Yeesh, it’s been over a month between updates. Much apologies. So much for getting every WWF April PPV done before the Backlash PPV.
Basically, my laptop keyboard fell apart on me through my own carelessness, and I was forced to replace it. However, the company that ships these things apparently take FOREVER, and promptly took about 5 weeks. 3 business days my ass.
So here we are. Thankfully I have 4 columns besides this one In The Can, so updates should be frequent. I know I’m WAY late on this one, so we’ll start here... WWE Jukebox, February 2005 Edition!
(Note: If any comments here are dated, I apologize, this was written over a month ago.)
BILLY KIDMAN vs. JOHN CENA October 24, 2002
WWE Preview:John Cena came into WWE in June of 2002 and the fans really seemed to take to him. But after a match against Billy Kidman, Cena snapped and fans quickly turned their backs. What happened to make Cena snap? Watch this match to find out.
Cena’s got the peach tights tonight. Kidman goes for a rollup a couple seconds in and gets 2. An enzuigiri gets 2. Cena heads to the outside, and Kidman tries to follow with a plancha. He’s caught, and driven back first into the ringpost. Back in, Cena gets 2. A whip sends Kidman to the buckle, and a spinebuster gets 2! Cena gets a little pissed here that he hasn’t won yet, while Cole pimps the debut of Tough Enough 3. Kidman hits a rana and follows with a dropkick. A back elbow off the second rope gets 2! Kidman goes up again, hits another rana, hooks the ropes, and scores the pinfall at 2:46. 1/2* Yes, 2 and a half years ago, Cena was jobbing to Billy fucking Kidman. Cena pitches a fit to the referee after the match about the use of the ropes, and beats the tar out of Kidman. Outside, he whips Kidman to the steps, and leaves him for dead. And thus a heel turn is kicked off!
LOS GUERREROS vs. JOHN CENA and B2 (for the WWE tag-team titles) January 16, 2003
WWE Preview:After turning his back on the fans, Cena found a new friend in B-2. The two teamed up against Los Guerreros for the WWE Tag Team Championship. After the match Cena once again proved that he can't be trusted by anyone. Watch and find out why this was the last time Cena and B-2 teamed up.
Cole sends his condolences to the whole Wilson family, because the week before Dawn Marie had fucked Al to death. For those who weren’t watching at the time, I’m honestly not making that up.
“Since when did the Meadowlands become a place for Mexi-cans? Go back to Home Depot, become one of they hired hands I’ve got plans to take around your gold waste bands Your face is sorry like New York Giants fans My alliance spans mad untouchable clique Livin' la vida loca but my name ain't Rick Martin and I'll keep you starvin' like concentration camps Go back to freeways selling oranges on off-ramps The new champs untouchable like Elliot Ness What are ya gonna do, put a hole in your chest? Eddie and Chavo ya'll are worn out like Mark Bavaro I used to love Lucy and hated Ricky Ricardo I got your number kid, so whatcha gonna do The rap is over so give it to B2”
That felt a lot more refreshing than the corporate processed raps he spews these days. Cena starts with Eddie. Cena knocks Chavo off the apron, but walks into a drop toe hold from Eddie. A dropkick levels him, and Chavo comes in to take over. Eddie snapmares Cena into a dropkick from Chavo for 2! Chavo hits a backdrop, Eddie hits a slingshot senton, and the Guerreros are on fire! Eddie hits another backdrop suplex, and teases Bling Bling Buchanon. Chavo fires off a snap suplex, and B2 finally attacks. Chavo ducks a clothesline, nails him with a backdrop suplex, and decks Cena. Eddie kicks at the leg of B2, but Cena pulls down the ropes when Eddie charges, and he crashes to the floor. Cena slams Eddie on the floor, rolls him in, B2 hits a Falcon arrow...and gets 2! Cena locks Eddie in a front facelock, but Eddie fights to the ropes and tags out. Cena launches Chavo with a snap suplex, and then locks him in the front facelock as well. Chavo escapes, hits a dropkick, so Cena tags out. Eddie hits B2 with a DDT for 2. Chavo dumps both guys outside and tries a plancha. They catch him - but can’t catch Eddie who does the same thing! B2 and Chavo get back into the ring. Chavo hits a dropkick and heads up. He nails the Froggie Splash and scores the win at 5:04 to retain! **3/4 Really good tag-team match. Cena flips, and piefaces his partner. B2 shoves him right back, but now REDD DOGG gets involved! He and Cena run B2 shoulder first into the ringpost! Redd Dogg locks on the Fujiwara armbar, and the referee forces him to break it up. This partnership didn’t last long, and Redd Dogg would wind up on RAW shortly thereafter as Rodney Mack.
JOHN CENA vs. RIKISHI March 27, 2003
WWE Preview:John Cena was on a mission to take out Brock Lesnar, but first he had to face Rikishi. Could Cena get the massive Rikishi up for the F-U?
Cena attacks Rikishi as he’s making his way into the ring. He throws as many punches and kicks as he can, but Rikishi still comes back with some strong rights. Cena is dumped to the outside, giving Rikishi time to take off his moo-moo. Cena whips Rikishi into the ringsteps, and starts tearing apart the padding on the security wall. He drives Rikishi back first into the exposed wall a number of times, rolls the fat man in, and gets 2. Cena locks on a rear naked choke to try and force a tapout, but no dice. Rikishi fights back to his feet after nearly 90 seconds in the hold, and throws some rights. A clothesline is followed by a Samoan drop. Cena tries a sunset flip, but Rikishi won’t go down. Superkick, butt butt, and you know what happens next. Cena swallows his first ass, and Rikishi heads up. The Banzai is blocked with his feet, Cena grabs his chain (err...) - decks Rikshi with it...but only gets 2!!! An F-U finishes for real at 5:19! **1/4 Good for what it was. Cena grabs the stick.
”YO! YO BROCK! You still think I’m a joke? We serious now! This is basic thuganomics! You want pain, you come down here and get some pain! I’m calling you out right now! Oh...aight. You don’t want some? WELL I’M COMING TO GET SOME!” And Cena storms to the back...
JOHN CENA vs. EDDIE GUERRERO April 3, 2003
WWE Preview:To determine the No. 1 Contender for Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship, a tournament was held. John Cena faced Eddie Guerrero in the first round, and it should be no surprise that the end result was a stellar match.
After Brock nearly killed himself with a Shooting Star Press at Wrestlemania XIX, the WWE opted to give him a little time off - booking a #1 contender’s tournament leading into Backlash. This was a first round match. Cena attacks Eddie from behind before the bell, and works over his back. In the corner, Cena chokes Eddie out. A delayed vertical suplex gets 2. Cena applies a bearhug, but Eddie starts to punch away, so Cena hits a belly to belly for 2. Eddie comes back with some headbutts - and dodges a blind charge with a drop toe hold to the buckle. The flying jalapeno leaves Cena staggering, and Eddie lays in a series of clotheslines. Eddie nails his rolling vertical suplex combo, and heads up for the Froggie Splash. Cena stands, so Eddie hits a missile dropkick instead, getting 2! Cena comes back with an electric chair drop, and grabs his chain (err...). Eddie dropkicks the chain back in Cena’s face, and grabs Cena’s chain (!!!!) himself. The referee tosses it away, Eddie hits a backdrop suplex, and heads up! A senton splash misses the mark, but a rana doesn’t! He charges...right into the FU, and Cena scores an upset pin at 4:52. *3/4 These guys work well together, and playing up Cena/Guerrero with Eddie as a heel challenging for the belt wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world these days.
JOHN CENA vs. THE UNDERTAKER April 10, 2003
WWE Preview:In round two of the No. 1 Contender's tournament, John Cena had to take on the Undertaker. Would Cena be able to defeat the Deadman on his own, or would he need some help?
