Vintage Vault – No Mercy 2008

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*** Scott & Justin’s PPV reviews are a chronological look back at WWE PPV history that began with a review of WrestleMania I. After a brief hiatus, the PICs are back where they left off. The reviews include fun facts that provide insight into the match, competitors and state of the company along with overviews of the match action and opinions and thoughts on the outcomes. If you would like to review the full archive, stretching from WrestleMania I through Backlash 2008, please visit the old Place to Be Podcast message board. Also, be sure to leave feedback on the reviews at our Facebook page. Enjoy! ***

No Mercy 2008

October 5, 2008
Rose Garden
Portland, OR
Attendance: 9,527
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Tazz & Todd Grisham

Fun Fact: This is Oregon’s second PPV after Unforgiven 2004, also in Portland.

Fun Fact II: This is the last PPV under the No Mercy title.

Fun Fact III: The week prior to this show, SmackDown moved from the CW to MyNetwork TV. The show had called CW its home since Septmeber 2006.

Dark Match: Primo & Carlito Colon defeated John Morrison & The Miz to retain WWE Tag Team Titles

Fun Fact: Carlito & Primo had defeated Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins for the WWE Tag Team Titles on the 9/26 SmackDown.

1) Matt Hardy defeated Mark Henry to retain ECW Title with a Twist of Fate at 8:10

Fun Fact: On the 9/9 edition of ECW, the new ECW champion Matt Hardy started the show thanking the fans for their support. Mark Henry challenged Hardy for a rematch, and attempted to attack the champion but failed and Hardy hit the twist of fate on Tony Atlas. Later on in the night Matt Hardy teamed with Finlay to take on Henry and Knox and got the victory after Hardy pinned Knox. One week later, in a backstage segment Mark Henry complained that he was never pinned to lose his title at Unforgiven. On 9/23, Mark Henry cut an promo on the stage saying that Hardy couldn’t beat him and he would take back his championship back at No Mercy. Finally, on 9/30, Henry and Hardy faced off in an six man tag action which saw Henry pick up the win for his team.

Scott: We get the continuing main event feud on the purple brand to kick this show off. Portland pops for the champion, and I will be curious how the crowd will be for this one. This is really the character that Mark Henry would roll with pretty much up until current day (as of March 2014). The bullying strongman, or smiling strongman. Of course it depends on which side he’s on. Here he’s the former champion who lost his title at Unforgiven without being pinned and now he wants to take out the smaller champion. The match is pretty straightforward as Hardy works on Henry’s leg to keep him grounded and Henry just retaliates with pure power by throwing Hardy around. The tactic worked for Hardy as Henry would hit prospective finishers and not be able to capitalize with a gimpy knee. He goes for the WSS until Hardy hops out and hits a Twist of Fate out of nowhere for the victory. It’s a solid enough opener but the crowd was hot for it so I’ll give an extra tick for that. Grade: **1/2

Justin: Our next PPV outing kicks off with an ECW title match and a highly anticipated rematch between two very entertaining TV wrestlers. We saw a brief glimpse at SummerSlam and a bit more at Unforgiven but now we are finally set to get that full on encounter with these two. Henry is led out by Atlas, a pairing I love and makes all the sense in the world. Todd Grisham makes a strong point in that despite being champion, Hardy is a severe underdog heading in. Henry overpowered the champion out of the gate, working him over with knees and elbows. When Hardy did get a window, he tried to chop the legs apart, kicking away at Henry’s knees. As Henry continued to swat him down, Hardy took any opening he could get, finally doing some damage and busting Henry to his back. Henry limped his way back into control, staving off Hardy while still favoring the knee. In a great spot, Henry cut off a comeback with a bottom rope banzai drop in the corner. The crowd was really into this one, sinking their teeth into every comeback attempt that was shrewdly cut off with a Henry power move. Hardy found another opening and started chopping Henry down with elbows from the middle rope before hitting a really impressive side effect for a near fall. That was my favorite spot of the match so far. Henry would shrug off a Twist of Fate and hit his big splash, but he couldn’t cover right away due to the impact on his knee, allowing Hardy to barely kick out. Henry would catch a flying Hardy and tried for the World’s Strongest Slam but Hardy started punching Henry’s knee until the big man put him down. Hardy took the opening, the story of the match, and hit the ToF for the win. Man, what a great opener. Grisham and fill-in announcer Jerry Lawler did a nice job telling the story of this one and Hardy’s quest to legitimize his title reign. Very good opener and this match was worth the wait. Grade: ***

