The SmarK RAW Rant – January 3, 2005
– Live from Long Island, NY
– Your hosts are JR & King
– Tonight’s gimmick is the six guys facing each other in singles matches, so we have Batista v. Benoit, Edge v. Jericho, and HHH v. Orton.
– Batista v. Chris Benoit. Batista pounds away in the corner to start, but gets taken down by Benoit with a legdrag. Benoit goes to the chops, but Batista gets the backbreaker to slow him down. Benoit fights back with the rolling germans, which Batista can’t bump for properly, and he goes up before Batista bails. They slug it out on the floor and head back in, where Benoit goes up again and gets crotched for his troubles. This sets up a delayed fisherman’s suplex by Batista, which gets two. He goes to a half-crab and does the nice “leaning on the head” bit, then forces Benoit to “tap” in another nice touch. Well, that just gets Chris all riled up and he throws some chops, but walks into the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER, which gets two. Benoit fights back and gets an enzuigiri, then a seated dropkick for two. He escapes another backbreaker attempt and puts him down with a german suplex, then heads up for the diving headbutt, which gets two. Another dropkick, this one to the knee, puts Batista down again, and he counters another spinebuster attempt with the crossface. Dave, however, is not human and powers out of it, then carries Benoit into the corner and rams his head into the turnbuckles a few times. That is the most awesome counter I’ve ever seen for that move. Demon bomb finishes at 7:04, and man did he earn that one. That was some kinda crazy power match. *** The crowd was deeply into Batista by the end of that one.
– Meanwhile, Flair explores his options as a show recapper, giving the play-by-play of the last match to HHH. Batista, however, shows up looking for money from the bet they made last week. “Ric, give him $100”. Nice touch. Dave is a bigger badass than anyone thought, however, because he wants HHH to pay him personally. However, he was just kidding. Give this man the title NOW.
– And from awesome to the exact opposite, Gene Snitsky gets interviewed by the new chick. He has a surprise for Kane on Sunday. What, he learned a wrestling move?
– Chris Jericho v. Edge. Jericho takes him down to start and grabs a leglock, but Edge escapes and we’re back to square one. Edge hammers him in the corner and they slug it out. To the floor, where a double clothesline leaves both guys out and we take a break. Back with Edge working a hammerlock on the mat, but Jericho fights out. Edge takes him down with an armbar for two, however. Jericho fights back with forearms and a bulldog, but the Lionsault misses, big shock. He gets a rana for two, however. Enzuigiri puts Edge on the ropes, but he gets up and boots Jericho down for two. They exchange counters off a DDT attempt, and Jericho gets a northern lights suplex for two. Edge escapes the Walls, but Jericho gets the Flashback for two. To the top, but Edge follows and they fight over a superplex. No one gets it, and then Jericho whiffs on a high cross to boot. Edge sets up for the spear, but Jericho leapfrogs it to counter, so Edge rolls him up for the pin at 10:16 instead. Good enough for government work. **
– Shelton Benjamin v. Sylvain Grenier. Maven comes out for commentary, distracting Shelton long enough for Grenier to attack him and get two. Backdrop suplex and full-nelson follow. Benjamin fights out and backdrops him out of the corner, then follows with the Blinger splash. Grenier hits an Erik Watts-type dropkick, but heel miscommunication results in Benjamin getting the kick for two. Grenier forgets to kick out, so the ref stops counting. Wonderful. Exploder finishes for real at 3:07. What a disaster this was. 1/2*
– And now, the highlight of my week, the debate between Hassan and the announce team. Hassan is all “blah blah blah” and JR is all “Love it or leave it” and it’s the usual xenophobic reactions from the crowd, and then they beat the crap out of Lawler and JR in a shocking twist that perhaps a 5 year old watching for the first time might not have seen coming. The was good, but it’s all cheap, and I just don’t care about the character because he’s just an 80s cartoon who’s gonna live or die by how they handle his first loss.
– So now thanks to Hassan, we have to listen to Coach do commentary solo for the rest of the show. BASTARDS. For some reason, he’s doing it total babyface style, and ends up sounding like an indy commentator for the rest of the show.
– Trish Stratus v. Victoria. Victoria is in character free-fall now, leaving her down to jobber to the only real star of the women’s division. Trish kicks her down to start and slugs away in the corner, then hairtosses her down for two. Trish chokes her down and goes for the bulldog, but Victoria finally gets some offense and suplexes out of it. A rollup gets two. She makes the comeback with clotheslines, but the standing moonsault hits knee and Trish finishes her with the big kick at 3:09. Victoria needs to get the hell off TV for a few months, and fast. 1/2* Lita then charges out and they do the impromptu brawl as Victoria disappears like she’s nothing. Kane’s pyro briefly interrupts for no reason, but not Kane. Gene Snitsky helps out and they set up to break her neck again, but Kane returns for the big brawl. It goes nowhere, as Snitsky runs away.
– Meanwhile, more time-wasting with the chicks, as Eugene sings to Christy.
– Eugene v. Christian. This is to set up the “nothing better to do with any of them” tag title match on Sunday. Man, that PPV is looking like a serious case of onematchitus. Eugene gets a press slam and rope-shake to start, as he does a bit of Ultimate Warrior, and the big splash gets two. Man, talk about going over the heads of your audience. He goes up and gets slammed off by Christian, who then tosses him and allows Tomko to get a cheapshot. We hit the chinlock, but Eugene reverses the Unprettier to the double chickenwing. He stops to go after Tomko and gets rolled up for two. Eugene tries his own, but Christian grabs the ropes for the pin at 3:42, which marks the second time tonight they’ve done that finish. Blah match. 3/4*
– HHH v. Randy Orton. Kind of weird to see them wasting their chosen WM main event on a nothing show like this. Orton slugs away to start after the staredown, and gets a rollup for two. Clothesline gets two. HHH kicks him out of the corner and they slug it out. Orton gets a backdrop out of the corner and goes for the RKO, but HHH escapes and bails. And we take a break as he regroups. Back with Orton pounding away in the corner, but HHH hotshots him to escape and sends him into the railing via a shoulderblock off the apron. Back in, HHH stomps the ribs and works him over in the corner, and gets two. HHH gives him a knee to the gut and gets two. The problem here is that this is supposed to be the chosen match, but these guys have zero chemistry together. One of the reasons that Rock and Austin got each other over huge in 1998 was that putting them in the ring together generated fireworks each and every time. Orton fights back with punches and a powerslam, and that gets two. Neckbreaker gets two. He goes up with the high cross, which gets two. They trade sleepers as we’re all just waiting for the ref bump, and right on cue HHH knocks the ref out to escape. HHH gets the bell, but Orton foils him and uses it himself. This prompts Batista, who doesn’t need bells to win his matches, to run out and destroy him, and soon it’s a giant six-way brawl and Shawn Michaels takes over as ref. HHH gets in his face, and the RKO looks to follow, but he blocks and goes for the Pedigree. Orton reverses for two, and the RKO finishes at 16:40. Oh, great, HHH is getting the title again. Typical dull match between them, with the overbooked finish helping somewhat. **1/2
The Inside Pulse:
Well, with HHH doing the job tonight, WWE booking seems to assure him yet another World title. The show was hot for the first hour, but ironically the heat from the Hassan segment was so tremendous that nothing could follow it, and it really killed the rest of the show. Not to mention that the PPV is entirely based on one match, and if it doesn’t deliver then it’s going to be a disaster of Armageddon-like proportions.