Normally I start these kind of reviews with the first match of the show, but this time I’m going to go back a little to the live edition of Sunday Night Heat, as The Hurricane and Rosey defend their tag-team titles against The Heart Throbs. It really says a lot for how the WWE perceives the tag-team division at the moment when a World Tag-Team title defence doesn’t even make it to pay-per-view. Now that rants over, a good little match-up here sees the champs retain their titles. Talented as they are, it’s sad that the champs are relegated to weekend show hell at the moment.
The pay-per-view proper sees Carlito defend his newly won Intercontinental title against the man he defeated six days before, Shelton Benjamin. Shelton’s crazy bump to the outside of the ring is still fresh in the memory here. Although not as good as their previous effort, this is still a good way of opening the pay-per-view. Carlito retains the gold after Shelton accidentally head butts an exposed metal turnbuckle, and when I meant head butts, he actually head butts the exposed metal, the second sick incident in the space of six days. Carlito then pinned him with the use of the tights.
We then see Triple H and Ric Flair arrive in the arena. That shirt really doesn’t suit Hunter. And neither does the beard. He looks like a Motorhead tribute act.
It’s time for the girls next, as Victoria takes on the first Diva Search winner, Christy Hemme. Not much to say here. A prime example of what happens when a company releases the women who can actually wrestle. Victoria wins, but I can’t remember how. Says it all really.
Todd Grisham interviews WWE Champion John Cena. We get an embarrassing story from Grisham’s childhood years, although I can’t believe that Todd was the most popular kid in school. Usual hype stuff here.
Up next, Kane v Edge, but guess who the crowd really want in this one? It’s a far superior contest than their pay-per-view match last year, probably because it has a lot more of a background story to it. Lita looked visibly upset when the crowd started calling her a crack whore. Snitsky also gets involved here, but Kane eventually comes out on top after a choke slam. Probably won’t be the last we’ll see of this. Who knows, Vinny Mac may actually give us what we want in this feud soon. You know what I mean.
Then it’s the re-match we’ve all been waiting for, Kurt Angle v Shawn Michaels, part two. What can I say about this one? Not as good as their Wrestlemania 21 masterpiece, but still a damn good match, the sort of match that you never want to end. I could go into hyperbole mode here, but I don’t think I need to. After what seemed like an eternity of great action, although it was actually only about twenty-five minutes, Michaels equals the score in the series, catching Angle with a third super-kick as Angle comes off the top rope. Deciding match at Summerslam, anyone?
The coach interviews Batista. The champ is improving as much doing promos as he is in the ring. Usual stuff hyping the Hell In A Cell match.
Overlong in-ring skit next, something to cool the crowd off as Lillian Garcia proposes to the walrus of love, Viscera. Another excuse to bring the Godfather out of retirement, as big Vis decides to get on board the ho train rather than make Lillian his wife. Overlong and boring. Move along.
John Cena then makes his Raw PPV debut, as he defends the WWE title against Christian and Chris Jericho. A lot of writers, particularly those of a certain British-based wrestling magazine, criticise Cena’s work, but I for one am certainly becoming a fan. A good way for Cena to stamp his mark on the Raw brand here, as all three men impress, with Cena coming out on top to retain the title, pinning Christian after an FU.
Main event time next, as Triple H looks to regain the World title for an eleventh time against his former Evolution running buddy, Batista, in a match that has become a speciality of his, the Hell in a Cell. A very physical, and a very bloody encounter here, something that you’d expect from this kind of match, as these two literally throw the kitchen sink at each other, although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone accidentally leaves a kitchen sink under the ring so someone can use it as a weapon sometime. Triple H fails to break his duck against Batista, as Batista power bombs him to the mat just before Triple H tries to clobber him with a sledgehammer again.
In conclusion - a good show here, despite the dud women’s match. This could be the best Raw pay-per-view this year, and the new draft lottery picks have certainly done their bit in spicing things up a little. Let’s hope that their Smackdown counterparts can do the same.
Match of the night - a hard one to pick out, but Michaels/Angle just edges it over Triple H/Batista.