The SmarK RAW Rant – October 25, 2004
– Live from Des Moines, Iowa.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– For some reason we start the show with the entire Eugene-Bischoff segment from the PPV on Tuesday. This leads into a Bischoff interview in the ring. He’s giving himself the night off, and the inmates are running the asylum. Yeah, just ask Pat Patterson.
– Next up, more talking, as it’s time for Evolution. Well, speak of the devil. HHH declares himself to be running the show tonight. Oh, the irony is just being piled on with a bulldozer tonight. HHH offers Flair anything he wants, so he picks Randy Orton. Orton quickly interrupts, however, and questions the authority of HHH. Careful, might get fired for that. And in fact, he wants the World title. So HHH grants that for Survivor Series”¦if he can beat Flair again. But if he doesn’t win, he never ever ever ever gets another title shot ever again, forever and ever, never ever never ever never ever ever never never ever again. Right. Until he wins the Royal Rumble, I bet.
– Intercontinental title: Shelton Benjamin v. Chris Jericho. Jericho grabs a headlock to start, but gets hiptossed and armdragged. Much like last night, the entire arena looks like it’s blacked out and maybe a quarter full. They trade hammerlocks and Jericho takes him down for some matwork. They slug it out in the corner, but Benjamin misses the Blinger Splash in dramatic fashion and lands on the floor. Jericho follows him out with a high cross, and we take a break. Back with Jericho holding a backbreaker and then hitting the Flashback for two. JR and King put over the bullshit company line about what a “refreshing concept” the PPV was as Benjamin gets a rana off the top. Slugfest is won by Benjamin with a flying forearm, which sets up the Dragon Whip for two. Jericho comes back with a dropkick that sends Benjamin flying off the apron, and back in Jericho catches him with a clothesline for two. Benjamin comes back and tries the Exploder, but gets a northern lights instead for two. Jericho bridges up and into a backslide, but Benjamin cradles for two, and they reverse that for a few near-falls before Jericho tries the Walls. He opts for a catapult into the corner instead, but Benjamin counters with a sunset flip. Jericho counters with another attempt at the Walls, but Benjamin counters that into a rollup for the pin at 11:13. Really interesting counter-wrestling going on there in the last couple of minutes. **1/2 Jericho offers a handshake afterwards, but Christian isn’t so giving and lays Benjamin out once Jericho is gone.
– Meanwhile, Eric and Coach share a drink.
– Meanwhile, Evolution harasses Christy, and gets in Jericho’s face. Sound problems prevent us from hearing the thrilling dialogue from HHH in its entirety, but it leads to the babyfaces all sticking up for Jericho, and HHH’s asskiss patrol backing off.
– And now, more talking, as Edge does an interview via satellite and whines about not getting the title shot at HHH. This leads into what seems like our millionth interview tonight, as Shawn Michaels joins JR in the ring. He gives a long, sappy interview about how much he loves the fans and stuff, and then writes himself out for a few more weeks so his leg can heal. Was there a POINT somewhere in all that? Man, don’t even get me STARTED on how hypocritical it is for Shawn to be giving that speech.
– Meanwhile, a Maven interview is interrupted by Big Dave, which gives us”¦
– Maven v. Batista. Maven charges and hits boot to start, and Batista pounds him on the mat. Choking follows and he suplexes Maven onto the top rope, and then boots him to the floor. They brawl outside and Maven finally gets some offense, ramming Batista into the railing, but Batista clubs him against the apron and they head back in, where Maven gets the dropkick and a forearm. Batista casually runs him into the corner, however, and then swats aside a missile dropkick and looks to finish with the Demon Bomb, but Maven reverses to a fluke rollup for the pin at 3:15. Batista goes after Maven after the loss, but the faces again band together. What a novel concept. I’m sure Batista will recover from the loss. 1/2*
– William Regal v. Gene Snitsky. Picking up from last week, Snitsky attacks Regal outside to start, and clubs him down with a short-arm clothesline in the ring. Coat Hanger finishes at 0:21, as they continue keeping it short and effective with Snitsky’s TV appearances. DUD Snitsky offers to destroy anyone else in the locker room, and once again reminds us that IT WASN’T HIS FAULT. But everything from here onwards is. This guy is actually getting pretty good at being evil.
– Meanwhile, Trish uses her powers of bitchiness on Lita again. Trish is so awesome in this role that it’s all the more sad we don’t have a top babyface with the same charisma for her to play off of.
– Ric Flair v. Randy Orton. Fun fact: Subtracting the four minutes of commercials in the opening match, we’ve had a little over 10 minutes of wrestling for the entire show. Orton gets a hiptoss to start and melodramatic bodyslam, but Flair comes back with a couple of chops. Lawler wonders about someone beating Flair twice in one week, and JR draws a blank. I can think of about 10 guys off the top of my head (Dusty, Steamboat, Race, Sting, tons of others probably), but the question would better apply to HHH, I think. Anyway, Orton gets a backdrop, but Flair goes to the eyes, so Orton clotheslines him out. Orton’s “throw my arms in the air” taunt makes him look like a video game character or something, as though someone was wiggling the right analog stick backstage. They fight on the floor and Orton suplexes him there, and gets two back in the ring. Orton slugs away in the corner and it’s a Flair Flop, and Orton taunts AGAIN. Enough with that shit. Orton charges and hits the post, landing on the floor as a result, and we take a break. Back with Flair dodging a charge in the corner and getting an elbow. Flair goes up and gets slammed off (in other news, sun comes up) and Orton follows with a high cross which misses. Bad night for people going high-risk. Orton hurts the knee, so Flair goes after it and it’s figure-four time. Kinda surprised he didn’t do that on Tuesday, actually. Another try is reversed by Orton for two. Flair starts unloading the chops, so Orton backdrops him and pounds away in the corner. Standing dropkick gets two. Powerslam and he gets the RKO, but Batista distracts him. The babyfaces again kick some ass, beating on Batista, but HHH sneaks in with a chair on Orton, and Flair gets the pin at 14:51. Pretty pedestrian stuff. ** And yes, 50/50 booking strikes again. HHH gets his just desserts, however, as the babyfaces all take their anger out on him. Hmm, Benoit, Jericho, Orton and Maven on one side, Evolution and Edge on the other, Survivor Series coming up. It’ll probably just be an elimination match, but could we possibly hope for Wargames?
The Inside Pulse:
Well, it was certainly nice to see a show-wide theme the exact opposite of “HHH runs rampant on the babyfaces”, even if it was just to set up a PPV match. However, the stuff from the PPV left untouched by this show is like a laundry list. Benoit and Edge win the tag titles? Not even mentioned. In fact, Benoit didn’t even have the BELT with him Flair and Orton hug after their tough match? Not a word. Oh, but we had to make sure to show Bischoff being humiliated by Vince and JR had to give a 10-minute soliloquy about what a revolutionary concept the show was and all, of course. God knows that’s the important stuff.
So now HHH has basically killed off every major challenge to his title until the ridiculously obvious Royal Rumble win by Orton gives him his Wrestlemania match, and we’re reduced to a bunch of midcarders banding together to oppose him to hopefully kill enough time for Orton to get over as a main event player in a babyface role before the entire promotion implodes.
Almost makes you wanna watch Smackdown. No, just kidding, I’m not that desperate yet.