Bad Blood 2004

Bad Blood 2004
Date: June 13, 2004
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 9,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for another Raw show and wouldn’t you know it, the main event is Shawn Michaels vs. HHH. This time it’s inside the Cell, with the question being how can they managed to make this match boring too. Other than that we have World Champion Chris Benoit defending the title against Kane and Shelton Benjamin challenging Randy Orton for the Intercontinental Title. Let’s get to it.

The opening video talks about the Cell, with the far lower matches on the card getting some attention as well. You know, the title matches.

Tag Team Titles: La Resistance vs. Chris Benoit/Edge

La Resistance is defending and sing O Canada in French with Edge’s music cutting them off. That’s rather unfair to some people who are just trying to spread some culture. Benoit, working a double tonight, gets quite the reaction. Edge and Grenier start us off and fight over some basic holds. It’s off to Benoit for a shoulder and a clothesline to put Grenier in some trouble, including a tag back to Edge.

Conway comes in as well and gets booed out of the building. Who knew he actually had some heat with the crowd? Benoit hits a belly to back suplex but Edge gets taken into the champs’ corner and things slow back down. A back first drive into the apron gets two and Grenier puts on a chinlock with a knee in the spine. Grenier drops a legdrop to the to the back of the neck and puts on another chinlock, with the referee very loudly telling Edge SIX.

With the hold not working again, Conway grabs a suplex and hammers away at the head. The fans chant USA, which would likely be for Conway. Dang people make up your minds. Edge finally gets in a spinwheel kick but the champs knock Benoit off the apron. A double suplex is countered into a double neckbreaker though and Benoit is right back up to take the tag anyway. The house cleaning is on and Conway saves Grenier from the Sharpshooter. Edge stops himself before spearing Benoit and Grenier gets caught in the Crossface, but here’s Kane to kick Benoit in the face for the DQ.

Rating: C. This felt like a slightly bigger than average Raw match and the ending is the right call as it ties into the World Title match and gives them a way out of the title change without having Edge or Benoit take a fall. La Resistance can carry the division for a little while and Edge and Benoit have more important things to do. Not a bad job here of getting out of this and everyone getting where they need to go.

Post match it’s chokeslams all around.

Coach is ready to take care of Eugene and Eric Bischoff ensures him that William Regal won’t be at ringside. Of course Eugene is only a few feet away and this time he heard what was said. Eric explains that he’s just trying to protect him. What if Eugene tore his quad like HHH or broke his neck like Benoit? Eugene can leave right now and go home or he can wrestle. The decision involves a very enthusiastic hug.

Chris Jericho vs. Tyson Tomko

Trish Stratus is here with Tomko. Jericho has bad ribs after Tomko powerbombed him through the announcers’ table a few weeks back. Tomko will have nothing to do with Jericho being tentative to start so he hammers Jericho down in the corner. A clothesline keeps Jericho in trouble but he’s right back with a middle rope dropkick. Another dropkick puts Tomko on the floor and Jericho posts him for good measure.

Back in and the required Trish distraction lets Tomko get in a gorilla press gutbuster. At least you can’t fault the logic. The bearhug goes on for a bit until Tomko lets him go but misses a charge in the corner. Jericho rakes the eyes to get out of the gorilla press (cheater) and a chop block takes Tomko down. Trish’s second distraction breaks up the Walls (better than breaking them down) so Jericho settles for a running enziguri and the pin instead.

Rating: C-. They were really smart to keep this one short as Tomko isn’t ready to go into the deeper waters. Jericho walked him through the match just fine and while it wasn’t anything special, they had a perfectly watchable match. They had to do something to get away from Jericho vs. Christian and for a one off short match, this was fine.

We recap Shelton Benjamin vs. Randy Orton. Shelton has pinned him a few times in tag matches but Batista pinned Shelton on Raw to end his winning streak. I’m not sure what the point of that is but at least he got the wins that mattered.

Orton brags about holding the title for so long, including six months from tomorrow and the longest reign in seven years. The fans aren’t happy with this Orton takes the mic and has the cameraman follow him into the arena as he brags about his accomplishments at 24 years old. Orton says they’re looking at real greatness right now and he’s one in a million, unlike the millions of people here. He’s a living legend and the Intercontinental Champion. This brings out Shelton, who says we can have the match right now instead of later. Nice job of mixing things up a bit, which happens so infrequently around here.

