The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Cyber Sunday: Recap & Analysis
The Kingfish Arnie Katz tells you what happened at WWE’s most interactive pay per view – and why!
Here’s what went on at Cyber Sunday and what it might mean:
Jack Korpella continues to do a serviceable job as the sole host of the “Free-for-All.” A replay of the very exciting Triple Threat match from ECW involving the three potential opponents for Matt Hardy added interest.
The Kingfish Comments: This did a good job of revving up fans for the pay per view. The addition of the match, which was probably new to most Cyber Sunday subscriber, added a lot of interest. It also helped that they didn’t rerun each video three times. TNA could do well to follow this example.
The opening video showed short interview clips with a wide range of WWE stars, both babyface and heel. The first batch of clips had all of them disdaining the vote. The second batch had them realize he impact the card could have on their careers and begging fans to vote.
The Kingfish Comments: The video shows how slipshod implementation can sabotage even a very good concept. The copy for the wrestlers just didn’t do the job and it came off as confusing – and maybe just a little dumb.
Michael Cole welcomed fans to Phoenix’s US Airways Arena.
After Rey Mysterio’s entrance, Tod Grisham announced that fans had voted for “No Holds Barred” as the stipulation for the Masked Man’s match against his nemesis Kane.
Rey Mysterio d. Kane
Fans pick the Stipulation
The Story: Ever since Rey Mysterio returned from injury, Kane has had the Masked Marvel in his deadly sights. This time, though, the fans will determine the ground rules for another of their confrontations.
My Prediction: My choice for stipulation is No Holds Barred, but its far from a cinch to win the vote. If it does win, Mysterio gets to do the 619 and might even come away with a win.
The other viable choice is, I guess, two out of three falls. If so, Kane and Mysterio will split the first two falls only to have the Big Red Machine resort to a weapon during the third stanza to force a DQ.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: Mysterio smeared Kane with an out-of-ring Dive and then targeted the Big Red Machine’s tender knees with a kendo stick. When he tried to use a trash can lid, Kane bashed in right back at him!
Kane tossed his foe to the outside. He choked him with an electrical cable and then tried to bend Mysterio’s body around the ring post in a direction it plainly didn’t want to go.
Kane shook the ring with a Bodyslam and then rocked it again with a Legdrop, but it didn’t add up to a three count.
Kane dealt Rey a Backbreaker and then held him in the across-the-knee position to add to the pain. Mysterio punched his way out before he had to submit.
Mysterio hit a Wheelbarrow to a Huracanrana. It didn’t lead to a cover, but it did give the smaller man a much-needed breather. He draped Kane across the center rope, but Kane caught him rushing across the ring with a Clothesline that nearly decapitated the San Diego native.
Mysterio Dropkicked a chair back into Kane’s face and then hit a Tilt-a-Whirl maneuver that put Kane on his back. A Legdrop with chair assist only got a two-count. Kane caught Mysterio coming off the top with a right to the jaw, but the cover didn’t turn into a pin.
The Big Red Machine wanted to fire Mysterio into the ring steps he’d brought inside the ropes. The more agile Mysterio reversed with a Leg Trip that propelled Kane’s face into the steps! It didn’t hurt his looks – what could? – but it surely didn’t make his day, either.
Mysterio connected with four chairshots. Kane attempted a Chokeslam that Mysterio reversed into a Huracanrana. The Masked Marvel then connected on a 619 and then finished things off with the West Coast Pop.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: The fans made the exact right choice, and not just because it was my prediction. Kane and Mysterio are the best big man/small man feud since the days of Randy Savage versus Hulk Hogan.
They showed several of the costumed Divas. Candice Michelle made a very cute Marilyn Monroe, but Katie Lea Burchill was even more alluring as a vampire.
Chris Jericho went to Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Mannu to ask them to back his play during the title match against Batista.
Rhodes told the champion that they didn’t plan to do his dirty work and wished him luck for his match.
The Kingfish Comments: Rhodes and DiBiase aren’t going to turn face in the near future, I don’t think, but this scene shows that they have potential as babyfaces, should the need arise. The scene itself was a clever way to inform fans that the trio would not help Jericho hang onto the belt.
Tod Grisham introduced Teddy Long and his assistant Tiffany. The ECW General Manager then brought out Matt Hardy, the defending champion.
Evan Bourne won a landslide victory in the fan poll with 69% of the vote,
The Kingfish Comments: This is a tremendous personal triumph for newcomer Evan Bourne. He is awfully small, though, and that could present a problem if WWE wants to move him up to RAW or Smackdown as a singles wrestler. His best role might be as the smaller half of a tag team, which would allow him to do his terrific high spots and then turn it over to the power guy to finish things.
