The weekly awesomeness meter, this week depicted by quality of WrestleManias:
A – WrestleMania X7
B – WrestleMania X
C – WrestleMania XII
D – WrestleMania VII
E – WrestleMania IX
JBL and Teddy Long open the show with a segment purely there to set up the main event for the show – which is a JBL vs ‘Taker number one contender’s match. Could have taken half the time and been twice as entertaining. I don’t know why, but I really want to see Teddy Long take the clothesline from hell at some point.
Match One: Christian/Orlando Jordan vs Chris Benoit/Booker T
Benoit takes Orlando down into the Crossface – Christian has a chance to break it up but doesn’t bother and Jordan taps.
A very enjoyable match this – in fact, one of the best on free TV in quite some time. Booker was ON for this and was part of some very impressive spots, the best of which was his hitting a sidekick on Christian whilst the latter was in mid-air after leaping off the second ropes. Glorious. Benoit was, as ever, superb and Christian was smoother in the ring than usual for him on TV. In all the excitement, Orlando forgot to completely suck, which was an added bonus. Granted, nothing good from him really but he didn’t make an arse of himself, so good for him.
Heidenreich gets pimped some hair clippers by Animal and goes bananas on his own ‘do.
Match Two: Heidenreich/Animal vs A couple of ham ‘n’ eggers
Sub-minute squash, Doomsday Device 2005 with added dodgy clothesline goodness, wasn’t one of those jobbers Chris Hamrick?
These quick matches are the best thing for Heidenreich and Animal – it stops big Johnny looking like a total doofus and gets Animal back to the buffet in double time, so everyone’s happy. There’s nothing here for anyone to get too peeved about, so I’m perfectly happy to keep waiting for Heidenreich to hit the clothesline properly. It’ll be fun.
MNM are bothered about their social standing now that they lack goldage, so Melina has hired a “fixer” called Jillian Hall, who has something on her face that looks like it’s a flapjack with extra maggots. Nitro and Mercury make faces and point and stuff and are, very strangely, extremely funny in this segment. Thumbs up!
Rey Mysterio and Dominik come out to the ring to say thank you to Rey’s fans. Eddie strolls out, says that he lied about keeping the secret to himself and tells Dominik that Rey ain’t his pops – Eddie is. Dominik engages in a bit of underage acting which is superior to Torrie Wilson’s regular efforts in every way and then legs it through the crowd with Rey in rather slow pursuit. Oh sure, nip around the ring like a right speedy bugger when you’re fighting but take a casual stroll when you’re trying to catch up to your distraught son. Good job you’re not really his Dad, loser. Anyhow, Eddie tells us a story about sleeping around and selling babies to midgets etc etc.
Match Three: Torrie Wilson vs Melina
Melina puts her feet on the rope to assist a very ropey looking pinfall. The End. What a lovely story that was.
Oh, I don’t care. Jillian’s not very attractive, is she? I mean, even without that thing on her face.
Scotty Too Hotty and William Regal don’t get to fight (and why would they, they’re both faces last time I heard – you’ve got to smell the run in a mile off). The Mexicools invade and beat them up with concession stand product. Best use of food in a brawl ever – the Rock hitting Mankind with some form of curry in their Half-Time Heat ruckus a few year ago, then tasting said product, looking disgusted and yelling “this is MILD!” before smacking Mick again. I miss the Rock so much. He made me hopeful. Has Scotty actually managed to finish a match this year?
Match Four: The Undertaker vs John Bradshaw Layfield
With the ref counting tweety birds on the outside of the ring, Taker walks directly into the Table For One from the returning No Mates, who then just about helps Bradshaw’s arm onto ‘Taker’s hand and this results in the pinfall and JBL becoming the number one contender. Rapture!
Pretty much what you’d expect, lots of brawling, little substance, run ins and a screw-job ending. Just very average, very standard stuff with the annoyance of having JBL back in line for another crack at boring the pants off us with Batista at SummerSlam. It does mean we get to see Orton vs Undertaker II pretty soon, which will be marvellous as long as a/ the Taker employs the same approach to selling as he did at WrestleMania this year – eg. not doing it at all and b/ as long as he uses his skateboard to get to the ring again. That was awesome.
The Overall Verdict: C+
Much better than I’ve made it sound here, I suspect – and mainly on the strength of a very enjoyable opening bout that kept my attention for the first 30 minutes. It suffered a bit at times but the Guerrero/Mysterio and MNM skits were not without merit, so I’ll give this one a C+ as not quite enough to make me feel I’d gained by watching the thing but not a million miles away.
Please note: I’m not going to list people and reasons when they are only deserving of a C – it’s a middle of the road grade and it’s only interesting when people either under or overachieve, so we’ll focus on them.
Booker T – now that D-Von is no more with WWE, has Booker been drinking all the coffee, or did someone shove a new battery up his bottom? Either way, I’m totally on board for this fast-moving, charismatic and fired up iteration of a guy who I was finding it hard to believe had ever been a World Champion.
Chris Benoit – reliable as always, Benoit needed the help to drag Jordan up to the place where he wasn’t an inconvenience, but Chris was on form with some nice spots and he shall always get a B+ at least when he suplexes one guy onto another.
Christian – getting the hang of this ring-presence thing and not looking as sulky as he did at GAB, Christian took another little step forwards in his exchanges with Booker and Benoit here. Let’s hope there’s a 4 way for the US belt at SummerSlam, complete with Jordan getting knocked out early and then Christian getting the strap and holding it for a long, long time.
MNM – making the most of a gimmick that has approximately days to live, Nitro and Mercury played it to the hilt during the segment backstage with Jillian and made me laugh out loud several times, not something that happens often with the WWE these days.
Eddie Guerrero – Ed didn’t have that much to do or work with this week, but his timing and performance of the “I’m your papi” segment was good enough for him to get a bit of a thumbs up at least.
WWE Creative – I’m not impressed with the rather lazy “let’s stick something on her face” approach to Jillian but it could have been a lot worse. The problem I’ve got it that it looks like some form of rancid pastry has attacked Ms. Hall’s head. Couldn’t they have made it actually look like a mole? With hair and everything? Granted, MNM got some laughs out of it, but I don’t think there’s legs on this one, might want to drop it sooner rather than later…