1
3) CM Punk (Phil Brooks) defeats Elijah Burke with the Go To Sleep at 17:12
Fun Fact: On 4/10, CM Punk finally caved to the pressure and agreed to join the New Breed. The next week, New Breed leader Elijah Burke welcomed him to the group, but Punk would not divulge his reasons for joining the team. Later that night, Punk accidentally cost Burke a match with RVD but did not look too upset about it afterwards. The next week, it became obvious that Burke was getting weary of Punk’s subtle attempts to gain a leadership role within the group. During the show, Burke revealed to the rest of the group that he may have made a mistake recruiting Punk and decided to have Punk sit out of an eight-man tag match against the Originals. An angry Punk cost Burke the match and then stood over him smirking. Punk would leave the ring alone and it seemed like his association with the New Breed was already dead. On 5/1, Burke confronted Punk about using the New Breed to further his own agenda and put him into a match with Kevin Thorn, a match that Punk won. Finally, a week later, Burke cost Punk a match against Marcus Cor Von, injuring Punk’s ribs in the process.
Scott: Next to the World Title match, this was the match I was most looking forward to. Two young lions ready to show their stuff on the PPV stage. Punk’s reputation is well-documented, but this is the Silver-Tongued Pugilist’s chance to show that he belongs here in the WWE. What you’ll see in this match is a lot of quick strikes by Punk going up against Burke targeting Punk’s taped ribs. We start to see the first of many times that Punk pays homage to a former legend by doing a regular suplex and holding Burke up for a while, ala British Bulldog. Punk, bad ribs and all, threw his body all over this match and, if the rib injury was a work, he sold it very well. Burke worked on Punk’s ribs just like Carlito worked Flair’s arm over in the earlier match. He was giving Punk a rear chinlock while having his legs wrapped around Punk’s taped up ribs. Another big spot of the night was Punk hitting a total top rope superplex that Burke sold like he was shot. This match is exactly what the card needed and what both of these guys needed. Burke hit his finisher first but Punk just lifted the shoulder and 2 ¾. Then Burke hit another Elijah Express and Punk was stuck in the Tree of Woe. Punk grabbing the rope saved him from losing again. Burke was going for another “Experience” but Punk hits the GTS out of nowhere to win the match. This is easily a hidden gem that not many people probably remember, but I would go and find this match. It’s one of Punk’s early WWE classics and a top effort by Elijah Burke as well. Grade: 4
Justin: Our next match features two young studs that had been carrying the ECW workrate and two young studs that looked to be a major part of WWE’s future. I also loved that we had two straight ECW matches, showcasing the forgotten brand. Punk receives a huge pop here and it is obvious that his star was on the rise, both in the eyes of the fans and management. Punk’s ribs are taped up here and that would be a focal point of the match as well. After some early chain wrestling, things started to pick up as the bout transitioned into a fluid, stiff mix of styles, including technical matwork, high risk moves and a stiff strikes. Punk would ground Burke early, but Elijah kept going to the ribs to slow Punk down. Punk fought through it and hit a great delayed vertical suplex that rattled both men. Styles & Tazz were great again here as well, really explaining the strategy of both men and helping move the match along. The crowd also gets some props here, as they stayed with this match despite the old school pacing and style. Despite his rib injury, Punk took a few calculated risks that would pay off throughout the match and helped draw the crowd into the near falls that started to come more frequently. I dug the unique structure of the match, where there was never a long heat segment because the two kept trading control throughout the match. Burke was focused in his attack, but Punk would not say die, and was willing to sacrifice his body for the win as was proven with a crazy superplex. Burke responded with a great looking Elijah Express, rattling Punk’s bell in the corner. The match had a very strong finish with a series of reversals and teases leading into a Punk Go To Sleep to end the match. This was a great match and an unexpected treat on this card. It was smart, old school and proved that two guys could go out there and really tear the house down without overbooking and gimmicks when given the time. This match put these two on the map as rising stars and left us salivating for a rematch down the road. Grade: 4
4) Randy Orton defeats Shawn Michaels via referee stoppage at 4:30
Fun Fact: On 4/30, Randy Orton lost a match to his former partner Edge. Later that night, Edge, Orton and Shawn Michaels were all found bloody and unconscious backstage. It was later revealed that Great Khali had taken out all three men. The next week, Khali earned a WWE Title match when he defeated Michaels when the referee stopped the match after Michaels was put through a table. On 5/14, Michaels defeated Edge in a non-title match, but after the bout, Randy Orton jumped Michaels, kicked him in the face and stood over his prone body.
