The Retro Velocity Archives: Best of 2004

– A reader of mine suggested this one, since I’m the Velocity recapper and have been doing so for some time now, that I should do some kind of “best of” series showcasing some of the best Velocity matches. I originally had plans to do some sort of column similar to this when we first got word that Velocity was ending, but since it got continued on the webcast it would have felt pretty pointless. So I said I’d give it a go. Luckilly a friend of mine had been taping Velocity & Confidential for sometime and I asked him which matches he thought would work out the best. I’m not exactly thrilled on the name, but you take what you can get I suppose.

– So the following are the picks for the best Velocity matches of 2004, though I’m keeping the minium at four. 2003 will be on the way later. Enjoy.

– 12/11/04
Paul London v. Billy Kidman
This was one of the late good cruiserweight matches from Velocity. Sure we later had the title change, but rounding out the year of 04 with a match of this potential was special. Kind of made you think they will still gave a shit about that cruiser division. Kidman goes on of the prowl as soon as London slides in, but London fights back with short arms. London lifts Kidman and drops him in an atomic drop, then hits a lariat sending Kidman to the floor. London springboards out with the highlight of the match, a somersault plancha onto Kidman. Back inside, London hits a clothseline for 2. London comes back off a whip to the ropes and elbows Kidman setting up the Toe Tap. Kidman takes a breather on the ropes, so London hits a high kick sending him back outside. London tries a plancha from the top rope to the outside, but Kidman scouts it and Kidman lands on the barricade. Well, I guess it was the only way they were going to let Kidman turn the tide, so it works for me. Back inside they brawl. Kidman sends London to the ropes and hits a Flapjack for 2. Kidman sets London between the middle rope and chokes him with the knee. Kidman tries to apply an abdominal stretch, but London escapes it. London goes back in control with knife-edge chops. London jumps up and rannas him then hits a spinning heel kick. London sends him to the ropes and backdrops him then nails the Dropsault for 2. Kidman lifts him up and drops him ribs-first over the knee, that gets a 2 count. Kidman nails the BK Bomb. Kidman sets Paul up for the Shooting Star Press and goes up top, attempts it… but London reluctantly rolls away and dodges it. They both set up on the top rope and exchange blows, Kidman sets up for a superplex but get shoved off back to the canvas by London who proceeds to hit the 450 Splash for the victory.
Winner: Paul London
***1/4, well it started off a bit slow but the high points by London cleared that part out, and it made for a really good cruiser match, something WWE seemed to forget about.

-1/31/04
Ultimo Dragon v. Shanoon Moore
Dragon’s WWE debut and one of Shanoon Moore’s last good matches when he wasn’t an MFer. In the best of 03 edition I really hope to do a match with MFer’s Crash and Shanoon. Dragon starts off winning over a headlock and getting a snapmare takeodown. Moore applies a face lock but gets shot off to the ropes, but Moore comes back with a shoulder. Dragon ducks Moore’s lariat attempt and kicks him down for 2. Gotta love that Tajiri-style kick offense. Moore gets dumped so Dragon goes outside and tries the Asagi Moonsault, but Moore pulls him off and he lands on the barricade. I guess it does as a lesson to you UD, never try the Asagi Moonsault just be tossing them over the top rope. Back inside Moore hits a neckbreaker for 2. Moore locks in a chin lock but Dragon fights out of it quick., tries a spinning heel kick but Moore ducks it then gives him a spine kick. Moore hooks him and hits a suplex that gets 2. Rear naked choke applied by Moore, Dragon is able to fight out of it. Moore gets an enzigiri. Dragon NO SELLS, gets up and kicks the hell out of Moore for 2. Dragon nails a Lionsault for another 2. Moore goes back on the offense with a powerslam. Moore hits a dropkick, then nails the second rope neckbreaker but it only gets 2 Moore locks in a sleeper out of nowhere, which is reluctantly, broken, leading to Dragon hitting the Asai DDT for the victory.
Winner: Ultimo Dragon
***, I wasn’t for so much offense out of Moore near the beginning, but it picked up into a worthy debut much and solid cruiserweight action on Velocity.

