– And just like that, I’m back on the rant and rave, after completing my first video library like I explained last time, with Judgement Day. I promised a mega-load of WCW next, but first I couldn’t resist picking some 04/05 DVD’s up that were on sale at my local mall’s Suncoast store, buy one get one free. I really had nothing much to offer the first time around in video reviews from 04, and need to further update my 05 archives, so it worked like a charm. Check out the sale now at your local Suncoast/F.Y.E./whatever other stores they own. Considering you usually never see deals on wrestling DVD’s, I would say you can find some pretty good bargains in there.
The NeelDown: Summerslam 2004
– From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and whatever other city/province/country I forgot
– Hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Tazz, & Michael Cole
– It should be noted, that having Rush’s version of Summertime Blues is a nice touch as the theme song, but what would have been better if they were sticking to classic rock theme was if they used The Who’s Live at Leeds version, or maybe even take it a step back further with Eddie Cochran’s.
The Dudley Boyz v. Rey Mysterio, Paul London, & Billy Kidman
This was during the storyline of Spike “calling the shots” for the Dudleyz, and is the current cruiserweight champion. Oddly enough, Kidman and the Dudz would be out of jobs not too long after this due to a heavy lowdown on roster cuts. Kidman starts with D’Von, getting some arm drags and a dropkick for two. London comes in and Kidman elevates him for a moonsault that gets two. London follows with the mulekick, which Josh Matthews would be making many Super Mario Bros jokes about had this show been on Saturday night, and the dropsault for two. Dudleyz go in control via heel tactics, and Spike comes in for some stomping on London. Mushroom stomping, Mr. Matthews? He tags in Bubba who suplexes London and drops some elbows. D’Von comes in and locks in the OPENING MATCH CHINLOCK then scoops and slams London for two. Bubba comes in to continue to isolate London, but he gets an enzigiri and gets the hot tag to Mysterio who takes care of Spike who has been concentrated on taunting Rey the whole time. Well, that’s what that will get ya. Rey gets a super-rana for two. Anyway, stupid sequence sees Rey take out all three Dudleyz until Kidman blind tags himself in and gets the BK Bomb on Spike for two. The tag champs dropkick Bubba to the floor and London follows him with a hilo, leaving Spike to get 619’ed, followed by a SSP where you think it’s over, but the Dudleyz break up the count, and 3D Kidman for the pin. Match didn’t have much flow to it, but at least it never got boring. Good six-man tag to start, although I have no idea why, for the crowd’s sake, the hot cruisers couldn’t have picked up the win there. **3/4
Winners: The Dudley Boyz
Matt Hardy v. Kane – Til Death Do Us Part
Yes, stipulation here is that the winner marries Lita. The DNA doesn’t match Matt, though. Where was Edge back then? Oh, in IC title matches. I could sure use some Mattitude Facts to cheer me up now. By the way, how come the “baby” was never born? Matt slugs on him to start and gets a second rope side effect for two. Legdrop gets two. DDT gets two. Going to have to be more creative than mediocrity in a match of this pleasure, Matt. Hardy dumps him and gets a crossbody, but the crowd is dead. Matt gets a Twist of Fate on the floor to try to get the win via count-out, but a zombie sit-up at 8 spoils that plan. Lita slides Matt in the bell, which he clocks Kane with, for two. A big boot puts Matt in his place, but Kane goes up and gets crotched. Hey, I’m sure Kane wants other babies, too. Anyway, Kane Chokeslams him from up there, a STIFF one at that, for the pin and the marriage certificate. Lita respectively then runs away. Match was short, and all “Let Matt get his stuff in until the sudden Chokeslam finishes it all.” 1/2*
Booker T v. John Cena
