Saturday, 3 November 2007

WWE Cyber Sunday on Sky Sports - TV Review

It’s that time of the year again when the bigwigs at World Wrestling Entertainment turn over the reigns to the most controversial bookers in the world - the fans. Yep, it’s Cyber Sunday, shown live here in Britain on Sky Sports.
The show opens with Finlay taking on Rey Mysterio. The stipulation - stretcher match with 40 per cent of the vote. Before I continue I must commend the WWE ring announcer for finally realising that Belfast is in Northern Ireland. But anyway…..this one stars off slowly before really coming to life when the weapons come into play. There’s a race to grab Finlay’s shilleleigh (or however the hell you spell it) from the pole, and Finlay eventually gets the weapon, working over Rey’s knee. But as the match went on, the battle moved to the stretcher, and in the end, it was Mysterio who emerged victorious, but it almost didn’t happen. As he was pushing the stretcher towards the finishing line, it got snagged on a television cable, allowing Finlay recovery time. But it wasn’t enough as Mysterio used a flapjack-like move on Finlay, slamming him down on the stretcher before pushing him over the finishing line. A solid opening to the show, and a very enjoyable match.
Next up, C.M. Punk defends the ECW title. His opponent - The Miz with 39 per cent, so at least we’re not going to have to put up with Big Daddy V here, although when I heard that had won the vote, I have to admit that I didn’t have much hopes for the quality of the match. But credit where credit is due, Miz put in a good showing here against one of the best in the business, and pulled off some good moves as he went toe-to-toe with the champion, and in the end, Punk got the job done with the go-to-sleep. A second good match in a row here.
We then find out who won the vote to face Randy Orton for the WWE title. The winner - Shawn Michaels, with 59 per cent of the vote, meaning that Mr. Kennedy faced off against Jeff Hardy in a “bonus match”, although surely it would have been better to announce another stipulation - that being that if Hardy didn’t get the WWE title shot, then he’d face the other loser in an Intercontinental title match. Oh well, that’s another rant out of the way with. As for the match, it was good, and I can’t fault the efforts of Hardy or Kennedy, but I just couldn’t get into this one. Maybe it was the lack of promotion for this match, I don’t know. Kennedy got the win after Hardy missed his patented corner mule kick and smashed his head on the canvas, getting the pin a few seconds later. Maybe this will mark the beginning of the feud between these two, because if this was given the proper build-up, then they could have a hell of a series.
With Matt Hardy sidelined through injury, the match involving MVP was changed to a US title defence against three possible opponents - Kane, the Great Khali, or Mark Henry. The winner - Kane with 67 per cent of the vote. Somewhat of a slow match here, with MVP working over Kane’s ribs, before the Big Red Machine returned the favour, although he did far more damage. In the end, after Kane used the ring post to inflict even more damage on MVP’s ribs, the champion decided to use the rules to his advantage as he took time to recover on the outside the ring, with the referee counting him out and awarding the victory to Kane. However, because he won by count-out, he didn’t get the title. Given that this match was arranged at short notice, it was okay, but nothing special.
Then it’s time for the Raw main event, with Randy Orton defending the WWE title against heated rival and former champion Shawn Michaels. This one started off slowly, with both men showing some great wrestling ability as Michaels worked on Orton’s arm, only for Orton to counter by working on Michaels’ previously injured back. The pace started to pick up a bit as the match went back and forth, until it got to the point when Orton was down on the mat and Michaels had connected with a top rope elbow. But just as Michaels had tuned up the band and was about to deliver sweet chin music, Orton delivered a blatant low blow right in front of the referee, earning him an automatic disqualification. But things didn’t end there. As Michaels recovered on the mat, Orton prepared himself for a kick to the challenger’s head, but as Orton took his run up, Michaels leapt to his feet and delivered sweet chin music at the second attempt. A great match here, and I really would like to see this rivalry develop a lot more over the next few weeks and months.
More heated rivalry follows, as Triple H and Umaga continue their feud. The match stipulation - street fight with 57 per cent of the vote. Now this is what a street fight should be all about. The Game and Umaga put on a hell of a showing, not holding back as they unloaded with everything they had. We had a TNA-like brawl through the crowd (although it didn’t last nowhere near as long as a TNA brawl), rubbish bin and steel chair shots, before we got the highlight of the match - Umaga running across the commentary tables and big splashing Triple H through the ECW table. But that didn’t put the Game away. After Umaga missed a top rope splash, Triple H found his trusty sledgehammer friend. After clobbering him with it and then delivering the Pedigree, Triple H was the winner. Another good match between these two, although I’m left to wonder just what they’ll do next.
Then it’s time to find out who won the Diva Halloween Costume vote. And the winner is…..aww, who gives a damn!!!
Main event time, as Batista defends the World title against former champion The Undertaker. The special referee - Steve Austin with 79 per cent. Before the match began, we got a fight between the vote losers, JBL and Mick Foley, a fight that was interrupted by Austin, who stunnered Foley before getting into a fight with JBL, eventually delivering another stunner. Then it was on to the match itself, and while it wasn’t as good as their Wrestlemania effort, it was still worthy of the main event. Things seemed a little patchy early on, but as the match progressed it just got better and better. Each powerhouse unloaded with their heavy arsenal, which the man on the receiving end kept kicking out of, and finally, after Batista took the Undertaker down with a second Batista Bomb, he finally got the three count. A very good encounter here, worthy of it’s main event and World title status.
In conclusion - apart from the Diva costume contest, this year’s Cyber Sunday was a very enjoyable affair. Although Hardy/Kennedy was difficult to get in to, every other match was well executed and well put together, with the Orton/Michaels encounter being the match of the night for me. So does Cyber Sunday come recommended? Yes. It may not be the best wrestling show of all time, but it was still good nonetheless.