The reason for this one is that it’s a show I’ve never seen in full, owing to the fact that when it happened way back in 2007 I was in the middle of moving house and thus didn’t have the disposable income to burn on a WWE pay per view. It’s quite an interesting show however due to what happens in regards to the WWE Title. And hey, now I have WWE Network it’s never been easier to catch up on the shows I missed back in the day and we’re still in October so it kind of fits.
The original main event of the show coming in was supposed to be John Cena defending the WWE Title to Randy Orton, but Cena then suffered a severe injury in a nothing Raw match with Ken Anderson which took him out of this show and meant he’d likely have to miss WrestleMania as well.
Thus WWE had to scramble to find a way to crown a new Champion and also rescue the pay per view card that had now been left without its main event. Did they manage it? Let’s take a look and find out.
The event is emanating from Chicago, Illinois on the 7th of October 2007.
Calling the action are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler for Raw, Joey Styles and Tazz for ECW, and Michael Cole and JBL for Smackdown.
We open up with a video package detailing that John Cena has been “injured” by Randy Orton (It was actually Ken Kennedy who did it, but that happened by accident in a match and doesn’t fit the story) and his over 1 year WWE Title run has now come to an end. The gravelly voiced narrator wonders who will be the next Champion?
Well we don’t have to wait long to find out as Vince McMahon and William Regal join us. I believe Regal was the Raw General Manager during this period but feel free to correct me if I’ve got that wrong. McMahon grabs a mic and says that Cena is going to be out for 6 months to a year, and as a result of that he has been stripped of the WWE Title. McMahon guarantees a new Champion, along with a WWE Title match to boot, and says he’s going to give the people what they want. The Chicago crowd decides to chant for “Y2J” at that point (As Jericho was currently coming towards the end of an over 2 year hiatus from the company) but McMahon shoots that down pretty quickly and then simply declares that Randy Orton will be awarded the Title. Well…that’s certainly a lame way of deciding a Champion. It should be noted that they make the decision to stick with Cena’s awful spinner belt design here and would keep it for years after as well, even though it made no sense for someone other than Cena to have it. Orton cockily comes out to claim his then second WWE Title and even gets some pyro for good measure as the crowd boos along.
Regal now has a chance to talk and allows Orton to choose someone to defend his newly awarded Title against tonight. The crowd wants “Y2J” again, which causes McMahon to blow a gasket and tell them to shut up. Orton taunts Cena over his injury, which leads to the women and children in the venue to cheer for The Doctor of Thuganomics. Orton continues ranting about how good he is, which eventually leads to Triple H interrupting to a big pop. Ross ponders Triple H coming out here as The Game is scheduled to face Umaga later on in the evening. Triple H “congratulates” Orton on becoming the Champion and lays down the challenge for tonight, which the crowd is all for. Orton decides to refuse the challenge though because,
Anyway, Triple H says he doesn’t blame Orton for not wanting his second Title reign to be as short as his first, which gets a laugh from the crowd, and then asks the crowd if they want the match and they reply to the affirmative. Triple H winds Vince up by saying that he’s too much of a coward to have Orton defend the Title against him tonight, which eventually leads to Vince exploding and declaring that the match is on right now. Orton is not cool with this, but the boss has spoken and the match is on.
Champ: Randy Orton Vs Triple H
Orton tries to bail right away and take the count out loss, but Triple H drags him back and works him over back inside the ring. Orton manages to catch the challenger with a back breaker however, which allows him to take over. The crowd are firmly in Triple H’s corner for this one, which gives the match a good atmosphere and there’s a genuine buzz in the air due to the impromptu nature of everything. Triple H eventually manages to get a clothesline to bring Orton’s heat segment to a close and then goes to the comeback.
Triple H brings Orton down from the top with a superplex for two, which again makes me wish they would protect that move more in wrestling because it could be a genuinely great finisher if it wasn’t used so flagrantly to no avail. Spinebuster comes next from the challenger, but Orton is once again able to kick out and hold on to his newly acquired WWE Title. Orton replies with his hanging DDT off the second rope, but Triple H is able to kick out to a good pop from the crowd. Orton prepares for the RKO, but Triple H is able to block it and tries the Pedigree.
Orton is able to fight that off and goes for a knee drop, but Triple H dodges it and then locks in a Figure Four Leg Lock. Orton gets to the ropes to stop that but ends up missing on a shoulder tackle in the corner, which allows Triple H to catch him with a school boy roll up of all things to end Orton’s Title reign no more than 30 minutes after it began.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: TRIPLE H
This was a fun opener, with a hot crowd who probably weren’t expecting the Title change, especially in the manner that it happened. It wasn’t a classic or anything but it was well worked for what it was and I enjoyed how invested the crowd was in the action.
