Judgment Day 2004

Judgment Day 2004
Date: May 16, 2004
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 18,722
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

I guess we have to do this one too. It’s one of the worst built shows I’ve seen in a very long time and that’s not surprising given how horrible Smackdown has been in recent weeks. The main event of Eddie Guerrero defending the World Title against John Bradshaw Layfield is going nowhere and it seems that it’s what we’re going to be seeing for a long time going forward. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about how we will all be judged one day, but maybe there is no afterlife and this is all we get to do. But what if there’s something there? Will we meet a callous jury or be welcomed warmly? Even this is a rambling mess.

Rey Mysterio/Rob Van Dam vs. Dudley Boyz

Cole: “Literally in Rey Mysterio’s backyard tonight!” For those unfamiliar, Los Angeles is about 120 miles from San Diego. Rey has a huge backyard. Bubba and Rob start things off with the fans behind Van Dam. A very early distraction lets D-Von get in a cheap shot from behind and he comes in legally just to keep things fair. It’s already back to Bubba for some choking on the ropes but HE HAS UNTIL FIVE.

Rob comes back with some kicks and clotheslines D-Von to the floor. There’s the big flip dive onto Bubba as Rey finally realizes he can do something and dives onto D-Von. We settle down to D-Von and Rob with the latter hitting a stepover spinning kick to the face but Bubba grabs a full nelson. Of course D-Von hits his partner by mistake, because that’s how full nelsons work in tag matches.

Rey still can’t come in and it’s time for the slow motion beating. A legsweep gets Rob out of trouble and it’s off to Rey for the top rope seated senton. The springboard spinning crossbody gets two as Cole says the Dudleys are “bumblebee like”. Another springboard is countered into something like a hot shot and it’s Rey’s turn to be in trouble. A big leg sets up the chinlock, followed by the spinning back elbow to take Rey back down.

The beating continues with D-Von pounding away in the corner but the sitout bulldog gets Rey out of trouble. The hot tag….doesn’t bring Van Dam in though as Bubba comes in a second earlier to distract the referee. One heck of a spinebuster lets Bubba put Rey in the Tree of Woe (Bubba: “He’s a pinata!”).

In a rather unique counter, Rey pulls himself up and hits a cutter, despite still being tied up. That was pretty cool. A moonsault press gets two and that’s enough for the hot tag to Van Dam. Rob’s springboard kick to the face sets up Rolling Thunder for two on D-Von as everything breaks down. Rey hits a middle rope hurricanrana on D-Von to set up a double 619. The Five Star is enough to finish D-Von.

Rating: B-. It’s a bit longer than it needed to be but given that this is one of the only few good matches the card is likely to have, it makes sense to give it so much time. Mysterio and Van Dam have always worked well together, but someone needs to explain the idea of having the Dudleys lose twice if they’re supposed to be top level heels.

Josh Matthews barges into Booker T.’s locker room without even knocking so Booker yells about preparing for Undertaker. He has his own power in the bag and throws Josh out. That….was rather pointless.

Kurt Angle’s lackey Luther Reigns pushes out a big platform and Angle rises up through it to sit above the ring in a cool visual. Angle insults the crowd and the Los Angeles Lakers before moving on to Eddie Guerrero causing his broken leg. When JBL wins the title tonight, Angle is expecting them to riot and hopes a huge earthquake hits the city after he’s gone.

Before we get there though, he wants Torrie Wilson out here right now. Torrie comes out and gets in the ring where Angle yells at her for ruining his career. Therefore, she needs to protect her own career. If she loses tonight, she is FIRED. Oh dear. What ever will we do without her five minutes of screen time a month???

Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

They fight into the corner to start with Torrie shoving her off. A Hennig necksnap keeps Dawn in trouble and a horrible sunset flip (you need to get both shoulders down) gets two. Torrie misses a high crossbody and the fans cheer for her….for about five seconds. Some slow motion stomping puts Torrie on the floor and a dropkick to the ribs keeps her out there.

Back in and we hit the chinlock, allowing Torrie to fight up and botch the swinging neckbreaker (you need to grab something, not put a hand on the face). A better sunset flip gets two more and Torrie rolls her up, with Dawn’s gear tearing to the first real reaction of the match. Torrie backslides her for the pin.

