The SmarK RAW Rant – July 5 2004


The SmarK RAW Rant – July 5 2004

– Live from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– Opening game: Musical Chairs for a title shot! Yes, Eugene is in charge, so we play musical chairs with the winner getting a title shot tonight. First eliminated: Tajiri. But he mists Coachman out of spite, thus taking him out of the running, too, after the second round. Third round sees Jerry Lawler sitting on Stacy’s lap, which is sadly illegal and thus eliminates him. Ric Flair shoves Stacy aside and knocks her out of the running. Flair goes while strutting, leaving us Jericho and Tomko in the heated finale. When the music stops, Jericho goes the Alexander the Great route and hits Tomko with the chair, thus winning a title shot. A shot at Randy Orton, but you take what you can get with musical chairs. See, now THIS was the kind of thinking outside the box stuff the show has been lacking.

– RAW World tag titles: La Resistance v. Rhyno & Val Venis. Val & Rhyno dump Conway and work over Grenier to start, but Rhyno gets the vicious EYE POKE OF DEATH and the champs take over. They slap him around in the corner but Rhyno fights back, until Conway clotheslines him for two. Choking follows and Grenier gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Rhyno comes back with a shoulderblock. Val gets the somewhat hot tag and hits Conway with a Rock Bottom for two. Sleeper into a Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. It’s LE BONZO GONZO and Rhyno sets up for the GOAR, but Grenier trips him up and Au Revoir finishes Val at 4:26. 1/2* Quick note: Despite burial for months, because Heyman used to yell “GOAR GOAR GOAR” on commentary in 2001, the move is still over with the fans.

– Meanwhile, Orton bitches about having to defend his title, but Flair is more upset about jobbing in musical chairs. They head over to Eugene’s inflatable office, where Batista tries to be the voice of reason, but gets booked against Kane instead. Because it’s a “good match”. Then he books himself and Ric Flair against La Resistance at the PPV. The comedy with that one just writes itself. Funniest bit here was Eugene going “Remember when La Resistance fought Rhyno and Val Venis ” and Orton’s incredulous “OF COURSE! IT JUST HAPPENED!”

– HHH joins us to suck the fun out of the show, reminding us that he’s gonna win the title back on Sunday. Just to show how obvious it is, Wade Keller made a Freudian slip in his real-time RAW report, calling HHH the champion earlier in the show. Whoops. Apparently he’s not God anymore, he’s better than God. Well, really he deserved a promotion after marrying Stephanie. Edge interrupts to a mediocre pop, with threats for Randy Orton and Evolution in general. I guess Edge is a creationist. He’s gonna take a stand and he’ll go through them all if need be. So I guess that’s gonna be your Summerslam main event. HHH’s response: “I’ve heard that from a million guys. NOTHING CHANGES.” I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. A brawl erupts, which I guess is supposed to indicate something changing, but Edge ends up running into the crowd when Evolution attacks. Why not recruit Benoit & Jericho to help instead of threatening them 1-on-4?

– Kane v. Batista. Kane slugs away and gets the sideslam to start, but the chokeslam is blocked, so he goes for the easy way and slugs Batista down. Batista comes back with a spinebuster, which Kane no-sells, and Kane boots Batista to the floor. This draws out Matt Hardy to attack Kane for the DQ at 1:55. Super-lame. ¼* Frankly, Kane selling for pussy-whipped sissy Matt Hardy is a waste of everyone’s time at this point. Squash him at the PPV and be done with it.

– Meanwhile, Todd Grisham does an INTENSE INTERVIEW with Matt Hardy. Matt conveys intensity by not saying anything. I wish Lita would take that approach.

– Yay, more crap from the Diva Search. Serious question: These chicks are all transvestites, right? I mean, seriously, what’s with the jawlines?

