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Assorted April PPV Countdown: WWE Backlash 2005

The SmarK Rant for WWE Backlash 2005

(2012 Scott sez:  This is the point where my PPV archives start to get REALLY thinned out as I lost more and more interest in WWE.  As such, there’s only this one and 2007 left in the Backlash series.) 

- So last year I got to be at this PPV live, which means that the Backlash name now holds a special place in my heart. OK, not really.

- Live from Manchester, NH

- Your hosts are JR & King.

- Opening match, Intercontinental title: Shelton Benjamin v. Chris Jericho.

Shelton takes him to the mat to start and they do the bridge/backslide segment, which gets two for both guys. Shelton grabs an armbar and Jericho turns it into a wristlock, so Shelton does the Owen Hart ropeflip escape and goes back to the armbar. They take it to the mat and catfight, but Jericho starts throwing chops to take over. JR notes that Shelton grew up on the hard streets of Orangeberg, South Carolina. I've heard bad things about those streets. They fight for a suplex and Jericho lands on the apron, but Shelton springs over and tries to powerbomb him off the apron! Jericho reverses that to a rana to escape and then drops him on the railing to take over. Back in the ring, he lets the mean streak grow a bit by punting Shelton in the ribs and doing the Arrogant Cover for one. We hit the chinlock and Shelton comes back with a flying forearm, but Jericho retains control with a low dropkick and starts choking, like, uh, himself in a major title match. (Or the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs this year!  If us Canuck fans can’t be happy, NO ONE CAN!)  Shelton comes back with a stinger splash out of nowhere into a backdrop suplex, but another trip to the corner proves ill-fated, and Jericho bulldogs him. Shelton is again one step ahead, however, clotheslining him in the back of the head while trying the Lionsault, and they head up. Jericho pushes him down, but Shelton pops up with an incredible vertical leap and superplexes him off instead. That gets two. Shelton stays on him with a faceplant for two. Shelton takes him down with a bodyscissors, but misses the stinger splash and Jericho comes back on him. He takes him down for the lame running choke, but Shelton is ahead of him THERE, too, and catches Jericho with a samoan drop for two. Shelton tries another splash, but Jericho elbows him and catches the enzuigiri for two. I'd say Shelton went to that proverbial well once too often. Shelton gets tossed, but hangs on and springboards in with a crazy hangtime bulldog for two. This guy is gonna blow his knees out by 35. Oklahoma Roll is countered by Jericho for two, however, and he tries the Walls. Shelton counters, so Jericho catapults him into the corner, and Shelton springs back with the exploder for two. Nice sequence. Jericho's foot was on the ropes, so he drags him into the middle and gets two again. Another try at the exploder is blocked by Jericho, and then an attempt at the dragon whip kick is caught and reversed into the Walls in a SUPER slick sequence. Shelton makes the ropes. If Jericho didn't win off that, he's not winning. Shelton comes back with a superkick out of nowhere while Jericho gets upset, and that gets two. Shelton whiffs on a rana and Jericho tries the Lionsault, but hits knees. However, he rolls with it and tries the Walls, and they go into a crazy pinfall reversal sequence that ends with Shelton on top for the pin to retain at 14:29. Shelton is like the one-man show these days. I'd actually like to see a motivated RVD challenging him, because it'd probably be the greatest spot show seen in years. ***3/4  (I’d like to see a motivated RVD these days PERIOD.) 

- RAW World tag titles: William Regal & Tajiri v. The Heart Throbs.

(Oh my, the Heart Throbs.  The metrosexual tag team where the point of the gimmick got lost in translation between callup and TV debut.)  It's TAG TEAM TURMOIL. Regal starts with Romeo and they fight over a headlock, as Regal keeps him on the mat. Romeo flips out of a wristlock and brings Antonio in, and Regal handles him with ease, too. Tajiri comes in with a seated dropkick and fires the kicks at Antonio, then takes him down with a hammerlock submission. Standing moonsault gets two. He stops to go after Romeo, however, and gets caught in the wrong corner. Double-team elbow gets two for Antonio. Tajiri fights out of there, but gets taken into the corner, where he reverses into a sunset flip for the pin at 3:09.

