The SmarK RAW Rant – March 21 2005
– Live from Birmingham, AL.
– Your hosts are JR & King.
– Opening match: Shawn Michaels v. Robert Conway. I know the Rockers Reunion was supposed to be “one night only”, but really they should just put the tag titles on them, because not only have they never held them before (together), but it would instantly elevate them and they could feud with Edge & Christian. Shawn grabs a headlock to start and gets tripped by Grenier, allowing Conway to elbow him down and stomp away. Shawn ducks out and brawls with both La Rez members, then hits them with a somersault pescado. He’s feeling perky tonight, I see. Back in, Conway throws some chops, but so does Shawn, so Conway sends him into the corner and out. Grenier adds a shot with the Quebec flag, and there’s a certain irony to that. And Earl Hebner is reffing, too! Conway gets two from that. Conway tosses Shawn as we take a break. Back with Conway holding a neck vice until Shawn fights out, but gets tossed. He skins the cat back in and fires back with chops, but Conway takes him down with a jawbreaker for two. They slug it out as King notes that Angle probably wrote something down in his little notebook while watching the match. Oh, sure, he’s doing RAW recaps now, too. He can do anything! Shawn fights back with the usual and sends Grenier into the railing, then heads up for the flying elbow and finishes with the superkick at 9:34 as the crowd is MOLTEN. Damn. Decent little TV match, as Shawn seemed super-motivated for once this week. **1/4
– In the interest of equal time, we get a Kurt Angle video package on behalf of Smackdown.
– William Regal, Tajiri & Christy Hemme v. Maven, Simon Dean & Molly Holly. It’s like a Heat main event … but on RAW! Poor Molly probably gets to eat the pin from Hemme here, too. Regal takes Dean down to start and works a headlock, and gets two. Tajiri comes in with a baseball slide to Dean, but Maven trips him up and Dean gets two. Maven comes in and pounds away on Tajiri as Lawler totally ignores the match and talks about Hemme’s lousy Playboy spread. Simon goes to a facelock on Tajiri, who fights back with a spinkick and makes the uh, hot tag to Hemme. I’m sure Molly is quaking. Molly beats Hemme down, but she comes back with kicks to the leg. Molly tries picking her up for something, and Hemme gets a sunset flip for two. The champs clear the ring, leaving Molly and Christy, and Molly goes up, but misses the Molly Go Round and Hemme gets the Twist of Fate for the pin at 4:24. What’s the point of destroying Molly’s credibility to build up someone that no one buys as a contender anyway? The match is essentially being promoted as “Hemme is a non-wrestler being trained by Lita” rather than a legitimate contender challenging for the title, so trying to build up the illusion that she IS legit is only going to make the resulting match that much worse. That Wrestlemania match is going to be a total car wreck unless they make it really short or keep it really limited. 3/4*
– HHH comes out to let us know that he’s underappreciated, and he’s the one who made Batista and Orton into stars until they turned on him because of their jealousy. So now Orton is groveling for a Wrestlemania match with Undertaker while he, HHH, is in the main event. What a surreal interview. And it just keeps going on and ON as he slags Batista and recaps the feud and drones about how great he is for what seems like an eternity. Finally, after 10 minutes of it, I fast forward waiting for someone to interrupt. BUT NO ONE DOES. He’s still talking. Thankfully, the sweet bliss of commercial break time means he has to stop, but I fear he’ll take out ad time on TSN so he can continue the interview and remind us how many times he’s won the World title, perhaps showing clips of each one while doing his own play-by-play.
