All State Arena – Chicago, Illinois
MATCH #1: CM Punk vs. Umaga
I miss Umaga. Punk is wrestling in his hometown here, and he’s got Bears colors on. He takes the fight right to Umaga, but winds up getting overpowered and thrown around in the early going. The Samoan Bulldozer goes to work on Punk’s shoulder, wearing him down in the center of the ring. Punk tries to escape with some kicks to the head, but Umaga tenaciously holds on. Umaga slams Punk down and hits a big knee drop for two. Punk pulls himself up on the apron and Umaga kicks him all the way to the floor. He then tries to come back in the ring with a sunset flip but Umaga sits down on his chest. Umaga uses the ropes to crash into Punk’s ribs, but Punk comes back with a kick to the face to break the momentum. Punk tries to follow up with a bodyslam, but Umaga falls back on him for a two-count. Umaga goes right back to working the shoulder. Punk tries to fire up and comes running off the ropes, but Umaga cuts him off with a shot to the throat. Umaga goes up to the second rope for a flying headbutt, but Punk moves out of the way. Both men get back to their feet, and Punk avoids a charging Umaga and sends him to the floor. Punk follows him out with a slingshot dive over the ropes. Back in the ring Punk unloads with a series of strikes, but when he goes for the bulldog Umaga hurls him into the corner. Umaga tries the running butt splash but Punk moves and this time hits a bulldog off the second rope for a two-count. Punk hits the springboard clothesline for another two-count. He tries the Go 2 Sleep but Umaga reverses it to a Samoan Drop for two. Umaga tries the Samoan Spike but Punk avoids it and hits three kicks to the head. Punk once again goes for the Go 2 Sleep, but Umaga slips out and hits a superkick, running butt splash in the corner, and finally the Samoan Spike to get the pin at 11:52. I’m not sure what the obsession is with having guys lose in their hometown, but this was a pretty solid opener, and Umaga had to use a lot to put Punk down so it’s not like he looked bad in the loss.
MATCH #2: ECW Championship Match – Christian vs. Jack Swagger
Christian has been the champion since 4.26.09, and this is his second defense. Swagger immediately sends Christian to the floor and chases after him. That does the challenger no favors, and when they get back in the ring Christian almost hits the Killswitch. Swagger takes it to the mat now and goes after Christian’s midsection. Christian recovers and sends Swagger to the floor, and follows him out with a springboard dive. He throws Swagger back in the ring first, but eats a knee lift and then gets shoulder blocked to the floor. The challenger goes outside and throws Christian’s ribs into the steel post, and then he steps on the ribs. Back in the ring Swagger gets a two-count. Swagger then locks on a body scissors to wear the champion down. He continues the assault, but when he tries the Vader Bomb Christian gets his knees up. Christian goes up to the second rope and hits a flying European uppercut. Swagger catches the champion in midair and tries the Oklahoma Stampede but Christian slips out and hits an Edge-o-Matic for two. Christian hits the swinging kick in the corner twice in a row, but misses a flying headbutt. Swagger gets a rollup for two, and then goes for the Gut Wrench Powerbomb. He can’t hit it, and Christian avoids a charging Swagger in the corner. Christian goes up top, but Swagger joins him up there and hits a super belly-to-belly suplex for two. They get up and Christian gets a quick small package for two, and then both men clothesline each other. Christian tries the twisting sunset flip off the second rope, but Swagger kneels down and gets a very close near-fall. Swagger then blocks a tornado DDT, but can’t block the tornado inverted DDT, which gets two for the champion. Swagger comes back with a Snake Eyes and schoolboy, which the referee stops counting when he sees Swagger with a handful of tights. Christian recovers and tries the Killswitch but Swagger flips Christian over his back down to the mat. Swagger then tries the Gut Wrench Powerbomb but the champion slides out and pulls Swagger’s straps down, and then gets an O’Connor roll with a handful of tights for the victory at 9:34! I like how the veteran Christian has to resort to shady tactics to get by the athletic newcomer. This was another good match but my least favorite in their trilogy of title matches.
MATCH #3: John Morrison vs. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton Benjamin is accompanied by Charlie Haas for backup. The Gold Standard starts the match with an exploder suplex, causing Morrison to land awkwardly on his shoulder. He then takes Morrison down with a fireman’s carry and goes to work on the arm. Morrison reverses the momentum and Benjamin quickly rolls to the floor to regroup. He fakes a dive, and Benjamin thinks he’s safe but Morrison follows him out with a springboard 450 body press to the floor! Back in the ring Morrison climbs the top rope, but Benjamin knocks him down and then kicks him hard to the floor. Haas puts Morrison back in the ring for Benjamin to get a two-count. Benjamin continues to wear Morrison down, targeting the injured shoulder. He tries using a sleeper to put Morrison out, but it gets reversed, then Benjamin shoves Morrison into the ropes and on the rebound the two men clonk their heads together. They get back up and Benjamin goes for a slam but Morrison falls back on him for a two-count. Morrison is quickening the pace with a flurry of offensive maneuvers. He goes for the Moonlight Drive but Benjamin counters it to an inverted backbreaker for two. Benjamin comes off the ropes and Morrison cuts him off with a leg lariat, and then hits a running knee to the face for two. Morrison goes for a springboard rana, but Benjamin catches him and hits a Buckle Bomb for a two-count. Benjamin goes for Paydirt but Morrison shoves him off and drop toeholds him in the corner. Morrison goes for a monkey flip but Benjamin lands on his feet. Haas gets up on the apron and Morrison knocks him down. Benjamin tries to hit the Stinger Splash but Morrison avoids it and hits a springboard kick to the face. Morrison then hits the Starship Pain to get the three-count at 10:08. It was nice to see these guys get 10 minutes on pay-per-view, and the match was a good showcase of their skills.
