We’re in Greenville, South Carolina. Hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. They plug the main event match of Taker/Kane/HHH/Cena v Orton/JBL/Chavo/Edge and also the Barack v Hillary match that they’re doing anyway. Uh. We go to Lillian who announces the return of the King of the Ring and we get the first quarter-finalâ<80>¦
KotR QF â<80>” CHRIS JERICHO v MVP
IC champion v US champion to open. MVP starts off aggressively with a firm headlock. Jericho retorts with knees. Both guys mean business and are out for a quick victory. MVP gets dumped on the ropes and Jericho adds in a baseball slide dropkick but MVP was nowhere near the ropes so Jericho had to dive right through the ropes. MVP catches him with a knee coming back in and an inverted DDT through the ropes for 2. MVP grounds it and hooks an abdominal stretch off the mat. Jericho comes back with forearms but MVP catches him in a belly to belly for 2. They switch countering standing and Jericho gets a Northern Lights for 2 into the bridge up with backslide for another 2. BOOT TO THE FACE gets 2. MVP just kicking Jericho under the chin with his big size 10’s. MVP tries to get some momentum going running the ropes but runs in a clothesline. He’s got this huge bruise over his eye. Jericho with a bulldog but MVP rolls out of the way of the Lionsault. PLAY OF THE DAY countered into the WALLS OF JERICHO! He sits RIGHT BACK on that sucker and MVP taps out!
Winner: Chris Jericho via submission . **1/4. Fun and highly charged opener. A few small mistakes but nothing unforgivable. MVP got a huge bruise for his troubles.
KotR QF â<80>” CM PUNK v MATT HARDY
This is big. It should give us an idea of who the WWE is more serious about pushing. They hook up and the crowd seems on the side of Hardy. They counter a lot with Hardy going after the Side Effect but Punk elbowing him in the back of the head repeatedly before hitting a neckbreaker. Crowd remains pro-Hardy as Punk chinlocks him then moves to a headlock when he escapes. Punk drives knees in the corner in dominant fashion. He goes after a superplex but Hardy cuts him off with strikes. Yodelling elbow drop connects. Hardy tries for a bulldog but Punk counters into the corner with a big knee strike and his own bulldog gets 2. Punk goes for the springboard lariat but gets caught in the Side Effect for 2. Hardy wants the Twist of Fate, countered to the GTS but Hardy counters back the other way into a sunset flip and Punk blocks the roll up by grabbing the legs and gets the pin.
Winner: Cm Punk via pinfall. **1/2. Another fast paced opening round match. Punk seemed to have a little more intensity and also seemed to have Hardy’s moves scouted better. Punk sits on the throne post match.
BRACKET â<80>” Well. Jericho v Punk is your first semi-final. The other participants remain unnamed.
CLIPS â<80>” THQ made Barack Obama v Hilary Clinton on Smackdown v Raw. Clinton gets booed. That doesn’t bode well for Hill-Rod. Lawler has cheap thrills over the computer game. Hmmm.
LAST WEEK â<80>” HHH v JBL. Orton attacks H’s causing a DQ. Orton isn’t smart for not seeing JBL turn on him coming. JR tells us the 4-way at Backlash is now an ELIMINATION RULES MATCH. I approve.
BACKSTAGE JBL claims although tonight is KotR it’s Sunday that he’ll be crownedâ<80>¦WWE champion. He says he has a great track record of college sports, Wall Street and in the ring. He points out his company is on the front of the paper today. He’s not only going to be news on Sunday he’ll be champion.
KotR QF â<80>” GREAT KHALI v FIT FINLAY w/Hornswoggle
Khali breaks with this evening’s tradition and sits on the throne before the match. Finlay tries to go after the legs but gets knocked clear and slammed. Khali misses a slow legdrop. Finlay has him down lower now and lays in punches. Khali chokes him for that and seems to consider a Tree Slam before throwing Finlay into the corner and booting him. Hornswoggle comes in with a shillelagh. Khali grabs it and Finlay protects the boy but gets himself BRAIN CHOPPED for that. Khali posts the knee and Charles Robinson seems extremely upset with this turn of events. So much so he disqualifies him for ignoring the count.
Winner: Finlay via DQ. 3/4*. Short. Served it’s purpose. IE got Khali on Raw for the inevitable Big Show showdown and advanced someone else to the semis.
POST MATCH The Big Show is out here. He’s objecting to getting Tree Slammed on Smackdown. Khali takes a walk instead of fighting. Show wants a piece of him but Khali has proven his point. Finlay gets carried out.
