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October Countdown: WWE Taboo Tuesday 2005

The SmarK Rant for WWE Taboo Tuesday 2005

(I don’t particularly remember if there was a Smackdown PPV for October 2005, because I was drifting away from fandom anyway by then.  I had finally given up on reviewing RAW after 5 straight years of it and Smackdown wasn’t even on the radar.  A quick check of Wikipedia shows that it was actually No Mercy again that year, with a main event of Undertaker v. Bob Orton & Randy Orton in a casket match, so I have DEFINITELY never reviewed that show because I know I’d remember a trainwreck like that.) 

- It boggles my mind that they actually did this concept show two years in a row, with a third on the way.

- Live from San Diego, CA.

- Your hosts are Joey Styles and King.

- Opening match: Gene Snitsky & Chris Masters v. Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy

Fan voting was supposed to put Rey and JBL in the Smackdown slot here, but actually giving fans a choice to think for themselves backfired, and Matt was put in the spot instead. This match is mildly notable for having Christian as one of the choices, as he made his last appearance, without a contract, before joining TNA at their next PPV. Snitsky is replacing an injured Edge here. (How was Edge & Masters any more of a sensible team?  What the fuck was even the issue here that they had to make this tag match?)  Masters attacks Rey and gets two to start, with a funny visual as Mike Chioda and Nick Patrick fight over reffing duties. Rey reverses a slam into a rollup for two, causing Snitsky to stomp him down and choke away. Bodyslam gets two. I've heard of sticking to the basics, but geez. Masters gets a series of backbreakers, but Rey fights out and they botch the Rube Goldberg bulldog spot, which Masters counters for two anyway. Chinlock time!

Hot tag Matt Hardy and he forearms Snitsky down and baseball slides Masters off the apron, and gets the Side Effect after an awkward sequence with Snitsky. Twist of Fate is blocked, but Snitsky misses a blind charge and Matt brings him down with a superplex for two. Snitsky + Improvising matches = UGLY. Masters comes in and double-teams Matt, and the heels take over as Matt is YOUR cuckold-in-peril. Masters with a butterfly suplex for two and he starts working on the back, surfboarding Matt as a result. Matt fights up, but Masters kills him with a clothesline for two. When Chris Masters looks like the veteran in a match, you know that his partner is green. Snitsky comes in and works a wristlock on Matt, then takes him down with a fairly nice spinebuster for two. Catapult under the ropes and Masters comes in with a facelock to cut off a potential tag. Check out the big brain on Masters there! Matt fights out and gets a flying clothesline for two, but Masters hangs onto the leg and won't let him tag.

More smart tag wrestling, as Snitsky bullies Rey off the apron and drops elbows on Matt without fear of interference from Matt's partner. Blind charge misses again, however, and Matt tries a high cross, which Snitsky reverses into a powerslam setup, and Matt turns that into a DDT. Hot tag Rey, and the crowd is quite hot for that, showing that if you keep it simple, it'll work. High cross gets two on Masters. Low dropkick gets two. Snitsky misses yet another charge and Rey tries a tornado DDT, but Snitsky wisely throws him into the Masterlock. Rey pushes off, but the refs fight and Matt breaks it up with a legdrop. It's BONZO GONZO and the heels are dumped, as the faces follow with stereo dives. Back in, Masters is the victim of a sunset flip for two from Rey. Snitsky trips him up and Masters hits him with an F5 for two, however. The madness continues as Matt takes Snitsky out with a DDT and Rey finishes things with a 619 into a Twist of Fate into a flying splash for the pin.

(Rey Mysterio & Matt Hardy d. Gene Snitsky & Chris Masters, Rey flying splash -- pin Masters, 13:44, **3/4) This was a surprisingly entertaining tag match, as they kept it simple and protected Snitsky in the process. I almost think they should have kept Masters & Snitsky together as a regular tag team.

Rob Conway & Tyson Tomko v. Eugene & Jimmy Snuka

This has bad idea written all over it. (Something something Tyson Tomko got high and killed Snuka’s girlfriend…hmm, I’ll have to work on that one and get back to you.)  Rob Conway's short-lived gimmick of attacking legends begat a more fitting gimmick: Jobbing on internet broadcasts. Conway's really a guy who would benefit from going to a place like TNA where he could build a character without getting lost in the shuffle. It'd be like getting Buff Bagwell at half the price and twice the talent! Eugene mocks Tomko via a test of strength to start, and gets a slam, but Conway attacks from behind and stomps away. Elbowdrop gets two. Dropkick and Tomko comes in and this match is dead in the water. Tomko powerslams Eugene for two, and Conway hits the chinlock. Eugene fights out and clotheslines Conway, and it's hot tag Snuka. It's BONZO GONZO as Snuka does his limited chop-and-headbutt offense, leaving Eugene to hit Conway with Rock Bottom before the Superfly splash ends it. Thankfully.

