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The SmarK RAW Rant – April 5 2004

April 5, 2004 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK RAW Rant – April 5 2004

– Live from Houston, TX.

– Your hosts are JR & King.

– Opening interview: HHH comes out to discuss the Shelton Benjamin loss. Apparently it’ll never happen again in a million years, and Benoit will never beat him again in a million years. He accuses Benoit of getting ready to choke, but you’d think after winning the Rumble and the main event of Wrestlemania he’d be over that particular foible. Blah blah blah and Benjamin interrupts. I like the base music, but it needs a hook. He reminds HHH of who he is and challenges him to a rematch, TONIGHT. HHH, of course, is not down with that, because he doesn’t want to hurt him and stuff. Shelton keeps talking and HHH agrees this time. Well, I guess we see now if HHH is serious about putting guys over, or if he’s gonna Jeff Hardy him. Although according to the latest WON, HHH only did the job last week because he whined to Vince about getting traded to Smackdown until he got traded back.

– Chris Benoit v. Rob Conway. La Rez has now moved to Quebec and will be shortly campaigning to separate from the WWE, I’d assume. Their move TO Canada is of course incredibly ironic considering the sudden mass exodus of babyfaces FROM Canada (for reasons that are, I assure you, extremely stupid. They don’t want their top faces to be billed from Canada, you see). Anyway, evil Quebecer gimmicks never get old, and I can really get behind it in terms of hatred. Plus there’s so many more jokes to be made. Johnny Nitro (with Nitro’s old music) is the referee here again. Benoit starts chopping, but Nitro pulls him off. If Benoit touches Johnny, he loses the title, apparently. Conway gets overpowered and Nitro won’t even count, so Rob stomps away and gets a suplex for two. Into the neck vice, but Benoit reverses to a release german and chops again. Back elbow and backbreaker get two. Conway fights back and blocks a suplex, so Benoit suplexes Conway INTO Nitro to bump him. La Rez does a nice double-team suplex-neckbreaker, and another ref comes in for two. Benoit fights them off and catches Conway with the crossface at 3:54. Fun stuff. *1/2

– Meanwhile, WILLIAM REGAL returns to bring some class to the show again. Eric has a special task for him, however – managing Eric’s nephew, Eugene Dinsmore. Oh lord. That must be an inside joke about “Uncle Eric”. See, now Regal should have been the Smackdown GM, not Kurt Angle.

– Chris Jericho v. Matt Hardy. MATT FACTS! He’s broken his nose 3 times, and he never over-orders in restaurants. And for those keeping track (ie, me) we’ve lost another one, as Jericho is now from Manhasset, NY. Shouldn’t he at least be from Buffalo as a tribute to his dad, if they’re gonna use new home cities? Plus that’s still pretty close to Canada. Matt attacks to start and gets a bulldog for two, as Christian and Trish watch from the ramp while snuggling in a chair. Aw, how cute. Matt drops an elbow for two. He goes to a surfboard, but Jericho fights out and gets the Flashback. He chops away and forearms Matt down, setting up the bulldog and Lionsault, which hits the knees. That’s becoming like Arn Anderson’s second-rope sledge or something. Matt counters the Walls for two, but charges and gets run into the ropes by Jericho. Enzuigiri and Walls finish at 3:00. Must be all-submission night or something. Another fun match in a series. *1/2

– Meanwhile, in the studio, Mick reminisces about flannel shirts past and watching old tapes to get himself fired up for Randy Orton. He’s not just gonna kick his ass all over Edmonton, because that’s clichй, but he will use the barbed-wire baseball bat. I dunno, that’s pretty clichй too. Whatever, he’s the expert on that stuff. “I’m gonna bring on the kind of bleeding usually reserved for special effects teams in Mel Gibson biblical epics”. OUCH. Kudos to whoever wrote THAT line. Foley seems a wee bit crazy.

– Meanwhile, Orton is (understandably) worried about what he’s gotten himself into. Hint for all you kids out there – don’t sign contracts for street fights with guys who carry around barbed-wire bats.

– HHH v. Shelton Benjamin. Your special guest ring announcer is Ric Flair. Oh, and the special timekeeper is of course Batista. And finally, the official trainer is Randy Orton, and luckily he’s got his own stool and spit bucket. Well, that’s handy. See, earlier they announced that if anyone not officially involved in the match interfered, they’d be suspended. It only works if you go way over the top like this. HHH attacks him to start and stomps away in the corner, but Shelton rolls him up for two. Crossbody gets two. Crucifix gets two. He slugs away, but walks into the MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER and HHH tosses him. The official timekeeper exerts some duties that I assume are outside of the stand job description, by dropping him on the railing. I’ll watch Mark Yeaton from now on to see if he does the same sometime. Back in, HHH chokes away, but Benjamin fights back, only to take a facecrusher and get tossed. The official trainer attempts to work out a kink in Shelton’s back, by tossing him into the railing. Well, it’s radical therapy, I’ll give it that. Back in, HHH slaps him around in the corner, but misses a charge and gets hit with the Dragon Whip kick. Stinger splash (Blinger splash?) sends HHH to the floor and they slug it out, as Shelton catapults him into the post and gets the countout at 5:36. Yeah, that was pretty lame compared to last week, especially with the weak finish, but he’s 2-0 against HHH, which is a better record than most of the wrestling world is allowed to have at any point in their career. *1/2 And to no one’s shock, Benjamin gets wiped out by the heels afterwards. Long as they keep him strong, it doesn’t matter. And actually, had they been planning this ahead, they could have had him screw HHH out of his title shot at Backlash, which everyone knows is hitting him where it REALLY hurts. Foley, HBK and Benoit make the save, and since everyone’s had short matches, I bet it’s an 8-man main tonight.

