Retro Express – Unforgiven 2008

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Coming off their first PG PPV in the “PG era” of WWE, the WWE came up with a new concept for a championship match type. This would be a new match that the WWE, World and ECW titles would all be defended in at Unforgiven, promoting excitement and unpredictability as five men would scramble to try and win the championship. The Championship Scramble saw CM Punk’s World title, Triple H’s WWE title and Mark Henry’s ECW title all in jeopardy. How many titles would change hands? Who would capture the gold? And finally, who would win the unsanctioned showdown between Shawn Michaels and the man that punched his wife at Summerslam? Well, let’s get to it….

 

WWE Unforgiven

Date: September 7th 2008

Brand: RAW, SmackDown! and ECW

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Attendance: 8,700

 

Mark Henry (c) vs Matt Hardy vs The Miz vs Finlay vs Chavo Guerrero in the ECW Championship Scramble match

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Matt Hardy and The Miz were the first two entrants in the match. Both of them got surprisingly big reactions. I know that this pay-per-view took place in Cleveland, where The Miz is from, but it was not like Miz was extremely over at that time. This was when he was with John Morrison and was only just starting to make a name for himself. It’s still nice that he got the big reaction here though.

The first five minutes between Matt and Miz were actually pretty good with not much to report on. There were no falls in the first five minutes with Chavo Guerrero being the third entrant. Chavo immediately pinned Matt with the Frog Splash, to become the interim champion. Chavo was able to pull off a rolling heel kick which was done well. What was not well pulled off was the Miz’s double crossbody on Matt and Chavo, which barely got Chavo. I guess that one could be put on Chavo for not being in the right place but it still came off looking sloppy. Matt ran wild and pinned Chavo with the side effect to become the new champion.

The fourth entrant was Mark Henry with Tony Atlas as his manager. Matt, Miz and Chavo all ganged up on Mark Henry but he pushed them all away. He ran wild and pinned Chavo with the World’s Strongest Slam. He beat everyone up. There was one interesting thing to note as the interim champions tried to retain their titles. Matt Hardy did this earlier in the match but the interim champions wore down the other competitors with long submission holds. Mark got the pin fall on Chavo a minute after he got into the match so we had roughly three or four minutes of Mark Henry putting everyone in bearhugs before Finaly came out. It makes sense for Henry to do that but this completely drained the match of life for a long period of time.

As mentioned, Finlay was the last entrant. He kept hitting Henry with DDTs as he took it to the current champion. Hornswoggle’s distraction led to Finlay hitting Mark with the shillelagh. Finlay and Matt were able to dump Mark over the top rope and out of the equation. Finlay then quickly hit Matt with the Celtic Cross and pinned him to become the interim champion. That’s team work for you everybody!

Matt eventually became the champion again, pinning Miz after hitting the Twist of Fate. Then we got a pretty stupid couple of minutes as we were drawing to a close. Mark Henry is killing nearly everyone in the match with World’s Strongest Slams but Matt broke them up each time. It was the case where Mark hit the finisher, Matt broke it up, Mark moved Matt out of the way and then hit someone else with the finisher. As a fan, I had only one thought in my mind… why don’t you turn around and kill Matt Hardy, so he won’t be able to stop you from pinning these other guys? Mark Henry struck me as someone that was just not learning from his mistakes as Matt kept breaking up the pin! It was just amazing.

There was actually a moment where Mark hit the World’s Strongest Slam on Miz but Miz was up again after like 20-30 seconds! Thanks for the no-sell Miz!

There was a big scramble in the last few seconds of the match with everybody trying to get a pin fall on each other. Matt kept trying to break all of them until the clock expired and Matt was declared the winner. There was a big pop when Matt Hardy won the belt which really lifted the crowd after the last ten minutes of the match really took them out of the scramble. I thought this was an OK Scramble match which did not set too great a precedent for other Scramble matches to follow. It started off exciting and then Mark Henry showed up, which took me right out of the match. Then there was the Matt/Mark incident near the end of the match which made the match seem like a total mess at times. In the end, the crowd was happy so I can’t bash this too much.

Match Rating: **1/4

Jeff Hardy congratulated Matt on his big win and Matt wished Jeff luck in the WWE Championship Scramble match later on.

There was a quick shot of WWE Champion Triple H and World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk warming up backstage. They were the champions going into their respective Championship Scramble matches.

Cody Rhodes (c) and Ted DiBiase Jr (c) vs Shad Gaspard and JTG for the World Tag Team Championship

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The announcers mentioned that Shad was once a bodyguard for “Iron” Mike Tyson. Am I the only person in the world that questions why MIKE TYSON of all people would need a body guard? I watched something recently with him in and he still looked like a pretty mean guy. If I tried to jump Mike Tyson in the street, I highly doubt that he’d need Shad Gaspard watching his back!

This match was a nice little tag team match. Nothing too fancy but it was just your slightly-above-average tag team match which was not really messed up at all. There was a funny incident at the start of the match where JTG was pulled off from Cody by the referee and JTG yelled “What are you doing?” Cody went for the moonsault but JTG moved out of the way. Shad got the hot tag. Cody hit the DDT on Shad while the referee was distracted but Shad would kick out of DiBiase’s pin. JTG and Cody became the legal men in the match. JTG went for the small-package on Cody but Ted rolled it over so Cody had JTG covered. The referee made the pin and the champions retained the titles. The two tag teams got into a brawl. Manu, the son of Afa, made his debut by turning the tide in the favour of the champions. They left and were feeling triumphant.

Match Rating: **1/2

Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho in an unsanctioned match

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Shawn Michaels was shown to be taping up his arm for his big unsanctioned fight with Chris Jericho. They showed an awesome video package to recap the feud between Michaels and Jericho. The biggest thing that I took from this feud was that Jericho was justified in nearly all of his actions during this program. He made the point when he turned on Shawn about how the fans were booing an honest man (Jericho) and cheering a lair (Michaels). He did a tremendous job in making Michaels out to be a villain in nearly every scenario, even when he was supposed to retire at Summerslam 2008. Some of the lines thrown in this angle were awesome.

