Hello, my intended...
Long story short, I was mired in the mediation of certain familial disputes, and as such have just sat down to hash out the pre-article at about 8:00pm. While I'm admittedly a fairly prolific touch typist, there's only so much I can hash out with dinner in the microwave...
Well, technically, it was leftover chicken and stuffing from last night's repast, but hash has a better ring than that, right? Right.
Strange doings at the WWe, indeed. HHH puts over some of the Smackdown talent he's spent much of the past year or so looking down his beak with disdain upon, and Barbwire Mike thinks the well documented Glass Ceiling has suddenly become an angle; much as Vince's actions at Montreal became the 'Mr.McMahon' angle/character. Hell, it could happen. Just because you smoke the bones doesn't mean you can't possibly be right once in a while, I say.
I just don't think he is. HHH could very well be facing down the barrel of his own 'hard-won' victories much as Mark Anthony reportedly wept when there was no more world to conquer. I just don't think he's there yet. As I stated last week, the pickings are getting slimmer by the day for 'worthy' adversaries HHH can put himself over. Therefore, new 'worthy' adversaries must be cultivated - much as wheat is farmed before harvested - for HHH's glory to continue. This was my assessment of the situation at hand, and remains so based on the evidence I laid out <a href="http://www.theringpost.com/cgi-bin/viewcol.cgi?category=2&id=1080619989">last week</a>. I expect the 'angle' to continue with HHH losing a few more 'flukes', since - as he's said many times - "You think winning ONE TIME makes you the best? You're WRONG."
Okay, Ross is calling Benjamin's win 'the upset of a lifetime' in the ten-minutes left of Star Trek blurb, which tells me they're gonna go with the 'fluke win' thing and maybe let Benji pin him again to 'cement' him as a legitimate contender. This is within HHH's documented modus operandi, as he usually lets the 'boys' win one or two before the payoff/blowoff at the PPV, where they are trounced easily.
In short, it's not an angle. It's business as usual.
Sorry. Someone had to tell ya - and it was ME.
Tonight's Raw comes at us from Houston, Texas. Standard Raw Intro, and the picture of Uncle Eric's smarmy mug is booed. We're showed pertinent clips from the aforementioned 'upset of a lifetime' to usher in the show. Yay. "All About the Benjamins," quipped JR about it after the fact.
Yeah, sure it is.
A Diva Battle Royal for the #1 Contendership to the Women's Championship is gonna be on the card... Sigh. Didn't they do this a couple weeks ago?
Goody, Levesque is coming to the ring for some more kvetching... He immediately begins smugly remarking about how it's an 'amazing story about the young punk kid from Smackdown', and in his first match 'gets the lucky break of a lifetime' wherein he got in the ring with 'the greatest professional wrestler alive today' and does the 'impossible' and wins. He calls it a fluke, and that it couldn't happen again in a million years. And something else that couldn't happen in that million years is Benoit walking out of Backlash with that strap. The crowd reminds him 'He Tapped Out', when he speaks about the rematch of all time - and calls it the Final Encounter. He falls back to the boilerplate vis-a-vis with the 'target' on his back and how he doesn't even need to be the one beaten in that match to lose the title. HHH says the odds against him winning that match at WM were huge, his odds winning against HHH twice are bigger, his odds winning against A Legend like him and an Icon like Michaels is astronomical once, and impossible twice, so forget it...
Benjamin comes out with a huge smile. And a microphone. He wants to introduce himself. He's 'that young punk kid from Smackdown', the 'All-American from Minnesota', and the guy that beat him last week '1-2-3'. He takes exception to the whole 'fluke' thing, and says 'Maybe it was...' But he can't live with it on his conscience, so he's gonna challenge HHH to a rematch in Houston.
HHH says the kid's getting way ahead of himself to think one lucky win means he can come to stand in the same ring as the Game and challenge him, but since he's such a pal he'll do Benjamin a favor - and not give him the rematch. Shelton could build an entire career on the fact that he beat the Game, but the fact is Nobody beats the Game, so he should quit while he's ahead.
