Vintage Vault – WWE One Night Stand 2008
*** 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! ***
One Night Stand
June 1, 2008
San Diego, CA
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Mike Adamle & Tazz
Fun Fact: This is the third PPV for San Diego, and the first since Taboo Tuesday in 2005. This is also California’s 21st PPV, tying it with New York for the most PPVs in any state, to date.
Fun Fact II: This marks the final PPV the One Night Stand moniker would be used for. It would be renamed Extreme Rules in 2009.
Fun Fact III: William Regal was fired from the GM position on the 5/19 RAW after Vince appeared, commented on the massive complaints from the fans about Regal’s decisions, and forced Regal to compete against Ken Kennedy with the loser getting fired. Kennedy won the match after nailing the Mic Check and sent Regal packing. In reality, Regal was taken off TV for his second violation of the Wellness policy and was suspended for 60 days. A lot of speculation can be said about what could have been Regal’s greatest run of his entire career, as many rumors included a potential WWE Championship run.
1) Jeff Hardy defeats Umaga in a Falls Count Anywhere match with a Swanton Bomb off a production truck at 9:06
Fun Fact: These two battled on the 5/19 Raw, wrestling to a double countout. Later in the night GM William Regal announced this rematch. On the 5/26 Raw Umaga got the upper hand going into the PPV when he and JBL defeated Hardy and John Cena in a tag team match when JBL knocked Jeff out with the Clothesline from Hell.
Scott: Jeff Hardy was out for a while as penance for yet another personal misdeed. This time though more than just that transgression happened in his life. He made a surprise appearance at Judgment Day to defeat MVP, and now he takes on the massive Samoan. Umaga kept his heat even after losing to Bobby Lashley last year at Wrestlemania. That was mostly due to the Vince McMahon/ECW storyline. However he lost at Wrestlemania again this year, this time to Batista. I think that has caused him to lose some of his luster and he hasn’t even been on the past two PPVs. He returns on this night to take on the Charismatic Enigma. Hardy’s trying to get his mojo back after a push to the main events in late 2007-early 2008. He faced Randy Orton for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. Then the suspension, so now he has to start from scratch. This match is very reminiscent of the Attitude Era, as both men fight all over the place, including even going outside. They continue brawling on the outside and eventually Jeff hits a Swanton off the top of one of the big 18-wheelers onto Umaga for the victory. Two other cool moments in the match included a nasty Umaga thrust kick to Jeff’s face, and Jeff sliding down a long railing on a flight of stairs to hit Umaga with a clothesline. It was a fun enough match with a few good spots in between as Jeff Hardy slowly tries to get back to the level he was at earlier in the year. Grade: ***
Justin: Our second non ECW One Night Stand opens with the rejuvenation of an Intercontinental title feud from a year earlier. Since returning from his drug suspension, Hardy has been back on a roll but has earned the wrath of GM William Regal, who is using Umaga as a weapon of mass destruction. In what has seemed to become a booking trend as of late, the heel gains immediate control of the bout and starts laying in some heavy blows. Hardy makes a comeback using his aerial moveset, but that is quickly thwarted by the high energy power of Umaga, who spikes him with a spinning sidewalk slam. The San Diego crowd is red hot right off the bat here, popping for every high impact move. As much as Umaga’s aggression helps, it can also hurt him, as it did after Hardy ducked his wild charge and he tumbled to the floor. I always enjoy how Umaga sell initially but then just snaps and shrugs those bumps off and goes right back to being a human wrecking ball, as he just slung Hardy into the barricade and then into the arena wall as they fought through the crowd. Once they got by the entrance way, the weapons started to fly, but Hardy couldn’t build any sustained momentum. They would eventually find themselves backstage where things started to get creative, taken up a notch as Hardy slid down a staircase railing and crashed into the big Samoan for a near fall. After a fight through the concourse, the two ended up brawling in the back parking lot, using steel cases and trailer trucks to further cause injury to each other. In the closing moments, the two scaled a ladder up the side of a production truck, but Hardy was able to kick Umaga down to the ground. Hardy continued to ascend and came crashing off the top with a Swanton for the win! The camera work was great here too, as they hid the bump behind a giant case and then quickly moved away the padding before we could see the carnage. That was a bad ass finish that definitely bumped the grade up for me. This almost felt like a nice throwback to the Hardcore title matches of the Attitude Era. These two have some damn good chemistry as this was fun opener and a great win for Hardy with a memorable visual at the end. Grade: ***
