WWE Unforgiven - September 7, 2008
-Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho settle their score and all three brand championships are defended in ďinnovativeĒ scramble matches. The rules donít favor the champions, so it will be a real trick for Triple H, CM Punk, and Mark Henry to hang on to their title belts.
-They are airing live from Cleveland, Ohio. Our hosts for the evening are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Jim Ross and Tazz for Smackdown, and Todd Grisham and Matt Striker for ECW.
ECW Championship Scramble:
Mark Henry © (with Tony Atlas) vs. Matt Hardy vs. The Miz vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle) vs. Chavo Guerrero (with Bam Neely)
Each of these scrambles has a 20 minute time limit, two superstars start the match and a new star arrives every five minutes, whoever gets a pinfall is the temporary champion, and whoever is the champ at the end of the match is the official title holder.
Matt Hardy and The Miz are the first two participants. They exchange holds in the early going. Things pick up with The Miz hitting a hip toss and targeting the head. The Miz blocks a bulldog, but unwittingly hangs himself up in the turnbuckle. Hardy hits an innovative sit-out power bomb and gets a 2 count. Clothesline by Hardy gets another 2. Miz hangs Hardy on the second rope and dives over to target the head. Cover by Miz gets 2, leading to a chinlock. Sunset flip by Hardy, but Miz blocks the cover. Clothesline by Miz gets a near fall. Miz hits the Reality Check, but Hardy rolls from the ring. By the time Miz gets him in a pinning predicament, Hardy easily kicks out. Five minutes have passed, and Chavo Guerrero enters the fray. Chavo disposes of Miz and hits Hardy with the frog splash to become the temporary ECW Champion. The crowd actually popped for that too, which I find surprising. The Miz goes on the offense against Chavo. Rolling Liger kick by Chavo sends Miz to the floor, setting up a dive. Hardy is up and goes after Chavo. The Miz goes high risk, but is met by Chavo. Miz knocks him off, and hits a flying cross body on both Hardy and Guerrero! Hardy cleans house. Side effect on Chavo by Hardy is enough for a three count, making him the current ECW Champion. Hardy dumps Guerrero and works a headlock on Miz. Things lead to a stand-off.
Ten minutes have passed, and Mark Henry confidently makes his way to the match. Miz, Hardy, and Guerrero try to triple team Henry, but he effortlessly throws them off. Henry cleans house. Henry slams Chavo and temporarily regains his ECW Championship. Hardy slingshots himself into Henryís fist and tumbles to the floor. Henry continues to dish out the punishment to Guerrero and Miz. Chavo finds himself stuck in the worldís strongest bear bug. Hardy attempts a high risk move but Henry catches him with another bear hug. 15 minutes have passed and the final man, Finlay, joins the match. Hornswoggle immediately hides under the ring, as Finlay strikes Henry with a DDT, trying to get the quick pin. Henry uses yet another bear hug to slow down Finlay. Hornswoggle provides the distraction, and Finlay knocks Henry with the shillelagh. Hardy assists in dumping Henry, but Finlay strikes Hardy with the Celtic Cross. Finlay becomes the temporary ECW Champion! Missile drop-kick by Miz takes out Finlay. Hardy hitís the twist of fate on Miz and wins the title! Frog splash on Miz by Chavo almost gets a pin, but itís broken by the others. Henry returns and his pinfall attempt on Miz is also interrupted. Hardy keeps breaking up Henry's frequent pinfall attempts. Finlay attempts the Celtic Cross on Hardy, but Henry breaks it up. Henry and Hardy are on a virtual stand-off as less than a minute remains. All five men are all over each other as the time expires and Hardy is declared the winner at 20:00! There were some slow parts, but this did a great job of establishing the scramble rules and setting the tone for the evening, ***.
Winner and new ECW Champion: Matt Hardy
-Backstage, Jeff Hardy congratulates his brother for his title win. Matt wants Jeff to win the WWE title tonight to make it a clean sweep for the Hardyís.
-Text question of the night: Should Vickie Guerrero have allowed Big Show to perform in the Championship Scramble? Hereís a better question: who cares?