Benji explains that he basically understands where HHH is coming from, since it would be CATASTROPHIC if the Game lost TWICE to some young punk kid. HHH agrees to the match, after all, and says the kid just wrote a check his ass can't cash. Benji tells him he's not bothered HHH can't seem to remember his name, but after HHH loses he can call him 'Mr. Benjamin'. Good job, Benjamin. I never thought he had this much promo in him. Must be from hanging around Angle...
A long stretch of jawing, but they worked well off each other all things considered. I just HATE being right sometimes...
We have some highlights of WWe in Mexico. Shelton's in the clips as is Victoria, which may mean pushes...
But first, Benoit comes out to the ring. Since when does the fucking World CHAMPION jerk the fucking curtain? Right, since said Champion is not HHH. Pay attention. He'll be facing Rob Conway - escorted by Sylvan Grenier. Okay, it's a non-title match, but even so, folks... Even so. You HAVE to see I'm right by now. Ray CHARLES could see it.
Oh, Jonny 'Nitro' is coming out in a sling to be the ref again... He gets a mic and introduces himself as the Special Guest Referee - but if Benoit so much as lays a finger on him, Bischoff will strip Benoit's title. Benoit shrugs. They ring the bell, and Benoit pushes Conway into the corner for a chop. Nitro warns him. Benoit puts Conway in a headlock, then hits him with a shoulderblock off the Irish Whip counter. Conway is pinned, but Nitro doesn't count. Conway gets up and hits a Hangman's Neckbreaker, which gets two. Conway applies a back to back neckvise on Benoit, which is an obvious choke, though it's ignored by Nitro. Benoit gets himself together and hits the German Suplex. He follows to a waistlock and Conway elbows free. Benoit tries for a SnapSuplex, but Rob gets the bottom rope. Nitro calls for a break, and Benoit shifts to Snap Suplex Conway into Nitro. Nitro spills out of the ring. Grenier enters the ring for some doubleteaming - including a NICE two-man Neckbreaker Slam, and then exits to call down a 'spare' referee, He comes out and counts two, but Benoit kicks out. Conway tries something else, but gets put in the Crossface. He taps.
We cut to Bischoff and STEVE REGAL. Regal says he's happy to be back, and reminds us that he kissed McMahon's ass. Bischoff says Regal's back - but he wants him as a Manager for his nephew: Eugene Dinsmore. Regal takes the offer, and says he appreciates it as he shakes Eric's hand. Bischoff recoils as Regal leaves, which I guess should infer Steve's gotten SUPER slimy in his hiatus. Well, I guess you could do worse than Regal for a manager, but I'm sure it disappoints Mike - who at last communicae thought Regal was 'legit'. Attaboy, Mike. Light 'em up.
Y2J is coming out now, after highlights from last week's use of last year's Jokebook play. Jericho basks in the kudos of the crowd as Ross and Lawler shill the sponsors. He'll be facing... Matt Hardy - who has broken his nose three times and never orders in restaurants... Again? Sigh. Christian and Trish bring a comfy chair out to watch the action, and Hardy jumps on the opportunity presented by the distraction with some brawlies and a bulldog. Gets two. Hardy with a Front Avalanche Slam, then an Elbow Drop. Gets two. Hardy with a Snapmare to a Surfboard... Jericho powers out and lands a kneelift, so they go to the brawlies a bit before Jericho takes a flying leap upside Hardy's head. He follows up with a flying forearm and tries to go to the Lionsault. Hardy gets the legs up. Hardy tries to mount some offense, but is droptoed to the bottom rope, then Bossman Rope Straddled, then Running Enzuigiri'd, then put in the Walls. Hardy taps. Christian kisses all up on Trish to get in 'the last word'...
Commercials. Hmm... That Fight Night 2004 looks like it might be fun. Too bad I've got a boycott on Electronics Arts games, huh? Nothing major, just until they put X-Box Live support on their X-Box games...
