Toyota Center – Houston, Texas – Sunday, June 24, 2007
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling the action for Raw, Michael Cole and JBL for Smackdown, and Joey Styles and Tazz for ECW.
MATCH #1: World Tag Team Championship Match – Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. The Hardys
Matt and Cade start the match. The Hardys take the early control with their finely-honed tag team strategy. They hit Murdoch with the Poetry in Motion, and when Cade tries to interfere illegally he gets clotheslined to the floor, where the champions try to regroup. That works, as back in the ring the champions take control on Matt. Cade and Murdoch focus on Hardy’s left knee. After a few minutes of abuse Matt makes the hot tag to his younger brother. You know, the Hardys are a great team because they both play a good Ricky Morton and a good Robert Gibson. Jeff hits Cade with the Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. He goes up top for the Swanton but Murdoch knocks him down and Cade hits the Sitout side slam spinebuster to get the pin at 8:52. That was another good match in the series of them between these two teams. I wish they would have gone longer.
MATCH #2: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Chavo Guerrero vs. Jimmy Wang Yang
Guerrero has been the champion since 2.18.07. Yang earned this match by winning a four-way over Daivari, Shannon Moore, and Jamie Noble on the June 15 episode of Smackdown. Cole calls the Cruiserweight Title “prestigious.” Yang takes the early advantage so Guerrero positions the referee in such a way that allows him to claim control. Guerrero throws Yang to the floor and baseball slides him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Guerrero goes up top but Yang kicks him down to the floor! Back in the ring Guerrero once again reclaims control and grounds the challenger. Yang comes back and this a missile dropkick from the second rope, a spinning heel kick in the corner, and a high cross body block off the top rope for two. Guerrero responds with the Three Amigos but after two Yang escapes and hits a spinning heel kick, Yang covers for two, and then goes up top but misses the moonsault. Guerrero tries the Gory Special but Yang rolls through to a sunset flip for two! The crowd bought that one hard, and it would have been a good finish. Yang goes up top but Guerrero knocks him down to the mat. Guerrero then hits the Frog Splash to the back to get the pin at 9:16. That was perfectly adequate.
MATCH #3: ECW Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Johnny Nitro
The ECW title has been vacant since 6.11.07, when Bobby Lashley was drafted to Raw. This was supposed to be Punk versus Chris Benoit; Nitro was pretty literally a last-minute replacement. The crowd chants “We Want Benoit.” Punk controls most of the early portions of the match until Morrison is able to catch him with a springboard spin kick to the face. Nitro keeps Punk on the ground and focuses on the shoulder. Punk ducks a clothesline and lands an enziguiri. He follows up with a series of strikes and a leg lariat for two. Morrison goes a cradle with his feet on the ropes but referee Scott Armstrong sees it and won’t count. Punk then hits the Pepsi Twist for two. He tries Go 2 Sleep but Nitro fights out of it, only to get trapped in a cradle for two. Punk hits the running knee in the corner and the bulldog. He goes for the springboard clothesline but Morrison avoids it. Punk slides to the apron but Morrison kicks him in the face and hits a modified Moonlight Drive to get the pin at 8:02. For last minute opponents I think they did a solid job, and Nitro was far from amazing at this point.
MATCH #4: Intercontinental Championship Match – Santino Marella vs. Umaga
Marella has been the champion since 4.16.07 and this is his third defense. It’s weird to see him not trying to be funny. Marella shows some fire early on but Umaga squashes him like Big Show did to Mankind at WrestleMania XV. Umaga controls the action, keeping Marella on the mat. He slugs away in the corner and doesn’t break on the count of five so referee Marty Elias disqualifies him at 2:34. Boy that sure did nothing for Marella did it? I really like Umaga though, and so does Houston, because when he continues to destroy Marella after the bell the crowd cheers for him.
MATCH #5: United States Championship Match – MVP vs. Ric Flair
MVP has been the champion since 5.20.06 and this is his first defense. Flair is a former five-time United States Champion, having won the title in 1977 (Bobo Brazil), 1978 (Mr. Wrestling), 1979 (Ricky Steamboat), 1980 (Jimmy Snuka), and 1996 (Konnan). That’s an impressive list. Both men try to psyche each other out in the early going. MVP is still pretty early in his run and had an interesting character at this point. Flair goes after the leg right away; why waste time? MVP comes back and knocks Flair to the floor. Back in the ring MVP takes control, wearing Flair down on the mat. Flair fights back and goes back to the leg. He locks on the Figure-Four but MVP is able to reach the bottom rope. MVP then delivers a thumb to the eye and then hits the Playmaker to get the win at 8:41. That was pretty much the usual match Flair was having around this time.
MATCH #6: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Deuce & Domino vs. Jimmy Snuka & Sgt. Slaughter
I love Cherry. The champions talk trash to Rick Martel and Tony Garea before their opponents can make their way out. I believe this match was an open challenge, and it’s accepted by WWE Hall of Famers Sgt. Slaughter and Superfly Jimmy Snuka (who is of course Deuce’s legit father but they’re keeping that kayfabe for now). Domino starts the match with Snuka, and the challengers take first control. I like Slaughter and Snuka as much as the next guy, but this is just silly. Slaughter locks Domino in the Cobra Clutch, and Domino is able to reach the ropes. Moments later Slaughter goes back to the hold but this time gets backed into the wrong corner and Deuce tags in. They work Slaughter over and Deuce goes for the Superfly Splash (cute) but misses and the real Superfly gets the lukewarm tag. Snuka unleashes some slow offense and then goes up for a cross body block but Deuce rolls through to get the pin at 6:31. That was just not good. The champs beat on their opponents after the bell, but Martel and Garea make the save to a sizable pop. I’m a big Rick Martel mark, by the way.
