WWE Jukebox: January 2005 (part 2)

Because it’s too long for just one posting, here’s part 2!

ROB VAN DAM (with Bill Alphonso) vs. SABU (with Bill Alphonso) (for the ECW television title)
January 9, 2000

WWE Preview: RVD and Sabu were partners at one time, but at Guilty as Charged they went to war over the ECW Television Championship. Could the high-flying aerial assault of Rob Van Dam overcome the suicidal, hardcore style of Sabu?

Yes, you read right, Alphonso is in the corner of both guys. They trade punches to start, and Sabu dives for the knee. He misses, and Van Dam legdrops him. RVD stops to hot dog, allowing Sabu to actually take out the knees, and dropkick Rob to the floor. He whips a couple chairs at Rob’s face, then hits Air Sabu into RVD who’s on the guardrail! Back in, Sabu gets 2. Sabu goes to an armbar, but releases seconds later, opting for a flying sidekick for 2! He tries a slingshot somersault legdrop, but misses, and RVD hits Rolling Thunder for 2! Rob hits a big boot, goes up…but Sabu shoves him off the top, and RVD crashes to the guardrail throat first! Van Dam staggers around, allowing Sabu to hit a baseball slide that sends Rob into the front row! From the ring, Sabu hits the triple jump moonsault into the front row! Impressive! Sabu dumps Rob back to ringside and sets up a table across the guardrail. Van Dam sees it, and attacks Sabu from behind. A hotshot puts Sabu over the guardrail, and Van Dam comes off the apron with a guillotine legdrop! Rob gets back in the ring, hits Sabu with a baseball slide, and then hurls himself into Sabu with a tope con hilo!!! They head back to the apron, and Sabu powerbombs Rob OFF the apron to the concrete floor!!!! Fans: “HOLY SHIT!” No kidding. Sabu puts RVD on the table, heads into the ring, and splashes him from the top rope through it! Fonzie checks on both guys. Sabu gets up first, and heads into the ring. Fonzie throws Sabu some athletic tape for his knee. Sabu tapes it up, drops a knee on RVD who’s re-entered the ring, and gets 2! Fonzie hands both guys a chair, allowing for a chair fight. Sabu loses his chair first – Van Dam tosses his…but misses the Van Daminator! Sabu throws his chair back into RVD’s face for 2! Into the camel clutch. Sabu releases, goes for a back elbow…but hits the ref by mistake! Sabu nails the triple jump moonsault, but the ref is out, so no count! So Sabu says “f*ck it” and hits a triple jump legdrop! The referee wakes up, and counts 2! Sabu grabs a chair and heads up – but RVD gets a burst of adrenaline and unleashes a Van Daminator! Sabu falls back in, and Van Dam gets 2! RVD throws a chair to Sabu, fakes a Van Daminator, and when Sabu stands, he gets smoked with it! RVD goes up for the Five Star, but Sabu cuts him off and tries a super rana! Van Dam hooks the ropes though, and Sabu goes down alone! RVD shoots off a split legged moonsault for 2! RVD calls for the chair, but Fonzie won’t give it up. Sabu asks for the same, to no avail. Van Dam finally decides to just give Fonzie the Van Daminator! Sabu takes down RVD, goes for the triple jump moonsault, but Van Dam puts a chair between the two of them – and Sabu hits it! RVD then heads up, NAILS the Five Star, and scores the pinfall win at 14:40!!! **** Man alive, I came into this expecting the worst, but these guys just weren’t taking a break! Hot, hot action – and a great testament to what Sabu can do when motivated.

January 22, 1994

WWE Preview: This could very well be the most controversial Royal Rumble in WWE history. The final two participants were Bret Hart and Lex Luger and a shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania X was on the line. See what all the controversy was about.