Fun Fact II: During his match with Edge on 5/14, Shawn Michaels suffered a severe knee injury that would put him on the sidelines until October. This would be his final match until that time. Orton’s concussion-causing pre and post match assault on this show would explain Michaels’ absence.
Scott: I couldn’t keep a straight face watching Michaels come down the ramp looking like he just pounded a bottle of Ripple or Thunderbird at the Gorilla Position. The whole crux of the story is that Shawn has a concussion from the previous week’s Raw and then earlier in the night when Orton attacked him during an interview. Orton gets some shots and a DDT in, and Shawn just can’t defend himself. Michaels gets a couple of moves in, but eventually the referee says enough is enough and to spare Shawn from further permanent injury, he calls the match. To put the exclamation point on it, Orton RKOs a stumbling Shawn out, and Shawn’s wife comes out to console him. Even pretending to be punch drunk, Shawn Michaels is better at it than anybody. As for Orton, this is where I think he started his transformation. Grade: 0
Justin: This insta-feud was generated just six days prior to the this show, but once word leaked out about Shawn’s knee injury it became clear why it was added and booked the way it was. Orton had jumped Michaels earlier in the show, and the announcers wondered if he would be able to show up. Just as Orton assumed he would win by forfeit, Michaels slowly emerged through the curtain and meandered to the ring, clearly disoriented and foggy. Never one to go down without a fight, Michaels was booked to show his true heart and guts in the ring as Orton pounded him from the start, but he never gave up. The referee even begged Michaels not to compete, but Shawn ignored him and the doctor for a chance at revenge. Orton pummeled him, targeting his concussed head, even rocking him with a hanging DDT for a near fall. Yes, Michaels kicked out, showing his stubbornness and will. Despite being out on his feet, Michaels somehow was able to knock Orton down, ascend the top rope and drop his patented elbow. After slowly getting to his feet, Michaels set up for Sweet Chin Music, but collapsed before he could connect. The ref had seen enough and finally called for the bell, giving the match to Orton to spare Michaels any further injury. He failed his goal, though as Orton couldn’t have cared less about the match ending. Instead, he continued his assault, further attacking Shawn’s head. Orton was finally forced to the back and as Michaels laid prone on the mat, his wife came in to check on him, concerned for his future. This was a great way to use Shawn’s legit injury to help further Orton’s character and build some heat on a heel that had been floundering over the previous weeks. Grade: 1.5
5) Matt & Jeff Hardy defeat Lance Cade (Lance McNaught) & Trevor Murdoch (William Mueller) to retain World Tag Team Titles when Jeff pins Lance Cade with a Swanton Bomb at 15:05
Fun Fact: On 4/30, Jeff Hardy defeated Johnny Nitro in a singles match. After the bout, Cade & Murdoch, who had been on commentary discussing a change of attitude, got into the ring and offered handshakes of congratulations to Hardy, who refused to accept the gesture. The next week, Jeff & Matt defeated Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas and once again, Cade & Murdoch offered handshakes, and this time they were reluctantly accepted. On 5/14, Jeff pinned Murdoch in a singles match. Afterwards, all four men exchanged handshakes again.
