WWE Vengeance: Instant Thoughts
I thought Vengeance has had one of the better builds in recent WWE PPV history, so I decided to head over once again to my local sports bar to check out the card. Although I have no doubt that the ECW One Night Stand PPV will draw a higher buyrate than tonight’s PPV, the turnout was actually much better for this PPV than the last. Maybe ECW just wasn’t that popular here in Jacksonville, but based on tonight’s turnout, I could definitely see Vengeance doing 375,000+ buys.
It was standing room only tonight, but luckily I was able to find an isolated corner chair all by myself. Not only did this allow me to avoid getting too close to the creepy family who always tries to get me to play Magic: The Gathering with them, but it also allowed me to pull out my trusty laptop and type some instant thoughts on the show. Technically, I think that actually makes me a little weirder than the previously mentioned family, but we’ll leave that one alone for now.
As usual, I’m submitting my PPV report to the handsome Mr. Widro completely unaffected, having not yet looked at a single piece of feedback or online review of tonight’s event. If my opinion is drastically different from the rest of the night, at least it’s honest and unbiased. I’ll also go ahead and include star ratings for each match tonight, just because I think some of the top matches warrant them for comparison sake.
Here we go:
Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito Cool
I honestly think that Shelton Benjamin has more long-term potential than any other young wrestler in the WWE right now. More than John Cena. More than Randy Orton. More than Charlie Haas. He’s got an incredible look, great athletic ability, and most importantly of al, the man can flat-out go in the ring.
I’d make comparisons to other great wrestlers, but I can’t even think of anyone else out there even remotely like Benjamin. Shawn Michaels circa 1995 is the only one that comes to mind. With a proper push, Shelton will definitely been headlining Wrestlemania within the next four or five years.
Carlito is another guy who just has no where to go but up. The company obviously has a lot of faith in him, and what he may be lacking in experience in the ring, he definitely makes up for with his awesome, entertaining, unique personality.
While this match wasn’t exactly a show-stealer, it did a great job of introducing RAW fans to Carlito, and also did a great job (hopefully) setting up a longer run for this feud. A great opening match though, and the right man probably went over.
Christy Hemme vs. Victoria:
As is usual with the WWE, most women’s matches are either bad, generic, or in rare occasions, great (i.e.Trish/Stephanie). I can’t say anything about this match deeply offended me or struck me as awful, but I’m sure there was some middle-aged Puro fan screaming at his TV while wearing his Bull Nakano graphic tee. It kept my interest for five minutes though. I’ll never think of the match again, but with the women’s division, that’s probably a good thing (see: Trish vs. that Tough Enough diva on RAW a few years ago).
Kane vs. Edge:
Although I absolutely loved the flash of Matt Hardy’s intro music last week on RAW, I think it also served to put the final nail in the coffin of this whole Edge/Kane feud. Sure, everyone hates Edge and Lita, and sure, everyone wants that silly crybaby Matt Hardy back on their televisions, but none of this really has anything to do with Kane, thus, I don’t think anyone cares about this angle. It did serve to provide one of the best visuals ever (Kane’s heading popping out of the plant), but aside from that, no one’s ever really cared too much about the Kane/Lita angle to begin with.
A decent match that was unfortunately killed off by fan apathy for Kane and the incessant “You Screwed Matt” chants. I tell you what, the Matt Hardy fans are really sticking it to the E by gobbling up tickets and turning a midcard guy lucky to get any fan reaction into one of the biggest heels in the company. If they keep sticking up for Matt, maybe Edge will even headling Wrestlemania!!! All this, despite all the message board kids over there claiming that they’d never watch RAW again 🙂
Anyway, we all know Matt will be back eventually, just because it makes perfect business sense for all those involved, but for now, this match was just kind of there.
Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
You know, it’s practically impossible to compare a match from Wrestlemania with any rematch that might follow it. Owen and Bret’s Summerslam cage match was definitely on par with their match from WMX, as was Shawn Michaels and Scott Hall’s follow-up ladder match, but you don’t hear much about either one. The rematch of the WMXX Triple Threat match was technically amazing, but no one remembers thateither. Hogan/Rock II was perceived as a massive, enormous letdown as well.
With Angle/Michaels from the last Wrestlemania having already reached “legendary” status, I really didn’t see any way going into tonight’s PPV that their rematch could hold a candle to their previous bout. Even if they put on a technically perfect match, that extra, intangible something that the WM marquee provides just couldn’t be matched on a throwaway RAW PPV. For that reason, I kind of cringed when Michaels predicted that this match would top the previous.
With that being said, these two definitely put on another classic tonight. It wasn’t quite up to the level of their WM match, but it was pretty damn close. I loved how they built the rematch off of their WM match. It almost reminded me of something you’d see in Japan with Kawada and Misawa.
Anyway, people are crazy about Benoit, but after watching both Angle and Benoit for the last couple of years, it’s pretty obvious that Angle has been the best worker in the WWE for several years in a row. He’s had classics with Guerrero, Lesner, Benoit, HBK, Mysterio, Cena, Austin, hell, even Shane McMahon. Benoit’s been amazing too, don’t get me wrong, but when he’s healthy (and even when he’s not) no one can touch Angle. His work in the ring, and especially his work interacting with the crowd, is as close to a classic Flair level as anyone’s been in the last few years.