Intercontinental Title: Randy Orton vs. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is challenging and grabs a rollup for two less than five seconds in. A dropkick puts Orton on the floor and the fans are rather happy to see him. Back in and Orton scores with some right hands but gets clotheslined right back down to the floor. Shelton sends him over the barricade and then takes it back inside for two more off a second rollup. The Stinger Splash (and a very high one at that) misses so here’s Ric Flair for some support.

The chinlock has Benjamin down so he powers up with an electric chair for the break. Orton’s over the shoulder backbreaker into a neckbreaker (always loved that one) gets two and it’s off to the chinlock. With that having served its purpose, Orton goes up but misses the high crossbody. They slug it out and get some rather solid applause until Benjamin takes over with some clotheslines. The top rope version gets two and the Dragon Whip knocks Randy silly for a very delayed cover.

Shelton hits the exploder but Flair is right there to put a foot on the ropes. What a good legendary henchman. Benjamin throws Flair inside, gives him a Stinger Splash and puts on the Figure Four. Orton comes over for the save but Shelton manages to small package him without letting go of the hold for two. That one gets me every time I see it. Shelton goes up for the high crossbody but Orton rolls through and grabs the trunks to retain.

Rating: B-. This got the time to make it work and the ending keeps Shelton looking strong while keeping the title on Orton. Shelton has come a long way in just a few months and you can tell he’s going to be around as we keep going. Orton never even hit the RKO and Shelton had him in trouble for a lot of the match. Good storytelling here and the action worked as well.

Matt Hardy and Lita are in the back where Lita is getting ready for her Women’s Title match. Security comes in and Bischoff ejects Matt from the building. Matt leaves under threats of Lita being removed from the title match.

We look up at the Cell and JR promises the match is still coming. No they didn’t cancel the main event.

Women’s Title: Gail Kim vs. Trish Stratus vs. Lita vs. Victoria

Victoria is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Everyone stares Trish to the floor to start but she pulls Lita out with her. Cue Tomko to stare Lita down as Victoria hits the dancing moonsault for two on Gail. Tomko interferes again and gets ejected, leaving Lita to hit the reverse Twist of Fate on Trish. Victoria makes a save and all four are back in. A hurricanrana drops Trish’s head on the mat, leaving Gail to put Victoria in the Black Widow.

Trish comes back in for the save and gets the taste slapped out of her mouth by Gail. Lita takes Gail down and awkwardly collides with Victoria in the corner to put all four down. Gail is up but misses a charge into the post, allowing Lita to snap her down with the DDT. Not that it matters as Trish runs in for the rollup to pin Lita for the title.

Rating: D. They were working hard and only botched a few things, which is an upgrade over some of the stuff they do most of the time. Victoria was WAY past her expiration date as champion and Trish has been the biggest name in the division for a long time now. They could only do so much with four women involved plus Tomko in less than five minutes so I can’t really complain that much about everything being rushed.

We recap Coach vs. Eugene, including the entire Eugene backstory. If you ignore the whole match with Kane, this couldn’t have gone much better. Bischoff is sending out Coach because…well he’s just not that bright.

Jonathan Coachman vs. Eugene

No Regal with Eugene here. Coach is in a Michigan shirt to mock the Ohio State crowd. They shake hands to start with Coach trying to squeeze him down but getting sent to his knees instead. Coach whips him in but Eugene drops to his back and ties himself into a ball, which Coach rolls around the ring. Eventually Eugene sticks a hand out and pulls Coach down into a cover for two.

Another whip sends Eugene to the ropes so Coach drops down, with Eugene dropping right next to him. That means it’s time to ride Coach like a horse as Lawler is getting annoyed. The crisscross starts with Eugene dropping to the floor and accepting a teddy bear from a good looking blonde. Eugene brings it back in with him but gets knocked down, only to take Coach into a bodyscissors and roll him around the ring. The Junkyard Dog offense lets Eugene have some more fun and Coach bails to the floor.

