Vintage Vault – Unforgiven 2008

unf08

*** 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! ***

Unforgiven 2008

September 7, 2008
Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland, OH
Attendance: 8,707

Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Tazz, Todd Grisham & Matt Striker

Fun Fact: This is the Buckeye State’s 12th PPV, and first since Cyber Sunday 2006 in Cincinnati. It’s Cleveland’s first since Survivor Series 2004.

Fun Fact II: This is the last Unforgiven PPV as of 2014.

1) Matt Hardy defeats The Miz, Chavo Guerrero, Mark Henry and Finlay to win the ECW World Title in a Championship Scramble Match; Henry had entered the match as Champion

Pinfalls

Chavo Guerrero pinned Matt Hardy with a frog splash at 5:35

Matt Hardy pinned Chavo Guerrero with the Side Effect at 8:55

Mark Henry pinned Chavo Guerrero with the World’s Strongest Slam at 11:54

Finlay pinned Matt Hardy with the Celtic Cross at 16:17

Matt Hardy pinned The Miz with the Twist of Fate at 16:47

Fun Fact: On 8/26, qualifying matches were held to determine which competitors would advance to the Scramble Match on PPV. Matt Hardy defeated John Morrison, The Miz defeated Evan Bourne, Chavo Guerrero defeated Tommy Dreamer and Finlay beat Mike Knox. The next week, all six men brawled to open the show, leading to an eight man main event that saw Hardy, Bourne Dreamer and Finlay defeat Henry, Morrison, Miz & Guerrero.

Scott: We have the first of three matches focusing on a new type of match. The on-screen idea of Mike Adamle, the concept is similar to the Hardcore Championship match at Wrestlemania 2000. That was when someone would get a pin and be the champion for that moment until someone else pins them. Oh and for stat junkies like me, these are not official championship reigns. Only the one that exists when the 20-minute time expires counts. Unless it’s the champion going into the match. Like the Royal Rumble, two guys start and every five minutes another guy comes in. Chavo wins the first fall and technically is the “champion”. This was a fun concept because you can maneuver anything you want storyline wise to make somebody look like a face or a heel or the “Jesus Push”, or anything really. The roster was kind of a mess right now so these three matches do have some weak links in it. Matt gets the next fall with a Side Effect on Chavo so he now holds the chip and can then play defense. Mark Henry comes in and he gets a pin, so it really goes all over the place. It’s a lot of fun chaos. The last five minutes was a mad dash of broken pins and flying bodies. Mark Henry wasn’t pinned at all in this match and he loses his title. Such is the way with multi-wrestler title matches. Time runs out and Matt Hardy wins the biggest championship of his career. Good for him, he’s earned it. Mark Henry will likely get his rematch, but for now its Matt, not his brother, that’s the major champion first. Grade: **1/2

Justin: As we hit the final quarter of the PPV year, we open up with the ECW stars in the spotlight as we are introduced to a brand new type of gimmick match: Championship Scramble. I loved this concept as soon as they explained it as it was somewhat of a Royal Rumble/Iron Man hybrid and was excited to see it in practice. After the quick schmozz at SummerSlam, Matt Hardy was back into the title picture, but he was in the toughest position of the contest as he kicked things off The Miz. Miz is competing in his hometown here and has continued to grow as an in ring worker as he has gained confidence month after month through his tag team work with John Morrison. Miz and Hardy had a pretty basic match and you could tell they were just setting up the appetizer and waiting for the next entrant. Chavo Guerrero was out next, still flanked by Bam Neely. Another cool thing with this gimmick was that there were no eliminations, everyone stuck around and had a chance to win for the entire twenty minutes. Chavo wasted no time in dropping a frog splash on Hardy and picking up the win to become the current champion. The triple threat portion with these three was pretty good, especially once Hardy forged a comeback and pinned Chavo to take the gold. After he got the pin, Hardy showed some nice psychology, hooking Miz into a reverse chin lock, hoping to grind him down and wind out the clock. Things got a lot more interesting as Mark Henry entered next, pissed off that the title was no longer technically his. Henry ran through everyone, crushing them with clotheslines and power strikes before easily pinning Chavo with the World’s Strongest Slam to regain his strap. Henry has been booked fantastically in this run. Henry would employ the same strategy that Hardy used earlier as he hooked Matt into a bear hug to eat the clock. That strategy only lasted for so long, as Finlay entered the match and went right at the champion, rocking him with a DDT. Henry now had five minutes left here before he could escape with his title. After an assist from Hornswoggle, everyone ganged up and dumped Henry to floor, which led to a flurry of title changes as the belt hopped from Finlay to Hardy. As Henry made it back in and started dropping slams, Hardy did all he could to save his newly won title, busting up every pin and knocking guys to the mat. The final two minutes were the highlight of this one, with a manic pace and constant pin attempts by Henry that Hardy desperately kept breaking up. Time would finally tick down and the crowd popped huge as Hardy was officially named ECW Champion. That was pretty fun and a good way to end Henry’s reign without him being pinned. Hardy’s celebration and Henry’s shock really sold the moment well. The format was definitely intriguing and the finish was quite hot, which picked up what was an up and down match. Grade: **1/2

2) Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase defeat Cryme Tyme to retain World Tag Team Titles when Rhodes pins JTG with a small package at 11:35

Fun Fact: On the 8/18 Raw, Cryme Tyme showed up at ringside before the tag team champions were about to face John Cena. With the the champs tied up, JTG & Shad stole the belts and bolted from the arena, gold in tow. The next week, Rhodes & DiBiase demanded the titles back but Cryme Tyme revealed they borrowed them until the champs granted them a title shot. Rhodes & DiBiase relented and offered CT a shot at the PPV. On 9/1, Cryme Tyme got into a brawl with Miz & Morrison, which allowed the champs to sneak out, grab their belts and DDT JTG on one of them before running out of the arena.

Fun Fact II: Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase had been trying to impress Randy Orton as of late. After they had their belts stoled, Orton showed his disappointment and told them they should go out and get them back. After they did on 9/1, Orton showed his approval with a simple nod.

Scott: We have the newcomers on the block against the sons of royalty. Cryme Tyme got an immediate reaction from the WWE crowds and then they worked with John Cena during his feud with JBL. That also got them immediate cred. Rhodes & DiBiase is an awesome heel team of smarmy rich frat kids, similar to a young Randy Orton in 2003/04. The match was pretty straightforward, as the heels dominate most of the middle action keeping JTG in the corner and working him over. It was during this early time that Cody was mismatched in his outfits, wearing black tights, gold kneepads and blue boots. Yikes. After a missed move, JTG finally tags his bigger partner Shad Gaspard to clean house. Heel interference almost ended the match when Cody hit Shad with a DDT when the ref wasn’t looking but Shad’s foot on the rope broke the count. JTG had Cody in a small package but after being punched DiBiase pushed the small package over and Cody got the pin. That was a fun match with some good storytelling and some almost endings. When Cryme Tyme starts the fight after the bell a friend of the champions comes in to clean Cryme Tyme out. The mystery man turns out to be Manu, Wild Samoan Afa’s nephew. For now a successful title defense for the “priceless” duo. Grade: **1/2

Justin: It is good to see a tag title match back on PPV, especially featuring two young teams. DiBiase & Rhodes have really built up some nice chemistry as a unit and their natural heel swagger played nicely off Cryme Tyme’s endearing face act. JTG flew early, getting an assist from Shad on a plancha over the top onto both champs. CT had some fun offense and really were a unique team, plus they had the size and a good look too. I really like Cody’s new tights that have “Prince of Pro Wrestling” written in script across the back. Once the champs took over, the match settled into a basic face in peril formula with JTG taking the beating. Shad would tag in and clean house, but he ate a DDT for a pretty good near fall. JTG would slip back in and roll up Cody, but in a nice nod to the old school stylings of their fathers, DiBiase popped in the ring and rolled them over, putting Cody on top for the win. After the match, all four men brawled, with CT gaining the advantage until a large Samoan man with an afro hopped in the ring to help the champs. They would embrace and celebrate and it looks as if the stable has grown a bit more. This was a very solid tag team title match with an old school feel and ending. Rhodes & DiBiase continue to come into their own and are being given a lot of time to grow. Grade: **

3) Shawn Michaels defeats Chris Jericho in an Unsanctioned Match when the referee stops the match at 26:53

