The SmarK RAW Rant – March 14 2005
– Live from the lost city of Atlanta
– Your hosts are JR & King
– We start with the Highlight Reel, as his guest appears to be a ladder. Well, maybe he was going to interview Gene Snitsky and decided to find something more coherent. Sadly, the real guest is only Randy Orton, who is starting to get a more mixed reaction now. He’s full of surprises, apparently, but Jericho has a surprise for him – Jake Roberts. Or is it David Crosby? Getting hard to tell. If ever a legend deserved to be put out of his misery, it’s Jake. However, he does the intended job here, telling Orton to shut his mouth and stop making threats he can’t back up, thus explaining to the fans that Orton is supposed to be a heel now. Orton gets in Jake’s face and the fans want a DDT, but they get an RKO instead. Jake looked terrible here, but for a one-off surprise appearance it served the intended purpose.
– Kane v. Christian & Tyson Tomko. Kane overpowers Christian to start, but Tomko comes in and pounds Kane down with his usual lame offense. Christian comes in for some choking and an inverted DDT for two. Tomko goes back to the choking in the corner and Christian tries to post him, but Kane fights him off and makes the comeback on Tomko. Corner clothesline and sideslam allows Kane to go up, and the flying clothesline results. Chokeslam finishes at 3:16. Why even bother putting Christian into the Wrestlemania match at this point? 1/2*
– Meanwhile, Flair talks Gene Snitsky into going after Batista tonight. That’s gonna get ugly.
– Meanwhile, Regal & Tajiri continue their streak of not wrestling on the show, as they train Christy Hemme, and Regal gets kicked in the nuts. Well, that’s not gonna work on Trish. Nice to see them using the tag team champions to their fullest advantage.
– Meanwhile, it’s the ROCKER REUNION! Shawn and Marty want a match against La Rez. I could just go for all the cheap drug jokes about Jannetty, but that’s pretty cool of them. Besides, there’s always time during the match.
– Edge v. Shelton Benjamin. Edge attacks on the ramp and sends him into the RAW screen, and then beats on him all the way down to the ring and whips him into the railing. And the stairs. Finally into the ring for the official start of the match, but the ref is a spoilsport who won’t let Edge continue the beatdown until he checks on Shelton. Everything’s apparently cool, so Edge tosses him again. And we take a break. Back with Edge holding a chinlock on the mat and then fighting off a comeback attempt. They head up and Edge wants a superplex, but Shelton fights him off and follows with the flying clothesline for two. Shelton comes back, but runs into a pair of forearms before fighting him off with one of his own. And it’s a double KO. Shelton makes the comeback and slugs the holy hell out of Edge, then hits him with a running knee that sets up the stinger splash. It misses, but Shelton vaults over Edge and springs off the top with a sunset flip for two. Very cool. Another springboard attempt is blocked by Edge with a powerslam for two. Edge sets up for the spear, but misses, and then Shelton goes for the dragon whip kick and bumps the ref instead. They counter each other and Edge gets the spear, but there’s no ref. So Edge goes for the weapon of choice tonight, the ladder, but Jericho hits him with it and Edge walks into the exploder and gets pinned at 10:38. Although most of the match was in the commercial break, the remaining 5 minutes were PPV quality stuff. **3/4
– La Resistance v. The Rockers. Not quite the same enthusiasm for the Rockers as the crowd had for Jake Roberts, but there’s a big difference in star power there anyway. Marty actually doesn’t look that bad. Grenier trades wristlocks with Marty to start and gets armdragged as a result. La Rez gets a double-team hiptoss on Marty and Conway comes in, but the Rockers return fire with their own double-team stuff. Well, Marty’s kip-up could use some work, but the double-pescado looks nice. Grenier goes with Shawn, and Conway gets a cheapshot to make him face-in-peril. Conway works him over in the corner, and Grenier gets a suplex for two. Clothesline gets two, and we hit the chinlock. La Rez gets a Hart Attack for two (that’s gotta be a rib of some sort, right?) and Conway continues the beating in the corner. Shawn fights back on Grenier with chops and the flying forearm, and makes the hot tag to Marty after the nostalgic somersault. Marty faceplants Conway and dropkicks him out, then escapes Grenier’s press slam and gets the Rocker Dropper for the pin at 6:03. Wouldn’t wanna see it all the time, but as a one time thing this was tremendous fun. **1/2
– Meanwhile, Trish does us a favor and beats up that idiot chick who can’t remember how to interview people.
– HHH v. Chris Benoit. JR and King both note that HHH has never beaten Benoit, which is in fact totally wrong, as HHH beat him clean at No Mercy 2000 on PPV and even before that, in Benoit’s first match in the COMPANY, in February of 2000 on Smackdown. Benoit takes him down and goes for the Sharpshooter early, but HHH makes the ropes. Benoit works a headlock and powers him down, then tries a backslide and outsmarts HHH by going for the crossface instead. HHH makes the ropes twice and runs away. Benoit tries to pull him in but gets hit with a cheapshot, and that just riles him up. So it’s chop time in the corner and a snap suplex follows, and again HHH runs. They brawl outside and Benoit sends him into the railing. Back in, more chops, but HHH outwits him one time and knocks him off the apron to take over. And we take a break. Back with Benoit getting more chops, but walking into the spinebuster for two. HHH adds some choking and whips him into the corner for two. They fight on the top and Benoit headbutts the crap out of him to send him down again, but HHH crotches him. Back for another try at the superplex, and this time he gets it, for two. HHH goes for the Pedigree, but gets catapulted into the turnbuckle instead, and both are out. They exchange blows and Benoit wins that, but puts his head down. HHH tries to capitalize, but Benoit suckers him into the rolling germans, then decides to be a right bastard and gives him another round of them. Note to HHH: Stay down next time. Benoit goes up with the diving headbutt for two. Another run of the german suplexes, but HHH makes the ropes on the third one, so Benoit opts to pound on him instead. He chops the shit out of him in the corner, but HHH whips him into the corner again to get a breather. That gets two for HHH. Another Pedigree attempt is reversed to the Sharpshooter, but this time HHH gets the catapult out of it, so Benoit reverses THAT to the crossface. Flair distracts the ref, but gets nowhere, so HHH has to fight out of it himself. Another german suplex, but HHH fights out of that too and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Benoit reverses to the Sharpshooter. He breaks to go after Flair, who gets tossed by the ref as a result. But HHH goes low, KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, and it’s over at 17:46. Oddly enough, that’s the exact same finish as their PPV match in 2000. It was also as good as a PPV main event, with lots of good mat wrestling to start and dramatic reversals and near-falls. Probably better than their Iron Man match by a bit, I’d say. ****
– Batista v. Gene Snitsky. Well, not exactly the main event I’d choose, but it’s been such a strong show that even this can’t kill it. Snitsky grabs a headlock to start, and they do the shoulderblock competition. Batista opts to clothesline him instead and gets a powerslam, but runs into a boot in the corner. Snitsky works on the legs and yells a lot, and slugs Batista down again. The dreaded Coat Hanger gets two. With Snitsky’s offensive repertoire thus exhausted, Batista makes the comeback and beats on him outside, then sends him back in. Corner clothesline and MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER set up the demon bomb, but Flair runs in for the DQ at 4:49. Lame, lame, lame. * HHH picks Kane as Batista’s opponent next week.
The Inside Pulse:
Crappy main event aside, this was a tremendous edition of RAW, probably the best of the year thus far and the best since the “Beat the Clock” episode last year. Just a lot of good wrestling, well-used (note that phrase, TNA) nostalgia spots and entertaining stuff.