The SmarK Rant for RAW 15th Anniversary Special

The SmarK Rant for WWE RAW: 15th Anniversary Show

– I should note that this is a one-time only deal, because I haven’t watched the WWE’s current product since Chris Benoit died, and I don’t even subscribe to the channel that carries them in Canada any longer, although I’m still a WON subscriber and try to keep up with stuff that way. But I figured that since I basically reviewed the shows from 1999-2006 and it sounded like a good show, I owed you guys this one if nothing else.

– The opening montage of opening montages is great by itself.

– LIVE! From the Arena at Harbor Yard, wherever that is.

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– And who else would we start out with, but the McMahon family? Sadly, Linda can’t be here, but Shane and Steph can, and it’s very Vince to introduce them by the titles they’ve won in the WWE, but we can’t start without Hornswoggle McMahon. Quite the pop for the midget, actually. Vince declares his love for everyone, but we’re STILL missing a member of the family. So indeed, the HHH-in-law joins them as well and we get some wink-wink references (“What’s up, Steph?”) that would come across as dumb on a normal week but work great here. But HHH does have a point — to bring out the list of divas that Vince has “loved” over the years. First up, Melina (the present), Sunny (the past, looking like she wants a job in the present), and Mae Young (the current?). Steph’s look at her dad here is great. Shane is so disgusted (“I just had to dust the cobwebs off…”) that he leaves, but HHH is philosophical about it. Anyone can do the pretty ones, indeed. And then we get a list of people who Vince has mistaken for women in the past and attempted to “love”, including Bastion Booger, Abe Schwartz, Big Dick Johnson, Pat Patterson, Gerry Brisco and the Fink. Good to see Mike Shaw still around. Steph has had enough of being embarrassed by dad, and she decides to embarrass him by making out with HHH. Sadly, Vince no longer loves us, and we can go straight to hell. And just to finish off the silliness, HHH decides to cheer up Hornswaggle by bringing out the Godfather. Why are Lombardi and Patterson so excited to have the women out there? Absolutely hilarious opening segment.

Intercontinental title, Ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Carlito.

JR explains the rules of the ladder match for all those new viewers who are watching a nostalgia show. Carlito starts early by hitting Jeff with the ladder from the outside and then climbing, but Jeff pulls him down. He tries the Twist of Fate, but Carlito reverses into a clothesline and stomps away in the corner. Jeff tosses the ladder at him and rams him into it, but misses a ladder slingshot spot. They fight outside and do some awkward stuff with the ladder, but then Jeff dropkicks Carlito off the apron, breaking the ladder with his body as a result. I hate seeing that stuff. This gives Jeff the chance to climb, but Carlito springboards in to save and then gets a sunset bomb off the top of the ladder to bring him down. We take a break and return with Jeff going up and leapfrogging the ladder out of the corner, but missing the legdrop. Well, geez, he practically sent Carlito a telegram, so no wonder. Carlito goes to work on the leg, sandwiching it in the ladder and then slamming another ladder down on it. Remember back in the days when someone would mess up a ladder and people would freak out because they might not be able to finish the match? So with Jeff’s leg crushed and his career over, Carlito climbs again, slowly. Jeff pulls him down, so it’s back to the leg again. Hey, it’s psychology! Well, Disco Inferno must be happy. Carlito charges at Jeff on a ladder in the corner and misses, and Jeff follows with the swanton bomb, once again missing by a foot. He goes for the Twist on the ladder, but Carlito reverses to the Backstabber instead. Back up the ladder for Carlito , but Jeff stops him at the last minute and grabs the belt to retain at 10:14. This was a nice, laid-back version of the ladder match for TV, although obviously not as meaningful or intense as most of them. ***1/4

Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels can’t remember who he defended the IC title against on the first RAW. It was Max Moon. And we get yet another Marty cameo, as Shawn brings him out to avenge the fake Marty from last week.

RAW Flashback! Shocking moments, like the crucifixion, 1-2-3 Kid, the dumpster incident, Austin v. Tyson, Cena v. K-Fed, Donald Trump, people making out and kissing Vince’s ass, Val with hair having his pee-pee choppied, Kane unmasking, Rock hitting Shamrock in the face with a chair, Bischoff hugging Vince, Shane buying WCW, people falling into rivers, and the LIMO OF DEATH. This should all be on the RAW DVD, hopefully.

Santino Marella v. Rob Van Dam. Well, that’s an unexpected answer to Santino’s open challenge. I should note that Santino is much smaller than the last time I saw him. I wonder why? Santino attacks, but gets frog splashed and pinned at 0:41. You knew that he wasn’t going to TNA with it falling apart like it is.

