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OO PPV RECAP
SD! presents...
WWE Judgment Day
May 16, 2004

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I got a good one for you:  "Bradshaw, WWE PPV main event winner."  HA!  Slap them thighs!  Bust them guts!  Except... I'm not joking.

D'oh.

Look, OO (or at least, me, Rick Scaia, personally) is kind of a safe haven from snarky bitching.  I pride myself on being a little bit different than a lot of the "internet jack-offs," in that I can tell the difference between what works and what I, myself, like.  I have documented evidence that among those "in the business" who read this site, it's one of the things THEY like about the OO Perspective.

So it is with a heavy heart that I report that the just-completed Judgment Day was a "miss" on just about every front.  And I hope this doesn't mean the 411 would now consider me for a job in their hallowed halls or that I lose the respect of those of you who actually do appreciate that I'm kinda level-headed.  I'm not turning heel, or anything.  I'm just deeply annoyed.

You can look back to our PPV Preview, and you can pretty much tell that expectations for this show were not high.  Few real blow-away match prospects, not a whole lot in terms of killer blow-offs...  but for all my joking about the poorly-constructed and poorly-hyped show, there was one thing I fully expected Judgment Day COULD do: make it seem like WWE has realized its missteps and would start fixing things effective this Thursday.

Instead, they put together a 2-and-a-half hour event that -- on its own merits -- was certainly more bland/boring than actually bad.  But it was also an event that gave every single fan who has voted with his remote control the past 8 weeks a free pass to continue not giving a shit about Thursday night wrestling for at least another couple weeks.  

Sure, all the effort was there in the ring: none of the guys went out there to suck.  But on a night where the assembled crowd at Hooters (yes, folks, I was back there, on the grounds that I could not assemble a sizeable enough posse to actually buy the show; and if I was gonna be on the hook for $10 or $15, I better get some grub out of the deal) popped exactly three (3) times, the excitement and sizzle just was not there.

For the record: the three pops were for (1) Dawn Marie's Wardrobe Malfunction (when one couldn't be quite sure if she was wearing any underwear, at first), (2) Billy Gunn going down on Rico, and (3) the cut to Eddie Guerrero spurting blood after his blade job (but tellingly, NOT for the chairshot that "caused" the blood loss).  And the audience was also about halved by the time the PPV ended versus when it had started.  If there is ANY good story to tell from this, I'm hard pressed to find it.  Best excuses for fans to cheer?  Bare ass and hot man-on-man oral action!  And nobody even cares about the main event!  Way to go, WWE!

But I'm rambling, aren't I?  Let's just get done with the full match-by-match results of the Judgment Day PPV (with editorial comments tacked on in red italics):

