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June 21, 2010

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.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 4:36 AM | | Comments (47)


The decision to put the title on Mysterio is just mind-boggling. This is one guy who wasn't even supposed to be in the match. The only way he got it was by injuring the guy who was supposed to be in it, and that after injuring another guy 2 days prior. Then they reward him by putting the world title on him? This just sucks. Mysterio needs surgery, why didn't they leave the title on Swagger or give it to one of the other uninjured guys?

That being said, I liked the rest of the show and especially liked the crowd... They were LOUD when it came to the Cena chants, good or bad, and cheering for Jericho is always great.

regarding the divas championship:
"Now if Kim had won, that would have been a shock."

I'm assuming you're in agreement with me that a: she was never slated to win, and b: she was the person in the ring most deserving to win, but WWE doesn't work on the basis of "respect" or "ability". Oh, and C: "that would have been a wonderful shock"

RESPONSE FROM KE: All of the above.

I can't believed I missed this,I was interested when J.R said that there would be something to watch for on his Twitter account. Word on the street is Jericho is on a losing streak because he's taking a game hosting job at ABC in the fall and he doesn't mind losing because he's on his way out and has nothing to prove.

Hey Kevin,

Qucik question, why do WWE put on the so called "weak matches" in the next to last spot. I would have thought the weaker matches should be earlier in the card ?

RESPONSE FROM KE: It's basically a chance to catch their breath before the main event.

"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."
No mentioning of the Bryan Danielson chants at the end of the show? Best thing of the PPV for me!

RESPONSE FROM KE: I must be the only person that didn't hear it.

Too much talking, not enough good wrestling, and an early finish time totally tanked this PPV. I think the concept PPV idea has run it course, especially when you have Fatal 4 Way matches on free TV beforehand. Hopefully by SummerSlam they'll figure s**t out......................

I'm thinking Sheamus and the NXT rookies will be teaming up. That's why he won they way he did. On the other hand, isn't HHH coming back soon (and their fued will go on)?

As for the Undertaker, I still believe it's Kane who took his "own" brother out.

Kev, if this was TNA, you would have ripped this apart, P*ss poor pay per view, made Swagger look ridiculous and why the Ray Mysterio push? Just didn't get this one...

I think the NXT rookies are ruining the show. Not only Raw but the 2nd season of NXT. I realize calling a wrestling show a "reality show" is weird, but all the 1st season rookies can't get a WWE contract.

first off let me say i have been following your blog for a few months now here in the uk and always find them a great read. I felt fatal four way was a dissapointing ppv with 2 ropey title changes and a rehash of the finish to raw from 2 weeks ago, luckily it was free on sky sports here as i would have been even more dissapointed if i paid to watch it.

Hey Kevin,
Do you think that Sheamus' title win means that Triple H might be coming back soon. Seems like a natural rivalry.

Swagger now goes down as one of the worst-booked, least credible champs in memory. How many big wins did he have? The only one I can think of is the three-way with Edge and Jericho. Classic case of the WWE putting the title on a guy, cutting his knees out from under him, then pulling the belt off him because he's not over as the champ.

No problem with Shemus as the champ, though. He's done a lot to build up his cred since his awful first title run. I suspect he retains against Cena in the rematch, then drops the belt to the returning HHH at SummerFest. Thus they get the title back on Hunter without having him go through Cena.

Wonder if the WWE will finally decide it's time to turn Jericho face, or just chalk it up to the usual contrary NYC crowd. BTW, Kev, how could you not mention the crowd chanting "Daniel Bryan" several times, including as the show was going off the air?

Are you sure these were Fatal Fourways? From your recap, it looks like Big Show and Orton didn't contribute to their matches at all. I see their names in your headers, but they aren't mentioned in the recap.

In some of the live fan reports it was stated that the crowd was chanting "Daniel Bryan" at points, could that be heard on TV?

So Sheamus gets ANOTHER cheap title win? If this is how they're gonna push this guy as champ, no one will ever look at this guy as a "real" champ. BTW--is anyone else expecting Chris Jericho to be running the NXT rookies behind the scenes? With his recent losing streak it seems he's likely to snap and do something nuts like oh I don't know..smash a chair against a ring posts 400 times like in WCW!!

While I seriously doubt that Evan Bourne/Chris Jericho would have added any pay-per-view buys (and Harts/Usos even less), I believe a 7-match card would generate more buys than a 5-match card, period.

Granted, my only basis for this complaint is that when you see that only five matches are booked, you get a fear that the show will end 30 minutes early, which is what happened, so maybe WWE did its buyers a favor.

I hope the buyrate is extremely low for this event, it deserves it!

And the WWE wonders why its buyrates are plummeting. Hey, guys, a couple of guidelines for future PPV booking:

-- Don't end your two biggest matches with the same gimmick. Show a little creativity. And preferably, have PPV matches end with a clear winner.