Scott: Our second match tonight that is a Backlash rematch, but apparently this time the challengers are coming in with more of a sportsmanship-like attitude. It shows early on when Murdoch breaks clean in the corner and lets his partner get back before continuing the action. The Hardys dominated a good portion of this match until Jeff missed a plancha to the outside and hit the floor hard. Murdoch then worked Jeff over with wear down holds. This match was added to the show at the last minute, which is funny since this is the fifth match of the night and the DVD is only at ninety minutes. Weird. Murdoch hits what is close to Petey Williams’ Canadian Destroyer for a two count. The last six minutes or so is excellent back and forth action where each team would hit a big move to get a very close two count. The Hardys really were in a groove here, pretty much wrestling every month on PPV dating back to October, and they once again get the job done with a Jeff Swanton for the win. Cade & Murdoch were game again, but once again they fell short. Grade: 3
Justin: The tag team hot streak continues with a rematch from last month. Since Backlash, Cade & Murdoch have undergone quite the attitude change, giving up their underhanded ways and trying to stay focused, positive and respectful. That respect gained them another shot at the tag team titles held by the Hardys. There was one person that didn’t like the attitude change, and that was JBL, who thought Cade & Murdoch messed with a winning formula. The four were really getting comfortable feuding with each other, and it showed in their stiff offense, really working each other over with hard hitting strikes peppered in between move reversal based sequences. Cade & Murdoch had really developed a nice rapport, evidenced in their crisp teamwork. Across the ring, I was still awed by how improved Jeff Hardy was. No longer the spot monkey with little care for telling a story, he had now become one of the best babyface workers in the country. His brother had also improved greatly to the point where many were considering him the most sound in ring talent on a weekly basis, someone that could deliver a good match every time he stepped into the ring. The sickest spot of the match came late, when Jeff tried a Swanton to the floor, but came up empty and splattered on the mat outside. It was a crazy spot to witness. After a well-done double heat segment, Matt was tagged in for a hot comeback run that led into a great finish, a newfound hallmark of Hardy matches. The Hardys retain their gold as Cade & Murdoch come up short once again. We get another handshake after the match so it looks like the attitude change was here to stay, for now anyway. This was another solid old school style tag match that had help sustain this glorious tag team revival. Grade: 3
6) Edge (Adam Copeland) defeats Batista to retain World Heavyweight Title with a roll-up at 10:39
Fun Fact: Shortly after winning his Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania, Mr. Kennedy vowed he would cash in his title shot at Wrestlemania XXIV a year later. That plan came to a crashing halt in early May, when it was determined that Kennedy had sustained a major torn biceps injury that would keep him out of action for a long period of time. Not wanting the MITB gimmick off TV, management decided to have Kennedy drop the briefcase to Edge on the 5/7 Raw. Shortly after that decision was made, Kennedy was further evaluated and it was determined that the injury was not as bad as originally feared and he would be back in action by the fall.
Fun Fact II: Unfortunately for Smackdown, the injury bug was buzzing around the blue brand with ferocity in April 2007. After Backlash, it was revealed that Undertaker had also severely torn his biceps muscle and would be forced to the sidelines to rehab as well. With this injury, management was forced to make a title change, which we will detail below. Undertaker would be out of action until September.
Fun Fact III: On 5/7, Edge confronted Mr. Kennedy backstage and challenged him to a match with the MITB briefcase on the line. Kennedy accepted and the match was set for later in the night. Before the match, Edge attacked Kennedy from behind and bashed him with a monitor. The referee wanted to call off the match, but the gutty Kennedy refused to quit. So, the bell rang, Edge landed a spear and defeated Kennedy to win the briefcase. After the bout, Edge beat on Kennedy with the briefcase, putting him on the sidelines. Later that week on Smackdown, Undertaker defended his World Title against Batista in a twenty-five minute cage match that ended in a no contest after both men touched the floor at the same time. After the match, a returning Mark Henry appeared and pummeled Undertaker, leaving him unconscious in the ring. Edge would pounce on the opportunity, cashing in his newly won briefcase and defeating Undertaker to win the championship. After the match, he bashed Taker with the briefcase, putting him on the sidelines as well. A week later, it was announced that Edge would defend against Batista at Judgment Day and the two had a face-to-face confrontation.