Triple H actually gets a big celebration to really put over the importance of the Title change. Meanwhile, Orton slinks to the back dejected, where Vince McMahon is waiting and gives him an almost apologetic look for what just happened.
“Special Bonus Six Man Tag”
Jeff Hardy, Paul London and Brian Kendrick Vs Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy!), Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch
What a bonus this is! Can you feel the specialness of it all? I sure know I can! Jeff Hardy was the Intercontinental Champion during this period whilst Cade and Murdoch were the Raw Tag Team Champions. Kennedy was on quite a role of ruining things at this stage, as he’d not only gotten himself injured in May, thus meaning he’d had to lose the Money in the Bank briefcase to Edge, but he’d then injured Bobby Lashley once he got back, got suspended for steroids when he was supposed to be revealed as Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son (Thus torpedoing months of planned story lines) and the week before this he’d injured prize cash cow John Cena on Raw. And yet despite all this he kept getting pushed somehow. Many others would have been sacked or at least de-pushed for doing just one of those things.
London has a beard going on here, which is not really something I remember and kind of makes him look like Superman in that episode of Justice League where he accidentally gets sent to the future and Vandal Savage has killed off all the heroes because Superman got sent to the future and wasn’t there to stop him. That’s a great episode actually and Savage’s “Hey, want to come around to my place?” always cracks me up. Anyway, the faces work the heels over early doors until some Special Bonus cheating from Murdoch leads to Kendrick getting cut off.
Eventually Kendrick is able to catch Cade with a Special Bonus Tornado DDT and makes the tag to Jeff Hardy, who runs wild on Murdoch and nearly drops him on his head with a sit out gourdbuster. Swanton Bomb follows that, but Cade makes the save at two and the match breaks down as Kennedy gets completely lost in the ring with London whilst Jeff Hardy misses Cade with a cross body off the barricades so badly that Cade just outright doesn’t sell it and continues to the next spot. Kendrick cross body’s Murdoch to the floor, which leaves London and Kennedy in the ring, where Kennedy gets a Special Bonus Green Bay Plunge (Rolling fireman’s carry from the second rope) to pick up the win.
WINNERS: KENNEDY, CADE AND MURDOCH
It was chugging along reasonably well but came apart after the hot tag.
Triple H is walking backstage with his new Title and bumps into Smackdown’s World Champ Batista. They share pleasantries and Triple H wishes Batista well in his match later. Vince McMahon then confronts Triple H and says that his advertised match with Umaga will still take place, but with Triple H’s Title now being on the line.
Champ: CM Punk Vs Big Daddy V w/ Matt Striker
V was the most recent attempt to push Mabel/Viscera and worked about as well as the pushes before it went. In fairness, V wasn’t bad in the mid card as a One Man Gang styled character but no one was buying him as a main eventer. Punk is of course hugely over in his hometown and he manages to get a series of kicks in on V early doors to stagger him. V misses a charge in the corner and that allows Punk to take him down with a missile dropkick from the top rope, which is Striker’s cue to come in an attack him for the DQ.
WINNER BY DISQUALIFICATION AND STILL CHAMPION: CM PUNK
An insulting result for a pay per view Title match.
Big Daddy V leaves Punk laying following the match. I did some digging and there is apparently a story behind all of this. According to Bryan Alvarez, prior to this show Tony Atlas had supposedly dressed everyone down in OVW for not working hard enough, which had led to CM Punk (Who was there that day for whatever reason) standing up for the development guys and essentially getting into a big argument with Atlas. The higher ups in WWE decided that Punk was in the wrong for all this and booked Punk to get clobbered in his hometown as a way to punish him. Ah, wrestling eh?
Pizza Eating Contest
Matt Hardy Vs Montel Vontavious Porter
Matt Hardy and MVP were the Smackdown Tag Champions here and had been having a number of non-wrestling competitions, including the likes of basketball and chess, so this is another chapter with the lads having to eat Chicago styled deep dish pizza. Tazz is the host of this and angers the locals by mentioning the differences between New York and Chicago styled pizza (For the record I think both types are good) and then introduces Melina and Maria as the guest judges. MVP was also the United States Champion during this time and was enjoying a sizable push.