The WWE were actually just starting out in the “PG era” but there was one “we want blood” sign, which was surprisingly not confiscated by security. It is possible that WWE knew that there might be blood in Jericho/HBK anyway so maybe that’s why it wasn’t taken away. HBK attacked Jericho with punches early on. He took off his belt and smacked Jericho with it. They fought in the crowd. Michaels went for a chair shot on Jericho but he missed. Jericho did a DDT to Michaels on the outside, which looked effective. Jericho pulled out a table and hit Michaels with it. Jericho tried a powerbomb but he ended up launching Michaels into the apron.

Jericho beat up Michaels with a chair. Jericho wedged the chair in the corner. They teased Irish-whipping each other into it. Jericho tried to suplex Michaels through the table on the outside but Shawn got out of it. They then showed Michaels flat-out choking Jericho in the ring with a crazed look in his face. I thought that was a nice touch as it shows just how badly Michaels wanted to hurt Jericho. Shawn went for the Superkick but stopped and then just started punching Jericho in the face! The more I think about it, the more of a good spot this became in my mind. I think it’s changed my opinion because the match itself was a totally different type of match then you were used to from Michaels and Jericho. Therefore, these moments make a lot more sense than if Michaels were to have done it at WrestleMania 19 for example.

Michaels locked on the crossface but Jericho was able to hurdle Michaels face-first into the chair. This obviously added to what happened earlier in the storyline, with Jericho injuring Michaels’ eye. Jericho targeted the eye and with the vision of Michaels impaired a little, Jericho turned it into an amateur boxing match for a while! Jericho did the Irish Whip spot to Michaels, where Shawn did a flip in the corner. It was so great because the flip actually helped Michaels out, as it was done to the same corner where the chair was still wedged in!

Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho but Michaels got the ropes. However, Jericho didn’t have to let go as it was no disqualification. Shawn was able to get under the apron and pull out a fire extinguisher. He sprayed Jericho to get out of the Walls and he hit Jericho with the extinguisher. Michaels took Jericho up the ramp and did a nasty looking suplex on it. It honestly looked like it hurt Shawn more than it hurt Chris!

Lance Cade, who was Chris Jericho’s protege at the time, tried a run in but Michaels cut him off. Cade’s response was to TURN HIM INSIDE OUT with a clothesline! Jericho and Cade targeted Michaels’ taped up arm. Jericho slapped Michaels while Cade helped him. Cade brought in a chair and Jericho smacked Michaels in the arm with it. He planned to break Michaels’ arm by wrapping the chair around it and jumping off the top rope with some move. As he went up, Michaels got out of it and superkicked Cade. Michaels took the chair and hit Jericho with it, causing Jericho to crash into the table. I thought Cade’s involvement was really well done and it led to a great spot with Jericho falling into the table. I thought this was all great.

HBK then unleashed a barrage of one-handed chair shots to Jericho which I thought were great additions to the match. It made Michaels look so great while he was in this state-of-mind. He wanted to beat up Jericho with this chair so much that he decided to do it with one arm! Michaels put Cade and Jericho on the announce table and then hit an elbow drop off the top rope through the table.

HBK then whipped Jericho with the belt. In what was a great moment, HBK then started whipping Jericho in the eye! If you’ll recall, Michaels mentioned in a segment on RAW before this about an eye for an eye and Michaels was legitimately trying to take out Jericho’s. He then laid into Jericho with a number of bare-knuckle blows. Jericho was KO’d and the referee called for the bell. Some of the fans booed and a lot of the fans didn’t get the finish but it was still pulled off really well. In a way, they did contradict themselves with the rules by claiming that it could only end via pin fall or submission beforehand. Then again when thinking about the storyline, the referee probably thought that there was no way that Shawn was going to go for the cover and Jericho couldn’t submit as he was knocked out. When factoring all of those things, the referee calling for the bell does make sense.

HBK still continued to beat up Jericho and he even super-kicked one of the referees. More referees came out to stop Michaels and attend to Jericho. This was all splendid.

The match itself was pretty damn great. I know a lot of people didn’t get how the match was put together. To be honest, I was one of those people when I first watched this. There was parts of the matches which I never really understood until I watched it back recently. It wasn’t a match which everyone got but it was still masterfully put together. It’s unfair to compare this match to other Michaels vs Jericho matches as it was obviously not set out to be like those matches that we saw in the past. However, it was still pretty damn great. The match actually gets better and better the more I think about it. TWO HUGE THUMBS UP FOR THIS!

Match Rating: ****1/4

Legacy were backstage. Cody introduced Manu to Randy Orton and Ted asked if Orton was impressed. Orton said he wasn’t and proceeded to cut an amazing promo on Ted, Cody and Manu. He delivered a great speech about talent and ability, berating them for using tactics that people like Cryme Tyme would use on the street. He was not impressed.

Triple H (c) vs Jeff Hardy vs Shelton Benjamin vs The Brian Kendrick vs MVP in the WWE Championship Scramble match

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This was a championship scramble match mostly revolved around two men – Triple H and Jeff Hardy. At the end of the day, the winner of the match was going to be either one of those two. Therefore, this made everyone else in the match seem irrelevant (except for The Brian Kendrick, which we’ll get onto later). I don’t know if I were to have booked it like this, as the whole point of the match is surely to tease that anyone can win. If you were going to book it as they did, wouldn’t it make for sense for Jeff and Triple H to start off the match? That way, you can get the fans into the match early on and also give Jeff and Triple H experience in wrestling 20 minute title matches with each other, which is important as they would go on to fight each other for the title in the next few pay-per-views.

They went with Jeff Hardy  and Shelton Benjamin as the first and second entrants respectively. It was a decent first five minutes. There was one strange clothesline spot where Shelton went down and it appeared that he thought that they were going to do the double clothesline spot, where they both go down. The third entrant was The Brian Kendrick, who was with Ezekiel Jackson at this time. As he was coming down, Shelton was trying to hit Jeff with a  German Suplex off the apron. Kendrick cut him off. Kendrick was pinned soon after by Jeff Hardy with an alley oop.