- William Regal & Tajiri v. Simon Dean & Maven.

(Simon Dean and Maven, ladies and gentlemen.  What a tag team division 2005 produced.)  Maven & Dean now have matching purple outfits, so that's a relief. Dean takes Tajiri down for a kneedrop that gets two, and the heels do some pushups to celebrate a double-team. Maven pounds away on Tajiri and Dean chokes him down, but Tajiri comes back with a high kick and makes the tag to Regal. I guess it was the hot tag, because Regal is certainly a house of fire. Regal suplexes Dean around and finishes him with a running knee at 2:22.

- William Regal & Tajiri v. La Resistance.

La Rez attacks quickly and stomps the champs down, but Tajiri kicks away at Grenier. Back to Regal for a double-team kick and he puts Grenier down with forearms. Tajiri comes in for more kicks and a legdrop that gets two. Conway comes in and goes nuts on Regal with forearms, and that gets two. Lawler praises the stamina of Regal & Tajiri, although the entire match has gone maybe 8 minutes at this point. Tajiri comes in and tries the Tarantula, but Grenier necksnaps him and Conway rolls up Regal for the pin at 2:56. Bleh.

- La Resistance v. The Hurricane & Rosey.

Hurricane comes in with a high cross on Grenier. Blockbuster gets two. He tries to spring out of the corner, but Grenier dumps him, smashing Hurricane's knee into the post in the process in a scary move, and gets two in the ring. Conway pounds on him in the corner and Grenier hits the chinlock. Backdrop suplex gets two. He goes up and misses an elbow, looking like a dying gazelle in the process, and it's hot tag Rosey. Rosey misses a splash, but slams Conway for two. La Rez tries a double-team, but Hurricane breaks it up. La Rez recovers with a double-team chokeslam on Rosey for two. Rosey shoves them into each other and Hurricane goes up with a splash off Rosey's shoulders, and we have new champions at 4:05. As if the titles weren't already a gigantic joke, this match pretty much confirmed it, with a series of jobbers and novelty acts doing 3-minute matches. ** overall for the whole thing. (The tag division at this point was so hopeless that the creative team basically forgot that Hurricane and Rosey were the champions and they ended up holding the belts for months and not even being on TV at the time.) 

- Last Man Standing: Edge v. Chris Benoit.

(AKA the battle of the men with a combined spinal age of 192) Benoit dives at him and slugs away on the mat to start, and fires off a knee to the gut, then a bunch more to the head. Can some please explain to JR that "dehabilitating" is not pronounced that way nor really even a word? Edge comes back with a shoulder in the corner and stomps away, as the crowd lets him know that they want Matt. So does Jeff Jarrett, apparently.  (Be careful what you wish for, TNA.)  Edge chokes him down and sets up for a quick spear, but Benoit takes him down with a drop toehold and gets a back elbow. Benoit dives in with the crossface, but really that's useless. Benoit throws some vicious knees on the mat and tries a suplex, but Edge fights out and boots him down. He starts going for the plunder, but Benoit baseball slides a garbage can out of his hands and they brawl on the floor. Into the crowd we go, and back into the ring, which gives JR a chance to use his other favorite dumb word: "Surcease". And then MORE of the dehabilitation , as Benoit gets the Sharpshooter and Edge taps for no reason. Benoit releases and starts throwing the german suplexes, and after five of them Edge rolls out. The ref counts him down, but he's up at 8. Benoit waits until he gets up, and then elbows him off the apron again. Back up at 8 and Benoit tries to knock him down with the suicide dive, but Edge counters with the lid as Benoit takes another sick bump. That puts him down for 7, but he's up again. Edge puts him down again with the lid for 6. Back into the ring, as Edge puts him on the top rope and they slug it out up there. Edge wins that battle and superplexes Benoit on a garbage can. Everyone's out, but Edge is up at 7 and Benoit is up at 8. Edge hits him with a running knee and some lid shots, but Benoit is up again quickly. So it's ladder time now, as Edge means business. Benoit fights back and gets slammed as a result, allowing Edge to climb the ladder. Benoit follows him up there and brings him down with a german suplex from the ladder. And they wonder why guys have serious neck injuries. Benoit fires off another german suplex and goes up the ladder, but Edge moves and avoids the diving headbutt. Edge tries to hit him with the Magic Briefcase, but Benoit counters into the crossface and JR is again with the dehabilitating. Edge taps again for no purpose and both guys get counted down, but both up quickly. Benoit throws more suplexes, but gets DDTd on the briefcase. Benoit is up at 9, however. Edge spears him down again, and it's another 9. Another spear, another 9. Edge goes into the briefcase now, finds a brick, and hits Benoit with it to finish at 18:47. Good brawl, but all the counting spots dragged it down. The storyline at the end with Edge wearing him down and then desperately finishing with the brick worked well. ***1/2

