After two months its time for another WWE DVD review, this time Unforgiven 2005, a DVD supplied by those beautiful people over at Silvervision. I first watched the PPV a day after it’s initial broadcast and found it to be quite enjoyable, but would I suggest you purchase the DVD? Let’s find out…
Length: 185 mins
- WWE Heavyweight Title Match
John Cena © vs. Kurt Angle
- Steel Cage Match
Edge (w/ Lita) vs. Matt Hardy
- WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Carlito © vs. Ric Flair
- World Tag Team Titles Match
Hurricane & Rosey © vs. Cade & Murdoch
- Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters
- Snitsky vs. Big Show
- Trish Stratus & Ashley vs. Victoria & Torrie Wilson (w/ Candice Michelle)
- Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White (w/ Golf Buggy)
The month was September, the year 2005, and the monthly Pay-Per-View was Unforgiven, taking place in Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, the home state of Jim Ross, who would be calling his last PPV for some time, he was fired in a storyline just weeks later. The build up for the PPV had been struggling due to new feuds being made and developed after Summerslam, and on paper the card didn’t look particularly exciting, with a few exceptions. The majority felt that the PPV’s success would depend mainly on the performance of the wrestlers competing. The most talked about match was probably Edge vs. Matt Hardy in a Steel Cage, following an anti-climactic match at SummerSlam, it would remain to be seen whether they could deliver one month later.
Highs and Lows
After the usual WWE video package and pyro display, and after we’ve been introduced to our announcers, we kick off the show with the Intercontinental Title being defended by Carlito against 16-time World Champion, but zero-time Intercontinental Champion, Ric Flair. The story of this match revolved mainly around a simple “newcomer disrespects veteran” angle that we see so often, yet works every time due to its simplicity and realism.
The match between the two is solid, if unspectacular due to the limitations of an ageing Flair and a learning Carlito. There are several funny moments, from Carlito choking on his apple, to Flair FINALLY hitting a move from the top rope after 30 years of trying. The standing ovation that one move got is a sight to behold. The match was good, but I was surprised at the decision to put it at the start of the show. Obviously they were hoping to build up the crowd early on, and by the sound of the crowd throughout the show, it worked.
From this match onwards as a result of the outcome of it, we get several skits involving Ric Flair, four girls, a limo, some champagne and some Viagra. A bit weird if anything, but the skits are generally funny, and Ric Flair acts brilliantly in them.
Our second match was Trish Stratus and RAW Diva Search winner Ashley taking on Victoria and Torrie. This match was built around the way Victoria, Torrie and Candice had been bullying Ashley since her arrival on RAW, until Trish returned from a five month lay-off through injury to give her some support. It also brought back the Women’s Title, which was looking pretty useless given the departure of Molly Holly and Gail Kim from the company, Christy Hemme and Stacy Keibler to SmackDown!, and Lita no longer being an active wrestler.
I’ve always been an advocate of women’s wrestling due to some people’s aspersions that women don’t belong inside the ring. Half of this match was pretty decent, half of it was pretty awful. It just so happens that the half that was good was when Trish Stratus was involved, and the other half was when Ashley was involved. The decision to put Ashley into the ring just weeks after she had won the Diva Search was heavily criticised, and she looked completely out of place throughout the match. It was difficult not to worry about her unintentionally injuring either her opponents or herself during the match, and she nearly did hurt herself when she went tumbling out of the ring. Trish however had no ring rust in her first match for five months, if anything she looked like she had improved. If you don’t like watching women wrestle, this isn’t one that’s going to change your opinion.
Big Show squared off against Snitsky in the traditional big man match that the WWE seem to have on every PPV nowadays. This match was built around Snitsky hitting Show with the ring bell twice for a reason that was never actually discovered. Show wanted revenge, and he got his opportunity in this match. Before the match began, Show greeted legendary rock group ZZ Top who had ringside seats for the show.
The match was pretty decent for two men with in-ring limitations, with some nice psychology being played out throughout, Snitsky working on the arm of Big Show in the hope he wouldn’t be able to Chokeslam him. Nobody was expecting much from the match, and it lived up to its expectations. Definitely not a dreadful match, but still fairly pedestrian. Snitsky giving Show a Back Suplex was definitely a very impressive spot however.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White, aka Chavo Guerrero followed next, and as a late addition to the card it was understandable that the crowd seemed fairly apathetic towards it, even more so given the ridiculous nature of Kerwin’s gimmick. The match was made following a RAW match between the two that finished with Kerwin being disqualified after hitting Shelton with a golf club. I believe it was a 9 iron.
The match is very difficult to get into as a viewer, partly down to the lack of atmosphere in the arena, partly because it had very little meaning behind it, but mainly because of the rather unprofessional announcing we got. The Coach, as great as an on-screen personality is, does tend to go too far in his digressions whilst commentating, this time going to the length of actually going over to the Spanish Announcers Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich, and we actually get three minutes of listening to the commentary in Spanish. Jim Ross to his credit tries to call the match whenever possible, but it’s difficult to hear him over Coach’s incessant reminders that Chavo Guerrero is now called Kerwin White. The in-ring stuff is certainly quite good, but is hampered by the lack of crowd interest, and Kerwin wrestling in khaki shorts.
From three rather sub-par matches we move up a gear with the much anticipated cage match between Edge and Matt Hardy. The build up behind this was electric, with a real-life affair between Edge and Lita moving into a storyline, Matt Hardy being released from the WWE, and then re-hired due to a HUGE internet campaign against the decision. The first match at SummerSlam was a let-down, as the match was stopped by the referee after Matt lost a lot of blood. Although many saw the reasons behind the booking of that match, another poor match at Unforgiven could have ruined one of the best storylines for some time.
