Date: June 24, 2007
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Joey Styles, Tazz, John Layfield
It’s time for a Night of Champions (that has a ring to it) as this whole show is about title matches. We have nine title matches and that is almost a guarantee for a couple of changes. One of which will be the ECW World Title, which is vacant coming into the show. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at how everything is about the titles, with all of the titles on the line. As usual, the biggest matches get their own focuses.
Before the first match, Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo are presented at ringside, complete with some clips of their US Express days. That would be a nice touch throughout the night.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch vs. Hardys
The Hardys are challenging and Cade starts with Matt. Cade powers Matt into the corner to start but Matt isn’t falling for the offer of a handshake this time around. They run the ropes until Matt hits a crossbody for an early two. Jeff comes in but Murdoch makes a blind tag and grabs a swinging neckbreaker. Back up and the Hardys start taking over on Murdoch’s arm, allowing Jeff to hit the slingshot dropkick in the corner.
The champs are cleared out to the floor but the Hardys aren’t about to let them walk out. Matt chases Murdoch but Cade makes a blind tag and takes out Matt’s knee. Cade and Murdoch start taking turns on said knee (which was banged up pretty badly on Smackdown), including Murdoch’s half crab. That’s finally broken up and Matt gets over to Jeff to pick the pace way up. The sitout gordbuster plants Cade but Murdoch breaks up the Swanton. With the referee getting Matt out of the ring, Cade hits the sitout Rock Bottom spinebuster to retain.
Rating: C. They didn’t exactly tear the house down here as this was more of a house show style match to warm the crowd up. That’s all it needed to be too as you don’t want to wear the crowd out at the start of a show. This is a feud that probably needs to wrap up already, as Cade and Murdoch have beaten them pretty definitively more than once.
King Booker tells Queen Sharmell that this is his night.
Jackass is coming to Summerslam. Do they really have to?
We look at Eddie Guerrero winning the WWE Title, with JBL declaring him the greatest Latino champion ever.
Cruiserweight Title: Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Chavo Guerrero
Chavo is defending and we get a video on Dean Malenko, who is in the back instead of ringside, during his entrance. Yang grabs a quick rollup for one as JBL runs down the history of the Guerrero family. The armbar doesn’t last long for Yang as Chavo sends him outside for a crash.
Back in and Yang kicks Chavo off the top but he’s right back up with a hiptoss into the corner. Chavo starts cranking on both arms but Yang fights up and hits a middle rope dropkick. The high crossbody gets two, only to have Chavo come back with the Three Amigos. Yang shrugs that off and hits a spinwheel kick but misses the moonsault, allowing Chavo to load up the Gory Bomb. That’s countered into a sunset flip for two so Chavo crotches him on top and hits the frog splash to retain.
Rating: C. The match was fairly good as you probably expected but the title is so worthless these days that it doesn’t matter. Yang was a good choice for a challenger as his gimmick makes him stand out, but the build was the usual lame, back and forth stuff that doesn’t make the champion or challenger look good. Again: find a better use for the title or get rid of it.
Commentary talks about Vince McMahon’s limo exploding with JR and King trying to figure out Vince’s mindset, including how he had a bad feeling something was going to happen to him.
Bobby Lashley wishes Vince was here to see him win the WWE Title.
We see some clips of Tazz in the original ECW.
ECW World Title: CM Punk vs. Johnny Nitro
The title is vacant coming in and Nitro is replacing Chris Benoit, who is missing the show due to personal reasons. The Peacock version changes the intro from “CM Punk’s opponent, the man who will be replacing Chris Benoit” to “CM Punk’s opponent” and commentary is muted during Nitro’s entrance. What isn’t edited out is the WE WANT BENOIT chants as they circle each other to start. Punk wastes no time in kicking him out to the floor and it’s time for a chase on the floor.
Back in and Nitro hits the Flying Chuck to take over and some right hands are rained down. We hit the armbar as the fans still want Benoit. A flying armbar takes Punk down again and Nitro grabs a cobra clutch to keep him in trouble. Punk fights up and hits an enziguri, setting up the slugout. Nitro gets up an elbow in the corner and puts his feet on the ropes for two, with the referee catching him. Back up and Punk hits the running knee in the corner into the bulldog for two. Nitro avoids the springboard clothesline though, setting up the hanging flip neckbreaker for the pin and the title.
Rating: C+. Nitro has come a long way and is actually feeling like a serious threat to win some fairly big matches. That being said, this was still an upset and Nitro looking surprised was a nice touch. It came out of nowhere and this wasn’t quite the original match, but at least they did rather well with what they had.
