Unforgiven 2008 – Scrambled Or Well Done?

Unforgiven 2008
Date: September 7, 2008
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 8,707
Commentators: Jim Ross, Tazz, Mick Foley, Jerry Lawler, Todd Grisham, Matt Striker

We’re at the end of the Unforgiven series here and the most important thing is that we have a pretty unique concept to it tonight. This time, it’s based around Championship Scrambles for the world titles. The idea is you have 5 people and a 20 minute time limit. Whoever gets the last pinfall (I’m not sure if you have to pin the champion) before the time is up wins the match and the championship. There are three of them. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is all about the Scramble but then shifts over into Jericho vs. Shawn which is based on Jericho accidentally hitting Shawn’s wife in the face and setting up an unsanctioned match with them tonight.

ECW Title: Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay vs. The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero

The guys come in on a random draw with Hardy vs. The Miz. Man who would have thought Miz and Henry would be the biggest stars out of this group? Miz is just a chick magnet here. You don’t have to pin the current champion (Mark Henry) to become the interim champion (best word I can think of for it). These two will fight for five minutes until someone else comes in.

Miz and Matt exchange some pinfall attempts even though they don’t really mean much at this point. The corner clothesline misses for the Chick Magnet and Matt gets a cool move in as Miz is caught in the corner and Matt pulls him out by his legs into a sitout powerbomb. It’s kind of hard to describe but basically Matt pulled him out of the air into the powerbomb. We get a history of Cameron, North Carolina which has like 600 people in it to fill time since nothing in the first 19:00 is going to mean anything.

According to Striker this is the brainchild of Pat Patterson. He also came up with the Royal Rumble so maybe this will be good. Miz hits the Reality Check but Matt falls to the floor. Eventually that gets two as Chavo is the third guy in. Ok so now it’s a triple threat for five minutes. Chavo hits a Frog Splash on Matt for the pin to become the Interim Champion very quickly. I don’t think he has to get pinned to change it but I’m not sure. Yeah it can be anyone pinning anyone so it’s like a triple threat.

Chavo busts out a rolling Liger kick of all things and then a suicide dive to further kill Miz. Everyone goes to one corner but Miz shoves them both off. He busts out a cross body to take out both guys, getting two on Hardy. Matt takes over and pops Miz with a right hand and a Side Effect to Chavo gives Matt the Interim Title. The fans are way behind Matt here and they should be.

Everyone slows down as Mark Henry comes in at #4. Everyone goes after Mark when the right answer would be to run from him. If he can’t catch you, he can’t pin you. Henry takes them all down with ease, not selling anyone like a good monster. The Slam gets the pin on Chavo to make him Interim Champion. Hardy escapes the Slam but gets knocked to the floor quickly.

Again, why does everyone go after Henry? We’ve established that you can pin anyone but wrestlers are stupid above all other things. Henry takes turns giving people bearhugs to people and finally settles on Hardy. Here’s Finlay to complete the group with five minutes to go. Finlay goes straight for Henry and actually pounds him down, getting a DDT for two. Horny slides Finlay the club and Henry is thrown to the floor after a shot with it. A Celtic Cross to Hardy makes Finlay Interim champion at 3:45 to go.

Miz comes in and takes out Finlay with a missile dropkick but walks into a Twist of Fate and Matt is champion at 3:15 to go. Henry and everyone else is back in now and Hardy starts playing defense, breaking up every possible cover. Two minutes left. Henry slams everyone in sight other than Hardy and Miz rolls up Finlay for two. Miz is cut a little bit on the forehead.

Finlay tries the Celtic Cross on Hardy but Henry breaks it up. The Slam gets two on Miz as Hardy saves again. Thirty seconds left and Hardy starts throwing people to the floor in some GREAT psychology. Everyone winds up in a pile in the corner and time runs out, making Matt the official champion.

Rating: B. Fun match here as the ending few minutes after Hardy got the Interim Title were great with him THINKING through the whole thing, knowing that he had to keep anyone from pinning anyone and finding ways to prevent that from happening. This was really fun and Matt would hold the title for awhile until Jack Swagger debuted and eventually took it from him, prompting Matt’s ill-advised heel turn.

The Hardys celebrate in the back after a video for Mania tickets.

HHH and Punk are warming up. They’re the champions coming in.

Should Big Show have been in the title match? Run up your cell phone bill and let us know!

Raw Tag Titles: Cryme Tyme vs. Legacy

If nothing else we get the Priceless theme here which is always a treat. JTG vs. Rhodes to start us off. The racial stereotypes take over and clear the ring quickly with a double clothesline from Shad sending the champions to the floor. Shad vs. DiBiase takes up some time and Ted does about as well as Cody did. The challengers hit a nice double team move ending in a slingshot clothesline by Jimmy the Gimmick.

