Staples Center – Los Angeles, California – February 18, 2007
MATCH #1: Chris Benoit & The Hardys vs. MNM & MVP
Jeff Hardy is the current Intercontinental Champion and Benoit is the current U.S. Champion. Matt and Mercury start the match. The Hardys take control early on, but the momentum shifts several times in the opening minutes. Benoit takes particular pleasure in getting to be in the ring with his nemesis MVP. Jeff tries to keep things going his team’s way but MNM uses some chicanery to isolate him in their half of the ring. It’s always a wise choice to make Jeff Hardy the face-in-peril. Jeff comes back with the Whisper in the Wind on Nitro and makes the tag to his brother. Matt is a house afire but once gain the team of acronyms uses some questionable tactics to cut him off. Matt comes back with a clothesline on Nitro and makes the tag to Benoit. The U.S. Champion is intense, throwing around all three members of the opposing team. Benoit hits a double German Suplex on MNM, and then Nitro and MVP are hurled to the floor. The Hardys hit Mercury with the Poetry in Motion. Matt follows with the Twist of Fate and Jeff hits the Swanton. Benoit then hits the diving headbutt and MVP breaks up the pinfall. The Hardys and MNM battle on the floor. MVP tries to hit Benoit with the U.S. Title belt but Benoit ducks it and locks on the Crippler Crossface! Nitro breaks it up. MNM dump the Hardys and go for the Snapshot on Benoit but Matt breaks it up. Benoit then locks Mercury in the Crossface for the win at 14:18. That was the right choice for an opener and did a good job of putting heat on the Benoit versus MVP feud.
MATCH #2: Cruiserweight Title Gauntlet Match
Gregory Helms has been the Champion since 1.29.06, and this is only his ninth defense. First up is Scotty 2 Hotty versus Daivari, who recently beat the Champion in a non-title match on Smackdown. Daivari attacks Scotty right away and takes control. Scotty avoids a Stinger Splash and connects with the Worm to finish Daivari’s night at 1:41. Next up is the Champ himself. Helms has ridiculous camouflage gear and a skull cap on. Even so, Helms takes Scotty down and focuses on his surgically repaired neck. Scotty fights back with a back suplex. He signals for the Worm but Helms blocks it and hits a Codebreaker for the pin at 3:45. Former Champion Funaki is he next man out. Funaki tries a cross body block off the top rope but Helms rolls through and gets the pin at 4:13. Shannon Moore is the next entrant. Three Count explodes! They go back and forth and Moore goes to the top rope but Helms takes him down with a suplex. Helms then hits another Codebreaker to eliminate Moore at 6:13. Jimmy Wang Yang takes his chances with the champion next. He takes Helms down and hits a standing moonsault for two. Yang gets a La Magistral cradle for two. He follows with a side Russian Legsweep and then a submission hold into a sunset flip for another two-count. Yang tries a moonsault but misses and Helms clocks him with a right hand. Helms goes for a boot to the gut but Yang catches it and gets a rana with a cradle to eliminate the champion at 8:03! An angry Helms hits Yang with the Eye of the Storm. Jamie Noble is out next and he immediately tries to pin Yang but only gets two. Jung Dragons explode! Noble wisely continues pressing the advantage. He traps Yang in a sleeper but Yang breaks it with a chinbreaker. Yang unleashes a flurry of offense ending with a spin kick for two. Noble fights back with a leg lariat for a two-count. He takes Yang up top but Yang knocks him down and hits a moonsault press to apparently win the title at 11:47! But wait, there’s one more entrant, and it’s former five-time Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero. Chavo takes an immediate advantage on his worn down opponent. Yang fights back with a spinning heel kick. He backdrops Chavo to the floor and follows him out with a huge flying body press off the top rope. Back to the ring Yang goes for a missile dropkick but Chavo cuts him out of the air. Chavo then hits the Three Amigos and goes up top but Yang knocks him down. Yang hits a super hurricanrana for two. He goes up for the moonsault but Chavo knocks him down. Yang fights him off and tries Yang Time but Chavo avoids it. Chavo then goes up top and hits the Frog Splash to the back to win the Cruiserweight Title for the final time at 15:51. Gauntlet matches are hard to get invested in because most of the matches are so short. Yang looked good out there but given that he didn’t get a proper title rematch until June, it’s obvious no one in WWE really cared about the Cruiserweight Title by this point.
