Unforgiven 2008 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on September 7, 2008, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. It was the eleventh and final annual Unforgiven event, starring wrestlers from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands.
Seven professional wrestling matches were scheduled on the event's card, which featured a supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The three brands, Raw, SmackDown, and ECW, were all represented by their respective Championship Scramble match – a 20-minute time limit bout, during which participants can become the temporary champion via pinfall or submission. The main event of the pay-per-view was the Championship Scramble from the Raw brand. It was originally scheduled to feature World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk defending his title; he was replaced by Chris Jericho after Randy Orton attacked CM Punk. Jericho won the match and became World Heavyweight Champion. The Championship Scramble from the ECW brand featured ECW Champion Mark Henry defending, losing the match and title to Matt Hardy. The SmackDown brand's Championship Scramble saw WWE Champion Triple H defeat the other competitors to retain his championship. Another featured match on the undercard was an unsanctioned match, or hardcore match, in which Shawn Michaels defeated Chris Jericho.
The event marked the first time the Championship Scramble format was used by WWE. The event had an attendance of 8,707. The event received 211,000 pay-per-view buys, more than the previous year's event. When the event was released on DVD, it reached a peak position of second on Billboard's DVD sales chart.
The event featured seven professional wrestling matches with outcomes predetermined by WWE script writers. The matches featured wrestlers portraying their characters in planned storylines that took place before, during and after the event. All wrestlers were from one of the WWE's brands – SmackDown, Raw, or ECW – the three storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees. The event also marked the first time that the Championship Scramble format was used by the WWE.
Wrestlers from the Raw brand were featured in the main event at Unforgiven: a Championship Scramble match, a 20-minute time limit bout, during which participants enter at five-minute intervals and can become the temporary champion via pinfall or submission. The match was contested for the World Heavyweight Championship, and was originally scheduled to be CM Punk defending the title against John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL), Batista, Rey Mysterio, and Kane. During the event, however, Randy Orton attacked CM Punk and he was replaced in the match by Chris Jericho. The buildup to the match began on the August 18 episode of Raw, when Raw General Manager Mike Adamle, who portrays an on screen authority figure, announced the match and its rules, stating that JBL, Batista, John Cena, Kane, and World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk would participate. The following week on Raw, Adamle announced that John Cena had been injured after his match against Batista at SummerSlam, and would be unable to compete in the Championship Scramble. Adamle then announced Rey Mysterio as Cena's replacement. On the September 1 episode of Raw, a preview of the Championship Scramble match was featured, in which the five men fighting in the Championship Scramble competed in a traditional battle royal, which Kane won.
The other predominant match from the Raw brand was an unsanctioned match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The buildup to the match began at SummerSlam, when Michaels came to the ring to announce his storyline retirement. Jericho, however, interrupted the announcement and, in an attempt to punch Michaels, accidentally struck Michaels' wife Rebecca. On the August 18 episode of Raw, Jericho stated that he had no remorse for what he did to Michaels wife, claiming that Michaels "had it coming". The following week on Raw, Michaels announced he was not going to retire and asked Jericho for an unsanctioned match. Jericho agreed to the match, and the following week on Raw there was a contract signing for the match. The signing ended with Jericho and Michaels attacking each other.
The predominant match from the SmackDown brand was a Championship Scramble for the WWE Championship, in which title holder Triple H faced Jeff Hardy, The Brian Kendrick, Shelton Benjamin, and Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP). The buildup to the match began on the August 22 episode of SmackDown!, when General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced that SmackDown would have a Championship Scramble match and that the competitors would include WWE Champion Triple H and four men to be decided later in the night through a series of qualifying matches. The first qualifying match was a ten-man battle royal, which saw The Big Show disrupt the match and throw all the competitors over the top rope. The Brian Kendrick, however, was saved by his bodyguard, Ezekiel Jackson, who caught Kendrick and put him back in the ring after the Big Show had eliminated all other competitors. Thus, Kendrick qualified for the Championship Scramble. The second qualifying match saw MVP defeat Festus by count out, qualifying for the match. The third qualifying match was Shelton Benjamin versus Finlay, which Benjamin won. The final qualifying match was Jeff Hardy versus The Great Khali, which Hardy won.
