The SmarK Rant for WWE Armageddon 2005
I was ready to bid farewell to 2005 with this show, and then some guy on the comments was all “You didn’t do No Mercy 2005 yet either.” ALWAYS GOTTA BE THAT GUY, HUH?
Live from Providence, RI
Your hosts are Michael Cole & Tazz
JBL v. Matt Hardy
We’ll have to do a running count of people who I don’t remember in this show. #1: Jillian Hall, JBL’s big boobed secretary or whatever she is. JBL buries Matt and his “little internet geek friends” for whining about losing his job and his girlfriend, whereas he is a real man and the main event. It’s too bad Bradshaw could never back up the promos with anything in the ring. Matt attacks with a surprise appearance from the crowd, but quickly gets his neck tied up in the ropes while JBL beats on him. And then yanks him towards the floor while the ref tries to loosen the ropes. There is a man who was COMMITTED to never ever getting cheered. JBL hits him with a lariat on the floor while he recovers. Back in, he slugs away in the corner and drops his lazy elbows, but Matt fights back with a DDT for two. JBL beats him down again and they head up, where Matt fights him off and follows with a sloppy moonsault for two. JBL undoes the turnbuckle and Matt tries another comeback, but JBL runs him into the STEEL buckle, hits the Clothesline from Hell, and pins him at 6:45. Holy shit Matt looked like the biggest geek ever there, he was completely squashed and buried. *1/2
Meanwhile, on Smackdown, Melina screws Batista in exchange for him throwing a match to MNM, but Rey and Batista win the belts anyway. I don’t remember them being champions, actually, just longtime tag partners. Well, good thing that was just a fake storyline and Batista didn’t ACTUALLY do it with Johnny Nitro’s girlfriend…
MNM v. The Mexicools
The announcers wonder if Melina is able to do the splits tonight because she might be “a little too stretched out” from Batista on Smackdown. And then just as I’m thinking that’ll be the most eye-rolling thing in the match, the Mexicools ride out on lawn tractors while waving Mexican flags. And they wonder why Vince can’t get 205 Live over today. I have to say, Psicosis unmasking was the dumbest move of his career. Before he looked like a star, now he looks like a guy. An ugly guy. I mean, we’re all secure with our masculinity and can acknowledge that John Hennigan is a beautiful man, but Psicosis is very much not and being in the same match does Psi no favors. The Mexicools run wild and hit their dives right away, but Melina trips up Psicosis and MNM takes over. Nitro comes in with a slingshot elbow for two and Mercury chokes him down and hits a clothesline for two. They knock Crazy off the apron and Nitro hits Psi with a suplex for two and goes to the chinlock. Joey Mercury comes in and hits boot on the way down, but no-sells it, so Psi hits an enzuigiri instead and makes the hot tag to Crazy. He runs wild with a tornado DDT on Mercury for two, but Nitro drops Psicosis on the railing while Crazy moonsaults Mercury for two. Snapshot finishes Crazy at 8:54, however. Well that sucked the life out of the crowd after the Mexicools got over by being great in the ring. This was Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling. **3/4 Looks like MNM got the titles back right away, and then self-destructed a few months later because that’s what they do with tag teams. I can only assume that the Mexicool gimmick was taken out to the gardening shed and composted.