2) Beth Phoenix defeated Candice Michelle to retain WWE Women’s Title with a Glam Slam at 4:49

Fun Fact: On March 17, Candice Michelle wrestled her first match back since she underwent surgery to repair a broken clavicle suffered in October 2007. Unfortunately, in her return match, Candice torn the scar tissue over the repaired bone and also shattered the same bone once again, this time with four separate breaks. After surgery and rehab, she returned to TV on the 9/1 Raw where she teamed with Kelly and Mickie James to defeat Beth Phoenix, Katie Lee Burchill and Jillian Hall. On April 15, 2009, Candice was drafted to SmackDown, however she never appeared on Friday nights and she was released from the company in June. Candice has since remained out of the spotlight outside of commercial appearancs.

Fun Fact II: On 9/8 it was announced that Candice would receive a title shot at the PPV due to her win over Beth Phoenix in a six-Diva tag the week before. 

Scott: The Glamazon is with her boy Santino Marella, the IC Champion taking on one of the most underrated workers in the company. Candice was gorgeous but she worked her butt off to be competitive in these matches, and then she broke her collarbone not once but twice and has been out for a good bit of 2008. She returned in September and battled the Alpha Female of the division. Santino continues to botch her matches over and over again, but she survives. She does it here as well, as Santino blew a couple of chances but Glamarella wins it when Beth hits Candice with her finisher. There’s really not much to say here except the skits with the two of them are very funny. Grade: **

Justin: Switching over to Raw for our next match, Glamarella made their way out for a Beth Phoenix title defense. Beth’s theme always reminded me of Jeff Jarrett’s 1998 Aztec Warrior beat. I had no idea Candice was even still around, but here she is, looking hot as always. She had just returned from her gnarly shoulder injury a few weeks prior. She got off to a hot start, using dropkicks and pinning combinations to take an early shot at stealing the belt. Just as Michael Cole was pointing out that Candice needed to stay aggressive, Beth used her power to slam Candice into the corner and then went to work on that rehabbed shoulder. This crowd has been fantastic so far, really hot behind Candice. I always liked Candice because she tried, even though her moves were always just a tad off in one or another. But she at least worked hard not to do the same old diva stuff. Beth made a clear mistake in ascending the top rope as Candice shook her down before she could leap. Santino would get involved during the stretch, yanking Beth to the floor during a pin attempt. Some miscommunication led to Candice nearly picking up the win, but Beth countered a tomakaze attempt with the Glam Slam for the win. Glamarella continues to dominate the Diva division as another valiant challenger falls. Fine match here, with a good effort from both ladies. Grade: *

3) Rey Mysterio defeated Kane by disqualification when Kane used a chair at 10:10; If Mysterio had lost, he would have been forced to remove his mask

Fun Fact: On 9/8, Kane tried to shed a little light on why Rey Mysterio had been chosen as a victim of his. He simply held up Rey’s mask. The next week, Mysterio defeated Kane by disqualification after Kane repeatedly stomped on Mysterio and tried to tear his mask off. He was eventually thwarted by Evan Bourne. On 9/22, Kane petitioned GM Mike Adamle for a match with Mysterio at No Mercy. Later in the night, Kane defeated Bourne and then beat down Mysterio and called him a coward for wearing a mask. A week later, Kane teamed with Cody Rhodes, Many & Ted DiBiase to defeat Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, Evan Bourne and CM Punk. As a result of the win, Adamle allowed Kane’s suggested stipulation to become official for the PPV: If Kane won, Mysterio must unmask.

