Retro Express – Bad Blood 2003

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Once upon a time, WWE used to be pretty big on building up interesting storylines for their wrestlers. From the opening act to the main-eventers, everyone involved in the show had a reason for being there. On Bad Blood, as amazing as it is, everyone on this show had a reason for being there. Everyone from Theodore Long at ringside for the opening match to Mick Foley as the special referee in the main-event. As simple as this show was put together, did the storyline work pay off with RAW’s first brand-exclusive US pay-per-view of 2003?

 

WWE Bad Blood 2003

Date: June 15th 2003

Brand: RAW

City: Houston, Texas

Attendance: 10,000

 

The Dudley Boyz vs Christopher Nowinski and Rodney Mack w/Teddy Long

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As mentioned earlier, this was a heavy storyline time for WWE. Every little program on Monday Night RAW in 2003 did its best to tell a storyline, including this simple tag team match with the Dudleyz facing Rodney Mack and Christopher Nowinski. Teaming up the Harvard graduate Nowinski with the new up-and-comer Rodney Mack, combined with the black supremacy advocate Teddy Long as their manager, was a bizarre combination to say the least. However, at least they got something. Not that I’d want to do an angle like this or anything, as I wouldn’t, but at least it gave the audience a reason to take notice once they got on television.

They did a backstage segment on Heat where Teddy Long pestered D-Von Dudley, questioning why his brother Bubba always told D-Von the get the tables. At least there was more to this match than just throwing two tag teams together. Giving D-Von an angle going into this match at least gets fans interested in him. Rodney Mack was also undefeated going into this event.

Mack and D-Von began angry lock-up before the match even began. We got early “we want tables” chant. Mack had a seriously hard time selling for the Dudleyz. The Dudleyz started off well and Bubba was a great babyface but then the distraction came from Teddy. Teddy was on the apron distracting Bubba and Bubba began waiting for Mack to jump him. He waits and waits and waits until Mack came in to throw a horrible clothesline.

We got a “Harvard sucks” chant directed at Nowinski. Mack hit a pretty decent spinebuster. Bubba got the hot tag, which included the big man hitting a top rope crossbody onto Nowinski! Keep in mind, this was not the slimmest guy in the world! A big man flying like that is very much a joy to see!

Nowinski, who was wearing a metal face protector worth $30,000 according to Jim Ross, tried to use it to no avail. Mack went for the “Black Out” submission but it was countered. The Dudleyz hit the “Wassup” while Teddy was yelling on the apron. Bubba told D-Von to the table but Teddy got in his way, tying into the segment from earlier. Mack attacked D-Von from behind while Nowinski hit Bubba with the metal mask and pinned him.

This was a slightly-below average tag team match with Mack being rather sloppy while the Dudleyz tried their best to get a good match out of him. Nowinski seemed to just be there. In terms of promoting new talent, the right team won. In terms of who the better workers were however, the wrong team won.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talked about the Redneck Triathlon scheduled between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff. The Redneck Triathlon would consist of three rounds, with the first round being a burping contest and the second round being a “pie-eating” contest. Jerry was excited for the pie-eating contest. Now, I remembered the beginning and the end of this Redneck Triathlon. The pie-eating contest was what I couldn’t remember and it did strike me as odd regarding Jerry’s comment about the pie-eating contest. In hindsight, I should have known what that pie-ating contest was ACTUALLY about. More on that later.

We began with the burping contest, with JR claiming to have once won a burping contest in the eight grade. Both gladiators were stood with Terri Runnels doing the introductions while Stone Cold drank beer. Terri went over the rules as Stone Cold did starfish jumps, which is the perfect way to prepare for a burping contest. There would be three rounds of burps, with the loudest combined burps winning the contest. Bischoff went first and delivered a weak burp. This was probably the only legitimate burp in the whole thing. Then it was Austin’s turn. Some may have been upset that the majority of the burps were all sound effects pipped in by the production group and it that it was not a legitimate burping contest. However, this burp was delivered so well that you just couldn’t not laugh at it. Jim Ross’ and Jerry Lawler’s laugh after Austin “unleashed” this burp was great! This was exceptional delivery by production and by Stone Cold’s expressions.

Austin demanded another beer as Eric did his second burp. It was a decent attempt by Eric but Terri was disgusted.  Austin had a pretty weak second burp, which the Texas crowd loved. Eric was also disgusted by this and then delivered his third burp, which was slightly above average. Austin got the last laugh as he unloaded with a long final burp, with the later part of it sounding like a toilet was being flushed!

Austin won and then delivered a post-contest promo, congratulating Eric on being a good competitor and himself for winning such a competition. His UFC-like promo was actually pretty funny! Eric told Austin to see a doctor and that was that. Austin was 1-0 up in the Redneck Triathlon.

Moments like this really made me love the Austin and Bischoff co-general manager deal, with Eric almost coming off as likeable as he was involved in these funny angles with Austin. The crowd loved this burping contest as did I.

 

Test vs Scott Steiner for the managerial services of Stacy Keibler

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A lot of you reading this might not believe your eyes but Scott Steiner is probably one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. This guy was just one-of-a-kind in terms of his in-ring style, his promos and just the character as a whole. I ALWAYS paid attention whenever this guy was around.

In WWE around this time though, he hadn’t had the greatest of starts since his return at Survivor Series 2002. His program with Triple H, including a truly devastatingly bad World title match at Royal Rumble 2003, had seen Steiner’s stock drop significantly. Now he’d been put with Test and Stacy Keibler, as the two vied for the affection of the lovely Stacy.

This match was by FAR not one of the greatest technically gifted matches I’ve ever seen. I can’t even consider this a good match as far as the in-ring side of things is concerned. As far as the entertainment however, this match was in a league of its own and mostly because of Steiner.

One of the other highlights of this match was Stacy Keibler, who looked amazing on this particular show. Stacy tried to get in the ring but her “ex” Test yanked her off the apron to berate her. As amazing as it sounds, the spot that followed was one of the highlights of the entire pay-per-view and it was the mother of all botches! Scott got onto the apron as he had to save this love interest, who was in peril at the hands of the bad guy. This was Mario saving Princess Peach from Bowser. Mario would jump in and save the day. Scott Steiner ALSO decided to jump in and save the day! He leaped off the apron but didn’t have his balance right, so he slipped and plummeted down. He landed on the floor but at least he had the instinct to put his hands up for the double axe handle that had obviously been the original spot. He drops down, hits Test in the knee and Test slips as if he slipped turning around in the shower. This was one of the all-time great botches in the history of wrestling and it was actually a lot more entertaining than if he had just successfully pulled off this double axe handle!

So Scott Steiner beat up Test and when they got into the ring to start the match, Test begged off Steiner. Now, there have been many babyfaces that have fallen for this obvious trap set by the heels to lure him into trouble. These spots make the heroes seem like such fools. Scott Steiner was not like that as instead of backing off, Steiner said “Nah. Fuck You!” and beat up Test some more! Not that I’d encourage wrestlers to swear as they’re on the rampage but I laughed so hard at this. I’m just amazed that my DVD didn’t censor this moment as Steiner unloaded with swearing throughout this match. Steiner wasn’t having any of Test’s shenanigans.

Steiner did some press-ups and began yelling at the referee. Test used Stacy as a human shield to gain the advantage. Test then threw Steiner into the steps. I know a lot of people had mixed opinions about Test as a performer, who sadly passed away in 2007. All I’ll say is that he was effective in making people hate him! That’s a key part to be a good villain, having an unlikeabillity factor that even “great” in-ring work can’t get around. The douche level of Test’s character was high as he mocked Steiner and yelled “wait until tonight” at Stacy as he blew her a kiss. The fans chanted “you suck” as Test got the heat. Test did a sleeper hold as the fans rallied behind Steiner with “lets go Steiner” chants. Jim Ross had a very nice line about Stacy when he said that her heart was as beautiful as her face. He was… damn on point.

Steiner damn near killed Test when Test came off the top rope and Steiner caught him by the waist, and dropped him over his shoulder which I think was meant to be a belly-to-belly suplex. I like Steiner but Test must have been fearing for his well-being when Steiner caught him by the waist! Jim Ross called this a Northern Light suplex turned into a slam. Steiner ran wild. Test bounced off the rope and it appear that he was going up to take a back drop but he leaped up, and Steiner caught him in a powerbomb position. Steiner simply threw him over his shoulder and continued to run wild. This was NOT the best night for Steiner in terms of his in-ring wrestling.

Steiner kicked out of a Full Nelson Slam. Test missed a big boot but Scott hit a sloppy reverse DDT. This got a near fall and Steiner’s reaction was to simply yell “HUH?” at the top of his lungs! That was very funny. Steiner hit a pumphandle slam for a near fall. Test undid the turnbuckle when Stacy popped up on the apron. Test grabbed Stacy and said some very non-PG and not nice things about Stacy, calling her names. Stacy slapped him and Steiner almost bumped into Stacy. Test hit a big boot out of nowhere which I honestly thought was the finish! Steiner kicked out. Test grabbed the chair and pushed Stacy away with it. Test went to hit Steiner with the chair and instead hit the ropes, bouncing the chair back to hit his own head. Steiner hit the flatliner and won the managerial services of Stacy. Stacy was happy and leaped onto Steiner in celebration. Stacy got off Steiner and then began selling her backside, implying that Test’s chair push was a lot more mighty than we realised.

This was an entertaining match to watch but not by any means a good one! We had some very noticeable botches from Steiner but the heat was there for this match. Test was a good heel. The match picked up with the finish and the bully Test was in the end overcome as the two babyfaces stood up against him. Even Stacy was being brave as Test eventually let his cockiness get the best out of him and paid for it. This was fine, simple story-telling.

Match Rating: **

 

Bischoff and Stone Cold talked backstage. Stone Cold described burping as being an “art form” in Texas, which was a great line. Eric vowed to win the pie-eating contest. Eric said he did some research and invited Austin to meet some ladies, that were set to take part in the pie-eating. By taking part, I don’t mean actually eating real bakery. Apparently, THEY were the pie. In case you were wondering, this show was NOT PG in the slightest.

Eric wanted first dibs on eating the “pie” and Austin allowed this, as long as he decided what pie Eric was going to eat first. I can’t have been the only one that could see where this was going, and I’d never seen this pie-eating contest before.

 

Christian (c) vs Booker T for the Intercontinental Championship

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Picture this in your head. RAW had just recently reinstated the Intercontinental Championship that they inexplicably retired at No Mercy 2002. Christian won the title in a battle royal. Christian made his first defense of the title in a promising match between himself and Booker T, who happened to be from Houston, Texas where the Bad Blood pay-per-view was being held. You had all the potential in the world to make these two actual top stars on the red brand. The fans were going nuts for Booker T in one of the most heated moments in the entire show. This could have been something really special. Not like in the level of Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat from WrestleMania III but a memorable match that’ll be remembered through the ages. Well, spoiler alert, but that didn’t happen.

On a show which included MANY non-wrestling segments featuring Stone Cold and Bischoff, Booker and Christian got SEVEN MINUTES of wrestling which resulted in an incredibly rushed match between these two great workers. Lawler did have a great back-handed compliment when he claimed that “there’s a lot of suckas in Houston.” Jerry Lawler in 2003 had some of the best crack in all of WWE in 2003! With that said, Lawler was pretty bad for the large majority for this match on commentary which we’ll get to. Jim Ross claimed that Christian leaving as the champion would be a miracle, which I think probably did Christian more harm than good.

The match started off very well, as these two worked well together. Christian sold one particular back drop from Booker very well as he was thrown HIGH into the air. Lawler was hardly paying attention to any of this as he constantly made jokes about Booker’s previously convictions. Booker T was once a criminal and Lawler mentioned this ALL THE TIME while on commentary during this time. It’s not like if Jim Ross mentioned it and praised Booker for overcoming it. No, Lawler made joke after joke during this match. Did NOT make Booker come off well either.

Christian tried winning by putting his feet on the ropes. JR completely ignored Christian hitting Booker with the Book End, in Booker’s hometown. Booker hit an axe kick on the ropes. Booker hit a top rope dropkick and followed it up with a spinaroonie. Booker went for the Scissors Kick but Christian ran away and took the title with him. I was initially pretty upset at this as this would have been a match that ended in a count out in the challenger’s hometown. Then the referee Jack Doan got a microphone and told Christian that if he didn’t get back in the ring, he’d forfeit the title. This announcement got a big reaction but when I think about it, how did Jack Doan have the right to make this call that Christian would lose the title if he walked out? He’s not like an on-screen authority figure or anything.

So WWE teased the count out finish but the referee put a stop to that. The fans got excited at the thought of seeing a clear winner in this match. Instead, Christian runs into the ring and runs right back out. Booker chases him around the ring and they get back into the “squared circle” of WWE. Christian then grabbed the belt and hit Booker in the face, causing a disqualification.

The fans were irate with this finish, chanting “bullshit” and these chants were pretty much justified. They teased a count-out finish only for it to end in seven minutes via disqualification. THIS was a let down.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

We had an advertisement for Jim Ross’ cook book, which I’ve got to get a hold of one of these days! Kevin Nash was taping up his wrists as he was set to challenge Triple H for the World title in a Hell In A Cell match.

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Jerry Lawler was in the ring for the pie-eating contest. He brought out Eric and commended him for his selection of “pie” for this event. Austin came out to a BIG POP in Texas. Austin reminded Eric that he would select Eric’s pie as agreed to earlier. Austin talked about Eric being into “mature women” which further solidified that I knew what was coming. Austin questioned Eric’s ability to please a woman with Eric insisting that he would be fine. Austin called Bischoff “Eric Jerk-Off” which the crowd popped for. Austin complimented Eric’s choice of women but Austin said that Eric would not be having any of their “pie” as he brought his choice for Eric. It was revealed to be Mae Young, who was accompanied by  Fabulous Moolah. Eric had a disgusted face which almost looked like he was about to sneeze. Austin just smiled with an awesome grin on his face.

