As you read this, I’m busy at work on Hell in a Cell, the next pay-per-view released on DVD.Â I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m picking up the Survivor Series sets right now.Â Besides, I have to do a three-disc Hogan set later this month.Â That one might be tough to sit through.
Match #1: Ohio Valley Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, No Disqualifications or Countouts
(c) Doug Basham vs. Leviathan
11/28/01 Ohio Valley Wrestling
Batista is the babyface here.Â He no-sells some chops and dumps Doug over the top and to the floor.Â Back in, Batista tosses him to the corner but gets reversed and punched around.Â More no-selling, so Basham bails, gets caught, and hangs up Batista.Â Sledge off the top rope is caught by Batista who goes for a chokeslam.Â Basham wiggles out only to eat a big boot.Â Batista loads up the powerbomb but Victoria (Basham’s manager) saves.Â Low-blow and Basham hits a couple Russian leg sweeps, but Batista counters the third.Â Victoria runs a distraction again, but Batista sidesteps Basham’s charge and rips his mask off.Â Spear misses and Batista eats the post.Â Another Russian leg sweep gets two.Â Shoulderblocks by Basham, but Batista slams him with one arm.Â Elbow drop misses and Basham kicks away.Â Shoot-off is reversed and Batista loads up for a DDT.Â Basham turns this into an armbreaker, and then hooks in a cross-armbar submission.Â Mounted punches by Basham, but Batista stands up and rams him into the corner.Â Another ram into the corner, but Batista pathetically misses a swat and gets dropkicked.Â Seated senton and a snot rocket by Basham.Â He climbs for a diving headbutt but wipes out.Â Someone was a Chris Benoit fan.Â Clothesline and a back-elbow by Batista, then a one-armed spinebuster for two.Â Victoria passes Basham some powder, but Batista ducks and the referee eats it.Â One-armed chokeslam, Sycho Sid style, gets nothing as the referee is wiped out.Â Another one comes out and slaps two.Â BUT WAIT~! because a whole bunch of people run in to cause a distraction at ringside.Â Basham loads up some knuckle-dusters and hits them for two.Â Basham punches out the referee, and then Batista loads up his Powerbomb.Â Victoria runs in and punches him in the cock, then drags Danny on top of him.Â Synn runs in and fights with Victoria while the referee recovers and counts to two.Â Spear by Batista and the Powerbomb and both referees count the pinfall and give Batista the title.
** Batista was clearly not ready for primetime here.Â I guess that was the point of Ohio Valley Wrestling, so I’ll forgive, forget, and move on.
Batista vs. Kane
This is Batista’s pay-per-view debut, and he’s got Ric Flair with him.Â Evolution was getting off the ground here.Â Then both Batista and Randy Orton suffered major injuries in the same match and put the kibosh on that.Â Lockup and Batista shoots off.Â Shoulderblock goes nowhere, so Kane grabs a headlock.Â Shoot off and Batista gets a clothesline.Â Clubbing blows and a shoot-off, but Kane turns it into a swinging neckbreaker.Â Kane punches Dave around and dumps him over the top.Â Back in, Batista loads up a slam, but Kane wiggles out and hits his own, plus an elbow drop for two.Â Shoot-off and Batista grabs Kane and kind of slams him on the ropes in what might be the weakest hot shot I’ve ever seen.Â Kane doesn’t really sell this too much and gets back in the ring, where Batista spears him for two.Â Vertical suplex gets two.Â Elbows in the corner, but Kane gets a boot up on a charge and slugs it out.Â Clothesline by Kane, but Batista sidesteps a charge and dumps him.Â Hangman by Kane, so Flair gets involved and tries to shoot Kane into the stairs.Â Kane no-sells this and Flair flops around.Â Flair chops the shit out of him but that doesn’t work either.Â Batista shows up to make the save for Flair’s failed attempt at interference and we return to the ring.Â Clothesline in the corner by Kane and a big boot.Â Sideslam hits and he climbs.Â Flying clothesline misses and Batista loads up for the Powerbomb.Â The intent had been for Batista to hold Kane up and let himself get punched out of the move, but Batista botches it and can’t quite get Kane up for it.Â Kane isn’t the best professional wrestler… hell, he wouldn’t rank in the all-time top 10,000… but at least he’s smart enough to cover this by acting like it was a block.Â He low-blows Batista and hits a clothesline off the top as the fans hate-hoo the botch.Â Kane calls for the Chokeslam, but Batista fights off and hits a spinebuster for two.Â Chokeslam and Kane covers, but Flair distracts the referee.Â Kane slings him in and punches him around, which gives Batista enough time to load up the Powerbomb again.Â This time he hits it and looks good doing it.Â It gets the pin.
