When hopping into the TWM Time Machine it can be quite instructive to compare what you see with the WWE today.
For instance, the dark match that we DON’T see on this broadcast pits R-Truth against CM Punk and who would have guessed back then that out of those two it would be Truth who would be a regular face on WWE Television nine years later and Punk would be the one who, for all intents and purposes is “finished” with wrestling? Mind you it’s also interesting to note that his loss here in a dark match was presumably due to him being in the “bad books” with management (he was so many times that I forget what this one was for) and it’s fair to say there’s not many in the world deeper in the WWE “bad books” at this moment in time.
Nine years on Drew McIntyre is once again seen as one to watch in terms of his upper-card prospects; DX are still floating about on a nostalgia cloud and Randy Orton and The Big Show are still doing the same old same old. Mickie James is still around, and despite the women’s “evolution” the “she’s fat” storylines that permeated the division back then can still be seen to a certain degree in more recent times (see Alexa/Nia). We’ve also done any number of “brand extension” changes from having one to not having one to having separate PPV’s back to all shows on all, erm, shows like we had here. With the exception of even the WWE’s version of ECW long having died a death, of course. And there’s still the same old WWE booking of “it’s *INSERT MONTH HERE* so lets have a gimmick match” instead of organically working towards grudge matches.
But after all that preamble, is the show worth a look in 2018? For the large part the answer is yes.
Things kick off with an ECW Title Ladder match between Christian and Shelton Benjamin. Whilst it can be difficult watching Christian in matches of this nature given the injuries they caused him and tag team partner Edge, this is a quality opener. Benjamin was one of those solid mid-card guys who could have gone higher but was never really given the chance to shine; you could argue that despite his bigger success in WWE you could say the same about Christian. Still, this was a strong match which still holds up today.
The Intercontinental Title match between champion John Morrison and Drew McIntrye could have been a moment that the challenger would have looked back on in the years to come as a real turning point in his career. After all, he was Vince McMahon’s chosen one on screen around this time. Hindsight shows that McIntryre would have to travel the world and make a name for himself elsewhere before coming back to the WWE (and let’s face it, for all his current push in 2018 the WWE still have plenty of time to curtail it) and having a genuine shot at real glory. He would probably admit that this push came too soon for him and this is a decent enough match that never really shows the fire that you would have liked to have seen from two people who theoretically had a chance for career advancement in 2009.
Michelle McCool and Mickie James, in a feud that largely was built around McCool calling James fat, is perhaps a lot better than you might imagine if you’ve been force fed the lineage that the WWE neglected their women terribly in years past. I mean they did, of course, but this was an eight minute match in the middle of a feud (as much as the reasons for the feud left a bad taste) which actually has things like storylines, psychology and decent action in it. It’s not great but James can work, McCool could be somewhat carried and there’s been plenty worse in the name of Women’s Wrestling in the WWE over the years.
Sheamus tackles John Cena in a Tables match for the WWE Title next. This was one of those “we can’t be bothered building someone up, so we’ll just arbitrarily push them to the main event and hope for the best” pushes that rarely ever work. And however Sheamus got over in years to come, let’s not pretend that this match and title win had anything much to do with it. The best I can say is that with the Tables stipulation in play we were spared the usual Cena “routine” but even his shock loss here had limited value as he appeared to throw himself through the table for Sheamus to get the win and his first World Title. Shockingly enough, that match was probably better than the World Heavyweight Title Chairs match between The Undertaker and Batista. Perhaps my dislike of the match is largely due to the “Dusty Finish”, where Chairs are legal in the match but low-blows aren’t, but overall it’s a lukewarm brawl that never really gets going.
Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston can’t really follow the star power of the previous match and they have a decent but ultimately forgettable match that Orton wins. Plus ca change. The main event is a ladder match between JeriShow and DX for the Unified Tag Team titles. It’s a fun match and features the requisite big bumps (some of which look particularly nasty) and whether by design or great work there are some great spots that work around a broken ladder. It ends a good show on a high note.
Despite my thoughts going in to this, it’s not a bad show at all. Perhaps it lacks a real killer match to elevate it into a better show, but there’s plenty of enjoyment and action and most things on the show (at least in terms of at the time, rather than looking back at it) had a meaning and a point and were trying to achieve things. That’s not something you get every time out nine years later!