Scott: The premise her is that if Rey loses he must unmask. They didn’t do this storyline too much with Rey to this point, and he’s been with the company over six years. It happens a couple of times over the next year or so. It seems after Rey’s World Title reign in 2006 he’s kind of floated around. He did suffer a serious knee injury in late-06 and missed most of 2007. It was about this time that Rey started to slow his game down a bit to try and preserve his small frame. It’s matches like this though where that becomes a problem. Kane pretty much throws him around the ring here but in reality Rey was never going to take his mask off. I bet when he signed back in 2002 he said that he’d never lose it. He was forced to take it off in WCW for that stupid Filthy Animals storyline but that’s Eric Bischoff crapping on Mexican Lucha history. Kane was so obsessed with taking Rey’s mask off so he can see all the “monsters” but then foolishly gets himself disqualified by crushing Rey with a steel chair. Rey’s mask is half off so you can kind of see his face. Otherwise this entire thing made no sense. Why get yourself blatantly disqualified. The match was fun but the ending was pretty stupid. Grade: **

Justin: This was a rather interesting feud. Kane had injured Rey, who made his return in last month’s Unforgiven scramble match. Since then, Kane has made it a point of trying to unmask Rey and reveal him and his fans as monsters, just as he was treated back in the day. Thus, Mysterio’s mask is on the line here, a token offering to get Kane back into the ring for revenge.  Rey came at Kane hard, keeping him on his heels until Kane drilled him with a big boot to the face to stop him dead. Rey was able to trip Kane up and knock him into the ropes but as he tried the 619, Kane popped up and wiped him out with a clothesline. On the floor, Rey leapt on Kane’s back, but in a nice power move, Kane mared Rey off his back and onto the barricade. That opened Kane up to start punishing the lower back of Mysterio. The slow torture continued from there with Kane working a chinlock in between kicks to the head and teases of tearing the mask off. In a last act of desperation, Rey reversed a side slam and snapped off an inverted DDT, a move Cole called “swashbuckling”. Rey knew this was best chance and started flying around, using his legs and aerial arsenal until Kane finally hit that side slam he had been looking for earlier. Things turned ugly on a Rey DDT attempt as he seemed to land funny and bust up his knee. He kept within the match, picking up a near fall off a splash from the top. Rey knocked Kane to the floor and ascended the top rope, looking for one last big strike. He leapt off, but as he approached, Kane grabbed a chair and waffled Rey in the face with it, swatting him to the floor to draw the DQ. Kane walked off smiling as Rey was tended too, mask still in tact. This was another solid outing with a lot of good comeback attempts woven throughout Kane’s innovative ways to cut him down, ending with the chair shot to the face. Rey keeps his mask and may have messed up his knee but Kane gets the last laugh. Grade: **

*** Backstage, an angry MVP goes looking for GM Vickie Guerrero curious why is not on tonight’s card. He finds the locker room, but Big Show answers and basically tells MVP to stop being selfish after all the trouble she been through lately. Show warns MVP to go away and heads back to tend to Vickie. That apparently did not satiate MVP as he now made his way to the ring to talk instead. He rants about being left off the show, comparing himself to LeBron James and Manny Ramirez. Before he can continue, he is interrupted by Randy Orton. Orton says he is exactly what MVP claims to be. MVP says he didn’t recognize Orton without his shoulder sling and MRI results. Orton wonders why MVP doesn’t realize why this happens to him every month. MVP says Guerrero never gives him the ball but Orton craps on his tough luck since WrestleMania. MVP says there would be no repercussion to him knocking Orton out as he isn’t on Raw. As MVP got a bit closer, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Manu came down to join the party. Rhodes tells MVP to let Orton coast on his coast on his reputation because that is all he has left at this point. Orton references what he did to CM Punk, but Manu tells him he only picked up their scraps. Orton thinks the young guys are trying to impress him and tells them to accomplish just half of what he has and then he will take them seriously. Orton leaves and MVP buddies up to the young guys, but DiBiase dismisses him because he isn’t from an honored wrestling family like they are. DiBiase also takes a shot at MVP’s lack of PPV matches. MVP leaves and vows to remember the conversation in the future. As he is walking up the ramp, CM Punk and Kofi Kingston make their way out and convince MVP to hang around for a fight. The crowd loves Punk. They all charge the ring, but Punk and Kingston fake out poor MVP, who slides into the ring alone and gets beat down. Finally they hopped in as well and wiped out the tag team champions. Punk’s road to retribution is on, alongside his new buddy buddy Kingston. ***

