#TBT – WWE Saturday Night's Main Event episode 35: Evander Holyfield vs. Matt Hardy, John Cena vs. Carlito, CM Punk, dead worms

By Josh Nason, WrestlingObserver.com

Boxing matches and Madison Square Garden go hand-in-hand, but on this penultimate edition of WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The latest edition of RAW & Smackdown Lite was built around SummerSlam 2007, headlined by John Cena vs. Randy Orton with the same enjoyment level as the past few weeks. The WWE formula had long been established and with a few tweaks, this show could have taken place last week. A McMahon was front and center, Cena was on top, and “comedy” ruled the day.

If you’re new here, welcome! This is the final stages of my near year-long trip through every Saturday Night’s Main Event on the WWE Network. With no star ratings and limited snark, it’s a 37-year-old guy’s trip through a show that was a big part of his childhood.

– Airdate: August 18, 2007
– Taped: August 13, 2007
– Runtime: 1 hour, 4 minutes
– Location: Madison Square Garden | New York City

We open with Vince McMahon and Jonathan Coachman. McMahon has an illegitimate child, and is upset that Stephanie came out and revealed that that person is, wait for it, A WWE SUPERSTAR. Coachman has all the information and thinks that tonight, we’ll get our answer as to who this is.

The two reminisce about that one time in Kansas City in the 1970s with a black lady who had got in a cab together with McMahon. Coachman then says, “You realize I’m black?” McMahons stares. “I was born in Kansas City in the 70s…and you know I’m adopted.” McMahon rolls his eyes and says, “God, this is going to be a long night!”

I guess I shouldn’t go into my thoughts on McMahon’s views on race, but I will say this: they deserve to have a lot more examining by non-wrestling media people. But, The Rock was champion and a huge star, right?

The eyeball-searing high intensity intro is back with guitar riffic open + pyro. In looking for the open online, I found that Kid Rock had done the intro song so the current music was done recently.

For the first time, SNME emanates from MSG — fitting considering how much the arena played a role in the WWF’s formative years. Our announce team is Michael Cole, JBL, and the returning Jim Ross.

Batista & Kane vs. WWE World Champion Great Khali & Finlay (w/Ranjin Singh)

The seemingly eternal #1 contender Batista comes out first to a HUGE ovation and he’s facing the WWE World Champion….the Great Khali at SummerSlam. Khali, a champion. Good lord. Kane is out with heavily taped ribs caused by an attack on Friday Night Smackdown by Finlay and Khali. Our champion now has a vice grip in his arsenal which he used to put Batista out on Smackdown.

The announce team puts over Khali’s size, wisely avoiding any references to his mobility. It’s pretty remarkable that out of the five men directly involved in this match, one is turning into a big action star, three are retired (including ref Mickey Jay), and out of all them, Kane is the guy still active and involved in angles with current day stars.

Khali dug into Kane’s ribs which he amazingly didn’t mess up. His reactions when Kane punched him in retaliation though? Not so great. Picture someone waving their arms as if they were falling. As Batista was having his way near the end of the match, Hornswoggle ran in and got decked by Batista. JBL said he was the Cruiserweight Champion which makes sense BECAUSE HE’S SMALL.

We then get comedy as Khali was tied in the ropes and Batista and Kane used Hornswoggle as a battering ram. The two hit a double chokeslam on Khali which leads to a clumsy spear and Batista Bomb on Finlay for the win. For your records, Batista beat Khali by DQ in seven minutes at SummerSlam. Yeesh.

McMahon is walking around backstage with Coachman who reiterates he’ll find out who this illegitimate child is. McMahon then stops at a mirror and starts fixing his hair and then, an image of him from the 80s appears as if the Ultimate Warrior put it there himself. We even get cheesy music to help push the effect. Coachman says, “What is it, sir?” as if he didn’t see it.

This does lead to real comedy as Ron Simmons appears, looks in the mirror, and yells, “Damn!” Now, that was funny.

