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The Judgment Day 2007 Breakdown

May 23, 2007 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Judgment Day 2007
by J.D. Dunn

  • May 20, 2007
  • Live from St. Louis, Mo.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles and Taz.

  • Opening Match: Ric Flair vs. Carlito.
    Carlito now has darker, more evil tights. Now get him some real music. Flair chops away and blocks a sunset flip early. Carlito bails and stalls, prompting Flair to lose his cool and go after him, which allows Carlito to yank his arm down on the ropes. Carlito targets the arm throughout the rest of the match. He does a decent job, but Flair needs more offense in order to keep things interesting. As it is, the fans just kind of tune out until the inevitable big comeback. Flair fires back with a back elbow and a backdrop, which, I believe, count as Flair’s first non-chop offensive moves. He chop-blocks Carlito’s knee and blocks the Backstabber by grabbing the ropes. Flair stomps on Carlito’s knee a few times and finishes with the figure-four at 15:36. Gotta admire the bookers for giving them time, but this was one of those lazy Randy Savage-style matches where Flair took a beating for 14 minutes and then hit his finisher for the win. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but Flair was never in any real danger of tapping out during the heat segment. **

  • Shawn Michaels tries to explain how he’s going to gut it out tonight, but Randy Orton jumps him and tosses him headfirst into the set.
  • ECW World Title, Handicap Match: Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley.
    Lashley goes right after Vince early, hoping to avoid a repeat of Backlash where Vince stood on the apron the entire match. Shane jumps him from behind, but Umaga’s help backfires, and he avalanches Shane. Lashley powerslams Shane for the win and the title at 1:14. Oh, but Vince decides he doesn’t want to lose the title and says that Lashley didn’t beat him so the title doesn’t change hands. See, this is a *good* place for a Dusty Finish. 1/2*

  • CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke.
    Punk irks me right of the bat by coming in with his ribs taped up like Dallas Page after a tummy tuck and then hopping in over the ropes instead of selling the injury. Punk tries his usual Muay Thai stuff, but Burke goes after the ribs and punches Punk right in the face. Punk hits a delayed vertical suplex as Joey ponders what that’s doing to his ribs. Apparently nothing because Punk rolls over and gets two. He also hits a crossbody a few minutes later. For a better example of how that’s supposed to go, check out Ricky Steamboat hitting the same move on Steven Regal at Fall Brawl ’93 and then doubling over in pain like he’d been gutted. Punk uses that Jericho springboard dropkick to send Elijah out and then hits a suicida. Back in, Burke locks in a bodyscissors. The fans are distracted by JBL for some reason, though, so they’re not too interested. Punk goes for an Exploder and gets small packaged for two. Punk catches Burke going up and hits a top-rope superplex. Burke counters a bulldog but misses the Elijah Express. He slips out of the Go2Sleep and hits an STO. NICE! He crotches Punk on the top and hits the Elijah Experience. Punk gets his foot on the ropes, though, and hits the Go2Sleep for the win at 16:52. The first half of the match was them trying to work an old-school match based around the rib injury, but that wasn’t working out, so they just said, “To hell with it,” and did a normal (better) match. **1/2

  • Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels.
    Orton demands to be declared the winner by forfeit since the doctor says Shawn can’t wrestle, but a glassy-eyed Shawn comes out anyway. Is Marty Janetty back in town? The ref rings the bell, so Orton jumps him and hits a rope-assisted DDT. Shawn won’t let himself be pinned, though. Shawn goes to the eyes and hits the not-so-Picture-Perfect Elbow. Shawn tunes up the band but crumbles mid-move. The ref rules that Shawn can’t continue, handing the match over to Orton at 4:31. Orton waits for Shawn to get up and then gives him an RKO. That brings out Shawn’s wife to check on him, and the EMTs have to wheel him out. The big question here was what to do since Shawn couldn’t do a normal match due to his knee injury. Do you have Orton take him out and then squash somebody trying to intervene on Shawn’s behalf so you can at least deliver a match? Or, do you do something like this and build Orton up for when Triple H comes back? After going back and forth on the issue, I think they probably did the right thing. Beating the crap out of someone else doesn’t have the same emotional impact of beating up Shawn Michaels. For once, they’re actually looking forward and sacrificing the here and now. 1/2*

  • The Great Khali says if Cena wants some, he can come get some.
  • World Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boyz vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch.
    JBL objects to Cade and Murdoch’s face turn because he thinks they won’t be successful. They trade a few moves with Cade and Murdoch refusing to cheat. JBL responding to Cole’s adjective of “unorthodox”: Unorthodox is wearing jeans to a business meeting! He also buries Cole’s point about Batista not being a rule-breaker, despite being trained by Triple H and Ric Flair. JBL: And he didn’t beat the Undertaker, did he? Matt plays face-in-peril as Cade & Murdoch try to keep things interesting without cheating. Matt gets his knees up to block a pump-splash. Jeff gets the hot tag, and the Hardyz clear the ring. The match settles down again as they do a reset, and Jeff falls to the floor off a charge to turn him into the face-in-peril. The fans are distracted again by someone getting kicked out by security. St. Louis: the home of Anheuser-Busch. WEST TEXAS DESTROYER! It gets two. Cole burns JBL right back by asking if “being aggressive” means breaking FEC regulations too. Matt gets the hot tag but runs into a uranage-spinebuster (and JBL even references Hiroshi Hase!). Matt fights back and hits the Twist of Fate. Jeff finishes with the Swanton Bomb at 15:00. Good match, but the reformed heel act overwhelms everything Cade & Murdoch do. Plus, the fans just aren’t that into them yet. Can’t fault the effort from both teams, though. **3/4