– Intercontinental title: Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho. They fight over a lockup to start, won by Orton. Jericho initiates some chain-wrestling and Orton turns it into a top wristlock, but Jericho takes him down to escape. Jericho elbows him down to set up a vertical suplex, which gets two off the ARROGANT COVER~! Into the corner, where Orton slugs away and catches Jericho with the high dropkick for two. We hit the chinlock as the crowd is RABIDLY behind Jericho, to a crazy degree. He tries to toss Jericho, who counters by heading up with a flying elbow for two. Jericho fires off some chops and gets a leg lariat for two. Jericho blocks a knee with a rollup for two. Running enzuigiri gets two, and Orton takes five. He heads back in, but gets backdropped out by Jericho again. Batista joins us as we take a break. Back with Jericho getting pulled out by Batista and pounded. Back in, Orton goes to work on the arm with another top wristlock. If there’s one thing Orton needs to work on, it’s some mid-match offense that isn’t so damn pedestrian. Jericho fights out, but gets taken down by the hair and Orton drops knees on the arm. See, that’s better. Into the corner for more abuse of the arm, and he goes to a standing armbar. They clothesline each other, allowing Jericho to make the comeback with a forearm shot. Running choke and he goes for the Walls, but Orton counters out. They slug it out and Orton gets the neckbreaker for two. Jericho escapes a suplex and gets the Flashback for two. He charges and hits the post, however, allowing Orton to go up. Jericho recovers and follows him up, but Orton blocks the superplex attempt and follows him down with a high cross for two. The crowd remains doggedly behind Jericho. Jericho keeps fighting with a bulldog, but Batista jumps up to interfere, so Jericho dropkicks him off, leaving himself open. RKO is reversed to the Walls, however, as the crowd goes BONKERS, but he releases to chase off Batista and they do the STUPID “idiot babyface gets rolled up for the pin” ending instead at 18:36. I cannot believe they wasted nearly 20 minutes for that hackneyed finish. Much like most of Orton’s matches, it dragged in the middle but had the hot finish. ***1/4

– Meanwhile, HHH strikes a deal with Eugene while jumping in his office. I believe Kissinger struck his big deals the same way. Our main event: HHH, Flair & Eugene v. Spinal Fusion.

– Contract on a pole: Victoria v. Molly Holly v. Nidia. Ugh. This is for a nebulous “title match at a later date”. Everyone trips each other up and Victoria gets sent to the floor, and Nidia fights with Molly for the contract, but Victoria kicks her down and gets the slingshot legdrop. Molly gets a neckbreaker and they continue hairpulling each other down, until Molly sends Nidia into the post and tosses Victoria. She follows with a pescado. The crowd is gone and Trish’s commentary is stupid and pointless. Molly brings Victoria in with a superplex, and now Nidia climbs, and gets the contract at 3:29. Who gives a shit about Nidia? Total trainwreck that sucked the life out of the show. DUD And since we’re using the worst of Vince Russo’s ideas in this segment, Trish lays out Nidia with her broken hand and pins her to retain the title. I guess the idea was not to waste the “title shot” on someone who’s actually over and would look like a total joke as a result of this, but why book any of it to begin with?

– Meanwhile, Trish gets a choice burn on Lita.

– Meanwhile, HHH gets Eugene all riled up for the main event tonight.

– Chris Benoit & Edge v. Eugene, Ric Flair & HHH. Eugene starts with Benoit and they fight over a wristlock, which Eugene loses. HHH gives Eugene a quick peptalk, but Benoit won’t throw chops. Evolution isn’t hesitant to hit Benoit with cheapshots, however. HHH comes in and slugs it out with Benoit, and now Chris is ready with the chops and his first crossface. Eugene makes the save. Benoit gets sent into the stairs by Flair, and we take a break. Back with Benoit suplexing HHH and getting the tag to Edge. Backdrops abound and he hits Flair & HHH with a double-clothesline and sets up for the spear, hitting Flair with it before slugging HHH down. He accidentally knocks Eugene off the apron, however, but comes back with a DDT on HHH. Eugene goes crazy and attacks Edge, until HHH pulls him off. This match is dying rapidly. Flair gets two. Edge is apparently face in peril now, as HHH sends him into the post and starts working the arm. Eugene comes in to continue, and the fans turn on him. That’s the difference between making someone out to be a retard, and someone out to be plain stupid. Fans will put up with the former, but can only take the latter for so long. The angle has lost all its charm since Regal was shuffled out in favor of HHH. False tag to Benoit, but Edge comes back with an enzuigiri on Flair and makes the hot tag to Benoit. German suplexes on HHH, but Flair stops any attempt to go up, and the match suddenly loses all heat. Weird. Flair and Edge brawl out, and HHH sends Benoit into Eugene to knock him off the apron, then grabs a chair. They brawl and Eugene ends up with the chair. Benoit talks him down and puts HHH in the Sharpshooter, but Eugene breaks it up with the chair. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, goodbye at 15:38. Too long for what they were trying to do, and they can only annoy fans with this Eugene stuff for so long before they turn on the angle for good. **

The Bottom Line:

Show started promising enough, but boredom and more bad booking set in by the end and it just ended up being another dull episode. Nothing really helped build interest in the PPV on Sunday, either. We can only hope the Benoit era isn’t over, but I’m not holding my breath.

Well, at least it’s not Bradshaw.