This was the part of the show where I thought that the wrestlers themselves really didn’t understand the rules of the match. The Championship Scramble was actually a complicated concept but it was made worse by the fact that the interim-champion Jeff Hardy tried getting a pin fall on Shelton Benjamin. Why would Jeff need to bother getting another pin fall? Why didn’t he do what his brother did earlier on and just wear down his opponents? It wouldn’t have been too big of a deal had it not been for the finish, which we’ll get to later.

Shelton hit the Pay Dirt on Jeff and Kendrick followed it up with “The Kendrick” to pin Jeff Hardy. THE BRIAN KENDRICK became the interim WWE Champion. The Brian Kendrick was really the only one, other than Triple H and Jeff Hardy, that stood out like I mentioned earlier. Kendrick got the pin fall and the entire crowd was stunned as well as the commentators! He then served as the best interim champion in the history of the Championship Scramble! He looked like such a star for the next five minutes or so. MVP was the fourth entrant and ran wild. He went for the dive-by but Kendrick cut him off with one of the most beautiful leg lariats I’ve ever seen. Kendrick then started to do a tremendous job in making himself seem like a legitimate threat in this match. He was the best wrestler in the ring for the time that he was champion and was outclassing everyone! Then Triple H came in as the last entrant…

All of a sudden, things went downhill for Kendrick. Triple H ran wild and pinned Kendrick right away after a Pedigree to become the interim champion. All of a sudden it became the Triple H and Jeff Hardy show, with Kendrick playing the same role as everyone else. Shelton Irish-whipped Triple H into the steel steps. As this was going on, Jeff pinned MVP with the Twist of Fate. There were some boos as this happened, with the some of the crowd seeing where this was going.

In a terrible twenty seconds for Kendrick, Triple H pinned Kendrick again with the Pedigree. Triple H turned around to catch his breath, which apparently meant that Triple H had lost his hearing as well. The reason I say this is because as Triple H was turned around, Jeff hit the Swanton Bomb on Kendrick to a big pop. Jeff then pinned Kendrick to once again become the interim champion. There were only two men that were getting reactions at this point and they were Triple H and Jeff Hardy. If the crowd were going crazy, then Triple H surely should have figured out that Jeff was somehow back in the match and going for something big. Surely that should have forced Triple H to turn around and stop Jeff Hardy from getting the pin, which almost cost him the WWE Championship. But no. Hunter turned around with a shocked look in his face as he was no longer the interim champion.

There was an awesome tower of doom spot with Shelton Benjamin, MVP and The Brian Kendrick. All three men were down. In the closing seconds of this match, Jeff hit Shelton with the Swanton Bomb which was followed by Triple H giving MVP a pedigree. Triple H was going for the cover on MVP with Jeff Hardy stood right in front of him. Did Jeff Hardy try to break up the pin? No. He turned his attentions to Shelton and TRIED TO PIN HIM. Once again, YOU WERE ALREADY THE INTERIM CHAMPION! All Jeff Hardy had to do was make sure that Triple H didn’t pin MVP and he would have won the title right then and there. Instead, he allowed Triple H to get the pin fall and the announcers tried to play it up like Jeff was so close to winning the championship. They were right. He was so close but he failed out of his own stupidity. Jeff Hardy came off looking like the dumbest man alive in this match. He tried to pin other wrestlers while he was already the champion and had no clue of how the match worked in the slightest.

They also tried to go with the angle that Jeff was too hurt to recover and do anything. He was too hurt to break up the pin but he was OK enough to go try a pin on somebody else?

So Triple H got the pin fall at the end, which saw him retain the championship as the last man to get a pin or a submission. Other than the ending, this was a decent Championship Scramble. I would go as far as to call it the best scramble in the show but that is not saying much. It didn’t help the match when everyone involved had at least one moment where they did something stupid or was completely squashed. SmackDown! did not come off looking good following this pay-per-view.

Match Rating: **3/4

Shawn Michaels did an interview with Todd Grisham. Shawn said that he was content with what he had accomplished in his match with Jericho but he did not find closure. He said that if he could, he would deliver the same beating to Jericho every single day of his life. He warned Jericho that the worst is yet to come. For the fans, the best was yet to come as those two would go on to have an incredible match at No Mercy in the following month!

World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk was interviewed by Eve Torres, future Divas Champion. Randy Orton interrupted Punk’s interview. Orton called Punk a fluke champion. They had a back-and-forth until Cody, Ted and Manu all attacked Punk. Kofi Kingston tried to help Punk but he was beaten down too. Orton then ended the beating by punting CM Punk in the head. Orton would tell Legacy that this was impressive. They left.

Michelle McCool (c) vs Maryse for the Divas Championship

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This was not great. Maryse could barely run the ropes in this match. Michelle tried to do a flip arm drag off the top rope but was only just able to land on her feet. They fought on the outside, with Michelle giving Maryse a clothesline off the barricade. The match actually did include a good of bit old ring psychology, with Maryse working on Michelle’s leg. Michelle then worked on Maryse’s leg. The big difference was that Maryse was selling her leg injury while Michelle wasn’t! I then was reduced to uncontrollable laughter after Maryse and Michelle tried a sunset flip. Maryse tried this sunset flip but it ended up with Maryse’s momentum causing Michelle to crush her!

Michelle won with a suplex facebuster for the pin fall. You could tell that the announcers barely cared about this match as about ten seconds after the match, Tazz suddenly just went “ooooh” as if he just realised that the match was over! This was slightly worse then your average women’s match. The only major thing that they messed up was the sunset flip which still brought me a fair amount of entertainment!

Match Rating: *1/4

They then cut to a poll that the WWE were running throughout the night. It was whether the Big Show should have been allowed to be in the WWE Championship Scramble. 77% of the fans said that he should have been in the match. I guarantee that if they ran this poll again in 2016 for whether the Big Show should be in the Elimination Chamber for example, 77% would have voted against having him in!

RAW General Manager Mike Adamle cut a promo. He announced that it looked like CM Punk was not going to be able to make it to the World Title Championship Scramble. He said if CM Punk couldn’t compete, he would find someone else to take his place. He guaranteed that a FIVE MAN championship scramble will take place tonight.