This brings out a good looking woman in a swimsuit carrying a tray of cookies. Eugene goes to get some (cookies that is) but gets knocked into the plate instead. Back in and Eugene Hulks Up for an atomic drop, followed by the airplane spin. Now it’s Garrison Cade coming out to rip the head off the bear. Cade grabs Eugene but gets knocked down by Coach instead. The Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow finish Coach.

Rating: D. Well that was a lot. This could have been a straight match or without the cookie lady but instead they stretched it out and went on a lot further than they needed to. Above all else though, they went back to the comedy stuff here, which was exactly what they should have done in the first place. Longer than it needed to be, but the ending was done right.

Post match Cade and Coach take Stunners as Regal comes in to celebrate. Eugene steals his nose, but is nice enough to give it back.

We recap Chris Benoit vs. Kane. Benoit finally won the big one, then won the big rematch. Now it’s time for a title defense against anyone other than Shawn Michaels or HHH, so Kane won a battle royal to earn the shot. Kane has been more obsessed with Lita and Matt Hardy though, only seeming to remember that he had a title match on this week’s Raw.

Raw World Title: Chris Benoit vs. Kane

Benoit is defending in his second match of the night. Some very loud chops stagger Kane to start and Benoit kicks him into the corner with more aggression than you would usually see from him. Benoit goes to the middle and says bring it so Kane shoves him into the corner. A hard shoulder puts Benoit on the floor but he’s right back in with the enziguri. Kane blocks the Sharpshooter (not the Crossface JR) and uppercuts the heck out of the champ.

A big clothesline to the side of the head puts Benoit down and Kane drops him throat first across the top rope. After a neckbreaker, it’s off to a neck crank as Kane certainly has a logical path here. The comeback is cut off by an uppercut and a forearm to the neck prevents a Sharpshooter attempt. Kane sends him outside before bringing him back in for a rather hard clothesline. With Lawler asking if Kane can get a telethon tomorrow should he win the title, Benoit gets smart by going after the leg. That allows JR to get in the still wrong statement of “Kane won’t be 7ft if he’s on his back.”

The Sharpshooter is countered again but Benoit kicks his way out of a chokeslam attempt. Kane misses the big boot in the corner though and a running dropkick to the leg finally lets Benoit get the Sharpshooter. The dramatic crawl gets Kane to the rope so Benoit rolls the German suplexes instead. Kane sits up before the Swan Dive can launch so it’s back to the suplexes.

Now the Swan Dive can connect but Kane is up at the same time as Benoit. The Crossface is broken up as well and the chokeslam connects for two. Kane boots him down and heads up, only to dive into the Crossface (because Kane didn’t learn from Benoit, who was smart enough to come down when his opponent was starting to stir). The hold is broken through raw power so Benoit switches to the other arm and then goes with a rollup for the pin to retain in a smart move. Ignore the shoulder pretty clearly being off the mat.

Rating: B+. It takes something special to make Kane look energetic but Benoit pulled it off here. I love the ending of Benoit going for one thing throughout the match and then switching up when he knew the submissions weren’t going to work. That’s a very smart ending and it makes Benoit look more versatile at the same time. Really good match here with Kane looking like a monster who had more than one chance and Benoit working him way around him.

Post match Benoit says tonight, Kane learned that he’s for real. He actually looks at some of the highlights and acknowledges Kane’s power but says it took someone real to take him down.

The Cell is lowered. JR, get your ridiculous metaphors in now.

We recap Shawn Michaels vs. HHH, which exists because for some reason we just can’t escape it. Shawn tried to beat him last year, then went to a draw with him at the Royal Rumble, then didn’t win at Wrestlemania, then lost at Backlash. Now you might think that all these losses and draws (read as NOT WINS) would be enough to get Shawn out of the main event but that would be crazy talk. This is the big blowoff between the two of them, because the world was begging for it.

Shawn Michaels vs. HHH

Inside the Cell and HHH has the white boots again. They stare at each other for the better part of a minute to start, meaning HHH is in epic mode tonight. Thankfully they start fighting with the slugout in the corner until HHH elbows him hard in the jaw. Shawn is right back up with more right hands but HHH sends him outside. A ram into the Cell lets Shawn take over and they head back inside as the announcers talk about how both guys want this to be final. Oh I think there are more than just the two of them.

