The SmarK RAW Rant – August 15 2005
– Live from Montreal, PQ.
– Your hosts are JR, King and Coach.
– Opening interview: Shawn Michaels. Oh my. He’s not gonna have to try very hard to get over as a heel in this city. Sign in the front row: “Bret’s Better Than Shawn.” Such biting commentary from these fans. The crowd hits him with the obvious chant, since they don’t have Hebner around to abuse anymore, as the heat is just off the charts. Man, if they held Summerslam in Montreal, you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself during the main event. Shawn goes through his new (old) Showstopper, Headliner, Main Event, Icon catchphrase, and brings up Bret Hart again, really pissing off the crowd hardcore. They break into a huge “We Want Bret” chant, and we all know what happened the last time the crowd wanted someone that badly. Shawn is all “If he was here I’d look him in the eye and tell him I screwed him again!” and then Bret’s music hits and I shit myself a little. Because really, there’s just enough truth behind that joke that you never know if he MIGHT walk out and kick Shawn’s ass all over the arena one more time for old time’s sake. But no, this time is just a joke on Shawn’s part, which actually manages to piss off the crowd even more. So onto the subject of Summerslam again, and Hogan, and before he can finish mocking Hulk, THAT music hits. Again no one comes out, and now the crowd is just ready to kill him at any moment. That second fakeout was pretty funny. The crowd sings the goodbye song, spontaneously this time without a second-tier babyface egging them on, and Shawn just takes a seat in the ring and rides it out. This is truly the most masterful heel promo I’ve ever seen outside of Ric Flair in his prime. And this is the kind of heat Shawn was drawing EVERY WEEK in 1997, which should boggle your mind a little if you think about it. Shawn continues on comparing Hogan to Bret Hart, thus tying everything together, and now the crowd is trying to one-up him by chanting “Shut the Fuck Up” with rather impressive timing. However, Shawn promises to essentially screw Hogan over in the same manner as he did Bret, finishing with one more shot at the Hitman before wrapping up. A masterpiece. Pure and simple. This is the kind of heel heat HHH wishes he could draw. And now the payoff for this is inevitable, you’d think.
– Big Show v. The Heart Throbs. And from that to this. Nothing notable, just Show squashing the only true tag team left on the show and finishing with the double chokeslam. (Show d. Heart Throbs, chokeslam –> pin, 3:30, 1/4*). None of these guys have any program for Summerslam or even in general it seems, so this was a total waste of time.
– Eugene Invitational: Hometown hero is Rene Dupree, although he isn’t from Quebec, and Kurt Angle runs in for the DQ before the match starts anyway. They’ve done nothing interesting with this Eugene angle.
– A rather lengthy video package sums up Hardy v. Edge, as the Kane storyline seems to have been erased from history. And good riddance.
– Meanwhile, Uncle Eric plots to turn his crew into faces by defecting them all to Canada. Carlito thinks this is a dumb idea, but Eric notes he’ll be from “southern Canada” and no one will know the difference. OK, I laughed at this.
– John Cena v. Carlito & Chris Jericho. Yup, another handicap match to put the babyface behind the proverbial eight-ball. Cena pounds Carlito to start, but turns his back and gets jumped. Cena cleans house and we take a break, and return with the heels in control. Pretty much a kicky-punchy special, with some choking thrown in for variety by the heels. Cena comes back by shoving Jericho into Carlito to break the Walls of Jericho, and the usual finishes Carlito (Cena d. Carlito & Jericho, FU –> pin Carlito, 15:32, **). Not sure why it was OK for Cena to do a job to Carlito a couple of weeks back, but when Jericho needs the boost going into Summerslam Cena goes over clean. Jericho lays him out with a chair, but really there’s been nothing to make him look like a threat to the title.
– Edge v. Val Venis. Speaking of people who are no longer threatening, Val so desperately needs a character makeover at this point that I’m shocked he’s still on TV. He shows some good fire early on but misses a charge and gets worked over by Edge. Val comes back with a skullcracker and clothesline, but Edge hits him with the Edge-O-Matic and finishes with a spear and his submission move that JR still can’t be bothered to name. Pretty slow and dull and an obvious warmup for Edge. (Edge d. Venis, reverse figure-four –> submission, 5:22, *1/2)
– Meanwhile, the Con-Man gets into a verbal duel with Stacy, who is apparently now dating Hurricane in the storyline. And I thought that there couldn’t possibly be a step DOWN from Test.
– Hurricane v. Rob Conway. Another time-filling nothing segment between two guys going nowhere. Conway overpowers him, Hurricane makes the lame comeback, Ego Trip and flying elbow, goodbye. (Conway d. Hurricane, flying elbow –> pin, 4:00, *)
– Summerslam rundown:
– Rey Mysterio v. Eddie Guerrero in a ladder match for Dominick’s custody papers. The series has been horribly disappointing and the storyline is ludicrous even for this company. I’m completely tired of this feud and it’s time to move Eddie onto Batista.
– US title: Orlando Jordan v. Chris Benoit. Wasn’t Jordan feuding with Christian and Benoit with Booker T or something? Was this announced on Smackdown? You have to think that no company would be so retarded as to put Jordan over twice, but the damage has already been done anyway.
– Undertaker v. Randy Orton. The Wrestlemania match had a cool buildup and turned out pretty good. This is just kinda there.
– Smackdown World title: Batista v. JBL. The first match was too slow, so they add a stipulation where both guys are gonna be laying around selling until 9 for much of the match. BRILLIANT.
– RAW World title: John Cena v. Chris Jericho. Cena is bulletproof and could probably afford to do the job if need be, but Jericho is little more than a filler challenger at this point and realistically has no chance of winning. Match should be good based on Vengeance.
– Edge v. Matt Hardy. I have somehow gone from being very excited to totally apathetic about this match, which now comes across as nothing more than midcard filler. Doesn’t matter who wins at this point.
– Eugene v. Kurt Angle. I’m kinda looking forward to this one, as it should be entertaining if nothing else and could steal the show. Angle going over is a foregone conclusion, of course.
– Hulk Hogan v. Shawn Michaels. I think Shawn will use every trick in his book to make this his greatest miracle match. Shawn should probably go over, Hogan likely will.
Overall, a pretty weak card with tons of guys left on the sidelines (Christian, Booker T, Shelton Benjamin, etc.) who really deserve the payday more than Orlando Jordan.
– Kurt Angle v. Hulk Hogan. You’re probably thinking “Why would they just give away a pretty big match on free TV?” and the answer is because it only goes six minutes of the usual heel beating on Hogan, big comeback, and setup for the legdrop before Shawn Michaels runs in for the DQ. (Hogan d. Angle, DQ, 6:09, 1/2*). Just to change things up, Shawn puts Hogan in the Sharpshooter to really honk off the crowd to close the show.
– The Diva Search is over.
– Shawn’s promo was awesome and probably sold a bunch of people on Summerslam by itself.
– Cena v. Jericho & Carlito was a decent mid-show match for once, rising above the * that most RAW matches have been aiming for as an upper limit lately.
– Almost all of the wrestling on the show sucked badly, yet again.
– 90% of this show was filler and had nothing to do with promoting the PPV, and seemingly everyone in the midcard is directionless and bouncing from weak program to weak program. In fact, much of this show was just fast-forward material for me. Without Shawn’s promo, it’s another brutal week of TV, and they need to badly get their shit together and find a direction.
The Inside Pulse:
If you missed this show, you missed nothing.