HOWARD FINKLE quickly goes over the rules of the Rumble, and it’s apparently 90 second intervals in this one. SCOTT STEINER gets the unfortunate luck of drawing #1, and SAMU with AFA THE WILD SAMOAN is #2. Two guys feuding get to kick it off, imagine that. They brawl for a bit. Steiner hits a clothesline, and follows with a tigerbomb. However, Samu’s far too fat to toss over the top that easily, and he’s not going anywhere. Samu comes back with a clothesline, and a clock, brought to us from CASIO counts down…bringing us RICK STEINER. Scott teeters on the ropes, but Rick saves and pounds on Samu. The brothers double team him. Rick hits a belly to belly, and Scott hits a snap suplex. Rick connects with a Steinerline, and off a charge Samu winds up caught in the hangman’s noose!!! He’s easily dumped at 3:12. The brothers look to square off, except here comes #4 KWANG with JIM CORNETTE. Kwang mists Rick, but Scott comes back with a clothesline on Kwang. Rick crawls around, completely blinded. Kwang eats an overhead belly to belly suplex, but he comes back with some punches and kicks. OWEN HART draws #5, and enters to some very loud boos after freshly turning heel. Owen goes straight to the blinded Rick Steiner of course. Vince makes it sound like he’s the most despicable human being on earth. Owen tries to dump Rick with a fireman’s carry, and eventually manages to do so at 5:50. The heels double team Scott, but eventually start fighting eachother. #6 is BART GUNN, and he goes after Owen. Scott hits Kwang with an atomic drop, while Owen headbutts Bart and tries to dump him. On the other side, Kwang is nearly put out by Scott. Bart takes a superkick from Kwang as DIESEL draws #7. Get ready for some magic. He takes out everyone. Bart is dumped at 8:56. Scott goes with ease at 9:02. Owen says goodnight at 9:10. Kwang misses a spinning heel kick and his night ends at 9:23. Diesel stands alone to an ovation as BOB BACKLUND makes a go of it at #8. He goes for the long legs of Diesel, and actually nearly dumps the big man!!! However, Nash hangs on somehow, and back with a solid base you can say goodnight to Backlund at 10:20. DiBiase: “I’ve never seen anyone control the ring like this.” The cheers for Diesel are crazy now, which was so unexpected since he’d been a virtual nothing to this point, on the verge of getting released. BILLY GUNN comes in at #9, but he takes a big boot and his night ends at 11:27, and the pops are getting even louder!!! Vince: “Unbelievable!” Nash has nothing to do, but stand and wait, and get pumped. VIRGIL would be victim #10, and there’s no doubt what’s happening now. DiBiase: “I’m gonna enjoy this McMahon!” Diesel misses an avalanche, and Virgil hammers away. That lasts all of 3 seconds, and Virgil’s done at 13:15. The fans pop HUGE for #11, because it’s RANDY SAVAGE, and chances are he’s not going anywhere real fast. Savage pounds at Nash, and runs him face first from buckle to buckle. Savage tries to dump Diesel, and has him on the ropes when #12 TRIPLE J enters. He saves Diesel, and pounds on Savage. Jarrett scoop slams him, hits a knee drop off the second rope, follows with a dropkick, and struts. Back to the top he goes again, and clotheslines Savage. He nearly dumps Savage, and actually thinks he has him, but Savage hangs on. He re-enters, and dumps Jarrett at 17:16. #13 is CRUSH, and Savage doesn’t even wait to get all over him! A running elbow knocks him off his feet, and Savage goes up. The double axehandle connects, as does a scoop slam – and he goes up a second time! Another axehandle hits the mark, and Savage turns to pound on Diesel who was seemingly forgotten for awhile. Crush grabs Savage and gives him the tilt-a-whirl. Nash drops an elbow, and throws Savage into Crush’s superkick. DOINK THE CLOWN with DINK comes out at #14, as Savage is dumped by Crush at 19:09. Diesel goes to dump Crush, but he hangs on, and Doink smartly stays out of it. The big boys get tired of Doink’s laughing and approach, but he lowblows both guys! Doink tries to slam Diesel, but that goes nowhere, and the duo clothesline the clown. BAM BAM BIGELOW with LUNA VACHON heads down as #15. They invite Bam Bam in to finish off Doink, and Bigelow is more than happy to. A gorilla press spells the end of Doink at 21:11. However, as soon as he’s done, Nash and Crush try to dump him. Crush blinks first, and belts Diesel, triggering a 3-way brawl. Big MABEL with OSCAR is #16, drawing a “WHOOP THERE IT IS” chant from the crowd. That’s gross. Diesel takes a pair of avalanche splashes. Crush eats one as well. Bigelow is slammed face first to the buckle, and he takes one as well. SPARKY PLUGG heads out at #17. Vince: “Maybe he will win the Royal Rumble match!” Everyone goes after Crush, but he slides back underneath to safety. SHAWN MICHAELS draws #18, and he goes face to