US title, Best of Seven: Booker T v. Chris Benoit
Booker was up 3-0 at this point due to various screwjobs, so Benoit has his back against the wall and needs to give it 110% and take it one game at a time and build momentum to create separation. Big stall from Booker to start, but Benoit slugs him down and out of the ring. Back in, Booker tries a takedown and Benoit facelocks him as they take it to the mat. Benoit tries a quick crossface and Booker escapes to the ropes and runs away again. Back in, Benoit works the leg, but Booker pokes him in the eye to break and beats on him in the corner to take over. Benoit fires back with chops, but Booker suplexes him for two. Benoit gets a german suplex, but misses an elbow and gets kneed off the apron as this match is taking its sweet time to get out of second gear. Benoit tries throwing chops again, but Booker runs him into the post and gets a low dropkick for two in the ring. Abdominal stretch time, but Benoit powers out and both guys are out. Benoit comes back with suplexes, including the Three Amigos in tribute to Eddie. Sadly, we later learned just how much Eddie’s death contributed to Benoit’s mental problems that ended his own life. They fight to the top and Sharmell interferes with her broom, allowing Booker to fight him off and follow with a missile dropkick for two. Benoit was trying something off the top there and botched it, which is a rarity for him. Booker fires away on the ropes and Sharmell goes low for more easy heat, and Booker hits the axe kick for two. Bookend is reversed into the crossface, but Booker makes the ropes, so Benoit goes with the rolling germans and a diving headbutt for two. Ref is bumped on the crossface attempt, so Benoit goes with a Sharpshooter instead, but Sharmell breaks it up with her broom. Benoit has a really terrifying look on his face while going after her, but we all know it’s just acting, ha ha. Bookend is reversed into a DDT and the crossface finishes at 20:20 to make it 3-1. Slow start, but once they started doing all the false finishes and gaga it got pretty good. ***1/4
Teddy Long and Palmer Cannon are out to thank the fans, and Palmer introduces “Santa Claus”, who has Nunzio as his evil elf. So Santa, who is apparently from New York, cuts a heel promo on the crowd. I’m assuming that’s Vito? Anyway, they demand presents from Palmer Cannon (while Nunzio does this weird face-scrunching mannerism) but Cannon gives them the gift of the Boogeyman instead. So Vito pees his Santa suit and Boogeyman destroys them both. And then he waves his magic stick and magically transforms the bag of presents into a bag of worms. Boogeyman had an amazing look and gimmick, but everything he was in was just awful on every level and it was death once he got into the ring. You could say that Vito peeing his Santa suit and then having worms shoved in his mouth was a career low for him, but sadly that was not the case.
Bobby Lashley v. William Regal & Paul Burchill
Things I know about Burchill: He used a standing Spanish Fly as a finisher, and eventually became a pirate because Vince saw a Johnny Depp movie 5 years too late. I think there was some weird incest angle with his “sister” as well. Other than that, I got nothing. Lashley overpower the Brits, but Regal uses the power of cheating to run Lashley into the post and they take over. Burchill gets a flying knee from the top for two, but Lashley makes the comeback with various slams and whatnot and finishes the future pirate with the Dominator at 3:34. DUD
I feel like the show needs saving at this point. Oh, but first, we visit Tim White’s bar, as he drinks himself into depression with Christmas approaching, and then Josh Matthews reminds him that he was forced into retirement via a Hell in a Cell match three years ago. HILARITY. This of course set up a HILARIOUS series of vignettes later on where Tim White tried to HILARIOUSLY kill himself in a variety of HILARIOUS ways. Because, you know, it’s not like anyone in wrestling would ever really suffer a career-ending injury, spiral into addiction as a result, and then take their own life. THAT’S JUST CRAZY TALK.
Anyway, Tim goes to the back and shoots himself, and it’s BACK TO THE RING! Hey, here’s that wacky Mexican guy on his lawnmower, that’s wacky!
Cruiserweight title: Juventud Guerrera v. Kid Kash
Juvy is definitely looking juiced here. They just do a match and no one even mentions that OH BY THE WAY TIM WHITE JUST FUCKING SHOT HIMSELF two minutes ago. What even am I watching? Kid Kash dumps him and follows with a dive and no one in the audience gives a shit, actively ignoring the match. Perhaps they’re upset because TIM WHITE JUST FUCKING SHOT HIMSELF in a skit. Back in the ring, old man Kash stomps away and goes to an armbar and the crowd dozes. Thankfully, we’ve progressed much further in the 12 years hence. Now the ropes are purple sometimes, too. Juvy fights back with a corner clothesline, but Kash gets a hammerlock slam for two as Cole and Tazz do the pointless banter that’s a dead giveaway of a match that’s dying a slow and painful death. Oh, wait, you know who else is probably dead? TIM WHITE, BECAUSE HE JUST FUCKING SHOT HIMSELF. Kash goes up and misses a moonsault, and Juvy comes back with a low kick for two. They head up and Juvy brings him down with a top rope rana for two and enzuigiri for two. Kash escapes the Drunk Driver, but Juvy hits a second one for two and the crowd is just kind of booing everything. Juvy goes up and misses a legdrop, and Kash finishes him with the brainbuster to win the title at 9:23. This gets a rating of TIM WHITE JUST FUCKING SHOT HIMSELF out of five.
