The SmarK RAW Rant – August 23, 2004
– Live from Anaheim, CA.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– The diva search kicks things off, as the token black chick gets voted off. Geez, they must be slipping if they can’t even work a vote properly anymore. Anyway, Rock makes his quarterly appearance (100 people on the roster he could give the rub to and they pick THIS segment to waste him on?) because Coach needs to be put in his place again. Rock sleepwalks through a painfully patronizing segment and introduces a pie-eating contest for the divas. Of course, the anorexic girls are all terrified of gaining a pound and thus barely even touch them. Thankfully, Coach brings out La Rez to finish killing this thing off, and they do a quick beatdown, but Rhyno saves, and it ends up with a 3-on-1 situation against Coach. Coach earns some respect by trying to go it alone, but ends up dead. What the POINT of any of that was, I have no idea.
– Meanwhile, HHH has an ultimatum for Orton later in the show, and Kane has a white dress for Lita.
– Intercontinental title: Edge v. Chris Jericho. Jericho grabs a hammerlock to start, but Edge makes the ropes. Jericho takes him down with a wristlock, but Edge slugs him down in response. Jericho dumps him and dropkicks him off the apron, and we take a break. At 2:00 in? Back with Edge getting a leg lariat as both guys stagger around like it’s 20:00 in or something, and they slug it out. Jericho ducks a boot in the corner and goes up with a flying back elbow, for two. Jericho gets a clothesline and a rana for two. Edge comes back with a DDT out of the corner for two. They’re doing the “hot near-falls” stuff and it’s only like 5:00 into the match. Edge sets up for the spear, but Jericho dodges him and takes him down, and Edge rolls him up for the pin at 6:42. However, his feet were on the ropes, so the ref waves it off and we MUST CONTINUE… after yet another commercial. So back again Jericho is choking away in the corner and gets the running enzuigiri into the running choke. Bulldog sets up the Lionsault, which of course misses. He comes right back with the Flashback for two, however. Edge comes back with the Edge-O-Matic for two. Jericho gets put on the apron, and Edge spears him into the railing. Back in, Edge tries a high cross, but Jericho reverses for two. Walls of Jericho, but Edge quickly makes the ropes. Jericho tries a cross body, but Edge dumps him on the top rope and it’s a DQ at 15:04. What a horrid ending. Never mind that crotching someone on the top rope isn’t a DQ under normal circumstances, but the match was all kinds of rushed and wasn’t even going anywhere prior to the finish. Just terrible stuff from these two. *
– HHH interview time, as he doesn’t believe in destiny or predetermination. Nepotism, however, he’s just FINE with. As you’d imagine, he’s mighty disappointed in Randy Orton. Maybe he didn’t vote for HHH in the WON Hall of Fame and that’s why he didn’t get in? Apparently, the plan was only for Orton to soften Benoit up, not win the title, because the title is HHH’s and everyone knows it. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Apparently Orton celebrating among the ballyhoo (yes, he really said “Ballyhoo” in a heel interview) was just sands in the hourglass of the days of our lives or something. JR must be writing the metaphors for him. Anyway, the eventual point is that HHH will graciously spare Orton any further beatings if he comes out and lays down, but otherwise Orton will cease to exist. That’s pretty harsh. I mean, sure, killing the guy is one thing, but wiping him from existence? The time travel alone required (HHH goes back to the 20s and marries Bob Orton Sr.’s wife?) would put off most guys, but not a determined guy like HHH! Back to the Future IV starring HHH! There’s a WWE Films Presentation waiting to happen. So Orton makes his entrance to rebut, getting a mild face reaction to say the least (perhaps the fact that he still uses Evolution’s music has something to do with it?) HHH demands the belt, so Orton gives it to him, if you know what I mean. See, now they’re really going about this backwards, as HHH should have done the belt ultimatum BEFORE turning on him. Orton runs into the crowd like a coward. Benoit would have fought off all three guys, or else taken the beating like a man. Just saying.
– Meanwhile, Victoria protests to Uncle Eric on behalf of Lita, but HHH barges into the segment with his own bitching, which earns him a title shot at the PPV. Already?
– William Regal v. Ric Flair. Eugene and Batista are of course lurking at ringside, which would lead on to believe a match between them is upcoming. Regal grabs a cravat to start and overpowers Flair into another one. Flair comes back with a chop and slugs away in the corner, but Regal fires back with forearms and a backdrop out of the corner. We get a Flop from Flair, but Regal drops a knee on the back of his neck and they brawl outside. Flair starts throwing chops, but Regal backdrops him on the floor and we take a break. Back with Regal running into an elbow in the corner, as Flair drops a knee to take over. We get some choking in the corner and Flair chops him down as the slow pace continues unabated. Another kneedrop gets two. They slug it out in the corner, which Regal wins without too much trouble, but Flair uses the old thumb to the eye and goes up. Oh lord. Even blinded, Regal is able to slam him off. No wonder. Butterfly suplex, but Batista clobbers Regal from the outside and the figure-four looks to finish, but Eugene manages to turn it over. Things break loose in a donnybrook (a DONNYBROOK I SAY!) as Benoit runs out and kicks Batista’s ass. Flair and Regal both go for the brass knuckles, and Regal wins the race and gets the pin at 12:08. Super slow, but with a hot finish. *1/2
– Meanwhile, Lita contemplates her wedding, and then tries to break her mirror. Man, that’s like 7 years bad luck! She might have to marry a mutant disfigured freak or something… oh wait. Kane, meanwhile, is pretty dapper in white. Where’s the red tux?
– Wedding time! Of course the traditional wedding midgets are first, and then we get the wedding remix of Kane’s theme, which is almost worth it alone. Lita, who before the break was in a WHITE dress, but now is sporting a black one. Well, geez, talk about your fashion faux pas. Uncle Eric, last seen officiating the Billy & Chuck wedding, comes out to say a few words from the Bible. Darn, I was hoping he’d quote a passage from my second book instead. And then to drag this out further, we get a video package. I take the time to explain the beautiful storyline to my girlfriend, because she complains we don’t watch enough wedding-related stuff. Kane comes up with real Hallmark-type shit for his vows: “You’re not just the woman carrying my baby, you’re my property.” Awwww. Gets you right there. I knew he had a soft side. Lita, equally the romantic, wishes for Kane to die and rot in hell in rebuttal. I’m sure he’s heard worse, given his troubled love life up until now. Hell, just look at Katie Vick. We get the “speak now… ” pop as everyone waits for Shawn Michaels to appear, but instead it’s Trish in her underwear. She’s the EVIL maid of honor. This leads to the traditional pre-wedding brawl between the bride and her maid-of-honor (it IS a wrestling wedding, after all). The priest tries to rush things, but now it’s Matt Hardy’s music interrupting, as I guess he’s the evil best man, and it’s another brawl. Matt tries to rescue her, but Kane puts up a wall of fire to block them. You just don’t SEE that kind of stuff on TLC. Matt goes through a table off the ramp for his troubles. OK, so back to the altar we go, and they’re married. And that’s it. That’s it? That’s the big payoff for this stuff?
The Bottom Line:
God, way to end the decent show streak with a thud, as a horrible first hour and a ridiculously uneventful “wedding from hell” (I mean, two people attacking the bride and groom is practically a given in wrestling!) to cap things off makes for a god-awful week. The followup to the Orton turn was also cliche and predictable and right out of the DDP “Idiot’s Guide to Babyface Turns” playbook.
Not a good week.