KotR QF â<80>” WILLIAM REGAL v HORNSWOGGLE
Hornswoggle is still helping Finlay leave the arena so Regal sneaks up and throws him back into the ring. BOO! Hornswoggle doesn’t even dodge the opening attack. REGAL STRETCH! Hornswoggle taps out.
Winner: William Regal via submission. Well that certainly puts some heat on Regal v Finlay in the semi’s.
CLIPS â<80>” Wrestlemania Revenge Tour in Europe. The show outdoor in Spain looked COOL. Was that a bullfighting arena?
PROMO TIME â<80>” Shawn Michaels. He says the last thing he expected would happen when he faced Ric Flair was that he’d have to face Batista at Backlash. He only has one question and invites Dave down to hear it. He’s casual in jeans and a vest this evening. Shawn appreciates him coming out here. He points out last week on Smackdown Jericho asked him a question and he didn’t answer it. Shawn needs to know; did Dave want to be the man to face Flair at Wrestlemania? Is that what this is about? Dave says that’s not the case. It’s not about Ric Flair. It’s about Dave and Shawn. Dave says he respects Shawn’s career but he doesn’t like how he got there. He’s sick of talking so he says at Backlash he’s going to finish this. Shawn has some honesty of his own. I’m the headliner, the main event, the showstopper and Mr Wrestlemania and “I am the man”. Shawn says there’s blood on his hands from “collateral damage”. Shawn says Dave thinks he’s morally superior to Shawn but he needs to remember that guy he hates the morals of is his opponent at Backlash. Shawn offers good luck because Dave will need it. INTENSE HANDSHAKE!!! Shawn fakes the superkick, which is just awesome because Dave doesn’t flinch. He just drops the mic and knocks Shawn aside before walking out.
The Presidential Candidates speak: #1
Hilary Clinton asks us to call her “Hill-Rod”. She talks about some of the issues and says she’ll go to the mat for us and can take a hit for the American people. She promises Randy Orton she won’t go after the WWE title just yetâ<80>¦but she is ready to rumble.
HARDCORE HOLLY w/Cody Rhodes v CARLITO w/Santino Marella
JR feels the need to remind stupid people who can’t count that this isn’t part of the King of the Ring tournament. Holly starts with a power advantage and shoulderblocks then slams Carlito for 2. Carlito takes an atomic drop and a clothesline for 2. Carlito comes back with the Kitchen Sink and some stomping then punching. Is he stuck on â<80>~lazy’ again? Back suplex gets 1. Chinlock. Carlito with a dropkick for 2. He starts working the back with elbows. Slam gets 1. Holly isn’t liking these lame pinfall attempts. Holly comes back and punts Carlito in the guts. He signals for it but his back hurt so he can’t get the Alabamaslam and Carlito counters into the Backstabber for the pin.
Winner: Carlito via pinfall. Â½*. The psychology and selling was great but Carlito was in one of his slack phases on offence.
POST MATCH Santino cuts a promo about the belts being soon around their bellies. Cody asks him what “shut up or I’ll belt you in the head with a microphone” is in Italian. Santino doesn’t get it so takes a mic to the head and the tag champs get a measure of revenge.
BACKSTAGE Triple H gets a promo. He says all these promos are just a bunch of words but on Sunday that’s what counts. 3 men will fall and one man emerges as the standard bearer, the best of the best, the WWE champion. He says that will be him. It’s up to everyone else to prove him wrong.
KotR SF â<80>” CHRIS JERICHO v CM PUNK
Crowd seems in favour of Jericho. Not a lot of love for Punk down south. Jericho gets an early headlock. They run the legsweeps into quick fall attempts bit. Punk kicks Jericho’s leg a little then gets a snapmare for 2. Jericho comes back as the crowd gets a half-hearted duelling chant going. Punk gets dumped on the ropes belly first. Only Punk lands on his thigh and headers it into the canvas. Punk goes for a springboard but Jericho dropkicks the ropes away. Backbreaker and Jericho holds on looking for a submission. No dice. PEPSI TWIST! Jericho comes back again with a rana into a near falls sequence, which leads to the Walls of Jericho exclusively on 411Mania.com’s live coverage, but Punk gets a roll up out of that for 2. STEP KICK! Punk is outâ<80>¦for 2. Punk gets another nice counter into a snap powerslam for 2. This has picked up some! Punk wants the GTS but Jericho elbows out and hits the bulldog. LIONSAULT! Punk blocks it but Jericho is on his feet and gets the WALLS OF JERICHO! He’s sitting RIGHT THE f*ck DOWN on that. Punk is fighting it and desperately pulls Jericho into the ropes. Crowd boos! They’re Jerichoholics around here. Jericho stomps the lower back, which Punk is now favouring. Jericho goes up top but Punk catches him in the face with a flying kick. GO TO SLEEP! Jericho is OUT. Punk gets the pin and advances to the finals!