Rating: D-. I really, really hope they didn’t have to go home early because of the gear breaking because this was already getting terrible. Trying to get me to care about Torrie being fired isn’t a great course of action as she’s nothing but eye candy and losing her isn’t going to make the show any worse than it already is. Terrible match, because neither of them are wrestlers.

JBL is happy to be here because he’s tired of campaigning all over the country and seeing a bunch of Eddie Guerreros. Nowhere is worse than right here in Los Angeles but there are some good people. Like the ones who wash his car and polish his boots. In his America, everybody speaks English and there aren’t people with eight or nine kids on welfare.

Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Mordecai

This is Mordecai’s debut and he gets the big entrance with the white robe and cross (not a cross, but it’s a cross) staff. Scotty is terrified and his early headlock completely fails. Mordecai sends him into the post and crushes Scotty’s head against the steel. Scotty gets bent around the ropes (almost like a standing camel clutch) and a knee to the head makes it even worse. A superkick staggers Mordecai but he shrugs off the bulldog. Mordecai finishes him with a Razor’s Edge (appropriate) to complete the squash.

Rating: D. The entrance was cool and the finisher is good, but everything in the middle was pretty uninspiring stuff. Mordecai could work if he was better in the ring but there’s only so much you can do when you were boring in a three minute match. There’s potential there, though not enough to overcome the problems he has.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Chavo Classic (with his pants down) are getting ready when Jacqueline comes in with a present. It’s something to make him feel more comfortable on the way to the ring in case he loses to a girl again. And of course it’s women’s underwear as this horrible show continues to be horrible. Ok Chavo Classic looking at it while Jr. yells at her helps a bit.

Tag Team Titles: Rico/Charlie Haas vs. Hardcore Holly/Billy Gunn

Holly and Gunn are challenging. Charlie stalls some more by not being able to walk onto Rico and Jackie’s platform. The challengers aren’t sure who should start so Rico spanks them both at once. That means a trip to the floor as the stalling continues. After a minute of waiting around, we settle down to Charlie vs. Bob. Holly takes him into the corner as the slow pace continues.

A rollup gives Haas two and Holly chills in the corner. An armbar goes on and it’s off to Rico, who rubs Charlie’s chest for the tag. Rico’s antics send Holly over for the tag off to Gunn, meaning it’s time for Rico to dance. Rico licks his hand and tries to rub it on Gunn, sending him sprawling into the corner in…I guess annoyance? A grab of the trunks gets Rico out of a headlock and Holly will have none of the tag attempt.

It’s time to actually get serious with a series of kicks in the corner and Gunn bails to the floor. Haas comes back in as Cole and Tazz crack each other up with sex jokes. Holly gets in a cheap shot from behind to take over and it’s time to talk about the Undertaker. The chinlock goes on as the discussion moves to Jackie being entertaining when she slaps the mat over and over. Holly’s dropkick gets two and Rico demands that they don’t hurt his Charlie.

The kick to the ribs gets two and Holly goes up for the top rope dive that is only designed to dive onto a raised boot. To be fair though, Holly at least leaned forward a bit so it could have almost kind of sort of looked like an elbow instead of landing flat on his feet. Charlie dives over to the hot tag to Rico and house is cleaned in a hurry. The Fameasser connects but Charlie tagged himself in and German suplexes Gunn down. Holly grabs the Alabama Slam but Rico superkicks him down, allowing Haas to get a sunset flip to retain.

Rating: D. Well, at least the finish was good. This was every Rico/Haas match (Of what, four that they’ve had?) and that’s not a positive. It was the same jokes over and over again with nothing interesting or entertaining, save for Jackie as usual. You couldn’t have the Bashams in this spot instead? At least they’re a regular team.

Paul Bearer and Undertaker aren’t worried about Booker T. having the voodoo bag of death. Undertaker even acknowledging that feels so beneath him.

We recap Chavo Guerrero vs. Jacqueline, with Chavo trying to get the title back after she upset him a few weeks back. This is one of the dumbest stories of the night, and that’s a bad sign on a show of so many dumb stories.