(Jimmy Snuka & Eugene d. Tyson Tomko & Rob Conway, Snuka flying splash -- pin Conway, 6:19, 1/2*) Considering that Snuka hung on way past the point where he was a self-parody in the 90s, and ditto for Duggan, it's hardly nostalgia to see them out there peddling the same act yet again.  (Sadly, they keep trotting them out for “Legends” shows because the money is still good for them.)

Carlito v. Mankind

(Another one where I don’t remember a single thing about the feud or even that they had an issue.)  In one of the lamer votes of the evening, which is saying something, fans got to vote which persona Mick Foley wrestled as here. Mick is using the Corporate Mankind persona rather than the true Mankind one, but I guess the shirt and tie is easier to throw on. He quickly gets Carlito in the Tree of Woe and drops an elbow, then catapults him in the ropes and baseball slides him to the floor. Sadly, irony rears its ugly head, as Mankind charges with a chair and gets sent into it. Back in, Carlito pounds away to take over. Half-assed electric chair gets two. I understand WHY Mick feels the need to do these "comeback" matches every once in a while, but there's little out there sadder than seeing Foley not giving a crap. Mick escapes a sleeper and they clothesline each other, allowing Mick to make the comeback. Running knee in the corner and Cactus Clothesline follow. Hearing Joey Styles crow about "vintage Mankind" as though he had any historical connection to the character is ridiculous and probably a big reason why he didn't work as announcer. Back in, Mr. Socko ends it.

(Mankind d. Carlito, Mandible Sock -- submission, 7:21, *) No real drama to this one, as Carlito was little more than a Saturday afternoon jobber here in a "feud" that was built up from nothing and went nowhere.  (Ah, good, there’s a reason I don’t remember it, then.)

RAW World tag titles: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch v. Big Show & Kane

This is of course the consolation prize for Kane & Show for losing the main event vote, although Shawn Michaels only beating Kane by 8% of the vote made it closer to an embarrassing situation than they probably would have liked. Cade and Murdoch had just won the titles and were on the verge of a potentially entertaining run as champions, which is why the result here was probably so obvious in hindsight. One show in and they've already got Joey spewing the same old crap about how you have to see Big Show in person because he's so big.  (Clearly Joey was just as much of a victim of Vince in the headset as Michael Cole currently is.)  Again I repeat, I've seen him wrestle live upwards of 20 times, and he sucked most of the times regardless of how big he was. Kane pounds on Murdoch in the corner to start and chokes away, following with the corner clotheslines. Murdoch may be green, but his selling and facials showed real potential before they abandoned him. Cade comes in and doesn't have much better luck, as Show clubs away with the clubbing forearms. Cade's another guy that they were really high on in OVW for years, and despite being given the perfect gimmick here he just got fed to the wolves. I still don't know why.  (Didn’t matter in the long run.  He ended up just another stat.) 

Cade goes to the eyes to slow down the Show and brings in Murdoch, who gets pummelled as a result. So Murdoch pokes Kane in the eyes and brings in Cade, and he immediately gets clobbered too. Kane goes up, but finally Cade and Murdoch buzz around him like flies enough to knock him down and double-team him on the floor to take over. Murdoch surfboards him, and an atomic drop sets up a neckbreaker from Cade, which Kane immediately no-sells. They try a double-team, but Kane makes his own comeback and fights them off for the hot tag to Show. Show destroys everyone and splashes Cade in the corner, while Murdoch walks into a flying clothesline from Kane and gets dumped. Double chokeslam finishes Cade.

(Big Show & Kane d. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, chokeslam -- pin Cade, 7:57, 1/2*) The champions were treated as total jobbers, getting little or no offense and presenting absolutely no threat to Kane & Show. Cade & Murdoch were split up right afterwards and disappeared.

Goldust, Vader & Coach v. Batista.

Now the votes get downright idiotic, although deliberately so in this case, as the choices were verbal debate, arm-wrestling, or street fight. One guess which won. This was a result of Steve Austin flaking out yet again, although in this case he had the decency to give a week's notice and thus prevent false-advertising his name on the show. Just another reason why I don't respect him any more. (I do like his movies, though.)  Batista fights off both of Coach's backup and destroys Goldust with a spear. He tries a suplex on Vader, but thankfully Goldust breaks it up with a kendo stick before we had to watch Vader trying to take a suplex in his condition. Vader & Goldust hold Batista down while Coach whips him with a belt, but Batista thankfully makes the comeback and whips everyone with the belt himself before putting everyone out of their misery with spinebusters and a demon bomb on Coach to finish.