The predominant match from the ECW brand was a third Championship Scramble, in which Mark Henry defended against Matt Hardy, The Miz, Chavo Guerrero, and Finlay. The buildup to the match began on the August 26 episode of ECW, when General Manager Theodore Long announced that the ECW Championship would be defended in a Championship Scramble and that there would be qualifying matches that night to determine who would participate. The first qualifying match saw Matt Hardy defeat John Morrison to qualify. The second match was The Miz versus Evan Bourne, which The Miz won. The third qualifying match saw Chavo Guerrero defeat Tommy Dreamer to qualify, and the fourth match was Finlay versus Mike Knox, which Finlay won. On the September 1 episode of Raw, there was a preview of the Championship Scramble, in which the five participants took part in a traditional battle royal. The winner was ECW Champion Mark Henry.
The Divas rivalry from the SmackDown brand was between Michelle McCool and Maryse over the WWE Divas Championship. Two months ago at The Great American Bash, McCool won the Divas Championship by defeating Natalya by submission. Maryse then began a feud with McCool after announcing her intentions of challenging her for the Divas Championship and said that the title would look better on her. The two were in tag team action on the August 29th episode of SmackDown, with McCool teaming with Maria and Maryse teaming with Natalya. After Maryse and Natalya got the win, McCool and Maryse brawled before Natalya got involved allowing Maryse to do a forearm smash on McCool. On the September 5th episode of SmackDown, it was announced that McCool will defend the Divas Championship against Maryse at Unforgiven. That night, Maryse defeated Maria in singles action. After the match, McCool came out to the stage and she and Maryse had a staredown before Maryse went backstage.
Following the dark match, the pay-per-view event began with a Championship Scramble for the ECW Championship in which the champion, Mark Henry, defended against Matt Hardy, The Miz, Chavo Guerrero, and Finlay. In this type of match, competitors fight in a 20-minute time limit bout, during which participants can become the temporary champion by a pinfall or submission on any opponent. The match began with The Miz and Matt Hardy, who performed a variety of wrestling maneuvers including The Miz performing his signature move, a running knee lift and jumping neckbreaker, a combination called the "Reality Check". After the first five minutes had passed, Chavo Guerrero came to the ring and quickly performed a body splash on Hardy and covered him for a pinfall, making him the interim champion. Guerrero continued with a variety of offensive maneuvers until Matt Hardy performed a wrist-lock seated side slam, or "Side Effect", on Guerrero and covered him for a pinfall, making him the temporary champion. After the next five minutes had passed, Mark Henry entered the ring. All three other men attacked him, but Henry overpowered them and performed a falling powerslam on Chavo Guerrero, covering him and scoring a pinfall to become the interim champion. After the next series of five minutes had passed, Finlay entered the ring. He attacked Henry and his storyline son Hornswoggle distracted Henry, allowing Finlay to strike him with a shillelagh, followed by a running over the shoulder back to belly piledriver, or "Celtic Cross", on Hardy to become temporary champion. The match continued until Matt Hardy performed a front facelock cutter, or "Twist of Fate", on The Miz. He covered The Miz and became the interim champion. Hardy continued to break up pinfall attempts until the end of the 20 minute time limit, at which time Matt Hardy, being the interim champion, won the ECW Championship.
The following bout was a tag team match for the World Tag Team Championship, where the champions, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, defended their titles against Cryme Tyme, a tag team composed of Shad Gaspard and JTG. The match began with Cryme Tyme in control, and Shad threw JTG over the top rope onto Rhodes and DiBiase. Rhodes and DiBiase, however, isolated JTG in their corner and performed a number of offensive maneuvers on him. Rhodes attempted a moonsault onto JTG, but missed, allowing JTG to tag in Shad at the same time Rhodes tagged in DiBiase. Shad performed a back body drop on DiBiase, but while the referee was distracted, Rhodes performed a DDT on Shad. DiBiase attempted to cover Shad, but was forced to break the cover as Shad placed his foot on the bottom rope. JTG attempted an inside cradle pin on Rhodes, but Shad accidentally pushed DiBiase on Rhodes, reversing the pinfall attempt so that Rhodes scored the pin over JTG, retaining his and DiBiase's title in the process.
The third contest was an unsanctioned match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The match was contested under no disqualification and no count-out rules, so both men utilized a number of weapons in their offense. Jericho and Michaels used weapons and objects such as folding tables, steel chairs, and fire extinguishers. The match also saw Lance Cade interfere on behalf of Jericho, but Michaels ultimately gained the advantage over both men, leading to him placing both men on an announcer's table and diving onto them with his elbow cocked, sending them through the table. After returning Jericho to the ring, Michaels continued to attack Jericho. The referee ended the match when he determined that Jericho could no longer defend himself against Michaels, making Michaels the victor by referee stoppage.