Cruiserweight Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Jacqueline

Chavo is challenging and has an arm tied behind his back. Jacqueline gets sent into the corner and kneed in the ribs as Chavo is already getting in more offense than he had in the first match. Some one armed backbreakers keep Jacqueline down but she comes back with a headscissors and Chavo walks himself shoulder first into the post. Jacqueline’s sleeper is broken up with a ram into the corner but she kicks him down for two.

Chavo Classic gets knocked off the apron and the distraction lets Jr. get in a clothesline. The low blow gives Jacqueline two and it’s time to head outside, where Classic unties the arm. Back in and another distraction lets Jr. block a right hand and hit a hard clothesline. Classic picks up a bunch of stuff for more distracting and it’s the Gory Bomb to give Jr. the title back.

Rating: F. I hated this for so many reasons that I can’t even cut the list down to something reasonable. If this is the best you can have for a title, just get rid of the thing. I know that’s what they probably want to do, but Jacqueline is not the best you can do. Jacqueline isn’t an interesting wrestler and why they decided to put her together in a “HAHA YOU LOST TO A GIRL” story is beyond me. It would have been almost as stupid, but if this is the general way you want to go, put the title on Rico and find some different Tag Team Champions. At least the promos would have been better. Horrible stuff and let’s move on.

Post match Chavo blames everyone else for laughing at him and says no one can laugh at him again. Classic gets in a cheap shot on Jacqueline before leaving. Now PLEASE never let this be talked about again.

We recap the US Title match. Rene Dupree is an obnoxious French guy who hates America and John Cena is standing up for the country. Rene isn’t ready for this spot but he’s trying, and I can take that over so much of the other slapped together show.

US Title: John Cena vs. Rene Dupree

Cena is defending and his rap is a simple one about beating Dupree and sending him back to France. Some early right hands put Dupree on the floor and Cena comes back in with a Thesz press of all things. Back up and Dupree hits a rather fast boot to the face out of the corner to little effect.

Cena is right back with a backdrop and a hard clothesline puts Dupree outside again. Dupree is in a little better shape this time as he pulls Cena shoulder first into the post to take over for the first time. Back in and a low bridge sends a diving Cena (!) sailing right back to the floor. A backbreaker gives Dupree two and it’s off to a bearhug. Cena finally jawbreaks his way to freedom and starts the comeback but the Shuffle takes too long (gee I’m stunned) and Dupree scores with a spinebuster.

The French dance takes way too long as well but Cena can’t follow up. Dupree can’t hit the Michinoku Driver but Cena’s can’t hit the FU either. Instead Dupree grabs a neckbreaker for a delayed two and it’s time for the exchange of rollups. That goes nowhere so Dupree tries to jump over Cena in the corner, only to get caught in the FU to retain the title.

Rating: C+. That’s the second fine match of the night as they were putting in the effort and there was a perfectly acceptable story being told. It’s nothing that really needed to be on pay per view, but it’s better than nothing, which is more than you can say for almost anything else on the show so far. Imagine that: Cena being one of the few bright spots.

Post match Cena gives a fan his Lakers jersey in a nice touch.

Kenzo Suzuki is coming. Egads no.

We recap Booker T. vs. the Undertaker. Booker showed up in the Draft and started talking about how much better he was than everyone else, including the Undertaker. A bunch of lightning and thunder followed, so Booker went to a voodoo woman and has a hex bag that is supposed to even things out. Yeah it’s really stupid and I doubt it’s going to help the show.

Booker T. vs. Undertaker

The announcers keep calling this a rare appearance by the Undertaker. I’m really not sure why, but then again I’m not sure why Cole and Tazz say a lot of things they say. Booker takes him into the corner to start and we actually get a clean break. A shove down is enough for Booker at the moment as he heads outside and rubs something from the bag on his chest, which just gets his arm cranked on back inside.

Undertaker side slams him down and gets two off a legdrop before clotheslining Booker right back to the floor. As tends to happen to him a lot, Undertaker gets his throat snapped across the top, allowing Booker to come back in with a missile dropkick. Booker rubs some more stuff on his chest and gets caught with the jumping clothesline. Old School connects but Booker slips out of the Last Ride and bumps the referee.

