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OO PPV RECAP
RAW presents Armageddon
December 14, 2003

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Let the bitching and moaning begin!  Only three months after dropping the World Title, Triple H is once again the reigning champion on RAW.  He pinned Goldberg in the main event of the Armageddon PPV, capping off a hugely successful night for the entire Evolution stable.

Randy Orton cleanly defeated Rob Van Dam to win the IC belt, while Ric Flair partnered with Batista to win the tag team titles (as an unannounced bonus team in the Tag Team Turmoil match).  The show came to an end with all four men holding their four belts.

Here's a detailed run-down of the just-completed WWE Armageddon PPV (with editorial thoughts tacked on in red italics):

  • On Heat: Matt Hardy and Maven got into an argument backstage, leading to a challenge being issued and accepted for a match on the PPV...  also added during Heat was Molly Holly vs. Ivory...  and I missed it while driving over to my friends' house, but I'm told that Rico beat John Heidenreich.
  • Booker T defeated Mark Henry.  Fast-ish start with some ringside brawling and Booker gaining the early edge.  But that didn't keep up for much more than a minute or two.  And then it was time for Henry to get in his methodical offense.  He worked on the back, utilizing three different thrilling restholds, culminating in the bear hug.  Booker T'ed up, though and rallied... only to be cut off by a Henry spinebuster.  When Mark set Booker up for a powerbomb, something got fouled up, and Booker was dropped on his shoulder, causing some momentary awkwardness.  I think Booker was probably supposed to reverse the powerbomb attempt.  Whatever.  Right after the blown spot, Booker hit a scissors kick for the pinfall win at about the 10 minute mark.  [Crowd was heavily into Booker, so this one wasn't nearly as flat as it might have been... but still, there was very little that caught my attention here, other than sloppy finish.  Not exactly a textbook way to start off a PPV.]
  • Backstage: Eric Bischoff gets a visit from Christian and Chris Jericho.  Christian is exceptionally fired up about the Battle of the Sexes, and falls all over himself thanking Bischoff for the chance to embarrass Lita.  Jericho, on the other hand, seems ambivalent towards the whole affair.
  • Cheap Pop Theatre: Mick Foley hit the ring, and announced he had some good news...  the "Bring Back Stone Cold" petition now has over one million signatures.  Foley thinks that's grounds for a celebration, and asks anyone in the mood to celebrate to come on down to the ring.  Enter Stacy Keibler in a cheerleader outfit.  She's kind enough to do some cartwheels and in general make sure everybody knows what color underwear she chose tonight (pink).  And then, all of a sudden, Randy Orton and Ric Flair decide to interrupt.  Orton opines that Mick's petition is stupid, that Austin is gone forever, and it's all thanks to Randy Orton winning that match at the Survivor Series.  Orton and Foley went back and forth, and Foley decided that if Orton was so riled up, they should just go ahead and have the IC Title match RIGHT NOW.
  • Randy Orton defeated Rob Van Dam to win the InterContinental Title.  We started a bit slower, with some actual chain wrestling and the like.  When Orton couldn't one-up RVD in terms of wrestling, his frustration meant we went to a more faster-paced segment of the match.  Orton controlled a brawling segment outside the ring, getting a tad of help from Flair (who Foley was quick to chastise).  Highlights were Orton hitting the Pretty Pretty Dropkick on the outside, and then doing an interesting variation of a neckbreaker back in the ring.  RVD made his comeback, though, and starting at about the 10 minute mark, hit all his highspots for some near falls.  The last several minutes were very fast-paced, with Flair attempting to get involved (to no avail), as well.  A distraction from Flair did provide Orton the opening he needed to dropkick RVD off the turnbuckle, which in turn set up the RKO and the pinfall win at about the 18 minute mark.  [A good match, no doubt about it.  Kind of disappointing, however, with regards to Mick's involvement.  They didn't do anything between him and Orton, which I would have thought would be a no-brainer considering their past.  In fact, there was no reason for Foley to be the special ref here at all.  Anybody could have had three arguments with Flair.  But I'm getting off-track.  RVD and Orton delivered a very good match, bottom line, and my complaints are really quite nit-picky.]
