July 11, 2004

A PPV from World Wresting Entertainment means that we'll definitely have something to remember after it ends.

Eugene . . . styles and profiles.

Randy Orton . . . learns some important lessons.

Triple H . . . hogs the spotlight for himself.


This is not a match that belongs on PPV. Cade and Rhyno are both simply in bodyguard type roles, with Tajiri and Coach being the confrontation that everyone wants to see. The match does have a few entertaining moments, such as Coach putting the badmouth on Tajiri, Coach mocking Tajiri with the bow, and Tajiri doing the handspring elbow and knocking both Cade and Coach down. But moments like those are few and far between, they pretty much plod along and kill time to hold off on Tajiri finally getting Coach. It’s nice that they decided to have Coach get his comeuppance from Tajiri on PPV, and the mist job Tajiri does on Cade, to take him out of the equation is very respectable. But this was something that was better left on TV.


God bless Jericho for trying, but there was no way he could possibly carry Big Dave to something decent at this point. Watching Batista here, he looks like he shouldn’t be allowed to even watch a WrestleMania main event, let alone win one. Whenever Batista starts to focus away from the body work on Jericho, the match pretty much dies, because Batista gets lost. Batista could also have done with speeding up a bit, working slowly made sense in the last match, to a certain extent, because they were building toward something.

Fortunately, Jericho sells his ass off every time Batista does anything to him, and really gets over the punishment that his ribs and back are taking. Jericho even sells the ribs when he’s doing the shuffle, before he charges at Batista when he’s in the ropes. Batista’s constant use of the backbreaker was frustrating, but Jericho tried to make something out of it, by finally escaping and countering the move. Jericho didn’t have a whole lot he could do to someone the size of Batista, but he does make his few offensive moves count. Batista gives some respect to Jericho’s moves, but with the exception of the enzuigiri, he sells way too much. With the little punishment that he’d taken, Batista shouldn’t have even been in position for the Lionsault. The powerbomb is a sound finisher, playing off the bodywork that Batista had done to Jericho. Although the screw job business with the foot on the rope wasn’t needed at all.


When Eugene is doing his Ric Flair impersonation (the only thing he didn’t do was Flair’s version of a back bump), and when Flair is doing the real thing to show Eugene how it’s done, this isn’t good, but it’s entertaining. When La Resistance takes over the match, it just dies. Tons of punch and kick junk, and nothing in the way of any story, or focus for the match. It’s a bad indictment of WWE style, when one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, is nearly pinned after taking nothing in terms of punishment except a bunch of chops, and Au Revoir. The idea that Eugene goes crazy and causes the DQ for his team is a good one, but it’d have worked better if the DQ had come on the heels of Flair and Eugene nearly winning the titles, rather than Flair coming within an eyelash of losing the match for his team.


Aside from the brawl on the floor to start off, and the ending, there isn’t much use of the stipulation of the match. It’s too bad that they didn’t make much use of the No DQ rule, since Matt doesn’t have anything he could really use against someone the size of Kane, even when he hits the Twist of Fate, Kane takes the bump on his knees. Even a low blow or something from Matt would have been nice. When Kane gets caught in the ropes, it was a golden chance for Matt to really make an impact, instead of simply punching Kane. Matt takes a few nice bumps from Kane, but Kane doesn’t bring much in the way of big bumps for Matt to take. Even just a bit of exaggeration on something simple like a suplex or a hip toss, would have helped out. The fans are even chanting for tables at one point, which also would have been a nice addition to the match. The chair and the stairs coming into play was nice, but the ending still comes off more like Matt being lucky. And considering how many WWE matches rarely end cleanly anyway, they could have easily had a regular match, and still used the chair to get the same result.

RANDY ORTON © vs. EDGE (WWE Intercontinental Title)

Much like his win over Foley at Backlash, and with what’s in store for him at SummerSlam, this match is a lesson for Randy Orton. Edge knows that he can beat Orton, and he’s done so cleanly in several tag matches. Orton isn’t so confident that he can beat Edge though, because even though he won their last singles match, it was because of Flair, and the holding the tights. The early portions establish right off that Edge has Orton’s number, every single time they have any sort of exchange, it ends with Edge dropping Orton to the mat with a shoulder block, and it’s a little victory that Orton is never really able to obtain for himself. Orton’s attempted walk out of the match would have worked, had WWE not set the big screen up at the top of the ramp. Because it showed that Orton could clearly see Edge coming up to retrieve him.

When Orton finally goes on offense, it’s by going after Edge’s neck, which serves a dual purpose. It goes after a nagging injury that Edge has, one that caused him to miss fourteen months of action, and two WrestleManias. It also sets up Edge to fall prey to the RKO. Orton using the headlock is technically sound, and he does do a lot of wrenching on the head and neck to try to get something out of it, but he spends far too long in the hold. And aside from some elbow drops, and the neck clutch backbreaker, he doesn’t do much else to go after the neck. Orton doesn’t need to start dropping him on his head, but there are several mid range moves that Orton could have utilized. Or even teasing something deadly, like a piledriver would have worked well. Edge even gives Orton a hint, by giving him a standing neckbreaker. Edge’s selling is decent, he tries to put over how Orton’s headlock and sleeper are bleeding him dry, and whenever Orton lands a strike to the face or jaw he really reels from it. While it establishes the confidence that Orton seemed to be lacking early on, it also establishes cockiness, Orton is convinced that he can beat Edge whenever he wants, and that winds up coming back to haunt him.