Legacy finally realizes that JTG is beating them up and takes over with double teaming. They work on JTG’s arm and show how much they’ve grown in the past few years as they’re not much here. Jerry gets on Cole for talking too much as JTG fights back, hitting a belly to back suplex. Cody prevents the tag and Legacy cheats like proper heels. I get a little smile on my face every time JTG gets punched. I can’t help it after watching over 35 weeks of him on NXT.

Cody works on the arm a little more and then slams JTG near the corner. A moonsault (decent one too) misses and it’s hot tag to Shad. Remember when JTG vs. Shad was supposed to be a big feud? Neither do I but some people actually believe it would be. Shad cleans house and I can see why people thought he’d be a good bodyguard style character. The guy has a good look and can do some power stuff.

Not that it really matters here as Cody grabs a DDT on him to slow him down. It only gets two but the momentum was stopped dead. Cody comes in legally now and gets his head taken off via a lariat. In a not great ending, JTG rolls up Rhodes as Shad hits DiBiase. DiBiase stumbles into the package and rolls it over so that JTG gets pinned. Why didn’t he just let go?

Rating: C-. Not as bad as most Raw matches but still it’s nothing all that great. They tried and Cryme Tyme was over, but Legacy at this point wasn’t a threat of any kind. Neither had a finisher that I remember and they came off as rookies with zero personality (intentionally I think) and didn’t do anything until a few years later when they split from Orton, which took years to get to.

There’s a post match brawl until Manu debuts to help Legacy. He joined them for like a month and no one cared.

Shawn is having his bad arm taped up for his match with Jericho. Shawn is in fighting clothes and has a partial tear in his elbow tendon.

We recap Jericho vs. Shawn. The feud had been going for awhile before this but at Summerslam, Shawn had said that he was listening to his doctors for once and was walking away due to his eye and various other injuries. Jericho said he didn’t accept that because Shawn was doing it in the spotlight, unlike how he should do it by resigning quietly.

Jericho wanted Shawn to admit that it was Jericho that retired him but Shawn said no, but to tell your family that you’ll never be Shawn Michaels. With that, Jericho went for the eye but Shawn ducked and Jericho punched Shawn’s wife. Jericho, the consummate heel, said that it was Shawn’s fault. Shawn vows revenge and it’s an unsanctioned match tonight. This easily won feud of the year and the match at No Mercy won match of the year. This is no slouch though.

Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels

This is unsanctioned and it’s pin or submission only. In essence, it’s no holds barred. Cole says Shawn told him of a Bible verse which talks about the Walls of Jericho coming down. That’s a great line. Why is there a WWE referee in an unsanctioned match? Couldn’t anyone referee it/not need a referee? Shawn takes his cowboy boot off to whack Jericho with it as he’s going after the eye just like Chris did to him.

They’re into the crowd already and it’s been all Shawn. The injury is to the triceps, not the elbow. Jericho is bleeding from the nose so Shawn hits a slingshot into the post. Shawn’s chair shot misses and Chris sends him into the table (doesn’t break it) to take over. Now we get a breakable table set up but instead Jericho just throws it at Shawn to keep him down. Chris tries to powerbomb him through the table but Shawn fires off punches. Jericho just drops him face first onto the apron instead to keep the advantage. That looked painful.

Back inside now and Jericho works Shawn over with a chair. Jericho wedges said chair in the corner but misses a charge into the opposite corner, ramming into the post. Jericho can’t suplex Shawn over the top through the table as Shawn lands on the apron. Back in Shawn nips up and just chokes Jericho down. The elbow hits and Shawn is all fired up. Sorry for the play by play but this is one of those matches where you almost have to have all of the individual details for the other stuff to make sense.

Shawn sets for Chin Music but stops to punch Jericho more. Off to a Crossface but Jericho manages to send his head into the chair, reinjuring the eye. Jericho peppers the eye so Shawn fires off right hands. Shawn tries a piledriver but gets reversed into the Walls instead. Shawn gets to a rope but THANKFULLY the referee doesn’t break it. Instead HBK finds a fire extinguisher from somewhere to spray in Chris’ eyes to break the hold.

They go to the floor and Jericho goes into the barricade as it’s all Shawn here. There’s a suplex on the ramp and both guys are down. Here’s Lance Cade and Shawn beats him up too. Cade gets in a shot to the arm though and Jericho wraps the arm around the post for good measure. Jericho hits the arm with a chair as Shawn is in real trouble. They set to Pillmanize the arm but Shawn kicks Cade into the ropes to crotch Jericho. Chin Music puts Cade down and clocks Jericho with the chair, sending him to the floor through the table.

Shawn works over Jericho with the chair now and loads up the announcers’ table as per wrestling law. Cade is laid out on the table while Jericho is on the floor. Shawn sets to go up top but instead coems down and puts Jericho on top of Cade on the table. Here’s your HUGE spot of the match as Shawn drops an elbow onto the back of Jericho and pops up somehow. That was awesome!

