Date: August 21, 2005
Location: MCI Center, Washington DC.
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Tazz, Michael Cole, Jonathan Coachman
It’s a big show here with a card that doesn’t quite live up to the hype. We have a huge main event between Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, but after that it’s kind of a downgrade with Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero with a kid (symbolically) above the ring. The World Title matches see John Cena defending against Chris Jericho and JBL challenging Batista in a No Holds Barred match. Maybe they can make it work though so let’s get to it.
Lilian Garcia sings the Star Spangled Banner.
The opening video looks at the big matches, which works a bit better. Granted that might be because it’s set to Remedy by Seether and I always liked that song. Shawn vs. Hogan gets its own section of the video, because nothing on this show comes close to it (fair enough).
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan
Jordan is defending and it’s a German suplex into the Crossface to make Benoit champion in 25 seconds. Now THAT is how you wake a crowd up while giving Jordan exactly what he deserved in Honky Tonk Man style.
Vickie Guerrero comes in to see Eddie and asks him to calm down. This isn’t about Dominic because it’s all about Eddie not being able to beat Rey. Eddie wants someone to carry on the Guerrero legacy and Vickie talks about him having a heart of gold. But there’s also an evil inside of him that won’t leave Rey alone. Eddie: “So now you don’t think I can beat Rey?” Eddie throws her out and reassures himself that he’ll win.
We recap Matt Hardy vs. Edge. Lita left Matt for Edge while Matt was hurt and then he was released. Matt invaded Raw a few times to get at Edge but then he was rehired and it was just Matt Hardy again. Tonight is the big fight.
Matt Hardy vs. Edge
Hardy runs to the ring and starts the fight on the floor as it feels like Matt wants to kill him. They get inside with Matt hammering away and a loud HARDY chant. Matt grabs a rear naked choke but Edge gets to the ropes and then back outside. Back in and Edge hits a headbutt to put Matt on the ropes as the fans are all over Lita.
A spear through the ropes puts them back on the floor but Matt hammers away with right hands to the head. More right hands in the corner have Edge in trouble so he drops Matt face first onto the post to knock him silly. Even Lita looks concerned as Matt is busted open. Matt can barely stand so Edge kicks him in the head….and the referee stops it.
Rating: D+. So yeah Matt comes back, gets in a few shots, and then gets busted open for a referee stoppage in five minutes. The first minute or so felt like a war but then it was little more than a hard hitting match with one big spot. This is the kind of thing that needed to go about eighteen minutes with both of them bleeding, but that would suggest that Matt was something important, rather than just a way to get Edge over. I can go with that as Matt is Matt and Edge has been a near main eventer for a long time now, but this was a major disappointment after the setup.
We recap Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio. Eddie can’t beat Rey and has been driven completely crazy over jealousy and his failures. Therefore, Eddie is going to try something else so he brought up that Rey’s son Dominic was really Eddie’s biological son. Eddie wanted Dominic, but a social worker said they had to settle this, so a ladder match was made instead.
Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero
Tony Chimel: “The following contest is a ladder match for the custody of Dominic!” And that’s your most ridiculous ring introduction of all time. Dominic and the social worker are in the front row so Eddie goes over to them for a rather evil smile. Rey comes out and hugs Dominic so Eddie goes over and shakes the social worker’s hand. We’re ready to go and Eddie talks a lot of trash as they stare each other down to start.
Eddie gets in a cheap shot to knock Rey into the corner but Rey monkey flips him out to the floor. A whip sends Rey into the ladder though and he has to springboard in with a dropkick to knock Eddie off. Eddie goes to get another ladder so Rey dropkicks that one into his face, followed by a springboard seated senton to the floor. Back in and Eddie saves Rey’s climb with a sunset bomb but he can’t hold on, making it look rather messy. Eh to be fair that’s a pretty tricky spot.
