Monday, October 16, 2017

Kevin's Random Reviews: WWE Judgment Day 2007

Judgment Day 2007
May 20th, 2007 | Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri | Attendance: 10,500

2007 is not a time I look back on fondly when it comes to the WWE. For whatever reason, I really fell out of focusing and caring about the product. There were things that reeled me in (CM Punk on ECW, the Undertaker/Batista feud, Edge being awesome for example), but a lot of it just didn’t cater to me. I was more interested in TNA and definitely more into Ring of Honor at the time. This is a PPV that I don’t remember seeing to be honest, so this should be somewhat fun. This is the ninth Judgment Day Pay-Per-View. It is also the last PPV to feature Chris Benoit.

I dig the opening video package, set to “I Don’t Wanna Stop” by Ozzy Osbourne. It shows Edge win the Money in the Bank briefcase from Mr. Kennedy and cash it in on the Undertaker. The other two top titles, the WWE and ECW belts, get some shine, but less than the World Title. Each brand has their own commentary team. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler open for Raw.

Carlito vs. Ric Flair
This was during the era where Flair chastised Carlito for being lazy. Flair takes Carlito to the woodshed from the start. Carlito has to take a powder and turns things around once he gets back inside. Commentary does a commendable job in building up the story here. Carlito is a cocky, talented guy, who thinks things should be handed to him and Flair wants to teach him a lesson. Carlito targets the arm, working it around the ring post. He dropkicks the arm into the ring post, which I don’t recall seeing anyone else do. This arm work goes for an extended period of time. Flair starts to lay into Carlito with those classic chops. Folks, there’s a reason people “woo” for every chop in history. Flair takes a back body drop bump that looked hideous. Carlito goes back to the arm until Flair gets free with an arm drag. I wish he did a different move to do so. He blocks the Backstabber and stomps on the leg. The Figure Four gets locked in and Carlito taps out.

Winner: Ric Flair in 15:35
I think this was a strong choice for the opener. The crowd really liked Ric Flair and they were into this. Carlito looked good and the arm work was very pronounced. Despite being known for doing some high flying stuff, Carlito really worked an old school style to draw the crowd in before Flair made the comeback. ***

Shawn Michaels gets interviewed backstage but is attacked from behind by Randy Orton.

ECW Championship Handicap Match
Vince McMahon (c), Shane McMahon and Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley

The fact that Umaga didn’t win the ECW Title and it was Vince instead was so stupid. Umaga absolutely deserved something after his great run. Future sometimes crooked referee Scott Armstrong is the official here. Do-rag Vince is the only good thing to come out of this. Right at the bell, Lashley charges and sends Umaga outside. He beats up the McMahons and sends Umaga into Shane when he comes back in. Lashley hits Shane with the Dominator and wins the belt.

Winner: Bobby Lashley in 1:14
Well this was a waste of time. Lashley wins the belt back in quick time, barely gets his hands on Vince and doesn’t even pin the champion. Why? ¼*

Umaga attacks Lashley afterwards and Vince gets on the microphone. He says that Lashley has to pin him to become champion, meaning this garbage feud had to continue. By the way, Joey Styles and Tazz call the ECW action.

CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke
Punk is doing his best DDP impersonation by having a ton of tape around his ribs. Burke recruited Punk for his New Breed stable but Punk aggressively declined. Like Carlito on Flair’s arm earlier, Burke targets Punk’s ribs. With each bit of offense that Punk does, he still makes sure to sell the injury. He pays homage to the late British Bulldog with a stalling vertical suplex, though I wish he found a different way to do so since he has the bad ribs. Burke uses his boxing background to lay into Punk, making sure to get in body shots. Punk is mostly wrestling smart, taking Burke to the ground to avoid high impact stuff. The ribs come into play again as Burke works it at every chance. He front suplexes Punk onto the top rope, then holds him there and kicks him in the stomach. For some reason, the fans begin chanting for JBL instead of focusing on what has been a strong match. Out of desperation, Punk hits a superplex and instantly sells that he is damaged. He gets two on an enziguri. Burke misses the Elijah Express but blocks the GTS. He hits the Elijah Experience, another move named after himself, for two. In another brilliant move, he hits the Elijah Express to Punk’s lower back. Burke sells what it did to his knees too, so he can’t pin. He tries a second Elijah Experience, only for Punk to reverse and nail the GTS for the 1-2-3.

Winner: CM Punk in 17:12
Sue me, I thought that was great. They followed a smart, old school pattern of taking a body part and making the match about that. Burke attacked it with almost every offensive move, while Punk sold it all, even his offense, very well. Two young guys looking to break through were given a good chunk of time and did their best with it. ***¾

Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels
In storyline terms, Michaels got a concussion the week before and Orton’s pre-match attack added to it. Orton tries to get a forfeit win but Michaels shows up, looking way out of it. Michaels has a glazed look in his eyes as Orton beats him up, attacking the head viciously with punches, kicks and a DDT. Shawn is able to get in a few hope spots, but the odds are too stacked against him. He went for Sweet Chin Music only to collapse, forcing the official to call the match.

