RBTR – Unforgiven Review

Mitchell Gadd


Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of Reading Between The Ropes. Last night was WWE’s annual September PPV, Unforgiven. The card looked painfully mediocre on paper, but did it actual turn out to be that way? Well, as always, it’s time for RBTR to run down the good, the bad, and the Jared Balstrup of the evening.

IC Title: Carlito vs. Ric Flair

The crowd always comes alive for Flair on PPV, no matter what area the WWE comes to. As always with a Flair match these days there was a lot of cat and mouse and showmanship taking place. After all the strutting and wooing we then got down to the serious action.

Carlito, again, looked solid in there. His timing and execution seems spot on and he continues to show me that he has what it takes to be an important player on the roster. The ending, however, wasn’t to my liking. Those of you who read my preview will know that I desperately didn’t want to see a title change but not only did we get that, we also got a clean victory for Flair. If Carlito was going to lose the belt, I think some kind of classic Flair cheap tactic may have worked.

Following the match we saw a fairly pointless promo from Flair, especially considering he mentioned Triple H, which really didn’t make sense as he was in the babyface role. After that we saw several skits with Flair and the girls he took to the back. All of which was pointless and the exposing of Flair’s ass on TV for an extended period of time did nothing for this writer.

My Pick: Carlito

Winner: Flair!!!

Score: 0-1

Trish and Ashley vs. Torrie and Victoria

I’m glad it was Torrie and Victoria, not Torrie and Candice as I mistakenly thought in my preview column. Victoria spent most of the match in the ring for her team, which was definitely the right move. I also think that Ashley being in the ring for most of the match for her team was also the right move. Sure, Ashley sucks in the ring right now, and Trish is far more capable, but you had to get the fans pumped to see the hot tag when Trish got in there. You needed to build up that tag as THE important factor in the match. After surviving what looked to be a heavy bump on the outside, Ashley did make that tag and Trish, quite predictably, brought home the victory for her team.

My Pick: Trish and Ashley

Winners: Trish and Ashley

Score: 1-1

Big Show vs. Gene Snitsky

Just a thought here; are the WWE trying to drop the Gene from Snitsky’s name? I have a feeling they might be, but if they are it isn’t working. I noticed on Raw Edge was calling him Gene and it seemed every one on commentary and the ring announcers seemed to what to stick to just Snitsky. Anyway, that’s by the by.

This match was about the same length as I expected, and it was pretty much of the same quality. Nothing special here, and this was merely just a glorified Raw match. I liked the symmetry to close the feud out with Big Show using the bell on Snitsky.

My Pick: Big Show

Winner: Big Show

Score: 2-1

Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White

The fans didn’t seem in to this match at all. I don’t think Kerwin’s attire helps him in the ring. It seems that it doesn’t allowed Chavo the freedom or give him the look that makes fans want to see him. It’s the little things in wrestling that can make all the difference.

This match was a little shorter than I expected, and a little disappointing as well. It seemed to entertain in fits and starts. The odd moment here and there was good, but then it went back in to a lull with Chavo having to play to his knee character with needless stomps and goofy mannerisms. Chavo’s far too athletic for that, and I’m positive that a Chavo Guerrero vs. Shelton Benjamin match would have got a far better reaction from the crowd, and a far more natural performance from Guerrero. Sadly, that was the case last night as circumstance (or bad gimmicks) struck a negative blow for this contest.

My Pick: Kerwin

Winner: Shelton

Score: 2-2

Steel Cage Match: Matt Hardy vs. Edge

It seems no amount of losses will hurt Hardy’s fan base. The fans were behind Hardy just as much as anyone on the night, and it was fantastic to hear such great support for the Angelic Diablo himself. You could tell this match was going to be a long one as they really did build the contest up slowly, which was definitely a good thing. The stare outs before the match, and tension building in the air; you just knew you were in for a roller-coaster ride.

I liked how they played off of previous incidents in the feud, with Edge laying the boots in to Hardy and genuinely creating a concern amongst Hardy’s supporters that the contest might be brought to a close once again through a referee stoppage. It also allowed the commentators and Hardy himself to nicely back up the motto that Hardy seems to make his mission statement nowadays: ‘Matt Hardy Will Not Die’.

I hated how JR called the side-effect a ‘take down’. JR wouldn’t call the FU a ‘Death Valley Driver’, nor would he call the Rock Bottom a ‘Samoan Drop’ or a ‘take down’. The side-effect is a signature move of Hardy, JR, so sell it like it is one. The wrestlers certainly did, as they teased at a side-effect from the top rope earlier in the match and, after Hardy had nailed one in the middle of the ring, he later hit one from the top rope to the delight of the fans in attendance.