MVP says that he doesn’t want to compete in this competition because he’s a highly tuned athlete and he doesn’t eat garbage like pizza. Tazz eventually grabs control of things and gets both men to sit down and eat the pizza. They actually dedicate 2 whole minutes to this, as both men use water on the table to help them with chewing and getting the food down, although JBL thinks that’s a bad technique as it expands the yeast. Matt eventually manages to win by the score of 2 slices to 1 and then celebrates by puking his lunch onto MVP’s white outfit.
WINNER: MATT HARDY
RATING: £1.99 WORTH OF PIZZA HUT SALAD BAR
This was pure filler and merely kept the story line in a holding pattern rather than actually advancing it in any way. The pizza looked nice at least.
Matt gurns from the entrance way with pizza all over his face whilst MVP sells disgust inside the ring.
Champ: Triple H Vs Umaga
This match came about because Triple H made fun of Vince McMahon when Hornswoggle was revealed as his illegitimate son, so Vince set Umaga on him. That makes sense as a story line actually, as I totally buy that Vince McMahon would be so insecure about one of his wrestlers making fun of him that he would hire a big scary Samoan savage to wipe them out. Of course Triple H’s earlier bout now means that the Title is on the line, thus giving Umaga a quite literal golden opportunity. Triple H gets a chance to do his full entrance this time, but his pop isn’t quite what it was earlier due to the fans already seeing him.
Umaga no sells a DDT to start, so Triple H calmly low bridges him outside instead, where Umaga no sells going face first into the ring steps and throws Triple H back into the ring (Remember that for later). Umaga works Triple H over back inside the ring, but Triple H manages to catch him with a spinebuster and then goes for the Pedigree. Umaga counters that into a Samoan Drop however and regains control of the match as consequence. Umaga misses a charge in the corner however, which allows Triple H to catch him with the Pedigree and pick up the win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: TRIPLE H
So Umaga can survive getting DDT’ed and being thrown into metal steps because his head is so hard, but one Pedigree and he’s out like a light? Proof positive that the Pedigree is the most devastating move in all of wrestling. In all seriousness, Jim Ross sells hard that Umaga went face first into the ring post before taking the move, so it was a cumulative effect of both together that allowed Triple H to win. The match itself was a bit boring and was essentially just Umaga slowly working over Triple H until it was time for the banana peel finish. In all honesty, the roll up would have worked better here than in the Orton match, but I can see why they perhaps didn’t want Orton to get beaten with the Pedigree like that and I can also understand why they wouldn’t want to do another roll up finish, so their hands were kind of tied by the booking. Triple H and Umaga would go on to have a much better match at Cyber Sunday 2007, as they had a really exciting crazy brawl that went all over the arena and featured some great moments.
We get a weird Matrix code styled video, which would eventually end up being Chris Jericho.
Great Khali is with Ranjin Singh backstage. Khali is meditating ahead of his big match with Batista. Singh says that Khali is praying to the “most evil” of Hindu Gods to aid him in his match later. The promo segment ends with Khali standing up and bellowing in his usual way.
Finlay Vs Rey Mysterio
This has potential to be good at least due to both men being so talented. Rey uses his speed to keep Finlay on the back foot in the early going, but when he tries to sunset flip powerbomb him off the apron to the floor Finlay is able to wrap his head in the apron and to blind him and then cuts him off. That was a great bit of veteran ring smarts from Finlay there, and he takes Rey back into the ring to work him over.
Rey manages to catch Finlay with a desperation springboard cross body for two and then follows up with a springboard seated senton splash and a dropkick to the face for two. Rey tries for the 619, but Finlay sees it coming and catches Rey with a clothesline in a neat spot for two. Shoulder breaker gets another two for Finlay, as this one is starting to pick up. Finlay undoes one of the turnbuckle pads to distract the referee, which allows him to go for his Irish wooden stick (I’m not even going to TRY and spell its name) but Rey fends him off and then leg drops Finlay whilst he lies over the middle rope, which sends him tumbling down to the floor.
They sell it big like Finlay might be hurt at first, but Finlay then opens his eyes to clearly give away that he’s fine, which strikes me as totally defeating the purpose of doing this sort of angle in the first place because everyone knows he’s pretending and it just makes Rey and the referee look stupid. Anyway, the doctors come down to check on Finlay and that looks to be it as the match comes to an end. They dedicate plenty of time to putting Finlay on a stretcher, but he of course gets back up and batters Rey, thus showing it was all a ruse.