Winner: CM Punk via pinfall. ***. Started slow but had some nice reversals in it. The Lionsault screw-up stopped the match getting really good.
The Presidential Candidates speak: #2
Barack Obama is up next. He also name-drops Randy Orton and saying this isn’t the only possible change. He stands for change in Washington and unity for the American people. “Do you smell what Barack is cooking?”
KotR SF â<80>” WILLIAM REGAL v FIT FINLAY
Finlay has a bad knee thanks to Khali’s assault in the earlier match. Also Regal snuck in a cheap shot after the assault on Hornswoggle. No Hornswoggle here after Regal stretched him earlier. Finlay has his knee taped. Finlay takes a defensive approach. JR claims we have the United Kingdom and Ireland represented here. Wrong again, JR. Does anyone in the WWE actually know where Belfast is? Finlay nearly gets himself counted out as Regal rams his knee into the ring steps. Regal smells blood and ties the leg in the ropes to assault it. “Regal sucks” â<80>” South Carolina. Crowd is seriously on his case for being such a jerk tonight. Regal isn’t messing around here as he’s just booting that knee joint. Finlay retorts with some serious punches and a cheeky roll up of the ring post for 2. Finlay boosts Regal onto his shoulders but can’t keep him there because his knee is so bad. They brawl like crazy in between major spots. Regal gets the REGAL STRETCH on Finlay’s already injured leg. His eyes roll back in his head. He’s out isn’t he? Ref calls it.
Winner: William Regal via submission. **. I want a re-match. A long, long re-match where stiff striking is not only legal but mandatory.
The Presidential Candidates speak: #3
John McCain. He says the Mac has come back to South Carolina. He refers to himself “the man”. Says it’ll be “Game Over”. He says they need to stay in Iraq and send the Undertaker over to find Osama bin Laden. He says wrestling is about celebrating freedom. He say you don’t need a ticket to the cage match in November. Vote and you’ll pick the winner for free. He took this more seriously than the other two and seemed to know his audience. Good work, sir.
BACKSTAGE John Cena says it’s human nature to talk. He says he’s listened to JBL but if he keeps talking he’ll knock his teeth down his throat. He says H’s believes Backlash is his time. He says Orton’s grip is so tight it doesn’t matter who gets in his way. Cena says he’s sending a message to the other three. He says the match is anyone’s ball game but they will have to go through Cena to get the title and he’ll make them earn it. He’s “locked, loaded and ready to bring down the thunder”.
“BARACK OBAMA” v “HILLARY CLINTON”
Mrs Clinton comes out to Hogan’s music. The “Bill Clinton” isn’t bad. Hillary is way off. Bill has trouble getting into the ring and falls over. Crowd sort of boo her in disinterested fashion. Bill goofs around too much doing the Hulkamania posing so gets scoulded by Hill-Rod. Crowd chants “Monica”. Haha. More Hulkamania posing. Obama comes out to The Rock’s music. He has the temerity to shake hands on his way out here but people are happy to even see an Obama impersonator with massive ears. Lowest common denominator. He does a great Rock impression on the turnbuckle. “Finally Barack has come back to South Carolina”. BOO! This crowd is NOT happy. Bill is really good. Barack cuts him off with “it doesn’t matter what you think”. Lawler thinks this is hilarious. “Barack” delivers the “if you smell what Barack is cookin” with intensity. “Don’t touch her, she doesn’t even let me touch her. She hasn’t had a man touch her in so many years it’s not funny” â<80>” Bill makes the funnies when Hillary gets checked by the ref for foreign objects. Hillary slams Barack and legdrops him. Barack stalks her. Rock Bottom. Hey, that looked pretty good. He goes for the People’s Elbow but Bill trips him. “I did not have illegal contact with that candidate” â<80>” Bill. He’s owning this segment. Hire him. He’s way better than the Clinton impersonator they had back when he was in power. This has gone about 3 minutes too longâ<80>¦UMAGA IS OUT HERE! Ref decides to bail and call this one a draw. Barack gets spiked. Bill introduces himself. “This is my wife Hillary”. Umaga freaks Bill out who runs for the hills. HAHAHA. He made that segment. Samoan Drop for Hillary. At least we know Umaga’s political viewpointâ<80>¦he’s a Republican.