Main event matches
The main event for the SmackDown brand was a Championship Scramble for the WWE Championship in which the champion, Triple H, defended against Jeff Hardy, The Brian Kendrick, Shelton Benjamin, and Montel Vontavious Porter. The match began with Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin, with both men wrestling inconclusively until the first five-minute interval had passed, and The Brian Kendrick entered the match. Soon after Kendrick's entrance, Hardy performed a reverse powerbomb on him and covered him, scoring a pinfall and becoming the interim WWE Champion. Later, Kendrick performed The Kendrick on Hardy and covered him for a pinfall, becoming the temporary WWE Champion. Shortly after, the second five-minute interval expired and MVP entered the match. All four men in the match continued to fight, with no pinfalls being scored until the third five-minute interval expired, at which point Triple H entered the match. Soon after his entrance, performed a spinebuster, followed by a Pedigree on Kendrick, covering him to become the interim champion. Hardy returned to the ring and performed a Twist of Fate on MVP, covering him for a pinfall and becoming temporary champion. After disrupting Hardy's attempt to perform a maneuver off the top turnbuckle, Triple H performed another Pedigree on Kendrick to become interim champion again. Shortly after, however, Hardy performed a Swanton Bomb on Kendrick and again became temporary champion after a cover. The match ended with Triple H performing a Pedigree on MVP and Hardy performing a Swanton Bomb on Benjamin; however, Triple H covered MVP faster and scored the pinfall with one second remaining on the clock. The time limit expired and Triple H retained the WWE Championship.
Following this, a backstage segment took place in which CM Punk was being interviewed regarding his title defense in the Championship Scramble later in the evening. The interview was interrupted by Randy Orton, and as he spoke with Punk, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and Manu attacked CM Punk, as well as Kofi Kingston who tried to help Punk. After they had attacked both Punk and Kingston, Orton made use of this opportunity to perform a running punt on Punk.
The fifth contest was a standard match in which WWE Divas Champion Michelle McCool defended her title against Maryse. Maryse began the match attacking McCool's knee, but McCool soon countered by grabbing Maryse's foot and twisting it, a submission hold called a heel hook. Maryse, however, reached the ropes and caused McCool to break the hold. Later in the match, McCool performed a lifting double underhook facebuster, a move called the "Wings of Love", and covered Maryse to retain her championship.
Following the match, an in ring segment took place in which The Big Show, entered the ring and asked the crowd whether they thought he should have been in the Championship Scramble for the WWE Championship. SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero, who portrays an on-screen authority figure for the SmackDown brand, then came to the ring and proceeded to insult the Big Show, and demanded that he leave the ring. Druids then came to the ring bringing a casket, and The Undertaker appeared on the TitanTron, telling Guerrero to either get in the casket herself or he would put her in it. Guerrero refused to enter the casket voluntarily, so The Undertaker began to come to ringside. The Big Show held back Guerrero as The Undertaker came to the ring. Once he was in the ring, The Undertaker began to choke Guerrero, but the Big Show turned heel, becoming a villainous character, by striking The Undertaker and freeing Guerrero. He proceeded to attack The Undertaker, and restrained him to allow Guerrero to slap him and spit in his face.
The main event from the Raw brand was a Championship Scramble for the World Heavyweight Championship. The event was originally scheduled to be World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk defending against John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Batista, Rey Mysterio, and Kane. However, due to the attack on CM Punk earlier in the night, CM Punk was unable to compete and was replaced by Chris Jericho (this information was not revealed until the final five minutes of the match, at which point Chris Jericho entered in place of CM Punk). Batista and JBL began the match, performing a variety of offensive maneuvers until the first five-minute interval had passed, and Kane entered the match. Later, JBL attempted to strike Kane with his forearm, a move JBL calls a "Clothesline from Hell", but was caught by Kane. Kane then lifted JBL by the throat and slammed him to the mat, called a chokeslam, and covered him for a pinfall, becoming the interim champion. Soon after, the second five-minute interval expired and Rey Mysterio entered the match. The match continued for several minutes, until the final five-minute interval expired and Jericho entered the match as a replacement for CM Punk, shocking everyone. Soon after Jericho's entrance, Batista performed a spinebuster on Kane, covering him for a pinfall and becoming temporary champion. Batista was left as the only man standing until Jericho returned to the ring and covered the already downed Kane, scoring a pinfall and becoming interim champion. The time limit expired soon after, and Jericho won the World Heavyweight Championship.