Back from break and the U.S. Champion MVP is talking with his entourage when Evander Holyfield walks in the room. I had completely forgotten about this crew. Who were they? Writers?

MVP says he really wanted to fight Matt Hardy, but the doctor wouldn’t let him. He says he might want to fight sometime himself and possibly against Holyfield, but is just playing around. Holyfield smiled the whole time and didn’t say a word, content to think about the check he received for one light night of work.

 

Back in the ring, Coachman is with McMahon and says that tonight, we’re going to locate his child. Coachman says that McMahon is a “virile man with urges” and because he was on the road so much, that’s why he he cheated on his wife. Well, he didn’t say that last part, but still. Did he put ‘Paternity Investigator’ on his ESPN application?

Coachman says,”I’m fairly certain this is your child” and out walks Eugene which disgusts McMahon. He says he had sex with a stranger, but not his cousin. Mentally retarded children are only born out of incest, you see. Eugene says that his “Uncle Eric” told him Vince was his dad and that he was going to run McMahon out of the wrestling business. McMahon tells him to scram and we’re back to guessing.

Coachman says, “Remember Wrestlemania II and the after-party? This could be your daughter.” Out comes Melina who doesn’t look happy at all of this. McMahon is insistent she’s not her daughter and whispers something to Coachman. It’s because they had sex! Melina says she’ll take him for everything he has if it’s true. As she storms away, McMahon yells, “Ungrateful bitch!” which gets picked up by the microphone. Jeez.

There’s one more though, but Coachman doesn’t want to bring him out. Why? Because it’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin!

 

NYC pops huge for Austin and McMahon is stunned. Austin talks in short sentences so people could say, “What?” which is, again, the worst thing he ever did for the wrestling business. McMahon is positive that he’s not Austin’s dad and Austin “What?” keeps “What?” going “What?”. Austin eventually kicks McMahon in the balls and then Ric Flairs him in the balls, following up with a Stunner for Coachman. Beers flow and this time filler mercifully comes to an end with no resolution.

Actually, there’s more.

Austin’s music stops and McMahon makes his way to his feet. Austin says he wants to make up and drink a beer together since he’s back in the Garden. McMahon obliges and they briefly sip before Austin throws a lazy kick and stuns Vince, prompting Cole to exclaim, “Who’s your daddy now?” I assume that’s a reference to the Pedro Martinez/Red Sox/New York Yankees deal from 2003. Cole and Ross were upset there was still no resolution over who McMahon’s child was, making them the only two people watching that felt that way.

WWE Champion John Cena vs. Carlito

We go back to RAW three weeks ago when Randy Orton distracted Cena in a non-title match with Carlito, leading to a Backcracker and win for Carlito. Cena has a grudge to settle tonight which means this will be a three minute squash. Cena is set to defend the gold against Orton at SummerSlam, one of their approximately 458 matches during this time period.

Speaking of periods, this is full jean shorts and white high top sneakers-era Cena, making it oh so easy to dismiss him even more. Jean shorts in 2007! Carlito’s trunks weren’t that better as they were adorned with ‘Eat Spit’ on the side. Whenever I see old Carlito matches, I always think of Bryan Alvarez’s rants about Carlito’s WWE character and “being cool.”

As I suspected, this is quick. Cena hits an F.U. and clamps on the STF for the tap. Orton then runs out and attacks, tossing Cena into the steps on the outside. He then spots a folding chair and sets it up to RKO Cena on it. He gets sick of waiting for Cena to actually get into position, and drags Cena over to the chair, hitting the RKO.

The fans then chanted “Randy Orton” with a smaller percentage chanting “sucks” afterward. We get plenty of shots of sad kids (3 actually) to help add to the gravity of the situation. Hey, where did Carlito go? Ross calls it a “sinister attack, demonic”.

To the back and Todd Grisham tracks down Orton. He says he wanted to send a message and twice says it was received loud and clear. I should note Orton is wearing a shirt I actually bought at one point, one of two Orton t-shirts that I’ve purchased in my life even though I don’t really like him that much.