- Lawler interviews a bunch of divas in a pointless segment, which is then interrupted by Chris Masters in an even more pointless segment, as he does a Masterlock Challenge and abuses a woman. Yeah.

- Kane v. Viscera.

They slug it out in the corner and Kane boots him to the floor to start, and follows with a flying clothesline to the floor. Into the ring, Kane drops a few elbows and gets a legdrop for two. Viscera comes back with the leg lariat, however, and takes over. The elbow misses and Kane goes after Trish, but that allows Vis to get a corner splash and samoan drop for two. Bossman slam gets two. Kane comes back with a DDT after Vis puts his head down for like 5 minutes on an irish whip, and the flying clothesline follows. Chokeslam is blocked, sadly, and Vis clotheslines him to the floor. He tries a splash on the post, but Kane moves. I'm shocked. Trish tries to use a chair to turn the tide, but Lita stops her with a crutch. Back in, Kane goes up again, and gets caught with the tree slam for two. Lita comes in and Viscera stops to put the moves on her, but that allows Kane to get the big boot and chokeslam to mercifully finish this thing at 6:06. Well, at least it was short. 1/4* Viscera takes out his pent-up sexual frustration on Trish, which I guess is supposed to have turned him face. (He did actually end up as a babyface in ECW, didn’t he?) 

- Shawn Michaels & Hulk Hogan v. Muhammad Hassan & Khosrow Daivari.

Hulk starts with Hassan, who is of course overpowered. Next up, the deadly headlock. Hulk works the arm, but Hassan brings him into the corner and KNOCKS OFF THE DOO-RAG. Oh man, they're in trouble now. And indeed, Hulk clotheslines both heels down and hits Hassan with the Ax Bomber. Over to Shawn now, and the Balding Egomaniacs do a double boot and Shawn works Hassan over in the corner. He misses an elbow and Daivari comes in and throws some chops on Shawn, but gets double-teamed in the face corner and pounded by Hogan outside. Back in, Hogan chokes him down and drops the elbows. Back to Shawn, who puts his head down and gets into a chop war with Daivari. Flying forearm for Daivari and atomic drop, and Shawn goes up for the flying elbow pretty early. Superkick looks to finish well ahead of schedule, but Hassan interrupts the stomping and hits him with some sort of international object. And as expected, now begins the segment where Shawn sells until he's on death's door. If it was Saturday Night's Main Event, we would have taken a commercial break right about now. Hassan & Daivari work him over and Daivari chokes away in the corner and goes to a surfboard, dehabilitating him and offering no surcease. Oh, great, now he's got ME doing it. Hassan comes in and hits the chinlock, exposing Shawn's huge bald spot in rather ugly manner. Shawn fights back with a sleeper on Hassan, but gets taken down with a backbreaker as a result. And now it's camel clutch time, as Hassan continues to do the tasteless throat-slitting gesture before the move. If he was doing it himself, ala Benoit & Anderson, then it's fine as a generic gesture of his intensity, but doing it to Shawn is supposed to evoke specific images, and that's not cool. (Can you believe that Hassan was originally intended as a babyface character?)  Shawn powers out of the deadly rear chinlock with an electric chair, and it's hot tag Hogan. Much punching results. Big boot for Daivari, but Hogan can't do the legdrop, so they do a spot where Hassan hits HIM with the object to break it up. Daivari gets two, but it's Hulk Up time of course. Hassan breaks up the legdrop again, so Shawn finishes Daivari with the superkick, as Hogan gets the pin at 15:14. This was very, very SNME formula, but the heels were no threat so it lacked any of the punch you'd think it would have had. It should have had Shawn bleeding all over the ring and selling some dramatic injury, but instead the heat segment was like 5 minutes long and they finished them off more like they were a minor impediment to their posing routine rather than any kind of serious threat. **  (Of course, Shawn quickly turned on Hogan, the next night if I’m thinking correctly, to set up their Summerslam main event.  The intention was for Hassan to get the rub here and go on to beat Batista for the title at the PPV in Washington, I kid you not. ) 