Shawn busts out the Ted DiBiase fist drop (cool) but charges into a boot and gets thrown outside. That just earns HHH a whip into the Cell and he’s busted open. Back in again and Shawn stays on the cut but his back seems to be giving him problems. HHH is smart enough to send Shawn hard into the corner, with JR saying that HHH is one of the strongest men in the history of WWE. Did Stephanie feed him that line? Some elbows to the back set up a suplex and backbreaker for two as frustration is setting in.

It’s chair time but Shawn kicks it away and sends HHH outside. Following him isn’t the best idea in the world though as HHH rams him into the Cell and the post over and over. Back in and a side slam onto the folded chair gives HHH two so he covers several more times to no avail. A chair to the back gets the same result but Shawn is up with a hiptoss to the floor. HHH comes back in to a low blow as this is still lacking the necessary intensity.

They’re beating each other up, but it doesn’t feel nearly violent enough. An atomic drop sends HHH back to the floor and Shawn whips him into the steps, which JR says must be the cousin of the Cell. Shawn tries a piledriver on the steps (nice little callback to the first Cell match) but gets backdropped onto the floor. HHH grabs a fresh chair (because….I have no idea really) and blasts the back again. The steps come in now but Shawn hits the flying forearm and nips up.

HHH hits him with the steps anyway and that draws more blood. Well that makes it feel a little more violent. That’s not enough of a reason to lay around some more so HHH hits him a second time. Of course Michaels kicks out and more blood flows, which is made even worse as HHH takes it outside again. Shawn’s face gets raked against the Cell and the spinebuster plants him back inside. Just because we need one, HHH grabs the sleeper but gets sent into the corner.

HHH tell Shawn to counter the Pedigree into the DDT, tries the Pedigree, and gets reversed into a DDT. It’s Shawn up after the next required nap with a chair to the head to bust HHH open even worse. We haven’t had enough stuff in here yet, so let’s bring in a ladder to hit HHH in the face as well. A whip into the ladder in the corner puts HHH on the floor, this time with Shawn raking his face into the Cell. Back in and HHH gets whipped into the ladder again for two but the top rope elbow misses.

They slug it out from their knees as JR points out that this is the longest Cell match in history. Naturally they collapse, because they need a nap after being in the match so long. Back up (again) and HHH sends him shoulder first into the post, allowing him to grab a table. Shawn comes back with some slow motion punches and puts HHH on the table. The elbow off the ladder through the table gets an eventual two and they’re both down again. Sweet Chin Music is blocked by a low blow and there’s the Pedigree.

That gets two and they pull each other up in what I’m sure is some kind of symbolism, but GET ON WITH THIS ALREADY! Now Sweet Chin Music connects for another delayed two and HHH is back up with another Pedigree. No cover due to the required nap, so it’s a third Pedigree to FINALLY give HHH the pin.

Rating: C+. What’s amazing is it’s not a bad match at all. The violence is pretty good, they had a nice story with Shawn’s back (at least for the first half), and it felt like the big ending to the rivalry. The problem is you could actually cut off half of the match and still do the same thing. There is WAY too much laying around and filling in time, plus so much stuff that was just added to make the match feel big (the ladder and the table are good places to start). The length is the problem here and it’s the best example I can think of for a match that is long for the sake of being long. Now never let them fight again.

Post match they’re both dead so Evolution comes to help HHH out. JR talks this up like the greatest, most brutal match of all time, even though it’s not even the most brutal Cell match in Shawn’s career. JR: “The longest running, most storied rivalry in WWE history has ended.” You know, this feud that isn’t even two years old and, if you count Elimination Chambers and triple threats, less than ten major matches against each other. Anyway Shawn gets the big heroic stand up moment to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This was another good example of how these brands aren’t really able to do stand alone shows. There was a match that took up about an hour (counting entrances, video and post match) and the World Champion had to wrestle twice. The show was long enough at around two hours and fifty minutes but look at how much time they had to fill to get there.

The show itself isn’t that bad though. The title matches (save for the women) are almost all good and the Cell is fine enough, assuming you watch it at double speed or need something to put you to sleep. That Cell match drains the energy out of the show though as it’s over a third of the entire run time. There are far worse shows (last year’s Bad Blood was a disaster) but you’re better off stopping it after about an hour and forty five minutes. Now, just keep HHH and Shawn apart for good.

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