Eddie hits him in the ribs and face with the ladder before sandwiching Rey between some ladders. The fans know what’s coming and are rather pleased with the slingshot hilo onto a ladder onto Rey onto another ladder. Rey gets up and uses a ladder to bridge his way up top to cut Eddie off, including a backdrop onto the bridged ladder. The crash bangs up Rey’s knee so he climbs rather slowly, allowing Eddie to dropkick the ladder out and hurt the knee even more.
Eddie reverse powerbombs him ribs first into the ladder on the top rope and there’s that evil smile again. That’s enough for another climb but Dominic comes in to shake the ladder. That just annoys Eddie so he yells at Dominic and demands a hug. Eddie: “I’m your new daddy now!” Eddie goes to hit him but Rey makes the save as Dominic is back with the social worker who let him jump the barricade and interfere in a violent match.
Rey sends him into a ladder and then 619s said ladder into Eddie’s face, only to hurt the knee again. The knee is ok enough to Drop The Dime onto a ladder onto Eddie and then load up the ladder again. Eddie climbs up the same side for an electric chair but Rey shows him how to do the sunset bomb for the huge crash. Rey goes up again and grabs the case but Eddie kicks the ladder out and pulls Rey down into a big spinebuster.
With Rey pinned under the ladder, Eddie goes up but stops to talk a lot of trash. He can’t unhook the thing anyway, allowing Rey to wiggle free and kick the ladder over. Apparently Vickie was supposed to run in there and missed the cue, explaining why Eddie couldn’t understand how a hook worked. Eddie is back up with Three Amigos, including the third onto the ladder. That means another climb but this time Vickie comes out for the save as she shoves the ladder over. Vickie pulls Eddie back so Rey can climb p and win.
Rating: B. It’s rather good with some big crashes, but the Vickie/Dominic stuff was too much and brought the match down. Rey vs. Eddie is something you can watch all day, especially if Eddie is all evil, but they could have come up with something better than a ladder match for custody papers. It was too far and became dumb rather than dramatic, which defeats a lot of the purpose.
Post match Vickie is relieved and Rey hits Eddie with a briefcase for a bonus.
Chris Jericho doesn’t like John Cena’s theme music and promises to make him as forgettable as the New Kids On The Block. He beat the Rock and Steve Austin on the same night and Cena isn’t on their level.
Eugene vs. Kurt Angle
For Eugene’s (Or Angle’s?) Gold Medal with no time limit and Christy Hemme is here with Eugene. Angle goes off on him to start and stomps Eugene down into the corner. Eugene comes back with a Faarooq spinebuster but Angle breaks up the People’s Elbow attempt with a hard clothesline. The fans are very pleased with this as they don’t seem all that into Eugene here.
Angle rolls the German suplexes for two and the fans are happy again. Eugene gets sent into the buckle a few times so the comeback is on, including a Rock Bottom for two. The Stunner gets the same and Eugene takes down the non-existent straps. Angle reverses the ankle lock by rolling him into the corner though and it’s the Angle Slam into the ankle lock for the win.
Rating: D. This could have been on Raw as Eugene was completely overwhelmed. The charm is long past gone now and it’s just Eugene doing Austin and Rock moves with almost nothing in between. It was just a squash anyway as Eugene is treated like the glorified jobber that he is. Angle needs to move on to something else and Eugene needs to become something else entirely.
Post match Angle stands on a chair so he can be awarded the medal again.
The Divas, in swimsuits, wash a limo with the Presidential seal on the door. The window goes down to reveal Vince McMahon. Vince: “Hey, why not?” There’s a McMahon For President bumper sticker on the limo for a bonus.
Undertaker vs. Randy Orton
Rematch from Wrestlemania because Orton isn’t happy with his loss. It’s weird to see Undertaker come out first. Orton bails to the floor to start so Undertaker takes a second before shoving him down. A slap gets in Orton’s head a bit but he’s back up to dodge some right hands. Undertaker grabs a headlock (that’s a rare one) but Orton is right back with a hiptoss into a clothesline. That just earns him a big boot to the face and Orton is stunned in a hurry.