World Tag Team Championship
Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes © vs. Cryme Tyme
JTG kicks the match off against Cody Rhodes. JTG outsmarts the newly self-proclaimed Prince of Wrestling in the early going. Shad saves JTG and clotheslines the champs to the floor. Shad launches JTG over the ropes onto both Rhodes and Dibiase at ringside. Dibiase tags, but gets isolated in the Cryme Tyme corner. Shad tags and cuts off Dibiaseís momentum with a scoop slam. Elbow drop by Shad gets a cover for 2. Dibiase blocks a backdrop and tags Rhodes. JTG gets a blind tag and hitís a flying tackle on Rhodes. Cover by JTG gets 2. Rhodes slaps JTG across the face and hightails it. JTG ducks a clothesline from a waiting Dibiase, but runs into one from Rhodes. That turns out to be the momentum changer, as Rhodes and Dibiase isolate JTG in a long heat segment. Itís worth mentioning how crisp both Rhodes and Dibiase are, they come across as a true tag team. Rhodes attempts a moonsault, but JTG rolls out of the way! Shad gets the hot tag and cleans house. Rhodes sneaks in and hitís a DDT on Shad. Cover by Dibiase is foiled by a rope break. Rhodes tags, but Shad clotheslines the life out of him. JTG tags, but Dibiase blocks their double team. JTG rolls up Rhodes, but Dibiase tips them over, leading to Rhodes getting the pinfall victory at 11:36. This was very solid, Iíd like to see this feud heat up even more, **Ĺ.
Winners and still World Tag Team Champions: Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase
-After the match, tensions continue to rise when all of a sudden, Manu (Afa Jr.) makes his debut by assisting in the beat down of Cryme Tyme.
-Backstage, a medical trainer is taping Shawn Michaels up for his unsanctioned match against Chris Jericho. HBK is advised that wrestling tonight puts him in serious risk, since he injured his arm on Raw.
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
HBK charges the ring and itís on! A wild brawl erupts, with HBK aggressively picking up the early advantage. HBK uses his boot as a weapon, targeting the head of Y2J. Jericho retreats to ringside, but HBK pounces, sending them both crashing into the crowd. The fight leads back to ringside, where Michaels catapults Jericho into the ring post. Jericho ducks a chair shot and slams HBK into the announce table. Jericho takes control, dropping Michaels onto the barricade and hitting a DDT to the floor. Jericho fetches a table from beneath the ring and rams it into HBK. A second table to set up by the ring. Jericho attempts a power bomb, HBK fights back, so Jericho drops him face-first onto the ring apron. The fight leads to the ring, where Jericho dismantles HBK with a steel chair. Jericho chokes HBK with his boot, but has to deal with the referee trying to enforce the rules in an unsanctioned match. HBK reverses an Irish whip and sends Jericho crashing into a chair propped in the turnbuckles. Jericho tries to suplex Michaels over the ropes to the table, but itís blocked. HBK clotheslines Y2J and chokes. Someone please explain the (lack of) rules to the referee again, as he stops the choking. HBK goes high risk and connects with the flying elbow drop. HBK voluntarily halts on the Sweet Chin Music, deciding heíd rather beat him up some more. HBK applies a Crossface on Jericho, because weíre taking that move back, baby! Jericho counters by thrusting Michaels into the chair still propped in the turnbuckle. Jericho is now targeting the eye he previously injured over the summer. This only serves to piss Michaels off, as he smashes Jericho and hitís a Lou Thesz press. Jericho blocks a piledriver and locks on the Walls of Jericho! Michaels gets the rope break, but Jericho holds on anyway. Michaels manages to grab a fire extinguisher from ringside and unloads it in Jerichoís face. Well, that was certainly clever. HBK rams the metal extinguisher into Jerichoís skull, sending him crashing to ringside. Michaels leads Jericho to the ramp and suplexes him onto the steel!