(Batista d. The World, demon bomb -- pin Coach, 4:16, DUD) You'd have to be nuts to think they would stick their #1 guy in there and have things go any other way than him destroying three people single-handedly. Goldust actually got a JOB out of this travesty, however, which shocks me. OK, not really.  (Yeah, and then he made Sheamus look so good on ECW that they decided to push Sheamus as their new #2 guy for years afterwards.  THANKS, Goldust.) 

WWE Women's title: Battle royale

More lame voting as fans vote between lingerie, leather & lace, or cheerleaders, and predictably lingerie wins. So we've got Ashley, Candice, Victoria, Maria, Mickie James, and of course Trish Stratus. The lingerie worn is nothing more revealing than they normally wear. Trish and Victoria fight on the top to start, and Victoria nearly goes out. Trish and Mickie toss Maria, then team up and go after Victoria with no luck. Candice and Ashley do some bad amateur-hour stuff in the corner, and Ashley shoves her out of the ring while she's dancing. Victoria sideslams Trish, almost injecting some wrestling into this wrestling match, but gets caught with a headscissors by Mickie and put on the apron. Victoria comes back and catapults Ashley out, then sideslams Mickie. Trish uses a swinging headscissors to put Victoria on the apron and nearly goes out herself, but Mickie freaks out and saves her. Matrix dodge from Trish, but Victoria butt-splashes her to counter that. Victoria tries to get her out again, but Mickie saves her again, basically sacrificing herself and giving the match to Trish.

(Trish Stratus wins battle royale, 5:26) I could really use a good match to lift my spirits here.

Intercontinental title, Steel cage match: Ric Flair v. HHH

Another silly vote, as the choices were "1 fall to a finish", submission, or steel cage. Well, duh. Flair gets the first chop and dares HHH to bring it on, and they slug it out in the corner. Flair actually wins that one pretty handily before HHH uses the knee and takes him down. Choking in the corner, but Flair is all about the chops, so HHH hits him with a spinebuster. Flair is already bleeding, so HHH introduces him to the cold, hard, unforgiving, yada yada, and makes it official. Very few people go into the cage face-first with the gusto that Flair has over the years. And of course we get the cheese grater action on Flair, because it just wouldn't be Flair in a cage match without it. Nice, simple move from HHH, too, as he splashes Flair into the cage while he's recovering. Flair's bladejob is just gory.

HHH adds a little insult to injury, dropping a Flair-like knee on him before sending him back into the cage again. HHH casually climbs up and over, but Flair stops him and they slug it out on the top rope. No surprise what happens next, as Flair takes his patented crotch-first bump, but so does HHH. However, HHH finds a piece of chain left untied at top, only to jump onto Flair's boot. See, that's one time where the spot at least makes some sense -- HHH was specifically trying a fistdrop off the top rather than some indeterminate move. Flair goes for the figure-four to capitalize, but HHH still has the chain on his fist, and he makes use of it to block. Good timing there.

HHH keeps slugging away and Flair keeps bleeding, setting up a Flair Flop and another kneedrop from HHH. Just for fun, HHH puts him in a figure-four, and Flair yelling "I'll kill you!" while he fights it is tremendous stuff. Not quite Kurt Angle yelling "Tap or I'll break your fucking ankle!" at the Rock in 2001, but up there nonetheless. Flair reverses it, but HHH makes the ropes. HHH makes another attempt at the figure-four, really rubbing it into the fans' faces, but Flair shoves him into the cage and it's double juice. Flair biting the cut like a maniac is great, and he pounds away on the cut, finally back in his element as a cheating bastard. HHH gets treated to payback for all the cage spots, and Flair even fish-hooks him, which is even illegal in the UFC! Now that's cheating!

Flair gets a vertical suplex and his own kneedrops, as this is all setup and payoff, and Flair chops him to set up the chop block. Flair goes to work on the leg, literally smelling blood (I should write this stuff for these announcers...) and pounds the crap out of the leg. Figure-four follows, with a good visual of a bloody HHH screaming in pain. It doesn't take much to entertain me sometimes. HHH finally nails the ref to break the move, but Flair goes right back to the leg again. Flair climbs, but suckers HHH into an axehandle off the top for two. Low blow follows. I always consider adding an extra star for every time HHH gets nailed in the junk. It just doesn't get old.

Flair tries to walk out, but gets pulled in by HHH, bringing a chair in with him. HHH takes a swing with it, but Flair goes back to the babymaker again, thus adding another star. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is reversed to a backdrop and Flair keeps it simple, clobbering him with the chair. THREE TIMES. It's like my dream HHH match. And that's enough to walk out.

