Date: December 23, 2005
Hosts: Michael Cole, Tazz
It’s the holiday season and since Raw was over in Afghanistan, it’s Best Of time. That’s a good thing for a change as the show could be a nice look back at a hit or miss year. Sometimes you need a little breather and not having a show two days before Christmas should help a bit. Let’s get to it.
We open with a quick video package on the year.
Cole and Tazz welcome us to the show and talk about what a great year it was.
We’ll start off with the biggest name around.
From Wrestlemania XXI.
Raw World Title: HHH vs. Batista
HHH is defending and has Ric Flair with him, plus Motorhead plays him to the ring, just in case you thought Batista was cooler. I mean, you can barely understand the words because Lemmy butchers it in a great Brutus Beefcake impression but HHH rising up through the stage makes up for it a bit. Batista doesn’t get much of a pop, mainly due to the lack of the famous band performing his music.
The early power lockup lets them drive each other to the ropes but it’s only good for a standoff. They do it again with HHH’s running shoulder having no effect other than waking HHH up a bit. Another shoulder drops Batista but he’s right back up with something close to a powerslam. Batista hits a backdrop, only to have HHH knock him outside to cut the momentum off again.
Flair’s distraction lets HHH send Batista into the steps and Flair gets in some choking with the jacket. Back in and HHH gets two off a suplex, setting up more Flair choking. Whatever emotion the fans had for Batista after that HHH entrance is long gone now as HHH has beaten him down for about seven of the eight minutes the match has been going so far. Batista slugs away but walks into the spinebuster, because of course HHH needs to hit a spinebuster as he dominates Batista in the biggest match of Batista’s career.
A backdrop breaks up the Pedigree attempt but HHH is RIGHT BACK with the facebuster, leaving him on defense for all of three seconds. HHH goes up and gets clotheslined out of the air to no reaction as the fans are gone. They’re smart enough to realize that HHH is going to cut Batista off again and, as expected, Batista charges into a big boot in the corner just a few seconds later. Batista sends HHH over the corner, only to have HHH whip him into the steps.
The Pedigree onto the steps is countered into a catapult into the post and we’ve got some blood. Back in and it’s time to hammer on the cut as the fans finally have something to cheer about. The big running clothesline in the corner rocks HHH and a powerslam gets two as there isn’t quite the energy in the offense that you would expect. It feels like they’re just doing stuff to fill time until the ending instead of of building something up.
Batista sends him outside but goes after Flair, allowing HHH to grab the chair, which hits the referee by mistake. Flair’s belt shot is countered with a spinebuster but HHH’s belt shot gets two. The fans react to the kickout and Batista hits the spinebuster for the big reaction. That’s too much cheering for HHH’s liking so he hits Batista low. Batista blocks the Pedigree with raw power though and hits something like White Noise. The Batista Bomb finally makes Batista champion.
Rating: C. It was miles better than Cena vs. JBL but egads this didn’t do Batista any favors. This was more about giving HHH a big sendoff as champion than making Batista look like a star and….I can’t say I’m surprised. Batista has looked so dominant and smart for the last six weeks that HHH probably couldn’t help himself from cutting him off. HHH did put him over, but it could have been a lot stronger without HHH beating him up and outsmarting him for the first half of the match. Much like the previous match though, it’s all about what comes next rather than what happened here, but HHH made sure to make himself look good.
We take a quick look at JBL’s Celebration of Excellence on February 24.
From April 28.
Booker T. vs. Big Show vs. John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Kurt Angle
Elimination rules for the #1 contendership and Orlando Jordan is here with JBL. Angle already has the straps down so you know this is serious. The brawl is on in a hurry to start with Show cleaning house, even knocking away a German suplex attempt. A legdrop crushes JBL and sends Booker flying off a toss. Show crushes all three of them in the corner but Angle pops out with an Angle Slam for one.
Booker adds the ax kick for two and the Clothesline From JBL gets the same. They knock Show outside for the huge Angle Slam through the table….and a countout for the elimination. In a four way? That’s a creative way to get rid of him, even if it goes against the general rules of the match. We take a break and come back with Booker fighting out of the corner but crotching himself off a missed sidekick.
