November 2, 2008
Cyber Sunday 2008, October 26, 2008, US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Announcers: The teams of: Jim Ross & Tazz, Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler, and Todd Grisham & Matt Striker
So we’ve come now to Cyber Sunday, one of the most unique shows of the year, and also, what has traditionally becomes one of the least successful shows of the year. The lineup doesn’t look particularly strong going in, and the chances for success are made even worse by the fact that it’s coming at the tail end of a string of shows that are bang, bang, bang, bang, with only three weeks separating them. Also, they’ve changed the voting process from online to text messaging. This means that it now costs one dollar to place your vote, as well as limits the voting to American residents only making me ineligible. Not that I would have paid to vote anyways, but I’ll still note who or what I would have voted for if I could have on each match.
Opening Match, No Holds Barred: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Kane
Choose the stipulation: No Holds Barred – 39%, Falls Count Anywhere – 35%, 2 Out of 3 Falls – 26%
They didn’t really give you a reason to care about any stip in particular, so the result is a close vote with No Holds Barred coming out on top, which is the one I would have picked as well. Funny that something as mundane as 2/3 falls got so many votes, but I guess they did push that somehow that stip favoured Mysterio, which is the only explanation I can think of for it doing so well. Kane controls off the bat with his power, but misses a charge and goes to the floor. Rey hits a dive and starts grabbing weapons from under the ring. He uses a kendo stick on the knee, and then tries to use a stop sign, but Kane nails him with a boot. It’s just as well because the sign appears to be made from some pretty flimsy plastic. He whips Rey under the ropes to the post, and follows him in with a baseball slide. Kane then runs Rey’s back to the post and presses him back in for a 2 count. Corner whip, followed by a slam and legdrop also get 2. He holds Rey in a backbreaker until Rey punches out, but Kane then gets a big boot for 2. We get back to the backbreaker, but Rey escapes again and hits a bulldog. Ensiguiri sets up the 619, but Kane comes up and catches him with a clothesline for 2. He grabs a chair, but Rey dropkicks it in his face. Kane still manages to set up a side slam, but Rey counters to an inverted DDT for 2. Legdrop using the chair gets 2. Now he goes up top, but Kane catches him with a shot coming down for 2. He grabs the stairs and tosses them in the ring now. They get set up in the corner, but Rey slips out of the battering ram attempt and Kane ends up going to the stairs via a drop toehold. Springboard press gets 2 and a few chairshots set up the 619, but again Kane comes off and catches Rey by the throat. Rey counters this with a rana that puts Kane in 619 position again, and finally nails the move. Springboard splash hits as well and gets the 3 count at 10:22. That should, in theory, end the feud, but based on Raw this week they seem intent on continuing it even further. Not really violent enough for a no holds barred match, and the constant stopping to get weapons or setup spots slowed the pace too much. *
Backstage, Jericho tries to recruit Dibiase, Rhodes, and Manu for a pre-emptive strike on Batista, but they aren’t interested. We then throw it to Todd Grisham in the “Cyber Sunday Control Center” the name of which gave me some WCW flashbacks. The rest of this show had better be good enough to get those out of my head or I’ll be pretty pissed.
