Yesterday was Judgment Day for WWE as the company held what is considered to be one of their B-level shows from the Quest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. From just looking at the card on paper I knew that the event had potential. Edge vs. Undertaker has been a very good match in recent months as well as Triple H vs. Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho. Unlike TNA, there were not a bunch of goofy stipulations and gimmick matches to makes this forgettable but were three very good matches on paper to spark interest. Was Judgment Day a great pay-per-view? No, I would not say that it was great but it was good enough where I felt that I got my money’s worth and a fun night of wrestling.
WWE is continuing with the trend of clean finishes (even in the case of Undertaker vs. Edge) which is something that I really enjoy. When matches do not end in disqualification or no contest it gives the feel that the event really does mean something and is not contrived. I hope that McMahon decides to stick with these changes as it is very refreshing, especially considering what TNA is doing with their product of gimmicks so confusing that people like me cannot even decipher them enough to get into it. Below are my full thoughts and opinions on the matches in the order in which they occurred.
The show opened with John Cena vs. JBL in what I felt like was a disappointment of a match. The way that the feud was built it was like that Cena and JBL had a genuine hate for one another. JBL was upset at Cena for costing him the WWE Championship at Backlash and wanted to avenge the loss. Instead of a very physical street fight type match with hard hitting right hands we got far too many submission holds that made the match slow and forgettable. The most annoying thing about the match was the finish. The way it was booked was that JBL “injured” the left shoulder of Cena by punishing him with an abdominal stretch amongst other submissions. However, without any explanation and completely out of left field, Cena was able to get JBL up for the FU and the three count. The message that finish sent to me was that, JBL your beating on Cena didn’t do much as he was still able to hit his finisher and get the win. Also, why have Cena sell his left shoulder the entire match only to win with an FU? I figured that WWE would put Cena over but I question how it was done. Obviously they are going to use it as an angle as Bradshaw was claiming later in the night that he really won the match because he beat Cena throughout the duration of the bout but in the end he still took an FU and was pinned.
The match that followed with The Miz and John Morrison defending their WWE Tag Team Titles against CM Punk and Kane was refreshing. Miz and Morrison continue to build a good chemistry together and I remain impressed with how much that The Miz has improved. CM Punk really stood out in this match as his fast paced style worked very well against both Miz and Morrison and the finish was done correctly with Kane not getting pinned. The way it went – yes, Punk took the loss but it was more that he was robbed because of what was going on outside of the ring. I thought it was a lot of fun and would have been better suited to open the show.
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho was the match of the night. I still do not understand the feud as it seemed like throughout the match that Jim Ross was trying to push Michaels as a heel only for the two to shake hands at the end but from a wrestling standpoint it was very well done. The most fun part of the match for me was all of the counters during submission holds. When Michaels locked in the cross-face towards the end it looked like Jericho was going to tap – only for him to make it to the ropes at the very last second. Michaels looked the best he has looked since WrestleMania which is probably because he is healthier. It looks like we’ll get Batista vs. Shawn next although Jericho could still be involved.
One of the most memorable moments to come out of this pay-per-view was Beth Phoenix getting both Melina and Mickie James on her back for a double backbreaker. All I can say is WOW – I cannot remember the last time I have seen that kind of strength for a woman Beth’s size. Obviously Awesome Kong could do something like that but with Beth’s body although she is more muscular than a lot of women it was still pretty darn impressive. I should have figured that with the triple-threat stipulation that they were going to have Mickie pin Melina but I had originally projected a title change. I think that it is inevitable that Beth will end up wearing the WWE Women’s Championship again.
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As good as the matches between The Undertaker and Edge have been I will say that they are starting to get stale for me. The first part of their match last night started out very slow (just as they did at WrestleMania and Backlash) and progressed nicely to what led to some of the most heel heat that I have heard in WWE for several years on Vickie Guerrero. I appreciated a lot of the spots towards the end of this match and felt that Edge getting counted out for Undertaker to reclaim the title was a good finish. When Vickie Guerrero came out I was stunned at the amount of heel heat that she drew. It seriously felt like the fans were never going to stop booing and that there might be a real-life problem because of her “decision”. She was being booed so loud that it took her a good five minutes to get out what she had to say. Without a doubt this is the best thing to come out of this pay-per-view as Vickie Guerrero is at this point the most hated person in WWE. Instead of just putting the strap back on Undertaker and making the angle of him getting stripped pointless or putting the strap back on Edge and making their WrestleMania match pointless – creative came up with an excellent angle that will be fun to follow-up on SmackDown. This is one of those moments where creative deserves a lot of credit. I don’t know who wrote but it whoever came up with this definitely succeeded in getting Vickie Guerrero over as a MAJOR heel.
Jeff Hardy vs. MVP as I noted in my coverage last night just kind of happened. There was absolutely nothing that made this match memorable and it probably could have been left off. From what I was told late yesterday afternoon it was booked to replace Mark Henry vs. Big Show at the last minute but it was too slow of a pace for Hardy to work. Sure, that’s more of MVP’s style but Hardy needs to be able to showcase his agility and high-flying ability. I understood where Matt Hardy came out to appoint Jeff as MVP’s opponent to help promote their new DVD.
The main event steel cage match between Triple H and Randy Orton was mediocre. As I noted last night, I have a hard time with steel cage matches that do not include blood. It just does not look realistic if you are going to have a steel cage, a chair, and no blood. Someone has got to add color to make the thing look believable. What saved the match from being a stinker were the tremendous spots at the top of the cage between Hunter and Orton. There was one spot where Orton was completely on the outside of the cage, at the top, hanging there by a headlock applied by Hunter. One mistake and Orton could have inadvertently won the match, the title, and been seriously injured at the same time. My hat goes off to both of them for their courage in those spots. I liked the finish and hopefully this was the blow-off match to the angle.
In conclusion there was some good stuff to come out of Judgment Day. We saw a very good match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, Beth Phoenix display strength that even I didn’t know that she had, Vickie Guerrero gain more heel heat than anyone in the past several years, as well as some good things in-between. If you are bored, order the replay, it’s not to going to hurt anything. There is nothing overly memorable where I will label Judgment Day as must-see but if you are more than a casual fan than you will probably want to see this show.
Richard can be contacted at richard [at] grayinternet.com
Richard Gray is a professional wrestling journalist and frequent contributor to Rajah.com. He has been covering the world of professional wrestling since 1999 and has had the opportunity to cover ground breaking stories such as the demise of ECW, the WCW buyout, the Benoit tragedy, Bobby Lashley leaving WWE, and more. For more on Richard check out his web site, Wrestling News World.