October Countdown: WWE Taboo Tuesday 2005

The SmarK Rant for WWE Taboo Tuesday 2005 (I don’t particularly remember if there was a Smackdown PPV for October 2005, because I was drifting away from fandom anyway by then.  I had finally given up on reviewing RAW after 5 straight years of it and Smackdown wasn’t even on the radar.  A quick check of Wikipedia shows that it was actually No Mercy again that year, with a main event of Undertaker v. Bob Orton & Randy Orton in a casket match, so I have DEFINITELY never reviewed that show because I know I’d remember a trainwreck like that.)  – It boggles my mind that they actually did this concept show two years in a row, with a third on the way. – Live from San Diego, CA. – Your hosts are Joey Styles and King. – Opening match: Gene Snitsky & Chris Masters v. Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy Fan voting was supposed to put Rey and JBL in the Smackdown slot here, but actually giving fans a choice to think for themselves backfired, and Matt was put in the spot instead. This match is mildly notable for having Christian as one of the choices, as he made his last appearance, without a contract, before joining TNA at their next PPV. Snitsky is replacing an injured Edge here. (How was Edge & Masters any more of a sensible team?  What the f--- was even the issue here that they had to make this tag match?)  Masters attacks Rey and gets two to start, with a funny visual as Mike Chioda and Nick Patrick fight over reffing duties. Rey reverses a slam into a rollup for two, causing Snitsky to stomp him down and choke away. Bodyslam gets two. I’ve heard of sticking to the basics, but geez. Masters gets a series of backbreakers, but Rey fights out and they botch the Rube Goldberg bulldog spot, which Masters counters for two anyway. Chinlock time! Hot tag Matt Hardy and he forearms Snitsky down and baseball slides Masters off the apron, and gets the Side Effect after an awkward sequence with Snitsky. Twist of Fate is blocked, but Snitsky misses a blind charge and Matt brings him down with a superplex for two. Snitsky + Improvising matches = UGLY. Masters comes in and double-teams Matt, and the heels take over as Matt is YOUR cuckold-in-peril. Masters with a butterfly suplex for two and he starts working on the back, surfboarding Matt as a result. Matt fights up, but Masters kills him with a clothesline for two. When Chris Masters looks like the veteran in a match, you know that his partner is green. Snitsky comes in and works a wristlock on Matt, then takes him down with a fairly nice spinebuster for two. Catapult under the ropes and Masters comes in with a facelock to cut off a potential tag. Check out the big brain on Masters there! Matt fights out and gets a flying clothesline for two, but Masters hangs onto the leg and won’t let him tag. More smart tag wrestling, as Snitsky bullies Rey off the apron and drops elbows on Matt without fear of interference from Matt’s partner. Blind charge misses again, however, and Matt tries a high cross, which Snitsky reverses into a powerslam setup, and Matt turns that into a DDT. Hot tag Rey, and the crowd is quite hot for that, showing that if you keep it simple, it’ll work. High cross gets two on Masters. Low dropkick gets two. Snitsky misses yet another charge and Rey tries a tornado DDT, but Snitsky wisely throws him into the Masterlock. Rey pushes off, but the refs fight and Matt breaks it up with a legdrop. It’s BONZO GONZO and the heels are dumped, as the faces follow with stereo dives. Back in, Masters is the victim of a sunset flip for two from Rey. Snitsky trips him up and Masters hits him with an F5 for two, however. The madness continues as Matt takes Snitsky out with a DDT and Rey finishes things with a 619 into a Twist of Fate into a flying splash for the pin. (Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy d. Gene Snitsky & Chris Masters, Rey flying splash — pin Masters, 13:44, **3/4) This was a surprisingly entertaining tag match, as they kept it simple and protected Snitsky in the process. I almost think they should have kept Masters & Snitsky together as a regular tag team. Rob Conway & Tyson Tomko v. Eugene & Jimmy Snuka This has bad idea written all over it. (Something something Tyson Tomko got high and killed Snuka’s girlfriend…hmm, I’ll have to work on that one and get back to you.)  