Scott: I wasn’t sure how this match was going to go. We have two guys with very different styles hooking up here. Edge works a hybrid style of strikes and highflying moves, whereas Batista is a power guy who moves very deliberately. I’m sure Batista is pretty pissed off that he hasn’t main evented one show this year in a singles match, not counting the tag at No Way Out. The last two shows he and Undertaker battled through two World Title matches at Wrestlemania and Backlash and they were in the middle of the show. Now he faces a new challenger that once again cashed in a Money in the Bank that this time around, he didn’t even win. For the first of what would become a trend, Mr. Kennedy would take a great run and lose it because his body betrayed him. Edge moves to Smackdown after kind of sleepwalking through the first few months on Raw, including that boring main event at Backlash. I think the best thing for Edge was to be separated from John Cena and move to the Blue Brand to dominate with his heel character and fresh opponents. Batista took early control with strikes, limping around with the taped-up hamstring from his wars with the Undertaker. Edge takes advantage by tossing Batista leg first into the steel steps. This match is going at an almost too deliberate pace. I was expecting Edge to really amp up the pace and instead he slows down to Batista’s style and the crowd was not going with it. It didn’t have that PPV feel to it, and instead felt like a Smackdown main event, again I think because the crowd was not totally into it. The short duration shows that they had more planned for this feud, so they probably didn’t offer much in this first match to prepare for a bigger gimmick match the following month. Batista would take control late and hit some of his big power moves but out of nowhere Edge steals the win with a roll-up. It really felt like they were holding back a bit and with the match only 10 and a half minutes, that’s what I think it was. The Rated-R Superstar steals another win, and the Animal is once again denied. Grade: 2
Justin: Thanks to a rash of injuries on Smackdown, we have a major shakeup in the World title picture. Undertaker is out of action, Kennedy’s briefcase has been stripped of him and Edge is back on Fridays and once again has gold wrapped around his waist. Oh, and Batista is still chasing that title. There was no doubting that Edge was a great heel champion, especially a sneaky bastard that once again took an opportunity to steal the belt. However, because this feud was thrown together at the last minute it was clear that there was little heat and even less chemistry between these two. This was made even more glaring by the fact that Batista had been putting on epic brawls with Undertaker over the last two months, so any match was probably going to pale in comparison, but this was lacking on its own as well. Batista set an early tone with some power offense but his taped quad muscle would play a role as things went on. In a unique strategy, Edge also targeted Batista’s arm, trying to take out two limbs at once. This allowed Edge two shots at cutting off Batista’s comebacks and keeping him grounded. The match had a methodical pace to it as Edge slowed things down and focused on both Batista’s arm and leg. The slower pacing didn’t help the crowd, which remained pretty flat throughout this. Any time Batista went to land a major power move, his leg gave out and prevented him from swinging that momentum. He would finally hobble back into control with a spear to the first big pop of the match. Just when it looked like the Animal was going to regain his title, his leg gave out on him during a Batistabomb attempt, and Edge did what he did best, took advantage and cradle the challenger to retain his strap. The story of the match was fine, Edge looked smart and Batista looked gutsy but the bout was just OK and came off flat, as I referenced above. Edge has overtaken Friday nights and his Rated R Reign of Terror rolls on. Grade: 2
7) Montel Vontavious Porter (Hassan Assad) defeats Chris Benoit to win United States Title in a Best of Three Falls match
MVP pins Benoit with the Playmaker at 8:32
MVP pins Benoit with a cradle 14:28
Fun Fact: On 5/4, MVP defeated Kane to earn another US title shot. The next week, Chris Benoit teamed with Matt Hardy to defeat MVP & Finlay. Prior to the match, it was announced that MVP would receive his title shot at the PPV, but this time it would be a Best of Three falls bout. The next week, MVP interfered in a match between Benoit and Finlay and he and Finlay assaulted the US Champ after the bell, targeting his knee to soften him before the PPV.