**3/4 Well it wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t good either.Â Just a really blah match.
Batista vs. Shawn Michaels
Wow, was the Armageddon set in 2003 the most half-assed stage ever or what?Â Maybe they figured out that nobody would order it and just said “Fuck it, let’s just put the Raw set up and stick a giant, flaming “A” on both sides of the Titantron.”Â Batista looks pretty lean here.Â Lockup and we go to the corner, where Shawn jabs away, then backs off in arrogant fashion.Â Kick to the stomach by Batista and some stiff punches.Â Shawn’s got his flying shoes on as Batista hits a kneelift, then a slam into the corner.Â Shoot-off but Shawn catches a boot and kicks away at the standing leg.Â Shoot-off and Shawn slides out of the ring, then smacks Flair to cut off his attempt at cheating.Â A long stall follows.Â Back in, Batista takes Shawn to the corner and beats him down to the mat.Â Batista loads up a powerslam, but Shawn wiggles out only to charge into a jumbo-sized clothesline for two.Â Delayed suplex gets two.Â Shoulderblocks to the back by Batista that looked like poo, then a shoot to the corner.Â Batista exposes his elbow and grinds it into Shawn’s face, then knees the back.Â What a difference a year makes, eh?Â Psychology!Â Kind of.Â Another shoot to the corner, and then a blatant choke.Â Shawn fights back and chops away.Â Batista shoots him to the corner but Shawn gets a foot up.Â Batista won’t have it and places Shawn on the top turnbuckle.Â Shawn fights him off and hits a diving moonsault for two.Â It didn’t look so good, as Batista wasn’t really in position for it.Â Shoot-off by Batista leads to Shawn hitting the flying forearm for a double KO.Â He nips up, only for Batista to clothesline him down.Â Shawn pops straight up from this for some reason.Â Weird.Â Batista sends him up and down into the corner.Â We get a rare Shawn Michaels botch, as he cocks up the coming down part and lands on his head.Â I reckon that clothesline might have knocked him a bit goofy.Â Batista knees him in the back of the head and dumps him to the floor.Â Batista bails and whips Shawn into the stairs.Â Back in he covers for two.Â Weak looking backbreaker gets two.Â Another backbreaker, and this time Batista holds it to go for a submission.Â Batista is sweating like I’ve rarely seen before.Â It looks like someone dumped a bucket of water on his head.Â Batista releases the hold and covers for two.Â Shawn fights back and they trade blows.Â Shawn wins and chops away, and then Batista lowers his head into a kick.Â Flying forearm, nip-up, atomic drop, and some chops.Â Batista shoots off and grabs a double choke, but Shawn gets a DDT.Â Shawn slowly makes his way to the corner and climbs for the flying elbow.Â He hits it and starts to tune up the band.Â Batista catches the superkick and hits a spinebuster.Â He stalks Shawn around, then picks him up and hits an even sicker spinebuster.Â He calls for the Powerbomb and loads it up, but Shawn counters with Sweet Chin Music for the pin.Â His shoulders were down too, but Earl Hebner is the referee and has a tendency to let Shawn win matches he shouldn’t.Â After the match, Batista is all goofy and thinks he’s won, and then throws a fit when he’s told he lost.Â Funny stuff.Â He would actually go on to win the tag titles with Ric Flair a few minutes later as surprise entrants in a Tag Team Turmoil match.
*** This wasn’t exactly the career-maker they pimped on the feature, but it likely was the first time that Batista looked like a passable wrestler and not someone who could be released at any time.Â There wasn’t much in the way of psychology but at least Batista had gotten to the point where what little he did on offense looked credible, especially his punches and clubbing forearms, which looked very solid.Â He was still green enough that Michaels had to throw out anything too advanced and just eat a series of moves that weren’t connected to each other and sell the shit out of them.Â Nothing special, but at least he finally looked like he had potential.
Match #4:World Tag Team Championship, Tables Match
(c) Ric Flair & Batista vs. The Dudley Boys
1/25/04 Royal Rumble
Batista rags on the hometown crowd, so the Duds jump them on the ramp.Â Big brawl and Bubba backdrops Flair on the floor.Â Table tossed in the ring, and Flair gets powerslammed.Â Bubba and D-Von prep a table but Batista saves.Â Neckbreaker to Batista and D-Von dumps him to the floor.Â Bubba preps up a table only for Flair to attack him with punches and chops.Â Flair gets slammed off the table and bionic-elbowed down.Â Batista in with D-Von for some brawling and choking. Big brawl where not much happens until Batista misses a shoulder in the corner and eats a back suplex.Â Flair gets whipped into the corner but gets a back-elbow.Â He climbs but the Duds are out of position, so he climbs down and stalls, then climbs again and gets tossed off.Â That was awkward.Â The Duds set up a 3D through the table, but Jonathan Coachman of all people runs in only to get slammed down.Â The Duds hits try to hit a wazzup drop on him but Flair saves and Batista spinebusters D-Von through a table to win.Â What?Â Don’t both guys have to go through a table?