Jerry protested this decision as he claimed it was supposed to be a pie-eating contest and not “cheesecake” that would be eaten. Disgusting, Jerry. Mae stuck her tongue out and Eric insisted that Mae put her tongue back in her mouth and called her a nasty old hag. Pretty mean words from Easy E. Eric refused to eat the pie but Austin called him a chicken. Mae tried to grope Eric but he told her to get her hand off his ass. Austin called Eric a piss-ant and demanded that Lawler declare him the winner. Eric cut him off and decided to go through with it. As shocking as it was, the fans started chanting “eat the pie” to which Eric responded by kissing her. Eric thought this was enough but Austin told him that this was a pie-eating contest. Mae low-blowed Eric and she was instructed to make Eric eat the pie. Mae gave Eric the stinkface while wearing a thong. Jim Ross called this as if he’d just watched Mankind being thrown off the Hell in a Cell. Austin was laughing, with Eric being furious and demanding that Austin goes next. Austin gave Mae Young the stunner, with Mae selling this possibly even worse than when Vince McMahon sold the first stunner that Austin gave him in 1997. Austin forfeited this contest and demanded beer. It was 1-1 in the redneck triathlon.

The times certainly have changed in the “tastes” of wrestling fans! This was a NUTTY angle but I guess nothing else could be expected considering that this was an angle involving Mae Young who, god bless her soul, was willing to do ANYTHING to entertain the fans. She probably loved doing this kind of stuff and the fans seemed to love it to a degree, especially when they chanted “eat the pie” at her. Mae was an entertainer to say the least!

As for the rest of it, it’s funny how Eric won the contest but Austin still seemed like the real winner of that contest in the end. Eric won but Austin still found a way to outsmart Eric Bischoff. The fans loved it and I guess that’s all that matters.

 

We got a vignette for Gail Kim, who would be debuting soon. As a matter of fact, she actually won the Women’s Championship in her debut a few weeks later. I hope I do get to review more of Gail Kim’s matches in the near future of this Retro Express as she was a great female worker.

Jonathan Coachman interviewed La Resistance, who were Rene Dupree and Sylvain Grenier at this time. They were challenging Kane and Rob Van Dam for the World Tag Team Championship next. Sylvain said that this was a big night and that he hated Texas. They buried then-US President George W Bush, which got a lot of boos in Texas. They dedicated the match to then-French President Jacques Chirac. This is actually amazing when you think about the political situation for the likes of US and the UK in 2016. It was amazing that the countrymen of the US and the French actually liked the people that ran their country at the time. Meanwhile, the US currently have a president-elect that they apparently don’t want in the White House anymore. It’s amazing.

 

Kane (c) and Rob Van Dam (c) vs “La Resistance” Sylvain Grainer and Rene Dupree for the World Tag Team Championship

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As far as putting the new heel tag team over, this was NOT the way to do it. La Resistance came out and Jim Ross called them jackasses, which was actually pretty funny. La Resistance got some serious heat. There were some seriously angry fans in the front row. Funnily enough, they showed the graphic for the old World Tag Team title design from the Attitude Era but the champions came out with the new belts that had been around since 2002! As I watched this DVD, I was rather annoyed at WWE for editing out the original theme songs that RVD and Kane came out too. Kane actually had been coming out to “Slow Chemical” from Finger Eleven at that time, which is one of my favourite wrestling theme songs of all time, so seeing that not make the DVD very much upset me.

RVD and Kane beat up La Resistance, with the storyline going in being that the champions were not on the same page. RVD did a great springbroad crossbody as he took over early. La Resistance turned the tide for a bit by planting RVD with a DDT. Kane got the hot tag and ran SERIOUSLY wild on the two french men. I mean Kane was DESTROYING these men all on his own as his partner had been beaten up by these two. Kane was having to contend with the heels on his own while RVD simply WATCHED from the apron. He eventually got the tag while Kane was still getting the better of these two heels. He’s doing fine on his own and then RVD got in. As Kane is battling these men on the outside, RVD goes for a dive and hits Kane accidentally when there was no need for him to go for the dive at all. RVD was attacked and hit the Double Flapjack for the pin as La Resistance won the World Tag Team titles.

The booking of this match caused steam to come from my ears. The whole angle was that Kane and RVD were having issues but here in this match, Kane was completely doing fine on his own while RVD cost them the match by getting involved when Kane was coping fine. The fact was Kane could have beaten these men by himself and he would have retained the title. How could La Resistance possibly have been taking seriously at this point? I guess La Resistance are remembered nowadays so I guess they became somewhat of a memorable tag team. However, this match was pretty lame and pretty perplexing.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Goldberg vs Chris Jericho

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A common trope of mine is immediately looking up Dave Meltzer’s rating for the match I just saw during a Retro Express. Mine and Meltzer’s ratings are usually right in-line but for this match, I noticed that he gave this match three and a half stars out of a max total of five. Maybe it’s a mistake to watch old matches with modern eyes but I have NO IDEA what type of match he was watching. In case you were wondering what made me un-optimistic about the actual Goldberg/Brock Lesnar match for Survivor Series this year, THIS was the match.

I know these two had heat with each other around this time but even so, the wrestlers with the biggest heat with each other can usually put together some really good matches. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart had some sublime matches back in the day. This Goldberg/Jericho match was NOT sublime.

Goldberg went for a lock-up and it was one of those lock-ups from a women’s match, that sees both wrestlers tumble out of the ring. Goldberg hit a World’s Strongest Slam as the fans chanted Y2J. Goldberg dominated early on, even gorilla pressing Jericho onto the ropes. Goldberg went for a spear through the wall but Jericho moved out of the way as Goldberg drove himself through the barricade. This actually played into the storyline going in, which Jericho claimed that he’d win the match by making Goldberg angry and sloppy. This was actually pretty good story-telling.

Jericho tried to get at Goldberg but referee Charles Robinson stopped him. I’m not sure why he did this as it wasn’t like the doctors came out to check on Goldberg. Jericho drove Goldberg into the ringpost. Goldberg was bleeding and his arm had been hurt from the spear, which Jericho took advantage of. Goldberg was working with one arm, actually selling the injury. Now, Goldberg rarely had to take the heat in many of his WCW matches. The idea was that Goldberg would destroy the opponent, hit his finishers and beat him early. In WWE however, he was not booked in this manner. He had to sell for Jericho so he tried to work with one arm. While he did this, his ring-work with one arm was pretty bad. If in doubt, DON’T HAVE GOLDBERG SELL.

Jericho locked on a Fujiwara Armbar. Jericho was caught off the top with a high knee. The fans started booing. Goldberg was not able to pull off working with one arm, struggling with an one armed hip toss. “Goldberg sucks” chants began to roar from the crowd. Jericho hit a dropkick and Goldberg waffled to the ground. We got more boos. Jericho hit the lionsault on the face of Goldberg for a near fall. Jericho went for a Lionsault and Goldberg was supposed to catch him but it went ALL WRONG. Goldberg hit the spear and we got even LOUDER “Goldberg sucks” chants. Goldberg went for the jackhammer but Jericho caught Charles Robinson in the eyes and hit a low-blow on Goldberg. This got a lot of cheers and big Y2J chants. Keep in mind that Goldberg was supposed to be the face and Jericho was supposed to be the heel!

Jericho tried the Walls of Jericho but Goldberg powered out, hit the spear and jackhammer, and won the match. And to put a cherry on top, Goldberg slid outside of the ring and got in the face of a fan that booed him throughout the match. A wonderful way to put over Goldberg as a babyface.

To be fair, Goldberg did actually get cheers when he won the match and Jericho tried ALL that he could but even he could not get a good match out of this man. Jericho’s on my list of greatest workers of all time as he had a reputation, in my mind, of being able to have a good match with everyone he wrestled. I remember him having a good match with Ryback at Money In The Bank 2013 for crying out loud! Ryback was mocked as being a “copy” of Goldberg, yet Goldberg couldn’t even have a good match with Jericho. This will be hard to hear for a lot of fans but Goldberg had a HORRIBLE night here.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

They showed a pig pen and Lawler questioned whether Jim Ross had brought his relatives along to the show. Terri was with Austin and Eric again. They spun the wheel for the third round and it landed on “sing-off” which Austin was upset about. Austin asked Terri if she thought that Steve was any good. She said no. Eric vowed to beat Austin in front of these rednecks.

 

Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair

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This was probably tied with the main-event as far as the best match for the show, with these two legends going out. Despite that, I was still a little bit let down. This was certainly not at the level of their WrestleMania 24 match but I did expect something special and I really didn’t get it to be honest.

Shawn got a HUGE reaction from the Texas crowd. The two legends messed with each other with taunts but that came to an end when Shawn slapped Ric and mocked him. There was some nice mat wrestling between the two. There was a very old school feel to this match. Shawn slapped Ric and Ric came close to doing the Flair Flop but was able to keep himself up with one foot! Michaels dove onto Ric. Remember when Steiner was able to see through Test’s attempts at begging him off? Well Ric tried to beg Shawn off in this match… and it worked. I can at least accept the possibility of Shawn being conflicted as he was wrestling his idol that he respected, and not to mention that Ric is older and more experienced than Shawn so FINE.

HBK and Flair chopped the hell out of each other. Flair did the chop block. Flair worked on the legs and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock, that Shawn was able to get the ropes for to break it up. Flair shoved referee Earl Hebner but Earl shoved back. The second time on this show where a referee stepped over his boundaries when calling a match, three if you count Charles Robinson holding off Jericho when he shouldn’t have. Ric got cocky and Shawn made him pay with an enziguri. Flair went up to the top and of course, Shawn threw him off the top turnbuckle.

There was a great exchange when Shawn went for the Super Kick but Flair countered it into the figure four leg lock. Shawn countered this into a small package and then locked on his own figure four. This was some solid professional wrestling right here. Flair poked HBK and they traded roll-ups. HBK hit a superplex and it looked like Shawn struggled to get Flair up for this superplex. HBK got a table and set it up. Flair teased suplexing Shawn through the table but Shawn got out and ended up laying Flair onto this table.

NOW, I personally was taken out of the match a little when they brought out the table. Firstly, it’s supposed to be a regular singles match. Since when are TABLES allowed in a normal match? Yes, Shawn didn’t HIT Flair with this table but he still tried to “cheat” by using a weapon to his advantage. That, to me, should be DQ but Earl let this happen. Secondly, I was very much into the regular singles match and the old-school wrestling behind all of this. Instead, when Shawn introduced the table, it just seemed so out of place to me. I just don’t think this was the time for a spot like this.

Shawn super-kicked the interfering Randy Orton and then jumped off the top and onto Ric, going through the table. Flair bled from the back. Flair was able to take the ref out by low-blowing Earl and Shawn at the same time. HBK fired back and dropped the elbow. Shawn superkicked Flair, Orton hit Shawn with the chair and RIC FLAIR PINNED SHAWN MICHAELS.

Maybe I’m in the small minority here but the table spot just completely took me out of this match. It was a great match up until that point but to me, it just negated the point of the match which was just to see who was better. Instead, Orton and the table got involved and it just became another shenanigan-filled match on RAW. I wanted a clear-cut winner and instead I got this. I think a few fans that were in that building felt a little cheated out of this finish. It was nice to see Flair get the victory over Shawn though.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The time had come for the sing off. Eric came out to literally NO REACTION as we’d seen him more than anyone on this show, so the fans were kind of uncaring when he came out. Eric said he’d sing his own theme song but he instead lip-synced his own theme song which I thoroughly enjoyed, as did he based on the way he “sung” this! Austin cut in and called him out on his lip-sync. They went back-and-forth on this like they were kids arguing about the smallest things. Austin told Eric that he sucked and ordered him to do it again. Eric sung badly and Austin called him pathetic. Austin suggested they re-spin the wheel and it came up with “Pig Pen Fun” which involved the pig pen from earlier on. Austin said that whoever threw their opponent into the pig pen would be the winner. Austin deputised the crowd to stop Eric from leaving. Someone threw Eric back in from the crowd.

Austin beat up Eric, stomped a mudhole and hit a Stone Cold Stunner. Eric actually sold this pretty well, with his selling of it probably being around 5000% better than Mae Young selling it earlier on in the night. Austin took Eric to the stage and threw him off it, with Eric landing in the safest way possible. Austin was declared the winner by Lilian Garcia as he drank some beer. Jim Ross had an awesome line in which he claimed that “those pigs may need counselling being so close to Eric Bischoff!” That was a serious contender for line of the night. Austin celebrated for about 30 hours but the fans didn’t seem to mind.

The fans loved all this and to be fair, I enjoyed a lot of the moments from this Redneck Triathlon. However, this went on way too long for me to care at the end. The burping contest was good and Austin had some brilliant banter but in the end, it was way too long. The ending made me feel as if this were a house show, which I don’t think was the purpose. This did not feel like it should have been on pay-per-view and it does rather upset me at how long this went, considering that Booker and Christian only went seven minutes.

 

Triple H (c) vs Kevin Nash in a Hell in a Cell match for the World Heavyweight Championship with Mick Foley as the special guest referee

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I have to say something about the video package they did for this match. They had the video package where they recapped the rivalry and did an amazing job at selling you on the idea that this type of match was important, rare and dangerous. The music, which was Headstrong by Trapt, fit right in as HHH, Foley and Nash beat the hell out of each other during a RAW segment and it was wonderful stuff. The video packages back in the “ruthless aggression era” used to be quality stuff.

I actually went through a phase with a mate of mine where he used to rave at me everyday about this song, and actually serenaded me with it everyday! And you know what… I had no problem with this. If you’ve never heard of Headstrong by Trapt, PLEASE go and listen to it. It’s fantastic stuff.