face with Diesel. Shawn begs off, wanting nothing to do with this, and offers a handshake. Diesel takes it, and he’s attacked from behind by all the fat guys. Everyone grabs a hold of Big Kev, and his night finally comes to a close at 25:59. Michaels was actually responsible for getting in the shove that sealed the deal. He gets a standing ovation on the way back anyway, and gets a loud “DIESEL” chant. MO is #19, and he teams up with Mabel. Mo nearly dumps Shawn, but Sparky Bob saves the day. Mabel gives Bigelow an avalanche, and follows with a legdrop. Mo pounds on Plugg. Too many jobbers in the ring right now. Our situation fails to improve with #20, GREG VALENTINE. It takes him an hour to warm up you know. That might explain his sheer unwatchability over the years – since I can’t remember him in any iron man matches. Mabel misses another avalanche on Bigelow, while TATANKA joins the party as #21. Michaels nearly gets dumped by Crush, but hangs on, only to suffer a beating at the hands of Tatanka. Mabel holds Tatanka hostage for Michaels, but Tatanka ducks and Shawn belts Mabel in error. Valentine goes after Shawn as well, but he holds on while on the apron. The dead weight in the ring is sickening. THE GREAT KABUKI, who was fresh off kicking the shit out of Lex Luger in the back, draws #22. He goes after Mabel, as does everyone else, and together their efforts work and he’s gone at 32:33. Mo goes after Michaels in retaliation, but Valentine saves the day. LEX LUGER draws #23, and goes after Kabuki of course. He’s successful, and Kabuki’s night ends at 33:40. Luger dances all over Crush’s face, and takes down Mo. Bigelow takes a clothesline, but Crush stops Luger’s momentum with an atomic drop. TENRYU is #24, and chops at Luger. Luger no-sells, and comes back with punches. Tenryu rakes the eyes of Luger, and continues to chop. A couple guys work over Michaels, but he continues to dangle in there. #25 no-shows, and Vince assumes it was Bret Hart. Crush tries to dump Luger, but Lex hangs on and punches him off. Luger’s shots nearly spell the end of Crush, but he holds on. RICK MARTEL is #26, and if not for a couple of horrid ones in the late 90’s, this Rumble would be shaping up to be one of the worst of all time. Luger and Tatanka start exchanging punches mid-ring. That goes nowhere. #27’s buzzer goes off, and it’s a limping BRET HART, stemming from the attack by Owen earlier. Crush beats him down. Sparky makes the save, while Martel tries to end Shawn’s night. FATU with Afa is #28, and there are WAY too many guys in there. Mo works over Bret’s leg, while Fatu beats on Luger. Luger recovers, tries to dump Crush again, but Crush is just not leaving. Holly and Hart help, and he’s FINALLY gone at 42:40. MARTY JANNETTY is #29, and you know who he goes after… He’s all over Shawn with a nasty flurry of punches, but Shawn comes back with an atomic drop. Sweet Chin Music misses, and Jannetty kicks him instead! Michaels gives Marty a vertical suplex, and at #30, we’ve got ADAM BOMB. Vince: “Adam Bomb is going to win the Royal Rumble!” Bomb goes for Sparky, and he’s then dumped by Bret at 45:25. Vince says #25 was Bastion Booger who was sick, and couldn’t come out. Shawn tries to dump his best friend Bret Hart, and he teeters. Martel is nearly dumped. Bret works over Mo in the corner. He then pairs off with Adam Bomb, and nearly gets tossed as a result. Luger almost leaves courtesy of Fatu. And now we get a bunch of kick punch stuff from everyone, which is not particularly exhilarating. Snore. Greg Valentine is unceremoniously dumped at 49:18, and Martel follows him at 49:34. Bomb clotheslines Luger, but Luger pulls down the ropes and his night ends at 49:49. Bigelow dumps Tatanka at 50:17. Jannetty runs over Michaels with a clothesline, while Fatu goes after Bret again. Bigelow misses a charge at Luger, and is clotheslined out at 51:06. The camera misses it, but Jannetty goes at 51:13 by Michaels. Tenryu gives Fatu and Michaels a double noggin knocker. Bret and Luger send Michaels and Fatu into eachother. Luger and Bret dump Tenryu together at 52:31. We’re down to 4, as Michaels throws himself on Bret! Michaels nearly has him dumped, but Bret escapes and does the same to Shawn. Fatu superkicks Luger, and goes up for a flying headbutt, which he hits. Luger’s glassy eyed. Michaels and Fatu go to give Luger a front suplex over the top, but Luger fights them off, and clotheslines Fatu! Bret and Luger each grab a heel, and backdrop them both out at 54:43!!! Down to 2. Luger and Bret slug it out in the middle of the ring. And almost immediately, Hart clotheslines Luger over the top, and they hit at the same time at 55:06! The referees argue over who won, and take turns announcing both guys as winners. Bret’s response is FAR louder. Eventually, everyone settles on a draw. ***