1/2* Lame match.Â Batista is proud to have been a tag champion with Ric Flair, and rightfully so, but showing any of their matches on the set was unnecessary, because they all sucked.
Batista vs. Chris Jericho
Pretty simple set up for this one: Jericho almost had Randy Orton beat for the IC title, but Batista came in and screwed that up for him.Â It’s revenge time.Â Jericho avoids locking up, but backs himself into a corner and gets smacked down by Batista, who then chokes him with his knee.Â Shoulderblocks in the corner by Batista, but then Jericho low-bridges him on a clothesline and sends him out of the ring.Â Batista is up and gets on the apron, so Jericho hits the springboard-dropkick to send him back to the floor.Â Jericho catches a breath and then tries a baseball slide, but Batista moves out of the way and smacks him around, then slams him into the rail.Â Back in the ring, where Batista fires off a neckbreaker for two.Â That’s not exactly a move fitting a guy his size.Â Batista slaps on a head vise, but then decides that it sucks and moves to a half-nelson.Â He moves to the full-nelson, but Jericho elbows out of it.Â Batista cuts off a comeback and smacks Jericho back to the canvas, then goes back to the full-nelson.Â Jericho elbows out of it and uses momentum to swing Batista out of the ring in what looked like a botched attempt at an armdrag.Â Jericho couldn’t actually grab the whole arm from the angle he was in, but it still looked okay.Â Batista here was still really awkward at taking any bump that wasn’t completely fundamental and bounced off the ropes on the way out.Â He’s gotten way better in recent years at this kind of stuff.Â Jericho dropkicks Batista in the knee, and then kicks away at the leg to try and knot it up.Â Batista stops him and loads up Jericho on the top rope.Â Jericho fights out of it and hits a reverse-elbow off the top for two.Â Running forearms by Jericho can’t take Batista off his feet, and a third attempt is caught in a sideslam for two.Â Batista drops his weight on Jericho and mashes him up against the ropes.Â He goes back to using his knee to choke at Jericho, and then fires off a backbreaker for two.Â Another backbreaker, and this time Batista bridges it to go for the submission.Â Jericho elbows out of it, but he’s still hurt and Batista knees the back.Â Jim Ross uses this chance to point out that Batista sucks less these days thanks to Ric Flair and Triple H teaching him how to work one body part.Â He said it more tactfully then that, but not by much.Â Batista lowers his head into a kick, and then Jericho fires off another forearm that finally takes him off his feet.Â Jericho charges and gets caught in a powerslam, but he wiggles out and chop blocks Dave down.Â He goes for the Walls, but Batista kicks off of it.Â Batista charges and gets caught in a drop toe-hold to set up a head of steam.Â Batista catches him and hits a nasty spinebuster for two.Â Referee Earl Hebner completely botches the count by accidentally smacking Jericho full-force in the face on the third count.Â I’ve seen referees botch a lot of stuff over the years, but that’s the first time I’ve ever seen one clobber a wrestler while counting him down.Â Â Batista loads up the Powerbomb, but Jericho turns it into a sunset flip for two.Â Jericho seems like he’s knocked goofy.Â I’m not sure if it was the spinebuster or Earl Hebner.Â Even money on both.Â Batista smacks Jericho around and takes him to the corner, but Jericho blocks a charge with a boot and hits a facebuster off the ropes.Â He goes for the Lionsault, despite the fact that Batista is way out of position for it.Â Batista had to roll into position for it, and then get his knees up.Â That’s one move I wish Jericho would just drop because most of the time it looks like poo.Â This turns into a double knockout.Â Batista gets up first and coils up for a clothesline, but Jericho ducks it and hits the running enziguri for another double KO.Â He crawls over and covers for two and two.Â Straight kicks by Jericho, but Batista punches him and fires off another spinebuster, this one equally as sick looking.Â He loads up the Powerbomb and hits it, then covers for the pin even though Jericho’s foot was on the ropes.Â He then pulls Jericho’s foot off the ropes, which I guess proves he’s a heel or something.
***1/2 I actually liked this better then the Michaels match.Â You could see that he had already improved in the eight months between that match and this one.Â He had a better use of psychology and an overall better presence about him in the ring.Â I wasn’t really a big Chris Jericho fan during this period but I give him credit for always getting the best out of guys who are green.Â I’m guessing that’s because he had it so tough when he was breaking into the business and thus has a more neutering demeanor about him.Â Batista was still rough around the edges here and his moveset was not at all developed in a way where his matches could tell anything but a basic story, but he was making progress.
