Arco Arena – Sacramento, California – Sunday, June 28, 2009
MATCH #1: ECW Championship Scramble Match – Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay
Dreamer has been the champion since 6.7.09, and this is his second defense. Christian and Swagger will start the match, and a new person will enter every three minutes until all five men are in the ring. This is the fourth pay-per-view in a row that these two have battled each other. They do some back and forth wrestling early on, and Swagger goes for the first cover after a vicious slam. Swagger controls most of the opening minutes but Christian makes a comeback just as it’s time for a new entrant, and it’s Finlay, the man who loves to fight. Finlay goes right to work on both opponents and Swagger rolls to the floor to avoid the assault. It doesn’t matter much to Finlay, who instead focuses his attention on Christian. Swagger pulls Christian to the floor just as he was making a comeback, and hurls him into the guardrail. Finlay takes that opportunity to kick Swagger in the face, and then brings him back in the ring. Swagger pokes Finlay in the eye and gets a schoolboy rollup for the pin, and Swagger is the sort of champion. Christian comes back in the ring with a sunset flip on Swagger for a two-count. One of the event doctors looks at Finlay’s eye while Christian hits the inverted DDT for two. Swagger comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex, and champion Tommy Dreamer is out next. The washed-up ECW Champion goes to work on both Swagger and Christian, and the crowd is actually behind him. Swagger, Christian, and Dreamer manage to blow some kind of Irish whip spot, and the crowd lets them have it. Dreamer still looks lost as Swagger throws him to the floor and into the announce table. Finlay is still on the floor too, so Swagger goes after him only to get thrown into the ring post. Back in the ring Swagger goes for a charge in the corner but misses, and his shoulder crashes into the ring post. Finlay then hits the Celtic Cross to score the pin and become the current champion. Christian goes up top and Dreamer joins him. Dreamer gets knocked down and Swagger clotheslines him and then joins Christian on the top rope instead. They’re still fighting up there as Mark Henry makes his way down to complete the match. They do a Tower of Doom spot as Henry just throws everyone around. Henry gorilla presses Christian to the floor, and then nails Dreamer with the World’s Strongest Slam to get the pin and become the champion with about four minutes to go. Swagger, Finlay and Christian team up to knock Henry to the floor, and then Swagger gets tossed out too. Finlay dumps Christian to the floor, and then lands a suicide dive through the ropes on Swagger. Dreamer recovers and hits the somersault off the apron, also on Swagger. Christian follows everyone with a springboard body press on Dreamer. Henry goes up to tease a dive, but Swagger stops him by attacking the knee and hitting a Vader Bomb to once again become the current champion. Henry recovers and hits Swagger with the guillotine slide, but then gets taken out on the floor. Back in the ring Christian hits Swagger with the Killswitch but Dreamer breaks it up and hits Christian with a DDT to get the pin and become the current champion. Finlay gets a schoolboy rollup on Dreamer for two, and everyone is going after everyone trying to get pinfalls. No one can do so, and the bell rings to signify Dreamer retaining the title at a seemingly arbitrary 14:47. Is it really that hard to time a 15-minute match? This was a decent opener, with a lot of action but no real story, and Dreamer just sucks.
MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
Jericho has been the champion since 6.7.09, and this is his second defense. Mysterio is putting his mask on the line against Jericho’s title. Jericho starts the match with a headlock and talks some trash. Mysterio fights back and hits a rana off the second rope, sending Jericho to the floor. He tries a baseball slide, but Jericho catches his legs and slams him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Jericho catapults Mysterio’s neck into the bottom rope and stomps away. It’s all Jericho here, as he sets Mysterio up on the top rope, but Mysterio knocks him down and hits a seated senton. Mysterio tries a running headscissors but Jericho counters with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Jericho is once again fully in control, and he tosses Mysterio to the floor. Back in the ring Mysterio almost makes a comeback but Jericho cuts him off again and hits a dropkick to the face for two. Jericho goes for an Irish whip but Mysterio stops the momentum and sends Jericho to the floor this time. Mysterio hits an amazing seated senton from the top rope all the way to the floor! Back in the ring Mysterio hits a springboard body press for two. Mysterio is all fired up now, and even hits a double springboard moonsault for two! He goes for an Asai Moonsault but Jericho catches him in a powerslam for a two-count. Jericho misses a charge in the corner and hits the ring post, and Mysterio goes up top for a moonsault for another two-count. Mysterio goes for a rana, but Jericho catches it and locks on the Walls of Jericho, but Mysterio reaches the ropes. The hold has to be broken, and Mysterio gets Jericho in position for a 619 but Jericho avoids it and hits a big clothesline. Jericho goes up top and Mysterio knocks him down and goes for a super rana, but Jericho counters with a powerbomb and even puts his feet on the ropes for leverage and Mysterio still kicks out! A Lionsault attempt by Jericho misses, and Mysterio gets a rana for two. Mysterio goes for another 619, which Jericho counters to the spinning backbreaker, but Mysterio counters that with a DDT for two! Jericho then catches Mysterio off a springboard with a nasty Code Breaker, but Mysterio kicks out at two! The champion hits a Snake Eyes, and then sets Mysterio up top but can’t hit the Super Rana. Mysterio dropkicks Jericho right in position for a perfect 619. He tries the West Coast Pop but Jericho catches him in the Walls of Jericho! Mysterio wriggles out of the hold and they trade pinning combinations. Jericho pulls Mysterio’s mask off, but he was wearing another one! Mysterio then hits the 619 and a springboard splash to get the win, regain the title, and keep his mask at 15:42. These two had nothing but good matches all summer and this was the best one yet, and one of the best matches out of WWE all year.
MATCH #3: No-Disqualification/No Countout Match – The Great Khali vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler beat Khali by disqualification and countout, respectively, in their two prior matches to set this match up. He takes the fight right to Khali, but it’s the Punjabi Playboy that takes the first advantage with his brute strength. Ziggler tries coming back with mounted punches in the corner, but Khali simply hurls him down to the floor. Khali brings the fight out there, but runs into trouble when he goes for a chop and Ziggler ducks, causing his hand to hit the ring post. Ziggler hits a dropkick off the ring apron, and Khali responds by hitting a chop with his injured hand to send Ziggler crashing back into the ring. Khali goes for a boot in the corner but Ziggler moves and goes right after the big man’s leg. Ziggler brings a steel chair into the ring and uses it effectively. He hits a Fame-Asser for tow. He grabs Khali in a front facelock, and gets picked up and tossed off. Khali hits a series of strikes, and just as he looks about ready to finish Ziggler off, Kane’s music hits and the Big Red Machine makes his way out. Ziggler uses the chair again to work over Khali’s leg. Kane enters the ring and wallops Khali with a chair shot to the back, one to the head, and several more for good measure. Ziggler gets back in the ring and takes advantage, pinning Khali for the meaningless win at 5:00. The match was okay in a TV sort of way, but to the best of my knowledge they never really came up with a reason for Kane to want to attack Khali in the first place, he just did it.
MATCH #4: Unified Tag Team Championship Match – Carlito & Primo vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Edge & Chris Jericho
Carlito & Primo have been the Unified Tag Team Champions since 4.5.09, and this is their second defense. This was originally scheduled as just Carlito & Primo versus Legacy (which would have been an all-second generation match), but Jericho and Edge wormed their way in at the last minute. The original foursome doesn’t take too kindly to their new opponents, and they each double team one to throw them to the floor before the match can officially start. Carlito and DiBiase start the match proper. The champions use their speed and agility to take the first advantage. Jericho tags in off DiBiase, and Rhodes quickly tags himself in at Jericho’s expense. DiBiase tags back in and Primo hits a flurry of offense and gets a two-count. Carlito tags in and hits a dropkick for two. DiBiase gets a comeback on Primo and goes to the corner to tag Rhodes. Legacy isolates Primo in their half of the ring and works him over. Edge finally tags himself into the match to a huge pop, but when he misses a Spear DiBiase tags himself back in and Edge has to go back to the apron. Primo gets a quick rollup on DiBiase, but Legacy stays in control. Rhodes locks on a submission hold, and Edge takes it upon himself to break the hold. Primo is able to backdrop DiBiase to the floor, and makes the hot tag to Carlito. DiBiase also tags Rhodes, and Carlito is a house-a-fire. Legacy and the Colons are all in the ring at once, and Primo first tosses DiBiase to the floor, and then Jericho takes it upon himself to come in the ring illegally and hit Primo with a Code Breaker, sending him to the floor. Carlito then tosses Jericho, and goes back to Rhodes. First he knocks Edge down, and then throws Rhodes’s shoulder into the ring post. Edge makes a blind tag, and Carlito hits Rhodes with the Backstabber. Meanwhile, Edge is in the ring and eyeing Carlito for the Spear. He nails it perfectly, and Edge and Chris Jericho are the new Unified Tag Team Champions at 9:38. I loved the story of this match, with Legacy dominating and Edge & Jericho sneakily getting a win. The Colons didn’t look good but I don’t like them and they were broken up anyway so who cares. While some may view this as a step down for Edge & Jericho, I think it’s a great move because it gives them the ability to appear on all three shows, thus making Raw and ECW instantly more interesting. This is the thirteenth tag team title for Edge and the fourth for Chris Jericho.