When Edge starts making a comeback, is when Orton gets desperate. Instead of trying to outsmart Edge, and hit the RKO out of nowhere to finish the job, he falls back to pulling tights and putting his feet on the ropes. One really nice part of the match, was when Orton took the pad off the buckle and threw it to the floor, and the ref had to go retrieve it. It allowed Edge to hold the small package longer, and increase the fans’ anticipation of it getting the win, and when the ref finally saw that Edge was pinning Orton, it gave an excuse for him not bothering replacing the turnbuckle pad. They also keep the RKO protected by Orton trying for it, but not hitting it, the RKO had always spelled the end anyway, but after having his neck worked over, Edge would have been a goner for sure, Edge pushes Orton away, he counters into a backslide, whatever he can do so as not to get hit with it. The same with the spear, Orton would dodge it, or kick Edge as he was coming, so Edge just tried other moves like the Impaler DDT and the Edge-O-Matic. Instead of losing his cool though, Edge shoots Orton in the exposed buckle (that Orton had caused to become exposed) and it stuns him long enough to allow Edge to hit the spear and win the title. And now Orton can move forward to SummerSlam for the biggest win of his career, having learned some important lessons about confidence, cockiness, and about not losing his calm and staying focused. ***1/4

MOLLY HOLLY vs. VICTORIA (#1 Contender to WWE Women’s Title)

There is good news and bad news. The good news is that this is given twice as much time as women’s matches are given on RAW. The bad news is that this is still only about six minutes long. Luckily, they spend the little time that they are given well. Victoria is given a chance to show off her athletic ability with some flashiness, and even though she’s not in the same class as even Molly or Trish, it’s still easy to marvel at what she can do. When Molly works over the shoulder, is when this starts to go somewhere nice, and even if they were just given an extra five minutes, they could have probably done a lot more. Molly really cranks on the arm when she applies the Fujiwara armbar, and dropping Victoria shoulder-first over the top rope is just one of those common sense moves that you don’t see enough of. Victoria does a decent enough sell job of it, remembering to sell after she connects with a move of her own, and being unable to do the Widows Peak. The ending is a bit out of nowhere though, although with the force and sound that Victoria’s foot made upon contact to Molly’s jaw, she wasn’t going anywhere.

CHRIS BENOIT © vs. TRIPLE H (World Heavyweight Title)

Despite walking in with the gold, and still leaving with it, Benoit is still playing second fiddle to HHH, even while he’s doing this storyline with Eugene. The opening of the match is formulaic stuff. Benoit is all aggressive wanting a piece of HHH, and HHH is backing up and running to the floor like a chickenshit. When they finally do go at it, Benoit owns HHH, and one nice bit they do is HHH trying to do a thumb to the eye and Benoit blocking it. Benoit makes the babyface mistake though, and tries for the diving headbutt far too early, and misses.

HHH does some nice things to continue the abuse of Benoit’s sternum, and Benoit holds nothing back, and takes the bumps like a man. He gets sent full speed ahead into the turnbuckle on several occasions, and does nothing to cushion the blow. When HHH does the reverse suplex, he literally throws Benoit, rather than just drop him, and Benoit once again, takes the full brunt of the fall. It’s funny that Lawler would talk about how smart HHH is for doing the reverse suplex, when the truth is that he’d have been a complete moron for not doing it. HHH keeps up the abuse with some smart work using the abdominal stretch and the surfboard, which are usually just rest holds used to kill time. The same deal with HHH’s sleeper, he’s only ever won two matches with the hold, but with all the punishment he’s given to Benoit’s chest, it’s fathomable to think that Benoit might be the third one. The only real problems in this area are courtesy of Benoit, believe it or not, when he locks in the Sharp Shooter, and has no trouble holding it at all, despite all the punishment he’d taken.

Of course the ref eventually gets bumped, which leads to Benoit putting HHH in the crossface complete with the tap out. Eugene runs in and the focus shifts from Benoit vs. HHH to HHH and Eugene, with Benoit just sort of “there” while the HHH using Eugene storyline continues. The chair gets involved, Flair and Batista run in, and when Benoit and Eugene are in a struggle over the chair, HHH gets knocked out with it, leading to Benoit rolling him up for the pin. Benoit leaves, and the PPV ends with HHH staring at Eugene. Chris Benoit: World Heavyweight Champion, and only a minor player in the bigger story with HHH in it. ***1/4.

Conclusion: There are a couple of good matches, but overall, this wasn’t something that belonged on PPV. Thumbs down for this show.