This is the first round of the best of 5 matches for the “undisputed” US title, but Booker wears the belt to the ring. I honestly don’t remember what was going on with it at the time, so whatever. Booker chops him to start but Cena comes back with the “Throwback” neckbreaker. When he got out of the blue jean stage and into the black jean stage, and stopped wearing Nintendo wristbands, he realized how silly and childish that move sounded, and stopped doing it. Booker tosses him and hauls him back in to avoid count-out, and drops a knee and some mounted punches. He then locks in a rear choke, which Cena fights out of but walks into a spinebuster. Booker follows with a sideslam and it’s back to the rear choke. Cena manages to cradle him with a small package for two. Scissor Kick misses and Booker oversells it, with miserable screaming and all, for a double count-out sequence. This has been SLOW as hell. So Cena hammers back and gets some of his usual stuff, you know, back elbows and clotheslines, but runs into a flapjack by Booker. Booker goes to pick him up, but Cena lifts him up and into the FU for the totally random finish. In fact, that finish was one of the most lazy-booked I’ve ever seen. Not like the shock value of a surprise schoolboy finish, but Booker goes to LIFT HIM UP and then wham, he does his finisher instead. Why doesn’t he just do that in EVERY match? Outside the finish, the match was slow and boring. *
Winner: John Cena
– Eric Bischoff and Teddy Long have a brand meeting talk in the back, where Eric says Theodore won’t be around next Summerslam. Well, that theory didn’t hold up. Teddy says that if his plan for Eugene getting destroyed by Triple H doesn’t work, he will sign him to SmackDown and make him a big star.
Edge v. Batista v. Chris Jericho v. – Intercontinental Championship
Batista dumps Edge while he is doing his bouncing on the top rope taunting to start, allowing Jericho to attack him. Batista fights Jericho off and gives him the SHOULDER CLUBS in the corner, those similar to, at the time, a certain Minnesota Viking practice squad failure. The raw-like power is too much for Jericho, and he gets powerbombed. Batista goes for another one, but Edge sneaks in and chopblocks him, but Batista rolls him the snake eyes and tries his own Spear, but Jericho trips him up and Edge dropkicks him to the floor, where Jericho is also down. Batista charges after him on the floor but Edge toeholds him into the steps. Jericho adds a dropkick to the steps, leaving it to Edge and Jericho to fight in the ring. After the overdrawn, 3 minute staredown, Jericho decides to attack, but Edge knees the gut to break that up. Jericho attempts the Walls, but Edge fights out. Jericho tries a crossbody but Edge rolls through and plants his feet on the ropes for two. Now Jericho is able to lock in the Walls, rather early at that. Batista makes his return to break it up, and dumps Jericho. Edge gives him the Edge-O-Matic, which of course only gets two. JR is actually now calling it a “tornado DDT type maneuver.” Oh well, the name never went over well. Edge tries the spear, but Jericho comes in and collides with him, then turns around into a Batista spinebuster that gets two. Batista tries a backdrop but Edge reverses it to a backslide for two. Jericho rolls Edge up for two. Jericho gets a bulldog on Edge and dropkicks Batista who was on the apron, giving Edge time to set up and Spear him for the pin to retain the IC title. While I’m not complaining since I generally like matches of these nature kept short and sweet, that seemed pretty damn short with an ending that came out of nowhere. Batista thrown into the mix just made it seem weird, too. ***
Kurt Angle v. Eddie Guerrero
They go to the mat to start and get a tieup to the corner broken. Eddie grabs a headlock but Angle rolls out of it, then rushes into a snapmare headlock takeover. Angle fights out with an armdrag and locks it into an armbar. Eddie reverses it, but Angle gives him a german. He tries another, but Eddie blocks it and locks in his own Ankle Lock. Angle counters it by pulling Eddie down by the head and raking his eyes. Now THERE’S a counter you don’t see everyday. Kurt LOSES THE STRAPS and locks in the real Ankle Lock. Into the grapevine and back to normal, and Kurt’s assistant Luther Reigns cheapshots Eddie with a boot. Kurt goes back to the Ankle Lock, which has been going for what seems like forever, and Eddie finally gets the ropes. Eddie tries chopping his way back into it, but Angle goes back to the ankle, locking in a modified STF. Eddie gets up, but a drop toehold sends him back down and Kurt goes back to working on the ankle, unlacing the boot a bit and then adding a rear choke. Eddie gets out of it with a jawbreaker and his own Olympic Slam for a double-KO sequence, as Luther can just watch on nervously. Eddie gives him some shuffling punches and gets the Three Amigos. I usually just say rolling verticals, but I guess it’s your treat. That sets up the 5*, or at least an attempt at one, as Kurt does the pop up superplex. Angle