Matt Hardy vs. ?
The Story: Matt Hardy finally climbed the mountain and won the ECW title. Now fans will decide whether he should continue his feud with Henry, have a match with the serviceable Finlay or give Bourne a chance to work in a championship situation.
Prediction: I didn’t have a strong conviction about whom the fans would choose, though Evan Bourne would be a breath of fresh air. In the final analysis, though, I’m not sure it matters whether Matt meets Mark Henry, Finlay or Evan Bourne. He should hold onto the title in a well-fought match against either Bourne or Finlay – and keep it in a less exciting contest against Henry if the World’s Strongest Man gets the fans’ vote.
Predicted Grade: B+ (vs. Bourne), B- (vs. Finlay) or D (vs. Henry)
The Actual Match: After a lot of seesaw chain wrestling, Bourne got the match rolled with a Standing Moonsault. It didn’t get a pin, but it signaled fans that these men would be banking everything on big, high-risk moves.
When Bourne hopped on the middle rope for a Springboard, Hardy rocketed him out of the ring to a collision with the outer barrier. Hardy hit a Flying Forearm and then applied an Abdominal Street. , Evan powered out of the predicament. When Hardy attempted his version of The Last Ride, Bourne turned it into a Huracanrana! Both men went down hard!
Bourne scored with a flurry of punches, but Matt pulled off a Side Effect that came close to getting the pinfall. Bourne survived a second Side Effect and stunned the ECW Champion with a Heel Kick!
Bourne climbed to the top. Hardy tried to follow, but Bourne threw him back down to the mat. When Air Bourne went for the Shooting Star Press, however, he hit nothing but canvas! When Hardy went for a Twist of Fate again, Bourne blocked it. He couldn’t keep that up for long; Hardy tried, and succeeded, the third time. The pin followed quickly.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: The heat was minimal, as it always is when two faces meet with no personal issue at stake, but it served as a showcase for Evan Bourne. He should do very well in ECW, which has smaller men.
WWE treated fans to a look at some more Diva costumes. Kelly Kelly was adorable as a sailor and who could resist Maria as a pink bunny?
Tod Grisham announced the winner of the tag team vote. Rhodes/DiBiase vs. Kingston/Punk came within a few percentage points of victory. Cryme Tyme versus Miz/Morrison got 38% of the vote.
The Miz & John Morrison d. Cryme Tyme
Fans Pick the Tag Team Match
The Story: There are three tag team feuds simmering in WWE. This gives the fans a chance to see one play out in the ring.
My Prediction: Rhodes and DiBiase versus Kingston and Punk would certainly give the best match of the three pairings. Assuming that the mixed tag team option is the guaranteed third-place finisher it looks to be, the only other legitimate possibility would be Cryme Tyme versus The Miz and John Morrison.
Placing my faith in the marks who bombard WWE with votes, I’m going to predict that we’ll see the Second Generation Nation against the hottest babyface tag team in the promotion. If that’s the match, the babyfaces will win, but not get the title. WWE may simply make this a non-title match. It should end in a way that leads to a championship showdown on the next pay per view.
Predicted Grade: B
The Actual Match: Cryme Tyme took dead aim at The Miz, whom they felt was the weaker of their two rivals. They did some effective double teaming and nearly gained a victory shortly after the opening bell.
The heels went to work on JTG and have the smaller Cryme Tymer a taste of his own medicine. Their Double Back Elbow delivered quite a message!
Shad and JTHG threw the heels out of the ring. Then big Gaspar picked up his sidekick and hurled him at the heels like a guided missile!
A little distraction gave the heels a chance to deal JRG some serious punishment. The big move was a Rib Cracker (a reverse across-the-knee Backbreaker).
Shad cleaned house with Clotheslines and big boots before scoring with a Face Plant and a Clothesline. His cover fell short of the mark.
While the referee looked at JTG, Miz attacked Shad Gaspar from behind! Morrison’s Midnight Ride paved the way for the winning cover.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish Comments: The fact that fans chose this match shows the power of the Internet in today’s big-time pro wrestling. This feud began online and most of its big moments have happened there. The teams delivered a fine, hard-fought match that certainly leaves room for sequels.
The crowd is now solidly behind Cryme Tyme. They chanted “Money, Money, Yeah, Yeah” loud and long during this one.
Another group of costumes put smiles on the faces of most of the hetero men (and gay women). Bree Bella was a sensuous Cleopatra and Tiffany’s Slutty Nun will no doubt figure in many dreams.
Rod Grisham exhorted fans to vote for the stip in the Undertaker-Big Show match.