Rob Conway’s short-lived gimmick of attacking legends begat a more fitting gimmick: Jobbing on internet broadcasts. Conway’s really a guy who would benefit from going to a place like TNA where he could build a character without getting lost in the shuffle. It’d be like getting Buff Bagwell at half the price and twice the talent! Eugene mocks Tomko via a test of strength to start, and gets a slam, but Conway attacks from behind and stomps away. Elbowdrop gets two. Dropkick and Tomko comes in and this match is dead in the water. Tomko powerslams Eugene for two, and Conway hits the chinlock. Eugene fights out and clotheslines Conway, and it’s hot tag Snuka. It’s BONZO GONZO as Snuka does his limited chop-and-headbutt offense, leaving Eugene to hit Conway with Rock Bottom before the Superfly splash ends it. Thankfully. (Jimmy Snuka & Eugene d. Tyson Tomko & Rob Conway, Snuka flying splash — pin Conway, 6:19, 1/2*) Considering that Snuka hung on way past the point where he was a self-parody in the 90s, and ditto for Duggan, it’s hardly nostalgia to see them out there peddling the same act yet again.  (Sadly, they keep trotting them out for “Legends” shows because the money is still good for them.) Carlito v. Mankind (Another one where I don’t remember a single thing about the feud or even that they had an issue.)  In one of the lamer votes of the evening, which is saying something, fans got to vote which persona Mick Foley wrestled as here. Mick is using the Corporate Mankind persona rather than the true Mankind one, but I guess the shirt and tie is easier to throw on. He quickly gets Carlito in the Tree of Woe and drops an elbow, then catapults him in the ropes and baseball slides him to the floor. Sadly, irony rears its ugly head, as Mankind charges with a chair and gets sent into it. Back in, Carlito pounds away to take over. Half-assed electric chair gets two. I understand WHY Mick feels the need to do these “comeback” matches every once in a while, but there’s little out there sadder than seeing Foley not giving a crap. Mick escapes a sleeper and they clothesline each other, allowing Mick to make the comeback. Running knee in the corner and Cactus Clothesline follow. Hearing Joey Styles crow about “vintage Mankind” as though he had any historical connection to the character is ridiculous and probably a big reason why he didn’t work as announcer. Back in, Mr. Socko ends it. (Mankind d. Carlito, Mandible Sock — submission, 7:21, *) No real drama to this one, as Carlito was little more than a Saturday afternoon jobber here in a “feud” that was built up from nothing and went nowhere.  (Ah, good, there’s a reason I don’t remember it, then.) RAW World tag titles: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch v. Big Show & Kane This is of course the consolation prize for Kane & Show for losing the main event vote, although Shawn Michaels only beating Kane by 8% of the vote made it closer to an embarrassing situation than they probably would have liked. Cade and Murdoch had just won the titles and were on the verge of a potentially entertaining run as champions, which is why the result here was probably so obvious in hindsight. One show in and they’ve already got Joey spewing the same old crap about how you have to see Big Show in person because he’s so big.  (Clearly Joey was just as much of a victim of Vince in the headset as Michael Cole currently is.)  Again I repeat, I’ve seen him wrestle live upwards of 20 times, and he sucked most of the times regardless of how big he was. Kane pounds on Murdoch in the corner to start and chokes away, following with the corner clotheslines. Murdoch may be green, but his selling and facials showed real potential before they abandoned him. Cade comes in and doesn’t have much better luck, as Show clubs away with the clubbing forearms. Cade’s another guy that they were really high on in OVW for years, and despite being given the perfect gimmick here he just got fed to the wolves. I still don’t know why.  (Didn’t matter in the long run.  He ended up just another stat.)  Cade goes to the eyes to slow down the Show and brings in Murdoch, who gets pummelled as a result. So Murdoch pokes Kane in the eyes and brings in Cade, and he immediately gets clobbered too. Kane goes up, but finally Cade and Murdoch buzz around him like flies enough to knock him down and double-team him on the floor to take over. Murdoch surfboards him, and an atomic drop sets up a neckbreaker from Cade, which Kane immediately no-sells. They try a double-team, but Kane makes his own comeback and fights them off for the hot tag to Show. Show destroys everyone and splashes Cade in the corner, while Murdoch walks into a flying clothesline from Kane and gets dumped. Double chokeslam finishes Cade. (Big Show & Kane d. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, chokeslam — pin Cade, 7:57, 1/2*) The champions were treated as total jobbers, getting little or no offense and presenting absolutely no threat to Kane & Show. Cade & Murdoch were split up right afterwards and disappeared. Goldust, Vader & Coach v. Batista. Now the votes get downright idiotic, although deliberately so in this case, as the choices were verbal debate, arm-wrestling, or street fight. One guess which won. This was a result of Steve Austin flaking out yet again, although in this case he had the decency to give a week’s notice and thus prevent false-advertising his name on the show. Just another reason why I don’t respect him any more. (I do like his movies, though.)  