Judgment Day 2009, a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), took place on May 17, 2009 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It was the eleventh and final show under the Judgment Day name and the tenth show held annually; it featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands. The event's card featured seven matches.
The main event for the show saw Edge successfully defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy. Two other highly publicized matches also occurred. The first pitted WWE Champion, Randy Orton, against Batista, which saw Orton get disqualified to retain his title. The other match was between Big Show and John Cena.
The undercard for the show had four other singles matches: CM Punk versus Umaga, ECW Champion Christian defending the championship against Jack Swagger, John Morrison versus Shelton Benjamin, and Rey Mysterio defending the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho.
The event had 228,000 buys, down from the Judgment Day 2008 figure of 252,000 buys.
Judgment Day featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, ECW on Sci Fi and WWE Superstars—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed either a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. The event featured wrestlers from WWE's Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to the television program of the same name.
The main rivalry heading into Judgment Day from the Raw brand was between Randy Orton and Batista, who were feuding over the WWE Championship. Since January 2009, Orton had been feuding with the McMahon family, attacking Vince, Shane and Stephanie McMahon en route to his match with Triple H for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXV, which Triple H won. At Backlash, Orton, along with his protégés, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (collectively known as The Legacy), defeated the defending WWE Champion Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon in a Six-man tag team match to win the title. On the April 27 episode of Raw, Batista defeated The Big Show via countout to earn a WWE Championship match against Orton at Judgment Day.
ECW's primary contribution to Judgment Day was announced on the April 28 episode of ECW on Sci Fi by the interim general manager of the show, Tiffany (Taryn Terrell), that the ECW Champion, Christian, would be defending his championship against the previous champion, Jack Swagger, who had chosen to invoke his rematch clause guaranteed to him after losing the title at Backlash.
On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, a match took place to determine who would face Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Judgment Day. Jeff Hardy defeated Kane, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio in a fatal four-way elimination match to become the number one contender.
At Backlash, during the World Heavyweight Championship match, The Big Show interfered and threw the former champion, John Cena through a spotlight, resulting in Cena being incapacitated enough to lose the World Heavyweight Championship to Edge, as well as receiving storyline internal injuries. During the match to determine the number one contender for the WWE title on the April 27 episode of Raw, Cena entered the arena, and distracted Big Show, leading to him losing the match against Batista. The following week on Raw, The Big Show demanded a match to Cena, only to have the general manager, Vickie Guerrero, set up a match between the two for Judgment Day, when Cena would be medically cleared.
At WrestleMania XXV, CM Punk won the Money in the Bank ladder match, which meant he earned a guaranteed chance to challenge any world champion at any time over the course of the next year. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Punk was about to invoke his championship match against the World Heavyweight Champion, Edge, only to have Umaga interfere, and assault him. The following week, Punk was given another match against Edge, but was again attacked by Umaga. It was announced later that night that Punk would face Umaga at Judgment Day.
On the May 8th episode of SmackDown, WWE Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio interfered in Chris Jericho's match with Jeff Hardy causing him to lose. Had Jericho won the match he would've been added to the World Heavyweight Championship match at Judgment Day. The following week, Jericho blamed Mysterio for taking away his opportunity at the World Heavyweight title and challenged him to an Intercontinental title match at Judgment Day which Mysterio later accepted. Later that night, after Jericho's match with Edge ended in a no-contest, Jericho escaped to the stage but was attacked from behind by Mysterio.
Before the show started, the fans in attendance experienced an untelevised match between Mickie James and Beth Phoenix with her associate in her corner, Rosa Mendes; James won the match by pinning Phoenix via a reversal into a DDT.
The opening match for the show was between Umaga and CM Punk. The match was based around Umaga beating down on Punk early, keeping him down with heavy strikes and a claw hold on his trapezius muscle, as well as being able neutralize any attempt Punk made at that point to get in any offense before he made an unsuccessful attempt at a diving headbutt off the top rope that saw Punk move out of the way, leading to him retaliating with some kicks and knee strikes of his own and a dive over the top rope onto the floor before he made an attempt at putting Umaga on his shoulders in attempt to connect with his finishing maneuver, the Go to Sleep, which has him hit a knee in his opponent's face after dropping him off his shoulders; Umaga would escape and hit a kick to the face before throwing Punk in the corner of the ring to throw his hip into his face with a move he dubbed the Samoan Wrecking Ball. Following that, Umaga grabbed his opponent, and knocked him down with a thumb strike to the throat referred to as the Samoan Spike before he got the pinfall victory over Punk.