You know what’s funny about Mike Adamle is that I wasn’t really watching wrestling at this time period, so I never watched it during the Age of Adamle. If I was, I totally would have loved him as the general manager of RAW and here’s why. The thing is that I really loved John Laurinaitis, when he was in charge with People Power. I’m a sucker for characters that are so bad that they’re good. Even though he messed up a lot of promos and came out with some unintentionally great moments, there was never a moment where I wanted to turn off the television when Big Johnny came out. Mike Adamle had that same effect where you’re just watching him and you’re waiting for him to come out with a beauty of a line!

He never really messed up anything with this promo but I loved the way that he raised his voice at the end of his promo. Apparently John Cena convinced Adamle that the more you raise your voice, the better your promo will be!

Segment with Vickie Guerrero, Big Show and The Undertaker

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Big Show came out. He was in his singlet. I was about to question why Big Show was coming out in his ring gear when he wasn’t scheduled to compete. As it turns out, he was lobbying himself to compete in the main event and take CM Punk’s place. Then again, Big Show didn’t know that there would be an open spot in the match until Adamle just announced it a minute or so earlier! So again… why was he in his gear?

He started his promo by just saying “Hi” which got some laughs. Big Show offered to be in the main event in Punk’s place as mentioned earlier. He said that at least Mike Adamle wouldn’t have left him out of a scramble match unlike SmackDown! General Manager Vickie Guerrero. This somehow led to Big Show encouraging people to vote in the 2008 elections. I have no idea how he was able to segway into this!

Vickie came out. Vickie told Big Show that she warned him not to cause a disruption or else. She had warned him that he’d either be suspended or fined. He then called him a big, dumb giant and told him to leave. When Big Show refused to leave, Vickie didn’t act on her threat. There were no fines or suspensions. She did not fire him. She basically told him to go away!

By the way, Vickie Guerrero does not fit into the category of “so bad that it’s good.” At this point in her career, she could still barely act. She was god awful with her delivery on this show. At least Big Johnny or Adamle had something to make you want to stay and watch. Vickie was just so bad that it made you think that WWE were actually daring you to turn off the show.

The Undertaker popped up on the titantron as druids made their way down to the ring with a casket. Big Show was just laughing in the ring. Taker said that he promised that he would be coming for Vickie at Unforgiven. He said that the coffin would be her final resting place. He asked her whether she wanted to go voluntarily or by force. Big Show kept her in the ring.

Undertaker got a big pop when he was coming out. Vickie tried to exit via the crowd but Big Show brought her back into the ring. This gave me strange deja vus of Over The Limit 2012, when Big Show brought Big Johnny back in the ring after he tried to escape from the crowd. Anyone that watched that pay-per-view will remember how that went down. As amazing as it is, I got deja vus from a segment that took place in 2012 while watching a pay-per-view from 2008 in 2016!

Taker opened the casket and got in the ring. Undertaker then started taking off his coat and hat. I didn’t realise that Undertaker needed to be in his ring gear in order to take Vickie Guerrero to hell! He grabbed her by the throat and then the Big Show punched Taker in the face. Big Show, did in fact, turn heel on this pay-per-view. It’s just amazing that they did this exact same storyline in 2012 but with Big Johnny replacing Vickie and John Cena replacing the Undertaker. Incredible.

So Big Show beat up the Undertaker in a shockingly agile manner. He then drove Taker into the ring post and threw him into the barricade. He knocked over the casket and then kept punching Taker in the face, knocking him out. Vickie then spit in Undertaker’s face, slapping him for good measure. ALL OF THIS TOOK TWENTY MINUTES OF PAY-PER-VIEW TIME!

Segment Rating: -**

They then recapped a RAW segment with Randy Orton and CM Punk, which led to the attack from earlier.

William Regal tried to convince Mike Adamle to put him in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble match. Adamle said he’d take his request under advisement.

Batista vs Kane vs JBL vs Rey Mysterio vs Chris Jericho in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble match

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Batista and JBL started out the match. I was rather shocked and disappointed by the WWE’s decision to have Batitsa and JBL kick off the match. They could have put in Kane or Rey Mysterio, with Mysterio having a history of pulling off good long match performances. However, they decided that it was best for Batista and JBL to work a 20 minute match. Batista looked blown up at around the half-way point.

They also decided to have Batista and JBL start the match by locking on submission holds. Because if there’s one thing I associate Batista and JBL with, it’s submissions! Batista locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock for about a minute. It was much better when these two were just going blow for blow as opposed to just going for submissions. That brought out the best of them. Batista Irish-whipped JBL into the corner. He got into the ring and waited for the third entrant, who turned out to be Kane.

There was a fine back-and-forth between Kane and Batista. They went for finishers on each other but they were countering each other’s stuff. Then there was a nice little sequence between all three men, which saw Kane pin JBL off a chokeslam. The fourth entrant was Rey Mysterio, who brought life into the match for about a few minutes. He and JBL picked up the pace as Mysterio ran wild. Rey went for the 619 on Kane but it was avoided and Kane turned Rey inside out with a clothesline.

Rey and Batista then teamed up to do an elevated splash, with Rey on Batista’s shoulders. They went for it again but Rey turned it into a victory roll pin attempt on Batista. It’s funny that Batista thought nothing of Rey’s betrayal in this match when a year later, he got so mad at Rey for breaking up a pin fall which caused Big Dave to turn heel at Bragging Rights 2009!

JBL then took advantage of the brief squabble that Rey and Batista had. JBL hit a fallaway slam on Rey, which saw him land right on Batista. The fifth entrant was revealed to be Chris Jericho, who came out selling his match from earlier on in the night. Everyone in the ring was shocked as Jericho came out, with Y2J looking wrecked. Batista then speared Rey and Jericho out of their boots.

In a repeat of earlier on, Kane tried to go for the pin even though HE WAS THE CHAMPION. Fortunately, he only did this once. In the last 45 seconds of the match, Batista hit Kane with the spinebuster and pinned him to become the interim champion. Rey then tried a springboard move on Batista but it was countered into a Batista Bomb. This was a sweet reversal actually. As this was happening though, Jericho sneaked back into the ring and pinned Kane. The clock ran out and Chris Jericho won the World Heavyweight Championship!