Excerpt from the 2005 Royal Rumble
1/30/05 Royal Rumble
We’re joined in progress as Batista enters #28 and ends up winning.Â I’ll have a full review of this match in January when I run through all the Rumbles.Â But for here, as promised, I’ll discuss the ending.Â Immediately after the show had ended, the dirt sheets swore up and down that the ending to the match, where Batista and John Cena both tumbled over the top rope, was a botch.Â It was and it wasn’t.Â The idea that both guys tumbling over the top rope was an accident is ludicrous.Â The botch was that the spot happened too early.Â They were supposed to wrestle for a couple minutes, but for some unknown reason they went straight into the finish.Â That’s it.Â That was the planned finish, including the restarting of the match where Batista won.Â Mechanically it’s practically impossible for two people to fall out of the ring the way they did on accident.
Vince McMahon was always planned to be part of the finish, as well.Â But because they went home too early, he decided to make an ass of himself to eat up some of the time they were supposed to use.Â And then he blows out both of his knees sliding into the ring, then has to sit down in the ring with the ropes supporting him, trying to fight off the tears of excruciating pain while Cena and Batista take turns dumping each other.Â Hilarious.Â The fans were pretty pissed about the ending.Â The truth is they should have just gone with the draw.Â It didn’t work in 1994 with Bret and Luger because the fans clearly liked Bret more.Â Here, the fans liked both guys equally, and there were now two world champions.Â Thus, both guys would have gotten a title show without any of the weirdness 1994 had.Â The lame ending killed the crowd, and nothing in the build between here and Wrestlemania couldn’t have been accomplished the same way if there was a draw.Â The whole “Batista deciding which champ to face” thing didn’t really play anyway and ate up way too many minutes on each Raw it was built on.
I gave the 2005 Royal Rumble ***1/2.Â Look for the full review, along with my reviews for EVERY Royal Rumble, every day between January 9 – 30 at Pulse Wrestling.
Match #6: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) Triple H vs. Batista
4/3/05 Wrestlemania 21
Motorhead plays Triple H out, with Lemmy forgetting half the lyrics.Â I’m half shocked they just didn’t hum him out to the ring.Â Meanwhile, Batista’s new theme wasn’t finished yet so he comes out to his generic scary music and gets NO reaction at all.Â And he doesn’t have pyro yet so his machine gun entrance looks like he’s trying desperately to squeeze out a stubborn turd.Â Â I haven’t watched this match since it aired and can’t really remember anything about it, other then the fans being somewhat cold for Batista.Â Which is weird given the build to this match was just about as perfect as the WWE was capable of at the time.
To the match.Â Big stare down to start.Â Lockup and both guys shake trying to get the best of each other.Â Excellent visual.Â They end up in the ropes, but don’t let go.Â The lockup spills all over the ring, ending in a stalemate.Â Lockup number two ends mostly the same, only Batista kind of shoves off a little harder.Â Third lockup leads to Trips grabbing a headlock.Â Batista shoots off into a shoulderblock, and Batista is all super confident now.Â Headlock by Trips and another shoot-off, but this time Trips gets the big shoulderblock.Â KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! but Batista shoves off and press slams him, nearly dropping him doing it but being smart enough to just complete the move quickly.Â It turns into a brawl, with Batista throwing Trips and slugging it out.Â Backdrop and another shoot-off but Trips ducks a clothesline and hits the flying knee, knocking Batista to the floor.Â Batista recovers and decides to jaw with Ric Flair like a moron, so Trips bails to throw him into the stairs.Â Batista to the apron but Trips drops an elbow on the back of his neck as he crawls between the ropes.Â Awesome visual actually.Â A couple of blatant chokes by Trips, then Flair gets into it as well, taking Batista out of the ring.Â To the floor, Trips rams him into the guardrail, then into the ring.Â The focus is on the back, so Trips starts to drop the elbows and knees on the small of Batista’s back.Â Vertical suplex follows for two.Â More knees to the back, then a backbreaker.Â The fans get a bit restless and Flair being the genius that he is keeps them heated by choking Batista with his jacket again.Â That’s why he’s the man.Â Batista tries to get back in so Trips drops a hangman to knock him to the floor.Â Back in and to the corner where Trips slugs it out with some slow, blatant punches.Â Batista turns it into a slug-off, and the fans start to get into it, but Trips hits a spinebuster for two, two, and two.Â More punching, and Trips loads up the Pedigree again, but Batista backdrops out of it, but is still selling the back.Â Shoot-off but Batista lowers his head into the facebuster for two.