Opening package highlights the fact the superstars have no control over their fate, but rather the whims of someone they don’t even know. You make the choice in the “ultimate of fan decisions”.
Apparently we, the fans, have opted to LIGHT THE PYRO, because we’ve chosen to be LIVE from Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Our hosts are JERRY LAWLER and JIM ROSS, and I can assure you that I did not choose them. HUGO SAVINOVICH and CARLOS CABRERA man the Spanish announce table, while THE COACH will MC from the stage.
THE DIVAS wander out on to the stage. The Coach lets us know that as part of the battle royal tonight, they will be forced to wear special attire, and here’s how the voting went:
Nurses: 17% French Maids: 30% Schoolgirls: 53%
The faces look excited, while the heels look annoyed.
We’re not done though, because we’re going to get a look at the voting for the IC title match, which will be opening the show. CHRIS JERICHO wanders out to the ring, in the middle of his 148th Intercontinental title reign - and we take a look at our choices. THE BATISTA, SHELTON BENJAMIN, THE CHRISTIAN, THE HURRICANE, RODNEY MACK, THE MAVEN, CHUCK PALUMBO, WILLIAM REGAL, STEVIE RICHARDS, THE RHYNO, THE ROSEY, TAJIRI, TYSON TOMKO, and THE COACH. And here’s how our voting went:
Batista: 20% Shelton Benjamin: 37% Jonathan Coachman: 7% Others: 36%
My votes for Chuck Palumbo went ignored. For shame.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN (for the WWE intercontinental title)
They lockup, and Jericho gets a hiptoss. Shelton comes back with 2 hiptosses of his own, and works an armbar. Jericho escapes and chops away. Jericho chops Shelton out in the ropes, but winds up being backdropped to the floor seconds later. Benjamin hits a baseball slide dropkick, rolls Jericho in, and gets a 2 count. Rear chinlock is applied, released, and Jericho is powered back to the corner. Benjamin chops away, but Jericho comes out of the corner with a running enzuigiri and gets 2! A backdrop suplex gets 2.A standing vertical suplex is followed by the arrogant “COME ON BAYBAY” cover for 2, since Jericho’s working heel tonight. Jericho kicks at the back of Benjamin, then hits a backbreaker and continues to hold for a submission. It’s released, and Shelton hits a beautiful sunset flip for 2! Jericho comes right back with a clothesline for 2. Sign in crowd: “Shut up George”. Jericho heads up, but Shelton catches him, and hits a superplex!!! Both guys stand at 8. Shelton hits a running lariat, follows with a backdrop, and then gets in a spinning heel kick for 2! Jericho recovers enough to hit a running bulldog, but misses the Lionsault. Benjamin goes to the top, hits a flying clothesline, and gets 2! Jericho is whipped to the corner, Stinger splash MISSES, and Jericho goes for the Walls! Shelton fights, and packages Jericho for 2! Jericho comes back with the Lionsault, hitting it this time, and gets 2! Jericho, frustrated, makes a series of covers, all for 2. In the corner, Jericho gets to chopping, but then walks into the Exploder, and Benjamin scores the pinfall and wins the IC title at 10:57!! *** Benjamin’s held onto the belt ever since, albeit with virtually no competition. Jericho passes the torch to Benjamin and shakes his hand.
EDGE, CHRIS BENOIT, and SHAWN MICHAELS stand around in the back with TODD GRISHAM. Edge says since he won the Triple Threat match last night on RAW, he’s earned the title shot against Triple H. Benoit reminds us he hasn’t lost to Triple H since he’s come back to RAW, and if the fans are sick of Evolution they’ll vote for him. Michaels meanwhile says that while he’s injured, he’s not looking for sympathy votes. If he gets one last shot at the World Title, he’ll leave everything in the ring against Hunter. I’m voting for Gene Snitsky!!!
Well, THE COACH has our results!
Chris Benoit: 28% Edge: 33% Shawn Michaels: 39%
Ouch! Nasty snub for Benoit! By default, Benoit and Edge get the tag-team title shot. Benoit congratulates Michaels while Edge storms off.
