AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas – December 13, 2009
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker are on commentary. They say revolutionary a bunch of times and Striker gives Benjamin Billy Gunn’s old nickname.
MATCH #1: Ladder Match for the ECW Championship – Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin
These two expressed a desire to “steal the show” in the buildup to this match so there should be a ton of action. Striker spouts off tons of statistics, but would be well served to work them into a more conversational style than just reciting facts. The combatants spill to the floor and throw each other around ringside. Christian makes the first attempt at climbing a ladder but Benjamin pulls him down. Benjamin takes a shot at climbing but also gets pulled down, and the ladder now becomes a weapon for both men. Christian gets busted open and the medic has to stitch him up before the match can continue. Striker blames the Texas State Athletic Commission, which is a nice touch. Lawler then ruins it by also saying it’s a WWE rule. Sigh. They continue fighting on the floor and Benjamin goes up one of the ladders and lays Christian out with a somersault dive. Benjamin continues to dominate and brings Christian back in the ring for more ladder abuse, but Christian gives it right back to him. The momentum shifts frequently and they work in a couple of really contrived spots. Benjamin is able to deliver a powerslam off the ladder, which looked very cool. He goes up for the belt and Christian removes the ladder, leaving Benjamin hanging. Christian then just sets up another ladder and knocks Benjamin off of it. This time Benjamin removes the ladder and then brings Christian down for a Buckle Bomb right into a ladder. They both climb the ladder again and Benjamin tries a sunset bomb but it gets countered to a rana. Christian knocks Benjamin onto a ladder that’s stationed between the ring apron and the announce table, and delivers a Frog Splash from the top rope to break the ladder in half! The champion climbs up and retrieves the title at 18:06! The effort was fantastic, but the bleeding having to be stopped killed some of the momentum early on, and a couple of minor botches brought it down a tad.
MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre
Morrison has been the champion since 9.4.09, and this is his sixth defense. McIntyre had truly hideous generic rock music for his entrance theme here. They go back and forth in the ring to start, with neither man gaining an advantage. That changes when they go to the floor and McIntyre hurls Morrison’s face into the ring post. Back in the ring McIntyre covers for two. Now McIntyre takes control and wears Morrison down. Morrison fights back with an impressive DDT, spiking the challenger on his head. He follows up with a flurry of offense, including a hard kick to the face for two. The champion goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for another near-fall. McIntyre fights back with an inverted Alabama Slam, which could totally be a finisher. But it’s not, so the match continues. Morrison dropkicks McIntyre to the floor and hits the Flying Chuck. Back in the ring Morrison hits Starship Pain (sort of) and McIntyre is saved by having his foot under the bottom rope. Morrison takes his belt off for some reason and the referee removes it from the ring. With the official’s back turned McIntyre delivers a thumb to the eye and follows up with the Scot Drop to get the win and the title at 10:21. Why exactly did Morrison take his belt off? That’s a puzzling finish to an average match.
MATCH #3: Women’s Championship Match – Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James
McCool has been the champion since 6.28.09, and this is her third defense. She is accompanied by Layla. James is aggressive in the early going, due to McCool teasing her about being fat for the last few weeks. I hated how so many people on the Internet complained about this angle just because someone was calling Mickie James fat. Heels say mean things to babyfaces all the time – it’s kind of how wrestling works. Jerry Lawler goes out of his way to talk about how hot Mickie James and heels are the only ones who say anything about her being fat, which she obviously is not. Internet Wrestling Fans are such buttholes sometimes. The champion survives James’s early onslaught and goes to work on her. Despite James’s comeback efforts McCool stays in control of the match. Outside the ring James comes back with a headscissors and a Thesz Press. Layla interferes but James brushes her off. Back in the ring James hits another Thesz Press and a low dropkick for two. James continues with her flurry of offense, but when she goes to the top rope Layla shoves her down. McCool then accidentally kicks Layla off the apron and James gets a quick rollup for two. McCool then delivers a hard kick to the face to retain the title at 7:32. The crowd was more alive for that than they are for most women’s matches, and the wrestlers seemed energized by them and it turned into an okay match.
MATCH #4: Tables Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena vs. Sheamus
Cena has been the Champion since 10.25.09, and this is his second defense. Sheamus is greener than grass at this point. The champ is here from the get-go, aggressively attacking his challenger at the bell. Sheamus fights back as Cole helpfully explains that the “Laoch” on the front of Sheamus’ tights is a Gaelic term meaning “Warrior.” They take it to the floor and Cena slams Sheamus into the table several times. Cena sets up the first table but can’t put Sheamus through it just yet. Back in the ring Sheamus goes back on offense. They fight both in and out of the ring but no one can get the other guy through a table. Up on the entrance ramp Cena delivers a suplex. Cena goes and gets a table and tries to slam it on Sheamus, who had plenty of time to recover and move out of the way. They make their way back to the ring, where Sheamus hits the “Irish Curse” Kick, now known as the Brogue Kick. Sheamus sets up a table in the corner and tries to drive Cena through it, but the champ escapes and hits his comeback series of moves. Cena hits the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment. Cena brings another table in the ring and brings Sheamus up to the top rope for a Super Attitude Adjustment but Sheamus blocks it. The champ goes back up for a superplex but he sort of falls and Sheamus sort of pushes him off, and the referee calls the match in favor of Sheamus and we have a New Champion at 16:22. Sheamus wasn’t all that great at this point so this was a huge shock. The match just never seemed to click, and it’s a good thing it was placed here on the card.
