WWE Unforgiven- September 16, 2007
-This show has been heavily affected by a recent string of Wellness Policy violations and the umpteenth return of The Undertaker. A cryptic opening video package features a whispering child warning Undertaker’s enemies to be terrified.
-Live from Memphis, TN. Our hosts for the evening are Joey Styles and Tazz for ECW, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield for Smackdown.
CM Punk © vs. Elijah Burke
Burke doesn’t get a televised entrance. Make your own joke about the prestige of the ECW title. It’s worth noting that Punk is ECW Champion because John Morrison is suspended for violating the Wellness Policy. The match begins slowly, with both men feeling one another out. Side Russian legsweep by Punk gets the first near fall. Punk pleases the crowd with some stiff shots. Burke sits Punk in the corner and slams his head to the mat. Burke goes to work on Punk’s back. Punk mule kicks out of a hold for a comeback. Springboard clothesline by Punk gets 2. Burke trips Punk onto his back at ringside, retaking control in the process. Punk spends an eternity stuck in a Boston Crab before getting the ropes. Burke hits some German suplexes! Burke continues the back work. Punk catches a roll-up out of nowhere and retains at 11:51. I suppose they were trying to position CM Punk as an underdog champion with that weak finish. Otherwise, this was slower than I would have expected, but Burke busted out some cool moves, **½.
Winner and still ECW Champion: CM Punk
WWE Tag Team Championship:
MVP and Matt Hardy © vs. Deuce n’ Domino (with Cherry)
Hardy and MVP are wacky tag team champions who hate each other, since they are also feuding for MVP’s United States Championship. Hardy and MVP argue over who starts the match. Hardy starts but MVP tags himself in right away. MVP is just as concerned with trash talking Hardy as he is in wrestling Deuce and Domino. Hardy and MVP continually mock each other while in control. Deuce and Domino manage to finally isolate Hardy for a period. Domino knocks MVP off the apron, which frustrates MVP into taking a hike. MVP has a change of heart and returns as Hardy takes down both Deuce and Domino. MVP gets a hot tag and cleans house on Deuce. MVP dispatches Domino and gets the ballin’ elbow drop, but Hardy tags himself in. Hardy uses MVP to bat Domino off the apron and hits the Twist of Fate on Deuce for the victory at 9:17. Dull match, but it became much more interesting towards the end. Deuce and Domino were also complete afterthoughts here, **.
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: Matt Hardy and MVP
-Pretaped interview with Rey Mysterio. Rey puts over how badly The Great Khali hurt him before. Rey addresses his critics who say he has no chance of surviving the triple threat match with Batista and Khali by pointing out they said the same thing heading into Wrestlemania 22.
Triple H vs. Carlito
This match stipulates no disqualifications… for Carlito. The match kicks off with an aggressive brawl. Carlito tries to use a chair, but gets driven into the barricade. HHH continues to work the back. The referee catches Triple H cheating during an abdominal stretch, giving Carlito a chance to clear an announce table. Carlito uses the ring bell to take control. Carlito chokes with some wire. Triple H blocks Carlito’s apple spitting but eats numerous trash can shots. Carlito sets a can in the ropes but Triple H retakes control. Carlito throws powdering into The Game’s eyes. Carlito charges with a chair, but a blind Triple H nails a spine buster. The referee takes a chair away from HHH and misses the low blow on Carlito. Pedigree finishes Carlito at 10:39. Not a bad story driven match, though the booking made it absolutely clear that Carlito was not in Triple H’s league without the unfair rules, **¾.
Winner: Triple H
-Maria interviews Batista backstage. Batista has a triple threat match tonight against his friend, Rey, and the champion, Khali, and it’s going to be every man for himself.
-Whoa, we are treated to a hype video for the Beth Phoenix/Candice Michelle feud! You don’t see that too often in WWE women’s wrestling.
Candice Michelle © vs. Beth Phoenix
Beth overpowers Candice in the early going. Candice grabs the wrist and outmaneuvers Beth. Phoenix is mad and responds with a backbreaker. Beth wears down Candice with a series of violent attacks. Candice fights back with some clever leg work, but Beth retakes control quickly. Overhead backbreaker by Beth! Neckbreaker counter by Candice! Beth drives Candice into the turnbuckles and delivers a press slam! Candice counters again with a roll-up for the win at 7:05. Candice wins by the skin of her teeth, as the match did a great job in establishing just how brutal Beth Phoenix can be. Sadly, the crowd was dead and the match dragged at times, but by WWE divas standards, this was very good, **.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Candice Michelle
-Todd Grisham interviews Ranjin Singh and World Heavyweight Champion Great Khali backstage. Singh interprets that Khali is laughing about what Rey and Batista had to say about him. Singh puts a Mysterio mask on a cantaloupe and has Khali crush it. Khali also destroys a watermelon that represents Batista’s bigger head. This was pretty funny, too bad Khali is about to lose the belt, eh?