Round 2! If you think Taker’s jobbing clean here, you’re out of your mind. This is apparently not Undertaker’s first barbecue...whatever that means. Taker throws some elbows in the corner, and follows with the high knees. Taker yells “YOU STILL WANNA TALK TO ME?” at Cena. Note to aspiring wrestlers: Don’t talk to Undertaker. He doesn’t care for it. Cena kicks Taker in the face, but that just pisses him off further, and Cena eats a chokeslam. It’s too close to the ropes, and Cena drapes his foot on them at 2. Taker grinds his elbow into Cena’s face, and stomps him out of the ring as we take a break.
Upon return, Cena’s laid out with his face dangling out of the ring. The legdrop on the apron happens quickly enough, and Cena squeals. A running clothesline levels Cena, and here come the soup bones. Cena grabs his chain (err...), and punches Taker in the face! That knocks him loopy, and he rolls out to recover. As he comes back in, Cena knocks Taker off the apron, and he falls on the security wall. Cena follows him out of the ring, and tears at the arm. Back in, Cena demands the referee count out the Undertaker. Taker heads back in, but Cena hits him with a baseball slide dropkick. Outside, Cena stomps on Taker’s hand, rolls him in, and pounds on the elbow. Taker uses the elbowpad as a weapon to nail Cena, and goes Old School. He goes for the Last Ride, but Cena escapes and hits a flying armbar for 2! Cena bars the arm, but Taker throws a soup bone. A snake eyes is followed by a big boot, and calls for the chokeslam. An avalanche misses Cena, but hits the referee! Cena fires off a spinebuster, and goes for FU. It’s reversed into a Last Ride, but we have no referee. THE FBI hit the ring now, and Undertaker disposes of all 3 quickly. However, Chuck gets back in, levels him with a chair, and all 3 guys stomp away. Cena slowly crawls over as the referee awakes, and scores the pinfall at 11:22! **1/2
JOHN CENA vs. BROCK LESNAR (for the WWE title) April 27, 2003
WWE Preview:John Cena beat the odds and earned a shot at Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship at Backlash. After defeating Eddie Guerrero, Undertaker and Chris Benoit, could Cena complete the sweep and take out Lesnar for the championship?
“Yo yo yo yo, kill the beat. Cause yall listening to the next WWE champion...
Yo, the list of legends that held the title now include me bro I’ll be a better champion than Bruno Sammartino This is thuganomics, I’ve got opponents holding crutches I’m iron like the Sheik, I’ll hold you in my camel clutches I lost my mind like Mankind, pulling socks from his asscrack I’m straight, you’re Dude Love, so get off the Cactus Jack I’ll take your varsity letters and medals, I’ll leave you mangled and hurt I’m attacking from all Angles, you’ll be calling me Kurt And I’m wearing this Yankees jersey ‘cause Massachusetts makes me sick You don’t like what I’m saying? Well you can suck my ....”
Cena of course was nowhere near ready for the title shot here on pay-per-view, but unfortunately the WWE booked themselves into this corner by having Lesnar cause an “injury” - and Cena catching fire in his time off. While Lesnar’s taking off his belt, Cena attacks from behind. It doesn’t last, because seconds later Cena’s on the receiving end of a pair of backbreakers, turned into a fallaway slam. Lesnar hits a pair of vertical suplexes, and gets 2. Lesnar works a headlock and a “GOLDBERG” chant breaks out. A beautiful fisherman’s suplex leaves Cena squealing, and he begs off. Lesnar charges, but Cena gets an elbow up. It’s no sold, and Cena gets nailed with a gorilla press. A clothesline sends the challenger to the outside, and Lesnar’s right on his heels. Lesnar whips Cena to the announce table, and taunts him with the WWE title. They head back in, but Cena immediately bails and grabs a chair. Lesnar cuts him off before he can use it, and throws high knees at Cena’s ribs. Cena comes back with a whip to the steps, and starts posing with the title. A camera shot reveals that Lesnar’s busted open. Back in, Cena gets 2. A backdrop suplex gets 2. Cena starts kicking at Lesnar’s face, and gets another 2. Flying jalapeno gets 2. I’ll give him credit for going for as many pinfalls as possible. Cena throws a shoulder at Lesnar, knocking him to the apron. Cena chokes Brock out in the ropes, releases, then tries to decapitate him with a guillotine legdrop! They head back out again, where Cena throws Lesnar head first to the ringpost. Back in, Cena covers for 2. Cena starts working a chinlock in order to squeeze as much blood from Lesnar’s forehead as he can, and in cool visual, he smears Brock’s blood on his own face. A DDT from Cena gets 2! Cena goes for a running knee, but Lesnar pops up and hits a spinebuster! Cena comes back with a jawbreaker and clothesline for 2. Cena decides to try something new, whipping out a rear naked choke, and a “LET’S GO CENA!” chant actually starts! After nearly 2 minutes in the hold, Brock gets to his feet, and runs Cena back first from buckle to buckle and breaks the hold! The “CENA” chants grow louder. Brock hits a trio of running lariats, follows with a powerslam, and gets 2! A running powerslam gets another 2! Cena tries to shove Lesnar into the ref, but Brock stops shot...so Cena goes low and gets 2! A Curt Hennig necksnap gets 2! Lesnar runs Cena back to the corner, driving him head first to the buckle. Cena sees his chain, grabs it, but the referee steals it away. Lesnar immediately grabs Cena, hits the F5, and that’s all she wrote at 15:05. **1/2 The match was okay, but with another few years under their belts, this would have been an easy **** affair. Unfortunately the better of the two is no longer around.
JOHN CENA and BROCK LESNAR vs. KURT ANGLE and THE UNDERTAKER October 2, 2003
WWE Preview:After being unable to defeat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, John Cena figured if you can't beat him, join him. So he teamed up with the champ to take on Kurt Angle and Undertaker in a classic SmackDown! tag team match.
Oh boy, a wacky tag-team match from the post-attitude era... This had better not give me diarrhea. If you’re trying to get a good look at Cena’s career, I’d have yanked the Undertaker match from Vengeance, or the Angle match from No Mercy so you can watch as both guys find ways to try and shunt him as far down the card as possible. Yes, I’m still bitter about both. Brock meets a “YOU TAPPED OUT” chant, annoying him to no end. Angle and Cena start. Angle hits a snapmare, and works a headlock. Cena shoves him off, and takes a shoulderblock. Angle starts armdragging Cena around the ring, and goes to an armbar. A clothesline gets 2. Taker gets the tag, and rubs his hands together with glee when thinking about putting the youngster in his place. He picks up Cena with one arm, and wrenches the shoulder. Taker goes Old School, and then knocks Brock off the apron. Angle comes back in, and Cena thumbs him in the eye. Angle pounds away, and backdrops Cena. Lesnar finally does something, by pulling down the top rope so Angle falls outside - and drives him back first to the apron. And we have to take a commercial break.