- And now Christian joins us, upset that he's left off the PPV. It might be the last time he's on a RAW PPV, so he's going to express himself via a rap aimed at all his fellow main-eventers.

"On RAW you've got Batista with muscles to spare, but he's got charisma like Tomko's got hair.

You've got HHH and Ric Flair, their legend still grows. 26 titles between them, and the world's biggest nose.

Have you heard the one about JBL, you know the rich guy on Smackdown? Well I hear his taxes are still soaring, but he's no wrestling god, just a god of boring.

Seems to me I'm forgetting somebody. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, he's the guy who inspired this little rap, the WWE champion, John Cena.

Well I got a little something for him.

Hey Cena, you think I'm jealous of your fortune and fame. Well you talk like Snoop Dogg, but you look like Corey Haim.

So after the draft, whether it's RAW or Smackdown, JR or Michael Cole, I will be champion, because that's how I roll!"

Well, it's not a match, but I feel enriched. 10 points for effort on the Corey Haim reference, minus several million for current pop culture relevance.  (RIP Corey Haim, of course.) 

- RAW World title: Batista v. HHH.

Flair trips up Batista to start, and HHH attacks. He quickly goes for the Pedigree, but Batista counters out. Into the lockup and Batista slugs away in the corner, and they fight over their finishes with no one able to get it. Batista indicates that HHH was "that close" to losing, although he might be referring to his penis size judging by the years of steroids and self-centered booking. HHH slugs away in the corner and gets backdropped as a result, and Batista slugs away again. HHH tries another Pedigree, but this time Batista backdrops him over the top and to the floor. Batista follows him out and charges, but walks into a spinebuster into the railing. Guess it's time for the monster World champion to start selling for HHH again. HHH suplexes him on the floor and starts working on the back, in the ring. He charges and hits elbow and Batista tries his powerbomb again, but HHH counters him into the corner and works the back. Batista gets whipped into the corner and Flair gets some cheapshots in from the outside. Back to the corner, HHH fires away, but Batista fires back. HHH gets the main event spinebuster for two, however. They head back to the corner and Batista catches him with a lariat, then follows with a sideslam. He dumps HHH with a clothesline and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Batista works him over in the corner and gets the powerslam and does some rope-shaking. Batista got over by doing DIFFERENT power stuff, not the same crap that people were doing 15 years ago. That's one reason why this title reign is dying. (WWE was actually doing really well with Batista as champion.  Of course, with the swapping of Batista and Cena later in the year, they were doing even better.)  Flair tries to interfere, but that allows HHH to get the belt and use it to counter the powerbomb. That gets two. Pedigree is countered again by Batista, and the ref is bumped. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE follows, but there's no ref. I love how HHH makes sure to get his move and the visual pinfall, just so we know that if there HAD been a ref, it'd be over. HHH tries to wake up the ref, to no avail, so another one comes out to see Batista counter the Pedigree into a spinebuster for two. HHH comes back with a facecrusher for two. Another try at the Pedigree, but Batista powers him into the corner for a clothesline. He gets two more, but HHH kicks the ref in the nuts and we're minus another one. Flair interferes and gets creamed, and Batista catapults HHH into the corner. He tries the demon bomb, but didn't give the thumbs down, so HHH counters with a low blow. Did Kevin Sullivan book this? HHH pounds away in the corner, but Batista powerbombs him for the pin at 16:22. I think this was actually worse than Wrestlemania, with a dull main portion and a lot of silly overbooking and ref bumps during the finishing sequence. HHH is just not the guy to selflessly put over a new star and make him into something special. (Well that’s exactly what happened, so I guess 2005 Scott can shut the hell up now.)  *1/4

The Inside Pulse:

Really good first hour, but the rest of the show just kind of dragged to a finish. I'd even call the Hogan match a disappointment, as the heels didn't get enough offense in to really build drama.

