The SmarK RAW Rant – February 28 2005

– Live from Providence, RI

– Your hosts are JR & King

– Opening interview: HHH is NOT afraid of Batista. I mean, C’MON. He lets us know again that he’s the bestest ever, and Batista is just some guy who “sat under the learning tree” for two years. Didn’t Undertaker invent that stupid phrase? If you’re gonna swipe HIS material, might as well take “throw down the punk card” too so you’ll sound even more dumb. And then in the most unexpected interruption I’ve heard in a while, Hurricane attacks him.

– HHH v. Hurricane. HHH pretty much smacks him up like a bitch on the floor and pounds him into unconsciousness, then it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the ramp.
Call it a Sportz Entertainment Finish at 1:15, as HHH goes right back to his promo again.

– Chris Benoit v. Muhammad Hassan. JR lets us know it’s a night of retribution at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Retribution for the donuts? Benoit slugs Hassan down and pounds him in the corner, then elbows him down and gets a snap suplex. He uses the REALLY killer chops to put him down a couple of times, then hits him with the backdrop suplex. Benoit seems pretty fired up tonight. Hassan comes back with an elbow, but continues getting his ass kicked until Benoit goes after Daivari like an idiot and gets caught by Hassan. Back in, he starts dropping elbows and choking him down. Suplex gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Benoit fights back, only to get whipped into the corner and hit with a backbreaker. That gets two. Back to the chinlock, as he adds a bodyscissors at least this time. Benoit comes back with the rollup for two, and a backslide for two. He takes him down with a Sharpshooter attempt, but when Hassan counters he hits the rolling germans instead. Hassan takes refuge in the ropes, but the ref is bumped as a result and Daivari brings the bell into play. Another suplex for Hassan follows and Benoit goes up, but the diving headbutt hits the bell and Hassan gets two. Since Hassan blew the spot and didn’t lift the bell up, I’m guessing Benoit didn’t want to lose there. Hassan goes low and gets DQ’d at 6:22. OK, so maybe they just wanted a bullshit DQ finish instead, I dunno. That was pretty much Hassan’s best match ever (which isn’t saying a WHOLE heckuva lot), featuring lots of intensity from Benoit and good bumping from Hassan, but the botched finish dragged it down. ***

– Meanwhile, Coach lets Batista know that HHH is gonna beat him up, but Batista is less scared than HHH would want.

– Intercontinental title: Shelton Benjamin v. Gene Snitsky. Well, the graphic says “Snitsky” but the announcers call him Gene, so now I’m really confused. If Shelton gets DQ’d, he loses the title. Snitsky attacks in the corner, but Benjamin fights back and gets a sunset flip, which Snitsky blocks. Gene gets an awkward sideslam for two and goes to a wristlock. Powerslam sets up the dreaded COAT HANGER, but Benjamin escapes it and tries a cross body instead. Gene catches him and puts him down, then boots him out of the ring. Snitsky grabs a chair, but Benjamin dropkicks it away, so Snitsky fires off knees until Benjamin comes back with a DDT and stinger splash. Exploder finishes at 2:51, which should HOPEFULLY end this series. 1/2* I think Snitsky managed to blow every spot in the match where he was on offense.

– In a “major announcement”, Roddy Piper will interview Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.

– Chris Masters v. some jobber. Masters stomps him down and clotheslines him under the ropes, then gets a clothesline to the back out of the corner. The Polish Hammer and full-nelson finish at 1:11. And I care because? DUD Like I want to see squashes on live TV in 2005.

– JR comes out to the ring to inteview Batista, and whenever the poor guy has to leave the desk you know something bad is gonna happen to him. He’s out to make RAW be no longer all about HHH. Good luck there, pal. But of course he has to stop and call HHH the best of all time, because RAW really is all about HHH. To prove that, HHH interrupts and tries for the sneak attack, but Batista won’t turn his back. Batista beats on Flair to really get HHH good and torqued off, but he won’t bite.

– Meanwhile, HHH is so mad that he books Flair against Batista. Considering the beating that Batista just gave to Flair, I’m sure he’s not too worried.

