On the Card: Ruthless Aggression #18 Judgement Day – May 19, 2007
The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.
Ten years ago, on May 19, 2007, Judgement Day 2007 aired. It was a WWE PPV, as WWE had dropped Brand-named PPVs after No Way Out in February and was spelled “Judgment” without an E, though my MS Word will continue to autocorrect it to “Judgement” because I am living in Scotland and we do not believe in superfluous letters here. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next few weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.
WWE Judgement Day 2007
Still no tagline but by Christ, what a poster. Kane, standing on a stairway, surrounded by flames while hands – some skeletal, some still clinging onto flesh – reach up from the fire to grab at him. He also looks super ripped. Great. What I love about these covers is that they have that Wolverine Publicity trope where they fire on wrestlers onto the covers despite them not being that important to the actual PPV. Case in point: Kane does not actually appear in this PPV… unless you were there for the actual live show. Then you would see him… in the dark match at the beginning versus William Regal. Yeah.
Once again, this PPV is attempting to make Khali (a non-wrestler who hasn’t been in the ring in months) look like a credible threat. The promo package begins with him, moves into the Edge vs. Batista, rematch of Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga, Vince and Shane followed by Khali hitting people. He hits all the people and they all take the hits until Jjjjjjjjahn Cena fights back because he’s tip-top.
Then there’s some bad space CGI for some reason. WWE is in space? Is the Day of Judgement about a meteor? It don’t matter none because the farty pyro tells us that we are live in the Scottrade Centre in St. Louis, Missouri, home of Randal Keith Orton and 10,500 other lads who turned up to see this PPV happen. There are 242,000 people watching in at home, a huge dip from the 252,000 the year before (funnily enough, we would see the same number for Judgement Day 2008) but a big rise from the 194,000 that tuned in for Backlash a month ago. It should have been called Backlashley. Oh well, you live and learn.
Our announcers are Jumpin’ Jim Ross, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Joey Styles, Tazz, Maggle Cole and Cunt JBL, who has a face on him like he just ate some shite.
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match that featured Kane and William Regal. What? Why? Once again, the depth of your roster, boys, fair play.)
Big “Wooo!” as our boy Ric Flair rocks down to the ring with his face all leathered and haggard. Ric Flair is in your curtain jerker. By Christ, it’s an odd time when the only two-time Hall of Famer in WWE history, the sixteen-time champion, is on first. I suppose he needs his sleep.
Then Carlito appears and rocks in and throws his apple at Flair. And almost hits him. Jim Ross tuts at this, saying, “This just shows Carlito’s total lack of disrespect.”
Singles match: Ric Flair vs. Carlito.
I’ve changed up the titles of the matches. Putting champion first or in order of appearance.
Big chops in the corner from Flair and has him on the ropes. Lovely Irish Whip countered into a Sunset flip but Naitch drops to his knees, denying an Aloha Arn and beats on the Carribean. Big chops and Carlito rocks out of the ring. Flair goes to the corner to hit Carlito on the apron but Carlito escapes, the rascal. Carlito attacks Flair’s arm and hand. Ross points out that Flair’s right arm is stronger than his left. Carlito grounds Flair with a hammerlock.
JR and King talk about Flair taking lads underneath his wing to teach them about the game and how Carlito squandered that opportunity. In the corner, Naitch whips at Carlito but he escapes. More attacks on Flair’s left arm on the apron. Big toss into the turnbuckle and Flair is hurt. Pin attempt but there is barely a one. Crowd chant “Let’s go, Flair!” but Flair does not go whatsoever. Carlito wraps Flair’s arm around the turnbuckle twice followed by a lovely missile dropkick. Another cover, another kickout. Sign in the crowd: Umaga ate my homework.
Flair fights back, gives Carlito a slap or two but the younger man takes over again and hits another dropkick and another failed pin. Crowd – specifically someone behind the announcers – roar “Nature boy!” over and over. It’s very loud. Jerry talks about Torrie Wilson, for some reason. He brings it back to the match by saying that Carlito did not want to be distracted by either Wilson or Flair but then follows it up with, “Torrie can distract me any time!” Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
Big claps from the crowd as Flair gets out of an armbar and takes over, hitting a lovely arm drag but is knocked back by Carlito. Armbar city over here. Flair gets to his feet and is in a great amount of pain, but is able to toss Carlito with an armbar again. Another dropkick, another pin attempt but JR points out that the first pins were one-counts, this was a two-count and “one more count bears a beaten man.” Christ, JR, you’re just the best.
