The SmarK Rant for WWE Taboo Tuesday 2004 (And now to the RAW half of October 2004’s PPV offerings, with one of the worst concepts for a PPV that they actually tried to follow through with for THREE YEARS. At least with Fatal 4-Way they gave up after one.) – I think that next to some of WCW’s dumber offerings, that’s one of the worst major PPV names I’ve ever heard. But that’s just me. – Live from Milwaukee, WI. The arena looks horribly empty tonight, which can’t be a good sign. – Your hosts are JR & King. – Opening match, Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. Shelton Benjamin. I voted for Benjamin, for those wondering. My heart wanted Big Dave, but I thought this would be a better match. (Can you imagine Batista losing a popularity contest to Shelton friggin’ Benjamin now?) Lockup to start and Jericho gets an armdrag, but Benjamin replies with his own, into an armbar. Man, this crowd is pretty scary dead for an opening match. They trade wristlocks until Jericho throws a forearm and starts chopping. Jericho chokes him down, but charges and gets dumped as a result. Benjamin follows with a baseball slide and gets two back in the ring. He hits the chinlock and takes Jericho into the corner, but charges and hits boot, which allows Jericho to get the enzuigiri for two. Backdrop suplex and Jericho drops elbows, setting up a vertical suplex and the Arrogant Cover for two. Jericho looks to be playing heel to give the crowd someone to boo. Shelton misses a dropkick, so Jericho works the back with some hard kicks and a backbreaker submission. Benjamin comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Jericho clotheslines him for two. They head up top and Benjamin gets the superplex, and it’s the double count. They slug it out and Benjamin comes back with a flying forearm and backdrop. Dragon whip gets two. Jericho comes back with the bulldog and misses his millionth Lionsault, which allows Benjamin to go up with the flying clothesline for two. Blinger Splash misses and Jericho gets the Walls, which Benjamin reverses for two. Jericho clotheslines him down again and this time hits the Lionsault, which gets two. Back to the corner for some chops, but Benjamin catches him coming out with the Exploder for the pin and the title at 10:56. Bit short, but they were going pretty good before the finish. **1/2 (As noted by Jericho, he legitimately had no idea who he was facing until it was announced, and he still managed to improv a decent match out of it.) – Schoolgirl battle royale, WWE Women’s title: You of course have Trish, Jazz, Nidia, Victoria, Molly, Stacy and Gail Kim. This is like some sick peek into Lawler’s psyche. But then I voted for schoolgirls too, so who am I to talk. I’d have call Trish the winner on the hotness scale here. (Well duh.) JR reviews the rules of a battle royale with us, as though anyone is watching for the finer points of athleticism. Big brawl to start and Nidia loses her shirt, and gets thrown through the ropes to be eliminated. Jazz misses a clothesline and slides out. Gail Kim tries a rana on Victoria and goes out, but Victoria holds on. Trish beats on Stacy in the corner and chokes her down, but Stacy comes back with the Nash choke. Meanwhile, Molly hits Victoria with the handspring elbow and the heels try to suplex Stacy out, but Victoria saves her. Why the hell would she do that? Stacy misses a charge on Trish, and the heels slingshot Victoria out. That leaves Stacy against the heels, and they work her leg over. Stacy fights back out of the corner and almost tosses Trish, but she hangs on. Molly takes Stacy to the apron, however, and knocks her off, and then Trish turns on Molly to retain at 5:37. This was what it was — a T&A break because they no longer have any clue what to do with the women. (Wouldn’t get any better, I’m afraid.) – Kane v. Gene Snitsky. For some reason, the steel chain won, despite not being pushed at all leading up to the match. (Maybe they had John Cena cut a promo for it on the go-home RAW?) Snitsky goes for the chain first, but Kane grabs him and starts pounding, then slugs away in the corner. Snitsky bails, which is probably smart, so Kane grabs the chain. Snitsky steals it away and they head back in, but Kane gets the chain back and clotheslines him down. He puts the chain in the corner and rams Snitsky into it, then slugs him out with the chain. They fight on the floor and Snitsky uses the chain to pull Kane into the post, and he stomps him down. Back in, Snitsky clotheslines him with the chain and WHIPS HIM, WHIPS HIM LIKE A DOG TONY. This match is deader than