(Ric Flair d. HHH, Flair exits cage, 23:45, ***3/4) This was some tremendous old-school stuff, with HHH doing all sorts of nasty stuff to Flair and then having it all done back to him again, and Flair the old dog using every cheap trick in the book to hold off the challenger. The ending was a bit weak, with a pinfall or submission really being needed here, but any match that has HHH getting abused to this degree earns my respect.

RAW World title: John Cena v. Kurt Angle v. Shawn Michaels

Angle attacks both guys to start and pounds Cena down with forearms, but Cena comes back and suplexes him for one. Shawn tries fighting off both guys at once, reversing a suplex on Angle for two, but Cena saves. Angle takes over on them now, but charges Cena and gets dumped, leaving Cena and Michaels to do their thing. Shawn throws chops, then stops to baseball slide Angle, leaving himself open to a backslide from Cena as a result. Shawn plays heelish and chokes him out in the corner, and throws him into an Angle german suplex, as Angle suddenly goes nuts with suplexes and takes both guys out. Shawn reverses the Angle Slam, but Angle turns it into the anklelock, which Shawn kicks out of. Cena catches Angle with the FU, but Shawn breaks it up. Cena cradles Angle for two. Angle sunset flip is blocked by Cena, but Shawn bodyblocks him for two, reversed by Cena for two. Angle and Shawn finally get smart and gang-beat him, which the crowd LOVES, and Angle pounds away. They team up and send Cena into the post to get rid of him, and then team up to put him through the Spanish announce table for good measure.

So it's time to get down to the business of having an awesome match without him. Nice of you to show up, John, enjoy the match from ringside. Shawn and Kurt immediately turn on each other and slug it out, and Shawn powerslams him for two. Angle comes back with a back elbow and a kneelift, as the crowd is clearly behind him now. Snap suplex gets two. Angle goes to the bodyscissors and slows things down a lot, but Shawn rolls him over for two. He tries to come back, but Angle snaps off the overhead suplex and they head up. Angle's superplex is blocked and Shawn tries to follow with the flying elbow, but he falls victim to the Pop-Up Superplex for two. Angle pulls down the straps, but Cena returns to ruin things and dumps Angle.

Cena backdrops Shawn and follows with a backdrop suplex, but Angle yanks him out of the ring and tosses him into the crowd. Shawn answers with a somersault plancha onto Angle and they head into the ring again, where Shawn gets the forearm and makes the comeback. Atomic drop and clotheslines and Cena gets drawn into the ring again. Shawn gives him a flying forearm too, but kips up into an Angle belly-to-belly that puts him on the floor. Angle then walks into Cena's backdrop suplex and five knuckle shuffle. FU is reversed to the anklelock, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts for that. Cena can't shove him off because Angle is a machine as usual, and it's heel hook time. However, that leaves Angle open to a flying elbow from Shawn. Superkick goes to Angle, but Shawn gets FU'd.

(John Cena d. Shawn Michaels & Kurt Angle, Cena FU -- pin Michaels, 16:42, ***) Cena was WAY out of his league here, like Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts getting married type of out of his league.

The Pulse:

Most of the show was a depressing mess, but HHH-Flair really pulled it out of the fire, even if the main event couldn't deliver what was promised. Was it enough to save the show? Nah. Recommendation to avoid.  (Even I kind of ran out of things to say about this dull show by the end.) 

Comments

  1. Didn't they want Austin to lose to Coach? Does anyone blame him for backing out?

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  2. Wow, a Cena-HBK-Angle match sounds like something that would have been awesome in a Big Match setting with some proper rehearsals and what not. Weird how it works sometimes. Cena vs. Angle was a good matchup, HBK vs. Angle was *****, and HBK vs. Cena was typically very good too.

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  3. Did they really want him to do that? I've always been of the "shut the fuck up and job" mentality, but no, I don't blame him for refusing to lose to the guy that's now an anchor on SportsCenter.

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  4. IIRC, he just didn't want to be in that feud to begin with, but...creative had nothing for him.

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  5. Whatever decent ideas they had with Taboo TOOS-DEH they flushed here as the "voting" process no longer mattered. What was the point when all the voting was "shit sandwich gimmick match", "gimmick match we just made up" and "gimmick match we want you to choose"?

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  6. The opener has to be a Raw VS Smackdown match. I guess Matt Hardy got voted in that spot because fans wanted to see Edge VS Matt again, shortly after Matt lost a loser leaves Raw match to blowoff his one-sided feud with Edge. Edge took his girl, squashed him repeatedly and sent him off to the minor leagues. Smackdown was such a joke around this point when WWE was purposely trying to get it canceled from UPN (until UPN merged with WB to create CW) that they actually brought back the midgets. I think that's how Hornswoggle got his job.


    These shows were clearly a bad idea because the WWE scripts pretty much everything about their product. A show where wrestlers are basically forced to improvise on the fly only works if your wrestlers can improvise on the fly. Most WWE "Superstars" cannot do that because WWE doesn't train wrestlers in how to improvise a match.