Upon return, Lesnar’s in the midst of a tilt-a-whirl slam on Angle. An elbowdrop gets 2. Lesnar hiptosses Angle across the ring, and turns it back to Cena. Michael Cole starts telling us how he can’t wait for No Mercy, because Lesnar and Undertaker fought last year. Lesnar won, but THIS year Lesnar’s 100 times better. If he’s 100 times better, and he won last time, then why on EARTH should I care that Undertaker’s challenging him? A back elbow from Cena gets 2. Cena puts on an inverted full nelson, but Angle escapes and punches away. Cena immediately drives his knee to Kurt’s midsection for 2. Brock comes back in, and he press slams Angle. A second press slam attempt is blocked by Kurt, and he nails Lesnar with a German suplex! Angle makes a blind tag out - but since the referee doesn’t see it, he’s told to piss off. Cena comes in with a backdrop suplex for 2. Angle goes for the ankle lock - but Brock breaks that up. He enters without a tag, and hits a standing fisherman’s suplex for 2!! Angle throws an elbow, but Lesnar counters with a slam. Undertaker gets knocked off the apron, but when Lesnar comes back over, he’s packaged for 2! Angle hits the Olympic slam, and knows this is his chance to tag out! Taker comes in and starts hitting both Cena and Lesnar with avalanches. Cole: “Undertaker has never looked better!” Brock is dumped with a clothesline, and Cena’s hit with a big boot. Taker chokeslams Cena for 2! A replay reveals that when Brock fell outside, he landed right on his head! Ow! However, he’s back in, and he gives Taker a spinebuster. Angle tags in, and now it’s his turn to clean house with clotheslines for all. Cena takes an overhead belly to belly, and Lesnar gets the same seconds later. Lesnar rolls out, and Cena gets hit with the German trifecta! Down come the straps...but he doesn’t see that Cena’s grabbed his chain. Lesnar breaks up an attempted ankle lock - and Cena then knocks Angle out with the chain for the pin at 13:17. ** I thought it would never end. Taker and Brock brawl on the floor for awhile, in order to draw extra buys for the pay-per-view or something. Taker chokeslams Brock through the table, and we fade out.
BROCK LESNAR, THE BIG SHOW, MATT MORGAN, NATHAN JONES, and A-TRAIN vs. KURT ANGLE, JOHN CENA, BOB HOLLY, BRADSHAW, and CHRIS BENOIT (in an elimination match) November 16, 2003
WWE Preview:It was a team effort at the 2003 Survivor Series. Team Angle consisted of Kurt Angle, John Cena, Bob Holly, JBL and Chris Benoit. They took on the Team Lesnar which included Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones and A-Train. Cena finally saw the light and realized that teaming up with the likes of Lesnar would not help his career. So he was on a mission to take out Brock and company. Was Cena able to survive this brutal match?
Holly stares a hole through Lesnar during his entrance, then basically says “fuck it” - and attacks before the bell. Holly whips Lesnar into the ringsteps, and beats the shit out of him. The referee tries to break it up - but Bob shoves him away, and that leads to his DQ at 0:00. Albert starts with Bradshaw, which until now was nothing more than a nightmare. Luckily, Albert misses a blind charge and the Clothesline From Hell ends that at 0:29. Big Show comes in, and a chokeslam rids us of Bradshaw at 0:50. Good, the deadweight is cleared. Cena comes in and tries an FU, but Big Show’s way too fat to be even considering that. Lesnar tags in, and drives his shoulders to Cena’s midsection. Cena throws some elbow, and a chop block takes Brock down. A pair of schoolboys get 2. Lesnar fights Cena off with a shoulderblock, and allows Matt Morgan the chance to take over. A legdrop misses, but a side slam doesn’t. Nathan Jones takes his turn, and hits the high knees. Since he’s now used up his entire arsenal, he goes back to Lesnar. Cena hits the Throwback for 2. Benoit tags in and chops away. Brock comes back with a hotshot, and calls on Big Show. While he casually gorilla presses Benoit, he yells “KISS MY ASS ANGLE!” This is yet another reason why Big Show is better than you. He goes for the Chokeslam, but Benoit turns that into the Crossface! Lesnar saves. Show turns to the abdominal stretch, and Tazz is suddenly inspired to channel Tony Schiavone by declaring it “the biggest abdominal stretch in the history of abdominal stretches”. Swoon. Jones helps with leverage, but Benoit hangs on. A legdrop gets 2! Matt Morgan tosses Benoit, where Lesnar and Jones double team him on the floor. Cena and Angle make the save - but it doesn’t help un-fuck-up Benoit. Morgan goes for a big boot - but Benoit avoids it, and dropkicks Matt! Angle comes in and starts in with the Germans on Morgan. He takes 3 before Jones comes to get him some, and winds up dropkicked. Lesnar goes for F5, but Angle counters with a German, and the faces clean house. Angle and Morgan are left alone, but an Olympic slam ends THAT at 9:08. Nathan Jones tries to hold Angle hostage for Show, but heel miscommunication results. Show is dumped, Jones is caught in the anklelock, and he taps at 9:33!!! Lesnar dives back in, and F5’s Angle out of nowhere for a really shocking pin at 9:45! We’re 2-on-2 now. Benoit goes after Lesnar, and fires in his vicious chops. Lesnar misses a blind charge and gives his shoulder a hurting. Benoit makes it worse by throwing Lesnar’s shoulder over the ropes. Brock tries for F5, but the shoulder’s weak, and Benoit reverses into a Crossface!!!!!!! Lesnar rolls back and nearly scores a pinfall, but Benoit rolls back over. Lesnar’s in the ropes - so they force a break, but as soon as he stands, Benoit locks it back in!!! Lesnar’s good and fucked now, and knows it. He taps at 11:54!! He’s met with “YOU TAPPED OUT” by the ever friendly fans. Show comes in, but takes a drop toe hold into the buckle! Benoit flies off the top with a torpedo for 2! Benoit makes a blind tag, but before Cena comes in Show sets up a chokeslam. Cena rolls in, takes a big boot, and Show hits the chokeslam!!! Cena grabs his chain (errr...), clocks Show over the head, hits the F-U, and wins it at 13:18!!! ***1/4 A good little Survivor Series match to get Cena’s face turn over. Cena and Benoit shake hands after the match.
CHRIS BENOIT vs. JOHN CENA (in a number one contender’s match) December 4, 2003
WWE Preview:A Battle Royal was held to see who would be the No. 1 Contender for Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship. John Cena and Chris Benoit were co-winners so they faced off to find out who the true No. 1 Contender really was. Did Cena earn another shot at the title?
“Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo... So Paul Heyman said this match is in the best interests of Smackdown! He’s just protecting that big Brock, ‘cause all he does is back down Thinks that he can beat us both, that’s a dream he’d better snap out I straight out whip his ass and Benoit’s gonna make him tap out So, me and Chris fightin’ tonight, that’s kinda awkward at first glance That’s like a third grade dance over at Neverland ranch Just shouldn’t happen... But if we gotta fight tonight, that’s okay I’ll shake my shoulder off I’m gonna kick his ass so hard I’ll make his colon cough Forget them threeways and replays, I don’t care who’s feet hit I’m a turn his gap tooth brown, cause I’ll make him eat...”
Cena powers Benoit back to the corner while Cole talks about some burn that Benoit has. I think he should probably get that looked at by a doctor. A snap suplex from Benoit gets 2. Into the corner, Benoit starts laying in the chops - but that fires Cena up and he pounds away. Lex Lugerish clothesline gets 2. Five knuckle shuffle gets 2. Benoit starts throwing the chops again, but he gets hit with a vertical suplex and Cena gets another 2. Cena applies a reverse full nelson, releases, and hits a spinebuster for 2. Benoit small packages Cena for 2. Cena fires back with a forearm shot for 2. Lots of nearfalls make the wrestling gods happy. Delayed vertical suplex drains Benoit’s blood, and it gives Cena 2. Benoit’s tired of the ass kicking, and hits the triple Germans. Benoit: “You can’t see me!” Flying headbutt misses - and Benoit sells his ass off! Cena flashes the WL, pumps his sneakers...but Benoit’s had time to recover and starts chopping away. Cena hits an FU from nowhere though, and scores the pinfall at 5:31. Cena’s declared the #1 contender...except the referee realizes that Benoit’s foot was on the ropes. Another ref runs in to let Nick Patrick know that yes, the foot was there. So our match is restarted as we take a commercial break.