And boy, do Edge and Matt deliver the awesome in this match. They seem to be legitimately beating each other to death at some points, and some of the bumps taken by both men throughout the match have to be applauded, such as Edge Powerbombing Matt off the top rope to the mat, and a Side Effect from the top rope by Matt on Edge, a nudge to three weeks earlier on RAW when Matt took Edge off the stage into the electrics with the same move. The end of the match features the biggest bump of them all, and I’ll stay silent on that so as not to spoil it. Definitely a superb match, I personally rank it is one of my favourites from 2005 as a whole.
Time for the Tag Team Titles to be defended, with the champions The Hurricane and Rosey taking on the rookie cowboy team of Cade & Murdoch. This match really was quite short, but featured something quite original. Murdoch gave Hurricane a SICK DDT from the ring to the outside, resulting in Hurricane spending the rest of the match lying in the same position whilst Rosey fought by himself. It was well acted by Hurricane, but I can’t help feeling that by doing fake injuries such as this, it lessens the impact of real injuries, which the crowd will believe to be fake as well. Not a particularly good match, as most of it was rushed to give more time to the more important matches to come.
Shawn Michaels took on Chris Masters next, in another match built on a newcomer believing he was better than a veteran. This match also was built around Masters’ submission move The Masterlock, a move that had not been broken before HBK took him on. HBK had tried to break it twice before, and had been unsuccessful both times. Most people were hoping that Michaels would be able to pull off one of his miracle performances that can make even one of the worst performers look like a star.
And as usual, Michaels is able to do just that. Masters is certainly not the most talented of in-ring competitors, but his power was made to look almost superhuman by Michaels’ ability to bounce around the ring like a pinball. The Masterlock is applied on a few occasions, and each time there is a real sense of drama as you wonder whether HBK will either be able to break the hold, or be forced to submit to the Masterpiece. There is also quite a funny moment if you’re a smark, as Masters puts HBK in the Torture Rack, a move used by Lex Luger who many compare Masters to being like, and not in a positive way. The match is definitely good, but mostly thanks to Michaels.
We then came to the main event of the evening, with John Cena defending his stupid spinny WWE Title against Kurt Angle. This was the second time that the two had clashed on PPV in 2005, the first being at No Way Out with the winner getting a WWE Title shot at WrestleMania 21. Cena was successful on that occasion, but would lightning strike twice in the same place?
Cena came into the match with a bad ankle, an injury given to him by Angle six days previously on RAW following an all out assault on it, via the Anglelock, a chair, and a ringpost. They even did a segment involving Cena having the ankle strapped up earlier in the show. But the first thing Cena does in the ring in this match is a leapfrog, completely ignoring the bad ankle. I HATE ignorance of psychology like that, and from that point on I was too angry to really get into the match. The ankle continues to be ignored until near the end when Angle has Cena in the Anglelock for a significant amount of time, over a minute at least, and Cena of course does not give up. Now, just to quickly quote something from my review of Great American Bash 2005 last year:
“I do apologise to anyone who does not know the outcome, but I will be spoiling it for you if you don’t. But believe me; it’s worth knowing if you intend to buy the DVD. Batista, the World Champion, the face, the man with the momentum, gets disqualified for hitting JBL with a chair. The crowd at the arena hate this decision, the fans around the world hate this decision, and I especially hate this decision. NEVER should a face be disqualified in the main event, because it completely defeats the object of what is needed.”
Well, again I apologise for spoiling it, but in this match the exact same happens, Cena gets disqualified for hitting Angle with his WWE Title. Again it kills the crowd, again it makes Cena look like an idiot, and again it makes the entire purpose of having a match on PPV pointless. The fact that this same ending was used twice within three PPVs makes it even more ridiculous. The saving grace about the decision is that the PPV doesn’t end following the decision, we do get some additional brawling before the PPV is over. The match was fairly good ignoring both the ending and the lack of ankle psychology.
Wow, if you thought WWE DVD extras for single-brand PPVs were bad before, it gets worse. All you get on this DVD is:
* Maria interviews ZZ Top
* 8-Man Tag Team Match from RAW the following night
That’s IT. The Maria interview isn’t particularly exciting at all, and whilst the 8 Man Tag is an enjoyable affair, I enjoyed it enough the first time when I saw it, and didn’t really need to see it again. There is nothing from the Sunday Night Heat that preceded the show, nor any interviews not seen on the broadcasted version. Unless you like ZZ Top, there certainly isn’t anything additional to get your interest up for buying the DVD.
In conclusion, I do think that the PPV was quite good. There were a few matches that stood out in Edge/Hardy, Angle/Cena and Flair/Carlito, and whilst the other matches didn’t have the impact of those three, they also didn’t do anything negative towards my enjoyment of the show. It certainly is difficult not to find something on the show that would have appealed to nobody, and each match either closed out a feud, or continued one for future shows.
My match of the night was unsurprisingly the cage match between Edge and Matt Hardy. My worst match was a tough decision as nothing stood out as being bad, but I will give it to Hurricane/Rosey vs. Cade & Murdoch purely because the match never really got going due to a lack of time.
If you haven’t seen the show I would strongly advise you to at least think about giving it a go ahead of some other PPVs, but if you saw it back in September, it’s not a necessity to see it again, particularly given the lack of extras available.
Points: 7 / 10