Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, Ohio
MATCH #1: ECW Championship Scramble Match – Mark Henry vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero
Henry has been the champion since 6.29.08 and this is his fourth defense. The rules are as follows –
– 20 minute time limit on match
– 2 superstars start in the ring and every 5 minutes a new superstar enters
– If a superstar scores a pinfall or submission over another superstar, he becomes the current champion
– Whoever is the champion at the end of 20 minutes becomes the official champion
It’s pretty much like the hardcore battle royal at WrestleMania 2000, except each fall doesn’t count as an official title change, just the final one. Matt Hardy will start the match with The Miz. They start out with some basic mat wrestling, with Hardy gaining the early advantage. Miz comes back with a hip toss for two and then he goes to the headlock. Hardy comes back and tries the bulldog but Miz pushes him off. Hardy then avoids a charge and slams Miz down to the mat with a sit-down powerbomb for two. Matt hits a big clothesline for two as I start to wish they had a clock in the corner of the screen. Miz comes back by hanging Hardy’s neck on the top rope and then puts on a chinlock. Hardy battles out of it and hits a sunset flip for two. Miz pops up and hits a clothesline. Hardy comes back and tries Splash Mountain but Miz avoids it and hits the Reality Check and Hardy rolls to the floor much to Miz’s frustration. He rolls him back in the ring but Hardy kicks out as the next entrant is coming out and it’s Chavo Guerrero, accompanied by Bam Neely. He pulls the top rope down, sending Miz to the floor and then he hits a Frog Splash on Hardy to become the temporary titleholder at 5:22. Miz comes back in and Chavo goes to work on him. I just come to realize that I really like Grisham and Striker on commentary. Meanwhile Miz makes the comeback but Chavo actually hits a Rolling Liger Kick. Miz goes to the floor and Chavo hits a slingshot dive. All three get in the ring and they work in some three-way spots. Miz nails a cross body block off the top rope onto both men for a good pop from his hometown crowd. He gets two on Hardy. Now Hardy fires up and delivers a series of maneuvers to both opponents. He’s able to pin Chavo to become the new temporary champion at 8:53. We hit 10 minutes and the OFFICIAL ECW Champion Mark Henry is on his way to the ring with Tony Atlas.
The challengers wisely all attack Henry simultaneously and he shoves them off. He continues to maul all three opponents, and he hits the World’s Strongest Slam on Chavo to become the current champion at 11:51. He hits Miz with the World’s Strongest Slam. He continues to dominate, with no one able to counter the strength of the current and actual ECW Champion. Finlay comes out and we only have five minutes left of match. He hits a DDT on Henry but can’t get the pin. Now the clock is on the screen. Hornswoggle distracts the referee, allowing Finlay to hit Henry with the shillelagh and he and Hardy throw Henry to the floor. Finlay then hits Hardy with the Celtic Cross to pin him and become current champion at 16:15. Miz comes off with a missile dropkick and Finlay is down. Miz picks up Hardy, who is able to hit the Twist of Fate out of nowhere to pin Miz and become the champion at 16:44. Henry is back in the ring now, and Chavo tries to steal a pin on Miz but Matt breaks it up. Hardy just has to break up all the pins now. Miz is bleeding from the head. Hardy continues to break up the pins and the crowd is staying behind him. Everyone tries going for pins and the time runs out at 20:04 and Matt Hardy is the brand new ECW Champion. I totally thought that the structure of this match wouldn’t lend itself to drama, but seeing Hardy hold on for the last three minutes was really cool stuff and sets up for an obvious rematch with former champion Mark Henry. It’s always good to have a feud ready to go for the new champion.
MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Cryme Tyme
Rhodes & DiBiase have been the champions since 8.11.08 and this is their first defense. JTG and Rhodes start the match. The challengers start the match on fire and dump the champions to the floor. Shad then tosses JTG over the ropes and onto both opponents. Back in the ring Rhodes makes the tag to DiBiase, who also gets dominated by Cryme Tyme. The champs come back and isolate on JTG in their corner. They work over his arm for a few minutes until JTG grabs DiBiase in a back suplex, but DiBiase makes the tag first and Rhodes keeps JTG in the ring. Rhodes reveals he can do a moonsault (the first in his family I’m sure), but JTG moves and finally makes the hot tag to Shad and the crowd loves it. The match breaks down to a brawl and the referee loses control. In the midst of it all, JTG gets Rhodes in a small package, but DiBiase rolls it over and Rhodes scores the pin at 11:35. Cole calls the win “stolen” but they didn’t really do anything wrong. The match was barely decent but greatly elevated by the crowd heat.
The champions get back in the ring and they start to brawl. Suddenly a large Samoan man runs out and assists the World Tag Team Champions in dispatching their opponents. Cole and Lawler have no idea who it is, but just by his looks you think they’d be able to make an educated guess.