MATCH #3: Finlay & Little Bastard vs. Boogeyman & Little Boogeyman
Little Bastard hides under the ring before the Boogeymen even make their entrance. The big guys star the match. This should be interesting. Boogeyman takes first control and brings Finlay to the floor to throw him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Boogeyman continues his assault. Boogeyman hits a powerslam and then Little Boogey comes in with a couple of sit-down splashes. Little Boogey gets a handful of worms and now Little Bastard comes out of hiding and acts tough. Finlay kicks Little Boogey right in the face. Little Boogey actually traps Finlay in a small package for two. Finlay responds with a clothesline and an elbow drop. He goes to work with a short-arm scissors. That’s appropriate. Finlay tosses Little Boogey to the floor and Little Bastard drags him under the ring. Boogeyman tries to come to the rescue but Finlay cuts him off and throws him back in the ring. Finlay goes to work but Boogeyman comes back with a shoulder to the ribs and a flurry of offense. Boogeyman hits a catapult and more unorthodox offensive moves. He clotheslines Finlay down and then Little Boogey reemerges and they hit a Rocket Launcher for two when Little Bastard breaks it up. Little Bastard brought the shillelagh in the ring with him. Boogeyman chases Little Bastard with a handful of worms and they go into the crowd. aMeanwhile Finlay hits Little Boogey with the shillelagh to get the pin at 6:46. Well, at least they kept it short. I wasn’t trying to make a stupid pun there, I just didn’t want the match to be any longer.
MATCH #4: Kane vs. King Booker
Michael Cole has laryngitis, so his voice just sounds lovely. Booker tries to avoid Kane in the early going but Kane overpowers him. Kane dominates for the first several minutes. The fight spills to the floor and Booker is able to slam Kane’s face into the ring steps and, then throws Kane into the ring and hits a missile dropkick for two. Kane doesn’t let Booker on offense too long and is soon back slugging away and hits a big boot. He goes to the top rope for the clothesline but Booker kicks him in the face on the way down. He hits another side kick for a two-count. The King stays in control as Sharmell cheers him on. Booker tries a suplex but Kane reverses it to one of his own. Both men are down and when they get up Booker hits another jumping kick for a near-fall. JBL tries to say that both of these guys have phenomenal endurance, but I challenge that view. They each try a finisher and can’t connect, but Kane is able to hit a big clothesline. Both men are down for an eight-count. Kane sits up and delivers a series of right hands, including a bunch of mounted punches in the corner. He hits a clothesline in the corner and a side suplex. Kane goes back to the top rope and this time hits the clothesline. Sharmell distracts the referee and Kane, allowing Booker to hit yet another kick. He bounces off the ropes right into the Chokeslam, and Kane scores the pin at 12:40. That was competent and all, but both guys were well past their prime at this point and this feud meant nothing.
MATCH #5: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. Deuce & Domino
London and Kendrick have been the Champions since 5.21.06, and this is their ninth defense. Domino and London start the match. London takes control using his athleticism and then Kendrick tags in. The tag champs focus on Domino’s arm. Deuce tries to interfere but both get dropkicked to the floor so the challengers regroup. Back in the ring London puts Domino in a side headlock. Deuce makes a blind tag and hits London with a backbreaker. The challengers focus on London’s back and keep him isolated in their half of the ring. Eventually the hot tag is made and Kendrick is a house afire. Deuce cuts him off and they go for a Doomsday Device but Kendrick counters it with a victory roll for the win at 8:07. London and Kendrick were game but Deuce and Domino were not very good so this was merely formulaic and nothing more.
MATCH #6: ECW Championship Match – Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. Kennedy
Lashley has been the Champion since 12.3.06, and this is his eighth defense. Kennedy attacks Lashley in the aisle on his way out and the fight is on. Lashley fights back and throws Kennedy around. They make it back to the ring and the ECW Champion is in control. Kennedy fights back with his major offensive weapon – punches. He doesn’t get very far though and Lashley is right back to throwing him around the ring. JBL repeats over and over again that Kennedy has defeated seven former World Champions. That would be Undertaker, Batista, Chris Benoit, Kane, Rey Mysterio, Booker T, and Lashley himself. Kennedy finally takes Lashley down and starts working the leg. This goes on for forever and a day. Kennedy hits a shitty DDT for two. He follows up with a Finlay Roll and goes up top for the Kenton Bomb. Lashley gets his knees up and both men are down. Back on their feet Lashley hits a t-bone suplex and a random slam for two. Lashley puts Kennedy up in a torture rack and turns it into Shock Treatment for a two-count. Kennedy fights back with a swinging neckbreaker for two. The referee gets slightly bumped and Kennedy goes outside to grab a steel chair. Kennedy tries to use it but Lashley avoids it and uses it himself, right in front of the referee for the disqualification at 15:24. That match went fifteen minutes for that lousy finish? These two almost put me to sleep.