*** In a nice touch, Mick Foley discusses the strategy and potential risks of a stretcher match. ***
2) Big Show defeated CM Punk, John Morrison, Chavo Guerrero and Tommy Dreamer in a Singapore Cane match to become #1 Contender for the ECW Championship after pinning Dreamer with a Singapore cane shot to the skull at 8:56
Fun Fact: On the 5/20 ECW, GM Armando Estrada announced there will be a fatal-four way match between former ECW Champions Morrison, Dreamer, Punk and Guerrero to determine #1 contender for Kane’s ECW Title. That bout will be a Singapore Cane match. Later in the show Morrison & Guerrero defeated Dreamer & Punk in a tag match but before it ended out came a fifth former ECW Champion: the Big Show! He laid waste to all in the ring and put himself into the Singapore Cane match. On the 5/27 ECW Big Show defeated Tommy Dreamer in a squash, Guerrero rolled up Punk for a cheap win, while Morrison & Miz lost a handicap match to Kane by DQ. The show ends with Big Show cleaning house on everybody again.
Scott: This is a collection of all former ECW Champions. Of course Tommy is the only LEGIT ECW Champion. Regardless, these five men want a crack at Kane’s gold. Watching this just reminded me of Chavo’s muscle, Bam Neely. And yes Boston Bruins fans, the name is meant to be a take on ol’ Cam’s name. How funny. Four canes are hanging from very high poles and they’re all up for grabs if you can get them. It’s a pretty big car crash match where a bunch of guys just swinging at anything that moves. There’s an awesome moment where we have a superplex/powerbomb combo from Punk, Morrison and Chavo. At one point Show gets busted open and he starts going off. There’s an entire garbage can full of canes at ringside. If that’s the case, what was the point of the four poles? That’s stupid. Show brought them into the ring. Everybody has huge welts all over their bodies. Show and Tommy have a one-on-one moment late in the match, and in true Tommy Dreamer fashion takes a good shit-kicking. A couple chokeslams later and Big Show is your new #1 contender. A year and a half after losing the ECW Title in that embarrassing shit show called December to Dismember, he will get another shot at it next month. Grade: **1/2
Justin: As the Big Show returned to his old ECW stomping grounds, he set his sights squarely on the title around Kane’s waist and started to beat on anyone in his path. I like how we get an ECW match that isn’t just the standard title bout, as it shows a little bit of depth for the brand. This is a good mix of talent, featuring all former ECW champions. And we get to see the immortal Bam Neely, which is always a nice treat. Tommy is rocking some swank white pants for this one, so you know it’s a big deal. Tazz talks about his history with Dreamer, detailing all the miles they rode together back in the day. Things break down quickly right away with Show cleaning house. Just moments later, the other four got their act together, began to work as a unit and took Show down. They then grabbed the four available Singapore canes and started bashing Show with them. Out on the floor, Punk and Chavo reignited their rivalry from earlier in the year, with Punk getting an assist from Charger Shawne Merriman, who was sitting ringside. That was pretty cool and got the crowd really riled up. Adamle and “CM”, a match made in commentary heaven. Outside of the first few minutes, Punk has gotten the most shine in this match. Tommy got going at one point and sent Morrison flying with a cane assisted overhead throw before blocking a G2S and countering into a Texas Cloverleaf. Big Show is the first one to bleed, thanks to a cut over his eye that came from one of the cane shots. Adamle correctly notes that this is a battle of survival and not really a match and right on cue we get a closeup of Show’s semi-crimson mask. Once Show realized he was cut, he stomped around the ring and just started wrecking shit with a cane, taking out each guy, one after the other. This crowd is really fantastic, which is making these match seem even better than they have been so far. He would finally get the win after crushing Tommy with a chokeslam and cane shot to the dome. That was a dominant performance and some great booking to make Show look like a beast once he tasted his own blood. After Show, Punk looked the best, which was good to see as well. We are now two-for-two in fun, garbage style matches thanks to some hard work and a smoking hot crowd. Grade: **1/2
*** Backstage, Mr. McMahon teases the upcoming Million Dollar Giveaway, of which he will share the rules the next night on Raw. ***
3) John Cena defeats John Bradshaw Layfield in a First Blood match when Layfield bleeds from the mouth at 14:18
Fun Fact: On the 5/19 Raw, JBL and Randy Orton wanted rematches from their Judgment Day losses. William Regal said they could have a tag match with Triple H and John Cena later in the night. If they won, they get their rematches and could pick the stipulations. Well they did indeed win that tag match, and JBL picked a First Blood stipulation. On the 5/26 Raw JBL teamed with Umaga to beat Cena and Jeff Hardy.
