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...but not that bad.
Last week, the Second Best PPV of the Year came at us from TNA, and this week, the WWE gave us a good PPV that went another direction and had some weak filler. At times, it had a WCW feel to it, like the way they used Ric Flair, but other times, it felt like the Glory Years of the WWF.

We open with Flair vs. Carlito. This was a fun match, especially since I was thinking that this was going to be one of the last times I get to see Flair in a title match as the challenger. This opened like a lot of the Flair matches of the late 1980s, with a lot of hammerlocks and slaps and taunting. Flair went for an early Figure Four, but Carlito scooted out. Carlito was really good here, especially with the way he did his facials and his selling. Carlito got a Single Arm DDT for a near fall. Flair even hit the shot off the top rope for the first time in 20 years!

Flair did his old guy dancing and Carlito hit him with a dropkick. Carlito grabbed an apple, but Flair nails him and Carlito starts choking! Flairs slaps on the Figure Four and Carlito taps. Funny ending for a decent match. Flair then goes out and celebrates, partying with a bunch of women he pulled from the crowd.

Throughout the show, they kept cutting back to them and Flair even popped four Viagras before he ended up doing them, apparently, and then doing the Flair Flop after emerging from the Limo with his pants down. The Match: Good. The AfterParty: Bad.

Torrie and Victoria took on Ashley and Trish Stratus. This was the best woman’s match in a while. With Victoria and Trish in there, it had to be.

Victoria tags in early and works with Trish. These two always go when they’re in there and they looked good. Victoria with a stylin’ choke on Trish, but she gets out and manages to get a headscissors and a Thesz Press. Ashley comes in and takes it to Victoria, including a low Dropkick. Torrie tossed out Ashley and she looked like she took it way too hard. I mean that was a Luchador on Galavision kind of bump.

How was this AfterParty?
Back in, Ashley is forced to take a Slingshot Legdrop from Victoria. That move alone was better than any woman’s match in almost a year. Lots of good stuff from Trish and Victoria, and Torrie and Ashley don’t get in the way too much. Chick Kick by Trish gets her the pin! If they let Ashley and Trish work together a lot, they may make something out of Ashley yet!

Snitsky and Big Show had a match. This was terrible, though Big Show got as close to a kip up and he’ll ever get after a big Spinebuster. He must think he’s a bigger version of Shawn Michaels. Choke Slam gave Show the win. The Crowds of late seem to love the silence slap gimmick. After the match, Show hit Snitsky with the ring bell, but missed by a mile the first time he tried. This was bad, and it doesn’t help Show to get over as a monster if he’s not really in the thick of things.

In a match that the crowd wanted to hate, and even chanted ‘boring’ during the early section, Kerwin White lost to Shelton Benjamin in a decent little mid-card match. These two worked hard, and Chavito, aka Kerwin, looked better than he has since the name change. Shelton started out fast by jumping Kerwin before he was in the ring. Lots of Shelton goodness early on, including the Sliding Clothesline. Benjamin hit the one man Flapjack for a near fall. After Shelton misses a high knee, Kerwin takes over and works on the knee. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, but Kerwin used the old-timey Stump Puller! That was one of my faves from long ago.

Chavito hit the headscissors, which were cool, and then gets a two count. Kerwin then gets a Superplex. The finish was Benjamin ducking a golf club shot, then hitting the Exploder for the win. Good match.

Anyone who was thinking that Matt Hardy was just going to be buried when he came back can now hold their tongues for at least another week. The Steel Cage Match with Edge proved that Matt was way over, even if he dropped that first bout and the later match to Rob Conway, and that he’s not counted out. This might be a reaction to the news that folks are still seeing Matt as a highly-touted jobber, but here, he looked great and was put over strong. They worked very stiff, which has been a theme in their matches. The two of them exchanged hard for the first few minutes.

Yeah, this looks like real hatred to me...
Reports from backstage say that these two just flat-out don’t like each other and don’t talk. Lita and Matt are supposed to be friendly at times, which is nice.

Lots of climbing, mostly by Edge. The two of them fight on the top of the cage and back down, Hardy, at one point, started selling the same way he did in their first PPV match, which was a good idea to get folks thinking they were going to see the same ending. A DDT got a near fall, and that was followed by a PowerBomb into the corner! Edge then set up Matt Hardy on the top rope and gives him a Top Rope PowerBomb! Wow. The crowd was in this all the way.