– Women’s battle royale: We’ve got Lita, Jazz, Nidia (who is now Puerto Rican), Molly, Stacy, Gail Kim (who has now migrated from Toronto to Korea – talk about a commute!) and Trish. We’re joined in progress with Jazz getting eliminated by Lita, leaving it Trish and Lita. Now that’s the kind of battle royale I like – where all the eliminations take place off-screen. Trish offers a handshake and then decides to slap her instead. Lita slugs back (Oh, Lita Lita Lita…stop trying to punch, I’m BEGGING you) and tosses Trish, but she hangs on. Jericho wanders out to cause trouble, allowing Lita to monkey-flip Trish and get a suplex. Lita slugs away again, and the crowd is so hot that they don’t even laugh it out of the building, and she follows with a corner clothesline. Trish fights her off and gives her a SOCCER KICK! Fuck yeah! I love this new Trish. Bulldog is blocked as Jericho trips her up, and Lita dropkicks her through the ropes to win at 4:27. Oh, joy, I get to watch Lita trip over her own feet against Victoria at Backlash. I wanted Trish! I don’t rate battle royales, and this one was so ridiculously bad thanks to Lita and multiple eliminations during the break that I wouldn’t rate it anyways.

– Meanwhile, Regal meets Eugene, who looks like a young, retarded Matt Borne. Poor Nick Dinsmore. Shelton Benjamin gets a monster babyface push and the poor guy gets THIS gimmick.

– Tajiri v. Christian. Christian, who had previously migrated to Florida to make him a heel, has migrated back to Canada because he’s a heel. I’m getting confused. Tajiri snaps off a rana to start and fires away with kicks, but Christian catapults him under the ropes. He stomps away as Coach heads down to ringside, but Tajiri dropkicks the knee and gets a seated dropkick. Handspring elbow gets two. Christian alley-oops over in the corner, but gets caught in the Tarantula. The high kick misses, so Tajiri gets the crescent kick for two. Coach trips him up and the Unprettier finishes at 2:19. ѕ* Well, Coach-Tajiri probably isn’t gonna lead to many MOTYCs, but at least they’re going somewhere.

– Your Backlash card thus far:

– Benoit v. Michaels v. some other guy
– Foley v. Orton for the IC title
– Christian & Trish v. Jericho
– Edge v. Kane
– Victoria v. Lita

– Meanwhile, Regal has an indignant rant about Eugene all ready to go for Eric (“Window-licker” – AWESOME!) but accidentally leaves him outside the door alone and he takes off…to do color commentary. Well, a retarded guy on commentary puts him two notches above Lawler these days. Eugene does his Bushwacker imitation and licks Lawler. And they wonder why people are embarrassed to watch wrestling sometimes.

– Kane v. Rhyno. What, they’re not gonna move Kane from parts unknown to Newfoundland to really cement his heel status? Kane attacks and lays Rhyno out, then uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS and chokes away. Rhyno comes back with a shoulderblock that breaks the middle rope (!) and gets the GOAR for two. Live TV, folks. Kane chokeslams him to end it quickly at 1:40. ј* Edge runs in, wearing a cast from a broken hand. Another broken bone? Is this guy like Mr. Glass from Unbreakable or something? That’s a broken neck, then a broken ankle training in OVW, and now a broken hand? They get into a brawl and Edge gets the worst of that. And then in a great Kane moment, he goes to wedge the chair in between the ropes, but forgets that the ropes are broken, and doesn’t know what to do. Edge knocks him out with his cast. This match is death.

– Meanwhile, Shawn pledges his support for Benoit…until the title match. He too doesn’t think that Benoit has any chance of winning two matches in a row. Johnny Nitro makes Mick Foley give up the baseball bat for the moment, so Benoit slaps him in the bad arm, because he’s awesome.

– Main event interview: Uncle Eric brings out the Foley/Michaels/Benoit trio for their dressing down. You know, if you could bottle all the ***** matches in those three, you could power Minnesota for a month. All we need is Flair and it’s like the Mecca of Workrate in the ring. So next week, it’s the 8-man I suspected earlier. Evolution interrupts, but it’s just HHH running interference while the rest attack from behind. Been there, done that. Everyone brawls and Evolution wins that battle fairly handily, including Benoit getting Pedigreed on the chair. Hey, great, two Evolution beatdowns in the same show, just what we needed.

The Bottom Line:

Well, that second hour was pretty much a total writeoff, but the first hour was great TV and they’re doing a great job of building to the top matches on the PPV, which is pretty much the important thing. It’s certainly blowing Smackdown out of the water as far as energy and focus goes, too. Too bad Kane-Edge is such a cluster as far as buildup goes, but you win some and you lose some. HHH has a TON of babyface challengers to squash in the year ahead, though, so he should get started pretty soon or someone might actually get over.

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