American Airlines Arena
June 29, 2008
results thanks to pwtorch.com
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show.
1 -- MIZ & MORRISON vs. FINLAY & HORNSWOGGLE - WWE Tag Team Title match
The absurdity of Hornswoggle being in a tag title match is only made more absurd by everybody acting like it's just business as usual. Ross did acknowledge during the match that "no offense to Hornswoggle," but it'd be embarrassing for Miz and Morrison if they lost to him. Otherwise, though, no outrage at the ludicrousness of him being in this situation; a character like Hornswoggle should either be in mid-card comedy matches or, in the rare occasion in a serious situation like this, a big deal has to be made out of how unusual it is. Ross talked up Miz and Morrison for having great synergy and athleticism, like them or not. After Ross brought up a Von Erich Iron Claw, Foley said he's seen Hornswoggle scale the top rope like Kevin Von Erich used to. He also noted that back in 1988 he won his first singles title in Dallas - the World Class Light Heavyweight Title. Hornswoggle did some of his usual run around the ring and avoid the heels act, then hot-tagged Finlay. In the end, the heels knocked Finlay out of the ring and caught Hornswoggle on the top rope. They slammed him to the mat and scored the pin.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 10:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- The highlight was Miz & Morrison celebrating like they had just scored a big upset.
-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were shown at ringside. They talked about the main event of John Cena vs. Triple H, then threw to video footage of their other singles match in 2006. Then they announced a text message poll regarding whether Cena, Batista, both, or neither would bring a belt back to Raw on Monday.
2 -- MATT HARDY vs. CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neely) - U.S. Title match
Chavo worked over Matt's leg early. Neely yanked Hardy's leg around the ringpost at ringside. Hardy came back at 5:00. Chavo fought back and applied a half Boston Crab. Hardy won out of nowhere with a Twist of Fate for the win.
WINNER: Hardy with a Twist of Fate in 8:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Okay early card match.
-A video recap aired of Vince McMahon being nearly killed and badly injured last week when a heavy lightning grid fell and almost touched him underneath.
-Mike Adamle and Tazz were then shown at ringside. Adamle had his serious face on and talked about the end of Raw being both terrifying and frightening. He said the McMahon family would be issuing a formal announcement on Raw. Tazz then threw to the "big" ECW Title match up next.
3 -- KANE vs. THE BIG SHOW vs. MARK HENRY
Kane opened with punches to both opponents. Then Henry splashed Show in the corner. Kane basement dropkicked Henry's legs. Show tossed Kane over the top rope at 2:00. "This is like a scene out of Jurassic Park almost," said Adamle. That left Henry and Show to battle it out one-on-one for a while. They showed Kane being tended to by trainers at ringside. Adamle said Kane was right in front of their "broadcasting..." then seemed to lose his train of thought. Tazz hilariously added, "Table, it's a table." Adammle said, "Thing. It's inanimate, so it's a thing." It really is entertaining listening to these two, but in Adamle's case it does ultimately take away from telling the story in the ring effectively when he doesn't really seem aware of where he is sometimes and is so often just giving detatched cliches that any observer could. Kane entered the ring again at 6:00 and charged at Henry in the corner. Henry caught him in a bear hug, which Adamel said is "like being in a giant, king-sized vice." Kane swung Henry into Show's extended boot. Show and Kane gave Henry a double chokeslam. When Show went for a cover, Kane broke it up. When Kane then went for a cover, Show broke it up. They got up and began brawling. Kane hit an enzuigiri that did reach Show's head. He then went to the top rope, but Show caught him mid-air with a chokeslam for a near fall. Show gave Kane an awkward back suplex for a near fall at 8:00. Kane superplexed Show off the top rope, but Henry then splashed Kane and scored a pin. Adamle said Henry is making G.M. Teddy Long seem like a genius for creating the match.
WINNER: Henry in 9:00 to win the ECW Title. Terry Funk, Sabu, Shane Douglas, Tazz, Rhino, and Mark Henry.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- They told a story logically and kept it moving at an interesting pace despite the plodding nature of everyone's offense and the lack of anyone to create movement around them. Henry's celebration made the title seem important. This win was a bit predictable since Kane's on Raw now and Show is on Smackdown, while Henry was just shifted to ECW. Poor Matt Hardy now gets to "chase" Henry for the ECW Title.
