The SmarK Rant for Vengeance
– Live from Detroit, Michigan
– Your hosts are Tazz, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JR.
– Opening match, Tables match: Eddy Guerrero & Chris Benoit v. The New Dudley Boyz. Benoit attacks Spike to start and gets a backdrop suplex and a short-arm clothesline. Backbreaker and he starts with the chops. Bubba comes in, and he gets jumped as well. He gets worked over and Benoit snaps a suplex, and Eddy comes in to dropkick the knee. Benoit drops an elbow, and gets a german suplex. Radicalz keep pounding on Bubba in the corner, and Benoit backdrops him. They slug it out and Benoit chokes away in the corner. Cole talks about the “extreme amount of punishmentÃ¢â‚¬Â Bubba has taken, 5:00 in. I’d hate to see what 15:00 of punishment looks like. Bubba fights back but gets nowhere. They stomp him down and Eddy grabs a table, but gets nailed by a flying Spike. Benoit sends him into the stairs to get rid of him, and back in Bubba fights back, but gets tripped up by Eddy. The table gets set up and the Radicalz head up to the top for a double-superplex on Bubba, but Spike moves the table. It somehow gets broken, necessitating another table being brought in. Table gets set up in the corner, but Bubba saves Spike from getting whipped into it. It’s hovering in the Bonzo Gonzo area as Bubba cleans house and sideslams Benoit, then slams Eddy off the top. Spike stomps Benoit off the top and Bubba gets the Flip Flop & Fly on Eddy, and they work the Wazzup Drop back into things again. Benoit comes back with a crossface on Spike that means nothing in a table match, but Bubba gets a samoan drop and puts Benoit onto the table. He heads up, but misses the senton and goes through it. This is not an elimination because Benoit didn’t put him through it. As if anyone would care either way. Eddy & Benoit get dumped, and Eddy comes back in and goes after Spike. They head out to the apron, where Spike gets the Acid Drop onto the table. This eliminates Eddy, even though Eddy barely touched the table and Spike was the one who actually went through it. Sorry, I guess I’m thinking too much again. Benoit gets another table ready and tosses Spike out of the ring, and through a table to eliminate him. He tries to suplex Bubba through the remaining table, but Bubba reverses to a BubbaBomb through it to win at 14:59. Wow, from feuding to Steve Austin to jobbing to the Dudley Boyz in the opening match of a meaningless PPV. What a great use of Benoit. Match was merely okay, featuring lots of kicking and punching Bubba before the three rapid-fire eliminations to end it. **1/4
– Jobberweight title: Jamie Noble v. Kidman. Both guys tumble out to start, and Kidman gets a couple of quick two-counts, and Noble bails to regroup. Back in, Kidman with the headscissors and a legdrop that sends Noble running again. Kidman follows with a pescado that misses, and Noble gets a single-arm DDT on the floor and posts the shoulder. Back in, it gets two. Northern Lights gets two. Noble works the arm, but Kidman fights back. Noble posts him again to end that rally, and Kidman hits the floor. Back in, Noble uses a hammerlock takedown and keys the lock. Kidman fights free, and gets a rana and dropkick to come back. Death Valley Driver variation gets two. Rebound clothesline is blocked, and Noble gets another armbar takedown into a Herb Kunze armbar. Kidman makes the ropes. Powerbomb, but YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN and Kidman gets two. Kidman with an enzuigiri to the small of the back (and that’s being generous) and he goes up, but Noble follows and gets caught with a Rydien bomb off the top rope for two. Kidman goes back up and they screw up a tornado DDT reversal spot, and Kidman heads back up again, only to miss the Shooting Star Press. Noble cradles for two. Tiger Driver finishes at 7:35. The arm stuff meant nothing because the finish was a powerbomb. I appreciate the thought, though. **1/2
– European title: Jeff Hardy v. William Regal. Regal gets a slap so powerful that Hardy collapses in pain to start. Regal blocks a sunset flip and drops a knee for two. Another one misses, however, and Jeff fights back with a jawbreaker for two. Regal gets dumped, but Jeff misses his dropkick (in the bad way) but comes back with a headscissors. Railrunner misses, however. Back in, Regal gets two. Jeff comes back with the corkscrew and the legdrop, but the swanton hits knees. Regal gets a half-nelson suplex for two. Backbreaker, but Hardy gets a fluke rollup for the pin at 4:15. Wow, good thing they added this to the show. *
– Meanwhile, Flair earns his pay with an unfunny skit with Hogan.
