At the bottom you’ll find the results of the show, and I’ll be doing my usual live coverage, but I need to get something off of my chest.
This morning I sat down to write down my thoughts on Chris Benoit. I watched RAW last night, but didn’t check any news sites before heading to bed after the show. I had had enough of Chris Benoit, enough of the death of my second favorite wrestler of all time. While into the second paragraph, I stopped to read some news and gather some thoughts. It was then that I read what the police really thought happened in the Benoit household over the course of the weekend. I broke down in my breakfast nook, woke my wife up and gave her a big hug.
Jews don’t believe in the traditional view of hell. Those who are evil are tortured for up to a year, with rare exceptions being tortured for longer. I’m not sure I believe in any afterlife, but this makes me not want to believe in anything. I know that it’s upsetting to think about Nancy and Daniel’s life ending abruptly, but I can sleep better knowing that that son of a bitch has been wiped from the earth.
As a man who is starting a family of my own, this hits close to home. Each night I fall asleep beside my wife is a good night. Each morning I wake beside her is a blessing. I couldn’t imagine how altered my mind would have to be in order to commit such an atrocity. We don’t yet have a child, but I couldn’t even imagine kicking my dog, let another smothering my own child.
I don’t think that he really knew how important of a statement he made last night, but Jerry Lawler probably said it best when he told everyone watching RAW to find their loved ones and tell them that they love them.
I don’t understand all of this. I know what I read and I could spell out all the facts for someone who doesn’t know them, but I can’t understand how I feel about all of this. Over the course of the past decade, wrestling has become my mistress. She’s there for me anytime I call her, and more than that, I can find satisfaction anytime I need. I’ve got a shelf full of DVDs, literally hundreds of hours of video of wrestling. I know many of the other writers for this site have similar collections. The top shelf of my collection houses the biography DVDs that the WWE has put out. Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Brian Pillman, Jake Roberts, Hulk Hogan, Eddie, RVD, Piper… I’ve got them all. The prized one? Up until this morning it was Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story. Can I watch that DVD anymore?
How does one separate the man from the character when it comes to someone like Chris Benoit? He was never accused of necrophilia, never blew up a car, never attempted voodoo on someone and never portrayed a cartoon character. To some degree, I always thought that the Chris Benoit we saw in the ring had to be partially the same Chris Benoit that lived a day to day life. Where does the separation begin? I feel guilt for any admiration I had for the man because of what’s happened.
WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE? WHERE?
One of the fondest memories of my life is being with my best friend of (at the time) 18 years cheering the man that we thought deserved to be the champion of the world with nearly 20,000 other people who seemed to be having the same experience as us. How can I look back on that fondly? We watched him celebrate with a handful of people. He murdered two of them.
Wrestling fans can seem to forgive things like spousal abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, extra marital affairs or a fight here or there. But murder? That’s unforgivable. It’s MURDER. Having that hang over the programming you’re watching is very difficult.
So it’s on with the show, right? I know that the WWE has contracts to fulfill and obligations, but I cant imagine the mood backstage. I can’t imagine the mood in the arena.
As much as Chris Benoit defined what professional wrestling was to me on Saturday, I can’t let his disgusting, cowardly, horrific and selfish act destroy what I think of wrestling. I know it’s difficult for anyone who felt an attachment to Chris Benoit to move on and watch another wrestling show, but I really feel like the less I let him influence wrestling for me from now on, the better off I’ll be watching it.
As expected, the show opens with a speech from Vince on how tonight is the first step of the healing process. It’s pretty touching actually, it’s also a show of class.
John Cena over Johnny Nitro by STFU
The show opens with John Cena’s music not giving the crowd any time to react. John Cena for some reason throws up the letters “ECW” during his usual walk around and celebration of his entrance.
Nitro’s a little more down than usual. By contrast, Cena was a all of energy. Cena’s got the company on his shoulders tonight as the first guy to walk out during the show.
Hard collar and elbow to start with Cena getting the advantage and a headlock. Nitro tries to get out, but Cena wrenches it in hard. Nirto powers out to send Cena to the ropes, but Cena comes back with a shoulder block to knock him own.
Nitro finds an opening with an unexpected back elbow, but that momentum doesn’t get too much steam as Cena out powers him and hits some nice power moves. Cena blatantly calls a spot and throws Nitro to the other corner.