  • And to back up my point, they show a poll asking who is most likely to win a title tonight – Cade and Murdoch get 1-percent. But then the fans picked Batista, so what do they know?
  • World Heavyweight Title: Edge vs. Batista.
    The ref actually stops to explain the rules. Nice touch. Edge cowers for the first few minutes. He misses a charge and falls to the floor. Batista scoops him up for a slam, which is never good, and it’s not good in this case either because Edge slips off his shoulder and throws him into the steps. Back in, Edge goes after the arm instead of Batista’s taped thigh. Gotta question that strategy. Batista catches him with a clothesline and gets two off a powerslam. Edge hits the Edge-O-Matic and sets up for the spear, but Batista hits a spear of his own. ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Batista hits a spinebuster but his leg buckles, and Edge quickly schoolboys him for the win at 10:38. I give them credit for trying to work the taped leg into the finish, but Edge’s no-sell and immediate pop-up after the spinebuster is unintentionally hilarious. **

  • Backstage, Kristal gets some expert prognostication from the Divas regarding the main event.
  • U.S. Title, 2/3 Falls: Chris Benoit vs. MVP.
    First Fall: A stiff lock-up puts them on the outside, and they head back in to bitchslap each other. Benoit goes after the Crossface early, but MVP makes the ropes and grabs a headlock. Cole notes that MVP debuted on the same show where Benoit won the US Title. MVP trips Benoit up on a dropdown, re-injuring that knee that was hit by the shillelagh on Smackdown. Benoit fires back with chops and locks in the Crippler Crossface, but MVP gets his foot on the ropes. MVP tries a running Kawada kick, but Benoit avoids it and locks in the Sharpshooter. MVP is close to the ropes, though, so he makes the ropes again. He chop-blocks Benoit’s leg out from under him. MVP gets caught going up, and Benoit tries an Electric Chair Drop, but his leg buckles. MVP is in perfect position, so he just hits the Playmaker at 8:14. Great finish.

    Second Fall: Benoit’s leg buckles again, this time on a whip. MVP pounds on it over the apron. He drags Benoit back in and hangs Benoit in the tree-of-woe and then hits that Kawada kick to the knee. See, that ability of a wrestler to adapt his offense to the storyline of the match is the mark of a good wrester. Compare that to some of the other matches on the card where the storyline would normally inhibit certain moves but the wrestler does them anyway because they don’t know what else to do. Benoit goes for another Crossface, but MVP reverses to an Argentine Kneerack, but Benoit makes the ropes. MVP elbows out of another Crossface attempt and rolls over to a small package. Benoit tries to counter to a Sharpshooter, but MVP snaps his leg and rolls him over into a small package for the win and the title at 14:09. Wow! Two straight over Benoit. I’ve read a lot of feedback that says this was disappointing, and while I don’t think it’s on the level of some of their recent matches, it’s hardly a bad match. For one thing, it shows that a heel can get a clean win over a babyface without a leprechaun, or an evil photographer, or a twin referee, or a ether-soaked rag getting involved. MVP used his wits, skill and strategy and came out on top fairly and squarely (we’ll pretend for a moment that the Smackdown shillelagh shot doesn’t exist). Trust me, MVP will be the better for it. The crowd was bored, but then they’ve been out to lunch since the second match on the card. Now move Benoit up the card to put Edge over. ***

  • WWE Heavyweight Title: John Cena vs. The Great Khali.
    Khali hits a big clubbing clothesline early, which JR calls compares to “felonious assault.” Felonious is good, but prefer Charlie Parker. Clothesline. Legdrop. Clothesline. Legdrop. You get the idea. Cena hits the Throwback, but Khali brushes him off. Khali hits a roundhouse kick…while standing in Branson. Cena powers out of a nerve hold and shoulderblocks Khali into the ropes. Cena flails away, but Khali frees himself. Cena blocks a chop but gets tossed to the floor. He improvises and kicks the steps into the Khali’s knee. Khali slowly crawls back in, so Cena comes off the top with a legdrop to the back of the head. An STFU finishes at 8:16, but Khali’s foot was clearly under the ropes, so look for the feud to continue. They score points for working a smart match, but the finish leaves a lot to be desired, especially since Khali had been shown to be virtually unbeatable. Now he’s tapping out after a single STFU attempt after Cena got in three moves? *3/4

    The 411: A disappointing step back after a great Backlash PPV last month. The injury to Shawn hurt, but the effort was spotty throughout. To make matters worse, they did a dramatic injury angle with Shawn and then surrounded him with other injury angles to dilute it. Punk’s ribs. Batista’s thigh. Benoit’s leg. I understand they were in a tough position with Shawn, but paying $40 to watch an episode of ER is also a tough position, so I don’t have much sympathy. The US Title and Hardyz matches are okay, but the PPV just isn’t worth your time.

    Thumbs down for Judgment Day 2007

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