 

Boxing: Matt Hardy vs. Evander Holyfield

Now it’s time for the fight of the century. JBL says that Holyfield is the biggest boxing draw of all time which is such amazing bullshit it’s not even funny. “Even if you tie him to a tree, I’m not sure Matt Hardy could hit him,” he says. He knows we’re talking about a heavyweight, right?

I’m also surprised that considering Holyfield’s stature in sports, they aired this so late on the show. The story here is that it was supposed to be MVP fighting, but he got Holyfield instead due to a heart condition. And my god, MVP’s entourage is annoying. I couldn’t find much online about who these guys were.

Side note: this is the second boxing match in SNME history, following in the large shadow cast by Mr. T. vs. “Battling Boxing Cowboy Ace” Bob Orton.  Then out of nowhere, we get Michael Buffer!

They bought a Buffer night for something this late in the show? This is amazing. Speaking of amazing, MVP hands Buffer a card so he gets introduced. Heel! Hardy is introduced and they even put up a record of 0-0-0 just so we know this is his pugilistic debut.

 

Then, it makes sense why Holyfield is here. As Buffer introduces him, he says, “On October 8, he faces…” This was a promo for an upcoming fight of his in Russia for a, ahem, heavyweight title. Now I remember how much of a joke it was Holyfield was fighting to begin with and the discussion around pugilistic dementia.

Rounds are two minutes long, and Hardy is wearing full head gear, an early warning to UFC fighters who are training too hard in their various camps.

Round 1: Holyfield taps Hardy a few times for a standing 8-count about 30 seconds into the round. With a minute to go, Hardy gets knocked down again off some light punches for another standing 8. With :24 to go, it happens again and Hardy barely makes his way up, yet the referee decides to let him keep going. No three-knockdown rule? Holyfield 10-7.

In the corner, MVP is talking and talking and talking when we finally get the best part of this whole segment: Torrie Wilson, Krystal, Kelly Kelly and Michelle McCool as ring card girls, seen above. Meanwhile, the fans are dead silent.

Round 2: As the round starts, Holyfield is asking the ref why the staggering Hardy is still fighting. MVP gets into the ring and starts telling Holyfield to go after him instead of showing mercy. Holyfield walks away, but MVP grabs his shoulder and pulls him back. Holyfield decks him twice and MVP Flair flops. This makes the ref call for the bell. What?

Holyfield hugs Hardy, everyone shakes hands, and this mercifully ends. It’s cosmic coincidence I watched this episode the same week Holyfield was “knocked out” by former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney. I knew this whole thing was meant to be! More on that next week.

Back from break and Tazz is out with Cole and Jim Ross because things are going to get extreme. My favorite Tazz MSG moment was the Royal Rumble when he choked out Kurt Angle in the opener. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the return of the Death Spot Match Of The Night!

Boogeyman & CM Punk vs. ECW Champion John Morrison & Big Daddy V (w/Matt Striker)

Punk is facing Morrison for the ECW title at SummerSlam and we’re told this is a new Morrison, no longer the Johnny Nitro of the past. BDV has dropped the pajamas and is now sporting slicked back black hair and black tights with straps.

The crowd chants ‘CM Punk’ because they bought indie tapes from RF Video. The Punk/Morrison action is fun, but as we get back from a late break (yep, two segments!), Boogeyman is in there spreading worms around the ring. Oy vey. There are literally bloody worms on the mat as we went to the finishing sequence between Punk and Morrison. Why didn’t Punk talk about THIS on the Colt Cabana podcast? Punk rolls up Morrison for the win, but he would not beat Morrison at SummerSlam.

A muted Cole sends us out with the guitar-laden highlights package to close the show. Damn it, we never did learn about who McMahon’s illegitimate child is. What a swerve!

With that, we look ahead to seven days and the final SNME recap in our journey. If you bring the tissues, I’ll bring the Ben & Jerry’s.

See you next Saturday for the grand finale!