The SmarK RAW Rant – January 24 2005
– Live from Oklahoma, OK.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– Opening match: Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit v. Edge, Christian & Tyson Tomko. Well this should be pretty awesome. Benoit starts with Christian, who quickly escapes a suplex and tags out to Tomko. The Canadian Chrises work him over, but Jericho gets tossed into the corner, then comes back with a dropkick into the turnbuckles and takes Tomko down. Tyson presses him, but gets rolled up for two. Jericho goes for the Walls and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA…er, OKLAHOMA CITY. The faces clear the ring and we take a break. We return with Shawn getting dumped by Christian, and Edge goes to work. Christian comes in with a neckbreaker for two. Tomko slugs him down, but Shawn fights back on Edge with chops and they fight on the mat. Christian takes over again with a chinlock, but runs into a Thesz Press, which isn’t enough to allow Shawn to tag. Tomko cuts off the tag and drops an elbow, then gets a powerslam for two. Edge comes in with a standing dropkick and mocks Shawn, then brings Christian back in, who gets rolled up behind the ref’s back. It only gets two. Christian comes back and tries the Unprettier, but Shawn escapes and they collide for the double KO. Finally it’s hot tag Benoit, and he goes after Tomko with the usual fists and fury. He suplexes Edge onto Christian, and Jericho dropkicks Tomko off the apron. This allows Benoit to hit Christian with the rolling germans and go up for the diving headbutt, but Edge breaks up the Sharpshooter. Tomko misses his big kick, and Shawn superkicks him into a Benoit rollup for the pin at 13:25. Usual good stuff from these guys. ***
– Yes, it’s JR Day in Oklahoma, and after 10 minutes of useless ga-ga with the governor and Danny Hodge and a speech by JR that everyone with a pulse knows is just leading to an angle, HHH finally interrupts. He insults the fans and kicks JR out of the ring, then hits on Stacy Keibler. Apparently, HHH is a bad person. Randy Orton saves, shock of shocks.
– Meanwhile, HHH reports his night to Batista, telling him about his beating of a woman, announcer, and senior citizen. So Batista informs him that he’ll be taking that Rumble qualifier after all. So Batista goes to Bischoff, and gets stuck in a match against La Rez for the spot. It’s no problem, though. In fact, he’ll beat them and then shove the Quebec flag up their ass.
– Royal Rumble Qualifier: Tajiri v. Viscera. Coach makes this an over-the-top challenge, which is actually an interesting way to use Viscera here. Well, interesting for about 23 seconds, which is how long Viscera takes to throw him out and win. And after a 30 second segment, we take ANOTHER commercial break. And this one lasts for like 10 minutes, so I get the feeling that TSN decided not to air something.
– Meanwhile, Regal and Tajiri are reunited, as William has a plan to get his former houseboy into the match.
– Batista v. La Resistance. Irony: WWE being sponsored by anti-drug ads during their show, which is practically a two-hour commercial for George Zahorian. Batista interrupts the anthem and kicks the crap out of Conway, but a powerbomb is stopped by Grenier. He doesn’t fare much better, but Batista misses a charge at Conway and hits the post. They work over his arm, but Conway makes the mistake of slapping him around, prompting a powerslam from Batista. CLOTHESLINE OF DOOM on Grenier kills him dead, and the spinebuster on Conway, onto Grenier, finishes both of them at 1:59 to put Batista in the Rumble. Granted La Rez are booked as a couple of clowns anyway, but jobbing out your tag champs like that just makes the belts look even more worthless. DUD Batista’s growing fanbase is getting more vocal by the week. Batista even lives up to his word by shoving the flag up Conway’s ass. Now there’s a babyface.
– Royal Rumble Qualifier: Muhammad Hassan v. Val Venis. Apparently Hassan gets another shot at it after losing a qualifier to Chris Jericho at a house show. And they acknowledged that on TV, so it’s not like the usual “see no evil” thing. Hassan attacks Venis and beats on his back, then gets a suplex. Backbreaker and he works the back a bit more, but Val comes back. Hassan slams him and keeps pounding the back, and goes to a rear chinlock. Onto a facelock, but Val fights back again. Hassan goes for the WMD, but Val reverses to the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Half-nelson slam and Val goes up, but misses the Money Shot and the WMD finishes at 4:38. Total cookie-cutter stuff with the usual “babyface misses his big move and loses” finish. 1/2*
– Maven comes out to issue a challenge to anyone already in the Rumble, who would then put their spot on the line against him. Kane, who is apparently entered and all beat up from last week, finally answers. However, Maven didn’t mean Kane. So if anyone else wants some, come and get it. Then Snitsky answers, having apparently gone to the same doctor and make-up artist, and it’s a triple threat.
– Maven v. Kane v. Gene Snitsky. Kane and Snitsky hit each other in their nebulous injured areas, and both collapse, so Maven covers Snitsky for two. He goes after Kane and gets beat up, but Snitsky saves him. Kane dumps Gene and Maven pounds Kane down as a result, but gets chokeslammed and pinned at 1:59. Man, they’ve pretty much done everything possible to kill Maven off at this point. DUD
– You know, after Arrested Development last night, I’ll never look at that Royal Rumble promo the same way.
– And now, an “exclusive” update on Steve Austin, as they show a bunch of clips from the shows he already did this week to hype his three-picture deal with WWE Films.
– Ric Flair v. Randy Orton. Orton smacks Flair and gets the dropkick to start, but Flair uses the old faithful eye poke to take over. Orton survives some chops and comes back with a backdrop, and Flair bails. Back in, Orton slams him off the top and gets another backdrop. HHH trips him up, however, and then shifts the blame to Batista, who gets tossed by the ref as a result. And we take a break. Back with Orton slugging Flair out of the ring and suplexing him back in for two. Flair comes back and chokes him down as Orton bleeds. HHH gets a cheapshot in and Flair necksnaps him on the apron, but Orton goes all Lex Luger on his chops. Orton makes the comeback, hammering on Flair in the corner, and getting a THIRD backdrop on Flair. Backbreaker, but HHH gets involved and the ref is wiped out. HHH hits Orton in the knee with the belt, allowing Flair to get the figure-four, but Orton continues to channel Lex Luger, reversing the move. HHH gets rid of another referee and breaks it up. Looks like a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 15:00 or so. Flair and HHH work over the knee, but Randy fights them off and finishes for real with the RKO at 16:34. Pretty dull stuff. **
The Inside Pulse:
Definitely not a show to make me more or less excited to catch the Rumble, as the match itself is normally the selling point for myself, and most people. Batista seems to be the pretty clear favorite this year, with John Cena on the outside.
Most of the show was pretty hit-or-miss, with a big lull in the middle, but since it’s all about Big Dave this year, that was their focus, and I think it worked.