Upon return, Benoit hits a vicious hiptoss on Cena, and dropkicks him in the face. Gorgeous Northern lights suplex hits! A second one is good! Benoit chops away while Cole argues with the logistics of re-starting a match after it’s ended. A short armed clothesline gets 2. Running elbow drop gets 2. Cena comes back with a running clothesline, but Benoit responds by knocking him to the floor. The fans try to will Cena back to life. Back in, Benoit works an armbar, but Cena escapes. Benoit goes for a clothesline, but Cena hits a high knee, and the Throwback gets 2! Benoit turns to the Sharpshooter...but Cena won’t tap. He crawls to the ropes, and forces a break. They start brawling in the corner, and Cena manages a half-assed FU from nowhere! BIG SHOW comes lumbering down now, and distracts Cena. That allows Benoit to lock in the Crossface, and Cena taps to make Benoit the #1 contender at 13:17! **1/2 Decent enough, but these two can do so much more.
JOHN CENA vs. THE BIG SHOW (in a non title match) December 25, 2003
WWE Preview:WWE traveled to the Middle East for the first ever SmackDown! from Iraq. WWE didn't disappoint the brave men and women overseas as John Cena met Big Show in a classic battle. Could Cena give the troops something to cheer about or did Big Show put a damper on things?
This is from Christmas in Baghdad. Show hits a chokeslam all of 11 seconds into the match, and Cena has to roll out to recover! That’s my Giant! Cena hits a jawbreaker on his way back in, but Show immediately clotheslines him, and drives Cena back to the corner. A hiptoss sends Cena across the ring, and a big headbutt knocks him down. Cena fires back, but meets a knee to the midsection! Word life! Another big headbutt connects, and chokes out Cena. The referee tells him to back off, so he does...and puts on an abdominal stretch! Show goes for the big boot, but Cena ducks, and he nails the ref! Show goes to a side slam, and grabs Cena’s chain (!!!). The shot he tries to take misses, Cena goes low, grabs his chain (err...), decks Show...and gets 2! Show goes for a second chokeslam, but Cena reverses into the FU and gets the pin at 4:12! *1/2 STEVE AUSTIN comes out after the match for some reason, and we take a commercial break.
We return, and Austin gives Cena a Stunner for some reason. Show stands...and he gets one. He doesn’t go down...but a second one does the trick. This is retarded. Austin grabs the microphone, and brings out SANTA’S LITTLE HELPERS. The girls bounce down to ringside, and Austin then invites ALL THE WRESTLERS back out. Why, so he can start giving them Stunners??? Austin thanks Vince for making all this possible, and swears he won’t give him a Stunner. Show gets back to his feet, and Austin gives him a Stunner again. FUCK YOU. I’m sick to death of Austin’s shit. Austin thanks the fans for being here, and everyone drinks a beer.
JOHN CENA and CHRIS BENOIT vs. MATT MORGAN, RHYNO, BROCK LESNAR, and THE BIG SHOW January 22, 2004
WWE Preview:Never before had the odds been so stacked against John Cena. How could he and Chris Benoit ever overcome the size and strength of Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan and Rhyno all in the same match? Watch and see if the Dr. of Thuganomics and the Crippler could pull off the unthinkable.
Wouldn’t you know it? I almost NEVER watch Smackdown!, but not only did I watch this one... I’ve recapped it as well. Freebie for me! Enjoy a rerun.
"Yo yo yo yo yo... Last week, Paul Heyman, I'm here to apologize 'Cause when fatass was eating soap I should have rubbed some in his eyes It was Paul Heyman who made the match, ain't no way I'm stopping it Last week, he was chewing soap, that boy's just used to dropping it And it's ironic that his favorite team is the New York Yankees Who is his favorite Little Rascal? Alfalfa, or is it Spanky? Or is it Brock, I heard they give eachother naked backrubs Big Show's got the neckbrace, he was bobbing for apples in Paul's bathtub Tonight is just like the Rumble, competition is soft People attack me, I throw 'em out, they just keep beating 'em off"
It's immediately apparent that Big Show is nowhere to be seen - and we cut quickly to the back to find out for about the millionth time, they're going to recycle the old "trapped in the locker room thanks to a forklift" angle. PAUL HEYMAN throws a fit from his lifeguard style chair at ringside. And we take a break as the fans start in with their "YOU TAPPED OUT" chants.
I take this opportunity to break into a Margarita flavoured Bacardi Breezer, leftovers from the drinks my girlfriend picked out last weekend...
We return while RING CREW attempts to save The Big Show. Back at ringside, Paul starts talking up Brock to keep him from shitting his pants, being all alone without his large friend. Brock and Benoit start, but Lesnar rolls out before Benoit can do anything. Back in he gets...and tags out to Matt Morgan. Benoit figures "what the fuck" and chops the hell out of Morgan for fun. Cena is tagged in, and he lays down the street style punches, before slamming the big man. Morgan recovers and pounds away at the back of Cena - and tags in Rhyno. Rhyno takes down Cena with a shoulderblock, but Cena comes right back with a hiptoss. He dives at Heyman's chair which is sitting right in front of the ring, but Rhyno catches him, and pulls him back to the middle of the ring. Cena lays in with a stiff clothesline and gets 2. Benoit is tagged back in, and he goes to work with a snap suplex for 2. The chops are laid in, but Rhyno counters with a whip, sending Benoit back first into the corner. Lesnar is of course now more than happy to tag in. He stomps a mudhole in Benoit while Heyman laughs. An elbow is dropped on Benoit, and Brock takes this opportunity to inform Cena that "you can't see this". Benoit shoves off Brock, quickly tags in Cena, and Cena absolutely lays into him for that show of disrespect moments ago. He gets in a flying shoulder tackle for 2. They bump bodies, and Brock's weight causes Cena to fall back, and he follows with a spinebuster. A trio of covers draw a trio of 2's. Rhyno comes in and immediately slaps on a criss-cross choke. Benoit takes his hands off the tag-rope, so the ref wanders over, and Brock sneaks in a few stomps on Cena. Rhyno officially tags out to Brock - so Brock comes in and does the "you can't see this" once again, but this time Cena's too weakened to do anything about it. Shoulderblocks are laid in the corner - but an avalanche misses, and Cena hits a quick DDT with Lesnar stunned. Cena tries to crawl out - but Lesnar's got the foot. A kick to the face is all Brock needs to let the hold go, and Benoit is tagged in. Canadian House Of Fire!!!! Kicks and chops are fired at the champ! The rolling Germans hit twice! Brock does a standing switch on the third - but Benoit escapes JUST in time as Rhyno comes flying with a Gore RIGHT into Brock!!!! Benoit takes out Rhyno, and hits Matt Morgan who's entered the ring with a rolling German, followed by a release. THUMB TO THE THROAT! Lesnar scoots back in, goes for the F5, but Benoit counters in mid-air into the Crossface!!!!!!! Rhyno ruins THAT moment with a hard spinebuster! Rhyno heads back to the apron in order to get officially tagged in, which he is - but runs right into a drop toe hold from Benoit and springs hard into the ropes. Lesnar's had about enough of these guys and heads off to the back. However, BOB HOLLY was waiting for this, grabs Brock on the ramp, and applies a full nelson, NEVER ready to let go. FIT FINLAY with his crew breaks the hold, and Brock lays in a cheap shot on Holly. Lesnar takes off to the back while the security pounds on Bob. Heyman continues to call for Lesnar to come back. And we take another break...
