Armageddon 2004

Armageddon 2004
Date: December 12, 2004
Location: Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Georgia
Attendance: 5,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

It’s the final, and normally least inspired, pay per view of the year and this time around it’s all about JBL to make things even less interesting. Tonight JBL is defending the title against Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero and Booker T. in a four way, which takes away a lot of the talent from the rest of the card. Other than that we have….I guess the other big match is the Tough Enough boxing match? Let’s get to it.

The opening video focuses entirely on the main event, which really is all that matters on this show.

Tag Team Titles: Rob Van Dam/Rey Mysterio vs. Rene Dupree/Kenzo Suzuki

Rob and Rey are defending after winning the titles earlier this week. Kenzo headscissors Rob down to start so it’s a bunch of flips to get us to a standoff. The (first of many) kick to the face drops Kenzo and it’s the 420 for two with Cole again explaining it as fast as he can. He does add in “of course” before the explanation, because it’s the ONLY possible meaning. Rey gets whipped hard into the corner and it’s the challengers taking over for the first time. Rene comes in and gets cocky so Rey picks up the pace but a Kenzo distraction cuts that off.

That earns Kenzo a springboard kick from Rob, knocking him into a powerbomb to the floor from Rey. The spinning kick to the back hits Rene in the back but he’s right back with a good looking dropkick to the face. Rob shrugs that off and catapults Rene into a springboard seated senton, which barely connects and didn’t look very good as a result. Kenzo gets in a kick of his own and the chinlock goes on. That doesn’t last long either as Rob kicks his way out and brings Rey in.

This time it’s Hiroko offering a distraction so Rene can get in a neck snap across the top. Cue Torrie to chase Hiroko off, leaving Kenzo to drop a knee for two on Rey. An armbar starts in on Rey’s arm and Rene adds a dropkick to the shoulder. Normally it would make more sense to go after Rey’s knee but at least there’s an idea. Rene’s powerbomb is broken up and Rey dives for the tag but Rene stops it with ease. The villains cut the ring off again with Kenzo hitting a running clothesline for two.

We now pause for the French Tickler, with Kenzo adding his own while on the apron. The dancing takes too long (as always) and Rene goes shoulder first into the post, allowing the hot tag off to Van Dam. Everything breaks down and the Chalupa Roll (slingshot legdrop/Rolling Thunder) gets two on Rene with Kenzo making the save. A sloppy looking crossbody gets the same on Rene with Kenzo saving again. Rey is fine enough to hit the double 619 and the Five Star to Rene retains the titles.

Rating: B-. Not too bad here as the chemistry continues. They got some extra time here to make things that much better, as Kenzo and Rene had some good, old school styling. Rob and Rey winning the titles here would have been a nice moment but it’s not like it’s that big of a problem one way or another. Good opener, though there was some sloppiness to overcome.

Daniel Puder promises to make Mike Mizanin feel the two true pains: his right and his left. He says Mike over and over again and stumbles a few times, but the intensity helps.

Here’s Kurt Angle for a bonus Kurt Angle Invitational before his scheduled match later tonight. Angle has found a perfect challenger, who is admired by millions and takes his job very seriously. Ladies and gentlemen, SANTA CLAUS!!! Santa throws out candy to the fans but Angle says he needs to get back to the North Pole with Tazz and the other elves. Kurt doesn’t like him though because his daughter only wants to write letters to Santa instead of talking to him. Tonight, Santa is tapping out.

Kurt Angle vs. Santa Claus

Angle Slam and ankle lock for the win in 45 seconds. I bet he gets Cole for Christmas.

Mizanin says he’s never been an underdog and he won’t look stupid tonight. The underdog is going to have some bite tonight. It’s not much of a promo but the last two he’s had have had a point to them and he’s stuck with it so he’s learning.

Long recap of the entire Tough Enough contest so far.