Big chops from Flair and Carlito is on the floor. It’s a slobberknocker, an official slobberknocker. Flair takes a back-body drop. JR bigs up Flair’s chops, saying that he would rather take any move than a single Flair chop. Big words. Armbar city again here. Some stomps and more armbars wherein Flair almost gets pinned. Carlito roars something, which Jerry understands. JR: “You speak Spanish now?” Jerry: “Profanely. And profoundly.”
Flair hits back with some big right-hands and a shitty snapmare. Flair has Carlito on the ropes, no-sells a punch, chops Carlito to the ground, gives him a back-body drop and goes for Carlito’s leg. Carlito hits a thumb right to Flair’s eyes, attempts a backstabber, fails and the crowd goes wild as Flair works the legs of Carlito before hitting the Figure Four leglock, getting the tap-out victory.
Ric Flair has submitted Carlito to win the match in 15:34.
Good opener, I suppose, nice to see Flair once again, though at fifteen minutes, it overstayed its welcome by about five minutes.
Is Ric Flair ever going to retire?
Ric is done. Absolutely wrecked. Sign Guy in the crowd has a massive sign that he puts over his head saying, “Beat That Hairball!” He has another, which is a picture of a man’s lower body, which he constantly low-blows with the caption, “Ric Flair Training.”
Cut to Shawn Michaels backstage with Todd as they show footage of Shawn beating Edge on RAW. But then Randy came out, punt-kicked Shawn, stood over him and had his face on. Shawn calls Todd by his full name, Todd Grisham, and just as Shawn is about to speak, Randy comes in and tosses him into the background. Shawn needs help.
Cut to a promo for the Bobbo Lasher match versus Shane, Vince and Umaga, showing how Vince stole the belt by letting the others beat up Lasher and pinning him to win the ECW championship. Lasher gets his rematch at Judgment day, but it will once again be a handicap match. Lasher is not allowed to touch Shane, Vince or Umaga unless physically provoked… so he beats on Jonathan Coachman instead. Both Umaga and Shane provoke him, so they get a paddlin’.
Back in the ring, here comes the money! Dollah dollah! Shane O Mac comes to the ring, jogging like the jobber he is. Sign Guy has “ECW: Extremely un-Cool White guy” sign with a picture of Vince all up on it. Umaga comes does next, roaring and pulling at the rope. Vince comes down next, having a big swagger all on him as he rocks to the ring. Once again, the champ comes to the ring before the challenger. That’s nonsense.
Big “Bobby!” chant rises as his music hits and Lasher comes to the ring, roided up and standing in his own pyro. Lasher is angry. He jumps to the apron, big pyro hits.
Handicap match for the ECW World Championship: Mr. McMahon (c), Shane McMahon and Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley.
The bell goes and Lasher runs for Umaga, knocking him out of the ring. He punches Shane, beats on Vince and Shane gets tossed around like a ragdoll. Umaga tries to get to the apron but is knocked off. Bobby goes for Vince but Shane Pearl Harbours him. Lovely overhead suplex and Umaga is in , running at Bobby but Lasher moves out of the way, hits the spear, pins Shane and wins the championship.
Bobby Lashely has pinned Shane McMahon to win the ECW World Championship in 1:13.
Thanks for the waste of ten minutes worth of promos and entrances for barely a minute of “wrestling”.
I blinked. What happened?
Tazz tells us that Bobby has exploded all over the McMahons. And the WWE just exploded all over paying customers.
Vince is ticked off. He walks from the ring, away from his son and Umaga. He slowly walks towards the ring but Umaga Pearl Harbours Lasher and gets his heat back with a Samoan Spike. Vince takes the ECW belt back, walks up the steps into the ring with a mic, congratulates Bobby but says that he did not win the belt as Bobby did not pin Vince. The crowd boos, the announcers shit on it and the heels leave with the belt. Devils.
Tazz calls him “ingenious”. What?