MATCH #7: John Cena & Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker & Batista
Cena & Michaels are the World Tag Team Champions but the titles are not on the line, and Cena is also the WWE Champion. Meanwhile, Batista is the World Heavyweight Champion. This is quite the star-studded main event. Cena and Batista start for their respective teams. Batista overpowers Cena and hits a Finlay Roll and a Jackhammer for two. He charges into the corner and Cena moves out of the way. Michaels tags in and goes to work but Batista quickly cuts him off with his impressive power. Undertaker tags in and delivers Old School. He and Batista do a good job working together to keep Michaels in their half of the ring. Batista misses an elbow drop and Cena gets the tag. Undertaker follows shortly after and he takes it to the WWE Champion. Cena fights back and delivers a superplex. Back on their feet Undertaker cuts Cena off with a clothesline. Undertaker misses an elbow drop and Michaels tags in. Michaels is on fire but Undertaker quickly cuts him off and press slams him to the floor! Batista picks Michaels up and drops him on the steps. Back in the ring Batista and the Undertaker keep Michaels down and wear him out. Undertaker hits a side slam for two. Batista comes back in and Michaels is able to hit him with a DDT from out of nowhere. Cena gets a hot tag and he’s all over Batista. He hits the Throwback and the Cena Slice for two. Undertaker tries to make the save but Cena dumps him to the floor. Cena hits Batista with the Protoplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He tries the F-U but Undertaker breaks it up with a big boot. Michaels knocks Undertaker to the floor and jumps off the apron right into his arms. Undertaker rams Michaels back first into the post. Meanwhile back in the ring Batista slams Cena and goes for the Batista Bomb but Michaels breaks it up. Now Cena and Michaels work well as a team, keeping Batista in their part of the ring. Cena locks a bloody Batista in the sleeper hold. He switches it up to the STF-U and Undertaker has to break it up. Michaels tags in and hits the Macho Elbow. He tries Sweet Chin Music but Batista catches him in a Boss Man Slam. Cena and Undertaker get tags and the place goes nuts. Undertaker is a house afire. Batista hits Michaels with the spinebuster and Undertaker hits Cena with the Chokeslam. Then things get interesting as Batista hits Undertaker with a spinebuster! Batista says that paybacks are a bitch. Michaels hits Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music and Cena follows with the F-U for the pin at 22:10. It would be hard to put any combination of these four guys in the ring and not get a super fun match with tons of crowd heat out of it.
BONUS MATCH: Batista, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels & John Cena vs. Rated RKO, Mr. Kennedy & MVP, Raw, 2.15.07
This is from a special Thursday night edition of Raw. Only two guys of these are full-time wrestlers today. Orton and Cena start the match. Cena takes early control but Orton cuts him off and tags Kennedy. It doesn’t take long for Cena to land a huge shoulderblock and tag the Undertaker. Kennedy wants no part of the Undertaker, but neither does anyone else on his team. Undertaker hits Old School then the Flatliner and MVP has to break up the cover. Michaels tags in and Kennedy quickly cuts him off. MVP comes in for the first time and the momentum continues to shift back and forth. Edge tags in and Michaels blasts him with an enziguiri. Batista gets the tag and he’s a house afire. He powerslams Edge and catapults him into the top turnbuckle. Batista then starts throwing spinebusters at anything that runs in his way. We go to commercial. Back from the break Batista clobbers Edge with a clothesline and makes the tag. Cena is all over Edge, hitting the Protoplex. He goes for the F-U but Orton saves him and the heels finally take some control. The heels focus on Cena’s back and keep him in their half of the ring. Cena and Edge clothesline each other and both men are down. Undertaker gets the hot tag and he cleans house. Michaels tags himself in and hits Orton with the Macho Elbow. He signals for Sweet Chin Music and the match turns into a pier-six brawl. Michaels almost hits Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music but Undertaker catches it and decides not to go after his partner. Moments later Orton shoves Michaels into Undertaker, who crashes to the floor, and this time the Dead Man thinks Michaels did it on purpose. Michaels is able to hit Sweet Chin Music on Orton to get the pin at 13:50 (shown). The good guys all get in the ring and start throwing finishers at each other. Batista and Undertaker stand tall. That was good formula stuff and quite a bit of fun leading into the pay-per-view.