If the WWE did their job right, you just finished watching Unforgiven 2008. So, let's break it down and see if any of the story lines from the past 2 weeks had any kind of payoff.
First thing to discuss is the set. Again, the WWE has really out done themselves with their weekly programing's set, that they need to go above and beyond for the pay per views. This month, they failed. It looked too plain and dark, which pales in comparison to the weekly set we see all the time.
Up first is the ECW Scramble match. This was used to test how the other scramble matches would work the entire night. If it was good, then the format wouldn't change much. If it was bad, they had roughly 30 minutes to figure out what was wrong and quickly change it. Matt Hardy and The Miz start it off very strong. Nice solid work from the two men and entertaining for the first five minutes. Chavo Guerrero comes out next and quickly gets a pin fall on Matt Hardy. The match turns into a typical three way match with one person outside while the other two continue to fight. Matt Hardy eventually gets a pin fall over Chavo right before Mark Henry comes out for the match. I'll take this opportunity to say that as champion, Mark Henry should come out last. Henry works a typical big man style match and dominates everyone in the ring. He hits the World's Biggest Slam on Chavo and gets a pin fall. The match drastically slows down at this point as Henry throws everyone out and applies bear hugs to those that are left in the ring. Finlay comes out last and has five minutes to try and score a victory. He eventually does as he hits the Celtic Cross on Hardy. Shortly thereafter, Hardy gets a pin on The Miz with two minutes left on the clock. These last two minutes were probably the most exciting moments of this entire pay per view. Hardy was throwing people out of the ring and breaking up pin falls just to hold onto the victory. This really shows the psychology that Matt Hardy posses for this business. He knew that the most logical way to hold on to the title was to make sure to pay attention to everyone in the ring and stop anyone from scoring a pin fall. Hardy walks out as the new ECW World Champion in a great opening to the pay per view.
We get a quick segment with Matt talking to his brother, Jeff, about how they'll both have world titles at the end of the night.
Up next is Cryme Tyme versus Priceless. Now, it's about time that Cryme Tyme gets their title match seeing as how they were number one contenders twice and never got their match. With that said, there was nothing spectacular about this. A pay per view match is suppose to be exciting. We're suppose to see something different than what we would on TV. This match was a typical RAW match. There really isn't much to say as it worked the same story that any other tag match on RAW. Faces get the advantage early on, one gets isolated and attacked, they eventually make the hot tag, and the heels pull off a victory somehow. This time, the end came when JTG rolls up Cody Rhodes in a small package but then Ted DiBiase pushes them so Rhodes is on top. The referee counts the fall and Priceless retains. Very weak match considering who was in it and the potential that all of these men have. This shouldn't have been on the pay per view if this is what they had planned. At the end, they continue to brawl and the new RAW superstar is introduce, Afa, Jr. He comes to the aid of Priceless and levels Cryme Tyme.
Chris Jericho comes out for his match against Shawn Michaels. Now, for an unsanctioned match, there was a lot of strange things happening. For instance, why would this match have any of the following: entrances from both superstars, ring announcements, a referee, any of the men in wrestling gear, commentating, or a rule that says it can end in pin fall or submission? If it's unsanctioned, than the WWE doesn't recognize it as a match. None of the things listed above should be in it. Now, if they would have announced it as a hardcore match or a no-DQ match, that would have been fine. But the fact that they wanted to push this story so far and give it an unsanctioned title, it really didn't come off as believable. Also, as much hype as this match has been getting, for it not to be the main event was a slap in the face. The match itself, while both men did a great job, gave us nothing new. These two men talked about beating the hell out of each other but the entire thing seemed really tame. WWE has put on some good hardcore matches and this was not one of them. The fans seemed behind it but there was nothing to it. It also came across as very slow and seemed to drag on way too long. The end comes when Shawn Michaels takes his belt, wraps it around his fist, and continues to hit Jericho in the face with it. The referee stops the match and awards the win to Michaels. Now, if this match was unsanctioned, why would the referee stop the match? Nothing about this made any sense. This match never should have made it to the ring. Jericho should have been attacked back stage and they fight all over the arena, and I mean all over. They should have went through the audience, to the concession stand, outside in the parking lot, and everywhere in between. The only way this match should have ended was Shawn leaving Jericho in a pool of his own blood and he willfully walks away. There shouldn't have been any pin falls or submissions, just the realization that you won.
Backstage, we see Priceless with Afa, who is now call Manu, discuss their victory. Randy Orton shows up and continues to say that they are worth nothing in the company. He claims that they still need to prove something before he walks away. Again, as heels, Priceless should have attacked Orton to prove that they are as tough as they claim to be. However, with them backing down the way they always do, the tag champs look incredibly weak.