Winner: Randy Orton in 4:31
Expertly booked due to Michaels’ injury. He had a real life knee problem that would keep him out of action for months. Tons of sympathy for Michaels, this stayed short and Orton gets massive heat. More of an angle than a match though. **

The referee helps Shawn Michaels up only for Randy Orton to strike with the RKO. To add to everything, Shawn’s wife shows up to cry over his condition. She sold this better than any woman in the company could have.

World Tag Team Championship
The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch

After losing to the Hardy Boyz, Cade and Murdoch seemingly turned over a new leaf and were acting like babyfaces. It was still unclear if they were sincere. The early portions of the match feature nothing of real note. The crowd doesn’t really get into things until Jeff Hardy gets tagged. Despite not being the most memorable of teams, Cade and Murdoch have good chemistry and do some nice tandem offense. They work another relatively hot tag to Jeff and again, the crowd wakes up. He was on the cusp of his biggest run ever. He goes for a plancha outside and misses, crashing very hard. That leads to Jeff taking a heat. The challengers mostly focus on his lower back. The pick a body part and work it strategy has been well done all night. Murdoch does his odd code red variation but Matt breaks up the pin. Matt gets the hot tag, which is always weird to me. Side Effect connects but Murdoch breaks this pin. The final few minutes include some good back and forth until Jeff wins it with the Swanton.

Winners and Still World Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz in 15:03
Another match that got more time than I expected. I think both teams performed well. Cade and Murdoch stayed to the babyface style throughout, putting on a competitive match. Better than I thought it would be. ***

World Heavyweight Championship
Edge (c) vs. Batista

Before the match, Edge presents a video package surrounding his cash in. Cole and JBL were unbearable at times even back then. Batista is pissed and takes it to Edge early on. They go outside for a bit where Edge counters a slam and send Batista into the steel steps. Batista has his leg wrapped, and that’s exactly what ran into the steps. More body part work. Edge gets in control. He stops any Batista rally by going back to either the leg or the shoulder that Batista ran into the ring post. Edge makes the mistake of getting into a slugfest with the “Animal”. Still, he find an opening for the Spear but Batista catches him with one of his own instead, getting a near fall. Batista hits a spinebuster, but his knee gets hurt, allowing Edge to roll him up and retain.

Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Edge in 10:39
They told a fine story throughout the match. Batista was the superior star but Edge was just cunning enough to take advantage of any opportunity. It even played into the finish, which I appreciated. Something fell flat about it all though. The crowd was mostly dead and it all seemed like they were going through the motions. **¼

WWE United States Championship 2 Out of 3 Falls Match
Chris Benoit (c) vs. MVP

After meeting at WrestleMania 23 and Backlash, this was the third match in their series. Benoit holds a 2-0 advantage. JBL says that MVP took out Benoit’s leg two days ago and I assume that will come into play. Benoit looks for the Crippler Crossface early and often. Both men try to work the ground, looking for an upper hand. They wisely build off of their previous encounters, with MVP having Benoit expertly scouted. Each time Benoit tries the Crossface or any submission, MVP either blocks or quickly reaches the ropes. MVP hits the Playmaker after Benoit’s knee gave out at 8:26 to pick up the first fall and get the monkey off of his back. A great way to have the leg really be the advantage that MVP needed. As MVP continues to work the knee, some fans chant “this is boring.” Well I must like a different style of wrestling. Benoit finds a way to counter a second Playmaker into the Crossface, but MVP again has it scouted. MVP then pulls him into a messy small package to win the title.

Winner and New WWE United States Champion: MVP in 14:28
The finish came from out of nowhere and didn’t get the reaction that they were probably hoping for. Everything up to that was well done. MVP, after losing his first two shots at the US Title, came in with a game plan and executed it to perfection. I can always enjoy a smartly worked match. ***½

WWE Championship
John Cena (c) vs. The Great Khali

He’s had some big matches before, but this was the highest profile match in the career of the Great Khali up to this point. Cena tries to fight him at the bell but Khali shrugs it off and tosses him around. For the first five or so minutes so far, Khali has absolutely dominated. They move outside where Khali slams Cena’s head into the announce table. Khali works the DREADED trapezius hold, also known as my least favorite move in wrestling. Cena powers out and hits some shoulder blocks that stagger Khali into the ropes, where he gets tied up like he’s Andre the Giant. Again they go outside and Cena dropkicks the steps into Khali’s legs. Cena has an opening, hitting the super Fameasser back inside. He then applies the STFU and the giant monster heel they’ve built up taps out after only fighting for a few seconds.

Winner and Still WWE Champion: John Cena in 8:13
Like most of the matches on this show, this told a fine story. Khali was Goliath and Cena was kind of a David. Khali dominated and Cena had to be resourceful to overcome the odds. The ending was odd though, as you have the monster tap out in under ten minutes. The rematch at One Night Stand would prove to be better. 

Overall: 6/10; Average. Considering my usual disdain for this era in the WWE, this was a pretty fun watch. Outside of the three major title matches (ECW, World and WWE), everything was good. Even if the match itself wasn’t great, like HBK/Orton, it told a great story and advanced an angle. This show had a very old school feel to it with early everyone picking a body part and working it. Even if every match didn’t deliver, the show was mostly booked in a wise manner. According to my randomizer, the new “Kevin's Random Review” is set to be WrestleMania XXX!