Note:This is Chris Benoit’s final WWE PPV match. His final record was 35-30. He went 1-5 at the Rumble, 3-5 at Wrestlemania, 0-2 at King of the Ring, 3-3 at Summerslam, 3-2 at the Survivor Series, and 25-13 at other events. His best year was 2004, going 9-1, with his only loss to Randy Orton at Summerslam. He would remain on TV over the next month, and was eventually drafted to ECW a few weeks after this show. The wrestling world would change over the weekend of June 23rd. The tragic story has been discussed, broken down, argued and researched ad nauseam, and thus we have opted not to discuss the issue any further here.
Scott: For the third straight month, these two guys battle for the United States Championship. I think it was pretty clear that MVP was finally going to get the best of the Wolverine and take the US Title. The match at Wrestlemania was really good and the rematch at Backlash was better. MVP really studied the work he’s done with Benoit and he once again brings it here. This time Benoit comes in nicked up as his knee was attacked on Smackdown by Finlay’s shillelagh. Multiple times during the first fall Benoit kept locking up his submission moves but MVP would be able to get to the ropes. MVP had a new objective compared to the other matches, and that was working over an injury and he did that well. MVP hooked some really cool knee submission that Benoit needed to use the ropes to break. I was stunned that MVP won two straight falls. Talking about having faith in someone. For the third straight PPV, MVP showed his mettle and this time he was rewarded for it. Grade: 3.5
Justin: In what would end up being his final WWE PPV match, Chris Benoit is welcoming to the ring with a big pop as he looks to defeat the young challenger one more time. I liked the stipulation here as MVP potentially taking two falls to become champion would show a win would be more than just a fluke. Benoit wanted the quick win, looking to the crossface early, but MVP kept slipping free. Just as in their previous encounters, these two worked a crisp match centered around chain matwork and counters. MVP would work Benoit’s knee, ferociously looking to finally prove himself. Benoit just kept trying to hook the crossface, but MVP would not give in and kept fighting the Wolverine off. Benoit would try to weaken his challenger, but his balky knee kept slowing him down and his frustration started to affect his focus. MVP would strike first, landing his finisher and picking up the first fall, which led to him gaining even more confidence as he saw that he could defeat the champion after all. At this point, Benoit got really aggressive, trying desperately to battle back and tie up the match. The brutal war carried on but Benoit’s knee kept hampering him and MVP would hook him with a cradle and win the second fall in a shock and an upset. This has been a great feud and Benoit really worked hard to make MVP a star and put him over big time. Even though MVP lost most of the matches, he still was portrayed as someone that could hang with the big boys and kept learning with each match. MVP is now a made man and has the gold to prove it. I am not getting into the Benoit stuff here at all, as stated above. Grade: 3
8) John Cena defeats Great Khali (Dalip Singh) to retain WWE Championship via submission with the STFU at 8:15
Fun Fact: On 4/30, Edge, Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels were all mysteriously assaulted backstage and left unconscious. At the end of the show, John Cena came to the ring and demanded that the assailant show his face. After he finished, Great Khali stalked to the ring, shrugged off Cena’s attack and dropped the Champion with a Tree Slam. Khali then put his foot on the prone Cena and stood tall as the show ended. The next week, Shawn Michaels convinced Vince McMahon to grant him a match with Great Khali to determine Cena’s next challenger. Khali would win the bout and earn his first PPV title shot. Later in the show, he interfered in Cena’s match with Randy Orton, clocking Cena in the head with the title belt and then walking off with the gold. On 5/14, Khali and Cena brawled backstage, ending with Khali choking the Champion out. That night, Khali also debuted his new translator, Ranjan Singh.
