Monday, September 18, 2006

WWE Unforgiven (17.09.2006)

WWE Intercontinental Title: Johnny Nitro (c) vs. Jeff Hardy

This match helped underscore a few different things for me. Firstly, it cemented my belief that Johnny Nitro without Joey Mercury just isn't entertaining. As much as I want to like him, this match and his series with Carlito and Shelton Benjamin (who?) just haven't been much good, usually in the ** range. It's a pretty depressing midcard scene in WWE at the moment in that it actually looks fairly strong on paper but really weak and uninteresting in practice. Secondly, this match proved what little interest I have in Jeff Hardy in 2006. His hair style was ridiculous btw, and as soon as the match kicked off I was hoping he'd lose. Fortunately he did after about 20 minutes (which is probably somewhere between 8-12 minutes too long for these two to have an entertaining match). In it's defence I will say they had some hot near falls where you believed Hardy was going to take it but it didn't have much else going for it, and had the unfortunate addition of Melina on the outside screaming every 90 seconds or so. Yes, I know it's meant to be annoying and make you want to see her get beat up but it's the kind of irritant that just makes me turn off altogether.

Umaga vs. Kane

Speaking of things that make me want to turn off altogether, read Kane. He hasn't been interesting character-wise in ages and his match nearly always sucks. Hell, I love Chris Benoit as much as the next cynical fanboy but those matches they had in 2004 when Benoit was World Champion still bored me to tears. Umaga meanwhile is the comic book heel straight out of the 1980s, so of course he's awesome. He's also different to anything else WWE has right now which is a bonus. Anyway, this was the perfect opportunity to put Umaga over with a big win against the stale-but-credible 'Big Red Machine' who's on the downward slope as it is. So of course, they gave us a double count-0ut, doing nothing for anyone. Maybe that's a little unfair since they'll likely do a fans-vote-for-the-gimmick match at Cyber Sunday next month but damn, if Umaga doesn't go over decisively I'll be pissed.

WWE Tag Team Titles: The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) vs. The Highlanders (Rory McAllister & Robbie McAllister)

I thought it was a bit of a waste doing the Roddy Piper endorsement match on Raw but I suppose that was at MSG, more people will have been watching on TV and this pay-per-view was already loaded up anyway but still. I remember very little about this match other than my thoughts going in - "I see no reason for the Spirit Squad to drop the belts since neither team has any other credible challengers and nothing interesting going for them progam-wise and keeping the belts where they are will at least help stabalise them). Robbie McAllister missed a plancha, Spirit Squad won. I guess they'll drop the belts next month at Cyber Sunday to the two guys who don't get voted into the World Title match as history dictates will happen.

Hell In A Cell: D-Generation-X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) vs. Mr. McMahon, Shane McMahon & ECW Champion The Big Show

Crowd was pretty subdued after the previous match (likely the point anyway) and they had a new Cell for this one which was a few feet higher and had an annoying steel cross slap bang in the middle. McMahons bladed early after DX had kicked Big Show in the nuts a couple of times and they did a bunch of spots with the cage, you know the kind of thing by now. Michaels soon got blood and Triple H bladed his ear off a Van Terminator from Shane then it all got silly. Shawn crushed Shane's larynx with an elbow onto a chair wrapped round Shane's neck (Michaels himself did a better sell job with Kane did the same thing to him a couple of years back...hey, whatever happened to that feud anyway?) and with Big Show out of comission, Vince challenged the DX boys to fight him man to man. That of course led them to pull down Big Show's tights and stick Vince's head in Show's massive arse crack. Thoroughly revolting but hey, I guess what they say is right and Vince wont ask anyone to do anything he himself wouldn't. Anyway, that stupid comedy spot pretty much killed the intensity of it for me...until Triple H smashed a sledgehammer over the back of Vince's head after Vince had pretty much no-sold a superkick from Shawn. The visual of that was one of the sickest I'd seen since the camera barely caught it, kind of like only seeing the shadow of the alien in a horror movie or something. Whole thing went 20-25 minutes and was just blood and bumps the whole way with a surprisingly subdued crowd. I did get a kick out of the "You Screwed Bret" chants however, and hopefully the stretcher jobs at the end indicate this is the last we'll see of the McMahons for some time to come.

WWE Women's Title: Lita (c) vs. Trish Stratus

Trish's 'last' match (probably wishfull thinking on her part) and it was greeted by a surprisingly less-than-rabid crowd (presumably tired after the previous gore-fest and not really believing the retirement aspect of things since this is wrestling after all). The pre-match video package was pretty cool though and the match was OK but not as good as their singles match that main-evented Raw a while back. Some stuff looked sloppy and Trish seemed quite nervous and she slipped a couple of times and dropped the belt at the end but the pop for the sharpshooter was the loudest of the night and WWE actually put the belt on her so she could go out at the top. Not the time-honoured tradition of doing the job and avoiding a certain door hitting a certain part of the anatomy on the way out but the result everyone wanted to see on the night. And the title doesn't mean much anyway, keeping it on Lita won't achieve a whole lot either, espeically since she's quitting soon (with any luck).