Kane’s baby. Lita apparently wants Snitsky to go down hard, according to JR. Isn’t that what got her into trouble in the first place? They slug it out and Snitsky pounds him in the corner, but Kane comes back with a clothesline. Kane fires back, but falls victim to the BODYSLAM OF DEATH and some elbows. That gets two for Snitsky. They slug it out again and Snitsky clotheslines him for two. More chain action from Snitsky, as chokes Kane out. Kane fights back, even managing to block chain-assisted punches, but he walks into a sideslam that gets two. Zombie situp and they slug it out, won by Kane, and boot each other down in a spot that has never made sense to me. I mean, you lose all momentum when you stop and lift the boot, right? So what propels each guy into the boot? (RUTHLESS AGGRESSION!) Kane tries the chokeslam, but Snitsky slugs himself free, and Kane tosses him instead. Kane retrieves the Kane again, but Snitsky kicks the stairs into Kane to slow him down, and uses a chair on him. JR then gets the most unintentionally funny line of the night: “The steel chair was not voted in!” The ref, apparently unaware of the rules of the match, doesn’t DQ Snitsky, so he keeps hitting Kane with it, and grabs the chain. He chokes Kane down like some sort of demented Hercules relative, and sets him up to Pillmanize the neck. And it WORKS! Kane bites down on a condom and the ref stops the match, but Snitsky WANTS THE PIN, and gets it at 14:20. Now that’s a heel. The match was way long and sucked ass, but Kane sold like a madman for Snitsky and made him look like the badass crazy heel of the century, as they continue to back into making Snitsky look like a million dollars. 3/4* (Yeah, that didn’t last long.) – Eugene v. Eric Bischoff. Uncle Eric attacks to start and uses martial arts expertise, but Eugene is already TARDING UP, no-selling a high kick and slugging away in the corner. Airplane spin, extended version, and he finishes with the big boot and legdrop at 2:09. Well, at least he’s got more hair than Hogan. DUD The voting results see Eugene shaving Bischoff’s head, and Coach wearing a dress. I was momentarily confused by the mannequin at ringside, however, since I thought it was Linda McMahon making an appearance, until I realized that it had more emotional range. Or maybe it was Katie Vick. – RAW World tag titles: La Resistance v. Edge & Chris Benoit. (So Edge and Benoit get this shot as a result of losing the World title vote to Shawn Michaels. Really makes the tag belts seem prestigious.) This is a rematch from June, oddly enough, when La Rez won the belts in the first place. The story is that Edge considers himself above the tag titles, which is of course true. Edge & Conway slug it out to start, and Benoit throws some chops and a clothesline. Snap suplex and Edge comes in for some clubbing forearms, but Conway fires back and La Rez works him over in the corner. Grenier comes in, but misses an elbow, so Edge suplexes him and goes up. However, crowd opinion causes him to change his mind, and he heads back in after some words with Benoit. Benoit comes in with a backdrop suplex on Grenier for two, and a backbreaker for two. They botch a flapjack spot and Edge comes back in, but Conway stomps him down for two. Edge comes back with a forearm and spears Conway off the apron. If the intent is to portray Edge sleepwalking through the match and going through the motions, mission accomplished. Back in, Grenier drops a knee for two and hits the chinlock. Edge fights out, so Grenier flapjacks him for two. Double-team suplex gets two for Conway. Grenier waves the flag in a weird attempt at drawing any kind of heat for this mess, but it fails. Conway and Edge slug it out, and then Grenier and Edge, before Edge finally gets a clothesline out of the corner and makes the hot tag to Benoit. Grenier quickly catches him with a clothesline to the back of head, however, and stomps away for two. Back to the heel corner for yet another heat segment, as Conway goes to the facelock and this thing grinds to a halt like a rusty gear. Benoit comes back with a german suplex and makes a false tag to Edge, and La Rez beats on Benoit while the crowd finally shows a bit of life. This prompts Edge to walk out on the match, leaving Benoit alone. We follow him back to the locker room, as he heads home without even showering. He’s so evil, he eschews good hygiene! (Once he became the Rated-R Superstar he would fully embrace that kind of sleazy philosophy.) Meanwhile, back in the ring, Grenier is holding a chinlock and goes up, but Benoit brings him back down with a