I’ve got to say that the finish was really well executed. It was not done in such a way that it devalued the title as Jericho had already been beaten up before the match. Jericho was slaughtered by Michaels but still came back out, which put him over. Even if he didn’t do anything in the match, Jericho winning was the whole point of the match at the end of the day. The majority of the match was pretty boring but it did lead to a great finish. It was also not like the WWE Championship Scramble match ending, where Jeff could have done something to break up the pin. Jericho went for the pin as Batista was in mid-move. Batista could not stop what he was doing and go break up the pin. Really well executed finish with a match type which did have its fair share of problems. The finish gets a thumbs up from me!

Match Rating: **1/4

Overall, this was a fine pay-per-view. The Championship Scramble was a complicated concept, as mentioned earlier. Especially with the wrestlers themselves getting somewhat confused by it, it was a very difficult match to get your head around. Despite this, all three matches were different in their layouts and they all provided something different. Matt brought the triumphant new babyface champion, Triple H and Jeff brought the back-and-forth pin falls which lead to an exciting last minute of the match and Jericho brought the shock factor. The best match of the night was Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels BY FAR, but this was not a pay-per-view that delivered a lot of bad matches or anything. With the exception of the women’s match and the god awful Vickie, Big Show and Undertaker segment, this was decent stuff. Thumbs up from me!

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Wrestling Flashback – The CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/AJ Lee Love Triangle

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Lighting up WWE television in 2012 was the “mentally unstable” AJ Lee, becoming the most popular woman on the roster since her major push began as she was the squeeze of World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. AJ was the neglected girlfriend of the World Champion, who had started to become cocky following his World title victory at TLC 2011. Despite this, AJ still continued to stay with Daniel and even accompanied him to ringside for his big WrestleMania 28 title defense against Sheamus. Daniel requested a good luck kiss from AJ after the bell ran. After the kiss, Daniel walked into a Brogue Kick by Sheamus who pinned him after 18 seconds.

Deeming the kiss as the “kiss of death” Daniel dumped AJ, leaving her heart-broken. AJ began becoming psychologically lost in the ring, with the end of her relationship taking a major toll on her. In one particular match on SmackDown!, Natalya attempted to console AJ during their match. AJ suddenly snapped and attacked Natalya, with the match thrown out due to AJ being unable to control her emotions.

This lead to a major angle involving three men “vying” for the affection of AJ,  with one of those men happening to be the WWE Champion CM Punk. Her ex Daniel as well as the “Big Red Machine” Kane were feuding with CM Punk over the WWE title, with AJ becoming the puppet-master. These tactics included kissing Kane in order to win herself and Punk a tag team match on RAW and even dressing up like Kane. After No Way Out 2012, Kane distanced himself from the feud, even calling AJ “mentally unstable.”

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Punk and Bryan continued to fight for the WWE Championship, with AJ doing her best to gain the attention of both men. AJ’s antics included kissing Punk and pushing both men through a table and even proposing to CM Punk on RAW. AJ was the special guest referee during Punk and Bryan’s no disqualification match at Money In The Bank. AJ continued to play both men before Punk eventually picked up the victory.

I really enjoyed this program between AJ, Punk, Bryan and Kane. How none of their matches never got a pay-per-view main event is beyond me, but AJ became the first diva in years to become a major part of a main event program. The thing I really liked about AJ and this program is that everybody’s actions made sense – EVEN AJ. AJ was playing as the puppet-master all along, manipulating the situation initially to get the affections of CM Punk. Punk did console AJ as soon as Bryan dumped her, so it made sense for Punk to be of AJ’s interest. Even CM Punk’s actions make sense, doing what he thought was best for AJ. He didn’t love AJ but he liked her enough as a close friend in order to take whatever craziness AJ had in store. Punk was not really made to look like a fool, as his main intention above all was to still be the WWE Champion. This mindset actually played into Punk’s heel turn at RAW 1000, with Punk doing whatever it took to protect his title reign.

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Unfortunately for Kane, he was the bumbling boob of the entire story. Kane was initially brought into the program by Punk and Bryan, in order to play them off against each other in matches on RAW. Following this, Kane interjected himself into the WWE title picture. Then AJ started messing with him, which leads to Kane eventually stepping his foot down after No Way Out. The main focus of the feud was Punk, Bryan and AJ, but Kane played a small but necessary role in this storyline. Finally, there’s Daniel Bryan. Daniel’s character in this storyline was really well written. Bryan broke up with AJ due to his selfish desires to become champion. When AJ gets involved, Bryan still insists that he has no feelings for AJ. Despite this, he still continues to try and stir the pot with Kane and Punk. Bryan’s main concern is becoming the WWE Champion, so why not mess with the guys that AJ has feelings for?

When AJ is made the special guest referee for Money In The Bank, Bryan must change AJ’s perception of him in order to try and win her influence. He gets her roses, shows concern and even proposes to her himself. At the end, Bryan’s efforts are unsuccessful as Punk retains. Bryan’s main goal was to become WWE Champion. Punk’s goal was to become WWE Champion but also support AJ. Kane’s goal was to cause destruction, with everybody else using him as their “hired gun” if you will. AJ, on top of all of this, is messing with EVERYONE but not totally evil. She’s just… mentally unstable.

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Leading into RAW 1000, Daniel still continued to court AJ and proposed to her once again. She accepts and the wedding is set for RAW 1000. However, it is revealed that AJ has accepted a proposal from Vince McMahon to become the general manager of RAW. At the end of the day, AJ gained power and now can mess with Daniel Bryan officially as his boss.

Overall, I think this was a great program. I have more Wrestling Flashbacks planned with regards to AJ but I will state that I believe that this was the best that AJ was ever written by WWE. I’ll have a lot to say as AJ’s character is so badly messed up in the last few years of her career when thinking about it in hindsight. What her character would become is nowhere near as detailed and fleshed out as what her character was like in this storyline. This storyline gained her insane popularity and it’s not like she was playing your average crazy diva. She was a sweet but calculated master manipulator… that the fans still cheered!

