Qwest Arena – Omaha, Nebraska
MATCH #1: John Cena vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
I can’t remember the last time Cena opened a pay-per-view. They start off with basic moves and counter wrestling, with JBL taking the first advantage and going to work on Cena’s arm. He methodically works on it as the crowd goes to sleep. Cena makes a brief comeback but misses the top rope legdrop, and JBL is right back in control. Sadly this match is reminding me more of WrestleMania 21 than Judgment Day 2005. Cena keeps trying for comebacks and JBL keeps knocking him back down. All of a sudden Cena hits the FU to get the pin at 15:04. Yes, that was all I found worth writing about for 15 minutes worth of match. That was the wrong choice for an opener, since JBL did mostly rest holds, and that kept the crowd lukewarm for the surprise finish. There was just no build, nothing for the crowd to get jazzed about.
MATCH #2: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – The Miz & John Morrison vs. Kane & CM Punk
Kane and Punk is an interesting tandem to say the least. Miz & Morrison have been champions since 11.16.07 and this is their seventh defense. Kane is the current ECW Champion. Punk and Miz start the match, with Punk gaining the first advantage and making a quick tag to Kane. The ECW Champion controls for a bit on both Miz and Morrison, and then tags back to Punk. Morrison almost gets an advantage on Punk, but Punk is able to counter everything and stay in control. The champions are finally able to take Punk down and isolate him in their corner with double teams. It doesn’t last long, as Punk makes the tag back to Kane, and he unloads on Miz. He makes a blind tag and now the champions take Kane down to the mat and work him over. Punk makes a hot tag and goes to work on Morrison with kicks and elbows. He hits a powerslam for two. He hits the knee in the corner and the bulldog, while clotheslining Miz on the apron at the same time. He gets a two count in the ring, and then launches himself over the ropes on Miz. He also springboards back into the ring with a clothesline on Morrison for two. He sets up for the Go to Sleep, but Miz interferes. Kane has had enough, so he chokeslams Miz on the floor. This activity allows Morrison to boot Punk in the gut and hit the Moonlight Drive to get the pin at 7:14. That was fun for the short time it lasted, but it was nothing more than what they would do on TV.
MATCH #3: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho is the Intercontinental Champion, but the title is not on the line here. This has been the best feud in WWE in so many years. They start off with some chain wrestling, since Jericho hadn’t quite gone super heel yet. They both go for the legs, and Michaels puts on his weird version of the figure-four Leglock in the opening minutes. Michaels lands the first personal shot, a slap to the face, and it’s getting hot in there now. He is acting like a prick and Jericho is getting frustrated. Michaels now goes to work on Jericho’s left arm. Jericho makes a comeback and is able to knock Michaels off the top rope and tries a superplex. Michaels drops Jericho face-first instead, but then hits nothing but knees when he tries the flying elbow. Jericho now gets aggressive with Michaels. He tries the running bulldog but Michaels shoves him into the ropes and Jericho lands awkwardly. He soon recovers through and puts the Walls of Jericho on. Michaels reaches the ropes. They fight out to the apron and Michaels hits an awesome Sweet Chin Music to send Jericho to the floor. That’s a killer spot. Michaels doesn’t want to win that way, so he pulls Jericho into the ring and covers him for a two-count. Michaels hits the flying elbow but hurts himself in the process. He starts tuning up the band, but every time Jericho gets to his feet he falls back down again, and when he finally gets up he avoids the Superkick and lands the Codebreaker. That gets two, and moments later Michaels is able to put the Crossface on. Jericho reaches the ropes. He then tries the Lionsault, and Michaels tries to block but Jericho grabs his legs and goes for the Walls of Jericho, but Michaels rolls him up to get the pin at 15:53. These guys are so ridiculously good at this point it’s sick. The IC Champion looks very sad about the loss, while Michaels looks like he’s horribly balding on top. Jericho offers his hand, and they share a tenuous handshake.
MATCH #4: Triple Threat Match for the Women’s Championship – Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Melina
Mickie has been the champion since 4.14.04, and this is her second defense. The actual feud here is more between Melina and Beth, which is surprising given that WWE hasn’t had a women’s feud not over the title since … I don’t even know when. Melina knocks a gloating Phoenix to the floor right away, and Mickie gets a near fall on Melina. Phoenix then pulls Mickie to the floor and takes her out, then goes to work on Melina in the ring. Mickie comes back in with a sunset flip on Phoenix for two. She goes for the DDT but winds up with a headscissors on Melina instead. Then she jumps on Phoenix with a sleeper. Melina breaks that up. Mickie soon takes advantage of her and goes up top, but Melina knocks her down. They struggle in the corner for a bit and then Phoenix comes over and hoists them both onto her shoulders for a dual Canadian Backbreaker. She goes for a choke bomb on Mickie, but Melina breaks that up with a neckbreaker. Mickie then nails Melina with the DDT to retain the title at 4:52. That was short and energetic, and shockingly I actually think they should have gone about twice that long.