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  7. Wasn't the Smackdown PPV in 2005 the one right before Eddie died?

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  8. No Mercy was a month before Eddie died, they did that one in October and I think this one was actually in November, maybe two weeks before Eddie died, with Survivor Series rounding out the month the weekend of Thanksgiving

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  9. As a Vader fan, this PPV and the Raw the night before which featured Vader falling flat on his ass getting out of the ring, made me really, really sad.

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  10. Austin is pretty protective of his character, but he also has a near-brilliant mind for wrestling. You'd think the WWE would trust his instincts in this case. He has introduced a few ideas in his career (the Flair retirement angle comes to mind), and they've all been good. And that last part of his book back in 2004 was an amazing read, full of smart advice for the bookers.



    I really wish they'd fire at least half their writing staff and use their salaries to just let Austin (Raw) and Foley (Smackdown) book things. Of course, they'd have little to no interest in being bookers, but I can dream nonetheless. Maybe throw Heyman and Nash (who is pretty smart when he's not booking angles for himself) in there, too.

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  11. Exactly. I actually though Taboo Tuesday was an awesome, fun idea...until we started getting the "pinfall," "no countout," or "TABLES, LADDERS, AND CHAIRS!!!"-style votes. Kinda defeats the purpose.

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  12. In hindsight, no matter what it's a little ridiculous for Austin's big return match after like four years of retirement to be against Goldust, Vader, and the Coach.

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  13. He was also mad that the angle would lead to basically no redemption for JR and that he wouldn't be getting his "job" back.

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  14. Yep, time hasn't been kind to this show either, although I did enjoy the DVD at the time when I had it.

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  15. Man, a Julia Roberts/Lyle Lovett reference? Even in 2005 that would have been horribly dated.

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  16. Gotta agree. Vader should never look like a clumsy grandpa.

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  17. It's kind of amazing that a show headlined by a Cena/Angle/HBK triple threat could be so completely meaningless.

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  18. Also, he's Steve Austin. The same rules don't apply to him as they do to other wrestlers.

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  19. What was so bad about the Triple H/Flair match was that the next month - they had another regular match and it was the infamous "horse gets shot" match, where H destroys Flair and then "shoots" him. I was really bitter with the WWE at the time having Triple H "bury" real talent like Flair. (In hindsight, I guess I didn't like Hogan, Flair, Taker, etc.. no longer being with the company or the draws I thought they should still be. Triple H was a Flair fan, and Flair was kind of his mentor for real back then - and it always just looked like Triple H ultimately wanted to beat him as if to say, look how great I am - I beat Ric Flair.

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  20. "Medium Sexy" Caliber WinfieldOctober 26, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    I absolutely love this cage match. ****3/4 any day of the week. Their LMS match at Survivor Series was just as good, too. I know Flair gets a lot of shit for hanging on too long, but I thought he had a TON of fantastic matches during his last run in WWE.

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  21. yeah that sucked. At least vader looked a lot better on raw over the summer.

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  22. Could you imagine if they told Cena to job to Josh Matthews. Or if they told Cena to job to Ryback on a random episode of RAW. So fucking stupid the shit they tried to pull on scsa.

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  23. He is definitely above the rules, and has earned that right for sure.

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  24. I think the Cena/Ryback comparison is more appropriate for the first time Austin bailed.

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  25. Stone Cold Steve Austin was asked to lay down for Jonathan Coachman, how can anyone fault they guy for backing out? They asked of of their all-time biggest stars to lay down for a fucking announcer!

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  26. Cena really didn't mean shit yet. Not until he beat H at WM22. He had been the SD champ, and Batista was the real star at this point. The Raw audience DID NOT like Cena at all (and nothing has changed). I remember they premiered his rap video, you could hear the live crowd booing through the entire thing.

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  27. Eddie headlined it too challenging Batista for the World title

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  28. I didn't remember that I owned this until halfway through the review.

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  29. Shortly before this on RAW was when Vader fell on his ass outside the ring, literally.

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  30. Yeah, he was teasing the face turn, fighting against his inclination to lie, cheat, and steal, not unlike the aborted angle he had in '01 before he got fired. In both instances I'm thinking it was supposed to have been a swerve.

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  31. He kinda completed the face turn as SD was mainly Eddie & Batista fighting Randy Orton & Kennedy at the time. And though it seemed like he'd eventually turn heel, Batista did get hurt around the time Eddie passed away, so if he had lived I think he would've ended up SD's top face feuding with Orton. I don't care what anyone says was or wasn't planned--Batista hurt himself in the Coach/Vader/Dust match and if Eddie Guerrero lived I strongly believe he would have ended up with the World Title losing it to Randy Orton at WM22

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  32. I don't buy that. The place went insane when his draft to Raw was announced. He was a big deal. Not as big as he would become, but still big enough that a Triple Threat vs. Angle & HBK (who were both hot in 2005) should've meant more.

