The SmarK DVD Rant for the 50 Greatest Finishing Moves In WWE HISTORY!
Man, they’re really phoning these ones in now as far as concepts go. This is also my least favorite DVD format, the “documentary and then bonus matches” format. I much prefer all three discs being matches, with the bits of talking heads spaced in between as needed.
This is the actual countdown, with the usual assortment of guys commenting on each move and various clips. Nothing to review here other than noting that there’s no attempt made to give actual histories of the moves or insight other than “Wow, Vader was a big huge guy doing a splash off the ropes, that’s AWESOME!”, so we’ll skip it and I’ll just give the master list:
50. JBL – Clothesline
49. Vader – Vader Bomb
48. Dusty Rhodes – Bionic Elbow
47. Million Dollar Man – Million Dollar Dream
46. Kerry Von Erich – Iron Claw
45. Ravishing Rick Rude – Rude Awakening
44. Lex Luger – Torture Rack
43. Dudley Boyz – 3-D
42. Bam Bam Bigelow – Moonsault
41. DDP – Diamond Cutter
40. Mankind – Mandible Claw / Socko
39. Honky Tonk Man – Shake Rattle and Roll
38. Yokozuna – Bonzai Drop
37. Flash Funk – 450 Splash
36. Sting – Scorpion Lock
35. Lita – Moonsault
34. Kevin Nash – Jack-knife
33. Jerry The King Lawler – Piledriver
32. RVD – Five-Star Frog Splash
31. Big Show – Chokeslam
30. CM Punk – GTS
29. Brock Lesnar – F-5
28. Bob Backlund – Chicken Wing
27. Batista – Batista Bomb
26. Mr. Perfect – Perfect Plex
25. Kurt Angle – Ankle Lock
24. Chris Jericho – Lion Tamer / Walls of Jericho
23. Edge – Spear
22. Iron Sheik – Camel Clutch
21. John Cena – Attitude Adjustment
20. Scott Hall – Razors Edge
19. Goldberg – Jackhammer
18. Rey Mysterio – 6-1-9
17. Road Warriors – Doomsday Device
16. Bruno Sammartino – Bearhug
15. Sgt. Slaughter – Cobra Clutch
14. Jeff Hardy – Swanton Bomb
13. Eddie Guerrero – Frog Splash
12. Macho Man Randy Savage – Elbow off Top Rope
11. Randy Orton – RKO
10. Bret Hitman Hart – Sharpshooter
9. Jimmy Superfly Snuka – Superfly Splash
8. Nature Boy Ric Flair – Figure Four Leg Lock
7. Hulk Hogan – Leg Drop
6. Shawn Michaels – Sweet Chin Music
5. Jake The Snake Roberts – DDT
4. The Rock – Rock Bottom / Peoples Elbow
3. Triple H – Pedigree
2. Undertaker – Tombstone Piledriver
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Stunner
Sgt. Slaughter demonstrates the cobra clutch on some poor geek, who actually turns out to be Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony years later (aka TL Hopper!), from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling December 10, 1981. Also note Private Jim Nelson in the background, who grew up to become Boris Zukhov. The demonstration of course does not go particularly well for young Mr. Anthony.
Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jake Roberts
From MSG, 10/24/88, as this is a “DDT v. Rude Awakening” match, with the winner being the guy who can hit his finisher. They trade armdrags, but Rude takes over with a cheapshot and ties Jake up in the ropes, allowing him to go put the moves on Cheryl Roberts. This feud was actually conceived in order for Jake’s wife to keep an eye on him on the road. That ended up destroying their marriage and sending Jake back into drug addiction, so, you know, not quite the desired result. Jake escapes while announcer Rod Trongard notes that Jake didn’t get to where he is by winning some kind of drawing contest, you know! Yes, it’s my favorite commentary team in history: Rod Trongard, Superstar Graham, and Lord Alfred Hayes. I’d say kill me now but they’re likely doing the play by play in hell too. Graham is one of the greatest and craziest promo guys in history, so why is he so BORING on commentary? Rude goes to a lengthy chinlock, but Jake escapes by raking the back, so Rude decides to go for the Awakening. Jake bites the fingers to escape, so Rude slowly works the back and Jake bails to the outside again. Jake finally comes back and slams Rude on the floor, and back in for the gutbuster and kneelift. Who would be stupid enough to put their head down in a match where a DDT ends the match? Did Rude just HAVE to hit that backdrop? Rude goes to escape, but Jake yanks his tights down to stop him (and it’s now blurred in PG WWE) and tries the DDT. Rude escapes again and dodges a kneelift, then goes up with a fistdrop and some more soft words for Cheryl. She slaps him, he’s distracted, and it’s KICK WHAM DDT at 12:17. As usual, a REALLY boring match between them, especially since they’d been doing this program for more than 6 months at this point. **
Intercontinental title: Mr. Perfect v. Texas Tornado
This was a dark match from January 1991 which was probably on a Coliseum video previously. Perfect clotheslines Kerry to the floor, and they brawl out there, resulting in a discus punch for Perfect. Back in, Tornado tosses Perfect over the top again and goes to work on the arm. He goes to a Boston crab and then whips Perfect into the corner for a melodramatic bump to set up the IRON CLAW. Perfect quickly escapes that and gets a sleeper to kill some time. Kerry breaks out and tries the discus punch, but Perfect CATCHES it and slugs him down instead. That’s why he’s PERFECT! Kerry charges and hits the post, so Perfect undoes a turnbuckle before Kerry hits him with another discus punch. Vary the offense, Von Erich. Another one on the floor, but this time he hits the post. Ha! Back in, Perfect runs him into the STEEL turnbuckle and gets two. And now we’re gonna see a Perfectplex, but it only gets two. Kerry comes back with the iron claw as this thing gets entertaining despite itself, but now the ref is bumped. Discus punch, no ref, but it finally gets two. Two more discus punches and it’s a DQ at 8:00 for no adequately explored reason. Even the announcers have no idea what the hell happened. **1/4
WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Bob Backlund
From WWF Superstars, July 1994. This was the start of the Mr. Bob Backlund character after a couple of years of the squeaky clean babyface comeback for Bob. Backlund quickly gets a bodyscissors into a rollup for two, and then a bridge for two. Bret is a tad flustered and Bob takes him down again for two, which has Bret complaining to the ref. They take it to the mat again and Bret starts working on the arm with a top wristlock, which Bob is unable to roll out of. Bret holds onto the arm until Bob suplexes out, but Bret hangs onto the wrist and turns it into a hammerlock instead. Bret SHOOTS THE HALF and Vince isn’t even on commentary to call it! Bret keeps on the arm and goes back to the wristlock. The wide shots are kind of embarrassing because it looks like it was shot in a high school gym compared to where they are now. The 90s were not a good time for this promotion. Backlund finally escapes with a forearm to the face and follows with a piledriver, which gets two. We take a break and return with Bret countering another piledriver into a backdrop. They fight over the abdominal stretch and Bob takes him down again, and out to the floor. Back in, Bret gets reversed into the corner and JR notes that Backlund can’t make any mistakes at this point. That would be foreshadowing. Backlund gets a slam for two and now we get a BODY VICE from Bob, but Bret quickly escapes and gets the backslide for two. They do a bridge sequence, with Backlund escaping pinfalls TWICE like that, and into a backslide for two. Lawler posits that Backlund needs a finisher of some sort. Bret whips him into the corner and hits the backbreaker for two. Sharpshooter is blocked, so Bret elbows him and then trips and falls out of the ring. Backlund quickly throws him back in and gets two, and follows with a backdrop suplex. Bret tries his own, but Backlund cradles for two. Backlund thinks he’s won, so Bret small packages him to retain at 14:30 shown here (about 17:00 with commercials I’d guess). Bob, his dreams shattered, gets offered one handshake too many by Bret, and snaps for the first time and applies the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING for the first time as well. This was AWESOME. Watching Backlund slowly get more pissed off with Bret’s kind of jerky “respect” and then unloading on him was tremendous. **** for the old school wrestling clinic and angle afterwards.
WCW World tag title match: The Outsiders v. The Giant and Lex Luger.
