On This Day: May 18, 2008 – Judgment Day 2008: Two Masters Having A Fight

Judgment Day 2008
Date: May 18, 2008
Location: Qwest Center Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska
Attendance: 11,324
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Mike Adamle, Tazz


Didn’t realize this but this is being reviewed three years to the day that this show happened. Always interesting I guess. Anyway I do not remember this show at all even though there are two world title matches of course. For Smackdown it’s Edge vs. Taker for the vacant title and on Raw it’s Orton vs. HHH (yeah I’m shocked too) in a cage. Shawn vs. Jericho also, which is always worth checking out. Let’s get to it.


Oh and of course I’ll be doing 2009 next to get done with this series. After that it’s a quick run through the three remaining ONS’s that I have and then it’s time for Armageddon.


Opening video is about the title matches and Shawn/Jericho of course. Oh and Cena vs. JBL. The Hell’s Gate submission is banned also. I remember that stupid story that focused way too much on Vickie.


John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield


Well this isn’t what I would have picked for an opener but it’ll get a reaction I guess. JBL claims that Cena cost him the title at Backlash so here you are. Very slow start as neither guy seems like he wants to do much at all. Bradshaw grabs a headlock but Cena goes straight for the STF so JBL bails. Back in and Cena gets sent shoulder first into the post. Jibbles works on the arm and adds a neckbreaker for no cover.


Off to a modified key lock as this turns into something resembling a submission match. Cena rolls out of a near cross armbreaker but it doesn’t really hurt JBL so the assault continues. Cena comes up with one arm and hammers away, adding a Throwback to really take JBL down. Top rope Fameasser misses and Cena hits the apron. JBL manages to grab a suplex style move to drop Cena over the top and then out to the floor.


This is a painfully boring match if you’re not sure on it. We’re nearly 8 minutes into it and they’ve been moving so freaking slow the entire time. Off to a bearhug by Bradshaw but Cena turns to his side so it’s almost a German suplex position. Off to a bodyscissors with an armbar as I’m really confused here. I mean, IT’S JOHN CENA and they’ve doing a submission/very old school style match. Why in the world do they think this is a good idea?


Off to a full nelson which Cena can’t quite break. After we waste some time with that, here comes Cena who breaks the hold but can’t hit the FU. I miss the days when it was called that as AA makes me think of Arn Anderson. Back to the bodyscissors in case the fans started to get into this. I’m legitimately surprised by how this match has gone. Not that it’s a good thing here as I’d definitely prefer your usual Cena match to this.


Cena breaks the hold but walks into a big boot and it’s back to the back as JBL drops some elbows. Clothesline, but not the devilish version, puts Cena down for no cover. And never mind as JBL picks him up after that move and Cena reverses another clothesline attempt into the FU for the pin out of absolutely nowhere.


Rating: D. This was by far and away the worst Cena match I’ve ever seen on PPV after he made it big. I have no idea what they were doing here as it was closer to a submission match that you would see out of like Bob Backlund and Ivan Koloff or some combination like that rather than two glorified brawlers. Not much here at all and I was really disappointed with them in it.


King William Regal, the GM of Raw, isn’t happy.


The Dirt Sheet makes fun of Kane and Punk who are challenging Miz and Morrison for the Smackdown tag titles tonight despite both of them being ECW guys and the ECW commentators calling this.


Smackdown Tag Titles: John Morrison/The Miz vs. Kane/CM Punk


If I remember this right there is zero story to this match at all. Morrison has the same music and nearly the same intro as he does today. It’s so shocking to look at Miz and know what was coming for him in just a few years. Morrison beat Kane on ECW which is about the extent of the build. Punk would go to Raw in the Draft in just over a month. He’s Mr. MITB at the moment also. Oh and Kane is ECW Champion. There was a talent exchange or whatever going on with Smackdown and ECW where they could be on both shows if you’re wondering how this is possible.


This actually gets big match intro treatment for no apparent reason. Odd indeed. Punk and Miz start us off and it’s so weird to see these two as midcarders. Off to Kane, who is by far and away the biggest star in this match. Kane beats Morrison up with ease but can’t do the same to Miz. Wow that sounds weird in context. Punk comes in with a slingshot knee drop to Morrison for two.


Tarantula version of the Anaconda Vice which is rather awesome goes on. Back off to Kane who massacres Miz a bit more, including the clothesline for no cover. Morrison goes all angry on Kane, hammering away with everything he can to slow baldie down. Miz and Morrison both have a lack of finishing moves for the most part other than Morrison having some weak stuff so there isn’t much of a way that they can put Kane down.