Nitro throws Cena to the ropes and ducks under Cena, who jumps to avoid, but jumps far and sinds up losing foting and winding up outside the ring. Nitro captiolizes and sends Cena to the stairs. One he gets him back into the ring, he can only get a two. TWO!
Nitro slows down the pace and keeps up the John Cena = Hulk Hogan pace of the match. Mostly kicks and punches while plodding around the ring. I wonder who’s winded? My money would be on Nitro. Another two count ater a belly to back. TWO!
Nitro smirks and walks around the ring, throwing Cena to the corner and gets elbowed upon the approach. Cena comes out of the corner, but gets cut short by a Nitro clothesline. Just a thought, but I think everyone is going to be working stiff tonight. Cena regains compsure and also control. Cena nails his corner bulldog, but both men are groggy. Cena goes for a cross body, but instead winds up being dumped outside the ring. Seems liek a perfect opportunity for… commercials.
We’re back and Nitro has control and Cena on the top turnbuckle. Looks like we’ve come back in time for a superplex attempt. Nitro gets thrown off and comes back to drop kick Cena off the turnbuckle to the floor outside. Nice. Nitro persues Cena and drags him back into the ring but can’t get more than a two. TWO!
Nitro drops Cena with a punch and waits or him to get up. All that for another punch? Cena starts to get up again and gets clocked again. Each time he’s regaining a little more composure. Eventually he Hulks up and hits his modified atomic drop and hits the five knuckle shuffle and goes for the FU, but Nitro flips out and hits a springboard enziguiri but still can’t get more than a two. TWO!
Nitro stays on Cena, jumping on him for a sleeper hold, and Cena gets the crowd support. He powers out by the power of the crowd and Greyskull and backs up into the turnbuckle, squashing Nitro. Cena hits that flipping bulldog thing he does, goes up top and HITS A TOP ROPE GUILLOTINE LEGDROP! He locks in the STU and that’s the match! Wow!
If John Cena put on more matches like this, then we’re going to be hearing less and less “Cena Sucks” chants.
Wow. Bagpipes hit and here is Rowdy Roddy Piper! No surprise, he’s the “rat” guy of wrestling. I’d be amazed to see him not talking about Benoit, but I have faith that he’s gonna entertain and keep it to himself.
“So This is ECW? Hardcore! I never been here before. I don’t consider you hardcore unless you have dated sweaty Betty. I don’t consider you hardcore, unless you’ve had hal your hearing taken away by a dog collar. I don’t consider you hardcore until I can 1985 when Paul Ornd…”
It’s time for the young punk to interfere. This time it’s Matt Striker. He’s got a birthday cake! It’s his birthday! Piper asks if he;s looking get hardcore. Striker does a nice little 2 second impression and says he’s his teacher. Piper says he’s not his sex ed teacher, that’s for sure. Striker says it’s an honor to stand in the ring with him. Striker makes a “Piper is old.” joke. Nice. I made those in the late 90’s. It’s his birthday and he thought it wouldn’t be a party without the Hot Rod. Striker’s got the cake in his hand and makes another Piper is old joke. Striker wants Piper to sing happy birthday to him. Ha! Piper says he’s never let the crowd down. Ha! Another joke!
“Let’s sing Happy Birthday to the Mark”
“My name is Matt, sir.”
“Let’s sing Happy Birthday to the Mark, Matt.”
Piper gets the crowd ready to sing to Striker, but pauses on Striker’s name. When asked what his name was again, Striker gets cake in the face. Piper wheels himself down the aisle and cue the Boogeyman music. He gets about halfway down the aisle before Piper throws him back into the ring to get slammed by the Boogeyman and have the worms poured into his mouth.
Man, in the WWE you can’t win in your hometown OR on your birthday.
Before we get to a 2 out of 3 falls match between Punk and Burke, we’re subjected to a Miz video package and we go back to Vengeance to relive Johnny Nitro becoming the ECW champion. Pity he still doesn’t come down the the ring to the WCW Nitro music. Joey’s gonna interview him. Good times.
Nitro doesn’t seem to fazed about losing the match to Cena, cause he’s been fighting a cold and a ever. For some reason, becoming the ECW champion means having no charisma. Nitro talks about watching the Burke/Punk match, probably cause he has to, but also cause it’s a #1 contender’s match.
