Date: September 18, 2005
Location: Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Commentators: Jonathan Coachman, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s a Raw only show this time around and that means we could be in for anything between entertaining and nothing at all. The main event is John Cena defending the World Title against Kurt Angle, which is an upgrade over his feud with Chris Jericho. Other than that we have Ric Flair going after the Intercontinental Title in what feels like a career checklist match. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is all about Cena vs. Angle. Literally nothing else gets any attention.
Intercontinental Title: Ric Flair vs. Carlito
Flair is challenging and backs away for an early WOO. They go technical to start and that’s good for the standoff. Flair’s hammerlock sends Carlito to the rope so Flair grabs it again, only to get punched down. The chop puts Carlito on the floor but he’s right back in with left hands in the corner. Flair gets kicked to the floor and his shoulder gets whipped into the post.
That means an armbar back inside and Carlito hammers away at the head for a bonus. A DDT on the arm gives Carlito two and it’s right back to the armbar. Believe it or not, Flair comes back with chops and drops a knee, setting up the top rope shot to the head. It actually connects this time and Flair stops and poses before going up again. This time Carlito dropkicks him out of the air so it’s time for the apple. Flair punches him away so Carlito chokes on the apple, allowing Flair to take him down into the Figure Four for the tap and the title.
Rating: D+. This could have been on any given Raw but it was cool to see Flair win the title (and HIT THE SHOT FROM THE TOP). Flair is someone who is going to get cheered every time they give him the chance and it’s not like there is much shame in losing to one of the best of all time. It’s not much of a match, but it was hardly terrible.
Post match Flair celebrates like he just won the World Title. He puts over the title as being prestigious and says it’s as important as any of the World Titles. The only thing he wishes is that HHH could be here to celebrate with him. Flair goes to the crowd and pulls out a handful of women to celebrate with him.
Lita is rubbing Edge’s shoulders and talks about how Matt would check on her while he was hurt but she was with Edge. Then Matt would call Edge but he was, ahem, busy.
Trish Stratus/Ashley Massaro vs. Victoria/Torrie Wilson
Candice Michelle is with Victoria/Torrie. Trish starts with Torrie, who gets the hint in a hurry and brings Victoria in without any contact. That’s fine with Trish, who takes Victoria down to take over. Ashley, with her backwards hat, comes in to beat on Victoria with some kicks to the ribs and an awkward basement dropkick.
Torrie sneaks in and sends Ashley outside for a crash, allowing Victoria to grab a chinlock. The front facelock goes on for a bit but Victoria lets it go and heads up, only to get crotched. Trish comes in off a hot tag and cleans house with ease. Candice’s distraction is cut off by Ashley and it’s the Chick Kick to finish Victoria.
Rating: D. It’s nice to have Trish back but there is only so much you can do with Torrie and Ashley out there. They aren’t going completely insane with pushing Ashley and that’s a big relief. Christy was pushed further than she should have been so having Ashley only pushed so far is a good bit better. I don’t know if that’s going to last, but this was an acceptable use of her.
Flair and his women get in a limo, but he downs some Viagra and champagne first.
ZZ Top is here.
Big Show vs. Snitsky
Show throws him around to start so Snitsky is going to walk away, only to get tossed right back inside. The big chop has Snitsky on the floor again but he pulls Show shoulder first into the post. Back in and we hit an armbar, which is so thrilling that we look at a clip from Raw, where Snitsky hit him with the bell to start the whole thing. A belly to back suplex gives Snitsky two and a big boot is good for the same. The armbar goes on again but Show powers out with a spinebuster. Show kind of nips up (with the rope helping him) and a charge into the corner sets up a chokeslam to finish Snitsky.
Rating: D+. This is another one that could have been on Raw as it was short and mostly bad. I’m not sure what the point was in having this on the show other than they needed another match to extend the show. These two did some minor stuff on Raw and nothing more, which doesn’t exactly warrant a spot on a pay per view.
Post match Show hit him with the bell a few times to even the score.
There is smoke coming out of the limo.
Video on Chris Masters.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Kerwin White
White has attacked Shelton a few times over the weeks. Shelton strikes away to start but avoids a charge, allowing White to take over on the knee with some kneedrops. Some right hands keep Benjamin in trouble but he manages a monkey flip out of the corner to put White down.
The kick to the face and a Samoan drop give Shelton two but White crotches him on top. A top rope superplex gives White two of his own, setting up a half crab to stay on Shelton’s knee. Shelton kicks him away so White grabs the golf club, only to walk into the exploder suplex for the pin.