Batista fights off both of Coach’s backup and destroys Goldust with a spear. He tries a suplex on Vader, but thankfully Goldust breaks it up with a kendo stick before we had to watch Vader trying to take a suplex in his condition. Vader & Goldust hold Batista down while Coach whips him with a belt, but Batista thankfully makes the comeback and whips everyone with the belt himself before putting everyone out of their misery with spinebusters and a demon bomb on Coach to finish. (Batista d. The World, demon bomb — pin Coach, 4:16, DUD) You’d have to be nuts to think they would stick their #1 guy in there and have things go any other way than him destroying three people single-handedly. Goldust actually got a JOB out of this travesty, however, which shocks me. OK, not really.  (Yeah, and then he made Sheamus look so good on ECW that they decided to push Sheamus as their new #2 guy for years afterwards.  THANKS, Goldust.)  WWE Women’s title: Battle royale More lame voting as fans vote between lingerie, leather & lace, or cheerleaders, and predictably lingerie wins. So we’ve got Ashley, Candice, Victoria, Maria, Mickie James, and of course Trish Stratus. The lingerie worn is nothing more revealing than they normally wear. Trish and Victoria fight on the top to start, and Victoria nearly goes out. Trish and Mickie toss Maria, then team up and go after Victoria with no luck. Candice and Ashley do some bad amateur-hour stuff in the corner, and Ashley shoves her out of the ring while she’s dancing. Victoria sideslams Trish, almost injecting some wrestling into this wrestling match, but gets caught with a headscissors by Mickie and put on the apron. Victoria comes back and catapults Ashley out, then sideslams Mickie. Trish uses a swinging headscissors to put Victoria on the apron and nearly goes out herself, but Mickie freaks out and saves her. Matrix dodge from Trish, but Victoria butt-splashes her to counter that. Victoria tries to get her out again, but Mickie saves her again, basically sacrificing herself and giving the match to Trish. (Trish Stratus wins battle royale, 5:26) I could really use a good match to lift my spirits here. Intercontinental title, Steel cage match: Ric Flair v. HHH Another silly vote, as the choices were “1 fall to a finish”, submission, or steel cage. Well, duh. Flair gets the first chop and dares HHH to bring it on, and they slug it out in the corner. Flair actually wins that one pretty handily before HHH uses the knee and takes him down. Choking in the corner, but Flair is all about the chops, so HHH hits him with a spinebuster. Flair is already bleeding, so HHH introduces him to the cold, hard, unforgiving, yada yada, and makes it official. Very few people go into the cage face-first with the gusto that Flair has over the years. And of course we get the cheese grater action on Flair, because it just wouldn’t be Flair in a cage match without it. Nice, simple move from HHH, too, as he splashes Flair into the cage while he’s recovering. Flair’s bladejob is just gory. HHH adds a little insult to injury, dropping a Flair-like knee on him before sending him back into the cage again. HHH casually climbs up and over, but Flair stops him and they slug it out on the top rope. No surprise what happens next, as Flair takes his patented crotch-first bump, but so does HHH. However, HHH finds a piece of chain left untied at top, only to jump onto Flair’s boot. See, that’s one time where the spot at least makes some sense — HHH was specifically trying a fistdrop off the top rather than some indeterminate move. Flair goes for the figure-four to capitalize, but HHH still has the chain on his fist, and he makes use of it to block. Good timing there. HHH keeps slugging away and Flair keeps bleeding, setting up a Flair Flop and another kneedrop from HHH. Just for fun, HHH puts him in a figure-four, and Flair yelling “I’ll kill you!” while he fights it is tremendous stuff. Not quite Kurt Angle yelling “Tap or I’ll break your f------ ankle!” at the Rock in 2001, but up there nonetheless. Flair reverses it, but HHH makes the ropes. HHH makes another attempt at the figure-four, really rubbing it into the fans’ faces, but Flair shoves him into the cage and it’s double juice. Flair biting the cut like a maniac is great, and he pounds away on the cut, finally back in his element as a cheating bastard. HHH gets treated to payback for all the cage spots, and Flair even fish-hooks