Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: Unforgiven 2008

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho in an Unsanctioned match

We now come out of Summerslam and the summer of 2008 as we head into the fall, and going into Unforgiven a lot of buzz was surrounding the debut of the Championship Scramble matches for the 3 big titles. However, one of the other big feuds continuing on by this point was between Michaels and Jericho which has been going strong since the spring, and after what happened at Summerslam with Jericho punching Rebecca, the heat for the feud was off the charts. After doing a great tease of Michaels potentially announcing his retirement, he instead puts that aside and gets one more match with Jericho here though it ends up being unsanctioned per the requests of both men, and given what happened the last time Michaels was in an unsanctioned match, you knew this was going to be a wild fight.

On the 8/18 RAW, Jericho came out and refused to take responsibility for what happened at Summerslam, saying that it was Michaels’ fault as well as the fans’ fault and Michaels had it coming, and we saw footage from the end of Summerslam where Michaels said he was going home to take care of his family before coming back to get Jericho. On the 8/25 RAW, Michaels said that he was going to forgive Jericho for his actions at Summerslam until he heard Jericho’s comments the previous week, and he said that he wasn’t going to leave as he hinted at as Jericho would appear on the Titantron. Michaels said that he wanted a match with Jericho and not fight him on the street because he would be arrested, and Jericho agreed to an unsanctioned match and warned Michaels not to have his family watch while Michaels vowed “an eye for an eye”. On the 8/31 RAW, the two men signed the contract and Jericho said that he told his family he would never be self-obsessed like Michaels and would put him out of his misery, and Michaels said he wouldn’t apologize for the life he has lived and would have no regrets with what he would do to Jericho. The two had a staredown until Lance Cade came out with Michaels attacking him and taking him out while Jericho watched from the outside. This has been a great feud that has carried RAW for most of the year and it was going to be interesting to see how intense this match would end up being.