And now, it’s “all four original members” of Evolution. Did I miss someone else ever joining the group? Did Cousin Oliver join them on a webcast one week or something? I should note that although one of the lines of the cheesy song goes “I am heavy debt, no way you can pay me,” this is of course UNTRUE, because now you can call Ric Flair Finance! Anyway, Randy Orton is wisely untrusting of the group, and we get video showing the last time he was with them. Are they seriously still using that ugly-ass Cena belt for Orton, too? So instead of an Evolution reunion, we get a Rated RKO reunion, which also pretty cool. Flair is all “Get a partner, punks” and so they do.

Randy Orton, Edge & Umaga v. Ric Flair, HHH & Batista.

Joined in progress after the break with Flair tossing Orton into the corner for Edge to tag. Edge is also looking thin and non-defined since the whole steroid thing. They trade chops and Edge backdrops him out of the corner, and it’s over to Umaga to put the beats on Flair. He uses the Vulcan Nerve Hold on Flair and Orton comes in to slug Flair down. Kneedrop gets two. Flair takes another backdrop, but Orton misses the dropkick and it’s over to Batista for a little champ-on-champ action. Clotheslines for all and a Bossman slam for Edge, and we get duelling spinebusters from Batista and HHH. And with all heck breaking loose, the bell rings at 4:02. Poor Umaga gets left alone with Evolution, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE for him. Match didn’t go anywhere, but it was fun. *1/2

RAW Flashback! Beer bath, Lita in the ambulance, Hulk running the Rock over, Shane trying to kill Kane in the limo, Austin crushing the Rock’s car, Austin cementing Vince’s car, MILK-A-MANIA, Edge as Ric Flair, Austin on the Zamboni.

Meanwhile, Hornswaggle annoys MOLLY HOLLY~!, but William Regal puts him in a match with Great Khali, and there’s no Finlay to help him out this time. That reminds me, is Hornswaggle still Cruiserweight champ or did they finally bury that stupid title and get it over with?

The Great Khali v. Hornswaggle McMahon.

No match, as Khali goes for the midget and Hulk Hogan’s music hits. He’s in black, so I guess Linda got the red and yellow tights in the settlement. But who gets custody of the 24-inch pythons? Khali attacks Hogan instead, as apparently a senior citizen is just as good a target as a midget is for a sportsman like him, but he Hulks up. I think it would be hilarious if they were negotiating the settlement in court and Linda started getting too much of his stuff awarded to her, and Hogan suddenly jumped up from his chair and started shaking and pointing at the judge to make his legal comeback. You have to admit, it’s never been tried before. Well, I think maybe Vince might have been thinking of it in 1994. Anyway, with another foreigner vanquished, Hogan cuts a promo about how WWE is the greatest company in the world (which is his opinion THIS week) and he plugs American Gladiators and makes a weird reference to Randy Savage. He poses with Hornswaggle, which I’m sure reminded him of posing with Shawn Michaels in 2005.

RAW Flashback! D-X’s biggest moments. Admittedly the older moments are better than the newer ones. Giving Michael Cole a wedgie is still classic, as is Chyna’s “I’m up here, Shawn.”

RAW Flashback! Vince meets Mr. Socko for the first time. The thing that has always impressed me the most about that skit was how they timed the heart monitor to beep faster as Vince was being attacked by Austin.

15th Anniversary Battle Royale

So we’ve got Al Snow, Bart Gunn, Doink the Clown, Repo Man (looking his age), Steve Blackman (not looking his age at all), Pete Gas of the Mean Street Posse, Mr. Bob Backlund (so much for TNA), Gangrel, The Goon, Skinner, Flash Funk, IRS, Scotty 2 Hotty, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Neidhart and of course…Gillberg. Complete with security guards, entrance and piped chants. That’s actually 16 guys, but I’ll forgive them. Gill is the first out, as they wisely team up and dump the biggest threat. Backlund goes next and sadly does not commandeer the announce position. Head puts Doink on the floor and then Gangrel, but sadly before we get the Head Cheese reunion Flash Funk puts Snow out with a high kick. Bart Gunn knocks Gas over the top and then gets dumped himself, as do Flash and Blackman. Repo Man puts the Goon out, but gets backdropped out by Neidhart, who gets dumped by Skinner, giving us IRS, Scotty, Skinner and Sarge as our final four. IRS charges at Scotty with the briefcase and takes it in the head himself as a result, and we get a 15th Anniversary Worm. Skinner tosses him anyway. Sarge tries to finish Skinner with the cobra clutch, and then tosses him, only to get dumped by IRS for the win at 4:07. But WAIT! Ted Dibiase, as the Million Dollar Man again, reappears and bribes his old partner to throw himself out and give the win to him. Everyone STILL has a price, I suppose. Now if they had brought out RVD to kiss his feet for $100, it would officially be the most awesome piece of business ever. This was how I like my battle royales: SHORT.

