Despite the name of Sunday’s WWE pay-per-view event, neither the Big Show nor John Cena were able to deliver Vengeance to their respective opponents, World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry and WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio. Instead, after a night of solid in-ring action (when the ring was still standing, that is), the villainous champions emerged with their titles intact.
The Big Show was looking for retribution. After injuring Show earlier this year, Mark Henry went on a rampage, destroying every opponent he faced, and validating his 15-year WWE career with his first world title run. Show wanted not only to take away Henry’s title, but his entire life’s work as well. To that end, Show started off the match with a flurry of fists, and even a superkick. Henry looked as if he was trying to leave, but it turned out to be a ruse. He surprised Show with a chop block, and then a big body slam, grounding the challenger. He then punished Show’s knee, dropping elbows on it and clamping on a leglock. After some time, Show found his second wind, nearly getting the pin after a chokeslam. Show went for his knockout punch, but Henry blocked it and hit the World’s Strongest Slam for a two-count. Looking to put Show away, Henry scaled the ropes, only to get chokeslammed back down to the mat – again, only for two. Then Show tried to go the top, but Henry stopped him. Then, Henry hit a huge superplex, which collapsed the ring – this looked amazing, and the crowd went insane for the spot. Both men were unable to continue, and the match was called off. After the match, medics attended to both men, carting off Show on small flatbed stretcher, while Henry tried to crawl his way back to the back.
Despite the broken ring, WWE Executive VP of Talent Relations, and interim RAW GM John Laurinitis announced that the match between Alberto Del Rio and John Cena for the WWE Championship would go on as planned.
The Last Man Standing stipulation on this one was probably for the best, since the damage to the ring would prevent it from being a completely traditional match. The ring posts were down, or leaning, the ropes had fallen, and the ring was slanted at an angle. Del Rio started off by trying to use a foreign object in the form of throwing Ricardo Rodriguez at Cena. He used the distraction to blindside Cena, pushing him to the floor and whipping him into one of the still-standing ringposts. The two exchanged multiple suplexes (it would have been great to hear Gordon Solie call this match, just to hear him say “suplay” so many times), but both men kept getting up well before the 10-count. Some interesting offense was able to be used because of the ring damage, such as when Del Rio lay a fallen ringpost across Cena’s chest and then stomped onto it. After two attempts at an Attitude Adjustment were thwarted by ADR’s assistant Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio took advantage and locked on a sleeper, which took Cena down but didn’t keep him down. Recharged with adrenaline, Cena took over, throwing ADR across the ring, and with no ropes to stop him, straight out of the ring and hard into the ringside barrier. On the outside, Del Rio showed his toughness by getting up to break the count, and then using the ring steps effectively as a weapon, knocking Cena down several times, only to keep getting up at about the 8-count. The two battled it out up the ramp and into the backstage area, where they used some storage cases and even the backstage interview set pieces to hurt one another. Eventually, they made their way back to the arena, where Del Rio threw Cena into the entrance staging. He then set Cena up onto a table and started to scale the rigging, but Cena caught him and pulled him through the table to the floor – 8 count. They made their way back to ringside, where Del Rio tried for an enziguri, but ended up kicking the ring post by mistake. As he recovered, Cena set up the ringsteps beside the Spanish announce table, and then hit Del Rio with a giant Attitude Adjustment through the table. That should have been it, but instead of counting ADR down, he had to chase away the Miz and R-Truth, who ran down to the ring to put a beating on Cena. Cena barely got up to beat the 10-count, but as soon as he got vertical, Del Rio waffled him with the title belt, knocking him down and out for the 10-count.
WWE’s next pay-per-view event is Survivor Series taking place on November 20.
WWE Vengeance – Full Results
Match 1: Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger vs Air Boom (c)– WWE Tag Team Championship
Ziggler played double duty tonight, as it was announced during this one that that he would have to defend his US Championship against Zack Ryder immediately afterwards. Kofi and Bourne used some innovative moves to try to get the quick win, but their bigger opponents would not stay down, and eventually took control. At one point, it looked like Air Boom were making a comeback, but Swagger got his knees up during a Shooting Star Press attempt by Bourne to keep the edge. Later, Bourne got some revenge on Swagger by getting his knees up on a Swagger Bomb attempt, and a fired up Kofi came in to clear house. The end saw Ziggler get hit with Trouble in Paradise and a Shooting Star Press and get pinned.