Fun Fact: On 8/18, Chris Jericho came to the ring and blamed Shawn Michaels for what happened to Michaels’ wife Rebecca at SummerSlam. He blamed Shawn for putting her in harm’s way and for also letting his ego get in the way of crediting Jericho for ending his career. Later that night, Jericho picked up a big non-title win over CM Punk. The next week, Michaels returned to TV and put his retirement on hold, offering to waive all liability and challenging Jericho to an Unsanctioned Match, a challenge that Jericho accepted after a bit of goading. On 9/1, the two men officially signed the contract and that meeting ended with Jericho and his lackey Lance Cade beating Michaels down after a Jericho cheap shot. It was later revealed that Michaels’ tricep was torn.

Scott: This is easily turning into 2008’s Feud of the Year. With every PPV match the build burns and burns, and the promos get more and more intense. If anybody can bring the pathos and sympathy out of a storyline, it’s Shawn Michaels. He gets tears out of fans. This time we have a referee only for counting. It is nothing more than a hardcore street fight. Michaels will go down as one of the greatest face-in-peril wrestlers in history. He can make a heel look like a million dollars, he’s almost the reverse of Ric Flair. In his prime, the Nature Boy make babyfaces from Nikita Koloff to Sam Houston to that bum Ronnie Garvin look like the greatest thing ever. Shawn does it for heels. Jericho throws everything but the kitchen sink at Shawn. One of the more memorable moments is when Michaels gets Jericho to break the Walls by shooting a fire extinguisher in his face. Jericho’s protégé Lance Cade helps out by punching Shawn’s injured tricep and then buries him with a clothesline. Somebody was holding a sign that said “The Has Been Kid”. Clearly he is a clueless putz. Both men then bury Shawn’s injured left arm with chair shots and kicks. Extremely vicious. This is a great match, but not as good as their past matches this year. The best moment of the night has Michaels holding his arm, but finding enough energy to drop Cade with SCM, then cracks Jericho (on the top rope) with a steel chair, and Y2J falls into an open table on the floor. Michaels batters Jericho with stiff one-armed chair shots and then in a classic Shawn Michaels moment, he lays Cade and Jericho on top of each other on an announce table and dives off the top rope and drills the elbow on both. These last few minutes are raising the grade for me. Shawn is sickeningly methodical in the last minutes of this match just destroying Jericho with evil precision. He then goes old school NWA and punches Jericho with the point of his belt buckle. It’s during this exchange that Marty Elias rings the bell to mercifully end the beating. Then for good measure, he gives Elias SCM. Like a tragic Shakespearean hero, Shawn looks tortured at what he did to another human being. The entire segment was more than just another match. Another epic chapter to this saga, and it’s still not over. Grade: ****

Justin: This feud has been amazing. The promos, the matches, the angle, the anger, the hate, the vengeance, all of it. I was really hyped for this one and Michaels set the tone early by showing up in a wifebeater and jeans, walking down the aisle with pure hatred in his eyes. These guys did an amazing job setting this war up and I can’t think of a more hyped match with such an awesome feud behind it over the last couple of years leading to this show. Things got ugly quick, as Michaels’ aggression backfired on the floor, allowing Jericho to bash him with a chair and a table as he methodically took control. Jericho beat him around the ring, showing no mercy or remorse or urgency. Shawn made his first comeback of the match, again going back to the aggressive tactics, choking and smacking Jericho around. Despite his taped up torn tricep, Shawn was able to hit the top rope elbow and the decided to forego Sweet Chin Music in lieu of a barrage of fists to the skull of Jericho. It may have been the wrong decision, as Jericho took a swipe at Shawn’s recovering eye, leading to a full on assault of his orbital area. Jericho would eventually lock in the Walls, but in a desperate attempt to stay alive in the match, Shawn reached down and grabbed a fire extinguisher from under the ring, which he used to incapacitate Y2J long enough to turn the tide. As Jericho bled from his nose, Michaels battered him up the aisle, using the steel of the ramp and barricade to punish his enemy. Before he could put Jericho away, Lance Cade showed up and got involved, cracking Shawn with a big clothesline and then assisting Jericho in battering the tricep. With the referee rendered helpless by the rules of the match, Cade and Jericho picked Michaels apart. Before they could Pillmanize his arm, Michaels found the energy to fight up, superkick Cade and smack Jericho with a chair, sending him careening off the top rope through an open table on the floor. Shawn followed that up by wrecking Jericho with chair shots before kicking him viciously in the head. He would then pile Jericho and Cade on the announce table, scale the top rope and crash onto them with a wild elbow drop. Jericho’s nose was a bloody mess as Shawn dragged him into the ring and whipped him viciously with his leather belt. Man this got ugly fast. And intense. You could feel Jericho’s pain as he was curled up on the mat while being smacked with leather. I can’t remember Jericho ever taking a beating like this in a match. Shawn then slowly rolled him over, hooked is arms, whispered in his ear and pummeled him with the belt wrapped around his fist until the referee finally stopped the match. That was some nasty stuff and both guys were great in their roles once again. After the match, Michaels hammed on Jericho and even superkicked the referee, unable to let go of the hate. This really felt like a true old school bloody brawl filled with hate and a well booked back story. With Michaels picking up the win here, you have to wonder if the story is den or if Jericho comes back for more. Grade: ****