MATCH #3: Unsanctioned Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho
In the back the trainer is taping up Michaels’s arm; apparently he suffered a slightly torn triceps last Monday on Raw. Michaels is wearing his street clothes and attacks Jericho right away and the fight is on. Michaels quickly pulls his boot off and beats Jericho with it. Jericho tries to escape outside but Michaels follows him and they spill over into the crowd. He catapults Jericho into the ring post, but Jericho is able to avoid a chair shot and now he goes to work on Michaels. He sets up a table and tries to powerbomb Michaels through it. Michaels avoids that but can’t avoid getting his face slammed on the ring apron. Jericho runs his shoulder in the steel ring post, but recovers and tries to suplex Michaels from the ring through the table on the floor, but it’s blocked. Michaels goes on offense now and straight up chokes Jericho down to the mat. That’s awesome. He hits the Macho Elbow and then goes for Sweet Chin Music, but changes his mind at the last minute and instead punches Jericho in the face a bunch of times. He then locks on the Crippler Crossface but Jericho powers out of it and rams Michaels’s head into the steel chair that had earlier been stuck between the turnbuckles. Damn, that’s a great spot. They roll out a couple more cool spots I’ve never seen before and just seem hell-bent on kicking the crap out of each other. Jericho puts on the Walls of Jericho and Michaels reaches the ropes but it’s unsanctioned so he doesn’t have to break anything. Michaels is able to reach under the ring and grab a fire extinguisher and blast it right in Jericho’s eyes. I’m not too sure why Jericho turned around while he had the hold on, but I’ll forgive them.
Michaels then hits Jericho in the head with it, and they go to the floor. Jericho gets suplexed on the floor, and then Lance Cade comes out to interfere but Michaels easily takes him out. Cade comes back though and hits Michaels in the injured am and then clotheslines him. They double team him and work on the arm. Jericho slams it with a steel chair several times, as girls in the audience look upset. Michaels finally makes a comeback, hitting Sweet Chin Music on Cade out of nowhere, and then hitting Jericho in the face with the chair and Jericho falls from the second rope through the table on the floor. Michaels goes outside and violently hits Jericho with it a few times. He clears the announce table and sets Cade on it, then puts Jericho on top of him. That’s gay dude. Michaels then hits the flying elbow from the top rope. Michaels selling after the move is amazing. Back in the ring Michaels takes his belt off and whips Jericho with it. He then ties up Jericho’s arms and hits an extended series of punches to the face, and the referee calls for the bell at 26:53. What an awesome match. Michaels hasn’t had enough, and attacks Jericho again after the bell and keeps punching him in the face. Shawn’s facial expressions throughout this match and afterward have been phenomenal. He superkicks the referee and more referees come down to try and get help for Jericho and the ref. These two just need to feud for always and forever from now on.
MATCH #4: WWE Championship Scramble Match – Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Brian Kendrick
The same rules apply here as the ECW Championship Scramble. Triple H has been the champion since 4.27.08 and this is his seventh defense. Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin start it off. They had a couple of really good matches on TV in the weeks leading up to this show. Benjamin gets a quick cradle for two. Hardy follows with one of his own. They go back and forth with neither main gaining a prolonged advantage. They each get a couple of near falls, and number three makes his way to the ring and it’s The Brian Kendrick, accompanied by Ezekiel Jackson. This is Kendrick’s first shot at the WWE Championship. It’s really too bad that his former partner will seemingly never get another one. Kendrick knocks Shelton off the ring apron and then goes after Hardy. He gets a few moves in, but Hardy comes back and hits an Alley-oop on Kendrick to get the pin at 7:19 to become the current champion. Kendrick sells his facial bump outside the ring while Hardy and Benjamin exchange moves. Benjamin hits Paydirt but Kendrick makes his way back in and breaks up the count. The Kendrick hits The Kendrick on Hardy to score the pin at 9:33 and becomes the current champion. MVP comes out soon after and this is also his first chance at the title. He goes after Kendrick and seems to get a few cheers for it. He dumps Hardy and Kendrick to the floor and goes to work on Benjamin. He goes for the Drive By but Kendrick breaks it up with a kick of his own. Hardy is back now and he disposes of Kendrick. Everyone seems to just be killing time now until Triple H shows up. The champion only has to work five minutes. Kendrick invites him to the ring and the Game is taking on everybody. He soon hits the Pedigree on Kendrick to regain his title at 16:00.
