THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
It’s that time of the month again where I break out the old tag line and the three World Wrestling Entertainment brands band together on pay-per-view with Judgment Day, headlined by Randy Orton defending the WWE title against Batista, and Edge defending the World title against Jeff Hardy.
The show kicks off with C.M. Punk taking on the monster that is Umaga. Needless to say that Punk gets a warm welcome from his hometown fans. It’s nice to see Umaga finally back in the big picture. So it’s the proverbial David v Goliath battle here, with the big Samoan taking Punk apart with his superior power, and the hometown hero countering with his stick and move tactics. For a while it looked like Punk would have to use the proverbial kitchen sink to take Umaga down. Sadly, that particular implement was nowhere to be seen, as Umaga finally took Punk down with the Samoan spike to end a quite physical and very entertaining opener.
A re-match from Backlash follows, with Jack Swagger attempting to regain the ECW title from Christian. These two had a pretty good match a few weeks ago, so this one had a bit to live up to. Swagger once again impressed this writer, and Christian, well, was Christian, one of the most solid workers currently on the roster. Once again Christian used one of Swagger’s tactics against him. Just moments after Swagger tried to get the pin with a handful of tights, the champion went one better than the challenger by getting the pin with a handful of tights. So after two good matches, I’m left to wonder how long this rivalry will continue.
Then came a mouth-watering encounter between Shelton Benjamin, accompanied by his erstwhile partner Charlie Haas, and John Morrison. This certainly proved to be a very good match, between two wrestlers (am I allowed to call them wrestlers now?) who were perfectly matched with each other. Morrison could very well be the next big thing, as could Benjamin, if he’s given a chance. Morrison got the win here with his star shift or whatever it’s called from the top rope. I wouldn’t mind seeing these two against each other again in the future.
After a rather pointless in-ring segment involving The Miz, Santino Marella and Chavo Guerrero, it’s on to the first title match of the evening, with Chris Jericho challenging Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental title. I seem to remember that these two had a pretty good match over the old WCW Cruiserweight title a good few years ago, so this was one match I was really looking forward to. Well, it certainly delivered. This was better than that match from a few years back. Jericho continues to prove what a great villain he is, while once again Mysterio played the role of the perennial underdog to perfection. It was action-packed and fast-paced throughout, the best match of the show so far, with Mysterio ending proceedings by taking Jericho out with the 619 at the umpteenth attempt, putting the icing on the cake with a splash from the top rope. Great stuff.
Main event time #1, with Batista challenging Randy Orton for the WWE title. It was the slow and methodical approach for the former Evolution running buddies here, with Batista’s power matched against Orton’s cunning. It was a technically sound battle, although at times it did seem a little stale, but maybe that’s because I haven’t really gotten into Orton’s current reign as champion yet. The best thing about this match was the way that Orton tried to worm his way out of the match, trying to get himself disqualified and counted out. Eventually, this ploy worked, with Orton slapping the referee, earning himself a disqualification. Orton’s Legacy lackeys Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes then came down to the ring to dish out some punishment, until none other than the Nature Boy himself, Ric Flair, came running down to the ring to give the assist. Like I said, technically sound with a good storyline, but I really hope that Flair doesn’t make a full-time comeback to the ring.
Grudge match time, with the Big Show facing John Cena. The slow, methodical approach continued with this rather intriguing contest. Although we’ve seen these two against each other on pay-per-view before, this match offered a slightly different slant on their on-off rivalry, with the Big Show’s using his punching power against Cena’s injured ribs. It was a dominating performance from the big man, with Cena giving us brief, flirting moments of offence, often going for the STF, but finding that the Big Show was just too big to apply the hold. Eventually, as the Big Show was about to go for his knockout punch, Cena countered with the FU, or whatever the hell it’s called these days. This was a good match, but I couldn’t help but feel that Cena winning with his big power move was the wrong way to go.
Main event time #2, with Jeff Hardy challenging Edge for the World title. As with the previous two matches, we’ve seen these two go at it countless times on pay-per-view. This one was certainly worth the price of admission. The two old foes put together a great match that was perfectly placed on the card, especially given the fact that the two previous matches were a lot slower paced. Perhaps the moment of the night came when Edge speared Hardy from the announce table as Hardy came running along the security barrier. We also got a surprise appearance from big brother Matt, although a cast shot couldn’t put Jeff away. So, as good as this match was, sadly, it had to come to an end, with the champion getting the pin with an edgeucution, or whatever the hell it’s called, from the top rope.
In conclusion – this was probably the most enjoyable wrestling pay-per-view I’ve seen in ages. There wasn’t one bad match here, and, frankly, there’s not much more I can say about that, except perhaps to buy the DVD whenever it’s released.