The SmarK RAW Rant – August 2 2004

The SmarK RAW Rant – August 2 2004

– So yes, the rumors and speculation (well, some of it) is true – this is my final RAW rant for 411, as next Monday I’m moving with my buddy Widro to his new endeavour on the web, www.insidepulse.com, along with many other 411 writers. It’s nothing against Ashish, who I have nothing but respect for, but Widro asked and I accepted, and I hope 411 continues to do just as well without me as they were with me. Besides, I’ve been there for nearly three years, which is actually the longest tenure with any website for me, and it’s nice to have a change of scenery now and then. So join me next Monday for the debut of the RAW Pulse, I guess. My last review for 411 should probably be The English Patient or Challenge of the Superfriends Season 1 (depending on which one I finish first) and then I’ll debut on the Pulse with the long-awaited Great American Bash rant. How’s that for a tease?

– Live from San Antonio, TX.

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– HHH is in such a bad mood that he won’t even let the RAW intro finish before he cuts in for his opening interview. He wants Eugene. TONIGHT. NOW. However, William Regal comes out for him and takes credit for sending Eugene after him last week. And now, HHH has made an enemy out of Regal, SUNSHINE. Bring it, William! He even brings up their association in WCW, in a nice touch. Unfortunately, they failed to actually make a point with the interview, like a match or something, but that seems to be assumed by the announcers.

– Meanwhile, some other chick gets voted off the island.

– Rhyno & Tajiri v. La Resistance. This would appear to be non-title. A pre-match attack robs us of the Canadian anthem. Big brawl to start, and Rhyno hiptosses Conway and overpowers him. Flying clothesline and he teams with Tajiri for a chinlock/dropkick combo, and they flapjack Grenier and then chop the shit out of him. Grenier tries fighting back, but Tajiri hits him with the handspring elbow. Rhyno Goars Conway, and Tajiri rolls up Grenier off a sunset flip for the pin at 1:39. Way too fast, but it bodes well for a rematch at Summerslam with some great action. *

– Meanwhile, Randy Orton lets us know that he’s going to be the youngest World champion ever.

– Meanwhile, Matt wants to be a family with Lita and get married and stuff. Awww.

– Rosey v. Tyson Tomko. Oh man, who thought THIS would be a good idea? Tomko grabs a headlock to start, which will probably be the peak of the match. Tomko pounds away with the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but gets tossed. Back in, so Rosey clotheslines him back out again. They slug it out back in the ring, and Tomko chokes away. And chokes some more. That gets two. Tomko walks into a boot in the corner, and Rosey follows with a legdrop. They slug it out, which Tomko loses, and Rosey gets another legdrop for two. To show exactly where the focus of the match is, the replay shows Stacy doing a cartwheel. Tomko finishes with the big boot at 3:58. About as good as you’d expect, which is to say not at all. ¼*

– Highlight Reel time, with special guest Edge. First up, Jericho announces that it’s Edge v. Batista v. himself at Summerslam for the IC title. I’d rather see Batista taking the title from Edge in a singles match, but whatever. Edge accuses Jericho of having an EGO. Perish the thought! That’s like saying I have an ego. Things get pretty catty as Edge goes low (“I haven’t seen you dumped that badly since Trish Stratus” Crowd: “Ooooooooh!”) and the inevitable brawl results. Edge loses his temper and grabs a chair, but then pusses out and changes his mind. Jericho smacks him in the mouth, showing that he probably should have used it. Good stuff. And if they’re turning him heel again, they HAVE to give us an Edge & Christian reunion.

– HHH v. William Regal. Regal attacks during the big ring entrance, and they brawl over to the announce table before things even start. Regal smacks him up like a bitch all the way down to the ring, and sends him into the stairs. He fires off a couple of knees to the face and brings him in, and we’re on. They knock each other out and HHH is revealed to be wearing brass knuckles for the DQ at 0:18. Is there a federal law against actually seeing a match between these two or something? That’s the third time they’ve teased a match and then swerved it. DUD HHH goes for his trusty sledgehammer, but Regal (bleeding like a pig) blocks and gets his trusty brass knuckles. He loses to the sledgehammer, though. Yeah, that’d do it. Regal goes out on a stretcher. That’s what you call a Sicilian telegram. Just to make sure that Eugene gets the message (he IS a bit slow, you know), HHH tips the stretcher over as he’s being carried out, too, with Regal still tied up on it. Ouch. See, now that’s the HHH we know and love.