MATCH #4: Intercontinental Championship Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho
Mysterio has been the champion since 4.5.09, and this is his first defense. He immediately gets Jericho in position for the 619 but Jericho slips to the floor to avoid it. Back in the ring Jericho slugs Mysterio down and whips him from pillar to post. Jericho tries to pitch Mysterio to the floor, but the Intercontinental Champion somersaults his way out of it. Mysterio baits Jericho to the floor, and then slips back in the ring to deliver a dropkick. He follows with a seated senton off the apron to the floor. Jericho reverses a whip and sends Mysterio’s back into the guardrail. Back in the ring Mysterio hangs Jericho between the top and middle rope, and then hits a guillotine legdrop in that position for two. He’s stealing moves from Bobby Bambino. Jericho recovers and knocks Mysterio off the top rope, and then dropkicks him all the way to the floor. He follows Mysterio to the floor and drops him chest-first into the guardrail. Back in the ring Jericho slingshots in with a splash to the back, which gets a two-count. Jericho then locks on a chinlock. Mysterio fights back with an enziguiri and once again goes for the 619, but Jericho counters it with a back body drop for a believable near-fall. The champion tries to regroup on the floor, but when he gets back in the ring the challenger trips him in a spinning backbreaker for a close near-fall. It’s all Jericho on offense now, and he sets Mysterio up on the top rope and starts trying to tear off his mask! Mysterio knocks Jericho back and hits the seated senton and a springboard body-press for two. He rolls through a sunset flip attempt and hits a kick to the head for a close near-fall. Jericho is able to come back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. He goes for the bulldog but Mysterio shoves him off and lands a headscissors and goes for yet another 619 but Jericho avoids it again! Mysterio then goes for a springboard rana but Jericho counters it to the Walls of Jericho, which is also countered to another 619 attempt, and Jericho grabs that in another Walls of Jericho! The champion almost makes it to the ropes, and then is able to counter with a small package for two. The challenger comes back with a huge powerbomb for two. Jericho gets cocky, and charges at Mysterio in the corner. Mysterio catches him with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle, then hits an unconventional 619 and a springboard splash to finish Jericho off and retain the title at 12:37. Man, talk about two guys who have had career resurgences in the last couple of years – these two are arguably better than they’ve ever been right now. The match was terrific, with the awesome story of Mysterio doggedly trying to hit the 619 and Jericho’s arrogance costing him the match; simple but effective.
MATCH #5: WWE Championship Match – Randy Orton vs. Batista
Orton has been the champion since 4.26.09, and this is his first defense. He immediately bails to the floor before any contact is even made. Batista’s coming into this match with eight stitches in his forehead from some mysterious altercation. Orton gets back in the ring and Batista locks on a headlock. The crowd is not impressed as Orton escapes, and Batista knocks him down with a shoulderblock so Orton bails to the floor once again. Back in the ring again and Batista hits a suplex for two. Batista goes to work on the lower back until Orton baits him close to the ropes and shoots him to the floor. He gets back on the apron and Orton dropkicks him down. Orton follows Batista out and drops his back on the guardrail. Back in the ring Orton gets a two-count. Orton wears Batista down now, using a rear chinlock and the crowd does not care about any of this. Batista powers out of the chinlock and hits a belly-to-back suplex. Both men get back to their feet and start throwing punches. Orton tries a sleeper but Batista escapes it, only to eat a dropkick. Batista rolls to the floor and on his way back in the ring Orton traps him for the rope-assisted DDT and Batista kicks out at two. I love that move. That finally woke the crowd up, and they get even more riled up when Orton sets up for the Punt Kick, but Batista cuts him off with a Spear. They get back to their feet and trade punches, and the crowd has officially sided with Orton. Batista gains control and hits a big powerslam for two. Rather than face Batista like a man, Orton rolls to the floor and demands that the referee start counting. Batista chases Orton back into the ring and hits a big clothesline for two. He hits a kick to the face and Orton once again rolls to the floor. Orton is able to grab Batista’s head and snap his neck on the top rope. He tries to bring a steel chair into the ring but Batista stops him and goes to the floor to bring Orton back in. Batista goes to the top rope for a super shoulderblock but Orton kicks out at two. He goes for the Batista Bomb but Orton once again slides out of the ring. Orton grabs his title and heads for the locker room, but Batista stops him in the aisle and throws him back in. The champion tries to use the belt to intentionally get disqualified, but Batista catches him with a spinebuster. The referee removes the belt, and Batista goes for the Batista Bomb. Orton counters and goes for the RKO but Batista shoves him off. Batista charges into the corner and Orton moves, causing Batista’s shoulder to hit the ring post. Orton goes for another RKO and Batista again shoves him off, almost right into the referee. No matter, as Orton slaps the referee in the face to finally draw the disqualification at 14:43. Now I’m not really even against doing the disqualification, because there’s another title match on this show and sometimes you need feuds to go on and a DQ can be a fine way to do that. However, the match was almost painfully dull, and the crowd totally turned on Batista halfway through. It made some of the reactions interesting, but the action up until the last couple of minutes was pretty weak. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase come out to attack Batista after the bell, and Ric Flair comes out for the save.
