Tuesday, September 9, 2008

9/7/08 Unforgiven

Published two days late, but here are the ratings for Unforgiven.

Star rating key:
(negative stars) = Huh?! (BS finish; most squash matches)
DUD = Boring match (or could not enjoy the match)
1/4* to 3/4* = It had watchable moments.
* to *3/4 = Average match.
** to **3/4 = Above average match.
*** to ***3/4 = Great match; usually saved for PPVs
**** to ****3/4 = Match of the year candidate
***** = The rarest of all matches. A classic.

9/7/08 Unforgiven:
Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay vs. The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero (ECW Championship Scramble): Hardy and Miz started, which was nice (would have preferred Hardy vs. Chavo but Miz works as well). Nice "Hardy" chants at the beginning. Interesting move by Miz to vault over the top and snap Hardy's neck down on the second rope. What a Liger kick by Miz - never seen that from him before. Miz was extremely impressive in this one. Great Matt Hardy offense as always. Chavo in third and he got the first pinfall of the match. Mark Henry came in fourth and put on a nice display of power moves. Slow moment was when Henry started doing the rest holds. Finlay came out last and ignited the crowd again with nice offense. All five men became the interim champ at one point in the match, which was nice. The last five minutes were pretty exciting. Great job by Hardy in playing defense. ***

Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Cryme Tyme (World Tag Team Titles): Nice offense early from Cryme Tyme. Impressive big double team spot from Cryme Tyme when JTG got propelled over the top onto Team Priceless. If Cryme Tyme does more of this on free TV, I'd watch them even more. Also excellent tag wrestling from Team Priceless. Great job by Team Priceless to isolate JTG for that long a time. I liked the back-and-forth action, but the ending was not impactful at all. We got to see the debut of Manu (Afa Jr.) after the match ended. I must say, it was a great match. ***

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (Unsanctioned Match): Easily the match of the night. I love the fast start. This was basically a big brawl with no letup. Another great spot to fight in the stands. Interesting that Cole and Lawler did not refer to the Crossface by its proper name. Nice work by Jericho to work on HBK’s injured eye. The crowd was VERY lively. Of course, Cade got involved later in the match. Awesome spot with Jericho getting a chair shot and going through the table. HBK with the one-armed chair shot – that’s something you don’t see every day. HBK was a man possessed, and I loved it. CRAZY spot with HBK doing an elbow drop on the announce table onto Cade and Jericho. My one nitpick: Lilian Garcia said the only way to win was by pinfall or submission. Yet, the match ends by ref stoppage?! I liked the finish, but hell, do a pin or submission if it was stated only pin or submission wins. ****1/2

Michelle McCool vs. Maryse (Divas Title): It was a decent match that unfortunately did not get as much crowd reaction probably because the fans have seen the Women's division overall as a joke and a chance to go to the bathroom. In any event, it was clearly the most surprisingly good match of the night, in my opinion. I had held it to such low standards because I was not high up on Maryse's wrestling...or McCool's for that matter. However, these two really showed me something tonight. Pat Patterson has been doing a great job prepping Maryse - and I guess Undertaker has a bunch to do with McCool's in-ring work. Good work ladies. **1/4

Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. MVP vs. The Brian Kendrick vs. Shelton Benjamin (WWE Championship Scramble): Jeff and Shelton to start; excellent choices. Nice quick start with some basic takedowns. Just tremendous chemistry between the two. Kendrick came in third and showcased a ton of impressive moves. Kendrick was another person who impressed me at Unforgiven. Hardy got the first pin on Kendrick. I didn’t understand why Hardy kept going for pinfalls after he had already become the interim champ. I marked out when Kendrick got the pin on Hardy. MVP out fourth. The crowd went nuts when Kendrick intercepted MVP and knocked him cold with a high leg lariat when MVP was going for the Drive-By. I heard some boos when Hardy took out Kendrick…interesting. The crowd went NUTS when HHH came out, and that is when business really picked up. Lots of impact moves and counters in this one. Excellent match. My one nitpick: why did Hardy make himself look stupid by not breaking up HHH’s pin when he had the title won otherwise?! ***1/4

As a note, I found it interesting that they had Matt Hardy – who was one of the first participants in the ECW Championship Scramble – win the ECW title, while Triple H – the last man in the WWE Championship Scramble – won that belt. Very interesting booking there.

Chris Jericho vs. JBL vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Batista vs. Kane (World Heavyweight Championship Scramble): Batista and JBL to start; which I wouldn’t normally have done, but it was logical here because Punk was taken out, Kane is not known for endurance in matches, and I can understand Vince wanting to save Mysterio for later on. Nice crowd reaction from the crowd after Batista put on the Figure Four on JBL. Kane out third, which was again logical given the circumstances. Kane got the first pinfall after about nine and a half minutes. Rey and his Mohawk came out fourth, but disappointingly got little reaction from the crowd. Everyone was understandably stunned when Jericho came out instead of Punk. There was definitely not as much excitement from the crowd or from me in the last five minutes. While the last few seconds were very good with Jericho sneaking in for the last pin with five seconds left, I felt this was the weakest of the three championship scrambles because the pace was nowhere near the level of the first two. ***1/4

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