Luckily for them it’s off to Punk who beats on Morrison as is his custom. Down goes Miz and a snap powerslam gets two on Morrison. Springboard clothesline gets two on Morrison who is looking awesome with these kickouts. Miz tries to grab Morrison’s leg to slow things down a lot and is chokeslamed on the floor for his efforts. That distraction though lets the Moonlight Drive (neckbreaker) end Punk mostly clean.


Rating: C. Not a bad match here at all but it probably should have been a TV main event more than anything else. You could certainly see Miz and Morrison growing up here as they managed to stay away from the pins which was the right thing to do. Having matches with guys like Kane and Punk was what made them get a lot better in a hurry, which is exactly why someone like Kane was on ECW. Fine little match here.


Rambo is sponsoring the PPV tonight for no apparent reason.


We recap Jericho vs. Shawn. This started at Mania when Shawn retired Flair. Batista then kind of sort of turned heel at least against Shawn, saying that Shawn had no right to retire Flair like he did. This led to a match at Backlash which Jericho refereed for no apparent reason. Actually there probably is one but I don’t remember it and I’m fighting a cold so I have no desire to look it up.


Shawn said he’d do whatever it took to win and in the match he escaped a Batista Bomb but hurt his knee. Jericho called shenanigans and gave Shawn an award for best actor. Shawn and Jericho fought Miz/Morrison on Raw and Shawn only managed one superkick which was enough to set up the win. Jericho bought the injury, then Shawn said he was faking. Jericho now doesn’t believe him so Shawn kicked his head off. That brings us here.


Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho


Jericho is IC Champion here but it’s non-title. Shawn is closer to heel here which is rather odd to see indeed. Naturally he gets the face pop here. Well the bigger one that is as Jericho certainly gets one of his own. This is one of if not the first of many, many matches these guys had in 2008. Jericho goes after the knee as he still doesn’t buy Shawn saying it was faked.


Off to a headlock by Shawn as Jericho goes for the leg again. Shawn grabs an inverted figure four which JR calls a Native American Deathlock. That’s a new one I guess. Jericho gets the rope and it’s a standoff. This is Shawn vs. Jericho with fifteen minutes to work with so I wouldn’t expect a lot of jokes here. We get a card game reference by JR for no apparent reason and it’s off to fighting over an armbar.


Shawn gets something like a cross armbreaker over the arm which is pretty cool looking. Jericho looks weird in the full tights and short hair. The trunks were a nice touch for him. Jericho manages to send Shawn into the corner as no one can get an extended advantage at all here. To the corner and Jericho gets knocked off but gets his knees up to block the elbow from the top.


Jericho hammers on the ribs as we hit the abdominal stretch. See what psychology does to help you out here? Shawn avoids the bulldog as the momentum shifts again. Jericho might have had control for a minute and a half which is certainly the longest of the entire match so far. Forearm by Shawn but he gets caught in the Walls and the crowd reacts. Both guys head to the apron and Chris gets his head kicked off by Sweet Chin Music and he’s down on the floor.


Back in that only gets two and Shawn drops the elbow but his ribs are hurt even worse now. This has been great stuff if that wasn’t clear by the writing about it. Jericho wisely falls down instead of taking the superkick and then does it again. Crowd isn’t sure what to think of that so Shawn gets a bit closer to him and keeps tuning it up. Shawn fires it but Jericho was playing possum just like Shawn did against Batista and drills Shawn with the Codebreaker. NICE!


That’s only good enough for two though as the fans are way into this. See what happens when you put two of the best ever in the ring and give them time and a story? YOU GET A GREAT MATCH. Why is that so complicated? Shawn grabs a Crossface out of nowhere and Jericho somehow manages to get the rope. Shawn isn’t enough of a psycho to make that work I guess. Shawn gets draped over the top and we get even more SWEET psychology as Shawn puts his knees up for the Lionsault but Jericho lands on his feet and tries the Walls. Shawn rolls through for the surprise pin though to end it. AWESOME match.


Rating: A. Again, two masters with time and a story. What did you really expect to happen here? I don’t think it’s possible for these two to have a bad match and they didn’t come close to one here. This would set of the feud of the year as Jericho would get the world title in about three months and Shawn would chase it all Fall.


They shake hands post match and both guys are tentative because of what happened in Seattle back in 2003.


Mickie James doesn’t really want to talk about how date with Cena as JBL comes up. JBL bullies Grisham and talks about fighting which goes nowhere at all.


Raw Women’s Title: Beth Phoenix vs. Melina vs. Mickie James


Mickie is champion. So we’re like an hour and 10 minutes into this show and the Smackdown guys haven’t called a single thing. Gotta love the treatment of the B show. Beth and Melina argued about the title shot and we see why Beth doesn’t talk like ever. Mickie is still all bubbly and hot at this point. Not that she’s not hot now but you get this idea. THIS somehow gets big match intros. Wow indeed.


