Sunday, 16 September 2007

WWE New Year's Revolution 2007 on Sky Sports - TV Review

It’s the first World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view of the year, and it’s brought to us by the Raw side of things with New Year’s Revolution, hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, and broadcast in Great Britain on Sky Sports.
The first match of the evening sees Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy and Johnny Nitro continue their intriguing rivalry, this time within the confines of a steel cage. The rivalry between these two has been one of the highlights of the past few months on Raw, and once again both wrestlers pulled out all the stops to put on a great show opener. Plenty of false escape attempts and big bumps in all the right places led to one of the most inventive cage match finishes I’ve seen in a long while. As Nitro tried to block the door of the cage, from the outside, with his feet, Hardy kicked the door open, and Nitro ended up straddling himself on the top of the door as the champion climbed through the door to retain his title.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews Tag-Team Champions Edge and Randy Orton. The top heels in the company promise to do what the McMahons and the Big Show couldn’t do, by taking DX out. Is it me, or does Edge seem a hell of a lot better without Lita by his side?
We then get a special bonus match, a tag-team turmoil encounter with the winner getting a shot at the tag-team titles, with the Highlanders and the World’s Greatest Tag-Team starting things off. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are a more than welcome addition to the ever floundering tag-team division, and they prove to be great foils for the Scotsmen, as Benjamin defeated Rory after a T-Bone suplex from the top rope.
Then came the somewhat ugly team of Jim Duggan and Super Crazy. While it was great to see old Hacksaw on the show, it was pretty obvious that he was only there to make up the numbers. Haas and Benjamin soon despatched them though, with Benjamin pinning Crazy with a bridging back suplex.
Then came the team of Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. I’m kind of developing a soft spot for old Murdoch these days. He’s kind a throwback to the good old days. He may not be the best wrestler and he may not have the best physique, but he comes across as one though son of a bitch, and his team with Cade really deserves more of the spotlight. Despite the fact that both teams were heels, they still put on a great portion of the match, with Cade getting the pin on Haas after breaking up Haas’ submission attempt on Murdoch.
The final team, Cryme Time, then entered the match, and once again Cade and Murdoch impressed with their team work. But despite their work in taking apart JTG, it was Cryme Time who emerged the winners, with Shad evading the high-low, and JTG taking Cade down with a neck-breaker/Samoan drop combination.
In his office, Vince McMahon and the Coach chat about the argument between Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump, and then, to the amazement of just about everyone on the planet, he makes a match between the two for Monday Night Raw. Whoever thought of this idea should be fired. But they probably won’t. The segment ends with Ron Simmons making his now regular pay-per-view appearance. Can you guess what he says?
Back to the regular schedule, as Kenny Dykstra, complete in fake feathery robe, battles a man old enough to be his grandfather, the Nature Boy himself, Ric Flair. While some would have it that Flair should have retired years ago, I think it’s great that he can still get it done in the ring, although not to the same capability he could a few years ago. It’s the methodical approach as far as this one goes, with Dykstra working over Flair’s back, despite an onslaught of chops from the veteran, before Flair comes back and goes back to his familiar attach with the figure four. Dykstra manages to escape using the ropes, then gets the pin after a low blow while the referee was trying restrain Flair, making it the third time in a row for the youngster against the veteran.
Backstage, we see Nitro getting some medical attention, and he asks Melina to call Joey in. On her way to making the call, Melina is stopped in the corridor by Victoria. Victoria talks about her list, and then asks her to help out in her upcoming title match against Mickie James, promising her the first title shot if she wins.
The second title match of the evening sees Mickie James defending her WWE Women’s title against the always impressive Victoria. It was an enjoyable contest between the two Divas here, put on between two of the best female wrestlers in the business at the moment, and once again proof that the girls can be just as good as their male counterparts. Melina tried to interfere on behalf of her new best friend, but was stopped by Candice Michelle and Maria, and in the end, Mickie got the pin on Victoria after countering a power slam attempt with a DDT for the title retaining victory.
Next up, tag-team action, as the Rated RKO team of Randy Orton and Edge defend their World Tag-Team titles against D-Generation X, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. This match will be remembered for two things - Triple H’s quadriceps tear, sustained as he took Orton down with a spine-buster, and the fact that he opted to continue the match, rather than go to a quick finish. You have to admire the guts of the man, but you also have to question his reasoning. Up until then, it was grudge match wrestling at it’s finest. Michaels was again the whipping boy, taking all RKO could dish out, until he got the hot tag to Triple H. It was then a bloodbath as Michaels slugged the referee, DX took RKO down with a few chair shots, Edge got pedigreed on the table, and Michaels took Orton out with a top rope elbow through the Spanish announce table. It was then that the match came to an end, apparently a no-contest, and although it was a great match, watching the final few moments, watching Triple H finish the bout with his severe injury, was quite difficult.
Backstage, Todd Grisham catches up with the champ, John Cena. The banter between Grisham and Cena reminds me of the good old days when the Rock used to make the Coach look like a fool. Cena gives us a somewhat comedic promo to start off with, before getting a bit more serious when he talks about his chances against Umaga.
The eternal rivalry then continues, as Carlito, escorted to the ring by Torrie Wilson, takes on Chris Masters. Although this match was okay, it was clear that it was nothing more than filler material, especially as it came straight after the heated World Tag-Team title match. Both guys put in good performances, and Carlito’s triple jump moonsault was a sight to behold, but it wasn’t enough as Masters pinned Carlito with a roll-up and a handful of tights. Then, Masters synched in the Masterlock on Carlito, leaving him lying in the ring.
Main event time, as John Cena defends his WWE title against the undefeated number one contender, Umaga, who, as always, brings Armando Estrada along for company. WWE’s latest monster has been impressive since his return to the WWE nearly a year ago, and it only seemed fitting that he faced Cena for the title. Umaga’s slow, methodical approach played out well in this match, and the way he was portrayed made him seem like a legitimate threat to Cena’s title, especially when the champ couldn’t maintain a sustainable amount of offence against his challenger. But the thing that may have harmed this match is that it may have been a little too long. However, the ending was good, proving that a simple ending is a good way to end a match. As Umaga missed his corner attack, Cena ducked out of the way and scored with a schoolboy roll-up to retain his title, becoming the first man to pin Umaga in the process.
In conclusion - WWE began 2007 with a quality showing. With good matches from start to end, it’s sad that New Year’s Revolution will probably only be remembered for Triple H’s injury, and the bravery, or stupidity, depending on which way you look at it, he displayed in going to the planned finish, putting his overall career on the line in the process.