Fatal Fourway thoughts
There were some good matches on WWE’s Fatal Fourway pay-per-view Sunday night, but the booking of the two world titles matches was questionable and ultimately the show came up short – literally.
The broadcast went off the air 25 minutes before the top of the hour. That’s nine minutes earlier than last month’s Over the Limit pay-per-view ended, and I thought that one should have gone a little longer. One of the advantages to being scripted entertainment and not a legitimate competition such as boxing or MMA is that you can time things out and make sure that paying customers get their money’s worth. There really is no excuse for a show ending this early.
Adding to my disappointment with Fatal Fourway is the fact that Sheamus and Rey Mysterio came out of it as the new WWE and world heavyweight champions, respectively.
No disrespect to Mysterio, but it would have been nice if Jack Swagger had been given a longer reign and thus more of a chance to get over as champion. As for Sheamus, well, I didn’t get it when WWE put the belt on him the first time back in December, and I still don’t get it.
If there is a positive spin to put on the two title changes I suppose it’s that the results were not predictable.
There were no revelations as far as the two big TV story lines. Vince McMahon came out at the beginning of the show to announce that Raw general manager Bret Hart was not there as a result of the limo attack on Raw, so there was no decision on whether the NXT rookies would get WWE contracts (the NXT guys did make their presence felt in the WWE title match, however). And we still don’t know who attacked The Undertaker and left him in a vegetative state, but Kane apparently believes CM Punk had something to do with it.
Two matches that were not announced on television or WWE’s website were added to the show: Evan Bourne versus Chris Jericho, and The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya) versus Jimmy and Jey Uso and Tamina. Why WWE didn’t advertise Bourne-Jericho I have no idea.
Here is a match-by-match look at the show:
Sheamus defeated WWE champion John Cena, Edge and Randy Orton in a fatal fourway match to win the title (17:25): WWE was really pushing hard the idea that it’s almost impossible for the champion to retain his title in a fourway, citing the fact that in a fourway on Raw Monday and two fourways on this show, titles changed hands every time. I mistakenly figured they were just setting up another “Cena-overcomes-insurmountable-odds” scenario. In a backstage interview before the match, Cena said that he and the three other participants in the match had an unspoken agreement that they would stand united if the NXT rookies attacked. At about the 16-minute mark, Wade Barrett and his crew stormed the arena and hit the ring. They attacked Cena and also went after Edge. In the midst of the chaotic situation, Sheamus snuck in the ring and scored a three count on the fallen Cena to win the championship, so he broke the unspoken agreement. Sheamus grabbed the title belt and ran away before the NXT guys could get their hands on him.
Rey Mysterio defeated world heavyweight champion Jack Swagger, The Big Show and CM Punk in a fatal fourway match to win the title (10:28): There was a lot of good action in this match, including a cool spot in which Swagger simultaneously belly-to-back-suplexed both Punk and Mysterio. At about the nine-minute mark, Kane came out and rolled a casket down to the ring. He went after Punk and tried to put him in the casket, but Luke Gallows made the save, and he and Punk ran to the back. Meanwhile in the ring, Mysterio hit the 619 and springboard splash on Swagger for the victory. By having Mysterio pin the champion on TV the past two weeks and then go on to win the title at the pay-per-view, WWE went against its usual booking practice. Putting the belt on Mysterio certainly wasn’t the original plan for this show. Mysterio had lost to The Undertaker in a Fatal Fourway qualifying match on Smackdown at the end of last month and the belief was that Mysterio was going to be taking some time off. However, The Undertaker suffered a broken orbital bone and a concussion in that match against Mysterio, and that changed everything.
Intercontinental champion Kofi Kingston defeated Drew McIntyre (16:29): This match got the show started on a high note and it ended up being my favorite match of the night. The TV story line with McIntyre and Smackdown general manager Teddy Long is resonating with fans, as there was a lot of heat on McIntyre and the crowd was solidly behind Kingston. McIntyre made his entrance before Vince McMahon had left the stage following his announcement about Bret Hart not being there, and the two shook hands and spoke briefly. That was a nice touch since we always hear how McIntyre is McMahon’s “chosen one,” but we never see them together. Before the match began, McIntyre called out Long and forced him to sit ringside so that Long could present him with the title belt after he won it. McIntyre kicked out of the SOS near the 13-minute mark, and there was a ref bump about 30 seconds later. McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT, but referee Charles Robinson was out cold. McIntyre called Long into the ring and took Robinson’s referee shirt off and made Long put it on. McIntyre covered Kingston and ordered Long to count the pin, but Long held up after slapping the mat twice. After berating Long, McIntyre went for another DDT on Kingston, but Matt Hardy, wearing street clothes, hit the ring and nailed McIntyre with the Twist of Fate. Kingston then hit Trouble in Paradise on McIntyre, and Long made the three count. I’m a little disappointed that WWE didn’t put the belt back on McIntyre since he finally seems to be getting over, but I’ll stop short of calling it a booking mistake until I see what happens with McIntyre on Smackdown this week.
U.S. champion The Miz defeated R-Truth (13:23): Miz concentrated his attack on R-Truth’s ribs/midsection and was in control for most of the match. R-Truth made a comeback and there were some good near falls toward the latter stages of the match before Miz countered a front rolling cradle and sat down on R-Truth for the pin. It was a decent match but there wasn’t much crowd heat. I wonder if this result signals that R-Truth's push is over already.
Evan Bourne defeated Chris Jericho (12:04): A match that wasn’t even advertised turned out to be one of the best on the show. The pacing and back-and-forth action reminded me of a WCW cruiserweight match back in the company’s heyday. This match was designed to get Bourne over as an underdog scoring the most impressive win of his career, but, unfortunately, the crowd didn’t play along, as the majority of the fans were cheering for Jericho. When Bourne made it to the ropes to break the Walls of Jericho around the halfway point of the match, the crowd booed. The finishing sequence saw Jericho twice thwart the Shooting Star Press by going for a superplex, but both times Bourne countered by knocking Jericho down to the mat. The second time, Jericho landed stomach-first. Bourne then hit the Shooting Star Press onto Jericho’s back, and he rolled him over for pin. As I have said before, I don’t know where Jericho’s losing streak is going, but the payoff had better be good.
Alicia Fox defeated WWE Divas champion Eve Torres, Gail Kim and Maryse in a fatal fourway match to win the title (5:42): This was a fast-paced match that wasn’t always smooth, but it wasn’t bad. After Eve hit a moonsault on Maryse, Fox tossed Eve out of the ring and pinned Maryse for the victory. I wasn’t really expecting Fox to win, but it didn’t shock me. Now if Kim had won, that would have been a shock.
The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd, David Hart Smith and Natalya) defeated Jimmy and Jey Uso and Tamina (9:29): The action was fine but the crowd wasn’t into it. Putting the match in the dreaded next-to-last spot on the card (the placement the Divas usually get) didn’t do them any favors. THD got the victory when Natalya hit a discus clothesline on Tamina after Tamina had missed a splash off the top rope. I’m a little surprised the Usos and Tamina didn’t win this first meeting between the groups.