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: Air Boom
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 2: Zack Ryder vs Dolph Ziggler (c) — United States Championship Match
“Let’s go, Ryder!” chants filled the AT&T Center in San Antonio early on, as Zack attacked the still-dazed champion. Kofi and Bourne had stuck around for this one, but when they threw Ziggler back into the ring after he rolled out to the floor, the referee banished them to the back, to the delight of Vicki and Swagger who were still at ringside. That turn of events gave Ziggler a chance to catch his breath, and he soon took control. A Famouser by Ziggler couldn’t put down the challenger, but interference by Swagger leading to a huge superkick by Ziggler did.
Winner and still United States Champion: Dolph Ziggler
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Triple H and CM Punk confirmed that they will be on the same page for their match against The Miz and R-Truth
A clip was shown from earlier in the night, where Beth Phoenix and Eve got into an altercation when Beth attached Eve’s friend Kelly Kelly. Due to these actions, both Natalya and Kelly were banned from ringside for the next match by John Laurinitis.
Match 3: Beth Phoenix (c) vs Eve Torres — Divas Championship Match
Eve started off with some big moves, and the action was good early on. Then, there was an awkward comedy attempt, where Eve used Beth’s own outfit to hogtie Beth to the middle rope and literally kick her butt. The pace slowed down after that, with Beth hitting some power moves, including a gorilla press on the outside, dropping Eve onto the guardrail, and a leg scissor submission attempt. Eve powered out, and locked on a nifty submission hold of her own, but Beth was able to get to the ropes. Eve countered out of one Glam Slam attempt, but after missing a moonsault, couldn’t avoid another, and that was her undoing.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix
Match Rating: 7/10
In a backstage interview segment, the Big Show said he would get his vengeance on Mark Henry, and in doing so capture the World Heavyweight Championship.
Match 4: Christian vs Sheamus
The story for this one early on was Christian trying to hit and run and avoid the powerful smashes by Sheamus. The cagey Canadian was able to use his sneaky tactics to take control of the match, and maintain it with a variety of high impact moves, but he wasn’t able to put Sheamus down for the count. A missed flying headbutt attempt left him prone for a beatdown, including a high overhead backslam and a huge slingshot shoulderblock. A series of counters and reversals by both men was highlighted by a great spot where Christian speared Sheamus who was going for a Brogue Kick. It was a case of deja whoops, though, as he tried shortly thereafter for a Spear, but Sheamus got his foot up for the Brogue Kick, and knocked Christian out for the pin.
Match Rating: 8/10
In a lame attempt at humour, Miz and R-Truth praised John Laurinitis, and then talked about who sucks up, who sucks, and who was a sucker.
Match 6: The Miz and R-Truth vs HHH and CM Punk
This one had a main event fell to it, with the crowd vocal right from the get-go. The makeshift team of Punk and HHH took early control, alternating beat-downs on their opponents. A blindside attack from the corner had Punk in trouble momentarily, but he was able to get the hot tag to HHH. His momentum lasted for a bit until the match spilled to the floor, where “Awesome Truth” pulled some shenanigans to take over. HHH got punished for an extended period, but hit a big clothesline on Miz and a desperation DDT on Truth to buy enough time to make the tag. As Punk took over on Miz in the ring, HHH took the fight with Truth to the floor. But when he got too close to the ringside barrier, he got punched by Kevin Nash who was hiding amongst the ringside fans. This gave Truth and Miz the advantage they needed to double-team Punk and get the win. After the match, Nash – looking physically better than ever – hit a huge powerbomb on HHH in the ring and left him laying.
Winners: The Miz and R-Truth
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez, sporting a nasty looking black eye, confronted John Laurinitis about having to face John Cena in a Last Man Standing match. The interim GM said ADR will be able to do it.
Match 7: Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes
Unlike a few years ago where Rhodes got squashed every time he faced Orton, at least this one was competitive. He had Orton in trouble a few times, including after a big Alabama Slam. Rhodes must have read the Eve Torres playbook, though, as he missed a moonsault, allowing Orton to capitalize, but only momentarily. Rhodes showcased a number of good moves here, including a Disaster Kick, another successful moonsault, and then Cross Rhodes, but Super-Randy kept kicking out. Rhodes mocked Orton by punching the mat, but when he tried for an RKO, Orton surprised him with a dropkick, following that up with a bridge DDT. As Orton tried to set up the RKO, he was distracted by one of Rhodes’ bag-men. Rhodes charged in, but Orton moved, Rhodes hit the bagger, and then walked right into the RKO.
Winner: Randy Orton
Match Rating: 7/10
Match 8: Big Show vs Mark Henry (c) — World Heavyweight Championship Match
Winner: No Contest
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 9: John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio — Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship
Winner and still WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: 9/10
Overall show rating: 8/10
Bob Kapur has to get back to work. E-mail him your motivational tips at [email protected].