Buttonholing Mike Adamle in his office, Chris Jericho whined and threatened to absolutely no effect.
The Kingfish Comments: Please, please, stop plucking this one-string song. Even the most befuddled fan now surely knows that Jericho wants to be protected. It’s time to either take the next step or try something else.
It should be said at this juncture that the craven cringing doesn’t fit with Chris Jericho’s character. He’s twisted and remorseless, but he is also fairly brave. His gigantic ego should make it impossible for him to consider any challenger a serious threat. His character does much better when he is calling the shots as opposed to crying about his hard luck.
Chris Jericho begged Great Khali to help him. The Punjabi Playboy gave a long answer, which his aide translated as, “No!”
When Santino Morella came out for his segment, Beth Phoenix was wearing her regular outfit rather than her Gladiator Halloween costume.
Santino showed the meter. He pointed out that in one week and a year, he would be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time.
Morella called Phoenix “the has-been capital of the world” and specifically mentioned Randy Johnson and “Shazam O’Neal.” It turned out that the Giant Aristotle was at ringside, which caused Santino to backpedal a little.
The poll picked Honky Tonk Man by a percentage point over Roddy Piper.
Honky Tonk <am came to the ring to tell Santino that he can’t sing and dance and will, therefore, never be the Honky Tonk Man’s peer even if his reign as Intercontinental Champion lasts 10 years.
He called for his music and started to dance. Morella’s attempt to show that he had the moves, too, drew only derisive laughter from the arena fans. Santino cheap-shotted HTM and the actual match began.
Honky Tonk Man d. Santino Marella via DQ
The Story: Santino Morella keeps showing that count-down clock and proclaiming himself the greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time. The fans will select one of three former IC Champions to try to prove him wrong.
Mt Prediction: The logical, obvious choice for Santino’s opponent is Honky Tonk Man. If the fans select Honky, this will be more of a comedy spot than a real match.
If it’s Golddust, he’ll job to Santino in a short match. If Roddy Piper gets the nod, Santino will do something to get himself disqualified.
If Beth Phoenix is at ringside for this match, she will do something with the opponent, perhaps even causing them to lose.
Predicted Grade: C
The Actual Match: Just as it looked like Honky Tonk Man would score the upset victory, Beth Phoenix reached in and hooked his leg. The referee saw it and gave the match to Honky via Disqualification. Naturally, the title stays put.
As Santino Morella and Beth Phoenix trudged up the ramp, the other two options, Oldest and Roddy Piper, stopped their progress. They joined forces with Honky Tonk Man to dish out a little payback for all the insults that led up to the match.
Honky Tonk applied the Shake, Rattle and Roll. That would’ve presumably ended the match if the ref hadn’t already thrown it out because of Phoenix’s interference.
Actual Grade: N/A (See Comment)
The Kingfish Comments: As close as the vote was, you have to wonder if a lot of WWE employees did some last-minute voting to make sure that Piper fans didn’t derail the little comedy skit they had planned for this show.
There’s no grade, because there wasn’t a real match. Honky looked a little “old Elvis,” but he sort of did even back in the day. The match turned out to be just a minor detail in a long skit and so can’t be rated as if it were actually a wrestling match. It was at least a solid B as a non-wrestling spot. If they’d figured out a way to spare us that match, I’d probably have given it an even higher grade.
They showed another group of costumed Divas. Mickie James as Lara Croft was the best of this batch.
Tod Grisham introduced Vickie Guerrero, who came out in a wheelchair attended by Chavo Guerrero.
She revealed that 49% of the fans cast their ballots for Last Man Standing.
Jim Ross, with some politely unobtrusive help from Tazz, announced the rules of the Last Man Standing match.
The Kingfish Comments: This wasn’t Vickie’s best performance. She seemed to lose her way and gave the results a second time, after they had been announced and flashed on the screen.
Jim Ross flat-out blew the rules summary. He gave the wrong set of rules and Tazz had to zoom in to say that the winner would have to survive a 10 count, not score a pin or submission.
Maybe something was happening at the show that we viewers didn’t know about. It’s unusual for two slick perfo0rmers like Vickie and JR to make these kinds of fluffs.
Undertaker vs. Big Show
The Story: This bait-and-switch feud started as an outgrowth of Vickie Guerrero’s split from Edge. It has now turned into a trial of strength between two of the biggest men in WWE. Taker is known as a great striker, but Show gave him a taste of his own medicine on a couple of occasions. This time, the confrontation will be in a pay per view match – and the fans will set the stipulation!
