THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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The busy pay-per-view period continues, and this time it’s World Wrestling Entertainment’s turn, with a new name – Bragging Rights – as members of the Raw and Smackdown rosters try to see just who is best, as well as the Undertaker and Randy Orton defending their respective titles. Sadly, Jim Ross is still indisposed, so Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Todd Grisham are handling commentary duties.
The show began with the first of the tournament matches, with Raw’s United States Champion The Miz facing off against Smackdown’s Intercontinental Champion John Morrison in a non-title affair. To say that this was a good way of starting the show would be an understatement. A good background story was backed up by a very good showing from the two former Tough Enough contestants. It featured good solid action with plenty of near falls, and Miz getting the win after pushing Morrison off the top rope, just as he was about to take Miz out with the starship pain. Good stuff, with Raw going one up in the series.
Tournament match two saw the Divas in action, with Smackdown’s Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix and Natalya against Raw’s Melina, Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly. Another good encounter here. I was really impressed with the exchanges between Beth and Gail. WWE just seems to be missing the boat with the former TNA Knockouts Champion. But anyway, Kelly was the proverbial punching bag in this one, before we got the obligatory mass brawl, and Beth pinning Melina after slamming her face first into the mat. See, these Divas can have some good matches sometimes!
Then it was on to the Undertaker, defending his World title against three former champions, Rey Mysterio, C.M. Punk and Batista in fatal four way action. This one began at a rather frantic pace, but slowed down a little when the two big men began to duke it out. There were plenty of near falls, with each one being broken up, and it looked like anyone could win this, until the dead man finally got the pin after taking Batista out with the tombstone. The animal was none too pleased though, as his little buddy Mysterio had broken up his pin attempt just moments before. You kind of knew that something as going to happen when Josh Matthews got into the ring to interview Mysterio and Batista after the match. Batista flipped, blaming his “best friend” for his loss, before beating the hell out of him. So I guess the big guy is a hated heel now then. Oh, and the match wasn’t too bad either.
The final tournament match saw Raw’s D-Generation X, the Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston face Smackdown’s Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth and the Hart Dynasty. This one certainly lived up to the hype, and I just loved the exchanges between Finlay and Michaels. Tremendous action throughout, with the Big Show turning on his team-mates, and costing them the match, choke slamming Kingston off the top rope, and then taking Triple H out with the big right, leaving his tag team partner Jericho to mop things up by pinning Kofi. Good, dramatic stuff.
The final match saw Randy Orton defend the WWE title against John Cena in an anything goes sixty minute iron man match. This was promoted as the final encounter between these two long-time rivals, and as with the previous matches on this show it certainly delivered. This was by far the best and most dramatic match these two have had this year. You had double pins, submissions, finishers countered with finishers, the champion attempting to blow the challenger up, a brawl through the crowd, and the destruction of the announcer’s table. With just a minute or so left, both men were tied at five decisions each, before Cena locked on the STF again, and with just five minutes left, Orton tapped, giving Cena the one fall lead and the title win. I really hope that this is the end of their rivalry, because I don’t think that they can top this effort.
In conclusion – a really enjoyable show. There wasn’t one bad match here, however, if they’re going to make this Raw v Smackdown encounter an annual thing, how about tweaking the concept a little? Why not make every match a Raw v Smackdown encounter? Why not have the WWE Champion face the World Champion? Why not end the show with a 5-on-5 match? While we’re at it, why not make that a War Games match? It would certainly make for a slightly more interesting show, wouldn’t it?