The SmarK RAW Rant – August 16, 2004

– Live from London, ON.

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– We open with the celebration for Randy Orton, youngest WWE champion in history. However, he’s not the youngest WORLD champion in general, as two people were younger than him when they won the NWA World title. For your shot at $1000, tell Widro the answers on the IP board. Make sure you’re a registered board user. DO NOT send the answers to me. Anyway, Orton kind of drones a bit, and we get the video package about how great he is. Finally Benoit interrupts, to a HUGE pop and reaction. The rematch is TONIGHT. Sounds good to me.

– Sylvain Grenier v. Rhyno. If Rhyno wins, then he gets a tag title shot at Unforgiven. Sure, let’s just drag this out a bit more. Rhyno gets a quick rollup for two, but Grenier dumps him. On the floor, Conway DDTs Tajiri to get rid of him, as Grenier gets a kneedrop for two and hits the chinlock. That gets two. Lawler goes on and on with lame anti-Canadian jokes, which I guess is Toronto’s punishment for not liking Summerslam. Nothing stings like a Jerry Lawler joke. Well, at least we’ve got Leo Laporte all to ourselves now. Grenier gets a clothesline for two and goes back to the chinlock. Powerslam gets two for Rhyno, and he makes the comeback, but runs into an elbow in the corner. He gets a belly to belly suplex for two, however. Bunch of clotheslines and he slugs Conway off the apron, but gets caught with a backdrop suplex for two. Tajiri sneaks in with the mist, however, and it’s GOAR GOAR GOAR at 5:11 to give our heroes the tag title shot. Not much of a match. ½*

– Next week: The marriage of Kane and Lita. Bit of a shotgun wedding, no?

– Speaking of which, Lita is greeted in the locker room by the heel divas, who proceed to make some pretty funny jokes about her impending marriage, including giving her condoms and a vibrator. The highlight is a composite baby picture of Kane & Lita’s lovechild. She doesn’t take any of it very well. Some people just can’t take a joke”¦

– Shawn’s big return video gets BOOED by the crowd. God bless Canada.

– Victoria v. Gail Kim. They trade wristlocks to start and Victoria gets a monkey-flip, into the jigglesault for two. Kim boots her out of the ring, and back in she gets two. Backbreaker and the crowd dies. Satellite armbar, but Victoria counters out. Kim clotheslines her down again and the crowd is so into the match that they start a “You screwed Bret” chant for Hebner. The girls slug it out and Victoria gets a backdrop, but Kim takes her down with a headscissors. Widow’s Peak finishes Gail at 3:35. This proves to be a setup for Trish and Tomko to do the run-in, but the transvestite formally known as Stevie Richards makes the save. And you thought they forgot about that. Well, at least JR did, because he’s stymied as to the identity of our mystery man, even though the ENTIRE CROWD is yelling “STEEEEEEEEVIE!” Just that kind of night, I guess. ½*

– Intercontinental title: Edge v. Kane. Random question: What exactly is Edge pointing TO when he’s doing his entrance? Kane overpowers him to start, so Edge slugs away, but gets knocked down again. Edge works the leg over and dropkicks the knee to put Kane down, and wraps the knee around the post. And now the blushing bride joins us as we take a break. We return with Kane holding a chinlock, and a hotshot gets two. Back to the chinlock. Otherwise known as “Randy Orton Style”. Kane turns it into a chinlock for two. Edge fights back with boots and a forearm, into the Edge-O-Matic for two. Kane bails to the apron, so Edge spears him into the railing. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. Kane comes back with a clothesline and goes up, but Edge knocks him down, and the ref gets bumped. Yeah, that’s what the match needed. Kane goes for the chokeslam, after fighting off Lita and Edge, but Matt hardy runs in and gives him a Twist of Fate on his way out for 6 months. Spear finishes at 12:46. Super dull chinlock fest. *1/2

– Sadly, it’s Diva Search time, as I was hoping they had forgotten about it. This week: the wannabes say who they’d vote off. Everyone seems to hate Carmella. There’s a VERY subtle message here, I think. Something about missing gigs. Much to my shock, they DON’T rig the voting and get rid of Carmella, as the new plan seems to be turning her into a heel. Hearing the girls make bizarre, shootish comments about how Carmella doesn’t care about paying dues and insulting the wrestlers made this more perversely entertaining than anything else they’ve tried thus far.