My Prediction: The fans could louse up this feud by kicking a Knockout Match (unless it means that Gail Kim will finally arrive from TNA to be special guest referee).
Whether it’s an I Quit, as I think it will be, or a Last Man Standing, the man going home the winner will be Undertaker.
Possible Swerve Alert: If Michelle McCool wins the Diva match, it might mean that Taker is going to absorb a loss or that both men will fall down and not get up in a Last Man Standing match. The latter is a possible ending for that match even if McCool doesn’t win.
Predicted Grade: A- (C+ if a Knockout Match without Gail Kim)
The Actual Match: The opening portion of the match features a lot of striking. Undertaker seemed to get the best of the punch-out, but Big Show made the biggest statement when he knocked his adversary over the top rope into the ringside area.
Big Show stopped Undertaker cold with a Headbutt. He powered the Dead Man into the corner and battered him with rights and a few lefts, too. Show landed a Legdrop that started referee Charles Robinson’s count. When it reached “seven,” the Giant decided it wasn’t going to be a winner and jumped on Taker to deliver more punishment.
The two battled at ringside, where Big Show missed a chairshot only to have Undertaker knock him flat with a chairshot that solidly connected. Big Show hauled himself by using the edge of the ring to stop the count at “eight.”
Undertaker rose at “eight” after absorbing a hellacious Clothesline. Show did some very effective body punching, though Undertaker scored with a few haymakers upstairs. When both men went for Chokeslam, Taker rolled through into a DDT! Big Show got up at “nine,” but Undertaker rushed him with a barrage of stunning punches!
Undertaker fired Big Show into a turnbuckle and Clotheslined him on the rebound. That was good for another “nine” count. Show bought himself some time by sending his foe into a turnbuckle and then out of the ring against the steps.
They fought in the ringside area. Big Show started to clear an announce table, but he took so long that Taker booted a chair back into Big Show’s face! Big Show sent Undertaker through the table from the outer barricade. The Dead Man barely beat the count.
Big Show threw his foe back in to the ring. Undertake rose n unsteady legs while Big Show stalked his prey. Undertaker got a “seven” count against Big Show and then decided to go Old School. Show had him well scouted, though, and changed it into a Chokeslam. When Taker stood up, Big Show punched him right in the face with all his might! The Dead Man sat up at “five.”
As the Giant bent over the fallen Undertaker, the Phenom seized his Gogoplatz and ground away for all he was worth. Taker got to his feet in time, but the Giant didn’t. Undertaker wins the Last Man Standing match!
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: The close finish, which saw Undertaker rise a half-count faster than Big Show, could well lead to that I Quit match or something similar. Since they did well in a match that didn’t have a lot of fancy booking or swerves.
Chris Jericho went to Mike Adamle’s office to give the General Manager “one last chance” to scrap the stip on his match.
Adamle refused to be intimidated.
After an announcement of the close of voting, all the Divas came to the ring to prance a little in their costumes. They didn’t have each model in turn, which saved a lot of time.
Mickie James won the costume contest with her Lara Croft outfit.
The Divas got into a brief melee after the announcement.
The Kingfish Comments: It’s all a matter of individual taste, of course, but Mickie’s victory surprised me quite a bit. She had about the 10th best costume. Perhaps fans voted for the woman more than the costume.
Fans should also be grateful that the Divas had a Cluster Schmazz instead of a match. With so many non-workers among the 16 women that forcing them to wrestle might have led to tragedy – or unintentional comedy.
Fans voted for a renewal of Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H.
Triple H vs. ?
The Story: Fans will decide if Triple H will face both of his main challengers in a Threeway Dance or one of them in singles competition. Either way, the title is on the line and The Game figures to be highly motivated.
My Prediction:Most fans are probably willing to concede, however reluctantly, that Jeff Hardy won’t beat Triple H for the title. Yet I doubt that many of them are ready to buy a pay per view with Vladimir Kozlov at the top. The most likely winner is the Threeway Dance.
If that is the case, Triple H will win when Jeff Hardy scores a sensational move on Kozlov and Triple H follows up with a Pedigree.
If Kozlov gets a one-on-one match for the title, then he should win by a DQ so that The Games holds the title.
If the fans are misguided enough to pick Jeff Hardy, Triple H will dish out a Pedigree after a hard-fought match.
Predicted Grade: A- (for Threeway Dance), A (vs. Hardy), C+ (vs. Kozlov)
The Actual Match: After a chain wrestling stalemate, Hardy had some success keeping Triple H off-balance with his speed and a little leverage. The Enigma scored with a Back Elbow, but Triple H shoved him all the way to the outer barrier when he went to the top.