MATCH #5: Women’s Championship Match – Melina vs. Michelle McCool
McCool is accompanied by Alicia Fox. Melina has been the champion since 1.25.09, and this is her third defense. McCool takes the fight right to the champion, but Melina weathers the storm and neither woman can gain an advantage right away. Melina hits a back body drop and a clothesline for two. She ties McCool up in the ropes, and when the referee forces her to back off, McCool recovers and hits a dropkick to the knee. McCool viciously attacks the knee now, as Melina tries to fight back with kicks with her other leg. Melina tries to make a comeback but McCool is relentless in her attack. McCool tries the Faith Breaker but Melina counters it with a rana and hits a dropkick for two. Melina continues the offense, and Fox gets involved by putting McCool’s leg on the ropes during a pinfall. The champion turns her attention to Fox, kicking her in the face. McCool hits a solid kick to the head for a two-count. She follows up with the Faith Breaker to get the pin and become the first woman to ever hold both the Divas and Women’s Championships at 6:35. Melina’s selling was a little static, but the story of the match was solid and this ended up a pretty decent match.
MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
Punk has been the champion since 6.7.09, and this is his second defense. I love that they’re finally turning Punk heel, I think it’s long overdue. They start cautiously, with Hardy grabbing the first headlock, which Punk quickly reverses to one of his own. Hardy escapes but then gets knocked down with a shoulderblock. They do some chain wrestling, and Hardy gets the better of it and locks on another headlock. Punk escapes that and they trade some more holds. The champ goes for Go 2 Sleep, which Hardy counters to a crucifix for two. Back to their feet Hardy goes for a Twist of Fate but Punk shoves him off. Punk charges and Hardy ducks, sending Punk to the floor. Hardy follows him out with a slingshot dive. He then moves the steps and tries to use them to jump off, but Punk moves and Hardy crashes into the guard rail. Hardy barely makes it back in the ring at a nine-count, and Punk immediately goes for a cover and gets two. Punk is firmly in control now, wearing Hardy down with a figure-four headscissors. Hardy reaches the ropes to break the hold. Punk hits a bodyslam and goes up to the second rope but misses a terrible looking legdrop. He then misses a charge in the corner, and Hardy lands a Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. Hardy quickens the pace with a flurry of offense, but can’t put Punk away. He hits a gourdbuster and goes up presumably for the Swanton but Punk rolls to the floor. Hardy instead hits a clothesline off the ring apron. Back in the ring Hardy goes for that mule kick in the corner, but Punk catches him and tries the Go 2 Sleep. Hardy avoids that, but Punk is able to trap Hardy in the corner for the running knee to the face and bulldog combo for two. They get back to their feet and Punk lands a series of strikes until Hardy hits the Twist of Fate out of nowhere! Hardy goes up top and misses the Swanton! Punk picks Hardy up and Hardy gets a quick inside cradle for a close near-fall. The champion responds with a roundhouse kick to the head and once again tries the Go 2 Sleep. Hardy counters with another Twist of Fate and goes up for the Swanton and hits it! The referee counts three and Hardy is the new champion at 12:45! But wait, referee Scott Armstrong notices that Punk’s leg was under the bottom rope, and a replay confirms this is the case. The match is restarted much to Hardy’s chagrin. Hardy goes for the Twist of Fate but Punk counters to the Go 2 Sleep. It looks like Hardy’s elbow caught Punk in the eye, severely impairing his vision. Punk then kicks the referee in the back, because he “couldn’t see what he was doing,” giving the match to Hardy via disqualification at 14:53. The crowd is not happy, to say the least. This was a good match between two guys I love seeing in main event spots. Some complain about the finish, but I think since it wasn’t the main event of the show, it subtly made Punk’s heel character stronger, and offered a legitimate reason for a rematch, those people are idiots. These guys definitely didn’t do all they could, but again, it wasn’t the main event of the night so this was the perfect match to have.