*** Backstage, Rhodes and DiBiase introduce their new teammate Manu to Randy Orton. Manu is the son of Samoan Afa. Orton congratulates them for their skill, but says due to dumb luck they managed to get a win. He tells them to watch a replay of the match and then come back and explain why they should feel they should be celebrating because they didn’t really accomplish much. Orton says he isn’t impressed at all and then walks out. ***

4) Triple H defeats Jeff Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, The Brian Kendrick & Montel Vontavious Porter to retain WWE Title in a Championship Scramble Match

Pinfalls

Jeff Hardy pinned The Brian Kendrick with a face-first powerbomb at 7:17

The Brian Kendrick pinned Jeff Hardy with The Kendrick at 9:31

Triple H pinned The Brian Kendrick with a Pedigree at 16:02

Jeff Hardy pinned MVP with a Twist of Fate at 17:11

Triple H pinned The Brian Kendrick with a Pedigree at 18:13

Jeff Hardy pinned The Brian Kendrick with a Swanton Bomb at 18:30

Triple H pinned MVP with a Pedigree at 19:59

Fun Fact: On 8/22, The Brian Kendrick won a battle royal to earn a slot in this match. Also qualifying on this night were MVP (defeating Festus), Shelton Benjamin (defeating Finlay) and Jeff Hardy (defeating Great Khali). The contestants would take shots at each other, starting with Benjamin jumping Hardy and MVP after Hardy had just defeated MVP in a hard fought match. Later in the night, Triple H would defeat Benjamin in a singles match, but Shelton clocked him with the title afterwards. On 9/1, Benjamin, Kendrick and MVP beat down Triple H until Hardy was able to make the save. Later that night, Kendrick defeated Hardy and Benjamin knocked off MVP. At the end of the night, Hardy congratulated Triple H on a victory over Khali before taking him out with a Twist of Fate.

Fun Fact II: On July 18, Brian Kendrick made his SmackDown debut after being shifted to Friday nights in the Supplemental Draft. Upon his debut, he showed off a new heel swagger, look (including a pimp leather jacket) and a bodyguard named Ezekial Jackson. He would act aloof and delusional and dubbed himself The Brian Kendrick.

