WWE // 2008 // 180 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // December 13th, 2008
There will be no forgiveness.
After presenting several disappointing pay-per-views, WWE returns with Unforgiven 2008, a more or less solid event that boats a couple of highly entertaining matches.
Before we get started, here's a brief look of what to expect on this disc: Mark Henry, Matt Hardy, Finlay, The Miz, and Chavo Guerreo face off in an ECW title match; Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase challenge Cryme Tyme in a tag team battle; and Shawn Michaels goes head to head with Chris Jericho. Also, Michelle McCool confronts Maryse; Triple H, Jeff Hardy, MVP, Shelton Benjami, and Brian Kendrick compete for the WWE title; and Batista, Rey Mysterio, Kane, JBL, and Chris Jericho all take a shot at becoming the new World Heavyweight champion.
Here's the complete list of matches:
* Mark Henry vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero in an
ECW Championship Scramble Match
Because the first battle of the event is one of those special scramble matches, let me quickly go over the rules for you. The match has a 20-minute time limit and starts with two wrestlers in the ring, and every five minutes a new competitor enters the game. If a superstar scores a pinfall or submission, he becomes the champion, and whoever is the current champion at the end of the 20 minutes is crowned the official champion. Got that? Then let's dive right into the action. The first two into the ring are The Miz and Matt Hardy, and they both deliver a variety of solid moves and efficient submissions. While the match remains fast-paced for the next 10 minutes or so, things eventually slow down a bit once Mark Henry joins the party. Still, despite an absence of bold moves because of Henry's size and weight, the battle slowly picks up some speed during the final five minutes. Chaos quickly ensues as the five wrestlers simultaneously try to pin each other over and over again. Believe it or not, it's suspenseful and exciting, making a solid start for a WWE pay-per-view.
* Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs. Cryme Tyme in a World Tag Team
It's back to the basics in this tag team fight. While all four athletes manage to deliver a bunch of strong, risky moves, the match as a whole is still boring. Cryme Tyme succeeds in pulling off some cool double team action on their opponents, but surprises remain scarce in this mediocre 11-minute battle. I'm glad to see the wrestlers try to avoid simple kicks or slow submission holds, but ultimately, the show they're putting on here isn't impressive enough to keep the crowd engaged from start to finish. Let's hope for more action in the next matchup.
* Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho in an Unsanctioned Match
For several weeks now, Michaels and Jericho have been loathing each other for a number of reasons, and now they finally get a chance to face each other in the ring. To make it all more appealing, the two wrestlers have agreed to make this an unsanctioned match, which basically means they're going hardcore without being bound to any particular rules. Both Jericho and Michaels approach this battle with aggressive attitudes, using boots, belts, chairs, and tables to teach each other a particularly brutal lesson. Although most of their efforts result in a pretty entertaining and fast-paced match, the whole thing lasts for 27 minutes, which is quite long for a fight that is not considered a main event. Still, the action remains strong, both superstars take some big risks, and we get to see some awesome moves that occasionally change the pace of this well-coordinated confrontation.
* Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Brian Kendrick in
a WWE Championship Scramble Match
We're back with a scramble match. This time, the WWE championship is on the line. Starting off this competition are Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin, two flexible athletes who set the tone of the match by quickly engaging into an impressive duel for the gold. As more wrestlers enter the ring, however, the pacing of the battle increases and we get to see some awesome maneuvers from Hardy and Brian Kendrick. Once the final contestant joins the fight, time becomes the most crucial issue in this title matchup, and all hell breaks loose. We see plenty of finishing moves, quite a few pinfalls, and one or two heavy brawls, all culminating in a suspenseful race to snatch the title before the final bell rings. It gets very close this time. I'm really starting to like this scramble concept, because it has already turned two matches during this PPV into an exciting pro wrestling experience. Now, let's see what the ladies are up to...
* Michelle McCool vs. Maryse in a Divas Championship Match
Sometimes I enjoy watching the divas battle each other, and sometimes I don't. This time, I certainly don't. This title match is a big bore, and neither McCool nor Maryse deliver a solid enough show. The only thing the two athletes engage in during this five-minute matchup is a bunch of cheap kicks and slow submission holds. I paid close attention and counted one or two decent moves, which is clearly not enough to impress the crowd. This one's a forgettable stinker.
* Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. JBL vs. Chris Jericho in a World
Heavyweight Championship Scramble Match
After the disappointment that was the preceding fight (if you can even call it that), it's now time for the main event, the third and final scramble match of the night. The excitement about this one is pretty big, and Batista and JBL launch into the action with a set of aggressive moves. Things are going pretty well for a while with the fighting picks up extra speed every time a new wrestler enters the battle, but when the clock reaches 15 minutes and the last competitor shows up, the match takes a drastic, disappointing turn. I have no clue what the heck the WWE writers were thinking, but the way they kill both the suspense and pacing of this last scramble matchup is absurd. I can think of plenty of ways to wrap this one up gloriously, but the show we get to see here pretty much ruins every chance for a solid finish. It's too bad, really, because the scramble concept worked quite well up to this point. At least the first 15 minutes work well.
I've never had any major troubles with the quality of the picture and sound of WWE PPVs, and this time is no different. The image is clean and sharp throughout, and the sound transfer is decent enough for my taste.
As usual, the special features on this DVD are weak and rather unnecessary. Besides a lame one-minute interview with the Big Show and Vickie Guerrero, the bonus material also includes a three-minute speech Chris Jericho made at the Raw event following this pay-per-view. No surprises here at all.
WWE's special rules for PPV matches don't always work, but in this case, the decision to make three championship battles into scramble matches actually paid off. Okay, the main event falls apart towards the end, but other than that, those three fights guarantee solid pro wrestling entertainment. It may not be the perfect pay-per-view, but it's a significant improvement on the two preceding ones.
Review content copyright © 2008 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Interview with the Big Show and Vickie Guerrero
* Chris Jericho addresses the Crowd from Raw
* Official Site