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?
Date: June 26, 2005
Location: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman
I’m actually looking forward to this one as the card is stacked. We have HHH vs. Batista inside the Cell, John Cena facing Christian and Chris Jericho in a triple threat in his first defense as Raw World Champion and Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels II. The rest of the show might not be great but those three matches should be more than enough. Let’s get to it.
The opening video focuses on the two World Title matches with the Cell getting more attention. Normally I would mock HHH for getting the attention but it’s the right call here.
Intercontinental Title: Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito
Carlito is defending in a rematch from Monday when he won the title in the first place. Shelton takes him down in a hurry and the near fall has Carlito panicking. Lawler is right there with some actual analysis, saying that Shelton going for the pin so fast suggests he’s worried about Carlito escaping with the title. A shoulder gives Benjamin two and a knee to the ribs is good for the same.
Carlito gets in his own knockdown so Shelton nips up and knocks him outside without much trouble. The announcers are on it tonight, talking about how Shelton is looking a little shaky after the big fall on Monday. It isn’t that hard to tie stories together but it’s almost a rarity in WWE. Shelton won’t let Carlito walk away and gets two off a snap suplex. The attempted Stinger Splash misses so Shelton lands on top (egads man) and hits a top rope clothesline for two instead.
Carlito kicks him in the head to take over and some slams work on the back, which commentary had said was banged up from the crash. WHERE HAS THIS COMMENTARY BEEN ALL THESE YEARS??? Some stomping gets two but Shelton is right back up with a jumping elbow to the face.
A Samoan drop gives Shelton a delayed two and a backbreaker gets the same. The springboard bulldog gets another near fall so Shelton hammers in the corner, allowing Carlito to get a buckle pad off. The dragon whip hits Carlito’s shoulder but the Stinger Splash goes head first into the buckle to give Carlito the pin (with a handful of trunks) for the retaining pin.
Rating: C+. That’s one of the more enjoyable Carlito matches I can remember seeing as it included a nice story with the injured Shelton and Carlito going after the bad head. Shelton gets cheated out of the win (twice when you count the trunks) so now he can move up the ladder, but that might be weird in the current Raw environment.
Evolution arrives, with HHH in a gray suit and red shirt. That isn’t the best look for him but if anyone complains, he might talk to them and that’s the last thing we need.
We recap Victoria vs. Christy Hemme. Victoria wasn’t happy with Christy getting the star treatment and beat her up, including breaking a glass vase over her head. Christy has heart though and that’s all you need.
Christy Hemme vs. Victoria
Christy survives the early beatdown and sends Victoria’s head into the mat and buckle. A hot shot gets Victoria out of trouble as we hear about Christy wrestling with a concussion here. There’s your line that would never be allowed today, along with the second injury angle coming into a match.
A lot of choking ensues, plus a chinlock which is completely different. Lawler compares their attractiveness as the Widow’s Peak is countered into a rollup to give Christy two. Victoria misses the moonsault though and Christy gets all fired up, much to the fans’ annoyance. A DDT gets two but Victoria sits down on a sunset flip and grabs the ropes for the pin.
Rating: D. I feel bad for saying it was bad because Christy looks like she is really trying but it isn’t working. That’s absolutely not her fault though because there is no reason for her to wrestle on a major show this soon. Victoria did her best here but they were in a horrible situation that shouldn’t have been on pay per view.
John Cena talks about being the new kid, including making fun of Todd Grisham for having a rather embarrassing accident in high school. Cena is the new kid, Christian is the weird kid on the bus and Jericho wore leopard print spandex with a stuffed crotch to the promo. It doesn’t matter who you are though because this title is about being the best, not selling records. Cena is the kid most likely to kick somebody’s a** so the champ is here. The fire was strong here.
We recap Kane vs. Edge. Kane and Lita had one of the weirdest relationships in wrestling history but she left him for Edge, as Kane was turned into a stand-in for Matt Hardy. Kane broke up their wedding in the first stage of revenge with tonight being phase two. In other words, it’s all about vengeance.
Kane vs. Edge
Edge tries to jump him at the bell land gets hammered down in the corner for his efforts. A bunch of right hands are rained down and an uppercut makes it even worse. Kane clotheslines him to the floor but it’s time to go after Lita, which doesn’t seem to be the best idea. Edge’s save completely fails and Kane hammers away even more as the announcers do not have nice things to say about Lita.
The fans want Matt as Kane knocks Edge outside again but Lita grabs Edge’s foot so he can get in a posting. There’s a spear and baseball slide as the pace has slowed down a good bit. Back in and Edge slugs away but Kane does it a bit better, only to get caught with the Edge-O-Matic. Kane sits up, gets dropkicked back down and sits up again to start the comeback.