Fun Fact II: This is the first gimmick match between these two since Cena defeated JBL in an “I Quit” match for the WWE Title at Judgment Day 2005.
Scott: This was one of the better, more unpredictable feuds in 2008. Like I mentioned at Judgment Day this is almost an extension of their 2005 feud that jump started the Cena Era. Cena cost JBL the title at Backlash and then stole the win the following month with an FU out of nowhere. First Blood matches are fun but they involve a lot of punches and kicks. Anything to start the red water flowing. Speaking of blood, these two had an awesome match three years earlier when they had an I Quit match at Judgment Day 2005. That show saw Cena bleed like crazy defending his newly won WWE Title. The match is exceptionally stiff, as both guys are trying to put over the psychology by slamming each other faces into anything around them. Overall the match is ok, but it seems like a lot of moving around and not much actual wrestling. It’s stiff I’ll say that, but there’s a lot of dead spots. The match ends when Cena puts JBL in the STFU using a chain that JBL brought into the ring. JBL started spitting blood and the bell rings. I thought JBL would win this one after losing last month. Everything about this match was strange. I will say both guys really put their punches and other strikes over, but there seemed to be a lot of dead spots with no real overall action. Grade: **
Justin: For the second straight month, John Cena actually gets way more cheers than boos during his entrance. We shall see if that carries over into the match. This feud continued to rage on following Cena’s flash victory at Judgment Day. And the good times are indeed short-lived, as the fans quickly turn on Cena once the bell sounds. JBL has his hands taped up, which is a nice touch. Cena goes right to the face, hammering JBL with right hands, trying to draw blood. Once he turned the match around, JBL returned the favor with some stiff fists and kicks to Cena’s face. I like how they went right trying to bust each other open instead of having a basic open and transitioning midway through the match, which happens from time-to-time. The way they started opening up the strikes right away really added to the blood feud feel they have been trying to get over. JBL has dominated the majority of two matches with Cena and has zero wins to show for it thus far. He is like a hard luck baseball team that lost a lead late in one game but has bounced back and is dominating the next one. Sorry, Jordan Duncan. Cena bounds back and start to hit his usual offense but JBL cuts it short by blocking an FU. JBL would pummel Cena on the floor, but Cena was able to trip him up and send him crashing back onto the ringsteps. He followed with a Horsemen homage as he grated JBL’s face back and forth across the steps, trying to open him up. The referee is very attentive in this one, flying in and examining the head of whichever man took a big blow. JBL was eventually able to grab Cena’s chain and crack him in the ribs with it. After Cena hit a desperation FU, he got kicked in the face and ended up tied in the ropes, which is not a good place to be in this type of match. It didn’t matter, as Cena was able to break free, grab the chain and then choke out JBL with it. Cena wrenched in tight and caused JBL to bleed from the mouth, ending the match. Once again, JBL dominated the action but came up just short in the end thanks to a desperation play by Cena. The match was fine, mainly brawling with a few nice spots mixed in. That finish was pretty nasty and brutal and looks to be the capper on this one. I have enjoyed midcard Cena, but odds are against him staying there for much longer. Grade: **
4) Beth Phoenix defeats Melina in an I Quit match when Melina submits to a modified Boston Crab Crossface at 9:07
Fun Fact: On the 5/19 Raw Beth Phoenix beat Maria with Melina at commentary. Melina attacked her after the match but Beth beat her down and left her on the ramp. This match was announced the following week, when Melina beat Jillian Hall by submission.