– And then from that to the diva wannabes blathering about how they want to be divas. Talk about the perfect way to kill a hot crowd dead.

– Meanwhile, Kane and Lita have a domestic dispute. In the newest stupid stipulation, Lita marries the winner of Matt Hardy v. Kane at Summerslam. That’s a pretty unique stip, if nothing else. Since it’s obvious who’s winning, I just hope they go completely over the top and have skits with Kane trying to be all domestic by lighting romantic candles with his pyrokinesis and stuff.

– Kane v. Maven. Maven tries a dropkick to start, and another one sends Kane out. Maven tries to follow with a tope suicida, but he screws it up and splats on the floor. They cover up as best they can, and Kane drops him on the stairs. Back in, Kane chokes away. Kane shrugs off a boot in the corner and kills him dead with the chokeslam at 2:37. Just a squash. ¼*

– Ric Flair, Randy Orton & Batista v. Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho & Edge. Edge goes right for Orton and chokes him down with jacket, then follows with a corner clothesline. Jericho comes in and slugs away, taking him out of the corner with a hiptoss and a vertical suplex for two. Flair time, as he immediately loses a slugfest and gets chopped in the corner. A headbutt from Benoit leaves him in no man’s land, as he gets pinballed and flops. Flair spits on Benoit, so that naturally leads him into the match, and they exchange chops. Benoit just MURDERS him, so Flair uses the thumb, only to get backslid for two. My man, Batista, comes in and pounds him in the corner, and gets a sideslam for two. Orton and Flair work him over, but Flair makes the mistake of another chop war, and loses again. Benoit runs into an elbow, however, and it’s figure-four city. Benoit reverses, so Batista breaks it up and then tags in nice and legal-like. He works the back, but Benoit dropkicks him in the head off a missed elbow, and Jericho comes back in. An attempt at a crossbody goes badly, so he clips Batista and tries the Walls instead. Batista powers out, but Jericho takes him down for the running choke and the bulldog. Lionsault gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and the faces clean house, and we take a break. Back with Orton working the CHINLOCK OF DEATH on Edge, but he powers out and sends Orton into the railing. Back in, that gets two. Orton fires back with the dropkick and brings Flair in, as he abuses Edge during a headlock. Flair slugs him down and does some strutting, and they trade headlocks and collide. Jericho comes in with a backdrop suplex and drops elbows for two. Orton comes back with the neckbreaker and brings Flair back in, who tries another figure-four, but Jericho does a slick reversal and then brings Benoit in. The crowd goes NUTS for him. Flair Flip and they brawl outside, and back in Batista tries the CLUBBING FOREARMS, which Benoit reverses to the crossface. Live and learn. Orton breaks that up, so Jericho comes back in with a forearm on Batista, only to get chopped down by Flair. Jericho gets the Walls, however, then has to fight off Evolution. Batista hits him with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER and then tags in for two. He works the back and Orton drops a knee and chokes him down, then goes back to his pet chinlock. Jericho fights out, and gets the Flashback, but Orton brings Batista back in for an elbow to the back again. Backbreaker gets two. Batista works the move and pounds Jericho down, but Jericho fights back with the enzuigiri. Hot tag Benoit, as he starts suplexing people and chopping Orton down. Backdrop for Flair and more chops, just because, and it’s german suplexes for Orton. Crowd goes crazy for that, and Benoit goes up with the flying headbutt, which gets two. Flair saves, so Edge spears him out of the ring, and it’s a donnybrook. Jericho accidentally knocks Edge out, and Batista kills HIM, then Benoit suplexes Batista, then Flair chops him down and goes for the figure-four, but Benoit reverses into the Sharpshooter to finish the whole shebang, only to see Randy Orton finish with the RKO at 24:34. GREAT TV match, featuring non-stop action and a super-hot finish to build to Summerslam. **** Kudos to the crowd for being so enthused throughout, too.

The Bottom Line:

While much of the wrestling was lousy outside of the awesome main event, they hit all the right spots for the PPV build and kept the Diva stupidity to a minimum, so this one gets the big thumbs up from me this week. And with that, I bid farewell to 411 and invite you join me next week at www.insidepulse.com, as we see where that adventure takes us.

It’s been a fun three years, and hopefully it only gets better from here.