WINNER: NO CONTEST
This was on its way to being a good match but the finish spoilt it for me. I’d get it if this was a No DQ match and this allowed Finlay to sneak a win over Rey, but he essentially cost himself the match here just so he could sneak attack Rey. Why bother with such an extravagant scheme? I also hate things like this where wrestlers don’t care about the results of matches and will happily throw a match just to do something they could have easily done in the match itself. What was stopping Finlay playing possum in the actual match itself and then using that as an opportunity to win?
Triple H is backstage getting patched up following his battle with Umaga. Vince McMahon comes in however and says that Orton will be getting his rematch later tonight, and it will be a Last Man Standing match.
WWE Women’s Title
Champ: Candice Michelle Vs Beth Phoenix
These two actually had a pretty decent match the previous month at Unforgiven where Michelle had managed to pick up the surprise win. Michelle was actually trying really hard here and had gotten to the point that she could have a reasonable match in the right situation. These days she would have probably done a stint in NXT and likely would have improved quite a bit from working with the Asuka’s of the world, but back in 2007 there was more of a premium on good workers in the women’s division and there wasn’t the infrastructure in place for her to really improve. Phoenix was already one of the better women in the whole company at this stage but she didn’t really start getting star reactions until she started her on screen relationship with Santino in 2008.
Michelle gets some roll ups and basic holds in the early going to stagger Phoenix, but Phoenix catches a cross body and slams her down to put a stop to that. Phoenix works Michelle over for a bit but Michelle makes the comeback and manages to get the big cross body from the top this time, which nets her a two count. One more desperation roll up gets Michelle another two count but Phoenix muscles her up into a Fisherman’s Buster straight after to win her first Women’s Title.
WINNER: BETH PHOENIX
This was pretty short but it was fine for what it was.
Phoenix gives a post-match victory promo, saying that she’s the perfect combination of beauty and strength, and closes by stating that she has initiated a new era in WWE.
Punjabi Prison Match
World Heavyweight Title
Champ: Batista Vs The Great Khali
Batista defeated Khali and Rey Mysterio the previous month at Unforgiven to win the Title. The rules of this one are that there are two cages made of bamboo, with one around the ring and a bigger one covering the ringside area. Basically you need to escape both cages to win. There are four doors on the inner cage that can be opened, but if you don’t get out in time then those doors will be closed and cannot be opened again, meaning you’ll then be forced to climb out. My personal opinion is that you don’t need the doors on the inner cage. Having a double cage match where you have to escape both cages to win isn’t the worst idea, but having the doors on the inner cage just complicates things. There’s also the issue that the structure is so big that it makes it very hard for the live crowd to be able to see what’s going on inside the ring, although with WWE you expect those kinds of things because the live crowd seems almost like a necessary evil for the company sometimes, with the television viewer always being prioritised.
Batista manages to tie Khali up in the ropes early on but decides not to go for the door, which gives Khali a chance to wriggle free. Well that was stupid on Batista’s part. Khali controls things for a while, working Batista over with basic stuff, but Batista is eventually able to dodge a leg drop and gets a Spear. Both man calls for a door, but neither is able to escape and both of the doors are pad locked up to take them out of play. Khali tries choking Batista with one of the ropes that you use to open the doors in a spot we wouldn’t see today, and then grabs a leather strap that just happens to be in there to wear Batista out with.
Khali requests the third door to be opened, but Batista catches him with a spinebuster and neither man is able to escape. Batista uses the strap on Khali now and makes an attempt to climb out, even though a door is still remaining, but Khali climbs up to stop him. That leads to Batista trying to powerbomb Khali off the cage wall to the mat, but Khali fights him off to save himself. As terrifying as it would have been to see Khali take that bump, I must admit I was curious to see it. Khali goes to his Vice Grip finishing hold and squeezes Batista’s head, but when he stops to call for a door Batista is able to catch him with a low blow for a double down and neither man can make it out in time, with Khali crushing Batista between the door and the apron.
Khali actually makes a break for it by climbing out of the cage, but Batista stops him and he ends up crotching himself on the tope rope (almost tearing every muscle in his groin and thigh in the process). Khali stops Batista climbing out and then defies physics by climbing out himself. He still has one more cage to go however and starts scaling the second one. Meanwhile, Batista is still trapped in the inner cage but he clambers up to the top of that and then jumps from the inner cage to the outer cage, which thankfully doesn’t end with him either plummeting to the floor or suffering a serious injury. With both men now essentially on an even keel, they both race down the cage with Batista being able to make it first to retain his Title.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: BATISTA
I’m sure some will think that’s too high, but I actually enjoyed this and I’m reminded of a conversation in one of the night threads recently where the general consensus was that reviewers shouldn’t mark down a match too much if they were entertained by it even if it isn’t technically a particularly great match, so I’m going to take those people’s advice and rate this based on my own personal enjoyment. Yeah, the wrestling wasn’t great, but both guys were working hard here and it told a good story with Batista having to take a literal leap of faith to retain his Title when all seemed lost. Watching Khali scale that cage was something else as well, as I would have never dreamed him to be physically capable of it but he proved me wrong and actually climbed it rather well.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler recap what happened earlier in the night. There really is A LOT of filler in this show. Todd Grisham is with Triple H, who says he’s just getting started and that Randy Orton better get ready to get hurt.