Scott: Now here’s a very interesting scenario. Not only do we have a divas match with a male-dominated stipulation, but its also a Divas match that doesn’t involve the Women’s Title. We barely see a Women’s Title match on PPV with this much attention, let alone one with no title on the line. However, in this case we have two pretty solid women workers, particularly Beth Phoenix, who can wrestle as stiff and strong as any guy. This harkens back to that great Trish Stratus/Victoria match from Survivor Series 2002 at the Garden, when they pummeled each other so much they were both bleeding. Both sides try to turn each other into pretzels until Beth finally locks on something that folds Melina into a chair. Beth wins a pretty good match for the women’s division. Grade: **1/2
Justin: After these two dragged Mickie James into their issue a couple of weeks ago, they finally get to square off in a one on one affair to settle things. JR notes that this is the first female I Quit match in company history. It is interesting to see a non title Diva match on PPV here, actually showing the relative division depth at this point. One of Melina’s paparazzi members trips over himself and falls backwards as she enters, actually looking like he may have torn his knee up. Beth tried to intimidate Melina once again, but it didn’t work as Melina smacked her and went right to a front facelock. Beth slipped free and the power assault was officially on. Melina mounted a comeback and locked in a bridging inverted STF and actually held the hold for quite a bit before Beth forced the rope break. The girls always bring the energy, I will give them that. Beth regained control, eventually hooking in the Ventura Backbreaker, just like she did back in May. Melina kept hanging around, refusing to give in, and was finally able to strike by running Beth into the ringpost, possibly providing Melina a submission opening. And she would exploit that chance with an armbar submission that again lasted a while before Beth finally broke it up with a deadlift powerbomb. She capped things off with an inverted powerbomb and a sick nasty submission that looked like it was going to break Melina in half. Melina hung in, looking valiant, before finally succumbing and giving in. This was solid stuff and had some decent psychology mixed in. It also made Melina look shrewd in waiting for an opportunity and pouncing, but Beth’s strength was just too much. We will see if she heads back to the title picture now. Grade: **
*** Backstage, John Cena & Mickie James have an awkward interaction to spur on their potential relationship. Mike Adamle pops in and is effervescent about this new power couple and also invites them on a trip to Tijuana. Adamle was doing Chris Traeger before Chris Traeger even existed. ***
5) Batista defeated Shawn Michaels in a Stretcher match at 16:55
Fun Fact: On the 5/12 Raw Shawn Michaels finally admitted to Chris Jericho that he faked the knee injury that helped him defeat Batista at Backlash. Batista defeated Jericho on the 5/19 Raw, allowing him to face Michaels at this show. On the 5/26 Raw Michaels and Jericho wrestled to a double countout. Over this two week period Batista consistently told Jericho to not get in the way during this match.