We look at Shawn Michaels beating Bret Hart in the Iron Man match to win the WWF Title.
Randy Orton comes up to Mick Foley and threatens to end his career with another concussion. Foley says he had that look on his face and remembers the same look on Orton’s face the last time they fought. Orton points out that he won that match and glaring ensues.
Ricky Steamboat is the feature former Intercontinental Champion.
Intercontinental Title: Umaga vs. Santino Marella
Marella is defending and avoids a charge in the corner to hammer away. That earns him a hard toss down but Umaga misses a headbutt. It doesn’t seem to bother him that much as he kicks Marella’s head off, setting up the nerve hold. Umaga unloads in the corner…and that’s a DQ to retain Santino’s title.
Umaga wrecks Marella, likely setting up a rematch to win the title.
Jackass is coming to Summerslam.
We look at the Vince McMahon investigator saying there was DNA from another well known personality. Possibly more no this tomorrow.
Magnum TA is the special former US Champion.
US Title: Ric Flair vs. MVP
MVP is defending and gets in TA’s face like a true heel should. Flair tries to go over to Magnum but MVP gets in his face. Cole says there’s no respect, but JBL asks if Flair wouldn’t have done the same thing. Point, JBL. They talk trash to start, or at least MVP does, while Flair goes with the WOO. A chop sends MVP outside and Flair gets to strut a bit. Back in and Flair takes him down by the leg and cranks away, setting up some knees to the leg.
MVP’s leg is fine enough to drape Flair over the top and a big boot knocks him outside. Flair gets back in and we hit the chinlock to keep him in trouble. MVP: “GO TO SLEEP! TAKE A NAP!” The rope gets Flair out of trouble and he chops his way out of trouble. Cole talks about great wrestlers who won the US Title and then moved on to become World Champion. JBL is incensed that he is not mentioned on that list, though the fact that he won the World Title first might have something to do with the omission.
Flair chops him so hard that MVP has to look at his chest as Cole (incorrectly) corrects himself by saying JBL belongs on the list as well. MVP takes him down into another chinlock before a fireman’s carry faceplant drops Flair again. Now it’s a reverse chinlock to keep Flair in trouble but he fights up for more chops. The comeback includes a backdrop and right hands in the corner before it’s time to go after the knee. The Figure Four goes on but MVP grabs the rope. Back up and MVP distracts the referee, allowing him to get in a thumb to the eye. That’s enough to set up the Playmaker to retain the title.
Rating: C+. Flair’s formula was on full display here and that’s what it needed to be. Flair can make anything work and he had someone talented in MVP here. While the title change would have been a stretch, Flair is in just the right spot to make it seem like a long shot chance. MVP was rather good here as well, with the trash talk and antics before the match making it better.
Edge interrupts a John Cena promo and says Cena is in trouble tonight. They accuse each other of wanting to take out Vince McMahon. Cue the investigator with some questions for Edge.
Tony Garea and Rick Martel of all people are here as former champions, despite having nothing to do with the titles about to be defended.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Deuce N Domino vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Jimmy Snuka
Slaughter and Snuka are challenging because WWE’s tag divisions really are that weak. Snuka pounds on Domino’s head to start and hands it off to Slaughter for some elbows to the head. A snapmare gets two and a backdrop is good for the same as it’s all old guys to start. The Cobra Clutch goes on until Domino makes the rope so it’s the Slaughter Cannon to drop Domino again.
Slaughter grabs another Cobra Clutch but Deuce gets in a cheap shot to break it up. Deuce comes in and points at Snuka (his dad, not mentioned) before missing a Superfly Splash. Snuka comes in and gets to clean house, including a high crossbody….which Deuce rolls through to retain.
Rating: D+. All things considered, this wasn’t too bad. You’re only going to get so much out of two retired wrestlers in a short match with no heat and they got about as much as they could out of it here. It was a bizarre match, but the Deuce vs. Snuka stuff was at least a cool enough moment.
We recap Edge vs. Batista, in Batista’s last chance to win the World Title. Edge has cheated to beat him twice so now Batista is getting his final shot.
Harley Race is here. I don’t think that needs any further explanation.
Smackdown World Title: Edge vs. Batista
Edge is defending. Batista takes him into the corner to start and hammers away, setting up a shoulder for two. A front facelock slows Edge down until Batista switches to an armbar. Edge fights up with right hands but walks into a powerslam for two. That’s enough to make Edge bail to the floor but he catches Batista with some kicks to the floor on the way back in.
