The SmarK Rant for WWE New Years Revolution 2005
– Live from San Juan, PR. Good to see a FULL arena on PPV for once this year.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– The excitement for undercard matches like Trish v. Lita and Hassan v. Lawler is so electric that the power literally went out in my entire neighborhood both times I tried to start this rant today! That HAS to be a good sign, right?
– Opening match, RAW World tag titles: Eugene & William Regal v. Christian & Tyson Tomko. Eugene is all about the Hulkamania tonight. Considering Hulk’s recurring knee problems, maybe he decided to take that gimmick a bit TOO far. Regal starts out with Captain Charisma and they exchange wristlock takedowns and Regal shoulderblocks him down for one. He grabs a headlock and they work off that. Regal takes him into the face corner and Eugene tries the Atomic Wedgie, the most dreaded of all finishers, and Christian is forced to back off. Christian grabs a headlock to recover and Eugene outsmarts him with some JYD action, so it’s Tomko time. Tomko lays him out and chokes away, and Christian comes back in, so Eugene slides out and fraternizes with the fans. He hides under the ring, outsmarts the heels again, and rolls up Christian for two. Airplane spin allows some more silliness, but Tomko chokeslams him to take over for the heels. This crowd is popping for EVERYTHING. I love that kind of crowd. Tomko powerslam gets two. Christian comes in and hammers away, but Eugene hulks up and backdrops him. Hot tag Regal, but he gets hammered by Tomko from behind for two. Back to the heel corner for more punishment, and Christian slugs him down for two and draws blood via the nose. Regal fights back with knees on Tomko, but Christian gets a cheapshot from the apron and Tomko goes to a facelock. They collide in the corner and Regal crawls for the tag, but he crawls to the wrong corner. Whoops. Tomko drops a knee on the nose and charges, but hits the corner and it’s hot tag Eugene. The crowd pops like crazy for the comeback, but Eugene hurts his knee on a dropkick and they suddenly fall apart until Eugene fights for a rollup on Tomko that finishes at 12:21. Good for him. Ending looked terrible, but that’s the game for you. **1/2
– Meanwhile, Christian and Edge meet up and hatch a scheme for later.
– WWE Women’s title: Lita v. Trish Stratus. Lockup fight to start and Trish breaks clean. They do the catfight spot and Trish slugs away, but Lita powers her out of the ring. Lita does a Thesz Press off the apron and now she blows out HER knee. Back in, that gets two. You knew something bad was gonna happen to Lita sooner or later with her sloppy style. Trish works the leg over in the corner and gets two. And apparently they decide that enough is enough, because Lita can barely stand on her own, so they rush to the Chick Kick for the pin and the title at 3:45. This wasn’t even a match to speak of. DUD
– Intercontinental title: Shelton Benjamin v. Maven. Maven begs off to start and does some stalling. This riles up the crowd, so he rolls out and argues with them some more. And then he grabs the mic and cuts a promo on the fans. A LENGTHY promo. Like, HHH the night after he wins a title kind of lengthy. Finally, after what should have been a 120 count, Shelton chases him out there, but Maven now decides to walk out on the match and the count finally begins, 4 minutes after he first left the ring. So then he charges back in and gets pinned at 6:06. Are you SHITTING me? Maven then whines about that not being fair, so Shelton comes out and pins him again. This reminded me of the Ultimate Warrior-Goldust “match” from 1996, actually. DUD Total, total waste of PPV time.