Undertaker goes technical with a keylock into Old School but Orton somehow understands what it means when Undertaker stands on the top while holding an arm. Old School is broken up with an armdrag back down but Undertaker LAUNCHES him into the corner to hammer away. The big boot and jumping clothesline give Undertaker two but the big boot in the corner only hits….well corner really and Orton grabs a DDT for his own two with Undertaker putting a foot across the rope.
Flashing back to his Evolution days, Orton cannonballs down onto the leg and then wraps it around the post. The leglock goes on so Undertaker punches his way to freedom, only to earn a knee drop to the ribs. Undertaker limps into the powerslam for two and it’s time to go to Texas with a spinning toehold.
That’s broken up as well and Undertaker starts kicking at Orton’s knee, earning a one off BORING chant. That doesn’t last long either as Orton is right back to the knee as the slow pace continues. Undertaker kicks him out to the floor for a ram into the steps and the apron legdrop as this isn’t exactly hitting a high gear. Old School connects back inside and it’s the Downward Spiral to Orton, who is right back with a dropkick for the double knockdown.
The RKO is blocked so they fight over a Tombstone until Orton gets two off the backbreaker. Orton goes up but Undertaker rolls through the high crossbody and grabs him by the throat. The chokeslam connects but a “fan” comes in. The distraction lets Orton hit the RKO for the fast pin.
Rating: C+. It was a struggle to get this high as there was no sense of urgency or any time until the end where either of them seemed close to going to a finish. At least the Wrestlemania match had an awesome near fall of the RKO but this was a bunch of leg work until they got to the finish. It could have worked if they had gone to a better ending but this never got into a higher gear.
And it’s Cowboy Bob Orton. You can book the rubber match already.
Some members of the Republican National Committee are here.
We recap Chris Jericho vs. John Cena. They’ve been having issues since Cena made his Raw debut on the Highlight Reel. Then they got in an argument over who was the bigger rock star, which turned into Cena’s Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff’s Vince McMahon with Jericho and Carlito as the chief lackeys. The former story was better but why do that when you can do the same thing you’ve done so many times before?
Bischoff wishes Jericho’s luck.
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
Cena is defending. They go nose to nose to start and a lockup doesn’t go anywhere. Jericho’s headlock is just as ineffective but he grabs a suplex to take over. There’s the spinwheel kick to drop Cena again but the springboard crossbody only lands on the floor. Back in and Cena hammers away, only to charge into a dropkick in the corner. A suplex gives Jericho two and a basement dropkick to the headsets up the chinlock.
They go outside with Jericho choking away with a cord but Cena is back with right hands. This isn’t exactly blowing the roof off the place so far. The big flying shoulder misses though and Jericho hits the running bulldog. Jericho has to bail out of the Lionsault so he tries the Walls, which is kicked out to the floor in a hurry. Cena drops the middle rope Fameasser over the ropes for two on the way back in but the FU is countered into a DDT for two. It’s time to start in on the back with a backbreaker and some elbows as the fans are loudly split.
The running crotch attack to the back only hits ropes though and they’re both down again. Cena is back up with that hard clothesline into the ProtoBomb. The Shuffle is countered into the Walls in the middle though, sending Cena on the long crawl to the ropes. Jericho pulls him back in but Cena makes the rope on the second attempt to a rather loud reaction. Cena’s back is good enough to try a super AA but Jericho slips out and grabs another suplex for another two. An argument with the referee lets Cena grab the FU to retain.
Rating: B. This took some time to get going but they drew the crowd into it and it turned into a heck of a match by the end. Cena is showing some signs of brilliance in these big matches and Jericho has more than shown that he can hang with anyone so this was a benefit to both of them. Good match here as Cena is becoming a bigger and bigger star every single week.
We recap JBL vs. Batista (hometown boy) for the Smackdown World Title. JBL beat him by DQ last month so now it’s No Holds Barred. Not much more to it than that as JBL isn’t quite the believable challenger.
Smackdown World Title: Batista vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Batista is defending and it’s No Holds Barred. We get the JBL dollars raining from the ceiling during JBL’s entrance. The fight starts at the entrance with Batista ramming him into various things. A fire extinguisher into the face drops Batista though and JBL punches him around the barricade, only to have Batista spear him through said barricade.