-Foley noted that this could be Batista's last chance at the World Title since he's been drafted to Raw. Ross plugged the text messaging poll.
-Backstage, Batista said if he wins the title tonight, he's taking it to Raw. He said he'll be The Man on Monday Night Raw. Cena then walked into the picture and welcomed him back to Raw. He said it's a bold statement to say he wants to be The Man on Raw. He said if he wins tonight, he may not be the only champion by the end of the night. C.M. Punk walked up to them and showed them his briefcase. He said it's getting awfully heavy.
4 -- HARDCORE HOLLY & CODY RHODES vs. TED DIBIASE (JR.) & ??? -- World Tag Team Title match
DiBiase came out alone to a twangy song with a heavy bass beat with the lyrics "I'm Priceless, Priceless." He said his partner just texted him and he is on his way. He asked if they could wait just ten minutes. He wanted the match rescheduled until later. The ref said no, but he could forfeit the match. DiBiase said if they can start the match, "my partner will be here, I promise." As Cody entered the ring, DiBiase said, "No, not you. I want Hardcore Holly right now." This gave away that Cody would be the one turning on Holly and joining DiBiase. It happened right away. Cody tagged in Holly, then kicked him and DDT'd him. It didn't get much crowd reaction at first; a few scattered boos. Cody then smiled and laughed. DiBiase introduced his partner, Cody Rhodes. Cody tagged in DiBiase. The fans seemed more confused than outraged, and perhaps a touch indifferent. DiBiase put Holly in the Million Dollar Sleeper and then slammed him to the mat for the win. Lilian seemed confused when the ref ordered her to announce DiBiase & Cody as the winners.
WINNERS: DiBiase & Rhodes in 2:00 to capture the World Tag Team Titles.
STAR RATING: n/a
-Todd Grisham interviewed JBL up in a skybox. JBL said they were in his luxury suite. He complained of not being on a show called Night of the Champions. Cole said that's because he's not a champion. JBL said it a failing economy and in a country where people are too stupid to realize they can't buy things they can't afford, he's a business owner who also owns a luxurious penthouse in New York City. He said he is the richest person in the entire WWE in Vince McMahon's absense. He brought up Mark Cuban's name as another rich Texan; he said the Dallas Mavricks haven't produced any champions since he left, but instead massive losers like the Cowboys. He said they went into the NFL playoffs the favorite and then choked to his home city, New York City, and "my New York Giants."
-Chris Jericho came out with his IC Title around his waist. Cole said he spoke to Jericho earlier and he has no remourse for what has happened to Shawn Michaels. Jericho then said he was told to walk to the ring to defend his title against a surprise opponent. He said Michaels won't be that surprise opponent because even though they're near his home, Michaels isn't as dedicated as he is. He said he's missed funerals and weddings and his kids' birthdays to be there for the fans. He said the fans don't appreciate it, though, so now he's here to save himself from them. His opponent then came out - Kofi Kingston.
5 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- Intercontinental Title match
After a slow opening minute, Kofi turned it up with a barrage of athleticism including a top rope bodyblock for the first two count of the match. Lawler talked about what an affable young man Kofi is. He leaped at Jericho in the corner and mounted him, then threw a series of punches. Jericho shoved him to the floor and regained his bearings. Lance Cade watched the match from ringside in a suit. Cole talked about the history of the IC Title, which he said debuted in 1979 with Pat Patterson as the first champ. Jericho went on sustained offense including an abdominal stretch. At 9:00 Kofi came back with some flying moves. He played to the crowd, who didn't seem to know who he was, and set up his finisher. Jericho blocked it and went right into a Walls of Jericho attempt. Kofi rolled him up for a near fall. He hit a standing legdrop for another near fall. Kofi head scisscored Jericho to the mat for a third near fall in a row. Jericho came back with some stomps, looking frustrated and embarrassed. Jericho hit the Lionsault and looked down at Kofi smugly before applying the Walls of Jericho. Shawn Michaels ran to ringside for a nice pop. He ducked a Cade clothesline and then superkicked him. Jericho saw him and released the Walls and tackled Michaels off the apron. Kofi surprised Jericho with a Trouble in Paradise and scored the upset win.