ECW Championship Match: Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne
Choose the opponent: Evan Bourne – 69%, Fit Finlay – 25%, Mark Henry – 6%
Hardy was actively campaigning for Bourne to get picked, and since he has a real connection with his fans, it’s no surprise that Bourne wins in a landslide. He’d have gotten my vote as well. That 6% number for Henry is pretty telling, especially since Hardy (the character, not the person) went on ECW and asked fans to vote that way, but I guess they’ll just interpret it as needing to push him down our throats even harder. They made Grisham sprint all the way from the CSCC down to ringside during Bourne’s intro so he can do the play by play. Matt and Bourne trade holds to start off with Matt then getting a couple of shoulderblocks and Bourne hitting a dropkick. More trading of holds leads to Matt taking him down with a side headlock and getting a few pinfall attempts off of that. Bourne makes it up and gets a victory roll for 1. Matt then gets a sunset flip for 2 and takes him down again for another 2. Bourne is back with some high kicks and a rana, but misses a charge and gets tossed. He does manage to land on the apron though, but Matt knocks him off for good measure. Back in, a clothesline gets 2 for Matt, but when he tries a bulldog he gets shoved to the corner. Bourne uses an armdrag and goes to an armbreaker. Matt gets out, but is tripped down and Bourne gets a standing moonsault for 2. To an armbar, which Matt escapes only to fall victim to a high kick. Bourne goes up, but Matt rolls out to the floor. Bourne fakes a dive, and then when he goes for real with an Asai moonsault, Matt trips him up and he gets hung in the ropes. He slams Bourne on the floor and gets him back in for a 1 count. A couple more slams and a 2nd rope elbow get 2. Abdominal stretch is hooked by Matt. Bourne gets out, but runs into a clothesline. Splash Mountain is countered to a rana and Bourne starts firing away, but then gets caught with a Side Effect for 2. 2nd Side Effect also only gets 2, so Matt comes off the 2nd rope but is caught with a spin kick. Moonsault gets 2 as does a high mule kick and a vertical press off the top. The fans are really in to the possibility of Bourne winning here. Another kick misses and allows Matt a rollup for 2. Tilt-a-whirl is countered by Bourne and he goes up. Matt is there to meet him, but gets knocked back down. Shooting star press misses, so Matt tries the Twist of Fate, which is blocked to a backslide for 2, but then Matt gets the Twist of Fate for real and that gets the pin for Matt to retain at 11:04. They shake hands afterwards like all good babyfaces should. The fans were really getting into Bourne here and it will be interesting to see if anything comes of this for him. Really good match too. ***1/2
John Morrison & The Miz vs. Cryme Tyme
Choose the match: Morrison & Miz vs. Cryme Tyme – 38%, Dibiase & Rhodes vs. Punk & Kingston – 35%, Noble & James vs. Regal & Layla – 27%
I’d have voted for the Tag Title match, mainly because I like most of the guys in that one, while here I only really care about Morrison. The basis of this feud is that’s about which duo has the better Internet talk show. The funny thing about wrestling is that this isn’t even in the ballpark when it comes to lamest feud concepts ever. JTG and Morrison start out with a lockup attempt out of which Morrison gets slapped. Side headlock is reversed and JTG elbows him down for 1. Irish whip by Morrison who puts his head down and gets nailed, but still manages to tag Miz. JTG ducks a shot from him, huts a dropkick and tags Shad who comes in and gets whipped into Miz. Slam gets 1 and another one is hit prior to a tag back to JTG. Cryme Tyme uses a double team flip to get a 2 count fro JTG. Miz catches him with a shot and tags Morrison. They hit a double elbow, but JTG fights back and tags Shad. Double team leads to Miz and Morrison being sent to the floor, and Shad then presses JTG out on to both of them. Shad gets one on Morrison when he makes it back, but then takes a jawjacker. Shad is briefly caught in the heel corner as the tag is made to Miz. They start working over the knee and make a couple tags in and out. Shad is eventually able to kick Miz off and tag JTG. He comes in with a flipping shoulderblock and an inverted jumping necksnap. Clothesline on Miz and he goes to the 2nd rope, but Morrison distracts him long enough for Miz to knock him to the floor. Back in, Miz gets a 2 count and tags Morrison. Double gutbuster leads to choking on the ropes and a knee to the face for 2. Tag to Miz, who nails a clothesline in the corner for 2. He scoops the legs for a slingshot and tags Morrison, but JTG ends up knocking Morrison to the floor and taking Miz out. Morrison is back to try and stop the tag, but JTG ultimately gets it. Shad comes in as the house afire beating up both heels. Morrison takes a shoulderblock and flapjack, followed by a forearm for 2. Shad then charges, but Morrison catches him with a dropkick to the knee. Rollup with the feet on the ropes gets 2 as JTG makes it over to save. Spinebuster by Shad gets 2 with Miz saving. JTG is in again to knock Miz out, but when the ref takes him back to the corner, Miz clips Shad’s leg. That lets Morrison get the Midnight Ride on Shad for the 3 count at 10:23. Tag wrestling is becoming something of a lost art these days, but this was still pretty good. I don’t know what’s so hard about having several teams feuding with each other and dedicated to the goal of becoming champions, especially considering they have two sets of belts. There is huge star making potential there that they just choose to ignore. Not necessarily with these guys, but I mean in general. **1/2