World Heavyweight Championship:
The Great Khali © (with Ranjin Singh) vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio
Batista and Mysterio both go after Khali but the champion fights them both off. Rey surprises Batista with a roll-up, prompting them to fight while Khali recovers. Seated senton on Batista by Rey, but Khali drops Mysterio with a big boot. Batista blocks the vice grip but eats a tomahawk chop. Khali locks the vice grip on Batista but Rey breaks it up with a chair shot. Khali takes Batista out at ringside before dismantling Rey in the ring. Batista saves Rey from the vice grip! Khali is tied up in the ropes and Batista unloads on him. Rey blocks the Batista Bomb and hits 619! 619 on Khali and the West Coast Pop! Batista power bombs Rey onto Khali! Spinebuster on Khali and Batista wins the title at 7:59. This was smartly booked to cover for the weaknesses of the participants, was short enough, and the finishing sequence was spectacular, **½.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Batista
-Get the fast-forward button ready, it’s time for a video recap of Vince McMahon discovering that his illegitimate son is none other than Hornswoggle!
-Backstage, Triple H congratulates Batista for his title win. Triple H reminds Batista that defending the title will be the real challenge.
World Tag Team Championship:
Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch © vs. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
Kendrick starts against Cade. Kendrick uses his speed but Cade uses his size and strength advantage. Murdoch tags and almost gets pinned with an inside cradle. London and Kendrick make quick tags and focus on Murdoch’s wrist. London and Kendrick dump Cade and Murdoch to the floor and dive onto them! Kendrick misses a flying cross body and finds himself isolated. Cade power slams Kendrick off the top rope but London breaks the cover. Murdoch continues the isolation of Kendrick. London makes the hot tag and cleans house on Cade and Murdoch. Double stomp onto Murdoch’s neck only gets a 2 count! Cade misses an elbow drop, London capitalizes. Kendrick nails a cross body on Murdoch for 2! Kendrick kicks out of Murdoch’s kick to the head! Murdoch blocks Sliced Bread #2 and pins Kendrick at 11:47. Good formula tag, ***.
Winners and still World Tag Team Champions: Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch
-J.R. and Lawler gush over how great The Condemned, starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, was.
John Cena © vs. Randy Orton
Cena was approaching the one year mark during his third WWE title reign here, the longest since Hulk Hogan in the 80’s. John Cena Sr., a recent victim of Orton’s, is sitting at ringside. Cena does his best angry face and tackles Orton. Orton takes quite a bit of punishment before catching Cena in the ropes with an uppercut and DDT. Cena rebounds with another tackle but Orton locks in the headlock. Cena breaks the hold and gets carried away pummeling Orton in the corner. The referee calls for the DQ at 7:21! The sudden finish hurts, but this wasn’t exactly shaping up to be a classic to begin with, *½.
Winner by DQ: Randy Orton
-A frustrated Randy Orton pulls Cena Sr. over the barricade. Cena makes the save and locks Orton into the STF, prompting Cena Sr. to nail Orton with the death punt! I suppose this was all meant to set up another round of Orton/Cena at No Mercy, but Cena would go down with an injury weeks later.
-Jonathan Coachman confronts Cena Sr. backstage. Coach accuses him of knowing that Cena couldn’t win. Coach promises that Orton will receive a Last Man Standing rematch. Cena storms in and gets into Coach’s face, telling him not to mess with his family again.
The Undertaker vs. Mark Henry
This is the second time that Henry gets to main event a pay-per-view due to WWE making sure that a return by The Undertaker seems important. Henry was given storyline credit for putting Undertaker on the shelf back in the spring. Undertaker’s entrance is quite a production, complete with lightning, burning Taker symbols, and pyro. No druids though, which is something of a letdown. Taker punks Henry in the early going and initiates a brawl. Superplex by Henry! Taker fights back, directing Henry to ringside. Low blow by Henry, who takes control. Taker sits up after a pair of slams and goes on the offense. Chokeslam by Undertaker gets 2. Henry blocks the Last Ride and locks in the Bear Hug. Undertaker counters Henry in the corner with an improvised Last Ride for the win at 11:24! The match wasn’t actively bad, just sort of generally dull. The crowd was dead through most of it too, only popping for Taker’s signature spots, *¼.
Winner: The Undertaker
Final Thoughts: Overall, this was not an impressive show by any stretch of the imagination. The main event fell flat and would have been better suited to main event Friday Night Smackdown. There was also nothing must-see on the undercard, as the match of the night was the *** affair between Cade/Murdoch and London/Kendrick. However, I find myself not feeling a whole lot of rage towards what might come across as a waste of time. The short match lengths really helped here, as the show kept a brisk pace and did not become boring. Still, I cannot recommend Unforgiven 2007 on the grounds that “it didn’t really suck.”
Recommendation to avoid.