WINNER: Kofi in 11:00 to capture the IC Title.
STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Good match with a memmorable, potentially star-making (in a mid-card sense at this point) finish. It also gets the mid-card IC belt off of Jericho while giving him a reason to be upset.
-They went to Michaels at ringside who was still struggling to gain his senses. As soon as he got back to his feet, Jericho walked up and punched him in the face. Michaels sold it like only he can sell it.
-Another text message plug by Cole.
-Backstage, Vickie worked her way through flowers to pick out for her wedding. Curt Hawkins and Zach Ryder walked up to Edge. Edge said he wanted them to watch his match closely. He said Batista is already beaten mentally. Hawkins said it's too bad Triple H decided to help Batista on Friday. Edge took offense at the suggestion that he needed help to beat Batista. Edge said Batista has never defeated him. He ran down all of his titles. He also noted he banished Undertaker from WWE. Hawkins shot Ryder a dirty look for setting off Edge.
-Lawler and Cole threw to a commercial Vince McMahon and Cena filmed promoting the new razor sponsor of WWE. Cena hit McMahon with a chair during the commercial.
6 -- MICKIE JAMES vs. KATIE LEA (w/Paul Burchill) - Women's Title match
Katie worked over Mickie's shoulder for the first few minutes. Mickie came back with a DDT for a win nearly out of nowhere.
WINNERS: Mickie James to retain the title in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *
-Ross and Foley revealed the results of their text poll: 32 percent thought Batista would win, 30 percent thought Cena would win, 31 percent thought both would win, and 7 percent felt neither would win.
7 -- EDGE vs. BATISTA - World Hvt. Title match
During his ring intro, Ross talked about Batista's background, being estranged by his parents by age 17 and growing up on the streets of D.C. Batista dominated the first several minutes. Edge came back at 4:00 by throwing Batista into a ringpost. Edge took over offense for several minutes, including settling into a long chinlock in mid-ring at 10:00. At 13:00 Batista gave Edge a nasty looking sidewalk slam leading to a near fall as the match kicked into third gear. He followed with a spear for a very close and convincing near fall. He then powerslammed Edge, shook the top rope, and set up a Batista Bomb. Edge escaped and DDT'd Batista instantly for a near fall. The crowd was totally into the crescendo of the match. When Edge went for a spear, Batista caught him with a boot to the face. Batista climbed to the top rope. Edge caught him with a dropkick at 14:00. Hawkins and Ryder wheeled Vickie to the ring to cheer on Edge. Edge set up another spear, but Batista leapfrogged it. Edge went into the corner hard, then Batista hit the Batista Bomb. Ross called it as being over before the third count, so we knew it wouldn't be over. Vickie yanked the ref away from her count, standing on her feet out of her wheelchair no problem. Edge charged, but Batista side-stepped it and sent Edge into the ringpost. Foley said Vickie may technically be the ref's boss, but he felt the match should be over. As the ref counted Edge out, Edge hit the ref. Vickie called for a new referee. Chavo Guerrero came out with the stripes. Batista lifted Vickie into the ring by her head. He threatened her as the heels protested at ringside. He pressed her and tossed her onto the heels. Edge KO'd Batista with his title belt. Chavo entered the ring and counted to three. Ross wondered how Edge could be proud of himself retaining the title in that fashion.
WINNER: Edge in 18:00.
STAR RATING: ***3/4 - The bulk of the match was a bit formulaic and plodding at times, but the final few minutes of near falls before the interference were excellent. Then the finish was a mish-mash of interference, but it all made sense in the end for the characters involved (as opposed to feeling like a copout), so it worked.