MATCH #7: John Cena vs. The Miz
I think the buildup to this match has been amazing, and it would do wonders for Miz’s career if he could pull out a win here. Cena uses his experience edge to dominate Miz in the early going. He straight up no-sells Miz’s offense until Miz is able to snap his neck off the top rope. Miz uses a variety of offense to try wearing Cena down. He hits a running clothesline for two. He knocks Cena to the floor with a baseball slide, and back in the ring he gets a two-count. Cena fires back with a couple of shoulderblocks and the Proto-Plex. He follows up with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Attitude Adjustment, and the STF for the submission victory at 5:39. That was severely disappointing given the buildup. Miz could have won the match, and Cena could get his heat back the next night on Raw or something, or Miz could have at least looked competitive. Maybe he could have gotten cocky and lost the match because he made a mistake. Instead he just looked like a chump. He came out of it okay, thus proving my theory that the cream always rises. As far as this match though, it accomplished almost nothing.
MATCH #8: Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE Championship – Randy Orton vs. Triple H
Orton has been the champion since 6.15.09, and this is his second defense. The first fall will be a traditional wrestling match, the second fall will be a falls-count-anywhere match, and the third fall (if necessary) will be a stretcher match. It’s pretty much a brawl from the get-go, with Triple H controlling the bulk of the action. Orton comes back and tries to use the ring post to injure Triple H’s leg, but the challenger instead pulls Orton face-first into the post. Triple H suplexes Orton back into the ring for a two-count. Moments later he goes for a Pedigree, but Orton escapes and goes after the Game’s injured leg. The champion viciously attacks the leg, which was heavily taped coming into this match. Orton goes for the RKO and Triple H pushes him off and hits a spinebuster. Triple H walks right into the backbreaker, and he rolls to the floor. While he’s recovering, Triple H grabs a steel chair and when Orton comes over, he cracks him in the head with it, giving Orton the first fall by disqualification at 4:51. That strategy has worked in Iron Man matches, but it’s quite a bit riskier in a two out of three falls match. Triple H works Orton over with the chair, which is legal now that it’s falls count anywhere. Orton rolls to the floor and Triple H follows him out and hits a Pedigree to even it up at 6:18. Referees roll the stretcher out, and Triple H immediately sets Orton on it, but the champion recovers before they cross the line and kicks the stretcher into Triple H’s leg. They fight back up to ringside, and Orton drops Triple H’s crotch on the guardrail, and the Game falls into the crowd. Orton takes Triple H through the arena, and Triple H makes the comeback somewhere in the sea of people. Triple H clotheslines Orton over the rail and back to ringside. Orton reaches up and grabs Triple H to throw him into the security wall. He continues the assault, and tries to place Triple H on the stretcher but that’s not happening yet. Orton throws Triple H back in the ring and follows with the steel steps. Triple H counters a charging Orton with a drop toe hold, in a spot that’s been done in just about every hardcore match in WWE, ever. The challenger then clobbers the champion with the steps, and once again puts Orton on the stretcher. Orton kicks his way out before they cross the line, and then they ride the stretcher down the entrance until it crashes. It wasn’t as cool as that probably sounds. Orton uses the stretcher to hit his awesome DDT variation right onto the entrance ramp. They get up and each man tries a finisher and has it countered. Orton tries to push Triple H across the line but Triple H rolls off. He goes for an RKO but Triple H avoids it and throws Orton into the set. Triple H hits a Pedigree and puts Orton on the stretcher but Cody Rhodes runs out and stops Orton from going over the line! He dispatches of Rhodes, but then DiBiase comes out to attack him! Legacy works Triple H over for a bit until Triple H somehow produces a sledgehammer! Triple H blasts Rhodes and DiBiase with the hammer, but Orton surprises him with a low blow. Orton then hits Triple H in the face with a piece of the stage, and is able to put Triple H on the stretcher and roll him across the line for the victory at 21:22. I actually liked this match for the first two falls, because of the way the leg psychology played into everything, but the stretcher match was kind of dull, because honestly it can be hard to build up drama for rolling a stretcher across a line. The Legacy interference was fine because at least they built some intrigue, but it was overall still pretty lazy.