Daniel Puder vs. Mike Mizanin

This is a boxing match with three one minute rounds and Al Snow on commentary. Theodore Long comes out for a long introduction and we actually have boxing commission representatives and a state issued referee because this is apparently serious. They both go nuts with punches with Miz (thank goodness that name is officially used now and I don’t have to go back and change it every time) throwing wildly and Puder showing what is likely some boxing training for MMA. Puder slips a bit and goes down to a knee with neither being a definitive winner.

Tazz actually brings up the Brawl For All between the rounds, likely earning himself a fine. The second round is a lot more subdued as they’re both winded. Puder gets in a clear rabbit punch and a few good shots have Miz staggered to end the round. The fans are loudly booing now as round three starts and they slug it out again with Puder getting the better of it to wrap things up. Puder wins on a fan decision, which is the right call as he won the second and third rounds. This was awful in case that wasn’t clear.

Post match Miz says Puder has a great overhand right. Puder says this isn’t his fight and he’s all about breaking arms.

Eddie Guerrero and Booker T. want to hurt JBL tonight and take the title. They both think they could beat each other but they each find the other’s idea hilarious. Eddie remembers that they have to deal with Undertaker though and they agree to team up against the other two. Undertaker comes in, stares at both of them, and keeps walking. You don’t see Undertaker in these segments very often and it felt out of place for him.

Basham Brothers vs. Charlie Haas/Hardcore Holly

Bonus match because only a handful of matches got any kind of proper build on this show. Holly headlocks Doug to start and hits some chops in the corner, followed by some general stomping. It’s off to Haas, who gets sent into the corner so the Bashams can take over. That lasts all of three seconds until Haas armdrags Danny down, only to get kicked in the back. The chinlock doesn’t last long so Danny punches him in the face for two.

An exploder suplex gets Haas out of trouble and it’s Holly coming in with a top rope clothesline. Cue Dawn Marie to check on Charlie, drawing out Jackie Gayda to yell. As Charlie’s life continues to crumble around him (I feel so sorry over a professional wrestler having two gorgeous women fighting over him), Doug gets the worst small package I’ve ever see (it didn’t go down smoothly and Holly’s shoulders were so far off the mat I couldn’t tell who was covering whom) for the pin.

Rating: D-. It’s a really bad sign when a show needs this kind of filler to break the two and a half hour mark. This was awful and would have been bad anywhere, even as a middle of the show match on Velocity. The Bashams aren’t the worst team in the world but they’re involved with the World Champion and needed the love triangle to beat Holly and Haas. Just bad all around.

We recap John Cena vs. Jesus. Cena lost the US Title to Carlito and was then stabbed in a club later that night. Then he came back and destroyed the injured Carlito to win the title back. Tonight Cena gets to beat up Jesus, who is likely the person who stabbed him. This was Cena’s launch up to the next level as he was suddenly this main event level monster with a fire in his eyes and you knew it was a matter of time before he took over the show.

US Title: John Cena vs. Jesus

Cena is defending and it’s a street fight with falls counting anywhere. Just to rub in the awful of this show, Cena debuts the spinner US Title design which would beget the most annoying title in wrestling history. Jesus, still carrying Cena’s chain, and Carlito mock Cena’s kidney injury because they’re not that bright. Cena starts before the bell and hits one of the longest strings of punches I can remember to knock Jesus silly early on.

Carlito slips Jesus a kendo stick for a shot to the bad kidney but Cena takes it away and beats on Jesus even more. The stick is broken over Jesus’ arm and Cena glares Carlito up the ramp. A busted open Jesus is kicked into the crowd and Cena knocks him around the arena as this is completely one sided. Carlito runs back in for a cheap shot to save Jesus from being thrown off a balcony but Cena doesn’t seem to mind. The beating takes Jesus back to ringside and some metal shots to the head make things even worse. The FU finishes Jesus in a complete squash.

Rating: D. This was a squash that just happened to go about eight minutes. It was smart to have Cena pushed this hard because it’s not like anyone was buying Jesus as a threat to the title at all. After a performance like that, there is no way you can hold him back from the main event much longer and I think WWE knows it. This was it for Jesus too, as there wasn’t much you could do with him at the moment without a big repackaging.

