SummerFest Countdown: 2005

(2012 Scott sez:  I don’t even remember ranting on this one, but it’s there, so I guess I did.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Summerslam 2005 – Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are JR, King, Coach, Cole and Tazz. – Opening match, US title: Orlando Jordan v. Chris Benoit. Benoit takes him into the corner with a lockup to start, then finishes with the german suplex and crossface at 0:25 to win the title. That’s called “no fucking around,” yo. I guess Jordan failed the Billy Gunn Test at the Bash. So if anything, Matt Hardy can take solace in knowing that he can’t get buried any worse than Jordan did tonight. (Orlando should have been counting his lucky stars he was ever on TV in the first place.)  – Matt Hardy v. Edge. Big slugfest outside to start and they head in, where Matt continues pounding away in a more realistic style than you normally see. He grabs a rear choke, but Edge makes the ropes. Well, that kind of ruins the illusion. Hardy does some nice stiff shots in the corner, but gets headbutted and rabbit-punched in the back of the head by Edge. Edge spears him from the apron to the floor in a nice spot that again breaks the suspension of disbelief a bit. I guess within the physics of wrestling it’s OK, though. Matt fights back with forearms in the corner and does the corner mount spot, but Edge drops him on the ringpost and busts him open bigtime. Hey, nice counter. For those who said it might have been accidental, the replay clearly shows Matt setting himself up for the spot and guiding his own head down. Also, people don’t bleed from the forehead in a real fight. Just saying. Edge keeps kicking the shit out of him, and the ref stops the match at 4:45. For THAT bladejob? I’ve seen Mick Foley cut himself worse while shaving. Kinda cool and different for a bit, and then it turned into a burial of Matt Hardy. *1/2  (Oh, it would get worse.)  – Ladder match: Rey Mysterio v. Eddie Guerrero. This is of course for custody of Rey’s son, Dominick. And you thought that Matt Hardy v. Kane for the marriage of Lita last year was the height of silliness. Au contraire, I say. Eddie attacks him to start and gets a nice backdrop suplex, but Rey comes back with a monkey flip to send Eddie out to the floor. Rey charges but gets sent into the ladder, as the director is again fixated on shots of Dominick at ringside every 7 seconds. Eddie gets the ladder and makes the first climb for the briefcase, but the Big Bossman raises it up! Oh, wait, sorry, wrong decade. No, actually Rey springboards in to knock him off. Rey gets another ladder and they fight over it, but Rey kicks it in his face and then follows with a springboard to the floor. That’s pretty sick. Rey climbs, but Eddie follows and they slug it out on top. Eddie tries to bring him down with a sunset flip, but they mess up the spot. Eddie opts to ram the ladder into his face instead, and then brings yet another one in. Dominick looks concerned. Or maybe it’s hungry. Who knows with this kid? Rey gets slammed on a ladder and Eddie sandwiches him and hits him with the springboard senton. Dominick is still hungry. And they even have a replay of his blank stare. Just in case we missed it the first 10 times. Eddie climbs, but Rey makes a ramp with the other ladder and climbs up to follow. Rey backdrops him off the ladder and they all fall down in a heap, a REALLY ugly spot that looked dangerous in the bad way. Rey climbs again, but Eddie dropkicks him down, and Dominick is still hungry. SOMEONE GET THIS KID SOME NACHOS! Eddie puts a ladder in the corner on top of the ropes, and powerbombs Rey onto it to block a charge. Now really, why would you charge at someone when there’s a ladder behind them? Eddie climbs again, but now Dominick comes into the ring and tries to stop Eddie, as this breaks through the stupid barrier at Mach 3. Eddie stops to chastise the kid, but Rey attacks him and makes the comeback. 