4) Batista defeated John Bradshaw Layfield with a Batista Bomb at 5:19 to become number one contender for the World Heavyweight Title

Fun Fact: On 9/8, Batista was given a match with new World Champion Chris Jericho. Just moments into the bout, Mike Adamle decreed that the match was unfair given the condition of Jericho after the previous night. So, instead he made a handicap match, adding JBL to Jericho’s team. Thanks to a distraction from Lance Cade, JBL would pick up the pin on Batista to win the match. The next week, Batista demanded a PPV title shot as did JBL, but Jericho suggested Adamle have the two face off at the PPV to determine which was worthy of the match. Adamle complied and the match was set. On 9/22, Cade, Jericho and JBL defeated Batista and Shawn Michaels. The following week, Batista defeated Santino Marella and later in the night laid out JBL, promising him an even worse fate at No Mercy. JBL had been complaining about all the money he had been losing in the stock market.

Scott: There’s not many adjectives to describe my thoughts on this one. They’ve never looked good in the ring together, and going in I wasn’t expecting much here either. The match was pretty straightforward with Batista pretty much dominating JBL with clotheslines and powerslams. Since the end of the Undertaker feud in early-2008, Batista’s been kind of floating aimlessly with random PPV matches (including a win over John Cena at Summerslam). To be back as a big time player he needs a win and get back into the title picture. He wins this match in less than five minutes, mostly because the last two matches will eat up a good chunk of the end of the show. After the squash, JBL cuts a promo and admits his heart wasn’t in it due to the Wall Street collapse. He then puts over humps like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi and that he needs to stay rich and that everybody was protecting his money. This promo kept his heat even though he was pretty much squashed. To kill more time out comes Cryme Tyme to steal his limo. Who won this match? Oh yeah Batista. Grade: **

Justin: As if he hasn’t received enough World Title shots over the last three years, Batista gets a crack at another one here, facing JBL for the right to face off with the Champion. Cole hints that JBL has run into some financial issues due to the stock market’s recent downturn. We also get some government bailout talk. Ah, good times. These two haven’t crossed paths much since their feud in 2005. They hooked up a bit last month during the scramble but now go one-on-one with heavy stakes on the line. Batista gave JBL no room to breathe, quickly pounding on him from corner to corner before folding him with a spear to the gut. Lots of stock market, recession and bailout talk all throughout this one, which ties into JBL well enough. JBL bailed to the floor to slow Batista down and the trick worked as he was able to gain control, dropping elbows and then wrenching in a seated sleeperhold. Batista made a hot comeback, fought off a second sleeperhold and hit a spinebuster and Batista Bomb for the quick, almost squash-like win over JBL. I was pretty surprised at how quick that was. Batista now is in line for yet another World Title match. Grade: *1/2

*** After the match, JBL grabs the mic and talks about what a rough week he has had. He can’t believe he lost this match and has to be honest with the fans: his heart wasn’t in the match tonight. After the tough week Wall Street had, he has had the most dramatic week of his life and…is the happiest, most blessed man alive. He thanks congress for shelling out billions of dollars so people like him could stay rich and keep the world moving along. This speech was almost longer than the match itself. Very good heel stuff here, natch, as expected from JBL. As he is about to leave the ring, Cryme Tyme showed up on the TitanTron to let JBL know they are going to bail out his brand new limousine by taking it for a spin on the town with a group of Divas…and Sgt. Slaughter. ***