Next up was the ECW Championship match between the champion, Christian, and challenger, Jack Swagger, in Swagger's guaranteed rematch after losing the title at Backlash. The match went back-and-forth with constant counters to each other's moves outlined with Swagger holding down the champion with pinfall attempts with Christian maintaining resilience by hitting a number of signature moves before Swagger caught Christian in position for his finishing move, the Gutwrench powerbomb, which was countered by Christian by sliding behind him after being lifted onto his shoulder; this was followed by Christian grabbing Swagger's arms to attempt to execute his finishing move, the Killswitch, only to have Swagger muscle out of the position and turn around before Christian pulled down the straps from his singlet, before Swagger attempted a clothesline ducked by Christian before catching him around the waist from behind, and rolling him to the mat on to his pack, using the singlet he compromised for extra leverage, getting the pin.
The third match saw John Morrison wrestle Shelton Benjamin with his longtime tag team partner, Charlie Haas, in his corner. The match started with Benjamin hitting a quick throw called the exploder suplex setting a physical pace to the match that saw the action go onto the floor of the arena, and Morrison capitalizing on Benjamin's prone state by performing a springboard jump off of the top rope before executing a 450 degree flip onto his opponent. The action returned to the ring with Haas unsuccessfully attempting to interfere on behalf of his partner before Morrison halted the effort, and ended the match by pinning Benjamin with a split-legged jump off of the top turnbuckle, then performed a backflip whilst twisting his body before landing on his opponent with a move called the Starship Pain.
Following this match, The Miz entered the ring, and proceeded to verbally berate the live crowd, insulting them and John Cena claiming, "He's like a lovable loser, much like the Chicago Cubs." He then turned his attention specifically to the Cub's left fielder, Alfonso Soriano, who was in attendance, insulting him before being interrupted by Santino Marella, who took exception to The Miz's comments, leading to a fight between the two with The Miz getting the better of his opponent, and driving him on his face with a DDT, leading to Chavo Guerrero coming out to beat down on Marella himself after comments made by the latter about Guerrero's aunt Vickie Guerrero.
The following match was for the WWE Intercontinental Championship between champion, Rey Mysterio, and Chris Jericho. The match started with both men attempting to throw each other out of the ring to get the advantage before they settled back in with Mysterio trying to connect with his signature kick through the ropes, the 619, with Jericho stating prior to the match that he would not allow the move be hit. At one point, both competitors sat on the top turnbuckle, and Jericho made an attempt to remove Mysterio's mask, only to be knocked away. Mysterio maintained his advantage, and went for the 619 only to be caught by the challenger, and brought down to the mat before being placed into Jericho's signature hold, the Walls of Jericho. Mysterio escaped, and attempted to connect with his kick again with similar results of Jericho catching him, and applying his hold again. Mysterio escaped one last time, and would go on to win the match by being able to hit the 619, followed up by a body press from the top rope to get the pin.
Main event matches
The fifth match saw Batista challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. The match focused around the two brawling: Orton keeping Batista down with his patented stomps and chinlocks; Batista regaining strength through a spear. Orton would spend the latter portion of the match trying to get himself disqualified by trying to use a steel chair and the WWE title belt as a weapon, as well as trying to stay out of the ring for the count of ten (referred to as a count out), only to have Batista halt his efforts. After an attempt at his finisher, the RKO, was blocked, Orton ran into the referee, and proceeded to slap him in the face. This was rendered a disqualification victory for Batista, due to Orton attacking an official, but per title match rules, Orton retained, as the title cannot change hands on a disqualification unless stated otherwise. Following the match, Orton's protégés, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, came down to the ring, and proceeded to assault Batista until retired wrestling icon, Ric Flair, made his return to the company to aide Batista against his assailants, leading to Batista catching Orton and executing his finisher, the Batista Bomb.
John Cena would face The Big Show next on the card. The match had The Big Show beat down Cena, not letting him have any room for offense by connecting various punches, but was ultimately countered by his opponent who attempted to apply his signature submission hold, the STF, which had him trap the leg and wrap his arms around his opponent's neck, but it was unable to be fully applied due to The Big Show's size. The match would continue, and Cena would hoist The Big Show onto his shoulders, and drop him with his finishing throw, the Attitude Adjustment, followed by a pinfall victory.
The main event saw Edge defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy. The match kept a quick pace between the two, trying to gain the upper hand with a number of strikes and takedowns, as well as Hardy executing his signature takedown, Twist of Fate, driving Edge's face into the mat. The action would spill onto the floor, leading to both men positioned at the barricade surrounding the ring area; once Hardy tried to run across the it, Edge would stop him with a tackle called the spear. Once the action got back into the ring, it would ultimately end up back outside with Hardy setting up the steel steps in the corner of the ring to be across from Edge, who was prone on the guard rail, leading to Hardy running up the steps, and hitting a kick in mid air, leading to both competitors crashing into the crowd over the barricade. Once Edge managed to return to the ring, Hardy's brother and former tag team partner, Matt Hardy, came through the crowd, and hit him upside the head with the cast on his right arm (Jeff had broken Matt's hand in their previous encounter), once Hardy returned to the ring, Edge went for another spear unsuccessfully as his opponent managed to ascend to the top rope, only to be caught by the champion on the top turnbuckle, as Edge would grab Hardy in a facelock, and dropped off their position, spinning in mid-air, dropping the challenger on his face with an Edgecution. This led to Edge pinning Hardy and retaining his title.