I really liked the match they put on tonight, and thanks in large part to their rematch, I’ll definitely be picking up the DVD the day it hits store shelves.
CLASSIC match tonight between these two, and hopefully we’ll see Round 3 at Summerslam.
Big Visc vs. Lilian vs. The Hoes
Even though all the loudmouthed, overbearing, self-proclaimed smart marks a few rows over shat all over the segement and entertained themselves with HIGHLY original, and just ridiculously inside “he’s King Mable” chants, I really enjoyed the segment. Sure, it doesn’t technically have anything to do with an in-ring payoff, but it served its purpose well on this PPV in providing a legitimate mark-out moment (the return of the Godfather) that you couldn’t have gotten for free on RAW.
I liked it, and after all Lilian Garcia has done for the company, I’m glad to see them giving her a little more to do, even if it’s comedically proposing to Big Visc. Lilian is by far one of the absolute prettiest women in the WWE, and there’s just something about her that is genuinely likeable. Who among us net grapplin’ fans didn’t feel a little bit bad for Lilian when Big Visc trotted off with the train of hoes.
Highly entertaining segment which a) paid off the Visc/Lilian storyline, and B) gave the crowd a breather after Angle/Michaels II.
John Cena vs. Christian vs. Chris Jericho
While I was pretty unhappy to see Chris Jericho inserted into the amazingly well built John Cena / Christian feud, I definitely can’t complain about the match all three put on tonight.
We’ll have to see how the draft plays out and who ends up where, but even though I’ve been hoping to see Cena on RAW for the last two years, I’m starting to think that maybe Smackdown was a good home for him. He was definitely one of the top two or three draws on the program, and he was really starting to come into his own over there. Cena’s match with JBL at No Way Out was nothing short of incredible. and it must be a little disheartening for the guy to follow that up with a 3 Way Match less than two hours into the PPV.
All three men looked great tonight though, and Cena’s star definitely shined brightest in the 3-Way tonight. Things started a little slow, but the second half of this match was just insanely entertaining. Easily the best 3-Way match I’ve seen since the HHH/Benoit/Michaels rematch a little over a year ago.
I’m sure at least one of these guys will end up on Smackdown, bur for the time being, it was great to see them all together, and they put on one hell of a match.
Triple H vs. Batista
I’m probably going to get some genuine net heat for this one, but in my eyes, Batista/Triple H was not only the match of the night tonight, but a definite Match of the Year Candidate. Not quite on Angle/Michaels WM level, but pretty damn close (for completely different reasons of course)
Triple H and Batista just pounded the absolute shit out of eachother tonight. Many promises were made by both men about how violent and graphic this match would be, and in that respect, it did not disappoint one ounce.
Considering Batista’s in=ring limitations, this match was just perfectly suited for him. It was easily the best match of his career, and ten years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still the best match of his career. Not because I don’t have faith in the guy, but because this match was just that damn good.
There were about a half dozen genuinely believable nearfalls, gory bladejobs by both men, and of course the implantation of a handful of unforgiving weapons. Even though I couldn’t make out whether the barbed wire chair was real or gimmicked, it made for a violent, intense visual either way, and the crowd here just went crazy each time it was used.
These near falls were just ELECTRIC though.
The pedigree spot at 10:44 PM was just INCREDIBLE. I didn’t think there was a single person in the building who didn’t think that Triple H was going to get the three count. People were yelling and screaming and cursing at Triple H, practically begging Batista to get up.
Even though it’s not the conventional type, Triple H just has so much genuine heel heat that you’re on the edge of your seat the entire time for matches like these. People want to see Batista retain, but even more, they just despise the notion of the H-Man giving himself the title again.
The spinebuster spot on the steel ringsteps was just brutal, and Triple H’s sledgehammer/powerbomb tease at the end of the match was just perfect. Absolutely, 100 percent perfect.
Both guys lost a ton of blood tonight, especially Triple H, and when Batista finally won the match, the place just went absolutely livid. It was definitely an even bigger pop than Batista’s WM win, just because so many people seemed genuinely convinced (and pissed) that Triple H was walking out of Vengeance with the belt.
I don’t care what anyone says, this match was an absolute classic.
Overall, Vengeance was just an amazing, entertaining, incredible PPV. The WWE has been on a massive role since the Royal Rumble, and if they keep putting on shows like these, there’s nowhere to go but up. With the USA switch right around the corner, NBC television specials in the next year, and the shakeup from the draft, things haven’t looked this bright for the WWE in a long time.
I know there will inevitably be comparisons between Vengeance and One Night Stand, but the two shows were so drastically different that it would just be stupid to say which one was “better” or “worse.” Both were INCREDIBLE. One Night Stand had the nostalgia, carnage, and hostility, and Vengeance had the great production, classic technical match, and the heavyweight bloodbath of the last two or three years.
Thumbs WAY, WAY up.
P.S. Be sure to keep checking out The Wrestling Blog.