Lance Cade runs in, but HBK fights him off. Cade will never get over if they keep booking him to be absolutely incompetent at accomplishing anything with his run-ins. Maybe I spoke too soon, as Cade gets back up and clotheslines HBK. Cade places HBK on the apron by the ring post, and helps Jericho with a vicious double team on the injured triceps. Cade holds HBK still so Jericho can slap him around. Cade fetches a chair and holds Michaels down so Jericho can dismantle the triceps further. Cade wraps HBKís arm in the chair, as Jericho goes high risk. HBK kicks Cade off, sending him into the ropes and knocking Jericho off his balance. HBK unleashes the Sweet Chin Music on Cade! HBK smashes Jericho off the top with the chair, sending him crashing into the table at ringside! Using one arm, HBK keeps swinging the chair at Jericho, who has yet to get up from the table wreckage. Michaels clears the announce table and drapes Lance Cade onto it. Michaels climbs to the top rope, but goes back to the floor to add Jericho to the table, right on top of Cade. HBK climbs to the top again and hitís the flying elbow drop onto both men, driving them through the table! Michaels leaps to his feet, but is slow to follow up. HBK drags Jericho to the ring and removes his belt. HBK proceeds to viciously whip Jerichoís back with the belt. HBK whispers something in Jerichoís ear, right before he wraps Jerichoís own arm around his neck and repeatedly smashes the head. That was rather dramatic. Michaels mounts Jericho and continues the smashing, causing the referee to stop the match. Michaels is declared the victor at 26:50. Great match and an excellent chapter in this feud, which doesnít even seem to be slowing down, ****ľ.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
-After the match, Michaels keeps up the beating on Jericho. The referee keeps trying to stop him, so Michaels snaps and dishes out Sweet Chin Music on the ref! Michaels starts quivering and almost breaks down into tears, theoretically heís ashamed of what heís been driven to do. Top notch story telling all around.
-Backstage, Dibiase, Rhodes, and Manu are sitting around and enjoying their moment. They are joined by Randy Orton. Rhodes brags to Orton about how they won their match and made a statement. They introduce their Samoan friend as Manu, who also has some words for Orton. He can trash all the champions on Raw, but he canít say anything about the Tag Team champions. Orton mockingly congratulates them, as he feels they won by luck. Orton awesomely puts them in their places, telling them to watch the replay of their match and then explain to him how they won and if they really should be celebrating. Awesome segment.
WWE Championship Scramble:
Triple H © vs. Jeff Hardy vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. The Brian Kendrick (with Ezekiel Jackson)
Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin are the first two entrants. I agree with WWE agents that appreciate Benjaminís heel facial expressions. Now if only he could cut a good promo (though he cuts a decent pretaped one during his entrance). Hardy and Benjamin go through the early match motions. Things heat up as Benjamin manages to power bomb Hardy into the turnbuckles and gets the first near fall of the match. Snap suplex by Benjamin gets another near fall. Chinlock by Benjamin. Hardy counters another suplex and gets a couple of cover attempts. Scoop slam by Hardy and a leg drop gets a two count. They exchange shots as the five minute mark passes and they are joined by The Brian Kendrick. Ezekiel hangs back on the stage, as Kendrick takes his time heading to the ring. Benjamin tries to suplex Hardy off the apron, but Kendrick interrupts. Kendrick is alone with Hardy and repeatedly plants him to the mat. Kendrick connects with a hard kick to the back for a two count. Kendrick misses a corner splash and Hardy drops him on his face. Cover by Hardy gets 3, and he temporarily becomes the WWE Champion! Benjamin rushes the ring, but Hardy fights him off. Benjamin misses a corner splash, but succeeds with a the pay dirt. Kendrick breaks up Benjaminís cover and tosses him to the floor. Kendrick hits Sliced Bread #2 on Hardy and becomes the temporary WWE Champion! Yikes, at this moment Brian Kendrick and CM Punk are the two major champions in WWE. Who would have ever guessed? Ring of Honor must be so proud.