Back in the ring Shawn whips Jericho with the belt and won’t let up. He pulls Jericho’s arm around his own neck (Jericho’s arm is around Jericho’s neck) and pounds away at the eye as the referee is begging him to have mercy. Shawn just doesn’t care and goes back after the eye until in an unsanctioned match, the referee stops it, drawing a very mixed reaction from the crowd.

Rating: A-. This is one of those matches where blood would have really improved things. Having Shawn in a white shirt and having him covered in Jericho’s blood to end it and looking down at himself and not caring how far he let it go would have been a great ending. That being said, it’s still a great revenge match as Jericho did everything imaginable to make the fans hate him and it worked. Good stuff here, although the lack of a clearer finish hurt it.

Shawn goes after Jericho again post match and superkicks the referee when he tries to stop him. The fans are very pleased.

Legacy (Manu included) is in the back when Orton comes in. Rhodes introduces Orton to (named) Manu and Manu praises the champs. Orton says it was luck instead of skill. Orton says talent is forever but luck can run out, so no he’s not impressed.

Smackdown World Title: Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. The Brian Kendrick vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin

Same rules as earlier and Jeff starts with Shelton who is currently a boring heel and US Champion. Shelton says he’s the Gold Standard. Yep, that’s really the best they could come up with him. Hardy grabs a rollup to start and they’re moving out there. They kind of botch something as you could tell Shelton was supposed to do something but Hardy moved. He immediately grabs a headlock and you can hear him talking to Jeff. Snap suplex gets two for Shelton.

JR talks about the Grand Slam Title and Hardy looking to become the 7th Grand Slam winner ever. Hardy takes him to the mat and gets a bunch of nearfalls. There’s the countdown and Kendrick (with Big Zeke Jackson) is in third. He was channeling some serious Brian Pillman around this time too. Zeke doesn’t come with him here for some reason. Kendrick chills outside and Shelton tries to hook a German on Hardy off the apron. Kendrick knocks Shelton to the floor, possibly by mistake, and then goes after Hardy.

A forearm gets two on Hardy and Kendrick is all lit up. Jeff grabs a faceplant on Kendrick out of nowhere and becomes Interim Champion in a POP. Back to Shelton now who Hardy covers, probably out of instinct. Shelton misses a Stinger Splash so Jeff rolls him up again. Twist of Fate is countered into Shelton’s Paydirt finisher for two. Kendrick hits Sliced Bread and is Interim Champion.

Up fourth is MVP and I have no idea if he’s a face or a heel. The fans cheer for him so we’ll say face. He throws out the white guys and beats on Shelton. MVP loads up the Drive By on Shelton but Kendrick comes out of nowhere with a SICK leg lariat to a huge reaction. Jeff is back in now and hits the slingshot dropkick on MVP and Shelton at the same time. Shelton finally takes Kendrick down with a Samoan Drop.

Everyone knocks each other down as we’re waiting for HHH to come in and dominate everything in sight. Kendrick counters a Shelton powerbomb into a nice rana. Here’s HHH and Kendrick has been Interim Champion for five minutes plus now. Facebuster for MVP and a spinebuster for Kendrick sets up a Pedigree to make HHH Interim Champion 48 seconds after his music hit.

We’re under four minutes now as Shelton takes a beating from HHH on the floor. MVP and Hardy are in the ring now and a Twist of Fate makes Hardy the Interim Champion (POP) with about 3 minutes left. Sliced Bread is kind of countered so Hardy hits a sitout gordbuster and goes up for the Swanton. HHH makes the save and Pedigrees Kendrick again to get the title at 2:00. Jeff Swantons Kendrick immediately and is champion with 1:45 to go.

Pedigree is countered and we’re under 90 seconds. Hardy dives on HHH and the other three do a Tower of Doom spot to put everyone down at 40 seconds left. Whisper in the Wind to MVP and a Swanton to Shelton. HHH runs back in for a Pedigree on MVP and Hardy shows his idiocy by not breaking it up as HHH wins the belt back with 1 second left. Hardy’s time was coming.

Rating: B-. Nowhere near as good of a match as this was about Hardy and HHH having another contest. HHH did his thing and is somehow a 13 time champion or whatever. Not as good as the first one because we all knew it would be Hardy or HHH at the end of the day. Kendrick was shockingly champion for the longest amount of time while MVP never was anything more than a bonus. The ending was stupid too with not breaking up that cover which he saw.

Shawn says he’s not happy with what happened and he’ll be back for more. He’s content but there’s no closure. He wants to hurt Jericho like that every night and the worst is yet to come for Jericho.