RIC FLAIR (with Jimmy Hart) vs. STING (for the WCW world heavyweight title)
January 15, 1996

WWE Preview: Ric Flair and Sting have fought in countless epic battles over the years, and this match was no different. Flair entered as the WCW Champion, but would he leave the same way he came in? Or would the Stinger be able to overcome one of his greatest opponents one more time?

I can’t imagine this NOT being good! Sting shoves Flair to his ass immediately, but Flair pops up like a toaster strudel. Flair decides to ground Sting by pulling him down by the hair, but Sting won’t stay down for that longer than a half second at a time. They trade WOOOO’s, with Sting’s being far more feminine. Flair tries to dump Sting, but he gets right back in, mounts the turnbuckle, and pounds away! A standing dropkick from Sting drops Flair, and Sting follows with a gorilla press slam. I actually feel dirty for rooting for Flair here. Damn that clean cut surfer bastard. Sting clotheslines Flair on the apron, and stands on his chest. Sting drags Ric back in with a suplex, and gets a 1 count. Flair starts in with the chops, and throws his old man sucker punches. Sting puts Flair up top, because Flair has this history with the top rope that isn’t so positive, and hits a superplex! He goes to finish with a big splash…but Flair gets the knees up! Jimmy Hart starts screaming something incoherent in the megaphone, and we have to take a commercial break!

When we return, Sting is busy throwing himself towards the top rope, and nearly kills himself with Flair sidesteps. Flair tries a dirty pin with the feet on the ropes, getting 2. Sting is dumped, and Jimmy adds a cheapshot while he’s got the chance. He re-enters the ring, and eats a nasty chop that gets 1 for Flair. Sting powers right back to his feet, and runs over Ric with a clothesline! They move into a sleeper, from which Ric escapes with a backdrop suplex. The pair trade punches, but Sting wins that exchange with ease, and Ric flops. Sting goes for the kill with a dropkick, but Ric hooks the ropes and goes for the Figure Four. Sting cradles for 2! A backslide from Sting gets another 2! Flair tries to dump him again, but Sting won’t go out, and sunset flips Flair – giving us a full moon in the process. Sting hulks up, and gorilla presses Ric again! Flair throws a back elbow, and decides to go upstairs… I don’t like that move. Ric learns not to like it either, because he’s caught and tossed. Sting starts no-selling everything now, driving Ric NUTS, and he hits another gorilla press. LEX LUGER joins Hart on the apron and steals the megaphone. He accidentally holds it up while Sting goes for a Stinger Splash, and hits him. Luger freaks out when Hart accuses him of doing it on purpose. “He’s my friend!!!” Flair quickly puts on the Figure Four and gets the pin on an unconscious Sting at 10:37. ***1/4 Luger pulls Flair out following the match, and that draws out HULK HOGAN and RANDY SAVAGE. Luger and Flair head to the back, completely avoiding the pair, and they check on Sting. The announcers are disgusted with Lex.

January 19, 1998

WWE Preview: The Total Package faced off against nWo member Scott Hall in a memorable Nitro clash. Could Luger overcome the nWo threat or would the survey say “Win” for Scott Hall?

I really can’t think of any two main eventers in all of pro wrestling whose styles are better matches to have a really shitty match. Hall throws his toothpick at Luger, and it is the FUNNIEST thing he’s ever seen in his life. They lockup, and Luger powers Hall right back, knocking him on his ass. Hall comes back by jerking Luger’s arm, but Lex escapes and tries a hammerlock on Scotty. Hall pisses of Luger so much he starts paintbrushing the back of his head. The referee forces Luger to give it up. Hall wants a test of strength, but Luger’s not sure. He finally caves, goes for it, and Hall kicks him right in the midsection. Hah! Hall applies a standing surfboard type submission, and holds it for over two minutes. The fans will a break from Luger – and he tries to apply the same thing, but Hall kicks back with a low blow. Hall stomps on the fallen Luger, and chokes him out in the ropes. The referee forces a break, so Hall goes to a sleeper hold. Luger shoves it off, and applies a sleeper of his own. I’m starting to nod off here… Hall escapes with a crotch job over the ropes. Luger falls back in, and Hall gets 2! Luger stands, and starts throwing punches that rock Hall. He calls starts in with the clotheslines, and calls for the Rack. Just for kicks, he hits two atomic drops, another clothesline, and NOW goes for the move! RANDY SAVAGE is immediately in, and in fine WCW fashion this is thrown out at 7:46. 1/2* Luger pounds on Hall, but Savage breaks it up, and a 2-on-1 beatdown ensues. Savage hits a double axehandle off the second rope while the referee tries to break this up. When he can’t, LARRY ZBYSZKO thinks he can, and takes them both on by himself. He gets killed, naturally. And our clip ends with a Larry beating. That’s the best kind of ending!

January 25, 1999

WWE Preview: This match features two of the most influential groups in sports-entertainment history as members of the Four Horsemen do battle with members of the nWo. Would it be Ric Flair or Hollywood Hogan who would lead their team to victory?