WWE 2K16: Curb Stomp Into RKO Confirmed – Video

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here once again with WWE 2K16. The release of this game is almost here. What I have for you today is a video uploaded by WWE Games YouTuber TonyPizzaGuy, one of my favourites in the WWE Games community. It’s a video showing off one of the new OMG moments introduced in WWE 2K16. It’s the Curb Stomp into the RKO counter that we saw at Wrestlemania 31, where Randy Orton hit this incredible RKO for the win over Seth Rollins. I heard that this was going to be in the game a few days ago and today I’ve seen the video. It looks very well done by 2K and a nice little edition to the game. More and more ways to hit a glorious RKO outta nowhere!

05/10/2015 RAW Review – The New Day Stands Tall As Hell in a Cell Draws Near

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After taking a brief detour at Madison Square Garden, the WWE are back on the road to Hell in a Cell. However, WWE were really under pressure with this edition of RAW. Last week’s RAW did record low numbers and WWE really had to pull out all the stops. Did this week’s RAW deliver?
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Brock Lesnar started off the show. “Suplex City” chants thundered around the arena as soon as the music ended. Paul Heyman cut a promo, calling Brock the “giant slayer.” He switched gears from Big Show to Undertaker at Hell in a Cell. Paul said that this was a fight that Undertaker could not win. He called Hell in a Cell the lair of the beast. They played this video package of Brock Lesnar breaking the streak which I swear they have used for well over a year now. It was the EXACT same video! It was a fantastic promo until Big Show showed up. He got “Please Retire” chants. Big Show admitted that Brock was the better man and wanted to shake his hand. However, Brock just walked past it. Big Show said that he hoped Brock would lose again against the Undertaker. Brock eventually took out Brock with a Belly to Belly and a F5. It was a great start to the show and a great start to the build-up to Hell in a Cell.

Seth talked to Stephanie and asked her to call off the tag team match with Seth and Big Show vs the Dudleyz (as Big Show just got taken out by Brock) but Steph refused, She told Seth to figure it out. I’d just like to say that Steph looked lovely tonight.

We had a six man tag team match to start the show. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton took on the Wyatt Family. So here, we got the match we probably would have gotten at Night of Champions if Jericho hadn’t showed up instead. The good guys took control before RAW went to an advert. Dean Ambrose played dead in the middle of the ring which was a funny moment. What looked like it hurt was Braun catching Dean and then just throwing him onto the floor. Ouch….

It’s important to note that I kind of got distracted because Dixie Carter was tweeting about Ethan Carter III’s injunction against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy! The match rolled on. Orton and Reigns both came in off hot tags. Dean and Braun got slowly hurdled over the barricade. Roman and Orton hit their finishers on Luke Harper for the win as Bray sat on the entrance ramp. A decent opener. I liked this match. Roman cut a short promo on Bray, saying that he was going to end things at Hell in a Cell.

Neville vs Sheamus with Wade Barrett on commentary. This was an all British affair which I’m all for. Sheamus called Neville a leprechaun in his pre-match promo. Neville attacked him to kick off the match. Barrett went to “have a word” with Neville about attacking him which lead to Sheamus Brogue kicking Neville for the win. A very short match on RAW. Someone made a good point on Twitter when they mentioned that Neville was out-muscled by the referee when he was pulling him away from Sheamus at the start of the match. That really shouldn’t be happening…

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Corporate Kane cut a promo. Kane suggested himself to be Seth’s tag team partner until Seth came out. Seth interrupted him and compared him to Tom Brady. He said that they both had deflated balls and that he wasn’t taking Kane’s crap. Kane and Seth argued back and forth. It was great chemistry between the two on the mic. Seth threatened to take Kane to hell before Stephanie interrupted them. Stephanie revealed that Seth sent the anonymous e-mail last week. Steph talked about Tom Brady leading the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl. Stephanie McMahon announced that Demon Kane will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. She also confirmed that Kane would be Seth Rollins’ partner for RAW. Lastly, she told Kane that if Demon Kane doesn’t win, Corporate Kane would be relived off his duties. Not a bad segment.

Seth seeked advise from Yoda, who manifested himself into Triple H.

Natalya vs Paige was next. Fans were chanting “We Want Sasha” TWENTY SECONDS into the match. This was a really good divas match. I liked Natalya tapping out Paige. Natalya looked weak when she returned, only to get beat by Naomi. I thought it was the right call. However, Dave Meltzer said that Paige MIGHT have done something wrong backstage which was the reason for her cleanly tapping out. Not quite sure what was it but we’ll see if it really effects her.

Ryback cut a small promo. I love how one of the first things he said was “Actions speak louder than words” and then proceeded to cut a promo on Kevin Owens! Mixed messages!

Kevin Owens was in a non-title match against Sin Cara. Kevin mocked the “Lucha” chant the Lucha Dragons do which got a chuckle from me. Kevin had some incredible comments during the match, including calling Kalisto a 12 year old! Anyway, Kevin beat him in a match that was really all about Kevin’s comments in the ring! Ryback saved the Lucha Dragons from a beat down… BY ONE MAN! That’s some whacked logic right there.

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The New Day approached Stephanie, who was annoyed by them. Stephanie said that if Xaiver played one note of the trombone, she’d send them to a place that’d make Suplex City seem like Disneyland! I liked that comment and I liked this segment! She announced that it would be the Dudley Boyz vs New Day for the tag titles at Hell in a Cell which upset the group.

John Cena and Roman Reigns were in the ring with the Komen charity. John Cena cut a really nice promo on the charity. I know Roman Reigns is a big part of this charity campaign, but him cutting his promo after a big brawl with the Wyatts earlier just completely hurt the intensity his character had just built up for himself. Not going to bury this segment or anything but that was the one drawback I think.

Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane vs the Dudley Boyz. There was a “Save The Tables” chant at the start of the match which I loved! Among the great chants during this match was “We want Spike” and “We want Sasha!” Sasha Banks was really over tonight! Kane was “working” with a bad ankle. Seth told Kane to take it easy throughout. Kane went for a small dropkick but fell over. The doctor told Kane to go to the back but Seth handcuffed Kane to the ring post. The handcuffs broke and Kane was taken to the back. Kane smiled on his way back as Seth was left alone to fight the Dudleyz. The Dudleyz gained control and the Dudleyz got the table. When Seth dropkicked the table onto the Dudleyz, the ref called for the bell. Then Demon Kane came out for Seth and attacked him. Kane was going for the chokeslam but the Dudley Boyz hit the 3D on Kane. Seth tried to put Kane through the table but ended up getting chokeslammed through it.