-3/6/04
Paul London v. Jamie Noble
Up to this point London had never won a singles match in WWE. I always hold that as an interesting stat. London takes him down with a start but breaks when Noble gets the rope. You would kind of think it would go the other way around, but hey. Noble rolls out, London follows, kick wham suplex by Noble. Back inside however London kips up. They exchange wristlocks until Noble gets a drop toe hold then jumps over and locks in a front facelock. London locks in a hammerlock reversing it, but Noble reverses that into a headscissors which grounds London on the canvas. Some more holds are exchanged after this as WWE seems to be bringing out all the stops at this point, but it still seems like this is already better than Noble’s feuds with Kidman or Tajiri. London gets the Toe Tap out of the corner. London goes on the apron and spring in with a knee drop to Noble’s head for 2. Scoop slam by London gets a third 2. London goes on stop and Noble shoved him off sending him straight into the rail as we head straight into advertisements. Noble has London in a chinlock, which is pretty rediculous consering after the first segment and it was just starting to pick up. Noble tosses London to the apron and dropkicks him sending him to the flo’. Back inside Noble covers him for a 2. Noble with a short lariat for 2. A THIRD cover gets 2, so Noble decides to hit a leg drop then follow up with a knee drop, then applies a hold. London fights out but gets locked back in, so the sequence is repeated. This time London is able to fight out of it with a DDT, thus allowing him to go on and hit the Dropsault for 2. London works over Noble in the corner with CLUBBING FOREARMS, but tries a blind charge resulting into him getting slammed by Noble. Noble goes up top, gets crotched, which allows London to ranna him off, Noble rolls through but only gets 2. Noble locks in the Trailer Hitch. London tries to hook and flip out of it, but Noble keeps it locked in and London taps. We hardly even knew ye, Paul…
Winner: Jamie Noble
***1/4

-4/10/04
Rey Mysterio v. Nunzio v. Akio v. Billy Kidman – Number one contenders match
Everyone goes at each other to begin, and Kidman gets dumped. The heels Nunzio and Akio (although I don’t know if someone with the personality of a rock can fit under a face or heel category) double team Mysterio. Nunzio accidently punches Akio, and they go at each other. Akio drops into 619 position, Rey wants it, but Kidman comes back in and dropkicks Rey for 2. Akio suplexes Nunzio and hooks the leg for 2. Nunzio russian legsweeps Akio for 2. Kidman takes Nunzio down to the mat for 2. Pins galore. We head into the main event advertisements of DEATH. We’re back although not live and Kidman is in the corner, Rey hits him with the Bronco Buster. Kidman shakes it off and gets a back suplex on Rey, Akio breaks up his pin attempt. This causes Kidman and Akio to brawl, and Kidman trade blows, Akio whips him to the corner and gets a high leg lariat. Rey headscissors Akio, and now there are three guys in each corner leaving Rey the only one active. Mysterio tries setting Kidman up top but gets shoved off allowing Kidman to hit a crossbody. Akio dropkicks Kidman and sweeps Mysterio, then tries an arm wrench on Mysterio but it’s broken up by Kidman. Rey springboards off of Kidman and hits a Missile Dropkick on Akio in the corner. About time these guys did a high spot. Mysterio pins for 2, but apparently Kidman thought it should have been his oppurtunity to pin, and they brawl. Mysterio proceeds to hit the 619 on Kidman, but as he was setting up on the apron Nunzio (hey, he’s still in this?) knocks him off the apron and then meets Kidman who nails him with the BK-Bomb. Kidman’s pin on Nunzo is broken up by Akio. Akio dumps Kidman and then slingshots onto him with a twisting plancha. Rey then planchas outside onto both men. Back inside Kidman rolls up Akio but Mysterio breaks up the pin. Rey springboards in from the apron but Kidman dropkicks him in mid-air. Akio and Rey go at it and brawl between the ropes to the outside. This leaves Kidman and Nunzio in the ring, and I guess there are no chances of a SSP since Nunzio is standing, so Nunzio runs up the turnbuckle and Super DDTs Kidman for the victory!
Winner and NEW Number One contender: Nunzio
***1/2

A good collection of cruiserweight matches WWE put out in 2004, and it just goes to show that if people ever WATCHED Velocity, they would know about the division.

Of course later on down the road with the long list of roster cuts and Kidman, Akio & Moore were released, and obviously guys like Noble and Dragon aren’t still there the cruiserweight division began to suffer.

– Best of 2003 to come next, I should hopefully get it up in a few days, tell me what you think.