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What is "Civil War"? (Originally written January 25th, 1996)

      You are holding in your hand Book One of the saga that is known as “Civil War”, although the war doesn’t actually start until Book Two...

Monday, 17 September 2007

WWE Summerslam 2007 on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again where I break out the old opening line as the three WWE brands band together for their monthly pay-per-view, and this time it’s been labelled the biggest part of the summer. Yep, it’s time for the twentieth instalment of Summerslam, shown here in Britain on Sky Box Office, and hosted by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler from Raw, Michael Cole and JBL from Smackdown, and Joey Styles and Tazz from ECW.
We kick off on the Smackdown side of things, as Kane faces Finlay. Apparently this feud began when Finlay accidentally spilled hot coffee on the big red machine. Didn’t Chris Jericho do the same thing a few years ago? Having previously injured Kane’s ribs, Finlay centred his attack on the big man’s ribs, and did a pretty good job injuring him further. But Kane was able to turn things round, despite a shelayleigh attack from Finlay. In the end, Kane took out Finlay with his choke slam at the second attempt. Not a spectacular opener, but good enough to get the off to a good start.
Raw’s turn next, and the first title match of the evening as Umaga defends the Intercontinental title against Mr. Kennedy and Carlito. I have to admit that I have my doubts about Umaga’s supposed heel turn. When monsters become baby faces they tend to lose a lot of their momentum, and an important part of their character, which would make watching this one quite interesting. The exchanges between Carlito and Kennedy were just as good as their previous match on Raw a few days before, but it was the performance of Umaga that stood out the most, dominating the match whenever he was in it, and coming out the victor. After Kennedy took out Carlito with his rolling slam finishing move, Umaga broke up the count and quickly took Kennedy out with the Samoan spike. Although I’m still not convinced that he’d make a good baby face, Umaga once again proved that he is a dominant force on the Raw roster at the moment with this great performance.
Returning to Smackdown, it’s the first big return of the evening as Rey Mysterio faces his old nemesis Chavo Guerrero. Mysterio comes down to the ring with a new look, with his torso covered in white paint, apparently a tribute to the Silver Surfer. Either that or he’s auditioning for a role in a George Romero film. Frankly, he looks bloody ridiculous. This was the first match of the show to be contested with any real passion, as both Guerrero and Mysterio put in great performances in this one. I must admit I had my doubts about whether Rey could come back as good as before, but he did. All the moves were there in this back-and-forth affair, with several near pins on both sides before Mysterio got the pin after the third attempt at the 619, followed by a big splash off the top rope. Rey Rey’s back, and it’s great to see him back. Great match here.
Then it’s time for the divas battle royal, featuring stars from all three brands, with the winner getting a shot at Candice Michelle’s title. It’s your typical stuff from this kind of match, with Lawler making his usual comments from ringside, and Beth Phoenix winning the match after eliminating Michelle McCool to earn a shot at the title.
Then, unable to compete because of his current medical condition, MVP comes to the ring to begin the competition he discussed with Vince McMahon earlier, a beer drinking contest with Matt Hardy. But Hardy doesn’t take part, instead choosing a substitute because MVP had chosen a substitute for himself for the boxing match at Saturday Night’s Main Event. The replacement is none other than Steve Austin. The contest doesn’t actually take place. After drinking just one beer, and then warming up for a while, Austin takes MVP out with a stunner, before indulging in his usual activities.
Time for ECW to show what it has to offer next, as John Morrison defends his ECW title against long-time foe C.M. Punk. A solid enough match from these two long-time rivals, as all their matches are, although while watching this I couldn’t help but get the feeling that we weren’t going to see a new champion crowned in this one. And I was right. Despite a stellar performance, Punk couldn’t get the job done. After blocking an hurricanrana attempt from the top rope, Morrison got the pin with his feet on the ropes. I hope that this rivalry will end soon, and both wrestlers will go on to other things, but I get the feeling that this one will go on for a while yet.
Back over to Raw, and the second big return of the evening, as Triple H goes up against King Booker. While this wasn’t the best match in the world, it certainly served it’s purpose. The crowd went wild as Triple H returned to the ring, and both men did just enough to put him over on his return, as he took Booker out with the pedigree. Good performances from both men, although it will probably be a while before the Game is back up to full speed.
Main event time on the Smackdown side of things, as the Great Khali defends his World title against Batista. I never really hold out much hope for any Khali match, but I have to admit that the big lug is improving. Khali dominated for the most part, wearing down the animal with nerve holds on the shoulders, before Batista fought back, even taking the big man down with a spine buster. However, when he went for the Batista bomb, Khali powered out and took him down with his double-handed choke bomb. However, this wasn’t enough to get the winning pin, so Khali instructed his interpreter Singh to get him a chair, and a moment later the giant earned himself a disqualification when he clobbered Batista with it, meaning that Batista won the match, but he retained the title. Afterwards, an enraged Batista clobbered Khali with several chair shots. Not that bad, and it definitely succeeded in what it set out to do.
Then it’s over to the Raw main event, as John Cena defends his WWE title against Randy Orton. Now this is what a main event should be all about. With the crowd providing an electric atmosphere, this bout had the feeling of a big match throughout, something that we don’t get too often on a WWE pay-per-view. Two wrestlers at the top of their game put on a hell of a bout, lasting over twenty minutes, by far the longest match on the show. This one had me glued to my television from start to finish, and we saw it all. A great storyline, tons of false finishes, and a great ending. Having managed to reach the ropes while in the STFU, Orton came back quickly with an RKO, but injured his knee in the process, which stopped him going for an immediate cover. This gave Cena the time he needed to recover, and he was able to kick out of Orton’s cover. As Orton tried to regain his composure, Cena scored with an immediate FU, and got the winning pin three seconds later to end a tremendous match. These two guys were made for each other.
In conclusion - I keep making the mistake of reading other people’s opinions on these shows before I write my own. I read several reviews complaining about the quality of the matches, that they were far too short, the usual kind of stuff. So once again the so-called professional writers and experts fail to look at the big picture. Summerslam 2007 was, in my humble opinion, a very good show, and apart from the Diva Battle Royal, each match accomplished what it set out to do. I for one will probably watch this show again, and maybe of the so-called professionals and experts did, they might appreciate it a bit more.

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