Ten minutes have passed, and Montel Vontavious Porter makes his way to the ring. Sheesh, Triple H is going to be the final man? Heís taking it easy tonight. MVP aggressively goes after Kendrick and dumps both him and Hardy to the floor. MVP smashes Benjaminís head into his knee and beats down the man heís been told to study (so says the WWE agents). MVP sets Benjamin up for the running knee lift, but Kendrick surprises him with a leg lariat. Hardy knocks out Kendrick and positions MVP and Benjamin in the corner for a double corner drop-kick. Kendrick interrupts Hardyís cover on Benjamin and continues the offense. Benjamin nails a Samoan Drop on Kendrick. Kendrick hitís a flying cross body on MVP and drop-kicks the head. Benjamin attempts a power bomb on Kendrick, but itís reversed into a head scissors takedown. MVP and Kendrick slug it out but Kendrick hits another leg lariat. Weíre in the home stretch now, as Triple H enters the match at the 15 minute mark. HHH clotheslines Benjamin from the ring and takes down Kendrick. MVP eats a face buster. Triple H ducks a Kendrick clothesline and MVP gets taken down. Triple H clears the ring and hitís the pedigree on Kendrick to regain his title. Benjamin jumps Triple H from behind, and they brawl to ringside. Hardy and MVP brawl into the ring, and Hardy hitís the Twist of Fate to become the temporary champion. Could you imagine how funny the title lineage would look if these changes were official? Kendrick attempts Sliced Bread #2, but itís blocked. Hardy goes high risk, but Triple H trips him on the turnbuckle. Triple H hits another pedigree on Kendrick and pins him (again) to regain the title. Iím not enjoying the treatment Kendrick is getting here. Hardy hitís the Swanton bomb on Kendrick and wins back the title. Hardy dumps Hardy to ringside and connects with a plancha. In the ring, MVP and Kendrick slug it out on the turnbuckle, but Benjamin dives up for a suplex, itís blocked, so MVP tosses them both off! Hardy hitís the whisper in the wind on MVP and destroys Benjamin with the Swanton bomb. With only 14 seconds left, Triple H hitís the pedigree on MVP and pins him just in time to officially retain the belt at 20:00. I just saw them brilliantly build up Kendrick and then bury him all in the same match. Overall, this was very good, it was nice seeing some guys who were overdue for pushes get elevated, even if it was brief, ***Ĺ.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
-Curt Hennig was absolutely perfect. Buy his DVD!
-Backstage, Todd Grisham asks Shawn Michaels if heís content with his victory over Chris Jericho. Michaels says this is the first pay-per-view in three months that he hasnít spent the night in the hospital. He just wants to go home, spend the night with his wife, and be there for his kids in the morning. Awww! So to make it short, Michaels feels content, but he doesnít have his feeling of closure yet. The worst is still yet to come.
-CM Punk is being interviewed about how the odds are stacked against him, when Randy Orton wanders in. Orton calls Punk a fluke, which doesnít seem to phase him. Punk is putting Orton in his place when suddenly Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, and Manu run in for a triple team. Kofi Kingston tries to make the save, but heís beaten down as well. Orton nails Punk with the running punt death kick, and heís down and out! So in other words, Punk is removed from the main event, which is rather infuriating to me.
Michelle McCool © vs. Maryse
If you need to use the bathroom or buy some popcorn, do it now! Maryse canít make up her mind on what she wants to do in the early going. Michelle blocks and hitís a side Russian legsweep. Be careful, Ted Dibiase used that as a finisher recently, he might not like to see the divas using it as a transitional move. Maryse locks the wrist, and Michelle goes through great measures to break it. The fight heads to ringside, where Maryse rams the champ into the barricade. Michelle kicks Maryse over the guard rail and hitís a clothesline off of it. Michelle just won some over points with me. Back to the ring, Maryse takes Michelle down from the back of the leg and decides to target it with stomps and a stretch. Psychology FTW! Michelle turns the momentum to her favor and also targets the leg. Michelle applies a heel hook, but Maryse gets a rope break. Maryse chokes, because sheís evil. Michelle uses her mighty legs to kick Maryse off her feet and get a near fall. They trade shots, Michelle rolls through a sloppy sunset flip, and kicks the face. Maryse blocks a suplex but runs into more kicks. There are faint ďTNAĒ chants in the crowd. Michelle gets a shot to the face and gets the cover at 5:40. That so-called psychology I mentioned earlier didnít really go anywhere, as they were just stalling for time. Not that it matters, this match really wasnít supposed to be good, but Iíll give Michelle points for trying some neat tricks, ĺ.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Michelle McCool
-Mike Adamle comes out to address the crowd. He announces that it appears that CM Punk is unable to compete. In that case, Adamle needs to find a suitable replacement. Not cool, dude, not cool.
-The Big Show makes his way to the ring for no apparent reason. Show proposes that he take Punkís place in the main event. I donít see how thatís a tempting offer, seeing as Raw already went through the predicament of having no World titles on their show after the draft. Vickie Guerrero comes to the ring and she doesnít look happy. Vickie accuses Show of being stupid, as he broke her orders to not cause a disruption at the pay-per-view. Cue the spooky music, and the druids haul out a casket. The Undertaker appears on the titantron and refers to the coffin as Vickieís final resting place. Gee, thatís a bit harsh. Vickie isnít too willing to get into the casket (for some reason) so Undertaker makes his (slow) entrance to the ring. Vickie tries to run away, but Big Show apprehends her and forces her to stay in the ring. Undertaker grabs Vickie, but Big Show, in a ďshockingĒ swerve, smashes him in the head and proceeds to beat him down. Ah, you see, it was all an elaborate ruse! How very clever, Undertaker never saw it coming. Taker fights back at times, but this eats up way too much pay-per-view time. Hey guys, any particular reason this couldnít have been saved for Smackdown?