Â Power kickout by Batista pisses of Trips, so he climbs but gets caught coming down with a nasty forearm clothesline.Â Sidewalk slam gets two for Batista, but the fans are not going nuts for this comeback.Â He charges at Trips in the corner but catches a foot to the face.Â Trips tries to shoot him to the opposite corner but Batista holds the ropes then launches Trips up and over to the floor.Â Batista follows him out and tries to whip him into the stairs but gets reversed and eats the stairs hard.Â Trips preps the stairs and loads up for a Pedigree on the stairs, but Batista gets a double leg takedown on the stairs then catapults him into the ring post.Â Fans pop huge even though it didn’t look that good.Â Trips is busted open.Â In one of the coolest stair smashing spots ever, Batista absolutely SLAMS Trips into the stairs three times.Â Visually and audibly that was sick.Â Back in the ring, Batista starts to club at the open wound, then hits a running kick to the back of Triple H’s head.Â Hard whip into the corner and a clothesline, then another from Batista.Â Trips should be dead by now.Â Trips begs off, but Batista shows no mercy, smacking him around and hitting a shoulderblock.Â FUCKING NASTY ASS RUNNING FOREARM IN THE CORNER totally hits legit, knocking Triple H down like a rag doll and popping the shit out of the crowd.Â Powerslam by Batista gets two.Â In all honesty, they should have just gone home right there with the Powerbomb.Â Flair tries to save Trips and gets punched out.Â Trips tries to kill Batista with a chair but the referee makes the save and injures himself in the process.Â Back in the ring, Trips begs off, while Flair grabs the title belt.Â He tries to hit Batista with it, but gets hit with a spinebuster.Â Trips KOs Batista with the title belt and a new ref is in to count… to two.Â Fans pop huge as they kind of bought that as the finish.Â Trips charges but runs into a spinebuster.Â Fans are going nuts.Â Batista loads up for the Powerbomb but Triple H hits a blatant low blow.Â Triple H’s face is totally covered in blood.Â Trips loads up the Pedigree, but Batista simply powers out of it, and then picks Triple H up and hits a Kryptonite Krunch of all moves.Â Batista shakes the ropes like the Warrior for the first time and the fans go absolutely fucking nuts.Â Thumbs up, thumbs down, and the loaded Powerbomb finishes to give Batista his first world championship.
****1/4 Actually, that was a pretty awesome match.Â Well put together, very stiff, good storyline, good spots, good pacing, excellent blade job by Triple H, good false finishes, a very good, if basic, match.Â And they would totally top the effort later in the year with a five-star Hell in a Cell match.
Match #7: World Heavyweight Championship, Hell in a Cell Match
(c) Batista vs. Triple H
As Seen On: Triple H – King of Kings, Complete Hell in a Cell
I get that it’s Batista’s set and including his one and only five-star match (in my opinion, anyway) seems like a good idea, but this has already appeared twice on DVD.Â And I’m fairly certain that anyone who would buy a Batista set would likely already own either the Hell in a Cell set or Triple H’s set.Â It’s a pretty big stretch to say someone would not buy any WWE DVDs but simply HAD to get Batista’s set.Â Either way, it’s easy work for me.Â Just a quick copy and paste job.Â For the record, I do re-watch all matches that are repeated from set to set and if my opinion changes I do note it.
The cell gets chain-locked.Â Trips slugs it out to start.Â Shoot-off and Batista gets a nice clothesline and a sideslam.Â Brawl on the outside where Trips gets rammed into the cage.Â Back in, we have a standoff.Â Lockup and Trips gets a headlock.Â Shoot-off and a shoulderblock by Batista.Â Clothesline in the corner, then Batista dumps him to the floor.Â Ram into the cage by Batista, then another.Â Trips looks like his plaything at this point.Â Hard whip to the cage almost results in Trips breaking through the fence.Â Trips reverses a whip, puts the breaks on, and rams Batista into the stairs and ring post.Â Batista on the apron, where Trips gives him a hangman.Â Running back-elbow sends Batista flying off the apron and into the cage, with Batista bouncing between the ring and the cage like a pinball.Â Nice.Â Batista is tossed into the cage a couple more times, and he’s taking every bump full on.Â Clothesline on the floor with Batista noticeably thumping on the ground.Â I’m loving this so far.Â Trips grabs a toolbox and pulls a chain out of it.Â Hard whip to the back with the chain by Trips, with Batista selling it perfectly.Â Trips then wraps the chain around Batista’s neck and chokes him.Â Batista gets a hangman out of it.Â He grabs the chain and smacks the SHIT out of Triple H’s back with it.Â I’m marking out here!Â Another hard whip and damn, this is cool stuff.Â Batista grabs Trips in a bearhug and rams Trips from pillar to post, and man this match is badass with a side of badass sauce.Â Trips is bleeding, so Batista tosses him back into the ring.Â Trips is freaking out as Batista pounds on him.