Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 6, 2005
Location: Savvis Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Attendance: 10,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for the start of the Draft and that is the kind of thing that can change a lot about the company in a hurry. The first Draft pick is going to be revealed on the Highlight Reel and that could make for some interesting interactions. Other than that we have the build towards HHH vs. Batista in the Cell and it’s also the go home show for One Night Stand. Let’s get to it.

Eric Bischoff is very, very happy with the first Draft pick. It’s the biggest Draft pick ever but here’s Coach to warn him that Paul Heyman could be here tonight. Bischoff: “Who cares?”

Opening sequence.

Here’s Chris Jericho for the Highlight Reel as we’re starting fast. Jericho hypes up the new acquisition and says they’re going to have a hard time topping his debut six years ago. We’re not wasting any more time though because here’s the first pick: WWE Champion John Cena, officially making him the next big thing in the company. Both Jericho and Cena are happy to be “hurr” (their word) but Jericho brings up both titles being on the same show.

The last time that happened, Jericho beat them both in the same night. Jericho talks about how they’re both becoming media superstars, though he is a little bit above Cena. If Cena wants to be a big music star though, he might have to alienate some wrestling fans. That won’t be happening but Cena says if anyone wants some, come get some. Cue Christian and Tyson Tomko with the Canadian saying he can’t believe what he’s seeing.

The cheers Cena is getting reminds him of the cheers of another fraud in this town: Mark McGwire. Christian: “This is my show Cena, so go take a stroll. Canada in the house, cause that’s how I roll.” Cena makes fun of him for the old Brood offense (hey now that was awesome) and says Christian was sucking something other than blood. Tomko is Christian’s life partner but Cena can beat them both at once. That means a five second pose with a one fingered You Can’t See Me and it’s Cena and Jericho cleaning house. Get the tag match ready.

Intercontinental Title: Muhammad Hassan/Daivari vs. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is defending and this is the result of a threatened lawsuit from Hassan after Batista beat up Hassan and Daivari. Only Hassan can win the title here. Hassan takes Benjamin into the corner to start but gets powered out as the USA chants begin. Daivari gets draped over the top but the distraction lets Hassan get in a cheap shot. A nasty running knee to the face puts Hassan down but Daivari’s distraction sets up the Downward Spiral to give Hassan the pin. Hang on though as the foot is on the rope and we keep going after a break.

Back with Shelton fighting out of a chinlock and hitting a tackle for a double knockdown. The Samoan drop plants Hassan again but he’s up fast enough to save Daivari from a choke. Hassan sends him shoulder first into the post and it’s off to the armbar. Daivari comes in and stomps away for two before working on the other arm for a change. The comeback doesn’t seem that hard and there’s the Stinger Splash to Daivari. Hassan is sent outside and the exploder to Daivari retains the title.

Rating: D+. They went with the false finish a bit too early and it made the rest of the match feel a little dull as they weren’t going to have Shelton get pinned twice, even if the first one didn’t count. Hassan is fine for a challenger here, but I’m not sure how much it is going to help him to stick with the “they’re all against me” stuff.

We recap the setup to HHH vs. Batista in the Cell before their contract signing tonight.

William Regal comes up to see Tajiri in the back. Tajiri denies being involved with Paul Heyman and Regal forbids him from being involved with One Night Stand. Chris Benoit comes up and Regal blames him for confusing the poor lad Tajiri. Benoit talks about ECW’s place in history but Regal says it’s sad to see how far Benoit has fallen. Benoit says ECW gave him a chance when no one else would (I find that a little hard to believe.) so Regal tells Tajiri to pick a side. Tajiri: “ECW! ECW! ECW!”

Bischoff and Coach aren’t worried about ECW but here are Hassan and Daivari to complain about the INJUSTICE in the match. Bischoff says there will be a one man committee here next week to address Hassan’s issues in the ring: Steve Austin.

Chris Masters vs. Val Venis

Masters is already getting caught by the same problem that Hassan had at first: these feuds against low level opponents aren’t going to draw any interest and they come off as a waste of time more than anything else. Venis jumps him during his entrance and slugs away, including sending Masters into the buckle to start.

A half nelson slam gets two and they head to the floor, only to have Masters get in a pretty low kick to slow Venis down. Venis is fine enough for a rather delayed one off a fisherman’s suplex. The Blue Thunder Bomb and spinebuster get two each but Masters shoves him out of the corner in a big crash. The Masterlock goes on and after a quick fight, Venis is done.

Rating: D+. Venis was trying here (as he almost always was) but it’s 2005 and you’re only going to get so much interest out of a Val Venis match. It also doesn’t make Masters look very good to have to struggle against Venis, who beat him up for most of the match before getting caught at the end. That being said, the idea of Masters being in a big time match at the moment sounds rather disturbing.

Ric Flair gives HHH a pep talk before the contract signing. He needs encouragement for that?

It’s time for the contract signing with Bischoff running the show and the ring full of security. Before we get to that though, Bischoff dares Paul Heyman to show up here because ECW was a failure. Why was it a failure? It’s because it didn’t have something like the Cell or a star like HHH. After HHH comes out, Bischoff has a big announcement: should either HHH or Batista be drafted to Smackdown, the match still takes place. HHH doesn’t care about the Draft because no one is better than him on either show.

We get a highlight package of HHH inside the Cell, which I’m sure he just had laying around. With that out of the way and some more threats from HHH, here’s Batista to say HHH is done talking. He isn’t afraid of HHH or the Cell so HHH needs to be ready to pay for his sins. They both sign and HHH says that was Batista signing his own death warrant. Batista: “Good!” They’ll have to kill each other to win and it’s a tense face to face with more threats to wrap it up.