Right. Forever. Exactly.
Oh, the Benjamin and HHH match? Nobody allowed at ringside. Think it'll matter?
Ah, but first some words from Foley. In a rocking chair. With a daisy. And a Box. He says he feels it's true 'You never forget your First'. He's speaking about his Flannel Shirt, and pulled out this treasure that was thought lost soonafter he had it. He explains how he 'became' hardcore for the fans. He explains that he did what he had to do to pay the bills, and how he SWORE he would never go back to the brutality of his barbaric days in Japan to return to the Foley of old... He accepts that deep down there was some part of him that enjoyed all the horror he inflicted. The fans are jeering him, as I hear many catcalls of 'Shut Up' and 'Be quiet' behind the tape feed. Attaboy, way to piss away your legacy. I do remember that I fucking ASKED you not to do this. Why you no LISTEN? WHYWHYWHYWHY!?
He opens the box, and it's his old friend 'Barbie' the Barbwire Bat. He explains what he's gonna do with Barbie and Randy at Backlash, by laying the smackdown on the surrounding set.
We cut to Orton watching on the monitor in the back, and he looks to be JUST getting what's in store for him. HHH comes out and huffs and puffs, so Flair tries to embolden Orton by explaining how Foley's past it and can't do anything. He further instructs that Randy that he should be more like HHH. Yeah, cheer up, Randy. HHH is gonna lose to a ni- kid. Good times.
Flair's in the ring with Garcia after getting his music, and he explains that he will be the special guest ring announcer this match. That's because Bischoff said anybody out there without any business to be would be fired. Flair also introduces the Special Timekeeper: Batista. Timekeeper? Have they EVER had a match go to time limit? Oh, and the official Trainer will be Randy Orton, just to be fair... Orton comes out with a water bottle, a stool, and a bucket. That Glass Ceiling Angle look good so far, folks?
Flair says HHH is 265 lbs. Interesting. We're about the same weight... HHH gets his intro too, to complete the whole set (Naitch got HIS music during commercials - nice legacy, huh, Ric? Hope you enjoy your forty pieces of silver.) Shelton Benjamin is 248, and he comes out taking a good look at the stacked deck, but doesn't seem too concerned. He's a dead ringer for Damon Wayons when he lowers his head a little...
HHH beckons Benji enter the ring. SB does, and they ring the bell. HHH with a kick to the gut and some brawlies in the corner. Stomps SB to the mat, and then pulls him out for a Vertical Suplex. SB gets loose and goes to a rollup. Gets two. HHH gets upset and charges in, but is taken down with a Crucifix for another two. Shelton goes off the ropes and gets Spinebustered, then tossed out to the floor so Batista can drop him across the barrier. SB gets back in by eight for some stomping from HHH, followed by a blatant choke. HHH goes for a Back Body Drop, but ducks too soon and gets booted, then punched a few times. HHH tossed him outside so Orton can ricochet him against the barrier and Shelton lands pretty ugly. He actually gets back in by nine... HHH slaps him mockingly, then puts him in the corner for some brawlies, then tosses him to the other corner. HHH eats the boot running in, and Benji follows up with a Spinwheel Kick. HHH staggers to the corner and eats an Avalanche Splash.
HHH falls out the ring. Benjamin follows him. HHH goes for the Pedigree, but Shelton counters with a double-leg pickup to a catapult. HHH bounces off the cornerpost, and Shelton gets back in the ring. HHH loses by countout. Evolution explains their chagrin to Shelton at this turn of events by mass punking, then HHH caps it off with a Pedigree and BUNCHES of punches. Benjamin is bleeding from the repeated drubbings and such, but HHH continues the beating. Benoit charges out with Michaels and Foley to save the day. Evolution bails.
Two 'fluke' wins in a row, kids. Admit it. Bobo is right. The Main Event was an hour early, though, wasn't it? I guess there'll be some consequences for the guys running out to save Shelton, hmmm?