  • On Heat: before I left my house to get to the Hooters, I saw that we were to be treated to Mark Jindrak vs. Funaki.  I did not see the match, but I will boldly proclaim that Mark Jindrak won.  Or else I'll gladly hack off an appendage in penance.
  • Video Package: quasi-spooky music and some clips hyping the key storylines in the top three matches.
  • Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam beat the Dudley Boyz.  Duds jump-started the match with a bit of distraction, and controlled the early stages.  RVD did kind of a decoy Face in Peril thing for a few minutes, then tagged in Rey, who hit a series of spots before getting his ass handed to him.  No real focus to the attack by the Duds, just basic "cut the ring in half" stuff.  This went on for a good 5 minutes or so, until Rey fired up following a sequence of moves AFTER he had been tied to the Tree of Woe (stuff that, actually, probably sounded better in theory than it looked in execution, but innovative nonetheless).  Hot tag to RVD around 10-12 minutes.  But his heat sequence was cut short, and the Duds were setting up for the Whassup Spot... until Rey broke that up and started us in on some four-way brawling (including everybody least favorite move: the Bronco Buster).  The brawling easily went RVD and Rey's way, and they set up for the Alleged Big Finish: Rey 619-ed both Bubba and D-Von at the same time, causing Bubba to conveniently bump all the way across the ring, while D-Von landed smacked dab in the center of the ring, in perfect position to take the Five Star Frog Splash from (the legal man) RVD.  Three count later, and the babyfaces are your winners.  Somewhere just shy of 15 minutes, probably.  [And thus, the vibe of just treading water and doing nothing interesting sets in early: a veritable replay of a match from just 10 days ago, with no added gimmick/stip, no Heyman, and no real pay-off on anything.  It was well-worked and kinda fun, and all, and a serviceable opener: the problem is that this match was probably about half the reason to give a damn about the show, and it was carted out for Curtain Jerking Duty and did nothing above and beyond the bare minimum.]
  • Backstage: Josh Mathews (sporting a total Vince Van Patton Look, you World Poker Tour fans will know what I'm talking about; the rest of you: this is not a compliment) decides it's time to get words from Booker T.  So he goes into Booker T's dressing room.  Sound at Hooters is not so good, but this seemed like pretty generic fare about how Booker has his Voodoo Scavenger Hunt Bag of Extreme Supernaturalness, or something, and he does not fear the Undertaker.  Wheee.
  • Kurt Angle Promo:  Luther Raines wheels a big curtained box out to ringside, and it turns out to be a new ricockulous "vehicle" for transporting Kurt around, or something.  He is mechanically elevated out of the box and then sits on top in his wheel chair.  Glad to see they're spending their money wisely there...  Kurt starts in by mocking LA.  Then he continues with some taunting of Eddie Guerrero (which sadly, only REALLY serves to remind me of how weak a challenger Bradshaw is, since Kurt gets better heat for his comments than he does for the part where he wishes for Bradshaw to beat Eddie).  And finally, it's time to talk to Torrie Wilson, who Kurt feels is responsible for his injuries and his career being over.  He calls Torrie out to the ring, and announces that since she ended HIS career, tonight, she might end her own: if Torrie does not win her match, she will be fired.  Oooohhhhh, and all of a sudden this match DOES have a reason for existing!
  • Torrie Wilson beat Dawn Marie.  They tried, god bless 'em, but this was five minutes of sheer pointlessness (and some sloppiness) followed up by about 45 seconds of Dawn's fine rump on display after Torrie (intentionally, I'm sure) used a handful of tights on a roll-up causing Dawn's pants to come undone.  After Dawn paraded around, supposedly indignant, but mostly just making sure everybody got an eye full, Torrie hit a backslide to score the pinfall and that was that.  [Well, I thought MAYBE I'd have to eat crow about this match having no reason to exist after they introduced the firing gimmick and making me think that they had A Plan for Torrie.  No dice.  She wins, nothing happens, and this had no business on PPV.]
  • Earlier Today: Bradshaw sat in a chair with champagne on ice and said some stuff about Eddie Guerrero being a worthless Mexican and promising to win the title later tonight.
  • Mordecai squashed Scotty 2 Hotty in his debut.  Nothing really thrilling here, but given the suckiness we've seen out of other "big man" introductions (Nathan Jones, Tomko), maybe that's a good thing.  Mordecai was entirely competent in kicking Scotty's ass, even if the gimmick with the bleached eye brows and everything is maybe not so hot...  2 or 3 minutes, tops, and Mordecai won with a high-elevation version of the Razor's Edge (the crucifixiness of it all suits the gimmick I guess, so good choice).  [Just about as low-impact a way as I could think of to debut Mordecai; he did nothing to turn people off, but was also not put into a spot to make any fan in his right mind care about him at all.  And sadly, it was here that I first glimpsed how the rest of the night would go: as recently as last week, people were still talking about Mordecai getting to feud with Taker, and this match kind of made me realize that plan must have changed... and the trickle-up effect would be felt all the way to the main event.]
  • Backstage: The Chavos are getting ready for tonight's Cruiserweight Match when Jacqueline walks in with a gift... Chavo opens it, and finds some pink lingerie, which he quickly tosses aside.  I'm not sure what was said between Chavo and Jackie (cuz of the sound), but in the background, Chavo Classic was good for a couple of laughs as he picked up the undies and started seeing if they'd fit him and stuff.  A titter does not a PPV save....
  • Rico and Charlie Haas beat Bob Holly and Billy Gunn to retain the WWE Tag Titles.  The comedy was in effect early, with Holly and Gunn both wanting to avoid Rico.  Eventually, Haas tagged, in, and for at least a few minutes, this resembled a wrestling match with Haas playing Ricky Morton.  Hot tag eventually came to Rico, though again it quickly devolved into four-way brawling.  In the mess, I'm not sure if Haas actually LEGALLY tagged in or not, but after Gunn powdered out, Rico superkicked Holly, and Charlie scored the pinfall.  [About 10 minutes, tops.  Not horrible, but just Velocitastic.  When *I* think chatting up a Hooters girl who I know is only being polite on the grounds that she works for tips is a good use of my time, you know I'm bored.]