An uppercut knocks Edge out of the air but here’s Snitsky for the failed save attempt. Lita tries to bring in a chair before going with the romantic route, earning herself some choking. There’s no chokeslam, as Kane would rather tie the chair around her neck. Snitsky makes the real save with a big boot to give Edge two but he briefcases Snitsky by mistake. The chokeslam finishes Edge.
Rating: D+. It was pretty slow paced for the most part and then the ending was rather messy. The idea of Kane vs. Snitsky again gives me hives but this seemed to be more of a one off interference than anything else. The Lita/Edge vs. Kane stuff feels like it is coming to an end as well, as the story has been good but Kane just won the big match, so stretching it out further may not be the best idea.
We recap Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels II. Kurt beat him in a masterpiece at Wrestlemania so Shawn wants a rematch. Game on.
Shawn doesn’t know if they can match the Wrestlemania efforts, but he guarantees vengeance.
Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
Angle wrestles him to the mat to start so Shawn bails over to the ropes in a hurry. They do the same thing again and you can see that Shawn is thinking a lot in this one. This time Angle goes for the legs so Shawn bails to the ropes again. They like that kind of sequence you see. An armdrag into an armbar has Angle…well not even in trouble as he reverses into an armbar of his own.
Angle crushes the arm to send Shawn outside for a breather so Angle goes right back to the leg, again sending Shawn to the rope. Shawn rolls out of the ankle lock and hits a clothesline to put Angle on the floor for a change. Instead of waiting, Shawn follows him out and gets suplexed onto the announcers’ table for the big crash. Back in and Angle stomps away in the corner as Shawn is bleeding from the eye.
A buckle bomb really rocks Shawn for two and the chinlock goes on. Angle clotheslines him down to break up the comeback attempt and an overhead belly to belly gets two. The second chinlock lasts a bit longer as Angle grinds him down. It turns into the long form version until Shawn suplexes his way out of trouble. Shawn wins a slugout and hits the forearm to start the real comeback.
The top rope elbow connects but Sweet Chin Music is broken up without much trouble. A tornado DDT gives Shawn three straight twos but it’s time to German suplex Shawn into the Angle Slam for the big near fall. Angle rolls him into the ankle lock and the counter takes out the referee. Shawn gets backdropped to the floor and the leg gets banged up all over again.
The ankle lock goes on in the middle of the ring and Shawn starts scrambling. He finally rolls Angle into the post and scores with Sweet Chin Music for a rather delayed near fall. Coach: “I’ve never seen anybody kick out of Sweet Chin Music!” Shawn’s leg is gone so he can’t follow up, allowing Angle to go up top. That’s never a good idea against Shawn, who superkicks him out of the air for the pin.
Rating: A-. You can’t live up to their first match and to be fair, they didn’t really try to. This was a great match in its own right, but were you expecting anything else from Shawn vs. Angle in a 26 minute match? These two are always going to have something like this because they’re incredibly talented. Outstanding match, even if it wasn’t their Wrestlemania masterpiece.
Coach tries to get Batista to say he’s scared of the Cell but Batista isn’t having any of that and looks ready to eat Coach’s head. HHH comes in to say he’ll win because no one beats him in the Cell. The fight is on with referees breaking it up in a hurry.
Here’s Lilian Garcia and there’s a big couch in the ring. She brings out Viscera, in the smoking jacket of course. Lilian talks about how she has grown to see how amazing he is and even sings a song for him. With that out of the way, Lilian proposes to him and he promises to take it into consideration.
Cue the Godfather though and he’s brought some women. He can’t let that happen, because these girls have been wanting to get a piece of him. Viscera looks at the women, shouts ALL ABOARD and leaves with Godfather and company. Lilian cries a lot as Viscera dances with the women. I’ve liked the whole deal, including a solid payoff like this.
We recap Christian and Chris Jericho challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship. Christian had been calling Cena out for weeks and the match was made, but then Jericho got involved by attacking Cena, turning it into a triple threat. Cena has been fired up at a different level lately and this is the kind of match that can help put him over the top on Raw.
WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Christian vs. Chris Jericho
Cena is defending and Christian has Tomko with him. Jericho slaps Cena in the face and gets tackled to start but it’s a Canadian double teaming to put Cena down in the corner. A hard whip into the corner puts Cena down so Jericho can turn on Christian as he had been wanting to do. Tomko gets in a hard clothesline on Jericho though, leaving Cena to beat up Christian. More Tomko cheating earns him an early ejection and it’s an FU to put Christian on the floor.