5) Big Show defeated Undertaker by referee stoppage at 10:04

Fun Fact: On 9/12, Big Show discussed his attack on Undertaker at Unforgiven, telling the Deadman he needed to follow the rules of SmackDown just like everyone else. He revealed his newfound partnership with Vickie Guerrero and hoped it would bring him a WWE Title shot in the near future. The next week, Show, Vickie and Chavo Guerrero proceeded to mock Taker, flaunting his Show’s assault and threatening to finish him for good. At the end of the show, Taker’s hand made an appearance, reaching in from off screen to choke out Chavo. Both the taunting and mindgames continued on 9/26, however this time Taker made his return, first attacking Chavo backstage and then dropping Vickie with a Tombstone in the ring after Show had left her alone to help Chavo. The following week, Big Show was in charge of SmackDown while Vickie recovered. He would punish Chavo by putting him into a handicap match against Great Khali & Mark Henry. After the bout, Show dropped Chavo with a right hand and then called out Taker. After the lights went out, Taker appeared in the ring and stared down Show, who was in the aisle.

Scott: If we go back through the annals, these two have actually never really had a lengthy feud together. They teamed together briefly in 1999 before Taker took time off and also clashed briefly early on in 2003. Other than that really there hasn’t been any time they had an extended issue. Taker has been exclusively on Smackdown for the most part, whereas Show has bounced around. So even though this is a forgotten match on a secondary PPV, this is somewhat historical. This feud obviously has legs for more than one PPV match so I was expecting some sort of schmozz here to continue things. With Edge out of the picture for a bit, it was nice to see some shaking up of the roster and some different matchups. This was also the time that Big Show starting selling his right hand punch as the most devastating finisher in the company, even more so than his chokeslam. In fact Show tries to chokeslam Taker but the Deadman reverses into a DDT that Show sold nicely. Big Show does indeed knock Taker out with a right hand and somehow the referee rings the bell. I thought it was a DQ because Show punches Taker in the back of the head again. But Big Show’s arm is raised in victory, but I still don’t understand why? Because Taker was out? Since when was that ever a legitimate finish? Where’s Jack Tunney? Taker wakes up disoriented. I still don’t get the ending, which has been par for the course so far tonight. The match was actually fun as it’s rare to see Taker be the face in peril against a bigger guy and fly around taking bumps. Show wins, but this feud isn’t over. Grade: **1/2

Justin: Even though these two stars have feuded twice before, it has now been nearly six years since they last tussled, making it feel somewhat fresh. Show has been wining and dining Vickie Guerrero and as a result has quickly ascended into quite the power position on SmackDown. Here, Vickie uses that to continue her war on the Deadman. Taker seemed to have a unique game plan to start as he stood right up to Show and tried trading right hands, which would seem to favor his opponent. Show proved my thought right when he immediately unloaded a barrage of fists to the midsection in-between using ringside objects to punish Taker. Taker came firing right back, using strikes but trying to gain steam and charge into Show each time, using the acceleration to even the playing field. Even when Show took back over and clobbered Taker with more fists, the pace never really slowed up. It wasn’t breakneck speed, but they were always moving, attacking and selling. I do love that anytime Taker had an opening, he took to the air, knowing he couldn’t stand and trade straight blows. Taker would survive a chokeslam, but Show was able to slyly remove the turnbuckle pad when Taker was tied up with the ref. Show rammed him into it and then decked the Deadman with three huge right hands to the head, rendering Taker unconscious and leading to Charles Robinson stopping the match. THAT is how you rebuild Show as a monster, a clean, knockout win over Undertaker. That was a good fight, with lots of heavy blows and no nonsense. It was easily their best to date. Show looked like a beast for sure. Grade: **1/2

6) Triple H defeated Jeff Hardy to retain WWE Title with a crucifix roll up at 17:02

Fun Fact: On the 9/12 Smackdown, Triple H cut a promo stating that he was the only champion to retain at Unforgiven. He was interrupted by Jeff Hardy and after praising each other, Triple H reminded him that every time Hardy attempts at the brass ring he fails to grab it. Jeff responded by saying if he had a clique, DX and “The Family” behind him then he would have what the Game had as well. Later on in the night Hardy won a fatal four way match which had MVP, Brian Kendrick and Shelton Benjamin. While celebrating his victory, Vladimir Koslov came down to ringside and attempted to attack him but failed. The next week, Hardy commented that the comments made by Triple H had inspired him and mentioned about the attack by Vladimir Koslov. After his match with Brian Kendrick, Vladimir attacked Hardy once again. Then after Triple H’s win against MVP, Koslov turned up and attacked the champion as well. On 9/26, Hardy and Triple H teamed up to taken on Brian Kendrick and MVP in a tag team match and won. Later on in the night Triple H made an appearance during a match between Koslov and Khali but was doubled teamed by both until Hardy made the save and stood tall with Triple H. A week later, Triple H won a champions triple threat match. After the match, Hardy came to save his brother from attack Chris Jericho and then hit the Game with the Twist of Fate and climbed a ladder until Koslov appeared but Hardy was able to hitting a swinging DDT off the ladder.  