MATCH #5: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Undertaker vs. Edge
The title has been vacant since 5.2.08 for no real reason other than Vickie Guerrero said so; as if that belt hasn’t been vacated enough times (this is the fourth time in less than six years of the belt’s existence). 85% of fans think that Undertaker will reclaim the vacant title.
Undertaker starts off aggressively, so Edge takes an early powder. Back in the ring Undertaker takes control and dumps Edge right back outside. Once again back in Undertaker works on Edge’s left arm. The crowd is pretty dead for this one, as both guys exchange moves but nothing really gets them going. Edge counters Undertaker’s arm work by going after his opponent’s leg. Undertaker comes back and utilizes his “vintage Undertaker” offense. A big boot gets two. He goes up and hits Old School and signals for the Tombstone. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder come down to interfere, and Edge slips out and hits the Edge-o-Matic. He removes the turnbuckle pad to expose the metal behind it. Undertaker tries the Last Ride but Edge counters it and hits the Implant DDT for two. Undertaker comes back and powerbombs Edge onto the top buckle and gets two. Edge comes back with mounted punches in the corner and it shockingly doesn’t go where I assume it will. Instead Undertaker hits a Snake Eyes on the exposed buckle. Edge comes back with a Spear for two. Undertaker fights back with a chokeslam. They fight to the floor and go spilling out into the crowd. Undertaker throws Edge into the barricade and makes it back into the ring before the 10 count to win the match and presumably the title at 16:15.
Of course, Vickie Guerrero comes out to announce that since titles don’t change hands on a countout, the World Title is still vacant. So now the match, which was nothing special to begin with, gets a ridiculous swerve on top of a stupid finish. These two are both still pretty great so the bulk of the match was okay but the finish was just pointless, and the belt never should have been vacant in the first place. Edge gets a tombstone for his troubles.
MATCH #6: Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Jeff Hardy
Montel Vontavious Porter comes out to the ring unannounced, before the WWE Championship Steel Cage match can get underway. He’s pissed about not being on the card. He makes an open challenge to anyone to come out and remove him from the ring. That brings U.S. Champion Matt Hardy, dressed in street clothes. Why they couldn’t have him defending that title on this show instead of this MVP open challenge stuff? Matt says he’s already proven that He is better than MVP, but there’s someone else who wants to prove the same thing. It’s his brother of course.
MVP starts of in control, going for a few quick covers to see if he can sneak one out in the opening moments. Jeff makes a quick comeback so MVP powders. Back in the ring they continue with the chain wrestling. Jeff tries his version of the baseball slide to the floor, but MVP grabs the legs and sweeps him out to the floor, landing hard on the apron. Back in the ring MVP gets a cover for two. Jeff makes brief comebacks but MVP keeps cutting him off and working on the arm. He also delivers a big boot to the face, sending Jeff to the floor. Back in the ring he gets a two count and goes back to the arm while slapping Jeff in the face just to be a dick. He goes for the Playmaker but Jeff counters it. He comes back with that dropkick in the corner that he does and then goes up top. He tries the Swanton and misses, so MVP goes for the big boot in the corner and Jeff avoids that. He then hits the Whisper in the Wind to get the win at 9:44. So MVP has to job to a transitional move? It seems strange to throw these two out there with no advertisement, and the results were pretty dull.
MATCH #7: Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – Triple H vs. Randy Orton
HHH has been the champion since 4.27.08, and this is his second defense. Orton tries to escape right away but HHH stops him. The challenger cleverly slams the door into the champion’s head, but it doesn’t affect him long. They trade punches and moves back and forth. HHH hits the Harley Race knee. Orton once again tries to escape but gets pulled back in. HHH doesn’t seem too interested in selling any of Orton’s offense thus far. Orton finally takes control by using the cage to his advantage. He hits the rope-assisted DDT for a near fall. He continues going to work on the champ’s neck, even using the patented Orton Chinlock. He hits a nice powerslam for two. HHH makes the comeback with a chop block and puts on the figure-four Leglock. Orton escapes that and tries the RKO but can’t hit it. He once again goes to escape but HHH tenaciously brings him back in. This time Orton brings a chair back in with him but HHH blocks his first attempt at using it. HHH gets the chair now, which is completely legal by the way. Orton blocks that with a low blow. That gives him the chance to finally crack the champion over the back with the chair, and follows it up with a DDT on the chair for two. He tries the RKO on the chair, but HHH counters with a drop toe hold, Raven style. That gets two for the champ. Orton actually recovers first and tries to climb out of the cage. HHH recovers and goes after him and they’re fighting on the top rope now. The Game gets knocked down but gets up in time to stop Orton from escaping. They struggle on top of the cage and HHH hangs on to Orton, who is swinging wildly above the floor. Orton tries again and once again the champ stops him and this time pulls him down crotch first onto the turnbuckle. HHH hits the spinebuster and then tries a Pedigree on a chair, but Orton sweeps the legs out from under him. He tries the head punt but HHH avoids it and levels Orton with the chair and then finally hits the Pedigree to get the pin at 21:09. That match got a lot of flak amongst the internet nerds, but I actually thought it was pretty good but not great. The work was solid and the finish was good. Unfortunately this didn’t finish the feud, but they did a pretty good job here.