Two matches over *** is good enough for a thumbs in the middle, and nothing else was bad enough to bring it below that, but I can't recommend going out of your way to see this one.  (Agreed.  Totally forgettable show.) 


  1. If only there was some way for someone to get all the other April PPV's for free in a format that could be reviewed at one's leisure...

    Ah well...sooner or later we'll have such technology. 

  2. Shawn didn't turn on Hogan until late June-early July. He rekindled his feud with Angle in the interim, to lead into their rematch at Vengeance in June. Also had that great match with Shelton Benjamin the night after this show.

    Shawn had a kick-ass 2005.

  3. To be fair to HHH, there was nothing nefarious about the pedigree and visual pinfall. It was put in there to justify the 3rd match (Hell in a Cell) where HHH absolutely 100%, no-bullshit involved put him over (...again).

    Sometimes they really do know what they're doing.

    Anyway, my point is: let's let this Zack Ryder thing play out.

  4. Hassan as a face would've been a unique and progressive idea, which of course is why WWE didn't do it.

  5.  Shawn have awesome matches with practically everyone he wrestled doesn't seem like a kick ass year for him so much as a year he was working regularly. Well, except the DX reunion year.

  6.  I think the Michaels-Shelton match was the night after Wrestlemania 21.

  7. (Simon Dean and Maven, ladies and gentlemen.  What a tag team division 2005 produced.)

    Sadly, it's still more productive than the 2012 tag team division.

  8. This time period helped mark the end of Triple H's reign of terror that started in the fall of 2002, where it seemed every since he was just given the WHC (literally), he was the main star of Raw, even when others (i.e Benoit) were world champion. After Triple H went absent following the Batista feud, it almost felt like a new day.

    Also, I wish we would have gotten to see the Batista-Hassan match at Summerslam. I wish that even though they were "forced" to kill off his character, they could have at least stretched it out to Summerslam and make everyone (i.e the casual fans) think he was gonna win the WHC only to have Batista beat him and then powerbomb him off the stage or something.

  9. This
    time period helped mark the end of Triple H's reign of terror that
    started in the fall of 2002, where it seemed every since he was just
    given the WHC (literally), he was the main star of Raw, even when others
    (i.e Benoit) were world champion. After Triple H went absent following
    the Batista feud, it almost felt like a new day.

    Also, I wish we would have gotten to see the Batista-Hassan match at
    Summerslam. I wish that even though they were "forced" to kill off his
    character, they could have at least stretched it out to Summerslam and
    make everyone (i.e the casual fans) think he was gonna win the WHC only
    to have Batista beat him and then powerbomb him off the stage or

  10. Couldn't have been the night after Mania cause it was a match in the "Gold Rush" tournament (which was actually pretty cool), which was sometime between Backlash and Vengeance. So the night after Backlash sounds about right.

  11. Couldn't agree more about Shawn's 2005. Started the year in a hot feud with Edge that produced very good matches. Then Angle which produced 2 amazing matches. The Hogan/Hassan stuff in between which was passable and set up the great Hogan feud for Summerslam. Then he gave Chris Masters his best match ever (and it *was* a good match, plus this is 2005 Chris Masters we're talking about). And people often forget the great triple threat match he had with Angle and Cena for the title after that.

    Bret will always be my guy, but there's no denying HBK really is the Greatest.

  12. Did we ever get Backlash 2001 on here?  Nothing is coming up using the search box.

    Then again, I can't bring up the 2003 version, either, and I know that that made it on here, so maybe it's the search function being wonky.

  13. Shawn did turn until July. July 4th to be exact, only reason I know that is because I was at that show. 

  14. I can forgive Scott for being too cynical about HHH in this era. He'd just gotten through killing EVERYONE he faced, from RVD to Kane to Booker T, and it was unheard-of for him to just start LOSING to guys and put people over. When he did it for Batista AND Cena, the whole IWC took notice and kinda forgave him a bit for past transgressions. It doesn't forgive ALL the shit he did to make wrestling suck shit in the mid-2000s, but it helps.