619 using the ladder follows, but really that would hurt Rey’s leg a lot more than it would hurt Eddie. Rey climbs, but Eddie comes up from under him and tries an electric chair, which Rey reverses into a powerbomb. Rey climbs again and grabs the briefcase, but Eddie kicks the ladder out from under him, and Rey falls into a powerbomb from Eddie. Eddie pins him under the ladder and climbs up, as they take forever and seemingly stall for time while Eddie SLOOOOOOWLY unhooks the case, but Rey wiggles free, leaving Eddie hanging on the hook. Rey pulls him down and Eddie freaks out on the ref, as apparently someone missed their cue and it screwed up the finish. I think he was yelling “Where the fuck was Vicky,” so his wife must have been scheduled for a run-in. Eddie hits him with the triple suplexes and climbs again, and now Vicky Guerrero gets her cue and runs in, trying to talk Eddie down. (Who would have thought that she’d end up being the player that she is now?)  She pushes him off the ladder, which would have worked better with Rey pinned under it, obviously, and Rey climbs and wins custody of his son at 20:19. It’s just so gosh darned heartwarming. Luckily someone remembers to cue Dominick so he knew when to cheer and run in for the celebration. Another disappointing, overbooked outing in a series of them. The finish probably sounded a lot more dramatic on paper than it came across on TV. ***1/4 And has any heel turned in a hot angle and then proceeded to lose more than Eddie Guerrero this year?  (It would shortly get even worse for Eddie, of course.)  – Eugene Invitational: Eugene v. Kurt Angle. No time limit here. Angle’s reaction and aura put him so clearly above Eugene that this should be little more than a squash. And indeed Angle punks him out to start and absolutely murders him to a big reaction, hitting a series of hard clotheslines before Eugene comes back with a spinebuster and gets booed. Retard Elbow is blocked with another vicious clothesline, and that gets two for Angle. The crowd is clearly behind Angle as he fires off the german suplexes and then drives a knee into Eugene’s face. Eugene fights back, again drawing the boos, but Angle casually dodges him and hits another german suplex for two. Eugene is TARDING UP, however, again drawing the biggest heel heat of the night thus far, and Retard Bottom gets two. Stunner gets two. Eugene pulls out an anklelock, but Angle is like “Nigga, please” (That got edited to “Bitch, Please” upon original posting at InsidePulse I now recall, which would be pretty much the only time Widro has ever asked me to change anything.)  and easily reverses into the Angle Slam and anklelock to mercifully finish at 4:32. Eugene’s character has gone so far off the track of the original idea that it’s just time to retire it and find something new to do with him. *1/4 (Like U-Gene, who does the same thing but on the indy circuit!)  Instead of a deceptively brilliant wrestling machine, he’s just become a lovable underdog jobber who occasionally steals moves of those above him, and that’s a loser character. (Just ask Santino.) Angle reclaims his medals and moves onto John Cena, rightfully destroying Eugene in little more than a squash. – Undertaker v. Randy Orton. UT overpowers Orton to start, speaking of characters who are falling off their original track. What got Orton over as a heel were his cocky promos, which he backed up with actions in the ring, not cowering from dry ice and special effects like he’s been doing on Smackdown lately. There’s already a million cowardly heels on TV right now.  (You’ll note that it was the transformation into crazed APEX PREDATOR Randy Orton that got him over once and for all.)  Orton comes back with a hiptoss into a clothesline, but Taker boots him down. Taker grabs the arm and tries to go old school, but Orton yanks him down with an armdrag and takes over with forearms in the corner. Taker slugs back and gets the leaping clothesline for two. Taker slugs away in the corner and hits him with a running knee into the corner, very slowly working him over. Another charge misses, however, and Orton starts working on the knee. DDT gets two. Orton wraps the knee around the post and drops a knee for two. Taker fights up, so Orton boots him down again for two. Powerslam gets two. Orton works the knee over and clips him, and that sets up another long stretch of nothing. Taker finally pushes him out of the ring to come back and gets the legdrop on the apron. Back in for the ROPEWALK OF DOOM as you just don’t get any sense of pain or selling from Undertaker. He’s really been phoning it in this year. On the other hand, it’s not like he’s had much to work with. Downward Spiral gets two. Snake Eyes, but Orton does the All Japan delayed sell and hits a