We look back at Cena’s debut.

Victoria/Heart Throbs vs. Hurricane/Rosey/Christy Hemme

Fallout from Victoria snapping on Christy last week and Stacy is out with Hurricane and company. Hurricane and Thomas start things off and it’s a suplex to give Hurricane an early two. Roselli comes in for a double Russian legsweep and a double suplex lets Roselli thrust the hips. For some reason that’s enough for a tag to Victoria so Christy has to come in as well. Hurricane kicks Victoria away and makes the tag anyway because they don’t know the rules all too well. The catfight is on and everything breaks down and it’s a DQ with Christy choking Victoria too much.

Rating: D. Yeah this was nothing, though Christy can certainly snap when she needs to. The problem is that she isn’t a wrestler and can’t do anything beyond the catfighting, which is understandable given how she got here. She is intense though and seems to be trying and I’ll take that over someone just showing up and looking desperate for their contract to expire.

Cena is in Bischoff’s office but won’t shake the boss’ hand. Bischoff gets straight to the point: next week it’s Cena/Jericho vs. Tomko/Christian. We get more gay jokes before Cena is offered a spot on the anti-ECW team. That isn’t Cena’s deal so Bischoff offers to have his back. Cena doesn’t play politics so Bischoff issues threats, meaning we hear about Raw vs. Nitro again (fair enough here as it’s just over four years ago). If Bischoff wants a friend, see one of the other Draft picks because you won’t see him.

Smackdown Rebound.

We look at Edge and Lita flushing Lita’s wedding ring last week.

Kane comes out for a match but here’s a smiling Edge instead. Edge has good news and bad news: Kane won’t be facing him tonight but he will be facing him at Vengeance. As for tonight, Edge has a better idea. Cue Lita, wearing what can only somewhat be described as a top. Lita is excited about going to Vengeance in Las Vegas and once Edge beats Kane, they’ll go get married at one of those all night wedding chapels. Kissing ensues and Kane is annoyed.

Sidenote: Kane would beat Simon Dean in a quick match during the break.

Sabu will be at One Night Stand.

Chris Benoit vs. Gene Snitsky

ECW Rules and Coach is on commentary. Benoit wastes no time in grabbing a trashcan lid to hammer Snitsky down and lets get some trashcans as well. Snitsky gets in a few shots of his own but has to trash can lid his way out of a Crossface attempt. The trashcans are wedged into the corner and a hard whip sends Benoit back first into both of them.

Snitsky stays on the back but misses a big boot to crotch himself on the top. It’s table time and the fans are rather pleased all over again. Some rolling German suplexes rock Snitsky again and it’s time to put him on the table. The Swan Dive is broken up though and a shot to the head puts Benoit outside. Cue the Dudleys (with Bubba in the old school glasses) for the first time in a long time for a 3D through the table and the no contest.

Rating: C-. This was better than I was expecting, which is both surprising due to it being Snitsky but not surprising due to it being Benoit. Snitsky worked the back for a few minutes until the storyline ending and that is better than what you get with almost any Snitsky match.

Post match the Dudleys run off through the crowd.

Post break Coach sends the cops to arrest the Dudleys in the back. Paul Heyman shows up and gets arrested too, despite being invited to the show. Heyman pesters Coach into saying he doesn’t want to drop the charges so the cuffs come off. After Heyman talks the Dudleys out of fighting the cops, a challenge is made for the Dudleys to come to the ring.

Here are Bischoff, Edge, Christian and Tomko to the ring in a hurry. Bischoff laughs off the idea of the Dudley Boyz being Heyman’s big weapon because they’re just overrated. He and his buddies are ready to take the Dudleys out tonight so Bischoff doesn’t even have to show up at One Night Stand. We hear about some Smackdown crusaders who are joining Bischoff and company to end ECW once and for all.

Bischoff calls Heyman out so here they are coming from the crowd. Heyman rants about Bischoff having all of the resources but it never connected with the audience like ECW did. ECW never backed down to anyone so the Dudleys get in the ring. Bischoff waves the lower card reinforcements down to the ring so Heyman points to the crowd and the ECW theme starts. Cue a bunch of ECW guys (Tommy Dreamer, Rhino, the Hardcore Chair Swinging Freaks and Sandman) with Heyman sending the dogs after the Raw guys. ECW cleans house, including destroying Maven, to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. There are a lot of ways to look at this show and it made it kind of a confusing watch. First of all, the Raw stuff going on isn’t all that good with Batista vs. HHH feeling like a match that we just have to get through so HHH can take a break when he decides to take a break. It’s annoying, but Raw has been “his” show for so long that I guess he needs it, or at least was able to convince someone that he does. I’m sure the match will be fine, but when we’ve seen it twice in two months, it’s a bit tiresome.

Then there is Cena coming over, which feels big now but is almost destined to be a game changer. Cena has jumped way up the ladder since Wrestlemania with that I Quit match being his big coming out party moment. WWE needs some fresh faces on the show and Cena is more versatile than Batista. Cena isn’t at Batista’s level of star power yet (though the gap has shrunk in a hurry) but the potential is there and he has a much bigger upside, meaning he belongs on Raw.

Finally there’s the ECW stuff and that feels fun. That’s the biggest thing that I get every time that the show is mentioned. I want to see how the thing goes and that’s because they have made it feel like a cool moment. Above all else it feels like a celebration of ECW rather than a blatant cash grab. I mean, it is a cash grab but don’t be so obvious about it. Anyway, the bad slightly outweighs the good, but brighter days are ahead.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.

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