Forgive my constant switching tenses. With that in mind....
Jivesoulbro got tickets for this at the last minute and I drove down to Austin. We had no problem parking and there were no lines for anything. Jive compared it to attending a house show in 94-95.
It was the smallest crowd I've ever seen. The extreme lower bowl of the Erwin Center was full, but the middle and upper decks were empty. PWInsider claimed it drew about 3600 fans. That's generous.
Val Venis v. Chuck Palumbo
In progress when we we got there. Chuck Palumbo looked fat. Fatter than HHH. Venis wins with a money shot.
Eric Bischoff comes out. ("You suck!"). "I may suck, but I make millions of dollars and you people have to live here!"
He demands that Lita join him. She does. He berates her, calls her virtue into question, then asks, "So whose baby is it, BITCH??"
Lita replies that she's quite certain that it's Matt Hardy's, because "Matt's more of a man than Kane will EVER be." Everyone says the same lines over and over, now.
Kane apparently took issue with that, because he stormed the ring. He threatens Lita, but Hurricane to the rescue. He's summarily chokeslammed and pinned. I steal Tomk's joke about Spike Dudley doing his East Oakland abortion finisher on Lita.
Regal v. Rodney Mack (w/ Jazz)
Lots of Regal chants. Regal played it perfectly and acted bewildered by the love. He motions for the crowd to calm down, but we only chanted more. Because we love William Regal. He won with his kick-to-the-head-while-the-other-guy's-bent-over.
Steven Richards v. Tyson Tomko (Sign Guy: "Tomko was attacked by a marker")
Richards wins. More interesting was the interplay between Tomko and the Sign Guy. Sign Guy is the guy in the backwards red cap and blue gas station shirt who's at ringside a lot. I've seen him at every Texas show.
Coach comes out. Lord, how we hate Coach. He talks about the Diva search and all the good looking women in Austin. Unfortunately, he realized that school's out for the summer, and thus he's stuck with NO hotties. But he's still here, and he poses for us. Booo.
Stacy Kiebler to the rescue. Apparently, all Coach does is run his mouth, says she.
Coach: You couldn't hold a candle to these new divas. You're old news. Get to stepping.
He turns his back. His balls are assaulted. You know, if they wanted a shoot low-blower, they should hire Cameron from the Real World: San Diego. Apparently, she had a habit of turtle-ing Brad. And she's pretty cute, AND she sounds like an inbred cracker. Plus, it would be funny to watch guys crumple after shoot low blows.
Victoria vs. Molly Holly
Victoria wins. Molly has the Meg Ryan circa her turn in "French Kiss" wig. Jazz and Rodney Mack run in after the match for the beatdown. Stevie (with Peg Bundy wig) makes the save. It was clearly Stevie, but he did a good job of covering his face.
Chris Jericho vs. Batista (Sign Guy: "A gift for Batista ---->" The arrow pointed to a hole through which he stuck his middle finger)
Everyone loved Jericho. He grabbed the house mic, took the sign and showed it to everyone. Standard stuff, Jericho won with a roll-up after Bautista tried to powerbomb him.
Randy Orton vs. Edge for the Intercontinental Title
Everyone REALLY hated Orton, especially after he made the "I'm gonna backhand you" gesture to a couple of rats at ringside. Edge assured the girls that he'd spear Orton. And he did. Edge wins.
La Resistance vs. Rhyno & Tajiri for the World Tag Team Titles (Sign Guy: "La Resistance means Gay Wrestlers in French")
Lotsa USA chants, Grenier's attempt to sing is foiled by the faces. Rhyno grabs Sign Guy's sign and displays it atop the ring. Sign Guy is having a good night, I don't know if he knows someone in WWE or has just been going to the shows forever. Everyone talks to him, from the ring announcers on up.
Anyway, La Res wins after a missed gore and some shenanigans.
Chris Benoit vs. HHH for the World Heavyweight Title
HHH easily gets the biggest reaction. Lots of "You tapped out"s. Also some love for Benoit. They played it safe, tons of powders by HHH.
At this point, we got the near-fight in the crowd. This guy with a Camaro mullet had been yelling loudly, mostly for the heels, during the whole show. But he had one of the new Benoit shirts on, so he switched sides for the main event.
Benoit came out. A guy behind Camaro mullet yelled, "Benoit sucks!"
Trailer guy responded, "YOU suck!"
Contrarian fired back with, "You swallow!"
At this point, Trailer guy (who's not very big, but looked like he could fight... at least with his old lady) flipped out and said (this is a rough translation), "You're gonna swallow this cock if you don't shut the fuck up and stop talking shit!"
The other guy shut up. I was sort've hoping it would have escalated into a fight, because most of the people around would have helped subdue Camaro mullet. Goddamn, was he annoying. He was clearly on crank and his woman finally calmed him down. Sitting next to a guy like this is why I hate wrestling shows. But I guess if it weren't for poor people, there would be no fan base to fleece. Cause the show certainly wasn't packed with Internet marks. Seriously, this business is all about fleecing poor people. I mean, kids' school clothes money was CLEARLY being spent on the new Eddie Guerrero t-shirt.
HHH dominated most of the match, Benoit came back and started hitting Germans. Crowd loved it.
THEN, in something that you'll only see at a house show, Batista and Orton ran out, only to be easily handled by Benoit. Ref gets bumped, Orton tries to throw the belt to HHH, but gets clocked with it by Benoit. Batista is also cleared out. HHH goes for the Pedigree, but it's reversed into the crossface. Ref awakens, HHH taps.
After, HHH is helped to the back by Evolution. Benoit grabs the mic, tells us we rock, tells HHH that the Iron Man Match was the toughest match he's ever been in, but by winning that, and by making him tap tonight, he proved that Benoit is for real. "Chris BENWAA IS FOR REEEEEEEEEAL."
End of show. Very, very solid for a house show. Almost all the big names were there, and they peppered it with skits to make it seem like a RAW episode. Lots of fun. It's a shame that it took them this long to stop half-stepping on house shows, now that most of the fans are gone.
Along those lines, it looks like they've pretty much lost the middle class market. Most of the fans were the stereotypical cousin-fucking (or prima-fucking) wrestling bunch, or little kids who had begged their dads to take them.
(edited by asteroidboy on 3.8.04 1412)
(edited by asteroidboy on 3.8.04 1413) -- Asteroid Boy
Wiener of the day: 23.7.02, 3.12.03
"If you want me to watch the shows, buy tickets when you come to town, buy t-shirts, and pay for a PPV every three days, you bet your ass I'm going to hard to impress. And when you give me stuff that blows and then tell me I don't get a vote on sharing that opinion, I'm going to tell you to go catch an STD." - Hogan's My Dad
"My brother saw the Undertaker walking through an airport." - Rex "Was he no-selling?" - Me
So let me throw it out to the crowd - I know that none of you get HDNet and I'm not even sure any of you are watching this show. That's right. They pulled HDNet about a year ago and the only way I can keep up with ROH is via web.