From Superbrawl VII. See, Luger had a “broken arm” and thus couldn’t get medical clearance to wrestle, so Giant is forced to go it alone. Can you SMELL the screwjob, or do I have to spell it out for you? Hall gets tossed around by Giant to start. Ditto for Nash. Syxx finally comes in and blasts Giant with the Cruiserweight belt, to give Nash a two-count. Nash runs through his usual lazy offense. Wow, he’s 7 feet tall AND he can stick his leg in the air like a dog taking a piss? What an athlete! Hall and Syxx take cheapshots from the outside. Giant fights back, but ANOTHER shot from the Cruiserweight title allows Nash to powerbomb Giant. Okay, that looked cool, I’ll give ‘em that. Lex Luger of course then comes to ring and tags himself in, racking Nash for the submission at 8:52 to win the tag titles. BUT, and this is the important part, Giant then chokeslams Hall and has the referee specifically count that as the official pin for good measure. Tony then makes absolutely sure to specifically point out that Giant (the legal competitor) pinning Scott Hall eliminates any chance of Eric Bischoff returning the titles to the Outsiders on a technicality the next night on Nitro. So what happens the next night on Nitro? Eric Bischoff returns the titles to the Outsiders on a technicality. WAS ANYBODY ACTUALLY WATCHING THEIR OWN SHOW??? What am I thinking, of course not. ¾*
Mankind v. Jerry Lawler.
From King of the Ring 97, a weird choice to be sure. I get that they need to pick matches where the guys use their famous finishers, but REALLY? Mick cuts a weird pre-match promo, lamenting the absence of his Uncle Paul (Bearer). He goes on a weird tangent about naked people, and finishes with a “Bang Bang”. Lawler of course has a mike and insults everyone in the front row. Brawl outside to start. Lawler runs away and stalls. Back in, the King plays “Phantom Foreign Object” to control. He tosses Mick as JR runs down Lawler’s career highlights. Lawler finds another foreign object (never seen, of course) and works on the ear with it. Thrilling stuff, no? Back outside for some brawling of the weak variety. Mankind takes a sick bump headfirst into the stairs, and another one into the railing. Good lord. No wonder he can’t remember where he lives. Lawler piledrives him on the floor. OH MY GOD, CALL AN AMBU…oh, wait, sorry, we’re not in Memphis. Mick fights to the apron, and Lawler…DROPKICKS HIM?!? JR is caught off guard by that one. Piledriver gets two. Mick fights back, driving a knee into Lawler’s face. Lawler sort-of gets a neckbreaker, and drops a fist. Piledriver is reversed, and the Mandible Claw finishes at 10:23. It’s Jerry Lawler, you were expecting something good? *
Rob Van Dam v. 2 Cold Scorpio
Do you think maybe someone might be on some sort of illegal substance in this match? There’s like 5 strikes and $5000 in Wellness fines between them here. From Living Dangerously 98, a rant bad enough that I should redo the match here. Scorpio was fresh off getting fired from the WWF as Flash Funk, which by the way was an awesome wrestling name. Entrance music gets butchered here, as usual. Very slow start with some stalling on both ends and Scorpio dropkicks RVD to the floor, where he gets some advice from Fonzie. That advice? “Don’t use the synthetic stuff because you’ll get suspended, but the real stuff is only a fine. And for the love of god don’t get busted holding anything while you’re World champion.” Sadly he did not listen that advice. Back in and they do the test of strength and trade monkey-flips, and Scorpio puts Rob on the floor again in a show of poor sportsmanship. They fight on the floor and Scorp drops him on the railing, triggering a quick brawl. I thought pot was supposed to mellow you out? Back in, RVD with a slingshot legdrop for two. The classy crowd chants “this match sucks” and I recall they are correct. Editing was always the kiss of death for Paul Heyman, as he could go out and give his guys their self-indulgent 20 minute matches in the bingo hall and then edit them down for TV, but once they got to PPV he had no sense of proper pacing. They trade spinkicks and Rob goes up with a spinkick from the top, which gets two. Rob with a legdrop for two and the crowd turning on the match is more interesting than the match itself. Scorpio fires back with a release powerbomb as Rob is suddenly selling like he’s dead, and Scorp slingshots in with a splash for one. Backdrop suplex and he goes up with, guess what, another splash for two. Back up for a moonsault that gets two. They battle on the top and Scorpio goes down, but the frog splash hits knee. Scorpio goes up yet again with another somersault move, this time a legdrop for two. This is classic ECW “action” in that it’s spot-rest-spot with nothing in between. Hit a highspot, lay around to sell, next highspot, repeat. RVD comes back with the split-leg moonsault for two. They slug it out and somehow mess that up, winding up on the floor. To the ramp, where Rob gets the VanDaminator, but Scorp piledrives him twice. Back to the ring, and Scorpio accidentally splashes the ref. Rob misses a 450 splash and Scorpio goes up and gets his own, but now Sabu runs in with the Arabian facebuster and puts Rob on top for two. Sandman chases him off and Scorpio hits Rob with a spinkick, but Rob counters with a rollup for the pin at 22:15. They gave this over TWENTY MINUTES?!? Dull and sloppy. *1/2 And the finish wasn’t even a finisher!
WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan v. Sting v. DDP
From Spring Stampede 99. Randy Savage is the special ref here to really add to the star power and make the inclusion of DDP all the more puzzling at the time. Unless they were gonna…nah, that’d be silly. Big slugfest to start and Hogan & Flair hit the floor while Sting quickly gets DDP in the Scorpion Deathlock, but he makes the ropes. DDP grabs a headlock and gets a neckbreaker for two, but Sting clotheslines him and then adds another one off the top. Stinger splash gets two. Everyone heads back in and Sting slams Flair off the top, then brawls out with DDP. Flair chops away on Hulk in the corner, but Hulk fires back with the belt and backdrops him. Hulk with the corner clothesline for the Flair Flop, and he no-sells the chops. Big boot and legdrop get two. Flair clips him while Sting & DDP brawl outside again, and gets the figure-four. DDP comes back in to break it up and he clotheslines Flair out, and everyone brawls outside again. DDP uses a ringpost figure-four on Hogan, and Hulk gets escorted out by the trainers. So back in the ring, Sting pounds away on Flair in the corner as they do an abbreviated version of their usual thing, leading to DDP clotheslining Sting for two. Elbow gets two. Flair heads back in, so DDP clotheslines him for two as well. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and bulldogs DDP to escape a Diamond Cutter, but DDP gets a tombstone for two. Sting comes back with a superplex on Flair for two. Flair with a backdrop suplex for two. This thing is really dragging at this point. Flair with a sleeper, which sets up DDP for a sleeper of his own, a spot that always gets a big pop but which I hate nonetheless. DDP and Flair double-team Sting, but he fights back with a double clothesline on them and slugs them down. Stinger splash and Scorpion deathlock for Flair, but DDP breaks it up. Sting hits him with the Deathdrop for two, but Flair saves and abuses Sting’s groinal area. Figure-four follows, but Sting makes the ropes. Savage at this point decides to take matters into his own hands and drops the big elbow on Flair to break it up. DDP is the last man standing, and it’s Diamond Cutter for Flair and we have one of the most unlikely World champions ever at 17:26. That one turned out to be a horrible decision. This was really quite dull and disjointed a lot of the time and featured too much “two guys fight out and the other two guys fight in the ring” stuff to live up the pedigree that it’s somehow acquired over the years. **3/4
Chris Jericho & The Rock v. Steve Austin & Kurt Angle.