tries the Angle Slam but Eddie counters it to a DDT and tries the Frog Splash again, but Angle dodges it and gets the Angle Slam for two. So he goes back to the Ankle Lock, but Eddie grabs the ref and pulls him in to knock him out. That allows Eddie to clock Angle with he exposed turnbuckle pad, as well as a shot for Luther. Ref is awake, and Eddie, who has lost his boot at this point, and is just wearing a half-on sock, goes up and FINALLY connects with the Frog Splash, but Angle kicks out at two. Back to the Ankle Lock on the tubesocked foot, and he reels it into the grapevine and Eddie finally taps. It certainly wasn’t a back and fourth mat battle, but more of Kurt slowly working on the ankle. It was nothing below par, but, much like the new Superman movie, was leaning more on the disappointing end than on the “that was great” end when it was over. ***
Winner: Kurt Angle
Triple H v. Eugene
The story here is that when Hollywood Rock made one of his Raw return appearances, he asked Eugene who his favorite wrestler was and he said HHH. Anyway, HHH ended up becoming Eugene’s “friend” (even giving him an autographed picture as a birthday present) and let him join Evolution. So in a Raw title match between HHH and Chris Benoit, Eugene accidentally wacked HHH with a chair scoring Benoit the pin, so HHH proceeded to send his friend and tag team partner William Regal away on the old strecher routine. Yawn. Slugfest to start, won by you know who, and HHH continues hammering him until Eugene gets an elbow and backdrop out of the corner. Don’t forget the uncanny strength of Eugene, notes JR. HHH goes out to take a rest, so Eugene follows with an axe handle. HHH uses Lillian for a shield, then pounds on Eugene. HHH exposes Hector’s table. Hector and Carlos still do a good job of acting surprised every time. He tries to suplex Eugene through it from the apron, but Eugene reverses it and suplexes him back inside. Eugene gets the ten punches, so HHH fakes a … KNEE injury of all things, to get Eugene to stop and feel sorry for him, so HHH gets up and levels him to the floor. Back in and HHH gets a backbreaker, followed by another for good measure. Eugene goes low and fights off the wards of bizzaro land as the crowd actually starts a “Eugene sucks” chant and boos when he goes in control. Well, you see how far this little experiment went. HHH tries to shake Eugene’s hand, but Eugene gives him a Rock Bottom and the Eugene Elbow, but HHH gets up and delivers a spinebuster. Things spill outside where HHH feeds him to the steps and it’s back in for mounted punches, then he goes with the sleeper. Eugene eventually gets out, but HHH goes low and tries the Pedigree, but Eugene backdrops out of it. Eugene gets the Kerry Von Erich discuss punch and an atomic drop. He must have been a Texas Tornado fan back when he was a young mentally challenged wrestling fan. HHH goes for the boot, but Eugene catches his leg, flips him the bird, then gives him a stunner. They go back outside where Eugene feeds him to the steps, as Ric Flair strolls his way on it. Back inside Eugene gets a big boot and the Hulkamania LETHAL LEG DROP for two. He comes off the top but gets caught with a boot and HHH tries the Pedigree, but Eugene gets out of it again and slingshots HHH to the corner then gives him his own Pedigree for two after Flair lifted his leg on the rope. That causes Flair to get sent to the back, and in return as Flair is walking to the back Regal walks out, black eye and all, and clocks Flair with a fistful of brass knucks. However, Eugene is too busy watching the action on the stage and doesn’t anticipate what he’s about to turn around into, which is a Pedigree, and that will finish it for Eugene. Nothing ever happened to him, though, so whatever. **1/4
Winner: Triple H
– Diva Dodgeball time, which is Team Rookie of Joy, Amy, Trace, Maria, Christy, & Michelle v. Team Diva of Trish, Molly (?), Jazz (?!), Stacy, Gail, Nidia, & Victoria. Anyway, they play dodgeball in what is probably the Toronto Raptors gymnasium, hosted by Coach. The divas get the balls to start, and Jazz goes out early. Michelle takes out Victoria. Michelle then takes out Stacy. Boy, she has a cannon. Down to Molly, Gail and Nidia for the Divas, and the rookies have everybody. Molly tries the ole whirling sidearm trick, to no avail, and Molly goes out, as does Gail who takes a head ball, and then there goes Nidia, and the rookies get the token win. Well, anything fresh is better than the normal crap we probably would have gotten.