  • Christian and Chris Jericho beat Lita and Trish Stratus.  Jericho started off in the ring, and tried to convince Trish that "this isn't what I wanted."  But Trish isn't buying that bill of goods, and starts flailing away on Jericho.  At first Jericho tries to weather the storm, but then he decides he's had enough and tries to get Trish to settle down.  By putting her over his knee and spanking her.  Didn't work, and Trish kept on coming at Jericho, who eventually fell back into his corner, where Christian tagged himself in.  Christian had no problem beating up on a girl, although he did rapidly discover that it wasn't as easy it he might have guessed. Lita actually got in a solid sequence of offense, and it got so bad that Christian had to tag out.  Jericho hit a few moves, to show that he had no issues with beating up Lita, I guess, but Christian came back in once the coast looked clear.  He decided to strip Lita down to her bra, and did a bunch of taunting.  Lita turned the tide by kicking him in the nuts, and then made the tag in to Trish, who came in a house o' fire.  Before too long, all four competitors were in the ring, and Christian and Jericho rammed into each other after some miscommunication.  Jericho stayed in command, though, by rudely throwing Lita into the ringside barrier.  When he got back in the ring, he actually showed some concern for Trish, who was just getting back up to her feet.  It was at precisely that point that Christian snuck in from behind and rolled Trish up for the win. [Seven or eight very surprising minutes.  No major storyline developments, and instead, they mostly wrestled a straight-up match.  Credit goes to all four for keeping the pace up while letting the women have a substantial amount of offense.  That could have gotten sketchy, but everything seemed pretty plausible.  Pretty good stuff here.]
  • Shawn Michaels beat Batista.  Pretty much formula here: Michaels out of the chute strong, then Flair pulled Batista aside, and then engineered the heel comeback.  Batista worked over Shawn's back with various holds, and Michaels' hope spots seemed limited to flurries of knife-edge chops (WHOOO!, went the crowd).  Shawn did have an honest to god comeback at about the 10 minute mark, and was tuning up the band at one point.  But Batista put an end to that, and took control again.  When Batista finally decided it was time to hit his finisher, Michaels was able to escape and hit the Sweet Chin Music out of absolutely nowhere.  Michaels fell on top of Batista and the ref counted three.  After the match, Batista lingered in the ring, and Flair had to explain what had happened on the grounds that he'd been KO'ed by the superkick and didn't remember it himself.  Batista threw a major league hissy fit.  [This was imminently watchable, but that's about it.  Michaels is good, and I guess Batista is best described as "adequate"... the end result was nothing I'll remember tomorrow, but also nowhere near offensive.]
  • Matt Hardy vs. Maven was a No Contest as a result of Batista beating the piss out of Maven.  Batista's tantrum was continuing even as Maven and Hardy entered for their match.  Matt and Maven did a minute or so of brawling outside the ring, but eventually, Maven decided to test the waters by getting in the ring.  Mistake.  Batista's foul mood resulted in a powerbomb or two for Maven, who sold it with the Internal Bleeding of Severe Organ Damage.  The ref declared that the Hardy/Maven match was cancelled as a result, but Matt had other ideas.  He laid down on top of Maven, counted to three, and then grabbed a mic to declare himself the winner.  [Probably necessary in the night's Grand Scheme, since this way nobody remembers that Batista lost. Instead, they remember him beating Maven senseless.  If they remember him at all.  Which I often don't.]
  • Backstage: Batista is STILL whining, and Flair tries to calm him down.  Ric goes into Pep Talk Mode, and tells Batista everybody stumbles, but what makes one great is the getting back up again.  Flair says he knows that Batista is one of the great ones and predicts he'll get back on his feet by the end of the night.  Because Flair's got a surprise in store for him....
  • Ric Flair and Batista emerged as surprise competitors and won the Tag Team Titles in seven-team elimination match.  La Resistance started out with Hurricane and Rosey.  Hurricane pinned Conway at about the 3 minute mark following a cool spot where Rosey sat on the top turnbuckle, and then Hurricane stood on his shoulders to deliver a big bodypress for the win.  Mark Jindrak and Lance Cade entered the match next, and immediately (IMMEDIATELY, like 10 seconds after they snuck into the ring from the crowd) eliminated Hurricane and Rosey with a cheap little roll-up on Hurricane.  Val Venis and Lance Storm were next up, and did about 4 minutes with Cade and Jindrak, with little to no fan interest for the entire segment.  D'oh.  Not bad or anything, but really flat as a result.  Cade pinned Val thanks to Jindrak holding Val's leg down from outside the ring.  The Dudleys entered next, and the crowd came back a little bit.  Typical Dudleys, leading to a 3-D on Jindrak to eliminate the rookies.  Last team, or so we thought: Test and Scott Steiner.  This portion of the match was by far the longest, going probably close to 10 minutes, much of it spent with the heels in charge.  