Scott: This was one I was legitimately looking forward to. Triple H taking on the guy that everyone wanted to see become the champ, the die hards thirsting for the opportunity. He’s glanced the brass ring with his hand only to have it snatched away. I was curious as to whether Triple H would dominate as the more experienced singles wrestler and Hardy would make crazy comebacks or whether the match would be a legit back and forth affair. It seemed like the latter early as both guys would get their shots in back and forth. Hardy actually would work an early heat segment in control but eventually it would settle into Triple H controlling things with simple strikes whereas Hardy would hit the occasional reversal. Triple H would occasionally go old school and pull things like Abdominal Stretches out. He even takes one from his old friend Ric Flair by pulling the rope while being in the maneuver, then acknowledging that he cheated. I remember Triple H going on a weird sleeper kick in 2003 and he pulls one out here too. About eight or nine minutes in the match starts going back and forth with neither guy gaining more than a minute or two advantage. I think that’s really how this match needed to be booked. The match had to show that Jeff Hardy isn’t some fluky contender who will sneak moves in and steal victories. He needed to be at Triple H’s level to be legitimate and this is how the match is booked. At one point Hardy slingshots Triple H into the post and then hits Whisper in the Wind for a VERY close two count. He does go for the Swanton but Triple H ducks out of the way. He goes for the Pedigree again but this time Jeff reverses into the Twist of Fate. He then HITS the Swanton and I thought the upset was happening but Triple H out of nowhere rolls Triple H up into a roll up and he actually “steals” the win from Hardy. This was a great match that went back and forth and showed that on a main event stage, with a clear head, Jeff Hardy can shine. Triple H wins, but you feel the glass ceiling crack a bit. Grade: ****

Justin: The slow and steady climb of Jeff Hardy has reached its peak here with the WWE Title on the line. He has had a friendly relationship with Triple H and this feud was born of respect and desire for gold. JR pulls out a cool fact, reminding us that the first time Hardy won the IC title was against Triple H as well. The crowd was certainly buzzing here as the bell rang as there was certainly a feel that change could be on the way. Hunter tried to remind Jeff how the man is right off the bat, turning a handshake into a takedown and rollup before the challenger could even blink. Hardy wasn’t too fazed and was sure to wrestle his style and match and not fall into the trap of wrestling the champion at his own game. However, one drawback to Hardy’s style, as usual, is that it is reckless and lead to devastating mistakes, as we saw when Hardy missed a somersault denton and crashed hard to the floor. Hunter really worked to slow Hardy down and take the crowd out of it a bit, as the majority seemed to be backing Hardy. He even busted out some of his classic submission holds, with an abdominal stretch and sleeperhold. Hardy would work free and undeterred by his whiff earlier, this time he connects on a big somersault senton to the floor, wiping out The Game. The crowd was really heating up by this point and nearly came unglued on a nice near fall off a Hardy Whisper in the Wind. Things crested when Hardy missed a Swanton but was able to counter the Pedigree and hit the Swanton on the second try. As he covered, Hunter laced his arms and rolled him into a crucifix pin to steal the win. Oh boy, so close. I do believe Hardy looked very strong in losing here and wasn’t necessarily hurt by the loss because Hunter barely beat him and never hit the Pedigree. Still, we are getting towards the point where they need to pull the trigger on Hardy winning the gold as it has been boiling for nearly a year now and they haven’t cashed in. Sure, Hardy hurt himself in the spring by failing a drug test but by now, he has been rebuilt and the crowds wanted it. I am cool here, but it needs to happen soon. The match itself was very good with a really hot finish and had that “next star just trying to break through” feeling. Grade: ***1/2