  • Backstage: Undertaker says his first words since returning at WM (but only after Paul Bearer says a bunch of stuff).  I'll give you three guesses as to what they were.  If you said anything other than "Rest," "in," and "peace," you are officially stupid.
  • Chavo Guerrero beat Jacqueline to win the Cruiserweight Title.  Right out of the gate, Chavo was on offense, hitting one-armed backbreakers and stuff.  Jacqueline mostly got brief hope spots, and then one sustained spot after she kicked Chavo in the balls.  But that came to an end after Classic managed to untie Chavo's arm while the ref was distracted.  Then Classic further distracted the ref, allowing Chavo to hit a bunch of two-armed moves, culminating in a Gory Bomb, which was enough to score the pinfall.  New Champ, and after the match, Chavo also did some mic work, talking about how he proved how awesome he is and now, nobody can laugh at him ever again.  For good measure, Chavo Classic went over and kicked the still-fallen Jackie in the ribs.  [Maybe 5 minutes of action, and pretty fun, all things considered.  And for everybody who was hating on Jackie winning the belt, just take a deep breath and realize that Chavo today is a stronger heel than he was two weeks ago, and that ultimately, this WAS a productive use of time, even if it didn't result in any **** matches.]
  • John Cena beat Rene Dupree to retain the US Title.  Cena's pre-match rap was one of his lamest in memory (rhyming "doesn't have a chance" with "kick his ass back to France" and something REALLY cheap about the Lakers and Spurs, too), and I ALMOST cheer when Dupree's music cuts him off (for further lameness, the reaction shot of Cena has him clearly mouthing "What the F....." but even without a mic on him, he still decides to trail off instead of actually saying "fuck".  Pansy)...  but sadly, the interruption means the match is afoot, and for as hopeful as I was for a good match here, it never materialized.  The two had a few awkward exchanges early during the back-and-forthy part of the match, and then when Dupree settled in for his offense, he opted for... The Bearhug of Doom.  Actually, he hit it twice, I think.  And this was like at the 5 minute mark, too, not 18 minutes into a 30 minute match.  Man alive.  Finally, Cena fired up, and the last three minutes were pretty intense: Dupree dodged the Five Knuckle Shuffled, and then Cena counted by getting out of the way in the middle of the French Tickler.  Cena tried to follow up with a top rope move, but Dupree countered.  Dupree got some near falls, but finally, Cena countered his way into an F-U for the pinfall win.  [Again, maybe 10 minutes, but not nearly as fast-paced or exciting as I would have hoped.  And when Cena won, continuing a trend towards babyface victories, my lingering discomfort coalesced into a Stone Cold Certainty that Eddie would not be winning in the main event....]
  • Undertaker beat Booker T.  Out of the gate, they go back and forth with brawling stuff, before Taker settled in with his usual offense.  He seemed to be cruising until a ref bump around the 5 minute mark: at that point, Booker decided to go into his Voodoo Baggie of Extreme Mystery...  what secrets or major plot twists are going to be revealed?!?!  None.  Booker just grabbed a handful of dust, and tossed it in Taker's eyes while the ref was done.  And Taker promptly no-sold it, anyway.  Wow, thanks for making me sit through painful Voodoo Vignettes 2 weeks ago, WWE!  It was TOTALLY worth it!  After Taker no-sold the dust, though, Booker still did rally, and started targeting Taker's knee for a bit.  That was the formula for the next few minutes until Taker decided he'd had enough.  He kicked out of the axe kick and immediately powered up, hitting a chokeslam and then a Tombstone for the clean pinfall win.  [Seriously: whatever the idea/point of this storyline was 2 weeks ago has clearly changed.  Instead of introducing a new character and catapulting Booker to top heel status, this just kinda sat there and accomplished nothing.  And I say that as an Undertaker Fan.  This win did nothing for him.  And it totally undermined Booker T's chances of being taken seriously.  Not a bad match necessarily, just really bland, expected, and anticlimactic.  Also, this outcome only furthered my deepening concern over what was going to happen in the main event...]
  • Video Package:  3 minutes of Trying to Undo 8 Weeks of Suckiness and Convince Us This is a Main Event.  
  • John Bradshaw Layfield beat Eddie Guerrero via Disqualification; but Eddie retains the WWE Title. Before the match, Bradshaw actually got on the mic for a second promo.  This one was about hiring Eddie's mom to be his housekeeper or something.  Let's just say that nobody at Hooters was particularly vocal during this bit, allowing me to hear quite clearly that nobody in Los Angeles appeared to be giving a damn, either.  Mostly, I'm looking at my watch and realizing Bradshaw's probably just eating up time, since it's like 10:05 and they've got 45 minutes to kill, here...  they came out fast with some brawling, and it was definitely inside of 3 minutes that they took it outside and started teasing spots on the Spanish Announce Table.  It stayed back-and-forthy for several more minutes until they again went outside... then this time, there really DID set up for the Announce Table Spot: Eddie was backdropped into it.  But it didn't break, he kind of slid off it.  Still a nice bump, and it gave Bradshaw his excuse to set up camp on offense.  Bradshaw's offense:  not only did he reprise the Bearhug of Doom, he also busted out the ever-popular Side Headlock of Extreme Main Event Goodness!  Twice!  That's right, my friends: a side headlock entertained us for a good 3-4 minutes in the middle of this Big Main Event Showdown!  Eddie eventually (mercifully) powered up, but in his gyrations, he accidentally slammed into ref Brian Hebner.  Ref's down, and the match spills outside.  And Bradshaw's only too happy to take advantage of the lawlessness: he grabs a chair and laces into Eddie.  And when we cut to a shot of Eddie's face afterwards, it's SICK the gusher he's got going.  Blood's coming out so fast that he's not even wearing a crimson mask because the blood is spurting everywhere, and Eddie's actually got more of it dripping down to his chest and torso than he's got staying on his face.  Ewwwww.  
     