When a hot tag to D-Von led to a Dudleys rally, Test and Steiner responded by cheating.  Test decoyed the ref with a title belt, and while the ref was dealing with that, used a chairshot or two on D-Von to gain the advantage.  But Bubba, who had been dispatching Steiner on the outside of the ring, made the save, and then followed up with a BubbaBomb on Test.  D-Von crawled over, put an arm over Test's shoulders, and got the pinfall win.  Lillian Garcia announced the Duds as winners of the Tag Team Turmoil match, but Eric Bischoff cut her off, saying there was one more team entered:  Flair and Batista.  The Evolution members immediately took advantage of the spent Dudleys, with Batista powerbombing D-Von and Flair putting Bubba in the Figure Four.  It was the pinfall on D-Von that ended the match.  [Probably close to 25 minutes, all told, and pretty entertaining from the Dudleys entrance on.  Pretty tepid before that, though.]
  • Molly Holly beat Ivory to retain the Women's Title.  Jim Ross claims he prepared no notes for this match since it was just added earlier on Heat.  Which I guess explains why he and Lawler spent the entire match talking about Molly's (lack of a) sex life, or something.  Match was another flat, tepid sort of a deal, unfortunately, so I can't fault the announcers for ruining a great match...  Ivory really had no face appeal, so other than for one or two of her highspots, the crowd was dead.  Molly won after rolling through a school-girl attempt by Ivory and probably using a handful of tights, too.  [Maybe 4 minutes long and obviously just out there to eat up time and cleanse the palate before the main event.  And WWE did nothing to change fans' perceptions of this as mere filler, either.]
  • Triple H beat Goldberg and Kane to win the World Title.  Story early on was Kane and HHH forming a tenuous alliance to go after Goldberg.  And at first, anytime Kane and HHH had reason to go after each other, HHH simply deferred to Kane to keep the relationship going.  That finally ended about 7-8 minutes into the match, however, when HHH took aim at Kane with a chairshot (this was, by the by, a no DQ affair).  To get Goldberg out of the way for a while, Kane chokeslammed him into the Spanish Announce Table (which didn't break), and then HHH dropped an elbow onto Goldberg (which DID break the table).  Goldberg took about a 5 minute rest, while Kane and HHH brawled.  Kane chokeslammed HHH on the steel ramp, and then dragged his carcass back into the ring... where Goldberg was waiting with a Spear.  HHH had to make the save for Kane, and from there on out, it was full-on three-way action.  Goldberg eventually managed to take down both Kane and HHH with Spears, and was clearly en route to a victory... but that's when Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Batista came out (again, no DQ).  They distracted Goldberg from going for the pinfall, which in turn opened the door for Kane to hit Goldberg with a chokeslam.  But then, before Kane could cover, Evolution pulled him out of the ring and detained him, while HHH crawled over and draped an arm over Goldberg to steal the pinfall win.  Evolution tried hoisting HHH on their shoulders, but that didn't work out so well, so they settled for all four raising their title belts over their heads, instead, to close out the show.  [Hmmm, how to say this?  Maybe just let Jim Ross say it for me... he busted out the "bowling shoe ugly" reference during the clunky opening minutes of the match.  And though it got a little better by the end, this was still the least exciting PPV main event of the year.  The main event doesn't always have to be the best match of the night.  But it shouldn't be battling with Mark Henry vs. Booker T and Molly Holly vs. Ivory for Most Forgettable, either.  And that's pretty much what we had here.  Also, it probably didn't help any that we were able to call the finish as soon as they did the surprise tag title win for Flair/Batista, so not only was this 20 minutes of merely mediocre action, it was 20 minutes of waiting for the inevitable.]

I have this annoying habit of letting a main event color my perceptions of the whole show... so with Armageddon ending on a sort of clunker, I'm inclined to say that this is a PPV that lived right down to my expectations.  The big night of victories for Evolution sets up some interesting directions for RAW tomorrow night, and I think RVD/Orton was very good, with the Battle of the Sexes running second for most entertaining match of the night, and then both HBK/Batista and the tag team turmoil match -- especially the second half -- also rating as OK...  but that's just not enough to hang an entire 3 hour PPV on.  Hell, make that 2 and a half hours.  Armageddon came up about 20 minutes shorter than most PPVs, another thing I might gripe about if I were in such a mood.
 
But I'm not, really.  I figure I'll have another chance to have my say tomorrow in OO.  So I'll see you then. 

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


  
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