Following Randy Orton's retention of the WWE Championship against Batista at Judgment Day by getting himself intentionally disqualified, Ric Flair, an associate of Batista's, announced on the May 18 episode of Raw that, as ordered by the Raw General Manager, Vickie Guerrero, Orton would face Batista in a steel-cage match at Extreme Rules, which would prevent both interference from outside parties and deliberate disqualifications.
Also, on the May 18 episode of Raw, it was announced that The Big Show would have a rematch with his Judgment Day opponent, John Cena at Extreme Rules as well; this time, however, the match was to be a submission match, which a wrestler can only win by forcing an opponent to submit.
On the SmackDown immediately following Judgment Day, SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long, felt that Edge's retention of the World Heavyweight Championship was questionable due to Matt Hardy's interference, so he declared that Jeff Hardy would have a rematch for the championship at Extreme Rules. Hardy and Edge had a match that night, with the stipulation that whoever won would be allowed to choose the stipulation for the match at Extreme Rules. Hardy won the match, and chose a ladder match, which requires the competitors in the match to climb a ladder to obtain the title belt suspended over the ring in order to win.
After defeating CM Punk at Judgment Day, Umaga continued to attack Punk. He interfered in Punk's match with Chris Jericho on the May 22 episode of SmackDown, assaulting Punk with a leather strap, and issuing a challenge to Punk for a Samoan strap match at Extreme Rules.
After Christian retained the ECW Championship against Jack Swagger at Judgment Day, Swagger attacked Christian on the following episode of ECW and pushed him off the entrance ramp. Two days later, on Superstars, Swagger interfered in a title match between Christian and Tommy Dreamer, resulting in the match being ruled a no contest. On the May 26 episode of ECW, Swagger announced that he would have a rematch against Christian at Extreme Rules, but the ECW general manager, Tiffany, stated that Dreamer had been added to the match, making it a triple threat hardcore match, a match with no disqualifications or countouts, and the first man to score a pinfall or submission would win. As Dreamer's contract with the company was set to expire one day before the show, it was announced that he had signed a one-day extension to give him a chance at winning the title; if Dreamer were to fail to win the title, he would no longer wrestle for ECW.
Following Mysterio's victory over Jericho at the event, Jericho went to SmackDown general manager, Theodore Long, and demanded a rematch for the title the next month at Extreme Rules; Long would then announce that would happen in a No Holds Barred match at the event.
The show was generally well received by critics and fans. Brian Elliot, writing for the Canadian Online Explorer's wrestling section, called it, "intriguing in more ways than one." He commented on how three of the company's big stars (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker) were absent from the show; he also commented on the fact that all seven of the matches were singles matches, and commented, "...there was hope that the better in-ring performers on the show would have the opportunity to wrestle – a rarity in today’s over-the-top wrestling climate." The show was rated pretty average, but "fun", with the highest score being 6.5/10 for Punk versus Umaga, the Intercontinental title match, and the World Heavyweight title match. Well-known wrestling journalist, Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, summarized the show by saying, "No great matches but six or seven matches were good to very good. A lot of good finishes." He also praised The Miz in speaking role, calling it the "best mic work Miz has ever done".
Writing for The Sun, however, The LilsBoys rated the event 6.5/10, stating the event "was simply OK. And that’s not enough." They criticized the finishes of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship matches, claiming that the "cheap finishes in both world title matches... just felt you leaving a bit ripped off." They praised the Intercontinental Championship match between Mysterio and Jericho, stating that it "was the only match on Judgment Day that is worth catching on the repeat."
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Mickie James defeated Beth Phoenix (w/ Rosa Mendes)
- Umaga defeated CM Punk (11:52)
- Christian (c) defeated Jack Swagger to retain the ECW Championship (9:33)
- John Morrison defeated Shelton Benjamin (w/ Charlie Haas) (10:10)
- Rey Mysterio (c) defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (12:37)
- Batista defeated Randy Orton (c) by disqualification in a WWE Championship Match (14:44)
- John Cena defeated The Big Show (14:57)
- Edge (c) defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the World Heavyweight Championship (19:53)
Other on-screen talent
- Judgment Day 2009 Official Website
- Judgment Day 2009 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [ Judgment Day 2009 at Online World of Wrestling]
- Judgment Day 2009 on WWE Network
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