This match aired one week before I started taping Nitro with regularity. Flair was running around as president of WCW for 90 days at this point, and had booked himself into a world title match with Hogan at Superbrawl. This was basically a warm up. Benoit and Steiner start – and Chris is taken down with a shoulderblock. Steiner poses, and gorilla presses Benoit like he’s nothing. Steiner gets too cocky though – and blind charges Benoit in the corner who gives him a big boot! Chris pounds on Steiner, and clotheslines him down. Scott’s on his feet quickly, but a dropkick sends him to the outside. Benoit, showing some serious balls, flips off Nash and Hogan! I love it! Big Kev tags in, slowly, and he’s all smirks. Nash wants a test of strength, just to demonstrate how tall he is – but when Benoit goes for it, Nash drives his knee into Benoit. Corner elbows, Nash takes a picture, and finishes with a big one that knocks Chris down. Benoit’s not taking this shit though, and chops away. Tag in to Mongo. Mongo scoop slams the big man, drops an elbow, and gets 2! Benoit tags back in with a diving headbutt, but Hogan makes the save before Chris can get a pinfall. Steiner ties up Benoit for a second, allowing Nash to hit a big boot. Hogan tags in to some loud heat. He clotheslines Benoit, spits on Flair – which draws Flair to distract the referee. Steiner comes in without a tag, and gives Benoit a belly to belly for 2. Scott gets in the face of Charles Robinson, and more or less lets him know not to pull THAT stunt again. Nash in with an elbowdrop for 2. A side slam gets 2. Mongo and Steiner start shouting at eachother – and Flair tries to dive at Hogan as well. Hogan heads in, gives Benoit a backdrop suplex for 2, and we have to take a commercial break…

We’re back, and into overtime now. Benoit hammers on Hogan, but eats a clothesline. Flair wants to get in – but that only allows Steiner to head in without a tag again, and an arrogant cover gets 2. Nash scoop slams Benoit while the fans, very vocally, scream “WE WANT FLAIR!” Nash throws a couple of shots at Flair – causing a distraction, and Hogan is able to choke out Benoit. Flair pounds on Nash while Steiner ties Benoit to the tree of woe. Nash chokes him out, and Hogan kicks away while he’s hung out to dry. Off comes the weightlifting belt – and Hogan starts whipping Chris. Flair: “GODDAMNIT! COME ON CHRIS!” Hogan gets 2. A vertical suplex gets 2 – and Hogan doesn’t like it. So he opts to choke out the meatball, and go back to Kevin. Nash uses his boot to choke Benoit, but misses a running boot to the corner, and crotches himself!!! Steiner quickly cuts off the ring before Benoit can capitalize with a tag, and locks him in a bearhug. He squeezes for awhile, then turns it into an overhead belly to belly – and turns it back to Hogan. He goes for a pin immediately, but only gets 2! Hogan’s getting desperate to put Benoit away now, and quickly slams him, and drops an elbow for 2. Another scoop slam, and here comes the legdrop… It misses, and Benoit tags out!!!! Flair in, and he’s all over Hogan like a fat woman into a bag of ruffles! Low blow – and here comes the figure four!! ERIC BISCHOFF comes out of the crowd, where he’d been selling merchandise on orders from Flair all evening. He hands Nash a foam hand, loaded with a two by four. Nash heads in, and slams it over Flair for the DQ at 14:21. **3/4 Bischoff grabs some hair clippers to shave Flair, but THE ENTIRE WCW LOCKER ROOM hits the ring. Tenay: “This is the show of unity we’ve been waiting for from WCW!” It does my heart good to see Buff getting beaten on by about 50 guys. Tony: “And by the sheer numbers, WCW is going to prevail on this one!” Nash no sells everyone, and heads up the aisle to safety. WCW stands tall in the ring while the nWo retreats, not having seen GOLDBERG is on the ramp!!!!! Goldberg starts single handedly kicking the shit out of the entire nWo faction – and WE’RE DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME!!!!!!!

January 15, 1996

WWE Preview: Before WWE fans came to know and love Stone Cold Steve Austin, he was known as The Ringmaster. He was cool, calm and as calculating as ever but would it be enough to get the win over a very young Matt Hardy, who was making one of his first WWE appearances?

This was from a far simpler time on RAW, when jobbers like Matt Hardy ran wild and free, and Steve Austin was handed stupid gimmicks in an attempt to get over. Austin works a headlock into a snapmare, which he rolls through for 2. Thesz press, and Austin hammers away. Hardy gets in a surprise rollup for 2, and Vince squeals in delight. Austin pounds at Hardy in the corner, and drops a knee across the throat. Snapmare, Austin drops another knee, and gets 2. Hardy comes back with a series of kicks, goes for a suplex, but it’s Austin who hits a front suplex instead and gets 2. Hardy is choked out in the ropes, but a Bossman straddle misses, and Hardy goes back on the offensive for about 3 seconds before eating a Stun Gun. Million Dollar Dream…and that’s all she wrote at 4:36. 3/4* It was a squash, but not a very good one at all.