Scott: First off, I’m glad they passed this match to Cole & Foley even though it’s a split show match (Michaels from Raw, Batista from Smackdown). The last stretcher match was a year ago when RVD took on Randy Orton at One Night Stand. Here we have two totally contrasting styles that met two months ago in a straight wrestling match. I liked that match and this one is equally as good as both men really pummel each other, particularly Batista who obviously beats down the smaller HBK with his big power moves. At one point Shawn tries a superkick and barely moves him. Shawn did the best he could and got Batista on the stretcher a few times but couldn’t finish it. Eventually the bigger Batista wore HBK down and with back to back Batistabombs was about to push the stretcher over the line. Out comes Chris Jericho to try and help Shawn along, in fact stopping Batista’a progress. Unfortunately for Shawn, Batista decides to add an exclamation point with a spinebuster on the steel steps. That gets the stretcher over the line and Batista gets even after the loss at Backlash. That was a well told story there, not better or worse than their first match but different psychology. HBK/Batista is done, but Shawn will end up with another problem. Grade: ***
Justin: The fallout from Ric Flair’s Wrestlemania retirement match is the gift that keeps on giving, as it has spurned quite the series of PPV matches and quality storylines since it all went down in Orlando. After battling Chris Jericho at Judgment Day, Shawn Michaels is back to battling his initial accuser, Batista. But this time, the two battle in a stretcher match. Batista is just fucking jacked here. And intense. Michaels tried to get off to a fast start, going right at the Animal, but Batista just shrugged him off and started to batter him immediately. Just moments into the bout, things spilled to the floor, where Michaels took a rough bump off the stretcher before coming back and using the stairs to knock the big man down. Foley makes a good point here, saying the winner will be the one that takes that extra step in doing whatever he can to win. Shawn was able to use Batista’s power against him, as he turned a bear hug into a front facelock, choking the Animal out and draping him across the stretcher for a failed attempt. Once Batista recovered, he began to target Shawn’s back. The fans were fully behind Shawn here, but it wasn’t enough to sustain his comeback, as Batista cracked him with a clothesline. Shawn was able to reverse a powerbomb into SCM, knocking Batista through the ropes and onto the stretcher. Shawn still wasn’t able to wrest away control just due to the power advantage of Batista, who won a tug of war over the stretcher and slammed it into Shawn’s face. Foley really put over how focused and vicious Batista’s offense was in this one. Back inside, Batista crunched Shawn with a spear and Batistabomb. The Animal dragged Shawn out of the ring and put him on the stretcher, but before he could drag him away, Chris Jericho showed up and was very animated in trying to will Shawn to a comeback. That was an interesting development there. I loved Batista’s mean streak in this one as he just didn’t fuck around at all, using his power to punish and dominate Shawn. After another powerbomb, Batista again loaded Shawn on the stretcher and was just about to the finish line when Jericho showed up again and stopped him. OK, I get it now. Jericho is just setting up Shawn for more punishment under the guise of helping. Brilliant work in what continues to be a brilliant storyline. Batista would drop Shawn on the ringsteps with a spinebuster and then finally shove him across the finish line to win it. For all intents and purposes, this was a squash but man, was it a fun one. It was dripping with emotion and twists, specifically when Jericho was involved. Batista just dominated, which is perfect storytelling for a pissed off guy his size. The Jericho/Michaels angle continues but we have to think Batista finally has some closure. Grade: ***
6) Triple H defeated Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match to retain WWE Championship after using a sledgehammer at 13:15
Fun Fact: As mentioned above,on the 5/19 RAW, Orton and JBL won their match to pick the stipulations for their respective matches at the PPV. Orton chose Last Man Standing. The following week, the two had an final in-ring confrontation, during which Triple H accused Orton of thinking he is that good by bragging about his wins while the challenger felt he surpassed the champ and Triple H felt that if he defended the title successfully, it would be as if the Age of Orton never existed.
Scott: Over the next few years it would be the most overused gimmick match in the company. Both guys would be involved in a myriad of them. Hell this is the second time in the last eight months that they faced each other in this type of match. Really it’s similar to a stretcher match except there’s no rolling a guy across a line. But you essentially have to incapacitate him. These two guys’ chemistry isn’t bad, as they’ve worked together many times, but after the cage match I wasn’t sure what more these two could possibly give. Triple H’s reign hasn’t been terrible. The San Diego crowd was a little flat for this one, particularly for both men’s entrances. We get the usual outside maneuvers with moves on the announce tables and even smacking each other with the steel steps. Then the match ended essentially when Triple H tossed Orton over the top rope onto the floor. Orton landed on his shoulder and broke his collarbone. We get some token punches and Triple H lands a sledgehammer shot for good measure, but in essence the match ended when Orton hit the floor. Orton would be on the shelf to heal the broken bone. I don’t know how much longer the match was supposed to last, but that was obviously not planned. You can tell when Orton was tossed over the top rope he wasn’t in control of how he was going to land and trying to avoid the steel steps on the floor he landed awkwardly. Orton’s on the shelf, and The Game’s still on top. Grade: **1/2