TRISH STRATUS vs. JAZZ vs. NIDIA vs. GAIL KIM vs. MOLLY HOLLY vs. VICTORIA vs. STACY KEIBLER (for the WWE women’s title in a battle royal)
Lawler sprays gobs of his man mayo all over the first 6 rows of fans several times during entrances alone. Jazz rips off Nidia’s shirt and sends her through the bottom rope at 0:40. Those were some SERIOUS massive mammaries that Nidia was sporting right before her release. Apparently women are eliminated through any ropes, and not just the top. Victoria gives Jazz a backdrop suplex, and an accidental baseball slide dropkick (to avoid a clothesline from Molly) knocks Jazz out at 1:00! Trish is being smart, and staying out of the whole mess. Gail tries to give Victoria a rana to the outside, but Victoria hooks the ropes and Gail crashes out at 1:24. They pair off based on hair color, with the heels winning both exchanges. Molly hits a handspring elbow on Victoria, and then goes to try to dump Stacy. Victoria saves Stacy from a double suplex from the heels. Molly and Trish stomp away on Victoria and catapult her out at 3:37! Trish and Molly work over Stacy’s legs in the corner. Molly gives her a snap suplex, and Trish chokes her out with the neck tie. They try to hold her hostage, but Stacy escapes and uses her legs to knock them down. Stacy tries to dump Trish, but she hangs on. Molly then knocks Stacy out at 5:30. Trish then easily sends Molly packing at 5:37 to retain. DUD
LA RESISTANCE hang out with TODD GRISHAM. Conway says that it’s not fair they have to face Edge and Benoit. Grisham reminds them they beat those two in Montreal, but they said that was their hometown, and they can’t do it now. They agree to wrestle, but under protest.
We get the awesome build up to Kane vs. Snitsky (no, that’s not sarcasm) - and THE COACH brings us the results of the weapon we’ll see used in their match.
Steel chair: 30% Lead pipe: 29% Chain: 41%
GENE SNITSKY vs. KANE (with Lita) (in a chain match)
The chain is dropped between the two guys. Kane smiles and tells Snitsky to “go for it”. Snitsky does that, but Kane stops him from hitting him with it, pounds on Snitsky, and throws the chain out of the ring. Snitsky follows the chain, but Kane gets it first. Kane takes a swing at Snitsky but misses, and Gene rolls him in. Snitsky grabs the chain and heads in, but Kane punches him in the head and uses the chain for a clothesline. Kane sets up the chain on the turnbuckle and slams Snitsky’s face into it before using it as a boxing glove at giving him a KO punch. Snitsky crumbles to the floor, and Kane follows him. Kane gets ready for another shot, but Snitsky pulls the chain into the ringpost and Kane cracks his head on it. Back in, Snitsky uses the chain to hit a clothesline, and starts whipping Kane gingerly. He chokes Kane out with the chain. Snitsky drives his knee into Kane’s midsection and stomps away at the big man. Kane comes back with a corner clothesline, but takes a big boot to the face and powerslam. Snitsky drops two elbows for 2. Kane and Snitsky get into a slugfest, and Snitsky wins that with a clothesline for 2. He grabs the chain once again, and whips Kane “LIKE A GOVERNMENT MULE,” screams JR! Lita helpfully tries to root on Kane while Snitsky uses the chain to choke Kane out. Kane gets back up to his feet, and punches Snitsky until he drops the chain. Gene needs no weapons, because he’s got the SIDE SLAM, which gives him 2. Kane does a zombie situp and pounds on Gene. They do a double big boot spot, and both guys are down and out. Snitsky recovers first, but Kane does his zombie situp a second time. Snitsky goes for the chain, but Lita pulls it out of the ring. Kane goes for the chokeslam, and Gene fights for his life. Kane settles on dumping Snitsky to the outside, and gets the chain from his wife. Kane starts after Snitsky, but Gene kicks the ringsteps as he walks by them, causing the stairs to jab Kane in the legs. Snitsky grabs a chair at ringside and jabs it into Kane’s throat 3 times in a row. Snitsky grabs the chain once again, and wraps it around Kane’s neck. Snitsky then chokes Kane out with the edge of the chair, and then Pilmanizes him in the EXACT same fashion Kane did to Shawn Michaels! Kane starts coughing up blood, and the referee calls for help from the back. Snitsky doesn’t want the match started, and makes it official by pinning Kane at 14:18. *1/4 PARAMEDICS (with stretcher) hit the ring to save Kane. JR announces that Kane has a collapsed trachea, and then announces he’s not in fact a doctor. Perhaps he plays one on TV. Or stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Lita emotes Concern, and Kane is wheeled off on a gurney. And just for kicks, Snitsky returns to shove Kane off the gurney, and JR declares him a no good son of a bitch!