The Game introduced Hardy to a couple of ring posts at high speed. His cradle fell short of a pin.
Hardy worked over Triple H’s knee and then nearly gained victory with a Facebuster Front Suplex.
Triple H caught Hardy charging into a corner and laid him low with a Spinebuster. He couldn’t keep him there long enough, though.
The Game applied a Crossface. Hardy tried to inch to the ropes, but HHH yanked him back to the center of the ring. Jeff used amazing dexterity to morph this into a pinning predicament that compelled the champion to relinquish the hold.
The challenger got the better of a short tussle in the ringside area. He brought Triple H back into the ring and dished out two Whispers in the Wind! Hunter simply refused to let the pin take place!
Triple H countered a Twist of Fate and then Hardy did the same against the Pedigree! Triple H blasted out of a Roll-up with a bridge.
Jeff Hardy scored with the Twist f Fate, It didn’t end the match, so he executed the Swanton Bomb! When that wasn’t enough, he tried for a second Swanton, but Triple H raised his knees in time to give Hardy a rough and painful landing!
Hardy blocked another Pedigree and sent Triple H to the outside with an Enzuiguiri! Jeff connected with a Springboard that put Triple H flat on the mat.
Jeff Hardy pulled Triple H back inside the ropes. He went for yet another Swanton. This tie, The Game pulled him off the turnbuckle – and right into the Pedigree!
Triple H retained the belt and, once more, Jeff Hardy came within seconds of achieving his goal.
Actual Grade: A
The Kingfish Comments: The fans’ vote looks like a powerful repudiation of the way WWE has rushed Kozlov into the main event picture. The guy looked impressive at times, but he doesn’t have the reputation to hold a main event slot at this time.
This will presumably be Jeff Hardy’s last title challenge to Triple H for the foreseeable future. Jeff has now established himself as someone who falls short/ It will take a new element in his character or move repertoire to change that perception.
After the obligatory videos and ring entrances, Tod Grisham informed fans that 74% of voters selected Stone Cold Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee.
Chris Jericho v Batista
World Heavyweight Championship
<B<The Story: The World Heavyweight Championship is WWE’s ultimate prize. Batista feels, perhaps with some justice, that he is the true champion. This match could enable him to prove it. Fans will choose a Special Guest Referee who could very well be the decisive factor in this showdown for the gold.
My Prediction: Randy Orton may well interfere in this match to help Jericho retain the title, but fans are unlikely to vote him into the position with two such juicy alternatives.
I have predicted that the referee will be Shawn Michaels. If that is correct, then Shawn figures to help Batista. Still, their history offers room for a swerve; it is not impossible that Shawn will try to lay out both men with Sweet Chin Music.
If Austin is the special guest referee, look for Jericho to retain the title – and then take a Stone Cold Stunner.
Predicted Grade: A-
The Actual Match: Stone Cold showed clear partiality to Batista with some of the slowest counts ever recorded. The champion and the official argued constantly.
When Batista accidentally plowed into the Rattlesnake, Shawn Michaels charged into the ring to replace him. Jericho had The Animal ready to go and only HBK’s maneuver kept Chris from finishing the match.
When Michaels started to count a Batista victory, John Bradshaw Leyfield hauled him out of the ring before he could bring down his hand for the final time. Randy Orton took Michaels’ place, but the delay allowed Batista to escape.
Stone Cold got back into the ring and approached Orton from behind. When the third-generation wrestler turned to face him, Austin unloaded with a boot to the midsection and a Stone Cold Stunner!
When Stone Cold and Jericho got into an argument, Steve tried for a Stunner. Jericho pushed him off and he collided with a turnbuckle.
Batista hit a Spinebuster and then a BatistaBomb to set up the winning pin that made him the new World Heavyweight Champion!
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish Comments: The match came off a bit forced, mostly because it was overbooked. Having fans vote on a ref and then using all three (plus JBL) smacked of the old Firesign Theater bit about playing adventure games.
The player gets to a spot where an ominous voice commands him to choose, “Death or Chi Chi!” The player picks Death. The voice says: “You have chosen Death. But first, a little Chi Chi!”
The card came across pretty much as expected. There were some good matches and big moments, climaxed by Batista regaining the belt. Still, a lot of the choices given to fans didn’t add up to much in terms of the actual card.
Strangely enough, they never once mentioned the Intercontinental Championship Match, so I won’t either.
Predicted Overall Grade for Cyber Sunday: B-
Actual Overall Grade for Cyber Sunday: B
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then. It wouldn’t hurt to mention The Katz Files to your friends, either. The Kingfish could use a little word-of-mouth.
— Arnie Katz