After a series of good to great pay-per-view shows, WWE’s Judgment Day was the company’s first stumble in 2008. Rehashed feuds, dull matches, uninspired finishes, and a dead Omaha crowd resulted in an event that overall can be judged as being boring and, given the first few shows of the year, disappointing.
The main event saw Triple H defend his WWE Championship against Randy Orton in the confines of a steel cage.
The match started off with Triple H on the offense, hitting his trademark knees and power moves while Orton made several attempts to get out of his clutches and escape the cage. Orton finally turned the tables after sending HHH face first into the cold steel cage and dazing the champion. Sensing victory, Orton punished HHH with repeated blows to the head before clamping on his go-to move, the headlock. Continuing his assault, Orton stomped on all of HHH’s body parts with hope to damage him to the point where he would be prime for a three-count. Out of desperation, HHH fought back with a chop block to the back of Orton’s knee, and then punished him further with a Figure Four Leglock. Sensing that he was in trouble, Orton doubled his efforts to escape the cage, scrambled towards the cage door repeatedly. HHH was able to drag him back in each time, but on one instance, Orton was able to reach down and grab a chair which he brought in with him. He used the chair to good advantage, and it wasn’t long before HHH was equally out of it. Both men hurting, they both scaled the cage walls repeatedly, battling it out with neither man able to reach the floor.
The end came when Orton went for his field goal kick to HHH’s head, but The Game avoided it. HHH teed off on Orton’s head with the chair, then hit a Pedigree and a 1-2-3 to retain his championship.
Match One: JBL vs John Cena
JBL used a number of methodical holds and moves to wear down Cena, eventually locking him into a full nelson. Cena powered out, but, his strength sapped, he collapsed during an FU attempt. JBL continued this borefest with a bearhug and a body scissors which was as excruciating for viewers as it was for Cena. Really, this is almost sleep-inducingly slow. Finally, after what seems an eternity, Cena ducked a short-arm clothesline attempt, hit an FU on JBL and covered him for the pin. More surprising than the out-of-nowhere finish? How dead the reaction was for Cena throughout.
Winner: John Cena
Clips are shown of the Dirtsheet, the internet show that John Morrison and the Miz host on WWE.com. In the most recent episode, the champs parody their challengers, CM Punk and ECW champion Kane.
Match Two: Kane and CM Punk vs John Morrison and the Miz
For the WWE Tag Team Championship
Okay match, with some good chemistry displayed by the makeshift team of Punk and Kane. Punk was looking to put away Morrison with the Go To Sleep (or as I call it, the “JBL-Cena”), but the Miz broke it up from the floor. Kane chokeslams Miz on the floor, but the moment of distraction was enough to allow Morrison to hit Punk with his Moonlight Drive finisher.
Winner, and still Tag Team champs: John Morrison and the Miz.
Match Three: Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho
Good story here with both men familiar with each other’s moves and strategies. As an example, Jericho put his knees up during a HBK flying elbow smash attempt, driving them in Michaels’ face. After that, Jericho took control, trapping HBK in the Walls of Jericho. Shawn escaped, and shortly thereafter hit Jericho with Sweet Chin Music knocking Y2J from the apron to the floor, but was only get a two-count after rolling Jericho back into the ring. HBK’s attempts at another superkick were thwarted by Jericho who would fall down before Michaels could hit him, and on the third try, by Jericho quickly hitting a Codebreaker. Good ending sequence saw HBK put his knees up to block a Lionsault, Jericho seeing this and landing on his feet, then grabbing HBK’s legs and trying for the Walls of Jericho. Michaels blocked the move and instead held the legs and rolled up Y2J for the pin. After the match, Jericho offered a handshake which Michaels reluctantly gave him.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Women’s champ Mickie James was asked about her post-RAW date with John Cena. Before she could answer, JBL interrupted and then badmouthed Cena in ultra-boring fashion.
Match Four: Mickie James vs Beth Phoenix vs Melina
Triple Threat Match for the Women’s Championship
The story here was Beth Phoenix using her strength to try to hurt both women, and Mickie James taking every opportunity to simply get a pinfall to retain her championship. An excellent move saw Beth stack both opponents on one shoulder in a backbreaker and drop them down face first. James recovered quickly, and hit Melina with a DDT for the pin. Too short of a match, but good while it lasted.
Winner, and still Women’s Champion: Mickie James
Match Rating: 6/10
Backstage, Batista confronted Shawn Michaels for his deception where he faked his knee injury. He repeated his threat that he really will hurt Shawn at some point in the future.
Match Five: Undertaker vs Edge
For the vacant World Heavyweight Championship
|WHAT YOU THINK|
What did you think of Judgment Day?
It was great – 8%
It was okay – 18%
It sucked – 27%
Didn’t see it – 46%
Taker started off by methodically nailing Edge with strikes, but when he went for his ‘old school’ forearm off the ropes, Edge pulled him down so that he crotched himself on the top strand. Edge took it outside, and threw Taker into the steel ringsteps, hurting the dead man’s legs. Back in the ring, a cocky Edge tried for his own version of ‘old school’ but received the same crotching that he gave Taker minutes earlier. Before Taker could hit a Tombstone, the Edgeheads ran down to ringside to distract him. Both men went for finishers, but being so familiar with each other, they were able to counter each other’s offense. Once, Taker instinctively tried for his banned sleeper before realizing he would be DQd and releasing Edge. The Omaha crowd finally woke up during this match, chanting for Taker, and exploding when he hit a huge chokeslam, albeit only for a two-count. After a brawl on the floor, and the combatants raced to get back into the ring before the referee made the 10-count. Taker made it in, but before he was awarded the title, Vicki Guerrero came out and announced, to a thunderous negative response, that since a championship can only be won by pinfall or submission and accordingly, the championship is still vacant. Taker then Tombstoned Edge. Good match, but terrible, terrible finish.
Match Rating: 7/10
MVP came out to complain that he was left off of the card, saying that this oversight is bad for business. He challenged anyone in the back to come out there and see if they’re better than he is. Matt Hardy came out, but not to accept the challenge; but rather, to announce that his brother Jeff would do so.
Match Six: Jeff Hardy vs MVP
A decent if unspectacular match, with MVP dominating through his simple mat-based offense, grounding Hardy and dictating the pace. Credit goes to commentator Mick Foley for painting a verbal picture in describing the match and making it more interesting than it really was. The end came when Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind out of nowhere.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Match Rating: 5/10
A promo video for Rambo is shown with Sylvester Stallone saying he really didn’t want to direct the movie. I’d be embarrassed too.
Match Seven: Randy Orton vs Triple H
Steel cage match for the WWE Championship
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
Match Rating: 7/10
Overall Show Rating: 6/10