Batista gets sent shoulder first into the post and there’s a baseball slide to put him on the floor again. Back up again and Batista misses a charge to go shoulder first into the post again so Edge grabs the armbar. That’s not enough so Edge turns it into a crucifix to work on both arms at once. Batista fights up but charges into a boot in the corner, only to come back with a heck of a clothesline.
Edge slips out of the Batista Bomb and hits the Impaler for two of his own. A powerslam is countered into the Edge-O-Matic and they’re both down. Back up and Batista cuts off the spear with one of his own…but Edge hits him low for the DQ. Hold on though as here is Teddy Long to say restart the match, and if Edge gets himself disqualified again, he loses the title. Edge hammers away and hits a quick spear for two but Batista clotheslines him outside. Batista follows and hits the Batista Bomb on the floor but takes too long throwing Edge back inside for the countout.
Rating: B-. This felt like a big match and that is how it should have been, though they had a weird ending as they didn’t want Batista to get pinned again so this was about all they could have done. Edge retaining the title is the right call as Batista doesn’t need to get it back anytime soon. Probably the best match on the show so far, but that’s not the biggest accomplishment.
Batista is furious post match and Batista Bombs Edge again.
We look at the Fabulous Moolah, as the Spider Lady, taking the Women’s Title from Wendi Richter in the Original Screwjob.
Women’s Title: Melina vs. Candice Michelle
Candice is challenging and gets kneed in the face for trying a test of strength to start. Melina breaks up a triangle choke over the ropes and sends her outside for the big crash. Back in and Melina rakes the face in the corner, setting up a running knee to the ribs. There’s a faceplant to rock Candice again and we hit the bow and arrow.
Candice fights up and drops her ribs first across the top, setting up a powerslam. A running hair takedown gets two but Melina grabs a neckbreaker for two of her own. Back up and Candice hits a spinning….body attack we’ll say, though I think it was supposed to be a kick, for the pin and the title out of nowhere.
Rating: D+. It was pretty sloppy, but at least they finally had a title change on the show. Candice has been built up for months and while this wasn’t a great match, it was well built up over time. WWE has needed a new singles star in the division and Candice is about as good of a choice as they have.
JBL is recognized, and yes he has his own prepared statement about his greatness, both in and out of the ring.
We recap the Raw World Title match, which is John Cena vs. any former World Champion on the Raw roster. That’s about as easy of an idea as you can get and that’s not a bad thing.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Mick Foley vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Randy Orton vs. King Booker
Cena is defending and it’s one fall to a finish with no countouts/DQ’s. Booker heads to the floor to start for a shoulder rub from Queen Sharmell so Foley hits the Cactus Clothesline to Orton, leaving us with Lashley vs. Cena. That’s broken up by Booker but everyone winds up on the floor, leaving Lashley to hit a big dive (that was scary). Back in and Lashley hits a Rack Attack on Booker but Cena makes the save, setting up the big showdown.
A spinebuster drops Cena and Lashley sends him outside for a ram into the steps. Everyone brawls on the floor, with Booker whipping Foley knees first into the steps. An FU puts Lashley through the announcers’ table (which exploded) but Booker kicks Cena in the face for two. The ax kick gets the same but Cena quickly dispatches an invading Orton and beats up Booker.
Cena loads up the FU, which is cut off by an RKO out of nowhere. Foley is back in to go after Orton, including the double arm DDT for no cover. Instead Foley busts out Mr. Socko, only to get kicked down by Booker. Foley grabs a chair but hits Lashley by mistake, followed by more shots to Cena and Booker. Orton jumps Foley from behind and Punts Foley but gets speared by Lashley. Everyone else fights to the floor and it’s the FU to Foley to retain Cena’s title.
Rating: C. This wasn’t designed to be a classic or anything, but rather having five people out there flying through everything they could to get us to the ending. Cena retaining works of course, as his title reign has gone on so long now that you don’t have him lose in a spot like this. Lashley vs. Cena was set up here too so we might already have a title match for the Great American Bash.
Cena poses to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. It wasn’t the worst show or anything close to it, but this was also one of the most middle of the road and mediocre collections of matches I’ve seen in a long time. There was one title change (not counting a vacant title win) and almost nothing felt like it was going to matter beyond the next show each. Certainly not a bad show, but nothing is necessary viewing either. At least they have a concept with the Night of Champions though and that’s an easy way to go in the future.
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