Scott: Our second championship scramble match of the night has The Game defending his title against four contenders. Well, let’s be honest they’re not ALL contenders. Jeff Hardy? No doubt about it there. Shelton Benjamin? The current US Champion definitely deserves an opportunity to be the top dog on SmackDown. It was smart to start two fast athletic guys at the start, similar to Jeff’s brother and Miz in the ECW scramble earlier. As for Kendrick? I was a big fan of this character and his work in the ring. Let’s be honest, though. Does he really belong in this match? Not at all. He wasn’t a character very long and logistically couldn’t hold a candle at this point to any of the other participants. In fact he eats the first pin of the match via Jeff Hardy’s modified Flapjack. The crowd went crazy as realistically that’s a perfect way for Hardy to win the WWE Title without having Triple H get pinned. Although Jeff, who already was in the driver’s seat, tried to get another pin even though he didn’t need to. That was kind of dumb. But then out of nowhere Kendrick stuns everybody by getting a pin on Hardy to be in control. Then the clock hits zero, and out comes MVP. I didn’t have a problem with him here either as he’s a former US Champion. However other than Triple H and Hardy there wasn’t any top flight star power here. Edge was selling the chokeslam to Hell from SummerSlam and Taker isn’t around. That really put a dent into the talent pool on SmackDown thus perhaps watering down this match. Maybe Kendrick OR MVP in this match would be a cool novelty but not both. Triple H comes in last and gets control with a pin on Kendrick and now it’s a sprint in the last four minutes. Then Jeff Hardy gets a late pin with 2:54 left and maybe we see what so many WWE fans wanted to see. Triple H Pedigrees Kendrick and pins him, but then Jeff hits the Swanton and pins Kendrick. So Jeff is in control with 1:30 left and after some maneuvers he and Triple H are out on the floor. Kendrick, MVP and Benjamin do a cool Electric Chair off the top rope. Jeff was still champ at :30 but Triple H pins MVP with :01 left to keep the title as Jeff just missed pinning Benjamin. Now Triple H haters will think WWE dicked everybody around only to have the brass ring slip away from Jeff Hardy again. Others say that Jeff deserves to get a straight pin victory for the title instead of winning his first World Title in some gimmick match. Regardless that was a fun match even if the roster was a little watered down. Grade: ***

Justin: Our second ever Championship scramble opens with a good choice for its first pairing as Jeff Hardy squares off with Shelton Benjamin. Shelton has been through a nice resurgence on SmackDown and gets rewarded accordingly. JR & Tazz put over the big match feel in the arena and when you look at the lineup of this one, you can see they were using Triple H to help elevate a new swath of talent, something that was very much needed, especially on SmackDown. It was refreshing to see a new mix of stars involved with the WWE Title. Shelton really controlled the early parts here as JR gushes over the athleticism showcased on Friday nights. They also discuss Shelton’s cockiness, which can lead to him losing focus at times. And right on cue, Hardy makes a comeback and grabs a near fall. As Hardy took it to Shelton, The Brian Kendrick entered in the #3 slot at the five minute mark. Accompanied by Ezekiel Jackson, Kendrick was now tossed right into the fray of the biggest match in his WWE career. I really dug this character and it was well worth taking a shot in the dark to get him over as he had oodles of talent and a connection with the fans. JR & Tazz seemed to agree as the hard sell for Kendrick was on. After sauntering to the ring, he turned up the heat in the ring and wrestled with a great urgency, working over both men. Sadly, his renaissance was short lived here as Hardy makes quick work of him to become the kingpin and went right back to working over Shelton. In an act of desperation, Shelton hit a nice Paydirt, but Kendrick popped back in and stole the pin to become the current champion. As Kendrick played defense and defended his crown, MVP was the fourth entrant into the bout. All four battled with JR continuing to push Kendrick hard, anointing him as the star of the match. Tazz was great here with lots of analogies on how to survive and win a unique match like this. JR has really helped get him back on track in the booth here on Friday nights. Triple H joined the fray last and immediately wiped everyone out before dropping Kendrick with a Pedigree to become the reigning champ. No shock there. With the clock ticking, Hunter became the hunted, which did make sense given the setup of the contenders here as all the young guns were trying to knock off the top dog. Hunter would get wiped out on the floor, giving Hardy some daylight to hit a Twist of Fate on MVP to take the title back. The crowd seems pretty split here between Hunter and Hardy. Hardy would make a bad mistake, heading up top when he didn’t need to, allowing Hunter to knock him off the top rope. The Game slipped back in and pinned Kendrick with another Pedigree to become champion. However, as he recovered in the corner, Hardy hit a Swanton on Kendrick to take the belt right back. With just over a minute left, Hardy hit a nice plancha to Hunter on the floor and it was looking like we may see a new champion. Back inside, the rest of the guys were wiping each other out until Hardy came back in and did his best to keep everyone at bay. As the clock ticked under ten seconds, Hunter dropped MVP with a Pedigree and won his title back with one second left. So close! I am cool with Hunter retaining here as I think having Hardy win this way would have felt a bit cheap considering all the pinfalls. Everyone was booked pretty well here, they all got shine spots and nobody was buried in any way. This was straight up good wrestling, nothing more, nothing less. The Hunter era rolls on Friday nights. Grade: ***