Punk is in the back when Orton comes up. He calls Punk a fluke and Punk runs him down, saying he’s always hurt and all that stuff. Punk says he’s busy at the moment when Legacy attacks. Kofi tries to come in for the save but is beaten down also. Punk gets Punted and is out cold. This wouldn’t be paid off for over two years but they FINALLY got to it eventually.

Divas Title: Maryse vs. Michelle McCool

Michelle is champion. Michelle as a face just never worked. She’s such a natural villain and her pumping her fist doesn’t work at all. She hurts her knee going to the floor and Maryse works on it as we’re waiting for the people to get back from popcorn time to end this. Michelle works on Maryse’s leg in a heel hook but she gets a rope. The fans are all over this match already. A sitout gordbuster keeps the title on McCool.

Rating: D-. Michelle and Maryse are too hot to be a failure but the match was terrible. NO ONE cared and that was very clear. Nothing to see here and we’re moving on. Why this got almost six minutes was crazy but I’d assume that it was due to a long line at the Cena shirt booths. Horrible match.

Mike Adamle, the GM of Raw, says Punk is out of the title match and that he’ll find someone else.

Here’s Big Show to chat for a bit. He offers his services to replace Punk in the title match. Show says go vote and makes a bunch of election references for some reason. He asks the fans if they’ll vote for him and goes to leave but the still fat Vickie waddles out. She blasts him for no apparent reason and this is going nowhere. She throws him out and that causes…druids?

Show is laughing as a casket is brought out. This takes FOREVER until Taker pops up on the screen. He says he’s coming for her like he promised and she’ll burn and all that jazz. Show holds Vickie there and this takes forever. Taker grabs Vickie by the throat and Show turns heel, knocking Taker out. The beating goes on for awhile because we have 15 people in three matches so there’s almost no midcard to speak of.

We recap the Raw World Title match. Orton was on Raw and called out Punk for disgracing the title. Orton was injured at this point and Punk called him an afterthought. That set up the punt earlier.

Regal is talking to Adamle and says he should be in the Scramble. Adamle says he’s on the list but Punk might be able to go.

Raw World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Batista vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio vs. ???

Batista vs. JBL gets us going in the main event here. Batista takes over quickly with power (duh) but JBL hooks a sleeper. Big Dave breaks that quickly and throws on a pretty freaking good Figure Four. It’s better than most HHH ever used. JBL no sells the knee work and beats on Batista outside. Kane comes in third and that wasn’t five minutes. That might not have been four minutes.

He’s a heel here if you’re not all that up to date on your Kane face/heel alignment. He hits his low dropkick and I guess if no one gets a pin here, Punk is still champion? JBL is still down so it’s one on one here. Side slam puts Batista down and Kane misses the clothesline off the top. Batista misses a spear but breaks out of the chokeslam. JBL pops back in and walks into a chokeslam to make Kane Interim Champion. Rey, complete with mowhawk, is in fourth and that wasn’t five minutes either.

Rey knocks Kane to the floor but JBL comes back and pops him in the face with a punch. He speeds things up but Kane ducks a 619 and takes Rey’s stupid looking mowhawked head off with a clothesline. Batista and Rey team up to beat up Kane and then Mysterio tries to steal a pin on Batista. JBL beats up various people as the fifth man is….Chris Jericho. You know, because no one is better suited than the guy that is walking slower than an 80 year old woman.

Jericho gets in after 50 seconds of walking down the aisle, only to have Batista spear him down. Now that just wasn’t nice. Four minutes left and Batista takes everyone down. He manages a big boot to Kane and gets two as Rey saves. Under three minutes. 619 to JBL and Batista DESTROYS Rey as he’s trying a springboard move. Rey just collapsed and it looked awesome. Two minutes left and everyone is down. Kane gets up and the clothesline gets two on Big Dave with 75 seconds left. Batista spears Kane down with 53 to go and a spinebuster makes Batista Interim Champion at 35 seconds. Rey goes after Batista and Jericho steals a pin on Kane with 4 seconds left to win the title.

Rating: D+. The problem was that once Jericho came in, everyone knew he was going to win. He was by far and away the hottest thing in the company at this point though so you can’t really argue putting the belt on him. Not a good match in the slightest but Jericho winning was a great surprise and gave Shawn vs. Jericho a new dynamic and a reason to continue, which was a good thing.

Overall Rating: C+. Pretty decent show overall and definitely something different, but the Scrambles get old after the second one. The LONG Taker vs. Show segment is annoying because that feud was played 5 years before this show. Shawn vs. Jericho is a great brawl and the ECW match is good, but the rest is pretty weak stuff, especially since the lowest of the Scrambles was the best.

Well I’m done with Unforgiven now and there’s not much to say here. It’s just another B level show that had some good years and some bad but it’s never something worth much. It’s the Backlash of Summerslam and while that’s fine, it doesn’t make for a ton of interesting matches and stories because everything significant was done the month before. Next up will be the Great American Bash.


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