Rating: D+. So this is what we’ve come to: Shelton Benjamin needing to struggle to beat Chavo Guerrero on pay per view. The crash is very real for him and I’m not sure what could possibly be next for him. It’s still going to be better than the Kerwin white gimmick though, because that might be the most dead end story of the year.
Matt Hardy is ready to hurt Edge and end this.
We recap Matt Hardy vs. Edge. Matt returned and attacked Edge over and over, only to have Edge beat him up multiple times. Tonight it’s in a cage, but Matt has lost a lot of his heat over the last few weeks.
Matt Hardy vs. Edge
In a cage and Lita is here with Edge. They go straight to the slugout but neither can send the other into the cage. It’s way too early for Edge to climb out as Matt pulls him off the top and then away from the door. A quickly broken headlock doesn’t get Hardy anywhere so he goes with a running clothesline for two instead. The Twist of Fate is broken up and the Edge-O-Matic gives Edge two.
They fight up top again with Edge ramming him head first into the cage to send Matt back down. A missile dropkick to the back of Matt’s head rocks him even worse and Edge rams him head first into the buckle a few times. Edge powerbombs him into the cage and a buckle bomb cuts off the Matt chants. To make it even worse, Edge puts Matt on top for a superbomb and another near fall with the fans coming back to life on the kickout.
Matt bites the hand for a breather and drops Edge face first onto the top. The spear misses and Edge goes face first into the buckle so Lita throws him the briefcase. Matt avoids the big swing and gets Edge tied in the ropes so he can slug away, followed by a hard ram into the buckle. A bulldog onto the case sets up several more rams into the cage and we’ve got blood. As expected, that just fires Matt up even more so he grabs the case and climbs, only to have Edge shove the referee into the cage.
The spear into the cage puts Matt down again but he catches Edge with a belly to back superplex. Lita comes in because the cage isn’t that efficient at its job. That earns her a Twist of Fate but Edge spears Matt down for two. The fans are WAY back into things and Matt knocks him into the cage to take him off the top. Matt goes all the way to the top of the cage and drops a HUGE legdrop (which is a rather dangerous bump as it could have missed horribly) to finish Edge.
Rating: B+. This is the match they should have had at Summerslam with both guys looking awesome and Matt coming off as a star instead of someone there to annoy Edge before Edge can go on to bigger and better things. They beat the heck out of each other here and it was exactly what both the feud and show needed. The blood was a great addition and Matt is instantly upgraded to the next level, which makes the feud more interesting, assuming it continues. They might have waited on Matt getting his hands on Lita, but the way they did it was fine enough.
John Cena is getting his ankle taped up when Eric Bischoff comes in. Eric tells him to keep some of the tape for when Kurt Angle destroys Cena tonight. Cena tapes Eric’s mouth shut.
Edge is still crawling out of the arena.
Tag Team Titles: Hurricane/Rosey vs. Trevor Murdoch/Lance Cade
Cade and Murdoch are challenging. Hurricane and Cade start things off with the champ getting knocked down but avoiding an elbow. Back up and Hurricane slugs away before armdragging Cade into the corner for the tag to Rosey. Cade and Murdoch need a breather on the floor before Murdoch comes back in to pound on Hurricane. A Cade distraction puts Rosey in trouble for all of two seconds before he headbutts Murdoch away. Cade comes in and gets two off a neckbreaker as Murdoch goes outside to demand a kiss from Lilian Garcia.
Like a good hero should, Hurricane goes out to save her but gets DDTed onto the floor for his efforts. Rosey checks on him but slugs away on Cade anyway. The missed charge puts Rosey down for two though as the trainer comes out to check on Hurricane. The distraction lets Cade jump Rosey on the floor but Rosey is back with a double clothesline. Hurricane stumbles back in, despite his left arm hanging. A High/Low finishes Hurricane in a hurry to give us new champions.
Rating: D+. And thus ends one of the worst title reigns of the era as Hurricane and Rosey were barely ever around and were treated as losers more often than not. Cade and Murdoch aren’t going to be much better if they can’t get treated as something important, but it was long past the point to change the titles. It’s still sad that the titles are being treated this way, but it’s not like it’s a surprise at this point.
One of the women gets out of the limo in Flair’s robe, opens it to flash Ric, and then gets back in.
Maria asks Chris Masters why he’s called “the masturbate” and thinks he was carved by a Ninja Turtle. Masters threatens Shawn Michaels instead of answering.
Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters
Old vs. new. Masters wastes no time in trying the Masterlock before the bell even rings. JR: “You can’t disqualify a man before a match starts!” No but you can not let the match start. Doesn’t this guy watch Raw? The referee starts the match and Shawn chops away before knocking Masters to the floor for the big slingshot dive. Masters gets in a kick to the ribs on the floor but Shawn pulls him back to the floor.
As tends to be the case, that’s a mistake from Shawn, who gets powerbombed into the post. A delayed vertical suplex stays on the back for two and a backdrop gets the same. Masters bends the back over the knee but Shawn blocks the Masterlock attempt. That earns him a hard whip upside down in the corner and Masters grabs a torture rack. Shawn punches his way out of it though and reverses into a sunset flip.
Masters is right back with a gorilla press but still can’t get the Masterlock, allowing Shawn to grab the referee and kick Masters low for the break. Lawler: “That wasn’t exactly the chin!” That’s enough to start the comeback with some clotheslines and the big elbow as the fans are right back into this. Sweet Chin Music is countered into the Masterlock and Shawn starts flailing. Eventually he realizes that he’s wrestled before and goes to the rope for the break so Masters tries the Masterlock again. This one doesn’t go on in full though and Shawn slips out to hit Sweet Chin Music for the pin.
Rating: B. This is a good example of what can happen when Shawn is there to walk someone through a match. They worked a really basic story here with Shawn surviving everything Masters did to his back and then catching him after Shawn had one too many counters. It was experience vs. someone sticking with what worked for him so far because Shawn has been doing this forever. Great structure and it wound up being a lot better than it probably should have been.
The women get out of the limo with Flair following, despite his trunks being half down. He takes one more swig of champagne, loads up a WOO, and falls face first onto the concrete instead to end a good joke for the night.
We recap Kurt Angle vs. John Cena. Eric Bischoff is trying to torture Cena and get him to be more of a normal champion but Cena isn’t changing for anyone. Cena has already taken care of Chris Jericho so Bischoff upped the game with Angle. In other words, Cena is up against a monster and has to find a way around him. That sounds like a formula with some legs no?
Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
Cena is defending and has a bad ankle coming in. Angle tries an early headlock takeover but gets reversed into a hiptoss as Cena starts fast. That’s enough for Angle to need a breather on the floor and Cena is smart enough to not go after him. Back in and Angle takes him to the mat with an armbar but gets reversed into a headlock. A shoulder is enough to send Angle outside again as Cena’s ankle seems fine so far.
Angle comes back in with some uppercuts this time but Cena gets a boot up in the corner as Angle can’t keep anything going so far. Cena’s side slam gets two so Angle rakes him in the eyes and starts with the suplexes. A belly to belly gives Angle two and we hit the chinlock with a knee in Cena’s back. Another suplex cuts off Cena’s comeback bid and Angle is starting to feel it.
The bodyscissors goes on as the ankle continues to be mostly ignored. Cena powers up and scores with a DDT before starting in with the usual comeback offense. The FU is countered though and Angle grabs the ankle lock. That’s broken up as well and Cena gets two off a spinebuster. Another FU attempt is countered into the Angle Slam for two as frustration sets in.
Now the ankle lock goes on full but Cena is out again with a spinning slam. There’s the Shuffle but the referee is bumped, meaning there’s no count as Cena finally hits the FU. Angle uses the delay to hit Cena low and a gold medal shot connects. The ankle lock goes on and here’s Bischoff to taunt Cena with the title. Bischoff kicks Cena’s hand away from the rope but Cena escapes and sends Bischoff outside. Cena hits Angle with the title as the referee gets up to call the DQ.
Rating: B-. They were starting to get going by the end but the To Be Continued finish wasn’t the best. What mattered here was Cena could hang with Angle for the most part, though it was clear that he wasn’t ready to go completely toe to toe with him. Cena is getting a lot better and feels like a top star, but Angle is on a different level than just about anyone else in the world at this point. The rematch might be even better though, and that’s what they’re hoping for here.
Post match Bischoff tries to say something about the referee but gets taken out with the FU. Angle beats Cena up but Cena gives him an FU through the Spanish announcers’ table so posing can end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This is one of those shows where it was good enough but there isn’t much that you are going to remember. The cage match is rather good but the main event is there to set up a rematch and Shawn vs. Masters….come on. The rest of the show just isn’t worth seeing and this is another good example of a show that would have been a lot better under the In Your House formula. Maybe check out the cage match, but other than that there are other shows worth more of your time.
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