-William Regal tries to weasel into the main event (which would actually be kind of neat) but no luck.
World Heavyweight Championship Scramble:
Batista vs. JBL vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. ???
Iím still not pleased about CM Punk being removed from the match, though Michael Cole puts over the point that Punk still might show up. Batista and JBL are the first two entrants, so I immediately groan over the fact that weíre going to witness a twenty minute JBL match. Batista and JBL have not had good chemistry in the past and that trend continues tonight. Batista targets JBLís leg, looking to dismantle the knee. Batista gets a cheap pop out of applying the figure four leglock. JBL manages to toss Batista to the floor, and the brawl continues at ringside. Batista reverses a whip, sending JBL crashing into the steel steps. Itís been five minutes, so Kane makes his way to the ring, where Batista is ready for him. Kane is feeling agile tonight, even hitting a drop-kick. Kane runs into Batistaís elbow and eats a corner clothesline. Batista chokes with his foot, and now Iím confused since I thought Batista was a good guy. Side slam by Kane, who then goes high risk. Batista ducks the flying clothesline, but Kane bounces back. Batista blocks a choke slam and attempts the demon bomb, but JBL is back and disrupts everything. Kane thanks JBL with a choke slam gets the pinfall to become the temporary champion. Kane knocks Batista out of the ring, as the ten minute mark passesÖ
Ö and Rey Mysterio is next! Rey is wearing a crazy Mohawk mask, but he is determined tonight, aggressively and quickly going after Kane. Mysterio drop-kicks Kane to the floor, but JBL is back and goes after the little guy. Mysterio takes down JBL, but misses the 619 on Kane. Batista saves Mysterio from a Kane beating, nailing a back suplex. Mysterio goes high risk , standing on Batistaís shoulders for a splash on Kane. Batista goes for the cover, but only gets 2. Mysterio gets back on Batistaís shoulders, but this time betrays him with a roll-up! Batista easily kicks out and is annoyed with his little buddy. JBL breaks up the tension, hitting a fall away slam on Mysterio onto Batista. Cover by JBL gets 2. JBL cleans house, and itís time for the final contestant. And it isnít CM Punk, nope, itís the also battered and bruised Chris Jericho. The crowd is not happy to see Jericho again. Batista greets Jericho with a spear. Batista cleans house. Mysterio hitís the 619 to Kaneís knees, but isnít willing to let Batista get the pinfall. Mysterio blocks a power bomb from Batista, and takes a moment to hit the 619 on JBL. Mysterio goes for a springboard move, but Batista knocks him to the floor. JBL hitís the clothesline from hell on Kane, but is immediately taken down with a Batista spine buster. Kane plants Batista and goes high risk, connecting with the flying clothesline. Cover by Kane gets 2.5, though Iím not sure why Kane needs a pinfall since heís the champion and all. Kane signals a choke slam, but Batista surprises him with a spear. Thereís less than a minute remaining when Batista pins Kane after a spine buster. Batista is busy trying to take out Rey Mysterio when Chris Jericho sneaks in and covers Kane with five seconds remaining to officially win the title at 20:00. Batista acts like his whole life just ended, as Jericho celebrates. This was kind of flat for a main event, and Punk getting taken out at the last minute really gave this match a bad taste, **Ĺ.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Jericho
-This was a frustrating pay-per-view. It started off so well, with the first half filled with good wrestling and a MOTYC in Jericho/Michael. Then, halfway through the show, things nosedived. The Big Show/Undertaker segment dragged everything down with it, and was a complete waste of pay-per-view time. Maybe if they booked these sort of segments to happen on Smackdown, they could lose the criticism that NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON SMACKDOWN. Not saying it would have been any more entertaining on Smackdown, but at least the paying customer wouldnít have had to feel robbed of forty dollars. Add to CM Punk being taken out of the main event at the last minute and the illogical addition of Jericho to the match (normally Iíd be thrilled and marking out for a Jericho title win, but this was one of the worst possible ways to go about getting that result) made for a flat and heatless main event.
Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.