  15. Not just forgettable, this was one of the most boring PPVs ever (at least that i've purchased).  I fought falling asleep through the main event (where the story was Batista had never been Pedigree'd).  Of course I guess that visual pinfall after the pedigree was enough to get another match - which was totally worth it.  Their HiaC match is *****, even with the slightly wussy spinebuster on the steps at the end.

  16. Well, they tried.  I mean his opening shtick was about how he just wanted to be treated equally and not stereotyped. 

    This led to some awkward TV - especially when Ivory was talking (and LAUGHING) about hoping no planes were going to fly into any buildings during Sunday Night Heat (before this Backlash actually).  Pretty tasteless stuff - even for wrestling.

  17. Don't forget Benoit also. 

  18. having him come out to Arab music in the midwest wasn't going to help either. I'll always feel it was an interesting character concept that was just executed poorly.

  19. "If he was doing it himself, ala Benoit & Anderson, then it's fine as a generic gesture of his intensity, but doing it to Shawn is supposed to evoke specific images, and that's not cool." - Explain this?

  20. I don't remember Viscera as a face in "ECW" (was he there before he became "Big Daddy V"?). But I like to remember as little about him as possible.

  21. Eh, the D-X reunion was still to come. That killed my regular fandom once and for all.

  22.  Raw was still the HHH show even when Benoit was champion.

  23. Yeah, I was going to say, at least they HAD a tag team division.

  24. In 2004, an American soldier (Nick Berg) was be-headed in Iraq by Islamic militants.

    Therefore, many people saw it in more taste that Hasaan would emulate that throat-slashing gesture on an opponent.

  25. Anytime HHH's 2002/2003 heel run gets discussed, I always hear that he "killed off" RVD, Booker, and Kane.

    I get Kane....with the Katie Vick stuff......I get Booker, with the buildup of how he basically was World champ of a "joke" promotion like WCW, along with the little racial insinuations HHH kept throwing around...

  26. Ivory said that?  Wow...I'm surprised she didn't get more flack for that.

    Poor Steph got roasted for years about comparing the 9/11 attacks to her family being "attacked in federal court" in the steroid trial. 

  27. Damn, I'm sorry to hear that you don't have a Backlash 2006 rant. I was looking forward to hearing how well the HBK/God-McMahons match held up after all these years.

    I always thought God played the Robert Gibson role in that match very well and might have gone on to bigger things if he learned how to work WWE style.

  28. People can shit on the DX reunion all they want,  but HHH and HBK dressed as Vince and Shane, followed by them dancing to Vince's "Stand Back" was one of the funniest things I'd seen on Raw in several years up till then.

  29. Viscera became a face soon after this when he started romancing Lilian Garcia, and when he dumped her and started coming to the ring with ho's every week, he became an even BIGGER babyface. Because humiliating Lililan Garcia on TV is the second-most popular rib in WWE next to humiliating J.R.

    I still remember the segment where Viscera dumped Lilian, and she was actually able to sell it as the worst thing ever by crying REAL tears!

  30. It's hard to make that character cheered. Either they get xenophobic heat or they get heat for pointing out xenophobia. It would take some really skilled writing to get that character face heat. It would be hard to do in the context of wrestling.

  31.  They stupidly unified the IC and World titles in a match between HHH and RVD. HHH beat RVD with a SLEEPER HOLD which pretty much buried the IC title and his career for a few years in one fell swoop.

  32.  I think it's more Ivory was scripted to say that whereas that was really Stephanie talking.

  33. Hassan was working just fine as a heel. I thought he had a fantastic heel character that pointed out very big truths about American hypocrisy and then cheating in his matches etc. Why on earth they felt the need to go from edgy to overboard with the terrorist squad run ins and such is beyond me.

  34. I'd cry real tears too if I was stuck in a program with Viscera.

    Viscera I believe turned heel when he and Charlie Haas attcked Lillian, and I think Vis gave her a big splash?  This was after the incident where Haas legit knocked her off the apron and they turned it into a storyline.  Sadly, I actually remember this.