-- Storylines should come to dramatic conclusions or take significant turns in PPVs. You have to provide unique, compelling content to get people to shell out forty or fifty bucks. A lot of FFW seemed to be aimed at promoting the free shows, rather than the other way around. Big mistake.

To anyone who reads the Internet dirtsheets, as well as the far more impartial opinion blog (Kev, it's sad how your stated opinions are less baised than the faux reporting those kids do on the dirtsheets), were you as highly amused as I was reading that report from JR's blog about shocking surprises to happen at the pay-per-view?

Hilarious! It sounded as though we should be taken off-guard when the same things we had seen on TV over the past several weeks were rehased on pay-per-view (NXT invasion, Drew vs. Long, Rey pinning Jack Swagger).

Last night was the first WWE live event I have been to in more then six years. Overall I thought the show was okay. My fiancé was surprised that she actually enjoyed the show. She is not much of a wrestling fan and was not sure what to expect.

There were some points were it dragged including the Miz vs R Truth match and the six person tag match. Jericho clearly had the support of the crowd and was getting cheers from several different sections. The crowd was almost 50/50 on Cena.

The Smackdown Fatal Four Way might have been the most entertaining match. The crowd loved Big Show’s dominance in the early going, especially when he picked Mysterio up by the head and lifted him back into the ring.

In a match that lasted just over five minutes Zack Ryder beat MVP in with the Low Ryder in the dark match.

So who is behind the NXT Rookies?

I think it is Triple H.

A heel turn is long overdue for him and this would give him the kind of heat he hasn't had in years.

Hi Kevin - Haven't responded in awhile --- but continue reading your great reports/comments - thanks --- I haven't really, fully watched in a few weeks now - this whole NXT has totally turned me off - but anyway, I did catch a few minutes of Friday night with Drew/Teddy and was even more turned off.

But reason I assume Sheamus won (not that I think he deserves it) but if the rumors of Triple H returning at SummerSlam are correct, don't you think that's setting up another championship for Triple H? He'll come back for "revenge" ?!!? Keep up the great blogs...

I almost wonder if Jericho is getting ready for a face-turn. The crowd reaction to him has been better and better in recent weeks, and he's been moving on to more reasonable complaints as opposed to just flat-out whining.

how do you not mention the fact that, a "Daniel-Bryan" chant ended the PPV??? do you pay attention to anything?

Kevin, please clarify the term "scripted entertainment." Does that mean I can't spontaneously body slam you when we finally meet inside the ropes?

RESPONSE FROM KE: You don't want any part of this.

Honestly, this PPV was hot garbage. It started off great...and then disappointed at the end. And the format was silly.

If your PPV is titled "Fatal Fourway"...EVERY MATCH SHOULD BE ONE!!! Why have the IC title match on Raw? Why have Kofi vs Drew by itself (the storyline was great...but the same thing could have been done with 2 other wrestlers at a faster pace. That pace made it look like Kofi was either made of jello or Drew's move can literally knock people out)

Why put the belt on Rey? I understand popularity wise and merchandise wise...but CM Punk storyline wise would have been purely awesome

IN FACT, WHY EVEN HAVE THE TITLE OF SWAGGER??? HE ALWAYS LOSES!!!! And even when he wins, it's not convincing.

And the main event...lawd....everyone could see that coming a mile away. I predicted that finish! I just thought Shaemus would pin someone other than Cena so once again it could be as if he didn't "beat" Cena.

What I'm typing is that I streamed this PPV for a reason. The reason being that I'm not a sucker. Come on WWE...surprise me! And when you do, do it for more than 1 week!

That wuz the best WWE PPV i have ever seen and it was worth ordering. The Whole night i did not see one match that was terrible because the IC title match was fun, the Divas match was good, the Bourne/Jericho match was entertaining, The World title match lived up to da hype, The U.S Title Match was intense, I liked the 6-Person Match and the main event was really good.

Hello Kevin
Thanks for writing in this great blog.

My favorite match was BigShow, Swagger, Punk and Rey even though i didnt like the ending.

I was satisfied that Cena didnt retain the title, I mean WWe, come on, why does he have the longest and most repeated shots at the title?

Sheamus might not be the best to win, but i still think it's better to have a new champion with a different character.

I have few questions about some guys,
- Regarding R-truth, where do you think he is going? I mean should they turn him into a heel just so that he can get another push? or that's it? R-truth has been there for a while, then went to TNA, and now back here, do you think he can go anywhere as a face?

- Evan is a great performer and I like his moves, but will he be another Rey being the underdog and stuff like that?

- When i was watching, i thought everything about Swagger except a world heavy weight champion. Why is WWE doing that?

Thanks and regards.

Hey Egypt,
Great predictions on the PPV. Your batting average is just a shade below the Orioles. Remind me to never let you read my palm.


How can WWE advertise Jack Swagger as World Heavyweight Champion coming to various Australian venues in August if he lost the belt to Mysterio last night?

RESPONSE FROM KE: Anything WWE advertises in advance like that is always subject to change.