A whip into the steps slows JBL down and Angle suplexes Booker for two. JBL comes back in and walks into a Book End for two but Angle is right back with the rolling German suplexes for the same on Booker. Neither the Angle Slam or the Book End can connect so Angle picks the ankle. That’s broken up as well so Angle hits the Slam for two more. Booker’s superkick gets his own near fall as Jordan slides in a chair. That earns him an ejection and the distraction lets Angle chair Booker in the head for the second elimination to get us down to one on one.
We take another break and come back with JBL slightly cut open and Angle fighting out of a chinlock. The ankle lock goes on but gets broken up just as quickly and there’s the fall away slam. The Clothesline hits the referee though, just as Angle gets the ankle lock. JBL calls out the Bashams for the save so it’s a bunch of suplexes all around. That includes some rolling German suplexes to JBL and the ankle lock gets the tap, which no one sees. Cue Booker to chair Angle down, allowing JBL to steal the pin and the title shot.
Rating: B-. Booker vs. Angle made this work rather well, even when the ending was as obvious as you could have gotten. They have made no secret about the fact that this was JBL’s win the entire way and that’s fine. It makes the most sense and you can have the other three get title shots later on if they want to. Not a great match, but it got around the clear finish and that’s kind of hard to do.
Long video on Tribute to the Troops.
From January 6.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio
Fallout from last week’s Tag Team Title match. Rey brings out the 619 Cam but Eddie steals it for some filming of guest timekeeper Joy Giovanni. We get started with Rey snapping off a headscissors but getting caught in a test of strength. That’s broken up with Rey climbing onto Eddie’s back for two off a sunset flip, meaning it’s an early standoff. Back up and it’s another headscissors to rattle Eddie some more.
Rey charges again but this time he gets faceplanted down, setting up an armbar on the right (not left Cole) arm. The hammerlock goes on for a good bit until Rey makes the rope, with Eddie not letting go immediately. Rey tries a moonsault but gets caught in the Tree of Woe for a dropkick to the ribs. Eddie misses a charge though and crotches himself against the post as we take a break.
Back with Rey holding something like an abdominal stretch on the mat before switching to an armbar. An exchange of sleepers goes to Rey, followed by a springboard armdrag. Rey gets two off a Lionsault and we hit the chinlock. That’s broken up so Rey dropkicks him into the ropes, only to miss the 619. Eddie chills in the corner so Rey tries a Bronco Buster, which is blocked with a raised boot.
It was NOT a low blow though (Eddie promises) so Rey takes him up top but the hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb. A missed charge bumps the referee though and Eddie has an idea. It’s the old grab the title spot so he throws it to Rey….who throws it right back and drops down as the referee gets up.
Eddie crawls around on his stomach to hide the title and INSISTS that he did not use the belt. He tries to crawl over and throw it away but gets caught, giving us a hilarious look on his face. Rey cracks up and Eddie tries to convince the referee that it means Rey did it. That’s almost a double DQ but Eddie’s begging keeps the match going….and lets Rey small package him for the pin.
Rating: B-. Well of course these two had a fun match, but the ending was hysterical with Eddie going so over the top when he had no idea what to do in the situation. His NO and HE’S LAUGHING got some actual laughter and they did it for the right reason. How often do you get that in wrestling?
Cole and Tazz talk about how they will miss Eddie.
We get the Here Without You video on Eddie, which is still incredible.
Video on the Boogeyman.
Video on the new talent who came to the show this year.
We look at Chris Benoit winning the US Title in less than thirty seconds at Summerslam.
Cole and Tazz talk about Booker vs. Benoit, with Cole referring to Sharmell as Booker’s “Lovely wife I guess you’d call her.” Tazz: “It is his wife.”
From October 21, 2005.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Booker T.
Benoit is defending and Sharmell is here with Booker. They fight over a lockup to start and it’s a clean break in the corner. Booker actually wrestles him down but Benoit slips out and catches him with a hiptoss. Back up and Benoit’s hammerlock doesn’t get him far as they go into the corner for some chops. Booker misses the side kick though and crashes out to the floor, only to avoid Benoit’s dive to send him into the announcers’ table.
Back from a break with Booker holding a chinlock and whipping him hard into the corner for two. The chinlock goes on again so Benoit fights up again and hits a running forearm for two of his own. It’s time to roll the German suplexes to freak Sharmell out again. The Swan Dive gives Benoit two but Booker is back up with a kick to the face. That lets him head up top but Benoit superplexes him down, albeit with a slip on the way. The referee checks on Booker, allowing Sharmell to hit him low. Booker nails the ax kick for the pin and the title.