John Bradshaw Layfield v. The Undertaker – WWE Championship
This is near the debut of Orlando Jordan as JBL’s chief of staff, after he had his debut SmackDown match in which Undertaker came out and shook his hand afterwards out of respect, and Jordan ended up turning on Taker later in the main event by helping JBL. Taker takes him to the outside to start and slams his arm into the steps. Back in UT continues to work on the arm. JBL manages a swinging neckbreaker and pounds on him then gets a sideslam for two, followed by a top rope shoulderblock for two. Takers takes him down into an armbar to continue pinpointing the arm, “smart strategy by the phenom.” UT follows with the ROPEWALK OF DEATH. Taker gets the single-arm DDT while working the arm and locks his arm into a triangle choke. When Taker is doing sequences like this, I don’t have anything to say. Jordan breaks it up, and UT gets a pair of stiff boots, and one for Jordan for good measure as well. However, he catches his knee on the top rope, and JBL chopblocks the knee. That opens a gate for JBL to attack the knee, slamming it into the post a few times then wacking it with a chair. Taker no-sells all of that though, and simply slides out and feeds JBL to the steps. However, as UT climbs the steps, JBL sweeps him off. A simple strategy, if you think about it. Jordan slides Taker back in and JBL attacks the leg. Nearly the WHOLE crowd gets in on doing the wave at this point, which Cole explains by saying that the crowd is “trying hard to get Undertaker back into it.” Surreal Tazz notes it, but Cole still refuses. Damn those pesky Canadians, not respecting a good ole Bradshaw-Undertaker brawl. Which begs the question, hey, remember when the champion here was a lackey of UT? You can tell it even catches JBL’s attention as it catches fire. They do a sloppy sequence where Taker gets a rolling knee-bar, but JBL rolls off. A punch sends JBL to the floor where Taker continues doing all sorts of things to the arm, then gets the leg drop from the apron. Back in they go after a superplex from Taker that gets two. Taker reels him in for the powerbomb but JBL sweeps and continues to attack the knee, doing variations of twists, attempting a spinning toehold but Taker grabs his neck then slams him down with a spinebuster. UT follows with a clothesline, but is having injured knee trouble. He then gives him a corner clothesline, make that TWO corner clotheslines, and rolls the snake eyes followed by ANOTHER clothesline, this one executed with a bit more force, for two. Taker gets the Chokeslam, but only for two. JBL obviously had a lot more credibility here, as he would never later be able to kick out of such powerful finishers without cheating. JBL slips out of a slam and Jordan runs in to get involved, but Taker takes him out, only providing the path for JBL to hit the Clothesline From Hell. Taker sends JBL to the corner, where he knocks out the ref, and they collide with big boots. Jordan tosses JBL in the belt, who lightly taps Taker with it. Jordan makes Nick Partick count, but it only gets two. Jordan attacks UT again and get sent to the floor, and JBL adds another CFH. Taker simply then just gets up though, and gives JBL a Last Ride out of the corner … for two. Well, that was random, but not as random as the kickout. Taker sets up the Tombstone but Jordan runs in. Taker gives Jordan a big boot, then gets the belt and clocks JBL with it, ref finally wakes up, and that’s a DQ. Well, call me a member of the Air Canada Center crowd, or whatever you will, but I was actually enjoying the brawl at parts, which I usually can’t say in a mach featuring either of these guys. The drawn out last sequence with the ref bump and DQ sloppiness that followed was shit, but JBL pulling out the cheap victory would have been all the same. You wouldn’t have to worry about that though, as Taker would never do a job there. **1/2 Afterwards Taker Chokeslams JBL through the moon roof of the longhorn limousine, most likely falling onto the safety of a double-spring memory mattress.