This is from Smackdown, November 2001. Austin & Rock start and BRING IT ON, hammering each other until Austin gets the THESZ PRESS BY GAWD and an elbow for two. Rock slugs away, then goes for Angle. Samoan drop and Jericho comes in with chops and the forearm. Missile dropkick gets two, but he runs into a kneelift. Austin pounds on him and they exchange chops. Fans now go “what” after Austin’s chops instead of “whoo”, which is perversely witty in a white trash kind of way. Jericho bodyblock gets two, but Austin tosses him. Jericho comes in with an elbow off the top and the faces pinball Austin for two. Jericho keeps chopping at Angle, and blocks the Angle Slam with the Walls. Angle comes back with a German suplex, however, and Jericho is YOUR moose-hunting-Twisted-Sister wannabe-in-peril. He gets a small package on Austin for two, and blocks another THESZ PRESS BY GAWD with the Walls. Angle breaks it up and gets, to quote Michael Cole, “a wicked clothesline” for two. What, am I watching Good Will Hunting here all of a sudden? Rollup gets two for Jericho, and another one transitions into an anklelock. Call it the Moose-hunter, I guess. Angle breaks, because he IS the master of his own hold and all, unless of Kane or Undertaker are doing it, at which point he will tap like a girl. Because lord knows it’s gonna hurt more when someone taller than you is twisting your ankle. WWF Logic: I didn’t think it up, I just try to follow it best that I can. Belly to belly gets two for Angle. Austin sets up a superplex, but gets shoved away like a bag of carrots trying to get Marlon Brando’s autograph. Enzuigiri and Breakdown (note to Jericho: Learn your own move or drop it), and it’s the hot tag to the Rock. Rock on fire, Rock on fire, put it out, put it out! Forearm for Angle! DDT for Angle! Smack is laid down on Austin, and the Sharpshooter follows. Angle breaks and applies the anklelock. Jericho breaks it up and brawls with Angle as a subtle class-distinction thing happens (midcarders on the floor, main eventers on a higher level in the ring) until Angle suplexes him on the floor and heads in to help Austin. They work on Rock’s ankle and use a chair, but shove the referee for the DQ at 12:41. Great until the finish. ***1/2 The traditional Survivor Series Schmoz finishes the show, as everyone from the 10-man does their finisher to whomever’s closest, until only Austin is left standing and Vince is left grinning.
Brock Lesnar & Eddy Guerrero v. Rob Van Dam & Bubba Dudley.
From RAW, June 2002. Bubba has a bit of a new look, which is a good way to distance him from the Dudley Boyz. Eddy & RVD start, but Brock wants in. Then Bubba does. The heels double-team him, though, and Eddy pounds away. Bubba gets a sideslam for two, however. Brock works him over for a bit, punch punch punch. Bubba comes back with a DDT for two. Rob comes in and superkicks Brock, but walks into a backbreaker for two. Eddy gets an elbow and a suplex, but Rob superkicks him, and Bubba comes back in. He cleans house on Eddy and suplexes Brock. Bubba…gets the table, but Eddy wisely baseball slides it back into his face again. Back in, Eddy suplexes him and slingshots in with a neckbreaker for two. Brock does some clubbering, but a Bubbabomb turns the tide, hot tag RVD. He batters Eddy and monkey-flips him. Moonsault and Rolling Thunder get two. Bubba gets caught by a Brockplex, and RVD gets tosses around. He spinkicks Brock, however. When he goes up, Heyman pushes him off and Eddy frog-splashes him for the pin at 8:59. Bit of a mess, but Eddy held it together good enough. **1/2
Jeff Hardy & Shawn Michaels v. Christian & Chris Jericho.
From RAW, February 2003. Big brawl to start and Jericho gets dumped, but blocks Jeff Hardy’s railrunner with a powerslam. Jericho & Christian pound on Shawn outside and introduce him to the steps, then handcuff him to the bottom rope. I bet Jeff is jealous. I’d check what the hankies say about it, but the joke is dead. Jericho taunts Shawn with the key while the heels pound on Jeff. Jeff makes his own comeback (heel turn? What heel turn?), but gets pounded down again. The heels go after Shawn and work him over with his own belt (again, Jeff is jealous), and then head back to Jeff again. That goes again for a while and Jericho keeps waving the key at Shawn, but gets superkicked and loses the key. Shawn unlocks himself as the match grinds to a halt, and gets the hot tag. He unloads his 1996 offense on Christian, but walks into an elbow. He dumps Christian and assists Jeff with a dive, then superkicks a chair into Jericho’s face. Hardy finishes Jericho with the swanton at 7:18. Match was a total carwreck, but at least it got the crowd going. *1/2
The Rock v. Goldberg.