We come back to Rhyno attempting a pinfall on Benoit, and getting 2. The fans are busy chanting "YOU ATE SOAP" at Heyman. Morgan comes in and headbutts Benoit before choking him out on the apron. The fans meanwhile clamour for Cena. Rhyno fires off some shots to Benoit, but goes for one too many, which Benoit ducks and follows with a belly to back. Rhyno senses the impending tag - and nails Cena off the apron. He follows with a belly to belly on Benoit, and quickly hits the GORE!!!! 1, 2, Cena comes out of NOWHERE to break that one up. Morgan is in, misses a couple of elbows right away, and takes an enzuigiri. Finally Cena can make the hot tag! Rhyno takes a clothesline and Throwback in quick succession. A double axehandle from the top connects, and gets Cena a close 2 before Morgan breaks it up. With Morgan's distraction, Rhyno gets in a belly to belly suplex, but Cena sidesteps the GORE - allowing a rollup for 2! FU hits seconds later, and we've got us a couple of winners at 19:30!!!! *** Benoit and Cena clear the ring - and spy Paul Heyman all alone in his lifeguard chair. He starts with the blood curdling screams - but if a GM falls into the ring, and none of his friends are around, did it REALLY happen? Cena and Benoit test out this theory, shoving the chair forward into the ring, and Heyman tumbles inside. THE BIG SHOW angrily charges the ring though, having finally escaped from his locker room - and tosses both guys all over the place. Benoit takes a gorilla press, and Cena a REALLY high chokeslam. Benoit's chokeslam isn't far behind. Cena's then dumped over the top, as is Benoit. Show's made his point...he has NO intention of losing the Royal Rumble this Sunday.
JOHN CENA vs. THE BIG SHOW (for the WWE united states heavyweight title) March 14, 2004
WWE Preview:John Cena kicked off arguably the biggest event in WWE history, WrestleMania XX. Cena battled Big Show for the United States Championship. With so much adrenaline going through his body, would Cena be able to lift Big Show up for the F-U? Watch and find out.
“Now is Wrestlemania here to represent? Then let me hear everybody make some noise!!!
You’ve got the franchise playa on the Superbowl stage So get that gorilla Big Show out of his cage Ain’t no way I’m gonna lose to that King Kong ripoff That’s like Gary Coleman beating Patrick Ewing in a tipoff Big Show’s really a ape with opposable thumbs And he stuffs his singlet, looks like he’s smuggling plums Yo, everyone knows that he can’t see me I’m itching to beat him like a penis with an STD I’m not even wrestling the Big Show, this whole thing’s a charade My match is with the hippo float from the Macy’s parade So it’s time to get a championship to match these customer knux Madison Square, chant it loud baby, Big Show sucks!”
This was the match I was looking forward to the most last year, with Lesnar/Goldberg not far behind. No, I refuse to explain this Big Show thing to you - because you probably wouldn’t get it. A “CENA” chant breaks out as the two square off. Show shoves Cena back to the corner a couple of times, but misses a punch and Cena slugs away. Show dumps Cena to the outside, and when he tries to re-enter, Show drives his knee to Cena’s head. Cena comes back with a jawbreaker and goes up - but the crossbody is blocked by Show, and a slam gets 2. Show chokes Cena out in the ropes and clubs away. Cena tries to fire back, but it’s like punching a brick wall. One clothesline later, and Cena’s back on his ass. The fans erupt in a “BIG SHOW SUCKS” chant, but what the hell do New Yorkers know? Show stands on Cena’s throat, just cause he can, and he laughs it up when the referee tells him off. A vertical suplex gets 2. Show starts laying in the headbutts and giant chops. Cena again starts to throw some punches, but his momentum takes his face right into Show’s boot. A legdrop gets 2, and frustrates the champion. Cena tries to jump on Show’s back with a sleeper, but Show just falls back to the corner, crushing Cena like a bug. A clothesline takes Cena back down, and Show locks on a cobra clutch. Cena fades fast, but hangs on. Show tosses Cena to the mat, and puts the cobra clutch back on. Cena throws some haymakers to escape, and Show is staggering. Show charges blindly right into Cena’s feet, and then takes a drop toe hold into the buckle! The F-U follows...but Show kicks out at 2!!!! Cena has no idea what the fuck to do now, but sees something that gives him an idea. Cena grabs his chain (errr...), and distracts the referee with it. He tosses it away, and when the ref goes to make sure that they leave the ringside area, Cena slips on his knucks. Show takes a mouthful, a second F-U, and we’ve got a new United States champion at 9:11! *** Fun match.
BOOKER T vs. JOHN CENA (winner of series gets the United States Title, match 5 of best of 5, series tied 2-2) October 3, 2004
WWE Preview:John Cena and Booker T began a rivalry in the middle of 2004 that was so hot that it couldn't be decided in just one match. SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long decided that the only way to settle things was with a Best of Five Series. The series did indeed go the distance, and now you can see how it all panned out in the fifth and deciding match.
This is from another show I’ve previously recapped...although in this case, I really wish I hadn’t. Painful memories! Here’s my recap of this match:
We start with a mid-ring slugfest, and Cena wins the exchange by throwing a shoulderblock and gets 2. Booker comes back with a drop toe hold, and applies a front facelock. Cena ducks a Harlem sidekick, and clotheslines Booker to the outside. Booker re-enters, and pounds Cena down with shots to the back. Cena throws a clothesline, but Booker retaliates with a spinebuster for 2. They head out to the floor where Booker lays in some chops, and whips Cena into the steps. A second attempt is reversed by Cena, and Booker hits them this time. Cena rolls Booker back in and gets 2. Booker blocks a charge, and hits Cena with a Stun Gun. That's followed by a crescent kick, and gets a 2! Cena tries a crossbody block, and nearly gets Booker several times, but can't score more than 2. Booker whips Cena to the corner, and gives him a vertical suplex for 2. Booker works a headlock on the mat, but Cena fights to his feet and hits a vertical suplex. Booker comes back with a flapjack for 2. Booker goes for the axekick, but Cena moves, and Booker crotches himself on the top rope. Cena hits a bulldog to gain control, and fires the crowd up with a five knuckle shuffle. It gets 2. Cena pumps his shoes, goes for the FU, but it's blocked with the Book End, but Booker only scores 2. He's furious, and grabs a chair. CHARLES ROBINSON tells him if he even thinks about bringing it into the ring, he'll call the match right there! Booker drops it, goes for the axekick instead, but Cena sidesteps, and Booker hits canvas! Cena covers for 2. Booker tries a DDT, but Cena fights him off, nails the FU, and scores the pin to win the title at 10:22. *3/4 This whole series was bland, and Booker's falling further and further into mediocrity as a performer. Naturally the WWE has now decided it's time to push him into a World Title feud with JBL.
THE ROAD WARRIORS (with Paul Ellering) vs. THE SKYSCRAPERS (with Teddy Long) February 6, 1990
WWE Preview:Mean Mark Callous and Dangerous Dan Spivey made up the massive tag team of the Skyscrapers. They were wildly successful, but this was their last match together. Could they go out on a winning note against the legendary Road Warriors?
JR calls this a donneybrook, which was his early way of using slobberknocker. Hawk starts with Spivey. Spivey dumps Hawk, but he lands on the apron. Back in, Hawk hits a clothesline and goes for a neckbreaker. Spivey blocks with the help from Callous. Hawk opts instead for a shoulderblock, sending Spivey to the floor. Animal and Callous tag in. It’s weird hearing Callous referred to as a “youngster”. Or even as a “red headed youngster”, since it’s certainly far more gray these days. Animal no-sells a series of shoulderblocks, and ducks a crossbody block. A clothesline is all Callous wants to face, and we’re back to Spivey and Hawk. Hawk chops away, but misses a blind charge - and falls to the floor! Spivey jerks at the arm of Hawk, and tags in Callous. He actually does his Old School move - and works an armbar. Callous goes for a second Old School, but Hawk catches him and press slams him off the top! Spivey and Animal both come in. Spivey and Callous both take dropkicks. Animal nails a powerslam and big elbow on Spivey for 2. Callous comes in for a double team, but Animal clotheslines both guys. LOD dumps Callous to the floor, hit the Doomsday Device on Spivey...but Callous has a chair now. Mark comes off the top with a chair to break up the pin, and all hell breaks loose with the managers fighting and Hawk pounding on Callous. Spivey hits a piledriver on Hawk, and beats him over the head with the chair. Ellering takes a clothesline - and Spivey continues to beat the hell out of LOD. The segment ends here, so we’ll call it a DQ at 6:18. **
RIC FLAIR, SID VICIOUS, BARRY WINDHAM, and LARRY ZBYSZKO vs. STING, BRIAN PILLMAN, and THE STEINER BROTHERS (in war games) February 24, 1991
WWE Preview:One of the most hellacious matches in sports-entertainment history was War Games. This vicious match was so brutal that El Gigante ran in from the back to throw in the towel for Sting, Brian Pillman and The Steiner Brothers after Sid Vicious decimated Pillman. Watch and see what caused the stoppage.