*** Backstage, Triple H is confronted by Vladimir Kozlov, who congratulates him while solemnly staring him down. ***

7) Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Michaels to retain World Heavyweight Title in a Ladder Match at 22:19

Fun Fact: On the 9/15 Raw, Chris Jericho, accompanied by Lance Cade, claimed that neither JBL nor Batista were suitable challengers for him at No Mercy. Raw’s General Manager Mike Adamle said Jericho would face someone at the pay per view and that person was Shawn Michaels. Shawn then revealed it would be a ladder match. A week later, Jericho, Cade and JBL defeated Batista and Michaels in a 3-on-2 handicap match with Cade pinning his trainer Michaels. On 9/29, Michaels was scheduled to team up with a mystery partner to take on Chris Jericho; in a backstage interview he teased the possibilities being Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin. The mystery partner turned out to be the WWE Champion Triple H. Triple H and Michaels won the match via disqualification due to the illegal double team on Michaels. After the match, Jericho brought out a ladder but was scared off when Triple H brought out a sledgehammer. Jericho left ringside just leaving Cade alone to eat a Pedigree from Triple H and an elbow drop off the top of the ladder by Michaels.

Fun Fact II: This is Lance Cade’s final PPV appearance. On the 10/6 Raw, Cade lost a match with Shawn Michaels in what would be his final TV outing. On 10/14, Cade was released after an incident on a plane, which saw him suffer a seizure, implied to have stemmed from drug usage. He would work the Indy scene until September 2009, when WWE resigned him. However, he never appeared on the main roster and released again in April 2010 after a stint in rehab. Cade would sadly pass away on August 13, 2010 from heart failure due to developing cardiomyopathy due to drug use. Cade was only 29 at the time of his passing.

Scott: Just when you thought they really couldn’t squeeze another unique match out of 2008’s feud of the year, they do. Making Jericho World Champion was a genius move by WWE to really shake the Raw roster up and create new title matches. True this match isn’t new, in fact it’s the fourth time they’ve met on PPV this year. HBK has two wins against Jericho so far (Judgment Day and Unforgiven) and Jericho has one (Great American Bash). This is now very different, as the World Title has been thrown into the mix. Again not a fresh match but indeed an exciting main event that was needed as we had two babyfaces (John Cena and CM Punk) and one “cool heel” (Edge) not having matches on this show, as well as only a promo out of Randy Orton. So with some major players out, we needed a really great main event to carry the build to this show. You could say the ending was predictable as HBK always said he wasn’t going to win any titles, and after just winning it the month before I couldn’t see Jericho losing the belt this quickly. Then again I remember him winning at Unforgiven coming completely out of nowhere. Jericho took some nasty bumps in this match and ate the ladder often, and then there’s the spot we’ve gotten to know from HBK, and that’s some kind of move off the ladder and onto the announce table. This time though, Jericho recovers to climb the ladder and both men end up crashing through the table. There’s another spot where it clearly looks like Jericho was going to superplex HBK over a ladder from the top rope but Michaels just tosses Jericho from the ladder to the canvas. Jericho looks like he lost a tooth in this match as his mouth was bleeding and then when he smirks you see a big hole in his smile. HBK almost wins the title when he throws Jericho off a ladder to the floor and slowly climbs up the ladder towards the belt when Jericho slowly gets back in the ring and pushes the ladder over. Then they brawl on the ladder near the title and when HBK was about to grab the belt and Jericho’s toadie Lance Cade comes to disrupt. After he eats Sweet Chin Music, both men grab each end of the belt and pull on it for what seems like an eternity, until finally Jericho drills HBK with an “accidental” head butt and falls with the title. That was a true classic and what some consider Jericho’s best match ever. Kudos to HBK for doing what he does best: Shine. Jericho is still Champion but no one was a loser on this night. Grade: ****1/2