The special referee Mick Foley actually got the biggest reaction out of everyone, which should tell you how much the fans cared about Triple H and Kevin Nash. Triple H tried to poke the bear that is Mick Foley but Nash clobbered him. Nash smashed HHH’s with elbows. Nash slowly beat up HHH by driving him into the ringpost and the cell wall, as well as the corner of the cell. The fans cared little for Nash at this point. Nash threw HHH into the steel steps. Nash tried throwing the steps at HHH but thank got that Hunter ran out of the way as that would have been bad news.

In a pretty creative spot, Nash went for a Jackknife Powerbomb but Triple H used the cell itself to get out of it. HHH got out a toolbox and smashed Nash in the knee and the head with a hammer. Foley took the hammer from Triple H and pushed him down. Foley challenged HHH but HHH backed off. HHH grated Nash’s head with the cell wall. After a struggle, HHH wedged a screwdriver into Nash’s head. Foley yelled at Triple H. Triple H grabbed a bat wrapped in barbed wire and hit Nash in the gut. Nash fired back with punches and smashed Hunter in the head with the bat which got a big reaction. HHH was busted open. Nash wedged the bat into the turnbuckle and did a snake eyes onto it for a near fall.  There was a “big lazy” sign in the front row.

HHH smashed a wooden create over Nash. Triple H grabbed a sledgehammer but Foley tried to wrestle it away which got some boos. It made sense why, as it seemed for all the world at this point that Foley was screwing HHH in a no disqualification match. HHH attacked Foley which got some cheers. Nash did the drop toe hold spot onto the steel steps which felt slowly done. This got a near fall. Triple H hit Nash and Foley with a chair. Foley was bleeding as he whipped out Mr Socko. He locked on the Mandible Claw, with Triple H responding by kicking Foley below the belt. Nash accidentally hit Foley and HHH with the steel steps somehow. Nash went for the cover but Foley was out.

Nash tried to revive Foley. Foley was on the apron when HHH knocked Nash into Foley, who bounce back first into the cell wall. A very risky spot if you ask me. HHH went for the pedigree but Nash catapulted HHH into the barbed wire bat still stuck in the top turnbuckle. Nash hit the jackknife, Foley made the count but HHH kicked out. This was actually a GREAT near fall. I think a lot of people in that crowd thought that was the finish.

Triple H crawled for the sledgehammer and instead of pushing away the sledgehammer that he can see or grabbing it himself, Nash simply grabs Triple H by the hair. HHH made him pay with a sledgehammer shot to the head. HHH hit the pedigree and that was that.

The first part of this match was very much boring. Nash beating him up forever got no heat it seems but it picked up a little in the second half. The thing that was weird to me was that Nash and Foley both tried to screw Triple H, and Triple H is supposed to be the heel. In the end, the right man won. Judging on the crowd reactions, a Nash title run would not have gotten a great amount of interest from the RAW audience.

I thought this was a good match considering it’s a long match involving Kevin Nash and I personally thought this was the best match on the show.

Match Rating: ***1/3

 

This was definitely a memorable pay-per-view to say the least. Every match seemed to stand out to me, for many different reasons. I felt that the booking for a lot of these matches were really flat, although the main-event ended up being much better than I thought it was going to be. There were a lot of disappointing matches that struggled for time due to the Redneck Triathlon which took up way too much time. The Texas crowd loved this one for whatever the reason was but I can’t say that I’m too keen to watch it again.

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Retro Express – Vengeance 2006

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If you wanted to see D-Generation X kicking ass and having fun while they do it, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If wanted to see two legends collide as part of a heated personal feud, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If you wanted to see RAW and ECW go to war in a series of matches, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If you wanted to see all of this compressed into a three hour wrestling show, this was the pay-per-view for you. However, while there was a lot going on at Vengeance 2006, there was a shortage of substance. You got a lot of matches that sounded appealing on paper but rather disappointing in execution.

However, it was not as if this show didn’t have it’s fair share of bright moments along the way. Let’s run down the show.

 

WWE Vengeance

Date: June 25th 2006

Brand: RAW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Attendance: 6,800

 

Randy Orton vs Kurt Angle

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This was the first of three RAW vs ECW Matches at Vengeance, with Randy Orton representing RAW and Kurt Angle representing ECW. This was also the rematch from their match at ECW One Night Stand 2006, which Kurt won.

I was not a fan of this match as I thought that it was pretty boring considering that these two were supposed to be top stars at this time. There were boos early on when Randy was hesitant to lock-up with Kurt. Kurt tried a German suplex off the apron to the floor but Orton escaped. Despite this, Kurt hit a simple German suplex him onto the floor anyway. It must have really sucked for Orton to take that.

Angle then suplexed Orton back into the ring. I laughed a lot more than I should have when Kurt was going for a lock-up and Orton simply poked him as he was sizing him up! Randy Orton locked on the vintage Randy Orton headlock for a really long time. I can’t remember what lead to the conversation going in this direction, but Jim Ross told the viewers that the ECW referees were “doing community service!” In case you were wondering!

Kurt Angle then did the belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope which looked awkward as Orton wasn’t really ready for it when he was on the top turnbuckle. After this, Orton undid the turnbuckle itself. Angle then proceeded to hit eight consecutive German suplexes onto Randy Orton. I’ve got to give Kurt a lot of credit as it looked like it was extremely difficult to pull off and it seemed that it took a lot out of Kurt. Even before he did the German suplexes, Kurt seemed a bit gassed to me.

The finish was that Kurt went for the ankle lock but Orton reversed it and sent Kurt flying into the exposed turnbuckle. Orton hit the RKO and beat Kurt Angle. I liked the finish which did bump up the match a little. However, it was rather boring up until that point. I’d hate to say that about a Kurt Angle match but that was the case.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Vince McMahon was backstage and on the phone, telling whoever was on the other end that “Vengeance is mine sayeth Mr McMahon.” What happened next was when you realised that Vince was a completely different league of his own as a fictional character. A DX fan came in on a wheelchair. What happened next was that Vince McMahon then proceeded to berate a disabled child on pay-per-view.

It really shows you how much the times have changed for WWE. There was an incident last year when Triple H was mean to a little kid in the front row and he apologised to him right away. Vince, on the other hand, was not holding back! After this berating of the handicapped child, Vince grabbed the wheelchair and promised to take him on a “highway to hell.” He pushed this kid as far as he could down a hallway!

Jonathan Coachman, Vince’s right-hand man at the time, came in and told him how he had a family friend that wanted to meet Vince. It turns out that it was the kid in the wheelchair. I honest to god believe that there has been only a select few of fictional villains that have been written to be as evil and crazy as Mr McMahon was at around this period! Vince was such a great heel that you couldn’t help but laugh at him! There will never be someone quite like Vince McMahon!

 

 

Umaga vs Eugene w/Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown and Kamala

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This match, and what happened afterwards, was something else. Umaga came down with Armando Estrada. The fans joined in when Armando told them who he was. Apparently, Eugene said that he was bringing some friends with him to fight Umaga. Armando told Eugene that he could bring Superman, Spiderman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman but he can’t stop Umaga. All of this superhero talk is very fitting right now considering the superhero movie line-up for 2016!

Now when introducing a number of guys, you’d think that the one that will get the biggest reaction would be saved for last. Big example recently was when Steve Austin was the last of a trio of legends introduced at WrestleMania 32 to take down the League of Nations. Austin was obviously going to get the biggest reaction. Eugene introduced Hacksaw Jim Duggan first and he got, by far, the biggest reaction out of the three legends Eugene brought out! Eugene brought out Doink the Clown and then Kamala, with neither man getting a reaction. Hacksaw started “USA” and “Eugene” chants as the match started. Umaga beat up Eugene for a while and hit the Samoan Spike for the win. My first thought after this was “Why were the legends even out there?” As it turns out, they were out there to get beaten up after the match by Umaga (except Kamala). So Eugene’s plan was apparently for the legends NOT to help him during the match but to try and jump Umaga after Umaga had destroyed him. I know it was part of Eugene’s character to not be smart but it was not like any of the announcers mentioned how stupid of a plan this was.

Kamala was the one that scared away Umaga, which actually got a pretty big reaction. It was just so funny to me to see Kamala be the one to scare away Umaga after the match after Umaga mauled three men.

This was essentially a squash match. This seemed like a big waste of pay-per-view time to me. The legends brought in provided nothing to the match. Umaga looked like a chump for backing down from Kamala, in my opinion. I suppose if you just wanted to see Kamala, Doink and Hacksaw Jim Duggan then I suppose this match was a success.

Match Rating: ½*

 

Todd Grisham interviewed Mick Foley. Foley read something from Ric Flair’s book. If you’ll recall, there was real-life heat between Mick and Ric over what Ric had written about Mick. Ric had called him a “glorified stunt-man” and Mick vowed to out-wrestle Ric Flair in their 2 out of 3 falls match.

 

Mick Foley vs Ric Flair in a 2 out of 3 falls match

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Boy, was this ever something. The match was in Flair’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. There was a “If Flair Loses, We Riot” sign in the crowd. Flair’s family was even there including a young Charlotte in the crowd. Future Divas Champion Charlotte was actually in the crowd for Vengeance 2006!

There were a number of “Foley sucks” chants which were RARE in WWE. It’s like when Undertaker got booed on RAW last year. It was just one of those things that you’d never expect to hear.

The match was very slow-paced. Mick Foley could barely move. Ric Flair was approaching his sixties when this match took place. The match lasted six minutes but it honestly felt like it was going for twenty. It actually astonishes me that TNA decided that putting this match together a few years later was a great idea. Did anyone in the company not look at this match, the physical conditioning of Ric and Mick and question whether this match was a good idea?

Foley hit the double arm DDT. Foley whipped out Mr Socko, who looked like Ric Flair. Flair grabbed Foley in the nuts and did his comeback. Flair successfully jumped off the top. Foley took over and went for the Figure Four Leg Lock. Flair countered it into the roll-up for the first fall. Flair did another roll-up after the first fall and both of these roll-ups looked so freaking slow.

Flair whipped Foley into the steel steps. This was a probably a lot more painful than it seemed for Foley. They brawled into the crowd and Foley back-dropped Flair onto the floor. It’s shocking how many drops to the floor Flair was taking in the later years of his in-ring career. Foley brought out a trashcan, but this was not no disqualification. Flair went for the Figure Four but Foley hit Ric with the trashcan. Flair won the second fall as Mick was disqualified. Foley continued the attack and hit Flair with the barbed wire bat. Flair started bleeding like crazy. The referees and road agents came out to try and stop Foley. We actually got a small “Foley” chant followed by a BIG “Foley sucks” chants! Mixed messages!

Match Rating: *3/4

 

Maria interviewed Carlito. Maria gave us her theory on the “cool paradox” which baffled Carlito. Carlito simply stated that nothing could be cooler than him winning the Intercontinental Championship next. Maria questioned Carlito’s claim which led to Torrie Wilson appearing dressed in a bikini. Torrie asked someone to help with putting baby oil on her for a photo shoot. Torrie asked Carlito’s to hold her puppies, which were in fact her two dogs. Maria ended up rubbing the baby oil on Torrie with Carlito giving commentary during the whole thing and simply stating “That’s cool.” Torrie ended up rubbing Maria with baby oil. This was interrupted by Carlito’s music playing for his Intercontinental title match and Carlito was upset about leaving. This was a great few minutes with Maria and Torrie. They both looked stunning here.

This was where the logic part of my brain started to take over. As I was watching Torrie rub baby oil on Maria, my first thought was “Why did Torrie need to rub baby oil on Maria?” I UNDERSTAND that sometimes you have to not think about wrestling logically and this was CERTAINLY one of those situations, but something just didn’t seem right to me!

 

 

Shelton Benjamin ( c ) vs Carlito vs Johnny Nitro w/Melina for the Intercontinental Championship

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This really was a great match. The three men did try hard for this one. I forgot how bad Shelton’s entrance attire was around this time. Shelton was wearing sunglasses, jewellery and Hawaiian shirts on his way down to the ring which I thought made him look so stupid. I don’t understand the mindset of the person who looked at Shelton and thought, “This guy needed to wear sunglasses down to the ring.” This was not the look for a future main-eventer. This was the look of a complete geek.

There was still some blood in the ring from the Foley/Flair match. Melina checked on Nitro for a while during a good portion of the start of the match. Nitro tried to attack but was backdropped by Carlito while Carlito had Shelton in a head-lock. Nitro threw Carlito into the ring-post and said “That’s Cool.” Carlito did a springboard senton dive to the outside on Nitro and Shelton to a incredible big pop and even “Holy Shit” chants.

The crowd were really into this match, especially when Carlito did a hurricanrana in the ring. Shelton hit the T-Bone Suplex on Nitro to the outside. There was a quality spot where Nitro monkey-flipped Shelton into a Carlito dropkick. This spot was sensationally surpassed by what came next. Carlito and Nitro were battling on the top rope and Nitro was hung upside down. Shelton then jumped onto the top rope to battle Carlito and was going for a superplex. Then Nitro leapt up and launched both men with a spider German suplex. That was awesome and got, BY FAR, the biggest reaction of the night.

Carlito did his comeback after selling for 30 seconds following the big suplex spot. I honestly think that Carlito should have sold for a much longer period of time after taking the brunt of the move. Carlito did the double reverse elbow springboard onto Shelton and Nitro. Carlito hit the backcracker but Nitro pulled Carlito out of the way and stole the pin. This was the best match of the night at this point by a huge mile. This was where the pay-per-view really started to turn around. Great stuff. This was a fun match.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The Spirit Squad were involved in a “Destroy DX” huddle when Vince walked in. He gave the Spirit Squad a pep talk. Vince called DX a disease like a bird flu and told the group to cure it. Vince took a “Pistol Pump” into the bathroom, which was in fact a penis pump. This was not PG in the slightest! There was an explosion in the bathroom with Vince coming out with green spray all over his face. You really can’t make this stuff up.

 

Rob Van Dam ( c ) vs Edge for the WWE Championship

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Edge cut a promo where he buried North Carolina. He compared them to ECW. Edge promised a live sex celebration when he won. Again… not PG in the slightest!