– John Cena v. Chris Jericho. Jericho’s chair plan backfires before the bell, and they head in for some punishment from Cena. He whips Jericho around and gets a clothesline, so Jericho takes a powder. Back in, Cena hiptosses him and gets a Main Event Spinebuster for two. Jericho hotshots him, however, to take over. Backdrop suplex and Jericho dropkicks him down. Choking follows. Cena rolls him up for two, but Jericho gets the leg lariat. Chops set up the Breakdown, and he heads up, but Cena follows him up and superplexes him off for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. He goes for the Stinger splash, but Jericho counters with a dropkick for two. Cena catapults him, and gets the belly to belly for two. Dropkick misses, as does the Lionsault. Oklahoma Roll is countered by Jericho for two. Flashback gets two. Bulldog sets up the Lionsault, but he doesn’t want the pin. Man, that trick never works. Walls are reversed for the upset at 6:16. I liked their Smackdown match better, but at least this one had a finish. It was a bit slow for 6 minutes, which hurt it a lot. **
– Intercontinental title: Rob Van Dam v. Brock Lesnar. Brock takes him down to start and pounds away. Rob fights back and sends Brock into the turnbuckles and out. We gets some stalling as a result. Back in, Rob goes for the legs, but gets tossed around. Brock ends up on the floor again, but casually catches Rob on a pescado attempt. Powerslam on the floor and he stomps away. Back in, that gets two for Brock. Gutbuster and Brock slowly pounds away. Backbreaker and overhead belly to belly, but Rob escapes and gets a heel kick to come back. JR notes that Heyman is a hemorrhoid on the lips of life. Talk about your mixed metaphors. They head out and Rob gets pounded. Back in, Brock hits the bearhug and keeps up the methodical pounding. The pace picks up with an abdominal stretch as security has to hose down the front row to keep them from expiring due to the excitement. Rob comes back with a spinkick and legdrops him on the apron, and heads up for a missile dropkick. Rolling Thunder gets two. Superkick and Rob goes up, but gets caught in the Browser Refresh, which he counters into a DDT. Back up for the frog splash, but Heyman causes the DQ at 9:30. Weak. *1/2 Brock Lesnar is just not the guy to be putting the main event of the second-biggest show of the year, and he’s getting more exposed as not that guy with every match.
– Big Show v. Booker T. Booker kicks away to start, but gets slammed. Show tosses him around and pounds away. Booker with a sort-of enzuigiri, but he walks into a clothesline. Show dumps him and fends off a chair, but eventually hits the post. They brawl by the announce table and Show eats monitor, which sets up an axe kick that puts him through the table. Nice spot. Back in, Booker axekicks him again and finishes with the Houston Hangover at 6:12. JR sells it like the upset of the century or something. Yeah, that attitude will get him over fast. Still, despite JR being a dumbass recently, the match did the right things to get Booker over as a player. *
– Hey, it’s time for that staple of every good PPV: The 20-minute HHH interview! We’ve have a bunch of boring skits involving the Coach standing outside HHH’s door all night as though anyone actually cares which show he chooses to be on. But hey, it’s HHH, so even if he’s out for a month with a severed head, we’ll build the entire show around him, dammit! It’s a roller coaster of swerves, as first we think he’s on RAW, then we think he’s on Smackdown, and then Shawn Michaels comes out and convinces him to be on RAW. Since we don’t have CRZ to transcribe this stuff anymore, here’s my word-for-word recap:
HHH: Blah blah blah-UH
Stephanie: ME ME ME
Eric: *munch munch munch*
Shawn: I need a drink.