– Chris Jericho v. Maven. Jericho slugs him down to start and stomps him into the corner, then fires off the chops. Maven charges out of the corner and walks into a clothesline, and Jericho suplexes him onto the top rope and dropkicks him to the floor. Maven takes over with choking in the ring and this thing starts dragging early, as it looks like Maven’s heel turn momentum is running out. Jericho comes back with elbows and the enzuigiri, which sets up the running choke. Jericho misses, but goes up with a flying elbow and the Walls to finish at 3:24. Pretty much a total squash for Jericho. 1/2* So with that done, Jericho has a statement to make about Wrestlemania. Since they’ve got nothing booked yet anyway for anyone below main event level, he announces that he’s got an idea for some match involving a ladder.

– In the next Wrestlemania commercial, it’s John Cena and JBL in a Few Good Men. By far the most interesting one, with Bradshaw doing a hell of an acting job and actually trying to justify his title reign.

– Oh, yay, Christy is here to tell us how happy she is to get naked. And of course Trish interrupts to hopefully save the segment. It ends with Christy having “slut” spraypainted on her back, so points for trying, I guess. I still don’t get where they’re supposed to be going with this, though.

– Meanwhile, Superstar Billy Graham gives Randy Orton some career advice about Wrestlemania. Since Graham’s involvement with Wrestlemania was limited to being in Don Muraco’s corner at Wrestlemania IV, I wouldn’t pay him too much heed. Somehow this leads to Orton thinking about Undertaker.

– Street Fight: Edge v. Shawn Michaels. Shawn uses his belt on Edge to start after surviving the initial slugfest, and gets a backdrop. He clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl into the crowd and back to ringside, where Shawn borrows a camera and takes Edge’s picture. Funny spot. He grabs a garbage can and makes use of that, and then the magic void under the ring yields a ladder. Edge clobbers him from behind before he can use it, however, and grabs a chair. Shawn chops him down, but falls victim to a DDT on the chair. And we take a break. Back with Shawn bleeding all over the place, but coming back with a kneelift for a double KO. Shawn retrieves the ladder, but Edge dropkicks it back in his face for two. Edge goes up, but Shawn counters by tossing the ladder at him and knocking him to the floor. Don’t see that too often. Shawn follows with a tope suicida that doesn’t work too well and they slug it out on the floor. If he was selling the blood loss, that’s brilliant. Back in, Shawn is still staggering, so Edge sends him into the ladder and gets two. With the ladder now set up in the corner, Edge goes up and splashes Shawn off it, which might have been a callback to Shawn’s comeback match in 2002, I dunno. It gets two. Shawn comes back with a catapult into the ladder, however, and starts the comeback. He hits Edge with a chair and it’s a sick one, folks, and Edge falls out of the ring. Can you blame him? However, while down there he finds a kendo stick, so call it even. Shawn ducks the stick and fights back with chops and the flying forearm, and he’s making the comeback. He uses the stick on Edge now and goes up with the flying elbow, right into the “psychotic torso” of Edge, according to JR. Man, he’s just in rare form tonight for weird adjectives. Superkick misses and Edge goes low with the chair, then grabs another one. He puts Shawn on one of them and sets up for the one man conchairto, but Shawn punches him in the nuts to counter. Edge comes back with a spear for two. They’ve got some KILLER timing tonight. Another spear is countered with the superkick, and Shawn gets the pin at 19:07. And right then, Kurt Angle appears from the crowd and attacks. Crowd is super hot for that. Angle destroys him, getting covered in Shawn’s blood, to end the show. ****

The Inside Pulse:

They’ve got a lot of heat on Shawn v. Angle now, obviously, and Batista v. HHH continues to dominate the show, but there’s literally nothing in the cards for anyone else. The tag champs haven’t even been on the show in two weeks! And wow, Steve Austin promoting his direct-to-video WWE movie, sign me up now.

Anyway, the main event was excellent this week and the rest of the show was throwaway junk again, which is two weeks in a row now. Without the “XX” gimmick to sell Wrestlemania, they need more than cameos from retired ex-stars, and I don’t think they’ve got nearly enough in the ring yet.

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