MATCH #7: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Edge vs. Batista
Edge has been the champion since 5.11.07, and this is his third defense. If the champion successfully retains the title tonight, Batista will not get another shot as long as Edge holds the title. Eight-time NWA World Champion Harley Race is at ringside. I actually miss JBL on commentary. Batista overpowers Edge to start. He wears the champion down and goes after the arm. A big side suplex gets a near-fall. Batista charges at Edge, who ducks and sends Batista crashing to the floor. Edge tries jumping off the apron, but Batista catches him and slams his back into the apron. He tries to run Edge into the ring post, but Edge slips out and throws Batista into the post head first. Batista gets back to the ring apron, but Edge grabs him and rams his shoulder into the ring post, and Batista crashes to the floor again. A baseball slide sends Batista crashing into the barricade. Back in the ring and Edge continues working over the arm. Batista briefly fires up but misses a charge in the corner and rams his own shoulder into the post. Edge keeps Batista on the mat, and even withstands a Samoan Drop attempt and keeps working on the arm. Batista forearms his way out of the hold and runs Edge back into the turnbuckle. The Champion hits a charging Batista with a boot to the face. Edge runs at Batista and gets leveled with a clothesline, and both men are down. They get back to their feet and Batista has caught his second wind. He hits a Boss Man Slam for two. Edge comes back with an Impaler DDT for two. The Champ tries to use his belt as a weapon but the referee stops him. The momentary distraction allows Batista to get a quick rollup for two. Edge comes back with a rollup of his own for two. Batista tries a powerslam but Edge counters to the Edge-O-Matic and both men are down. Edge sets up for the Spear but Batista hits one instead. He goes for the Batista Bomb but Edge hits a blatant low blow to get himself disqualified at 12:46.
Smackdown General Manager Theodore Long isn’t happy with that, so he comes out and orders Edge to get back to the ring and waives the DQ rule. The bell re-rings and Edge is taking out his frustration on the challenger. He hits a Spear but Batista kicks out at two! Edge goes outside and grabs a chair, but then remembers that he can’t get himself DQ’d and save the title. Batista gets a small package for two, and then goes for the Batista Bomb. Edge slips out and gets clotheslined to the floor. Batista follows him out but winds up getting thrown into the steel steps. Edge tries a Spear but gets kicked in the face and then Batista hits a Batista Bomb on the floor. Batista knows he has to pin Edge in the ring, so he shoves the champion in first, but can’t beat the 10-count himself and Edge wins at 2:05 (total match time 14:51). I have to admit, that’s a pretty clever finish. I’m not always the biggest fan of re-starts, but this one worked. The match was probably the best these two ever had, it especially got hot when Batista started making his comeback. As a side note, Batista got his next title shot less than a month later at The Great American Bash, and would win the title two months after that. So don’t feel too bad for him here.
MATCH #8: Women’s Championship Match – Melina vs. Candice
Melina has been the champion since 4.24.07 and this is her second defense. Candice shows good fire early on but Melina weathers the storm and kicks her to the floor. The champion dominates now as Candice looks nervous and a little lost. Even so, Candice is able to get a little bit of offense in a flurry, but Melina cuts her right back off. Candice then hits a spinning heel kick out of nowhere to get the pin and win the title at 4:21. Well, at least they kept it short. The crowd actually pops nice considering how quiet they were throughout the match.
MATCH #9: WWE Championship Match – John Cena vs. King Booker vs. Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley vs. Bobby Lashley
Cena has been the champion since 9.17.06 and this is his eleventh defense. This one is a free-for-all, and there are no countouts or disqualifications so the action is coming fast and furious from all over the place. Everyone except Lashley gets knocked to the floor and Lashley follows them out with a no-hands dive to wipe everyone out. Back in the ring Lashley and Booker square off. The big confrontation they’re building to at this point is quite obviously Cena versus Lashley. They battle on the floor where Orton and Foley rejoin the fray. Lashley preps the announce table for someone to go through, but ironically he ends up going through it himself, via a John Cena F-U. Booker and Cena take the match back to the ring and Orton soon joins them. Orton nails Cena with an RKO from out of nowhere and Foley has to break up the pin. Foley hits the running knee in the corner and a Double-Arm DDT on Orton, and then pulls out Mr. Socko. Booker breaks that up with a superkick. Orton and Booker then clothesline each other and everyone is down. Foley throws Socko into the crowd and grabs a steel chair instead! He blasts Lashley and Booker with the chair (#racist), and then hits Cena. The action continues at a frenetic pace and Cena is able to trap Foley alone in the ring and hits the F-U to get the pin at 10:08. The fast pace made this lots of fun to watch, as did everyone picking on Lashley.