The distraction lets Booker throw the dirt from the bag in Undertaker’s eyes….which just ticks him off. The running big boot misses in the corner though and Booker starts stomping on the knee. Booker wraps the leg around the post to keep Undertaker down and a dropkick gets two. The ax kick connects for the same so it’s time for Undertaker to pop up with the chokeslam and Tombstone for the pin.

Rating: D. Egads they really can’t get anything going with this show. Another bad match as the hex bag went nowhere as Undertaker didn’t even sell the dirt in his eyes. Other than that, this was a little working on Undertaker’s knee before he popped back up and won anyway. I have no idea why you would bring Booker to Smackdown just to put Undertaker over in his first big match, especially when the show is so starved for effectual heels. It didn’t make sense at the time and it still doesn’t now.

We recap JBL vs. Eddie Guerrero. JBL is a rich guy from New York and wants to get rid of someone deplorable like Eddie. In other words, it’s at least half racist and more than half awful as JBL is really bad at what he’s doing. Then JBL caused Eddie’s mom to have a heart attack, which he blamed Eddie for and which we had to see about five times in a week. Let’s get this over with.

Smackdown World Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

Eddie is defending. Before we’re ready to go, JBL talks about how he’s going to say this in English so half the people here will need translators. After he wins the title, Eddie’s mother can come to New York and be his maid. Eddie gets aggressive to start and knocks him outside for a whip into the steps. JBL gets tossed over the announcers’ table and it’s time to head back inside for some shouting and punching.

It’s too early for JBL to walk out so Eddie chases him down and hammers away some more. Back in and Eddie walks on his face but makes the mistake of going outside again, allowing JBL to whip him into the steps. JBL keeps up the awesome wrestling with a big boot and a headlock as things slow down to a snail’s pace. Another headlock takeover keeps things slow but some armdrags put JBL on the floor.

The dive is caught for a fall away slam though and the champ is down again. A backdrop puts Eddie onto the announcers’ table in a good looking crash. Back in and they slug it out until JBL grabs a bearhug, which is the worst thing this match can do. Thankfully it doesn’t last long as Eddie slips out and hits Three Amigos. The referee gets bumped though and Eddie backdrops JBL to the floor.

Another whip over the announcers’ table lets JBL grab a chair and cave Eddie’s head in, drawing one of the deepest, most disturbing cuts I’ve ever seen. You can see the blood literally flowing out of his head and streaming down his chest over and over. A steps show to the head makes it even worse and the Clothesline From JBL is good for no cover because referees are made of paper around here. The second referee comes in for two as there is blood EVERYWHERE.

The replacement referee takes a Clothesline of his own and a powerbomb gives JBL two with the first referee counting. JBL slaps on a sleeper but Eddie fights up and starts the dancing. The fall away slam is countered into a DDT and they’re both down. Eddie is up first but the blood loss means the frog splash takes way too long and they’re down again. JBL grabs the title and a chair but Eddie kicks him low and hits him with the belt for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The story worked, the blood REALLY worked, and Eddie was trying, but there’s only so much you can do with someone like Bradshaw as your opponent. The headlock didn’t do this any favors and the idea of having to watch this match again made my head hurt. You can only do so much to get beyond a horrible build and bad character work from the heel and Eddie wasn’t able to get over the mountain.

Post match Eddie stays on him and shoves some referees away. A chair to JBL’s head draws some blood as well and Eddie does it again for fun. Eddie drops a frog splash and JBL bails to end the show.

Overall Rating: F. The two good matches are nowhere near enough to save this show as they’re only so good. The problem here continues to be the lame villains, as there’s no way around people I don’t care about. JBL is a terrible top villain, the second villains are the Dudley Boyz who haven’t won a tag match in a long time, and then you have Booker T. who is running around like a comedy goof. Who in there is supposed to be intimidating?

Nothing on this show got me interested or excited in the slightest and that just shouldn’t happen on a pay per view. The wrestling can be passable at times but they have to work on the stories and characters. Those are the far more important parts of the show and neither of them is going anywhere at all. Just get something interesting in there because what we have at the moment is making me long for a twenty minute HHH promo to perk things up a bit.

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