-They showed the exterior of the American Airlines Arena. Then Grisham interviewed Triple H walked toward the entrance tunnel with the title around his waist. He said he is going to do what he should have done two years ago. That belt is so weirdly shaped it's impossible to look cool walking with it wrapped around the waist. A video package aired with big moments in WWE history including Bob Backlund, Ric Flair, Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Triple H, and John Cena.
8 -- TRIPLE H vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match
Cena came out first. Triple H iced him for a minute before coming out. They began slowly, pacing themselves for a long match (it began at just 21 minutes into the third hour of the PPV). Triple H gained the first sustained offensive stretch. We got to hear Cole's imfamously stupid phrase "pound and ground" (which is trying to sound all cool by using an MMA term, but getting backwards, since the term is "ground and pound").
Cena came back at 8:00 and went into his You Can't See Me routine. He paused so long, it just reeked of ridiculousness. If he wanted to win the title, why would he posture for so long, giving Triple H time to obviously recover and thrwart his finishing sequence? Triple H predictably came back and went for a Pedigree. Cena kicked out of it and hit a rear facebuster into the mat. Cena leaped off the top rope and overshot on a legdrop aimed at the back of Triple H's neck. He moved in for an STFU, but Triple H kicked Cena away. The crowd, which had been abuzz early in the match, had quieted a bit. Cena again played to the crowd, looking like a total buffoon once again. He waved his hand in Triple H's face. Triple H got up immediately and hit Cena with a knee to the face. How could anyone cheer anyone who "fights" in such a stupid way as Cena does? Maybe Triple H designed those spots to make Cena look dumb to give him an edge with the crowd, with Cena not realizing how stupid it makes him look.
Seconds later Triple H went for a Pedigree, but Cena escaped and threw Triple H into the corner. An invisible man then lifted and threw Triple H over the top rope to the floor. Okay, that's the type of phantom leap over the top rope that, if Triple H were watching someone else do it on a monitor backstage, he would have mocked them for unyeildingly for months. It was that bad. Just embarrassing. What was he thinhking. On the replay, they joined it mid-leap so it didn't show how bad it looked. They sold that Triple H hurt his knee on the landing. Cena seized the weakness and went after Triple H at ringside, clipping him from behind and then dropping his legs on the ringside steps. Then he yanked his leg around the ringpost, drawing deep boos from the crowd. At 13:00 Cena went for an STFU, but Triple H reached the bottom rope quickly.
When Cena went for an FU, Triple H slipped out and went for a Pedigree. Triple H, though, clutched his injured knee. He rolled over for a cover, but Cena kicked out before three. When Triple H finally returned to his feet, Cena covered and gave him a sudden FU for a believable near fall. That drew a crowd pop. Both men were slow to get up. Once they did, they punched each other mid-ring. Cena got the best of it and went into the You Can't See Me bit again. He hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cole said after two failed attempts at that earlier, psychologically he needed to connect with that. Cena lifted Hunter for an FU. He grabbed the top rope to force a break. When he went for a Pedigree, Cena slipped out and applied an STFU mid-ring. Triple H powered up, but then collapsed back down. Cole noted, after about 30 seconds, that Triple H tapped out in that position over two years ago at WrestleMania. As Triple H got near the bottom rope, Cena dragged him back to center ring and reapplied the hold at 19:00. Before he could lock it on, Triple H powered out and slipped the STFU on Cena. Cole asked if Cena would tapout. Cena seemed to fade, but then he stood up while in the hold into FU position. Triple H elbowed out of it. Cool spot. Triple H then hit the Pedigree clean for the win. Cena walked away looking dejected. Lawler said he seemed to be carrying his right arm like he had a pectoral tear. Cena didn't sell any pain in the arm, but was carrying it oddly. Lawler said they created "A Moment" with the match.
WINNER: Triple H in 20:00.
STAR RATING: **** -- Very good match. A few spots weren't good, but they did a nice job in the closing minutes playing off of each other's finishers and their previous finish. It felt like a big match between two top tier pros working their best match.
FINAL THOUGHT: WWE fans, your no. 1 title holder on Raw is... Kofi Kingston, as both world heavyweight tiles are now held by Smackdown wrestlers. If Triple H wanted an excuse to appear on not just Smackdown but also Raw, this does it.