him, which is even illegal in the UFC! Now that’s cheating! Flair gets a vertical suplex and his own kneedrops, as this is all setup and payoff, and Flair chops him to set up the chop block. Flair goes to work on the leg, literally smelling blood (I should write this stuff for these announcers…) and pounds the crap out of the leg. Figure-four follows, with a good visual of a bloody HHH screaming in pain. It doesn’t take much to entertain me sometimes. HHH finally nails the ref to break the move, but Flair goes right back to the leg again. Flair climbs, but suckers HHH into an axehandle off the top for two. Low blow follows. I always consider adding an extra star for every time HHH gets nailed in the junk. It just doesn’t get old. Flair tries to walk out, but gets pulled in by HHH, bringing a chair in with him. HHH takes a swing with it, but Flair goes back to the babymaker again, thus adding another star. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is reversed to a backdrop and Flair keeps it simple, clobbering him with the chair. THREE TIMES. It’s like my dream HHH match. And that’s enough to walk out. (Ric Flair d. HHH, Flair exits cage, 23:45, ***3/4) This was some tremendous old-school stuff, with HHH doing all sorts of nasty stuff to Flair and then having it all done back to him again, and Flair the old dog using every cheap trick in the book to hold off the challenger. The ending was a bit weak, with a pinfall or submission really being needed here, but any match that has HHH getting abused to this degree earns my respect. RAW World title: John Cena v. Kurt Angle v. Shawn Michaels Angle attacks both guys to start and pounds Cena down with forearms, but Cena comes back and suplexes him for one. Shawn tries fighting off both guys at once, reversing a suplex on Angle for two, but Cena saves. Angle takes over on them now, but charges Cena and gets dumped, leaving Cena and Michaels to do their thing. Shawn throws chops, then stops to baseball slide Angle, leaving himself open to a backslide from Cena as a result. Shawn plays heelish and chokes him out in the corner, and throws him into an Angle german suplex, as Angle suddenly goes nuts with suplexes and takes both guys out. Shawn reverses the Angle Slam, but Angle turns it into the anklelock, which Shawn kicks out of. Cena catches Angle with the FU, but Shawn breaks it up. Cena cradles Angle for two. Angle sunset flip is blocked by Cena, but Shawn bodyblocks him for two, reversed by Cena for two. Angle and Shawn finally get smart and gang-beat him, which the crowd LOVES, and Angle pounds away. They team up and send Cena into the post to get rid of him, and then team up to put him through the Spanish announce table for good measure. So it’s time to get down to the business of having an awesome match without him. Nice of you to show up, John, enjoy the match from ringside. Shawn and Kurt immediately turn on each other and slug it out, and Shawn powerslams him for two. Angle comes back with a back elbow and a kneelift, as the crowd is clearly behind him now. Snap suplex gets two. Angle goes to the bodyscissors and slows things down a lot, but Shawn rolls him over for two. He tries to come back, but Angle snaps off the overhead suplex and they head up. Angle’s superplex is blocked and Shawn tries to follow with the flying elbow, but he falls victim to the Pop-Up Superplex for two. Angle pulls down the straps, but Cena returns to ruin things and dumps Angle. Cena backdrops Shawn and follows with a backdrop suplex, but Angle yanks him out of the ring and tosses him into the crowd. Shawn answers with a somersault plancha onto Angle and they head into the ring again, where Shawn gets the forearm and makes the comeback. Atomic drop and clotheslines and Cena gets drawn into the ring again. Shawn gives him a flying forearm too, but kips up into an Angle belly-to-belly that puts him on the floor. Angle then walks into Cena’s backdrop suplex and five knuckle shuffle. FU is reversed to the anklelock, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts for that. Cena can’t shove him off because Angle is a machine as usual, and it’s heel hook time. However, that leaves Angle open to a flying elbow from Shawn. Superkick goes to Angle, but Shawn gets FU’d. (John Cena d. Shawn Michaels & Kurt Angle, Cena FU — pin Michaels, 16:42, ***) Cena was WAY out of his league here, like Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts getting married type of out of his league. The Pulse: Most of the show was a depressing mess, but HHH-Flair really pulled it out of the fire, even if the main event couldn’t deliver what was promised. Was it enough to save the show? Nah. Recommendation to avoid.  (Even I kind of ran out of things to say about this dull show by the end.)