As a sophomore in high school, I managed to convince my dad to let me go to Judgement Day 2007 as an early birthday present. My fandom had peaked again in 2006 with the introduction of The Great Khali after Wrestlemania 22, so I had to see Khali destroy John Cena once and for all! Yeah I was a dumb 16 year old at the time, cut me some slack! I remember this show not being great live, but let's see if it's any better now.
Opening video package: We get a run down of the top three feuds (Lashley vs Team McMahon, Batista vs Edge, Cena vs Khali. Hilariously Khali elbowing out of an FU brings a somber halt to Ozzy Osbourne's "I Don't Wanna Stop" (an underrated banger in the Ozzy catalog in my opinion) and the dramatic narration about death. Raw and ECW's logos are represented by asteroids which blow up the Smackdown logo which is photoshopped onto Planet Earth. I don't miss this melodramatic wrestling presentation.
Carlito jaw jacks at Ric on his way to the ring and throws his apple at him, letting you know who the heel is before the bell rings. Carlito overshoots a sunset flip so Flair has to shimmy into position to counter it. Carlito works the left arm, which Lawler and Ross expertly explain is Ric's dominant hand, thus immobilizing the chop. Flair fights back but Carlito hits some whiffed punches to stop that. Carlito dropkicks Flair's arm while it's wrapped around the ring post, that was cool. Carlito works Ric's arm forever, then Ric starts working Carlito's leg. He locks in the Figure 4 the win. This match told a more cohesive story than you'd usually see in WWE at this time, but it went on for a bit too long.
Shawn Michaels interview: Meh. We see footage of him getting kayfabe concussed by Khali, wrestling (and beating) Edge, and getting attacked by Randy Orton who had wished Michaels luck earlier in the night. HBK gets a sentence or two in before he's slammed into a lighting truss by Randy Orton.
Lashley vs The McMahon's/Umaga video package: Wacky. Vince uses other people to win the championship, Lashley gets his heat back on Raw when physically provoked, but McMahon levels Lashley in the end. This is all because of being shaved bald at Wrestlemania.
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr.McMahon (c), Shane McMahon, and Umaga
Lashley beats up Shane and Umaga, only getting his hands on Vince twice, Umaga stinger splashes Shane and gets a spear. Powerslam to Shane (which Joey Styles incorrectly calls a Dominator) for the win. Post match, Umaga levels Lashley and Vince takes the title back because Lashley didn't pin him. The only thing saving this from a dud is that they justified a quick loss by having Shane take a lot of Umaga's offense before hand
The doctor tells a concussed HBK he can't compete tonight: A waste of our time that didn't need its own segment
Punk's ribs are taped because he was attacked by Burke, and Burke is mad because Punk was in the New Breed but he broke up the faction. Elijah works the ribs while Punk counters back with stiff sounding strikes. Punk hits a triangle dropkick and suicide dive. Elijah throws Punk off the turnbuckle to block a high flying move. Elijah locks in a body scissors on Punk. The crowd randomly starts chanting for JBL, who's on commentary for Smackdown. One of my prevailing memories of this show was seeing JBL cut a promo on the guy behind the commentary booth in the front row. Kicks colide unintentionally, sloppy small package. Strike exchange, kick is countered into an enzuguri by Punk. The crowd is super into the nearfalls. Pop up Elijah Express on the turnbuckle. Punk blocks the Elijah Experience with the GTS for the win. This is a good match and you could tell even then Punk was too cool for these dweebs in ECW.
Edge interview: A typically great heel promo from Edge.
Orton demands the ring announcer declare him the winner. Mid way through a long winded introduction, HBK staggers out to his music. The referee begs Shawn not to compete but rings the bell anyway. Randy works the head hitting his rope assisted DDT , and somehow Shawn realistically deadweights Orton on everything. Orton sets up a Super RKO but Shawn claws his way out. He gouges Randy's eyes. again. Shawn hits the elbow. HBK collapses trying to deliver the Sweet Chin Music and the ref calls it off. Randy hits an RKO as the ref helps Shawn to his feet. We get a long segment of Shawn being loaded onto a stretcher.