This was a pretty good match. There were some cool-looking spots like Edge landing on his feet after a monkey flip, which is impressive considering the fact that Edge is 6’5. It was a very good start to the match with some nice exchanges. Edge did a sunset flip powerbomb on Rob Van Dam TO THE FLOOR. This was pretty dangerous looking and RVD is a trooper for taking that spot. Edge took over. Jerry Lawler was talking about Edge and Lita which saw Jim Ross cut off Jerry and say (and this is a quote): “Is everything in your life about sex?” I was brought to tears after Jim Ross said this and his follow up line was “We’re in the middle of a WWE Championship match and you want to talk about sex?” Moments like this were why Jim Ross was so tremendous on commentary.

Rob Van Dam hit a cross-body on Edge over the top and to the outside. Rob Van Dam and Edge were both great wrestlers in the fact that they were willing to put their bodies on the line in order to get the best they could out of a match. It’s very unadvisable for wrestlers to take bumps like these but they took all kinds of hard bumps during this match. RVD went for the barricade leg drop but Edge moved out of the way.  Edge threw Rob Van Dam to the outside, with RVD landing hard. Edge powerbombed RVD onto the barricade. RVD did a comeback and went for the Frog Splash but Edge moved out of the way. RVD improvised and went for an altered version of the Rolling Thunder where he landed on Edge’s back.  RVD went for the wheel kick but he hit the ref. Lita got the WWE title for Edge but RVD hit the Vandaminator with the belt. Lita stopped Rob from doing the Frog Splash and Edge hit a hanging DDT similar to what Orton usually does. The referee crawled to make the count but Rob kicked out. Lita held up the chair, with the plan being that Edge was going to spear Rob into the chair but Rob moved and Edge went face first into the chair. RVD took advantage and hit the Frog Splash for the win.

Good match which really should have went on last when looking back in hindsight. Both men tried really hard and it was a shame that the WWE title match played third-fiddle to Cena/Sabu and DX/Spirit Squad as it was much better than both of those matches.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The ECW roster celebrated RVD’s win with the chant of “RVD, ECW” until Paul Heyman showed up. He told the roster that it was “one down and one to go” which apparently meant that Kurt Angle’s match with Orton meant nothing to ECW! He gave the ECW lumberjacks a pep talk going into the Extreme Lumberjack match later on in the show.

 

Kane vs Impostor Kane

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This was the one downside to the second half of the show. The Kane vs Impostor Kane storyline was pretty ridiculous, which I think everyone, including Kane, will agree. However, their match wasn’t actually that bad. It was not great if you looked at the star rating I gave it. However, it was certainly not the worst match on the show. That’s a fact. It was just very boring and part of a storyline which got zero heat.

Kane tried to unmask the impostor with the crowd chanting “take the mask off.” Lawler tried to claim that everything Impostor Kane did was exactly like the real Kane which was completely false as Impostor Kane wrestled nothing like the real Kane other than when he hit the chokeslam and did a sit up. It’s funny because when WCW did the angle with the Impostor Sting that had joined the nWo, this Sting actually wrestled like the original Sting did! Impostor Kane tried his best but his attacks looked nothing like the real Kane’s.

There were some boring chants. I’ll give the match credit in that it gave us an interesting and unusual finish. Impostor Kane caught real Kane as he was coming off the top rope and hit the chokeslam, pinning him as clean as a sheet. WOW.

Match Rating: **

 

There were actually rumours that Glenn Jacobs (a.k.a Kane) was actually contemplating retirement around the time. In order for the Kane character to live on, they came up with the idea to bring in a new Kane to debut and to have it be revealed that the Glenn Jacobs “Kane” had imprisoned the real Kane many years ago, stealing his identity. Thankfully, Kane decided against retiring and these plans never came into fruition because this storyline got hardly any heat.

Fun Fact: the man that actually played “Impostor Kane” was in fact Doc Gallows. This is the same Doc Gallows that would go on to become Festus and eventually Luke Gallows in WWE. He became D.O.C. as part of Aces and Eights in TNA and then became “Doc Gallows” in Japan. Now this man is coming back to WWE as a much bigger deal than he was when he left. Good for him!

 

 

John Cena vs Sabu in an Extreme Lumberjack match

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The video package for this was put together really well. The ECW lumberjacks came out first followed by Sabu, with the RAW lumberjacks coming out followed by John Cena. Sabu jumped Cena during his entrance.

Then there was a very stupid moment, in terms of the booking of this match. Cena threw Sabu into the RAW lumberjacks and the lumberjacks just threw him back in. Sabu then threw Cena out into the ECW lumerbjacks and the lumberjacks just kicked the crap out of him and Sandman hit him with a Singapore cane. This made the RAW lumberjacks come off as complete idiots as they just stood there as Cena was getting his arse kicked by the ECW guys. Jim Ross made a comment saying that there was nothing anyone can do about it as it is extreme rules. Actually there was. Instead of just standing there, WHY DIDN’T THE RAW LUMBERJACKS JUST ATTACK THE ECW LUMERJACKS? The RAW and ECW guys got into a brawl during the match anyway, so why didn’t they stop Cena from getting beat up by attacking the ECW stars? The RAW stars looked like complete idiots.

Sabu did his triple-jump chair moonsault and the Arabian Facebuster. As mentioned, a brawl kicked off between the lumberjacks. Cena got involved and hit the FU on Stevie Richards into the crowd. Sabu attacked Cena with the chair and did one of his crazy chair throws into Cena’s face. A table was set up and Sabu was going for a dive but Cena cut him off by hitting him with a Singapore Cane. Cena FU’d Sabu through the table on the outside. Cena got a “You Fucked Up” chant after Sabu landed on his backside on the edge of the table. Sabu tapped to the STFU. Cena won.

It had only been two weeks or so since ECW was brought back full time, and it had already lost credibility coming off of Vengeance. RAW won two out of the three inter-promotional matches and Sabu tapped out to Cena. This was not a great night for ECW.

It was a decent match though, despite some questionable booking.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

RVD confronted Cena backstage and praised Cena for confronting the ECW locker room a week before and for taking the verbal abuse at ECW One Night Stand. He offered him a rematch for the WWE title on RAW the next night which Cena accepted.

NOTE: The match between RVD and Cena on RAW ended in a disqualification, when Edge jumped Cena. This lead to a triple threat match a week or two later, when Edge ended up winning RVD’s WWE Championship.

 

DX (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) vs Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey)   

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DX got special fireworks for their entrance. Triple H and Shawn Michaels decided who was going to start with a good old game of rock, paper and scissors. Michaels chopped the hell out of Mitch. Mitch’s response was to throw perhaps the worst punches in professional wrestling history. These punches made Shane McMahon’s punches seem go great.  Things started breaking down at it appears that Johnny from the Spirit Squad got legitimately punched in the face during this as he was bleeding from the nose.

In one of the lamest parts of the show, Johnny got involved and put on a karate bandanna. This “scared” Shawn Michaels into tagging Triple H. Johnny then started demonstrating karate moves until Triple H punched him in the face. This lasted for at least a minute and it is a minute I cannot take back unfortunately. This made it onto a WWE pay-per-view. Think about that.

Triple H pulled down Johnny’s trousers to reveal… the rest of his gear. Mikey pulled an awesome face when Shawn Michaels dropped him on the barricade. To put into perspective how much of a joke this stable looked, it took four men to Irish whip Triple H into the steel steps. Shawn got the hot tag and dropped the elbow. As he was tuning up the band, the Spirit Squad got involved. They pulled out Shawn and Kenny hit him with the chair while the referee’s back was turned. Jim Ross pointed out that the referee couldn’t see it, which is why he couldn’t disqualify the Spirit Squad. I’d just like to point that HE COULD HEAR IT! Couldn’t have he just turned around, seen Kenny with the chair and Shawn Michaels down, and put two and two together?

The Spirit Squad took over as Mikey did a springboard bulldog using the trampoline. For a brief moment we got a dream match as Shawn Michaels took on Nicky, who would later become Dolph Ziggler. Shawn did a double elevating DDT to Johnny and Mitch. Triple H got the hot tag and ran wild. Mikey tried to do a springboard senton to Shawn Michaels, but Shawn moved out the way and Mikey launched himself into the rest of the Spirit Squad. Kenny was left alone in the ring with Shawn and Triple H. Triple H and Shawn both hit their finishers on two members of the Spirit Squad and got the pin. DX dominated the stable afterwards and DX had Mitch kiss Triple H’s arse. Vince McMahon congratulated them and told them that he would see them on RAW.

The match was what the fans wanted and they were popping big time for DX. It was rather childish at times but it worked with this crowd. It was a success as far as what it set out to accomplish but I’d hardly call it main-event worthy. It did seem a bit too cheesy to be a believable PPV main event but nevertheless, the crowd loved it.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

I have seen far worse pay-per-views in my life time than this one, but this seemed like a pay-per-view that should have been a lot better in execution. When you have the likes of Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Edge, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle and Randy Orton all on the same show, you’d expect something much better. With that said, there was only one match which was really bad and that was the Umaga vs Eugene match. Everything else seemed fine but only a few of those matches seemed pay-per-view fine.

Retro Express – Survivor Series 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with a look back at Survivor Series 2005. I bought the DVD for this recently and I decided to give it a review. For me, this was an exciting time for the WWE because I was hugely invested into the SmackDown! vs RAW storylinem which was a big part of this pay-per-view. At the same time, the WWE was still saddened by the recent death of beloved wrestler Eddie Guerrero. Eddie was scheduled to be in the main event but was replaced by Randy Orton. The Survivor Series match was the main focus but there were other things to look out for as well. There was the Last Man Standing match between Triple H and Ric Flair and there was also a WWE Championship match between John Cena and Kurt Angle, with Angle’s new manager Davari as the special referee. I watched it in full and here’s my FULL review of how good I thought the show was.

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 27th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Detroit, Michigan

Attendance: 15,000

Pay-Per-View buys: 400,000

 

Booker T vs Chris Benoit in Match One of the Best Of Seven Series for the Undisputed United States Championship

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This match was basically your average Booker T/Benoit match and it really was nothing special. Maybe that’s a bit harsh as this was not a bad match but Benoit and Booker were wrestling each other OVER AND OVER again at this time. Hell the two wrestled on the SmackDown! before this, to set up this match. The announcers even plugged Match Two, which would take place two days later!

Because of that and the fact that this was the first of seven matches, it really wasn’t supposed to be that big of a match. The matches would intensify as they’d go further into the series. This was kind of treated like your average TV match. There was not a lot of heat from the crowd, which is understandable as there wasn’t a lot on the line as this point in the series.

It was slow-paced which I was fine with, as it fit the purpose of the match. This match featured a lot of submissions which makes sense with the story of the series. They spent ages working on parts of the body in order to weaken their opponent for the next match in the series, which is fine.

It’s amazing how differently the matches are put together in WWE nowadays, when you watch this match back. It’s the small things like Chris Benoit fighting to avoid a simple move like a neckbreaker which added to the match. Another aspect of the match that I liked was the use of continuity, when it comes to the storyline. This series was put together after Benoit and Booker pinned each other at the same time with a roll-up. This match featured a lot of roll-ups and small packages, and even had one in the finish.

Benoit went for the three German suplexes but Booker countered after the first one. Benoit went for it again and was able to hit three, which got the crowd buzzing. Sharmell got involved to initially stop Benoit from hitting the diving headbutt. Booker won with a Oklahoma roll-up, with Sharmell holding his feet on the ropes. It was an OK match with little crowd reaction until the finish. Out of everything they could have went with as the opener, this one made the most sense.

Match Rating: **3/4

Eric Bischoff was throwing punches backstage, ahead of his match against Teddy Long. Vince McMahon showed up to wish him luck. Eric vowed that he would beat Teddy Long, RAW would beat SmackDown! in the Survivor Series match and Kurt Angle would beat John Cena to win the WWE Title. Eric said that he was going to screw Cena, which lead to John Cena showing up to make a joke about Eric screwing guys. Vince then proceeded to ask Cena the following question… “What’s good in the hood?” Amazingly, that WASN’T Vince McMahon’s most shocking line from this segment. I won’t repeat what he said next but I will say that it’s astonishing what Vince McMahon can get away with saying on pay-per-view. All I’ll say is that after Vince said this, Booker T appeared saying “Tell me he didn’t just say that.”

Trish Stratus (c) vs Melina for the Women’s Championship

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This was RAW’s Trish against SmackDown!’s Melina. SmackDown!’s Tazz and RAW’s Joey Styles were doing commentary. It was so great to see a shot of Tazz and Joey on commentary with both of them laughing. It’s funny because they had so much fun burying each other and their shows on commentary!

This storyline started after MNM abducted Trish and Melina challenged her to a match. In the match, Trish did a big dive to all of MNM and it looked like she hit her head on the barricade. Trish went for the hurricanrana but Melina forgot to catch her for it. Melina did a kick where it looked like she kicked her arm. MNM went for the Snapshot on Trish but the referee saw it and threw them out. Melina hit an awful spear on Trish. Melina was supposed to go for the clothesline while Trish arched her back but Melina was too late to do it. There was a botchy finish where Trish went for the top rope bulldog and got the pin. Either Trish jumped too far or Melina was just in the wrong position. It could have been both their faults but it did not come off well.

This was a below average women’s match, to put it nicely. Melina wasn’t really that good around this time as she was just starting up as a wrestler. With SmackDown! not having a women’s division, Melina didn’t have a lot of experience under her belt going into this. Trish tried her hardest to get a good match out of her. I can’t criticise this match too much as Trish did try hard and there wasn’t a lot you were going to be able to do with this. The match itself was an interesting concept, as SmackDown! didn’t have a women’s division and this was an inter-promotional title match. However, in execution, it wasn’t too great.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Triple H vs Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing match

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Triple H attacked Flair during his entrance. It’s weird seeing Flair get beat up while he was still in his robe! Always styling and profiling!