  35. Batista was such an ass kicker, I was really bummed when he left Raw, I worked Thursday nights and couldn't catch Smackdown. Cena didn't really do it for me and after the Hogan/Michaels feud I basically took a 6 and a half year hiatus from wrestling.

  36. No, the unification match was against Kane.  RVD actually dropped the IC title BEFORE his match with Hunter, which led people to think that he was getting the big belt instead.  And then, as noted, he just went out and lost that one too.  

  37. Shawn's 2005 wasn't good at all. Those Angle matches were pretty bad (granted, it was more Angle's fault than Shawn's). And the Hogan match is one of the most unprofessional performances I've ever seen.

  38. I too was hoping Hassan would debut as a face going by his vignettes. I think it would've been great PR to have a good guy Arab-American (and judging by the events of 2006-2007 that killed the company's image, they could've used any goodwill). Of course, fans have been trained to boo a foreigner, so you simply weather the storm at the outset. I would've liked an opening promo where another foreign (Canadian?) wrestler cuts an anti-American promo, cue Hassan and Daivari, they start their promo as if they were going to agree with him before Hassan gets enraged, states he's proudly from Dearborn, MI, and he's gonna stand up to anyone who calls out his country. Over the next few weeks, you give Hassan time on the mic or backstage to again talk about wanting a chance as an Arab-American to be successful, to have just one of his ilk be embraced in the public spotlight, all the while going out and demolishing some of the heat-worthy heels in there. Of course it would take skilled writing, but in April 2005, WWE just came out an amazing six-month face turn for Batista that made him what Austin would call a "Super Duper Star", so they had the potential for it if they wanted.

    Alas, foreign heel #83278270 with added tastelessness down the stretch.

  39. Are people still pissed off about HHH denying them the glory of title reigns by RVD and Kane? Yeah, he should have dropped the strap to everybody under the sun during that period so that putting over Batista would have meant nothing.

  40. I liked Simon and Maven, actually - they were a fun little comedy team, with a nice logical reason for teaming together (Simon was the fitness guru, and Maven was visibly becoming much more muscular), not to mention that Simon could go in the ring.

  41. Ehh, to each their own, I thought Shawn's 2005 was one of the best years that any wrestler ever had.

    I mean, I can understand why many people think that he was completely unprofessional during his match with Hogan, but I thought that (intentionally or not), it ended-up having a very positive impact: Shawn's extreme over-selling covered for Hogan's lack of mobility. It brought a visual flair and excitement to the match. Granted, I have no idea WHY Shawn did it, if it was because he wanted to embarrass Hogan, or because he thought it would be the best way to make the match exciting (or both), but it does seem odd that Shawn is always credited for "bumping like a pinball" when facing other big lugs, but in this case (where the backstage feelings were no secret), he's looked down on for it.

  42. The tag divisioin might have been a joke in 2005 but it looks stellar compared to now. I don't even think they have enough teams to do Tag Team Turmoil

  43. DX 2.0 was beyond bad. DX was cool because they were younger guys rebellinga against authority. It wasn't cool when you knew Shawn was Christian and couldn't even say suck it, and Triple H was in his 40s.

  44. Probably had to do with him making goofy facial expressions and hamming it up against Hogan. It wasn't his normal selling, I was in the nosebleeds at MCI Center for that and could tell he was acting obnoxious.

  45. This should really be more of a reply, but there's something I want to say about Hassan that I think applies to the posts of several people on here (as well as many other wrestling fans):

    It seems that there is some revisionist history over Hassan's debut, and whether or not the character was meant to be a face or not. Here is his first vignette:

    Referring to all US citizens as "you people", stereotyping all US citizens as being prejudiced, and having Daivari yell and point at the audience are NOT face actions. Granted, it's hard to say he was an out-right heel during that promo, since he didn't really say or do anything overly inflammatory, but his own broad generalizations did come across as somewhat hypocritical, his delivery seemed (IMO) disingenuous, and Daivari was clearly added to make sure he was thought of that way. It was subtle, yes, but it was there. If anything, the pair was basically a tweener wrestler with a heel manager.