Melina’s boobs look extra good tonight. Beth tells Melina to get out of her ring so Melina drills her with a kick. Mickie grabs a victory roll for two on Melina and it’s one on one for awhile. Beth pulls her out and it’s challenger vs. challenger. Yeah I don’t care either but you have three hot chicks out there so how much can I complain?


Mickie back in now and we get some nifty triple person spots. James throws on something like a Tazmission on Beth which goes nowhere. Regal Cutter to Melina allows Mickie to go up, only to get….uh…..pussied by Melina. They speed things up a bit and Mickie gets a top rope Thesz Press to Beth followed by a HARD seated dropkick. In your HOLY CRAP spot of the night, Beth puts them both in an over the shoulder body vice for about 12 seconds. Mickie gets the jumping DDT to Melina quickly after that to retain but dude, WHO CARES? I’m still getting over that body vice move which was insanely awesome.


Rating: C+. Better Divas match than usual actually as all three chicks were working hard out there and the result was rather good stuff. When Melina is the ugliest chick out there you can’t really go wrong. With an awesome spot like that and a pretty good match other than that, this was one of the better Diva matches I’ve seen in awhile.


Batista tells Shawn that if he was faking he’ll hurt him. That would be next month I believe. We’ll get to that one soon.


Undertaker dominated a text message poll about who would win.


We recap Edge vs. Undertaker. Basically Undertaker used the Hell’s Gate and Vickie banned it. Edge got hurt and since Taker didn’t show remorse, she stripped him of it and there’s a Taker vs. Edge match for the title. There was some over the top rope challenge where you had to win a match to qualify. Batista won but Edge was allowed to come in at the very end and win. This went on for months and people got rather tired of it.


Smackdown World Title: Edge vs. Undertaker


Title is vacant remember. Edge’s pyro doesn’t go off for some reason. Oh there it is. Two entrances should not take five minutes, period. Taker tries to box to start so Edge runs off. Edge tries right hands and gets launched into the corner as Taker takes over. Off to the arm as Taker tries to take out the spear. Old School is countered. When does that ever hit anymore?


They fight on the floor for a bit with Edge sending him into the steps and adding a baseball slide to take over. Big boot by Taker misses in the corner which gets two for Edge. Edge works on the knee and they slug it out a bit. Edge hits a big boot to about the shoulder or so for no cover. Old School attempt by Edge gets the same result as Taker’s attempt earlier.


They slug it out again which of course Taker wins. Taker chokeslams him into the corner for some reason and a big boot (actually getting face) gets two. Old School #3 hits as I guess that’s high school since we had elementary and middle already. Hawkins and Ryder, the Edgeheads, come out for a distraction as Edge exposes the buckle. Better option really as you don’t want him exposing himself.


Spear eats post though and a buckle bomb gets two. Have to give it to Taker for busting out some nice adjustments to his regular moves here. Snake Eyes into the buckle doesn’t work so Edge hammers away in the corner but gets caught in Snake Eyes into the corner anyway. Taker likes that corner I guess. Instead of covering Taker tries to hit the ropes for something but Edge (called the Sly Fox by Cole) hits a weak spear for two.


They slug it out (again) with the Canadian actually winning for a bit until he walks into a chokeslam for a very long two. Out to the floor again and we go into the crowd. They slug it out on the floor and only Taker beats the count back in to win the world…..oh of course he doesn’t as here’s Vickie to say excuse me a lot. Taker doesn’t win the title because it’s a countout. They would have another match in the form of TLC next month where Taker had to “retire”.


Rating: B. Good match here ruined by a weak ending. Nowhere near as good as their Mania match but it was still pretty solid stuff all around. They work very well together but after all the near falls you want something better than a lame countout ending especially with something close to a Dusty Finish that takes Vickie two minutes to announce. Good match until then though.


Taker adds a tombstone to Edge post match because he can and leaves the title in the ring.


Orton says he’ll win but says it very slowly. This was another part of their never ending feud that set up Orton and Cena’s never ending feud.


Here’s MVP for no apparent reason. He’s upset because he’s not on the card tonight so anyone that wants to fight him can come down right now. Matt Hardy’s music comes on but he’s just the US Champion who beat MVP at Backlash so he’s not the right choice I guess. Instead it’s this guy facing him.


Jeff Hardy vs. MVP


Far bigger pop for Jeff than Matt which doesn’t mean anything really. Foley isn’t sure who to cheer for because MVP is Smackdown (Jeff is Raw) but he doesn’t want to cheer for a jerk. Jeff sends him to the floor early as we hear about his house burning down which was legit actually. Back in the ring and MVP takes it to the mat. Jeff tries the slingshot dropkick to the floor but gets slammed to the floor instead.