RANDY ORTON vs. ROB VAN DAM (for the WWE intercontinental title)
January 12, 2004

WWE Preview: Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam were two of the brightest stars on RAW at the time and the two clashed over Orton’s Intercontinental Championship. Orton defeated RVD about a month prior to win the title, but would RVD get his revenge on RAW?

This is a rematch from Armageddon 2004 where Orton took the title. There’s a seat in the front row that’s empty, awaiting Mick Foley should he choose to show up. Orton bails when the bell tolls, and forces RVD to come to him. Van Dam makes the mistake, and gets stomped on. With Orton guarding the ring, RVD’s got no way back in without getting stomped at. Van Dam responds to this by…POINTING TO HIMSELF! Then he pulls Orton out by his feet, which is of course the right reaction. RVD throws him into the security wall, rolls Orton in, and clotheslines him back out. Van Dam follows, and posts Orton chin first! Orton plays dead while RVD stands in the ring – and when he sits up, we see the blood. How barbaric! I once read the World Wrestling Federation was opposed to the human mutilation that was blading, so that can’t possibly be right. Of course, I read this in 1995 or something. Van Dam hotshots Orton onto the security wall, and hits a spinning heel kick off the apron, sending Orton into the front row! Suddenly, a Very Exciting Car arrives!!!! And our pulses are racing SO hard, we absolutely need a commercial!

Upon return, Orton somehow got himself back in control, and he’s clawing at RVD’s face. Van Dam tries to go up top, but Orton shoves him off his perch – and RVD crashes onto the security wall throat first! Orton follows, and as a token of revenge for earlier, he posts RVD face first, and then adds the stairs for fun. Back in, Orton gets 2. Because we’ve been going for a full 6 minutes now, a rest hold is of the utmost importance, so Orton applies a body scissors. A rollup gets 2, while the fans chant for Mick Foley. We take a long, loving shot of the crowd, while Orton nails a dropkick and gets 2. Back to the body scissors. The hold is released, and Orton hits an interesting gutwrench neckbreaker for 2. Then Orton reveals he’s SECRETLY AN IRAQI, and puts RVD in a camel clutch! This is unprecedented! Bomb threats are heard around the world! Wrestlemania is promptly booked in LA for 2005! But RVD won’t tap, so Orton decided being an Iraqi isn’t so great, and moves on to Ultimate Fighting by putting on a rear naked choke. I’m certainly not making stuff up because I’m bored. Van Dam finally starts in with his offense again, hitting a step over heel kick, and follows with the 10-punch count-a-long. A Northern lights suplex gets 2! A spinning leg lariat takes down Orton, and puts him right in position for a Rolling Thunder, which gets 2. A rolling fireman’s carry leads right into a moonsault in one fluid motion, and RVD scores another 2! Orton throws a clothesline and kneelift to knock Van Dam down – and when RVD tries to throw a roundhouse, he accidentally clocks the ref! Orton uses this chance to hit a lowblow, but there’s no ref to count. Orton steals a page from Eddie Guerrero’s book by playing dead, and tries to retain with a count-out. RVD stands, so Orton goes for the RKO…only Van Dam blocks with a punch and gets 2. An Oklahoma roll gets 2. RVD goes to finish with the Five Star, but Orton crotches him, then DDTs Van Dam off the top for the win at 15:21. **3/4 TRIPLE H hits the ring immediately following the win to POINT AT THE CHAMPION! Now that’s excitement! Whatever happened to that limo…

CHRIS JERICHO vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (for the WCW cruiserweight title)
January 24, 1998

WWE Preview: Before Y2J was racking up big wins on RAW and Rey Mysterio was delivering his patented 619 on SmackDown!, they were taking the Cruiserweight division by storm in WCW. They had several exciting encounters which saw some of the most innovative, high-flying moves at the time. Which one of these Superstars would walk out of their Souled Out match with the WCW Cruiserweight Championship?