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  33. Asking Stone Cold to job to Coach was basically their way of telling him he was no longer needed. They knew Austin wasn't going to do that.

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  34. I never understood why Vince, Triple H, the WWE treated Austin the way they did? I don't think Austin minded jobbing, it was to job in a meaningless angle.

    When Austin walked-out in 2002, he was no-longer the top dog, and he was being used as a midcard comedy act, doing an angle he had done for over five years. You would have thought Vince would have taken the time to watch the final months of WCW with Flair as the "President/CEO" or whatever he was at the end. Once Flair turned heel in that angle, it went all downhill (and it was already WAY downhill).

    Of course, Vince is a heel owner (of Smackdown) and they decide to make Flair a heel owner (of Raw). Then they decide they want him to put over a green rookie, without any build-up on TV. I never thought Lesner was ever going to get over (Hogan, Rock, and Undertaker did get the guy over), or be a legit MMA guy - and I wouldn't have just jobbed to him on TV either. I'm just going to assume that Austin really was in bad health, dealing with marriage problems, and wrestling politics made him quit. (I mean even with the Brand-Split, the #1 face at the time was either Triple H or Hulk Hogan, and I don't think a guy who was the #1 face just two months prior was happy at being knocked off the card so abruptly)

    (Personally, I think the booking of 2002 WWF/E was a case of genius when it came to Wrestlemania, and then afterwards it was a train-wreck. I don't think Vince realized how over Hogan still was. It only lasted six months in terms of heat and sales, but I think even Hogan knew that and why he quickly pulled a Hogan and walked out - but he put Lesner over first before he did.)

    (Plus did anybody really think through what to do in 2002 after Wrestlemania? They were clearly going for Triple H vs. Taker, when they decided to hot-shot the title on Hogan. By the time they did Triple H vs. Taker, they had to do a Rock run-in to save the match from being really bad. Then they decided to hot-shot the title on Rock, so he could put Brock over. It was almost WCW-esque until about September, and then it kind of fixed itself.)

    (I'd like to know if Rocky had actually planned to come-back that early. He was supposed to be gone the entire year, and after Austin left - they begged him to come in for three months. I would have liked to known what they would have done if Austin hadn't left?)

    When Austin came back in 2005 to fight for JR's honor, and Stephanie was a heel again. It felt like the usual a McMahon trying to bury a former superstar. Stephanie got pregnant shortly after this, which got her off TV - until she decided to show up for the wrestlemania build-up.


    Hey I know Austin is a employee, but having an owner that wants to insult Jim Ross and have his buddy job to the coach for jollies was way too much.

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  35. Why bother bringing someone back if you're not going to use them? Once the nWo showed up, they had nothing for him anymore. (I guess maybe it was more of a Hogan would job to Rock, but never to Austin type of thing, though)

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  36. Again, why bother using him again at all. For a ratings pop? As much as I hate what the WWE has become, if you're going to bring back the old guys - use them right or don't even bother. Mr. America comes to mind: a totally useless angle (I'm guessing Hogan had dates to fulfill, and decided to get them over with before balking on the company. To be fair, he did job to the Big Show (on TV) before walking out.)


    Sheriff Austin was a waste too, because they really don't need or want to use Austin, but they decide to use him for name value. Although, he really never wanted to wrestle again. I'm glad they made peace in 2010, but sometimes seeing the WWE bury guys just for jollies is one of the reasons I just stopped watching.

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  37. Eddie (I think) was going to do a fake face turn, and stay heel before Batista got injured, and then I think he really was going to win the title back (so Stephanie claimed), as a babyface, the week he died. I always cringe at watching Eddie's last Smackdown match, because something looked off when he was selling a head injury. I think people warned him to go to a doctor, but he shook it off.


    Then they turned his death into a storyline.

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  38. Was this when Mr. Kennedy just WHACKS him over the head with a chair? If so I remember that, and it was brutal and cringe worthy.

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  39. I ... didn't think that. At all. This and the Orton match were in rare company of good Flair matches.

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  40. Seriously, I can't believe that I can actually agree with both times Austin walked out on the company.

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  41. Cena didn't start getting negative reactions until he faced Jericho at Summerslam, then it slowly started going downhill from there.

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  42. Ugh, it bothers me so much that a shitty talent in Ken Anderson has the honor of being Eddie Guerrero's last opponent.