The WWE scramble match is next as Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin start it off. This match had so much potential with all the talented workers involved, it's a wonder they went in the direction they did. The entire match was solid with everyone pulling their own weight. The title changes hands six times and the match comes down to the last three minutes. It was interesting to see Triple H come out last and only work five minutes in a championship match on a pay per view. Now, I'm not against Triple H retaining if he came out last, but the way that the end was booked, was God awful. Hardy gets a pin fall on Kendrick with two minutes left on the clock. Triple H gets thrown out of the ring and Hardy is holding his ground. Instead of working a smart character like his brother did earlier in the night, Jeff decided he wanted to continue trying to pin people in the match. Why would Jeff do this? He already won the match, all he needs to do is wait it out. Hardy goes for the Swanton on Shelton and successfully lays himself out with it. Triple H comes in and hits the pedigree on MVP. Triple H goes for the pin right as Jeff gets up and tries to pin Shelton. Triple H gets the fall with one second left. Now, if Hardy got up and didn't see Triple H going for the pin fall, that would be fine. But what ended up happening was Jeff was looking right at Triple H when he goes to cover MVP. So instead of trying to break up the fall, which he had plenty of time to do, he tries to pin Shelton although he doesn't need to pin anyone else to win the match at this point. Jeff Hardy came off as quite possibly to stupidest wrestler in the history of wrestling. After a spot like this, Jeff should never be seen as a legitimate contender for the world title. He isn't new to the business, so it can't be written out with a story. He just looked bad.
We get a promo with Shawn Michaels backstage and he talks about how he's cleansed of his rage.
Eve is backstage talking to C.M. Punk about his title match when Orton interrupts. They continue their bickering about Punk not being a real champion. Then, Priceless and Manu attack Punk. Kofi Kingston shows up to try and break up the fight to no avail. Orton comes by and hits Punk with his Kick of Doom. Orton than says that Priceless has finally proven themselves. Now, this entire segment was handled terribly. Priceless had one last chance to attack Orton and show how ruthless they are, but they didn't. Orton effectively took out C.M. Pink for the rest of the night, but why? He's already the top heel on RAW, so why would he need to continue to be pushed when he's not even ready to compete in the ring? This segment introduced a new faction, or what should at least be a new faction. This really could have waited for tomorrow night.
Maryse versus McCool is next. The match was actually pretty good considering who was in it. They both worked very well together but there wasn't much of a threat from Maryse. It seemed more like a random women's match on Smackdown than anything else. The end comes very quickly when McCool hits a face buster for the win. We don't even get to see her submission hold on pay per view. Just like the tag match earlier, this should not have been on the pay per view.
Adamle comes out and announces that C.M. Pink will not be in the main event and someone will be chosen to replace him.
Big Show comes out and talks about how unfair he's been treated on Smackdown and he wants in the RAW scramble match. Vickie Guerrero comes out and confronts Big Show. She says that she's tired of him complaining and that she is the General Manager and shouldn't have to take any of this. Undertakers druids come out with a casket and the Undertaker comes up on the titantron. He tells Vickie that he is going to kill her and comes out to the ring. Big Show grabs Vickie and holds her for Taker. When Taker gets close, Big Show attacks. The actual beating takes a very long time and makes Undertaker look old, as if he had no defense for something like this. Eventually, Vickie spits in Undertaker's face and her and Big Show walk out together. Now, there really shouldn't be talking on pay per views. The time for talk is over. We are officially paying to see this and what we're paying to see is action. If they wanted to do this story, they should have waited for Smackdown.
The RAW scramble is next as Batista and JBL start it off. This scramble was incredibly off. Everyone in this match has the ability to work decent matches but can't pull it off together for whatever reason. Kane and Batista still have no chemistry together and it continued to show. Rey Mysterio coming out fourth felt like a waste of a return. Creative was so busy trying to push this Randy Orton/C.M. Punk feud that they took the return of Rey Mysterio and didn't give it the proper entrance that the fifth spot would have had. Instead, Chris Jericho comes out as the replacement for Punk. The match continues for a very forgettable five minutes before a terrible ending. Batista is the current champion and is distracted by Rey Mysterio. While taking care of Rey, Jericho comes in and gets a quick pin fall in the last three seconds. Jericho successfully becomes the new World Champion. This is one of the worst ideas I have seen regarding this title. First off, the company really showed what they thought of C.M. Punk by not allowing him to participate in his own title match. Second, how does it make sense to have a man how lost the most hyped match of the pay per view win the title that same night? Jericho go the hell beat out of him, but now he's champion. Third, why should Orton be involved in any storyline if there isn't going to be any payoff soon? It is a well known fact that the WWE forgets their own stories. So there is a really good chance that C.M. Punk will never get revenge on Randy Orton, just as he never got revenge on Edge after losing the ECW title.
Overall, this pay per view was very weak. They made some terrible decisions with the endings to their title matches and allowed more talking and mundane matches to litter the entire card. Jericho, while well deserving of the World Title, should not have won it like this. He should have gotten into a proper feud with Punk and beat him one on one. My rating: D
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