Â Shoot-off reversal and Trips gets a nice spinebuster to save himself a bit.Â Trips goes under the ring and grabs a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire.Â I don’t even remember that spot.Â A damn near full-force shot with the chair, and Batista has whole bunch of little blood droplets coming out of it.Â Another shot, this time at full speed, and man, I’m marking out big time.Â I did NOT remember how good this match was.Â Batista runs into a facebuster, but then explodes out of nowhere and clotheslines Trips on a charge.Â Triple H’s whole face is red with blood, and now Batista has the chair.Â He hits Trips in the FACE with the chair.Â The fans are going fucking crazy, and Batista seems to be too, grating Trips in the face with it.Â I mean damn, they’re not holding back at all.Â And bless them for it, this match is fucking amazing.Â Batista grates Triple H’s face on the cage, and man he’s just bleeding all over the place.Â Batista picks up Trips and lawn-darts him into the cell.Â By the way, the announcers note that Trips has never lost in the hell in a cell.Â Unless of course you count that time he… you know… lost in the Hell in a Cell.Â At Armageddon 2000.Â In the ring, Batista shoulderblocks Trips in the corner.Â He charges at Trips but gets sent into the ring post in another nice looking spot.Â Trips staggers about and then loads up a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the barbed wire chair, but Batista backdrops out of it.Â Slug-off, but Batista catches a charge and POWERSLAMS TRIPS ONTO THE CHAIR WITH THE BARBED WIRE~! for two.Â Fans were scared when the cover was made because they clearly want it to go on.Â Batista loads up his hand with the steel chain, but Trips DDTs him onto the chair.Â Goddamn!!Â Batista is knocked out of the ring by this and so Trips bails to give chase.Â Batista is bleeding now too.Â A single idiot sitting close to the mic is chanting boring at this.Â What a fucking idiot.Â I hope the fans that are actually enjoying this kicked the shit out of him after the show.Â Trips grates Batista on the cage, then tosses him into the ring.Â He grabs the sledgehammer from under the ring.Â Batista cuts him off from using it and they slug it out.Â Batista loads up the Powerbomb but Trips backdrops out of it.Â Trips grabs the sledge and smashes him in the face with it for two.Â Fans seem surprised.Â Trips goes for the death shot but Batista kicks him in the balls and both guys are out.Â Batista grabs the sledgehammer and the end is near.Â Batista charges in for a finishing blow himself but Trips whacks him with a fist full of steel chain for two.Â Trips tries to drop a fist off the second rope, but Batista gets the sledge hammer up and Triple H takes it right in the mouth, spitting blood like a fountain straight in the air.Â Nice visual.Â Batista smacks Triple H around, and Trips is clearly finished.Â Batista brawls him down to his knee, and Trips collapses.Â Hard whip to the corner sends Trips up and over.Â On the floor Batista sends Trips into the stairs.Â Batista picks the stairs up and destroys Trips with them, making a crazy little PING sound while doing it.Â Batista places the base of the stairs into the ring and preps them in the corner.Â Trips gets rammed HARD into them a couple times, making the fans groan with every shot.Â Hard whip into the stairs, and Batista gives the thumbs down.Â Batista loads up the Powerbomb but Trips low blows to escape.Â KICK WHAM PEDIGREE~! and a quick cover… for two!Â The fans go nuts as both guys are now out of it.Â Trips loads up a Pedigree on the steel stairs, but Batista counters and hits a somewhat wussy-looking spinebuster on the stairs.Â Considering that everything else has been full force, that sort of sucked.Â Batista loads up the Powerbomb again, but Trips has the sledgehammer.Â Batista outsmarts Trips by quickly firing off the bomb and then covers for the pin.Â I expected a more stunning finish, but otherwise…
***** This is how you blow off a feud.Â Like Brock/Undertaker from 2002, I expected nothing going into this match.Â Instead, I was treated to high impact spots and lots of gore.Â I still think Brock/Undertaker was better, but otherwise this was a top-notch cell match and the best match of Batista’s career thus far.Â Big props.Â Even the semi-letdown finish was OK, because it was a nice twist on a finish they’ve done before.Â Why hold Trips up long enough for him to use the sledge?Â Just drop.Â Nice booking.Â Really, the only fault was the spinebuster on the stairs, and even that doesn’t take away anything from the match.Â This was epic.
Match #8: World Heavyweight Championship, No Holds Barred
(c) Batista vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
Kill me.Â In his book Batista admitted that he had no chemistry with JBL and that their matches all sucked.Â If he admits it, why include it in his DVD?Â Meanwhile, the announcers apparently possess memory not unlike that of a goldfish and act stunned when it rains JBL $100 bills from the ceiling, despite the fact that it did at Wrestlemania just four months earlier.