No rating, great segment
Great Khali and Runjin Singh interview: Bad. Khali has stolen Cena's belt, which marks two belt stealing storylines tonight. Khali doesn't sound like he's speaking a language. Runjin's delivery is super dry here.
The Hardys (c) vs Cade and Murdoch
Michael Cole and JBL are on commentary for this match because one of the three guys is on Smackdown . Cade and Murdoch have turned babyface and JBL is ranting about it, and he sounds like he's already lost his voice.. They do moves. Jeff clobbers the snot out of Cade with an elbow. Cade and Murdoch have momentum until they don't. They then powder out but roll back in the ring. Jeff misses a suicide dive and the rednecks take control. More stiff double teams. Murdoch does a Canadian Destroyer for a two. Michael Cole accuses JBL of breaking the rules on Wall Street. The Hardys win. This was a great tag team match
Post match:: Cade and Murdoch shake the Hardys' hands.
Edge video package: Edge wins the Money in the Bank from Mr.Kennedy and cashes in on Undertaker, this all happened in two weeks. Because Edge and Ozzy Osbourne were in the package this was great.
Edge (c) vs. Batista
I remember reading Batista or Edge was working injured, so I took this opportunity live to go to the bathroom. We get referee instructions. Edge stalls forever until Batista powers him into a corner. Edge works the injured leg and the arm. Batista fires up and counters a spear with a spear of his own. Edge rolls up Batista immediately after a Spinebuster? The hell was this finish?
MVP vs Chris Benoit (c) theme
The story of the match is that MVP knows how to counter all of Benoit's moves, as well as working over the leg of Benoit which is injured. We get a brilliant Playmaker countering an Electric Chair for the first fall. Benoit has some truly great flourishes selling wise here (selling his leg after blocking an Irish Whip by hooking the ropes, holding on to MVP's leg to prevent any strikes while he is in the Tree of Woe). A "This is boring" chant and I've never been more ashamed to be from Saint Louis. MVP torques the knee before a rollup to win.
This was a GREAT, beautiful match. Benoit and MVP conducted this match like an old school, technical fight Harrowing to think Benoit would be dead three weeks later.
Great Khali vs John Cena video package: GREAT. Khali destroyed Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Edge, all of whom had wrestled for the title at the previous PPV, Backlash, and then destroyed Cena. Jim Ross says we might want to say a prayer for John Cena at Judgement Day, so naturally we get "Our Father" spliced over Khali footage. The Catholic part of my soul marked out for this. I now understand why I was a Khali mark
That being said It , between a tale of the tape, and long entrances, they are VERY clearly stalling so Khali has to work as little time as possible
John Cena (c) vs The Great Khali
We start with a staredown and Khali raising his arms, and it hit me this is just Taker vs Giant Gonzales at Wrestlemania 9 except Cena will bump better. Jim Ross is working his ass off on commentary, telling us that on a big guy like Khali, basic wrestling maneuvers are super effective. Khali gets a 2 1/2 count on a clothesline, a headbutt, and throwing Cena into the steel steps. And the crowd is INTO IT. Cena comes back and hits a Throwback on a kneeling Khali and it looks like it spikes him. Cena does a bad job of doing the "jump up out of a kickout" sell . Khali hits a Harlem Side Kick on a running Cena which caught me so off guard I audibly screamed when I saw it. Cena dropkicks the steps into Khali's leg which sets up the STFU for the win. I know for next month's PPV they would say that Khali's leg was under the ropes, but the commentators don't call this.
Hindsight aside, I would point to this match as an example of Cena being much better than he got credit for. With any of the other top guys in WWE in history, this would've been a dud, but Cena worked his ass off.
Looking at the feuds featured here, only one actually concluded here (Benoit vs MVP), with most of the card setting up for One Night Stand and beyond. So this is basically a Saturday Night's Main Event people paid money for. That said, even though the show was mostly good, this is entirely skippable, unless you want to see Benoit's last great match.