Randy Orton vs. Carlito

Couple of thoroughly boring guys next in surprise, surprise, a thoroughly boring match. Going in, Orton needed the win far more than Carlito and that's what happened with a great finish - Carlito did a double springboard right into an RKO for the pin.

WWE Title - Tables, Ladders & Chairs: Edge (c) vs. John Cena

Hell in a Cell and TLC on the same show is just overkill in case you hadn't figured that out for youself yet. Since we were in Toronto, Edge was a huge babyface (despite getting booed out of the building at SummerSlam 2004 as a genuine babyface against heel Batista and tweener Chris Jericho). Cena of course was booed ouf of the building, moreso than usual. They screwed up a couple of spots (Cena noticably was pissed at this) but Edge covered well enough, and they both took the requisit ridiculous bumps from the ladders, over the ropes and through tables. Edge hit his spear, Lita ran-in, Cena gave Edge the FU from the ladder through two tables and grabbed the belt to reclaim his title. Probably the best and most dramatic match these two have had (though SummerSlam was pretty decent as well) but Cena just astounds me. They guy is so charismatic and such a great performer yet he's a dreadful wrestler, has some awful facials and just acts like the nerdiest wannabe cool guy ever.

- So in conclusion, it was like most WWE shows this year. Not particularly good, not particularly interesting, not particularly exciting, not particularly memorable but with enough to keep things from being a completely washout and a perfectly acceptable waste of 2:45. I'm not sure where things go from here though since reports point to DX vs. Edge & Orton plus the Umaga/Kane thing continuing. That would leave Cena without an opponent but I assume with Cyber Sunday on the horizon the fans will have in a say in that (to a degree) and hell, maybe I'll watch Raw tomorrow to see how things transpire.


NOTE: 24 hours later and here's a few Raw thoughts:

Umaga vs. Kane - I'm not really keen on WWE rushing out pay-per-view rematches on free TV the very next night, especdially when the previous night's match went to a very unsatisfying finish. It just makes you realise what a waste of time the PPV was. Anyway, this was fine and did a lot to put over the monster aspect of both guys to the point that I'm not entirely hating this feud. Of course, I still demand Umaga wins and Kane goes away but for now the DQ finish was the right thing to do and I assume they'll do so more gimmick related brawling/non finishes over the next few weeks leading to a fans pick the stipulation match at Cyber Sunday.

Ric Flair vs. Johnny - Flair's Flair and Johnny Jeter has been tremendous fun in the OVW I've been watching but here's the run-down on this one: chops, Johnny clips the knee, figure four attempt, more chops, Flair clips the knee, figure four, goodnight. Point?

Intercontinental Title - Johnny Nitro (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Super Crazy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Masters vs. Carlito - Throwing four colossol bores in there with a broken down has-been and the good-but-tubby Super Crazy does not make for a good match. This was every man in the ring, first pin wins stuff and it was all really slow and pedestrian, like a battle royal but with everyone trying to score a pinfall in lieu of actually doing anything. And it went on for aaages. Finish had the suitably 'expected-for-a-lazily-thrown-together-six-way' feel about it as Orton hit the RKO on Nitro (to a big pop) but got caught with Carlito's backcracker. That left Carlito open to the Masterlock but Masters fell prey to Super Crazy, who bought one from Jeff Hardy who looked to have it sewn up before the original guy who got nailed with a finisher (Nitro) nipped in and stole the pin. Yawn. I assume in the Taboo Tuesday tradition, the fans get to a pick a challenger for the Intercontinental Title and I personally hope the deserving Super Crazy gets the shot but I think Jeff Hardy takes it with Orton a close second.

Lita vs. Candice Michelle - Man, losing Trish Stratus was such a blow for the women's division. The biggest loss since Molly Holly, Gail Kim et al. were sent packing back in 2004. Anyway, Lita led this one which meant the match sucked (though would have been even worse if Candice had led) and it was pretty long too until Mickie James came out for the distraction and Candice's powerbomb scored the win. I assume a babyface Mickie vs. heel Lita feud is the way they're going but I hope that doesn't screw up the interesting program they had in the works with Mickie and Beth Pheonix before she got injured.

DX (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) & WWE Champion John Cena vs. Edge, Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch - Its weird to see Cade & Murdoch go from default tag team champions to Heat regulars in less than 8 months then actually shoot back into main event matches over a two week span some months later. That demotion really hurt them too as they looked totally out of place here, as did Shawn Michaels' sudden barbaric chair swinging which led to the feeble DQ finish. I'd guess it's the fans choice bewtween Edge/Triple H/Michaels as to who gets the title shot at Cena's belt on Cyber Sunday and which two guys team up and win the tag belts. Ho hum.

- Well, a crappy episode and so much for Vince McMahon disappearing after Hell in a Cell as he was mentioned in literally every segment tonight. I also hope the skit with Shelton Benjamin complainign he wasn't picked to be on McMahons' team because he was black was a one-off comment and not his new gimmick. I'm sick of the WWE's attempt to get racism over. Nobody liked it to begin with and it's not suddenly going to get over because you've been forcing it down our throats. Kindly take it and fuck off.


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