Back in and we hit the armbar again as Jeff looks more annoyed than in pain. Hammerlock slam gets two. Jeff fires back but tries a move out of the corner, only for the arm to go out and give MVP the advantage all over again. Drive By boot to the head/arm of Jeff sends him to the floor as this has been almost all MVP at this point.


Jeff goes shoulder first into the barricade which gets two back in the ring. MVP is channeling his inner Anderson (Arn, not Mr. you uncultured swine) with all of this arm work. Playmaker can’t hit and Jeff gets a shot in with the left arm so both guys are down. Slingshot dropkick in the corner hits for Jeff but he can’t hit the Swanton. Whisper in the Wind out of nowhere gets a pin. I like that ending I think.


Rating: C+. This was a bonus match and wasn’t half bad so I really can’t complain much at all. Jeff would be world champion by the end of the year so this was really just a quick stop for him. Anyway, fine for what it was with both guys having a decent enough match for a bonus match that was there to fill in time.


Sylvester Stallone talks about directing Rambo.


The cage is lowered.


We go to the recap which is introduced by JR who sounds all slurred for some reason. HHH won an elimination match at Backlash to win the title and this is the rematch. Somehow this would go on for like a year with them in the main event of Mania 25.


Raw World Title: Randy Orton vs. HHH


In a cage as previously mentioned. Again the entrances take a combined five minutes. This also gets big match intros. It doesn’t really have the same ring to it after the Divas got this treatment. Orton goes for the door almost immediately but of course that doesn’t work. Somehow he manages to slam the door on the Game’s head to take over in the early going.


Basic stuff to start as both guys hammer on each other with nothing of note happening. Neckbreaker by HHH gets two as do a bunch of right hands. He gets sent into the cage and Orton gets all googly eyed. Into the cage again and Orton kicks away rather hard. This wasn’t from the side though so it won’t put HHH out for months on end. Elevated DDT hits for two.


Off to a quick chinlock before Orton hits a powerslam for two. This is Orton’s usual very slow paced match which doesn’t make anything interesting in the slightest. The fans want an RKO despite Orton allegedly being all evil and crazy and all that jazz. Regal is still looking on as sometime around this time it was when he cut Raw off the air early which was rather cool indeed.


Orton stomps away to really vary up his offense but a kneedrop misses. Off to the knee goes HHH now as I channel my bad Yoda impersonation. Figure Four goes on for a good while but Orton makes the rope. Even Lawler is like dude, that doesn’t mean anything in this but the referee breaks it anyway. Quick RKO attempt is countered into a Pedigree attempt which is countered by a backdrop by Orton.


Randy goes for the door but HHH makes a diving save. Orton somehow finds a chair on the floor and pulls it back in with him. That was done in the cage match with Flair and HHH at Taboo Tuesday also. Facebuster gets two as Orton can’t get a chair shot in yet. HHH gets the chair so Orton hits HHH in the game pieces to bring him back down. DDT on the chair somehow only gets two because after a DDT on a chair, Orton clearly can’t walk through a door right?


RKO onto the chair is blocked and it’s a Raven-esque drop toehold onto the chair to buy HHH some time as well as a two count. Orton takes over again and climbs but HHH is like screw that and they fight on the top rope. Down goes Viper boy so HHH climbs. Orton pops up to catch him as he’s on the top and the fight continues. Orton knocks him down and tries to climb over but HHH is like “Dude I’ve only held the title three weeks. Over my dead body” and pulls him back in.


HHH channels his inner Punk and tries a Pepsi Plunge (top/middle rope Pedigree) but that would be too big of a spot for him so Orton slams him to the mat. They fight on top some more as they haven’t done that enough in the last five minutes but Orton winds up getting crotched. Spinebuster puts Orton down again and it’s time for a Pedigree on the chair. That gets countered also and it’s time for a Punt. HHH isn’t feeling that though so he ducks, hits a chair shot and then the Pedigree ends this.


Rating: B-. Not bad here as they had some close calls and some decent stuff in about 22 minutes. As always they can’t have a classic so this is about as good as it gets for these two. HHH wasn’t a lock to win which helps it out a lot. Cage matches are hard to make believable but they came somewhat close here. Not bad at all for the main event of a b-level show.


Overall Rating: B. All things considered, this was rather good. You have a great match with Jericho vs. Shawn and the worst match is the opener, which oddly enough had Cena in it. I still don’t get that one. Anyway, this was a very good show overall which might have had to do with the total lack of anything resembling expectations for it. 2008 was a bad year for WWE as was 2009, which is what’s up next as we wrap up Judgment Day.


Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my book on the History of the WWE Championship from Amazon for just $5 at:




  1. Ted says:

    I hate the term bonus match or free match I’ve heard it called. It’s not a bonus it’s a time filler for people with nothing else going on. It’s not extra as you still paid for the show.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It’s something extra that you didn’t expect to get. That’s a bonus.