The SmarK RAW Rant – May 2 2005

The SmarK RAW Rant – May 2 2005

– Uncle Eric announces an 8-man tournament to crown a new #1 contender. Oh boy, another tournament to determine the #1 contender. Although there’s been two of them already this year, in all fairness they’ve been on Smackdown so they’re not TECHNICALLY ripping themselves off yet. I do believe this is the first time that Batista has opened the show ahead of HHH. What will HHH have to say about that development? Stay tuned to find out!

– Live from Boston, MA.

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– Gold Rush tournament, round one: Christian v. Kane. Christian, feeling cocky as the result of being the hottest heel on the show lately, gets in Kane’s face to start, and gets tossed as a result. He tries it again, same result. Distraction from Tomko allows Christian to send Kane into the stairs, however, and back in Christian gets two. Lita’s top leaves me wondering if Matt got her bra as a result of the split or something. Christian stomps away in the corner and chokes him down. Inverted DDT gets two. Kane makes the comeback with the zombie situp and faceplants him, but a chokeslam attempt is countered to the sleeper. Kane casually sideslams out of that and goes up, but Tomko pushes him down and the Unprettier follows. Kane blocks, sends Christian into Tomko, and finishes with the chokeslam at 4:42. Guess that shows how serious they are about pushing Christian. *1/2 Kane disposes of Tomko afterwards too.

– Meanwhile, a beaten Christian runs into Ric Flair, who gloats about the loss.

– Hassan and Daivari join us to complain about prejudice and being left out of the tournament. Hassan blames everyone, including Hogan, Michaels, the fans…and Daivari? I guess there’s no honor among terrorist stereotypes, either. Daivari gets smacked around for dropping the ball last night, but apparently is still employed.

– Viscera v. Simon Dean. Well, this was a natural feud, if you think about it. Viscera endures a bunch of fat remarks and then attacks, slamming Dean and hanging him in the Tree of Woe. Corner butt splash follows, but a big fat elbow misses. Dean gets two off that. He goes up and gets caught with a sloppy chokeslam, and the splash finishes at 1:29. I have no idea whether the freaky black dude who threatens to rape women or the arrogant personal trainer are supposed to be the babyface, but it was over in 90 seconds so really who cares. DUD

– Meanwhile, HHH thinks that the whole tournament is a joke because he’s the only rightful contender and is owed a rematch. I wouldn’t bet against him.

– Meanwhile, Jericho and Benjamin have another confrontation, as they both want to be champion.

– And this leads to a moment for Chris Candido. Didn’t think they’d acknowledge his death, actually, so good on them.

– Gold Rush tournament, round one: Shelton Benjamin v. Shawn Michaels. They do a wrestling sequence on the mat to start, and Shelton gets the better of that. They go back to the mat again and Shawn makes the ropes again. Shawn tries overpowering him this time, getting a hiptoss out of that, but Shelton suckers him in for a kick and a series of armdrags that have the old Shawn beginning to show. Shelton takes him down with a headlock, but evil Shawn comes out again and he forearms Shelton out of it. Shelton takes him out of the ring with a Cactus clothesline and we take a break. Back with Shawn hammering him on the top rope, but Shelton comes down on him with a bodyblock and both are out. Shawn fires away with chops, but walks into a samoan drop and Shelton fires away with rights. Vicious backbreaker gets two. Shawn comes back with the forearm and kips up, but so does Shelton, and they do a cool pinfall reversal sequence. Shawn throws the chops, but Shelton throws the stinger splash, so he wins. He fights for the exploder, but Shawn backdrops out of it and tries the superkick. That misses, so Shelton gets the dragon whip for two. They head up to the top and Shelton goes down first, and Shawn follows with the flying elbow. Shawn is bleeding internally, but the POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS HIM! Superkick is blocked again and Shelton gets his own, and that gets two. Shelton elbows him down and pops up to the top with a springboard clothesline, and that gets two. Those are some amazingly hot near-falls. Shawn tries tossing him, but Shelton hangs on with another springboard, and this time Shawn counters with the superkick and gets the pin at 14:54. That was some seriously high-quality professional wrestling, with a creative ending to boot. **** And that superkick looked nasty from every angle.