The fans waste no time in screaming out the fact that Jericho sucks. He looks ready to cry at the total rejection. Instead, he sucks it up, and gets in Rey’s face. Rey throws a punch that knocks Jericho over. “COME ON REF!” He responds with a shoulderblock that takes down Mysterio, and chops away. Rey comes back with a slingshot rana, and Jericho heads to the outside for safety. Rey collapses in the ring, due to his bad knee – and Jericho smells blood. Rey was ready, and attacks Jericho with a series of punches, and puts on a headlock. A victory roll from Rey gets 2! He kicks with the good leg at Jericho, and uses a hairpull to take him down. Rey goes for another rana, but Jericho blocks this one, and turns it into an alley oop, finishing by draping Rey throat first over the rope! Jericho yanks Rey to the floor, and hits a double underhook backbreaker. The stairs are setup – and Jericho leaps off them with a Shining Wizard to Rey’s temple! Back in, Jericho throws Mysterio knee first to the buckle, and stomps on the kneecap. Ref: “Come on Jericho…” Jericho: “WHAT?!?” Mysterio jumps onto Jericho’s shoulders, and takes him down with the Kid Krusher!!! A baseball slide dropkick sends Jericho to the floor, and Rey follows with a springboard somersault plancha to the outside!!! Rey hotshots Jericho face first to the steps, rolls him in, and calls for the West Coast Pop. Jericho runs himself into the ropes to trip Rey up, heads up…but now Rey crotches him! Rey goes up, tries the super rana, but in one move, Jericho drops off the top into a DANGEROUS Lion Tamer, and Rey taps out IMMEDIATELY at 8:23 to give Jericho the title for a third time! **1/4 Okayish match, but Rey was hurt and it totally killed any chance them having the classic they were capable of.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. CHRISTIAN (in a ladder match for the WWE intercontinental title)
September 12, 2004

WWE Preview: Chris Jericho and Christian had one of the most heated rivalries of 2004. What started as a fight over the affections of Trish Stratus led to a series of brutal matches. This one also happened to be a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship. Would it be Y2J or Captain Charisma walking out of Unforgiven as the Intercontinental Champion?

I went to see this one in the theatre in September, but no word of a lie, my best friend and I walked out right before the main event because the show was putting us to sleep. I barely remember this match – but only because the ladder gimmick has been done to death, especially with these two. Christian’s without Tomko here, because he’s off getting some courtesy of Trish Stratus. Lucky bastard. The pair go nose to nose, and Christian strikes first with a slap. Jericho pounds back before giving him a vertical suplex. Jericho hits a backdrop suplex, but Christian comes back. A “CLB” chant breaks out – and Christian’s not amused. Jericho winds up on the apron, and gives Christian a HUGE backdrop to the floor! Jericho grabs a ladder, and whips it at Christian – but misses. That’s not good sportsmanship! Back in, Jericho demands that he “COME HERE, ASSCLOWN”, and when Christian charges he gets caught up in the ropes. Jericho hits a running enzuigiri, and heads out. Jericho grabs a ladder, Christian follows, and Chris smacks him in the sternum. Christian fights back, and they head into the crowd where Christian pounds away on the steps. Kevin Sullivan would be so proud. Back to ringside, Jericho grabs some TV cables and chokes out Christian. Christian’s got a fine counter to that… Unprettier to the floor!!! With his opponent not getting up for awhile, Christian grabs a ladder, sets it up, and starts the climb. He actually grabs the belt, but Jericho cuts him off before he can unhook it – and pulls him down. Not impressed, Christian sets up the ladder in the corner – but Jericho reverses the whip into it, and Christian runs mouth first into the steel! Jericho sets up the ladder, but Christian lives – and he sends Jericho mouth first into the bar that keeps the ladder level. The ladder is positioned between the middle ropes in the corner, and Christian catapults Jericho face first into it. Christian wants to climb again – but Jericho won’t stay down, so he turns back to them. He tries to sandwich Jericho between the buckle and ladder, but on the impending avalanche, Jericho just throws it into Christian’s face. Jericho tries to bulldog Christian into the ladder, but it’s blocked – and Jericho is sent crotch first into it! Yikes. He falls into a tree of woe, and Christian has no problem adding a running kneelift to that. Christian once again tries to climb up, but Jericho uses the tried and tested McMahon approach to stop someone from climbing to victory… He flips Christian off. Christian, stupidly, responds, and winds up getting bulldogged into the ladder. Jericho sandwiches Christian in the ladder, goes for the Lionsault, but Christian moves and Jericho destroys his own ribs. Christian is more than happy to use the ladder as a battering ram, and run it into Jericho’s face. Christian climbs again (Jericho hasn’t done so once yet) – and for the second time he touches the belt, but Jericho pulls the ladder away, and Christian’s left hanging on the belt!!! Jericho throws the ladder at Christian to knock him off – and that draws a Y2J chant. Jericho, smartly, pins Christian with the ladder, and climbs up for the first time. However, Christian escapes, and dumps Jericho off it, to the outside! Christian climbs, slowly, with Jericho down – but he’s far too slow, and Jericho is able to get back in, and lock him into the Walls on top of the ladder! Christian tumbles, but before Jericho can grab the belt, Christian shoves the ladder away – and Jericho falls BALLS FIRST onto the edge of it!!!! That has to smart! Christian grabs the Giant Jeff Hardy ladder from outside, but Jericho sets up the smaller one as well, and they fight up top. Jericho yanks Christian down face first with a swinging hair pull!!! Jericho recovers first from the fall, heads up, and claims the belt for IC title win #7 at 22:29. **1/2 Terribly boring ladder match, with all the usual spots. There’s no point for these guys to continue bumping around like pinballs in these matches, since they cannot top the work done in previous years, and to even try to think about it is insanity.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. ROB VAN DAM (for the WWE intercontinental title)
October 27, 2003