Fucking Bradshaw tries to jump Batista while he’s shooting his pyro off, but Dave fights him off with some horrible punches.Â He ups the embarrassment level by taking off his belt and feebly whacking JBL with it.Â We brawl over to the sound equipment, where Batista hits him with a fire extinguisher.Â He sets up a whip, but JBL reverses it and sends him into a steel case.Â Crowd brawling follows, but thankfully most of the fans are decent enough to give them some distance.Â JBL weakly smacks Batista with a chair.Â He winds up for a big shot with it but Batista spears him through the rail and back to ringside.Â This leads to a double KO, and then JBL pushes him into the post.Â Back in the ring, we get a short-arm clothesline by fucking Bradshaw and some stompery.Â JBL gets Batista to the corner and punches him a bit, and then he bails to rip the belt off of the timekeeper.Â He whips Batista with it a bit, and then chokes him with it.Â Suddenly I’m wondering why nobody ever thought about using a cat-of-nine-tails as a weapon in wrestling.Â Seems like it would work.Â The choke with the belt goes on long past the point where a person would presumably die from it (especially with all the unventilated pyro smog present during the match), then Batista fights out of it with a back suplex.Â He instantly recovers from not breathing for over a minute, grabs the belt, and goes to town on fucking Bradshaw.Â Shoulderblocks in the corner by Batista, and then a shoot to the corner.Â JBL gets his foot up and hits the Clothesline from Hell for two.Â Not one single person in the arena bought that as the finish, despite the years that went to work establishing that as his finisher.Â Incredibly sad.Â Bradshaw gets pissy and bails to grab the steel stairs and toss them in the ring.Â He takes about a minute to prep them, and then loads up a piledriver.Â Batista backdrops out of it and we have a double KO.Â JBL with a boot to the face and he goes for another clothesline, but Batista catches him with the spinebuster.Â Thumbs up, thumbs down, and the Powerbomb hits.Â Instead of covering, Batista decides to really finish him by powerbombing him again, this time on the stairs, and that’s all she wrote.
1/4* Well that sucked.Â There was really no coherent storyline going on and no psychology at all.Â Just random and weak-looking brawling.Â Fucking Bradshaw’s attempt at a false finish was so transparent that nobody bought it.Â Thankfully it was short and somewhat fast paced, so I’ll spare it from a DUD.
Match #9: World Heavyweight Championship
(c) Batista vs. Eddie Guerrero
11/9/05 No Mercy
As Seen On: Viva La Raza – The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero
This is Eddie’s final pay-per-view.Â Guerrero had this bizarre tweener thing going on here.Â The story was he had become the ‘New and improved Eddie Guerrero’ and was acting all friendly towards Batista, while everyone figured it was bullshit.Â The angle never reached a conclusion for obvious reasons, and I’ve heard nothing on where they planned to go with it.Â I do know that the rumor that Eddie was going to win the championship on the day he died is now confirmed to be bogus.Â Batista wrote about it in his book, and others have discussed it.Â Of course the pompous Eddie fans swear it’s true, using reliable sources that they pulled out of their ass cavities.Â It’s one of those things the dirt sheets made up because, hey, who’s going to question them?Â “Oh the irony, he died the day he was going to win the title.”Â If they want irony, they should point out that he was going to wrestle the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 22.Â By the way, that match would have taken place during the period when the Undertaker actually sold for people.Â I’m guessing it would have rocked, but we’ll never know.Â Anyway, the fact that he was going to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania suggests that he would go heel on Batista but still not end up with the belt, go nuts, and end up pissing off the wrong guy.Â By the way, how cool would it have been to see Eddie drive out a low-riding hearse?Â Not to sound like some selfish mark, but wrestling fans really lost out when he passed away.Â He had so many feuds left in him.Â Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, etc.Â Maybe if they hadn’t spent the better part of 2005 jobbing him to Rey Mysterio we could have gotten a couple of those.
We’re in Texas so the fans are about 60/40 in favor of Eddie.Â I have NO memory of this match.Â Eddie’s run in 2005 was tough to watch and Batista’s reign was killed by his horrible feud with JBL, so I might not have been paying attention.Â $40 down the poop chute when I ordered this show.Â I was so wasteful back then.