superplex. They try Au Revoir, but Benoit hits Grenier with a german suplex and tosses him. More german suplexes for Conway and the crossface finish at 16:14, to give Chris Benoit the World tag titles all by himself. Really disappointing, dull stuff. *1/2 (I honestly forget how they got out of that storyline later.) – Lingerie pillow fight: Carmella v. Christy. In a spot you don’t see every day, they throw falsies at each other to start, and then slug it out with pillows. Then it’s the usual rolling around and choking, C-level house show comedy match stuff, and Christy thankfully gets the pin at 1:49 to put a merciful end to it. –** (She’s much better off as TNA’s ring announcer now.) – RAW World title: HHH v. Shawn Michaels. (Orton’s first title reign was sabotaged by HHH because he felt that there should be a heel champion going into this meaningless PPV. True story.) Don’t blame me, I voted for Benoit. Slugfest in the corner to start as JR makes excuses for Shawn, and HHH bails. Back in, Shawn chops him down, but HHH smartly goes for the knee and starts stomping it in the corner. They slug it out and HHH goes down, but he recovers by kicking him in the knee and dropping one of his own. HHH slugs away on the mat, but Shawn fights back until getting kicked in the knee again. HHH methodically drops elbows on the bad knee and bends it in a submission move. Back to the elbows, which set up a figure-four, and Shawn is looking to Jesus for the Divine Run-In. The ref wants to stop the match, but Shawn is made of sterner stuff. He makes the ropes, so HHH goes back to beating on him again. HHH tries to post him, so Shawn pulls him back into the post and makes the comeback. A few chops are all he gets, however, before HHH kicks him in the knee again. Another try at the figure-four is blocked by Shawn, however, and HHH gets sent into the corner for the double KO. Shawn is up first and slugs away, but an atomic drop on the bad knee proves to be a pretty bad idea. Still, he keeps fighting with a clothesline and slugs HHH down for two. HHH comes back with a shot to the knee, but Shawn uses a shot to the balls. Call it a draw. DDT puts HHH down again and Shawn goes up for whatever stupid reason, and drops the elbow. The leg is bad, but he’s JESUSING UP. The crowd finally gets into things as Shawn sets up the superkick, but Batista runs in and distracts the ref. Superkick and HHH is out, but Edge returns from his car ride and spears Shawn, allowing HHH to retain at 14:04. This was pretty different from their usual 40 minute wankfests, with the whole thing being about Shawn’s bad leg, which was nice for a change. *** – Cage match: Ric Flair v. Randy Orton. Orton overpowers him to start, but Flair throws some chops in return. Orton backdrops him out of the corner, so Flair tries to climb, but Orton chases him up there. Flair brings him down with the old thumb to the eyes, and works him over with chops. Ballshot and Flair takes him into the cage, drawing blood. Flair slugs him in the corner and does some cheesegrater action on Orton’s face. He stomps Orton down and throws the chops, which covers Flair’s fist with blood. That’s the stuff. More chops, really nasty ones, but Orton punches back and sends Flair into the cage. And now it’s double juice. Flair tries to escape, but we get the full moon spot and they fight on the top rope. Flair of course goes down the hard way, and Orton keeps beating on him in the corner. Flair goes low again to counter that flurry, but Orton slugs him down and pounds away. And now it’s Flair getting that cheesegrater action, and Orton dropkicks him into the cage, with Flair trapped in the ropes. Nice spot. Flair tries to climb, but you know what happens. Orton goes up with a high cross for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Flair chops him back down and crawls for the door, but Orton pulls him back in. Flair pulls out the old faithful brass knuckles, but only gets two. Flair then grabs a chair from the door area, but misses, and the RKO finishes at 10:35. Flair was feeling it tonight, with some fun flashback to the 80s NWA stuff. ***1/4 Flair and Orton share a moment afterwards, which hopefully will allow Flair to turn face again and mentor Orton. (Sadly, no.) The Inside Pulse: Interesting, but flawed, concept aside, the actual execution of the PPV left a lot to be desired, with a ton of bad matches and stuff that had no place on PPV. They’re only got themselves to blame for booking Carmella v. Christy and Eugene v. Bischoff. This should hopefully signal the end of this concept. (Nope!) Thumbs down.