On the September 8 episode of Raw, it was announced that CM Punk would challenge Chris Jericho in an attempt to win back the World Heavyweight Championship, with the two fighting in a steel cage match the following week. On the following week's Raw, Chris Jericho escaped the cage before Punk, and thus retained his championship. Later that night, General Manager Mike Adamle announced that Batista would face JBL in a number one contender's match at No Mercy. Following this announcement, Shawn Michaels announced that he would be facing Chris Jericho in a ladder match at No Mercy. Two weeks later on the September 29 episode of Raw, Chris Jericho and Lance Cade faced a reunited D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) in a tag team match, which D-Generation X won via disqualification. At No Mercy, Batista defeated JBL to become number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship, and Chris Jericho defeated Shawn Michaels to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
On the September 12 episode of SmackDown, a standard wrestling match involving four wrestlers was held between Jeff Hardy, The Brian Kendrick, Shelton Benjamin, and MVP, with the stipulation that the winner would go on to face Triple H at No Mercy for the WWE Championship. Jeff Hardy won the match and earned a title match at No Mercy. At No Mercy, Triple H defeated Hardy to retain his championship.
On the September 16 episode of ECW, it was announced that Matt Hardy would defend the ECW Championship against Mark Henry at No Mercy. At No Mercy, Hardy defeated Henry to retain his championship.
Almost two and a half years later at Royal Rumble 2011 CM Punk prevented Randy Orton from winning the WWE Championship from The Miz. Eventually Punk revealed that he did this to get revenge on Orton for costing him the championship at Unforgiven in 2008.
Despite the event's promotional build-up, only a reported 6,000 tickets were initially sold for an arena that holds 20,000 people. To fill the arena, local radio stations gave away tickets to the show. The event had a final attendance of 8,707. Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the entire event a 7 out of 10 stars. The rating was higher than the Unforgiven event in 2007, which was rated a 5.5 out of 10 stars. The Championship Scramble main event match from the Raw brand was rated a 6.5 out of 10 stars, while the SmackDown brand's main event, a Championship Scramble for the WWE Championship, was rated an 8 out of 10 stars. The Sun gave a positive review of the event, praising the Jericho/HBK Match and Jericho's World Championship victory. Furthermore, the continuation of the Hardy/Triple H feud was similarly praised. The event was released on DVD on October 7, 2008 by Sony Music Entertainment. The DVD reached second on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart for recreational sports during the week of November 1, 2008, although it fell off the chart thereafter.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Matt Hardy defeated Mark Henry (c), The Miz, Chavo Guerrero and Finlay (w/ Hornswoggle) in a Championship Scramble Match to win the ECW Championship. (20:00)
- Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase (c) defeated Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard) to retain the World Tag Team Championship. (11:35)
- Triple H (c) defeated The Brian Kendrick, Montel Vontavious Porter, Shelton Benjamin and Jeff Hardy in a Championship Scramble Match to retain the WWE Championship. (20:00)
- Chris Jericho defeated Batista, Kane, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Rey Mysterio in a Championship Scramble Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship. (20:00)
- ECW Championship Scramble Interim Champions
|1||Chavo Guerrero||3||Matt Hardy||Frog Splash|
|2||Matt Hardy||1||Chavo Guerrero||Side Effect|
|3||Mark Henry||4||Chavo Guerrero||World's Strongest Slam|
|4||Finlay||5||Matt Hardy||Celtic Cross|
||Matt Hardy||1||The Miz||Twist of Fate|
- WWE Championship Scramble Interim Champions
|1||Jeff Hardy||1||The Brian Kendrick||Powerbomb|
|2||The Brian Kendrick||3||Jeff Hardy||The Kendrick|
|3||Triple H||5||The Brian Kendrick||Pedigree|
|4||Jeff Hardy||1||MVP||Twist of Fate|
|5||Triple H||5||The Brian Kendrick||Pedigree|
|6||Jeff Hardy||1||MVP||Twist of Fate|
- World Heavyweight Championship Scramble Interim Champions
||Chris Jericho||5||Kane||Covered Kane after Batista's Spinebuster|
Other on-screen talent
- Unforgiven 2008 Official Website
- Unforgiven 2008 on WWE Network
- Unforgiven 2008 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Unforgiven 2008 at Online World of Wrestling
|2008 World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-views|
|Royal Rumble • No Way Out • WrestleMania • Backlash • Judgment Day • One Night Stand • Night of Champions • The Great American Bash • SummerSlam • Unforgiven • No Mercy • Cyber Sunday • Survivor Series • Armageddon|
|In Your House: Unforgiven|
|1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008|