– Tag team title: Hulk Hogan & Edge v. Lance Storm & Christian. JR notes that Hogan met Warrior at Wrestlemania III, then corrects himself. “I want to correct myself: It was Wrestlemania VI, not Wrestlemania III. Wrestlemania III was right here in Chicago.Ã¢â‚¬Â When you’re hot, you’re hot. Hogan uses the LOCKUP OF DOOM to send Christian out to the floor. Back in, Christian and Storm work Hogan over with a double-suplex, but he no-sells. Noggins are knocked and Hogan clotheslines Storm and stomps away. Clothesline and Edge flapjacks Storm and gets a forearm. A cheapshot from Christian turns the tide and Storm gets a leg lariat. Christian stomps away in the corner and gets a backbreaker for two. We hit the chinlock. Backbreaker gets two. He goes up, but misses an elbow, and tags abound. Hogan cleans house, but Christian gets the inverted DDT for two. Hogan hulks up and goes into the usual routine, but Storm breaks up the pin at two after the legdrop. Hogan gets tossed and Storm superkicks him on the floor (because it’s always more deadly on the floor, even if the floor has nothing to do with it. I think I speak for all of us when I say that it’s a good thing he didn’t sit-out, because Hogan might be dead had he done so). Back in, Storm pounds away but misses a charge. Hogan makes the hot tag to Edge, who takes care of both heels alone. Edge-o-Matic on Storm gets two. Hogan sends Christian out, and the ref gets bumped. Implant DDT, no ref. Now why would he bother going for a pin when the ref is right there out cold? Test runs in and boots Edge, and that gets two for Storm. Edge spears Storm, but Jericho runs in now, nails Edge with a belt, and Storm gets the pin and the titles at 9:58. This was going okay until all the nonsense started, although Hogan looked even worse than usual tonight and the Canadian side seemed kinda lethargic. *1/2
– WWE title: Undertaker v. The Rock v. Kurt Angle. Funniest bit of the night: Rock and Undertaker talk some shit to each other while Kurt stands in the background waving his arms to get their attention, at which point both of them turn around and drop him. Angle’s tights continue to become awesomer, as he now has red-while-and-blue camouflage tights. Where one would hide themselves in such tights is a mystery, but it sure looks neat. Rock dumps Angle, and Taker pounds Rock in the corner, but Rock slugs back. Taker gets the flying clothesline, but ends up on the floor and Angle sends him into the stairs. Back in, Rock goes after Angle, but gets suplexed. Angle chokes away, and they start exchanging chops until Angle gets another suplex. Again, but Rock DDTs him for two. They head out and Angle walks into Undertaker’s clothesline. Taker then shifts his attention to Rock and pounds away, and they head back in, as Undertaker pounds away in the corner. The satellite feed cuts out here for about five minutes, unfortunately. It returns with Angle pounding on Undertaker in the corner as Rock is out on the floor. Taker stomps him down and dodges a charge, and Angle lands on the floor. Taker posts him, but Rock gives him the EVIAN SPEW OF DOOM. Amazingly, this doesn’t kill Undertaker, so he keeps up the beating on Angle and tosses him in. JR declares Angle “bleeding like a stuck pigÃ¢â‚¬Â, which I think gives stuck pigs a bad name. Taker with the ROPEWALK OF DEATH for two. Rock saves and lays the smackdown, but walks into a DDT for two. Taker goes for the chokeslam, but Angle stops that, and gets pinballed as a result. Rock Bottom on UT is blocked, as is Taker’s chokeslam on Rock. Everyone is down, so Angle grabs the chair and has his way with Undertaker, then gets the Angle Slam on Rock. He goes for the Undertaker pin, and gets two. So then he tries Rock, and gets two. Denied! Rock comes back with the Scorpion King Deathlock, but before Angle can tap again Taker saves. Last Ride on Rock gets two, but Angle pulls him off with the anklelock. Taker tries to powerbomb him, too, but gets caught in the triangle choke again. This one looks really bad, however, and Taker powerbombs out of it. Angle hangs on, but Rock saves. Rock Bottom is reversed to another anklelock, but Rock reverses for two. UT chokeslams Angle, but walks into a Rock Bottom that gets two. That probably should have been the finish. Angle cradles Rock for two, and Angle Slams Undertaker, but walks into a Rock Bottom that gives Rock title #7 at 19:34. JR, with his usual understatement, calls it the “most awesome triple-threat match he’s ever seen in his lifeÃ¢â‚¬Â. I mean, COME ON, now. It was light-years better than the crap we’ve been getting in the main events as of, oh, the past 6 months or so, but triple threat matches pretty much suck as a whole and require a lot of contrived situations to build drama. And the whole “Guy pins the guy who isn’t the champion to win the titleÃ¢â‚¬Â finish doesn’t help anyone. The series of everyone hitting their finishers over and over was really cool and made for a great visual, however, and if they hadn’t f*cked up by advertising Rock as the new champion two weeks in advance, there probably would have been some actual suspense as to who would win. ***3/4
The Bottom Line: There are good shows with a main event so bad that it becomes a thumbs down, and bad shows with a main event so good that it becomes a thumbs up. This was neither, as it ended up being a mediocre series of undercard matches with wishy-washy finishes (most heinously in the RVD-Brock match) leading up to a main event that was quite good and nothing more. This was a PPV that will be forgotten in 2 days, and about the nicest thing I can muster for a compliment is that nothing was actively bad. It all just seems like so much wasted time these days, though.
Thumbs in the middle.