*** Backstage, CM Punk is being interviewed about the main event but he is interrupted by Randy Orton, who calls him a fluke. Punk fires back calling Orton a bitter, injured ex-champion. As Punk continued to defend himself as champion, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Manu jumped him from behind. After a swift beatdown and a failed attempt to stop it by Kofi Kingston, Orton charged and punted Punk in the head, knocking him out cold. ***

5) Michelle McCool defeated Maryse to retain WWE Diva’s Title with a gourdbuster at 5:44

Fun Fact: On the 8/29 SmackDown, Maryse teamed with Natalya to defeat Michelle & Maria. After the match, Maryse attacked the champion and the two brawled to the floor. The next week it was announced that Maryse would get her title match at the PPV. The two would have a confrontation on the entrance stage after Maryse picked up a win over Maria.

Fun Fact II: Maryse Ouelett is a former beauty pageant contestant that threw her hat into the ring for the 2006 Diva Search competition. She made the final eight but was the second eliminated. Maryse was still interested in sticking with the business, citing Lita as her inspiration. She was signed to a developmental deal in August and remained in OVW as a performer until January 2008. She was moved up to the blue brand where she adopted a snobby attitude and entered into a feud with Cherry after Deuce & Domino fired their former manager and hired on Maryse. That angle was short lived and Maryse would take part in standard TV Diva fare until she moved into a feud for the newly minted Diva’s title.

Scott: We get a spell from the last two long matches with a quick title match. Maryse just always had that hot high class stripper look. Michelle was obviously the better worker here but the French-Canadian diva held her own with some decent work here. I was never the biggest fan of two women’s belts. I just didn’t think there was enough real talented divas to hold two belts. Just because there were two shows didn’t mean there had to be two belts. Michelle wins with a gourdbuster, honoring Arn Anderson. Decent enough match to spell the crowd. Grade: **

Justin: Oh hey, Maryse! That is all I need to for this match to be a success. I think Scott is being a bit harsh calling Maryse a “high class stripper” but to each his own. She is smoking. Michelle is still hanging on to her Diva’s title that she won back at he Bash, making her the inaugural champion. She still doesn’t have much in the way of a character and as such seemed to be just keeping the seat warm at this point. JR gets in a funny line saying that Tazz also used the nickname “sexiest of the sexy” back when he first started out. Michelle looks decent out of the gate but the crowd immediately turns on this one. Things spill out to the floor and Maryse whips Michelle into the barricade in a stiff bump. Michelle upped the ante with a clothesline off the barricade on her way back in from the crowd. I will certainly give them credit for trying something different. Maryse tries some sort of inverted figure four pretzel leglock that doesn’t make much sense, but again they are trying to stand out from the standard diva stuff. She would keep working the ankle and foot until Michelle battled back and also started to work the lower leg and knee. The champ even did some decent selling, collapsing on a gourdbuster attempt before pulling herself together and hitting it a second time to retain. The finish here surprised me a bit as it seemed like they were lining up Maryse for a win, especially with the lack of depth to Michelle. This match was better than it seemed on paper thanks to both working hard and trying a different style. Goodbye, Maryse. My heart will go on… Grade: *1/2

*** Mike Adamle comes out to announce that CM Punk may not be able to compete tonight. If he can’t go, Adamle will find a suitable replacement because the scramble will take place tonight. After that, Big Show marches to the ring to the surprise of the format sheet. he offers his services to Adamle as a good fit for the final scramble slot. He takes a shot at Vickie Guerrero for being left out of the SmackDown scramble and the way she runs the show. He asks the fans if they would vote for him to be in the scramble, they cheer and he starts to leave, but Guerrero then makes her way out before he does. She lays into him about causing a disruption on the PPV after she asked him not to. She threatens to fine and suspend him and calls him a big, dumb giant. She vows to make him suffer the consequences but before they leave, Gregorian chants fill the air and a casket is wheeled out by a group of druids. The Undertaker then appeared on the Titantron and discussed his promises that the coffin would be Vickie’s final resting place. He asks Vickie to go on her own or else he will come down, choke her out and send her off to the flames of Hell. That seemed a bit much. Show would prevent Vickie from leaving and the lights dimmed as the bell tolled and Taker arrived in person. Taker would walk up and grab Vickie by the throat but Show sucker punched him with a big right hand to knock him to the mat. Show kept the assault on, hammering him with punches and knees to the chest and knocking him to the floor. Taker tried to battle back, but Show was too much for him. Show’s vicious, brutal beatdown would establish his punching prowess and also leave Taker a mess on the mat, again at the hands of his nemesis Guerrero. ***