– Chris Jericho v. Batista. Batista uses the big stompdown to start and pounds him in the corner, and Flair trips Jericho to allow an elbowdrop from Batista. He hits Jericho with a few forearms to the back of the head, but Jericho escapes a powerslam and puts him down with a forearm. Running enzuigiri sets up the running choke, but Batista moves, so Jericho opts for a rollup instead that gets two. Jericho tries the Walls, but Batista powers out, so Jericho dropkicks him instead. Bulldog, but the Lionsault is interrupted by Flair at 3:53, thus drawing a DQ. Kind of a mess. * Edge tries to make the save, and then he changes his mind and walks off instead.

– Diva search time again, as apparently we’re now supposed to vote someone off based on the scripted comments about Carmella. I’m guessing the idea is to vote off Carmella. Maybe I’m missing the very subtle point of that last diva segment, though. They were quite sly about it and all.

– Meanwhile, HHH offers words of wisdom to Randy Orton, promising that after he wins again, Evolution is gonna be there to celebrate with him. Or perhaps sneak-attack him?

– RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Chris Benoit. Points to Orton for wearing the belt, the mark of a good champion. Benoit slugs away in the corner to start and throws chops, then fires off a snap suplex and an elbowdrop. Backdrop suplex gets two. Benoit keeps firing punches , but Orton tosses him, only to see Benoit keep coming, chasing Orton back into the corner and clotheslining him out. That gets two. Benoit works the back over and snaps off a fisherman’s suplex for two. Orton finally goes to the eyes to break it up, but Benoit backslides him for two. More chops put Orton down again, and they head up, where Benoit brings him down with a superplex for two. He keeps stomping and fires off a northern lights suplex for two. This is quite the offensive onslaught. More chops, and a back elbow gets two. Orton tries a clothesline, but Benoit deftly reverses him down into Sharpshooter position. Orton escapes, so Benoit tries it again, and this time Orton makes the ropes and bails. Benoit teases a suicide dive, and then dropkicks him off the apron instead. He keeps it up, sending Orton’s back into the railing and dropping his knee on the stairs. Note to self: Don’t piss Benoit off. And we take a break. We return with Benoit’s torture session continuing, via a Sharpshooter. Orton makes the ropes, however. Benoit tries a suplex off the apron, but Orton dropkicks him into the railing instead. Next up, a trip to the post, and Orton gets two off that. Kneedrop gets two. Things slow down as Orton drops a leg and throws a forearm, and it’s CHINLOCK OF DEATH time. Next up, the body vice into a neckbreaker, which gets two. Double KO, and Benoit fights up with a knee to the gut, but Orton gets the neckbreaker to put him down again. Orton goes up and whiffs on a high cross, allowing Benoit to come back with a front suplex and go up. Diving headbutt gets two. Rolling germans into the crossface, and Orton’s got nowhere to go. He tries a pair of roll-throughs, but Benoit hangs on”¦until Evolution runs in and the RKO finishes at 19:57. Lame finish. ***1/2 We get the cliché heel celebration”¦until HHH gives the execution sign and the beatdown on Orton begins. And there’s your face turn. HHH, as we all know, doesn’t like to share his toys.

The Bottom Line:

Pretty dull effort the night after Summerslam, although not bad enough to turn the crowd on the product in general like previous trips through Canada have done. The big angle to end the show was pretty hot, albeit yet another “HHH beats down the champion and all the contenders” angle as he waits patiently to take his belt back whenever he wants it. We’ll call it a middle of the road show and see if Orton catches fire as babyface champion, probably after Edge turns on him next week or at Unforgiven.