Team Babyface talks things over before the match - but Pillman quickly breaks away from the group and dives in at Barry Windham who’s starting for the Horsemen. The faces aren’t happy since he wasn’t the designated starting man, but whatchagonnado? Pillman throws a clothesline at Windham. From there, he grabs onto the top of the cage, delivers a swinging dropkick, and follows with a rana! A missile dropkick levels Barry, and Pillman chops away. Barry tries to make a comeback, but Pillman goes low and whips Windham into the cage! Pillman starts ramming Windham’s face into the cage over and over, before grating it like a cabbage. A jawbreaker connects, and Pillman dives onto the fallen Windham and BITES at his face! Windham starts juicing like an orange in a blender, and Pillman continues this one sided asskicking. A flying clothesline off the top sees Barry stagger all around, and Pillman dumps him over the top into the second ring. A spinkick drops Windham back to the mat, and Pillman starts working over the knee. Windham kicks Pillman away, but that doesn’t phase him, and he starts throwing chops again. Windham goes for a powerbomb, but Pillman backdrops him, and delivers an axehandle! The time limit runs out for 1-on-1, and here comes Flair! They start trading chops, but Windham attacks from behind - and the duo toss Pillman into the cage. Windham starts using Pillman as a battering ram into the cage, before Flair tosses him into the other ring - and Pillman bumps like a ping-pong ball. Sting dances on the apron and the heels go running when he hits the ring. A double clothesline takes both guys down, and when Windham stands he winds up the recipient of a bulldog! Flair heads to the other ring, and gets the same treatment. Windham crotches Pillman on the top rope, while Sting continues to work over Flair. Sting no-sells Flair’s chops, and beats him down. Stinger Splash...and Larry’s in! Zbyszko goes after Sting, but gets decked. As he stands, he meets a tope from Sting!!! Flair sneaks in a cheap shot, and Larry stomps a mudhole in Sting. Flair stomps on Pillman. Sting tries to comeback, and chokes the life out of Larry, but Windham breaks it up, and gives Sting a faceplant. Rick Steiner heads in and gives everyone Steinerlines! Flair takes the 10-punch count-a-long before getting flattened with a belly to belly overhead!!! Rick rubs Flair’s head into the cage, and Pillman chops at Zbyszko in the other ring. Windham goes toe to toe with Rick, but loses that battle. More cheesegrater action for Flair! Time counts down, and Sid Vicious joins the action, and you can bet EVERYONE’S dead now! Rick Steiner goes face first into the cage! Flair goes low on Steiner! Sting is dropped with a clothesline! Steiner throws Zbyszko face first into the cage, and does the same with Flair! Flair is bleeding buckets. Flair goes low on Sting, and Scott Steiner’s in! Windham and Flair each get clotheslined! Zbyszko takes a tigerbomb! Sid takes a top rope Steinerline! Flair’s in the other cage, and is hit with another Stinger Splash!!! Sting turns Flair over, and locks on the Scorpion Deathlock. It’s broken up. Meanwhile, Sid goes after Pillman. Sid throws Pillman’s bad shoulder into the turnbuckle, and rips off the athletic tape. Rick Steiner saves, and next thing you know all the babyfaces have locked the Horsemen in figure four leglocks! ARN ANDERSON has to be restrained at ringside while watching this! All guys release, and Sting goes back to his favorite punching bag by giving Flair a gorilla press slam! Pillman tries to choke Larry into submission, but he won’t give. Flair pokes Sting in the eyes, while Sid grabs a hold of Pillman. Windham and Flair join the beatdown, but Pillman fights them off, and winds up alone with Flair in the corner. Scott Steiner gives Windham a DDT, but Sid is on him immediately with a running knee. Sid grabs a hold of Pillman, and pancakes him off the top of the cage. Sid tries a powerbomb, but Pillman won’t get all the way up due to the cage, and SID DROPS HIM ON HIS HEAD! Just because that’s not enough, Sid gives him another powerbomb, this one properly! Pillman’s out cold. EL GIGANTE comes running out of the locker room, and tears his way into the cage. He looks at Pillman, and tells the ref to stop the match at 20:01. ****1/4 The match ruled before the stupid ending, and the powerbomb on the head was NASTY! Gigante carries his fallen buddy to the back.
BRIAN PILLMAN, DUSTIN RHODES, and STING vs. STEVE AUSTIN, RICK RUDE, and PAUL ORNDORFF (with Colonel Robert Parker) (in a Thundercage match) February 20, 1994
WWE Preview:When tensions between sides rise too high, sometimes it can only be settled in a cage. This match features several legends of the squared circle, but who would come out on top?
Heenan’s slurring his words here something fierce. The Thundercage, for those who aren’t aware, is WCW’s version of a Hell In A Cell. Rude and Sting continue their rivalry immediately, with Rude kicking away. Sting hits a backdrop, and runs him over with a series of clotheslines. Orndorff comes in, and applies a Fujiwara armbar. Austin heads in, but gets run over with a shoulderblock. Austin fakes a blown out knee, but Sting’s not buying, locking him in the Scorpion Deathlock. Orndorff distracts, and Austin rolls him up for 2. A clothesline sends Austin out, but he pulls Sting out with him, and whips Sting to the cage! Pillman attacks Austin with a chop, and Sting now sends HIM to the cage! Back in, Pillman gets the tag, and slams Austin’s face to the mat. Austin dumps Pillman outside, but Brian simply chops away out there. Austin runs away, Pillman charges after him...but Austin stops short and backdrops Pillman into the cage. Ouch. Austin grates Pillman’s face against the cage. Back in, Rude works over Pillman with elbows. Orndorff tags in and beats on Pillman. Pillman comes back with a high knee, but Orndroff nails a backdrop suplex. Rude comes in, and hits a flying kneedrop off the top for 2! Austin stomps on his former partner, and Pillman’s busted open now. Austin goes up, hits the axehandle, and gets 2! Austin goes for another, but Pillman blocks with a dropkick to the face this time!!! Sting desperately wants a tag, and gets one! Sting gets Orndorff, and hits him with a chop. Austin is dumped, and Orndorff is hit with a clothesline that sends him out! Sting follows, and slams Paul face first to the cage! Back in, Rhodes gets his first tag, and hits Flip Flop and Fly. Dustin hits an elbow drop, and pounds away. Orndorff tosses Dustin face first to the buckle, and turns things over to Rude. Rhodes goes for a bulldog, but Rude blocks by crotching him over the top turnbuckle!!! Great counter! Rude then hits a belly to back superplex, follows with a fistdrop, and puts on a bearhug! Rhodes starts to fight, so Rude hits a belly to belly and tags in Austin. The two of them fight, and Austin is knocked off the apron, and crotches through the cage!!!! Now THAT’S a bump! Austin slowly gets back in, and takes a flying elbow from Dustin! Pillman gets the tag, and backdrops Steve. He knocks the other heels off the apron, and Sting joins the fray to cut them off from a followup attack. Pillman and Sting double backdrop Austin, and then Sting gorilla presses Pillman onto Austin for the pin at 14:37! ***
JOHN CENA vs. CHRIS JERICHO July 4, 2002
WWE Preview:This was only John Cena's second match on SmackDown! After an impressive debut against Kurt Angle, Cena put forth an equally impressive showing against Chris Jericho. But was it enough to pick up his first win?