Last Man Standing
Champ: Triple H Vs Randy Orton
For those not au fait, you win by pulverising your foe so much that they cannot answer the ten count. Orton controls things in the early going by targeting Triple H’s mid-section after Umaga softened it up earlier in the night. Triple H tries to fight back, but Orton cuts him off every time and goes back to the weak spot. Triple H sells very well during all of this, especially when Orton chokes him with a cable in yet another spot you wouldn’t see today, and keeps managing to pull himself up despite all the damage he’s taken. Outside we go, where Orton hits Triple H with a monitor and then goes to RKO Triple H through the announce table, but Triple H blocks it and then flings him through the ECW table.
Orton manages to make it up at 9, but he finds a spinebuster onto the floor waiting for him when he does, which leads to yet another 9 count. Triple H clobbers Orton with the ring steps next, which looked really unpleasant at first but the replay reveals that Orton was able to get his hands up at just the right moment before impact, making it a good piece of business from both men. Say what you want about either of these guys, but you can’t deny that they are very mechanically sound when it comes to doing a wrestle. We head back to the ring, where Orton manages a desperation DDT onto a chair for a double down. Both men make it back up at 9, but Triple H is definitely the worse off as Orton stomps away at him in the corner.
Orton sets up the chair and gets the RKO onto it, which busts Triple H open and looks to be all she wrote, but Triple H defies the odds and pulls himself back up. Triple H is actually a surprisingly great gutsy babyface fighting from underneath when you consider how imposing and muscular he is. Orton tries to finish Triple H with the punt, but he catches the boot and makes the comeback whilst adorned with the crimson mask. We head back outside, where Triple H continuously rams Ortons heads into the Smackdown table and then goes for a Pedigree on the floor, but Orton blocks it and then catapults Triple H into the ring post.
Orton tries to end Triple H with the ring steps, but Triple H catches him with a low blow to stop that and then hits Orton with a chair whilst his head is stuck between the steps. That sounded great and looked devastating but it was also completely safe and Ross sold it fantastically on commentary. Orton makes it up at 9, so Triple H tries to put him through the Raw table, but Orton counters that into an RKO and that’s enough for him to pick up the win when Triple H can’t pull himself back up before 10.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: RANDY ORTON
This was an excellent brawl and featured a great performance from Triple H as a defiant babyface in his third match of the night. I have to give special mention to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler as well who were both brilliant at getting the match over, with Ross in particular doing a fantastic job at getting across the drama of the match and the guts of the two competitors. A really strong end to what had been a pretty meh show.
Orton passionately makes out with his Title belt whilst Triple H lies despondent on the floor after being so close to pulling off the big win. Had it not been for John Cena’s amazing recuperative powers, I’m thinking we would have got Orton Vs Triple H in a singles match for the WWE Title at WrestleMania XXIV, but once Cena came back it made sense to add him to the mix as well seeing as he had an issue with Orton as well.
This show was mostly a big load of nothing sandwiched between a good Triple H/Orton match and a great Triple H/Orton match. I personally enjoyed the Punjabi Prison match, but I’m not especially sure everyone else would.
The big problem with the show is that it was a two hour and twenty minute show that they stretched out to two hours and fifty minutes. All the filler such as the Matt Hardy/MVP angle and all the backstage segments just made the show feel like it dragged. You could have cut at least half an hour out here and it would have been a much tighter more enjoyable show. Still, I can understand that WWE probably felt they had to give people their monies worth due to not being able to deliver Cena/Orton, which is why they stocked the show up with Title changes and dialled the “sports entertainment” dial way up to give everyone a more Attitude Era inspired show.
Ultimately I’d struggle to recommend the show as a whole, but thankfully in the world of the WWE Network it’s incredibly easy just to skip straight to the main event and watch that. If you’re not a big fan of either/both of Triple H or Orton then I doubt it’ll convert you, but if you don’t mind them or even like them then that Last Man Standing match is well worth a viewing if you’ve never seen it before.