Overall, I canâ<80><99>t say I was disappointed with this PPV event. But then again, with things looking as they were leading up to it and some of the card up in the air because of John Cenaâ<80><99>s injury and subsequent title stripping, I must admit I hadnâ<80><99>t set my expectations very high. Some will have loved it, others hated it, but I give the creative team kudos for keeping me somewhat entertained in the aftermath of what must have been a slew of rewrites.
That being said, and with much to cover, prepare yourself for another edition of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Takes!
Whether you found it compelling, mildly entertaining, or laughable, the headline of No Mercy has to be the merry-go-round that was the WWE Championship. I guess that spinner front has another purpose? Perhaps a good game of Spin the Championship Belt could have solved tonightâ<80><99>s problems with much less pain, but it certainly wouldnâ<80><99>t have made for good television.
The night started with Mr. McMahon (VKM for short, if you recall) and Raw General Manager William Regal coming out to the ring to address the loss of Cena and VKM saying that he was a man of his word, there would be a new champion this night.
I wonder if one Chris Jericho was watching tonight, because when VKM said â<80><9c>I give you what you want,â<80> the audience sure got loud with those â<80><9c>Y2Jâ<80> chants. Unfortunately many fans were disappointed when Vince said â<80><9c>Iâ<80><99>m not gonna give you that!â<80> Well, no Y2J tonight, but soon perhaps? Weâ<80><99>ll address tonightâ<80><99>s promo later.
Long story short, VKM announces that he is giving the WWE belt to Randy Orton, who comes out to quite a pyrotechnic entrance and plays to the crowd with his new championship. A mixture of applause and boos ensued, but we all had to know it wasnâ<80><99>t that easy.
Regal tells Orton that he must defend the title tonight and gets to choose his opponent. Must be nice, but thatâ<80><99>s cut short when HHH makes his entrance and pisses VKM off enough to get him to make a match for the title right away.
(Oh, by the way, more Y2J chants when Orton was told he could choose his opponent.)
The match begins and is littered at first with The Legend Killer repeatedly trying to simply walk away from the ring, each time stopped by HHH. The match was back and forth wish some entertaining moments, including a superplex from HHH as well as a Figure Four applied to Orton to the sound of a few â<80><9c>Whooos!â<80> from the crowd.
In the end, Orton missed a spear in the corner to nail the ring post with his shoulder, HHH rolls him up, and thus begins Hunterâ<80><99>s eleventh championship reign.
A despondent Orton was seen walking up the ramp, and soon backstage where he gets a â<80><9c>how patheticâ<80> look from The Chairman.
HHH later gets what amounts to an â<80><9c>attaboyâ<80> backstage from Batista, quickly followed by a run-in with VKM who informs him his match against Umaga will be for HHHâ<80><99>s newly won title.
So ï¿½” move on. HHH comes out for his match with Umaga wearing the WWE championship he had just won. Here, I notice the small things. Like isnâ<80><99>tâ<80><99> it funny how quickly they got HHHâ<80><99>s name put on that belt?
HHH had most of the offense early in his second match of the night, but there were several moments that sold Umaga as the monster writers like him to be. Several usually big blows by HHH (a DDT, head slammed into steel stairs, a facebuster) seemed to have no effect on the Samoan Bulldozer. While Umaga had moments in there, things took a hard turn his way when he turned what could have been a Pedigree into a blow against The Game.
Much focus on injuring the ribs and mid-section of HHH ensued, but a missed butt-avalanche (what else you gonna call that?) by Umaga was followed by another charge that met with HHHâ<80><99>s boot. An immediate third charge saw Umaga go flying into the ring post. Bring on the Pedigree, and HHH retains the championship.
But wait. Thereâ<80><99>s more!
VKM meets up with HHH again backstage and compliments him on â<80><9c>one hell of a night.â<80> Then informs him that Orton has utilized his rematch clause and would face HHH again tonight in a Last Man Standing match. â<80><9c>That is, of course, if you can stand at all,â<80> the Chairman says.
Moving on again in my amazing Technicolor wrestling time machine, we wee HHH and Orton eye-to-eye as they prepare for their second match of the night (HHHâ<80><99>s third), and one that would certainly prove to be more entertaining than the first.
Start by trading some blows and a quick upper hand taken by HHH, but a blow to the mid-section made it a brief one. HHH sells the mid-section injuries well and is stalked by RKO when suddenly HHH looks to nail a Pedigree on the steel ramp. A quick sweep of the legs by Orton puts HHH down hard, however, and puts Orton on the offense again.
With a few blows dealt here and there by HHH, Orton maintained the offense for a while and looked to take full control when he choked HHH down with an electrical cable. A count goes to nine on HHH, and Orton sends him outside to involve the announcersâ<80><99> tables. He gets a shot in with a monitor to HHHâ<80><99>s head, but just as heâ<80><99>s about to nail an RKO, The Game sends him into the next table and down for a nine count.
HHH gets in some good offense for a while, including a nice shot to Ortonâ<80><99>s head with the top half of the steel steps. Eventually, however, Orton gets back into it with a kick to the mid-section again followed by an RKO into a steel chair that busts HHH open. Hunter does manage to get up at nine and, supported by the ropes, dishes out a â<80><9c>Suck Itâ<80> to Orton before collapsing again.
