The SmarK RAW Rant – August 22, 2005
– Live from Hampton, VA
– Your hosts are JR, King and Coach.
– Opening interview for the second week in a row: Shawn Michaels. The crowd is back on his side again after his face turn last night. Fickle bastards. Shawn, however, quickly cuts an insincere promo about how “nimble” Hulk was and how he fell victim to the “vicious” legdrop and lost. But now that the Hogan fantasy tour is over and he’s on a plane to Florida again, it’s back to reality. But first, Chris Masters interrupts. Man, talk about a step down for Shawn. I’d say it’s a step up for Masters, but let’s not kid ourselves. Masters calls him old. Wow, that’s some scathing criticism there. Shawn appreciates his enthusiasm for trying to upstage guys, but thinks he might be in over his head. Shawn’s condescending attitude is hilarious as he seemingly channels some Roddy Piper. Masters hits him with the bald joke to score some points. Oh, he’s making the babyface comeback now! And apparently that was enough to annoy Shawn, because he attacks and it’s on. Masters quickly gets owned and runs away, and Shawn is still a babyface despite being a total cock. Hey, it’s a different character at least.
– Meanwhile, Uncle Eric makes a World title rematch with Cena and Jericho tonight…and the loser gets fired. Well, that’s a rather obvious swan song for him.
– Kurt Angle v. Shelton Benjamin. In an astonishing nod to continuity, JR actually mentions Team Angle. Not that his partner would get mentioned, of course. They do some mat-wrestling to start and trade armbars and we take a break. Back with Angle in control, as he uses suplexes and extended mat submission holds. Shelton comes back with a spinebuster and starts throwing clotheslines. Near-falls lead to a missed dropkick, but he fights off the anklelock with the dragon whip kick. Angle gets the pop-up superplex for two, however. Shelton reverses the Angle Slam into a DDT for two. Heel hook finishes, however, as Benjamin continues his descent into Jobber To The Stars territory. (Angle d. Benjamin, heel hook –> submission, 12:20, ***) The match itself was a breath of fresh air after weeks of shitty wrestling on this show. They appear to be trying to re-villain-ify Angle after months of having him be a clown, but they’ve tried that multiple times before and he always ends up looking like an idiot again.
– Meanwhile, Kerwin White is still on TV. And accusing middle class America of being racists. Well, we know HHH is, but I don’t think he counts as middle class.
– Meanwhile, Snitsky is a big fan of Maria’s feet. Show, however, is the voice of morality. “You don’t even know this girl and you want to suck her toes?” Is there ever a RIGHT time?
– Matt Hardy v. Rob Conway. Hardy’s badass image dropped a little in my eyes when I recently learned that kids today flash his “V1” sign, but with an entirely different meaning: “Two in the pink, one in the stink.” Believe me, my life was better before learning that. Edge and Lita sit on the announce table and distract Matt, allowing Conway to attack. Conway holds a sleeper tenaciously, but Matt slugs back as his heat dies by the second. Considering how Conway’s matches have been flaming death from above as of late, this isn’t the best opponent for rebuilding Matt. Conway again goes up and looks like Bambi on the top rope, learning to stand up for the first time, but manages to drop his big elbow for the pin. (Conway d. Hardy, flying elbow –> pin, 3:47, 1/2*) Edge beats him into a coma again afterwards. Yup, it’s the old losing streak gimmick again, as Matt’s new character is apparently going to be a guy who constantly gets the crap kicked out of him but is too stupid to quit. In other words, a jobber.
– Carlito’s Cabana time, as Ric Flair is the guest. We quickly learn that whooing is not cool. And that anyone can win as many matches as they lose (such as Flair) but Carlito is a one-time champion, and he hasn’t lost it yet, so he’s cool. Carlito spits the apple and it’s on. That was kinda random. Was the world really waiting for Carlito v. Ric Flair?
– Snitsky v. Big Show Vachon. I still don’t get why they bothered to bring him over if this was the best they could think of to do with him. Show goes “Aaaaaargh” a lot and does some slaps, but Snitsky snears menacingly and moves out of the way a lot to come back. Show goes “Aaarrrgh” some more and Snitsky walks out. (Show d. Snitsky, countout, 3:39, 1/4*) Uh, yeah.
– Meanwhile, Cade & Murdoch send out warning to all the other teams in the WWE. Uh, who would those be, exactly?
– Wow, it’s Smackdown’s Torrie and Candace. Because that’s what this show needs — more meaningless T&A. Apparently they were traded here, months after the trade deadline. Candace is still milking the Super Bowl commercial that 99% of America forgot about a day later. They bring out the Diva Search winner and punk her out. Wait, wait — they couldn’t even find a way to get the tag team champions (on either show) or Shelton Benjamin onto Summerslam, but they’re actually trading people from Smackdown to feud with the new diva?
– WWE title, loser leaves town: John Cena v. Chris Jericho. Jericho stomps him down, but they brawl outside and Cena goes after Bischoff, which results in him getting hit in the nuts. And we take a break. Back with Jericho in control with some nice stiff kicks, but when he goes for a superplex Cena sends him to the mat again. Cena whiffs on a high cross, however, and we go to the chinlock. Cena fights back and tries the F-U, but Jericho reverses to the Walls. Cena can’t make the ropes because Bischoff pulls them away, so Cena moves to the other ropes instead. He fights back with a hard-fought F-U, but can’t cover. He gets two, but Bischoff puts Jericho’s foot on the ropes. And gives him brass knuckles. His motives are getting really transparent. The Power of the Punch only gets two, however. Cena sends Jericho into Bischoff, and the F-U finishes. (Cena d. Jericho, F-U –> pin, 14:34, ***) And so the WWE career of Jericho comes to an end. However, like sands through the hourglass, so go the days of our lives, as Kurt Angle runs out and punks out Cena to become the next challenger.
– Couple of good matches this week as opposed to all the crap ones we’ve been enduring lately on this show.
– Angle is always an instant strong challenger and a good match for Cena.
– For every good segment, there’s a Snitsky/Show segment, a diva segment, another try at repackaging Garrison Cade, or Chris Masters. And really that negates a lot of the good will that a strong Angle v. Cena program is going to build up.
Overall, a pretty weak show coming off of Summerslam, which by all accounts was pretty good. RAW, sadly, was more of the same old stuff, with only three weeks to build up Unforgiven, traditionally one of the weaker shows of the year. Should be fun.