Flair’s cheating concept came up and Matt bit Edge’s hand. Edge missed the spear and went into the corner, then took the Side Effect for a near fall. Edge gave Matt a spear when he was standing between the ropes and the cage. Edge tried to climb out, but Matt gives him the Top Rope Side Effect! Great stuff! Lita gets a chair and opens the door. Matt then gives Lita the Twist of Fate, but Edge gets the Spear! Bloody Edge! You could hear the crowd think that this was going to be the finish, but Matt kicked out. Edge started to climb out, but Hardy got him and rammed his head into the cage, which sent him to the mat. Matt Hardy to the top of the cage, and then…

Legdrop off the top of the cage.

The place was electric for it and it’s one of those things we’re going to see more of in the future but it will never hold a candle to the first time. Matt covered and got the pin in 20+ minutes. Great match, a slight step below the brilliant Threeway from TNA. This was amazing to watch and might be the WWE’s Match of the Year that doesn’t involve Angle or Michaels.

In a step to make the World Tag Team Champions into something real again, Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade pinned Hurricane and Rosey to win the belts. These two look great. Murdoch is perfect in his personae, like Stan Hansen when he used to work the WWWF in the old days. Lance worked a lot more than he had the last couple of weeks, and looked great.

At one point, Murdoch asked Lillian for a kiss. Hey, that’s Big Viz’s gimmick! When Hurricane tried to keep Lillian from harm, Murdoch gives him a Spike DDT on the outside! A little double teaming and some outside assistance work to the Cowboys’ favor. Hurricane makes a hot tag, but is met with a Clothesline and shoulderblock at the same time to give Cade and Murdoch the win. Solid action, and it shows that they’re thinking of a direction for the tag titles.

Masters vs. Michaels is a good match and a nice way to at least end this portion of the feud and Masters’ push. They exchange a bit until HBK manages to send Masters out to the floor and hits him with a plancha. He works over Chris on the outside and then when he tries to use a chair, the ref stops him and Masters takes advantage of the situation. Masters picked up Shawn like he was going to give him a PowerBomb, but rammed him into the post instead. Masters kept working the back, which was a smart storyline to use. This was probably Masters’ best match to date. Masters uses a Backbreaker that just looked great. He at least has one move that looks good.

The crowd was into it and really wanted Shawn to win. Sweet low blow by Michaels, again with shades of Flair. A flying forearm and an Atomic Drop are becoming Michaels version of Bret Hart’s Seven Moves of Doom! HE goes for a SuperKick, but it misses and Masters gets the Master Lock!Masters sinches it in, but HBK makes the ropes and Masters has to break. He gets it again aafter Michaels hits a Flying Body Press, but Michaels wiggles out and hits the SuperKick for the win! Good long match where Michaels was really carrying things but Masters was trying to keep up. Similarities to Lex Luger in 1987 were all over the place.

Kurt Angle and John Cena have had several matches over the last couple of years, and this one was better than some and not as good as others. The ending is what brought this one down the most. Cena’s offense is terrible, and he should really spend some time watching old Hogan tapes and maybe even working with him to get the idea of making the most out of horrendous offense. They trade a bit to open and Angle is Mean Kurt again. Cena’s selling isn’t bad, and the way Kurt seems to be working, he doesn’t have to act much to get over the pain. Lot’s of stiff shots from Kurt. Cena got a Sidewalk Slam for a near fall. A Belly-to-belly is followed by Kurt’s serious bootage. Kurt just drove him all of his brutality and I was excited. Cena was going along with Kurt, and he didn’t throw too many of his awful punches. Big German by Kurt, and he holds on to it as a Bearhug. Cena is then trapped in a bodyscissors, but he elbows his way out and then gets a DDT to Kurt.

"I do NOT look like Brian Michael Bendis!"
A really nice segment featured Kurt Cena going for an Fu and Kurt then getting the Ankle Lock, which Cena escapes and manages to get a Spinebuster on Angle. He goes for the FU again, but Kurt turns it into an AngleSlam, which he follows up as an Ankle Lock, which Cena again escapes and then hits the old ProtoBomb! Cena was limping after that, but managed to hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Some exchanging on their feet, but Kurt KOs the ref and only then does John get the FU. No ref to count. Kurt nails Cena with his medals and then locks in the Ankle Lock again. Bischoff comes in and is taunting Cena as he’s in the Ankle Lock. Cena makes the ropes, but Bischoff takes his hands off of them. Bischoff was taunting Cena with the Title belt, saying that Kurt was about to take it, when Cena grabbed it and hit Bischoff with it. The ref saw that and I assume that he was DQed for it.

After the match, Bischoff says that the title does not go back to Cena, but then he takes a Cena FU! Angle attacks again and he’s about to slam Cena into the Spanish Announce Table, but Cena turns it into an FU. We’ll hear more about what’s going to happen on RAW.

Solid PPV and I can’t wait to see what they do with all they’ve built up. Rebuilding Matt Hardy with a Match of the Year Candidate win was a great idea, but is it enough?


Chris Garcia

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