Now Jericho is attempting to convince Great Khali to second him for his match later, but Khali wants nothing to do with him.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Santino Marella (w/Beth Phoenix) vs. The Honky Tonk Man
Choose the opponent: Honky Tonk Man – 35%, Rowdy Roddy Piper – 34%, Goldust – 31%
The “Honk-A-Meter” deal meant that they were pretty much asking for Honky to get picked here, although I though that the popularity of Piper would have carried him into it, and perhaps my vote would have made a difference. Actually, no it wouldn’t have, so whatever. Honky is actually pretty over with the crowd too, so good for him. They start out with a dance off with Santino of course embarrassing himself, but then he takes a cheap shot and we get the match underway. It’s a whole lot of nothing before Honky comes off the ropes, gets tripped by Beth and the DQ is called at 1:05. Piper and Goldust come out and they get in the triple team on Santino. They definitely didn’t promise a classic or anything but Santino and Honky are both entertaining performers, so the segment overall was fun, but the match was obviously a DUD.
Last Man Standing Match: The Undertaker vs. Big Show
Choose the stipulation: Last Man Standing – 49%, I Quit – 42%, Knockout – 9%
Just like Mysterio/Kane we have three stips which are not that appealing and where no attempt was made to make one the preferred choice. It was built up that all three favoured Big Show, so you were basically just picking how you wanted to see Taker lose. Given what we have though, I’d have gone with Last Man Standing as well with it being the least bad option. They start with a slugfest, although with his fist now being a deadly weapon, Show can’t just casually use it anymore. The result is that he uses a lot of bodyshots and headbutts. Taker gets tossed to the floor and sent over the barrier. He grabs Show and drops him on it though and then nails him with a chair. Back in he gets a couple of corner clotheslines. Corner whip is reversed, but Taker gets the boot up on the charge. Taker comes off, but runs into a clothesline. Headbutt and legdrop put Taker down for a 7 count. To the floor, where Show misses a chair shot and ends up getting run to the post with the chair against his throat. That puts him down for 8. Show gets to the apron, but Taker works him over there and drops the leg. In the ring, Show holds on during an Irish whip attempt and comes back with a clothesline both guys are down, but Show is up at 5 and Taker at 8. More bodyshots and headbutts from Show, as well as a kneelift. He tries a chokeslam, but that gets countered to a DDT putting Show down for 9. Show pulls a turnbuckle pad off, but gets run into it himself, and then takes a flying clothesline for a 9 count. Taker then misses a charge to the corner and goes over to the floor. Show sends him to the stairs, as well as the table. He gets the table ready for use, and nails Taker with a monitor while he’s at it. Taker gets kicked over the barrier. Show tries a chairshot, which is blocked, but coming back over Taker is caught and chokeslammed through the table. That keeps him down for 9. Back in they slug away. Show sends him off, but puts the head down and gets DDT’d. Old School is tried, but Taker gets caught coming down and hit with a chokeslam. He makes it to his feet at 9, so now Show connects with the Right Hand From Hell. Taker appears to be out, but he sits up and manages to make it to his feet. Now Show is frustrated so he uses the chair again. He hovers over Taker, but gets caught out of nowhere in the Gogoplata. Taker chokes him out and that keeps Show down long enough for the ref to count 10 and give Taker the win at 19:25. Much like Mysterio/Kane, we have a finish that would seemingly end a feud pretty decisively, but alas, this feud must continue as well. It really ruins the impact of gimmick matches when they just get brushed off like the results don’t matter. Again, this match was not as violent as I would have liked, and always stopping to count hurts the flow. **
Another segment with Jericho as he pleads his case to Mike Adamle. All this build up of him fearing a loss and nobody wanting to help him would seem to be suggesting that he’ll squeak out a win. But wait, he’s got a call. Maybe some help after all?