Next week: Snitsky turns face by raping a prominent female wrestler, impregnating her, and forcing her to get married.
TODD GRISHAM has found a very angry EDGE. He’s furious that a broken down has been was selected, instead of a hungry young lion. “No disrespect to the tag-team championships, I’ve had them 10 times!!!” We then get a very sarcastic thank you.
THE COACH introduces the stipulations from which we’re allowed to choose for Bischoff vs. Eugene - but rather than tell us what was selected, he figures we’ll save that until after the match.
ERIC BISCHOFF vs. EUGENE
Bischoff attacks while Eugene’s waving at the crowd. He slams Eugene head first to the buckle, but that just prompts Eugene to hulk up. Bischoff starts screaming that his knee went out, causing Eugene to approach with caution...but it was a ploy, and Eugene is kicked in the head. Eugene flips and gives Eric the airplane spin. Bischoff takes a big boot, and Eugene follows with a legdrop for the pinfall at 2:14. 1/4* Eugene slaps on the black belt of Bischoff’s as a headband. And Coach brings us the stip:
Wear a dress: 21% Be winner’s servant: 20% Shave head: 59%
Coach wanders down to the ring, and asks if they REALLY want to see Eric get his head shaved? He tries REALLY hard to get the crowd to change their opinion on the matter, and when they don’t, Coach decides that Bischoff will be Eugene’s servant...for 5 minutes. VINCE MCMAHON has apparently heard enough, and power walks to the ring. He does not blow out his knee. Vince says that they have no authority to change the stipulations. Bischoff refuses to play along, so Vince tells him if he walks he’s fired. Eric reluctantly agrees. While Eugene plays the role of David Flair, and shaves Bischoff revealing some gray roots, Vince orders Coach to put the dress on as punishment for aiding Bischoff. “Don’t be a slut, button it up!!!!” Vince then makes fun of Eric for dying his hair (YOU’RE KIDDING!!!!) and orders Coach back to the MC station. What a waste.
EDGE busts into SHAWN MICHAELS’ locker room. He tells Shawn he doesn’t stand a shot in hell of beating Hunter, and is furious that he stole his shot. “You selfish son of a bitch!!!”
LA RESISTANCE V3.0 vs. CHRIS BENOIT and EDGE (for the world tag-team titles)
Grenier actually makes it through the entire French version of the Canadian national anthem uninterrupted. That’s impressive! Edge starts with Conway, and pounds on him. Conway spins him around and fires back, but Edge winds up simply clotheslining him down. Benoit tags in and chops away. A snap suplex gets 2. Edge heads back in, but Conway takes over with a series of holds. Grenier enters, and stomps on Edge. He hits a vertical suplex, but misses an elbow - allowing Edge to clothesline him. Edge hits a vertical suplex, heads up, but opts instead to head back down and yell at a fan. Benoit tries to keep Edge on track, and he heads back in. Benoit gives Grenier a backdrop suplex for 2. A backbreaker gets 2. They blow a flapjack, so Benoit goes back to moves his opponent can’t fuck up, and chops away. Edge comes back in and takes a back elbow courtesy of Grenier. Conway tags in and gets 2. Edge fires back with a flying jalapeno and then spears Conway off the apron into the security wall. Edge follows outside, but Grenier blindsides him. Benoit gets involved and slugs it out with Sylvain. Everyone heads back in, and Grenier drops an elbow, followed by a knee, and gets 2. We move to a headlock. That lasts for nearly 90 seconds before Edge escapes, but he quickly gets flapjacked for 2. A double team suplex gets 2. Grenier starts waving around the Quebec flag to heat while Conway chokes Edge out in the ropes. Edge hits Grenier with a clothesline, but the crowd is dead and don’t respond in particularly hot fashion to the hot tag to Benoit. Doesn’t help that Grenier throws Benoit into the buckle sternum first and clotheslines him from behind right away. An elbow drop gets 2. La Resistance double team Benoit in the corner, basically choking him a lot. Benoit tries an enzuigiri, but misses. However, Conway then misses an elbowdrop, and Benoit hits a German! Benoit tags out, but the referee misses it and tells Edge to get back to the apron. Edge basically says “fuck it” to his bad night at this point and walks off to the back. Meanwhile, Benoit is being choked out by Grenier. A vertical suplex from Grenier leads to a chinlock. The camera continues to follow Edge through the back, and he jumps into his car and drives off. Benoit catches Grenier up top, and superplexes him back into the ring. Conway comes in, and they go for Au Revoir, but Benoit starts giving out Germans to anyone that moves. Grenier is sent outside, and Conway is then caught in the Crossface!!!! He’s got nowhere to go, and taps out at 16:15! *3/4 The match sucked, but the last 30 seconds was a pretty hot sequence. Benoit wins the tag-team titles all by himself, and the announcers wonder how Edge is going to respond to this.