We get a great video package highlighting everything that has happened between these two to this point, and Jericho was red hot as a heel as he comes out in his wrestling gear which is an interesting decision while Michaels gets a huge pop from the crowd and he is dressed for a fight. Michaels wastes no time and tackles Jericho to the mat to start the match as they trade blows with Michaels knocking him down, and he continues to pound on Jericho and stomps on him as he takes his boot off and hits Jericho in the head with it twice repeatedly. Jericho falls through the ropes to the outside and Michaels goes outside as he dives at Jericho with both men tumbling over the barricade into the crowd, and he pounds and kicks at Jericho before sending him over the barricade back to ringside and he continues to pound on him. He gets a knee in and trips Jericho up as he slingshots him into the post and grabs a chair only for Jericho to avoid the swing as Michaels hits the post, and Jericho kicks at Michaels and rams him into the announce table as he pounds on him and hotshots him on the barricade. He hits a DDT on Michaels on the chair on the floor and he pulls a table out which he slams down on Michaels’ back, and he pulls out another table and sets it up at ringside as he pounds on Michaels and sets up only for Michaels to pound on him as Jericho hotshots him on the apron. He throws Michaels back into the ring and brings a chair into the ring as he jabs it into Michaels’ ribs, and he hits Michaels in the back with the chair and pounds on him as he hits a back suplex and slides outside. He brings the chair back into the ring and wedges it in the corner as he pounds and stomps on Michaels in the other corner, and he chokes him with his boot only for Michaels to reverse a whip back into the corner as Jericho rams his shoulder into the post. Jericho gets a shoulder in only for Michaels to block a suplex out of the ring as they trade blows and Jericho hoists him up, and Michaels lands on the apron and clotheslines Jericho over the top back into the ring as he pounds on him and Jericho reverses a whip only for Michaels to hit the flying forearm. He nips up and chokes Jericho as he takes him to the mat and goes up top before hitting the elbow on Jericho, and he sets up for Sweet Chin Music as Jericho falls to his knees and Michaels pounds on him on the mat. He hooks the Crossface on Jericho who fights to his feet and escapes as he sends Michaels head first into the chair, and Jericho pounds on Michaels and continues to pound on him on the mat as he chokes him and tears at his eye. He continues to pound on Michaels and slaps him in the face as Michaels tries to battle back in the corner, and Jericho reverses a whip and sends Michaels inside out into the chair in the other corner only for Michaels to hit a Lou Thesz press and he pounds on Jericho. He hits a clothesline and sets up for a piledriver only for Jericho to block it as he trips him up and hooks the Walls of Jericho on, and Michaels tries to crawl outside to escape and grabs a fire extinguisher as Jericho pulls him to the center of the ring and Michaels escapes by spraying Jericho in the face with the extinguisher. He hits Jericho in the head with the extinguisher which sends him through the ropes to the outside, and Michaels goes outside and kicks at Jericho as he rams him into the barricade twice and they head up the ramp. He hits a suplex on Jericho on the ramp as Lance Cade runs out only for Michaels to pound on him and knock him down, and he knocks Jericho down and kicks at him only for Cade to hit a clothesline and he throws him back into the ring. He pulls Michaels to the post and Jericho holds him against the post as Cade hits a running knee at Michaels, and both Jericho and Cade get in the ring as Jericho stomps on Michaels’ arm and Cade holds him from behind while Jericho slaps him in the face repeatedly. He hits a headbutt on Michaels and kicks his arm before stomping on him as Cade goes outside and brings a chair into the ring, and he holds Michaels down as Jericho hits Michaels’ arm with the chair and Cade pounds on him. Jericho hits Michaels’ arm with the chair again and pounds on him as he puts Michaels’ arm in the chair, and Cade holds Michaels down as Jericho goes up top only for Michaels to kick Cade into the ropes which causes Jericho to get hung up on the ropes. Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music on Cade and grabs the chair as he hits Jericho in the head with it which knocks Jericho off the top through the table, and Michaels goes outside and slams the chair down on Jericho repeatedly as he clears the announce table. He puts Cade on the table and rolls in the ring as he goes up top only to come down and go back outside, and he puts Jericho on top of Cade and rolls back in the ring as he goes up top again and hits an elbow that drives both men through the table in a huge spot. Michaels throws Jericho back into the ring and Jericho is bleeding badly from the nose as Michaels takes his belt off and whips Jericho with it repeatedly, and he wraps the belt around his fist and hooks Jericho’s arm as he reminds him of an eye for an eye and he beats on Jericho’s head repeatedly with the belt buckle. The ref forces Michaels off as Jericho is out and Michaels continues to pound on him with the buckle until the ref calls for the bell and awards Michaels the match. After the match, the ref checks on Jericho until Michaels comes over and continues to beat on him with the buckle, and the ref pulls Michaels off and checks on Jericho again only for Michaels to hit Sweet Chin Music on the ref. More officials come out and check on Jericho as they keep Michaels at bay until Michaels heads to the back and EMTs come out with a stretcher which they put Jericho on and help him to the back.

The match itself was excellent as both men worked hard and put on a wild and chaotic brawl which is what you expected. Given the heat that was building in this feud, this type of match was perfect as Michaels just wanted to hurt Jericho and didn’t care about a win while Jericho also wanted to finish Michaels off for good. They got a lot of time to tell the story in 27 minutes and Cade getting involved made sense as Jericho pulled out all the stops, and even with an injured triceps Michaels still went all out especially with that elbow through the table which was a great spot. The ending was great too as Michaels just beats Jericho down with the belt buckle until Jericho is unconscious, and you figured that there could be a chance that this feud could continue considering this was unsanctioned and Jericho could claim it doesn’t matter that Michaels won. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and popped for Michaels when he won. Michaels gets the win over Jericho in this unsanctioned match, but this feud isn’t over yet.

Grade: ****1/2