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Friday, January 9, 2015

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Speed on the Beat Reviews: Judgment Day 2007

Hello Ringers. Sadness and excrement are here to ring in the new year with another (not-so) exciting episode of "Was It Really That Bad?" Review with me, the Chris Jericho of EOTR, Speed on the Beat. In case you've missed it, the purpose of "WIRTB" is to take PPVs that have, deservedly or otherwise, been crapped on over the years and answer the question, in hindsight, of "was it really that bad?" with a somewhat "smarky" tone. I've had to say "yes" for the past four reviews, so maybe this one will be the camel which breaks The Great Khali's back.

...Guess I just gave away the decision. Or did I? Let's get this (shit) show on the road. A word of caution, though. As seen in my Uncensored 1995 review, my "WIRTB" reviews tend to get a bit more...colorful than other EOTR posts. Figure'd I'd get that disclaimer out the way before we lose our sponsors on account for me showing a bit of attitude with my RUTHLESS...AGGRESSION!

Judgement Day (2007) featured John Cena versus Khali, Edge versus Batista, Chris Benoit versus Montel Vontavious Porter, CM Punk versus Elijah Burke among other matches. It also features Kane on the poster, despite Kane only having a dark match against William Regal. That's a harbinger of things to come.

If Kane's my guide through the River Styx, just throw me in and let me burn.

This was, admittedly, around the time when I stopped giving much of a crap about wrestling. We always talk about the "PG Era" being horrible, but around this time, WWE was pretty ghastly (McMahon's bastard son, McMahon's limo blowing up, etc.). TNA was good, match-wise, but sucked storyline-wise (sounds familiar). And you couldn't really find ROH, PWG, CZW or what have you anywhere aside from DVDs and YouTube clips (at least not in Baltimore), so I wasn't really that big on indies. All in all, 2007 was a weird year for wrestling (aside from the obvious Benoit incident).

Before I get into the event itself, I've got to say that it's pretty damned weird to see Chris Benoit wrestling. This is the first time I've watched Judgement Day since Benoit did what he did. This won't be a post on that, though. So, without further ado, let's get into it--for real, this time.

Our first match is Ric Flair versus Carlito.

Spoiler Alert: #FlairWinsLOL

Now, here are two guys that are great talents. Ric Flair is a damned legend, and Carlito, when he wasn't having "attitude issues," was one of my favorites from this era. However, this match falls flat. First, this is around the time where I started praying Flair would just leave well enough alone and become someone's manager. Like, I didn't mind Flair still blading like a boss in the early 2000s, or even him in Evolution. However, by this point, watching Flair was like watching that drunk uncle at your family's reunion who tries is damnedest to be cool and relive his golden days, but ends up puking on himself after having one too many brews when everyone's looking.

Now that I told you how my Christmas was, I've gotta say that the "Umaga Ate My Homework" sign that popped up early on was better than this match. The submission-fests in this match don't give any additional "psychology" or story to this match. They just showcase that Flair, as much of a legend as he is, should have just chilled the hell out by this point. JR and Lawler try to put over both talents, but neither the crowd nor I am having any of it. A drunk fat black guy, possibly the dad of the "Just Say Yes!" guy, tries to get a "NA-TURE BOY!" chant going to mostly deaf ears. After more submissions, Flair slaps on the Figure Four and gets the win.

Our next match is Black Lesnar versus Blackface Lashley, Shane McMahon, and Umaga in a handicap match for the ECW Championship.

What's up...my nigga?
First, can someone remind Vince that taking the belt off a black guy and/or working with a black guy doesn't turn you black? If it did, I'm pretty sure that CM Punk would've been all "yo dawg" when he teamed up with Kofi. Seriously, this whole "Vince is one of the blacks" thing was probably as distasteful as DX appearing in blackface in 1998. Except, as fucked up as that whole thing was, it halfway had a point (DX were the "edgy" asshole tweeners who wanted to piss everyone off, Trips hated Rock, the segment, while uncomfortable to watch as a black guy, still had some halfway funny moments, etc.). This crap was just saddening. Then again, Vince has a habit of trying to be down with da peepz, homie.

Taz has to catch himself from saying "holy shit" when Shane gets speared by Black Lesnar (a decent spot, by the way). Here's a rundown of this match: After Black Lesnar gets the win, Blackface Lashley has his durag fall off and retains on a technicality, and Umaga thumb spikes Black Lesnar after the bell. That's pretty much all that happened in this.

We get a backstage segment with Dr. Chris Annan the WWE backstage doctor advising Shawn Michaels that he can't compete (after Orton damn near killed him by tossing him into the stage equipment backstage).We then get "THIS FIRE BURNS!!!" and CM Punk comes out for his match against Elijah Burke. FINALLY, I have a use for this:

It's a bit ironic to hear the WWE announcers putting over Punk's BJJ and Muay Thai skills when almost eight years later, he's in the UFC. On the other hand, I can't take Elijah Burke seriously. Yes, he's legitimate and has can throw legitimate bombs, but the man has hair beads. What grown-ass man do you know has hair beads?

He looks like JTG's illegitimate brother. Considering WWE at the time,
I'm amazed they didn't do an "all blacks look alike" storyline.

The match's main focus is Punk's ribs and whether or not the injury will cost him against Burke. I actually enjoyed this match because both Punk and Burke told a decent story. Should it have gone on for almost fifteen minutes, though? Hell no. A lot of back-and-forth and Punk gets the victory on the GTS which didn't have a lot of the theatrics of some of his later GTSes. It connected, Burke dropped, Punk got the pin. 

Next up? HBK vs. Orton.

I'm an Orton fan...but he definitely looked juiced here.