– Chris Jericho & Shelton Benjamin v. Edge & Christian. Jericho takes Christian down for two to start and chops him, then avoids a double-team from E&C and knocks Christian to the floor. The heels argue, so Jericho baseball slides them and Shelton hits them with a crazy tope con hilo. HANGTIME! Back in, Shelton works Edge over in the corner and elbows him down, but a quick cheapshot from Christian turns the tide and Shelton gets beat on. Christian takes him down with a neckbreaker for two and hits the chinlock. Shelton fights out and gets a neckbreaker on Christian to escape, and makes the tag to Jericho. Leg lariat for Christian and a bulldog for both follows, but the Lionsault only hits Christian. He stops to dropkick Tomko off the apron, but that allows Christian to hit the inverted DDT and we take a break. Back with Benjamin getting two on Edge, and then countering the E&C double-team splash with a leg lariat. It’s BONZO GONZO and Jericho gets double-suplexed, but reverses it into a double-neckbreaker on the heels and dumps Christian. Tomko kicks the leg out of his leg while he tries a springboard dropkick, though, leaving him stranded on the floor. Shelton tries the exploder on Edge, but Christian breaks it up, so Shelton gives him the stinger splash. He blocks Edge’s spear with a kick, but Christan bops him with the belt and Edge finishes with the spear at 11:52. E&C were da bomb here and should feud with the Rockers over the tag titles forthwith. **1/2
– Meanwhile, Flair brings together all the midcard heels and recruits them as lumberjacks for the main event tonight. Somehow Batista not going to Smackdown deprived all these guys of a shot at HHH, which is their motivation. Right. HHH is also recruiting for Evolution.
– Meanwhile, Stacy waffles on her belief of Orton’s ability to beat Undertaker. So he brings her to the ring for support. No one on the Sopranos would fall for that.
– So Orton and Stacy head to the ring, and Orton is doing the slower, heelish version of his pose again. He unveils a new t-shirt, listing all the legends killed, with dates. He has Steve Austin listed as 11/16/03, which would be Survivor Series 2003, but that’s a pretty big stretch — that was Orton beating Shawn Michaels to banish Austin from the WWE, and that lasted all of a few weeks before Austin was back anyway. Anyway, Orton shows a video package of himself and teases the big romantic moment with Stacy, which turns out to be an RKO in addition to a kiss. Man, he can hit that move out of ANY situation.
Here in Canada, they cut to commercial REALLY quickly after that, because it’s TSN. Stacy did, however, take the move better than most do.
– Chris Benoit v. Tyson Tomko. Tomko attacks to start, so Benoit hits him with the rolling germans right away, because he’s not f*cking around. Do NOT piss this dude off. Benoit hits him with the flying headbutt for two, but Tomko elbows him down for two. Tomko misses his big boot, and Benoit has had ENOUGH of that, takes him down with the crossface, and it’s goodnight Irene at 2:07. Benoit: Not just cool, but efficient too. 1/2*
– Meanwhile, Hassan stops for a chat with Shawn Michaels, protesting that he should be a part of Wrestlemania. Shawn tells him that he thinks he’s entitled to everything, but has earned nothing. Pot, kettle, black. So next week it’s Hassan v. Michaels. Apparently we’re now calling Shawn “Mr. Wrestlemania”. I thought it was bad etiquette to give yourself a nickname? Didn’t Deion Sanders teach us anything?
– This week’s Wrestlemania commercial sees various people auditioning to be Travis Bickle. Cute.
– Batista v. Kane. This is a lumberjack match, and they’re all heels. They fight over a lockup to start and Kane tries slugging away, but gets powerslammed out of the corner. Batista heads out and wants to have words with Hassan, but Kane attacks him. They head back in and Kane gets the big boot. DDT and he chokes away, then follows with a corner clothesline for two. More choking follows. Kane gets the sideslam out of the corner and goes up, but stops to kick Snitsky in the face in a nice touch, which allows Batista to slam him off the top and make the comeback. Vertical suplex and clothesline gets two. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Batista reverses to powerbomb position, so Kane powers him into the corner. They collide and Kane bails to brawl with Snitsky and some random heels, and it turns into a big donnybrook outside. Batista wipes the floor with some loser heels while Team TEC works Kane over in the ring, but Batista saves his opponent and destroys Edge, Christian and Tomko in sequence. Kane chokeslams him to say thanks, but Batista kicks out. Kane goes for the tombstone, but Batista powers out, spinebuster, demon bomb, and it’s over at 8:47. Given that he pretty much ran through the entire roster in one match there, I think it’s safe to say he’s winning the title and going to Smackdown after Wrestlemania via the next draft. Dull match, though. *1/2
The Inside Pulse:
Pretty much all the build was around HHH v. Batista, as you’d expect, but since that’s the match that’s going to carry the buyrate for the show, it’s probably smart to do so. The rest felt like a holding pattern, especially time-filling junk like the tag champs being wasted against “draw three names out of a fishbowl” opponents in a six-man. I’m curious to see the big show, but not overly excited or anything, which I think is telling of the buildup so far.