The SmarK RAW Rant – July 25 2005

The SmarK RAW Rant – July 25 2005

– Live from Cleveland, OH.

– Your hosts are JR, King and Coach.

– We start with the Kurt Angle Invitational, as this week’s hometown boy is apparently Christy. Well, she doesn’t really meet either criteria for competing in the match, so she’s here to introduce the real challenger, Eugene. He’s not actually from Cleveland, either, but that’s a minor point, I guess.

– Kurt Angle v. Eugene. Angle totally destroys him for the first two minutes, but he’s TARDING UP. Angle Slam and anklelock stop that and look to finish, but Eugene shoves him out with 10 seconds left and wins the gold medals. (Eugene d. Kurt Angle, 3/4*) Well, nice to finally have a payoff after a year of Angle’s challenge, but Eugene?

– Meanwhile, Cena does a really funny laid-back confrontation with Eric Bischoff (“I used to think I was a Jedi, then I saw Teen Wolf and thought I was Michael J Fox for a while.”) which again hammers home that he’s a loose cannon who plays by his own rules and dislikes authority.

– Viscera & Cloacas v. Antonio & Pocket Rocket. Yes, midgets are back on RAW after an 8 year reprieve. Nice to see Mo is still getting work, though. This isn’t even worth my time. (Viscera d. Antonio, splash –> pin, 3:35, no rating)

– Nice tribute to Lord Alfred Hayes follows, although for some reason he gets way more than other recent deaths.

– Meanwhile, Uncle Eric puts Shelton in the most hackneyed of cliché heel figurehead situations, the handicap match. When the announcers are coming right out and saying that the heel is stacking the deck against the babyfaces, it’s overdone.

– Battle of the Bands time, as Cena does “Bad Bad Man” and the crowd is so obviously biased towards him that Jericho decides to pull out of the contest rather than perform for an unappreciative crowd. He’s a true artist.

– Meanwhile, Eric continues stacking that deck, making a non-title main event with Cena v. Carlito, and Jericho as the special ref. Is Vince Russo writing this show?

– And now, MORE talking, as Corporate Shawn Michaels joins us and makes fun of how Hogan has been doing the same stuff for 20 years. Wow, he poses a lot, what a fresh observation THAT is. Apparently he’s “shooting” and the “boys in the back with headsets” are freaking out over this. Anyway, the gist of this is that he’s been having ***** matches for the past few years while Hogan is doing reality shows, which I can’t dispute.

– Snitsky & Chris Masters v. Shelton Benjamin. I take it back, bring back the talking. The heels control for a bit, but Shelton makes the quick comeback and gets the stinger splash on Masters. However, Snitsky lays him out with a big boot, and the Masterlock finishes. (Masters & Snitsky d. Benjamin, Masterlock –> submission, 3:45, 1/2*) Well, that was pretty gutsy.

– Edge v. Kane. This is of course the long-awaited stretcher match, which would only seem to exist to allow Matt Hardy to be the ambulance driver. Usual boring kick and punch match from these two, as Edge’s formerly hot act has cooled off dramatically. Kane uses a chair and chokeslams him on the stretcher after what seems like an eternity, and that would seem to be the finish, but NO. He goes after Lita instead, and TSN cuts to a commercial. When we return, Edge has recovered and drags Kane across the line to win the match. (Edge d. Kane, 13:09, *1/2)

– Of course, Kane doesn’t stay down for more than 2 seconds, as he pops up and does something else to Lita that warrants a commercial break here in Canada, and we return as he throws her in the ambulance and kidnaps her. What a hero.

– John Cena v. Carlito. Jericho calls it down the middle as referee, stealing a chair from Carlito to show how unbiased he is, unlike the crowd that RUINED his performance. Ruined, I say! Good back and forth stuff for a bit before Carlito starts with the chinlocks. Cena comes back with the Five Moves of Doom and looks to finish, but Jericho SHOCKINGLY turns on him and gives Carlito the pin. (Carlito d. John Cena, Lionsault –> pin, 8:05, **)

The Good:

– I’m probably in the minority here, but I thought that putting Masters over Benjamin so strong was a good move. At some point you have to push SOMEONE, and you might as well protect the guy who hasn’t lost yet. As long as they don’t waste the first loss on Big Show, Benjamin can easily recover from it.

– The Cena-Jericho stuff continues to entertain despite the ridiculously cliched nature of the whole feud. Plus there’s no HHH involved, always a bonus.

The Bad:

– Too much talk this week, as nearly the entire first hour was angles and interviews.

– Edge v. Kane is DONE. Over. Finished. So stale that there should be an expiry date stamped on it. Please, move onto Matt Hardy already and get it over with.

– Midgets? Are ya KIDDING me?

The Inside Pulse:

This was a show where there was enough to hold my attention for the most part, but not enough to make me wanna run out and buy Summerslam or anything. I don’t think Cena-Jericho is a particularly strong title match to carry the second-biggest show of the year, so they better hope that Hogan’s “one more match” is enough to draw a big number.