Flair turned things around with a kendo stick. They went into the crowd. Flair took a lot of bumps on the floor which looked pretty nasty. This also included a spinebuster onto the floor which Flair should not have been taking on the outside!

Triple H used the screwdriver on Flair’s head as Flair was bleeding like crazy. Whatever you think about Triple H, he was a tremendous heel. They showed a shot of Triple H with a sinister smile on his face and it just suited his role in the match. Triple H got on the mic and told Flair to stay down before he put him down. Flair responded by grabbing Triple H in the “family jewels.” Triple H went for a pedigree but Flair countered and put Triple H through the Spanish announce table.

Flair bit Triple H in the face and on the leg. There was a bit of clever in-ring psychology where Flair worked on Triple H’s legs which would obviously prevent Triple H for being able to stand on his feet. This may seem very small but there’s so many last man standing matches nowadays where the men involved would just hit big move after another big move until someone wins. This match saw Ric cleverly working on one of Triple H’s weak points, which meant something with regards to the stipulation of the match. Not to mention that it plays into the storyline of Triple H and Flair, as Flair obviously knew about Triple H’s quadriceps injury from before and how badly it effected “The Game.”

Flair locked on the figure four leg lock and grabbed the ropes. My feeling during this was that the referee should have started the count as Triple H’s shoulders were on the mat. Triple H made a comeback and hit THREE PEDIGREES but Flair got up each time. This infuriated Triple H who hit Flair with the sledgehammer to win the match. This gets a thumbs up. A really good last man standing match which was different in its layout. There was a genuine feeling that Triple H was going to really hurt Flair with a lot of the stuff that he did, which added to the match. I liked it. I’ve seen better Last Man Standing matches but this was great in its own way.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Randy Orton tried to do a team meeting with Team SmackDown!, with Batista not there. Batista had been chokeslammed through the announce table by Kane and the Big Show. Batista interrupted and there was a whole deal about who should be a leader. JBL was very loud and very awesome during this segment when coming to the support of both these men!

Edge and Lita came out. They were not booked for the show. Edge was the Money In The Bank briefcase holder at this time. Edge announced that he would be introducing the “Cutting Edge” talk show. Edge said he was going to ask the questions that nobody else would. Interestingly, there was a sign in the crowd which said “CM Punk is the next Shawn Michaels.” I actually think Punk had just been signed to the company at the time as part of its developmental territory. It’s interesting when looking back in hindsight, because Punk actually teamed with Michaels at the next year’s Survivor Series. As noted by Punk, Punk got much bigger reactions than Shawn or Triple H at that Survivor Series!

Edge ripped Detroit and ripped the Detroit Lions. Dmitri Young was in the crowd, who was playing baseball for the Detroit Tigers I believe. Edge ripped on Young. He called him fat and NFL players “over-paid” and “steroid-users.” He made me laugh when he called him “Young Mark Henry.” Also funny in hindsight as Mark Henry soon returned on SmackDown! shortly after this. Dmitri responded by calling out Edge on never winning the WWE title. Another ironic moment as shortly after this, Edge won the WWE title at New Years Revolution.

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship with Davari as the special guest referee

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The fans’ “You Suck” chants were censored. This came after a segment on RAW where Kurt got annoyed at the fans for the chant. It was an incredible segment where Kurt just completely snapped over these chants he had endured for years.

The match saw Davari constantly fast-counting John Cena. At least this made it very clear early on that Davari was attempting to screw John Cena. Motivation established right off the bat. Perfect.

Kurt worked on the legs. Davari kept Cena off of Angle. This was a very split crowd, with the fans being 50/50. This was probably not great to hear considering that Cena was the one that had the disadvantage. The crowds were approving of Davari attempting to screw Cena! This proved to be true when Cena went for a suplex and the cover, but Davari didn’t make the count and he was mostly cheered!

Angle locked on the Ankle lock and Cena got the ropes. Davari kicked Cena off the ropes to more cheers. Cena slapped Davari to try and get Davari to disqualify him but Kurt stopped him from doing so as Kurt wouldn’t have won the title if he DQd him. Davari was knocked to the outside.

A new referee came out but Angle’s cover on Cena was kicked out. There were some big “Cena Sucks” chants at this point. Cena’s comeback at this time was a shoulder barge, two clotheslines THEN a sit-out powerbomb. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle which Coach referred to as the “Five Knuckle Waffle.”

The new referee was taken out. Angle hit the low blow and the Angle Slam but Cena kicked out. My question at this point was why didn’t the referee DQ Angle as he was coming down to the ring? I see this all the time but the new referees that come out during these matches always seem to ignore everything else that previously happened in the match. It was amazing.

Angle missed the moonsault which saw Cena roll towards the turnbuckle, so Angle wouldn’t hit him. Angle took out another referee. Angle tried to revive Davari but SmackDown! referee Charles Robinson came out. Cena took out Davari and then hit the FU on Angle for the win. This was a very TNA-like main event finish which got to the finish in an incredibly complicating way. Did we need to see Kurt taking out all those referees during this match? I was not a fan of the finish. The match was fine but the wrong man won this one. I always thought that Kurt should have won the title during this period as he was tremendous.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long

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When Jonathan Coachman and Michael Cole on commentary were one of the better aspects of the match, you knew you were in for something special!

There was two referees, one from RAW and one from SmackDown! This was a repeat from Taboo Tuesday, where there was RAW and SmackDown! referees for the tag team match that started the show.

I’m truly amazed that this match made it on a pay-per-view. This match was so bad. This wasn’t even a match. I guarantee you that if I went up to two people on the street and told them to re-enact what happened this match, they would have been able to do it much better than Eric and Teddy Long. The match got “boring” chants. Eric kept trying to attack Teddy but Teddy got out of the way of these attacks and started dancing. This went on for about a few minutes. Eric then got the advantage and did one of the worst looking sleeperholds I’ve ever seen. Teddy took his shoe out and hit Eric. The Boogeyman came out and attacked Eric with the pump-handle slam. Teddy Long pinned Bischoff.

This was SO awful that it’s not even funny. The funny thing is that Eric was supposed to be the heel in this match but to me, he came off as the babyface. Teddy kept trying to run away from Eric. Teddy had somebody in his corner that did distractions. Teddy used a weapon. Someone interfered on behalf of Teddy. What logic is this for a wrestling match?

Someone looked at Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff and thought that they needed to be in a pay-per-view match for SURVIVOR SERIES!

Match Rating: 1/4*

 

By the way, the man in Teddy’s corner was in fact Palmer Cannon. He was the representative of the “network” for SmackDown! that introduced the minis division. I did a bit of research and it turns out that Palmer was trained by Killer Kowalski! He got his first “big break” with Chaotic Wrestling, where he was called “Big League” Brian Black! He in fact won a 28-man royal rumble to win the New England Championship. He won the world title before vacating the championship when he signed with WWE.

It actually gets better as he debuted a German character for “All-Star Wrestling Association” called Otto Von Schwartz. Apparently, this was his idea. He actually had some kind of German heritage and used this for his character. With this character, he feuded with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine!

He was with WWE for about a year or so until he asked for his release. He was actually supposed to feud with the debuting Miz! He never wrestled a match while on SmackDown! He actually went into MMA a few years later and also wrestled Larry Zbyskzo in 2010!

An eventful career for Palmer Cannon. The man trained by Killer Kowalski that never wrestled on SmackDown! but wrestled Greg Valentine and Larry Zbyskzo on the independent scene and even took part in MMA. Quite a career!

 

Batista, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, JBL and Randy Orton vs Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito, Big Show and Kane in a SmackDown! vs RAW Survivor Series elimination match

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This was a pretty great Survivor Series match. In an article for SLTD Wrestling, I actually put this as #3 in my top five Survivor Series matches of all time. I rate this one highly as I really loved the SmackDown! vs RAW storyline. When watching it back, I don’t think it was as great as I thought it was when I last watched it. However, it was still a great match which was definitely a worthy main event.

Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels started off the match. I forgot how well Michaels and Orton used to work together. There was great chemistry between the two of them. The first elimination came when Carlito ran in to get dominated by Bobby Lashley. I couldn’t help but smirk when writing that last sentence! The referee attended to Carlito when Kane chokeslammed Lashley. Shawn Michaels made the cover and got the pin. I remember listening to Michael Cole on the next few episodes of SmackDown! raving about how great a performance Lashley put on during this match! HE WAS THE FIRST MAN ELIMINATED!

Kane and Rey Mysterio had a strange exchange afterwards. Batista got the hot tag and ran wild. Batista pinned Kane with the Spinebuster. Big Show hit the chokeslam but Batista kicked out. It took a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane to eliminate Batista. Big Show was then put over to an insane degree when he was eliminated. It took two Clotheslines from Hell, a 619, a RKO and a senton to pin the Big Show. They made it so that each move barely effected the big man!

Michaels took a hard fallaway slam on the outside which took him out of the match for a while. There was a cool spot where Rey tried a springboard moonsault but Carlito caught him. JBL made a blind tag to Mysterio and after Carlito dropped Rey for his finisher, JBL blasted Carlito with the Clothesline From Hell for the pin. That was very well executed. Thumbs up for that one.

Rey Mysterio pinned Chris Masters with the 619 which lead to a three-on-one advantage for SmackDown! It was Mysterio, JBL and Orton against Michaels, who had just been taken out with a fallaway slam. There was an awesome spot where Rey hit the 619 on Shawn. Rey went to “drop the dime” when Shawn super-kicked Rey in mid-air! It was not as great as when Shawn did it to Shelton Benjamin on RAW in 2005 but this was a great spot!

Michaels then eliminated JBL which resulted in the final two being Michaels and Orton, which is exactly how the match started. JBL went to hit Michaels with the chair but Shawn took him out with the Sweet Chin Music. Randy took advantage and hit the RKO to win the match for SmackDown!

The SmackDown! roster came out to celebrate with Randy. Undertaker’s gong went off and we saw a flaming casket on the stage. Undertaker came out of it and headed to the ring. Undertaker took out all of the roster and Randy headed to the back.

This was a really good main event to the show. I thought there was a great dynamic between RAW and SmackDown! When it was down to Shawn on his own against three members of SmackDown!, you wanted to root for Shawn. It was funny because RAW was led by a heel general manager which made RAW seem like the heels!

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Overall, I think it was an OK show that was mostly saved by the main event and the Last Man Standing match. There was Benoit/Booker and Cena/Angle, which were both fine I guess. There was a number of questionable booking decisions like having Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long on the show at all. However, there was a satisfying end to the biggest storyline in the company which did help. Even though there wasn’t much to the PPV other than the Survivor Series match and Triple H vs Ric Flair, I don’t really think it mattered at the end of the day. This gets a thumbs up.

Retro Express – Taboo Tuesday 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here. Welcome to the first edition of the Retro Express. It’s a brand new feature to the blog, with a new edition going up every Saturday. The Retro Express will see me review some old pay-per-views and wrestling events from the past. I’ve been looking forward to doing this. I bought a lot of old WWE PPV DVDs recently and I’m going to be going from there, reviewing these shows every week.

For the time being we’ll be going chronologically and we’ll end up probably jumping around after a while. We’re going to be kicking things off with Taboo Tuesday 2005. This was a RAW-exclusive show, which saw the fans vote on different matches. This was legitimate fan voting and you could vote on things like which wrestlers would get title shots or the stipulations of matches.

This took place during the SmackDown! vs RAW feud, with RAW general manager Eric Bischoff cancelling a SmackDown!-exclusive match at WWE Homecoming. This, and a SmackDown! vs RAW brawl at the end of the show, led to a tag team match being announced with the fans getting to decide SmackDown!’s participants. WWE Champion John Cena was also embroiled in a feud with Kurt Angle, with a third participant being voted in by the fans in their triple threat title match. Along with that, Triple H was feuding with Ric Flair after turning on him at the Homecoming.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

 

WWE Taboo Tuesday

Date: November 1st 2005

Brand: RAW

City: San Diego, California

Attendance: 6,000

 

Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy vs Snitsky and Chris Masters

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This was Joey Styles’ WWE debut as a commentator. He had appeared at the ECW One Night Stand event but this was the first time that Joey showed up on a proper WWE event where he really had to fit into the sports entertainment realm. I thought he did a fine job in this pay-per-view. He actually mentioned that this was supposed to be a one-off appearance from him but he was made the permanent RAW play-by-play commentator shortly after this, so I’m guessing he really did impress WWE during this.

The promoted match was Edge and Chris Masters against two members of SmackDown! Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio won the vote to get into the match, which was highly expected. Matt and Rey both got really big pops, with Rey being the San Diego home town hero. Edge backed out of the match but made sure to bury everyone on the show before he left! He buried Matt and Rey, he buried RAW and buried the fans. He said he didn’t care about what the fans voted for and that he only cared about himself. So apparently, he didn’t care about Lita who was standing right next to him!

It was kind of a bummer that Edge was pulled from this match as Edge being in was the main reason why Matt Hardy got as many votes as he did. Matt probably would have been second anyway, but it did add to the promotion of the match. Snitsky was his replacement.

There was two referees for this match, one from RAW and one from SmackDown!. This was an average tag match. There was a decent looking spot where Chris Masters countered Rey’s bulldog by just slamming Rey into the ground. Matt got the hot tag and ran wild for a bit. There was one really botched spot where Matt was attempting a superplex on Snitsky but Snitsky couldn’t properly get up from it. Therefore Snitsky came crashing down to the mat in a dangerous-looking manner, with it looking like a top rope DDT. Matt didn’t seem happy with this as he was angrily shaking his head afterwards.

I’ll have to give Matt credit because he was good in this match and tried his hardest to get a good match out of Snitsky and Masters. Matt tried to fight them both off, with Rey just laying on the ropes and watching on! Masters locked on the front face-lock on the ground, where Masters kept slamming his knee on the mat. It was strange because Masters’ knees were nowhere near Matt’s head but Matt kept selling as if Masters hit him with them. A bit of miscommunication on that one.