Winner: JBL (DQ)
Chris Benoit v. Randy Orton – World Heavyweight Championship
For the main event, this seems rushed as hell, as not long after the ending of the last match and no hype up video or anything, all of a sudden Orton’s music hits. They do a nice staredown, special kudos to Orton who keeps an unreal angry straight face through all of Benoit’s entrance. And he’s STILL doing it after the bell rings! They do a tie-up struggle sequence to start, and Orton grabs a hammerlock. Benoit takes him down with a headlock into a reverse chinlock, as King notes that Orton could be a “model for statues.” They go into the test of strength knucklelock, won by Orton, but Benoit reverses it to an armlock. Benoit gets an arm drag takedown, on him like white on rice, comments King. Orton shoulders out and stops to pose, the one which he does on the stage now, and reluctantly now has a pyro waterfall behind him so he doesn’t just walk out and pose looking like a retard with no pyro going off. Benoit dodges the big dropkick and goes for an early Sharpshooter attempt, but Orton gets out and tries one himself, and gets it. Benoit semi-counters it, and tries to lock it in, but Orton squirms to the ropes, so Benoit tries the crossface, and then settles on just a headlock, which Orton rolls out in and shoves Benoit to the post to break it, in a really nice-looking sequence. Orton then sends him to the post and back inside locks in an armbar, working on the elbow. He turns it into a front facelock but Benoit gets to the apron where it turns into a slugfest, won out by Benoit with chops, and he plants Orton with a DDT onto the apron for two. Orton goes out where he is met by a baseball slide by Benoit, followed by a suicide dive, but Orton evades it and Benoit crashes into the barricade in another nice spot. The slow motion cam feature makes it even more sweet looking. Back in Orton locks in a chinlock and pounds on Benoit’s chest in addition, then switches to a neckvice, then a modified camel clutch. What the HELL is up with all of this from Orton? It just seems silly considering most of his matches is all the glorified dropkick, high crossbody, fancy neckbreaker, RKO, game over. I guess Benoit can do that to people, though, proved time and time again. Orton gets a weird Gory Bomb-style inverted neckbreaker (!) from his shoulders for two, then it’s back to the grounded headlock. Like I said, uh … huh? I’m not complaining, it just confused me. They collide with crossbodys for a double-KO spot. Benoit knocks him down with some shoulders and elbows, and tries a german, but Orton blocks it by hooking the leg, so Benoit turns it into a Nothern Lights suplex for two. Nice. Benoit adds a couple of chops then takes him up for a superplex attempt, but Orton fights him off and gets the high crossbody for two. Orton tries the RKO, but Benoit shoves him to the ropes and gives him a lariat. Orton then tries some wild, confused swinging, which Benoit ducks and then gets a german release. He then successfully locks in the Sharpshooter, but Orton makes it to the ropes. Benoit follows with the rolling germans, but not just your normal rolling germans, SIX of them, and they have to take a rest after that. Benoit goes up and tries the swan dive, but Orton lifts the feet up to block it. Orton cradles him for a quick two, and Benoit quickly counters back to the Crossface, as the sweet sequences just keep on comin’ courtesy of Mr. Benoit. Orton however then gets the RKO out of nowhere for the pin and the World title, making him the youngest World champion in history (a record Lesnar held all not too long ago), and thus ending Benoit’s Cinderella reign since WrestleMania in his home country of Canada, although the crowd seems to be behind Orton anyway. Benoit gives Orton the respective handshake afterwards on the clean victory. This match was underrated in my book, largely due in part to their rematch on Raw the next night which made the main event PPV seem forgettable, but it was a hell of a great match. ***3/4
Winner: Randy Orton
End of show.