Monday, 17 September 2007

WWE Judgement Day 2007 on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again as Raw, Smackdown and ECW join together to present WWE’s latest pay-per-view, Judgment Day, shown here in Britain on Sky Box Office. Our hosts for the show are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, Joey Styles and Tazz.
The show kicks off with the battle of the former tag-team partners, as Ric Flair takes on Carlito. When these two last met on pay-per-view Flair was beating Carlito for the Intercontinental title, but this match is a whole different kettle of fish. This was a great way to open the show, and probably the best match I’ve ever seen from Carlito. Carlito spent a great deal of time working over Flair’s left arm, applying key locks and arm bars, while Flair fought back with his trusty chops, before working over Carlito’s legs and locking in the figure four. Try as he might, Carlito couldn’t escape, and soon tapped out. A very impressive performance from Carlito here, and I can’t help thinking that perhaps this rivalry should be allowed to go on a little longer.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews Shawn Michaels, or rather, tries to interview Michaels. Michaels says a few words, before Randy Orton suddenly appears on the scene and rams Michaels’ head into a steel guard rail that made up part of the set.
The first title match of the evening follows, the re-match from Backlash as Umaga, Shane McMahon, and ECW Champion Vince McMahon defend the title against former champion Bobby Lashley. This one was short and sweet, very sweet. Lashley took care of Umaga, sent Vince running for cover, and quick took care of Shane with an array of power moves, before taking him down with a power slam to get the pin and the title win - or so we thought. After Lashley was announced as the champion and celebrated his win, Umaga attacked from behind and took him out with the Samoan Spike. It was then that Vince grabbed the belt and announced that because Lashley had pinned Shane and not him, that he was still the ECW Champion. A good piece of storytelling here, and a good way of extending the situation between Vince McMahon and Bobby Lashley.
Backstage, the doctor is checking over Shawn Michaels, and announces that he’s stopping him from competing because of his concussion.
We stick with ECW as C.M. Punk takes on the leader of the Nu Breed, Elijah Burke. Punk came into this one with his ribs heavily taped, which made them an obvious target for Burke’s attack. Despite the lack of crowd reaction at times, this was a really enjoyable match, which, although it may have lacked a little intensity given the feud between these two, was compelling viewing, a good advertisement for the current ECW product. After what seemed an age of great wrestling and counter-wrestling. Punk got the win after his GTS move. Although some will criticise this one for the lack of crowd reaction and the match length, I for one enjoyed it.
Backstage, Kristal chats with new World Champion Edge. Edge isn’t exactly too happy with the way that Kristal phrases the question, and promises to take out Batista in their upcoming match, proclaiming the beginning of the Rated R Era.
Back in the arena, Randy Orton comes down to the ring, and demands that he be announced as the winner of the match with Shawn Michaels by default. Just as this is about to happen, a groggy Michaels comes staggering down the ring, wanting to compete. Reluctantly, the referee allows Michaels to compete. What follows is almost a massacre. Orton centres his attack on Michaels’ head, connecting with a DDT and several kicks, and almost with an RKO. Michaels fights back briefly, and even connects with a top rope elbow, but collapses to the mat as he is about to deliver sweet chin music. As Michaels staggered to his feet, the referee called a halt to the match, awarding the victory to Orton. As Michaels once again struggled to his feet, Orton took him down with an RKO. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler fell silent as first Michaels’ wife Rebecca and then the EMTs came down to the ring to wheel Michaels to the back on a stretcher. Given the news that Michaels had sustained a serious knee injury before the show, this was a good way to take him out of the storylines for a while.
Backstage, the Great Khali, complete with stolen WWE title belt, promises victory through his interpreter. You know, this would have been a good time to put Daivari back with him. Am I the only one who loved the crowds shouting “what!” when Khali spoke?
More title action follows, as the Hardys defend their World Tag-Team title against Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in a re-match from Backlash. Michael Cole and JBL are handling the announcing duties for this one. I guess they’re trying to sell how shocked and concerned Lawler and Ross are at Shawn Michaels’ injuries. This one was just as good as their Backlash encounter, with Murdoch and Cade again showing just why they should be given a bigger push. No rule-breaking from the challengers here as both teams really went at it, with Matt taking Cade down with a Twist of Fate, and then tagging Jeff who got the pin with the Swanton. The sportsmanship between the two teams then continued as they shook hands. Good stuff here.
Continuing with the title action, as Edge defends his newly-won World title against former champion Batista. Edge spent a great deal of time working over Batista’s injured leg, before moving over onto his arm, which he’d injured after accidentally ramming his shoulder into the ring post. Batista fought back with all the power moves, but after he took Edge out with his spine-buster, he began to feel for his injured leg, which was enough for Edge as he got the title retaining pin with a roll-up. Not a bad match here, but it was well executed, and certainly set the stage for any potential re-match.
Backstage, Kristal polls the divas about who’s going to win the main event. A rather pointless exercise, especially when Kristal tries to do an impression of Mr. T.
Next up, Chris Benoit defends the U.S. title against MVP in a best of three falls match, continuing their gripping series. The great action between these two continued. Benoit tried to synch in his submission holds early, but MVP countered by working over the knee that had been previously injured by Fit Finlay on Smackdown. The injury showed when Benoit tried to take MVP down with an electric chair. MVP soon countered with his playmaker move to get the first fall. MVP continued his attack on the injured limb in the second period, and although Benoit rallied briefly, MVP scored the second straight pinfall with a simple roll-up, winning the match 2-0, and the U.S. title in the process. A somewhat surprising result here, but given the fact that it seems like this rivalry still has some time to run, MVP had to beat Benoit eventually. The match wasn’t that bad either. A shame about the lack of any crowd reaction though.
Main event time, as John Cena defends the WWE title against the Great Khali. I really didn’t have high hopes for this one, but you know what? It wasn’t that bad. Khali threw Cena around the ring like the proverbial stuffed toy, and actually looked quite good. Okay, he’s no Andre the Giant, but at least he’s improved quite a bit since his feud with the Undertaker. Khali dominated the match, but the tide turned when Cena drop-kicked the ring steps into Khali’s knee, then came down on the back of his neck with a top rope leg drop as he was crawling back into the ring. Cena then locked in the STFU, and even though the big man struggled, there was nothing he could do but tap out. Quite an entertaining encounter, certainly far better than I expected.
In conclusion - I really should stop reading other people’s reviews before I write my own. I went into this one having read how this show was awful or this show was average. Well, this writer found Judgment Day to be very entertaining. Every match achieved what it set out to do, from Lashley’s decimation of Vince and his cronies, through to MVP beating Benoit 2-0, right up to the main event. Judgment Day was great viewing, and if the so-called experts got their heads out of their backsides once in a while and try to watch these shows from a fan’s perspective, they might actually enjoy themselves once in a while.

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