Rock will be on Confidential to shill his movie - as well as show us how he's been making the talkshow rounds to do likewise. Tune in if you care...
Lita's out. Next Jazz. Bischoff is out at the announce desk carping about how Foley, Benoit and Michaels defied his orders, and he'll be calling them out to the ring for conseqences tonight. (Bobo's right. Again.) Nidia's out next. Then Molly with the latest chinstrap special. Then Stacy...
Stacy? She's not a wrestler. She's eyecandy... Sigh. Way to put the match over... Oh, goody. Gail Kim's back. Excitement. Excitement. Trish is out next. And now...
Commercials. Eh? Already? I mean, that was a lot of intros and all, but SHEESH... Ah well. Kill Bill Volume 2 should be a premium gas, don't you think?
I wonder who'll be eliminated during the break...?
Jazz and Lita are on the apron, Trish is in the ring. Jazz is booted off the apron, s that leaves Lita and Trish. We get some replays of all we missed as Trish and Lita circle each other. Trish offers a handshake. Lita slaps her. Trish slaps her back, then goes for a Fireman's Carry. Lita holds onto the ropes and elbows free. Trish charges in and is hiptossed to the apron. She holds on and gets back into the ring despite Lita stepping on her.
Jericho comes out. Trish isn't happy, and continues the offense on Lita. Lita with a throw, then a Snap Suplex, then some overhand rights and chops. Y2J eggs Lita on from the floor as she Irish Whips Trish to the corner for a Lariat. Lita then tries to get her out the ropes, but Trish shoves her away with her leg strength, then pastes her in the dome with a skip-kick to the ribs. Trish goes to the ropes, and Jericho trips her. Trish is all upset, and Lita knocks her to the floor in the confusion. Lita's going to face Victoria for the Strap at Backlash.
Let's pad the show with some snippets from Smackdown, shall we? Highlights regarding the Angle Trophy Hunt, topped off with Eddy getting in the face of Angle and then desecrating Bradshaw's hat. Yay. Somebody recap this fucking show already, or I might have to start WATCHING it... God help me.
We then cut to Regal asking around for Eugene, he asks an old guy, then asks Garrison Cade. Then he bumps into a pisspoor Evad Sullivan knockoff. It's the aforementioned Eugene. Gene promptly hugs Regal. Regal smiles like his cock is in a vise, and pats Gene on the head before saying they should have a word with Uncle Eric. Gene agrees, and they're off to the races.
Welcome back, Steve Regal. Wish you were dead yet?
Here comes Coach, with a hiphoppy entrance music this time. Blech. He's still pissed about the Mist thing last week... Tajiri's coming down the aisle as if on cue, and he laughs at Coach as he passed. Coach is not amused.
Cut to Trish complaining to Christian, who's going to be facing Tajiri. He explains that the match he signed will be him and her against Jericho at Backlash. Trish doesn't seem too happy about it. Coach plugs Lenscrafters as the place he went for treatment for his 'serious eye injury'. Christian comes to the ring as Coach warns Tajiri will get burned. Tajiri hits an AWESOMELy nice twisting Headscissors. Tajiri tries to continue the offense, but is clobbered. Coach leaves the table to ringside as Christian stomps on Tajiri. The two of them go toe-to-toe from a kneeling position. Christian with an Irish Whip. Tajiri with a Somersault Back Elbow. Tajiri tossed to the corner, Christian comes in for a taste of the Tarantula. Tajiri releases at the fourcount. Christian's Unprettier is thwarted by a STIFF boot to the head from the Japanese Buzzsaw. Coach interferes, which allows Christian's second attempt to succeed. Threecount follows, and Coach walks away all happy. Tajiri looks like he might not be. Yay. Let's have a GOOD wrestler feud with a NON-wrestler. Why not?
Because it sucks.
Back to Ross and Lawler speculating on Bischoff's pending wrath towards Foley, Benoit and HBK. This is smoothly segued to Shilling for Backlash to pad the show.