MATCH #5: Chair Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Undertaker vs. Batista
Undertaker has been the Champion since 10.4.09, and this is his fourth defense. Even though chairs are legal, other weapons are not, so countouts and disqualifications are still in play. Both men start off hot, as momentum shifts several times in the early going. Undertaker misses a charge into the barricade and injures his knee, allowing Batista to take control. That doesn’t last too long before the champion reclaims the advantage and the crowd is struggling to get into it. Batista comes back with a superplex for a two-count. They get up and Batista goes for a Batista Bomb but can’t connect, but he does hit the Spinebuster and gets another two-count. Undertaker hits the flying clothesline and the Old School. He follows up with Snake Eyes but then runs right into a Spear and Batista gets another near-fall. Batista then hits a Spinebuster right on a chair. He signals for the Batista Bomb but Undertaker grabs him in Hell’s Gate and Batista reaches the ropes. The back and forth continues and Undertaker hits the Chokeslam but Batista kicks out. Batista repositions the referee and hits a solid low blow. He then brains Undertaker with a chair and gets the pin to win the title at 12:44. While Batista celebrates, Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long comes out and restarts the match because he saw the low blow. That’s so stupid – the referee’s decision is final! I hate this. Back in the ring Undertaker hits Batista with the chair and lands the Tombstone Piledriver to get the win and actually retain the title at 0:31 (13:15 total). The match had no flow to it whatsoever and the finish was profoundly stupid. These two have had great matches in the past but this one was not.
MATCH #6: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton
This is the biggest match of Kingston’s career to this point. They take it to the mat from the start and exchange holds. It’s actually kind of strange to see Orton as a heel now, even though for the longest time I thought he was a better heel than a face. Orton controls the early going, but Kingston makes sure to show that he’s not intimidated. They take it to the floor and Kingston goes for a cross body block off the top rope but Orton cuts him out of the air with a dropkick! Good timing on that spot. Back in the ring Orton goes to work on the ribs, keeping Kingston on the mat. Kingston comes back with a sloppy SOS and gets a two-count. He clotheslines Orton to the floor and follows him out with a dive. Back in the ring Kingston hits a high cross body block off the top rope for a near-fall. After some more offense, Orton tries to come back but Kingston cuts him off and hits the Boom Drop. Kingston then hits Trouble in Paradise but Orton is able to grab the bottom rope to just escape being pinned. Orton slides to the floor and when Kingston drags him back in the ring. That proves to be a mistake though, as Orton grabs him in the Orton DDT and both men are down. Back on their feet Orton goes for the Punt but Kingston gets his arm up, saving his head but doing his arm no favors. Orton zeroes in on the arm and then ducks a Trouble in Paradise, giving him the perfect chance to hit the RKO and get the pin at 13:13. The pop from the crowd is pretty sizable for the supposedly heel Orton. As for the match, it was structurally solid but was never exciting enough to feel like a true coming out party for Kingston like it should have been.
MATCH #7: TLC Match for the Unified Tag Team Championship – Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Triple H & Shawn Michaels
Jeri-Show has been the champions since 7.26.09, and this is their sixth defense. Both Shawn Michaels and Triple H have held the Tag Team Titles with other partners but never with each other. There have been 10 TLC matches in WWE history, and of these four men only Jericho has been in one (two) of them. This is just like a ladder match except that tables and chairs are also legal. Michaels pairs off with Jericho while HHH and Show do battle on the floor. Jericho and Michaels find their way out there as well and try to put each other through a table but they both block it and get back in the ring. Michaels takes Jericho down and goes for the flying elbow drop but Jericho gets his knees up. Meanwhile HHH and Show are fighting up by the entrance. Jericho tries to hit HHH with a chair but HHH blocks it. HHH goes for the Pedigree and Jericho backdrops him. Michaels comes up to join them and gets knocked down. D-X is looking the worse for wear right now. Michaels goes backstage and grabs another chair and hits both the champs with it, but Show cuts him off with a headbutt. Everyone makes their way back to the ring and the challengers come back and get creative with the ladder. D-X tries to grab the belts first but Show cuts them off. The momentum shifts back and forth and everyone starts handing out signature maneuvers. Show winds up all alone and sets up a ladder and climbs. HHH stops him with a steel chair, and then Show punches the chair back into his face! Michaels then gets back in the ring and D-X pushes Show off the ladder, and then HHH hits him with the Pedigree! Michaels tries to climb and Jericho shoves him off the ladder and right onto the Big Show. Jericho climbs and HHH takes him down, and then HHH climbs and Show takes him down. Show then dismantles the ladder, making one less ladder for everyone to climb. The champions are firmly in control now as the crowd chants for Tables. Show gives them their wish, putting both members of D-X through a table on the floor. Since one ladder is broken, Jericho tries standing on Show’s shoulders to grab the belt s. D-X recovers and Michaels hits Show with a Superkick in an awesome spot, and Jericho takes a nasty face bump on a table at ringside. Michaels then hits another Superkick and they clothesline Show over the ropes to the floor with the half ladder. HHH holds the ladder and Michaels climbs up in and pulls the belts down at 22:32! This entire feud was great and this was a fantastic match with great heat and cool spots. All four of these men were on fire at this point, and who knows when the next time we’ll see the WWE Tag Team Titles on the line in a pay-per-view main event.