There were “We Want Christian” chants. I actually think this was the show where Christian left WWE so at least people cared about him while he was on his way out. Rey got the hot tag. The fans went nuts. There was one cool spot where Snitsky countered Rey Mysterio’s tornado DDT and shoved him into the Masterlock from Chris Masters. That was pretty awesome and really well executed. Rey was able to push Masters to the mat with his shoulders down. The SmackDown! referee made the count but the RAW referee stopped him. There was some weird botchy looking sunset flip that Mysterio tried on Masters. The fans were really into the match for the finish. Mysterio hit the 619, Matt hit the Twist of Fate and Mysterio hit the splash for the pin.

I liked this match. Mysterio and Matt Hardy were a great babyface team and the chemistry was there between them. I would call this match slightly better than average. It was disappointing that Edge wasn’t wrestling but these four gave us the best match they could so I can’t complain. You could tell that Matt and Rey were both really trying hard for this. This gets a thumbs up from me. Good job!

Match Rating: **3/4

Mick Foley had a backstage segment with Maria. Mick and Maria got their costumes mixed up. Maria then started to undress in front of Mick to give him his clothes back. Maria told him to have a nice day to which Mick responded with “I think you’ve just given me one.”

 

Rob Conway and Tomko vs Eugene and Jimmy Snuka

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This wasn’t all that great. The fans voted for Eugene’s tag team partner. There is one thing which I want to mention when they were about to announce the winner. They did camera shots of the three options, which were Jimmy Snuka, Kamala and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I was never able to vote for the Taboo Tuesday events but if I were to have voted on this one, Hacksaw Jim Dugggan would have gotten my vote by leaps and bounds. Anyway, he was the highlight of this announcement when the camera cut to him and he simply said “I want to beat somebody up!” That was awesome! Hacksaw is a loud and proud man!

Snuka won the vote with 43% of the vote. Jimmy really didn’t do anything in this match until the finish. Eugene did his usual antics. Joey Styles couldn’t help but mention REPEATEDLY that Rob Conway had a picture of himself on his trunks. Styles said that this reminded him of Rick Rude. One of the rare instances where you could ever compare Rob Conway to Rick Rude!  Eugene turned Conway inside out with the clothesline. Snuka got the hot tag, which was really more like a mildly warm tag. He and Eugene headbutted Conway a few times. Snuka hit the Superfly Splash and pinned him. Tomko attacked Snuka after the match. Hacksaw ran down to the ring and Kamala wobbled down to the ring. Hacksaw and Kamala beat up the heels.

This was hardly a grand spectacle but it was your typical legend spotlight match in WWE. It was poor but it wasn’t a total disaster. There was not a lot they could have done with this at the end of the day. Snuka could do little other than to hit the Superfly splash and do headbutts. What else did you expect from him in 2005?

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mankind vs Carlito

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At around this point in the show, I noticed the dramatic rise in Todd Grisham’s voice when going through these choices! It was just great as when he was doing it, it was reminding me of when he used to tell “it’s time for the MAIN EVENT” on the show “Bottom Line.” I always loved it when he would yell that and he actually yelled it out when he was going through the main event vote! That was awesome.

The vote was between Mick Foley’s personas, with Mankind winning the vote with 52%. Let me talk about the video package they aired AFTER the votes were announced. This happened a few times during the show. The video package they showed still promoted the options as if the fans could still vote on them. Obviously they couldn’t, which made the timing of the video packages seem way off. For this one, they showed a promo from RAW where Mick was acting like all three personas despite the fact that Mankind had already been announced as the winner.

For this match, it might not have seen like a big deal. However, they also did this with the WWE Championship match later on. After Shawn Michaels was voted into the match, they showed the video package also promoting Kane and the Big Show (who were the other options in the voting). Shouldn’t they show these video packages BEFORE the voting results were announced?

The highlight of the commentary from this was Jerry Lawler asking “What is it when you have multiple personality disorder?” and Joey Styles simply replied with “You have multiple personalities.” Joey Styles being on top of his game as usual!

I’ll actually talk about Joey Styles for bit because I thought he did a great job during this pay-per-view. However, I thought Joey was probably more excited than he probably should have been for this match. This match did not scream excitement to me. Then again he showed more excitement in this one night than Michael Cole and JBL have in the last year, so I can’t fault him greatly for that.

Mick Foley was very slow in this match. Carlito wasn’t too great and even put on this awful looking sleeper-hold on Mick. Mick reversed it and started his comeback. Mick did the elbow drop to the outside and hit the Double Arm DDT. Mick followed it up by using a Mr Socko that was styled to look like Carlito. Mick won the match with it.

The fans were excited for this to a degree. I thought it was pretty bland and I REALLY shouldn’t be saying that about a Mick Foley match. I think the issue was that at this point in his career, Mick had been through a great deal and was very slow at this point in his life. Therefore, him doing a normal match with Carlito was just not going to have a great effect. Mick needed a lot of smoke and mirrors to help cover up his immobility a little. The whole match was really about Mick, so he needed to be presented well. If this was given a no disqualification stipulation or something, I feel this might have been much better. That’s why Mick was able to have such a good match with Edge in the hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22. Mick having a singles match with Carlito of all people just didn’t look good.

Match Rating: **

 

Eric Bischoff was on the phone when Vince McMahon arrived. Vince was excited to see the RAW vs SmackDown! match but it had already happened. My only issue with this, from a storyline perspective, is that how did VINCE MCMAHON not know the result or the position of the match on the card? I know it was all a part of a joke but it’s just interesting when thinking about the logic of the whole thing. Vince was very upset with Eric for RAW losing on a RAW-exclusive pay-per-view and Eric claimed that Teddy Long was cheating. Vince was sick of hearing Eric’s excuses and told Eric that he wasn’t going to help him. Vince told Eric that he was on his own and told Eric to “go do something about it.” This was your typical angry Vince promo I guess.

As mentioned, Todd Grisham was going through the voting for the main event. The scheduled main event was John Cena defending the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle and someone voted in by the fans. The choices were Shawn Michaels, Kane and Big Show. Shawn won with 46% of the vote. Really no surprises about the voting. Shawn’s awkward reaction after being voted in was so awesome when stood next to these two angry monsters!

 

Lance Cade (c) and Trevor Murdoch (c) vs Kane and Big Show for the World Tag Team Championship

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As consolation for not being voted into the WWE title match, Big Show and Kane were given tag title shots against Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. At the time, the announce table for RAW was positioned to the right of the titantron. This resulted in the announcers being right next to the fireworks as they are set off. This was Joey Styles’ first time experiencing this. When Kane came out, Joey just shouted and I mean SHOUTED, “Good lord, that’s hot!” Joey then said “I think I just crapped my pants!” The funny thing is that I would probably have a much worse reaction to sitting right next to the flames when Kane came out!

Joey started doing the “what” gimmick at the start of the match. I was rather annoyed by this. Trevor Murdoch’s in-ring mannerisms were pretty great during this match. At the start of the match, Trevor was stuck between Big Show on the outside and Kane in the ring. This resulted in Trevor throwing a temper tantrum in the ring in the same manner as a child! Joey called Kane a “sportsman” for picking up Trevor by the throat. That was pretty funny.

What was great about Big Show and Kane beating up Lance Cade is that Trevor Murdoch sold this beating better and he was on the apron! Big Show did two slaps to the chest of Cade. After the second slap, Kane did a little backwards shuffle to the ring post! Seeing KANE of all people do this put such a smile on my face.

Kane’s reactions were great too. Kane was just stood on the apron laughing as Big Show was beating Cade and Murdoch. Some people will argue that Kane looked a bit too “human” in this match but at least he was having fun while he was out there. If the talent is enjoying the match itself, then at least it shows that they’re into it. That gives it a boost when the people in the match are enjoying it, even if it does break character a little.

Kane got in a big boot which somehow managed to hit Lance Cade in the leg. Cade and Murdoch hit the “Sweet and Sour” on the outside to start getting the heat. Big Show got the hot tag. Trevor Murdoch started staring at the Big Show in the ring as Kane was making his way to the top rope for a clothesline. Trevor then turned to Kane and screamed, “Awwwww!” They totally should have done something with Trevor back in the day!

Kane and Big Show hit the double chokeslam on Lance Cade for the win. They became World Tag Team Champions. Trevor got a double chokeslam himself during the post-match interview. This was a fine match. The crowd were into it and I was into it. I thought that Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch didn’t get enough heat on Kane for Big Show’s hot tag to have a greater effect. I think that if Cade and Murdoch weren’t going to get a lot of heat on Kane and Big Show, then it should just been an outright squash. At least if they did that, Cade and Murdoch could argue that they were unprepared for Kane and Big Show. Then at least, Cade and Murdoch wouldn’t have looked so bad.

Regardless, I thought it was a decent match. This night needed a title change to show the fans that their vote could actually have a lot of impact. Then again, Kane and Big Show weren’t actually voted in the match! They caused an impact but it was not by design I guess!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Vader was “working out” backstage when Goldust showed up. Jonathan Coachman gave them both a pep-talk as he was set to face Batista later on in the show. Yes, Coach gave VADER AND GOLDUST a pep talk! Let that sink in. Coach said this was going to be the start of great things and that soon enough, he would win the WWE Championship.

Todd Grisham revealed the votes for the “Fulfil Your Fantasy” match. The entrants for this match were Women’s Champion Trish Stratus, Mickie James, Victoria, Candice Michelle, Ashley and Maria. The fans got to decide what the women were wearing. Lingerie won with 43% of the votes. This was the part of the show when I somehow came to the conclusion that Todd Grisham sounded like Chris Evans from the One Show and the new Top Gear. I don’t know if any British fans have thought this when watching back at Todd Grisham’s finest moments. It was mostly when he was yelling where I drew the comparison. Very strange.

 

Batista vs Jonathan Coachman w/Goldust and Vader

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The stipulations for this match was no holds barred, verbal debate and an arm-wrestling content. No holds barred won by a landslide. This was a shame as I would have loved to have seen a verbal debate! The match started with Goldust and Vader in the ring and Coach on the apron. Goldust did some great over-selling when being punched in the face repeatedly by Batista! They managed to overwhelm Batista in the corner. Yes, two old-timers were able to overwhelm the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Batista. Even though SmackDown! won the opening match, it did suck that the brand’s champion was reduced to being briefly out-matched by Vader and Goldust of all people.

Goldust started using the kendo sticks as the heels took over. Coach started whipping Batista in the back with a belt. Batista made the comeback and the crowd loved it. Batista started whipping everybody with the belt. He hit a big spinebuster on Vader and an awful-looking one on Goldust. He hit Coach with the Batista Bomb to get the win.

I’d put this match over the Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway match only because the crowd was a lot more into it. The crowd does play a big part my opinions of a match and they cared about Batista here. With that being said, it was not too great. Vader did not look in good in-ring shape at all and Goldust was certainly not at his best in this match. However, the fans still got into it which does add to the whole deal for me. Maybe it’s fairer to put in on par with Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway, since it wasn’t the fault of the likes of Eugene and Conway that the fans weren’t into their match. For this match, the biggest redeeming quality was the reactions of the crowd.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels. Michaels felt great to be voted into the WWE title match later and to be the “popular kid in school.” Kurt Angle interrupted and tried to form a partnership for the triple threat. He tried to entice HBK with the prospect of finally settling their feud by taking out Cena. It was actually a very compelling pitch by Angle! Shawn said he’d think about it.

 

Trish Stratus (c) vs Maria vs Ashley vs Mickie James vs Victoria vs Candice Michelle in a Fulfil Your Fantasy Battle Royal for the Women’s Championship

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I have to give all the credit in the world to Victoria in this match. A report came out a few months ago about how Victoria was being considered for the WWE Hall of Fame. Now granted a lot of names for women going in were brought up, including Mickie James for that matter. For Victoria, I wasn’t sure whether I’d call her career “Hall of Fame worthy” and whether she’d be a good pick. This match made me realise what a fool I had been.

Victoria put on an incredible performance during this match and did everything she could to make this seem like a legitimate match. Now usually, the quality of these sorts of matches don’t really matter as it’s really put together to be eye candy for the fans. Victoria wanted the match to stand out on its own merit and it did. Trish and Mickie also worked very hard during this, but Victoria played a prominent part in the structure of the match. She worked her arse of and it made me realise how great Victoria had been during her career and how much she cared about putting on a good match. If you care about putting on the best performance you can, that amounts to a lot in my book. All of a sudden, this match was transformed into a legitimately good match between some of the best women of the roster.

There were a few issues and limitations with the women involved but it was still a decent match considering what the purpose of the match was supposed to be. Maria came out to, what would end up being, Alicia Fox’s theme. Caught me off guard. The storyline going in was that Mickie James was Trish’s biggest fan so she was helping her idol. They worked together to eliminate Maria.

Ashley eliminated Candice after Candice started dancing on the apron. Victoria catapulted Ashley over. The finish saw Mickie spear Victoria through the ropes to cause both women to hit the mat. Remember that for women’s matches, eliminations through the ropes counted. This meant that Trish won. Mickie had sacrificed herself to help Trish retain the title. The spot did look like it hurt both girls like. They both landed funny and Mickie was holding onto her arm afterwards.

Trish was interviewed after the match by Todd Grisham. Mickie James cut her off to talk about how great Trish was. Mickie was so great in this role as a super fan! They could have done this storyline with anyone but they went with Mickie, who just suit the role really well.

It was a decent match mostly because of the work by Trish and Victoria. The other girls did OK and didn’t really mess anything up and it was fine.

Match Rating: **

 

Ric Flair (c) vs Triple H in a Steel Cage match for the Intercontinental Championship

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The options for this were a regular match, submission match and a cage match. The cage match got 83% of the vote. That was the match that Flair begged for on RAW a few weeks ago so there was no surprises.