– Mohammad Hassan v. Jerry Lawler. Since the announcers are wrestling, there’s no commentary. Oh, this has bad idea written all over it. In English and Farsi. Hassan, new monster heel and scourge of the west, starts out with…a bodyslam. And then one from King. And then another one from Hassan. OK, I think we’ve established that move. So then he does another six of them, like anyone born after 1985 is supposed to care. Hassan misses a charge into the corner and bails. They fight out and head back in, where Hassan gets an elbow and takes off a turnbuckle pad. This allows Lawler to get a cradle for two, but Hassan sends him into the corner and stomps away. And now, since Hassan is supposed to be Arabic and anyone from the Middle East is trained from birth to use it, it’s time for a CAMEL CLUTCH. Well, of course. That changes to a facelock because apparently even Hassan knows how cliche that is, but sadly he goes back to it again when the facelock doesn’t yield an immediate submission. He pounds him down for two, and a suplex gets two. And now it’s another resthold, as he pulls out every generic bad guy move in the book and still manages to bore the crap out of the hottest crowd they’ve had in years. Knee to the gut gets two. Neckbreaker gets two. Lawler finally makes the comeback and pulls down the strap, then unleashes his dreaded Once a Decade Dropkick. To the middle rope for the fistdrop, and that gets two. DDT (which is the most state-of-the-art move in the WHOLE MATCH thus far) gets two. Daivari runs afoul of JR outside, but King gets hit with a Downward Spiral and pinned at 10:50. Dull, overly long, and just generally brutal to watch. Jerry Lawler does not need protecting — he should been a total squash victim out there and killed dead. Bad debut for the guy they’re putting a lot into. -*1/2
– Gene Snitsky v. Kane. JR apologizes for the match in advance, warning that it won’t be pretty and will be “bowling shoe ugly”. Whenever he pulls out that one, look out. Kane gets a slam to start and drops an elbow and a leg, then chokes him down. To the corner, where Kane slugs away and powerslams him for two. Snitsky comes back with a sideslam and a corner clothesline. Snitsky heads out and pulls up the mats outside, but irony proves a cruel mistress again and he gets backdropped on the concrete. You’d think these guys would learn. Back in, Kane goes up and lands on Snitsky’s boot. Snitsky wraps him around the ringpost and makes silly faces, one of which I guess hurts Kane. He stomps away and drops an elbow for two. And now it’s bearhug time. While we’ve got some time, I was thinking that a neat way to keep the Snitsky character going might be to have Kane exact revenge by severely burning his face and neck, and then have Snitsky return after stealing Kane’s old mask and costume, forced to wear them to cover up his scarred face. Plus his throat would be damaged so badly he’d never have to talk again. Anyway, Kane escapes and tries the chokeslam, but Snitsky counters with a bodyslam. He then counters the zombie situp with a kick to the face. He’s the new Dean Malenko, that boy. Snitsky grabs a chair, but Kane fights back and slugs away in the corner, then boots him down. He goes up with the flying clothesline and Snitsky is just obviously winded. He hotshots Kane and gets a clothesline, but Kane tries the chokeslam, so Snitsky bites him. Oh, this isn’t good. Kane finishes him with the tombstone at 11:45. Enough with these two already. 1/2*
– RAW World title, Elimination Chamber: Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit v. Batista v. Randy Orton v. HHH v. Edge. So our first two guys are Benoit and Jericho. Benoit takes Jericho into the corner to start and they fight over a lockup, and Jericho takes him down. They trade headlocks and go back to the lockup. Jericho breaks with a knee and pounds on him, but Benoit fires back with a chop or two or ten, and so does Jericho. Benoit takes him down and gets reversed to the Walls, but fires back with the german suplex, and when Jericho blocks that he tries the crossface. Jericho blocks that and Benoit counters by taking him down for a beating, but Jericho escapes. Jericho hits him with the Flashback for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho goes up and Benoit follows, and the result is a superplex, and 5:00 is up. Next in, it’s HHH, and he lays out Benoit and slugs away in the corner. He whips him into the other corner and then hits Jericho with a high knee and gets two on Benoit from another whip. Jericho starts throwing chops in response, but eats a lariat out of the corner. They head to the outside, where HHH sends Benoit into the chains and then goes after Jericho. Benoit starts an admirable gusher. Well, when in Rome. HHH sends him back into the chain, and gets two. Jericho saves him from a Pedigree, and then