Batista & Rey Mysterio v. Big Show & Kane
So this is RAW tag champs v. Smackdown tag champs for some reason. They were giving Kane and Show a massive push as a team at this point, and then they lost the titles to the cheerleaders. Anyway, Cole says they’ve built up a lot of history over the past couple of months, and they proceed to show a video package that basically amounts to Kane and Show appearing on Smackdown to attack them one week to set this up. Man, compared to the stupid copper penny designs we’re currently suffering through, both sets of tag titles here look REALLY sharp. Batista and Show have a HOSS OFF to start and Batista wins that one, but walks into a boot. Mayor Kane comes in and Batista suplexes him for two, and it’s over to Rey, who gets some offense on Kane and then gets tossed and killed on the floor by Big Show. Back in, Rey is of course face in peril, but fights back with a bulldog of sorts to counter Kane’s chokeslam. Batista comes in without a tag and cleans house with spears and dumps Show with a clothesline as they tumble over the table, allowing Rey to hit Kane with the 619. However, Kane simply chokeslams and pins him at 8:33, because, you know. He big. Rey small. So they put the tag titles on Rey and Batista, immediately jobbed them out, and then they lost the titles a couple of weeks later anyway. What a strange, aimless period this was. **
Undertaker v. Randy Orton
Orton evades Taker to start and tries to grab the headlock, but Taker sends him to the floor. Back in, Taker with the headlock, but Orton puts him down with the dropkick for two. Orton backdrops him, but walks into a boot and gets tossed. They fight on the floor, but Orton slides back into the ring to avoid any damage and slugs away in the corner. UT fires right back on him, then wraps him around the post and pounds the ribs. To the floor, and he sends Orton into the stairs, and then absolutely decimates him with a chair, drawing blood. We get some cheese grater action to follow and Orton tries to grab a handy chain to fight back, so Taker runs him into the stairs again. Michael Cole: “Maybe he should have thought of that before he set the Undertaker’s casket on fire or blew up his car!” Only in professional wrestling do you hear people having to say lines like that with a straight face. OK, maybe Melrose Place, but sometimes.
Orton manages to get the stairs and charges with them, but Taker boots them back at him. Great visual with Orton’s blood literally smeared all over the ringpost. I miss those days. Undertaker makes the mistake of stopping to glare at Cowboy Bob, however, and Randy hits the RKO out of nowhere when UT is getting back into the ring. Nice. Orton pounds away on the floor to take over and then hits him with the stairs, and we’ve got double juice. Back in, Orton chokes him out with the chain and uses a chair for two. UT bails to think about it and hauls Orton out for some headbutts, then puts him against the cage and hits a jumping splash off the stairs. Back in, Taker ropewalks, but misses a flying elbow from there. Orton retrieves a table and sets it up, while Cowboy Bob makes a nuisance of himself from the other side of the cage. Taker kicks his ass and Bob’s bleeding, and that actually set off quite the political firestorm because Bob has hepatitis and no one told Undertaker about it. Taker charges Orton and gets powerslammed into the cage, and that gets two for Randy. Back into the ring, UT with the flying clothesline for two. Old School and a Downward Spiral get two. Snake Eyes and the big boot into a legdrop get two. Chokeslam gets two, as Orton is in the ropes. As always, pinfalls count anywhere in the arena, except there. Taker with a high knee into the corner, but a second try misses and Orton hits him in the junk for good measure. Finally the table gets used as Orton puts UT on it and goes up, then puts him through with a flying splash. That gets two. Orton gets cocky and tries to pound on Taker in the corner, but gets reversed into the powerbomb. Orton escapes and bumps the ref, and it’s RKO out of that, but now we have no ref. So with the door open to attend to the ref, Cowboy Bob sneaks in as they slug it out. Taker with the Last Ride for two, but Bob pulls out the ref and decks him. Taker disposes of the Cowboy and heads back in, but his tombstone attempt is reversed by Orton into one of his own. That gets two, but Undertaker is PISSED about that and sits up. Really, only Kane can get away with that shit. Orton slugs him down, but stops to gloat and gets caught. Undertaker goes after Bob again and fights off an RKO attempt, then nails Randy with the urn, tombstones both family members, and finishes at 30:25. OK, that was a hell of a finish. Orton took a while getting into the spirit, but once he started channeling his goofy supervillain facials this was gold. ****
Ugh, hard pass. This show went into the toilet after the Benoit/Booker match and never really recovered, although the main event was pretty great. The most mind-blowing thing is that I was reading a couple of reviews of the show at the time and they were basically summed up by “Well, it was certainly better than most of the Smackdown PPVs have been this year!” You poor, brainwashed bastards watching the show in 2005. Thumbs down.
Tags: Randy Orton v. Undertaker, SmarK WWE Network Rant, WWE Armageddon 2005