Jackie promises to finish Dawn once and for all tonight. Charlie is sick of this but puts on his referee shirt anyway. She promises to make it up to him tonight, which calms him down a bit. Charlie makes sure she takes her engagement ring off and puts it in his pocket.

Dawn Marie vs. Jackie Gayda

Charlie comes out with Jackie, just in case you were expecting impartiality. They trade slaps to start and then slug it out. Dawn gets the better of it and sends her into the buckle, followed by the rolling over the referee spot. A rollup with tights gives Dawn the pin.

Post match Charlie admits to the affair and ends the engagement. Jackie is too much like a dead wet fish in various ways but Dawn is like Atlanta on the 4th of July. Charlie pulls out the engagement ring and drops to a knee for a question. Charlie: “Dawn, why are you such a s***?” He wouldn’t marry either of them and walks out.

Hey remember the Diva Search? Well now you can see a pay per view highlight package of the whole thing!

Joy Giovanni kisses Big Show for good luck. It’s quite the relationship, having gone for like two and a half weeks now.

Big Show vs. Kurt Angle/Mark Jindrak/Luther Reigns

Cole: “Here comes the man who earlier tonight made Santa Claus tap out.” This is the latest blowoff to the Angle vs. Show feud from the fall, which included Angle shooting him with a tranquilizer dart and shaving his head. Jindrak starts for the team but hang on as we need to look at his bicep. As the announcers debate whether Cole was in a bodybuilding competition or the Ziegfeld Follies, Show takes Jindrak into the corner for the overhand chop.

Angle comes in instead and is shoved right back away, meaning here’s Reigns for the first time. That’s not enough for Show, who pulls Jindrak in for a bonus. An Angle cheap shot gets Show caught up in the ropes and some kicks to the ribs keep him down. As expected, it’s Reigns and Jindrak doing most of the work, including a double suplex to give Jindrak two.

Angle comes back in for the reverse chinlock with a knee in Show’s back, followed by a choke over the bottom rope. Now it’s Jindrak with his own reverse chinlock until Show powers up and cleans house. The Alley Oop drops Jindrak and reigns is tossed to the floor but Angle gets in the Slam. The ankle lock is broken up in a hurry so Angle goes for the steps, which are kicked into his face. An F5 of all things finishes Jindrak.

Rating: D+. This felt like a Smackdown main event so it could have been a lot worse. The good thing is that there is nowhere else for the feud to go, meaning we should be done now that this match is over. The match wasn’t very good, but Show is pretty clearly next in line for a title shot after three major pay per view wins in a row.

Video on last year’s Tribute to the Troops. This year’s edition is in less than two weeks.

Funaki interviews himself about his Cruiserweight Title shot. Cruiserweight Champion Spike Dudley comes in to call this pathetic and says Funaki will never be champion. Funaki doesn’t seem to agree.

Cruiserweight Title: Funaki vs. Spike Dudley

Spike is defending after Funaki won a battle royal earlier this week. Feeling out process to start with Funaki taking it to the mat for some early frustration. Some rollups give Funaki two each as Tazz makes small package jokes about Cole. A little cranking on Spike’s arm sends him to the floor for a baseball slide as Spike can’t get anything going so far. Back in and they fight over a superplex to the floor until a release gordbuster drops Funaki to the floor this time.

It’s time to start in on the ribs with Spike grabbing an abdominal stretch with Funaki’s knee down on the mat. A regular abdominal stretch keeps Funaki in trouble until he sends Spike into the corner for the break. Funaki’s high crossbody gets two so Spike tries the Dudley Dog, which is reverses into a jackknife cover to give Funaki the pin and the title.

Rating: C-. Not too bad here, even if it was in the spot where no one was going to care about the thing. There’s only so much you can do for a Spike vs. Funaki match and everyone knew that. At least they got the title off of Spike, who wasn’t a bad champion but his time had come and gone. Now that being said, he’s a better option than Funaki, who feels as bottom of the barrel as you can get.

