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Judgment Day Recap, plus Angle, TV News,
Ultimate Warrior, and Lots More... 
May 19, 2008

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


Nothing quite like a weekend spent accomplishing nothing besides watching all the Indiana Jones movies again for the first time in a long time.

I mean really *WATCH* them, too, not just flip past them for a few minutes when I see they're on TV. It's easily the first time in 10 years I've really seen any of those flicks start to finish. Lots longer in the case of "Temple of Doom," just because I've always remembered not liking that one so much.

In any case, on the off chance I'd forgotten, I've re-learned the lesson that thems was some really awesome movies. And along with that, I've managed to foster a growing dread that the new Indy is going to suck when it comes out later this week.

Crystal skulls? Really? Something that's been scientifically discredited for decades as a 19th Century hoax, and which is only believed by a tiny minority of hippie dippie new age dipshits, and *this* is worthy of being Indiana Jones' last quest? I'm not saying I believe in the scientific actuality of Lost Arks or Holy Grails, or anything, but at least in a society as Judeo-Christian-centric as ours, those quests at least have GRAVITAS.

And the biggest selling point of the movie according to George Lucas is that "We're honest about Harrison Ford's age"? Oy. So 2 hours of old man jokes? Let's just say that past Indy movies asked us to believe in... well, Arks and Grails having magical powers, so we're not exactly making a documentary. We're already suspending disbelief in pretty major ways. Would it be so wrong to kind of gloss over a few things instead of casting Indiana Jones as a grandpa and shoe-horning some wienerboy from Nickelodeon into the movie as his son (or, at least, as heir to the movie franchise)?

To quote Harrison Ford's other bad-ass alter-ego: I have a bad feeling about this.

End rant. A little column in two parts today. First, a quick recap of last night's Judgment Day PPV. Then, your standard collection of relevant newsbites...

WWE JUDGMENT DAY 2008: Presto Same-O

Well, the honeymoon's over: after a winter and spring spent enjoying WWE's new "thinner" PPV schedule, we're gearing up for summer, where it's back to only 2 and 3 weeks between events.

And you know what that means: nothing really happens, because the same basic matches have to take place 3-4 times without enough time in between for substantive plot development. Case in point: last night's Judgment Day PPV, which included seven matches (some of them quite good, even), but where it is absolutely impossible to come up with a real "headline" or news-worthy item about the show. 

It's one of those shows that happened, but which nobody will remember a week after the fact. That's a trend WWE got away from with "buzz-worthy" events in January, February, and March, all of which made for satisfying PPV experiences AND bumped up interest in the next night's RAW. Now, with the dense part of the PPV schedule upon us, and WWE's creative team still as thin on ideas as ever, it looks like we're back to these disposable and forgettable PPVs. This makes two of them in a row, now. And there's another coming in... holy crap... in two weeks. Wow.

Here are the results:

  • John Cena beat JBL. Cena in an opener? That's so old school, it's almost fresh again. It's been exactly three years since these two blew off their initial feud over the WWE Title with a memorably brutal brawl, and those memories remained off in the far distance as they pretty much just went through the motions of a standard JBL-slow-motion-beatdown (complete with lengthy bearhug) followed by Cena's superman comeback and win out of nowhere. Let's call it "formulaic, but crowd pleasing," which is actually not a bad thing when you're talking about an opening match. Still, at this point, JBL has now won a grand total of zero big matches since coming back, and it's getting to the point where I wonder if he has any in-ring value remaining; I mean, as limited as he is physically, if fans don't buy his character as a "wrestling god," then there will be no interest in his feuds going forward.
  • Miz/Morrison beat CM Punk/Kane to retain the tag titles. Punk and Kane, eh? Because when *I* think "cohesive tag team" I think of a humorless straight edge poser and his buddy who killed his girlfriend because he was driving drunk! Nee haw! I loves me that Continuity! Match was just a TV special: 6 minutes, barely long enough for Punk to play the nominal face-in-peril. Then tag to Kane, house afire routine, and in the chaos, Miz and Morrison steal the win (Morrison pinns Punk while Kane is distracted by beating the crap out of Miz outside the ring).
  • Shawn Michaels beat Chris Jericho. Hands-down match of the night. Opening third of the match was non-stop back and forth mat- and counter-wrestling, which served to prove that Michaels was -- in fact -- at 100% and hitting on all cylinders. Middle third of the match upped the ante with bigger moves and more extended advantages for each man leading to near falls (and also leading to Jericho coming off as ever-so-slightly the heel). Then, after a requisite double-knock-down spot, the ref counted both men down, both got up at 9, and we entered End Game. Tons of near falls and near submissions for both men (Jericho used a sleeper, HBK used a Crossface, in addition to their usual arsenals). They also both played a little possum, as Jericho "faked" collapsing to avoid Sweet Chin Music, only to lure Michaels into a trap. And Michaels countered that, by waiting till Jericho tried to cinch in the Walls of Jericho, only to reach up and roll Jericho up for the quick pinfall win. Just like that: it's over. Twenty minutes of goodness. No real storyline development, as Batista wasn't present and there was no decisive heel turn by either guy, so it was a bit of wheel spinning from that perspective; but if all wheel spinning could be this fun, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Batista later confronted Michaels backstage, suggesting that they'll be re-paired to settle the issue (and the non plot development here in this match makes me think Jericho goes back to focusing on being the IC Champ, maybe).
  • Mickie James retained the Women's Title over Melina and Beth Phoenix. Even shorter than the tag title match, maybe only 3-4 minutes. Beth got the match's highspot, doing an impressive double-torture-rack-backbreaker thingie. But in the end, she powdered out and allowed Mickie to pin Melina with a DDT to win the abbreviated contest. 
  • The Undertaker defeated Edge by count-out, the World Title remains VACANT. Easy #2 Match of the Night, and again these two mesh awesomely together, and deliver a pitch-perfect "WWE Main Event Style Brawl." The twist this time is that, after 20 minutes, they spill out into the crowd, but the ref is still counting. Slowly, but still counting. Edge and Taker eventually make it back to the ring, and are both up on the apron as the ref is approaching 10. Taker shoves Edge off the apron and into the ringside barricade, then beats the count. But Edge doesn't. The ref calls for the bell, and the lack of a crowd reaction tells you all you need to know: fans are savvy enough to know a cheap non-finish when they see it. Taker briefly celebrates with the belt, and nobody buys it. And sure enough: there's General Manager Vickie Guerrero to remind us that titles can only be won by pinfall or submission, so Taker isn't the champ, and the title is still vacant. Whoopee. Like I said: when PPVs are stacked up like this, cop-out non-finishes are going to be more common. I guess at least this one SHOULD set up a Hell in the Cell blow off between the two. And hey: June 2008 just so happens to be the 10 year anniversary of the memorable Taker/Foley HitC Match. You think Taker and Edgeward might want to take the opportunity to pay homage?
  • Jeff Hardy beat MVP in an impromptu match. Montreal Ventricle Porter (or NAMBLA, for short), came out to the ring and bitched about being the highest-paid performer on the roster and not even getting booked for a match on this PPV. Matt Hardy came out and teased that he'd fight MVP, but instead said, "Whoops, I forgot, I already proved I'm better than you. But if you want a match, how about you face my brother?"... and with that, Jeff Hardy hits the ring, and we have a match. But not nearly the match you would expect. MVP was doing his best JBL impersonation, slowing things down to an almost inexcusable level, and trying to count on the popularity of his opponent to keep heat on the match. After about 8 minutes of that tedium, Jeff heated up and it felt like maybe we had finally shifted gears for an extended, competitive match. But nope: instead, we merely went straight to the clean pinfall win for Jeff after about a 2 minute rally. Huh. MVP's still spotty like that, despite a year's worth of steady improvement in the ring and from a character perspective... my vote: put MVP into a tag setting (where he always delivers from what I see on SD!), and give us the Hardys versus MVP/Shelton Benjamin over the course of the next few PPVs!
  • Triple H beat Randy Orton in a cage match to retain the WWE Title. They did 10 minutes of all the same stuff we've seen them do in the past, then they did 10 minutes of your standard (implausible) escape-the-cage teases. I don't know whether the palpable lack of sizzle was due to the pure formula of it, or due more to the fact that absolutely no one believes Randy Orton will be holding that gold again any time soon. Whatever it was, by the time HHH hit the Pedigree to Orton for the pinfall, there was no real joy in it. Merely a sense of inevitable anti-climax. Certainly the effort was there in this match, it's just that there's nothing fresh or compelling about HHH/Orton: it's the same bland nothingness it was 4 years ago, when fans forcibly voted against it and demanded HHH/Batista instead. Oh well... 