MATCH #6: John Cena vs. Big Show
The story they’re going with is that Cena is still injured from Backlash, when Show Chokeslammed Cena through a 7,000 watt search light. So Cena tries to avoid Show for the first several minutes, while Show taunts Cena and hammers away on him … slowly. Every time Cena tries to fight up Show cuts him off. This goes on for quite some time. Cena finally gets Show down long enough to hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Show gets up and goes for a Chokeslam, but Cena counters to a DDT. Cena then goes for the STFU but can’t cinch it in. They get back to their feet and Show levels Cena with a clothesline. Show goes up and hits a Vader Bomb for a two-count. He goes for another one, but Cena moves out of the way. Cena once again tries the STFU but still can’t apply the hold, and he gets kicked to the floor. Back in the ring Cena is able to kick Show in the head and land the guillotine legdrop. Cena tries the STFU for the third time but he still can’t lock it in. Show gets back to his feet and hits an alley-oop powerbomb, and then signals for the big right hand punch. Cena ducks under the punch and hits the Attitude Adjustment to get the pin at 14:58. You know, I think Cena is over enough at this point where he doesn’t have to win every match like this. Knowing that this feud continued, would it kill them to put Show over to try and build some kind of interest in the rematch? The match felt about twice as long as it actually was.
MATCH #7: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Edge vs. Jeff Hardy
Edge has been the champion since 4.26.09, and this is his first defense. Hardy beat Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Kane in a four-way match to earn this title shot. They trade armbars and wrestle on the mat in the early going. The challenger stays one step ahead of Edge, knocking him all the way to the floor, and then following him out with a somersault plancha to knock him down. Back in the ring Hardy tries the Whisper in the Wind but Edge avoids it. Edge goes right after the back and Spears Hardy off the apron and to the floor. The champion continues working over Hardy’s back, even hitting and Edge-o-Matic for two. Hardy comes back with a cross body block off the ropes for a near-fall. He follows up with a jawbreaker and a gourdbuster. Then he goes up top once again and misses a high cross body block, and Edge gets a cover for two. Edge takes brief control but Hardy is soon all over him once again, hitting a flurry of offense but he can’t put Edge away. Hardy goes up top and this time hits the cross body block for two. An inside cradle gets two for Hardy, and moments later he puts Edge in the Sharpshooter! That’s actually a pretty good version of the move. Edge reaches the ropes and the hold is broken. Back in the center of the ring Hardy hits the Twist of Fate but Edge kicks out at two! They trade some holds and Hardy winds up with a sunset flip for another two-count. Hardy goes up top and Edge knocks him down and joins him up there. He gets a Sunset Bomb for yet another two-count on Edge. The battle spills to the floor and Hardy starts rearranging the ringside area. Hardy sets Edge on the table and tries to run the rails, but Edge Spears him right out of the air. He barely makes it back in the ring before the referee’s 10-count. Edge goes for a Spear while Hardy is still on the apron, but Hardy counters with the Jerry Lynn legdrop (looking way less contrived than when Lynn does it), a kick to the face, and the Twist of Fate! Hardy hits a slingshot legdrop back in the ring but Edge is able to get a foot on the ropes to break up the fall. Grisham says Edge has good “ring leadership” for that, which I don’t get. Anyway, Hardy goes up again and this time hits the Whisper in the Wind. They take it back to the floor, and Hardy uses the steps to run up and kick Edge in the face, and they both fall over the guardrail and into the crowd. Edge looks ready to run, but Hardy throws him back in. While the referee is distracted, Matt Hardy comes and hits his own brother in the head with his cast. Back in the ring Edge covers but only gets a two-count! Edge goes for a Spear but Hardy moves out of the way and goes up top for the Swanton but Edge knocks him down and hits a Super Edgecution to get the pin and retain the title at 19:54. These two could probably have a good match together with their eyes closed, and outside of the slight Matt Hardy interference, the champion pretty much went over clean, which I like.