Justin: Our favorite feud of 2008 delivers us one last installment as Shawn Michaels challenges his arch enemy for the World Heavyweight Title. Oh, it is also a ladder match, which is a gimmick that both men have plenty of experience with. These two have brought us a beautiful storyline, with tons of twists, great promos, stellar in ring work and real passion and emotion. And now, for the first time, gold is on the line. It really did feel like the final go around in an epic feud, two great warriors throwing down one last time, hatred in their eyes but unacknowledged respect in their hearts. Michaels came right at Jericho but made an early mistake on a charge that ended with a visit to the ring post for his shoulder, giving Jericho giant target to assault right away. They spent some time brawling on the floor, including Jericho briefly locking in the Walls before Michaels used a ladder to gain control. Michaels seemed to have a different goal here for the first time in a while in this feud: attempts to just win the match. Ever since SummerSlam, Michaels has had pure revenge on his mind. However, after he bludgeoned Jericho last month, he now just wants to land a fatal blow by taking Jericho’s coveted gold. It didn’t take the champion long to show some color as his mouth was bloodied up good. At one point, Michaels latched in a figure four, but Jericho used a ladder to smash Michaels in the face, essentially targeting Shawn’s eye that has been a major piece of this feud. In a really nasty spot, Jericho laid Shawn’s face in between the legs of a ladder and slammed the top half down violently. Ouch. Michaels fought through it as the two spilled to the floor where the challenger punished Jericho with stiff ladder shots. Jericho was able to avoid an attempted moonsault by raising up off the announce table, ascending the ladder and taking Michaels through the table with a back suplex. With both men staggered, each blow started to feel more important and desperate, including when Jericho stopped a superkick with a ladder shot, followed by a Lionsault on a ladder sandwich with Michaels serving as a the meat. In another nasty bump, Michaels tipped over a ladder that Jericho was climbing, sending the champion smashing to the floor. Jericho immediately began clutching his knee that seemed to have suffered some major damage. Michaels took advantage by ascending the ladder, but Jericho made it back inside at the very last second to stop him. Both men would climb at the same time but it looked like we were guaranteed a new champion when Jericho was knocked backwards and ended up trapped in the rungs of the ladder. Before Michaels could grab the belt, Lance Cade made the save for his boss. Jericho freed himself while Michaels eradicated Cade, leading to another battle atop the ladder between the two rivals. With both at the top rung, they began a tug of war over the title that ended with Jericho smashing Michaels in the face, sending him careening to the mat. Jericho would yank the title down and retain his championship, bloodied mouth and all. That was a fantastic ladder match and an instant classic, filled with stiff shots and pure hatred and was a fitting climax to an amazing feud. It was a feud that helped both men equally and helped remind us just how awesome Chris Jericho could be. Grade: ****1/2

Final Analysis:

Scott: One of the year’s best PPV’s. Both title matches were fantastic with the feud of the year reaching a great climax and a unique WWE Title match with two contrasting styles going head to head. Big Show/Undertaker may not be putting on 5-star matches but the story is compelling and also fresh. Another PPV without John Cena but that’s ok as the matchups were fairly fresh and the rare Pacific Northwest crowd really gave it some juice. The roster is fairly balanced but this is the second straight month were WWE Creative decides to foolishly change long-standing traditional PPV titles. It doesn’t stop here. Hop on the WWE Network and put this show on if you have a couple of hours to kill, you won’t be disappointed. Final Grade: B+

Justin: I really enjoyed watching this show. Outside of the last two matches, nothing really stood out, but it was filled with hard work and a really hot crowd. Even the lesser graded matches were still just fine and not really bad or offensive. I agree with Scott regarding Taker/Show and the amazingly fresh feel that feud had, especially when you factor in the finish. The two title matches easily delivered, with the ladder match checking in as a MOTY candidate. Chris Jericho has really turned things around since April and has cemented himself as the most compelling competitor in the company. Sure, the snowflakes didn’t fall as plentiful as they may with other shows, but this was well worth checking out thanks to the pacing, hot crowd and a killer main event. Final Grade: B+

Author: Vintage Vault

Vintage Vault Reposts are a collection of reviews that Scott and JT have written over the years.