Flair got the advantage early on. Triple H took over and he got the heat on Ric Flair for a LONG time. He busted open Flair by smashing him head-first into the cage. Flair was stuck between the ropes and cage when Triple H splashed him him. It was kind of funny seeing Triple H doing a Stinger Splash!
Triple H continued to decimate Ric Flair. Triple H went to escape but Flair cut him off. They battled on the top rope until they both fell down on the ropes. There was a lot
of “groin-based” attacks in this match. Triple H got a chain from the top of the cage. He tried a fist drop off the top rope with the chain but Flair put his foot up. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H hit him with the chain. Triple H went for the Figure Four but Flair was able to counter it. Triple H went for it again but Flair kicked Triple H into the cage. This was where the match turned around for Flair.

Triple H was busted open and Flair bit him. Joey Styles said that “Payback was a bloody bitch.” Something not quite right with what he said! Flair worked on the quad that Triple H tore previously as stated by Joey Styles. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H threw the ref over Flair. Flair tried to escape. This led to Flair SUCCESSFULLY jumping off the top rope! I marked out when Flair landed it in one of the rare instances where Flair successfully jumped off the top.

Flair low-blowed Triple H and tried to go through the cage door. Triple H stopped him but Flair brought a chair back into the cage with him.Triple H tried to use the chair but Flair grabbed Triple H by the nuts for a worryingly long time. Triple H went for the Pedigree but Flair back-dropped Triple H onto the chair. Flair hit Triple H with the chair three times and then escaped. I thought this was a bit of an anti-climatic finish but it was a pretty great match. It was boring at times but it was definitely one of the best matches of the show. They were going with the angle that Flair kept getting back up and getting back up and it worked in getting Flair such a big reaction when he won. It was a fine cage match.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship

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There were a few boos for Cena early on. If you’ll remember from earlier, Angle had tried to form a partnership with Michaels. Too prove how much of a heel he was, Angle turned on Shawn Michaels in the first two seconds of the match!

There were small “Cena sucks” chants and the negative reactions for Cena slowly grew during the match. There were a lot of people that loved Cena as well though and I’d think it was pretty much 75% for Cena to 25% against Cena. Mostly a pro-Cena crowd with the exception of the times where Angle and HBK eventually teamed up on Cena.

It was obvious to everyone that Michaels was getting voted into the match but there were signs that there wasn’t a great deal of communication between all three men. There were a few spots that were slightly botched up. There was surprisingly some between Angle and Michaels when they were brawling at the start. Angle was going for the spot where Michaels was supposed to miss with the punch and Angle would hit the German Suplex. However, Michaels didn’t really follow through with his attack so it seemed like they messed up. It wasn’t a major spot to mess up but it’s interesting when considering that Michaels was the big favourite to get voted in.

John Cena threw Angle over the rope and Angle was somehow able to land on his feet. I mentioned miscommunication earlier on and this was clear when Cena did a horrible job in selling a clothesline for Shawn Michaels. Angle took over with suplex after suplex which got a huge reaction. There was an awesome sequence when Angle went for the Angle Slam on Michaels, but Michaels reversed it into the sunset flip. Kurt reversed that into the Ankle lock  and Michaels pushed Kurt into Cena who went for the FU. Angle then pushed Cena into Michaels, who went for the Super Kick. Cena caught the leg and clotheslined Michaels. Awesome spot where all three men went for their finishers and they all looked good during this little portion of the match.

HBK and Angle started to team up on Cena to huge reactions, as mentioned earlier. They threw him into the ring post. They double-suplexed him face first onto the announce table. That took Cena out of the ball-game for a while.

It was down to Angle and HBK and it turned into a very nice wrestling match between the two of them. HBK and Angle immediately attacked each other and Kurt eventually took over. Angle hit the knee lift and Shawn jumped into the air as part of an awesome oversell from the Heartbreak Kid. Angle hit a top rope Angle Slam but Michaels kicked out. Cena did a comeback and got a big pop and some boos. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle but Angle stopped him and pulled him out of the ring. Michaels then pulled off a diving rolling senton to the outside which looked wacky and awesome at the same time!

There were suddenly big “let’s go Angle” chants. Angle belly-to-belly suplexed Michaels to the outside. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle on Angle and went for the FU but Angle locked on the Ankle lock. Cena kept trying to kick Angle off of him but Angle kept it locked on. Michaels went up to the turnbuckle and did an elbow drop to break it up. The issue is that Michaels took forever to get up on the turnbuckle and do the move. As Angle had this ankle lock on Cena for about a minute, Cena could have easily tapped out and Michaels hardly went up to the top with any immediacy. Michaels super-kicked Angle and Cena hit the FU on Michaels to win the match.

This was a good main event. Michaels and Angle worked hard. I cannot say that this was a strong performance from Cena as there was a few spots where Cena looked off to me. When you’re in there with guys like Michaels and Angle, it did make up for these botches. I think this was probably the best match of the night and it was a good way to end the show.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Taboo Tuesday was an OK pay-per-view. The main event and Triple H vs Ric Flair were the two highlights that really stood out but there were a few underrated matches in this show. I enjoyed the divas match and the opener. I could have done without Batista/Coach and the tag match with Eugene, Snuka, Tomko and Conway, but at least the crowd was into those matches to some degree. The crowd was mostly fine. Probably an enjoyable experience if you were there in the building. To me, not that strong of a pay-per-view but Taboo Tuesday was never really considered to be a big pay-per-view. My expectations going in wasn’t great but it did slightly surpass them. Not a bad show at all.

The Paige/Charlotte Contract Signing On RAW (16/11/2015)

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There’s a time and a place for the use of the divas in the final segment of your flagship show. There’s a time and a place to have a contract signing. There’s a time and a place to make rivalries personal. There’s a time and a place for the use of personal tragedies in wrestling storylines. This week with the Paige and Charlotte contract signing for Survivor Series… was not one of them.

Everyone is talking about the mention of the deceased brother of Charlotte, Reid Flair, which lead to Charlotte attacking Paige to end the show. Here’s the thing about this segment… that was not even close to the biggest reason about why this segment was so bad.

Keep this in mind. Look at all the segments that WWE had to choose from to be the go-home segment going into Survivor Series. They could have had the Brothers of Destruction confronting the Wyatt Family, with Bray revealing who would face Undertaker and Kane at Survivor Series and it would have worked. They could have had one of the Quarter Final matches of the WWE World title tournament be the main event of the show, which would lead us nicely into Survivor Series. Instead, WWE decided to end the show with Paige and Charlotte promoting their match at Survivor Series for the Divas Championship.

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It’s not like this match is such an important match that it required the main-event spotlight. In fact, out of all the matches that have been announced for Survivor Series, this would be the match that required the least amount of attention. The WWE World Tournament and the Undertaker and Kane vs Wyatts program have both been BY FAR more important and more promoted that Charlotte vs Paige. The idea that those two storylines were bumped from the main event to make way for Charlotte, Paige and Michael Cole is just absurd.

What did they do with this main event? Charlotte and Paige got into an “intense” argument which saw Charlotte get completely lost for words early on into the segment. WWE could have given Charlotte any other time to do this segment with Paige and give her a chance to work on her mic skills. They could have even done this on SmackDown! and they could have easily edited it so Charlotte didn’t come off as bad as she did. No, what they did was put her out there live on RAW and as soon as she mentioned Reid it just went off the rail.

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You could tell just by watching it that Charlotte did not want to mention Reid at all. She obviously must have agreed to it in some way beforehand and I don’t believe that she was pressured into doing it or anything. When she was out there though, I just got the feeling that she was thinking afterwards “this was a lot harder than I thought” and that was kind of the turning point which saw Charlotte really mess up.

To me, it didn’t seem that it was a line that was relevant to the plot of the story. Michael Cole explained at the start of the segment that Paige and Charlotte have been friends since NXT and that they’ve suddenly got their issues when it comes to the Divas title. Making things personal shouldn’t be needed. Scott Christ at Tape Machines Are Rolling summed it up nicely when he said:

“My problem is they basically just sprung this whole “we were best friends IRL for serious” on us at 11:02. So we went from “they have wrestling type problems” to “they have serious personal issues” to “this is a blood feud” in about 8 minutes. I also don’t think it “helps” that the crowd can barely react to this anyway. What percentage of the audience knows about what happened to Reid Fliehr? 5% at most?”

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What I find to be interesting about the Reid thing is that those putting the show together didn’t seem to have no problem in Reid being used despite not many of the audience actually knowing what happened to him. There was a bit of a reaction but not nearly enough to justify it or gain Paige the proper “heel heat.” What’s interesting about it is that WWE had such a problem when Ric Flair actually mentioned his son Reid during the WWE 2K14 panel a few years ago which lead to Jim Ross actually parting ways with the company because they didn’t want that. I know when Ric mentioned Reid, it was a lot closer to when Reid actually died. However, it’s just strange that WWE are all of sudden OK with mentioning him in order to make the storyline a bit more personal.

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There’s something about the fact that they used the line about Reid in the week after the ten year anniversary of Eddie Guerrero. If you’ll recall, WWE used Eddie’s death as the catalyst for Rey Mysterio’s push in 2006. At least then, you could sort of argue that it was to push new talent to the main event. Here, it was just used to “intensify” the storyline. The only thing was that this one seemed so obscure and unnecessary that it really didn’t add a whole lot to the storyline. It’s like when Eric Bischoff made the reference on Nitro to Sid stabbing someone in a backstage incident. Nobody at the time got it except the talent. I know a lot more people would have known about Reid Flair but it’s not like Charlotte ever mentioned him before on WWE television or NXT.

I think I’ve actually went into the Reid stuff a bit more than I intended because I mentioned earlier, this was not the biggest reason about why this segment failed. The reason this segment failed is because these two women shouldn’t have been in the main event of the show. Simple. Charlotte doesn’t have the mic skills and this storyline doesn’t have enough importance for it be even considered for a main event segment of RAW. People have begging for the women to get better treatment and I understand all of that. However, main event segments don’t result in better story-telling and better programming. If you put a tiara on a small rock, it’s still a rock. It doesn’t make things any greater.

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It also failed as Paige and Charlotte were just put in a very tough position. I actually have a problem with Paige’s delivery and it has nothing to do with her controversial comments. Paige is trying to portray this rebellious “CM Punk” like character that just talks trash about the roster. The problem with that is that she’s not got the personality to pull it off. It just doesn’t suit her style and her character to spend her time bashing the other divas in a similar way to how AJ used to do it.

There’s also the issue with how Paige claimed that she had been using Charlotte which I thought didn’t make a lot of sense. Charlotte talked about how Paige inspiring her in NXT and how she wanted to be like Paige but then Paige claimed that she had been using Charlotte. Why would Paige need to use Charlotte in the first place? A lot of people could point out that it was Paige fooling Charlotte and Becky Lynch into thinking she was a team player but how did she “use” Charlotte in any of that? All she did was pretend to be a team mate before turning on the team. Paige then just won the number one contendership match on RAW to earn a shot for the title. I don’t see how she used Charlotte at all in those few months. All she did was mess with Team PCB.

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There was no mention of Becky Lynch who was attacked by Paige after their match on RAW last week. She was not mentioned by either girl. This is funny because a lot of fans on Twitter have started to believe that Becky will turn on Charlotte. That really shouldn’t happen but if it does, it’s not like it was teased or anything like that. Also keep in mind, Paige beat up Becky last week so it’s not like it’d make a lot of sense either.

One last thing before I get to the finish of the show with Paige and Charlotte brawling. There’s one line I have to address from Charlotte. Charlotte said that she would not be champion forever and that she would eventually lose the title but not to the likes of Paige.

The reason I was so infuriated about this line because YOU SHOULD BE CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL BE CHAMPION FOR THE REST OF YOUR CAREER! What champion wins a championship thinking “I’m eventually going to lose it”? I’m sure Ronda Rousey wanted to be champion and unbeaten for the rest of her life. I’m sure Floyd Mayweather wants to finish his career undefeated. What’s the point of even fighting for the title if you don’t think you’ll hold onto to it?

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What’s funny is that I distinctly remember AJ Lee on commentary one time on SmackDown! mentioning that she wanted to hold onto the divas title for 28 years! When you’re a champion you want to be champion for the rest of your career. You shouldn’t be saying things like “I will eventually lose this title.” When AJ mentioned she wanted to be champion for 28 years at least her character’s goal at the time was to be champion for the rest of her career. Charlotte’s character suggests that she doesn’t care if she drops the belt as long as Paige doesn’t win it. That’s not good.

So finally, Paige and Charlotte get to this brawl. The brawl was actually not that bad with the exception of the 30 seconds where Charlotte just decided to literally lay on Paige it seems. The show ended with Charlotte not even signing her contract. Now WWE.com did post a video with Charlotte actually signing the contract and she signed this contract with the biggest smile on her face after she just beat up Paige for speaking ill about her little brother that died a few years before.

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It was not like this was a sinister smile as she knows she’ll get her hands on Paige once she signed the contract. It just seemed like Charlotte was just her normal self. She wasn’t angry and it wasn’t like the officials and referees were trying to restrain her. She was just normal. If you don’t have access to the internet, you wouldn’t have even known that Charlotte signed the contract afterwards. This is an important aspect of the contract signing which WWE decided to leave after the show went off the air.

There it is. Here was my extensive review about this contract signing to end the go-home show before Survivor Series. This was not like a contract signing that was ruined by the mention of Reid Flair. This contract signing was dreadful anyway and it featured an unnecessary attempt at making things personal between Paige and Charlotte. I really don’t think I’ve seen a worse ending to a go-home show than this. I remember the go-home show where Mark Henry tried to rally USA ahead of his match with Rusev at Night Of Champions 2014. I remember that but I don’t think I remember any other go-home show as bad as this one.

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I feel kind of bad for kicking this segment around this much because RAW was actually a decent show with good quarter final matches for the tournament. However, this segment was a total disaster from start to finish.