RAW Flashback! People enjoy slapping each other over the years.

Eric Bischoff joins us for some fake tears and lets us know that he’s not here to make us smile, he’s here to remind us that people like Vince are dependent on him for reinventing the business over and over so they can survive. But before he can get his round of applause, the newer and more metrosexual Chris Jericho interrupts. But instead of playing off the WCW stuff they reference Bischoff “firing” him on RAW two years ago and trade barbs about haircuts. Randy Orton attacks, but gets put in the Walls of Jericho. Well, I guess we had to stop all the fun and plug the PPV on Sunday at some point. Gotta say, after all the buildup, Jericho does nothing for me here.

RAW World tag titles: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch v. Bob Holly & Cody Rhodes.

Hopefully one of Dusty’s kids will turn out normal. Cade grabs a headlock on Cody to start, but gets clotheslined. Cade responds with a leg lariat and brings in Murdoch for an atomic drop and elbow that gets two. Back to Cade for an elbow that misses, and Cody brings Holly in for the two people in the crowd that care. Dropkick for Murdoch, and Cade accidentally hits his own partner with a lariat, leaving Holly to hit the Alabama Slam on Murdoch for the pin and title at 2:32. These guys have zero chemistry as a team. Can we just get one of them turning on the other already? 1/2*

RAW Flashback! Celebrities are on the show. Can we still call K-Fed a celebrity?

RAW Flashback! The divas evolve from wrestlers to bimbos and then back to wrestlers again.

Jillian Hall joins us to plug her Christmas album and sing some carols, but thankfully Trish Stratus returns to interrupt her. Geez, Trish, eat a damn cheeseburger now and then. People are supposed to be fatter after they leave wrestling. She’s just kinda gross and bony now. Speaking of which, Lita also joins them, looking much healthier than when she left. Jillian cheers on a potential fight, but Lita sides with Trish because Jillian is so annoying. So instead Jillian gets beat up and the other two make up. I hope Lita didn’t break Trish when she was hugging her.

RAW Flashback! Comedy moments, many of which are not actually that funny. Edge and Christian and the kazoos are hilarious, however. And really, nothing can touch Mick Foley finally zinging the Rock and then running around ringside high-fiving the fans.

RAW Flashback! The weddings and all the wackiness therein.

Meanwhile, Lita and Kane have one of those awkward meetings that can only happen in wrestling and soap operas. And when you don’t have a punchline, call Ron Simmons.

Mr. Kennedy v. Mr. Jannetty

I think the crowd’s getting pretty burned out by this point and I’m with them. Three hours is just too long sometimes. Frankly I’m surprised Jannetty lasted from his introduction to the match without getting fired again. Marty takes Kennedy down with a low dropkick, but Kennedy returns fire with his own to Marty’s knee and goes to work. Gosh, lemme tell ya how much I’ve missed JR saying “De-habilitate”. Answer: Not at all. Kennedy with the half crab and he kind of half-heartedly chokes him down for two. Legdrag gets two. Marty fights back but gets pounded down, then comes back with the enzuigiri and a back elbow. Suplex gets two. Jannetty pounds away in the corner, but Kennedy kills him with a lariat. Marty comes back with the Rocker Dropper and goes up, but Ken brings him down and tries his fireman’s carry roll, which Marty reverses for two. Ken finishes with a Flatliner at 4:39. And the crowd goes wild. Yay. *1/2 This was no Marty v. Angle miracle from a few years ago, that’s for sure. Marty disappears while Kennedy brawls with Shawn Michaels, but HHH comes out and makes the save, giving us another D-X reunion. Didn’t they reunite like 18 times in the past year already? Now if they brought out X-Pac or Chyna or something, it might be something interesting.

And finally, Mr. McMahon is out to announce the greatest superstar in RAW history, which I’m sure is not exactly a huge secret or anything. And yes, it’s Vince. However, Mankind comes out to object and puts Vince down with the Mandible Sock, and then Undertaker comes out and chokeslams Vince, and we finish with Steve Austin returning yet again and giving Vince a stunner. And Austin brings everyone from the roster into the ring for a beer to end things off. Was that CM Punk drinking a BEER?

The Pulse:

As a nostalgia show it was fabulous, although the problem comes when they bring out the new guys that are supposed to make me watch the shows again and I’m bored to tears by all of them. It also dilutes things somewhat when someone like Austin makes his big surprise return seemingly every month, as does Hulk Hogan. But although it might not make me want to buy the PPV, it sure made me want to buy the Best of RAW DVD that comes out on Boxing Day, so it’s a resounding success from that alone. I was saddened by the lack of the Rock in person, and I’m also curious why they couldn’t even get an appearance from John Cena, he who has been carrying the promotion for three years now, but the show was fun and that’s all you can ask for these days.

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