Only thing I didn't mention in the match-by-match bullet points is that they made a pretty big deal out of William Regal watching on from a luxury box (mmmmm, luxury box), seemingly taking an inventory not only of his RAW stars, but also of a few off-brand happenings. Even though I would think you'd focus on Regal screwing with Kennedy, the impression given is that Regal was less than pleased with both Cena and HHH by night's end. We'll have to wait and see, but certainly there are countless possibilities for Regal and his Power Mad King/GM gimmick.

And that's that. Like I said: "presto same-o." No titles change hands in the big matches: one stays with HHH and the other stays vacant. And in the one match that was ultra-compelling from a character perspective (Jericho/HBK) we got 20 minutes of awesome work, but zero plot development. Viva la $40 episodes of RAW?

NEWSBITES: Angle, TV News, Ultimate Warrior, More...

  • As mentioned in a newsflash last week, Kurt Angle was a last second scratch from TNA's Sacrifice PPV due to a re-aggravation of his chronically bad neck. Angle had skipped a slew of TNA house shows in hopes of working the PPV, but the decision was made the day of the show to not risk it.
    At present, Angle is still hoping that a month of rest and rehab are all it will take to allow him to return to action. He was kept out of any serious physical situations at last week's TNA TV tapings, but his already-planned storyline with AJ Styles (involving Angle's now-estranged wife shacking up with AJ) was still advanced in hopes that the two will be able to wrestle each other on the June Slammiversary PPV.
    Angle is notorious for playing it close to the vest with regards to his health issues (and even distributing disinformation, such as the myriad conflicting stories about his departure from WWE), so we have no clear-cut update on his condition. It's entirely possible that we'll just have to wait until the next round of TNA tapings to see if they appear to be moving ahead with AJ vs. Angle for June, or if they decide to go into more of a holding pattern, milking the storyline and the non-physical confrontations with Kurt, AJ, and Karen.
    In the meantime, TNA has gotten Tomko back, and is kind of using him as a de facto heel replacement for Kurt, especially on house shows. So that works out well, I guess.
  • Viewers of last week's TNA Impact might have been mildly surprised to see such an open and lengthy discussion of The Ultimate Warrior during an interview with Sting. Although they stuck mostly to the facts (Sting and Warrior trained and debuted together), there was also a tangible vibe of Sting and Warrior never having seen eye-to-eye.
    On purpose? Or red herring? 
    I dunno at this point. But I guess it's worth mentioning that Warrior *is* making his return to wrestling next month. His first foray into the ring in about a decade will come safely away from prying eyes, over in Spain, where a promoter has arranged for Warrior to headline a show against Orlando Jordan. Yep, *that* Orlando Jordan. 
    No word on what the Warrior/Orlando feud is predicated on, but knowing Warrior, he probably wants to beat the gay out of Jordan. You know, for his own good. Or something. I love living in a country where everybody is entitled to have their opinions, but man alive is listening to Warrior's politics ever a lot like listening to those soundbites of West Virginia voters last week, if you catch my drift. I mean: you assume there are still people out there who THINK those things, but you also assume that we've come far enough as a society that the people who think them know enough to not say them in public anymore.
    Anyway, point is: Warrior is training (reportedly at RVD's gym) for a comeback in June. And now, he's being mentioned on TNA TV. Who knows if that's going somewhere or not?
  • WWE has shored up its contractually-obligated NBC TV specials for 2008...
    First, there will be a one-hour Saturday Night's Main Event airing in primetime on August 2. Obviously, the abysmal ratings for the past four SNME's (split between prime time and late night) have earned WWE a demotion to a one-hour slot in the late-summer programming wasteland.
    Then, the annual trip to Iraq will air as a two-hour prime time special on NBC during the holiday season (possibly on Christmas night itself).