Regal and Eugene are at Bischoff's door, and Regal calls Eric's 'nephew' a window-licker. Bischoff calls him 'special', and then asks where Gene is. Gene's right outside the door, assures Regal - but of course he's wandered off. Regal leaves to search for him, but Jonny Nitro informs him that the kid's out there with Ross and King. They set the Kid up with a headset so he can introduce himself to the fans. King remarks on Eugene's 'wacky' ring attire. In response, Gene imitates the Bushwhackers - and then licks King on the head.
That's worth some points, kid.
Regal pops in and quickly drags him off. Ross chuckles as he remarks the kid might get food poisoning licking King. (If he's lucky, I say. I'm betting Hepatitis B in the office pool, though.) King fumes about getting licked without permission.
We're back for the Slam of the Week, which is Tajiri getting chokeslammed and Kane getting Speared.
Kane comes to the ring at 10:48... I wonder who's getting squashed this week? Rhyno...
Rhyno charges the ring and Kane beats him up, then bounces his skull off the ringpost and beats him up some more. Kane with a kneeling choke. Rhyno gets up and fights back with some punches, and they break the middle rope. Danger! Rhyno hits the GORE, but only gets a twocount. He tries to continue the offense, but is summarily chokeslammed. Kane wins. Time: About 50 seconds.
Edge comes out and beats Kane up a bit before Kane lariats him. Kane goes outside for a chair, but is Speared coming in to use it. Kane sits up. Edge charges in again, but eats the Big Boot. Kane gets another chair and sets in the corner. He then puts Edge's good hand in it so he can make a matching set, but Edge waffles him with the cast. Kane sits up as Edge bails, and then falls back over. Edge smirks as he leaves, no doubt over 'rediscovering' Cowboy Bob's old cast-bash gimmick...
HBK and Benoit muse about the whole Bischoff thing, and HBK says he's got Benoit's back tonight and any night - except for Backlash. Benoit says he doesn't expect any less. HBK says he agrees with HHH about Benoit's chances of leaving with that belt. Benoit's not happy, but not surprised. Foley trots by and tells them to come on. Jonny Nitro tells them they're not allowed to bring weapons, so he'll be taking Barbie for now. Foley tells him he'll be back for it, so nothing should happen to Barbie - or else. Benoit then slaps Nitro's 'injured' arm, and they trot off.
We're back (10:59) for some shilling of Rock's movie, in case you haven't heard it's coming out soon.
And now the show... (11:00) as Bischoff comes storming to the ring. He tells the fans he's got some business to take care of, and demands Benoit come to the ring so he can say what's on his mind to the Champ's face. Benoit comes out (11:01) and shows Eric the belt. Eric then calls Foley out to the ring. Foley gets there, looking pretty unimpressed with Eric the whole time (11:02). Bischoff says he's also got something to say to HBK, so he might as well come out too... He does, and gets there nice and quick. Bischoff says next week, as punishment, those three will be teamed up with Shelton Benjamin - and he doesn't care if they have to bring the kid out on a stretcher - for a match against the entirety of Evolution.
Triple H comes out with a sledgehammer, then looks over his shoulder. Nobody comes out, so they'll be coming out the crowd. They do. Batista Spinebusters HBK. Orton and Foley are outside as HBK gets up so HHH can wallop him with the sledge. Batista crashes Foley into the steps, and then Orton hits him with the RKO. Batista gets a chair and gives it to HHH so he can beat Benoit across the back with it. Benoit's down, and HHH pulls him up for a Pedigree onto the chair. Bonk goes the Wolverine. Evolution stands over the decimated carcasses of the three guys they'll be facing next week as we close the show. HHH poses with the title a little more as we fade to black.
All in all, it was a fairly entertaining show. A bit light on the Wrestling for my tastes, though... Should be an interesting one next week, and I'm actually looking forward to it.
I know. And I hate myself for it...
You're welcome. See you SOON.