Recap of the match, almost in its entirety due to its brevity.
Backstage, a bowtie doctor is telling Shawn that he can’t wrassle. That’s it.
Back in the arena, CM Punk pre-Cult of Personality music hits and he comes to the ring, all wrapped up in bandages. He shouts, “It’s clobbering time!” to the crowd, because he is actually The Thing.
Elijah Burke rocks out, towel in hand, ready for the match to dab his sweating brow.
Singles Match: CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke.
Punk has his ribs taped. The crowd bay for him and Tazz checks it, like an idiot. The pair circle each other and lock up. Punk gets caught in a waistlock and kicks Burke away. Punk would later say that Burke is his least favourite opponent ever and would describe him as, “Absolutely the worst.” Let’s see how this plays out.
Punk gets Burke in a headlock and gets a punch to the rib for his effort. Joey says that Punk is giving “leg-kicks”, which he means as kicks to the leg rather than kicks with the leg. Punk in the corner with a rib shot and punch to the face that topples him. Punk gives him a lovely receipt to the back. Body slam and pin attempt. Neither men are wrestlers, more of a case of being strikers or, as the kids are want to say these days, strong-style specialists. Punk lands a lovely bodyslam and hits an exploder suplex that gets only a two-count.
The suplex is the first real wrestling move so far, followed by a lovely delayed vertical suplex where punk holds Burke aloft for about ten seconds. Very impressive. Burke fights back out of a chinlock and must be held back by the ref before he hurts Punky Magoo. Not very Extreme, is it, ECW? Punk hits a crossbody but fails to get the pin. The rascal.
Burke hammers Punk in the corner until the Chick Magnet gets a knee up. This is followed by a pathetic toss over the top rope. Shame upon the pair of you. Great shame. Punk slides underneath the rope, hits what Tazz calls a “sunset flip” even though no flips were involved at all. More of a sunset slide. Lovely headlock followed by hip toss reversals into a fireman’s carry and dropkick to send Burke to the outside. He looks about centre ring and hits a lovely suicide dive between the top and middle ropes. Great lad. Fair play. Pin attempt. Fail.
This is a lovely match so far. I can’t see why Punk would hate wrasslin’ Burke unless Punk is carrying him, which seems unlikely. Likely, Punk is just a bollocks. Burke reverses Punk’s moonsault attempt and beats on the ribs, holding Punk on the top rope and delivering a kick that could shatter bones right into Punk’s chest. Lovely leg scissors to Punk’s chest and Burke has his where he wants him. Punk fights back but gets a suplex followed by a backdrop and pin attempt. Something is happening offscreen and the crowd are chanting for JBL. He’s probably being a cunt and distracting them from the match.
More leg scissors from our boys and CM Punk escapes, beats on Burke, hits a lovely Irish whip, bit of a botch as both men kick. Cradle suplex into small package. Burke goes top rope, Punk hits him, gets ready for the superplex and hits it. My only complaint is that there are no flashbulbs anymore as phones nowadays have no need for flashes. Both men are up before the ten count and Punk hits a lovely clothesline followed by a baseball slide and enziguri onto Burke, going for the pin and Burke kicks out. Brilliant. Great match.
Bulldog attempt but Burke fights out. Burke tries the Elijah Express, misses, Punk attempts the GTS, fails, Burke hits the Elijah Experience but fails to get the pin. Burke pops punk up onto the turnbuckle and hits the Express. Punk falls into the tree of woe, but is released by the ref. Pin attempt and Punk escapes with a hand on the bottom rope, rolls away from the Elijah Experience and hits the GTS. Great match. Great pin.
CM Punk has pinned Elijah Burke to win the match in 16:50.
Punk is one of those wrestlers who is beloved by fans despite being above average but being consistently above average in my estimation. This match reminds me why he’s one of the best in the business.
This young whippersnapper CM Punk is going to be dead by the time he’s forty if he keeps up this caper.
Hard to see why Punk would hate working with Burke as both men were complicit in a pretty great match. We see some lovely reversals of the two men kicking seven shades of shite out of one another as Punk ascends the ramp to the heavens.
On the Card will return on May 27 2017 with the second and final part of Judgment Day 2007.