I thought all the Kane and Seth Rollins stuff from RAW was actually good. There was just a LOT of time given to the two of them. There’s just a lot to take in and their last segment just seemed to drag.

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Team B.A.D. vs Team Bella. This was a rematch from SmackDown! Team B.A.D. got one of the biggest reactions of the night and that was largely due to Sasha! Sasha cut a promo. Sasha said she put the “boss” in Boston. She was cut off by the Bellas. Nikki talked about going all the way and Naomi responded by saying that going all the way was something Nikki was used to. Sasha said that the champion was warming the title up for her. This broke down into an argument and it was actually a good pre-match segment between the two. I think these two teams just have good chemistry together on the mic. Naomi and Sasha were great especially.

This was not a great six man tag. Brie messed up a couple of takedowns. Alicia looked like she was putting herself to sleep with the sleeper hold she applied to Naomi. Sasha came in off the hot tag. Brie Bella sold Tamina Snuka’s super kick like she was a fish out of water. Team B.A.D. won the match after Sasha submitted Alicia. Sasha was spared the usual hometown humiliation and came out strong after tonight.

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We saw the continuation of the Rusev saga. Summer Rae called out Rusev. They played an incredible video package of Rusev and Summer together. Summer Rae then PROPOSED to Rusev! Yep, this actually happened. Rusev said yes… but not yet. Rusev said he needs gold around his waist before Summer can get gold around her finger. I like this turn of events. Rusev actually took more interest into his career than his love life for once. This made Rusev seem serious which I’m all about.

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It was time for the John Cena US Open Challenge. Dolph Ziggler initially answered the call but was taken out by the New Day. Big E took his place. It was a nice little match. Kofi and Xaiver got thrown out and Big E tried to hit John Cena with the trombone but Cena countered it into a AA for the win. Ziggler came out to help but accidentally super kicked Cena. The Dudley Boyz came out to attack the New Day but they got beaten up too. In a shocker, the heels the New Day beat the good guys THREE ON FOUR! Damn! The New Day looked powerful as hell with this ending!

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It was not a bad RAW. I think it was better than last week’s and it did do a better viewership number then last week. I think average is the best way to describe it to be honest!

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (28/09/15)

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How’s it going everyone? We’re back with another top five moments from a RAW that really wasn’t that great. I can’t say it was TOO bad either because there wasn’t a segment on this show which I thought was really bad. However, little was done that made think that this was a worthwhile show. The MizTV segment with the Divas was infuriating but I’m hoping to touch upon that segment in a separate blog post later on this week. However, there were a few high spots. Let’s pick out the top five moments from RAW.

1. John Cena vs Xaiver Woods

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John Cena came out to bring back the John Cena US Championship Open Challenge. The New Day came out and delivered some comedy. John Cena got mad and said there’s a time for comedy and a time to be serious. He basically told them to shut up and one of them to get in the ring. He came off as such a heel for saying that in my eyes as everyone was happy with the New Day! Xaiver Woods answered the call.

It’s kind of sad that we didn’t hear the trombone in action during Woods’ match! I think he played it once during the six man tag match that followed up. The match itself was actually really fun. It was good to see Xaiver in a singles match for once, because he’s usually either in six man tags or acting as a manager. You rarely see just how good Xaiver is in the ring. He put on a great match with Cena. There’s just one little issue that I have.

The match ended in a disqualification, when Big E and Kofi came down to attack Cena. I understand that they wanted to save Xaiver from Cena. However, they still cost Xaiver a chance at the US title! I always thought it made little sense when teams do this whenever one of their partners is challenging for a singles title.

Despite that, good match. The six man tag team match also involving the Dudleyz was OK. The New Day went over which largely hints that the Dudley Boyz will win the tag team titles at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. I understand why they’d do it, because it’s an important event for the Dudleyz. Them coming back to MSG and winning the titles is a great story. I think as long as the New Day win it back at Hell in a Cell, I’d be OK with this. Let the Dudleyz have their moment but it’s really the day for the New Day to shine and win this feud.

2. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns

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This went on last for RAW. I’ll admit it. It was very hard to care at the end of the show. RAW itself was a very exhausting show. I know RAW is usually like that, being on for three hours each week. However, this week just seemed even worse.

It was actually a decent match between Bray and Roman. The fans didn’t really care about it until the finish. I think that was largely due to someone getting kicked out of the arena near the end because I think there was a “Let Him Stay” chant. They got right back into it during the finish.

Initially, the double count out finish was kind of a lame way for your RAW main event to end. However, it did play into the finish. Therefore, I don’t have that big of a beef with it.

Bray and Roman brawled into the crowd. It was quite a decent brawl. Bray actually threw someone from the tech area into Roman, which was pretty awesome to watch! It actually made Bray look like a legitimate monster. This was followed up by Bray tackling Roman through the barricade. That would have been the spot of the night, had it not been for what Roman followed it up with. Roman got up as Bray was posing, and speared Bray through the announce table. The crowd went nuts for this!

This finish helped both these men. I thought it helped the story along, especially with the brawl at the end. These two just beating the hell out of each other is exactly the kind of intensity and atmosphere you need for a feud like this. It also made Roman look like a star. It was exactly the kind of thing that Roman needs to do. They were going nuts for him here.

A little spoiler for SmackDown!, but it was announced that Bray and Roman will be having a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV. I think this match can take this feud from strength to strength. I think it’s strange that none of the Hell in a Cell matches are featuring a WWE World Heavyweight title match, but these two are still strong matches anyway.

