Date: February 2, 2007
Location: Houston, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
We’re done with the Royal Rumble and Undertaker is the only person on his way to Wrestlemania. He doesn’t have an opponent for the show yet though and Batista is the only World Champion he hasn’t stared at yet. Ignoring the fact that there are three World Champions to pick from, it is time for the blue champion to have his turn. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Undertaker winning the Royal Rumble and staring at John Cena and Bobby Lashley, despite Shawn Michaels saying he’s going to Wrestlemania too.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Finlay
Benoit is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. Finlay drives him up against the ropes to start but gets slapped in the face twice. A clothesline gives Finlay two but Benoit pulls him down into a leglock. Some shots to the face have Finlay in more trouble so he pulls Benoit in by the arm to escape. Finlay forearms him down and grabs a chinlock, which doesn’t last long.
Benoit sends him to the apron and then out to the floor, where Finlay sends him into the steps as we take a break. Back with Finlay working on a half crab, which he doesn’t turn over. Finlay lays on the leg to pull on it some more and then cannonballs down onto it for a bonus. The knee is bent around the post and now we get the full on half crab. Benoit grabs the rope for the break and kicks Finlay in the face for a bonus.
Some chops stagger Finlay but the knee gives out on a suplex attempt. The good leg catches Finlay with an enziguri though and Benoit rolls the German suplexes. The Swan Dive misses though and Finlay grabs a near fall. Finlay pulls the turnbuckle pad off and then goes to grab the Leprechaun….but something pulls the Leprechaun under the ring. Cue the Boogeyman to steal said Leprechaun, allowing Benoit to grab a rollup to retain. Cole: “What is going on?”
Rating: B-. This was rolling along until the ending and that’s a problem around WWE far too often. The ending was a mess as we set up Boogeyman vs. Finlay over the Leprechaun, which is one of those things that doesn’t make a ton of sense and I’m almost scared to hear the explanation. The match itself was good, but just assume a time limit draw and stop watching.
Post match the Leprechaun escapes from Boogeyman and refuses to go back under the ring. The Boogeyman scares him though and Finlay throws him back under.
Vickie Guerrero, now sans neck brace, isn’t sure what is next for her around here. What she does know is that the working conditions around here are unsafe. She isn’t sure what is next for her but there is an opportunity that interests her.
Deuce And Domino vs. Paul London/Brian Kendrick
Non-title with Cherry and Ashley here as well. Kendrick rolls Deuce up to start and it’s off to London for a front facelock. London and Kendrick start working on the arm but a Domino distraction lets Deuce get in a cheap shot. Domino comes in to hammer away, setting up a hard knee to the face for two. The armbar goes on with an elbow in London’s face, followed by some forearms to the back. Deuce hits a dropkick but London kicks his way out, allowing the hot tag off to Kendrick. Everything breaks down and the running knee to the face puts Kendrick away.
Rating: C. The more I see from these guys the more I like them, and then having them beat London and Kendrick is an even bigger deal. I could go for pushing a fresh team after London and Kendrick have dominated the division for the better part of a year. This was the least bad idea from a storyline perspective, as it isn’t like there is another team for Deuce and Domino to beat at the moment.
Batista comes in to see Teddy Long and wants to know what Undertaker is doing at Wrestlemania. He’ll find out by the end of the night.
King Booker and Queen Sharmell are in the ring, with a local government official presenting Booker with the key to the city. Booker has a speech ready, which includes him saying he is better than the other celebrities from Houston, including Walter Cronkite and Roger Clemens. Did Cronkite ever beat Big Show and John Cena on the same night??? Booker keeps going, with Sharmell’s facials agreeing facials are making it even better.
The government officials kiss Booker’s ring (doesn’t seem to be their taste) but Booker needs to go talk to ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Booker wants him to kiss the royal feet, which isn’t happening. Instead, here is Kane to clear things out, including beating up the officials, because lawsuits do not exist in wrestling. That’s actually a fresh match for a change and I could go for it.
Mr. Kennedy vs. Vito
Vito slaps away to start but gets knocked into the corner and stomped down. The dress is ripped off and Kennedy beats Vito, in his regular trunks, into the corner. The Green Bay Plunge finishes Vito in a hurry.
Post match Kennedy grabs the dress to choke Vito.
JBL gets to host a bikini contest between Ashley, Jillian Hall and Krystal. Ashley and Krystal disrobe but Jillian reveals a short shirt and shorts instead. Rather that wearing a swimsuit, she sings Oops I Did It Again instead. Ashley wins and Jillian gets stripped.
Maryse welcomes us back from a bathtub.
Here’s the same Undertaker video that opened the show.
Mr. Kennedy complains to Teddy Long that he had Batista beaten at the Royal Rumble. Long doesn’t like it but gives Kennedy what he wants: a rematch next week.
Miz vs. Matt Hardy
Matt works on the arm to start and a hiptoss has Miz frustrated. A headlock doesn’t last long on Miz as he drop toeholds Hardy to the floor. Miz sends him into various things, including back into the ring for some left hands. Hardy fights up again and hits a middle rope elbow to the back of the neck. The Side Effect gets two but Joey Mercury sneaks in for a cheap shot with his mask, setting up the Mizard of Oz to give Miz the pin.
Rating: D+. So yeah, the story gets to continue because these guys have to keep fighting. They’ve had a few matches now and while the story with the nose makes sense, I’m not sure if it has the legs to make something like this go much longer. Miz getting the win is a good thing as it isn’t like Matt needs to beat him.
Here is Batista, who wants an answer from Undertaker. Batista has heard all about the Streak and how Undertaker can’t be beaten at Wrestlemania. He welcomes the challenge though….and here is John Cena to interrupt. Cena says he isn’t here for a fight because he has had a weird week. He won the Tag Team Titles on Monday (doesn’t have the belt) but then almost got superkicked by Shawn Michaels.
It’s Wrestlemania season and everyone wants to go after the title and then when it can’t get worse, BONG. Cena was on the wrong end of the coldest stare that he has ever seen and now he needs to know what is coming at Wrestlemania. The gong strikes and thirty seven hours later, Undertaker is in the ring. Undertaker stares at Cena, then he stares at Batista….and here is Shawn Michaels (without the Tag Team Title either).
Shawn says Undertaker won the Rumble but what did that prove? They’re the same kind of person and they both thrive on competition. Shawn is challenging him for a match with the Wrestlemania title match on the line. Undertaker doesn’t say anything because here is Vince McMahon to interrupt. Vince doesn’t care what Shawn or the fans want because they’ll want what Vince wants, when he tells them they want it. We’re not getting Shawn vs. Undertaker, but we can have Cena/Michaels vs. Batista/Undertaker. No decision is made on Wrestlemania, but they’re making it pretty clear.
Overall Rating: C. Much like ECW, the important thing here is that the show felt big. This felt like a show on the Road To Wrestlemania and a lot of that was due to the star power. At the same time though, a lot of the positives came from things actually happening. This show felt important and that is not the kind of feeling you get very often around here. It wasn’t a great show, but it felt like the start of something important and that’s good enough.
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