Justin: After battling in all sorts of environments, this war over the WWE Title continues on in a stipulation rematch from No Mercy 2007, when Orton defeated Triple H to win the vacant strap. Between the video package and the commentary, they are working hard to make this feel like a big time match, but it just feels played out at this point. They wasted no time at all, as the two spilled to the floor and traded blows. But after that, it was the Hunter show as he began targeting the shoulder of Orton, using the ringpost as his weapon of choice. The champ just dominated early on completely, nearly ending things with a Pedigree on the announce table before Orton was able to slip free and crush him with a hanging DDT to the floor. As the match hit the halfway point, it was about as paint-by-numbers as possible. And that isn’t to say it was bad in any way, but just as basic and solid as you would expect from them at this point. Despite having dominated most of the bout, Hunter had no close calls yet while Orton had the Champ down for at least eight seconds twice. Looking to finish the Game off, Orton grabbed an extension cord and began to choke away with it, getting a third eight count. As Hunter stumbled to his feet, Orton loaded up for an RKO, but Hunter blocked it and dumped him over the top rope in a haphazard manner. The way he got tossed out, Orton had no chance to break his fall and took an obviously nasty fall on his shoulder. Hunter actually broke the count and it is clear things are falling apart at this point as Orton is badly injured. Even Hunter looks a bit lost and he is usually pretty reliable in these situations. They would finally figure things out, as Hunter grabbed a sledgehammer and pasted Orton in the face to put him down for good. This was a middling match before the injury and then just completely fell apart afterwards. I am glad they didn’t try to save it by having Orton gut through a routine match, instead just calling an audible and get him checked out. The reign of Hunter rolls on and Orton is finally vanquished. Grade: **
7) Edge defeated The Undertaker in a TLC Match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship
Fun Fact: On the 5/23 Smackdown, Vickie Guerrero stood by her decision to keep the title vacant and announced there would be a rematch between the two at the PPV but it would be contested in a TLC match. Shortly after, Chavo Guerrero apologized for his actions the previous week, but Vickie put in a match against Taker later that night with Edge, Hawkins, Ryder, and Neely. Edge and his boys were ejected from ringside, and Taker would pick up the win. The following week, Edge showed clips of Taker’s best moments throughout the broadcast and then hosted the Cutting Edge with Taker as his guest. Chavo, Neely, Hawkins and Ryder wheeled a casket to ringside and then Taker fought with them before Edge attacked him with a steel chair and put him into the casket. Edge then went to the top of the ladder and celebrated before the lights went out, the gong sounded and the lights came back on with Taker on the ladder too, scaring Edge to the floor and Taker hitting Ryder with the Last Ride through a table to end the show.
Scott: Writing this five years later its amazing that Taker used to be in regular feuds for the titles. This one has gone on since Taker moved to 16-0 at Wrestlemania. After wins at both Backlash and Judgment Day you thought Edge would take this one and win his belt back. However when they added the “Taker’s career ends” stipulation I thought no way. Why pull the trigger on a storyline like that on a forgettable secondary PPV? Of course they throw that stipulation in there simply to make it seem unfeasible that Taker would lose this match. I love how the whole “Undertaker has no experience in TLC matches” is the other hook. I mean in reality it’s a ladder match with extra weapons. No disrespect to Edge by any stretch, and I know they’re using “Edge’s gimmick” here, but really Taker can adapt to anything. Anyway, the match is fun as both guys paste each other with anything that’s around the ring. Then eventually Edge’s “familia” get involved, from the Edgeheads (Ryder & Hawkins) to Chavo to Bam Neely. I thought the match was over when Taker gave Edge the Last Ride off the ladder onto a double table. That of course was close to how John Cena beat Edge for the WWE Title at Unforgiven 2006. Taker, on a bum knee tries to get up the ladder but he keeps throwing run-ins off him. Edge recovers from the Last Ride, and tosses Taker over the ropes onto a myriad of open tables, and somehow, in one of the most legitimate upsets in PPV history, Edge wins and (in storyline) Undertaker’s career is over. I love the arrogant pyrotechnics for Edge after he won the match. So great. I was already assuming that at some point we’d get a swerve where the Board of Directors would get Taker back or something like that. For now, Edge is back on the top of Smackdown’s mountain, and the Deadman’s career, is over? Grade: ***