    Bradshaw pounced, and took Eddie on a tour of ringside, and anywhere Eddie's heat rested for more than 5 seconds, he left a puddle.  Finally, they take it back in the ring, and Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hell... but still no ref.  Finally, second ref Charles Robinson comes out to count the fall, but it's been long enough that Eddie can manage to kick out.  Crowd *is* getting into Eddie, and to be fair, there's decent heat on this match despite all my bitching about Bradshaw's unworthiness...  Bradshaw tried to follow up with more pinfalls and even a sleeper.  But Eddie's not gonna go down easy.  In the battle, the second ref is also bumped, but that's OK, cuz Hebner is back on the job seconds later.  Eddie's Guerrero'ing up, causing Bradshaw to get concerned that maybe he's bitten off more than he can chew.  So he goes outside, and grabs the WWE Title belt, and brings it into the ring to use against Eddie.  But Eddie sees it coming.  Eddie hits Bradshaw with a low blow (ref lets that go), but then grabs the title belt and uses it to bash Bradshaw in the skull.  Ref can't let that one go.  He calls for the bell.  Bradshaw wins via DQ at about the 25 minute mark.
     
    But wait there's more!  After the match, Eddie just keeps on pounding, and even grabs a chair to whack away at Bradshaw (who eventually comes up bleeding).  A bunch of refs tries to pull Eddie away.  No avail, Eddie breaks free and attacks again.  So the refs try a new ploy, and attempt to pull Bradshaw to safety. Again, it doesn't work, as Eddie tracks them down in the entrance aisle and flails away some more.  Finally, Eddie decides it's been enough, and he heads back to the ring to celebrate the Moral Victory (and Actual Defeat) to close out the show (which even with the lengthy post-match segment STILL wrapped up a good 20-25 minutes before 11 o'clock).  [You might reasonably call this "Bradshaw's best match ever," but really, what kind of compliment is that?  Too plodding in the middle, I felt, and even though the last 10 minutes really did have some spark, I'm not sure how much of that was just because I'm such a sucker for disgusting blade jobs like the one Eddie did.  And worst of all: if they'd just done the finish with Eddie going over like he did in the post-match attack, except do it during the match so he'd get the win and be able to move on, I'd have ALMOST been willing to grant that this was a "show saving" climactic finale.  Instead, it's just an excuse to continue limping along with Bradshaw as the #1 Contender when all good sense and conventional wisdom SHOULD have pointed to trying something new.  Just frustrating as all hell, and NOT because I feel like we are "owed" clean finishes on PPVs.  But because I felt we were owed the beginning of something new and better for Eddie after this PPV.]

So there you have it.  I've certainly seen worse shows, laden with matches that have sucked out loud.  But I've rarely been more utterly frustrated with a show for living down to every expectation I had for it: like the loyal lemming I am, I caught the show, and I was left feeling burned.  I can only imagine how all the NON-loyal fans, the ones who have bolted on SD! the last few months, will feel upon reading these results.

As I posited above, I have a feeling their responses will tend heavily towards the "looking for something else to do on Thursday nights" for the next month or so.  And that's NOT what Judgment Day should have left us feeling.  Even if the show itself was not set up to be a blow away show, they could and should have given us something to feel hopeful about.

Instead, they've stubbornly stayed the course, with results that will inspire few, if any, the get their hopes up for the future.

More thoughts and fall-out tomorrow in OO...
 

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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