Being that this is the WWE braintrust, the first thing they do is change Goldberg’s music, having not learned the lesson taught by WCW in 1999. It sounds like something off the original Terminator soundtrack, actually. They pay a guy X million dollars a year because he was a big star in WCW, but don’t want him to be associated with WCW any longer. Figure that one out. Clearly ignoring JR’s exhortations over the years that this ain’t ballet, Goldberg does leg stretches in the corner to warm up. Rock is clearly the crowd favorite here, thanks to being more entertaining, a better worker, and a WWE product. Very long stall session to start and Goldberg overpowers Rock with the LOCKUP OF DEATH. You know, just because Hulk Hogan got that over 15 YEARS AGO doesn’t mean we still need it today. Another one and Rock bails. Back in, they exchange shots and Goldberg overpowers him again and dumps him. Rock takes a long count to waste more time. WCW was at least smart enough to limit Goldberg to 5 minutes or less. More stalling as Rock waits around outside, and then he catches him with a necksnap and a lariat. Crowd eats that up. Rock slugs away, but gets hit with Goldberg’s version of the Rock Bottom. That’s the first wrestling move from Goldberg in this match. Rock sells it FOREVER and Goldberg tries a spear, but misses and lands on the floor. Yeah, take an indestructible superman character and make him SELL, great plan. Rock gets the Scorpion King Deathlock and holds it for a long time, thus making Goldberg look even weaker, but he makes the ropes. Lawler correctly points out that he took the coward’s way out. There’s no excuse for silly mistakes like that – Goldberg should have powered out. Rock goes low, but Goldberg gets a fluke spear (move #2 on the match) and both guys are out. Goldberg makes the comeback and powerslams him (move #3) and gets two. Goldberg no-sells a couple of clotheslines, but Rock hits him with a spinebuster and kips up, thus turning himself babyface by making Goldberg look like a chump. Rock Bottom gets two. I love Rock like the son I never intend to have, but this is so manipulative on his part that he’s going to kill Goldberg out of the chute. Goldberg clotheslines him to cut off the spit-punch (drawing boos), but Rock hits him with a People’s Elbow for two. That spot is just BEGGING for Goldberg to pop up and spear him. Both guys crawl around as the match drags on, and Goldberg spears him. The crowd now totally turns on Goldberg, chanting “Goldberg sucks” while Rock slowly climbs to his feet and gets speared again. Jackhammer (move #4) finishes at 13:04. The only way this could have been ANY worse was if Rock had gone over, and for a minute there I was thinking they might do that, too. This just totally exposed Goldberg as a shitty worker with a limited moveset who’s out there for the paycheque and nothing more. Not that it’s a huge shock, but you can forget him carrying the company over the summer now. 1/2*
The Dudley Boyz v. Evolution.
From RAW, July 2003. This is elimination rules. Flair starts with Bubba, who overpowers him, and they trade chops. Bubba backdrops him out of the corner, and brings in Spike. Flair actually sells a slap with a Flair Flop, but comes back with chops. Spike keeps fighting and dropkicks him into the corner, but Flair goes to the eyes. Spike works on Orton’s arm, but Randy dropkicks him to the floor, where Flair stands on his head. Okay, serious question: What’s the difference between Spike Dudley and Zach Gowen? Both are pretty much equally gifted in terms of wrestling, but Gowen is lacking a leg, and therefore he gets preferential treatment and a main event push. That’s why he has no long-term credibility. D-Von gets the hot tag and clotheslines Orton, then cleans house on the other Evolutions, and a neckbreaker gets two on Orton. Flying forearm gets two. Spike jumps on him for two. It’s a big brawl and Orton finishes Spike with RKO at 5:02. HHH comes in and pounds D-Von (damn I was hoping it was a career-ending injury), and the bonzo gonzosity continues. The Dudleyz hit Orton with a Dudley Device, and splash Flair & HHH in the corner. Bubba elbows Flair down and sets up the Whazzup Drop, but HHH breaks it up. He takes it instead, and then Orton gets 3D’d. That gets two for D-Von. HHH uses the French flag to put D-Von down and Orton pins him at 7:33. Flags can be very abrasive to the skin. So it’s Evolution v. Bubba and I’m sure there’s a joke in there about Arkansas somewhere. D-Von is prevented from getting the tables by referees, and we take a break. We return with Bubba and Flair trading chops, and Orton comes in and stomps away. Bubba comes back with a backdrop, and goes low on HHH to escape the Pedigree. Bubba Bomb on Orton, but Flair saves. Flair dumps him, so Bubba makes lemonade and puts HHH onto the table. He goes up, but Flair shoves him off and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes, as Orton gets the pin at 14:38. Orton gets all three pins, which is what they need to do. This thing was a mess, though. *1/2
Women’s title: Trish v. Lita.