Jericho is right back in with a top rope elbow to the jaw for two on Cena and there’s the running bulldog. They head outside with Cena getting beaten up in a different way, with Jericho loading up the announcers’ table for a change. A DDT onto the floor drops Jericho but Christian is back up to take his place.
The chinlock has Cena in trouble in the ring and it’s Jericho cutting off the comeback without much trouble. Christian small packages Jericho for two but Cena is back in for the powerbomb portion of a Tower of Doom. Cena gets two each, followed by some hard clotheslines each. A drop toehold sends Christian’s head into Jericho’s and there’s the double Shuffle.
Jericho gets knocked to the floor but Christian rakes the eyes to escape the FU. The Unprettier gets two so Christian goes for the title, allowing Tomko to run in for a clothesline to Cena. Jericho puts Christian on the floor and gets the Walls on Cena, with Christian making the save. Cena picks Christian up for the FU, swings his feet into Jericho, and plants Christian to retain.
Rating: B. This took some time to get going but all three were hustling at the end and made it into a solid match. Cena is clearly the guy getting the rocket push and WWE would be crazy to not go that way. He’s popular, he’s getting better in the ring and he has the fire in his eyes. That’s what you look for and Cena has every bit of it. Christian and Jericho were great at helping him along here too, which is why Cena was in there with them. Rather good match, especially in the second half.
Cena celebrates in the crowd.
The Cell is lowered.
We recap HHH vs. Batista in the Cell. Batista beat him twice at back to back pay per views, but that’s not good enough for HHH, so we get the rematch in HIS match. They’ve made it very clear that HHH has all of the advantages here, which is a good story to tell between the two of them.
World Heavyweight Championship: HHH vs. Batista
In the Cell with Batista defending. Batista goes with the power to start, including the clothesline and a side slam. They head outside with HHH blocking a ram into the Cell but not being able to do it twice in a row. HHH is fine enough to send him into the post and then knocks him off the apron into the Cell. They’re getting into the violent stuff early on here and that’s nice for a change.
It’s toolbox time and HHH busts out a chain. Some whips to the back have Batista screaming in pain but it’s time for the real fun with HHH Hanging him over the top. As you might expect, Batista gets the chain off his throat and comes right back with some whipping of his own. HHH gets sent into the Cell to bust him open, meaning it’s time to grab a barbed wire chair. A few shots have Batista in trouble but he hits a clothesline and takes the chair away, cutting HHH’s head up with it for some retaliation.
The shoulders to the ribs in the corner but Batista misses a charge to give the incredibly bloody HHH a breather. Batista gets in a backdrop and a powerslam onto the barbed wire chair gets two. The Batista Bomb is countered into a DDT onto the chair and this time it’s Batista getting busted open. HHH rakes the cut across the Cell, because that is what you do in this situation.
It’s sledgehammer time (JR: “Not the d*** sledgehammer!” King: “Yes, the d*** sledgehammer JR.”) with a shot to Batista’s head getting two. A low blow gets Batista out of trouble for a bit and he grabs the sledgehammer but gets hit in the face with the chain. HHH goes up but dives into a sledgehammer shot, making him spit blood into the air for an outstanding visual. The whip over the corner has HHH in more trouble with a running steps shot making it worse.
The steps are loaded up in the corner with Batista ramming him head first into them over and over. A big whip into the steps makes it even worse but the Batista Bomb is countered into the Pedigree for the big near fall. Another Pedigree onto the steps is countered into a spinebuster onto them instead (THUD). Batista loads up the Batista Bomb with HHH grabbing the hammer, only to be dropped for the pin before the shot to the head can connect.
Rating: A-. This was indeed great as they set everything up exactly as they should have. They made a great spectacle out of Batista being the better man between the two with HHH losing in his match. That’s the story they have told for weeks now and it’s exactly what we got. It’s a heck of a fight with all kinds of blood and gore, making it feel like the Cell is supposed to. I had a good time with it and this makes Batista into the star he should be. Now STOP GIVING HHH WORLD TITLE MATCHES FOR A LONG TIME.
Overall Rating: A-. There are some flaws in there (Edge vs. Kane, the women’s match and that longer than necessary yet still funny Lilian/Viscera deal) but the three matches the show was built around completely delivered. That makes this one of the most underrated shows you’re going to find in WWE< mainly because none of this is all that important. Cena was never losing his first title defense on a Raw PPV, Batista has proven he’s better than HHH twice already (he proved something new here but it was bonus material) and Shawn vs. Angle has been done better. It’s similar to Canadian Stampede in a way and that’s some praise.
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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