19/10/2015 RAW Review – The Reunion Of The Shield?

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RAW PREVIEW available at this link.

It’s time for the RAW review. I had high expectations for this RAW as I stated in the preview above. With the likes of Steve Austin, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels available, WWE had a lot of potential with this show. Anyway, let’s get to it with this review.

Steve Austin opened up the show. Austin talked about being back in Texas and plugged the Stone Cold podcast with Brock Lesnar. He brought out the Undertaker. This was a heavy start to the show to say the least with Austin and Undertaker initially! Undertaker said that he and Lesnar have one last battle to fight. The depths of hell are going to look like the gates of heaven compared to where he’s going to take Lesnar at Hell in a Cell. Loved that line. Brock Lesnar then came out! and Paul Heyman cut a promo. He talked about both Lesnar and Taker wanting revenge at Hell in a Cell. He says that Brock Lesnar will take his revenge upon thee. Undertaker cut him off saying that when you take everything from a man, that man ends up with nothing to lose. Undertaker told Brock to just bring it and Brock walked down to the ring. Paul was pleading with Brock to not go and fight Taker, and Brock eventually walked away. I was kind of upset that he did that considering the intensity of this feud so far. However, this was a solid opening to RAW. As it turns out, that ended up being all we got from Lesnar and Undertaker on this RAW. All of the hype which lead to… nothing.

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Our first match was John Cena and the Dudley Boyz vs the New Day. It was announced that John Cena would be doing the US Title Open Challenge at Hell in a Cell which I’m looking forward to. It was also announced that John Cena would be appearing on SportsCentre TUESDAY night rather than on Monday as it was originally promoted. I found it odd that WWE initially announced that John would be appearing on ESPN during the second hour of RAW. Did they just tell they audience to change the channel? The New Day called Texas booty and Kofi talked about beating up Cena and the Dudleyz a few weeks ago. Kofi said that “the New Day kicked their”, but New Day cut him off. Kofi then responded by saying “Hey, we’re the New Day…. ASS!” I thought that was so awesome!

The New Day started to the dominate but D-Von got the hot tag. What’s great about the Dudleyz is that usually a lot of tag teams have one man that takes the heat in the match and there’s the one with the hot tag. Both D-Von and Bubba have great hot tags! Bubba did the most awkward clothesline to Big E which tumbled him out of the ring. Cena did a dive onto Big E on the outside. All of a sudden, Xaiver rolled up D-Von and grabbed the tights for the win! I thought that was a bit of an abrupt ending to the match which I thought was down to a bit of an issue with the timing of the show. However, John Cena and the Dudleyz were able to do the post-match beatdown and put Xaiver through a table. So I guess they just booked it like that but I guess they cut a bit off time from the match to make room for Austin or something. Not a bad six man tag but just awkward in some situations.

Michael Cole announced that Randy Orton was not at the WWE tour in Mexico (also featuring the Undertaker) and was injured which JBL already said was caused by the Wyatts. JBL said that his sources told him that the Wyatts did it. JBL must have some incredible sources to announce the assailants before WWE did! Dean Ambrose said he wasn’t waiting for Sunday and that he was going to challenge the Wyatts tonight

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Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox were accompanied by Brie Bella for a Divas tag team match against Sasha Banks and Naomi, who were accompanied by Tamina Snuka. There was something off to me when Alicia and Sasha first locked up and it was mostly due to Alicia. Maybe it’s the size difference, but Alicia looked like she could not lock up to save her life. Nikki then got the heat on Naomi and proceeded to push Naomi up on the ropes with her… derrière. I’m not making it up. She pushed Naomi onto the ropes with her backside. That’s EXACTLY what she did!

Sasha got the hot tag and ran wild. Then, Naomi was tagged back in and did a cross body from the top. However, Nikki was able to do a sneak attack onto Nikki which was apparently had so much impact that it KO’d Sasha for the last minute of the match. She was knocked out with this simple move when just two weeks ago, she was up and at Bayley for 30 minutes in an Iron Man match. I hated this tag team match. Sasha was not that active in the match which really hurt it.

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It was announced that “Corporate Kane” was suspended by WWE and would not be here for RAW. Shawn Michaels came down to ring and ate some kid’s pizza! XD He talked about Hell in a Cell and being in the first one. Michaels basically plugged the Hell in a Cell matches this Sunday until Seth Rollins came out. I have no idea why Seth’s hair was so freaking wet! Seth said that Shawn was supposed to introduce Seth Rollins rather than talk about the Hell in a Cell matches. Shawn says he ignores instructions all the time and that he wanted to have a bit of fun with the fans. Shawn said they were having a great time until Seth came out. Seth said that he needed to talk about the champion that was going to stop the show at Hell in a Cell. He said that Shawn needed to talk about Seth Rollins. Shawn said that if he had a nickel for everyone that has been called the new Shawn Michaels, he’d be a billionaire. Shawn said it never occurred to him to be the second coming of anybody. Seth said that Shawn was jealous because Seth’s moment at Wrestlemania 31 eclipsed all of Shawn’s Wrestlemania moments. Seth said he had enough of the conversation and told them to hit his music. They wouldn’t do it. Shawn said that Seth’s got a match next against Ryback and told the music guy to hit HIS music. Seth’s last match with Ryback on RAW actually wasn’t that bad so I had high hopes going into this one.

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They had their match. It was an OK match I guess. Seth Rollins hit the pedigree and Seth beat Ryback… CLEAN! What a concept! The WWE World Heavyweight Champion won a match clean! They finally had Seth win a match! As Wrestlezone pointed out on Twitter, Ryback won their last match on RAW a month ago because of Sting. To see Seth actually pick up the clean win here actually works fine.

It was announced that Dean Ambrose would be facing Braun Strowman and Luke Harper in a handicap match on RAW. They replayed Summer Rae dumping Rusev last week on RAW. As you’ll recall, Rusev was mucked around on that show. They also showed Summer Rae screwing Rusev as the special guest referee on SmackDown! and then hitting on Dolph Ziggler. It was then time for a six man tag team match with Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro and Neville against Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett.

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It was a good six man tag team match. Just a shame that the announcers were comparing Rusev to George Clooney and Cesaro to Rodger Federer. NO attention paid to this match at all. Neville went for a tag but Sheamus pushed Ziggler off the apron. However as he did that, Cesaro went off the apron himself without being touched! Cesaro was tagged in and ran wild. A very good hot tag. Then Ziggler did his hot tag. Ziggler hit the Fame-Asser but Barrett sold it poorly to be honest. I just think he fell down a bit too quickly. Neville did the big springboard dive onto the outside to which JBL said that Wayne Rooney would never do that! The finish was Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick onto Ziggler and Barrett getting the win. There’s a lot of potential with a heel European stable with Rusev, Sheamus and King Barrett if WWE ever went with it. You might as well!

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It was announced that Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler would be on MizTV on SmackDown! Ric Flair came out to the joy of myself! Ric talked about Wrestlemania 32 being in Texas. He announced that it would be Roman Reigns teaming with Dean to take on Luke Harper and Braun Strowman. Roman Reigns came out as Ric called him his “main man.”  The Wyatts came out with ERICK ROWMAN being with them but not Luke Harper. Roman called Bray into the ring. Roman said that Bray should be very scared off being locked in Hell in a Cell with him without his crew. All I kept thinking after he said that is, I guarantee that the Wyatt Family will get inside the Cell in someway during the Reigns/Wyatt match!

Seth, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were talking backstage. The Wyatts/Reigns and Ambrose match was now a two on three handicap match. So the match has now been changed twice in one night! Shawn Michaels interrupted Steph, Seth and HHH with Seth with a facial expression of complete disgust towards Shawn Michaels! I loved it! Then the match was changed again when Seth Rollins decided to be Roman and Dean’s partner in a six man tag team match! So I guess it’s the Shield reunited against the Wyatts.

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Charlotte took on Brie Bella. Paige was backstage watching on. This match was much better than the tag team divas match from earlier. However, that’s not saying a great deal to be honest. It was very hard care but because the build for this match between Nikki and Charlotte at Hell in a Cell has been so lacklustre. Charlotte won. Renee Young interviewed Paige backstage. Renee asked Paige if she attacked Natalya on SmackDown! and said that she was the prime suspect. Paige claimed that anyone could have had an issue with the Divas Revolution including Alundra Blayze! Renee mentioned that Paige was still not answering her question and Paige told her to get her facts straight.

Kevin Owens was in a non-title match with Mark Henry. The big highlight of the match was Kevin Owens hitting the pop-up powerbomb on Mark Henry! That was impressive. As Michael Cole pointed out, Kevin could easily do that to Ryback if he can do that to Mark Henry. Ryback came out but Kevin wanted to run away. Mark threw Kevin back into the ring and Ryback hit a huge powerbomb to Kevin. It’s nice that they actually did something with this feud.

Seth did a interview with Renee Young backstage and said this six man tag team match was not about reuniting the Shield. It was about proving that he was in fact the man and he was going to show the world just how great he was. They showed another Brock Lesnar/Undertaker hype-up video. They announced for the Hell in a Cell pre-show that it would be a rematch from the six man tag team match earlier as Ziggler, Neville and Cesaro will take on Rusev, Sheamus and Barrett.

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Next up was the six man tag team match main event. The fans were already chanting “This is Awesome” before the match started, shades of the match between these two stables at 2014 Elimination Chamber. Rollins and Ambrose were arguing on the apron as Roman started things off. Seth was knocked to the outside and told Dean and Roman “Hey, I already had one match!”

Seth walked out on the match when he “suffered” an injury. The match ended when Dean hit everybody with Kendo Sticks. The Wyatts ganged up on Dean until Roman did the big dive to the group. Roman did spears to Bray and Rowan to end the show. I thought this was a decent main event and good build for Hell in a Cell.

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I thought this RAW was better than RAW last week. However, I was expecting a lot more with all the stars that were signed up for this edition of RAW. They could have made better use of Ric and Steve Austin. I was expecting a lot more from Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. I had high expectations for this RAW to be honest. I can’t say this was a bad show but I was expecting a lot more considering this was the go-home show for the PPV.

19/10/2015 RAW PREVIEW – Can WWE Turn Ratings Around With Top Stars In Texas?

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here once again to talk about RAW. The pressure is on for the writers of WWE as they are coming off record-low ratings for their flagship show. With ratings at their lowest since 1997, Vince is reportedly “freaking out” over ratings which has not done them any favours leading up to Hell in a Cell. It’s also not doing them any favours that they’ve not been able to promote the main event of that show due to availability issues for both Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

Have no fear though, both men are here for tonight’s edition of RAW in Texas. This RAW is crucial for the writers as it is the go-home show for the PPV. They certainly don’t want to go into Hell in a Cell with low ratings so they’ve brought out a number of big guns tonight. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are advertised alongside Undertaker and Brock Lesnar for RAW. Whether Stone Cold Steve Austin will be appearing tonight is still up in the air as it seems that not even Stone Cold knows what he’s doing tonight!

We do know that he’ll be doing his podcast with Brock Lesnar as his guest after RAW which could very well be great to watch. What Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will do tonight is interesting. If Brock is scheduled for the podcast, it’d be strange if Brock and Taker got into a huge brawl or something on RAW. It’s not like Brock will be walking into the podcast and selling an attack from Taker. But you never know…

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What we don’t know is what John Cena will be doing at Hell in a Cell. So far, he is not advertised for the PPV. He’s not currently scheduled for a match but his match could easily be announced tonight. With his current feud with Dolph Ziggler, it’s likely that Cena vs Ziggler for the US Championship will be announced for the PPV. Cena could still do his US Open challenge tonight but he’ll likely retain to lead into the PPV.

There’s a few more matches that will no doubt be built up for Hell in a Cell. Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt is a match I’m looking forward to. The build-up so far has been a bit comme ci comme ca and it’s had it’s ups and downs. I hope there’s some kind of brawl tonight because I feel that’s the only way this rivalry should have been built up. Their strongest segments during their program has been because of the fans’ desire to see these two just beat the hell out of each other. If they fight tonight, that’s going to build up Sunday’s fight up very well.

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There’s a number of title matches lined up for the PPV too. There needs to be some serious work done for the Intercontinental Championship match. Ryback and Kevin Owens have barely done anything with each other since Kevin won the title. There’s got to be some kind of confrontation. Charlotte vs Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship will also need a bit of work done. I’ve not really thought highly of the Divas Revolution storyline since Paige cut her worked shoot on the RAW after Night of Champions. Charlotte’s not really been that impressive as champion yet and Nikki Bella has just annoyed me with her lack of emotion after losing her title. There’s not a lot going for this feud so unless they add Paige to the title match (which I highly doubt they’ll do), I think the interest into this match will quickly dissipate.

There’s also the true highlight of the show in the New Day. I can’t wait to see what antics those three will be up to tonight! So far, their tag title defence against the Dudleyz is currently just a regular match. However, the tables stipulation could easily be added tonight. Then there’s the final week of the Kane vs Seth Rollins feud. I had a entire article prepared on Seth but I should mention it now just before RAW… Seth NEEDS to win a match tonight. Seth’s record since Night of Champions has been so shameful that it’s incredible that their champion is being booked this way. I know with the other two Hell in a Cell matches, there’s not a lot of pressure on Kane and Seth. However, Seth needs to look credible. If Kane completely dominates this week, Seth’s credibility would be crippled. If Seth is going to be as featured as prominently as he usually is on RAW, he needs to do something of value to justify all of this time he’s given. He needs a pin over “Demon Kane” to lead into the PPV.

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I think this RAW could EASILY be one of the strongest RAWs of the year. I know that’s not saying much considering the quality of RAWs this year hasn’t been all that great, but it needs to be. With Lesnar, Taker, Flair, Austin and Michaels all under the same roof in Dallas, something’s got to give. This could be the ratings boost WWE needs but only if they capitalise on the stars that have come together in Texas. The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. If the WWE allows these stars to shine big and bright tonight, it could be just the boost they need….