dropkick before going down. This sets up the RKO, but Taker blocks it. They do the tombstone reversal spot, but Orton opts for a neckbreaker instead, and that gets two. Orton goes up with the high cross, but Taker rolls through into a chokeslam. However, Cowboy Bob runs into the ring dressed as a fan, and after Taker gets distracted it’s RKO goodbye at 17:16. Longer than their Wrestlemania match, but not better by any means. Taker had no interest in making Orton look like anything but a lucky punk and there was just too much laying around and nothingness here. **1/4 Compared to what Taker did for Brock Lesnar in 2002, and even what he did for Orton at Wrestlemania, this was really lacking.  (They had a pretty good Hell in a Cell match later in the year where UT finally put him over as something special, though.)  – RAW World title: John Cena v. Chris Jericho. (This feud did nothing for me and it was readily apparent that Jericho just wasn’t into the whole pro wrestling thing anymore.)  They fight for a headlock to start and Jericho powers him down, which leads to a quick slugfest and a corner clothesline from Jericho. He pounds away and gets a leg lariat, which puts Cena on the apron, but Jericho whiffs on the springboard bodyblock. Back in, Cena gets a running elbow into the corner, but runs into a dropkick. Jericho takes over and gets a low dropkick, going into a chinlock. Jericho tosses him and follows with a dropkick from the apron, and then gives Cena a lovetap to the ribs with his foot. Back in the ring, Cena gets put up and brought down with a superplex, but Jericho hurts himself a bit on the move. He still gets two. Cena comes back with his usual clotheslines, but misses the shoulderblock. The crowd actually starts to get into Jericho as a result, and he follows with the bulldog. Lionsault misses, but he recovers with a Victory Roll into the Walls, which Cena blocks by shoving him out of the ring. And then he guillotines him as he gets back into the ring. That’s actually a pretty good spot, and it gets two. F-U is reversed by Jericho into a DDT, and that gets two. Jericho starts working on the back with elbows and the crowd starts up a duelling chant, getting REALLY loud in the process. Jericho stops to get cocky and Cena cocks him with a lariat, which draws a mixed reaction. Cena comes back with the dreaded Flip Flop and Fly and more clotheslines, and the hiptoss slam sets up the backdrop suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle draws big boos, but Jericho reverses it into the Walls. Cena makes the ropes, but Jericho pulls him back and the crowd is deeply into it. Finally he makes them again and the crowd is divided to say the least. Jericho stomps away on his head and goes up, but Cena catches him with a teased F-U from the top. Jericho counters that with a superplex and gets two. F-U finishes him at 14:46, however. Cena has a weird vibe this year, as he draws mixed reactions and bores me on TV, but consistently brings the goods on PPV. (Might as well get used to that.)  ***1/2 Maybe he just has a real talent for having the crap kicked out of him by heels or something. – Smackdown World title: Batista v. JBL. JBL attacks during the pyro, and quickly regrets it, as Batista beats on him near the entranceway and hits him with a fire extinguisher. They fight through the crowd, with JBL again getting the short end of that, but he uses a chair to hold him off. Batista solves that by spearing him through the railing. Well, that works. Into the ring for the first time, where JBL uses a short clothesline and stomps him down. He slugs away in the corner and uses a belt to choke him down. Batista fights back, but JBL catches him with the lariat out of the corner and goes for the stairs instead. JBL tries to powerbomb him on the stairs, but Batista backdrops out of it. Spinebuster, powerbomb, and then another one on the stairs finishes things for the champ at 9:05. Ouch. Well, this had the advantage over last month in that it was 15 minutes shorter and had a finish, but other than that I could live without ever seeing this matchup, or JBL in the main event, ever again. *1/2  (Yeah, well, you’d have to see both a few more times.)  – Hulk Hogan v. Shawn Michaels. Technical difficulties with my copy mean that I have to watch this match with the sound off, so if I miss anything particularly interesting crowd-wise or don’t catch anything particularly stupid from JR, that’s why. Lockup to start, and of course Hogan wins that. Shawn is already bumping like a pinball out there. Shawn grabs a headlock and gets overpowered, again doing a somersault bump off a simple move, and he bails. Back in, Shawn works him over and chops away in the corner, but Hogan beats on him in the other corner until Shawn goes to the eyes to get him away. Hogan clotheslines him out of the ring, and Shawn again does a somersault on the bump, then takes a breather. Man, talk about a contrast in putting someone over between the this and the Undertaker match. (Both are equally damaging, however.)  Hogan somersaults Shawn back into the ring and slugs away, and the Axe Bomber nearly leaves Shawn dead. Sadly, Hogan puts his head down, possibly hoping to blind Shawn with the glare off his bald spot, and gets kicked in the face to put Shawn back on offense again. Shawn smacks him around like the proverbial bitch, but gets whipped into the corner and does a Flair Flip as a result, which leads to Hogan slugging him off the apron and Shawn doing another somersault bump. They brawl outside and Hogan slams him on the table and then whips him into the post, which results in another somersault. It’s like the Marty Jannetty Memorial match or something. Hogan tries to send him into the post again, but you can guess what happens next, and yes indeed Hulk begins to bleed. Shawn starts to work the cut over in the corner as Hogan deftly slices himself open properly, right on camera while walking away from the corner. Hogan is bleeding all over, as I wonder why no ref is running in to stop the match like they did with Matt Hardy? I mean, there’s just as much blood and Hogan IS a senior citizen. Just to bring back memories of the 80s a little more, Shawn grabs a sleeper, which would seem to be counterproductive to his cause since it cuts off the flow of blood to the head. Perhaps a pair of gravity boots would have been more advisable. Despite it being 2005 last time I checked, Hogan is still able to will himself out of the move by wiggling his finger in dramatic fashion, always a handy bit of advise for those who find themselves getting choked down by anyone in real life. (I kept waiting for Chael Sonnen to escape the famous Anderson Silva triangle by doing just that, but sadly no.)  Shawn hits him with the forearm and kips up, which signals the flying elbow is near. Sadly, he was too stoned at Wrestlemania V to pay attention to what happened there when Randy Savage tried that, as Hogan pops up and starts firing away. But alas, the ref is bumped, because we haven’t had one all night and I guess we were due, and both guys are out. Shawn recovers first and tries his elbow again, but thinks better of it this time and opts for a Sharpshooter instead to really egg on the crowd. And it’s not a good one, either. I can’t believe he won the World title with it in 1997. Well, I guess there was other stuff behind it, but still. Hogan makes the ropes, and the second ref is now bumped as well. Shawn takes the opportunity to go low and grabs a chair for good measure, and after a lovetap from that and a flying elbow, it’s looking pretty bad for Hulk. In fact, the superkick looks like it might finish, because god knows Hogan kicking out of a top heel’s finisher is wholly unprecedented. But shockingly, it happens here, as Hogan steals Eugene’s act and hulks up. Punch punch punch big boot legdrop, you know the drill. Good triumphs over evil at 20:43, and now Hogan can go back to promoting his show and living vicariously through his daughter and leave the rest of us alone for a while. **1/2, all for Shawn bumping like a madman for the nostalgia act. The sign in the front row says “Hulk Still Rules.” I’ll take your word for it, brother. The Inside Pulse: A merely good show where a blowaway one was probably needed, as I didn’t see anything I’d classify as “great” and I saw a lot of stuff that I’d classify as “more of the same”. Hogan v. Michaels was an interesting one-man stunt show, but nothing I’d call a classic or go out of my way to see. I may not like all of the people involved with TNA, but they’re hungry and different, two things that this promotion is not. Thumbs slightly up.  (That would have to be VERY slightly.  Shawn-Hogan is quite the trainwreck to behold, however.)