Orton set up for his â<80><9c>field-goal kickâ<80> to HHHâ<80><99>s head, but had it blocked and reacted to with HHH â<80><9c>Hulking upâ<80> and going on a full offensive. But just when you think itâ<80><99>s over, Orton nails HHH with another RKO onto the ECW table and gets the 10-count.
Whew, that was long! But it was three matches after all!
While we didnâ<80><99>t have the surprise of a Y2J appearance, or what could have been an opportunity to bring someone up from mid-card level, I have to say there were parts of this WWE Championship saga that I found mildly entertaining.
Ortonâ<80><99>s first reign as champion this night didnâ<80><99>t come close to being as short as Andre the Giantâ<80><99>s 45 seconds (he handed the title over to Ted DiBiase only to have it vacated), it was short enough to put him third on the list of shortest reigns ever at 25 minutes.
One must also give some credit to HHH tonight. Whatever your feelings about him, and no matter how well planned, it surely took much endurance to go through three matches especially with the final being a rather rough-looking Last Man Standing match.
Despite scurrying to fill in the blanks left by Cenaâ<80><99>s injury, however, Iâ<80><99>m left with mixed feelings over what WWE creative came up with. As I said in the beginning, there were probably some missed opportunities here. Perhaps those opportunities can still come to fruition though. With Y2J almost certain to show up eventually, a renewed feud between HHH and Orton and perhaps HBK coming back into the mix, hopefully the writers can keep things fresh and exciting in a time when fans need fresh and exciting most.
Still, I salute Orton and HHH for that last match of the night.
Big Daddy V vs. CM Punk for the ECW strap left much to be desired. And, by the way, I agree with the fan holding the sign that said â<80><9c>Put a shirt on!â<80> Time to go back to the pajamas, V.
V appeared to be too much for Punk at first, but the Straight Edge started getting in some offense and staggered V, eventually dropping him with a missile drop kick. The match is ended in a disqualification, however, when Matt Striker interferes. V then unloads on Punk leaving him with the appearance of internal injuries.
How disappointing. Did we just decide that we needed this match to be over with and out of the way as quickly as possible? Perhaps it was the shirtless Big Daddy V that prompted that decision.
I also was disappointed with the WWE Womenâ<80><99>s Championship match between Candice Michelle and Beth Phoenix. While it had a few decent moments, the match also had silly looking misses, botched moves, and what looked like trouble really selling some of the moves.
Phoenix won the match, cries in the ring, then takes to the mic to say something about being the most perfect being on the face of the Earth. Luckily for me, some of the speech was interrupted by a screaming two-year-old. Like I said in my most-recent Smackdown! Take, I liked her better as the strong, silent type.
And by the way, writers, I did some quick research and canâ<80><99>t find any evil Hindu gods for Khali to pray to. Perhaps Iâ<80><99>m nitpicking, but it was a silly segment.
Probably one of the best matches of the night, aside from the HHH/Orton Last Man Standing match, was a six-man pitting Paul London, Brian Kendrick and Jeff Hardy against Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch and Mr. Kennedy.
Call me crazy, but Iâ<80><99>m a fan of the high-impact, high-risk guys! Although the heels walked away victors in this one, there was plenty of high-flying offense from Hardy, London and Kendrick to entertain the most cynical wrestling fan.
Tough to put anything from a pay-per-view event in the Nutshellers category, but this Take is long enough as it is. Surely only the truly dedicated have made it this far.
– Batista defended the World Heavyweight Championship successfully in the Punjabi Prison match against Great Khali. I still find Khali boring and a waste of time. Letâ<80><99>s get Batista someone else to feud with now.
– Matt Hardy defeated MVP in yet another challenge, a Chicago deep-dish pizza-eating contest, by eating two pieces in two minutes compared to MVPâ<80><99>s inability to finish one. Hardy then promptly vomits on MVP. Come on, Matt, tell us how you really feel about your tag-team partner.
– Finlay vs. Rey Mysterio was a no-contest when Finlay faked an injury and, just as Mysterio is feeling pretty awful watching the Irishman carted off on a stretcher, Finlay jumps up and attacks Rey.
– Another Matrix-style promo aired. You know, the ones that have fans all abuzz? Either theyâ<80><99>re pumping up Y2J (originally thought with the first save_us.222 bit), or HBK (became a possibility with 8.2.11/saviour_self), or both perhaps? Either way there were new things in this one that unfortunately didnâ<80><99>t clear anything up for this writer. (However, I am writing into the wee hours and still fighting that head cold.)
In this bit, I saw a few things I hadnâ<80><99>t before. While â<80><9c>save_us.222â<80> did show up again, there were also a couple of different patterns, something about â<80><9c>Initialize code,â<80> a spot that showed â<80><9c>Rev 22:12â<80> and â<80><9c>second coming.â<80>
Just so you donâ<80><99>t have to look it up, I took a gander to see what Revelation 22:12 said.
â<80><9c>And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.â<80>
Donâ<80><99>t ask me, folks.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org … the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in the weekly editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches (found in the editorial section).
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?