HHH and Benjamin head outside and back inside Hardy hits MVP with the Twist of Fate and pins him at 17:10. Kendrick then tries The Kendrick but Hardy blocks it and hits a gourdbuster. He goes up top and HHH crotches him and then HHH hits Kendrick with the Pedigree and regains the belt at 18:15. But Jeff recovers and comes off the top rope with the Swanton on Kendrick when HHH isn’t looking and gets a quick pin at 18:30. HHH tries a Pedigree on Hardy but he gets back dropped over the ropes and Hardy hits a somersault dive on him. The action picks up in the ring with Hardy just trying to hang on. HHH gets in the ring and Pedigrees MVP to score the pin at 20:14 and retain the WWE Championship when time runs out at 20:15. The stupid part of that is that Hardy went for a pin on Benjamin instead of breaking up HHH’s cover. Hardy already was the champion, pinning someone wouldn’t do him any good, but stopping someone from pinning someone else would have resulted in him being the champion. I really hope Hardy somehow screwed that up instead of that exact scenario being the idea the agents came up with. Anyway, the match itself was fun enough but nothing too special, since none of the challengers (Hardy included) felt like they even had the slightest chance of winning the belt.
Eve Torres Interviews CM Punk
Eve is looking rather hot tonight. The World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk starts talking about his chances tonight when Randy Orton interrupts and calls him a fluke. Punk questions Orton’s injury and says he’s got a lot to prove, and then he gets attacked out of nowhere by Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, and Manu. Kofi Kingston tries to make the save but he gets beaten up too. Orton hits the big concussion kick on Punk, and he tells the trio that was impressive.
MATCH #5: Divas Championship Match – Michelle McCool vs. Maryse
Michelle has been the Divas Champion since 7.20.08, and this is her first defense. They start off with some competent chain wrestling. They go to the floor and Michelle gets thrown into the barricade, but comes back with a kick to the face. They go back to the ring and Maryse starts working on Michelle’s knee. The champion comes back and goes after the challenger’s knee. Maryse pulls Michelle throat first into the middle rope and chokes her. They do some more stuff and the crowd doesn’t care. Michelle hits a gourdbuster and that’s enough to get the pin at 5:42. The effort was there but the crowd couldn’t be bothered.
Big Show Wants His Chance in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble Match
Big Show is making his way down to the ring, and he appears to be in a jovial mood. Show offers himself up to replace Punk in the scramble. He pleads his case and nicely thanks the audience, but before he can leave Vickie Guerrero makes her way out to the ring. She cuts a promo trying to threaten Show, and then the druids start making their way out. Undertaker shows up on the video screen. He cuts some lame promo and then comes out to the arena. Show holds Vickie for him and I wonder where this could possibly be going. Show punches Undertaker in the face and then beats on him. This went on forever and seemed to be much more suited to happening on television.
MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Scramble Match – Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. JBL vs. Chris Jericho
We’re right up to bell time and we still don’t know if Punk is competing or not. If he is, he’s been the champion since 6.30.08, and this would be his fifth defense. Batista and JBL are the first two entrants in the match. Sigh, this means 20 minutes of JBL wrestling. Batista overpowers JBL early on, but winds up eating an elbow on a charge to the corner. Batista comes back with a clothesline for a one-count. JBL comes back with a sleeper. Batista comes back with a shinbreaker. Batista works on the leg and JBL is able to kick him out to the floor, where Batista throws JBL shoulder first into the ring steps. Kane comes out at number three. He takes the advantage since he’s fresh. The crowd isn’t particularly interested in what’s going on here. Kane goes up for the flying clothesline but Batista moves out of the way. Kane comes back and goes for the Chokeslam but Batista fights out and goes for the Batista Bomb but JBL finally recovers and breaks that up. Kane knocks Batista to the floor. JBL tries the Clothesline from Hell but Kane avoids it and hits the Chokeslam to pin JBL and become the current champion at 7:34. Rey Mysterio is out now and he goes right for his rival Kane. He and Batista double team Kane, and that snake in the grass Batista goes for a cover while Rey is recovering from splashing Kane from Batista’s shoulders. They try it again but this time Rey reverses it to a sunset flip for a near fall. JBL takes advantage and knocks Batista down, and then gives Rey the Last Call, landing on Batista. Then he hits Kane with a boot, as he’s in control of everyone.
The fifth man is coming out, and it’s Chris Jericho! He’s still selling his injuries from the unsanctioned match with Michaels. Now Batista is speaking everybody as we’re down to about three and a half minutes left. He tries the Batista Bomb on Rey, but Rey avoids it and hits a 619 on JBL. He tries to springboard back in the ring on Batista, but he gets waffled with a clothesline instead. JBL hits a Clothesline from Hell on Kane, and then gets hit by a Batista spinebuster. Kane gets up and signals for the chokeslam on Batista, but gets hit by a spear instead. Batista follows up with a spinebuster to win the title at 16:39. Jericho sneaks in and gets another pinfall on Kane at 17:08 to steal the World Title, and the match is over at an obviously short 17:15. Jericho becoming the champion is a good thing, but I have to think there was a better way than this. The match itself was pretty brutal, with JBL, Kane, and Batista occupying the first half of it, and Jericho essentially doing nothing. Punk being stripped of the title is a bummer, as I think it would have done TONS more for his character for him to come out injured and courageously defended his title, only to be beaten by Jericho the next night on Raw or something.