6) Chris Jericho defeats Batista, John Bradshaw Layfield, Kane, Rey Mysterio & Chris Jericho to win World Heavyweight Title in a Championship Scramble Match

Pinfalls:

Kane pinned John Bradshaw Layfield with a chokeslam at 7:22

Batista pinned Kane with a spinebuster at 16:41

Chris Jericho pinned Kane after Batista’s spinebuster at 17:09

Fun Fact: On 8/18, GM Mike Adamle revealed that Shane & Stephanie McMahon had dictated a Championship Scramble match at the PPV and revealed all five of the challengers at the same time: John Bradshaw Layfield, Kane, John Cena and Batista. Later that night, Chris Jericho defeated CM Punk in a non-title match. The next week, Adamle announced that Cena had take some time off due to an injury he sustained at SummerSlam. Later that night, Adamle announced that a returning Rey Mysterio would be filling Cena’s slot. On 8/31, during a large promo segment featuring all of the competitors, Kane vowed that Mysterio would not show up because he was in hell, courtesy the Big Red Machine. Batista would then lay the challengers all out with spears. At the end of the night, Kane won a mini battle royal, last eliminating Punk. After the bout, Mysterio made his return and attacked Kane to end the show.

Fun Fact II: Chris Jericho is replacing CM Punk, who was knocked out of the match by Randy Orton before the match.

Scott: This needed to be the last scramble simply because there were more high profile guys than in the WWE Title match. The scuttlebutt backstage was that CM Punk was rankling people with his World Title reign and that some superstars were pissed he was picked to win MITB at Wrestlemania and go over “more established” guys. Maybe it was the wrong time for Punk at that moment, but regardless he had some good matches during his reign. You could say he had the best match at SummerSlam against JBL. Better than the other major title match that night (Triple H/Khali). Kane comes in third and chokeslams JBL to get the first pin of the match. I was totally burnt out on Rey Mysterio in World Title matches. He got the gift title run in 2006 simply because Eddie Guerrero had passed away, but I harken back to the fact that the roster at the current time was somewhat depleted and so there really wasn’t anyone else to put in these spots. He still got decent pops from the crowd so it wasn’t a total misfire to put him here. Plus with all these big dudes in the match having a guy to throw around leads to some fun moments. So the countdown was going last and it wasn’t CM Punk but instead it was the crippled Chris Jericho, still worse for wear from the beatdown that Shawn Michaels gave him earlier. From here the clock is ticking for the last five minutes. For the most part this match is fairly boring with no real outstanding moments, until the end. Logically, why not put Shawn Michaels in this spot? He actually won the match with Jericho earlier. I know it was probably to raise the stakes of the Michaels feud later down the line but still it made no sense for Adamle to bring out a guy who was bludgeoned earlier in the night to fill the spot. Jericho hides outside during the last 5:00 while Kane, Batista and JBL knock each other around with random power moves. Why is Kane going for another pin? That’s twice it’s happened tonight. Under a minute to go and Batista looks to be the one to get the last pin and indeed does get a LATE fall with :40 left. However while Batista was powerbombing Rey Mysterio, Jericho crawled in and pinned Kane with :12 left. Batista the dope had plenty of time to throw Jericho out of the ring and pin Rey but instead just stares like a goof. Jericho, for the first time since losing to Triple H at WrestleMania XVIII, is a World Champion, over six years. The match is really bland, but Jericho winning does add some spice to his feud with Shawn Michaels. Grade: **1/2