So all night long they’ve been showing the Divas modeling their Halloween costumes and asking us to vote on our favourite. I didn’t realize that they had this many women on the roster. There were several that I swear I’ve never even seen before, as well as some that I completely forgot they still had. Mickie James wins the vote, and good for the fans to at least pick one who can actually wrestle. They don’t give us a breakdown of the voting beyond that, but those would probably be some interesting numbers to see. After the result is announced it turns in to a big brawl with the faces clearing the ring.
WWE Championship Match: Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy
Choose the opponent: Jeff Hardy – 57%, Triple Threat – 38%, Vladimir Kozlov – 5%
No real chance of any other result here, but really, since they aren’t doing a title change, a vote for Hardy is just asking to see him fail again. I’d have wasted a vote on Kozlov because I hate Triple Threat, and I maintain that they should save a Hardy Title win for Wrestlemania, which means building him up as the real deal and not having him job in meaningless matches like this one. They trade holds for a bit to start. HHH comes off and gets a shoulderblock. Off again, but now Jeff gets a hiptoss. Jeff gets sent to the corner, but comes over and they trade attempts at the Twist of Fate and Pedigree. HHH shoulders him in the corner and sends him to the opposite corner, but Jeff gets the elbow up on the charge. He goes up, but HHH shoves him to the floor. Back in, HHH sends him shoulder first to the post, and then does it again. Rollup gets 2 and he goes to an armbar. Irish whip sees HHH put the head down, but Jeff misses something and HHH gets 2 off of it. Back to the arm, but Jeff fights out and sends him off, but puts the head down and takes a facebuster. Now HHH comes off, but Jeff nails him with a clothesline. He drops the legs to the gut and nails a seated dropkick for 2. Irish whip is reversed, but Jeff flips over top and hooks him with a suplex, but drops him face first instead for 2. He gets a clothesline in the corner, but when he charges again he gets caught and hit with a spinebuster for 2. Jeff gets whipped to the corner, but leaps up and jumps back at HHH. HHH catches him and hooks the crossface, which HHH seems to have adopted as his own. How long do you think it will be before JR declares him to be the master of that hold? Jeff fights to the ropes, but HHH pulls him back, so Jeff rolls him over to a pin for 2. HHH stomps him to the floor, but a whip to the stairs is reversed and HHH hits instead. Flying leg lariat with HHH against the barrier hits and back in he nails Whisper in the Wind not once, but twice and still only gets 2. Slingshot seated dropkick hits and gets 2. Twist of Fate is countered to the Pedigree, which is recountered to a rollup for 2. Now HHH gets him in a sleeper, but Jeff counters that by sending HHH to the buckle. He gets the Twist of Fate now, but it only gets 2. Swanton hits, but instead of going for the cover, he goes up for a second one. HHH gets the knees up leaving JR to speculate about what might have been had he covered after the first. Pedigree is blocked and Jeff kicks him to the floor. Jeff’s dive misses, but we’ll act like it hit anyways. Back in, Jeff goes up, but HHH catches him. He hooks the Pedigree and that finishes Jeff off at 15:39. Not quite up to the level of the **** match they had at No Mercy, but it was still pretty good. Finish was much weaker though, and they have to be building up to Jeff either kicking out of the Pedigree at some point, or at least finding some crazy counter for it that gets him a win. ***
Main Event, World Heavyweight Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs. Dave Batista
Choose the referee: Steve Austin – 74%, Shawn Michaels – 22%, Randy Orton – 4%