Guerrero starts with one of the better feeling outs I’ve seen in wrestling.Â He gets a single-leg takedown but Batista kicks him off.Â Eddie has his flying boots on.Â They circle and Eddie gets a fireman’s carry and covers for one, with Batista doing a power kickout.Â Batista laughs at how quick that was.Â Double knuckle-lock by Batista, with Eddie hilariously selling it using his crazed Mexican stuff.Â He gets the middle rope trying to kick out and gets slung across the ring.Â Eddie bails while Batista makes his tits shake up and down.Â Very interesting angle for a match to be structured around, but it seems to be working.Â Eddie returns to the ring and Batista headlocks him.Â Guerrero tries to shoot out of it but Batista grounds it down.Â To the corner where Eddie fights out and hits some shoulderblocks.Â Batista reverses a whip to the corner but misses a charge and hurts his arm.Â Eddie backs away and we have a standstill.Â Lockup and Batista grabs another headlock.Â Eddie tries to muscle out in comical fashion, but it doesn’t work and Batista retains the headlock.Â We hold this a bit too long, then Eddie muscles out of it fires some elbows.Â He charges into a shoulderblock, and then gets scoopslammed a couple times for two.Â Eddie bails again, and this time he grabs a chair.Â Michael Cole starts to spaz on commentary, but Eddie just throws it down.Â Batista gets pissy anyway and grabs Eddie by the throat to scream at him.Â Guerrero turns this into a hangman, and then quickly climbs.Â He actually hits the Frog Splash on Batista’s back and covers for two.Â The fans already bought this as the finish, despite the fact that we basically just started.Â Eddie kicks away at the injured back, and then we get to see replays the frog splash instead of Eddie’s follow-ups to it.Â Jesus fucking Christ, it’s the main event of the show.Â I’m pretty sure everyone saw it.Â Well I didn’t the first time, but that’s not the point.Â Eddie slaps on a rear-chinlock with body scissors and holds it for a bit.Â Batista stands up on it and backs Eddie into the turnbuckle.Â He’s still injured, so Eddie follows up with a dropkick to the back, then goes to a half-crab.Â Batista makes the ropes, so Eddie bails to the corner and grabs the tag rope.Â Michael Cole’s commentary is incredibly obnoxious as he keeps harping on Eddie, saying “SEE, I TOLD YOU!” like he’s a four year old who’s squealing on his siblings.Â Guerrero decides to not use the rope and instead dropkicks Batista in the face, then slaps on a camel clutch.Â I wonder why nobody uses that move’s variants, the Marlboro Chinlock or the Virginia Slim Slam.
Fuck off, that is A material there.
Eddie wants to turn the move into a surfboard, but he can’t get Batista hooked for it correctly and quickly changes it up into a chinlock with bodyscissors again.Â Batista powers up and turns it into a bearhug.Â Eddie boxes his ears to escape it, and then kicks Batista in the face.Â This just pisses off Batista and he appears to be hulking up.Â He charges but Eddie gets a drop toe-hold, which legitimately tweaks Batista’s knee.Â Eddie goes for a Texas Cloverleaf, but Batista fights it off and grabs a small package for two.Â Both guys up, and Eddie takes Batista to the corner for some punching.Â They trade reversals on a whip, then Eddie springs off the ropes and ‘accidentally’ wipes out the referee.Â Tornado DDT by Eddie and he gets an evil look on his face.Â He bails to grab a chair but chickens out like Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart from Wrestlemania.Â Batista saw the chair and is pissy that Eddie would even entertain the thought of using it.Â Didn’t they already have this spot earlier in the match?Â They should have ditched the first time they used it and just done it here.Â It would have worked much better.Â Batista shoulderblocks him in the corner, then hits a clothesline and a backdrop.Â Horrible looking spear, then he loads up the Powerbomb.Â Eddie flips out of it and goes for a sunset flip, while Batista clutches his back in pain.Â He doesn’t turn over and instead lifts Eddie up and hits the spinebuster.Â He’s in pain and has to crawl over to cover for two.Â Elbow drop is countered by Eddie’s knees and he calls for the Three Amigos.Â He hits all three and calls for the Frog Splash, but tries to roll through it instead.Â Batista is up to meet it and hits a fairly mild spinebuster… for the pin?Â Pretty weak finish and the crowd seems disappointed.
***3/4 I mostly dug this, but like many Eddie Guerrero matches from 2004 forward, the booking got in the way of the wrestling.Â Too much extracurricular stuff broke up the flow.Â Batista totally carried his end and looked better and more seasoned here then he had in any previous match.Â If they had done a little less bullshit, this would have scored much higher.Â They couldn’t ever get anything going because they had to keep breaking to give Eddie a chance to advance the “is he telling the truth about his change” angle.Â They were clearly aiming for the Piper/Bret feel, but that match kept the psychological warfare in the context of the match, only pausing once the ending had began.Â Here it was match, angle, match, angle, match, angle, finish.Â At first it seemed like it was working, but ultimately it hurt more then helped.Â I’m sure a blow-off would have been epic, but shit happens.
THE STORY THUS FAR: Of the nine matches on this disc, five of them were good enough to get better then three stars, a passing grade under my system.Â Sadly the two best ones have already appeared in previous sets.Â Throw them out and I wouldn’t say this collection is looking too great so far.Â I’ve checked out the lineup for disc three and I see a lot of stuff that likely will hover just around that three-star range.Â This set isn’t the abomination some smarks would have you believe, but it’s certainly not going to take home awards either.Â Check back tomorrow for the conclusion.
Thanks to Brad for editing, as always.
Tags: batista, bradshaw, Charlie Reneke, chris jericho, Dudley Boys, Eddie Guerrero, Flair, Guerrero, hbk, Hell in a Cell, jbl, jericho, John Bradshaw Layfield, kane, michaels, Reneke, Ric Flair, royal rumble, shawn michaels, Team 3D, triple h, Way Too Long Review, WWE DVD