We recap the World Title match. JBL has cheated his way to retaining the title over all three challengers so tonight he has to face them all at once. This gets the music video treatment because it’s the only match that has gotten a major push on TV. How often do you see a multi man match with everyone from the same state in a national promotion?

The Cabinet gives JBL a subdued pep talk as he looks like he’s walking to the gallows.

Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T. vs. Undertaker

JBL is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. The Cabinet is barred from ringside and if they interfere, JBL is stripped of the title. But if they help him win, doesn’t he just get the title back a few minutes later? If nothing else JBL is selling the heck out of his terror. JBL lets the other three beat each other up to start and it’s Undertaker booting Booker in the face so JBL can steal a near fall. No one is happy with that so it’s time to pinball him around between all three challengers at once.

With JBL down, Undertaker gets stomped in the corner, much to the fans’ annoyance. Undertaker gets knocked to the floor so it’s JBL getting double teamed for a change. As usual though, Booker gets annoyed at Eddie for going for a cover, allowing JBL to grab his own near fall. Undertaker comes back in and starts wrecking things so everyone heads outside. JBL loads up the announcers’ table but Undertaker backdrops him before anything can happen. Undertaker stalks Eddie back inside for a match I could have gone for in a much longer form.

Another backdrop gives Undertaker two and it’s Booker taking Eddie’s place. The running big boot in the corner misses so JBL comes in to beat on Booker. Choking on the ropes has Eddie and Undertaker in trouble but Undertaker is up with a spinebuster to cut Booker off. Old School and the Downward Spiral give Undertaker two with Eddie making the save so Undertaker launches him over the top with some raw power.

There’s the apron legdrop but JBL runs Undertaker over on the floor. Back in and JBL chokes Booker with some tape as Eddie pulls out a rather unnecessary ladder. After that takes Undertaker out, JBL grabs the title but Booker starts cleaning house with kicks to the face and head. The ax kick gets two on Eddie and Booker’s NO WAY face is great. It’s back to the floor with JBL badly powerbombing Booker onto the announcers’ table and then elbowing him through it.

The Last Ride puts JBL through the other table, leaving Eddie to play dead in the ring. The chokeslam connects and it’s time for the Last Ride but Eddie gets in a belt shot to the head. A pair of frog splashes gets two and now it’s Eddie’s turn to be terrified. With wrestling not working, Eddie brings in the ladder for a mega frog splash but his own knee is banged up so it’s a delayed two with JBL pulling the referee out.

The ladder to the face puts Undertaker on the floor and Eddie sends a charging JBL into it for a bonus. Three Amigos keep JBL in trouble but this time it’s Booker making the save. Undertaker is back in with Snake Eyes and the big boot for two on Eddie with Booker breaking it up again. Chokeslams hit everyone but Undertaker…but Heidenreich runs in to break up the Tombstone on JBL. Heidenreich chokes Undertaker out on the floor as JBL covers Eddie and Booker for two each. The Clothesline From JBL finishes Booker to retain.

Rating: B. They were working out there and the match didn’t feel as long as it was, but the JBL title reign has lost its charm in a hurry. It’s becoming more and more clear that we’re not getting out of this anytime soon and seeing him get beaten up so often but escaping with the title is rather tiring. It’s the same thing we had to see from HHH for years and the Cabinet is no Evolution.

Cole: “This could be the beginning of a long title reign for JBL!” He’s been champion five and a half months!

Overall Rating: D. There are far worse shows but there was no hiding how unimportant this show was. We’re just waiting on the Rumble at this point because both brands are dying for some fresh blood. Unfortunately that means a long wait and stuff like Dawn vs. Jackie, the Tough Enough boxing match and that lame Bashams tag match to get through first. There is some good stuff on here, but it’s certainly not worth watching the rest of the show to get to it.

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