Justin: For the fourth straight PPV, these two Smackdown icons go to war for the big gold belt. With La Familia dominating Friday nights, GM Vickie Guerrero stripped Undertaker of the title and put it up for grabs here, where it dangles high above the ring. It worked out having Mick Foley in the booth for this one since he was the man behind the creation of the TLC match back in 2000. And coincidentally enough, Edge was one of the six men involved in that first edition. And as Scott mentioned above, the commentary booth gave Edge the slight nod based on the gimmick given his experience in the genre. This has really been a great feud as the matches have all been good as well as unique. Taker would dominate early as Cole discussed his evolution over the years and Foley put over his ability to adapt. Taker would knock him to the floor and stack a series of tables but Edge avoided disaster and wiped Taker out using the steps. From there, things were more balanced and the steel became commonplace, beginning with a ladder. The pacing of this one is definitely slower than the earlier showdowns, but that is a factor of the weapons and also that they now know each other so well. Edge would get some licks in, but Taker used a chair to beat him down on the floor. The tone of this installment is clearly to just beat the other man into oblivion, take the title and end this for good. Edge hit a nice counter by holding up the chair as Taker attempted his legdrop on the ring apron. The assault continued as Edge started wrecking Taker with chair shots to the face. They were so stiff that Foley assumed Edge could leisurely win the match at that point, but Taker refused to stay down for long. Back in the ring, Edge started to wreck Taker’s leg, trapping it inside a ladder and mashing it with a chair. He would use that same chair to destroy Taker’s head yet again. Edge is just beating the shit out of the Deadman, really pushing along the thought that he is a master of this gimmick. Taker would battle back yet again, sending Edge flying over the top and onto a ladder with a chokeslam, but before he could ascend the erect ladder in the ring, Ryder & Hawkins came out to stop him. They would get the upperhand for a few but eventually chucked both men through ringside table. The distraction lasted just long enough for Edge to get back in the game. The biggest spot of the match came here as Taker powerbombed Edge off the ladder and through two stacked tables. A damaged Taker could not get up the ladder fast enough, which allowed Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely to now get involved. This whole match is microcosm of what life under the reign of La Familia has been like on Smackdown. In that way, the interference is just a great payoff to the whole thing. And just when we thought we saw the biggest bump, Edge dumps Taker off the ladder and through the stack of tables ringside. Taker would be down for the count and Edge shockingly grabs the title to end the Deadman’s career. That was a shocking finish but I like it. As much as it seemed like Taker ending the stable was in process, I like that the Familia overpowered him and Edge won the match he is most associated with. Despite all the help, he still beat the piss out of Taker for the duration of the match and proved he could hang blow for blow. It was also great seeing La Familia all stand tall at the end of the show, the dominant faction of the blue brand. This is my second favorite matchup between these two, standing only behind WrestleMania, and this point of the year. Grade: ****
Scott: This show was pretty much like Backlash and Judgment Day. A fairly down the middle show with some very good moments and some bland ones. Both title matches were ok, with the right match going last regardless of the stipulation or gimmick. Randy Orton’s injury makes it yet another summer with a main eventer on the shelf, although the WWE disabled list isn’t nearly as long here as it was in 2007. Everything is fairly status quo within the company, which was one of WWE biggest problems. These shows started to all blend together into one long PPV. We will document the shows and find the diamonds within the mediocrity. That’s a description of this show. It doesn’t necessarily have a true diamond, but the TLC and stretcher matches are worth checking out. Final Grade: C+
Justin: This was a tough time in the world of WWE PPV as they shoehorned two shows within two weeks of each other, which allowed no time for build and led to many rematches. In some cases, the rematches were welcomed due to the high quality of the storyline or match, in others they just felt a bit played out. There were a couple of good matches in the opener and stretcher bout, but outside of the main event, nothing really popped at all. The fans were lively the whole time, which definitely helped, and we got some good storyline movement, but this show just wasn’t necessary coming off Judgment Day. With the way Taker was wiping out all of La Familia, it seemed like this storyline was finished and he would win the title, but alas the swerve was in and Taker’s career is now over. It will be interesting to see where Smackdown heads now as they have to find a fresh feud for the first time since February. Final Grade: C