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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Pro Wrestling--- The Raw-brand event WWE Vengeance was broadcast this past Sunday on pay-per-view, and it may very well have been the best single-brand PPV in the history of WWE. Here is my full review of the event.

WWE Vengeance Review
Score (out of 10): 9.0
Best Match: Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels
Worst Match: Christy Hemme vs. Victoria

WWE Vengeance was the second-best pro wrestling PPV of the year so far, slightly ahead of the excellent WrestleMania 21 (which I wrote about here), but still significantly behind the phenomenal ECW: One Night Stand (which I wrote about here). WrestleMania is usually the best WWE-branded pay-per-view of the year by a wide margin, so it's quite an accomplishment for Vengeance to have one-upped WrestleMania.

The Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels match was an incredibly good match that was better than any other pro wrestling match so far in 2005, other than the first Angle-Michaels match at WrestleMania, which I felt was a slightly better match than this match. Still, when you're talking about the Match of the Year for 2005 so far, I think the two matches between Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels have to be in one category all their own, with every other match just competing for third place.

What Angle and Michaels have accomplished is particularly amazing when you consider the current condition of Angle's neck. In their second match, I especially liked the old-fashioned "brutal clothesline" move when Michaels attempted the superkick for the first time. That was totally unexpected, and looked vicious. The Triple H vs. Batista Hell in a Cell match was far better than I thought it would be and was also a four-star match, as both men put in a great effort to pull out the stops.

Even more surprising for me was the Triple Threat Match between John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Christian, which I felt was even better than Triple H vs. Batista, and I would go so far as to say that it was the best put-together and executed Triple Threat Match that has been seen in WWE since WrestleMania 20. I strongly disagree with Cena vs. Jericho vs. Christian only being given three-and-a-half-stars by the Pro Wrestling Torch's Wade Keller (which means he thought it was a very good match, but not a great match).

Jericho and Christian are both generally under-rated as in-ring workers, but in particular I am just plain sick and tired of hearing about how John Cena is not that good as an in-ring worker. Anyone who still believes that should watch this match, and should also consider the fact that Cena had another four-star-plus match just last month against John Bradshaw Layfield of all people (a guy who has a top-quality match once or twice per year if he's lucky). It's time for Cena to get the respect that he deserves as an in-ring worker.

As for the rest of the card, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wildly entertained by the latest Viscera-Lilian Garcia segment (which is always a guilty pleasure), and it's nice to see The Godfather make his cameo appearances as long as they only happen once every year or so. Shelton Benjamin and Carlito continued their rise to the main event picture with a very good match, while Kane had the same "blah" match that he has been having for years, and Christy Hemme demonstrated once again why she doesn't belong in a wrestling match.

Other than the two disappointing matches, the only thing detracting from this event was the addition of Jonathan Coachman to the announcing team. He wasn't as bad as he usually is, but the interaction between Coachman and Jerry Lawler was annoying and only served to distract from the event. Despite the best efforts of Kevin Dunn & Co. to undermine him, Jim Ross did an even better than usual job in the last three matches, particularly in selling the brutality of the Hell in a Cell match.

Overall, a great event. After the rave reviews for the ECW PPV two weeks ago, it seemed like everyone on this card came out busting their ass to put on the best show they possibly could. I think the moral of the story is that competition is good for the pro wrestling industry, and that's just as true today as it has ever been.