From RAW, December 2004. They tumble out of the ring right away and Trish chokes her out back in the ring and throws a chop. Lita comes back with a kick to the noseguard, and then counters the Matrix move by falling on her for two. Legsweep gets two for Lita. Lita dumps Trish and follows with a suicide dive that brings new meaning to the word by almost killing her. You never like to see someone fold in half that way. That’s just WRONG. So of course we get seven replays of it. Trish gets serious and hits her with the noseguard to take over. She slugs away and chokes her in the corner, but Lita comes back with the SLEEPER OF DEATH. Trish quickly fights out and goes to a full-nelson, but Lita fights out. Trish goes up and gets brought down with a top rope superplex, and it’s a double KO. Lita rolls over first and gets two. Trish gets the high kick for two. Trish slugs away in the corner, but Lita powerbombs her out of there and goes up for the Litasault, which results in Trish catching her, and Lita countering with a rollup for two. Lita tries a DDT, but Trish counters with a rollup for two. What is this, a wrestling match? Trish tries the bulldog, but Lita reverses to the Twist of Fate and finishes with the Litasault for the pin and title at 7:12. Best women’s match since Trish v. Victoria in 2003. Too bad they fired the entire division and Lita has no one to defend against now. ***1/4 Still, nice to see something different in the main event slot.
Randy Orton v. Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho v. JBL
From RAW, December 2008, with the winner of this getting the shot at John Cena at Royal Rumble. This was during the “Shawn Michaels is broke and has to work for JBL” storyline, as Lawler makes references to “It’s A Wonderful Life” to show how hip and cool he is. Shawn rolls up Jericho for two and backslides him for two, and we take a break. Back with Jericho slugging away on Orton, but Orton powerslams him for two. Jericho comes back with the Walls, but Orton powers out of it, so Jericho dropkicks him off the apron. Shawn comes in and chops away on Jericho, but gets sent into the corner and stomped down. They fight to the top and Shawn drops the big elbow on him, but JBL tags himself in and goes for the clothesline. Jericho counters it with the codebreaker, but Shawn breaks it up and tags himself back in. Superkick for Jericho eliminates him at 8:18. And we take another break. Back with JBL holding a sleeper on Orton and putting him down with a big boot for two. JBL lays in the beatdown in the corner and gets a short clothesline for two, but misses a charge to allow Orton to make the comeback. JBL elbows him down again for two, however, so Orton gets the dropkick and the Garvin Stomp. JBL tags Shawn back in to escape the punt, and Orton drops a knee on him and gets two. Orton does the interpretive dance, but Shawn blocks the RKO and makes the comeback. Flying elbow and he finishes Orton with the superkick at 19:00. So that leaves JBL v. Shawn for the title shot, but JBL orders him to lay down and get pinned. That’s pretty effective on more than one level, because we all know how Shawn feels about laying down for people. Shawn’s facials here are tremendous, and JBL clotheslines and pins him at 23:00 to get the shot. Nice touch as Shawn makes him hit the clothesline himself, instead of just getting the easy pin. Match was a whole lot of JBL clubbering on people. **1/2
Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Batista v. CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio
From Bragging Rights 2009. Punk declaring “It’s clobbering time!” on the ramp is pretty awesome. Batista chases Punk to start, and walks right into Undertaker’s punch. Punk hammers on UT in the corner, and that’s an epic fail as Taker tosses him into a Mysterio dive from the apron. Rey dropkicks Taker out of the ring, but walks into a boot. Taker goes to work on Batista with Old School, but Punk prevents a second attempt and fights on the top rope with UT. He manages a superplex and Rey springboards in for two. Batista beats on Punk and adds a powerslam, but Taker puts him down with a big boot. Rey tries diving in with a rana, but Taker counters to the Last Ride, and Batista spears UT out of that. Rey and Batista argue over who gets to cover, but Taker pops up, so Rey gets the 619 on Taker, into Batista’s spinebuster for two. Rey goes up again and gets caught by Punk with GTS for two. Batista goes after Taker and gets caught in the gogoplata, but Punk breaks that up and hits the running knee on Taker. That leads to the Last Ride for two. Taker and Batista slug it out and Batista gets chokeslammed for two. Punk goes after Taker and gets tossed, leaving UT to finish Batista, but Batista counters with the Batista bomb for two. Rey breaks it up and gets two, and there’s your heel turn for Batista. Unfortunately, Batista gets so distracted by the dark side of the Force that a chokeslam from Undertaker gets two. They clothesline each other and Punk gets two on both of them. Rey comes back in and Batista tosses him, but Undertaker finishes Batista with the tombstone at 9:56 to retain. Well that was fast-paced, to say the least. I liked all the crazy finishers for the first 8 minutes or so, but it kind of fell apart once Batista turned. Needed to go to the finish as soon as Batista nailed Rey, but it was really entertaining otherwise. ***1/4
RAW World title: Sheamus v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho v. Wade Barrett v. John Cena
Hey, it’s another “we have no direction so let’s stick six guys in one match” special. This is elimination, which I like better at least. Big brawl to start, as the ring gets cleared and Jericho gets two on Orton. Cena saves Orton, but it’s RKO for Jericho and he’s gone at 1:30. Bye Chris, enjoy the tour. Jericho’s incredulous reaction to getting pinned so quick is great stuff. So with Jericho gone, the next target is Wade Barrett, and everyone beats him down in a nice touch. So we’ve got Cena and Orton again, but it turns into another big brawl before the ring gets cleared again. Striker actually calls the heel side “rulebreakers”. Does Bill Apter get royalties from that? Sheamus clears out the deadwood and clotheslines Cena for two. A pair of kneelifts and an elbow out of the corner follow, and Sheamus sets up Cena for the Irish Curse. Thank god that move finally has a name. Cena fights him off and goes up, but Edge breaks things up and helps out with a double superplex on Cena. That gets two. Edge & Sheamus dispose of Barrett outside, and then drag in Orton for two. Sheamus whips Edge into Orton with a spear into the corner, but another try misses and Orton makes the comeback. Edge finally turns on Sheamus to see if we can make this thing any more boring, and Sheamus gets a backbreaker, but Edge spears him. Edge spears Orton, but Cena gets the FU to get rid of Edge at 15:08. Barrett finally gets into the match and beats on Cena, reversing the FU into a DDT for two. Cena comes back with his usual stuff, but Sheamus breaks it up. STFU for Sheamus, but he makes the ropes. And now it’s time for your Nexus run-in, resulting in Barrett eliminating Cena at 18:40 with the Wasteland slam. Nexus beats on Orton next and sends him back in, but Cena the sore loser attacks them with a chair on his way out. Orton comes back on Barrett and finishes him with the RKO at 20:36. So we’ve got Sheamus and Orton left. Sheamus lays him out with the big boot as this crowd is just crazy for Orton for some reason. Sheamus goes to finish, but the RKO finishes at 21:30 to give Orton the title again. Not enough to save the show, but it was a hot finish at least. ***1/4
I can kinda see what they were going for with the “Lots of multi-man matches with lots of finishers” motif for the match choices, but holy GOD are there some bad selections here. And just weird stuff, like the random RAW matches from 2003, or the terrible Rock v. Goldberg match. Certainly you can’t complain that there’s too much duplicated here, though. It’s not a terrible set, as such, but there’s really nothing in the concept or matchlist to recommend it as more than an eclectic collection of rarities.