  • Hidden among WWE's recent financial reports is news that Asia is emerging as the company's largest growth market. 
    WWE is on the leading edge of getting into the Chinese market, as various forces are leading to the "westernization" of that nation. In fact, Rey Mysterio was in China on a goodwill tour last week when the huge earthquake hit (he has since safely returned stateside).
    And in India, WWE is already seeing huge gains, as their TV programming has gone from a niche/childrens' genre to having more mainstream appeal, especially among young adults. Credited with much of this success: the Great Khali. D'oh. I guess maybe we haven't seen the last of that big oaf on TV, afterall.
  • John Cena's just about done filming "12 Rounds," which means he'll be back on the road full time, and will once again be a viable option as WWE Champ... though I'm not sure WWE would bail on the HHH Experiment just yet, it's worth noting that ratings have remained flat over the past month, and haven't yet rebounded from the damage done to them by The Age Of Orton.
    If WWE gets antsy, Cena certainly gives them another option.
    "12 Rounds" also has an official opening date: March 13, 2009, which means it'll hit theaters just prior to WrestleMania. A few readers have also noted that this is the scheduled opening date for another Disney movie starring The Rock, which could get kinda interesting given Cena's comments about Rocky in the recent past.
    Then again, if they did get interesting, I'm sure it'd be a one-sided "feud." The Rock's distancing of himself from wrestling continues, as "Get Smart" will be the first movie role for the guy where he is billed simply as "Dwayne Johnson." No nickname. And as a result: no residual check for Vince McMahon, either. 
  • Cena was a guest on Conan O'Brien last Friday, where he was -- for some reason -- not talking about Judgment Day, but was instead pimping Gillette brand razors. Don't ask me...
    What was curious is that at the exact same time, Roddy Piper and Santino Marella were apparently on the Jimmy Kimmel show, furthering their little feud. So far, WWE has acknowledged the latter late night appearance, but not the former.
    I guess they don't get residual checks from Gillette, either?
  • And lastly for today, I'll quickly mention that ratings -- across the board and for all shows -- were essentially flat the past week, deviating 0.1 or less from norms.
    It's a shame in the case of RAW, at least, since I thought last week's show was kind of fun... I mean, it didn't do dick to hype the Judgment Day PPV (then again, with the line-up and the HHH/Orton headliner, what can you really do?), but with things like Hardy and Umaga's returns and Regal being absolutely red hot as a heel right now, you had 2 entertaining enough hours.
    My one notion after last week:
    WWE needs to grow a set and do an "Empty Arena RAW."
    I don't care how much it costs in refunds (or if you use production trickery to air "empty arena" segments taped earlier in the day while a live audience gets a house show), but Power Mad Regal needs to continue with the "I'm not bluffing, I'll have you ejected" to the point where the show opens with him kicking ALL the fans out of the building. Then, we return from a commercial, and there's Regal, in a luxury box like a Roman Emperor, demanding that all his little wrestler monkeys amuse him and him alone for 2 hours.
    I know "empty arena" gimmicks have a history of sucking, but this could REALLY work, as it would be a carefully constructed one-off deal to take advantage of both the setting AND Regal's amazingly bat-shit insane power trip. He'd sit there (possibly joined by Vince or others to form a Peanut Gallery) and do running commentary, and set up segments to his liking. Unfair handicap matches that recall Christians being fed to the lions. Forcing divas to prance around in thongs or sit in his lap or what have you, like any good power mad hedonist would do. And now that Jeff Hardy's back, you really only need one real/competitive match to finish off the show, where it's Falls Count Anywhere, and Jeff can jump off of inappropriately high things without fear of wounding audience members.
    It could work, I tells ya. It really could.
  • And with that, I'm out of interesting things to say. So I'll stop. Bye.


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.



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