Winner: no one.
Maria, Kelly, Michelle McCool, Cherry, Ashley come out here. They talk about last week and Mickie James’ win against the odds over Beth Phoenix. They introduce the new women’s champion and out comes a really happy MICKIE JAMES. Group hug! Maria says they just wanted to say congratulations. Mickie says it means a lot to her and you should never quit. Everyone said Beth Phoenix was unstoppable but she beat her. She’s interupted by BETH PHOENIX and the heel divas dubbed “flying monkeys” by Lawler. Melina, Victoria, Jillian, Layla and someone else. Beth calls this a pathetic love-fest. Beth says it’s not a question of if she’ll win it back but when. Mickie wants to fight right now. Beth calls the win a fluke and says these divas are inferior. Michelle belts Beth across the face for that. CATFIIIIIIIGHT! Where’s Joey Styles to call that! The faces clean the ring out.
NEXT WEEK â<80>” Mr Kennedy returns.
King of the Ring final â<80>” WILLIAM REGAL v CM PUNK
Crowd has opposed both men all night, which is probably not a good sign. Punk is still selling the back from the Walls of Jericho. Remember Regal has a bye basically in the quarter finals. Crowd decides hating on Regal in the way forward and Punk helps his cause by repeatedly kicking Regal in the head, high knee and he goes for the bulldog but Regal HARDWAYS him into a back suplex for 2. POWER! Regal works on the back and stretches Punk on the mat. Punk turns out of it and goes to kicks again but Regal retorts. BRAWL! Regal is throwing heavy strikes to counter Punk’s own heavy striking style. He’s gained some weight lately and he’s using it to increase the power on his strikes. Punk comes back with a few big roundhouse kicks and a spinning back hand. Another big roundhouse and Regal is down for 2. He tries for the GTS but Regal grabs the ropes making Punk use up his back injury. Regal gets out, kicks Punk in the head and goes for the REGAL STRETCH! IT’S ON! PUNK HAS NOWHERE TO GO! HE TAPS!
Winner & 2008 King of the Ring: William Regal. **3/4. Nifty striking but it could easily have gone another 5-10 minutes and really told a story behind that back so the crowd KNEW when the Regal Stretch went on it was over.
RANDY ORTON/JBL/CHAVO GUERRERO/EDGE v TRIPLE H/JOHN CENA/KANE/UNDERTAKER
Orton gets a live promo after his opponents had their chance pre-recorded. He says his actions do most of his talking. He points out all the shows he’s retained his title on recently including the Royal Rumble & Wrestlemania 24. Entrances take up a good 10 minutes. Edge jumps Taker from behind to start. Taker lays him out with a flying clothesline. He stares out the heels and delivers Old School (odd how Edge reversed it repeatedly at Mania but not tonight). And after 10 minutes of entrances NOW we take an ad break. We return with Chavo pinning HHH for 2. Edge gets back in there and wants a spear. H’s sees it coming and counters into a spinebuster. H’s tags Cena in who cleans house on Edge. Flying shoulder. Protobomb. Edge can’t see him. Chavo can and low bridges Cena out of the ring. JBL throws Cena back in and Orton gets a tag. JBL in with a Russian legsweep for 2. The heels are making tags very frequently. The facesâ<80>¦less so. Edge kicks Cena in the face for 2. Orton snuck in for the pin. Chinlock. Cena powers up despite that looking like a choke. Orton gets run into the buckles and a double clothesline leads to a doubledown. Chavo in but Kane gets a hot tag and he cleans house. Chavo takes a big backdrop. Sideslam. Flying clothesline gets 2. JBL saves as does Orton and everyone piles in for a brawl. Chavo counters Kane into a DDT. He goes up top but Kane catches him. Chokeslam. Edge runs in with the spear thanks to a blind tag and Edge pins Kane clean.
Winners: Heels via pinfall. **1/2. Good stuff. Way too much time on the entrances though.
POST MATCH FU for Edge. H’s and Cena brawl. Lariat for H’s. RKO for Cena. JBL & Orton argue so Taker chokeslams them both and celebrates alone to end the show.