Rating: B. It’s the expected good match between these two, though the Sharmell stuff was as annoying as ever. She’s a heel, but she’s the kind of heel where she’s more pesky than evil. Benoit feels like a transitional champion as he spent most of his reign beating up Orlando Jordan in thirty seconds so the loss doesn’t mean much. At least Sharmell will have something else to complain about now.
We recap Sharmell yelling at Booker to motivate him, setting up the heel turn and US Title win.
From Survivor Series.
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown
Raw: Shawn Michaels, Kane, Big Show, Carlito, Chris Masters
Smackdown: Batista, Bobby Lashley, John Bradshaw Layfield, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio
Entrances take forever of course and Rey gets some very loud EDDIE chants. Orton takes Shawn into the corner to start and then does it again for a bonus. Shawn gets in a whip to the other corner to set up some chops as commentary is already bickering. Orton gets in a slam but misses the knee drop so it’s off to Masters. The knee the face works fine on him but it’s quickly off to Lashley, who tosses Masters around.
Carlito gets the tag so Lashley pulls him in and hits a running powerslam for two. It’s back to Shawn, who gets knocked down as well. There’s the Dominator to Carlito but Kane saves Shawn from the same fate. A Kane chokeslam from the apron lets Shawn get rid of Lashley, who wasn’t nearly the factor you would have bet on after the last few weeks. Rey comes in and dropkicks Shawn in the knee as Cole says he’d love to see this dream match. I know he has a short attention span but he can’t remember something from less than two weeks ago?
Kane comes in and gets dropkicked down but is right back up for a big boot. A backbreaker gets two on Rey and we hit the backbreaker. Rey fights out in a hurry though and it’s off to Batista for the shoulders in the corner. A spear into the spinebuster gets rid of Kane but here’s Show for an immediate chokeslam. That’s good for two but Kane is back up for a double chokeslam to get rid of Batista. JBL’s middle rope shoulder is pulled out of the air by Big Show but Orton snaps his throat across the top.
The Clothesline From JBL into the 619 into the RKO into another Clothesline From JBL into the springboard seated senton FINALLY gets rid of Big Show and we’re down to 3-3. Everything breaks down and JBL hits Shawn with a fall away slam on the floor as Masters plants Rey. Carlito comes in for a legdrop and the chinlock goes on. Rey fights up and gets a blind tag from JBL, who blasts Carlito with the Clothesline for the pin.
Masters comes in next and gets hammered down as Shawn is still out on the floor. Rey comes back in and avoids a charge into the post, setting up the 619. Dropping the Dime gets rid of Masters and it’s down to Shawn vs. Orton/Mysterio/JBL. Rey throws Shawn back in and hits the 619 but the West Coast Pop is Sweet Chin Musiced out of the air for the pin. JBL tries the Clothesline but Shawn ducks and superkicks him out for the back to back pins in about fifteen seconds.
That leaves us with Shawn vs. Orton but neither finisher can hit. Orton bails to the floor so Shawn hits a slingshot dive as the fans want Undertaker. Back in and Shawn hits the forearm into the nipup but JBL is still here and brings in a chair. That earns him another superkick but Shawn walks into the RKO for the final pin.
Rating: B. This was good enough and was absolutely the main event of the show. Even though this was for completely meaningless bragging rights, it worked this time because that was something fresh. It’s the difference between doing it once and doing it every year: this time felt like they had built something up instead of throwing it out there because it was November. It also helps when you have Shawn at his best playing the underdog and Orton being great at this match. This nearly identical formula worked in 2003 and it worked here too.
Post match the Smackdown locker room comes in to celebrate….and we’ve got druids. They bring out a casket and stand it upright as the gong hits. Lightning strikes the casket and it is lit on fire, with Undertaker walking out. Undertaker destroys the roster as the Ortons get to the outside. The big staredown with the throat slit ends the show.
Quick look at Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, including the Cell match.
Cole and Tazz wrap it up.
Overall Rating: C+. They did a nice job of looking at the high points of the year, which is hard to do in the course of an hour. Of course they had to leave some stuff out (like John Cena being the star of the show for about five months) but they hit the big stuff and that’s what they should be trying for with something like this. 2005 wasn’t a great year, but they made it look good enough so well done.
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