WWE Preview: Chris Jericho has held the Intercontinental Championship for a record seven times. He faced off against Rob Van Dam on an edition of RAW for that very title.

I recall this match! It put me to sleep, and I had to read all about it the next day! That’s becoming more frequent these days, but at the time it was still new to me. Jericho chops away at RVD, and chokes him out in the corner. He justifies his behavior by informing the ref he’s king of the world. Van Dam comes back with a spin kick for 2. Jericho hits a running enzuigiri for 2. Backdrop suplex, pair of elbow drops, and Jericho points to himself! He’s Y2J dontcha know! Jericho misses a blind charge, and posts his shoulder. Ever get the feeling you’re watching a match you’ve seen a thousand times, even if you haven’t? RVD hits the step over heel kick, and nails a Northern lights for 2! Jericho fires back with a running bulldog, but misses the Lionsault. Has even hit that move anytime in the last, oh, 4 years? RVD goes for the Five Star, misses, and Jericho puts him in the Oklahoma roll for 2! The referee misses the low blow Jericho hits, and RVD finds himself trapped in the Walls Of Jericho. ERIC BISCHOFF runs down to the ring, and distracts the referee when RVD makes the ropes! Jericho pulls him back to the middle of the ring, and Van Dam taps at 4:28, to make Jericho champion for a record setting 952nd time!

STEVE AUSTIN isn’t having any of this – and says that while he can’t change the referee’s decision, he WILL be forcing Jericho to defend that belt right now…inside a cage.

ROB VAN DAM vs. CHRIS JERICHO (in a cage match for the WWE intercontinental title)

Jericho stomps a mudhole on the back of RVD – and the quality of this recording gets REALLY lousy for some reason. Van Dam misses a dropkick, and Jericho drops an elbow. A backbreaker submission is applied, but RVD won’t tap. He releases, and stupidly charges – allowing RVD to backdrop him into the cage. Van Dam tosses him in a second time, and hits a roundhouse kick. Jericho is tossed into the cage fairly hard a third time, and RVD propels his shoulder into him several times. And now, WWE’s stupid cage match rules come into play, as RVD tries to RUN AWAY over the top. Rewarding people for being chickenshits is the lamest stip in the world. Jericho slams RVD off the top of the cage, and follows with a running bulldog to match sure he’s down. As usual, he misses the follow up Lionsault – allowing RVD the chance to catapult him. However, Jericho winds up being catapulted into the cage, which he hangs on to, and rushes up the side! RVD grabs him, and keeps him from escaping, so Jericho hits a super bulldog off the top! Jericho goes for the easy escape, but at the 11th hour RVD catches him by the hair, and tugs him back in. A sidekick sends Jericho back in, and RVD heads out. Jericho tries to escape through the door, but Rob kicks it back into his face, and drops down for the win at 12:15 (combined time, both matches). **1/2 for the whole thing. Post-match, CHRISTIAN and SCOTT STEINER attack Van Dam – and put him back in the cage for a 3-on-1 beatdown. THE DUDLEY BOYZ head down to make the save, but MARK HENRY isn’t far behind with TEDDY LONG. Long locks everyone in the cage, and the heels dominate. BOOKER T runs in, and climbs the cage since it’s the only way in…diving onto everyone! Steiner and Henry are all over him, and the heels continue their dominance. Jericho sits on top of the cage, and watches the carnage inside the cage, with a big grin on his face.

All and all, the match selection was pretty good. A few god awful matches need to be avoided at all costs, but fans of the Royal Rumble will get all sorts of goodies from the event over the years. And of course, the Benoit/Angle match totally speaks for itself. The variety is also nice after being caught with 4 straight months of one specific theme.

The February Jukebox should be forthcoming in the relatively near future, with John Cena as our featured performer. He’s not coming alone though, as several classic WCW matches also made the cut. ‘Til then…

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