Following on from TNA’s Sacrifice, the busy pay-per-view schedule continues, and now it’s WWE’s turn as Triple H and Randy Orton go one on one in the confines of a steel cage, with the WWE title on the line in the 2008 version of Judgement Day, shown live here in Britain on Sky Box Office.
The show kicks off with a match that was actually a Wrestlemania co-main event a few years ago, as John Cena tackles John “Bradshaw” Layfield. It seems kind of strange that these two are now opening the show, but that’s the wrestling business for you I suppose. Now what I was expecting from these two was an all-out brawl, and what I got was actually quite a good technical match. JBL surprised me with some of his tactics, which included an armbar submission attempt, a body-scissors, bear hug, and at one point a full nelson as the millionaire worked over Cena’s left shoulder and ribs. In fact, JBL dominated the match, until Cena caught him with a surprise FU to get the pinfall victory. A very surprising match here, and I don’t think that I’m the only one surprised by how well this one went.
The first title match of the evening follows, as ECW Champion Kane and C.M. Punk challenge The Miz and John Morrison for the WWE Tag-Team title. Yep, you read that right. There’s actually a tag-team title match on a pay-per-view. It’s something we don’t get that often, so I’m going to try and enjoy each and every moment of it. And enjoy it I did. Despite my dislike of the Miz, I have to admit that the champions have developed into a very good team. But it doesn’t take just one team to make a match. Punk and Kane played their part in what was a good match, with Punk looking great, as always. But sadly one of my favourites didn’t get the job, as Morrison took him out with his spinning neck breaker move to get the win for his team. A very good match, and a good example of why there should be more tag title defences on pay-per-view.
Then it’s on to a match that has show-stealer written all over it, as Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho faces Shawn Michaels in a non-title match. Of course, this one comes from Michaels facing the knee injury against Batista last month. Well, this one certainly lived up to the hype. Action packed from the start with a great storyline mixed in with great ring psychology between two veterans who know how to put on a great match. Both men pulled out all their signature moves, but still couldn’t put the other away, and the end was quite simple, devoid of any flashy moves. As Jericho went for the lionsault, Michaels countered by raising his knees, but with Jericho having landed on his feet, he tried to counter with the Walls of Jericho. Michaels resisted, and countered with a roll-up to get the three count. A great match, maybe even better than their previous Wrestlemania encounter a few years back.
Time for the divas next, with Mickie James defending her Women’s title against Beth Phoenix and Melina in a three way match. Having been rather spoiled as far as women’s wrestling goes in the past few months, I wondered how this match would fare compared to those of their rivals down in Florida, and while it couldn’t compare to an Awesome Kong match, it was still quite good. Mickie put in another great performance, as did Melina, and Beth once again cemented her position as the strongest woman on the roster, lifting both Mickie and Melina into an over the shoulder back breaker. But her power wasn’t enough to get the job done, as a jumping DDT from Mickie took Melina out, giving her the title retaining win.
After almost ninety minutes of action, the Smackdown crew finally make their bow on this show, with Edge and the Undertaker continuing their rivalry with the vacant World Heavyweight title on the line. And let’s not forget that the Undertaker’s choke hold has been banned by GM Vickie Guerrero. These two had a lot to live up to, given the intensity of their last encounters, and they just about succeeded, putting on a great match with another great storyline, matching each other move for move, counter for counter, with neither man able to put his nemesis away. We also got a brief cameo appearance from the Edge-heads, Ryder and Hawkins, as they distracted the ref so Edge could expose a turnbuckle hook - which was later used against him. Then, after they kicked out of pins following each other’s signature moves, a brawl on the outside ensued, with the Undertaker barely winning the count out - but not the title - as Vickie Guerrero announced that because the Undertaker had won by count out, he hadn’t actually won the title, because he hadn’t got the pin or submission, and that the World title was still vacant. Needless to say that this didn’t sit too well with the dead man, who vented his frustrations by taking out Edge with a tombstone. A very good match, and the twist at the end made for a great storyline.
Following that shocker, MVP came down to the ring and began to complain about being left of the show. He then issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. So out came U.S. Champion Matt Hardy, who accepted the challenge on behalf of his brother, Jeff Hardy. So the impromptu match was underway, and it was quite good, with MVP dominating for the most part, working over Hardy’s left arm, with Hardy getting the win out of nowhere, avoiding MVP’s corner attack and taking him down with the whisper in the wind. Good little match here.
Main event time, with Triple H defending the WWE title against former champion Randy Orton in the confines of a steel cage. Sadly, they’re still using that bloody awful looking title belt. You’d have thought that they’d design a new one seeing that Cena isn’t champion anymore. Poor weather conditions - somewhere - meant that the signal was a little patchy at times, but it was viewable enough to see just how good this match was. I wasn’t expecting a pure technical wrestling match here, I was expecting a fight, and that’s what I got. As with many of their recent encounters, you got the feeling that these two really hated each other, which isn’t always the case with feuds of this nature. We even got a tribute to Ric Flair here with Triple H using the figure four, and a few chair shots for good measure. In short, it was a very good match, with Triple H getting the title retaining pin dodging Orton’s punt, then taking him down with the Pedigree. A very good way to end the show.
In conclusion - this was a great show. From the opening match to the main event, there wasn’t one bad match here, which makes me even more grateful that we didn’t get the expected Big Show/Mark Henry encounter. Every match served it’s purpose and delivered what it set out to do, which is all we, as wrestling fans, can ask. So Judgement Day definitely gets the thumbs up for this reviewer.
I’m going to end this piece with a little advice to fans in Britain who were disappointed by the technical problems Sky faced with the poor satellite feed. It seems that whenever something like this happens, all fans seem to do is visit various fan forums and bitch about what happened, complaining about the service Sky gives them. They don’t actually seem to do anything.
So instead of complaining, why not just watch one of the numerous repeat showings? After all, Judgement Day is being repeated every three hours until Saturday night I believe, and these repeat showings are covered by the original fee you paid to watch the show.
And if you still want to vent your spleen about what happened, instead of doing it on an internet forum, why not actually get in touch with Sky themselves? You never know, you might get a refund, which will make you feel much better about things.
And if you’re still not happy after that, blame God or Mother Nature or whoever controls the elements, for producing the adverse weather conditions that caused the signal problems in the first place.