HBK gets KTFO at the beginning. HBK receives a middle-rope DDT. HBK looks dead. HBK collapses before Orton gives him the RKO. Orton gets all "I hear voices," puts HBK on the top rope, which results in HBK clawing at Orton's face. HBK gives Orton an elbow drop and then drops like a Fight Night create-a-boxer before he gives Orton the Sweet Chin Music, giving Orton the win. That same fat black guy, it sounds like, gets an RKO chant going. Orton obliges. The end.

Oh look, a wild Khali appears with "John Cena's belt" (technically, they're right. It's the spinner belt and it's the spinner belt that Cena had won) and his translator. As expected, his promo is greeted to "WHAT?!" chants. Yay AMURRRICA!

Random fact: Khali, before he ended up in WWE, was kind of an agile big man.
Pituitary gland problems and taking massive bumps at his size can kill that for
The World Tag Team Championship match between Generic Alt Rock Song Ten The Hardys and Cade and Murdoch.

Word...my nigga.
This match starts out pretty decently. Lots of switchy spots that give both teams a fair shot. JBL gives us a word-of-the-day ("capriciousness") as Jeff Hardy tags in. The match slows down when Matt goes in after Jeff's first tag, while speeds up a great deal when Jeff's in. Save your "it's synonymous with the drugs they used" foolishness for someone who cares about all that. Cade and Murdoch were one of the Ruthless Aggression Era's underrated tag teams to me. They meshed so well, even though their characters were kind of "eh."

The tide changes "just as [JBL] was about to put [Cade and Murdoch] over" (yes, that was an actual line from JBL's commentary, that little smark) and the Hardys start picking it up. Some more back and forth ensues (at this point, it's kind of yawn-inducing, so I'll spare you the details). Then Jeff hits a swanton bomb after Matt's Twist of Fate and scores the retention.

We get a promo for the Edge/Batista match (I skipped over it; didn't need to know it again), then they actually start going at it. The fact that this match goes on before the U.S. Championship match rubs me the wrong way. I'm glad that it's something different and a victory for the "non-Cenas," but you're putting a match between two of the era's biggest stars on before MVP and Benoit.

Oh, wait. This match kind of sucks and the Benoit/MVP feud was actually pretty damned intense (I guess MVP's adoration of Benoit as a wrestler and all created even more magic in this feud). Never mind, I get why they did it.

Seven years later, Batista'd pick up where he left off in this match.
He'd go back to the Jersey Shore and pick up his European cuts.

Edge scored the victory on a school boy after Batista does his Ultimate Warrior homage (RIP Warrior) and hits a second spinebuster. Yes, Edge's the ultimate opportunist, but...come on! Edge getting the win on a Diva's move is, in the immortal words of Riley Freeman, a bitch move (excuse my sexism, but I mean that somewhat literally). Now, if you're watching this on the WWE Network, you'll know you can't actually search for Benoit's match in the PPV timeline. However, the Benoit/MVP match is up next.

It's eerie hearing "but the dead don't have no memory" in MVP's theme before Benoit comes out, just because. But, again, I'm not going to focus on Benoit's last day's (as hard as it is to put it out of your head when you see him).

This match, for the U.S. Championship, is a two-out-of-three-falls match. I forgot how "cool" MVP was (supposed to be), with the stunna shades, the "ballin'" shot taunt, the tracksuit get-up, the bling, etc. The story that Benoit and MVP were able to tell in this match was great. MVP was shown as the plucky heel with tweener tendencies (he wasn't as chicken of a heel as he could've been here). Benoit was shown as the aggressive face who wanted to retain his belt after being injured by Finlay. The match was heavy on technical wrestling, brawl spots, and well pretty much everything you could want from a co-main event. Benoit hits the Three Amigos after some corner action then locks in the Crossface. MVP gets out, which leads to an exchange ending in a sharpshooter by Benoit. MVP gets both pins after performing the Playmaker and a cradle pin. This match was my favorite match of the event. There wasn't a cheap finish, no crazy flippy shit for no real reason, no Elijah Burke.

And just like WWE in 2014, 2015, you go from a hot match to Cena closing out the show.

Seriously wonder if Cena realizes that the intro to "My Time is Now"
contains a shoutout to Amadou? Or does it's just there to make
Cena seem more "urban?" 

The reactions are still pretty mixed here, but more cheers than boos (it is 2007, after all). Khali comes out with Cena's belt (as mentioned) and Lawler wants Cena to prove that size doesn't matter. Ugh.

Khali does his Godzilla yell and Cena clocks him in the stomach, which pisses the giant off. Khali delivers a clothesline which looked primed to cave Cena's effin' head in without a kick. They brawl outside, highlighted by Cena being tossed into the steps. Cena selling Khali's offense (something you don't see much of these days, on either front), until he hulks up, hits a bulldog and puts on the weakest submission hold in WWE these days (the STF[U]) for the win.

Final Verdict:
So, was it really that bad? Aside from the Benoit/MVP match? Daniel, care to tell the audience?

No one really had chemistry. The Cena match was ass (even more than you'd expect from Khali versus Cena). CM Punk's match, while decent, went on for way too long. The Tag Team match dragged as well. Your poster boy has a dark match. And HBK getting his shit rocked more times than I cared to watch was unneeded (Legend Killer or not). All in all, skip mostly everything in this PPV. If you can stomach watching Benoit, I'd recommend the MVP/Benoit match and maybe the CM Punk/Burke match. Other than that? Stay far the hell away from this bastard.

That about does it for me. Be sure to (shameless plug) be on the lookout for new music from myself and the rest of Team DAR. Also, be sure to keep your eyes on the ring...my nigga. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry about the absurdity of Vince McMahon magically re-receiving his black card from beating Bobby Lashley in the first place. 


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