I guess I’m more out of touch than I’d like to believe because I really thought that based on his recent feud with Jericho, as well as his high level of popularity, that Shawn would at least make it a close one, or maybe even squeak out a win. Although I guess that they were pushing hard to get Austin voted in, so I can’t say I’m that surprised, and if it came down to it, I’d have probably just voted for him as well. Jericho gets in Austin’s face to start and then slaps Batista. Bad move as Batista works him over, so Jericho slides out and goes to walk out. Austin declares that if Jericho is counted out or disqualified, he’ll award Batista the belt, so Jericho makes it back only to be hit with a clothesline. Batista dominates for a bit with a back elbow and suplex for 2, followed by a hiptoss, but then Jericho grabs him and sends him to the floor. Baseball slide hits, but the springboard dropkick is swatted away. Jericho still manages to catch him coming in and starts working over the knee. This goes on for a bit, with Batista occasionally fighting back until Jericho takes him down again. He mounts Batista in the corner, but gets caught in a powerbomb attempt. Jericho slips out and gets a rollup for 2 before going right back to the knee again. Batista comes back again by winning a slugfest, and then nailing a clothesline and powerslam. He can’t get the Batista Bomb though, with Jericho hooking the legs and getting the Walls of Jericho. He switches to a half crab on the injured knee, but Batista still manages to make the ropes. Austin physically pulls him off, which Jericho is not happy about, and it results in him getting caught in a side slam for 2. Irish whip sees Jericho duck and come off with a bodypress, but he gets caught. He still slips out before Batista can do anything, but then gets setup for the Batista Bomb again. He fights it off and manages to get out to the apron. Jericho goes up, but is clotheslined coming down for 2. Spear misses and Batista goes to the post. They climb up together, with Jericho getting shoved off, so Batista comes off with a flying shoulderblock for 2. Jericho charges, but runs right into a spinebuster, although it’s Jericho who is quickly on top of Batista for a 2 count. Now Batista charges, but Jericho ducks and Austin is bumped to the floor. Codebreaker hits, but we have no ref. Shawn Michaels runs in and mocks Jericho by giving an extremely slow 2 count before Batista kicks out. Jericho argues this, but that allows Batista to hit a spear. JBL, presumably the guy Jericho got the call from earlier, runs in to take Shawn out, so we once again have no ref. This distraction allows Jericho to clip the leg and grab the belt. Orton comes out take over as ref just as Austin is getting back in, so Orton sends right back to the floor. Jericho uses the belt on Batista, but with Orton counting he only gets 2. Austin is right back in and he nails a Stunner on Orton. Pencil that match in for Wrestlemania, I guess. Jericho gets in Austin’s face, so Austin goes to Stun him, but Jericho avoids it, only to get caught in a spinebuster. Batista Bomb hits and is enough to win Batista the Title at 17:08. Match wasn’t that exciting, but all the run ins near the end really picked it up. I really don’t understand the booking though. It doesn’t help Batista to beat a champion who’s had his balls cut off as badly as Jericho has in the buildup. I mean it should be leading to the champ pulling out a cheap win. That’s how a champ like Jericho draws his heat, and it doesn’t hurt a face like Batista at all. Also, it just makes Jericho look like he had no business in the Title picture in the first place. Match was decent, but not really Main Event level good. Call it **1/2, with the biggest problem being all that boring knee work by Jericho that really never went anywhere.
Overall, this show just felt like a waste. Main Event didn’t do anything for me, three rematches from No Mercy all ended up earning lower ratings, and there’s only one real highlight in the form of the ECW Title match. After having, in recent months, two different and interesting World Heavyweight Champions in Chris Jericho and CM Punk, we now go right back to the same old Big Dave Batista. I’m guessing that the idea is to make him vs. Cena a big issue when Cena comes back, and they feel it’s time to get Cena back in the title picture. Hopefully they’ll save it for Wrestlemania (although the way they like to hotshot things it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see it at Survivor Series) and give Batista a badly needed heel turn somewhere along the way. But that’s all in the future for them to screw up. As for Cyber Sunday, I’m giving it a Batista style double thumbs down in honour of his title win, and if you missed it, the only thing worth tracking down for a look is Matt Hardy/Evan Bourne.