TRIPLE H meets up with TODD GRISHAM. Hunter says he doesn’t need any strategy tonight, since the whole show is a bunch of crap. He adds he doesn’t believe for a second that Shawn’s injured, since he has a history of faking injuries. Triple H adds that if Michaels doesn’t have a broken leg now, it will be by night’s end.
Moving right along, CARMELLA and CHRISTY, who won the 250,000 diva $10 search or something, are introduced. Some sick person decided they’d have a match, and even allows us to vote on it without giving us the option of “No Match At All”. Here’s the results.
Luckily for us, we’ve got “see through” cubicles so they can change - and we watch shadows take things on and off. Carmella is completely not playing ball here though, standing FAR away from the appropriate area and we see nothing. Christy on the other hand plays up her nekkidness, but takes FOREVER to change.
CARMELLA vs. CHRISTY (in a lingerie pillow fight)
The battle of the Cum Guzzling Gutter Slut vs. The Girl That Needs To Learn How To Lick A Pie. Ahhh, memories. I wonder if THAT segment was included on the “Diva Search” Fantatics Series special. Christy reaches deep inside Carmella’s bra, and comes up with an enhancement. That’s given to a “lucky” fan in the crowd. The girls then start waving pillows around, and feathers fly. We then get our typical “roll around” portion that’s become typical in Females Who Can’t Wrestle matches, generally NOT featuring Trish Stratus thank god. Somewhere in here, Christy gets a pinfall at 1:50. -* That was Flair/Steamboat compared to Tomko/Richards the month before though.
TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS (for the world heavyweight title)
Here they go again... Michaels hobbles his whole way to the ring, completely overselling what is a very real injury, because it’s what he does, and does well! JR admits his bias, saying he voted for Michaels here. They slug it out to start, and Michaels wins, knocking Triple H to his ass. He gives Hunter a second flurry, and this time Triple H takes a powder. Back in, Michaels tries to kick Triple H, but it’s not happening, and Hunter pounds on the leg. Triple H stomps away at the knee. Michaels tries to get another flurry off, but all Triple H has to do is throw one kick at the leg and he’s back down. Triple H continues to work over the leg. Michaels gets back to his feet and tries to chop at the champion, but another kick sends him down again. Hunter drops a a pair elbows on the knee of Shawn, and Michaels nearly bursts into tears. Triple H drops a knee across Michaels’ leg, and follows by barring it. More elbow drops to the knee, and we move to the figure four! The referee wants to end it, but Michaels begs the ref not to throw this one out. Triple H starts piefacing Shawn and telling the referee to end it now. Michaels hangs on though, and makes the ropes! Triple H gets into the referee’s face, demanding to know why he didn’t ring the bell. The referee shrugs him off, so Triple H turns his rage back to the leg and goes to whip it around the ringpost. Michaels though uses all his strength, and pulls Hunter face first back into the post!!! Triple H gets back into the ring, but Michaels is up and throwing chops. Triple H kicks gently at the leg, sending Michaels back down, but when he goes for another figure four, Michaels shoves him off and Triple H goes face first to the buckle! Michaels gives Hunter a trifecta of fairly weak inverted atomic drops, and then clotheslines him. Shawn pulls himself up using the ropes, and throws a series of chops at Triple H. A right hand takes both down, but Michaels drapes an arm and gets 2. Triple H kicks at the leg, and goes for the Pedigree. The referee gets in the way a bit, so Hunter shoves him aside, and they miss the lowblow that follows from Michaels!!! Shawn follows with a DDT, and crawls to the ropes. Up he goes! He drops an elbow across the chest of Triple H and wills himself to stand up. JR: “IT COULD BE DEVINE INTERVENTION!!!!” Good lord. Michaels warms up the band, but BATISTA hits the ring. Michaels knocks him away. Triple H charges...right into Sweet Chin Music!!!! However, EDGE has returned from his drive around the neighborhood, and is in the ring! He spears Michaels, and screams “IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!” Triple H drapes an arm over Michaels, and scores the pin at 14:07. *** This was relatively decent, despite the fact Michaels was pretty much unable to stand throughout the entire thing. I suppose I can’t be surprised though, considering the participants. I think there’s a rule that says anything with these two under 25 minutes is going to be good, and anything over 35 is bound to be god-awful. Shawn is helped to the back by a group of referees.