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  43. The incident I'm referring to was in the lead-up to SummerSlam, they did the feud as like a rock'n'roll vs rap thing*. Cena's rap video got BOOED. Though I'm pretty sure that when Cena was still on SD, he had released a rap album, and they played the first video to the live crowd at Raw (before Cena was on Raw), and they shat all over it.

    *Ever notice that wrestling companies always do rock vs rap with rock as the heel despite the fact that wrestling fans like rock music

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  44. you don't have to buy it, but it's true.

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  45. Benoit's last is probably Elijah Burke :/

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  46. This was after Raw came back to USA network & they had a huge 3 hour show (back when that was a novelty). It featured lots of nostalgia acts (back when that was a novelty), including having Austin stun all four McMahons. This resulted in LINDA turning heel the next week & firing JR, setting up Austin vs Coach for JR's job. Which is all well & good if the purpose were to do the logical thing & have Austin destroy Coach & get JR's job back, but they wanted Coach to win....perhaps this is exactly when Vince forgot how to write wrestling

    SIDENOTE--within 6 months Jim Ross is back as play-by-play on Raw with no storyline explanation other than that Joey Styles worked shoot. But still the McMahons go thru all this trouble to fire & humiliate JR then poof, gets job back. Oh! And before that he called Mania. I hate wrestling.

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  47. Christopher HirschOctober 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Rico beat Ric Flair, beating Ric Flair meant nothing.

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  48. Christopher HirschOctober 26, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    A boss changing his mind on a whim and it basically making no sense is the real world.

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  49. Cena was already big on Raw in 2005. He was more over than Batista. I remember everyone at the time pointing to Cena as the guy who was the next Austin or Rocky, whereas Batista was someone who was looked at as just another big man who was only over because of Triple H.

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  50. This PPV had at least two good/great matches at least (HHH-Flair and Cena-Angle-HBK), although I'm annoyed that Flair and Triple H was for the IC Title. It was pointless to take the belt off of Carlito and put it in a feud with Flair and HHH, which clearly didn't need it. And it was obvious that HHH wasn't gonna win the IC Title so we knew Flair was winning.

    I don't blame Austin for not wanting to job to Coach. Having Austin fight Coach (with Goldust and Vader backing him up) sounds like a typical match where Austin just goes in and whoops ass (like with Bischoff at NWO 2003), not where he ends up jobbing to a guy who isn't even a wrestler. Hell, Bischoff was more of a threat, because at least he was a black belt.

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  51. I'm glad that the blog seem unanimous that Austin was justified in walking out for being told to put The Coach over.

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  52. Really? Compare pops at WrestleMania 21. Batista monster over. Cena gets a lukewarm response for beating JBL. Compare pops at Royal Rumble when its down to Cena & Batista--the crowd was rabid for Big Dave

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  53. Hilariously enough, WWE.com actually listed that as one of their "Greatest Upsets".

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  54. Even if it hadn't been a semi-decent wrestler like Burke (at least by my account, Punk said he was the worst opponent he ever faced) and if it had been someone who sucked, I'm glad Benoit's last match was against a young guy trying to make his way. Not that Benoit's legacy means shit now but even still, if there's any value in anything he ever did in wrestling, it fits his legacy to have his last match be against a hungry up and comer.

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  55. So it doesn't matter to you that Flair was in his late 50s at the time? No one stays the best forever. Just being able to hang with modern-day talent at all was a big enough push for Flair at that point. Time marches on, old men don't beat young pups on the regular. I'm sure that the reason Flair might be coming back and Vince still loves to shove Lawler & the rest of the legends out there all the time is because he'd like to believe people close to his age can still hang, but they're too far gone to be believable. Just the way it goes.

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  56. I like that sentiment actually

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  57. I'll be the devil's advocate and say that, if what they wanted was for Austin to get beat down in a 3 on one match (and maybe it would have been better with a young team and not Goldust and Vader) and then take a cheap pin, I don't see what the problem is. All that says to me is that it takes three people to beat Austin and screw him out of what he wants, not that Austin isn't as good as Coach. And I'm all but positive Austin would have gotten his comeuppance on Raw, and it'd still have the effect of getting JR out of the booth and putting Coach in. So really, I think Austin took what should've been a straightforward wrestling angle and turned it into something it wasn't, and he probably should have just gone & done it.

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  58. Actually, wasn't this the THIRD time he walked out?

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  59. But for a guy with a historically bad neck to risk permanent injury for that hot mess? It's not like Austin was a regular character at the time, he was brought in to help reintegrate WWE back on USA, and he's put in a storyline with a non-wrestler that puts over nobody, and only serves to make fun of one of his best friends. The end result doesn't even benefit WWE in any way (like, say, laying down for Lesnar on Raw).

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  60. walkout 1 & walkout 2 are kinda the same incident. he skipped the raw after WM18, came back a week or 2 later, then walked out of the company for the rest of the year in June.

