I’m just getting home and settled in from watching last night’s WWE Vengeance PPV. I watch all of the monthly shows at a local sports bar. The following is a recap of what transpired:
- Due to technical difficulties I ended up missing the first few minutes of the Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger/Dolph Ziggler match. What I did see of it was as good as expected. These are four of the hardest working young guys on the roster and they always go beyond the call of duty to give the fans a quality performance. Bourne got the win for his team with the shooting star press on Ziggler.
- Immediately following the match, Zack Ryder hit the ring for his U.S. title match against Ziggler. This was a short match, but Ziggler definitely came out of it looking stronger than ever. After spending most of the match on the receiving end of punishment from Ryder, Ziggler appeared to be on the verge of defeat until he hit a perfectly-timed superkick for the surprise win. The story of the match was that Ziggler overcame a loss and still emerged with his U.S. title with a clean victory. The layout of this match and Ziggler’s performance really made him come across as a superstar on the rise.
- Beth Phoenix beat Eve Torres in a shockingly good match. As in one of the best women matches of the year in WWE. Phoenix is one of the top two workers of the division, but Torres more than held up her end of the match. It ended with Torres doing a cool reversal of Phoenix’s Glam Slam into a rollup attempt. She then missed a moonsault and was pinned following a second Glam Slam. Torres really showed off a lot of her athleticism and deserves a ton of credit for her performance.
- Sheamus beat Christian in the typical match I expected of the two. I assume their program will continue on Smackdown, yet the match ended in a way where it seemed as if both could move in a new direction.
- Miz/R-Truth beat Triple H/C.M. Punk in a pretty good match for what it was. It was apparent that the storyline between these four needed to continue and the match did a great job of doing that. Punk was in the ring making a comeback when Kevin Nash appeared through the crowd to attack Triple H. With Triple H out of action, Miz and Truth double teamed Punk until Miz scored the pin. Afterwards, Nash continued to beat on Triple H and executed a sick looking jacknife powerbomb, which got multiple replays. Good way to incorporate Nash into the storyline and continue this program.
- Randy Orton beat Cody Rhodes. Along with Shemus vs. Christian, this was my least favorite match on the show. It wasn’t a bad match by any means, but I’m not a big fan of either guy’s ringwork (though I respect them) and it seemed to drag a bit. Good effort though.
- Mark Henry and Big Show went to a no-contest for the world title when both were unable to continue after the ring collapsed following a superplex attempt by Henry. On paper this match looked to be one of the worst, but this was one of the more smartly worked big man matches I’ve seen as of late. Henry has been a dominant monster for several months and his feud with Show was a natural since he put him out of action this past the summer. Instead of doing a wrestling match that would’ve bored the crowd, they wisely spent the majority of the match slugging it out and doing various power moves to determine who was the true giant. Both kicked out of the other’s finisher which led to the hot finishing sequence of the ring collapsing. That spot appeared to get over huge with the live crowd in the arena (and at the bar as well!). They sold the effects of the spot huge and didn’t get up for several minutes. EMTs and officials came to the ring to escort both out. A fantastic ending and the perfect way to continue their program. The only other time a spot such as this had been done in company history was during a Brock Lesnar-Show match in 2003. Its been so long since it was done that it felt like a very fresh idea.
- Alberto Del Rio retained the WWE title against John Cena in one of the better last man standing matches the company has done in recent years. The first part of the match was unique as both fought in the collapsed ring. One memorable spot was Cena going for his Five Knuckle Shuffle, only with no ropes to run into. So instead he just dropped his fist onto Del Rio which was funny. The match was kind of slow for the first half, but picked up once both fought to the backstage area. Once there, Cena dropped a huge trunk onto Del Rio from which he narrowly escaped the ten count. One of the coolest spots involved Del Rio ripping about six light panels from the ground and tossing them onto Cena for a great visual. After Cena escaped they fought towards the entrance where Del Rio whipped Cena into, and through, a part of the set. The conclusion came after Cena delivered an Attitude Adjustment to Del Rio from the top of the ring steps through the announcers table. Suddenly, Miz and Truth arrived to give a beating to Cena. While this was going on Del Rio had plenty of time to recover and eventually was able to make the ten count. As Cena started to recover, Del Rio bashed him in the face with the title belt and was unable to answer the count. This was a great match. Both guys worked hard and took a lot of punishment, plus the ending adds more intrigue to the main storyline on Raw involving Miz and Truth screwing the top guys. I’m sure the ending of the match will play a big role in setting up the Survivor Series main event for next month.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable show. Everyone worked hard and the results were pretty much as one would expect. There weren’t a ton of major surprises, but all of the big matches delivered while advancing key storylines. You can’t ask for much more than that. The two matches that didn’t look too good on paper exceeded my wildest expectations due to clever booking and great ringwork. I would rate this as the second best WWE PPV of the year behind July’s Money in the Bank show.