Justin: After the fantastic surprise of CM Punk’s first World Title reign, that run ended with an ugly thud here tonight. He had done some questionable jobs and didn’t quite pick up a marquee win, but now he does not even get to defend his title as he is essentially stripped since the scramble went on and he was out. Batista and JBL kicked things off, reigniting their old feud from years ago on SmackDown. In a nice tribute to his mentor, Batista actually hooked in a figure four, looking to damage JBL enough to keep him down for the remainder of the match. Cole & King do a nice job early on establishing the psychology of this type of bout. It was interesting that they chose these two to open up the match, as normally you would assume smaller, faster guys with better cardio would get tabbed to do so. As is, they did a fine job getting the crowd into it, mainly thanks to their love of the Animal. Kane was out next and Cole immediately reminded us about how he has cost Batista multiple title matches and also wiped out Rey Mysterio. With JBL wiped out on the floor, Batista and Kane lumbered through some power moves, losing the crowd a bit. JBL would make it back inside, but he ate a Kane chokeslam that officially ended Punk’s reign and moved the Big Red Machine into the King’s throne for the moment. As Mysterio entered fourth, Lawler wondered if Punk maybe would show up, which was interesting that they teased he may be able to return. Rey was on fire out of the gate, running through JBL and Batista until Kane stopped him cold to remain the alpha dog of the bout. Batista and Rey would start working together until Rey pulled the okie-doke and tried to steal a pin. This match has been really slow and has nowhere near the buzz the SmackDown scramble had at this point. When the final gun shot, it was not CM Punk, butler Chris Jericho that slowly emerged from the curtain and limped his way to the ring. He was covered in welts and dried blood, barely able to get into the ring as the clock ticked towards four minutes. He would finally make it in, but ate a quick spear from Batista, who was heating up and going for pins. It was now that the pace finally picked up with quick strikes, near falls and last split second saves on covers. The crowd just really wasn’t feeling this one at all, which is surprising considering they were guaranteed a new champion and the match featured some legit fan favorites. This match was also very different from the SmackDown edition, which saw a lot of falls throughout. With just two minutes left, there had only been one so far here. With the ring cleared out, Batista kept wearing down Kane and finally pinned him with a spear to become the reigning champion. He continued to stand alone as the clock got to under :10. It was then that Mysterio dove into Batista, tying him up. That distraction allowed Jericho to slide in and cover Kane, who was still down and out. Jericho would pick up the win, the clock ran out and we had a very unlikely World Champion. This was really disappointing with a slow, choppy pace and not a ton of drama despite the stipulations. A flat crowd didn’t help matters either. The SmackDown edition easily put this one to shame. However, the last 30 seconds was great and Jericho winning was a really fun surprise and fit his character perfectly. That saved this from being a total wash. Unfortunately, it also leads to Batista continuing to look like a chump and a choker, but it was worth it to get the gold on Jericho, who has been an MVP for much of 2008. Grade: **

Final Analysis

Scott: This show was surprisingly good, better than I remembered. The Scramble concept was pretty cool and it’s sad that it never came back. Nice to see Matt Hardy finally win a big championship in his career, and his brother literally fell just :01 short. Again I was fine with that, and not because Triple H kept his title. Those that win their first World Titles (at least babyfaces) should win in one-on-one or at most triple threat matches. Jeff Hardy shouldn’t have had to win his first major title on a fluky gimmick. Of course the awesome Michaels/Jericho feud is the highlight. Seeing another Undertaker/Big Show feud makes me yawn. Although have they feuded before? Maybe not in a long while. The roster was really in sad shape at this point. They had John Morrison on the pre-show and he easily could have fit in any of the scrambles, particularly that paltry Smackdown one. Again, I thought the show was fun and entertaining, but the roster issues hold it back from being a much better show. Final Grade: B-

Justin: I really wanted to like this show because the Scramble concept really interested me. It was a new, unique concept that added some freshness to what could have been just a bland show. Unfortunately, the in ring just did not click and led to a string of mediocre matches that sandwiched one brutal classic show stealer. The Michaels/Jericho match was fantastically gross and stiff and the payoff of Jericho’s title win to close the show was fabulous. The rest I could take or leave. The Raw main event scene was a real mess, filled with bland, played out stars but inserting Jericho into the lead role was a big time win. The SmackDown Scramble was the best of the bunch as Triple H working to get over a bunch of younger kids was much more enjoyable and fresh than the stale Raw group. Right now Jericho/Michaels is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the company and I can’t wait to see where they head next. Final Grade: C+

Author: Vintage Vault

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