Thursday, July 15, 2010

Smarkass Reviews: Batista: I Walk Alone (Disc 3)

Like the second disc, this one is just matches.

Match #1: World Heavywight Championship Match -- King Booker (C) vs. Batista (Survivor Series -- November 26, 2006
I was looking forward to this since I'm increasingly becoming a fan of Booker T, but this match was pretty standard face/heel fare. Nothing really stands out as being fantastic. King Booker tried to cheat from time to time, but Batista's passion/power was too much until Booker attempted to nail Batista with the world belt, Batista ducked, and used it himself to pick up the win. This match is noteworthy because it was Batista winning back the belt -- and it introduces us to JBL on commentary. I wish he would come back and do that with Michael Cole.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Batista [**1/2]

Match #2: Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship -- Batista (C) vs. King Booker vs. Finlay (Smackdown -- December 1, 2006)
An interesting choice right after Batista wins back the belt, this match was a definite step up with Booker and Finlay not directly engaging one another at first, preferring to focus on the champion. This made Batista take the most punishment, but that only serves his eventual victory. As JBL points out, Batista cheated to win the belt back, so a clean win here against two opponents gives him a bit of credibility back. It's nice to see Finlay in the mix for the world belt even if it was for only one match. He looked like a legitimate threat, probably more than Booker. There was even an appearance from the then-unnamed Hornswoggle. Like the previous match, there wasn't any one spot that stood out, but this was a good triple threat match of PPV-calibre.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Batista [***1/4]

Match #3: World Heavyweight Championship Match -- Batista (C) vs. the Undertaker (WrestleMania 23 -- April 1, 2007)
WrestleMania 23 pisses me off kind of. Not much really, but a little. See, I got back into watching wrestling in October 2007 because of my roommate Adam. We had been in the same program for a year and figured moving in together would work (and it did). But, he just didn't get me into wrestling soon enough since WrestleMania 23 was in Detroit! I got back into wrestling six months too late to attend a WrestleMania across the river! GAH! That bugs me. Not that that has anything to do with this match really. I'd heard a lot of good things about this match and it disappointed somewhat as a result. This was a good match -- very good even -- just not great. I loved how energetic both men were. This was a hard rock version of a wrestling match with none of the pauses or breaks, just two guys going at it hard and fast... for the most part. The usual spots were there. I'd have to watch it again to see some of the storytelling since you need to know where it's heading (not just the result) to get a good picture. I enjoyed this, but thought the ending was a little rushed. This match clearly needed another five minutes or so to make the pacing work better. It also suffered a little with the crowd not knowing who to get behind entirely. That worked better with Undertaker/Michaels since Batista isn't skilled enough to be one half of a match that's carried on technique alone. He needs story and the passion that comes with wanting him to win or wanting him to lose. Again, very enjoyable and very good, but it didn't live up to the hype.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker [***1/2]

Match #4: Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship -- Edge (C) vs. Batista (One Night Stand -- June 3, 2007)
This match follows their short, kind of shitty match from Judgment Day 2007 and is definitely an improvement. Despite Edge being a chickenshit heel, he pretty much beats Batista here by... well, beating him. Both men attempt escapes, but Edge manages to beat Batista down enough to pull his off. I kind of wish the match had only been 15 seconds when Edge tried to escape through the door right away and Batista grabbed him and thew him across the ring. I wanted Batista to then walk out the door, beating Edge at his own game. There was a funny moment where Edge brought Batista down off the rope so he bounced from it against the cage and, then, off the rope again. Pretty much the only thing that I haven't seen in any other cage match. I would have liked to see Batista go for pin attempts, while Edge tries to escape until later in the match. If there's any big flaw in this match, it's that I didn't think there was a good story. It was just two guys going at it and by limiting Batista to beating Edge, while Edge just tries to survive, that would have made for a good story. All in all, not bad, but nothing special.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Edge [**3/4]

Match #5: World Heavyweight Championship Match -- Batista (C) vs. the Undertaker (Cyber Sunday -- October 28, 2007)
Cyber Sunday 2007 was the first PPV I saw after I got back into wrestling. Adam and I watched it at a bar and I don't really remember much about it. I was more concerned with figuring out who half the people were. This match had the stipulation where fans got to vote on the special guest referee and, of course, they selected "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in his yearly WWE appearance. I'm pretty sure Cyber Sunday stuck around just so they'd have an excuse to bring out Austin once a year. This match was pretty good. It reminded me of their WrestleMania match, but Batista had something to prove a bit more having lost three matches to the Undertaker earlier in the year. Austin's presence was meaningless and didn't affect the match at all. Both men pulled out all of the stops and Batista's rage at the end before delivering the second Batistabomb was good. A fine, fine match.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Batista [***]

Match #6: 6-Man Tag Match -- Batista, Triple H & Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton, Edge & Umaga (Raw -- December 10, 2007)
This match doesn't really amount of anything, but this was a nice moment where, at the 15th Anniversary episode of Raw, Evolution was going to come out and... do something. So, out come Flair, Trips, and Batista, all in Evolution t-shirts. Then, out comes Orton to say that the only group he's proud to have been a member of is Rated RKO with Edge. Flair says they should get a partner and have a six-man tag, Orton reveals that they're one step ahead of him and out comes Umaga. The match itself was pretty much nothing. Some back and forth until Umaga attacked the ref and, eventually, got beaten by the three Evolution guys. A fun inclusion for the set despite the lacklustre in-ring product.
Winners (via disqualification): Batista, Triple H & Ric Flair [*]

Match #7: Batista vs. John Cena (SummerSlam -- August 17, 2008)
Another face/face match featuring Batista. This match suffers from knowing the work that Cena and Batista did together this year at WrestleMania where Batista's heel turn gave that match some much needed energy and storytelling. This one followed a similar path: who is The Man in the WWE? Both men are powerful and somewhat limited in the ring. It was really a matter of who would outpower the other. Cena putting the STFU on Batista was fucking sick -- Batista's leg was bent in a way that didn't look right at all. The result surprised me at the time and it surprised me again since you figure Cena would walk away with the victory here... nope. Interesting choice to put over Batista. A decent match, but one that looks worse in retrospect.
Winner: Batista [**3/4]

Match #8: Batista vs. Randy Orton (Armageddon -- December 14, 2008)
The DVD set is concluded with the two former Evolution members going head-to-head in a strong match. This one came near the beginning of the formation of Evolution, so Randy Orton is accompanied by Cody Rhodes and Manu. Yes, everyone will remember Manu now because he shows up on the Batista DVD set. Early into the match, the two get banned from ringside after the ref catches them mid-beating on Batista (but it looks like they're just about to begin). Batista uses his power, Orton his skill, each man pulling out every move. Orton focused on Batista's neck with some high impact moves to that area and Batista just powered through until winning via Batistabomb. I didn't think this match would leave much of an impression, but the final five minutes were really strong back and forth.
Winner: Batista [***1/4]

Batista's schtick gets a little old after a while, especially when he's up against other faces. But, when he's on, he delivers the goods... it's just that when he's off, he can stink up the place. The DVD set is worth it for the documentary, but the collection of matches are solid. If you can buy this used/cheap, do that.

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