They get inside for the first time with JBL kicking him in the head, followed by some whipping with a belt. Back up and Batista charges into a boot in the corner, setting up the Clothesline From JBL for two. JBL slides in the steps and this isn’t going to end well. The powerbomb off the steps is countered into a backdrop off of them and Batista hits the spinebuster. There’s the Batista Bomb but Batista doesn’t cover. Another Batista Bomb onto the steps retains the title.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t much but it was way better than their previous match as it didn’t go on forever, though the stipulation wasn’t exactly used. They went with the definitive ending here as Batista completely beat him, which is all it should have been. JBL was never a threat to Batista and now they can both move on to something else, with both of them going in the proper direction.
We recap Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan. They teamed a handful of times and then Shawn superkicked him on the Fourth of July. Shawn said he had to know and the match was made. Everything went spiraling out of control after that though, with Shawn turning it into a weird near shoot on Hogan’s career while Hogan just referenced Bret Hart and screwjobs a few times. Shawn has carried this feud on his back and it’s going to be interesting to see how they get to the big boot and legdrop.
Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels
Hogan has the big flag out for the entrance. It’s a long staredown to start before Hogan shoves him away and shows off the biceps. Hogan shoves him down a few more times and Shawn is already frustrated. A headlock works a bit better for Shawn until a shoulder sends him into a backflip through the ropes as the overselling is already strong. Back in and Shawn knees him in the ribs but gets put on top so Hogan can kick him in the ribs.
Shawn bounces as high into the air as he can for a crotching, before a ram into the buckle gives us a bump that Mr. Perfect would think is too much. A clothesline puts Shawn on the floor where he rolls backwards again, gets up and falls back down. Shawn manages a kick to the face though and starts chopping away in the corner. The slap to the face does not go well so Shawn does it again before chopping even more. A third slap earns Shawn a right hand out to the floor but they both get posted with Hogan staggering around a lot.
Shawn posts him again but still can’t put Hogan down so it’s time for some left hands to the head. Some right hands in the corner get Shawn shoved down again (make it twice), only to have him finally punch Hogan down (you don’t see that too often). Hogan is finally busted open and Shawn grabs the sleeper to follow the Randy Savage formula from Wrestlemania V. Shawn’s arm is covered in blood as Hogan suplexes his way to freedom.
The forearm into the nipup lets Shawn drop the elbow (OH YEAH indeed) but this one misses (leave it to Savage kid). Hogan slugs away but Shawn tries another forearm, which takes out the referee. The fans want Bret (fair enough after the promos building this up) but Shawn is up first and heads to the top, only to come back down for a terrible Sharpshooter (even Rock’s is better than that).
Another referee comes in and Hogan very slowly makes it to the rope. Hogan kicks him into the second referee and everyone is down again. A low blow drops Hogan and a chair to the head finally lets Shawn hit the elbow. Sweet Chin Music connects for two but Hogan kicks out, Hulks Up, punches away and finishes with the big boot and legdrop. So that’s how they got there.
Rating: B-. The match was a weird one (YOU THINK?) as Shawn was doing his over the top selling and turning it into a joke at first but then it settled into a match with a pretty simple formula that hit the high points but didn’t exactly break the mold. Hogan was the definitive winner here and Shawn hit everything he could without being able to finish Hogan off. I liked it well enough and it’s certainly a dream match, but it’s two matches in one and that’s a little distracting.
Post match Hogan poses but Shawn stops him to make everything nice. Shawn says he had to know and, as usual, wrestlers are rather forgiving about the whole situation. It’s more posing to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show was all over the place with some good wrestling and action but a lot of things that felt like they should have been so much more. It’s an enjoyable show and something I’d watch again down the line, but it felt like they were going for a stacked show and as it is, it’s just pretty good. Fix some of the bigger holes and it’s a great one, but I’ll take what I can get after a build that wasn’t their best work.
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