Just to know Peter Schmuck follows this is more than I could have imagined. I wonder if C-IV is aware of this. Not to mention Sherry Elliker.

i think it would be great if HHH took undertaker out. setting them up for wrestlemania next year.

The rumors that Mysterio might be retiring could be a reason to give one of the WWE's most popular performers (among the casual fans who make up the bulk of the crowd, not the die hards who read the blogs) for one last major push could be the reason behind him getting the title.

Maybe one last run, goes out in a loser-leaves-town match against CM Punk at Summer Slam?

Not One Match Over 20 Minutes Come On!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm starting to think this is scripted.

Kev, I didn't see the PPV, but the "Daniel Bryan" chants are pretty easy to hear in this Youtube video:

I've no problem with Sheamus winning the title simply because the other three as champions have been done to death.

Not comfortable with Swagger losing the belt (or Mysterio gaining it).
Swagger as champion was fresh, young and interesting.
Mysterio as champion will appeal to 7yo's but that's about what the interest dies.

Rapt to see The Miz back with the belt and not disappointed to see R-Truth's push cease.
I like Ron Killings in the ring but that gimmick is incredibly lame and the quicker they're forced to give it an edge, the better.

Normally i'd be disappointed to see Gail Kim not get the title given she's got more talent than the rest of the Divas combined but Alicia Fox is the exception because i could watch her all day.

I have no problem with Sheamus going over as I felt he has done everything asked of him and then some with a rather generous push. Again, the same guys who plead with the powers that be to push new stars are the same guys who complain when said star goes over.

As far as Rey going over, perhaps this was a 'thank you' by the WWE to Rey for cancelling his vacation to replace the Undertaker?

Overall, this was an underwhelming pay-per-view in terms of the surprises and follow up that was advertised. Upsets? Yes. Shockers? Not so much.

I also didn't appreciate the theme of overbooking, namely in the two world title matches and the IC title match.

In not advertising all the matches is WWE trying to encourage buy rates because of the chance you might get to see something you weren't planning on?

Years ago, for the house shows, the TV ads and interviews only plugged the 'bigger' matches so you were never certain who might show on the undercard. Sometimes you got pleasantly surprised and others . . . was that Sal Bellomo vs. Rene Goulet match really needed?

this ppv was surprising.! Why didnt they let jeyuso win?? Thanks for the 411 u give on ur blog!

what do you make of the top 25 intercontinentel champions wwe hast just put up on their website?

RESPONSE FROM KE: Seems pretty random.

I am quite happy to see mysterio as a world champion again. The work he has done and entertained people, his every fan wished him to have some bigger achievement and he made it

Overall average ppv with some surprises . Kev i do have a question for you.
Your dislike of Sheamus, i understood it when he first became champion but now he has established some credibility.
He isnt bad on the mic nor is his ring work bad at all and his gimmick isnt the same old as everyone elses. So my question is why do you dislike him so much, it seems like you are determined to dislike him?

RESPONSE FROM KE: I don't think he's horrible; I just don't see him as a top guy. To me, he doesn't have "it."

I'm hoping (against hope) that the new RAW general manager turns out to be Bryan Danielson. Although I've seen that he's advertised on several indy cards.

Also, FWIW, San Diego has a RAW house show on Aug 7th. The advertised main event is Sheamus v. John Cena for the bel...ah, championship. All I gotta say is...AGAIN???

I used to watch wrestling when Hulk and Savage ruled the WWF. Now I have started again during the last year as my kids have gotten interested but I find todays WWE, well, dumb and frustrating and unsatisfying.
Ray M winning the heavyweight Championship is a joke. The guy is a midget. Real combative sports have weight divisions for a reason. Ray M would be killed by Swagger if this was legit. WWE just loses credibility and any level of believability putting the belt on Ray.
And why can't we just have 1vs1 championship fights. When did all of this four way and triple threat stuff come into vogue. I remember the days you actually had to pin the champ or make him submit to win the belt. The way the belts change hands now are just stupid.

In the Diva match I did not expect Gail Kim to win ... she has not worked any live events in the last two weeks, she lost to Alicia the last time on Superstars, a week ago Monday she stood on the apron and did not participate in a Diva Tag match, and last night with every other Raw Diva being used (with the exception of Melina who is injured) Gail Kim was nowhere to be seen ... Gail Kim win? .. hardly ... and that is the saddest part of any WWE PPV.

NXT mastermind is Ted Dibiase or Paul H. of ECW or HHH & HBK

Thanks for putting up the clip of the Daniel Bryan chants. I missed that watching the PPV.

1) Natalya's finishing move is awful

2) Why do the NXT guys always turn up in their gear? They should be in street clothes. I keep thinking that it's a mssive leap in logic that a bunch of guys in gear can sneak into a stadium. Did they drive to the stadium in their gear? Or change in the car? Am I over-thinking this?

How is it that easy for them to get into the stadium! Security is terrible! lol

I could have sworn that when Jericho came out he was going to turn face, saying that he needed the Jericholics or something

Wishing for the return of y2j!!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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