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The W - Pro Wrestling - RAW Workrate Report 1/7/05 Baba Memorial Report
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Since: 30.7.02

Since last post: 4231 days
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.75
What Worked

PAS: Lots of really great looking matches on paper from Japan, but it is going to be hard to beat Beniot v. Jericho. This was really awesome and violent in a way that most of WWE Beniot isn't. The classic Beniot hardway juice headbutt sections, all the really nasty choke crossfaces, just fun and brutal. There was a couple of sections where Jericho looked a little off, especially on his comical Octopus, however this was overall good. For an under 10 minute match it didn't really feel like it should have gone any longer.

TKG: The series of mat exchanges after the octopus looked off...maybe the headbutt legit knocked Jericho loopy--so Benoit went this ain't working and went back to the violence. Benoit lately has been doing a more Harley Raceish than Dynamiteish diving headbutt but here somehow he does a combo of the two were he gets this neat floating height and then pounds down on Jericho's kidney. Jericho is also ON in this as he doesn't do any of his Dream sequence stuff. Benoit raises his knees to block a lionsault and Jericho fucking catches Benoit's knees into a walls attempt. I can't think of the last time Jericho has done anything as cool as that. Again this wasn't so much a smooth beautiful reversal as it still stayed violent. Benoits crossface was like a shootstyle choke. I imagine this RAW junior match probably smoked the Baba memorial junior six man.

PAS: Man alive was Regal on fire here. Tajiri just kind of ran through his spots, but Regal looked as good as he has looked in years. This could have used another heat section on Tajiri as it felt way too short. This is where I first noticed Ross trying to sell the crowd as "respectful" when they were super hot for everything.

TKG: Ross actually started the "Japanese crowd are quiet and respectful" talking point during the hot Benoit vs. Jericho match. He got that point across a couple times. He was less successful at the talkigpoint that he was supposed to describe the opener as "mano a mano" while the "slobberknocker" quote was supposed to be saved for main. Regal was fucking fired up here. also Conway was great as all fuck here. For an ex-indy guy damn was Tajiri over. I mean he's an ex-Big Japan junior, I doubt Goto gets a bigger pop on the memorial card.

PAS: Randy Orton is an amusing Sakuraba, and they did a nice job here selling his head. Tomko had really nice punches here, although this was begging for a bicycle kick. I was kind of looking forward to Orton rocking a Gaspar mask though.

TKG: I don't think you want to put Orton in a pirate mask. I mean he looks enough like a Tom of Finland model as is. You run this same match with Tomko and Orton in pirate masks and you could sell it on ebay for a couple hundred.

PAS: HHH v. Edge was fine I guess, although it really felt like an overrated Tenzan v. Tanahashi match. Lots of 2.9 wrestling, and Helmsley's offense (although better then Tenzan's) really doesn't work in this kind of match. All that Ross superselling a hot crowd as "respectful" makes sense here, as this crowd was so respectful you could hear Akebono digest.

TKG: Man I'd feel ripped off if I missed Fuchi and Tenryu vs. Mossman and Kawada to see this. This started with a we are evenish section which Helmsley's matches never start that was kinda neat. They tried to mix bodypart work with the 2.9 NJ style. But neither of these guys are Ogawa or Goldberg so they didn't do actual bodypart selling to go with the body part work. I imagine there was more selling in this than in Barton/Hines/Steel vs. Mack/Palumbo/Jamal match. But I'd bet the six man had better offense.

What Didn't Work

PAS: Flair is really over as old man worker with fun comedy spots. Micheals doesn't sell as good as Eigen, bump as good as Eigen, doesn't work as stiff as Eigen, doesn't work in his spots as well as Eigen, and those spots aren't as good as Eigen's. I think it was smart for them to work an Family Gundan match, but they needed to bring in in Don Arakawa to work Flair instead.

TKG: Arakawa's ass poke vs. Flair's eye poke might really rule. HBK really is a poorman's Dino in this comedy match.

PAS: HBK isn't an exotico, he is a Christian garbage worker, I would rather see Flair v. Yaguchi.

TKG: Yeah I guess your right. That might explain why Michaels pussyish finisher is so over. Japanese know that when the Aum Shinrkyo hit go down.

TKG: I didn't buy Lawler putting over the WWE Divas in Japan. Those girls are in their late twenties. Where's the footage of Lawler walking around Japan buying schoolgirl underwear?
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One might argue Benoit did a version of this. I can't think of another incident where the current world champ left the company within 24 hours of winning the belt.
- Matt Tracker, Bret Hart (2006)
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