backdrops HHH onto the steel surrounding the ring. Out there, he drops HHH backfirst on the steel, and then suplexes him back into the ring again. That gets two. Benoit reappears with a neckbreaker on Jericho for two, and the (late) timer counts Edge into the match. Quick story about Edge: The original plan for the first Chamber match in 2002 was for Edge to get eliminated from the three-way tag title match early, jump to RAW mid-show, and replace Shawn Michaels (who would be injured by HHH) to win the title from HHH in his place. Anyway, Edge cleans house on everyone, but gets dropkicked by Jericho, and Jericho chooses to cover HHH for two. Why he’d do that, I dunno. He hits Edge with a springboard dropkick and goes back to Benoit, hitting him with a knee to the gut. HHH lays out Edge with a knee of his own and tries a Pedigree on the steel, but Edge reverses to a catapult into the steel and goes up with a flying clothesline on Benoit that gets two. Jericho starts bleeding elsewhere as Benoit takes Edge down with a crossface attempt that gets blocked. Jericho comes back in with an enzuigiri on Edge for two. HHH hits Jericho with a spinebuster for two. Benoit gets a northern lights suplex on Edge for two. HHH hits Jericho with a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Randy Orton is in to save before he can make the pin. Orton goes up with a high cross on HHH and hammers away, and then stomps a mudhole in the corner. He dumps HHH and tosses him into the chain, as everyone else lays around. Jericho tries to intervene and gets RKO’d, but Benoit goes for the crossface to counter another attempt. HHH taunts Orton, so Benoit releases and puts HHH in the Sharpshooter instead. Man, there’s a time and place for the badmouth, and we just learned what it WASN’T. Orton breaks that up by RKO’ing Benoit. Edge, still fresh, sets up Orton for the spear, but misses and hits Shawn instead. He gets another one on Orton, but there’s no ref. He probably lost his smile. Edge argues with him and gets superkicked. That doesn’t seem legal. Lionsault gets rid of Edge at 19:21. Next victim looks to be Jericho, but Benoit breaks up the Pedigree with the rolling germans (en Espanola) and he climbs to the top of the cage and hits the diving headbutt on HHH. Jericho then puts HHH in the Walls and Benoit adds the crossface for the MOST AWESOME SUBMISSION MOVE EVER, but Batista is in last. HHH hangs on until he can be saved by Batista, and Dave is ON FIRE. He tosses everyone with a pulse and hits Orton with the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER, and then the crowd goes nuts when HHH is the only one left standing. However, it gets broken up by Benoit and Jericho, so he kicks their asses. Then, in the coolest spot I’ve seen all year (sure, it’s only 10 days old, but…) he press-slams Jericho into the CAMERAMAN. Now that’s badass. He chokes out Orton until Benoit clips him to save, and the faces all work Batista over until Jericho rolls up Orton for two. HHH sends Orton into the chain, but then gets bulldogged by Jericho while Batista makes Benoit his bitch. Figuratively speaking. Benoit fights back and sends Batista into the cage, and HHH starts bleeding next. Things really slow down at this point, as Batista then saves things by getting the spinebuster on Benoit, then a spinebuster on Jericho, ON BENOIT, and pins Benoit at 26:17. That’s two unique power moves from Big Dave tonight. Jericho is game to fight back, but gets powerslammed, powerbombed, and powerpinned at 27:39 to leave Batista, Orton and HHH, aka the Wrestlemania main event. Batista’s next victim is Randy Orton, and he sends him into the cage, and HHH catapults him into it as well. Orton does a girlie blade job (it’s PUERTO FUCKING RICO, you wuss) and Evolution starts working him over. Batista gets a powerslam for two. HHH adds a spinebuster for two. HHH stands him up and knocks him down with a nasty lariat for two. Batista hammers away as the match kind of grinds to a halt again, but Orton fights back on his own. He tries the RKO, but HHH shoves him into Batista. Orton goes low and gets the RKO for the pin at 32:33, however. Beating Batista is a really bad idea right now. The crowd totally turns on Orton for that, in fact, since Dave’s the guy they believe in right now. Orton and HHH battle by the cage and HHH eats cage a few times before eating an RKO, but Batista is still in the ring and kills Orton dead with a lariat before KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gives HHH World title #10 at 34:57. Orton is booked like such a loser now it’s not even funny. Well, kind of funny. Match was lots of fun and the best of the series thus far, but needs about 10 minutes of dead spots shaved off it to achieve the kind of instant classic status that the WarGames matches all had until the 90s killed them off. ****