I’ve covered Cena’s debut match before, on the September Jukebox - and this is his second outing. Jericho was just a tad pissed at Cena here, due to a slap backstage to prove his ruthless aggression. Jericho attacks before the bell, and slaps Cena around. Cena comes back with a spear, and Jericho quickly bails. Cena’s hot on his heels, rolling him back in, and catapulting Jericho to the buckle. A spinebuster gets 2! Jericho heads out again, and this time is ready for Cena’s attack - clotheslining him. Back in, Jericho chokes Cena out in the ropes - and follows with a Bossman straddle. Cena tries to fight back, but takes a big boot for his troubles. Jericho leaps from the middle rope, however Cena’s ready with a dropkick to the midsection. A series of clotheslines level Jericho, and a powerslam gets 2! Stinger splash and bulldog get 2. Jericho tries to roll Cena up, but Cena quickly packages for 2. A DDT gets 2! Cena’s on fire here. Another Stinger splash attempt misses, and Jericho quickly bulldogs Cena. The Lionsault misses, and Cena uses his chance to hit a spinebuster for 2! A schoolboy gets 2! Jericho escapes a backdrop attempt, hits the Flashback, and uses the ropes for the pin at 5:08! ***1/2 Awesome 5 minute match, and a definite flash of brilliance from Cena. Post-match, Jericho asks for a handshake, but sucker punches him instead. Cena retorts with a doctor bomb that leaves Jericho lying.
JOHN CENA vs. CHRIS JERICHO July 21, 2002
WWE Preview:The John Cena and Chris Jericho rivalry was tied at one win apiece. This was the rubber match. Did Y2J reign supreme or did the up and coming Cena take the next step to stardom?
Jericho was in a total rut here, having lost on every pay-per-view since dropping the title at Mania to Triple H. His situation would not improve here... Jericho grabs a chair before the match starts and attacks on the aisle - but his wild swing misses. Cena grabs the chair and cracks Jericho over the back. In the ring, Cena hammers away on Jericho. A clothesline takes Chris down, and the former champ takes a powder. Cena’s right behind him, and they wind up back in. Cena hits a back elbow, nails a hiptoss, and a spinebuster gets 2! Jericho avoids another charge with a hotshot, and starts to stomp away. Jericho chokes Cena out in the ropes and nails a Bossman straddle. He starts to undo the turnbuckle, but Cena rolls him up for 2. Jericho fires off a spinning heel kick, and talks shit. Jericho nails The Breakdown, and heads up. “I’M THE KING OF THE ... OOOOOF!!!!” Cena catches him with a shot to the midsection, hits a superplex and gets 2!!! A tilt-a-whirl slam gets 2! Jericho comes back with a dropkick to Cena’s midsection from the second rope, and gets a 2! Cena tries to catapult Jericho, but he lands on the ropes...and walks right into a belly to belly from Cena! Jericho goes for a Lionsault, but misses! Cena tries an Oklahoma roll, but Jericho reverses and gets 2. Slop drop gets 2. Jericho goes to the bulldog, again tries a Lionsault, and actually hits one! I’d forgotten how it looked because it’s been so goddamn long since he actually nailed the move. He goes for the Walls, but Cena counters into a rollup and gets the pin at 6:17! **3/4 Good enough match - and continued to get Cena over as a plucky rookie who was just so darn happy to be here.
THE ROCK vs. GOLDBERG April 27, 2003
WWE Preview:Talk about making a big splash. Goldberg's first WWE match was against The Rock at Backlash. Goldberg unleashed two Spears and a Jackhammer to cap off one of the more impressive debut matches in WWE history.
If you want to see counter-productive booking, this is it! Basically, Goldberg had made his WWE debut about a month earlier, and immediately set his sights on The Rock. Rocky was a heel, but proceeded to put on one of the most one-sided entertaining verbal destructions of Goldberg leading up the match. No problem though, right? Just have Goldberg go out, kick some serious ass, and all is forgotten... Or at least you’d THINK that’s the way to go. First sign things aren’t right: the WWE changes Goldberg’s classic music. Rocky tries to stall - but the referee forces him into the ring. A “ROCKY” chant erupts among the fans, which Rock encourages...so the fans turn to “GOLDBERG”. Rock gets into Goldberg’s face, and I notice that Rock was considerably slim here. They lockup, and Goldberg whips Rocky across the ring to heel heat. Rock: “You are in trouble now!” Second lockup...same result, even more heat. Rocky falls to the floor, but slides back in, and slaps Goldberg to a massive pop. Goldberg kicks the crap out of Rocky, and takes him down with a shoulderblock. A clothesline sends Rock back to the outside again. Rocky goes back to stalling again, and threatens to leave. Booking mistake: Goldberg doesn’t chase him down, rather he stands around in the ring waiting for Rock to come back. And naturally, as soon as he comes, Rocky gives Goldberg a jawbreaker. Back in, Rock hits a clothesline, and celebrates like he’s just won the Superbowl. Goldberg doesn’t like it, and gives Rock and Rock Bottom! The spear is setup...and the fans are openly booing. We wait...and we wait...and we wait for Rocky to stand - and when he does, he sidesteps sending Goldberg into the ringpost. Rock’s face shows a childlike excitement, and he quickly rolls Goldberg back in. Rock puts on the Sharpshooter, and talks shit to the crowd while holding it in place. Goldberg slowly gets to the ropes, and forces a break. Another mistake: Goldberg should have powered out of that. Rock tosses the ref aside for a second, and goes low. He sets up for the Rock Bottom, but Goldberg hits a spear out of nowhere! Goldberg hits the move with his bad shoulder, and lies around wincing. It’s like they’d never watched a single Goldberg match PRIOR to signing him to a contract. Both guys stand, and Goldberg hits a shoulderblock with the good shoulder. Goldberg hits a press slam for 2. Rocky throws an elbow at Goldberg, and tries to clothesline him over. It fails, so Rock goes to the spinebuster and nips up! Rock calls for the Rock Bottom, hits it...but Goldberg kicks out at 2! Rocky isn’t quite sure what to make of this, so he just hammers away. Goldberg throws a clothesline, but sells the shoulder again, and the fans continue to boo. Rocky nails another spinebuster, and calls for the People’s Elbow. He actually hits it, when the only thing that could have saved this mess would have been Goldberg popping up and spearing him - and gets 2. Now Goldberg hits the spear, to some massive heat, including a “GOLDBERG SUCKS!” chant. A second spear does nothing to win the crowd over, and the Jackhammer finishes at 13:04. 3/4* Lawler: “A standing ovation for Goldberg!” Errr, yeah.
CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRET HART (in the finals of the 32-man tournament for the WCW world heavyweight title) November 21, 1999
WWE Preview:Chris Benoit and Bret Hart both won matches earlier in the night, and now they faced each other for the vacated WCW Championship. In this match they showed why they're widely considered as two of the best ring technicians in sports-entertainment history. Watch and see who came away with the gold.