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  61. It benefited in some way because it got JR off TV, which if I remember from that time frame, was something that he pushed for himself to go on an easier schedule. It gave it a little storyline juice. If Austin hadn't wanted to do it he should've said no from jump street, not waited until close to the show and then bolted.

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  62. Same. A *ton* is really stretching it (and I'm with Scott in thinking his WM24 send-off match was more overrated than Derek Jeter's defense)

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  63. Well, I was at WM21 and I'd attribute the lukewarm response to the fact we were all surprised it was over so quickly. The match was done in about a dozen minutes and without the usual finishing sequence, Cena's FU out of nowhere didn't really build up the crowd to a frenzy, but from hanging outside the arena for a while before the doors open, there was a lot of folks looking forward to Cena winning.

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  64. That's because LA wasn't that big on Cena, at least back then. He also got a very lukewarm reaction at Judgment Day 2004, which was also in LA. Plus, the crowd was tired (four hour show and all) by the time the main events happen, because I honestly don't remember Batista getting a huge pop either, except when he won. I also recall the crowd not being all that loud when Cena got eliminated at the 2005 Rumble. It seemed to me that they probably would have preferred Cena win it.

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  65. It's funny that you mention that, because just earlier today I wondered if Cena would be such a polarizing character (and if his character would have degenerated the way it did) if he stayed on Smackdown (or if he was built on Raw). This is, of course, assuming that they would have stuck with the brand extension. John Cena was a legitimately huge deal on Smackdown and he was mega over. It wasn't until he moved to Raw that he got these negative reactions. I can't help but wonder if it at least had a little to do with the fact that the audiences weren't necessarily the same, and they weren't there for his great rise to the top. I wonder if everything happened exactly the same, but it all originally happened on Raw, if the general reaction towards him now would be different.

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  66. I wouldn't agree with Flair having a "ton" of great matches, but I'm absolutely with you on this match - I'd put it up there with any of Flair's more well-known classics, it was absolutely fantastic.

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  67. The biggest problem wasn't even that he [Cena] moved from one show to the other, but that he was instantly pushed at a level he wasn't ready for yet - it's one thing to be put over semi-over upper-carders like Show and JBL, it's another to be put over respected workers like Jericho, Shawn, and Angle. Cena started to hear some boos against Jericho, and then the fans pretty much turned on him during the Angle program.

    After those two feuds, it became obvious to everyone that Vince was going to push him down our throats.

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  68. I saw this main event just recently for the first time on Cena's Blu RYand there is no way it is less than **** and I'd say it's more.

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  69. Yep. I was there. Afterward they brought out a cake and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Eddie. Bittersweet moment...

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  70. Agreed, I sent Scott an email about it a few months ago. He shortchanged it something fierce.

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  71. My fandom was starting to wane in 2005 as well. I do remember a half-assed angle in the Foley-Carlito match, though.


    Around this time, the dirtsheets were reporting Vince and the bookers thought Carlito had superstar potential (huh?) but was lazy and unmotivated. Anyway, for whatever reason they decided to turn this rumor into an on-camera storyline. So Flair cut a promo on Carlito, basically reaming his ass out on national tv for being a lazy punk. That's how Flair won the I-C belt, he beat Carlito for it.


    So I don't remember how this morphed into HHH getting Flair in a cage but I seem to recall the "Carlito needs to respect the business" story getting transferred to Foley, who also reamed him in a promo before getting the apple spit at him. Which of course lead to them doing a match on this ppv, which as noted is pretty much forgettable other than a very good old school Flair-HHH cage match.

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  72. Maybe that Dr. Heimi (sp?) skit was a deal breaker. It was incredibly mean spirited.

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  73. "Medium Sexy" Caliber WinfieldOctober 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    There was this one, his cage match with Orton, the Survivor Series LMS with HHH, his SummerSlam match with Jericho, the TLC match with Edge, his SummerSlam match with Foley, the MITB match he was in [which, yeah, probably would have been as good without him, but still], the match he had with Triple H on Raw in 2003, his WM match with Taker, his WM match with Shawn.

    Now, these weren't matches, but there was also the WM22 promo with the donkey, the promo he pulled on Carlito backstage at Raw, and the Musical Chairs moments.

    Again, a lot of people say he hung on too long, but I think my favorite Flair era was the 2000's. It was like the era of Friends where Ross sort of becomes crazy, and we all know that's the best.

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  74. no that was a year and a half later before wm 23

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  75. the main event was of no mercy 05 was eddie guerrero against batista for the title in eddies last ppv match screw the idiot at wikipedia who didn't know that

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  76. foley just didn't like carlito there was nothing involving respecting the business there

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  77. no he got sick i don't know if it was another stroke but they called in joey styles to cover

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