Scott: The main event is a quick, effective way to continue putting over John Cena as a superstar. This has been the official Hulk Hogan run for Cena, tackling a bevy of monster heels. First he felled Umaga, and now he faces the almost 450 pound Great Khali. I was a little weary of how this match was going to go as at least Umaga had some moves and was quite mobile for a big man. Khali is a monster with about five moves. This is simply a feud to see David vs. Goliath and for Cena it works just fine. Khali was over as a big time heel at the time, so much so that everybody was cheering Cena for once. This match was starting fairly late, and considering a good portion of the undercard had matches over fifteen minutes I had a feeling this was going to be a quickie match. Khali really did work the Andre the Giant style of heel work, using nerve holds, slow pounding strikes and his size to wear down the smaller champion. In fact Khali got tied in the rope, ala old school Andre. I’m not saying that Khali couldn’t win the match and win the title, but I didn’t get that feeling that it was going to happen. Cena maybe would lose by countout because he took too much of a beating. However, in a move I wasn’t crazy about, they had Khali tap out to the STFU. If they wanted this feud to continue, having the bigger guy tap out in only eight minutes was pretty stupid. Just like the Edge/Batista match, this didn’t feel like a PPV main event and more like a Raw match. Cena wins, but I guess the feud…continues? Grade: 2
Justin: Our main event is a unique one as it features John Cena defending against a man who was experiencing quite the push and elevation. Cena gets a good pop here and his title reign is really getting interesting from a historical perspective. Khali was booked strongly headed in here and it was shrewd to use him because it ensured Cena would be the overwhelming face. Off the bell, we got the classic staredown, which was a neat visual. Cena got absolutely no offense in after the staredown as Khali crushed him early with a bevy of strikes. Khali really looked strong and dominant as he just pummeled Cena both in and out of the ring, building heat with each blow. Cena would get a brief opening here and there, but Khali would quickly shut him down. It was really starting to look like Cena had finally met his match as Khali was swatting him around with ease, Clubber Lang style. It only took one slip up, however, for Cena to pounce. Khali was finally taken down to the mat and Cena leapt on him and hooked the STFU. Khali would fight it, trying to reach the ropes but Cena wrenched it in tighter and Khali finally was forced to tap out. I don’t care what anyone else says, I really dug this match. I thought it was a very good big man vs. little man battle and was smartly booked. Khali looked like a monster throughout but the gutty Cena emerges victorious in the end, keeping his epic title reign going. I also liked that they kept it short and to the point with no fluff or time wasted. Cena has been on fire since the year began and he is quickly establishing himself as a great in ring talent that could work with anyone in any style and deliver a very good match. Grade: 2.5
Scott: This was a show totally dominated by the undercard. The three title matches were almost throwaways just to get the card completed. This show was a showcase for guys like Punk, Burke, the Hardys, Cade & Murdoch and MVP. All three title matches were silly throwaways simply to forward the storylines, which makes Cena’s clean win so retarded. Edge/Batista was definitely a prelude to something more, as was the Vince/Lashley debacle. If it wasn’t for Punk/Burke and the Tag Title match, this show was a boring dud. This was the perfect example of a secondary show: Uninteresting matches wrapped around showcases for mid-card studs. Overall this is a show I probably will never watch again, except maybe for Punk/Burke. I know Punk would steal the show, but I applaud Elijah Burke for bringing the goods as well, and to the bookers for knowing which matches would be the highlights and which ones wouldn’t. Grade: C
Justin: This was an interesting PPV and one that was much better than I expected it to be. It had a nice mix of matches on the card, as it featured a few rematches and some new, fresh matchups. I also liked that there was a lot of storyline advancement woven throughout the show as well. The roster is taking some major injury hits, but creative is doing a nice job of filling the holes and keeping things moving along. I liked that they used the injury to Shawn Michaels to help put Randy Orton over as a serious threat to the roster. CM Punk and Elijah Burke delivered an unheralded classic and really made a mark on this show. The flow of the show as a whole was good and the matches that should be short were kept short and the matches that needed time received it. The undercard is looking strong and we know the main event is in good hands with John Cena and Edge on top. 2007 has been a solid year so far and it will be intriguing to see how things continue to progress as we reach the halfway point of the year. Final Grade: B-
MVP: CM Punk & Elijah Burke
Runner Up: John Cena
Non MVP: Umaga
Runner Up: Batista