    Is it possible that wrestling fans would have booed him simply for his race? Yeah, I supposed, though I seriously doubt that if he were portrayed as heroic - such as, as David Bonzai suggested, attacking another foreign heel that was about to desecrate the USA's flag - he would still be booed. To actually insist that that's what happened, however, is completely unfair and false: he wasn't a face that was booed by a racist crowd, he was a heel-leaning character that was booed simply for being whiny and obnoxious. Let's not pretend that every single wrestling fan (other than ourselves, of course), is some stereotypical inbred redneck racist douchebag. That, in itself, is stereotyping for the sake of making ourselves feel better; it's like we're saying "well, most people that watch wrestling are stupid hicks, but not ME of course, I'M special."

  46.  Oh ok that's right. Either way the burial was complete.

  47. There's a difference between beating someone and burying someone. And RVD was pretty damn over at the time. But Booker T is still the most egregious example

  48. I don't know if I'd say most wrestling fans are stupid hicks but I've been spoiled by the posters here, on the Withleather wrestling stories, and ROH crowds in Phila.

    Then I went to a Hooters in Chesterfield, Virginia for Wrestlemania. To quote my friend Doug, "now I know why people have a bad opinion of wrestling fans" (another funny story about Doug. Jr dropped surcease at a PPV and Doug goes, "okay JR, I can make up words too, boother. That was a boother cover". Cracked me up).

  49. Eh, considering Jericho had shown the previously unseen "Stand Back" video in 2001 which made me laugh a lot, it felt like a rehash.

  50. "Tag Team Turmoil" sounds like something from the 80 Colosseum Videos. Where's Midget Madness?

  51. This was during my "dark" period when I went over a year with absolutely no wrestling whatsoever. So many questions:

    --How over was Shelton at this time? By the time I came back in he was just about to start doing the stupid Mama Benjamin stuff so I never got to see it but from the sounds of it, he was a plucky young babyface on the verge of something big.

    --When and why did Regal and Tajiri reform as a team? Was Regal actually a face during this period? Seems hard to believe. I remember in 01 when Tajiri was brought in as Regal's manservant, how did they come around to being a team?

    --When the hell did Chris Masters debut? By the time I jumped back on he seemed like a new character, and I got bored watching him do the stupid Masterlock Challenge gimmick after about 3 weeks. What did he do with himself that whole time?

    --Why was Hogan teaming with Michaels against Hassan and Daivari? I knew Hogan and Michaels had a match at Summerslam later on, but what on earth would make those two a team during the Hogan Knows Best period? Seems inconceivable.

    --And why would Christian rap? Was he just doing this for a feud with Cena, or was it a regular thing at this time? 

  52. 1.  Shelton got a suprise pinfall on HHH during this time, if I recall.  But as far as how "over" he was......I honestly don't remember crowds blowing the roof off for him or anything, other than the occasional "ooooooooooooh" for one of his cool highspots.

    2.  I'm sketchy on this as well......I think Tajiri became Regal's partner after

  53. absolutely. to me the character in the beginning was one of the best examples of "the best bad guys need a real motive".

  54. and it got even worse when they had their "hot" new team (Miz & Morrison) and instead of making them look like a million bucks jobbed them out like idiots to DX 2.0.

  55. I would never suggest dropping the belt to all three... but utterly burying all three of them, and losing the belt to NONE of them? Especially after the "HHH is Racist" angle against Booker T, and Katie Vick.

  56.  Christ Almighty, you poor people had to sit through a whole year of people attempting to break out of the Masterlock? What a boring gimmick.

  57. See, I don't even think it would be that hard to have a face Hassan.  You can still have wrestlers confronting him about his heritage and attire....except have the heels do it and have them come off as xenophobic jerks.  Like, Bischoff won't let Hassan on RAW unless he changes his look, or have JBL try to play his 'real American' card and try to bully Hassan into quitting.

    You could even have a face question Hassan, only to humbly admit they were wrong about him later once Hassan has "proven" himself as a good guy.  You could even do the Dr. King/Malcolm X thing with Hassan and Daivari, with Daivari being the more overtly angry one about how Muslims are treated.


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