3. Paul Heyman

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Heyman gets a spot on this list PURELY because he was on the show! Heyman was there to actually promote the Madison Square Garden show and Brock Lesnar vs The Big Show. The only problem with that is simple. Heyman had to make Big Show seem as a threat to Brock Lesnar. Anyone that has knowledge about who Brock Lesnar is would realize that Big Show was NOT a threat to Brock Lesnar. Therefore when Heyman was acting scared at the prospect that Big Show was going to end Brock Lesnar’s career, NOBODY bought it. Paul Heyman tried all he could but there’s little reason to believe that Big Show is a threat to Brock Lesnar. During Heyman’s segment with Big Show, Big Show made it seem like it was a big deal that Big Show beat Brock Lesnar one time in their match in 2002 at Madison Square Garden on Survivor Series…. which was nearly 13 years ago! There’s were two problems with Big Show’s claim…

  1. I had to double check on this one on the Internet Wrestling Database, because I was pretty sure that Big Show’s win at Survivor Series was the only time that Big Show had ever beaten Brock Lesnar. Turns out… I was right! Big Show has only ever beaten Brock Lesnar ONCE in his career. So why would Paul Heyman be afraid of the Big Show potentially ending his client’s career?
  2. Big Show’s win at Survivor Series was because of one man… PAUL HEYMAN! There was no mention of Heyman turning on Brock during Big Show’s win. On the video package of Big Show that was shown, it skipped the interference and just fast-forwarded to Big Show chokeslamming Brock onto the chair. Again, Paul knows full well that Big Show was only able to beat Brock Lesnar because of… him. Again, why would Paul Heyman think that Big Show would be able to beat Brock Lesnar?

I wish that Brock Lesnar was fighting someone else, but he’s not. I don’t actually have an issue with the Big Show himself. I have an issue with how the WWE is somehow convinced that they would be able to convince everyone that Big Show is ON PAR with Brock Lesnar. One last thing… NO MENTION OF HELL IN A CELL! WWE again failed to mention the PPV that they should be trying their hardest to promote.

Well… Heyman did his best anyway.

4. Kane’s Performance Evaluation

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Kane’s performance evaluation segments were actually not that bad to me! I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few issues with it however. I thought Kane and Seth Rollins’ last segment together went WAY too long. I just thought they done a lot of angles in one week for this program that could have easily stretched out for a few weeks. Couldn’t this week’s angle have ended with Seth Rollins breaking Kane’s ankle and then next week, Demon Kane gets his revenge? I thought Kane’s delivery as Corporate Kane was excellent. I’m very happy with Kane’s acting during this program. That’s one of the things that I liked about this feud because at least Kane’s having some fun with his character. I didn’t like Seth’s comments about meeting the Pope. It just seemed a bit off. Despite those little things, I thought this segment overall was fine.

5. King Barrett Returns

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The return itself was pretty miserable. Barrett simply came out, interrupted the Neville vs Stardust match and gave the Bullhammer to both men. He got on the mic and said “All hail the return of the King,” and then left. It was pretty bland but to be fair, at least Barrett came back looking strong by laying out both men. This really gets an entry only because I have huge respect for Barrett and I’m personally glad that he’s back. I don’t believe that they’ll do anything big with him which will be a real shame.

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So there you go. There were my five top moments from RAW this week. There were reports of Vince flipping out backstage over ratings. If this was Vince’s serious attempt to get the ratings back up, then he failed miserably. The RAW viewership numbers actually showed that the ratings for this week’s RAW have fallen from last week. So WWE is really going to have to pull something out of the bag to get things rolling.

28/09/2015 RAW – Kane Is A Fan Of Total Divas

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When Kane debuted in WWE, he was a very scary monster. He’s been through a great deal of character development in his WWE career. He’s buried his brother alive twice, he’s started a fight over a cup of coffee, he’s done hurricanranas, he’s done spinaroonies, he’s electrocuted a man’s testicles, he did the Katie Vick storyline, he married Lita, he’s wrestled himself, he’s went crazy whenever a certain date is mentioned, he’s been ECW Champion, he’s hugged people, he’s worked as a waiter, he’s wanted to eat a dog, he’s beaten up a bunny, he’s been in a suit, he’s been given a vacation, he’s been given an Apple watch. He’s done all of that and somehow, WWE have managed to make Kane do something which I NEVER THOUGHT he’d ever say.

Kane has just said, and I quote:

“Have you met the Bellas yet? They’re great and I love their show on E! Total Divas. It’s Awesome.”

….yeah.

NEWS – Sting Provides Update On Injury

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We’ve got an update on Sting’s condition and the update actually comes from the man himself. The man called Sting spoke with WWE.com about his injury suffered during his match at Night of Champions Seth Rollins and what the future holds. Down below are the highlights

It’s been a few days since your match at Night of Champions. How are you feeling?

Aside from a stiff neck, I’m a little banged up, but otherwise, I feel good. Pretty standard after wrestling a match like that.

Can you set everyone straight on the extent of your injury, as you await further evaluation?

Bottom line, I had tingling, numbness down both arms, all the way to my fingertips. And then, later in the match, I just fell wrong, whatever it was, and this time [the tingling and numbness] went down both arms and into my legs, and I couldn’t feel my legs too well. They just felt like rubber. I don’t know how to describe it. I had to go down on all fours there for a minute, get my composure. I was a little … I was worried. Long term, well, I’m just going to take care of the short term first and see how the long term might play out.

What kind of treatment did you receive after your injury at Night of Champions?

I was out in the hospital — out like a light. They had a neck brace on me, and they were pumping me with [medication] to get me out of pain. I had to do a CT scan and an MRI. They ended up talking to my wife, and I have some details from my wife, but I still have [further evaluation ahead]. They mentioned cervical spinal stenosis, but that’s only part of what I heard. I don’t know if there’s anything else. The doctor did tell my wife, “He’s going to have to get this dealt with. He’s lucky he walked out of there.”

Is getting back in the ring again something you’d want to do? Do you have that desire to return?

Hmmm, in the right scenario … in the right scenario, yeah.

Were you aware of exactly when your injury occurred during the match?

Oh, yeah, definitely. Both times into the turnbuckle. First time was like a whiplash. [pause] It’s my fault, bottom line. I know better. The second time, I went up into the air and back toward the turnbuckle like that, I thought, “Well, that’s not going to happen again,” and it did. The second time was worse.

That was when you lost your legs a bit.

Yeah.

Well, where does that leave Sting? Was this your last match?

I hate it when I’m asked that question because the answer truly is a question mark, and the question mark is as bold as it could ever be at this point.

Wait and see?

Yeah, for now.