I’ll always have a soft spot for this one since it was the main event of the first live show I’d ever gone to. You’d also be familiar with this from the opening of Malcolm In The Middle. We don’t get the entrances, we just jump right into this with Hart powering Benoit back to the corner. Bret works over Benoit’s arm with punches, and applies an armbar. Benoit had a bit of an easier road to the finals, starting with Madusa in the first round while Hart started with Goldberg. No, really. Benoit drives a knee to Bret’s midsection. He works a chinlock, but Bret rolls him back for a 1. Benoit goes for a sunset flip, but it’s too close to the ropes! Bret reverses into the Sharpshooter, but Benoit sidesteps, and goes for the Crossface!!!! Bret makes the ropes, and when he stands, they shake hands. Bret dumps Benoit to the outside, and suddenly THAT CANADIAN FAN who had been tossed from the building earlier for nailing Dean Malenko with a flag has returned! He nails Benoit over the back with the flag a bunch of times, and reveals himself to be Dean Malenko!!!! He spits on the flag, causing Bret to beat on him. SECURITY escorts Dean out of the building. Back in, Bret hits a sitdown piledriver for 2! Bret drops a leg, and starts choking Benoit out. That’s not friendly! Hart starts laying in a series of headbutts to Benoit’s back, but Chris has had enough and starts chopping Bret. A backbreaker gets 2! Benoit gives Bret a pair of backdrops, and gets another 2. Bret comes back with a DDT for 2. Bret goes for a tombstone, but Benoit reverses into one of his own!!! Thumb to the throat - and Benoit heads up! The headbutt connects, but here comes THE OUTSIDERS. Because what this match needed was more interference. Hall hits a fallaway slam on Benoit, but now the biggest heel in Canada, GOLDBERG is trotting down the aisle. However, since he’s no longer facing our hero Sid Vicious and instead is cleaning house, he turns face. Goldberg spears Nash, and Bret hits Hall with an atomic drop! Bret fights Hall partway up the aisle, which is where Goldberg takes over and chases the pair to the back. Thankfully, that’s the last of the interference tonight - but I can assure you the damage was done because EVERY eye was on the ramp to see who’d come out next. Benoit hits Bret with a dragon screw, and starts dropping down on the knee. Bret gets hit with a single leg atomic drop. Benoit chops Bret down, and applies the figure four. Bret refuses to give, and makes the ropes! Hart starts to work over Benoit’s back with punches, hits a backbreaker, and gets 2! The pair head up top, and Bret hits a superplex for 2! Tony gets excited as Bret hits a Russian legsweep, I guess thinking about all those matches Bret’s actually finished with that move? It gets 2. Bret goes for a slam, but his knee buckles, and Benoit falls on top for 2! Chris falls outside off the kickout, but is brought back in with an attempted vertical suplex. Benoit escapes, and lands in a perfect position to start in with the Germans!!! He hits 2, and goes for the Crossface! Bret escapes, puts on the Sharpshooter, and Benoit quickly submits to give Bret his first WCW title at 17:44!!!! **1/2 The ending was exciting, but the match was not - with too much stupid interference that lead nowhere. WCW was taught a lesson...and naturally learned nothing.
SHAWN MICHAELS vs. JEFF JARRETT (with the Roadie) (for the WWF intercontinental title) July 23, 1995
WWE Preview:Shawn Michaels and Jeff Jarrett faced off for Jarrett's Intercontinental Championship at the second In Your House event. These two put on a match for the ages that had a little bit of everything from high-flying manuevers to submissions. In the end, could HBK topple Double J for the title?
This is a fairly famous match among those who’ve seen it - but relatively unknown otherwise. Lawler starts reminiscing about the days where if someone showed up Memphis looking like Michaels, he’d have been run out of town immediately. Michaels admires himself in reflection of the IC title before locking up. He hammers down Jarrett, and takes a nap on the top rope. Jarrett isn’t impressed, and when Michaels steps down, he hiptossses him. A right fist sends Michaels to the outside, where he reconsiders his gameplan. Meanwhile, Jarrett decides to relax, hammock-style on the ropes, just like Shawn a minute ago. Back in, Jarrett puts on a headlock, and declares this too easy. Michaels blocks a hiptoss, and drives his thumb into Jarrett’s eye. Michaels does a half Cactus clothesline to send Jarrett out, but then skins the cat back in. Fargo strut from Michaels works Lawler into a frenzy. Jarrett figures he’s had enough of this shit, and starts heading to the back. Michaels rubs in the fact he’s about to lose, so Jarrett breaks the 10 count and immediately goes back to stalling some more. Michaels chases, and Jarrett lures him back into the ring, where he knocks Shawn down and hits a Bossman straddle. A dropkick misses, and Michaels tosses Jarrett back over the top - onto Roadie! Michaels then hits a plancha onto both guys and poses! Back in, Jarrett begs off, but winds up getting hit with a sunset flip. Jarrett blocks, and backdrops Michaels over the top, all the way to the floor!!! Jarrett doesn’t even give Shawn a chance to breathe, because he promptly whips him into the ringsteps. Back in, Jarrett delivers a front suplex and gets 2. We move into the abdominal stretch, and Roadie helps Jarrett with leverage. After cheating 3 times, the referee sees it - kicks them to break it, and Shawn hits a hiptoss! The momentum doesn’t last, because Jarrett immediately hits a jumping DDT and gets 2! Lawler suddenly grows excited because Vince’s microphone stops working - and tries to call the match like Vince to hilarious results. Jarrett and Roadie take turns choking Michaels in the ropes - but Michaels pulls Roadie into the way of Jarrett who comes flying with a Bossman straddle, and Michaels rolls him up for 2. Oh, and Vince returns to give us a “onetwohegotitnohedidn’t!” here, annoying the shit out of Lawler. Jarrett whips Michaels to the buckle, and Shawn does a Flair flip to the floor. The Roadie comes off the apron with a running clothesline, and dances around the ringside while the ref is busy with Jarrett. “I WIN BY COUNTOUT!” Jarrett does the Fargo strut around the ring, but Michaels gets back into the ring at 9. Jeff goes upstairs, hits a crossbody, but Michaels rolls through for 2! Jarrett tries to come back with a crucifix, but Michaels won’t go down, and sits down on Jarrett for 2! Jarrett moves to the sleeper, and Michaels nearly passes out - dropping to the mat with his shoulders down for 2. Shawn fights the hold...and backdrops his way out of it. Michaels gets up first, at 8. With what little strength he has, Shawn drapes an arm over Jarrett and gets 2! Both guys stand, Michaels hits the flying jalapeno - and he nips up! A second flying jalapeno connects, and Michaels heads up to the top rope. A double sledge hits the mark, and Shawn gets 2! Michaels goes for the flying elbow next, and again gets 2. Shawn slips away to the outside of the ring, trips up Jarrett, and crotches him over the ringpost! He goes up to finish...but Roadie shakes the ropes, and Michaels is crotched! Jarrett spies his opportunity, hits a superplex, and calls for the figure four! Michaels packages him on the attempt for 2. Jarrett quickly snaps off a single leg atomic drop, and goes for the figure four again...only this time Michaels shoves him off into the referee. He’s down and out! That opens the floodgates to an attack from Roadie, who clips Shawn just as he was going for Sweet Chin Music! Roadie wakes up the referee, Jarrett goes up, hits the crossbody...but it’s only 2!!!! Jarrett wonders what he’s got to do to finish, and instructs Roadie to trip Michaels up. However, Michaels reverses the whip, Roadie trips Jarrett, Shawn nails Sweet Chin Music and scores the pinfall and wins the belt at 20:02!! ****
Well, that certainly was a lot of John Cena. I’m really surprised by the exclusion of The Great Squash Of 2003 against The Undertaker, as well as that year’s No Mercy match against Kurt Angle. Only two of the matches here are really worth your time, and neither of which fit the John Cena theme. Pass on this one, but better is coming...specifically a wild and TOTALLY random March theme! I’ll have it soon.
(Originally published November 14, 1995) Inside The Ropes - Fueled By Diesel Power!!! Welcome, everyone, to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED edition of Inside The Ropes, the hottest column here on America Online (keyword: bankonit).