– A backstage interview with Edge brings up a couple of interesting points: If he’s drafted to Smackdown, his title shot is null and void, and he also has on-screen face time with Lita, as he gets shot down.

– RAW World tag titles: Rosey & Hurricane v. La Resistance. I’m still kind of shocked over that title change. Not that a couple of jobbers won, but that someone remembered there were still tag titles. La Rez attacks Rosey and lays him out before the match starts, and then beat on him in the ring. Conway gets two and the Hart Attack gets two. Rosey escapes and makes the hot tag, however, and Hurricane gets a neckbreaker on Conway, but runs into an elbow from Grenier. He comes back with a top rope rana for two, however. It’s BONZO GONZO and Conway gets dumped, and they finish Grenier with a double-team sideslam at 3:37. Yup. *1/4

– Gold Rush tournament, round one: Edge v. Chris Jericho. They fight over a wristlock to start, and Jericho rams him into the turnbuckle a few times to break free. He springs up to the top, but Edge shoves him out to the floor and sends him into the railing. Back in, Edge stomps away and gets two. He goes to the surfboard, which Jericho powers out of, but the old thumb to the eye takes care of that. Edge tries Jericho’s running choke to mock him, but Jericho counters with a hotshot and comes back with forearms and the running choke. Rana gets two. Enzuigiri gets two. Flashback gets two. Edge goes for the magic briefcase, but Jericho hits him with a pescado and comes back in via the top. That misses, so Edge gets the Edge-o-Matic for two. Spear misses and Jericho rolls him into the Walls, but Edge makes the ropes. Magic briefcase to the head allows Edge to go up and get a missile dropkick for two. Spear finishes at 8:07, as Jericho goes pretty quietly all things considered. Decent but too short to compete tonight. **1/2

– And now, just to drag things down, it’s the Masterlock Challenge. This week’s prize is $4000 and an autographed Red Sox jersey. What is this, the Price is Right or something? And it’s another ridiculously obvious plant, who he calls “tubby” but is both muscular and sporting that stupid indy wrestler haircut, PLUS a Backlash t-shirt. You know how it goes. JR thinks that someone, sometime, at some point, will break the Masterlock. That’s quite the bold prediction there, Jim.

– Gold Rush tournament, round one: HHH v. Chris Benoit. Benoit gets a “Hello, how you doing” chop to start and grabs a headlock, but HHH goes for the Pedigree early. Lacking the KICK and WHAM, however, it doesn’t hit, and Benoit counters out of it. He takes HHH down and tries the Sharpshooter, but HHH makes the ropes, so Benoit yanks him off onto his head. Suplex sets up the crossface, but HHH bails and they brawl on the floor. HHH fires him into the corner to come back and hits him with the Outback Jack clothesline to the back of the head, and Benoit bails and does the weirdest bug-eyed sell I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you have to see this one to believe it. And we take a break. Back with HHH in control and Benoit’s eyes back in his head, as HHH gets two. Benoit fires away with chops, but walks into a sleeper. A quick trip to the turnbuckle breaks that up, and Benoit follows with a backdrop suplex, and both are out. Benoit follows with the rolling germans, but HHH counters to the Pedigree, and Benoit goes right back to the germans again out of that attempt. He heads up for the flying headbutt and that gets two. Flair tries coming into the ring and gets clobbered as a result, and the ref is bumped. This means it’s time for Batista to run in and clean house, as he shakes off a Pedigree attempt and hits HHH with the spinebuster, and everyone is out again. Benoit recovers first and gets the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, and Batista yells negative reinforcement at HHH until he TAPS (?!?) at 13:33. Sure, they swiped that one from Brock Lesnar, Rock and Benoit in 2002, but HHH tapping always makes me smile. ***

The Inside Pulse:

A **** match on free TV? HHH tapping out? Could this be RAW or some sort of strange, beautiful dream world?

In other, probably unrelated news, Brian Gewirtz is taking a few months off. I mean, the two things COULDN’T have anything to do with each other, could they?