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[2008-9-07 WWE Unforgiven] Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho

Superstar Sleeze

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Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho - WWF Unforgiven 2008

Shawn Michaels' amazing 2008 campaign continues as he delivers another triumphant performance in the best blood feud in WWE history. At Great American Bash in July, Jericho bloodied Michaels with a wild back elbow that landed on the injured eye. Jericho ended up winning by TKO after Michaels could not defend himself from the barrage of punches to the open wound. Michaels came out at Summerslam to announce his retirement due to injuries, but Jericho came out and wanted to Michaels to admit it was due to Jericho. Michaels admits the injuries are at the hands of the evil Jericho, but Jericho needs to admit his family and himself that he will never be Shawn Michaels. Oh shit! Jericho goes to haul off and punch HBK, but instead nails his wife in the face. Another awesome angle! Now it is deeply personal as if it was not before! It is all leading up to this Unsanctioned match. 

Shawn's demeanor in this match is pitch perfect. He is in blue jeans and cowboy boots. He is not here to wrestle. He is here for a fight. Everything is a punch or a strike. He takes off his cowboy boot to whack Jericho in the head with it. He hurls his own body at Jericho. Everything is physical and for maximum damage. There is a great moment where Michaels is making his first comeback. He hits the Flying Burrito, but it is not an inverted atomic drop. He CHOKES Jericho! It is a fight. He is out to maim. I love it. Adding to the list of injuries, Michaels' left elbow has been injured. He misses a chairshot to the head of Jericho instead nailing the post. Jericho takes over. There were two minor complaints about this match. One is I think Jericho could have shown more personality, more sadism, really relish in what he was doing. He was doing some furniture set up. Take a page out of Michaels' playbook and just throw nothing but fists. I thought the first Jericho heat segment was missing some "Oomph". The second was this was just after the "no blood" policy which sucks. Shawn tapped a gusher in July, but could not tap on here. The blood really would have put this over the top in my estimation. After, Michaels first comeback, Jericho as desperation defensive move pulls him into the chair eye first! Where's the blood! Give me that sweet, sweet blood. It is such a shame! Shawn's selling and wild swings are great. Jericho zeroing in on the injury was the best part of his performance. The climax of Jericho's heat segment is the Walls of Jericho. Shawn uses a fire extinguisher to get out. Again, I wish the drama is whether the hold can be applied rather than can he get out of a hold, but that's a problem in American wrestling.

Now Michaels is attacking the eyes of Jericho and they brawl up the ramp. Here comes Lance Cade. At first, Michaels is able to fend off both, but eventually succumbs to both. They attack the injured left arm in brutal fashion. Jericho goes to break Michaels' arm but HBK superkicks Cade and then chairshot knocks Jericho off the top rope through a table! My favorite part of the match was Michaels doing one arm swinging of the chair onto Jericho's body. It felt so wild and out of control, truly a man possessed. Loved it. He stacks Jericho and Cade on top of the announce table and drives an elbow drop through both. Michaels comes up fist pumping and the crowd roars. My second favorite part of the match was Michaels whipping Jericho like the dog he is. In my world, brawls should consist of cowboy boots, belts and chairs; on special occasions, powder and fireballs can be included. There is something about the belt that is so apropos for a blood feud. They re-do the Great American Bash finish but this time Michaels wraps his hand with the belt and just pelts Jericho with punches until he is defenseless. The ref calls it for Shawn Michaels.  

They do a really great job selling the violence of this match. I like the contrast to that elbow drop through an announce table. That's a pro wrestling spots. That's to be celebrated. However, the ending with the belt shots that draw blood and HBK beating Jericho senseless with fists. There is no fist pumping. There is no celebration. He had to go to a cold, dark, scary place. He had to do it for his family and himself and we get it, but we don't like it, quite frankly, Michaels does not like it either. I dig that. Violence of that level should be a last resort. I am glad they are not casual about it. It makes it all mean more. I have to admit I liked the Great American Bash match a bit more. I missed the blood in this match and I thought there were couple too many WWE weapons tropes (fire extinguisher, furniture decoration) that undercut the gravity of the match just slightly. This was an amazing Shawn Michaels performance who came to FIGHT! I am looking forward to the ladder match, which I remember loving. ****1/2 





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  • 2 years later...

This was a mixed bag for me. I dug the small touch of Michaels showing up in his street clothes as it goes a long way to enhance the presentation. Jericho and Shawn had been feuding since the spring of 2008, but it reaches new heights when Jericho accidentally struck Shawn's wife during a confrontation at Summerslam. They brought the hate to each other. Lance Cade gets involved and tries to take out Shawn's already injured arm. Cade has HBK held down as Jericho is about to dive onto it from the top rope. In a brilliant transitional spot, Shawn pushes Cade back into the ropes, which in turn crotches Jericho on the top rope. Shawn then hits Jericho with a chair and he falls through the table set up on the outside. You could see that spot coming from a mile away. It's all Shawn from here on out. The referee stopping the match in an unsanctioned match felt like a dumb move, and I didn't care for HBK's over-acting during the go-home stretch. This match also needed blood (I don't count the few bits of hard-way color as blood) to really sell me on their hatred of each other. This didn't feel like your typical WWE weapons match, even if there's a lot of stuff that I didn't care for. All in all, this was a very unique match that's worth your time.   ★★★½

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