Lita then got involved and that sent the fans in to a frenzy even more so. She got what was coming to her and I can proudly say that I marked out like a ten year old when the twist-of-fate was delivered. It feels good to have that kind of reaction to a wrestling match every once in a while. I think everybody should be entitled to it. Hardy survived a late scare or two, and then recovered to deliver a Team Extreme style moment that sent the place bananas. It was executed perfectly, and it topped off a fantastic contest with plenty of emotion and drama. The perfect ending to all of this… or is it?

My Pick: Hardy

Winner: Hardy

Score: 3-2

Tag Team Titles: Hurricane and Rosey vs. Cade and Murdoch

I’m fairly amused by the expressions of Trevor Murdoch. He’s very odd school in many of his mannerisms and, as people should know by now, I’m very much an old school wrestling fan. Still, there was a match to focus on, and it centred on one moment. Murdoch’s ddt to Hurricane on the outside looked horrific, even if the injuries were not legitimate.

Hurricane certainly sold it very well. He didn’t lay out flat afterwards, but remained in an unorthodox position, with his left arm seemingly numb. It was very well sold, almost to the point where it became a concern. However, the lack of officials coming to his aid in quick time soon revealed it was part of the match. Hurricane returned to lose a match which was a decent affair. I think it dragged during some parts when Rosey was fighting on his own, like nobody was sure what was coming next. However, it was a decent contest, which came at a point in the card where this sort of match was needed, and best appreciated.

My Pick: Cade and Murdoch

Winners: Cade and Murdoch

Score: 4-2

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters

So, Masters’s big moment arrived, and it was time for him to repay the faith the WWE have put in him in this feud. The attempt at the Master Lock from the get-go was a nice surprise, and a good way to kick things off. I expected Michaels to be on top for a lot longer than he was in the early going of this match. It seemed Masters quickly got the upper hand when he caught Michaels in mid-air and rammed his back in to the steel ring post.

I liked how Masters carried the match in the middle portion of the contest. When I say carried, I don’t mean that he carried Michaels, I mean how he responded to being the one to dictate the pace. When you’re in control of a match, all the selling in the world won’t help you if you’re making the wrong decisions in there. Masters didn’t seem to make a wrong call. He seemed to keep things fairly interesting, and he introduced rest holds that were meaningful. The torture racks et al didn’t seem like rest holds, but genuine submissions that were continuing the story of the match.

That story was, of course, leading to the Master Lock, and whether Michaels could break it. Once it was locked in, I think everyone was expected the break to occur. However, I liked the alternative that the WWE threw our way with Michaels escaping over the top rope. I thought that Masters had it locked in as Michaels came off the top rope, but he didn’t quite synch it in, and Michaels got the superkick in for the victory in what was an entertaining battle. I liked the story they told, and whether they both move to a new feud or not, this was a decent payoff to some extensive investment.

My Pick: Michaels

Winner: Michaels

Score: 5-2

WWE Title: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle

This match wasn’t as long as I thought it would be. It seemed that, once again, the heel gained the advantage over the babyface rather quickly, much like in the previous match. This meant that the contest moved along at a decent pace and, therefore, kept you watching and fairly entertained.

Angle, once again, came across as a mean bastard, especially with the addition of that gum shield, which makes him seem a scary kind of intense. After Cena got trapped in the ankle lock, he sold the effects very well, and it made Angle seem more like a shark smelling blood; as if the kill wasn’t far away. The referee bump wasn’t pleasing to see, but I suppose it became necessary for the finish.

In my preview column I said that I expected Cena to retain, but lose via a DQ, and that’s exactly how it turned out to be. In my opinion, despite how much I may be outnumbered in this belief, it was the correct way to end the match. Angle couldn’t lose via a pinfall as that would kill all the build up and moment he has got as a vicious, unbeatable son of a gun right now, yet it also keeps the belt on a champion who probably has a bit more mileage as the poster boy of the WWE, despite what feelings one may have about his in-ring abilities.

The after match activities were probably there to send the fans home happy more than anything so that they could have some sort of exclamation point on the night. The referee raising Cena’s arm annoyed me, because he didn’t win. Cena’s music playing also got to me a bit. I suppose I’m too old school for those kind of things. That would never have happened back in the day. A decent contest, but it didn’t hit the heights of No Way Out.

My Pick: Angle via DQ!!!

Winner: Angle via DQ!!!

Final Score: 6-2

Not a bad PPV, and plenty of positives to take from the night, but the good wasn’t supported by anything that resembled PPV quality. There’s still far too much mediocrity on these brand exclusive PPVs for me.

Until next time,

Mitchell L. Gadd

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