Going in, the one thought I had about the latest WWE PPV - Judgement Day, is that it would not hold a candle to the last two PPV's. The card was weaker, some injuries had taken place to weaken the card, and the overall booking of the show was just not that good. With that, last night's show was an okay performance, and I thought that while most of the show was somewhat predictable, they have left the door open for the next PPV - "One Night Stand" in two weeks.
The main event, which was a WWE Title match with John Cena vs The Great Khali, reminded me of an old school Hulk Hogan title defense of the 1980's. It was as if Khali was playing the role of one of many of Hogan's "monster" opponents of those days, and Cena was playing the role of Hogan. You can name probably 10 guys that the company built up in the 80's, only to have them dispatched by Hogan. Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Big Bossman, One Man Gang, Andre the Giant, Umaga, Killer Khan, Earthquake were just a few that Hogan would take a beating from, only to recover and somehow, someway, slam them and get the pin.
This is what this match reminded me of. For about 7-8 minutes, Khali did a solid job just beating on Cena, and John took the beating well. His expressions and the way he took Khali's shots were about as good as any that have taken, and overall it made Khali look strong. Then Cena made his comeback, and just like that with the STFU it was over. There was a bit of a letdown with Khali tapping out what seemed pretty quickly, but I guess the bookers felt that was all they could do with the big man, and it was time for him to surrender. The crowd being over with the match also made it better than what it should have been.
Now what they do with Cena from here remains to be seen. A rematch with Khali in two weeks at ONS with extreme rules seems likely, as with weapons involved they could pull off another match. As stated here before, Snitsky is another name that could be brought into the title picture, but that may be a slow build and be more likely for a PPV down the road. For now, look for Cena-Khali II at the PPV in two weeks.
The World Heavyweight Title match was average. The 10 minute match with Edge and Batista was watchable, and both men did what they could with the time given. It was a bit of a letdown with the finish, as they continue to play the card that Batista is hurt and that his knee gave out as he was about to do a spinebuster. I would have liked to have seen these two go longer, but that may happen with another match between the two in a few weeks at ONS.
The match I was really frustrated with was the ECW title match with Umaga and the two McMahons vs Bobby Lashley. Lashley pins Shane McMahon quick, wins the belt back, Vince slides off in the sunset, and we move on to Lashley vs Umaga or Snitsky. No. Lashley does pin Shane in one minute, but then Umaga spikes Lashley, and Vince announces that since he wasn't pinned, the belt is still his. Just bad booking here, and I am sure this was Vince's master call on this one. I was really happy when this was over, thinking that Vince may take himself off of TV for awhile, but no.
My hope here is that Vince simply turns the belt over to Umaga, and he and Lashley go at it for the strap at ONS with Extreme Rules. Otherwise, maybe the plan is for Vince to go on and have like a 7-year title run or something stupid like that. Why not, they've already run ECW into the ground already. Might as well keep it going.
A couple of matches I felt went way too long, and the finishes were sort of a letdown. The opener with Carlito and Ric Flair was one of those matches. The heat that should have been behind this match was not there, and the whole Carlito deal of him working on Flair's arm the whole match sort of was odd, considering that they just threw it out the window at the end. In the end, Flair got the figure four, and Carlito tapped, meaning that we'll see these two again a few more times down the road.
Another too long match was the CM Punk and Elijah Burke match. I had high hopes for this being a show stealing match of the night, and while it was a good match, I thought some spots looked sloppy and overall it didn't deliver like it could have. Maybe it was the nerves of their first PPV match, or maybe they were just off their game. Whatever the case was, it lasted 17 minutes, which was too long, and the end was kind of flat, even though Punk did hit his finisher to get the pin.
The Randy Orton vs HBK Shawn Michaels match should have just been cancelled from the get go, as they played the card that HBK was suffering from injuries to the head the last two weeks, and eventually after about 4 minutes he collapsed when he went to do a superkick, and the ref called the match. Orton did do a RKO to seal the deal, and then they even had Shawn's wife Rebecca hit the ring to show some emotion and cry. While they will play this as a major injury type angle to keep Shawn off TV for awhile till his knee heals, this just seemed to lack in so many ways.
MVP vs Chris Benoit was a bit of a shock, only because it was the first time I have ever seen a best two of three falls match actually only go two falls. I was not stunned to see MVP win, as they have been building towards this change for about two months now, and the door is now open for a few more rematches between these two foes. The story of the match was again the fact that Benoit was almost played down as a lesser wrestler next to MVP, who I guess they are going to give a major build to as a heel on SmackDown with other heels like Kennedy getting hurt. Now we have three face champs on RAW, and three heel champs on SmackDown.
The tag title match with Cade and Murdoch vs the Hardys was almost a repeat of last month, and the Hardy's got the win with a swanton bomb on Cade. Probably the best actual wrestling match of the night along with Punk and Burke. The two teams shook hands again, as they are either turning Cade and Murdoch, which would be fine, or they are doing a slow build to turn them back to heels, as they would then get more over. Whatever the case may be, I'm sure we'll see 1-2 more matches with them again.
All in all, it was kind of a "blah" card, and none of the results were much of a shock. I am interested to see what the build will be like for One Night Stand in just two weeks, and how truly "Extreme" the matches will be. Also it will be interesting to see the role of Rob Van Dam on that show, as it is slated to be his last show with the company.