ERIC BISCHOFF wanders around the back, and bumps into A BUNCH OF EMPLOYEES. He thinks they’re all laughing at him, and threatens to fire the whole bunch of them.
After a near 20-minute break featuring a recap of the show thus far, we turn things back to THE COACH, who lets us in on the voting of what kid of match we’re going to see in the main event between Ric Flair and Randy Orton.
Coach declares this “absolutely unanimous”, apparently having never looked up the word in the dictionary. Of course, Bush believes his recent victory was a blowout, so maybe this is an American way of thinking...
RIC FLAIR vs. RANDY ORTON (in a steel cage match)
I’m thinking this may be Flair’s last hurrah. Flair chops away at Orton off the get go, but Orton comes back with a backdrop. Flair tries to climb to safety, but Orton follows right next to him and tells Ric no. Flair pokes him in the eyes and dumps Randy back in. To the corner, Ric chops away, and follows with a legal low blow! Flair tosses young Orton face first into the face, and that busts him open! Flair hammers away, and sends Randy back into the cage javelin style! We get a face rake, and is followed with a kneedrop. Flair shows off Orton’s blood on his fist, and even licks it. UGH! Flair starts chopping again, but Randy starts no-selling. He tries to fight back into the match, and sends Flair into the cage. Orton pounds away, and now Flair’s busted open! Flair tries to escape, but Orton grabs a hold and we get a full moon! Ric is send head first over and over and over into the steel beam, and he collapse, crotching himself back in, bare ass still staring at the world, and falls to the mat. The referee helpfully pulls up Ric’s shorts. Orton grabs Flair and starts a 10-punch count-a-long, but Flair stops THAT with a lowblow. Orton falls, but gets right back up and pounds at Ric on the mat. Orton brings the cheesegrater action next, and then dropkicks Flair into the cage. Flair tries to climb out again, but Randy’s right there and tosses Flair back to the middle. Orton heads to the top turnbuckle, and hits an awkward crossbody for 2. An inverted backbreaker gets 2. Flair fights back with chops, and crawls towards the door. Orton grabs him by the feet, and pulls Naitch back to the middle. Flair reaches into his tights and whips out a pair of brass knucks. A shot levels Orton, but it only gets 2! Flair decides to head for the door again, but Randy stops him short a second time. “AHHHHH! AHHH, MY LEG GOD DAMMIT!” Flair reaches, and grabs a chair that was sitting near the door, and allows Orton to pull him in. A big swing...but he misses, and Orton hits the RKO for the pin at 11:36! ***1/2 Worlds of fun, though I wish Flair had gone over. Orton’s a bloody mess, but gets his arm raised as the victor. Flair and Orton square off after the match, and Ric offers his hand. They shake, and then Randy adds a hug. Flair doesn’t appear to care for that, but humors Orton. And the show quickly goes off the air...
Decent enough show, and the main event rocked my world. This appeared to be the start of the Orton push into the stratosphere, but since then cooler heads have prevailed and it looks like we’ve survived the threat for a few months at least.
Coming soon: Survivor Series 2004, Mind Games, ROH Weekend Of Thunder Part One, and the January WWE Jukebox.
Welcome, everyone, to the latest edition of Inside The Ropes, where we take all the time in the world to explain you the real goings-on in the madcap, mixed-up and mostly misleading world of professional wrestling. …except for this week.