Date: April 18, 2008
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman
We’ll finish up the England excursion here with the blue guys. These shows can be a cross between a bunch of stuff mainly for the live fans and a show that actually matters so we could be in for either here. Backlash is almost here though and Edge vs. Undertaker II is down for the main event so let’s get to it.
Here is Chris Jericho for the Highlight Reel to get things going. Jericho reminds us that he is the guest referee for the Backlash match between Shawn Michaels and his guest this week, Batista. Cue Batista, with Jericho saying he thinks Shawn relished retiring Ric Flair and all of his lies over the years. We look at a clip from Raw where Jericho made such accusations, earning himself Sweet Chin Music.
Back live, Jericho says that kick proved him correct and for that, Jericho says you’re welcome to Batista. That’s not what Batista was looking for because he didn’t need Jericho to speak for him. Batista says this is between himself and Shawn so Jericho has nothing to do with this. Jericho offers some analysis: Batista is upset at Shawn for retiring Ric Flair because he wanted to do it himself. We get a quick fan pole about Jericho’s claims but Batista takes him out with the Batista Bomb.
Tommy Dreamer vs. MVP
Non-title and Matt Hardy is on commentary. Dreamer slugs away to start and grabs an armbar, which doesn’t last long. MVP gets in a shoulder to the ribs before sending him throat first into the bottom rope. Some more knockdowns set up Ballin for two but Dreamer gets a boot up in the corner. The comeback is on including a neckbreaker to give Dreamer two. The DDT gets the same but MVP sends him shoulder first into the post. A running boot in the corner finishes Dreamer off.
Rating: C. Not quite a squash here but it was there to have MVP get a quick win over someone the fans care about. Dreamer got in a few shots here and there but it was done in about five minutes, as it should be. Now they just need to get to MVP vs. Hardy, which is more than a bit overdue.
Hornswoggle vs. Matt Striker
This is revenge for Hornswoggle helping inlay beat Striker last week. Before the match, Striker goes on a rant about how unfair this is when he is far too smart. Hold on because Hornswoggle, with Finlay, starts with some juggling before throwing the tennis balls at Striker. Then it’s some squirt guns, followed by some bigger water guns. Striker finally gets smart by going after Finlay on the floor before finally taking Hornswoggle down and hammering away. The Shillelagh is picked up but the referee takes it away, allowing Finlay to get in his own shot to Striker’s head. The Tadpole Splash finishes for Hornswoggle.
Rating: C. It’s kind of hard to get annoyed at anyone, including Hornswoggle, beating up a goof like Striker. The only reason he is around is to get beaten up like this and it being all goofy made it better. They didn’t waste a ton of time on this and it wasn’t meant to be anything more than a quick joke.
Big Show didn’t care for Great Khali giving him a goat and a chicken last week. Tonight he has Mark Henry, which is going to be a big showdown.
Chavo Guerrero vs. Jamie Noble
Bam Neely is here with Chavo. Noble takes him down by the leg to start but Chavo is back up with a running shoulder. Chavo’s headlock on the mat doesn’t last long as they trade rollups for two each until the armbar goes on. Back up and Noble grabs a northern lights suplex for two but Chavo knocks him down and Eddie dances. Noble manages a quickly broken up Sharpshooter attempt so Chavo necksnaps him across the top. The frog splash finishes Noble off.
Rating: C-. Talented people don’t always make for the most interesting matches as this was a good bit of chinlocking before Chavo finished him off. Chavo beating up a former Cruiserweight Champion and having an impressive looking bodyguard isn’t going to make him all that much more interesting. I’m sure he’ll still be near the top of ECW for the time being though because of course he will be, but it’s not quite working.
Mark Henry vs. Big Show
They shove each other away from a lockup to start until Henry knocks him away. The bearhug goes on to keep Show in place until a shove and superkick get Show out of trouble. There’s a chokeslam to Henry but cue Great Khali to come out and go after Show for the DQ.
Rating: D+. This didn’t have the time to go anywhere but it was mainly spent in a bearhug with some shoving included. The idea of getting Show ready for Khali was fine but the match was pretty lame on the way there. Then again the idea of Show vs. Khali in a featured match could be rough, even if it wouldn’t be much bigger than this.
Post match the brawl is on with Khali hitting a chokebomb (with Show pretty clearly doing all of the work).
Video on Batista vs. Undertaker before tonight’s main event.
Victoria vs. Cherry
Natalya and Michelle McCool are here too. Victoria powers her down into the corner to start and then hits a clothesline to cut off the comeback. Cherry grabs a rollup out of the corner for two but Victoria slaps on a reverse chinlock. Victoria keeps up the beating and trash talking but Victoria makes the mistake of yelling at Michelle. In a totally original ending, the distraction lets Cherry grab a rollup for the pin.
Rating: D. So many of these women’s matches are just dreadful as there’s nothing to them since they rarely get any time and often involve someone who really can’t do anything in the ring. It also doesn’t help that there’s nothing on the line, so why should I get invested here? Cherry doesn’t wrestle often, but when your big weapon is a rollup, what are you supposed to do?
Vladimir Kozlov vs. Leroy Kincaid
Kincaid is in pretty good shape. Kozlov works on the arm to start and shoves him away before hitting a headbutt to the chest. An overhead belly to belly sets up the reverse DDT to give Kozlov the easy win.
Video on Edge vs. Undertaker.
Edge and the Edgeheads have front row tickets.
Batista vs. Undertaker
Non-title. Undertaker takes him into the corner to start and gets two off a clothesline. Batista hits the corner shoulders and elbows Undertaker in the face for two of his own. The running DDT drops Batista again and Undertaker stomps away in the corner. Old School is broken up and it’s a double clothesline to leave them both down. We take a break and come back with Undertaker choking on the ropes and staying on the arm.
Old School is blocked again and a superplex brings Undertaker back down for one. Undertaker is right back on the arm and now Old School connects. They go outside with Batista being dropped onto the barricade for two but he’s right back with the spear. That bangs up the arm though and a delayed cover only gets two. Batista dumps him to the floor and they brawl at ringside until it’s a double countout.
Rating: B-. This was a way to get the stars in the ring to continue one of the biggest feuds of the last year or so. The ending was a good way to protect both of them before their major pay per view matches but even the two of them in a match like this feels like something special. There aren’t many options that can make something that work but they got the right one here.
Post match the brawl stays on with Edge and the Edgeheads being drawn in so they can get beaten up too. Edge escapes so here is Vickie Guerrero (with an EXCUSE ME) to say that Edge and the Edgeheads are members of the audience so lawsuits could be filed. No worry though, because their justice will come when it’s Undertaker vs. Batista for the title next week, with the winner facing Edge at Backlash.
Overall Rating: C. Much like this week’s ECW, there wasn’t much to be seen here other than one match. These England shows tend to be more like that but the spectacle does often work. Things will be back to normal next week as Backlash gets closer and we head back stateside, but for now it’s one match worth seeing and little else.
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