C.M. Punk pver Elijah Burke in a 2 out of 3 falls match
Both men stare down and circle to start. Collar and elbow and Burke goes behind. Punk powers out and gets a headlock. Burke throws Punk tot he ropes, Punk runs down Burke and can’t get a pin. Punk takes down Burke and works the ankle and knee. Back up and slaps the headlock back on Burke. Burke tries to power out using Punk’s knee, but with no effect on Punk. The crowd is hot for Punk as Punk gets drilled in the gut. Burke runs to the ropes and gets arm dragged twice before Punk takes him down again for another headlock.
Burke powers out and we’ve got another stare down.
Burke gets some punches and kicks in on Punk before getting taken down again by Punk and getting roundhouse kicked in the back. Like I said earlier, everyone’s working stiff tonight. It’s followed by a bodyslam and a quick legdrop, but that only gets a one count.
Punks walks over to Burke in the corner and gets thrown to the turnbuckle. Burke chops away at Punk in the corner, but that only gets a one. Burke grabs a front headlock, but gets picked up by Punk and driven into the corner. Punk goes for the big ten punches, but gets dropped across the top turnbuckle.
Burke goes for the Express, but instead gets hit full steam with a running leg lariat by Punk. Ow. Punk goes tot he top, but is crotched and while hanging upside down gets hit with the Elijah Express. That move was NASTY. Burke pins Punk and gets the first fall!
Burke tries for a quick second pin, but Punk keeps kicking out. Burke hooks the arms and attempts to turn or a backslide but gets thrown to the ropes. Punk pursues and Burke ducks and takes the ropes down. Punk hits the ground HARD and back first. Perhaps these guys are dealing with their heartache with pain.
Punk makes the count back in the ring and rolls through and gets a quick three count! It’s even as we go into the commercial break.
We’re back and Burke is stretching out Punk with a surfboard. Punk rolls through and hits a mule kick to get out. Punk goes on the attack and gets thrown into the corner. Punk goes feet first and winds up sitting on the ropes and Burke pulls him back throwing him onto the canvas back first.
Burke chokes out Punk and goes for that hanging elbow in the corner, but Punk managed to get out of the way. Punk pulls himself up and gets an inside cradle for a two. TWO!
Burke hits a nasty uppercut on Punk for a two. TWO!
Burke stomps Punk and runs to the ropes and gets cut short by a clothesline and gets hit with the Punk kicks. Punk charges Burke on the ropes and Burke holds the ropes and flips up using Punks head or leverage, lands on his feet on the apron and goes for something of the top rope, but gets hit with another leg lariat/spin kick.
Both men answer the standing 10 count and trade punches and elbows. Looks like plenty of potatoes are being thrown. Punk gets some head butts in to get Burke down and eventually Punk hits the rising knee and the running bulldog. That only gets a two. TWO! And Punk is frustrated.
They both mess up a pretty simple spot and Burke throws Punk into the corner. Poorly, and it appears as i they’ve missed the spot again, as he does it exactly the same way the second time. Punk still lands weird and in a position that makes me think that they messed up again. After some awkward kicks, Burke sets Punk up on the top turnbuckle and goes for something, but instead gets open hand slapped a few times and Punk hits a tornado DDT, but only gets a two. TWO!
Punk waits and goes for the GTS, but Burke elbows out of it and hits the judo takedown / clothesline and that only gets a two. TWO! Burke’s frustrated and Punk starts his strikes. Burke ducks the backfist, runs to the ropes and sunset flips Punk. The two go through THE EXACT PINNING SEQUENCE FROM THE BENOIT VS. MALENKO MATCH FROM HOG WILD SHOWED LAST NIGHT ON RAW but after the first bridge out o a pin, Punk hits the Go to Sleep and scores the third fall! Punk looks to the ceiling and starts talking and they cut away to the crowd as Nitro comes out to stare at Punk and give him the champion to challenger golf clap.
I wont be doing the podcast tonight, this has all been a little too much for ol’ Robbie. Maybe later in the week, but not tonight.
The Inside Pulse
I actually think Vince said it best tonight:
Last night on Monday Night RAW, the WWE presented a special tribute show recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit’s name tonight.
On the contrary, tonight’s show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step o the healing process. Tonight, WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world, entertain you.