Monday, 17 September 2007

WWE Vengeance: Night of Champions on Sky Sports - TV Review

WWE Vengeance: Night of Champions was meant to be one of the stand-out events on the WWE calendar. A chance to see every title defended on one show. A chance to see all the champions under the same roof. But sadly, events that took place elsewhere will always overshadow this event. Nevertheless, as the old saying goes the show must go on, and here’s my review of the show.
The show kicks off with tag-team action, as Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch defend their World Tag-Team titles against the Hardys. These two teams have put together a strong series of matches over the past few weeks and months, so this was one I was looking forward to seeing. While this wasn’t as good as their previous efforts, it was still a good way to open the show. The champs spent a great deal of time working over Matt’s injured knee, until Jeff got the hot tag and cleaned house, and just as he was about to finish Cade off with a move from the top rope, Murdoch came to his partner’s aid to push him off. Cade then ended the match by taking Jeff out with a sit-down power bomb. A good way to begin the show, as the chemistry between these teams is second-to-none at the moment.
Next up, Chavo Guerrero defends his Cruiserweight title against Jimmy Wang Yang, an image I’ve never really taken to, especially when you consider how talented Yang is. Oh well, I suppose it’s better than being a Flying Elvis. It’s a shame that the cruiserweights don’t get to show what they can do on pay-per-view more often, because this was a great match. Guerrero looked great in this one, and Yang was the perfect foil for him as they showed just what the smaller guys can do. Yang almost got the pin after reversing Guerrero’s Gory Special, only for the champion to come back and thwart Yang’s top rope attack, getting the win after a frog splash from the top rope. Good stuff here.
Then, Johnny Nitro went up against C.M. Punk for the vacant ECW World title. Punk and Nitro proved what many have been saying for ages now, that they’re two of the brightest prospects in the WWE right now. Each man pulled out all the stops, and both men almost got the pin on several occasions, but while everyone was predicting a Punk victory, it was Nitro who got the win, with a corkscrew neck breaker as Punk’s feet were on the ropes. A good match, and it will certainly be interesting to see how Nitro carries the ECW title in the next few weeks.
Time for a monster, as Umaga challenges Santino Marella for the Intercontinental title. I think you can guess who everybody’s favourite was going into this one. This one didn’t last long. Umaga controlled Marella throughout, but when he refused to stop hammering Marella in the corner after a five count, the referee called for the bell and awarded the victory to Marella via disqualification. And that’s when the fun began, as Umaga went on to totally destroy Marella with a big splash off the top rope and the Samoan Spike, and when Maria came down to the ring to check on her boyfriend as Umaga walked back up the aisle, for a moment it looked like Umaga would return to the ring to attack her as well. After the recent defeats to Cena and Lashley, this match succeeded in making Umaga an unstoppable monster again.
Following this massacre, the ever youthful Ric Flair challenges MVP for the United States title. Having been thrilled by MVP’s series with Chris Benoit, it was going to be interesting to see if he could hang with another wrestling great, and while this may not have been as action packed as those ones, it still delivered. The old guy and the young stud put on a great back-and-forth match, with MVP able to keep up with the Nature Boy. The end almost came when Flair synched in the figure four, only for MVP to make it to the ropes. As the referee tried to physically separate the two of them while they were on the ropes, MVP took a page out of Flair’s book of tricks by poking him in the eye while the referee’s back was turned. A playmaker later, and MVP had the title retaining victory.
Back to tag-team action, as WWE Tag-Team Champions Deuce and Domino find out who has answered their open challenge - none other that “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter. Now, while it was great to see the legends in the ring again, the match wasn’t exactly that exciting. Slaughter looked great, and almost took out Domino with the Cobra Clutch, but Snuka looked awful, slow of the mark, and worse when he was running the ropes. Thankfully, the champions retained after Deuce reversed a Snuka cross body from the top rope. Then, after the champions attacked the legends after the bell, Tony Garrea and Rick Martel, who had been seated at ringside, jumped the barrier to save their fellow veterans.
Last chance time for Batista next, as he challenges Edge for the World title for possibly the last time. A great match that had a good storyline and strong psychology throughout. Edge spent a great deal of time working over Batista’s arm, weakening him considerably, until the Animal was able to make a strong comeback, almost taking him out of his boots with a spear. But then, just as Batista was about to take him out with his trademark power bomb, Edge delivered an intentional low blow to get himself disqualified. Thinking he had won the title, Edge left the ring until he was stopped by Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long, who ordered the re-start of the match, and said that if Edge got himself disqualified again, he’d be stripped of the title. The match went to the outside of the ring, where Batista finally took Edge down with the Batista Bomb. Realising that he couldn’t win the title outside the ring, he rolled Edge back in as the referee had counted nine. But by the time he had counted ten, it was too late. Batista was still on the outside of the ring, and he had blown his last title shot. After the decision was announced, Batista took Edge out with a second Batista Bomb. Now this is what a wrestling match should be about. The psychology was spot on.
Time for the ladies next, as Candice Michelle challenges Melina for the Women’s title. I’ve been quite impressed with the improvement Candice has shown over the past few months, and that definitely showed in this match. As always, Melina put on a great performance, showing why she’s probably the best female wrestler in the WWE right now, and that’s probably helped a great deal as far as Candice’s recent performances are concerned. Both of them did enough to put on a good match, with Candice winning the match and the title with a reverse heel kick.
Main event time, as Mick Foley, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton and King Booker challenge John Cena for the WWE title in the WWE Championship Challenge match, with no count outs and no disqualifications. However, I have one question about this match. If the match was meant to include those on the Raw roster who had won main titles on Raw, Smackdown, and ECW, why wasn’t the newly drafted Sandman in this match? He is a former ECW World Champion after all. But anyway, now that little rant is over, it’s on to the match itself. This was certainly an action packed match, with all five men putting on a good showing. It’s hard to describe everything that went on here, but the main parts where Cena putting Lashley through the ECW announce table with an FU, Foley whacking everyone with a steel chair, and Lashley’s amazing leap over the top rope onto everyone else as they stood on the arena floor. Cena came out on top here, taking Foley, who had been kicked in the head by Orton, down with an FU for the winning pinfall. A very good, and a very enjoyable match here.
In conclusion - although Vengeance will be overshadowed by Benoit family tragedy, this should not take away from the fact that this was a very good show. The Night of Champions format was perfect for pay-per-view, and it’s certainly one I’d like to see continued maybe once every year. Having every title in the WWE defended gave the show that special feeling, and it’s this that made the show enjoyable to watch. A definite thumbs up from this writer here.
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